Wednesday, November 17, 2010

72. Mistaken Identity by Lisa Scottoline

Bennie Rosato, an attorney famous for her ability to root out police corruption, gets called to the local prison.  Alice Connolly want Bennie to defend her in her upcoming murder trial.  The surprise is that Alice is a dead ringer for Bennie and claims to be her twin.  I suppose that element is supposed to be part of the suspence of this book, but I found it annoying and cloying.  Nice rhyme, huh?  The actual who-done-it and the courtroom histrionics were mostly well-done and gripping.  Bennie finds herself in danger by a group of rogue cops while she goes about trying to prepare her defense in a week's time.  That the one officer who is the mastermind behind a drug ring makes a pretty dumb mistake which leads to his downfall was a bit unbelievable; but for the most part, this was a good book with some thrills and spills and a surprise conclusion to the murder mystery.  I did find the actual ending to be a bit flat.  Rating:  3.75

Thursday, November 11, 2010

71. The Last Queen by C W Gortner

"Spanish Princess Juana, 13, watches as her parents, King Fernando and Queen Isabel, unite Spain, vanquish Moors and marry their children off to foreign kingdoms for favorable alliances: Princess Catalina becomes first wife to Henry VIII; Princess Juana, who narrates, is shipped off to marry Philip of Flanders, heir to the Hapsburg Empire. Although Juana balks at leaving Spain for the north and a husband she has never met, their instant chemistry soon turns to love. Years and children later, Juana unexpectedly becomes next in line to the Spanish crown and must carefully navigate every step of the journey from Flanders to Spain, fearful of alienating husband or parents or both. Emotional and political tensions soar as Juana’s loyalties are tested to their limits. Disturbing royal secrets and court manipulations wickedly twist this enthralling story, brilliantly told. "  Publishers Weekly

There were so many interesting events covered in this historical fiction that were absolutely riveting.  Unfortunately, the author also includes some things that I guess were meant to rev up the story, like some graphic sex that I could have done without.  I had never heard of Juana of Castile; and her life certainly contained a lot of tension and politcal maneuvering.  She gave birth to five children, several of whom she was forced to leave when she returned to Spain from Flanders.  There were some disturbing aspects to her story and it was amazing how little power she had as a ruling woman.  Apparently there are some unanswered questions and myths about Juana's life that the author created fictional answers to.  So I picked up some great historical tidbits which is always good, but found the story just so-so.  Rating:  3.5

70. Widdershins by Charles de Lint

"Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell. Since they were introduced in the first Newford story, "Timeskip," back in 1989, their friends and readers alike have been waiting for them to realize what everybody else already knows: that they belong together. But they've been more clueless about how they feel for each other than the characters inWhen Harry Met Sally. Now in Widdershins, a stand-alone novel of fairy courts set in shopping malls and the Bohemian street scene of Newford's Crowsea area, Jilly and Geordie’s story is finally being told.

Before it’s over, we’ll find ourselves plunged into the rancorous and sometimes violent conflict between the magical North American “animal people” and the more newly-arrived fairy folk. We’ll watch as Jilly is held captive in a sinister world based on her own worst memories--and Geordie, attempting to help, is sent someplace even worse. And we’ll be captivated by the power of love and determination to redeem ancient hatreds and heal old magics gone sour.
To walk “widdershins” is to walk counterclockwise or backwards around something. It’s a classic pathway into the fairy realm. It’s also the way people often back slowly into the relationships that matter, the real ones that make for a life. In Widdershins Charles de Lint has delivered one of his most accessible and moving works of his career."  From

I have had this book for the longest time.  Maybe I waited so long because I wasn't sure in what order deLint's Newford books should be read.  I'm still not sure so I just jumped in.  He's a fantastic author who creates great characters and a fantastic world where magic happens all the time.  I loved it.  I do wish I had read The Onion Girl first.  Widdershins refers to events that take place previously that I wish I had known more about; but it was still a fantastic read.  Rating:  4.5