Category Archives: Humor

A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell, #4) by Deanna Raybourn

A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell #4)A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: A Dangerous Collaboration
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell, #4
Pages: 336
Publisher: Berkley
Date: March 12, 2019

Summary:

Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée–much to Stoker’s chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband’s mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker’s help to discover the host’s true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund…

Review:

The first time I read this book I didn’t particularly like it. There was too much stress between Veronica and Stoker. It wasn’t the normal disagreements and shouting matches, it was indifference. Even though I thought Stoker’s attitude was false, I wasn’t sure. And Veronica is never comfortable showing her softer feelings.

With the second reading, however, I was better able to see that even though it looked like they were drifting apart, they were really struggling to make a connection. I could breathe a sigh of relief.

Stoker’s eldest brother Tiberius is integral to the plot. Not only does he drag Veronica and Stoker into solving a murder, there are subplots as well. They grew up together as brothers, but Tiberius had always tormented Stoker. And Stoker being Stoker certainly returned the favor. Their relationship was explored and hopefully improved in this book. In addition, Tiberius strikes me as a man-whore and he definitely makes a play for Veronica. I am not sure how much is because he desires her or because he is getting back at Stoker. Either way, he doesn’t come across as very likable.

The murder case itself is three years old. The way they talk about it, it seems more like decades old. Anyway, I can’t really say Stoker and Veronica solve the case. It is more the murderer gives themselves away because they are afraid of being discovered. It all takes place on a island off England which is inhabited by mermaids, piskies, and those with the sight. There is a garden of poisons where even breathing the air is dangerous. All in all, not a comfortable place to live . . . or die.

My immediate reaction after finishing the book the first time was when is the next one due out? After the second reading, my reaction is “I want it now!” It’s definitely worth four stars and if I hadn’t spent most of the book worrying about Stoker’s and Veronica’s relationship, I would probably have given it five stars.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave (Charlie Davidson, #13) by Darynda Jones

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave (Charley Davidson, #13)Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Charlie Davidson, #13
Pages: 304
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date: January 15, 2019

Summary:

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plain for eternity – which is the appropriate amount of time to make a person stark raving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently it is. Bummer.

She’s missed Reyes and her daughter, Beep, but now that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.

Review:

There is no way this is the last Charlie Davidson book. It may be the last Grave book and future books may not focus on Charlie and Reyes, but there is still too much story left to tell for the series to be over. I have not heard anything officially, but there has to be a spinoff series focusing on Beep.

Like most, if not all, of these books the ending has a cliffhanger. Don’t worry, the author does a wonderful job of tying up loose ends, but she couldn’t leave well enough alone. One question. She ends the book with ONE QUESTION and I was “Wait! What?” So yes, there has to be a spinoff series.

I loved the book. Charlie is in her normal, snarky glory. I laughed out loud. I almost cried. In other words, a typical Charlie Davidson book. There were plots and subplots which I enjoyed, and they cleared up some issues that I didn’t even know I had. Old characters returned and we lost people I was not ready to lose. And I have to tell you, there is a character reveal that blew my mind!

My only problem with the book is I need a timeline. When did Reyes and Charlie first meet as adults? When was Beep born? How long did Charlie have amnesia? I guess I just need to re-read the entire series . . . and that’s a wonderful thing!

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Hot and Badgered (Honey Badgers, #1) by Shelly Laurenston

Hot and Badgered (The Honey Badgers, #1)Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Hot and Badgered
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Series: Honey Badgers, #1
Pages: 433
Publisher: Kensington
Date: March 27, 2018

Summary:

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up.

Review:

It’s been four years since Laurenston’s last shifter book Bite Me and it seems much longer. I was so disappointed when I heard she was not writing anymore books in the Pride series. Make no mistake, I love her dragons and crows, but I ADORE her shifters. This new book is listed as the first in a new series, but it is actually connected to the Pride series which makes it even better.

The best I can tell, Hot and Badgered takes place about seven or eight years after Bite Me. Several characters from the Pride series show up in this book and others are mentioned. As I say time and again, yes, you can read these books as stand alones, but I don’t recommend it. That goes for this book as well. There are plot points that just will not have as much impact if you don’t know the history of the characters.

Having said all that, Hot and Badgered, is wonderful. I had a hard time keeping the sisters straight at the beginning, but they have distinctive personalities and shifter traits. There was one aspect about their shifted forms that bothered me because it contradicted the earlier books, but it was explained later on and actually supported a major thread of the story. It’s so hard to talk about the best parts of the book because of spoilers.

Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is a wolf/honey badger hybrid. She is far too laid back for anyone to believe she is a badger until she’s not. Don’t piss her off. She and her sisters are dangerous.
Berg is a grizzly and all bear. He’s protective and seems more stable to me than other grizzly shifters. His personality seems more polar than grizzly. And you can tell I am a fan of these stories because that actually makes sense to me. And let me tell you, Charlie needs someone stable in her life.

