Sunday 31 July 2022

A collection of Book Reviews

Well I haven't been doing much blogging but I have done a lot of reading over the last month or two.

Belatedly here are my reviews.  Apologies for the poor presentation and layout glitches.

WinWin by Harlan Coben
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Over twenty years ago, the heiress Patricia Lockwood was abducted during a robbery of her family's estate, then locked inside an isolated cabin for months. Patricia escaped, but so did her captors — and the items stolen from her family were never recovered.

Until now. On the Upper West Side, a recluse is found murdered in his penthouse apartment, alongside two objects of note: a stolen Vermeer painting and a leather suitcase bearing the initials WHL3. For the first time in years, the authorities have a lead — not only on Patricia's kidnapping, but also on another FBI cold case — with the suitcase and painting both pointing them toward one man.

Windsor Horne Lockwood III — or Win, as his few friends call him — doesn't know how his suitcase and his family's stolen painting ended up with a dead man. But his interest is piqued, especially when the FBI tells him that the man who kidnapped his cousin was also behind an act of domestic terrorism — and that the conspirators may still be at large. The two cases have baffled the FBI for decades, but Win has three things the FBI doesn't: a personal connection to the case; an ungodly fortune; and his own unique brand of justice.

This book is written in the 1st person and Win is not a particularly likeable character. His saving grace is probably that he is aware of his faults but he makes no apology for them. But he does get things done and the book is a page turner. Things are also not exactly as they seem.

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Pretending to DancePretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was quite a slow burner of a book for me. It didn't grip me early on but as the story lines developed I found myself enjoying it. Told from Molly's POV it switches between the present, where Molly is married and about to embark on adoption and the summer when Molly was 14 and suffers a devastating loss. It was easy to follow Molly's journey as she faces up to her past which was not quite as it seemed, enabling her to prepare for her future.

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Florence Fairfax isn’t lonely. She loves her job at the little bookshop in Chelsea and her beloved cat Marmalade keeps her company at night. She might have been single for quite a while – well, forever actually, if anyone’s asking – but she’s perfectly happy, thank you. And then Florence meets eccentric love coach Gwendolyn, and everything changes.

When Gwendolyn makes Florence write a wish list describing her perfect man, Florence refuses to take it seriously. Finding someone who likes cats, has the sexual athleticism of James Bond and can overlook her ‘counting’ habit? Impossible! Until, later that week, a handsome blond man asks for help in the bookshop…

Rory seems to fit the list perfectly. But is he ‘the one’, or simply too good to be true? Florence is about to find out that her criteria for Mr Right aren’t as important as she thought – and that perhaps she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places…

Light hearted chick lit showing how finding the right person has nothing to do with making lists!

The Importance of Being Myrtle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an ok book for me. I didn't realise it was written by a celebrity when I picked it up in a charity shop but it's not a bad effort. (I sometimes feel books by celebrities get more publicity because of the author than if they'd been submitted under a pseudonym.) Myrtle is a sad character and her two daughters are not exactly likeable either. The book details the fallout after the sudden death of Myrtle's husband.

Forced to marry Austin at a young age, Myrtle hasn't had the easiest of lives and is very ill-equipped to cope as a widow. Thankfully she has Gianni, an Australian man who was with her husband when he died, and her neighbour Dorothy to drag her, albeit reluctantly, out of her shell.

I can't say I didn't enjoy the book and there probably are women like Myrtle in this world but I found it hard to accept that her daughters hadn't done more to alleviate her situation while her husband was alive.

The Sleeping & The Dead / Hidden DepthsThe Sleeping & The Dead / Hidden Depths by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two books for the price of one (and a charity shop bargain as well). What's not to like?

Well I wrongly assumed both stories featured "Vera". The second story does and I enjoyed reading that. Vera is a no nonsense policewoman who gets to the bottom of crimes. I enjoy watching the TV show based on the books and I like Ann Cleeves writing.

However I wasn't as impressed with The Sleeping & the Dead which is a stand alone crime fiction book. I didn't like the main character and the story was a bit slow.

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Did You Miss Me?Did You Miss Me? by Sophia Money-Coutts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nell Mason is extremely happy with her life – or at least, that’s what she tells herself. She’s lucky to have a high-powered job as a lawyer, even if it does come with an eccentric set of billionaire divorce clients. And she’s absolutely fine living with her sweet, if slightly dull, boyfriend Gus in their London flat where they have very sensible sex once (OK, sometimes twice) a week. She’s definitely not stuck in a rut.

But when Nell bumps into childhood friend and first love Arthur Drummond who broke her heart fifteen years ago, she’s more than a little shaken. The seemingly perfect life she’s worked so hard for starts to feel, well, less perfect. Maybe Nell’s been kidding herself all these years. Can she ever get over her first love?

Predictable chick-lit but enjoyable nonetheless.

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Monday: five-year-old Matthew Faraday is abducted. His face is splashed across newspaper front pages. His parents and the police are desperate. Can anyone help find their little boy before it is too late?
Psychotherapist Frieda Klein just might know something.
One of her patients describes dreams of seizing a boy who is the spitting image of Matthew. Convinced at first the police will dismiss her fears out of hand, Frieda reluctantly finds herself drawn into the heart of the case. A previous abduction, from twenty years ago, suggests a new lead - one that only Frieda, an expert on the minds of disturbed individuals, can uncover.
Struggling to make sense of this terrifying investigation, Frieda will face her darkest fears in the hunt for a clever and brutal killer...

Surprisingly (considering I love the genre - psychological thrillers) there were no Nicci French books on my shelves and I picked up one (Saturday Requiem) in a charity shop recently. I started reading it and was enjoying it so I decided to start at the beginning of this series involving Frieda Klein. I think I'll be working my way through the series now.

This one is a complicated story with twist and turns along the way that had me gripped.

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One Good Deed (Archer, #1)One Good Deed by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure if this would grip me the way other Baldacci thrillers have done, given that it's set in 1949 and features a new character, Aloysius Archer, a veteran of WW2 and an ex convict. I couldn't put it down.

After his release from prison Archer seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when murders start to happen. However as more murders occurred I was really hoping that Archer was going to be able to prove his innocence. He's a likeable character.

It's slow moving at times - Baldacci provides plenty of background stories for his characters and his writing contains much more description than perhaps he does in his action novels set in more modern times so this is not a short book. That did not detract from the story though and kept me wanting to read more.

Beach House SummerBeach House Summer by Sarah Morgan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"When Joanna Whitman's famous ex-husband dies in a car accident, she doesn't know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more painful secrets than she cares to remember. But when she discovers that the young woman with him in the crash is pregnant, Joanna feels compelled to act, knowing exactly how brutal the media spotlight will be on celebrity chef Cliff Whitman's ex-wife and his mysterious female friend."

A nice easy summertime read. Ideal for the beach or sitting in the sun or just curled up on a sofa.

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  1. Hi Wendy. I enjoyed reading your reviews. There are some books on here that I think I would enjoy so will look for them. I hope you have a good week. :-)

  2. I like Harlen Coben's books. Some were made into tv series, not sure how many but we watched some and the one we saw stayed true to the book. The one we watched was set in the UK for some reason even though the book was not. I think it may have been Netflix. We are going to the beach soon and I hope to do lots of reading from the comfort of my beach chair.

  3. Wow!! I always enjoy your book reviews, Wendy!! Thanks for taking time to tell us your opinions. xo

  4. I always enjoy reading book reviews. It gives me an idea of my next read. Your books sound quite interesting, especially Beach House Summer. This has been the summer to read - inside with the AC!

  5. Wow, you have done a lot of reading!


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