Welcome!

I love reading! Well, I suppose you worked that out from the title of this site, didn’t you?

I read flash fiction, short stories, novelettes, novels, full-length books and am quite fond of book series too.

I also read most genres, though there are some I am more likely to read than others, but hey, I will give pretty much anything a go!  You never know when you are about to uncover a hidden gem.  Unless you read it, you don’t know if you will love it…and that is part of the magic of books.

I like to do what I can to support indie authors (I’m one myself), so if you would like me to review your book / story, just get in touch 🙂

If you have any suggestions, recommendations or review requests, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

Have a great day!

To learn more about me, read my about page.  To see what I’ve already reviewed, visit the A-Z review index.

Book Review: A Dreadful Penance by Jason Vail

A Dreadful Penance is the third book in the Stephen Attebrook Mysteries by Jason vail

Summary (from back of book)

November 1262 is an unlikely season for war.  But war nonetheless is coming to the March, the wild borderland between England and Wales.  Not the war that most fear between the supporters of the King and the rebellious barons uniting around Simon de Montfort, but with Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, the Welsh warlord who styles himself Prince of Wales and who has united the fractious tribes of his land against the English.

The English are uncertain, however, where and when the blow will fall.  So, Sir Geoffrey Randall, coroner of Herefordshire, dispatches his deputy, the impoverished knight Stephen Attebrook, to the border town of Clun to make contact with a spy in order to learn Llewelyn’s plans.

At the same time, Randall directs Attebrook to investigate the murder of a monk found dead in his bed at the Augustine priory of St. George at Clun.

The assignment casts Attebrook into the middle of a desperate feud between the priory and the lord of Clun and reveals a forbidden love that can only result in suffering and death.

Favourite Quote

Although he could not help looking clownish – a little round man with his head wrapped in linen who could barely keep his place upon his mule – any fool was dangerous with a sword.

Review

This is the first book I have read in the Stephen Attebrook Mysteries and I loved it.  I have added the other books to my TBR list, but this novel works well as a standalone.  The author provides enough information on what has gone before to ensure the reader can, not only keep up with the storyline, but enjoy it also without feeling like they needed to have read the first two books before this one.

Stephen Attebrook is an interesting character.  I like his fairly abrasive personality and the antagonistic camaraderie he shared with Gilbert Wistwode,a clerk also in the employ of Sir Geoffrey Randall.

I thought the story was a little slow to get going at first, but a couple of chapters in and the pace and the drama suddenly picked up.  What followed was an entertaining, gripping read, that I struggled to put down.  The historical detail was fascinating, with sufficient depth to bring the time and place to life.  The only thing I didn’t like was that I felt the ending was too abrupt.

I am eager to read more of this series, and would recommend this books to anyone who has an interest in the Marches during the medieval period and to those who enjoy historical fiction in general.

Rating

Bookish Reflections – July 2017

A monthly round up of all things bookish at Sammi Loves Books…It’s my attempt at becoming more accountable in my reading and reviewing habits…


In a nutshell

July was Indie Only Month at Sammi Loves Books, so only Indie books were read and reviewed.  I think 2017’s selection of chosen reads were the best yet for this challenge.  I had so much fun and can’t wait for next July to come round so I can do it all again 🙂

Books I’ve reviewed

Favourite read of the month

Shadow of Doubt by Linda Poitevin / The Silence Between Moonbeams by Sarah Doughty

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

None this month.  I’ve been good! 🙂

Books I’ve downloaded 

  • Listen by Sarah Doughty
  • The Silence Between Moonbeams by Sarah Doughty
  • Norfolk Twilight by M.L. Eaton

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  • Shadow of Doubt by Linda Poitevin
  • A Body in the Backyard by Elizabeth Spann Craig
  • The Case of the Bygone Brother by Diane Burton

July‘s “What I’m reading and reviewing next month” goals

July was Indie Only Month at Sammi Loves Books, and as such I decided to set no definite reading goals.  I was definitely pleased to hit 7 books this months as I was only expecting to make 5 or 6.

What I’m reading and reviewing in August

August is Historical Fiction Month at Sammi Loves Books.  And my TBR pile for this challenge is almost floor-to-ceiling high.  I know in all likelihood I won’t get through more than 6 books, but I do have a tendency to get a little over excited for this reading challenge 🙂  Below is a selection of priority reads that I’ve earmarked for August – hopefully I will get through them all:

  • The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel (read, reviewed and awaiting posting)
  • Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwall (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • The Iron Hand of Mar by Lindsey Davis (almost finished reading)
  • The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland – this is a re-read; I’ve read a Karen Maitland book every Historical Fiction Month so far, and I’m not intending to break the tradition 🙂
  • Traitor’s Gate by D.K. Wilson – I’ve read the first and third books in this fantastic series based on real Tudor crimes and I’m really looking forward to reading book 2.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal is 57.  I have read 28.  49% complete.  Currently 5 books behind schedule.

