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review 2017-08-10 01:54
AND THEN THERE WERE NUNS by Kylie Logan
And Then There Were Nuns: League of Literary Ladies - Kylie Logan

Homage to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (10 Little Indians).  Follows the original very well.  Who would want to kill a nun?  Why?  As Bea and the rest of the Literary Ladies look for clues, Bea's secret comes out as does Levi's.  I enjoyed this story.  Chandra is as crazy as ever and the reason is a hoot.  Hank trusts the Literary Ladies and they do what they do best.  I liked the librarians who were staying at Bea's.  Well done.  I look forward to reading the next book.

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review 2017-05-04 17:56
The Cavanaugh House by Elizabeth Meyette
The Cavanaugh House - Elizabeth Meyette

Suffering from a broken engagement, Jesse Graham has left Rochester for the North Lakes area of New York, taking a job at the local nun-run school and living in the Cavanaugh house, a place left to her by her deceased aunt Helen. Arriving there, she first has to make the house livable and Joe Riley is there to offer a helping hand, and perhaps more if Jesse is interested. Secrets about her aunt Helen and her own past start to emerge and someone doesn’t want those secrets brought to light. Jesse is in danger.

This was a very slow paced book. It takes quite some time to get to any part of the mystery. Set in 1968, much of the story and phrases used are quaint. For some, this might bring up nostalgia. For me, this book felt much longer than it actually was and it took me some time to become engaged in the story. Still, it is written with skill and care.

Being equal parts mystery and romance, let’s start with the romance. It was a slow burn as well. Jesse moves to this small town and immediately more than one available man is interested in dating her. Joe is the first one to show interest and is the son of Susan, her aunt Helen’s best friend from all those years ago. Then there’s Marty, a police officer. There’s also Al, a son of the local prominent and wealthy family. It felt a little cliched to have all the local bachelors vying for the new girl’s hand at the dance. This part of the story held little interest for me.

As to the mystery, it was pretty straight forward. I almost want to say that this book wasn’t so much a mystery as it was a tale of Jesse discovering herself. It was painfully obvious what the big secret was about Helen. Also once we meet Al, it also seemed obvious what the second half of that mystery had in store. So for me, it felt that Jesse’s journey to the discovery of the truths about her family and her past were the important part.

My favorite parts of the story were Maggie, who is Sister Angelina. The nuns doing every day things like baseball and playing cards was great. Maggie’s friendship sees Jesse through the worst of her ordeals. Also, I really liked the haunted house aspect of the tale, with Helen’s ghost being the source of the haunting.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Amy McFadden did an awesome job narrating this book. She always sounded engaged and she had distinct voices for all the characters. Her male voices were quite believable. She did a good job with the sometimes corny humor, making it seem natural and funny.

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review 2016-12-28 16:22
The Devil's Prayer
The Devil's Prayer - Luke Gracias

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley
in exchange for an honest review.

 

In the 13th Century, in order to save his life, a monk did a deal with the Devil, and as a result the Codex Giga, the Devil's Bible, came into being. It was lost for centuries, then rediscovered, but by this time, twelve pages of the original manuscript were missing, the twelve vitally important pages known as the Devil's Prayer.

 

It is said that one day a woman will give birth to the child of the Devil. And if this person ever gets his hands on the pages of the Devil's Prayer, then all Hell will be let loose on the world.

 

When the story opens, we are in the convent of Sancta Therese, a few miles north of Zamora, Spain. There, during the Semana Santa (Easter Week), a secret ritual is enacted, as it has been every year since the 1200s, but this time, at its climax, a nun commits suicide by hanging herself from the bell-tower.

 

Meanwhile, in Australia, in a world as different as it can well get, a young woman called Siobhan Russo is informed by a priest that her mother, Denise, who has been missing from home for six years, has committed suicide in Spain. That she was a nun going by the name of Sister Benedictine. And that she, Siobhan, must travel at once to Spain, to collect in person a message her mother left for her.

 

It turns out that Denise, the mother, had done a deal with the Devil years earlier, in order to get revenge and healing after she had been raped and left paralysed. This rape and its consequences form a vivid short story which stands out as rather different from the rest of the book, and after reading it we identify with Denise quite as much as we do with her now grown-up daughter Siobhan. At that time, the Devil had healed Denise in exchange for the souls of her attackers. But her dealings with the Devil had not stopped there. The Devil later brought the child Siobhan back to life after she had drowned in their swimming-pool.

 

But I am telling you too much of the story. Read it for yourself. It is brilliantly researched and replete with fascinating details. And don't be put off by all this about "the Devil". This is a very real, very evil, Devil, a Devil it is almost impossible to say No to - and as the author says in the book, "God and the Devil - one does not exist without the other." It is a story I shall never forget, and full of characters I shall never forget.

 

I visited the website www.devilsprayer.com and found some marvellous photos of the scenes where the more bizarre sections of the story are set. Here is one of them:

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review 2016-07-06 04:58
And Then There Were Nuns (League of Literary Ladies, #4)
And Then There Were Nuns - Kylie Logan

All the secrets are out in this one; all the dancing around the past that Bea and her love interest, Levi, have been doing for three previous books comes to an end and the seltzer hits the fan, so to speak.

 

While this drama unfolds, Bea is helping out a neighbour in need by supplying meals to a group of 10 nuns staying on the island for a retreat, and one of Bea's closest friends starts acting oddly confrontational to the rest of the League of Literary Ladies.

 

Bea's having a rough week, but the most interesting part of the book is the mystery.  Perhaps it's my Catholic school history, but I can't believe you can go wrong with nuns.  There is so much ground for the busting of preconceived notions.  The only reason I didn't find the plotting perfect was the inevitability of the guilty party being attached to Bea; that was disappointing.

 

Chandra's reason for her weird behaviour was blatantly obvious from the beginning, so as a sub-plot it was a non-starter for me.  As for Bea and Levi - I didn't have any hopes of seeing a romantic interlude between them, so I wasn't disappointed.

 

A fun series I hope to see continued.

 

 

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text 2016-03-04 00:54
Book Haul for week of March 4th
The Canterville Ghost - Oscar Wilde,Inga Moore
Toujours Provence - Peter Mayle
Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France - Peter Mayle
Banvard's Folly: Tales Of Reknowned Obscurity, Famous Anonymity And Rotten Luck - Paul Collins
The Curse of the Kings - Victoria Holt
The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart
An Autobiography - Agatha Christie
Midnight Marked - Chloe Neill
Grave Visions - Kalayna Price
And Then There Were Nuns - Kylie Logan

When MT and I were on our mini-break and I was doing damage in a small UBS in Bright, the owner and I were chatting and she told me she got quite a bit of her stock from a man here in Melbourne, in a neighborhood just 20 minutes from me.  He's only open on the weekends and doesn't advertise - which perversely, made me want to visit his shop.  So I went last Sunday and I figured, while I was at it, it would only make sense to stop at any nearby UBSs too, right?  For comparison's sake...

 

4 UBSs later... (and 4 parcels in the post)

 

What can I say?  I came, I saw, I bought.  I'm going to blame mom: she always let me buy whatever books I wanted as a child, you know, to encourage a love of reading. But we lived an hour away from the closest bookshops and the internet didn't exist so she could be magnanimous, little knowing she was creating a bibliophile with a total lack of impulse control.  Love you mom!

 

I'm not going to do this in two posts, so here are the rest of the books that didn't fit above:  (All the images link to their respective BookLikes pages.)

 

Black Sheep - Georgette Heyer  The Quiet Gentleman - Georgette Heyer  The Convenient Marriage - Georgette Heyer  Excellent women - Barbara Pym  An Unsuitable Attachment - Barbara Pym  The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Orczy  

 

That last one that looks vaguely Masonic is actually the Folio Society edition of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

 

I'm a little red-faced over the sheer number of them, so I'm not going to mention them all individually.  I've always wanted a copy of The Canterville Ghost because I loved the TV adaptation as a child.  The Peter Mayle books are follow-ups to A Year in Provence which I liked in that way you like a Food Network show.  Banvard's Folly: Tales Of Reknowned Obscurity, Famous Anonymity And Rotten Luck is the book Paul Collins talked about writing in Sixpence House and the UBS owner said it was really good.

 

The Holt and Rinehart books are throwbacks to Mom's bookcase and ever since I heard about Agatha Christie going surfing, I wanted to read her autobiography.

 

Since I've enjoyed Angela Thirkell, I decided to up my game and give Pym a try and the Heyers I took a chance on: I love some of her stuff and others were just... not worth mentioning.  Hopefully I picked some winners.

 

So...

Total new books this week:  16

Total books read this week:  3

Total physical books on TBR: 217

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