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review 2020-09-27 23:08
WISH UPON A STAR by Cassandra Bishop
Wish Upon a Star - Cassandra Bishop

Jane is an image consultant and Hank is the astrophysicist she is to make over if he hopes to win the coveted Beresford Prize. Along the way they both are attracted to each other but Jane tries to deny it to keep her heart from breaking.

 

I liked the story but I hated that Jane kept putting herself down because she was once "plain." She loses weight and changes her outside appearance but her self-esteem needs a lot of work. I liked that Hank pushed her on it but he was not subtle or nice about it. I did understand him though because Jane constantly wore a mask so it was hard to get to know her. I realize this book is 35 years old but how far have we come from the stereotype that women need to be thin and beautiful before someone will love them? I hope that Jane finds acceptance in herself so she can be herself. Her friend Pam put it very nicely towards the end of the book. I hope Jane listens to Pam.

 

I am glad that more books are coming out for body positivity and being loved for oneself in acceptable. It would have made the story more fun for me.

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review 2020-05-09 01:35
After spending 5 years in jail for a crime he didn’t really commit...
Bishop: A True Lover's Story - A.E. Via,Tor Thom

Bishop’s determined not to mess up his second chance. He’s living with his dad and working at his landscape company. Bishop may not know how to read or write but if you want a landscape that’ll make you the envy of all the neighbours…Bishop’s your man.

 

Bishop knows that he’s got two things going for him for sure first there’s Mike. They don’t have the perfect parent/child relationship, but they’ve got a solid foundation on which to build one. It’s very clear early on that Mike genuinely cares about Bishop and want’s to be there for him and be supportive. He’s determined to get the dad thing right this time around. He’s also got  Trent…Trent’s that friend that we all want the one who’s there for you in good and bad. It doesn’t matter because you know that friend has your back.

 

Edison’s not really looking for a second chance he’s trying to use his first one…he just wants someone that he can love and care for and maybe have feel the same way about him. Edison was raised with old fashioned values by a father who taught him how to shine his shoes, shave with a straight razor, be a gentleman, not to swear or judge and most of all to just be himself. Add in that Edison’s cooking skills are amazing and it’s hard to imagine why this man hasn’t been off the market for years. But luckily for Bishop he’s not.

 

One of the things that Edison and Bishop have in common is that their perception of themselves doesn’t reflect how others see them. Bisop also has a strong tendency to internal things ultimately making issues bigger than they truly were or needed to be.

 

I loved that Bishop was very upfront with Edison about his prison record but was disappointed about how things were dealt with when it came to Bishop’s reading and writing skills. I get that this was a strong source of insecurity, embarrassment and worry for Bishop. I know I couldn’t imagine how it would feel to be 36 years old and have to tell someone who’s opinion meant everything to me that I couldn’t read…honestly my brain boggles at the mere idea of it.

 

Rounding out this ensemble we have Skylar…dear, dear die in a freakin’ fire Skylar…let me count the ways that I despise you. I’m not even sure where to begin with this character for he was just to much…he was the little boy who thinks that you tell a girl you like them by pulling their hair and making fun of them only he never grew-up and while I’m not going go get into the details of it, the part he played in the books ending was just so far over the top that to be honest I just couldn’t buy into it because he went from being an annoying jerk to someone who was not just out of touch with reality but violently so.

 

Bishop is definitely a slow burn especially when compared to previous books that I’ve read/listened to by this author and for me that’s ok since these men are each dealing with their own bundles of insecurities and it’s abundantly clear that neither Bishop nor Edison was looking for a quick fling, but both were looking for a relationship to last so having them spend time together where clothes were kept on and conversations were had felt very in line with the overall theme of the story.

 

Tor Thom was the narrator for this story and while he’s not quite a new to me narrator…it’s a close call on that as I’ve only had the opportunity to enjoy two other books that he shared in the narration of. I love that his voices are clearly distinctive, and I never had to wonder who was speaking. With his narration of ‘Bishop’ Tor Thom has definitely shown me that whether he’s narrating a book on his own or with someone else he gets the job done and done well. I truly look forward to enjoying future audio books by this narrator…and…

Hopefully, Ms Via has more in store for us from Bishop and his friends.

 

*************************

 

An audio book of “Bishop” was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-03-31 14:17
Yes -- Still a Favorite
Miss Silver Comes to Stay - Patricia Wentworth,Diana Bishop

I'm getting to the point where I'm beginning to revisit "Miss Silver" books because I've read almost all the books in the series at least once.  (There are only some five or so books left that I've yet to read for the first time.)  So I figured, I might just as well start my rereads with the very first "Miss Silver" book I ever read, even before Tigus got us all hooked on the entire series, to see how my first impressions hold up now that I've encountered Maudie a good many times.  And I'm happy to say that yes, this is definitely still a favorite installment.

 

Some quick comments:

 

* Miss Silver should have brought cough drops on her visit to her friend.  I mean, we all know those little meaningful coughs are an indelible part of her character, but jeez, she really can't open her mouth without beginning virtually every statement with one of them here.

