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Monday, 31 December 2012

Crimson Frost

I received a fabulous ARC from Jennifer Estep with some really great bookmarks. The cover is great. I have to say that Jennifer Estep is very skilled at eliciting extreme emotions with both of her series. I had no expectations and pretty much went into this newest release with an open mind, despite the book blurb. This time out Gwen has to defend herself not only against reapers, but also against charges that she freed Loki intentionally. This means she also had to defend herself against the judgment of her classmates who had all lost someone to the reapers making it a very hard road ahead of her for her to travel, which is not unusual. That is one thing that Jennifer Estep does really well. She writes multi-dimensional characters that you identify with, whilst you can't help but feel total disdain and disgust at the bad guys, some of which for all intents and purposes, are kids.

There are several new characters in this book. We meet more of the protectorate leaders and are introduced to more students. It was great to see more of Morgan because we see more of who she is outside of how she used to behave when she was the leader of the mean girls. I am one of those people that cannot stand that concept and hate when I see students behaving that way in real-life though I know it is human nature to want people to admire and love you. But, mean girls tend to go to the extreme with their tactics and treatment of others until they don't have their group to shield them.  This is another example of how despite this being young adult urban fantasy Jennifer Estep makes you forget that the book is about mythology and she demonstrates that she really has insight into her characters and does great job of making us see and feel them.

The Chaos War is seriously heating up and it seems that these teens have some serious preparations to make because it looks like a lot of the reapers tend to be adults who have more experience and training than them. I love that they fight with ferocity and amazing courage, which was something that Gwen demonstrated a lot of in this book. She showed this vast amount of courage when there were times she was all alone against what seemed like everyone at times. There are so many things you can take from Crimson Frost, like perseverance in the face of what appears to be insurmountable obstacles, not just physical pain but terrible heartache from the losses these kids deal with on a daily basis. They let it drive them and most of them let it help build their character. One thing that seems interesting is that you cannot always tell which of the kids will be a reaper based upon how they behave. Just because someone is a mean girl doesn't mean she will end up being a reaper, but, then again...That is one of the beautiful things in this story, surprises. They keep you coming back for more and I know I'll be anxiously awaiting Midnight Frost!

Review can also be seen at Lady Techie'sBook Musings

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Road Back

This novel is a very interesting read. It opens with an intriguing scene which has a significance which will only become clear to the reader much later in the book. I liked this approach because it drew me through the book, wanting to know what had happened in order to bring about this outcome.

The structure of the novel, which is essentially a love story, is also quite unusual. It introduces the reader to the two main characters, Patricia and Kalden, in turn and follows them from childhood as they grow up and move towards their first meeting. This technique helps the reader to fully identify with both the main characters and makes the impact of their meeting and its attendant dilemmas even stronger.

What makes ‘The Road Back’ really stand out, though, is the geographical and historical setting. A lot of research has clearly gone into writing the book, but the detail is included in a way that feels natural and not forced. The reader gets to experience with Patricia her early life in a London scarred by the blitz, and a family bruised by war, and to see the country of Ladakh (a country north of the Himalayas)  through Kalden’s eyes as he grows up there.

The strength of the love story and the richness of the detail of life in Ladakh, a country I knew nothing about before reading this book, carry the reader through this compelling tale. And, without giving too much away, the end of the story has a final unexpected twist which really delivers on the promise of the beginning.

All round, an extremely enjoyable and intelligent read.

Reviewed by Helen M Hunt

With thanks to the publishers for providing a copy of this book.

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Au Pair

by Janey Fraser

When Jilly’s husband David is demoted at work, she needs to make some money.  She’s committed to staying at home with her three boys, and when she sees one of her wealthier friends having problems with her au pair, she thinks she has found the perfect solution: she’ll set up a website, work from the kitchen table, recruit helpful girls for welcoming families, and do everything so much better than the existing agencies. Or that’s the plan.

