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Book Reviews

Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall 1783 – 1787 (Poldark Book 1)

Ross Poldark is the first novel in Winston Graham’s hugely popular Poldark series, which has become a television phenomenon starring Aidan Turner.

Tired from a grim war in America, Ross Poldark returns to his land and his family. But the joyful homecoming he has anticipated turns sour, for his father is dead, his estate is derelict and the girl he loves is engaged to his cousin.

But his sympathy for the destitute miners and farmers of the district leads him to rescue a half-starved urchin girl from a fairground brawl and take her home – an act which alters the whole course of his life.

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Romance Books

Lilac Girls – Martha Hall Kelly – Book Review

So I’ve never read anything from Martha Hall Kelly and I wasn’t sure it would by “my type” of book based on the very flowery cover, flower titles and three ladies embraced in a friendship grip. I could feel my soul dreading the anticipated extra long descriptions, flowery attributes and adjectives and an increase in female-to-female discussions.

I was not wrong.

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Book Reviews

Robin Cook – Genesis Book Review

New York Times best-selling author Robin Cook takes on the ripped-from-the-headlines topic of harnessing DNA from ancestry websites to catch a killer in this timely and explosive new medical thriller.

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Uncategorized

Joe Hill – Strange Weather Book Review

Due to the Coronavirus Lockdown, I started looking for good books that will make my increasing boredom die down. I loved The FIREMAN * Joe Hill  and Joe Hill * Horns so I did a quick eBay search to see if Joe Hill has written anything else since and I got super thrilled to see “Strange Weather” pop up.

4 short stories which have one thing in common – a dark cloud circling above bringing news of death and destruction.

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Book Reviews

Neil Olson-The Black Painting Book Review

“A riveting psychological thriller, a serious dissection of a dysfunctional family and an exploration of the power of art to change lives.” —Associated Press
“A fast-paced psychological thriller with a fascinating set of characters. … A real page-turner.” -B.A. Shapiro, author of The Art Forger


An atmospheric literary mystery about an infamous painting rumored to be cursed—and the family torn apart by its disappearance.
There are four cousins in the Morse family: perfect Kenny, the preppy West Coast lawyer; James, the shy but brilliant medical student; his seductive, hard-drinking sister Audrey; and Teresa, youngest and most fragile, haunted by the fear that she has inherited the madness that possessed her father.


I love books dealing with art and I have to say, books dealing with art collectors are a strange lot. New York writer Neil Olson’s The Black Painting discusses a very spooky work by Francisco Goya that supposedly exerts powers that drive viewers bonkers — in this instance, various members of a wealthy East Coast family. “Black Painting” purportedly belongs to a series of gruesome works created by the Spanish genius near the end of his life.

  • The Black Paintings stand out in art history for their dark composition and themes.
  • The biggest mystery, though, is that Goya painted them directly onto the walls of his home and never told anybody about them.
  • By 1819, the painter Francisco Goya had been through quite a bit. He had witnessed the chaos of war when Napoleon invaded Spain and the chaos in Spain as its government bounced back and forth between a constitutional monarchy and an absolute monarchy. He had become deathly ill a number of times, occasionally fearing he was going mad. One of these illnesses had left him deaf. Increasingly bitter about humanity, afraid of death and madness, Goya withdrew into a villa outside of Madrid called la Quinta del Sordo, or the Deaf Man’s House.

Back to the book. Before its theft years earlier, the Goya painting had hung, shrouded, behind the desk of elderly collector Alfred Arthur Morse. When the four Morse cousins are unexpectedly summoned by their grandfather, they all show up: Kenny, the successful lawyer; James, the psychologically fragile medical student; Audrey, the wild divorcée; and Teresa, the shy art student subject to seizures. Complementing the cast are foggy pines, rocky cliffs, a crumbling estate and the ghost of a vanished painting.

 “Last night she dreamed of the house on Owl’s Point,” reads the first line, echoing Daphne du Maurier’s timeless thriller, Rebecca. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Make way for strange happenings in a mansion on the sea, managed by a cold housekeeper with an agenda of her own.

Kenny tells Teresa about his meeting with their grandfather: “Go to the place that’s most private to you. Most humiliating. You know what I mean? That tender spot. That’s right where he would have put his finger.” Only Grandpa didn’t have the chance, since Teresa discovered his corpse when she arrived at Owl’s Point.

So, we have grandfather in the study, but who did it and why? If death came naturally, how to explain his horrified expression? Motives abound: money, family secrets, simmering hatreds. Luckily gloom takes a lighter turn with the arrival of P.I. Dave Webster, a latter-day Philip Marlowe. Hints that all will be resolved appear when Dave is hired to resume the poking around he began years before with the original theft. Get ready for a thrilling ride through the worlds of the unhappy rich, whose acquisitions can prove very dangerous indeed.

3/5

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Book Reviews

Jeff Lindsay – Just Watch Me

A masterful thief plots an impossible crime – stealing the Iranian Crown Jewels.

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Book Reviews

Blood Infernal – James Rollins Book Review

For the past two months she had scoured the Vatican Library, searching for the truth behind the Blood Gospel’s last prophecy: Together, the trio must face their final quest. The shackles of Lucifer have been loosened, and his Chalice remains lost. It will take the light of all three to forge the Chalice anew and banish him again to his eternal darkness .

The skeptical part of her—that part that still struggled with the truth about strigoi and angels and miracles unfolding before her eyes—wondered if the task was even possible. To reforge some ancient chalice before Lucifer broke free of Hell?

It sounded more like an ancient myth than an act to be performed in modern times. But she was a member of the prophetic trio referenced in the Blood Gospel. The three individuals consisted of the Knight of Christ , the Warrior of Man , and the Woman of Learning . And as that learned woman, it was Erin’s supposed duty to discover the truth behind those cryptic words.

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Book Reviews

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane – Lisa See- Book Review

As A-ma said, every story, every dream, every waking minute of our lives is filled with one fateful coincidence after another. People and animals and leaves and fire and rain—we whirl around each other like handfuls of dried rice kernels being tossed into the sky. A single kernel cannot change its direction. It cannot choose to fly to the right or to the left nor can it choose where it lands—balanced on a rock, and therefore salvageable, or bouncing off that same rock into the mud, becoming instantly useless and valueless. Where they alight is fate, and nothing—no thing anyway—can change their destinies.

Lisa See – thank you. This book was the shining gem in the pile of other somewhat bland books I got recommended for my new year. I read it slowly, I let it simmer and now, after a month, it has had time to settle down in the most unbelievable story I’ve ever read.

The story takes us through stories of rural China, of discrete family relations, of tea-picking and tea-making, of what it means to grow up as a woman in a country where that is being looked down upon, of adoption and loss and most importantly of how destiny can shape a life until it becomes unrecognisable from where it started off.

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Book Reviews

The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell Book Review

Ever since I finished reading David Mitchell’s Slade House I was pretty interested to see what was the book that preceded it. So I picked up The Bone Clocks and while I can’t say I personally liked it, it wasn’t bad either.