Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday


Three-star review of Over Her Dead Body by Susan Walter

 A convoluted story with several predictable twists and a couple that weren’t predictable. The characters were well-developed. Too bad none of them were particularly likeable with flaws and actions that would be hard to forgive. Would-be actress Ashley becomes entangled with former casting director Louisa’s dysfunctional family. Told from the POV of each of the characters, including Ashley’s housemate, the book repeats scenes from different viewpoints, often revealing secrets each character has. Still, this was a fast, sometimes suspenseful read. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of Keeper of Enchanted Rooms (Whimbrel House Book 1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

 Another fun fantasy read from Charlie N. Holmberg. When author Merritt Fernsby suddenly inherits a house said to haunted on an otherwise uninhabited island in Narragansett Bay, Hulda Larkin, trained to tame enchanted houses, is assigned as his housekeeper by BIKER, the Boston Institute for the Keeping of Enchanted Rooms. Merritt’s previous estrangement from his family over a teenage indiscretion and Hulda’s prior encounter with British magician extraordinaire Silas Hogwood, who steals magical abilities from others eventual present obstacles to their life at Whimbrel House.

 The characters are well-developed, particularly Merritt and Hulda. Interesting steam punk-like kinetic energy-driven boats and trams add a touch of science fiction to a story set in the mid-1800s in New England. I always felt like I was there with the characters on their adventures. The touch of romance was just right. I want be Charlie Holmberg when I grow up or at least write like her, given she’s less than half my age.


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday


Four-star (more like 4.5-star) review of A Train to Moscow by Elena Gorakhova

 This was an interesting book. I couldn't help comparing it to Annie Karenina, (spoiler alert) especially the ending. Then again, it’s Russia and a rather Russian story. I also thought of Casablanca at the end. A girl, Sasha, grows up in a tiny Russian hamlet and dreams of becoming an Actress. (The capital A is appropriate.) Acting and playing a fictional character, for her, is important as a way to show people reality, but she lives in post-WWII Russia, where art of any kind is restricted to that which shows the Soviet Union in a good light. Although she earns a place at a drama school in Moscow and goes on to a career at a theater in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), she also must deal with friends and family at home. Her grandmother waits for a son who never came home from the war but also supports Sasha emotionally. Her mother, a doctor, seems to struggle with what she believes. And her stern grandfather frowns at her choice of career and is a die-hard Communist. Her remaining childhood best friend and sometime lover rises through the ranks of the party. The plot is tightly woven and the characters well-written. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of Vox by Christina Dalcher

 This is a book I’d recommend not only to women but also to men. It’s a cautionary story about a near-future United States where women and girls are limited to 100 words a day. A band on their wrists shocks them for each word over that and after a certain number of infractions they are brought before Reverend Carl Corbin, instigator for the Pure Movement, the quasi-religious and political push to limit women’s rights. Women can’t have a bank account, hold a job, even read a book. The first-person protagonist, Jean McClellan, a neurolinguist, wasn't allowed to finish her work on a serum to reverse aphasia. She’s now a stay-at-home mother to four children, the youngest a girl. Mounting motivations for Jean to do something include an adulterous affair with a former colleague, my least favorite part of the story. Her fears for her daughter’s future and her own mother’s illness in Italy are more acceptable reasons. There were a couple of holes in the plot but were supplanted by the message about not standing by and watching as these things creep up on us.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Tuesday book review


Three-star review of Credible Threat, Ali Reynolds series book 15 by J.A. Jance

 Surprisingly stilted dialog in the 15th book in the series. I’ve enjoyed Jance’s other series and always found the writing smooth, but this story of a woman would-be assassin after the priest at the head of the Phoenix, Arizona diocese was repetitious at times with way too many descriptions of people driving somewhere. It could have been a tighter write and thereby a more exciting read. The elements and characters for all kinds of tension were there, and some were realized, but I wish that more were. Telling the story from Ali’s viewpoint, the murderer’s and others required intricate plotting and timing but also contributed to the reader being told the same things more than once.