Book Review: Torment by Lauren Kate

Torment is the second book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.

Summary (blurb taken from back cover)

Love never dies…

It took Lucinda an eternity to find her beloved angel, Daniel.  But he waited for her.  Now they are forced apart again, to protect Luce from the Outcasts – immortals who want her dead.  During their separation, Luce learns about her mysterious past lives.  But the more she discovers, the more she suspects that Daniel is hiding something.

What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t true?  Is it really their destiny to be together?  Or is Luce actually meant to be with somebody else?

Favourite Quote

Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere.  We can’t always understand them, but we have to trust in them.  I know you want to question everything, but sometimes it pays to just have a little faith.

Review

After struggling to enjoy reading the first book in the series, I don’t know if I would have read the second, Torment, only I had already bought it when I purchased Fallen.  The covers pulled me in and persuaded me to buy them.  And I’m sort-of glad they did, because I enjoyed Torment more than the previous instalment and I wouldn’t have known that.

I’m still not a big fan of Luce – I think her attitude is all wrong and she just comes across as a really selfish person on occasion.  Again, it is her friend who I am more interested in as a character.  In the last book it was Penn.  This time round it is Luce’s hippy roommate Shelby.

Parts of the book were still slow-going in places, and still there is stuff going on which is alluded to but never explained.  It doesn’t make it mysterious, only confusing.  However, it was certainly more enjoyable than Fallen to read, and the end really set up the third book in the series nicely.  So much so, that I’m intrigued to find out what happens next, something which I couldn’t envision myself thinking at the end of book one.

Rating

3.5 / 5

Book Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

This is the first book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.

Summary  (blurb taken from the back of the book)

Some angels are destined to fall.

Instant. Intense.  Weirdly familiar…The moment Luce looks at Daniel she knows she has never felt like this before.  Except she can’t shake the feeling that she has…and with him…a boy she doesn’t remember ever setting eyes on.

Will her attempt to find out why enlighten her – or destroy her?

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a thrilling story about forbidden love.

Favourite Quote

Trust is a careless pursuit at best.  At worst, it’s a good way to get yourself killed.

Review

This was another book that hooked me via a really cool front cover.  Gothic, dark, mysterious artwork coupled with an engaging blurb (see summary above) had me buying not only the first book in the Fallen series, but book number two too!

And it was an all right story.  I didn’t really like Luce though.  My favourite character of the book was Luce’s friend Penn – full name Pennyweather Van Syckle-Lockwood.  She was the saving grace of this book.  The other characters lacked enough depth for me to really be interested in why they were there.

I expected more from this story.  It tried to be too mysterious, I think, and in so doing, basic explanations of what was going on were sacrificed.  However, I did read to the end of the book, I loved the front cover and Penn was an interesting character, hence the 2.5 / 5 score.

Had I not already bought the second book in the series, I am doubtful as to whether I would have read it.  But I did, and I have, and I will be sharing the review shortly.

Rating

2.5 / 5

Book Review: Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles

Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country is the first novel in the Guenevere series by Rosalind Miles.

Summary

Guenevere is the last of the queens of the Summer Country, a pagan kingdom of ancient Britain, where the Great Goddess is venerated above all.  But times are changing.  Under the guidance of Merlin, Arthur, the secret son of the last High King of Britain, is on a quest to reclaim what is his by rights.  At the same time, a new religion is sweeping across the land.

The future seems uncertain.  When it is time for Guenevere to choose a husband and king to rule beside her, she must pick carefully.  The wrong choice could have disastrous consequences for the Summer Country.  So, in her hour of need, she summons to her the one man who can help her…Arthur.

Favourite Quote (or rather, 3 Favourite Quotes)

*

As Guenevere watched and listened, the power of the ritual stole over her, and her dread began to fade.  Lulled by the chanting, cocooned by the warm air, she fell into a trance. Now she could hear the secret music at the heart of things, and feel the breath of the mystery brushing against her cheek. Her senses swam in a pearly light like Avalon, and a great sweetness filled the air.

