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Beiträge von Gail Cooke
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Rezensionen verfasst von
Gail Cooke (TX, USA)

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Silver Linings: A Rose Harbor Novel
Silver Linings: A Rose Harbor Novel
von Debbie Macomber
  Audio CD
Preis: EUR 35,47

4.0 von 5 Sternen CLOUDS MAY HAVE SILVER LININGS BUT ALSO SOME RAIN, 24. August 2015
For this reader/listener enjoyment is enhanced when a new story appears filled with familiar characters and places. And, that pleasure is even greater when said characters are real, likable people to whom we can relate. Such is certainly the case with Debbie Macomber’s Silver Linings. I looked forward to it with happy anticipation, and was not at all disappointed.

What a pleasure it is to return to the community of Cedar Cove and the delightfully homey Rose Harbor Inn, especially as narrated by the ever capable Lorelei King and Debbie Macomber. It is a welcome story for all of us - to be reminded that every cloud usually has a silver lining even though at first that silver may appear a bit tarnished.

Since opening Rose Harbor innkeeper Jo Marie Rose has grown close to her somewhat unknowable handyman, Mark Taylor. He has told her absolutely nothing about his past, and she is disappointed as well as confused when he says that he is moving out of town. And while Jo Marie is dealing with her own disappointment two visitors arrive who are also seeking solace and answers

Kellie Crenshaw and Katie Gilroy are best friends who have returned to Cedar Cove for their ten-year high school reunion. For them this reunion is not just about seeing old friends - Kellie wants to face a boy who once spurned her breaking her heart, Katie wants to reconnect with a former boyfriend, James, the man she still loves.

Now, remember the title of the story is Silver Linings so listen and see how things work out.

- Gail Cooke


The Bourbon Kings
The Bourbon Kings
von J.R. Ward
  Audio CD
Preis: EUR 41,51

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4.0 von 5 Sternen WEALTH, POWER, HATRED, MURDER - EVERYTHING TO KEEP YOU LISTENING, 22. August 2015
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bourbon Kings (Audio CD)
With this my first listen to a tale by J. R. Ward I was reminded of a soap opera that absolutely had me hooked some years ago. Do believe Ward’s story will have the same effect. It has it all - wealth, power, luxury, heartbreak, bitterness, hatred, murder, adultery, embezzlement. Ah, what more could any listener want especially when narrated by gifted actor Alexander Cendese?

Yes, with The Bourbon Kings we visit a world of Southern wealth and privilege overseen by the Bradford family who have dominated the bourbon industry for decades. Thanks to the ever popular bourbon they have a grand estate, Easterly, with a staff of 72 and just as many problems. The family patriarch has no moral scruples and is consumed by greed; the family’s matron is lost in drugs. Last but not least are the heirs to this vast fortune and all the secrets it holds - Lane, Max, Gin and Edward. Each of them shares their story with us.

Now, there is one unbreakable rule at Easterly, a line no one dares to cross - the insurmountable wall between the wealthy and the hired help. Head horticulturist Lizzie King scaled that wall and fell in love with the irresistible Lane. Of course, she is the wounded one and is reminded of her error each time she sees Lane’s snooty wife.

And now after of almost two years during which Lizzie has tried to heal Lane is coming home again and bringing with him the past which will leave no one unharmed. Secrets are revealed that may shatter the Bradford dynasty - bourbon and all. Who will survive?

- Gail Cooke


Enchantress of Paris: A Novel of the Sun King's Court
Enchantress of Paris: A Novel of the Sun King's Court
Preis: EUR 20,59

4.0 von 5 Sternen A PERFECT BEACH READ, 7. August 2015
Often billed as historical fiction I’d have to add fantasy to my description of Enchantress Of Paris. It is a juicy summer read with intriguing looks into royal court politics during the time of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Now, Marie was a different matter for me - first we are told that the alignment of the stars at her birth indicated that she would have powers of divination and was destined to disgrace her family. During the narrative she is alternately described as beauteous, witty and intelligent clad in gorgeous silken gowns then next thing we know she’s leaping upon her stallion to race with Louis. Thus, for this reader she never became quite real.

Jefferson opens her tale with a cast of characters - “Dramatis Personae” and rightly so for there are a great many. I was especially pleased to find Moliere, but his appearance was so brief that I might have missed him. At the top of the list is an absolutely dreadful man, Cardinal Jules Mazarin, chief minister to Louis XIV and manipulator extra ordinaire. He will stop at nothing to line his pockets and be powerful.

He brings Marie from a convent to the French court where she soon discovers just how powerful and deceitful he is. He is using Olympia, one of Marie’s sisters to keep Louis in line. However, Marie is apparently the most intelligent of the lot and makes herself known as a gracious hostess. She soon catches the eye of Louis, much to Olympia’s distress and Mazarin pits the two sisters against one another for the King’s favor. Marie quickly has enough of Mazarin’s plotting and she rebels believing that she is the one Louis truly loves.

We’d like to believe that true love conquers all, but don’t count on it as after surprising twists and turns Marie learns all too well what is expected of Louis and what he must do.

Take sun screen, an umbrella, and Enchantress Of Paris to the beach - it’s a perfect summer read.

- Gail Cooke


Death in Brittany: A Mystery (Commissaire Dupin)
Death in Brittany: A Mystery (Commissaire Dupin)
von Jean-Luc Bannalec
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 22,35

4.0 von 5 Sternen FOR ART LOVERS AMD FRANCOPHILES, 23. Juli 2015
Since a vacation in Brittany isn’t on my calendar for this summer what pleasure to meet Commissaire Georges Dupin who describes the country so beautifully that I can feel the sea air and smell the steak frites. Granted, Dupin is a rather cantankerous but likable fellow who prefers to spend his morning enjoying a croissant and coffee rather than being disturbed by such mundane matters as murder.

Nonetheless, a killing has occurred in the small village of Pont-Aven, a delightful community by the sea where everyone knows one another. And, surprisingly the deceased is a ninety-one-year-old hotel owner, Pierre Louis Pennec, who has spent his life seeing to the Central Hotel. This is a double shock for the locals since not only was Pennec a supposedly beloved figure but it’s the height of the tourist season and murder is definitely not good for business. Pont-Aven is known for having hosted Gauguin and his followers hence the village is awash in shops selling paintings to the visiting tourists.

As it turns out Pennec whose family had a remarkable collection of art by painters who visited Pont-Aven was terminally ill. Again the question - why murder? His son, Loic, and his half-brother, Andre, would certainly like to know as would the local art society. However, there is no rushing Dupin who is both determined and cautious in getting to the bottom of the mystery, which gives us the opportunity to enjoy his questioning of Pennec’s no longer young female employees.

Death In Brittany was first published in Germany where it enjoyed great success and time on the bestseller list. We’re betting it will receive a similar warm welcome here.

Enjoy.

- Gail Cooke


The Santangelos
The Santangelos
von Jackie Collins
  Audio CD

5.0 von 5 Sternen PURE UNADULTERATED COLLINS, 14. Juli 2015
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Santangelos (Audio CD)
Haven’t had your Jackie Collins fix in a while? Here ‘tis filled with her incomparable characters rife with passion, power, sex, and the Collins brand of glamour. Here’s a beach listen that’ll take your from a backyard pool to the South of France, Milan and Las Vegas. And what a listen it is as read by Collins herself in that inimitable breathy voice and an impressive cast consisting of Ari Fliakos, Holter Graham, January Lavoy, and Sydney Tamiia Poitier.

Best I get my confession out of the way - I’ve never been a Jackie Collins fan but do give a listen and read now and then. Why? It’s hard to argue with an author who has had 500 million of her books sold in 40 countries. That out of the way this is the conclusion to the Santangelo tale.

Tough and beautiful Lucky Santangelo has to remember the family motto - “Never cross a Santangelo” when she faces a no holds barred enemy determined to have vengeance and a drugged out Colombian club owner. Her daughter, Max, is setting the European modeling world on fire (remember, folks, this is a Collins story) and her handsome son, Bobby, is being pegged for murder. Of course, he’s innocent but something like this might happen when you let yourself go to a beautiful woman’s hotel suite.

Yes, I said beautiful - as usual Collins has a corner on characters that are the sexiest and most eye-popping gorgeous. They may be troubled, sleazy or drunk, but they’re great looking!

Now, since my confession is at the top of the page I’ll give this tale 5 stars because for her jillions of fans it’s written in true Collins style - perhaps even pizazzier than before. And, with a full cast it’s terrific listening!

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


The English Spy
The English Spy
von Daniel Silva
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 24,03

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5.0 von 5 Sternen A TOPNOTCH MODERN ESPIONAGE NOVEL, 2. Juli 2015
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The English Spy (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Outside of being the most totally engrossing, entertaining book I’ve read in many a calendar turn what more can I say about Daniel Silva who has been called a master of the modern espionage novel, and an author who delivers “consistent excellence and cool brilliance”? For this reader he also has the ability to transport us throughout the world, describing each locale as knowingly as if it were his own backyard. And the characters he creates do more than leap from the page - they own it whether they come to us via a glance, a clenched fist or a whiff of Turkish tobacco.

Not to worry if you have not read the previous novels starring Gabriel Allon, an empathetic, fascinating protagonist, a gifted art restorer and formidable operative, Silva subtly inserts his background into the story and before you’re aware of it you know Allon quite well. Of course, if The English Spy is your first Allon adventure you’ll want to rush out and read the earlier ones.

With this tale Silva grabbed me early on. A not to be forgotten member of the British Royal Family celebrated for her beauty and charitable works who was spurned by her former husband is introduced while boarding a luxury yacht soon to leave Saint Barthelemy for a Caribbean cruise. The world is shocked when a bomb explodes aboard ship and a Princess dies.

British intelligence knows there is but one person who can track down her killer and that man is Gabriel Allon. His quary is Eamon Quinn, a former Real IRA master bomb maker who is now a mercenary selling his services to the highest bidder. However, we soon discover that the assassination of the Princess was what is known as “collateral damage,” her death merely a ruse to bring Allon and his partner, Christopher Keller, out into the open. Quinn has been hired by the Russians to kill Allon, and thus the thrilling adventure begins.

You won’t want to miss The English Spy - it has no peer. I’d lend you my book, but I may just want to read it again.

- Gail Cooke


The Fixer
The Fixer
von Joseph Finder
  Audio CD
Preis: EUR 38,35

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5.0 von 5 Sternen NOT A DULL MOMENT IN THIS TALE, 25. Juni 2015
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Fixer (Audio CD)
Caveat first: I’m a huge fan of Joseph Finder’s books, for me his titles are always crisp, fast-paced, timely and totally absorbing. That experience is enhanced by a terrific narration by Steven Kearney (who also read Finder’s Suspicion).

What grabbed me in the beginning was a protagonist, Rick Hoffman, a fellow with whom many of us can identify. He’s not a sharp, muscled private eye but an every day guy who was just laid off from work. Now, it wasn’t work that he particularly enjoyed, but he did need the paycheck. He was writing pieces for a Boston city magazine - articles glorifying the rich and famous. What to do?

His elderly father has been left speechless after a stroke and is now confined to a nursing home. Well, his dad’s house is now empty and Rick needs a roof so he decides to move in. He sees that the house could use a little help, minor renovations. What he finds while improving the space is anything but minor - it’s major, $3 million in cash in a crawl space.

Of course, Rick needs a bit of cash so he spends some of it and begins trying to find out where it came from. His father, of course, is unable to tell him anything. Rick does know that his dad had once been a pretty powerful attorney with some big time clients. But even for a first-rate lawyer 3 million is a bit much in attorney’s fees.

It’s not too long before some pretty shady folks come looking for the cash and Rick.

Never a dull moment in a Finder suspense tale - enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


The Enemy Inside: A Paul Madriani Novel
The Enemy Inside: A Paul Madriani Novel
von Steve Martini
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 23,00

5.0 von 5 Sternen HIGH ADVENTURE, MOUNTING SUSPENSE, 13. Juni 2015
Every once in a while an author will create a lead character so real, so likable, so charismatic that readers are prone to forget he or she is a fictional character. Such is the case for Steve Martini’s creation of Paul Madriani. I find myself eagerly awaiting Madriani’s next adventure and then while reading become so immersed in the story that I stay up late pulling for him as though he were a favorite uncle rather than a product of Martini’s abundant imagination. Such was certainly the case with The Enemy Inside in which defense attorney Madriani discovers layers of corruption that lead to the highest levels of power.

