I don’t normally read books about war or violence in general, I believe life is hard enough as it is, but I am always open to new experiences and this one was definitely new: I know close to nothing about Korea, unless you count my watching the TV series M.A.S.H. (which I loved, by the way). So, I was very excited about the prospect of reading this book and I came out of the experience extremely happy from many points of view.
First of all, this is a very well written book. It is obvious that the writer is very familiar with all aspects of Asian society, traditions, culture and politics, and possesses the talent to express it. I remember when I was a child watching Japanese cartoons and being extremely shocked at the way the characters behaved, and absolutely convinced they cannot really behave like that, until I actually met some Chinese and Japanese people and realized that they are exactly like that. And highly fascinating. I loved to read about everyday life in Korea, the way they addressed each other, the respect that tradition required them to show. For example, the youngest son was supposed to serve his older brothers, this was considered his most important duty. Also, when a woman gave birth to a child she lost her name and became known as X’s mother (uhmony). Not to mention that the women were married off to some men their family chose, without them ever meeting their husbands before the wedding, and then they are expected to be faithful wives and servants to these men:
“I didn’t sneak a look at my husband for five days.”
The three brothers in the story are called He-Chul, He-Seung and He-Dong, which I guess means Brother Chul, Brother Seung and Brother Dong. I was a little bit concerned about their diet, though, as they seemed to be eating kimchi (fermented vegetable side dish made mainly of cabbage and spices) day and night.
I was also happy because I could relate to so much of the story, not because I actually endured their fate, but because I also come from a former communist country, and although very young at the time, I do remember the whispering, the rations cards, and the mind-numbing propaganda. This, unfortunately, also stressed me a lot, as I felt very connected to the characters and hated the Japanese even more than I would normally while immersed in a book.
Another aspect of the story that I found very appealing, was that no matter how much they suffered, people still helped each other. Like when uhmony and He-Dong, the only ones left in the family home, find out that the Japanese are going to seize their home and turn it into headquarters for their Police, and their neighbor, Min-Kook uhmony, offers them her own home to live in while she is away taking care of her father-in-law, which was for over two years.
The story is told from the point of view of He-Seung, the middle brother, He-Dong, the little brother, and uhmony, the Mom. He-Seung and his best friend sacrifice themselves and join the Japanese Youth corps, one to save his father from prison, and the other, to be closer to his girlfriend. They are portrayed perfectly, teens who think they are smarter and stronger than anyone else, but who are innocent and full of love at heart. I loved them. I loved little He-Dong, who is afraid of God’s punishment, so always analyzes everything he does very carefully, and who is the one who develops the most in the story. When the eldest brother, He-Chul, comes home after finishing his studies and starts all that talk about communism ideals and so on, I couldn’t but feel sorry for the poor people of Korea. They had gotten rid of one evil and another was already insinuating itself in their midst. Unfortunately, I know first hand what communism can do and it ain’t pretty.
The Japanese occupation was awfully tough for the people of Korea and the best way to see it is to look at what happens to this poor family which is the main character of this book. The father is taken away because he holdS Christian services at his house, and the Japanese soldiers lie to the boys:
“Your father will be fine with us.”
Later on, they bring him home a defeated man, after having obviously tortured him:
“Your husband fell down. We don’t have any place to care for him.”
The Japanese sound just like any other tyrant:
“The Japanese Empire will not lose this fight with the barbarian enemy because we Japanese embody unique characteristics no other race has: loyalty, strength, bravery.”
Unfortunately, history has a way of repeating itself. After the Japanese are defeated, He-Dong and uhmony come across a group of Korean boys who are beating a Japanese boy. In an attempt to save him, the mom offers the boys some peanuts. All except one run away:
“He took a handful of the peanuts from my bag, shook the treat back and forth in his palm. Then he threw the peanuts in my face. Jap lover.”
History always repeats itself. When they have the power, people will always use it. Read the book and find out for yourselves. Hopefully, some of us will learn a lesson from it.
*OBS would like to thank the author and TLC tours for supplying us with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*(less)
It was an interesting book, though difficult to get into in the beginning (probably due to a lot going on in this book and the story vacillating between the vintage club member’s (a club of 12 of the richest men in the world) story and Reggie’s story in the beginning and thus a bit difficult to focus. Once I got past the initial hump….and as a result of the writing being so good and the story/mystery became intriguing, I did not want to put the book down and was swept away.
As stated in the book …
“The goal of the Vintage Club was to find a new wine that would reverse the aging process by chemically transforming a person’s blood into the sort of the blood that ran through Adam before his fall.”
Rather a bold goal for this club. The journey the club members take is thought provoking and bold, as the reader will see.
Similar to other stories (for example: the Da Vince Code) The Vintage Club explores both the literal and figurative meanings of many scripture and historical bits of information related to the life and death of Christ, and in particular the idea of eternal life. With these religious tie-ins included, it can make it difficult for a reader to follow, especially if at least a small base of religious knowledge is not present.
As a mystery/thriller, the author did a delightful job. I enjoyed following Reggie’s journey. The whodunit was not revealed until the end (of course), but I was kept guessing until the end….not the person I thought it was. And is that not what one wants from a mystery?
The story was wrapped up well, though it certainly left little “bits” of unanswered questions so that maybe another book is on the way?
*OBS would like to thank the author for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review* (less)
I found this story to be thoroughly delightful. Early on it was spelled out very well how Mallory was beginning to feel:
“I was rattled by the kiss. At that moment, Mallory was a hell of a lot more than rattled. She was in lust so deep, she had to force herself not to crawl on his lap and lace her fingers through his hair.”
Ben was a classy guy throughout. When he found out Mal’s big secret (not gonna tell ya :) !!!), he did not run away, but came back the next day and began courting Mallory again. While Mallory was deciding whether she should give him another chance and start a relationship…..she had an epiphany …
“And screw a duck if she didn’t suddenly realize she already cared for him.”
One example where we see what Ben’s intentions are from the start:
“As much as he wanted her, he had to slow down. Not only did she need to know that he likes her, the whole package of Mallory, he also needed to take it at a more relaxed pace. The woman needed time, and he’d be sure she got it. He had no intention of being her rebound guy.”
All I can say is that this definitely endeared him to me as a reader!!!!
I must say, that at least temporarily, I was disappointed in Ben for what appeared to be him running away in the face of adversity. At a time when his new girlfriend needed him, he couldn’t handle it (or could he? Leaving you with too little information so as to not include a spoiler). The author depicted the adage about communication being vital in any relationship very well. When Ben and Mallory did not communicate fully, we saw life become bleak for Mallory, Ben and Ben’s daughter Amber. Now as all good love stories tend to go, after a period of silence between Ben and Mallory, communication is restored. I LOVED Ben’s creativeness and truly thoughtful way of apologizing. I expect Mallory did as well!
I was pleasantly surprised in how the introduction of a child to a new relationship was told. Nothing un-torrid occurred when Amber was around. Wholesome family values seemed to rule Ben’s choices, especially in how they would affect his child. I appreciated Ben’s choices and his respect for his daughter’s feelings and that Amber was always number 1, even before his feelings for Mallory.
Yet….the story is anything but “wholesome” when describing the intimate part of Mallory and Ben’s relationship. The steamy scenes were steamy and the loving “ahhh” moments were romantic. All in all, a delightful, easy to read love story. It had enough other sub-stories going on to keep it interesting. I expect that for the next stories in the series, we will get more of the backstory of each of the “Ladies Who Lunch” club members (teachers who have worked together for years). I look forward to further reads from this series.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*(less)
night-terrors-shadow-watch-tim-waggonerAudra Hawthorne is a 20-something with a huge problem: her worst nightmare has come to life and is walking by her side right now. His name is Jinx and he is the most terrifying clown you have ever seen. Together with the other members of the Night Watch, they protect the people of Earth from their nightmares and their embodiments: scary Incubi that only people’s nightmares could have produced. When the balance between Earth and Nod (the Incubi’s own town) is threatened, it is up to Audra and Jinx to save the day.
I cannot tell you how much out of my comfort zone I was when I decided to read this book. Horror has never been and, I thought, will never be my thing. Until I chose to read this book and I am so glad I did. I loved it and I cannot wait to read the next n the series. The book starts in fast mode and does not relent for one moment. It keeps you in its grip and does not let go, until you have reached the last page. It was an amazing read. I loved the writing technique and no wonder: after I finished it I googled the author, Tim Waggoner, and found out he writes articles about writing and teaches creative writing.
I loved that you can also feel how much fun the author had while writing the book. He comes up with names for all the monsters, like Pirate-Boy or Beanzilla, the monument that comes to life and attacks them during one of the Incursions that first alerted Audra and Jinx to the fact that there was something weird going on.
