The center of this tale is a beautiful hand made clock that was made in Bavaria just after The Great War. Passed down through generations the clock is The center of this tale is a beautiful hand made clock that was made in Bavaria just after The Great War. Passed down through generations the clock is the “witness” to love and death through the years. It may also hold the key to the exoneration of an accused Nazi war criminal in current times.
Charlotte is a public defender in Philadelphia. A former lover seeks her help in the case of Roger Dykmans, who has been charged with war crimes. Charlotte has experience with Holocaust research and agrees to the case despite the fact that she and Brian had parted on less than ideal circumstances. Assuming she will be working with Brian, Charlotte is dismayed to find she will be working with his brother Jack, a situation that eventually leads to complications.
I liked the story of the clock and the various hands it falls into. I enjoyed the love stories attached to each owner. What I didn’t like and what was ultimately the downfall for this book was the romance angle of the modern day story. I just didn’t buy it; I truly dislike books that have a strong competent woman who turns into a bumbling idiot because of a man. The dialogue was often painful to read and interrupted the really lovely flow of the other stories in the book.
So I give the book three stars for the historical fiction elements. I don’t dislike romantic elements in my books, but this romance was just unbelievable. ...more
What can one add to all the accolades this book has been getting? To say that Le Cirque des Reves, The Circus of Dreams was magical would be an undersWhat can one add to all the accolades this book has been getting? To say that Le Cirque des Reves, The Circus of Dreams was magical would be an understatement. It is a fantastical creation from the opening lines to the very last word. What I loved most about this book was overwhelming admiration for this author’s Talent in creating a world that doesn’t exist but one I completely believed in. I want to go to this circus, to see the various tents. I want to walk in the Ice Garden, to walk in the hall with the snow, see The Wishing Tree, walk among the clouds and be there for the bonfire. I was so immersed in this world I didn’t want the book to end.
The narrative of the book takes a little getting used to, it is split in two parts; Marco and Celia’s story and that of the various characters of the circus; the second story is of Bailey, a young boy who falls in love with the circus. This narrative begins at a later point in time until eventually the two storylines merge. It takes patience to get to the point when all the threads of the story finally begin to come together.
My only quibble would be the lack of character development, there was so much more I wanted to know about a number of the people of the circus. It seemed at times their descriptions or purpose was rather vague and not well defined. But that is really a minor complaint.
I listened to the audio version of the book, narrated by the brilliant Jim Dale who breathes life into every book he ‘performs’. Fantasy is not one of my favorite genres but for me this book defines fantastical. Without a doubt one of my favorite reads this year. ...more
I loved Maris de los Santos’ first two books, Love Walked In and Belong to Me, so I was looking forward to her newest novel. While enjoyable it did noI loved Maris de los Santos’ first two books, Love Walked In and Belong to Me, so I was looking forward to her newest novel. While enjoyable it did not live up to my expectations.
Cat, Pen and Will met in college and became fast friends, doing everything together, virtually to the exclusion of everyone else. When Cat leaves the trio to get married it causes a rift in the relationship. Six years have gone by when an e-mail from Cat to both Will and Pen arrives; Cat is asking for help and a meeting at their ten year reunion. When Cat doesn’t show up it sets in motion a series of events that lead to an exploration of the meaning of love, friendship and growing up.
As usual the book is well written and the dialogue and bantering between friends is entertaining, but herein lies a problem. It just seemed improbable that after a rift of six years everyone was able to pick up almost right where they left off. Many changes had occurred in their lives but it was hard to distinguish the youthful students from their adult counterparts. I also found it hard to believe that both Will and Pen would drop everything in their lives in an effort to find Cat, it just didn’t seem realistic. I did enjoy the book, but it was more along the lines of like and not quite love....more
First off let me state that paranormal romance is not my usual cup of tea. However I didn’t know that this was a romance book, the description of theFirst off let me state that paranormal romance is not my usual cup of tea. However I didn’t know that this was a romance book, the description of the book stated that Charley Davidson is a woman who sees dead people and helps the police solve crimes. I was thinking it would be a book along the lines of the TV series’ Medium or The Ghost Whisperer and I like stories about ghosts. So I started reading the book. Soon it became very clear to me that this was a paranormal romance bordering on erotica. Still I read on. Unfortunately I didn’t like the book that much, it had some moments but overall I felt the author tried too hard.
Charley Davidson does see dead people, she sees them because she is the Grim Reaper, born to apparently mortal parents and she is here to help people into the light. She consults with the Albuquerque Police Dept., helping her uncle solve murders by virtue of her inside ability to speak to the dead, especially murder victims who seem to stick around a bit longer than other dead people. She does let some people in on her secret but for the most part people just think she has an innate ability to solve crimes.
This book reminded me very much of the Stephanie Plum books, but with ghosts. Rather than being suspenseful the main character is sarcastic and trying really hard to be funny and it gets tiring after a while. There are two ‘men’ in her life, an entity that she is having some hot fantasy sex with and a very attractive cop co-worker that seems more than a little interested in Charley. I just found it a bit derivative.