A friend, Alex Ives, is implicated in a fatal traffic accident on a remote Southern California highway. To begin with Alex cannot remember any of that evening save for the fact that he is sure he had only one drink and had gone to meet an irresistible young woman at an A-List house party. He has awakened hospitalized in police custody charged with drunk driving and manslaughter.

Madriani believes Alex and determines to defend him unaware of the personal dangers involved. The deceased in the traffic accident was Olinda Serna, one of our country’s most successful lawyers and adept at managing money as well as discovering the secrets of her numerous influential clients. When these powerful folk learn of her death they’re concerned that their closely guarded secrets may be found out.

How far will they go to protect themselves, their position, their careers?

The Enemy Inside is loaded with carefully drawn fascinating characters, high adventure, and mounting suspense.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


The Liar
The Liar
von Nora Roberts
  Audio CD
Preis: EUR 26,68

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5.0 von 5 Sternen A WIDOW LEARNS ALL SHE HAS LOST, 4. Juni 2015
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Liar (Audio CD)
Ever popular author Nora Roberts topped bestseller lists with the hardcover edition of The Liar, and she gets our vote for doing it again with the audio edition thanks to voice performer January LaVoy. She is a new reader to me and I’ll be looking for her name on future titles - she nails the Tennessee accent as she skillfully delivers a first rate narration.

Norah Roberts does seem to have a penchant for creating strong women in dire circumstances, which describes Shelby Foxworth who discovers that she’s been deceived in almost every possible way. When her husband, Richard, drowned in the Atlantic Ocean she is heartbroken. He is the man who took her from a Tennessee home to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb, fathered her beautiful child, Callie, and showered every luxury on her.

However, when she gains access to Richard’s safety deposit instead of the wealth that she expected to find she discovers some cash, a gun, and many IDs bearing Richard’s picture and other men’s names. The man she loved and married had been a cheat and a liar. Now, Shelby is left with insurmountable debt and a private investigator knocking on her door.

Hoping to find solace and a modicum of comfort she takes Callie and returns to her hometown in Tennessee. It is there that she gathers strength and the determination to solve her problems. And, she meets good looking carpenter Griffin Lott who is everything Richard was not - honest, straightforward and caring.

However, just as she is beginning to see that there can be a future for her she finds that Richard had secrets yet to be revealed - secrets that endanger Shelby and all that she holds dear.

- Gail Cooke


A Spool of Blue Thread: A novel
A Spool of Blue Thread: A novel
von Anne Tyler
  Audio CD
Preis: EUR 34,75

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5.0 von 5 Sternen TYLER IS ALWAYS TOPS, 28. Mai 2015
Rezension bezieht sich auf: A Spool of Blue Thread: A novel (Audio CD)
A new novel by Anne Tyler is always a happily anticipated event for me. Her stories ring true, warm my heart, and kindly yet accurately describe our shared humanity. Such is the case with her 20th novel, A Spool Of Blue Thread. Frosting on the cake is hearing this saga of four generations read by the accomplished Kimberly Farr. She is a gifted actress with many Broadway appearances to her credit, and she brings her wealth of experiences to this narration.

The four generations mentioned are all members of the Baltimore Whitshank family headed by Red and Abby who have now reached the age when they need some looking after. It does not take long for Tyler to introduce all of the family along with their foibles - Red tends to be critical, Abby offers smother love. Denny, their 19-year-old son, is dubbed unreliable by his siblings. One down to earth offspring offers ways to care for their aging parents. Amanda and Stem who will inherit Whitshank construction have what might be called cameo appearances until an unexpected event has Tyler taking us back in time to explore and reveal oft told Whitshank stories.

As the years unfold laughter and happiness emerges as do disappointments and secrets that have been kept hidden. While all of this might seem to be a script for any family in Tyler’s hands it is a richly rewarding story, fresh and remarkable.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke


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