Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Bootlegger's Goddaughter (Gina Gallo #5) by Melodie Campbell


published by Raven Books

For sheer wackiness, character portrayals and laughter galore, you can't go wrong with Melodie Campbell's Gina Gallo mysteries! Rapid Reads give you a complete story in a novella, the perfect combo for Gina Gallo's exploits trying to escape her family "business" whatever it may be. No matter how hard she tries, she is always drawn in. But what do crows have to do with anything? Well, obviously everything, because as so-called harbingers of bad luck they are outdoing themselves in this latest book. Not to mention everything is screwing up her upcoming wedding. From being robbed to her wedding venue blowing up, and being shot at, she is not having a good day. Such is the life of a Sicilian goddaughter who is a don't-wannabe. Her continued efforts to stay out of the family businesses are hilarious and makes for a great series in a quick but full-fledged read. I love Gina Gallo's exploits.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Uneasy Spirits: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery Book 2 by M. Louisa Locke

reviewed from ebook

This is the first book by this author I have read, and I am sure to read more! I enjoy the history of Spiritualism in a time when palmists, palm readers, tarot, mediums and seances were extremely popular. One thing I found interesting in the book was the beginning of each chapter featuring a news headline, which I firmly believe is an actual headline from the 1870s. That said, this is a particularly well-written story with great character portrayals. The book is suspenseful, intriguing, and strangely captivating in its portrayal. The characters are consistent, except possibly in the case of Evie May. Evie May is totally unique and fascinating. Who is Evie Mae really? Annie Fuller, hearing some possibly unscrupulous practices about a mesmerist and a medium who hold seances, decides to investigate, hoping to to help save her clients and other people from being duped. Aside from the investigation, the book is really in the category of a "mystic" but deadly mystery, and I for one am glad to see it is a series. I can hardly wait to both catch up by reading Book 1, then following the further adventures of Annie. M. Louisa Locke is the perfect author for this series. I loved it!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Murder at the Fourth: a Jenny Pickett Mystery Book 1

author: Duncan Whitehead
review from e-book

Imagine the difference in lifestyle for a detective from Miami when she retires to the very small town of Forest Pines, Montana. A peaceful, friendly and quaint town with no terrible crimes to attend. Or it was, until a body is found on the local golf course among the trees by the fourth hole. In a town this size you might expect to find Barney Fife! Fortunately, the Chief, though young and certainly inexperienced when it comes to murder (and also has a thing for Jenny), gladly accepts the help and advice of the retired Jenny Pickett. Without her assistance he might have seemed inept, which we learn is not necessarily the case.

I found the first part of this book as more of a cozy mystery that got more and more confusing as to who is with who, obviously a marriage license doesn't make it any less confusing once the town gossip begins. Too many alliances, too few truths. On the other hand, it does give some fun to life in a small town. The book continues in this vein, until Jenny relives some old memories, the main reason why she retired from Miami police and moved to the small quiet town. In the latter part of the book, while still working on the Forest Pines case, Jenny, who has become deputized by Sheriff Steve Calder, discovers that the assailant in Miami she most fears from the past is pursuing her. The book is an odd mixture of fun and flirtation, horror and terror, with several twists, several candidates for the murder on the golf course, and a cold case that just heated up. This is the first book I have read by the author; I am sure I'll be reading more, I enjoyed it.

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?