The Invention of Wings tells a fictionalized account of Sarah Grimke and the ten year-old slave Hetty that she was gifted on her eleventh birthday. From the very beginning of their relationship Sarah did not want to own Hetty or be responsible for her, but they are a product of their turbulent times in Charleston, South Carolina. Sue Monk Kidd weaves a multi-decade long tale in which she gives Hetty new life. In real life, Hetty really was Sarah’s slave, but she died while still a child. Both Sarah and Hetty long to be free, physically free from slavery and free from the accepted thinking of early nineteenth century South. The story follows the two through their struggle for that freedom.
I will admit that I had a hard time getting into this book. I kept putting it down only to come back to it again and again. I usually enjoy historical fiction, always hoping to learn tidbits about a time, place, or people that I did not know before. I knew nothing about Sarah Gimke and her feminist and abolitionist platform before taking on this book, and I have great respect for her efforts for social justice. Hetty’s character embodied the plight of slaves and induced much sympathy. Her situation was heartbreaking. How anyone could have thought slavery was the right thing to do has always been beyond me.
Sue Monk Kidd is a talented writer, and The Invention of Wings will delight fans. I actually found the author’s notes at the end of the book to be the most interesting information. She explains where her story deviates from history. Fascinating. I recommend this thought provoking book to readers who are interested in learning about a true woman who was ahead of her time and those looking to lose themselves in the Charleston of the early 1800s....more
Lady Josephine Summerhall is unusual for the time period. She doesn’t want to get married. As she puts it so eloquently she certainly doesn’t want a life where her main duties would be to plan the next meal, run the house and produce an heir and a spare. Joss as she is known to family and friends is well travelled, well educated, can speak many languages and can shoot when necessary. Joss has always loved Heath Hextall however when he inherits the earldom she also knows she does not want to marry him. When Joss and Heath become involved in a mystery involving an encoded file both work together to find the solution. Joss is determined to keep Heath safe and in doing so finds that she is becoming more and more attracted to him. He brings out a passion in her that cannot be extinguished. How can she keep Heath without the conventional marriage that is expected?
Inheriting the Earldom has been Heath Hexthalls worst nightmare. He knows to survive in society he will have to marry to keep his life in order. Meeting Josephine Somerhall at a ball he notices that she has grown into a beautiful and outspoken woman, certainly not wife material. Thrown together after the ball when he is given an encoded file from a dying man, Heath realizes that Joss has many abilities that will be useful. Reluctantly he uses her language abilities to help unravel the code. As they work together he realizes that he is falling in love with her. Knowing Joss is never going to agree to a conventional marriage Heath must think of a way to win her affection.
Kelly Bowen has again written a fast paced and easy to read historical novel. I loved the complexity of the characters and the flow of the story. It not only had the love story but a good mystery as well. An absolutely delightful summer read and I look forward to more Kelly Bowen books!...more
If you are a fan of the wonderful, yet too short lived show Longmire, Dry Bones will be a bit of a shock. You will love it, but there are some major differences. If, however, you are a fan of the literary series Walt Longmire, Dry Bones will delight you with all the fabulous characters, prose, and enlightened experiences you expect from writer Craig Johnson. He writes with a candor and syncopated rhythm that infects the reader to a stunning effect. Walt Longmire is the philosophical sheriff of Absaraka County in Wyoming. His friends range from his crusty old predecessor to his best friend who is a Native American (Henry Standing Bear) that can track anything and always shows up when needed. This installment also stars a wonderful monster named Jen.
The beginning of Dry Bones almost reads like poetry describing the discovery of the largest and most complete fossil of a Tyrannosaurus Rex named Jen. Thus begins the fight for ownership of this money making dinosaur. At the same time the fight is beginning, Danny Lone Elk is found floating with no eyes. He owns the property and presumably Jen. With his death the ownership of Jen is called into question. It brings to town the parties trying to gain ownership and a load of pain for Walt. The Cheyenne tribe, Lone Elk’s family and the acting Deputy Attorney General and a passel of FBI men all descend on Walt to fight for this extraordinary find.
As the fight for Jen and the murder investigation are just getting started, Walt’s daughter Cady and her infant daughter Lola are flying in from Philadelphia for a visit. As unprepared as Walt is for an infant to come, he cannot wait for their arrival. Walt’s under sheriff and love interest Vickie is also looking forward to seeing her niece as Cady married her brother. This is an action packed, heart wrenching novel that grabs the reader and takes them on a mystical and intriguing mystery that entertains in its entirety. Vickie gets hurt, people go missing, and a helicopter crashes, then they get horribly tragic news from out east. So much goes on that as a reader, I was holding on to my seat (well bed actually).
Dry Bones is the 11th in Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series and if you have not read any of the earlier books or at least watched some of the series you may feel a bit lost. If you have read any or watched any you will love this installment. If you are interested in Native American mysticism, good guys versus bad, white hat versus black, you will love this series. Walt is a lovable, yet complicated character. Craig Johnson has a wonderful writing style and he is a true storyteller. Heart wrenching and action packed, Dry Bones is a wonderfully well written novel that entertains throughout!
*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*...more
Olivia Bennett will do anything to fight for a cause she believes in. That is why she finds herself in jail, after being caught in an act of vandalism. She is caught spray painting on the side of Halverson Foods chicken processing plant. She is trying to draw attention to the unspeakable abuse the chickens endure before being slaughtered. She has video proof that the chickens are being treated inhumanely before they are killed, but no one is doing anything about the problem. When a policeman catches her on the ladder, spray can in hand, she knows she is in big trouble.
Pete Sampson is the lucky deputy to find Olivia breaking the law. He has no choice but to take her to jail but he is not happy about having to do that. He has never met anyone like Olivia and he wants to get to know her better. Unfortunately it is frowned upon when an arresting officer takes a personal interest in a criminal. The more time he spends with Olivia, the harder it is to remember that fact.
The characters are well rounded and well developed. They are definitely people I would like to know and call friends. Their love of animals and their willingness to go the extra mile to protect those who cannot protect themselves made me really like them. I really like the fact Olivia’s friends, Cara and Mercy, (from books one and two) are back in this book and it was great to catch up on what was happening in their lives.
Olivia is someone who believes in protecting all animals and is not afraid to do what is necessary to achieve that goal. She is feisty and is able to take care of herself. She does not need to be rescued by anyone. She has some baggage that she carries around because she feels like she is a total screw up much of the time. She left law school and does not think she wants to go back to become a lawyer. She has no career to speak of and she feels like she has let her parents down. She has not had the best of luck in the romance department and she knows she has to get her act together. She needs to find a career to pursue and the right man so she can have her happily-ever after.
Pete is a great guy but he also has baggage from his past. His father is an alcoholic who is currently in jail because he killed someone. Pete feels responsible because his testimony led to his father getting out on parole early and that is when the accident happened that left someone dead. Olivia knows that Pete has some secrets from his past and she knows that he needs to learn to relax and forgive himself. She is willing to do whatever it takes to help him achieve these goals, including teaching him meditation, which he does not believe in. Watching the relationship develop between Olivia and Pete made for a really good read.