*

He came in a silver sunset at the end of a sweet spring day. The evening star was shining in a pearl-grey sky when the message was brought in.

*

On the far horizon, a white moon sailed up into the sky, bathing the earth with light. She could hear an owl calling from the nearby wood, and the soft cooing as the doves nestled down for the night.

*

Review

I thought I would really enjoy this book, and although there were parts of it that I did really like (such as the pagan descriptions of the Britain during the Dark Ages), the problem was, I didn’t really connect to the main characters.

When I first saw the title of the book, I thought that it was definitely a book for me. Then I saw the cover and I was smitten. Arthurian myths and legends are my thing; I’ve been reading about the subject since I was a child, both fictional stories (fantasy, historical, re-imaginings) and the history (or lack there of) behind them. So when I came across this, a story being told from Guenevere’s point of view as a strong queen in her own right, I was quite excited.

However, I think the book tries to do too much. Arthurian myth spans centuries, but this book attempts to weave a story from the pagan past, the spread of Christianity and the conflict between paganism and monotheism, as well as the early medieval obsession towards chivalry and courtly love. And in the midst of all this, I think something gets lost.

On the upside, the tale is full of beautiful passages of evocative descriptions, and it is this, above all else, that I will remember from this book.  I have included three quotes from Guenevere instead of the usual one to illustrate this and also in the hope that this review doesn’t come across as too negative, which isn’t my intention.  After all, I did read the book from cover to cover, and found the story itself to be well written, not to mention I adored a number of the locations found within the story, especially Avalon.

The question is, am I going to read the second novel in the series, The Knight of the Sacred Lake? At the moment, I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that I will at some point in the future.

Rating

Bookish Reflections – May 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

I’ve read more books than I have reviewed this month.  Seven were completed, and yet I only wrote one review!  I did wonder whether there was any point posting May’s Bookish Reflections, but then, if the point is accountability it would be wrong not to.  In fact, I have neglected the blog entirely this past month because of one thing or another and that leaves me feeling quite disappointed with myself.  Well, I endeavour to do better this month, and of course, something I always look forward to is coming up…Indie Only Month.  So, any book review requests or recommendations, send them this way.  And I promise to respond within a couple of days 🙂

Books I’ve reviewed

Favourite read of the month

The Shrine by Ben Kane

Books I’ve bought

  • A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • Eagles at War by Ben Kane

Books I’ve downloaded

  • The Novice (The Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu

Book review requests I’ve accepted

Still behind with email responses 😦

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  • The Shrine by Ben Kane
  • Into the Light: Poems by Stacie Eirich

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

  • Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • The Shrine by Ben Kane

What I’m reading and reviewing in June

  • Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • Fallen by Lauren Kate (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • Torment by Lauren Kate (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • Into the Light: Poems by Stacie Eirich (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

To be honest, my aim this month is to catch up with the backlog of reviews that need writing.  If I get around to reading anything else, it will be a bonus.  We shall just have to see which books catch my eye…

Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal is 57.  I have read 16.  28% complete.  Currently 7 books behind schedule.

Other reads (books not on Goodreads) : 1

Total books read so far this year: 17

 

Short Story Review: The Shrine by Ben Kane

The Shrine is the short story prequel to Eagles at War, the first book in the Eagles of Rome trilogy by Ben Kane.

Summary

The story is set in Mogontiacum, Gallia Belgica in 6BC, and Lucius Cominius Tullus, a Roman soldier, has just accepted a promotion.  The new post involves a transfer, moving from the Twenty-First legion to become a centurion in the Eighteenth, stationed in Vetera.  En route, he pauses on the way, to watch the famous footrace in Mogontiacum after which he decides to visit the local shrine.  The shrine in question is the temple to Magna Mater (the Great Mother) and Isis.

