Book Review: First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1)

Book Review

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1)

Darynda Jones

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 Stars)

Romance, Mystery, Supernatural, Comedy

A little mystery, a little bit of the supernatural, a few dollops of action, some romance and hot sex, and a whole lot of wise-ass, dry humour that will crack you up. Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series begins with a bang. And not just the one between Charlotte and Reyes.

I actually read books 2 and 3 before this one. That turned out to be ok because it was a neat experience to go back in time and see how the story started. And the first book didn’t disappoint. Maybe it’s not ‘quite’ as polished as later novels, but that’s part of the charm. Still pretty darned good though.

You wouldn’t think there’d be much in the love/lust arena, as the guy she likes is in a coma and all, but through the magic of being able to leave one’s body and all the hot dream sex, they still manage to get all hot and bothered.

Charlotte’s as sassy, laid back and goofy as they come. Such a great sense of ridiculous humour. I love it. It’s so me. With a little Homer Simpson. If Homer was a girl with amazing tits. Not that I’m a girl with amazing tits, but a 6 month trip to Thailand could change all that. Something to think about if I ever want to seriously pursue life as a stripper. I love strippers.

Any fan of modern, supernatural, female protagonists will love this series. Hell, even if you’re not so into the supernatural thing, it’s not like this is Vampire Diaries or something. The dead people in the book are just like everyone else. Just with a few more holes in them. Think Sixth Sense, but instead of a little kid, the lead actress is a coffee-swilling crazy person who makes you laugh every other paragraph.

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Book Review: The Burning Page (Invisible Library #3)

Book Review

The Burning Page (Invisible Library #3)

Genevieve Cogman

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 Stars)

Fantasy, Adventure

The Burning Page is the third book in the Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. The story takes place in a fantasy world, or rather, a very large number of them, parallel earths, all connected to the Library at the center. Irene and other Librarians scour the universes for unique books and bring them back to the Library to add them to the greatest book collection ever.

In book three, Irene is helped by Kia, a dragon who can change to human form, and Vale, the world’s greatest detective and rather like Holmes in many ways. Together they hunt for a way to stop Alberich, a madman intent on destroying the library and finding his long lost son. Murderous booby traps, traitors, werewolves in London, authoritarian Russians, venemous spiders and more stand in their way.

It is an imaginative world centered on a great idea: the library. It’s a world for book fans and fantasy fans and library fans. The story is full of action and adventure, a thought-provoking line or two, and a lot of fun as we become immersed in this fantasy world and learn more and more about it. It’s creative and it’s fun!

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Book Review: Zero Hour (NUMA Files #11)

Book Review

Zero Hour (NUMA Files #11)

Clive Cussler & Graham Brown

⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 Stars)

Thriller

Zero Hour by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown features Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala on a mission to save Australia, and the world from a mad scientist bent on destroying entire continents.

This book is SO classic-era James Bond. Daring action from the opening pages to the end. Locations from the most remote parts of the Australian desert to the most remote reaches of the southern oceans. There are nukes involved. And dangerous Russian agents. The mad scientist behind it all even has his own secret underground lair in a volcano.  I’m not even remotely exaggerating. Unfortunately, it was not shaped like a skull or Dr Evil, but it’s still pretty cool. With a lineup like that, how can you not like this book?

The story is typical Kurt Austin fare. Slick action that saves the day. Lots of stuff blowing up. Getting the girl. Cool gadgets and experimental science. And because it’s NUMA, stuff with big boats. If you’re a fan of the NUMA files, or any of Clive Cussler’s works, you’ll enjoy this one. It’s a quick, easy, fun read.

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Book Review: Class

Book Review

Class

Lucinda Rosenfeld

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 Stars!!)

Contemporary

Class is the tale of a fairly typical woman trying to make her way through life as a good person, a good mother, a good wife and a good citizen. She wants to be good and right. Yet, she finds herself drowning in a modern day maelstrom of cultures, races, social and economic classes, ideas of right and wrong, and a confusing and frustrating war between what she wants and doing the right thing.

Lucinda Rosenfeld’s Class is one of the most honest and insightful examinations of contemporary issues you’ll likely read. It’s almost brutal in the way it strips back the lies we tell ourselves and exposes our real thoughts and emotions and inner conflict. You know all those ‘naughty’ or ‘awful’ thoughts we have from time to time that we know we’re not ‘supposed’ to have because they’re not politically correct? You know the guilt we feel when we have those thoughts because we worry that we’re a bad person just for thinking them? That’s exactly what Karen Kipple is going through and this book is an unabashed look at all those conflicting and confusing questions we have.

How are we supposed to think and feel about race, about social inequality, about education, about marriage and raising children? We look around and feel like there’s supposed to be a ‘right’ way and a ‘wrong’ way to think and feel but there isn’t. And no-one out there is really any wiser or better off. The truth is, we live in a very messy time with a lot of very different people struggling to get along, while at the same time we’re our own worst enemies because of our selfishness, opportunism and endless competition.

Many of us want to be good people, but rising class and income inequality is driving us apart, preventing us from overcoming differences in skin colour and personal choice. As long as we keep struggling against each other, as long as we selfishly strive for more and more wealth instead of fairness and equality, our conflicts and pain are only going to grow.

Karen Kipple embodies just how neurotic and worried and confused we all are. How our insecurity and uncertainty about how to feel are tearing us apart from the inside and preventing us from really connecting with others. It’s not about white privledge and how white people are evil, though that has become a social message that many white people feel burdened with now. It’s not about minorities being the underdogs that we should champion because simply being an underdog means they’re somehow morally innocent or ‘better’ than the majority; they’re not. It’s about everyone, of all colours and economic circumstances being wary of each other and competitive and, frankly, uncooperative, and realizing that we can get past this if we try. If we’re all a lot more honest and inclusive and share.

Class is a must read because it’s a wake-up call for all of us to be honest about what we’re going through and to understand that it’s not just us, we all feel just as confused. And we all have to realize that inequality is the great challenge of our time. As much as we want luxury and freedom from ugly choices, the pursuit of wealth is really just making most people uncomfortable, unnecessarily competitive and spreading more pain than anything else. The cost of being rich, or even supporting a system that allows people to be rich in the hope that one day we will be too, is a lot of suffering. It’s driving us apart. And it’s all unnecessary.

Karen Kipple’s story is one that many, many people will be able to relate to and many more can learn from. It’s a story that can help bring us together and point us in a better direction. it’s also a fun, often cute, read with a really sympathetic main character that we both empathize with and cheer for. A great book that we can both enjoy and enrich ourselves with.

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Book Review: City of the Lost (Casey Duncan #1)

Book Review

City of the Lost (Casey Duncan #1)

Kelley Armstrong

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 Stars!!)

Mystery

I COULD NOT PUT THIS DOWN! I loved it. I couldn’t helping thinking: I hope I write this well some day. lol. I can’t wait to read the sequel! 🙂

City of the Lost is about a detective who, along with her best friend, escapes her troubles in the real world by running away to a tiny camp of 200 people way up in the Yukon wilderness, far away from even the most remote civilization. There, she and the gruff, complicated sheriff investigate a series of murders shaking up the small community.

I’d never heard of Kelley Armstrong before this but the local library had a display up for her, and she had a lot of interesting-looking books, so I picked on up. Absolutely thrilled I did. Can’t wait to read more. I couldn’t put City of Lost down and tore through it, glad it had some length to it, and was left wanting even more.

I loved the remote wilderness setting. Maybe because I’ve been there and done that, and because I enjoy it as much as our heroine eventually finds that she does too. I think, for some reason, it contributed to the distinct Canadian feel that I got for the book. That feel is nebulous, but seems to stem not just from place names and setting, but from something inherent in the author’s style that I can’t quite put my finger on, but seems there anyway. Could also be my imagination. But the book did resonate with me and I’m neither a detective nor a criminal, so I don’t think it was those aspects.

The characters were detailed and vividly portrayed so that we really felt like we got to know them. The author’s observations and depictions were insightful and smart. The story features a cast of semi-broken characters that find healing, and possibly redemption, in the best way possible – through each other and through cooperation doing the right thing. It’s not just a crime thriller, it’s a story of redemption and personal growth, both for tough little Casey Duncan and for her stalwart sheriff.

I thought Casey Duncan was a great female lead. She’s tough, bold, ambitious, direct and generally fearless. But she’s also a bit broken and scarred in the soul. She’s dynamic and interesting and someone the reader can cheer for.

The subtext of romance throughout the story was subtle and authentic, yet rewarding in the end. Though I did find certain aspects a little cliché, but I think that’s just me. Male romantic interests and romance itself seem to portrayed in common ways in many novels written by women and I’m coming to see that the genders view these things rather differently at times. Whatever women say in real life, there sure are an awful lot of male romantic interests who are angry, sometimes rude, periodically violent or almost so, who completely lose control of themselves in their lust/love over the female, and then act overly protective or actually possessive. Seems quite caveman-ish. And this seems to be terribly attractive to women despite the fact that they also rail against men for being illtempered, rude, violent or threateningly so, dominant and brutish. So, they love and hate the same things, depending on their mood? But I suppose that there’s a good reason why women have been portrayed as walking contradictions. Class by Lucinda Rosenfeld is the most brilliant and illustrative example of this that I’ve ever seen and should be a must read for insights into the modern female mind. (Or at least one common example of it. Not everything feels/thinks the same way, obviously.)

I don’t want to give the mystery away, but I will say, I didn’t see the end coming at all. There are some excellent twists through the latter half of the book that delightfully shake things up. Well done!

City of the Lost is a fine read by Kelley Armstrong and readers will definitely enjoy it. Get a copy today!

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