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The President Is Missing - Bill Clinton & James Patterson (Hardcover)

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The President Is Missing - Bill Clinton & James Patterson (Hardcover)
Dispatched in 10 to 15 working days
Price
356

If you like Dan Brown, then you will like this!

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I have never read a James Patterson book in my life - as a matter of principle! The man is the richest author alive, mainly because he has become a brand and doesn't write any of the books that bear his name any more. Maybe I'm just jealous.

However, the involvement of former US president Bill Clinton with this project got me interested and convinced me to give this book a chance. I wasn't disappointed! Look, the novel is never going to be considered 'great literature.' But, if all you are looking for is an exciting page-turner (which occasionally makes you think a bit), then this is the book for you.

I have read all of Dan Brown's books, and the plot and writing style of this book reminded me most of Brown - but in a good way! I would also liken the experience of reading this book to watching a 2-hour suspense/action movie. Thrilling and entertaining.

Scott Pilgrim The Complete Series - Bryan Lee O'Malley (Paperback)

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Scott Pilgrim The Complete Series - Bryan Lee O'Malley (Paperback)
Dispatched in 15 to 20 working days
Price
965

Kind of Disappointing

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Being a huge fan of the Scott Pilgrim film, I had decided to visit the source material in order to enhance my experience - what a terrible decision.

I feel as though the adaptation of the graphic novel into a film is the best thing that could ever happen to it. The graphic novels tend to meander for a very long time, seemingly going nowhere, and often remaining uninteresting. The titular character, Scott, appears to have absolutely no redeeming qualities, and makes for a rather unlikable protagonist.

This would be okay, if only the price of the graphic novels had not been so steep.

I would advice the reader to stick to the film :)

Marvel's Spider-man - Hostile Takeover - David Liss (Paperback)

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Marvel's Spider-man - Hostile Takeover - David Liss (Paperback)
Unreleased (Expected: 21 Aug 2018)
Price
107

Excited

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So unbelievably excited for this! David Liss typically does a great job.

Attack on Titan 5 - Hajime Isayama (Paperback)

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Attack on Titan 5 - Hajime Isayama (Paperback)
Dispatched in 15 to 20 working days
Price
148

Attack on titan manga

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These books always come in perfect condition, and Raru is very quick to deliver. Excellent choice*

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out for - Alison Bechdel (Hardcover)

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The Essential Dykes to Watch Out for - Alison Bechdel (Hardcover)
Dispatched in 15 to 20 working days
Price
335

Relatable and relevant

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This is a fantastic collection of DTWF. The characters are incredibly relatable and the storylines are relevant in a way that is quite visionary for its time. The hardcover edition is nice and heavy with a good quality cover.

Torment - Lauren Kate (Paperback)

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Torment - Lauren Kate (Paperback)
Dispatched in 3 to 5 working days
Price
139
RRP
R 175
(-21%)

A new setting, new angels, new mysteries and new discoveries

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Just like its predecessor, Fallen, I finished reading Torment in three days. I love the story of Daniel and Luce, and all of the mysteries there are yet to discover. As previously mentioned the Fallen series by Lauren Kate is about Lucinda Price, a mortal girl (although I am starting to have my suspicions about Luce’s mortality) who is doomed to fall in love with, and then lose, fallen angel Daniel Grigori lifetime after reincarnated lifetime. This time around, though, things seem to be different and all of the angels are convinced that this lifetime will change Luce and Daniel’s story forever (and not only because Luce has not been baptized in this lifetime, which of course means that if Luce should die this time around, she will not be reincarnated - if she dies, she dies for good).

Although I love the story and the characters, and definitely prefer the new setting and the new characters we are introduced to (I much prefer them to the lot at Sword & Cross), I had the nagging feeling that I was reading Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon again – and as you know New Moon was my least favourite book of the Twilight Saga. The star crossed lovers are separated. Boy is anguished; girl is tormented and close to depression. Enter new bff boy who makes our heroine feel all warm and fuzzy in the absence of her true love, serving only to confuse her already tumultuous emotions even further. New bff boy tries to make our heroine fall in love with him, even knowing she loves another. Seriously, this guy is Jacob Black all over again; annoying the life out of me!

