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sensitivemuse

sensitivemuse

Book blogger, chef, gamer, avid reader, hockey fanatic. Potential book hoarder and cat lady.

Beautiful Writing

22 Britannia Road - Amanda Hodgkinson

I enjoyed reading this one. I rather liked the story, even though it’s dark and moody. The setting and the theme was well done and although Silvana and Janusz are supposed to be together, you can feel the detachment between the two of them because of the war. It changes everything and when they do get together, the love just isn’t there. You’d have to wonder if it was lust at first sight instead of love.

 

You don’t quite connect with the characters here. Again, it feels like detachment is the main theme of this story. The characters themselves don’t quite connect with each other either. So I can see why this book might not be for everyone. Nevertheless, despite this, I liked how it was written and the mood overall was very well done.

 

There is a little twist in the plot. It’s not mind numbing or shocking, but it sort of livens up the story a bit and it was an unexpected twist for me. I’d have to say Silvana’s story while she was trying to survive was a good one. She endured a lot and while reading her side of the story it’s filled with how people would just take advantage of one another during these times (or in any time during a war). It’s just a matter of survival and how humanity would take drastic steps to do so even if it means stepping over particular boundaries that one wouldn’t normally do in other circumstances.


Historical fiction readers may like this book for its’ beautiful writing. I thought it was worth the read. It may not be for everyone, but it’s worth a read through.

Needs more action!

Until I Die - Amy Plum

I absolutely loved the first one. I loved Vincent so much and he instantly became a book crush. Both he and Kate made a great couple, and although they had the chemistry going on, their relationship sort of went in the way of the overall plot.

 

The plot had great potential and it was just as exciting as the first book. I loved the idea of the Revenants, and Kate managed to develop into a stronger character (remember the middle finger incident? haha!). My favorite characters still are Jules and Vincent. Their personalities are likable and I’m glad they haven’t changed a bit.

 

Although the book was a good one, there were quite a full lulls throughout the story, and as mentioned before, Kate and Vincent’s romance marred it. Don’t get me wrong, I love them both together, they had wonderful chemistry and a great romance, but I don’t want to read their sappy one liners, and how much they love being in each other’s company. I want the plot to keep going, I want to see the action, I want to see what next suspenseful thing is coming next. But I’m stuck reading on love and kissing scenes. Not quite what I had in mind. On top of that, the action really happens in the last 50 pages. So it felt as if time was wasted.


So, it’s worth a read because it’s the second in the series, but I’m hoping the third will be better. A little less on the sappy romance, more action on more Revenants please!

Great characters, story comes a bit short

Embers of Love (Striking a Match, Book 1) - Tracie Peterson

I enjoyed this book somewhat. Deborah was enjoyable to read as a character, she’s very strong willed and knew exactly what she wanted from life. Especially during this particular time period where she had an interest in medicine and science, it would have been hard for a woman during that time to pursue these types of interests. Her strong and likable personality was what made the book a nice read.

 

So! why did I say I enjoyed this book ‘somewhat’? a few things. The pace of the plot was a bit too slow for my tastes. The characters are great and all, but if the plot is going nowhere, or it’s going at a snail’s pace well, there’s only so much the characters can do to capture and maintain your attention.

 

Then come the ‘convenient’ bits. Not going to go into much detail here to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say some people just pop up magically, while others just disappear and you’re wondering where the heck they went to. It seems like a cop out, and it’s like these characters can’t have anything wrong happen with them, and if it does, it’ll be swept under the rug conveniently. This gets tiresome and it makes the story dull and predictable possibly warding off potential readers.


I haven’t read the second or third yet, but I don’t think I’ll rush to go ahead and do so. If I find the second one, I’ll take it, otherwise I’ll take my time. Take it or leave it on this one.

