Thursday, January 29, 2015

Well Read, Then Dead

Title: Well Read Then Dead
Author: Terrie Farley Moran
Published: August 5th 2014 by Berkley
Format: Paperback; Pgs 304
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Read 'Em and Eat Mystery #1

This book was all over the place. The first book in the new Read Em and Eat Mystery series introduces Sassy Cabot and her best friend Bridgy who are co-owners of a bookstore cafĂ© on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

When their cook is injured, Aunt Ophie comes to the rescue and helps with the kitchen duties. At the same time, their elderly friend Delia is found dead in her home. Delia’s best friend Augusta Maddox begs Sassy to help discover who is responsible.

Though pulled out from time to time, Delia’s death seems to have been placed on the backburner while Sassy tracks down “wreckers” who are on the island looking for sunken ships, Skully an itinerant artist and handyman that has been seen around Delia home, a resort company that wants Delia’s land and a relentless real estate agent.

Everything eventually ties together, with one very surprising moment, but it is so jumbled and monotonous that I found myself skimming parts and picking up other books before I finished this one.

This is not a new series for me to continue with. I wish others that enjoyed it well, but it was just not for me.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Blood of an Englishman

Title: The Blood of an Englishman
Author: M.C. Beaton
Published: September 16th 2014 by St Martin's Press Minotaur Books
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 294
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Agatha Raisin #25

The author MC Beaton and I are having a bit of a conflict. Her last couple of books have fallen short of the mark for me. I do not know if it is the fact that we have been acquainted for a long time or if Agatha is becoming a stagnant character.

Each book seems to be a remake of the previous. Agatha is bored, Agatha is looking for a man, Agatha is bouncing back and forth between her ex-husband James Lacey and her friend Sir Charles Fraith. Roy pops up from time to time in a costume of sorts that represents his current public relations client, Mrs. Bloxby - the vicars wife is the only one with a clear understanding of the situation, and Bill Wong is still living with his parents.

Then you add in the murder of the week, Agatha will find herself in peril, she will be bailed out and swears that she is getting too old for detective work. Once recovered from her latest calamity, she will fix her make-up, pluck an errant chin whisker and meet a new man that will undoubtedly have a flaw that Agatha just cannot live with. When all is said and done, her house cleaner will return Agatha’s cats to the cottage and a new day will begin.

Granted, this is the 25th book in the series, but I want something new for Agatha, I want her not be as bored with her life as I am at reading it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Eleanor and Park

Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: February 26th 2013 by St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 328
Genre: Young Adult

The torment just falls off the page and is as real a character as both Eleanor and Park. Because of that, I do not feel that I could do justice in reviewing this book. I am not sure that everyone will take away the same message from this book, but what it boiled down for me was that Eleanor did not belong. She did not belong with the new family her mother created, she did not belong in her school, she did not belong on the bus, she did not belong anywhere, yet she was determined to hold on to the one place she did belonged and that was with Park.

Even though they were both from the poorer section of town, to Eleanor’s eyes Park had it all. He came from a family. There was food on his table and grandparents next door. People cared about him and he belonged.

Park’s mother summed up the book for me when she said, “that when you come from a large family, there is never enough”. Though Eleanor did not ask for anything, there was never enough for her. She was determined to make Park enough, and Park in return knew that Eleanor was all that he ever wanted. That he would give Eleanor what she needed so that she would no longer feel afraid.

There is your usual teen high school drama, but Eleanor was determined to rise above it, she could handle anything as long as one person was on her side.

Park was forced to grow up quicker then he should, but he was going to be there even if he had to convince his parents not go give up on Eleanor.

Turns out that some of the awfulness that Eleanor was facing was closer to home than either of them thought. Eleanor needed to make a break from that life and if it meant leaving Park behind, then that is what had to be done.

This book is goofy and heartbreaking. It felt a bit voyeuristic to watch the turmoil that was going on but at the same time, I found myself trying to poke at Eleanor’s and Park’s mothers trying to push them to catch a clue as to what was going on.

At the end, my heart was breaking and I kept hoping for that single light at the end of the long tunnel that was Eleanor’s life. I wanted for that one person to reach out to her and say, “It gets better, you belong”. In a twist, it turned out the scared and damaged Eleanor reached back to the one person that was there for her. The one person that would always make her feel as if she belonged.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Three Sisters: A Whispers Story

Title: The Three Sisters: A Whispers Story
Author: Lisa Unger
Published: January 5th 2015 by Pocket Star
Format: eBook
Genre: Paranormal eNovella
Source: NetGalley and Amazon
Series: The Whispers #3

I am not sure what the purpose of this book was. Designated as the third part of an e-novella, Lisa Unger finishes off a very lackluster installment in the life of psychic sensitive Eloise Montgomery.

There is a very superficial story of three sisters that are somehow related to her and her grand-daughter Finley. The sisters were burned at the stake as witches and their mother is making a ghostly appearance at Eloise’s home in an attempt to warn her to protect Finley since two of the three witch sisters wants to bring evil to her.

All the while, Eloise is stepping over a soggy girl, in spirit form, that has taken up residence on Eloise’s porch. Apparently, this beautiful yet sad girl has committed suicide yet her father wants to blame an ex-lover for his daughter’s death.

This is just a ridiculous novella series that started out well in the first installment and proceeded to deteriorate with the last two. Other than trying to sell her latest book, you see, the end of each novella release is a large advertisement and sample; there was no purpose to the Whisper’s trilogy.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Virgin River Christmas

Title: Virgin River Christmas
Author: Robyn Carr
Published: November 1st 2008 by Mira Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 285 pages
Genre: Romance
Series: Virgin River #4

There is something about the Virgin River books that keeps me coming back. Romance novels are not my usual go to, but there is just something about these people. I love how Robyn Carr weaves previous storylines with new books and reminds the readers just enough without going overboard as to how everyone is connected.

