Book Review: Unsavory Delicacies

We have Sara’s first review of the new year ready to share with you. This was the second book in a series that she started in 2018. Let’s see what she had to say about it.

*Also check out her Etsy store Adorkable Lil Crafties to see what she makes in her spare time*

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Synopsis: Rogues, Russians, Revenge…The Ingredients of a Three Course Meal.

Crème Brûlée

Rogue operative, Monique Beauvais, cons a software genius into selling her a coveted technology that would allow its user to control CIA drones while they’re in flight. And she will go as far as killing him in public in order to have it.

To the Last Bite

A renowned food critic–whose scathing reviews have closed down restaurants–gets a savoury surprise.

Shashlyk and Morezhenoe

CIA operative, Ridley Fox, leads a team against one of Russia’s most powerful crime families. He discovers secrets, but not one that he was expecting to find.

Three stories with three consequences. All containing three Unsavory Delicacies.

This collection of three short stories follow Ridley Fox, a spy operative we were introduced to in Brooks’ first novel. Mostly.

SPOILER HERE
In the first short, we have an agent attempting to kill her supplier for some tech, only to discover that the supplier is actually Fox in disguise, and takes down the agent in her own apartment.

In the second short, a food critic is killed by a chef whose food he actually enjoys, for stealing his girlfriend and giving him a terrible review in the past. No sign of Fox in this one, so who knows why this was included in the collection.

In the third, Fox is undercover attempting to find some important files from a Mobster who owns a restaurant. He gets away with it only because he manages to take down one bodyguard which apparently terrifies the Mobster into submission.

I’m not exactly sure what this collection is supposed to be FOR. One of the stories doesn’t include Fox, and none of them include Parris, who is supposedly the other main character. Overall the stories seem like introductions to what could be a more interesting larger story, so maybe they’re a hint of what’s to be in the third book? They also don’t do much to make me like Fox as a character any more than I did after the first book, as he seems to just be an arrogant ass, which might be the point. I personally like at least a couple redeeming qualities in my main narrators, but that might just be me.

I’m interested to see what Brooks will do for the next book, and I hope that it’s a full-length story like Pandora’s Succession. I ALMOST liked that book, and I feel like Brooks has potential as an author if he can use some more original dialogue and plot points. There are some pretty major cliches here that make it feel like you’ve read these ideas in another form already.


Book Rating:
2/5

You can buy the book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.

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Blog Tour: Alpaca My Bags – Dying to Leave the Oasis

Alpaca My Bags: Dying to Leave the Oasis (A Desert Oasis Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Violet Patton

Cozy Mystery
First in Series
Amazon Digital Services (December 1st, 2018)
231 pages
Digital ASIN: B07JX5WHB5

Murder? Romance? Intrigue? The Desert Oasis runs rampant with gossip and secrets.

Sweetie Bastard told Hunny Bunny—pack your bags we’re moving to lovely Tucson, Arizona. She didn’t have a choice. He sold her house and bought a park model online sight unseen in the Desert Oasis 55 plus community.

The park was more asphalt than oasis—hot—dry—terrible.

The trailer was a wreck. No air-conditioning. No beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay.
There’s an Arizona room to build. A golf cart to buy. Dances, crafts, and funerals to attend.
Bunny agrees to take water aerobics. She hates water.

First lesson—the park’s ladies’ man athletic director was found weighed down and deadd at the bottom of the swimming pool. Who killed philandering Dan? And why?

The last tenant in their new home, Wanda, left behind her clothes, knickknacks, and dishes. The place gives her the willies. Bunny can’t stand an unsolved mystery, and she’ll dig deep and wide to solve Wanda’s case.

Download Alpaca My Bags today. Will Bunny agree to live happily ever after in the Oasis, or will she make Sweetie Bastard move to posh Scottsdale?

Amazon 99 cents

The Desert Oasis series:
Alpaca My Bags
Wool Over Your Eyes. February 4, 2019 Pre-order now
No Prob-Llama
Ain’t No Llama Drama

Giveaway

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About the author

I grew up in Arkansas, just a few miles from Louisiana. Violet Patton was a grandmother. I took her name as a pen name in her honor. She didn’t read much and when she did it was True Confessions magazine. She married a man twice her age at 18 and she did not have romance in her life, but she longed for it. She was tough, picking cotton, milking cows and tending a garden to keep her family alive. Behind her toughness was a sweet tenderness which showed through her beautiful blue eyes. Now as I age, I miss her more and more. Her photograph graces my desk, and I often ask for her advice or read my stories aloud to her. I can hear her laugh as I read my stories and I remember that spirit she never lost despite her adversities.

Thank you for giving me everything you had.

Catch Violet at the following places.