The writing style flows smoothly and the books is an easy read. This book has a little bit of everything: humor, romance, suspense, friendship, forgiveness and of course, animals. I really enjoyed reading about all the cats and dogs and the way that the humans did their best to give them happy lives. Some of the descriptions about the chickens are a little difficult to read about but it was an important part of the book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well crafted contemporary women’s fiction. I have read all three books in this series and I loved them all. I am sad that this is probably be the last book in the series. Do yourself a favor and pick up the whole series to read. You will be very glad that you did....more
Luckily, I have had the opportunity to play the Pathfinder role-playing game (RPG), and am intimately familiar with the background history of the world Paizo has released; unfortunately, the non-gamer will miss an awful lot of the action and nuances that make up Pathfinder Tales: Lord of Runes. A true fan of the game and franchise, of the most arguably is the current leader in the mass market RPG industry, will understand the significance of many of the overtly stationed events such as in the appropriately named “Pathfinder Chronicles,” Paizo’s charter club for members, in which the leaders (and movers and shakers) of the world, have a voice in the world’s development. Sadly, this book seems like someone’s game session set to prose, and really offers not much else.
In the dense forest of fantasy literature, the story, plot and theme have to be magically intertwined, with references to non-significant events given significance, so the average reader can jump right in, and be on the ball with the rest of the crowd. Although the plot and story were there, a lack of a clean thematic value tempered my judgement here. There is no Tolkien’s footnotes, explaining the history behind events; no Michael Moorcock’s Elric naturally writing about the almost believable absolute struggle over magic, totems and power; no Terry Brooks bringing a myriad of themes to the table and resolving them all. There is a mystery and the mystery is solved.
This is not to say there wasn’t a story to be told; Lord of Runes had all of the intrigue, mystery, and thrills that other fantasy novels thrive upon, and was, albeit written for a presumably teenage demographic, well executed. I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not this was not just a book but a formulaic work, relying on a certain word count and length. The pacing was erratic: in the finer parts of the novel, it flowed and when it didn’t it just made you curious as to why you picked it up in the first place. There is plenty of Pathfinder in-jokes and fun filled trivia that will delight any fan of the game; however for those who don’t, well I don’t suppose they would be picking this up in the first place.
The best part of the novel is in the characterization. Characters are (un)believable in their abilities, and strengths and weaknesses vary and grow, and are truly three-dimensional constructs. Saying that, however, role players spend vast amounts of time detailing their characters over the course of a campaign, so this was not really much of a surprise. If there is any recommendation I can assuredly put forth is: this is a fine piece of character writing. Dialogue isn’t stilted, and, like on a character sheet that describes your avatar, the trappings are there. Sharp and witty, they gracefully adorn what is otherwise a simple mystery novel.
For fans of the Pathfinder Game this would be a shoe-in-foot match. Even fans of the old (and newer) Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms series would be entertained, as the Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder roleplaying systems used to be so similar (almost identical at one point). The true fantasy novel fan, in the vein of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Moorcock’s Elric, to name two, will find Pathfinder Tales: Lord of Runes to be exactly what it is marketed as – a gaming tale and nothing more....more
Sheila Tremayne has her hands full. She is busy running her event planning business and helping to get things ready for the opening of the Pediatric Cancer Treatment Center that her sister is opening. And oh, yeah, she is also a member of Nemesis, a modern day Robin Hood organization. So when she sees Malcolm at a birthday party for his grandmother, she knows that she has more than she can handle. Her and Malcolm have a history, and she never got over his leaving her five years earlier. He is going to throw a wrench in her plans to get Chadwick Oliver, Malcolm’s father, to pay for the crimes that he has committed.
Malcolm Oliver has returned to attend his grandmother’s birthday celebration but he has an ulterior motive. He has come to exact revenge on his father, who forced him to move away five years earlier. He knows that Sheila has a plan to cause his father some problems, so he wants to hook up with her in her plan. He also wants to hook up with Sheila on a personal basis because he knows he never got over her. He knows that gaining Sheila’s trust will be an impossible task but he is willing to do whatever it takes to win her back.
The characters are well developed and well rounded. Sheila is a person with many layers. She is a strong business woman and she knows how to get what she wants concerning that area of her life. But in her personal life she is much more unsure of what she is doing. She knows she misses Malcolm and wants to trust him again but she is afraid to take a chance with her heart. She is an artist but she has been unable to paint since the death of an important child in her life. Malcolm has regrets from his past and he has a lot of hatred for his father. He is proud that he has reinvented himself in the business world and that he has been successful. But he feels he cannot get on with his life until he makes his father pay for his previous sins. He knows that a son should not feel that way about his father but he cannot help it. He also has some medical problems that he has to deal with and is unsure about his prognosis. Sheila and Malcolm both have a lot of problems to sort through before there is any chance of them reuniting.
I enjoyed reading about some of the characters from book one. It was great catching up on Morgan, Sheila’s sister, and Nathan, her brother, and see what is happening in their lives. It was also fun to read about Morgan’s in-law family. I also enjoyed reading the interaction between the members of Nemesis.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy ready. This book seems to have it all: romance, suspense, friendship, guilt and forgiveness all blended together nicely. The author is very talented in creating characters, settings and suspenseful situations. In some parts I could not turn the pages fast enough, especially when reading about Nemesis and the art thefts.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance. Since I was fortunate enough to have read book one, which I really loved, I knew the characters and the background story. I do not thing you need to read book one first, but I do not know why you would not. Both books are great reads....more
Ahhh finally back into the world of Charley Davidson… and Reyes of course!
There has been quite a time lapse between the last installment, Seventh Grave and No Body, to this one. Charley is nine months pregnant and getting ready to deliver any time. Charley, Reyes, and company are all living at an abandoned convent, on holy ground, so the hellhounds can’t attack Charley and Beep.
Also, Charley’s father was murdered shortly before they all moved to the convent and she’s trying to find out who the culprit is without leaving the property. And also digging up Reyes’s parents against his wishes…
Charley’s evil stepmother is always around now, trying to make amends for how she treated Charley in the past, as she’s pretty lonely since Leland died.
I know I complained about the lack of sizzle between Charley and Reyes in the last installment, but they more than made up for it in this one, even though there were very few sexual scenes in the book.
He simply enchanted.
Stopping in his tracks when he saw my expression, he studied me a long moment before walking over to me and placing a kiss on my cheek. The act was an excuse to whisper in my ear. “You have to stop looking at me like that if we’re going to make it through the day without losing our clothes.”
I turned to kiss him back. “I have no intention of making it through the day with you fully clothed.” But the emotions between these two really bled through the pages of the novel. I loved seeing Reyes’s protective father side. Like a fine wine, he keeps getting better with age :) .
“How he could have such a reaction with me looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy astonished me. He was kinky. I’d take it.” We also got to see Osh and even a brief appearance from another hunk from previous installments….
This book really advanced the storyline of the series exponentially. And right as you think the story is nearing its end with everything is wrapped up in a nice neat bow, you’re thrown for a loop and are slammed back into square one … although it’s a completely different square one then the series started on. You will just have to read this book to understand exactly what I’m trying to say.
I didn’t enjoy the chapter headings as much as I have in the previous installments, only really laughing at a couple. But the rest of the story more than makes up for it!
“GOD GIVES US ONLY WHAT WE CAN HANDLE. APPARENTLY, GOD THINKS I’M A BADASS. —BUMPER STICKER” The end of this book was really emotional and heartbreaking. When you can even make the son of Satan weep, you know it’s sad! The sacrifices that had to be made did make me cry … a little. Being a reader that thrives on emotion that was the sure sign of an amazing book! Now everything has gone topsy turvy and has left me panting for the next installment of the series, which sadly won’t be out until *gasp* next January!! How will I ever last that long?
