Janice - - Reviews

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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.
 116
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.

Updated 3/2/19 - Emily May is a pen name of Emily Larkin. she has rewritten this book for kindle as Lady Isabella's Ogre. she says she changed the ending.


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).


Beggar on Horse Back
Beggar on Horse Back
Author: Sylvia Thorpe
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 2/28/2016


Very enjoyable, told in an old fashioned romantic style. Reference to being set 7 years after Monmouth rebellion sets this at 1692 (reign of Charles II); except for some fashion mentions, it could be any time from 17th-19th century.


The Belle of Brighton
The Belle of Brighton
Author: Georgina Grey
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  ?
Review Date: 3/21/2019


Tale of a girl unexpectedly set adrift and forced to seek employment as a governess, whose unconventional outspokenness (not to mention her unusual methods of dealing with spoiled, unhappy children) makes friends but also sets some to clutching their pearls. Takes place in Brighton during Prinny's era and gives a nice picture of what life in the town in that era might have been like. A pleasant evening's comedy.


The Bellwood Treasure
The Bellwood Treasure
Author: Lillian Lincoln
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 2/4/2013


Lillian Lincoln is a penname of Barbara Hazard.


Beloved Avenger
Beloved Avenger
Author: Mary Brendan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/14/2009


Emily's childhood idol Clifford and his mother were treated unjustly by Emily's parents, and after ten years, Clifford, now a wealthy man, has returned to exact his revenge. He would like to torment Emily's father by using her the same way her father used his mother, but his own feelings for her are at war against this. Since Clifford doesn't tell her the entire truth about how things stand, her father is a drunken wreck, and her mother and sister won't support her, Emily feels trapped, and she's vulnerable to the lies Clifford's spiteful sister in law tells her.

Even as I scorned the silly, turgid plot line, I found myself engrossed in the book and reading late to finish it, right through to the oddly touching final paragraph - a testimony to the author's storytelling skills, if not her characters' common sense.


Beloved Avenger (Zebra Regency Romance)
Beloved Avenger (Zebra Regency Romance)
Author: Mary Brendan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 12/7/2008


Emily's childhood idol Clifford and his mother were treated unjustly by Emily's parents, and after ten years, Clifford, now a wealthy man, has returned to exact his revenge. He would like to torment Emily's father by using her the same way her father used his mother, but his own feelings for her are at war against this. Since Clifford doesn't tell her the entire truth about how things stand, her father is a drunken wreck, and her mother and sister won't support her, Emily feels trapped, and she's vulnerable to the lies Clifford's spiteful sister in law tells her.

Even as I scorned the silly, turgid plot line, I found myself engrossed in the book and reading late to finish it, right through to the oddly touching final paragraph - a testimony to the author's storytelling skills, if not her characters' common sense.


Bending the Rules (Candlelight Ecstasy Supreme, No 91)
Bending the Rules (Candlelight Ecstasy Supreme, No 91)
Author: Kathy Alerding
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/19/2012


Great Romantic Fiction about Accountants is pretty thin on the ground, since accountants have such a boring wussy image, when they're not outright villains, and most books and movies never get the workplace dynamics right -- but there's a real working CPA hero in this one. Sure, the tech has changed a lot since this was published, but the mindset of a normal working CPA trying to help his clients stay afloat is still around. It's a nice little romance, and for once it's nice to see the accountant be the hero, instead of being the villain, or his henchman.


Beneath the Abbey Wall (Joanne Ross, Bk 3)
Beneath the Abbey Wall (Joanne Ross, Bk 3)
Author: A. D. Scott
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 2/24/2013


I couldn't stay interested in this book, despite liking the period (1950s) and setting (Scotland), and when I got to the end, I went, oh yeah, that old plot again. Nicely written though and might be of interest to someone really into that type of mystery novel.


THE BEST OF CRIME &  DETECTIVE TV - The Critics' Choice
Review Date: 4/7/2015


Nice little trade paperback of comments and photos on classic TV detective and mystery shows -- marred only by the omission of some favorite shows such as Remington Steele and Scarecrow and Mrs. King, which might have been included -- too romantic, too female oriented? I note that the panel was overwhelmingly male :) Whatever. The book does include Kolchak the Night Stalker, one of my all time faves, but not what I'd include as a crime/mystery/detective show. Done in 1988, and mainly focused on American TV, though a few Brit shows that ran here are included.


