Book Review – GUILT – by Jonathan Kellerman

I really enjoyed this novel.  The last couple of Alex Delaware novels were a little uneven, in my opinion.  This one, however, was very engaging and a really good read.  I am thankful that NetGalley allowed me to read this before publication.  The central mystery of the story was very plausible and the thinly-veiled character based on Angelina Jolie and her children added a nice maternal touch that we don’t always see in mystery novels.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.  My one quibble was the frame story of the box of baby bones unearthed from 40 years ago was little bit unneeded.  It added very little to the central mystery, since it had no real bearing on the central plot.  But, that’s minor.  Again, I highly enjoyed this book.


WORST BOOK REVIEW – Tattoo of a Naked Lady

I HATED this book. This was the worst book I have ever tried to read.  Pornographic, poorly written and filled with the most tired cliches that one can imagine.  I am not put off by sex in my reading material, but this was beyond ridiculous.  This book is only for the guys into Super 8, movie porn, not anyone who cares about what they read.

BOOK REVIEW – The Mystery at Smuggler’s Cove.

This novel was absolutely charming.  I enjoyed the adventure of the children and totally bought into their somewhat improbable adventures.  That is rare for me, as a bit of a critical reader.  The boy’s personalities were not as developed as I could have wished, but it didn’t really matter, as the adventures took first place.  I had fun reading it, and I enjoyed the British terminology (“torch for flashlight”).  I think almost everyone would enjoy this novel.  I will look for more from this author.  I was given this book through

Matters of Fact in Jane Austen, by Janine Barchas

Interesting sounding book, but much too expensive for me.

Jane Austen's World

matters-of-fact-in-jane-austen-2012-x-2001Jane Austen scholars and fans have always known that there’s so much more to her novels than the mere surface description of a romantic tale. Janine Barchas, author of Matters of Fact in Jane Austen, points out that in addition to Jane’s wit, intelligence , humor, and creativity in penning her novels, she associated her fictional characters with famous British families.  For the contemporary Regency reader, the Woodhouses, Fitzwilliams, Wentworths, and Dashwoods were the celebrities of their day. In  choosing famous names, Jane Austen ramped up her readers’ interest in her fictional characters by associating them with notable names, places, and events.

In her book, Barchas examines genealogy, history, and geography and comes up with some fascinating information that has recently surfaced via online documents and texts. I had always assumed that Jane pulled names out of a hat, or picked them for how well they fit the character…

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Not Into the Christmas Spirit this Year

This has been such a weird holiday season around here. I cannot seem to summon up much enthusiasm for it. My brother is possibly getting a divorce and my family has grown so small. Of my nuclear family, there is only my brother, my sister and me. My sister had two kids who are grown with kids of their own now and we don’t get to see them much. Without children around, it isn’t nearly as much fun and since most of us rarely drink anymore – there is no more Hot Damn going around the room as we used to do. Christmas was something I never celebrated until I was an adult anyway, as the religion I grew up in forbade it. So I always have mixed emotions about it all. Is there anybody else out there with the same malaise as I have?

BOOK REVIEW – La Colcha de Martha Ann para la Reina Victoria

This is a lovely book and full of the prettiest illustrations.  I had to take out my Spanish dictionary to translate some of it to myself, but most of the meaning was clear to me, even in Spanish.  I am sadly rusty, and this lovely little book helped me brush up on my skills.  

What made this so special was the illustrations and the fact that the book is about a real person who sewed and presented a quilt to Queen Victoria. My real first name is Victoria, so I could dream a little that I got a quilt from Martha Ann.

BOOK REVIEW – Into the Arms of Madness

I am sorry, but I really could not buy into the premise of this book. It kept my attention for the first quarter of the book, up until (spoiler ahead), Todd told Bridget that she had eaten a human steak and drank human blood in the food and wine that he had prepared for her, while they were at the cottage. Buy a clue, lady – it is time to run and never look back. But not our Bree. She loves him. I love my husband too, but if he started to feed me human flesh and blood, I would call for professional help immediately, not forgive him and do nothing! That is just silly. Then the family being so complaisant about Todd’s problems and insistence on NOT getting him professional help was beyond all common sense. I was not at all happy with the premise – even though the writing was pretty sound. If the author would keep to a plot that doesn’t strain credulity as much, she could be quite good.

Book Review – A Widow in Waiting

 I got a review copy of this from  I really enjoyed this book. I leaned so much about Irish legend and the culture that the author created. The characters of Eleanor (Noreen) and John (Sean) are so believable. It almost makes me believe in magic! I thought the author did a great research job and her characters are well developed and the narrative flowed so easily. Impressive work.

BOOK REVIEW: The Obsession by TV LoCicero


I wanted to give this book a really great review, but I find that I just cannot overlook some problems that I encountered as I was reading the novel.  It was a good mystery and I never did guess how the ending would be played out, and that is pretty extraordinary.  I am not often that much in the dark about how a book would be wound up by the author.  He stayed with his, or rather, Stan’s obsession for Lina right up until almost the end.

Why did I not absolutely love this book?  I really wanted to.  First, I had to read the first chapter three times to understand who was who and what exactly was happening in the opening pages.  The reader has no idea why Hal and Stan are arguing, or who they are arguing about. Nobody ever figured out about who hurt Hal.  He was too disposable. I didn’t even figure out that Tess was a cat until my third read of the first chapter.  I was that much in the dark about what was happening. 

On to Chapter 2 and the setting and narrator was completely different.  Very confusing.  I am all for using the in medias res technique, but a bit of explanation by the author was needed here to help the reader along.  In the last chapters of the novel, there was another strange shift in time from the mountain town where Stan again plans to kill Lina and John back to Bologna a few weeks before the action in this scene. There were no clues that LoCicero was shifting time and location yet again.

A few times, the author used some odd terms such as “wreck” when the word should have been “wreak,” as in wreak havoc.  Another instance was the word “loathe” which means  to hate something, when the proper term was  either “loath” or “loth.”  The phrase was “nothing loathe” and that was incorrect.  These are the two that annoyed me, but there were others.

The subplot that has John, Lina’s lover suffering from prostate cancer was completely extraneous and unnecessary, in my opinion.  It did nothing to move the plot along and could have easily been omitted.

The biggest sin, though, was in character development.  I would have loved to have learned more about who Stan was and what turned him into a cold-blooded killer.  Why did Lina suddenly put aside her scruples about killing Stan, when she had so completely resisted it before?  What about John’s wife.  What made her an alcoholic?  Some of the other characters like the priests in Michigan and John’s friend in Chicago and Lina’s friends seemed so interesting to me.  I wanted more.

Book Review of Enter at Your Own Risk: Old Masters, New Voices by Alex Scully

Admittedly this was a very short review, but I really do like this collection of little known Gothic stories.  This is a wonderful collection.  Any reader, whether gay or not, will enjoys these stories that will raise goosebumps.  Absolutely a groundbreaking idea.