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Flower shops again

Death and a Dozen Roses Book Cover Death and a Dozen Roses
[Rosie McKay Mystery] (The Pre-quel Flower Shop Mysteries Book 1)
By Annie Adams
Cosy, crime, Womensleuths
2017

Cupid went a little too far this Valentines Day...

Rosie thought she'd left her dangerous life behind when she opened her flower shop. But Valentine's Day turns deadly when she finds Cupid's bow and a corpse while delivering roses. She just might have to dust ​off some of her old sleuthing skills to get out of this mess.

​And she'll have to decide what to do about the handsome detective who knows too much about her past.

Here we have the [proverbial] flower shop on Valentine’s Day – busy busy busy and then things go wrong. As a result of which Rosie finds herself embroiled in murder and sets out to try and find the murderer herself – to the frustration of the local police force – especially her boyfriend  – ex? still? –  who tries to stop her interfering.

In many ways a tried and repeated formula – with a small town gal solving murders better than the police and lots of scandals coming to light as a result. These rural American small towns seem to be hotbeds of scandal – lots of fraud, corruption and sex…

Not a unique formula and thus despite the fun writing style, I have marked it down for lack of imagination.

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Who lives downstairs?

The Neighbours Book Cover The Neighbours
Nicola Gill
Fiction
HarperCollins UK
February 6, 2020
400

To get up from rock bottom, you’ve got to take the stairs...

Meet Ginny, 34, and Cassie, 55. Neighbours, and (very) unlikely friends.

Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four and rent a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Ginny Taylor is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she meets her downstairs neighbour…

Cassie Frost was once a beloved actress, but after a recent mishap she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job – but can she be persuaded to work for the prickly woman who lives below her floorboards?

Ginny and Cassie are two very different women, but they have more in common than they’d care to imagine (or admit). And when their worlds collide, they realise that bad neighbours could become good friends…

This is an interesting book as it defies the commonly promulgated idea that we don't know, or care about, or neighbors in London. My personal experience is that this is not true. 
In hondon, we live in small communities, towns if you will, where, when you walk out the shop owners know you, the station staff recognise you, and you always bump into, and talk with, a neighbor. True, you need to smile and say 'Hello' first and maybe join in a community activity, of which there will be lots to choose from. 
Not so in  Commuter Land. 
I lived there for 19 years and barely knew nextdoor. 
Here in London I know lots of people & even have had drinks with
the people upstairs.
That said, this is a warm story, almost sentimental, with a young person befriending the grouchy neighbor below stairs, and as such helping her turn
her life around.

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When social ills abound

Little Boy Lost Book Cover Little Boy Lost
by J. P. Carter
General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers
Avon Books UK
Pub Date 23 Jan 2020

Innocence is no protection against evil… One early October afternoon, ten-year-old Jacob Rossi begins the short walk home from school. But he never makes it. Days later, DCI Anna Tate is called to the scene of a burning building, where an awful discovery has been made. A body has been found, and the label in his school blazer reads: J. Rossi. As Anna starts digging, she soon learns that a lot of people had grudges against the boy’s father. But would any of them go so far as to take his son? And is the boy’s abductor closer than she thinks?

A very disturbing story. very well told and believable after previous London riots.
My husband has always pointed to the regular occurrence of riots in the UK's history, and the fact that social ills were addressed afterwards, as a reason, possibly, that unlike  most of Europe, we still have a monarchy. And have not had a real Revolution.
 I saw a play created from interviews with our last London rioters, and it is clear that a significant portion of our youth feel very disenfranchised. And the increase in knife crime in 2019 emphasises this.
So the social unrest that is the background to this story is a viable a believable extrapolation.
I am not sure if Chloe's back story added a great deal apart from muddling stories up. I would have left it out. Its riot experience was enough.
And the final twist was one I never saw coming. Excellent.

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Cliff hangers

Code Named: Camelot Book Cover Code Named: Camelot
Noah Wolf
David Archer
Espionage, Military thriller, Spy, Intrigue
Kindle

After witnessing the murder-suicide of his parents as a child, Noah suffers from a form of PTSD that has left him without emotion, without a conscience and without the ability to function as a normal human being. With the help of childhood friends, he learns to watch others around him and mimic their behaviors, in order to conceal the fact that his mind operates more like a computer that he has spent years programming. That program is what allows Noah to pass himself off as normal, by establishing parameters of right and wrong that are completely inviolable to him.

As a young adult, Noah finds structure in the U.S. Army, and becomes an excellent and exemplary soldier, but when his self-imposed programming is put to the test by the murderous acts of the superior officer, Noah finds himself quickly made expendable, charged with crimes he did not commit and facing the possibility of execution. Without any reasonable hope for a reprieve, Noah's logic-based mind accepts his fate.

Sometimes, though, things are not all as they seem to be, and Noah is offered one chance to save himself. It was his disability, his lack of emotion, that made him the soldier he had become. Now, an ultrasecret organization known as E & E wants Noah's talents, offering him a chance to survive…

As the most deadly assassin the world has ever known.

A new favourite author for this series. Why? Because he is really naughty and ends all his books on a cliff hanger and then includes the first 2 or 3 chapters of the follow on book to get you hooked and buying…

So you read on because of the cliff hanger, and then you buy. My only complaint is that all his women are 2 dimensional, especially Sarah in this series. I’ve now read the entire series…!

Now either the author doesn’t know London or he is deliberately trying to mislead his readers. Either way I find it irritating – I’m sure even American readers will find it so. He mixes locations, names and invents places eg the London Borough of Canary Wharf. Doesn’t exist. It is Docklands and is in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Unnecessary.  I’m not sure  why he does it.   

Books in order are:

  • The Way of the Wolf [prequel]
  • Code Name: Camelot
  • Lone Wolf
  • In Sheep’s Clothing
  • Hit for Hire
  • The Wolf’s Bite
  • Black Sheep
  • Balance of Power
  • Time to Hunt
  • Red Square
  • Highest  Order

                                                                                                                   

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Beware magazine articles

Sexpiry Book Cover Sexpiry
London Loving Book 3
by Tori Turnbull
Romance , Women's Fiction
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 11 Oct 2019

Harriet “Hari” Rawlinson has an IQ that puts her in the genius category, she’s a computer coding phenomenon and karate gold medallist. But she doesn’t understand people or nuance and she personifies socially awkward.
From the moment he meets her, Cameron “Cam” Foster is captivated by Hari, with her plain speaking, mental fixations and head full of facts, she is like a human Siri. He sees her - All of her - And can’t imagine not having her in his life and can happily spend the rest of his life getting to know her.
Hari’s never had a real relationship. Sex, yes. But a man who wanted to get to know her or stick around after sex? No. She is in the middle of a personal crisis: She only has twelve days before her sexual expiry; it’s true, she read it in a magazine. She doesn’t have time to get to know Cam right now.
Somehow, whilst Hari is fixated on having a one-night stand, she finds herself with a real-life boyfriend. But what if she doesn’t have whatever it takes to make a relationship work in the long term?

Contemporary romance

While this book is amusingly written and well shows the folly of believing in articles written in the popular press and magazines, I have a major beef with it. It is following a trend which shows female computing/mathematical whizz kids to be on the spectrum. To be lacking in the ability to communicate successfully with other people, and to have difficulty with emotions. I realise that this was always the usual portrayal of male computer/mathematical males but why?  Music and maths for instance, are the 2 parts of the same ability? And why link what they can achieve intellectually with their human communicational abilities? It is too easy to use this for a story. Which means that despite my enjoyment and the humorous prose (btw the jokes were unnecessary) I am downgrading the book to a 3 star.

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