Sunday 29 June 2014

The Mad Herringtons by Jane Myers Perrine
The Mad Herringtons    Jane Myers Perrine

'The Mad Herringtons' is a witty regency romance novel in the vein of Georgette Heyer. Jane Myers Perrine stays true to the conventions of a truly classic regency romance i.e. a gentle read abounding in charm, wit and farce. But of course ending with a happily ever after.

It is set in a country estate during the traditional pastime that was 'the house party.' Aphrodite Herrington is the only sensible member of her very large family. She has been invited to a house party so that her 'almost fiancé's' mother can approve her before their engagement can be announced. Of course she needs a chaperone and so two of her madcap sisters accompany her. There, they also unexpectedly meet their brother who is disguised as an Italian Count so that his father won't hear of the fact that he got into bother at school. The other guests include her sister Terpsichore's former love, Callum McReynolds and Thomas Warwick, a rake who broke Aphrodite's heart when she was young but now is in love with her. At the same time her fiancé, Frederick, begins to pay particular attentions to Aphrodite's sister Athena.
There are further complications when Terpsichore suggests that they act out 'A midsummer Night's Dream'  to entertain themselves, meaning, they have to spend time in pairs rehearsing.
You can expect much flirting, arguments and misunderstandings. I'm sure many an engagement really was made and broken during these times.
The main characters were intelligent and witty and the sub characters were nicely portrayed and added a lot of humour.
I highly recommend this book to any fans of Georgette Heyer or historical romance in general. Go get it!

A netgalley review copy.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Eccentric Lady (A Lacey Summers P I Novel)
Eccentric Lady: A Lacey Summers PI novel  
by Edna Curry

Eccentric Lady is quite an enjoyable, gentle mystery novel. 

Lacey Summers is a private investigator tasked with the job of finding out what really happened to the eccentric old lady Agnes Simms, who was found dead in her car at the bottom of a lake. It is book 4 in a series but it can be read as a stand alone. I haven't read any of the previous books and I had no problem following the story nor the back story of recurring characters. The characters are well developed and there are plenty of suspects from the outset to keep you guessing. I was clueless right up until the last moment as to who the murderer was but the only quibble I had was that Lacey was also clueless! She didn't figure anything out by herself and it came to a head somewhat abruptly when it was all explained matter of factly by the perpetrator who just confessed all to Lacey during a kidnapping. So in that regards the novel fell a bit flat for me.
It is a very fast read so it is perfect for a cosy day in front of the fire or a quick holiday read. 

Sunday 22 June 2014

Islands by Sara Stamey

Islands Sara Stamey

'Romantic suspense and adventure: “Welcome to Paradise,” archeologist Susan Dunne hears on arrival at the Caribbean island to research petroglyphs and unravel the mystery of her brother’s drowning. Was John murdered? This sunny tourist paradise conceals shadowy secrets—violent native unrest, a sunken treasure guarded by legendary Jumbies, and a bloodthirsty cult. Susan literally dives into her investigation of the sunken treasure ship where John drowned, and its link to the photo of underwater petroglyphs he’d sent before his death. To find the truth, she must work with her number one suspect—Vic Manden, the salvage expert who was working the site with John. Resisting her attraction to the unpredictable combat vet Manden, Susan is soon in over her head in more ways than one. The only way through the murky intrigue is to dive deeper into the clues in her disturbing psychic visions.'  Source
A ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist

Islands is set in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the year 1980. It centralises around Susan Dunne who travels to the island with two goals in mind, to research petroglyphs and discover the truth behind her brother's 'accidental' drowning. 

It is clear from the author's very detailed descriptive passages that she has a lot of experience with the islands. The author could have written her own thesis with the amount of research that would have been involved in writing this novel. She brings the island alive for the reader with her wealth of knowledge about diving, the local people, the history, culture and superstitions of the region.  

I would have liked a few of the characters to have been more developed. There were a lot of secondary characters to keep track of and I wasn't able to develop any sense of liking or sympathy for any them. Also the motives behind some of the actions of the characters were never fully explained.
The romantic angle wasn't a strong thread in the story and more could have been made of it. 

There is a strong paranormal element involving voodoo, jumbies, fetishes, poisons, psychic visions etc.  Susan's visions and dreams got a bit confusing so I ended up skimming over them. Even though the story was well enough
written, it became fragmented with all the subplots involving the secondary characters and it got a bit tedious in places. I found myself reading whole pages without really taking it in. However, in saying that there were plenty of chapters where there were interesting twists in the plot, lots of action and the final few chapters in particular were un-put-downable.  

Tuesday 17 June 2014

To Be a Dad by Kate Kelly

Publication Date 1st of August 2014


'Ready or not…they're a family now! 
Dusty Carson knows he isn't exactly father material. But his friendship with single mom Teressa Wilder has recently become a lot more intimate. Now he has less than nine months to prove that he can be the man she needs. And the first step is moving her and her kids in with him. 
Except living with kids turns out to be more complicated than he'd thought. Between temper tantrums and toilet training, when is a guy supposed to get a minute to himself—never mind a chance to woo Teressa? This isn't what Dusty thought he was getting into, but he'll do whatever it takes to win her over. Even be a parent.'

