Showing posts with label mystery books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mystery books. Show all posts

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Book Review of Straight – A Horse Racing Mystery

Collage created on Fotojet
by Dick Francis

I have been a fan of the books by Dick Francis since the 1970s. I own them all and now am collecting them for my daughter, who has also become a huge fan. 

The Dick Francis books revolve around horse racing in England.  Most of the books are  stand-alone stories (not continuing), although there are 3 short sets of continuing characters among the Francis collection.  The main character and narrator of each story is somehow associated with horse racing. He may be a jockey, a trainer, a racehorse owner, or someone in another profession somehow linked to racing. 

I love each and every one of the 40+ books Dick Francis wrote and re-read them frequently. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to name a favorite.  

That said, I would like to review for you now one I just finished re-reading that is among those of my top favorites of the Francis collection ~ entitled Straight. As with all of the stories, it deals with crime in the horse racing world. 


Synopsis of Straight


Available on Amazon
Straight, published in 1989, features a steeplechase jockey, Derek Franklin, as the main character and narrator of the story. While recovering from an injury, Derek receives news that his older brother, Greville, has died in an accident. Greville was a successful gemstone importer in London. He did not import diamonds, but recently did so for one specific customer who creates beautiful pieces studded with gems. Therein lies the problem. Derek has no idea where the 100 diamonds are, due to his brother's need for secrecy, and it soon becomes apparent that unscrupulous others are also looking for them. The bank holds a loan of $1.5 million dollars for the diamonds and the gemstone business Derek has inherited and is now trying to run is in jeopardy if the diamonds cannot be found.  Danger suddenly surrounds Derek on all fronts and his only hope of survival is to identify the enemy. 



Derek says: “I inherited my brother's desk, his business, his gadgets, his enemies, his horses and his mistress.  I inherited my brother's life, and it nearly killed me.”


Author Dick Francis


(c) Wednesday Elf
Dick Francis was a pilot with the RAF (Royal Air Force) during World War II and after the war became a highly successful professional jockey. In fact, he was a jockey for The Queen Mother's (Queen Elizabeth) horse, the story of which is outlined in “The Sport of Queens”, an autobiography published in 1957. 

After retiring from racing as a jockey, Francis worked as a racing correspondent for a newspaper, and also began to write his horse racing mystery stories. A nearly unknown fact is that his wife, Mary, was his researcher and a major contributor to his stories. In fact, during the many and varied  subjects she researched, Mary became a pilot (3 novels feature a pilot) and a photographer for a book about a race course photographer. 


Dick Francis with son Felix Francis
Near the end of his writing career, and after Mary's death in 2000, his son, Felix, became his writing partner. 

Dick Francis was born on Halloween in 1910 and died on Valentine's Day in 2010 at age 89. His son, Felix Francis has continued writing the Dick Francis Mysteries ever since. I am delighted that my favorite series of books continues to this day. The subject matter is still about horse racing, mainly in England, and involves a mystery to be solved. Felix's writing style is very similar to that of his dad and just as enjoyable to read. 


Summary



My Dick Francis Book Collection
(c) Wednesday Elf

I highly recommend Straight, or any of the other Dick Francis and Felix Francis horse racing mysteries. You don't even have to like horses or be a fan of racing to enjoy these stories, as the writing is superb, the characters interesting, and the stories fascinating. 















(c) Wednesday Elf - 5/11/2019




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Friday, April 27, 2018

Illegal Harvest: An Up-cycling Mystery Reviewed

Illegal Harvest:  An Upcycling Mystery Reviewed

Illegal Harvest: An Up-cycling Mystery Reviewed
(Roni Rainer Mysteries Book 2) 


A few months back, I was delighted to review Death Takes A Spin:  An Up-cycling Mystery which is the first book in the series.  Today I want to introduce you to the second book in this fabulous series by Beverly Owens.

If you have read Death Takes A Spin, you will already be familiar with the main characters in these books.  However, if you have not read that book, please allow me to give you a quick list and description of them.


The Characters of Illegal Harvest:  An Up-cycling Mystery


Roni Rainer inherited her grandmother's antique store, Revived.  In an attempt to keep the store profitable, Roni has started up-cycling (renewing) old decor in order to make it have new appeal.  After all, the current generation does not embrace antiques just because they are "antiques".   

