Dirty Money Roughneck Billionaires, Book #1 By Jessica Clare Author’s Website: http://jillmyles.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
Southern Texas heats up when four roughneck billionaires set their sights on love in the new series from New York Times bestselling author Jessica Clare.
Boone Price and his brothers know oil; at least, the dirty, backbreaking side of working an oil rig. But when their scrubby, worthless hunting land turns out to be sitting on top of one of the biggest oil wells in North America, they go from the rig to the boardroom and end up billionaires practically overnight.
Now with enough money to do whatever he wants, Boone is developing a taste for fine things. And the finest thing he’s ever seen is Ivy Smithfield, local realtor. Boone’s determined to buy her affection and show the world that he’s more than just a dirty fool with a bit of money. Ivy’s classy and beautiful – she’ll make the perfect trophy wife. The fact that she’s sexy and funny is just a bonus.
There’s one tiny problem – Ivy’s as dirt poor as Boone is. Her carefully crafted veneer of luxury? All an act to promote her business. What’s Boone going to do when he finds out the woman he’s falling for is, well, in his league?
Dirty Money starts with Boone Price, the oldest brother of the Price family, getting mad because Bates, the partner of their company PBO (Price Brothers Oil) for their new job, sent a businessman in a suit who criticized his method to find oil, and disrespected him thinking Boone was just a normal worker, instead of the boss. After this show of disrespect, Boone confronts his partner at a Golf Course where at first, he is not let in because is for rich people and he doesn’t appear like one, even though he is a billionaire. Not carrying that they have called security, he storms into the field and ends all partnerships with Bates, knowing that Bates is the one that needs the partnership more than PBO. Later that night, at a bar with his brothers, Boone still is irritated that rich people look down on him because he doesn’t look like them, he decides that he needs to look more classy, and takes on his brother advice to look for a house. There are flyers of realtor’s offices, and he notices a blond woman in one of them, preferring the women than a house, he decides to get himself a classy trophy wife, and the women from the flyers is what he needs. The next day, Boone arrives at the office of Three Jacks, where he meets Ivy Smithfield, the women from the flyers, decides that he’s going to get her. The only problem is that Ivy is living check by check and needs the next commission very badly or she might not make ends meet, and now that her sister is attending college she needs it more than ever. Without knowing who Boone is at first, she decides to help him get house, and thinks he is joking at first when proposing to go out in a date with her. After she finds out the truth, she is more eager to sell him a mansion, and get the big commission, but the more she know Boone, the difficult it’s becomes too denied their attraction.
I liked Dirty Money, it was a different and at the same time similar experience when reading a book by Jessica Clare. While the storyline is similar to some of the other Billionaire series that she has, the characters were entirely different from those previous series. Boone was such a refresh character to read and fun to see with what new things he tried to impress Ivy. His spending of money and investment was so different and shocking to read, but so much fun.
Boone is very different to the other billionaire characters that Clare has written before, while the billionaires in her other series already come from families with money or understood how to spend or act as billionaires, Boone is the opposite. His way of living is still modest to one point, but if he has money he will buy, even if is not for sale, he will charm the owner to sell it. I loved the way that Boone deal with disrespect, if I had money as he did, I would do the same and burn things to the ground.
I liked Ivy, she had fun and serious scenes, but at the same time we could always see that her main goal was to do the best for her sister. I loved her inner strength to fight for a better life for her sister and herself, and work hard for her ideas and ambitions. I hated that other people stepped over her and took her earnings.
Dirty Money had funny scenes that helped the story to not be all completely romance, most of them were thanks to Boone, but others that I liked came from the interaction between Ivy and her sister, mostly from her sister refusing to call her Ivy,
“She crosses her legs and gives me an expectant look. ‘So tell me about your day. Did you find another meth house in the suburbs?’
‘Weider than that’, I tell her. ‘I got a new client today.’
‘And her took me out to dinner?’
Her brows go up. ‘And?’
‘And he’s a billionaire.’
Her eyes get huge. ‘What? Get out’….”
I’m interested to learn what type of stories and love interest will the other Price brothers will have, and if Ivy’s sister will find a billionaire for herself or just to see more of her and this couple in the future.
If you’re fan of Jessica Clare or her other series, then I recommend you Dirty Money, the first installment in her new series, Roughneck Billionaires. In this story, appearances can misguide the rich and the poor, but most of all bond two people that need somebody to complete them in their exact opposite views, but with the same past.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Axe hasn’t had an easy life. His mother left his father and him when he was just a boy. His dad was so distraught he was never the same again. He built the cottage Axe and he lived in and spent all his daylight hours down in his workshop carving beautiful wooden creatures, all for when the love his life would finally return. But sadly she never did and he died in the raids when the family he was working for wouldn’t allow him in the safe room. Now Axe is all alone, living in the cottage, not even able to afford electricity to heat the place. The one good thing in his life was getting accepted into the Black Dagger Brotherhood training program, an opportunity he won’t squander!
Elise lives with her father and aunt and uncle. But there is a sadness that lingers over their home ever since her cousin was murdered. Her uncle walks around like a ghost and her aunt doesn’t leave their room. Nobody discusses what happened and they haven’t even had a proper fade ceremony to say their goodbyes.
Now Elise’s father is worried that she may face the same fate as her cousin. Elise has had to resort to sneaking out to attend school so she can complete her doctorate. But one night her father catches her and it leaves herself facing the possibility of sehclusion. But instead her dad is persuaded to get her a bodyguard instead so that she can finish school, while staying safe. And her dad just happens to hire a male she just met and is strangely attracted to, Axe! Things between the two quickly heat up, but will outside forces break them apart?
This was another really good book in this spin-off series. I love this more simplistic series in our beloved Black Dagger world. We get new characters, new romances, and another look at our favorite brothers and their shellans as well! And this book focuses on my favorite brother, Rhage, so there was no doubt that I’d love this one! Although it was sad, what Rhage and Mary were going through; the possibility of losing the family they so recently built. But I had no doubt that it would all work out in the end, especially with our favorite foul-mouthed fallen angel telling them just that! I sure do love Lassiter too! He just brings so much fun to the series. And, with all that Rhage and Mary were going through this book definitely needed his brand of humor!
“Rhage, we have a problem–“
“You weren’t supposed to tell him!” Lassiter barked.
Rhage frowned. “Lassiter?”
“Fuck you!” came the muffled response.
Mary pointed to the hearth. “Lassiter is in a Santa suit, stuck in the chimney, impaled on something that means he can’t dematerialize. So we’ve got a problem.”
Rhage blinked once. And then threw his head back and laughed so loudly the windows shook.
“This is the best fucking Christmas present ever!”
“Fuck you, Hollywood!” Lassiter yelled from inside the chimney. “Fuck you so hard–”
But of course the main couple in this book is Elise and Axe and I really enjoyed them as well. Axe had a rough childhood after his mom left and it’s hard to imagine him living on his own, struggling to keep himself fed and unable to even afford heat. I kept waiting for the brothers to find out and force him to the mansion, but it never happened.
Elise is a driven female that knows exactly what she wants in life. I was surprised how quickly she jumped in the sheets with Axe being such a goody two-shoes though, and I honestly thought Troy would be more of a problem, then he was. Not to mention, her father. But I knew from the beginning when she preached about honesty that it would become the thing that ripped them apart later. And it quickly became obvious what secret Axe would be hiding that put the wedge between them. But the couple gets help from an unlikely source. Will it be enough to save them?
This was a really great read and I can’t wait for my next Black Dagger Fix!...more
Dark Side of the Moon Dark-Hunter, Book #9 Were-Hunter, Book #3 By Sherrilyn Kenyon ISBN# 9780312934347 Author’s Website: http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Susan Michaels’s life has gone to hell in a hand-basket. She was a bulldog of a reporter after the story of her life, but after her big story broke it was revealed that her main source had lied and she became the laughing stock of the journalistic world. No reputable paper would have her, forcing her to work on a rag that reports vampire sightings and the like. The man she thought she loved left her high and dry not wanting her reputation to tarnish his own. The only good thing she has left in her life are her friends Angie and Jimmy.
When Angie calls with what sounds like a lead on a real story, Susan jumps to meet her at a local animal shelter. But she somehow gets roped into taking a cat home with her, despite the fact she’s allergic. But when Susan removes the too-tight collar, imagine her surprise when the kitty turns into a full-sized leopard and then into a naked and very sexy man!
Ravyn Kontis is a Were-Hunter that has been made into a Dark-Hunter after his at the time intended mate betrayed him and caused the women and children of his village to be brutally tortured and murdered. Artemis granted him his act of vengeance, but the remainder of his family could never forgive him for the loss of their loved ones, in fact, one of his brothers is the one that killed him. And, Ravyn didn’t even fight him, so overwhelmed with guilt, he just let it happen.
Ravyn was dying his final death in that animal shelter with the magical collar around his neck keeping him from shifting, but he couldn’t keep the form of a small house cat for long, it was only a matter of time before his head would have exploded as he got bigger and bigger. Thankfully Susan got him to safety just in time! But sadly, his rescue cost Susan’s closest friends their lives. And worse Susan and Ravyn are wanted for their murders!
The Daimons have partnered with humans to rid Seattle of Dark-Hunters. Before his death, Jimmy had told Susan about corruption that went way up the ladder in the police force, now in hiding, Susan and Ravyn must figure out what is going on and how to stop it!
This was a good book in the Dark-Hunter/Were-Hunter world. I really enjoyed Ravyn…. Those Were-Hunters get me Every. Single. Time! Sexy, loyal, and, tortured by his past, he had me eating out of his hand or paw… And, it’s pretty cool that he can get around that whole burning in the sunlight thing by turning into a cat.
I enjoyed Susan as well. She had her own tortured past to deal with, not to mention the horrible events of her present circumstances. I loved how she found ways to help and comfort Ravyn, even when he didn’t want it! I figured out what was going to happen between these two pretty early on, but it was fun to “watch”.
Again, we saw more of the things that Ash goes through to be able to help his hunters, and the pain he puts himself through when he is unable to help.
