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Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Book review

Book Review: Mary Lynn Baxter – Sweet Justice

Posted by HelenEdith on May 22, 2010

This is romantic fiction, but with a proper plot besides “girl meets boy” to make it a worthwhile read.

Kate Colson is a young judge who is running for re-election in Texas. She had an illegitimate daughter eighteen years before: a fact which is not in the public domain, but which seems likely to come out as her opponents look for anything to use against her.

Kate herself wants to know more about the circumstances of her daughter’s adoption and hires a private investigator to try and find out what happened. The father wasn’t quite the upstanding son that his parents expected him to be; and has grown into a man cut from rather shady cloth. However, he has followed his father into the preaching business – and business it is – and not very well carried out business at that.

The private investigator has a conflict of interest as he is also working for someone who is backing one of Kate’s opponents. This leads to some interesting situations within the book, particularly as he becomes Kate’s romantic interest.

It all gets resolved in the end, although without an entirely happy ending.

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Book Review: Tess Gerritsen – Whistle Blower

Posted by HelenEdith on April 5, 2010

Catherine Weaver is driving to her friend Sarah’s place when Victor Holland runs into the path of her car. She takes him to the nearest hospital and continues on to Sarah’s place, but it appears that she’s got herself caught up in something deadly: so deadly that she finds Sarah dead on her driveway next morning.

Cathy runs for her life – with Victor in tow. They are in this together now! Victor has uncovered something so deadly at work that people will kill to stop it getting out; and Cathy has inadvertently picked up Victor’s evidence.

So begins a mad chase across Los Angeles, with Cathy using her skills as a make-up artist to keep Victor and herself one step ahead of the killers and the FBI agent that neither of them trust.

This was a suspenseful book of the standard I’m come to expect from Tess Gerritsen – just as well, as I bought a whole joblot of her books at a car boot sale and have rather a lot of them left to enjoy!

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Book Review: Nora Roberts – Sanctuary

Posted by HelenEdith on April 4, 2010

I’m way behind on my book reviews, as I read this book a good couple of months ago. Having been on non-library books for a while, I haven’t had an incentive to keep my book reviews up to date, as the books haven’t had to go anywhere once they’re read – although this one will probably find its way to the charity shop eventually.

Sanctuary is the house where photographer Jo Ellen Hathaway grew up. She escaped many years ago and carved out a career away from the island where Sanctuary stands. However, now she is back, because somebody is sending her pictures, and she needs to face her past, including the murder of her mother.

Architect Nathan Delaney has also returned to the island. Like Jo, he was still a youngster when Jo’s mother was killed, but his family were on the island at the time, too.

When it becomes apparent that Jo is facing danger at Sanctuary, she questions whether Nathan is safe or a part of the danger. In typical Roberts fashion, we get kept in suspense right to the very last page. The key players remain on the island during a hurricane and the final chapter to a tale of murder unfolds along with the storm.

This book is a little dated. Jo’s career is photography; and since 1997, when this book was copyrighted, there has been a digital revolution. Some of it almost reads like a historical novel, with scenes taking place in a darkroom. However, it didn’t affect my enjoyment and I will continue to lap up the output of Nora Roberts at every opportunity.

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Book Review: Ben Bova – The Aftermath

Posted by HelenEdith on December 9, 2009

(Sequel to the Asteroid Wars Series)

Ben Bova is the author of many realistic science fiction novels set within the Solar System. He devoted several volumes to The Asteroid Belt and the war which broke out between companies wanting to gain control of the resources out there. The action in this book takes place after the wars are over, and follows up on the destruction of the habitat Chrysalis, in orbit around Ceres.

A spaceship, the ore carrier Syracuse is coming in to dock when Chrysalis is attacked. Piloted by Victor Zacharias; and with his wife Pauline and two children Angie and Theo aboard, Syracuse comes under attack. Victor dumps his load to put his attacker off, but realises that a slow ore carrier cannot outrun the attacking ship, so he separates the command pod of Syracuse from the rest of the ship to draw the attacker off.