 Kate Kelly delivers another flawless, funny and touching romance novel. The characters are well developed and the situations they find themselves in are believable. I like how she writes about 'real' people i.e. an ordinary family in an ordinary town with normal day to day problems. There are plenty of funny moments and the bonding scenes between Dusty and Brendon had me laughing out loud. A perfect summer holiday read.

Sunday 15 June 2014

The Surgeon's Son by Catherine Rose Putsche

'Four teenage girls suddenly go missing without a trace in various locations based in the North and the East of England in a short period of several months apart. 

One of these girls, Gracie Peterson, is found alive in a small wooden box on an abandoned industrial estate, with injuries that are so gruesome even the paramedics cringe in anticipation whilst trying to free her, after Gracie had spent eight horrific weeks in captivity. 

Detective Inspector Marty Bride and his specialist team of detectives, forensic investigators and psychological profilers become chillingly aware that there is a brutal serial killer on the loose who enjoys leaving them various clues to his real identity.'

The Surgeon's Son is a crime novel about a serial killer in England who targets teenage girls. The reader is brought on a roller coaster ride of horror, hope, sadness and joy as the 'Surgeon' unleashes his own brand of torture on his innocent young victims.

The 'Surgeon's Son' is different to many other novels in the genre as it is more character driven and less about the police investigation in general. In most of the crime books I've read the police procedure is the centre of the story and the victims are only a means to provide clues to further propel the investigation to its conclusion. In this novel the investigative team; although an integral part of the story, takes a back seat. The 'surgeon' himself is really the focus of the novel along with the victims. We are given a lot of information about the victims and what they are thinking and feeling, the families viewpoint of having a missing child and quite a detailed look behind the serial killer himself and his motivations. There is a big back story behind him and the reader is left in no doubt who the killer is from the beginning of the book. There are no twists and turns to keep you guessing but there are plenty of thrills and excitement in the anticipation itself of the killer finally being caught.

Because the killer is a surgeon you can expect the scenes between him and his victims to be quite gruesome, shocking and quite detailed in their descriptions. They gave me a shiver just reading about some of the things he did. I was hoping and wishing that he would somehow be thwarted from his evil plans. These scenes would not be amiss in some of the torture/horror movies released in recent years. I didn't mind the gore. It is typical of the genre and to be expected. It made for a thrilling read. 

One of the things that didn't ring true with me were the conversations the kidnap victims had with each other when they met for the first time. I imagine the first thing out of my mouth in that circumstance would not be to introduce myself, apologise to the other girl for what she has endured and promise to come back for her if I escape! I think I'd be a crying, screaming, incoherent mess. The same goes for the unrealistic speech one set of parents give to their dead daughter when they find her. It is just too formal, unemotional and a tad long winded. Silly things on tv make me cry so in this situation I would also probably be a blubbering mess with mascara running down my face.

I noticed some other very minor things e.g the reward money repeatedly being referred to as Great British pounds rather than simply pounds or pounds sterling. The story is set in England so therefore we don't need it explained that the money is Great British. People being offered a hot 'beverage' to drink. Wouldn't most people simply offer a tea or coffee?The schools sounded a bit American. When I read that one of the girls was coming home from cheerleading practice I had to go back and reread just to confirm that it was in England.

Oxford University is referred to by its proper name but when a student is going to university in Dublin the author decides to make up a generic university name for it rather than looking up the name of a real one. Trinity College Dublin was good enough for the Queen of England to visit so surely it merited a mention. Is that too much of a gripe? Maybe

The book was also riddled with bad grammar, spelling mistakes, repeated words and poor formatting. Although irritating and distracting, it wasn't really enough to deter me from reading this book. I can only hope that all these errors were fixed before it went on sale.

The Surgeon's Son is a fast paced, exciting read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys crime fiction. It is set up for a sequel which will include the same investigative team. 

Saturday 14 June 2014

Reflection Pond by Kacey Vanderkarr

  Product Description 

'Sometimes you find home, sometimes it comes looking for you.

Callie knows a lot more about pain than she does about family. She’s never belonged, at least, not until she falls through a portal into her true home. The beautiful faerie city of Eirensae doesn’t come free. Callie must find her amulet and bind herself to the city, and most importantly, avoid the Fallen fae who seek her life. Seems like a small price to pay for the family she’s always wanted.

Then she meets cynical and gorgeous Rowan, who reads the darkness of her past in her eyes. He becomes Callie’s part-time protector and full-time pain in the ass. He has secrets of his own for Callie to unravel. What they don’t know is that the future of Eirensae lies with them, and the once peaceful city i
s about to become a battleground for power.' 

Even though this book is aimed at the YA market like any good book its appeal will have a much broader scope. 
The pace is fast and the characters are all well developed. Romance is not a large element in this first in the series as 'Reflection Pond' centres around the evolvement of Carrie from being a weak human teen to a member of the fae with powers to be discovered, explored and controlled. As Carrie strengthens emotionally and physically she will be a force to be reckoned with by the time the real battle begins.
 There are many universal themes explored in the story- learning to trust others, identity, trying to belong and find your place in the world away from home, goodness and courage overcoming evil, sacrifice for the greater good.
 Although I have a good idea of the direction it will go in further publications I find myself waiting impatiently for the next instalment of Callie's adventure.
I wasn't expecting the fae to speak Gaeilge! but it was nice to see the Irish language in modern popular fiction.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

This Crumbling Pageant (The Fury Triad Book1) by Patricia Burroughs

Product Description

'Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide.
England, 1811. Few are aware of a hidden magical England, a people not ruled by poor mad George, but by the dying King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon.
The Furys are known for their music, their magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. When Fury ambitions demand a political marriage, Persephone is drugged and presented to Society—
Only to be abducted from the man she loves by the man she loathes.
But devious and ruthless, Persephone must defy ancient prophecy and seize her own fate.

Get swept away into the first book of a dark fantasy series combining swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance, and plot-twisting suspense.' 

This story hooked me from the beginning and the further I got the more I couldn't put it down. All the twists and turns in the plot were well written and unpredictable.
Without giving away any of the plot it didn't end for Persephone in the way that I was anticipating so I will be reading the next in the series in hopes that all is not lost. I do like a happy ending at the end of the day so I will royally p'd off if that doesn't happen.

One or two things that I didn't like was how young Persephone was. I didn't like the big age gap between herself and the two male characters as it had a bit of an ick factor. I also would have liked more interaction between the ordinary Regency world and the magic world; maybe see more manipulation of the ordinary world by the magi.

All in all an enjoyable read. I recommend you give it a go.

Association Renewed by Nicholas Dinnear

Product Description

'Ireland 1924
When a series of bizarre and unexplained deaths occur throughout the country, Detective Eoghan Ryan of the Dublin Metropolitan Police volunteers to work the investigation. Solving a case like this could mean big things for his career, but events start taking a strange turn when his superior officer forces him to partner with his estranged ex-best friend, a disreputable psychic named Aidan Walsh.
Reluctantly, the two men travel the roads of Ireland in a bid to unravel the mystery. As all signs begin to point towards a paranormal explanation, is it even possible for them to identify the culprits and bring them to justice? And can this be done without losing their own lives in the process?
Murder, guns, drinking and general supernatural goings on in 1920s Ireland, all wrapped up in a tale of a strange Society, a mysterious Institute and, at its core, two boyhood friends reconnecting after years apart!'

This is quite a good read-a fast paced historical/paranormal/murder mystery set in Ireland in 1924.

I really liked the background story between Aidan and Eoghan. The other characters did not have the same degree of development. Eventhough it was set in the Free State during the immediate years after the War of Independence historical fact was sparse. I didn't find it convincing in that respect. I would have expected to read more about how the Revolution and civil war shaped the mindset of the society both politically and culturally in which the characters found themselves. They didn't encounter anyone speaking Irish on their visit to the Galway coast and the dialogue between the characters was quite stilted and formal. The overuse of the word 'whom' was irritating and more annoyingly the writing was interspersed with American grammar and expressions that are not widely used here in Ireland.

Despite these flaws- the story itself is very enjoyable and the author shows much promise. It has parallels with Jane Anne Krentz's 'Arcane Society' series which may appeal to that fan base. I hope Aidan and Eoghan's adventures are not over. Who knows, maybe they'll even travel as far as Inis Eoghain in a future investigation!

Rated 3 out of 5 stars.
Welcome to my new blog. I am very excited to talk about all the books I've been reading lately and my thoughts and feelings about them.

I read all kinds of books. During my undergraduate days of studying literary criticism I read Shakespeare, Chaucer, Toni Morrison, James Joyce, George Orwell, Samuel Beckett etc to name a few and for escapist reads I chose Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Nowadays, I work in the field of education and reading in my free time is purely for pleasure though I do still dip into the classics now and again.

Although Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte have pride of place on my bookshelf my kindle is overloaded with more modern quick reads. I find myself getting lost in time travel adventures, scared witless in murder mysteries, getting swept away in the romance and ballrooms of the regency period, not to mention mixing it up with vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches and wizards.
I prefer a book to have a happy ending and I don't mind reading a trilogy to reach that final conclusion.

 I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi so choose not to read this genre unless it is mixed in well with other genres.

I am totally addicted to my kindle. It is light, fits nicely into my handbag and goes everywhere with me. It is perfect for those odd moments when I am hanging about waiting. I am never without a book to read.