We also got re-introduced to a very angry and vindictive Nick! Which is bound to get only worse after how he was tricked in this book! I’m anxious to see what happens next in this series!
A Christmas Dream A Sweet Short Story for Christmas By Denisa Carroll ASIN: B018WGXQ3Q Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Jem and Rex couldn’t have been more different. Yet they were so drawn to one another that within four months they were married, much against the advice of their friends and family.
Now they are newlyweds, they are looking forward to spending their first Christmas together in their beautiful new London flat. They may be very different people, but they couldn’t be more in love.
But now Jem has started to have some strange dreams which, in one way or another, start to draw attention to their very many differences, and tensions start to appear.
Will it turn out to be the beautiful Christmas that they were looking forward to – or will everybody be proved right, and they should never have married at all?
A quick read (approximately 7,000 words). The Christmas imagery was really well portrayed. I certainly felt like it was a cold winter’s day approaching the Christmas holiday. I was totally immersed in the holiday spirit.
A newly married couple move into a flat together. As they renovate, Jem starts having unexplained dreams with hard to decipher meaning. This eventually creates tension in the couple, where none had ever been before. Both husband and wife are thrown off guard.
Once evening, after a row about the placement of the Christmas tree, Jem watches TV and quickly comes to realize the following and that they had to work past this difficult situation:
“They were supposed to be together because they loved each other more than words could articulate, that was why.”
The ending caught me off guard, but in a good way (I will not supply any spoilers). As this is a short enough read, you can quickly get to the end of the story for yourself.
The ease of reading Denisa Carroll’s words will certainly have me on the lookout for more of her writing....more
Christmas Past Magic Moments Novella, Book #1 By Tara Taylor Quinn Author website: http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/ ASIN: B01M5GBZOL Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
What do you do when you live in Christmas Town, Maine, and don’t believe in Christmas or faith or magic? You become their sheriff and protect the town so that her people can have their fantasy.
What happens when a three-year-old child goes missing right before Christmas in this town you’ve sworn to protect? You do whatever it takes to find her and bring her home.
Even if the only lead you have is a gypsy empath you have reason to mistrust?
I must say, I usually do not have a great love for novella’s but Christmas Past blew me away. I thought, maybe it is that time of year (seeing as Christmas is now only five days away). But on closer examination, it is just that this story is so well told. Right from the cover, I was totally immersed in the story. The main characters, Sheriff Chad Andrews and Bella Potter were engaging and well developed in this short read.
We start the tale in Christmas Town, Maine. Bella Potter is feeling off, she feels fear first and then panic. Bella wants to fight these feelings but she knows better. You see, Bella is an empath (though she is trying to fight/deny this “gift” of hers). At one point, the feelings are so great she calls Sheriff Andrews to tell him what she is feeling. Prior to this (and unbeknownst to Bella), Camille Posey (a three-year-old) has been taken. So when Chad gets the call from Bella, he proceeds to her house to find out what is going on. Is Bella the lead he needs to find Camille in a speedy time frame? After all, the faster a missing child is found, the better the outcome.
What transpires is a coming of age so to speak of Bella accepting her gift and of Chad opening his heart and accepting differences among people.
I found the following passage quite telling of Chad’s views and acceptance of love (at least initially):
“Mostly I believe that what people call ‘love’ is really a feeling of well-being they get because the other person is somehow meeting their needs. And when they no longer meet those needs, the feeling dissipates, evaporates, until there isn’t even vapor evidence that it ever existed.”
Given the brevity of the story, I won’t go into more details so as to not give away any spoilers. Suffice it to say that I literally could not put it down. I will certainly go looking for more stories by Tara Taylor Quinn.
The Devil’s Cold Dish A Will Rees Mystery #5 By Eleanor Kuhns ISBN#9781250093356 http://www.eleanor-kuhns.com/ Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
In the next 1790s historical mystery from MWA Award winner Eleanor Kuhns, Will Rees’ small farm town begins to suspect his wife of murder by witchcraft
Will Rees is back home on his farm in 1796 Maine with his teenage son, his pregnant wife, their five adopted children, and endless farm work under the blistering summer sun. But for all that, Rees is happy to have returned to Dugard, Maine, the town where he was born and raised, and where he’s always felt at home. Until now. When a man is found dead – murdered – after getting into a public dispute with Rees, Rees starts to realize someone is intentionally trying to pin the murder on him. Then, his farm is attacked, his wife is accused of witchcraft, and a second body is found that points to the Rees family. Rees can feel the town of Dugard turning against him, and he knows that he and his family won’t be safe there unless he can find the murderer and reveal the truth…before the murderer gets to him first. (Goodreaads)
The Devil’s Cold Dish is a study in just how destructive envy and anger can be to a family’s livelihood and well being. Suspenseful, well paced, and full of historical detail, it is an interesting and enjoyable trip back in time to post-Revolutionary War Maine.
Weaver Will Rees has returned to his childhood farm in Dugard, Maine, with hopes of settling into a regular routine with his pregnant wife Lydia, sixteen-year-old son David, and five adopted younger children. He is a wanderer at heat and is quickly bored with the monotony of farm work. Things heat up when a local man is murdered and all eyes turn to Rees as the perpetrator. Rees, who has some anger issues, is guilty of fighting with Ward before he died, but he certainly did not kill him. Additionally, rumors are swirling that Lydia is a witch. To make things worse, his sister will not leave him alone wanting him to support her and her family. When a second man is murdered and the scene staged to look like black magic is at play, Rees decides that Lydia is in real danger and ferries his family off, hopefully to safety. Rees stays behind with intentions of finding out who has it in for him and unmask the true murderer. When a third man is killed on Rees’s own property, he is in for the fight for his life to clear his name.
The Devil’s Cold Dish is the fifth book in the Will Rees Mystery series but the first book that I have had the opportunity to read. Since I do not know all of the characters’ back stories, I had a hard time warming up to them all. I cannot decide if I like Rees very much, but he is an intelligent man and seemingly devoted to his new family. His family members and the town’s residents are anything but boring, and I am particularly curious to find out more about David. The relationships are all complex making them realistic and believable. Rees’s sister Caroline is the nastiest character in the book. I had the urge to slap her in every scene in which she appeared.
The mystery itself is well executed, and I like that it is such a personal endeavor for Rees. His vested interest adds suspense. He has obviously rubbed most of the town residents the wrong way so there are plenty of people to suspect of having it out for him. I did guess who is behind it all about midway through the book, but the danger to Rees and wanting to know the how and why of things kept me reading, rushing to get to the end.
The Devil’s Cold Dish is a well written historical mystery. I confess that I enjoy the historical aspects more than the actual mystery this time around. I will definitely go back and read this series from the beginning. Though the book can be read as a standalone, I think reading from the start of the series would enrich the experience. I recommend this to fans of historical literature, especially those interested in the early days of America.
The Ghosts of Misty Hollow A Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery #6 By Sue Ann Jaffarian ISBN 9780425282083 sueannjaffarian.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The author of Ghost in the Guacamole returns as a spiritual medium and her spectral sidekick encounter murder and mystery in a Massachusetts farmhouse—
Mysterious plots abound when spiritual medium Emma Whitecastle offers aid to a famous novelist, but her spectral sidekick Granny Apples will help her write all the wrongs.
Bestselling crime writer Gino Costello is working on his next book in a historic farmhouse in the heart of Massachusetts. His story features some paranormal elements so he’s invited family friend Emma to provide her input as a medium. But as soon as Emma arrives—with her boyfriend, Phil, and Granny Apples in tow—that’s when the real trouble begins.
Emma is immediately contacted by the Browns, a family of ghosts who originally owned the house in the early nineteenth century. They need Emma to help them locate the spirits of their two children who disappeared. Meanwhile, a dead body appears at the house. Now Emma, Granny, and Phil must read between the lines to find answers before a killer books it…(from Goodreads)
What a delightfully funny and fascinating cozy mystery! This is the first Granny Apples mystery I’ve read, and I do hope to read more! As a ‘skeptic’, I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I began to read, but was drawn in by the warm and intelligent couple, Emma and Phil, then Gino, a best selling novelist who they go to visit. Emma has a television show about paranormal activity, and her fiance Phil is an attorney and rancher. Gino and his wife Vanessa know Phil and Emma as Gino’s daughter and Emma’s daughter are very close friends. Emma and Phil have been invited to the home Gino and Vanessa are renting in a beautiful New England rural area so Gino can pick Emma’s brain about paranormal activity for a novel he is planning to write.
When they arrive, they meet Gino’s assistant, Leroy, who has a certain charm while being…just not quite right. Marta, the cook and housekeeper Vanessa brought from their Chicago home is a quiet, industrious woman who seems afraid to meet Emma’s eyes and rubs her crucifix around her. Vanessa is anything but the loving wife to Gino, whining about being out in the country with nothing to do. It isn’t long until they find that Granny Apples has joined them. Granny Apples is Emma’s great-great-great-grandmother who continues to return and enjoy the lives of Emma and her daughter. As a ‘ghost whisperer’, Emma can see and hear Granny but Phil cannot.
Waiting to greet Emma are the ghosts who she learns are family members who had lived on the property when it was still in their family. The property has well over a century of history; Gino shows Emma and Phil a photo album that includes the original farm house and the main home which had been renovated by a former owner. The ghosts who currently are on the property are seeking the “twins”, children of Nana Abby, Chester and Clarissa, who had disappeared when they were only eight. It was never certain whether they were kidnapped or murdered, but they had never ‘crossed over’. Abby and her grandson Blaine, the primary spokesperson, continue to search for them, wanting to bring the twins safely across so the family will be together. While Emma has helped solve many mysteries, a cold case from over 100 years earlier and the only helpers being ghosts proved a challenge even for her.
Gino’s wife left the morning following Emma and Phil’s arrival. Due to a family emergency, Marta left for a couple days, then Leroy went away to see a friend. A morning after Vanessa, Marta, and Leroy left, Emma and Phil were out for an early morning run and saw a vehicle at the old farmhouse. Upon further exploration, they found the murdered body of a man they didn’t recognize. After several hours of crime scene work, the police were only able to learn the name of the man who was unknown also by the owner of the property.
With the help of Fran, a local medium and retired librarian, Heddy, a retired teacher, Granny Apples and the family ghosts, Gino, Emma and Phil hope to solve the cold case of the missing twins – and find out who the flesh and blood bad guy is before he takes someone else out.
Emma, Phil and Granny Apples are developed very well; even though this is the sixth in the series, I felt as if they were easy to get to know. Gino and those they meet in rural Massachusetts were defined as well as necessary for their roles. Part of the fun of getting to know them, I think, is seeing how Emma and Granny could interact, also the ghosts at the farm, and how that looks to someone ‘outside’ the family. Gino must have felt conflicting emotions as he watched Emma carry out a conversation with someone he couldn’t see or hear, but Phil has become quite used to it.
The plot is intriguing! It was interesting to see how Emma was there to help Gino learn more about paranormal activity should he want to use it in his novel, and how he learned enough to write more than one novel! It was also fun to see how feisty Granny Apples is for a woman of her ‘time’ while the ghosts on the property are much less outspoken. I enjoy reading about or watching cold case resolution, and this was certainly different from any I’ve seen! The bad guy/ gal who murdered the stranger in the old farmhouse was probably more challenging to discover until some of the layers of deception were peeled away. I like mysteries that are hard to solve, so in many ways this has been a most pleasant reading venture. I highly recommend it! And as it is a ‘clean’ mystery, it can be enjoyed by older teens as well as adults of any age.
A Perilous Undertaking Veronica Speedwell #2 By Deanna Raybourn ISBN#9780451476159 Deannaraybourn.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Veronica Speedwell returns in a brand new adventure from Deanna Raybourn, the “New York Times” bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries… “London, 1887.” Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman’s noose in a week s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer. But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. From a Bohemian artists colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed…. (Goodreads)
A Perilous Undertaking is the fabulous follow up to A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn. Full of quirky characters, witty banter, an interesting mystery, and plenty of sexual tension, this is really a fine work of historical fiction.
Full disclosure time: I am a huge fan of Deanna Raybourn so I had high expectations for this sophomore entry in the Veronica Speedwell series. As much as I loved A Curious Beginning, I was not disappointed here. Raybourn has created a pair of fantastic characters who are independent and do not care one whit about fitting into society’s expectations of them. Veronica is a lepidopterist (butterfly hunter and collector), and Stoker is a natural scientist and explorer, the black sheep third son of an aristocratic family. They have plans to go on a great adventure, but the trip is postponed when their benefactor breaks his leg and cannot travel. So, the pair must be content to continue their work cataloging Lord Rosemorran’s family collection of “treasures”. Their plan is to turn it into a museum of sorts.
Veronica is pleasantly surprised to find herself invited to the Curiosity Club, an all female society where women can discuss any topic, socially acceptable or not. When she arrives at the club, she is introduced to “Lady Sundridge”, whom Veronica immediately recognizes her true identity as someone of great prestige and influence. Lady Sundridge tasks Veronica with clearing renowned artist Miles Ransforth’s name before his guilty sentence can be carried out at the end of a noose. With the very tight deadline and seemingly futile cause, Veronica agrees to look into things and drags Stoker along for the ride. Even after they are threatened (more than once), the detective duo carry on to find the truth, taking them into the bohemian world of artists and danger.
I absolutely adore Stoker and Veronica. Raybourn has created such complex and well drawn characters that I feel like I have known them forever. They are, above all else, friends, with taught sexual tension between them at times, colleagues, and each other’s greatest advocate. Their banter is the star of the book, their dialogue witty, and they know exactly how to push each other’s buttons. Veronica is sure that she is always the smartest person in the room (and she is probably right), but, whereas she was a bit of a snot in A Curious Beginning, here she is more mature and bit more approachable. We learn more about both Veronica and Stoker’s past, but there continue to be ghosts getting in the way of their relationship.
I do love that we get to meet some of Stoker’s family, and his brothers are just as idiosyncratic, though in a much more socially acceptable way, as Stoker. I hope we see more of them in the future. All of the recurring supporting characters and those that are central to this mystery are all well developed and interesting. The artist community provides a plethora of defining eccentricities that kept me on my toes.
The story moves at a quick pace, but it does take a couple of chapters for it to really get going. The atmosphere, attention to historical detail, and authentic language and “voice” fully transported me to Victorian England. This is yet another circumstance where Raybourn excels. With every page read, the twenty-first century felt more and more distant, and I was reluctant to return to the present.
The mystery itself is engaging and exciting. The sense that time is running out is palpable and adds to the adventure. Veronica and Stoker approach everything as they would a science experiment, and their thinking is most always logical and practical. This juxtaposition of science against the art community is great. There are plenty of red herrings along the way, and plenty of suspects to keep readers guessing. There are some perilous moments but also some laugh-out-loud moments. One scene between Veronica and Stoker in a love grotto is particularly chuckle worthy, as is their adventure into an opium den.
I truly love the Veronica Speedwell series and cannot wait to read what trouble our investigating pair gets into next. A year between books is much too long to wait. I highly recommend A Perilous Undertaking to fans of Deanna Raybourn’s other works, and to those who appreciate witty writing, a strong sense of place and time, and eccentric characters.
When You’re Feeling Sick By Coy Bowles (Illustrated by Andy Elkerton) ISBN#9780399552861 Author Website: Coybowles.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
This laugh-out-loud picture book from Coy Bowles, guitarist for the Grammy Award winning Zac Brown Band, will have sick kids feeling better in no time!
Sneezing? Coughing? Taking a sick day? Don t worry, you’ll be feeling better soon thanks to this hilarious picture book from Coy Bowles, guitarist of the Grammy Award winning Zac Brown Band. Full of encouraging and super-silly rhyming advice on how to face sick days with courage and a positive attitude, When You’re Feeling Sick is just what the doctor ordered! (Goodreads)
I liked the idea of When You’re Feeling Sick, after all every child is ill at some point and can use a pick-me-up while (s)he is down. I thought this children’s book by Coy Bowles would be just the right prescription. Unfortunately, the book falls short for this reader.
First of all, the good. The illustrations are wonderfully bright and attention grabbing. Many ethnicities and abilities are represented so most readers should be able to find someone to whom they can relate. There are plenty of cooties and funny faces to make the littlest readers giggle. The length of the story is also just right, short enough to keep the younger ones engaged yet long enough for the older readers, too.
And, the bad. The prose is sometimes clunky, and the words do not flow well when you read it aloud. Most of the verses rhyme, but not all of them. And when they do not, it is jarring and awkward. Overall, the story is silly, in a good way, but the humor falls flat and the message left me wanting more. Marketed towards ages 3 -7, perhaps the youngest “readers” will appreciate When You’re Feeling Sick the most.
Dead, Bath and Beyond Victoria Square #4 By Lorraine Bartlett & Laurie Cass ISBN 9780425265994 lorrainebartlett.com catmystery.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The New York Times bestselling series is back, as Katie Bonner—owner of Artisans Alley in the quaint shopping district of Victoria Square—attempts to solve a murder at a nearby B & B.
Katie Bonner feels like nothing can spoil her perfect day off, sailing Lake Ontario with her good friend, lawyer Seth Lander. Then she runs into her ex-boss Jake on the dock. It was never smooth sailing with Jake, and Katie is only too happy to get away from him as he makes a scene.
Unfortunately, the next day her unpleasant former employer is found drowned in a bathtub at a bed and breakfast in Victoria Square. Who would pull the plug on Jake? When an autopsy reveals lake water—not bath water—in his lungs, Katie quickly finds herself in over her head. She’ll need to race to find the killer before her business and her freedom both go down the drain…(from Goodreads)
‘Dead, Bath and Beyond’ is a great read! A bizarre twist brings Katie’s former boss, Josh, into her life again, particularly in the gorgeous home she and her late husband had hoped to purchase and turn into a B & B. The authors captivated this reader in the latest Victoria Square mystery, fourth in an incredibly well-written series.
Katie is owner and manager of Artisans Alley, a renovated apple warehouse home to many vendor booths rented by local artisans and craftspeople. She inherited her husband’s part ownership when he died, and the balance when the other partner was murdered. She was working at Josh’s insurance agency, Josh being a misogynist with a huge ego. Katie quit to bring Artisans from near bankruptcy to a profitable business. Artisans Alley neighbors Victoria Square, an eclectic set of shops for which each other’s success is dependent on the other.
After a delightful outing on the lake with her friend and attorney Seth, Katie ran into Josh at the marina, where he goaded her into yet another heated discussion of her prior employment. Several bystanders hear her deliver an invective that could be taken as a threat. The next morning, sirens and police activity at the B & B where two of her close friends lived led Katie to see if Don and Nick were okay. She learned they had a guest, not a customer as the lovingly renovated home was not yet ready to open. The guest died upstairs. Don and Nick knew Katie knew this guest so she was shocked to ID the body of her former boss, Josh.
The autopsy showed that Josh had drowned. He didn’t drown in the bathtub, as the water in his lungs was from the nearby lake. Whatever happened, accident or murder, someone had to haul his body to the B & B and set him to look like a death in the bathtub. Katie’s questions led her to find that there was something rotten in Josh’s former insurance office, and it began to smell like another reason she was happy to no longer work for him..
The characters are great; the primary ones are well-rounded and others are defined as befits their role. I love both Katie and Rose. When reading that Rose reminded her of the aunt who raised her after her parents died, it melted my heart and showed the great capacity the author has for nurturing family relationships among co-workers and friendships throughout this series. Katie and Andy, the man who owns and manages the pizzeria on the Square, make a delightful couple and balance each other out. Ray Davenport, former detective for McKinlay Mill, is so much more personable now that he is retired from the PD and bought out a woodworking shop on the Square. I like who he is when he is not in ‘cop mode’.
