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text 2018-07-18 14:19
The Little Paris Bookshop
The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel - Nina George,Simon Pare

What better book to read on a trip to Paris?

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review 2018-07-10 19:28
Lowcountry Bookshop
Lowcountry Bookshop - Susan M. Boyer

Oh I am annoyed I bought this. What a lackluster book. I used to really enjoy the "Liz Talbot" mysteries, but geez, the last three have been a bunch of well that happened. I think I was ultimately dissatisfied by the main mystery (how did a man end up in the middle of the road hit by a car) and then we still have the never ending nonsense with Liz and her dreams about the end of Stella Maris. Colleen is not in this one that much (not complaining) but she really doesn't add much to the book. The reveal at what went on I guessed at pretty early since that was the only explanation that made sense. I also felt frustrated because there doesn't seem to be any calling out on the people who are responsible for someone's death.

 

"Lowcountry Bookshop" has Liz and Nate hired by a mysterious client to keep a local mailwoman from being arrested for a hit and run. The mailwoman (Poppy) found a man she knows on her route dead in the middle of the road during a rain storm. Poppy didn't like him, and she claims he beat his wife. Though the police don't have enough evidence to charge Poppy yet, there doesn't seem to be another explanation. Liz and Nate investigate and find out about a hidden Charleston they knew nothing about.

 

Liz is still dealing with the fallout from her dreams about the end of Stella Maris and Nate dying. She dreams of two children who cannot possibly be hers and left a widow. Trying to work through that while also investigating a hit and run accident is a lot of her to do. Liz and Nate still make excellent partners and I love how they work together.

 

I have to say though when we get Colleen's terrible explanation behind Liz and her dream I don't get why Liz didn't go off on her. It made very little sense and I have to say that Colleen and her whole guardian angel of Stella Maris thing is wearing very thin with me. At first this was pretty cool, but it got a bit samey. I think Boyer did a smart thing with do to Colleen and her sticking her nose in with Liz and Nate has her sidelined from interfering with their investigations. However, doing that has made her not necessary to the story.

 

Liz is also dealing with her sister about to leave to get married and that also didn't ring very true. I wish we had a wedding to look forward to or something. Liz's whole family felt a bit flat in this one. I feel sad saying this, but even Liz and her crazy family were not enough to get me to enjoy this one. It just didn't ring true and felt very fake (the ghosts, pig, etc. was too much).

 

The secondary characters: Poppy, and some women with ties to a bookstore didn't really work. I liked the idea behind what the women were doing, but have to say that they actions were problematic.

 

The writing was typical Boyer. I hope you like hearing about delicious food, restaurants, clothing, and homes/rooms. The flow was okay, though I think that the book just didn't come together very well.

 

And as I said above, I didn't like the resolution since it left a stink on a good man and I didn't believe at all the why behind everything. I felt like we needed one more scene, or maybe more with the police to discuss what happened next. Instead that was left twisting in the wind.

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review 2018-06-27 16:21
True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop - Annie Darling

Since a bad break up Verity Love has sworn off men. Well real men. She has invented an imaginary boyfriend to keep her family and friends at bay. Luckily this boyfriend has an imaginary job that requires a lot of travel. But one day circumstances throw her in the path of Johnny True, and a couple of stalking friends mean that Johnny and Verity are now a fake couple. The pair vow to ‘date’ for the wedding season and then go their separate ways. They will defintely, positively, not fall in love on the way.

 

This novel was a sequel, though I didn’t realise that when I started to read it. The fact that I hadn’t read the first novel didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this one.

 

This book is a little comedy of errors. Verity and Johnny are thrown together unexpectedly. What results is a gentle paced, sweet story of how two people fight falling in love. Verity is shy, introverted to some extent, and constantly asks herself ‘What would Elizabeth Bennet do?’  but this is in part a reaction to her over the top, exhuberant and funny family. She’s invented a boyfriend to stave off their questions. Then comes unstuck when they mistake Johnny for him. Johnny has his own reasons for finding an advantage to having a fake girlfriend as he has difficulty leaving a past love behind. Both characters are lovely to read, as are the host of others that fill the bookshop, from Verity’s sister Merry, her dotty dad Vicar and her mum Our Vicar’s Wife and the rest of her madcap family.

 

There are other love stories going on, including a glimpse of the happy ever after of Verity’s friend and boss Posy. The story featuring William, Johnny’s father, is also lovely to read.

 

There’s also always something delightful about books set in bookshops. I don’t know whether it’s just because they appeal to the bibliophile in me or because they are are celebrating books in multiple ways but there is a little bit of extra magic about when books are about books. Of course I wanted to visit the bookshop, it sounded so inviting it would have been almost impossible to not want to visit.

 

A lovely, book filled, love filled novel. I’ll be interested to read more by Annie Darling in the future.

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review 2018-06-24 06:05
Lowcountry Bookshop (Liz Talbot Mystery, #7)
Lowcountry Bookshop - Susan M. Boyer

There aren't many series left I look forward to, but this one is always satisfying.  Lowcountry Bookshop wasn't the strongest of the bunch, but still an enjoyable way to escape.

 

Liz and Nate are hired by an anonymous client, through their attorney, to prove a local mail carrier (Poppy) innocent of a hit and run perpetrated during a massive rainstorm.  This construct felt, for much of the book, forced, as though Boyer couldn't make it work any other way, but by the end, the anonymity makes complete sense and adds an additional layer of complexity to the plot.  By the end, it's only the revealed guilty party that doesn't really mesh with the story; as a lover of mysteries I have come to expect all aspects of the mystery to share context, but as Boyer writes it, it's likely a lot more realistic.  There's a plot twist but too many aspects of it are telegraphed early to be shocking.

 

Where the book shines is with any scene involving Liz's family.  Hand to god, I wish the Talbots were both real and part of my life.  I rarely laugh so hard as I do when I'm reading about what Liz's daddy is currently up to. 

 

The only really true let down in the book was sloppy editing; in the past Henery Press could be counted on for solid editing and proofing but lately standards have slipped.  Hopefully it's just a temporary indication of a growing business, and I still look forward to the the next Liz Talbot book.

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review 2018-06-22 09:46
Bodies in a Bookshop (Professor John Stubbs Mystery)
Bodies in a Bookshop - R.T. Campbell

A re-issue of a 1940's mystery written by Ruthven Todd; I have to say that in general, I did not like this book.  It probably deserves 2.5 stars but the bookshop setting and plot surrounding books keeps me from doing it.  This is an instance when I know I'm being too kind though, because the writing had me skimming from just about the mid-way point.

 

The book (and series) is hyped to be witty and humorous and in the forward Peter Main mentions that Ruthven Todd wrote these only in order to make money; he felt that they were vastly inferior to his poetry.  I put these two disparate ideas together because I can only think that what is considered funny to others is what I felt was a complete lack of respect for the genre.  Of the three main characters, one is a constantly fatigued Scotland Yard detective, another is a corpulent Scotsman, and the third, our narrator, a botanist and assistant to said corpulent Scotsman, who does not hide his complete disdain for both from the reader.  It's a disdain attached to grudging affection and respect, and I suspect it is supposed to be read as acerbic wit, but it just sounded petulant to me.

 

Never thought I'd say this but: there's such a thing as too much Scottish vernacular.

 

The plot was ok, but too strung out and would have benefited from an editor with fascist work habits.  Dover says upfront that the text is from the original published manuscript as it was printed, so fair enough to them, but that just means the original had many flaws, including a niece that becomes a sister and is then demoted back to niece in the span of 2 pages.

 

Dover have reissued a few others of his work, but I won't be searching them out.

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