Betcha Can't Read Just One
Betcha Can't Read Just One
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 10/31/2008


Short stories by George Alec Effinger, Jack McDevitt, Mike Resnick, R. A. Lafferty, Alan Dean Foster, Mel Gilden, Esther Friesner and others. Pleasant, funny, undemanding.


The Big Kitty (Sunny & Shadow, Bk 1)
The Big Kitty (Sunny & Shadow, Bk 1)
Author: Claire Donally
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 61
Review Date: 8/4/2012
Helpful Score: 3


I agree with all the first reviewer said, but the book still didn't hold my interest. Nice cover, though.

However, I would recommend it if you like lightweight American cozies - not particularly memorable, but not the dark sort that lead to nightmares either.


The Black Diamond
The Black Diamond
Author: Jennie Gallant
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  ?
Review Date: 7/14/2019


An early Victorian-set murder mystery/gothic.

Jennie Gallant is a pen name of regency author Joan Smith.


Black Rainbow
Black Rainbow
Author: Barbara Michaels
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 10/12/2009


Dynamite gothic, kinda turns things on their heads at the end. My favorite of all the Barbara Michaels titles.


The Blackstone Key (Mary Finch, Bk 1)
The Blackstone Key (Mary Finch, Bk 1)
Author: Rose Melikan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 1/8/2011
Helpful Score: 2


I picked this book up because it's Georgian period, and I like historical mysteries, especially if they have a hint of a developing relationship in them. At first I found it rather slow going -- perhaps my reader's reflexes have been ruined by so many of the wretched historical romances of recent years -- but I stuck with it and am glad I did. It is not dumbed down and doesn't insult my intelligence. The characters are not just 21st century people in funny old clothes; they speak and behave as people did in that era. It is much slower paced than we are used to, but that's a plus because it allows time to absorb the ambience. I would recommend it, but not to those looking for a fast read, rather to those looking for a book they can sink into.


Bluestocking (Warner Regency, No 19)
Bluestocking (Warner Regency, No 19)
Author: Jane Ashford
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 9/2/2016


I thought it was a good read. I like Jane Ashford's trads. She's not a stupid writer, nor does she write down to her audience. I would recommend it.

This book has been reprinted as Last Gentleman Standing, from Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 2017. So far as I know, the text is the same.

It's still a very good read.


The Book of Fires
The Book of Fires
Author: Jane Borodale
Book Type: Paperback
  ?
Review Date: 10/26/2016


Be aware that this entire novel is written in first person, present tense -- which, in my view, is an overused literary trick that is supposed to yield a feeling of immediacy but after the zillionth time it's been used by authors, it loses whatever effect it had and becomes an annoying affectation. Pass.


Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal
Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal
Author: Russell Brand
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 3/2/2012


On the one hand, it is really nice to run across a non ghostwritten book by such an obviously intelligent celebrity with an astonishingly large vocabulary and a gift for vivid description - a man just in love with the English language. On the other hand, he spends a lot of his talents describing his sex life, his transient relationships, his view of women, etc. After a while all that got to be too much the same and I started skipping pages, looking for what is to me more interesting material: his theory of comedy; his take on various controversies in which he's been involved; his family and background; his path to sobriety; whatever made him the flawed brilliant artist he is today. I found some of that material but not as much as I could have wished. Maybe all that's in Book 1, which I missed.


Brave New Earl (Way to a Lord's Heart, Bk 1)
Brave New Earl (Way to a Lord's Heart, Bk 1)
Author: Jane Ashford
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 8/4/2018


Benjamin Romilly, Fifth Earl of Furness, lost his wife Alice in childbirth. They were only married for a year, but he has sunk into mourning and stayed there. The child, a son, Geoffrey, survived, but the boy has been turned over to the care of servants - well cared for physically, but emotionally - not so much.

Miss Jean Saunders has her own problems - she has come from a background of loneliness, abuse and disparagement, but she has risen above that to a more or less "normal" life. When she hears of Geoffrey's situation, it triggers something within her and she flies to his rescue. Her eruption into Benjamin's superficially calm existence goads him back into life.

This is a family story, really, with a romance wrapped into it. It's the first of a new series. The proper title is BRAVE NEW EARL, and the series title is The Way to a Lord's Heart. It's a good read.


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