Day: March 26, 2017

Review: Gone with the Twins

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Gone with the TwinsMy rating: 4 of 5 stars to Kylie Logan‘s Gone with the Twins, the fifth book in the “League of Literary Ladies” mystery series about a woman who owns a B&B on an island between Ohio and Canada and helps the local police solve crimes using her skills as a secret famous fiction author. I was excited to read this book as it was recently released and one of the only mystery series I am current on. While it was a good story and follow-up to the previous books, it wasn’t my favorite and felt a little too easy this go-round. But still worth a read.


Story

Bea is still upset after finding out a secret about Levi at the end of the previous book, but her heart still wants him. As the story starts out, a rival B&B has opened, taking all of the normal summer guests that would have gone to Bea’s place had the famous Champion Twins not set up camp on the island. Recently thrust back into the spotlight after having been kidnapped, Riva and Quentin Champion have designed their new B&B like Tara from “Gone With the Wind,” which just happens to be the book that Bea and her friends in the literary league started reading. When the local real estate agent who sold most of the homes to the main island inhabitants passes away, her niece, Vivian, takes over and begins making enough enemies that she’s soon found dead in her basement on the evening she was set to meet several people to sell them antiques from her late aunt’s house. When it looks like Chandra, Bea’s neighbor and New Age friend, is the primary culprit, Bea sets out to prove her friend’s innocence. Along the way, she and Levi re-connect and he watches over her when the murderer gets too close. Somehow, it’s all connected and Bea will stop at nothing to figure out what’ at the core of the shenanigans, especially when rumors about her not-true ex-con or ex-psycho status, as well as fake bed bug stories, start popping up all over town. In true Bea style, she dives in with the Chief of Police, Hank, and soon uncovers more connections to her own past than she realized were possible.


Strengths

Bea’s friends and hijinks are on target. The story incorporates daily life as well as solving the crime, making it a fun and quick read. Her interest in Levi maintains its roller coaster course, providing a good boost of romance, fun and humor. The descriptions of the Twins and their history is something cute to laugh about. And the cast of new characters is vivid and amusing.

The story focuses on Chandra’s relationship with her first husband, who was connected to Vivian, the victim in this book. The Twins figure prominently both in the real estate transactions and the fame of Hollywood being brought to the quiet Lake Bass island. Levi appears frequently while Luella and Kate take a bit of a back seat this time. It’s good to focus on different supporting characters in each book, as we get a more well-rounded opinion of the whole shebang!


Suggestions

The plot was a little too simple in this book. A few red herrings helped create a bit of fun and suspense, but the title gives it away, knowing the Twins have something to do with the mayhem. No spoilers given away here, just mentioning what felt too obvious for a reader. While there were a few potential suspects, the reasons for everyone never felt compelling enough for one of them to want to murder Vivian, but when you find out why, it makes sense. Just a little too loose for me.

The story starts off with the death of the elderly real estate agent who sold Bea the B&B. I would have liked to know that character, Estelle, a little more. Her death and appearance just seemed inserted for plot points. As this is Book 5, I think the author should have dropped more hints about Estelle in Books 1 thru 4 so we as readers felt the loss, too.


Final Thoughts

The charm and suspense felt a little off in this book, too. I expected more, given the great impressions I had from the earlier books. Still worth a read, just sayin’! That said, I love Bea and the whole premise of the book, and her secret identity as F.X. O’Grady. I hope the next book focuses more on her own past… and I definitely look forward to the next one, even is this one was a little disappointing.

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365 Challenge: Day 14 – German

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German: containing roots from Germany

It’s the 7th day of this week’s challenges, which means it’s time to choose a physical characteristic; and in keeping with the theme of discussing my nativity, ethnicity and heritage, you should know that I’m about 33% German, although my Ancestry DNA test seems to think I’m more around 10%. I think it’s just lying to me. Science can’t always be right, can it?

Based on the last names and documents I’ve located going back to about 1800 on most branches of my family tree, close to 50% of people seem to have emigrated from Germany or a pre-Germany state that was part of the German empire. I think of a few of them were probably from Eastern Europe or Scandinavia, so I sort of merge those with the 10% I saw from Ancestry DNA. That said, something is still not adding up based on known facts, DNA and available documentation. Therefore, I’ve settled on about 33%. Someone is lying about their home country, or someone may have had an affair and passed the child off as her German husband’s kid… I’m not sure, but I love a good scandal!

And I have one in my German side. A great-grandfather’s last name was as German as they come: Mück, possible Müeck originally. But when he emigrated to the US in the 1870s, it was translated on some documents as Miick. He married and had 3 daughters, but later suspected his wife was actually moonlighting as a prostitute. He claimed the younger 2 girls weren’t his and divorced the first wife. He managed famous boxers in NYC around this time, and suddenly one day, he disappears and changes his last name to Reynolds. He then marries another woman, an Irish one this time, and has 6 more children. But he’s no longer involved in boxing and has become a big-time beer brewer. I wish I knew the real story behind all of this, but there’s some scandal doing on there. Unfortunately, there are strong physical traces between him and subsequent male members of that branch, including me, so I know the German roots are real on that side!

As a fun sidebar, just like last time with the 4 Irish stereotypical traits, I found 9 German ones from a new site called “FluentU.” Let’s see how I compare:

  1. Direct
    1. Yes, for the most part. I often say what’s on my mind, but I always use a filter.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  2. Love rules, organization and structure
    1. I invented rules and now I can’t live without them. I’m crazy when it comes these things.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  3. Punctual
    1. Yes, and punctual to me actually means a few minutes early.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  4. Love soccer (football)
    1. Not a sports guy.
    2. Score: 0 out of 1
  5. Well-insured
    1. This one was odd… so I am going to say probably not, I tend to only buy what I need.
    2. Score: 0 out of 1
  6. Distant
    1. Unfortunately, yes… most people would say I can be a little cold and distant about things. I know how to remove my emotions when I need to.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  7. Love beer
    1. Eh… if it said wine, I’d agree. But I only drink beer from time to time and not very excited about it.
    2. Score: 0 out of 1
  8. Always making bread
    1. I love bread. I eat it all the time. But I rarely make it. Let’s split it evenly.
    2. Score: .5 out of 1
  9. Love sausage
    1. Not so much. I’m more a red-meat guy. Skirt Steak, Filet Mignon, Tartare, Beef Wellington…
    2. Score: 0 out of 1

And keeping with the statistics game from last time, my score would be: 4.5 out of 9, which is 50%. See… all the records I’ve found are correct. Take that, Science and DNA!