Friday, June 28, 2013

Review - Father Knows Death

Title: Father Knows Death
Author: Jeffry Allen
Publisher: Kensington (June 4, 2013)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 272
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Stay At Home Dad Mysteries #3

I do not know specifically what it is about this series, but I cannot wait until a new one is out.  There is always a twist somewhere and the humor borders on politically incorrect at times, yet still, I find it to be one of the best series out there.

Deuce Winters is a reluctant private investigator that seems to stumble upon bodies in the most unlikely of places.  This time, the county fair and the freezer that his daughter’s 4H group is using.  As Deuce said, maybe he should just stop opening things.

Finding a body is bad enough but his wife is currently ten bazillion months pregnant and will do just about anything to deliver the beast that is currently taking up residency in her body.

With George Spellman’s body, pregnancy, an adorable six year old, a father that is just about the funniest character to come along in a long while, big business in town buying land, a fair committee that comes across as barely legitimate and a love triangle, poor Deuce is in for the hottest, and most frustrating, summer in Rose Petal Texas.

I love Jeffry Allen’s humor, his books are the perfect light read and with this one specifically, the perfect summer read.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review - Deeply Odd

Title: Deeply Odd
Author: Dean Koontz
Publisher: Bantam (May 28, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 352
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Amazon Vine
Series: Odd Thomas #6

As you know from previous books, Odd collects "strange" around him and when he is confronted by a rhinestone-wearing gun-toting cowboy trucker that seems to materialize out of thin air, Odd is curious. What is more interesting is that this trucker seems to flitter between reality and wherever / elsewhere. It is Odd's self-appointed duty to find him and prevent him from fulfilling his plans of murdering three young children that only Odd can see happening.

As in the previous books, Odd's traveling companion is always a unique twist. This outing, we are visited by the ghost of Alfred Hitchcock.

As with anything that Dean Koontz writes, you will have to bear with his tendency to be easily distracted and take the reader on an unnecessary path before bringing you right back to where you had started.

As Odd tracks his adversary, the reader is taken on a longer than necessary tour of California as good tracks evil. There is very dry humor, interesting characters, ghost dogs, even an eighty six year old woman in need of a chauffeur that had a dream about Odd many years ago.

With Koontz, you get what you get. You either love him or hate him. You either look forward to his next book or mourn the great books of his past. If you do attempt the Odd series, you have to start at the beginning since Koontz doe tend to draw on previous Odd Thomas books and you will be lost without knowing what the reference is about.

There is one moment in the book that lovers of old Koontz will get a chuckle out of. Odd comments on a book "Twilight Eyes" which he has read and if you have been following Koontz for a while, you will remember that he wrote this book back in the 80's. As a side note, because of that book, I am still creeped out by carnivals.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Deadly Forecast

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Deadly Forecast
Author: Victoria Laurie
Publisher: NAL Hardcover (July 2, 2013)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 384
Genre: Cozy Paranormal
Series: Psychic Eye #11


It's said to be good luck if it rains on your wedding day, but Abby sees something darker than storm clouds on the horizon. She’s just had a disturbing premonition of her fiancé’s murder. Her husband-to-be has been assigned to a case involving a series of suicide bombings, and Abby’s spirit guides warn her of imminent danger.

FBI agent Dutch Rivers is keeping his cool, but Abby can’t quell her anxiety. After another suicide bombing at a local beauty salon, Abby vows to do everything in her power to keep Dutch safe and get him to the altar. But on the morning of the ceremony, she finds herself in a dire situation with time running out…

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph - Fleet Street Murders

Title: Fleet Street Murders
Author: Charles Finch
Publisher: Minotaur Books (November 10, 2009)
Format: Hardcover; pgs 320
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Charles Lennox #3

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

Lenox woke up with a morning head, and as soon as he could bear to open his eyes, he gulped half the cup of coffee that his valet, butler, and trusted friend, Graham, had produced at Lenox’s first stirring. “What are Edmund and Molly doing?” he asked Graham. “Lady Lenox and her sons have gone to the park, sir. It’s a fine morning.”

“Depends what you mean by fine,” said Lenox. He looked at his window and winced from the sun. “It seems awfully bright. My brother’s in as much pain as I am, I hope?”

“I fear so, sir.”

“Well, there is justice in the world, then,” Lenox reflected.


