Sherry has been reading Something Wicked by Tom Williams
Detective Chief Inspector Galbraith is called to the home of Lord Penrith when the lord’s body is found dead. The strangeness of the death is that the body has been drained of all its blood but the room is not covered in blood.
The investigation begins and soon, DCI Galbraith is joined by a mysterious visitor from Section S—a section no one in the precinct has heard of before. This mysterious officer is John Pole and he explains his section deals with issues of national security and the investigation of the death of Penrith flagged in their office.
They team up to try to figure out who killed the lord and how. DCI Galbraith learns some things about an unknown group who operate in the dark in London. There are some scenes of the past that are intriguing and enjoyable to read.
I enjoyed this book and it seems there may be additional stories involving this crime solving duo in the future. Both have good qualities and seem to have a great working relationship. The way they deal with the crime is clever and a bit surprising. I, for one, am hoping for more adventures with these characters. I give this one 4 stars.
A peer of the realm dead in his study, his body drained of blood
A tango club where the Undead and the living dance together
Sherry has been reading If She Dies by Erik Therme
The blurb for this story set me up for a certain kind of story and, surprisingly, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, there were twists and turns and some surprises, and it definitely held my attention despite not leading me where I thought it would. The beginning was not like a traditional thriller. It was a slow start that built through the first almost ¾ of the book. I liked it a lot and being surprised by a few things made it even more enjoyable. It didn’t take me long to read it, because it moved fast and held my interest.
There were a couple of places where I thought the protagonist, Tess, was a little naïve and slow on the uptake, but it served the plot, so I can get past that. She wasn’t one of those heroines that make the reader want to slap some sense into her and the naivety was somewhat understandable.
The minor characters like Tess’s brother and husband were well-drawn with good back stories and motivations for their actions. Her husband, Josh, was a bit OCD, but that showed the author put a lot of thought into how he would act as well as react to Tess. I did get a bit peeved at Josh a few times, but to me, that’s a sign of a good story since it means I am relating to the characters.
I have a friend who lost her child in similar circumstances to how Tess and Josh lost Lily and so much of how these characters dealt with their grief was familiar to me from what my friend and her husband went through, the scenes dealing with the sadness, loss and lack of communication really resonated with me. Well done to the author for being able to realistically write about such horrific loss as well as making the story suspenseful.
This one is a 4.5 star read for me. A hard subject handled skillfully.
Nine months ago, Tess’s five-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident. The driver, Brady Becker, was sentenced to two years in prison. It didn’t make Tess’s pain go away.
Brady also has a daughter: A twelve-year-old named Eve who walks to Chandler Middle School every day. Tess knows this because she’s been watching Eve for the last three weeks. It isn’t fair that Brady’s daughter gets to live, while Tess’s daughter does not.
When Eve goes missing, all eyes turn to Tess, who doesn’t have an alibi. But Tess isn’t guilty.
Sherry has been reading Saint Vandal’s Day by D. E. Haggerty
I read this book in about an hour and a half. There was a breeziness about it that was appealing. It had a lot of fun parts and I definitely loved the recipes in the back. The cupcakes all sounded really, really good.
The main character, Callie, was charming and likeable and I enjoyed her relationship with her friends and her fiancée. Most of the characters seemed to be people you’d actually meet on the street and enjoy a chat with. The mystery of the whodunit wasn’t that hard. I pegged the culprit from the first scene the character appeared in. The reason for the actions wasn’t as easy to figure out, though. I had a different motive in my mind, so credit to the author for that.
I did not care for some of the behavior of the character who owned the bakery with the main protagonist. She was the one who baked the cupcakes and she was very volatile and almost unbelievable as a character—she seemed almost like a caricature instead. She truly became annoying before the end of the story. Out of control, having to be held back from attacking people, stalking, and threats of violence when anyone criticized her cupcakes seemed over the top to me. The parts where she was trying to help the protagonist not cheat on her pre-wedding diet seemed unkind and almost rude the way she snatched food from her friend’s hand. It may just be me, but that rubbed me the wrong way.
This was the last of the series of seven stories, and while I enjoyed the time I spent reading it, it didn’t appeal enough for me to go back and read the others in the series. There were a number of allusions to the other stories in this short book, but the references were enough for me to guess at how they unfolded so I don’t find it necessary to read them. And sadly, I’m not sure I could handle that baker in other tales. She was the one part of this book that made me bring this rating down to a 4 rather than a 5.
