Friday, 25 November 2016

#415 ~ Twisted Little Things and Other Stories

Twisted Little Things and Other Stories

Twisted Little Things and Other Stories by Amy Cross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars








This was a total break away choice for me, and actually I found it to be interestingly and thoughtfully written. The author does a really great job of constructing short story narratives - in this collection they sit together in a really nicely curated whole.

I didn't find any of the subject matter truly disturbing, but rather very thought provoking. Amy's work has a very 'Tales of the Unexpected' feel to it, and would probably work well in a TV episode format.

Production values were quite high, with only one thing to mention.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten to make a note on here before I returned the book and have now lost the highlighted note on my Kindle (stupid girl!).  It was only one missing/word order comment so it doesn't really matter.



Read as part of my Kindle Unlimited package. 



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Sunday, 13 November 2016

#414 ~ Worst Laid Plans

Worst Laid Plans (A Maddox Storm Cozy Mystery,#1)

Worst Laid Plans by Claire Robyns












Not exactly writing to set the world on fire. The characterisation was a bit weak in places, but it did have enough about the plot and timing to keep me turning the pages - and that is quite hard to do.

I was engaged enough in the world built by this author to read more of the series.

From an editorial point of view, the productions values were good with no errors to mention. The only bug bear I had was an ending that felt a bit like an emergency stop on a driving test. The ending could have been handled slightly differently to avoid this.

Other than that a solid three stars (the thick end of 3 nearing 4).

I purchased as part of my Kindle Unlimited package, but anyone not on that scheme can purchase a copy at just £2.99 at the time of writing this post HERE.



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Monday, 7 November 2016

#413 ~ The Ladies' Room

The Ladies' Room

The Ladies' Room by Carolyn Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars








Not outstandingly brilliant prose, but giving it consideration the author created a strong narrative voice that kept me in the moment - I could clearly hear the Southern drawl, even though there was no attempt to amend the writing to achieve this - very successfully done in my opinion.

The plot didn't set the world alight, but then I suppose that was probably the aim. It detailed a journey of self-discovery and awakening of confidence and courage.

Overall a decent job, and I would like to explore this author more.

Production values were high, and there are no bug bears etc. to detail.

Purchase details:

I purchased/borrowed as part of my Kindle Unlimited package, but you can download a copy HERE.  At the time of writing this post it's £3.49 which seems a reasonable price.



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Thursday, 3 November 2016

#412 ~ The Bad Mother's Diary

The Bad Mother's Diary

The Bad Mother's Diary by Suzy K. Quinn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars









Reading this brightened my day. It's joyfully delightful. After nearly 30 years of motherhood, and no privacy in the bathroom even now ... I am fully on her level.


The boring bits about purchase:

Part of my Kindle Unlimited package, but you can purchase it, you won't e disappointed, HERE.




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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

#411 ~ The Marriage List

The Marriage List

The Marriage List by Dorothy McFalls

My rating: 3 of 5 stars








This book had been kicking around on my Kindle for some time, I'm not sure if it was one of the free daily book deals, or I paid for it.

On paper, or at least on the Kindle in this case, it was everything that I don't like: full of Americanised English and what passes for grammar, it was also fairly high on the not terribly authentic scale, but some little tiny thing kept me turning the pages.

Taking all of the above into account it scored the thick end of 3 stars.

The good, the bad and the ugly:

As mentioned above it was not high quality writing based on sound historical research and knowledge and so there were very many ugly bits.

One golden moment, for all the wrong reasons was Page 81 'The green-eyed monster, jealousy, stabbed her but good.'  - a sentence such as this should never, ever, ever be seen this genre.





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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

#410 ~ The Story of Our Life

The Story of Our Life

The Story of Our Life by Shari Low
My rating: 3 of 5 stars










By and large this was quite enjoyable, but I had a big problem with the authenticity of the dialogue, it felt very American with many conjunctions missing - this did not match up to the characters and their demographic. This is quite disappointing for a seasoned author, so I knocked off a star.

Apart from that it was an okay read, but the plot felt a little ponderous at times.

If you're not looking for startling prose, but fully open to a holiday read format, give it a go.


Errors/Bug Bears/Highlights:

Location 69: 'squeeze in nine holes in before dinner.'

Location 1017:  '...buying into in the joke.'

Locoation 4382: '...truth in on my face.'



Purchased as part of my Kindle Unlimited deal, you can get a copy HERE.




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Sunday, 18 September 2016

#409 ~Something Quite Beautiful

Something Quite Beautiful (No Greater Love)

Something Quite Beautiful by Amanda Prowse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars






A first time read for this author, just to check whether her style etc., would fit me. I was pleasantly surprised and found this to be a decent paced and enjoyable short, which helped me make up my mind to give this author more attention.



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#508 ~ The White Cuckoo

The White Cuckoo

The White Cuckoo by Annie Ireson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars







Back on the studying wheel, so posts will be mostly brief and sparse ...


This one was an interesting take on a paranormal story, I particularly liked mix of some historical and some contemporary strands.

On the whole very well written, although it dragged a little for me towards end end.

Exceptional production values with no errors, or bug bears come to that.


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Hugs

xoxo

Sunday, 11 September 2016

#507 ~ The Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars







This was a completely disturbing book on so many levels ... and yes, that statement makes it sound like I wasn't that happy with the book. Check out the stars though, it gained 4 of them even though my opening words are made up with 'completely disturbing'.

The subject matter was for the majority of the time deeply uncomfortable, and would be for any reasonably well adjusted individual, but it was a consuming read on the one hand repulsing me, and on the other full of hope that what seemed almost a hopeless situation could end in anything but an unhappy and upsetting way.

Only attempt to read this book if you have a strong stomach and interest in literature that is enquiring and in need of stimulation and food for thought and contemplation. If you have you will probably run the full spectrum of emotions that I have.

Purchase details:

Downloaded as part of my Kindle Unlimited package from Amazon.co.uk.

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Sunday, 4 September 2016

#506 ~ Just One Damned Thing After Another


Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary's #1)Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars




Book #1 in the series


EDITOR'S PICK



One of the most entertaining books I've read this year, and can't wait to catch up on the whole of this series.

A long time ago it had been one of my 'Daily Picks' and at the time it would have been free, but it was just dropped into my library and I'd forgotten all about it.

At the time the cover and title had been a draw but as I'd forgotten all about that, and thus my expectations when starting to read it were quite low.

Seriously funny and well written, and as it turns out it made the grade as one of my 'Editor's picks'.

If you like sci-fi definitely try it, but if you like to read funny and entertaining literature, it will be worth your consideration.

Git it a try, I am sure you won't be disappointed.

I was luck enough to download this Kindle file as part of my Kindle Unlimited package (it's not now available through that), but you can get it HERE ... oh, and a bargin at 99p for the Kindle version at the moment.









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#505 ~ A Time for Living

A Time for Living (Polwenna Bay, #2)

A Time for Living by Ruth Saberton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars








Book 2 in the Polwenna Bay series




You get easy reading, entertaining romance with Ruth Saberton. I am really loving this series and highly recommend it. There are no great surprises, just like slipping on a comfortable pair of slippers after a hard day walking on cold concrete, her books make you feel warm from the feet right up to the heart and beyond.

Part of my Kindle Unlimited package, but I would happily pay to read her work.






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Thursday, 21 July 2016

#504 ~ Longbourn

Longbourn

Longbourn by Jo Baker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars





Editor's Pick



Unusually, this is one that I bought (some time ago) and is not part of of my Kindle Unlimited package.  A bargain at £4.99 you can get it HERE.

A piece of fiction that is not only compelling, but well thought out and executed.

It focuses on a servant in the Bennet Household and mirrors from the point of view of the under stairs occupants what went on with Elizabeth and D'Arcy in Pride and Prejudice. Fair enough, this doesn't seem that exciting when one states the bare facts like that, but the skill and attention to detail that must have taken is second to none.

