The Daughter of Victory Lights – Kerri Turner

Welcome back everyone, this review is a week behind schedule since I never go around to writing this review let alone scheduling it last week!

I was a little confused initially trying to remember what period I was reading at the time. I mean, you started in the 50s, went back to the 40s, then jumped around a little (always moving forwards in time) before making a massive jump to the 60s in Part 2.

This jumping around didn’t make sense to me until well into Part 2, roughly 3/4 of the way through the book. The first part of the book follows Evenlyn Bell, while the second part followed her daughter. Which explains where there was such a jump in time from the end of Part 1 and the start of Part 2.

Although I found that Part 2 was very anti-climatic and let the book down compared to Part 1. You must wait until the end of the book to find out why her daughter was raised away from her. What happened and why her father is so odd. None of it made sense and I almost lost interest in the book because of it.

I did push through. And I kind of wish I hadn’t. Although the writing and the story were good the ending just sucked. It could have been so much better but it just…ended! Nothing to it! Just blah.

I still rated it 4 starts because the writing was well done, and the overall story was good. I just didn’t enjoy some of the execution. It wasn’t to my tastes but I can see how some would enjoy it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce.

+1

Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley – Kelly Miller

Welcome back everyone, I’m continuing this week with another regency novel. This one is less of a romance than the Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquis and more of a reflection on what’s important in life.

At the beginning of the book Kelly gives a brief introduction to the language she’s chosen to use for the book, great idea! By setting me up with the expectation that the language is going to be different to what I’m used to hearing every day I wasn’t shocked and the transition to comfortably reading it wasn’t too long.

Based on my limited knowledge of the original Pride and Prejudice, which this is meant to be a continuation of, I’m assuming the choice of language was deliberate to ensure it remained as true to the original story as possible.

Given the blurb I was expecting Darcy to have a kind of three ghosts of Christmas experience. Yet Kelly surprised me by having the angel of death be surprisingly human and compassionate. By bringing more characters than just Darcy and Elizabeth into the fold Kelly was able to weave a story that reminded me of so many life lessons. The type that most people can only learn through experience.

By incorporating a raft of characters into this story Kelly was able to include more life lessons and considerations than would’ve been possible with just Darcy and Elizabeth. It felt so well done without being over the top that it really worked.

The key themes I felt expressed throughout were those of love, acceptance, forgiveness, thinking before acting and their impacts on others when either displayed, or not displayed. The little twist at the end was such a sweet touch that left me feeling really happy with how everything was left.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Cake Fairies by Isabella May. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Historical fiction author Kelly Miller discovered writing late in life, but it has quickly become a favorite pastime. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she may be found playing the piano, singing, reading, or walking. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.

0

A Conversation with a Cat – Stephen Spotte

Welcome back everyone, I hope you’ve been enjoying all the posts that have been coming out recently. Today’s review is another one from BookGlow, and I feel like I started off strong with the Autobiography of Satan and I’ve reached a point where I really struggled.

I went into this book thinking I’d be reading about some fantasy style version of the world where we can talk to cats. So, I was quite disappointed when it turns out that you just have to be high and drunk.

We started off the story hearing about how the main guy went
fishing and ended up needing to get his gall bladder removed once he got home.
And how from that he was high on pain killers and spent quite a bit of time
drinking. Until he was outside one night and his cat suddenly starts talking to
him.

Then the next challenge I faced while reading this was that
I didn’t find the story engaging. The style of the writing was bad enough for
me. But then the fact that there were very few paragraph breaks and there were
only 8 chapters meant I didn’t have any natural spots to stop.

And what made it even worse for me was the fact that there
were multiple times where one sentence spanned 1-2 pages. How does this even
happen?!

I will allow that I had my Kindle zoomed in slightly, so I
didn’t have to wear my glasses while I read. But I didn’t have it zoomed in
THAT much! I even showed a friend who agreed the sentences were way too long.

And then at the end of the story, after spending pretty much
the whole book focussed on Cleopatra, we all of a sudden are finding out about
the cat’s life before he was adopted by the guy he’s been talking to.

As much as I wanted to oy this, because the idea sounded really cool, I really felt there is a lot of improvements that need to be made. Firstly, by having an editor go through it thoroughly. Those sentences, paragraphs and chapters need to be shorter. Hopefully that will help create some natural breaks and give it the improvements it deserves.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Saturday I will be reviewing The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke.

0

Miao-Shan: The Awakening – Gary Morris

Welcome back everyone, this weeks book is another author request. This time from an author who only has one other published book, so you might not have heard of him.

But if you haven’t, you should give him a go because this is a book unlike any I’ve ever read before. It’s based in Hong Kong and includes a fair bit about the Chinese culture and history which is fairly new to me.

Story overview

The story begins at the end of the 19th Century in Hong Kong with a small and happy family. Only to have the parents murdered in the first chapter and a rampant display of racism between the local Chinese people and the “Gweilo”, or English, people.

Typically both races believe the other to be savages purely because they do things differently. Of course, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is the main theme of the book. However, it’s not the key theme so I’m going to leave that there.

Lei’s need for revenge against the Triads as the long survivor of her family is what we learn to be, the key theme of the story. As such, she learn’s Kung Fu to become calmer and to learn empathy.

However, her thirst to hurt “bad people” means she never quite reaches that goal. Instead, she ends up accepting her fate and became an almost merciless killer in her quest for vengeance.


My thoughts

Throughout the story Lei chooses to fight back against those that want to oppress others. And this, I believe, is something many people don’t have the courage, and or, the skills to do. So good on her for standing up for what she believes in!

However, the examples we see of Lei’s excessive force does scare me a little. But only because that lack of compassion or regard for human life is what typically forms the basis for a sociopath’s personality.

And typically speaking sociopaths can’t change who they are or how they react to things. They can learn to mimic emotions, but they can’t feel them the same way most people can. So how can Lei truly learn and display compassion if she’s unable to truly feel it?

Surprisingly enough, she does find the ability to be compassionate. And the time she finds this ability is what truly surprises me. It’s at this moment that we really get to explore the difference between revenge, and justice. Can she live with the knowledge that she caused destruction and the loss of hundreds of lives.

That’s a lot for anyone to bear, let alone someone who’s only about 18-20 years old. I can’t imagine the guilt gnawing at her conscious and how difficult it would be to get to sleep each night knowing that she cut those lives short.

So knowing that she had to live with that for eternity I can sympathise with her need to leave China and be somewhere else. Somewhere different where she can come to terms with everything she’s done.

Gary has told me since reading Miao-Shan that there is a second book for me to look forward to. And I will, because I want to know what she does next!


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. On Friday I will be reviewing Second Chance at the Ranch by Maxine Morrey.

Yes you read that right! This Friday! I look forward to seeing you again then. But don’t forget to read a little bit about this week’s author Gary Morris below.

Author info

Gary Morris

For most of my working life, I was in the collectables field. First dealing in stamps and then in antiques. I have always had a love for Asian art and history. Particularly Chinese and Japanese. I have also directed and produced a computer game.

I started writing fiction professionally in 2010, during which time I wrote two complete novels, of which Miao-Shan is the second one. At the end of 2010, I returned to the property industry, without having acquired an agent. For the next six years, I wrote part-time.

I currently have two other books completed (one an unusual spy thriller, and the other a time-travelling paranormal fantasy), but neither is ready for publication yet.

          

+1