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Thursday, October 22, 2015

THE FORGOTTEN ROOM by Karen White, et al



THE FORGOTTEN ROOM  by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig
I read this as an ebook from NetGalley and the publisher. I wish I had read a print copy. It was difficult to keep the characters straight – which one was Lucy, which one was the doctor, which one the maid, how were they connected……
That said, I enjoyed this three part novel with interconnected heroines.  Some of the secrets I guessed, some I didn’t until the big reveal.  I liked that the some items became more important (for example, the ruby necklace) as you continued to read.  The ending with Prunella was a little too contrived, but it worked for the novel.  I wondered if the three main characters were written by different authors, but decided that two must have given expert knowledge and Karen White was the “real” author (Am I right?).  I hope the finished copy has a note to answer the question.
All in all, an enjoyable read with several twists. Good character development for the women, the men were more stock characters and not as well developed.  The quick romances were a bit too quick.  The art could have been more detailed as it was an important part of the story. The artist of the “second” inferior mural was never really made clear. None of the characters seemed to have the talent or time to create this copy is such a way that it was recognizable as a copy.
4 of 5 stars

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I SURVIVED THE JOPLIN TORNADO by Lauren Tarshis



I SURVIVED THE JOPLIN TORNADO, 2011   by Lauren Tarshis
Boys especially will like this latest in the I SURVIVED series for early chapter book readers.
Dexter, 11, has been invited to go along with a group of tornado chasers when they are caught by the deadliest tornado in 50 years.  The exciting story presents a wealth of information about tornados, tornado chasers, preparedness and safety. 
The reading level is about a 3-4th grade level. The story is exciting enough for 6th graders. Girls will like it as much as boys. It is scary enough to be thrilling, but also has a happy ending.  Parents and teachers will like the information in the end notes.
4 of 5 stars

Great book for parent/child book groups

Monday, October 12, 2015

DANCE OF THE BONES by J A Jance



DANCE OF THE BONES   by J A Jance
Jance brings two of her detectives together in this latest mystery.  Brandon Walker in the Southwest is asked by the daughter of a convicted murderer to reopen her father’s case.  Combining Native American lore with tough detective work  Walker brings J P Beaumont in Seattle into the mystery of two longtime friends, a lost treasure, a scheming woman, a long ago murder and several very fresh murders.
Jance uses the talents of both detectives to advance the story and solve the mystery.  Personally,  I found the Native American tale sections that began each chapter to be distracting. As usual her plotting is tight and the characters are real as are the conversations.  A good read.
4 of 5 stars

LYING IN WAIT by J A Jance



LYING IN WAIT  by J A Jance
An oldy but a goody.  J P Beaumont is the detective in this J A Jance mystery.  Beau’s high school friends  and acquaintances make appearances as the murder suspect, the grieving widow and the tortured and burned victim.  Sue Daneilson is Beau’s newest partner in this well plotted and devious web of greed, love, addiction, and secrets that stretch back in time and reach forward to ensnare Beau and his new partner.  

THE LOST HEIRESS by Roseanna M White



THE LOST HEIRESS   by Roseanna M White
Looking for a fun read with a bit of mystery and a gentle romance? Then this is just the book you want.  Brook, brought up as the adopted daughter of the ruler of Monaco, may or may not be the lost heiress of an English fortune and title.  Discovered at the site of a carriage accident that caused her mother’s death, she was brought up by the love interest of the man she called grandfather in Monaco’s castle.  Her best friend, Justin, himself heir to a fortune and title, is convinced she is the long lost heiress of Whitby Park.
Galloping horses rides, love interests, friends, enemies, and misunderstandings abound in this detailed Edwardian romance with a Christian side and a unifying mystery.  You will find no sizzling love scenes and no coarse language. You will find an engaging mystery, a satisfying love story and a bit history in this exciting story.
4 of 5 stars

ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade



ORPHAN #8  by Kim Van Alkemade
When the book opens Rachel (orphan 8) is a tantrum throwing 4 year-old. At the end she is a middle- aged spinster disappointed with life.   Rachel has the misfortune soon after her mother’s death to be the “material” for a woman doctor seeking to make her way in a man’s world. The repercussions of the experiment color all of Rachel’s life.  Told in alternating chapters switching between the young Rachel and the middle-aged Rachel, we understand why she is disappointed.  We also know that she has had many opportunities most orphans never have and Rachel has failed to appreciate. 
Rachel is creatively and skillfully written, unfortunately, we see all the remaining characters through the prism of Rachel.  These other characters remain flat throughout and the book ends too early. I would have liked another chapter or two to see the “redeemed” Rachel if, indeed, she is.
Book group will find a number of topics – orphanages, betrayal, family loyalty, medical care/experimentation, women’s opportunities, assisted suicide, lesbianism, charity, revenge – to discuss.
3 of 5 stars