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Rezensionen verfasst von
Helen Hancox "Auntie Helen" (Essex, England)

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Predatory (The Sentinels Series)
Predatory (The Sentinels Series)
Preis: EUR 5,20

3.0 von 5 Sternen A mixed bag, 28. Oktober 2013
Collections of short stories can often be a mixed bag and this one is no different. It contains four stories which have nothing to link them except for their genre (paranormal romance) and it made for a rather disjointed-feeling book.

The first story, ‘Out Of Control’ by Alexandra Ivy, was the best of the bunch. It follows PhD student Angela Locke whose sexy professor turns out to be rather more than a scientist - instead he is a Sentinel, set to protect her because she isn’t a normal mortal. But others are after Angela and Niko has to kidnap her to keep her safe - but will she be able to live the life now required of her?

The second story, ‘Ties that Bind’ by Nina Bangs, was just too unrealistic for this reader. Cassie Tyler takes over a shift at the funeral home on behalf of her friend and soon finds herself dealing with zombies and more. I didn’t really get into this story at all.

‘In Still Darkness’ by Dianne Duvall is apparently part of a series and I found it a little difficult to get into. Richart is an immortal but finds himself drawn to Jenna, a woman he rescues from vampires and who gets drawn into the fight between Richart and his compatriots. I enjoyed aspects of this story but there was a large cast of characters which was difficult to keep tabs on in such a short story.

The final story, ‘High Stakes’ by Hannah Jayne, just didn’t fit into this anthology. The tone and feel of the story were very different, not helped by it being even more unrealistic than most. I couldn’t get into the fashion competition angle at all either.

In summary, this is an anthology like many others - loosely connected stories, no congruence between them, pot luck on quality. None of the stories were gripping enough to inspire me to search out more by these authors, but they did entertain in their own way so this book might well appeal to some readers.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2013


Nightingale Way: An Eternity Springs Novel
Nightingale Way: An Eternity Springs Novel
Preis: EUR 5,76

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Rekindled Romance, 11. Mai 2013
The problem, for me, with books about people rediscovering their love is that they lost it in the first place. I find it hard to believe fully in a “happy ever after” ending when hero and heroine have already divorced once. And that’s the case in this book - Jack Davenport who works for the Government in covert operations and Catherine Blackburn, reporter, divorced several years ago after the death of their child.

When it looks as though Catherine’s life is threatened her mother, Jack’s boss, persuades him to kidnap Cat until they can be sure she is safe. Of course Cat’s not keen on the plan but once at Eternity Springs, the small town where Jack has a house, she begins to feel at home and to begin to heal her relationship with Jack.

I believe this is a series of books about the Eternity Springs community although it’s the first that I’ve read. There was a rather large cast of characters in the book and I couldn’t always keep track. I also found myself not entirely in sympathy with either Jack or Cat; Cat, especially, felt rather cold and distant to me. I also found that the author seemed rather too pleased with the amount of money that Jack has - it felt a bit awkward when we kept reading about it (although this may be my British sensibilities coming into play here).

I found the book easy to read but there wasn’t anything special in it and I couldn’t feel entirely sure about Jack and Cat’s future together.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2013


My Lord Immortality (Immortal Rogues series)
My Lord Immortality (Immortal Rogues series)
Preis: EUR 5,20

3.0 von 5 Sternen Unmemorable, 11. Mai 2013
This is the third in the Immortal Rogues vampire series although it isn’t necessary to have read the other two books. In fact, it would perhaps be an advantage not to have read them as the two I have read now are very samey.

The queen of the vampires, Nefri, has divided up an important relic into three amulets, each of which has been given to a mortal woman to protect - and of course these women have their vampire guardians to look after them (and fall in love with them).

What I have been unable to understand, plot-wise, is that after the first amulet was safely protected, what good are the next two if they will, together, not make the full Medallion? The author never mentions this but I wasn’t particularly worried about Amelia Hadwell, guardian of the third amulet, as (even if this weren’t fiction where goodies win) her one-third of the Medallion wouldn’t do our baddie much good.

