Tag Archives: f/f romance

Poppy Flowers at the Front

Review: Poppy Flowers at the Front, by Jon Wilkins

Poppy Flowers at the FrontI accepted a review copy of Jon WilkinsPoppy Flowers at the Front through Damppebble Crime Blog Tours.

About the book1917: with her father in the British secret service and her brother Alfie in the trenches, under-age Poppy Loveday volunteers against her parents’ wishes to drive ambulances in France. We follow her adventures, racing to save wounded men driven to the Casualty Clearing Station, and back to the Base Hospital.

During one battle she finds Élodie Proux, a French nurse, at a roadside clutching a dead soldier. Poppy rescues her. Élodie becomes her dearest girl as they fall in love.

Poppy and Élodie encounter frightening adversaries at the Western Front as well as away from it during the closing weeks of World War One.

Poppy Loveday

Poppy Loveday

Élodie Proux

Élodie Proux

While it’s well known on the continent, I’ll give a quick little FYI for American readers. Poppies are worn on Remembrance Day (much like our Memorial Day) in honor of fallen soldiers. That should help in understanding the title.

There is much to appreciate about Wilkins’ Poppy Flowers at the Front. I very much liked Poppy as a character, Élodie too, though we get to know her far less than Poppy. Their young romance was very sweet and that contrasts well against the travesties of war. Wilkins’ does an excellent job making the pointlessness and devastation of war feel real, without steeping the reader in gore. And I adored Poppy’s relationship with her family.

However, I also felt the book lacked a central theme and/or plot-line. It felt very much like it picked up one random day and the reader follows until the book ends on another random day, and random things happen randomly during that time. I also might quibble with it being categorized as a “crime thriller.” That wouldn’t be the genre I’d put it in. Lastly, the version I read really needed another editing pass. All in all, however, not a bad read and not one I’d hesitate to recommend.

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Follow the rest of the tour here.

Review of The Grim Assistant, by Jodi Hutchins

I picked up a copy of Jodi HutchinsThe Grim Assistant from the publisher (Nine Star Press).

Description from Goodreads:

Postal carrier and amateur surfer, Samantha Diaz, lives an uncomplicated life. Well, other than helping her sister with childcare, crushing on her unavailable customer, Lauren Brennan, and catching as many waves as possible before hurricane season begins. Suffice to say, she isn’t looking for much more, but when Lauren invites her to a monthly game night at her house, Sam happily agrees.

When Sam sets out on an early morning surf, the last thing she expects to do is die, but a sudden thunderstorm thrashes offshore, creating a riptide that steals Sam’s life. She awakens to a snarky woman named Margo speaking cryptic nonsense. Not only does she claim to be one of the many Grim Reapers, or Grims, in the world, Margo makes Sam an offer: she’ll bring Sam back from the dead, as long as she becomes Margo’s temporary assistant. Sam accepts but soon realizes the deal was too good to be true, and the consequences she faces may be worse than the death she dodged.

Review:

I think the best way to describe my relationship with this book is to admit that I checked my progress at the end of EVERY chapter. I was literally counting down until the end. The reason is that I was BORED. This book seemed focused on all the wrong places, the pacing was inconsistent, as was Lauren’s character. It’s predictable, repetitive, and written largely in tell (instead of show), so I didn’t feel connected to anyone.

Review of The Wounded Ones, by G. D. Penman

I received an e-copy of The Wounded Ones (Witch of Empire #2) by G.D. Penman through Netgalley. You can find my review of The Year of the Knife, book one of this series, here.

Description from Goodreads:

Demons and serial killers are Iona “Sully” Sullivan’s bread and butter, but nothing could have prepared her to face off against the full weight of the British Empire at the height of its power. With the War for American Independence in full swing, she finds even her prodigious talents pushed beyond their limits when citizens of the American Colonies begin vanishing amidst rumours of crop circles, hydra sightings and worse.

Through a wild and lethal adventure that will see her clashing with the Empire around the world and beyond, the only constants in Sully’s life are an undead girlfriend, a giant demon crow that seems to be trying to court her, regular assassination attempts by enemies on all sides and the cold certainty that nothing and nobody is going to make it out of this war in one piece.

Review:

It took me a while to get into this book, which worried me a little. It’s been a while since I read book one, but I remembered liking it. So, I worried I was going to be disappointed when I didn’t immediately love this one. But I stuck with it and it paid off.

Once the action starts rollicking along it doesn’t stop. Mostly though, I love Sully. She’s just the sort of sarcastic, kick-ass broad I like to read about. I did think all the fighting got a little tedious and she does have a pretty serious case of unkillable. It reduces the tension of a book somewhat, knowing she’ll suicidally throw herself into danger but miraculously survive every time (often without any apparent emotional scarring). I also thought Marie was reduced to a mere plot device here, which was a shame.

Overall, however, I enjoyed this and look forward to more. And there must be more because this one ended with a pretty big loose end.