Tag: Book Reviews

Book Review: Conclave by Robert Harris

ConclaveConclave by Robert Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my Lord, I couldn’t put this down despite needing to because daily life was getting in the way!

This story is absolutely brilliant, meticulously detailed, wonderfully insightful, with a kick in the end that still has me grinning and applauding even now as I write this.

Robert Harris never fails to bring the goods, and keep you turning the pages.


Highly recommended. And even if you’re not Catholic, this book will resonate for sure!

Love it!

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Book Review: Crazy Horse and Custer by Stephen E. Ambrose

Crazy Horse and CusterCrazy Horse and Custer by Stephen E. Ambrose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As an avid historian and a fan of Stephen Ambrose’s work, I was intrigued by this book – showing the parallel lives of George Custer and Crazy Horse. Two very different men, who were fated to face each other.

Ambrose shows insight into both men, he shared the lives they lived and then how they died. Custer is famous for his death, more than his life, while Crazy Horse is famous for his last stand, but few remember how he died.

I knew some of the myths and stories around ‘Little Big Horn’ but I hadn’t known about the world around it, and the factors that led to that very moment. I had no idea how devoted Custer was to his wife, Libby, nor anything about Crazy Horse’s own love for a woman he could never have.

The book brought to life these men, that made me see their world differently.

If you want to learn beyond the myth of Custer, Crazy Horse, and the Indian Wars – this is the book to read.

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Book Review: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I went straight from the first book to the second, wanting to find out ‘what happened next’. I wasn’t disappointed, the story pulled me right back in gripping me with intrigue and twisting historical context around a fictional narrative.

I admit Elizabethan History is not my forte, as a matter of fact I had to do some research into the time period and the ‘School of Night’, learned a lot about Christopher Marlow, Sir Walter Raleigh, Thomas Harriot, George Chapman, and Matthew Roydon (by the way nice use of an historical character that has no information or identifying painting).

Following Diana through Elizabethan life, learning how to navigate marriage, while all the time trying to find the secret of her own heritage made me admire her. This isn’t a ‘kick ass woman’ who can do anything, be anything and just the best. Instead she is very human, screws up, admits faults, has anxiety attacks yet keeps going. Her love for her family, husband and doing what’s right, shows through.

Now it’s onto the 3rd and last book in the series.

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Book Review: All This I Will Give You by Dolores Redondo

This is one of the books downloaded during Amazon’s World Book Day.

One down … eight to go.


All This I Will Give to YouAll This I Will Give to You by Dolores Redondo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t normally find myself attracted to women authors, but this book was discovered as part of a free deal on AmazonCrossing (Books from Around the World), and being that it was a/ free and b/ had an intriguing cover, I dove in.

I surprised myself actually, given that I knew nothing of either the book or the author.

I was hooked. Less than 3 pages in, and I seriously couldn’t put it down.

I wish I could give it more than 5 stars!!

It’s been a very long time since I raved so enthusiastically about a novel, let alone one I was desperately driven to finish reading, because it was so beautifully addicting.

Even being translated from Spanish, it was gorgeous, flowing prose, utterly believable emotion, well drawn and deeply crafted. The characters are so real, the places so inspiring, that I was right there with them on their journey.

Wonderful! Just truly wonderful with a superb ending I can honestly say I didn’t see coming.

I’m bound and determined now to find more of the works of Delores Redondo.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough!!!!

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Book Review: Arms of Nemesis (Roma Sub Rosa, #2) by Steven Saylor

Arms of Nemesis (Roma Sub Rosa, #2)Arms of Nemesis by Steven Saylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent book, filled with beautiful and lyrical descriptions of Ancient Rome in the time before Caesar.

The author is certainly more than capable of drawing the reader into old rituals, and stunning scenery with flowing ease and an assurance of research well done on every topic, from poisons to bath houses.

In fact, Steven Saylor includes at the end a list of works he consulted for writing this book, so the curious can go find more for themselves.

I appreciate the tasteful way he describes both sex and sensuality and when he does feel the need to use baser descriptions, they fit very well with the ‘moment’ in the drama.

This is the second of his Roma Sub Rosa series and I look forward to reading the third, even if the ending on this one felt just ever so slightly contrived.

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How to help an Author: Leave a Review

I saw this on Charles Delint’s Facebook page and it’s so very true.

