Candlemoth: How to Spend It By Pauline West Review!

Image result for Candlemoth: Book 2: How to Spend It (A Holy City Romance) Candlemoth: Book 2: How to Spend It (A Holy City Romance)

 

Candlemoth: How To Spend It (2016) by Pauline West is the second book in the steamy, romantic Candlemoth trilogy following the adventures of Lily and Ry.

 

In this book, there’s a huge love triangle as Lily finds herself the centre of attention with both Ry and musician Casper from book 1. In this book, Lily is trying to save Ry’s foundation and his inheritance and in this she shows how much she cares about him. She even tries to stay away from him for these purposes but that doesn’t last long. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lily’s bestie Beren and his boyfriend Chandler are also back in this book and are amazing as always and it was good to see more of how their relationship was going. Love those two. ๐Ÿ™‚

This book deals with a few serious issues like Casper’s depression and drug and alcohol dependencies. There is many incidents which don’t paint Casper in a great light in this book but he is at a very bad point in his life and I hope with time he can get it together and find happiness. Not with Lily as she is with Ry but happiness in some way within himself.

Like book one, we end on a cliffhanger. I kind of knew from book 1 that we would but I wasn’t expecting the cliffhanger we did end on to say the least! The end turns into something out of a mystery thriller which I found fantastic because it mixes my two favourite genres romance and mystery together.

An excellent read just like the first book. Very hard to put down once you start reading and a wonderful look at human dynamics from various different angles.

Looking forward to book 3 which I will be reviewing here. ๐Ÿ™‚

I received an ARC from the author, with no obligation to review.

For my review of book 1 go to:

https://culturevultureexpress.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/candlemoth-a-holy-city-romance-by-pauline-west-book-review/

To purchase Candlemoth: How To Spend It by Pauline West go to:

Or to buy the trilogy go to:

And for more on Pauline West and her work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/PaulineWest

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Peril at End House By Agatha Christie Review!

Iโ€™m currently taking part in the Agatha Christie Readathon by James J. Cudney from the blogย ย This Is My Truth Now.

This is second review of four books by Queen Agatha.ย ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Peril at End House (1932) by Agatha Christie is the eighth Christie book in which Hercule Poirot features. Narrated by Captain Arthur Hastings, the book also features Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard.

The setting for the book is the fictional seaside town of St Loo in Cornwall where Poirot and Hastings are on vacation. Poirot is enjoying his retirement but his retirement is soon a distant memory when he and Hastings meet a young woman called Magdala โ€œNickโ€ Buckley. Poirot becomes convinced that someone is trying to kill their new friend and his thoughts are further intensified when he finds a bullet which Nick had thought was a wasp shooting past her head when they first meet her. It soon becomes apparent that Nick has been the the victim of numerous strange incidents of late. Then Nick’s cousin Maggie is killed while she is wearing Nick’s shawl. That was a sad moment for me because I really liked Maggie and she wasn’t in it for very long! So now Poirot and Hastings are really on a case full of secrets, lies and deceit.

But there’s a stumbling block throwing our dynamic duo into chaos and confusion. End House is a house which needs to have many repairs and is mortgaged. But Poirot and Hastings plug on with determination and they have many suspects to look into. There’s Nick’s friend Frederica who is known as Freddie, Nick’s cousin Charles who inherits End House if Nick dies, Ellen the housekeeper at End House and the Australian couple the Crofts who are renting the house from Nick.

It is an intriguing book with an excellent twist at the end. I did get the twist, probably because I write mysteries, but like even when the Agatha Christies where a reader gets who the killer/s is, the intricacy of how and why are totally on point. A wonderfully crafted story by our writing legend.

To purchase Peril at End House by Agatha Christie go to:

 

For more on Agatha Christie and her work go to:

http://www.agathachristie.com/

Second Time Around By Mary Higgins Clark Review!

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Second Time Around (2003) by Mary Higgins Clark is an interesting and engaging read.

In this book, Nicholas Spencer who is at the helm of a medical research company called Gen-stone goes missing while he is in the middle of helping to find a vaccine to cure cancer after his plane crashes while he is going to Puerto Rico. Spencer’s body is not found which sets up the question for the rest of the book wonderfully: is Nicholas Spencer alive or dead?