I can’t really recommend this book if you are not already a Pride series reader. I think you will lose so much of the story if you don’t already understand the shifters’ world. If you are a fan, I don’t have to recommend it. I know any reader of Laurenston will be at the bookstore when they open to get this next installment in her world of shifters.

Now, when is the next book due out?

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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The Escape Diaries (Life and Love on the Lam, #1) by Juliet Rosetti

The Escape Diaries (Life and Love on the Lam, #1)The Escape Diaries by Juliet Rosetti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: The Escape Diaries
Author: Juliet Rosetti
Series: Life and Love on the Lam, #1
Pages: 294
Publisher: Loveswept
Date: December 10, 2012
Summary:

Wrongly convicted of killing her philandering husband, Mazie Maguire is three years into her life sentence when fate intervenes—in the form of a tornado. Just like that, she’s on the other side of the fence, running through swamps and cornfields, big box stores and suburban subdivisions. Hoping to find out who really murdered her husband, Mazie must stay a few steps ahead of both the law and her mother-in-law, who would like nothing better than to personally administer Mazie the death penalty via lethal snickerdoodle. With the Feds in hot pursuit and the national media hyping her story, Mazie stumbles upon a vast political conspiracy and a man who might just be worth a conjugal visit—if she survives.

Review:
When I first read this book, I gave it a five star rating . . . but I never actually wrote a review. Well, it is time for that review and it most definitely still earns its five stars.

Although The Escape Diaries is classified as a romance, the romance is simply a side note. This book is a straight up comedy. I decided to re-read it because I have read several dark, intense novels lately. I needed a change of pace and it really delivered.

Mazie is in prison for murdering her husband who really needed to be done away with. She’s innocent of course, but no one believes her, especially her psychotic mother-in-law. Anyway, she escapes, with the help of a tornado, which starts the spiral of one improbable event after another.

There is a love interest, but that is not the most interesting part of the plot. It is the situations Mazie gets herself into and out of that make the book so much fun.

I did not realize there were sequels and I will definitely read them. I have to find out what other crazy things happen to Mazie. And really, things seem to happen to her. It’s not really her fault.

If you are a fan of Stephanie Plum or Izzy Spellman, you will love Mazie Maguire. Give her a try.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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A Tale of Two Kitties (Magical Cats, #9) by Sofie Kelly

A Tale of Two Kitties (A Magical Cats Mystery #9)A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: A Tale of Two Kitties
Author: Sofie Kelly
Series: Magical Cats, #9
Pages: 336
Publisher: Berkeley
Date: September 5, 2017

Summary:

With a well-placed paw on a keyboard or a pointed stare, Kathleen’s two cats, Hercules and Owen, have helped her to solve cases in the past—so she has learned to trust their instincts. But she will need to rely on them more than ever when a twenty-year-old scandal leads to murder…

The arrival of the Janes brothers has the little town of Mayville Heights buzzing. Everyone of a certain age remembers when Victor had an affair with Leo’s wife, who then died in a car accident.

Now it seems the brothers are trying to reconcile, until Kathleen finds Leo dead. The police set their sights on Leo’s son and Kathleen’s good friend Simon, who doesn’t have much of an alibi. To prove her friend innocent, Kathleen will have to dig deep into the town’s history—and into her sardine cracker supply, because Owen and Hercules don’t work for free…

Review:

Hercules and Owen! I love Hercules and Owen! I would hate to have to pick between the two of them for a favorite because they have such distinct personalities. For some reason, Hercules seems to be the more well read of the two while Owen is the one who “gets things done!”

Oh, did I mention they are cats . . . with special powers. Hercules can walk through walls — literally, while Owen can disappear — also literally. And no, after reading these books that doesn’t seem odd at all.

And yes, there are humans in these books that get into all kinds of trouble and have to have the cats help them out.

Hercules and Owen live with Kathleen who is the town librarian. I realize that is a cliche: cats and librarians. However, as I said the cats have special powers and although Kathleen is only human, she is smart enough to let them help her solve the many murders she seems to get involved in.

This book even starts with a dead body.

You’d think by now it wouldn’t bother me to step on a body in the middle of the kitchen floor, but I was in my sock feet and the body — missing its head, no surprise — was damp.

With cat slobber.

And I’m going to leave that right there. You can see why I enjoy these books so much.

A Tale of Two Kitties is number nine in the Magical Cats series. I have loved everyone of the books. There is an extensive cast of recurring characters, so you really want to read them in order. Actually, you don’t want to miss a one of them because they are just that good.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Quote-tastic Monday: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Lost and Found Sisters (Wildstone, #1)Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Lost and Found Sisters
Author: Jill Shalvis
Series: Wildstone, #1
Pages: 400
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Date: June 20, 2017

Summary:

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earth shattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

Review:

Sometimes you read a book that is a great book, but there just aren’t any specific lines that stick out. Sometimes a book has some good lines, but overall it isn’t that great of a book. And then there are the books that are just great: great plot, likable characters, and terrific lines.

