Posted in Book Review

The Other

The Other

By Marilyn Peake

January 2018

129 pages, ebook only

Sci-fi

✮✮✮✮⭒

I was provided a copy of this book by the author. This is my honest review for which I am not being compensated in any way.

The cover is outstanding. It really catches your eye with that lovely blue and the city with spaceships overhead! The story is pretty good. The grubbing Ph.D. is after the info from the inside on the Roswell cult. The scrambling young women whose adopted mother just died of ovarian cancer is looking for her biological mother. That just happens to be the Ph.D. The scientist from the future needs something from the young woman and can help both women from the past. She creates a bridge between the past and future. The pace is pretty fast and the tension is pretty high throughout.

And here begins the reveal…

Cora Frost Ph.D. is a woman who has left behind her life and thrown herself into her work to forget. All she cares about is getting the story on these two people from the future, Paloma and Zander. She’ll do almost anything to get inside with them, even things she may not be too proud of. She’s headed for fame.

Paloma has been being chased all over the universe and has recently lost her partner, a friend. After a brief time to recover from the shock, she’s back in the time continuum with a new partner, Zander, looking for a way to save the future of mankind. The search has brought her to Roswell, NM.

Jade Whitaker was a barista but has recently taken a new job working with Archer-Knight Hoarding Center helping people who are hoarders cope with their situations. Her adoptive mother has died of ovarian cancer and her adoptive father is in a bit of a fog. He provides her with her birth certificate so that she can search for her biological mother, who is listed as none other than Cora Frost. Jade has been having worsening right lower quadrant abdominal pain. With her adoptive mother’s death, she feels it’s important to know her biological mother’s medical history. With the pain becoming quite severe, Jade talks her way into Roswell to Dr. Frost, who immediately tries to brush her off. She really wants nothing to do with her and has been ignoring her incoming phone calls. Until Jade explains what she wants and why and then collapses in agonizing pain. Paloma steps forward at this point and takes over.

Paloma examines Jade and discovers a vestigial twin on Jade’s ovary. She removes it surgically and asks if she can keep the cells for the future. These cells are exactly what she and Zander need to save the future of mankind. Apparently, Cora had been a twin as well. Her twin’s name was Crystal. If Jade had been a twin, the other girl would have been named Sapphire. From the cells retrieved from Jade, Paloma creates two transparent stones. One with Crystal’s hair and one with Sapphire’s hair. They were the “bridge between the past and future of the entire human race”. Cora, having spent time with Jade now, offers to let Jade work with her on her project. The mother and daughter have created something of a bond.

So, is it the other twin, the other time, or the other mother? Which other do you think it is?

Recommended.

Posted in Book Review

Halsey Street

Halsey Street

Naima Coster

LIttle A, Jan 2018

331 pages, ebook. Hardcover, audiobook, MP3 CD, MP3 Audio

Women’s Lit, Debut Novel

✭✭✭✭✭

I was provided an ARC of this book by Little A and NetGalley. This is my honest review for which I receive no compensation of any kind.

The cover is very appealing. It caught my eye with its wonderful red house, yellow-lit window and single figure in front. The story is a familiar one of what happens to the child when parents split up and she’s left to live her own life in between. The characters were wonderfully drawn so that you could really see them living their lives. Some you sympathized with and others you didn’t. The pace was the pace of life with events that took their time and events that didn’t, so the tension was sometimes low-key and sometimes screaming in your ears or pounding on the door. This is a debut novel which seems to guarantee that the author will get at least one more chance to sell her work. This was outstanding and I will definitely buy her next book.

And here begins the reveal…

Penelope Grand is living in Pittsburgh when she gets a letter from her father’s neighbor that he has taken a fall and is not doing very well. He’s not taking care of himself and needs help. So Penny moves back to Brooklyn to help her father. But she refuses to move back into the old family home where he lives, in spite of the fact that there is plenty of room. She refuses to go backward in her life, she will only go forwards even in Brooklyn. Does that sound like justification to you? Twisted logic? A very mixed up young woman?

Penny rents a third-floor attic room with the Harpers and takes a job as a substitute art teacher, for which she really is not qualified but she figures she can fake it. What does it take to do art with elementary children? She actually is an artist herself and does quite well with the children. It helps her bring her own art back to life some.

Penny goes to see her father daily and tries to get him to move down to the first floor of the big house, but he is stubborn and is determined to remain up on the second floor where he has always been. She is just as stubborn about not living there. I think if she had been willing to move into the house, he would have been willing to meet her halfway in her demands. But these two stubborn people just couldn’t give in to each other in any way. So the very friendly neighbor lady visits Ralph and feeds him a lot of the time and keeps him company while Penny is busy living her new life in Brooklyn. But Ralph wants Penny to have the house eventually. He’s signed the papers, but they also need the signature of Mirella Grand, Penny’s mother. Mirella left one night when Penny was a child and hasn’t been heard from since as far as Penny knows.

She’s gotten to know her landlords a bit more. Samantha is a lawyer and works long hours in an office in the city. Marcus is an architect and works at home quite a bit. Grace is their little girl who is lonely. They have only recently moved into the house since it was completely renovated for them. Grace hasn’t had enough time to make friends in this area yet. She’s not allowed to play outside since it could be dangerous. But she makes friends with Penny very quickly. They do a lot of talking and Samantha asks Penny to watch Grace from time to time when neither she nor Marcus can be home. It’s good for both Penny and Grace to talk. Penny sees the innocence of Grace and treasures it. Grace is shown a bigger world than the one she has and gets some of her questions about life answered in a realistic way.

