9/29/13

The Gods of Newport by John Jakes



  ★★½

GENRE: Historical Fiction
SUBJECT: society standards, nouveau riche
Setting: Newport, RI
CHARACTERS: Sam Driver, Jenny Driver, Prince Molloy, Bill Brady, Mozart, Harry Lehr
DATE READ: September 18 - September 25
NO. OF PAGES: 480
Off the Shelf (pre-2013)? Source?:   yes, Audio stockpile

PLOT:....................................................................3.00
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................2.50
TOPICS: ...............................................................2.50
STYLE:..................................................................3.00
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................2.50
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................2.00
OWNERSHIP:......................................................2.00
Threshold Quality.................................................2.50
Average..............................................................................................2.50


This was the story of Sam Driver and his daughter Jenny.  Sam was a railroad baron who worked his way to being a millionaire at the turn of the century and ten set out to get his daughter accepted in polite society in Newport.

I thought this book would be a little bit better because John Jakes is known for his historical novels, but the characters were stereotypical and the story predictable.

9/25/13

A Killer Read by Erika Chase



  ★★★½

GENRE: Cozy Mystery
SUBJECT: Mystery book club
Setting: Ashton Corners, AL
CHARACTERS: Lizzie Turner, Molly Mathews, Sally Jo Baker, Mark Dreyfus, Amber Craig, Dwayne Trowl
DATE READ: September 21 - September 24
NO. OF PAGES: 283
Off the Shelf (pre-2013)? Source?:   yes, shelf stockpile

PLOT:....................................................................3.00
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................3.50
TOPICS: ...............................................................3.75
STYLE:..................................................................3.50
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................4.00
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................3.50
OWNERSHIP:......................................................3.00
Threshold Quality.................................................3.75
Average..............................................................................................3.50

Lizzie Turner, a reading teacher, has returned to her hometown and with old friends has started a literacy group as well as a book group.

At the first group meeting they are interrupted by a stranger who later turns up dead.  The police arrive and take it in their heads that one of the club members is the murderer so the club participants set out to solve the murder.

It was really fun to read this cozy especially since other real life cozies were quoted and talked about, even ones I've read.

9/23/13

Mailbox Monday


This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Notorius Spinks Talks. The wonderful weekly meme gives us a chance to shout out books that appeared in our mailboxes (real or virtual) so here is what appeared in my mailbox this week.

Well, this past week my husband took off on a golf outing and left me home by myself for 4 days.  The fee for this desertion was my book bill!
I supposed I could have "punished" him more but I didn't want to get greedy.  I got these for my Nook in my virtual mailbox.





9/22/13

9/21/13

Bond of Passion by Bertrice Small



 ★★★¼

GENRE: Historical Fiction/Romance
SUBJECT: Scottish revolution 
Setting: Scotland
CHARACTERS: Annabelle Baird, Angus Ferguson, Mary Queen of Scots, James Hepburn
DATE READ: September 16 - September 20
NO. OF PAGES: 432
Off the Shelf (pre-2013)? Source?:   yes, shelf stockpile

PLOT:....................................................................3.00
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................3.50
TOPICS: ...............................................................3.50
STYLE:..................................................................3.50
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................3.00
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................3.00
OWNERSHIP:......................................................3.50
Threshold Quality.................................................3.00
Average..............................................................................................3.25

Annabelle is not a beautiful woman, but as the oldest of his daughters, she must be wed before three sisters and they must all be gone before their brother can take a wife.  Annabelle's father is determined that her deficiencies will not hamper her prospects and bargains with the Earl of Duin, Angus Ferguson, to add a parcel of land to her dower if the Earl will take her for his wife.

After the ceremony, the two newlyweds work at becoming friends which brings their passions to a head and leads to adventures for both during these turbulent times in Scotland.

I liked the main characters but story and the secondary characters were a bit same old, same old, however, the steamy love scenes will always keep me coming back for more.