Jilly is a neither smart, thin nor rich; her teenager is hormone-ridden and her twin boys are....twin boys.  David wants her to help family finances, but doesn’t want her work to impinge on family life.  If she tries to be efficient at work, her domestic world falls apart, and if she tries to be a good wife and mother, her business goes into free fall.  Sound familiar? All of this makes Jilly a much more appealing heroine than I had anticipated when I saw the title of this book.  Au pairs?  Middle-class angst?  Women with too much time and money?  Whilst it would be true to say that the characters in Janey Fraser’s entertaining novel are hardly on the breadline, she does a great job of drawing us in to each of their lives, showing us that there are always two sides to every story.

Paula, Jilly’s best friend, has plenty of money, a wayward husband, and an au pair from hell.  As Jilly’s agency starts to take off, Paula becomes increasingly distant - does she disapprove of Jilly’s chaotic home life, or is there something else behind her frostiness?

Matthew, one of Jilly’s first clients, is mourning his wife, and trying to cope with what happened before her death, whilst dealing with his young daughter’s own grief and manipulative behaviour.  His first au pair is a nightmare, but her departure involves Matthew in a tragic event.  Can Jilly find him a perfect replacement?

Dawn has everything, and demands everything from her au pairs; her children are badly behaved and spoilt, but Dawn spends all her time at the gym or entertaining, and can’t give them the only thing they really want - her time.  Her wealthy, successful husband seems so much more human, - long-suffering even - , as he humours Dawn’s endless demands; but is he all that he seems?

Into this mix come the au pairs - young, pretty and looking for fun.  Personality clashes are inevitable, as their hosts expect childcare and cooking, whilst the girls are here to party.  Marie-France, however, is different; her own mother came to Corrywood as an au pair, and went home pregnant - now Marie-France wants to find her father.  Her impoverished but glamorous mother won’t even tell her his name; her boyfriend thinks she’s being unfaithful.  She may be the best mother’s help on Jilly’s books, but her secret agenda ruffles the feathers of certain respectable locals - some of them not a million miles from Jilly’s own front door.

Janey Fraser has written a great story - we really do want to know what is going to happen to everyone, especially Marie-France - with characters who come to life and involve us in their struggles.  Although the tone of the book is light and breezy, it also addresses more serious issues - culture clash, infidelity, bereavement, loneliness and parenting are all examined en route to a happy, if predictable, ending.  A feel-good novel that manages to avoid many of the cliches of its genre.

Reviewed by Rosemary Kaye

Thanks to the publishers for the review copy of this book.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


I love Rosy Thornton’s work so I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this one ever since it arrived. I’m very pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed.

‘Ninepins’ tells the story of Laura, her 12-year-old daughter Beth, care-leaver Willow and Willow’s social worker, Vince. The other star of the story is Ninepins itself – the house where Laura and Beth live – and its setting in the Cambridgeshire fens.

I’m not going to say much about the plot, because it’s difficult to do so without being tempted to give too much away, but the story begins with Vince persuading Laura to take Willow in as a lodger. This is a decision that will turn out to have huge consequences for all four of them.

Setting this story in the fens was an inspired decision. As well as the depths of emotion explored between the different characters in the novel, there is a stunning interplay of atmospheric themes that could only have arisen from that location.

If you’ve ever been to the Cambridgeshire fens, you will recognise them from these expert depictions, and if you haven’t you’ll feel as though you have. The setting accentuates the themes of loneliness, vulnerability and isolation and allows the elements to become active participants in the story. Water, whether it is in the depths of the lode on which Ninepins is situated or in the form of ice holding the whole area in its grip during winter, is a constant factor and presents a contrast to fire, the other element that plays a significant part in the story.

‘Ninepins’ has a slightly different feel from Rosy Thornton’s previous works and I think it is the air of tension and menace hovering over this story which makes it feel like a bit of a departure. All round, a fabulous read which kept me reading late at night long after I should have been asleep.