Jill Shalvis’ new book Lost and Found Sisters is one of those books. It was an easy five star book. I didn’t have to waffle between is it really a five star or should I just give it a four and a half. This one is a five star all the way through.

I have to admit I was a little worried about this book. Shalvis said herself that it is a different direction for her. I have given up on authors before because they no longer give me what I fell in love with their writing for. Thank goodness, Lost and Found Sisters is just as wonderful as everything else she has written.

Now for some of the quotes that I loved. They either were “laugh out loud” lines or “Oh my god, that’s me” lines. Sometimes both.

“Hey, darlin’, how’s life today?” “Good,” Quinn said. She didn’t want to brag, but she’d totally gotten out of bed today with only two hits of the snooze button.

Now this one really wasn’t me. One thing I have no problem with is getting up in the morning.

So here was the thing. There were days where Quinn surprised herself with her abilities, and others where she put her keys in the fridge.

This one however is a “she must be looking in my window because it is so me” line.

“You’ve got nothing to apologize for,” Skye said. “If it’s got tires or testicles, it’s gonna give you trouble.” Wasn’t that the truth . . .

Enough said.

She pulled back out into the street, and her GPS—programmed to find the town of Wildstone—wasn’t sure what to do with itself now that they were here. “In half a mile turn right,” it intoned in an irritated female voice that insinuated Quinn was an idiot.

I actually argue with my GPS. Unfortunately, she gets the last laugh because I can end up anywhere.

She put a hand over the screen of his phone and he yelped, pulling the phone free to stare at it. “Ah, man. You made me lose a life.” “Want to lose another?”

Definitely me. I love my cell phone. However, I hate when people won’t put theirs down when I am talking to them.

“Are you always so rude?” “Yes, one hundred percent. It’s called sarcasm and attitude, which are both so much cheaper than therapy and bail. What can I do for you?”

Love it! Love it! Love it!

There should be a weather app for people with social anxiety, like “Today life will be partly crowdy with a 70 percent chance of having to deal with people.”

This one makes me think of Anna Cade over at the book blog Herding Cats & Burning Soup. Okay, it speaks to me too.

I made it through the day without beating anyone with a chair. I’d say my people skills are improving.

Not to mention, I don’t look good in orange or stripes.

Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

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Quote-tastic Monday: Curious Minds (Knight & Moon, #1) by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon, #1)

Okay, this is a redux of a review I posted in July of last year.  I have just re-read this book because its sequel, Dangerous Minds, is due out next week – June 20, 2017.  Let’s be honest though.  I re-read this book because it is great.  I have read it three times now and it deserves the five stars I gave it from the start.  The plot is hysterical, the interactions are hysterical, and it has some of the funniest lines I have ever read.

If you never had a chance to read it, grab it.  It will definitely get you out of any reading slump you may be suffering.  And yes, I’m talking about me.

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Curious Minds
Author: Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton
Series: Knight & Moon, #1
Pages: 336
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Date: August 16, 2016

Summary:

Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.

What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.

Review:

I loved this book – absolutely loved this book. Five stars is not enough. I cannot wait for the next one and there’s not even a title yet on Goodreads. I want it NOW!

UPDATE:  BOOK TWO, DANGEROUS MINDS, IS DUE OUT ON JUNE 20, 2017.

Okay, I have that out of my system.

This is the first book in Janet Evanovich’s new series and it is cowritten with Phoef Sutton. It’s really funny just like the Stephanie Plum books, but for some reason doesn’t read like a Plum book. The zaniness and humor are there, but it just doesn’t seem the same. I can’t really explain it.

The book is written from Riley’s point of view, but Emerson is my favorite character. He is so brilliant and so rich that he doesn’t follow normal societal rules and that’s what makes him my favorite. When he is told he can’t do something, his response is not “why not?”, but “I’m already doing it.”

I don’t normally use a lot of quotes in my reviews, but I’m making an exception for this one. None of them are spoilers and you have to see why I think this book is so great.

“You don’t seem especially worried,” Emerson said. “I drink a lot,” Irene said. “And I smoke dope. It keeps me more or less happy.”

That will do it.

In this next quote, Riley wants her breakfast and has told him she gets irritable if she isn’t fed.

“I like you fine.” “I’m not irritable yet.” “You’re not?” Emerson said with surprise. “Very funny.” “I wasn’t trying to be funny,” . . .

Emerson can definitely try anyone’s patience.

Riley reminded herself that she was a professional, and stabbing Emerson with her nail file wouldn’t be appropriate.

And just throwing this one out there,

“Attempted murder is something a lot of couples can’t get past.”

Emerson is not inexperienced with women.

“You have that look,” Emerson said to Riley.
“What look?”
“Squinty eyes, jaw clenched, shoulders hunched. I’ve seen that look on women before and it’s never turned out well.”

And this is a workout program I could get behind.

Irene Grunwald got up early every morning to work out. And by “work out” she meant have a pitcher of sangria while lying in a lounge chair in her backyard and watching the sun rise over the river.

Read this book. You will not regret it.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

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