Perhaps the author thought a bit about this as we actually meet a new, badder baddie in this book and there’s even another medallion to liven things up. And they needed livening up as this was a very pedestrian book. Our hero, Sebastian St Ives, is a bookworm vampire who prefers studying philosophy in his library than being vampiric. Amelia is a nice young woman, looking after her brother who has learning difficulties, and being rather dazzled by the first handsome man (or vampire) who has really paid her attention. There’s not much more to the plot than that and I found a distinct lack of characterisation in the story.

At the end everything is nicely wrapped up and we meet the heroes/heroines of the other books but it all felt a bit rushed, vague, short - the print was pretty large, perhaps to stretch it out to a 300 page book. It’s not something I will bother to read again and I suspect I will have forgotten the story within a few days.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2013


Immortal Surrender: The Curse of the Templars
Immortal Surrender: The Curse of the Templars
von Claire Ashgrove
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 7,52

3.0 von 5 Sternen A bit pedestrian, 6. Mai 2013
I seem to be going through a phase of starting to read a book and then discovering it’s part of a series - and not the first in that series. Sometimes that matters, sometimes not, but it does often get me wondering whether I would have read subsequent books if the first in the series was of the standard of the book I have just read.

In the case of ‘Immortal Surrender’, the answer is ’no’. Not because it’s a bad book, which it isn’t, but it’s not a good book either - it’s surprisingly unmemorable with a pedestrian plot, fairly uninteresting characters and a fairly repetitive writing style.

Authors of paranormal romances seem to be running out of themes - there are so many vampire and werewolf books out there that new avenues are being explored: Greek gods, witches and more. This story hangs on the Knights Templar - with a twist. These Knights have been granted long life to fight against the forces of Azazel but each baddie that they kill pollutes their souls until they eventually turn bad themselves - unless, of course, they can find their female Seraph who will save them from their evil natures.

No guesses what this book is about - a Templar Knight finding his Seraph. The Knight, Farran, is a rather grumpy chap who has held a grudge against women since his wife betrayed him in the middle ages. His Seraph is an atheist scientist, an expert in carbon dating and ancient relics, but a sceptical one.

There was little action in terms of fighting baddies in this story, it mostly consisted of Farran and Noelle talking, disagreeing, misunderstanding each other and more. By the end I was getting a bit fed up with it all, especially as the author made almost nothing of Noelle’s complete change of understanding with regard to matters of belief. I found myself unconvinced that these two could live happily ever after and it left me feeling that the book was a bit of a disappointment. I doubt I’ll bother to read any others in this series.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2013


The Long Way Home: The Chesapeake Diaries
The Long Way Home: The Chesapeake Diaries
Preis: EUR 5,51

4.0 von 5 Sternen Reasonable romance, 15. April 2013
Romance stories tend to have two central characters - usually hero and heroine - and the book follows their trials and tribulations before finding true love. ‘The Long Way Home’ is a romance story but rather uneven in that we learn a great deal about the heroine, Ellie Chapman, but very little about the hero, Cameron O’Connor.

Perhaps it’s because Ellie has a rather more interesting back story than Cameron. She’s the daughter of a wealthy investment manager who turned out to be running a massive Ponzi scheme. When it all falls down around them Ellie’s father is in prison, her fiancé is implicated and her friends disappear - apart from the wonderful Carly who we meet several times in the story. Ellie needs to get away from publicity and decides it’s time to go and look at her inheritance from her mother, a house in St Dennis, Maryland. She has to live there for six months as part of the terms of her mother’s will and can then sell it and maybe move on with her life.

Only St Dennis has much more to it than a collection of bricks and mortar that Ellie now owns. It has a whole raft of people who knew her mother and who want to befriend her, despite not knowing who she is. Ellie is taken by the charm of the place and the people but is afraid that people will blame her for her father’s misdeeds. But can Cameron see through the headlines to the woman beneath?

