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A Queen’s Spy

This is a case of mismatched expectations. What I expected form this was plenty of interesting conversations and finding out and also spying.

Here, I don’t even know where is the spying. All the characters are boring, and it was set in a time where Elizabeth did need a spy most. But I wanted more than this, it wasn’t to my expectations. It was not to my thoughts, and not to what I really wanted from this book.

And even more so, was that I really couldn’t click with any of the characters at all. Not even one of them made me interested in them. And really, I didn’t find where the plot was focusing about.

It was just all around the death of Edward VI, Mary. I did expect a lot more interaction than that, and a lot more of the Tudor Court than that. To my surprise, this didn’t really give me any of that. Some intrigue here and that, but it just wasn’t what I really wanted.

It just wasn’t what I wanted from this book, and that I couldn’t really click nor enjoy the story. This just wasn’t what I thought it would be. So, to me, it’s really just not to my taste and expectations.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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House Of Shadows

A book with two intertwining stories and also for once managing to connect all the dots together nicely.

This story has three periods where it is set in. Firstly, the 17th century for Elizabeth’s story. The the early 19th century for Lavinia’s and present time for Holly’s. One important thing to note, this story connects everything and also everything about a curse very nicely and managing to tell a full story, one that comes full circle and goes through so much torment and tragedy. Centered around a pearl and a mirror, everything is set into motion from the moment Elizabeth was born and the jewel bequeathed to her.

I find Holly rather okay, her character easy to read through. Although I was much more intrigued by the mystery than the love romances, and I greatly enjoyed the ones that ended in tragedy. But not between Holly and Mark, just didn’t feel like it. I guess I’m a little weird for liking romances that didn’t end well, but it was just so much more exciting. Elizabeth choosing to marry someone when she wanted to, and Lavinia falling in love with the one decent guy there was.

They to me, were the strong women of this. Holly just lacked something to make me really like her.

Especially when Elizabeth towards the end, found out about what her husband did. And also, what Lavinia did and eventually do when she left Ashdown Park. I like them for their strength and the fact that they are sensible enough to keep things secret yet at the same time when things change, aren’t afraid to pursue their hearts desire.

But the author did a fantastic job intertwining these three stories to tell a tale, about a curse and love. And well, managing to make me become incredibly invested in it too was difficult. Especially when Holly was reading about the past and Lavinia, I never liked another character more in this book.

Overall, I really like this book for what its tale and stories which all comes full circle and delivering a satisfying mystery if you ask me. Check it out if you want a good mystery, with quite a bit of poignant endings for the historical figures.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Blood Memory Society

The one thing I do really like is how it blends science and explains it in a way that I can understand. If it was solely about fertility and all the dry science, I would have slept. But most of the explanations are understandable, simple and easy to digest in a way. That is the best part of the book really.

Although William was a good character who gets dragged into this mess of the Blood Memory Society, always with reveals that is linked to the Blood Memory Society. However, I didn’t relate with him, whenever I read through his viewpoint it just didn’t grab me. A good narrator with his clarity and having a good story to tell, there just was something that lacked here. It just didn’t click with me.

Same for the other characters. I didn’t think Victoria was developed enough, or even quirky enough since she probably has the longest memory in the world. And there just wasn’t enough development on her, since she probably would have a lot more problems and some issues from remembering too much. And also, what about past feuds.

It took an interesting concept, made it possible through DNA, but I feel that there wasn’t really an exploration of the impact that it would leave on the human mind and the characters wasn’t really all that unique, how should I say it, Victoria was a little on the normal side, yet she doesn’t really complain of anything that it does. She is rather laid back, but that’s all I really remembered about her.

The rest of the characters didn’t really became memorable to me, and well I guess I forgot them roughly apart from a guy named Tiny, and really the main characters and also Dr B. Nothing else really stood out to me.

Overall, I like the concept the explanation(thankfully it didn’t make my head hurt), but the characters felt flat to me, and while I guess it’s what killed this book for me, I just couldn’t connect and since I’m a character oriented reader, I also cannot really get into the story either.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Dark Enchantress 

I really strangely enjoy this book, it was a hell lot of fun. And one filled with adventures and one where there was a subversion of certain tropes. Which I expect of comic fantasy, which I consider this book to be under.

