Reviews For August 2018
Emperor : The Gates Of Rome By Conn Iggulden
Synopsis : On the lush Italian Peninsula, a new empire is taking shape. At it's head is the city of Rome, a place of glory and decadence, beauty and bloodshed . Against this vivid backdrop, two boys are growing to manhood, dreaming of battles, fame, and glory in service of the mightiest empire the world has ever known . One is the son of a senator, a boy of privilege and ambition to whom much is expected . The other is a bastard child, a boy of strength and cunning, whose love for his adoptive family - and his adoptive brother - will be the most powerful force in his life . As young Gaius and Marcus are trained in the art of combat - under the tutelage of one of Rome's most fearsome gladiators - Rome itself is being rocked by the art of treachery and ambition, caught in a tug of war as two rival generals, Marius and Sulla, push the empire toward civil war . For Marcus, a bloody campaign in Greece will become a young soldier's proving ground . For Gaius, the equally deadly infighting of the Roman senate will be the battlefield where he hones his courage and skills . And for both, the love of an extraordinary slave girl will be an honour each will covet but only one will win .
The two friends are forced to walk different paths, and by the time they meet again everything will have changed . Both will have known love, loss and violence . And the land where they were once innocent will be thrust into the grip of bitter conflict - a conflict that will set Roman against Roman ... and put their friendship to the ultimate test .
My review : I have read a few books that were set in ancient Roman times and liked most of them very much . It is a long book but I think historical fiction must be lengthy so we can get invested into the story . Conn Iggulden writes really well and detailed . I have only read this one by him but if the others are as good then I want to read those at some point as well .
The scenes of the gladiator combat and the war parts are very bloody and graphic so if you are squeamish then this isn't for you .
Recommended to historical fiction fans especially if you are interested in Ancient Rome .
Rating : 4 and a half out of 5
INK : A Dark Waters Mermaid Tale By Melanie Karsak
Synopsis : A mermaid princess destined to wed a handsome king ...
It sounds like a fairytale, but the reality is far murkier .
Ink, Princess of the Florida Atlantic Mers, is slated to wed the ancient enemy of her tribe, the King of the Gulfs . After years of war that led to countless mer deaths, as well as the genocide of aquatic shapeshifters and freshwater mers of Florida, Ink's marriage will bring lasting peace . Or so it seems .
Mere hours before she's supposed to leave the ocean for her customary year as a drywalker, Ink meets Hal, an alligator shifter who warns her that a storm is brewing . There is malicious intent behind Ink's marriage - and worse - meeting Hal has also caused a storm to rage in Ink's heart . Nevertheless, loyal to her tribe, Ink will put aside her feelings and journey to Miami to marry the decadent King Manx .
Ink soon learns that her only hope of surviving the crashing force swelling around her is to tap into a power deep inside - a forbidden power that might destroy them all .
My Review : I haven't read many mermaid books . This was a novella so it was a quick read but I liked it .
It had mermaids and tribes of shapeshifters which was a bit different to what I have read for a while .
Melanie Karsak writes a variety of different genres very well, I have read another book by her which was a zombie one and liked that too .
Ink is a strong female character who is forced into a marriage to bring peace to the merpeople and shapeshifters, she has to make some hard decisions and go through some perilous situations .
The story is short but it is exciting and I would like to carry on with the other books to see what happens to Ink .
I received a free E book copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review .
Rating : 3 out of 5
Kraken By China Mieville
Synopsis : In the Darwin Centre at London's Natural History Museum, Billy Harrow, a cephalopod specialist, is conducting a tour whose climax is meant to be the centre's prize specimen of a rare Architeuthis Dux - better known as the Giant Squid . But Billy's tour takes an unexpected turn when the squid suddenly and impossibly vanishes into thin air .
As Billy soon discovers, this is the precipitating act in a struggle to the death between mysterious but powerful forces in a London whose existence he has been blissfully ignorant of until now, a city whose denizens - human and otherwise - are adept in magic and murder .
