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Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Sensible Woman by Fiona Cameron

Roddy and Mabel's relationship had got into a rut. A very deep one and Mabel for one wanted out of it. Roddy had it made. A free place to live in, everything including sex provided and it seemed to have gone on forever. Now Mabel wanted him out. Out he went without a word to anyone not taking anything with him and leaving Mabel relieved on the one hand and unhappy on the other.

At times I was most irritated with Mabel, she did not seem to know what she wanted. She seemed to want to have the cake and eat it as well. But the story did settle down and though it started with a failed romance, it then went on to a murder, a mystery as to who did it and then back again to romance which ended well!

The characters were spot on for this story. A lighthearted read which I enjoyed.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Flying Swan Press.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. John

The Lady of the Tower

I had been reading a lot of mystery murders and psychological thrillers so when I saw this as a free Amazon download I knew the time was right for historical fiction.

The reign of James I was a tumultuous one and it was difficult for those who were around the Court to keep their heads, their careers or their virtue. For Lucy however the danger and animosity came within her very own family - her sister Barbara leading the pack, hating Lucy with a vengeance even when it seemed that there was no reason for Barbara who had it all to be jealous of Lucy.

Lucy catches the eye of the Earl of Suffolk but it was not to be and she had to find a path for herself. Most women of the time would have fallen into the arms of any other man but Lucy had ideas that with her wealth of knowledge of plants and herbs, ample knowledge of the medications of the time that she could forge a life for herself. It was not exactly how it turned out to be but she did find a faithful husband and had an eventful life within the Court.

Not a smooth one though. Her husband was drawn into scheme after scheme by the King and lost everything and Lucy was once again bereft. In a world full of scheming women and men Lucy had to fight to stay afloat, now not just for herself but for her young family.

Descriptive of the Court and the intrigues of the Duke of Buckingham who literally ruled the court and King James, the story of Lucy's life from the time she was a little girl was a very emotional read.

For lovers of historical fiction, this book is a must.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Nowhere Girl by Susan Strecker

Savannah and Cady are twin sisters and though totally different in personality, the bonds that bind them seem almost para-normal. Cady feels whatever Savannah is undergoing and when one day Savannah goes missing, just late by fifteen minutes Cady knows that something is radically wrong and is able to direct the cops with a perception that was suspicious to what, where and how Savannah died.

Years later, Cady still feels the absence as well as the presence of her sister pushing her to find out what went wrong and to Cady's eyes find her killer. What unfolds is a complex story of good detective skills at work along with Cady's feelings to unravel what happened so many years ago.

Though the case is closed, many years later when the case is reopened Cady has to live through her nightmare years again to work closely with the cop who handled the case so many years ago to find out exactly what happened. And the results will surprise all.

Tantalizingly told, full of suspense, the characterization was very well done. The contrast of the twin sisters was masterful, while at the same time highlighting the bonds that bound them, which seemed almost not understandable.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley, for an unbiased review courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

Friday, July 22, 2016

in twenty years by Allison Winn Scotch

We all hope that the friendships made when we are twenty would last forever. In the spirit of younger days six students pledge a lifetime of being there for each other. The death of one them splits up the group. Only one person knows exactly how she died (leukemia) but the others all assume its a car accident. On what would have been her fortieth birthday, they are summoned from the past - a letter sent out by the lawyers for Bea requests them to meet up at their old house which she had bought for a reunion.

What follows shows how far the group have split, how their actual relationships were, what their genuine feelings for each other were and how so much was a facade for bitterness, envy, actual hate and jealousy. Its a sad reflection on humanity but it brings back the fact that everyone is human and however much you may like to be good and just and fair, it sometimes does not work like that and even irrationally one can be unjust, unfair and just downright unlikeable!

A nice read which will resonate with many who try to capture their youthful days during high school and college reunions!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

The story of infertility and the problems involved when one want's a baby Everyone seems to have no problem to have one except Christine. Every avenue was looked at before they decided to use anonymous sperm and Marcus her husband seems to go along with the idea, albeit not with the enthusiasm of Christine.

Once Christine conceives the baby is theirs, there is no question of Donor No. 3319. The bombshell that goes off and blasts their idyllic future destroys all peace of mind for both Christine and Marcus and you even wonder whether the marriage will be strong enough to survive.

