Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Fatal Winter (Max Tudor #2) by G.M. Malliet

Book: A Fatal Winter (Max Tudor #2)
Author: G.M. Malliet
Release date (if applicable):Published

Synopsis: It is murder most wealthy again in the villages of Great Britain! This time, the victims come from the Chedrow Castle and Max has his picks of suspects. Assisting DCI Cotton, the Vicar Max steps in to help console the grieving relatives and When he starts to develop feelings for someone who technically can be a suspect, is it true love or does she have motives of her own?
My rating: 3.5 Stars
My opinion: This series reminds me of the Midsomer Murders series. I love the village setting of Nether Monkslip with its' quaintness and cast of quirky characters. Ms. Malliet does a wonderful job at laying out the mystery of the whodunit and gives readers many suspects to choose from. I can't help thinking that this book is a little bit too light compared to the writings of such authors as S.J. Bolton or Val McDermid, so although I do like the novels, I always have difficulties with having them rise to more than 4 stars.
Source:   Library      

Would I recommend? : To fans of British mysteries, yes. For those venturing into the genre, I think this is a wonderful series to start with, but begin with the first in the series, A Wicked Autumn.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series:Part of series

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Treasure Me (Liberty #1) by Christine Nolfi

Book: Treasure Me (Liberty #1)
Author: Christine Nolfi
Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Small time criminal, Birdie Kaminski has a new plan at riches to help her get on the straight and narrow. Birdie has long heard stories of the underground railroad and Justice Postell, a freedwoman in love with her plantation owner, Lucas Postell, who happens to be a relative of Birdies. Legend states that Justice left South Carolina with beautiful rubies and they are hidden within the town of Liberty, OH  and Birdie has every intention at finding them. Problem is a distraction has popped up and his name is Hugh Schaefer, a at his own hands down on his luck reporter, who has been given one more chance by his boss to get his act together. Can Hugh set aside his womanizing ways and focus where he needs to focus? Will Birdie find the rubies or is it simply folklore?
My rating: 3.5 Stars
My opinion: I loved the story of Birdie Kaminski. It was such a fun story. My problem is that it had way too much romance in it almost to the point that it became a distraction to the story and popped its' head up at really inopportune moments rather than a support. I thought there were moments that it actually seemed inappropriate or forced to have a romantic reference, especially as the story was flowing along so beautifully.

Living in a small town, Liberty, OH had all the small town quirky, down to earth characters that I love reading about. Ms. Nolfi also did a spectacular job at weaving the "past" Liberty in with the present "Liberty". 
Source: Author for review
Would I recommend? : Yes
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: To be part of series

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Study in Revenge: A Novel by Kieran Shields

Book: A Study in Revenge (Archie Lean#2)
Author: Kieran Shields
Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: A thief is murdered in a really unpleasant way with symbols from the occult close to his body. Problem is, Deputy Archie Lean witnessed this thief being buried 2 days earlier. Meanwhile, criminologist Percival Grey is helping a dying wealthy tycoon who is desperately attempting to locate a stolen artifact and if Mr. Grey could happen to find his missing granddaughter who is probably attached to the artifact that would just be spectacular. 
My rating: 4.5 Stars
My opinion: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE when I find intelligently written historical fiction mysteries. This book is a prime example! This book was beautifully laid out in its' mystery storyline divulging just enough to keep its' readers "whistle wet" while telling a very different type of mystery than your typical historical mysteries, which tend to bore me to tears at this point!

His characters were approachable and well thought out. What I loved most about the characters is that the author was dynamic in interjecting just enough humor into their "lines" which is a must in a book to suck me in. They had what another reviewer called "snarkiness" and I love that. 
Source:   Netgalley for Crown Publishing Group

Would I recommend? : Yep
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Part of series. I must say that normally I am pretty compulsive about reading series in order, but this one stood fine on its' own. Although I will be going back immediately and reading the first in series and then stalking to see new releases. So, thank you to Mr. Shields and Crown Publishing Group for giving me yet ANOTHER series to read! ; )

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell

Book: The Death of Bees
Author: Lisa O'Donnell
Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Nelly and Marnie's parents have died. Being the text book definition of a dysfunctional family, the girls really don't care though. They just don't want to be sent to live in foster care and will do anything to prevent that, including burying their parents in the backyard. A sex offender neighbor catches on and tries to protect the girls from DHS, even when a grandfather with his own motives steps in to care for the girls. 
My rating: 1 Star
My opinion: I had such promise for this book that opened so strongly. Sadly, it fell apart pretty quickly. It is very, very rare that I have nothing good to say about a book. In fact, I think the last time was about 2 years ago.

First, I felt the author had jumped from crisis to crisis rather than developing a strong storyline. This came off as being rather choppy in its presentation. Almost as though she made it up as she went along versus outlining the story and knowing it going in. Although, this is a story about family dysfunction and children left in their parents' poor decision making wake, it just felt very discombobulated to me.

Unfortunately, to boot, this story is told from 3 different points of views told in first person voices. This continues to bury the story as to what exactly is occurring.
Source: Library      
Would I recommend? : Sadly, No
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Dark Winter by David Mark

Book: The Dark Winter (DS Aector McAvoy #1) 
Author: David Mark
Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: When a young girl is slaughtered in front of her congregation, it is up to an idyllic DS to solve the crime. 
My rating: 3.5 Stars
My opinion: A new series for me! I thought this book stared off stronger than it ended, but I still enjoyed the ride in this debut novel. The writing and character development started off strong. I feel the author kind of let it slip towards the end and simply wrapped the book up which was disappointing. Furthermore, I felt that there were a couple of slips or missteps (underdevelopment)  in the writing, but would expect that to a point in a new series. 

I am happy I accidentally stumbled upon this!
Source:  Library  
Would I recommend? : Yes, for those who love British mysteries.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Will be part of series.