Review by Kat Berg -- The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci

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Kat Berg
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Review by Kat Berg -- The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci

Post by Kat Berg » 18 Sep 2018, 00:21

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci" by Belle Ami.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Girl Who Knew Da Vince by Belle Ami is a mixture of intrigue, the paranormal, and romance. It has war heroes, Nazis, villains, art thieves, and star-crossed lovers.

The Cast of Characters

Angela: The naïve heroine. She is doing an internship at the prestigious Getty Museum. While continually having to fend off her boss’s unwanted and aggressive overtures, she is also suffering from migraines, lack of sleep, and vivid dreams. She comes to realize these are not dreams, but they are instead something more. Is it her past life encroaching on the present? Is she seeing ghosts? Is she going crazy? And can she trust Alex, the detective who has suddenly inserted himself into her life?

Alex: A private detective hired to investigate Dr. Scordato and find a long-rumored missing da Vinci painting. Instantly drawn to Angela in an almost magical way, he takes on the role of her protector, but things get complicated when he realizes she may also be the key to him finding the missing painting.

Dr. Scordato: Director of the Getty Museum and an all-around greedy, scum of the earth type of a man. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for a buck, including cheat, steal, and kill. He knows that Angela is somehow his key to finding the missing da Vinci painting that is worth an inestimably large sum of money. He doesn’t know how she knows what she knows; he only knows that she will help him, whether willingly or unwillingly, find what he wants.

The Painting: A masterpiece of da Vinci, it disappeared almost immediately after it was created, and ever since then deaths have followed in its wake. Perhaps it would be better if it were never found.

I was drawn into this story quite quickly. I wanted to know what the prologue had to do with the rest of the book and where all the characters fit in. I was expecting a book that was a mystery with a paranormal crossover. Instead, I got a romance novel, that also happened to have a bit of mystery and the paranormal.

This book was entertaining, and for the most part, it was an okay read. But it also read quite uneven at times. For example, most of the language in the book is exceptionally clean, so it is particularly jarring when suddenly coarse language is used, not just as dialogue, but as a description.

Another example of the unevenness is found in some of the dialogue. Sometimes it works well and reads very naturally, but other times, like when Alex and Dr. Scordato are arguing early on in the book, the level of verbal violence escalates rather suddenly. It just doesn't match the rest of the scene, and so the reader is left feeling a bit unbalanced. That same pacing or timing issue happens when Angela and Alex quarrel over Alex keeping important information secret. Her reaction seems like an overreaction, and then moving on to forgiveness happens too soon and too readily.

The plot moves along nicely throughout the book. My main complaints in this area are twofold. One, there were times when I wished for a little more detail. Some events seemed rushed. This rushing is only made more apparent by the times when the author does gives us a richly articulated scene. That being said, the story wraps up in a satisfactory way at the end. Indeed, it felt like the most polished part of the book and was rich with detail, imagination, and an interesting twist.

Two, the romance aspect of the book just didn’t work for me as written. It read as being more about giving the reader a graphic sex scene than depicting how real, normal relationships progress. (The word “graphic” is relative, of course.) Because of this, the scenes felt like they were just plopped in. I will admit to a bias here on this one, as I am not a fan of the romance genre. It is entirely possible this style is completely normal. I have therefore disregarded this objection when I considered how I would rate the book, but it bothered me enough that I felt it was worth a mention.

I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. There were about ten various errors that I noticed, ranging from malapropisms to homophones, to missing commas. I would have taken off an additional half star for those if it were allowed, but they did not seem so numerous as to rate an entire star deduction. The story was engaging, in spite of the objections I named above and will be enjoyed by those looking for a light romance with a bit of mystery and suspense. Those who do not like the romance genre or paranormal aspects should give this one a pass.

******
The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci
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Post by LaurenHaupt » 18 Sep 2018, 14:37

This sounds like a great book. I hope I get a chance to read it. It's a shame about the romance parts in the book. Thanks for the review!
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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 18 Sep 2018, 17:58

Yeah, it is book of the day today, a funny coincidence! I think those who like Roman e books probably won’t mind that part as much as I did.

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Post by jcoad » 18 Sep 2018, 18:36

I enjoyed the flashback portions of this book much more than the present day story. The present day story was "simple" as you said and I wish they would have stopped "hooking up" and just found the painting already. They made it about 100x harder than it had to be with that dastardly villain and his evil henchmen after them. The "adult" scenes were rough, I just skipped those. Thanks for the great review!

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Post by Dael Reader » 18 Sep 2018, 19:23

I completely agree with you about the sex scenes. I was disappointed by this book because I was hoping for more of a focus on the art history mystery. But then there were these gratuitous sex scenes, which were more about lust than romance. If this is typical for the genre, I'm glad I usually steer clear.

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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 18 Sep 2018, 20:11

jcoad wrote: ↑
18 Sep 2018, 18:36
I enjoyed the flashback portions of this book much more than the present day story. The present day story was "simple" as you said and I wish they would have stopped "hooking up" and just found the painting already. They made it about 100x harder than it had to be with that dastardly villain and his evil henchmen after them. The "adult" scenes were rough, I just skipped those. Thanks for the great review!
Yes, much of the modern drama seemed contrived. I think if that part had been stronger it wouldn’t have seemed to take so long to find the painting. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
Last edited by Kat Berg on 18 Sep 2018, 20:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 18 Sep 2018, 20:14

Dael Reader wrote: ↑
18 Sep 2018, 19:23
I completely agree with you about the sex scenes. I was disappointed by this book because I was hoping for more of a focus on the art history mystery. But then there were these gratuitous sex scenes, which were more about lust than romance. If this is typical for the genre, I'm glad I usually steer clear.
Yes, if I had realized this was a romance not a mystery I don’t think I would have chosen it as I don’t like them, and when you are writing a review it is best not to skip parts. (What if they contain errors?) oh well. Thanks for commenting!

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Post by trajoe1206 » 18 Sep 2018, 22:02

Thanks for the detailed review. I have this on my list to read. I like the history / mystery and past life regression aspects of the book.

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Post by Espie » 19 Sep 2018, 22:52

I've had good impressions about this piece based on previous reviews and the sample I've read. I do understand, though, that we have varying perspectives, preferences, and choices. Thank you for your honest review.
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Post by Shrabastee » 20 Sep 2018, 03:34

I loved your take on the book. From your review and the other reviews I read in this book, one thing keeps me from taking this one up, that is, the romantic aspect. Apart from that, all the other components of the book are likely to keep me engrossed, but I am not overly keen on the idea of 'graphic' sex scenes in the middle of an adventurous read! Thanks again for the detailed review. I loved how you briefly introduced each major character, this is something I haven't ever found in any other review.

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Post by Eva Darrington » 21 Sep 2018, 16:12

I have read several reviews of this book and yours is definitely the most creative. I love your format, introducing the characters. I won't probably end up choosing to read this book, mostly because I would be unlikely to enjoy the inserted gratuitous sex. Thanks for a great review.
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Post by Oulababe » 24 Sep 2018, 05:27

Angela's story sounds very interesting I bet it was very interesting for her to realize that she knew about Davinci and the painting in her past life. I bet the romance she has with Alex is also intriguing.

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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 24 Sep 2018, 19:27

@Eva Darrington and @Shrabastee, thank you for your kind words! I get tired of the same old format and wanted to change things up a little bit. I figure if I feel a bit bored, so might my readers :)

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Post by stacie k » 24 Sep 2018, 20:21

I enjoyed your creative approach to this review, and especially how you included the painting in the cast of characters. It does seem surprising that it’s primarily a romance rather than a mystery. Thanks for your enlightening review!
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.” Proverbs 15:2a

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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 24 Sep 2018, 23:50

stacie k wrote: ↑
24 Sep 2018, 20:21
I enjoyed your creative approach to this review, and especially how you included the painting in the cast of characters. It does seem surprising that it’s primarily a romance rather than a mystery. Thanks for your enlightening review!
Thanks, Stacie for the kind words and taking the time to comment!

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