Her employees definitely help to make the store, and the book, a success.  Clay is most often the first employee you would meet if you entered the shop.  He is delightfully animated and fun, especially when he encounters a spider.   In spite of his fear of spiders, he genuinely cares for his co-worker, Charlotte, his favorite "little spider".   Charlotte has an artistic eye for up-cycling, which makes her an invaluable employee.  She can simply look at a piece and her mind is flooded with ideas for creating a unique work of art in furnishings and home decor.  Her work is extremely popular with customers.  There seems to be a touch of romance in the air between Charlotte and CC, a temporary employee who appears to be making a permanent place for himself at the shop.

Valerie is Roni's best friend and divorce attorney.  Together they head the committee responsible for the planning and development of the new Beaver Falls skate park.  The two friends were appointed by the city benefactor, Willie Smythe, who was murdered in the first book, Death Takes A Spin

Kitchi is also a very important character in the book.  He is Roni's dear friend and "adopted" grandfather who has taught her the ways of his American Indian ancestors. This will prove to be a valuable resource for Roni in the Illegal Harvest plot. 

Last, but by no means least, you will also get to know Mitch, a deputy sheriff who recently returned to Beaver Falls.  Mitch has long been in love with Roni, but is patiently waiting for her and the right time.


The Illegal Harvest: An Up-cycling Mystery Plot


 Illegal Harvest: An Up-cycling Mystery
(Roni Rainer Mysteries)
Check Price
Still recovering from the last murder in their small town, Beaver Falls is once again shocked when the body of Mateo Hernandez is discovered.  No one can fathom why this young man would be killed.  He has certainly never been the cause of any trouble.  When a nearly starved and terrified woman shows up in town, she is able to shed light on why Mateo is dead and why she fears for her own life. 

Roni finds herself in grave danger when she crosses the path of the murderers.  She knows just enough to be suspicious, perhaps even frightened, but not enough to know anything for certain.  However, the murderers know she is watching and they warn her to back off.  Between her deceptive husband, the warnings from the killers, and her deepest concern for her two daughters, Roni finds little peace.  Her normally safe environment has definitely been disrupted.  


My Recommendation


The Roni Rainer series is an easy enough read that I won't hesitate to recommend that you read both books in order.  The first book in the series does a thorough introduction and develops each character to such a degree that you feel you know them personally.  I believe knowing them beforehand will help tremendously when reading the second book, Illegal Harvest.  

Both books are spellbinding mysteries that you will definitely want to read! Both books are available in paperback and for Kindles.



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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Take Out by Margaret Maron – A Book Review

The final book in the Sigrid Harald series.


Available on Amazon
Author Margaret Maron admits in her Author's Note in Take Out that she had not intended to write a final book starring Sigrid Harald.  But.... then there were those pictures left stashed in the basement of the Breul House in Corpus Christmas (Book #6 in this 9 book series) which kept begging to be taken out of that trunk.  And many readers wanted to know if Sigrid would find true peace of mind in the end.  So here is Take Out – the book that wraps up the series.






The Plot


Source: Pixabay
Siqrid Harald is an NYPD Detective who heads up a homicide team.  Still grieving after the death of her lover, an acclaimed painter, she is called to investigate the deaths of two homeless men, found dead on a park bench with take out food boxes nearby.  Analysis proves that the men died from what is discovered to be poisoned takeout food.  The subsequent investigation uncovers a fascinating neighborhood history involving a haughty mafia widow and her disgraced godson (one of the victims), a retired opera star with dark secrets, an unsolved hit-and-run and a long-missing painting that will rock the art world.  

The case gets complicated with too many suspects and motives.  Which of the two homeless men was really the intended victim (since they both ended up sharing the take out meals)?  And what is the connection between the mafia widow and the retired opera star who live on the same block in the West Village, the same block where the homeless men died?

While Sigrid is busy working the murder investigation, she can't stop wondering what led her lover Oscar Nauman to California where he died in an accident on a mountain road.  Until she meets a man who may hold the answers she seeks! 


Sigrid Harald


The main character in Margaret Maron's Sigrid Harold series is a Scandinavian woman who is a Lieutenant with the New York Police Department.  She heads up a homicide team.  Sigrid is related to a character in Maron's Deborah Knott Series* through her Southern grandmother. 

*See more information about Deborah Knott below


Deborah Knott Mystery Series


Source: Pixabay
Margaret Maron's other long-running mystery series is the Deborah Knott Series.  Deborah is a North Carolina District Judge married to a Sheriff's deputy in the small Carolina town her family has lived in for generations.  Deborah, her tobacco farmer (and former bootlegger) father, and her 11 older brothers make up a delightfully full group of stories around a rural lifestyle.  Filled with true Southern charm and sprinkled with mysteries to solve interwoven with the 'doings' of this large extended family, Deborah Knott becomes as fascinating in her small town way as Sigrid Harold is in her big city life. Since Author Margaret Maron is soon to publish her final Deborah Knott book, we will be back with more about the Deborah Knott Mystery Series in another review.


Author Margaret Maron


Source: Wikimedia Commons

Margaret Maron was born and raised in North Carolina on a tobacco farm.  Then marriage to a native New Yorker (Brooklyn) had her spending several years living in NYC, where she eventually began writing novels about NYPD Lt. Sigrid Harald, mysteries set against the New York City art world.

Eventually, the love of her native state and a desire to write from her experiences in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she grew up led to moving 'home' and the creation of her popular character, District Court Judge Deborah Knott.  Margaret's city-born husband has discovered a similar love for this southern rural lifestyle as well. 


Summary


If you have never read any books by Margaret Maron, give Take Out a try, or begin with the first book in the Sigrid Harold series (One Coffee With) to be introduced to this interesting character.  If you love Maron's style of writing as much as I do, you will want to continue on to the rest of the Sigrid series, and then move over to Deborah Knott and her 'kinfolk' in the current 18-book series.  Along the way you will learn a lot about the NYC art world and the southern lifestyle of rural North Carolina. 


Interesting note: The North Carolina books feel sunny and light while the New York books are darker and less humorous.  Sigrid Harold is a loner, has almost no family (just a mother, a housemate, and a Southern grandmother) while Deborah Knott has a large sprawling family (her dad and 11 older brothers with spouses and children who meddle in her affairs and try to boss her around..  They DO finally meet through their southern connection in Three-Day Town

I loved reading my way through these two series as both characters are worth getting to know, each in their own way.  Meeting the other characters in each series is fun too.

Now that I have read the final book in the Sigrid Harold Series (Take Out reviewed here) I look forward to the final Deborah Knott book. 


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(c) Book Review written by Wednesday Elf




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Friday, October 27, 2017

Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery Reviewed

Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery
(Roni Rainer Mysteries Book 1) 


Death Takes A Spin:  An Up-cycling Mystery - Book Reviewed
When I first started reading "Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery" by Beverly Owens, I did not want to put it down.  I was quickly pulled into the lives of the characters in the book, as well as the mystery surrounding the murder of the bicycle shop owner.  Somewhere around chapter 9, my life interrupted my reading.  I was forced to set the book aside for a few hours.  I honestly don't know why my family thinks they should eat! 

However, during those few hours of preparing and serving dinner, I found myself thinking about the characters and wondering what was really going on in their lives.   That was one of the things I loved most about "Death Takes a Spin".  There is a lot of detail, mystery and mystic woven throughout the pages about each individual's life that was separate from the actual murder mystery of the story.  Each character was more like a real person with real lives, real concerns and even real fears and danger.

I was also captivated by the idea of having an up-cycling store that gave old furniture new life by salvaging usable parts and creating something new and beautiful.  In my crafter's mind, I could easily envision the finished piece because the written descriptions were so vivid.  Since one of my own favorite pastimes happens to be exploring antique malls looking for something special, that concept very much appeals to me.  Although, I readily admit I am not creative enough to take apart several pieces and recreate a new gorgeous piece, I do love the idea. 


Death Takes A Spin:  An Up-cycling Mystery
The Plot 


When Roni Rainer inherits her grandmother's antique store, she opts to give the store a more current day appeal.  Instead of selling antiques, she focuses on redesigning antiques and giving them a modern day appeal.  Her unique approach is well accepted and her business is flourishing.   She has no idea that her life is about to be turned upside down.  She has already heard rumors about her husband, but she dismisses them as being incidents of mistaken identity.  

 Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery
(Roni Rainer Mysteries)
Available for Kindle or Paperback
Check Price
Roni is well known in town since she grew up there.  Like many small towns, people know a lot about each other's daily business, as well as their past.  When Roni's old boyfriend, Mitch, returns to town as a deputy sheriff, old questions as well as forgotten hurts, are revived.  

One of his first stops in town is the old antique store.  Mitch is happily surprised to find Roni is there.  She is more than surprised to see Mitch Denton in her shop.  With the initial shock of seeing each other again now behind them, they chat about furniture and Roni accepts a consignment job to make a masculine tea cart for Mitch.  In order to create the tea cart she envisions, she will need bicycle wheels from Willie's bicycle shop.  When she walks into the bike store, she finds Willie dead behind the counter.  Why would anyone kill this benevolent and beloved gentleman who thrived on helping others?

