MamaSylvia's Reviews


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If you're looking for something to read that will suit your taste, it helps to know what a reviewer looks for when deciding whether your taste is similar. I look for an involving story, likeable characters who feel real, and no "deus ex machina" endings or "with this clue that I'm not going to share with the reader, the hero knew whodunit" - I've been known to throw a book across the room when I run into those. I prefer a cheery feel but a few dark/gloomy series are also on my favorites list, such as Ian Rutledge. If a story doesn't start fairly quickly, or if it doesn't hold my interest, I give up on the book. Each review starts with a brief plot description, ideally without spoilers. The second paragraph is what the reviewer thought of the book and why. 1 star is awful, 5 stars is great, NR means I didn't finish it or rate it, usually because I discovered it was a genre I don't like. Hope you enjoy!

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Author: Baumbich, Charlene Ann
Title: Dearest Dorothy, Are We There Yet?
Genre: Christian fiction
Rating: 3
The small-town adventures of an elderly but still sprightly woman.

The characters and small-town setting were realistic and carefully drawn - but that didn't make them interesting. The story, such as it was, involved a long-moved-away woman returning to settle her aunt's estate and finding more than she had bargained for. It isn't awful, it's just ... okay. I finished the book, mostly out of inertia, because Baumbich never made me care what would happen to any of the characters.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/24/2015


 
Author: McPherson, Catriona
Title: Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day For a MurderDandy Gilver # 6
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 3
Peyton Place meets Shakespeare as Dandy and Alec's missing-girl case turns into a murder investigation.

More of a psychological whodunwhattowhom than a straight mystery, and so confusing I'm not sure I ever understood the final details. Nor did I find the solution particularly interesting; I also don't gape at collisions. Plus, Dandy and Alec were frankly butting in where they had no business being, and no one benefited. Hope this isn't the start of a trend for this series. The title had nothing to do with the story.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/23/2015


 
Author: McPherson, Catriona
Title: Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of BloodstaiDandy Gilver # 5
Genre: Historical Mystery - England
Rating: 4
Dandy goes undercover as a lady's maid to protect the lady of the house from her husband's threats of murder, while the General Strike of 1926 brings transport and commerce to a screeching halt and demotes a superintendent to investigate a murder.

Slow start, but I'm glad I stuck with it to find one of the cleverest how-they-done-it plots I've ever read. It's also fun to see Dandy's upper-crust assumptions shattered as she sees how the servants really live. The title was appropriate and clever.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/19/2014


 
Author: Parker, I.J.
Title: Dream of a Spring NightHollow Reed # 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 3
A country noblewoman is taken into the Emperor's harem and finds intrigue and danger.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Although I enjoy Parker's Akitada historical mystery series, this historical romance set in the same time period (feudal Japan) never grabbed me the same way. Toshiko's attitude change from dutiful daughter to looking out for herself did not feel real. The continually changing point-of-view distracted me from the plot. The characters are well-drawn, but other than an intriguing look behind-the-scenes at a royal Japanese lifestyle, I never got very interested although I did finish the book. Word use was generally acceptable. Kindle formatting had occasional problems, mostly involving an occasional new paragraph in the middle of a sentence. I have no idea what the title or the series name were supposed to relate to.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/07/2014


 
Author: McCaffrey, Anne & McCaffrey, Todd
Title: Dragon's TimeDragonriders of Pern # 8
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2
There are too few dragons to fight Thread successfully, and Lorana and Fiona desperately try to increase the population by timing it.

More soap opera than dragon storyline, with women sharing a man and men sharing a woman and some pairings I never figured out. Plus, it's difficult to keep track of a storyline that skips around in time, and Todd fails miserably. (By her own introduction, although listed as co-author, Anne's part consisted of proofing, critiquing, and offering suggestions.) There is also an unexplained gap of "current" time; at the end of Dragon Harper, Kindan was still an apprentice at Harper Hall; now he's suddenly a journeyman, being groomed to promote to Master, and weyrlingmaster at one of the Weyrs? And Fiona is grown up and riding a queen? (I never figured out which Weyr.) I kept thinking surely it would come together in the end. It didn't. Really should be rewritten to make sense.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/06/2014


 
Author: McCaffrey, Anne & McCaffrey, Todd
Title: Dragon HarperDragonriders of Pern # 7
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4
As harper apprentices, Kindan and his friends face a bully and a deadly plague.

The story was more involving than it sounds from my summary. McCaffrey's stories are usually character-driven anyway, and the characters feel real enough that you expect to see them at the grocery store or ice rink. I was particularly surprised that the book held my attention through pages and pages of plague, which is depressing rather than interesting. Of course the story was unrealistic. Like a young noblewoman being able to stay hidden as a drudge long enough to grow up and trick a dragonrider into fighting the bully who usurped her home. (Lessa, if the reference was too subtle.) Or a young nobleman "accidentally" impressing a dragon but continuing to Hold? (Jaxom) This is fantasy, and young people having to run things because their seniors are ill or dead is no more unrealistic than Anne McCaffrey's own stories. The title had very little to do with the story.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/05/2014


 
Author: Dunn, Carola
Title: Die LaughingDaisy Dalrymple # 12
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
Forever in the wrong place at the right time, Daisy finds her dentist dead with evidence of foul play. Of course Alec is assigned to the case so Daisy can "help."

Workmanlike if not challenging mystery (I figured out whodunit almost immediately) with one glaring flaw. In a list of why different characters were under suspicion, one comment claims the nurse would be used to watching people die. I've been a registered nurse for almost 30 years, and I can tell you you NEVER get used to death. Able to accept it, of course, or you don't last in nursing, but not able to watch indifferently. Poor research on Dunn's part. Spelling, grammar, and Kindle formatting were fine. The title is perfect!
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/02/2014


 
Author: Abbey, Sparkle
Title: Desperate HousedogsPampered Pets # 1
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
A pet therapist pursues the killer of one of her clients through cushy Laguna Beach.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Although I had expected this to be humorous fiction, it's actually a murder mystery, and the first book I've read in ages that used animals as major characters without making them unbearably cutesy. I could have done without the tug-of-war over an ugly piece of jewelry and the supposed Texas-isms - I lived there 10 years and never once heard "well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit" - but the plot itself was fine and the characters are completely believable to anyone who has spent time in California. The only major flaw is found in a minor piece of backstory: it is not believable that she would lose her license over something her partner did that she didn't know about. The title is brilliantly relevant, and I look forward to reading more of this series.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/01/2014


 
Author: O'Brian, Patrick
Title: Desolation IslandAubrey/Maturin # 5
Genre: Historical Naval Fiction
Rating: 4
Jack's new command, the "horrible old Leopard," is saddled with transporting convicts to Botany Bay, although Stephen uses the opportunity to learn from and plant false information with a beautiful American transported for spying.

O'Brian is back to his episodic storytelling again, as Jack and Stephen bounce from one situation to another, minimally connected. And, again, the characters kept me reading. Like all the books in this series, the conversion to e-text was done via OCR and spellcheck, leaving occasional goofs like "Hera-path" or "breached" instead of "breeched."
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/28/2014


 
Author: Hart, Carolyn
Title: Design For MurderDeath on Demand # 2
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
Annie's and Max's wedding planning disagreements are interrupted by a chance for Annie to plan a murder evening, which in turn is interrupted by a real murder, leaving Annie one of the suspects.

Hart grabbed my attention immediately and never let go, even though most of the characters qualified as unlikable. Solid mystery with lots of distractions. I'm not completely convinced that the murderer was the only one who could have done it, a minor quibble. It's a bit of a strain to relate the title to the book.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/27/2014


 
Author: Webb, Betty
Title: Desert WindLena Jones # 7
Genre: P.I. Mystery
Rating: 4
When Jimmy is arrested in connection with the murder of a land developer about to open a uranium mine on the Rez, Lena goes charging into a nest of sexual tangles and coverups.

Solid mystery with as many twists as usual. Webb utterly fooled me as to the killer, and I had to laugh at Lena's technique for getting answers out of a stoic Indian. Webb incorporates some flashbacks that are not necessary to follow the storyline and which I found confusing. The Indian characters are richly drawn, the whites less so but mostly still believable - the sudden grief of a laughing widow didn't ring true. The title is so perfect I can't help wondering if Webb started with the title and came up with a story to use it.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/26/2014


 
Author: Webb, Betty
Title: Desert LostLena Jones # 6
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
When Lena finds the dead body of a polygamy wife, she pursues the killer in a desperate attempt to get the cult out of town.

Webb clearly hates the polygamists, and if half of what she writes is true, I don't blame her. This time she focuses on the "lost boys," the male children born to cult members who are dumped on the streets when they turn 18 and no longer bring in welfare money. Uneducated and without resources, according to Webb most of them wind up in drugs and prostitution. The characters are well-drawn and believable. Not all the pieces were explained, and as always, the mood remained very dark. The title is a bit of a strain.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/25/2014


 
Author: Drayden, Nicky
Title: Delightfully Twisted Tales: Fire, Fangs and BrimstDelightfully Twisted Tales # 2
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 1
Delightfully Twisted Tales: Fire, Fangs and Brimstone

Collection of a few short stories with no theme.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. I can't believe anyone has the nerve to charge for these few pointless "stories." Short stories, like other fiction, should have a plot and at least minimal character development. In a lot of ways, a good short story is harder to write than a novel because of its limited length. These are just purposeless ramblings, nothing "delightfully twisted" at all.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/24/2014


 
Author: Hart, Carolyn
Title: Death in Lovers' LaneHenrie O # 3
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
When an investigation of long-ago unsolved deaths by a brash student journalist turns deadly, Henrie O searches for the secret someone is still willing to kill to protect.

Solid if unexciting mystery. The characters never really grabbed me, but Hart excels at planting clues that the reader doesn't realize are clues.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/23/2014


 
Author: Brand, Christianna
Title: Death in High HeelsInspector Charlesworth # 1
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Rating: NR
Inspector Charlesworth is assigned to find the killer of a couturiere's shopgirl.

Just another police procedural. Spelling, grammar, and Kindle formatting were all acceptable.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/21/2014


 
Author: Van Gulik, Robert
Title: Dee Goong AnJudge Dee # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery - China
Rating: 4
aka Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee

In ancient China, Judge Dee investigates three murders, one of which may lead to his execution.

This first book in the Judge Dee series was apparently not writted by van Guhlik, he was just the translator of an existing Chinese mystery that he thought would suit American tastes better than the typical Chinese mystery. He explains this in a lengthy but interesting foreword. The mysteries themselves were not as much to my taste as later books in the series have been, partially because of supernatural elements, and partly because of the brutality, which van Gulik toned down in later books. It also left me wondering if van Gulik actually wrote the later books or just raided Chinese literature again. The stories did keep me reading.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/20/2014


 
Author: Skye, Jaden
Title: Death by HoneymoonCaribbean Murder # 1
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: NR
Widowed on her Barbados honeymoon, Cindy is convinced her husband was murdered.

Something about this book struck me as wrong and I didn't read much of it before giving up.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/19/2014


 
Author: Ortolon, Julie
Title: Dear Cupid
Genre: Romance
Rating: NR
A man who fell for a woman in an airport finds and hires her to help him get married.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Just another romance and I didn't finish it.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/18/2014


 
Author: Riggs, Cynthia
Title: Deadly NightshadeMartha's Vineyard # 1
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: NR
An old lady hears a murder across the harbor and finds herself and her granddaughter pursued by the killers.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. I didn't like this, and I'm not sure why. It felt like a cross between and PI and a PP, although it isn't. I quit at 60% through. One major problem with the Kindle formatting was that the type was tiny. Yes, it can be enlarged, but it's an amateur mistake and a nuisance, as well as a hassle if you like to read more than one book at a time.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/17/2014


 
Author: Shelton, Connie
Title: Deadly GambleCharlie Parker # 1
Genre: P.I. Mystery
Rating: NR
Normally sticking to the accounting side of her PI firm, Charlie turns investigator when the woman who eloped with her fiance asks her for help.

I don't usually like PI stories, and apparently even when the heroine is a non-sleuthing part of a PI team, I still don't like them. I quit pretty early.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/16/2014


 
Author: Trent, Gayle
Title: Dead PanDaphne Reynolds # 2
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 3
When a young brain-injured man dies from a mutated bacteria after a drug company Christmas party, his bereaved mother wants Daphne to find out what happened.

Reasonably fast start and involving storyline, although the hit-and-run two years earlier gets more investigation than the mass illness. Trent's lack of focus even left the main question - why did Fred die? - unanswered, a major error that cost her a whole rating star. The whodunit was fairly obvious, although I got the "why" wrong. And Trent should have gotten help with her medical descriptions - a vaccine is a specific preventative therapy. so whatever helped the people who got sick was a treatment instead. Word use and Kindle formatting were mostly acceptable, just a few minor errors. The title had nothing to do with any of the different stories.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/13/2014


 
Author: Benrey, Ron & Janet
Title: Dead As a SconeRoyal Tunbridge Wells # 1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Rating: 2
After the suspicious death of the grnde dame of a British tea museum, the heirs' plan to sell off their property leaves the tea museum in a bind.

Never caught my interest. The lack of likable characters left me no reason to care about what happened. I quit about a quarter of the way through.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/12/2014


 
Author: Benson, E.F.
Title: David Blaize
Genre: Historical Fiction - England
Rating: 2
The trials and adventures of schoolboy David at a British boarding school in the early 1900s.

eBook downloaded from www.Gutenberg.org Unfocused storyline, marginally interesting as a period piece but that wasn't enough to keep me reading. The frequent proofing errors didn't help, and I gave up pretty quickly.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/10/2014


 
Author: Ashley, Phillipa
Title: Dating Mr. December
Genre: Romance
Rating: NR
A PR flak organizing a nude calendar to raise funds for an emergency rescue team finds herself opposed and attracted to one of the team members.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Just another romance, not sure why I even picked the book up free and I quit pretty quickly.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/09/2014


 
Author: Singh, Rachna
Title: Dating, Diapers & Denial
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 2
Series of "lessons" that the author supposedly learned and is passing on to the reader.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway, and it almost lost me right at the Introduction (always a bad sign if the author feels compelled to explain her book before you have even touched it), when Singh equates "growing old" with "forty." Excuse me? I don't know any 40-year-olds who would agree that they are over the hill. I don't think the intended audience included Americans who aren't from India because of the frequent comments in another language (Hindi is my guess) and references to things or people I've never heard of. What is a budhdha baba? doordarshan? baraat? behenji? Who is Arnab Goswani? Tharoor? Salman Khan? The Indian author generally uses very good English (certainly way better than my nonexistent Hindi), which makes her frequent mistakes more jarring. "I have learnt ..." "If that is the case, what's there to talk?" "... when you lungs give up." "... gleaning over the fact ..." "The chilly chicken at the hospital cafeteria is good." (I really don't know whether she meant "chili chicken" or "cold chicken.") I have to admit I laughed out loud at the section in which she worried about Facebook reposters coming after her because she doesn't repost. But most of her "humor" left me baffled, such as claiming "No one wins. No one loses" at golf. I'm not a golfer, but even I know that statement is just not true. One funny section didn't make the whole collection of mistakes worth reading. Kindle formatting is generally acceptable, with an occasional bizarre exception such as a list in which the items start with a capital R instead of a bullet or asterisk, and an occasional 2-column section in which the rightmost part of the right column bleeds off the page. Didn't matter to me in most cases because I don't read Hindi anyway.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/07/2014


 
Author: Cannon, Dyan
Title: Dear Cary: My Life with Cary Grant
Genre: Memoir
Rating: NR
Cannon relates how, as a young actress, she fell in love with and married screen icon Cary Grant.

Lots of interesting tidbits but unorganized. Cannon skips around timewise, which is disorienting. As the book progressed and Cannon portrayed Grant as a manipulative and demanding husband, I lost interest - not because I'm such a Grant fan, simply because I don't like reading that type of story and I quit.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/12/2013


 
Author: Mathew, Grace
Title: Darcy and Elizabeth
Genre: Quiz book
Rating: 4
I borrowed this book from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. Collection of quotes from Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice. Each question is on its own page on the KK, with answers given every 10 pages.

How could any true P&P devotee resist the challenge of testing her knowledge? Certainly I couldn't. I was a little disappointed that the 70 individual items consist mostly of P&P quotes, but the "correct" answer was debatable on the questions requiring interpretation. I didn't like so many questions piling up before the answers were given, as that was too many questions for me to remember my answers and I didn't want to dig up scratch paper. Some of the questions were simply too easy to be a challenge, or only offered two responses so you could get half right by sheer guesswork. I thought the heart after each question was just too self-consciously cute for words. But it was still fun - I got 66/70 right - and well worth the $0.99 price for an hour's entertainment.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/22/2012


 
Author: Snelling, Lauraine
Title: Daughter of Twin OaksSecret Refuge # 1
Genre: Historical Fiction - U.S.
Rating: NR
After losing both parents during the Civil War, Kentucky tomboy Jesselynn tackles taking what is left of their horse farm stock to safety.

I couldn't get into this book at all, it was too depressing and gloomy - not surprising given the subject matter but not what I enjoy reading.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/23/2012


 
Author: Fluke, Joanne
Title: Devil's Food Cake MurderHannah Swensen # 15
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
A murder involving lookalike cousins distracts Hannah from Norman's gorgeous new partner.

Finally, Fluke has gotten back to the solid mysteries that got me interested in the series to start with. The explanation was pretty obvious almost from the beginning, but Fluke filled the pre-murder pages with another mystery, kept the story moving right along as Hannah and friends tried to find the killer, and provided a reasonable resolution. The only major flaw was the soap-opera cliffhanger ending to one of the secondary storylines.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/18/2012


 
Author: Melodia, Cat
Title: Ding Dong the Diva's Dead
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
Moderately talented opera singer Debbie jumps at the chance to sing a small role with an Idaho company, but keeps having "accidents."

Generally very well-done mystery with a large dose of satire. For more details, see my review at http://redadeptreviews.com/ding-dong-the-divas-dead-by-cat-melodia/#more-6710
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/16/2011


 
Author: Newman, Sharan
Title: Death Before ComplineCatherine Le Vendeur
Genre: Historical Mystery - France
Rating: 4
Collection of short stories set in the Catherine Le Vendeur series, in between the existing books.

Mostly enjoyable but with some serious and unexpected flaws. See my review at http://redadeptreviews.com/death-before-compline-by-sharan-newman/ for details.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/28/2011


 
Author: Post, Melville Davisson
Title: Dwellers in the Hills
Genre: Western
Rating: NR
A feud between two cattle-dealing families triggers a desperate attempt by one to keep the other from fulfilling a contract.

