Science Comics: Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared By Alison Wilcus, Molly Brooks ISBN 978-1-62672-139-5 Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
The latest installment of Science Comics – Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared takes the series to new heights (literarily and figuratively). This volume of the graphic novel series explores the historical nature of this remarkable subject. Told from the perspective of Katherine Wright, the youngest and the only Wright who graduated from university, she teaches the fundamental principles of early aviation attempts and successes. Like most books in the Science Comics line, this graphic novel is geared toward younger readers. As a primer on the principles of flight, it shines brightly, giving a young child the principles, ideas, glossary and further readings in the field of aerodynamics and the bare basics of turbine jet propulsion.
The story is well told at a fairly brisk pace. A lot of history had to be crammed into a limited number of pages. Wilcus however makes it work, giving the basic information and ‘links’ to the more technical aspects. It shows solid character development of the Wrights and the French and German contemporaries. The dialogue is kept alive as the movement to different scenes and is witty and charming (and often verbose) and propels the ‘science’ behind heavier than air flight. The graphic novel is limited though to the first flying machines, circa early 1900’s to 1911 or thereabouts. It takes a brief look at the first jet propelled airplane, but the focus is on the early attempts in a boom industry.
The artwork is cartoony in a good way. Characters are drawn distinctly and simply, with just enough detail to provide individuality. The art could even be described as ‘airy.’ fitting for the subject materials. Shape is well defined and when details become important, Brooks delivers – making the seemingly difficult concepts easy to understand. Panelation is appropriate and sometimes dissolves into montage or ‘ghost conversations’ (talking heads importing information laid out in diagrammatical fashion). Overall the art is above par, colored well and executed cleanly. Simple to detailed the art reflects what it has to in the story.
Together, art and story in Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared, combine to create quite the educational experience. The graphic novel guides the young reader through the early attempts and the principles that led to modern flight. Complete with a clear illustrations of content, a glossary, further reading (both on the Wright brothers and the Wright sister) this novel is sure to appeal to the budding aeronautical engineer or jet propulsion scientists – or people just interested in the early days of flight. Science Comics: Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared is a entertaining and gratifying read. ...more
Where the Dead Lie Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery #12 By C.S. Harris ISBN # 9780451471192 http://csharris.net/ Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
The gruesome murder of a young boy takes Sebastian St. Cyr from the gritty streets of London to the glittering pleasure haunts of the aristocracy . . .
London, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is no stranger to the dark side of the city, but he’s never seen anything like this: the brutalized body of a fifteen-year-old boy dumped into a makeshift grave on the grounds of an abandoned factory.
One of London’s many homeless children, Benji Thatcher was abducted and tortured before his murder—and his younger sister is still missing. Few in authority care about a street urchin’s fate, but Sebastian refuses to let this killer go unpunished.
Uncovering a disturbing pattern of missing children, Sebastian is drawn into a shadowy, sadistic world. As he follows a grim trail that leads from the writings of the debauched Marquis de Sade to the city’s most notorious brothels, he comes to a horrifying realization: someone from society’s upper echelon is preying upon the city’s most vulnerable. And though dark, powerful forces are moving against him, Sebastian will risk his reputation and his life to keep more innocents from harm ….(Goodreads)
From the very first sentence author C.S. Harris captivates readers, leading them into the seedy, divided world of Regency Era London. Where the Dead Lie, as the twelfth book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series, is the best book to date.
This installment picks up shortly after the last book, When Falcons Fall, ends. At a time when Sebastian continues to learn about and come to terms with his lineage and deal with his not-so-pleasant family, he and his wife Hero have settled into a solid relationship. Sebastian has gained a reputation for solving murders that the authorities will not or cannot unravel, so he is not surprised to be called to look into the death of a fifteen year old street urchin named Benji. The obvious torture that the child endured, along with the horrific manner of death, hits Sebastian, as a new father, hard. Time seems to be of the essence because Benji’s younger sister is missing. Upon discovering a pattern of street children gone missing, Sebastian traverses both the darker alleys of London and the glittering world of the ton.
Where the Dead Lie explores the darker inclinations of man. I will not lie, the treatment of these “disposable” children is hard to read about, and though Harris does not describe the crimes in graphic detail, there is enough information to be quite unsettling. The plight of the poor, orphaned, and street children of the early nineteenth century is heartbreaking and unfathomable. Sebastian’s short list of suspects is comprised of both aristocrats, including his niece’s fiancé and the Prince Regent’s cousin, and the lower class, all of whom have taken the writings of Marquis de Sade (the original sadist) to heart. Truthfully, they all make my skin crawl.
C.S. Harris really is a master of storytelling. Each book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series is a tense, tightly plotted and atmospherically executed read. Full of period correct detail and fascinating, complex characters, there is never a dull moment or wasted word. I highly recommend Where the Dead Lie to fans of historical mysteries, thrillers, and to readers who appreciated fine artistry. This is definitely one of my best reads of the year.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Walking on My Grave Death on Demand #26 By Carolyn Hart ISBN#9780451488534 Author Website: carolynhart.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Annie’s friend and fellow shop owner Ves Roundtree is a very wealthy woman. Her rich brother entrusted her with his estate, and upon her death, his fortune is to be divided. Several cash-strapped islanders are in line to collect life-changing inheritances. The problem is, Ves is very much alive. Ves hosts a dinner for the prospective beneficiaries and feels a chill in the air that has nothing to do with the wintry season. Not long after, she suffers a bad fall that was no accident. Everyone at the table had a motive but not a shred of evidence was left behind. When one of the suspects is found floating in the harbor and Ves disappears, Annie and her husband Max spring into action to catch a calculating killer before greed takes another life. (Goodreads)
Walking on My Grave is the twenty-sixth, and final, entry in the Death on Demand Mystery series. Bidding farewell to much loved characters is bittersweet, and Annie and Max Darling leave us much the same way they entered our lives – young and happy with each other and their life on the island.
I have always enjoyed my time spent with the Darlings. As with any long running series, some books are better than others. Unfortunately for me, this is not one of my favorites. This makes me feel slightly guilty and disloyal to Ms Hart. On the bright side, twenty-six books in Ms. Hart’s formulaic stories and characters are as comfortable and familiar as Annie’s favorite booth at Perotti’s and a fried oyster sandwich. For as long as I have been reading these books, I have wished I could visit Broward’s Rock and Annie’s bookstore.
In this outing, wealthy Ves Roundtree feels that one of the inheritors of her brother’s estate is in a hurry for Ves to die and divvy up the riches. Her fears are confirmed when she takes a tumble in her home that she is sure is no accident. When those who stand to gain from her demise are themselves being murdered and Ves disappears, time is of the essence to get to the bottom of things before the body count rises even more
There is no death until approximately one hundred pages in, and despite the build up to the danger, this makes for a very slow start. The recurring characters are like old friends, but those central to this book are bland and uninspired. It is far too easy to pick out the murderer far too early. To further bog down the tale, there is a lot of repetition. So much rehashing the same information over and over. There are also many details given that have nothing to do with anything related to the mystery. I do not care what a couch looks like or what a characters wears each day. There is also too much emphasis on a chapbook project that just feels like padding.
I have dearly loved most of the books in the Death on Demand series, and their absence will surely be felt as time goes on. Though Walking on My Grave is not the best of the books, I do not hesitate to recommend it to fans of the series. If you are new to Annie and crew, start with one of the earlier books....more
Killer Characters Books by the Bay, Book #8 By Ellery Adams ISBN#9780451488442 Author’s website: www.Elleryadamsmysteries.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Restaurant owner and aspiring novelist Olivia Limoges is happily enjoying her new marriage. Sadly, the same doesn’t hold true for Laurel, a fellow Bayside Book Writer. While struggling with a demanding job, twin boys, and a terminally ill mother-in-law, Laurel learns that her perfect marriage is mostly fictional. When she catches her husband fooling around with his mother’s hospice nurse, she issues impassioned threats that will later come back to haunt her.
After the nurse meets a deadly denouement, Chief Rawlings is forced to take Laurel into custody. While Olivia protests the arrest, the rest of the Bayside Book Writers become a group divided, with Rawlings and Harris on one side and Olivia and Millay on the other. Now the women must race against the clock to prove that Laurel’s not the sort for murder before her story ends in tragedy.
Wow! Just. Wow. Ellery Adams’ mysteries have always pushed the boundaries of the cozy mystery genre, and Killer Characters is no exception. This eighth, and final, book in the Books by the Bay series deals with raw emotions, tough betrayals, and a heartbreaking surprise ending.
Since reading the first book in the series A Killer Plot, I have been a great admirer of Ellery Adams’ ability to seamlessly combine complicated, well developed characters and their life experiences with artistically plotted, complex mysteries. She is one of my favorite authors, and I seek out anything she writes.
This time around, Laurel deals with the stress of raising her twins, her mother-in-laws terminal illness, and her husband’s failure to help out and be engaged. Something that a hospice nurse says strikes Olivia as odd, and she shares her concerns with Laurel which then leads to the discovery of Steve’s infidelity. Threats are made, and when the nurse Stacy is murdered much in the way Laurel threatened, Laurel becomes the prime suspect. Olivia is determined to clear Laurel’s name, and the whole incident divides the tight knit Bayside Writers Group. There are more deaths, secrets uncovered, and a potential jewel theft ring. The mystery is twisty, and I was surprised by the perpetrator’s identity.
I am not going to lie. Parts of Killer Characters are difficult to read. The book revolves around adultery, and it is not sugarcoated. If you have read the other books in the series, you know Olivia started out as a cold, distant, prickly character. She has really grown over the span of the series, but I feel like she takes a bit of a step backwards here. In the beginning of the story, I did try to admire her ferocious and desperate desire to help Laurel, but she came across as caustic and unyielding, quick to pick sides. Thank goodness, this does get better as the book moves along. The initial division among the friends is tough, but as usual, they all come together to solve the mystery in the end.
Some readers may not like the direction Adams takes in this book. Personally, I am impressed with her willingness to write what feels true to her. If you are after a light hearted romp with characters that happily ride off into the sunset, this will not fit the bill. If, on the other hand, you appreciate that life is full of bitter and sweet moments, then read on. Am I surprised by ending of the book? Yes. Did I shed some tears? Most definitely. All in all, though, I am left with a sense of hope. I have grown to love Olivia, Sawyer, Captain Haviland, and the other recurring characters. I will miss Olivia and Haviland’s treasure hunting walks along the beach and the refuge of the lighthouse. Oh, I will miss roller skate wearing Dixie and her Andrew Lloyd Webber themed diner. With tears in my eyes, I bid the residents of Oyster Bay adieu.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Beach Lawyer By Avery Duff ISBN# 9781503943926 Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
*Beware of possible spoilers*
Robert Worth has been working with a prestigious law firm for the past five years, and right when he’s about to make partner it all falls apart. Robert is called into a litigation meeting by Jack Pierce to draw up some paperwork. Robert is appalled by how Jack and fellow lawyer, Chase, are treating their client, but self-preservation keeps his mouth shut. However, days later Robert reaches his breaking point with Jack when he breaks one of the picture frames in his office and Jack fires him!
Robert tries to move on, but quickly realizes that Jack has black-balled him from working at any of the other law firms in the area and is at a loss for what to do. Well, until he talks to the client from that horrible meeting, Alison Maxwell. The one that had called him one night stating that Jack Pierce had offered to try her case after all as long as she’d have sex with him and then proceeded to sexually assault her! Robert puts all his time and effort into building a case against Jack. But when it all comes together, why is it that Jack is the one that acts like he’s the one holding all the cards?
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book, I’ve seen some rather mixed reviews on the book. It seems it’s one that people tend to love or hate, with not a lot in between. My rating, however, does fall in the middle somewhere.
The book was interesting enough to keep me interested throughout, and I found Robert to be an engaging character. He was the mythical honest lawyer you never thought existed; a real stand-up kind of guy with morals and a conscience. Or is he?
There were plenty of twists and turns in this book to keep you guessing and I never completely solved the mystery. The ones I thought were innocent turned out not to be, and those I believed to be innocent were as guilty as sin! But I’m seriously surprised that Robert was taken by the whole banking scam that was the one thing that was pretty obvious to me!
I thought the ending was a little odd though, and I think the book went to places it really didn’t need to go. The whole twist with Robert’s family felt a bit out there and unnecessary.
Overall, this is a pretty interesting read for those that like a good lawyer read, it reminded me a lot of the Lincoln Lawyer series by Michael Connelly. I find this author, Avery Duff, is definitely worth reading again.
Crazy For You Risking It All, Book #2 Rachel Lacey ISBN13: 9781455537563 http://www.rachellacey.com/ Brought to you by OBS Reviewer jerjen
SHE’S TAKING A WALK ON HIS WILD SIDE
Emma Rush can’t remember a time when she didn’t have a thing for Ryan Blake. Haven’s resident bad boy is just so freakin’ hot-with tattoos, a motorcycle, and enough rough-around-the-edges sexiness to melt all her self-control. Now that Emma’s over being a “good girl,” she needs a little help being naughty . . . and she knows just where to start.
Before Emma’s brother enlisted in the military, he made Ryan promise that he would protect her from everything–including himself. When her brother doesn’t come home, Ryan needs to turn his screwed-up life around to honor his pledge. But he knows he’s still not the right kind of guy for someone as sweet as Emma. Only he can’t stop wanting to be with her. Wanting her. Falling in love with a good girl may be the craziest risk this bad boy can take . . .
Risking it All series:
Run to You
Crazy for You
Can’t Forget You
Emma Rush has been interested in Ryan Blake for as long as she can remember. She does not even care that he is a “bad boy” and not right for her. In fact, the “bad boy” image makes her want him more. But she has to convince Ryan that opposites attract and that she does not care about his reputation.
Ryan is trying very hard to honor his promise to Emma’s brother, to watch out for her and to keep her safe. He knows that he is not the right person for her and that he is just the type of man Emma’s brother wanted her protected from. But when he is with her, he finds himself wanting her more and more. He has a problem and does not know what to do about it. But if Emma has her way, she will solve his problem by being with him, in all ways.
The characters are well rounded and well developed. Emma has always been a good girl but with her brother gone, she feels that she needs to relax and have a little fun. She knows that tomorrow is not promised to us. Although Ryan comes off to the world as wild and reckless, he has a much deeper side, that only a few people have seen. It was really heartwarming to see the two of them transform into the people that they wanted to be. I enjoyed getting to spend more time with Ryan, who I had met in book one. I was hoping he would have his own story, and here it is. The secondary characters were also well developed and added a lot to the story.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book was a quick easy read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and I was drawn into the book right from the beginning. The book had a cozy feel to it because of the small town setting, which I liked. But it also had sadness, humor, drama, romance and heat. It was a unique combination of all those things, blended together nicely.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted women’s contemporary book. I do not think it is appropriate for young adults but for everyone else I think you should give it a try. And while you are at it, read book one, because it was a great read too.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
A Bridge Across the Ocean By Susan Meissner ISBN#9780451476005 Author Website: Susanlmeissner.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.
Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…
Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings. (Goodreads)
I am never one to shy away from a good ghost story or paranormal elements in a book, and I adore historical fiction, so I was fully prepared to love A Bridge Across the Ocean. I felt truly invested in the historical parts, but the present day bits left me wanting more.
The book tells the tale of three women in alternating perspectives. Simone has lost her brother and father in Nazi occupied France, and since they were part of the Resistance she must go into hiding. Here she falls in love with a downed US Airman. Annaliese is German and forced by her parents to marry an abusive Nazi officer. Both of these World War II women are strong and interesting with heartbreaking back stories that are compelling. Brette’s story plays out in present day San Diego where she can see ghosts but is afraid to embrace her abilities, and this is holding her back in life. Bette’s “gift” is what brings all of the plot threads together.
One of my favorite aspects of the book is Meissner’s ability to make the RMS Queen Mary a character. The ship’s chronicle as a luxury liner to war ship to museum is fascinating. I do not think I knew about its part in reuniting GI brides with their husbands. This history, and its legend of being haunted, plays a crucial part in the book’s story. However, Queen Mary’s role in the resolution of the book feels contrived.
The passages that take place during and immediately following the War are truly lovely. I felt like I was hiding along with Simone in the dark wine cellar. I empathized with Annaliese’s plight and her desperate attempt to escape a horrible situation. I cannot help but wonder what choices I would make in her place. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Brette. Unable to connect with her, I found her whiny and boring. I fully realize that she plays a necessary role in the resolution of the tale, but by the end I was bored with Brette and wish that Meissner had stuck to the historical fiction and left the paranormal for a different book.
Overall, I did like A Bridge Across the Ocean, but I did not love it. Part historical fiction, part mystery, part ghost story, and part women’s lit, it should have something for everyone. I think it tries too hard to fit into all of these genres.
Death in Dark Blue A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery, Book #2 By Julia Buckley ISBN 9780425282618 Author’s website: www.juliabuckley.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
An aspiring suspense author finds herself writing mysteries by day and solving them by night in the second Writer’s Apprentice Mystery by the author of A Dark and Stormy Murder and the Undercover Dish Mysteries.
In the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana, Lena London is settling into her dream job, but someone is making her life a nightmare…
Things are beginning to go right for Lena. She’s got a new job assisting suspense novelist and friend, Camilla Graham. She lives rent-free in Camilla’s beautiful, Gothic house. She even has a handsome new boyfriend, Sam West.
After being under attack by the media and his neighbors, Sam has recently been cleared of suspicion for murder. Journalists and townsfolk alike are remorseful, and one blogger would even like to apologize to him in person. But when she’s found dead behind Sam’s house, Lena must dodge paparazzi as she unravels the many mysteries that threaten to darken the skies of her little town and her newfound love with Sam.
Death in Dark Blue is the second wonderfully exciting novel in A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery series, and it can be read as a standalone. I really enjoyed it, and plan to read the first one to find out what I missed. The setting sounds gorgeous, a snowy winter in Blue Lake, Indiana, a climate that Lena, collaborator with and editor for Camilla Graham, is not used to. It would seem at first that the mystery Camilla and Lena are pursuing is the whereabouts of Victoria West, estranged wife of Sam West, who had been suspected of her murder for a year until Lena found a recent photo of Vic, very alive.
Lena and Camilla’s work to exonerate Sam is part of the first novel, A Dark and Stormy Murder. Sam moved from New York City to Blue Lake during the investigation into Victoria’s disappearance. Camilla met Sam and as they became friends, she believed in his innocence. Camilla has been a romantic suspense author for over 40 years. The day that Lena, a recent college graduate, answered Camilla’s ad to edit her work was the start of one of the best adventures of her life. She has a job I would enjoy if I were younger; she lives in Camilla’s home with her cat, Lestrade and Camilla’s German Shepherds, Heathcliff and Rochester.
Camilla just finished her next novel, Death on the Danube, and it was time for Lena to begin her comments. The Advance Reading Copies of the first book Lena was collaborator on, The Salzburg Train, arrived. Lena walked to Sam’s to give him a copy, and saw what looked like a sleeping animal west of his home. She discovered the broken body of a woman. Not just any woman, but Taylor, one of Victoria’s best friends who had finally, after a year, stopped blaming Sam for his wife’s disappearance. It was time for the media frenzy to begin again.
This is a most fortuitous group of neighbors and friends! One could hunt through small towns around the country and not find such great neighbors. With proof that Sam’s ex-wife was indeed alive, the town accepted him, and continued to even after finding Taylor. Camilla and Lena are very complex characters, with others defined perfectly in tune with their role. I like Camilla, Lena, and Belinda, the research librarian best; not only because of the unique careers they have but for the personalities each embodies to do what they do best. They each are comfortable with work that is often solitary, seeing each new research project, novel, and editing, blogging, or co-writing task as a challenge. To imagine that a woman who has been a best-selling novelist for many years could still have enthusiasm and ideas to fuel a new mystery and romance boggles the mind! I confess that I am most envious of Belinda, researching and aiding in research for the public through the library. Ah, if the world wide web had only been available a few decades ago, I would want to be her when I grew up!
This is an exciting read! I enjoyed most of the characters with the exception of the sensationalist news writers. There are twists that kept this reader on her toes! The killer never met up with the likes of Camilla, Lena, and their friends. Camilla and Lena have an unshakable bond that goes beyond their working relationship. One thing I enjoyed was to see, at the start of each chapter, a passage from Camilla’s current book in progress that related to something that would occur to a character in this novel, so it was something to think about while reading the chapter. I enjoy the cover art that includes a manual typewriter and a mid 20th century telephone. It invites the reader to read the description, then purchase it. Finding the bad guy/ gal, and finding Victoria, was exciting and suspenseful. The end is very satisfactory, and I am looking forward to the next in series – especially with the teaser of what we can look forward to! I highly recommend Death in Dark Blue; the writing is excellent, the mystery is well planned and executed, and the characters have careers that pique the imagination and invite the reader to come back and stay for another visit.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase The Librarians, Book #2 By Greg Cox ISBN: 9780765384140 Author’s Website: http://www.gregcox-author.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
For millennia, the Librarians have secretly protected the world by keeping watch over dangerous magical relics. Cataloging and safeguarding everything from Excalibur to Pandora’s Box, they stand between humanity and those who would use the relics for evil.