With the mystery of Willie's murder, the return of Mitch Denton, the rumors about her husband, and the need to hire more help in her store, Roni finds herself juggling life events.  During all of it, she has a old and steadfast friend that she can turn to for support.  Kitchi is actually more like a grandfather to her.  He has an unworldly insight coupled with wisdom that helps them all be prepared for what will happen next.  

There are a few other characters who are a very important part of the story.  They are both Roni's employees and are actually pretty endearing themselves.  I found myself wishing to protect both Charlotte and Clay from the cruelties of the world.  Although, life has already prepared them.


Conclusion


I know you will enjoy this book as much as I did!  It is truly fabulous, and I can hardly wait to start reading the second book in the series, Illegal Harvest!  

The first time I ever read an article written by Beverly Owens, I made the comment, " I want to write like that!".  Now all I can say is, I WISH I could write like that!

If and when you have read the book, I would love to hear who your favorite character in the book is.  I can't seem to choose between them. 

One other note, I thought it was pretty cool when I realized the author's husband did the illustration for the book.  Those of us who read on kindles now, often miss seeing the images.  Now that I have a Fire Tablet, I get to enjoy the pictures too.  Well done Beverly and Terry Owens!
  



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Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery Book Review Written by:
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Reviewing Cozy Mysteries and Favorite Women Sleuths

Like cozy mysteries starring smart, female sleuths? You'll find ten series' starters in this compilation for just 99 cents!
This summer, I've found myself with a good bit of reading time on my hands. My favorite genre is mystery and right now I'm particularly attracted to easy-to-read cozy mystery stories (defined here by ReviewThisReviews' own BuckHawk) especially when the main character is a smart, likable, female.

Fortunately there are plenty of books in the Kindle store that meet the definition, so I never need to worry about running out of material to read.

Recently, I came across a package deal of 10 full-length novels called Sleuthing Women. Each book is a first-in-series cozy murder mystery featuring an amateur, female crime-solver, and written by a best-selling author. What a great way for cozy mystery-lovers to get to know a new author's style and try a series without spending a fortune on books they may or may not like.

Oh, did I fail to mention the price? You can buy the set of 10 cozy mystery Kindle books for a total of just 99 cents!

Last night I finished reading the third book in the Sleuthing Women set and, Bingo!, I found a winner! While the first two novels were okay, the third one was particularly appealing to me. I really enjoyed the story as well as the characters and can't wait to start the next book in the series.

The book that won me over is Skeleton in a Dead Space by Judy Alter, the first book in her Kelly O'Connell mystery series. The author has been writing for years, has multiple mystery series as well as historical novels and a few other gems in print, and is definitely worth checking out. I've already started book two in the series and I'm typing as fast as I can to finish this so I can get back to that.

While eventually I'll probably return to and read more of the 10 Sleuthing Women mysteries, for now my plan is to plow through Judy Alter's Kelly O'Connell series (I peeked ahead to some of the book descriptions and I like what I saw). You, on the other hand, might prefer to read all 10 Sleuthing Women books and then choose one of the authors (or several) to further explore. Because surely, if you like cozy mysteries starring smart, female, amateur sleuths, you'll find a few series' starters among these 10 that you'll want to read.

For less than a buck.

~Susan Deppner
Read more of my reviews.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Book Review: Illusions of Magic

Illusions of Magic
It doesn't take long to realize that author J. B. Rivard has a talent for writing fiction. In Illusions of Magic, his first fiction work of intrigue, page one draws you into the characters. Most especially the main character, Nick Zetner. From then on, you race through a world of excitement, humor and love. The subtitle is Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago. True to it's name.

Illusion of Magic: The Plot, The History


The setting is Chicago in the era of the depression, gangsters and political turmoil. It's also an era that is ushering out live stage presentations in favor of the new world of Hollywood movies. Our hero Nick Zetner, known as the Amazing Mr. Z, is losing out. His magic show bookings have dwindled to nothing. The man is in need of some money.

In steps a dubious banker in need of a man who can quietly find and return some stolen photos. And pay well for success. Nick's mysterious adventure is off and running.

The setting of political turmoil in 1933 Chicago is a fascinating feature of the plot. Franklin D. Roosevelt is about to be inaugurated as president. When giving a speech in Miami, an assassination attempt is made on his life. Roosevelt is uninjured, but the beloved mayor of Chicago, Anton Cermak, is mortally wounded instead.