Penny gets a postcard from her mother asking her to visit her in the Dominican Republic where she has made her home. At first, Penny doesn’t want to go, but Ralph convinces her that she should. She needs to understand why her mother left and see what sort of life she has made for herself in the DR. So Penny flies to the DR and is met by her mother, who looks wonderful. She’s been living a life that obviously agrees with her. She has bought herself a house and made it a home, which she is very proud to show to Penny. She is ready to try to explain to Penny why she had to leave all those years ago. Why she could no longer live with Ralph. Mirella and Penny spent time getting to know one another again. Mirella tells Penny that her house will be Penny’s when Mirella is dead. Penny has brought the papers for Ralph’s house for Mirella to sign also. Mirella signs the papers. Penny goes back to Brooklyn and her life. Mirella misses her greatly. Ralph has taken a fall and is recovering in a nursing home, so Penny is no longer responsible for him. His doctor, Dr. Elias, tells Penny that Ralph is not taking care of himself and that he will be better off in the nursing home with constant care. Ralph and Penny argue about why he’s not taking care of himself and their fight goes too far. They have both said too much.

Penny returns home to the Harper’s house one night in the snow, which is turning into a blizzard, to find Marcus working in his office with the door open. They’ve gotten to be friends over time. Samantha is spending the night at her office because of the storm. Grace is downstairs in her room all set for the night. Penny tempts Marcus and he has no will. He gives in to her faster than Adam gave in to Eve. They carry on for two days and nights while Samantha is snowed in at the office. The storm has ended and the streets are cleared. Samantha is home from the office and the air is thick with the suspicion of betrayal. Marcus has decided to try one more time with his wife. He cuts Penny cold.

Penny is still very close to Grace. One night Penny comes home to find Grace the only one home. Her parents are both out with the understanding that Penny would be home soon and would see to Grace. Penny is a bit miffed about this. Grace is really bored and she convinces Penny to take her for a walk. They take the A train and walk around part of the city to the Brooklyn Bridge. Penny acts as her tour guide and shows her different places in the city, the place where the World Trade Center had been and other places. They stopped to get tea and watch people being people. When they get home, Samantha is in a tear. She’s ready to terminate Penny’s lease and put her daughter back in her plastic bubble.

Penny finds some relief in talking with Jon, the bartender at the Sheckley, one of the few old businesses still around in the old neighborhood. Jon is also a street artist, and he takes her with him one night to try his brand of art. He had also helped her move her things into the rooms on the bottom floor of the Halsey Street house and repaint the rooms she was using. He listens to what and how she talks about what’s going on. He doesn’t necessarily agree with her point of view on all these things or that what she has done is right. She gets aggravated with him. Then she gets a phone call that has her visiting her father in the nursing home. Mirella has died in an accident. Her ashes are sitting in her house waiting to be taken care of. Ralph responds by getting on a plane with his daughter and flying to the DR. Something he has never done in his life. But this was his wife and this is his duty to attend to. Penny painted a picture for her mother to commemorate her house that she was so proud of and takes it with her to the DR. Penny and Ralph bond through this last service to Mirella and music.

I have left out a major factor in this whole story and that’s the backstory of it. But to go into that would take a whole lot of time. I didn’t want to do that. The backstory, of course, ties things together and explains a lot of things. I have simply told you what happens to this very angry young woman. This is an amazing and emotion prompting story of one young woman’s search for her place in life. She could be any young woman. I strongly recommend reading this book. It will be one that you think about picking up for a reread in time, I believe. This is a debut novel and I look forward to seeing what else this author produces.

Highly recommended.

Posted in Book Review

Trick

Trick

An Origin Novel

Scarlett Dawn, Dec 2017

196 pages, ebook, KU

Dystopian Paranormal Romance

✮✮✮✮

I purchased this at the current price. This is my honest review for which I receive no compensation of any kind.

The cover is the same style of the others in the series. I’m not sure about how the young woman’s hair and the bear’s fur blend or don’t blend. The story is a bit off from what the other stories are. The pace is fast. But the tension suffers from the switches between sex and the weather and ocean stats.

And here begins the reveal…

Faith Ann Peyton is a fisherman approaching her 25th birthday and since she doesn’t want to go into the army, she’s entered into the Marriage Match to see if she can win herself a high-priced marriage mate. Ethan Striker is the man in charge of the Marriage Match and he explains its process to her while the bidding goes on. Suddenly, he announces that the Maximum Bid has been met and that bidding is closed. She has a mate. The person who met that Maximum Bid is Alaric Timon Wood of Wood Corp. Mr. Striker takes her to Mr. Wood’s home to deliver her. He drops her off at the end of the driveway and she has to walk up the very, very long driveway to the mansion. Mr. Wood doesn’t answer the door on the first knock. On the second knock, he slams the door in her face. On the third knock, she forces her way in. Faith feels that someone is controlling her. She feels it inside her, controlling her words and actions to provoke Mr. Wood into berserker mode so that he’d recognize his mate. Who would want to force a big brown bear into berserker mode? Whatever, it works. Alaric does go into berserker mode, but he handles it well and no one gets hurt. The bear recognizes his mate. Cass shows up and helps out by explaining things to Faith while Alaric has been knocked out for the night.

The next morning is a much better introduction for the two of them. Faith and Alaric agree to start over and recognize the mating and the Marriage Match. Cass makes pancakes for breakfast and then they all go shopping! The guys need tuxes, but not until Faith and Cass have had fun driving Alaric crazy with some more feminine shopping. Given the size of Alaric, and all the guys, his regular tailor is chosen as the best bet for a fitting, until Cass has a seer moment. Escorting them away quickly from the exploding storefront, Cass and Alaric are killed. Rune comes to the rescue by picking them up and taking them to his house. Another rocky introduction. With both Cass and Alaric dead, Rune doesn’t trust that Faith didn’t kill Alaric until Alaric regenerates. In order to keep Faith safe, Alaric takes her to his house, because until they have sex, she’s not an immortal.

Butch Fitzgerald is the captain of the fishing boat that Faith worked with. He’s concerned for her because she’s confined to Alaric’s house. He’s willing to get her a false identity so she can disappear. But it’s their wedding day and Faith is willing to do things Alaric’s way. Part way down the aisle on her way to Alaric, Faith feels someone take over her body again. She tries to hold it off and manages to hurry the wedding and let Alaric know what’s happened. Unfortunately that doesn’t stop her from turning into a bear and going on a rampage and taking off into the woods to get away from sounds and smells. Cass helps block her from the other’s interference. He also does a spell on Poppy so that she should turn into a lioness to see what it is like. Godrik was a lion and she was mated to him. So she should turn into a lioness. But what comes out of the folds of her dress is a tiny fox vixen. Cass is a fox. How can this be? The magic always gets it right, so now they have to figure it out and learn to live with it. Poppy, mated to the late Godrik is meant for Cass, Godrik’s brother.

From one disaster to another it seems. Poisoning the bride with pizza at her own wedding seems to be another one. But it’s what finally got them to where they needed to be to keep Faith safe. Finally, in their own bed making love.

In an effort to track down who is taking control of Faith, she meets the group’s assassin, Jonathan. She notices that the group looks through him as if he’s not even there, so she treats him as a real person and makes a friend of him. However, the guy takes control of her and makes her punch him. The fear is that as Alaric’s mate now, she could kill him. They need Cass to block the spell.

Then Theron needs help wooing the pizza delivery girl. So it’s off to Dormi’s to question her about the guy that bribed her to poison the wedding pizza. They finally break through her shell and get a few answers, but they really don’t lead anywhere. They do find out that her father beats her and her mother and that’s what she needs money for. So she can get away.

Jonathan and Faith talk about the situation trying to figure out who is manipulating things. They go all the way back to the beginning, Marriage Match and how that all happened. Who was excited about the match? Where the information came from. Then Faith showed Jonathan a picture of Ethan Striker, the man from Marriage Match. All h#ll breaks loose. Cass and Theron are fighting about the last seer. Jonathan is in shock. All the big guys are tiptoeing around and backing off. Poppy is the one to diffuse the situation finally and gets them talking sanely. The whole group spent some time figuring out how the dark seer they used to have had used his twin brother and a transference of his own power to fake his death by Theron. So now Jonathan’s new job is to find Joshua Striker and kill him.

Butch needs help on the boat because his new help is sick. So, Faith goes with him. Suddenly, Butch is flashed overboard and gone and Joshua Striker is before her. They talk and Striker tells her what he wants eventually. He wants her to tell Theron to leave the rock alone because to move it will release a monster they don’t need to deal with. The second thing is that Faith is to go to the pizza shop and rescue the delivery girl as she is in danger. She’s to take her to Rune’s house to live. Then he tells her to use her silver bracelet and she is flying over the rail into the sea. She manages to get off a distress signal. Her bracelet buzzes and it Alaric. She tells him she’s overboard and needs help. She’s immortal. The sea takes her down time and time again. She dies over and over, five days she dies over and over again.

Butch has been found and buried. And now Faith is awake and Alaric is by her side. Cass blocks Striker’s magic. She tells Cass about not moving the lava rock and why. He accepts the message. Then she tells them they need to go rescue the pizza delivery girl because she is in danger and Theron hustles them out of the house. When they get to Dormi’s Pizza there has been a gas explosion and the whole block is a mess. The whole bunch of them start digging in and helping anyone who needs help. Then Faith and Theron find the delivery girl buried in the rubble. Faith talks with her while Theron digs her out. They take her off to the hospital for evaluation.

Life settles down a bit and Alaric and Faith get to be together as a couple.

Recommended.

Next is Trap #5

Posted in Book Review

Torment

Torment

An Origin Novel

Scarlett Dawn

231 pages, ebook, KU, paperback

Dystopian Paranormal Romance

✮✮✮✮⭒

This book was purchased at the current price. This is my honest review for which I receive no compensation of any kind.

The cover is pretty awesome with that gorgeous big cat on it. It fits the style established for the series nicely. The story is pretty good, too. Megan’s father runs a bunch of illegal fight rings and other illegal businesses. He’s basically tortured Megan all her life just because he could. He gets a sick pleasure from it. Now Megan has hooked up with the immortal bigwigs, Mr. Baker, Mr. Wolfe and particularly, Mr. Mason. The characters aren’t 100% wonderful, but we know so many of them from previous books if you’ve been reading along that it’s easy to pick up on what type of people they are. The pace is fast, so try to keep up and the tension will keep you on your toes so that you won’t be able to put it down. Even when you think you might have a moment, people barge through doors or people walk into bars. But then, that’s how we get started in this book.

And here begins the reveal…

Megan is trying to keep a low profile and is minding her own business doing her job tending bar when two people from her recent past appear. Mr. Wolfe Cooper of the Cooper Corp. and Mr. Finn Baker of the Baker Corp. were part of the investigation into her recent kidnapping, and now they are sitting at her bar. But a third big man has just walked into the bar and he has stolen her attention completely. He joins the two men at the bar, takes a deep sniff of her scent and tells her that she smells of “sex, home, and chocolate chip cookies”. The two are locked onto each other and after a brief conversation about what he wants, which appears to be her in a cleaning closet in the back, the two of them leave the room together. What happens after that is the funniest, sexiest, most detailed sex scene that’s going to have you squirming in your seat. The whole time they keep reassuring each other that this is not leading to a relationship because neither one of them do relationships. She doesn’t because her father delights in hurting her through the people she cares for. And he doesn’t because he’s immortal and relationships only work well one way for such beings. And so far, he hasn’t found his mate. Well, until now. When the two get back out to the bar, sneaky Finn takes a quick subtle blood sample disguised as cleaning up Megan’s hand and discovers that Rune has indeed found his mate this time in.

Godrik King was indeed their king. When you are the product of a goddess mating with a mortal, you are immortal. All five of these men are such men. Godrik’s father is Theron King, whose father was obviously a king of the gods. Theron is an ancient, not just one of the immortals. Everyone tiptoes around him, even Cassander to some degree, who is the seer. But Theron is on vacation currently. And Godrik is in a barred glass case lying on his bed at home. His mate, Poppy Carvene, sleeps next to him mourning him and her actions that caused his loss. Poppy has been through too much and certain of her actions cost Godrik his soul and life.

Valentine has them, the soul and lifeforce of Godrik King. He also has the ability to steal Godrik’s body and enter it to reanimate it, which he does. He sets up a scene where Poppy has to make a choice of each of the men in the group or Godrik and when it comes to Cass, she chooses to shoot Godrik and end it. She claims it’s because he’s the seer, but not everyone believes that’s her only reason.

Finally, the group gets around to setting up Megan’s father and putting an end to his illegal fighting rings. But things don’t go quite like they planned and Mr. Marshall shows up for a meet on his own time behind closed doors. When all is said and done, Rune comes back to Megan and is so sorry that he couldn’t keep his word to her to bring her father to her to kill, but he did bring proof of his death. And he presents her with his head in a bag. She is thrilled with it. Finally, she is free! Rune said he totally lost it when her father talked about the things he did to Megan as a child.

Megan isn’t tending bar anymore. She has had a secret wish to be a Princess at a local fun park and to make children happy. Rune is making sure that her application gets approved.

Recommended.

Next book is Trick #4

This one is owed from last Tuesday. So I’m still playing catch up…

Posted in Book Review

Holiday in Death

Holiday in Death

In Death series #7

J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)

Berkley Books, Jun 1998

312 pages, ebook, paperback, audiobook, MP3 CD

Sci-Fi Romance Mystery

✭✭✭✭

I purchased this book as part of a 5 book series from BN.com for nook at a sale price. This is my honest review for which I receive no compensation of any kind.

The cover on this one is sort of strange, but it does relate to the book, so I have to give it that. The story itself was a bit shaky. I was put off by the use of Santa as the bad guy. Some things should be off-limits, shouldn’t they? The characters, as usual, were spot on. The twins and their clients were as weird as you could want. The pace was fast as Dallas and her team tried to beat the clock ticking down on the twelve days of Christmas and the tension was through the roof.

And here begins the reveal…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me two turtle doves…

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three French hens…

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four colly birds…

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five golden rings…

And on and on and on… for twelve days…

Well, if Santa comes knocking at your door holding a large wrapped box, don’t open the door, call Dallas instead! In this installment, Santa is the culprit! He’ll do your make-up and hair so that you look absolutely stunning and strip you of everything right down to your skin, then wrap you in tinsel and bows and take your life. You even get a really cute temp tattoo for the holidays. And there’s one more thing he leaves behind that counts off the stanzas of the song. But I can’t give that away. That’s the clue the police keep secret.

In this book, Peabody’s personality and confidence start to develop quite a bit. She starts joking with Dallas and standing up to her some. She’s not so intimidated by her as she was when they first paired up. She still respects her as much, but she’s relaxed a lot and is doing some talking back and ogling the boss’ husband when they “work from home”. She’s even complaining to Eve about McNab and having to work with him. He really irritates her and she can’t understand why. She figures avoidance is the key, so she tries not to have to work with him. The team decides to use Peabody as bait and Santa hits on her as she goes home Christmas eve. Initially, she freezes, but she’s able to get her phone turned on so that the team can hear what’s going on and they get to her in time. McNab is all kinds of crazy over this and everyone but Peabody and Dallas seem to realize that he’s really hung up on Peabody. She just seems irritated by him still. That will change over time.

I keep thinking that this whole In Death series needs a genre of its own. It’s sci-fi because it was written in the late 1990s and takes place in the 2050-60s. It’s thriller or action because it’s packed with both elements. It’s romance because of Eve and Roarke, Mavis and Leonardo, and the rest of the couples that arise in the series over time. It’s mystery because Dallas is a homicide detective and we always get to sit in on her case and its problems. And yet it really seems somewhat like a cozy series to me because we get to be so intimately involved with their lives over time. Even life in the big house seems cozy as Dallas and Roarke attempt to create their own traditions since they have none from their own childhoods. They are all like family, the whole crew. So, I want to classify it as a Sci-fi thriller romance cozy series. Do you think Nora Roberts would have a fit if I did that? As usual, any book in this series comes with my personal recommendation to read it and share it. And read it again, like I am!

Recommended

This is the review that was due for last Monday, February 12th. Only three more to go!