I generally don't like Westerns and there was nothing unusual or interesting in this one to keep me reading.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/14/2011


 
Author: Innes, Michael
Title: Death at the President's Lodging aka Seven SuspectInspector Appleby # 1
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Rating: 2
When the college president is found shot to death and only a few Fellows have keys, Scotland Yard CID Inspector Appleby is assigned to find the killer without upsetting the College. But an assault, a safecracking, and endless subtle accusations by the Fellows against each other provide more information that Appleby can use.

The story started quickly enough and Appleby's involvement kept things moving for the first 100 pages, but then it dragged so badly I skipped to the end, which made me glad I hadn't wasted time reading the whole book - the ending was awful.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/13/2011


 
Author: McNamara, Frances
Title: Death At the FairEmily Cabot # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery - U.S.
Rating: 1
In 1893 Chicago, graduate student Emily drags herself away from her studies to visit the Colombian Exposition with her mother and brother. But when a visiting VIP is found shot and Emily's mentor Dr. Chapman is arrested, she is determined to clear Chapman's name by finding the real killer.

All the unpleasant elements I keep finding in stories set in this era, plus a few extra. The pedantic style is boring and a pain to read. The women are more concerned with what is "proper" than anything else. McNamara spends so much time on physical description and behavior that the story doesn't really start until 1/3 of the way into the book. Add in that Emily has no excuse for butting in and I gave up.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/10/2011


 
Author: Davidson, Diane Mott
Title: Dying For ChocolateGoldy Schulz # 2
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 2
Goldy watches in horror as her psychologist boyfriend's erratic driving ends in a fatal collision and then tries to help her policeman boyfriend investigate the death.

Just as bad as the first in the series. Goldy can't stand up to anyone and why would any reader be interested in what happens to such a wuss? Certainly not me. Once again, clever series titles = uninteresting stories featuring unlikable characters.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/07/2011


 
Author: Baker, Deb
Title: Dolled Up for MurderDolls to Die For # 1
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 1
Newly-unemployed Gretchen is shanghaied to Phoenix by her drama queen aunt Nina, who is convinced that Gretchen's mother Caroline is in danger. Meanwhile, Caroline is dashing around the world hunting for a doll that holds the key to her survival.

This book started with several strikes against it. First, Gretchen is a wuss and Nina is a bully, and I don't like reading about either. Second, Baker spends way too much time describing the antics of the peripheral animals (Gretchen's cat and Nina's bossy purse dog). Finally, I just had trouble accepting a doll as reason enough to kill someone. Yes, I know it's just the McGuffin, and the McGuffin can be anything, but emotionally it felt like elevating a not-too-bright child's pretend to the status of reality. I tried to continue reading and give the book a chance to pull me in, but it never did, and I quit before I got a quarter of the way in.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/05/2011


 
Author: McCaffrey, Anne & McCaffrey, Todd
Title: Dragon's FireDragonriders of Pern # 6
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Rating: 4
It is only 16 years until the next Pass, and the Harper Hall is concerned about what will happen to the "Shunned" when Threadfall starts. Master Zist and his apprentice Pellar head to Camp Natalon to try to connect with the "Shunned." But they wind up recruiting dragonriders to protect the last gold watch-wher from having her eggs stolen by the Shunned and trying to pull enough dangerous firestone out of the ground to keep the Weyrs supplied.

Disjointed story with a darker feel than previous Pern stories. As always, the characters are real enough to picture sitting at your kitchen table, but there were distracting elements such as McCaffrey's unstated assumption that everyone would want to be a dragonrider. Even with the story weaknesses, I couldn't justify a lower rating because it kept me reading and I hated having to put the book down for real-life activities.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/04/2011


 
Author: Brown, Virginia
Title: Dixie DivasDivas # 1
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 2
In little Holly Springs, MS, a recently-divorced woman and her recently-divorced cousin worry about the disappearance of an old man with a mint-condition historical home, especially after the cousin saw her dead ex-husband on the floor but his body disappears before they can notify the police.

Terribly slow read with no particularly interesting characters and nothing happening. I quit before I got a quarter of the way through; when they weren't describing antebellum houses in gory detail the women were trying to ape "Steel Magnolias" and not succeeding.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/02/2011


 
Author: Michaels, Barbara as Peters, Elizabeth
Title: Die For LoveJacqueline Kirby # 3
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 3
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/30/2011


 
Author: Hall, Parnell
Title: DetectiveStanley Hastings # 1
Genre: Murder Mystery - P.I.
Rating: NR
A client announces to a PI that he's going to kill someone.

Typical PI story with nothing to interest me, so I barely started it before quitting.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/27/2011


 
Author: Hart, Carolyn
Title: Dead Man's IslandHenrie O # 1
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 5
Journalist-turned-novelist "Henrie O" travels to the island estate of communications multimillionaire (and former lover) Chase Prescott when he says someone is trying to kill him. But a deadly hurricane may limit Henrie's time even more than the person after Chase.

The story was predictable in some ways and surprising in others - more happened after the rescue than I usually see in mysteries. I figured out whodunit pretty early, but Hart kept things happening so fast that I thought I was wrong for a while. The characters and setting were somewhat reminiscent of "Ten Little Indians." I thought a couple of the minor elements weren't adequately set up, but I'll forgive a lot for a plot that sweeps me along as this one did. The title was perfectly appropriate.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/25/2011


 
Author: Goldenbaum, Sally
Title: Death by CashmereSeaside Knitters # 1
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 3
Izzy is happy she dumped her high-pressure life as a lawyer to open a yarn shop in a small coastal town. But when her apartment renter is found dead, she and her friends don't believe the police line that a stranger must have been the killer.

There wasn't anything really wrong with this book, but it never captured my interest and the story dragged. I quit halfway through and didn't even care enough about it to skip to the end.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/25/2011


 
Author: Barnard, Robert
Title: Death in a Cold Climate aka Posthumous Papers
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Rating: NR
When the body of a young foreigner is found near the tiny town of Tronso, Norway, Inspector Fagedorn has the thankless task of uncovering his identity as well as his killer.

Police procedural with nothing to catch my attention, so I didn't read much before quitting.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/23/2011


 
Author: Barnard, Robert
Title: Death of a Perfect Mother aka Mother’s Boys
Genre: Horror
Rating: NR
Lill Hodsden is the terror of her town. Thinking she is its most popular citizen and especially adored by her sons, she patronizes and alienates everyone. Even her sons are desperate to get rid of her.

Another of Barnard's horror stories full of unlikable characters. I didn't even read long enough to find out if her sons actually killed her.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/22/2011


 
Author: Diamant, Anita
Title: Day After Night
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5
Jewish women, survivors of WWII, languish in a Palestinian internment camp as the British restrict immigration. As the women overcome the handicaps of their past, the stories come together towards a gripping climax.

Normally I require a solid story to enjoy a book, which this lacks, but it held me enthralled anyway and I had trouble putting it down. Diamant weaves the lives of the vibrant characters through the complex political situation in Palestine before the establishment of Israel. The unsatisfying denoument probably more accurately reflected the times but the story was otherwise so gripping that I couldn't downgrade it for the weak ending or the irrelevant title. The cover photograph of young Jewish women dancing superbly illustrated the events inside.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/21/2011


 
Author: Hart, Carolyn
Title: Death on DemandDeath on Demand # 1
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 3
Annie loves running her late uncle's mystery bookstore on a small South Carolina island. But her landlord Eliot Morgan threatens to expose all the secrets of the mystery writers who gather there each Sunday evening, and to raise her rent astronomically if she tries to interfere. When Eliot is murdered before his talk, Annie is the police's favorite suspect, but her just-turned-up ex-husband is going to find the real killer if it kills him.

This had more suspense than I usually like, as the web pulled tighter around poor Annie, and I hated it but I couldn't stop reading. The plot took too long to resolve, I got 3/4 of the way through and then skipped to the end.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/21/2011


 
Author: Barnard, Robert
Title: Death of a Literary Widow
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 1
Walter Machin's ex-wife and widow share a house (but no liking) and look forward to a re-issue of his classic working-class novel.

Barnard writes mostly mysteries featuring unlikeable people doing awful things, with an occasional gem-like exception of an un-put-down-able story. This wasn't one. Besides the tediously slow start and obnoxious women, their greedy children killed any interest I had in the book. I didn't even keep reading to find out who the victim would be, much less the killer.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/19/2011


 
Author: Hibbert, Eleanor as Plaidy, Jean
Title: Daughter of Satan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 1
The town is convinced Tamar's father was the devil and fears her, even as a child.

There was no interesting plot to keep me reading, so I didn't.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/18/2011


 
Author: Emerson, Kathy Lynn
Title: Deadlier Than the PenDiana Spaulding # 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: NR
Victorian newspaper woman and widow Diana Spaulding is assigned to bring back an expose on a horror writer who keeps his private life private. But they find themselves dangerously attracted to each other.

I thought this was a Victorian mystery rather than suspense/romance and was quite disappointed to find I was wrong. I don't like romance OR suspense so I quit reading when I realized what it was.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/17/2011


 
Author: MacDonald, George
Title: David Elginbrod aka The Tutor's First Love
Genre: Christian fiction
Rating: 2
eBook downloaded from www.Gutenberg.org

A young college student tutors the laird's sons but finds joy and Christ-like understanding teaching the overseer and his daughter.

The story itself wasn't very interesting, and the frequent use of impenetrable brogue worsened the problem. I probably missed half the points by not being able to untangle the brogue before I gave up.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/09/2011


 
Author: Barnard, Robert
Title: Death of a Mystery Writer aka Unruly Son
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 3
Sir Oliver Fairleigh-Stubbs is a successful mystery writer, but those who have suffered from his sadistic personality include his wife, his three adult children, his publishers, and his country neighbors. When he is murdered, Inspector Meredith investigates a plethora of people who hated him.

Awful people but involving story with a flat ending. Barnard quietly hid information from the reader and consequently the revelation of the killer was not particularly believable.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/19/2011


 
Author: Hambly, Barbara
Title: DragonsbaneWinterlands # 1
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2
Idealistic court fop Gareth arrives at Alyn Castle in the dirt-poor Winterlands, demanding that Lord John Aversin come to the capital to kill a dragon terrorizing the kingdom. He is shocked at the castle's poverty and Lord John's mistress Jenny, a third-rate magician. When they arrive at the capital after a difficult and dangerous trip, John and Jenny find a few surprises and have to adjust to a snooty court ruled by the King's mistress, the lovely and powerful but vicious witch Zyerne.

I gave up on this book halfway through. The plot just dragged along too slowly to keep my interest, and none of the characters were intriguing enough to keep me reading.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/07/2010


 
Author: Cook, Judith
Title: Dr. Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician
Genre: Biography
Rating: 1
Semi-biography of an Elizabethan physician who, to put it as kindly as possible, had a rich fantasy life. It starts with his parents and progresses through childhood!

Apparently intended to be sympathetic, this book still presents Forman as a liar and rogue. I expected a short story collection and instead got a tedious and uninteresting biography that I barely made it a quarter of the way through before giving up. If the Simon Forman series is this boring, I won't be reading much of it.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/01/2010


 
Author: Berenson, Laurien
Title: Doggie Day Care MurderMelanie Travis # 15
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 5
Shortly after Melanie checks out a posh daycare for dogs for friend Alice, owner Steve is found murdered. Alice volunteers Melanie's investigative skills to owner's sister Candy, and Melanie finds her usual assortment of suspects and lies.

Fast read without the usual drag-in-the-middle. I'm sorry that I've come to the end of this series!
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/26/2010


 
Author: George, Elizabeth
Title: Deception On His MindInspector Lynley # 9
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Rating: 4
After seeing Lynley and Helen off on their honeymoon, Havers heads for Essex where a race riot followed the murder of a Pakistani man. The detective in charge welcomes Havers onto the team, giving her an excuse to investigate and talk with her London neighbor, now advocating for the family of the victim's fiancee. The police investigate numerous trails, including a missing gold bracelet and the victim's rumored homosexual activity, under pressure from the Asian community to find the killer - and he had better be white.

George writes the most horrible families ever, complete with offensive and patronizing nicknames. In this book, she gives us a young Pakistani woman who is expected to consent to an arranged marriage and until then treated as a servant by her vindictive sister-in-law, a young English man raised by a super-manipulative grandmother, and a young English woman with the self-centered mother from hell. It was a pleasure to have a book focusing on Barbara Havers. Naturally, everyone the police question has secrets and Havers and cohorts waste endless time pursuing red herrings. This is a slow but rich read and I identified the killer halfway through but still had numerous shocks before the end. However, there were two fairly serious disappointments. One is the George did not resolve all the various plotlines, which I consider unfair to the reader. The other is that the title bore only a glancing relationship to the story, which I consider lazy. These two problems kept the book from the 5 ratings most of the Lynley/Havers books have earned.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/25/2010


 
Author: Levack, Simon
Title: Demon of the AirAztec # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 3
After failing to get a slave sacrifice to the altar alive, Yaotl is assigned by Emperor Montezuma to find some missing sorcerers to prevent the downfall of the Aztec empire.

