Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Murder in ChiantiMurder in Chianti by Camilla Trinchieri
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book deserves a longer review, but, I am so far behind in reviews that I have to give a bit of a brief one, enough to describe the things that I liked. I do thank AboveTheTreeLine and the publisher for giving me an opportunity to review an eArc of Murder in Chianti. All comments are my personal views.
The best thing about Murder in Chianti for me is that it gave me a chance to do a bit of armchair travel since I missed my vacation this year. Camilla Trinchieri has done amazing work by painting the scenery of the region of Italy where the story takes place. I could picture the streets, trattorias, piazzas, carabinieri in their uniforms, and so much more.

This author also does a great job with characterization. I have enjoyed meeting Nico, Tilde, Salvatore, Daniele, Elvira, One Wag, and my personal favorite. The town of Gravigna was a character on its own. If you have been to Italy, especially to smaller towns in Tuscany, you can reminisce on the beautiful cobblestones, amazing architecture, smell of olive trees, especially if you have ever smelled a sweet olive tree. The mystery was great. It kept the reader guessing and even when Nico, Salvatore, and Daniele figured it out, I was almost convinced they were going to change their mind. I am really looking forward to following the Tuscan Mystery series.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Fortune and Glory (Stephanie Plum, #27)Fortune and Glory by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I am an avid fan of the Stephanie Plum series. Fortune and Glory is technically the 27th book in this series. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you, NetGalley. I know this series has been around for quite some time and I have been there all the way, from Stephanie's life changes, love life changes, car mishaps, hair mishaps, clothes mishaps, heck all sorts of mishaps. The usual suspects that the readers all love are present and accounted for, but, there is a new sidekick character who is quite funny, Potts. I have to admit that for most of the books since Lula has been working for Vinnie, I found Lula to be the comic relief. A lot of that is because we expect certain things out of the books and the formula is obvious but, throughout it all, Lula somehow is original, and even when she is the same, she is hilarious. Fortune and Glory did have a different feel to it, a deeper adventure maybe. I do not want to give anything away regarding Stephanie's relationships with Morelli or Ranger, so I will steer clear of that topic. But, I will say that Stephanie's attitude seems to be changing.

In Fortune and Glory, there is a continuation from Twisted Twenty-Six where Grandma Mazur gets herself into serious trouble. Well, really when doesn't she. But, the Lazy-boys are just as crazy as they always were and there are 3 of them left after Jimmy Risolli, Grandma Mazur's husband of about 5 minutes died. The other Lazy-boys, well, 2 of them are looking for something and they are pretty sure that Grandma has the information to find it because she was the last person with Jimmy and she was his wife. Fortune and Glory continues with Shine and Salgusta are pulling off the gloves, if they were ever really wearing them, and are ready to kidnap, maim and kill to get the information from Grandma Mazur. However, at this stage, Grandma has decided it was her husband and she deserves his share of whatever it is and there is another point, no one outside of the Lazy-Boys even knows what is in the treasure.

Enter Gabriela, a new character, who is the kick-butt, skilled, or female Ranger, version of Stephanie. They are neck-and-neck trying to get to the treasure first. Stephanie has no clue who she is but, she knows she has some relationship to Morelli. No one really knows much about Gabriela. She is a wildcard and she does add to the story. In all honesty, Stephanie has stepped up her game in Fortune and Glory. If you were cheering her on in previous books, you cannot help but do it again, especially with Grandma Mazur's life in danger. I always love the Stephanie Plum books, but, I have to admit, my interest has kicked up again, and not just because I am ready to see what Lula is up to this time.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

She's Got the Guns (The Suite #45, #1)She's Got the Guns by M.O. Mack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great read! I have found a book that hits all of my must-haves, i.e., must have action, must have a great story, must have some mystery, and it always is nice to have some humor when you have this package. I voluntarily read and reviewed a review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This is one of those books that I would buy it if I had to, just so I can read it, so being chosen to review a copy is the icing on the cake. Honestly, the title is also part of the fun for me. It sparks great interest for me and drew me right to this book.

Emily's background is not necessarily that original, because there are a lot of good books about women's struggles in life. I won't give that away because it is paramount to understanding Emily's motives for how she responds to situations. Sometimes she is kick-butt, smart-mouth, and sort of in your face until she thinks about the fact she should be afraid. It is obvious she has learned many lessons to have been on the run and made it all the way to the Mexican border. She is good at hiding in plain sight.

Obviously, the best part of the book was her new job at the "Pest Control" company. Her new office was where some of the funniest moments happen. If I had one complaint about She's Got the Guns, it would be that the book was too short. I am really hoping that the next Suite #45 book will be a longer novel. M.O. Mack does a great job holding reader interest. If you read the blurb or take a look at the author's website you will see that the author believes in straight with no chaser when telling a story. I can really appreciate that, but, it just went too fast. Great for a story and sad for a reader is really enjoying themselves, especially a visual reader like me. This is a great start to a new series and I am really looking forward to the next Suite #45 installment and I cannot wait to see what the title is for that book. Yes, I know that is putting a bit of pressure on the author, but, somehow, I am pretty sure that M.O. Mack is up to the task.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Shadows in Death (In Death, #51)Shadows in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Is it possible for an author to be 51 books into a series and still have those books be just as good as they were at the start of the series? I would suggest that not only is it possible but, it has occurred. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I always start out reading the new books in this series checking to see which of the usual favorites are in this book. This was very high on procedure and hunt and not as much on individual relationships of course with the exception of Eve and Roarke. It was great to see Whitney with more exposure in this book.

