Random Reviews

I keep a file called Book Notes for Posts in my reviews and articles Scrivener project, and now and then it fills up with thoughts on totally unrelated books. Time to clean it out, so here are a few random reviews.

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between-home-heartbreakWho is Eldorado Jane? The heroine of Jacqui Nelson’s Between Home & Heartbreak (second in her Gambling Hearts series) is the star of Calhoun’s Wild West Show, but is she also Jane Dority, who disappeared as a child eighteen years ago after Gypson’s Medicine Show visited the tiny town of Juniper Flats, Texas? She says she is, and she’s laying claim to the Dority homestead.

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But Lewis Adams, Jane’s childhood friend and current owner of the Dority property, doesn’t believe her. She seems to have Jane’s memories, but she doesn’t have Jane’s eyes. But she does know horses, and Lewis needs help with the herd he’s contracted to train for the Texas Rangers.

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The bet Eldora and Lewis make for ownership of the homestead turns out to be the least of their worries, as deception, blackmail, old enemies, and even the weather combine to thwart their plans.

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Readers of Nelson’s Old West adventures first met Lewis in Between Love and Lies. Also reappearing from that novel are Noah and Sadie Ballantyne and a few other unexpected visitors. Between Home and Heartbreak is a very satisfying follow up to Between Love and Lies. You don’t have to read them in order, but why not?

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Susan M. Boyer’s Lowcountry Book Club is the fifth entry in the Liz Talbot Mystery series, and just as good as its predecessors. This time Liz and Nate, back from their honeymoon, are investigating the murder of a locallowcountry-book-club socialite/volunteer who seems to have been loved by everyone around her, including the husband accused of pushing her over the balcony (and possibly another man—but who?). With the help of her ghostly friend Colleen, Liz narrows down the suspect list and discovers just how much turmoil can develop in a very prestigious Book Club.

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As always, the city of Charleston and the island community of Stella Maris contribute essential aspects to the story and Liz’ family members make cameo appearances. I’ve enjoyed this series from Henery Press since it began with Lowcountry Boil—worth reading in order.

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I’ve loved Elaine Viets’ Dead End Jobs series from the beginning, and The Art of the-art-of-murderMurder is an excellent entry. Helen doesn’t actually have to work a terrible job in this one (although Phil does time as a condo security guard), but she does join a painting class (for which she has no aptitude at all) to solve the murder of one of the students. Margery is back, of course, as well as Peggy and the parrots, Thumbs the cat, and Valerie the reporter. Definitely a fun read.

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For science fiction written in 1968, The Goblin Reservation holds up fairly well. I read pretty much all of Clifford Simak’s work back a few decades ago, although I didn’t remember this one. It involves a man who has accidentally been duplicated in a transporter accident (shades of Star Trek), a genetically the-goblin-reservationdesigned pet saber-tooth tiger, a Neanderthal time traveler named Alley Oop, William Shakespeare (who insists he never wrote anything), a Ghost who doesn’t know whose ghost he is, transport reminiscent of Heinlein’s “The Roads Must Roll,” and of course goblins, fairies, and trolls. Set, by the way, in Wisconsin about five hundred years in the future, with mention of phones but not of computers. A fun, rather nostalgic reminder of classic science fiction.

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The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, has been on the best seller lists for more than a year the-girl-on-the-trainnow, and I understand why. I’m not a fan of first person present tense narration, and there are three such narrators in the book, all of them undependable. The characters spend the entire book lying, cheating, and fantasizing. Terrible secrets are revealed and hearts are broken. This is not a feel-good book. But it is fascinating and difficult to put down, and I recommend it.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laurie A. Green
    Sep 26, 2016 @ 12:36:20

    I read The Goblin Reservation many, many moons ago. I think I remember who that ghost who couldn’t remember who he’d been turned out to be. (Wow, now there’s a convoluted statement. LOL 🙂 ) Imaginative story.

    Haven’t read The Girl on the Train, but just took a trip and there were several people reading it on the plane. I’ve been introduced to Susan Boyer’s Lowcountry series and it’s a lot of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Kay Hudson
      Sep 26, 2016 @ 16:13:26

      Goblin Reservation was very much in the vein of Old Skool SF, but it was fun. Written during the original Star Trek period, but not nearly as innovative.

      I just started reading (again, but I don’t remember it from long ago) Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, written in 1962. I thought I’d read it before I watch the adaptation on Amazon Prime.

      Like

      Reply

  2. susanmboyer
    Sep 27, 2016 @ 08:31:22

    Hi Kay! I’m so happy you enjoyed Lowcountry Book Club! Thank you so much for including it in your post! I’ve read The Girl on the Train (with a similar response) but there are some new titles for me to checkout here as well.

    Like

    Reply

  3. Jacqui Nelson
    Sep 27, 2016 @ 22:34:47

    Thanks for reading and reviewing my book, Kay! Always extra exciting to see one’s story next to books by such talented authors as the ones here.

    Like

    Reply

  4. in
    Jul 04, 2017 @ 09:39:16

    The Art of Murder, interested! Thanks for the review.

    Like

    Reply

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