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review 2018-02-14 13:34
A lesser 'Ove
The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel - Elizabeth Berg

The book sounded like a fun and endearing read of a widower, his nosy neighbor and a young woman reaching adulthood as she graduates high school. Arthur visits the cemetery to speak to his deceased wife when he runs into Maddy, a high school student about to deal with an immense life change (aside from her impending graduation) and Arthur's neighbor, Lucille, who has her own story.


I didn't care for 'Ove' but was willing to give this a shot because it sounded like an upbeat read (or at least one where everything would be okay in the end) and I just wanted to throw that into my reading queue. Unfortunately...doesn't meet expectations. Arthur is perhaps not quite as cranky as Ove and while the characters are all mildly interesting the book and story were ultimately skimmable. Cranky old man. Soon to be "adult" (in the sense of age and that she's graduating high school) young woman at a crossroads. A neighbor who may have finally found happiness.


All familiar tropes, all have been done before. I cared enough to see how various story threads resolved themselves and I wasn't too surprised to see what happened to Arthur (Maddy's and Lucille's story endings weren't too shocking either). The end is a little too neatly tied together. Even though I had expected a relatively happy ending, I guess this book didn't quite do enough work to find it endearing or outstanding in any way.


But if you liked 'Ove' this might be a good read. If you like stories that end with a generally happy ending (not fully as with 'Ove' but it wasn't unexpected either) this could be a good pickup. 'Ove' is going to be adapted as a film of this writing and I wouldn't be surprised if this book were also to receive some sort of TV/film adaptation either.


Borrow from the library and see if it's something you'd want to have in your library.

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review 2018-02-13 16:25
Riding Out the Wager: The Story of a Damaged Horse & His Soldier (The Father Michael Trilogy Book 1) - Hilary Walker

Riding Out The Wager by Hilary Walker
Love how this starts out with healing powers horses have. I've yet to ride one but they do fascinate me and the things they can do.
First time reading this author and enjoy the exploration into her works-want to read more already!
Starts out where a priest is spending dinner at one of his relatives and parishions house for dinner and meets the brother, Justin who is back from Iraq and very hostile.
Priest, Father Michael makes a wager he can get him to believe in God by Easter...
We learn of others confessions and how they are handled.
Love hearing of the step by step instructions on how to set up the saddle and everything associated with it, so very detailed and precise.
All different problems that are our everyday lives and solutions for troubles, priceless!
Although there are a lot of characters it's easy to keep them all straight. Amazing story! Other works by the author are highlighted at the end.
What I liked the most is that there are different age groups, each facing different troubles in their lives and there is an answer to them all. Pray.
Received this review copy from the author and this is my honest opinion.

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text 2018-02-12 04:36
A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune
A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune

Katherine and James purchased lake property in rural western Massachusetts when they were in their mid-twenties. They rented out the various cottages while James worked on his poetry. It was an idyllic setting and life. That is, until James discovered the body of a boy floating by one of the cottage docks. The accident sent devastated James and he slowly sank into madness and depression from a broken mind. Katherine watched as James became more and more recluse and angry until one day he disappeared without a trace. Trying to pick up the pieces of a shattered life, Katherine makes the decision to sell the property in the spring and to try and start a new life. All she has to do is get through the winter. Not an easy task now that she's hearing strange thing that sound like James. Is this all in her mind or is he out there somewhere?



I've read a handful of Gifune's work and most of them are noted for the story being enveloped in shadows and fog, to the point where it's hard to tell what's going on, what's real and what's not. A View from the Lake is no different. But where it is different than my other experiences with Gifune's stories is that there is no pay off. The last 1/3 doesn't ratchet up and have this wonderful revelation that ties everything together. In fact, the ending came out of the blue and left you with more questions than answers. The characters weren't all that interesting and I didn't feel for Katherine or James. I know this is one of Gifune's earlier works and I think it shows. When you read his later works, you'll see that he commands things so much better.



2 Confusing Hallucinations out of 5


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text 2018-02-11 22:30
Detection Club Bingo: My Progress So Far
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards
The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards
Murder of a Lady (British Library Crime Classics) - Anthony Wynne
The Tales of Max Carrados - Ernest Bramah,Stephen Fry
Pietr Le Letton - Georges Simenon
Lonely Magdalen: A Murder Story - Henry Wade
Margery Allingham Omnibus: Includes Sweet Danger, The Case of the Late Pig, The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham
The Franchise Affair - Josephine Tey
Family Matters (British Library Crime Classics) - Anthony Rolls


1. A New Era Dawns: Ernest Bramah - The Tales of Max Carrados;

Emmuska Orczy - The Old Man in the Corner

2. The Birth of the Golden Age
3. The Great Detectives:
Margery Allingham - The Crime at Black Dudley, Mystery Mile, Look to the Lady, Police at the Funeral, Sweet Danger, Death of a Ghost, Flowers for the Judge, The Case of the Late Pig, Dancers in Mourning, The Fashion in Shrouds, Traitor's Purse, and The Tiger in the Smoke;

Anthony Berkeley - The Poisoned Chocolates Case

4. 'Play Up! Play Up! and Play the Game!'
5. Miraculous Murders:
Anthony Wynne - Murder of a Lady
6. Serpents in Eden
7. Murder at the Manor:
Ethel Lina White - The Spiral Staircase (aka Some Must Watch)
8. Capital Crimes
9. Resorting to Murder
10. Making Fun of Murder
11. Education, Education, Education
12. Playing Politics
13. Scientific Enquiries
14. The Long Arm of the Law:
Henry Wade - Lonely Magdalen
15. The Justice Game
16. Multiplying Murders
17. The Psychology of Crime
18. Inverted Mysteries
19. The Ironists:
Anthony Rolls - Family Matters
20. Fiction from Fact: Josephine Tey - The Franchise Affair

21. Singletons
22. Across the Atlantic
23. Cosmopolitan Crimes: Georges Simenon - Pietr le Letton (Pietr the Latvian)
24. The Way Ahead


Free Square / Eric the Skull: Martin Edwards - The Golden Age of Murder


The book that started it all:

Martin Edwards - The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books


The Detection Club Reading Lists:
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: The "100 Books" Presented
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 1-5

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 6 & 7
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 8-10
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 11-15
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 16-20
The story of Classic Crime in 100 Books: Other Books Mentioned, Chapters 21-24

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-11 04:50
Very mixed bag
Tactical Submission: A Windsor Club Stor... Tactical Submission: A Windsor Club Story - Ada Maria Soto

SWAT commander Jack Burnside is haunted by his craving to kneel before another man. Of all the things he hates about himself – his overtly masculine size and strength, his blue eyes, his insecurities – it is the need to submit that he fears will destroy him. Doctor Isaac Bard is close to achieving his perfect life. He has a great job with the Coroner’s Office and an open marriage to a loving wife who understands his needs better than he does. The only thing he is missing is a handsome young man to dominate, spoil rotten, and love. Jack and Isaac might be a perfect match in the back rooms of the exclusive Windsor Club, but will the outside pressures of perception and duty tear them apart?


Dear Ada Maria Soto,

  When I saw your book on Kindle Unlimited, I was very pleased. I loved your novella “His Quiet Agent”.  The novella did not have any explicit sex scenes, but in theory I very much enjoy BDSM themed romances, so “Tactical Submission” sounded as very much my cup of tea.  What can I say? It was very hard to grade this book because it ended up being a strange reading experience for me.

Some reviews mentioned too much sex, but in the books with BDSM in it I am willing to tolerate more sex than I usually do if I like the execution and I mostly did like it in this story. Although this is definitely an erotic romance, I thought there was a lot of sex indeed, but for this book it made sense to me.

Where BDSM is concerned, I cannot stand Psychic!Dom trope. I am sure you know that one. There we have arrogant Dom, who of course knows best what his Sub needs and he will make sure that Sub will like whatever Dom wants to inflicts on him , darn it, even if initially Sub thinks he hates it. 

It is also important for me in BDSM themed romances to be not just in Dom’s head but in Sub’s head as well, because I want to see that Sub is enjoying the activities and not just enduring them.

I was beyond pleased to find out that Isaac was a kind Dom, someone who wanted to please Jack very much and not just indulge his own desires. Someone who took time to find out what kind of specific things Jack may have liked in the scene and not what Isaac assumed Jack might like.  I also thought it was not done in the didactic way, but integrated in the characterization.  I liked that Isaac had no desire to “set Jack up for a fall” and even though he offered the parameters for punishment when they negotiated (no, I am not complaining about punishments in the scene!), he then realized that Jack responded much better to positive reinforcement and pretty much stuck to the positive reinforcement. 

I liked that Isaac very much respected Jack’s limits in the scene. To make a long story short, I have almost no gripes with the portrayal of BDSM aspect of the story. Although take my opinion for what its worth because I am only discussing fictional portrayal of it and have no experience with real life BDSM.

Jack has some self-esteem issues and some issue which relates to one of his limits in the scene and he does realize that seeing a therapist will probably help him. I get really grumpy when BDSM is used as a substitute for therapy in some romances. I do not believe that this is what this book did. I think the narrative was pretty clear that Jack wants to play because he was wired this way and this brings him peace but in addition to just make “his brain less loud”, he does realize that he may benefit from the actual therapy. I hesitated initially because one of the issues Jack needs help with is very specific and about what he does not like in the scene, but it ended up being okay for me.

What I did not like? I am not asking you to disregard all that I wrote prior to this sentence, but I felt like every other aspect of their building relationship was grossly underrepresented. As much as I enjoyed them playing and having sex, I missed seeing them doing something else. I understood they attempted to go out couple of times, but it was not enough for me.  I mean, the only conversation they were having where they exchanged important information about themselves was in the last pages of the book.

I also have to call the mandatory separation moment inconsistent with everything we learned about Isaac so far. I understand that it was briefly mentioned that he could have been a jerk to his past liasons, but him just letting Jack go and not talking to him for months to me was inconsistent with the guy who as blurb tells you has a successful open relationship with his wife Amelie/Amalie (there is a reason I call her that – would be nice if text stuck to one variation of her name but it did not). This open relationship requires a lot of talking and a lot of negotiating and we *see* Isaac doing all of this.

Amalie has a female long term lover on the side, and when I say on the side, I mean that Lydia has an “almond milk in their fridge and power suits in their closet” and the only reason she did not move in with them was because Lydia is not out at work and she did not want even accidental publicity.

So when Amalie and Lydia want to have sex at her and Isaac’s house, Isaac leaves them to this and when Isaac wants to do the same with other people , they do the same. They also go to other places.  When Isaac wants to bring Jack home he tells his wife, in fact he tells his wife after the first night he met Jack because he liked Jack a lot and they have a rule if somebody wants to or thinking about bringing somebody home long term, these two talk to each other.

And the author wanted to sell the idea that the guy like Isaac who successfully negotiated an open relationship would let somebody whom he almost fell in love without a fight? Actually forget about a “fight”, that Isaac would not ask questions, especially knowing how nervous Jack could become? I am sorry I am not buying it.

In fact as one of my book buddies said, the real strong love connection that we get to *see* was between Isaac and Amalie and do not get me wrong, I enjoyed that relationship, but I wanted much more than I got out of Isaac/Jack relationship.


I also thought that the ending was very rushed and the line editing could have been stronger.


Grade: C/C-



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