Reviewed by Helen M Hunt

Thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this book.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Nightingale Girls


As a child, I was an enormous fan of ‘nurse books’: Sue Barton was my greatest heroine, and I could see myself in years to come, drifting through the wards, nobly administering sympathy to grateful patients (male, of course.)

Perhaps fortunately, this was not to be, and I hadn’t read a medical novel for at least twenty years until I started Donna Douglas’s ‘The Nightingale Girls’, the story of probationer nurses in the East End of the 1930s. 

The first character we meet in this absorbing story is Dora Doyle, a girl from the Bethnal Green slums who wants more out of life than a job in the Gold’s Garments sweatshop.  Dora wants to get away from home, and for more than one reason. 

Against her expectations, she is taken on as a trainee by new Matron, Kathleen Fox, who is doing her best to shake up the old guard at the Nightingale Teaching Hospital.  Dora is joined by Helen Tremayne, whose fearsome mother (a former nurse and a trustee of the hospital) rules her life, Millie Benedict, a girl from the landed aristocracy who has also decided to do something with her life - but still likes to party -, and Lucy Lane, who has been given everything by her indulgent father and wants everyone to know about it.

We follow the girls and their friends, together with the doctors, porters, and the patients as they live their lives, both at the hospital and outside it. Dora struggles with her lack of funds to buy books, and with a darker threat to her family at home; Millie’s training is threatened by her own joie de vivre, but later by much more serious events; Helen dares to challenge her mother’s authority -but will she have the strength to follow her heart?

‘The Nightingale Girls’ could have served up a set of stereotypes, but in Dora, Millie, Helen and their friends and co-workers Donna Douglas has managed to create excellent characters, all of whom come alive on the page.  I felt that I really knew the girls, and could picture how they would look and speak, and I was so keen to find out what happened to each of them that I read the book in just a few days. 

Life in an East End slum is conveyed very well - I could imagine the overcrowding, the neighbours always leaning out of their windows to see what Dora is up to, the claustrophobia - and the conviviality - of three generations living under one tiny roof.  Douglas is far from sentimental about lives lived on the breadline - poverty, drink and abuse all feature - but through Lucy she also shows us that these problems are not necessarily confined to the poor.  Even Millie, who has the happiest family life, is up against the expectations of her class, in which girls are expected to do very little until they marry, preferably at a young age and to a suitable husband.

The end of the book does not bring closure for every character, and I look forward to the next instalment in the lives of these interesting women.

Reviewed by Rosemary Kaye

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Victoria Connelly

You can find a guest post from author Victoria Connelly on my main blog, Fiction Is Stranger Than Fact today. Victoria is talking about 'It's Magic' her trilogy of magical romantic comedies including 'Flights Of Angels'.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Last Summer


This moving story opens in June 1914 - the beginning of the long hot Edwardian summer preceding the First World War.  Clarissa lives a life of luxury at Deyning, her family seat in Sussex: the youngest child and only daughter of wealthy parents, she spends her time playing tennis and croquet, painting, and wandering about the beautiful grounds, waiting to marry a suitable husband.  Her older brothers, up at Cambridge or Aldershot, appear occasionally at Deyning with their affluent, carefree friends; Clarissa longs to be part of their grown-up world, and is about to be sent to a Paris finishing school, when her father, hearing rumours of worrying events in Europe, decides to postpone her trip.

Tom Cuthbert is the son of the Deyning housekeeper, but is - somewhat mysteriously - a student at Oxford.  Down for the long vacation, he is immediately attracted to Clarissa and she to him, but both know that any relationship between them is impossible; Clarissa’s beautiful but remote mother is especially determined that her daughter must not become involved with someone who is ‘not one of us.‘  Clarissa and Tom meet fleetingly during the summer, but their worlds are torn apart by Britain’s declaration of war on Germany.  Tom, together with Clarissa’s brothers, enlist, and within weeks most of the young male population of the country has disappeared to France and Belgium.  Clarissa spends the rest of the war in London; her family suffers tragic losses, as do all the families she knows.  

In 1917, a wonderful and devastating event changes Clarissa’s life forever; the secret that this forces her to keep almost destroys her.   After the war, nothing is the same, and although some survive, they are irrevocably damaged; whilst some lose family fortunes, others, liberated from old social strictures, find huge success in a new world.  Will Clarissa break free from the role society has given her?  Will she ever find true happiness?  And what is the secret that her own mother is so anxious to keep?

Judith Kinghorn has written a novel that manages to tell a touching personal love story whilst also breathing life into a turbulent period of British history.  This is the story not only of two people kept apart by prejudice and snobbery, but also of the way in which the 1914-1918 war - now almost ancient history to our children - affected every man and woman, whatever their social background.  The reader is there on the terrace at Deyning, listening to the young men’s enthusiastic response to Lord Kitchener’s rallying calls, but she is also there at the London stations, when those same young men, blinded by mustard gas, hold on to one another as they stagger back to a very different world. 

As I closed this book, I felt both satisfied and exhausted - I had been on a journey with Clarissa, and she and her family and friends had become real to me: this, I think, is the mark of a good story well told.
Reviewed by Rosemary Kaye

Monday, 6 August 2012

Every Time We Say Goodbye

At the heart of Colette Caddle’s ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ is an enchanting and compelling love story. But as well as being a romance, the novel is also a story about the importance and endurance of friendship.

Running through the story is the triangle of friendship between Marianne and two friends she has known since childhood, Helen and Jo. The roots of their closeness lie in events from that time, and still endure now despite the different demands their adult lives have made on them.

When Marianne’s husband Dominic dies, she is thrown into turmoil. It seems that Dominic’s life has been full of things she knew nothing about. Her search for the truth, and the desire to protect her children and Dominic’s mother from finding out the worst about him, test her to the limit.

This novel is full of life and reality and packed with great characters. I particularly loved Marianne’s mother-in-law, Dot and Helen’s husband Johnny. And the way that they all rally round to help Marianne in her time of need is heart-warming. Romance also enters the story, and re-enters Marianne’s life in the form of Rob, a lover from her past. But Rob has complications in his own life, and they also threaten Marianne’s happiness.

With the warmth of friendship and the heat of romance, there’s plenty to keep you turning the pages. But add to that the intrigue and mystery surrounding Dominic’s life in the last few months before his death, and you have a compelling mixture which will prevent you from putting the book down at all.

A well-paced, beautifully written and very memorable read.

Reviewed by Helen M Hunt

Friday, 20 July 2012

Death Bed

Followers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of Leigh Russell and have been following the Geraldine Steel series with great interest. Geraldine is turning into a fantastic series character. Her personal life, with its secrets and frustrations, forms a sub-plot that flows through the four books so far and leaves unanswered questions for the future.

In ‘Death Bed’ Geraldine has moved from her local force in Kent up to London to work with the Met. The challenges of her relocation add a further layer of interest to the plot, and her new colleagues are an interesting bunch, especially DS Sam Haley.

Leigh Russell’s writing is always full of intrigue and danger, but in ‘Death Bed’ we’re taken to some very dark places indeed as the latest criminal to cross Geraldine’s path does his worst. When the bodies of two black girls are discovered in quick succession in North London, Geraldine is dragged into her most disturbing case yet as she has to track down the killer dubbed ‘The Dentist’ by the press.

This book isn’t for the faint-hearted, but I was gripped and it kept me awake at night as I was driven to read one more chapter. As ever, Leigh Russell makes her victims and their families seem astonishingly real and it is this that makes some aspects of this story so heartbreaking.

As ever, this is a well written, well plotted crime novel with fantastic pace and lots of intrigue. My favourite kind of read.

I highly recommend this book and would also encourage you to read the others in the series, ‘Cut Short’, ‘Road Closed’ and ‘Dead End’.

