Tag: #bookreview

“Broomsticks Over Flaxborough” by Colin Watson

“Broomsticks Over Flaxborough” by Colin Watson

It’s been a couple weeks since I visited Flaxborough and I just had to check and see what Inspector Purbright is up to. Well, he certainly has his hands full in this story with witches and Lucies and dead store managers. Once again, Colin Watson does not disappoint. When Edna Hillyard disappears and Mr. Persimmon is found dead, both after a night of dancing with the local witches’ coven, Purbright and Sgt. Love and hot on the trail of the culprit. Miss Teatime is also making herself useful with some inside knowledge into local going-on. And because it’s the 60’s there are Lucies going door-to-door asking questions. I’m not going to say any more about the Lucie’s because you really need to read the book and experience them for yourself. This is book 7 in the series and one of the best so far. Any of the books in this series will make a great summer read.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon CA

P.S. The Kindle edition is only 99 cents on Amazon US right now!

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“Jar of Hearts” by Jennifer Hillier

“Jar of Hearts” by Jennifer Hillier

Need a little suspense while you’re soaking up the sun this summer? Then take a copy of “Jar of Hearts” in your luggage. Geo is serving a 5-year sentence for the part she played in the murder of her best friend when she was 16. Her former boyfriend is sentenced to life. As her release date approaches, Calvin, the ex-boyfriend, has escaped from prison. And then, two bodies are found in the same location as the original murder victim. Kaiser, the police detective on the case has been in love with Geo since high school, and fears that Calvin may be coming back for her. With her only support coming from her widowed father Geo is trying to put her life back together but can she overcome the memories, and will they locate Calvin before more women have to die?

Do not hesitate to pick up this book. If you like psychological thrillers you will not be disappointed. This is the first book I’ve read from this author but it won’t be the last. This story is complex and twisty is all the right ways. The story is told both in the present and the past through the memories of the characters. The circumstances of the original murder unfold gradually in way that keeps you wondering and wanting more. I also really loved the characters created here. Geo may at first seem predictable but as you follow her you begin to see just how complicated her life has been and how she came to make the choices she did, good and bad. I liked her both as a teenager and as an adult. Kaiser is also a very likeable guy. He’s handsome, devoted to duty, but also a very caring and loyal person. He matures through the story from an awkward teenage boy into a highly respected law enforcement officer and friend. The icing on the cake for me is that the story is set in the Pacific Northwest, my favorite part of the country. I hope you check this one out because it’s worth the hype.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

“Fire in the Thatch” by E. C. R. Lorac

“Fire in the Thatch” by E. C. R. Lorac

Ah! The beauty of the Devonshire countryside. Who would dare to blemish this lovely spot with arson and murder? That is the question facing Inspector MacDonald of Scotland Yard. It’s near the end of World War II and Nicholas Vaughan has retired from the Navy after losing an eye in a shipboard incident. He takes up the tenancy of a cottage and land called Little Thatch in Devon and immediately begins fixing the place up. He’s a very quiet man but lets it slip to his landlord, Colonel St. Cyres, that he is planning to take a wife. That is until the night that the cottage burns down with him in it. The Coroner rules it an accident but Vaughan’s former Navy superior wields his influence and gets MacDonald sent to take a second look at the investigation. What seems straightforward at the outset turns into a very twisty tale.

This book is a British Library Crime Classic and the first I have read by this author. I would say that it reads most like a cozy mystery but with the complexity of classic British crime. The story contains a variety of country and urban characters and makes a point of showing up the contrasts between the two. I found Inspector MacDonald to be what you would expect of Scotland Yard at that time: thorough, professional, and dogged in pursuit of answers. The writing style is a little more formal than today’s mysteries but not difficult to read. There are however some conversations with the Devon natives that are written in dialect and were a bit of challenge to get through. All of that being said, I did really enjoy this story, it’s slightly old-fashioned style being a nice change from the thrillers I’ve recently being reading.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“Lullaby Road” by James Anderson

“Lullaby Road” by James Anderson

Something really different for your reading pleasure! Ben Jones is a truck driver on Route 117, a remote highway in the desert of Utah. He travels back and forth from Price to Rockmuse making deliveries the “desert rats” that live along his route. As he heads off on his route one winter morning he comes across a mute Hispanic child. Not being able to leave the child alone at a truck stop, he takes him with in the cab planning to find his father, a truck stop employee, upon his return. This is just the start of what will turn out to be a very unusual day for Ben and everyone who lives on Route 117.

