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Well, what a humdinger of a book this turned out to be. A mash-up of dystopian, futuristic fiction and Nordic police thriller, with a dash of the supernatural. It’s set 50 years in the future in Eldisvik, a Scandinavian city where you’re all right if you’re in the Free Zone, but venture outside its borders and you’re in increasing danger (and even the police won’t enter the Double Red Zone without some serious protection). The initial premise of the story is that a Decoy (sort of undercover agents aided by packs of vixens – I know, I know . . . .) has gone rogue and the police, led by Nero Cavello, have to investigate. There’s a second storyline of a young student, Bruno, who is kidnapped by the rogue Decoy who wants to use Bruno’s telepathic abilities. Alongside all this, we have political chicanery, corruption and possible infiltration of the police. Oh, and Nero also has telepathic abilities, just like Bruno. The descriptions of the technological advances felt realistic – just advanced enough from where we are now to feel futuristic, but not unbelievably so. However, I really wanted to know how things had got to be as they are. Why have the police lost control of the outer zones? What’s happened in the rest of the world? There are a few hints of catastrophes elsewhere – the city seems to be a real multi-cultural mix and there are references to lots of people being refugees. It took me a while to really engage with the book – there were too many things going on and I could have done with the characters being fleshed out more; I didn’t feel particularly invested in any of them until quite a way in. However, the characters eventually came to life and once that happened the story fairly hurtled along. The ending was a real cliff-hanger – rather too much so for my taste. Of course, you don’t want all the loose ends neatly tied up, otherwise, why read the rest of the series? But hardly any questions at all were answered. Nevertheless, I’m well and truly hooked. It’s rare that I reach the end of a book shouting “Oh no” as I realise it’s finished. I look forward to my next visit to Eldisvik. Bernadette Scott, A LoveReading Ambassador
The Alphabet of Heart’s Desire is a beautifully written historical fiction novel loosely based on Thomas De Quincy’s early life. English essayist Thomas de Quincy (most famous for “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater”) is the first protagonist that we meet, some years after most of the novel’s narrative takes place. The story is told to us in alternating chapters told by Thomas, Anne and Tuah. Thomas we are familiar with; Anne, is a young girl when we meet her. Forced by life, bad luck and circumstance into a life of prostitution. Tuah, is a young orphaned boy when we meet him. Taken from his home by Dutch slave traders and bought onto a ship bound for the UK. Tuah is sold to the ships captain who takes him under his wing and teaches him English until they arrive in the U.K. Thomas after a troubled early life finds himself on the streets of a London as a young man. He has no idea of how the real world operates having been bought up relatively comfortably. You might ask what connects these characters. Well it’s not at all clear at first, but as the narrative progresses we begin to see how they are unquestionably linked. Thomas falls upon hard times when he arrives in London, abandoned by his family, he is discovered by Anne on the street following an altercation with some men of less than desirable character. They are strangers to each other, of different worlds but drawn together by a need for companionship and laudanum … and that’s where the real story begins. The Alphabet of Heart’s Desire is highly recommended for any historical fiction fan. Vicky-Leigh Sayer, A LoveReaidng Ambassador
This is one of the best books that I have read in a long long time! At first, I was a little unsure about what to expect, but I was not disappointed with this book. The author takes the reader on a journey across the vast expanse of Russia but in the form of 'short stories' about what is met whilst travelling. Each story is completely different and yet relevant to form the story as a whole and as such makes for delightful enjoyable reading. The book itself covers many genres and would delight anyone who picks it up. It is a very descriptive book with the author allowing the reader to feel as if they are actually travelling on the journey. A tourist guide it most definitely is not, but a book full of so many emotions, excitement, comedy, fear, loneliness and so forth and by the time the reader has read to the destination of the line, they will be quite impressed with what they have just read. I won't give detailed or short descriptions of the stories within the story of the book as this is a book that the reader needs to read for her/himself in order to appreciate the whole story and also the authors' style of writing which I may add is excellent. All in all an excellent fictional book which guarantees the reader an excellent read. Catherine Bryce, A LoveReading Ambassador
Mental health is something that most don’t understand or even feel comfortable speaking about often for fear of getting it wrong. The author has taken us into the minds of what it could be like to suffer with mental health conditions. The story tells a tale about finding a cure to help the world rid of these conditions which on the basis is a well-written story but it can also help you consider how you can help, what it could be like or simply that listening & acknowledging could start to help. I enjoyed the story as a novel but also as a thought-provoking story as we engage in the ‘real’ world. Cathy Small, A LoveReading Ambassador
Lauren Patterson, an American PhD student, makes a remarkable discovery and accidently finds the diaries of Leonardo da Vinci's assistant. Paulo del Rossi's diaries then lead us through love stories, drama, blackmail, murder and the aftermath of monumental deception. The modern day quest to uncover the historical truths are fantastically interesting. Immersive and intriguing, Paulo del Rossi and Lauren guide us through the Renaissance in Florence to Nazi Germany and into the local Costa coffee shop with ease. We even discover the secret of Mona Lisa's smile and follow a tender love story that spans across the years. A fantastic read. Nikki Telling, A LoveReading Ambassador
Winner of the Book Excellence Award 2016 for Romance. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book. This is a beautiful book the author has created such a detailed account of relationships and beautiful Sardinia. Children of the Mists is a beautiful story consisting of an interesting plot with lovely characters in love in 19th Century Sardinia. I think that this book would be a great sunbed read or, like today, sitting by the fire warmed by some hot chocolate. I cannot believe I have never come across this author before and I am now seeking her out. Jane Brown, A LoveReading Ambassador
A well-crafted story, beautiful language, a mystery and a wild cat with a sense of humour. What's not to like about this book? It grabs the reader's attention from the start and holds on to it throughout the story. I also love the information about Wild Cat conservation which appears before the story starts: hopefully this will encourage readers of all ages to take an interest in the conservation of this beautiful animal. I normally clear my downloads after reviewing a book, but I will be keeping this one to reread and I can't wait to read about Catastrophe's next adventure Pauline Braisher, A LoveReading Ambassador