Friday, January 30, 2015

Double You by Shane Peacock

Published by Orca Books

Young adult spy drama, Adam and Angel make a good team
Seven books by seven authors. Apparently, this one by Shane Peacock is the 7th book and the only one I have read. That said, it does well as a stand-alone and that is how I will review it. Seven cousins, minus two who are too far away, have gathered in the family McLean cottage in Ontario one wintry day in late December when something completely unexpected comes to light. Their Grandfather was no longer living. In the process of preparing the fireplace with logs set nearby to heat the cabin, the final log appeared to be stuck to the floor and with a sudden heave, up came the floorboard exposing a secret hidey-hole. What is this all about? Obviously, their grandfather had something to hide. This book  mostly follows grandson Adam and the rest of the story features mostly grandfather and grandson...or is it?

Wait, secret compartment? backpack? gun? 007? money? Who and what was their grandfather? Following clues included within, Adam takes on the task of trying to fit the pieces together. After all, he is the Bond fan, the one who read all the super spy books. Who better to check out where the clues will lead? Too bad his alter ego, Bad Adam, tags along. He has fought with Bad Adam for years and now seems to be mostly in control of him. Strange things happen in this book. Armed with his grandfather's gun, a Walther PPK like James Bond uses, his share of the money found (as well as many passports with different names) Adam goes in search of his grandfather David McLean's history, his first stop Bermuda where things get off to a bad and crazy start.

Sometimes I felt like I was reading a James Bond story and others that I was in a very confusing nightmare as Adam's grandfather who was dead turns out to be alive and ready to kill his grandson. Bring on a bizarre rescue by Angel Dahl, an orphan who was raised here. This story gets pretty weird at times, but humorous in its weirdness. A spy or not a spy? A double agent or not a double agent? That appears to be the question. But if the man Adam believes to be his grandfather isn't, is he Angel Dahl's adoptive father? There are complications to every step or flight they take, but the very end will surprise you. As a young adult book, young people will certainly enjoy it. The protaganist is 17 and with Angel, who is 18, they make a good team.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Not the Killing Type - a Booktown Mystery by Lorna Barrett

Published by Berkley Prime Crime

Life is a tangled web in Booktown
Seventh in the Booktown Mystery series, several changes are in the works. There are surprises in store as the Chamber of Commerce prepares for elections, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas holiday events, keeping the shopkeepers hopping preparing for the hoped-for onslaught of holiday shoppers. The Chamber elections have never taken long because no one has ever run against the incumbent Bob, but he is in for a surprise when Angelica decides to run. Another surprise entry happens at the meeting as a newcomer throws his hat in the ring. With only three people running for Chamber president, it would be easy to think this would not take long, but once again a body has been found by Tricia, and it's the body of Stan Berry, not the most popular man in town, but one of the candidates.

Tricia's life is getting very problematic, aside from or maybe because of the obvious effect of discovering yet another body and the embarrassing fact of where she found it, but also with the number of other events calling for her attention. Her relationship with Chief Baker would seem to be on the skids if it weren't going downhill so slowly. She is thinking of calling it off altogether. At the same time, her ex-husband Christopher is in town and seems determined to reconcile. Will Chief Baker wake up to the fact he is losing her? Will Christopher's tactics, telling the villagers that he and Tricia were thinking of reconciling actually work? And what about the new man in town? Is he a suspect or can she trust him?

Life is as much of a tangled web as ever for Tricia and is taking a toll on her. A meltdown is in the offing, but with Angelica running for Chamber president, Ginny getting married with Tricia as one of her bridesmaids, a murder to solve, and her assistant Pixie determined to dress the store up for the holidays, can the meltdown be avoided? Another wonderfully full throttle Booktown mystery with never a dull moment and an ending that took me completely by surprise, Lorna Barrett's cozy series never disappoints. Delicious recipes included.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Four Very Short Kindle Reviews posted on Amazon Jan. 11, 2015

Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens: Doctor How, book one - Who is Doctor How? by Mark Speed

How this long-time Doctor Who fan found Doctor How was tongue-in-cheek and quirky in a good way. 
  I wasn't too sure how this time-lord, or as others in the book say, Time Keeper, Doctor How would go over, as a very long-time fan of Who myself, but then along came his relatives. With a new companion in tow, we see bits of all the generations of Dr. Who coming out in Dr. How's personality. Hilarious. Even being earthbound (as was Doctor Who for a season) he manages to be as quirky as ever. His cousin Doctor Where has all but given up and is quite happy to remain as he is. But once he gets on the band-wagon he's a real hoot.

The aliens are insect-like yet unlike insects as we've ever seen them, and they have a hunger and lust for diesel fuel, which unfortunately not only blows them up but puts everyone and everything at risk. A nonsensical parody of the venerable (and also quirky) Doctor Who, one person is heard to say "very X-files!" I'm waiting to meet When in the next book, he just came in the door in this one.

Pushing Up Daisies (The Dirty Business Mystery Series Book 1) by Rosemary Harris

Interesting, entertaining quick read, 1st in series.
 An interesting plot that tended to wander occasionally, but offered entertainment nevertheless. This is the first in a new series and I am sure to read others as they appear. I enjoyed the light read, fast and quirky. Gave 4 stars.

