Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Spotlight on other books I've read this month - July

Title: Ace of Shades (The Shadow game #1)
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin HQ Young Adult
Publication date: 23 April 2018
Pages: 464

My thoughts

 Once I got past all the politics at the start of the book I really enjoyed it. At first I was thinking New Reynes was some dystopian town with casinos, gang lords, corrupt officials and an overzealous policing system then I realised it was much like any major city today only with a slight magical element, an urban fantasy.
”Some say the City of Sin is a game, so before you arrive – ask yourself, dear reader, how much are you prepared to lose?” – The City of Sin, a Guidebook.

Enne, naive and protected, arrives in New Reynes (The City of Sin) with nothing but her mother’s rules for life and a guide book to The City of Sin. She is there to find her mother who has been missing for some months.

Levi, lord of the Iron gang, is a gang leader with a charismatic air and a liking for both males and females. He is the best dealer in town and an expert conman. He is in way over his head with his latest scam and must pay back a dangerous casino boss or be drawn into The Shadow Game and his certain death. Levi’s charisma shines through on the page.
The world building was expertly executed overpowering the two plot lines slightly in that I was much more invested in the town politics and the gang hierarchy than whether Enne actually found her mother or not. However I think the author’s aim was to have the reader invested in her characters and invested I was. Enne and Levi were strong and determined. They both had high morals that were expressed throughout the story.
Foody’s choice of made-up curse words has been scorned and ridiculed by some reviewers but I thought it was a good move to keep the age appropriate level down. I know other Fantasy authors, in the past, have used their own forms of cussing for characters.
Foody has touched on some delicate societal issues, skimming the surface of drug use, drink spiking, paedophilia and gambling, leaving plenty of room for discussion.
There is some sexual tension as Enne and Levi fight their attraction. But Levi, ever the gentleman, takes Enne’s lead and gives her space and time.
”Her guidebook had been wrong about one thing: the most dangerous part of the City of Sin wasn’t the beckoning of the card tables or the threat of gangs. It was the allure of Levi Glaisyer’s roguish smile.”
There are characters to root for and characters to hate and it looks like Vianca, Donna of the Augustines and casino owner, may be in for some trouble in the next book, if the epilogue is anything to go by.

I’m eager to get my hands on book 2.
Recommended for ages 12+
This review is part of the Beauty & Lace bookclub

Title: Burning Fields
Author: Alli Sinclair
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Publication date: 21st May 2018

My thoughts

 I love Alli Sinclair’s books and was excited to read a book where one of my favourite authors joined one of my favourite genres, Australian Historical Fiction. However this book just didn’t do it for me. It was well written and the story-line was good but somewhere along the line the delivery fell flat.
The story revolves around Rosie, a third generation cane grower, and Tomas, newly immigrated from Italy.
The story touches on issues of racism, women’s worth, the effects of the war on family and PTSD.
Rosie was just too overbearing for my liking. I liked she was strong and stubborn but the way she told everyone off about opening up but held her own demons in irked me.
The story had too many weak characters that made it a little depressing.
I would still recommend it as a good read, just not fabulous, because it’s interesting to see how far we have and haven’t come in men’s attitude towards women.

This review is part of the Beauty & Lace bookclub

Title: Return to Roseglen
Author: Helene Young
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
Publication date: 2nd July 2018
Pages: 368

My thoughts

Return to Roseglen is a poignant story of family and ageing, sibling rivalry and entitlement, long held secrets and second chances.
I fell in love with Ivy Dunmore by page 2 and that feeling didn’t waiver throughout the book. Helene Young has written a heartfelt story filled with strong women and the most wonderful supportive men I’ve read about in a long time.
No one is perfect and Young shows through her characters that we all make mistakes but we should not let our mistakes define us.
Return to Roseglen will have you contemplating your own life, especially if you have ageing parents.
Young is the master of emotion as the story had my tears welling, my anger rising and at other times I was happily celebrating the triumphs along with the characters.
I would recommend Return to Roseglen to anyone who enjoys a compelling family drama.
This review is part of the Beauty & Lace bookclub


  1. Burning Fields looks like a very good read.

    1. I enjoy Historical Fiction that also includes the second world war.

  2. Good reviews. You chose an interesting selection

  3. City of Sin sounds super cool. Its not in my normal genre wheel house but your review has me interested!

    1. It was good. Gangs, gamboling houses, mafia style bosses and a little romance.

  4. I’m not sure about the politics at the start. How long is that section?

    1. It's just at the start of the book but my eyes glaze over whenever any book starts to mention political standing and
      whose on whose side. Well worth a read.

  5. Return to Roseglen seems to have caught my eye - thanx for the info

    1. A family drama, with lots of drama a few secrets and one character you just want to see get a good beating.

  6. I'm adding Burning Fields to my tbr list. lovely post btw! :)

  7. Wow! You got through quite a lot!

    1. Not as many as some people but I'm happy with how many I did get to read.

  8. Ace of Shades has been on my TBR since I heard of it. It looks fantastic.

    Megan - Ginger Mom and the Kindle Quest