Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett

Murder is BindingThe streets of Stoneham, New Hampshire are lined with bookstores…and paved with murder. When she moved to Stoneham, city slicker Tricia Miles met nothing but friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased-and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries-and hunt down someone who isn’t killing by the book. (From Amazon.ca)

I would have loved to live in Stoneham. A quaint little town where there are plenty of bookstores to choose from. That’s every bookworm’s dream come true. I absolutely loved this setting.

The story itself is good, and the characters are fitting for the setting. Angelica, Tricia’s sister is a typical annoying, bossy, older sister and at times she got on my nerves (like any older sister would be very skilled at). Although Tricia is partly at fault because she lets Angelica have her way most of the time. However how annoying Angelica can be, she also provides the comedy in this book. The characters overall in the book are all right and fun to read, there’s plenty of suspects and I was surprised to find more than one dead body in this mystery.

There are plenty of suspects to guess from, and the ending is quite dramatic – maybe a little over the top for some readers, but I thought it ended with a good punch. The pace of the book certainly does keep the reader turning the pages though, so this book could be finished in no time at all. The little twists throughout the novel are also fun to read and does keep the plot exciting to keep the reader going.

I’d say this was a cozy mystery in its’ true form. It was an absolutely delight to read, the little town was perfect for all book lovers to enjoy and the recipes in th3 back are definitely worth a try. I’m definitely going onto the second book.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

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Blue Eyes by Jerome Charyn

Blue EyesA cop and his disgraced mentor attempt to bust a white slavery ring.

Before Isaac Sidel adopts him, Manfred Coen is a mutt. A kid from the Bronx, he joins the police academy after his father’s suicide leaves him directionless, and is trudging along like any other cadet when first deputy Sidel, the commissioner’s right hand man, comes looking for a young cop with blue eyes to infiltrate a ring of Polish smugglers. He chooses Coen, and asks the cadet to join his department after he finishes the academy. Working under Sidel means fast promotions, plush assignments, and, when a corruption scandal topples his mentor, the resentment of every rank-and-file detective on the force.

Now just an ordinary cop, Coen hears word that his old mentor has a line on a human trafficking operation. When Sidel’s attempt at infiltration fails, he sends in Coen. For Coen, it’s a shot to prove himself and redeem his mentor, but it could cost the blue-eyed cop his life.

Remember those pulpy detective novels with those outrageous covers that are probably not PC but you like them anyway because they suit the book and they’re just eye catching? that’s what I felt when I started reading this book. It’s a vintage setting, which is nice to see (hard to get used to!) but it was interesting. The language and terminology is definitely from the 70’s. You won’t find any politically correct words here. It’s gritty, dirty, but entertaining to read.

The plot was pretty good, lots of twists and turns that may be a bit difficult to read. There’s quite a bit of things to keep track of, characters to figure out (some go by their names, some go by their nicknames), so it can be a bit of a task to read who is who, and what their purpose is in this story. So, sometimes it can be rather difficult and confusing to go through the book. The writing style is all right, again, I have to say, hard to follow at times.

There’s an interesting mixture of different type of characters, each with their own quirks and habits. Some stood out for me, and I was attached to them, others not so much and I wasn’t sure what they were there for. Nevertheless because of these interesting and unique characters, reading this was enjoyable.

Fans of classic noir fiction, or classic detective novels will like this one. I thought it was all right and worth the read. I was blindsided a couple of times which is what you need to fully enjoy detective novels like these. Worth the read, and worth the time spent.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

Thank you Tribute Books for letting me participate in this tour!

Jerome Charyn’s web site:
http://www.jeromecharyn.com/

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186

Blue Eyes blog tour site:
http://blue-eyes-isaac-sidel.blogspot.com/

The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson

Is the kingdom’s fate in the hands of an orphan cat? Running fast to save his life, Aldwyn ducks into an unusual pet store. Moments later Jack, a young wizard in training, comes in to choose a magical animal to be his familiar. Aldwyn’s always been clever. But magical? Jack thinks so—and Aldwyn is happy to play along.
He just has to convince the other familiars—the know-it-all blue jay Skylar and the friendly tree frog Gilbert—that he’s the powerful cat he claims to be. Then the unthinkable happens. Jack and two other young wizards are captured by the evil queen of Vastia. On a thrilling quest to save their loyals, the familiars face dangerous foes, unearth a shocking centuries-old secret, and discover a destiny that will change Vastia forever. Their magical adventure—an irresistible blend of real heart, edge-of-your-seat action, and laugh-out-loud humor—is an unforgettable celebration of fantasy and friendship. (From Amazon.ca)

I’d have to say this is one of the best Middle Grade novels I have ever read so far. Not only does it provide a very interesting and different point of view (this book focuses on familiars, not the magic users), but the book also provides illustrations – which were well done and nice to look at to provide a good visual picture for the story.