Having said that, I enjoyed tagging along with Luce as she made new discoveries about her life… or lives, I should say. The story is starting to take a very interesting shape, and with every page the Fallen series gets better. Sadly, we see very little of Daniel, thankfully we see even less of Cam, and we have what I would call little cameo appearances by Roland and Arianne, two of my fallen favourites. A new setting, new angels, new mysteries and new discoveries make Torment an interesting read. For a happy ending kind of gal I wasn’t terribly impressed with the ending, though I can’t say I was disappointed either. Uncertainties and suspense filled scenes are, after all, a great way to end these pesky “to-be-continued’s”, and at the very least I’m happy to see Luce finally getting some backbone and owning her life. At the end of the day Torment leaves you just as it should: wanting more.

Passion - Lauren Kate (Paperback)

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Passion - Lauren Kate (Paperback)
Dispatched in 3 to 5 working days
Price
139
RRP
R 175
(-21%)

Not as exciting as you would expect

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In great anticipation I counted the months for the third installment of Lauren Kate's Fallen series to hit the shelves. As you might remember from my post on Torment, the previous book ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger where Luce practically dives into her past lives (thousands of years of reincarnations of herself). Passion follows Luce as she gets a front row seat to her and Daniel's love through the ages. Sounds exciting, right? Yeah, well the problem is... it wasn't, really. With thousands of years to play with I think Lauren could have given us glimpses of amazing past events! The possibilities are endless! Instead, we see Luce as a Mayan girl becoming a blood sacrifice, an islander sipping coconut juice and giving Daniel tattoos, a spoilt, rich, aristocratic snob... I just think these past lives could have been more interesting. Well, at least we got to see a Shakespeare play! In my favourite reincarnation of Luce she is an actress performing Henry the 8th in the Globe theatre! I loved the cameo by William Shakespeare, and how it turns out Luce is the one responsible for the Globe theatre burning to the ground. More of these kinds of real events worked into Luce's past lives would have been much more interesting.

Having said that, I think all of those glimpses of Luce and Daniel's love in different stages are necessary to understand how deep and how complicated their love is. The problem is just this book is not nearly as gripping as the previous two. Here's hoping the next one will make up for it.

Sadly I have several problems with this book. Firstly, I found the prologue to be unnecessary and confusing. I still don't know what the point of it is, and to me those were wasted pages. None of those characters came up later in the book (unless the booming voice was supposed to be Satan, in which case I didn't get it), so if that was an integral part of the story, I think Lauren should have saved it for the next book, where it would actually make sense.

Then, I get that Luce is reincarnated lifetime after lifetime, so I understand how she once ended up Mayan, once Chinese etc, etc, but how does Daniel change? It is never explained how he changes... mostly he always looks the same, but then suddenly he's Egyptian. I get that he's an Angel and he can probably do what he wants, but I hate when things like that are written in and the reader is just expected to believe it without an explanation. If you want to make drastic changes like that, you need to have a method.

My biggest problem with the book, though, is the final chapter which features a scene in Heaven. I won't say too much here so I don't spoil the ending for anyone who decides they want to read the book, but there are some things I believe people should be careful to write about. Anytime I read something featuring God and it makes me uncomfortable, kind of that I-don't-think-this-is-right-feeling, I have a problem with it. Lauren wasn't blasphemous in her writing, it's just that I don't like the way she described the scene in Heaven, if that makes sense. Again, I hope that she makes up for it in the next book.

In my previous post I also expressed my doubts about Luce's mortality. I have always thought that Luce is also an Angel, she just doesn't know it, and even though it wasn't explicitly stated in this book, I think my suspicions have been confirmed. A discovery to look forward to. Then something I found very interesting, is how Satan seems to feel about Luce. That combined with with the fact that Daniel came across jealous that Luce had spent time with Satan (even though he tricked her and she didn't realise who he was), makes me wonder if Lucifer might have loved Luce in Heaven? That's another thing, their names; Lucinda and Lucifer. Significant? Maybe. Then again, maybe I'm just grabbing at straws; we'll have to wait and see.

Now, what I loved about the book. Other than Fallen and Torment, Passion focuses solely on Luce and Daniel. We see a little bit of the others, but mainly we see Luce and Daniel. Finally. For what is down at the core a love story, Luce and Daniel don't spend much time together in the course of the three books. Annoying to me, but maybe this works for other people. At least in this book the other characters don't constantly get in the way of Luce and Daniel's relationship. Also, Luce finally realises that what she and Daniel have is real, and stops questioning it. And then there's Cam. Now, you know I'm not the world's biggest Cam fan, but I find there is hope for him yet. I'm looking forward to see what the next chapter will bring.

A Walk to Remember - Nicholas Sparks (Paperback)

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A Walk to Remember - Nicholas Sparks (Paperback)
Dispatched in 15 to 20 working days
Price
121

Dazzling and heartbreakingly real

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Jamie and Landon have "known" each other all of their lives. They live in the same small town, go to the same school, attend the same church, but they've never been friends. Landon is popular, Jamie is not. Jamie doesn't wear fashionable clothes, she carries her Bible around with her, she does charity work. Jamie is pretty much the most boring girl in Beaufort; or so Landon thinks. As newly appointed Student Body President, Landon must attend the school dance, with a date. Having previously dismissed the idea of going, Landon is dateless at the last minute, and reluctantly asks out the only girl who hasn't been asked; Jamie. Once in her company Landon begins to realise that Jamie is a lovely girl, misunderstood by her peers. As they start to spend more time in each other's company, Landon has to deal with redicule from the popular kids, Jamie's disapproving father, and most importantly the mystery of Jamie's misunderstood life and unshakeable faith in a God she can't see.

The description from Nicholas' website pretty much sums up the outline of the story, but the core is so dazzling and heartbreakingly real that I can't share that here without giving the story away. It's quite simply one of those books you have to read for yourself. I sincerely hope that you do.

A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin (Paperback)

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A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin (Paperback)
Dispatched in 15 to 20 working days
Price
134

A series of extremes

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The setting and scale of A Game Of Thrones is massive. George R.R Martin has created a world in which to set his great tale, reminding me somewhat of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings. This new world has maps, myths and legends, mystical creatures and deadly monsters. There are three known continents: Essos, Sothoros, and Westeros. To the very North of Westeros we find the Great Wall, a huge wall of ice manned by a brotherhood called The Night’s Watch, protecting the realm from dangers known and unknown, natural and supernatural, North of the Wall.

A Game Of Thrones is set mainly in Westeros, also known as the Seven Kingdoms; one nation comprised of seven formerly independent kingdoms now ruled by one King (King Robert Baratheon at the start of the series). The Seven Kingdoms were consolidated by the great dragon king, Aegon of House Targaryen, who conquered six of the Kingdoms, and secured the seventh through a marriage pact. Ever since the Seven Kingdoms have been ruled by one King, the King who rules from the Iron Throne. House Targaryen was defeated in battle by Robert Baratheon, all the Targaryens murdered, including infants, save for two. A pregnant Queen Rhaella Targaryen escaped murder and fled to Dragonstone with her son, Viserys. Rhaella died giving birth to Daenerys during a vicious storm (therefore Dany is also known as Daenerys Stormborn). Dragonstone fell to the rebel forces soon thereafter, and Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen, the rightful heirs to the Iron Throne, were smuggled to the Free City, Braavos, and now live in exile in Essos. The continent Sothoros is uncharted, and not of much significance in the first book.

