Beach House for Rent

Beach House for Rent
Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe

Saturday's Series Spotlight

Saturday's Series Spotlight
Saturday's Series Spotlight

Monday, April 29, 2013

THE TOOTH TATTOO


The Tooth Tattoo is the 13th Peter Diamond novel. This book is scheduled for release in April 2013. This is a Soho Crime publication. The author is Peter Lovesey. While taking a brief and rare weekend off together, Peter and Paloma tour Vienna. While there, they come across a shrine of flowers remembering a Japanese girl who had died. The death of the girl and the tribute to her deeply effected Paloma, while Peter remains detached, a occupational hazard. As a result, when they return home, a rift develops between them when Peter has the death looked into. In the meanwhile, the team is worried about cut backs so when a similar murder occurs closer to home, Peter launches an all out investigation. Were the deaths of two Japanese girls found in the water four years apart somehow related? What on earth did a classical music quartet have to do with it? The quirky group of classical musicians all seem to have a secret or issues of some kind. Their intense focus on the music makes them seem uninterested in the death of two girls that were big fans of their music. To add to the mystery, one the group's members disappeared right around the time of the first girl's death. As Peter tries to determine what each girl had in common and their connection to the quartet, he struggles with the issues that have developed between him and Paloma.This is a good British detective novel. The tooth tattoo is an actual adornment that is very popular in Japan. I had no idea. The musical references were also interesting. You do not have to be a fan of classical music or be knowledgeable about it to enjoy the novel. Most of the detectives openly admitted a limited about of knowledge about Beethoven and so you won't feel left out if you've never heard of some of the pieces that were mentioned. The three original members of the quartet are odd ducks to be sure. Each one has a unique personality that you either love or don't. But, they all seem to be uneasy and you have to wonder why. The newest member, Mel, is a viola player. Another thing I learned about while reading this book. This instrument is obviously related to the violin, but has a few differences. Mel is at the center of the story since he is the newest member of the quartet. Mel is a bit of a womanizer, but mostly likeable. But, is he a possible victim or could he be involved in the murders? An inventive whodunit, with some humor and wit to off set the prevailing sad tone the book initially started out with. Peter is a little down in this one, but he isn't out. Overall a satisfying mystery. I give this one a B+. Thanks to Soho publishing and Edelweiss for the ARC .

Friday, April 26, 2013

THE REVENGE OF MORIARTY


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Revenge of Moriarty: Sherlock Holmes' Nemesis Lives Again by John Gardner is a re-release by Open Road Media/Pegasus books. I recieved a digital copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley. I believe this book was originally published in 1975. As the title states, Moriarty is alive and well and back in London. Detective Crow and Sherlock Holmes are on the villian's list of people he seeks to destroy. As always the professor is diabolical and cunning. He hatches a complicated plan to take over as the leader of underworld crime in Europe as well as getting rid of his enemies. Each member of his gang that had branched out on his own while Moriarty was away is taught a valuable lesson as to who is really the one in charge. But, when it comes to besting Crow and Holmes, Moriarty may have met his match. The author writes this book as if it were actual events and not a novel. This is a unique approach and I felt like at times I was reading a true crime novel set back in the 1800's. I thought this was a clever way of telling the story. I have to admit though that I struggled to keep up with all the characters. Moriarty has quite an entourage and used other people to help him carry out his schemes. I also found myself a little bored at first. But, if you continue on with the book, the action picks up and through the last half of  the book I  was a lot more engaged. This was an interesting read if nothing else. I would recommend this book to fans of Sherlock Holmes and mystery lovers that enjoy old school detective stories. Overall I would give this one a C+.Thanks again to the publishers and Netgalley for the oppportunity to read and review this book.

Monday, April 22, 2013

THE BURNING AIR


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Burning Air is a Viking Adult publication with a Feb. 2013 release date. Often I have found that novels promoted as psychological thrillers really don't fall into that genre. Many times they are just mysteries or thrillers with a darker edge to them, but in the case of The Burning Air by Erin Kelly, the description of psychological thriller is dead on. Rowan and Lydia have an idealic life. They have a good marriage, three healthy children, great careers, a nice house. But, when Rowan, a head master at a prestigious school is targeted by an obsessed mother and son over the rejection of a scholorship, the family finds their lives being scripted for them by a clever villian bent on revenge. Writing a review for this book is like walking through a land mine. I don't want to give away anything, so let's just say that this book has many twist and turns. Lydia is dying of cancer. We learn that she has kept journals for her entire married life and that mixed into the mundane everyday musings are some terribly dark secrets. When Lydia passes away, the family gathers for a traditional bonfire with their father. Over this weekend, the long buried secrets that tormented Lydia threaten to come to light. Circumstances will bring this family together and bond them forever as they face an enemy and deal with life and death situations they never saw coming. For me, psychological suspense by definition is dark, twisty, and taut. Believe me, this book is all of those things. But, it is also the story of the strength of family. In the end we are left with the feeling that all those who remain will now be completely free from the past and will move forward with the help and love of one another. The book was well written, well plotted and utterly absorbing. Highly recommend! Thanks to Netgalley and Viking publishing for the ARC

Thursday, April 18, 2013

ONE MORE KISS


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One more Kiss by Mary Blayney is a Bantam publication with a tentative release date of April 2013. This is the fifth in a series, but you wouldn't know it was part of a series. It could easily be read as a stand alone novel. Jess Pennistan is "gamer" and arch enemy of Lord Crenshaw. After losing some land to Crenshaw while gambling, Jess has shown up at a house party hosted by a Countess, a good friend to Mr. Brent- a man in "trade", but wealthy enough and connected enough to try and get his daughters, Beatrice and Cecilia, a season in London. The party was  given to introduce Beatrice and Cecilia to different elements of society and give them some "practice" at flirtation. All Jess and Viscount Bendabrook want is to spend their time gambling, hopefully giving Jess the chance to win back the land he lost to Crenshaw. Beatrice and Cecilia have been warned to steer clear of Jess due to his terrible reputation. But, Beatrice is instantly taken with him. Jess also finds himself curious about Beatrice. The Brent sisters couldn't be more different. Beatrice is content to focus on education, art and hopefully a career instead of marriage. Cecilia is overly cautious, takes few risk, always does as she is told. She is known for her beauty, but nothing deeper than that. A season in London is much more important to Cecilia than it is to Beatrice. But, Beatrice is determined to see her sister's dreams come true. Beatrice is curious about Jess. The details of his fall from grace are unknown to her and she is determined to find out what scandals he was guilty of. Much to her surprise she finds that some people consider Jess a hero and a very honorable man. This makes Beatrice even more curious and more attracted to Jess. Meanwhile, Viscount Bendabrook is smitten by Cecilia and each works to prove to the other that they see past looks and are looking for something deeper in a person. The courtship between the Viscount and Cecilia provides some laugh out loud moments.,When I first saw the reviews for this one on Goodreads, I noticed there were some rather lukewarm reactions. No, there is nothing groundbreaking here. It is a typical regency period historical romance. No, there isn't a lot of explicit sex scenes. In fact, on the steam level it would only rate a two. The story was drawn out a bit longer that it should have and could have been cut down just a bit. Having said that, I did enjoy the story. Beatrice being a free spirited girl, was open minded about Jess and didn't form a negative opinion about him until she had the facts straight. Her sister, Cecilia is more delicate, and more innocent and less confident, but learned to take risk and prove she had brains as well as beauty. The character of Jess and his efforts to help someone at a great cost to his personal reputation, shows us he is not the rogue that even he has convinced himself that he is. I was also impressed with the author's staying true to the ethics and language and behavior of the time period. The book is well written, the story is sweet, and has a HEA for all. Overall a B. Thanks to the publishers and Edelweiss for the  ARC.

Friday, April 12, 2013

ALL A WOMAN WANTS

3 of 5 stars
This release of All a Woman Wants by Patricia Rice is a re-release in e book format. This book was originally published in 2001. Thanks to Librarything for the early review digital copy. Beatrice finds herself alone trying to run her father's farming operation after his sudden death. She never even got to finish her education and now the farm is going to seed quickly. Her only option is to start selling things off in hopes of making payroll. Before she can think of any other way out of her dire situation, a brash American  with two small childen in tow, shows up looking for her Nanny who was recently deceased. Mac has his future mapped out. He is a businessman with no desire for the traditional family life. He wants to sail the seas and live a life of adventure. But before he sets sail for America he wants to check in on his sister. What he finds when he arrives at her home is unbelievable. He finds his beloved sister has died in childbirth and no one even tried to notify his family. The baby is found in the nursery screaming and wet and dirty with the maids explaining the father is drunk and passed out. So, Mac kidnaps the kids, and goes in search of a Nanny he was told about. What he finds instead is that the Nanny is dead. He then finds himself stricking a deal with the lovely lady Beatrice. She will allow him to stay there with his kids until he finds a proper nursemaid and he will teach her how to run the farm. Things go from bad to worse when the kid's father awakens to find his children gone and begins searching for Mac. Not only that, Bea's aunt arrives and manipulates Mac into agreeing to a marriage to Bea.  Bea doesn't want marriage, she wants an education and independence. These two people come from entirely different backgrounds, with different goals for their futures. Mac wants to proceed with his business and adventures, while Bea insist on staying on her land and working for the community. To make a relationship work, each will have to grow up and accept that life is full of compromises and will have to learn if their dreams are more important than a life with each other. Mac is a normal red blooded American male. He is like many men of the era, believing women belonged in the kitchen and bedroom and were otherwise in the way. He especially feels uncomfortable with real ladies. Bea is tired of being treated  as though she doesn't need an education, that she should marry someone to run the farm because a woman couldn't possibly be sucessful. Women should be knitting and having babies. The story was good, but there really wasn't alot going on sometimes. There were times when it seemed like we were stuck in a rut. The back and forth between Bea and Mac was drawn out a little too long before the action started to take place. The last several chapters were really action packed when Bea and Mac both were forced to stop over thinking everything and DO something one way or the other. Not the best historical of all time, but still enjoyable

