Just call it a very, very, very early Christmas present. Or something like that. I’ve been lucky enough to get some extra reading in lately, and I’ve been busy giving reviews to the best books I’ve read over the last few weeks. And as I haven’t posted here for a while, I thought I’d bundle them altogether, so you lovely folks can have some ideas for what to snuggle up with as the weather gets colder. 😉
A Pound of Flesh (A Robert Young of Newbiggin Mystery, Book 1)
Stuart S. Laing
I could not put this book down. I love historicals, but I’ve never actually sat down with a historical that’s also a crime thriller, or one where you feel so transported through the use of a local dialect. The characters were well-rounded and interesting to get to know, and I loved the use of Scots for their speech – it really gave the ‘feel’ of actually being there, and I think putting the speech into modern English would have taken something away. The setting was amazing as well, every twist down an alleyway and shadowy building made me feel like I was not only back in Edinburgh, but as though I was back in the 18th century to boot. There were twists and turns in the story I never saw coming either, and a few points where I was on the edge of my seat or chewing my nails.
My only niggle (and reason for dropping a star) is that some of the book was a little difficult to read due to missing punctuation or spelling errors. It didn’t pull me away from the story (the story is too good for that!) but it did mean I sometimes had to slow and re-read a couple of sentences. But, knowing this is the author’s first book, I know that can happen and it won’t stop me from getting and reading the rest of the series at all.
Overall, Stuart S. Laing has produced a wonderful look back into a period and place that comes with a good smattering of drama, crime, and deliciously Scottish dialects. This is a real storyteller’s work, and the story is woven so effectively, I promise you won’t be able to put it down as soon as you start. A really fabulous book from start to finish.
A FABULOUS FOUR STARS! Grab your copy HERE.
Bittersweet (The Kaveesh, Book 1)
Tyffani Clark Kemp
Let me start off by saying I NEVER read YA books…and that makes absolutely no difference when it comes to how much I love this book! The characters (especially Lira) drew me in from their first tension-filled conversations, and they were complex and balanced enough to be seen as young adults, making realistic situations, but keeping enough seriousness to convey their particular situation.
I love the world of the Kaveesh that Tyffani Clark Kemp has created too. It’s imaginative, but meshes with our world in a way that makes the strange feel believable. The twists and turns are exciting and keep the pages turning, and keep you guessing with who is going to do what next – especially Mother Cora! Watch out for that one.
Overall, the relationships between the characters make this book. There’s tension, romance, humour, nostalgia, horror – every possible type of person is here, but the book never feels crowded, or like there are too many characters at once. The way the story is constructed, it allows for almost several stories within the book at the same time. The storyline is great, the characters are memorable, and the flow is brilliant. I urge anyone who enjoys sci-fi/dystopian YA to pick this up now, because you won’t be able to put it down once you start reading! I couldn’t give this less than five stars.
A FANTASTIC FIVE STARS! Grab your copy HERE.
The Searching Bride (The Emberton Brothers, Book 3)
Karen Aminadra’s Emberton Brother’s series comes to an end with this book, but it does not go out with a whisper. Quite the opposite! While the characters are, as ever for me, my favourite part, it is the emotions that truly bring this story to life. The characters are well-rounded and complex, and learning more about both Louis Emberton and Martha Coleman was wonderful. Martha is definitely my favourite heroine of the series, because you find out so much more about her in this book – she is not merely a romantic and a little naive, but loving, hard-working and practical as well. The emotions are so skilfully woven into the over-arching story that they become a part of it, both pulling it along and adding real depth to the situations the characters find themselves in.
As ever, the romance was believable and sweet, but because of the characters involved it had an extra depth that wasn’t as prevalent in the other two. As ever, I was willing the pair to come together happily for the end, but I was also wrapped up in so many other heartfelt events in the book that I had hardly any breath left! There were some parts where I wished perhaps we could have lingered longer to explore the story there (such as in Dover), but that is more personal taste, and the book didn’t need to do that at all. The descriptions are, as ever in Aminadra’s style, enough to give you a vivid picture without giving away all the details.
I cannot say enough good things about this book; it is a perfect ending to the series, and as brilliantly-written as the other two. If you enjoy sweet Regency romances, drama, and complex characters, these are the books for you. I cannot give this book any less than five stars.
A FANTABULOUS FIVE STARS! Get your copy HERE.