St. Valentine’s Day is THE perfect day for a wedding. Unless a vandal is trying to ruin your life that is.
Callie is finally getting her dream wedding. On St. Valentine’s Day no less. Only a vandal is determined to destroy her bakery before the wedding can occur. Anna, self-proclaimed best cupcake baker this side of the Mississippi, is not letting anything happen to the cupcake bakery. No way. Barista extraordinaire Kristie jumps at the chance to help as well. Together the three women launch a mission to find the jerk who thinks it’s okay to attack the bakery.
Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes find the vandal and save the cupcake bakery before Callie’s dream wedding is ruined?
Cupcakes not included, although recipes for all the delicious cupcakes Anna bakes are.
Sherry has been reading Penny Pinching Tips For The Morally Bankrupt by Libby Marshall
Let me first say, I think I would love to spend a day with this author. She has a very vivid imagination, a clear love for Cold Stone Creamery, and a disturbing way of looking at many regular occurrences in all of our lives. And I don’t say that in a bad way.
This book is a collection of short stories and some even shorter views of things we all experience, but certainly don’t think about in strange ways. At least not until they’re pointed out by Libby Marshall. Then it’s so obvious that she observes events and normality in a different way than most of us.
Some of the stories are poignant and some are really funny in a twisted way. I won’t say which I felt was which lest I be judged for my giggles.
I enjoyed these little tales and vignettes during my lunch hour and on small breaks from work. They are just short enough to fill in gaps in the day when you need a little smile….or a bit of melodrama.
Some of my favorites—by no means an exhaustive list—are “Witnesses of Historic Moments Who Missed the Point; 90 Day Fiancé: Dracula; A Man Goes on His First Date Since His Wife was Hanged for Witchcraft; Please Continue this Conversation as Normal or I’ll Be Forced to Assume it was About me; Yes, of Course I’m satisfied by just the Tip of this Piece of Cheesecake; and Yelp Reviews of the Chuck E. Cheese Haunted by the Spirit of Princess Diana.
There are so many more awesome little tales in this book. I recommend it highly for its sense of fun as well as the author’s sense of humor and her appreciation for the ridiculous. I really enjoyed this one.
Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt is a fantastically funny, wonderfully weird, and surprisingly sincere collection of short stories, humor pieces, and miscellaneous bits.
Debra, an unhappy billionaire’s wife, decides to resurrect the 18th-century trend of hiring a man to live on their property as an ornamental garden hermit. An elderly serial killer, bored by her dull nursing home existence, finds a deadly new purpose when her high school nemesis ends up living down the hall. In 1953 a young couple drives to Makeout Point where instead of an evening of heavy petting, they find mountain lions, a man with no gaps in his teeth, and the opportunity to kill Henry Kissinger. Within these pages, a man tries to date after losing his wife to The Salem Witch Trials, a Wi-Fi router gains sentience, a series of cardboard boxes oozing with smoky-sweet baked beans mysteriously appear at a woman’s front door, and a Chuck E. Cheese is haunted by the spirit of Princess Diana.
Boldly strange, deliciously satirical, and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt swings from the grim and ghastly to the exquisite and lovely. This one-of-a-kind book takes the reader on a surreal journey through the compulsory despair of daily life and concludes that the only sensible reaction to that much pain is laughter.
Sherry has been reading Ghost by Michael Jack Webb
This book had a good story, buried in way too much minutiae and exposition. The characters had interesting backgrounds and the premise of the story was great. Sadly, the action was interrupted constantly by overlong descriptions and encyclopedia “dialogue” being inserted way too often. The periods of natural dialogue were good, but there was not enough of that to satisfy this reviewer.
The heroine’s parents disappeared, and rather than being upset and focused on finding them (she’s an FBI profiler), she’s more concerned with what the local cop is wearing when he shows up and that he looks like Chris Pratt. There’s a long section on Chris Pratt and how she binged watched his movies in grad school. This was the first of many such interruptions in the flow of the story.
At one point, the main characters are driving along investigating the case of the serial killer that takes her attention away from finding her parents. She mentions a winery and stopping to get a bottle of her favorite wine. She then goes into a long one-sided discussion of the history of the winery. This totally took the reviewer out of the story and was not the only time such exposition did so.
