Sunday, 18 May 2014

Book Review: Not the End by Kate Vane




 The death of an eighty eight year old woman, Maud Smith is the catalyst for the events in Not the End as in turn we are introduced to Neil, the cemetery manager who is responsible for her funeral, Brenda, the woman who found her body washed up on the beach, Jim, the probate researcher, Elizabeth, Maud's neighbour and Olive, her former love rival.
Slowly their lives become entangled as we learn more about them and their families. This isn't a whimsical fluffy story set in a seaside town, it's a look at real lives and what makes them so complicated at times, marriage breakdowns, sibling relationships, mental illness, deception, jealousy, hope, fear, friendship and love all feature here. Although she never actually appears in the novel, Maud still affects each of them in different ways and often influences the decisions they make. We don't actually discover much about her later life and death but there are revelations about her past which have an impact on a few of the characters.
There are a lot of story threads here and although they often intertwine it did take a while to feel I really knew the characters and occasionally I found myself needing to check back to remind myself particularly who lesser characters were and I warmed more to some characters and their storylines more than others. However, once I had a grip on who was who I enjoyed Not the End very much. It's a thoughtfully written and often poignant without being sentimental look at the often complex lives of ordinary people. Despite the sometimes serious subject matter however, it's not a depressing read, there are enough lighthearted moments to keep the overall feel of the book a positive read and I think one that many people would enjoy adding to their summer reading pile.
Many thanks to the author for my copy of this book in return for my honest review.

Not the End is available on Amazon for Kindle.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Book Review: Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert




Gabriel is a professional hacker and he's very successful at it. Previously he worked for Eyestorm, an organisation that studied Remote Viewers (those able to use telepathy and clairvoyance) and utilised those skills in investigations that the likes of the police and regular private investigators were baffled by. Gabriel was apparently very good at "slamming the ride"- the term used by remote viewers when they entered somebody else's mental space - but left suddenly under a cloud. Now his ex girlfriend is back with a request, her adult stepson is missing and the police have drawn a blank. Can Gabriel use his skills to find out what happened?
At first he is reticent but soon becomes drawn in the investigation and into the lives of the beautiful, intelligent and mysterious sisters, Minnaloushe and Morrighan who seem to hold the key as to what happened to Robert Whittington. Before long the professional and personal are intertwined, Gabriel spends more and more time with the sisters and as he reads one of their diaries he falls in love - but is he in love with a murderer? And could they really be witches?
 It took me a while to get into Season of the Witch, I found Gabriel arrogant and thought giving the sisters such unusual names was predictable rather than interesting, the speed at which he developed a close relationship with them too seemed somewhat unbelievable even given their possible powers. As the story progressed though I found myself more involved as it became an often exciting thriller with references to witchcraft, alchemy, hacking, professional espionage and memory palaces. The story on the whole however, just felt too unevenly paced, parts of the plot never rang true and it had an epigraph I felt was unnecessary. I never really engaged with any of the characters either unfortunately, I don't mind how I feel about a character as long as I feel something and I just didn't care that much about any of them. In the end it wasn't that I didn't enjoy Season of the Witch, it was an easy read with some good moments and much to enjoy for fans of gothic thrillers but personally it's just not a book that I will remember much about.
I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley, in return for my unbiased review.

Season of the Witch is published by Portable Magic Ltd.