Category Archives: 4 Star

Darkness – Donald Stilwell

My Rating –  4 /  5

 

Before I complete this review, it is important to note that I received an unformatted PDF version of the book, prior to formatting for Kindle and so I have ignored formatting and typing/spelling errors on the assumption these will be corrected prior to final Kindle publication.

 

I am a HUGE fan of Obligation, Stilwell’s debut novel (released last December) and I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of the follow up, Darkness. I was only hoping as the novel landed on my Kindle that I wouldn’t be disappointed…. Had I built this book up too much in my own mind?

 

Darkness is a natural follow on to Obligation, but it isn’t necessary to have read Obligation first. It is hard to not compare the two books, but it’s important to note that they do tell two different stories

 

Darkness follows Vincent, a man who, as a child, suffered terrible abuse at the hands of his father. Stilwell does a great job of describing Vincent’s troubled childhood and this helps form the character in the reader’s mind, empathising with him along the way.

 

Vincent ends up in the Marine’s where he is later picked up by Will (readers of Obligation will be familiar with Will). I won’t spoil any more of the story…. You really should read for yourself.

 

Darkness is a really good, solid read and it’s clear that Stilwell writes with honesty, passion and feeling – the honesty and experience drip from the pages. As the title suggests, this is a much darker book that Obligation and in some ways shows little hope… Obligation, for me, had a sense of hope to it’s ending… I’m not sure I felt that with Darkness. Stilwell writes from experience, this is clear. It should be dull and uninspiring to a lay person like me, but Stilwell describes things so well you can’t help but get drawn into the detail of it all.

 

I was worried that Darkness wouldn’t grab me as much as Obligation – it couldn’t possibly as Obligation is my stand out book of 2012 – but I was pleasantly surprised. Stilwell has created another brilliant character in Vincent, and I can’t wait to see how things progress in the third book of the Obligation series.

 

Darkness isn’t a technically perfect book, and the characters, for me, don’t have as much depth as Kevin in Obligation but it is a good solid read, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed to read it…

 

All in all a brilliant read and an author to keep an eye on.

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A Family Affair – Mary Campisi

 

My Rating        4 /5

Format             Kindle

 

 

This was a free download from Amazon, downloaded on a whim whilst I was stocking up my Kindle.

 

The story follows the unravelling of a family following the death of the Father, Charles. Charles had a double life and his daughter, Chrissie begins to learn more about his second family, whilst unearthing some secrets from her own past and realising the importance of family and love ahead of the pursuit of money.

 

The story is slightly predictable in places, and the Uncle Harry character seemed to be a but OTT at times, but the moral presents itself nicely as the story progresses.

 

Campisi has a lovely, easy writing style (although I’m not too sure about the formatting of the Kindle version) and a quick look on amazon’s author page shows that Campisi has a number of books – many to be added to my ‘to buy’ list.

 

All in all, a nice easy read with a good clear moral to it – something that at this time of year in our consumerist world, we’d all do well to remember.

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The Love of My Life – Louise Douglas

My Rating     4 / 5

Format           Kindle

 

This is a rather long book by Louise Douglas, and follows Olivia who had been widowed following her husband being involved in a car accident.

Olivia isn’t welcomed by her husband’s family. Her mother and sister in law really dislike her and she is excluded from decisions about her late husbands burial and memorial.

 

Louise Douglas has a lovely writing style, it flows well and is easy to read. Her writing is evocative and you can feel Olivia’s grief following the death of Luca. There were sections of the  book that seemed to drag and were slightly repetitive but the story is easy to follow and develops well.
The second half alternates between the present day and Olivia’s teenage years when she meets Luca, and it becomes clear why she is disliked so much by Angela and Nathalie. The ending was a little disappointing, however, as the nod of acceptance seemed superficial and false. By the end of the book any sympathies I felt for Olivia had vanished as it was clear she was knowingly hurting Nathalie further.

 

I’ve enjoyed this book and as proof have downloaded the second book by Louise Douglas, which I look forward to starting soon.

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