The way that the Dark Enchantress is very sympathetic, even if she is quite bratty and selfish. I liked her portrayal the way that she has her own reasons why she ended up becoming a villain and is called one. She isn’t someone who knows how to connect to people, and to many she is simply too weird to even bother. I consider her rather misunderstood, but still in need of a lot of development. As for the ending sequence when she meets Arwin again, now that is what I would expect.

Arwin is very relatable, the way that he has a lot weaknesses. The way that he is simply too good for the real world, the modern world where it is it so happens he met the worst of the lot. I mean, his girlfriend decided that breaking up with him by ‘accidentally’ meeting was the best way to go about it. It is even worse than breaking up through a text. And his best friend who left him just because he wanted better prospects.

I really like how the author pushes Arwin to face this problems, and eventually at the end is a mature person. I liked how he dealt with the Dark Enchantress, now that is how you handle a villain. The Dark Enchantress needed a wake up call anyway.

The wiring here is pretty good, even if at times the humor didn’t really get to me anymore. I didn’t laugh, but nonetheless it is worth the read. The subversion, the way the villain was written with redeemable qualities and flaws, all the while showing Arwin’s own journey into slowly finding himself. I enjoyed every bit of it. And I feel as though fantasy which takes common tropes and makes a joke out of them, often comes out being a rather nice kind of fantasy that I like. A fun, silly adventure indeed.

Do I recommend this, yes I do. It is something that would make you forget about high stakes or the end of the world, which is common in fantasy. Instead, it is something that starts out small, and develops the main character well enough that you can feel for him. And this is why I like it.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Duke Of Treason 

I found myself barely able to connect with almost any of the characters at all, there was barely any reason why I kept on reading except that I was expected to since I got a free copy of this.

The romance and characters were flat, and they became a bane to read. As it went to romance pretty fast, even though Annabel is a sort of spy or secret agent meant to search for his traitorous activities. Although I do know that Annabel wasn’t born into this, and the way she chose it was sensible. As for Romulus, the man she was supposed to check, I really couldn’t feel their chemistry together. Or even think they were a fit. But they are quite alike in some ways, and can work. Just that I don’t feel it.

However, she never really clicked with me much. It was just hard for me to get into, and really hard for me to relate. The entire problem lay there. Although the writing was good, I couldn’t really care much about the characters. And the plot was straightforward and the ending one that is happy. Like any typical historical fiction.

This just wasn’t for me, I couldn’t find myself loving it or anything. And that was the one thing that failed me in this book. I won’t say much more than this, but overall I do say still check it out. It just wasn’t my taste.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Nevernight 

When the writing is filled to the brim with purple prose, a reader like me has no time to try and infer whatever under it. Writers are supposed to make their intentions clear using as little words as possible not drown it with adjectives to the point it feels as though I trying analyze everything. And the whole substance apart from the pretty writing is completely lacking in substance. 

Mia’s intentions are clear, but they are often boggled with such descriptions that it makes it so hard for me to even link to her. So hard for me to even connect with her. Those passages felt unreal, I wasn’t reading through her, I was reading about her. All of it was described by using descriptions that didn’t warrant so much adjectives being thrown, so much vagueness that it was so hard just to know. That it made me lose the entire reason why I wanted to read this in the first place. 

I wasn’t reading a book, I was trying to understand literary jargon. All of it crammed, without anywhere where I could just be mindless. I want to be to easily read this book, not wading through a thick set of purple prose and still having to infer what was under it. This was the reason why I couldn’t be bothered, not every reader has the patience of a saint to be reading through this, and seeing it with a fine comb. 

The characters in general all lost any chance for me to connect with them through the writing. It just wasn’t my style. It was too long to get the meaning across, I like books uses way less words to get the meaning through. Not find ways to go around it, do so long that I probably missed out on a lot of details and I didn’t care. The writing, was a bore and a pain to read through for me. 

I am not one of those, and I would not reread unless I loved that book to death. And here I am telling you, if you want to read this, read it when you have nothing better to do. Not when you have a slushpile to get through. And I simply don’t have that kind of patience to dedicate myself to be reading this piece of literary masterpiece. 

So, check it out if you feel like wanting something written that is thick. That is heavy. And don’t mind sex scenes right in the middle of it. And also, if you have the patience of a saint. To those that managed to finish this without skimming, I salute you. 

