Month: April 2015

“Now and Then” by Robert B. Parker

“Now and Then” by Robert B. Parker

This is not so much a review as my personal thoughts. First, I am ashamed of myself for not having picked up a Robert Parker book before now. I have missed so much and I have so much catching up to do now. I regret, a little bit, that this book is actually near the end of the Spenser series. However, the author did a great job of incorporating the bits of history that were needed to understand the story in this book.
My knowledge of Spenser, previous to this book, is based on the 1980s TV show Spenser: For Hire. I have to say that the character as portrayed in the TV series didn’t really resonate with me. My next encounter with a Robert Parker character was in the Jesse Stone movies. Well, I loved the character of Jesse Stone, so when I had an opportunity to take my pick of books from a small library collection, I decided to give Parker a try. I am so glad I did.

I really liked the straightforward writing style, which seemed appropriate for the characters and the story he was telling. I also enjoyed the relationship between Spenser and Susan. It was evident in this book that they had been together for a long time, worked through the challenges presented by their work and personalities, and were still delighted by each other’s company. Sometimes it seems to me that there are no longer any successful relationships in fiction, so this was refreshing.

Hawk, Chollo, and Vinnie, what a group of compatriots. I love the fact that these guys are so loyal to Spenser and Susan, and that they can go back and forth from being all business to jovial companions. In this book they are charged with guarding Susan from a killer while Spenser is working to build the case against him. He’s already killed a client of Spenser’s, the client’s wife, and perhaps more as Spenser digs deeper into his past.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of detective fiction, or lovers of a well-written story.

Now and Then (The Spenser Series Book 35)

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“The Blemished” by Sarah Dalton

“The Blemished” by Sarah Dalton

The Blemished is a futuristic, action-packed, thrill ride from start to finish. The story is set in England in the future. Society is now separated into two classes, the GEMs and the Blemished. The GEMs are so called because they are genetically modified to have no diseases. Parents pick out the characteristics they want and science creates a baby that exactly matches your choices. The Blemished are those who were not created in a laboratory, but the old-fashioned way. GEMs are society’s elites who get all the opportunities. Blemished are the servant class and are not educated, but trained to serve GEMs.

As the story opens, we are introduced to Mina, Angela, Daniel, and Sebastian. Towns no longer have names but are labeled as Areas. Mina and her father have just moved from Area 10 to Area 14. They are Blemished. On Mina’s first day of school in Area 14 she has a run-in with one of the GEM girls and is put on warning. She meets Angela, also Blemished, and they soon become best friends. Mina also has a secret, when she becomes very angry she can disturb her surroundings. Objects around her start to rattle and if she focuses hard she can send things flying through the air. Soon she meets Daniel, a young man who has grown up as Angela’s brother after his parents abandon him, and he is taken in by Angela and her mother. Sebastian goes to the same school but he is a GEM. He quickly shows an interest in Mina and she begins to trust him when he offers her a way to escape the inevitable fate of Blemished women.

Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, Mina finds herself in more and more trouble at school every day. When she insists on going with Daniel to vandalize her teacher’s house, they quickly find themselves being wanted by the Enforcers (police), and being chased and shot at.

I really enjoyed this book right from the start. I immediately liked Mina and Angela, two teenagers frustrated by the rules they are forced to live under. Sarah Dalton did a great job of setting up her futuristic society, and drawing the reader into the lives of her characters. Since these are teenagers, there’s a love triangle that develops and complicates the relationships between the young people. This book is the first in a series, so you are a left with a bit of a cliff-hanger, but the ending also seemed appropriate. I found myself a little breathless with worry for these kid before I reached the last page. The primary audience for this series is young adults, but I think anyone who likes reading about futuristic worlds would also enjoy it.

Happy Reading!

The Kindle edition of this book is free. The Blemished (Blemished #1) (Blemished Series)

“Medium Dead” by Paula Paul

“Medium Dead” by Paula Paul

Under Queen Victoria’s reign, women are barred from calling themselves physicians, but that hasn’t stopped Alexandra Gladstone. As the first female doctor in Newton-upon-Sea, she spends her days tending sick villagers in the practice she inherited from her father, with her loyal and sometimes overprotective dog, Zack, by her side.

After the corpse of village spiritualist Alvina Elwold is discovered aboveground at a church boneyard, wild rumors circulate through the charming seaside village, including one implicating a certain regal guest lodging nearby. Tales of the dead Alvina hobnobbing with spirits and hexing her enemies are even more outlandish—but as a woman of science and reason, Alexandra has no doubt that a murderer made of flesh and blood is on the loose.

Finding out the truth means sorting through a deluge of ghostly visitors, royal sightings, and shifty suspects. At least her attentive and handsome friend Nicholas Forsyth, Lord Dunsford, has come to her aid. Alexandra will need all the help she can get, because she’s stumbled upon dangerous secrets—while provoking a deadly adversary who wants to keep them buried. – Goodreads

This was a wonderful mystery story. Alexandra Gladstone, her maid Nancy, and her would-be suitor Nicholas take us on a great bit of sleuthing. I really enjoyed Alexandra’s strength of character, and commitment to her profession. And I couldn’t help but cheer for Nicholas as he tries to get her attentions. With suspicions and accusations flying everywhere in the village it’s going to take some doing for our trio to unravel this puzzle.

My only regret about this book is that I didn’t discover this author sooner. This is book 4 in the series, so I will have to go back and do some catching up. If you like mysteries, ghost stories, and historical settings than this would be a great book for you.

Happy Reading!

This book is being released on April 14, 2015. Thanks to NetGalley for making this book available in advance.

Purchase here: Medium Dead: An Alexandra Gladstone Mystery

“Operation Angelica” by Juliene Lloyd

“Operation Angelica” by Juliene Lloyd

A thoroughly enjoyable read! This is a great covert ops story, but with a twist. This operation’s personnel include two key female operatives. And while these women can hold their own with the men, there will be a few tears.

The story open with Elizabeth Ashton, a trained sniper and FBI agent, taking revenge for her fiance’s death by shooting the man responsible. Brian was a biologist with a research team in South America when they found themselves in the middle of drug cartel territory. All members of the team were killed while trying to run away. A few months later, thinking that she’s completely under the radar, Elizabeth takes things into her own hands. What she doesn’t know is that someone was watching, and now she has come to the attention of Vormund/Ames, a firm that consults with the government on certain special projects.

Mike Van Dellen, a partner in the firm, sets about recruiting Ashton from the FBI, using his knowledge of her activities in South America as incentive. Ashton, reluctantly at first, agrees and is immediately swept up in training Vormund/Ames style. Her first assignment is to participate with a team that is providing backup for a multi-country operation to rescue drug cartel hostages in Colombia. As the training continues, Elizabeth gets to know the other members. Along the way, they shorten her name to Liz and the team begins to bond like a family.

One of the aspects of this book that I really enjoyed is how the author was able to weave together the action part of covert operations with very personal moments between the team members. The story moved back and forth seamlessly between the two and neither aspect felt forced or just thrown in as an afterthought. As a result, I really felt like I got to know the key members of the team and what motivates them to do this work. That being said, there is plenty of action, gunfire, and scoping out the enemy going on here. It’s refreshing to see an action story with a female perspective woven in.

I found this book really hard to put down and I could hardly wait to find out how it was all going to turn out. This book was an excellent read and I will be watching out for the next book in this series. I think many different readers will enjoy this book. Certainly those who like spy and covert operations type stories, but I would encourage readers who don’t normally pick up this type of book to give it a try because of the quality of the characters and the storytelling.

To purchase Operation Angelica (The Vormund/Ames Files)

5 Reviews for…Captivating Cosy Mysteries

I love cosy mysteries.

Sammi Loves Books

I haven’t posted one of these since Halloween, so I thought one was over due.  I love cosy mysteries; they are easy to read so are a perfect reading choice at the end of a long day.  They are also often light-hearted and entertaining…

Below you will find links to a number of cosy mysteries that I have read, enjoyed and can wholeheartedly recommend:

  • If you are after a book that will make you laugh out loud, I would suggest reading the first Hamish Macbeth Murder MysteryDeath of a Gossip by M.C. Beaton. A quick, charming read that is, as I write this, sitting at No.5 of my favourite reads of 2015.
  • If it’s an exotic location you are after, I would have to recommend Devil-Devil by G.W.Kent.  Set in the Solomon Islands in 1960, Devil-Devil is the first book in the Sister Conchita and Sergeant Kella…

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Until You’re Mine by Samantha Hayes

I’m adding this to my reading list.

Life Between Reads

22926600You’re alone. You’re vulnerable. And you have something that someone else wants. At any cost.

Claudia Morgan-Brown finally has it all. Pregnant with a much-wanted first baby of her own, she has a happily established family of two small step-sons and a loving husband with a great career. But she is also committed to her full-time job as a social worker, and her husband travels often. So when Claudia hires Zoe to help her around the house in anticipation of the baby’s arrival, it seems like the answer to her prayers. But despite Zoe’s glowing recommendations and instant rapport with the children, there’s something about her that Claudia cannot trust.

Moreover, there has been a series of violent attacks on pregnant women in the area, and Claudia becomes acutely aware of her vulnerability. With her husband out of town for work and her family far away, who will be there…

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