Books/book review/Fantasy/Romance/London/crime fiction
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Clockwerk and Mapwerk?

The Watchmaker's Daughter Book Cover The Watchmaker's Daughter
Glass and Steele #1/#2
C.J. Archer
Historical Crime, Thrillers & Mystery,  Romance, Fantasy
C.J. Archer
June 28, 2016
380

DESCRIPTION India Steele is desperate. Her father is dead, her fiancé took her inheritance, and no one will employ her, despite years working for her watchmaker father. Indeed, the other London watchmakers seem frightened of her. Alone, poor, and at the end of her tether, India takes employment with the only person who'll accept her - an enigmatic and mysterious man from America. A man who possesses a strange watch that rejuvenates him when he's ill. Matthew Glass must find a particular watchmaker, but he won't tell India why any old one won't do. Nor will he tell her what he does back home, and how he can afford to stay in a house in one of London's best streets. So when she reads about an American outlaw known as the Dark Rider arriving in England, she suspects Mr. Glass is the fugitive. When danger comes to their door, she's certain of it. But if she notifies the authorities, she'll find herself unemployed and homeless again - and she will have betrayed the man who saved her life. With a cast of quirky characters, an intriguing mystery, and a dash of romance, THE WATCHMAKER'S DAUGHTER is the start of a thrilling new historical fantasy series from the author of the bestselling Ministry of Curiosities, Freak House, and Emily Chambers Spirit Medium books. KEYWORDS: historical mystery, historical fantasy, victorian era, victorian fantasy, steampunk, historical romance, paranormal romance, romantic fantasy, paranormal fantasy, magic, fantasy mystery, wild west, oulaws, victorian romance, alternate reality, magical realism

The Watchmaker’s Daughter/The Map Maker’s Apprentice

Part of the Glass and Steele series #1 and #2

I initially thought that these were Clockwerk Urban/Steampunk novels but realised soon that we were actually talking about the alternate Victorian London where there was magic. So I was slightly disappointed at beginning.

But …. then I liked the stories in these 2 books but agree with some reviewers that the language used was not typical English Victorian, but this didn’t bother me as this was not ‘our’ Victorian world after all.

We did see the typical prejudice of the time against women played out well and hidden beneath it, we finally discover, is the prejudice against craftsmen who have a different and rather special skill – magic.

Book #1 was rather slow at times but I did buy the follow on book – however,  found myself not bothered enough to read any more of this series.  Book 1 was better than book 2 in my opinion. Book 2 was repetitive of book 1 and the theme not as strong.

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Taken for an unusual reason

The Taken Girls Book Cover The Taken Girls
GD Sanders
Thrillers, Crime, British Detective, Police Procedural
Avon; Digital original edition
(21 Feb. 2019)

Someone is watching them…

When a missing teenage girl reappears unharmed but pregnant, the case falls to DI Edina Ogborne, the newest recruit of Canterbury Police. But Ed’s already got her hands full with a team who don’t want her, an ex who won’t quit, and terrible guilt over a secret from her past.

As Ed investigates the case, she discovers Canterbury has seen this crime not once, but several times before. And when Ed and her detectives encounter missing historic police files, falsified school records, and Ed’s new lover as a prime suspect, it becomes clear that the system has been corrupted.

Can Ed find the kidnapper behind these depraved crimes before he strikes again? Or has time already run out?

This is a solid police procedural with the frustrations of modern policing and the requirements for solid evidence well portrayed. Not to mention the fact that the senior officers want good press coverage even when what you have is more speculative than fact and contradicts the above …
I found this new DI (a debut novel) to be a believable character – and fallible too, and was intrigued by the perpetrator and motives.
This is a series I think that will develop well and I look forward to reading more.

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What happens under the tree?

Mistletoe And Mystery Book Cover Mistletoe And Mystery
The Paradise Cookery School
Daisy James
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Canelo Escape
(10 Sept. 2018)

Welcome to the Cotswolds Festive Feast cookery course...

Fresh off the successful opening of the Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia, Millie Harper is headed to the Cotswolds for Christmas!

Co-presenting Claudia Croft’s famous Festive Feast cookery course at Stonelea Manor is a dream come true for Millie…as is reuniting with gorgeous estate manager Zach Barker.

But arriving in a winter wonderland Millie learns the manor is under a mysterious threat. It’ll take a holiday miracle, but Millie is determined to save the school and get Zach under the mistletoe to finally finish what they started in the Caribbean!

