Thursday, December 29, 2016

Big Lunch Wednesday

Big Lunch Wednesday is not my usual type of memoir but my friend is mentioned in the end of the book since she dated the author.

Memoirs are always tricky for me to review since they are a personal experience and not something just thought up. Real life can have plot holes and odd occurrences. That said if not for the fact my friend asked me to read Big Lunch Wednesday I would not have chosen it. The story felt too personal and it seemed like I missed a lot of inside jokes since I do not know the author.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Mechanica was a wonderful find at the bookstore before it closed. While a retelling of Cinderella some new stuff is introduced and it is a bit of fantasy with steampunk. I adored the combination of the two and I really hope that Betsy Cornwell writes a companion book or a second book with the same characters.

 Nicolette, better known as Nick, is a young girl who loses both her parents. After the death of her inventor mother Nick's father gets rid of any trace of her inventions leaving Nick with almost no reminders of her mother. Upon the death of her father Nick is turned into a servant in her own house. Lucky for her she does have some help, a mysterious note appears under her door on the sixteenth birthday leading her to her mother's wondrous workshop. With a chance for freedom Nick will summon all her courage and learning to make the most of her situation. 

I really liked Nick she was strong willed despite years of abuse from her step mother and sisters. Instead of letting it break her she adsorbed it and grew stronger because of it. Nor does Nick depend on someone else to come rescue her, she wants to rescue herself. I did have a couple problems with the story, key elements were left out. This makes me wonder if a squeal or companion story is being written explaining some of the things in the story.  However since Mechanica is an older book I do not feel this is the case. :(

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Carol Murder

Christmas Carol Murder is another Lucy Stone story and it is a lot farther in the series then I realized.

Working at the Pennysaver newspaper Lucy is in on all the news and at the scene of every big scoop. When the local scrooge is blown up with a mail bomb disguised as a festive Christmas package Lucy is determined to find out who is sending deadly mail. The recession is hitting hard and with many suspects all more disgruntled then the last Lucy has to call on every instinct and trick she has learned to stop the bomber before they strike again.

Leslie Meier's writing has improved drastically since the first book in the series. I still do have some issues with too much fluff and filler that I do not care about. Maybe it is because I have not read the series in order that I wince every time a luncheon or gathering with lots of Lucy friends occur. It was a fun fast read to help get my mind on Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas

The super adorable puppies on the cover drew me to The Twelve Dogs of Christmas in the early hours this morning. Sadly the mention of dogs and Christmas was barely existent. If not for the main character complaining about decorating the tree I would never have known it was Christmas time.

Andy Carpenter is a defense attorney and when the local lady, Pups, who takes in puppies to raise until they are old enough to find homes is being harassed by the city for too many dogs in her residence Andy takes up the case. Quickly the tides turn and Pups finds herself the key suspect in a murder case Andy has to figure out what is going on and save an innocent woman from going to prison.

I wanted the story to fit the cute cover which it sadly did not. Andy mentioned walking his dogs several times but still I wanted more puppies and more Christmas. The puppies holding the key to the mystery would have been nice. Lots of ends were left undone and I am not sure if that is because this is a series or the author just did not feel the need to explain. The writing as well done and it never felt like I was reading fluff. Andy had extremely interesting thought processes that were well laid out and fun to read. Despite lacking the Christmas flare I would consider reading another Andy Carpenter mystery I just know now to expect much of the cute details.

Mistletoe Murder

I got sick Sunday and have been sleeping a lot but I woke up around one this morning and was unable to go back to sleep so I checked out a couple books on my Nook. Since Christmas is a handful of days away I was excited to see a Christmas themed book on the main page of the library. Mistletoe Murder did not feel overly Christmassy to me though.

Last year I believe I read a Lucy Stone mystery and did not really care for it. While not really having anything to do with Christmas I did at least enjoy Mistletoe Murder. Working for a local catalogue company Lucy is falling asleep and goes outside for some fresh air to perk herself up. Oddly she hears a car running and finds it odd since it is late at night and all her coworkers are in the building she just left. Rushing to check the car she finds the owner of the business deceased.

My biggest complaint about Lucy Stone stories that I have read is far too much filler. Lots of things I do not care about and I tend to just skim filler chapters since they do not move the story forward in anyway at all. Besides that I did like Mistletoe Murder it was a fun and fast read.

The Stowaway

In October the local bookstore went out of business and I got several books for ten cents. The Stowaway was one of those books.

The whole story is told from Maimun's point of view and he is relating the tale to a pirate captain. Having been found as a baby in some rubble and left with a druid until he was six years old Maimun knows nothing of his parents or how he really survived. It was not until he was six that he was even given a name which means twice lucky. The name suits Maimun well since he always seems to be ins some sort of trouble.

The Stowaway did end on a cliffhanger and I am curious to know more of Maimun's story. The writing was easy to read and the story flowed along comfortably. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery

Sadly Slavery is not a thing of the past and still happens in many different forms. Enslaved tells the accounts of seven different people who were subjected to slavery and one person who was born a slave holder but turned to abolition.

The stories all varied and were on different subjects showcasing the different forms of slavery that exist to this day. At times Enslaved was hard to read and brutally painful to imagine that someone would do those thing to another human being. I choose Enslaved in hopes that I would better understand how slavery is still occurring in the world today and ways I can step up to help stop it. Despite the last chapter being ways to help stop slavery I do not feel that Enslaved was the best choice for learning about ways to stop slavery. It felt more like Enslaved is a starting point on learning more on the subject. Knowing what people have to deal with, even children, have me wanting to read more on the subject especially books that have proactive ways in which I can help make a difference.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Yurei: The Japenese Ghost

Yurei: The Japanese Ghost was an insightful read for the history of a cultural cornerstone in Japan.

Going into Yurei I really had no expectations at to what Mr. Davisson would present so I was delightfully surprised to find all the history and facts in an easy to read and understand format. With the nice breakdown I was never confused about the different type of Yurei despite a vast array of different categories of Yurei.

I had the honor of meeting Mr. Davisson a couple years ago at a Japanese cultural event and he was kind enough to share a bit of Japanese history reading Yurei reminded me of that conversation.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Safe-Keeper's Secret

I was not really sure what style of story I was getting when I started The Safe-Keeper's Secret and now that I have finished it I am still not really sure what the story was trying to present.

Fiona is the daughter of the local Safe-Keeper, a person charged with keeping secrets from those needing to talk to someone. I sort of took them as therapists in a medieval sense. Since it is typical for a child of a Safe-Keeper to take up the mantel Fiona aspires to make that her career. 

Meanwhile her spirited brother (in name only), Reed does not know what he wants to do. Have been left with the Safe-Keeper as an infant Reed is anxious to learn who his parents are and is always restless. 

Safe-Keepers were not the only class, Shinn also introduced truth tellers, dream makers, and a version of a witch. I think the truth teller was my favorite and I would like to know more about them. It does seems a book was written about truth tellers but centering around different characters.

The dream maker was another interesting idea, someone who makes wishes come true by being near but is cursed with atrociously horrible luck. Only one dream maker exists in the kingdom at a time so it is position of high honor.

The story was an easy read and I did enjoy it but overall I am not really sure what I read. Despite reading a couple hundred pages I am not sure I could even tell someone the plot line. However I would consider reading another tale with these job classifications since they were so unique for me.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Capative of my Desires

I was in a hurry a couple days ago and pulled Captive of my Desires off my bookshelf randomly.

Gabrielle is lost when her mother passes unexpectedly. Determined not to let her solicitor pawn her off on some womanizer guardian until she is of a legal age to claim her inheritance Gabby books passage on a ship and heads to the Caribbean to find her father. Much to her dismay the respectful man she always thought to be a merchant is actually a pirate. 

Despite a few steamy scenes I enjoyed Captive of my Desires, Gabby had just the right amount of spunk to her. Despite being a larger love story things never seemed to drag but fit naturally and smoothly. I would be willing to read more of Johanna Lindsey's work.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Serpent and the Pearl

The Serpent and the Pearl was an impulse buy since I loved the cover. Thankfully it was a worthy impulse.

Right away Kate Quinn caught my attention by introducing a spirited cook Carmelina, who turned out to be my favorite character. Full of spunk and determined to make it on her own Carmelina traveled across the country to find her cousin who will hopefully take her under his protection. 

Leonello, a dwarf who likes to cheat at cards to make a living, is a unique character and I grew fond of his sharp tongue and wit at figuring ways out of tough situations. Avenging the death of one of his few friends Leonello ends up in the dungeons of the Borgia family unsure of his fate.

Vivacious Giulia Farnese was probably my least favorite character, in ways I found it a bit hard to relate to her.Famous for her beauty and charming manner to match all Giulia can think about is her marriage to a handsome man only a year older then her. Upon her marriage she is horrified to learn it is all a front and she is to become mistress to a powerful Cardinal who is in his sixties. Ill at the thought she denies him and begs her husband to fight for her. His answer is to flee to a countryside estate leaving her to the cardinal's woes. 

The writing was elegant and just flowed off the pages. I loved every word and all the details. It never felt like too much information was given and I had a clear picture of what was going on at all times. My only complaint was the end. The ending was not as smooth as I liked, while I understand this is a series the book just sort of stopped. Did not taper off into a smoother ending while still leaving a cliffhanger. I did read a sample of The Lion and the Rose and I must admit I was extremely confused as to what was going on. It seemed like a major time skip occurred which is odd since The Serpent and the Pearl ended on such a cliffhanger. I do hope to read The Lion and the Rose soon.