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: Bowen, Rhys
Title: Royal BloodRoyal Spyness # 4
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 4
Lady Georgiana is sent to Bulgaria to participate in the bridal party at a royal wedding, which may be interrupted by the murder of a boorish royal advisor at the snowed-in castle.

This has been quite an erratic series, with some books I couldn't put down and some I couldn't slog through. This was one of the good ones. Bowen does a wonderful job exposing the rules and quirks of the upper classes without slowing down the story. I'm not sure the ending was completely believable, but it wasn't obviously unbelievable either. One big minus was Georgie's new lady's maid, Queenie. She is a walking catastrophe and not someone I enjoy reading about. It also wasn't believable for her to fall apart when she sees a man in her room but remain calm in a much more dangerous situation. I sure hope she doesn't last long. The title was quite appropriate.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/13/2015


 
Author: Clemens, Samuel Langhorne as Twain, Mark
Title: Roughing It
Genre: Travel/Memoir
Rating: 4
Twain narrates his travels and adventures as a young man: from the Mississippi to Nevada on a stage, in a silver-crazy town, as a newspaper writer and editor, and finally a trip to Hawaii.

eBook downloaded from Gutenberg. Although lacking any kind of thematic organization, Twain's gift for narration is given full play and still (mostly) held this reader entranced. I downloaded the Kindle version with pictures, which were a bit difficult to see in detail on my Kindle Keyboard. The Gutenberg version is in 7 sections, and the same material (pictures and an introduction) are repeated at the beginning of every single section. Proofing was inadequate. The title is perfect.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/12/2015


 
Author: Alcott, Louisa May
Title: Rose in BloomEight Cousins # 2
Genre: Historical Fiction - U.S.
Rating: 4
Rose and most of the boys have grown up. Charlie is a spoiled alcoholic but plans to marry heiress Rose, who can't admire or respect him and has her own plans to use her fortune to help the poor. Phebe heads for the big city to earn respect with her beautiful voice.

eBook downloaded free from Gutenberg. Pleasant and not-always-predictable stories following the scrapes and adventures of the cousins as they face adulthood, with a clever title. Pretty decent proofing, as well.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/10/2015


 
Author: Samson, Lisa
Title: Romancing Hollywood NobodyHollywood Nobody # 3
Genre: YA Christian Fiction
Rating: 3
Scotty and her grandmother both meet interesting men while she works on a non-Jeremy shoot, and Scotty's dad takes a job in a Mafiosi-popular restaurant to try to track down his long-lost wife.

Fast read and not a stand-alone, but kept me interested although a lot of the elements could only be called cheesy.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/09/2015


 
Author: Clipston, Amy
Title: Roadside Assistance
Genre: YA Christian Fiction
Rating: 4
Car-obsessed Emily and her financially strapped father move in with his well-off sister, her banker husband and their beautiful and brilliant daughter.

Quite a change of pace for Clipston but an interesting story in its own right, as Emily grieves her mother's death and tries to adjust to her new situation. This is the best kind of YA story; the main character is a teen, but Clipston does not talk down to the reader of any age. The characters are not perfect Christians by any means but they have different strengths and weaknesses, just like real people. Spelling, grammar, and Kindle formatting were okay except for odd placement of a large initial letter at the beginning of each chapter. The title had practically nothing to do with the story.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/08/2015


 
Author: Whalen, Thom
Title: Requiem for a Small Town Dance Band
Genre: Historical Mystery - U.S.
Rating: 4
When gorgeous, sexy Honey B moves back to her 1950s hometown after a Hollywood divorce, the men start drooling and the women determine to run her out of town. But what catches the police chief's attention are the murder and disappearance that follow her arrival.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Involving story, nice characterization. Whalen includes some of the political controversy of the time but doesn't let it take over the story. I didn't figure out whodunit, and I'm not sure the author provided the clues to identify the killer. Spelling and grammar were mostly fine, although Whalen misused "breech" when he meant "breach." Kindle formatting was fine. The title was interesting and somewhat relevant.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/06/2015


 
Author: Collier, Iris
Title: Reluctant SpyNicholas Peverell # 2
Genre: Historical Mystery - England
Rating: 3
Lord Nicholas is sent to investigate the murder of a trader and encounters betrayal at every turn.