This story is simply incredible and there’s really not a good category to put it in. It’s fiction but with a lot of mystery and thrills thrown in. Ben is a bit of a troubled soul. His lost the love of his life and his only comfort is the presence of a young single mom who lives in the other half of his duplex. His route puts him in contact with a wild assortment of people, some friendly, others downright hostile, and all wanting to be left alone. Rockmuse is a community that is slowly being abandoned following the withdrawal of a source of employment. This story is so rich with characters and all of them make the narrative happen, none of them feeling superfluous. I also really enjoyed the rich descriptions of the desert, capturing everything about it from the rocks to the weather, and you really get the feeling that the desert and the people that live there and somehow intrinsically intertwined with each other. Finally, the story itself is full of attention-grabbing interactions and twists that all feel like they could really happen but perhaps only in that place. You really should check out this rich and fascinating story.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

“The Cold Dish” by Craig Johnson

“The Cold Dish” by Craig Johnson

The Walt Longmire Series Book 1

Narrated by George Guidall

Two years ago, four high school boys brutally raped a young Cheyenne girl. Now, one of them and shown up dead and it’s up to Sheriff Walt Longmire to find the perpetrator. Nobody seems to be sad that the young man is dead but pinpointing who pulled the trigger is going to take some very careful investigative work. Will Longmire be able to find the murderer before he strikes again? You’ll have to get a copy to find out.

There are so many things I loved about this book. Let’s start with Walt Longmire. He makes a perfect Wyoming sheriff, he’s tough but he also has a softer side. He’s been grieving for his wife for the last two years and has so far been unable to move past her death in his personal life. He’s an excellent investigator and really cares about the people that are under his jurisdiction. His best friend Henry, a Cheyenne, is a perfect foil for him. Craig Johnson has really done an inspired job of creating these two characters and developing the relationship between them. Henry is always there to have Walt’s back and to be a go-between when Walt needs to deal with the Cheyenne people. I also love the way the storyline developed. There are twists and false leads to keep you guessing yet the story always feels like it is moving forward. The author’s use of the landscape in the stories adds a dimension that really draws the listener in. Finally, my hat is off to George Guidall who has done a fabulous job of bringing this story to life. His voice has the perfect Western narrator sound to it, and he has mastered the art of conveying emotion through his voice. As you can see, I loved this book and everything about it. This is Western with a modern edge.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

“The Flaxborough Crab” by Colin Watson

“The Flaxborough Crab” by Colin Watson

Surprise! Surprise! I have visited Flaxborough again and you just never know what will be happening here. I knew about 5 paragraphs in that this was going to be an original story with a very curious mystery. Young women in Flaxborough are being attacked by old men on the streets and in the parks. Initially, Inspector Purbright and Sergeant Love assume that they are looking for one person who is a repeat offender but is that the whole story? Maybe, maybe not. And then, while Sergeant Love is investigating Samson’s Salad he finds Miss Teatime at the helm of the venture. What would Flaxborough be without Miss Teatime? Colin Watson has once again pulled out all the stops with this mystery.

Can you tell that I just can’t get enough of this series? I just love how clever the stories are and the quirky characters. But Inspector Purbright is always there to bring order back to the wacky world of Flaxborough. I found the imagery in this one to be so hilarious I just couldn’t stop reading. This series continues to be the perfect place to tickle your funny bone and your brain all in one sitting. This is book 6 and if you haven’t picked up one of the books in The Flaxborough Series yet, what are you waiting for?

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon CA

P.S. The Kindle edition is on sale for 99 cents right now, click Amazon US link above.

“The Whispering Room” by Dean Koontz

“The Whispering Room” by Dean Koontz

Book 2 in the Jane Hawk series

Jane is back and in for a whole new set of troubles as she continues to hunt the men responsible for her husband’s suicide. In California, she is trying to make contact with a reporter who she thinks may be sympathetic to her cause. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, a school teacher turns her vehicle into a bomb and drives through the front of a hotel during a banquet that government officials are attending. The investigation is almost immediately taken over by the FBI and the local police chief is pushed aside, but he still has plenty of questions and will keep looking for answers even if he has to do it on his own time. His quest takes him to a tiny resort town in Kentucky where Jane’s leads have also taken her. Together, they discover the “Whispering Room” and continue to make inroads into the organization behind it all.