The plot and writing style of the two authors is awesome! I can’t say enough positives about this series. There are intriguing twists and turns that change the perception of the murder, and demonstrates Katie’s intuitive and logic skills. Her pets with their very own cat-sonalities make her apartment over the pizzeria a warm. whimsical happy-place. The layers of mystery surrounding Josh are challenging, something that only someone such as Katie, with her insurance experience, could work their way through. But was his murder a result of his business or his family troubles? Suspense gives way to teeth-clenching fear before the stunning resolution occurs. ‘Dead, Bath and Beyond’ is a not-to-be missed cozy mystery; I highly recommend it....more
The Protector Sons of Texas, Book #2 By Donna Grant ISBN# 9781250083401 Author’s Website: http://www.donnagrant.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
The Loughman brothers are still on a hunt to find their father they haven’t talked to in years. At the end of the previous book, The Hero, the boys hadn’t heard from their youngest brother, Cullen, in a while and were getting worried about him. This installment is about Cullen and we find out exactly what happened and why he was out of contact!
Cullen has found the pilot, Mia, who flew his father’s team to Russia. Unfortunately Mia was in trouble and Cullen helped her get out of a bad situation. After talking to Mia for a bit he knew he could trust her and he also felt an attraction like none he’s ever experienced before! Being a love ‘em and leave ‘em type though he had to put that on the back-burner and focus on unraveling what happened to his father and finding him once and for all.
Mia and Cullen work together and quickly find out that there is an organization called the Saints that is running everything, they have members all over including in America, Russian, and quite possibly the Columbians as well. They are hot on Cullen and Mia’s tail and will do whatever it takes to get them … dead or alive. They must work together if they are to survive! They must take on the Saints head-on if they are ever to find Orrin and get back to having a normal life. It will take all the skills Cullen possesses to protect the little firecracker by his side and get the answers he seeks!
I really liked Cullen. He now sees the error of his ways by avoiding his father and brothers all these years. The brothers all blamed Orrin for their mother’s death and now Cullen realizes how foolish that was. He only hopes to get a chance to make amends with the father that’s been hurting just as much as they all have over the years.
Their mother’s murder has affected all the Loughman’s in some way. For Cullen it has kept him from ever allowing himself to get involved with a woman. He doesn’t think he could survive another loss of someone he truly loves. He’s had plenty of one-night stands, but that’s all he’s allowed himself. But Mia is different, she makes him want more with her, something he can’t understand, but is powerless to fight it. But now that he’s let her in, could he lose her forever? Could she really die on his watch?
Mia was quite the feisty character as well. She’s tough and has lived her life dangerously up to this point. Orrin saved her once and she is determined to pay the favor back and she refuses to let his sons take her out of the action and put her on the sidelines!
I really wanted to like this book, but I honestly was pretty bored with most of it. This book does move the storyline along slightly, but it seems to be moving at a snail’s pace! We do discover what the bioweapon does in this book, something that makes Orrin fear for the future and especially for the future of his sons and future wives! It seems very far-fetched to say the least! But I’m curious to see how the next (possibly last) book plays out. Wyatt is up and it’s time for him to finish this once and for all and rescue the father he couldn’t care less about! It’s bound to be explosive considering his temperament! And, hopefully we’ll find out who was behind their mother’s murder as well!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, is glad to have you. We cater to particular kind of guests, the ones most people don’t know about. The older lady sipping her Mello Yello is called Caldenia, although she prefers Your Grace. She has a sizable bounty on her head, so if you hear kinetic or laser fire, try not to stand close to the target. Our chef is a Quillonian. The claws are a little unsettling, but he is a consummate professional and truly is the best chef in the Galaxy. If you see a dark shadow in the orchard late at night, don’t worry. Someone is patrolling the grounds. Do beware of our dog.
Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your host, Dina Demille, will defend you at all costs. We ask only that you mind other guests and conduct yourself in a polite manner.
One Fell Sweep starts with an alien messenger arriving without the proper care to the suburbs where Gertrude Hunt is located. This messenger brings an urgent cry for help for Dina that causes her to cash favors and go into the deepest parts of the Holy Anocracy territory to rescue her sister, Maud. With the help of werewolf Sean and House Krahr Marshall, Arland, Dina manage to find Maud and her daughter Helen, who were banish from their House after a failed power move from her husband and later death that let them alone with nothing left for them. The next day, after a heartwarming reunion and back at the Inn, a guest arrives, sent by the Arbitrator George (Sweep in Peace) and has a proposition for Gertrude Hunt. The guest is a Hiru, an alien race that is almost extinct because a different race, the Draziri, has set in a religious crusade to kill all Hiru in order to enter their heaven.
The proposition of the Hiru, Sunset, is to accept him as a guest, and help him retrieve a being called, the Archivarius, to whom they have paid a great sum for an answer to save their species. To make their proposition even more appealing, the Hiru has also paid for a second answer that Dina can use to find her parents.
Each time the Innkeeper Chronicles keeps getting better and better, and each time the newest book becomes my favorite one. In this case, One Fell Sweep has exceeded my expectations and continues to create a bag of emotions when reading the story.
Over the course of this story we learned a little more about Dina’s family and the type of life she had before her parents disappeared, and her becoming an Innkeeper. I loved the scenes between Dina and Maud, and most of all I loved Helen’s interaction with Beast and the new cat. At the same time, it was sad to learn everything that Maud went through in the last couple of years. I hope that for the next stories we can meet their brother Klaus.
Another thing that I continue to like about the Innkeeper series, is the types of Aliens that the couple-author Ilona Andrews brings to life in each book; not only the characters, but also their appearance and background story. The story of the Hiru was so interesting and at the same time so sad to learn, but the best species of this book, and the Archivarius in second place.
While the book centers around the main story that is helping the Hiru, it’s always fun to see the sub-plots that are set in motion for future installments of the series, and how Dina and her guest interact with them. I cannot wait to read what happens in the next book with everything they learn at the end of the book.
It was very sweet and romantic the relationship that Dina and Sean have in this story, while we have seen them get together in the previous books, this time the new installment has big challenges for them to face as a couple and as a team.
I loved the final confrontation scene, it was more that I was hoping for; I had my suspicions regarding the reasons why the Draziri wanted the Hiru dead, but still it was awesome to read it.
If you are a fan of Ilona Andrews or the Innkeeper Chronicles series, then I recommend you One Fell Sweep. In this story, Dina must make important decisions that will affect not only her, but the course of the entire universe and the people that she calls family. Most of all, Dina is an Innkeeper, and her priority is the protection of the guests and the Inn even if it means over her own life.
A Study in Scarlet Women Lady Sherlock #1 By Sherry Thomas IBSN: 9780425281406 Brought to you by OBS reviewer Una
With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.
When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.
I must say I started this book with a bit of bias. I loved Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock and have read all of his adventures. The thought of a female Sherlock was to me absurd. That is until I began to read A Study in Scarlet Women.
Charlotte Holmes has a brilliant mind and doesn’t really want to be caught in the marriage and household expectations that are expected of her. Women however, of this era were expected to do just that so Charlotte does the unexpected and runs away. Fending for herself becomes a full time job, however when her family are suspected in a murder case she knows as a female she would have no clout with the police, thus, she births the character of a brother Sherlock who is a mastermind problem solver and it is up to him to solve the mystery. Her sister Livia becomes Watson and is told to write the stories .The only others that know her true identity are Lord Ingram ( who has always loved Charlotte), and Inspector Treadles. Charlotte challenge’s society’s expectation and as Sherlock matches wit against an unseen mastermind.
The characters are well developed and I found myself intrigued with the side characters as well as the main. The story was full of just the right amount of wit, humor and of course mystery which is intertwined from beginning to end.. I found this book to be a nice addition to the historical fiction I usually read. I for one will be on the lookout for more of Charlotte’s adventures. ...more
The Trouble with Dukes Windham Brides #1 By Grace Burrowes ISBN# 9781455569960 Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse—a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.
No one was fiercer at war than Hamish Mac Hugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge—even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.
The Trouble with Dukes is a sweet Georgian-era historical romance that will probably please fans of Grace Burrowes.
Hamish Mac Hugh has reluctantly inherited a dukedom from his great aunt’s side but really has no interest in high society, especially in London. However, his family always comes first, and he agrees to see his younger sisters through their first season. He has a reputation of being rather uncivilized (he is a Scot, after all), and rumors of his time in the military have dubbed him the Duke of Murder. In an effort not to embarrass his sisters, he agrees to Megan Windham’s offer to help him smooth out the rough edges. Megan is the daughter of a duke and well versed in what is expected of her station, but she has some worries of her own. A foolish youthful indiscretion haunts her and has provided Sir Fletcher Pilkington fodder for blackmail and to push Megan into marrying him. Megan seeks Hamish’s help in releasing Sir Fletcher’s hold on her, and the two quickly fall in love. But, will the pair be able to right this wrong in order to have their happy ending?
Hamish and Megan are interesting enough main characters. Hamish is haunted by his time in the war. He is fiercely loyal to his family and is charming in his own rather coarse way. Megan is spunky, yet refined, and her poor eyesight actually makes her more relatable. Sir Fletcher is a sufficiently evil “villain”. Yet, in spite of these good attributes, I never really warmed up to any of them. Their back stories, especially Hamish’s, should have provided fodder for complex, richly drawn characters, but I never felt like they ever met their full potential, and this made for a one-dimensional read for me.
The Trouble with Dukes is the first book in the Windham Brides books, and I mistakenly thought this meant a brand new series, but it is not and features many characters from Burrowes other books. Since I have not read any of these books, I felt that I was missing something throughout. I suppose I would like all the secondary characters if I knew anything about them, but not knowing any of their back stories really hampered my enjoyment of the this book.
I could have overlooked all of this had the plot been innovative or even well executed. Unfortunately, the story here is shallow, a cookie cutter plot with nothing new brought to the table. It is just an “ok” read for me, and I fear I will quickly forget the whole book . Its saving grace is that I did feel transported to the era of the book.
