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sensitivemuse

sensitivemuse

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

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 (Hollow Trilogy) - 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

Other Countess (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 of Feudal Japan (Sano Ichiro) - 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. :)

 

It's...ok.

Ashes, Ashes - Jo Treggiari

One of the many dystopias that’s on the shelves, one that I decided to pick up because the plot itself looked and sounded interesting. For the most part it was. Albeit, the pace itself of the story was a bit slow. The setting itself isn’t so bad, Lucy herself is a survivor and knows how to live on her own - something I liked in her because sometimes the mopey heroines just don’t quite cut it in this type of setting.

 

What I found amusing was despite how the world was, with everything totally upside down, teenagers will always act like teenagers. The petty bickering between Lucy, Del, and Aidan was out of place, but it also shows they’re still normal teenagers despite the circumstances. That was interesting to see, because it gives them a more ‘human’ feel instead of just standard characters on paper.

 

There were a couple of things with the book that didn’t sit well with me. There were just so many unanswered questions! and I’m not sure there’s even going to be sequel? (if there is correct me if I’m wrong). You’re left with a “now what?” feeling at the end of the book.

 

Besides the list of unanswered questions, the chemistry between Lucy and Aidan was just not there. I didn’t seem to really get a feel for both of them and they didn’t seem to go along well together. Some couples just...don’t mix well.


It’s not the best read out there, but certainly worth a look see. I’d say take it or leave it. There’s much better, but there’s also a lot worse.

Great characters with great chemistry

Most Peculiar Circumstance, A - Jen Turano

Starting to really enjoy these inspirational romances. Not only do they give me my little romance fix that I crave once in awhile but they turn out to be real entertaining and fun to read!

 

So, I didn’t know this was the second book in the series. It can be read perfectly as a stand alone. But! because I enjoyed reading this one so much I will be getting the first book. The plot itself is well written and provided a good mix of romance, comedy, and a bit of action moments. The romance and comedy do make up the bulk of the story but nevertheless it’s still a fun and entertaining read.

 

Arabella and Theodore make such an excellent couple. Their banter was fun to read and the way they just drive each other insane was absolutely hilarious. Although Arabella was first seen as a typical ‘bluestocking’ fighting for women’s rights and not being your typical stay at home and be pretty woman, she’s really just a girly girl! her chemistry with Theodore was definitely there and although he was unbearable at first, he does grow on the reader and on Arabella. Eventually.

 

Although I liked Arabella, I liked Katherine as well. There’s one particular scene where she just irritates Theodore and almost makes him see red which was one of my most favorite scenes. I guess it’s because you could just see her do the action and it suits her personality and character. I liked her character throughout the book. She went from unhappy wife to someone who suddenly did not become afraid of speaking of her mind and standing up to her husband when she was unhappy and voiced her opinion on it.

 

The action part of the book was good. Definitely enjoyed the last bit of the book although I wish there was just more background information on the women disappearing. I understand perhaps, not much should be said, as then the book would take a darker turn than the light read it should be. But it was just as if criminal was just dumped on in the plot in the last 20 pages and I was hoping there would be more to that than just those last few pages.

 

Otherwise, I really enjoyed the book. The characters were excellently written and make the book a great read. Definitely recommended.

 

Great blend of all genres!

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1) - 'Clay Griffith', 'Susan Griffith'

I was very skeptical of this one. I wasn’t sure what to think of it. It’s got fantasy. With history and a bit of steampunk added. Which is a great combination, but it really all boils down to the story and its’ characters. It’s certainly got a nice blend of fantasy/history as well and I liked that. I was really expecting something cheesy with a romance in it that’ll make my stomach turn. Thankfully I was wrong!

 

I enjoyed this novel until the very last page. The action was well done, the world building was really good and well established, and the characters memorable. The blending of different genres also is nice you have a bit of steampunk, alternate history, fantasy, paranormal, and just a little bit of romance. It’s perfect.

 

Of course what adds to this awesome book is Gareth (one of the main characters) has a castle full of cats. No seriously. That is AWESOME. I reacted the same way I did when I saw Hellboy with his room full with cats. (I squeed and squeed until I couldn’t no more) so for me, that was a major added bonus. The chemistry between Adele and Gareth was good as well. Their characters seemed perfect for eachother I really enjoyed how they got along.


I haven’t gotten around to reading the second book yet, but I’m hoping it will be just as good as this one! I definitely recommend this book to fantasy lovers out there. It’s definitely worth a read through.

Alright read. Needs more robots

I,robot (Howard S. Smith's I,robot) - Howard S. Smith, Kathy Harestad

It took me a while to get into this book. It starts off interesting though, as it looks like something hit the fan and the world is going to doom. Although readers may tend to wonder what this all has to do with a Japanese police officer who has a terrible OCD issue, well you just have to read along to connect the dots. To simplify it, Haruto (the police officer) attempts to solve a case, but finds out it leads to a much bigger and badder fish that are out to cause a lot more chaos and havok than usual in the world.

 

It’s not easy to figure out. There’s lots of scientific terminology in the book and I did find it a bit hard to understand. (There are helpful illustrations though!) The concept of these robots being used as terrifying super soldiers is interesting, although the bloodbath they would create is naturally, horrible. There are a few subplots involved in this book, some that are related to the big storyline, a few aren’t. The plot might not entirely feel solid but the reading is tolerable and can be understood once everything is put into place and perspective.

 

Haruto as a character, is interesting, yet quirky because of his obsessive compulsive behavior, but his sense of honor and the strict adherence to the “rules” also show a side of naivete. He’s almost like an overgrown child in some sense. His OCD issue does get in the way of a lot of things, and it’s mentioned a lot throughout the book. It can get annoying - at least it did to me.

 

What I expected from this book, was more robots!  there is only one scene where the robot talks to Haruto, but after that, there’s nothing else. I thought there was going to be more interaction between humans and robots besides just using them as soldiers.

 

There are quite a few characters in the novel, and although it’s easy to tell which ones are the main characters and which ones are supporting ones, some just seem to arrive at certain points of the novel, and then fall out of existence. It would have been nice to figure out what happens them in the long run. The ending of the book was alright, although a little cliche, but it was an alright book overall.

 

People look at the title, and think of the movie, it’s not about that at all, there is an author’s note about that as well. I’d rather wish he didn’t name it that  title as the robots aren’t really what you think (as it was, in the movie for example). However, it was a good read overall, I’d say take it or leave it. The scientific lingo might scare some readers away, or bore them, but the action isn’t too bad.

 

Really enjoyed this one.

Mine Is the Night: A Novel - Liz Curtis Higgs

I have read books with wonderful writing, and this is one of them. For the length it is (it’s long in my standards) I managed to finish it in record time because the writing in this is beautifully done. Descriptions of the setting and the atmosphere were good,  the character’s emotions were easily represented, but the characters themselves. Wow, you formed an attachment to them quickly and easily!

 

I liked reading both about Marjory and Elisabeth. They were both equally very strong women and their attempts to overcome their difficulties were admirable. My favorite would be Elisabeth though. It felt as if nothing would stand in her way and she did manage to help herself and others come out of the state she was in when the story began. The chemistry between herself and Jack was wonderful! I loved how their love for each just grew gradually as the novel progressed. I can’t even begin to describe Jack. Everything about him was nice. He was definitely one of the strong silent types but once you went underneath that front, he really is a supportive gentlemanly character to love!

 

The overall plot of this book was really good. Marjory and Elisabeth encountered a lot of hostility at first, and things just happened one event after another but I liked how their strength pulled them through and they worked so well together despite their hardships. The pace is even and smooth so the reading ends up being quicker than usual and you’ll find yourself wanting to stay up late to finish. The ending was also well done as it closed up all loose ties rather nicely. Not sure if there is going to be another book following this, it doesn’t leave anything open but there could be a possibility of something in the future if you were to look it that way.

