Wednesday, 18 February 2015

I am not sure which file is missing

A sixteen-year old boy is missing in a Tel Aviv suburb.  His mother is worried.  Inspector Avraham Avraham is not.  It is unheard of for children to vanish in this city.  But the next morning brings with it a sickening dawn.  The boy, Ofer, is still missing; the mother wretched; and a neighbourhood is waking to a shadow of suspicion in its streets and within its homes.  Avraham struggles under the bewildering weight of an unprecedented case, as the grip of fear paralysing him extends its reach across the city.  The boy's neighbour, Ze'ev Avni, struggles with the secret he is keeping from his wife.  HE cannot stop thinking about Ofer and believes he had a unique insight into his disappearance.  The answer for both of them is shifting under the surface.  Only Avraham's sense of disquiet can lead his faltering steps to the truth: a truth so unimaginable, it will take all his courage to face.

I am somewhat confused as to why this novel was called the Missing File as te name appears to have nothing to do with the story told in this book.  Perhaps this is merely something that was lost in translation.

In contrast to the more fast paced USA mystery type novels, this one sets a slower pace and feels as though the actions of the protagonist are more authentic. 

In this novel the detective is ‘ploddy’ he takes his time working through this investigation and in so doing the author describes the more mundane aspects of police work.  This detective constantly doubts himself and often misses major clues proving he is not a good detective.  He is aware of his own limitations and the limitations of his office.  The detective has the makings of a very complex and compelling character.  But this reader did not find him a likeable character with very few redeemable characteristics (it may be that some of the protagonists characteristics have been lost in translation).  Perhaps this is something that the author will deal with in later novels in the series.

This novel deals more with police procedure and the need for run of the mill detectives to constantly report to their superiors than actually investigating the incident in question.  The interactions between the bungling detective and the more astute, quick humoured colleagues and officials are inspired, as are the conflicts which are inherent when working as part of a team.

What is refreshing is that Avraham made mistakes and takes time to acknowledge those mistakes.  Although this book is readable it failed to fully engage me and the author missed a great opportunity of providing the reader with a real taste of Israel.  What I did find confounding was the side trip.  I really could not work out what, if anything, this had to do with the plot.

The plot was slow and ploddy, much like the detective, with some twists and turns and the final reveal was a surprise.  Due to the two points of view many things are repeated which was unnecessary, tedious and did not help the novel’s development.  I found both protagonists unlikeable and unreliable. 

Although the plot is cleaver it did feel as though it became secondary to the development of the characters. The book never really picked up any speed; rather the book seemed to drag and I found myself struggling to remain invested.  Overall I was disappointed with this potentially intriguing novel.

Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.

I rated this 3 stars on Negalley and 'I was OK' on Amazon (3 stars) and Goodreads (2 stars).

Not as good as the prequel - here's hoping the next one is better!

Oliver York returns from war to find his father dead, his finances in arrears, and himself the new Earl of Carlisle.  If he doesn't marry an heiress - and fast! - he and his tenants are going to be pitching tents down by the Thames.  he definitely shouldn't be trading kisses with a penniless débutante ... not matter how captivating.

Miss Grace Halton is in England just long enough to satisfy the terms of her dowry.  But a marriage of convenience isn't as easy as she'd hoped.  Back in America, her ailing mother needs medicine only Grace's dowry can afford.  Which means the dashing earl she can't get out her mind is the one man she can't let into her heart.

This is the first full novel in the Dukes of War series and had more of a story to it than the prequel basically because there was more time to lay out the plot line.   However, unlike the Viscount’s Christmas Temptation I did not feel connected either with Grace or the Earl.  I found Grace a bit whiny too and preoccupied (if we were told about her mother we were told about her 100 times).  The male lead was also preoccupied but rather than a sentimental issue his was rather more serious.

Once again this is a light read so do not expect things to be too historically accurate for example Grace’s whole attitude and demeanour was a little too modern for my liking.  The story is often halted for lengthy descriptions of the setting and the frequent descriptions of Grace and her fragrant smell, luscious lips and enticing eyes, possibly to make up for the lack of substance in the story.

The relationship had various issues which were neither adequately explored nor adequately explained.  There was little or no romantic build up, or character development, and then the whole situation was resolved much too quickly for my liking.  Unfortunately, the author missed an ideal opportunity to create great deal of tension and drama between this couple.  In short, this book felt rushed and was all a bit too obvious. 

One other failing is that we do not really get to know any of the other minor characters who are likely to be subject to the subsequent novels.  There were some moments of hilarity where they were concerned but not enough to keep the reader vested in all the characters major and minor to ensure the reader continues with the series.  In short this was a lackadaisical effort. 

In short another light read that kept me entertained to the end.  However, I hope that the second novel is more developed, less rushed and less obvious than this one.

Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.

I rated this 3 stars on net galley and 'It was OK' in Amazon (3 stars) and Goodreads (2 stars).

Something to read in front of the fire

Certain individuals might consider Lady Amelia Pembroke a managing sort of female, but truly, most people would be lost without her help.  Why, the latest on-dit is that rakish Viscount Sheffield is cancelling the fête of the year because he hasn't time for silly soirees. He doesn't need time—he needs.

When a flash of lightning destroys the venue for his family's annual Christmas ball, Lord Benedict Sheffield intends to enjoy a relaxing holiday for once.  But after twelve days of beguiling Lady Amelia's guerilla Tactics, he's up to his cravat in tinsel ... and tumbling head over heels in love.