I absolutely loved the plot. From the start of the book you could already tell this was going to be a book filled with adventure and action. This is definitely a book that you won’t stop reading until you are done. The bits of humor also makes this book a great light read (Gilbert happens to be the great comic relief in this book) for readers of all ages (but mostly geared towards younger readers).

I thought it was an interesting and different approach to have the story told through the point of view of the familiars and not the magic casters – which is what is usually seen throughout fantasy books. The magic system is simple and easy to understand but it’s also interesting to see the Familiars themselves also having to cast and deal with magic as well.

I loved the characters in this book! Aldwyn of course, is my particular favorite because of his underdog status and he’s a great character overall. The Familiars themselves are great characters and are fun to read. Gilbert is there for the comic relief, and Skylar – she can be annoying, but she’s also quite intelligent and has her uses throughout the book. What stands out is Aldwyn and his clever ways to attempt to pretend he’s a magical familiar, although this does have serious consequences, you’ll find it only gets better as Aldwyn finds his true talent deep within.

I am definitely going to get the second book of this series. There’s lot of questions that haven’t been answered and there is so much more to look forward to! It’s really not until the final chapters of the book where the real plot was just about to begin. Yes, you were taken on a journey with three Familiars, but that was just a great big introduction to what looks like a very interesting storyline.

This was a wonderful read, geared towards children, yet I think it’s a fun read for adults as well. Filled with lots of action, fun, you’ll find it’s a great read for those that want a light fantasy, with no complicated plot hooks, magic systems, and worlds. It’s a light fast read that will keep you turning the pages, and wanting to look forward to the next book in this series.

I give it a 9.5 out of 10.

The cover grabbed my attention for this one. I LOVE KITTIES!!!!!

Carnage Road by Gregory Lamberson

Carnage RoadBoone and Walker are the last members of the Floating Dragons motorcycle gang. When the zombie apocalypse turns the world upside down, they hit the open road to discover America. No responsibilities, no rules, no system. Like Frank and Jesse James, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, all they need are steeds and sidearms. But this bloodstained road is paved with the walking dead: shambling corpses starved for living flesh. The few humans left are no less hungry, and Boone and Walker encounter remnants of civilization desperate to survive. In some cases, the living are even more dangerous than the dead. First Hollywood to gaze at the stars, then southeast to the badlands of Texas, Boone and Walker make a last stand on behalf of humanity. Along the way guns blaze, rotting flesh bakes on the asphalt, and friendship and loyalty are tested to their limits. (From Amazon.ca)

This was a quick read (more or less 100 pages) but it was a good one. It’s almost like a very dark violent version of The Walking Dead. There’s plenty of blood and gore, and it’s brutal. Much more brutal, it makes the zombie books I’ve read in the past seem like ‘zombie fluff’. That being said, I really enjoyed reading this.

Boone and Walker are a classic friendship duo. Walker seems to be the more serious one of the two but their banter is fun to read – typical language and thinking you’d see in a motorcycle gang. (So, no. No swoon worthy guys here. But that’s the least of your worries when the zombies are coming, isn’t it?). They’re likable and made the book interesting and enjoyable.

I’d also have to say, it’s pretty realistic as well. It paints a grisly but possibly realistic picture as to what would happen in a situation like this. There were some parts where other people were just as dangerous (even more so) than the zombies themselves. The Hollywood part was fun to read though it made me giggle. Just a bit. 😀

I’m not sure what to think of the ending. In one sense I liked it because it’s realistic, it’s what I expected but, there was this small little voice inside of me wanting to crave more and was sad at the outcome. So I could go both ways on this. Nevertheless I really did enjoy this novella and I urge everyone who likes zombie lit to pick this one up. It’s a quick read and can be finished in a day.

I give it a 9 out of 10

You can see Gregory Lamberson’s website here

Thank you to Tracee for letting me participate in this tour!

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

SilenceThe noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They’ve overcome the secrets riddled in Patch’s dark past…bridged two irreconcilable worlds…faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust…and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they’ve worked for—and their love—forever. (From Amazon.ca)

What I liked about this book was the beginning. It started off with Nora being extremely disoriented and you feel the same way. It was well done and at the time it made me wonder if I had to go back and reread Crescendo because I might have missed something (because I felt just as lost as Nora did!)

The entire plot of the book was all right. I’m not sure whether to love Patch or to slap him silly because he can be such a jerk at times. But the chemistry between both Nora and Patch is still there, and is the tension ever good and so well written you can definitely feel it between them. There was a potential love triangle forming in the book, and I’d have to say he was likable as well (I hated him at first too, but he started to grow on me) and I was almost going to think he was a suitable replacement for Patch, but that would be heresy wouldn’t it? (Yes, I’m a big Patch fan). There were some very memorable quotes from Patch that made me scream like a giddy school girl (Becca Fitzpatrick just did a GREAT job on Patch in this book).

I liked how nearly everything was explained with the Nephilim, The Black Hand, and how Patch, Scott, and Hank fit into this picture. I was very surprised, about Marcie (although I really hated her in this book, as she became a big idiot and a complete tool) but her behavior towards the end was surprising, and now I am not sure what to think. I still hate her, yes, but with that one little action, perhaps she’s redeemable.