Absolutely loved this book

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) - Laini Taylor

Oh my. It’s been a while since I’ve read an excellent book. Then you pick up a giant tome like this one and it just sweeps you off your feet. I fell in love with this book in the first few 50 pages. It had an interesting fresh look on fantasy for YA without your standard monsters (ie: dragons - not that there’s anything wrong with dragons, but we’ve all seen and read about them dozens of times).

 

The idea of the chimeras and the seraphim with a Romeo and Juliet twist is what I found the most appealing in this book. Now it may not be entirely different when it comes to the starcrossed lovers theme, but putting that theme with something different and fantastical is always a good thing and refreshing to see. Also, I loved the setting. Not many that take place in Europe, so that also makes the book all the more worth reading.

 

The characters are all memorable. Loved all the chimeras they each had their own personality and you couldn’t help but love them all. Zuzana made the perfect sidekick with Karou, I loved her and how much she supported Karou through it all. Thiago is horribly slimy and makes your skin crawl. The plot goes back and forth between what’s happening now, and in a different fantastical world, but it’s weaved together and it’s so well done you don’t notice any hitches. It’s a beautiful plot, and although the size might intimidate some, don’t be. You’ll be surprised at how fast you fly with this book because the plot is so engaging and will draw you in.


Definitely recommended. It’s something different, and the cliffhanger ending will make you scream.

Read for the Action..and that's it.

Hybrids - Whitley Strieber

I loved the book for the action. The utter chaos and graphic depictions in the book are rather hard to swallow at times so it might not be for the feint of heart.  It’s a typical story plot where you have elements of aliens and the government going hand in hand. So, don’t expect anything new or different. I’d have to say there’s two memorable moments that got to me in this book: San Francisco gone absolute amok, and the part with the hybrids and that village. The latter creeped me out. I’d have to give the author major props for writing descriptive settings that make the hair on the back of your neck rise.

 

Besides the action, well, writing wise it doesn’t do much, and sometimes when you think you’re on a roll to something in the plot, it stops abruptly and the rhythm of the book is all gone. It may not make a difference to some, but it makes the reading haphazard and uneven.

 

Characters in the story aren’t that much to be fully attached to, and really they’re just there for the plot. The little romance going on between the two main characters was a bit leaning towards the cheesy side, the book could have done without that.


Don’t expect too much from this book. To me, it was just a decent quick read (sort of like the Hollywood movies you watch just for the special effects, not for the storyline) the creepy factor makes it a good read otherwise, you could give it a pass if it’s not your thing.

Characters made this happen

For Such a Time - Kate Breslin

I normally don’t read these types of books. Everything about this just sounds so….let’s say cliched. Either I was going to cry over the complete uber cheesiness of this book and power through it or I might just actually enjoy it.

 

Nevermind that the author took various liberties with the historical aspect of the book and changed a couple of things herself. This sort of thing would have gotten my knickers in a knot and I would have been pulling my hair out in sheer anger at how someone could just do such a drastic thing especially with this type of historical subject. She does write a good author’s note at the end so I can forgive…..

 

I also shrugged off the fact that it got a little semi preachy towards the end of the book, (I had to remind myself this was an inspirational novel - however I’m not that fond of the preachy tones) not to mention the romance during the last third of the book got my stomach a little queasy as I’m just not that used to this.

 

I shrugged off the biggest thing that made me irksome in this book and that was the name Aric and I wondering how the heck is that a suitable name (what the heck was wrong with Erich???  which is a much more realistic sounding and perfect name for that era….if there was more research done in this particular era in history you’ll find DOZENS of soldiers named ERICH (including a famous general) so why does he need to be named something different??? is he a child of Hollywood??????)

 

I overlooked all those three things that normally in any other book I’d have thrown to the wall and never touch again. Why?

 

Because I absolutely loved Aric and Hadassah.

 

The tense moments, the moments where they’re oh so close yet they come apart, or that one dramatic moment where everything actually DID, it just all was an emotional ride. However because their chemistry was so good,  I couldn’t help but love them both together. They were so good together you wanted them to hit it off right away. They’re both almost made for each other and one just can’t help but be totally caught up with them through the entire book.