The near simultaneous murders on Christmas night of two giants of Fleet Street—Daily Telegraph writer Winston Carruthers and Daily News editor Simon Pierce—rock 1866 London in Finch's absorbing third historical (after 2008's The September Society). These sensational crimes disturb holiday festivities at the Mayfair home of amateur detective Charles Lenox, who jumps at the chance to further his crime-solving career. In the meantime, Lenox's restless fiancée, Lady Jane Grey, may delay their impending nuptials while Lenox is also off running for Parliament in distant Stirrington, where he learns the seamy underside of British politics. The multifaceted case includes a coded letter, wartime espionage, a gang slaying, bribery and eavesdropping, making it all fearfully complicated in the words of Inspector Jenkins of Scotland Yard. An exciting boat chase on the Thames leads to a slightly incongruous happy ending.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Review - Inferno

Title: Inferno
Author: Dan Brown
Publisher: Doubleday (May 14, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 480
Genre: Suspense
Source: Library
Series: Robert Langdon #4

To me, Dan Brown’s books are more about the places than the mystery. Granted, the suspense that surrounds Inferno is interesting, but the places are what kept me turning the pages. Maybe I am easily enthralled, but from time to time, I actually felt like I was looking at the exhibits and running down the streets with Robert and Serena.

Historian and Symbologist Robert Langdon wakes up in a hospital room with no memory of how he got there. He has been told that a bullet had glanced the back of his head and he will have to rest until his memory returns. Unfortunately, an assassin has different plans and as she is walking down the hall shooting the doctor in her way, Robert and Serena are forced to rush out a side door and their flight for life begins.

That is the driving force of this book. A storyline that involves a madman who has left an image in the vein of Dante’s Inferno that warns of the end of humankind if something does not happen soon. A video that has been designed to be released to the public with a cryptic message and the World Health Organization playing God as to what the public needs to know. This is what compels Robert and Serena to figure out the endgame while there is still time.

It is no shock that our planet is running out of resources, so when a scientist decides that enough is enough he disappears for a year and comes up with a plan. Will Robert thwart it in time or will those around him distract him enough and the world will have to deal with the consequences.

It is a curious conundrum that makes you wonder what we have not been told and if it is quite possible for a single person to take matters into their own hand and save our planet from ourselves.

I am not a conspiracy theorist so I take Dan Brown’s books at face value. I enjoy the adventure and pace. I enjoy the people and places and more importantly, the conversations that I have had with others about this book.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review - The Road to Grace

Title: A Road to Grace
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 8, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 256
Genre: Inspirational
Source: Library
Series: The Walk #3

Holy Heck, I was not expecting that ending. I literally gasped when the words were said. Goodness Gracious, Richard Paul Evans knows how to dangle a cliffhanger.

Alan Christoffersen is continuing his walk to Key West, Florida after the sudden death of his wife and the loss of his business, home and cars. He has his support system in place and each mile walked brings new people and new revelations.

As he is leaving a hotel one morning, a woman calls his name, she looks vaguely familiar but Alan cannot put a name to the face. When she reveals herself, Alan is furious, this is the woman that had caused the anguish in his wife’s life. A woman that he has despised without knowing. Revealing a story that in its conclusion, he realized, would not have lead his beloved wife to him in the first place. The Road to Grace is a story about forgiveness, not forgetting, but of letting go of past hurts and not allowing them rule your life.

Alan has met some phenomenal people in his quest and every one of them has helped define who the new Alan will be. Part travelogue, part discovery, Richard Paul Evans takes the reader on an incredible journey though our country and its remarkable people.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review - Long Lost

Title: Long Lost
Author: Linda Castillo
Publisher: Minotaur Books (May 7, 2013)
Format: e-book equal to approx. 50 – 60 pages
Genre: Police Procedural
Source: Amazon
Series: Kate Burkholder #4.5

I am not a fan of half books. I find that this new fangled gimmick is a either a way for an author to test the waters to see if they can bypass publishers or to keep their readers baited until they are ready to reel them in with their next book, either way, they rarely offer anything of any importance to the ongoing plotlines or character development.

That being said, Long Lost was a simple diversion while I was waiting between appointments. The plotline did not enhance or distract from the current Kate and Tomasetti storyline that the regular books have been following, it was just a side note involving a weekend away. A weekend that involved a bed and breakfast and an apparent haunting involving a missing woman that wandered away one day and was never seen again.

If you know Kate and Tomasetti, you know that they are just not the types to let a missing person case go unnoticed so they take a quick trip and check out what people remember. Ask a question or two and following a lead, they are lead down a dirt road to an answer that neither one was expecting.

As I said, this was a diversion between appointments and I actually liked how the story unfolded. Since Linda Castillo is one of my go to authors, I went against my usual response of avoiding these half books and was glad that I had spent a couple of minutes reading.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday - Father Knows Death

Title: Father Knows Death
Author: Jeffrey Allen
Publisher: Kensington (June 4, 2013)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 272
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Deuce Winters #3

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

George Spellman’s lifeless face gazed at me amid the packages of frozen bratwursts. I stared at him for a moment and then closed the freezer door. Not because I was shocked or horrified at finding a dead body. I closed it because I realized I wasn’t fazed by finding a dead man stuffed inside a freezer. I wondered if I should just stop opening things.


