Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Tuesday Book Reviews


Three-star review of Last Chance for Murder by Estelle Richards

Despite the predictable plot and murder solution, I enjoyed the characters in the first book of a cozy murder mystery series. Nothing memorable, though.


SPOILERS AHEAD: Lisa Chance returns to her Arizona hometown after not making it as an actress in Hollywood and after her high school sweetheart cheated on her. It doesn’t take long for her to decide that what makes her happy is brewing coffee, so she’s determined to open a café – in the same old mansion where she was caught trespassing as a kid. And then the man she buys it from is found dead – by her. She has two love interests, a feuding mother and aunt, and a very pregnant feral cat to deal with. A nice change from the other books I’ve been reading.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Tuesday Book Review


Four-star review of Mindscape, book 2 of New Frontiers by Jasper T. Scott

 Like Excelsior, book 1 of the series, this story focuses on Alexander and his wife, but also the Mindscape, where everyone spends their free time to the extent that many work as little as possible and others not at all. Other stories have had similar settings. There could have been more differences between the real world and that of the Mindscape because I sometimes, along with Alex, wondered whether he was awake or not. Ben (or Benevolence), who was introduced in the first book, runs things now and decides who needs rehabilitation in the Mindscape, so it’s not just a place to go for fun and to fulfill your dreams. Alex and Caty’s son plays a part in the story too. There are a few twists and turns at the end of the book to lead into the third book of the series.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Tuesday Book Review

Five-star review of Now by Morris Gleitzman

 Felix’s eleven-year-old granddaughter (also named Zelda) tells the story of the time her doctor parents left her with him (now 80-years-old) in Australia while they worked for Médecins sans Frontières in Africa. There are bullies and a dog and brush fires involved, but it’s Zelda’s voice, the assumptions she makes – so like her grandfather did when he was ten – and her self-doubts that make this book at least as good as Once and Then. A quick read and the kind of thin book to take on vacation. You don’t have to have read the first two books, as Gleitzman’s references to what happened in them are very clear. There are three more books in the series to intersperse with much longer books. Not just for middle-graders. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday


Four-star review of Girl from Nowhere by James Maxwell 

This is the first book in the Firewall Trilogy. Maxwell has built a fantastical world for this trilogy, filled with humans and other strange animals. Taimin’s parents are killed, and he’s injured to start his adventure. Raised by his aunt, he develops survival skills, which of course he needs later in the story. Much of what happens is predictable for this kind of story and some is contrived. I could have used a map to understand the relationship among the firewall, the wastes, the city, etc., and how big it all is. I am curious to see what happens in the next part, including what they find.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Tuesday Book Review - Late again

Four-star review of Fool Me Once by Harlan Corben


This was definitely a page-turner. A returning special-ops pilot witnesses the death of her husband and investigates his death and that of her sister (and a few other people). Assorted men help her. She’s suffering from PTSD, but that doesn’t explain some of the moves she makes. Few of the characters are fleshed out into believable people. The ending was more of a “What the…?” as an unsatisfying twist and I felt the final chapter about twenty-five years later from a different POV was added because the reveal was not reader-friendly. Still, I had a hard time putting the book down when I was reading it. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Tuesday Book Reviews on Thursday

 Since I missed last week, here are two reviews

Four-star review of Excelsior, book one of New Frontiers by Jasper T. Scott

 Interesting first book for a series. This one takes place in the 2790s at a time when the world is divided into East, governed by the Confederacy, and West, where the Alliance calls the shots. Alexander and his wife live in the West and have traveled North to escape poverty but also to receive injections to be immortal and have perfect looks. To do this, he had to join the Alliance navy. At the start of the story, he is captain of a spaceship with a mission to go through a wormhole and determine if the planet, Wonderland, on the other side would be a good new home for Earth humans. The foreshadowing through the early parts of the book tended to give away what would happen later in the book. Still, this was an interesting story with good characters. The bits about time dilution that would mean a trip that took five months would translate to years on Earth were quite believable. I’ve enjoyed Scott’s books before, and although this wasn’t the best, it was still a quick and good read.



Four-star review of What Child is This by Rhys Bowen

 A short, quick read, really a long short story. Sweet and seasonal, it tells of a couple, Maggie and Jack, bombed out of their home on Christmas Eve in 1940, who find an abandoned child in an abandoned house in another part of London. The setup to enable them to continue to live with the child is a little too coincidental. Still, the characters are engaging, and the story gives a historically accurate picture of what citizens of London had to endure during the WWII bombings softened by the kindness of strangers. I hadn’t expected such a heart-warming story since Rhys Bowen usually writes mysteries.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tuesday Book Reviews


Five-star review of Then by Morris Gleitzman


The story of Felix and his six-year-old friend Zelda continues in this novella, only now they’re calling themselves Wilhelm and Violetta (after the characters in the Richmal Crompton books they both love). He’ll do anything he can to protect Zelda. A woman named Genia takes them in and tells everyone they’re her orphaned niece and nephew. Felix is now more aware of what’s happening all around him, but still makes naïve assumptions about people’s motivations. He’s growing up and it’s reflected in his voice. The ending of this book might be hard for younger readers but it’s an important book for pre-teens to read. On to the next story in the series.