A Game Of Thrones focuses mainly on the clash between the honourable House Stark and the scheming, power hungry House Lannister, and the aspirations of Daenerys Targaryen to reclaim her rightful throne. Ned Stark, liege lord of the North and patriarch of House Stark, is chosen by his childhood friend, King Robert Baratheon, to succeed their common mentor, the late Jon Arryn, as The Hand of The King – the most powerful man in the Seven Kingdoms after the King. At first reluctant to accept, Ned agrees as a result of the pleas of his wife when they begin to suspect that Jon Arryn had been murdered, and that it is somehow connected to a freak accident that left one of their sons in a coma. Ned leaves his home, his wife and his sons behind and makes the journey to the capital city to investigate. In Kings Landing Ned must navigate his way through lies and deceit to uncover the secret Jon Arryn had died for, and care for and protect his two very different daughters while ruling the Kingdom in the stead of a disinterested, drunken King whose only interest is getting rid of the last Targaryens. Ned ultimately uncovers truths more far reaching than he had ever imagined, placing his life and the lives of his family in grave danger.

The A Song Of Ice And Fire series is one of extremes: You either adore characters or you loathe them. George R.R Martin is not afraid to kill off important characters (in the first book alone three of my favourites die along with countless others), ensuring a roller coaster ride for the reader. Let’s face it, there is nothing more boring and frustrating than a predictable book – and there is no way I can even begin to predict what will happen next.

A Game Of Thrones starts with one ruler, but concludes with no less than five people who will actively vie for the Iron Throne (and I am sure even more will surface). No wonder the second book in the series is titled Clash Of Kings.

When an author sits down and creates a whole new world complete with maps, myths, legends and monsters, you can be sure you’re going to have an enjoyable read on your hands. Throw in secrets, schemes, murder plots and battles, and A Game Of Thrones becomes a wonderfully thrilling, exciting book filled with unexpected twists and turns around every corner, making this one of the most unpredictable stories I’ve come across in a very long time.

If you haven’t thrown yourself into A Song Of Ice And Fire yet, I strongly recommend that you do.

The Ice Queen - Alice Hoffman (Paperback)

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The Ice Queen - Alice Hoffman (Paperback)
Dispatched in 15 to 20 working days
Price
201

Can fiery heat melt a heart of ice?

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In a moment of rage our (nameless) heroine wishes for something truly awful, and her wish comes true. Guilt ridden, the heroine believes herself to have some kind of power over life and death, and lives her life pushing others away, preferring to spend time with books instead of people, and imagining herself as a creature of ice. The antisocial librarian has become so completely obsessed with death that she soon becomes an expert, and consults with a member of the local Police Department on all manner of cause and consequence of death. As you would imagine this type of lifestyle is quite depressing. Our heroine continues to live in this frozen emotional state until her concerned brother has enough of her isolating lifestyle, and insists that she move to Florida to be near him and his wife.

Uttering an idle wish to be struck by lightning, the heroine’s wish is granted, but does not leave her dead. Suffering several physical effects from the lightning strike she begins a new journey in life when she becomes part of a University research project and befriends other members of the “struck by lightning group”. I always love when a book teaches me something in addition to entertaining me, and The Ice Queen describes all kinds of effects a lightning strike can have on the human body. Amongst other things, our heroine (now with a fitting scar over her heart) loses the ability to see the colour red and has a clicking sound in her head. She soon finds herself drawn to a mysterious fellow survivor known as Lazarus (because he came back to life in the mortuary), whose breath is so hot that he can set paper on fire. They soon begin a passionate and obsessive love affair: a woman of ice and a man of fire. Do opposites truly attract, or do they actually repel each other? Can fiery heat melt a heart of ice? The answer is not quite as obvious or straightforward as you would think.

The Ice Queen is a fascinating read for several reasons. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be “different”. This book is unlike anything else I’ve ever read. It is quite dark and intense, but instead of being gloomy, as one would expect, the core of it all is actually light – hope, peace and love; in true Hoffman tradition, I would even call it magical. Alice Hoffman’s unique story weaved in between fact, fiction, fairytales, legends and myths, along with her beautiful command over prose kept me hooked and invested until the very end. I am certain it will do the same for you.

