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The Rook (Checquy Files, Bk 1)
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This book has the most boring name and the most boring cover, that it is sure to be ignored on your to be read shelf. It just goes to show you can NOT judge a book by its cover.

This book is so amazing. You can read about all the stuff in the other blurbs, what you need to know is why this book is so great that you want to read it next.

The author has created the most creative and intense story. I would say this book up there with The Invisible Library series. No time travel, but a secret society protecting humanity, like that in the St Mary's Chronicles. It is the James Bond meets xmen but even better.

You will not be bored for a minute. You will want to keep reading to see what happens next.
AND even though there is a book 2, you are not left with a big cliffhanger.

The author is a man, who has a main character that is female, and he gets it right. Not only does she kick butt, and get answers, but she is human, and has friends, and feelings. I liked her, and all of her other co workers. I


A Perfect Evil (Maggie O'Dell, Bk 1)
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The book was actually a good read regarding the crime itself, but where it went wrong was the budding "romance" between the elected "sheriff" (and I use that title lightly) and the FBI profiler, who is married; albeit a rocky marriage, but still married nonetheless. Seriously? What is the point of this? Why does the author feel it's necessary to muck up a good story line with something so irrelevant and unmoral?


The Stranger Diaries
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I've been a passionate Elly Griffiths fan since her first Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery, The Crossing Roads. I also have a long-lived fondness for Gothic novels with their creepy old houses and stalwart heroines defying the odds to uncover old secrets. When I discovered that Griffiths had written a Gothic novel, there was practically singing and dancing in the street. Once I'd turned the last page of The Stranger Diaries, I almost went outside for an encore jig.

The story is told in three distinct and compelling voices: the voice of Clare herself, the voice of her teenage daughter Georgie, and the voice of Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur. Woven throughout the chapters are portions of Holland's short story, "The Stranger" and passages from Clare's diaries. The differing viewpoints work together extremely well, due in part to the fact that you get to see what each one thinks of the other. For example, Georgie is much more aware than her mother Clare realizes, and Harbinder is packed to the gunnels with pre-conceived notions... and anger.

In fact, Harbinder could be considered the most fascinating character in the book; she certainly received the strongest reaction from me. Her prejudice and her anger made me want to slap her a time or two, but it also made me want to know what had happened to make her so bitter. Yes, Harbinder's evolution throughout The Stranger Diaries is one of its greatest pleasures.

Although there is often humor due to the differing viewpoints, Griffiths skillfully keeps building the suspense. There is more than one mystery to The Stranger Diaries. Yes, we have a murderer on the loose, but there is also the century-old mystery of the identity of R.M. Holland's Mariana. Holland keeps mentioning her in his letters, but... who is she? The solutions to both mysteries are excellent. I didn't deduce the identity of the killer until mere nanoseconds before the official reveal, and the unveiling of the mysterious Mariana made me laugh and smile.

If you're in the mood to spend a few hours thoroughly enjoying yourself, I know just what you can do-- pick up a copy of Elly Griffiths' The Stranger Diaries. I sincerely hope there's another Gothic novel in this talented writer's future.


Betty Crocker New Cake Decorating (Betty Crocker Cooking)
reviewed on + 146 more book reviews


Skip this one and get a Wilton's book. The cakes in this book looked incredibly amateur.


Violet Tendencies (A Rose City Mystery)
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Violet Tendencies by Kate Dyer-Seeley sweeps readers to Portland, Oregon. Britta Johnston and her Aunt Elin own Blooma, a boutique European-inspired flower shop and wine bar. The pair were delighted when Blooma was chosen as the showcase florist for Portland's Rose Festival and they will be creating the centerpieces for the dignitaries' dinner. They will also have a float in the parade featuring violets, but their joy is marred by protestors from a group called Dark Fusion outside the warehouse housing the floats. Britta arrives early one morning to work on the float and finds Dark Fusion's leader, Sham dead on Blooma's ravaged float with a noose of violets around his throat. Britta wants to know who killed Sham and why they used Blooma's float. There are numerous suspects including Ted Graham, the Rose Festival's Grand Marshal, to the float barn director and a former Rose Queen. Dark Fusion may be without their leader, but they are still out in full force and determined to cause chaos. Before Britta can narrow her sights on the killer, the situation becomes volatile. Will Portland have a Rose Festival Parade this year?

