HelenEdith's Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘bookreview’

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: Kay Hooper – Stealing Shadows

Posted by HelenEdith on August 23, 2009

There are some books which you know, right from the first page, will be easy and satisfying to read, and this book is such a one.

Psychic Cassie Neill gets into the minds of abductors and murderers and helps law enforcement agencies to find them and bring them to justice. However, sometimes she is more successful than other times; and a mistake made in Los Angeles causes Cassie to run three thousand miles to Ryan’s Bluff in North Carolina, where she has inherited a house from her Aunt Alex.

After six months in Ryan’s Bluff, she finds herself in the mind of a murderer. She goes to the Sheriff Matt Dunbar; and to the Public Prosecutor Ben Ryan and tells them of the murder to come, but they are sceptical. However, the body turns up as she describes.

So starts a killing spree with the murderer staying one step ahead of Cassie for a long time. Matt the Sheriff is gradually brought around to believing in Cassie; and Ben the Public Prosecutor falls in love with her as events continue to unfold and draw to a conclusion with a surprising twist to it.

I have a fascination with books about extra-sensory perception, whether it is the telepathic abilities of Cassie or the telekinetic abilities of the characters in Anne McCaffrey’s Talent and Tower and Hive series. Some people might like a little more realism and a little less ESP and romance in their crime novels, but I am well satisfied with this one.

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Book Review: other works by Gillian Kaye

Posted by HelenEdith on August 5, 2009

Having just reviewed The Scheming Mr Cleeve, I decided to go back through my Book Review file and pull out some older reviews of work by Gillian Kaye and share those, too.

The Handsome Smuggler

This novel is set in 1793 at the time of the French Revolution, but it’s a novel set in England.

Fenella Hadleigh has been involved in a scandal (not of her making) in London and her parents have sent her to Dorset to stay with her aunt and uncle until the scandal blows over.

Fenella had been prepared to do her duty and marry the rich man who proposed to her, but is actually very relieved when he’s killed in a duel. She is a spirited girl, and defies her aunt by taking unaccompanied walks. During these walks, she manages to meet both smugglers and the riding officer who is trying to catch the smugglers. It soon becomes apparent that her sympathy lies on the side of the smugglers, particularly when one very handsome smuggler turns out to be a local landowner.

Fenella treats gunshot wounds and generally keeps the riding officer at bay as the stakes rise with French refugees being smuggled in as well as brandy.

The whole thing is complicated because Fenella is falling in love with her handsome smuggler, but he’s already engaged to Juliet. Then Juliet falls in love with one of the French refugees, but says that she will still go ahead with her marriage to Sir Alexander Knowle, despite loving Louis. Sir Alexander won’t cry off from his engagement, but keeps hoping that Juliet will. How it’s all resolved makes an entertaining tale.

The Enigmatic Mr Farrar

This book is in the style of a Regency Romance, although it’s set in Swaledale and not in London.

It also manages to pack in three different romances: that of Judith Piercy and Devlin Farrar, which is a romance fraught with difficulties; the romance of Judith’s brother Gerard with the young writer Miss Alice Boston, also fraught with difficulties due to the machinations of her elder sister; and the romance which is promoted by Judith and Gerald between Judith’s rejected suitor Harold Mefcalf and Alice’s older sister.

Judith has a second rejected suitor, Harvey, and while this book doesn’t manage to get him all settled down, it looks like Judith’s younger sister Emma will get together with him when she’s a year or two older!

It was an enjoyable read as these Regency Romances usually are.

The Proud Mr Peverill

This is a romance set at the time of the Peninsular War. Miss Anna Starkie, who lives near Bath, has refused her neighbour Mr Christopher Boyd on numerous occasions, but now she has a new neighbour, Mr Phillippe Peverill, with whom she seems to share that elusive spark.

Mr Peverill is somewhat mysterious, though, coming and going at odd times, leaving only his cousin at home. All kinds of rumours circulate locally about what Mr Peverill might be doing during his absences, but Anna finds out the truth.

She leads an exciting life as a result, and gets into some interesting scrapes. It’s the sort of book where it all comes out right at the end, though, even for the rejected Mr Christopher Boyd, who finds someone far more suitable than Anna for himself!

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Book Review: Gillian Kaye – The Scheming Mr Cleeve

Posted by HelenEdith on August 1, 2009

I do enjoy Gillian Kaye’s Regency romances and this one was no exception.

There was an interesting twist to the “boy meets girl” plot in this book. The Hon. Sarah Winterson meets Mr Julian Cleeve, who has inherited the house that the Wintersons have been renting, and has decided to take up residence there, displacing the Wintersons to the Lodge.

Before long Sarah is engaged to Julian, a state she finds preferable to the alternative of becoming engaged to Sir Bertram Hesslewood, who is pompous and old enough to be her father. This does leave Sir Bertram’s younger brother Philip out in the cold. He is a widower who cannot forget his young wife Clara – but suddenly discovers that he can after all when he finds Sarah is engaged to Julian!