Posted in Book Review

Conspiracy in Death

Conspiracy in Death

In Death series #9

J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)

Berkley Books, Apr 1999

363 pages, ebook, paperback, audiobook

Sci-fi thriller romance cozy

✮✮✮✮⭒

I purchased this book as part of a 5 book series from BN.com for nook at a sale price. This is my honest review for which I receive no compensation of any kind.

The cover is scary and depicts parts of the story very well, as you will see once you have read it if you do. The story is a really good one and carries a lesson to be remembered. When medicine starts working miracles, doctors must remember that they are not God. They do not have the power over man to make the decision as to who lives and who dies, whose life has value and whose life does not. The characters are well done as they continue to develop. We meet two more who will become regulars eventually. Well, actually, we meet three. One we have seen in a previous book I think. Oops. The pace is fast as all In Death books are and the tension is nerve-wracking as always. It’s been so long that I can’t remember all the aspects of these books and can’t remember who did some of these. This was one of those, and it drove me crazy trying to figure it out!

And here begins the reveal…

The quote at the beginning of each book is always so appropo, but this one I really like the wording.

“Let us hob-and-nob with Death.” Tennyson

I make a point of going back at the end of each book to read the quotes that the author had chosen and usually find then terribly appropriate. This one with its short wording was right on.

Someone is removing the internal organs from street people and they aren’t asking permission. The first one Dallas gets involved with is Snooks, a homeless guy who makes paper flowers and is liked by everyone who knows him. The two uniformed cops that found him are Officer Ellen Bowers and Officer Troy Trueheart from the 062 Precinct. Bowers isn’t much help and isn’t very friendly, to the point of being obstructive almost. Dallas didn’t like her and sent her off to get coffee and Bowers didn’t like that. In the meantime, Officer Trueheart offered up some helpful information that leads to more information on the case and eventually leads to Troy Trueheart becoming a part of the team. We will see a lot more of him in the future.

Bowers is a troublemaker and has it in for Dallas. They were apparently at the police academy together, where Dallas was something of a wonder woman and superstar. Whereas Bowers barely made it through. Dallas has always been a cop through and through and squared away in uniform before she made detective, whereas Bowers’ uniform is shabby and needs cleaning and repairs. Slovenly is the word that comes to mind actually. Bowers is a complaint filer and she doesn’t disappoint IAB. She files several complaints against Dallas with references going back to their time at the academy when Dallas supposedly used sexual favors to get through. Her claims are wild and not taken seriously by IAB officer Don Webster, another one who will appear throughout future books. He and Dallas have worked together in the past and they are on good terms until he’s the one investigating her. Then she’s not happy with him at all. Nor is she happy with this smudge on her record or the fact that they eventually take her badge and weapon. She just can’t believe they believe any of this of her! It’s not that they believe it, but that they can’t disprove it! The opposition is just that good! Things are eventually disproved, Bowers is killed by a droid and Dallas reclaims her treasured badge and weapon, the loss of which had brought her to her knees. Her whole image of herself is wrapped up in that badge. For them to take that from her was devastating to her. Roarke got her through it. Dr. Mira came as soon as she heard. Dallas pulls herself together and returns to work.

She meets one other person in this case that she will acquire. Dr. Louise Dimatto works at the free clinic because she cares so much. She helps Dallas figure some of the medical things out and finds the records that are hidden in the computers of the clinic. This international group of top surgeons used her little free clinic for the poor and homeless as the front for their dirty work. And all the top surgeons were involved. Some of them more than others and some more willingly than others. Only one was actually killing street people. But he didn’t see them as people. They were just disposable sources. Certain organs with regenerative tissue were harvested. If they could regenerate organs they could eventually regenerate people. They would need to limit the world population because of limited natural resources so it would have to be a selective population. But that’s okay, they would decide who would be part of that population. Now, maybe you are getting a glimpse why the quote is so perfect.

Highly recommended.

Posted in Book Review

Sorry,

I haven’t been good about posting this week due to migraines since Sunday. I have read the books and will post the reviews, possibly over the weekend or next week. It all depends on my health. Sorry about that. But looking at a screen and a moving cursor is one thing I simply can’t do.

I have been able to read because I could put the font size on humongous and read about 5 words on a page without my glasses. So at least I’ve been able to keep going on the reading part. Now, I just have to get well enough to be able to write reviews. Soon, I hope.

Emma’s taking very good care of me.

Judi at a thoughtful reveal

Posted in Book Review

Miss Buncle Married

Miss Buncle Married

Miss Buncle #2

D.E. Stevenson

Herbert Jenkins Ltd. 1936

Sourcebooks Landmark 2012

354 pages, ebook, hardcover, paperback, audiobook

Women’s lit, humor, historical

✮✮✮✮✮

I purchased this at the current price. This is my honest review for which I am receiving no compensation of any kind.

The cover fits the style established by the first book of this series and appropriate for this period piece. It definitely fits the story as well. I love how it looks as if they are almost dancing. I reviewed the first book, Miss Buncle’s Book previously on GoodReads. I found this second book to be just as entertaining and amusing as the first book. The characters are super and so substantial. Miss Buncle we got to know in her first book in quite a bit of depth, but Arthur we only got to know a bit. We get to know him quite a bit more in this second round. The story is really good and amusing. A fit sequel to the first one. The pace is brisk and the tension enough to keep you waiting for what can possibly happen next because, in this book, there’s always something!

