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Sissel M. Østdahl "smaureen" (Norway)
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The Fall
The Fall
by John Lescroart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.34

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: £3.23

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: £6.00

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.


The Wild Rose
The Wild Rose
by Jennifer Donnelly
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Irritating and dislikeable heroine, 21 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Wild Rose (Paperback)
I would like to refer to the review written by Nicola F (Nic) for a more covering review of this book, since she obviously is of exactly the same opinion as me.

However, I would like to add to some of what she has written.

There should definitely have been more about Fiona and Tom in this book. Both likeable (which is so important) and the most interesting protagonists in all these books. "The Wild Rose" herself, Willa was not easy to care about. Her lack of concern for her family and later on for Jenny Finnegan and child home in England did not an attractive heroine make, to put it that way.

Also that men fell in love with her and could never forget her, even to the extent that they could never in the whole wild world find another woman to love - was more than unrealistic. Yes, it is fiction, but there is so much realistic, well researched and correct historical information in this book that the wild rose Willa put on such a pedestal feels both hard to believe and downrignt irritating. The only time one feels for her is when she looses her leg. Apart from that, although awful enough in itself, everything about her character and her life is unrealistic and - to me - boring.

There is enough good in this book to - in my opinion - deserve three stars. But I find it most disappointing that the wild rose herself, she who has "earned" the title of the book, is such a dislikeable and tedious character. It's not often you want to slap the book heroine, but I wanted to this time.


Gray Mountain
Gray Mountain
by John Grisham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing in spite of the dark topic, 14 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Gray Mountain (Hardcover)
This is not easy, fun entertainment - one of Grisham's usual sarcastic stories built on the flaws of the legal world. Elegant, hypnotic page-turners seducing the readers. This is the real world of day to day law in a poor, troubled part of America. There are no big laughs here, although within all the sadness Grisham's fine pen certainly manages to bring little smiles in spite of all the misery.

Samantha Kofer, on furlough leave from BIG LAW firm in New York, gets a job as an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic in small-town Appalachia. This is coal country. Meth country. Misery country. Everything as different from her life in New York as possible. We follow her in an entirely new kind of life where she meets real people. Poor, desperate and with little or no hope for the future.

As always I admired Grisham's brilliant writing. Mesmerizing, in spite of the dark topic, the sad destinies, the tragedies. Not a book for those who is looking for happy, light entertainment. I needed to take a few breaks, especially in the first half of the book, struck by the endless misery. However, in the second half the action builds in the many cases handled by The Mountain Legal Aid Clinic in Brady, Virginia. Especially so when thousands of revealing documents are stolen from Krull Mining, resulting in involvement by the FBI and Samantha fearing for her life.

I notice there are disappointed reviewers slaughtering "Gray Mountain". They are of course entitled to their opinion. I myself though, admire a totally different kind of work from John Grisham. A difficult, even courageous choice of topic from an author who usually gives us nothing but fun page-turners, elegant courtroom dramas to keep you awake all night.

You may be surprised by this book. Struggle a bit with the many facts from the coal mining business. But in my opinion it's necessary and worth ones attention, not the least for the insight it gives into this ugly business and the many lawyers who spend their lives fighting both for the environment and the poor coal miners who desperately need their help. The "players" in this book make a most interesting gallery of personalities, brilliantly described by the author. In fact, I sincerely hope there will be a sequel following up on the fine heroine Samantha Kofer.

Highly recommended.


Second Chance
Second Chance
by Jane Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Buy all the other Jane Green novels, but skip this one!, 5 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Second Chance (Paperback)
I discovered Jane Green not very long ago and have since then read nearly all her books, just a couple still left and one pre-ordered. And I have LOVED them all, become seriously addicted - until "Second Chance".

What happened here?? Or rather, what did NOT happen here. A group of friends have not seen each other in twenty years but after one of them dies in tragic circumstances they are re-united. I can accept that their friendship seems not to have changed at all. But apart from that, what is this book about?? What is the story, any meaningful twists and turns, fun dialogues .... ?

Holly, mother of two and married to busy (!) lawyer Marcus (with whom she has never been in love and who drives her slightly crazy, thank you very much) hates her life. Well, she loves her two adorable children but could not care less about her big house, her designer clothes and all together safe and comfortable life. She misses fun and feeling sexy, but most of all (she says) she misses friendship with a man!! And since, despite having not seen each other in such a long time, Tom seems to have filled that role in Holly's life, what is more naturally than Holly falling in love with Tom's younger brother Will, who looks just like him. Will is a sexy free spirit and single and tells Holly he had a huge crush on here when they were young. Imagine!!!

There is a lot of rambling about finding out (Holly) "who am I?" and utterly boring emails between Holly and Will, leading to Holly's unfaithfullness. It goes on and on and Marcus, the big bad wolf, becomes more and more distant and unlikeable. A proper house tyrant causing his family to walk on eggshells when he is home. Puh!!

The bits about Anna & Paul, Olivia and Saffron are slightly better but all in all this book was totally boring compared with all those wonderful ones I have enjoyed these last weeks. I skimmed through the second half just to find out how it all ended, hoping for at least some action and/or meaningfullness. But alas. It started out with some promise, dragged along and ended with a BIG jawn!

Buy all the other Jane Green novels, but skip this one.


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