Tag Archives: f/f

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.

fire and water

Book Review: Fire & Water (Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator #3), by Alexis Hall

I received a copy of Fire & Water, by Alexis Hall, through Netgalley. I read and reviewed the first two books Iron & Velvet and Shadows & Dreams in 2014. My god, 2014!

Description from Goodreads:

I like my whiskey like I like my women: embroiled in a magical war

Ten years ago I fought for the Witch Queen of London in a mystical showdown against a King Arthur wannabe with a shaved head and a shotgun. Back then, the law did for him before he could do for us.

I don’t think we’ll get that lucky again.

As if the mother of all wizard battles wasn’t bad enough, fate or destiny or a god with a really messed-up sense of humor has dropped a weapon that could rewrite the universe right into the middle of London, and anybody with half a sniff of arcane power has rocked up to stake their claim on it. Last time this happened, the city went to pieces. This time, it might just go to Hell.

Also, still dating a vampire. Still got an alpha werewolf trying to get in my pants. Still sharing a flat with a woman made of animated marble—only now apparently there are two of her. But you know what they say: the more things change, the more they stay the same crap that’s been trying to kill you your entire life.

Review:

It’s been almost five years since I read the first two books in this series. So, I went into Fire & Water a little warily. I wasn’t sure I’d remember enough to follow the plot or if my memory of enjoying the earlier books was accurate. But Alexis Hall is one of my favorite authors, so I had faith. Hall catches the reader up on past events, in the beginning, carries Kate’s sardonic humor throughout and wraps everything up (while leaving an opening for more) in the end. All in all, it was another win for me.

However, I did think things just sort of happened. From the start to the finish, the book is a series of Kate did this, did that, then a small section fo Elsie did this and that, then more Kate did this before a lot of people did that. There isn’t really any pause in the series of events for any character development or even getting to know anyone if you don’t already.

Despite my one complaint, I look forward to more Kare Kane in the future. I just hope I don’t have to wait five years for this one.

Book Review of Safe Passage (Black Flag #1), by Rachel Ford

I received an Audible code for a review copy of Safe Passage, by Rachel Ford.

Description from Goodreads:

Go big or go home. For privateer Captain Magdalene Landon, it’s all about going big. For Kay Ellis, it’s about getting home. Together, they’re about to architect the most daring heist in the galaxy. Kay knows too much. She knows it’s a matter of time before a Conglomerate hitman finds her. She’s desperate for safe passage back to Union space. Then Magdalene shows up, promising a way home in exchange for that information. It’s a risky bet, but Kay is out of options. So she strikes a deal: the heist of the century for her freedom.Kay is playing a dangerous game, and she knows it. She’s made herself Enemy Number One of the Conglomerate. She’s relying on privateers for her safety. It’s a fool’s game. But the worst part is, her fool’s heart is starting to warm to the enigmatic captain. And that’s a risk for which she hadn’t planned.

Review:

I can’t say I enjoyed this book much. I didn’t find much that grabbed me. I felt the world wasn’t well developed, the romance was abrupt, the casual use of attempted heterosexual rape as motivation unoriginal (especially in a lesbian romance), and the characters were too Mary Sue like. Here’s an example, they kept people alive when they shouldn’t have. It felt like an artificial mechanism to move the plot along AND that the just author didn’t want them to seem like bad guys, especially considering those same characters end up dead anyway. It seemed inconsistent this insistence on ‘doing the right thing’ when they are basically thieves (and have already killed others).

This tendency to use obvious and inelegant artificial events for plot progression was also present in the romance. The characters got together, then one broke it off for sudden and stupid reasons. Then later apologized so they could get back together just as abruptly. You see it all coming a mile away.

Similarly, all the twists are as obvious as the sun. You know from very early on what is going to happen and when. 

The writing itself is fine, minus a tendency for characters to call Kay by name too often. And the narration too…for the most part. I actually greatly disliked how Rich voiced the characters. But that’s a matter of taste not quality. 

All in all, I think this was just a poorly matched book for me. I went in with high hopes. I love sci-fi romance, but this one wasn’t a winner for me.