And here begins the reveal…

The two characters, Arthur and Barbara Abbott, are really great, especially Barbara. The Abbotts thought they were happily living in Sunnydene enjoying life, but come to find out, they are miserable and didn’t know it. And they only discover this because of Arthur’s headache. As usual, the Abbotts have been out socializing on Friday evening and drinking their friends’ mediocre port, smoking third-rate cigars (Arthur), and playing bridge. Come Saturday morning, Arthur has to get himself up to meet a bad writer at the office, in spite of the fact that he usually takes Saturdays off to play golf and relax. This puts Arthur in a bad mood. The bad writer doesn’t show up for his early appointment and this puts Arthur in a worse mood. Even the secretaries in the office notice his bad mood, but they blame it on the fact that he’s recently married! Arthur’s in too bad a mood to get anything done, so he goes home early rather than working a full day. He arrives home with a headache and tells Barbara that he can’t possibly go out tonight to whatever social event they have, so she will have to cancel. Barbara makes some comment about the hostess having trouble making up her table at the last minute and this sets Arthur off. He has a jolly rant. This usually mild-mannered, rather calm man really raises the roof when he goes on and on about the constant round of dinner parties with always the same food at each house, the mediocre port on offer and the third-rate cigars. The constant bridge games. The same conversations over and over. And on and on until he had unwound their social whirl and laid it at his astounded wife’s feet.

Barbara says to him that she thought he enjoyed the dinners and liked playing bridge. Arthur comes back with a no, that he did it because he thought she liked it. To which she returns that she doesn’t like bridge, it bores her and she’s no good at it. This is something that everyone knows since they are always having to get her attention to get her back in the game and she isn’t a good bridge partner and can’t keep track of the cards or even the suit. Arthur and Barbara decide that they really need to give up their constant social whirl. They look at the calendar and can’t figure out a way to do it and so decide they need to move. So begins Barbara’s house hunting.

Arthur has had the same couple working for him for a number of years and things have always worked out well. A single man with simple needs, no problem. When Barbara came into the picture, she got a different picture of the couple, the Rasts, than Arthur had of them. She got the feeling that the couple didn’t like her and that Mr. Rast could be decidedly dangerous. When the couple hears that Arthur and Barbara are planning to move from the area, Mrs. Rast approaches Barbara. She tells Barbara that she and Rast don’t want to leave the area, they’re settled and have their friends and they’ve been with Mr. Abbott for a long time, and that they are sure that Mr. Abbott will understand that they don’t want to leave the neighborhood as they know his ways so well and such. That they feel decidedly unsettled by all this talk of moving to another place. Feeling they weren’t trusted. And she went on and finally Barbara had to say that she would appreciate it if Rast and Mrs. Rast would pack up and find themselves new employment. Arthur was quite startled at the idea that they really thought he and Barbara would stay there because of them!

So, every day Barbara gets in her car to drive off in another direction to meet an estate agent to look at houses. After a while, the pickings get rather slim. Finally, she sets off to Wandlebury to look at The Archway House. She goes to Mr. Tuttle’s office to pick up the key for the house and Mr. Tuttle mistakes her for Lady Matilda Chevis Cobbe for whom he has a will to be signed. Barbara is allowed to read the will and gets quite an eyeful when she does. At this point, she doesn’t know any of these people. Finally, she is able to convince Mr. Tuttle that she is not who he thinks she is, which is very upsetting to him as that will was supposed to be strictly confidential. Barbara is sworn to secrecy and given the key to The Archway House. She meets Mrs. Dance, the vicar’s wife on her way to the house and does her best to sidestep the plethora of questions the unpleasant woman asks. She’s totally charmed by the house and buys it straight off. She’s not terribly charmed by Mrs. Dance.

She’s quite taken with the wonderful garden, which ends at the river. Just about the time she decides it’s the type of garden that should have children playing in it, she meets Trivvie (Trivona Marvel) and Amby (Ambrose Marvel), the children who live next door, making themselves quite at home in the garden. Then she meets their nanny, Miss Foddy, who tries very hard to keep up with the children. Much later, she meets the third and oldest child, Lanky (Lancreste Marvel) and their parents. Barbara is totally amazed and almost horrified at times at the children’s antics and daring as she gets to know the family during the course of the renovation of her house. She often wonders why Mr. and Mrs. Marvel had children since they seldom have anything to do with them and don’t seem to have the least idea what their children are about. At one point, the children show Barbara an effigy they’ve made from clay by the river. They say it’s Mrs. Dance, the vicar’s wife, whom no one really seems to like much. They have stuck a pin in her midsection. Barbara then learns that Mrs. Dance is indeed ill with what may be appendicitis. This really upsets her.

I don’t want to reveal everything, but there’s a whole secondary storyline here. Remember that will that Barbara was sworn to secrecy about? Well, Lady Matilda Chevis Cobbe has indeed died and it’s time to read the will. There are some surprises in store for people, and some traps if they aren’t careful. Barbara has a really hard time over the ethics of whether or not she should warn a couple of people of the contents of the document. Out of all of this, Barbara does write a new book, but this one is just to get it out of her head and have her husband evaluate it. Not for publication, thank you. Then she has a surprise for Mr. Abbott. You know what they say about a new house…

Highly recommended.

#3 The Two Mrs. Abbotts

Posted in Book Review

Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection

Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection

Death by Didgeridoo #1

The Case of the Killer Divorce #2

Peril in the Park #3

By Barbara Venkateraman

September 2014

361 pages, ebook, paperback, audiobook

Cozy mystery

I was provided a complimentary copy of these books by the author. This is my honest review for which I am receiving no compensation of any kind.

✭✭✭✭

The covers didn’t really appeal to me. The stories were quite good in each of the books providing some depth and clues with which to attempt to solve the mystery. The characters were well-done. The pace had you moving right along in all the stories and the tension was quite good in the first two. In the third one, Peril in the Park, it was up and down with the events of the story.

And here begins the reveal…

I am not going to review all three books in this collection. I am going to do the first story, Death by Didgeridoo. This is the one I liked the best and the one that has stuck in my head the most. It’s also the cover I liked the least! Weird, but true.

As I said before, the mystery was quite well plotted and there were clues throughout which could lead you to solve the mystery as you read the book. I figured out who did it but didn’t connect all the loose ends. This is unusual in a cozy, but I really like this. It’s a feature of cozies that I really dislike, the lack of a real mystery with clues that lead to a solution. Usually, the author simply pulls the solution out of thin air at the end of the story with no way for the reader to have known about it. It really irks me when they do that. If you’re going to do that, file it under fantasy.

Anyway, Adam has Asperger’s Syndrome in a very big way. If you don’t know, Asperger’s is on the Autism spectrum and has a wide range of behaviors attached which can be very subtle or very severe. Adam was in the very severe range for his behaviors. His mother, Peg, has really worked hard to provide a safe and comfortable home for him and helped him reach out in any way he feels comfortable. His thing is music. He takes lessons with Spike at The Screaming Zombie. Spike has a German Shepard named Beast who adores Adam. The feeling is totally reciprocated. Spike and Adam seem to have a special sort of relationship and Adam feels safe in this environment.

Suddenly Adam’s world is shattered. Adam arrives for a music lesson and Spike is covered with blood. So is Adam’s didgeridoo. He’s dead. Adam has blood on his hands. “I did something bad! It’s all my fault!” Adam can’t say anything else. He has shut down as only someone with Aspergers can. The police believe his statement to be a confession to murder. His cousin, Jamie, does not. She may only be a family lawyer, but she’ll go to bat for him until she can find bigger guns to help. She has to go up against Nick, a snarky prosecutor who’s looking to run for public office based on his record in his current position, so he’s looking to close this case quickly with the easy answer.

Jamie’s just about lost it, when she calls Grace, her bestie from law school. Grace has always had the gift of bringing calm and order. She still has the touch. With a brief talk, Grace helps Jamie figure out what she needs to do and who she should try to talk with and lets her know that she still has friends. Then Jamie calls in Duke Broussard, a shady private investigator she’s used in the past. His office is a bar stool in a local bar. Between the two of them, they dig and talk and dig and talk enough to figure out what has happened and who done what. I’m not going to reveal the solution. Just tell you there are several love tangles involved as well as a secret mentioned to the wrong person and a grudge. It’s pretty good for such a short story. Great for a cozy. Definitely, an author to try.

Recommended.

Posted in Book Review

Paranormal in Manhattan

Paranormal in Manhattan

Wickedly Ever After #8

Halloween Hijinks

Lotta Smith, Sep 2017

118 pages, ebook, paperback

Paranormal Cozy Mystery

Cozy with Love & Ghosts

✭✭✭✭

I purchased this book at the current price. This is my honest review for which I am receiving no compensation of any kind.

The cover is in the style chosen for the series, which is totally eye-catching. It always has Mandy on the cover in some fashion outfit appropriate for the story, crime scene tape across the front, and it is seasonally decorated. This time we have a Halloween pumpkin. Whoever it is that does the graphic design for these, really does a great job. They are always fun. The story is great. It takes place just before Halloween, so there are lots of ghostly visitors. The characters are really quite familiar to me by now since the stories always focus on Mandy and her coterie of friends and associates. The pace is fairly brisk as is typical for a book in this series, and the tension just keeps going.

And here begins the reveal…

One thing I noticed about this series is that you get a short book, about 120 pages and then you get about 30 pages of teasers for other books written by the author. I don’t like that. Amazon lists this book as 171 pages, but when I was done reading the story itself, I had completed 118 pages. The rest of what was there were excerpts from more books in the series and other books that the author has written with links to them to buy, and I’m not talking just one or two. I don’t like it and don’t think it’s necessary. I also don’t think it sells those books in there. I’ll bet most people do what I did and just skip over them. Okay, complaint registered. On to the fun part…

At Rick and Amanda’s wedding, Clara (Rick’s mother – ghost) takes over the body of Alice (Rick’s stepmother) so that she can dance with Dan and Rick. Alice doesn’t remember any of it. Clara’s usually off keeping herself busy, but lately, she’s spending a lot of time with the family and being involved with the living. This time, it could get dangerous for those she loves.

In the cemetery where Clara’s body lies, a young man’s ghost is stuck in a pond where he died. He spends a lot of time howling and crying about his situation and disturbing the residents of Clara’s cemetery. So Clara goes to Jackie for help and Mandy ends up involved, of course.

It was Fynn’s birthday and the guys at work had a party for him. They all had quite a bit to drink, except Johnny, who only drank fruit juices. Johnny offered to take Fynn home. On the way, Johnny complained of not feeling well and wanted to stop at a pond in this cemetery he knew that was really pretty. The two stopped. Johnny asked Fynn if he could see the colorful goldfish in the pond. Fynn said he couldn’t. Johnny suggested he look closer, they had polka dots on them. So Fynn leaned over the pond closer…SHOVE…SPLASH. Maybe it was a prank, but maybe it wasn’t. Whether it was or not, Fynn died in the pond, dragged down by the weight of his wet clothes and the fact that he was too drunk to really deal with what was happening. His wife, Nikki, and young daughter, Jennie, were devastated.

His death had been ruled as a suicide. He had taken out a $20,000 loan with no way to repay it and there was a note in his pocket in a plastic bag that indicated suicide. Johnny was more than happy to take his place with Nikki and Jennie and take care of them. Nikki’s trying to tell Johnny thanks but no thanks, but he doesn’t understand why Nikki doesn’t love him. Why he can’t take Fynn’s place in her life, in her heart.

Mandy had already had a chat with Fynn at the pond and understood what was happening. She had shared the information with Nikki so that she, too understood. Fynn and Nikki had gotten married informally, but Nikki had always wanted a big formal reception. So Fynn had made arrangements for one at the place she wanted to have it. He had borrowed the money and put fees in place for the reception that would pay back the loan. Nikki was thrilled when she found all this out. She went to Johnny and tried to explain to him that he needed to leave her alone, but things had gone too far in Johnny’s mind and her turning away from him simply made him snap. Mandy shows up to help her out, but it doesn’t look like the gals will win until her cab driver, Letty shows up and shoots Johnny. But Mandy had called for back-up. She hadn’t wanted to disturb Rick, even though she’d been sitting in his office waiting for him when she found out what was happening. So, she called Mr. Hernandez at the FBI. When backup finally arrives, she had the local cops, the FBI, and USCAB with Rick at the front. He was not too pleased that she hadn’t simply told some of his people that she needed help. In the end, she got her own division of USCAB, but she had to share office space with Rick as a penalty. Which neither of them seemed to mind.

It was fun and interesting as a mystery. It wasn’t too hard to figure out who the bad guy was. A pretty good addition to the series.

And here’s another one…

Speak of the Wicked #9

Lotta Smith, October 2017

117 pages, ebook, paperback

Cozy Paranormal Mystery

Cozy Mystery W/Love & Ghosts

✭✭✭✭

I purchased this book at the current price. This is my honest review for which I am receiving no compensation of any kind.

The cover is again in the style chosen for the series. The cover is always related to the story. Mandy’s outfit, the scene in the background, and the quote on the cover are all related. These covers are very well done. As a student of graphic design, I love these covers! The story is interesting. It takes place mostly in a very short period of time and in one room. The characters in this one are a bunch of people gathered for a seànce along with Rick and Mandy and their client. They are all developed to some degree or other while sitting right there at the table holding hands. The pace is slower than other stories in this line because you just can’t rush this too much with it all taking place in one sitting, but the tension will make the edge of your teeth screech.

And here begins the reveal…

Karen Rosenberg is a new widow. She is also a client of Rick’s at USCAB. She’s heard the rumor about Mandy’s being able to speak to spirits, so she’s invited them to her house for dinner and a seànce. Around the table with Rick and Mandy sit Karen, the widow of Michael Rosenberg, Mr. Macomber (friend of the psychic), Ken Tillard (a heartthrob actor), Mr. and Mrs. Grasso (a very important investment banker and his elegant wife, Alexandra), Mrs. Prescott (without her big deal business lawyer husband, David), and Mr. Barnes, the psychic medium who arrives late.

The psychic medium does not see Jackie, Mandy’s sidekick, who is with Rick and Mandy this evening. Jackie is totally outraged that he doesn’t address her or acknowledge her in any way. The fact that he obviously doesn’t see Jackie tells them one thing about Mr. Barnes. He’s a fake. This makes the whole evening suspect. Now they have to watch very carefully and figure out what he really is trying to achieve, if anyone else is involved, and who is the target. It quickly becomes apparent that Karen, the widow is the target. The psychic goes through some parlor tricks with her and Ken, the actor that can easily be explained away if you know what to look for. They finally get to the nitty-gritty of the evening when the culprits reveal what they really wanted to accomplish with this charade. This was all arranged to force Mr. Grasso to confess how he murdered Michael Rosenberg. Mr. Grasso is outraged and denies that he killed Michael.

What comes out in the arguments and evidence is something very different. Something they were trying to keep quiet. Yes, Mr. Grasso had an argument and a physical fight with Michael on the day he died. But the secret film didn’t catch it, so there is no proof that he killed him. Why was there a secret camera filming what was going on at Michael’s retreat? Who was being filmed? No one was supposed to be there with Michael according to Karen. But there were people there with him. But not his loving wife, Karen. Mr. Grasso had been there. Ken Tillard had been there. Mr. Macomber had been there. And the fake psychic, actually a priest, had been there. At different times and sometimes at the same times, they had all been there as Michael’s lovers. Karen had always wondered what was wrong with their marriage. She and Michael had been close but like good friends.

Once all the guests were gone, it was just Karen with Rick and Mandy, and Jackie of course. Michael’s ghost shows up and answers some questions. It seems, his death was just an accident. The fall did kill him, but it was not murder. He was terribly sorry for not being able to physically love Karen, but he loved her and needed her during their life together. He asked Mandy to make sure that Karen understood that she had been the most important person in his life. And that he had been and still intended to visit her. Another satisfied client.

Recommended

The Series at this time…

*Book 1-Wicked for Hire

*Book 2-W is for Wicked

*Book 3-Wicked Little Secret

*Book 4-Wicked of the Christmas Past

*Book 5-Sweet Wicked of Mine

*Book 6-Wicked and Haunted

*Book 7-Wicked, Manor, and Murder

*Book 8-Wickedly Ever After: Halloween Hijinks

*Book 9-Speak of the Wicked

*Book 10-Wicked as a Christmas Fruitcake

*Book 11-Wicked in Wonderland-Strawberry Eclair Murder

*Book 12-Dial W for Wicked (pre-order)