Various other young people feature throughout the book, and Julian manages to give more than one couple a nudge in the right direction – the right direction not necessarily being matrimony, as in the case of Sarah’s brother, who comes home from Oxford with an ageing actress in tow!

The reader is kept guessing right up until the end of the book as to whether Sarah and Julian will actually make it to the altar; and one final twist to the plot resolves this.

As I said at the start of this review, a delightful read.

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Book Review: Sarah Langan – The Keeper

Posted by HelenEdith on July 18, 2009

I found this book in a bargain book sale at Polhill and thought that it looked interesting. The front cover proclaims: “She lives in their dreams. They die in hers.” I thought that it was going to be a supernatural thriller, when in actual fact, it turned out to be more of a horror story.

Susan Marley is beautiful, but lives in a squalid apartment, and engages in prostitution in order to provide the bare essentials of life. Her younger sister Liz lives at home with their mother. Liz is in her final year at High School and finds being the sister of Susan is not easy.

The story is mostly told from Liz’s viewpoint, although in some ways the story is more about Susan, who dies during the course of the book.

After Susan’s death, things in the run-down mill town of Bedford start to go really seriously wrong, but we’re kept guessing about why this is and what’s going to happen. In fact, I’m not quite sure what the outcome was, even now I’ve finished the book!

This book was a struggle to read, but I kept at it and did eventually finish it, although the number of crosswords and killer sudoku puzzles I worked went up during the reading period, which I think must have been about a month!

Sarah Langan is unlikely to be on my list of authors to search for on my next visit to the library.

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Book Review: Edward Marston – The Painted Lady

Posted by HelenEdith on June 25, 2009

(A Christopher Redmayne Mystery)

Christopher’s less than savoury brother Henry and three of Henry’s friends have been in pursuit of a beauty by the name of Araminta Jewell, and not even her marriage to Sir Martin Culthorpe will deter them.

Sir Martin commissions Jean-Paul Villemot to paint Araminta’s portrait, which is how Christopher Redmayne’s path crosses Araminta’s – as Christopher has been commissioned by the painter to design him a house in London.

When Sir Martin is found murdered in his own garden, suspicion falls on Villemot, but a number of people are convinced of his innocence. Chistopher has good reason to help Villemot prove his innocence as Villemot’s house won’t get built if Villemot hangs for murder.

Christopher and his Puritan constable friend Jonathan Bale set about investigating the circumstances of Sir Martin’s murder and endeavour to come up with a better suspect than the already incarcerated Jean-Paul Villemot. Their investigations lead them into some interesting places in Restoration London, but they do eventually unravel the mystery of what really happened.

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Book Review: Denise Mina – Garnethill

Posted by HelenEdith on June 21, 2009

(The first Maureen O’Donnell mystery)

I picked this book up and started reading and knew that it was going to be an easy book to read. It’s a crime novel set in Glasgow, and either my year in Scotland taught me more local phraseology than I realised or this book is so well written that when it ventures into dialogue which you wouldn’t hear south of the border, it only adds to the reading enjoyment.

Maureen O’Donnell is an incest survivor who still sees a therapist. She also sleeps with a therapist, albeit not the same one. Unfortunately, she discovers him in her living room, tied to a chair, and with his throat cut.

She gets taken in for questioning and released, but is so worried that she’s an obvious candidate for blame that she feels that she needs to try and find the real killer in case the Police don’t look past the obvious.

She finds some very murky goings-on in the process, and decides that she must deal with them herself.

The action culminates with a trip to the Isle of Cumbrae, off the Clyde coast from Largs, which is an old stamping ground of mine from the aforementioned year spent in Scotland. I did think that Denise Mina got one thing wrong about her trip to Cumbrae, as she referred to the ferry turning around and backing in, and even back in my day, the ferries didn’t do that. Back then, one was roll-on-roll-off with a door that lowered at each end, so no need to back anywhere, while the other was an ex-landing craft with one door at the bow. Those two ferries have since been replaced by two larger RORO ferries, so I think that unless the ferry service to Cumbrae has been degraded recently that a little more research was needed!

Apart from that one possible inconsistency, this was a good read, albeit with an ending that I wasn’t expecting. The inside of the back cover indicates that there are more books featuring Maureen O’Donnell, so it looks like I’ve found myself another series to read.

Posted in Book Review, Crime Fiction | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Book Review: Sharon Sala – Finders Keepers

Posted by HelenEdith on June 18, 2009

I enjoy Sharon Sala’s work very much and picked this one up in the library and checked it out without looking at it much beforehand. It turns out to be one of her earlier novels, and doesn’t have quite the element of suspense about it that her later romantic work possesses.

Anyway, I breezed through it, even if it was a bit boy-meets-girl and not much else.

The boy is Joseph Rossi and the girl is Molly Eden. He’s an architect and she’s a florist and they live next door. They meet for the first time when Joseph’s son Joey finds his way through the hedge between their properties and decides that Molly is “momma”.

Molly doesn’t make quite such a good impression on Joseph’s secretary, and the main spanner that gets thrown in the works originates with the secretary. However, as happens with this type of story, it all works out well in the end.

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