Category Archives: Fiction

Review of Cozy Mysteries on Tuesday!

I had the best weekend of reading!! Three super good cozies that you “OTTER” be reading:

Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies by Kathi Daley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zoe Donovan is one of my favorite cozy series.  Kathi Daley does such a good job with the characters and all the little details that make them seem like real people instead of just characters in a book.  In this one, Zoe has to contend with the death of the local cat lady who may have had some big secrets!! Zoe must also keep her new fiance’ out of the clutches of the ladies at the charity bachelor auction! If all that’s not enough, there are rescue animals and bears in the dumpsters; I like the way Zoe deals with these things in a believable way.   The mystery fooled me (as usual!!) and I was enthralled til the very last page.  I was given a copy of this book-the review is my own opinion.

 

 

Pumpkins in Paradise by Kathi Daley

TJ Jensen is a new series for Kathi Daley.  In this one, TJ finds the body of her elderly friend and then must untangle a mystery that stretches back decades.  There are quite a few characters but they are sorted out quickly with not much confusion about who is who.  The town is so inviting-lots of quirky as we expect from Kathi!  I liked TJ as a character and the way she was so believable in the way she approached the mystery while still grieving for her friend and dealing with own home life.  The hunky Deputy could have been just another pretty face but he has some depth and a back story that was unexpected-I can’t wait to see how this romance plays out.  As always, Kathi gives the reader well written characters, realistic situations and a good little puzzle of a murder mystery.  I’m looking forward to many more with TJ!!

Beyond Belief by Helen Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, what to say about this one!!  Emily Castles is one of the best cozy series I have read this year.  I know I say that about a lot of books 😉 but this book blew me away!  It wasn’t overwrought or violent/gory or even funny ha ha hysterical.  It was all so civilized and low-key and the psychic dogs were perfect!!  The human characters were eccentric in the best possible ways and Emily was a treat.

She is called upon to act as a “future crimes investigator” at a scientific/paranormal Belief and Beyond conference.  The twist is a famous magician is offering a $50,000 prize to anyone who can prove the paranormal exists.  When a vision of a drowning at the conference becomes a real possibility, Emily tries to put the clues together before it’s too late.  Add in several very engrossing sub plots and I was up way too late reading this book!

 

 

 

 

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First Chapter Friday

It’s finally time for First Chapter Friday!!! This week something different:  what happened is this:  I receive emails every day from authors requesting Big Otter Books to read and review their books.  That’s the cool part about having a blog!!  Sometimes the books are exactly right for us and sometimes they are a bit …not…  Either the genre is not what we read or the content is too much not what we read etc.

The bad thing right now is my time.  There is literally not enough in the day to read all the books I want to read.  Sadly, that means I have to send these wonderful people an email that says, sorry, can’t read your book right now.  It just breaks my heart!!

That’s partly why I blog; because I don’t have that ‘thing’ to write fiction. I’ve tried & tried and the words just don’t flow.  Somebody famous once said the way to write is to sit in front of  your typewriter until blood drops form on your forehead!!  I’ve done that, too and it doesn’t work for me!  But these authors who contact me DO have the ‘thing’ and quite possibly bloody foreheads as well!!

So, even though I don’t have time to read their entire book, I read the first chapters.  These are just two that I think some of my blog followers might enjoy reading; so, I’m featuring them on First Chapter Friday.  Maybe they will be an “OTTER” read for you!!

 

The Valentine Circly, A Silas de San Michel Mystery by Reinaldo DelValle

The Valentine Circle is set in Boston 1885.  A mystery man has been found on board a ship.  He has no memory and there are odd weapons near him.  This first part was pretty good as the characters were introduced and we got some great descriptions of the ship & area.  The next part got a bit weird for me. The mystery man, now named Silas, joins the police force!  Yep, he’s now a cop with no memory. There is a strange kidnapping of a child and Silas works the case.  This was actually a pretty good first chapter.  A bit convoluted and the author got a bit mixed up on present day & 1885 so an editor would have helped.  But all in all, if you don’t mind taking your time to go through this, it looks like a good book. Based on just this first chapter, I would read the entire book if I just had the time!!  This is a 3 star read.