It isn't that stay-at-home dad Deuce Winters wants to be his small town's unofficial sleuth. Between caring for his peppy five year-old-daughter Carly and helping to keep his ten-months-pregnant wife Julianne sane, he's certainly got his hands full. But, well, trouble does seem to find him. . .

That's why Duece is only mildly surprised to find a body among the frozen burgers and bratwurst at the Rose Petal fair's concession stand. And it seems the defrosting deceased was last seen arguing passionately with one of the fair's board members. But there may be more--a lot more--to the mystery, and tracking down the dangerous truth may be too much for even the most determined dad!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mailbox Monday - The Ranger

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: The Ranger
Author: Ace Atkins
Publisher: Putnam Adult (June 9, 2011)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 352
Genre: Thriller
Series: Quinn Colson #1


Northeast Mississippi, hill country, rugged and notorious for outlaws since the Civil War, where killings are as commonplace as in the Old West. To Quinn Colson, it's home-but not the home he left when he went to Afghanistan.

Now an Army Ranger, he returns to a place overrun by corruption, and finds his uncle, the county sheriff, dead-a suicide, he's told, but others whisper murder. In the days that follow, it will be up to Colson to discover the truth, not only about his uncle, but about his family, his friends, his town, and not least about himself. And once the truth is discovered, there is no turning back.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Review - Rage Against the Dying

Title: Rage Against the Dying
Author: Becky Masterman
Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 12, 2013)
Format: Advance Readers’ Edition; Pgs 307
Genre: Suspense
Source: Amazon Vine

Unfortunately, I only made it to page 105 before I completely gave up on this book. For me, the writing came across as superficial and lacking. The main character, Brigid Quinn a retired FBI agent currently living in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains offered no depth and I was not drawn to her.

Fifty nine year old Bridget has been in a couple of rough spots in her life, but the day she went rock hunting and ending up bound in the back of a sexual predators van seemed to have ranked pretty high. She should have been more aware considering the fact that she had to kill him and hide the body. More importantly, why was this person after her and how is she going to tell her husband.

Add in the fact that she has also been called in to help with a cold case and Bridget’s life is getting more and more complicated.

That is where I stopped reading. You would think that the intrigue would sustain the plotline, but it was dry and for me boring.

Others have had a better feel for this book, but for me something was lacking and it was time to put it down and move on.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review - 12th of Never

Title: 12th of Never
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Book Club edition (April 29, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 432
Genre: Suspense
Source: Library
Series: Women’s Murder Club #12

Not to say that James Patterson’s books are always plausible, but what mother reading this book would believe that Lindsay Boxer would rush back to work soon after the birth of her baby or for that matter, continue to work long hours while the child is in the hospital. Poor James and Maxine, they were in such a quandary as to how to solve murders while their main character was tied up with the messy business of recuperating and mothering.

After that harsh intro, I do have to admit that I am a fan of the Women’s Murder Club series, I love the women and their careers and support of each other, but let us face it - pulling Lindsay away from a sick child was too much.

In addition to investigating a psychic professor’s predictions, Joe and Lindsay are dealing with Joe’s sudden unemployment and the birth of their daughter. Yuki is in court watching a sure thing fall apart, Clare loses the body of footballer’s wife, Cindy and Conklin are have issues. There is a lot going on in this book so you have to be prepared to bounce around awhile and wonder how it will all boil down in 400+ pages.

The central characters are always the same with a few twists thrown in here and there. Patterson and Paetro do tend to throw in a funny quip from time to time, but for the most part, it is the same lightweight banter. I know that Lindsay is and forever will be the main character, but I love Clare. She is what makes me come back to these books. I hope in subsequent accounts that they bring her more to the forefront and find a way to push Cindy to the back.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Review - Her Last Breath

Title: Her Last Breath
Author: Linda Castillo
Publisher: Minotaur Books (June 18, 2013)
Format: Trade Paperback; Pgs 308
Genre: Suspense
Source: Amazon Vine
Series: Kate Burkholder #5

love this series – with multiple storylines and relationship issues that do not dwell too long on one specific moment, but culminate in an ending of one, and a cliffhanger for another.

Kate Burkholder is called out to a horrific accident. A truck has slammed into an Amish buggy splintering it and leaving lives in ruin. The driver has left the scene and with very little evidence remaining, Kate is trying to reconstruct the incident so she will have something to give to her childhood friend, the wife and mother to those involved.

How do you tell the one person that made your young life tolerable that her life is forever shattered? Kate, the police chief of Painters Mill, must make that next of kin notification. She does not want to leave her friend – what if this was not an accident and someone actually set out to kill the young family? Kate goes beyond what her department and the town authorizes, and takes it upon herself to protect her friend, that is until one night when things change. She sees a man sneaking onto Mattie Bontranger’s property and that is when the lies begin. What is Mattie not telling her?

