Trade Winds by Christina Courtenay

This book was bought for me as a present and probably not one that I may otherwise have picked up.  It’s part of a new series of books published by Choc Lit.  I guess Choc Lit gives you an idea what sort of books these are going to be – obviously a romance with some mind candy.  The sort of book that you should probably take on holiday and read whilst lying in the sun with a long cold drink of something.  And that’s exactly what this novel is.

The story is based on two characters.  Killian, who lives in Scotland and has been disinherited by his grandfather and seeks a living gambling and Jess, who lives in Sweden and believes her stepfather is swindling her out of her inheritance.  The story contrives to bring the two characters together and the romance obviously follows.  This is certainly a very easy book to read.  I think if you are seeking a great deal of depth or historical detail you would probably be disappointed but if you want a nice light hearted read with a couple of good looking characters who undertake a little adventure and escape a few life threatening situations then it’s all wrapped up nicely in this book.

I can’t say I was absolutely riveted by this book but also I had no problem in reading it.  It was a bit contrived in parts and probably tried a little bit too hard in the last quarter of the book to bring both elements of adventure plus a lovely neat ending – but really can you complain about that??  I don’t know.  What’s wrong with a nice light hearted read after all.  Not everything you read has to be deep and meaningful!

I guess given that these books are for the romance lovers out there the only criticism I would have is there wasn’t enough of the romance element.   There was some build up and anticipation which was okay but then before you knew it you have two people who to my mind are too well established – in more ways than one!  I felt as though they ‘grew up’ too quickly and were almost like a seasoned couple – I guess I’m trying to say that they had lost the excitement element to their relationship which was a bit disappointing.  Also, things seemed to come very easily for them and nothing was ever stressful which under the circumstances they were in is a little bit unbelievable.  If you compare this to a novel like the Bronze Horseman, by Paullina Simons -now there is a love story to remember!

That being said this is a nice easy book to read and a must for anybody who fancies a bit of a holiday read that is not too heavy on detail.  I’ll check out ‘choc lit’ again to see what else they have.

Rating -B

 

Trade Winds

Trade Winds

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Last Sacrifice is the 6th and final installment in the Vampire Academy series of books (although there is to be a ‘spin off’ series based on some of the other characters).

I’ve really enjoyed this series of books – although I don’t particularly recommend that they be read on their own – I think that the whole series needs to be read to give a proper understanding of the lifestyle, history and characters involved.  I think RM has down a wonderful job of creating this whole other vampire world that sits secretly alongside our own, a world with a fully developed background, superstitions and myths.

I also enjoyed watching the change in Rose throughout the series.  Rose is a great character.  She’s tough and can stand up for herself but she’s also devoted to her friends and not afraid to get into any number of situations to help others.  She’s not perfect of course and makes a lot of mistakes, some which she deeply regrets, but with the benefit of hindsight I guess it would be a perfect world (or a boring book with very little story involved!).

Anyway, this book starts with Rose in prison, accused of the murder of the Queen (for which the punishment is the death penalty).  Dimitri is also being kept under lock and key as not everyone is convinced that he truly is a dhampir again or think he may be a Strigoi spy.  Rose’s friends, assisted by Dimitri break Rose out of Jail and she becomes a fugitive assisted by Sydney (the plan being to keep her safely in hiding).  Meanwhile, Lissa remains at court and tries to uncover who the real killer is.  Of course Rose has no such intentions of playing a sleepy role and embarks on her own search for Lissa’s secret sibling.  And so two stories begin to unfold.

I did enjoy this book although not as much as I hoped.  Whilst I think that RM has tried to give everyone a happy ending this is never going to be easy – and particularly where a love triangle has been written into the plot.  As far as I’m concerned I never had any doubt about who Rose would (or should) end up with but obviously in this case there’s always somebody who is going to be unhappy.  That being said there were a few surprises along the route and I never guessed the actual murderer or the final outcome between Rose and Lissa.  I guess what I found a little disappointing was the interaction between Dimitri and Rose which wasn’t as gripping as in the previous books and the ending felt a little bit rushed (even though this isn’t a small book).  In the last book Dimitri was absolutely adamant that he didn’t want to be near Rose or to speak to her and she was understandably heartbroken and yet here he is at the start of book no.6 helping her to escape from prison and joining her on her road trip/hideout/adventure.  Also, it seemed rather obvious that Dimitri’s feelings for Rose had changed and yet I didn’t really have any real understanding or sense of why that was  – or more to the point how quickly he’d had a turn around.  I think that I might have enjoyed a little less time spent in Lissa’s ‘head’ and a bit more time sorting out some queries between Rose and Dimitri.  Although I thought the Lissa element was enjoyable in this book and at last give Lissa a chance to do something for Rose.

This probably sounds more critical than I intended.  I think this has been a really excellent series, I think Rose is a great character and I would definitely recommend reading them.

Rating -A

Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice

Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice

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