A Clash of Kings - George R. R. Martin (Paperback)

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A Clash of Kings - George R. R. Martin (Paperback)
Dispatched in 10 to 15 working days
Price
169

Fantastic sequel

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As mentioned in my post on A Game of Thrones, at the end of A Game of Thrones, book 1 in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series, the Seven Kingdoms are no longer in harmony, or under rule of one King. At the end of book 1, we have four crowned rulers: King Joffrey Baratheon (*cough* Lannister *cough*), King Renly Baratheon, King Robb Stark and Queen Daenerys Targaryen, all having their eyes on the power seat in King’s Landing. A Clash of Kings starts off with King Stannis Baratheon declaring Joffrey Baratheon a bastard born of incest, sending this declaration throughout all the realm, and stating his intention to lay claim to the Iron Throne of Westeros. The clash of Kings intensifies when Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands also proclaims himself King. All these Kings, only one throne…

In A Clash of Kings we find the Stark family separated. Patriarch Ned has been killed, and a mourning Catelyn must be strong as she supports King Robb in his cause while Brandon and Rickon are stuck at Winterfell, feeling abandoned and alone. Sansa is trapped in Kings Landing, in an abusive relationship, and her betrothal to the boy King who had her father killed. Strangely, Joffrey’s hound, Sandor Clegane, seems to be ever so slightly protective of Sansa - this strange dynamic ensures some interesting scenes. Lastly, Arya escapes King Landing by masquerading as an orphan boy and making the journey North with dangerous captives meant for the Night’s Watch. At least she finds a friend in Gendry, King Robert’s illegitimate son (though they don’t know this) – the smith’s apprentice Ned met in A Game of Thrones (voluntarily joining the Watch). This friendship was by far my favourite storyline to follow, and Arya and Gendry were responsible for most of my favourite scenes.

Other storylines follow Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch as they march North of the wall to determine the cause of mysterious disappearances of Rangers, most especially that of Jon’s uncle, Benjen Stark. Tyrion Lannister takes his new job as Hand of the King very seriously, and actually tries to do some good in King’s Landing – a pity he is as surrounded by malice and deceit as Ned Stark was. Lastly we follow Daenerys Targaryen while she and her Khalasar try to survive the merciless Dothraki Sea, as she tries to find a way to return to Westeros to lay claim to her birthright.

In this new installment we meet a significant number of new characters. We finally meet Robert and Renly's brother, Stannis Baratheon and his army, including the mysterious Red Priestess, Melisandre. We meet Theon Greyjoy’s family, including his pirate sister Asha – one of my new favourites. We meet Renly Baratheon’s new bride, Marjorie Tyrell; Brienne of Tarth, the newest member of Renly’s Rainbow Guard; Tyrion Lannister’s new page, Pod; and Bran Stark’s new friends, two more of my new favourites, Meera and Jojen Reed.

In A Clash of Kings the lines between friend and foe shift so suddenly it makes your head spin. The thirst for power corrupts souls as quickly as coins of silver buy allegiances, and the only thing that is certain, is that nothing is certain. No character is safe, no character is too important – as Arya says, "Anyone can be killed".

As was the case with A Game of Thrones, this second installment of the A Song Of Ice And Fire series is just as unpredictable as the first. Any lovers of the fantasy genre will love this series. It is as huge and epic as J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy - perhaps even more so. The people of the realm are not only faced with the harsh realities of war, but also a looming threat from beyond the wall, the dangers of sorcerers, and the return of the undead white walkers, direwolves, dragons and giants. Will the people of Westeros stop fighting each other long enough to realise that it is not each other they should be fighting at all?

Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (Paperback)

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Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (Paperback)
Dispatched in 10 to 15 working days
Price
142

Action-packed, fast-paced and unpredictable

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The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem. The wealthy metropolis known as the Capitol has full control over all twelve of the poorer Districts which surround it. As punishment for a previous rebellion wherein District Thirteen was completely destroyed, the Capitol annually hosts the Hunger Games, an event where each of the twelve Districts must provide one girl and one boy, called Tributes, to participate in a televised fight to the death in a vast outdoor arena controlled by the Capitol.

