Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

Books Read and Listened To Part One

Another big catch-up to do this week.

The Witness
by Nora Roberts
Published by Piatkus Books
Print book
ISBN 9780749955168

Abigail Lowery has a dark and terrifying secret. Aged just sixteen, she witnessed a shocking mafia murder. Narrowly escaping with her life, she was forced to leave her old identity - even her real name - behind for good. Fifteen years later Abigail is still hiding from the world - a semi-recluse in the quiet, rural town of Bickford, Arkansas. She has convinced herself that this is all she needs: peace, safety...and her faithful guard dog Bert. Perhaps now, at last, she can stop running. But Brooks Gleason, the local chief of police, has other ideas. Abigail intrigues him - and he'd like nothing better than to break through the walls she has built around herself. His persistence and determination to uncover the truth is unsettling, exciting - and dangerous. One way or another, it will change both their lives for ever.


This started off really well, right up to the point where we leave sixteen year old Liz and encounter the older Alison. At that point the plot and characterisation all seemed to fall apart and events seemed to occur solely for the purpose of bulking out the book while characters acted in ways that only fitted if they were assumed to be the author's puppets. Disappointing.

by A. B. Gayle
Published by Total-E-Bound Publishing
ISBN 9780857159069

Stranded on an alien space station at the edge of the Solar System, Dr Dana Sinclair has never felt so alone in her life.

While she and her fellow travellers wait for a spaceship to take them on the rest of their journey to the aliens’ home planet, first the remaining Saa’ar on board then her superior, the chief Medical Officer all die mysteriously.

The health and welfare of the remaining humans is now her responsibility. Will she discover the truth behind their deaths in time?

Ethan O’Reilly, a disabled war hero and second in charge of the mission may be able to help, but can she trust him?


I had a sneak look at this a long time ago, before it found a home. I think I'd have marked this version higher, if I hadn't known so much of what was going to happen. On the other hand, the world building is as splendid as it was first time around, and the characters are well-drawn and impressively diverse. Some clever use of recreational technology to get around security systems too. SF romance needs more love, and I suspect quite a few people who read my reviews would like this one.

by Amy Lane
Published by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 9781613725696

The year is 1987. The boys wear pink Izod shirts, the girls wear big hair, everyone has a stash box, and AIDS is just an ugly rumor rumbling like a thunderstorm from the cities. A teenage runaway wanders the side of the road, a heartbeat away from despair, and is rescued by a long-haired angel on a Harley.

But that's just the beginning of their story.

Josiah Daniels wanted peace and quiet and a simple life, and he had it until he rescued Casey from hunger, cold, and exhaustion. Then Joe's life is anything but simple as he and his new charge navigate a world that is changing more rapidly than the people in it. Joe wants to raise Casey to a happy and productive adulthood, and he does. But even as an adult, Casey can't conceive of a happy life without Joe. The trouble is getting Joe to accept that the boy he nurtured is suddenly the man who wants him.

Their relationship can either die or change with the world around them. As they make a home, negotiate the new rules of growing up, and swerve around the pitfalls of modern life, Casey learns that adulthood is more than sex, Joe learns that there is no compromise in happy ever after, and they’re both forced to realize that the one thing a man shouldn’t be is alone.


This was a very sweet story, but the later part felt a little rushed. For me it could quite easily have been two books, and possibly lost some of the sex too (although I know I may be in a minority on that point). It definitely encourages me to read more by the author.

The Case of the Murdered Muckraker
by Carola Dunn
Published by Robinson Publishing
Print book
ISBN 9781849017053

In late 1923, the newly married Daisy Dalrymple and her husband Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard, come to America for a honeymoon visit. In the midst of a pleasure trip, however, both work in a bit of business - Alec travels to Washington, D. C. to consult with the U.S. government, Daisy to New York to meet with her American magazine editor. While in New York, Daisy stays at the famed Chelsea Hotel, which is not only close to the Flatiron Building offices of Abroad magazine, where she'll be meeting with her editor, but home to many of New York's artists and writers. After her late morning meeting, Daisy agrees to accompany her editor, Mr. Thorwald, to lunch but as they are leaving the offices, they hear a gun shot and see a man plummeting down an elevator shaft. The man killed was one of her fellow residents at the Chelsea Hotel, Otis Carmody, who was a journalist with no end of enemies - personal and professional - who would delight in his death. Again in the midst of a murder investigation, Daisy's search for the killer takes her to all levels of society, and even a mad dash across the country itself, as she attempts to solve a puzzle that would baffle even Philo Vance himself.


Daisy continues to be delightful, although in this one I could have done with her being a little more surprised by some aspects of life in New York, and maybe less surprised by others. It was interesting to see her working by herself for longer than usual, and to see Alec without his usual team. On the other hand, I'm hoping we'll get to hear about their wedding at some point.

I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith
Published by RED FOX
Audio book
ISBN 9780099845003

An enchanting novel for older children by the author of "101 Dalmations." Seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Over six turbulent months, Cassandra tries to hone her writing skills, filling three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries which chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle's walls, and her own first descent into love.

I'm getting heartily sick of self-absorbed first person narrators, although I do tend to persevere to the end of them in audio books, just in case they get their comeuppance in a satifactory manner. This time I really wanted to grab the entire family and shake some sense into them. Maybe I'd have enjoyed it more when I was younger and less cynical.
Tags: audio books, ebooks, print books, reviews
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