Stories can be powerful. In 1719, Elizabeth Goose of Boston Massachusetts published a collection of rhyming spells as a children’s book, creating a spellbook of terrifying power. The Librarian of that age managed to dispose of all copies of the book except one, which remained in the possession of Elizabeth Goose and her family, temporarily averting any potential disaster.
However, strange things are happening, A window washer in San Diego who was blown off his elevated perch by a freak gust of wind, but miraculously survived by landing on a canopy over the building entrance. A woman in rural Pennsylvania who was attacked by mutant rodents without any eyes. And, a college professor in England who somehow found herself trapped inside a prize pumpkin at a local farmer’s market. Baird and her team of Librarians suspect that the magic of Mother Goose is again loose in the world, and with Fynn Carson AWOL once again, it is up to Cassandra, Ezekiel, and Stone to track down the missing spellbook before the true power of the rhymes can be unleashed.
The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase starts with Colonel Eve and the Librarians, Stone, Cassandra, and Ezekiel, are trying to recover a Greek alabaster of the Goddess Artemis from a frat party at a university, while running from the Calydonian Boar who was summoned after the idol was used at the party. Once the Idol is safe at the Library, the team decides that they need a good night’s sleep to recover, but the universe has a different idea and magic clipboard comes to life with four different locations. The first is an older woman who was attacked by mutant rats with no eyes; next a schooler was found and rescued from inside a giant pumpkin; then a tree cutter survives being flown in the air and landing safely; lastly an article mentions that the Mother Goose theme park is being schedule for demolition. The Librarians and their Guardian each take a location, Cassandra the tree cutter, Stone the scholar in the pumpkin, Ezekiel the older woman, and Eve decides to go to the theme park after they come to the conclusion that all articles are related because they are rhythms from the Mother Goose rhythm book.
Now the Librarians are on a quest to find the original Mother Goose book that contains the full rhythms and spells written down by a familiar of the previous entity that wore the title of Mother Goose. Divided in three parts, the librarians and their Guardian have to split up to find the missing pieces and solve who is the mysterious impostor Mother Goose who threatens to destroy the world.
I loved the Librarians. I have been watching the show for some time and I liked the first book written by Greg Cox. In this case, I liked the used of fables and childhood rhythms, I have always liked when stories incorporate our childhood stories and create something different. I liked to read these characters using the writing of Cox and he made the characters similar to the TV show, but at the same time a little different.
I liked the storytelling that the author uses. In this installment, the story line stays in the same time line, compare to the previous book. But still, we get to read through the POV of the different characters.
Like the name says, the Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase, the story uses a lot of the childhood rhythms of the Old Mother Goose book. We read, “Jack and Jill”, “Three Blind Mice”, “Rock-a-bye, baby, in the tree top…”, “Simple Simon”, “The Crooked man”, and others more. But my favorite of all Mother Goose rhythms is:
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
Who doesn’t like Humpty Dumpty? Well, the Librarians had a lot of fun with all these rhythms and their effects on the world.
Like the TV show, the story contains a lot of funny scenes and jokes around the story line. You can even find some hidden jokes related to the characters and the actors that portray them. *Spoilers* Stone says “Leverage”.
If you are a fan of the TV Show The Librarians or of the work of Greg Cox, then I recommend The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase. Here we find the mighty librarians and their Guarding trying to save the world once, but with a touch of twisted nostalgic childhood stories.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this debut novel reveals a story of love, redemption, and secrets that were hidden for decades.
New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.
An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.
For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.
The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.
I was drawn to Lilac Girls for a very personal reason. My mother, her sister, and their mother were also in a concentration camp in Germany during the war. My mother has told me the stories of their time there. They were lucky. My grandmother (oma) spoke 7 Slavic languages and was used as a translator and that got them released from the camp. The tales my mother told me were horrific, but I knew there were others that were much, much worse. This tells the story of what happened in Ravensbruck, Germany. One of the only all women’s concentration camps, it was also the birthplace of some horrific surgical experiments performed in the German name of “research”. Therefore the poor Polish ladies that were “chosen” to be participants took on the name of “Lapins” or rabbits. They were the lab rabbits. This book blends a wonderful narrative about two real life women and one fictional lady who was a prisoner. Some of the story is taken from factual information the author researched. Other is built upon from information she found and made into some fictional dialogue and occurrences. Poignant and at times horrifying, there is no way to read this book without being moved.
Lilac Girls is written in several parts, each lady with their own voice. Two are fact based, Caroline Ferriday and Dr Herta Oberheuser. The third is based on the information gathered from survivors of the horrific Ravensbruck and turned into Kasia Kuzmerick. Author Martha Hall Kelly brings the characters lives to the reader, giving us insight into how they ended up where they did, why they did what they did and how their lives came to together. I do not want to dwell too much on these characters as you really need to read this book and find out what they have to say. I will say that since reading it, I was drawn to find out more about the factual characters. Carolina Ferriday was a true humanitarian in every sense of the word. She not only worked to help the Rabbits of Ravensbruck, but helped the women of Hiroshima. Before the war involved the USA she worked in the French Embassy and sent car packages to orphans and those in need. She never gave up trying to make the world a better place.
When the reader meets Herta Oberneuser, we see an ambitious woman in a time where it was not done. While we know what she did is horrible, demonic even, the author gives us a behind the scenes look at what drove her to do what she did. This is different I think from a lot of books written about the subject. Also Kasia Kuzmerick’s story is impressive. We get to see how being in the wrong place at the wrong time could bring an entire family devastation during this time. Some of what is in this book is heart wrenching, and beyond heinous and atrocious, but it is what happened. We need to know these things. It was so much more than powerful for me to know what could have been with my mother and her family.
I urge you to take the time and read this haunting fact based novel. Lilac Girls is everything and more than I thought it would be. The women in this book come to life on the page, you get to know their thoughts, what they were feeling, what they had become and how. I enjoyed the bit of romance in their lives, but it was not over done which I prefer. I cannot begin to relate how deeply this book impacted me. Author Kelly’s writing was perfect for the tale it told. I do not think there will ever be a time when we do not need to be reminded of the atrocities that occurred during WWII and this book does that. Yet it does it with the story of 3 completely different woman that maybe have a bit of all of us in them if we just open our eyes to see. Thank you to this author for opening up this wound for us to learn from and see through different views. Wonderful and horrendous at the same time. You have to read this book.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
The Dastardly Miss Lizzie Electric Empire, Book #3 By Viola Carr ISBN# 9780062363121 Author Website: Violacarr.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Dr. Eliza Jekyll must turn to her dark side, Miss Lizzie Hyde, to stop a madman targeting London’s most important scientists and sorcerers terrorizing the city with dark magic in this third Electric Empire novel—a dazzlingly original steampunk fantasy set in the gritty world of alternate Victorian London, with echoes of H G. Wells classic, The Time Machine
Being two people in one body isn’t easy. Metropolitan Police crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to maintain a semblance of control, even as her rebellious second self, Lizzie, grows increasingly wild—threatening the respectable Eliza’s reputation and her marriage to Remy Lafayette, the Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope. With England on the brink of war, Remy’s away in sorcery-riddled Paris on a secretive mission that grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is coping with Eliza’s secret divided self finally driving her mad?
Eliza needs her mind clear and sharp if she’s to catch an evil genius who is killing eminent scientists. The chase uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories, and a cabal of fanatical inventors whose work could change the world—or destroy it—and who may hold answers to Eliza’s past.
As sorcery-wielding terrorists attack London, Eliza discovers her own enemies are closing in, driving her to desperate measures—enlisting the aid of the wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie—to thwart the killer. But Lizzie’s got her own life now, and true to her nature, will resort to the devious and diabolical to keep it. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn. . . . (Goodreads)
The Dastardly Miss Lizzie is a fitting farewell to the inimitable Dr. Eliza Jekyll and her wayward alter ego Lizzie Hyde.
Viola Carr’s England is a dark, electrified world full of alchemy, sorcery, cyborg enforcers, and fey creatures lurking in the shadows. Queen Victoria has been assassinated, Sir Isaac Newton is imbecile King Edward VII’s regent, and war is seemingly imminent. Eliza still faces the struggles of a woman working in a typically man’s profession and is helping the police find a serial killer dubbed The Slasher. When a group of eminent scientists are one by one meeting ugly fates, Eliza discovers links to her own past and a path of destruction that could end the world as she knows it. If this were not enough, she is also worried about her upcoming marriage to Royal Investigator Remy, afraid that she will lose her identity and independence, all while wondering if Remy has been on the wrong side of the pending war all along. And, Lizzie is becoming harder and harder to control. She “pops out” and inopportune times and has no regard to how her actions will affect Eliza. Lizzie seems intent on squashing Eliza out all together. Finally, Rat King of the London Underworld Eddie Hyde, Eliza/Lizzie’s father, might actually have finally gone completely mad.
There is a lot going on in this third installment in the Electric Empire steampunk fantasy series. At times, too much. It gets off to a slow start, then picks up to an almost feverish pace. I think it is longer than it needs to be. A few details shaved off here and there could have improved the uneven pace. The reappearance of a character thought dead adds a nice touch to the resolution of the story. The identity of The Slasher comes as a complete, and satisfying, surprise. The secret work of the scientists provides a great twist on a classic sci-fi theme (I won’t spoil it here), and its far reaching implications are a bit mind boggling.
Having read all of the books in this trilogy, I have generally liked Eliza. However, here she becomes more and more unpleasant, perhaps weaker and more unfocused. Her flashbacks to a time in her youth that she had forgotten are grizzly and disturbing. Lizzie, always a salty handful, is even more coarse and wild than in the past. Her reckless abandon is almost unfathomable and the perfect allegory for the price of total freedom. The whole tone is darker than the other books so it is very bleak indeed. Remy is absent for most of the book, and I missed him. Though at times coming across as a little too perfect, despite his lycanthrope issue, he and Eliza make a good pair facing their inner monsters together. There were some tense moments when I, like Eliza, questioned his motives and loyalty. Other recurring and new characters bare some of their own secrets, and they are not at all pretty. In contrast, some “evil” characters show that no one is entirely good or evil.
