Tuesday, March 6, 2018

An Eye for an Eye by Caroline Fardig

Ellie Matthews #2

4.5 stars
R- 2? yeah.... don't remember again, sorry.
probably language

Still not lovin' Ellie.  She's kind of an idiot.

But the story.

So. Good.

Seriously.

And the ending?  Did NOT see that coming.

So.... yeah.

When will book 3 be out?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Bitter Past by Caroline Fardig

Ellie Matthews #1

3.5 stars
R- I honestly don't remember.... 1-2 I think
Language

Let me start by saying that this is NOT a cozy.

This is a dark compelling procedural.

Emphasis on dark, but also emphasis on compelling.

Funny story-- I was offered a review copy of the sequel.  I hate reading sequels without reading the first book, but it looked really good.  So I went looking and hey, the first book was free on Kindle Unlimited.

Not my preference, but it would be a way to read the book so why not?

Read it in a day.  An afternoon, really.

Told them to go ahead and send me a digital copy of the second one.  (Again, not my preference, but I was on a roll and the first one was good.)

Read that all in one go too. (Review to come)

And..... then realized I have a paperback review copy of the first one, lol.

That's how out-of-control my house is, folks.

Anyway.

Overall, I don't love Ellie, and her self-medication at the end seemed like a bit much, and you all know language isn't my preference, but dang it's a good mystery.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Farmers' Market Mysteries by Paige Shelton

Farm Fresh Murder
Fruit of All Evil
Crops and Robbers
Red Hot Deadly Peppers (novella)
A Killer Maize
Merry Market Murder
Bushel Full of Murder

4 stars each
(except Crops and Robbers which I apparently gave 5 stars)
R- 1-2

It's possible that I've reviewed one or two of these in the past.  I discovered them a while ago... I think the first was a Reader's Choice book.

But I had gotten behind, so at the beginning of the year I decided to re-read/read them all.

Let me tell you, when you decide to read 4 different series by the same author at about the same time... you have to pay attention to which series you're in at any given time.

Anyway.

These are fun cozies.  There is a love triangle (gag) but it's not too bad and thankfully gets resolved neatly enough. (Though there is a cliffhanger aspect there.)

But the triangle doesn't start right away and gets taken care of in book 4, so yay.

My main complaint is that you can't introduce a character in a mid-series novella and have him clearly state that he's NOT law enforcement and then bring him back in a novel later as a cop.  You gotta explain it or something.

I'm nitpicky that way.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Firebolt by Adrienne Woods

(The Dragonian #1)
3 stars
R- 2 (but it looks like that will maybe go up in later books)
language

Definitely YA-- parents should know that there is discussion of sex, especially virginity, which at first is played for comic effect and later actually has bearing on the plot. Also language-- both crudity and profanity.

Good premise.  Is the execution great? No.  But... even being sensitive to various things from reading the negative reviews... it wasn't THAT bad.

Elena's obnoxious but she's a pretty normal teen.  I'm more annoyed by the adults who put her in that position so soon after everything she'd been through.  (And she needed to be older.... they all did.)

Also really wish more would have developed in this first book.... some of what's coming (please tell me it's going to happen with how glaringly obvious it seems) really could have happened in this one.  I wish the pacing had been better and the book a little longer so that it all fit in one volume rather than dragging it into a series.

So after writing that bit ^^ I went looking.... And ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!

There are FOUR more novels plus THREE novellas AND a spinoff series.

Oh heck no.

Sorry, ain't nobody got time for that.

As far as I can tell (after reading all the most spoiler-y reviews I could find) books 2 and 4 are filler.  Books 3 and 5.... stuff happens, but I seriously DO NOT see why there needed to be that many books.

It really could have just been 1.... maybe 2.

(Also, parents should know that there's a major rape scene in a later book.... sorry for any spoilers there.  It doesn't seem to actually have a point other than, I suppose, how else does one draw a storyline out for 4 books more than it needed to be)

In the end it appears that everything works out how you expect it to from how much hinting there is in book 1.... and I'm perfectly fine knowing that without reading all the insanity in between.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Hug Chickenpenny by S. Craig Zahler

The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child
(received for review)

3.5 stars
R- 0

This is a fairly quick read, but very hard to rate. 

My copy had editing issues, but I'm guessing (hoping) that all of them were caught between the ARCs and final published copies.

The overreaching vocabulary annoyed me in places... but I think it was extreme on purpose and after a bit you fall into the flow of it.

Many parts made me uncomfortable.  How does anyone treat a child that way?  But again, I think it was meant to cause discomfort.

There are many questions that are never answered, but somehow that's okay.

If you liked the movie Big Fish or you're a fan of Neil Gaiman.... yeah you should really pick this one up.

It's out there, to be sure, but it's a touching tale.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ghoulish Middle Grade

(Disclaimer: I have not actually read these.  Some have been read by my kids, some have not.)

(Received for review... for the most part)

Stick Dog Craves Candy
by Tom Watson
Stick Dog is quite popular at my house, so I'm sure this new trick-or-treat offering will be a welcome one.


The School for Good and Evil (series)
by Soman Chainani
I'm not actually super familiar with these, but they look really interesting.  I think, though, that Boo is a little past them and MeiMei's not there yet.... and they just aren't Mister's thing.  So not the right fit in our house at the moment.


The Supernormal Sluething Service: The Lost Legacy
by Gwenda Bond and Glenn Thomas
So, you know a book must look good when a kid who doesn't like fantasy AND doesn't like mystery.... scoops this up immediately, reads it, and tells you how good it was.  Seriously folks, it was weird.  If it had been Boo, that would have been completely normal, but MISTER went after this one.  I've not read it, but I'm already impressed.


Monsters Unleashed
by John Kloepfer
This one looks like a good fit for those who are on the diary-style kick.  So pretty much any latter-elementary aged kid, right?  What would you do if your monsters came to life?  Freddie has to figure it out.... fast.


Spirit Hunters
by Ellen Oh
This one looks CREEPY and is totally not my thing.  I didn't think my kids would care, but Mister took it from me to read, so there's that.  Then again, he still hasn't actually read it.... so there's also that.  If you've got an older one who's into creepy, take a look.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Spooktacular Picture Books

(I know, that was terribly cheesy)

(Books received for review)

Grimelda and the Spooktacular Pet Show 
by Diana Murray

Another Grimelda book!  I really enjoyed the first one and this one does not disappoint.  The twist at the end is pretty fun.  I haven't actually shown this one to the girlies yet, but I am positive it's going to be a hit.


Duck, Duck, Dinosaur: Perfect Pumpkin
by Kallie George

Poor Spike.... he just doesn't get it quite right.  Cute "I Can Read" book about the dino and the ducklings and the search for a pumpkin.


I Love You More Than The Smell of Swamp Gas
by Kevan Atteberry

BUNNIES!  Okay, not really, but it IS the same author which made me pretty excited.  This one is cute and hilarious.

Other titles you might take a look at include:
Pete the Cat: Trick or Pete
Flat Stanley and the Missing Pumkins
Even Monsters Need to Sleep (which we've actually already reviewed)

Also, MeiMei recommends In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories.