Book Review: Until Tuesday

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Summary: Wounded Warrior Luis Carlos Montalvan finds healing in the companionship of his service dog Tuesday.

My rating: 5/5

I really enjoyed this book and I cried. A lot.

I loved that this book explored social issues such as discrimination against those with “invisible” disabilities. Montalvan has instances where people give him a hard time about being accompanied by his service dog because he isn’t blind. It is so sad to me that in this modern day and age people can still question when someone brings their service dog into a public area. If the dog isn’t wearing some kind of vest or indicator I can see asking but I don’t think I would ever accuse someone of lying about their disability status.

This book also delves into PTSD. I feel that this topic is so important. War does terrible things to our soldiers and the army doesn’t always adequately prepare them. As a former army wife any topics that involve the welfare of soldiers are near and dear to my heart.

I loved learning about the training process for service dogs. It was an interesting and educational read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs or who has family members in the service. This book is also good for anyone curious about service animals and the work they can do.

 

 

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Book Review: The Chocolate Book Bandit

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Summary:Lee is asked to join the library committee but at the first meeting she attends another member of the committee is found dead on the stairs of the library basement. This makes Lee and all the other members suspects.

My rating: 3/5

In truth this book was closer to a 2.5 for me.

The main thing I thought the book did well was the mystery. I did enjoy that even though I figured out who committed murder about halfway through the book. I love libraries and the fact that the murder happened at the library was the main reason I picked up the book. The mystery was a solid 3/5 stars.

I picked this book up without having read any others in the series. This is book 13. It is always hard to say whether a book would be significantly better if I had read others in the series though nothing in this book made me want to run out and grab others in this series.

The first thing that really bothered me about this book was that it felt like there was a lot of information dumping in the beginning. I understand that the writer has to fill in the reader on things that happened in the past 13 books but the way it was done interrupted the flow of the book and honestly was pretty boring and not vital to my understanding of THIS story.

The second thing that really made this book not work for me was the married people in the book lusting after other people. Again, maybe this would make more sense to someone who had read the entire series but it was a huge turn off for me (and made me not like the characters) when Lee is all googly eyed over a hot guy even though she is married. I really had a hard time liking her because of her lust.

The thing that put the nail on the coffin of me not liking Lee and the book was a jab at self published books. I read widely and I know that there are many books both self published and traditionally published that aren’t very good. I am a self publishing author and I work hard to write a good story. I did not at all appreciate the jab that Lee gave self publishers “I checked the title page. Self published. Hmm. I’ll look at it on my way to the trash I thought “(161). The Chocolate Book Bandit was published in 2013 and of course self publishing has made strides forward since then. Still, I thought it was an unnecessary jab at an industry. Lots of traditional published authors have turned to self publishing some of their works. Hope JoAnne Carl never becomes a self pubbing author ¬†otherwise she is going to have a bit of egg on her face. This was just a personal pet peeve about the book. Even without this comment I still wouldn’t have enjoyed it very much.

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Book Review: All Around the Town

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Summary: Laurie was kidnapped as a child though she has no memory of the two years she was held captive.

Now, she is being investigated for the murder of her English Professor. Her sister and defense attorney, Sarah, wants her evaluated by a psychiatrist because she thinks there is a good chance they can plead not guilty by reason of mental defect or disease.

As the psychiatrist starts to investigate it quickly becomes clear that things are much more complicated than they appear.

My rating:

4/5

I hadn’t planned to read this book. I don’t think I have ever read a Mary Higgins Clark book before though I plan to read more in the future. I actually read this book because I saw the movie and was really intrigued by the story. As usual, the book was better.

This is a fast paced story with lots of sub plots happening. It kept me on my toes from start to finish.

It was different and interesting. I love books about mental health conditions and I was intrigued by the difficulties Laurie faced in the story.

I also loved that her past wasn’t left in the past. The kidnapping isn’t just backstory. Her abductor is still taunting Laurie in the present (not really a spoiler since it mentions this fact on the back of the book).

The only complaint I have about the book is a small one. The narration feels very distant. Example of what I mean: “John and Marie Kenyon flew to Pittsburgh. Laurie had been taken to a hospital to be checked out. The next day on the noon editions of the news, Sarah watched as her mother and father left the hospital (17).”

The distant narration didn’t bother me much since I had watched the movie and already generally knew the story but I am not sure if it would have been harder for me to enjoy the story if I had read it instead of watching it first. I will read a few more of Clark’s books and see if I can get past the narration being so distant.

 

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Book Review: Abby Cooper Psychic Eye

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Summary: Abby Cooper is a psychic intuitive. When one of her clients is murdered Abby can’t help getting involved in the investigation. Especially since the cop investigating is a major hunk who she starts to fall for.

My rating: 4/5

I really enjoyed reading this book. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. I read it in two days. I also grabbed book 2 of this series and book one of another series by the author.

I loved the authors voice. This book was just a pleasure to read all around.

I enjoyed the main character and many of the side characters though at times Abby missed things that should have been pretty obvious to her. She mentions it in the narrative as well with things like “If I had only known then” which was a bit annoying at times.

My only other real complaint about the book is that there was no introduction of the murderer before the big reveal. I am used to cozy mysteries where someone the sleuth has met before and usually interviewed is the killer. In a way, this came out of left field.

