Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Secret of Pembrooke Park

Abigail's family is facing ruin and it's all her fault.

With the Foster's in need of a dramatic life change following a bad investment it almost seems too good to be true when a distant relation offers them the use of an estate for 12 months at an affordable price. Until Abigail arrives and truths and rumours involving vanishing relatives, unsolved murders, and hidden treasure begin to swirl despite the best efforts of someone to keep Abigail in the dark.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park falls into one of my favourite genres thanks to its older British setting, however, to my surprise, it was the mystery that made this book a winner in my eyes. It takes a rare plot to keep me guessing these days and Klassen skillfully allows plot twists that surprised even me to appear throughout the book at, in retrospect, were the most interesting of points.

With the story's themes of romance and mystery dominating the pages I was hopeful for some strong characters to keep me interested, especially after only Abigail managed to catch my eye from the Foster family. Thankfully, a full cast of character at the estate including staff, the Chapman's, and neighbours down the road provide a colourful enough town to believe a mystery of this scale could actually occur in it's given setting. That said, it was truly Abigail that kept me turning the pages. Her intelligence and her character made her such an easy character to journey with through the story that it was easy to enter the world through her efforts and take part in Pembrooke.

I was also happy that the mystery never took second stage to the romances which came and went throughout the book. Although Abigail had two suitors by the end,  they relationships actually naturally evolved through the mystery and the events which were taking place. I won't give away which suitor Abigail chooses but I was definitely satisfied with the end result.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park  is a well crafted mystery that should appeal to a variety of readers thanks to it's involvement of different literary genres.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review the opinions are my own

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Time Traveller by Joanne Harris

As a loyal Whovian I was excited for the chance to review a story based in Classic Who (doctors before Eccleston's 9th).

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Time Traveller takes place as the 3rd doctor is counting down until his next regeneration having been fatally poisoned. Recognizing his time is almost ended he attempts to find companion Sarah Jane when the TARDIS reroutes him to an idyllic town with a terrible secret driving it's everyday life.

The premise itself is quite Whovian in nature and it's always interesting to explore the mind of the doctor as he proceeds towards regeneration. However, given the twist ending, this book was simply too dark for me given where I am in life at the moment.

I enjoyed the build and pacing of the story, watching this doctor reason out what was happening in the little town. I also found it interesting as one more familiar with modern Who to see personality traits which have followed the Doctor throughout his regeneration.

Given the book's sensitive ending (and the inability to warn readers as it spoils the story) I would hesitantly recommend this story as it's ending may be more than some Whovian's were expecting.

I received this book in exchange for my honest open through NetGallery.

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

As a noble daughter and elder sister, it is Margaretha’s duty to marry well.
Surely it isn’t her fault that none of her suitors came close to being the husband she desires. Lord Claybrook seems her best option despite his high tastes and cold eyes, so why is her attention held fast by an injured, nameless boy who claims destruction for her family should she marry the foreign Lord?

I thoroughly loved The Princess Spy! It has adventure, plot twists, romance all wrapped up with an almost fairy tale vibe, providing an intriguing journey that I wish could have continued. Dickerson helps readers connect with her characters by providing them depth and life. Margaretha continually grows into her role as a young noble from the insecure and overtalkitive girl she was before the story’s events came to pass, growing through love as well as her faith both key elements within the story’s composition.

I was also surprised how unobtrusive the faith elements were woven into the story’s overall narrative. With Margaretha as well as Colin, the inclusion of their faith and reliance seemed believable and realistic for two young adults learning to stand outside their parents’ households.
I would highly recommend this book.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion through BookLook Bloggers. The opinions are my own.