Pauline and her teenage children feel abandoned, but set to work bringing the backup command pod online. Unfortunately, the attack has left them low on fuel and with no working communications, so they drift through space until their trajectory brings them back towards civilisation, a journey which takes several years.

Meanwhile, Victor has managed to send out a distress call which is picked up on Earth by someone monitoring for intelligent life beyond the Solar System. It is a disappointment to them when they realise the pulse they are receiving comes from much nearer to home, but is a great relief to Victor, who is rescued before he starves or his air runs out.

The story follows both Victor’s travels as he seeks his wife and children; and life aboard Syracuse as Zach desperately studies and tries to shorten the time until Syracuse will return to the Asteroid Belt.

We also revisit the Alien artefact which made an appearance in the final volume of the Asteroid Wars Series. It has a bearing upon the story, as it can change the course of some peoples’ lives, and has in fact turned the attacker of Chrysalis into the priest Dorn who is scouring the solar system for drifting bodies and giving them funeral rites.

Dorn, the priest with the past, is woven into this tale with Ben Bova’s usual skill, and once again he’s come up with a satisfying and believable read.

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Book Review: Michael Jecks – Dispensation of Death

Posted by HelenEdith on December 8, 2009

(A Knights Templar Mystery)

I was introduced to Michael Jecks when I read “Sword of Shame” by The Medieval Murderers, of whom Michael Jecks is one. When I found one of his individual titles on a bargain book table at Polhill, I had enjoyed his part of “Sword of Shame” sufficiently to pick this book up.

The Knights Templar Mysteries are a long-standing series and this is nowhere near the first book in the series, but I found that it was possible to read it as a stand-alone title. It did take me a while to get through the book, and I did read some other books at the same time, but that had at least as much to do with not wanting to mark the dust jacket by cramming a beautiful hardcover edition in my backpack as the content of the book.

This book sees Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and Simon Puttock investigating a murder which takes place in the court of Edward II in 1325. Compared with modern Police stories, the action in this book proceeds at a much more leisurely pace.

Michael Jecks has written a well-researched historical mystery where the politics of the time forms at least as much of the story as the investigation of the murder does.

I will probably look out for some more books from this series.

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Book Review: Charlotte Hubbard – Angel’s Embrace

Posted by HelenEdith on December 7, 2009

This book came out of the Romance section of the library, and the back cover indicated that Billy Bristol was going to Emma Clark, but that the prospect was not filling him with joy. Then Eve Massena showed up at the wedding and delivered her baby in the church, halting the wedding before Billy and Emma had exchanged their vows.

It became apparent that Billy felt responsible for Eve, whose child was fathered by Billy’s outlaw brother.

Billy returned to the home of his birth to confront his brother, but that’s about as far through the book as I got. When I discovered that it was the sort of book where “The Lord will protect you from the bullets” I decided that it wasn’t for me.

I know some people who would probably love the story and find it inspiring, but I was expecting to read a romance, not a story about faith in adversity; and it just didn’t hold my interest.

Did not finish.

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Book Review: Nora Roberts – Northern Lights

Posted by HelenEdith on December 6, 2009

This nice thick volume from Nora Roberts is set in the town of Lunacy, Alaska, where Nate Burke has become the Chief of Police.

Many would have preferred a local Chief, but Nate has been brought in from outside. He soon makes the acquaintance of Meg Galloway, and this provides some romantic interest to the book. However, the main plot of the book is the discovery of a body on their local mountain – a body which turns out to have been up there for quite a few years, preserved in an ice cave.

Part of the story is told in flashback, although as the flashback portions never mention real names, we never know from the flashback exactly who was up the mountain on the fateful climbing expedition.

What soon becomes apparent is that someone in Lunacy doesn’t want Nate to investigate how the body came to be in the ice cave and why nobody reported that less men came back down the mountain than went up.

