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.

Jump Cut by Libby Fischer Hellman

by Libby Fischer Hellman

A thriller that will keep you enthralled, a wild joyride into terror
This new Ellie Forman book took me to a place of excitement, creativity and secrets; the creation of a video to be played in sections, 'chapters' as Ellie puts it, for a huge aeronautic corporation is very well written, as Libby Fischer Hellman turns out another fascinating storyline of probable murder and plenty of mayhem thrown in the works. Libby has a definite feel for her characters, they always come alive (or dead as the case may be.) I always like to learn something new from a book, and learn I did. I thought the work on the video editing, how and what was done was very interesting, and certainly looked forward to seeing what 'Waldo', Gregory Sparks, was up to. Why did he show up in so many places on this corporate video? He said he was a consultant, but who does he really work for? Why is he asking so many questions if he is indeed a consultant? Why is his visibility in the video a cause for Ellie's work to be shut down immediately?

Now, fired and miserable, Ellie will begin to pick up the pieces and try to learn what happened. Taking action as she always does, she sets up a meeting with Gregory, meeting where their various El trains intersect. But, why is he so late? Screams and panic sound the alarm as she approaches the point where his train should be coming in. She's not going to get any answers here. As she accidentally discovers a flash drive she knows could only have come from him, she pockets it. Now she hopes to learn the truth about why she was fired.

Here the pace picks up substantially and the reader is thrust into a roller coaster of terror. A thriller that will keep you enthralled with espionage, spies and kidnapping. Her associates trying to keep her safe yet solve the puzzle include her boyfriend and her daughter as well as the police and the FBI, because this has suddenly become an international case. Luke fears for Ellie's life but has some good connections. Ellie suspects phone-tapping, computer hacking, and the ever-present shadowing of every movement she makes. Libby Fisher Hellman knows how to get your adrenaline going and turns it up with a different version of what she does so well. IEDs, encrypted files, hacked computers, lots to keep the reader on high alert in this one. We always know what Ellie Forman is prone to do, but we never know just what it will be from book to book. So glad she is back, she is a solid character and often unexpected.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Good to the Last Death: A Carol Golden Novel

by Alan Cook
reviewed from e-book

This, the fifth novel in the Carol Golden series, is packed full of suspense and terror. Now married to the man who saved her life, Rigo, Carol learns from his parents that they are afraid that he is missing, and they think an old girlfriend may have a hand in his disappearance. But why?

Once again Alan Cook has combined a tantalizing and mystery with a terrifying determination. Rigo has been kidnapped for a surprising reason, radical insanity with little culpability or restraint, the terrorists are blind to humanity and certainly lacking in human reason, although they believe they are saving the planet. And there lies the problem, but is their group doing anything good? Or are they spelling doomsday. Carol is in tracking mode with her spy-in-training friend Jennifer, racing to find Rigo, and stop so much more from happening than she can imagine.

This book is completely different from others in the series but packing a punch as always, and often with the ring of plausible authenticity. The team that has Rigo is extremely focused on what they are setting out to do and time is running out. Another strong story-line from the author.  5 stars