 

 

Final Notice by Jennifer L. Hart

I’ve read Jennifer L. Hart before.  She’s the author of the hilarious Laundry Hag series.  She also has new book out called Murder al Dente, a Southern Pasta Shop Mystery.  In this Final Notice first chapter, Jennifer introduces the reader to Jackie Parker.  Jackie is a process server who quits her job following too much touchyfeely by her boss.  She joins her husband & brother in law in their property management company where she of course finds a body!!

If you enjoy a more adult book (not porn or too vulgar) just a very ‘real’ book about real characters, then you “OTTER” be reading Jennifer L. Hart books!!  This is another one I wish I had time to read the whole thing.  4 stars.

Have a wonderful reading weekend!!

REVIEW: Dead Drop by Jesse Miles

Dead Drop by Jesse Miles

Detectives. Investigators. Finder-outers of stuff! From Sherlock Holmes to Scooby Doo, everyone can find some type of mystery solver that they enjoy reading about. You do enjoy detective-y books, don’t you? I certainly do! This week I’m reading one of the best ones I’ve seen in a while. It’s called Dead Drop by Jesse Miles and was just released last month.

Jack Salvo is a private investigator in Los Angeles, he also teaches philosophy at the community college. Wait a second-a P.I. teaching philosophy, now that is a new twist to the old hard-boiled detective stories! This book starts out with Jack taking on an embezzling case that morphs into a whole ‘nother thing real quick. The whole story just keeps spinning and going while the reader is hanging on for a great ride!

I really liked the sparse writing style-there isn’t that much ‘extra stuff’, it’s all very pared down and we get the meat of the story without all the filler. The philosophy is woven into the plot in a very believable way that enhances the story and gives us a much better idea of Jack and what makes him tick.

This was a good book and I hope there will be more from the author. I received a copy of the book-the review is my own opinion.

REVIEW: Partials by Dan Wells

Partials by Dan Wells

5 stars!!! This YA is the first in a trilogy that has been out for a while. I’m late getting started on it but WOW, am I glad I read it!

Here’s the back story on how this happened: my son picked this up at the library last week. Since they take longer than I do to choose books, my designated role is to sit on the very comfy chairs (!) and read while they look around. He handed me this one and instead of dropping it into our ‘library book carrier’, I opened it and read the first page …then I read the first chapter… by the time they were ready to check out their books, I was well into chapter three!

The plot grabbed me right from the start. Kira is 16 years old and lives on Long island in what seems to be the future about 2076 or so. This is eleven years after genetically modified superhuman/robot things called Partials, that were created by a genetics lab went off the rails and turned against humanity while the RM virus they carry killed just about everybody else that wasn’t immune.

The final indignity of the RM virus is that human babies are not immune so they die. every.baby.every. time So the 40,000 or so humans on Long Island are all that’s ever going to be on Earth. When they all die, humanity dies as well.

The way the society deals with this is mandatory pregnancy laws for females of a certain age (which is getting lower!) in hopes of getting a baby with immunity so they can find a cure for RM and save the human race.

Are you hooked so far? Wait, because it gets even better! Remember the Partials? There are millions of them but they have retreated and not been seen for eleven years. Where they went, what they are doing, no one knows but the humans live in fear they will return to finish wiping them out!

In the meantime, Kira who is trained as a medic which is sort of like our doctors, finds out her best friend is pregnant. The baby is doomed, of course, but Kira decides (like every good teenage girl in a YA dystopian book!) that it is up to her to be the one to find a cure for RM and save the world. How do the Partials figure into her quest and what secrets will Kira discover about herself and humanity?  Lots of good stuff happens as we go along for the ride and find out!!

I don’t think I’m explaining the book very well because I don’t want to give away any plot spoilers. Suffice it to say, if someone had said to me ‘hey, read this book’ I would have probably not thought it was my type of a read. I would have been WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!! This book was really good, oh, there were a couple of places it dragged with too much explanation/not enough action and some quick learning/acceptance of things that was REALLY quick but, hey, it’s a story. The characters were great and the plot blew my mind!!

If I can’t convince you to read this book any other way, let me tell you that I have the next 2 on hold at the library already!!

Cozy Mystery Monday

Welcome to Cozy Mystery Monday!! There are so many books coming out all the time, it’s easy to miss something good.  So, instead of pounding out more NEW NEW NEW books, this week I thought we should revisit some cozies you don’t want to miss.

 

Number 10 in the Zoe Donovan series has been released.  I was given a copy by the AWESOME author, Kathi Daley, and I am now elbow deep in the antics of Zoe and a bachelor auction and a ‘cat lady’ and a murder!!!!  This is one of the best cozy series out there-the characters are so well written and ‘real’, the mysteries are interesting and there are dogs & cats!!  You cannot resist this book!!

 

Bless Her Dead Little Heart by Miranda James

Oh, my!!  Get your pre-orders in!!!  Bless Her Dead Little Heart comes out TOMORROW!!!  This is the first in a new series and it is popping up all over the internet.  It seems like all the cozy bloggers are going crazy for this book.  The plot is two sisters are cat sitting when their old sorority sister shows up and is then murdered!  Need more?  There is also a family & a will!!  We’ve read enough cozies to know where this is going and I can hardly stand to wait to get started reading!!

 

Groomed For Murder (Pet Boutique #2)

Groomed for Murder by Annie Knox

 

Nightmares Can Be Murder

Nightmares Can Be Murder by Mary Kennedy

Groomed for Murder and Nightmares Can Be Murder were released last month and they have 22 5-star reviews on Amazon!!  Everyone is talking about these books and how good they are-plots, characters and the various mysteries to be solved.  Don’t let great books get lost in the shuffle!!  These are all super good cozies that you “OTTER” be reading!!

 

First Chapter Friday

First Chapter Friday!!! I love this weekly post-I get to read the first chapter of various books, and give you my thoughts. I’ve found two great books that your kids “OTTER” be reading!!  Inspirational books for kids and even a West Virginia connection-that’s a bonus!!

Philip and the Thief by John Paulits

Philip has been around for a while-this is the 6th book in a series of 12!  Philip is sort of an ‘everykid’ that has family, friends and school going on with the usual interactions and dramas.  The plot of this book is that Philip uses his skills as Philip the Greatness to become a detective and solve mysteries around the house and neighborhood.  When money comes up missing at school, and a classmate is thrown, Philip solves the case and saves the day.  

Paulits really knows his craft!  He writes very well and the characters speak & act very naturally. This series isn’t promoted as being Christian, but this one is ‘clean’ and reads as a very inspirational book-use your skills, help others and love your family.  I enjoyed the first chapter and will be encouraging my boys to read the entire series.

 

 

 

The Adventures of Shy Spy Time Traveler by Deborah L. Gladwell

 

I was so excited to find out the author of this book, Deborah L. Gladwell, lives in my home state of West Virginia!  I’m in Missouri now but I still LOVE to promote West Virginians doing all the wonderful things they do.  I have to say that Deborah really embodies the spirit of a Mountaineer with excellent writing and a positive Christian message for kids.

Shy the dog accidentally stows away on a time machine and goes back to the time of Moses!!  You can’t resist that kind of awesomeness!!  Gladwell has a very well written, well plotted book that surprised me.

I wasn’t expecting a Christian book for kids to be such a good story.  The book reminds me of the Magic Treehouse books because of the total immersion into a historical subject.  The Christian message and scriptures enhance the book and take Shy to a whole ‘nother level.  I was so engaged in the plot and what was going to happen next, I couldn’t believe I had to stop at one chapter!

Most definitely pick up these “good, clean” books for your kiddos.  There is enough negative out there-let’s do some positive for a change!!  Have a great reading weekend-Cozy Mystery Monday will be here before you know it!!

Throwback Thursday

Welcome to Throwback Thursday.  Walk down memory lane with me as we remember the Sunday paper with those colorful comics.  Remember how the top one on the first page was always Peanuts?

That’s because it was the best!!  I just found out there are three new CHARLIE BROWN books.  They are brand new adventures that introduce the Peanuts gang to inventors, adventurers and humanitarians. They also include activity pages!!

Regenery Publishing has done a terrific job combining our old favorite Peanuts in an entertaining and educational new way. These are just released on 9/29 and perfect for Christmas gift books-yep, I went there!!  Every kid “OTTER” be reading these books on Christmas morning!!

 



Coming up tomorrow: First Chapter Friday!! You don’t want to miss that!!

BLADE SINGER Blog Tour with Review & GIVEAWAY!!!

 

Blade Singer Wall Paper

Blade Singer by Aaron de Orive & Martha Wells

I have been waiting for WEEKS to share this with you!!! I was invited to be part of the Blade Singer Blog Tour to bring you, the reader, coverage all over the internet of this super good book that you “OTTER” be reading!

And I do mean super-WOWZERS!! Is it ever great!!  Blade Singer could be described as a “sweeping fantasy”, I guess because it covers so much ground from Texas in our world to the Fae world in ‘someplace else’.

“Manuel “Manny” Boreaux, a troubled adolescent from Texas, is magically transported into the body of a goblin pickpocket in an alternate world inhabited by faerie creatures. Manny must quickly adapt to the danger all around him and try to find a way to get back home, a feat complicated by the pickpocket’s association with a notorious gang of thieves. But when Manny uncovers a plot to assassinate a young king, he must enlist the aid of an elf cavalier and a cat burglar to thwart a Sidhe witch’s scheme to ignite a civil war between humans and the Fae.”

Whoa-Manny is just some dude from Texas that is now a goblin in an alternate world trying to prevent a war between humans and the Fae.  The Fae are faerie critters! Think Disney fairies but meaner & trying to take over not just their own world but maybe ours, too.  Nasty little beasties and Manny is right in the middle of it all!

I devoured this book-it was so good!  It took a while to get started; there was a bit too much back story. There were also a couple of places where I had to say, well that was convenient!  But none of this is a deal breaker-just read the beginning really quickly and get to the ‘meat’ of the story!

I always like books with great characters and Blade Singer does NOT disappoint-lots of details that brought these fantasy creatures to life and made their actions in the plot really make sense.  The plot itself is very good-not just the same old fantasy/alternate reality.  A nice twist on how the ‘real’ world & Fae world intersect. I hope there are sequels!!  This book is not just for adults-older YA kids/fans of the genre would have no problem enjoying Blade Singer.  5 stars.

Make sure to stop by the other blogs on the Blade Singer tour and enter the giveaway!!

 

bladebanner

Giveaway:

(2) $25 Gift Cards to Amazon or B&N (INT)
There should be a pretty Rafflecopter thing here but I am technically challenged 😉
So, to enter the giveaway just click the link and it will take you to the entry page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour List

Stop by and visit these other wonderful blogs!

This is the tour page for Blade Singer, a middle grade fantasy by Aaron de Orive and Martha Wells. The tour runs September 29th- October 10th with reviews, author interviews, guest posts and more.

