Julie - Reviews

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All Night Long
All Night Long
Author: Melissa MacNeal
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 46
Review Date: 3/12/2012


I thought I'd dip my toes into the erotica pool, and I ordered this book. If all erotica is like this, I'll take a pass. This has got to be the worst book I have ever read.

Sex with strangers without protection, for a game, to pay off debt, is stupid. Risking one's health is reckless and not something I'm interested in reading.

Goofy storyline. And the characters, I'm just at a loss to describe them. Shallow, weird, mean, deceptive, I don't know, they were just awful, all of them.


Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons
Author: Lorna Landvik
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 820
Review Date: 6/1/2007
Helpful Score: 13


Hilarious! And sad. And a great read. My mom grew up in the neighborhood written about here and so it was great to relive some childhood memories.


Berried to the Hilt (Gray Whale Inn, Bk 4)
Berried to the Hilt (Gray Whale Inn, Bk 4)
Author: Karen MacInerney
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 2/11/2012
Helpful Score: 1


I really enjoy this series and hope there are more books forthcoming.

I do have to say that the one thing I don't like is the one thing that nearly all female leads have in common, and it really is annoying, and that is that Natalie puts herself in danger by making silly mistakes, not using common sense. I like a suspenseful scene, but it often, in these cases, and here in this book too, feels like the author gets to a point in the book and says, "Oh, I have to add the requisite suspensful scene", and then the lead does something goofy, gets caught and her life is in danger.... Bom, bom, bommmmm!!! I have to think that a suspenseful scene can be created without the lead loosing all the common sense she's been demonstrating through the whole book, up to this point.

What I really like about this series is that the writing is otherwise smart, the characters are individualized, thoughtful, and work together. I find it distracting when a character is so "loud" they detract from the story line, and that never happens in these books. Everyone comes and goes as needed, contributes well to the story, holds their own, etc. It's refreshing.

Of course there's the requisite romance with the police officer. It's well done in this case though. The romance is mature, and, well, normal. He fixes the stove, and cooks dinner, but also shares information and does his job. Nice balance.

I did figure out the murder sooner than I was hoping to, the clues were either easier this time around, or I've caught on to the author's style. None the less, I really enjoy this series, love the setting, the inn, the water, the food, the people. Hope she writes another one.


Bullets in my Bed--Surviving a Law Enforcement Marriage
Bullets in my Bed--Surviving a Law Enforcement Marriage
Author: Jan Egge
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 0.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/5/2008


Very juvenile writing form. It was embarassing to read.


The Darcys & the Bingleys: A Tale of Two Gentlemen's Marriages to Two Most Devoted Sisters
Review Date: 6/23/2011
Helpful Score: 1


I've read about 75 pages and am so bored, I can't read another paragraph. I have all 3 books in this series and I feel like I should give it another try, don't know if I will though.

I skimmed the rest of the book and Darcy's drinking is a weird twist, and not at all necessary. Sure, a night out with the boys, now and again, is fine, but this reads like Darcy has a drinking problem.

The Kama Sutra is barely mentioned and certainly there were no conversations or descriptions to make even a maiden blush. Do not get the point of including it in the storyline. It should not be shocking that a newly married couple would have sex, nor should it be shocking that one or both of them would be inexperienced and seeking some advice, but honestly, that's just boring.

I'll review further if I decide to finish reading this book or series, but for now I'm setting it aside.


The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias, Bk 1)
Review Date: 7/1/2011
Helpful Score: 2


This book is probably the "coziest" cozy I've ever read. I enjoyed it. The garden club members are a diverse group of women, enough so that they each get their own personality, and the author developed each one just enough so that you liked them (or didn't) but weren't overwhelmed by one person. A number of the women were living independently; had jobs, were homeowners and business owners, not needing a man to provide for them, and, in this time period, I found it refreshing.

In addition to solving the mystery, they talk about being homeowners, sex outside of marriage, and other "taboo" subjects (for that day). I would like to see Myra May and her "roommate" come out of the closet, at least to their close friends, perhaps that will be a book or two down the road. These gals are forward thinking, independent and smart.

It was a little odd that not a one of them consulted with the police and managed to solve the entire crime, for the police, without ever talking to them, but it wasn't "bad" odd, just different from all other cozies I've read, where someone, somewhere, gets info from the police.

Looking forward to the next book.


The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (Darling Dahlias, Bk 2)
Review Date: 9/17/2013
Helpful Score: 1


This is the second in the Darling Dahlias cozy series and it is super "cozy". If you are interested in finding a book where the murder has no description; there's no crime scene, no blood, no murder details, then this book is for you!

There really is no murder to solve, but there is a mystery. The book is more than that though.

