Linda S. (thk) - , - Reviews

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Always a Lady (Marquess of Templeton's Heirs, Bk 3)
Always a Lady (Marquess of Templeton's Heirs, Bk 3)
Author: Rebecca Hagan Lee
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 30
Review Date: 1/12/2007


Marquess of Templeston's Heirs, 3 of 3, Irish castle in 1838. Fun, intriguing characters, complex plot, different from the usual. New heir of the castle must teach an outstanding baker of strawberry tarts to be presented at court, and solve the mysteries of both their births.


Anyone But You
Anyone But You
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 467
Review Date: 3/17/2007
Helpful Score: 1


Very funny and heartwarming. As Crusie says in her new introduction, this is "Fred's book". All the characters are interesting, non-cardboard, even the minor ones.


The Applause of Heaven
The Applause of Heaven
Author: Max Lucado
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 2/10/2007


A joyous celebration of the love God has for every one of us, and wise words to help us FEEL that His love is complete and forever.


Bad Blood (Alex Cooper, Bk 9)
Bad Blood (Alex Cooper, Bk 9)
Author: Linda Fairstein
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 82
Review Date: 10/23/2008
Helpful Score: 3


Interesting characters and relationships. They sound like people I would like to know, competent people who care about one another and others. Exciting plot with many twists, in an exotic environment. The author gives us excellent value for our time.


The Ballad of Tom Dooley (Ballad, Bk 9)
The Ballad of Tom Dooley (Ballad, Bk 9)
Author: Sharyn McCrumb
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 8/5/2013


I'm normally a fan of Ms McCrumb, and have read most of her books. This one I did not finish. I was interested initially, to learn more about the truth/legends of Tom Dula. I read the Author's Note and Acknowlegements. After about 60 pages of the book itself, I decided the Eight Deadly Words applied in my case. These are "I don't care what happens to these people." Except for Zebulon Vance, I did not want any further acquaintance with anyone I had met so far. I word this to myself as "if I would not welcome these people into my home, why would I let them into my head?"


The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, Bk 1)
The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, Bk 1)
Author: Laurie R. King
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 234
Review Date: 7/24/2007
Helpful Score: 4


Excellent characters and story. Sherlock Holmes in later life, and his new apprentice. First book in a marvelous series.


Bloodhounds (Peter Diamond, Bk 4)
Bloodhounds (Peter Diamond, Bk 4)
Author: Peter Lovesey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 10/12/2006


Silver Dagger winner, Mystery Guild Featured Alternate


Canapes for the Kitties
Canapes for the Kitties
Author: Marian Babson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 10/4/2006


farcical


The Cat I.Q. Test
The Cat I.Q. Test
Author: Melissa Miller
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 5/11/2007


Interesting science, history, legend, poetry, and anecdotes about cats, as well as the IQ tests for cats and owners.


Collectible costume jewelry with prices
Collectible costume jewelry with prices
Author: S. Sylvia Henzel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/3/2007


Nice pictures and brief descriptions of a variety of jewelry.


A Common Life: The Wedding Story (Mitford Years, Bk 6)
A Common Life: The Wedding Story (Mitford Years, Bk 6)
Author: Jan Karon
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 129
Review Date: 11/2/2006


Enjoyed this one very much. Warm, friendly novels of people one can easily like, but that challenge us to be better people, more accepting.


A Deadly Vineyard Holiday  (A Martha's Vineyard Mystery Book #8)
A Deadly Vineyard Holiday (A Martha's Vineyard Mystery Book #8)
Author: Philip R. Craig
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 32
Review Date: 4/29/2009


Really enjoyed this one. Main characters are interesting people I would like to meet. Fascinating portrait of island life.


Death of a Busybody (Lieutenant Luis Mendoza, Bk 5)
Death of a Busybody (Lieutenant Luis Mendoza, Bk 5)
Author: Dell Shannon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 7/21/2007
Helpful Score: 2


If you are not already familiar with Dell Shannon, please take my highest recommendation for police procedurals with character and humor. Alter egos: Lesley Egan, Elizabeth Linington (real name). She has series under each name, as well as quality historical novels under Linington.
Dell Shannon's primary character is Luis Mendoza, a Los Angeles police lieutenant who grew up poor, became a gambler to survive, joined the police, then unexpectedly inherited wealth from his miser grandfather.
This is one of her earlier ones (1963), about a boy whose great interest in everything his neighbors have and do leads to his death.


Desert Heat  (Joanna Brady, Bk 1)
Desert Heat (Joanna Brady, Bk 1)
Author: J. A. Jance
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 192
Review Date: 10/4/2006


first of series, female sheriff


Eavesdropper
Eavesdropper
Author: John Francome, James MacGregor
Book Type: Paperback
  ?
Review Date: 10/12/2006


published in Great Britain, variant cover


Ever a Princess (Marquess of Templeston's Heirs, Bk 2)
Ever a Princess (Marquess of Templeston's Heirs, Bk 2)
Author: Rebecca Hagan Lee
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 34
Review Date: 1/12/2007
Helpful Score: 2


Marquess of Templeston's heirs trilogy, fun and farcical. Complex plot of danger and intrigue.


