Category Archives: REVIEW:

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!

 

 

 

 

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!!

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!!

 

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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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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.

REVIEW: Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini

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Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini

WOW! This book knocked my socks off! This is book one in a planned trilogy. Don’t pass this by because it’s a fantasy about witches. This has a great premise, great writing, super interesting characters. There are witches, alternate worlds, weird/scary creatures trying to kill people, and a heroine that has so many flaws that she should already be dead!

Lily is a Salem, Massachusetts teenager with life-threatening allergies that confound the finest medical minds. She attends a party that turns into a disaster and then mysteriously finds herself in an alternate Salem ruled by witches, the main & baddest one is her alternate self! She learns (maybe a bit to quickly, but that is a minor criticism) to harness her unique gifts because what is deadly to her in our world, makes her a powerful force in the alternate one.

There are very few missteps in this book, Angelini does a masterful job of weaving the story threads without dropping any important plot points. The plot moves along quickly and while there are some points where the reader has to suspend disbelief when things happen very conveniently, I think the reader will be so enthralled by the storyline and fantastic world building that they will be delighted to go along for the ride.

Monday is Mixed Up!

Something new this week instead of our usual Cozy Mystery Monday post.  Here is what’s new: when you start a blog, you quickly find out it’s not all book reviews & rainbows.  There is a biiiiiig learning curve of ‘stuff’ to figure out just to get started.  I learn something new every day because I found out bloggers also have to join a surprising number of groups dedicated to helping people learn to blog!  Bloggers teach each other how to do the behind the scenes mechanics of blogging like making things line up ‘right’ and pretty borders & fonts etc, etc.

Why this is good for you, dear reader 😉 is because in one of these lovely groups is a blogger who, at no charge to anyone!!, compiles a weekly list of books being reviewed on a bunch of blogs!!  All in one place, just click a link and whammo, there you are reading a great book review!

Some of these books are way outside what I normally read,/review & recommend. Some may even be steamy (!), but that’s ok. Take a look, pass on anything that is too far outside your comfort zone and read on!! It never hurts to see what other folks are reading-maybe we will find some new genre that is perfect for us. If you never look around, you might never see. Ooh, now that’s a great motto, I “Otter” write that down!

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Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups.


CONTESTS


NON-FICTION

-HUMOR

-SELF-HELP


FICTION


YOUNG ADULT

-THRILLER


NEW ADULT

 

-COMING OF AGE


ROMANCE

-CONTEMPORARY

-M/M CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

-ROMANTIC COMEDY


EROTICA


THRILLER


PARANORMAL

 


FANTASY


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REVIEW: Malled to Death by Laura DiSilverio

Malled to Death A Mall Cop Mystery by Laura DiSilverio

This is book 3 in the series and I enjoyed it quite a bit. EJ is a likable character and her family is a total hoot! Grandpa is back in this one and up to his usual mysterious shenanigans. He is helping EJ solve yet another Fernglen Galleria murder-this has to be the worst place to shop ever! Also on scene is EJ’s movie star dad, filming an action movie in the mall. When the props master is found murdered, EJ must figure out who wanted her dead and why-before her family become the next targets.

The mystery in this one totally fooled me! I was sure about 1/3 of the way in that I knew the answer, I kept telling the book why doesn’t EJ know that it’s *, then I got to the end and wow, I did NOT see that coming!! So good!!

There are some interesting subplots including one that deal with FINALLY a love connection for EJ-this is book three, it’s about time! That’s really my only criticism of this series-it moves sloooooowly.
The writing is very good, the characters are fully developed and believable, there is even a cat! But at times it’s like molasses wading through all the extra angst & scenery chewing to get to the meat of the story.

I do like the inclusion of EJ’s injury from Afghanistan and how she is dealing with not just the physical but also her mental recovery. She is such a believable character and her disability is part of the character: her leg gets tired and her knee gives out etc. EJ also acts like a mall cop most of the time-staying out of the way, calling the regular cops in when something happens and not snooping too much. There is a tantalizing thread left dangling that has to do with super secret spy type stuff that I can’t wait to read about in the next book. I recommend this series.

REVIEW: Real Elves by Helen Smith

Real Elves by Helen Smith

What a wonderful story-a great introduction to the Emily Castles world. As the book opens, Emily is helping at a Santa’s Christmas Forest set up in a department store. When they invite Sophie and her grandfather to take a pre-opening tour to test the display, Sophie goes missing. But she is still standing beside her grandfather. What has happened? Is it magic or something more sinister? Will Emily get to the bottom of it before the police arrive?

This is one of those stories that make readers say “wow, I MUST read every other book this author has written!” It’s a cozy mystery in every sense of the genre. Nothing vulgar, no blood, no violence; just a cracking good little mystery with quirky characters and so well written it was as if I was right there with them!

Helen Smith graciously gave me a copy of the book, this review is my own opinion. 5 stars, read this book and the entire series!

REVIEW: Shattered (The Iron Druid Chronicles) by Kevin Hearne

Shattered, The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

Another solid entry in the Iron Druid series. Atticus deals with the return of his arch druid “Owen” while all around him the many pantheons of Gods, Fae and every kind of weird magical ‘thing’ in between plot his demise! The story is told from three different viewpoints from chapter to chapter which was a bit jarring at first and newcomers to the books may have a hard time keeping up with who is who. Many old friends and enemies make an appearance including a very very bad someone from Atticus’ past who does some very bad things to his apprentice Granuaile. Several plot points from along in the series are wrapped up while a few new threads are dangled for the next book. You can really tell how much Hearne loves these characters and the world he has created for them, it shows in the enthusiasm he brings to his writing-this is book #7 and it reads like it’s the first one. If you like mythology and a well-told story, this series is perfect for you.

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