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Content by Sissel M. Østdahl
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Reviews Written by
Sissel M. Østdahl "smaureen" (Norway)
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A Perfect Life
A Perfect Life
by Danielle Steel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but certainly wonderful reading, 19 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: A Perfect Life (Paperback)
Not the best Danielle Steel book I have read, but still kept me reading three nights in a row.

I looked at some of the other reviews, especially the negative ones. Repetitive. Predictable. Sickly sweet.
Partly true. I also thought the editing could have been slightly better (sentences on a row starting with "but" or "and"...) But do you know what? It did not matter. I loved the story. I loved reading about TV-star Blaise's glittering life, interviews with royals and prime ministers. Flying first class. Limousines with private chaffeur driving her everywhere. Lover Simon's Rotschild born mother. Blaise going shopping in Paris (Hermès no less). Eating foie gras, drinking champagne. Bliss.

But behind it all, Blaise has her pressures and problems. A blind daugther. Constant pressure at the network to maintain her job and status.
And when finally falling in love with someone nice, he turns out to be 15 years younger. Not the most perfect recipe for a lasting relationship for any woman, even in our world today.

I don't think it is a spoiler to say that this book has a happy ending. Although not a perfect one. But then again, I ask myself what is the definition of perfect? And I think, isn't compromise a necessary ingredient in all happy/successful relationships?

Danielle obviously knows a lot about privileged people with privileged lifestyles. But she also knows a lot about life in itself, no matter how much money or success is involved. Personally I don't mind a bit reading about luxury and privilege as long as a book manages to keep me awake at night enjoying myself hugely.

Highly recommended to others who enjoy a wonderful story with a happy, if not perfect, ending.


Pegasus
Pegasus
by Danielle Steel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

5.0 out of 5 stars One of Danielle Steel's best books ever, 30 July 2015
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This review is from: Pegasus (Hardcover)
Danielle Steel always delivers. Her first books were mainly stories about romance between well to do/rich people, a lot of them made into movies. I think many of these books were not regarded as "serious" literature, especially not by critics.
I am of a different opinion.

All of Danielle Steel's books are good stories and entertaining. And she has certainly matured over the years and taken up serious matters in her books. Yes, most of her stories take place between the rich and priveleged, but money can't buy everything - cliche! - and also rich people meet hardship in their lives.

"Pegasus" is a fascinating book, most of it taking place in a bleak period of the world's history. As such, it's a very realistic story. However, the fairytale touch is also there but who is to say that destiny does not exist? A beautiful love story, the relation between humans and animals are both beautifully described. And everyone who has experienced real love, either between two people or that between owner and pet, knows how strong and all consuming it is.

One of Danielle Steel's best books ever and hard to put down.

With much admiration for the author, I hope she will continue and write brilliant stories for many years to come.

SO much recommended!
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My Mother's Secret
My Mother's Secret
by Sheila O'Flanagan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another disappointment from Sheila O'Flanagan, 15 July 2015
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This review is from: My Mother's Secret (Hardcover)
It doesn't remain a secret very long. After numerous spoilers by the author herself, we know more or less what happened, and when finally "revealed" it all becomes a huge anti-climax.
Would better editing and no hints from the author have helped? I think so. As it is, the story creeps along, almost gasping for air in order to get some excitement into it.
Partly trivial, partly repetitive, the book gets more and more boring. Also hints at several affections develop into the expected romances, no funny twists and turns.
The characters are many and well described, the atmosphere in the book at times quite cozy, hence the two stars. On page 305, however, I gave up. Skimmed through the rest to have what I already knew, confirmed.
Another disappointment from Sheila O'Flanagan, one of my favourite authors. Will the next one show her back on form? One can only hope so.


The Fall
The Fall
by John Lescroart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.42

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!!, 23 May 2015
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This review is from: The Fall (Hardcover)
Another brilliant legal thriller from John Lescroart. This time Lescroart hero Dismas Hardy's daughter Rebecca, The Beck, is trying her first big case, which turns out to be more than complicated and complex.