This is not Kate’s only problem. Two young boys are exploring the old grain elevator. When one falls through some old boards, it is not grain that he finds, but the skeleton of Daniel Lapp. This is bad; this is very very bad for Kate. If you have read the previous books, you know that Daniel Lapp was the boy that ruined Kate’s life and was the reason that she left the Plain Life. Kate is in a panic and begins to feel that her life is closing in on her.

With the Kate Burkholder books, there is also a romantic twist. Well, as romantic as Kate will allow her relationship with Tomasetti to get. This time he has really shocked her. He has purchased a home, a nice quiet place away from the turmoil of her life in Painters Mill, and now he has asked her to move in with him. This will be either the perfect solution for her, or the final straw that will have her running in the opposite direction.

I really enjoy this series. The main storyline unfolds and then twists back onto itself in a way that makes you wonder if you have the right person, all the while continuing forward on previous plotlines from prior books and characters making you speculate where Linda Castillo is going in the future.

Friday, June 7, 2013


My youngest child graduated from high school yesterday.

Today my horoscope read:

‘You have many different opportunities tempting you today, so which one will you pick? Well, which one do you want to pick? For once, no one has direct control over what you do, right now. No one is watching and waiting for you to make the choice that will help them. You get to do whatever you want! This might be an unfamiliar sensation, but it's a great one! Follow your mood and do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it. It's time to put yourself first.’

I think that these are the most terrifying words I have ever heard.

It is right up there with the John Burroughs quote:

“Leap, and the net will appear”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

First Paragraph First Chapter - Rage Against The Dying

Title: Rage Against the Dying
Author: Becky Masterman
Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 12, 2013)
Format: ARC Trade Paperback
Genre: Suspense
Source: Amazon Vine

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

Ten days earlier …

I’ve sometimes regretted the women I’ve been.

There have been so many: daughter, sister, cop, tough broad, several kinds of whore, jilted lover, ideal wife, heroine, killer. I’ll provide the truth of them all, inasmuch as I’m capable of telling the truth. Keeping secrets, telling lies, they require the same skill. Both become a habit, almost an addiction, that’s hard to break even with the people closest to you, out of the business. For example, they say never trust a woman who tells you her age; if she can’t keep that secret, she can’t keep yours.

I’m fifty-nine.


Brigid Quinn's experiences in hunting sexual predators for the FBI have left her with memories she wishes she didn’t have and lethal skills she hopes never to need again. Having been pushed into early retirement by events she thinks she's put firmly behind her, Brigid keeps telling herself she is settling down nicely in Tucson with a wonderful new husband, Carlo, and their dogs.

But the past intervenes when a man named Floyd Lynch confesses to the worst unsolved case of Brigid’s career—the disappearance and presumed murder of her young protégée, Jessica. Floyd knows things about that terrible night that were never made public, and offers to lead the cops to Jessica's body in return for a plea bargain.

It should finally be the end of a dark chapter in Brigid’s life. Except…the new FBI agent on the case, Laura Coleman, thinks the confession is fake, and Brigid finds she cannot walk away from violence and retribution after all, no matter what the cost.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Review - Reconstructing Amelia

Author: Kimberly McCreight
Publisher: Harper (April 2, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 400
Genre: Suspense
Source: Amazon

When I first began this book, I did not realize what I was getting into. The story starts with a mother receiving a call that her academically advanced daughter was being expelled from school for cheating and before the mother, a partner in a law firm, could arrive, her daughter was dead from an apparent suicide.

In alternating chapters, the lives of Amelia Baron and her mother Kate slowly unfold. High school life is hard and when Amelia is “tapped” to be in a secret group at school, she first thinks that they are ridiculous, but at the same time, intrigued with a particular person within this group.

This is where the storyline does a complete spider web and things go from bad to horrible rather quickly. After the funeral, Kate receives a text that informs her that Amelia did not kill herself. How can that be, Kate was told by the head of the school that it was so, the autopsy stated the same thing, but something was not sitting right. Was it intuition or desperation that drove Kate to reconstruct Amelia’s life?

This book touches on all subjects. A grief stricken mother that has a couple of secrets, a daughter that questions part of herself, mean girls, a never seen texting boyfriend, a best friend that knows things that she does not want to share. A teacher that stirs the pot, an administrator that wants to keep all things hidden. The cast of characters goes on and on.

As I said, when I started this book I had no idea where it would take me. Kimberly McCreight wrote the kind of book that I love. There is something new in each chapter, a little tidbit is revealed and before you know it, you are flipping back a couple of chapters wondering how you did not see that coming.

There is talk that this book is being turned into a screen adaptation with Nicole Kidman - which I think would be perfect. I just hope that they can slowly reveal the story the way the book did and not leave out parts in hopes that the audience had read the book and can fill in their own missing pieces. Because trust me, if you are not paying attention you will be lost.