Hothouse Orchid – by Stuart Woods

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Title: Hothouse Orchid
(Holly Barker Series #6)
Author: Stuart Woods
First published: 2009
Finished reading: July 31st 2013
Pages: 377

This book is part of the Holly Barker series, with Special Agent Barker as a protagonist. In this one, Barker was send on a long vacation by the CIA after she let international terrorist Teddy Fay escape for the second time. She returns to her home town of Orchid Beach in Florida. She had been police chief there for many years and was well known in the area. A few surprises wait her though when she arrives in Orchid Beach though… A serial raper and murderer is on the loose, posing as a cop to get close to the victims. Since she has a lot of contacts in the area, she starts to get involved in the investigation, and almost ends up as a victim herself. Meanwhile, she has too deal with various ghosts of the past…

An unspiring story, with lots of cliches and too many chance-meetings to make for a plausible story. This book is one for the pile of easy reading books, but still there are other titles which I would read first before reading this one. It lacks dept and the relationships described in the book are not really credible. All in all not a great success as far as I’m concerned.

Grant Comes East – by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen

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Title: Grant Comes East (A Novel Of The Civil War)
Author: Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen
First published: June 1st 2004
Finished reading: July 28th 2013
Pages: 404

This book is the second out of three books about the US Civil War. The story is a direct sequal of the first, so it’s a tad confusing for those (like me) who haven’t read the first book Gettysburg. In Grant Comes East we follow Ulysses Grant on his quest trying to make an end to the Civil War. The South with General Lee is standing strong and planning to invade Washington D.C. with the help of the Army of Northern Virginia. Meanwhile, Lincoln is trying to save the nation by naming Grant general of the Northern army. Not everybody agrees with Lincoln’s choice, and Dan Sickles is trying to sabotage the plans Grant makes in order to get his own chance of glory. An interesting piece of historical fiction. A bit slow, but Gingrich and Forstchen were able to make the battlefront and other scenes come alive through the eyes of soldiers and other little known characters. This one might interest you if you like to read books about the US Civil War…

BOOK REVIEW: Nighttime Is My Time – by Mary Higgins Clark

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Title: Nighttime Is My Time
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
First published: 2004
Finished reading: July 20th 2013
Pages: 434

Rating 1,5

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I might not have read many books by Mary Higgins Clark, but until now they don’t really seem to enjoy me. Taking this Nighttime Is My Time as an example; it’s writing is too forced and the suspense she tries to build up so desperately only makes the story and the ending less satisfying. Mary Higgings Clark tries real hard to keep all the men on the suspect list at all cost… And I must say the whole trying not to reveal the name of the serial killer seems forced and not really believable. I actually became irritated to the point that I was wishing she would name the killer and just get it over with… So I guess I wouldn’t really recommend this book unless you want to end up feeling frustrated.

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The story is about a twenty-year class reunion of the Stonecroft Academy where seven members are to be honored. Jean Sheridan is one of them and the main character of the book. There seems to be a curse hanging over Jean and her six female friends, since five of them have mysteriously died over the last twenty years. Only Jean and Laura Wilcox, the actress, are left after the last of five women drowned in her own pool only a few days before the reunion weekend. Jean has a really bad feeling about the whole weekend which is reinforced by an anonymous fax threatening her daughter Lily, a child she gave up for adoption twenty years ago… And not without cause, since the same serial killer that calls himself The Owl and that actually murdered the other five women is planning to finish the job that weekend. The women had humiliated him after a school play where he played an owl twenty years ago, and he feels they all have to be punished. Every important male attendant of the reunion is becoming suspect of being The Owl

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Mary Higgins Clark tried to keep us readers guessing at the identity of the killer until the end, but it makes the story less believable. And more importantly I ended up being so frustrated that I wanted the whole story just to be over with. True, the real identity of the serial killer was a slight surprise, but as a whole I wouldn’t read it again nor recommend it. Only unless you have absolutely nothing else to do and no access to a different book…

BOOK REVIEW: Tragic Magic – by Laura Childs

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Title: Tragic Magic
(A Scrapbooking Mystery #7)
Author: Laura Childs
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Crime
First published: September 3rd 2009
Finished reading: July 16th 2013
Pages: 280

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One of the big advantages of working in a hostel is the access to the hostel book exchange. I have found many gems in the past and always try any new potentially interesting books. Unfortunately, Tragic Magic wasn’t any of those lucky finds. I didn’t really enjoy this one, especially since the whole plot just didn’t seem credible. Sure, it’s a short and easy read and probably perfect for a vacation, and I guess that’s how it ended up on those hostel shelves in the first place. But to say it’s a great read? I think I would pick up a different mystery story instead. This novel by Laura Childs is actually the seventh in a series, but I didn’t have any problems following the main story without having read the previous ones. If you like scrapbooking and are looking for new recipes to try out, Tragic Magic might be worth the try, but I wouldn’t pick it up if you are just in the mood for a good mystery read.

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Carmela is the owner of the Memory Mine scrapbook shop and always happy to help her scrapbooking clients with newest tips and techniques. One day Carmela and her close friend Ava (owner of Jujo Voodoo) are askes to help convert an old mansion into a haunting house, and they accept the offer. Their client Melody wants to change the house into the Medusa Manor for an upcoming horror convention in New Orleans… Everything goes according to plan until the day Melody dies on the masion’s ground; her flaming body was seen falling down the tower window. Things become complicated as the two friends try to find out what happened. They also decide to continue the proyect Melody left behind, but isn’t the house too spooky after all?

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The general idea of Tragic Magic might sound interesting, but all in all this turned out to be quite a weak mystery read. If you like scrapbooking and want some new recipes, this novel by Laura Childs might still worth the try, but I personally won’t be continuing this series any time soon. It’s an easy read, but there are way better (cozy) mystery stories out there.