It is so well written, with both beautiful straightforward and complicated characters that I couldn't read it quick enough.

The production values were, as you would expect, really excellent. It's another's Editor's Pick from me. There were some highlights, one error and no bug bears for this one:

Location 532: 'kneeb-ritches'

Some of the highlights

Location 55: A definite highlight and a great example of how to weave words when describing the everyday detail in the hard life of a servant 
'Over the eastern hills the sky was fading to a transparent indigo.  Sarah, glancing up, hands stuffed into her armpits, her breath clouding the air, dreamed of the wild places beyond the horizon where it was already fully light, and of how, when her day was over, the sun would be shining on other places still, on the Barbadoes and Antigua and Jamaica where the dark men worked half-naked, and on the Americas where the Indians wore almost no clothes at all, and where there was consequently very little in the way of laundry, and how one day she would go there, and never have to wash other people's underthings again.'

Location 5290: 


'It was not the end, of course; it was just an end.  Mrs Hills thread may have become snarled up into an intractable knot, but others were still unspooling'

Location 5330:


'Threads that drift along will sometimes simply twine themselves together, without need for spindle or distaff:  brought into each other's ambit, they bind themselves tight with the force of their own torsion. And this same torsion can, in the course of things, bundle the resulting cord back upon itself, ravelling it up into a skein, returning to the point of its beginning.'

'ambit' - the scope, extent or bounds of something.

Bibliography details:

Longbourn by Jo Baker
Kindle Edition, 448 pages / Published August 15th 2013 by Transworld Digital (first published 2013) / 
Original Title Longbourn / ASIN  B00CQ1D3BY / Edition Language   English


Happy reading.

xoxox


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Saturday, 16 July 2016

#503 ~ Dead Romantic

Dead Romantic

Dead Romantic by Ruth Saberton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars






Editor's Pick




Absolutely loved this one. Novel plot with well-shaped and believable characters.

Ruth Saberton has the knack of realistic and sparkling dialogue which is really funny and authentic.

Producers and Commissioners out there, this book would translate so well to a film plot or for TV and literally would be 'totes hilare'.

It wasn't until I was putting this review together that I realised Ruth Saberton is also author of the Polwenna Bay series, which I am love too.

Nice to see fabulous production quality, I only think there was one (or maybe two) tiny thing:

Location 2680:  '...a long-ago December when Dad spend all Christmas ...' - spent.


Unless stated otherwise, most of my reading these days is part of my Kindle Unlimited reading package, but there are one or two old books that aren't, or I have to purchase them to get a full set of a series!

Happy reading.



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Monday, 11 July 2016

#502 ~ The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue by Piu Marie Eatwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars




Interesting story, and true, story, but written with a little too much eye on the plain facts. It would be so much more interesting if it was written into a fictional piece. At time this book was a little slow going.

The odd error, but on the whole not a bad production value.  Errors found were:

Location 2477:  '...ched' - watched

Location 2489: 'Thomas ner Turner' - Thomas Warner Turner

Location: 2499: 'Harrig-ton' - Harrington



Happy reading

Hugs

xoxox



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Sunday, 10 July 2016

#501 ~ Burying the Honesuckle Girls

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars









Although not quite sure at first, this turned out be a first-class read. In fact, I would say that I could truly class it as an Editor's pick, and highly recommended.

I did discover something reading this: I don't mind "gotten" when it's in a contemporary, or location appropriate setting. When in this book the use of that word (and not overly so) seemed to fit.

It's a nicely stranded contemporary and historical family saga, which moved me to tears at the conclusion.

Without giving too much away, the plot at the end reminded me of my own childhood growing up in a village with a large and very scary Institution at one end ... so many lives ruined sometimes through genuine mental health issues and disabilities that were hidden away, and most distressingly of all, just some patients that had simply failed to keep to the strict moral code of the day or to bow down to a voice of authority.

This book is a nicely judged piece of work, with a very high production value - just one mistake, which (as usual) is detailed on my blog.