 

So I said this was an emotional ride. Yes...aside from the very sensitive subject matter, you can’t help but absolutely hate the antagonists in the book with such a rabid rage you feel like going into the book and gave them the haymaker of your life, or skewer them like sausages (hahah a reference to Hadassah’s Herr Sausage haahhaha!) however if the author’s intention was to instill these kinds of emotions from the reader with these kinds of characters; then consider the job very well done.

 

As to the plot; again if you’re a historical nitpick this might hurt. However, detailed setting descriptions and the overall mood of the story does fit well. The story itself is alright if one can forgive the historical inaccuracies and the attempts to make it fit into the plot, all the action seems to have been crammed into the final third of the novel which does give it a feeling of being rushed, but nevertheless the reading is good. It’s really the characters that carry the novel.

 

The ending, made me weep (whether happy or sad tears, I am not going to say. It would be considered a spoiler) :)


Would I recommend this? yes, if you want to read a pair of characters that just hit it off from almost page one. No, if you’re bothered by the preachy undertones, the historical warping, and the somewhat nauseous romance that develops later…

Not What I Thought

In the Shadow of the Lamp - Susanne Dunlap

The historical detail in this book is pretty well done. It’s on a historical subject (Crimean War) that is not really covered by a lot of YA out on shelves. So, to choose a subject like Florence Nightingale, the Crimean War,and nursing is an interesting one. So right then the plot was bound to be interesting for any historical YA reader out there.

 

I myself was a little disappointed. Although I like the historical detail, the book is really just a love story. It did focus a lot on the romance elements and less on Molly and her nursing job which was unfortunate. I don’t have much knowledge about this particular aspect on history and a little more information would have been better than just reading the romance story, nevertheless the romance was all right and readable, but to some historical fiction fanatics this might not be something they want to delve into.

 

I for one, could not really sympathize with Emma, and I actually figured out just by being introduced to her character what was going to happen to her. It just seems to be common that there’s going to be that one stupid character to cause a great upheaval (whether good or bad) in the main character’s storyline. Argh. Someone surprise me with a scenario where the main character slaps the stupid one upside the head and leaves her to her own fate. I’d love to read something like that. What’s even more aggravating? Will just happened to be a character to be conveniently there. Oh goodness. Can I roll my eyes now?

 

This wasn’t really what I was looking for.  I was hoping more historical fiction. Less romance. Not really recommended unless romance is more your style.

 

Great story, great characters, overall a worthwhile read

Dominion - C. J. Sansom

It’s been a while since I’ve read a real good alternate history book. This one really got me turning the pages and got me wanting to stay up late to finish it (despite it being about the size of a tome).

 

So the book is mostly told in three different character narratives. David, Frank, or Sarah. The three characters have issues of their own, (David and Sarah sharing a personal tragedy) each of them having their own way of developing their character throughout the story. Suffice to say, all three of them are stronger than how they started off in the book. Frank, I would have to say, ends up being the strongest one of them all. Of the three I’d have to say it’s a close tie between Sarah and Frank as my favorite. Frank especially, after all that he goes through and with a superb background story. I liked Sarah a lot because although she was going through so many marital issues with David, she got it all together in the end and was able to face the danger and she managed to save face and stand head to head to Natalia (whom I found rather odious and extremely unlikable). Good for Sarah, on top of that instead of breaking down like a poor sod with her marriage issues she met them straight on and told David exactly how she felt. Sarah darling, I’m holding a torch for you.

 

David would be my least favorite character - but a step above Syme and Natalia (oh goodness, yes I put Syme and Natalia in the same boat here). He was okay until this thing with Natalia come up and he suddenly became a likeable very helpful and loyal character to a lovesick poor twit who behaved like a dumb cow. Get over it buddy. You have much more IMPORTANT things to do but noooooooo you got the one track mind going on here (the scene with saying goodbye on the boat just about had me wanting to push David off of it. Seriously!?! your wife is looking at you and while she’s surviving on her own without any help from you, you’re too busy looking for Natalia arrghhh!!! You don’t deserve Sarah!!!!!!)