Schedule

9/29

Sunshine, Bubbles and Books – Review

Sher A. Hart: Written Art– Review

9/30

Girl of 1000 Wonders – Review

Victoria Simcox’s Blog– Promo

Cover2CoverBlog – Review

10/1

Where Connor and JT Go– Review

Ashley’s Paranormal Book Blog– Promo

Three Boy Circus- Promo

10/2

Every Free Chance – Promo

Big Otter Books– Review

10/3

Brooke Blogs– Guest Post or Top Ten

Mind-Ventures– Review

10/6

Book Lovers Life– Top Ten

My Love for Reading Keeps Growing– Review

10/7

Literary Escapism– Guest Post

Bookish Wanderlove– Review

Book Enthralled – Review

10/8

Word Forward– Promo

WS Momma Readers Nook– Review

10/9

CBY Book Club– Review

Write Away Bliss– Top Ten or Guest Post

Books and Ashes – Review

10/10

Book Sense– promo

Shelf Life– Review

Suzy Turner, YA – Guest Post

Thank you to CBB book promotions for including Big Otter Books on the Blade Singer Blog Tour!!
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Talk It Up Tuesday

Let’s have some good, clean fun today! I think everyone “Otter” be reading more, but how about reading ‘better’. By that I mean, take a step back from your usual books and try something that’s uplifting or inspirational.

I read just about every genre out there and sometimes I get to the point I can’t take one more murder or another scary thing jumping out! Especially with Halloween coming up and all those good cozy/paranormal books I am intending to read 😉 This is a great week to recharge my spiritual batteries and it’s always better when it’s combined with humor!

The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank by Erma Bombeck

The classics stick around for a reason!  Good old Aunt Erma literally wrote the book on inspirational family humor.  I read this YEARS ago and always try to re-read every few years because it’s just that good.  Erma and her family moved to the suburbs back in the days when nobody knew what the heck the suburbs were but they flocked there anyway.  This book gives us the unvarnished truth about family and how we are all truly hilarious when we are together.

I Prayed for Patience, God Gave Me Children by Linda Wood Rondeau

Ah patience, I remember those days, before children came along and showed me what life is truly all about!  Linda does a great job with this book; our journey as parents is one we do not have to make alone.  The scripture references are right on the nose and mesh perfectly with the text.  

 

Humor Me, I’m Your Mother! by Barbara Johnson

Sadly, we lost Barbara several years ago and the humorous/inspirational book world misses her unique blend of scripture and off the wall funny.  This book is uplifting and will have you literally in stitches at Barbara’s take on just about every aspect of motherhood.  She goes into quite a bit of detail about her own children and some of the challenges her family had faced over the years.

I hope you find something a bit different to enrich your reading life this week!!  Tomorrow is mild Wednesday and you just never know what we’ll be reading around here for ‘hump day’!!

REVIEW: I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter by Brian K. Henry

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I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter by Brian K. Henry

I told you earlier this week about the behind the scenes things when you start a blog. Some of it is boring and time consuming, ok lots of it! But there are some cool things that go on and one of the best parts of blogging, is that authors contact you and ask you to read their book! As a reader, I think that is SUPER COOL and it makes my day every time it happens. I recently received a very nice message from author Brian K. Henry and he sent me a copy of his new book: I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter.

The book is really good; great title and the cover is spooky! Devin is your basic slacker teenage boy. He works as a barista in a hotel coffee shop, hangs out with his friends and tries to keep his grades up. Oh, he also sees ghosts! When his visions get worse and another student spreads it all over school, his social life suffers, his grades suffer and his job still sucks. Two of his buddies talk him into gearing up like the Ghost Hunters on TV and going to the creepy old mansion to investigate. You know this is NOT going to end well!

The story is intriguing and there were a couple of twists I wasn’t expecting. The characters were interesting and very well written. My only complaints were the number of typos and the story was very detailed so it got bogged down with quite a bit of extra ‘stuff’ that could have used an editor. These are minor nitpicky things that were very easily ignored. The story moved right along and I enjoyed reading it. The wrap up at the ending was satisfying and made sense, it also left the door open to a sequel, which I would gladly purchase and read! 4 stars As stated above, I received a copy of the book from the author, the review is my own opinion.

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