Cosy up with this fun, festive visit to the Cotswolds premier cookery school! Perfect for fans of Jenny Oliver and Sarah Morgan


This was sweet in all meanings of the word! Unfortunately there were no illustrations or recipes. But then who could compete with a pastry chef with a Michelin star…

I was hungry all the way through the descriptions of the cookery course – the only thing missing was the description of what they ate at the Xmas day meal – apart from Yorkshire puddings – which is a bit strange and very Northern. And they seemed to make different items form those described as being on the menu that day, but perhaps the chef rustled them up for them as extras?

Generally a nice book and very suitable for all cozy readers and everyone who likes to read about cookery.

I’m giving it 4 stars for making me hungry – the descriptions were delightful, and I agree Parkin is heavy – but so gingery…

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Not so godly as it would seem

Orphanage of the Gods Book Cover Orphanage of the Gods
Helena Coggan
sci-fi, horror
Hodder & Stoughton
September 19, 2019
416

 In the glass city of Amareth, on a hill above a river, is an orphanage patrolled by soldiers with guns. Inside are the children left behind by the long-ago war in which humans all but wiped out their gods. Until they grow up, no one will know which are human, and which are not. Children who reveal hidden powers vanish from their beds. The Guardsmen discover every god, in the end. No one has ever escaped - until now. One day Hero, a seventeen-year-old half-god, breaks out of the orphanage and flees north with her brother Joshua. But the murderous Guard are on their tail, and they have something Hero wants desperately: her sister Kestrel, held captive in a towering stone prison in the northern sea. To survive and rescue Kestrel, Hero must outwit more than just the Guard. Lying in wait for them are a ragged band of gods-in-hiding, who promise help in exchange for eternal loyalty. Hero does not want to trust them - but as winter draws in and even Joshua begins to turn against her, her world starts to feel impossibly dangerous . . . ************ Praise for Helena Coggan's 'The Catalyst' 'This year's Divergent' - Sun 'A phenomenal achievement . . . assured, frightening, action-packed' - Observer 'A pulsing, labyrinthine, emotionally visceral plot' - Metro

I tried very hard to read this book as it seemed like a great concept and storyline. However, in my opinion, the actual writing style and complicated plot lines that confused me, made it a difficult read. I abandoned it about 50% of the way through as I felt it was not worth trying to complete.

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aka Hedgehog

Needlemouse Book Cover Needlemouse
Jane O'Connor
women's literature
Ebury Digital
(1 May 2019)

Time to come out of hibernation...

Sylvia Penton has been hibernating for years, it's no wonder she's a little prickly...

Sylvia lives alone, dedicating herself to her job at the local university. On weekends, she helps out at a local hedgehog sanctuary because it gives her something to talk about on Mondays - and it makes people think she's nicer than she is.

Only Sylvia has a secret: she's been in love with her boss, Professor Lomax, for over a decade now, and she's sure he's just waiting for the right time to leave his wife. Meanwhile she stores every crumb of his affection and covertly makes trouble for anyone she feels gets in his way.

But when a bright new PhD candidate catches the Professor’s eye, Sylvia’s dreams of the fairy tale ending she has craved for so long, are soon in tatters, driving her to increasingly desperate measures and an uncertain future.

Sylvia might have been sleep walking through her life but things are about to change now she’s woken up…

(actually a hog – a pig relative)

Whilst I quite liked this rather sweet novel about obsession and its consequences – and how stalking can come about – I wish stories about universities were a little more realistic.

Unless ‘her’ Professor was working in an Oxbridge university or was a ‘name’ and thus bought in for prestige, the whole concept of a personal administrator has long gone. Universities just can’t afford them. Nor can they afford Professors who sit around their offices all day writing without producing. It would be nice – but generally speaking, Professors are busy on committees, holding seminars, seeing multiple research students, and networking, as well as lecturing. Administrative staff are usually not required to submit students’ work to any conference – and a conference would require several months notice of submission due to the peer reviewed process it would need to go through. Sometimes they will book flights and accommodation but often these days, staff do this themselves and then get reimbursed.

So a lovely view of what university life must have been like some 20-30 years ago perhaps?

That said, I liked the hedgehog component. It was the saviour of the story really – they really are blameless creatures who are totally dumb, and sanctuaries deserve all the support they can obtain. We once found a nest of babies in our greenhouse. The mother had gone in there, late in the year and had got herself killed by getting tangled in support wires for tomatoes. The babies were too small for hibernation and we took them to Tiddlewinkles and gave a generous donation for their care.

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