Each time the characters went to another location, one of them would go into great detail about the history of the area (to the point it was laughable as it appeared whole sections of the encyclopedia were cut and pasted into the text.)
Another time, they ate at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and we got the whole history of the hotel as well as the town. These numerous interruptions of the actual plot of the story—that added nothing to moving the tale along—began to grate on this reviewer’s nerves and caused the focus of the tale to meander off on tangents.
I kept reading as I was interested in how the story would turn out, but sadly, the author seemed to get in his own way. What could’ve been a tight, taut, thriller turned into a slog of too much information. Research is important to add richness to the story line, but telling the reader everything that was learned in the research for the novel takes away from the pacing and excitement of the story unfolding in a thrilling manner. Little tidbits sprinkled in to add authenticity to the settings/circumstances is good, but wholesale chunks of research take the reader out of the story.
I’d give this one three stars. If it was tighter and there was not so much dialogue that sounded more like recitation from the encyclopedia, I would’ve rated it much higher. I most likely won’t read the next in the series even though I like the storyline. The information-dump style is not for me. I much prefer a tightly written, fast paced story. For those who like an intense history lesson while reading a novel, this one may be right up your alley.
Enter a world where nothing is what it appears to be, and every clue leads an extraordinary young woman deep into the heart of darkness and beyond.
Kate Justice, FBI’s youngest Profiler, is assigned to find a serial killer with supernatural abilities.
The killer is elusive, cunning, and seemingly invincible.
Kate races against time to discover who or what is behind the gruesome murders and prevent another brutal killing.
She soon fears she’s in over her head as stunning revelations about her mysterious ancestry surface.
Hunter becomes the prey as the Ghost in the Darkness killer plays a vicious cat and mouse game, drawing Kate into a deadly confrontation.
Uncovering the truth will challenge her beliefs about the world around her and her understanding of what is real, what is a myth, and what is something in between.
Sherry has been reading Madam Tulip by David Ahern
This book was a delightful read. It starts a bit slow and this reviewer wasn’t sure it would be enjoyable, but luckily, it picked up speed as well as the reader’s interest by the second chapter. Don’t give up on this one based merely on the first few pages. Keep going for a richly described tale with compelling and fully fleshed-out characters.
Derry O’Donnell is a financially strapped actor and, needing to earn some cash, with some help from her friend, recreates herself as Madam Tulip. She naturally has the gift of premonition and can read cards intuitively and accurately. What better way to try to make a living when her mother threatens to stop her financial assistance?
Little does Derry know she’s about to get herself in way more trouble than just her mother cutting off her funding.
When someone dies at an event where Madam Tulip is reading cards, Derry finds herself in the middle of the drama—certainly not like a stage drama—this is real. Life and death.
She gets by with some help from her gay former navy SEAL friend and her outrageous painter father. She also stumbles upon an old love who is operating under cover. Friend or foe? That is something she can’t tell even with her psychic gifts.
The heroine is plucky and irreverent. Her internal dialogue is wonderful. The father and SEAL friend are both unique characters and so well-done personality-wise, this reader wanted to hang out in the pub with them all.
The author clearly has a wonderful sense of humor. There were a number of places that made this reviewer laugh out loud. I love a smart story and this one fits the bill. An adventure with serious moments as well as humor to lighten the mood. A perfect read- not great, heavy literature, but an amusing way to spend some time.
I was glad to learn there’s a whole series of these stories as I’m not ready to let them leave my life yet. This one is a keeper. Highly recommended for a fun read.
Suspense, mystery, action, a little romance and lots of laughs.
Derry O’Donnell, out-of-work actress, is talented, a teeny bit psychic … and broke. Spurred on by an ultimatum from her awesomely high-achieving mother, and with a little help from her theatrical friends, Derry embarks on a part-time career as Madam Tulip, fortune-teller to the rich and famous. But at her first fortune-telling gig – a celebrity charity weekend in a castle – a famous rap artist will die.
As Derry is drawn deeper into a seedy world of celebrities, supermodels and millionaires, she finds herself playing the most dangerous role of her acting life. Trapped in a maze of intrigue, money and drugs, Derry’s attempts at amateur detective could soon destroy her friends, her ex-lover, her father and herself.
Madam Tulip is the first in a series of Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life.