 

I would say the only thing that did bother me was the language issue. I don’t know Scottish lingo and although this is a glossary/dictionary in the back there were a few phrases that I just could not make out. It can be distracting to readers but luckily enough most of it is easy and straight forward. Those that aren’t religious may or may not be put off with all the bible/proverb quoting. It didn’t bother me at all. Other than those two minor details, I can’t think of anything wrong with this book.

 

Even though I’m not religious,  I enjoyed reading this book. It’s certainly a ‘feel-good’ clean romantic historical fiction that I think others who aren’t religious could enjoy. Yes there’s lots of quotes from from the bible, and other proverbs but would that really bother you if all you’re looking for is a good solid plot with beautifully written characters? I say give this book a try if you like historical fiction. I have no regrets.

 

Worth the Read!!!

Spartacus: Rebellion - Ben Kane

I wish this series would go on and on, but well that just would not be possible nor historically accurate right? (unless!!! you could go on with Carbo’s story!? please? pretty please?) now the previous book (Spartacus: Gladiator) had all the action and battle scenes. This one has battle scenes times two. EPIC battle scenes. Well written battle scenes that you feel like this should be played out as a movie just to see how it looks like.

 

The plot of the book is well done like the last one (I do recommend you read Spartacus: Gladiator before jumping into this one). There’s slightly less intrigue, way more action and fighting, and a lot more memorable quotes to read. I’d say the best part would be Carbo’s mission with Navio (love those two secondary characters not only did they provide some comic relief but seeing Carbo develop character wise was excellent to follow through in the book).

 

The last and final battle scene was definitely worth reading and I like how it was through Carbo’s perspective. I felt a bit cheated that Carbo didn’t get what he wanted in the end, but I suppose it’s to make it as historically accurate as possible. The author’s note in the end provided a lot of information and the glossary in the back as helps as well because there’s plenty of terminology that was new to me (I’m not well versed in Roman history).

 

I really wish this could go on in Carbo’s point of view, his story was going towards something with lots of potential and it sounded so interesting. Otherwise, the book was well worth the read. Definitely recommended for history buffs and Roman history lovers out there.

 

Great for any fan!!!

Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division - Peter Hook

Okay. Two reasons why I requested this book for review. 1. The hombre loves Joy Division. and 2. I wanted to know more about the band. Now I’m not a fan. Yes, I listen to a few of the songs when the hombre plays them (I must say, he still has the CD set of Heart and Soul that I bought him as a gift years ago - which makes me all warm and fuzzy because I got him something that he loves and still listens to..anyway! I’m going off topic here....)

 

I thought the book was pretty good - now I completely understand a fan would greatly appreciate this book as it gives you an insight on how the band was. I liked the way it was written, it was to the point, and at some times really blunt. I found myself laughing at bits of it. Gradually as the book progresses though, it does get more serious and more sad - since you know what’s going to happen to Ian Curtis and although he was undergoing serious health issues they just kept going. It’s admirable because they went through a lot of struggle in the beginning, but they persisted (it’s also extremely difficult to be successful as a rock band as I learnt while reading through this book)

 

The book also includes a more detailed description on each track the band has made which I believe fans will greatly appreciate and lots of references to other bands they have met, toured with, and sometimes fought with (hah, those were funny parts). It was also interesting to see how Hook describes Ian Curtis during their tour stops. (He can be just one of the guys too - which was hard for me to see) You also had to sympathize for him and his struggle with epilepsy. Hook’s narrative is very good and easy to follow and above all very entertaining.


Fans will greatly appreciate this book, non fans wanting to read how a real (yes I say REAL) band works should pick this up to get a glimpse at how hard it really is (no seriously, it’s really hard and not as easy as you think!) also, nice small appearances from The Cure and Bono!!!!