 

The plot overall was excellent and well written. It gives a good alternate history of a ‘what if’ scenario and does it well. It nice both sides (German and Resistance) are portrayed here. I sort of felt sorry for Gunther, but on the other hand I didn’t because he was your typical Nazi with those silly political views which induces eye rolling throughout certain parts of the book but you can also feel a sort of weariness in him as if he’s really tired of it all.


The author’s note in the back provides good insight and information that deserves a walk through. Overall I was very pleased and happy with the book and am glad I had the opportunity to read and review it. Greatly recommended and I’m definitely going to check out C J Sansom’s other works.

Disappointed

Sweetly - Jackson Pearce

The story was good at first. The mystery aspect of the story and the scary moments were well done and gave me the heebie jeebies.  I was sort of hoping for a sequel to Sisters Red but knew this wasn’t the case as I read the summary before so I was mildly disappointed. Although it’s nice to see fairy tale retellings.

 

What’s guaranteed is your sweet tooth will start to crave the various delicious sweets and desserts listed all throughout the book. You’ll want to raid a sweet shop after reading this book. They’re told in descriptive detail and it’s very well done.

 

Although that aspect of the writing was good, I have to say I didn’t really enjoy reading the story that much. It was slow paced and I found it quite dry in some parts. Gretchen wasn’t much to be intrigued about. Also even the romance between her and Samuel just didn’t have enough to get my attention. So the ending went out with a bang but it just wasn’t enough to make up for such a dry book.


Needless to say I was disappointed. This could have been better. Sure, I feel like grabbing a handful of candies and cupcakes and there were moments of scariness but there characters didn’t really engage me and I didn’t find this a page turner. Take it or leave it. Lovely cover though!

Snail's pace, ending makes up for it

The Vespertine - Saundra Mitchell

This was an okay book. Certainly not the best, but it had it’s moments where it did engage me as a reader. The book had some gothic overtones and the setting of the story (which was Victorian but in the USA era) was interesting - which kept my curiosity going. I really enjoyed reading about Amelia because she didn’t care what others thought of her or what society thought. She did whatever she wanted to do despite the consequences.

 

I really liked her paired up with Zora. They were like two kindred spirits and made an interesting duo to read. The other characters were also pretty good. I’m trying to figure out whether Nathaniel is some other worldly creature, or just someone with paranormal powers. I was a bit confused there (I’m sure that’s probably explained in the other two books)

 

What bugged me about this book is, it went at such a great pace, and then halfway through the book it slows to the pace of waiting for the entire carton of molasses to empty. It goes SUPER SLOW. Almost to the point where I wanted to give up the book. I’m not sure why it became this way, after being halfway in the book you’re then set back on pace and the book gets interesting in the end. In fact it’s the ending that makes up for the snail’s pace. Sort of.


Worth a read and if possible, try and work your way through the snail trail in the book. The ending makes the reading worth it. Otherwise if you don’t have the patience, you might as well pass this one by.

Beautifully written

The Soldier's Wife - Margaret Leroy

The main thing that I really enjoyed about this book was although it went at an enormously slow pace it was the detailed writing that made it really good. The story itself was also really good, despite the theme being bleak and only gets much more bleaker towards the ending. The writing throughout the book was very well done I especially liked the descriptions of the island, despite the war theme, the island was separated from all that and really seemed like a beautiful place to be.

 

The beginning of the book goes pretty slow. Well, the pace is actually pretty slow throughout, however it’s fitting because it’s like living on this island, time seems to go slow since it’s not really directly involved in the war (not so much as other countries that is). It picks up a little through the second half although not considerably.

