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Fiction Review – The Rose Garden

January 17th, 2019

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Review by Mirah W. (mwelday)

I have read a few Kearsley novels and I never know how to label them.  Fiction? Supernatural? Romance? Historical Fiction?  Kearsley’s novels seem to have a bit of everything and The Rose Garden was no exception.

Eva and her sister Katrina had a very close relationship.  When Katrina dies, her husband asks Eva to take Katrina’s ashes to a place Katrina loved and where she felt like she belonged.  Eva settles on Cornwall, where she and Katrina spent their childhood summers and shared many happy moments.

Eva hasn’t been to Cornwall in many years, but when she arrives at Trelowarth House it was like she had never been gone.  Her friends embraced her, and she was able to say her final goodbye to her sister Katrina.  But one morning she hears voices in an adjoining room, only there is no one there.  Not long after, Eva finds herself slipping through some sort of time shift and she is taken back to the eighteenth century at Trelowarth House.  She meets Daniel Butler, his brother Jack, and Fergal O’Cleary and in her shifts back and forth between the present and past, Eva gets to know these men and becomes a part of their lives.  When she realizes she has fallen in love with Daniel she is at a loss of how they can possibly have a life together.  What Kearsley develops is a story with connections from the past that impact the family who lives at Trelowarth House in the present. With the help of a trusted confidant, Eva comes to understand her place in both of those times.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I am unsure of how to label this novel.  There are elements of several genres and Kearsley finds a way to merge them all together to create a novel that has a little of everything without it seeming unfocused.  Additionally, the characters are likeable and as the reader I wanted them to be happy.  While I did enjoy The Rose Garden, I don’t think it felt as streamlined as some of Kearsley’s other novels.  When the mystery of how Eva is able to shift through time is answered, it’s not covered as deftly as I would have expected based on other Kearsley novels I’ve read; however, I still think the story was lovely and worth a read.

 

 

 

 

 

Paranormal Review – Loving You with Teeth and Claws A Dead Things Prequel

January 15th, 2019

Loving You With Teeth and Claws: A Dead Things Prequel

by Martina McAtee

Review by Donna C. (darkcoffeeclouds)

This is the first book by Martina McAtee that I’ve read and it is totally outside of my usual genres.  I was just so drawn in by the unusual covers of her books.  She won the 2016 Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal for her first book, Children Shouldn’t play with Dead Things.  This book, Loving You with Teeth and Claws, is a prequel to the series.  Martina McAttee’s books are Young Adult and Paranormal with a bit of Romance to keep things simmering.  I loved this book and can’t wait to read Book 1, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things.

This story starts with Neoma, a young girl who is being chased by Dylan (a wolf shifter).  She hides from him but he can smell her.  She is so scared of him but she can’t remember why exactly.  She just knows that if he finds her, he will take her to the woman again and they will hurt her.  She finds a place and tries to make herself very small.  He finds her though, he always does, and in her frightened state she feels power coming up to her from the ground and then Dylan is dead.  At least she thinks he is.  She runs to the woods and runs into Wren.  She was so relieved because Dylan had told her that Wren was dead and couldn’t save her.

Wren doesn’t know what has been going on but he knows something isn’t right.  He left Neoma with his family to look out for her but they let someone hurt her.  He took Neoma and ran. They had to get as far away from there as they could before his dad found out they were gone.  They go to an old witch who tells him that someone has been hurting Neoma but he can’t see the scars because she has been glamoured.  There were also many other spells on her, some blocking her memory.  The witch showed Wren a glimpse of what Neoma really looked like and it was awful.  He couldn’t believe someone would do such a think to such a sweet little girl.  Then the witch suddenly told him the little girl has a passenger and is attacked by someone Wren can’t see.  The witch told him to get out of there and go to a town that is hidden by magic to see his betrothed.  He grabs Neoma and runs thinking maybe this person and her pack can help protect them from his father who desperately wants Neoma back.  Wren doesn’t understand why his father wants Neoma so badly but he plans to do whatever it takes to protect her.  Meanwhile, Alpha wolf, Isa McGowan, is trying to get four pre-teens out the door for school so she can get to work on time.  She is only 22 but can’t live her life like she would like to.  She has to care for these kids and run a restaurant to stay afloat.  Her pack isn’t what it used to be but she is doing all she can.  She also has no idea of the mess that is heading her way.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Fiction Review – The Gift

December 4th, 2018

The Gift by Richard Paul Evans

Review by Donna C. (darkcoffeeclouds)

 

This is a great book to read at this time of the year.  It is sad but doesn’t leave you sad because the story comes wrapped up with hope. It is like the story of Christ and how he died, but he died for a purpose and presented us with his gift.  This book is about a little boy named Collin who also had a gift. He was a very sick little boy with cancer and heart failure and he had a little sister who loved him very much. He lived with his mom, Addison,  who worked very hard to make sure he and his sister were taken care of.

Nathan Hurst met this little family in a crowded airport when a snow storm shut down all flights and the roads leading to the airport.  The airport was full of stranded, tired, and very frustrated people. Nathan’s employer provided him with a hotel room at the airport but many people were out of luck and had to sleep in the chairs or on the floor.  When Nathan saw the woman with the sick little boy and his little sister who was very tired he offered her his hotel room.  He was also very sick with bronchitis and she didn’t feel right taking his room. It turned out that he ended up with the only room left, which was a suite with two rooms so they decided he would stay in one and the little family stayed in the other.  Later, when they were getting to know each other something amazing happened. The little boy put his hand on Nathan’s head and healed him. He didn’t just heal his bronchitis but also his Tourett’s syndrome.  Nathan didn’t say anything at first because of how ridiculous it sounded.  No one would believe him, but he knew that little boy was special.