So, if you are looking for a mystery that follows tropes and conventions maybe this isn’t for you but it is a ton of fun to read anyways.

I loved the psychic elements of it too.

I would recommend this to readers who enjoy light and fun reading in a mystery. I think people who enjoy the Janie Austen series by Laura Levine and don’t mind a pinch of paranormal will really enjoy this series. Also if you enjoy the Charlaine Harris Sookie books and the Betsy the Vampire Queen by MaryJanice Davidson. That is kind of what this book reminds me of stylistically.

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Book Review: Buddy(How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man)

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Summary: Brian marries into a family which includes two step daughter and a chicken named Buddy.

 

My rating: 3/5

The truth is that I would give this book a rating closer to 2.5. Isn’t bad enough to justify a 2 but I didn’t really like it enough to categorize it with my other 3/5 either.

I am a huge animal lover so I was drawn to this book because it is about a man and his relationship to a pet. Sorta.

Honestly, I spent the first part of the book begging the narrator to get to the point. He goes off on tangents about his first dog and how awesome that dog was. He talks about a ton of other things that are barely relevant to plot. He isn’t very likable (though, as the book is autobiographical props for being so honest) either.

In a nutshell the narrator hates the chicken and is kinda a jerk. The chicken is a loyal pet to his step kids even if he is a pain in the butt at times. Moral of the story is be loving and be present. Takes the author whole book to realize this and it is a very long and often dull journey there.

Brian’s new wife and kids were spoiled brats. I got really frustrated with them throughout the books as they showed now gratitude or respect for him. I thought the kids were spoiled and the mom was unreasonable much of the time.

If you are looking for a feel good or even a humorous story about a city family and their adorable pet chicken this isn’t that story.

I almost quit reading it several time and mostly only finished to see if the author ever explained how the chicken made him a family man because for the majority of the book I wasn’t sure he was ever going to get there.

Not for me.

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Book Review: The Art of Detection

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Summary:

Kate is a San Francisco cop called to investigate the homicide of a man obsessed with Sherlock Holmes. As evidence mounts it seems that the victims passion for mysteries might just have gotten him killed.

My Rating:

4/5

 

I liked the book. I didn’t quite love it but I absolutely liked it.

This is the only book I read in the series and I probably won’t read any more but it was a good mystery and a decent book.

I was drawn to the book because I like Sherlock Holmes and having a murder based around a fan of his was fun.

I liked that the book could be read without having ever read another book in the series. I generally think mysteries should be stand-alones but I find that many are hard to understand if that is the only book you have read.

So, just being an enjoyable stand alone is a ton of points in this books favor.

I really enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes themes to the book. It was a lot of fun.

There is a pretty large section of the book that was a story within a story. I wasn’t nuts about that at first but it ended up being fun to read. I do think it took away from the main action in the book a little but it is pretty important to the story.

So if it was neat why am I not going to grab more? I thought it was neat based on Sherlock Holmes theme but nothing about characters or writing made me hungry for more.

Also, and there is no PC way to say this, but there was just so much focus on gay issues. Kinda turned me off.

I am pro gay marriage. I have no problem with people being gay. Heck, I have written a gay romance and am about to start writing another. I just thought it was excessive in the book.

The main character is a lesbian (no problem there). *Slight Spoiler* Then the main plot and the sub-plot mysteries both involve gay issues. Basically murders would both have been prevented if people would mind their own business about the sexuality of others and let people love who they want.

Again, I agree in principle. I even tell my daughters when they play video games that involve relationships (Stardew Valley mostly) that they can marry a girl or a boy. Both are fine options. Their choice. The problem with the book wasn’t the ideology but how I felt like it was made into a huge deal in the story.

This book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it is a decent mystery that reads as a stand alone.

 

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Book Review: Murder in the Bowery

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Summary:

Frank is asked to find a newsie. He locates the boy but later the child is killed. Frank believes he led the killer to the boy and he needs answers. He soon finds that the boy’s death is connected to the death of a young lady who was the lover of a very powerful and dangerous man.

My Rating:

3/5

This book was fairly typical of this series. Nothing new or mind blowing. I wasn’t entirely sure who the killer(s) were until near the end but it wasn’t a huge surprise when it was revealed.

I did not love that the author went back to a previously used motive that was fairly unsettling last time. I know there are only so many reasons to murder someone but, without spoilers, this one has been done by her before and is not what one would necessarily expect in a Viictorian era mystery.

I also was not sure how I felt about “justice” in this book. I know that in many of these books the bad guys can’t just be turned over to the police. That is part of the point of this series. Still, I didn’t really feel like justice was served by how things ended.

I also feel a little “meh” about the overall story arc at this point. I am excited that Frank got his agency but much of the series overreaching story arc is neatly tied up with a bow. I certainly didn’t feel the sense of “I need the next book right NOW” that I have at other times in this series. Sarah does have a new pet project which is opening a hospital but for me it just doesn’t have the same stakes as the story arc up until this point.

In the earlier books in the series there was a secondary plot of will Sarah and Frank get together, who is Catherine, what will happen to Brian. All of those things are pretty much through. Hoping that the author can add some new exciting story arcs because otherwise this series will move from one of my favorites to just a decent mystery series.

Still, I recommend reading this series. It is one of my favorites. Start at book one though.

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