But his stay there is not to be a quiet one.  Neither will it be easy to forget…

Favourite Quote

“Piss off,” hissed Tullus.  He had no woman.  The army was work enough.

Review

I really enjoyed this short story.  It served as a great introduction to the character of Tullus and to the location: the German frontier. This period in Roman’s history fascinates me, and so I found the not-too-heavy, yet still rich detail of the setting a rewarding read.  One of my interests is in ancient religion so the part of the story set in the temple held me captivated.

I especially enjoyed reading the “note from the author” at the end of the story, as it explained how and why the story came about.

I’ve already gone out and bought a copy of Eagles at War, and am looking forward to begin reading it.  Tullus sounds like an interesting character and I want to see how his story unfolds, as I am aware of the events that happen round this time in this part of the empire.

If you’ve yet to read any of Ben Kane’s books, why not pop over to Wattpad and give this short story a read for free? (Here’s the link if you’re interested.)

Rating

 

Bookish Reflections – April 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

Another bout of the flu and Camp NaNoWriMo have perhaps slowed my reading rate this month, but at least it has meant that I have caught up with the books I’ve been waiting to review.  I’m still behind on replying to review requests, and I’m wondering if in the future an email account dedicated to “Sammi Loves Books” would help with this.  Any ideas or thoughts gratefully received!  So, let’s take a look at what I’ve been up to book-wise, this month…

Books I’ve reviewed

Favourite read of the month

Inquisition by Alfredo Colitto

Books I’ve bought

  • A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold by George R.R. Martin

Books I’ve downloaded

None this month.  I’m getting good at this, though I do need to start reading some of the ebooks I have already downloaded.  I seem to be completely focused on actual, real books at the moment.

Book review requests I’ve accepted

Still behind with email responses 😦  May will  be the month everything gets back on track – I’m determined to make it so!

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

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

What I’m reading and reviewing next month

  • Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles (read but not yet reviewed)
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • The Shrine by Ben Kane

There are a few other books sitting on my bookshelves that I have my eye on too 🙂

Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal is 57.  I have read 15.  26% complete.  Currently 3 books behind schedule.

Other reads (books not on Goodreads) : 1

Total books read so far this year: 16

 

Book Review: Requiem for a Mezzo by Carola Dunn

Requiem for a Mezzo is the third book in the Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries by Carola Dunn.

Summary

When Daisy’s next door neighbour gives her tickets to the opera at the Albert Hall, she has her fingers crossed for a quiet evening out with the dashing Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard.  Things are going swimmingly until after the interval when one of the soloists drops dead on the stage.  And it quickly transpires that the victim, Bettina Westlea, made many enemies in the musical circle she moved in, the majority of which were with her on stage at the time of her death…

Favourite Quote

(2 favourites this time as I couldn’t choose between them!)

Tall and sleek, she wouldn’t have been caught dead in last year’s calf length hems, though her budget was as limited as Daisy’s; she made her own clothes and spent on materials and trimmings the equivalent of what Daisy put into books and gramophone records.

*

‘Daisy!  Don’t tell me you’ve fallen over another dead body?’

Review

I am a big fan of Daisy Dalrymple.  I like the way perfect strangers just walk over to her and unburden themselves of all they know about whatever crime the Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher is working on, much her to bemusement and his annoyance.  How can he keep her safe if she finds herself right in the middle of everything?  It’s also nice to see how much Alec recognises and respects Daisy’s intelligence and independence.

There is such an interesting list of characters in this instalment, hailing from all corners of Europe.  This adds flavour and colour to the story, and as the majority of the cast are all singers, they have entertaining artistic temperaments too.

Light and easy to read, these books are full of the charm of the era in which they are set, though you will find mention of some of the main events that had a tremendous effect on people at the time: the First World War, the influenza epidemic and the Russian Revolution.

If you like cosy mysteries set in 1920s England, I think you will enjoy these books, as you will if you enjoy Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Phryne Fisher stories or pretty much anything written by Agatha Christie.

Rating