I enjoyed The Dastardly Miss Lizzie and recommend it to fans of the Electric Empire series and the steampunk fantasy genre. Since the build off of each other, I do suggest reading them in order....more
Uncorking a Lie A Sommelier Mystery, Book#2 By Nadine Nettmann ISBN13: 9780738750620 Author’s Website: http://nadinenettmann.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
It was the kind of invitation Katie Stillwell had only dreamed about: a dinner party at the Sonoma mansion of famed wine collector Paul Rafferty to celebrate a rare bottle of wine. Everyone enjoys drinking the $19,000 wine, but Katie realizes it’s not the older vintage listed on the label. When she confides in Mr. Rafferty, he asks her to investigate, and she soon discovers the deception goes beyond money. As Katie falls deeper into the world of counterfeit wine, she learns everything is at stake—even her life.
I have discovered a new author to me…combining a number of my favourite things – reading in general, reading cozy mysteries specifically and wine – all in one fun story. A wonderful pairing this is.
Uncorking a Lie (the second book in the Sommelier Mystery series) begins with Katie Stillwell (sommelier at Trentino’s) receiving a dinner invitation to the home of Paul Rafferty (wine collector). Served at dinner was the 1975 Chateau Clair Bleu that Paul had purchased at an auction recently for $19,000. During the festivities, Cooper Maxwell (Paul’s assistant) heads down to the wine cellar. Cooper does not return in a timely fashion so Katie goes after Cooper but instead finds Cooper dead at the bottom of the stairs. Initially, his death is thought to be an accident, but following the autopsy, it is now changed to homicide. So, all the dinner guests are now suspects, even Katie. So, what is a girl to do to clear her name but solve the mystery herself.
One of Katie’s thoughts certainly parallel mine with respect to keeping bottles of wine:
“I understand saving special bottles for long periods of time, but to know that a wine would never be released from the bottle, never to get to live out its purpose of being enjoyed and savored, always gave me a tinge of sadness.”
In true sommelier fashion, Katie sipped wine while talking with Roberto and identified the wine with no problem while she was investigating:
“I swirled the wind and took a deep sniff, a heavy scent of lychee floating from the glass. I sipped. The wine was well-balanced with almost a limestone quality to it. There was grapefruit and lychee, along with strong minerality. My mind raced to identify the wine. Possible varietals included Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling… It’s an Alsatian Gewürztraminer. Gotta love that lychee.”
The mystery of “whodunit” managed to keep me guessing until the end – a quality I like in this genre. So many suspects Katie had to weed through. The relationship between them all certainly added depth. At times I was a bit frustrated with Katie…. for gosh sakes she had a concussion and was told to stay put but no…. she had to go and track down the bad guys herself. That certainly left me on the edge of my seat for a few pages 🙂 . She seemed so meticulous with respect to her sommelier duties and studies but when it came to sleuthing, she did not seem nearly as organized. But in the end, the bad guy was caught and all is well in the Napa Valley once again.
I found the interactions with Dean plausible and sweet in a “budding relationship” sort of way. I can’t wait to see what the next installment of the Sommelier Mystery series has in store for Katie and Dean.
“Katie, I’d do anything for you. Don’t you know that?” His blue eyes sparkled and there was a moment of electricity between us.
I have already obtained book one, Decanting a Murder, and cannot wait to start reading it. Hopefully more books are in the works for this series.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review* ...more
The Darkest Night Lords of the Underworld, Book #1 By Gena Showalter ISBN# 9780373772469 Author’s Website: http://members.genashowalter.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by hearing voices her entire life. Wherever she goes she hears conversations that have happened there for all eternity. It’s made having a normal life, let alone a normal relationship impossible. She’s now in Budapest and she’s heard (from the voices) that the men that live on the hill have special powers, some even think they’re angels. Ashlyn has now decided to go to the hill and ask for their help in controlling the voices so she can finally live a normal life!
When the Lords notice humans on their property, Maddox goes to investigate. He quickly kills the Hunters, but can’t bring himself to do the same to the female. He knows that she is probably Bait, but there is something about her that he just can’t resist. He tries to get her to leave, but she won’t. As midnight approaches he has no choice but to take her back to the fortress with him, before his nightly death strikes again.
I want to start this review out by saying that I absolutely hated the prequel to this series, The Darkest Fire. It was one of the worst stories I’ve ever read so I wasn’t going into this book with very high expectations. Luckily I found myself actually enjoying this novel!
I found the characters in this book quite engaging (and much sexier than the demon in The Darkest Fire-yuck!). The curse that was bestowed on Maddox (and in a lesser degree to Reyes and Lucien) was pretty brutal …. to be murdered every night and then to burn in hell all night until the following morning. That’s some pretty rough stuff there!
” Every night death came, slowly, painfully, and every morning Maddox awoke in bed, knowing he’d have to die again later.”
I also found the other warriors both within the fortress and the ones they are reunited within this book to be quite interesting. I look forward to getting to know them all in the future books.
I found Ashlyn to be interesting as well. I couldn’t imagine having to listen to all the conversations that have ever happened wherever I went. I’m pretty sure it would have driven me to the loony bin long ago. I felt for her when I saw how the one person she had trusted, had really betrayed her all along. But it doesn’t change who Ashlyn is, and doesn’t stop her from making the ultimate sacrifice in the end. I was just heartbroken for Maddox that he had to watch it and was helpless to stop it.
This was a decent read, although I found it ran a bit long for me, in the end. But overall I did enjoy the book and now feel that I can continue the series and may even look forward to it!...more
Paw and Order Paw Enforcement #2 By Diane Kelly ISBN 9781250048356 dianekelly.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Police officer Megan Luz and her loyal K-9 partner Brigit are back on the beat—and under the gun—when the local rodeo show goes to the dogs…
OUT OF THE DOGHOUSE
After capturing the notorious Fort Worth “Tunabomber,” Megan and Brigit are practically celebrities. Which is why the police chief lassoed them into doing rodeo duty —mostly as a public relations stunt for the department. Megan’s not a fan of calf roping, bull riding, or goat milking contests. But when a thief appears to be working the circuit, her trusty K-9 partner starts sniffing for clues…
INTO THE FIRE HYDRANT
The culprit is “Robin Hood,” a young Texas golddigger who steals from the rich to give to the poor—namely, herself. With Brigit hot on the trail, Megan has to juggle her on-again off-again reputation in the FWPD with her on-again off-again relationship with sexy bomb-squader Seth Rutledge. This time, Megan is determined to rope in her suspect and her man…before chaos, and/or her trusted furry partner, is unleashed. (From Goodreads)
This series is such a hoot! The author has a fabulous sense of humor, and sprinkles it liberally throughout this mystery. I confess to being hooked on Brigit and Megan since the opening pages the first novel in the series; I hope my cats don’t find out that I am a fan of Officer Brigit! Second in the series, ‘Paw and Order’ can be read as a standalone (but don’t miss the first!)
Megan is a sassy, feisty, hard-working police officer in Fort Worth, Texas. She is paired with K-9 Officer Brigit and has become quite attached to the huge, furry beast after living and working with her 24-7. She admits that Brigit is her best friend and confidant.They drew the short straw, it seemed, when they were drafted to be part of the good police department’s PR to be at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. At least until a crime was committed. When the bad guys seemed to steal as if nobody would catch him/ her/ them, Megan was the bad officer. If she found a clue nobody else did, she had potential of going back onto the Chief’s good officer list. And they say women change their mind a lot.
Robin Hood is alive and well in Fort Worth! Or as she joked, “Robbin’ Hood”. Robin was her alter ego when she was out on the trail of robbing the rich and giving to the poor (herself). She enlisted the help of her sisters to rob from the bejewelled ladies at the Rodeo. Crime didn’t pay well, yet; one woman even had her Starbucks card cancelled and reissued! Megan and Brigit were charged with not preventing crime at the huge, busy property.
She met equine deputy, Clint, of the Tarrant County Sheriff Department, who immediately puts the moves on her. She and Seth, a good-looking Fire Department Bomb Squad Officer, are not an item but he wants to win her back. Brigit was missing Seth’s bomb-sniffing dog, Blast, as much as Megan missed Seth. When it came to catching the rodeo grounds thief, the deputy didn’t do any better than Megan The descriptions of the thief and modus operandi changed each time, so there might be more than one bad gal working the women’s rooms.
Detective Bustamonte was assigned to the Stock Show and Rodeo, and Megan did her research in hopes of helping him and proving her worth to the department. It didn’t help that Robin kept upping the game – it would only be a matter of time before the Stock Show would be over and Megan would lose her opportunity to catch the bad guy/ gal.
Megan is the best protagonist! I could easily see her pop out of the book to real life, snapping her baton and running with Brigit to any problem. She works hard, the kind of cop who wants to do the right thing and wants to be a detective. She didn’t come from wealth or privilege; she respects her parents and genuinely loves her family. There are so many tidbits we learn about her that make her more real to the reader – someone many of us would become friends with. Other characters are defined only as much as necessary for their roles. Seth is a good man who still struggles with his war experiences and family background. We are able to see some of Robin’s thoughts; she certainly feels ‘entitled’! The more I know her, the less I like her. Clint wasn’t impressive – the kind of guy most young women have met and later regretted falling for.
One would think that, since about 40% of the novel is seen through the eyes of “Robin Hood’, it wouldn’t be any fun to read. Not true. This reader rooted for Megan to find her; Robin Hood was simply not likable. There are several twists that change the course of the mystery, and Megan’s relationship with Seth. Watching Brigit’s behavior was so much fun, especially when – oops! Can’t say, except that her antics are laugh-out-loud funny. The end is completely satisfying. I highly recommend this to those who love humorous cozy mysteries, to ladies who are or remember being single, and anyone who has endured being the low man on the totem pole at work. Number six in the series, ‘Enforcing the Paw’, is due out in late June; there is much more to look forward to!
Two From The Heart By James Patterson, Frank Constantini, Emily Raymond, Brian Sitts ISBN13: 9780316468923 Author’s Website: http://www.jamespatterson.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
From the #1 bestselling author of Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas and Sundays at Tiffany’s, two heartwarming tales about the power of a good story to open our eyes to life’s possibilities.
