Welcome to our website. This site is here to provide a community for all you book lovers. I've set up a discussion area for you to discuss your favorite books. We'll have reviews of old and new books in the Reviews section. Upcoming titles and information from major publishers will be listed in the news/home page section, as well as updates on when new reviews have been posted, community information, etc.

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Review: Windy City Blues – Marc Krulewitch

Posted on: January 22nd, 2015 By Rick Rhodes
Publisher: Alibi (January 6, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: n/a
ISBN-13: 978-n/a
Order e-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Jules Landau – Chicago Private Eye.
Bernie Landau – Jules’ Father and an ex con.
Jimmy Kalijero – Chicago Detective.

Synopsis:

A parking cop ends up dead. Jules Landau is pulled into his second murder investigation despite the opinion of his father and his friend. The trail of blood leads him into a plot involving Russian gangsters and local politicians.

Review

This is my second time reading a book by Mr. Krulewitch, and like the first one it didn’t disappoint. He manages so well to capture the dark feel of a dark, depressive area of Chicago. While set in modern times, it captures the whole feel of what the city may have been like under the rule of Capone and his compatriots.

The plot is very well laid out, and logically fits together. The characters are well developed, and as a reader I find myself caring about them and involved in their lives. While some of the mystery aspect is easy to guess, it still keeps you thrilled and reading on until the very last page.

OVerall, a very recommended book, and I look forward to more adventures of Jule Landau. Rated PG-13 for older teens and adults due to language, and violence. For a great weekend thriller though, grab a copy, drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Marc Krulewitch grew up in the Chicago suburbs, although his crime novels take place in the Windy City, where he was born and where his family has lived for generations. Maxwell Street Blues is the first in what he hopes to be a long and enduring detective series. His great-grandfather once shared a headline with Al Capone.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lisa at TLC tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: 13 Hollywood Apes – Gil Reavill

Posted on: December 30th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
 
Publisher: Alibi (December 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: n/a
ISBN-13: 978-n/a
Order e-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Layla Remington – LA District Attorney Deputy Detective Investigator.
Rick Stills – Assistant DA, Los Angeles County

Synopsis:

During a raging forest fire, 13 apes at a Hollywood Animal Sanctuary are found shot to death. One Ape survives. Layla Remington is assigned to investigate. She will find herself drawn deep into a mystery, as people connected to the sanctuary begin to be killed by Ape attacks.

Review

I had mixed feelings regarding this book. I was torn between the plot and the characterization. The plot I found very interesting. The storyline was consistent, the events seemed realistic, and nothing jumped out at me as being off base. So based on the plot alone, I really liked this book. It was exciting and kept me reading from page 1.

Now the characterization is where I had problems with the book. While the characters were somewhat 3 dimensional, their behaviors didn’t strike me as realistic. One example is the character of Layla. She would just seem to get angry all at once with no build up, and no clear reason on why. It seems the author did that with a few of the female characters. It seems as if it was intended to make the characters seem tough and hard edged, but as the reader, to me it just seemed to stretch a bit. The male characters didn’t seem to strike me like this.

However, that drawback aside, I still found myself enjoying the book. I’d definitely read more in the Layla Remington series to see how the character grows, and how the author grows. For this, I’d recommend it for older audiences and for those fans of thrillers. I’d be interested in seeing the opinions of others out there, so if you read it, drop by and let us know what you thought.

A very interesting side note to this story.  On December 21st, news broke that an Argentinian Court had given Sandra, a Sumatran Orangutan the classification of a non human person, and declared that she has rights and will no longer be held captive in a zoo.  This follows similar rulings in which Dolphins were declared non human persons by the government of India.

About the Author

Gil Reavill is an author, screenwriter, and playwright. Widely featured in magazines, Reavill is the author of Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning Up After CSI Goes Home, and the co-author of Beyond All Reason: My Life with Susan Smith and the screenplay that became the 2005 film Dirty, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife, Jean Zimmerman, and their daughter.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: Duke City Hit – Max Austin

Posted on: December 11th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Publisher: Alibi (December 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: n/a
ISBN-13: 978-n/a
Order e-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Vic Walters – Hit Man for Hire.
Penny Randall – Vic’s friend and job coordinator.

Synopsis:

A hit man finds that someone is arriving at his jobs before he does. When he discovers who the mysterious second gunman is, he’s pulled into a web of lies that will require all his skills to untangle.