I recommend The Trouble with Dukes to die-hard historical romance fans and those who enjoy Burrowes other works....more
Hard Hitter Brooklyn Bruisers, Book #2 By Sarina Bowen ISBN: 978-0399583452 Author’s Website: http://www.sarinabowen.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
He’s a fighter in the rink, but he’s about to learn that playing nice can help you score…
As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O’Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O’Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.
After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O’Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O’Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good…
The world of hockey and ice is filled with bruises, sore muscles, and a couple of loose teeth, but the problem that Patrick O’Doul has is that he is one of the oldest players for the Brooklyn Bruisers, and has started to have pain in his lower back, something that he doesn’t want his teammates and coach to worry about. The problem is that his couch does find out and decides to set him with a daily appointment for the next week with the team’s massage therapies, Ari Bettini, in hopes of alleviating the pain without further medical intervention. The games are hard, and the Brooklyn Bruisers need to be on the third place if they want to compete on the finals, and for that Patrick needs to let Ari do her job.
What starts as a very awkward first session and later mistaken phone switch, makes the two of them get to know each other more and cause a flame of passion to ignite between them, the only problem is Ari’s constant fear that she will lose her job is somebody finds out that she is dating the team captain, and he criminal ex-boyfriend who has got himself in trouble, and even possibly Ari also.
Hard Hitter was a very fun and romantic book to read. It seems that every time I read a book about hockey, I learn a little bit more about the sport. While the book is a romance, it still has different moments that catch the reader’s attention and continues to hold the suspense until the end.
While Hard Hitter is the second book of the series, if you read it stand alone, it won’t feel difficult to follow the story. But after reading it, you want to learn more about the other characters and their own stories. Even after finishing the book, you get the feel about what the next book will be about and you want to know what is happening between the next couple.
I like the writing style of author Sarina Bowen, and Hard Hitter doesn’t let me down. This is the third book that I read by the author and I still liked how she present normal daily problems to her characters and see them solve them, but at the same time making it look real and romantic.
It was fun to read the scenes between the team players and how they interact while talking about their relationship and how to win over a girl with their own ideas, and plans. Most of all was fun the scenes where they had to pay to the jar of infractions.
I was a little surprise regarding the problem that Ari’s ex-boyfriend and the outcome of it all. But at the same time, I liked how the author was able to link one of Patrick’s mistakes to Ari’s ex-boyfriend.
At the end, Hard Hitter is a story about love, passion, second chances, and a lot of baby oil for massages.
If you are a fan of Sarina Bowen or the Brooklyn Bruisers series, then I recommend you Hard Hitter. In this story, two individuals give a passion a chance for a relationship, learn to be what the other needs to be happy in a world of ice and bruises.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Prose and Cons A Magical Bookshop Mystery #2 By Amanda Flower ISBN#9780451477453 Amandaflower.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting…
October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe on the shop’s front porch to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.
Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead in the shop moments before the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore… (Goodreads)
Prose and Cons is the fantastic second book in the Magical Bookshop Mystery series. A charming setting, engaging characters, smart writing and strong mystery all come together to make one of my favorite books of 2016.
October in Cascade Springs, New York, means it is time for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and a multitude of tourists are expected to visit the small community. In the spirit of the upcoming Halloween holiday, bookstore proprietors Violet and her grandmother Daisy, along with members of the local writing group, decide to hold a poetry (Poe-try) reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s works, complete with period costumes. The reading gets off to a great start…until group member Anastasia is found dead at the bottom of the bookshop’s back stairs. What at first appears to be a terrible accident is quickly revealed to be murder, and one of the members of the writing group falls under suspicion. But, Violet thinks there are plenty of other suspects, and when she discovers Anastasia’s shocking secret, the pool grows even larger and the motives more complex. Violet must get to the bottom of things as quickly as she can as the reputation of the bookstore and her friend Sadie’s freedom are at stake.
The Magical Bookshop Mystery series is one of my most favorite cozy series, and I hope it will continue for years to come. Amanda Flower has a knack for creating believable worlds, and I enjoyed every word of Prose and Cons. Flower’s writing style is witty and smart, moving along at a steady pace. It is quick reading, but I did not want the book to end. The bookshop is magical in that the books choose the customer, and Violet gets “clues” from the books that the shop leads her to. I consider the series to be barely paranormal and would not hesitate to recommend it to readers who do not usually like magic in their cozies. I think the bookshop is charming; I would have loved to visit the children’s section when I was a child.
I consider the shop itself a character, along with the crow Faulkner and cat Emerson. I have not decided if the two animals are familiars, or something similar, but they are indeed special. The human characters are all well developed and interesting. Grandma Daisy is spunky, Violet is intelligent and naturally curious, and Chief Rainwater, who is my favorite character, is just mysterious enough to keep me guessing. The secondary characters add layers of interest and complexity to the tale. Anastasia is nasty enough that I did not feel too terribly bad that she met an untimely end. There are several suspects, including the victim’s brother, a journalist, and others that are all viable. I second guessed myself as to whodunit until almost the very end. The perpetrator’s identity makes the mystery all that much better. The murder weapon is unconventional, and this keeps the plot fresh.
Prose and Cons is a wonderfully entertaining read. I highly recommend it to any cozy mystery reader....more
Spouse on Haunted Hill A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery #8 By E.J. Copperman ISBN#9780425283387 Ejcopperman.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Where Alison Kerby’s ex-husband goes, trouble follows. This time, unfortunately, he’s brought that trouble right to her doorstep. On the run from a business deal gone bad, Steven, aka “the Swine,” owes some scary people a staggering sum of money. No need to panic, though. He has a plan: sell Alison’s Jersey Shore guesthouse to pay them off.
Before Alison has a chance to read Steven the riot act, he disappears—after a mysterious man trailing him ends up full of bullet holes. Now the police are next to darken her doorway. For all his faults, Steven is still the father of Alison’s daughter, so with the help of ghosts Maxie and Paul, Alison sets out to find her ex and clear him of the murder. But if the bad guys get to him first, he may not have a ghost of a chance…(Goodreads)
A swine of an ex-husband, mob ties, and a distracted ghost all come together to make an entertaining, well crafted mystery in Spouse on Haunted Hill.
Before I even open a book in the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series, I know I am in for a good time with proprietor Alison and her ghosts. The premise of a reluctant working mom who gets her private investigator’s license so that her housebound PI ghost can help other ghosts through her is great. In Spouse on Haunted Hill, the mystery hits much closer to home. Alison is surprised to see her ex-husband Steven, whom she not so lovingly refers to as “the Swine”, disembark their daughter’s flight. He tries to play it off as no big deal, but Alison knows her ex well, and trouble has definitely followed him from California to New Jersey. A business deal has gone wrong, and one of the investors wants his money back – money that Steven does not have. When Alison learns that his next plan involves her guesthouse, she is ready to kick him to the curb. But when a man who tailed Steven winds up dead, and Steven disappears, Alison cannot help but want to clear his name. After all, he is still her daughter’s father. In addition to Steven’s troubles, resident ghost Paul thinks he is ready to move on. Thus ensue mayhem, deduction, danger, and maybe a happy ending or two.
I am a fan of paranormal cozies, and what I especially like about this series is that Copperman portrays life with ghosts as completely possible. There is nothing cutesy or haunted house-ish here, just a relatable main character who happens to see and live with ghosts. There is even a ghostly dog that triggers Alison’s allergies. There are no hard and fast rules with the ghost world so readers never know what to expect, and the stories always seem fresh. Alison is a level headed protagonist who never really puts herself in those “too stupid to live” situations. Not to say she does not find herself in precarious and dangerous situations, she just can usually find a way out. I love her snarkiness, and her sense of humor appeals to me. Her family, including daughter Melissa, her mother, and ghostly father, are all a hoot. Resident ghosts Maxie and Paul offer totally different personalities and perspectives to the mix, and love interest Josh is sweet.
The mystery within the pages is well written and moves along at a brisk pace. There are so many viable scenarios and suspects to consider, and I did not see a final twist coming. I do not like Steven at all (I am sure we are not supposed to), but his smarmy moves and untrustworthiness provide a nice backdrop to the mystery.
I really liked Spouse on Haunted Hill and recommend it to fans of the series and those who enjoy a dollop of ghosts in their cozy.
The Gamble Colorado Mountain, Book #1 By Kristen Ashley ISBN# 9781455599059 Author’s Website: http://www.kristenashley.net/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Nina Sheridan feels stuck, after several bad boyfriends she’s finally with a good guy, Niles, and is even engaged to him! However, the relationship is rather stagnate and she’s not sure if he’s the guy she *should* be marrying. She’s decided to take a time-out from their relationship to try and figure out the right move for her.
She booked a beautiful A-Frame house in Colorado for two glorious weeks. But after flying half-way around the world and driving through a snowstorm to get there, she discovers the house is occupied when she arrives, by its very sexy and very arrogant owner, Max! He tells her that there was a mistake and that the house is not available and directs her to a nearby hotel. But on her way to the hotel she ends up in a snowy ditch, but wakes up sick as a dog in a bed in the A-Frame with the sexy mountain man taking care of her! And, when she tries to leave, he won’t let her, keeping her car keys in his pocket and blackballing her with the local taxi company to make sure she stays put!
Max sees a definite chemistry between Nina and himself and wants to see where it can all lead. But the small town of Gnaw Bone just keeps finding ways to make it to his house to interrupt him!
Meanwhile, one of Max’s enemies has been murdered and everyone is a suspect, including Max! And, before you know it Nina’s skills as a lawyer or being put to the test!
Can Max convince Nina that he’s the guy for her or will she go crawling back to her boring fiancé who obviously doesn’t deserve her? Only time will tell …
I have a lot to say about this book, but sadly none of it is positive. This is obviously me being my usual over-critical self, I think, as I have several friends that have read and loved this book and I’ve seen all positive reviews for it, but I really didn’t like it at all.
