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: Orczy, Baroness Emmuska
Title: Lady Molly of Scotland Yard
Genre: Historical Mystery - England
Rating: 4
In the omnibus Female Sleuths Megapack

A young noblewoman's intuition and daring solve Scotland Yard's most baffling cases. Consists of long stories or short novellas: The Ninescore Mystery, The Frewin Miniatures, The Irish Tweed Coat, The Fordwych Castle Mystery, A Day's Folly, A Castle in Brittany, A Christmas Tragedy, The Bag of Sand, The Woman in the Big Hat, Sir Jeremiah's Will, The End.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. The mysteries are clever, narrated by Lady Molly's faithful assistant/secretary Mary Granard, and the narrator's constant gushing about "my dear lady" is more than slightly annoying. The collection has an active but incomplete Table of Contents, breaking down the stories under their respective sleuths.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/03/2015


 
Author: Alcott, Louisa May
Title: Lulu's Library Vol 2
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4
Sweet little fairy stories, clearly meant for children but mostly lacking Alcott's tendency to preachiness.

eBook downloaded free from Gutenberg. The stories were charming, although I could only take them in small doses. Would make wonderful bedtime stories for a fairy-loving little girl.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/10/2014


 
Author: Weinstein, Sol
Title: LoxfingerOy-Oy-7 # 1
Genre: Satire
Rating: 2
An Israeli secret agent is assigned to protect a famous Jewish philanthropist.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Since I'm not a Bond fan, I figured this would either put me in stitches or put me to sleep. Sadly, it turned out to be the latter. It quite accurately reproduced the feel of the Bond stories, but I didn't find this Lothario any more intriguing than Fleming's original, and quit about a quarter of the way through. Spelling and grammar were acceptable, and the title was both a good spoof and relevant to the plot.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/09/2014


 
Author: Young, Nicole
Title: Love Me If You MustPatricia Amble # 1
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 2
Tish, a Woman With a Past, moves into a haunted-appearing house to remodel and flip it. But interesting men and eerie goings-on distract her.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Never caught my interest. Young seemed to be toying with including real psychic events, but she hadn't decided yes or no by the time I gave up. Coy references to some crime in Tish's past don't impress me, and neither do amazing hunks who have somehow avoided matrimony but instantly fall prey to the heroine's charms. Spelling and grammar were acceptable. The title had nothing to do with anything.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/08/2014


 
Author: Edmondson, Daniel
Title: Love and Lunacy at Kudu: A Very British Romantic CKudu # 2
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2
complete title: Love and Lunacy at Kudu: A Very British Romantic Comedy

An inept district commissioner and his staff prepare for a visit from the colonial governor in 1930s Africa.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. I found the first book in this series, a mystery, to be utterly boring, but I hoped this would be more interesting. It wasn't. The new characters are just as blah and self-important as the original characters. I quit halfway through. The title was too long and misleading; there is no romantic comedy here.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/07/2014


 
Author: Austen, Jane
Title: Love and Freindship
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 2
Letters from a woman to the daughter of an old friend, detailing the catastrophes in her life.

eBook downloaded from www.Gutenberg.org I'm sure Austen meant these as some kind of satire, but they weren't amusing or even interesting. The heroine is the opposite of sensible Jane, Lizzie, or Elinor, not only giving way to every silly impulse but proud of her passions and utterly flabbergasted when they lead to disaster. Another partial novel-in-letters with a similar theme is included. The only reason anyone would want to read this would be to be able to say they had read all of Austen's work.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/06/2014


 
Author: Wells, Rebecca
Title: Little Altars EverywhereYa-Yas # 1
Genre: Southern Fiction
Rating: 2
Disjointed collection of stories from Vivi and her children.

Although I mostly liked the "Divine Secrets" movie, I disliked the skipping around in time. The book is actually even more irritating in this respect because the narrator changes with each chapter, and I found it difficult and distracting to keep track of whose POV I was reading. Nor were the stories themselves interesting enough to keep me reading; I quit halfway through. The title has nothing to do with any of the stories that I read.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/03/2014


 
Author: Forester, Cecil Scott as C.S.
Title: Lieutenant HornblowerHoratio Hornblower # 2
Genre: Historical Naval Fiction
Rating: 4
Lieutenant Bush joins the HMS Renown, where Hornblower is junior lieutenant, as it heads for the Caribbean, where their adventures include a seriously injured captain. Then he encounters Hornblower again after peace is declared.