When I compare my reading experience to other people’s reviews, I often think that I have read an entirely different book as their reviews are often in direct contact to mine.  Perhaps these people are less stingy with their reviews than me or they expect so much less from their reading experience than I do.  This book is a case in point.

I am not really sure why this book is subtitled as a prequel as there is only one fleeting mention made to the dukes of war.

This is a Novella rather than a full length and for this reason the main characters here fall in love deeply in less than 12 days.  They are not in infatuation, or in lust but rather real deep love.

The characters have clearly defined personalities and this reader liked the female lead (Lady Amelia) with her organisational skills from the first.  The Viscount is equally a strong character who cannot help but fall for this formidable female and readily falls for her honey trap.

This novel was quite charming with the occasional humorous episode.  Amelia clearly knew how to manage her man! Without him realising that he was complying with her wishes (something modern women clearly do every day).

The story is straightforward with no miscommunications or unnecessary drama.  When I finished the book I was like ‘Ahhhhhhh’.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope that the remaining novels in the series are as good.

I was surprised, however, that this novella only comprised 75% of the book with the remainder being a preview of the first full book of the series.  If I wanted to read a preview of the next book I would have purchased a free sampler from Amazon.

So if you are looking for a short, light, funny read with likeable characters this is one for you.  I personally am looking forward to reading the series proper.

Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.

I rated this 5 stars on net galley and 'I really liked it' in Amazon (4 stars) and Goodreads (4 stars).

A light chick lit rom com - perfect for the beach

A broke leg requires an orthopedist.  A broken car required a mechanic;  And a broken heart requires a specialist too.  The Breakup Doctor is now in.

Call Brook Ogden a matchmaker-in-reverse.  Let others bring people together; Brook, licensed mental health counsellor, picks up the pieces after things come apart.  When her own therapy practice collapses, she maintains perfect control: landing on her feet with a weekly advice-to-the-lovelorn column and a successful consulting service as the Breakup Doctor: on call to help you shape up after your breakup.

But when her own relationship suddenly crumbles, Book finds herself engaging in almost every bad-breakup behaviour she preached against.  And worse, she starts a rebound relationship with the most inappropriate of men: a dangerously sexy bartender with anger-management issues - who also happens to be a former patient.

As her increasingly out-of-control behaviour lands her at rock-bottom, Brook realises you can't always handle a messy breakup neatly - and that sometimes you can't putt yourself together until you let yourself fall apart.

A novel from the chick lit category which makes for a nice easy read.  This one is ideal for taking on holiday.  There is nothing overly complicated with the plot which is witty, funny and well-paced, if a bit predictable. 

Good character development which does make the start of the book a bit slow.  At times it was painful to read about the doctor’s antics and in a few places I wanted to slap some sense into the good doctor.    It was often the case of do as I say, not as I do.

Essentially the book exemplified the idea that when one area of your life fails another succeeds.  Finally, the doctor realises that it is ok to fall apart at the seams.  She finds herself alone at the end of the novel (which does not really give anything away).  Through her trials and tribulations the doctor confronts the notion that a person’s idea of the ‘ideal’ man may not be what is best for you.  She also discovers that one can find love in the most extraordinary places.

The moral of the story is that life give’s you what you can deal with; nothing more and nothing less.

Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.

I gave this a 4 star rating of on Netgalley and an 'I Liked it' on Amazon (4 Stars) and Goodreads (3 stars).

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Those echoes can be deadly

Donovan Nash is a man under siege, and this time it's personal.  Echo-Watch, the premier scientific research organisation he founded, is being blamed for a series of violent eco-atrocities that ignite protests around the world.  Behind the attacks is Garrick Pearce, a man from Donovan's past, who is bent on a ruthless vendetta.  Garrick has promised that after he annihilates Eco-Watch, he'll murder everyone close to Nash.  Recoiling from the damage Donovan enlists the help of Erica, a woman who claims she has information Donovan needs, but her knowledge makes her a marked woman.  Running from trained killers, the FBI and even his own organisation, Donovan races from southern California to British Columbia, then finally to Alaska where he joins Eco-Watch personnel and desperately tries to stop what promises to be the worst eco-atrocity in history.  With his world in tatters and everything he build seemingly destroyed, Donovan is forced to make one last desperate gamble to stop Garrick and silence the man forever-a roll of the dice that may very well cost Nash his life.

This book is all action from the get go and does not let up until the last page.  The pace is relentless.

The characters are well defined both initially and throughout the story with flashbacks.  You get to feel for the characters and hope that Nash will be successful in his mission.  What I did find distracting was the author’s constant references to very recent events (possibly what happened in the previous book) namely a recent injury and marital issues.  Yet the plot twists make this for an edge-of-the seat read.

This book has everything that murder, mystery thriller readers love.  Yet we know from early on who the protagonist is and what they are doing so it is more a case of cat and mouse than a true mystery thriller.  Although this could be read as a standalone book, this reader feels that more would be gained from reading the entire series in order.  The book is very well written with brilliant prose and this reader wished that they had started at the beginning of the series, so I will have to go back and start again.

Full disclosure;  ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I rated this book 4 stars on Netgalley and 'I liked it' on Amazon (4 stars) and Goodreads (3 stars)