Violet Tendencies is the second novel in A Rose City Mystery series, but it can be read on its own. Everything a reader needs to know is included in Violet Tendencies. I like Kate Dyer-Seeley's casual writing style. The book contains good writing and engaging characters. The story flows along at a gentler pace than Natural Thorn Killer. I like the setting of Portland, Oregon (I would love to live in Pacific Northwest). I enjoy the author's descriptions of the city and of the Rose Festival with its variety of events. Blooma is a unique flower shop with its European flair and a wine bar. There are detailed descriptions on how the various flower arrangements are created along with how floats are constructed using all natural materials plus the symbolism behind each bloom. Blooma's float was beautifully described and it sounded enchanting. Britta and her aunt, Elin have a close relationship at home and at work. I like how they support each other in their professional and personal endeavors. Elin's boyfriend, Eric is in town and Britta finally gets to meet him. Britta gets to spend more time with Detective Pete Fletcher. If they could just get through one date without being interrupted. The murder does not occur until a reader is 40% into the story. There are multiple suspects, misdirection and good clues. I do wish, though, that the crime had been more challenging to solve. I was not a fan of the protestors. They were an angry mob who harassed the people working on the floats, had weapons and continually threatened violence. While it is realistic, it is a little dark for a cozy mystery. We get more details regarding the death of Tomo Iwamoto's father. Tomo would like to find who killed his father and I am curious to learn more. Tomo and Britta have a close relationship and his mother's noodle dishes are mouthwatering. There are flower tips and recipes at the end of the book. There are many delightful cozy moments in Violet Tendencies. Violet Tendencies is set in a beautiful city, has friendly characters, an abundance of blooms and a disconcerting whodunit.


Beggar's Banquet (Fanuilh, Bk 3)
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Third in the fantasy/mystery crossover series featuring Liam Rhenford and his dragon familiar, Fanuilh. You could read this as a standalone, although you'll know you're missing the backstory. From the book: " Liam Rhenford possesses a wizard's familiar, but he's not a wizard himself. He's solved a few crimes, but he's no detective. Yet, when a priceless family heirloom-a magical jewel-is stolen from Liam's business partner, the local magistrate turns to Liam for help. With all of Southwark in a festive mood for the Beggar's Banquet holiday, Liam must put celebrating aside to help his two friends. Of course, solving a crime with Fanuilh, his dragon familiar, at his side, will do nothing to dispel the rumors about Liam." You don't find too many police procedurals in fantasy, and this series is nice in that it doesn't rely on magic to solve the mystery...although the coroner who can see if the ghost is still lingering about is a nice touch. I liked that there's another wizard involved in this book, and that Liam is finally making use of Fanuilh.


Muzzled (Kate Turner, DVM, Bk 1)
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First in a series featuring veterinarian Kate Turner. From the book: "Making rounds to homes one wet spring morning, veterinarian Dr. Kate Turner rescues a family's hamster from a vacuum cleaner, then visits an estate whose owners breed champion Cavalier King Charles spaniels. Instead of sharing traditional tea with the couple, she confronts a bloody scene of bodies and twenty-seven blue-ribbon dogs running wild. Police initially suspect a murder-suicide, but when Dr. Kate proves the famous best-in-show champion is missing, a darker reality intrudes. She remembers her grandfather saying that there are two motives for murder-love and money. While treating local pets, Dr. Kate discovers suspects and motives everywhere in this charming town filled with people who wanted the couple dead. Was the couple murdered for money their champion could bring to another breeder? How is their daughter, anxious to rid herself of the pampered dogs, handling the wealth she inherits? Would the celebrity filmmaker living nearby kill to end a multi-million dollar lawsuit? Did long-buried personal secrets cause the deaths? And what's going on at the office behind her back? Is Dr. Kate now in danger?" I think you'd call this a cozy, with some darker elements. I liked the details about the veterinarian's life, although I think Dr. Kate was too paranoid about being considered a suspect, but I did like how she went about talking to people she suspected. Brady gives you enough clues to figure out the villain, at least I did, about halfway through.