I am really enjoying this series despite the fact that it's a bit "cozier" than normal. What I really enjoy (and I mentioned it in my review of the first Dahlias book) is the independence of these characters, who are all female (there are some male supporting roles). In 2013 it's fine for women who don't want to get married, have children, be dependent on a man. It's normal to hear about gay relationships, female business owners, and talk of sex. But in the 1930's these topics were taboo, scandalous, talked about in hushed tones. I think it's great how these woman come together and form friendships over things that others in town can't imagine (like why on earth Liz would not want to get married, don't all good ladies want to "settle down"?).

This book is just a cute snapshot into one small southern town in the 1930's, almost cocooned away from the ills of the rest of the world, almost.....


Death at Bishop's Keep (Victorian-Edwardian Mystery, Bk 1)
Death at Bishop's Keep (Victorian-Edwardian Mystery, Bk 1)
Author: Robin Paige
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 131
Review Date: 9/21/2007
Helpful Score: 13


This is the first in a series of (so far)12 books. I enjoyed the introduction of "new" crime solving techniques, like photographing the crime scene. The main characters were engaging and funny, but didn't compete for the spotlight or take away from the mystery. The lead, Kate, is a strong female, especially for that time period, making her own money, traveling on her own, etc. Just enough detail, in the victims, for a good visual picture, but not enough to be bothersome, if you don't like blood and such. There's a "typical" sister involved, interested in getting married, and buying gloves, not crime scenes and suspects. It's fun to see the two extremes of women, in that day, become friends. If you've never read cozy mysteries, this is a good book to start with.


Death at Buckingham Palace (Her Majesty Investigates, Bk 1)
Death at Buckingham Palace (Her Majesty Investigates, Bk 1)
Author: C. C. Benison
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 45
Review Date: 2/29/2012


This was a fun book, set inside Buckingham Palace, with Jane Bee, a housemaid, in cahoots with the Queen Mother to solve a murder that everyone else thinks is a suicide.

Of course this is fiction, but the glimpse inside castle life, the English words and phrases, the characters, it was all a fun, royal romp. Looking forward to the second book in this series. I believe there are only 3 books in this series, too bad.


Death at Dartmoor (Victorian-Edwardian Mystery, Bk 8)
Death at Dartmoor (Victorian-Edwardian Mystery, Bk 8)
Author: Robin Paige
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 56
Review Date: 12/16/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Another great read in this series. Again, I enjoy the introduction of "new" crime solving techniques, and in this book, it was fingerprinting. Quite funny that fingerprinting was seen as unreliable!!

The usual strong female leads, intelligent conversations and clues, and Sir Doyle makes another appearance!


Death at Epsom Downs (Victorian-Edwardian Mystery, Bk 7)
Death at Epsom Downs (Victorian-Edwardian Mystery, Bk 7)
Author: Robin Paige
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 58
Review Date: 8/14/2011


I really enjoy this series, the historical aspects are accurate and written in a way that makes you feel as though you are right there, at the race track, or in a sitting room with the principles, having tea.

What I particularly liked about this one was the little twist at the end, when they mystery was solved and I was expecting an arrest....


Death at Sandringham House (Her Majesty Investigates, Bk 2)
Death at Sandringham House (Her Majesty Investigates, Bk 2)
Author: C. C. Benison
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 9/18/2012


This is book two, taking place over the holidays at Sandringham House. A local is killed but not in Sandringham House, and as a result, the Queen is less involved this time around, compared to the first story. I hope the third, and from what I understand, the final story in this series, brings the Queen back around to a more prominent role.

This is a very fun series.


Death in the Orchid Garden (Gardening Mystery, Bk 10)
Death in the Orchid Garden (Gardening Mystery, Bk 10)
Author: Ann Ripley
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 2/26/2011


I know detail is important, but there's too much in this book. I don't want to read every detail of every person's outfit at the table (as an example), especially if those little details have nothing to do with the mystery or plot, they're just filler. Sadly, I picked this book up to read while I wasn't feeling well, thought it would help pass the time while I rested, but the abundance of little details was too much to take in while under the weather. Perhaps I'll pick it up at another time, but for now, after 1/3 of the way in, I'm setting it aside.


Death on a Vineyard Beach  (Martha's Vineyard #7)
Death on a Vineyard Beach (Martha's Vineyard #7)
Author: Philip R. Craig
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 40
Review Date: 5/29/2012


Another good one from Philip Craig.

The difference this time is that JW is investigating an attempted murder, and there is no death/murder until the very end of the book, after the mystery has been solved.