Anne McWilliams has lost everything. After her marriage falls apart and a hurricane destroys her home she realizes that her life has fallen out of focus. So she takes to the road to ask long lost friends and strangers a simple question: “What’s your best story?” Can the funny, tragic, inspirational tales she hears on her journey help Anne see what she’s been missing?
Tyler Bron seemingly has it all-a successful company and more money than he knows how to spend. But he has no life. So he hires a struggling novelist to write one for him. There are no limits to the fictional world that Bron’s money can transform into a reality, and he soon becomes the protagonist of a love story beyond his wildest imagination. But will Tyler Bron be able to write the happy ending himself?
Tell Me Your Best Story by James Patterson and Emily Raymond is a tale of a woman, Anne McWilliams, who has lost everything in a hurricane. By everything, I also mean her prized dark room, a necessity for creating her art (she has until this time refused to move into the world of digital camera’s). After losing everything, she leaves on a road trip, visiting people from her past to capture their stories for a new project. Anne’s description of what she is doing to Pauline, her mother’s best friend:
“Well actually”, I said, “I’m sort of collecting stories. Pictures, too. For what I hope will be a book. I pointed to my camera, resting on an end table. It started when I realized I wasn’t really in touch with anyone from my life-not in any real or meaningful way. So I decided to visit people who mattered to me and see what they were up to.”
I loved how at each stop Anne learnt not only about the person she was visiting (whether it be her ex-husband or best friend from college or even a perfect stranger or two). I especially liked the tale of Kit and Bob – how they met on a blind date….and as they say…. the rest is history.
The story as a whole was awe inspiring, well written and had me captured throughout. I could not put the book down until I had read every last word.
The Lifesaver by James Patterson, Frank Constantini, and Brian Sitts is a tale of a Tyler Bron, successful business man with no personal life to speak of and Damian Crane, struggling novelist. Tyler literally lands his “ultra-cool” helicopter next door to Damian’s house for a midnight chat (like this happens in real life).
“It’s just past midnight, and I’m tapping away on my IBM Selectric. I realize that makes me look like a caveman with a sharp rock. I’ve always been a little behind the times, technology-wise.”
Thoughts from Damian as Tyler enters his house:
“Tyler Bron is a certified Steve Jobs-level genius-not to mention a mega-billionaire. And for some reason, he’s standing in my living room.”
Really I felt really sad for Tyler when he tells Damian…and this is where the story begins:
“The truth is Damian, I’ve been starting to thing about everything I don’t have. No family, no friends, no personal relationships.” “I’m forty years old,” he says, “and I have zero human connections. None.”….”Damian, as I said… you’re the best writer I know.” I’m still trying to absorb that unlikely fact. And now he lands the kicker: “I want you to write me a life.”
What a journey Damian took Tyler on. I must say though; I would like a kick-ass margarita machine! This story is truly a bit odd, with someone actually writing what will happen to Tyler and Tyler’s employee, Daisy, making sure Damian’s writing comes to fruition. Once the tale is complete, I certainly had an appreciation for an author’s craft. Very well told.
I really enjoyed both stories. Tell Me Your Best Story seems like it could be a real life story to me whereas The Lifesaver is awesome and just takes me away to an imaginary life, though maybe stuff like this happens in the real world. We all are all our own authors. All in all – a wonderful reading experience and I highly recommend this book!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Silence of the Jams Down South Cafe Mystery, Book #2 By Gayle Leeson ISBN: 9781101990803 Author Website: gayleleeson.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The new cozy mystery featuring Southern cooking from the author of “The Calamity Cafe.”
It’s Independence Day in Winter Garden, Virginia, and the residents are gearing up for their annual celebration. The Down South Cafe is open and flourishing, and Amy Flowers is busy making pies and cakes for the holiday. The only thorn in her side is Chamber of Commerce director George Lincoln, who is trying to buy the cafe so he can tear it down and build a B&B on the site.
When George collapses while eating at the Down South, everybody assumes it’s a heart attack until the autopsy declares it to be poisoning. Now it s up to Amy to prove her innocence before her liberty is lost. Includes delicious Southern recipes!” (Goodreads)
Peanut butter pie and strawberry jam are but two of the delights that Amy, owner of the Down South Cafe, is serving up. Amy’s cafe has only been open a couple weeks as the newly remodeled cafe she purchased from son of the late owner. She already has a good following, a smattering of customers from the previous cafe and those who come out of curiosity and like what they are served. Gayle Leeson’s characters, dialog and dramatic mystery is an exciting second-in-series novel that can easily be read as a standalone.
Chamber of Commerce President George Lincoln is at the counter for his early morning breakfast before going to the office. Dr. Taylor Kent, the only doctor in town, comes into the cafe for the first time and joins George at the counter. It seems like only minutes after he is served that he grabs his throat and crashes to the floor. There was nothing Doc Kent or Amy could do, as he was already dead. Shelly, one of the waitresses, was certain it sounded like he was saying ‘poise’ or ‘poison’ before falling, and was happy to share it with the sheriff, but Doc feels that he had a heart attack.
Amy is concerned that she might be considered at fault. Even though she knew she didn’t do anything to his food, Amy especially worried that her new cafe would die as quickly as George did – no disrespect intended. As she begins to ask questions about what happened to George, Jackie, Amy’s cousin,BFF, and a waitress at the cafe, gets an unwelcome visit. Her mother, Renee, who had left Jackie with her grandmother Amy’s Aunt Bess when she was sixteen, spun into town like a slightly-rumpled tornado. The biggest concern is how to keep their hearts safe through another visit and be able to go forward when she spins back out.
Amy and her family are charming, more fun than most in their small Virginia town. They are devoted to each other; family comes first. At least with the exception of Jackie’s mom, Amy’s Aunt Renee. We learn the most about Amy, as the narrator of the novel, then Jackie, Jenna, Aunt Bess, and Ryan, the deputy who Amy is dating. All are characterized by dialog that is at times amusing, at other times, anxious, but always caring. Amy’s ability to look at a recipe and know how it will come out, or perhaps alter it by additional items or make a larger quantity just baffles me. She (and our author!) have quite a talent with that! Homer, one of the regular customers, is a wise man; he and Amy are each other’s sounding board when they want to find out who the bad guy or gal might be.
The plot is very well planned and executed with twists that at times surprised me. I like the setting; it sounds like a beautiful place to be with people who help each other when necessary. I wish I could say I couldn’t solve the murder mystery, but this time I can’t, as there was a clue that tipped me off. There was another person who was more than once a red herring for me. The motive was the same that many of the suspects had. There are so many good suspects, especially when it seemed as if Mrs. Lincoln had disappeared! Homer and Amy had more than one discussion that made the list longer or shorter. In the end, I (and my curiosity) are satisfied and I’m looking forward to the next visit to the Down South s cafe. I highly recommend this novel to those who appreciate good recipes, well-written cozy mysteries, families who help each other out – and a town that, at times, seems like one big family....more
As radio reporter Carol Childs investigates a series of Beverly Hills jewelry heists, she realizes her FBI boyfriend, Eric, is working the same case. Even worse, she may have inadvertently helped the suspect escape. The situation intensifies when the suspect calls the radio station during a live broadcast, baiting Carol deeper into the investigation.
In order for her to uncover the truth, Carol must choose between her job and her personal relationships. What started out as coincidence between Carol and Eric becomes a race for the facts—pitting them against one another—before the thieves can pull off a daring escape, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind, and taking the jewels with them. (Goodreads)
As Carol is leaving the radio station, she sees her boyfriend leaving a jewelry store, accompanied by a Hollywood celebrity with a questionable reputation. Before she has time to worry about that, a bomb goes off, causing major mayhem. What follows is a wild, crazy, often times funny caper to figure out who planted the bomb and why. At times I felt like I was reading more of a chick lit book instead of a cozy,which was fine with me.
The characters are well developed and well rounded. Carol is funny, hardworking and tenacious. She loves her job but does not like that someone is trying to take it away from her. And she does not like the fact that her and her FBI boyfriend are both trying to solve the bombing. Even though she knows that they both want the same thing, she would really like to be the one to solve it. It was funny to read about a little friendly rivalry. At times I felt like there were a few too many characters and I had trouble keeping them straight in my mind. This may be because it is the first book that I have read in this series. If I was current in my reading, this may not have happened. Other readers may not agree with me, it is only my opinion.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a quick easy read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and through much of the book I felt like I was right there watching the action taking place around me. The mystery is carried on well throughout the entire book and I did not figure it out until it was revealed at the end.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a humorous mystery suspense. I would suggest reading the other two books in the series first, for character development and recognition. I plan on reading the first two myself.
The Fire Child By S.K. Tremayne ISBN-13: 978-1478947387 Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
The chilling new psychological thriller by S. K. Tremayne, author of the Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller, THE ICE TWINS.
When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.
But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?
As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:
‘You will be dead by Christmas.’
The Fire Child starts with Rachel arriving to Carnhallow in the summer and having a good time with her husband and new stepson, Jamie. The summer ends and with it the brightest of her newlywed life. She tries to learn all she needs to know about the state, and the remodeling that her husband’s late wife was doing in hopes of making the place more habitable and restore the family name. In the dark and lonely house that is Carnhallow, while her new husband David is away all week in London for work, Rachel spends some time with David’s mother Juliet, who is starting to show signs of Alzheimer. Not being able to accept and process his mother’s death, Jamie starts to act differently and to say strange things to Rachel. Jamie claims that his mother is not dead, and she will soon come back.
A shadow starts to grow over Rachel’s new life, and her past that was once buried comes back to hunt her. Jamie becomes harder to handle and his predictions start to occur. At the same time, David starts to realize that his most important secret is starting to be even harder to hide, as Rachel decides to look into the death of his first wife.
I like mystery thriller stories and the Fire Child is a story I will consider mystery. I liked how since the beginning of the story, it starts to give hints that something is not right with all the characters and that they are hiding something. In this case, the secrets become more visible with the use of two POV for Rachel and David. While Rachel might be oblivious to information and facts, David tries to hide the truth from her, but lets the reader know a little bit of those secrets.
While the story had a good start, I didn’t like the character of Rachel. It wasn’t her past, but instead she started to become dull and annoying with her constant show of low self-esteem, and thinking everything that she did was wrong. She would have been a good character, if she would have had shown the strength that let her deal with the things that happened to her growing up.
The first part of the book was good, but some way around the middle the story-line started to become confusing. While the ending and loose ties were explained at the end by one character, I still found it odd how Rachel put every piece together so fast and how things go so out of control.
