Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Review: Christmas, Criminals, and Campers - A Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery Series

Christmas, Criminals, and Campers - A Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery Series Christmas, Criminals, and Campers - A Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery Series by Tonya Kappes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this author. Every book I have read from her has kept me entertained. Christmas, Criminals and Camping is no exception. I had a good time from my first peek until the end of the book. I say first peek because I had promised myself I was not reading this until after Halloween. Temptation was too much and I peeked and peeked until I discovered I had read the whole book, before Halloween!

We are back in Normal, Kentucky for Christmas with Mae and The Laundry Club. A romance author, a favorite of Abby’s, is coming to stay at the campground! Of course she does not come alone. They are not the only new faces in town either. When the author does a reading at the library, a shocking secret is told. One that devastates and angers Abby. Is she angry enough to kill? Sweet Abby? O. M. G. No! Don’t do this to me Tonya Kappes! Everything points to her. Mae is determined to get the real killer before Abby finds herself with lots of reading time behind bars! What Mae doesn’t count on is the surprise at the campground or how it will affect her. Will Mae and Hank be able to continue exploring their romance when he has Abby sitting in jail? Oh so much is not normal in Normal this Christmas!

I enjoyed all the twists and turns of this book. Every time I thought I had it figured out..it would take a turn. The reveal was as shocking as the secret Nadine White had held during her writing career! The author gave us all a peek into an aspect of writing that we all know about but choose to ignore. After all no one wants to think a beloved writer keeps that secret.

I really adore the people of Normal. Don’t we all want friends like the ones in our favorite books? I long to find a laundromat like The Laundry Club. I don’t care that I have machines at home. I would gather some laundry just to hang out there. Though, I suppose, being the stranger in town could make me the next victim! Oh the chilling deliciousness of that! I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

In case you are new to Tonya Kappes, her books are full of fun times and a bit of death. There is no over the top violence or gore, no “bad” language, no graphic sexual content. They are just good people, a few bad, enjoying each other and life, or death, in a small town. Some have a paranormal bent to them. I prefer to read her books in order but if you find yourself reading them out of order, I don’t think you will have a problem. She does a quick run down in the beginning of her books so you won’t be left behind.

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Review: American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest

American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a love hate relationship with the title of this book. I do feel almost cheated by it. I was expecting more of a ghost story. I got a haunting story of a woman searching out the truth of her great, great grandmother who it has been said, is a ghost haunting a hotel in New Mexico. I say that yet I give it high stars? Yes. I loved the story, though I did feel that it gets a little twisty at times. There is more in this book that just the story of Julia Staab. I understand it, though, because when you search out the life story of an ancestor you get stories from all the people in between you and the ancestor in question. This book is an interesting account of a young German Jewish bride coming to live in the American Southwest. At times it is a very sad tale which is why I call it haunting. I think of the bravery of this woman, yes she had no choice as a woman, but brave is what she was. I can't imagine going to a foreign country, with no real grasp of the languages, to live. And that is now, when there are so many options to to help me. If women's history interests you or history of the southwest or German Jewish people, this book will probably have something to bring you. If you are looking for a scary ghost story, even though this has moments with psychics and tv's Ghost Hunters, look for another book. This isn't that kind of story. It is a book I would recommend to book clubs though. I think it has a lot that can be discussed. I enjoyed it, taking my time with it, thinking about how things were for my female ancestors.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Review: Elvis and the Dearly Departed

Elvis and the Dearly Departed Elvis and the Dearly Departed by Peggy Webb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was on my TBR for a long time. I got it for the basset hound named Elvis on the cover. I loved Elvis and his music when I was growing up. I thought it was fun having him reincarnated in the hound dog. I read this in between scary reading. I needed something to just relax and laugh with. For me, it did the job. I don’t expect reality when I read fiction. I also don’t expect my characters to be perfect examples of my idea of perfect people. The plot and characters were fun. I honestly didn’t know who did it until the end. I really enjoyed the dog.
I would recommend this book to people who just want to have fun in a cozy. If you are going to be judgmental of the characters you probably won’t like the ones here. They are probably not people you want to be. I don’t tend to look at fictional characters as role models so I’m cool with the quirky, not perfect peeps in a book. If you are looking for a serious cozy, keep going. But if you just want to escape from reality and you miss Elvis, read it.

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Review: Malignant: a gripping psychological thriller you do not want to miss

Malignant: a gripping psychological thriller you do not want to miss Malignant: a gripping psychological thriller you do not want to miss by Anita Waller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book surprised me. I was glued to it wondering what was going to happen next. I was on an emotional roller coaster all the way through. I am not one to deeply discuss the plot in reviews because I think you can read the synopsis and the rest you should discover on your own. I do give a heads up for certain themes because I know some aren’t ready to read them. One is domestic violence which is in this book. I believe the author handled it well in the respect that it is only as graphic as it needs to be. Just enough for the reader to know it was present, who knew or didn’t, what the results were. The friendship between Claudia and Heather was fairly honest. It was very touching yet difficult. I loved reading it. The relationship with Claudia and her children was too. The characters were likable people with exceptions to those we were suppose to dislike. Even those, though, were characters that I could think of as representing someone I really knew. I liked how the marriages were portrayed, how love and hate dance with each other, how easy it is to cross back and forth between feelings with the people in our lives. I would recommend this book. I think it would actually be a good book club selection with all the things going on. There is much to discuss in the plot twists, lies, events and relationships.

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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Review: Aftershock

Aftershock Aftershock by Valerie Lioudis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this during RAT. Review to come.
Would have been five star but there was no ending. If you pick this get book 2. I had no idea I was at the end when it cut off. It was frustrating.

