Saturday, 30 March 2019

The Hunt for Elsewhere by Beatrice Vine


Abandoned by his family and raised by a wise, old crow, Saxton grows up to be no ordinary fox.

Where other foxes are ruthless, Saxton is merciful. Where they are greedy, he is generous. But for all that Saxton believes in honour and love, kindness and courage, other animals deem him no better than the moniker his kind is fated to bear: Lonely Thief.

Meanwhile, Dante, a battle-worn wolf missing an eye and an ear, left his pack for reasons he keeps close to his chest. One too many bad memories has left him cynical, and yet he somehow remains faithful to a fault. His lonely life, plagued by misfortune and dishonour, changes forever the day he meets Saxton.

Thrown together by fate, this unlikely duo travel across the North American continent, chasing trains, fighting hunger, evading man, and confronting their own inner demons— all while searching for redemption, family, and a place to call home.

My review

Hunt for Elsewhere came to my attention when a Facebook friend posted a photo of the cover. It was a birthday present and she seemed very excited to receive a copy, so I checked it out and purchased the Kindle edition.

I wasn’t prepared to be so totally engrossed in the lives and journeys of a fox, a crow, a wolf and many other animals.

Hunt for Elsewhere is a joyous and emotional, serious and light-hearted, pleasant and sombre read. The reader becomes emotionally involved with the characters, grieves for their losses, rejoices in their successes and loves when they find love.

As Saxton and Dante journey to their destination they make friends with, and are helped by, a variety of animals including a rat who teaches them to read, raccoons (one who has rabies), smart town cats, guard dogs, farm animals (some who surprisingly help Saxton), a mother bear bent on killing Saxton and a pack of wolves living in a reserve. However, the main influence on Saxton is Quill, the wise crow.

It is no sweet animal tale, but most of the characters are likeable, some even lovable. I particular loved Dante who has learnt life’s lessons the hard way.

It is well written and well-paced. There is plenty suspense, adventure, fun and some romance.

It is more than just a story. It is filled with lessons and wise words that form both Saxton and Dante’s personalities. The most important lessons are about friendship, acceptance and forgiveness.

The characters have human qualities (eg they can all talk to each other) but each demonstrates traits typical of their species. Although the animals are anthropomorphised their characteristics and struggle for survival are realistic.

The story is complete but open to a sequel with possibly some new adventures – one I would very much like to read.

This is not a cutesy animal story. It is the story of life and survival. As such it would not be suitable for very young readers. However, mature older children and early teens would benefit from the story especially if read with a parent.

I absolutely loved this story and can't wait to share it with my granddaughter when she is old enough.

My rating 5*

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Friday, 22 February 2019

Felina (Bitches Book 5) by T. R. Robinson

Felina is the 5th book in the authors Bitches Series. They are fictional stories but based on the author’s life and the people she knew.

There are three main characters in this story. Tara is a key character in all stories and based on the author herself. She is attractive, sensible, caring and hard working.

Felina, who epitomises the theme of the series is a greedy, scheming, selfish social climber while her husband is a kind man dedicated to his family and a hardworking, generous provider.

Tara and Felina had met many years earlier at their respective weddings and meet again when Felina calls into the club where Tara meets.

The story centres around Felina’s greed, social aspirations and uncaring attitude, not only towards her husband, but also her two children.

When her husband becomes seriously ill her attitude oscillates between disinterest and pretended interest in an attempt to get him to sign the house over to her. 

The story alternates POV between all three characters but it is well written without confusing the reader.

Is she trying to poison him? I loved the surprising ending, but you won’t find any spoilers her.

This book was provided to me for free for an honest and unbiased review.

A well written short read. My rating 4*

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Saturday, 16 February 2019

The Palace of the Stars (The Harker Investigates Mysteries #1) by Karina McRoberts

I am a lover of historical fiction if it is factual and The Palace of the Stars did not disappoint. I found my self constantly going to Google to discover more about the time and place this story is set. (This was before I discovered the author kindly included an impressive historical summary at the back of the book.) In fact, Mcroberts raises some little-known social issues of the time.

I am not a lover of time travel, but this is not full of gadgetry and science – just a mysterious portal that adds to the mystery and romance of the story.

I am also not a reader of romance unless, like Palace of the Stars, it is a part of the storyline, not the focus of the story.

I’ve always loved a mystery, adventure and intrigue and Palace of the Stars delivers these qualities in many respects – dappled with a little humour.

Michael Harker, a former policeman is staying in York, Western Australia with middle aged bookshop owner, Mari, while he convalesces. During an earthquake that shakes the shop a portal is revealed and Mike travels back to 1904.

A key character is the charming theatre owner, JT Gordon who befriends Michael and introduces him to Mae, a beautiful dancer and magician.

Together they must solve the mystery of who is killing travellers to the gold fields before Mike returns to the present. Will Mae be willing to go with him? The ending surprised me but was historically factual.

The characters are very likeable although Michael did annoy me at the beginning, but he still had a way to go with his soul healing.

Palace of the Stars transports the reader effortlessly into the past where we meet an eclectic mix of characters. It is an enjoyable, easy to read escapist story.

This book was provided to me for free for an honest and unbiased review.

My rating 4*

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