9/20/13

Dark Assassin by Anne Perry



  ★★★¼

GENRE: Mystery
SUBJECT: underground sewers, dangers for workings
Setting: London, England
CHARACTERS: William Monk, Hester Monk, Sergeant Orme, Mary Havilland, Toby Argyll
DATE READ: September 14 - September 19
NO. OF PAGES: 352
Off the Shelf (pre-2013)? Source?:   yes, Audio stockpile

PLOT:....................................................................3.00
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................3.00
TOPICS: ...............................................................3.50
STYLE:..................................................................3.50
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................3.00
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................3.00
OWNERSHIP:......................................................3.00
Threshold Quality.................................................3.50
Average..............................................................................................3.19

Monk has decided that the time has come of returning to the police force and has joined the River Police.  While patrolling the river, Monk is witness to two young people falling off a bridge and their drownings being unable to reach them before their deaths.

Unsure whether it was a suicide, accident or murder/suicide, Monk investigates finding more dangers than anticipated because of the "apparent" suicide of the victim's father several months previous.  Monk must address that death as well bringing him back into connection with Horace Runcorn, his previous superior on the police force.

The interaction between these two characters, the changes in their responses to each other, expanded these characters but other secondary characters (Monk's new subordinates)were left without being fully fleshed out.

Hopefully, the next installment will  remedy what was lacking here.

9/18/13

Longboat Blues by H. Terrell Griffin



★★★¼
GENRE: Mystery
SUBJECT: stolen identity, fugitives
Setting: Longboat Key, FL
CHARACTERS: Matt Royal, Logan Hamilton, Elizabeth Ferguson, Anne Dubose, Hale Rundel, 
DATE READ: September 14 - September 15
NO. OF PAGES: 224
Off the Shelf (pre-2013)? Source?:   yes, Nook stockpile

PLOT:....................................................................3.50
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................3.50
TOPICS: ...............................................................3.00
STYLE:..................................................................3.50
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................3.00
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................3.00
OWNERSHIP:......................................................3.00
Threshold Quality.................................................3.50
Average..............................................................................................3.25


Matt Royal was a high-powered attorney in Atlanta, when his world disintegrated when his wife left him. Deciding that the law wasn't for him anymore, he "retired" to Longboat Key in Florida.  When his friend Logan is accused of murdering his sometimes girlfriend, Matt comes out of retirement to find the real murderer and save his friend.

I loved the story and the characters.  I'm not sure whether the problems were in the editing or in the writing - grammar errors and spelling errors popped up every so often.  Once I figured out what the writer intended, I was able to move forward.  In the first book that I read which was later in this series, there were no problems, so I'm thinking editing.

I will definitely continue the series.

9/16/13

Mailbox Monday




This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Notorius Spinks Talks. The wonderful weekly meme gives us a chance to shout out books that appeared in our mailboxes (real or virtual) so here is what appeared in my mailbox this week.



I was absolutely delighted when the mailman delivered this newest Laura Childs Scrapbooking cozy.   Ms. Childs has been generous to me in sending her new books, I'll definitely be putting this at the top of the TBR pile.


9/15/13

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott


  ★★★

GENRE: Romance
SUBJECT: Normans vs. Saxons, Richard II reign
Setting: England
CHARACTERS: Ivanhoe, Cedric, Rowena, Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert, Isaac the Jew, Rebecca, Prince John, Black Knight, Robin of Locklsley
DATE READ: September 12 - September 13
NO. OF PAGES: 532
Off the Shelf (pre-2013)? Source?:   yes, Nook stockpile

PLOT:....................................................................3.00
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................3.00
TOPICS: ...............................................................3.00
STYLE:..................................................................2.50
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................2.50
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................2.50
OWNERSHIP:......................................................3.00
Threshold Quality.................................................3.00
Average..............................................................................................2.81

This historical fiction adventure story may have been sensational in the early 19th century but history has been told far better in the 20th century so the book doesn't really hold up well.

