Tag Archives: 2020s

Taming the Rake, by Erica Ridley

24 Mar

I requested the ARC because I could not resist the blurb–but obviously, the idea of a man who could not even remember the name of the woman he deflowered the night before would require either that there be an alternate hero, or a damned good reason for his ‘forgetfulness’.

Turns out, I’ll never find out.

Reader beware: very sweary ranting by yours truly, taking apart the plot and characterization up to 25%, when I gave up.

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A Mansion for Murder, by Frances Brody

13 Mar
Illustration style cover for A Mansion for Murder, by Frances Brody. A white woman with dark short hair in a curly bob, wearing a pink late 1920s 'Gatsby' era dress (long bodice, waistline at the hip, pleated skirt to below the knee, long sleeves, integrated necktie in a fairly pronounced v-neckline), with contrasting waistband, cuffs, and necktie in royal blue, is hiding against a wall, leaning over to look surreptitiously into a large room with a fireplace, and a large area rug with bold designs in bright colors (deep blue, red, pink, royal blue). On the far side of the room, other arches open to other rooms, in one of which the shadow of a person wearing pants can be seen creeping into the main room.

Reader beware: death of a parental figure; child in danger; another child’s death (several decades prior); miscarriage or self-induced abortion; off-page rape; sudden death (heart attack) of a minor character; tangential mention of PTSD.

Disclosure: the formatting of the ARC is weird. For starters, it does not have a table of contents. At all. For a 300 pages and change book. That made it time consuming to go back to check things as I got to the later parts of the story. I presume this won’t be the case for the final product, but it makes it harder for me to review an advance copy. (YMMV obviously).

Beyond that, there are whole sections with hard returns after every sentence in the same paragraph, the name of the author appears randomly in the middle of some pages, there’s nothing to indicate transitions between narrators, and so on. (See footnote 1)

I hope this didn’t color my opinion of the book too much, but that’s one of those things that are really hard to quantify, so do keep it in mind as you read this review.

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The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen, by K.J. Charles

6 Mar
Illustrated cover for The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen; on a blue field, there are drawings of different plants and animals one might encounter on the Marsh, along the vertical sides. Between these, the title. Below that, two men crouch facing each other. One is clearly white, with blond hair; the other has longish black hair and darker skin.

I had been waiting for this book since it was first announced; the cover reveal just upped the ante. I was therefore pretty close to ecstatic when I managed (through sheer luck) to get an ARC.

As expected, I loved it.

Of course, this being a K.J. Charles book, there are a few warnings to get out of the way (her author tag is “romance with a body count”, after all),

Reader beware: death of parents as backstory; parental neglect, parental abuse; explicit sex; threat of sexual violence against a young woman; actual violence and murder; and racism.

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Murder Against the Odds, by Janice Frost

3 Mar
Cover for Murder Against the Odds: the background is a stone path or bridge, with iron rails on the side and stone column with lights on top; it's night and slightly foggy, as a woman walks away from the camera. She has either light blonde or fully white hair, about shoulder length, and is wearing a knee length red coat over dark pants and flat shoes or boots. The tagline at the bottom reads, "a totally gripping crime thriller full of twists".

Reader beware: several mentions of suicide, not all sensitively done, and murder and suicide on page. This is a review of a digital ARC provided via NetGalley.

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