Harvard Yard (Peter Fallon, Bk 2)
Harvard Yard (Peter Fallon, Bk 2)
Author: William Martin
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 30
Review Date: 10/11/2006
Helpful Score: 1


Very intricate and interesting weaving of family history from Shakespeare's time to the present with a modern thriller plot. I liked it enough to get more of his books.


Hellbent & Heartfirst
Hellbent & Heartfirst
Author: Kassandra Sims
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 2.4/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 8/11/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Very interesting and unusual book. Set in Biloxi after Katrina, and in Nashville. The comparison that came to me is that this book has a "feel" like the TV show "Saving Grace."


High Wire
High Wire
Author: Kam Majd
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 10/4/2006


first novel, airline pilot, exciting


Irresistible Forces
Irresistible Forces
Author: Catherine Asaro (Editor)
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 58
Review Date: 5/14/2007
Helpful Score: 4


NOTE: Copied this review from Amazon for the excellent detail it gives. Author name at end.

IRRESISTIBLE FORCES is a collection of six stories from s/f and romance heavy hitters. The best story of the lot, "Winterfair Gifts," is by Lois McMaster Bujold, and features two minor characters from her Vorkosigan novels exploring a most unusual romance amidst a backdrop of mystery and intrigue.
Only caveat: I'm unsure if someone who hasn't read much of Ms. Bujold's Vorkoverse would understand this story. Since I've read every single book Ms. Bujold has ever put out, I cannot answer that question.

But I enjoyed it very much, and thought it well worth the price of the entire book. (I bought this collection solely for that story, and looked at the other stories as an "added bonus.")

Five stars, and I'd give it more if I had 'em. :)

After that, the stories get tougher to rate. I liked Catherine Asaro's story, "Stained Glass Heart," much more than I thought I would; it appears to be an outtake from her Skolian universe series, and has two young, apparently doomed lovers, a highly stratified society, and an arranged marriage. Love, family, duty, honor, and "keeping up appearances" are all themes in this story, and all worked.

The biggest problem with this story is that the protagonists are very young -- the older of the two is seventeen -- and the two youngsters are dealing with some very adult subjects. Nothing wrong with that, exactly, just a bit offputting considering that every other story in this collection deals with clear-cut adults -- most protagonists are at least twenty-five or so.

The plot is one we've seen before, with a few twists (I don't want to spoil 'em, so I won't go into 'em here). However, it's done well here, the science fictional bits are well chosen, and if it's representative of the Skolian universe as a whole, I might have to give Ms. Asaro's work another try.

I think this is the best story I've read from Ms. Asaro, and I'd give it three and a half stars, even though I still don't understand the meaning of this story's title (except for the obvious).

I enjoyed Jo Beverley's story (I forget the title) that juxtaposed Winston Churchill, the far future, and what happens when heroes return to their homes -- but it took a long, long time to develop and the language used was rather clunky and got in the way of the story. (As far as I know, this is Ms. Beverley's first-ever attempt at a science fiction/fantasy story; it does work. But I think it would have worked better as a novel.)

Because the idea was so very strong and because I could see where Ms. Beverley was going with her story, I'd give her story three and a half stars.

"The Alchemical Marriage" by Mary Jo Putney was a decent story; it didn't really move me or engage me, but it wasn't a bad effort, exactly. I think the whole subject of how the Spanish Armada was deflected was too big for one short story; perhaps this would have been better suited as a novel subject?

And the lovers got together far, far too quickly for my taste.

Still, not bad, exactly. Just not right on the money.

Two stars for that one.

"Shadows in the Wood," by Jennifer Roberson, is another really tough one to rate. I like Ms. Roberson's writing -- I like it a whole lot. I also like the subject matter, how Ms. Roberson plays it out, and what happens in the story -- but once again, the story seems just way, way too short and truncated.

I mean, Maid Marian and Robin Hood meet Merlin? In a very short story? At the very end of the book?

Why was this story given such short shrift?

At any rate, I wish this story had been much longer. It was so enjoyable, I wanted a whole lot more.

So, I'd give the idea of the story four stars, and the writing five stars, but the fact that there wasn't enough room for the idea (and not enough room to develop it either) two. I guess I'll give it overall three stars, mainly because I do like the writer and the writing so much.

Finally, we come to Deb Stover and her good, but misplaced story "Skin Deep." This is a paranormal romance; it's a good paranormal, albeit very short, and I liked the characters.

But alongside three science fiction stories and two fantasies, it doesn't work. It just doesn't. Even if you count the Putney story as historical fantasy, it still doesn't work.

I think Ms. Stover's writing is good, and her storytelling is very interesting. She made me laugh more than any other author except for Ms. Bujold (whose writing I know very well from past experience; this was the first exposure I'd ever had to Ms. Stover). I liked her story.

But it had no place here. It threw off the tone of the anthology. And it threw the other stories even further off balance (and the anthology was already rather uneven to begin with).

Because of this story, I took off one star from the overall anthology rating (because of Ms. Bujold's very strong story, I'd normally have wished to give this anthology four stars, rounding the overall stars upward rather than down as I did here) -- but I'd still recommend this particular story to paranormal romance readers.

I know that has to sound odd; in effect, I'd give the story itself a four star rating, but separate it from the other five stories, because it just does not fit.

In conclusion, this is an uneven effort, but worth reading despite the unevenness.

Three stars, recommended for people who want to branch out from romance to s/f or vice versa.
............
Barb Caffrey


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