Monday, March 30, 2015

An Appetite for Murder

Roberta Isleib, aka Lucy Burdette,  is the author of this mystery.  She lives in Key West as well as a couple other coastal states, dividing her time between.  This is the first book in the Key West Food Critic Mysteries.  I was on vacation in the Keys recently and found this series of books in a local bookstore.  Let me tell you about it.
Hayley Snow followed her boyfriend (she thought her soul mate) all the way to Key West from New Jersey.  She is somewhat impulsive which gets her into trouble; and passionate-she also tends to ramble in conversation.  These characteristics are what make it so much fun to read about her misadventures!  She gets to Key West, moves in with her boyfriend and things begin to fall flat.  She moves out of his apartment and in with a friend and that is when things begin to happen.  His new girlfriend, who is actually his old girlfriend, turns up dead, a victim of poisoning.  Hayley is the prime suspect and just happens to be a food critic who is writing a trial food review on, (what else?) the best Key Lime pie in Key West.  After all, she does need a job if she is to stay in town. After being taken to the police station twice to be questioned, she comes to the realization that she will have to be the one to prove her innocence.  The things that take place to get in her way are jaw-dropping.  What fun to read this murder mystery!  I enjoyed every page and the laughter it brought!  It is so well written that it flows from page to page, all ends tied together, no plot "unturned" by the end of the book.  I had no clue until the near end, who may have "dunnit!" What a find!  I will be reading and reviewing all five in the series but not back to back.  BTW, this book even includes a few of the recipes from the story.  An Appetite for Murder was published in 2012 and the other four have been published since then, so there is no waiting for the next in the series.  They are all written and available at bookstores and online.
Read more about the Key West Food Critic Mysteries at Lucy Burdette  or Roberta Isleib.  She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

Set in England in 1216, this book is, simply put, a story of a female Robin Hood.  Or,  Robin of the Hode, as the English called him.  However, Merry Ellison is much more than that.  Formerly Lady Merry, she now resides in the woods with orphaned children and a few adults who were left homeless by the evil King John and his men.  They are called the "Ghosts of Farthingale Forest" since they rob without being seen, let alone caught, and cannot be found when hunted.  Merry's own family was murdered and her home burnt to the ground, along with the village and residents.  This is the result of her father's failed attempt to assassinate  the evil king.  He paid for that with his life and the lives of his family and villagers.
She now oversees the band of innocent children left behind and silently steals to support them. The goal being to keep them alive and safe from the evil king.  There are a few near adult male and female characters who support her efforts to care for these children.  She once believed in God but blames Him for her loss and no longer believes in a God who could take so much away from so many.  The interesting and refreshing part is that the two young men, Timothy and Allen, who are part of her life are believers and rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their activities and the loving kindness of our Heavenly Father.  This is an excellent example for a young reader.
The story moves along as complications arise and the little band has to move from place to place to avoid detection and capture. In the process, she begins to see the possibility of God again and in the end...   well, I will not tell you which young man wins her heart, or how this ends.
It is well written and I like that the dialogue takes place with understandable English language instead of Olde English and does not detract from the manner of speaking that would have been used in the 13th century.
In the end, this is a story that we have heard of and read before.  It is a good read for young adults and mid to late teens.  It was absorbing enough to keep me reading and not boring.  I also appreciate that.  It is written for the Young Adult reader and for that group, I give it five stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the the publisher, Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.
See more about this author and her novels at Dina Sleiman.

Stay tuned, I have some neat reads coming up for review!  See you soon!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Forsaken Dreams

Yes, it's a romance.  But, the dreams that have to be forsaken are not romantic notions.  The central character in MaryLu Tyndall's novel is a young southern woman who is a war widow.  I mean, that is a dream forsaken in itself. Eliza Crawford met her husband during the Civil War; he was a general in the Northern army.  No chance to even get to know him beyond the first bloom of passion, let alone have a life with him and children.  How, you ask, did she become so enamored of a Yankee general, being a genteel southern girl?  You must read.
Of course, she is ostracized by family and friends because of her marriage to the enemy, even though he is now dead. I guess the indignation of it all did not die with him! She sets out on a ship full of southerners headed for Brazil to start a new life in a new country.  They aim to leave the horrors and ravages of the war behind.  She hopes to keep her marriage a secret but is certain that her fellow passengers know and will reject her presence on the ship.
The voyage is fraught with weather and attacks from enemy ships.  The passengers also have their share of secrets to keep and agendas to push forward.
There is a new romance that slowly takes shape for Eliza and a gentleman on the ship.  Colonel Blake Wallace is also a southerner whose family was murdered by the Northern army.  His desire to start new is the catalyst for the journey.  He organizes the passengers who share his desire to start a new life in Brazil.  Thus, the journey begins.
This is an easy read.  It is well written and flows smoothly from page to page.  It has enough depth and layers in the characters' personalities to keep me reading.  This is my first novel to read by MaryLu Tyndall and I enjoyed it.  It is Book I of her Escape to Paradise series.  I look forward to reading Book II of this series and then Book III which is a new release this month.  It is not a blockbuster but you know I have said that not every book needs to be one to be a good read.  Good writing by a talented author goes a long way.  I am not overly fond of romance novels but when the romance is complicated and the story has multiple characters that play into the central theme, I am good with that.  I especially appreciated her inclusion of the characters' faith and the evidence of God at work in the lives of these shipmates.
I give Forsaken Dreams four stars and recommend you give it a read!

Stay tuned.  Up next, Dauntless, a new release by Dina Sleiman.
See you soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Interlude ~~

Hellooo, I am still here.  I have had some problems getting books delivered  (new releases) to read and review.  Since my blog is strictly a book review blog, I have not been posting while I was waiting for these issues to be resolved.  I have had some resolution and am looking forward to reviewing for you soon.  One of my publishers has had a book in "being shipped" status on my account since Christmas!  I have sent an inquiry on that one twice.  The second time I asked for status on this, I did not  receive a reply (still haven't) and still don't have the book.  I moved on from that.  Another publishing house that I review for had email server issues and not all reviewers received the email to choose a book for February.  I waited for ten days after the normal arrival time for that email.  I was afraid I had been removed from the list and I did not want to know if I had!!  I mustered up my courage a week or so ago and emailed an inquiry to which I received a prompt reply describing the issue.  Whew!  I am still a reviewer in good standing with that house! The list of books to choose from was emailed to me then and I chose a book which I received a few days ago and will be reviewing soon for you.
In the interim, I have exhausted my personal stock of books that I have read over the years.  The last two books I reviewed for you were from my personal bookshelf so you can see I have been dealing with this for a few weeks.    I did not want to check a book out of the library to review.  I thought the long awaited "being shipped" tome may arrive in the mail and I would not be able to read and review it in a timely manner if I was involved in another story.  Alas!! Out of desperation I did visit the library and checked out a book by an author whose work I have not read before.  I came across the name in an email newsletter describing new releases for March.  MaryLu Tyndall is the author and she is releasing the third book in her Escape to Paradise series.  So, I checked out Book 1 of this series, thinking it would be something to read and review.  No spoilers here;  you must return and read the review, which will be forthcoming by the weekend!
I also look forward to reading a new release from Bethany House entitled "Dauntless" by Dina Sleiman.  It looks promising and is a new subject matter for me.  I have included here an image of both books for your viewing.  My apologies if you are a regular reader of this blog and you have checked in and found nothing here.  I look forward to giving my opinions and recommendations again soon!