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review 2017-11-05 18:16
The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton
The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton - Miranda Neville

Got this weekend (11/4) at my local library sale. Having heard about Miranda Neville's death, when I saw this, I picked it up. I've never read her and I thought I would remedy that.
Here is her obituary.
Avon's remembrance.

 

I enjoyed the opening. Celia was being kidnapped and stripped of her clothes. When the kidnapped leaves, she takes initiative and escapes, stumbling over Tarquin. It turns out, the hit on his head gives him amnesia. In the past, he had made a comment about Celia that, in turn, ruined her marriage prospects. So, to get back at him, Celia makes up a story and an identity for him.
I did find it hard to believe that Tarquin, with no title, had the influence he did. Seriously, *one* comment, and everything is ruined?!
I enjoyed the first part of the book (act 1). The road trip (for lack of a better word) across the countryside, their banter and interactions, the who/why was Celia kidnapped, their survival in the wilderness. This was the best part of the book.
Then (act 2), Tarquin remembers who he is. They go to a friend's house. I lost some interest at this point.
I was surprised at how much I liked Tarquin. (Since he is/was an arrogant bastard). Since this isn't a book that would have jumped out at me, I'm glad I read this.

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review 2017-10-23 21:35
Fix, Freeze, Feast!
Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family - Kati Neville,Lindsay Tkacsik

I know what I am planning to do on my next day off!!  I'll be headed to the warehouse store to pick up supplies and making myself some meals for busy days.

 

Sweet Asian Chicken.

Tequila-Lime Chicken.

Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry.

Urban Garlic Chicken.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs.

Ginger Beef.

Margarita Pork Chops.

Raging Garlic Pork Stir-Fry.

 

Each recipes makes 3-4 frozen meals.  Just remove from the freezer the night before and they are ready to go when you get home from work.

 

Yah, baby!

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review 2017-09-25 02:17
The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers - Stuart Neville,Mick Herron,Helene Tursten,Peter Lovesey,Cara Black

I love anthologies like this. When your schedule is crazy & you find it difficult to make any progress on a full-meal book, these provide the perfect snack. Here we have 18 stories with an interesting theme. All are set around the Xmas season. But that’s about all they have in common as the authors took the brief & ran with it.

 

Some are funny, some are gritty. Settings include different centuries & locales such as Seoul, Bangkok, Ireland, America & Cuba. And genres run the gamut from psychological to full on action. There are even a few names you’ll recognize such as Jane Austen & Sherlock Holmes.

 

Like most collections some are great, most are good & a couple are meh. But what falls into those categories will vary from reader to reader. My favourites were those by Helene Tursten (do NOT mess with a Swedish granny), Teresa Dovalpage (great characters, set in Cuba), Tod Goldberg (poignant tale of a lonely sheriff’s final days on the job) & Martin Limón (American military police in 1970’s Korea). Two of these authors I’d never read before & therein lies the gift. It’s great chance to try out new (to you) authors & editor Peter Lovesey has included each writer’s back list at the end so you can easily select something meatier by whoever catches your fancy.

 

It’s a great book to take on your daily commute or leave on the bedside table. Just keep it handy for those times when you have a few minutes to escape to another time or country.

 

        

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-12 05:22
Into the Woods
The Ritual - Adam Nevill

FYI this is really fun to read while sitting outside and hearing a deer stomp around in the bushes by my apartment. 

 

The Ritual follows a group of four friends as they holiday in the Swedish wilderness. They brake the first rule of all horror movies and decide to take a short cut, leaving the path and going deeper in to the forest. As you might expect, things get all Blair Witch as they stumble across a spooky cabin used for ancient, pagan rituals and it leads to something unnatural following them through the woods. 

 

I really loved this book. It sucked me in from the beginning and kept me going with very few breaks in between. It was exactly what I wanted in a creepy forest story, what with them being lost and hunted by Moder. And once Moder and her family got to them...Well it was amazingly horrifying. 

 

The way Neville built up the tensions was incredible. It was so hard to stop reading because you knew something incredible was waiting on the next page. I think part of that has to do with him ending most chapters on cliffhangers. He was really terrific at this and it made the book a super compelling read.

 

One drawback of the book is I felt the two halves didn't mesh very well together. In one half you had lost in the woods, Blair Witch chasing after them, and in the next part it was Deliverance. The two did mesh together in the end, and did so fantastically, but there was a really awkward, disjointed period for a while. I definitely enjoyed the first part of the book better 'cause Deliverance just wasn't quite what I expected. 

 

Final rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. Everything I love in creepy forest stories wrapped into a fun package. 

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text 2017-08-13 17:24
The Eight by Katherine Neville $1.99!
The Eight by Katherine Neville (2009-04-30) - Katherine Neville;

A fabulous, bejeweled chess set that belonged to Charlemagne has been buried in a Pyrenees abbey for a thousand years. As the bloody French Revolution rages in Paris, the nuns dig it up and scatter its pieces across the globe because, when united, the set contains a secret power that could topple civilizations. To keep the set from falling into the wrong hands, two novices, Valentine and Mireille, embark on an adventure that begins in the streets of Paris and leads to Russia, Egypt, Corsica, and into the heart of the Algerian Sahara.
 
Two hundred years later, while on assignment in Algeria, computer expert Catherine Velis finds herself drawn unwillingly into the deadly “Game” still swirling around the legendary chess set—a game that will require her to risk her life and match wits with diabolical forces.
 

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