Although there was lots about this book I didn't like, starting with the whole Captain Sawyer storyline, Forester kept me reading as always. Telling the story from Bush's point of view let Forester show more of Hornblower's relations with his fellow officers. The high-stakes whist game was unbearably suspenseful, but Hornblower's inability to cope with Maria is a serious weakness. Pity is a lousy basis for a marriage. All of the series titles are appropriate but unimaginative.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/30/2014


 
Author: Viguie, Debbie
Title: Lie Down in Green PasturesPsalm 23 Mystery # 3
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 3
Weirdness abounds as Cindy and Jeremiah get strange feelings that something is wrong, Cindy confronts a might-be killer, Mark throws away his police career, and Jeremiah's "other" skillls save a group of teen campers.

This book has lost me for the series. First, there was too much that was simply not believable for the characters. Second, while it never qualified as Christian fiction, now it appears headed to a psychic storyline. Finally, the whole Jeremiah-at-camp plot was too close to thriller for me, a genre I don't like because I scare easily. The unanswered questions were just icing on the cake. How did Jeremiah, who always shunned publicity, react to the inevitable "rabbi saves teenagers" news stories? What happened to the bad guy? Why wasn't Mark in jail? If these were intentional cliffhangers left for the next book (and they didn't read like they were), well, I despise that technique also. Too bad because the series has been fun until now. The title was somewhat appropriate.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/23/2014


 
Author: Hiscott, Gillian
Title: Lady in Chains
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 1
A titled English lady lives during WWII.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. If my plot summary didn't seem like much, that's because there was no plot to speak of. I rarely give 1 ratings, but this was so bad it earned a single star. Not only is there no plot, Hiscott's grammar is atrocious - she has apparently never heard of commas or periods - and she hasn't bothered to research use of titles. She refers to her heroine occasionally as "Lady Eleanor," for example, when that form is reserved for a woman who bore a title in her own right that was superior to her husband's. After a pointless section set before D-Day, Hiscott cut to a time after D-Day but still didn't bother with a plot. I gave up about a quarter of the way through. The title bore no relation to the book.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 07/30/2014


 
Author: Lang, Maureen
Title: Look to the EastGreat War # 1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2
French peasant girl Julitte doesn't want the cruelty of the Germans and the privations they inflict on her town to weaken her faith in God. Belgian aristocrat Charles doesn't take well to hiding from the Germans and finds himself obsessed with Julitte.

I borrowed this book from the Kindle Owners Lending Library. Lang does a fine job presenting the ambience of a small French town occupied by the Germans during WWI. But she doesn't manage to make the situation or the characters interesting. I got about a quarter of the way through and quit because she never made me care what was going to happen next. Spelling, grammar, and Kindle formatting were all acceptable. The title was relevant to the story.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 07/02/2013


 
Author: Sayers, Dorothy
Title: Lord Peter Views the BodyLord Peter Wimsey # 4
Genre: Historical Mystery - England
Rating: 4
Collection of 12 Lord Peter Wimsey stories: The Abominable History of the Man with the Copper Fingers, The Entertaining Episode of the Article in Question, The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will, The Fantastic Horror of the Cat in the Bag, The Unprincipled Affair of the Practical Joker, The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention, The Vindictive Story of the Footsteps That Ran, The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste, The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head, The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach, The Unsolved Puzzle of the Man with No Face, The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba

As usual, uneven and some stories leaned towards horror. Only one was partially a talking-heads story this time, The Unsolved Puzzle of the Man with No Face. But all were clever and a few were even amusing.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 04/26/2012


 
Author: Back, Ed
Title: Let's Talk Veggies : A Small Garden Handbook
Genre: Gardening
Rating: 3
Supposedly "garden tricks and tips not found in the garden books." An excerpt, Chapter 11, from his book From The Back Acres, A Humorous Guide to Organic Gardening, but not identified as such.

Back is apparently a big fan of seed packets. All I can say is that whoever he buys seeds from must put more information on their seed packets than the ones I buy. Yes, they cover the basics like how deep and how far apart to plant, but sometimes they don't even include how many days to harvest! Back does give some useful information on onions, peas, and carrots, particularly how to get the onions ready to store. He also gives good information on saving seed, including *how* to "ferment" tomato seed (which I have seen recommended other places, but no actual instructions). His spelling and grammar are better than most indies (although he still misused "it's" when he meant the possessive "its"), but his habit of sticking random phrases inside quotes quickly became annoying. The rating was raised for containing useful information I haven't seen elsewhere (although I haven't tested how accurate it is) but lowered for excerpting another book without telling the reader - smacks of deceptively trying to get you to purchase the same material twice. (This might be accidental on his part, he is selling a number of ebooks that are actually excerpts from the same main book but are identified as such in the product description.)
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/16/2012


 
Author: Montgomery, L.M.
Title: Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories 1896-1901
Genre: Short Stories
Rating: 4
Collection of short stories published between 1896 and 1901.

Knowing L.M. Montgomery wrote the "Anne of Green Gables" series, it shouldn't surprise the reader to find these are mostly sweet stories: love triumphs and virtue is rewarded, with only a few cynical/sad exceptions. Nice easy read, and good for younger girl readers as well.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 11/10/2011


 
Author: McRae, Cricket
Title: Lye in WaitHome Crafting #1
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 3
Professional soaper Sophie Mae is horrified when a local handyman kills himself by drinking lye in her basement. Unable to accept the suicide, she talks to the bereaved mother, the man's surprise fiancee, and a cute barkeep who knew the victim during his alcoholic phase. She also looks through his papers for clues. But someone doesn't want Walter's secrets revealed and Sophie Mae's curiosity may wind up her epitaph.

For my more detailed review, see http://redadeptreviews.com/lye-in-wait-by-cricket-mcrae/#more-6775
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/19/2011


 
Author: Wadsworth-Cooke, Mary
Title: Lots and Lots of Sugar
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 1
A woman recalls her life, starting in Africa during WWII.

This book's beginning screamed "unskilled amateur writer" as a prologue detailed how the story was going to wander erratically around the planet and told me how the reader was going to "see a reflection of themselves" and "laugh and cry." I almost quit right then. Then the author bored the reader with "a small family" of initial characters. So I was unsurprised that it started with a tearful goodbye from two little girls heading off to boarding school followed by "cute" tales of their train trip accompanied by two blind nuns. There is no formatting; chapters are introduced only by non-capitalized chapter numbers. Surprisingly, the spelling and grammar are okay. I'm really glad I didn't pay for this; even free, it was overpriced. Unless you enjoy listening to people you don't know recounting events they enjoyed involving other people you don't know, give this one a miss.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/09/2011


 
Author: Wodehouse, P. G.
Title: Love Among the ChickensUkridge # 1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 1
eBook downloaded free from www.Gutenberg.org

A tired London writer follows his overbearing friend Ukridge to set up a chicken farm in the country.

I don't find ignorant confidence or ability to con credit out of shopkeepers amusing or interesting, and Ukridge is a thoroughly disreputable specimen of a disreputable type. I got a quarter of the way into it and quit.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/06/2011


 
Author: Galen, Shana
Title: Lord and Lady Spy
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: NR
Agents Saint and Wolf are forcibly retired once Napoleon is captured, and try to settle into their Regency personas of Viscount and Viscountess Smythe. But the murder of the Prime Minister's brother-in-law reveals their hidden personas to each other and may help them turn a formal marriage into a loving one.

I was hoping the spy part of this story would outweigh the romace aspects. It didn't, and I quickly tired of heaving bosoms and gallant thrusting.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/05/2011


 
Author: Osterkamp, Laurel
Title: Looking For Ward
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 4
Very shortly before their wedding, Chloe's fiance Ward disappears, leaving a cryptic email message with instructions not to look for him. Emails between Chloe, her best friend Bethany, and Ward's best friend Owen gradually reveal secrets and changing alliances.