I liked the psychological turn the story took and how fast the characters turn on each other. It’s fun to read a mystery story that combines psychological aspects into the story-line.
If you are a fan of S.K. Tremayne work, then I recommend you The Fire Child. In this story, a new family tries to form, but when secrets and past doesn’t die, then it’s hard to survive the cold Christmas....more
Cat Got Your Cash Kitty Couture Mystery, Book #2 By Julie Chase ISBN13: 9781683311089 Author’s Website: http://juliechasebooks.com/ Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jerjen
Lacy Marie Crocker’s whimsical pet couture has gained a following in New Orleans’s cozy Garden District, and word of mouth has traveled all the way to her favorite fashion designer, Annie Lane. Lacy’s thrilled when Annie schedules a private session at her home to discuss a companion line for her evening wear, but when Lacy arrives for the appointment, she enters the kitchen to two mewling Siamese cats–and one very dead Annie.
Lacy takes the kittens home to care for them until they can be properly claimed by Annie’s family or friends, but after a busy day of work, she returns home to find them missing. And when Lacy learns the cats are set to inherit Annie’s fortune, she begins to wonder if the killer was after the kittens all along. Now Lacy will stop at nothing to save the Siamese and find justice for Annie–if the killer doesn’t sink his claws into her first.
Luckily, Lacy has the help of handsome NOLA PD homicide detective Jack Oliver to help her catch the cat-napper before it’s too late in Cat Got Your Cash, the endearing second Kitty Couture mystery from Julie Chase.
Lacy Crocker is the proud owner of the Furry Godmother, a pet boutique and organic pet treat bakery. She has worked hard to make a success of her business and she has done a great job. But she knows that business will get even better if she can get a companion line with one of the premiere fashion designers. She is so excited to have a meeting with the designer, Annie Lane. She gathers many of her samples and prepares for the meeting that may just change her life. But when she gets there, she finds that someone’s life changes forever, and it is not hers. Annie Lane’s life has changed forever because it has ended. She finds Annie’s body and Annie’s two cats, Cashmere and Cotton, at the crime scene. Lacy takes the cats home with her until someone from Annie’s family can claim them. When someone breaks into Lacy’s house, perhaps looking to steal the cats, and Lacy sees someone watching her house in a huge cat’s head, she wonders if the cats know more than they are purring!
The characters are well developed and well rounded. Lacy is smart (especially in business, maybe not so much in the romance department), quirky and persistent. She is very creative in her creations for pets. Jack Oliver is the detective that is assigned to the murder case and there are some clever scenes between Lacy and Jack. All of the secondary characters were also well developed and added a lot to the story.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and through much of the book, I felt like I was right there, watching all the action taking place and listening to conversations.
The mystery was carried on well throughout the entire book. There were enough suspects to consider, clue to sift through and red herrings thrown in to make even the most seasoned armchair detective find it difficult to solve the mystery. The ending was a bit of a surprise which I totally enjoyed.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted cozy mystery. This book has great characters, a great plot, humor and suspense and I thought it was well written.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Pipe Dreams Brooklyn Bruisers, Book #3 By Sarina Bowen ISBN: 9780399583483 Author’s Website: http://www.sarinabowen.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…
Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.
Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.
Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.
One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.
Pipe Dreams starts after the events in Hard Hitter where Rebecca injured herself and she’s unable to work as the manager of the Brooklyn Bruisers; help is needed and is brought from the Manhattan main office, in the form of Lauren Williams. Lauren used to work as the manager to the Brooklyn Bruisers before the team was bought and had the name changed, now she works in the main office of Nate Kattenberger’s corporation. After the disastrous events with a member of the team, Lauren doesn’t want to spend any time in the presence of the hockey field and even less with the team. But Nate is her boss and asks for her help, as the Brooklyn Bruisers are going to the finals. Trying to get pass the pain of the old relationship, Lauren tries to move on with her life, but it’s difficult when she has to see and travel with man that broke up with her. The man is, the widow goalie of the Brooklyn Bruisers, Mike Beacon; once he sees Lauren he knows that the feelings he had for her are still there, and he would like at least to be her friend again.
With her life moving on and getting the recognitions that she ever wanted, Lauren faces a hard choice in her life: move forward and get that thing that will make her happy, or give the man who broke her heart a second chance.
I liked the story that Pipe Dreams told. While it sounds bad, I like stories where the main characters broke up because of problems they had or them being too young, mostly because it’s fun to see them get to know each other again, and work on the problems that separated them once before. In this case, I liked that Lauren at first didn’t want to get back with Mike and fought hard to not feel things for him again, and Mike tries everything to get her back.
It was fun to watch Mike try to get Lauren back and to get his daughter to understand that he had to move on, and not trust what some people said about them. At the same, I understood the decisions that Mike took when his wife got sick, I just I would have wanted him to have done it better.
One of the things that I didn’t like was that Lauren forgot of all the money she spend on her “special project” that she couldn’t do, and didn’t seem to care after all the hard times she had with her father not helping her career.
At the end, I liked the story and the fact that we could see the characters from the previous book, now I just want to read Rebecca and Nate’s story.
If you are a fan of Sarina Bowen’s work or the Brooklyn Bruisers series, then I recommend Pipe Dreams. Here a second chance and time understand their own needs is what this couple needed to find each other again.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
Soul Scorched Dark Kings, Book #6 By Donna Grant ISBN# 9781250071934 Author’s Website: http://www.donnagrant.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Warrick has watched several of his Dragon King brothers find love, and although he’s happy for them, he has no desire to ever find a mate of his own.
Things are heating up with Ulrik and the Dark. The Druid that unbound some of Ulrik’s magic has finally been found and Warrick and Thorn are sent to keep an eye on her. Warrick being one that doesn’t like to interact with people much prefers to watch her from afar, but when she is nearly taken by the Dark he has to step in and make his presence known.
However, it soon becomes apparent that the Dark aren’t going to give up until they get their hands on Darcy and it’s up to Warrick and Thorn to get her to safety, even if it means trusting an unlikely source to do it!
This was a pretty mediocre read for me. I found the main characters to be pretty unremarkable. Darcy was especially boring! With that said, it was hard to care what happened to them because I just couldn’t get into them or their relationship. And honestly I thought these two would be burning up the sheets (and other things) with the title Soul Scorched…. But not so much … more disappointment.
And, right when I think Ulrik could be turned to help, he has to go and ruin it for me! Don’t worry, I still think he has the potential to come around, but it will take a lot of doing or possibly the love of a good woman. But that would take a lot considering the betrayal that started all of this. But I have to say his scenes were by far the most interesting in this book.
Touch the Dark Cassandra Palmer, Book #1 By Karen Chance ISBN# 9780451460936 Author’s Website: http://karenchance.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Cassandra Palmer has been living on the run. She’s a clairvoyant that can see the future (and sometimes the past) and can communicate with spirits. She grew up in mafia style vampire, Tony’s, home after he had her parents killed. She’s escaped a couple of times and is hiding out from him now. That is until she gets a warning of sorts on her work computer, her obituary shows up as her computer’s wallpaper. And it lists that evening as her time of death.
“I knew I was in trouble as soon as I saw the obituary. The fact that it had my name on it was sort of a clue.”
So, she does what any sane person would do –runs! But first she stops off at her roommate’s work to tell him. However, they get ambushed there by a bunch of vampires. Cassie is taken to the Vampire Senate who puts her under their protection. There is a war brewing among the magical users of the area and they all want Cassie for their own! Cassie just wants her freedom and she doesn’t know who to trust. But thankfully there are a few familiar faces at the Senate, Rafe and the always sexy master vampire, Mircea, both of which she grew up around in Tony’s home. She relies on them for her protection, but soon finds out that it could come at a great cost to her.
I’ve actually read some of the books at the end of this series and decided to actually try the first book in the series. I found a lot of this novel to be hard to follow. There was just so much going on and so many players that it really was quite confusing. I’m never much for vampire politics in my paranormal reads and unfortunately that’s mostly what this book was.
The book did start getting much more interesting toward the end, when I finally started understanding what was going on. It was also when things started getting steamy with a certain male as well.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this book, but hopefully the next installment will be better. I’m sure this will not be my last foray into the Cassandra Palmer series....more
Halloween Hullabaloo Pajaro Bay, Book #4.6 By Barbara Cool Lee ASIN: B01M2YKA0L Author’s Website: http://www.BarbaraCoolLee.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
It’s Halloween in Pajaro Bay, and nine-year-old Oliver and his friends thought nothing could be more exciting than competing in the annual costume contest. But before the night is over, they find themselves far from the lights of the party, sneaking through the town’s haunted cemetery just one step ahead of the danger on their trail. Who knew three kids could create such a Halloween Hullabaloo?
This is the first read by Barbara Cool Lee that I have read. The cover definitely had me hooked – a beautiful black cat and the title – Halloween Hullabaloo. This is a short story about Oliver Knight and an older stray cat, Captain Jeffy. Oliver becomes concerned when for the second day in a row he comes to feed Jeffy (something he has been doing for close to a month) and Jeffy is no where to be found. Turns out Oliver’s concern is justified. Through this short read, we see Oliver and a couple of his friends search a local cemetery on Halloween to solve the mystery of the missing cats.
An enjoyable short read. I found the style of the author easy to read and I was left feeling relatively satisfied with the story (something that is not always accomplished when I read short stories). Barbara Cool Lee is worth another look at for a longer read.
Rock Redemption Rock Kiss, Book #3 By Nalini Singh ISBN# 9781942356356 Author’s Website: http://nalinisingh.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Kit has always loved Schoolboy Choir’s guitarist, Noah St. John, and they were having a secret relationship of sorts until she walked in on him having sex with another woman. By the look in his eyes she knew he’d set it up on purpose to hurt her. Months later he calls her drunk and from a seedy hotel room with some unknown (even to him) drugs ready to be shot up. She goes to find him at his absolute lowest. She dumps the drugs and alcohol and takes him home with her.
Noah has hurt her too much for her to ever try a relationship again. Even being his friend is painful, but she can’t imagine a life without him. However, all that changes when an innocent night out together at a charity event gets plastered all over the media as an amazing start to a new romance complete with the cheesy couple nickname, NoKat.