READ THIS BOOK! You won’t regret it!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
I loved this story and it is one of the best I have read this summer. Filled with intrigue, blackmail, love, and a surprise ending it keeps the reader turning pages from page one. I know for a fact I couldn’t put it down. When Lily inherits a rundown bungalow when her father dies her mother tries desperately to keep her from going there. The bungalow belonged to her aunt who she never met and whose name had been banned in the family. Lily on arriving finds the house in disrepair however soon discovers journals that her aunt had written. These journals tell the story of her mother and aunt from a young age. As she reads the journals questions are answered and she begins to see what had caused the strife between the two sisters. What Lily doesn’t expect is why she is attracted to this small sleepy town and the architect next door. She after all has always reached high and has a bright future ahead of her. Can she trust that maybe there was a reason why her father left her this bungalow on the ocean? Can she stay put in one place when her normal pattern has been to run and, can she commit to a partner who also has commitment issues? When her mother delivers the final journals a surprise comes out shattering all that Lily knows. Although I somewhat suspected the result I did not anticipate the “why it happened.”
Barbara Davis has given us a truly exciting and readable book with enough romance to please even the most discerning reader. A definite must read and I would highly recommend it to all my fellow readers....more
I really enjoyed Purl Up and Die, the ‘lucky thirteen’ of Maggie Sefton’s Knitting Mystery series. Sufficient information is provided about the people and shops so that if this is your first visit to Fort Connor, Colorado, you will soon get up to speed with these close, loving friends. After reading this comfortable mystery, I think you will want to go back to the beginning and enjoy the rest of the mysteries in the same way that I want to read the ones I missed.
It has been a year since the High Park Wildfire that devastated the forest and left many people homeless, but it has been a good year of rebuilding. Kelly Flynn and her close friends and their families donated many hours to this excellent cause, and the payoff is in seeing homes rebuilt, properties restored, and the planting of thousands of tiny trees.
Kelly Flynn, an accountant who left the corporate world back east six years ago when she fell in love with Fort Connor, Colorado, spends much of her work day at House of Lambspun or Pete’s Porch Cafe, in the back Lambspun. House of Lambspun is about all things yarn and fiber-related crafting, including spinning, knitting, felting, and classes of any aspect that faithful students and customers have an interest in. Mimi Shafer Parker and Burt Parker employ instructors as needed for various classes. Barb Macenroe, affectionately known as Big Barb, has taught classes at Lambspun and been friends with Mimi and Burt for many years.
Barb has one son, Tommy,a medical resident at a local emergency care clinic. He works and studies hard so he can complete his training to be a doctor. One night when his nurse had to answer the phone, the patient started shouting and accused Tommy of groping her. An official police report was made, which could stop Tommy’s career before it ever begins. Laura Brewster, the patient, is a troubled young woman who had destroyed a professor’s career and family with a similar charge a few years before, a charge made out of spite against the prof. Days later, Laura is found murdered in her campus apartment, and Tommy is a suspect..
Kelly began sleuthing as she has many times in recent years to help friends and acquaintances. Burt, a retired police detective, has an ‘in’ at the police department; his former partner Dan follows up on information Kelly digs up. In the meantime, Steve Townsend, Kelly’s ‘significant other’, has made partner in the architectural and construction company where he works. His talents helped carry Kaufman Construction through the recession; his reward includes the opportunity to bring in new projects when feasible.
The characters in Purl Up and Die are well-defined; it is clear that Kelly, her friends, and those who are part of House of Lambspun have caring, long-term invested relationships from their easygoing banter and in-depth conversation. They are self-assured and resilient, working together as needed, celebrating or mourning together, and sharing athletic and other activities. Maggie Sefton has built a town of caring friends who are entrepreneurs and survivors, creative and active. This is an enviable set of friends! The author has included a list of characters at the start of the book that is a huge help for the new and returning reader.
The plot is well-organized and thorough. It is not a page-turner in the sense that suspense builds in leaps and bounds from one chapter to the next. Rather, it is a thoughtful, relaxing page-turner as one sees the crafting classes, accounting practices, and the logic utilized in the sleuthing process. It is part mystery, and part catching up with old friends. Clues are revealed as discovered. Kelly does not leap thoughtlessly into situations where she could be hurt. Her logical accounting mind thinks through situations before proceeding. I had mixed feelings about the resolution; it was a bit exhilarating to realize I was one thought ahead of Kelly, yet sad when considering the results of the solution. Purl Up and Die is, as the rest of this series, not to be missed! I highly recommend it to yarn and various texture crafters (the new skill Kelly learned sounds interesting!) and spinners, anyone who enjoys needlework and cozy mysteries, and those who enjoy this gorgeous, feel-good, friend and family centered setting. Relax with a cup of coffee (iced if summer, hot if winter) or tea, and visit again!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review *...more
The Child Eater is a story about two worlds that come together to stop an ancient evil. One of the worlds is like our own world, where we have electricity and everything is cleaner. In this world we have Jack Wisdom and his son Simon. Since Jack was young, his father always told him to be more than normal as their family wasn’t super intelligent as their name said. After an incident where people made fun of them because of Jack, his tries all his life to be normal and to not pay attention to the dream he had, the voices of children he heard, and the lights he saw. In the other world, a more medieval one, where magic exists, wizards are feared and precise, lives Matyas. At the age of fifteen he leaves his family Inn, where his father treated him like a slave, along with his only friend behind. After seeing a man flying and hearing voices calling him a Master”, the way wizards are called, he goes to the capital and enters the Wizard Academy. Without knowing it, what Matyas imagenes or sees, Jack dreams it.
In both of the worlds, children between the age of 8 and 10 years old disappear and later their bodies are found without their heads. Matyas, Jack, and Simon hear their cries for help but are unable to know what to do or how to stop the Child Eater.
I will say that I have mixed emotions with this book. For one part, I loved all of the theories of how the world came to exist, the types of magic and ways to use them. Also, I liked how both worlds were intertwined. What I didn’t like sometimes was Jack and Matyas. In his quest to be more normal than normal, something his family had been trying to be for a long time, Jack seems to hurt his son without knowing it. Matyas made me mad because of his pride and paranoia.
I really like when authors do their research and combine them in their story. In this story, Rachel Pollack has created a combination of different theories of how the universe and the Earth came to exist. She takes the idea of the world being created in seven days and combines it with the idea that the Earth has been created five times. I liked how all this came to combine and how Matyas is taught about it. It creates a story inside the story that we are reading.
The story shows many points that can make the reader relate with the characters. There is love and friendship; the expectations from our parents; the need to learn everything we can; the need to show those who look down on us that we actually made it; and, most of all, to want power. Both Matyas and Jack experience these things, and even Simon with his friend Jimmy has had a hard time being his friend. It got to a point that I understood what the characters were feeling.
The Child Eater is one of those books that are hard to put done once you’ve started, and even when the narrative would go back and forth between Matyas and Jack/Simon, this made the reader want to get faster to next chapter.