The characters are also extremely likeable. Audra had a lot of trouble sleeping as a child, because of the terrifying nightmares she had. She even had to go into therapy. Unfortunately that didn’t help and thus, her sidekick Jinx was born. He even likes to refer to her lovingly as his “Mummy”, to her annoyance, of course. She seems very serious and dedicated to the work they do for the Night Watch, but also has a naughty side to her that I found entertaining.
Jinx is even more fascinating because he has two Aspects: his Night Aspect, his true self, and the Day Aspect, which is a disguise when they travel to Earth during the day. Of course, since I am not a horror fan, I should have preferred the Day Jinx, who is into art, decorations and watching food channels. But the Night Jinx, with all his clownish looks, enormous strength and scary laugh, was a provoking experience, so I can’t really choose.
There is also some attempt at romance which I liked. Just the right amount, not too much to put us out of action. The Pirate-boy turns out to be an old friend of Audra’s from her days in therapy, and he proves very helpful in dealing with the problems she is facing:
“So you’re trying to tell me that you’re working with these mysterious They and that They want you to pretend to help me for whatever reason, but in reality, you really do intend to help me, and you don’t want Them knowing. Is that it?”
There are also other characters, both good and evil, that are pretty well-rounded and I would love to know more about: the pair, Jack and Lizzie, Abe and Maggie, and especially Maggie’s Incubus, the Darkness.
All in all, a great read that I would recommend to everyone, not only horror genre lovers.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying us with a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*(less)
sixth-grave-on-the-edge-charley-davidson-darynda-jonesIt’s Here! It’s Here! The new Charley Davidson book is here! This is one of those surprise series that I found completely by accident that I just love. I get so excited when I finally get my hands on a new installment! This time was no different!
Reyes has popped the big question, but Charley being her usual difficult self refuses to give him an answer, despite the fact she’s already made up her mind! But they both do enjoy teasing each other and this is just another of many things to poke fun at each other with.
“I walked stiffly past the worst hussy of them all: my former BFF, who’d apparently decided to move in. Jessica had been at the restaurant every day for over two weeks. Most days more than once. I knew she was hot for my man, but holy cow.
Clearly I’d have to say yes to Reyes soon. This was getting ridiculous. he needed a ring on his finger–and fast.”
Charley has a client that insists he has sold his soul to the devil and wants Charley to get it back for him! And against Reyes’ s protests she agrees! Reyes just can’t understand her big heart always wanting to help others, even at the risk of her own life! But he isn’t about to let her face the demon responsible on her own.
Then a couple of thugs pay Charley a visit telling her if she doesn’t find the woman they’re looking for that one of her friends will die. Things are never easy for our heroine!
And of course there is always the getting Cookie laid plan that Charley has been working on as well. So much to do, so little time!
I enjoyed this installment of the series, but I don’t think it was quite as good as the couple before it. That’s not saying it was bad by any means because it’s still a fun light read that will have you chuckling out loud when you least expect it!
“He turned the corner and flipped me off at the same time. See? Men could multitask. I was so proud of him.”
In this book, we saw a much more intense Reyes. He is getting tired of waiting for Charley to agree to his proposal and he has no qualms about staking his claim to her or taking down a wall or two!
“Reyes. Alexander. Farrow,” I said.
Seconds after I spoke his name, Reyes walked into his bedroom, and I looked across the open space directly from my room into his.
He waited for me to continue.
“I feel like there’s something missing from my bedroom.”
A dimple appeared at the corner of his mouth. “You don’t say.”
“Any idea what that might be?”
He glanced around my room as well, then shrugged. “I can’t imagine.”
“Oh, wait,” I said, stepping from my room into his, “wasn’t there something here? Like, I don’t know, a wall or something?”
He looked up. “You could be right. I do seem to remember a barrier of some kind here.”
“Yep,” I said, stepping closer, “I definitely remember a partition separating our apartments.” When his only response was a mischievous tilt of his full mouth, I asked, “Where did you put my wall?”
He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against his doorframe. “What makes you think I took it?”
“It was there this morning.”
“And that means I took it? Maybe you just misplaced it. Where exactly did you see it last?”
I pressed my lips together. “You tore down my wall.”
The smile he wore could’ve charmed the panties off a nun. Completely unrepentant, he admitted, “I tore down your wall.”
Reyes has become quite in tune with Charley’s emotions and the slightest rise in her adrenaline sends him running, sometimes in the nude (ah if only this was a picture book)! Danger (and not the one under Charley’s shirt!) is near and his protective instincts are running high.
Charley is still poking into Reyes’s past, which does give us some brooding Son of Satan scenes. And, I can understand why he gets so upset, but he was getting a bit moody for somebody wanting her to agree to marry him. This is Charley after all, he should expect her to nose in his business! But the duo gets past this and they are back to the fun, teasing, lovable couple we’ve come to expect!
“Want to come over to my place?” I asked him.
The sparkle in his eyes danced in humor. “I don’t know,” he said. “You live so far away.”
I also had a lot of fun with Charley’s plan to get her uncle to finally step up and ask Cookie out. Men! They can be so stubborn! I’m anxious to see where this will go in the next book. Although … part of me still liked the idea of her with Swopes!
We also got to see Quentin in this installment! I love seeing his developing relationship with Amber. It’s just so sweet and innocent … well for now anyway!
I really love this series, but this book definitely gives me a ‘the end is near’ kind of vibe. There is a lot of talk about the prophecies and the ultimate standoff with Reyes’s father and of course Charley’s role in it all. Granted it could still be several books before that standoff occurs, but you can definitely see the events are leading in that direction. And, with the latest development, I’m sure it will take some time for it to all come together. Yay! More Charley and Reyes!
I really enjoyed this book, but I found a lot of things to be a bit predictable, and maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous few installments. The ‘friend’ that was in danger seemed obvious to me, and now that will give Charley a new hell on earth to face, I’m sure! Even the ending, I was expecting to happen … although not in this installment, I’ll admit. But I thought the prophecies were going to predict it.
Oh, and in the copy of Sixth Grave on the Edge that I received, there is an excerpt of one of the scenes from the book, from Reyes’s point of view, from before the wall came crashing down! It was nice. Any Reyes fan will surely enjoy it.
Anyway, this was another strong outing from Darynda Jones and now the waiting game starts over again … the countdown to Seventh Grave and No Body!! The cycle never ends:) Come on October!
“The next thing I remembered was Reyes smiling down at me as the sun filtered into his apartment, his hair mussed, his lids hooded with the thick remnants of sleep. I stretched as those three little words that every girl longs to hear slipped from his mouth with effortless ease. As though they did every day. As though they didn’t mean the world to me.
With one corner of his mouth tipping sensually, he asked, “Want some coffee?”
And I fell.
I fell hard.”
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. We are honored to be a part of this exciting blog tour. Please note the review is based on an advance copy and everything including the quotes in this review are subject to change*(less)
I had a lot of fun reading this book from beginning to end. It is very fast paced and has surprised me at every turn. When I started reading it, I had no idea that I would enjoy myself so much. The characters are extremely lively and real. You get to know them well, you feel for them and can’t help but root for them. The magic is really cool and very elaborate. And the whole atmosphere is permeated by a feeling of medieval romance.
There are several countries or magical kingdoms, if you will, that are clashing in this story. One is Grumesh, a tiny country ruled by a Roodiman governor, then there’s Roodim itself, an empire that preys on small countries, and Varelia, where Eriale’s half sister Tamara is Queen. Ten years before, Roodim conquered Grumesh and drove all its noblemen into hiding. They kept on fighting back, led by Kealan Machaon, but eventually realized that there is no chance for them and the best option is to just try to stay alive and build a new life for their children.
Eriale is the main character and she is really something. She is 17 years old and a great magician, “the best mage in the kingdom”, actually, according to her. The only downside to her greatness is that in order to become an Adept, she needs to lose her virginity. While it was very amusing to witness Eriale’s discussions with her parents about her budding sexuality, I felt that this whole thing about losing her virginity was a tad annoying for me. Eriale is young and inexperienced, true, but at the same time she is so sure of herself, so ready for anything, that I don’t think that losing her virginity would make any difference to her. It definitely did not involve her emancipation, since she was going to be forced to marry Gordin, an idiot who tried to rape her and ended up with a mutton head instead of his head. The only conclusion I could draw was that losing her virginity actually increased her magic, but then again, she proves herself beforehand anyway.
Ok, so this takes care of the only complaint I had about the book. Let’s go on to the next level, the cool stuff. I thought the magic of Eriale and her father was wonderful. They can build gateways to places that they know, so that they can travel between their home and Tamara’s castle, and this proves a perfect way of saving Kealan from the prison where he was under torture. I also admired how well her father had taught her to loath “blood magic” = black magic, that just by feeling its presence, Eriale starts feeling nauseated. Of course, her father’s magic made it all pretty easy for her in the beginning of her Journeyman quest, so I was excited when her hatch bag (another gateway to her father’s money and food) is stolen and she finally starts showing us her own magic. Eriale is definitely a great role model to follow: she is not only sure of her sexuality, she is great at what she does and, even if a lady by birth, she shows kindness to lesser creatures and gives up her comfort in order to help others in need, which are traits of great leaders, in my opinion.