Looking at ethical and moral issues going way beyond mere sperm donation the story is detailed and descriptive. Our characters are perfect for their roles and the author keeps you glued to the story as you definitely want to know the outcome.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Still Mine by Amy Stuart

Clare is running away but she turns up at a town with a very suspicious people! Asking about the missing girl Shayna is not going to endear her to the local population who looks at anyone who is an outsider askance. Shayna seems to have been an interesting personality and meant different things to different people. Many of the persons around want to let the story of Shayna die down and no one wants to resurrect this one. Questioning people is not something that makes anyone happy in this small town.

The story of Clare who gets involved in a missing girl case, trying to find out details of where and how the girl went missing and the possibility that she is still alive takes surprising twists and turns. Especially since no one wants to talk about it and the few who do say widely contrary stories.

Set in a mining town now on the decline, the story is descriptive and the barrenness of the town and the wariness and contradictory nature of many of its inhabitants, seeps into the hopelessness of the search for Shayna. It adds much interest to the basic story.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Touchstone, for an unbiased review.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Ex by Alafair Burke

This story had it all. romance, a couple of murders and such a fantastic story of how a person could be framed for murder - so fantastic that it could only possibly be true!

Olivia has been called to defend Jack - her ex boyfriend whom she treated deplorably and she feels getting him off the hook may be her only chance to redeem herself of the guilt she carries around with her so many years on. Delving further and further into the case, many things do not add up and though Jack persistently swears his innocence, he is finally convicted.

The twist in the tale is audacious and surprising. The story held my interest throughout and it was a book one could not put down. Storytelling was very good and characterization was excellent.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Faber and Faber Limited.

Friday, July 15, 2016


I was delighted when I was able to download this from Amazon at a ridiculously low price!

For me this is in the category of Agatha Christie and Jane Austen. Someone I will go back to regularly when I need to be really happy!

Delafield deals with our Provincial Lady whose name we never get to know in different circumstances and places. All with tongue in the cheek humor, all the stories poke fun at not just herself but those around her but in the nicest possible way. There is no malice or harshness to our
Lady's thoughts and the few times that she does get angry or annoyed are few and far between.

Detailing life at a time when things were slower and reminiscent of the era of Downton, this book was entertaining from beginning to end. Story telling is excellent and characterization is also wonderful. The difficulties of maintaining a facade of respectability and position balanced with the lack of money and trying hard in the face of much difficulty to appear well off is very much part of the story. You can get tired of our lady's inability to cope with domestic issues or work of any kind and the entire flurry of nerves and fear over the domestic problems that arise regularly but this must be par for the course for ladies of the era who never knew how to cook, clean or manage a household on their own.

Very interesting as a social commentary on the way women behaved, and also the way the role of women changed with the onset of the war. Old fashioned notions of being a stay at home mum were going by the board and girls were discovering the joys of independence.

A very light hearted read for an insight into life in the early 20th century.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Cutthroat Business by Jenna Bennett

A Cutthroat Business (A Savannah Martin Mystery, #1)

Savannah Martin is a newcomer to the real estate business. She is disappointed that despite a lot of work nothing real has materialised (as yet). Her savings have gone down to precarious levels and she does not want to run back home to Mother just yet. Savannah is at a good agency but she did not also realise what a harsh business this was. Each man for himself and God for us all seems to be the policy and if in the process you get sidelined or hurt, tough luck.

Whilst on business and showing a client a house, she comes across her first murder. The agent who was supposed to show the house to the client found with her throat cut. For Savannah the murder of her co agent and the surprise client who was the bad boy from back home does not augur well for the future.

Told in a light spirited manner, despite the murder Savannah realised there is much more than meets the eye, Rafe her client is not what he seems, her family is far too protective and she must try to avoid being the next victim if she can manage that.

This was a free download from Amazon and I quite enjoyed it. Not a heavy murder mystery but a real humorous one!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The House of Closed Doors by Jane Steen

The House of Closed Doors

In the mid 19th century things were not very good for women! conventionality and conservatism seemed to be at its height. There were expectations for women and none of them were of being independent or free. Nell also knew this. At 17 she lived with her mother and step father who had distinct ideas on the role and place of women in life.

Getting pregnant, not getting married, not revealing the name of the father was not part of this scenario and  the elaborate cover up had to be made. Nell ends up in a house for women in similar circumstances, where the babies will be given up for adoption to "good families" as against the "fallen women" from whom they originated.

The story gives you a very detailed and descriptive idea of the conditions of life for women in these circumstances. The House was also a home for people with mental disabilities, all classified as madness and treated very cruelly and attitudes of the general population towards them left much to be desired.

The book was in parts very emotional as Nell tried to overcome many obstacles to finally do what she wanted to do.

Nice story telling.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Setting the World on Fire by Shelley Emling

The story of Catherine and her role in the Catholic church is not one with universal appeal - even amongst Catholics. The author has however set down an accurate perception of Catherine as a person and as someone who was saintly in a way very easy to understand by a lay reader.

Being Catholic it was easy to read and I gained more insight into the life and times of Catherine. The period in which she was born was turbulent politically for both her state and her country and Catherine loved both very much and did everything possible to make sure that both were safe. Her evangelization was not merely for souls  amongst the common people but extended to the highest in the land and she did not mince her words even when speaking to Kings, Queens or the Pope. How a girl who was could not read or write, was one of 25 children still manage to reach the position she did was a marvel in itself.

Lots of detail about her life and family added interest to the story.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of St. Martin's Press. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Run Girl by Eva Hudson

This was a short read and was ideal for my Saturday evening!

A free download from Amazon it gave one an insight into the workings in a short time, of the FBI and how an agent from Quantico has her work cut out with a teenager who decides to disappear. The fact that her grandmother is the Secretary of State and right now involved in delicate negotiations with three countries in Paris is another point. Add to that, that said grandmother has no inkling of grand daughter's disappearance is also moot. Also add that said grand daughter has to be got back to Paris in four hours before the shit hits the fan!!!

Fast paced, not mincing their words the agents had their work cut out for them, with hardly any clues and only replicating themselves as an eighteen year old girl hell bent on cutting loose were the Agents able to get somewhere!!!

Very well told, kept my interest throughout.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Lightkeeper's Wife by Karen Viggers

The Lightkeeper's Wife

Mary is in very poor health and she is determined to end her days on the island where she was happiest. To this end she persuades her grand daughter to take her on a supposedly day trip to the island but she has made all the arrangements with the resident warden to stay on, without the knowledge of her family.

Mary's children are not happy with the arrangement but their feelings are varied. Her youngest Tom who is more aware of his mother's feelings understands her need but her eldest daughter Jan is furious. She however decides that till her mother comes to her senses and returns or as she wants it, brought back by either of the brothers, she does not want to have anything to do with her mum. All Mary wants to do is have a pilgrimage to all the places on the island where she was happy, think back to what life was like then and close the final chapter of her life.

At the same time we have this story from the perspective of the youngest son Tom, whose turbulent life is a source of worry to his mother as well.  He has taken the divorce from his wife hard, and never been able to quite settle in to life after his fifteen month spell in Antarctica. He is torn between wanting to go back or not and very undecided about what to do next. We have the other two siblings stories as well - Gary indifferent but not willing to take a stand on anything ruled by his dominant wife's wishes and Jan bitter and angry and realising only too late that being so full of pride and arrogance does not do one any good at all.

Set in a rather lonely, desolate part of the world Bruny Island was ideal for the backdrop of this story. Characters were ideal and the lifestyle of the time - harsh, no amenities and lonely went very well with the people who inhabit this story.

Another pick for me from Glen Waverley library.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Crime in Leper's Hollow by George Bellairs

The story had all the elements of a good mystery - even the title was evocative of something strange. A passionate woman married to a rather steady but dull man. No two people could have been more opposite. Then there was her eccentric brother. A hanger on if ever there was one. Two adult children both estranged from one parent. We had the lady's lovers and boyfriends by the score and all set in a very provincial town in rural England.

Murders take place one by one and by simple death, it removes one more suspect from the scene. Although the murderer was well hidden he was very much part of the story and very much at the forefront of the book.

I found it slow in patches but then got caught in all the excitement three quarters of the way through.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Endeavour Press.