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review 2019-05-22 15:27
"The Mountain Master of Sha Tin, by Ian Hamilton
"The Mountain master of Sha Tin - Ian Hamilton

Book #12, in the Ava Lee series

Ava is in Shanghai with Pang Fai to visit her ailing friend Xu when a violent triad war breaks out between two feuding gangs vying for control of the Wanchai territory in Hong Kong. Ava steps in to broker a settlement.

This 12th novel does not disappoint. The turf war between the Wings clan who is trying to take back power from Xu, the head of triads, is mixed with cold brutality and provides a fascinating peek into a disturbing world we hear of but hopefully never see. Nothing is subtle with their methods…..

When Xu’s soldiers are kidnapped and the Wings threaten to execute them after sending a box containing six fingers and a twelve hour deadline, Ava is driven to the edge and devises a plan that only death will solve…but who will fall first.

I love Ava Lee she is a female sleuth extraordinaire. In this latest she steps away from recuperating stolen cash and other business ventures to concentrate on being the negotiator between two fearless gangs and help Xu regain full control. The plot is suspenseful and intriguing of course we find lots of violence to make us cringe. Ava is at her best, the challenges she faces are intriguing. The action never ends, move fast and is very captivating, quite a page turner. No worries if you pick up this series here, there is enough backstories to situate the new comers and not too many details to overwhelm the avid fans…..

Once again, Mr. Hamilton has penned a great thriller for our enjoyment and he surely hit the button with this one. . Well-done as usual I love this series. 

Many thanks to the publisher House of Anansi Press and to Edelweiss for this ARC

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review 2019-05-10 22:52
The Perfect Girlfriend - Karen Hamilton

It's really difficult to review this without spoilers.

So, let me say this - There seems to be a tendency in books to make an unlikable narrator, but usually the book falls apart. This does not happen here. There are parts of the book where the eye brow goes up, but it is a good compelling read.

What I really liked was the reveal. That was good, even though you could somewhat see it coming. But Hamilton seemed to know readers would be able to call it, so she makes it work.

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review 2019-05-09 09:32
A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder
A Gentle Woman's Guide to Murder - Victoria Hamilton

Nope, not for me.  I should have known, since I've read Hamilton's work before and it left me feeling very dissatisfied, but I thought 'hey, a different publisher might make a difference'.


Hey!, no, it didn't.


Up until now I kept coming back because at the heart of each of her books is a good mystery, and that's true here too, but there's always been something self-righteous about her characters that I could never warm to.  In A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder the gloves came off, and the author let loose the dogs of evangelical self-righteous war.  


This is an Edwardian feminist rant thinly veiled in a very good murder mystery.  Now, I do not for a minute think that Edwardian women had it anything but awful; they were for all intents and purposes, coddled slaves.  Neither am I anything but supportive of strong, independent women protecting their rights to be strong, independent women.  But I am violently opposed to all forms of evangelism: social, political and spiritual.  I refuse to tolerate heavy-handed preaching and ranting, and, dare I say it, harping, in real life and real life is too short to put up with it in my books.


But - for those that enjoy a dedicated, passionate, laser-focused character who verges on bitter because, seriously, her life sucked in spite of wealth and privilege, this book is not bad.  As I said before, it's well plotted and meticulously researched, and the story revolves around a particularly vile, dark, confronting crime (trigger for pedophilia).  It probably could have used a stronger edit, but since I didn't like the book, I'm not sure I'm objective.


Also, fair warning: this was obviously meant to be the start of a series, as it ends with a cliff-hanger/lead in to another plot line, but Midnight Ink is being shut down in a few months - if not weeks - so readers who do like the story might be left hanging.  As I have no intention of reading any further, I'm not surprisingly ok with never knowing about what happens at the asylum.

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review 2019-05-02 01:16
Muffin But Murder
Muffin But Murder - Victoria Hamilton

#2 Merry Muffin Mysteries


Merry is hosting a Halloween Party to show off the Winter Castle in order to sell to an investor who will turn it into a hotel or spa or something. While she is dealing with this she is also dealing with someone claiming to be a long lost cousin who is owed a part of the inheritance. When her party is crashed and someone is found dead in the coffin she was using as a decoration. Now she feels the need to find out who murdered the man and why. 


The story was a good one and I enjoyed the story as it works on continuing her life in Autumn Vale and helps her try to figure out what she might want to do with the castle and how she can make money with it. 



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review 2019-04-23 03:45
Karen Hamilton: The Perfect Girlfriend
The Perfect Girlfriend - Karen Hamilton

In her debut novel Karen Hamilton shows what it takes to be the Perfect Girlfriend:

Juliette loves Nate and follows him where ever he goes, she knows that they are destine to be together, but Nate just doesn't know it yet. The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago has only strengthened her resolve that they are meant to be together. She is giving him the space he wants, makes herself into more of the girl that Nate wants and make him fall back in love with her. What could go wrong, she is the perfect girlfriend and love can hurts and all is fair in love and war.

I had high hopes for this book, it sounded interesting and was something a bit different than what I normally read. This book is full of manipulation and what the main character thinks love is. You follow Juliette/Lily as she proves to the man that she loves Nate, that she is the perfect one for him and lets just say that she takes way too far constantly. She finds out everything there is to know about Nate and is family, from spying to pretending to being someone else. Juliette really is a master manipulator.

You will not like the main character in this book. Yes, there are times where you will feel sorry for the main character she does have some horrible events in her past but she lets them define her entire adult life and she never grows out of this. The thing is that she is smart and probably could have a great life if she was not so obsessed with the past. By 80% I was sick of the main character and all her complaining and as we do not get any other point of view that hers it was a struggle to finish this book. She just could not see what she was doing was wrong and that she could have so much more if she could move on from him.

 I thought this book would have more of a deadly twists to it, but it really was more of stalking and manipulation which Juliette takes to the extreme. I will also give this book high marks for not having a cookie cutter ending, but I could just not get past the main character, her lack of growth and constant complaining really turned me off this book.


Instead of This,
Check These Books Out:
http://j9books.blogspot.com/2018/06/ali-land-good-me-bad-me.html  http://j9books.blogspot.com/2018/01/sarah-pinborough-behind-her-eyes.html  http://j9books.blogspot.com/2018/03/wendy-walker-emma-in-night.html
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