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Review: Gingerbread Dreams

Gingerbread Dreams Gingerbread Dreams by Anna J. Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was gifted a ebook copy of this book. It was sold as a box set of Brenda Novak's fundraiser for diabetes. My review is based on my feelings reading the book.

I love Christmas books. They are always magical. This book was a bit different from the usual mix I come across. I loved the story. It brought up something that I went through. I had custody of a family members child for awhile. It was heart wrenching difficult. Your love and loyalties are stretched to breaking points. Of course, the needs of the child win no matter how much pain you feel. It's special pain... it carries a mix of love, loyalty, hope, hopelessness, anger and sadness. It is a pain I wish on no one. Unfortunately it is a reality for many. I thought the author handled it well. She touched on the various feelings without dragging the book down. The ending was one that happens. The characters are very well written. I could see them in my mind and in my heart. I would recommend this to all the holiday romance lovers out there. It is clean so no need to worry if a teen picks it up. Matter of fact, I think it would make for wonderful discussions.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Review: Little Girl Lost

Little Girl Lost Little Girl Lost by Addison Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book certainly held my attention. I could not stop until I got to the end. Be prepared for a ball of confusion. There are a few storylines going on which honestly I think there would be a number of stories in real life with a child’s disappearance. Everyone connected to the child has their life examined and who doesn’t have secrets or regrets? So yes it’s messy, like it is suppose to be. I was glued to my Kindle.

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Review: All The Things You Are

All The Things You Are All The Things You Are by Declan Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first time reading this author. It was a library book.

I chose this book thinking it would be a spooky read for Halloween and the readathons. It was set at Halloween, both past and present. I liked Claire and Danny, even when I was unsure about who and what they really were. I even liked Donna and Charlie, maybe because they were, at least, honest and accepting of who they were. The plot was fairly twisty with lots of potential suspects and nobody to truly trust. Then came the explosions. Those I didn’t see even though I had the off kilter feelings. I’m not saying more, though I want to, because anything else will give you no reason to read the book. I think you should read it. I was devouring the last third of the book. Why then 4 Stars? I wanted to know more about someone though if the author chose to make a guess true, I would have felt like punching him in the nose. But to me, that’s a pretty good thing. It means the author did his job. For me, the best books are those that invite me in to the story, make me forget reality and make me feel. You don’t punch people, even in fantasy, unless you are feeling. Deeply feeling. He lost a star because I’ll be forever wondering. It’s almost like a punch. Read the book.

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Review: The Scarecrow Snuff Out: A Lily Sprayberry Realtor Halloween Novella

The Scarecrow Snuff Out: A Lily Sprayberry Realtor Halloween Novella The Scarecrow Snuff Out: A Lily Sprayberry Realtor Halloween Novella by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This was my first time reading this author. I chose this book for its Halloween theme not realizing it was from a series. I did not need to read previous books. It does make for good Halloween reading and, in my opinion, can be enjoyed by preteen and up.
I enjoyed the characters in this book. I felt very much at home with them. I admit I did get excited over the use of might could. I speak like that but rarely come across it in books, (or really in real life unless I’m talking with family). I enjoyed the slow paced build up on this mystery. At first it read like it was going to be a good time Halloween tale, (which it is), but then came the mystery solving and a pick up on the pacing.
If you are looking for a Halloween scare, then come spend some time lost in the corn maze.

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Review: Assault and Beadery

Assault and Beadery Assault and Beadery by Mollie Cox Bryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my first book by Mollie Cox Bryan. It is part of the series, A Cora Crafts Mystery. I had no issue with jumping into the series. Because of that, I believe this book can be read as a stand-alone or out of series order. This was also my first cozy mystery with crafting as a theme.

I really enjoyed this mystery. I liked Cora and the other characters very much. They were people I would enjoy being around. I felt comfortable with them. I was thrilled to see Cora pay attention to gut instinct. I think we all need to listen more when it tries to get our attention. As someone who deals with anxiety and panic, it was interesting to have a major character dealing with it. I was encouraged by Cora.

I was intrigued by the idea of a crafting retreat. I have never been to one. I do enjoy some crafts but am lousy at keeping them up. My crafting level is, at best, self described as kindergarten - first grade level. I do love to do them do and am, frequently, as proud as the best of any kindergarteners. I started this book with a little bit of fear that I would have a difficult time with the crafting part. No worries, though. I was able to not only keep up just fine but also found myself wishing to attend a craft retreat. I believe I could manage to learn something new and fun to do. I was even encouraged enough that I am planning to try the crafts at the back of the book. I’m thinking I could come away with some meditation beads...or maybe just a necklace like is pictured on the cover. There are actually a couple of craft instructions that I want to try.

The mystery was well written. I was kept guessing all the way up to the reveal. There were several secrets and surprises along the way that had me changing my mind about suspects. The big reveal contained the best secret! But I’m not going to give you anything there.

I recommend this cozy mystery book. It was fun and interesting. If you make any of the crafts in the book and post photos on Instagram, please tag me, (Wulfwyn907). I would really like to see what you made. I will be adding the other books in this series to my TBR. Thank to Kimberlee at the Review Club on Facebook for the ARC. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts regarding this book.


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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Review: Killer Unleashed

Killer Unleashed Killer Unleashed by Beth Prentice
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the first book I read by Beth Prentice. I thought it was hilarious. I love the characters! I did not entirely guess the ending which had some twists in it. I am definitely reading more of this series and from this author.


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Review: Sleigh Bells and Sleuthing: A Collection of 16 Cozy Mystery Novellas Featuring Female Sleuths

Sleigh Bells and Sleuthing: A Collection of 16 Cozy Mystery Novellas Featuring Female Sleuths by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson ...