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Cyndi J. (cyndij) - Reviews

1 to 20 of 795 - Page:
1222 (Hanne Wilhelmsen, Bk 8)
1222 (Hanne Wilhelmsen, Bk 8)
Author: Anne Holt, Marlaine Delargy (Translator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/29/2013
Helpful Score: 1


PBS lists this book as Hanne Wilhelmsen 1, which it isn't; some references make it obvious there are previous books with this character. Not really a problem just a curiosity.
Hanne Wilhelmsen is a paralyzed lesbian ex-police officer who just wants to be left alone. A train wreck in the middle of a blizzard leaves her trapped in a hotel with a hundred or so others - and then there's a murder.
It's a nice "locked-room" mystery with plenty of suspects. Told in the first person, but you don't get told everything the narrator knows. A lot of small "had I but known" moments. I don't feel I got to know Hanne very well in this book - probably deliberate given the character, but it could be due to the translation, or maybe starting in the middle of a series isn't the best. But she's interesting to be sure.
Anyway good plot, interesting characters, worth reading even if not emotionally involving.


21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey/Maturin Series)
Review Date: 12/20/2020


No need to look at this book unless you are a big O'Brian fan or a completist. It's interesting to see his handwritten pages with his typewritten copy juxtaposed. Aubrey's son Sam makes an appearance, and later on Sophie and his daughters actually come aboard along with Stephen's fiance and his daughter. The last 10 pages are just handwritten, there's no typed copy. I had a terrible time making it out so I turned to www.hmssurprise.org, a wonderful O'Brian fan site, and found the transcriptions - there's a duel between Stephen and a captain. You can see the makings of another exciting novel, sadly unfinished. But I am so glad my friend talked me into reading this series many years ago, they are such great books.


3rd Degree (Women's Murder Club, Bk 3)
3rd Degree (Women's Murder Club, Bk 3)
Author: James Patterson, Andrew Gross
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1056
Review Date: 8/2/2008
Helpful Score: 1


I have to admit I have only read one other James Patterson book, it was one of the Alex Cross ones, although Patterson seems to dominate book racks everywhere, especially in airports and grocery stores. This is part of the very popular Women's Murder Club series. I found it on the freebie shelf at the campground and figured I'd give it a try. I did finish it, but it didn't do a lot for me either positive or negative. It moves along smartly, and there's some mildly interesting villains, but I didn't care much what happened to any of the characters - and there's one place where the reader really needed to be emotionally involved. I won't seek out any of the rest of these books when I have so many others I want on my reading list, but a lot of people really enjoy them - vive la difference! Patterson is so popular he won't miss me.


Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye (Psychic Eye, Bk 1)
Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye (Psychic Eye, Bk 1)
Author: Victoria Laurie
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 549
Review Date: 2/24/2011


I really enjoyed this first in a series. It's so lightweight it's almost frothy, it's cute, it's got all the right cliches in all the right places. Abby Cooper is a real psychic and makes her living at providing advice to clients based on her psychic abilities. One of Abby's clients is found murdered and her gift gets her into trouble with the police, since she's describing things she ought not to know about. Abby doesn't seem to be very good at predicting her own fortune, which made for some funny moments. You're not going to have any profound insights or get sucked into the drama in this book, but I liked it. I thought it was sweet escapist reading and just what I wanted at the time.


The Accidental Alchemist (Accidental Alchemist, Bk 1)
The Accidental Alchemist (Accidental Alchemist, Bk 1)
Author: Gigi Pandian
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 29
Review Date: 3/15/2019


I quite liked it mainly due to the premise of the alchemy and the gargoyle. I liked Zoe, although she seems awfully scattered for someone that old. I liked Dorian (is that a pun on Dorian Grey?). I do think that Zoe should have been a bit more concerned about the murder, and finding the book that could save Dorian, than tracking down the stupid teenage boy. And Pandian really needs to tone down the whole vegan thing, that got old fast. Did I mention that Zoe is vegan? And she makes great vegan smoothies. Dorian cooks great vegan food. Vegan vegan vegan. Okay I'm done.
Otherwise, I think the series has promise - I see there are several more so I'll go on with it.


Admiral (An Evagardian Novel)
Admiral (An Evagardian Novel)
Author: Sean Danker
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 8/15/2019


The pacing is certainly good, although the mystery identity of the Admiral drags on too long. At first I thought perhaps this book was the second in a series, I felt that many references were supposed to imply familiarity with the world. But it is the first, Danker just drops us into the story and we are supposed to catch up. The book is entirely about them escaping from their predicament and moves along smartly, with the Admiral mcgyvering his way out of ever increasingly perilous situations. It's all told from the Admiral's POV but he doesn't give us many hints about who he is or why he's there. I thought of and then had to discard several guesses as to his real identity and frankly, even after the big reveal at the end, I'm still not entirely certain. Either I misunderstood some of the earlier actions, or there's discontinuities in the text, or he's still not telling the entire truth.
At any rate, it's a pleasant action SF read but didn't grab me tightly enough that I'll go on to the next.


Agency (Jackpot, Bk 2)
Agency (Jackpot, Bk 2)
Author: William Gibson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 2/6/2020
Helpful Score: 1


Very interesting. Some of the book descriptions make this sound like a sequel to The Peripheral, but I'm not so sure...I haven't read it yet so I don't really know. Anyway I liked this just fine although I had a LOT of questions about the mechanics of it all. No matter. Switched between POV of Verity and Netherford about every 2 pages, which I usually find annoying but this time just adds to pacing. I really liked the idea of the stubs, and that the "real" timeline doesn't know how they do what they do. Verity's flight across the country, basically handed off from one person to another like a suitcase, was at the same time tension-filled but also a little tedious. I had a little trouble visualizing the very end as they're airlifted into the party. Good characterization, excellent world-building (of course), and a good ending - wraps up this story nicely and leaves room for more if wanted.


Airs Above the Ground
Airs Above the Ground
Author: Mary Stewart
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/2/2020


This is my second favorite of Stewart's novels - the Lipizzan horse caps it off. Even without the horse it would be one of my favorites of hers. Vanessa, Lewis and Tim are such appealing characters, if this were written today they would be part of a series I'm sure. Great pacing, every character is perfectly delineated, good believable dialogue, and excellent sense of place. The crime aspect does make the book a little dated - in 1965 that was a major event but today, although serious, seems like small potatoes. And of course the relationship between the sexes is from 1965 too, but Vanessa is not a subservient character nor do the men act as though she is. I loved how even after the bad guy is captured there is still a scene of great peril, which Vanessa averts. There is one scene that has always stayed with me (and partly because I first read it as as a teen) - the scene where Vanessa watches the old horse dance in the moonlight. I know it's not Great Literature, but I love it anyway.


All the Little Liars (Aurora Teagarden, Bk 9)
All the Little Liars (Aurora Teagarden, Bk 9)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 33
Review Date: 9/24/2017


The mood of this series has changed remarkably, from the light-hearted cozies at the beginning to the more serious, family-related issues of the day. School bullying, child abuse, extra-indulgent parenting and teen suicide make this one kind of bleak. I guessed the villain as soon as he/she/it was mentioned, but I'm sure this book wasn't intended as a classic whodunit. Still have the cozy mystery hallmarks of what Roe's wearing, what she's cooking, what her hair looks like. I could have done with fewer descriptions of Roe throwing up, actually. Still, it kept me reading straight through, and even if there is a happy ending for Roe there were left a lot of unhappy families in the town.


Among Others
Among Others
Author: Jo Walton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 2/17/2016


I can't figure out what to say about this book. It's a nice character study of the teen-aged girl; there's a tiny bit of "magic" happening (enough to get it classified as fantasy). The big antagonist of the story is left to the last couple pages and then just evaporates (was that the point?) The main thrust of this story seems to be how great it is for nerdy youngsters to read and discuss science fiction and fantasy, which is why I'm guessing it won awards. Lovely writing, but the fantasy elements don't seem critical to the story (it reminds me of Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, which is a rapturous paean to college life with a folk tale tacked on to the last 20 pages).
So...meh. But if you'd like a list of excellent SF from the 70s and earlier, jot down all the titles in this book.


And Justice There Is None (Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James, Bk 8)
And Justice There Is None (Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James, Bk 8)
Author: Deborah Crombie
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 21
Review Date: 6/6/2018


Gemma James, now Inspector James, is in charge when the young wife of a wealthy antiques dealer is found murdered. She was pregnant with her lover's child, so Gemma focuses on the husband who is not exactly pure as driven snow - but Duncan Kincaid finds it's too similar to the murder of another dealer. Gemma is dealing with her pregnancy, new job, new house, and having her SO butt into her case, so tensions are high. Nicely complicated plot with plenty of suspects, and interesting flashbacks that slowly start to make sense in the present day. There's a lot of sadness in this episode. I like how Crombie gives all the characters some background; and there's enough backstory for the main characters that a new reader could start here.


Another Man's Moccasins (Walt Longmire, Bk 4)
Another Man's Moccasins (Walt Longmire, Bk 4)
Author: Craig Johnson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 7/18/2018


Johnson brings a lot of thoughtfulness into what is a pretty dark story, interleaving modern day murders and human trafficking with Longmire's experiences in Vietnam. It's still got snappy dialogue and some wryly humorous scenes. The friendship between Longmire and Henry Standing Bear is so well done; just in the little snippets of dialogue you can see how well all the sheriff's team gets along. This is my second time around with this series and I'm liking it more than the first time.


Any Other Name (Longmire, Bk 10)
Any Other Name (Longmire, Bk 10)
Author: Craig Johnson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 11/19/2018


Tenth in the Longmire series, and it's another excellent entry. Lucian asks Walt to accompany him to Campbell County to give help to an old friend of Lucien's. Her husband, a cop, has committed suicide but she can't really accept that, he just wasn't the type to do it. Lucien sums up Walt perfectly when he says "I want to warn you that if you put Walter on this you're going to find out what it's all about, one way or the other...You sure you want that? Because he's like a gun; once you point him and pull the trigger, it's too late to change your mind." Walt quickly determines it was in fact suicide and now the question is, what could drive this reputedly inflexible lawman to kill himself? Henry Standing Bear and Vic Moretti show up as well, having received desperate phone calls from Walt's daughter Cady, who expects her dad to be at her side in Philadelphia while she gives birth...in 24 hours. There are tension-filled chase scenes, and the self-deprecating humor of Walt; some spiritual moments as well. I do feel bad for Cady who seems to go through the same crazy scene with her dad over and over again. But once again Walt finds the answer, even if it's one that doesn't give much consolation, and makes it to Cady in time. These are really fast reads for me, I usually manage to finish them in about 3 or 4 hours as they are so compelling.


Any Two Can Play
Any Two Can Play
Author: Elizabeth Cadell
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 5/4/2020


Copyright date is 1981, but this very tame romance can't possibly have been meant to be set in that time period. 1961, maybe, with Natalie happy to set aside her entire life to cater to her spoiled brother. Charming dialogue, but no hint as to why Natalie and Henry are attracted to each other. The secondary characters are much more fun than the leads.


Arcadia
Arcadia
Author: Iain Pears
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 2/2/2018


No one writes intricate twisting plots like Pears. In Arcadia, we start off with 3 different worlds which will start intersecting in fantastic ways. You need to pay attention to everything going on in this book; Pears doesn't put any scenes in just for the fun of it. Like all his more literary works this has multiple levels - you can read it as is, but there are a lot of allusions as well. It's definitely lighter in tone, and easier to get into, than most of his others (excepting the mystery novels). I really liked that it has both a terribly tragic ending, and a happy ending at the same time.


Arizona Dreams (David Mapstone, Bk 4)
Arizona Dreams (David Mapstone, Bk 4)
Author: Jon Talton
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 12/15/2019


I really enjoyed the first one, CONCRETE DESERT. I've had this on my shelf for a while. I kept passing it over because I'm reading a number of different series in order, and I kept thinking I would do the same with this. But I'm realizing that for most of these long-running mystery series, it doesn't matter much, and I don't want to get too compulsive about it. I didn't like this one nearly as much as the first, but it wasn't because I read it out of order.
The main thread is the ever-expanding development of Phoenix. Mapstone comments on how all the places he knew as a kid are now seas of suburban rooftops. He says it again and again and again, so by the middle of the book I'm thinking "enough already, I got the idea". A lot of the writing seems overblown and dramatic. Like every good outsider protagonist, Mapstone ignores department protocol and common sense to take off and investigate on his own, although sometimes he brings his computer-genius wife with him. But in so doing he gets his boss and mentor, the chief of police, really mad at him - there's a lot of that. Then the subplot with the sister-in-law, not sure I believed the ending with that one. I still liked the tour of Phoenix and southern Arizona, I liked the plot involving development and water, and despite the slightly purple prose I like the descriptions of the area. I'm still interested in reading more of them, but the series isn't on top of my list.


Arsenic with Austen (Crime with the Classics, Bk 1)
Arsenic with Austen (Crime with the Classics, Bk 1)
Author: Katherine Bolger Hyde
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 4/2/2017


Arsenic with Austen definitely falls into the romantic cozy mystery category. Emily Cavanaugh inherits a fortune from an aunt she hasn't seen in years. The small beach town she remembers fondly for its peace and quiet is still much the same thanks to her aunt, who owned most of the place. There are those who are looking forward to developing, though, and wasn't it odd that Aunt Beatrice died after eating dinner with two of the most zealous promoters? Add in Emily's old flame from her teenage years who is now the sheriff, and a semi-cousin who is also a legatee.
It's a very cozy book and while I tend to want a bit more conflict, I enjoyed it. Emily is a thoroughly nice person who wants only the best for all her new tenants and the town in general. There's no impediment to the reuniting of Emily and her old flame, the villains are mustache-twirling obvious types, and it ends pretty much the way you expect it too. Pretty much, because right at the end there is a sudden burst of Christian piety and forgiveness that really isn't shown before. I did think it odd - forgiveness is blessed I'm sure but offering to pay for a great lawyer for someone who killed two people and tried to kill you...well, that's special. What if they get off?
Anyway. Emily is appealing - the way she deciphers clues and motives based on comparing living people to Jane Austen's characters is cute. There are cats. If you like cozies, worth a look.


Artemis
Artemis
Author: Andy Weir
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 8/7/2018


Fun SF romp with Weir's meticulous attention to the science of living in space. Details, 10; Plot, 4. I found some tension between the far-fetched caper plot and the very detailed explanations of the habitats, EVA practices, and chemical reactions. Because the science is so detailed, my mind wanted the same attention paid to the society aspects and it just wasn't. No country claimed the colony? One doctor, one cop, one administrator for what seemed like a couple thousand people? I don't think that would work out. At 26 I would expect Jazz to have grown up enough not to fall into such an incredibly stupid caper...although, okay, she lives in a very limited society, maybe she's not grown up. At any rate, Jazz is very fun and her voice, explaining all the aspects of life on the Moon, is charming.


Artemis Awakening
Artemis Awakening
Author: Jane Lindskold
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 3/23/2018


For an unknown reason I expected a harder edge to this book; I've never read Jane Lindskold before. But from the first paragraph I realized I needed to readjust my expectations to more of a YA experience. And that's fine, I like a lot of YA fiction. Since it is the first in a series, it has to introduce the characters and set up the story arc; in this case it's pretty leisurely. Lindskold has a great world-building premise here with the "lost paradise" planet; there's so many ways she could go with it. By the end of the book you'll know which way she's going, and for me it was a bit of an eye-rolling moment. I don't buy into that premise and there was little forward momentum on other plot elements I liked, so I'm not going on with the series. But, she's set up some interesting characters with a lot of questions on their backstory, and hopefully it pays off for other readers.


As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce, Bk 7)
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce, Bk 7)
Author: Alan Bradley
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 10/22/2018


I found this one to need a greater suspension of disbelief than the others; the idea of a super-secret spy agency recruiting a 12-year-old, however bright, is just getting too far out there. And it seems she's not the only young girl as part of it. In fact almost everyone seems to be part of some secret society or another. And what's with the whole Harriet thing, it feels like everyone and their brother knows about Harriet, she has this godlike stature, but no one ever told Flavia stories about her mom? I did like that Flavia is out of her element although she doesn't let it slow her down much, but I also missed the familiar characters at Buckshaw. I also liked her detecting skills, it seemed in the last one she was just an observer, but there were some oddities I couldn't get around. A body in the chimney and no one notices? If the body mummified because of the heat of the fire, the chimney would have been blocked enough so that smoke wouldn't rise. And surely, it would have stunk to high heaven for at least a week or two, someone would have noticed.
Well...I did enjoy another Flavia adventure even if I had issues with this one. I'm glad she'll be back at Buckshaw next episode.


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