Other reads (books not on Goodreads)* : 2

Total books read so far this year: 30


* “Other reads” means books that are not listed on Goodreads, but ones that are still of novel / novella length.  I’m not counting anthologies, single (very) short stories, magazines / ezines, but I will count short story or poetry collections if they are not too short.

Book Review: Listen by Sarah Doughty

Listen is the third book in the Earthen Witch series by Sarah Doughty.

Summary (from Goodreads)

When vampires Liam and Jon go missing, it’s up to Aisling Green and her friends to find them, but doing so and surviving what awaits won’t be easy.

Battling against things she cannot fight isn’t something Earthen witch Aisling Green is used to, but she must act quickly and outsmart the one that wants her dead and save the lives of her friends before it’s too late.

As they follow the trail, they rescue a most unlikely person, and uncover a deeper, more sinister plot. With the lives of the two vampires on the line, they must fight for their lives, try to rescue their friends, and stop the evil plans. In the face of so much danger and uncertainty, they are forced to go to war and make a discovery that will change everything. The question then becomes at what price will they be forced to pay to survive?

Favourite Quote

And then I felt his lips pull back into a smile.  “In order to kill the Earthen you must wear a pink tutu and sing I’m A Little Teacup,” the vampire responded in that same old Romanian accent.

Review

Having enjoyed the first two Earthen Witch novels, Just Breathe and Focus (you can find my reviews for them here, and here), I knew I had to read the third instalment in the series to see how Aisling and Connor and their friends were fairing.

I love this world Sarah Doughty has created.  The unique mythology is detailed and fantastic and just adds richness to this supernatural fantasy series. Witches, vampires, werewolves, shamans and sphinxes, this book series has them all and more besides.  Both the major and minor characters are engaging, each with own background story to tell, adding further depth to an already captivating cast.

Aisling is a great main character.  She is so very strong even though past experiences have left their mark.  With the love and support of Connor, she overcomes, and that is a great message.  It makes her believable…realistic…human, and reminds the reader that anything is possible.

The story is well-paced and there is action throughout, leading to an entertaining, engaging read.  And as for the ending, all I’m going to say is that it sets the story up nicely for the next book.

If you like the paranormal romance genre, you will love this series, but I recommend you start at the beginning with Just Breathe so you can fully immerse yourself in the scope and magic of the Earthen Witch world.

Rating

I downloaded a copy of Listen by Sarah Doughty for Free via Smashwords

Short Story Review: Norfolk Twilight by M.L. Eaton

Summary (from Goodreads)

A short, but magical, haunting tale of country ways, adventure, loss and love.Two friends are sitting, amicably silent, in the dusk of a winter’s day, when the atmosphere around them changes. Soon a story of love, loss and adventure unfolds, with unexpected consequences for them both.

Favourite Quote

Dusk crept in early from beneath the lowering brow of a winter sky.

Review

An enjoyable read that cleverly weaves tales of the past and the present together.  I liked how the stories seamlessly flowed from one to the other.

This is not a ghost story; there are no tense spooky passages that will make you jump.  However, it is a story of ghosts, where memories of what has gone before are remembered by the fabric of the building in which they were made.

The story is rich in evocative description that gently pulls you into the story. My favourite quote (see above) is the opening line of the tale, and illustrates this perfectly.

Norfolk Twilight is an intelligent, beautifully written short story. I would happily read more from this author.

Rating

I found Norfolk Twilight by M. L. Eaton available for Free on Smashwords

Poetry Book Review: The Silence Between Moonbeams by Sarah Doughty

Summary (from Goodreads)

The Silence Between Moonbeams is about life — not always romantic, and not always easy, but often beautiful.

Everything is a product of the universe, the one thing about life we all share. It binds us together not only on a cellular level, but it’s also quintessential to the human condition. Thoughts, feelings, triumphs, love, loss, and much more are covered throughout these pages.

Discover what it feels like to live.

Favourite Quote

Let’s paint the stars

with our fingertips

Review

I knew I was already a fan of Sarah’s poetry before downloading a copy of The Silence Between Moonbeams because I follow her blog, and this collection of poems has ensured that won’t change anytime soon.

This was a powerful, beautiful, emotive read, full of honest words and raw emotions. As I moved through the poems, I couldn’t help but admire the strength of the one writing them.  The focus of the poems is a subject close to my heart: the night sky.  Stars, the moon, constellations, galaxies and more are mentioned as the author uses poetry to help with her complex PTSD.

