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Friday, 7 September 2018

Review of Treason's Daughter by Antonia Senior

Oh dear. Why do we have to have the wilful daughter - just because it's thought more appealing to the modern reader? The girl running around dressed as a boy etc.? Drives me nuts because 17thC women did have courage but in their own way. The book does deal with the political troubles and war quite well but Ms Henrietta Challoner seemed a modern miss and other character lacked depth.

I did finish it but only because I hate not to to finish a book.
There have been a few good reviews so if you like reading historicals give it a go.

Review of 'Money in the Morgue' the Carol Duffy write of Ngaio Marsh's unfinished novel.

Being asked to finish another well loved and liked author's book must be a real challenge. I'm sure Stella Duffy intended to do it well, and follow the Marsh pattern, but Stella Duffy is not Ngaio Marsh, and her philosophy and beliefs are far from Marsh's own. In places this shows very clearly and, in places Duffy, not Marsh, came through, it stopped the flow of the story for me. And I don't think Stella Duffy was as fond of her Inspector Alleyn as Marsh was. That shows too. She does know New Zealand though which helped with this story.

Set in wartime New Zealand, with everyone anxious about the Japanese threat and all the young Kiwis sent far from home to fight for ‘Home’, we have Inspector Alleyn on secret wartime business. He arrives at Mount Seager Hospital and quickly is involved with a payroll theft and murder. It's a complicated plot as so many of the characters have things to hide, or things to fear and secrets abound. The final few twists are a Duffy specialty and make for breath taking ending.

I think keen readers of Marsh will be a little disappointed, but most fans will enjoy another taste of Inspector Alleyn. I expect there will be another Duffy/Marsh if the sales are good. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's hard to shake that modern tough girl mental state and channel Marsh, who was a tough lady, but in very different ways.

Review of ' Mortal Causes: An Inspector Rebus Novel' by Ian Rankin

Another complex plot for a complicated character. Inspector Rebus at his stroppy best dealing with what looks like an execution. But who is it and why was it done?

If you like Ian Rankin's prose, and his tricky plots then you are in for a delight If you've never read a Rebus and wonder what the fuss is about over this Ian Rankin bloke then this might be the novel to  turn you into a fan.

Another good read.

Review K is for Killer A Kinsey Millhone Mystery, Book 11 by Sue Grafton

I found this a sad read. A cold case which let us into the minds of parents, friends, siblings of the murdered girl but left us still not knowing who she really was. Like life really. Do we ever know, really know the people closest to us?

Kinsey soon finds that investigating this ten month old mystery is dangerous. The police suspected murder but could prove nothing. Kinsey is sure Lorna was killed and by a vicious man who kills again and looks to escape justice. Not if Kinsey can help it!

Another well written Kinsey tale to add to the series.

Review of "R" is for Ricochet (A Kinsey Millhone Mystery, Book 18 by Sue Grafton

I always enjoy a Kinsey Millhone story and this one had a couple of neat twists in its 'tale'!

Kinsey has to baby sit a spoilt brat, Reba Lafferty, whose rich and doting father couldn't keep her out of prison.  She was convicted of embezzlement and sent to the California Institution for Women. Now she's released and Kinsey has to keep her away from trouble or she'll be back in prison.

It should be simple, if only Reba was genuinely contrite and determined to be a good girl and follow  all the rules of her parole. Alas, poor Kinsey soon finds out there's real mayhem afoot.

Another well written and enjoyable story in the series.

Review of 'The Tulip Virus' by Danielle Hermans


The Tulip Virus begins with two murders in two different eras. Wouter Winckel is murdered in Alkmaar, Holland in 1636. Dutchman Frank Schoeller is murdered in London in 2007. The novel is told in this way, two threads linked by tulips. For the most part the novel is a fast paced thriller, the threads do not confuse and the tulip details are fascinating.

My problem was with the character of Alec, Frank's nephew. I found him a irritating character which spoiled my personal enjoyment of the story, and the ending annoyed me.

But this is well written thriller and the tulips and their mysterious virus add a great deal of originality to the plot.

If you like modern thrillers this is one to try.
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Monday, 16 July 2018

Review of 'The untold Tale' by J. M. Frey

One of the better things about being a reviewer and reader for Voracious Readers Only is that I am offered books and can chose which ones I will read and review. The drawback is that the books are all e-books and I like a real book to read in bed. Technology and I still fight and it takes determination to read on my Blackberry when I have to tap several times to turn a page or I touch the screen and we fly back to the beginning or another chapter. Still I  have found several good books to read despite the techy problems.

'The Untold Tale' is an interesting fantasy read. The setting - which I won't talk too much about for fearing of spoiling the surprise - is nicely original. The male MC, Forsyth Turn, is interesting if a trifle annoying at times.  He does wimp on about being a wimp. The female lead, Pip, is also irritating at times too,  but this adds to her stroppy nature and makes her more 3D. The plot is a lovely mix of all the old fantasy plots turned upside down and therefore turned into humour. There are some delightful moments of comedy, especially on the so-called Quest.

My one complaint is that so much was stuffed into the plot that we were in danger of mental indigestion, but that's more a writer's POV as I'd have liked some tighter editing, for example of the feminist thread, which was belaboured at times. This is the first of a series so I sympathise with the author in that she must get enough of the themes and characters she will work on later established now. But she writes a good character and her dialogue is apt for each character.

If you like fantasy and want a different one for a change, give this novel a try. It's a fun read, there's enough in the plot to make one think, and it is funny, more so if you know the typical fantasy plot lines and so can see where the mickey is being taken.