Not awful, but lost my interest because Collier just kept heaping one insoluble problem after another on poor Lord Nicholas. I got halfway through and skipped to the end. I never figured out who the "reluctant spy" was supposed to be, Lord Nicholas or the murder victim.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/04/2015


 
Author: Gentry, Lynne
Title: Reinventing Leona
Genre: Christian Fiction
Rating: 4
Shattered by her pastor husband's unexpected death, Leona has to deal with her abusive mother, estranged children, and an elders board that is entirely too eager to move a new pastor into the parsonage.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Gentry kept me reading as Leona suffered one blow after another and found support in unexpected places. The ending was too pat to be believable, but the journey was strong enough that I didn't throw the book across the room in disgust at the weak ending.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/02/2015


 
Author: Bell, Kathy
Title: RegressionInfinion # 1
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Rating: NR
Odd story of people sent back in time to try to prevent an earth-shattering catastrophe which they cannot remember.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Definitely different but never caught my interest.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/01/2015


 
Author: Beaton, M.C.
Title: Refining FelicitySchool for Manners # 1
Genre: Regency romance
Rating: NR
Hoydenish Lady Felicity would rather ride to hounds with the neighborhood gentlemen than flirt daintily with them. Her desperate mother hires two impoverished gentlewomen to prepare her for the Season, but it is her own realization that her buddies treat her as one of the boys that piques her desire to ensnare the nobleman-next-door.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Typical Regency romp, fine if you like that kind of thing. Spelling, grammar, and Kindle formatting were fine except for occasional capitalization errors.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/26/2015


 
Author: Charles River Editors
Title: Red Baron: The Life and Legacy of Manfred von Rich
Genre: Biography
Rating: 3
Red Baron: The Life and Legacy of Manfred von Richthofen

Short account of von Richthofen's life, focusing mostly on his days in the German air force.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Superficial but interesting enough for history buffs. Much telling, little showing. Spelling, grammar, and Kindle formatting were unexceptionable. The title was almost longer than the booklet, one of my pet peeves.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/25/2015


 
Author: Hilton, James
Title: Random Harvest
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3
A wealthy businessman struggles to recover his lost memories.

Not as involving as I had hoped after enjoying the movie immensely (although even in the movie, it didn't make sense that she had managed to marry him). I finished it, and it wasn't awful, just okay.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/24/2015


 
Author: Christie, Judy
Title: Rally Round GreenGreen # 4
Genre: Christian Fiction
Rating: 3
The latest threat to Lois' and Chris' happy life in Green comes as the state legislature plans to close the Green schools, on the recommendation of two out-of-state education "experts."

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Okay storyline, although once again they seem to miss obvious actions like contacting their state representatives. The ending was happy but didn't seem realistic. Spelling, grammar, and Kindle formatting were fine.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/23/2015


 
Author: Benn, James R
Title: Rag and BoneBilly Boyle # 5
Genre: Historical Mystery - England
Rating: 4
Billy is sent to London to investigate the murder of a Soviet officer - and his friend Kaz's Poles are the prime suspects. As usual, he and Big Mike find enough loose threads to make a big rat's nest.

Another solid, gripping story. I figured out part of it pretty easily but not all of it. Warning: this series is not recommended for those who want to believe that right will always win. There is too much fact (and real people) for Benn to avoid the political necessities of WWII. But he does a good job portraying men fighting for their countries against an overwhelming danger and having to accommodate (temporarily) lesser dangers just to survive. The title was appropriate but "Rag and Bone Shop" would have been better.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/22/2015


 
Author: Lackey, Mercedes
Title: RedoubtCollegium Chronicles # 4
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2
Mags serves as decoration at a royal wedding, continues his undercover work, and experiences some terrifying dreams.

