Saturday, May 24, 2014

Homicide in Hardcover


Review: This book was on the recommended list of mystery books at my local library. I am always looking for new authors to read and add to my "Guilty Pleasures" list, cue Joanne Fluke, but this book was not as exciting as I thought it would be.

First off I need to commend Kate Carlisle for writing this entire novel in the first person. That is extremely hard to do successfully, so bravo to her for that. Having said that, I did find that at times it was hard to read. Carlisle has her main character Brooklyn almost addressing the reader at points which reminds me that I am reading this book and not actually part of it. For a book to keep my attention, I really need to be sucked in and made into an omniscient, but quiet character in the plot. If that doesn't happen, it becomes really hard for me to finish the book.

I did think that Carlisle knew all of her characters well and I loved how there was a diverse cast involved. They ranged from wealthy and conservative to eclectic and free loving. At times, there did seem to be too many characters to keep track of, but they were still all interesting. Also, there were moments when several truths came to light that I wasn't entirely sure if I was sold on the character reacting they way they did. It took away some of the realism for me.

The overall murder mystery is where I had a small amount of trouble with. At the end, I didn't really see the murderer coming, which is good, but it seemed like there wasn't a whole lot of set up for it. There was so much energy involved in developing a relationship of hate between Brooklyn and another character, that I think any subtle clues given were overlooked. Sometimes there can be too much of a red herring and that makes the story suffer a little.

Since the topic of bookbinding was foreign to me, I found that part of the story kept my interest in the plot going. I never would have thought that it would be so cutthroat a business!

However, at the end, I think that my overall feel of the book was average. I was surprised by who the killer and why that individual was the killer, but there were several other instances where I was pulled out of the story or when I had to stop and ask myself if that character would really do that.

If you like cozy little murder mysteries that end fairly neatly, then you will most likely want to check out this book. If you are looking for books that are a little more action-packed with nonstop murder, then you may want to skip this one.

Rating: 3 out of 5

I borrowed this book from my local library; I was not paid to give this review.

Image taken from Good Reads.

Carol P Roman Books

Reviews: I was sent 7 children books from this author and have decided to place all the reviews for them here. I normally do not review children books, so hopefully what I have written reviews worthy of the books.

1) "I Want To Do Yoga Too"

I thought that this book was cute, especially since I have done (or tried to do) yoga in the past. It would definitely help show kids how to do simple little moves like tree and cobra. The best part would be that they kids would be using their imaginations as well as toning their muscles. My two little guys didn't really get into this book, but I found it fun. I think that this would be appropriate for toddlers on up.

Rating: 3 out of 5

2) "Strangers on the High Seas"

This is one of two books I received that is part of the "Captain No Beard Stories". I really loved the artwork in this book. Everything was colorful and full of pirate whimsy. There were a few moments within the pages where I thought that the author, Roman, was trying to get a little "after school special" and that didn't work for me. With some of the vocabulary in this book, it may be more suited for older toddlers as well. The main thing that threw me at the end was that I didn't catch on from the start that it was a brother and cousin watching his little sister playing make-believe.

However, my two little guys loved this book and pointed out all of the animals on both of the pirate ships. It was very entertaining and I would recommend this to anyone with older toddlers and up.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

3) "The Treasure of Snake Island"

This is the other "Captain No Beard Story" that I received and it was just as fun as the first one. I thought that the artwork in this book was just as wonderful as in the first one. Everything is so colorful and I love how the story ends with books being the treasure they were all seeking. (I secretly believe books to be treasures too!).

Again, my little guys really enjoyed this one as well and I am sure we will read it more than once.

I would recommend this to anyone with older toddlers and up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

4) "If You Were Me and Lived in Turkey"
5) "If You Were Me and Lived in India"
6) "If You Were Me and Lived in Norway"
7) "If You Were Me and Lived in Kenya"

I am lumping my review for each of these books in this series together because I found that my reaction was the same for each one. Overall, I thought that they were all very informative and had nice artwork. Sometimes the art was rather dark and details were not there like in Roman's "Captain No Beard Stories". Also, since she wanted to get SO much information into each book, some artwork was covered up by lines and lines of content. Most of the time, the books covered their countries very well, but it seemed like Norway was centered mostly on the "Ice Hotel" and little else.

My two little guys lost interest about halfway through the first one that I tried to read to them, so I don't recommend these books to younger kids. I think that kids in first or second grade may find these books rather interesting.

Rating: 3 out of 5

I was given copies of these books by the author; I was not paid to give these reviews.

The Hanging Tree


Review: This will be the third piece I have read and reviewed for Michael Phillip Cash and I thought that it was a very interesting little novella. It took only a few hours to read and it had a few twists that made it seem a little more of an original take on the classic ghost story.

What I really liked about this piece were all the different characters that were part of the history on "The Hanging Tree". I think that the old woman was probably my favorite and seemed to be the most fleshed out of all of them. She had a great deal of black humor, which drove the story forward for me. Without Goody Bennett I don't really know if I would have enjoyed the novella as much.

The weakest part of the piece was really the overly done beautiful but virginal girl not willing to give into carnal desires with her handsome, popular boyfriend. All this, of course, takes place on lover's lane with evil lurking within the branches of the big tree above them. For this storyline to be successful in any way, it needs to stray away from that and not come across as a warning to all young girls about premarital sex.

I think that Cash had a new take on part of that storyline by having the ghosts within the tree become active players. He brings each of their storylines through their eyes instead of having some other main character retell them like a history of the area. Sometimes, however, there are places in the novella where the point of view of these ghosts get blurred and does create a small amount of confusion while reading.

Outside of some editing issues with respect to typos and chapter cut-offs/beginnings, I thought it was a rather easy read. Anyone that enjoys a simple ghost story during a rainy night would enjoy this book. But if you prefer to be scared out of your mind while reading ghost stories, you may want to skip this one. I didn't find it all that scary.

Rating: 3 out of 5

I was given a copy by the author for an honest review via Bostick Communications; I was not paid to do this review.

Image was taken from

Tuesday, May 20, 2014



Lawgivers - A fast-paced, dystopian techno-thriller novel exploring the fight for freedom in a complex near-future
SEATTLE -- Author Chris Kohout combines high technology, swordplay, and social commentary to create a rich story of a biotech firm out of control and the rogue attorney seeking to bring them down in Lawgivers.
Published by Unbound Reality, the novel opens in our near future. Law enforcement has evolved. Attorneys are judge, jury and executioner in one. Police officers are free to investigate, interrogate and apprehend at will. Working together in pairs, they are called Lawgivers.
Like all attorneys, Sarah Jordan delivers justice with a katana blade. Moderate offenses result in the telltale scar of a Lawgiver sword through the palm. More serious crimes end with a blade through the heart.
When a young girl stumbles into their office after witnessing her father’s murder, Sarah and her cop partner Robert seek the murderer but soon find they’re on the trail of a vast conspiracy revolving around a new drug that vaccinates against all genetic diseases. Going up against its creator, Integrated Life Sciences, would be the case of a lifetime.
But against ILS and its shadowy backers, even the law offers little protection.
Review: I thought that this book had a really interesting premise with the Attorneys deciding the ultimate fate of the clients they take on. However, at times I had a hard time believing the scenario that they would even be allowed to be given all of that power. In the very beginning of the novel, Sarah kills a man that is being sent to an alternate universe, but does not really suffer any consequences for her actions. Even in a world such as this one, it would seem that she would still need to be held accountable for the murder after sentencing had been given. There also seems to be a lack of overall law in the novel, which makes it hard for me to see it as real. The "evil" in the storyline seems to have a very easy time getting away with things like murder, corruption, and other situations that are related to the pharmaceutical approval processes.
What I thought that the author Chris Kohout did very well was his characterization. Most of the main characters were very well fleshed out and I instantly connected with Sarah. I also thought the back story was well developed for Sarah as well. There is spot in my heart for individuals that take the hard road, not because they want to be different, but because it is the right road to take. Even if they know that it will cause them to lose that what matters most to them. There were a few of the "evil" characters that could have been fleshed out a little more, only because they have quite a few scenes in which they are a part of.
Looking at the novel from a editing point of view, there were a few areas that could have used a little help. There were a few areas where some typos happened. I think that every time that the word "God" was used, it should be capitalized. All the times it was mentioned herein the novel it was left lowercase, but the connotation that I got from its usage made me feel like it should have been treated like a proper name. Point of View of each section seemed to be difficult at times to follow, which is the place that I had the most trouble with. Sometimes it would jump to a different person for maybe two paragraphs and then go back to the character that started the scene. I'm old school in my thinking about this issue compared to most. The novel would have been a smoother read if it had stayed with third person limited for each section. All the information given was needed, but a story can be made stronger at times with the "show don't tell" homage. Lastly, the other pet-peeve that I have is when every sentence is started with "she", "he", "they", etc. It makes the flow choppy and repetitive in nature. 
Overall, I thought that this was a nice novel with a little bit of everything in it: mystery, murder, corruption, family, and a little of science fiction. At times the POV seems a little confusing making to story feel like it is not complete. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys futuristic mystery fiction. Those who like a tighter storyline that doesn't seem rushed at the end may not enjoy this book.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I was given a copy of this novel by the author for an honest review, I was not paid to give my review. (Pitched by Bostik Communications)