Janice - - Reviews

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100 Great Detectives: Or the Detective Directory
Review Date: 12/23/2008


This book isn't some snotty deep elitist pseudo-intellectual tome written by people who are ashamed to read or write about mystery fiction but know there's money in it. No, it's a series of very short appreciations of 100 different fictional detectives, some well known and some now quite obscure, by mystery writers who love the genre and know what they're talking about. Worth reading just for the 1990 letter from Lord Peter Wimsey's granddaughter. Can be dipped into or read cover to cover, depending onyour inclination. I didn't agree with several of the comments, but it was clear they had come from people who had read the books and not just skimmed the blurbs.


31 Bond Street
31 Bond Street
Author: Ellen Horan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 10/15/2016


I appreciated that the author put a note in the back detailing where and how she deviated from historical record in creating this novel. It's a fascinating social history and legal thriller and it would make a terrific film.


The Abandoned Bride (Signet Regency Romance)
The Abandoned Bride (Signet Regency Romance)
Author: Edith Layton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 7/28/2013


No. 3 in the sequence that begins with The Duke's Wager. The second book is The Disdainful Marquis.


Adoring Isadora
Adoring Isadora
Author: Elizabeth Bailey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/19/2017


Miss Isadora Alvescot and her family have lived comfortably at Pusay, but her father's recent death means that Pusay will go to the heir, Viscount Roborough, and they must leave. Isadora believes she can support her family by becoming an actress on the London stage, and though she's good (as Roborough acknowledges when he first sees her rehearsing Juliet's death scene in the gazebo), she hasn't a clue what being a London actress really entails. Roborough must sell Pusay because his father was a gambling addict and left massive debts of honor. Both he and Isadora are rather hotheaded and misunderstandings arise due to lack of communication.

A bit old-fashioned in tone (and there's nothing wrong with that) but well written by an author who gets the details right. No sex, for those who care about that.


The Affinity Bridge (Newbury & Hobbes Investigations, Bk 1)
The Affinity Bridge (Newbury & Hobbes Investigations, Bk 1)
Author: George Mann
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 11/20/2010


The idea of this novel is engaging - a Victorian London developing slightly differently, with airships and steam cabs - but the execution isn't. The prose is bare bones flat, and the characters two dimensional such that I found it impossible to get interested in them or their problems. This might work better as a graphic novel, where the art could fill in for the tired prose, or a movie, where the actors could lend the characters some personality. I can't recommend this book, except to people who like zombie automaton sorts of stories. Steampunk is cool, but this book isn't a good example of it.


After America (Disappearance, Bk 2)
After America (Disappearance, Bk 2)
Author: John Birmingham
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 8/24/2011


Tremendously absorbing read, albeit terribly violent but then given the premise why wouldn't it be? This author really knows how to keep you turning pages into the wee hours. I can't wait for the next book; I am hoping the tantalizing question of what the Wave was and why it happened will be answered. I would recommend it, and its prequel Without Warning, but be warned, there is a lot of ugly, gory, violent content contained in it.


American Rhapsody
American Rhapsody
Author: Joe Eszterhas
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 1/20/2009


"Not for Republicans"? Not for Democrats either, I would have said - to anyone who's looking to read a justification of his or her party's leaders or actions.

Reads like fiction - which most of it ,ust be, since I don't see how, short of science fiction, the author could be inside the mind of someone else's penis (if such a thing has its own mind).

Be warned - colorful language barely begins to describe some of the writing here. I found parts very hard to listen to, and I didn't really believe much of it -- but there's no denying it's a rivetting read/listen. You do have to bear in mind that this is one rather jaded and problematic author's deconstructionist take on Clinton, Bush, et al. Therefore I learned more about sustaining a reader's interest than I did about politics or history.

Interesting in its own right but certainly not for everyone.


American Rhapsody (12 tape set)
American Rhapsody (12 tape set)
Author: joe Eszterhas, Melissa Gilbert
Book Type: Audio Cassette
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/3/2009


Joe Eszterhas has done some fine scripts (though they're not the ones he is known for) and he certainly knows how to hold a reader's interest. This book covers the Clinton scandals and candidate Bush from a unique perspective; he blends his research into these events with wildly fanciful reconstructions of what was going through the minds and reproductive equipment of those involved. So it's fantasy, in a way. I guess. It's given a brilliant (but hardly impartial) reading by Ed Asner and others. Parts were hard to listen to as they went over my personal glurge limit, but I give it a grudging recommendation, with a strong warning for those sensitive to explicit sexual material and/or foul language.


Anderson and Duchovny an Extraordinary Sto
Review Date: 5/16/2012


Oversize trade paperback import from UK. Lots of photos of Gillian Anderson & David Duchovny from their early lives, photo shoots, etc., plus many still from X-Files. Chapters on their early days, the beginnings of X-Files, and how their subsequent fame has affected their lives. Mostly color, some black & white.


The Appearance of Impropriety
The Appearance of Impropriety
Author: Kate Dolan
Book Type: Paperback
  ?
Review Date: 8/5/2013


I wanted to like this book as I had liked another Kate Dolan title, A Certain Want of Reason. I like trad regencies but am often unhappy when they are too modern. This one is very much in the spirit of 19th century novels. However I just couldn't get interested in it and set it aside unfinished.


