Friday, July 19, 2019

The starter wife by Nina Laurin

On the outside Claire Westcott and her husband Byron Westcott have the perfect life.  He is a professor of Literature at a local college, and she is working on her novel.  They have the perfect life, the only shadow is the death of Byron's first wife Colleen, an artist who drowned herself.  Byron was a suspect in her disappearance, and with no trace of her body ever found a cloud of suspicion will always hang over his head.  Claire does everything she can to support him, keeping their home neat and orderly, and trying to ignore the fact that Byron still has Colleen's all over the house that was once Colleen's but is now theirs.  

Claire desperately wants a child to complete their lives, but recently something has shifted in their relationship.  Their mornings were once a shared breakfast before going their separate ways, but now she wakes to an empty bed and an empty house.  Desperate to please Byron, Claire goes out of her way to find out what is happening, but she should be more concerned about her own life.  The pressure is building and Claire is making stupid mistakes and taking risks, and Byron is noticing.  She can't seem to win with anything, and even the simplest things are getting harder and harder, and her little sneaky drinks seem to be hitting her harder and harder.  Claire is starting to feel really afraid, and when you are pushed to your limits you are capable of just about anything.

The starter wife was a one of those rare books that I didn't want to put down, it had to be read in a single day and lead to a rather late night to finish it!  Claire is an intriguing character and offers a window into the life that she shares with Byron, and the story is very well written with plenty of little snippets that help you build a better picture of the story.  It's easy to connect with Claire, especially as her world starts to crumble and you get the sense that someone is seriously messing with her life.  Byron seems to be the perfect husband, and they appear to be the perfect couple, but not everything is as it seems.  Talking about the story too much will ruin the little snippets and twists and turns that make this story so good - so the review will end here so you can read it for yourself.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Eye spy by Mercedes Lackey

Eye spy is the second book in the Family spies series by Mercedes Lackey so there will be some ***SPOILERS*** in this review if you have not already read The hills have spies.  While you can read this series out of order, I recommend that you read the series in order for most enjoyment.

Growing up with two Heralds as parents puts more than a little pressure on you to be Chosen yourself, and when your parents are The King's Own Herald and the Herald Spy of Valdemar the pressure settles a little more heavily.  Abidela, affectionately known as Abi, desperately wants to find her place in the world - especially now her older brother Perry has firmly found his place working with their father as a spy.  While Abi and her siblings already provide services to the Crown by being unofficial bodyguards for the Royal children, it's not quite enough.

Everything changes rather abruptly when Abi and Princess Kat are running an errand for the heavily pregnant Queen.  Abi, who has never shown any sign of a Gift, suddenly springs into action when she Feels that something is very wrong with the bridge they are crossing.  Springing into action she works with Kat to clear the bridge, just before it collapses in spectacular fashion.  It seems like a miraculous save, but Abi knows that something was wrong with the bridge before it collapsed and she soon discovers that she has a gift for Feeling when something is wrong with a building - a very valuable Gift for the Kingdom if it can be harnessed and shaped.

With the discovery of her Gift Abi is offered a place with the Artificers, a move that creates some resentment with the mostly male students who feel she has stolen her place and robbed another potential student of their opportunity.  After some unpleasantness, Abi finds that she loves being a student and realises that her developing skills could come in very handy for the family spy trade.  Her Gift is only part of her future, she must also develop real world skills, and with the help of a firm circle of friends she has a bright future - even though someone seems determined to stop her suceeding.  When it comes time for her to test her skills in the real world, Abi will have to call on all of her resources and everything she has ever learned to stop a looming disaster.

Some fans have been less than impressed with the Family spies series, mainly becuse of how the stories are developing and how some of the characters are writen.  Personally, I have enjoyed reading both The hills have spies and Eye spy.  The stories are something of a departure from the traditional Valdemar stories, mainly becuase they are focused more on the mundane than the use of Gifts and developing the story of one individual - it feels more like Mercedes Lackey is developing the storyline for characters that will play a part in a later series, creating a bridge between the world we know and the world that will be (just a hunch, nothing solid to go on).

This is an enjoyable series, with plenty of action and drama, as well as a tricky mystery or two for Abi to solve.  The ending does seem to be a little abrupt, but the journey was enjoyable and leaves room for Trey to tell his story and possibly what comes next for Abi in the same way that we saw some of Perry's future in Eye spy.  A good solid addition to the series, and now we just have to wait for Tory's story.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla