Book Review: Repentance (*** and a half)

I am proud to be  aTwenty-five Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley.

 

AND I’m a Top Reviewer, which means 3 or more of my reviews have been added to any NetGalley title details page by a publisher (I bet it wasn’t for any of my 1 star reviews!!)

So I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review.So here it is

REPENTANCE

by Andrew Lam

The Net Galley blurb reads:

Sometimes the line that separates coward from hero is not easy to spot. When that line is crossed, to what lengths will a remorseful man go to set things right? That’s a question that had never crossed Daniel Tokunaga’s mind until the U.S. government started calling, wanting to know more about his father’s service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II. Something happened while his father was fighting the Germans in France, and no one is sure exactly what. At least, no one who’s still alive and willing to give details. Wanting answers, Daniel upends his life to find out what occurred on a small, obscure hilltop half a world away, in a quest for the truth that threatens his marriage, his sanity, and the love of everyone he holds dear. In unraveling his family’s catastrophic past, the only thing for certain is that nothing—his life, career, and family—can ever be the same again. 

I enjoyed the book, although as a British reader I was, perhaps, less invested in the story of the US regiment, and the treatment of Japanese-Americans during the war, than other readers might be; however I found the central two stories interesting and engaging. I liked the way that Ray’s story unfolded gradually through the book, so we did not see or understand the whole truth until the very end of the book. Ray’s character was, perhaps, a little “extreme”, but I can imagine that the effects of his exploits would have been quite severe, so I wasn’t put off by this.

On the other hand, Daniel’s back story was slightly less engaging, with a particular thread seemingly serving very little purpose; I felt the description of his relationship with his wife, Beth, was a little bit flat, and less believable than the “Ray side of the story”

Having said this, I did feel that all the characters were believable and – for the most part- I was interested in their stories. Andrew Lam is a consultant surgeon, and so his descriptions of Daniel’s life as a surgeon were true-to-life: the sense of holding another person’s life in your hands, the importance of your patient over everything else,the effect this has on family life – these passages were well written and credible.

I’m giving this 3.5 stars on my blog, but 4 stars on Net Galley – I would prefer to round it up, rather than round it down. It’s better than 3 stars in my weird marking system that even I don’t really understand!

Memorial to 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Bruyères-en-Vosges

PUBLISHING DATE: 01.05.19

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Book Review: Spitfire (*** and a half)

I am proud to be  aTwenty-five Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley.

 

AND I’m a Top Reviewer, which means 3 or more of my reviews have been added to any NetGalley title details page by a publisher (I bet it wasn’t for any of my 1 star reviews!!)

So I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review.So here it is

The Net Galley blurb reads:

I will say that I enjoyed the book and I found it gripping enough to be taken out of the house to be read at other times – that doesn’t always happen! It was written in a fast paced way, that made me want to carry on reading. I did get a little bit confused over characters – who was who, and where they were based, but that’s probably because I was reading quickly, rather than any fault of the author.
I liked the main protagonist, finding her both sympathetic and believable: although I really have no idea about the world of espionage I found the situations (mostly) credible in the just-post-war years. From time to time something jarred in the writing, which put me off a little – the main two things were firstly describing something as being “about the size of a fifty pence piece”. As 50p pieces didn’t exist in post war Britain (decimalisation didn’t come into use until 1971) this description was anachronistic (and annoying!) The other was the use of the word “purse” to describe a handbag. While I forgave the American characters using this word, I found it hard to think that the British characters would use it. Again, only a little thing, but something which spoiled the reading for me. I’m a fussy bugger!
I did see the twist coming – but only a few pages before it happened – and found the ending of the book to be satisfying. The way is left open for further books, and I would be happy to read more in the series. But I do suggest the author, who I believe is American, just checks his “Britishisms” a little more carefully. I say I “believe” he is American as the Author biographt part of my Kindle edition  included no biographical detail, but rather instructions for the publisher – that also needs sorting!
I’m giving this 3.5 stars on my blog, but 4 stars on Net Galley – I’d rather mark it up than down!
PUBLISHING DATE: 07. 01.2020 – so you’ll have to wait to read it!

Book Review: Rosalind (****)

I am proud to be a Ten Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley.

Not only that but I’m a Twenty-five Reviews or More reviewer

AND I’m a Top Reviewer, which means 3 or more of my reviews have been added to any NetGalley title details page by a publisher (I bet it wasn’t for any of my 1 star reviews!!)

Anyway…I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review.So here it is

The Net Galley blurb reads:

“There’s everyone else in the world. And then there is you.”

World-class heart surgeon Dr. Peter Sutter runs his life with the instinctive precision of a master of the universe. But when he leaves the operating room, the only living thing waiting for him is a golden retriever. Then a chance encounter with an enigmatic woman changes everything.

Exploring the depths of Rosalind’s intoxicating body and captivating spirit, Peter quickly falls under her spell. Miraculously, the feeling is mutual.

But fate is waiting just around the corner. And it might be carrying a lead pipe.

Rosalind is a sensual, witty, moving story about the joy of real love, the surprise and delight of unexpected passion, and the transcendent power of human connection.

Pub Date 01 Apr 2019

I really enjoyed this (short) book, and wish it had been longer. Although the way that the two main characters met is a tad on the creepy side, if one can put that to one side and just think of it as “romantic” it makes the story better!

Some reviewers complain about the language used as too complex or complicated. In my opinion it’s nice not to be treated like an idiot! If a world-class surgeon (the narrator) had started using simplistic terminology, it would not have rung true. Perhaps we could have had more character development, but equally, I didn’t feel there were details I was missing: it was, after all, a novella, rather than a novel. Sufficient detail was given to make the characters believable (in my opinion, though not in the opinion of other reviewers!) and likeable (ditto)

The ending hit me like a ton of bricks – unexpected, neatly “twisted” so that even when it came, there was another shock behind it. It also had a definite ring of truth about it. Believe me, I know.

4 stars. No question.

Book Review: Death in the Covenant (3.5 stars)

I am proud to be a Ten Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley.

Not only that but I’m a Twenty-five Reviews or More reviewer

AND I’m aTop Reviewer, which means 3 or more of my reviews have been added to any NetGalley title details page by a publisher (I bet it wasn’t for any of my 1 star reviews!!)

Anyway…I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review.So here it is

The Net Galley blurb reads: The growth of the Mormon Church has slowed. Young men are abandoning the Church, leaving their female counterparts unmarried and childless. Now, the Church is about to lose one more member…and it may be due to murder.

Detective Abish “Abbie” Taylor returned to the mountain town of Pleasant View, Utah, hoping for a quiet life. But that hope dissipates like a dream when she wakes to an unsettling phone call. Arriving at the scene of a fatal car accident, she discovers that the victim was one of the most beloved leaders of the Church—and an old family friend.

Abbie is skeptical when her father insists someone murdered his friend, but in an attempt to patch up their relationship, she takes a few days off from her job as the sole detective in the police department, and heads to the Colonia Juárez, a former LDS colony in Mexico. There, she uncovers a plan to “seal” young women to church leaders in temple ceremonies, so the women can give birth and the children can be adopted by Mormon families in the United States. But Abbie knows too well that bringing secrets to light can be deadly. Is that why her father’s friend died?

When she returns to the States, some members of the LDS community certainly don’t seem happy that Abbie knows what she knows. Abbie realizes with a jolt that her investigation could cost her father his job. Who is the murderous mastermind of this secret plot? Is it Port, the Second Counselor to the President of the Church? Bowen, the charismatic Church spokesperson? Does the “accident” victim’s widow know more than she’s told police? Time is running out for Abbie to save her father’s job—and her own life—as dark forces close in, and the outlook for Pleasant View turns decidedly unpleasant.  

Pub Date 13 Aug 2019

I know practically nothing about the Church of LDS, so I found this an interesting read on that account alone – finally, I was left feeling baffled about why anyone should be a Mormon, but then I suppose there are many people who say that about Christians!

The story was a fairly straightforward, reasonably well told mystery: it wasn’t exactly a who-dunnit, but there were murders to solve. I wasn’t really surprised by the ending, but it wasn’t flagged right from the start!  The characters were well described, and believable; I liked the people I was supposed to like, and didn’t find the bad guys too “pantomime villain” like. There was a satisfying feeling of Abbie being pulled in two directions, and feeling the weight of her adolescent faith still on her shoulders; it wasn’t an easy dénoument for her.

Perhaps there had to be a slight suspension of disbelief to credit well-educated young women with making the decisions that they did, but I can understand how a belief system followed from childhood, and involving the entire family, can mean that certain paths seem to be the right way, however illogical it may seem to outsiders.

This is a book wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars for me. It’s not quite as good as others that I’ve given four stars to, but better than some 3.5 star books! I’ll give it 4 stars on Net Galley, as they don’t show “half stars”, and I don’t want to mark it down!

Pleasant View, Utah, the setting for the book.

Book Review: The Beantown Girls ***(and a half)

Yes!Another one!! But after this I will have done my duty and reviewed the books sent by Net Galley. Like most of the books I review on my blog I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review. So, here it is:

 

The blurb says:

It began slowly, and I wasn’t engaged by the characters. At all. They didn’t seem very believable and I found them rather annoying. But, I continued, as I felt obliged to do, and finally found the story drew me in. I wasn’t totally convinced by the descriptions of the English countryside, and although this is based on real life characters and true events, I find the idea of unlimited doughnuts and coffee during rationing to be a bit odd. I know the US troops had access to food and other supplies that the British were denied but all the same…However, a quick google tells me how wrong I am, as the picture below shows.

Generally I ended up enjoying the book more than I had expected at the beginning, and while I wouldn’t rave about it, as many reviewers have, I think it deserves a three-and-a-half stars. Which is down graded to three stars for NetGalley, as they don’t do half stars.

There’ll be no more book reviews for a while. Sorry there was such a sudden glut of them now!! I’ve just started to read Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks series again. I didn’t enjoy the last few but thought I’d start the series over again and see how I get on!

Book Review: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes *****

I’m sorry if you’re not interested in book reviews – I need to catch up on my reviewing commitments. I received an e-copy of this book free from Net Galley in return for an honest review. And so, here it is!

The Net Galley description reads: Ruth Hogan, the international bestselling author behind the The Keeper of Lost Things returns with an irresistible novel of unexpected friendships, second chances—and dark secrets…

They say friends make life worth living…

Once a spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak, Masha’s life was forever changed by a tragic event twelve years ago. Unable to let go of her grief, she finds comfort in her faithful canine companion Haizum, and peace in the quiet lanes of her town’s swimming pool. Almost without her realizing it, her life has shuddered to a halt.

It’s only when Masha begins an unlikely friendship with the mysterious Sally Red Shoes, a bag lady with a prodigious voice and a penchant for saying just what she means, that a new world of possibilities opens up: new friendships, new opportunities, and even a chance for new love. For the first time in years, Masha has the chance to start living again.

But just as Masha dares to imagine the future, her past comes roaring back…

Like her beloved debut, The Keeper of Lost Things, Ruth Hogan’s second novel introduces a cast of wonderful characters, both ordinary and charmingly eccentric, who lead us through a moving exploration of the simple human connections that unite us all.  

I enjoyed “The Keeper of Lost Things” very much, and so was looking forward to reading this. It was highly enjoyable and I would happily recommend this. However, I need to admit that I read it at least two months ago, so can’t remember that much about it!! This is what I do recall:

Even though there was a slight sense of trying a bit too hard to have whimsical characters, all of the people delineated were believable and likeable. It gives a moving portrayal of how grief and guilt can stall a person’s life, and how friendship can help to finally bring a person out of the darkness. The themes of death and grieving are well handled, as is the idea of the importance of friendship.

The ending was satisfying. Not what was expected, a bit hard to read, but yes, satisfying.

I’m sorry this isn’t a better review, but I know that this was a five star book. That doesn’t happen very often.

Book Review: The Good Priest

Oh, oh – I’m sorry, NetGalley!! I have been neglecting my duties! I have read books but completely forgotten to review them, as I’ve been busy with 40 Acts. So here is a catch up review on one of the books:

The Net Galley description reads: