Monday, February 13, 2017

Wild Irish Heart (The Mystic Cove Series Book 1) by Tricia O'Malley

Reviewed from e-reader

This is the first I've read in this series and I enjoyed most of the storyline. Full of surprises for our main character Keelin, but I found so many things I just couldn't understand in the character of her mother. That said, I definitely am interested in reading more of the series. I loved the feel of the small Irish village in the book, and the "Mystic Cove" of the title was very unusual in its character. Yes, I said character, because there is no other way to properly express the behaviour of the cove. There are many secrets in the village, secrets that Keelin has no knowledge of. I thought the author Tricia O'Malley included some fascinating differences from others of the genre in handling the extreme learning curves Keelin goes through. I think the story is a unique take on the theme of the abilities she has never been unaware of. Very quick action on the part of sexual attraction, but the Cove has some influence there, too.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Innocent Heroes - Stories of Animals in the First World War

by Sigmund Brouwer
published by Tundra Books

This is the second book I have read by author Sigmund Brouwer, each one very different from the other. I was fascinated by the use of true stories in telling the stories of animal "soldiers" in WWI, especially in the fight for Vimy Ridge. With the Canadian army stuck in the trenches and their working animals so thoroughly trained and alert to serve at a moments' notice in any capacity, all were prepared to do what was needed regardless of what the commanders of the allies wanted done. I wasn't sure what to expect but as a proud Canadian who was the young daughter of a soldier in WWII, and interested in history, I learned a lot more about what that meant.

Each short story features a fictional version of a factual animal story. Told as fiction perhaps brings more focus on the close bond between human soldier and animal. I enjoyed reading these double stories, the fictional perhaps setting us up for a more in-depth look at events as they were. Following each is the "real" story the fictional animal was based on. I'm impressed by the vividness of the faith each has in the other "partner". I definitely would recommend this book for almost every age, even perhaps used in schools around Remembrance or Armistice Day. How proud we should be of these faithful animal assistants in war and of their handlers. What was accomplished by these two factors working together and the way the Canadians respected their orders in battle was both fascinating and amazing.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Kill Fee - Poppy Denby Investigates (Book 2)

written by Fiona Veitch Smith
published by Lion Fiction

This is the second book in the Poppy Denby series and how I wish I had read the first! Historical fiction at its best. Written as taking place primarily 1917-1920, it was a time of both chaos and entertainment. The story takes place mainly in Britain with many pieces of the puzzle taking place in Russia.

Poppy is the arts and entertainment editor for "The Globe" newspaper in London, England. She is part of the "in" club through her work. What I particularly liked before reading the storyline, was the list of fictional characters and their connections, and also the list of historical characters and their connections. This fictional account takes place just at the end of the Russian Revolution and into the following civil war in Russia. The author has included at the forefront of the book some of that history to help with the storyline.

I loved this book! The storyline takes many twists and turns from both Britain and Russia from about the time of Lenin. Beginning with the murders of Rasputin, royalty, and others and the escapees coming to other countries as well as Britain, spies, moles, Red and White Russians, Faberge eggs, and stage performances, there is a lot going on at all times. Great characters, engaging storyline, I congratulate Fiona Veitch Smith on an exciting series I'm sure will be running for a long time. The 1920s, oh, how they roared!

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Dead of Winter (A Piper Blackwell Mystery Book 1)

Author Jean Rabe
reviewed from e-book

Who is the Christmas Card murderer?

 There's a new sheriff in town, but not everyone is pleased. In fact, two detectives are upset, to say the least. Daughter of the retired sheriff, relations are a bit taut in the office. There is little criminal activity in the small town of Santa Claus, but things are about to change rapidly. As one body after another is found, tension builds in both the town and the office. The only thing in common, of all things, is Christmas cards.

I loved this first book in the Piper Blackwell series, I think the series will do well.
Excitement, frustration, detection, all here for a fascinating read, what else can you ask for?

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Dexter Quigly Codices by Nicholas Benedict

reviewed from e-book

A delightful fantasy, completely unexpected
This book took me by surprise, and I loved it. Great adventure for young teens and preteens (and sometimes for grandmothers like me, too). Thirteen is a difficult time for many shy and internalized youngsters. For Dexter Quigley who is thirteen, is lonely, a bit awkward, and feels he doesn't fit in anywhere; he has no close friends and now to make things worse, he and his parents are moving to a completely unknown future far from his old home.