Although I enjoyed reading this book I found its focus on Ellie a bit annoying at times, particularly as I didn’t agree with her secretive nature. The people she meets seem amazingly friendly considering she’s pretty brusque with them. Cameron was a rather indistinct hero and we never really understood why he fell for Ellie. However at the end of the book Ellie redeems herself massively by a selfless action and I liked her much more then.

As a romance this story is lacking as the romantic aspect wasn’t powerful enough to carry the story; but as a tale of a woman coming to terms with a significant personal reversal and learning the power of friendship and kindness it worked well.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2013


My Lord Eternity (Immortal Rogues)
My Lord Eternity (Immortal Rogues)
von Alexandra Ivy
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 6,39

3.0 von 5 Sternen Plain and simple, 11. März 2013
This is the middle book in a series of three and it’s the first I’ve read by this author. She ensures, however, that the reader is able to follow the plot by giving the background as necessary.

Lucien Valin is a vampire who is tasked to protect mortal maiden Jocelyn Kingly who is one of three humans who has been given part of a special amulet to wear to keep it safe from rogue vampires. Lucien rents a room in Jocelyn’s house and tries to get to know her, soon discovering that there’s a lot more to her than he thought. However the baddie vampire, Amadeus, is trying lots of different ways to persuade Jocelyn to give up the amulet and Lucien may not be able to keep her - and the vampire world - safe.

There was something strangely simple about this book, almost as if it was written for a child. The plot was fairly basic, people’s behaviour seemed rather generic and predictable and even the baddie didn’t feel very scary when we met him.

The setting is London in the 19th century and we read a lot about the problems in the stews and of orphan children although somehow I didn’t find myself quite convinced, perhaps because Jocelyn seemed too good to be true. It also jarred that a character was called “Vicar Farlow” which is not a way in which a vicar in the UK would be addressed - he would be called Mr Farlow.

There was little conflict within this romance which was in some ways a relief - I get fed up with misunderstandings as pure plot devices - but I felt the romance was a bit plain and uninspiring. Overall this was a rather forgettable read.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2013


The Thirteenth Sacrifice: A Witch Hunt Novel
The Thirteenth Sacrifice: A Witch Hunt Novel
von Debbie Viguie
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 5,94

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Action-packed and enjoyable, 16. Februar 2013
This book had been sitting on my ‘to be read’ pile for a little while before I got round to reading it. This was partly because I’m generally not a fan of witch books, partly to do with some residual discomfort about witches due to my Christian upbringing but mostly because I tend to find witch books annoying as the reader is never aware of the totality of the witch’s powers so they can often get out of a difficulty with a well-placed spell or incantation - a plot cop-out (in my opinion).

One of the endorsements of ‘The Thirteenth Sacrifice’, indeed the top endorsement on the first page, says “one of the... scariest books I’ve ever read” which actually didn’t encourage me either (I’m not in to scary books).

So all in all ‘The Thirteenth Sacrifice’ isn’t the sort of book I’d pick for myself (I was sent it for review). But if I hadn’t read it I would have missed a really good story with strong plotting, interesting characters and more.

Samantha Ryan is a former witch, now a Christian cop trying to forget her early years when she was part of a witch coven before they were all killed and she was rescued. Her job as a cop is going as normal when she finds herself pulled into some kind of witch coven situation and has to go undercover. She had renounced all her witchcraft ways but has to reconnect with that side of her character - and with the seductiveness of the power - in order to infiltrate the coven, work out what they are doing and (hopefully) prevent it.

There’s loads to like about this book. Samantha is great and we learn of the struggles within herself against the bad side of her power, although I also found her surprisingly detached about the many witches that die at her hands. The cast of supporting characters is also good and we see how many of them struggle to deal with their knowledge of Samantha’s past. There’s a love interest which isn’t fully developed but which I assume carries on in further books in this series. The central plot, the mystery element, was very well done and I didn’t guess at what was happening.