I didn't expect to like this book because I have no sympathy for a culture based on human sacrifice, much less unwilling human sacrifice. And I was right, which is not a criticism of the writing style. Levack actually seems to do a pretty good job of evoking the atmosphere and details of pre-Cortes Aztec life and culture. But I found it so horrible I quit before I got a quarter of the way through, so I can't really comment on plot or characterization except to say Yaotl is another of the flawed characters so popular today.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/22/2010


 
Author: Burchett, Jan and Vogler, Sara
Title: DeceptionLady Grace # 4
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 5
Lady Grace, Masou, and Ellie investigate how the murder of a Thames boatman is related to counterfeiting of the Queen's new coin. After Grace and Ellie get nowhere following a boastful apprentice, Ellie notices that a poor woman offers better treats to her guests than she should and steers the trio in a new direction.

Fast and enjoyable read, as always. The horribly inappropriate cover art annoys me more with each entry in this excellent series. It portrays a teenaged girl at Elizabeth I's court as a 1950's schoolgirl in cardigan and beret. The publisher should be forced to sit through the most boring history lessons that can be found.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/21/2010


 
Author: Barnard, Robert
Title: Death on the High C’s
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Rating: 4
A third-rate opera company preparing "Rigoletto" with a guest soprano has plenty of drama even before an abrasive cast member claims someone is trying to kill her.

Good, unfancy workmanlike mystery, and the first by this author that I actually finished. I like a story that demands some knowledge on the part of the reader, in this case, opera. I'm not a big opera buff but even I am familiar with the character of "Mimi" in "La Boheme." Kept me reading and even though I'm not sure the reader had all the clues to identify the killer, there is nothing missing I can point to.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/20/2010


 
Author: Staynes, Jill as Elizabeth Eyre
Title: Death of the DuchessItalian Renaissance # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 3
The Duke is distracted from desperately trying to end a feud that has led to a kidnapping when his wife is found stabbed to death. Mysterious henchman Sigismondo and his mentally challenged servant Benno must wade through secrets to find a killer.

I couldn't get into this book. There was nothing terrible about it, but the different stories were too unrelated and I don't find enigmatic characters particularly intriguing. I quit about halfway through.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/18/2010


 
Author: Barnard, Robert
Title: Death of an Old Goat
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Rating: 1
When an aged professor visiting a small Australian town is found with his throat cut, a detective with more interest in adultery than doing his job stumbles into investigating.

I had high hopes for this one because it was described as funny, and humorous mysteries are rare. But every character was incompetent or vicious or both, which I don't consider funny at all. Nor was the story involving or intriguing enough to compensate for the unlikable characters; in fact, it was just boring. I got a quarter of the way through before giving up.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/17/2010


 
Author: Pawel, Rebecca
Title: Death of a NationalistCarlos Tejada # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery - Police Pr
Rating: 3
Guardia Civil Sergeant Tejada is sent to investigate the murder of another guardia, who turns out to be a former compatriot. He executes a woman found bending over the body and pursues why the victim had a child's school notebook. Meanwhile, the woman's boyfriend is determined to execute her killer, and both men wind up tracing supplies being diverted from the guardia to the black market.

I thought I probably wouldn't like this book because Spain in the 1930's is not a time period I enjoy reading about, with hooligans on both sides and millions of innocent civilians suffering. The plot further aggravated me, as it snowballed from a single mistake and caught a little girl in its careless jaws. I quit a quarter of the way through, but it was the gloom and needless suffering that make it intolerable, not any flaw in the writing; in fact, one of the best character presentations I've ever read came early in the novel, when a young policeman can't think of anything to say that doesn't make him sound like a star-struck teenager. His thoughts did more to illuminate both his character and Tejada's than pages of more conventional description would have. If you can stand the depressing atmosphere, I suspect you would find this an engrossing book.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/17/2010


 
Author: Albert, Bill & Susan as Robin Paige
Title: Death At Gallows GreenSir Charles Sheridan # 2
Genre: Historical Mystery/Cozy
Rating: 5
Kate is off at a house party when Sir Charles is called to a murder of a policeman near Marsden Manor. Kate returns with a shy young Beatrix Potter in tow, and the two investigate the murder and a subsequent claim that the policeman had been a poacher and dishonest. Then a missing child spurs everyone's determination to find the killer.

I dislike incorporating real people into fictional stories, but this one wasn't too bad. If the quotes at the beginning of each chapter are indeed from Beatrix Potter's tales, the Alberts did an amazing job of devising a fictional situation to presumably be the basis for some of Potter's stories. Sir Charles' excessive "niceness" - not being able to declare his feelings for Kate since his friends are interested in her - struck me as stupid rather than honorable; he was basically refusing to give her information so she could make an informed choice. Very patronizing! I threw the first in this series across the room because it depended totally on spiritualism, but there was no problem with this story, and it held my interest to the end without even the dragging-in-the-middle so common in book-length fiction.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/16/2010


 
Author: Dams, Jeanne M.
Title: Death in Lacquer RedHilda Johansson # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery/Cozy
Rating: 2
Young housemaid Hilda and her beau Patrick stumble over a murdered woman. Butler Mr. Williams' instructions to Hilda to stop thinking about the murder determines her to find the killer. As she watches the victim's social-elite family, she fights the prevalent anti-immigrant bias.

Dickens combined social crusading with enthralling stories, but few of his literary successors manage the blend. Certainly Dams doesn't. There is no question that immigrants were unfairly treated during much of U.S. history, but Hilda's ranting is not enjoyable to watch, and a fiction writer's first duty is to entertain. I wasn't even halfway through when the ranting became too much to tolerate, and the story hadn't caught my interest enough to skip to the end - I just quit reading.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/15/2010


 
Author: Christie, Agatha
Title: Death Comes As the End
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 1
Newly widowed Renisenb thinks her family unchanged when she returns to her father's house: oldest brother Yahmose is still bullied by wife Satipy, middle brother Sobek is still reckless and his wife Kait still obsessed with her children, and youngest brother Ipy can still do no wrong in their father Imhotep's eyes. But Imhotep's new concubine shatters the family dynamic for her own ends and winds up dead, and Renisenb feels obligated to identify her killer.

