Month: November 2018

Book Review: Clouded by Envy by Candace Robinson

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Clouded by EnvyClouded by Envy by Candace Robinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In my quest to become a more well-read and genre-diverse connoisseur of great literature, I often pick up a book that I think will be one thing yet turns out to be something quite different in a wonderfully shocking and engaging way. I’ve read several novels written or co-written by Candace Robinson in the past, but when the opportunity to read her upcoming release, Clouded by Envy, arose, I had to jump on it — initially from the cover alone. What is that!?! I bet you want to know… it’s gorgeous and captivating and peculiar and oddly sensual, don’t you think? Throw in the always-intriguing concept and deadly sin of envy (I’m Roman Catholic, so my repression requires me to love it) and you’ve got all the makings of a fine book. Guess what? It totally lives up to that hype!

I’d classify it as science-fiction, fantasy, young adult, re-appropriation of a few fairy tales, and life advice. There are two worlds. There are twins who were abandoned by their parents. When they’re magically transported to a human environment, and they only look human at certain points in their lives, there’s bound to be a plethora of page-turning scenes, intense thrills, heart-stopping emotions, and a few eye squints — at least for me because I kept finding myself trying to guess how it could possibly end given the different themes encircling this complex story.

Robinson excels at capturing the young adult voice of someone yearning to escape and find whatever’s missing in their heart or mind. She draws you in based on the sadness of what’s happening to a seemingly kind and lovable character, then tosses you to the wolves with a scene so crazy or shocking, you no longer know what to believe. After being tossed around a bit, you develop your own sense of connection and wait for the next shoe to drop. In this case, the characters often forget to wear shoes, so it’s kinda fun to see how that eventually plays out (just including a little side humor so after you read the book, you’ll get what I am saying here).

If you like something different, or something you know well but that’s been turned upside and written from the perspective of a non-human creature, you’ll enjoy this novel. It’s on the shorter side in page count which makes it easy to get through in a few hours one afternoon or evening. It’s also something you can put down and pick up again without feeling lost. The story is told in alternating perspectives from the twin protagonists, but there’s a few other character POV’s sprinkled from time to time so you see what’s happening in totality. What a ride! I look forward to seeing everyone’s thoughts and reactions when it’s officially released in early 2019. I got lucky and received an ARC (thank you) which made me quite happy… this is the 4th or 5th book I’ve read by the author… always leaves me thirsting for the next one.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

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Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum, #21)Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Top Secret Twenty-One in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich has all the normal hilarious banter, sexual chemistry, and silliness as the ones in the past. It also offers a deeper look at Ranger’s past, Stephanie’s grandmother’s bucket list, and Joe Morelli’s tolerance level when it comes to Stephanie’s escapades. I believe in love, but if someone put me through what she puts him through, I’d probably disappear just to avoid any further impacts. She’s a barrel of laughs, but I couldn’t worry about someone 24/7 the way Ranger and Joe have to worry about her. While she can take care of herself from time to time, it’d be way too many trips to the hospital, jail, court, and car dealership for me. That said… while I couldn’t be her lover, I can definitely love her antics.

Oh, how I laughed. Last time it was the giraffe, this time is ten feral Chihuahua dogs who travel in a ferocious pack. At least she found homes for them all by the time the ~325 pages were up. Grandma Mazur looking into a boob job was a little much for me to handle, but I can appreciate the things people put on their bucket list. While the curse with Bella was a nice touch, I would’ve loved to see more of those side stories pulling together the rest of the book rather than the missing guy trying to kill off old women. The search for the culprit was fun, but the ending was a little too confusing and wrapped up neatly in a weird way. It needed more explanation rather than a rushed closure.

On to #22 next… then only 3 more to go and I’m current. I hope to get there before 2018 ends. Then which series do I go to: VI Warshawski, I’m about 5 behind there, too. Oops, 2018 is the year for serial catch up.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Death in Paris by Emilia Bernhard

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Death in Paris (A Death in Paris Mystery #1)Death in Paris by Emilia Bernhard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beginning a new mystery series is always a fun exercise. Sometimes it’s the setting that draws you in, other times it’s the plot and characters being promised for many books to come. With a title like ‘Death in Paris,’ how could anyone ignore Emilia Bernhard’s new series? When I saw it listed as an option in a cozy mystery group I belong to, I signed up and won the opportunity to read the book. It’s been quite the fun afternoon diving into this international story… took about 3 1/2 hours and offered lots of sharp wit, drama, and classic French attitude! (no offense intended of course… I adored it) And now I want to go to Paris again.

