I remember the first time I met Tyler Whitesides, a few months before his new book, Janitors, was due to be released. He told me about his new book, tI remember the first time I met Tyler Whitesides, a few months before his new book, Janitors, was due to be released. He told me about his new book, the first in a series, and I thought it sounded like a fun and unique adventure. Fast forward to today, as I review the last book in the Janitors series, and I can honestly say it has been a lot of fun. A little gross at times for the germaphobic, but always an adventure.
Our characters are in dire circumstances as the story begins, reeling after the loss of mentors and the continuing disappearances of allies. Spencer and Daisy must decide whether to trust former enemies and bear the responsibility of rescuing their Rebel allies. Secrets are uncovered that change everything, and their situation seems impossible.
I sailed through the book, anxious to see what happened from chapter to chapter. Tyler did a great job of keeping the pace going, surprising me and, as usual, making me laugh. He knows how to include the details with enough entertainment to keep young readers (and adults like me) engaged in the story. The creative use of every day janitorial items is clever and I still really want a set of magic squeegees.
Spencer, Daisy, and Dez, while still the same characters we know, have also grown both in experience and friendship. They’ve learned to appreciate each other and make sacrifices. Well, at least Spencer and Daisy have, though Dez surprised me more than once. As the story ends, I believe there is hope for him yet.
I found Heroes of the Dustbin to be a fast moving and satisfying conclusion to the Janitors series, and I think other fans will as well. This series is perfect for engaging the imaginations of young readers. I know many middle grade readers have enjoyed Tyler’s books, and I hope many more discover this series as they explore the possibilities that exist in the world of reading.
**Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review -- ldswbr.com....more
(4.5 stars!) In Fortune Cookie, book eleven in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series, readers join Sadie in San Francisco, her sister’s place o(4.5 stars!) In Fortune Cookie, book eleven in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series, readers join Sadie in San Francisco, her sister’s place of residence for many years. My husband and I honeymooned in San Francisco, so it was great to revisit the city with Sadie and Pete.
Sadie never got along well with her sister. Wendy left home when Sadie was twelve, and other than a handful of interactions, there wasn’t much of a relationship between the two women. It was interesting to get to know more about Sadie, her childhood, and her family. She isn’t the only one struggling with difficult issues though. With only three weeks to the wedding, Pete finds himself facing some situations he didn’t expect as well. My heart was aching for both he and Sadie.
I love that, even after so many books, I feel like I am still getting to know Sadie. Josi’s hard work keeping characters interesting and plots mysterious pays off every time. I really had no clue who was going to be the bad guy until it was revealed, though I had a running list that changed often, sometimes from chapter to chapter. This series is one of the few I’ve read where I haven’t figured out who the villain is well before the big reveal.
What I appreciate even more than an unguessable antagonist are well-written characters. More than just description and dialogue, each character’s interactions, concerns, weaknesses, efforts, and motivations are relatable and believable, even those we only meet briefly in the course of Sadie’s investigation. The reader can’t help but feel the emotion and suspense the story is designed to evoke.
The Sadie Hoffmiller series is one of my absolute favorites. As sad as I am that it is winding down, I’m looking forward to Wedding Cake, the last book in the series due to be released in Fall 2014. There is a cliffhanger chapter from Wedding Cake at the end of Fortune Cookie that’s going to keep me on edge all summer. Thanks a lot, Josi. ;)
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review -- http://www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI: received a free hardcopy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review...more
I really liked this one. Even more adventure and quite a bit of suspense, though heads-up parents, there is some war violence and peril. It's not tooI really liked this one. Even more adventure and quite a bit of suspense, though heads-up parents, there is some war violence and peril. It's not too bad, but if you have a sensitive reader, just be aware. I really like the guy who read for this book and the first one, which is a relief as I am very particular and usually avoid audiobooks because an annoying reader can ruin the story for me. So far, really enjoying listening to this series and look forward to the next book....more
(4.5 stars) This series is so much fun. I enjoyed every minute of it. I liked this book just as much as the first, maybe even more. Spying on spies is(4.5 stars) This series is so much fun. I enjoyed every minute of it. I liked this book just as much as the first, maybe even more. Spying on spies is intense. I was racing to the finish, and had to stop for an appointment just as things became dire for Talia. Talk about being in suspense! I really like Talia, even if she is amazingly paranoid. I appreciate the relationship she has with Danny. I love Jordan's writing style. I certainly hope this isn't the last book with Talia and Danny. I want to read more....more
Deadly Alliance, the third and final installment of the Espionage series, takes place during the final year of WWII. Peter and Genevieve are the mainDeadly Alliance, the third and final installment of the Espionage series, takes place during the final year of WWII. Peter and Genevieve are the main characters, who both have way more war and espionage experience than any young person should. Almost as soon as they are reunited, the war separates them. Their duties take them far from each other, and one circumstance after another makes it almost certain they will never survive, let alone find each other again.
Peter has several of his closest war buddies with him, but Genevieve is very alone. She stays busy at the hospital, but the war has taken too much for her to feel happy without Peter. He is determined to do his duty for his country and the men that are serving with him. While he hopes to be united again with Genevieve and live the rest of his life by her side, Peter knows that sometimes the only option is to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The story is told mainly from Peter and Genevieve’s points-of-view, with a large focus on events occurring in the fight between the Serbians and Croatians, the Partisans and Chetniks, located in Yugoslavia. The characters encounter several battle scenarios and devastated villages that show the face of war in that area of the world. The author’s style isn’t flowery or roundabout but straightforward, intended for an audience of men and women who enjoy reading WWII fiction and prefer a hint of romance.
Deadly Alliance takes the reader along as the characters move from one seemingly insurmountable circumstance to another. I haven’t read a lot of WWII fiction but I can see that Deadly Alliance and the other books in the Espionage series are well-researched. I follow A.L. Sowards on Goodreads so I see how many WWII books she reads. This knowledge comes through in how easy it was to slip into the time period each time I picked up the book.
I appreciated Peter and Genevieve’s devotion to doing whatever they could to end the war, even at the risk of their own lives. They go through some emotional experiences, however, they have been at war for some time now and witnessed many things no one should ever see. At times they are simply resigned to their circumstances, or hardened by previous events. I was anxious for both the war to end, and to find out what would ultimately happen with our heroes. Just when I thought all was said and done, the author threw in a twist that had me in some serious suspense.
Overall, Deadly Alliance is an enjoyable and satisfying conclusion to the series. I would recommend the Espionage series to anyone who enjoys clean, well-researched historical fiction, particularly WWII fiction. While LDS elements are present, it isn’t a major theme of the book. I look forward to more from A.L. Sowards, and can’t wait to see what she has in the works....more