Non-Fiction Review: Fighting for Freetown by Comic Relief

Summary:

This short non-fiction read tells the story of a young woman, Ikmatu, and how she helped her community when Ebola struck Sierra Leone in 2014.

Favourite Quote:

But Ikmatu didn’t want to just sit back and do nothing.  She wanted to fight for the home that she loved.

So that’s what she did.

Review:

This really is an inspirational read.  Ikmatu’s story is touching – I can’t imagine being thirteen years old and being witness to the spread of such a terrible disease.  This young woman’s courage and care for the people where she lived, even when they looked at her with fear and suspicion, is truly moving.

I am reminded of the review I wrote for Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith, where I mentioned ” a theme of the book is that Africa can teach the world how to care for other people”, and I think this book not only echoes that sentiment, but reinforces it.

You can read Ikmatu’s inspiring account by heading over to Wattpad.

Rating:

Book Review: Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine

Bitter Blood is book thirteen in the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.

Summary:

Things are never easy in Morganville.  Now that the only thing vampires are scared of – the draug – are no longer a threat, the delicate balance in the town where humans and vampires have just about managed to get along, is thrown into disarray.  Vampires, who had kept some of their wilder instincts in check thanks to the effort by the town’s founder, Amelie, are suddenly allowed to indulge in their every whim – no matter the cost to the human population.

But this is Morganville.  Will the living inhabitants of the town decide to cower in a corner or fight for their lives?  Once again, the inhabitants of the Glass house find themselves stuck in the middle, and their list of friends is dwindling all the time…

To complicate matters further, a group of ghost hunters are in town, filming for their latest TV show.  Surely that can only end in disaster?

Favourite Quote:

I lifted up the right slipper again and addressed its soggy little head.  ‘I’m afraid I might have

to leave you behind.  And you too, twin.  It will be difficult enough to climb without you hampering me.

And your fangs aren’t very sharp.’

Review:

It’s been months since I last visited Morganville.  I must admit that I was apprehensive as I read the first few pages, wondering if I was going to enjoy this book as much as I remembered enjoying the rest of the series.  After all, we are on book thirteen now, and I kind of felt as if I was waiting for the bottom to fall out of the series; can something this good really stay this good or will there come a time when I think that the latest book doesn’t live up to the rest?

I needn’t have feared.  It wasn’t long before I was completely immersed in the town and characters’ lives once more, wondering how Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve were going to get out of the latest mess they found themselves in.  But as always, Myrnin stole the show; my favourite quote from the book is courtesy of this rather strange, wonderful character.

Again we are given glimpses into other characters POV, which certainly adds an extra dimension to the story as well as heightening the tension as the tale unfolds. There were a good number of plot twists that I didn’t see coming, and the drama was nicely interspersed with action, ensuring the pace never falters.  Al-in-all, an entertaining, addictive read.

As I write this review, I’ve already read books fourteen and fifteen in the series, so you can expect to see those reviews posted soon.

Rating:

Short Story Review: Death in the Kitchen by Milward Kennedy

great-crime-stories-front-cover

Summary:

Rupert Morrison is fed up with being blackmailed by George Manning so sets out to put a stop to it once and for all.  The only problem is, when consumed with plotting the perfect murder, in the hope you might get away with it, there is always one thing that has been overlooked…

Favourite Quote:

He glanced round the little kitchen, deliberately looking at the figure which lay huddled on the floor; huddled but yet in an attitude which Morrison hoped was as natural as its unnatural circumstances would permit.  For the head was inside the oven of the rusty-looking gas-stove.

Review:

This is the first work by Milward Kennedy that I have read, and I really enjoyed it.  At only four pages long, this short story is a very short story.  However, it does manage to pack a lot into it and the twist at the end – which I did not see coming at all – was fantastic.

I would recommend this story to those who enjoy their crime stories set during the first half of the twentieth century, as well as to those who are learning how to write a convincing, concise crime story.

Rating:

three-stars

I found Death in the Kitchen by Milward Kennedy in Great Crime Stories by Chancellor Press.

Bookish Reflections – February 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

So February was a little slow.  I had the flu for a fortnight, and for one week of that I couldn’t even pick up a book.  Then I spent the rest of the month playing catch-up, and I’m still behind.  If you’re waiting to hear back about review requests, I’m so sorry for the delay, but I hope to get back to you soon.

Books I’ve reviewed

Favourite read of the month

Shared equally between Under the Dragon’s Tail by Maureen Jennings and Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith.

Books I’ve bought

  • Linger by Maggie Stiefvatar
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth

Books I’ve downloaded

None this month.  I’ve been good.

Book review requests I’ve accepted

None this month – see “In a nutshell” above.

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

Sadly, I’ve been neglecting Wattpad too.

What I’m reading and reviewing next month

  • Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine
  • Requiem for a Mezzo by Carola Dunn
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

As for the rest of March’s reading material, it will all depend on how I’m feeling.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal is 57.  I have read 7.  12% complete.  Currently 2 books behind schedule.

 

Book Review: Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith

morality-for-beautiful-girls-front-cover

Morality for Beautiful Girls is the third book in The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.

Summary:

Things are all-change for Mma Ramotswe.  First, she has decided to move her detective agency into the office of her fiance’s garage, but something’s not right with Mr J.L.B. Matekoni.  As she tries to work out what is wrong with him, as well as care for the two orphans they have decided to foster, she must also find a way to ensure that both of their businesses keep ticking over.

Then an important client who works for the government sends her on a case out of Gaboronne, leaving Mma Makutsi to not only run the detective agency, but step in as Acting Manager for Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.  While Precious Ramotswe is investigating a possible case of poisoning, Grace Makutsi must help the organiser and chief judge of the Miss Glamorous Botswana beauty competition seek out the most deserving of the finalists.  If she can do that, she will earn the detective agency a generous fee.  The problem is, she only has three days in which to do it…

Favourite Quote:

What was too big, anyway? Who was to tell another person what size they should be?

It was a form of dictatorship, by the thin, and she was not having any of it.

Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this read, or rather, re-read, but it has been a few years since I have read from this series.  A point worth noting is that these books are always as good as I remember them and never fail to entertain.  They are nicely paced and easy to read, thanks to the writing style of the author.

It’s very easy to connect to the characters in these books, and as the characters themselves are concerned about the welfare of others, (indeed a theme of the book is that Africa can teach the world how to care for other people), when they are going through a rough patch, as a reader I feel concerned for them.  There is so much colour and vibrancy to the story, and the descriptions of Botswana, especially the descriptions of how the people feel connected to their land, is engaging and uplifting to read.

Grace Makutsi really comes into her own in this instalment, as she takes on the role of Acting Manager for Mr J.L.B. Matekoni’s Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors as well as trying to fulfil her job as assistant detective.

The next book in the series is The Kalahari Typing School for Men.  And I can’t wait to reread it, so I’ve added it to next month’s reading list.  I highly recommend this book series for those who enjoy a gentle ramble through a heartwarming cosy mystery alongside some wonderful characters.

Rating:

five-stars

Book Review: Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

angelology-front-cover

Angelology is the first book in the Angelology series by Danielle Trussoni.

Summary:

Evangeline has spent the majority of her life behind the walls of a convent, living a life of contemplation and prayer.  Her mother died in Paris when she was small, and only a few years later, she was given into the care of the sisters at St Rose Convent in New York by her father.  When she is old enough, she decides to become a nun at the same convent.  But, a chance meeting with a visiting historian has lasting consequences and turns her life completely upside down.

Secrets abound, and Evangeline and her family are caught up in them.  And as the truth unravels, Evangeline finally uncovers who her parents were and what they did…

Favourite Quote:

It’s funny how the past is so often judged sacred while the modern world is held in suspicion.

Review:

So, this is going to be a mixed review.  Let’s look at what I didn’t like to begin with.

First off, I feel like I should have liked this book more than I did.  I love paranormal fiction especially if it is blended with a nice dose of mystery and history too.  However, I think I’ve realised that I do not like my paranormal fiction to have a literary bend; to me, it makes the story too…heavy.  And I’m guessing it is that which is responsible for my feelings towards this book.  It was a heavy read, and that made it a slow read.

The other big problem I had with this story was the ending.  So, I had made it through the heavy, slow-paced 640+ pages, the driving force behind which was to finish the book and reach a satisfactory conclusion, only to be given the foundation of the next book in the series instead.  I had no idea this book was part of a series, so you can imagine that this was a major stumbling block to my enjoyment of it (which I freely recognise is more my own fault than that of the author’s).

And so to the good points of the book.  The characters.  They were great.  It was easy to like the good characters (Evangeline and Verlaine) and dislike the bad ones (Percival Grigori).  Also, if you like rich, fluid detail in your prose, you will love this book.  It is packed full of vivid descriptions, of settings, of people, of their thoughts and feelings.  The story was fresh and on the whole, engaging, which kept me reading until the end.  The mythology and lore that is wrapped up in the narrative is interesting and helped to create a fascinating premise, I only wished I enjoyed reading it more.

The next book in the series is Angelopolis.

Rating:

two-stars

Book Review: Under the Dragon’s Tail by Maureen Jennings

under-the-dragons-tail-front-coverUnder the Dragon’s Tail is the second of The Murdoch Mysteries by Maureen Jennings.

Summary:

Toronto, July 1895.  When a midwife and abortionist is murdered, Detective William Murdoch investigates.  Although the dead woman, Dolly Merishaw, seems to have kept quiet about the clients that had used her services, it transpires that she kept a record book as protection, should she need it, or, for a spot of blackmail.  Fallen on hard times, it seemed that she tried to get some money out of one of these old clients.  But which one?  And did they resort to murder?

Dolly wasn’t very much liked and there are no shortage of suspects.  But when one of the young boys in Dolly’s care turns up dead on the kitchen floor, Murdoch must work quickly to uncover the murderer, before any other children are hurt.

Favourite Quote:

“…The wicked shall get their due.”

That didn’t sound quite right to Murdoch but maybe it was a Methodist saying.

Review:

As I mentioned when I reviewed the first book in The Murdoch Mysteries series, Except the Dying, I am a big fan of the television series.  The first book was brilliant, and the second didn’t disappoint either.  I like the fact that the books and the TV series are so different, and I love them both.  The books are far more grittier than the cosy mystery series we see on the TV, and there is a place for each.

The author easily captures the time period and brings it to life with ease.  As I’ve already mentioned, there is a grittiness to the story, but then life was gritty, hard and dark for most people at the end of the nineteenth century, and that clearly comes through.

The pace is good and there were enough twists and turns in the story to keep me guessing.  Murdoch is a fabulous main character and is very likeable and realistic.  I was pleased to see Dr Julia Ogden make a small appearance in this instalment, and I’m hoping that there will be more later in the series.

I can’t recommend this book and series highly enough, and am looking forward to reading the third Murdoch Mystery, Poor Tom is Cold, soon.

Rating:

five-stars