If you are a fan of Rachel Pollack’s work, or you like stories that talk about Tarot cards, magic, and eternity, then I recommend you the Child Eater. Here two worlds are joined by an evil without a name that has terrorized them for a long time, but with many events made by Matyas and Jack the end is near and the children are free....more
Onyx Webb is an explosive new concept in literature. Part historical fiction, part detective story, part horror and dipping into the realm of the supernatural, this edition is sure to delight in one aspect of the story or another. Harkening back to the “serialized” novels of the ‘20’s (of which more will be spoken of later) the story will be told over the course of nine books with three episodes apiece. In episodes 1, 2 & 3, which Book 1 encompasses, one is introduced to the story spanning multiple eras and multiple characters, the reader being led by only by a ghost – the ghost of Onyx Webb.
Each episode is almost self-contained, but this isn’t to be taken to mean they can be read out of order. One episode follows naturally from the previous, adding plot turns, twists and surprises; even though you see them coming, you are encouraged to read forward, yearning for more. The writing style is natural, flowing unobtrusively off the page, an invisible barrier to the story at play. Dialogue comes across as genuine from each of the myriad characters in the first three episodes, From billionaire playboys to Civil War widows, from murderers to young girls, the reader never tires of learning more about their motivations and desires. The characters are that three-dimensional.
The writing itself is exceptional. Given the research that must have gone into planning a millennium spanning story, it’s simply amazing that the authors kept it together as tightly as it did. Sparing no calamity, the Civil War, the roaring twenties, the stock market crash, the great depression, the modern world of lifestyles of the rich and famous, the teamwork of Fenton and Waltz, while twisting events to their own design, push the history out with a tangible force that propels the characters forward. Easily digestible, each episode is like your, say favorite T.V. show, one that holds its own water, but hints at what’s to come. I almost felt drawn to it as I would a reader of the heyday of pulp fiction. But serialized stories might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
As mentioned, the characters, at least from what you get from the read, seem to play pre-determined roles, but are fully fleshed out before they even hit the page. Kudos must go to the authors of Onyx Webb, for creating a cast to be reckoned with, from the lowest kind of scum, to the most prudent of them all. Written from a rather sly third person omniscient point of view, the reader is just given enough interest to whet their appetite, and murky information that will obviously play out in the continuing saga. Dealing from a deck of playboy billionaires, drunken gamblers, ghosts, businessmen, young girls, and the omnipresent Onyx Webb, whose apparition guides you through this hand, leaves no doubt, at least in my mind, that the cards are stacked against the reader. The more you learn, the more you want to know about the details and histories of this multi-faceted drama.
For lovers of historical fiction, mysteries, horror, suspense, romance, and a touch of the paranormal (which should include almost everyone). Onyx Webb Book 1: Episodes 1-3 should be placed on a must read shelf – it’s that good. And with promised deadline dates by the authors, this is bound to be a series destined to hold a place in everyone’s heart and possibly a bit more....more
A thoroughly entertaining short story. I was immediately drawn into Edwina’s plight…she just wants to experience things with a man as if she were married. Having recently come in to money, Edwina is no longer in need of securing a husband to live in a suitable manner, but she is looking for a rake. And she found an intriguing one in Chevalier.
The banter between the two prior to commencing their “relationship” was engaging. A couple of chuckle’s emanated from this reader as well. I must say…there is more depth to this rake than I would have expected. :)
From this brief glimpse into the writing of Vivienne Westlake, I am intrigued enough that I would like to read a longer title by Ms. Westlake....more
have to say first of all that I love The Cookbook Nook Series. It is among my favorites. Also author Daryl Wood Gerber is one of the finest cozy writers around, regardless of genre’, she rocks! This series is always fun, entertaining, suspenseful and wonderful to read. It is one that you definitely do not have to read in order because of the mastery the author uses to keep the reader informed and definitely not bored. The characters are great and well developed, even new ones. The setting is perfect, who doesn’t love a cookbook store set in a scenic small town! And to top all of that off, this one is set not only during February (Valentine’s Day), but also Pirate Week in Crystal Cove, California.
Jenna Hart is a kind-hearted, intelligent character. Her aunt Vera is always a hoot. With great friends and townsfolk, the people of Crystal Cove are absolutely fabulous. And for those that love chocolate, you cannot go wrong with Fudging the Books. Chocolate lovers rejoice, not only is it chocolate month in this book, but they have a Chocolate Cookbook Club at the Cookbook Nook. And Jenna’s friend Coco Chastain, candy maker and cookbook author, is going to be the guest of honor along with her editor. Alison Foodie is editor of so many cookbooks and a lot of the citizens of Crystal Cove are writing books that she will be getting published. How can anything go wrong with so much fun happening in town, chocolate and pirates abound. Murder, however rears its ugly head and Jenna cannot help herself. She has to find the culprit.
Several people wind up being suspects, so Jenna is kept busy. Along with finding out whodunit, she is running her fabulous store, celebrating Pirate week and paying homage to chocolate. With pirates running amok, new people in town, authors left and right, how can Jenna pinpoint the true killer? Somehow she weeds out those suspects to find the truth. Along the way, the reader is taken on a fabulous adventure. Side stories are just as interesting as the main mystery. Plenty of twists and turns, and all of them intelligent and feasible. Jenna isn’t a weak nor does she search for answers with abandonment. She is sensible and thorough. And I want to be her friend.
Fudging the Books is a wonderful cozy that is full of entertainment and mystery and is a darn great read. You really do not have to read this series in order as Daryl Wood Gerber is excellent at getting the new reader caught up while keeping the series reader amused and entertained. This book will appeal to foodies, chocolate lovers, pirate fans (and honestly who doesn’t love Johnny Depp in his pirate gear), fans of small town fun and anyone that enjoys a cozy. You truly can’t go wrong with this book, this series or anything Daryl Wood Gerber writes. I have to admit I am in the minority in that I do not like chocolate, however even I loved the recipes and the information and fun dealing with it. Another stellar effort from a fabulous author. And if you haven’t read the earlier books in this series, do it. You will not regret it!
*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*...more
What a great, read! This is the first mystery by M. L. Rowland that I’ve read, and it won’t be the last. Murder on the Horizo’ is the third of the Search and Rescue Mystery series, and it can be read as a standalone. Personally, I would like to go back to read the first two because not only is this very well written, but the protagonist, Gracie, is an intelligent, spunky woman who makes the perfect sleuth.
Gracie Kinkaid is a seasoned member of the Search and Rescue team serving Timber Creek, California, and a manager of a church-owned camp where retreats and other specialty functions are held. Allen, a soft-spoken man covered in tattoos is the head cook. An ex-con, he had earned his degree on the inside and he worked hard at the camp. Gracie’s dog, Minnie, is her constant companion. Camp Ponderosa, Minnie, and Search and Rescue were her priorities.
There were three Search and Rescue challenges that changed Gracie’s life that season; the first was being on a callout when she and her team found a trash bag of human body parts. The second was meeting an eleven-year-old boy named Baxter who was a chronic runaway. Third was a wildfire that raged out of control that threatened her world – Timber Creek and Camp Ponderosa – which could lead to a callout if evacuations began.
Camp Ponderosa was operating on a shoestring until the following spring when bookings would bring the next influx of operating money. In the meantime, Gracie and Allen did as much of the required maintenance between themselves to save the expense of adding a new maintenance manager.
Family challenges brought the simmering rage inside Gracie front and center, situations that would require her to find a way to forgive, or continue to battle within herself and with her mother.