Review

This was a fast paced, interesting story. My one complaint is that it ended too soon. I was really enjoying the story and the characters. Luckily for me, the author has said that they will be back in a future book. The characters were well developed and felt like real people, well real people who work at killing other people. But everyone has to have some kind of skills.

The plot was well laid out and by the end of the story, all the pieces fit properly together. One slight drawback is that one of the big twists may have been telegraphed a little too much, and at least to me didn’t come as the big shock that I think it was intended to be. However, that didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

The book is definitely for older teens and adults due to the violent tone of the book as well as some strong language. Overall though, it was a very enjoyable story that I look forward to following up in future books.

About the Author

Max Austin is the pseudonym of writer Steve Brewer. He lives in Duke City (Albuquerque), New Mexico.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: Dangerous Denial – Amy Ray

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Paperback: 212 pages
Publisher: Barking Rain Press; First edition (April 9, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193546096X
ISBN-13: 978-1935460961
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

BK Hartshaw – A young woman from a broken family.
Lenny Mayhew – A violent, oppressive scumbag.
Trevor Mayhew – Lenny’s son, an abused, mentally scarred young man.

Synopsis:

Two people from two different worlds find themselves on a collision course headed towards tragedy.

Review

This was a rather interesting book. It switches back and forth between two different families, the Mayhews and the Hartshaws. The reader sees Lenny as a young, troubled man with a propensity towards criminal activity. We see BK dealing with her broken family, and a mother bent towards social climbing more than being a responsible parent. The book follows through Lenny’s life, up through the birth of his son Trevor, where it then diverts and we begin seeing the story from Trevors angle. BK we follow her life from childhood up to being a young woman.

There’s a lot of intensity in this book, and the author does a great job of building the stress levels until the final act. Along the way there are twists and surprises. The writing style is very fluid, and reads easily. The characters are interesting and well designed.

I’d rate it for older teens and adults due to the nature of the story and some scenes that may cause trigger effects. For those looking for a good weekend story though, give this a shot. Be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Dangerous Denial is Amy Ray’s first published novel. Early in 2015, she will have a short story published in Love Free or Die, the fourth book in the New Hampshire Pulp Fiction anthology series.
Before embarking on a writing career, Amy owned an old fashioned five and dime store where, in addition to regular priced merchandise, she had a display of items that actually retailed for five or ten cents each. She lives near the short but picturesque seacoast in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she enjoys packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child, reading, knitting, and tap dancing.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Trish at TLC Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: Mrs. Kaplan & The Matzoh Ball of Death – Mark Reutlinger

Posted on: November 13th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Publisher: Alibi (November 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: n/a
ISBN-13: 978-n/a
Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Mrs. Rose Kaplan – Senior Citizen and amateur detective.
Ida – Rose’s Best Friend and Cohort.

Synopsis:

Mrs. Rose Kaplan makes the best Matzoh Ball soup of anyone at the Julias and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors. It’s no surprise then when she is chosen to make the soup for the center’s annual seder. What is a surprise though, is one of the residents ends up dead in her soup and Mrs. Kaplan is the prime suspect.

Review

This was such a fun book. It was advertised as a modern Miss Marple, but I disagree a bit. The one thing it has in common with Miss Marple is the age of the amateur investigators. However, it differs in the fact that Miss Marple was always played straight while this had numerous instances of humor, particularly in some of the sticky situations Mrs. Kaplan finds herself in. While Miss Marple was dry, this was was a fun rolic.

The characters were interestingly depicted, and a lot of Jewish or Yiddish slang terms were used which fit with the characters, and really seemed to bring them to life. I instantly fell in love with Mrs. Kaplan and hope so much that she will have many further adventures.

I’d recommend this for all audiences. Other than the one death, which was done with no gratuitous details, there was nothing I found offensive in it. For all those fans of the cozy mystery, with a sense of humor and fun, you definitely want to pick this up. If you do, drop back by and let us know what you thought of it. We’d love to hear from you.

About the Author

Mark Reutlinger is the author of the novel Made in China and a professor of law emeritus at Seattle University. Born in San Francisco, Mark graduated from UC Berkeley and now lives with his wife, Analee, in University Place, Washington.

 

 

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: Gold Digger – Frances Fyfield

Posted on: October 28th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Witness (July 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062305476
ISBN-13: 978-0062305473
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Diana Quiqley – Young wife, heiress and former thief.
Gayle – Daughter of Thomas Porteus
Beatrice – Another daughter of Thomas Porteus.
Edward – Gayle’s Husband.
Patrick – Gayle & Edward’s son.

Synopsis:

A man named Thomas Porteus dies leaving his young wife a fortune in paintings. His two daughters, along with a conniving son-in-law are convinced that the man’s wife, Diana, a former thief, murdered him and that the paintings rightfully belong to them.

Review

This was a very difficult story for me. Each chapter began with descriptions of a painting. That description was a short synopsis of what would occur in that chapter. However, in the beginning stages of the book, I found myself confused, and usure of what exactly was going on. The writing style just made it very hard to get into.

As I progressed, since I’m not the type to give up on a book, I noticed it was less about the plot and more about the characters. As a character driven story, I found the characters to be very richly created. I just felt like they were dropped into a storyline that tended to go nowhere at times.

In the end, I liked the story, but it took a while to get to that point. I’d definitely recommend it only to the hard core mystery/psychological thriller readers out there. Ms. Fyfield is indeed a great writer, and I may check out her other novels, it just turns out that this one wasn’t quite my cup of tea. If you grab a copy of it, and read it, drop back by to let us know what you thought.

About the Author

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to at for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: The Hydra Protocol – David Wellington

Posted on: October 23rd, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062248804
ISBN-13: 978-0062248800
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Jim Chapel – American Spy
Nadia Asimova – KGB Spy

Synopsis:

Jim Chapel is pulled into a secret mission with a Russian counterpart. They must infiltrate and destroy a Russian built computer program that if left to run, may set off all of Russia’s nuclear missiles.

Review

This was a great story. It was the second Jim Chapel story I’d read, and he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite spies. This story takes us around the world, through the desert, and pits him against all sorts of enemies. Some of these enemies are human, and some are the local animals. There’s plenty of twists, turns, and romance. Just what you’d expect out of a good spy novel.

If I had one complaint, it’s that Jim seemed to recover just a little too quickly from his broken relationship, and dive into the arms of another woman. I’d expect someone to be a little more shaken up, and not ready to just jump into another person’s bed, but of course this is the spy world.

Overall, a great spy story that keeps me looking forward to the next entry. Grab a copy, give it a read, and drop back by to let us know what you thought.

About the Author

David Wellington was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The acclaimed author is most famous for his online serialized zombie novel, the Monster Island trilogy, later published by Thunder’s Mouth Press. In 2006, he began serializing Thirteen Bullets, a vampire novel. He lives in New York City. His previous Jim Chapel missions include Chimera and Minotaur.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Ashley at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: The High Druid’s Blade – Terry Brooks

Posted on: October 21st, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (July 8, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345540700
ISBN-13: 978-0345540706
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Paxon Leah – Descendent of the prince’s of Leah and holder of the Sword of Leah.
Chrysallin Leah – Paxon’s Sister.
Arcannen – Dark Magician with ambitions to take over the Druid Order.

Synopsis:

A young man is drawn into adventure when his sister is kidnapped by a dark wizard. Unknown to him, he is about to awaken some long dormant powers that are a legacy of his family.

Review

I’m a huge fan of Terry Brooks and with each book release I look forward to it with eager anticipation. This book was no exception. It varied slightly from the normal formula. No Wizard convincing the average person to take up an adventure. This time the hero takes on the adventure of his own accord, in order to rescue his sister. Along the way, the story follows the classic mythological/fantasy pattern. The young man discovers his own dormant powers. Along the way he also forms his own little group of adventurers.

This was a fun fantasy novel,that once again took me to a world I love to visit. While a lot of the plots have been revisited, the characters still feel fresh and appeal to me. I look forward to Mr. Brooks next release.

If you’re a fan of Fantasy, or of Mr. Brooks writing, then you definitely want to check this book out. Be sure to drop in and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the Dark Legacy of Shannara adventure Wards of Faerie; the Legends of Shannara novels Bearers of the Black Staff and The Measure of the Magic; the Genesis of Shannara trilogy: Armageddon’s Children, The Elves of Cintra, and The Gypsy Morph; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars:® Episode I The Phantom Menace.™

His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Classic Corner Review: The Big Four – Agatha Christie

Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062364618
ISBN-13: 978-0062364616
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Hercule Poirot – Famous Belgian Detective.
Arthur Hastings – Companion to Poirot and narrator.

