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Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Case of the Famished Parson by George Bellairs

The Bishop of Greyle was an unassuming, quiet man. Hardly anyone knew his surname even. Then why would someone obviously hate him so much that they would push him off a cliff. Why was his body so emaciated to the point of being declared starved.

Inspector Littlejohn has a puzzling case in front of him. Embarrassing that no apparent clues in the Bishop's own life could lead to solving the case, the Inspector has to look elsewhere as to why the Bishop was done away with.  The investigation is puzzling but it leads to certain unconnected leads and how to connect these leads to give a coherent picture is not easy.

The story was a bit slow, not a fast paced mystery but the series of deductions and connections was well placed.

Interesting take on a mystery.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Ipso Books.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Summer at Hope Meadows by Lucy Daniels

A simple story set in Yorkshire with a vet family as the background. Both parents being vets, Mandy herself is one and her boyfriend is also one. Its very much the same interests amongst all. However whilst Mandy thinks and works on more compassionate lines, Simon is more money conscious and you know very early on that this is going to cause friction and differences later on.

Unable to decide whether to expand where Simon wishes to set up a modern surgical practice or move back home and expand her parents existing practice into a practice cum refuge is the problem Mandy faces. The work of a vet in a rural practice seems different from an urban one and this was good reading, especially for any lover of animals.

A coming of age for Mandy with animals very much in the forefront of the story made this a very comforting read.

Sent to me by Netgalley, for an unbiased review, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Son of York by Amy Licence

I had been reading too many mystery/thriller/murder books and needed a change of scene. This piece of history gave me all I needed and more. I will be keeping an eye out for this author definitely in the future.

King Henry VI is the monarch at the time. He is unwell and seems to be more suited to a spiritual life. Sad that kings cannot decide what they want to do. He seemed so unfit to be King of a country that was always in turmoil and needed his attention and care. His wife the French queen was not a popular choice and her backers were those who were looked at with suspicion. The Duke of York was a man who felt strongly over the King's role in the country and looked initially to be protector of the King against elements who were dangerous. Over time, with the continuation of the King's absence from Court and the wider influence of the Queen, he sought the position of King for himself.

The story of the Duke of York and his two sons and their rise in fame towards the position of King forms the basis of the story. Told in detail with a great deal of history accounted for, this book is a must for those who like English history.

I enjoyed the telling of it, both from the personal angle of the House of York as well as from the angle of the greater overall picture of the rise of the House of York.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Chains of Sand Jemma Wayne

I had not read a book with a Middle Eastern background for a very long time and this one with its cross culture mix. Jews in England, Jews in Israel, Muslims in Israel and the attitudes of one community towards another in an area of heightened tension like Gaza or Tel Aviv was an interesting read.

Udi wants a new life. Something that he can be comfortable with. He is Jewish to the core but is struggling with life in Israel. He wants to go and work in London.  Daniel lives a very comfortable life in London as a banker, he wants to move to Israel much to the horror of his family and his girl friend. Why give a comfortable secure life for the certainties of war and being called up as a reservist at any time.

Both men trying to find their place in the world - both very close to their families but seeking something that they are not very sure what.

This was a complicated novel but it may be a question that a lot of young people face. The restless ones anyway.

A book that set you thinking whether we are ever going to have peace in the Middle East.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Legend Press.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The General's Women by Susan Wittig Albert

The General's Women

This was a book which combined the best of many genres. History in great descriptive detail and then the person behind the great character - his life, loves and the women he fell in love with.

General Ike Eisenhower was a character. Leading from the front, he was successful combining the Allied forces with American troops to halt the German Nazi tide in Europe. Success came to him slowly. Very slowly. For sixteen years he languished almost forgotten and then the rise and the promotions came very swiftly. It took him to London first and then to Europe and Africa. His wife of very long standing was very set in her ways - she thought she would not be able to travel, she thought she had a weak heart, could not take any stress, decided not to bring the army and his professional life home at all. Mamie Eisenhower sounded a very selfish and a self centred woman. The General getting attracted to Kay Summersby in London seemed fated from the beginning. Kay was young, attractive and determined to do her job well. She did it too showing extreme bravery during the Blitz and carrying out all duties entrusted to her, including driving the General around London in blackout conditions.

Their relationship was doomed however as he would never be able to get out of his marriage for both political and personal reasons. Kay knew this. She had been warned about it but she lived for the moment and loved him very deeply.

The poignancy of their relationship is very well told in this book. You feel sad, happy, overjoyed but the sense of an ending comes is always there. Kay came out of this badly, Ike also but not as badly. He had options open to him which he took becoming President of the United States.

For lovers of history, this is a must read. My knowledge of the American involvement in the War was sketchy. This filled out all the blanks. From a very deep love story angle, this was a classic.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Independent Book Publishers Association. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Finding Secrets by Lauren Westwood

Seemingly straight forward but uncovering secrets by the score. One lead to another and Alex's world was turned upside down. What was a normal occupation - manageress of a country home and expanding the business, being the adopted daughter of a very nice set of middle class parents and then you sort of ending up having royalty ancestry, lots of money and a very complicated background.

It was a bit difficult for me to follow the various strands of the story as it was very involved but they all came together very well. The mystery and the ancestry was one section, the romance was another and they blended well.

The setting of the old English manor, the bits of history adding to the interest in the story were good and kept me going throughout the book.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Three short reviews. Three different genres.

Three  short reviews. Two different genres!

Based on Jane Austen's Emma this Emma has also got the match making gene along with a Knightley in the background and a Weston who likes a bit of dalliance. There are lots of other characters in this charming Southern background book and the old fashioned style of story despite its modern setting echoes the Emma of Jane Austen.

What I really liked is that our Emma here had all the faults of the original character and more! she was not a good two shoes but someone who liked to have her own way and who thought she knew it all and was superior to lots of those around her. This characterization made her much more easier to like in the book.

The setting in the US I thought could detract from the rural village setting of England but it was not so. It seamlessly blended into the story and worked out very well.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Adalia Street Press.

Guy is a very successful landscape architect. Sybille his wife is administrator cum excellence. It is she that does the nitty gritty in their business. An argument like any other, on a deserted road Sybille gets out of the car, storms off and is never seen again. Two people do not accept the story and file a report against Guy. It is Guy himself who is his own worst enemy. His laid back attitude, his telling of the facts in an extremely factual way, does not endear him to authorities or friends alike who do not know what to make of this.

The resolution was not for me, quite right. An unresolved ending may have been better but the writing, the story told in chapters by different people all added interest to a mystery.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Ipso Books.

The Lighthouse Keeper

Living in a beach cottage would be idyllic for Laura who has come on a holiday to do a series of paintings. She did not envisage anything other than a peaceful time - not for a holiday romance as she was just getting over a break up and certainly not for ghosts and hidden spirits trying to tell their story.

Though this was a ghost story, it did not come across as eerie or creepy. Maybe it was the setting and maybe it was the relationship that developed between Laura and Ben who are two very likable characters. The town itself, the characters in the town all add interest to this story and it being a very short read was enjoyable in itself.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lily Night.