Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer

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Cousin Kate
by Georgette Heyer


ISBN-13: 9781402217685
Trade Paperback: 317 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released: 1968; May 1, 2009

Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Kate Malvern, rescued from penury by her aunt Minerva, hardly knows what to expect at Staplewood - the grand household is so very different from a life spent following the drum in the Peninsular! But surely, other households are more homelike? Kate's uncle lives in one wing, handsome, moody cousin Torquil in another; thought the guests are few, even family dinners are formal. And, when Kate begins to suspect the shocking reason for Minerva's generosity, she has no-one to confide in but cousin Philip - who appears to have taken her in instant dislike...


My Review:
Cousin Kate is a Gothic Regency romance. It's got the screams in the night, locked doors, manipulations, and Gothic-style madness. Though not a light-hearted story, it's like Heyer couldn't let the story descend into a creepy or horror story--just some tense moments full of threat. Which is fine by me! The ending was very sad, but I felt like the author was trying too hard to convince the reader that this really was a happy ending. Also, since Kate is supposed to be world-traveled and not a sheltered miss, I was baffled by how long it took her to even suspect what was wrong at Staplewood.

There was no sex and no detailed descriptions of gory aspects. There was a fair amount of bad language (almost all of it the swearing use of "God"). Overall, this isn't my type of story, but others may enjoy it.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Snow White Red-Handed by Maia Chance

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Snow White Red-Handed
by Maia Chance


ISBN-13: 9780425271629
Mass Market Paperback:
336 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: November 4, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Miss Ophelia Flax is a Victorian actress who has left her company, but she acts her way into a lady’s maid position for an American millionaire. Her new job whisks her off to a foreboding castle in the Black Forest, straight out of a Grimm tale. The vast grounds contain the suspected remains of Snow White’s cottage along with a dwarf skeleton. Then her millionaire boss turns up dead, poisoned by an apple.

Gabriel Penrose is a scholar that believes that fairy tales are based on real events, and he's determined to discover the true history behind the Snow White tale. He needs Ophelia's help, and she needs his as she fights through a bramble of elegant lies so she can prevent a friend from remaining a murder suspect.


My Review:
Snow White Red-Handed is a historical mystery set in 1867 in Germany. Actually, it's more of a suspense novel as Ophelia, Prue, and Gabriel repeatedly walk into danger. Everyone has a hidden motive, and some suspects are willing to kill to get what they want!

The characters were varied, interesting, and generally likable. The mystery was clue-based, but it was such a muddle of motives that anyone could have done it. I was able to figure out several strands of secrets before the heroes, but I didn't know whodunit for certain until right before our heroes. The author did a good job with an interesting concept. I didn't care about the characters enough to get fully engaged in their suspenseful adventure, but other readers may. I enjoyed the story in any case.

There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'm recommend this interesting mystery/suspense novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, November 10, 2014

DOGS OF WAR tv series

I was given the opportunity to pre-view the premiere episode of a new reality series on A&E called DOGS OF WAR. The show premieres Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 10PM ET/PT and then moves to Sundays at 10PM ET/PT beginning Nov. 16.

You can view the trailer here: https://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-15cPBPbgs.

Show description: DOGS OF WAR spotlights combat veteran Jim Stanek, who returns home struggling with PTSD. He looked into getting a service dog to help him heal, only to discover how expensive they are, and how long the wait to be paired with one is. So he started his own nonprofit to rescue dogs from kill shelters, train them as service dogs and partner them with struggling veterans at little or no cost.

My review: The premiere episode showed a little about how the dogs were selected and initially trained. The episode followed one man who needed a service dog from his choosing his dog, through them training together, and how things were going after several months. I thought the show did a good job getting across how PTSD effects a person's life and how they view the "normal" world. (Of course, I don't have it so I don't really know how well they did, but it made me feel like I better understood what it was like to have it.) It was positive show that was inspiring to watch.

There was some bad language which was bleeped out in the version I watched; I assuming it's also bleeped out in the actual show. I'd recommend this show to pet lovers and those who want to better understand PTSD.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mrs. Jeffries and the Merry Gentlemen by Emily Brightwell

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Mrs. Jeffries and the Merry Gentlemen
by Emily Brightwell


ISBN-13: 9780425268094
Mass Market Paperback:
288 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: November 4, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Orlando Edison is a stockbroker using London’s infatuation with foreign mining ventures to make a fortune. He has curried favor with the nation’s most respected aristocrats, even inviting three influential investors—known as the Merry Gentlemen—to be part of his latest enterprise. Edison is welcomed in the highest circles and moves with ease among the rich and powerful. But a few days before Christmas, he is found murdered.

Inspector Witherspoon and his household are looking forward to the festive season. But they all know their duty, and led by the intrepid Mrs. Jeffries, they plan to see justice served for the holidays . . .


My Review:
Mrs. Jeffries and the Merry Gentlemen is a historical mystery set in Victorian England. This was the 32nd book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil any previous whodunits.

The characters were likable and acted realistically. The household gets off to a slow start due to other interests distracting them from investigating. I liked how Witherspoon did some good investigation on his end and how he's getting better at catching on to clues without help. Of course, I like how the the household helps by collecting vital clues that they're uniquely suited to discover. Team effort!

The mystery was a clue-based puzzle-mystery. I was able to understand what were important leads/clues a little faster than Mrs. Jeffries, but it took longer than normal for me to feel any certainty about whodunit. So the pacing on the clues and leads was good.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this well-written, engaging mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

False Pretenses by Kathy Herman

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False Pretenses
by Kathy Herman


ISBN-13: 9780781406185
ebook: 389 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook
Released: January 1st 2011

Source: A free ebook promotional offer.

Publisher's Book Description, modified:
Zoe Broussard loves the life she and her husband Pierce have built in her beloved Louisiana hometown especially their popular restaurant, Zoe B s. It seems like heaven. But it's about to become hell. A series of anonymous notes is making her life a misery. Zoe has lied to people about her past and who she is, and her lies could leave the business in shambles and tear her marriage apart. Can she find the courage to face her past?


My Review:
False Pretenses is a Christian suspense novel. The story is about a woman who is ashamed of her past and so she took a new identity and began a new life. But now someone is threatening to tell about her past, and she's afraid people will reject her when they discover who she was and that she's lied to them. This is the first book in a series. Some characters are apparently from a previous series, and they talk about past events. That vague information might spoil some of the suspense in that previous series, but I don't actually know if it will.

The suspense is created by relationship tensions and from physical danger. The characters were interesting, varied, and complex. I guessed whodunit and who the blackmailer was long before Zoe caught on, but it was realistic that she wouldn't guess. The story wasn't really about guessing whodunit, anyway, and the suspense was well-handled. The Christian element was mainly provided by a minor character who was wronged by Zoe. This woman showed Christ's love and encouraged Zoe to be honest with her husband and friends--though Zoe didn't take that advice too well.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this suspenseful novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll

As a member of Amazon Vine, I'm able to review books through them, but--as I understand the terms--I'm only allowed to post my review on Amazon. Because I liked this book, I'm posting a description of the book here with a direct link to my review on Amazon.

book cover
Hidden in the Stars
by Robin Caroll


ISBN-13: 9781426773600
Trade Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Released: September 16, 2014

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Following an attack that killed her mother and destroyed her future as a gymnast, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery struggles through her grief and confusion over the attack. Detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, but his undeniable attraction to Sophia isn’t helping. Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret that's been hiding in plain sight?

My Review: Link to my review on Amazon.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Off Kilter by Hannah Reed

book cover
Off Kilter
by Hannah Reed


ISBN-13: 9780425265826
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: October 7, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
After the recent death of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage, thirty-something Eden Elliott is seriously in need of a fresh start. At the urging of her best friend, Eden decides to embark on an open-ended trip to the picturesque village of Glenkillen in the Scottish Highlands to do some hands-on research for her romance novel. But as soon as Eden arrives in the quaint town, she gets caught up in a very real drama…

The town’s sheep shearer is found murdered and the locals suspect Vicki MacBride, an outsider whose father’s recent death left her the surprise heir to his lucrative sheep farm. Eden refuses to believe the affable heiress is a murderer, but can she prove that someone is out to frame her new friend?


My Review:
Off Kilter is a cozy mystery set in Scotland. The author wove vivid descriptions of the landscape and local foods into the story which gave it the feel of a travelogue.

The mystery was clue-based, but there weren't many clues. There were enough suspects who could fit those clues that I wasn't certain of whodunit, but my "increasingly likely" guess did turn out to be correct. Only the main character, her two love interests, and a volunteer cop were developed much in terms of personality and background. However, the characters did act realistically to the various events and the "good guy" characters were generally likable.

There were no sex scenes. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.