Tag Archives: Lady Hardcastle

April 2019 Reads.

An eclectic bunch of books caught my eye this April. Here we go

Refusal

Felix Francis

Refusal (Dick Francis Book 3) by [Francis, Felix]

In the past, I have read most of the genuine Dick Francis books. The Sid Halley stories being in among the best of them. I was tempted into this one by while doing some research for a story.
Sadly, Felix is not his father. The book moves forward in leaps and pauses. The character of Sid has changed, much more than marriage and fatherhood alone should have done.
The secondary characters get very little development, even Chico becomes a cypher of his former self.
If you are new to the Francis canon, it is a perfectly acceptable ripping yarn, but …. 3 Stars

Forever War

Joe Haldeman

The Forever War: Forever War Book 1 (Forever War Series) by [Haldeman, Joe]

I read this as an almost new book while serving in the RAF and enjoyed it. Many years later I read Starship Troopers the story it was supposed to be antidote too.
Re-reading on the Kindle it was just as engaging as i remembered. The story follows Private Mandella as he manages to reach the heights of command simply by being just one of just two people to survive 2000 years of war, the other is his lover of choice. Haldeman manages to avoid the cliches of war fiction, by leaving most of it out. Probably as a result of being a Vietnam veteran. The end is a clever twist too.
A Good read.  4 Star

The Burning Issue of the Day

TE Kinsey

The Burning Issue of the Day (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 5) by [Kinsey, T E]

The return of Lady Hardcastle delighted me.
It meant one of my favourite characters was back to, the diminutive, violent and supreme deflator of the pompous, Lady H’s maid, Flo.
The story appears to have been carefully researched and is a well written cosy mystery. If murder, arson and explosions are cosy.
Tucked into the mix are some wonderful observations on the class structure from the pocket lady’s maid. Plus there is a little bit of the history of the suffragette movement to round out the mix.
Well worth reading the whole series.

The return to form continues 5 Star fun

You Then, Me Now

Nick Alexander

You Then, Me Now by [Alexander, Nick]

A cleverly constructed tale of two visits to the Island of Santorini. (The Greek island where they take the classic white house, blue sea tourist pictures.)
For Becky, the two trips are a lifetime apart. For Laura, it is a painful return to try and find closure for the loss of the love of her life on the island.
Nick Alexander cleverly keeps the two stories separate and yet allows the reader to see how interwoven they are. Without revealing too much of the plot, let’s say there is a twist in the tail that I didn’t see coming until very close to the reveal.
Mr Alexander manages to weave an abusive, controlling, alcohol addicted character through the story. The hardship of life for the Greek people in the post-bail-out economy features too. This is not all the fluffy Shirley Valentine paradise.
An Excellent Read, worth every one of  5 Stars

A Dead End (A Saints & Strangers Cozy Mystery Book 1)

Keeley Bates, Annabel Chase

A Dead End (A Saints & Strangers Cozy Mystery Book 1) by [Bates, Keeley, Chase, Annabel]

As the blurb says “Kit Wilder is all washed up at the ripe old age of twenty-three. Blackballed by the producers of her hit TV show, she returns home to the affluent town of Westdale, chock full of Mayflower descendants, to enroll in college and lead a quiet life…until she discovers a skeleton in her house.” An absurd plot, ex-TV Cop helps solve murder. PS Mother is stinking rich, the must know person in town. The whole concept stinks.
On the other hand it is written with a deftness of touch that allows the authors to get away with a romantic lead … called Romeo.
Fun, a lot of good clean fun.  4 Stars

Going Home: The Barely Normal Life

Chef Martin

It’s not a novel, it is not even a good TV script (which is what it looks like)
No review, I didn’t read it beyond a few pages.

