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review 2019-10-01 21:36
Reading progress update: I've read 34%. And maybe DNF. At least long-term hold
Significant Others - Sandra Kitt

Disclosure:  I acquired the Open Road Integrated Media Kindle edition of this book when it was offered free on Amazon.  I do not know the author nor have I ever had any communication with her about this book or any other matter.  I am an author of historical romance, contemporary gothic romance, and assorted non-fiction.


Originally published in 1996, this purports to be a contemporary romance novel.  I'm just not finding much romance in it.


Patricia Gilbert is a high school counselor in a Brooklyn public school.  Morgan Braxton is owner and CEO of what I think is something like a vulture capital company, but I'm not sure.  He has a fuck buddy Beverly who I think is a lawyer.  Kent Braxton is his son, age 15, and a student at the school where Patricia works.  Up until recently Kent has been living in Colorado Springs with his mother, who is divorced from his father.  Kent is having some problems in school. 


At 34%, there's no romance between Patricia and Morgan.  Everything is about Kent, his relationship with his father (not very good), his problems in school (academic as well as social), and so on.  There's been much more emphasis on Morgan's sex life with Beverly and his business issues than any interaction between Morgan and Patricia.  They don't even seem to be aware of each other.


The book is well written, but not quite what I'd call polished.  It feels a little rough around the edges in terms of style.  Certain glimmers of brilliance shine through, however: the minor characters of Jerome, Patricia's fellow counselor, and Morgan's secretary are great.  I wish the characterizations of Morgan and Patricia were as wonderful.


Another strong point is the depiction of Kent's difficulties fitting into the urban school environment.  As the child of a white mother and black father, he has major issues, especially with his black schoolmates.  Author Kitt doesn't shy away from this, doesn't pretty-up the language or the rough reality.  I feel more attachment to Kent because I think of romance novels as dealing primarily with emotion, and so far, all the emotion in this book has been depicted through Kent: his loneliness, his bitterness, his anger, his pain.


The book is also almost 25 years old. 


It's not a bad book; it just lacks the passion I look for in a romance novel.

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review 2019-09-20 09:11
Absolutes Lieblingsbuch meiner Nichte
Wenn der Bauernhof erwacht - Sandra Grimm

Dieses Buch wird von meiner Nichte abgöttisch geliebt. Ich darf kein anderes Buch mehr mit ihr angucken.
Sie ist 1,5 Jahre und trotz der Altersempfehlung ab 2 Jahren ist das Buch für sie schon geeignet.
"Wenn der Bauernhof erwacht" ist liebevoll gestaltet. Klare und farbenfrohe Zeichnungen machen es auch den Kleinsten möglich, viel zu entdecken. Die passenden Tiergeräusche animieren zum beleiten und nachmachen.
Wie hatten sehr viel Freude mit diesem Buch und werden es auch noch in Zukunft haben.
Die dicke Pappe und das Format sind super für kleine Kinderhände gemacht. Es passt in jeden Handtasche und wird so auch schnell unterwegs zum Retter eines nörgelnden Kindes.
Ich werde mir auf jeden Fall noch weitere Titel aus der Reihe von Ravensburger zulegen.

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text 2019-08-06 16:57
Halloween Bingo 2019 PreParty -- Question for 08/06 (Day 6): Favorite Seasonal Covers -- Horror / Gothic / Classics
The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins,Sandra Kemp
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins,Matthew Sweet
Wuthering Heights - Lucasta Miller,Pauline Nestor,Emily Brontë
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier,Sally Beauman
The Turn of the Screw - Henry James
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving
The French Lieutenant's Woman: A Screenplay - Harold Pinter,John Fowles
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Quartet in Autumn - Barbara Pym
Autumnal Tints - Henry David Thoreau, Henry Thoreau

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review 2019-07-26 15:47
"An Expert In Murder - Josephine Tey #1" by Nicola Upson
An Expert in Murder - Nicola Upson,Sandra Duncan

"An Expert In Murder" is a well-written, rigorously-plotted, character-driven novel with a perfect period feel that I loved most for its empathy and compassion.


I'm a fan of Josephine Tay. I think "Brat Farrar" is exceptional. So, when I saw that someone had written a series of mysteries with Josephine Tay as the central character, I was intrigued and had to try one.


I think combining fictional characters and real characters in an historical setting is very challenging. It's in danger of becoming either a dumping ground for research or an appropriation of the real people involved or the interpolation of inappropriately modern perspectives. When one is writing about a writer, there's also the challenge of getting the tone of the writing right.


Nicola Upson meets all of these challenges with great skill and manages to produce a compelling novel with strong characters.


"An Expert In Murder" is set in London in the 1930s and revolves around deaths associated with a production of Josephine Tays most successful play.


The first thing that struck me about the book was that that tone of the writing was a good fit for the period, without becoming a pastiche. The period was presented in a way that felt authentic and unromanticised. I was given an insight into the emotional state of a generation haunted by The Great War and already standing in the shadow of the next one. It spoke to the unbridgeable divide between those who'd experienced the trenches and the tunnels those who hadn't. It conveyed the sense of loss on such a scale that no-one was left untouched.


Theatrical life was drawn with energy and realism and what seems to be a deep knowledge of what the London stage was like in the thirties when John Guilgood was the lead in Tey's play (he doesn't appear by name in the book).


The plot is complicated and surprising and has evil at its heart. There is a suspect-rich environment with many people keeping secrets. The characters are strong and their relationships and moods shift in realistic ways.


By the end of the novel, the strongest impression I was left with was not a clever mystery puzzle but of a deeply compassionate story about the damage done to men by the war, the vulnerability of women and how the theatre could help them achieve independence and the small ways in which we all fail ourselves and each other.


I enjoyed this novel and I'll definitely be reading more in the series.


If you think you'd enjoy it too, I strongly recommend that audiobook version. Sandra Duncan's narration is outstanding.

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review 2019-07-06 22:27
Bone Deep - Sandra Ireland

Bone Deep is a novel that is a contemporary retelling of a Scottish legend of two sisters who were often by an ancient water mill that now is the home of Mac, a retired academic and writer. These sister's had a sibling rivalry that turned deadly. Mac is working on a new collection of folktales that include these sisters. Mac is a widow and her son wants her to live in an assisted living type place but she refuses.

Mac is having frequent bouts of memory loss and wants to complete her work so she hires a young woman, Lucie, to help her type up her notes and other duties. She moves into the Miller's Cottage. Lucie left home, her mother actually threw her out after she realized that Lucie was having an affair with her sister's fiance. So she just wanted to earn a living and to try to get past all of this. So dealing with Mac seems to be the way to do this.

The story is told in the point of views of Lucie and Mac. We learn more about Lucie and the affair and also Mac and the old mill and her deceased husband and how he died plus the story of the sisters. There are secrets, secrets and more secrets from these two women and it is how they come to terms with these secrets that make the story. This book is dark at times, gothic kind of read that should appeal to anyone who loves this genre. 

I read some reviews that said it started out slow, I didn't feel that way. I just felt that it was a bit lengthy getting into the story but that was ok because it set up the story to its satisfying but not expected conclusion. Lots of twisty turns but that is what makes a great story right? The ending blew me away! Never saw it coming. Great psychological thriller! I enjoyed the book immensely!

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