Rating: 1 out of 5

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Ravensong

 

Name: Raven Song

Series: Inoki’s Game (Book 1)

Paperback: 290 pages

Published Date: March 14, 2016

Publisher: Lucid Dreams Publishing

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1944674004

ISBN-13: 978-1944674007

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29521339-raven-song

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Raven-Song-Dystopian-Fantasy-Inokis/dp/1944674004/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raven-song-i-a-ashcroft/1123510684

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/raven-song

 

Book Blurb:

A century ago, the world burned. Even now, though rebuilt and defiant, civilization is still choking on the ashes.

 

Jackson, a smuggler, lives in the shadows, once a boy with no memory, no name, and no future. Ravens followed him, long-extinct birds only he could see, and nightmares flew in their wake. Once, Jackson thought himself to be one of the lucky few touched by magic, a candidate for the Order of Mages. He is a man now, and that dream has died. But, the ravens still follow. The nightmares still whisper in his ear.

 

Anna’s life was under the sun, her future bright, her scientific work promising. She knew nothing of The Bombings, the poisoned world, or the occult. One day, she went to work, and the next, she awoke in a box over a hundred years in the future, screaming, fighting to breathe, and looking up into the eyes of a smuggler. Anna fears she’s gone crazy, unable to fill the massive hole in her memories, and terrified of the strange abilities she now possesses.

 

The Coalition government has turned its watchful eyes towards them. The secret factions of the city move to collect them first. And, old gods stir in the darkness, shifting their pawns on the playing field.

 

If Anna and Jackson wish to stay free, they must learn what they are and why they exist.

 

Unfortunately, even if they do, it may be too late.

 

Raven Song is the first of a four book adult-oriented dystopian fantasy series, a story of intrigue, love, violence, and the old spirits in the shadows who wait for us to notice them again. Readers of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Charlie Human will enjoy this dark magic-laced tale rooted on the bones of what our world could become.

 

Author Bio:

​I. A. Ashcroft has been writing fiction in many forms for almost twenty years. The author’s first book, written at age seven, featured the family cat hunting an evil sorceress alongside dragons and eagles. This preoccupation with the fantastical has not changed in the slightest.

 

Now, the author dwells in Phoenix, AZ alongside a wonderful tale-spinner and two increasingly deranged cats. Ashcroft writes almost exclusively in the realm of darker fantasy these days, loving to entertain adults with stories of magic, wonder, despair, violence, and hope, bringing a deep love of mythology into every tale penned. The author also loves diverse and intriguing casts of characters.

 

When not buried in a book, one might find Ashcroft learning languages, charting road trips, and playing tabletop RPGs with clever and fun people.

Contact the Author:

Website: http://www.ia-ashcroft.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/i.a.ashcroft

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ia_ashcroft

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15077746.I_A_Ashcroft

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/I.-A.-Ashcroft/e/B01CTY42S0/

Review:

I did find this okay. Anna and Jackson are both distinct, with their narration being relatable. But for me, it just didn’t work. It just didn’t cut. It didn’t feel like it to me. I simply could not immerse myself in the story, reading it and relating to them was the best I could do. 

As for the world, the future is rather well thought out. Facing radiation, nuclear exposure. It’s true that we would face the problem eventually, but I could have liked a little more development and exploration of this. And making feel more like that world, I didn’t feel that it was really any different. Even though over a hundred years in the future likely would change everything.

But I just couldn’t feel with them, I didn’t find myself supporting them. It felt as though nothing was happening. Anna and Jackson have a lot more development, yet their interactions was so few and their relationship went to being very friendly really quick. I just couldn’t buy it, and that is a flaw of the book I feel about.

The plot was also quite a letdown, there was so many ways this could have gone. Whether Anna is someone that lives forever, or whether Anna is extremely wanted because of her abilities. I could see why, she could prevent radiation. Yet, I just didn’t feel that danger here. There wasn’t any tension really driving me, and I really couldn’t feel the emotion of the characters. It just went over me.

I would say that this is a case of it’s not you, it’s me since it is a very good book. But it just didn’t connect with me, and I couldn’t really enjoy it. But I still recommend you to check it out, and it does have good character development but to me, needs a lot on the plot, the characters interaction.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5