Corpus Christmas (Sigrid Harald, Bk 6)
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Sixth in the series, originally published in 1989, no need to have read the previous although there is a little backstory you'll miss. Lt Sigrid Harald of the NYPD attends a party at a small art/historical home museum with her SO, famous artist Oscar Nauman. After the party, a member of the museum's Board is found murdered. He was an unpleasant man with a penchant for ferreting out other's misdeeds, so the slate of potential suspects is large. Complicating the case is that Nauman has been friends with many of them for years. During the investigation quite a few nefarious doings come to light. I might have gotten more out of this if I were conversant in modern art; names and concepts are abundant but most of it went over my head. But the mystery isn't dependent on knowing those things. I did not guess the villain in this one, I guessed someone who didn't have anything to do with it - I'm not usually that far off so that was fun. I liked the snippets of old letters that Maron worked in. I didn't like the relationship between Rick and Pascal...there was definitely a squicky feeling given Pascal's problems. There's another subplot involving decades-old murders that seemed totally superfluous, I guess Maron wants to show that the department has more than one thing to work on. And though this is set just before Christmas, the time of year plays no part in the story other than some descriptions of shopping and lights. All in all, enjoyable reading although IMHO not one of Maron's strongest efforts.


Past Tense (Jack Reacher, Bk 23)
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This is one of the best Reacher books in terms of building suspense and making the pages fly by. The secret of the bad guys is a little cheesy, but they are really creepy.


The Spymistress
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Enjoyable.


Altered (Altered, Bk 1)
reviewed on + 818 more book reviews


wow better than i thought it would be! page turner.


Frog
Frog
Author: Mary Calmes
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 15 more book reviews


The only thing I love more than gay romance, is yaoi manga! So when I found out that DSP would be publishing some of their fantastic stories as yaoi manga I was thrilled. After many months of asking for the release date (begging, pestering and just being downright annoying), my wish was granted with the release of Frog in manga form by Mary Calmes. I was not disappointed!

Frog is a multilayered and complex story that translated surprisingly well to manga format! All the important bits from the original story are there. Add in truly lovely artwork and uncensored smut (always a bonus) and Frog is as close to perfection as a yaoi manga can be! Highly recommended and a permanent addition to my reread collection.


The Bookshop on the Corner
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Oh my, I loved, loved, loved this book! Not only is it about books, but also about taking chances in life and becoming the person you really should be. And yes, it has a little romance in it, but it's really a book about finding your strength, speaking your mind, and not being pushed aside.
Nina Redmond is a librarian who is let go when the small library she works in closes. She has always wanted to own a bookshop, or even a bookmobile, so she finds an old van that she buys in Scotland. The story is filled with quirky characters, heartwarming interactions with town folks, a little romance with a train engineer, and even an unfortunate relationship with her landlord. (That was a disappointment to me, far too predictable and so out of character for Nina.)
This is book that makes you smile, cry, laugh, and cheer on the woman who finally makes her way in life, doing what she has always wanted to do. YAY!


Overruled (Legal Briefs, Bk 1)
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Very good.


The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son Talk About Life, Love, and Loss
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Very interesting.


But Enough About Me
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Very interesting.


Titans
Titans
Author: Leila Meacham
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover
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Very good.


Aly's House
Aly's House
Author: Leila Meacham
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance
Book Type: Hardcover
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Very good!


In the Name of the Children: An FBI Agent's Relentless Pursuit of the Nation's Worst Predators
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Warning--------this is a hard book to read as it deals with crimes against children and most of it is sex crimes

Rinek tells the events of these crimes and how he was involved with them, most of it is heartbreaking for the victims of these crimes again children

I remember a couple of the stories when they occurred but this book gives a lot of details you don't ever hear on the news

You may need a strong stomach to read to the end but the stories are interesting just to know what you didn't hear on the news


White Crosses
White Crosses
Author: Larry Watson
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 350 more book reviews


This book is called a mystery. The only mystery here is why did I keep reading it, especially when I can easily quit a book by the end of the third page. Set in Montana in the 50's, the premise is that the town itself is an innocent and thus when the high school principal and one of the graduating students are killed in a car accident, the sheriff decides he must protect everyone involved, related or living nearby by making up this convoluted story about why the two were even in the same car. All it does is cause more problems. Yet that isn't really the issue with the book. It is the way this character--the author, actually--goes off on these stream of consciousness dissertations in his head that have nothing to do with anything, but take up page after page, that is so miserable. Thinking it me I checked out reviews from here, and other websites, and this was the biggest issue most had.

Hard to believe the same fellow who wrote Montana, 1948, which I read twice, wrote this drivel.