I thought I knew “whodunnit” several chapters before I reached the end of the book, but I was wrong: I had to read all the way to the end to find out who the real villain was.

Another satisfyingly good read from Nora Roberts.

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Book Review: Karen Hawkins – To Scotland, With Love

Posted by HelenEdith on November 25, 2009

This book is part of a series, and although it’s not the first one in the series, I read it as a stand-alone title with complete success.

This is a romance between Venetia Oglivie and Lord Gregor MacLean. They have known each other for a lot of years and have been friends all of that time, but when Lord Gregor finds that Venetia has been abducted by young Lord Ravenscroft, he realises that he must rescue her.

Venetia doesn’t think that she needs quite as much rescuing as Lord Gregor thinks she does. She is managing quite well to depress the pretentions of her abductor all by herself, thankyou!

Lord Gregor becomes so angry about the abduction that he activates his family’s weather curse and much of the action takes place in a snowbound inn with few domestic staff. By the time the thaw sets in (with a few additional snow flurries when Lord Gregor’s temper threatens to get the best of him again) Lord Gregor knows that he wants to marry Venetia; and as this is a romance, he gets his girl by the time the last page has been turned.

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Book Review: Nora Roberts – Birthright

Posted by HelenEdith on September 9, 2009

This is the fascinating tale of Callie Dunbrook and her ex-husband Jake Graystone.

The book starts with a prologue in Santa’s Grotto, where a baby disappears without a trace. Then we fast-forward to where prehistoric bones have been dug up on a building site in Woodsboro, the town where the snatched baby lived. Callie is an archaeologist, and she gets called in. When she appears on local television, the mother of the snatched baby, who has never given up hope that she will find her child, is convinced that Callie is that long-lost child.

Callie denies that she could be, but when she checks into her background, she discovers that she isn’t the natural child of her parents after all. As she continues to dig, both archaeologically and personally, it becomes apparent that she has stirred up a number of topics which other people would prefer to remain buried. The builder wants her gone, as he wants to continue building. However, he turns up dead before long. It seems that her delving into her past is attracting the wrong sort of attention, and the story of her adoption becomes murkier and murkier the more she looks into it.

This is a good book because there is the archaeological interest which gives the book its cornerstones; then there is the dangerous story of baby snatching and havey-cavey adoptions; and finally there is the chemistry between Callie and Jake, who married in haste, divorced in haste, and are now thrown back together.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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Book Review: Loretta Chase – Not Quite a Lady

Posted by HelenEdith on September 6, 2009

(A Carsington Regency romance)

This is another in the series of Regency Romances where the Carsington brothers meet their matches. This time it is the turn of Darius, the studious one, who is interested in all things agricultural. His father, Lord Hargate, packs him off to turn around Beechwood, a property which has been in Chancery for a number of years while the previous owner’s Will was sorted out.

Now Beechwood adjoins another property, which is the residence of Lord Lithby, his second wife, his young sons – and his older daughter, who was the offspring of his deceased first wife. Lady Charlotte Hayward is a beauty and an heiress, but she has a blot on her copybook, and has become very adept at Not Getting Married, as the blot on her copybook is bound to come to light if she does.

Darius figures out that Charlotte has had a fall from grace; and so does another local man; although Charlotte’s father remains blissfully unaware, and is planning a huge house party to try and attract a suitor for Charlotte. Neither Darius nor his rival care about Charlotte’s non-virgin state; and Darius, a confirmed rake, wants to marry Charlotte for love. His rival has more of an eye to her money!

Darius still has to do some pretty serious wooing to convince Charlotte that marriage is indeed possible. This wooing is carried on against a backdrop of the reopening of the house at Beechwood, where Charlotte’s stepmother (and indeed Charlotte herself) are busy putting to rights a house which has been shut up for over a decade. All sorts of interesting things can happen in odd nooks and crannies in such a house!

Naturally things come out right in the end – and Darius even brings his family around to his choice of bride, guilty secret and all.

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