Baxter, the bright, inquisitive adolescent continued to run away, and his destination began to be Gracie’s home. Until the day that she was confronted by his ‘family’. She would need to cut Baxter loose, another challenge as she genuinely cared for the boy, or risk being targeted personally and professionally by the ‘family’ members. And they hadn’t yet begun to inflict their nightmare on Timber Creek…
Gracie Kinkaid’s character has been shaped by adversity, and the dichotomy of simmering rage and gentle caring are not unnoticed. Her character is fully three-dimensional, someone who I could see as being a close acquaintance as she calls few people friends. Each of the characters in the novel are as developed as necessary for their role. Baxter and, of course Gracie, are my favorites because they share similar traits even with different backgrounds. They are definitely people who are worth cheering on through even the very worst moments.
The plot is completely engaging, keeping my attention throughout. The plot twists kept me on my toes, even when I thought that the bad guys were caught. The author is an absolute master of suspense who plies her craft well, bringing yet one more surprise than this reader anticipated. This is not a lightweight read, but while it has bad guys in every sense of the term, one also sees the potential in a young boy and a woman whose life circumstances could easily shape them to be one of the bad guys. They choose, however, to go against their upbringings to be better people. I highly recommend Murder on the Horizon to adults of any age and older teens, who appreciate well-written, gritty suspense. It is a powerful novel that stays with the reader after the last page is turned....more
I’ll have to admit that reading a sequel to another book in a series, without losing a beat and being able to follow the plot, is a rare treat. Soul Continuum sparkles like a gem in this regard having a learning curve that eases the reader into the evolving story. Shall I say four separate stories leading to a final climatic ending with the very fabric of space and time hanging in the balance?
Salem is the last human alive. Immortal, because of advanced sciences, he spends his lonely existence plying the Soul Consortium, the Collective archives of all human memories. Over the course of the novel, Salem must deal with his own existence, and live three separate entities lives: the life of a freak experiment, that left him with infinite knowledge, yet constantly metamorphosing into a creature that could no longer reason; a the life of a twentieth century scientist whose colleagues are dying around him, as he unravels a secret that costs him his life; and a sentient android, the first of its kind that have been cut off from the Collective A.I. and must raise a child whilst overcoming her irrational hatred of humans.
After a freak interruption in one of his routine lives, Salem develops an encrypted algorithm block in his mind. Decoding it lies in the three other lives he must go through. Placed there by an enigmatic woman (who I assume was introduced, in The Soul Consortium, the first book in the series) it leaves a breadcrumb trail through which each of the three lives he must inhabit are played out. It is through these lives that Salem discovers the true nature of his part to play into an oncoming invasion of unexplainable forces from a tear in the very core of the galaxy. In addition to his mission to save the universe, I personally found more about a mysterious figure who handles a strange stone with physically impossible properties intriguing.
Skillfully written, with a nod to Robert Heinlein, and Phillip K. Dick thrown in for good measure, The Soul Continuum is a solid, thought-provoking, science fiction novel. The book does what science fiction does best: explore the human condition. The questions of immortality, science we don’t fully comprehend, the dangers and restructuring after war, the colonization of other worlds – all of these questions are invoked in the readers mind and thought provokingly placed. The pace is slow, granted, but there is a lot of bang for your buck if you savor every word.
For lovers of thought proving, intellectually stimulating novels – even if they are science fiction – The Soul Continuum won’t disappoint you. I can also see fans of the Matrix movie trilogy, or movies based off of Phillip K. Dick, such as Scanners, Total Recall, and Blade Runner enjoying it immensely. It’s a powerful and mindful read that everyone should give a try.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
Mike Faricy’s Twinkle Toes is an engaging, entertaining novella. His descriptive prose was succinct and well written. I was quickly immersed in the hunt for Zoe (aka Twink) that Dev embarked upon. The back story and description of Zoe (pink hair and all) was what hooked me to begin with. I needed Twink to be okay!
I loved the description of Carl…with it so detailed; I was able to visualize Carl: “Although I’d never net Carl, I recognized him. A local thug, wanna-be criminal mind and in general an abject failure….He had a tooled black leather belt sporting a large brass belt buckle in the shape of a sheriff’s badge. A silky black sport coat was draped over his T-shirt. His biceps made the sleeves of the coat look like stuffed sausages and did little to hid his shoulder holster.”
And so as not to forget, the character names certainly provided a couple of chuckle worthy moments: Tom Kruise (aka ‘The Commander’) and Luscious Dixon – ex NFL player with anger management issues.
Mr. Faricy’s writing style had me hooked almost immediately; leading me to the desire to pick up a full length novel from this writer and give that a go....more
If Onions Could Spring Leeks, the fifth installment in the Country Cooking School Mystery series, is one of my favorite reads of the summer.
Betts Winston and her grandmother run a cooking school in the tourist town Broken Rope, Missouri, where everyone relishes in the town’s Old West history and culture. The school is on hiatus, other than a night class that is attended by locals, and Betts has some free time. She volunteers to drive a motorized wagon one day a week for the tourists. To say the least, she is surprised to find her student and fellow volunteer Derek deceased among the wagons, and Betts is injured, too. Derek was an unpleasant man who had an unusual relationship with his even more unpleasant mother Lynn and five, yes five, ex-wives. Perhaps one of them could have had it in for him…or one of the other members of the cooking class?
In addition to a mutual love of cooking, Betts and Gram also share an ability to see and interact with ghosts. The ghosts are tied to Broken Rope’s history, have usually met with an untimely violent end, and need Betts and Gram’s help to right a wrong or assist with unfinished business. Betts is awakened in the wee hours by a train whistle, but there are no trains nearby. Remembering that the town’s train station was once housed in a field on her street, she goes outside to find the ghostly version in all its 1880’s glory. There she meets Grace who was to rendezvous with her love Robert, but it was not to be. Legend has it that Robert went to the station every day for years in search of Grace. When Gram starts having nightmares about Grace’s brutal death, Betts agrees to do what she can for the ill fated lovers and turns to her friend Jake, the local historian, for help.
Jake is one of only a couple of people that know about Betts’s ghostly abilities. She longs to tell her boyfriend Cliff about the ghosts but is afraid of how he will react. He can feel that something is standing between them. If only he knew that that something was Betts’s romantic feelings for her own personal cowboy ghost Jerome. Jerome always appears when Betts is in danger, and she definitely faces peril here. Something is keeping him from her, but he does manage to possess the living and other ghosts for brief moments to warn her and to sneak a kiss or two.
If Onions Could Spring Leeks combines past and present mysteries, the paranormal, food, and a touch of romance. What more could I ask for? The characters are all well developed and varied, the Old West setting is an exciting backdrop, and both mysteries were compelling. Derek’s murder investigation was full of twists and turns, and I was impressed by the culprit’s motivation and a little surprised by the guilty party’s identity. As much as I enjoyed the present whodunit, I absolutely adored Grace and Robert’s star crossed story of interracial longing and what might have been. The resolution to their mystery was definitely a surprise. Ms. Shelton does a fantastic job of weaving the two plot lines together, and I did not want the story to end. And then there is Jerome…the idea of a romance between a ghost from another century and the protagonist should not work, but it does, and I am not even bothered by the love triangle (sort of) that is developing. I cannot wait to see what further adventures Betts and crew find themselves a part.