You can find out more about Leigh Russell here.

Reviewed by Helen M Hunt

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Shadow Of Night

I started reading Shadow of Night and honestly if it were not for my full-time job and my adjunct faculty position I would have finished it days ago. It seems like everything and everyone conspired to keep me from reading my book so I took to reading a few words or sentences when I could, like just before starting work in the morning, during lunch, during commercials, in the parking lot while waiting for dinner to be ready for pickup. I was so wrapped up in what was happening next that I just realized as I closed the book that so much happened in this installment. I don’t want to write spoilers but suffice it to say there were not any threads left unattended, or, at least if there were I did not notice them. The historical aspects of this story continue and really are expanded upon which I guess is one of the great things about having a vampire who has been around for hundreds of years and has enough status that he has met some truly interesting figures from history. 

One of the great things about this book though is not just those historical figures but how Diana interacts with and affects the people she meets. Part of me wants to write a review that shows how overwhelmingly special I think this book is so that anyone who reads it will want to tell all their friends, family and even strangers about it and the other part of me keeps thinking read it over again right now and they’ll find out about it on their own.  Something else that I found to be really good was the poetry, some of which belongs to others but some of which belongs to Deborah Harkness.  “It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear.  It begins with a discovery of witches.” This is obviously a huge catalyst for much of the story, but, some of the beauty of this story lies in how the threads of the poem are weaved into different parts of the book. There is that tiny part of me that is also a scholar who loves reading this genre of book that wishes I had written it or could write something just as great that not only other scholars would love but those that love romance, fantasy, historical and travel would also love it. I’ve come full circle now and don’t suppose the last installment is ready for me to read since this one is just days from being released. I guess I’ll spend another year trying to ignore the fact that I’m waiting to see how it all ends. But, I will be eagerly awaiting the final book!

Review can also be seen at LadyTechiesBookMusings

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Cornish House

The Cornish House

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for ages, partly because I know Liz, and hearing her talk about the book is inspirational, and partly because it’s such a fantastic story.

‘The Cornish House’ follows the story of Maddie as, following the death of her husband, she moves to Cornwall with her stepdaughter, Hannah, and tries to rebuild her life.

It’s a fabulous book for a number of reasons. Firstly, the characters all feel like old friends as soon as you meet them. The story revolves around Maddie and Hannah, but all the personalities that surround them are equally engaging. I particularly liked Tom, the elderly man who becomes very important to Hannah.

Secondly, as well as the human characters, there are two other important stars of the novel. One is the Cornish house itself – Trevenen. Central to the story, the house casts its spell over both Maddie and Hannah and is instrumental in everything that happens. The other is the Cornish setting. Liz Fenwick’s love of Cornwall comes through really strongly in the story giving it a strong sense of place and also of history.

The story is told partly through Maddie’s eyes and partly through Hannah’s. This device works well and allows the reader to empathise fully with both characters, even when they are at loggerheads with each other.

This is a great novel and I found that my desire to know what happened to Maddie and Hannah kept me turning the pages long after I should have gone to sleep each night.

It’s a touching story, sensitively told and ultimately leaves the reader with a feeling of having followed the characters through a life-changing time, and experienced with them all the highs and lows tied up with that. A brilliant read, and I can’t wait to read Liz’s next book.

Reviewed by Helen M Hunt

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Grave Mercy

I was interested in Grave Mercy from the moment I caught wind of it on Goodreads.com. I am grateful to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to obtain a copy of an ARC. The first thing that caught my attention in the synopsis was the sentence that said, “If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death.” That sentence is full of contradictions. I may not be Catholic, but, I do not remember convents being full of assassins. I was under the impression that they were full of women married to God who spend their time praying and doing community service. Apparently there is more going on in some of those places than I initially thought!

