Linda T. (sweetwind) - Reviews

1 to 10 of 10
All American Boy
All American Boy
Author: William J. Mann
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 7/16/2012


Not a book for those who need definitive answers. To the contrary, the book really explores the space between what we believe or remember, and what is the truth. Is the truth out there? The main character, Walter, is similar to Jeff in Mann's other book (The Men From The Boys) in that he often acts like a jerk but still seems to be surrounded by people who love and support him. Walter in particular was blessed by mentors in his small town upbringing, from stage actress Josephine Leopold to the local transgendered woman Miss Aletha, not to mention Zandy his first lover, the real reason he returns home for a visit. Also like TMFTB the book has an experimental narrative form, usually written in present tense. It was most interesting around the middle when the vampires showed up. (No, that's not a joke!)


Awaken, My Love
Awaken, My Love
Author: Robin Schone
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 32
Review Date: 3/18/2012


I'm not much of a bodice-ripper reader, but I enjoyed a book with a similar premise (The Mirror by Marlys MiIlhiser) so I thought I'd give this a try. I couldn't get through it though. I had a hard time understanding some of the writing. For example in chapter one a quirt is being raised and lowered repeatedly, and I couldn't remember what the word "quirt" means -- later through Elaine's memory of the scene I realized it must be a whip, but I never did figure out if he was beating her with it, or if he was just beating on the furniture or what!


A Charmed Death (Bewitching, Bk 2)
A Charmed Death (Bewitching, Bk 2)
Author: Madelyn Alt
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 339
Review Date: 7/16/2012


Likable characters; an intriguing, multilayered love triangle developing; teenagers with what sounded like realistic teenage dialog, and bonus points for presenting Wicca in an accessible way for those not familiar with it. Plot is serviceable enough. When I originally got hold of the book someone (can't remember who) had told me that the cat on the cover was a main character, but not so -- there aren't any felines in the book whatsoever.


Fearful Symmetry (Sara Selkirk, Bk 2)
Fearful Symmetry (Sara Selkirk, Bk 2)
Author: Morag Joss
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/2/2012


I've decided I don't like Sara Selkirk personally. She's a snob! I found it revolting the way she and the retired opera singer belittled another character's taste... and in her Manolo Blahnik shoes she has no empathy for Valerie's Marks & Spencer outfits (notwithstanding that Valerie is running a household with two kids on a policeman's salary, while Sara is an international star). Overall the mystery is quite sturdy with a nice assortment of characters and possible motives. I wondered why in Chapter 1 the reader is informed of a crucial part of the mystery which Sara doesn't figure out until Chapter 36.


A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs (Inspector George Felse, Bk 4)
A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs (Inspector George Felse, Bk 4)
Author: Ellis Peters
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 10/23/2011


I picked this up thinking it was a Brother Cadfael mystery since there was a sort of medieval cover with an old gravestone and a reference to a death centuries in the past. But it is a George Felse mystery, Peters' urbane inspector from contemporary (i.e. 1965) times. Reminds me of the Gervase Fen mysteries of Edmund Crispin. There was way too much witty banter that I couldn't get without multiple re-reads of the dialog, and which seems way too witty for the circumstances sometimes. Am I really supposed to be familiar with Dryden? The love subplot could have been cut out entirely, it is the smallest scrap of a plot and the only reason poor Tamsin was in the book at all. Other than that the multiple subplots merged meaningfully into a solid whole


The Nonesuch
The Nonesuch
Author: Georgette Heyer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 1/12/2013
Helpful Score: 1


My mom recommended this author after we talked about how I enjoy Jane Austen. The vocabulary was quite a challenge as the characters use the jargon and slang of the times and some of these words do not even show up in an Internet search! ("ton" as in the elegant set, "nangeens" as in some kind of pants). I was most captivated by the portrayal of Tiffany Wield, the spoiled, vain and incredibly headstrong charge of the governess heroine. Tiffany often seemed unbelievable in her obstinacy, but then again in real life I occasionally run into people whose foibles veer into the unbelievable! The Nonesuch (Sir Waldo) and his love interest (the governess Miss Trent) are a mite too perfect but still fun. I found it hard to believe that when discussing Miss Trent's horse, Sir Waldo says "I wish I had the mounting of you" and this passed as normal conversation, not a double entendre! The book was a fun romp and I will read another Heyer some day.


