Book Review: An Ice Cold Grave

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Summary: Harper has a unusual gift. She can sense dead bodies. She also can see the moment of their death. Several boys are missing and law enforcement hopes Harper can shed some light on what happened to them.

My rating:

3/5

This book was better than the first one in the series. The mystery was actually really good and once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed the way it ended and many of the secondary characters in the book were well developed.

As a mystery, I would say the book is closer to a 4/5.

I liked Harper better in this book though her relationship with her step-brother is still pretty creepy. She is a little less whiny, dependent, and phobic than in the last book.

I still don’t like her step-brother very much. Not sure why but he rubs me the wrong way though less so in this book than in the first one I read.

I thought this book was pretty good. If the premise of this series interests you I recommend starting with this book over book 1. It was better and you didn’t miss anything super important from the first book. There are a couple odds and ends that make more sense if you read both but they aren’t such a big deal that you should read the books in order. Especially because I barely managed to get through book 1.

This book has a neat concept. If you like things like Medium and Ghostwhisperer I would give it a try.

 

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Book Review: Grave Sight

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Summary: Harper can sense bodies and so law enforcement agencies frequently hire her when they have a missing person who they presume is dead. In this book, first in the series, Harper is called to a small town to assist in the investigation of the death of two young lovers.

My Rating:

3/5

I am a huge fan of Charlaine Harris and I honestly love this concept. Harper has an amazing gift and this series has quite a lot of potential.

Unfortunately, this book was really hard for me to get through. I started out strong and then somewhere along the way I got bored. I almost didn’t finish. It didn’t help that there were a bunch of secondary characters to keep track of. Also, Harper’s relationship with her step-brother is more than a little bit creepy.  They clearly have feelings for each other beyond what siblings should. I know they aren’t really related but still a bit ick.

I also felt the character’s were hard to relate to. Harper is really strange. She is super dependent on her brother and has anxiety about almost everything.

I can’t really recommend this book to others though I plan to read another book from the series to see if things improve.

 

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Book Review: What’s a Ghoul to Do?

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Summary: M.J. and her partner Gilley are ghost hunters hired by a rich doctor to find his dead grandpa and prove that he was murdered.

My rating:

4/5

I loved how fun and new this book felt. M.J. is interesting and her job as a ghost buster is really very cool. I also love Victoria Laurie’s tone. She is fun and a general joy to read. I am also reading her psychic eye series and would recommend both to lovers of the paranormal (though I think I like the psychic eye just a bit more than this series so far).

Gilley and the other secondary characters are hilarious and many of the situations M.J. finds herself in are hilarious as well.

This is a nice cozy beach read.

Now, while I enjoyed this book there were some things I wasn’t nuts about. The mystery itself was a bit weak or maybe it was the resolution didn’t work for me. I’m not sure. Either way, the mystery itself wasn’t my favorite part of the book. I also had some mixed feelings about M.J.’s love interest. I hope I can adjust to him a the books progress.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Ghost Whisperer or Medium but also reads chick lit. It had content that reminded me of the named shows but it’s tone was light like chick lit.

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Book Review: Annie’s Song

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Summary: Alex Montgomery’s brother has always been a hellion but when he rapes Annie even his brother knows he has taken things to far. Alex banishes him and cuts him off financially. Then, he goes to the parents of the Annie who is believed initially to be mentally handicapped. When she becomes pregnant, he marries her, intent on taking her child and returning her to her parents. Only, he soon realizes that not all is as it seems. His sweet wife isn’t mentally handicapped. She is simply deaf. That changes everything.

5/5

I had to give this book five stars because I really enjoyed it. It was the kind of book that I literally lost sleep to read. These days, reading a book usually takes me about a week. I finished this book in a day.

I loved that Annie was deaf. It made the story interesting and gave both characters much more depth.

The writer was amazing at keeping up the pace. I didn’t feel rushed but at the same time I needed to turn the page more than I needed sleep (I work nights so I ALWAYS need sleep).

Their love story was sweet and sensual.

I really enjoyed how Annie saw the world and the way her story was told.

I also loved the housekeeper, Maddy. She was a fun secondary character.

While I love this book enough to give it five stars there were some things I have to note that I didn’t love.

Firstly, the prologue was very difficult to read. I understand why the author included it and I understand its importance to the story. But, I would have been okay if the author had started the book with Alex confronting his brother. The author did a good job at the prologue and wasn’t graphic but I really didn’t need to be there for Annie’s rape though I suppose the book wouldn’t have had the same punch without it.

Another thing I was a bit weirded out by was how much Alex was lusting after Annie when he thought she was mentally handicapped. He pretty much wants to bed her from the moment he meets her. In his thoughts he admits it is wrong but honestly that didn’t really help me find it any less creepy. There are many times in the book I didn’t care for Alex’s actions even when he had reasonable reasons for them. He kind of seemed like a well intentioned jerk at certain parts of the book.

My last complaint is that Annie becomes quite sensual once Alex shows her all that the marriage bed can be. I’ve known a few women who lost their virginity to rape and I can promise you not one of them was rubbing ice cream on their nipples for foreplay less than a year later. I mean, I wanted Annie to be okay with being with Alex and I wanted her to enjoy it but I felt like things got taken too far.

Overall, I really loved this book but it was hard to suspend disbelief in places or get past feelings of disgust. Despite those moments, this book was off the wall amazing and I truly enjoyed reading it.

 

 

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Book Review: Shoeless Jow

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Summary:

If you have seen Field of Dreams you know the basic story here. Ray builds a baseball field in his corn field and baseball player ghosts come to play. He then is sent to kidnap a recluse writer and to bring another ghost home from out of town. All while his farm is failing and he is on the verge of bankruptcy. What motivates dear Ray? Firstly, a love of baseball. Secondly, the chance that he might be allowed to talk to the ghost of his baseball player father.

My rating:

3/5

I need to state up front that I am not a huge baseball fan so much of the magic of this book was lost on me. I did enjoy the movie Field of Dreams though I haven’t seen it in years. I recently went to Iowa on a business trip and got the opportunity to stop by a local museum which had displays of books/movies based in Iowa. That was what got me to grab a copy of this book and give it a try.

It has been years since I have seen the movie but I am pretty sure the movie was a bit better than the book. At least, in my opinion.

The book wasn’t bad. It was just weird. Not even just “baseball player ghosts weird” either.

I know it is an award winning novel so I don’t want to criticize it too harshly. Clearly, my opinion is a minority one.

My first issue was with Annie, Ray’s wife. In the movie, I remember her being a spitfire. In the book, she is sickeningly innocent. I almost wondered if she was meant to me mentally handicapped. She is child like and it is rather creepy.

The ending of the book was much stranger than the movie as well. I won’t deliver any spoilers here but I felt like it was too much of a reach to be anything but strange.

The writer is clearly passionate about baseball and if you understand the deep passion that is baseball to the point that it can make a man in bankruptcy build a ball field to see baseball player ghosts then this book might be for you. I go to local farm team games. That is about it. I don’t have any idea who plays for what team or even who the big names are in baseball these days. I feel like this books magic is harder to understand by the very casual baseball fan.

It wasn’t a bad read. It was just slow in spots and I didn’t like the ending. I wanted something a bit more neat and tidy. I didn’t get it.

I did enjoy the character of Salinger. He made the book for me. Ray was a decent character as well. The rest of the characters I didn’t connect with.  The scenes between Ray and Salinger were the best parts of the book though overall the book lacked much of the humor of the movie even in the interactions between Ray and Salinger.

I want to stress that I am clearly not the intended audience for this book and so my fairly neutral review of it should be considered with a grain of salt. If you are passionate about baseball you will probably enjoy this book. If you like books that lean a bit more towards the literary you will probably like this book. Overall, I am a genre fiction reader. I like a good romance or mystery. I like ghosts and paranormal aspects of stories but this book just wasn’t doing it for me.

Still, it is award winning.

And, the movie is good. Maybe just go and watch that instead.

 

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Book Review: Better Read than Dead

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Hello all. Sorry for the lack of post last week I have been down with a virus. I missed several days of work and, though I was in bed, had very little reading time.

Summary:

Abby, the psychic turned detective, warns a client to go to the store early. When the client fails to heed her warnings, she becomes a crime victim. The police ask Abby to use her gift to catch her clients assailant.

Meanwhile, a mob boss learns of Abby’s powers and he want to make use of them. Abby doesn’t want to work for him but mob bosses aren’t used to hearing the word “no.”

My rating: 4/5

This series has been a fun read so far and I can’t wait to start the next book.

The narrative if fun an conversational. Abby is really just lots of fun to follow around. Being psychic carries it’s issues. In this book the dynamics of her having psychic abilities while her sister doesn’t was addressed. It made for some entertaining reading. I have siblings and I can’t imagine how hard it would be if one of us had a “super power” and the others didn’t. We have enough competition already with my brother having a Master’s degree in math and being a college professor. I mean, seriously, it is hard to compete with.

This book was a great read but I do think there could have been another book thrown in between one and two. Lots happened in this book conflict wise and I think another book in between would have made this one feel less like a roller coaster ride. In book 1 Abby falls for Dutch. By book 2 they are having their first lovers quarrel. Book 1 we get to meet Abby and her psychic powers. Book 2 we are seeing how evil people want to exploit those powers. That was my only complaint about this book. So much happened really fast and it was kind of a roller coaster ride as far as my emotional investment as a reader. I almost feel like Abby is the most unlucky psychic in the whole wide world with all she goes through in this book. Literally, soooooo much bad things. I think it may have been too soon in the series.

Otherwise, I did enjoy this book.

If you like mysteries and think a touch of the supernatural would be fun, I recommend this series. Start with book 1. This book is not a good entry place into the series. Too much happens too fast and without time to grow to love the characters in book 1 I think this book may leave readers with a “meh” feeling.

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Book Review: Chocolate Covered Murder

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Synopsis:

Lucy is a small town reporter who has been assigned to do several  fluff pieces related to Valentine’s Day. During the course of her reporting there are two murders that she can’t resist investigating. They have to be more interesting than roses, candy, and chocolate.

My rating:

3/5

This was the first book I read in the series. I probably wouldn’t intentionally read another.

The small town of Tinker Cove was a nice setting. It reminded me quite a bit of Cabot Cove from the Murder She Wrote series of books/movies.

The mystery was so-so. It was fairly predictable and mundane. Still, many cozy mysteries are only “meh” in the mystery department. If the characters are awesome I can let a predictable mystery slide.

Unfortunately, Lucy wasn’t for me.

I don’t know of a nice way to say this but Lucy was far too “Old” for my taste. Her character wasn’t actually all that old. She still had teenage children.

It wasn’t her actual age that was the problem. She was extremely old fashioned in her views of the world. It reminded my of my granny who grew up in a small town and was just astounded at the evils of the world. Lucy is supposed to be a journalist. Surely, she is aware that bad things happen. Also that people have secrets.

I will add that Lucy’s obsession with her weight got to me. There are other cozy mysteries that bring in the main characters weight loss and do it in a fun or sympathetic way. I love Laura Levine’s character Janie Austen who is always failing her diet. Lucy was annoying with her dieting. Not endearing. Not funny. Annoying.

This book just wasn’t for me. I really couldn’t connect with Lucy or any of the other characters in the book.

This wasn’t a bad cozy mystery but it wasn’t one I would read or recommend.

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