Kealan is another great character. In his late 20s or early 30s, he used to be the Captain of the High Guard of the Grumesh Republic, before the war with the Roodim Empire. Now he sits on the Grumesh treasure, but instead of using it for his comfort, he shares it between the families of his ex-fellow guards. He is immediately drawn to Eriale when they meet and, all through their relationship, can’t help but have all kinds of naughty dreams about her. He tries to escape her at first, but:
“The sneaky little temptress was obviously older than she looked and not so innocent either.”
What a pair these two make!
The “power-hungry” magician Udolen, cousin to Kealan and leader of the new resistance army, is of course, the villain. We don’t get to learn many details about him, except the kind of magic he has, and that is more than enough. He has created magical tentacles, with the help of which he feeds on the life forces of people he pretends to save. I found him extremely repulsive and his magic, absolutely horrible. The author has done a great job with it.
I don’t know if the author has plans to continue with this magical world, but I believe fantasy fans would welcome it.
*OBS would like to think the author for supplying us with a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*(less)
the-given-celestial-blues-vicki-petterssonIt’s been six long months since Grif and Kit went their separate ways. And, both have been miserable in their own right. But the Host is getting tired of waiting for Grif to find who killed him and take his rightful place in the Everlast. He is given a prophecy that he must fulfill before the 51st anniversary of his death, and it’s approaching fast! He will reunite with his greatest love to accomplish it, but will it be enough? He’s running out of time to solve the mysteries of his past, finding out who murdered him, and what exactly happened to his wife, Evie, now that he knows she didn’t die that horrible night. But does any of that even matter when he faces the possibility of losing his beloved Kat for good?
I was pretty sad at the end of the previous installment of this series, The Lost, and I really didn’t know where it could possibly go from there once this fated pair went splitsville. But I got so excited when I read the synopsis of The Given! And, let me tell you that this book did NOT disappoint! It had everything I could have possibly wanted: greed, mystery, intrigue, betrayal, and even a little romance thrown in for good measure!
I am a bit sad that this series stops here though, but with everything tied up so nicely, there is really nowhere else for it to go. And, I think if Pettersson tried to extend it, that the quality would drop because there is really nothing else for us to learn, nothing else for these great characters to achieve or discover.
Kit and Grif were great as always! I loved how they finally found their way back to one another, but all the time they lost in those six months apart did make my heart ache a bit when we discover just how little time Grif has left on this ‘mudflat’.
I’ve had a sneaking suspicion about Evie’s involvement in everything that happened 50 years ago, but I never could have guessed just how immersed in it she was! We saw a much uglier side of her than I ever expected.
There was also many twists and turns with the other players involved, showing you just how ugly greed can really turn a person, and leaves you asking the question: What WOULDN’T you do for money?
I’m thankful that Pettersson has taken us on this fun ride, taught me about the rockabilly lifestyle, and introduced us to a great love story that I won’t soon forget! Also, the covers have been amazing and powerful, I love how Grif’s wings are always in the shadows! And, as I’m sad it’s over, I know that it couldn’t have ended more perfectly!
“Love isn’t just worth remembering and saving. True love is what saves us all.”
*Please note this review is based off an advanced copy that the reviewer happily received free in exchange for an honest review. Everything is subject to change before the finished copy is released including the quote included in this review.*(less)
hard-kill-jon-reznick-thriller-j-b-turnerWhen three FBI cars stop in front of his house early one morning, and the agent in charge tells him he was sent by Assistant Director Martha Meyerstein, Jon Reznick realizes that he has to postpone his visit to his daughter’s boarding school in New York. Meyerstein wants him to join a team she has put together to investigate the disappearance of an American Diplomat. The information they have suggests Islamist activity and, since the 9/11 commemoration approaches, there is a lot of pressure from all sides that they investigate it. However, Reznick and Meyerstein pursue a different line of investigation.
I don’t usually read thrillers, so I went into this book with a bit of apprehension. I needn’t have worried, because this was an extremely engaging read. Hard Kill is the second in the series and I am really sorry I missed the first, but of course it is now on my ‘want to read’ list. I loved the dynamic relationship between Reznick and Meyerstein, that so reminded me of James Bond and his M.
Jon Reznick is the hero that I usually like to read about: stubborn, relaxed, intelligent, responsible, hates by-the-book work, but at the same time you find him doing surveillance work happily because he …
“understood that needs must and someone had to stand watch”
“he knew that leads had to be earned”.
I also liked the strong character of Martha Meyerstein. She is the Assistant Director of the FBI, which is already saying a lot. The fact that she believes in her subordinates and is ready to take on responsibility for their actions was definitely another plus for me in her favor.
Adam Kendrick, the bad guy, is a very interestingly portrayed character. He is the poster boy for successful living: he is a doctor of renown, an athlete, a great friend, whose mission in life seems to be that of alleviating the suffering of others. But …
“peel back the layers of facade, and no one really knows what a person is like, deep down”
Little by little we find out that his is indeed just a facade, that deep down he is a freak who only pretends to enjoy his work and the company of others:
“He’d quickly realized that it was important to engage and feign empathy”.
I had one problem with this book, namely that the information the groups working on the case share is repeated over and over again. It felt like even within one group they just kept on paraphrasing many times the same thing during the same conversation. I do understand that repetition is part of the process of analysis, but still, it was a bit overdone, in my opinion.
I am very eager to find out how Reznick and Meyerstein come out of the mess that this case has landed them in. I am not a big fan of cliffhangers, so I would have preferred to have it all done with by the end of the book and not have to wait for the next one.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*(less)
Seanan Mcguire brings us a new story with Sparrow Hill Road. She is known for the use of legends, fairy tales and myths in her stories, and just like it, we can see it in this book also. Do you remember the 1995 movie of Susie Q? Well that is what I thought of when I read Sparrow Hill Road. I liked that movie and I also liked this book. You can say that they are somewhat alike; If Susie were a hitchhiking ghost, psychopomp from time to time, eating in dinners and had a young old Hollywood star chasing her. But this Susie is Rose. Rose Marshall.
At the beginning of the book, the timeline of the story goes back and forth between Rose remembering events and persons. It is easy to keep up with the pace of the story and it even makes it more interesting. Another name for this book could be Rose’s Memories because this is what it is, the memories of a ghost, while alive and after death.
Some of the stories are sad, they’ll make your heart hurt and shed tears for the girl who couldn’t make it to prom. But others are happy, exciting and interesting; they make you want to keep reading to find out the conclusion. A good message would be to be truthful to yourself and fight for what you want to achieve even if is justice or revenge.
Half way through the book and I thought that the sad stories where over, but I was wrong. The book is divided into four parts and when you get to the last one it turns bitter-sweet.
“Her name was Rose. She was the only girl I ever loved-the only girl I guess I could have ever loved, the only girl that I was designed for loving. She wasn’t perfect. Nobody’s perfect. But she was close enough for a small town boy who dreamed of one day touching something greater. I guess she felt the same way about me. She came back to me, after all, even if it was only once, even if I didn’t know that she was already gone.
I’ve spent my whole life trying, but I never fell in love again-not the way I fell in love with her; when the world was young and innocent, and silly teenage boys believed their girlfriends were immortal. Her name was Rose.”
Sparrow Hill Road is set in the same universe as Incryptid. In Half-Off Ragnarok, Alex has a phone conversation with his sister, Verity, and mentions a ghost by the name of Rose Marshall that is taking her boyfriend and her to a death party in New Orleans. You can read the short story“The Ghosts of Bourbon Street”with the other half of the conversation and Rose at the author’s website. The book also comes with The Price Family Field Guide to the Twilight of North America Ghostroad Edition.
I really liked this book, I could even say I loved it. I recommend you to read Sparrow Hill Road, where America is divided in more than two, ghost like to eat burgers and fries, and you never know if the person walking down the road is alive or dead.
Would you pick up that girl at the diner? Tell us in the comments.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*(less)
This cozy is filled with giggles and laughter as Fiona inadvertently stumbles upon a dead body while attending to her banking. A quick read which will keep you entertained as you attempt to figure out “who dunnit”. Fiona practices law, but her area of expertise is wills and estates so when the bank manager asks Fiona to help him, the fun begins. I quite enjoyed the banter between Fiona and Mr. Fives. It seems he is not capable of telling her the truth, the whole truth and nothing but….leading Fiona to fill in the gaps with her vivid imagination.
I laughed when Fiona was describing her sub-let office, from its size and location. The humour throughout the book was delightful.
As the tale unravels, the various interactions among the town folk unfolds. It is a credit to the writer that we are kept guessing until the very end.
*I would like to thank the author for providing a free copy of the book for an honest review*(less)
The first story was just a delight. As I frequently am when a story about 9/11 survivors unfold, I was drawn into the rebirth, if you will, of Alison (the grandmother) and Christopher (the grandson) as the reader travelled through the summer before Christopher is off to college. Both Alison and Christopher must break the bonds that bind them as a result of losing husband/grandfather and son/father when the twin towers fell. As the reader is carried through this journey, one sees that there is life after tragedy while still respecting the life they had with fallen loved ones. Alison was a very relatable grandmother…I enjoyed her re-entry into dating life….very well told.
The second story was enjoyable. I felt like I was on a vacation with three of my best girlfriend’s from college. The life history of each unfolded smoothly and it was easy to follow the dynamics of the four women. One group adventure that was retold when they were younger definitely lead to a HUGE chuckle by this reader. I won’t give more details, so as to not spoil the moment for you! The only negative thing I have to say is that the story just ended…..and I wanted it to continue!
The third story was excellent. This story in particular, I felt, had more depth in the character development, which was refreshing and added to the complexity of the story. The telling of long-term, long distance love affairs I believe, would be difficult to portray convincingly, but it was. Right from the get go, I got a knot in my stomach, hoping that Matthew and Lindsey could and would work it out. Once I began reading this last segment of the book, I was unable to put the book down…which lead to one tired reader the next day. The complexity of Lindsey’s story was both compelling and thought provoking. It is amazing what journalists and photographers must endure (physically and emotionally) when following stories to war torn countries. This provided the backdrop for a very poignant story.
I will now put on Bockoven’s The Beach House and Another Summer on my to-be-read list as her storytelling is captivating.
*OBS would like to thank the author and TLC Book Tours for supplying us with a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*(less)
the-goodbye-witch-witchcraft-mystery-heather-blakeI thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was so good that it was believable, I am definitely going to be getting the other books in this series of Heather Blake’s. It takes you to a place on earth that offers magical wishes and dreams. This is a modern day version of Bewitched with a little bit of Cinderella thrown in.
There is a lot of things going on and a lot of characters being introduced but Heather has arranged everything nicely and it’s easy to keep up with. The characters are just “bewitching”.
Even in the magical world of witches there is still the good, the bad and the ugly; The good is Darcy and the love of her family and friends, the bad is Glinda and misunderstandings that life throws at you and the Ugly is death, cancer and jealousy of others.
Darcy is still new to the magical powers of spells and seekers and trying to learn the craft that she never knew she had until Darcy’s Aunt Vie turned up. A world that was so much apart of her mother that her father kept hidden until he died was opened up to Darcy and her sister.
Darcy lives in the community called, Enchanted Village, that has two laws, the mortal law and the magical laws and in that community magical laws supersede the mortal laws. When mysterious things start to happen and Darcy’s good friend Starla Sullivan is accused of murdering her ex-husband, the leader of the Witchy world has to step in.
Darcy wants to help but during the last investigation, Glinda who is part of the police force, complained that Darcy was getting in the way of investigations and was told to stay out of police business. So now that there is another investigation and it involves her best friend there is just no way to stay out of it but this is going to cause a rift in her relationship that is just now healing from the last investigation.
When called in to see the Elder to investigate the death of Starla’s husband, because witchcraft is involved, Darcy has to turn to many of the magical creatures to help. Although things are never what they seem and words can be deceiving it takes many turns and twist to catch up to the killer but was there really a killing and how did Starla’s ex-husband turn up dead in Starla’s house?
Someone is really messing with Starla’s sanity and life and it’s all because of Darcy and Darcy’s new love. How can you take away something that was never yours to begin with?
I really can’t say enough nice things about this book. I didn’t want to put it down and loved the plot and the twists. The only bad thing I can say is that I haven’t read the first three of the series and although this is number 4 of the series it can be read as a stand alone.
*OBS received a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of the TLC blog tour*
sentinel-sentinel-trilogy-joshua-winningNicholas Hallow is almost 16 years old, when his mom and dad die in a train crash. He believes that it was just an accident, but soon he’ll get caught in strange events, unfolding faster and faster and threatening to ruin the last remains of a normal life. His parents’ 71 year old friend Samuel Wilkins receives a letter that Nicholas’s dad must have posted just before he died, instructing him to take the boy to his guardian and godmother, Jessica. The night before they leave, Nicholas discovers a secret study room, behind the wall of his parents’ bedroom, full of old tomes of the ‘Sentinel Chronicles’ and starts to realize that maybe his parents were not exactly the ordinary people he thought they had been.
Leaving aside the treatment of the plot, which is slow and boring in places, the idea is appealing. I am sure that many 10 to 14 year old boys will find it fascinating. I do believe that this can be a better book than it is now, especially because I think the writer is a pretty good one. Reading this book felt like here was the skeleton of a new book furnished with characters and situations from the Harry Potter series. Not to mention that the whole book is very vague.
Try as I might, I couldn’t get interested in any of the main characters. Plus, I don’t find them credible. Let’s start with Nicholas. First of all, he behaves as if he were much younger. He felt his parents were boring, ordinary people, so obviously they would go and get themselves killed in a train crash. How ordinary! Well, so far, he is behaving like an ordinary teenager himself. Then he is taken care of by his neighbor Tabatha, who obviously has nothing better to do than take care of him. Later, when he is at Jessica’s house, he:
“almost missed Tabatha’s clatter and commotion. Only almost though, because she’d been a massive pain in the backside as well”.
Yeah, she probably washed and cleaned and cooked too much for him, poor boy. And the whole running around in the fields with the stranger Reynolds, chasing for the monster Garm, what was that all about?
I had a very hard time containing my laughter any time Jessica appeared, especially in the last chapters of the book. After a 5-minute talk she gets tired and needs to rest. All of a sudden she starts acting even weirder than before, wandering like a mad woman in the garden, mumbling to herself and totally unable to react when her house and Nicholas are threatened (professor Trelawney, anyone?). And then she is instructed by Esus to start training Nicholas. Who should train him? This failed Ophelia who clearly has lost her ability to fight and can’t keep her wits when necessary? She is supposed to be the strongest of the Sentinels, actually the Sentinels should be the protectors of people. So far, they are just, well, ordinary.
The whole world is collapsing around them, but they all insist that everything is fine, so they won’t scare Nicholas. Sam, the old man, avoids any conversation about himself with the boy, but when he does say something, it’s to tell him the story of his fedora hat, which I for one, found boring. He also uses, unnecessarily in my opinion, the word ‘harlot’ to describe Malika, the evil Familiar of the monster Diltraa.
The cat, inhabited by old Isabel Hallow is an entertaining addition, but the character that I found the most intriguing, Nicholas’s mom, unfortunately gets killed in the first pages of the book:
“His mother had hated fairy tales”.
“… she didn’t need stories to remind her about things that ate little children”.
I will be waiting to see how this story continues, because I have been left with a lot of question marks, a lot of characters failed me in many ways and I want to see if they had a good explanation for it or they were just there to fill some pages that needed filling. I think this author has a lot of potential and I’m curious to see where this series goes.
*OBS would like to thank the author for supplying us with a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*(less)
Well, this book was definitely a surprise. I wanted to read it because I really liked the premise – a man is murdered, and then has to find out who did it. (Sounds kind of creepy the way I wrote that, but I like books with a twist). When he returns mere minutes after he is killed, he soon discovers that only his dog, Hercule, can see him. He also finds out other things, with the help of another mysterious ‘ghost’, Doc. That once you pass, thoughts become nothing and emotions are everything. Definitely a different twist on what people might or might not think happens when they die.
Once Tuck discovers that his death might have not been planned, and his wife Angel (Angela) could be in danger from the same killer, he strives with everything he has to find a way to communicate with her. Even when he does eventually reach her, he doesn’t have all the answers, and while she is struggling to come to terms with Tuck’s death and sort-of reappearance, he doesn’t know who to trust or how to keep her safe, and this includes whether or not to trust his partner, ‘Bear’ Braddock.
Angela is a Professor who is assisting a local dig, Kelly’s farm. Just when I thought the book couldn’t get any more interesting, I was delightfully surprised. I say that because I am a huge Civil War devotee, and intermingling with not only Tuck’s murder, but others’, is finding out that the dig at the farm has to do with the Civil War and brings elements of that into the story.
Yet when you dig deeper into Tuck’s murder, you will find that things are not always as they appear, and what does appear may not be what you see after all. Read the book.(less)
murder-gone-a-rye-baker-treat-mystery-nancy-j-parraI gave this a 4 star rating because it was funny, cute with a little bit of murder and sweets thrown in. Although this is the second in the series, it can be a stand alone read but after reading this you are going to want to read the first one.
Toni Holmes is an amazing person with a big heart, especially for friends and family. Toni moved back to Oiltop, Kansas and started a gluten-free bakery. Business is going well and with Thanksgiving in a few days, she has her hands full but unfortunately her hands are about to get fuller.
What’s a girl to do with a feisty Grandmother and Aunt who are up in years but act like teenagers? Every time Toni turns around they are in trouble or Grandma Ruth is in jail.
When her Grandma Ruth gets in trouble, she really gets in trouble. Grandma has been arrested for the murder of her arch-enemy Lois Striker and it doesn’t get any better. When Toni’s grandma starts investigating the murder, breaking into courthouses and getting arrested everything gets turned upside down. Grandma Ruth, although advanced in age, her mind works faster than her body and it doesn’t help that Grandma Ruth used to be an investigative reporter and thinks she can still do the job.
Toni doesn’t want to get involved but when grandma gets hurt, broken leg, broken arm and a moose egg on her noggin, she doesn’t have a choice. There is someone out to hurt her and her family and Toni is not going to let them get away with it.
Why are they trying to hurt them and how do you stop someone or something you don’t understand?
The clues come and go but reading them correctly is the thing and reading the clues wrong could result in Grandma Ruth being sent up for murder and a family member dying or Toni herself.
Why would something in the 70′s result in the death of Lois and the attempts on those she loved? Well it takes one small mistake and one unlikely hero to finally figure it out. Nothing is ever what it seems.
Included in this are gluten-free recipes for sweets, Yum and who doesn’t like sweets. Not me I love them. I do believe you will enjoy this and I am definitely going to get the first book so enjoy coffee and sweets while you read this.(less)
Emily Andrew-Miceli is back at it again. She is a tour guide par excellence, ferrying her band of senior citizens all over the world. This small and colorful group of people enjoy traveling, and even though Emily in her turn enjoys being with them, they are usually (okay, always) quite a handful to deal with.
This time out, the group is on a river cruise in France. Not only are they discovering the country, but a few of them – along with other travelers – are rediscovering the France they knew during World War II. At first all seems harmless enough, but when a “home visit” to a local family reunites one of Emily’s charges with an old love, suddenly things begin to get sticky. Not that that’s anything unusual for this group – anyone who has read the previous books in this series knows that the unusual is the usual for the seniors, but the chance meeting starts a chain of events that not only involves Emily’s charges, but other people on the tour as well.
And there are plenty – Emily’s ex-husband-turned-transsexual Jackie is aboard, as a star representative for Mona Michelle cosmetics, along with the other three women who have pushed sales through the roof – Krystal, Dawna and Bobbi; the company’s owner, Victor Martin and his wife Victoria; funeral home owner Woody Jolly, and his son/partner Cal, who are with a group of others in their profession.
So when one of the guests on the cruise is killed in what is at first thought to be accidental but eventually discovered to be murder (and we would expect no less, knowing that Emily could not be so lucky to have an accidental death on one of her tours), everyone on the ship is scrutinized, and while Emily is trying to control her group, she realizes that the murder is tied into something she discovered early on during their trip.
This book is funny when the seniors are running around; and you discover that Emily really doesn’t have any control over them at all (although she likes to pretend that she does anyway). You have Woody spouting funeral arrangements to anyone who will listen and his son Cal trying to get him to knock it off, while the female sales reps are as catty as you would expect them to be (except poor naive Jackie, who hasn’t been a female long enough to really get it). There are interesting tidbits about World War II scattered throughout the book, so any history buff should enjoy that; and the plot is woven in a tangle of knots and red herrings that even I was surprised when I found out the killer (and I’m usually pretty good at it, but this time she surprised even me). I would recommend this and the rest of Ms. Hunter’s books to anyone who enjoys a humorous read along with historical facts and ‘armchair traveling’. Purely delightful.(less)
And you thought your job reeked. Or at least that you’ve had more than your share of positions that nobody should have to have. Maybe you are even a small business owner who has had a few challenges with the competition You can definitely appreciate the situation that Sunny Jim, of Sunny Jim’s Stand-Up Paddleboard Rental stand finds himself, when all is not sunny at Riggs Beach in Florida.
His business is quickly being ruined, board by paddle by board. Vandalism, possibly by a competitor, is costing many dollars and customers. He suspects that a political palm or two are being greased by something other than cocoa butter tanning lotions, so he hires the now-newlywed team of Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont to discover who is trying to shut him down. Helen and Phil are PI’s who have a bit of time on their hands, enough time for Phil to learn more about the paddleboard business. Helen seems to get the easier part of this job, basking in the sun and watching the shop, video camera in hand, hoping to document the customer-thieves from a safe distance as other sunbathers, at least the men, watch her.
Within a short time after beginning their “just a day at the beach”, a tourist with very little instruction on paddleboards decided to go exactly where she was warned to not go. It was thought at first that she died from being caught in a riptide and was unable to get free enough to get air into her starving lungs. Unfortunately, however, it is discovered later that she didn’t drown. She was murdered. And as a customer of Sunny Jim, it might be the last straw before his business is forced to close for good.
As if the job challenges weren’t enough, a blackmailer who had been an unwelcome guest in the lives of Helen and her sister for quite some time contacted Kathy again, wanting more money. This time, quite a large sum. And Helen goes with back home with the hopes of settling with the blackmailer, once and for all. Then Phil’s pride gets the better of him, and he might be ready to end their barely-newlywed-stage marriage and Coronado Investigations – if the killer and vandals don’t get them, first. So many interesting suspects, so little time… And, such a wonderful relationship, so much on the line to save!
This novel is expertly written with characters who have been well-developed over the course of the series and who continue to grow and change with the circumstances. Honestly, I think my favorite was Margery Flax, the landlady and a woman who could be … an aunt to Phil or Helen. She takes delight in helping others and in doing odd jobs for the PI’s. Margery also has sufficient maturity and wisdom to have the respect of most of the younger adults at the apartment complex yet she has a youthful outlook and enjoys playing an “operative”. The twists and ironies in the plot and subplot are unexpected and fascinating to this reader!
One thing I do miss from cozy mysteries with one main protagonist is the first-person perspective of the person whose point of view is primary. While Helen’s point of view is prominent, seeing from more than one perspective may have kept me from forming as much of an attachment with Helen. That being said, it is purely subjective from my point of view and I would not want it to prevent the average cozy reader from enjoying this current offering in this highly successful series.
The most recent novel in the Dead End Job Mystery series is well-recommended by this reader for adults of all ages. Reading Board Stiff may give a dose of gratitude for those who have the ‘working at the car wash blues’ but can also make good, friendly wait staff or paddleboard rental clerks a bit reticent when sharing with new – or repeat – customers! Fans of private investigator cozies that include a little bit of murder, romance, and an interesting array of suspects will enjoy this new Dead-End Job Mystery.
*OBS would like to think the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their on-going blog tour*(less)
Sunny is the epitome of a good daughter and employee. She lives with her father, Mike, having had moved home to help with his needs while he recovered from a heart attack. Her return home also required a new job, as she was laid off from her NYC job while at her father’s. Her charming little Maine hometown was long on friendliness but sadly short on gainful employment. Her grumpy boss, Oliver Barnstable, becomes a patient at Bridgewater Hall, a “high-end” rehab and nursing home, while recovering from a broken leg and subsequent surgery. For a roommate, Ollie ends up with Gardner Scatterwell, one of Mike’s former band members from his younger days. Having no evident family or friends, Ollie has Sunny deliver any work-related documents to him and pick up anything to be returned to the office. While there, she meets Portia, one of the ‘pet therapy’ cats at Bridgewater, and her litter mate, Patrick. It is rumored that if Portia spends time with a resident, that resident dies soon after. Does Portia have a special “knowing”, or is she just a good gal with a bad cat rep?
A panicked 4 AM phone call from Barnstable sends Sunny and her father speeding into the night towards the rehab. Gardner is dead, and Ollie is certain that he was murdered. In his bed, in the same room, where the perp assumed that Ollie slept soundly. Sheriff Frank Nesbit, who certainly wouldn’t win any Andy Griffith hometown leader’s award, is more concerned with glad handing, future votes, and lack of crime news spin than with looking for an actual murderer. He’s in denial that it could occur in ‘his’ county.
Ollie, with the agreement of Sheriff Nesbit, adds a new item on Sunny’s job description. Sunny will be allowed to ask questions and review information to see if, and how, Gardner might really have been murdered. Sheriff Nesbit volunteers Will Price, a town constable and Sunny’s gentleman friend, to help Sunny to make her information-gathering a bit smoother, and so he will know what is going on at all times. Mike is also involved in the investigation, since he was a friend of Gardner’s back in the day, knows most people in Kittery Harbor, and wants to keep his daughter safe. He also has a sharp mind and healthy curiosity that makes him a valuable ally and partner-in-crime-stopping. What they find is that, in spite of health challenges faced by Gardner and by the long-term care residents in the nursing home wing, there was a higher-than-average number of deaths in Bridgewater Hall. There is no shortage of people who might have been upset with Gardner. Upset enough to kill him, though? Or is his death part of a bigger problem at Bridgewater?