The main reason I detested this book is this couple is the exact kind of couple I hate in books. I found Max to be a domineering jerk and Nina to be the girl that makes excuses for his behavior and then starts questioning her own actions and how could she be so horrible to such an amazing guy. Barf! Let’s see … you come to rent this great house you booked online, you get there and the owner sends you away in a snowstorm! You then wreck your car, he finds you and takes you back to the house. He cares for you through your illness, which is nice (but seems highly unrealistic) except he uses this opportunity to see you practically naked and to cuddle with you in bed! After you start feeling better he basically holds you hostage, keeping you from any form of escape so that he can see where the chemistry leads and so he can get your underneath him in bed. He uses his brute strength to keep you right where he wants you, attached to his side with his arm around you until you sadly mistake his actions for love. Stockholm syndrome much? You then have to deal with his slutty ex and nosey townspeople and bitchy sister and he has to stake his claim to you publicly wherever you go. And whenever you ask a question that he doesn’t answer right away you quickly apologize and tell him not to answer. And, don’t even get me started on the things that make him unhappy …
Then we get to Anna, Max’s deceased wife. Once Nina finds out about her, not how she died, but that she ever existed at all, she gets upset that she’s not his true love and wants to try to leave. I’m all for her leaving because he’s a jerk, but not for such a stupid reason. Then, much later, when he finds out that Nina knows about her, Max has the audacity to get mad at Nina for not telling him she knows because he’s been so worried how to bring the topic up and how dare Nina not think about how that makes him feel. Really dude? You have got to be f’ing kidding me! And worse she agrees with him?? How could she be so selfish when he’s been nothing but good to her and he deserves better (her thoughts). I swear this relationship is like a really bad DOM/Submissive relationship, but without the BDSM and it just screams toxic to me!! So this, my friends, is why I couldn’t like this book because I hated the couple involved. And of course the book was super long for a book I hated …. Over 600 pages of this garbage. And, I’m also a “just one more chapter” person …. “Just one more chapter and I’ll go to bed” and these chapters are mega long…. “Just one more chapter” was 100 pages at one point! I think these chapters could have and should have been broken down smaller than that, much like the entire book!
I also found the many run-ins with one bad guy was overkill, then the big reveal at the end had another person responsible for way too much.
The one thing that makes me happy about this book is that I’m finally done reading it!!
And I must leave you with Brittany because you know this relationship is Toxic!
Rock Hard Rock Kiss, Book #2 By Nalini Singh Author’s Website: http://nalinisingh.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Charlotte Baird’s life gets turned upside down when a new CEO comes in to save the floundering company she works for.
Former rugby star, Gabriel Bishop (The Bishop), wastes no time getting rid of ineffective people at the latest business he’s been contracted to save. Earning him the nickname T-Rex as he chomps people up and spits them out on their asses! And when he discovers that Charlotte has been doing her boss’s job, he fires her boss and forces the skittish Charlotte to be his new personal assistant. It doesn’t take long before Gabriel starts getting the hots for her, and he never stops until he has what he wants!
“A kiss today, nakedness tomorrow⎯Gabriel liked to think positive and plan ahead.”
However, he never expected her to have had such a traumatic experience with her former boyfriend. He has to take things slow with his little mouse, or he will lose any chance he’s ever had of being with her.
“No one will ever hurt you again,” he whispered against her hair, the promise one he’d kill to keep. “You’re safe.”
This book started out really good. The story was engaging and I loved the characters! You can’t help, but love Gabriel. He’s sexy and cocky, but sweet and loyal to. He knows what he wants and he goes after it! Charlotte was okay, but was too much of a pushover to really be Gabriel’s equal. We also got to see glimpses of Molly from the first book, as this book takes place at the same time as Rock Addiction.
I was really enjoying watching the relationship build between Gabriel and Charlotte and seeing it morph from a working relationship into something more. However, that’s when it all changed for me. As their romantic relationship starts to develop her fear ratchets up and after a while the book just becomes tedious. It starts to seem like every little thing Gabriel says and does sends her into a panic attack and just seemed over-the-top to me. Gabriel was a good man through it all doing the right things, but it gets old him always having to step back and get her to calm down. And I also thought he was pretty crude and forward with what he wants sexually for someone who he knew had been hurt and was so scared, especially since their relationship hadn’t gotten intimate yet by the time he started being so forward.
“As long as I can throw you on the bed like a caveman and pummel you to orgasm with my love-club, I’m good.”
And what happens with Richard is all too predictable and I could see it coming ten miles away.
This book had a good start, but halfway through the wheels just completely fell off for me. But from the other reviews I’ve read online, I think I may be in the minority on this one.
Title: Napa Christmas Series: A Travel Novella #2 (The MacAllesters (William and JJ)) By: Dawn DeSousa ASIN: B015F1XVUE Author’s Website: http://www.destinationlovestories.com Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
The best Christmas gifts are homemade…
Jennifer “JJ” Jones has the life she has always wanted, dream job – check, dream man, check. Intrusive new sister-in-law to be, not so much. But becoming engaged to William MacAllester-Moore means fitting into his life and that includes a meddlesome twin sister.
Yet sharing your first Christmas together as a couple is special, especially when an unexpected pregnancy becomes part of the holiday picture. Can JJ keep her secret for three days or will his snoopy twin sister ruin JJ’s chance to give William the best Christmas gift ever?
But one thing is for certain, JJ’s bucket list just got shorter.
A heartwarming tale that left me with a good feeling about love and family. Newly engaged JJ and William are just navigating the waters of being engaged when JJ discovers she is pregnant. While she knows this will throw their timelines off, etc. she is equally confident that William will be ecstatic. JJ wants to surprise William with this news for Christmas! Now the tough part, keeping it a secret (especially from William’s twin sister Wallis (who let’s just say has a few issues herself). The white lies that are told produced a few chuckle worthy moments throughout this short read.
I enjoyed getting to know JJ along with her pal Jasmine and sister Lauren. I could just picture the gals when they were singing the following and driving the guys a bit crazy while driving up to Grandma Beth’s house:
“So, Santa Baby, hurry down the chimney tonight.”
I liked that William was very attentive and showed great concern when JJ was feeling ill (and she claimed it was bad food). He doted on her and worried like a mother hen. Great behaviour from a future husband; showing how much he loved her.
The MacAllester family Christmas tradition was super cool and I was happy that JJ wanted to preserve this tradition just for the MacAllester’s. Just brought out the warm and fuzzies in me ☺
All in all, a fun loving, chuckle worthy, light-hearted Christmas time romance that left me feeling happy that I had picked this novella up and read it....more
Wolfe’s Hope Breeds, Book #10 Wolf Breeds, Book #2 By Lora Leigh ISBN# 1843603241 Author’s Website: http://www.loraleigh.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Hope was born by an evil person with no true feelings. Her mother was one of the scientists in the Breed labs. But not only that, she forced Hope, only a teenager at the time, into one of the male’s cells. Her mom was giddy when she realized that Wolfe had mated her, had marked her. She forced Hope back into his cell again and again trying to get him to breed with her so she can use their offspring as her own army. However, Wolf refused to touch Hope in such a way, no matter how she begged from the effects their mating was having on her body. She was too young and he didn’t want to hurt her.
The labs exploded one night and many Breeds were killed. Hope thought that Wolfe had escaped and would be coming for her, but he never did. Her mother assured her that Wolfe was dead. But the sexual need never left Hope, even now, 6 years later.
Then Hope is kidnapped, by her mate she thought was dead. He’s been fed lies by her mother and will torture her with denied pleasure until she admits to him what she doesn’t even know. Will she ever be able to convince him that she’s telling the truth and wasn’t plotting with her mother?
I was shocked with how short this book was. It wasn’t even novella length. I was able to read it all in one setting, on an ereader with a dying battery, no less! When I got to the end, I thought I had received an incomplete ebook because it was so short! This really shouldn’t have been considered book 10, but 9.5 instead. It was nowhere near full book length.
I did enjoy what I read of the book, but I just didn’t feel it was their full story. If we had gotten more about this couple, I’m sure I’d have been able to rate it much higher. I felt like I was just introduced to them and they disappeared before I could really get to know them.
Title: Murder Under the Mistletoe Series: Summer Walsh Mystery, #1 By: Deborah Tisdale, Debbie Mayne ASIN: B00ZD9JK8Q Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
When former Nashville police detective Summer Walsh visits her favorite B&B in Charleston, South Carolina, during the Christmas Holidays, she discovers the innkeeper’s dead body. What she’d hoped would be a relaxing holiday between jobs turns into a stressful and often frustrating experience with another innkeeper who didn’t like the victim, a man who toys with elderly women’s emotions, an ex-con who will do anything for money, and a very disloyal housekeeper.
Former Nashville police officer Summer Walsh is the quintessential southern lady who embodies kindness, courtesy, and ladylike toughness. She wants what’s best for everyone, and she’ll do whatever it takes to get it.
I was looking for a quick and easy holiday “whodunit” read which would keep my interest for a few hours….and I found it in Murder Under the Mistletoe! The cast of characters is eclectic….and kept me intrigued (and at times laughing) as I read this novella.
Summer Walsh gets to stay in a B&B booked by her parents (one of their favourites as a matter of fact) in Charleston, South Carolina during the Christmas holiday season. Summer is hoping that a mini vacation will help her decide what career to explore next. As a burnt out ex-cop, she has had a myriad of jobs, the most recent at a retail outlet…but when the manager asked for “all hands on deck” an hour and a half before opening the next morning with little notice that was the last straw for Summer and she quit on the spot.
Upon Summer’s arrival in Charleston she discovers the owner (and friend of the family) of the B&B dead. To extricate herself from being on the list of possible suspects, Summer becomes involved in the investigation. There are certainly some “interesting” characters (Mavis and Bert to name a few) and enough misdirection to keep you guessing. And what about the “sparks” between Summer and Jim (the active police officer involved in the murder investigation)…hmmmm.
This short read was a great beginning to the series. I can’t wait to read Gun in the Garden and Offed in the Office – the other two books in the series.
Night’s Blaze Dark Kings, Book #5 By Donna Grant ISBN# 9781250060730 Author’s Website: http://www.donnagrant.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
*Beware of Spoilers*
Finally Rhys’s book!!