This is reputedly the only historical mystery Christie ever wrote, and she should have stuck to her usual style. There are long sections where nothing happens to either advance the plot or delineate the shallow characters, and I finally gave up halfway through. It might have made a good short story but was a tedious book. I can't find anything to praise in it.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/14/2010


 
Author: Sedley, Kate
Title: Death and the ChapmanRoger the Chapman # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 3
Finding himself unsuited to a monastery, young Roger becomes a travelling peddler or "chapman." But two seemingly unrelated reports of wealthy travellers disappearing near the same inn pique his curiosity and he investigates.

While there was nothing glaringly awful about this book (other than some heavy-handed "I didn't know I'd be putting my life in danger" foreshadowing and occasional irrelevant comments from the now-elderly narrator), neither was there anything glaringly right. None of the characters felt real and the story never grabbed my attention. I got halfway through, realized I didn't care what happened next, and skipped to the end (and found I'd been right about whodunit).
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/14/2010


 
Author: Newman, Sharan
Title: Death Comes as EpiphanyCatherine LeVendeur # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 4
Abbess Heloise asks young novice Catherine LeVendeur to pose as a misfit and leave the convent, in order to inspect a psalter sent as a gift which reportedly now contains heretical elements. She finds the psalter and copies the alterations, but also finds a murdered friend and is determined to bring the killer to justice. An unlikely workman who befriends her may be a help or a distraction. Her investigations reveal a complicated web of larceny and evil, in which her beloved father and uncle may be involved.

Superb presentation of believable medieval people. Catherine is not just a 21st-century girl placed in the 12th century, as happens too commonly in historical novels. Demons and saints are as real to her and her family as knights and horses. The story I'm not so sure about. It dragged a bit in the middle but not so badly that I started skipping sections. There was nothing obviously wrong, and I can't point to anything and say "the reader wasn't given this information," but it just wasn't a satisfying resolution.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/13/2010


 
Author: Barnard, Robert
Title: Death and the Chaste ApprenticeCharlie Peace # 1
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Rating: 4
Highlights of the yearly Ketterick arts festival include an opera starring a famous Russian coloratura and directed by a legend, and a production of "The Chaste Apprentice" at the ancient Saracen inn. But new landlord Des Capper's know-it-all attitude drives the performers crazy. When Capper is found dead, Inspector Dundy has a plethora of suspects who detested him.

Fast read and held my attention. The major drawback is that there wasn't a true main character, so the constant focus switches were disorienting. I had to look at the series title to realize who was supposed to be the main character, and found it was a very minor character who didn't even appear until halfway through and then didn't say ten lines during the whole book.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/12/2010


 
Author: Sparks, Nicholas
Title: Dear John
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3
Troubled youth John Tyree joins the Army and straightens out. Home on leave, he meets lovely Savannah and falls in love. He re-enlists after September 11 and Savannah, spending long months alone, falls in love with another man. He returns and finds her married but with a secret.

The whole book is a flashback, which I really dislike. The "introduction" doesn't add anything to the story. I skipped most of the first 20 or so pages about John's childhood and dissociation from his father. Even after he meets Savannah, the story moved at such a glacial pace I skipped lots of chunks without missing any important story elements - not a good sign. Only the last quarter of the book held my attention. The element that rang truest was John's attitude towards his combat experience. This would have been a good novella but is a tedious novel.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/11/2010


 
Author: Albert, Bill & Susan as Robin Paige
Title: Death At Bishops KeepSir Charles Sheridan # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 2
Blossoming writer Kate Ardleigh, struggling to survive in 1894 New York, heads for England to accept a job as secretary-companion to an aunt she did not know she had. There she meets the neighbor Marsdens and their guest, Sir Charles Sheridan, and becomes involved in both her aunt's spiritualism and a murder investigation.

I lost interest in this book when it seemed all the characters were spiritualists. It was written in very Victorian prose, certainly authentic to the period but rather tedious to wade through. I'll try the next book in the series to see if Paige can write about anything other than spiritualism.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/10/2010


 
Author: Rawson, Clayton
Title: Death From a Top Hat
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Rating: 3
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/09/2010


 
Author: Hoyt, Sarah A as Sarah D’Almeida
Title: Death of a MusketeerMusketeers # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 1
Aramis, Porthos, Athos, and their new friend D'Artagnan stumble across a musketeer corpse that strangely resembles royalty, and swear to find the murderer.

I gave up on this book fairly quickly. First, it started with an "introduction" claiming that the author just found this old manuscript, which always annoys me. Then it featured characters that I already know quite well, acting in a manner inconsistent with their established personalities. I typically have this problem more with real people used as characters, but apparently misuse of fictional characters can also bother me. Finally, the copyediting of the book was so atrocious it distracted me from the illogical plot, such as "comradery" instead of the correct "camaraderie." I might have been able to struggle through if not for the other problems, but instead the word misuse was the last straw.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/08/2010


 
Author: Houston, Victoria
Title: Dead AnglerLoon Lake # 1
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 3
Retired dentist Paul Osborne is shocked when his fly fishing guide turns out to be Loon Lake's first woman police chief, Lew Ferris. But he is even more shocked when he stumbles over a body while night fishing. Drafted by Chief Ferris as a forensic dentist, he becomes more interested in the lady as she pursues a killer.

There was nothing terribly wrong with this book. Osborne and Lew are both nice enough if rather one-dimensional. There were only a few flashbacks and they were kept brief. There was a lot of fishing-related activity, which didn't particularly interest me and I skimmed or skipped. The killer was pretty obvious, but I've forgiven that flaw in other books if the story was intriguing enough. This one, for some reason, never caught my interest and the characters never seemed real. I got halfway through and realized I didn't care if I picked it up again.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/07/2010


 
Author: Furutani, Dale
Title: Death at the CrossroadsMatsuyama Kaze # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 5
Kaze stumbles across a murdered merchant and pauses in his search for his late mistress' daughter to right a village troubled by bandits, a greedy lord, and a cruel magistrate.