Shadow, Sunny’s cat, is adorably precocious, having learned the valuable skill of being able to escape from the house. He is still working on the even more valuable skill of being able to get back in the house safely. He is aloofly jealous of Sunny’s time, until she comes home from Bridgewater Hall with the scent of another cat on her. The most enticing female feline aroma he has ever sniffed was all over Sunny’s clothes. Will he find a way to find out who this enchanting feline might be?
This is an interesting, well-written novel, with enough clues and plot twists to keep this cozy crazy cat lady content. The setting and action are so well-described that I felt as if I were there, yet not so defined that my imagination had no room to embellish. Character development is very good; those who are important to the plot are well-defined. Mike, Sunny, Will, and even Ollie have their own charm. The staff at Bridgewater Hall also has interesting quirks, some of whom are sufficiently creepy to keep me from wanting to have to spend time there. Even the four-legged characters – Shadow, Portia, and Patrick – could romp from the pages and come to visit. The cover art is terrific, a great portrayal of the catsonalities inside and would definitely attract my attention even if I knew nothing about the book.
Overall, this is an enjoyable book with an irresistible cast of characters! Last Licks can be read as a stand-alone novel, as I have not yet had the catnip of reading the first two. This can be read and enjoyed by young adults and adults of any age who enjoy a well-crafted cozy mystery that includes both cats and what Shadow calls people, ‘two-legs’. I highly recommend this Sunny and Shadow mystery, and hope that this series will be around for a long time!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as a part of their on-going blog tour*(less)
the-shadow-prince-mortal-enchantment-stacey-onealeThe Shadow Prince tells the story of Rowan, the heir of the Fire Court of Avalon. In this world, the elements are controlled by elementals (beings that can control one of the four elements: fire, air, water or wood. Also called faeries.) Avalon is where this elementals live and it is surround by a mist that keeps everybody inside from ageing. Because of this mist, children are raised on the outside world by people that know and worship the elementals, but for a short periods of time can visit Avalon.
At a mature age, they are allowed to return for as long as they want. Sixteen year old Rowan, is found at the beach by his friend Marcus who tells him that his mother, Queen Prisma, has decided to pass on the crown to him and he is to go to the Fire Court at once. The Fire Court is at the dry part of Avalon, which is divide by the four courts. Making their way to the fire palace through the core of an inactive volcano, Queen Prisma announce that there is going to be a celebration for her son’s upcoming coronation and the other courts are to assist. Rowan wants to be king so he can end his mother’s tyranny, is suspicious.
At the party he sees the Air King, Taron, a man whom he looks up to since he was a child. Wood King, Orion, congratulates him and gives him a sword forged out of iron, while Water Queen, Bittra, has a vision of Rowan’s future.
From inside my head, I heard, “I see trouble for you, young prince. Two possible paths lay at your feet. At the end of both paths, your hands are covered in blood”
“What do you mean covered in blood? Are you saying someone will die?” My eyebrows furrowed. “You have to tell me more.”
“I cannot. The future is always changing. Outcomes are never certain”
With this in mind, he asks his mother why she is giving him the crown, when they both know that she doesn’t like him. Her answer is that for him to be king he has to kill the Air heir before his coronation. In other words, kill King Taron’s only daughter Kalin.
This book is the prequel for the Mortal Enchantment series that will be released later this month. This is Stacey O’Neale’s first time publishing a story and the beginning of her first series. O’Neale works as a book blogger and publicist for fantasy book addict.
For a first time writer, the story was well written, the main character development was good, going from:
“I will do anything for the people of the court,’
to realizing that there is more than just the needs of one part of Avalon to what all Avalon really needs. O’Neale gives a twist to the stories of element users, giving them a place in the modern world where people are always taking for granted that elements are an occurrence of nature.
As this story ends, book one in the series starts off instantly, but this time with Kalin as the narrator. I’m hoping that Rowan also gets to narrate his POV. I believe that all the characters for the series have been introduce or mentioned and maybe a few will later appear, but the main pieces for the game are set.
The story is available for free on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads. I recommend you read The Shadow Prince to see whose blood Rowan has on his hands and how he loses his wings. The burden of a crown is heavy, even ruling from the shadows.
If you could be an elemental, what kind will you be?
*OBS would like to thank the author for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*(less)
This third book of the Novel Idea Mystery series is a very pleasant and endearing cozy mystery. The book was an easy read. I would have liked to start this series at book 1, but this 3rd book covered off introduction of characters well enough that I did not find it too great of a hindrance. I can honestly say one of the things I quite enjoyed about this story is the loving relationship Lila has with her boyfriend, Sean (one of the main policemen investigating the murder). Their relationship seems real and down to earth, sometimes a rarity in my view with the cozy mysteries. I enjoyed reading about this mature amateur sleuth who had full disclosure with the police.
I loved the opening scene where Lila comes home to find her kitchen on fire. Sean was preparing a romantic dinner for two when flames erupted….. An excerpt describing the scene brought to me the clumsily romantic side of Sean…
”I glanced from the lit candles, folded linen napkins, and the vase stuffed with bright pink roses to the handsome man wearing my apron. It was embroidered with the text All Great Chefs Drink While They Cook. Apparently, he had taken the motto to heart. Not only was there an open bottle of red wine on the table, but a cognac bottle had capsized on the counter….”
The subplot with Lila’s best friend, Makayla’s, and her secret admirer, was cute. The resolution of this particular mystery was very romantic. Who doesn’t like a secret admirer? Makes one believe romance is alive and well, even when a murderer is loose.
Lila was portrayed as a loving mother, daughter and girlfriend who enjoyed her job. For her, life was good, except being caught in the middle of yet another police investigation. Will Lila be able to keep the festival running in the midst of this mayhem? At times….I figured it would go either way.
Predictably, all the visiting chefs were suspects. If anything, the story was a tad tedious working through the BIG list of potential suspects. But in the end (and no, I won’t put in so much as to spoil that!), justice prevails and peace and harmony is restored to Inspiration Valley.
As enjoyable as it was, I may now have another series to follow, though I shall reserve that judgement until I have read book one and two first.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.*(less)
A Dollhouse To Die For is a lively romp of a cozy, filled with so many enjoyable characters and twists and turns a plenty. Daisy Buchanan owns Sometimes a Great Notion, a store full of vintage sewing goodies and other treasures. Her friends Martha and Eleanor stop by most mornings for chat sessions and delicious baked goods courtesy of Martha. When Daisy picks up a vintage dollhouse in an estate sale that she plans to repair and give to a friend’s daughter everything goes crazy. After a dollhouse collector winds up dead and a break in at the shop, Daisy finds herself embroiled in the investigation. Along with Detective Serrano(hunk of the village), Daisy sets out to find answers. And she does eventually, after several wrong turns.
The setting is the quaint village of Millbury, PA. Not only is the town enchanting and described beautifully, but all of the many characters come to life with entertaining dialects, fun situations and true village camaraderie. While I did feel there were a few too many characters to deal with, Ms Price was able to make them all not only fit together well, but to keep them pertinent to the story line. Even for someone who does not know the first thing about sewing or dollhouses, the information Ms Price uses in this book is enjoyable and a pleasure to read about. There were so many little stories within the big picture that you never got bored or had the time to figure the whole mystery out too early.
I did not read the first book in the series, Going Through the Notions, however that was not a problem. The murder investigation was entertaining and intelligent. The characters were well developed and for the most part believable. Daisy was not portrayed as the silly amateur some cozy main characters can be. The only complaint I would have is the seemingly required jealousy that a lot of cozy series have. And while I did enjoy all of the many characters, I would have preferred less of them to keep track of in the story line and am not sure they were all necessary.
I would recommend A Dollhouse to Die For to any cozy reader. I have definitely found a new series to enjoy. For anyone who enjoys dolls, dollhouses or vintage trinkets, this would be a perfect fit. The book is entertaining and well written. Anyone that enjoys a good mystery, with good friends and an occasional glass of wine will be truly pleased with this book. Also as an added bonus, at the end you will find not only fun dollhouse hints and creative tips for vintage notions, but several great recipes as well. I can not wait for the 3rd installment of Deadly Notions Mysteries. And will probably have to go back and read the first installment as well.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*(less)
bound-by-time-a-d-trosperOne word to describe this book, intense. Maybe two, intensely amazing. Even better, intensely amazing filled with hot dark angels! Yes, once more, author A.D. Trosper is letting our imaginations run wild with her new paranormal/romance book Bound by Time.