If my summary seems jerky and pointless, it accurately represents the book. Lackey rarely follows the usual novel format anyway, but she is normally such a good storyteller the lack of a main storyline is forgivable. She really dropped the ball in this book. The first section isn't bad, or at least not any worse than earlier books in the series, but then she goes into pages and pages of dream sequence that I mostly skipped as Mags gradually realizes his situation. (Can't be more specific without getting into spoilers.) Then she gets back to real storytelling, only to hand the reader a limp and unsatisfying ending that doesn't resolve anything. I honestly wouldn't mind her dragging out the series, if each book offered a good solid tale. She is a superb storyteller and this isn't worthy of her skill. Only recommended for hard-core Lackey fans.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/02/2013


 
Author: Gooseberry Patch
Title: RV Cooking Cookbook
Genre: Cookbook
Rating: 2
Collection of recipes, supposedly suitable for the restricted cooking possible in a recreational vehicle, sent to the publisher by readers of their earlier cookbooks.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. I have RV'd for many years, in RVs ranging from class A motor homes to little travel trailers, and while I love the lifestyle, it does require some adjustment in the kitchen. Besides having only a tiny area to work in, one has storage room for only a few pots and pans, and the well-equipped spice cabinet at home is missing. This doesn't mean you have to settle for uninteresting food, but it does require thinking about the possibilities. The ideal RV recipe would only use a few ingredients and only the most-used spices, require minimal prep, and only use one small or medium-sized pan. Sadly, many of the recipes do not meet this criterion. I can see using salt and pepper, and even garlic powder, but cilantro? Browning sauce? Parsley? Bay leaf? Chives? No room for them in my RVs. Many recipes call for 1/2 tsp or less of ingredients - I don't know any RVer who takes along tiny measuring spoons. A recipe for muffins not only requires muffin pans but would require a mixer for me - I don't do hand mixing. (The recipe is followed by a "tip" to stock "stackable, reusable silicone baking cups." I love silicone for baking but have yet to see a silicone pan that will hold its shape when liquid is poured into it. At home, the ease of cleanup is worth the hassle of fidgeting with the pan so the batter doesn't spill everywhere, but in the limited space and maneuverability of an RV the outcome would be a messy nightmare.) A chicken sandwich recipe calls for boiling three chicken breasts - I never had room for a pot big enough to hold them! I never took along cornstarch or flour, either. Hobo Dinner uses too many specialized ingredients, but if you eliminated the Worcestershire and changed the seasoned pepper to seasoned salt, it would probably work. (Seasoned pepper would be healthier, but more people would probably take seasoned salt as their all-purpose seasoning.) And if you are concered about healthy eating, there are few recipes that don't rely on high-sodium products (cream of anything soup, cheese, mixes). On the other hand, there are some great recipes and tips. The tip to freeze home-cooked food in baggies for reheating is a handy idea, as long as the RV has a microwave or the food is suitable for reheating in a small pan. The opening recipe, Omelets in a Bag, sounds clever and an excellent way to prepare a nice breakfast for more than one person at a time. Picnic Pineapple Gelatin sounds very suitable to RV limitations. The Marinated Broccoli Salad sounds suitable if you bring dill weed along, although I would use a disposable storage container rather than a baggie - I've had liquid leak out of too many baggies to trust them. Mom's One-Pot Pork Chop Dinner would make an RV-suitable dinner. The tip to take along Rice-a-Roni-type mixes is also great, although the sodium level of such dinners is high they make a wonderful, quick one-pan dinner. As usual, there is no table of contents at all, much less one that interfaces with the Kindle navigation menu. This is worth grabbing if you can pick it up free, but there isn't enough useful content for me to recommend spending money for it.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/03/2012


 
Author: Mansell, Jill
Title: Rumor Has It
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 4
The romantic trials of two friends: Erin, whose new boyfriend's soon-to-be ex-wife is determined to ruin her, and Tilly, who falls for a gorgeous man with a Don Juan reputation.