When Angels Fall
When Angels Fall
Author: Meagan McKinney
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 1323 more book reviews


Elizabeth Alcester was a wealthy girl who fell in love with her stablehand Ivan. However, on one disastrous series of events, things changed. Ivan went from stablehand to wealthy marquis and Elizabeth's family became destitute. It took years for Ivan to grow into his title and increase his wealth. But now he's back in Nodding Knoll and he looks to be out for revenge against Elizabeth.

The continuation of troubles and desperate situations just heaped upon each other until I was weary. Also, it simply took too long for Ivan to turn from being the morose, vindictive, moody man to a hero. Lissa and Ivan are not kind to each other until the last chapters. On the flip side, the tale never got dull; crises were always in the offing.


Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel of Christmas Past
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I thought this was wonderful Christmas reading! Just what I needed to get me in the Christmas spirit. It is a magical, heart warming tale. A bit of fact mixed with fiction. A real keeper!


Amy's Eyes
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This is a really engaging book! The publisher's description makes it sound like a little kids' book, but I would categorize it more as Young Adult or preteen, due to a fair amount of violence, some sort of heavy existential/religious musings, and a few sexual innuendoes (Example: When the Captain begins transforming from a doll into a man, the workers at the orphanage are concerned because "there are the older girls to consider" and "he IS, after all, a sailor"). But seriously worth a read, even for adults.


Eggs on Ice (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
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Eggs on Ice contains good writing along with gentle pacing. Eggs on Ice is a cozy mystery that is best not read as a standalone. Details that readers need are not included in the eighth A Cackleberry Club Mystery (some information is imparted as the book progresses). I recommend beginning with Eggs in Purgatory. The Cackleberry Club is a unique restaurant with a Book Nook and the Knitting Nest. It sounds like my type of café. We get wonderful descriptions of the unique yarns they carry. I have never heard of the some of the yard blends Petra works with and has ordered for the shop (though, I am eager to find and create objects with them). The main characters are likeable and relatable. The three women are best friends despite their diverse personalities. Suzanne is the main voice of the story. She is engaged to Dr. Sam Hazelet and they have a warm, loving relationship. Toni is unique with her beliefs and her husband. There are a variety of off-beat characters in the story with Junior Garrett, Toni's wacky sort-of husband, being the quirkiest. He constantly finds himself in trouble thanks to his bad choices and lack of intelligence. The murder occurs in the first chapter of the book. We then follow Suzanne as she does her daily activities (working, spending time with friends and her fiancé) and she asks questions of interested parties she encounters. Suzanne along with Toni do break into one interested parties' home to look for clues. There is little action in the book until the end. I like Suzanne's style of questioning. She is not intrusive or demanding which I appreciate. I kept hoping Suzanne would put together the clues and identify the killer (whom I identified before the body left the theater). It was interesting how Suzanne subdued the killer, but it seemed unrealistic (the item has a safety feature that prevents it from being used in that manner). The ending was abrupt and felt incomplete. It needed another chapter to wrap up the whodunit satisfactorily (answer questions about the crime and the killer's reasoning) and give readers a happy ending (see them celebrating Christmas would have been nice). I did not feel that Eggs on Ice is on the same level as the authors other works (A Tea Shop Mystery series and A Scrapbooking Mystery series). There are details missing from the story such as the main characters last names (Toni and Petra) and I am curious what state Kindred is in. There are recipes at the end for the items served in The Cackleberry Club. I wish there had been instruction for how to make the quilted tote mentioned in the book by Petra. Eggs on Ice is a cute and humorous cozy mystery set is a charming small town filled with off-beat individuals.


The Scarecrow (Jack McEvoy, Bk 2)
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It's been over ten years since Jack McEvoy wrote his bestseller about "The Poet" before taking a job as a crime reporter at the Los Angeles Times. Newspapers are currently having a hard time, so Jack isn't surprised when he is told that he has two weeks to train someone else for his job before he is let go. Jack decides to find a story that will make them regret laying him off. When an angry reader calls him concerning a story he wrote about a murder confession made by her 16-year-old grandson, Jack decides to look into her accusations. He quickly finds that the police may have arrested the wrong person. He also finds himself on the trail of a killer who may be ready to take his next victim.

This book is an excellent follow-up to The Poet. Jack contacts FBI Agent Rachel Walling to help him find a killer who has been undetected so far. This story is vintage Michael Connelly. I wouldn't mind reading another book featuring Jack McEvoy in the future. My rating: 4.5 Stars.


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