 

The characters in the book seem to be very well done. Vivienne and Gunther together just seemed to fit well. I’d rather hoped the outcome would have been different for the both of them but their endings were very well done and realistic in accordance to the time period of the story.

 

Despite the slow pace of the book, it’s still worth a read. The bleak theme and the idyllic setting is an interesting contrast but provides a good balance between the two. It’s a well written dramatic plot that will stick with you even after you finish the book.

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Argh not what I wanted to read

The Hidden  - Jessica Verday

I loved The Hollow and The Haunted. Both stories were well written with rich detailed settings, beautiful descriptions, and the characters were also very well done. Overall those two books were excellent. So. Of course my expectations for The Hidden were high as I assumed it would be just as awesome as the first two.

 

Okay. So the romance between Abbey and Caspian was beautifully written. They were just about perfect together. They had the chemistry going and Caspian was such a sweetheart (the tuxedo moment anyone?). It was like the ideal boyfriend that just about every girl would love to have.

 

Now we get to the sticky parts. I’m not sure what was going on in the third and final book but why was there so many new elements introduced??? it just seems a bit late to be introducing these new plot hooks and characters isn’t it? why wasn’t this in at least the second book and not crammed all in the conclusion? It just seems like these new characters were created just for the sake of convenience.

 

((Warning, spoiler ahead. Stop if you haven’t read the book yet))

 

Then we come down to the part where it really gets a bit ugly. Abbey had everything going for her. EVERYTHING. Except of course choosing between the boyfriend and a life owning your own store with massive opportunities ahead. I can’t say agree with her choice. Seriously? I understand you love the guy so much and you’d do anything to be with him (literally...like dying). Is that really a wise choice? Sure Caspian’s a great guy but to throw away all that, die just to be with him? I was at a massive mind blowing standstill between the feeling of: ‘did that just really happen?’ ‘you seriously chose to die to be with your boyfriend?’ and then the feeling of: ‘I can’t believe you did this, what the...MOTHER FATHER GENTLEMAN,  did you actually do what you just did’ to slapping the book closed and cursing for a good solid few minutes non stop.

 

No I did not agree with her choice.

And this is why I’m starting to hate it when a series is about to wrap themselves up. Everything is rushed just to finish this book, slap in some strange new elements and rush everything in the last novel only to end it this way. Gee. Thanks for making me wait for an ending that feels like a giant slap in face when I greatly enjoyed the first two books.

 

why have endings to such great trilogies become so…..bad????

Sweet romance, great read

The Other Countess - Eve Edwards

I really enjoyed the storyline in this book. It wasn’t that heavy on the history although the setting was well done. It was the characters that did the trick with this book and the romance. Now I’m not a romance type of reader but the romance aspect of the story was nice and sweet and went well hand in hand with the story as well.

 

There’s lots of chemistry between the main couple really helped this book come along. Besides Ellie and Will, the other characters were very memorable (Jane and James, Diego are great examples).

 

Usually with this type of historical fiction you have a nice blend of political intrigue, this story, doesn’t have that - but it’s good, because it’s not needed. However Edwards adds in the conflict between Catholics and Protestants to give it a more historical feel to it but not so overwhelming on the history lesson - which is great since this book caters to Young Adults.


Wonderful read, and with a beautiful ending. I know there’s two more books after this so I’ll be sure to pick them up. This was a great read with characters that are well done and memorable. It’s a sweet romance without it being cheesy and silly. It’s worth reading even for those who aren’t into romances like I am.

Disappointing

The Night Eternal - Guillermo Del Toro;Chuck Hogan

I liked the first two. This one I can’t say I’m too happy with the ending. I’d have to say at least the mood for the setting and the feeling throughout the book was pretty good. The violence and horror aspect of the book makes the setting have a post apocalyptic feeling so this part of the book was well done too.

 

The background story of Quinlan was also good. Although I can’t help but think the whole angels and Old Testament muck is just that. Muck something much more interesting could have been thought up but no. We have to go back the same past ideas that have been rehashed and reused over and over.  I wasn’t interested in that. On top of that, the romance aspects and that horrible excuse of a love triangle with Eph, Fet and Nora was just terrible and unnecessary.

 

In fact the majority of the characters in this book just took a downturn for the not so interesting and blah. Eph becomes emo and whiny to the point where reading about him makes you want to cringe. Nora is okay but she suddenly becomes this besotted lovesick twit with Fet and they’re so bloody mismatched it wasn’t worth reading. Let’s not get started on Zack either. Oh my. Did I ever wish he would be choked to death by one of these vampiric beasts. Was he ever a waste of pages.

 

To top it off, the ending just didn’t do it right for me. When I read that, I nearly wanted to close the book in utter disgust but kept going a little more only to find more snippets of stupid Nora and Fet. Oh for crying out loud, I raved and loved the first two books only to get a real good slap upside the face with this drivel? Most disappointing final book in a series. Ever. This one just took that award by storm.

 

The only thing I liked? was Quinlan and the dark mood that set the setting and feeling for the book. Yet the rest of the characters just killed the story. I only finished it because it’s part of a series and a small part of me wanted to see it until the end. Disappointing, and sad to see it go a great series end this way.

Great for loyal fans and newbies

The Ronin's Mistress: A Novel - Laura Joh Rowland

I’m still a loyal reader of Sano Ichiro novels. I love them. I love the mystery, the political intrigue and how Sano is always dangling by the thread but manages to save the day but there’s always something looming around the corner where he’ll be dangling by a thread again.

 

This one was good, loyal readers will enjoy this and new readers will also like this. Background information on the 47 ronin helps a bit but not necessary. The title is a bit misleading, the Mistress is mentioned, but she doesn’t really play such a huge role in the book nevertheless. The plot was pretty good. Lots of twists and turns, and when you get towards the ending that’s where everything is so skillfully packed in you’ll feel like rereading it again just in case you missed something important. It’s always the last third of the book that gets you in the gut!

 

The only gripe I have, and I’ve been ranting about this for the past few novels now is the mystical Hirata issue. Please stop. It’s getting ridiculous and I’m finding when Hirata is featured, I’m starting to dread it. He used to be a personal favorite. Now he’s become this annoying mystical pest and I don’t care if he can feel auras of other people and can meditate in pretzel format (no, he doesn’t do this, but you know what I mean). He’s starting to become something I don’t want to read about. Please stop before you go further. This series DOES NOT need anything supernatural. Keep it real. Please.

 

Loyal fans will like this, newbies will too. A great historical read (and not many features in medieval Japan!) give it a go!

More Sarah, Less Julia please.

Sarah's Key [Paperback] - Tatiana de Rosnay

I really enjoyed this read. Well almost. For the most part, I really enjoyed how the Tezacs and Sarah’s family are intertwined from past to present. The writing in the book is excellent and the plot itself is compelling enough to keep you engaged and reading until you finish. It may not be a very well known particular incident in Holocaust history and definitely worth looking into for more information - I myself didn’t know much about it until I read the book.

 

The perspective switches from Sarah to Julia. Naturally, Sarah’s story is much more interesting and compelling. You feel for her situation and her poor brother and can only think of the worst possible scenarios for her. I admired her for her determination and strength for a girl her age. It was such a great story to read and I loved it when I reached the sections featuring Sarah.

 

I wish I could say the same for Julia though. I didn’t care too much except for when it linked her family with Sarah’s. However the parts with Julia’s marital issues with her family? not my sort of thing and wasn’t much to my liking. I mean, okay good for her for standing up to her decisions and whatnot, but it wasn’t as interesting. Plus, towards the ending, Julia became whiny and her story just dragged too much. I was rather hoping for more about Sarah and what she did in greater detail after the war.

 

Overall, worth a try. I didn’t try the movie and don’t think I want to. I think once of Julia is enough for me. :)