This is why I leave reviews on Goodreads for the books I read.  It doesn’t matter if the author is well established or just starting out.

Reviews help get books moved on up the charts.

Reviews help books get past the initial first day sales, giving them staying power.

Reviews show that you, the readers, were moved by the book, whether it was in a positive or negative way.

Please leave a review after reading – I sincerely hope it’s a positive one 🙂

You can either leave a review for The Secret Service Agent or Conversations in Real Time on their respective pages here on the blog, or on the digital store were you bought them (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo or Smashwords), or of course, on Goodreads.

Thank you so much!

Nicholas J. Finch


Book Review: Wonder Woman: The Official Movie Novel by Nancy Holder

The one thing I’m adamant about is reading.  Read everything.  Just read.

Which means that my selection of books ends up being from eclectic to downright head tilting at times.

Next book up for a review is not one most wouldn’t think of as part of anyone’s library.   Movie novelizations aren’t the next Jeffrey Archer’s or Stephen King’s (despite how many of their books have been made into movies).  But movie novelizations got me reading as a young loner teenager who preferred books over people.

So on occasion I still pick them up.

Now don’t get me wrong there’s a big difference between reading a novelization and one that was the inspiration of a film … one day I’ll do a post on The Snowman by Jo Nesbø, but until then …

Enjoy Wonder Woman!

Wonder Woman: The Official Movie NovelizationWonder Woman: The Official Movie Novelization by Nancy Holder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As someone who enjoyed the movie for it’s innovation of character and bringing back Wonder Woman as a strong female character, I was curious on how the ‘Movie Novelization’ would read out.

It wasn’t a difficult read, I finished it in a few hours (though months apart) It was enjoyable, the writing was good but not in-depth, I had been hoping for more character insight or history. It followed the movie closely, even if you wanted more.

For a movie novelization it was one of the best I’ve read. I would recommend it to people who have seen the movie or not. You’ll fall in love with Diane and feel her pain, devotion and love.

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Book Review: Roman Blood (Roma Sub Rosa, #1) by Steven Saylor

The goal for this year is to read more books!

I got so wrapped up last year in finishing The Secret Service Agent, that I slacked off on my reading list!

So starting off the New Year with my first book review:


Roman Blood (Roma Sub Rosa, #1)Roman Blood by Steven Saylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having read Steven Saylor’s ‘Roma’ I was fascinated to start at the beginning of the Roma Sub Rosa series and meet Gordianus the Finder.

This was an easy and enjoyable read from start to finish, though it did flag a little bit in the middle, and I’ve only given it 4 stars here because the repetition of certain information that the reader had already been given previously in the book, started to get very tedious after a while.

I understand that repetition is often necessary to make sure the reader gets the point, but this didn’t feel like that kind of writing tool from my perspective.

The characters are hard to like at first. Their pace of life is very slow, and many of them are utterly irredeemable. But stick with it, it’s worth it.

I had no idea until the end that it was based on real historical documents from the famous Orator Marcus Tullius Cicero, whom we meet in the story as the man quite literally guiding the need for Gordianus to go Find him information on a case to be presented before the Rostra in the ancient Roman Forum.

I would absolutely recommend this book, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the next one in the series.

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Book Review: Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny LessNot a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been a long time since I last read Jeffrey Archer, and where better to start again than at the beginning of his works.

This book is total fun! Seriously.

Simple, straightforward, ever so slightly pretentious without being snobbish. And there’s a twist in the tale that’s just brilliant (the second twist was a little bit too much though to be honest).

Clear language, flowing and precise. The characters are equal parts adorable and annoying, without being tedious.

A good romping read that doesn’t tax the mind too much.

Highly recommended!

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Book Review: St. Peter’s Bones by Thomas Craughwell

St. Peter's Bones: How the Relics of the First Pope Were Lost and Found . . . and Then Lost and Found AgainSt. Peter’s Bones: How the Relics of the First Pope Were Lost and Found . . . and Then Lost and Found Again by Thomas J. Craughwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent book filled with history in terms that are easy to understand and simple to follow. I learned a lot from this that I hadn’t known before, and was very pleased to see mention of the awesome St. Vibiana, who’s personal history and story are so slim anyway. This was great, and put the timeline of the archaeology below St. Peter’s Basilica, into fuller perspective. Recommended reading!

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