Interesting format and effective at both characterization and plot development. It wasn't all believable, such as Chloe casually telling Ward she fancied him first, but it kept me reading.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/02/2011


 
Author: Alcott, Louisa May
Title: Little MenLittle Women # 3
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4
eBook downloaded from www.Gutenberg.org

Orphaned street musician Nat joins the crew of boys at Plumfield under Professor and Jo Bhaer.

Collection of short tales rather than a book-long plots, but thoroughly enjoyable. Same large quantity of proofreading/punctuation errors as earlier ebooks from Gutenberg, unfortunately.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/27/2011


 
Author: Beaton, M. C.
Title: Love, Lies, and LiquorAgatha Raisin # 17
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
James finally manages to destroy Agatha's obsession with him, and in an effort to win her back, takes her on vacation to a seedy beach resort where they wind up in the middle of a murder investigation. But when James is ready to move on to the Riviera, Agatha is determined to find the killer.

Easily the most convoluted of the usually-complex plots in this series, bringing in organized crime as well as a vicious victim and family members. Agatha finds herself in more danger than usual, and the reader isn't given the clues to figure out whodunit. But I kept reading, and I was cheering Agatha for winning free of James. But the title had very little to do with the storyline.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/26/2011


 
Author: Churchill, Jill
Title: Love For SaleGrace and Favor # 4
Genre: Historical Mystery - U.S.
Rating: 4
The murder of a sleazy radio preacher while staying at Grace and Favor joins Lily and the chief of police in sleuthing.

The reader is given all the info to figure out whodunit, but the actual resolution depended too much on coincidence and felt too pat to be satisfying. There was also a small plot hole, and I couldn't tell whether it was simply ignored or a teaser to a future book. But the story itself was enjoyable, as Churchill continues to add likable characters to the Grace and Favor family even though the title had nothing to do with the book.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/25/2011


 
Author: Alcott, Louisa May
Title: Little WomenLittle Women # 1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4
eBook downloaded from www.Gutenberg.org

Four teenaged girls grow up while waiting for their father to come home during the Civil War.

Charming classic that remains charming, no matter how many times I re-read it. Of course it's dated and has sloppily sentimental passages. That doesn't make it any less of a ripping good story.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/21/2011


 
Author: Gutteridge, Rene
Title: Listen
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 2
A girl starts to commit suicide. A married couple have trouble with their teenagers. A police officer still follows his ex-wife while breaking in his rookie partner.

For the first 15% of this book, NOTHING HAPPENED. Finally something did happen - a ritual murder of a poor cat. The only positive comment I can make is that the spelling and grammar were acceptable. I have yet to like anything by this author, and I won't waste any more of my reading time on her.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/18/2011


 
Author: Black, David
Title: Living off the Grid
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 3
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/17/2011


 
Author: Hancock, Karen
Title: Light of EidonGuardian-King # 1
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2
An abdicated prince wants to serve the god Eidon but discovers the high priest wants to use him.

Typical quest fantasy, with a noble set upon by evil on all sides. I only got through the first section before giving up.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/13/2011


 
Author: Clemens, Samuel Langhorne as Twain, Mark
Title: Life on the Mississippi
Genre: Travel/Memoir
Rating: 4
eBook downloaded from www.Gutenberg.org

Twain recounts steamboating adventures on the river, including his training as a pilot. Then he revisits the river 30 years later, documenting and musing on the changes wrought by time as well as the war.

This was another really LONG book. I was intrigued by his tales of the river constantly cutting new channels and did some research. I looked up Hannibal MO on Google Maps and followed the river southward, and I can easily see all those little islands and channels changing with each flood. I also found places where the state boundary wanders onto one bank or the other, presumably from the river changing course. Later, I read Twain's comments on the same problem in his day! For an extreme example, google Kaskaskia Illinois and then look at the map.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/12/2011


 
Author: Hibbert, Eleanor as Plaidy, Jean
Title: Lilith
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2
In 1840's England, a sensitive young lady and a servant girl with the same grandfather grow up together.