Rhys is still dealing with the aftereffects of his injury. Shifting has nearly killed him and now he is stuck in human form after he used his last shift to find Lily after her apartment was broken into and she was missing. Rhys is attracted to Lily, but has been staying away from her since he doesn’t feel like he can protect her since he can no longer shift into his dragon.
Lily is finally at a good place in her life, she left her abusive boyfriend, Dennis, a year ago and she finally has shed the baggy clothes he forced her to wear, she’s working at a place she loves, and then of course there is Rhys to look at. But her life comes crashing down around her when Dennis shows up and forces her to betray those at Dreagan. If she fails Dennis will kill one of the women she works with and her little brother. Surely Dreagan can do without whatever item he’s after and it’s not worth people’s lives. However, it becomes even harder to justify after spending a magical night with Rhys.
Thanks to the help of Henry North those at Dreagan know about the plan Dennis is involved in, they just don’t know what employee has been targeted, but Rhys quickly figures it out after spending time with Lily. He quickly makes a plan to catch Dennis, but when it all goes wrong he may lose something more precious than the unknown weapon they’re protecting.
I’ve been waiting for this book for a while now and I was so excited to finally get to it! And, it didn’t disappoint! I love Rhys and couldn’t get through the book fast enough!
My previous prediction about Ulrik was also correct! And we find out who is behind everything that’s going on! Ulrik also does a good deed that was out of character, but one I expected from him. He’s not nearly as bad as everyone thinks! I’m curious to see how everything plays out with him and if there is any way he can be brought back into the fold of the Dragon Kings....more
Buttered and Scrambled With Murder Series: Josie Rizzo Cozy Mystery, #4 By: J R Pearson ASIN: B01GWJFNG8 Author’s Website: http://JosieRizzoCozyMysteries.weebly... Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Murder & Maple syrup…
Josie and Tony are back for another savory mystery!
This time, with a stack of pancakes on the side.
Since having their relationship outed—much to Josie’s dislike—the couple has been summoned by Mama Rizzo to the family’s breakfast diner for a Sunday morning brunch.
A mouthwatering spread is expected from Josie’s culinary-genius parents, but serve up a rebellious older brother, a furry bacon thief, and a wealthy businessman bludgeoned to death, makes for a very unappetizing event.
Josie soon learns that before the wealthy stranger’s demise, his plans of rebuilding the town into a flashy money-grabbing hotspot would’ve affected the town’s hardworking locals. Which leaves quite the list of suspects of who may have wanted him dead.
Unfortunately, Josie’s parents are on the police’s radar for the crime.
Backed by an army of Rizzo brothers, she, Tony, and best friend Brad set out to uncover the truth in the beachy town of JewelCove, where a killer lurks deeper in the shadows than french toast sticks do in a bowl of maple syrup…
As an introduction to the writing of J R Pearson, it was an enjoyable start. I might have picked up on some nuances, etc. if I had started at the first book in the series, but frankly, it really did not matter. The author provided enough of a background so that I was not lost or felt as if I was missing anything. However, the story was enticing enough that I am now going back and reading the series from the beginning.
Josie (a food blogger for Good Eatin’ For the Curvy Soul) and Tony were keeping their relationship on the down lo when Josie’s younger brother, Reese, confessed to outing her and Tony’s new relationship to their mom. So now….Josie and Tony were summoned for a mid-morning brunch at the family’s breakfast diner, Sunny Side Up, by Gina (mom to Josie and Reese). This of course was not ideal for Josie as she knew her mother well and figured instead of a nice, leisurely brunch, it would be more of an interrogation….loaded with wedding-bell questions. And who needed that pressure on a new relationship? I laughed out loud at the dialogue between Tony and Josie:
“They were bound to find out about us eventually.” Tony shrugged. Oh, how Josie longed to gain his nonchalant composure.
“Yeah, but I planned on that happening when scientists eventually discovered another planet for humans to live on, and me securing a spot on the next shuttle.”
So while in JewelCove to introduce Tony as the boyfriend (as opposed to just a friend from 10 years ago that the whole family knew) to her parents, a murder occurs!
Tony has not been in town for the last 10 years, following the death of his mother. Though he did remember Josie’s parents fondly:
“But David and Gina Rizzo were the pure essences of what loving parents should be-bat crap crazy, all which he was robbed of when his mother has been murdered by his father.”
In order to clear Josie’s parents from the suspect list, she takes it upon herself to play amateur sleuth. She engages her brothers, Brad (a best buddy of Josie’s) and Tony to unearth the killer.
I also loved the dialogue between dog owner Jennie, with her new Dalmatian puppy, and Josie; discussing setting up a play date for their two dogs (Petey and Jade). This seems to add such normality to the dynamics of the cast of characters☺. And bringing in adorable dogs to any story is always a positive as far as I am concerned.
The mystery does get solved (sorry – not going to give any spoilers!) and the relationship of Josie and Tony plugs along at a nice pace. This book is an easy to read in one sitting, cozy mystery with a pleasant cast of characters and lots of chuckle worthy moments. I look forward to going back and reading the first three books in the series. Then I will most likely re-read this title again to get the full flavour of the series. ...more
Title: Code name: Papa : My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight By: John Murray ISBN: 148081945X (ISBN13: 9781480819450) Author’s Website: http://www.codenamepapa.com/ Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Who’d have thought a bright, but fairly ordinary young man from middle class America who got just above average grades, dated the same girl throughout high school and went to church most Sundays, would grow up to eventually head a very secretive band of brave individuals–both men and women–who regularly put their lives on the line because they wanted to protect the rest of you. Yet that’s what we did, often sacrificing our personal lives (four marriages for me, all in the book) and our health (countless broken bones, major surgeries, even death) to do it.
Meanwhile you’re just going to have to call me “Papa” like everyone else around the globe has through most of those wildly unpredictable and dangerous years.
Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight is the story of John Murray. He was the head of US covert operations for a large international group. This group, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government. Their job was to eliminate threats that various governments (US, Canadian and European) can’t touch for any number of reasons, to protect us common folk.
We read about his involvement in this organization right from when he was recruited to his eventual rise to the head of the organization in the US. You get a flavour of the missions the team was sent on. It is quite obvious that this type of work would be very difficult for a “normal” life. We learn that the team members have made up careers, which take them away from their home life frequently and for long stretches at a time. The story definitely conveyed the stress and havoc that this occupation has on a person’s personal life.
I found the concept of the story-line interesting but because of the lack of details and the repetition of essentially the same process for each “job”, I found it repetitious much of the time and thus became boring to me. How many times does one need to hear about getting the C130 plan ready to transport the team for a job or for the return flight home? Or ready about solving the issue by killing everyone? I quickly became bored with the style of writing. I kept hoping for more, but did not receive it.
I did find the descriptions of his personal life a tad bit more engaging (I suppose because that wasn’t “secret”). I did empathize with how impossible it was to maintain a normal life. I was happy that in the end, he was able to achieve a more stable home life in his retirement. As well, the camaraderie between the team members was well written. I really felt the “team” was a close knit family, looking out for each other, whether on a mission or in everyday life events.
Unfortunately for me, I found the style of writing too casual. It just bothered me. But I do realize this is one person’s account and that is how he thinks and talks. It takes a special kind of person to be able to do what John has done throughout his professional life to make this world a safer place for you and I and I appreciate and applaud his efforts. Thank you.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
The Witch and the Dead A Wishcraft Mystery #7 By Heather Blake ISBN#9781101990131 Heatherblakebooks.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
When Darcy moved to Salem, Massachusetts, she never expected her life to change as drastically as it did. But within a short time, the Enchanted Village has become her home, its mystical residents have become her family, and As You Wish, the personal concierge business formerly run by her Aunt Ve, has become her calling. Still, the time has come for change—and for Darcy to move out of Aunt Ve’s house.
Darcy’s belongings are stashed in Aunt Ve’s garage, alongside a mess of memories, forgotten possessions, and, to both Ve and Darcy’s horror, a pile of old bones. It turns out they belong to Ve’s long missing second husband. Now Darcy must unpack old secrets to solve a cold case—and make sure her aunt isn’t looking at a spell behind bars. (Goodreads)
With The Witch and the Dead, author Heather Blake once again casts a spell over readers with lively characters, an engaging mystery, and plenty of magic.
The Wishcraft Mystery series is one of my favorite series, and I look forward to each installment. This seventh book is definitely worth the wait. Wishcrafter (she grants wishes) Darcy’s house renovations are complete, and she is working on moving her belongings bit by bit out of her Aunt Ve’s garage when she comes across a skeleton hidden in the garage. As if that is not shocking enough, it soon becomes apparent that the deceased is Miles Babbage, Aunt Ve’s second husband who has been missing for thirty years. As the Elder’s representative and investigator, it is Darcy’s job to probe to see if magic was involved and keep their magical world secret from the regular world. Also, she wants to make sure Aunt Ve is clear of any suspicion. However, it is not easy to find the truth about what happened so long ago, and everyone has secrets they want to keep. There is even fear that dark magic might be in play. In addition to the murder investigation, Darcy and Nick’s relationship is moving forward, and Darcy’s friend Starla and her sister Harper are both facing relationship challenges. There are also some startling lineage revelations.
Truthfully, I enjoyed just about everything regarding this book. The Enchanted Village neighborhood in Salem, Massachusetts, is the perfect setting for a paranormal cozy. I love that there are witches living right alongside mortals, and that they are able to keep their abilities hidden outside of the Crafter community. With each book, we learn more about the rules of the Craft, and there is some emphasis on seekers and dark magic in The Witch and the Dead. Have no fear, though, everything is kept on a nice cozy appropriate level. The magic is sprinkled throughout, but I never find it heavy handed, and the mystery always holds the main emphasis in the tale.