The Archangel Project (Tobie Guinness/Jax Alexander, Bk 1)
The Archangel Project (Tobie Guinness/Jax Alexander, Bk 1)
Author: C. S. Graham
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 66
Review Date: 12/30/2009


Good thriller with credible heroine and hero, but, as another reviewer has pointed out, very message-y - very cynical; I'm surprised the authors found any good guys at all on our side. No. 1 in a series; The Solomon Effect is No. 2


The Arrangement (Survivors' Club, Bk 2)
The Arrangement (Survivors' Club, Bk 2)
Author: Mary Balogh
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 77
Review Date: 5/16/2016


What's up with the cover photo for this book? My copy, which has the same ISBN, has one of those studmuffin covers that drove Ms Balogh to seek another publisher :) For some reason PBSwap has shown the same cover as Only Enchanting has. How curious.


As She Left It: A Novel
As She Left It: A Novel
Author: Catriona McPherson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 9/8/2013


Unfinished. I read about half of this, put it down, and never picked it up again. Found it flat and completely uninteresting. Would love to see more comments so I can learn what I was intended to see in it.


The Bar Sinister
The Bar Sinister
Author: Sheila Simonson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 8/5/2009


Authentic sense of 'how things were'. Courageous characters. Old fashioned story telling in the best sense -- a true & total classic.


The Bargain
The Bargain
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 65
Review Date: 6/2/2012


This book is a rewrite as a regency historical of The Would Be Widow, a Signet traditional regency. Although my preference is for the earlier version, this is well done too.


The Bargain
The Bargain
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 134
Review Date: 6/2/2012


This book is a rewrite as a regency historical of The Would Be Widow, a Signet traditional regency. Although my preference is for the earlier version, this is well done too.


A Bath Intrigue (Zebra Regency Romance)
A Bath Intrigue (Zebra Regency Romance)
Author: Sharon Stancavage
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 1/16/2009
Helpful Score: 2


A traditional regency, as opposed to a regency historical. No sex beyond references. Spy plot. Has a secondary romance between an older couple. Not a great literary stylist here, but it's readable enough and an OK timepasser.


A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox, Bk 1)
A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox, Bk 1)
Author: Charles Finch
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 114
Review Date: 3/31/2011


The detective hero of this book, Charles Lenox, is a Victorian gentleman who solves crimes as a hobby. With his love for tea and toast and a good warm fire, he seems more like a hobbit than a man. I also didn't find his friendship with Lady Jane very convincing; he seemed rather lukewarm about it all though it is supposed to develop into something warmer over the course of the series. However the story itself is interesting and readable, if a bit slow here and there. People who like 'cozies' might like this one.


Beauty and the Scarred Hero (Harlequin Historicals, No 277)
Beauty and the Scarred Hero (Harlequin Historicals, No 277)
Author: Emily May
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 10/11/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I like this tale of independent-minded duke's daughter Isabella and scarred Waterloo veteran Nicholas very much. Nicholas has facial burns from a deadly fire in his billet, and that, coupled with his manner, causes society not to look beneath the surface to see the good man beneath. He has come back from the wars wanting only home, family and peace, and had asked Harriet, a very foolish young girl, to marry him. She was being pressured into the marriage by her uncle even though she loved another young man; she made Nicholas a monster in her mind and ran away, at which point Isabella rescued her at an inn and brought her to her home in secret, because Isabella is always rescuing strays. Nicholas is angry at the slight - because of an inadvertent slip on Isabella's part in conversation with one of the Mean Girls of the ton, he is labeled 'The Ogre'. Isabella is appalled at the damage her verbal slip caused, and sets out to fix it as best she can, by pretending Nicholas is a favored admirer -- meanwhile still hiding his watering-pot chosen bride in her own home.

I thought the story was well paced, and the emotional arc of the characters very credible. The author also has a nice writing style. Recommended as a nice, low key read that held my interest to the end.


Before the Season Ends (Forsythe, Bk 1)
Before the Season Ends (Forsythe, Bk 1)
Author: Linore Rose Burkard
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 3/1/2011


Not my cup of tea, really. I have been reading the rather secularized sort of traditional regency for years, and this one would be very like that style, if not for constant references to God's will. I have always thought that trads had too little inclusion of the role of religion in English daily life of the 19th century; people did believe, and even if they didn't, they did attend services regularly, have prayers at home and so forth, and this is rarely referred to, though Jane Austen included churchmen both as hero (Edward Ferrars) and comic dolt (Mr. Collins, Mr. Elton). This book went too far in the other direction, I think - these characters speak in those terms continually, to a point that seemed unrealistic and anti-period to me.

I wound up not liking it as a romance or as a novel of the period; I just felt it held too many false notes. It certainly isn't harmful, however, and you could give it to your kid without a qualm, though I think you'd be better off handing said kid a Georgette Heyer regency; I think Heyer had a more balanced view and her writing is certainly more polished (although the latter may not be fair as this seems to be a first novel).


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