Tag Archives: 1990s

The Secret, by Julie Garwood

18 Mar

The Secret(This is totally Holly’s  and Rowena’s doing–blame them)

The Secret, by Julie Garwood

Coming to you by way of the Book Binge ladies, this is one of Julie Garwood old style historical novels–and I didn’t use the term old skool because there’s no rape nor even a hint of forced seduction within, which makes me happy.

The back cover blurb (which renders the title moronic):
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Witness in Death, by J. D. Robb

18 Feb

Witness in Death original coverWitness in Death, by J. D. Robb

In the interest of full disclosure, be warned that I am very fond of this novel, not only due to the writing, plot and characterization, but because it’s the first …in Death novel to openly borrow from an Agatha Christie story (“Witness for the Prosecution”, the play).

Also, given that Calculated in Death, the 36th¹ full length novel in the series (there are also 8 short stories and one novella published so far) is coming out later this month, this review is more due to nostalgia than any urgent need for more reviews for any one title in the series².

Witness in Death is the tenth novel in the series. The world and technology (such as it is)³ of Robb’s future are pretty much established at this point, as are the main relationship dynamics. Roarke and Eve have been married just over half a year, Peabody has been Eve’s aide for just under a year and is at this point dating both McNabb and Charles. This is also one of the three novels in which Chief Medical Examiner Morris is called Morse in the original paperback editions (over a dozen years later, this still bugs me, as Morris is a favorite character of mine).

The (rather terrible) back cover blurb:
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Michael’s Family, by Kathryn Shay

26 Jan

Michael's FamilyI just re read this old Superromance after reading this essay by author Rebecca Rogers Maher. And, having stuck my oar in with a recommendation, I can’t possibly not review it now, can I?

Keeping in mind that Michael’s Family was published back in 1997 (no cell phones, which has some relevance during a couple of scenes), and that this is genre romance published by Harlequin, Ms Shay’s portrayal of the consequences of date rape feel quite realistic.

So, here goes:

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Disjointed thoughts on Harry Potter (not quite a review, frankly)

8 Sep

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's StoneAs I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been feeling more than a bit nostalgic for happier times, a feeling I indulged by rereading the whole seven Harry Potter books one after the other–no detours, no distractions. (Which, quite frankly, is more of a feat than I remembered–did you know the first US hardcover edition of The Order of the Phoenix is over 800 pages long?)

For anyone left in the world who has not read the books (or seen the movies), what follows is extremely spoiler heavy. Oh, and also extremely critical–and definitely not in the “constructive, bland, meaninglessly polite criticism” way either.

Consider yerself warned!

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Heaven Can Wait, by Cheryl St. John

16 May

The pressure of commitment!

Being almost too late for this month’s TBR Challenge, I quickly checked the mountains and piles and shelves of unread books for something appropriate—a book published before 2000. After a few frantic moments—have I really read all my old skool books already???—I found the perfect tome. I give you:

Heaven Can Wait, by Cheryl St. John

This is Ms St John’s second published novel, prequel to Rain Shadow¹. Both novels were published by Harlequin Historical back in the dark ages (1994).

Please be warned that there’s a lot of religion as part of the story, though not in the way that usually annoys the bejesus out of me.

The novel is set in 1888 Pennsylvania. The heroine, Lydia Beker, is a member of the historical religious commune known as the Harmony Society. The hero, Jakob Neubauer, is also of German descent, but a farmer, one of the Outsiders whose heathenish ways the Colonists abhor.

This premise would be conflict enough for me, to be honest—how do you reconcile such different views of the world? It’s all good and well to long for freedom from drudgery, but the cultural shock would still be there, even if Jakob is not rich and life on a farm is no ride on the park with grooms and maids in attendance.

Ms St. John, however, added extraneous conflict in the form of a mentally unstable sister-in-law who is obsessed with Jakob.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is the back cover blurb: Continue reading

The Return of Luke McGuire, by Justine Davis

2 Feb

From the way back machine…1

The Return of Luke McGuire, by Justine Davis (aka Justine Dare)

Originally published in October 2000, this book reminds me why I love so much of Ms Davis’ earlier work, such as The Morning Side of Dawn2. There is an ease to the author’s voice and a realism to the characters, that draws the reader in, time after time. This time, into the story of a once bad boy and an always respectable woman. Here is the blurb (a good one too, for a change): Continue reading

The dreaded “can’t read it” plot device (or, me too!)

5 Oct

Stop sign - in the name of loveI have seen, here and there throughout the blogosphere, posts about this or that particular plot device or trope that hit on the reader’s hot button and translate into a ‘did not finish.’

While intellectually I could understand the concept, it hadn’t really happened to me (aside from skipping a few passages from Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth), most of the time I just shrug and keep going.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I reached for an old (copyright says 1996) Harlequin Superromance by Kathryn Shay, titled Suitable Bodyguard. Though I know quite well just how unreliable back cover blurbs usually are, this one sounded good enough (neither same old, same old, nor outrageous beyond belief), so I sat down to enjoy myself for a couple of hours:
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