Somewhat odd sequence of events with a weak start. The awful characters like Stella were offset by the likable characters such as Max and Lou. And, unlike most chick lit, there were some events that I absolutely did not see coming. I wished that Erin wasn't quite so wimpy, but most of the book held my attention.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/02/2012


 
Author: Marks, Martha
Title: Rubies of the Viper
Genre: Historical Mystery - Rome
Rating: 2
A Roman maiden inherits the family fortune when her dissolute half-brother is murdered. She must fight to take control of her property from the slaves who have been running things, but she needs their help to discover her brother's killer. Meanwhile, every unattached Roman patrician male is eager to win Theodosia's hand and property, particularly the odious Otho.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway, but would classify it as "romantic suspense," which I generally don't like, rather than "historical mystery," which I do like. Master/slave relationships were never uncommon but I dislike the romance genre because everyone is gorgeous and people find themselves doing things they would not normally do (or allow, in the case of now-slave-owning woman here). And Theodosia is not a believable character, not only friendly with and protective of her slaves, but allowing her brother's friend to take liberties and act in a proprietary manner. I tired of the lack of believability pretty quickly and gave up on the book.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 10/01/2012


 
Author: Estleman, Loren D
Title: Roy & Lillie: A Love Story
Genre: Biography
Rating: 2
Story of two famous Victorian characters who admired each other from afar but never met.

Although I was somewhat interested in the Jersey Lily, Estleman's back-and-forth technique, combined with his presentation of Roy Bean as a completely disreputable con artist (which is probably accurate), killed my interest before I got halfway through the book.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/30/2012


 
Author: Orsoff, Beth
Title: Romantically Challenged
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 2
A single Jewish attorney sets out to find the perfect husband before she reaches 35.

I couldn't get into the story. Nagging relatives and devoted losers aren't what I enjoy reading about. The characters were well-enough drawn, and certainly realistic, but uninteresting. I quit about halfway through.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/28/2012


 
Author: Macbain, Bruce
Title: Roman GamesPlinius Secundus # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery - Rome
Rating: 3
Pliny, a lawyer and reluctant vice-prefect, is assigned to prove a hated informer was murdered by his slaves. Instead, he finds a disloyal son, religious conspiracy, and an emperor being driven mad.

There was nothing really wrong with this story, and other than a draggy middle it kept me reading, but there was nothing that particularly grabbed me either. The characters were okay, the story was logical, the clues were there, the title was appropriate ... but it never emotionally involved me. I didn't hate it by any means, but I won't go out of my way to read the sequel.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/27/2012


 
Author: Bellet, Annie
Title: River Daughter and Other Stories
Genre: Fantasy Short Stories
Rating: NR
Several fairly strange fantasies, although half the book's length is devoted to five chapters from a novel, which I didn't read.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. The stories seem well-enough written, with characters that feel real and adequate plot progression, but they are so strange that I didn't particularly enjoy reading them.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/26/2012


 
Author: Salsbury, Gregory
Title: Retirementology
Genre: Finance
Rating: 3
Discussion of financial planning for retirement following the stock market meltdown of 2008.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. A not-bad analysis of people's tendency to assume they will be better off in retirement than they actually manage, but there was nothing new for me and he doesn't actually give any new approaches to saving during your work years or maximizing income after retirement. Also, since I *did* start saving early and had implemented most of his other suggestions years ago, I found his tone rather patronizing.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/24/2012


 
Author: Edwards, Phil
Title: Retirement Can Be MurderJake Russo # 1
Genre: Murder Mystery
Rating: 2
Jake writes Sarasota-based stories for a New York paper and wants to date an attractive apartment manager, but can't actually get up the gumption to ask her out.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Jake offers no more interest than he does gumption, although Edwards clearly has fun setting up the readers' expectation of typical murder-mystery events and then delivering something else. But that wasn't enough to keep me reading about the blah characters.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/23/2012


 
Author: Walsh, Dan
Title: Remembering Christmas
Genre: Christian fiction
Rating: 3
A man recollects an eventful couple of weeks in a church basement bookstore.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. I detest long flashbacks, and this whole book is one. And there was no reason to stick on the "envelope" before and after the majority of the story. Otherwise, it wasn't bad even though it wasn't great. The characters were convenient and weakly drawn, and the events were predictable. But everyone was likable and it kept me reading.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/21/2012


