Tag Archives: Adult

Review: Dancing on Knives

dancing on knivesDancing on Knives by Kate Forsyth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

Dancing on Knives is rather atypical of Kate Forsyth’s books. Its contemporary setting in Australia and lack of the magical element may disappoint her fans of fantasy works. Fortunately, as a fan of Forsyth, my reading appetite is quite eclectic and I could appreciate the amazing effort she’s put into this baby. Whilst it was first birthed over 30 years ago, this novel has gone through a number of revisions (and was also previously published under different title) until the form it has achieved today.

This mystery novel is told from the perspective of twenty year old Sara, eldest daughter of the Sanchez family. It’s an interesting perspective noting her limitation / weakness however it was a lifting experience as Sara, in loving her family, slowly found her strength. The Sanchez family has weathered many troubling times and yet, there were love to be found in each other to sustain them through these hard times. With a focus on family and their secrets, this novel could easily have been a family saga (unfortunately, it’s a little short…).

What impressed me of this novel wasn’t the mystery itself but the whole aura of the novel and the number of things packed into 300 odd pages. The research itself must’ve been a colossal undertaking; mostly in reference to the Spanish culture of cookery & art. I must acknowledge my ignorance for both but I can’t help but be awed by the details that were included without being overwhelming.

The novel itself isn’t a ‘retelling’ of the tale in the strict sense as it was rather of Sara who identified herself with the fairytale mermaid her Spanish grandmother used to tell. This tragic tale combined with the stormy weather, the decrepit condition of the house, and the sinister circumstance of Augusto Sanchez’s accident gave the novel a very gothic atmosphere. Whilst the usual ‘magic’ element is missing, there are references to the supernatural which again lent force to the dark & eerie feelings of the story.

Fans of Kate Forsyth may found Dancing on Knives somewhat hard to swallow / enjoy especially for the fantasy-die-hards. I, however, loved the atmosphere, the well developed characters, and the Spanish flavour of this story. If you’re a fan of Kate Morton, I think you should give this particular work of Forsyth a chance.

Thank you, Random House Australia for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Review: The Immortal Crown

the immortal crown - richelle meadThe Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: eARC via NetGalley courtesy of Penguin Books Australia

Please note there may be spoilers of book 1 as this is a review of book 2 in the Age of X series.  If you’ve not read book 1 yet, check my review of Gameboard of the Gods, here.

I loved loved loved Gameboard of the Gods and was super excited to see The Immortal Crown coming out. I’ve to admit of not being a big fan of the cover, though… it’s beautiful and all but… it doesn’t match my cover of book 1 so am so very sad about that. On the other hand, am keen to be back in the RUNA for a few days.

I’m a big fan of Mae Koskinen because she kicks ass big-time and yet so very vulnerable emotionally at the same time. She’s amazingly good at what she does, loves deeply, protective, and resourceful. I love the tension between her and Justin and their chemistry which made all their interactions just, oh, so delicious! That’s really what drawn me to this couple –the tension of wanting something you couldn’t have.

The pace of this book is definitely faster than the first book –that’s probably mostly due to the fact that quite a few pieces of the world building was done previously. I find, however, that I really only care about the Justin’s & Mae’s POVs and every time the story switched to Tessa, I was just really impatient. Tessa’s perspectives provided a more complex storyline which we will probably see being better developed in later books but in this book, they slows down the action quite a bit.

I don’t like Arcadia at all! It might be a great setting for a covert sort of mission but it was really an unpleasant place to be, even vicariously. I understand the tale being woven required an awful place to heightened tension and makes the mission all the more dangerous and exciting. It is no different than all those epic fantasy tales where we sometimes long to live despite the danger. The difference is though, you will not want to be in Arcadia. I think I may just insert a disclaimer here in reference to my extra sensitive state with pregnancy…I’m not usually so delicate

The ending has left me um-ing and ah-ing as I’m in 2 minds about it… Most specifically the character being introduced which firstly made me go, ‘ta da da dum’ and then, a little disappointed that a well-known character being inserted here. By well-known, I don’t just mean easily recognisable but is popular in today’s culture due to some current works. However, I’m suspending full judgement until I see where Richelle Mead is taking us to next. There were a couple of other twists which served my craving for next book a lot better. Bring on 2015 & book 3!

My sincere thanks to Penguin Books Australia for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Review: City of Jasmine

jasmineCity of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publishers

There’s something glam about the world of the 1920s, isn’t there? And to top it of, the book is also set in the exotic desert land of Damascus. It’s the time when the Western world is digging for the riches of history to find all kinds of treasures. All this makes The City of Jasmine irresistible to me.

Evangeline Starke is a fun character to hang out with. She’s one spunky lady who dares to take on risks though really, this is a mask to the outside world. When she dared to face the past though, she found that things were more than they seemed. Gabriel Starke is a mysterious man and is, therefore, totally alluring. Really, I don’t want to say anymore about Gabriel because you really just need to read the book! 😉

I expected this book to be a light enjoyable romantic read. It was and more. Some of the turns of the story really took me by surprise and made it all the more exciting. I love the variety of minor characters and their quirks. oh, what would I give to have an elderly aunt like Aunt Dove! Each of these characters adds an additional dimension to the story. There is more to this book than just a love story; there is adventure, action, betrayals, intrigues, heroes, villains and forgiveness.

The City of Jasmine was a lovely read; full of evocative images (I feel the heat! That dry scorching heat of the dessert), exotic air (I kept trying to smell jasmine in the air), suspense (guns, planes, oh, let’s not forget the romance!), and just straight out fun (love the characters’ interactions). This is my first Deanna Raybourn but it’s definitely not the last! Did you know there is a prequel? Yep, that’s my next read, for sure!

Thank you, Harlequin Books Australia, for providing copy of this book

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