Kit has been building a name for herself for years, and she’s finally starting to make headway as an actress, but Noah could ruin it all if he ends up being caught in bed with one of his many hordes of women or if they end the supposed relationship too suddenly. But if he could keep it in his pants for the next three weeks, it could land her the biggest role of her career. But Kit refuses to use Noah that way. However, when her publicist goes over Kat’s head and tells him about it, Noah is more than willing to pretend to be her boyfriend. He knows he doesn’t deserve her and he can’t have her, but he is more than willing to help her and her career in any way possible. But what happens when the fake relationship is just a little too nice to ever want to let it go? And can Noah keep his demons at bay or will they wreck everything he’s worked to build with his one true love?
Oh My Gosh! I absolutely loved this book!!! I think it’s safe to say it’s my favorite so far in this series.
I absolutely adored Noah! He is so tender and sweet toward Kit. And his inner demons from his past were enough to break my heart. How his own parents could turn on him for something so far out of his control was despicable. The duo definitely still have some work to do, but ah *swoon* I’m sure they will be just fine. And I adore the fun banter between this duo and hope that we’ll see more glimpses of them as the series progresses. And, Noah’s protective side is cute too!
“He was scowling. “What the hell? If I had a daughter and she was dating a guy like me, I’d take him out back and threaten him with a shotgun to make sure he treated her right.”
Kit’s mouth fell open. “You?”
“Yeah.” He folded his arms, his scowl growing heavier. “Jeez, Kit, he didn’t even tell me to be good to you. That’s bullshit.”
Realizing he was dead serious, she bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling. “Where did you pick up this chivalrous instinct?”
“My father,” he said, the sneer that usually accompanied any mention of Robert St. John missing from his voice. “He’s a son of a bitch, but he brought me up to look after any women under my care.”
“Under your care?” Kit raised an eyebrow. “Chauvinistic much?”
He shrugged. “Yeah, well, maybe it is, but I’m not changing. My imaginary daughters are never dating musicians. Ever.”
Stomach somersaulting at the idea of little girls with Noah’s features and talent, she shook her head. “Noah St. John, bad boy of rock and concerned father of imaginary daughters. Hell hath frozen over and become an ice rink.”
Kit was a strong character in her own right. She’s been dealing with a stalker while trying to make a name for herself in Tinseltown. The guys from Schoolboy Choir have been close with her for some time and close rank around her to protect her from the disturbed individual that has their sights set on her. Especially now that seeing her in the tabloids with Noah has got her stalker’s crazy switch flipped on high.
This book did have a bit of a lull in the middle, but once I got past that, I didn’t want to put it down. And honestly I didn’t want it to end, I just wanted more of that ‘romantic bullshit’ as Noah so eloquently states it. I was kind of expecting him to write a song with that title to go with ‘Sparrow’. And, for a Singh book there is a surprisingly little amount of sex. Once you get reading the book, you will understand why. But the swoon worthy moments more than make up for it and I just loved the emotion between Noah and Kit.
And as a side note I think this below song is perfect for this book, and I can imagine Noah up on stage, stealing the mike from Fox and belting it out to ‘his girl’.
Title: The Beggar’s Opera Series: Inspector Ramírez Series, Book #1 By: Peggy Blair ISBN: 0143179977 (ISBN13: 9780143179979) Author’s Website: http://www.peggyblair.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
In beautiful, crumbling Old Havana, Canadian detective Mike Ellis hopes the sun and sand will help save his troubled marriage. He doesn’t yet know that it’s dead in the water—much like the little Cuban boy last seen begging the Canadian couple for a few pesos on the world famous Malecón. For Inspector Ricardo Ramírez, head of the Major Crimes Unit of the Cuban National Revolutionary Police, finding his prime suspect isn’t a problem—Cuban law is. He has only seventy-two hours to secure an indictment and prevent a vicious killer from leaving the island. But Ramírez also has his own troubles to worry about. He’s dying of the same dementia that killed his grandmother, an incurable disease that makes him see the ghosts of victims of unsolved murders. As he races against time, the dead haunt his every step.
In my quest for finding noteworthy Canadian mystery authors, I have found a gem. Peggy Blair, in her first title in the Inspector Ramírez Series, The Beggar’s Opera, has created a captivating Cuba-set mystery with a cast of entertaining and engaging characters.
I found the book well paced, with numerous twists and turns which kept me guessing throughout. The intertwining of many different story lines was well done. I found the sharing of Cuban culture, history and way of life intriguing. The descriptions of Old Havana and the Cuban countryside were so comprehensive that I could visualize being there. I even felt like I was at the alleyways where Santeria ceremonies are conducted (the voodoo equivalent in Cuba).
We begin (in the prologue) with Ramírez a young boy saying goodbye to his dying grandmother. In her dying breaths she says:
“The dead will come,” she rasped. “My gift to you, as the eldest child.” He barely recognized her voice. She hadn’t spoken for days…….” Messengers from the other side. Eshu, the orisha, will send them to help you so you can help them. You will be a policeman, Ricky. I see it in your future. Treat them with respect, as they will you. But never forget this: Eshu is a trickster.”
That certainly had me intrigued. How will the dead come to Ramírez ? And how will this reciprocal help appear? So now I am hooked. Though I must say, it did take me a wee bit to get used to the manifestations.
On the first pages we are introduced to some of the most interesting characters of the book. Naturally, Ramírez but also Apiro – the pathologist on call to the Havana Major Crimes Unit. As we go on to later learn, Apiro has achondroplasia, which is a form of short-limbed dwarfism. Apiro has adapted his way of working in the morgue to account for his condition. Apiro’s mind is brilliant and he and Ramírez have found mutual respect with one another in their skills for performing their respective jobs.
The discovery of the body of a young boy in the water is disturbing. The evidence, such that it is, points to a Canadian tourist as the prime suspect for the rape and murder of this young boy. Mike Ellis, on vacation with his wife and away from his police job in Ottawa is that suspect. Ramírez halls in Ellis and has seventy-two hours in which to secure an indictment. A lot happens in those seventy-two hours. Mike uses his one call to phone his boss, O’Malley, back in Ottawa asking for help. O’Malley promptly sends Celia Jones, the departmental lawyer to provide support for Mike and possibly (?) help with the investigation. From here they mystery begins to deepen, twist and turn. As the cast of characters grew, so did the intensity and intrigue.
The part of the story which was really difficult to read and comprehend was the introduction of the abuse (physically and emotionally) of young boys sent to schools away from their homes and families. How people can behave that way to the youth is just astounding. Such a close tie in with the residential school’s in Canada. Had me just shaking my head with a heavy heart.
In the end, well….I shall leave that for you to find out. Suffice it to say, the bumpy ride was well worth it, though it did leave me emotionally drained.
Having read this book, I am now poised to continue on with the series (and I have!). I cannot wait to see what is next for Ramirez, Ellis, O’Malley and Apiro in the second installment of the Inspector Ramírez series, The Poisoned Pawn. Will they all be a part of the new mystery? Only time will tell. All I can say is: if you like mysteries with many twists as well as history thrown in, then pick up this first book in the Inspector Ramírez series and enjoy the ride yourself....more
Home Improvement Pajaro Bay, Book #1.5 By Barbara Cool Lee ASIN: B00EKZFVJ6 Author’s Website: http://www.BarbaraCoolLee.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Kimberly Bishop married her best friend. Then he died. Now she’s a 27-year-old widow whose friends keep fixing her up with one disastrous blind date after another. But maybe a second chance at love has been right under her nose all along….
Welcome to Pajaro Bay, a charming little village with a cast of quirky characters and funky cottages overlooking the sun-drenched coast.
Another fine short story by Barbara Cool Lee. I found myself really engaged, with emotions abounding throughout.
The story begins with Kim Bishop coming home from the funeral of her husband. This certainly pulled at my heartstrings:
“She was a 27-year-old widow with a broken-down house (Bluebird Cottage), a big insurance settlement, and everything she needed to live a wonderful life. Except the man who had been her best friend, her confidant, her one true love.”
During this scene, Kim throws a hammer and then continues on until there is a gaping hole.
Fast forward about seven months and Kim is now working for her friend Jasmine (Jazz) in her Pet clothing shop. I found the scene where Jazz’s dog Arrow models the booties definitely chuckle worthy. As frequently happens, girls get to chatting and Jazz has decided it is about time that Kim get back in the dating pool. They discuss this particular endeavor over coffee with two other friends.
So Kim finally agrees to go on dates….and then the fun ensues. After a few dates, Kim realizes that no real sparks fly with any of the men.
Meanwhile, Kim has hired a contractor, Gage, to fix her bathroom and the hole Kim created after Bishop’s funeral. There is a history there; Gage was Bishop’s best friend. You can see that sparks could fly, but how does one go from friend to more?
The journey called Home Improvement resulted in a pleasant read which has definitely peaked my interest to the level that I now have the first full length read in the Pajaro Bay series, so I am off to read more. ☺
The Amazing Crafty Cat By Charise Mericle Harper ISBN 978-1-62762-468-0 Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
The Amazingly Crafty Cat is first and foremost a young female reader’s graphic novel about solving problems by doing crafts. It even includes its own craft section at the end of the book (if you like pandas – Crafty Cat’s favorite). The story starts innocently enough, with Birdie, a young girl (a.k.a. The Amazing Crafty Cat) accidently dropping the panda cupcakes she made for her Birthday Break at school. Through trials and tribulations, things don’t go as planned, and The Amazing Crafty Cat has to come to the rescue. Luckily, with some simple tools The Crafty Cat seems to be akin to a deus ex machina getting Birdie out of tight spots at every turn of events. She is, however, extremely crafty in every sense of the word, and I see this young readers graphic novel as an interactive learning experience.
The writing is glib, even when breaking the fourth wall – making the reader aware that they’re actively reading and judging The Amazing Crafty Cat as they move through the novel (albeit I have a reserved opinion that this was for adults in active participation with their kids). It dwells in expository, however, and most of it could have easily been replaced with dialogue. The dialogue that was present was handled using a fine line between expository dialogue (which I do realize is necessary when writing a craft book) and plot driven dialogue. The story itself went from one craft to the next but there were plenty more to participate in at the back of the book. The crafts propelled the story and resolved the ending. For this achievement alone Harper should be congratulated.
The art was simplistic, and minimalist. There was just enough visual material to make the crafts learnable, in fact most of the detail came out in these sections. The rest of the story was illustrated in a quirky, childlike style – easy to emulate and incorporate into crafts. The crafts themselves are kind of fun: there are panda bracelets and panda necklaces all little treasures in a young girls eyes. In fact, the target demographic of this graphic novel seemed to be aimed at a young female audience. There are also hair ribbons and things most young boys wouldn’t be interested in. The art worked well toward its intended goals. The craft sections were easy to follow, and minimal equipment is needed (a pair of scissors, paper, glue, ribbon, sparkles, etc.) The instructions are clear and simple, and can even be done without adult supervision. Overall, the art carried through its envisioned purpose.