 
Author: Park, Jessica
Title: Relatively Famous
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: NR
A highschool freshman discovers her absent father is a movie star and heads for a summer in California, getting to know him and experiencing a movie-star lifestyle.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. Clearly aimed at the YA market and without the depth to hold an adult reader's interest, but the characters are well-drawn and would probably keep a young reader involved.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/20/2012


 
Author: Stabenow, Dana
Title: Red Planet RunStar Svendsdotter # 3
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 2
Disgusted with the attitude of the Belters and the behavior of her twins, Star accepts an assignment to Mars. But a catastrophic landing and a surprising discovery leave her panicky and desperate to protect the twins.

Although I liked the first two books in this series, I couldn't even finish this one. There was too much Eskimo mumbo-jumbo and Stabenow let it go on too long and distract the reader from the storyline, which is unusual for her. The plot, such as it was, was annoyingly unfocused - a common beginning-writer mistake, but Stabenow is not a beginning writer. I expect solid, involving stories from her, and this book did not measure up. I quit about halfway through.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/07/2012


 
Author: Cleeves, Ann
Title: Raven BlackShetland Island # 1
Genre: Police Procedural Mystery
Rating: NR
When a schoolgirl is murdered, the prime suspect is a mentally handicapped recluse.

Police procedural involving a dead teenager - I didn't get far into it before quitting, as children in danger are something I absolutely hate.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/06/2012


 
Author: Flint, Eric & Freer, Dave
Title: Rats, Bats, & VatsRats & Bats # 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: NR
ebook downloaded free from www.baenebooks.com

In a future war on a planet where only the Shareholders have rights, genetically-altered rats and bats fight alongside vat-cloned humans against giant bugs.

This is not my type of book at all. Imagine "The Dirty Dozen" meets "Alien." I don't generally like war stories and smart-mouthed rodents don't improve it.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/05/2012


 
Author: Allan, Sydney
Title: Raphaela's Gift
Genre: Romance
Rating: NR
A man desperate for his autistic daughter to connect with the world finds himself attracted to an art therapist who may be able to help her.

Since I'm not a romance fan, I was hoping there was more working-with-the-child than romance elements. There weren't, and I quit.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/03/2012


 
Author: Dacus, Kaye
Title: Ransome's HonorRansome # 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: NR
Standard star-crossed romance between an English naval captain during the Napoleonic era and the woman he loves but has vowed not to marry.

Typical historical romance.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 09/02/2012


 
Author: Holland, Cecelia
Title: Rakossy
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: NR
A Hungarian nobleman carries on a war of nerves with his Turkish neighbors, his scholar brother, and his new wife.

I couldn't get into this book. The story was interesting and the characters well-drawn, but Rakoszy is just so awful I couldn't care about what he was doing except to pity his victims. I got about halfway through and gave up. I also have no idea why the name is spelled incorrectly in the book title.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 08/04/2012


 
Author: Saylor, Steven
Title: Roma
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 1
Stories of people living in the area of the Seven Hills, from prehistory on.

Exceedingly slow start, page after page of telling rather than showing. I kept thinking it had to get better, and while the characters developed more personality, their stories were both boring and full of treachery and deception. I forced myself through the first 100 pages before giving up.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 02/01/2011


 
Author: Bunn, T. Davis
Title: Rhineland InheritanceRendezvous With Destiny # 1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5
Captain Jake Burnes survived WWII, but while waiting to be discharged he irritated a corrupt colonel and was banished to another German sector. With the colonel's goons trying to kill him, he finds a purpose in life supplying food and hope to hundreds of German children. But will the children actually find the mythical Nazi treasure?

Fast, compelling read - one of the few books in a long time that I had trouble putting down. The characters are likable and feel real, and the romantic entanglement doesn't detract from the main storylines. Since my father-in-law was one of the starving German children barely surviving after WWII, the vivid descriptions of the civilian suffering hit me particularly. And I always like everyday-Joe-rises-to-crisis stories. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/31/2011


 
Author: Stenstreem, Ruth as Marian Babson
Title: Reel MurderTrixie and Evangeline # 1
Genre: Murder Mystery - England
Rating: 1
Actresses Evangeline and Trixie accept an invitation to a British retrospective of Evangeline's films. But their trip takes a sour turn when they see one of the upstairs drama students removing a dead body from the house.