Rachel and her best friend, Magda, live in Paris. Rachel’s been there since college, and once dated the guy who was found dead in his soup. She’s got a new husband now, but it doesn’t prevent her from trying to figure out who killed her ex… even though it looks like he just had a heart attack. He was 60 to her 45, but he also had an adult son, a somewhat bitter ex-wife, a new girlfriend, a butler, a secretary of sorts, and a few other interesting people in his life. He was loaded, too… who wouldn’t want this Casanova dead!?!?!

As a new series, I found myself thinking about the story and the potential of the characters in the future. I enjoyed the French police captain. I liked Magda as a sidekick. And Rachel’s husband, Alan, is quite intelligent and charming. Rachel… she’s a bit quirky and kinda fun, but I wonder if she might be a little dry at times. She needs a little bit of a kick to be more charming like her husband or Magda. That said, I did connect with everyone, and I found it more believable than most other in this genre (although that’s why I love the genre, too). Rachel isn’t quite investigating the murder as much as she is discovering who might have wanted to hurt him — it’s a subtle difference. It’s less about who had access or alibis and more about the “WHY” in this case. The will left small inheritances to each of the women, and a large one to his son, but something seemed unusual about it all. Rachel needed to dive into the relationships to solve the reason why her ex had died.

As a start, there’s lot of potential. The cover is gorgeous. The writing style is good. The plot was strong, but I knew who the killer was from early on. It had to be based on many of the directions the non-murder aspects of the plot were going. But it was still fun guesswork and interesting suspense to watch Rachel get there. I wish I could’ve been in that library! Bernhard knows her literature… kudos to the author, thanks to the mystery group for the opp to read the book, and I’ll definitely take on more in the series in the future. It’s just ‘different enough’ to tell me I want to see a lot more!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

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Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum, #20)Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Stephanie Plum series is like your regular Saturday evening movie… there are always some good moments, often you’ll encounter a few repetitive things, and occasionally exists the chance you might wet yourself! In Janet Evanovich’s latest installment (for me, I’m behind a few books) — #20, Takedown Twenty, here’s what you need to know: (a) a giraffe is wandering around Trenton, NJ, (b) a sicko is strangling elderly women, (c) you get attacked if you attend BINGO, (d) Stephanie’s guaranteed to be shot at nearly 10 times and her car stolen at least a handful more, and (e) you’ll want to kick Evanovich’s butt if she doesn’t give us another hot Ranger / Stephanie sex scene. Stop teasing me, Woman! (said in a very humorous way and not in a negative way!)

Some think the series has gotten old and tiresome. Others see it as too repetitive. As a stand-alone book, forgetting about any of the others, it’s a solid story worth 4+ star. I pull back a little with the shiners because it is a little too formulaic. I don’t mind some similarities but we’re approaching duplicate mode in some scenes even within the same book. Her car was stolen 4 times if I counted properly. I can take twice. Maybe a third if I’ve been drinking and forgot the first time. But 4’s pushing me, and I’m a forgiving reader.

That said, it’s still laugh out loud hilarious. And if I could find a new occupation just because I want to tell people what I do, it would be to act like Lula and say I’m a reformed ‘ho. I’m not sure I could pull off the sass, but it’s worth a try, right? I’m gonna do some research. I’ll be back with #21 next month.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

RELEASE DAY: Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mystery #2)

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I’m very excited for today’s launch of the second book in the Braxton Campus Mystery series. The book is called Broken Heart Attack and is available for purchase on Amazon in both electronic and physical print form. If you’ve already read the book, you can now leave a review on Amazon. If you’ve already bought it, it will download to your device today.

Broken-Heart-Attack-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

Description of Book

After an extra ticket becomes available to attend the dress rehearsal of Braxton’s King Lear production, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies, sisters-in-law Eustacia and Gwendolyn Paddington, to show support for the rest of the Paddington family. When one of them appears to have a heart attack in the middle of the second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate who killed her friend. Amidst family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks. But did one of them commit murder for an inheritance? Kellan’s back in his second adventure since returning home to Pennsylvania. With his personal life in upheaval and his new boss, Myriam, making life difficult, will he be able to find a killer or will he get caught up in his own version of stage fright?

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If you can also add the book to your Goodreads TBR via the link below.

Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries #2)

If you haven’t read the first book, you can purchase the electronic or physical print format of the book through Amazon. While they can be read stand-alone, given the cliffhangers in the first book, Academic Curveball, and the introduction to the world of Braxon Campus, it might be better to read them in order. The third book, Flower Power Trip, is currently in draft form with a target release of the first quarter in early 2019.