The Phony Farkleberry: Twisted Oak Amateur Detectives #1 by Michael Scott Miller

Loved this ScoobyDoo-ish/Nancy Drew-Hardy Boys sleuthing romp.
 Reminiscent of such teen/pre-teen amateur sleuths as Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, The Three Detectives to name a few, this book was great fun to read and even this grandmother will be watching for more. I really enjoyed it, a step back in time to my childhood. Stolen paintings from a museum are always a great starting point for these hearty (and talented) young sleuths. Good solid story as well. Gave 5 stars

Underwood, Scotch, and Wry by Brian D. Meeks
 Loved this book of academia with it's fast-tracking/back-tracking politics. 
 As wry as any I've read, I loved this book. Yes, there was some discomfort here and there if you took the book literally as how higher education facilities are run, but having worked in one, not as an academic but very closely with many, I found this book quite entertaining. I worked for 15 years in academia and I still don't understand why some very good academics are passed over for tenure. This book reminded me of the fun we had at, I must say, some academics' quirks, but I totally loved the tongue-in-cheek, the refusal to live in the computerized world of today. The days of LAN, Gopher and Basic are long gone. The assignments Professor Byrne administers are hilarious. A harried man who didn't seem to make it to the 21st century with the rest of the world. Gave 5 stars.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Storm Glass by Fred Limberg

 Reviewed from the e-book

I really felt I was floundering through a large part of the beginning of this book. Who is Jim Wilson? He's not your average sailor and seems to be surrounded by secrets. Not a member of an organized group, Jim Wilson might be considered a free-lancer. With the amount of watching over his shoulder he does (a bit of paranoia there?) I don't think he'll be freelancing for long. Is he FBI? CIA? This singular person either has the right connections already or knows how to get them quickly and freely.

Where the reader normally expects to get the beginning of plot and characterizations down, this story tends to muddy the waters completely and if they weren't sailing down the Mississippi on vacation, I would expect potholes to suddenly appear in the river, but waiting in lineups while the locks move the tow barges through is just as dangerous. Why does Jim keep looking over his shoulder? Even his wife Iris notices, but doesn't notice there is someone there more often than not. Who are the two people who join up with them on the way down the river, another couple just on a boating vacation? Or is this a planned connection to join Jim and Iris?

Fortunately I continued reading and the book began to swing around and redeem itself as a real thriller with what appears to be spy technology, hidden resources for high class espionage, murder and mayhem. Fred Limberg makes you sit up and notice! When a bank manager decides to rob his own bank, Jim Wilson's special abilities come into play but not everything goes the right way in life and death. A worthy thriller with a little bit extra once you can wrap your head around what is really happening on the old muddy Mississippi.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ghost Wanted by Carolyn Hart

 Published by Berkley Prime Crime

What an interesting concept.  A ghostly mystery from a ghost's point of view. I love this book! Writing the book in the voice of Bailey Ruth, ghost,  is brilliant. A cozy to love. Carolyn Hart has a wonderful way with words, heavenly in fact. The storyline made me feel she was talking directly to me. From the stuffy but with a soft spot Wiggins to the forever young couple Bailey Ruth and Bobby Mac and on to the refined Lorraine, lady of the past, these ghostly individuals come to "life" as characters. Wiggins is the supervisor for Heaven's Department of Good Intentions.

Wiggins has sent lively and incorrigible Bailey Ruth to help Lorraine into the light. But Lorraine doesn't want to go into the light, she is happy with her non-life on earth. There are rules to follow and Bailey Ruth is not one to follow them to the letter, constantly causing Wiggins grief and trips on the ghostly train to correct her errors. Her intentions are always good, but she still has her irrepressible youth and spirit (no pun intended.)

This book is funny, lively, unique and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a little fun in their reading. Definitely recommend to readers of cozy mysteries, this one is a bit of a departure to similar cozies and light mysteries. Easy reading, enchanting, and will pull the reader in right from the start. This is the fifth in the Bailey Ruth Ghost Novel series. Did I say I loved this book? You bet!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Circle of Nine: Beltany by Valerie Biel

Published by Travels and Travails publishing

I enjoyed reading this book. I'm sure it will appeal to young adults, teens, tweens and adults alike. Certainly worthy of the Gotham Writers Award. The angst of young people, the temptations, disappointments and fears are clearly defined throughout the book, witchcraft or not. I was completely engrossed by the book which contained the history of Brigit Quinn's family and of white magic. No vampires nor werewolves to distract me from the enjoyment of the families, Brigit's special gift and what the characters are able to do.

Brigit is fifteen years old, and until now had lived a normal life with her mother. She has friends who are normal friends and a boy friend. This is the story of her life, but also the history of her family. A trip to Ireland for Brigit's first Beltany ceremony (Beltane is May Day) swings the story around. I loved the book, it gave me suspense, history, the struggle of good and evil, all the while building in a natural flow to the climax which was unexpected. This book took me longer to read than it would have if my own life hadn't been interrupted several times while reading it which annoyed me to no end. I was so involved in the story that interruptions were a complete bother. No matter, it was easily picked up when I was able but I intend to read it again from start to finish as it should be. I also look forward to reading more from Valerie Biel. Great storyline. 5 star reading