I award a few starting points to any book that requires a literate reader, and this has a lovely brief hommage to Sunset Boulevard. But it didn't make up for Evangeline's self-absorbed snottiness or the speech impediment of one of the students - not only are there no likable characters, the story just wasn't interesting. I gave up a quarter of the way through. Sadly, this book bears out my experience that books with clever titles seem to be poorly written. Some of the titles in the series were great!
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/30/2011


 
Author: Dams, Jeanne M.
Title: Red, White, and Blue MurderHilda Johansson # 2
Genre: Historical Mystery - U.S.
Rating: 3
The assassination of President McKinley is followed in South Bend by the murder of a prominent contractor and a Polish worker. As the townspeople's fear of anarchist attack grows, Norah's brother is arrested, and Hilda is determined to find the real killer.

Mostly a fast read, although it started dragging in the middle and I finally skipped a chunk to get to the end. The story itself was okay, it just went on too long - it would have gotten at least a 4 rating if it had been 50 pages shorter. Hilda's growing attraction to Patrick doesn't contribute anything to the storyline, and the title is straining to connect to the book. Kudos to Dams for providing a valid reason for Hilda to investigate, though!
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/29/2011


 
Author: Dunn, Carola
Title: Rattle His BonesDaisy Dalrymple # 8
Genre: Historical Mystery - England
Rating: 4
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/29/2011


 
Author: Davis, Lindsey
Title: Rebels and Traitors
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 1
Supposed "epic" set during England's Civil War in the 1600's.

In spite of the publisher's claim, this is not an English "Gone With the Wind." It starts with two characters watching the execution of King Charles: one a fervent Roundhead and one the wife of a Royalist. Then it goes into a LONG and unfortunately uninteresting flashback featuring the unlikable Roundhead, starting with his childhood! I even tried skipping 50 pages to see if it came up with an interesting storyline; it didn't. I will admit the sheer size of the book daunted me a little, and not many authors could maintain a compelling story for that many pages, but the lack of likable characters or a compelling plot are what made me quit reading.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/25/2011


 
Author: Cleverly, Barbara
Title: Ragtime In SimlaJoe Sandilands # 2
Genre: Historical Mystery - India
Rating: 4
In 1922 India, Scotland Yard detective Joe Sandilands is sitting in the governor's car next to an opera singer when the singer is shot. Joe joins forces with Simla's British police chief Carter to find the killer. Two lovely women seem eager for the police to suspect the men in their lives. But a shocking revelation sends Joe on a dangerous trek into the wilderness.

Intriguing story, even though it was fairly obvious who was hiding a deep secret. And the author plays absolutely fair with the reader - I picked up some clues but only realized later how Cleverly had cleverly slipped in clues that had passed right on by me. But the ending left me unsatisfied. I don't demand a happy ending, and I don't even require absolute justice, but this one left me with less respect for the characters.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 01/24/2011


 
Author: Sale, Medora as Caroline Roe
Title: Remedy For TreasonIsaac of Girona # 1
Genre: Historical Mystery - Spain
Rating: 4
It is the 15th century in Spain. Called to a convent to care for the ill niece of a bishop, Isaac and his new helper Yusuf find themselves in a web of deceit surrounding the missing crown prince as well as a plot to overthrow the king.

