Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Three, Four… Better Lock Your Door by Willow Rose

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Synopsis:

It was supposed to be a night of fun, pleasure, lust and pain for Susanne Larsen when she agreed to meet with a stranger from a S&M chatroom. She met him for dinner that later led to casual, anonymous sex at the hotel room at the local inn.

But someone else showed up in the room and suddenly it was no longer a game.

Zeeland Times star reporter Rebekka Franck and her photographer Sune are covering the case for the newspaper and soon they find themselves deeply involved in a story of terrifying horror and ugly secrets.

D.S. Williams Review:

This is the second book in the series, and I have to admit, I’m feeling a little bit ambiguous about the series at this stage and I’m not sure if I will continue reading them. Ms. Rose picks up the action two years after the first book’s events take place, and a new serial killer is stalking the streets of Denmark, murdering in a supposedly random manner, and Rebekkah Franck in reporting the story… and with the help of her photographer Sune outsmarting the police in regards to catching the killer.
Once again, I have to point out that Ms. Rose would benefit greatly from a proofreader/editor. I suspect English is not her first language, and consequently, there are a great deal of syntax and spelling errors, which mar the overall reading experience. Having said that, the pacing is quite good, and the story does hold the reader’s attention… but in a great many sections, I experienced a sense of sameness with the storyline, in comparison to the previous book. Especially with regards to the main character of Rebekka Franck, who is supposedly in her late thirties, but her decision making at times can seem somewhat immature.
As another reviewer said, Ms. Rose has set this story two years after the first one, and yet there seems to be no change in the behaviour/demeanour of the main characters. They haven’t shown any maturity, either in development or behaviour. I found myself frustrated at times in the way the characters approached the situations they found themselves in and questioned their decisions, which is never a good situation to find myself in as a reader.
I will move on to reading other books in the meantime, and will whether I will continue reading the series after reading some other reviewers thoughts.

3 stars

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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Stolen Chaos by A.C. Nicholls

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Synopsis:

For twenty-eight years, Keira Poe has defended Chicago against creatures of the night. Armed with an array of magic weapons known as ‘magicards’, she is always eager to show trouble to the door. But when one of those cards is stolen by a ruthless mage, there’s nothing she won’t do to get it back.

In order to succeed, Keira – along with her cowardly, middle-aged faery – must follow the trail of carnage. Stopping for a battle at every turn, any hope of locating the thief only gets slimmer… until she meets Jason; the handsome shifter with a chip on his shoulder, and the only help she will get.

The war between the monsters grows greater than ever. Caught in the middle of it all, Keira must pick a side and stick with it, or risk losing her magic forever, along with anything the mage chooses to destroy.

D.S. Williams Review:

This is the first book in A.C. Nicholls Cardkeeper Chronicles.  The book certainly had some merits, it was a new and refreshing take on urban fantasy, and I did complete reading the book and have to say I enjoyed it. The characters are interesting, and for the most part likeable, although I did struggle to develop any real connection to the main characters and didn’t develop the desire to care particularly deeply for any of them. Having said that, the characters did show development, and the pacing of the story and the story arc were interesting.
The main reasons for three stars?
1. The story is written in first person, and while this is usually not a problem to me, in this instance, there was an overwhelming amount of ‘me’ and ‘my’ in the writing, which got a little bit annoying. With a little forethought and greater consideration, I think A.C. Nicholls might have been able to cut back significantly on the usage of those words.
2. There are a few situations in which the wrong spelling of a word has been used, which detracted from the overall reading flow.
3. I found the character of Link a little bit confusing. From the very beginning, it was said that he was 5 inches tall, but there were a number of points in the story where Keira’s interactions with Link made this seem a little odd. For instance, Keira ‘wraps Link up in both arms’ when she’s hugging him… which seems a little extraordinary for a faery who is only five inches tall. That’s not much faery to use both arms on.
Overall, the story was entertaining, bringing new concepts and direction to urban fantasy and I applaud the concept… but would have like to have seen it executed just a little more smoothly.
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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders

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Synopsis:

This is not a book on how to write historical fiction. It is a book on how not to write historical fiction.

If you love history and you’re hard at work writing your first historical novel, but you’re wondering if your medieval Irishmen would live on potatoes, if your 17th-century pirate would use a revolver, or if your hero would be able to offer Marie-Antoinette a box of chocolate bonbons . . .

(The answer to all these is “Absolutely not!”)

. . . then Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders is the book for you.

Medieval Underpants will guide you through the factual mistakes that writers of historical fiction—both beginners and seasoned professionals—often make, and show you how to avoid them. From fictional characters crossing streets that wouldn’t exist for another sixty (or two thousand) years, to 1990s slang in the mouths of 1940s characters, to South American foods on ancient Roman plates, acclaimed historical novelist Susanne Alleyn exposes the often hilarious, always painful goofs that turn up most frequently in fiction set in the past.