As time progresses news emerges that puts the authenticity of the vaccine in question and it is discovered that Spencer had allegedly took money from Gen-stone. And now enter Marcia “Carley” DeCarlo who is writing about the story for the Wall Street Weekly. Business and personal combine as Carley is also the stepsister of Lynn who is Spencer’s wife. They don’t have a great relationship but Carley is still determined to be fair and to be there for Lynn at this sad time and help prove Lynn had no part to play in her husband’s shady business dealings.

This book is entertaining and the story is a great read. The only flaw I have with it is that there isn’t really a level of suspense in it. The outcome is quite easy to piece together which is a huge pity for a mystery. That aside I liked the characters and the dynamics between them and how the story mirrored the real-life we read about in the news so well.

As long as you don’t expect a major twist, this is a great and very interesting read.

To purchase Second Time Around by Mary Higgins Clark go to:

 

And for more on Mary Higgins Clark and her work:

http://maryhigginsclark.com/

Northanger Abbey By Jane Austen Review!

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Northanger Abbey (1817) by Jane Austen is a stunningly written story by one of the queens of historical romance. She finished this novel in 1803, the first of her novels to be finished but it was published after her death. Around the time this story was written Gothic novels were very popular and this novel was written as a satire to those novels.

I love horror movies and the gothic element to this novel is something I love as well as the subtle humour in it. It is an incredibly cleverly-written story following the protagonist Catherine Morland who loves Gothic novels like Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho. Now seventeen, Catherine meets Henry Tilney and soon the Tilneys have asked her to come to stay at Northanger Abbey where they live. The fact that it is an abbey causes Catherine’s overly imaginative mind to think that it will be haunted and a horror-filled experience. She soon finds out that there is rooms in the house which no one goes into and that these rooms were the rooms of Mrs. Tilney who died nine years prior. Catherine puts two and two together and comes up with a hundred in thinking that General Tilney killed his wife.

Soon Catherine comes to her senses but Henry tells her that his parents were very much in love. Catherine leaves the abbey full with guilt and fears that has lost Henry who she loves due to her wild suspicions of his father.

I don’t wish to spoil the outcome of the novel so I’ll stop there. It is a wonderfully intriguing and page-turning novel as well as a coming-of-age novel. Austen wonderfully wrote a great commentary in an entertaining way on how reading for entertainment is great but it must not be confused with reality. She showed perfectly how the world of fiction can sometimes get the better of impressionable minds and how some people, bored with their own lives, try to make their own lives more interesting by relating their life to things they read in novels.

This was Austen’s shortest novel and can be read in just a few sittings. It’s really interesting and the pictures in the scenes are wonderfully painted. A great short read.

 

To read Northanger Abbey By Jane Austen for free go to:

https://www.planetebook.com/free-ebooks/northanger-abbey.pdf

 

And to find out more about Jane Austen and her work:

https://www.janeausten.org/

 

 

Hard Times By Charles Dickens Review!

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Hard Times (1854) by Charles Dickens was Dickens’ tenth novel.

The story follows Thomas Gradgrind who is an affluent merchant from Coketown, an industrial city in England. He is very much into what he sees as fact, getting on in the world and the business of things being as he sees them rational. He wishes to pass this on to his oldest children Louisa and Tom. He starts a school in which he takes in Sissy Jupe when her father who is a circus performer leaves her abandoned. Tom follows in his father’s footsteps as he gets older. But Louisa feels that her father’s teachings leave her with a whole in her life. She wants to see things from a new perspective and feels conflicted about this. Louisa ends up marrying Josiah Bounderby, a friend of her father’s who is much older than her and is a pretty factual, rational and practical type of man. Meanwhile Sissy stays on at the house to babysit the youngest child.

There is many characters in this book to follow and soon we meet Stephen Blackpool who is in love with his fellow factory worker Rachael. But Stephen has a bit of a problem. He is already married to another woman who he barely sees and soon he is predictably looking for a divorce. However he is told that only the rich can get divorces so he is a bit of a pickle to say the least. And soon we come across James Harthouse who is a rich man from London who comes to Coketown to embark on his career in politics following Gradgrind who has progressed to parliament. Harthouse sets about making it happen with her and corrupt her into the bargain.

Stephen goes against The Hands on joining the union and he is let go from the Hands and Bounderby sacks him after not agreeing to spy on them. Louisa who has a human element to her likes Stephen’s humanity and helps him with money before he is to depart from Coketown. Tom tells Stephen that more help will come if he waits outside the bank but no further help arrives and the bank is robbed leaving Stephen as the main suspect.

Harthouse is seen telling Louisa that he loves her by Mrs. Sparsit and soon Louisa tells her father of how the way he reared her has ensured that she is married to a man she doesn’t love.

 

This book is so rich and filled with so much about class and how the absence of emotion and basic human feeling ensures a half life. In so many ways with this book it feels like Dickens wrote it way before his time. My favourite characters were Louisa, Stephen and Sissy. They were characters with hearts and humanity in amongst people who were behaving like self-interested robots. This is quite a long book but incredibly interesting and beautifully crafted so it is worth giving some time to. Look on the bright side though, it isn’t as long as David Copperfield which I still need to read! ๐Ÿ™‚ It shows that love as well as creativity are things are to be valued and not made out to mean nothing.
A brilliant and thought-provoking read.
To read Hard Times by Charles Dickens go to:
And to learn more about Charles Dickens and his work go to:

Murder Plot By Lance Elliot Review!

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Murder Plot (2008) by Lance Elliot (the pseudonym of Dr Keith McCarthy) is an interesting little find which is set in 1975.

It follows the story ofย  the murder of Charlie Daniels who is a retired hard-man who is found murdered on his allotment. But everyone seems to think the man died of natural causes. Enter Dr Lance Elliot (who is also the name of the detective in the novels, this being the first book in the series) who thinks otherwise.

The case draws Dr Elliot into a web of lies surrounding the Thornton Health Horticulture and Allotment Association. This is a very cozy mystery and keeps your attention throughout. It reminded me of Midsomer Murders. The plot was weaved together in a similar type of way. It’s also a very English story and the dialogue is very natural and fits beautifully into the plot. The writing in general is very natural in this book. Lance Elliot is also a detective you take to very easily and you find yourself willing him on to succeed. His relationship with his father is also lovely to read. There was much humour in this book too. And the ending was very well thought out and not expected.

A very entertaining read. It’s very hard to put down once you start reading it.

To purchase Murder Plot by Lance Elliot go to:

And for more on Lance Elliot and his work go to:

http://www.keithmccarthy.co.uk/

Hide & Seek By Ian Rankin Review!

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Hide & Seek (1991) by Ian Rankin is the second of Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels following on from the opening book in the series Knots & Crosses.

Set in Edinburgh, the body of a photographer who was a junkie called Ronnie is found in a squat. The discovery sends John Rebus into a discovery of corruption and sleaze under the radar. Rebus is instantly suspicious of the death and thinks there is more to the murder than someone killing an addict for drugs despite his colleagues’ thinking differently about Ronnie’s death. Rebus discovers that a huge supply of the dead man’s heroin is still present.

Along the way he meets Tracy. She knew Ronnie and heard his last words, “Hide! Hide!” hence the name of the book. Dealing with big issues like scandal, corruption, class and the covering up of vital information, Rebus manages to weave an engaging and interesting plot that never feels forced. There is a wealth of characters in this book from all walks of life who get connected to each other through the case of Ronnie’s murder and Rebus himself is an intriguingly written character. Flawed but dedicated to his job and the truth. This is also the first book in which Detective Brian Holmes and Superintendent “Farmer” Watson appear having not appeared in the previous outing of Inspector Rebus.

The city of Edinburgh I must note is a character in and of itself in this novel. The atmosphere and the grittiness combined with the beauty of the city presents a very authentic feel and the city and its atmosphere at many times adds to the story.

In the particular edition of the book I read there was also an introduction by Ian Rankin written in April 2005. It was an interesting look behind the scenes of the writing of the book and especially to writers this will be a very intriguing section to read.

A really strongly written book. An excellent read.

To purchase Ian Rankin’s Hide & Seek go to:

 

And to find out more about Ian Rankin and his work go to:

https://www.ianrankin.net/