Never caught my interest. Servant Lilith is just too knowing and self-centered for me to care about what happens to her. All I can give the book stars for is good spelling and grammar.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/10/2011


 
Author: Gissing, George
Title: Life's Morning
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 1
eBook downloaded from www.Gutenberg.org

A Victorian Oxford student suffers a mild breakdown from too much intellectual activity and comes home to rest.

I couldn't take much of this book. The brain doesn't burn out from over-use. There was no story as far as I could tell, just endless talky-talky between various one-dimensional characters. There were also a lot of scanning errors that none of the Gutenberg proofreaders caught, so I couldn't even give it credit for spelling & grammar.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/08/2011


 
Author: Whitlow, Robert
Title: Life SupportSantee # 1
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 2
Rena's plan to achieve security by killing her rich young husband Baxter is foiled by his survival, even though he is comatose. So she tries to win lawyer Alex to her side in the fight to pull the plug on Baxter and make her a rich widow.

I barely made it halfway through this book before giving up. Although Whitlow tries to make Rena a sympathetic character by exposing her life as an abused child, she still comes across as a self-obsessed manipulator. Her determination to kill Baxter off was intolerable, and her ability to exploit Alex's assumption that the woman is always the innocent victim showed how even a brilliant woman can be stupid. I simply didn't want to read any more.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/07/2011


 
Author: Kipling, Rudyard
Title: Life's Handicap aka Mine Own People
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2
eBook downloaded from www.Gutenberg.org

Collection of short stories, most featuring Indians or Englishmen in India.

Kipling is supposed to be such a great author, and I generally like short story collections, so I really tried to make it through these stories. But they just never caught my interest.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/06/2011


 
Author: Cook, Claire
Title: Life's a Beach
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 2
41-year-old still-finding-herself Ginger lives over her parents' garage but must find a new place to live when her mother decides to sell the house.

Classic Spellman-type dysfunctional family who have never heard of personal boundaries and all tell Ginger what to do. And she lets them. I can't stand overbearing self-centered bossypants any more than I can stand wusses, and quit before getting a quarter of the way through.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/05/2011


 
Author: Various
Title: Life in Cape Town
Genre: Travel/Memoir
Rating: 1
Collection of short pieces about Cape Town, South Africa.

If a group of high school students in any particular city decided to write stories in praise of that city, they would come up with something very similar to this short ebook. Several of the authors wrote about interesting tourist destinations; one offered an economic analysis of the area; several focused on the World Cup, which was held in Cape Town in 2010. None were worth reading; none of the stories were professionally edited, and all had spelling/grammar/homonym errors as well. Even free from Amazon, it was overpriced.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/04/2011


 
Author: Ford, Melissa
Title: Life From Scratch
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 3
Divorced from work-obsessed lawyer Adam, Rachel decides to find herself by learning to cook and blogging about it. But her thoughts keep going back to Adam, even while dating sexy Spaniard Gael.

The concept had potential and kept me reading as Rachel tackles cooking various dishes and even hosts a dinner party. But before I got halfway through, Ford's frequent flashbacks (to her marriage with Adam) and harping on every casual thought of Rachel's had the story dragging so badly I skipped to the predictable but still enjoyable end.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/04/2011


 
Author: Harvard Student Agencies
Title: Let's Go Europe 2011
Genre: Travel
Rating: 4
Listing of places to stay and eat as well as sights to see all over Europe.

Although I haven't been to Europe to check it out, the information seemed well-organized and useful. Although leaning towards inexpensive places for starving students, it also included sites for the traveler with a few Euros to spend.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/03/2011


 
Author: Laumer, Keith
Title: Legions of Space
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Rating: 2
Unemployed drifter Legion finds himself suspected of killing an amnesiac extraterrestrial who changes ages without warning.

Strange, but not in a good way. Legion doesn't know which way is up as dangerous aliens pursue his age-changing patron. I can take weird if it is interesting, but this wasn't. Totally lacks the humor and aplomb of Laumer's Retief series.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/03/2011


 
Author: Lichtenberg, Tom
Title: Ledman Pickup
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Rating: 2
Several people want to recover a mysterious black box that disappeared while being shipped back to the manufacturer.

Never caught my interest. None of the people were intriguing, and the box might have been but Lichtenberg spent too much time describing everything about its developing consciousness. I only got a quarter of the way through before giving up.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/03/2011


 
Author: Beacham, T.C.
Title: Leave Me GaspingDel Jakes # 1
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 3
Del has been mourning her late husband but wants to live again. She flies to her Florida hometown when she learns her dearest friend Charlie has disappeared. But investigating officer Drew seems completely uninterested and takes drastic action when Del forces his hand.

Kept me reading. This plot-driven story sometimes forgets its purpose, such as interrupting what could have been a fast, reader-grabbing start with character-revealing but story-stalling flashbacks to Del's widowhood. Beacham's revelations of Del gradually ending her grieving were lightly sprinkled through the book but eventually built up enough to diminish the plot. There is no resolution to the Del/Lucy/Drew conflict storyline. The romantic entanglements were strained, but the bigger problem was Beacham's reliance on a psychic to provide Del with clues. Deus ex machina by any name is unacceptable laziness and spoiled what could have been a really good story. Other than Del and Lucy, the characters were mostly one-dimensional. But even with these flaws, the book kept me reading, and I will forgive a lot for a story that doesn't let me go.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/02/2011


 
Author: Murphy, Peter
Title: Lagan Love
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 2
An Irish poet bounces from one bed partner to another.

Never caught my interest. The poet is sex-obsessed and the various women are deluding themselves.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/01/2011


 
Author: Heyer, Georgette
Title: Lady of Quality
Genre: Regency romance
Rating: 4
Annis Wychwood has reached the advanced age of 29 without marrying, but her beauty and fortune keep attracting would-be suitors. Then runaway heiress Lucilla livens up her life and leads to an acquaintance with Lucilla's uncle and guardian, the notorious rake Oliver Carleton, and sparks really fly!

Enjoyable piece of predictable fluff, actually more interesting than most other Heyer romances I've tried.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/31/2011


 
Author: Rockstar Games
Title: L.A. Noire
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: NR
Collection of gritty noir short stories set in Los Angeles.

Just what one would expect: bleak tales featuring unlikable and treacherous characters. I don't generally like noir so I didn't last long.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/31/2011


 
Author: Karr, Phyllis Ann
Title: Lady Susan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2
Guileful but beautiful widow Lady Susan Vernon waits with her lover Mainwaring for his wife's death, but in the meantime is determined to see her sensitive daughter Frederica married to boring but rich Sir James Martin.

Karr re-tells Austen's story in third person. Faithful enough to the Austen original, but complete with simpering and/or unlikable characters and without the small interest sparked simply by being written by Jane Austen. I quit about a quarter of the way through, there was just nothing to keep me reading.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/30/2011


 
Author: Austen, Jane
Title: Lady Susan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3
eBook downloaded from www.Gutenberg.org

Told entirely in letters, a selfish woman is determined to marry her unwilling daughter to a rich title but her relatives want to protect the girl.

Interesting format, especially as Austen starts by letting Lady Susan present herself as an innocent victim of gossip and a loving mother, then gradually using letters from others to confuse the reader. But the title character is so unlikeable that the interest is in admiring the author's skill rather than the actual story.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/30/2011


 
Author: Downing, Sybil
Title: Ladies of the Goldfield Stock Exchange
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2
Meggan is determined to find who killed her father and why. Tess wants enough money to live somewhere with her daughter, without the shadow of being a former prostitute. Verna has been enabling her dreamer brother her whole life while running a newspaper to support them.

I couldn't get into this story. Tess is more concerned with making money for her daughter to live like a princess than loving her like a mother. Verna is a classic enabler. I couldn't like either of them so the book never captured my interest, and I quit about a quarter of the way through.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/28/2011


 
Author: Piper, H. Beam
Title: Little FuzzyFuzzies # 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 5
eBook downloaded from Gutenberg.org

An old sunstone prospector runs across a enchanting animal on a distant planet. But the idea that it could be sapient threatens the comglomerate running the planet and the company men will do anything to protect their cushy positions.

Utterly charming tale with believable people and adorable aborigines, as well as great dialogue. "I could make some excuses, but they'd all sound like 'I didn't know it was loaded.'" I've read it numerous times before and it holds up well, with only minor technological incongruities such as needing to process movie film. Justly considered a SF classic.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/16/2011


 
Author: Pearson, John
Title: Learn Me Good
Genre: Memoir/Humor
Rating: 2
Engineer-turned-3rd-grade-teacher Jack Woodson writes a series of emails to a former co-worker, sharing the humor of his new job.

As a work of humor it was okay, although I didn't find anything laugh-out-loud funny or even worth-reading-again funny. The writing itself was better than typical for a self-published work, and I did not notice any spelling/grammar/formatting errors, but sometimes there is an element so appalling that it overshadows any other merit the book might have had. In this case, it was Woodson's treatment of a probably-sexually-abused child. Even in this day and age, teacher education MUST include signs to watch for that indicate potential sexual abuse, but when Woodson encounters a sexually-acting-out 3rd grade girl, instead of getting her help, he nicknames her "Lucifer" and complains to his email buddy that he doesn't know how to react to her. (His treatment of another child who sounded mentallly ill was similar.) I borrowed this ebook, and I'm really, really glad I didn't pay money for it - anyone who would treat children as Woodson did should not be rewarded for it.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 04/18/2011


 
Author: Tourney, Leonard
Title: Low TreasonMatthew and Joan Stock # 2
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: NR
Matthew goes to London to search for his son's wife's missing brother.

The plot depends on Joan's psychic powers, and I strongly dislike paranormal mysteries. I barely got a quarter of the way through and I won't be reading the rest of the series.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 12/10/2010


 
Author: Swee, Karen
Title: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Murder
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 4
Widow Abigail Lawrence conceals her revolutionary sympathies to run the tavern in British-occupied New Brunswick. But the murder of a tavern guest pits Abigail and the town constable against the overbearing British Captain Phillips. Then Abigail must find some missing patriot letters to prevent her uncle facing trial for treason.

This complicated plot offered more explanation of life in the 1770's than I prefer. But the strains between Abigail and her teenaged daughter felt real and the characters were likable, even if the resolution was a bit simplistic.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 12/07/2010


 
Author: Wiggs, Susan
Title: Lakeside Cottage
Genre: Romance
Rating: 3
A man and a woman desperate to break away from their separate pasts connect during a summer at the lake.

Okay story, not one of her best.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 12/06/2010


 
Author: Morsi, Pamela
Title: Last Dance at Jitterbug Lounge
Genre: Romance
Rating: 1
An old man dies and a young man is caught between his wife and his assistant.

Morsi is another writer that I just give up on. I don't like her plots or her characterizations, and consequently I don't finish her books. I can't complain about the appropriateness of the title, though!
reviewed by: Sylvia on 12/05/2010


 
Author: Harris, Charlaine
Title: Last Scene AliveAurora Teagarden # 7
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 4
Hollywood comes to Lawrenceton to film Robin Crusoe's book about Roe's first murder. But when the actress playing Aurora is found murdered, art comes too close to life.

Mostly worthy entry in the series. Harris permeates the whole storyline with Aurora's feelings about missing Martin but being interested in Robin anyway, which probably resonates with widows but made the story drag for me. Otherwise, a solid exposition of a twisty plot, with a clever double-ententre in the title.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 12/04/2010


 
Author: Allingham, Margery
Title: Last Act
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 1
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/21/2010


 
Author: Garrett, Randall
Title: Lord Darcy InvestigatesLord Darcy # 3
Genre: Fantasy - Alternate History
Rating: 5
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/07/2010


 
Author: Bradley, Marion Zimmer
Title: Leroni of DarkoverDarkover short stories
Genre: Fantasy - Short Stories
Rating: 3
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/21/2010