My opinion of the series as a whole remains steadfast, and Onions proves to be a cut above others in the cozy genre. Highly recommended for fans of ghostly, historical, and foodie cozies....more
Call on Me is the story of Oakley Easton and Pike Ryland. They meet when Pike is asked to help the Bluebonnet organization with their charity music event. After Oakley’s music past, she tries to dislike Pike from the beginning, only to fail very quickly. Her job of receptionist is not enough to pay the bills, so for some time she has been working at night as Sasha in a sex-phone-line. One day, Pike accidentally answers Oakley’s phone to a man asking to talk with Sasha, this ignites a curiosity in him that later is confirmed when he calls the number and Oakley answers in a sexy voice. After this phone call, a hunger for each other start to consume them, until they both agree that their feelings are much deeper.
“You sound sleepy. Are you in bed?” “I am. All alone. How about you? You want some company?” “I want you.” The words were ones she’d heard a thousand times before, but for some reason these sent a bloom of heat through her. Her body prickled with awareness. Huh. Weird. “Well, I’m right here for whatever you want.” “I just got what I wanted.” She frowned. “And what’s that?” “To hear your voice one more time tonight”… Call on Me takes place eight years after the events of Yours All Along, where we meet Hunter and Devon. In that novella we got a glimpse of Oakley’s life of a singer. This is the second book I read by author Roni Loren, the first one was Yours All Along and once I finished it I wanted to know what had happened to Devon’s sister for him to need money for their bills, and I wasn’t disappointed.
In this book, author Roni Loren shows a woman that has been burned by the world of entertainment and has natural dislike for all things related to musicians and a man that has a family past that he doesn’t want to repeat. They both have issues, but together they seem to connect, and once they do it’s hard not to see them together forever.
I loved Oakley’s daughter Reagan, I would say that she had the best lines and I got the feeling that she was a major help for Pike to fall for Oakley. Being a teen mom had to be very difficult for Oakley, but I would say that she did the best she could and put her daughter’s needs before her own. The instant like between Pike and Reagan was something that I liked, the three of them make a great family.
Unlike Yours All Along, Call on Me is BDSM story. Its sex scenes are much stronger than the novella. If you like this genre then this story is great for you, but it also has that taste of romance story for all who like happy endings.
In Call on Me, we can see some characters from the previous books of the series, some of them now have children and others are trying to get pregnant. We also learn about a few of the characters for the next books. It also comes with the preview for Roni’s new series.
If you are a fan of Roni Loren or BDSM stories, then I recommend you Call on Me. Here in this story a voice would capture a man’s interest and his heart, and release the passion of a woman that thought she was numb.
“Hello, this is Sasha. Ready for a fantasy night?” *OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
When Joanna arrives home from a teaching position overseas after another failed relationship, she feels that heartbreak is the only conclusion to commitment. Meeting Malcolm at a party she decides that friendship is the way to go. Getting her life back on track Joanna buys a broken down house in need of many repairs however all of her energy is put into restoring the garden. When Malcolm asks to be her roommate she agrees and they embark in an on again off again romance. Malcolm helps restore the house and their friendship grows. Joanna is slow to see her need for Malcolm. She thinks she doesn’t want him romantically but is jealous when he tries to form new relationships.
Malcolm I think from the beginning is attracted to Joanna but she keeps pushing him away. He does everything to help her but cannot seem to break through her self-doubt and negative thinking toward romance. The on again off again romance finally gets to him. Can their relationship be saved?
I must say I was a little frustrated at times with Joanna and wanted to shake her and say Grow up. I really was surprised with the ending. The story really does prove that your childhood can affect your adult decisions. It was an interesting story and I will definitely look for more books by Rebecca Kelly....more
Better Homes and Corpses is a wonderful first in what I hope will be a fabulous new series. Characters are entertaining, storyline is great, fast paced and intriguing. I really enjoy the main character, Meg Barrett. She is strong, yet vulnerable. Smart and inquisitive and she has a true reason for that trait. Her father is an ex-policeman. I loved that fact and that she had a real knack for figuring things out. Plus the police were not offended by her help here and there. Nice. The setting was beautiful and well described. And even though there are a lot of characters introduced, they were easy to get to know and keep straight. The characters were wonderful. I look forward to getting to know the main circle of characters even better over what I hope to be a long lived new series.
As the book begins, Meg was going to help an old friend catalog her families many antiques. The Queen Mother of the Hamptons’ daughter Jillian went to school with Meg. Since Meg moved to Montauk from Manhattan to start an interior design business and this will be a wonderful boon for her. Unfortunately, when Meg arrives she finds Jillian cradling her mother’s lifeless body. Not an auspicious start for sure. Meg’s friend Elle Warner ends up being called on to do some of the cataloging as well and thankfully that means they can both tread through the many suspects and antiques together. There are suspects everywhere it seems and past events are uncovered that lead Meg to question even her old schoolmate. Jillian has not been quite stable for years it seems.
I adore all the characters and the suspects too. This book has a real Agatha Christie feel to it that pulls you in and takes you through all the twists and turns with such aplomb and I loved it. Characters like Doc Heckler – old friend/father’s “spy”, Elle – Meg’s dear friend, the wonderful poetic, widowed neighbor. Suspects were plentiful and for different reasons, Cole – son of the murder victim who has been estranged for years, Adam Prescott – assistant to the murder victim, Salvatore – the scandalous artist who has lived on the estate for years, Adam’s meddling mother – Frances, and even Tara Gayle – Meg’s rival for more than just good buys. The mystery is very well written and kept me guessing.
Kathleen Bridge has written a wonderful first in a series. Her writing style reminds me so much of the wonderful books by Agatha Christie, the wonderful television mysteries including Murder She Wrote and others in the same vein and I loved it. I was pulled in from the first pages of Better Home and Corpses. I love Meg and think she is one of my favorite main characters. Although I know absolutely nothing about antiques or interior design, I never felt lost in the weeds when they were being discussed. I love how many twists, turns, red herrings and hints and clues there were. Never overdone, just the right amount and just the right amount of suspense and intrigue. A truly fabulous first that has made me a true fan. I cannot wait for the next.
*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*...more
Magic Shifts takes place almost three months after the events of Magic Breaks. Now that Curran and Kate are no longer the Beast Lord and Consort of the pack, they are adjusting to a family-home routine with their ward (daughter) Julie. Things are going okay for them; Curran has started to work with Kate in Cutting Edge, he might intimidate the clients, but he’s learning, and they can both go home at the end of the day and have a family dinner. The Master of the Dead of Atlanta knows that she is the Sharrim and might bow, every time they see her, but at least her father hasn’t interfered in her life, yet.
After Kate claims the land as hers, some people who have a little more of magic than others have noticed the difference and are starting to get curious. This gets worse when Eduardo, the Were-buffalo, friend of Kate and Curran goes missing and his secret girlfriend George, Curran’s sister, asks them to find him. Everything starts to escalate when ghouls, a winged-wolf, a giant tick, and giants start to appear on the last place where Eduardo was seen, Mercenary Guild.
Now, Kate and Curran, with the help of their friends, are in their quest to find Eduardo, the stalker that has been following him, and deal with Roland who is building a tower not so far away from Atlanta.
What can I say, the book was great, to the point I had a hard time putting it down just to go run some errands. Like the other books in the series, the problem at the beginning leads our heroes to a much greater problem than what they expected; in this case a missing person turns into a race to stop an old power from resurging into the world, *Spoiler* a djinn.
“I can make you whole,” I whispered. “But there is a price.”