Little known bit of history here. At the time, Chicago had no procedure for replacing it's mayor! Ergo, tremendous political turmoil in the city. For 19 days after the shooting, Mayor Cermak lived. And this is where Nick finds himself as he searches for the stolen photos.

Author Rivard's Writing

Illusions of Magic

So lots of people write mysteries and stories of intrigue. It's Illusions of Magic author Rivard who writes fast paced. The man has a talent for not wasting words. It comes from a 25-year career as a technical writer, but he has translated it well. Rivard pulls you in to the story quickly, then never lets up as the plot takes twists and turns I never expected.

As the owner of the site, Mystery Book World Live, I've read thousands of mysteries. Very few have the style of writing as Illusions of Magic. Minus a wealth of flowery adjectives and adverbs, Rivard sets a pace from the beginning that continues to the end. Few first time authors can achieve that.

Illusions of Magic Review


Yes, I am a fan of mysteries of all varieties and I have some history myself of living in Chicago, so this story was a match from the beginning. But, it certainly exceeded my expectations. I was impressed from the start with the writing style and impressed further with the plot development.

An added feature is the author's illustrations. This is something we rarely see in fiction these days, other than children's books. Many of the characters Nick meets on his quest are illustrated for us to enjoy.

Author Rivard draws on his own artistic talent as well as his ability in sleight-of-hand to offer up an intriguing story. I found it to be a fast-paced novel worthy of my time to read it.

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Mystery Book Series Review: Jessica James Series by Kelly Oliver

Coyote by Kelly Oliver
Yes, I am a huge fan of mysteries and series are a favorite. When I was asked to review the Jessica James mystery series for my site www.MysteryBookWorldLive, I was sure it would be worth my time. I was proved right. Author Kelly Oliver sends us on the exploits of heroine Jessica James in this 3-part mystery series.

Fair warning here, the third in the series is not yet released.

 

Reviewing Wolf and Coyote by Kelly Oliver


Wolf by Kelly Oliver
The first novel in the series, Wolf, (www.mysterybookworldlive.com/mystery-series/wolf-kelly-oliver-mystery-book-review)  introduces us to Jessica James (yes, truly called Jesse at times), a Montana "cowgirl" who ends up working on her doctorate in Philosophy at prestigious Northwestern University in a Chicago suburb. It may be a far cry from her Montana small town roots, but that doesn't stop Jessica from stumbling on the murdered body of her doctorate advisor. You can read my full review of Wolf and see more for yourself.  (www.mysterybookworldlive.com/mystery-series/wolf-kelly-oliver-mystery-book-review/)

The second in the series is Coyote. Author Oliver sends Jessica back to the mountains of Montana and builds an intriguing load of subplots when Jessica's beloved cousin is killed. Well, murdered is what Jessica believes. So off she goes into a world of Native American troubles, big oil fracking and corruption to solve the murder. You can read my review of Coyote, (www.mysterybookworldlive.com/mystery-series/coyote-kelly-oliver-mystery-fiction-review/) but I promise I never give spoilers.

As of this writing, I am awaiting the publisher giving me the release date of the third in the series. When I know that, I will update this review for you.

Masterful Characters in the Jessica James Mystery Book Series


Coyote by Kelly Oliver
Personally, I have no doubt that author Kelly Oliver is a masterful creator of interesting characters. She offers up characters that I want to follow. I want to see what happens to them next. And I'm rooting for them all along.

I wonder, though, is Oliver playing with us a bit in her choice of names? There is first off, Montana cowgirl Jessica James. Then we have the stunningly beautiful, but lethally dangerous with her black belt in Karate, Russian best friend of Jesse's named Lolita. Hmmm. Kelly Oliver is a talented writer and one that I wouldn't expect to accidentally name her characters so cliched. Me thinks she did this to make us think differently.

Anyway you want to think of her character names, she doesn't skimp on their personalities and dialogue.

To Sum Up the Review of the Jessica James Series


For mystery lovers, and especially those who enjoy reading about women sleuths, the Jessica James series by Kelly Oliver will be good reads. There is certainly plenty going on in both Wolf and Coyote. The publicity refers to "ripped from the headlines" plots and subplots. Certainly drugs, rape culture, corruption and more set the stage for these murder mysteries.

And there is a healthy dose of gritty realism in both novels.  I could have done without all of the realism without hurting the story. But overall, the mysteries are good.

That leaves me anxiously awaiting Novel 3 in the Jessica James mystery series. And hoping Kelly Oliver won't stop at just three.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Reviewing Second Chance Mysteries by Sofie Ryan

Looking for a good mystery?

Our regular readers know by now that I love to read, mysteries are one of my favorite genres and I am a cat person. Imagine my joy when I found another mystery series to read that has a cat involved in the plots! The series is called Second Chance Mysteries and they are really fun to read. 

Sofie Ryan, the author, has written three books so far in the series that I am reviewing for you today. One of my favorite characters is Elvis, a black rescue cat that has been adopted by Sarah the owner of a shop called Second Chance. Actually, I should correct myself, Elvis clearly picked Sarah to come live with! The picture at the left could be Elvis but probably isn't, I found it at pixabay.com

The shop, Second Chance, is a combination thrift shop and antique store. Sarah finds castaway items and figures out a way to repurpose or give new life to the pieces and then sells them in her store. She is helped by Rose, Liz, and Charlotte who happen to be friends of her grandmother and have known Sarah since she was a little girl. Avery also helps in the shop and is the grand-daughter of Liz. I absolutely love the interaction between these three generations of women! Ryan, the author, has given each of them some pretty humorous lines throughout the books but she also shows how close women can be no matter their ages. 

The first book in the series is called The Whole Cat and Caboodle. You would not have to read it first but I recommend doing so because this first book gives a good background of each of the characters as the plot begins to form. You are reminded a little in the other books about a little of the history of the characters but the first one gives the best description of how these ladies know each other.

Each book finds someone in the small Maine town dead as one would expect with a mystery book. What is clever is the way that the characters of Sarah, Rose, Liz and Charlotte work together to solve the case. They are not part of the police force in the community but take it upon themselves to find out "who done it". In the case of the first book, they become involved because another friend, Maddie, has been arrested for the dirty deed. Now, the ladies know in their hearts that she could not have possibly harmed the deceased man and they do not feel that the local law enforcement is doing a good enough job in finding the real killer. Maddie, an avid gardener, will not even kill the insects that invade her garden so the women know that if she won't harm a bug, she certainly won't harm a human. The way the women look for clues and find out information is funny at times and really cleverly written. I do not want to spoil the story so I will just tell you that the ending surprised me. The killer was not someone that I suspected at all. It was refreshing to read a mystery that was not predictable.

I mentioned Elvis the cat earlier. Now, one can not really say that he helps the ladies solve the crime but his interactions with the humans are just a wonderful addition to each of the books. Elvis is one smart kitty cat and I love that Sarah talks to him and it seems that he not only understands her but tries to answer her back with specific meows. Ms. Ryan has definitely shared her life with at least one cat because she describes the antics of Elvis so very well. I love my cat but I have to admit that I would really love to have a cat like Elvis. Wait until you find out what his favorite television show is! Oh yes, this cat watches tv and when riding in the car with Sarah appears to be watching the traffic and gives Sarah a stern meow when she runs a yellow light. The stories in all three books could be told without Elvis the cat but the addition of him just makes the stories more endearing and enjoyable to read.

The other two books that have been published as of the date that I am writing this review are:


I have thoroughly enjoyed each of the three books by Sofie Ryan and look forward to her releasing new books in the future. If you love to read mystery novels and have a special love for cats, I just know that you will enjoy these books, too.



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Friday, February 12, 2016

A Review of "The Inn at Ocean's Edge" by Colleen Coble

http://reviewthispersonalreviews.blogspot.com/2016/02/a-review-of-inn-at-oceans-edge-by.html
Every once in a while I find a book that is so rare, the plot so unique, that I want to shout to the world, "you must read this book!"  That is the case with the book I literally just finished reading.  

I don't normally read mysteries, but this book appeared in my romantic fiction genre.  I didn't even realize I had selected a mystery until I was hooked.  As it turns out, this may well be the best book I have read in years.

Obviously, I could highly recommend "The Inn at Ocean's Edge" by Colleen Coble to anyone who enjoys a romance, a lot of mystery, and a plot that is not at all obvious to the reader.  I literally set on the edge of my seat, stayed up as long as my eyes would stay open, to read this book and find out what really happened to this family, these people, the little girl who was lost in the woods.



The Inn At Ocean's Edge


The plot of the book is so detailed, there is no way I can truly do it justice in a few short paragraphs, but I will try. 

 The Inn at Ocean's Edge (A Sunset Cove Novel)On her 4th birthday, Claire Dellamare was lost in the woods.  A year later, she was found, but she had no recollection of anything that had happened to her.  It was as if the whole year was completely lost to her.  As she was growing up, she was cherished by her parents who previously thought their daughter was gone to them forever.  Her life was cushioned by great wealth and she was respected for her business acumen within her father's company.  It seemed her life was perfect until she returned to "The Inn at Ocean's Edge".  


She didn't think she had ever been there, but she seemed to know things about the place she couldn't possibly know otherwise.  Not very deep into the pages of the book, we find out that this hotel was the setting for her 4th birthday party.  This was the place from which she disappeared.  She didn't even remember that she had disappeared.  She had no idea that her life was so shrouded in mystery, until the residents started talking.

Murders, illness, abduction, lies, and scary nightmares of an unknown man who she witnessed commit murder, all play a part of this most unusual plot.  Once the killer realizes she could actually identify him, he doesn't hesitate to stalk her.  Even with a murderer close on her heels, she is having occasional flashbacks, revelations about her father and his infidelity, as it all culminates to put her, and others, into even greater danger.  So many lies have been told.  So much of the past has been covered up.  She has no idea who she can actually trust.

As Claire searches for the truth, her life, past and present, becomes intertwined with Luke Rocco, whose mother disappeared the same day the little 4 year old went missing.  Unlike Claire, Luke's mother did not return to Folly Shoals, Maine.  He fears she actually never left, especially once bones are found on nearby property.  



A Sunset Cove Novel

Apparently "The Inn at Ocean's Edge" is the first of 3 books in the "Sunset Cove Series".  I don't think there is any way Colleen Coble can ever match this book again, but I will definitely be starting the second book in the series tonight.  I can hardly wait to see what she has in store for us in "Mermaid Moon", but most likely by the time you are reading this review, I will have finished that book as well.  

It is so very exciting to find a book series that I can barely finish one book before I am downloading the next in the series as fast as my little fingers can sail across the keyboard and push that little purchase button.

Now, I am off!  I only stopped long enough to tell you about this most excellent book.  I know you will want to read it too.






"The Inn at Ocean's Edge" Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review of The Obituary Society by Jessica Randall

Review of The Obituary Society by Jessica L. Randall
Sometimes light escape reading is just right when we aren't feeling up to tackling nonfiction or literary novels. Times of illness or convalescence call for lighter than normal reading. That is what I wanted after my cervical spine surgery.

Perhaps with flu season fast approaching, it would be good to have this book on hand -- just in case. Of course, it's also a fun read when you are perfectly healthy and just don't want to get involved in a book that you can't put down when you have commitments to keep. 


I was only in the hospital overnight and through lunch the next day. I did manage to start and finish one book on my Kindle before I went home: The Obituary Society by Jessica L. Randall. I was in a post-op drug and sleep-deprived haze when I read the book, but I remember enjoying it. 

It's set in Auburn, a small town in the Midwest, and the main character, Lila, inherits her grandfather's house there. She lives with her Aunt Ada while the house, which needs a lot of work, is being repaired. Strange things happen whenever she's working at the house, however, and it would seem that someone doesn't want her there. Some incidents are even a bit frightening.

There is a lot of humor in the book that revolves around the relationships of Aunt Ada's friends and associates in her church. Some of the ladies collect clippings of the obituaries of their friends and neighbors in scrapbooks and discuss them at meetings of their Obituary Society.

There is also mystery. Lila has been warned never to go near the pond at the back of her property, but she decides to explore it by herself anyway. What happened there almost killed her. It was a place most people avoided because it was considered dangerous.

One of the most humorous series of interactions provides a touch of romance. One of Ada's friends, Gladys, tries in very obvious ways to match Lila with her grandson, Max, whom Lila doesn't like much at all.

This book was just right for hospital reading. It had enough action in the plot to grab me and keep me interested in spite of my condition, and I needed the humor. I was satisfied with the ending that resolved the mysteries and put the right people together. Another thing of interest at the end is a collection of all the recipes mentioned in the book. Many of the chapters deal with church dinners and such and women who have special recipes they are known for.

If you're looking for some easy light reading, The Obituary Society is a winner. It would be ideal to have in front of you when you are waiting for slow websites to load or programs to update. I often have my kindle handy for such occasions when I can only read in spurts, with one eye on the computer so I can click at the right times.  Enjoy. 


For more of my book reviews, please check out Bookworm Buffet, where you will find a varied menu for bookworms.





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Saturday, September 5, 2015

CATCH ME …. CAUGHT. Two Book Reviews

Reading is one of life's greatest pleasures...


There's No Such Thing as Too Many Books! Postcard
There's No Such Thing as Too Many Books! Postcard by friendlyspirit

Recently I came home with four books to read; two by a couple of my favorite writers. Since I was looking forward to reading all of these books, it didn't matter which one I read first. Therefore I simply picked up one and began to read. 