 

* There are no less than two professionals who should have recused themselves from having anything to do with the matter (one of them on multiple grounds, at least one of which they're openly discussing, albeit not under the headline of a conflict of interests).  The story wouldn't be what it is without them (and their conflict), so obviously recusal can't enter into things from a writerly point of view, but I'd still at least have liked to at least see it addressed for what it is -- especially in light of the very active part that one of these persons takes in the action, which would be uncalled-for even under normal circumstances and is plainly inexcusable from a professional perspective here.  For however much I otherwise like the book, this is one of the reasons I'm withholding a higher rating.

 

* I love the fact that this book, for once, doesn't focus on Wentworth's panoply of young protagonists (strong and independent, TSTL, or otherwise), but rather, on middle-aged people.  There are a few twenty-somethings as well, but they are decidedly less interesting (and with one exception, also less important) than the real MCs, who are all in their 40s or above.  I wish Wentworth had focused on that age group in a few more of her books; she did it really well.  (I love the way how she creates characters anyway, but this book contains some of her strongest yet.)

 

* The plotting is rather well done here, too; similar to the way in which Agatha Christie might have done it, in fact.

(And to those who would accuse Wentworth of dropping the solution deus-ex-machina-style, having revisited the book I'll respond that there actually are enough clues spread throughout the book to allow you to at the very least form a suspicion as to the "who", "why", and "how", if not actually solve the case, applying the same sort of logic that Miss Silver does.  This is all the more true as, even though Wentworth applies a technique similar to Christie's, she does so somewhat less dexterously than Christie, so while it's very obvious which conflicts she is interested in and why she presents the story the way she does, not every reader will necessarily be taken in entirely.)

(spoiler show)

 

* Frank Abbott still remains my favorite policeman in the series.  Randal March is nice enough, but no dice compared to Frank -- whom even the profoundest respect for Miss Silver won't stop from making fun of her every so often.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-03-29 17:10
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Case Is Closed - Patricia Wentworth,Diana Bishop
The Case Is Closed - Patricia Wentworth

Well, this was enjoyable.  As in some of Wentworth's other books, the mystery wasn't much to write home about (spoiler tags nevertheless, because at least one participant of the buddy read is still reading the book) --

 

the principal villains are known pretty much from the word "go", as is the way the whole thing was worked (there's one huge clue fairly early on which essentially gives the game away, and the false alibi is based on a trope that wasn't even new any longer when the book was first written); it's also clear that the fact that the guy currently languishing in prison is actually innocent of the crime; and so, too, in the "romance" compartment, it's being telegraphed literally from page 1 which one is the relationship we're following --

(spoiler show)

 

but at least Miss Silver makes more of an appearance than in book 1 (and she is decidedly more recognizable here as the character we know from later books than in book 1), and you can't help but love and root for Hilary, the female MC, and her "inner imp".  (The imp's poems had me laughing out loud -- every single one of them.)  Whatever made Hilary pick Henry, of all people, as her heart's desire beats me as much as everybody else in this buddy read; though I'll grant that he redeemed himself ever so slightly towards the end, and with liberal doses of frying pans and Hilary's imp I do see some hope for him ... he's just got learn to listen to his better / true instincts and not to what he believes others expect him to think and feel, and what therefore must be the "right" (i.e., socially acceptable) response.  (Incidentally, I loved how Diana Bishop in the audio version read the passages from inside Henry's head with an undeniably ironic subtext, thereby suggesting that Wentworth is mocking him for being the idiot he is.  This worked very well for me.)

 

Now having read the majority of the books in the series, I can also safely say I'm not a fan of "Wentworth does Gothic".  This book's "foggy road" episode was one of the better-executed examples, but I still wish she'd left "young heroine thoughtlessly puts herself in a sinister situation that she can't control (and which a wiser head would either have avoided or at least not entered alone)" behind at some point.  Unfortunately, that wasn't to be; almost every book of the series contains at least one example of this sort of thing.  So, unlike others in the buddy read, I'm not a fan of the "foggy road" episode.  Maybe if this had been the first book by Wentworth I read, I would feel different about it (and as I said, for what it's worth on its own, it's comparatively well done).  But as a recurring event in almost every book ... thank you, but no.

 

By and large, though, I enjoyed being back in Miss Silver's world -- I only missed Frank Abbott --, I still love how Wentworth creates characters, and this book is also a marked step up from Gray Mask; less reliant on tropes (even if some are still present), and for once, thankfully also devoid of TSTL females.

 

As a final side note, I wonder (have been wondering for a while) whether Wentworth ever heard from her contemporary / fellow mystery novelist and great-niece of Tennyson (the poet), F. Tennyson Jesse, on Miss Silver's unquestioning adoration of "Lord Tennyson".

 

(I already finished this book last night, btw, but life intervened earlier today, so I'm only getting around to posting my summary now.)

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text 2020-03-28 19:24
Reading progress update: I've listened to 44%.
The Case Is Closed - Patricia Wentworth,Diana Bishop

Just under the halfway mark, and Miss Silver is being called in AT LAST.  (By the odious Henry and very much against his conviction, not least, which means that the first thing he'll llikely be in for is having the rug pulled out from under his feet and landing on his bottom.  Good -- I hope it will be a hard landing.)  And the person recommending Miss Silver is ... our old friend Charles Moray from The Gray Mask.  I'm not sure I want him to make another appearance here, either ...

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