For a first novel, it is exceptionally well done, and I look forward to more by Emily Carpenter.

Hugs

xoxox



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Saturday, 9 July 2016

#500 ~ The Wicked Lady

The Wicked Lady (The Ladies, #4)

The Wicked Lady by Brenda Jernigan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars





Book 4 in the 'Gentlemen Always Play Fair' Box Set Compilation, and thank goodness for that - Location 21980 thankfully onward to the conclusion.




Quite frankly, I am as fed us reviewing these mediocre offerings as you are probably reading the fact that I have nothing to say about them other than the errors etc. Stick with the reviews though, there has been much, much better reading going one.

As far as this books is concerned, it was lucky to make 2 stars and not be consigned to the DNF pile out of sheer lack of production values, interest or writing skills.

By this point in the exercise I am so fed up that I don't think I can be bothered to list the actual errors and bug/bears, but just to be thorough I will force myself.

Location 22410: '...got a handful of jelly as she snatched him to his feet...' - jam in the UK, and probably historically known preserve.

Location 22600: '...sidewalks' - nope.

Location 22958: 'bourbon' - Brandy or Whisky.

Location 23209: '...Chatsworth' - the country seat of the Dukes of Devonshire, if you are going to name an estate, don't use one that is so obviously not connected with the characters.

Location 24454: '...don't mind fixing two horses for us?' - are they broken?

Location 24913: 'She bumped his shoulder, and the connection forced her to backed up'.

Location 24918: '...cream-coloured pants'. - Have a little look at the Two Nerdy Histrory Girls blog for some pointers on historical dress(both American writers and both knowledgeable - they are most definitely not 'pants'.

Location 25543: 'A cool breeze tease Kristen's lose strands of hair...' - teased and lose is past participle of lost, so that would be loose.

Location 25983: 'Trevor's mouth moved in such an mesmerizing way...' - a mesmerizing way.





Having considered all the books in the set, I would think that a three star rating overall would be appropriate, but only just if I still had the possibility of half stars it would have been 2.5.

Do I wholeheartedly recommend it?  No, not unless you are into poorly written and produced historical romances without the feel of decent research or effort.

Happy reading.

Kay xoxox










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Friday, 8 July 2016

#499 ~ My Highland Lord

My Highland Lord (Highland Lords)

My Highland Lord by Tarah Scott

My rating: 2 of 5 stars






Book three in the 'Gentlemen Always Play Fair' Box Set Compilation.




Peppered with errors, showing fairly low production values.

Quite frankly boring, and at points in danger of getting 'DNF'. Rather than better the books in the set seem to be getting worse. So far I can find no merit, and I really wish I could. Still, literature is subjective and it is impossible to please everybody, sometimes that undefinable spark is missing.

Rating for this book 2 stars, and as mentioned in previous posts, I will given an overall rating for the whole box set.


Third book in the 'Gentleman Always Play Fair Box Set (from location 10575 to 16316)


Location 10835: '... his waistband at it his back...'

Location 11171: '...she could taste the saddle soap he had washed with that morning'.  Saddle soap is something for cleaning tack, not for a Gentleman to wash with.


Location 11306:  '... this was just the sort of information she was obliged to investigation.'


Location 15023: 'She jammed her forced between her breasts pressed and his chest.' ?


Location 15467:  'Her dear husband was holded up in a brothel.' - huh?


Location 15570:  'A soft moan emanate from her throat.' - emanated.


Location 16043: '... maximum amount damage.' - amount of.



Location 16083: '...where she and Kiernan were staying were staying she'd ...'



As mentioned before, for this box set I will rate each book and then give an overall rating for the whole set.


Happy reading.


Kay 




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Thursday, 7 July 2016

#498 ~ My Lady, The Spy



My Lady, The Spy (Brethren of the Coast, #2)

My Lady, The Spy by Barbara Devlin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars






Fourth book in the 'Gentleman Always Play Fair' Box Set (location 16322 to 21971), although as mentioned before I will be doing separate reviews and rating, and then at the end give the whole box set a rating based on sum of its parts.

The other two books so far in the box set scored three stars overall, which was judged on the usual, plot, pace, characterisation and also errors and highlights (sadly no highlights for either of them, or this one).

I have struggled how many stars overall to give this one based on the same criteria, given that there were not many errors it came out nearer a 3 star than 2, and thus I think I will generously go with the 3 stars. There wasn't too much else to say about it I'm afraid, it was not good, but neither was it truly terrible. Simply it suffered from the usual malaise of American grammar and a feeling of not enough true research to engender a truly authentic historical novel for that period. I am, however, quite hard to please, and others may love it and not be so bogged down with detail. It seems the more I study the subject of Creative Writing, the harder it is to please me.


Errors/Bug Bears/Highlights:

No highlights, and as you can see above general moaning about a feel of authenticity, i.e. 'entryway' (location 16796) and 'sidewalks' (location 17040).

Errors:

Location 16537:  'kept the miniature next to his.' - missing bit?

Location 17632: 'Just when things were getting interesting, she was relegated to the position of hall monitor.' - I rest much case about authenticity of language or phrase for historical novels, especially ones centred around England.

Location 17903: 'Well, that is just swell dandy fine.' - see comment above and insert derisive snort.

Location 20437: 'rested a shoulder on the sidewall ...' - oh dear, oh dear, oh dear what would be wrong with just 'leant against the wall wit a furrowed brow'?

As mentioned in the previous posts, I will rate each book separately and then given an overall rating to the box set at the end.


Happy reading.

Kay xoxox









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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

#497 ~ Highlander in Her Bed

Highlander In Her Bed (Highlander, #1)

Highlander In Her Bed by Allie Mackay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars









The second book in the Kindle Unlimited Box Set 'Gentleman Always Play Fair' (locations in the box set are 4414 to 10567).

The story started quite well with an attempt at humour, but failed to add up to anything substantial.  It simply did not gel I am afraid, in fact I would go so far as to say that the pace of the plot was on the slow side.

Unfortunately gaining no more stars that its already reviewed counterpart (for the same reasons) and also a few errors. I looked hard, but could not come up with any highlights.



Errors/Bug Bears and no highlights:

Location 4759: 'dash the flew blocks.'  ARGGGH blocks, we do not have 'blocks' and it is most definitely not correct in novel about England - lack of bloody research.  This is one step down from 'gotten'.

Location 9649: 'done by a highly talent artist.' - talented.

As mentioned in my previous post, I will rate each book and then give an overall rating at the end.

Happy reading.

Hugs

Kay 
xoxo

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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

#496 ~ My Lord Wicked

My Lord Wicked

My Lord Wicked by Cheryl Bolen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars










Purchased as Kindle Unlimited as a Box Set Compilation: 'Gentlemen Always Play Fair'. In the box set it is location to 4404.

This is the first in that set, and I am hoping that the remainder of them will be more interesting and less predictable and Americanised attempt an an historical romantic novel - granted, it's not the worst one I've read, but it was far from the best either.

There were several errors, and the usual lack of conjunctions, I knocked off a star from its ultimate rating beause of this.

As usual, the errors/bug bears, and in this case no highlights are:-

Location 1428:  'I have come to gt your permission have Bay Lady saddled'

Location 2212: 'She slid her feet to the steps and count.' 

Location 2954:  ' ... to lep from he sofa and trot over to the window, where he leaped upon it sill.'

Location 2998: '... Morton while his brother played at host.'

Location 3102:  '... him being the head of the family and all.' [insert snot of derision here!]

Location 3571:  '... he wrote him.' [insert further snort]

Location 3733: '... and gladly took the drank he offered.'

Location 4034: 'Never had he sullied the memory of the lovely blond with the dancing the blue eyes.'


I will do a separate review for the other books in the box set.  Each will get a star rating, and then at the end I will also rate the entire box set.

Happy reading.

Kay


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