There is the congregation of God Kraken, a sect of squid worshippers whose roots go back to the dawn of humanity - and beyond . There is the criminal mastermind known as the Tattoo, a merciless maniac inked onto the flesh of a hapless victim . There is the FSRC - the Fundamentalist and Sect-related Crime Unit - a branch of London's finest that fights sorcery with sorcery . There is Wati, a spirit from Ancient Egypt who leads a ragtag union of magical familiars . There are Londonmancers, who read the future in the city's entrails . There is Grisamentum, London's greatest wizard, whose shadow lingers long after his death . And then there is Goss and Subby, an ageless old man and a cretinous boy who, together, constitute a terrifying - yet darkly charismatic demonic duo .
All of them - and others - are in pursuit of Billy, who inadvertently holds the key to the missing squid, an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all this is, was, and ever shall be .
My Review : The first book I've read by China Mieville and I think that I've found another favourite author .
I absolutely loved it ! His writing is wonderful, this book was a mixture of genres it was horror, fantasy and sci-fi . It was a joy to read .
It begins with the theft of a preserved giant squid from the Natural History Museum in London and takes us on a weird and wonderful trip through an alternative London in search of it with the main character, Billy Harrow and a bunch of interesting characters including Wati, a spirit from Ancient Egypt and other magical people and creatures .
There were some funny pop culture references which I picked up on especially the Star Wars ones .
I recently started another book by this author, Perdido Street Station which I will review soon .
Rating : 5 out of 5
Midway ( The Harvesting #1.5) By Melanie Karsak
Synopsis : Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the beginning of the end .
Carnie . Ride jockey . Roustabout . White trash . Tilt girl . Gypsy . Cricket has been called a lot of things, but she never thought survivor of the zombie apocalpse would be one of them . One day she's barking on the Midway, and the next day, the world is eating itself alive .
Cricket, along with Vella, a tarot reader, and Puck, Cricket's mangy mutt, find themselves running for their lives, but where can you hide when mankind has fallen ? Cricket will need help if she hopes to survive .
Luckily for her, we were never really alone, and apparently, magical forces want to keep this tilt girl alive .
My Review : This is a novella which I think comes between the first and second books in the Harvesting series .
It is a zombie book which begins in a fairground . I love books featuring fairs and circus settings . I'm not a big fan of zombies though . This book was very fast paced and intense .
I'm not sure if this was YA or adult but the zombie attack scenes are scary and gory, as expected but not for sensitive or younger readers !
I received a E book copy from the author in exchange for an honest review .
Rating : 3 out of 5
Morrigan's Cross ( Circle Trilogy #1 ) By Nora Roberts
Synopsis : In the last days of high summer, with lightning striking blue in a black sky, the sorcerer stood on a high cliff overlooking the raging sea ...
Belting out his grief into the storm, Hoyt Mac Cionaoith rails against the evil that has torn his twin brother from their family's embrace . Her name is Lilith . Existing for over a thousand years, she has lured countless men to an immortal doom with her soul-stealing kiss . But now, this woman known as vampire will stop at nothing until she rules this world - and those beyond it ...
Hoyt is no match for the dark siren . But his powers come from the goddess Morrigan, and it is through her that he will get his chance at vengeance . At Morrigan's charge, he must gather five others to form a ring of power strong enough to overcome Lilith . A circle of six; himself, the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms and the one he's lost . And it is in this circle, hundreds of years in the future, where Hoyt will learn how strong his spirit - and his heart - have become ...
My Review : I have kind of avoided Nora Roberts' writing for ages because I thought they were your typical Mills and Boon kind of romance, I hadn't realised she wrote other genres too . I have read two by her now and really enjoyed them .
This one is set in a fantasy world with time travel to the present day which is very interesting to read .
It has a wide array of different supernatural characters, vampires, gods, goddesses, magicians and witches . I loved the different world settings in the book we go to Ireland, America and the fantasy world . The back of the book contains a glossary of Irish words, characters and places which is interesting and informative.
This is a trilogy . I can't wait to read the other two in this series .
Rating : 5 out of 5
Bleeding Heart By Taylor Holloway
Synopsis : " They say I'm a ruthless, arrogant, playboy who doesn't have a weakness . And they're right . Until Madison Clark walked back into my life . "
I grew up surrounded by unspeakable wealth. Palatial estates, private jets, and a world where everyone wants to be your friend . Friends that want to squeeze you for everything you've got .
Madison was the opposite . Her passion was helping others . My passion was her .
It's been years since I last laid eyes on her, but fate has brought us together . She's no longer the naive little girl I knew growing up . Now she's a smart, young attorney with a bleeding heart, trying to make the world a better place .
My business interests have suddenly collided with her humanitarian ones . But this deal and our lives could go up in flames if the Columbian drug cartel has its way .
I'll exploit any weakness, fight any battle, and pay any price to protect her .
My review : The first book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it . The story alternates between Alexander's and Madison's points of view . Some of the conversations and situations they get into are quite funny but there is also a thrilling part to the storyline which was exciting to read . The romance parts are incredibly hot and steamy as expected in this kind of book .
All in all I really liked it, it was well written, it had good characters, some I liked and some I hated .
I will definately be reading more by this author .
I received an E copy from the author in exchange for an honest review .
Rating : 4 out of 5
Ragged Heroes : An Epic Fantasy Anthology By M.L Spencer, Phil Tucker, Daniel Parsons, Joshua Robertson, L.F Oake, Sara C. Roethle, Stevie Collier, Brandon Barr, Megan Haskell, Jonathan Yanez, Laura Greenwood, Logan Keys, David Estes, J.T Williams, Jason Paul Rice, Andy Peloquin, Susan Faw and Oz Monroe
Synopsis : These aren't your typical heroes
Heroes aren't defined by shining armour, golden crowns, or noble virtues . Beggars, thieves, killers, children and fools -- a hero is anyone who takes a stand against oppression, abuse, and evil . Ragged though they may be, they hold their ground, defy hopeless odds, and conquer the impossible no matter the personal cost.
Eighteen bestselling and award winning authors give you a look at what it truly means to be a hero ; the simple act of standing up and making a difference, even to just one person .
My Review : A good collection of 18 short fantasy stories featuring not the typical heroes .
I liked all of them, they were all different and the " Heroes " were all thrust into being brave by a variety of situations .
Some of the stories were very dark and quite gory . They were all exciting and I liked reading this book a lot .
Anthologies are a great way to discover authors who are new to you . I will be looking for more books by the authors included in this collection .
I received a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review .
Rating : 4 out of 5
Festival Turmoil ( Sweetfern Harbor Mystery Book 7 ) By Wendy Meadows
Synopsis : Brenda Sheffield Rivers and her husband Detective Mac Rivers have returned from their honeymoon in Italy. They arrive in the depth of winter, ready to prepare for the upcoming Winter Festival . Tourists begin to flood the town and Sheffield Bed and Breakfast is filling up fast . There is only one vacant room due to a cancellation . Brenda is sure her young reservationist Allie Williams will have it filled before the day is over .
An older couple arrives and introduces themselves as Marilyn and Richard Martin . They are assigned the available room once occupied by the slain actress Ellen Teague . Rachel and Thomas Wellington check in followed by photographer Philip Turner . Philip is good looking and an obvious flirt . Allie is caught up in his compliments and hopes his attentions won't deter her from winning the coveted skating contest she will compete in at the festival .
Mac returns to work the next day and expects a long day when he discovers there has been a rash of petty thievery going on around Sweetfern Harbor while on his honeymoon . Two days later he is found stuffed in a closet on the back stairwell of the bed and breakfast, semi-conscious . To add to the tragedy, his daughter who is owner of Jenny's Blossoms is missing .
Brenda is torn between worry over Mac's condition and her beloved step-daughter's disappearance . As the mystery begins to unfold Mac recovers and he and Jenny's fiance Detective Bryce Jones are detemined to find Jenny . In the meantime, Brenda is horrified to learn her guests aren't who they pretend to be . Her concern turns to dread when she wonders if Jenny is alive or dead . Above all, the hunt to find her is imperative . Mac has two suspects, guests of Brenda's, in custody . It is a matter of which one or if either, will confess to what happened to Jenny Rivers .
Brenda vows to uncover the motive for their crimes and deception . She must find Jenny at all costs .
My Review : This is the first book I've read by Wendy Meadows, I really liked it and I need to read the first six in the series now because I enjoyed this story so much .
I've become a big fan of cozy mysteries lately, they are so fun to read .
The characters in this one are interesting and well written, the storyline is intriguing and exciting it kept me guessing until the reveal of who was commiting the crimes, I didn't guess who it was .
It's set during the winter just as Sweetfern Harbor is going to have its Winter Festival so it is perfect for the winter months .
I received a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review .
Rating : 4 out of 5