This time around the focus is on Roarke's childhood and one of his adversaries who has held a pretty deadly grudge against Roarke which he has nursed since they were children. It is interesting to see how 2 kids with heavy exposure to Patrick Roarke turned out as adults and brings up the whole nature versus nurture concept which Eve and Roarke often find themselves analyzing. I always wonder why Somerset prefers to stay in a sort of service role instead of being more of a family member most times. It does lend itself to some great zingers between Somerset and Eve which usually serves for therapy for both of them on a tough day. As things started to heat up in Shadows in Death, I wondered if Somerset would be more front-and-center and if they head to Dublin would he be with them. I will leave it to the reader to read this great book to get the answer to that pondering. Needless to say, I am ready for the next book, i.e., Faithless in Death.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Dark Waters (Raisa Jordan Thriller #1)Dark Waters by Chris Goff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Completely phenomenal! I have a new go-to author. I will read whatever Chris Goff writes I think. I received an e-Arc via the publisher, Crooked Lane Books - Penguin Books in exchange for an honest review. I am a bit behind with reviewing titles due to work and previously working on my dissertation. I truly loved Dark Waters. I will always dig in to read a great thriller that has special forces from Israel or really from anywhere really. Throw in two kick-ass women that lead the story and I am all in.

Jordan is Russian but was mostly raised in the U.S. where she works as an agent for the government. She has been recently stationed in Israel where she is replacing an agent who needs to return to the U.S. immediately, however, it appears he was not being truthful and he is involved in something so deadly that when the shooting starts it appears a judge and his daughter who are visiting Israel from the U.S. are the targets. There actually are no shortages of targets in that plaza when the shooting starts. Not to mention an Israeli agent who is on the scene for her own reasons that are just as deadly. It is not quite clear who started the shooting, who the actual target is, and what the reason is for the assassination, but, Jordan, who is quite intelligent, and learns that she can be just as deadly when she is assigned assets for protection. What Jordan uncovers is a plot that is far reaching and really a plot within a plot that really kept me enthralled. I am really looking forward to the next book, i.e., Red Sky by Chris Goff.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Girl from NowhereGirl from Nowhere by Tiffany Rosenhan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am totally enamored of Girl from Nowhere. I received a copy via the publisher, Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I work a lot of hours each week. It used to take me a few hours or at most a day or two to read a book. Sometimes it takes me 2 weeks, if I am lucky and have not forgotten some of what I have read. Part of this occurred when I was working on my dissertation and I thought I will get to read more leisure reads now that this is done. But, no, work just replaced it. I have a pretty good reading month and I am happy to say that I honestly loved Girl from Nowhere. I am a big fan of YA Action books, especially those where the protagonist is someone the reader can like and admire.

Sophie and her family move to a new town in Montana which oddly enough is a place that my best friend has been harassing me to visit. I have no clue why and it is not really on my list but, it worked well in this book. Sophia has parents that have traveled the world as diplomats for the government since she was born and she is always with them. They have never really had a permanent homestead to stop at and take a break from. They move often. It turns out that something occurred during one of their trips which has traumatized Sophia. The author does a great job of having Sophia slowly tell her story as she meets new friends and makes a more permanent home for the first time. Her parents have gone out of their way to make a home for her by actually taking their things from storage and decorating their new house. Sophia is adjusting when what they appear to have been running from seems to have found them. Girl from Nowhere vividly introduces colorful characters, good and bad, and even makes the places Sophia and her parents travel into characters, i.e., Montana, Istanbul, etc. I do not know if there are any plans to continue Sophia’s story, but, I can see room for it and it also had a great ending if this is the last we see of Sophia.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Killing November (Killing November, #1)Killing November by Adriana Mather
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, I know I am well behind with this review. This happens when I fall in love with a cover and book blurb and then work interferes. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I did receive a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and Killing November definitely goes in my, Yes!, category. I already love books that have the boarding school backdrop. Take a student who doesn't want to be there, who knows nothing about why she is really there, or for that matter, who knows nothing about who she really is or who her family really is and the reader gets a great experience.

When I read the title, I wondered if November is killing people or if she is being killed. Finding out is something I will leave to other readers. There are so many things to love about Killing November so I will just list out my favorite things. The bad guys were truly terrible and the reader and even November do not really know who really is a bad guy and who might be a good guy that turns bad and vice versa. The character development is top-notch. Every character stood out and if you were meant to hate them you really do hate them. I have to admit that there were times I just wished that November would develop some sort of supernatural power and wipe the floor with a whole lot of people. Now, I was raised that guys just did not hit girls and if the girl hit them first they should just walk away. Apparently, these guys did not have the same home training. Of course, these girls could hold their own and were just as skilled at wiping the floor with a guy many times their size.

You should have guessed by now that this is not a normal boarding school. It trains students in things nowhere near what we usually learn, like grammar, writing, mathematics, and other scholastic topics. Learning a foreign language is even different at Academy Absconditi. Even the name sounds ominous. November really has some surprises in store and she also will be doing some of the surprising. I cannot wait for Hunting November.

Murder in Chianti by Camilla Trinchieri My rating: 5 of 5 stars This book deserves a longer review, but, I am so far behind in reviews th...