The story starts off with Isobe Moore, a college student going home for the summer to look over her parents house while they’re away on a business trip. Her stepmother, Elizabeth, has recently remodeled their home and in the process acquired a beautiful stained glass window which makes Isobel uneasy. At her arrival, she finds out that new neighbors have moved next door. The house has been bought by an elderly man and his young nephew. After her parents leave, Isobel stats having trouble sleeping due to nightmares and a malicious voice that haunts her. Things get worse when she encounters a dead body and a bloody scene in her kitchen. Horrified she screams and to her surprise her next door neighbor comes to her rescue. From that point on, Isobel learns that she is an old soul who has lived through several lives trying to vanquish the evil spirit trapped in the stained glass window that is now in her house. Damien DeLuca is her dark angel and throughout time they have always found each other to try and stop the evil from escaping its prison with no success, until now. This time around, Isobel is more powerful than ever and she will embrace the energy to protect her loved ones.
I was really fascinated by this story. I will admit that I didn’t know what to expect of Bound by Time since the previous books that I had read by author A.D. Trosper were about colorful dragons and their riders, but I was really taken by surprise. Bound by Time and its characters caught me instantly in their story. Isobel demonstrated to be a strong female character who hardly hesitated in taking on the role of heroine and protecting those around her. She always waited for the right moment to attack her enemies making the angels’ hearts skip a beat. Damien, oh Damien. Who doesn’t want a dark angel by their side? He has always fought through time to be there, help to protect Isobel from the evil Xapar, even if it means using all of his power. He won’t let any harm come to her and lose her again.
There’s romance and friendship in this story. A very handsome and comical dark angel is Lucian, who I just adored throughout the story. He is always ready for action. Then we have Rose, Isaac, Amelia and Elijah, who help Isobel remember her past lives and the information she needs to defeat Xapar. Something I like about author A.D. Trosper’s writing are her fight scenes. They’re always intense and full of action. She definitely knows how to leave a reader in suspense.
“Keep her safe, or I’ll rip your wings off and stuff them down your throat.” -Damien to Lucian.
“I knew if you came back you would chew my feathers over that.” -Lucian to Damien.
Overall, Bound by Time proved to be another great book by author A.D. Trosper who definitely knows what her fans want to read because she’s a fan of stories herself. If you’re in the mood for some angels fighting demons, this is the book for you.
*OBS would like to thank the author for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*(less)
Grace Wilde is an animal behaviorist with a secret edge. She can hear and understand what the animals are thinking. As an empath she sometimes gets more than she bargained for. When Grace is called in to help with a mild mannered Siberian Tiger gone bad, she steps into a wild ride of mystery. Boris (the tiger) is upset that one of the young members of the staff at Happy Asses Rescue Farm has been “taken”. As Grace tries to understand his agitation, she realizes that the teen Brooke may have been kidnapped. There is a problem getting anyone else to believe in her theory. And Grace can not tell the police she learned the information from a TIGER.
Luckily for Grace, her hunky cop friend Kai Duncan knows about her talent and believes her. Even as they try to get closer to each other, their actions in the search for missing Brooke Linger find them in danger and in hot water. Kai with his superiors and Grace with Brooke’s mob boss biological father and his associates. Luckily for Grace, her sister Emma is a female Bruce Lee. Grace is also assisted by several interesting animal characters. Brooke’s mother and stepfather, however refuse to help in any way. They even refuse to report Brooke as missing to the police, saying she must have run away.
I have to admit I was a bit unsure if I would enjoy A Tiger’s Tale. Loving traditional cozy mysteries without paranormal twists as I do, I was a bit skeptical. My love of animals was what tempted me to read this book. I can truly say I enjoyed it. The book was well written, engaging and entertaining. This is the second in the Call of the Wilde Mystery series. I have not read the first installment and think this is a series that would benefit from reading it. That is not to say this second one can not stand on its own. It can.
I would definitely recommend A Tiger’s Tale to anyone who enjoys a good cozy with a touch of “magic”. Animal lovers would enjoy this book as well. Not only are the human characters well developed, but the animals are as well. There is a bit of mild romance and tons of flirting too. You also get mobsters, wayward teens, martial arts, grumpy old men and a playful mini donkey with a habit of trying to escape. This is a wonderful read that keeps you guessing. And if you are anything like me, it makes your extremely jealous of Grace’s abilities. They have to be every animal lover’s dream.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*(less)
Pecan Pies and Homicides picks up where Peach Pies and Alibis ends. Ella Mae has the ability to infuse her pie creations with emotions and memories. She has been depressed and distracted since her mother made the ultimate sacrifice of her kind by becoming The Lady of the Ash, literally becoming one with the sacred tree in the hallowed grove, in order to ensure the continued survival and magical powers of her people. Since Ella Mae can still communicate with her mother, she is her mother’s public voice, but all Ella Mae can think about is breaking the curse that binds her mother to the tree. Her business is suffering and she is worried for her relationship with her boyfriend. Keeping her magic a secret from him is a lot of work.
Ella Mae’s friend, Suzy, thinks she has found the answer, but it requires borrowing a book from Ella Mae’s family rival, the Gaynors, to investigate. Legend has it that there is a Flower of Life in the deepest spot of a nearby lake. The flower is …
“only given to the pure of heart during times of dire need and could be used to restore health, magic, and vigor.” (p.38)
However, it is said to be guarded by a dangerous creature, and the pages explaining this are missing from the book. How will she get around that to save her mother?
When it comes to Ella Mae’s attention that another enchanted grove and sacred tree have burned, a result of arson, she realizes there are other problems in her world and vows to help the displaced people find jobs and homes in Havenwood. The upper echelon, headed by Robert Morgan, does not seem concerned for the lesser members of their community, but his wife, Eira, is. Ella Mae befriends Eira, and Eira shares that she thinks she is in danger. When Ella Mae and her aunts find Eira dead just steps away from the Havenwood grove, Ella Mae is worried she has invited a killer to live in her beloved hometown.
She soon finds there is more to Eira than meets the eye. Then one of her best suspects, Eira’s childhood love Barric, is also murdered. Ella Mae must now find out who burned the other grove, what happened to Eira and Barric, what exactly her boyfriend, Hugh, is, because he’s not just an ordinary man, and how to retrieve the flower of life and save her mother. She has the help and support of her aunts, Suzy, and new friends, Jenny and Aiden.
The Charmed Pie Shoppe Series is not easily categorized. It is much more than a cozy mystery. There is a bit of romance, some dangerous adventure, and plenty of fantasy. There is an ample supply of plausible suspects, plot twists and turns, and enlightenments to keep the reader engrossed. I suspected the identity of the murderer, but not his/her motivation, about midway into the book. That I second guessed myself about the identity, to me, is an indication of good writing. I even felt somewhat sorry for a character that readers love to hate by the final pages. The mystery aspect of the story was wrapped up nicely, but the final chapter of the book leaves lots of opportunity for the series to carry on.
Ellery Adams persists in being one of the smartest, most consistent cozy writers out there. She writes gripping stories with interesting, multi layered characters that continue to grow with each installment. The Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries should be read in order, and I highly recommend them.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Whimsy abounds in the second installment of the Hat Shop Mystery series when Scarlett Parker, Vivian Tremont, and shop assistant Fee Fenton are approached at their hat shop, Mim’s Whims, by Mrs. Dotty Grisby and her daughter-in-law Tina. The Alice in Wonderland themed hats will fit perfectly into their charity tea fundraiser to name a wing of a local hospital after Dotty’s deceased husband.
As Scarlett and Viv meet with various members of the family to discuss characters and fabric choices, it becomes clear that the Grisby family is not a happy clan. Scarlett overhears a discussion between members of the family that causes her some concern and later sees a family member in a less than stellar situation. Mrs. Grisby appears confused and her oldest daughter Daphne and son Geoffrey are difficult to please. Her daughter Rose is meek and martyr like and appears to be the peacemaker in the family. Several unpleasant scenes take place in the shop that cause Scarlett and Vivian to gnash their teeth. Dotty’s grandsons, Liam and George provide comic relief with their scintillating banter. Scarlett finds them and Dotty’s artistic daughter Lily the most likeable of the group. This dysfunctional family was described in wonderful detail; so much so that you feel like you want to reach out and slap a few of them.
I especially enjoyed hearing about the hats for the tea. They were so brilliantly described that I had not problem envisioning each creation. It was comical how Scarlett and Viv assigned the Alice characters to the family and the fracas it caused. The whole hat-making process is fascinating, but doesn’t eclipse the story.
Scarlett is again drawn into a murder mystery, when on the day of the tea party; she stumbles upon a body in the garden. When Detective Inspector Finchley appears at the hat shop suspecting them of murder, Scarlett again feels she has no choice but to investigate.
Harrison Wentworth, Viv’s business manager, again pushes Scarlett’s buttons when he forbids her to get involved. Though Scarlett won’t admit her attraction to Harry, the snarky remarks and chemistry between the two provide a touch of romance.
Andre and Nick, the gay couple who live near Scarlett and Viv, return to amuse us with their advice and worries.
When another attack takes place and another member of the family is threatened, Scarlett makes an unwise decision and finds herself in a perilous position. I was definitely surprised when the culprit was revealed. Quite a few other characters appeared to have sufficient reason for murder and I was duly distracted by their motives.
Overall, I loved this cozy mystery. The characters are witty, well-drawn, and felt like family. I wanted to invite them all to tea. The mystery was well written and kept me involved and guessing. The depiction of London and environs made me want to visit. I definitely recommend this book if you like an appealing mystery with familiar and comfortable characters.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review, as part of their ongoing blog tour*(less)
I was drawn into the story quite quickly (good thing since this story is a novella). I generally enjoy more innuendo as opposed to raw, graphic sex scenes as I find my mind does a fine job of taking the leap, but with this book it was okay.
The character development of Susan and Peter was good. Right off the top I had a sense of Susan and her desire to work hard for the company she works for Bay Vista Properties Limited and for her pet project Archways San Francisco (the projects mandate is to reclaim decrepit, old neighbors and refurbish them for low and medium income residents). I related to the independence and fortitude of character of Susan, and thus drawing me into her cause. This boded well when it became apparent from early on that there would be a clash with her pet project and the main reason Peter was in town….to obtain land so that Breit Motorcars could build a factory to provide wealthy driving enthusiasts with the Dynamik (a luxury vehicle only previously available in Europe).
Susan’s preconceived notion of the man she is to work with is absolutely and 100% incorrect…Peter is first portrayed as an insanely wealthy, probably stuffy and OLD Englishman. When Susan meets Peter, she is shocked to learn that he is in fact a young, vibrant, insanely handsome (as well as wealthy) Englishman. Boy is she is trouble. At this point, the reader will realize that the lines between professional and personal will certainly blur.
I was pleasantly surprised that Peter was not just a one dimensional character. Rich, handsome, and he could cook – both in the kitchen and in the bedroom! And I actually mean….cook meals in the kitchen.
The erotic scenes were well written and for the most part, not too much. The story was a nice mix of story and eroticism.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*(less)
There are quite a few things to like about the latest installment in the Seaside Knitters series. Set in a small town on the North Shore of Massachusetts, this book sees our knitters moving into the autumn, away from the busy tourist season. I absolutely love the atmosphere of these books. I grew up in Massachusetts, on Cape Ann, in fact, and I love Goldenbaum’s depictions of the environment. Massachusetts in early autumn is lovely, and the reader gets placed in the middle. Possibly a bit more sarcasm would have made it more realistic to the Massachusetts I know and love, but the sense of place is very well done.
I also enjoyed the fact that we get the perspective of multiple characters. The main sleuth in this book is Izzy, one of the younger members of the knitting group, but we learn details in the story from other characters too. This keeps the narrative less static, and certainly requires more work on the part of the author, to get inside the heads of the different women. As with any good cozy mystery there are also captivating descriptions of delicious food, smartly decorated houses, in short, the kind of sensory pleasures that really add to the genre. Sea Harbor has a very active social scene, I wish I had the social life of some of these ladies!
As for the mystery, the intertwined mysteries that the ladies investigate were scintillating, and kept me guessing. There are sufficient twists and turns to keep the amateur sleuth reader on her toes. I look forward to the next in the series.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. This review is part of the author’s blog tour organized by the publisher*(less)
entangled-moments-moments-in-time-dori-lavelleEntangled Moments from the author, Dori Lavelle is the first book in the Moments in Time series. This novella focuses on the life of Carlene Adams. Carlene is hiding out from life as she does not feel she deserves any better as a result of a deadly mistake made 4 years previously. An accident disrupted the future she’d hoped for by taking the life of the man she’d planned to spend forever with. She has committed herself to paying penance for the rest of her life to make up for the one mistake.
While visiting a local church to light a candle for her deceased fiancé, she meets Nick. They go for coffee and shortly thereafter, kiss. This evokes change in Carlene’s whole outlook…maybe life can go on after Chris? From that time on, Carlene begins to reclaim her life.
As the story is short, change is swift. Carlene cannot stop thinking about Nick. At her new job, Carlene flourishes and predictably, runs into Nick again. The sparks are there but timing is not right….Nick is picking out an engagement ring with his fiancé.
Without going into further detail (don’t want to spoil the story after all), I found the story fast paced. In then end (which came MUCH too swiftly), I was invested in Carlene’s life. I was left with the desire to read the next book so that I can see how (or if?) the relationship between Carlene and Nick will play out now that the “big” secret was revealed.
I enjoyed the story and would recommend it should you need a short, engaging read. Though….have the second book on hand….as I would have liked.
*The reviewer obtained a free e-copy of Entangled Moments from the author, Dori Lavelle, in exchange for an honest review.*(less)
When Piper Lamb’s fiancé, Scott, tells her he wants to take a break and find himself, she takes it as a cue to start over in life. She spent summers on her aunt and uncle’s farm in Cloverdale, NY, as a child and figures it is the perfect place to open a retail store that is all about pickles and the supplies needed to make them at home. The annual fair provides a good opportunity to get the word out about her arrival to town and new business…until one of the town council members is found head down in the old fashioned pickle barrel. The prime suspect is Nate, a town newbie and Piper’s shop assistant, Amy’s, boyfriend. To complicate matters, Amy’s father is the sheriff, and Ben, the department’s auxiliary officer (volunteer), would just as soon have Nate out of the picture so he can pursue Amy himself. When it appears that the authorities are not looking at any other possibilities, Amy implores Piper to look into things to help clear Nate. Piper enlists her new friends in town to assist in finding other suspects.
Alan Rosemont, the victim, did not fail to rub many people the wrong way. Lyella Pfiefle, the librarian, is livid that Alan ordered the library painted Pepto-Bismal pink. Gordon Pfiefle, Lyella’s husband, seems to be willing to do anything to protect his wife. Alan took advantage of Dorothy Taylor by underpaying for the items he bought from her attic, and Dorothy’s son, Robby, happened to be in town at the time of the murder. Ralph Farber, the local plumber, lived next door to Alan and would have done anything to stop the noise Alan made when he played his bagpipes. Dennis Isley, handyman, did jobs for Alan but was repeatedly underpaid by him. And Piper wonders about her shop neighbor, Charlotte’s, motivations just because she is a nasty person.
Soon Piper finds herself a target…her trash is scattered across the ally, paint is splattered on her store front, someone lets the air out of all of her tires, and fire breaks out at her store, which also houses her apartment. When two more people die, she begins to wonder if she is being set up to take the fall.
I liked this first installment in a new series and feel it has a great deal of potential to grow into something quite enjoyable. Hughes has created characters that I want to get to know and a fictional location that seems lovely. I look forward to seeing what happens between Piper and her love interest, Will, a Christmas tree farmer. However, I fear there is a love triangle brewing with her former fiancé and do not look forward to that. Why do so many otherwise intelligent cozy mysteries feel compelled to include a love triangle? There are plenty of bits about pickling included if you feel inspired to can your own fruits and vegetables after reading.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. This review is party of the blog tour organized by the publisher*(less)
a-broken-promise-kyla-harmonI have to say I am a new fan of Kyla Harmon. This is one of the first works of hers I have read and absolutely loved it. I am a sucker for historical romance and mystery and with this, I got both. My heart broke for the main characters because it seems that something always stands in the way of them getting together and it looks like this time it may be permanent. There is never a dull moment, fast paced action and slow romantic moments fill up the pages of this book.
Three years since the death of his beloved and her parents, Oliver has to finally move on with his life. Now with the death of his father comes new responsibilities that he can no longer hide from. Oliver has to produce an heir and with no expectations of love or of friendship, an arranged marriage is performed.
Lady Alexandria is being held prisoner and has to form a plan of escape. It has to be the perfect moment or the truth and the betrayal of her family will be lost forever. The moment finally came 3 years later and after all the planning and listening, she manages her escape from a hell that no lady, much less a lady of her status, should ever have to endure.
One night a carriage arrives at the door of Lord Oliver’s palace and everything he thought he knew was turned upside down and guilt now fills his heart. His beloved is not dead but is now standing in front of him. Although skinny and wearing men’s clothing, he would know her anywhere. How is he going to tell her that she will not be the one to carry his heir but that his wife just died in childbirth?
Alexandria has not only had her parents taken away but all her hopes and dreams, snatched right out from underneath her and there’s no way possible that she could ever be a mother to the heir that was born from another woman.
As the clues start to unravel and the one’s responsible are revealed, it’s realized that this has been planned in detail for awhile. GREED and self preservation is what causes the downfall of the guilty.
Both Oliver and Alexandria have their own personal battles to fight but they also have to find the person or persons behind such cruel acts and why. As the war of emotions rage on in both of their hearts they realize that outside a hidden danger is still lurking to destroy the rest of what is left of Oliver and Alexandria’s love and possibly life and all they have ever known.
I have to say you will not want to put A Broken Promise down because it all comes to life in your hands as you are reading and the writing will capture you and draws you so far in that you won’t want to put the book down until the very last page. You never saw this coming.
OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*(less)