 
Author: McCaffrey, Anne
Title: Lyon’s prideTower and Hive # 4
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/20/2009


 
Author: Rivers, Francine
Title: Leota’s Garden
Genre: Christian fiction
Rating: 5
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/14/2009


 
Author: Todd, Charles
Title: Legacy of the DeadInspector Rutledge # 4
Genre: Historical Mystery Police Proc
Rating: 4
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/13/2009


 
Author: Hartwick, Cynthia
Title: Ladies With OptionsLarksdale Ladies # 1
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/10/2009


 
Author: McInerny, Ralph M
Title: Lack of the IrishNotre Dame # 2
Genre: Murder Mystery - P.I.
Rating: 3
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/08/2009


 
Author: White, Kate
Title: Lethally blondBailey Weggins # 5
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/25/2009


 
Author: Fluke, Joanne
Title: Lemon meringue pie murderHannah Swenson # 4
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/18/2009


 
Author: Hoffman, Alice
Title: Local girls
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/17/2009


 
Author: Blechman, Andrew D
Title: Leisureville
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/14/2009


 
Author: Myers, Tamar
Title: Larceny and Old LaceDen of Antiquity # 1
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 1
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/10/2009


 
Author: Montefiore, Santa
Title: Last voyage of the Valentina
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 12/27/2008


 
Author: Fforde, Jasper
Title: Lost In a Good BookThursday Next # 2
Genre: Humorous Mystery
Rating: 1
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/03/2008


 
Author: Lofts, Norah
Title: Lovers all untrue
Genre:
Rating:
One of Lofts' bitterest books, and that is saying something. Marion Draper is a young Victorian woman whose dictatorial father is determined to keep his daughters at home to care for his old age, and manages to counter her every attempt to have a life.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/12/2008


 
Author: Asprin, Robert
Title: Little myth markerMyth Adventures # 6
Genre:
Rating:
Obviously inspired by an old Shirley Temple movie, Skeeve sneaks out to a dragon poker game and (to his surprise) wins, agrees to take another player's marker, and brings home a little girl. Markie's innocent little-girl comments are on the verge of breaking up Skeeve's gang when Tananda hears that a character assassin is after Skeeve, and the group concentrates on protecting Skeeve while he studies for a championship dragon poker match against the Sen-Sen Ante Kid. Asprin once again shows his ability to move the story along so the reader doesn't realize he hasn't been told all the facts ... until Skeeve discovers them.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/29/2008


 
Author: Lyda, Hope
Title: Life, Libby, and the pursuit of happiness
Genre:
Rating:
I don't know why I thought this was a sequel to her other books, but it's not. It's just another whiny-heroine going through self-discovery, and boring as well.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/18/2008


 
Author: Lofts, Norah
Title: Lady living alone
Genre:
Rating:
Grim story of an elderly woman whose hired helper becomes live-in.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/02/2008


 
Author: Gabaldon, Diana
Title: Lord John and the private matterLord John #1
Genre:
Rating:
I briefly tried her Outland series but found it not interesting enough to be believable, so tried this offshoot with some hesitation. With reason. Lord John is one of the Outland characters, here spun off into his own series, and no more involving than the main series. I got halfway through before deciding it was silly to keep reading when the characters weren't real or interesting enough to make me care what happened to them.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 04/01/2008


 
Author: Weiner, Jennifer
Title: Little earthquakes
Genre:
Rating:
It seems that Weiner's purpose was to show how pregnancy and new motherhood influences different women, but with uninteresting characters and uninvolving storylines, I just couldn't care. Didn't even get halfway through the book.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/15/2008


 
Author: Blackstock, Terri
Title: Last LightLast Light #1
Genre:
Rating:
I couldn't finish this one, but it had nothing to do with the quality of the writing. It was just too scary for me. If you like Frank Peretti's later books, check this one out; it is the first in a Christian end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it trilogy. (So you know where to put this on a scary-scale, I barely made it through Peretti's Piercing the Darkness and couldn't read anything after that except his young adult series.)
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/02/2008


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