HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Archive for January, 2009

Book Review: Fern Michaels – Payback

Posted by HelenEdith on January 14, 2009

(The second in the Revenge of the Sisterhood series)

This book didn’t take very long to read, partly because it’s a somewhat slimmer volume than some of my other recent reading matter has been.

In Weekend Warriors, Kathryn Lucas gained revenge on the men who had raped her but escaped due to the Statute of Limitations.

In this book, it is the turn of Julia Webster, whose philandering husband has infected her with HIV.

Julia decides on a two-part revenge: she’s a doctor, and in addition to giving her husband his come-uppance, she wants to deal with the owners of three HMO companies who provide health insurance and then deny claims by their policy holders, many of whom die because of it.

Nikki Quinn’s ex-fiance Jack Emery is causing trouble by becoming suspicious of the activities of the Sisterhood. In fact, he gets himself into some very hot water with ex-spy Charles’ British overseers.

The revenge doesn’t go entirely smoothly, but they do get the job done, although I think that the eventual revenge was a bit improbable. I thought that the revenge in Weekend Warriors was more plausible.

It will remain to be seen how the revenges in the rest of the series turn out. Myra’s turn is next in Vendetta.

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Book Review: Elizabeth Moon – Victory Conditions

Posted by HelenEdith on January 7, 2009

(Book five of Vatta’s War)

As I suspected, this is the final book in the Vatta’s War series.

Ky is now an admiral with a large fleet at her disposal. However, the pirates have an even larger fleet, augmented by some brand-new military ships stolen from the yards at Tobados.

Rafe Dunbarger is still having problems on Nexus II, where ISC is in serious difficulties and their enforcement fleet is obsolete and virtually worthless. Due to Rafe’s father distrusting the Vattas, Nexus II has not joined with Ky’s Spaceforce, and when it becomes apparent that they’re the pirates’ next target, those planetside are left with insufficient protection.

Meanwhile, Ky’s cousin Stella is having problems of her own on Cascadia, where her ward Toby is falling in love with a local girl called Zori, whose parents aren’t too happy about it. In fact, Toby gets into some adventures because of it, but Zori turns out to hold one of the keys to fighting the pirates.

The book ends with an enormous space battle in the Nexus System, in which naturally Ky comes out on top. With the pirates defeated, there’s nowhere else for this series to go, so we’ll never find out whether Ky and Rafe make a match of it one of these days!

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Book Review: Mary Balogh – Simply Love

Posted by HelenEdith on January 6, 2009

(Book two of the Simply series of novels set in an academy for young ladies)

This novel has very little to do with the academy. It tells the story of Anne Jewell, who was raped and bore a son, David, who is now nine. David’s father died before David was born, but a member of his family has been keeping an eye on David and invites David, along with Anne, to spend a month during the summer at a house party in Wales.

The people in the Welsh house party are mostly characters from the Slightly series by the same author, but this did not spoil my enjoyment of this book. However, I will probably read the Slightly series at some point if I can obtain them.

Anne meets Sydnam Butler at the house party. He, like Anne, is trying to remain on the periphery of the house party, and they enjoy quite a bit of time together. Sydnam is a war hero, but suffered injuries which lead him to think that he will never marry; while Anne, as the mother of an illegitimate son, also considers herself unmarriageable.

Events prove otherwise and the two do marry sometime before the end of the book. There are many other loose ends to tie up before the book is brought to a conclusion though: will Sydnam ever return to painting, and will David ever accept him as a stepfather? These and other questions have to be resolved before Mary Balogh can bring this volume to a happy conclusion.

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Book Review: Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough – Second Wave

Posted by HelenEdith on January 4, 2009

(Book two of the spin-off series dealing with Acorna’s Children)

This book is also about Khorii, daughter of Acorna and Aari. The plague from First Warning appears to have run its course, and Khorii, who has a talent for being able to see the plague, is checking whether the plague has really gone.

The illness may have, but it turns out that the bodies of those who died are not staying at rest. In fact, they have developed a taste for inorganic materials and have started devouring buildings and spaceships.

We don’t really get a resolution to this problem during Second Wave, but we do get Ariin entering the story. She is the twin who was stolen by Grimalkin and she was brought up in an earlier time by the Friends, who want to study her. She finds out the truth about herself and manages to get hold of Grimalkin’s time-travel device and brings herself forward to her own time, where she demands to see her parents.

Acorna and Aari are still in quarantine due to being plague carriers, but Ariin gets to meet her sister Khorii. Unlike Khorii, Ariin knows the truth about the cat Khiindi – namely that he’s really Grimalkin and responsible for her incarceration in the past. Khiindi knows that she knows, too!

I daresay that there will be a showdown between Ariin and Khiindi at some point, but it isn’t in this book. I will keep reading. I have Third Watch reserved at the library even as I write this.