Odd and inconsistent but involving story. Why was Kaze so sensitive to the needs of peasants? That really would not have been a samurai characteristic, although it makes a more compelling story to 21st century readers. Kaze solves mysteries more by exercise of "little grey cells" than fighting, which keeps this convoluted story interesting.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/06/2010


 
Author: Harris, Charlaine
Title: Dead Over HeelsAurora Teagarden # 5
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
A dead police officer falls out of a plane in front of Roe and Angel. Naturally half the police force, as well as Roe's erstwhile beau Arthur and the two mysterious men from Atlanta, think she had something to do with her old adversary's death. As Angel battles her own problems, Roe tries to figure out who wants Angel so badly.

The solution was kind of strange, and I'm not sure all the evidence was given to the reader but I can't point to anything that wasn't. However, the first book in this series had an equally strange rationale, so at least the author is consistent. As with the others, this one kept me reading to the end. And the title is perfectly relevant!
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/05/2010


 
Author: O’Hagan, Joan
Title: Death and a Madonna
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 1
British art historian Charles Mowbray doesn't want to lose his young Italian wife Rafaella to a rich banker, while two female lovers waffle about leaving their husbands.

Not only is there enough adultery here to populate Peyton Place, it's not even interesting. When I got a quarter of the way through and nothing had actually happened, I gave up.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/04/2010


 
Author: Geagley, Brad
Title: Day of the False KingSemerket # 2
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 4
In response to a blurred message from Rami, Pharaoh Ramses sends Semerket to Babylon to find his ex-wife Naia and bring back a Babylonian idol to heal Pharaoh. Searching for the Elamite princess missing since the slaughter in which Naia supposedly died, Semerket is summoned to the Elamite king and commanded to find the princess if he wants to take the Marduk idol back to Egypt. Semerket may not survive the waves of treachery and political machinations he must wade through to find answers.

The plot moves right along as Semerket finds allies and enemies on the trail to Babylon, and kept me reading to the end. However, following this story really depends on having read Geagley's first book more than is usual in a series. I also dislike wait-for-the-next-book endings, especially featuring unbelievable events, but up to the "epilogue" this was a winner.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/01/2010


 
Author: Collier, Iris
Title: Day of WrathNicholas Peverell # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 4
Lord Nicholas, home on a brief respite from Henry VIII's court, finds his steward Matthew murdered and his neighbors possibly conspiring against the King. He also finds himself drawn to lovely Jane Warrener, a young woman who is determined to help him bring Matthew's killer to justice. Henry's spies arrest the conspirators but "Ultor" the avenger is still at large, threatening Henry's planned visit to Peverell's home, and Nicholas is told to eliminate the traitor in the ten days before the King's visit. But clever Ultor agitates the townspeople against an old woman, distracting Nicholas and Jane.

Involving story with minor fact errors, such as Henry VIII signing a handwritten note "Henry T." He was always jealous of royal privileges and would have signed Henry R. The story moves right along, weaving multiple storylines that may or may not be related, and avoiding middle-of-the-book doldrums. Jane is unacceptably forward for a Tudor maiden, but her neighbors and even her indulgent father are just as shocked at her behavior as the reader. Nicholas is a bit of a plodder, but honest, tries his best, and doesn't resent those more gifted intellectually than he is (including Jane). There is also a great example of subtle foreshadowing, when the jackdaws in the church tower are unexpectedly noisy as Benedict and Jane rehearse. The ending was somewhat weak and had a feel of "I've met the page count so let's wind it up" which is why this gets a 4 rating instead of a 5, but overall a very good read.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 07/31/2010


 
Author: McCaffrey, Anne & Todd
Title: Dragon's KinDragonriders of Pern # 5
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/05/2010


 
Author: Stabenow, Dana
Title: Dead In the WaterKate Shugak # 3
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/04/2010


 
Author: Estleman, Loren D
Title: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/03/2010


 
Author: Lukasik, Gail
Title: Destroying AngelsLeigh Girard # 1
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/02/2010


 
Author: Dunn, Carola
Title: Dead In the WaterDaisy Dalrymple # 6
Genre: Historical Mystery - England
Rating: 5
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/02/2010


 
Author: Bradley, Marion Zimmer
Title: Domains of DarkoverDarkover short stories
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/01/2010


 
Author: Keating, H R F
Title: Death of a Fat God
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/31/2010


 
Author: Maron, Margaret
Title: Death of a ButterflySigrid Harald # 2
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/29/2010


 
Author: Sansom, C J
Title: Dark FireShardlake # 2
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/28/2010


 
Author: Perry, Anne
Title: Death In the Devil's AcreCharlotte and Thomas Pitt # 7
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/26/2010


 
Author: Dubois, Brendan
Title: Dead SandLewis Cole # 1
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/24/2010


 
Author: Tapply, William G
Title: Death At Charity’s PointBrady Coyne # 1
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/23/2010


 
Author: Hyzy, Julie
Title: Deadly BlessingsAlex St. James # 1
Genre:
Rating:
TV researcher Alex contends with a spoiled co-worker, a prostitution ring that may be killing its workers, and her own desire to find her birth parents.

I gave up on this halfway through. Too much of an organized-crime thriller for me.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/22/2010


 
Author: Bradley, Marion Zimmer
Title: DarkoverDarkover short stories
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/22/2010


 
Author: Dunn, Carola
Title: Damsel In DistressDaisy Dalrymple # 5
Genre: Historical Mystery/Cozy
Rating: 4
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/21/2010


 
Author: Bradley, Marion Zimmer
Title: Darkover LandfallDarkover earliest history
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4
reviewed by: Sylvia on 12/15/2009


 
Author: Beaton, M. C.
Title: Death of a travelling manHamish Macbeth # 9
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 11/29/2009


 
Author: Beaton, M. C.
Title: Death of a gluttonHamish Macbeth # 8
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/26/2009


 
Author: McCaffrey, Anne
Title: Dragonseye aka Red Star RisingDragonriders of Pern # 4
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/21/2009


 
Author: Sansom, C J
Title: DissolutionShardlake # 1
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/20/2009


 
Author: Heyer, Georgette
Title: Death In the Stocks aka Merely MurderInspector Hannasyde # 1
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Rating: 1
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/19/2009


 
Author: Rogak, Lisa
Title: Death Warmed Over
Genre:
Rating:
Moderately interesting collection of stories of how different cultures handle death, with recipes. A bit overwhelming to try to read through at a sitting, however.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/18/2009


 
Author: Marshall, Evan
Title: Death Is DisposableHidden Manhattan # 1
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 1
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/16/2009


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