Quentins
Quentins
Author: Maeve Binchy
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 283
Review Date: 7/16/2012


Sort of an action movie for chicks - Ella's married lover bolts from the country and leaves all his investors holding the bag. The Guards are after him (as well as the ruined investors). Long intermission while Ella tries to get her head together gathering stories for a documentary on Ireland's changes through the lens of a single restaurant, Quentins. Then the lover comes back and threatens Ella to get at the information he left behind at her apartment when he fled - good suspense! The book opens with a marriage proposal at Quentins and closes with the birth of a baby there. "And everything else in between."


Rebeccah and the Highwayman
Rebeccah and the Highwayman
Author: Barbara Davies
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 10/5/2012
Helpful Score: 1


I didn't care for the first chapter, which is a dream sequence. That being said, by the end of chapter four, I had grown to like both the main characters and with chapter five, I was utterly hooked! Rebeccah could be a Jane Austen heroine, she is an intelligent, independent-minded woman navigating a society that expects her to find her livelihood by marriage alone. Kate, on the other hand, leaps with a cry of "Stand and Deliver!" right from the pages of Sir Walter Scott! Their romance is as intense and as chaste as that in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight. The author has certainly done her homework for this period piece, and chapter fourteen is the most harrowing account of a public hanging which I ever hope to see in a romance novel.


The Skull Beneath the Skin  (Cordelia Gray, Bk 2)
The Skull Beneath the Skin (Cordelia Gray, Bk 2)
Author: P. D. James
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 2/5/2012
Helpful Score: 1


"This is a storybook killing: a close circle of suspects, isolated scene of crime conveniently cut off from the mainland, known terminus a quo and terminus ad quem," remarks one of the suspects in this book, and he has hit upon the strength of the plot. All the suspects have motives for both the poison pen letters and the murder: who was the culprit? Was there a separate culprit for the letters and the murder? Perhaps the letters were sent by more than one person? The armchair detective gets a lot of bang out of this mystery!

I read this right after finishing the first Cordelia Gray mystery. After the fuss James made in her Author's Note for "An Unsuitable Job for a Woman" about setting the mystery in the real town of Cambridge and not fabricating a cutesy "Oxbridge" setting, I was surprised that "Skull" is set in a completely fictional locale. Of course the island of Courcy is made-up, the little island with its castle and intricate history and geography is a custom setting for the mystery. But the island is reached from the nearby coastal town of Speymouth in Dorset, and James describes Cordelia's sunny walk from the train station to the wharf so vividly that I went straight to Google to find a photo of the statue of Queen Victoria there, only to find there is no such place as "Speymouth."

This book was published ten years after the first Cordelia Gray mystery and according to the dates mentioned in the book, it is set around 1981 when it was written, so about ten years have elapsed in Cordelia's life since the first book. It doesn't really feel like a decade has elapsed, though. Cordelia was 22 in the first book so she must be about 32 in this book, but the other characters treat her like a very young woman. In fact when Lady Ralston tells her stepson about the "girl" she's bringing to the island, she tells him how nice it will be for him to have "someone young on the island for you to practice talking to." It's hard to imagine a 17-year-old finding a 32-year-old "young." Maybe this just goes to show how superannuated all the other characters are (except the stepson of course!). Cordelia's life hasn't changed much, though, nor her perspectives and attitudes, as far as I could tell. It would be easy to imagine that this book was set a year or two after the first.

I give the book a mediocre rating primarily due to my lack of enthusiasm for Cordelia as a character. I don't understand sometimes why she says and does what she does. She spends her first evening on the island with her nose in Sherlock Holmes stories in the library when I think she should have been mingling with the other guests to try to get information about who might have sent the poison pen letters. Truly, I don't think Lady Ralston was getting her money's worth! Lady Ralston is another enigmatic personality, her peculiarities can't be explained other than by saying she is an actress so she has these little eccentricities. (Which are essential to the plot, by the way.)


An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Author: P. D. James
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 1/2/2012


Wonder if Sue Grafton read this before starting her Alphabet series - the hero Cordelia Gray reminds me of Grafton's Kinsey Milhone in some ways, a young but tough woman, no gimmicks but a gun! But very British. The mystery is well constructed and ties itself up like a snake eating its tail. James' other detective Adam Dalgliesh is a minor character (he is actually a very strong presence in the book, I think James seems to be in love with him, to the point of losing objectivity!)


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