Ismae is taken there when she is a young teenager and she is happy to serve St. Mortain after the life she has escaped where an entire village both feared and hated her. Robin LaFevers does an amazing job of telling the little details. You cannot help but become involved in Ismae’s life at the convent. She makes friends and finally knows what it is like to have people be kind to her and treat her like a human being.

I love reading about the history of things and places. History was part of my major in my undergraduate degree, though I did get fixated on the history of China’s dynasties. Whenever I read a book that uses real places I tend to take Internet fieldtrips. When I read that most of this story was taking place in Brittany I hit the Internet to see if there really was a St. Mortain and find out the history of this country.  I found information on Mortain but it looks like the storyline in Grave Mercy was a very well-developed story that Robin LaFevers did a wonderful job of developing. I was watching DVR recordings I have of re-runs of Passport to Europe and to my great surprise and delight I had one of what is now Brittany, France. Of course that tells me a lot about what the results of the fight that Brittany had with France to keep its independence.  This book tells the story about the hearts and minds of the people who fought so hard to keep Brittany its own independent country. Interestingly enough Brittany was full of British people so of course they would not want to be annexed by France.

Grave Mercy is full of court intrigue and in-fighting that is so underhanded that you cannot tell who is truly working on behalf of Brittany and who is working on behalf of the France regent. The interesting part of this also is that the duchess, Anne is only 12 years old and despite her royal background we really get to see the inner workings of how things were for women of all stations in this book. Can you imagine not being able to walk around a party unescorted by an adult male or female for fear of what it would do to your reputation? Well that has not changed all that much depending upon how you behave while walking around a party these days!

Character development was very well done in Grave Mercy. You did not always know who the bad guy was in this story. The fantasy elements were exciting and the mythology surrounding St. Mortain was interesting and I hope we will get to see that mythology developed more. The fight scenes, though occasionally one sided, were well written.  Death’s handmaidens were some kick-butt chicks. I am not sure how many books are in the series but, it appears the next book surrounds another of the girls from the convent. I look forward to that read!

Review by Lady Techie, and can also be seen at ladytechiesbookmusings.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Balancing On The Edge Of The World

by Elizabeth Baines

Balancing on the edge of the world by Elizabeth Baines is an intense collection of short stories, each on the theme of power – finding it, keeping it and losing it.

Baines’ characterisations are particularly vivid, ranging from comic to tragic but always retaining their believability. I laughed out loud in places but was incredibly moved and sometimes frustrated in others. The collection plays with different voices and points of view, keeping your attention from story to story, and I could clearly see the influence of Baines’ dramatic work for radio and stage.

The collection of 14 stories covers a lot of ground, from magic to metaphysics, while looking at “cool hard edges” and “the pain that had caused them”. My favourite pieces are Daniel Smith Disappears Off the Face of the Earth which contrasts one life-altering moment in the life of a teenage boy with “all the times and places in the history of the world” and Power, the haunting story of a young girl listening to her parent’s relationship fall apart.

This is Baines’ first collection and it is not an easy read. Each story demands concentration from the reader but, in return, delivers an appropriately powerful experience.

Reviewed by Claire Marriott

Monday, 30 January 2012

The House Of The Wind

By Titania Hardie

The House Of The Wind weaves together two plot lines, one set in modern day San Francisco and one in Tuscany in 1347. As the novel progresses the links between the two stories become more obvious and ultimately marry together beautifully.

The present day narrative begins very dramatically with the death of the fiancé of the main character Madeline. Her numbness following this event colours her personal life and her professional life and results in her family sending her to Tuscany, thus starting the long healing process.

The main character in the 1347 thread is Mia, and she’s also been bereaved. We learn that she has lost her mother in brutal circumstances and has been rendered mute. Mia is also in need of healing and her journey to recovery is triggered by the arrival of a beautiful and compassionate traveller.

The two stories work very well together. It took me longer to get into the historical narrative, but I think that’s the way it should be, and certainly as I read on I became equally wrapped up in it.

