Saturday, September 12, 2020

Book Review "Tainted Angel"

 

I've been a fan of Anne Cleeland since I began reading her Scotland Yard series, set in current time. "Tainted Angel" is the first of her historical fiction books I've read. Set in the time of Napoleon, we meet Invidia (or Libby, or Lina) a spy for England, or is it France? Hard to tell throughout the book. Her cohorts are also questionable. Are they with her, or against her? When the handsome, recent widower, Lucien Carstairs sets his sights on her, she can't resist. But is he only doing it to gain secrets, or does he really care? This confusion continues throughout the novel, finally resolving in the last pages. Having read most of her Scotland Yard series, I found it interesting that many of the expressions her British characters use were also used by the characters in "Tainted Angel." Since expressions are a reflection of the time they're in, and their locale, I considered this to be a flaw in this book. If you like historical fiction, and don't mind spy/counterspy stories, you would probably like this one. I think I'll stick to her Scotland Yard series.



Thursday, July 30, 2020

Book Review

Murder in the Worst Degree (Rocky Bluff P.D. Mysteries Book 10)Murder in the Worst Degree by F.M. Meredith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first book I've read in the series. It is supposed to stand alone but I found it difficult to understand certain characters because the comments made about them did not provide any background to make them understandable. The story takes place in the fictional southern California town of Rocky Bluff, placed near Ventura and Santa Barbara. It unfolds through the experiences of the police officers who work there as they investigate the mysterious death of an elderly man and try to capture a rapist who has viciously attacked two women. The department has a new chief, a black woman. The officers under her command have their own personal problems and worry about how she will make changes that will negatively affect them. The story bounced around. It had many inaccuracies that needed to be edited, such as sentences that were repetitious and the same question asked of a character more than once, with a different answer each time. Probation and parole were treated as though they were one and the same when they are two completely separate functions in California. Officer Ryan, married to Barbara (a widow with three boys) is ready to leave her because she is having a baby with Downs Syndrome. When he forces himself to see the newborn she looks beautiful to him and he is happy that she looks "normal." Barbara can't leave the hospital until the doctor has finished testing the baby to see what her limitations will be. If she has many limitations, will Ryan decide to run? Yet the author never gives us the answer. Gordon, who is constantly referred to as having problems (but never identified) wants to marry officer Lisette. She believes that if she marries another officer she will lose her job. She thinks the new chief frowns on relationships between two officers. However, Doug and Stacey, are both officers and are married. They are not losing their jobs. Why doesn't Lisette notice that? Sorry to say I was not impressed with this book and can't recommend it.


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Friday, June 12, 2020

Book Review


The Testament by John Grisham

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it was amazing

Billionaire Troy Phelan was successful at building companies, but a failure as a husband and father. His last will leaves everything to his illegitimate daughter, who he has not seen for years, and is now a missionary in Brazil. His six children, their wives and ex-wives engage numerous attorneys and proceed to challenge the will. In the meantime, Nate O'Reilly, a down-on-his-luck attorney just out of rehab, is selected to go to Brazil to find the elusive daughter. Much of the book is taken up with his journey by plane, boat, and on foot into the jungles where primitive Indians live and are very protective of the missionary, Rachel Lane. He eventually finds her but she wants nothing to do with the money. She opens his eyes to a different kind of life. Before he can return home he contracts Dengue fever, suffering through the boat ride and in a third-world hospital where the patients around him are either dying or dead. Once home and recuperating, he must deal with the attorneys and siblings fighting for their "rightful" share of their father's money. There are many twists and turns in this story and the ending is a total surprise. It is well-written but I thought the author spent too much time describing every detail of Nate's trip to the jungle, the plane crash, storms, alligators ready to attack. I felt as though I was on the boat or plane with him. If you don't mind this, you'll enjoy the story. I managed to enjoy it anyway.

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Book Review- TURNING ANGEL by Greg Iles


Who killed Kate? It takes over 600 pages to find this out and then the conclusion is blurred by events I won't discuss here so as not to ruin this for a new reader. Iles writes well and drags us through the life of Penn Cage, upstanding citizen in Natchez, but trouble to the sheriff and the district atttorney. When his good friend Dr. Drew Elliott is accused of murdering beautiful high school senior Kate, Penn knows he's innocent and risks life and limb to prove it. Even when he finds out forty something Drew was in love with seventeen year old Kate, planned to leave his wife and move to Boston with her while she attended Harvard. Even when he learns that Kate was pregnant and that Drew found her dead body but never reported it. Nevertheless, Drew is arrested and charged with murder, a double homicide since Kate was pregnant. Interesting, since she could have had an abortion and that would have been legal. Penn's teenage babysitter, Mia, a friend of Kate's and knowledgeable in all things sexual about the girls at school, educates Penn on the drug use and sexual activity that is commonplace in their private high school. Although Penn is shocked that Drew could be involved with such a young girl, risking everything for her, Penn finds himself also attracted to Mia. The story sinks lower as he and Mia become sleuths together, viewing Drew and Kate's porno videos in their quest to find the real murderer. Several dead bodies later, Drew is convicted of murder, and Penn ramps up his effort to find the real culprit, leading to a conclusion that is convoluted, leaving questions about the whole mess. This could be a B movie.


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Monday, April 6, 2020

Book Review

Her Father's HouseHer Father's House by Belva Plain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sad, heartwarming story that will keep you reading into the night. Donald Wolfe, a successful New York attorney, marries the beautiful and captivating Lillian Morris after a short courtship. Soon he finds that Lillian has many secrets and as they come out Donald begins to realize marriage to her is unbearable. By now they have a daughter, Bettina, are divorced, and Lillian has married an older, wealthier man. His visits to his daughter only occur on Sunday afternoons in the park with the nanny, Maria. As Lillian climbs the social ladder she spends little if any time with Bettina. Maria confesses to Donald that Lillian neglects Bettina and cheats on her husband. Soon she is divorced and on to another man. When she is involved in a car accident while coming home from a party, with Bettina in the car, Donald decides to take matters into his own hands. Giving up everything he has, including his identity, he takes Bettina, now two years old, with him as they venture across the country to settle in a small town in Georgia. AS the years go by, Donald, now known as Jim, is constantly looking over his shoulder, as the search for Bettina, now called Laura, has continued. Eventually his past catches up with him. Does Bettina, now a medical school student, return to her mother? Does Donald go to prison and lose the new, wonderful life he has built? You must read the book to find out. It is Belva Plain at her best.


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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Book Review

The Patron Saint of LiarsThe Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the book but couldn't understand the motivation behind Rose. She is the most self-centered and thoughtless character I've read in a long time. Married and pregnant, she leaves her husband because she is unhappy. He does not know she is pregnant with his child. She ends up in Kentucky at a home for unwed mothers, never admitting she's married. The girls there are all single and have been abandoned by their boyfriends. Son (Wilson Abbott) a big, burly, handyman at St. Elizabeth's is captivated by her. One night he finds her wandering in the snow and asks her to marry him. She immediately accepts, although it is clear she doesn't love him. When she gives birth to her daughter, who she names Cecilia, because Son has tattooed that name on his arm, Son is listed on the birth certificate as the father. Cecelia was the name of an old girlfriend of Son's who died accidentally while she and Son were swimming. He begs Rose not to name their baby Cecelia but Rose always does what she wants regardless of others feelings, including Son and her daughter Cecelia. The ending was unbelievable but to say more would be a spoiler for those who haven't read the book. Good writing but strange story.


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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Book Review

The 19th Christmas (Women's Murder Club, #19)The 19th Christmas by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've loved the women's murder club series but this one was a disappointment. It mostly featured Lindsay and her partner Rich Conklin as they spent their days before Christmas hunting down a criminal mastermind who threatened a devastating happening on Christmas eve. The man went by "Loman" and he set up fake warnings for several days to keep the police confused and spending their time in the wrong places. People were casually killed once their purpose had been served. Although no one, including those who did his bidding, has seen Loman, Lindsay is determined to find him. The ending was too simple for a man who was supposed to be as clever as Loman. Why would he set up so many distractions when the heist he was planning could be carried out without the mess he created days ahead of time. Yuki has a small part when she helps free a man wrongfully convicted of murder. The four women do not come together until the last pages of the book. The epilogue was completely unnecessary unless it will lead to another book and had nothing to do with this one.


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