I should add a note about the glossary at the end of the book. It’s useful to refer to in order to keep the growing number of characters in the series straight, but you almost need to get the glossary from the previous book rather than this one to use as reference, as the glossary at the end of this book lets slip some of the items of the plot.

The other comment I would make about this book is that the editing was a bit questionable. I noticed a couple of things that weren’t “quite right”, but the most glaring was a reference to Petaybee (which is a planet in a different series written by McCaffrey and Scarborough) in a context where I think that Vhiliinyar or maybe narhii-Vhiliinyar was the intended place.

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Book Review: Susan Hepburn – Ghost of a Chance

Posted by HelenEdith on January 3, 2009

This book came from the “Crime” category in the library, and although it took about half the book before we had much in the way of obvious crime being committed, it was so entertainingly written that I have no complaints about that.

The main character in the book is Mike Brodie. Mike is actually a woman, Christened with the name Michal by parents who wanted a boy. Mike plays the saxophone. Well, actually, she plays the whole family of saxophones. She is in numerous bands and groups and has an agent called Paul Barnett who is always booking her up for slightly more than she really wants to do.

The book opens with Mike taking a short holiday visiting her friend Maggie at a minor stately home. She gets off to a bad start when the local re-enactment group think she’s an intruder and scare the life out of her. Then Paul shows up and talks her into stepping into a band making their television debut and in need of a sax player to replace their one, who has a broken arm. Paul “persuades” Mike despite the black eye she’s carrying from her run-in with the re-enactment group. Some holiday it’s turning into!

Mike has a ward Raffi, short for Raffaela. She’s a young adult and she pops up in the story quite a bit. In fact, she turns out to be quite important to the story. The owners of the minor stately home where Mike is staying are also important to the story, as is Jake, a powerful member of their staff. Some of the other staff are quite important to the story, too.

Thngs start unravelling when the elderly gentleman who has been writing a history of Berwick Grange and was on the trail of the priests’ holes within the building turns up dead in the village pond. It doesn’t seem immediately that this event is causing things to unravel, and Mike goes on about her life, and seems to be performing just about as often as if she weren’t on holiday. However, this does prove to be a turning point in the book, and things start getting really nasty.

A host of other characters are creeping around, including at least one who’s supposed to be dead but isn’t, and by the end of the book, we discover the significance of the priests’ holes and finally tie up all the loose ends.

The title of the book, by the way, is the name of a racehorse owned by the Grange’s owners. The racehorse plays quite a minor part in the story, but it’s a good title.

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Book Review: Nora Roberts – Key of Knowledge

Posted by HelenEdith on January 2, 2009

(Book two of the Key Trilogy)

This is the story of Dana Steele’s quest to find one of the three keys which will unlock the box in which three demi-goddesses are trapped.

The same characters who appeared in Key of Light reappear here, with Jordan Hawke taking a prominent role alongside Dana. The evil magician Kane, who was responsible for locking up the demi-goddesses in the first place is still up to his old tricks, and is getting trickier.

As this is a trilogy, you just know that Dana is going to be successful in her quest or there wouldn’t be the necessity for Zoe McCourt to search for the final key in Key of Valor. The boy (Jordan) gets the girl (Dana) by the end of this book, too.

I already had Key of Valor reserved at the library when I wrote this review, but didn’t post the review straight away and I’ve since picked up that final book now and started reading it. Interestingly, they seem to have done a British edition and the book I borrowed is actually Key of Valour! I haven’t been eagle-eyed enough to spot whether it’s only the title whose spelling has been “corrected” or whether the English inside the book has also been given a trans-Atlantic translation!

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Website Update: Christmas Pictures

Posted by HelenEdith on January 1, 2009

I’ve put up a couple of pages of Christmas pictures on my website.

The first page, Christmas Pictures, Biggin Hill, December 2008 contains pictures taken at Biggin Hill. Most of them are of the shop window of the Harris HospisCare shop, which is always beautifully dressed for Christmas.

Here’s a picture of the shop window as a taster:
Biggin_Hill_20081225_IMGP5271_ed

The second page, Christmas Light Pictures, Hayes Lane, December 2008 contains pictures taken at a much-decorated house and garden in Hayes Lane, Bromley. I also visited two years ago, and those pictures can be found from my Christmas Index, along with various other Christmas pictures I’ve taken over the past few years.

Here are a few of the pictures I took of the Hayes Lane house and garden this year:
Hayes_Lane_20081225_IMGP5299_ed Hayes_Lane_20081225_IMGP5296_ed

Hayes_Lane_20081225_IMGP5317_ed_cr_3x2 Hayes_Lane_20081225_IMGP5310_ed Hayes_Lane_20081225_IMGP5318_ed

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