Over several weeks, the 24 Tributes must fight to the death while trying to survive in the outdoor arena filled with traps, poisonous creatures and plants, and some artificial disasters created by the Gamemakers for the audience’s entertainment. The last Tribute standing wins a life of wealth back home, and a precious supply of food and delicacies for his or her District. A lottery draw determines the names of the Tributes (ages 12 to 18) who must participate, and in the girls category District Twelve draws the name of 12 year old Primrose Everdeen. Mortified by the thought of Prim being subjected to the horrors of the Games, her 16 year old sister Katniss Everdeen steps up and volunteers to take her place. In the boys category District Twelve draws the name of Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son who once saved Katniss and her family from starvation - an act of kindness for which he was beaten.

In the arena Katniss and Peeta will not only face each other, but bigger, stronger killers known as Career Tributes, who illegally train throughout their whole lives in the hope that they will be chosen to represent their Districts in the Hunger Games, as these slightly wealthier Districts (District Twelve is by far the poorest) view it as an honour to be chosen as Tribute.

Suzanne Collins’ description of a post apocalyptic world is very believable. I especially enjoyed touches such as Katniss’ first experience with a car, a high speed train, a hot shower, and her and Peeta’s first taste of hot chocolate. Another very believable aspect of the story is Katniss’ wary suspicion of Peeta’s attempts at forging a friendship. She can’t in good conscience turn her back on the boy who once saved her life… but how can she befriend or trust him now when she knows they might be forced to fight to the death, should they come to face each other in the arena? Her only hope is that someone else kills Peeta before she has to.

On the one hand, I would have loved if the book had been written in the third person. I was constantly wondering what Peeta was thinking, what his true motives were. I also couldn’t help but wonder what Gale was thinking as he was watching the Games, helplessly watching Katniss being hunted by others. On the other hand though, the first person narrative puts the reader firmly in Katniss’ shoes, and brilliantly captures her complete isolation. It also adds to the suspense of the novel – we don’t know any more than Katniss does. Maybe that’s better than having all the answers.

The Hunger Games is a very exciting read; The story is action packed, fast paced and unpredictable. The whole concept around the Hunger Games is very well plotted, from the opening ceremony, the interview stages and the training to the Games itself. As far as futuristic televised fights to the death are concerned, The Hunger Games is as realistic as can be.

True Devotion - Dee Henderson (Paperback)

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True Devotion - Dee Henderson (Paperback)
Dispatched in 10 to 15 working days
Price
222

The romantic aspect didn't quite work for me

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Kelly and Joe share a love of the sea, a love of sailing, and a love of a man they both lost. They become best friends after the death of Nick - Kelly’s husband, and Joe’s best friend and fellow Navy SEAL.

When a SEAL mission goes wrong, Joe is injured and Nick is killed. The story picks up three years later. Kelly, a lifeguard, is lost at sea when a rescue goes from bad to worse; now she is the one that needs rescuing. Determined to find her, Joe and other SEALs join the Coast Guard for the rescue mission. Hours too late, yet just in the nick of time, Joe finds Kelly. Disoriented from hours at sea, and shaken by a very near brush with death, Kelly confesses that she loves Joe. Surprised yet elated, Joe ponders the implications. He loves Kelly too, but feelings of guilt hold him back. Nevertheless, Joe and Kelly agree to tentatively start dating and see how things evolve. What neither realizes is that the man responsible for Nick’s death has made a comeback and has worked himself into both their lives, now suddenly in mortal danger.

As always Dee Henderson’s attention to detail is immaculate. Kelly’s days as a lifeguard are very realistically described, as is her torment during hours fighting the restless sea. Even more so the missions of the Navy SEALs, from the planning stages to execution, bring the reader into the mission, making you feel like part of the team.

On the negative side, I didn’t form an emotional connection with these characters – a first for me with a Dee Henderson novel. Don’t get me wrong, I came to care about Kelly and I came to care about Joe, but somehow I never got comfortable with their relationship. Henderson handled it beautifully, and again realistically, but throughout the novel it stayed in the back of my mind that Kelly is now dating her husband’s best friend, and that Joe is dating his best friend’s widow. I remained quite uncomfortable with the turn of their relationship, especially since Nick is still a very real presence. It’s been three years since his death, and Kelly still wears her wedding ring. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, but to me it shows she hasn’t let go of him, and that she is by no means ready to start dating anyone – much less his best friend. Joe and Kelly also constantly talk about Nick. I realize that they both loved him, and that he will always be a part of their lives, but there is no need to talk it to death. I honestly would have preferred it if their relationship had stayed platonic throughout the book. In the beginning of the book they are best friends, and the friendship is beautiful, sweet and fun to watch – the romantic aspect didn’t quite fit for me.

Now, I’m not saying people who lose their spouses shouldn’t date or remarry. I’m not even saying that Joe and Kelly dating is wrong – personally I just didn’t feel comfortable with it. Maybe if Nick hadn’t been at the centre of the story the whole time it wouldn’t have bothered me as much. Such as it is, Nick is too strong a presence throughout the novel. At times it felt like he might as well have been right there, watching the two of them kiss. I’m pleased that Joe and Kelly found happiness with each other, but I would have preferred that Nick and Joe had been just colleagues in stead of best friends, or that Nick and Kelly had been only engaged, not married. Somehow the transition of their relationship didn’t work for me.

Also, Henderson's trademark focus on faith is present, but not as strong as in her other works. This time around it seemed to me to be an action novel first, Christian lit second.

I still love Dee Henderson, but sadly this is not my favourite book of hers.

Maid to Match - Deeanne Gist (Paperback)

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Maid to Match - Deeanne Gist (Paperback)
Dispatched in 10 to 15 working days
Price
178

Another gem in the Deeanne Gist collection

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Tilly Reese was raised to become a Lady’s Maid – the highest position a woman could reach professionally, other than Housekeeper. Tilly's mother spent many years and many resources training her to one day be able to be chosen as Lady’s Maid for some wealthy lady. The position would secure a life of comfort, travel and a significant salary increase, meaning Tilly would be able to help provide for her family. When Tilly is placed on a shortlist to become Lady’s Maid for the wealthy Mrs Vanderbilt, her mother is ecstatic even though becoming a Lady’s Maid would mean giving up the possibility of marriage and motherhood. For 18 year old Tilly this is a sacrifice she is willing to make… until she meets Mack Danver.

Mack Danver is a mountain man forced to place his younger siblings with foster families when he can no longer financially afford to raise them himself. His only sister, however, is sent to an orphanage in North Carolina instead of a foster family. When Mack suspects the children at the orphanage are being abused, he needs to raise funds quickly in order to get Ora Lou out of the orphanage and set her up on her own. His twin brother is also employed at the Biltmore Estate, as footman. When Mrs Vanderbilt realizes that the handsome Earl Danver has a handsome twin brother, she jumps at the chance to offer him a position at the estate - not superficial at all, but handsome twins in one’s service is quite the coupe de grace for the wealthy.

A position at the Biltmore Estate comes with a very attractive salary, and eager to get Ora Lou out of the orphanage Mack accepts the offer intending to leave the estate and head back to his beloved mountains as soon as he can. Then he meets Tilly Reese. Mack and Tilly are instantly drawn to one another. While Mack makes no secret of his intentions, Tilly fights their attraction every step of the way. She knows she can’t be distracted by a man so close to accomplishing her goal of becoming a Lady’s Maid. Tilly even goes out of her way to avoid Mack, but then she is enlisted to tame his wild ways and coach him in proper servant etiquette. Forced to spend time together, and then jointly discovering a hideous scandal at the town orphanage, Tilly and Mack’s romance blooms in spite of Tilly’s efforts to keep him at arm’s length.

When his goal is within reach and Mack’s time at Biltmore Estate draws to a close, with the realization of Tilly’s lifelong dream close enough to touch, her mother’s dreams resting heavily on her shoulders, can Mack and Tilly find a way to be together, or will the realities of life push them apart?

