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Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Vintage Cinema Club by Jane Linfoot

Title:  The Vintage Cinema Club 

Author: Jane Linfoot
Publisher: 24th May 2015 by HarperImpulse - Harper Collins UK
Pages: 306 pages
How I Read It: ARC ebook
Genre: womens fiction; chick lit
My Rating: 2.5 crowns

"A witty, warm-hearted romp through the lives and loves of three friends – with a cool retro vibe, and a sense of fun that will never go out of fashion." – Debbie Johnson, author of the best-selling ‘Cold Feet At Christmas’.

Meet The Vintage Cinema Club….

Izzy is a wow at making unwanted things pretty, but with three brothers and her shabby chic furniture business to run she doesn’t have time to date. Could a fabulous French proposal change her mind?

Single mum Luce’s vintage bridal dresses are exquisite, but there’s no way she’s ever going to wear one or walk down the aisle for that matter. She’s a strictly no romance, one night kind of woman – or so she thinks…

Dida seems to have it all – a chocolate and banana cake recipe to die for, lovely kids (most of the time!) and a great lifestyle. But what good is a fabulous home, when your marriage has more cracks than a pavlova and your husband is having it off with half of Lithuania?

Three retro fabulous friends, in love with all things vintage, run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued cinema. When that dream comes under threat, they’ll do whatever it takes to save it.

Fans of Lucy Diamond, Michele Gorman and Milly Johnson are going to love this heartfelt, funny story.

My thoughts:
This story follows three friends - Izzy, Luce and Dida - as they fight to save the vintage cinema - their place of work and so much more. I believe the essence of this tale is about how these women became open to new possibilities in their lives, and the struggles to make those adjustments for a different, and perhaps better life. Letting go and moving forward. 
"There were times when she kicked herself for not daring to be more ambitious and confident. So much for moving out of their comfort zones".
I did enjoy the rich descriptions of wedding dresses and the reclaimed items and pieces that were easy to visualise. And I loved the time spent in France wandering through the markets etc. Whilst there are some passages dedicated to Luce and Dida, the focus for the most part is on Izzy and her evolving relationship with Xander. Sadly, this ultimately becomes the sole focus at the expense of a richer storyline - the plot becomes very thin and all about the sexual tension:
"Damn that the full blown, close up scent of him had knocked the breath out of her, and holy s*** to her collapsing knees"
If we are told once, we are told over and over how "how far out of her reach Xander was" and how "heart-stoppingly, sizzlingly gorgeous" he is. Got it. Move on please....maybe....guess not. So if you are into 'snogging and shagging' then this is the book for you:
"She couldn't decide whether to grab him, and give him the snog of the decade or keep her distance" - lust on full throttle ... the lust part of her brain was sending out a million messages a minutes, telling her to grab him and jump him ASAP".
At the end I found it to be ridiculous. I was not a fan of Izzy at all as she admits to using Xander and it was all about her - the whinging and 'poor me' become rather tiresome. I wanted to high five Xander when he called Izzy on it:
"doing one thing while implying you're doing something else doesn't count as deception, so long as you're the one doing it".
No guy would put up with Izzy and she only trusted him when he 'bought' her "you thinking about me at all, and understanding me, makes me know I can trust you enough to be with you". What!
There was potential here that, for me, was not realised. 
"It's so damned stupid that you only come around to realise what you want when it's too late to have it"

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Seed by D.B. Nielsen

Title:  Seed (Keepers of Genesis #1)

Author: D.B. Nielsen
Publisher: 7th May 2015 by LBLA Digital
Pages: 432 pages
How I Read It: ARC ebook
Genre: young adult, teens, fantasy, mystery
My Rating: 3.5 crowns

 A brilliant new adult paranormal romance with action, adventure, suspense and supernatural fantasy. SEED is the first book in this gripping new epic adventure series sure to appeal to young adults and crossover fiction readers who enjoy an assured blend of romance, fantasy and history. SEED and the other three novels in the Keepers of Genesis series (SCROLL , SWORD and STONE) should appeal to readers of Becca Fitzpatrick, of Stephanie Meyer, of Cassandra Clare’s MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series, of Lauren Kate’s FALLEN books, of Danielle Trussoni‘s ANGELOLOGY as well as to quest/thriller novels by Dan Brown, Matthew Reilly, Steve Berry, Simon Toyne and to fans of Indiana Jones, National Treasure, The Mummy or of Lara Croft’s adventures. 
One thrilling quest, twin sisters and their sweeping and adventurous romances, a perilous rivalry, intriguing exploration of some of Western culture's greatest mysteries, a magical tale of angels and demons throughout the ages. Incorporating historical facts intertwined with myth, fantasy, fascinating esoterica and love story, SEED is a captivating read which marks the arrival of a wonderful new voice in YA and crossover escapist literature.
My thoughts:
This book really has me stumped. There is a lot to like and there is a lot to cringe about. The story revolves around Sage, a seventeen year old girl who gets swept up in the middle of an ancient mystery upon coming across an artefact.
In the beginning the book lover in me was enthralled with all the book appreciation tie ins. Sage's bookish nature was something I could relate to:
"I often lost myself in .... worlds where the Lizze and Heathcliffs, Aragorn and Hamlets ... were intimates of mine".
There is no doubt, however, this is a 'young adult' tale. There are such mixed genres here that I would think some YA would find it hard to wade through. Let me explain. At times there is so much history I likened it to the detail provided in 'A Discovery of Witches' amplified. Yet, before the page is turned, a lovesick teenager has me cringing and I think of certain 'unlikeable' parts of 'Twilight'. The romantic aspect is a little hard to swallow at times with her infatuation with St. John and how perfect he is reading like her secret diary.
Let it be said from the beginning, there is a great deal of historical content that borders on information 'dump'. If you don't like your history you may struggle with this. And it is such a strange eclectic mix of historical detail and trivia:
"Chaldea being, in the Hellenistic context, historical Babylonia, the eleventh dynasty or sixth century BC" ...to... "a tavern like the Prancing Pony in The Lord of the Rings".
A great deal of research has gone into this and the archeological aspect is fascinating.Yet, I have to admit that the mixed genres did not work for me. To go from supposedly serious life threatening situations to sightseeing in the blink of an eye, left me baffled:
"What about the Grigori? How can we simply go sightseeing at a time like this? Shouldn't we have a plan of action?"
At times it's not quite believable, too 'teenagery' for me and bordering on amateurish. For example when Sage's life was saved at one stage, she claims, "it meant so much to me" - um yes! He just saved your life! And Sage being the 'Wise One' did not sit comfortably with me. Within a page you can go from intense drama to childishness.
"Despite my heartache, I found that my Mum's enthusiasm was infectious and that I was actually getting excited about the festival."
As you can see I had a great deal of trouble reconciling the many genres and different levels of maturity presented throughout the story. It's a shame because I see such potential (if only Sage had been in her 30s like Diana in Discovery of Witches) as the whole underlying concept is fascinating. If you are interested in archeology or religious history then you will love the detail. Conversely, those seeking a light YA paranormal may feel swamped. I also did not like the ending which I found rather abrupt. Nothing was resolved therefore you just have to read the rest of the series I guess. It was somewhat of an anticlimax with the spoken threat never really eventuating. 
So back to where I started. This book really has me stumped and I'm not sure what to think. 
Visit Helen @ Great Reads and Tea Leaves

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.