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Stay tuned for upcoming release information for Broken Heart Attack over the next two months. We will have several exciting marketing campaigns including:

  • Book Blog Tour — Academic Curveball (1/6 thru 1/15)
  • Book Blog Tour — Broken Heart Attack (1/16 thru 1/25)
  • Clues & Adventures to win prizes
  • ARC Reading Opportunities
  • Giveaways
  • Author Interviews
  • More!

Book Review: The Hour of Death by Jane Willan

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The Hour of Death (Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery #2)The Hour of Death by Jane Willan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I chose the Hour of Death by Jane Willan when it became available through a cozy mystery group I follow. I was selected as a reviewer and received a copy of the book earlier this month. It is the second in the Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery series written about crimes occurring in a small Welsh town’s church. I usually try to read a book series in order, but I didn’t have time to get a copy of the first book before this one; however, based on how much I enjoyed the second book, I’ll definitely read the first one early next year.

At first, I was apprehensive. Sister Agatha is very detailed, a bit repetitive, and leans toward the rambling side of life… but after about 20% into the story, it was these same qualities that began to entice me-her support of the American visiting Wales, the energy she puts into writing mysteries, the care she took of her fellow nuns… I found myself thinking of her as methodical, open-minded, and very curious. She had a few endearing moments where I realized I was suddenly in full support of her role and focus on solving what no one else believed to be an actual crime. When Tiffany, the president of an art society in the village, was found dead, everyone thought it was a heart attack. Sister Agatha convinced Father Selwyn that was only one of the possible outcomes, and she sought out potential suspects despite nothing seeming obvious. By one third into the book, she had five believable candidates to analyze.

Willan’s writing style is easy and flows well. Her characters are vivid and likable for the most part. A few were meant to be frustrating, and that’s a good thing to have in these types of books. As I got to know the various nuns, priests, townsfolk, and strangers, I wished I had read the books in order, as I would’ve had a different thought on a few of the characters. I might have felt more connected to them, too, but all-in-all, they were well-drawn, felt appropriately embedded in the plot, and showed lots of possible red herrings or truths to keep us guessing.

As I finished the story, I found myself very fond of the setting (and that cover, gorgeous!) and with a strong interest to keep reading more of the series. My only items of constructive feedback would be to spend a little less time repeating and wrapping up why someone could be a suspect and instead use that information to provide additional motives or character actions that show us why they could be the killer. A few times, I thought… ‘hmm, we’ve talked about this several times already’ — it was minor but kept me from giving it a full 5-stars. I ended up with 4.5 stars and I’ll split the ratings across all the platforms between 4’s and 5’s.

I really look forward to getting a copy of the first book and reading future ones. Thanks for a great new series!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Harrowing Hats by Joyce and Jim Lavene

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Harrowing Hats (A Renaissance Faire Mystery, #4)Harrowing Hats by Joyce Lavene

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s the final week in our readathon and I’ve just finished reading the fourth book in the Renaissance Faire Mystery series by Joyce and Jim Lavene — Harrowing Hats. As I’ve come to realize, each book gets better, but on the whole, I’m not an ardent fan of the series. I like some of the characters, the overall setting, and the general writing style, but there are too many aspects I didn’t like to make this a series I’d recommend to others. Part of me wants to continue to see what happens with Jessie, but it’s a big commitment to read the remaining 4 books. Perhaps I’ll change my mind in the future, but for now there are too many other series I want to continue to explore.

In Harrowing Hats, Jessie takes a job at a hat shop to continue her experiences preparing for her PhD program in Renaissance studies. She finds one of the three brothers who run the chocolate shop dead, then a few other crimes happen which make it look like her boss at the hat shop is responsible. It seems whomever she goes to work for is either found dead or accused of murder. Stay very far away everyone, or you might just find yourself a victim, too. 🙂

Jessie’s shenanigans with Chase are of the same sort. Sometimes they’re cute together. Other times, I want to strangle Jessie for the way she treats him. Occasionally, I want to bop Chase over the head for intentionally confusing Jessie or letting her harass him over it. These two… oy, if I were friends with them in real life, I’d drop them so quickly not even The Flash could stop me. Hopefully I got that reference right, as I’m not a huge superhero guy. I’d rather deal with amateur sleuths who charm me. 🙂

I’m glad I read a few of these books as it is definitely showing me the vast range in the cozy mystery genre. These are great for someone who cares less about the mystery and more about the setting. Hopefully others loved it more than me!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.