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Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily Mysteries, Book 4) by Tasha Alexander

The Book:

Lady Emily and her husband Colin Hargreaves are in beautiful Constantinople for their honeymoon. They get introduced to Sir Richard St. Clare while on board the Orient Express and the very same night he has a drug overdose. In Constantinople, a half English harem girl is murdered and Sir Richard reveals that the dead girl is his long-lost daughter. Emily promises that she would find the murderer and provide justice to Sir Richard and his dead daughter.

But very soon, there are more murders and Emily may herself be in grave danger. Did she bite off more than she can chew? Is the murderer the dead girl’s brother Benjamin? Will she finally unravel the mystery that is hidden in the secret world of the harems?

The View:

Part historical, part mystery and even part romance.. this book has a little bit of everything for every reader. I picked this book aware that this was the 4th book is a series but was not prepared for the numerous references to the past books. The past references and character introductions were a damper to the pace of the story. I am sure, readers who followed this series diligently would have not had a similar problem as I did. The historical references, the detailed descriptions and the characters from the Ottoman Empire did more than their job to carry this book forward. I am not a fan of historical books but found this one amazingly interesting.

Lady Emily is a strong female lead and I enjoyed how she played her role of an alien in a unique setting so well. She follows her instincts, lands herself in trouble almost every time but never ever gives up. Colin is likeable too but I felt that he and Lady Emily had very little in common. The romance between them was not as steaming as what you would expect of a couple during their honeymoon making us believe that the marriage was more a convenience or after thought rather than a love bonding. Also I felt Colin was practically wasted in this book with no substantial contribution to the plot or the mystery.

Rated a 3 on 5. I enjoyed the setting, certain parts of the plot and even the characters but still this book failed to captivate me. I found certain liberties that the lead characters took unbelievable, the plot far-fetched and the romance a bit stale.

With ‘Tears of Pearl’ I will be finishing one more challenge this year. How much more exciting can reading get – Guilty pleasure combined with a fulfilled objective.


kavyen

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The Snow Bride by Debbie Macomber

The Book:

Jenna is in love with her boss for the past six years. but he is only interested in her as his assistant. Wanting to find the right man she turns to the internet and meets Dalton online. Dalton shares her passion for poetry and things seem to be working out between them. She leaves her job, her boss and her mother behind and heads off to Alaska to meet him. But Dalton is not there at the airport to receive her as expected. Disappointed but determined to meet him, she is forced to rely on an annoying travel companion Reid to fly her.

Reid has a past with Dalton and in an attempt to save Jenna from Dalton kidnaps her. Their relationship starts off sour, but will love blossom between these two unlikely people. Surely Jenna is the ‘Snow Bride’ but who is her groom?

The View:

I have been reading a lot with all the lying down and resting that I have been doing for the past week. Unfortunately I did not get to post my reviews as I have been spending very little time online. I am better this week and decided it was high time I became alive in my favorite blogging world. I still have a lot of visiting to do and will be hanging around your blogs the whole time this week 🙂

‘The Snow Bride’ is one of those books that can never go wrong. A very short read with an anticipated ending. There are no surprises in the story but you still cannot put the book down – that is the magic of Debbie’s writing. I enjoy a good romance and when there is snow, interesting lovable friends and a lot of men vying for the girl, I just seem to want more of it.

Jenna is the girl next door who decides on a whim to do something that is so unlike her. I am just terribly glad that things fell in place for her but if I was Jenna I would not hitch a ride with a total stranger even if it meant finding the right man. Well, Reality!! All of the characters were interesting but I thought Jenna’s mom was the icing on the cake. Her very small but prominent role was impressive though I can’t seem to say what made her stand out. I just truly adored her appearances in the story and her antics.

Rated a 4 on 5 and as I mentioned this book cannot go wrong.


kavyen

Bad Boy by Peter Robinson

The Book:

Annie Cabbot, meets a frantic woman who appears at the Eastvale police station looking for Chief Inspector Alan Banks. She tells Annie that her daughter Erin has a gun hidden in her bedroom. After preliminary questioning Annie realizes that the gun is loaded but the situation is well-under control as Erin and her father are waiting for the police to walk in and take control. As planned; an armed response team breaks into the house and things start going downhill from then on.

To complicate the situation Erin is roommates with Tracey Banks, daughter of Alan Banks. Tracey has a crush on Erin’s boyfriend, the ‘Bad Boy’ and when she hears news about the police investigation takes it upon herself to update him. Unwillingly she becomes and accomplice or did she become a victim? Will Alan Banks arrive in time to save her daughter and savage the failing father-daughter relationship?

The View:

“Bad Boy” at first sight appeared to be one of those books I would pick up any day. The book features some thrilling crime, a smart detective and a whole lot of bad guys. Picking up this book was a no-brainer and I gladly set about reading it; that is; for the first half of the book. The irony about this is that Alan Banks only makes his entry in the second half.

The downside of this book was that the plot was plain. There was nothing exciting happening and most of the bad boy’s actions were predictable. Thank God for Tracey’s stupidity without which this plot would have been even plainer. I also felt that Alan Banks’s entry and sequence of events leading to the death of the bad boy was not commendable either.

I like Alan Banks (though I have not read all the books in the series) and most of his books have been such explosive reads that when a disappointment such as this one is thrown my way I take it pretty seriously. If you have not read the ‘Inspector Banks series’ I would greatly recommend that you do not start with this one.

Rated a 3 on 5.This is not a miserable read but there are sure some better ones out there, so why settle for less.


kavyen

In Big Trouble by Laura Lippman

The Book:

Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan receives a newspaper photograph of her ex-boyfriend Crow with the headline “IN BIG TROUBLE”. She would have ignored it but when Crow’s parents hire her to find him she starts her journey to Texas. Finding Crow in the new city may not be as easy as she expected; to add to the complication she finds a deserted dead body.

When she eventually manages to find Crow she has to deal with the new woman in his life and her past. After the discovery of another dead body her quest for motives and answers only becomes stronger.

Will she eventually be able to solve the age-old cold case? Who is behind all these murders? Will Tess and Crow get back together?

The View:

“In big trouble” is my second Laura Lippman book. The first book I read was “Baltimore Blues” and I liked it so much that I decided to splurge on a few more books by her. “In Big Trouble” was also apt for one of my challenges this year so I was excited to start this one. Apart from all these excuses, I read some rave reviews about the 4th book and went against the norm by picking up a book in between the series.

Sadly, the story was definitely not my favorite. There were too many murders, too many assumptions and too many characters for my liking. The plot was based in Texas (and not Baltimore) and Tess manages to get away with way too many things in spite of being out-of-state without an investigator license. The plot was weak and dwelled more on the past than the current events. The climax was definitely interesting and unexpected but because of the overall effect of the story, I did not enjoy it as much as I would normally have.

I liked Tess in this book but I was disappointed by her abilities. I felt that she should be a pro by now and not continue to rely merely on assumptions. The change of location (based in San Antonio instead of Baltimore) had no effect on the story. But I missed Tess’s aunt and all the action back home in Baltimore.There were a lot of characters I liked and I hope to see more of them in the next books, though I cannot see the context to bring them back.

“In Big Trouble” was just there and I will rate it a 3 on 5. I partly blame myself for rushing into the 4th book without reading the other books in the series but I thought it should not make a difference (I guess I am sorely mistaken). I do have a few more standalone books (in my TBR) by Laura Lippman and I will be reading them shortly, but for now I am going take an “Author-Break” for a short time and finish up a few more books that have been begging for attention.


kavyen

The 5th Horseman by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

The Book:


Just when you expect patients to get back home healthy they suddenly die. Yuki’s mother Keiko is also admitted to the same fatal San Francisco Municipal hospital where she mysteriously meets with the same fate. Lindsay along with the women’s’ murder club decide to investigate these untimely deaths and take it upon themselves to discover the reason behind these ‘accidents’.

Are these deaths really just accidents or is there a serial killer on the prowl in the hospital?

The View:

I read this book sometime early January but never got to review it then. Obviously I read it in the midst of too much chaos and took almost a week to finish it. This timeline would be a record (a terrible one) since I finish the author’s books in a day or two (in the worst of cases). I have to mention that in better days I would have read it in a day or even lesser.

The book is fast paced with a gripping, fun and yet disappointing plot. There were a few twists to keep you going but most of them were anticipated. There were two different cases – one involving mysterious deaths in a hospital and another involving the gruesome death of beautiful call girls. The book would have done better if the focus was on either one of the cases as it would have assured us a better quality mystery. Also apparent was the missing motive behind the case which left me searching for answers even after I completed the book.

The Women’s murder club is definitely an exciting series. If you have read the books in the order they were published you would connect to the women and feel for them like I do. They are smart, go-getters with a common passion. Yuki is relatively new and the sudden demise of her charming and lovable mother did not make me feel for her like it would do with the other characters.

5th Horseman sadly did not bring anything new to the table. If you are James Patterson fan go ahead and read this one as you will definitely enjoy it, but if you are looking for one of his best works this is not it. A predictable read and hence this just gets a 3 on 5.

Running Scared by Lisa Jackson

The Book:

Running ScaredKate Summers is excited to leave Boston and her annoying boss behind. Alone and still grieving after losing her husband and child, she is in for a pleasant surprise when she is asked to adopt a baby. She definitely has second thoughts; but the offer is too good to decline and she agrees to never return to Boston or reveal the child’s past.

Fifteen years later Kate and Jon are having a happy life in Hopewell, Oregon when the past catches up on them. Daegan O’Roarke lands as their neighbor with the intentions of taking back his son; born to him and Bibi – his cousin.

Fate plays its own game when Daegan falls in love with Kate and she reciprocates. Meanwhile Robert, Bibi’s father has his own investigator find Jon so he can make him the legal heir to the Sullivan wealth. Obviously there are other members who do not want this to happen and would stoop to any level.

The View:

This book was a thrilling one. I picked up an audio version and this was probably the first book that I listened to completely though it was long (I mean really really long – almost 18 hours). But the narration was fantastic and had the right rendition (Thanks to Jack Garrett),I found myself hanging on to my iPod almost every minute.

The plot was intriguing and at first appears to be un-exciting. For fifteen years of Jon’s life, Kate remains pretty much isolated to preserve her new-found happiness. Then Daegan enters the scene and the rest of the plot appears to be predictable.

But surprise, there is much more story left and so much more drama. Every time there is a mention of a Sullivan the story shifts to flash back mode and a shocking past is revealed. This happens way too many times though and I felt it could have been avoided. There were also too many unnecessary detailed descriptions of the sexual encounters (more so maybe because of the audio).

I would rate this book a 4 on 5. I love Lisa Jackson and she never disappoints.