Dry Hard

Nick Spalding

Dry Hard

Funny, appalling, appealing and very contemporary … Classic Nick Spalding.
Kate and Scott have a wonderful fun-filled marriage. The partying hard and enjoying the odd drink, they drink a lot to find the odd one they enjoy. Sadly for them, it is destroying their lives, their marriage and their daughter’s life. Until their daughter posts a video of Christmas at home on the web …
The infamy is enough to get the couple onto the wagon … Can they stay there, can survive a year? What do the thousands of follows of various online gurus think ..
A funny moving story with a moral.
It hurt, I’ve cut back on the booze.  5 Stars

Books for September

September has been a strange month, still very hot here. Lots of writing being done too. So the list of books for September is quite restricted. The books this month have in general been rather weak reads too!

Cupcakes and Casualties (Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery Book 11)

Cozy Mysteries 10 Book Box Set: The Peridale Cafe Series

by Agatha Frost

Cupcakes and Casualties (Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery Book 11)

Why did I do it? I mean reading the whole ten book box set and then book 11?

Well despite the appalling lack of accuracy about English life and the nature of small Cotswold villages, they are fairly engaging characters. OK, there is death, multiple deaths where ever Julia goes. Even a simple birthday party for her new man results in a killing! And it is not the first illegal death in the family. Julia’s baking must be pretty fantastic, otherwise, the whole population of Peridale would have moved out to escape the Grim Reaper.

Book 11 sees an actress, a diva, buying the remains of Barker, the boyfriend’s, house damaged in a storm (and uninsured) to build a modern monstrosity on the site. Until murder takes a hand!

All very silly but easy reading

3 Stars

Buy from Amazon

Naked Crow 7 – Sacred Arrows by P.Z. Walker

Naked Crow 7 - Sacred Arrows by [Walker, P.Z.]

Ah, that is why! Mr Walker has come up with an inventive set of stories for his heroine Shelia, the modern day Crow nation Shamen, her friends and her spirit guide. At least four different storylines intertwine their way through the book, some light-hearted others potentially darker.

A fun light read. I loved it, even the sometimes idiosyncratic use of English!

5 Stars

Buy from Amazon

Gallows View (Inspector Banks Series Book 1) by Peter Robinson

Gallows View (Inspector Banks Series Book 1) by [Robinson, Peter]

Mentioning darker plots … I was tempted by a low-cost edition of book one of the Inspector Banks series (the first of twenty-four, it could be expensive). On the other hand, it was not a strong book.

Written in the 1980’s which I managed to pick up from the smoking in public buildings and one mention of synthesiser and drum music, some of the plot devices had not stood the test of time. The opera-loving hero and the Radical Woman character. Some of the writing was very repetitive ‘Banks lights another cigarette!” Headlines in the Eastvale Herald. Many of the characters are very one dimensional, all the women are stunningly attractive, the bad guys are irredeemably evil, petty but evil.

If I was going for a post-Rebus detective … Derek Fee’s character Ian Wilson is far better. Definitely in the

I gather there is a TV series based on these books. Reviews indicate they might get better so I may try another.

2 Stars

Buy from Amazon

What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell

What Have You Done by [Farrell, Matthew]

Another dark and nasty American murder psycho-drama with a twist in its tail, story. I am struggling with this book. So much so I re-read the Lady Hardcastle mysteries to avoid it.

Buy from Amazon

Christmas Holiday Reading

Christmas Holiday Reading

Yes, I managed to do quite a bit over the Christmas Holiday period, and through into early January.

The Silent Shield (The Kingfountain Series Book 5)

Jeff Wheeler


 

http://getbook.at/SilentShield

The Kingdom of Kingsfountain which was plunged into confusion after the mysterious loss of the great wizr (Wizard of sorts) Myriden and the disappearance of the King’s Champion is further weakened by loss of Sina the Kingdom’s other trained wizr. This leaves just the young Trynne and her force of Oath Maidens and the Daughter of the deposed king as wielders of magic to defend the nation. There are doubts about the loyalty of people close to King Andrew. Time is ticking as Gahalatine is due to restart his war against Kingsfountain after the one year truce declared to enable King Andrew to select a new champion.

 Confused …. You should read the first four books in the series then it all makes sense.