I was a bit disappointed that Vee wasn’t around as much as she was in the past novels. I hoped to see more of her because she provided a lot of the comic relief moments (this book actually is much darker than the first two).

Overall, the ending leaves more questions to be answered! so I’m so glad a fourth book has been announced!! this means more Patch for me to enjoy and read 😀 fans might not be satisfied with this book as it certainly feels as if nothing much really happens until more than halfway in the book, newbies, it’s best to start with Hush, Hush!

I give it a 10 out of 10 (yes..it’s because of Patch).

Time and Chance by Sharon Kay Penman

Time and ChanceIt was medieval England’s immortal marriage—Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, bound by passion and ambition, certain to leave a legacy of greatness. But while lust would divide them, it was friendship—and ultimately faith—that brought bloodshed into their midst. It began with Thomas Becket, Henry’s closest confidant, and his elevation to be Archbishop of Canterbury. It ended with a perceived betrayal that made a royal murder seem inevitable. Along the way were enough scheming, seductions, and scandals to topple any kingdom but their own. . . . (From Goodreads)

It’s greatly recommended – no actually you SHOULD read When Christ and his Saints Slept. Not only does it give you the background, an introduction to some characters that are featured in this book, and a lot of history, Time and Chance is a continuation of previously mentioned novel.

There’s just something about Penman’s words that weaves the entire story into one very long epic movie like book. Everything is so well written, and descriptions are spot on and accurate. There are a lot of characters, yet maybe around 3 or 4 will stand out to you and you’ll take a liking to them. All the characters are written, and have distinct personalities to make them easier to remember. Some from the previous novel are also mentioned (Ranulf for example, who is one of my favorites). You do find yourself attached to some characters – I was happy to see William Marshall! he quickly became a favorite of mine.

It was interesting to see the friendship between Thomas Becket and King Henry. It just deteriorated as you progress through the book (sometimes you feel like they’re bickering like children and you want to send them to their respective corners) it was interesting to see what happened that led up to Thomas getting killed.

What was also interesting was when Rosamund enters the picture. Now, I’m all Team Eleanor when it comes to this issue (in fact, if I was Eleanor things would have ended up bloody if I were standing face to face with someone like Rosamund). I didn’t really like her, not just because she ended up breaking the band but because she just seemed like an empty headed bimbo with no purpose whatsoever except to make Henry happy (I’m sure he liked it that way too). I really did sympathize with Eleanor in this book. Not only was she extremely strong in so many ways (seriously Henry? making her pop out child after child and having Rosamund on the side? wow. Talk about having the cake and eating it whole) and I loved reading about her. She’s a fascinating character, especially for being a woman during that particular time period.

This was a great book to read. A lot of information to swallow, a lot of rich fantastic characters that make the plot interesting and run smoothly. A must read for historical fiction fans, and fans of Sharon Kay Penman. Those curious would be better off with When Christ and his Saints Slept (where everything begins).

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Sirens by Tricia Rayburn

SirensSeventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything–the dark, heights, the ocean–but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge. That is until Justine goes cliff diving one night near the family’s vacation house in Winter Harbor, Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day. Vanessa’s parents want to work through the tragedy by returning to their everyday lives back in Boston, but Vanessa can’t help feeling that her sister’s death was more than an accident. After discovering that Justine never applied to colleges, and that she was secretly in a relationship with longtime family friend Caleb Carmichael, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor to seek some answers. But when Vanessa learns that Caleb has been missing since Justine’s death, she and Caleb’s older brother, Simon, join forces to try to find him, and in the process, their childhood friendship blossoms into something more.
Soon it’s not just Vanessa who is afraid. All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes home to a string of fatal, water-related accidents . . . in which all the victims are found grinning from ear to ear. As Vanessa and Simon probe further into the connections between Justine’s death and the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance, and that will change her life forever.
(From Amazon.ca)

This was my first book featuring sirens/mermaids. It was an interesting concept and the mystery surrounding the plot wasn’t too bad. The plot itself was not too bad and the setting suited the story. There was just one problem, and that was the characters.

I couldn’t begin to like the characters, even if I tried. They were bland, they were uninteresting and if it hadn’t been for the plot being slightly interesting, I probably wouldn’t have gone further into this book. The supposed romance featured in the book wasn’t that great either – I suppose because the characters weren’t that interesting to begin with. The romance seemed forced, and artificial, and they both acted in a very robotic nature.

The plot was in between. At times it was interesting, at other times, there’s a lull and it tended to drag. I liked how Vanessa was uncovering secret after secret regarding her sister, and the ending did make up for some of the shortfalls – although I still remain not satisfied with the way the characters were done.

I will be reading the sequel to this, but am not in a big rush to go out and get it. The book was an okay read, but it could have been made much better, especially when it came to its’ characters. This is the type of book where good character creation would have made the book much better and more fun to read.

I give it a 6/10