Moira Ashe: Kindred Spirits – Brendon Bertram

40898924.jpgHaving been exposed as a werewolf and forced to abandon her life in Quinn, Moira Ashe flees to Trident Bay in the hope of finding transport across the sea. Denied by every ship in the port, she turns to Caspian, the chieftain of Trident Bay, who enlists her help in defeating the legendary Terror of Trident Bay. Caught up in an uprising and a surprising romance, Moira’s plans to escape go awry and the risk of her identity being discovered increases.

I enjoyed this book immensely, as I did the first. It is short and sweet with an action-packed and fast story. As this is the second book in the Moira Ashe series, I would say it is important to read the first book: Enemy Within. They flow directly into each other and a lot of the plot and character development would be missed if you dove straight into book #2.

Surprisingly, in this one, there was somehow time for there to be a couple of dull parts. In such a short book, I didn’t know this was possible, but the parts where Moira was learning how to fight with an axe and, frankly, the romantic and sexual aspects were pretty boring.

Although I didn’t love the romantic angle of the story, I very much enjoyed the political plotline, with the peasant uprising and the secret committee meetings. They added an extra layer to the story on top of Moira’s general escape plan and fight against the Terror.

This is a great series, very fast-paced and quick to get through.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Do Not Disturb – Claire Douglas

40194371.jpgHaving opened a hotel in a small village in Wales with her mother, Kirsty anticipates some challenges. Living and working under the same roof as her mother at the same time as raising her two daughters and trying desperately not to put any stress onto her husband, who has suffered from severe depression in the past, certainly isn’t easy. What she doesn’t anticipate, however, is the return of ghosts from the past and their guest-house becoming the scene of a murder.

Do Not Disturb is incredibly suspenseful. The twists and secrets are revealed very slowly throughout the story which, although frustrating because I spent much of the book unable to work out what was going on, definitely kept me interested. Claire Douglas’ writing is always skilful; she definitely knows how to write a psychological thriller.

The characters were a little problematic for me. Kirsty, Adrian, Kirsty’s mother and Selena were all pretty difficult to get along with. It made it hard to really support any characters, but at the same time it meant nobody was quite clearly innocent.

I especially enjoyed the reveal in this book. It was unexpected and entirely plausible. I was gripped throughout.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Odyssey – Homer, translated by Emily Wilson

34068470.jpgThe Odyssey is one of the oldest known adventure stories in existence. It follows the epic adventures of Odysseus as he attempts to get home to Ithica after the Trojan war. Emily Wilson’s translation is the first English translation ever written by a woman, and it is truly fresh and modern.

How do you review a book like The Odyssey? The fact that it has been so popular for so long and has become one of the main go-to books for Greek mythology says everything you need to know about the story, so I won’t try to review that. Instead, I will focus on Emily Wilson’s translation.

I went into this book anticipating a challenge. In fact, it was a very engaging and surprisingly easy read. It is long (so, so long) and repetitive so it still took a long time to get through, but thanks to the modern language and style of translation, it was incredibly readable. I’ve never read another version, so I cannot compare this one against another, but having read this one, I honestly can’t see why anyone would choose to read any other version.

The book starts with an introduction from Emily which was, frankly, fascinating. It is, essentially, an essay on The Odyssey, outlining the reasons behind her translation choices and highlighting interesting points about the characters and the original author.

This book will definitely be in my top books of 2018, and I have no doubt it will become the modern must-read for Greek mythology.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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The Winters – Lisa Gabriele

41554703Drawn into a whirlwind romance, a young woman moves into the grand, secluded mansion of her fiance, Max Winters. But the house is drenched in memories of his dead wife, Rebekah, and their teen daughter, Dani, is determined to make her life a living hell. As the future Mrs Winter’s fears grow, she is dragged further and further into the family’s dark secrets.

The Winters is apparently a re-telling of the classic novel Rebecca. This information doesn’t seem to be made as obvious as it perhaps should be. I haven’t read Rebecca so can’t make comparisons, but it feels important to note than the story isn’t entirely original.

The unnamed lead character is incredibly annoying. It also seems very unlikely that someone so self-deprecating and self-conscious would ever end up with a man like Max Winter. It frustrated me to no end that she let him shout at her and make unreasonable decisions like keeping the greenhouse locked without any explanation or discussion. Their relationship was very one-sided and I kind of hated her for being so weak and useless. Also, I didn’t see how she could have spent her whole life on an island and not have made a single friend or important relationship. Yes, she has no family, but how has she lived this long without a single friend or close acquaintance. I just didn’t find it believable.

I didn’t love this book, or particularly like it. But, I did read it all the way to the end, so it wasn’t completely bad.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Sea of Rust – C. Robert Cargill

32617610.jpgThirty years since the humans lost the war against artificial intelligence, not a single human remains. But the robots do not live in peace. Two powerful supercomputers wage war against each other, absorbing free robots into enormous networks known as One World Intelligences (OWIs). Brittle is one such free-bot fighting to remain autonomous, picking apart robot carcasses in the sea of rust to find the parts she needs to survive.

Post-apocolyptic, robot stories are not uncommon, but Sea of Rust somehow manages to bring something fresh to the genre. The personalities of the robots are complex and engaging (my favourite: the Cheshire King), bringing humour and tenderness to an otherwise quite dark story.

The AIs did appear to be surprisingly unintelligent. In a world inhabited entirely by robots, it didn’t make that much sense that they didn’t manufacture new parts themselves, or that they didn’t all reach the same calculated conclusions on how to live peacefully. On the whole, they acted an awful lot like the humans they had wiped out.

Other than that, the story (in my opinion) was very well thought out and believable. Every element of the story of the destruction of humanity and the rise of the robots makes complete sense and is entirely (and rather scarily) plausible. It is only the robot’s failure to survive afterwards that didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

There is a lot of action and drama. Sea of Rust would make an excellent movie.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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