All in all this was a very enjoyable supernatural thriller, a cut above a lot of the witch stories out there. And as for Samantha’s powers getting her out of various difficult situations, she herself has blocked from her mind what her powers can do so we are learning along with her and that, for this reader at least, worked really well.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2013


Adrift on St. John (Mystery in the Islands, Band 1)
Adrift on St. John (Mystery in the Islands, Band 1)
von Rebecca M. Hale
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 7,12

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Adrift in print too, 13. Februar 2013
This is the first in a new series by this author set in the Virgin Islands. This looked to be an excellent setting for a mystery with the local colour, people, beautiful scenery and island life all able to add to the story.

Unfortunately I found the story never got going for me. The “Adrift” in the title was rather apt - the whole story felt like this.

The author’s style is one that doesn’t suit me, unfortunately, and this coloured my enjoyment of the story. She jumps around different time periods and characters without any real warning so I was sometimes confused as to what was going on. I also felt absolutely no liking for any of the characters, including the main ‘heroine’ Pen Hoffstra, which meant I wasn’t really engaged in their lives.

Some of the descriptions of the Virgin Islands were good and there was some interesting history but overall I felt this wasn’t the sort of book that I enjoy reading and I found it frustrating.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2013


No Return: A Novel
No Return: A Novel
von Brett Battles
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 5,78

3.0 von 5 Sternen Enjoyable but lacking in character, 11. Februar 2013
Rezension bezieht sich auf: No Return: A Novel (Taschenbuch)
“No Return” was a fast-paced and interesting read set in the Mojave desert were a film crew witness the crash of an F-18 Navy fighter. TV Cameraman Wes Stewart races to help the downed pilot but is not able to save his life.

However Wes has now stumbled into a conspiracy with regard to the identity of the pilot and soon finds himself getting into more and more trouble. When members of the film crew go missing and old friends from Wes’s youth in the nearby town appear, things get more and more complex.

There were several threads in this story that worked together at the end which kept me guessing as to precisely what was going on. I enjoyed the story but found some aspects lacking, notably the complete lack of any sort of characterisation for any of the people in the story. They all just acted, said things to each other, tried to avoid bad guys etc. Although we’re following the story mostly from Wes’s eyes I felt I knew almost nothing about him.

There were a number of coincidences in this story (not least that Wes was on site) and I also felt that the incompetence of some of the people tailing Wes, as well as the convenience of a friend of his who seems able very quickly to hack into military secrets, made the story feel not entirely believable. Although I enjoyed it I was far from convinced and found it overall rather unmemorable.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2013


Trapped
Trapped
von April Christofferson
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 6,60

5.0 von 5 Sternen Really enjoyable outdoors story, 9. Februar 2013
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Trapped (Taschenbuch)
This was a completely different read than most of the books that I pick these days and I really enjoyed it.

What I didn’t realise was that this was the second in a series and that all the main characters had appeared in the previous book. We were given the backstory as the book progressed but that did sometimes feel a little awkward.

The book focuses on Will McCarroll, a ranger at Yellowstone who is sent to the Glacier National Park in Montana. He’s unfamiliar with the new territory but very soon runs into familiar problems - guns in the park and people out to get him. His sort-of girlfriend, Judge Annie Peacock, works out that he is being targetted and tries to ensure his safety.

I particularly enjoyed the aspects of this story that were about moving through the park, the wild animals, carrying out a search and rescue mission and more. The point of view varied from Will to various other characters including a very interesting woman who gets revenge against someone who accidentally traps her dog.

The story threads pulled together to a good climax although I did find myself slightly having to suspend disbelief at times. The author also made their anti-guns-in-parks and anti-hunting views very plain; I agree with her but others might find that an aspect of the book they didn’t like.

In all I felt this was a very good read in a fascinating setting. The characterisation wasn’t always that strong but that didn’t matter too much as the setting carried the story.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2013


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