If you are a fan of this genre you may really enjoy the book, it’s quite obvious this is the opening salvo of a new series. I just have no interest in moving on. ...more
I love sweeping family sagas and I have been enjoying the "Rose Trilogy" that began with The Tea Rose and concludes with this the final book in the seI love sweeping family sagas and I have been enjoying the "Rose Trilogy" that began with The Tea Rose and concludes with this the final book in the series. I am so sorry to say that this was a huge letdown and disappointing conclusion.
Because it is the third book there will be spoilers in the review, so if you haven't read the other two books be wary.
The first two books focused on the story of Fiona and Joe, star crossed lovers who are separated by misunderstandings and timing. The second book was the equally intriguing story of India Selwyn-Jones and her love affair with the notorious gangster Sid Malone.
Book three focuses on Seamus Finnegan and Willa Alden, and opens about eight years after the catastrophic accident that severely injured Willa. The difference in the books is that Fiona and India were strong female protagonists, always ready to stand up for their principles, their rights and their families. Willa Alden on the other hand spends most of this book feeling sorry for herself and dealing with life by drowning her sorrows with drugs and alcohol. Every time the book focused on her I cringed. Her poor me attitude, abrasiveness and melancholy was so tiresome I literally couldn't wait for her story to come to an end, unfortunately that took the entire book.
The best parts of the book were those that focused on the original main characters of Fiona and Joe and their children, now adults, and the parts where Sid and India were the focus. In addition even though this is historical fiction it doesn't mean that every famous historical personage from this time had to cross paths with the Bristow's and the Finnegan's. I mean really, Willa Alden, a severely handicapped woman is allowed to travel with T.E. Lawrence as he crosses the deserts of Arabia? Eye rolling did occur. In addition that handicap seemed to come and go quite often, there were things that happened where no mention is made of it at all, which just seemed preposterous. Also there was an over the top spy story that came to an unbelievable conclusion.
So three stars for the memory of a good series and I'm sad to see it end, but if I never read about Seamie and Willa again it will be just fine with me. ...more
A very character driven and slowed paced mystery set in post WWII Long Island.
I really enjoyed this book. The pacing was slow, the characterization riA very character driven and slowed paced mystery set in post WWII Long Island.
I really enjoyed this book. The pacing was slow, the characterization rich and the mystery quite involving. It's was also set in Long Island, where I live, in one of my favorite areas of the island - so I 'knew' many of the places mentioned in the book.
When Conrad Labarde is out fishing one morning he finds the body of Lily Wallace - the daughter of one of the wealthier 'summer people'. The local police officer, Tom Hollis, a recent NYC transplant is willing to accept the coroner's cause of death as suicide by drowning; until Conrad begins to point out some conflicting evidence. Conrad then mentions one name to Hollis, Lizzie Jenks, a young victim of a hit and run two years earlier. What does Lillian have to do with Lizzie and more to the point what does Conrad know about it?
Very complex, beautifully written and well researched this is a book to savor. The portrait of the Long Island fisherman, once the main livelihood of the east coast, now virtually extinct, is fascinating in and of itself. Not for lovers of slash and burn thrillers, this is a more literary take on a murder mystery....more
Set in 14th century England this book is at once a fascinating history lesson, a story of love and betrayal and the consequences of duty.
Lady KathrynSet in 14th century England this book is at once a fascinating history lesson, a story of love and betrayal and the consequences of duty.
Lady Kathryn of Blackingham is newly widowed and desperate to hold onto to her lands as a legacy to her sons. Hoping to secure some protection from the all powerful church, Kathryn takes in an illuminator, Finn, who is working on an illustrated copy of the abbot’s newest bible. He brings to live with him his daughter Rose, and also danger, because unbeknownst to Kathryn he is also working on an illuminated copy of John Wycliffe’s translation of the Latin bible into English.
Filled with wonderful secondary characters like Half Tom a courageous dwarf, Agnes the head cook at Blackingham and Kathryn’s confidante, as well as the sons Colin and Alfred, the book is frequently violent and at times heartbreakingly sad. It is at the center, the story of the love between Kathryn and Finn, and how it is often cast aside for duty and obligation. I am looking forward to the sequel of sorts, The Mercy Seller. ...more
Deanna Raybourn is the author of one of my favorite series, The Lady Julia Grey books. Here she has written a standalone and put her spin on the legenDeanna Raybourn is the author of one of my favorite series, The Lady Julia Grey books. Here she has written a standalone and put her spin on the legend of the vampire.
Theodora Lestrange is a writer living in Scotland in 1858; she has recently refused an offer of marriage from her publisher and is facing the prospect of spinsterhood and living with her sister Anna and her large family. When an invitation comes from her childhood friend, Cosmina, to come to Transylvania to meet her betrothed Theodora sees it as both an escape and the needed inspiration for a novel she is hoping to write. When she arrives at the gloomy castle she finds herself drawn to Cosmina’s intended, the mysterious Count Andrei Dragulescu. When a servant is found dead, with a mysterious bite mark on her neck, Theodora becomes privy to the Dragulescu’s family secrets.
This is a classic Gothic mystery/romance. There is a crumbling castle, a brooding count, a young woman caught up in family intrigues, an assortment of odd servants, a creepy village where stories of werewolves and vampires abound. Are there vampires roaming the castle and village? Are those howls from the forest werewolves? Secrets, lies, betrayals and a forbidden romance add to a very moody atmosphere.
I enjoyed this book; it moved quickly and was a fun read. I liked the character of Theodora, although I question why she stayed in that castle once inexplicable events seem to be occurring. I didn’t care for the count; I didn’t get the attraction and the romance was a little ‘heaving bosoms’ style, but I imagine the author was staying within the Gothic romance style. The story could have been scarier, although there were some creepy moments and there were a few nice twists. Although the ending was too perfect I would recommend the book to those looking for an interesting Gothic mystery with traces of the paranormal. Be warned however that this is not a hardcore vampire book; it’s more of a romance/mystery. ...more
The Sari Shop Widow was a pleasant if predictable “girl meets boy, they don’t like each other yet are somehow deeply attracted to one another” genre oThe Sari Shop Widow was a pleasant if predictable “girl meets boy, they don’t like each other yet are somehow deeply attracted to one another” genre of chick lit.
njali Kapadia is a young widow and the owner, with her parents, of a Sari Shop in the Little India section of New Jersey. When it becomes clear that the business is in trouble the Kapadia’s reach out to their business savvy relative for help. When Uncle Jeevan arrives her brings with him Rishi Shah, his mysterious and attractive protégé. Sparks soon fly between Anjuli and Rishi as they lock horns and battle their attraction to each other.
There is nothing groundbreaking here, despite the Indian cultural background. It was pretty standard fare, you know where the story is heading and how it will end, it’s a enjoyable enough story but it isn’t anything you haven’t read before. Even with all the cultural references the story could have been set anywhere. Speaking of those cultural references a glossary would have been helpful for all the Indian words that were referenced. Nice read for the beach or if you are looking for a light, fluffy read. Fortunately it was a Kindle freebie. ...more
First let me preface this review by saying I really like Adriani Trigiani’s books. I’ve read six of her books and have 3 more on my shelf. While theyFirst let me preface this review by saying I really like Adriani Trigiani’s books. I’ve read six of her books and have 3 more on my shelf. While they may not be “deep” reads they are always well written and enjoyable and I always see a glimmer of recognition in her characters.
Valentine Roncalli is 34 years old, has left her career as a teacher and is living with her eighty year old grandmother. Teodora is the matriarch of the Roncalli/Angelini family and the owner of the Angelini Shoe Company, one of the last family owned businesses in Greenwich Village. Valentine is her apprentice, learning how to make custom designed wedding shoes. What Valentine doesn’t know is the business is on the verge of collapse and the vultures are circling.
I really enjoyed this book. It is full of some the funniest and over the top Italian Americans, but not in a bad way. I’ve lived and worked in NYC all my life and I know these people, I’ve worked with them and hung out with them and I love them. The book is also a love story to the “Old” Greenwich Village, of cobblestone streets and small family dwellings slowly being pushed out by the proliferation of high-rise buildings. It’s also a valentine (no pun intended) to the Isle of Capri, Tuscany and Naples and the dying art of cobblers and shoemakers.
There is also a romance for Valentine, with the up and coming chef Roman Falconi; the couple meet cute and start a relationship that is often hindered by their respective devotion to their careers. Valentine is always struggling with the question of whether she is in love or in love with the idea of being in love. And how does one balance a career, family and an equally ambitious partner? In addition there are the dynamics of a large and boisterous family, a family who has never taken Valentine very seriously. When a chance to design a shoe and win a prestigious award comes her way nobody has much faith in her ability to pull it off.
One warning though - don’t read this book on an empty stomach. The descriptions of food, even just a simple tomato drizzled in oil will have you salivating and rummaging through the pantry for something to eat. And you will close the book and want to schedule a trip to Italy the next day.
I’m very much looking forward to getting to the next book in this trilogy, Brava Valentine. ...more
Adored is an entertaining throw back to the hey-day of Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz. Filled with Hollywood scoundrels, love, hate, betrayal, backAdored is an entertaining throw back to the hey-day of Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz. Filled with Hollywood scoundrels, love, hate, betrayal, back stabbing and plenty of steamy sex; it was a fun ‘beach book’, don’t expect depth just have fun.
Siena McMahon is the granddaughter of one of Hollywood’s greatest icons. Determined to follow in the footsteps of the great Duke McMahon, Sienna will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Throughout the book we have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Sienna, and while it is pretty obvious which way the book will end, it is fun to get there.
I do think the author is trying to fill the shoes of Collins and/or Krantz, and she has delivered a pretty good book, but still a pale imitation of the originals. ...more