Both storylines are equally full of romance, action, pain and intrigue. Madeline and Mia are both fantastic characters

As well as great characters, this novel is notable for its fantastic settings and the way in which geographical locations become an integral part to the story. From the hustle bustle of San Francisco to the calm and serenity of the Tuscan countryside, the settings enhance the story and provide convincing atmosphere.

For an intriguing, absorbing and multi-faceted read I highly recommend this book.

Reviewed by Helen M Hunt

With thanks to the publishers for the review copy of this book.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

The Rook

By Daniel O’Malley

I just finished 'The Rook' and I began to worry about writing a review that would do the rating I plan to give this book some justice. I started making notes about my impressions before I was even a quarter through the book. It made such an impression on me that I went to find the author's website so that I could follow him on Twitter. I started feeding my thoughts into Goodreads as I got through different parts of the book, which is something I never do. I typically post Twitter updates but this seemed easier so that it would note the percentage I was at on my Kindle Fire when I made my note. I stopped reading yesterday and became concerned that I would not get to see more of this intriguing story after I finished the book. I jumped on the Internet and went to Daniel O’Malley’s website and saw that he has plans to do more stories in the Chequy world.

As I finished posting an update early yesterday on Goodreads I caught a glimpse of the overall ratings of the book and thought - impossible. We all read something and get vastly different impressions of what we read. Some things work for us and some things don’t. The beginning of this book did move so fast and have such a convoluted beginning that I had to re-read some parts. When I caught on to how things worked I knew I was one of the people for whom this book worked very much.

'The Rook' was one of those books that I knew I wanted to read and was watching for at least a month before its release date. I was drawn to it just from reading the synopsis and kept hoping for it to be released early. I bought and downloaded it first thing the morning it was released and made the mistake of taking a peek at it before starting work. It was a mistake because I was so totally enthralled that I wanted to send an email that I was leaving for the day and go find a good cup of coffee and a quiet, comfortable place to read for hours. I did tear myself from the book until that night and was really happy that I did not have to teach at the university that night.

This book has something for just about everyone. If you want a mystery, it is there. If you love action, the fight scenes with cool supernatural powers are there. If you like a bit of horror or gore, there is a bit of that too. It is not for romance readers, though there are a couple of irons in the fire that might prove interesting. One of the great things about this book that I wanted to mention separately was the author’s humor. I finally used the highlight feature of my Kindle Fire because there were several parts in this book that literally made me laugh out loud. A great example was when Myfanwy and her assistant Ingrid left a very important meeting and Myfanwy was still feeling things out from the memory loss. She asked Ingrid her impressions from the meeting and the scene went something like this. “Yes, I want to hear your thoughts on what we just saw”, Myfanwy said enthusiastically. “Did you think I brought you along for kicks? That was a classic date, with snacks and a show, and now I expect you to deliver the goods”. There are so many more humorous situations throughout the book.

Let’s take a look at the characters. Our heroine, Myfanwy, is pretty much the kind to whom most of us can relate. She is thrown into her world in the most terrorizing circumstances, with no memory and surrounded by dead bodies. We follow the person that Myfanwy becomes in her new life as she learns about her important position in a secret organization. She doesn’t just jump in and suddenly know how her powers work and kick butt in the name of justice. She has serious growing pains as she is thrown into situation after situation where she has to learn not only who she is becoming, but she also has to learn who Myfanwy was before things unfolded. Ingrid is a bit of a wild card because she is the person closest to Myfanwy as her executive assistant. There is an intricate system in place in the Chequy that utilizes some of the nomenclature of the game of chess. One of the characters that came in towards the end that I really liked was L’il Pawn Alan (No this is not his name or title. He is Pawn Alan but his stature and personality earned him this nickname in Myfanwy’s head) who, like Myfanwy, turns out to be more than meets the eye.

I can say that this book was a wonderful experience and I definitely look forward to more work from Daniel O’Malley!

Reviewed by Lady Techie