Book Review: The Devil’s Picture Book by Arabella Seymour

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Genre: Suspense, Drama

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Four women, friends from their school days, have grown apart with distance and time, until one of them puts in motion an ambitious plan for a reunion – at a country house health spa which – unknown to any of them – has a history of murder, intrigue and bad luck all it’s own.
There is Rhiannon, determined to find out who her real parents were; Alexa, desperate for time to herself away from her controlling husband; Alice, whose husband treats her with contempt; and tragic Sunny, whose promising new life has suddenly come crashing down in ruins when she discovers she has a terminal illness.
Across their path comes Andrea, the unhappy and neglected wife of ex SAS officer Roddy DeVille, tipped for New Year Honours glory, desperate to regain her fading beauty and his love along with it.
The women meet without realising that this reunion will change each of their lives in ways none of them could possibly have imagined.

Intriguing is the best word I can come up with for this book. It’s very intriguing. Almost from the first page I kept wanting to read more. It’s well written and a nice change of pace from the books I’ve mostly been reading now. It’s very intricate and complex with great characters, mostly. And I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.

So why the mediocre rating?

Simply because practically all of the men in this novel sucked. The only one who didn’t was Lexi’s old boyfriend. And while I know this wasn’t a romance or anything, there couldn’t have been at least one marriage that was happy? There are more ways to complicate a woman’s life than to be stuck in a miserable marriage.

Granted, Riannon’s main problem wasn’t her marriage. It was finding out who her parents were. But in the end, her husband, Stephen, turns out to be selfish and mean as well. He starts out nice, but it’s later revealed that he actually believes a girl was asking to be raped because of her clothing and has no problem betraying his wife to save his job. Yeah, so great.

Lexi’s and Alice’s husbands are both controlling, just in different ways. Their storylines are actually so similar that I had a hard time of telling them apart, which really irritated me. Because, again, crappy husbands aren’t the only way to make women unhappy. On top of that, Alice gets conned by a man, confirming her husband’s claim that she’s naive.

Furthermore, the conspiracy with Roddy DeVille feels more like an afterthought than the main story. While a good portion of the story does revolve around Roddy and Andrea, the book could have held its own just fine without them.

And, speaking of afterthoughts, Sunny was barely in the story, despite being one of the main characters. Which is too bad, because she could have had an interesting, if tragic story.

So because of all that, this story is only a three star. However, if you want a well-written suspenseful drama, then I definitely recommend The Devil’s Picture Book.

Explosions, Foreign Countries, and General Badass-ness

 Lately, I’ve been wanting to read two types of books: and classics. Hunt the Wolf obviously falls into the former, and it was just what I was looking for. It was full fights, explosion, foreign countries, good prevailing over bad, and general badass-ness.

SEAL Team Six leader Tom Crocker is determined to take down an Al Quaeda leader who is called AZ. After a failed mission to retrieve him, however, and a chewing out from his superiors, Crocker is ready to kick some butt. When the king of Norway asks Crocker and his team to track down a girl kidnapped by human traffickers, it looks like Crocker will be able to do just that.

My biggest problem with this book was that it was kind of predictable. I could predict a lot of the events that happened, although a few did take me by surprise. But I thought that the foreshadowing could have been a little bit better handled. However, I thought the writing was excellent. It was really easy for me to get absorbed in the book, and I could picture Crocker and his team as they tracked down the missing girl. I liked Crocker’s character, too. Even though he enjoys his work, he also loves his wife and daughter, and he tries to balance his personal and work life as much as possible. Actually, most of his team was pretty cool. I thought Akil was particularly funny and lovable, and the banter between him and Crocker was great. I’d probably give this book four out five stars, and I’ll take a chance and say that anyone who liked the Taken movies (and seriously, how can you not like those movies?) would like this book.

 http://www.indiebound.org/book/

And, as you may have noticed, there’s been a lot of Indiebound links on my blog. I’ve recently become an affiliate with them, which means that I get a small percentage of money if you click on one of the links on my blog and then buy the book. However, I’m doing this mostly because I support Indibound, and I support local bookstores. Considering the fact that 68% of the money you spend at a local shop stays in your community instead of the 43% with a chain, or none with Amazon (unless the author you’re buying is local) I think it’s worth spending a bit more time and money getting a print book from my local bookstore when I can. (I buy books from Amazon, but only if I can’t order them from a store). If you mind these links, then leave it in the comments or email me.

The Traitor’s Emblem

Mysteries, tribulations, and secrets enshroud Nazi Germany citizens and for Paul Reiner, perhaps, more than most. Growing up with his mother as a servant in his aunt’s house, he deals with the abuse taken from his aunt, uncle, and younger cousin, as well as the kids at school, who hate him because his father was branded as a traitor. But when his older cousin tells him that Paul’s father was murdered in his aunt and uncle’s house, and he defends a noble Jewish girl from his younger cousin’s advances, Paul’s world is turned upside down, and he finds himself in trouble as he fights to find his father’s murderer, hold onto the girl he is in love with, and survive from day to day. It is the story of how he obtains the Traitor’s Emblem, the metal made for the Nazi who betrayed the Freemasons.

I liked this book a lot. I thought it was well put-together and very intriguing. Even when I knew I had work to do, I couldn’t help reading a few pages at every chance I got. I like how not everything is in black and white. There are even times when it’s possible to sympathize with Jurgen, Paul’s younger cousin, who later becomes a Nazi. It was suspenseful and intriguing, and I loved seeing the characters progress over the years as the events unfold. I’d recommend this book to anyone with a love for history, mysteries, and thrillers.

 If you’re interested, you can find the book here:

<a href=”http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781439198797?aff=KaraSkinner”>http://www.indiebound.org/book/</a&gt;