This time out Marcie Sullivan is traveling through the small mountain communities of Northern California in hopes of finding Ian Buchanan – the man that dragged Marcie’s husband to safety during a gun battle in Fallujah.

In the four years since that has happened, Marcie has not regretted one day of the time that she had spent with her husband and his shattered body. To her, it was three more years to love him, but to Ian it was torture. He has regretted saving Bobby’s life. He knew when he went in to retrieve Bobby that it was just a shell, that the man that he respected was no longer there.

It has now been a year since Bobby died peacefully and Marcie wants to find the man that she had written letters to, to thank him and of all things to give him Bobby’s baseball cards.

Ian no longer looks like the handsome man in the photo that she has, what she eventually finds is a broken man, but yet, Marcie sees more. Once she pushed past the unshorn mountain man, she found a damaged lonely sole and when no one is looking this man sings like an angel.

There is no deep story here, just a heartwarming narration of two people that are both wounded and longing at the same time and a small community that opens their arms and welcomes them in like one of their own.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Title: When
Author: Victoria Laurie
Publication: January 13th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
Format: eBook ARC; Hardcover, 336 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: My thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for an opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.

When I told a friend that the next book up was When by Victoria Laurie she asked for a short synopsis, when I explained the premise she stated that is sounds like the video of Savin’ Me by Nickelback. So of course I had to head off and check that out.

Granted, this could have been a starting point for Ms. Laurie, but that is where the similarities end.

From a young age, Maddie Fynn was able to see a series of numbers above the forehead of each person that she is either four feet from or a photograph taken at close range. Not knowing what these numbers meant she presented a drawing to her parents that they had puzzled over. Come to find out, these digits represent the person’s death date.

Both Maddie and her alcoholic mother are living with the regret of not knowing their meaning since Maddie’s father was killed in the line of duty on the same day as the digits floating above his head stated.

Money is thin in their household and Maddie is forced by her mother to earn a little extra cash by doing readings for strangers. Of course this is the turning point in the story when two young people go missing and are found dead. Both of whom have ties to Maddie’s abilities.

Investigators Faraday and Wallace cannot decide if Maddie and her best friend Stubby are responsible or just mere pawns in a tangled web. As the last pages unwind, the reader is mesmerized by the twist that this story takes.

I had originally picked up the book to read a couple of pages and save it for later only to discover that I did not want to put it down. It captivated me from the beginning and though I am a reader of Ms. Laurie’s two other series, this book had a completely different feel. There wasn’t all the sophomoric humor and drama that is prevalent in her other books and I was sure that since this is a Young Adult book, that this is where I would be finding more.

What I did find was a well plotted steady book that kept me engaged from beginning to end. This is definitely a genre that Ms. Laurie should continue with.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Maple and Willow Together

Title: Maple and Willow Together
Author and Illustrator: Lori Nichols
Published: November 4th 2014 by Nancy Paulsen Books
Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
Genre: Children's
Ages: Age Level: 3 - 5 | Grade Level: P - K

I fell in love with Maple the first time I was introduced to her by Lori Nichols. Now I get to re-experience that joy with Maple and Willow Together.

This time around, Maple has a little sister that is both her best friend and the leading frustration in her life. Together they play and discover, but at the same time, Maple has a tendency to be a bit bossy but Willow adapts until she can no longer take it and fights back. The repercussions of this are what neither wants so they meet in the middle and once again, the sisters are best friends and cannot bear to be apart.

The illustration are stunning and your young reader will love looking at them and telling their own story.

There is a third book coming in August 2015 that will continue this wonderful story, and I cannot wait to see what these two will be up to next.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Winter at the Door

Title: Winter at the Door
Author: Sarah Graves
Publication: January 6th 2015 by Bantam
Format: eBook ARC; Hardcover, 272 pages
Genre: Mystery
Source: My thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.
Series: Lizzie Snow #1

I am still not sure about this book. It was sort of “murder lite” with a few psychological aspects.

This is a new series from Sarah Graves that broke a character out of her ongoing Home Repair Is Homicide mysteries and moved her to a new job near the Canadian border. The Home Repair series is not one that I was familiar with and did not have a full understand of Lizzie Snow. Ms. Graves did a good job with some of the background, but I think that I would have liked to know more about how her sister died and how her niece went missing.

Officer Lizzie Snow has given up a job in Boston that she loved to come to Bearkill, Maine to follow up on a lead from her ex-lover, police detective Dylan Hudson. Dylan was given information that Lizzie’s niece Nikki was seen in the area. It was not only for the tip, but also because Bearkill was looking for a detective. Apparently, retired police officers in the area are turning up dead and the current police chief has a feeling that four deaths are too much of a coincidence.

Sheriff Cody Chevrier of the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Department may have bent the truth a little bit, but now that Lizzie is here, there appears to be more going on and some of it is happening right in her own office.

There is a secondary investigation going on with murdered girls in Bangor, Maine that is keeping Dylan too close for Lizzie’s comfort but then again there is a very interesting veterinarian in the area that just might keep her mind off past mistake.

Points need to be connected and the reader is drawn to many different aspects at the same time -which is refreshing. Quite often, authors become myopic and the reader grows bored with the same storyline being rehashed. I am hoping that Ms. Grave’s was just drawing the bigger picture with this book and future installments will be bound tighter and more intensity will be brought to the characters.