“I’ll pay it.”
“Stop,” Nick said. “She’ll promise you the world and then she will make you her slave. She can’t help it. It’s in her blood.”
“Wait, what is this talk of whole-making?” Luther waved his arms. “What’s going on?”
Mitchell’s gaze never wavered. “I would rather be a slave than be this.” I have always liked the magic that couple-author Ilona Andrews uses in their books, and in Magic Shifts I wasn’t let down. The couple always finds ways to combine different creatures or myths to create a new story or tale regarding the past before technology. For fans of the series, you can expect to see a ritual similar to the one done to Julie, but different and based in alchemy. Also, the magic words are not working this time.
Since we last saw Roland in the previous book, I have come to like how he addresses Kate, he always calls her “Blossom” or his “dangerous one”. In this book, we get to see a little more of Roland and hear how he met Kate’s mother, Kalina. The worst part is that we learn what his plans are for Kate and Curran, and Kate is not happy.
We cannot forget the funny scenes the book has. There were a lot of funny scenes well placed throughout the book, some better than others, and some people were funny with knowing they were getting in trouble. Kate’s sarcasm was not missed and sometimes her inner thoughts are the best.
Rowena saw me and out an extra effort into her speed-walking.
Rowena caught up with us. True to form, she was smiling, but her eyes were terrible. The journeyman saw her. “Master, I can handle –“
She hit him on the back of the head. He flinched.
“Bow,” she squeezed through the smile.
“Bow, you idiot.” For fans like me, who like Ilona Andrews and/or the Kate Daniels series, I recommend you Magic Shifts. If you are new to the series, it’s recommended that you read the previous books, but if not, just go along with the story and you won’t regret it. In Magic Shifts, we see a couple that has come so far, and now is trying to keep their friend, and family safe from ancient powers out of their control....more
Berried Secrets is the first book in the new Cranberry Cove Mystery series and devotees to the cozy genre will find much to like within its pages.
Monica Albertson finds herself available to move to Cranberry Cove, Michigan, after the failure of her café and death of her fiancé. Her half-brother Jeff has purchased a cranberry farm and, being a disabled veteran, could use Monica’s help with his first harvest. On the first morning of the harvest while wading into the bog, Monica stumbles and Sam Culbert’s body rises to the surface. Sam is the town mayor, owns much of the town, and looked after the farm while Jeff was deployed to Afghanistan. Monica thinks that Sam was skimming funds from the farm, and Jeff quickly becomes the police’s prime suspect. Jeff is not alone in his dislike of Sam; most of the town folk had some sort of beef with him. Mauricio, one of Jeff’s workers, takes off before the police arrive. Greg Harper, the local bookstore owner, ran against him in the mayoral race and lost. Sam did not treat his wife well, and she does not seem all that grieved by his death. Cora, the diner’s waitress, had to give up her hair salon when Sam made her rent unaffordable. To complicate matters, Jeff’s mother Gina has come to town for a visit that turns permanent. As the body count rises and with Gina’s help, Monica sets out to clear Jeff’s name and uncover the real killer.
Berried Secrets has all of the ingredients to be a successful cozy series. There is a charming small town with wacky, likable characters, a sensible, but nosy, protagonist with a flawed past that leads her to said small town, a victim that the reader will love to hate, and the seemingly requisite cat. I did indeed find Cranberry Cove to be an enchanting setting, and I would enjoy visiting the shops, especially Greg’s bookstore, and eating comfort food at the diner. Monica comes across as a very down to earth character, almost stodgy and a little too perfect at times, but she did loosen up as the story advanced, and I think I will grow to like her as the series progresses. Jeff is an interesting character and has the potential to develop nicely as he learns to deal with his changed life since his war injury. Honestly, I did not like Gina much at her introduction, but she too seemed to mellow as time went on, and I think she will be a nice addition to the town. Greg is my favorite character of the bunch. I think there is more to him than his bookish exterior.
Cochran does a fine job of pacing the story and revealing clues a bit at a time. I found all of the suspects to be viable and was somewhat surprised when the perpetrator was revealed. I did find the modus operandi in the second murder to be quite clever. The informational tidbits about cranberries were interesting, and I must make the coffee cake recipe that is included at the end of the book....more
In the story, a seventeen year old Davy discovers that he can teleport, or jump, from one place to another. But his ability only works with specific places that he has been to and his mind remembers. After some tragic events at home, Davy jumps away and starts a new life in New York, where, after a few struggles and then acquiring some money, things finally seem to be looking better. Davy later meets Millie and starts a relationship with her, but he can’t just leave his old life behind. He still goes to visit his alcoholic dad and old neighborhood.
Trying to get more jumping points, Davy travels around the world and soon is capable of jumping wherever he wishes. Things get complicated when terrorism crosses in Davy’s path and he decides to take justice in his hands.
Why did I not read this book years ago? I definitely did not know what I was missing out on. I guess I could say that I didn’t know what to expect. Jumper is a book that transcends through time, which can clearly be seen while you’re reading it and hardly ever wonder what year the events are taking place. The story is humorous, entertaining, detailed that it captivates you to the point where I can say that Jumper is still a great book ‘til this day.
Davy is by far my favorite character, followed by Mille. He is smart and nerdy, with a pinch of sarcastic and funny. His love for books is just amazing, to the point where he would save them first than anything else. Steven Gould could have not created a better character for this book. Davy just has so much to give to the story who can easily guide us through it.
“You don’t go to school and you don’t work? What do you do?”
“I read a lot.” Jumper is a book that not only talks about science fiction and teleporting, it deals domestic violence, terrorism, culture, religion, family, romance, loneliness, depression, suffering and more. All of these experienced through a teenager trying to survive in the real world, almost an alien in his own country. At the end, he opens his heart to love and reconciliation, and learns from his mistakes like anyone else.
All in all, if you’re into good, classic, science fiction books, Jumper is a title you should definitely read. It can stand as a young adult book or an adult book, either way, I’m sure you will enjoy it.
What do a locket, a ratty old loveseat, and a classic pickup truck have in common? Only Jillian Hart, her fiance Tom Stewart, and best friend Deputy Candace Carson would be able to make sense of this collection. The Cat, the Sneak, and the Secret is #7 in Leann Sweeney’s ‘A Cats in Trouble’ series. It easily can be enjoyed as a stand-alone or in sequence with the series.
Oh, it is so much fun to be back with Jillian, Merlot, Syrah, Chablis, and now – Magpie! Gotta love Magpie, who likes to filch fun ‘toys’ and treasures! If only she could talk, what tales she could share. Tales that would reveal the truth about the loveseat she was most recently found in, the blood on her coat. Oh yes, and the locket. One of her treasures.
Jillian and Tom’s wedding was only days away when the town was wracked with grief from the murder of two prominent citizens. Well, one of the two, anyway. Jillian Hart and her soon-to-be stepson Finn were at the pet adoption center, where Finn’s boss and friend Shawn watches Finn’s pup Yoshi until he moves into an apartment after semester break at college. Finn fell in love with an escape artist cat at the shelter who always brings back a collection of ‘treasures’ she finds along the way. Finn was ready to adopt this lovely cat, but when he was ready to take the baby to Jillian’s, the cat hadn’t been seen after her most recent escape. He, Shawn and Jillian then answered a call to pick up a cat hiding in a loveseat wearing a collar from the adoption center. Ed, of Ed’s Swap Shop and companion to Tom’s mother, had picked up a used loveseat in a parking lot.