The characters are all well developed, and I feel invested in their lives. I experience their ups and downs as they do. Darcy is a great protagonist, likable and relatable. You can tell that she has a heart of gold and cares deeply about everyone around her. She continues to learn more about the Craft, and relationships continue to evolve. I really like Nick and Mimi, and they bring grounding authenticity to Darcy’s magical world. The supporting characters are varied and interesting, and they add to the story. Worthy of note are all of the familiars. Mice Pepe and Mrs. P are delightful and add whimsy to the tale. Scarlet macaw Archie is a hoot. I adore his and Darcy’s attempts to stump each other with movie quotes. I am dying to know what lies ahead for a certain familiar that so many do not realize is a familiar (I do not want to spoil anything here for those who have not read, but this character provides a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of the book).
The mystery within these pages is nicely crafted. The age of the crime makes it all the more complicated and a bit harder to figure out. There are plenty of suspects, and I had an inkling of whodunit, but I was not completely sure until the big reveal. The perpetrator’s belief about Mile’s spelled amulet is heartbreaking. Darcy, Nick, and Marcus face real danger at one point, and this provides great tension. I am also so very happy with the ending of the book and cannot wait to see what happens next for Darcy and crew.
I loved The Witch and the Dead and cannot say enough good things about the characters and Blake’s fantastic storytelling. I highly recommend it fans of magic in their cozies and those who appreciate good writing....more
As the personal secretary of the recently departed Duke of Olympia—and a woman of good character—Miss Emmeline Rose Truelove never expected to be steaming through the Mediterranean on a luxuriously appointed yacht under the watchful and jovial eye of one Lord Silverton. But here they are, as improper as it is, on a quest to find the duke’s heir, whereabouts unknown.
An expert on anachronisms, the adventurous Maximilian Haywood was last seen at an archaeological dig on the island of Crete. And when Truelove and Silverton disembark, they are met with incidents of a violent nature: a ransacked flat, a murdered government employee, an assassination attempt. And as they steam from port to port on Max’s trail, dodging danger at every turn, Truelove will discover the folly of her misconceptions—about the whims of the heart, the desires of men, and the nature of time itself…(Goodreads)
A Most Extraordinary Pursuit, the first book in a proposed series by Juliana Gray (Beatriz Williams), suffers an identity crisis. Part historical mystery, part paranormal, part romance, it never really gels into one cohesive story. What had the potential to be a wonderfully quirky adventure instead was a pretty unsatisfying read.
Emmeline Truelove was the personal secretary to the now deceased Duke of Olympia, and is tasked by the Duchess to find Olympia’s heir, Max Haywood, who has not been seen or heard from for a couple of months. His last known whereabouts was at an archaeological dig on the island of Crete. Against her better judgment (and warning from the deceased Queen Victoria), she sets out with Lord Silverton, who has been assigned to serve as chaperone and fellow investigator. Once in Crete, they find that Haywood may have met with foul play. What follows is a story full of murder, kidnapping, Greek Mythology, and an unusual plot twist (apologies for being vague, but I am attempting to avoid a significant spoiler).
I read the prequel novella to this book, The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match, and thoroughly enjoyed it so I was really looking forward to reading A Most Unusual Pursuit. Unfortunately, it is nothing like the prequel. I was expecting an historical mystery with some adventure. It is set in present day, 1906, and ancient Greece. This is all fine. Our protagonist has conversations with her dead father and the also deceased Queen Victoria. Is Emmeline seeing ghosts? Having hallucinations? We do not know – it is never made clear. I have no objection to paranormal elements, but they are not well developed or explained here. Were I placed in Emmeline and Silverton’s predicament, I do not think I would just accept what was going on at face value.
This book got off to a terribly sluggish start, and I found myself looking for things to do rather than read it. The pace, and my interest, picked up about half way through the tale, but I never felt invested, but I kept reading. The characters are not particularly compelling. Emmeline is a no nonsense young lady and strong willed to a fault. Her conviction that hers is the only way grew tedious and got them into trouble. As the book progressed, and we learned more about her back story that has made her the way she is, I found her attitude and eccentricities more tolerable. Plus, I think Silverton had a somewhat mellowing effect on her. Silverton is, by far, the best part of the book. He is definitely a rake, but I think underneath all the affectation is a genuinely caring person. He also has an interesting skill set. The supporting characters are not well developed, and I can only hope that future books will allow for their growth. The book concludes with most every element of the story left open ended, and that is disappointing.
There are some charming moments in A Most Extraordinary Pursuit and some good writing, but these do not make up for its failings. I do not know if I will give the next book in the series a chance. I will just have to do some soul searching when it is published. ...more
Superstitions and Why We Have Them Author: Max Cryer ISBN13:9781925335170 Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
Some people casually say ‘touch wood’ when they speak of something they hope will happen. Others won’t allow peacock feathers into the house. And almost anyone who finds a four-leafed clover will treasure it and keep it. Why? Some superstitions are so ancient and have been practiced for so long that they have come to be regarded as just harmless and widely observed ‘customs’, without people realizing they are basically superstitions. For instance, many people wouldn’t bother tossing spilled salt over their left shoulder or avoid walking under a ladder. But they happily continue to wear a wedding ring and blow out candles on a birthday cake.
They don’t know why – ‘it’s just a custom’. But both are actually superstitions. In a book full of surprises and revelations, Max Cryer explains the origins of many of the things we commonly say and observe and why we continue to include them in our lives: kissing under the mistletoe, the unlucky number thirteen, the significance of the bridal bouquet, saying ‘bless you’ after sneezing, the hanging of a horseshoe, ‘the Scottish play’, the danger in opals, the Leap Year proposal … so many aspects of our lives are colored by superstition. Now you can discover the reasons for them in a book that is both witty and informative. Superstitions will provide many ‘Eureka’ moments and settle many family disputes.
Superstitions and Why We Have Them is to me a bit of a misnomer. Author Max Cryer speaks of superstitions when to me and to many definitions some of them are actually customs and have a basis in a real reasoning. Whereas superstition is more often than not based on no factual information. I think this threw me off a bit as I was reading the book. I enjoyed reading about some superstitions and tons of customs and found the information quite extensive.
I learned quite a bit about so many customs, such as bridegrooms, why they were boutonnieres, the custom of something old, something new, etc., some of the Halloween customs, and many, many more. There was information on superstitions about cats, ladders, crows, and the like. This book encompasses so many things that we today just take for granted as the way things are done. You will learn quite a lot about different societies and eras and the way their beliefs have been handed down to us. I did enjoy this book and learned so much. It can be fun at times as well. I would recommend Superstitions and Why We Have Them to anyone interested in where these things come from, why is a 4-leaf clover lucky, why do we not walk under a ladder, why is a poisonous flower like Lily of the Valley revered. Enjoy.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review *
Trailblazers: 33 Women in Science Who Changed the World Author: Rachel Swaby ISBN: 0399554165 (ISBN13: 9780399554162) Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
Virginia Apgar. Sally Ride. Rachel Carson. These names are etched in history and included here as part of this awe-inspiring collection of profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science. Author Rachel Swaby delves into the minds of thirty-three such women, whose vision, creativity, passion and dedication have helped make important strides in the world of science—who have in fact changed the world.
Middle grade kids will be fascinated by these snapshot profiles of some of history’s most important female scientists. These women have made strides in fields including biology, medicine, astronomy, and technology. In addition, Swaby emphasizes the fact that people aren’t born brilliant scientists. They observe and experiment as kids and as adults, testing ideas again and again, each time learning something new. Kids are sure to come away with a renewed curiosity of the world and the realization that the road to discovery can be positively thrilling.
Middle aged girls and boys too will learn about 33 amazing women that changed the world through science. Some at a time when women did not even have the right to vote or become professionals. These women such as Heddy LeMar – actress who helped us in her future by laying the foundation for wi-fi and GPS, to Mary Kies who got the first patent awarded to a woman in 1809 and Rachel Carson whose book paved the way for the EPA, these are astonishing accomplishments that will bring hope and pride to anyone reading Trailblazers: 33 Women in Science Who Changed the World.
Through discrimination, desperation, determination and despair, these women triumphed and became leaders in their fields. Then I was growing up girls were not taught that would could excel in the areas of math and science. I did not learn about these wonderfully talented women, lots who came before me and some doing these awesome things at the time I was enjoying science class myself. This book is a wonderful and informative read that should be a great inspiration for young girls everywhere right now. Author Rachel Swaby has done a fantastic job bringing this information to the masses.
*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*
Edgar Allan Poe, an Adult Coloring Book By Odessa Begay ISBN#9781454921356 http://www.odessabegay.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Dive into the macabre, mysterious world of Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling tales with popular coloring book artist Odessa Begay (Little Birds). Inspired by Poe’s beloved stories, Begay has created images that reference settings, motifs, and details that fans will recognize. (Goodreads)
As a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, I am excited and pleased with this adult coloring book.
The book has a sturdy soft cover and relatively thick, smooth double-sided pages, but the binding does not allow the pages to lay completely flat when open. There are ninety-two pages of illustrations. Each two page “scene” includes a quotation from Poe’s works with an accompanying illustration. Some are realistic, some surreal, and some more macabre and darker than others. Odessa Begay does a fine job capturing the symbolism for which Poe’s writings are so famous. There are plenty of fine line detail drawings, as well as some larger coloring areas, making it suitable for all skill levels of coloring. Personally, I enjoy the drawings that contain a lot of symmetry and detail work, and, of course, those that include The Raven.
I think colored pencils and gel markers are best for these pages. Crayons would also work for the larger, less detailed areas. Fine tip Sharpies are, for the most part, ok and do not bleed through the pages much. However, regular Sharpies and felt tipped markers definitely bleed through, leaving a mess on the backside of the page. If these markers are your medium of choice, I would definitely make copies of the pages as to not ruin the images on the backside of the page you wish to complete.
Poe’s works included are: The Black Cat, The Cask of Amontillado, Ligeia, The Gold Bug, Eleanora, The Oblong Box, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Murders at Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget, The Purloined Letter, The Raven, The Masque of the Red Death, Tamerlane, The Tell Tale Heart, and The Fall of the House of Usher. I recommend this adult coloring book to fans of Poe and the macabre and to those looking for a unique subject matter....more