Amazon

Goodreads

Facebook

Facebook Group

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Book Review: The Telltale Tattoo

Whats new bookworms? I have another review from Sara MacTaylor. Oh, and by the way, she has a shop on Etsy that she sells these cool little craft creatures. Check out her Etsy page called AdorkableLilCrafties!

Now, to the book review. This one was called The Telltale Tattoo by John L. DeBoer. See what Sara had to say about it below 🙂

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Synopsis: The Telltale Tattoo begins with following the story of Chinh, a man who watched both of his parents get murdered during a raid on his village during the Vietnam War. He has become a successful businessman, and finally has the means to track down the soldier who committed the murders. The story then begins to involve a web of characters whom all become connected in the pursuit of the one awful man who committed the murders, as well as many other immoral things since his time as a soldier. Clay Archer, a private investigator, becomes one of the several main narrators in this story. He helps track down and put the pressure on Taggart, the man at the focus of the story, which accelerates the storyline.

DeBoer’s writing is entertaining to read, and adequately shares the story with the reader. Unfortunately, having several different narrators doesn’t allow for much character developments, so we only become superficially acquainted with the characters. It is interesting to read where the story will go, as there are many twists and turns, with many characters having their effect on where the story goes.

Overall, I found the novel an acceptably interesting read, but nothing to brag about. It is a simple mystery novel with a variety of characters and an interesting progression through the story. I didn’t become overly invested in any of the characters, or the result of the chase, as we know that Taggart won’t get away, but we don’t know which of the many interested parties will be his downfall.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find the author on Twitter and this book on Amazon!
Have any of you read this book? If so, tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


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Book Review: The Dark Gray Blanket by Howard Burns

I recently finished a book called The Dark Gray Blanket by Howard Burns. This book is a fictional account of a real-life investigation of a serial killer in the Detroit area. It was a pretty fascinating read in the fact the author actually lived through this and turned it into something that can be shared with the world but also bring awareness to the incident.

Backstory: In the harsh Detroit winters of 1976 and 1977, four children were kidnapped and brutally murdered. This infamous serial killer has been dubbed the “Babysitter Killer” from the way they carefully cleaned, dressed and cared for the victims’ bodies before placing them in plain sight to be found. The murders still remain unsolved to this day.

Author H. Burns was living and working in the peaceful Detroit suburbs during the time of the murders with his wife and two daughters, who were the exact same age as the victims. With the last victim found less than three miles from their little suburban home, the story of the Babysitter Killer and Burns time right in the middle of all the action has haunted him to this day and would become the basis behind his novel, The Dark Gray Blanket.

Synopsis: The Dark Gray Blanket is a fictional account of an over the hill detective, Frank Pellegrini, and his strange obsession in the pursuit of the Babysitter Killer. During the snow-swept dark Michigan months, Frank, a brash and washed up yet lovable cop, makes plundering attempts at solving these mystifying crimes. The unique blend of fact and fiction weaves a captivating mystery set in a Detroit of days gone by and culminates in a killer that will surprise just about everyone.

Overall, I rather enjoyed this book. I liked Frank as a character with his constant pursuit of justice and that he always went with his gut feeling and trusted his instincts. I felt that the story was a little weak in the second chapter because it was basically just a history lesson about Detroit and not much storyline (if you like history, then you would really enjoy this chapter). But as soon as I got past the second chapter, I was in it till the end, adventuring along with Frank in his pursuit of the serial killer and solving the crimes! And the constant thought in the back of your head on why Frank chooses to take on the cases of children being murdered….what happened to him that makes him want/need to solve these cases and how does he do it while keeping his emotions in check?

I will not spoil anything because I think if you are interested, you should pick up this book! Howard Burns is a very generous person so, in remembrance of the victims, a donation in their name from the proceeds of The Dark Gray Blanket will be made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Book Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free by Smith Publishing to read and review. The copy for the backstory and synopsis was provided by Smith Publishing, everything else is my own writing.

You can find the book on Amazon:

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What inspired you to write The Dark Gray Blanket?

Burns: I and my family lived in Northville Michigan during these horrific events. Our daughters were the exact age of the victims, 10 and 12. The last victim was found less than 3 miles from our home (skateboard sticking out of the snow). Due to me and my wife working, our daughters had to walk one mile to school by themselves.  1/4 mile through a wooded area. We had to drill into their minds “if someone approaches you, even if it is your grandmother, your teacher, a neighbor, a policeman, a fireman, someone looking for a lost puppy, just run to the closest home, bang on the door and scream for help.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Burns: Never aspired to be a writer – just wanted to tell the story and if possible assist the foundation that searches for missing children.

What do you hope readers will take away from your novel?

Burns: The treasure of a child and the importance of protecting them.

When you are not writing, what do you do for fun?

Burns: Movies, concerts, fishing, hunting (for food, venison, elk, pheasant), dining out, and travel vacations on bus or train enjoying all the beauty and intrigue our wonderful country has to offer. But most of all, spending my life with the woman of my dreams! Just sitting on our deck, looking out over the lake and sipping a cup of tea is one of God’s greatest gifts.