Synopsis:

Poirot faces a challenge in four powerful foes bent on controlling the world.

Review

This was an interesting tale of Poirot. I’m used to the more typical mysteries, and this felt more like a thriller than a mystery. The majority of the story has Poirot and Hasting trying to uncover the identity of a mysterious master of disguises.

The story is fast paced, the plot is convincing, and the characters are entertaining. Poirot manages to always pull himself out of danger with some masterful trick.

While it was a departure from what I normally read from Christie, I found myself enjoying it very much. It may not suit the taste of all readers, as some of the language is old fashioned and modern readers may have a bit of trouble. I’ve found though, that if you stick with it, soon enough it all falls into place and the language differences disappear.

This would definitely fall on my recommend list for all you mystery fans out there, particularly fans of the classic authors such as Ms. Christie. Grab a copy, give it a read, and drop by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920).

She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: Clam Wake – Mary Daheim

Posted on: September 30th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (August 12, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062317725
ISBN-13: 978-0062317728
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Judith McMonigle Flynn – Amateur Sleuth and owner of a small bed & Breakfst.
Renie – Judith’s cousin and sidekick. She has a strong apetite.

Synopsis:

A woman Judith, who is an amateur sleuth, and her cousin Renie, are housesitting for relatives when a body is found on the beach. The two sleuths are determined to find out who killed the man and why.

Review

I’m normally a big fan of cozy mysteries. I’ve read everything from Agatha Christie to more modern writers. I wanted to like this one as well, it seemed right up my alley. From the start though, the character of Judith just seemed to rub me the wrong way. She seemed rather harsh and abusive to her husband. She also seemed very caustic with her mother, who also came across as rather mean spirited.

Her cousin Renie however I found to be very likeable and a good comic foil for the more serious Judith. Renie reminded me of the character Chet from the Hardy Boys books of my childhood. She had a great passion for food, and was often found stuffing her mouth with some delicacy or other.

However, I worked my way past these issues I had, and began to like the character of Judith. I also began to like the story, and the mystery kept me deeply involved in trying to figure out who done it. All the minor characters, suspects, etc. were interesting. The plot made sense, but then that’s where my biggest issue with the novel came into place.

In the field of mystery writing, particularly in cozies, there are certain rules about fair play, in that you give the reader all the clues they need to solve the mystery. In this case, that didn’t seem to occur, and the killer just popped up and confessed, without even the two sleuths discovering the identity until the confession. That to me took me out of the story, and just made me feel like I’d wasted my time.

Now do I think it was a terrible book. No, I think other Cozie mystery readers would probably enjoy it. There were parts I enjoyed, the ending just left me a little deflated. I myself might enjoy the other entries in the series. I mean this is the 29th book in the Bed & Breakfast Mystery Series, so the author has to know what she’s doing. So I’ll be willing to give her novels a second chance. Perhaps this one was a fluke occurrence.

The author does include some recipes in the back for some of the food items mentioned in the story, which is a nice touch in this type of series. In this case it’s Auntie Vance’s Beef Noodle Bake.

Regardless, of my opinion though, you the reader may enjoy this story. So grab a copy of Clam Wake, settle back, and when you are done, drop back in and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Seattle native Mary Richardson Daheim lives three miles from the house where she was raised. From her dining nook she can see the maple tree in front of her childhood home. Mary isn’t one for change when it comes to geography. Upon getting her journalism degree from the University of Washington (she can see the campus from the dining nook, too), she went to work for a newspaper in Anacortes WA. Then, after her marriage to David Daheim, his first college teaching post was in Port Angeles where she became a reporter for the local daily. Both tours of small-town duty gave her the background for the Alpine/Emma Lord series.

Mary spent much of her non-fiction career in public relations (some would say PR is fiction, too). But ever since she learned how to read and write, Mary wanted to tell stories that could be put between book covers (e-readers were far into the future and if she hadn’t seen her daughter’s iPad, she might not know they exist). Thus, she began her publishing career with the first of seven historical romances before switching to mysteries in 1991. If Mary could do the math, she’d know how many books she’s published. Since she can’t, she estimates the total is at least 55. Or something. See below—count ‘em if you can.

At the time of her husband and mentor’s death in February 2010, David and Mary had been married for over 43 years. They have three daughters, Barbara, Katherine and Magdalen, and two granddaughters, Maisy and Clara. They all live in Seattle, too. Those apples don’t move far from the tree…literally.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to at for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.