A 17 year old African-American girl Anlya Paulson is found dead hit by a car. She has fallen down from the bridge over the road underneath and all evidence points to homicide. For political reasons the case comes up in a hurry, placing CASA volunteer Greg Treadway as defendant, and with little time for preparations both on the side of the People and the defense, aka The Beck. But in addition to this main set up, several complications/side tracks pop up and cause doubts as to the real perpetrator.

As usual Lescroart paints a colourful picture of both the courtroom proceedings and the goings on among the police and politicians in San Francisco. And all of them are there. Abe Glitsky, Wes Farrel, Wyatt Hunt and of course Rebecca's lawyer father Dismas Hardy. However, it's not necessesary for new readers to have read previous books, enough information is given to place the main characters.

The Fall is another brilliant example why John Lescroart is one of the world's most popular authors of legal thrillers today. It kept me awake a couple of nights; its only "fault" that I could not put it down and finished it far to fast.

So very highy recommended!! And all of Lescroart's other books as well.


Good at Games
Good at Games
by Jill Mansell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Utter rubbish!, 11 May 2015
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This review is from: Good at Games (Paperback)
What unbelievable rubbish! I have enjoyed some other work by this author so I tried, hoping it would improve, but after 66 pages I just gave up. By then I was so bored, I just fell asleep by having to read pages again and again, trying to get som sense into the whole thing.

Bad story. Bad characters/characterization. Especially the "heroine" Suzy, silly, shallow and utterly dislikeable. There is a huge difference between between fun and simply bad behaviour.

Milkshake presented to policeman Harry as her "husband's" sperm. Her Scarlet dress at her mother's funeral. Alarm bells were ringing but it was the confusion of her former husband rock musician Jaz and Suzy's friendship with his other ex- or present wives which made me realize the silliness of it all.

It does not deserve even one star. Not only is it a waste of money, but hugely irritating since I was expecting some light and clever escapism as for instance "Staying at Daisy's".

Jill Mansell has a strong name but it doesn't much help when something like this goes into production.


A Summer Breeze
A Summer Breeze
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, relaxing read, 29 April 2015
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This review is from: A Summer Breeze (Kindle Edition)
I'm a fan of Caddle and although "A Summer Breeze" is not her best book, it's a light and enjoyable read.

If one goes a bit deeper into the story, I feel there is quite a bit of "overdramatizing" here. Zoe's Brother Shane has struggled with memories of the accident which killed their parents. However, the timing of his sudden need for Zoe's help so that she is willing to throw away her long awaited big chance to make it as an actress, does not ring through. She has known about Shane having problems for years. Why act right now, and at such possible cost to both her personal and professionl life?

We also get into the lives and problems of several other people. Zoe's best friend Tara, producer Robbie, Tara's famous actor dad Terence and grand old lady in the theatre Celia. Bottom line is that people are not always what they seem.

In spite of all, I enjoyed the story and without spoiling anything a happy ending is a given in a book like this. Also, good characterizing and a light pen assures a nice, relaxing read deserving of four stars.


The Summer I Dared
The Summer I Dared
by Barbara Delinsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, detailed and predictable, 23 April 2015
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This review is from: The Summer I Dared (Paperback)
After having read several of Delinsky's books and loved them (the last one "More than friends"), I was looking forward to this one.

However, after an optimistic beginning I realized about a third into the book that I was getting more and more bored. The story in itself seemed promising, the characters were interesting but apart from the accident, very little happened. It's ok with some descriptions of a beautiful island, the sea, sunsets..... but this became too much. Also, if one does not have a special interest in lobstering, I would think all the details of this trade were far too many and too detailed.

For me the best part of the book were the times with the rabbits in the barn. Loved that. Otherwise, everything else was slow-going and I ended up skipping parts and just making sure I got all the predictable happy endings.

In my opinion Delinsky's book vary a lot. Before "More than friends" which to me was a page-turner, "Sweet salt air" bored me rigid, while "Facets" and "Flirting With Pete" were both brilliant.

I have not been through all Delinsky's books, but will try and find out as much as I can about the rest before I buy any more. The good ones are fantastic, so well worth looking for.


Heart Of The Night
Heart Of The Night
by Barbara Delinsky
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £2.45

3.0 out of 5 stars Would have preferred more focus on the mystery, 8 April 2015
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I love most of Delinsky's work but struggled a bit with this one. The main storyline is a mystery. Socialite wife of Will Vandermeer, Maggie Vandermeer, is kidnapped, and among those working to first of all get her back alive and later find and punish the kidnappers is Maggie's close friend Susannah. Susannah is a lawyer. She has a twin sister Susan, also a friend of Maggie's.

The story is good, the characterization excellent. There are many interesting players as the tale unfolds.

However, there is a lot of romance in the book. Normally something I enjoy, but in this case I feel that the author lingers too much with the lovers and the development of their personal love stories. A large part of the book describes the building up of these love stories in detail.

A fascinating part of the story is Jared Snow and his radio station where his beautiful voice can be heard every night from midnight and on. Together with selected country music a lot of listeners, not the least female, are fans of Jared and listen to him in the heart of the night, as he himself calls it.

Among the listeners are also Maggie, Savannah and Susan, and as the title of the book suggests, Jared Snow and his radio show plays an important part of the book.

But again, I felt that the romances could have been taking a lot less space as for large parts of the book I was eager to learn about the solving of the kidnapping mystery. It's all well written. Romances and love scenes delicately described in Delinsky's more than capable hand. But I feel the romantic part takes too much space and that the blending of romance and mystery is not quite successful. Towards the end I actually skipped parts of the love scenes/lovers' conversations in order to get to the solving of the kidnap mystery. When it finally comes, there are court scenes actually worthy of a brilliant legal thriller.

A bit of editing and more focus on the mystery and five stars would have been a given.


A Time for Friends
A Time for Friends
by Patricia Scanlan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Rich and satisfying tale about life and love!, 30 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: A Time for Friends (Hardcover)
What a wonderful treat by Patricia Scanlan. A story basically about the friendship between Hilary & Colette and Hilary & Jonathan, but also about their families. The main theme of the book is friendship, but it covers so much more in life - family and children, youth, middle and old age. Love in all human relations, not the least love between gays.

It's a book about all sorts of people, whether they are what one may call the ordinary kind, content with their lot, or high achievers struggling to always reaching higher on the social scale.

I have seen some reviews claim a lack of "something happening" in this book. However, I think there is plenty going on over the years. Not perhaps what may be deemed as earth shattering and unusual, but the natural developments of most people's lives - childhood, youth, old age - birth, marriage, death. Real life with its ups and downs, sorrow and joy, so full of drama in all its true reality. Life can be so happy and wonderful but also sad and difficult, and this book covers it all.

It's a rich and satisfying tale, written with insight and understanding of ordinary people and life's struggles. The characterization is brilliant and I would not mind following the main players further on in life. I have come to care so much about them all after they have kept me awake several nights this last week.

Thank you to Patricia Scanlan for the best book I have read both this year and last. I look much forward to more work hopefully coming from her hand!!

Very much recommended!


Solo
Solo
by Jill Mansell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Huge Disappointment, 19 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Solo (Paperback)
After having read "Three Amazing Things About You" which I found absolutel superb in every way (my first Jill M by the way), I prompte ordered three other of her books and started with "Solo".

What a let-down. Although its not completely unreadable, I have struggled to get through and have completed it only because I hoped it might improve (did not) and because after all I wanted to know what happened to the main characters.

It IS light fiction, I know. But both most of the characters and the storyline(s) are so superficiously silly that it feels more like immature teenage fantasies than fun adult chick-lit.

I refer to the presentation of the book for storyline, a storyline, by the way, which drags on until a most predictable ending totally without original twists and turns. Only want to say that since "Solo" was written in the nineties it seems that Mansell has developed a whole lot since then. Based on "Three Amazing Things About You" I shall take my chance on a couple of her other recent books, while "Solo" will not take up place in my bookcase but go to the bin.


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