Doomed Queen Anne
Doomed Queen Anne
Author: Carolyn Meyer
Book Type: Unknown Binding
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 7/18/2007
Helpful Score: 4


Geared for younger readers (jr. high), but full of interesting info. A quick fun read (despite the fact that she was "doomed")


Dreams of Water
Dreams of Water
Author: Nada Awar Jarrar
Book Type: Paperback
  ?
Review Date: 8/30/2009


From Amazon:

Set during the 1980s civil war in Lebanon, 'Dreams of Water' is complusively readable, deceptively simple and overwhelmingly moving. 'If you could tell me just one thing about yourself, what would it be?' She begins, 'I would say that I once lost a brother.' As a young man disappears, his family is left wondering, hoping, fearing for what may have become of him. It is only through his loss that they begin to truly understand the deep bond of love that ties their family together. Aneesa, his sister, feels the loss of her brother intensely and, unable to live in the vacuum left by his disappearance, she leaves her home and all she holds dear. She moves to London seeking a new life, new friends, and a release from her sorrow. There she meets an older man, another exile who reminds her of home. Brought together by their shared feeling for their homeland, they form an unlikely friendship. Yet, aneesa finds she cannot mourn without knowing the truth about her brother's death, she cannot get on with her life without some certainty. Meanwhile, back home, Aneesa's mother is grieving for her son. Unable to cope with his loss, she resorts to her community's traditional beliefs and imagines he has been reincarnated. Aneesa reluctantly returns home, determined to uncover the truth behind her brother's disappearance, and rekindle the sense of belonging that she left behind. Dreams of Water is a moving story of love, loss and family. Set against a backdrop of upheaval and violence, it reminds us of the importance of hope, of love, and of the strength of family.


Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus
Author: Murray Bail
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 6/1/2007
Helpful Score: 1


Personally, not my cup of tea as far as books go. Didn't flow, but a lot of people enjoy putting more energy into reading. I do it to relax. It was good, just not my type of recreational reading.


Farm Fresh Murder (Farmer's Market, Bk 1)
Farm Fresh Murder (Farmer's Market, Bk 1)
Author: Paige Shelton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 92
Review Date: 6/3/2011
Helpful Score: 3


I enjoyed this book. It was a quick and easy read. With the theme of farmer's market, fresh produce (peaches, berries, tomatoes, etc) it was a fun summer read.

The characters were introduced at a good pace and were likeable and not shallow, makes me want to get to know them better. The clues were well written so that I was kept guessing until the end, instead of figuring it out partway thru.

Looking forward to the second book in this series.


Grounds for Murder (Maggy Thorsen, Bk 2)
Grounds for Murder (Maggy Thorsen, Bk 2)
Author: Sandra Balzo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 1/16/2012


I was hoping this second book in the series would appeal to me more than the first, but it just didn't.

I liked the main character in the first book, but didn't love her. In this book, I like her a little less. She seems to have no real connections to anyone, all her communication is just banter, and the majority of it is mean spirited. My friends and I can sometimes joke around and poke fun, but if every interaction was taking aim at a weakness of mine, or a sore spot, I would dump those friends, asap! Why she tolerates being treated poorly by "friends" is beyond me, and it makes me lose respect for her. I don't think everyone should hold hands and sing songs, but non-stop biting dialouge just got really old, pretty quickly.

Same with her love interest, he treats her like he thinks she's an idiot, and that would drive me nuts. If a guy played tricks on me, just because he knew he could, and actually said as much, said he tricked me because he knew I wouldn't catch on, it would be to the curb for him.

With every interaction Maggy has, with her friends, with her love interest, it just makes me cringe how she gets treated so poorly and she just doesn't care. Of sure, some things you just shake off, but no one is nice to this gal and if Maggy doesn't care about Maggy, then neither do I, the reader.

Book 3 is on my WL and I'll wait it out, and read it when I get it, but if I'm as distracted by all her hostile relationships in the next one, I'll be setting this series aside.


Holiday Grind (Coffeehouse, Bk 8)
Holiday Grind (Coffeehouse, Bk 8)
Author: Cleo Coyle
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 68
Review Date: 12/26/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Santa is dead! And his daughter asks Clare for help in finding his killer. There are some new characters introduced, and of course one of them is a police officer who doesn't think there's anything fishy with this killing, just a random act of violence.

The characters are evolving in ways I wasn't expecting. Mike is not in a police role (though of course he is a cop, he continues on in his job), but he's not involved in this case, the focus is on Clare and Mike's personal relationship. It seems Joy is being phased out, as she's in another country and only has a role for a few pages at the end of the novel. It was a bit odd for her to have no role in the novel at all until the pivotal, final, dramatic scene.

I've read and enjoyed all the books in this series. The clues keep you guessing. The characters are developed and likeable. I like the coffee explanations and recipes. Am looking forward to the next read in this series.


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