 


And there you have it. Another great book to peek your interest. Talk to you soon bookworms.

Book Review: You Should Come With We Now

I recently finished a book sent to me by STORGY for review called You Should Come With Me Now by John Harrison.

‘You Should Come With Me Now’ an anthology by M. John Harrison from the wonderful Independent publisher Comma Press boasted a collection of short stories that were quite different and a joy to read, this due in part to the range Harrison possesses; the storylines ranged from people with schizophrenia (are they schizophrenic or were there ghosts living among them), different worlds that only some could see and tales of stalking etc.

What I really enjoyed most about these short stories is that Harrison leaves each one open to the interpretation of the reader. In so much as to say I could think that it means one thing and someone else could have a completely different interpretation and reaction to the same story.

Some of the stories were slow burners at first; hard to get into the story, but by the time the ending drops it leaves you with one line that at first you wouldn’t think is a good ending but plays on the mind long after reading, giving you an understanding of why Harrison concluded the story in this way. These short stories really make you think out of the box in the way Harrison uses descriptions of characters and settings.

Reflecting about which was my favourite, the one that stands out in my mind was about a man and his close friend; whom you can tell he loves but she is married and her husband is a hermit that lives in their attic. He is always up there working on some project but no one knows what it is and the story trundles along to show how his absence from their lives is affecting everyone else. When it gets to the ending, the house gets almost torn apart! My interpretation of it is that he has been working on defending himself from another dimension, which is revealed masterfully at the end for
the rest of the characters to see. Someone else might interpret this story in a different way which is so cool because then it would spark a discussion about why and how they see it their way.

Overall, this collection of short stories was pretty interesting and they didn’t ramble on as many short stories do, being reminiscent of Novellas instead of the delicate craft of the short story. Each time I returned it felt like reading a new book each time, once again highlighting Harrison’s range of writing and the intricate craft of the short story form.

M-John-Harrison

M John Harrison – M. John Harrison is the author of eleven novels (including In Viriconium, The Course of the Heart and Light), as well as four previous short story collections, two graphic novels, and collaborations with Jane Johnson, writing as Gabriel King. He won the Boardman Tasker Award for Climbers (1989), the James Tiptree Jr Award for Light (2002) and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Nova Swing (2007). He reviews fiction for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement, and lives
in Shropshire.

Book Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book to review by STORGY. I am in no way being compensated for this review.

Here is the link to the STORGY article.

Lazy Sunday

It’s another lazy Sunday and I am starting a new book. It is my first NetGalley book called The Dark Grey Blanket by H. Burns. Thank you to Kathy @ Books and Munches for showing me what NetGalley is and getting me hooked on a new way to read books before they are released.

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 Synopsis: 

The winters of ’76 and ’77 in the greater Detroit and Oakland County area of Michigan were extremely harsh, with record snowfall, brutal temperatures, and incessant howling winds. During these winters, a deranged serial killer preyed upon preteen and early teen victims, both male and female. As snow would begin to fall, the killer would hunt and abduct them, keep them at a secluded location, bathe them, meticulously groom them, feed them their favorite meal, and then wait for the next snowstorm. Under the cover of the next snowfall, the killer would hide their corpses in snowbanks on secondary roads, where they would be found by passing motorists.

This story is a fictional account of an over-the-hill detective, Frank Pellegrini, and his strange obsession in the pursuit of that killer.

I am pretty excited to start reading this one. Stay tuned for the review coming up 😛 If you want to read this too, you can find it on his website https://www.thedarkgrayblanket.com or click below to see it on Amazon:

What book had the most surprising plot twist ending?

Finally I am back at writing for the blog. This week has been hectic and busy but I am glad to get back to something I love doing. Anyways, this question was very easy for me and a certain book popped into my head immediately. If you have not read Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, then you better get on it. The ending was crazy and so unexpected. If you are going to read it, then avoid the section called spoiler below.

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Synopsis: A terrible accident has robbed Christine of her memories. She cannot remember the past – or even yesterday. Determined to discover who she is, she has begun keeping a journal before she goes to sleep. Before she can forget again.

But the truth may be more terrifying – and deadlier – than she bargained for…

This book was very intense. The main character is constantly struggling with herself and trying to remember who she is and was before her accident. Her husband goes through a lot trying to help her remember and become the person she used to be.

SPOILER

The crazy twist is that the man she believes is her husband since the start of the book is actually the man who caused her accident and is the reason she can’t remember – he is also not her husband (her husband is real and comes into play eventually). She also has a child that this man makes her believe died when she was in the accident.

SPOILER ENDED

I really recommend this one because I could not put it down without knowing what happens to the main character and how they get out of their situation. Let me know what book had a crazy plot twist for you int he comments.


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