All and all, if you have a young girl who are into crafts (I know my nieces are), The Amazing Crafty Cat is definitely worth a look at; for male readers, look elsewhere. Be warned: most of the crafts are panda centered, except for origami bunnies. Given the nature of the subject material, children should have no problem working from craft to craft, and if the parents get involved, the pandas can easily be replaced by kittens or any other animal with a ‘box-like’ shape.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
The Nameless City The Nameless City Trilogy, Book #1 By Faith Erin Hicks ISBN 978-1-62672-157-9 Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
The first of what seems to be an enchanting trilogy, The Nameless City, is an engrossing, well written and drawn piece that delivers high adventure, deep emotional feeling and class in a convenient package. The graphic novel is written from the perspective of Kai, the lead protagonist and son of the ruler of the nameless city. Kai’s adventures are involving in this short piece of a much larger tapestry and his newness to the city helps draw the reader in. at a slow, controlled pace. At no point does the reader feel rushed unless it is what Faith Erin Hicks wants you to feel rushed. It’s a truly remarkable work just for that level of reader introduction to a vast new world.
The written word just flows off of the page and I caught myself “double-backing” to absorb the artwork; the story is that engrossing. The main protagonist Kai, and the surrounding cast of characters is given just enough detail to make them believable in a heart-felt way, and leaves plenty to explore in the next two volumes. Dialogue is natural and sincere. The panels conform to a six panel grid, without much deviation, which makes it easier to absorb the complexities of the plots and adventure, the intrigue and twists. The word choice is just enough to start you down a path that is surely going to have a high waterline to beat, with this opening salvo.
Believable characters are what really make this stand out amongst the neo-oriental influence of the work. Although drawn in a manga like fashion, the feel of the characters and their situations is more western in execution. This is probably one of the novels strongest points. It plays on a neo-oriental theme but ensconces it in western ideology that any North American or European can relate to. Grabbing character concepts and their trappings while introducing a new world is a feat enough but Hicks pulls it off with grace and style. You know where all the characters stand, and what their positions are on pretty much everything. This isn’t to say that they aren’t ripe for expansion – they most certainly are – but rather that you feel an almost instant connection to the players in the game.
The artwork alone is just brilliant. The bold inks on graceful lines mark Faith Erin Hicks as a true art lovers artist. Coloring by Jordie Bellaire enhances the art to a new and muted level, that reflecting The Nameless City’s streets and denizens in an all too real fashion. Backgrounds are lush and elegant, and main characters, age-dependent, are portrayed in a traditional manga context. The action sequences, pushed by the artwork, propel the reader literally across rooftops and through labyrinth like alleyways. At no point does the reader not know what the characters are feeling either. Emotions range from despondence to elation, and one or more expressions are always present in any character driven panel.
For fans of action-adventure, political intrigue, and graphic novels like The Last Man series, The Nameless City is the right fit for you. Even if you’ve never delved into the art form before, The Nameless City is a great introduction to the world of neo-oriental stylistics. There is enough in the graphic novel to appease most tastes and being the first in a trilogy, why not take the plunge? You’ll find it quite the enchanting introduction to the world of graphic novels and the “western manga” genre.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Waiting for the One Harrington, Maine, Book #1 By L.A. Fiore ISBN# 9781477829295 Author’s Website: https://www.lafiorepublishing.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Saffron Mills has lived her life in small-town Harrington, Maine. Nothing interesting ever happens in Harrington and everybody knows everyone else’s business almost the moment it happens. Saffron’s parents are ones that should have never reproduced and barely make time for a once a month phone call, and even then the call is filled with disapproving lectures for her life choices.
Saffron has never found “the one” yet and doesn’t date very much. A lot of the reason could be that the women-to-men ratio in Harrington just isn’t very favorable for dating. But Saffron lives vicariously through her friend, Gwen, who seems to have the perfect marriage and kids. She has two other friends Tommy and Josh, that are like brothers to her and provide much comic relief in this book!
“Resting my head on his shoulder, my gaze turns back to the horizon. “How did you get so smart? Did you, like, eat smart people’s brains?”
“Well, if I did, you’d certainly be safe from me.”
About six months ago Harrington got a new resident, Logan MacGowan, who is the quiet loaner type. He comes to the bar that Saffron works at often, but never speaks to her. She’s made it into a game where she is determined to get him to talk to her, but he’s really good at thwarting her! And, it’s so frustrating seeing how easily he talks to everyone else. What is it about her that keeps him so tight lipped?
David Cambre is a famous sculptor with many adoring fans, and some crazy ones as well! Logan finds peace getting away from all the craziness that is his city life. He’s taken up residence in the lighthouse and has taken joy in working with other mediums as well, mediums that the fans and critics would never allow David to venture into. And, Logan just can’t keep his eyes off the beautiful Saffron, but when he finally breaks the silence and ventures into a relationship with her, his secrets just may be enough to destroy them both.
I found the writing in the earlier chapters of this book to be quite choppy, but stick with it, it gets better! Once we start to know the characters more the flow is much nicer and easier to read.
I enjoyed Saffron and Logan/David. I liked that Saffron was willing to stand up for herself and wasn’t afraid to call Logan out or even break-up with him no matter how strong her feelings. Although I do wish, that she would have made him work a little harder to get back into her good graces. He seemed to get off kind of easy on that score. And, I hated that she was always having to learn things from other people instead of him trusting her enough to come clean himself.
“Saffron, how are you?” Logan asks and he sounds genuinely interested. How am I? Small talk, right.
I rest my hip on the table and give my back to Logan as I look down at his date. “Would you think it odd for a man to come to a small town and proceed to not speak to you for six months?”
Her perfect lips form a grin. “Everyone or just me specifically?”
Her eyes light with humor. “Yes, that is odd.”
“Odder still for that man to then take you to bed and blow your mind with sex for almost twenty-four hours before ditching you and then staying off the radar for a week?”
The humor has left her gaze now, but she answers anyway. “Indeed.”
“So what would you think when that same man shows up at your place of employment with a beautiful woman and attempts to engage you in small talk?”
Her eyes leave mine for Logan’s, but I don’t miss the emotion in her gaze. She’s mad.
“Exactly.” I turn and give Logan my full attention. “So how am I, Logan?” I pull out the chair next to him and sit down. “I could pretend to be a cool, sophisticated woman and lie to you and say I’m fabulous, but that just isn’t me. What I am is hurt and more than a little pissed, so the idea of making small talk with you is repugnant to me, unless that talk is centered on what I’d like to do to you. For example, I’d love to reach for that dull butter knife and stick it in your eye, giving it a hard turn just for good measure. The idea of strapping you to a man-sized lobster trap and throwing you into the ocean holds a great deal of appeal, as does the thought of running your ass over with my car, repeatedly. I could sit here all day making small talk about that, or you could just shut up and order some goddamn lunch.”
The ending of this book sends you on quite the roller-coaster ride. I initially thought the same thing (without saying too much) that Saffron was thinking, but as time went on it seemed we were both wrong, but then a little later she started questioning herself again… I thought it was maybe one turn too many, but it was still a good ending to the book. And I adored Josh and Tommy … I wish I had friends just like them! They are just fun!
All in all this was another nice book be Fiore and I’m anxious to read more from her!
And I thought What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction was fitting for this book 🙂
The “New York Times” bestselling author of “Town in a Cinnamon Toast” returns to Cape Willington, Maine, where blueberry farmer Candy Holliday springs ahead into sleuthing…
The imminent arrival of spring has the locals gearing up for their sweetest celebration ever the first annual Maple Madness Weekend. Along with maple sugar house tours, a community-wide marshmallow roast, and a weekend-long pancake breakfast, restaurants will be serving up special maple syrup dishes. But the weekend festivities are put in jeopardy when things start to get sticky…
One of Candy’s friends is accused of stealing sap from a rival s sugar maple trees, and landscaper Mick Rilke is found dead, floating down the river wrapped up in a fisherman’s net. As Candy taps into Mick’s life, his unsavory side comes to light, as well as a possible connection to both crimes. Now it s up to Candy to follow the flow of suspects to a cold-blooded killer…
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!
In author B. B. Haywood’s newest installment of “A Candy Holliday Mystery” (#8), Cape Willington, Maine is having a new festival to bring in more tourists. They have added a Maple Madness festival weekend full of tours, marshmallow roasts and tons of good food. Nothing seems to go smooth for the wonderful inhabitants of this quaint small town and this is no different. Since maple syrup is selling for such high prices, it is a really big deal when someone is stealing sap from established sugar maple trees. That is the catalyst that brings protagonist Candy Holliday into the mix. Things just get worse when a body floats down the river and it is murder. Candy has to get on the job and try to save the big weekend.
Candy definitely has to get involved when one of the participants of the maple syrup tours gets in contact with her to complain about someone stealing their sap. Not only did they tap their trees, but there is a chance they overworked them and they may not make it. The worst part is they are pointing directly at one of Candy’s dear friends as the culprit. Candy is a fun main character. I love her fierce concern for her friends and father. No way is she letting her friend (and maybe a bit more than friend) Neil be accused of something she knows he would never do.
Unfortunately just as she is trying to do some investigating, landscaper Mick Rilke is found dead. And no one believes it is anything but murder. Who would want to kill him, well it seems a few people. Candy is called upon to find the killer so the town festival can keep going. This is the first, it has to be remembered for more than murder. Along with Candy’s father and his gang, her friend Maggie and ever present Wanda, Candy will work to find the answers. Things are not always what they seem in their small town. The mystery twists and turns as Candy picks up clue after clue and finds suspect after suspect. In the end, the festival has to go on.
I have to say that installment #8 in author B. B. Haywood’s “Candy Holliday Mystery” series is not my favorite. That said, it had all the elements one usually finds in this enjoyable series. Fun characters, great setting, intriguing mystery, and good food. I felt Town in a Maple Madness was a bit wordy. Lots of descriptive paragraphs, inner turmoil, and not as much action or interaction. Some readers I am sure enjoy this. I am not one of them. I really enjoy the characters in this series and love Candy’s group of friends. I love the town setting. I do think that this is a series that should be read in sequence. Overall a fun read, just a bit too wordy for me.
*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*