Friday, March 26, 2010

~Year of the Historical~ February: Crocodile on the Sandbank

First, I know this review is late. I had so much going on in February that I failed to finish the book, let alone review it. This was the planned review for that month, however, so I'm marking this one as February's Year of the Historical review. Thank you for understanding. :o)

Title: Crocodile on the Sandbank
Author: Elizabeth Peters
Setting: Egypt, late 1800s
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4.8 pearls
Warnings: None.

Synopsis: Miss Amelia Peabody inherits a sizable fortune upon her father's death. Deciding to travel, she goes to Egypt where she falls in love with archeology and decides to stay. Unfortunately, someone seems intent on harming her, or at the very least, frightening her away.

My two cents: I mentioned in an earlier post that I loved this book when I was only a little over halfway through it. That opinion didn't change. At all. I LOVED this book! The main character, from whose 1st person POV we get the entire story, was so fun and interesting. Very much a spinster at 32, Miss Peabody is a no-nonsense type of woman with no high opinion of her looks and no illusions as to what draws men to her after her father's death. Early in her travels, she rescues Evelyn, a young woman who had been taken in by a charlatan and abandoned. Evelyn's character is opposite Peabody's and I think the two personalities play rather well off each other. It was a believable relationship.

Of course, there is a tiny element of romance present. The ladies meet two archeologists with whom they form a rapport...of sorts. I would have liked to see a little more romance but this book is not categorized as such. It was a very minor part of the storyline. Still, it was a wonderful mystery with enough misdirection to keep the reader second-guessing as to the villain's identity.

Overall, 4.8 pearls. I would recommend this to everyone, mystery readers, romance readers and especially those on the lookout for clean reads.

Title: Crocodile on the Sandbank
Author: Elizabeth Peters
Publisher: Fawcett
Orig. Pub Date: March 1976
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Historical
(The following is for the current printing.)
ISBN: 0445406518
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
List price: $7.99US

Rating: 4.8 pearls
Warnings: None.

What am I reading for March?

Another oldie, that's for sure. Moonlight Mist by Laura London, an out-of-print traditional Regency from 1979, coincidentally the year I was born. The pic here is a scan of the book I hold in my hands. It has a list price of $1.50, ISBN 0440154644.

I am halfway through this vintage tome and it is definitely what was popular/common in its time. The heroine is very young (17), the hero is a LOT older (over 30), and it is a little unclear as to why either one falls in love with the other. She is a bit of a headstrong brat and he is unfailingly patient. He'd make a very good father, I think. *cheeky grin*

They are married in the beginning, having been caught in a compromising position. I actually thought that particular scene was entertainingly done. But this is as far as my "currently reading" review can really go. The writing is typical of the decade, I believe. The prose can be rather purple at times and the vast age difference is something I seem to run into often in these older publishings. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I'm enjoying the story.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

~Book Review~ Bloodworth's Bride by Gayle Eden

Title: Bloodworth's Bride
Author: Gayle Eden
Website: Eve's Romance
Publisher: Air Castle Books; January 14, 2009
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Historical/Regency
Format: Kindle Book; 13,536 words
List price: $1.99US
Rating: 3.6 pearls
Warnings: This book contains graphic sexual details.

Synopsis: A young woman who married at 18 must reconcile with her estranged husband after a five-year separation.

What made me buy this book: I read the sample that Amazon provides. I really enjoyed the interaction between the sisters as well as the description of the hero.

My two cents: This is a short story, just over 13k words. I liked it but it was definitely more sexually explicit than I personally care for. However, it was an entertaining read, with characters who were likable, believable, and well-drawn. The storyline was interesting, that of a married couple who reconcile after five years of separation. I think it's a storyline that's been done before but I've never read a story where the goal of both main characters was to make the best of their situation.

The only real complaint I have, other than the explicitness, is the typos present in the Amazon Kindle version of this story. Normally, I can overlook typos with no problem, but this story is very short and I think some of the typos should have been noticed. For example, in one scene, the author uses the word emaciated when she clearly meant to use the word emanated. There was one other time I noticed such a mistake but it wasn't as bad; only one letter was off. Other than that, there were a few issues with punctuation. Unfortunately, it was enough to pull me out of the story.

Overall, I still think this one may be worth a reread at some point. The characters were that likable, in my opinion.

*This review is based on the Amazon Kindle version. I was not paid in any way, shape, or form for this review and it is my honest opinion of this work. I purchased this ebook from the Amazon Kindle Store for $1.99.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Year of the Historical Reading Challenge Update

February was busier than I expected. I finished the fantasy novel I started writing in November '09 and started firing it off for critiques just recently. Halfway through the month, both of my kids came down with icky colds that they inevitably passed on to my husband and me. Then, last week, my father-in-law died unexpectedly and there were many days spent with family and friends mourning the loss. Now, I find that I failed to finish the book I planned for the month of February.

So this post is a "What I'm Reading Now" type of post. I am currently reading Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. It is a highly amusing tale (told 1st person) of an independent (and independently wealthy) Englishwoman (Victorian) who travels to Egypt for fun and falls in love with archeology. She tells the story with a humorous flair that was unexpected considering this book is of the gothic romance/mystery sort. I understand already, a little over halfway through, why this author is one of my sister-in-law's all-time favorites.

Without even having finished this novel, I already highly recommend it to mystery, gothic, historical, and romance lovers. It is nearly 300 pages of good, clean fun with some romance and mystery thrown in for good measure.

So what are you reading now?


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