When I finished the first one, I picked up the next book.  About half-way through the story, my eyes happened to catch the title CAUGHT and it suddenly struck me that the book I had just finished was titled CATCH ME.  How interesting ~ Catch Me – Caught!   Quite a coincidence as those titles definitely fit in with the category of my favorite genre – Mystery/Suspense/Thriller!  If you are a mystery book fan, you might also be interested in reading these two books, so let me tell you about them.

CATCH ME by Lisa Gardner

 

CATCH ME was written by Lisa Gardner in 2012 and was a finalist in the 2013 'Thriller Award for Best Novel'.  For fans of Lisa Gardner, you'll be delighted to know that the story features one of Gardner's well-known continuing characters, D.D. Warren, homicide detective with the Boston P.D.

As the story opens, Det. Sgt. Warren has just returned from maternity leave when she and her team are called to a murder scene.  Ordinarily, D.D. would be in peak form, being a workaholic who loves her job, but two hours of sleep after a night up with baby Jack has left her cranky!.

As D.D. is leaving the crime scene, a woman named Charlene Grant (Charlie) shocks her with an incredible story.  In the past two consecutive years, Charlie has lost her two best friends, each murdered at 8 p.m. on January 21 with no known motive.  It is now just 4 days until the next January 21 and Charlie believes she is next in line to be murdered.

D.D. Warren is busy with her latest homicide, which is discovered to be connected to a vigilante gunman who is killing pedophiles in Boston, while trying to cope with exhaustion due to her new baby and complicated home life.  Now it appears she also needs to look into the murders of Charlie's friends to find answers before the January 21 anniversary.

 Is Charlie in danger, or is she hiding behind a terrifying secret?  This Number 6 in the D.D. Warren series will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Lisa Gardner, Author


Lisa Gardner (nee Lisa Baumgartner) is a crime thriller novelist with 17 books to her credit. Four of her novels have been made into movies.  She has written two series with continuing characters and several non-series stand-alone books.  One series includes the cast of Pierce Quincy, an ex-FBI profiler, his partner 'Rainie' Conner, a cop, and his daughter, FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy.  Gardner's other series takes place in Boston and features either D.D. Warren, a police detective or Bobby Dodge, a state police sniper. 

Lisa came up with a fun way to involve her readers.  She created a “Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy” Sweepstakes where you can nominate the person of your choice (even yourself) to die in Lisa’s latest novel.  Check out how the sweepstakes works and some really amusing facts about this author on the Lisa Gardner website.

CAUGHT by Harlan Coben

 

Harlan Coben is another of my favorite mystery authors.  In CAUGHT, written in 2010, Coben tells a complex story about seventeen-year-old Haley, pride of a loving New Jersey family, who suddenly goes missing, and a reporter, Wendy Tynes, who uses her nationally televised news program “Caught in the Act” to expose sexual predators.  Dan Mercer, a social worker who works with troubled teens, becomes the latest person to be exposed by Wendy.  But is he really guilty?

Is there a connection between the missing girl and a predator?  Is Dan guilty as accused, or can the reporter not trust her own instincts?  In Caught, Harlan Coben takes us through an exciting, tension-filled story about guilt, grief and our capacity to forgive. The ending will surprise you.

 

 

Harlan Coben, Author


Harlan Coben, an award-winning mystery fiction author, bases most of his non-series stories in his home state of New Jersey.  Of Harlan Coben's 27 novels to date, he now has 60 million books in print worldwide, and his last eight novels have all debuted as #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.  CAUGHT is one of these.

Ten books feature Myron Bolitar, a former basketball star who turns sports agent after injuries curtail his pro career.  His office is in New York City and he seems to end up investigating a number of complicated problems (including murder) involving the athletes he represents.  The Bolitar series are suspenseful thrillers, yet are often surprisingly funny.

Since 2011, Coben has written 3 Young Adult novels featuring Mickey Bolitar, Myron's nephew, a high school student who comes to live with his uncle after his father is killed and ends up with his own set of adventures.

Harlan Coben lives in New Jersey with his wife and 4 children.  Visit the Harlan Coben website to read about all his books.  I'm currently reading his latest just published in March 2015 ~ The Stranger.

Writers are Readers!


Before one becomes a writer, they are first a reader.  My family and I have a deep Love of Reading.

Check out the many other delightful Book Reviews from the readers and writers on Review This!

Happy Reading!





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