Complicated but interesting plot, and real-enough characters up to the end, which I found rather unbelievable. But Roe absolutely nailed the tensions between Christian, Jew, and Moslem in medieval Spain.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/09/2010


 
Author: Pilkington, John
Title: Rogues’ GoldElizabethan Mystery # 1
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/30/2010


 
Author: Lawrence, Margaret
Title: Roanoke
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/29/2010


 
Author: Airth, Rennie
Title: River of DarknessJohn Madden # 1
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/25/2010


 
Author: Bradley, Marion Zimmer and Lackey, Mercedes
Title: RediscoveryDarkover: Terran era
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/24/2010


 
Author: Dubois, Brendan
Title: Resurrection Day
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/23/2010


 
Author: Heyer, Georgette
Title: Royal Escape
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 1
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/20/2010


 
Author: Parker, I.J.
Title: Rashomon GateAkitada # 2
Genre: Historical Mystery - Japan
Rating: 4
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/19/2010


 
Author: Saylor, Steven
Title: Roman BloodRoma Sub Rosa # 1
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/10/2010


 
Author: Rivers, Francine
Title: Redeeming Love
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2
reviewed by: Sylvia on 12/18/2009


 
Author: Heyer, Georgette
Title: Regency Buck
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 11/15/2009


 
Author: Bradley, Marion Zimmer
Title: Red sun of DarkoverDarkover short stories
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 11/09/2009


 
Author: Perry, Anne
Title: Rutland PlaceCharlotte and Thomas Pitt # 5
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 07/18/2009


 
Author: Perry, Anne
Title: Resurrection RowCharlotte and Thomas Pitt # 4
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/01/2009


 
Author: Holton, Cathy
Title: Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 1
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/30/2009


 
Author: Gruen, Sara
Title: Riding LessonsAnnemarie Zimmer # 1
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/25/2009


 
Author: Lovesey, Peter
Title: Rough cider
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/17/2009


 
Author: Dunn, Carola
Title: Requiem for a mezzoDaisy Dalrymple # 3
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/14/2009


 
Author: Berenson, Laurien
Title: Raining Cats and DogsMelanie Travis # 12
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 04/17/2009


 
Author: Grabien, Deborah
Title: Rock & roll never forgets
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/28/2009


 
Author: Moon, Elizabeth
Title: Remnant Population
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Rating: 4
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/26/2009


 
Author: Harris, Charlaine
Title: Real MurdersAurora Teagarden # 1
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Rating: 3
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/24/2009


 
Author: Parr, Delia
Title: Refining EmmaCandlewood # 2
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 03/18/2009


 
Author: Miller, Robin
Title: Robin to the rescue
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 07/05/2008


 
Author: Ahern, Cecelia
Title: Rosie Dunne
Genre:
Rating:
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/23/2008


 
Author: Cannell, Stephen J
Title: Riding the snake
Genre:
Rating:
Because his other books sounded more like thrillers than classic murder mysteries, I was leery of trying this one. I was right, it's a thriller and too scary for me.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/18/2008


 
Author: Lanagan, Margo
Title: Red spikes
Genre:
Rating:
Once again, I have no idea where the title came from, but this is another collection of well-written fantasy short stories offering truly different worldviews.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/14/2008


 
Author: Shaara, Jeff
Title: Rise to Rebellion
Genre:
Rating:
Shaara is a famed author of historical novels with a great reputation. And I'm a history buff, period. Unfortunately, this was slow-moving it never became interesting, and I gave up about 1/4 of the way through.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/13/2008


 
Author: Bergman, Paul and Berman-Barrett
Title: Represent Yourself In Court
Genre: Self-Help
Rating: 4
Sure wish I'd read this book back in 2004, when we were initially sued. It covers the basics in clear, plain language. The biggest problem is that if a complaint is filed against you, by the time you get through the book, it will be too late to answer the complaint.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 06/07/2008


 
Author: Chiaverini, Jennifer
Title: Round RobinElm Creek Quilts # 2
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4
As the Elm Creek Quilters secretly make a special quilt for Sylvia, Sarah and her mother try to rebuild their relationship.

Same problem of one-dimensional characters as the previous book, but enjoyable light reading anyway.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/23/2008


 
Author: Halperin, Sherry
Title: Rescue me, he's wearing a moose hat
Genre:
Rating:
Mildly amusing saga of a 50+ widow re-entering the dating scene. The moral "note" at the end of each date was sometimes funny, sometimes philosophical.
reviewed by: Sylvia on 05/15/2008


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