I just loved the first book in this series and couldn’t wait to read this one. The third book has also been released recently and I’ve got my copy in hand. This book completely drew me into Jane’s world. Her name and picture are now being broadcast all over the world so she has to become even more conscientious with disguising herself. She is welcome nowhere and can’t be sure of anybody’s loyalty. This installment takes her across the country and back again and she meets up with some very interesting characters. The old man was a particular favorite of mine, proving that being 80 doesn’t mean you’re dead. I liked how the story moved back and forth between Jane and the investigation in Minnesota and then brought the two story lines seamlessly together in the end. Jane is making progress in her investigation. The question is: will she live to see it to the end?

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble  |   Author’s website

“House Witness” by Mike Lawson

“House Witness” by Mike Lawson

Book #12 in the DeMarco series. This time DeMarco is hunting down a “jury consultant” who makes it her business to interfere with witnesses so that they either cannot testify or change their testimony. When the son of DeMarco’s boss is murdered in a bar one night with 5 witnesses, the suspect is immediately caught, and the case seems open and shut. But the suspect’s father is super-rich and has his lawyer hire the jury consultant to ensure that his son is acquitted.

I found the plot of this story to be very creative and not a routine legal thriller at all. This is the first book I have read from this series and I had a little trouble warming up to DeMarco. I think it may have been because the first half of the book focuses primarily on the consultant and setting up the drama. Once DeMarco reluctantly decides to pursue this person though I really started to like him. In this installment he borrows a law intern from the District Attorney on the case and I really liked her. She’s a little quirky, but very efficient and plays off of DeMarco well. The twists and turns along the way for engaging and kept the story moving at a good pace. I found this to be a good story, but didn’t really wow me.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  3-5-star-rating 3.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

“The Black Angel” by John Connolly

“The Black Angel” by John Connolly

Creepy, creepy, creepy! Charlie Parker finds himself in the midst of a very dark mystery. When a young prostitute goes missing in New York City, Charlie’s friend asks him to help find her. In spite of Rachel’s protests, he can’t turn down his friend. What begins as a simple shakedown ends up having a connection to an artifact from an Eastern European church built from bones, and the slaughter at a French monastery during WW II. The artifact, known as “The Black Angel” is prized by some very evil men who will stop at nothing to retrieve it.

This story seemed to me to have more an evil supernatural edge to it than the previous books. There were some moments that I wasn’t sure I would get through they were creeping me out so much. That being said, Charlie was at his best and his worst in this installment. His relationship with Rachel is deteriorating rapidly because of his work and the conflict shows up in his investigation. I love how John Connolly balances the work and personal aspects of Charlie’s life, and keeps both moving forward as the series continues. That being said, this story ends with his relationship in a cliffhanger moment, which means that I’m going to have to pick up book 7 very soon. This is the 6th book in the series and they just continue to deliver. Some series hit a slump as they go on but I’m not detecting that here. This book definitely lives up to John Connolly’s high standards.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-5-star-rating  4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

“Children’s Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain’s Young” by Peter Higginbotham

“Children’s Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain’s Young” by Peter Higginbotham

This book is exactly as it describes itself, a history of the care of children. In this case we are talking about orphans, waifs, strays, kids who today would be in the care of social services. The author has chapters discussing the different charitable and governmental organizations that had responsibility for the care of these children. There is also a look back at the development of child care philosophy, from large institutional care to the foster system we are more familiar with today. The author discusses the most prominent movers and shakers in the history of children’s homes and also some of the lesser known lights. The book concludes with a discussion of day to day life in the different types of children’s homes and some of the more notable instances of abuse.

I found this book to be another well written history of a social issue in Britain. It’s a very approachable book and not a heavy history tome. I really appreciated learning about how social services for children got to where they are today and how they have changed along with the changing of the surrounding culture. All in all, an enjoyable look at a critical but often overlooked social issue, probably best enjoyed by those interested in these issues.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website