But this is a story of empowerment, too. The fantasy has already begun though he doesn't know it. He makes a friend on his first day in the new location. Bailey is also thirteen but very outgoing and since they are both on summer vacation, they have lots of time to get acquainted. But there are some very strange things happening in the woods and pastures of Miniscule, Wisconsin,...And what's with all these birds and animals surrounding him so often? Who is Iggus, the strange Raven who comes to his windowsill at night, the first forest creature to approach him, and how does he know Dexter? The animals in the Miniscule area seem to have amazing knowledge. Nicholas Benedict has created a wondrous world.

I read this book in a day, not that I rushed but I was so fascinated. There are bits of history, lots of mystery and mystical happenings. Dexter is about to become a Very Special Person. I highly recommend this book for numerous reasons, not the least of which is the fantasy presented featuring what first appear as normal animals, although some, such as the phoenix, are actually known for their fantasmic reincarnations. Dexter is poised for a great learning experience as he witnesses small miracles in himself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Nightmares Can Be Murder (a Dream Club Mystery #1)

by Mary Kennedy
published by Berkley

This unique dream club series is a nightmare come true
This is the first in a new series by Mary Kennedy, a Dream Club Mystery and does a good job of introducing us to the main characters and the Dream Club. Haven't heard of Dream Clubs? What about Dream Hopping? Yes, these activities do have a following. Suppose you dreamed you were in a train, traveling somewhere unknown, and you see people you recognize, but don't know why they are there. Are you really having the same dream as someone else? Or did you just find yourself in someone else's dream? This is dream hopping, or one variety of it.

Taylor, who has lived her life in an orderly and deliberate way as a freelance business consultant, has come to visit her sister Ali back home in Savannah and hopefully help her with her bottom line. Ali owns and operates a vintage candy store with a serious lack of customers. The sisters are as opposite as can be. This night is an example. It's a steamy hot night and Ali has been baking delicious treats for her weekly group, the Dream Club. As the evening goes along,Taylor, who never dreams, is having a difficult time keeping her disbelief in check. Some members try to interpret, others feel dreams are just symbolic, and then we have the dream-hopping Sybil. I was even amazed to find one of my own recurring dreams mentioned...must be common!

Great start to a new series! Just before the evening breakup, Persia blurts out that she witnessed a murder in her dream and how real everything seemed to be. Some things are very clear yet some are just brief images. As she finishes, it is clear that her dream of murder sounds very real. Samantha Styles, a detective in the group, quickly goes into alert mode. Is this a murder that has happened or did she miss something? She begins asking questions, which draws more information out of the dream: The victim is a man, loud music is blaring, the man eats and collapses in mid-meal. Has this happened or is it a portent? Sam is not sure believes in this 'dream stuff.'

The next morning as Taylor and Ali are involved in trying to make the store more viable by adding soup, salad, baked goods, and other items to entice the palate when customers come in to Oldies but Goodies for their nostalgic choice of sweets. When Gina stops by to ask about a key to the dance studio across the street; why is he not open for his students? What they find is a murder excruciatingly like Persia's dream discussed the night before. The dream has become reality as Chico, the Latin dance instructor, is found dead. How did what appeared to be an innocent yet confusing and frightening dream become a reality?

Samantha is on the case and once answers are made to her questions, Ali proposes to have an immediate emergency meeting of the Dream Club to see if anyone has come up with any inspiration from their dreams during the night, anything that may lead to what happened. This was a surprising book, with twists and turns leading to an unexpected perpetrator, an eclectic or perhaps eccentric group of women, the people and locale tinged with sweetness of the South and an interesting premise.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A New Witch in Town (Maybe Two) (A Modern Tale about the Witches of Springsville Book 1)

reviewed from e-reader
Enough to make me want to read more; quick read 
Lighthearted and different, the entrance of the two unsuspecting new witches was certainly different. With one being a young child, this book is suitable for all ages. Never has a Queen been received so uniquely. I do hope later books pick up the pace a bit but definitely a quick, fun read to begin the series.