Collin’s mother didn’t want anyone to know about his gift because every time he healed someone, he got sicker.  She knew everyone would be begging for his help and it would kill him. What she didn’t expect was people trying to use his gift for monetary gain. It was bound to happen and it eventually did.  Someone saw Collin work his magic and the chaos began.

This story hits on a few other topics as well, like greed and forgiveness, especially forgiving yourself and letting go of the pain.  Nathan had been holding onto something very painful that happened when he was a child.  He never talked to anyone about it and it was like a festering wound that was preventing him from really living his life.  Collin helped him realize that it was time to let it go and to finally start living.  I know from experience that can be very hard to do, even when you desperately want to.  This book doesn’t take long to read but it is worth the time.

 

 

 

 

Free Book Friday Winner!

December 3rd, 2018

 

The Winner of Delia’s Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer is:

 

Brian T. (bookboy1971)

 

Congratulations! Your book will be on the way soon!

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Mystery Monday Review – A Connoisseur’s Case

December 3rd, 2018

A Connoisseur’s Case by Michael Innes

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

This 1962 mystery is known as The Crabtree Case in the US. It is a late novel with series hero Sir John Appleby in his retirement. It begins with the Applebys taking a summer country walk and to Sir John’s chagrin, Judith wants to barge in on Scroop House, to look over the valuable antique furniture of a stately mansion.

Crossing an old canal and ending up at a pub run by on an obnoxious poser, they fall into conversation with Seth Crabtree, a stage rustic who seems to have walked out of Hardy’s The Woodlanders. As the former cabinet maker for mansion, he tells them of the glory days of Scoop House and its owner Mrs Coulson, a grand collector of objets d’art and antiques. Shortly after, the Applebys find Crabtree floating in the canal, shot dead. Though not as dramatic as the earlier novels, this still features tight, witty writing.

“Judith looked south—which was towards what Appleby had called the secondary motor road. All she saw was a momentary glint of light.

“‘I think,’ she said, `that I saw the sun reflected from the wind screen of a passing car. Right?’

“‘Right as far as you go. What you saw was a silver-grey Rolls-Royce Phantom V.’

“‘My dear John, it’s terribly vulgar to name cars—particularly astoundingly expensive ones. It’s only done by cheap novelists. You must just say: `a very large car.”

“Appleby received this with hilarity.”

Take that Ian Fleming, you brand name-dropper you. If you find this kind of thing as hilarious as Sir John and I do, you should read Michael Innes.

 

 

Free Book Friday!

November 30th, 2018

 


Delia’s Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer

 

It is the dawn of a new century in San Francisco and Delia Martin is a wealthy young woman whose life appears ideal. But a dark secret colors her life, for Delia’s most loyal companions are ghosts, as she has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with an ability to peer across to the other side. — Since the great quake rocked her city in 1906, Delia has been haunted by an avalanche of the dead clamoring for her help. Delia flees to the other side of the continent, hoping to gain some peace. After several years in New York, Delia believes she is free…until one determined specter appears and she realizes that she must return to the City by the Bay in order to put this tortured soul to rest. It will not be easy, as the ghost is only one of the many victims of a serial killer who was never caught. A killer who after thirty years is killing again. And who is now aware of Delia’s existence.

ISBN 9780765331854, Paperback

To enter, simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member in good standing to win.

We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 12 noon EST, to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

 

 

 

Mystery Monday Review – The Smell of the Night

November 26th, 2018

The Smell of the Night by Andrea Camilleri

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

In Sicily, like everywhere else, people aren’t into thrift as much they hope to make a big score for an easy-going old age. And the big score is exactly what Emanuele Gargano, the self-styled wizard of finance, promises. Gargano, in his forties, tall, elegant and so handsome that he seems to have stepped out of an American movie, cultivates a reputation as a brilliant wheeler-dealer in financial matters.

After almost the entire population of the province of Montelusa has entrusted him with their nest eggs, he suddenly vanishes. Having disappeared with everybody’s life savings, the previously admired figure becomes the most hated man south of Naples. Of course, in Vigàta, too, the manure has hit the ventilating device and enraged pensioners are on the look-out for the dastardly thief and their promised returns.

Series hero (this is Book #6) Commissario Montalbano accidentally gets into a situation, whose consequences he cannot foresee at the beginning. Although a senior investigator argues that the “financial wizard” has been rubbed out by the Mafia, Montalbano believes there is more to it than a gangland killing. Although this case is not part of his job, nosy,he gets deeper and deeper into it.

Maverick Montalbano does what he wants. To say the least, the energetic and emotional inspector is idiosyncratic. He seems to hold a special position, because he opposes orders and invents excuses to get around his superiors with few consequences. In addition, one can call his methods of investigation quite unconventional.

The author skillfully combines the criminal case with a view of Sicily and its inhabitants, so that one would like to pack the suitcases straight away and head for the Med. One feels sympathy with Montalbano who mourns the island’s transformation into a concrete wasteland. The nostalgic tone will remind one of Simenon saying goodbye to his Paris in the late Maigret novels of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Camilleri writes easy, less frilly prose but in no way unimaginatively. His stories are not overloaded, getting to the point right away. Also the humor comes in welcome doses, as in the other books. But too much Montalbano in a row could be tiring, so enjoy them in widely spaced readings.