It was Magpie, as Finn named her, inside the love seat. A chain with a locket was around her paw, and she was covered in – blood? But, she had no injuries. When a bullet was found in the loveseat, Deputy Candace came out and found that the blood was, unfortunately, human.
The following day Jillian was out with Kara, her journalist step-daughter by her late husband, when the call came in that a body had been found at a construction site. Jillian raced Kara to the site and they waited hours for the body, which had been scheduled to be covered with concrete that day, the body was quickly identified once uncovered. The second victim was found the following day, and it looked as if the vic had committed suicide. Both vics had been shot with a .22, same caliber as the bullet found with the loveseat. Thus begins the most heartbreaking and challenging pair of deaths encountered yet by Jillian.
I truly enjoy Jillian, a wise and intelligent woman with the gift to make friends with almost anybody, most especially any pet in need. She sees people with her heart, choosing to look for the good in a person while also seeing the pain masked by their anger or indifference. Jillian is not naive; she is unique in that she doesn’t participate in gossip, preferring facts and making her own conclusions of those around her. She is compassionate, a lady with firm convictions. Her fiance, working as a PI until circumstances require him to return to law enforcement and fill in as interim police chief, is also a man of firm convictions and intelligence. They complement each other, and attract friends who are like-minded. Candace, Kara, and Finn are as well defined as – and influenced by – Jillian and Tom. Others are as developed as required for their roles. It is stunning to see the difference between someone as kind and loving as Jillian when seen side-by-side with the bad guy or gal; I admire the author’s heart shining through Jillian.
The plot is thoroughly executed. Leann Sweeney proves her talents as an excellent author as she flawlessly designs and quilts a cozy mystery that is not only worth reading, it is worth re-reading. There are continual plot twists that introduce, suggest, and set aside possible suspects. The victims seemingly have nothing in common, no reason to die as they did. And even though I had suspected the guilty guy or gal, someone else was my favorite suspect. The motive couldn’t be easily discerned until the final clues were revealed, almost with pride, by the perp. This reader was pulled in from the beginning of the story and went along for the ride as the suspense built until feeling like I was on a speeding, twisting amusement park ride. I highly recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed the author’s prior mysteries, who likes pets, especially cats, and romance sweetening the intensity of the mystery investigation. The Cats in Trouble Mystery series will be a hit for a long time to come!...more
Millie Switkowski is a nurse and a medical student. When she returns home to Bear Paw for her summer clinical rotation, she is happy with her life. She is one year closer to earning her medical degree, she is managing her diabetes and she is sure that she is no longer in love with Dr. Will Bartlett. Nothing is going to prevent her from enjoying her summer and learning as much as she can during her clinical rotation. Even when Will shows up for a wedding that Millie is the best man for, she knows she can handle seeing him for a short period of time. But when she finds out that Will is going to be her supervising doctor for her rotation, things start falling apart. How can she spend an entire summer near him without letting her feelings show?
Will Bartlett is missing Australia and thinks maybe it is time to go back home. But he does not know if he will be able to deal with being back after the death of his twin, Charlie. He feels like he lost a part of himself when his twin died and everything back home reminds him of Charlie. So he is more than okay with accepting the position of supervising physician for Millie because it will delay his return home for three months. By then he may be better able to handle the loss of Charlie. He does not expect to develop feelings for Millie, because, after all, she has always been “one of the guys”. But when he spends more time with and gets to know her better, he no longer sees her as a “pal”. He does not know how he can spend an entire summer with her without letting his feelings show.
Ethan Langworthy is the town librarian and he is the one that everyone loves to make fun of. Every time he does something embarrassing, someone is right there to snap a picture and place it on social media. He does not seem to mind, though. He is happy living his life his way and if he can entertain the town he is alright with that. When he is arrested trying to break into his own house by a female policewoman, Tara, he is alright with the entire town laughing at him. He just wants to get to know her better.
Tara has taken a job in Bear Claw because she needs a change of pace. She has not had an easy childhood and after being in the military, she craves peace and quiet. She does not realize that policing is a small town will not be easy. She does not know about small town life and she finds it difficult to fit in. And when she accidentally arrests Ethan, she is not sure that she will be ever be able to adjust. And when she finds herself attracted to Ethan, she thinks she made a big mistake ever taking the job. She does not want anyone in her life because she has been disappointed too many times in her life by people she should have been able to trust.
Will and Millie are characters that you can enjoy reading about and want to learn more about. The fact that Millie is diabetic added another level to the story and it is very important to their relationship. Millie does not want anyone feeling sorry for her or mothering her because of her disease. She wants to be treated like everyone else and do things that she enjoys without worrying. She knows how to control her diabetes and she monitors it very closely. After Will finds out that Millie is diabetic, all he can do is worry about her. He wants to protect and keep her safe and smother her, which angers Millie. But he cannot help himself. Ever since he lost Charlie, he has an irrational fear of losing someone else he cares about. This seems to be an obstacle that they will not be able to overcome.
Ethan and Tara are my favorite characters. There is something so heartwarming watching them find their way to each and opening up to each other. Tara hides behind her badge and wants the world to think she is tough as nails. But in reality, at times she is still the little girl who had a rough childhood. She wants to have girlfriends and do the things that other women take for granted, but she does not know how. She wants to find someone special but she does not think that she is capable of having a trusting loving relationship. Ethan is happy with his life and the person that he is. He does not take life too seriously and he is able to laugh at himself. But when he meets Tara, he knows that he has met someone special and he wants to spend his life with her. But he knows he has to take things very slowly if he is to have a chance. Watching their relationship unfold just felt right and natural, and I could have read about them all day long.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. During the course of reading this book, I laughed, I cried, I sighed and I cheered. In my opinion, it would be difficult to elicit all those responses from the readers. But this author does it expertly and I really appreciate that.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted contemporary romance. In fact, you will be getting two romances because of the four main characters. And in my opinion, that is a great thing. This is the second book I have read by this author and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
A novella about a certain time of year I really enjoy (Christmas) as well with a main character who is an animal lover. Needless to say, I had high expectations. Well…the storyline fell short of its Christmas theme, however, the mystery portion was well done.
Polly Parrett is a 27 year old entrepreneur running a pet-sitting business in the small town of Mallowapple (who came up with that name…certainly does not roll off one’s tongue). While trying to juggle her business obligations, she is assisting with the sale of her family home as her mother is wheelchair-bound and the property is getting to be too much to look after by herself or even with Polly’s assistance. The decision is made to list the property in hopes of selling and getting Polly’s mother into a more suitable living arrangement. The real estate agent who comes to the door is a “hottie” and this does not go unnoticed by Polly .
Following the review of the paperwork to list the property (at a dinner meeting…or is it a date?), Polly and Tyler Breslin (aka Mr. Hottie) stumble across a policeman threatening a homeless man’s dog. Being the animal lover that she is, Polly inadvisably intervenes and this is where the mystery and intrigue begin.
Following the trail to who was the murdered was an enjoyable ride. As well, the progression of the relationship between Polly and Tyler was engaging. I found the story flowed rather well for a novella. After all, it is difficult to wrap many parts of a story in such a small time frame.
An enjoyable, afternoon read. If you like a bit of a mystery, a bit of a romance and involvement of the whole village (so to speak), then I suggest this novella....more