An exciting Young Adult read,

The Forsaken Throne (The Kingfountain Series Book 6)

Jeff Wheeler

http://getbook.at/ForsakenThrone

This appears to be the final instalment of both the Kingsfountain and Muirwood (no you don’t need to read these too but you could do worse!) stories, bring together the storylines. Written in Jeff Wheelers normal softly spoken manner there is less civil stie between the kingdoms as Trynne takes on the darker forces that have been manipulating history. An enjoyable conclusion to a very absorbing series of what are essentially sword and sorcery stories. 

 

Christmas at The Grange: A Lady Hardcastle Mystery (Kindle Single

T E Kinsey

A Good Christmas Holiday Read

http://getbook.at/ChristmasattheGrange

A short story. A Christmas special featuring the cast of the three previously reviewed Lady Hardcastle Mysteries follows the traditional stolen jewelry in a country house formula or does it? Another amusingly written story, with a great twist!

 The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library series Book 4

Genevieve Cogman

A Good YA Read

http://getbook.at/LostPlot

A return to form for Ms Cogman after a slightly weak book 3. This the fourth Invisible library story is a fabulous read. Set against a background of a power struggle in the world dragons, one of the three groups spanning many parallel universes along with the fae and the librarians. Librarian Irene and her assistant are sent to sort a mess caused by a single book in a world that resembles prohibition era America, complete with the wide lapels and gangsters. While avoiding getting the Invisible Library tangled up in the politics of the Dragons. An entanglement that might be seen to upset the delicate neutrality of the Library in the greater power struggle between the forces of Chaos (the Fae) and the forces of Stability (the Dragons).

 

Runaway Nudist (Nudist Series Book 1

Byron McAllister

http://getbook.at/RunawayNudist

Barbara is a thief working Salt Lake City, until she hears a tale about huge wealth readily available to a professional in Motherlode, Montana. With the cops suddenly close she heads off in search of the promised riches.

Suddenly caught up in a murder investigation she finds shelter in the Oak Grove Physical Culture Centre where she is befriended by Ned Nackero and Carola Szegy, two of the residents and advisors to the Sheriff. Then Barbara becomes a crime fighter … well of sorts.

A clever plot is off set stilted dialogue and bad formatting, Given an edit it would be so much better

Undercover Nudist (Nudist Series Book 2

Byron McAllister

http://getbook.at/UndercoverNudist

Featuring Ned Nackero and Carola Szegy from book 1, Ned’s nephew, Tim, is brought into Motherlode to help solve a historic crime, a five-year-old murder that is about to be reopened on appeal.

A very complicated plot. Lot’s of twist and turns, maybe too many. Tim is an eighteen year old and even in the early 1960’s should have been a little more worldly-wise about his landlady’s wants.

Quite funny in places and rather stiff in others.

Murder in the Raw (Rex Graves Mystery)

C.S. Challinor

http://getbook.at/MurderInTheRaw

A three-star pot-boiler of a country house murder with a couple of twists …
Actress disappears, no body found, police not interested. The rich guests, some of them very rich want resolution so they send for Scottish Legal Eagle Rex Graves to find the killer.
Then the twists
The first of which is the location a naturist resort on the island of St Martin.
Number 2 Rex does not …. that would spoil the tale.
Marks lost because Ms Challinor failed to research the setting for her story or naturism particularly carefully.

Ghost

Di Roma

Rubbish … Listen to the Janice Ian song “At Seventeen” same story told better.

The Longest Walk: My epic trek from tip to tip of the Americas (1977-1983)

George Meegan

A Good Read!

 http://getbook.at/LongestWalk

A well written account of the longest recorded continuous walk by one man. An almost solo walk from the tip of South America to Alaska. It took a year him to year to walk the length of Argentina!

I knew George while we both members of the Sea Scouts in Rainham, Kent (I was briefly in his patrol.) As I read this I could hear the George I knew, returning to tell one of his tales of his travels in the merchant navy to the younger members of the troop gathered around a camp fire. (If you read this George … the Whitbread Hop Farm in 1972 or so!)

 

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas holiday reading as much as I did!