Category Archives: Book Reviews

Dancing with Mistletoe

Dancing with Mistletoe: A Holiday StoryDancing with Mistletoe: A Holiday Story by Leslie Wells

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m first going to start off my saying that I took a chance on this book because I am always keen to find new authors and to try to extend my reading range (usually mysteries or crime).

My own preference is to read a book that is hugely gripping and highly compelling. I like grisly crime stories and a myriad of complex sub-plots. Dancing with Mistletoe is not that and the cover and the description are very clear.

I like characters to have many obstacles to overcome but the main character Julia is never really pushed, her life is pretty easy and the only fears she has, like so many women in love, is the fear that the relationship will suddenly be over. Because the plot is simplistic, I couldn’t discover new levels. In fact at one point I was really hoping that the love of her life would do something to really shake their relationship.

It’s well-written however, the story flows and it made me smile. I liked the naughty innuendos and I do think although it’s a very short book, it will please a great many readers who like a nice easy to read modern love story. I believe Leslie Wells is a popular author and I can understand why, this is a feel good book and I can imagine the author achieved what she set out to do. Some readers will absolutely love it.

If you have an hour spare and want a short,sweet and mildly spicy book which makes you feel all is well with the world, then this may be for you. If you prefer books that are a little more gritty, then look elsewhere.

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The Wideacre Trilogy

The Wideacre Trilogy: Wideacre + The Favoured Child + MeridonThe Wideacre Trilogy: Wideacre + The Favoured Child + Meridon by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read the first book of the trilogy – Wideacre many years ago when it reached best-seller status. I was gripped from the very first page and became a huge fan of Phillipa Gregory’s thereafter.

The opening page had me hooked. It became apparent that Wideacre was everything, it was the bond that united the family and the pinnacle of desire for a young Beatrice who loved the house and the land like no other, and yet, for her sins of being born a girl, would not be able to claim it as her own. As a character, she is madly self-absorbed and yet, there is vulnerability in her passions and actions, but you have to enjoy stripping back the layers of the character and the story to understand this. I think Phillipa Gregory created an outstanding character- totally flawed and ingeniously evil.

This book was totally different to my normal read, yet it was no less gripping. The author has a fantastic ability to make you see through the eyes of the character and to understand the passions within her, even if you don’t always agree.

This is a thought-provoking book but an excellent read. I’m not surprised that it did so well, or, that The Favoured Child and Meridon also became huge successes.

If you enjoy a captivating read and the idea of a trilogy appeals, it’s worth picking it up and settling in for the long haul. But don’t think of it as a romance, it’s erotic and may not be for everyone.

Annette Young

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ThornyholdThornyhold by Mary Stewart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It’s beautifully descriptive yet compelling. It was the first Mary Stewart book that I had read and I could not put it down. I can remember spotting a copy of the book in a charity shop window as I walked by and for some reason, I stopped to take a look. I had been looking for something different to read and this seemed to fit the bill. I had no idea as to the style or any of the author’s other books but I’m very glad I read it.

I started it that evening and became totally absorbed in the book. I think I sat up into the small hours to finish it. Thornyhold has everything that I most like in a book. Firstly, it’s written extremely well. You can forget about finding flaws as is the case with many novels and settle into the story. Secondly, it engages the reader effortlessly.

I enjoyed the air of mystery and the expectation that greeted me from the very first page. Gilly inherits her cousin’s house and discovers that her relative was known for her mystical powers – and was possibly a witch. It’s an appealing concept. It is a well-crafted mystery and the reader easily follows Gilly’s attempts to strip back the layers in a bid to reveal the truth. This gentle but effective series of revelations keeps the pages turning.

The novel may be too descriptive for some (I took the book to share with my writing students) and some felt that the descriptiveness weighed it down. But this is down to personal taste of course. I find this wonderful blend of descriptiveness and storytelling to be of great appeal.

For me, it’s beautifully evocative and captivating. I would really recommend this if you want to shut out the world and lose yourself in the pages of a beautifully crafted story.

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A Pocket Full of Rye

A Pocket Full of Rye (Miss Marple, #7)A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the first adult book I read as a child and it started a life-long love of Agatha Christie novels. I strongly believe that it was this book that helped me to develop my own passion for writing murder mysteries – it made a huge impression on me.

What I love about this book is its simplicity of style. It’s so easy to become hooked on the unfolding plot and to dive effortlessly into the search for clues.

Agatha Christie had a clever way of bringing characters to life and making them seem totally real. There are probably few people who don’t know Japp, Miss Marple or Poirot. This book is no exception, it’s a strong plot, ingenious and compelling. It’s a cleverly crafted murder mystery wrapped up in the author’s unique style. I won’t give the plot away but heartily recommend it.

If you haven’t read any Christie books, start here.

Annette Young

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Eternity’s Shadow

Eternity's Shadow (Science Fiction Adventure) (Lodestone Book 6)Eternity’s Shadow (Science Fiction Adventure) by Mark Whiteway

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I want to be above board and say that I provided a manuscript critique on this book (and others in the series) before it was published, but even so, I really rate this book and would like to share the reasons why.

Science fiction books are not usually my preference, especially when my time is so limited, but seriously, Eternity’s Shadow is fantastic. This is the 6th book in the series and it’s attention grabbing and convincing right from the very first page.

The story is imaginative, it’s clever, it’s thorough and it’s pure fantasy, but the roots are firmly based in realism, so that the reader can understand the emotions experienced and why a character acts in a certain way. This is a real adventure story, the route is paved with a multitude of obstacles to overcome and, there’s an abundance of drama. It’s science fiction at its peak. It’s believable too. I know how hard it is to bring characters to life but this book introduces new characters with the old and they blend beautifully.

The author-Mark Whiteway has a wonderful way with words, it’s beautifully descriptive throughout and yet not overly so, you do feel as if you are in the heart of the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and have given it a whopping five stars because I am such a fan. I am hoping that this will not be the last book in the series.

Annette Young

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Goodreads for Authors

Goodreads for AuthorsGoodreads for Authors by Michelle Campbell-Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I have been a member of Goodreads for a long time but as a full-time writer/author, I seem to get less time to read these days. This is something which I plan to correct but exploring a new site can take up a great deal of time. As such, it can really help when someone writes an easy to comprehend book such as this. This helps you to get to know the ropes and to avoid making any newbie errors.

Michelle Campbell-Scott has written a great book. She is quick to point out that this site is for readers, not for authors just trying to tout their books. She also makes the whole set-up process a lot easier while explaining the best way to maximise time spent here and in an efficient way – ideal for book enthusiasts with little to no time.

Each chapter is easy to read and laid out effectively. She also lists all the info at the end of each chapter as a summary so it’s a great way to recap.

If you are an author new to Goodreads or, like me, simply haven’t made enough effort, this is a great starting point.

Annette Young

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