The poems are often short, with a crispness softened with sentiment, that left me thinking before moving on to the next.  I liked how the poetry was broken up by short blocks of text, giving the reader space to process the words being read.  Although I couldn’t pick just one poem as a favourite, for the words of many of them resonated with me, the final line of “Burning Twilight” struck a chord.  “Run free, feel the wind upon your face, and never forget to howl at the moon,” is one line that has stayed with me since I read it.

There is no doubt, this is an inspiring poetry collection, one that I will return to, again and again.

Rating

I downloaded a copy of The Silence Between Moonbeams for free via Smashwords

Book Review: The Case of the Bygone Brother by Diane Burton

The Case of the Bygone Brother is the first book in the Alex O’Hara series by Diane Burton

Summary (from Goodreads)

After taking over O’Hara Palzetti, Confidential Investigations from her dad and his partner, Alex O’Hara’s bottom line has taken a plunge. So when a femme fatale offers her the case of a lifetime along with a huge advance, Alex sees her finances on a definite upswing. But someone doesn’t want her to find the long-lost brother. Complicating matters is the return of Alex’s old heartthrob, Nick Palzetti. Is he really there just to see her or does he have an ulterior motive? The Lake Michigan resort town of Fair Haven is abuzz with the news that O’Hara Palzetti are together again.

Favourite Quote

While my cheeks burned at the memory of that unwanted kiss, I silently cursed my fair Irish complexion.  Genetics betrayed me every time.  “Knuckle-dragger is right,” I said.  “I guess you didn’t stay long enough to see me deck him.”

Review

This is an entertaining little read; romance, suspense, humour, danger…it has everything an interesting cosy mystery needs.

I liked both Alex O’Hara and Nick Palzetti.  She’s determined to make it on her own and is a right little miss independent, while he just wants to protect her and keep her safe.  So, of course, this creates a great deal of tension between the main characters.

The pace felt a little off (too fast) towards the end but throughout the rest of the book, the story moved along at a good pace.  There were enough plot twists and turns to keep me wondering what was going to happen next.  Fair Haven was the perfect setting for this story, with it’s small shops and people who know everyone else (and everyone else’s business).  There were a number of references, especially close to the beginning that were reminiscent of old-school detective novels, which I found charming.

The second book in the series is The Case of the Fabulous Fiance, which sounds just as entertaining as the first.

Rating

I read The Case of the Bygone Brother by Diane Burton via Wattpad

Book Review: Raining Men and Corpses by Anne. R. Tan

Raining Men and Corpses is the first book in the Raina Sun Mysteries by Anne R Tan.

Summary (from Smashwords)

When it rains, it pours … and this amateur sleuth may be in over her head.

Graduate student Raina Sun is trying to keep her head above water as the bills roll in when her dashing college adviser cons her out of several months of rent. Her quest to retrieve the money sets in motion a streak of even worse luck.

First, she stumbles on her advisor’s dead body and becomes a suspect in his murder. Next, the only man she’s ever loved reappears as the lead detective to the case. Raina’s having trouble interpreting his signals–does he want to reignite their passion, or just stay close to his prime suspect?

Her life careens further out of control when her grandma shows up at Raina’s postage-stamp-sized apartment, dragging a red suitcase and trouble of her own. As Raina summons her sleuthing skills, she discovers that when it comes to murder, there may be no place for an amateur.

Favourite Quote

Who wouldn’t want to spend time with the human embodiment of milk and cookies?

Review

What really caught my attention about this series were the fun covers and the light-hearted, murder-related names for the books. They looked and sounded entertaining; other titles include Gusty Lovers and Cadavers, Breezy Friends and Bodies, Barmy Darlings and Deaths, and Sunny Mates and Murders.  There was no way I was going to miss giving the first book in the series a try.  And of course, by this point I already had high hopes for this story…

What did I like about the book?  The main character, Raina, is from an Asian American background, which is very fresh and exciting, and rather unusual for cosy mysteries.  It was nice to read something so different.

What didn’t I like so much?  I found this book a little slow going, not because of the pace, but because I just couldn’t seem to get into it and when I did, it didn’t hold my attention for too long.  That being said, I was interested in finding out who murdered Holden (I had guessed who the culprit was), so carried on reading until the end.  I wasn’t really a big fan of many of the characters, the exception being Raina’s grandmother, Po Po.  She was fantastic.

Will I be reading the second book in the Raina Sun Mysteries, Gusty Lovers and Cadavers?  I’m not sure, although looking at its reviews on Goodreads, its average rating is higher than Raining Men and Corpses so I might succumb.  Have you read this book / series?  If so, what were your thoughts?

Rating

My rating: 2.5 / 5

 

I downloaded a copy of Raining Men and Corpses by Anne R Tan for FREE via Smashwords