Maid to Match is another gem in the Deeanne Gist collection. I was hooked in the first chapter, and kept reading faster and faster to discover what happens next, and to reach the point where Tilly finally stops fighting her feelings for Mack. The tension in their relationship was perfectly paced and beautifully done.

The complications Tilly and Mack face are believable, and even though you as reader believe that Tilly and Mack will eventually find their happily ever after, the obstacles they face are so real that you can’t help but fear that life might get in the way. A suspenseful romance is always fun to read, because the moments of happiness and joy are that much more precious.

Deeanne Gist is quite simply a master of romance. Her books are all lovely, sweet, funny, feel-good, grab-you-by-the-heart-reads. Her characters are real, deep, emotionally driven and her plot lines are flawlessly built on foundations of faith. What’s not to love? Maid to Match is a must read for all romantics and history lovers alike!

The Lucky One - Nicholas Sparks (Paperback)

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The Lucky One - Nicholas Sparks (Paperback)
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Honest, simple and realistic

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Logan Tibault is a US Marine serving in Iraq when he picks up a picture of a beautiful blonde woman, with the words “Keep safe” written on the back. At first he pins the photo to the notice board where the Marine who it belongs to can reclaim it. However, nobody claims it, and driven by a compulsion he can’t explain, Logan takes the picture back. That night, with the picture in his pocket, his luck turns. At first Logan simply wins a lot of money from other Marines at poker, but soon it appears the picture is a lucky charm in every sense of the word when Logan inexplicably survives attack, after attack, after attack. After his third tour of duty, Logan is driven to find the woman in the picture. She saved his life. He owed her…

Elizabeth Green is a lonely young divorcee, living in a small town with her Grandmother and her son, Ben. Elizabeth’s dating life is non-existent, leaving her vulnerable as she ponders why the men she dates all eventually simply stop contacting her without any explanation. To complicate her life even further, Elizabeth shares custody of Ben with his father, Sheriff Keith Clayton – an immature, womanizing bully who abuses his power. Keith’s family is the most prominent family in Hampton, which also includes a Judge of the Court, and Beth knows that rattling the cage in any way could cause her to lose Ben to the Claytons for good. For this reason Elizabeth is forced to toe the line in all respects for fear Keith might sue for full custody of Ben.

Elizabeth helps Nana run a dog kennel and training centre, and when Logan finally finds Elizabeth at the kennel with a “Help Wanted” sign in the window, Logan has the opportunity to become a part of Elizabeth’s life. He knows it’s his destiny to find her, though he doesn’t know why yet. He takes the job at the kennel, getting to know Elizabeth, Nana and Ben, with the ever present picture of Elizabeth in his back pocket.

When Elizabeth and Logan fall in love, Keith couldn’t be more unhappy with the situation. Apart from the fact that Logan might posses evidence that could cause Keith’s Grandfather to disown him, Keith always saw Elizabeth as his toy, and even though he’s found other toys to play with, it doesn’t mean he wants anybody else to play with his old toys. This was a creepy analogy used in the book, and it effectively captures how perverted Keith Clayton is. Can Logan and Elizabeth’s fragile new relationship survive the wrath of Keith Clayton, and the massive secret that Logan is keeping from her?

The Lucky One is a beautiful love story! Logan and Elizabeth’s romance is very realistically portrayed from Logan’s fascination with Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s initial distrust of Logan, gradually getting to know each other, Logan’s budding relationship with Ben and ultimately discovering that they’ve come to love each other. The humour in the novel is also quite witty. I found myself laughing out loud several times, first with some of Nana’s sayings (which never make any sense), and especially with Logan and Elizabeth’s first date at “Shagging for Crabs”. It sounds dirty, but it’s really not! The whole experience is based on double entendres, which gets to be very funny.

One of my favourite character’s is Logan’s dog, Zeus! Not many authors can subtly yet effectively make an animal a very real presence and a primary character in a story. Zeus is awesome. Nicholas Sparks has a lovely way of writing romance. Honest, simple and realistic. I had high expectations for The Lucky One, and it didn’t let me down.
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