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

THE SEVENTH VICTIM

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Seventh Victim by Mary Burton is a 2013 Zebra/ Kensington publication. Seven years ago Lara Church was attacked and nearly strangled to death by the Seattle strangler. She doesn't remember anything about the attack, even after being harrassed unto death by Mike Raines, a dectective on the Seattle police force, and after seeing countless doctors. Lara goes on the run and finally has settled in Austin, Texas. Her grandmother has passed away and Lara has inherited her property. Taking a job at the local university as a photography teacher she also does her own peculiar photography of crime scenes. Now there have been several murders that mimic the Seattle strangler exactly. The case goes to James Beck, a Texas Ranger. It comes to his attention right away that Lara Church, the only survivor of the strangler now lives in Austin. James wants Lara to see a doctor in Austin to see if her memory can be unlocked. The two clash because Lara wants to be left alone, but James won't let it go. James comes to believe that the killer will eventually target Lara and she is the key to catching the killer. Added to the mix is Mike Raines who has retired from the Seattle police force and started his own security company. He is also in Austin to help James find the killer, even if James doesn't initially welcome his input. This is a dark serial killer mystery thriller. Lara's obsession with crime scenes, the creepy serial killer MO, the ever present tension of waiting for something bad to happen to Lara and maybe to other characters we come to care about. There is also the tension from the relationship between James and Lara. James comes on too strong, often forgetting that Lara is a victim ,not just a person that could help crack a case. Although she wants to help, she simply can't remember anything, which is just as frustrating to her as it is to the investigators. Eventually, James begins to respect Lara a great deal and the ice between them begins to melt. There are a lot of twist and turns in this one. The last quarter of the book is really, really tense. The romance part of the book is reserved for the proper time and place in the book and is not the  primary focus of the book. Overall this one gets an A. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC

Friday, April 5, 2013

THE ASHFORD AFFAIR

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Ashford Affair is a St Martin's Press publication. The book is scheduled for an April 2013 release. Our story bounces back and forth between 1999 New York and 1926 Kenya. There is a backstory that begins in 1906 when Addie is sent to live with her Uncle Charles and Aunt Vera in London after the death of her parents. Addie grows up alongside her cousin Bea. The two of them are very close, like sisters. Bea is a beautiful debutante and Addie is just her poor relation cousin, so their lives will be very different in adulthood. Bea does as her mother expects her to and married a Marquis.  Addie is an idealist hoping to one day become a novelist. Addie and Bea's background sets up the story as Bea finds herself involved the worst scandal imaginable for those times. She leaves London and lives in Kenya. Several years later Addie finds herself at a crossroads in her life. She has been proposed to and is planning on marriage, but before she settles into married life, she just has to see Bea... and Bea's husband Franklin. The story fast forwards to 1999 when Addie's granddaughter, Clemmie has arrived for Addie's 99th birthday celebration. We meet Clemmie's mother and Aunt and other family members. If you have been paying attention, you will be struck immediately with a sense of foreboding. It is obvious that things in 1999 are not like you would expect them to be. Clemmie is a lawyer working herself to the bone in hopes of making partner. She has just broken things off with her fiance and is feeling a little off her game. Then she is informed that Addie is in the hospital and it doesn't look good. These events set in motion a startling series of revelations and questions for Clemmie. The multilayered story of Bea and Addie and Franklin, the deep emotional saga of love and heartbreak , the 1920's in London and the stark contrast of life in Kenya is wonderfully woven. Bea had everything and nothing.  As for Clemmie, she has to work through her own mess of a life and come to terms with her changing idea of family and what is important in life.  For those who recognize the name Lauren Willig as a mystery author, you will find this one is not her usual fare. This is one part historical fiction, one part family drama/saga, one part romance, and only a little bit of mystery. A completely absorbing tale I found myself really caught up in. This one is hard to put down. A really feel good ending and a Happily ever after too. I loved it. This book will appeal readers of all the generes mentioned above. One of the best I've read in awhile. Highly recommend! Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.