Her Hometown Girl – Lorelie Brown (Review)

hometown_girlTansy is supposed to be getting married. Instead, after discovering her ex-fiancée having sex with one of the wedding caterers, she’s getting a tattoo. The tattoo she’s always wanted and her controlling partner has always stopped her getting.

Cai doesn’t do commitment. She’s happy on her own, independent and invulnerable. But when an adorable, impertinent, and deeply damaged Tansy appears in the tattoo parlour where she works,  she’s tempted to reconsider.

Her Hometown Girl is a love story that’s also about rebuilding identities and recovering from abusive relationships. In case it wasn’t clear from the set-up above, both of the main characters are women.  Continue reading “Her Hometown Girl – Lorelie Brown (Review)”

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Wicked Appetite – Janet Evanovich (Review)

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Lizzy Tucker makes cupcakes. And cookies and other baked goods, but she’s really good at cupcakes. That’s her talent. She works in a bakery, and leads a quiet life free from troublesome pets or romantic entanglements.

Her quiet life is disrupted when two dangerously attractive and simply dangerous men appear in her life. They think she has another talent, one that’s more significant than baking. They think she can find magical objects, the sort that might bring about the apocalypse.  Continue reading “Wicked Appetite – Janet Evanovich (Review)”

Top Ten Tuesday – Fictional schools that would be better to teach in than an actual school

Top Ten Tuesday

“Top Ten Tuesday” is a feature started by “The Broke and the Bookish“, in which people list their top ten books that match some given criterion. It changes every week, and happens on a Tuesday. Lots (a frankly ridiculous number) of bloggers take part.

This week the theme is “back to school”, which is not normally something I enjoy thinking about. In the spirit of that theme, I’ve decided to list fictional educational establishments which – in one way or another – would be preferable to real-world schools. Importantly, this list is about schools it would be preferable to teach in, not to learn in – most fictional schools would give you a terrible education.  Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday – Fictional schools that would be better to teach in than an actual school”

Death Crawlers – Gerry Griffiths (Review)

51L813kfIJL._SY346_An entomologist’s plane goes down in a national park, releasing giant centipedes into rural America. The arthropods are aggressive, numerous, and venomous, attacking animals and people alike.

A cast of characters including a small-town sheriff, a (different) entomologist and a seedy trucker find themselves locked in an unexpected and desperate battle for survival.   Continue reading “Death Crawlers – Gerry Griffiths (Review)”

Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison (Review)

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It took me a long time to get round to reading Dead Witch Walking. The book gets a lot of praise, but it was first mentioned to me as “urban fantasy about killer tomatoes,” and that description did nothing for me. It sounded like comic fantasy, and the list of authors who can manage to do that well is extremely short.

Dead Witch Walking is not comic fantasy, and killer tomatoes don’t really feature. Instead, a weaponised virus used tomatoes as a carrier, eventually wiping out a significant proportion of the human population. In the aftermath of this tragedy, vampires/witches/et cetera revealed themselves to humanity. The book takes place long after this, in a post-masquerade world where monsters are feared but accepted as part of reality.

Rachel Morgan is tired of dealing with bad assignments and unreasonable orders. For years, she’s been an employee of Inderland Security, tasked with solving supernatural problems – rogue vampires, black magic, that sort of thing. Now she’s ready to strike out on her own.

Life outside the I.S. isn’t easy though. With only a pixie and a vampire as backup, Rachel has to find steady work and stay alive, all the while dealing with demons, drug lords, and an agency that really doesn’t like people breaking their contracts.    Continue reading “Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison (Review)”

Beck – Mal Peet & Meg Rosoff (Review)

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Beck is the story of an eponymous mixed-race orphan in an uncaring world. After the death of his mother, Beck is shipped off to Canada, where he deals with abusive priests, abusive farmers, and violent mobsters (plus more) while he searches for a place to belong.

This is a book that desperately wants to have an important message. It’s just not clear what that message is. Every event drips with unused significance. He is neglected and abused as an orphan, but it ends there – any larger point about man’s inhumanity to man or poverty fizzle out as he pushed the memories behind him and wanders on. Instead of an exploration of society or identity or anything else, each plot point is simply another event in a series of them with no real purpose. Continue reading “Beck – Mal Peet & Meg Rosoff (Review)”

Darien – C. F. Iggulden (Review)

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The Empire of Salt has declined and fallen. What is left is Darien – a city ruled through a puppet king by twelve noble families. Magic has faded too, and only the wealthy manage to hoard anything more than trinkets. Plague ravages the countryside, and children steal to survive. Society is old and tired, looking back to an earlier age to avoid thinking about the failures and compromises of the modern day. There’s no pride, justice, or nobility left.

Darien focuses on a cast of characters who want something more. A thief who dreams of a treasure hoard, a girl who dreams of justice. A gang leader with memories of a nobler calling and a general tired of pointless orders. Darien has been in placid decline for centuries, but times are changing. Plans and paths converge, beginning a chain of events that will either destroy the city or redeem it.  Continue reading “Darien – C. F. Iggulden (Review)”