Alleyn stresses the hazards to writers of assuming too much about details of life in past centuries, providing numerous examples of mistakes that could easily have been avoided. She also explores commonly-confused topics such as the important difference between pistols and revolvers, and between the British titles “Lord John Smith” and “John, Lord Smith” and why they’re not interchangeable, and provides simple guidelines for getting them right. In a wide assortment of chapters including Food and Plants; Travel; Guns; Money; Hygiene; Dialogue; Attitudes; Research; and, of course, Underpants, she offers tips on how to avoid errors and anachronisms while continually reminding writers of the necessity of meticulous historical research.

D.S. Williams Review:

Ms. Alleyn has created an excellent guide for writers who are working on a historical fiction – not only providing varied and interesting information regarding any number of historical eras, but also pinpointing some of the more common mistakes and misnomers we tend to believe about those eras.
I’ll admit to picking it up purely because of the title, which relates to a question I had regarding Medieval times, but the information Ms. Alleyn has included is varied and rich in texture and substance. I enjoyed the reading of the book, although I found some of the language a little repetitive and in some instances, felt as if I was getting hammered with the same message a few too many times. But overall I’d highly recommend this for any author who wants to ensure they aren’t making any rookie mistakes when writing their own historical fiction.

(And the answer to that million dollar question in the books title?  Women apparently didn’t wear underpants in medieval times!)

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Posted in Book Reviews

Review of The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England

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Synopsis:

Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the 14th century. This text sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking the reader to the Middle Ages, and showing everything from the horrors of leprosy and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and haute couture.

D.S. Williams Review:

Some history books can be remarkably dry and boring, but not this one. Ian Mortimer has taken the world as it was in the fourteenth century and you, the reader, and brought the two together so that you’re enmeshed in that world as it was, walking the streets, meeting the locals, testing out their food and beds…

As a writer in the midst of writing a book with some medieval characters and elements, I’ve been searching for a book which is easy to read, easy to understand, and most of all, won’t have me falling of my perch in a deep snooze because I’m bored out of my brain. Mr. Mortimer’s book has been a great source of information and advice  to ensure historical inaccuracies are avoided.  No staid overview, in this case, you are immersed in the world as those living the fourteenth century lived it.

Mr. Mortimer has created a history book which can be read and enjoyed by just about anyone, not only did I learn a lot about the time period, but I got a distinct and well-rounded idea of what it was like to be there, living the life of a visitor to England during that time period.  The book is well-rounded, covering housing, dining, religion, entertainment, and medical treatment amongst others.

Thoroughly entertaining, filled with great information, and highly recommended for history lovers.

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Posted in Book Reviews, The World of Books

Book Review – Dark Genesis by A.D. Koboah

Dark GenesisThe Dark Genesis by A.D. Koboah

Synopsis:

Life for a female slave is one of hardship and unspeakable sorrow, something Luna knows only too well. But not even she could have foreseen the terror that would befall her one sultry Mississippi evening in the summer of 1807.

On her way back from a visit to see the African woman, a witch who has the herbs Luna needs to rid her of her abusive master’s child, she attracts the attention of a deadly being that lusts for blood. Forcibly removed from everything she knows by this tormented otherworldly creature, she is sure she will be dead by sunrise.

Dark Genesis is a love story set against the savage world of slavery in which a young woman who has been dehumanised by its horrors finds the courage to love, and in doing so, reclaims her humanity.

D.S. Williams Review:

I’m of two minds regarding this book, and even twelve hours after finishing I’m still considering my reaction to it.
A.D. Koboah’s story was written beautifully, I enjoyed the pacing, the characters and the concept. A.D. Koboah has a way with words which had me engrossed throughout the majority of the story.
Luna is an interesting and multi-faceted character, and for the most part I enjoyed the way she was written, but there were a couple of times when I found myself frustrated by her behaviour and the way she reacted to the male protagonist, Avery. While her initial reactions to Avery seemed very natural based on her background as a slave on a plantation (and a slave who had been physically abused by her masters), as time passed and Avery proved himself to be kind and caring, there were instances when I was frustrated by Luna’s decision making process and the way she refused to admit to her feelings. In some ways, I think the decision to avoid telling Avery how she felt about him was based on A.D. Koboah’s desire to take the storyline in a specific direction, rather than a realistic representation of Luna’s behaviors and that was quite frustrating.
Dark Genesis is the first of a trilogy, and at this stage, while I’m curious about the other books, I’m not inclined to race straight into reading the second book. Some of the upcoming storyline is pre-empted in the last few chapters of Dark Genesis, and to my mind, knowing what is to come has put me off reading any further.
Overall, this is a beautifully written book, but I’d suggest you read it for yourself to decide your opinion.

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