This tale of Normans vs. Saxons in the reign of Richard the Lionheart also showed the social division of the Christians vs. Jews. Broken into three sections, we see Ivanhoe at the tournament as a disinherited knight, the captivity of the major characters and the trial of the Jewess, Rebecca, for sorcery.  The story was entertaining but not sensational.

9/14/13

The Arrangement by Mary Balogh


 ★★★★

GENRE: Romance
SUBJECT: handicap adjustments
Setting: England 
CHARACTERS: Vincent Hunt, Sophia Fry, Lord Trentham, Lady Trentham, Martin Fisk
DATE READ: September 11 - September 13
NO. OF PAGES: 366
Off the Shelf (pre-2013)? Source?:   yes, LT ER

PLOT:....................................................................3.00
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................4.00
TOPICS: ...............................................................4.00
STYLE:..................................................................4.00
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................4.00
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................4.50
OWNERSHIP:......................................................4.00
Threshold Quality.................................................4.50
Average..............................................................................................4.00

Having a title and being wealthy overcomes even his blindness for Vincent Hunt , Lord Darleigh.  Eager mamas work at manipulating it so that Vincent is forced to choose one of their daughters but when a wallflower saves him from a compromising position, Vincent feels obligated to rescue Sophia Fry when she is thrown out on the streets.  Needing a wife to get an heir, and liking Sophia, Vincent decides that Sophia will fill the bill. 

This book had an unusual story with a positive outlook at life.  I kept waiting for the expected miracle cure, but the book showed that love was the miracle.

9/11/13

Strike From the Deep by Bob Branco



 ★★★¾

GENRE: Thriller
SUBJECT: modern day piracy
Setting: Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden
CHARACTERS:
DATE READ: September 1 - September 11
NO. OF PAGES: 297
Off the Shelf (pre-2013)? Source?:   yes, ARC from author

PLOT:....................................................................3.50
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................3.00
TOPICS: ...............................................................4.00
STYLE:..................................................................3.00
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................4.50
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................4.00
OWNERSHIP:......................................................3.00
Threshold Quality.................................................3.75
Average..............................................................................................3.72

An international naval task force takes on  Somalian pirates that have been capturing  merchant ships carrying oil and natural gas and holding them for ransom.  But now a new twist is inserted and the conflict gets more dangerous. The action is jolting grabbing the reader until the very end.

I loved the story but the beginning was a little too detailed causing the narrative to seem slow, but once the story gets moving, it grabs you until the end!

9/9/13

Mailbox Monday

This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Notorius Spinks Talks. The wonderful weekly meme gives us a chance to shout out books that appeared in our mailboxes (real or virtual) so here is what appeared in my mailbox this week.



I finally managed to find a copy used in the upper Northwest - a bargain at $5.  This will move me one more President further in my USPC.





9/8/13

Challenge Book# 76

TITLE: [Through a Glass Darkly]  ★★★
AUTHOR: Donna Leon
GENRE: Mystery
SUBJECT: Pollution, birth defects
Setting: Venice, Italy
CHARACTERS: Commissario Guido Brunetti, Signorina Elettra, Signor De Cal, Tassini
DATE READ: August 30 - September 6
NO. OF PAGES: 397
Off the Shelf (pre-2013)? Source?:   yes, Audio Stockpile

PLOT:....................................................................3.00
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................3.50
TOPICS: ...............................................................3.00
STYLE:..................................................................3.00
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................3.00
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................3.00
OWNERSHIP:......................................................3.00
Threshold Quality.................................................4.00
Average..............................................................................................3.19


Commissario Brunetti continues to evolve as a crusader investigating where crimes may occurring before an official crime is reported.

This time on the island of Murano at the glass factories, has there been polluting gone unreported which may have caused a chi8ld to be born with severe defects?  When the father who has been making such claims is found dead near one of the glass furnaces, Brunetti sets out to undercover the truth.