The wind is howling, 86 MPH in some areas, avalanche warnings are howling, and we are expecting up to 20 inches of snow . . . but I hear the South is getting hammered too, and they aren’t used to it, so, “It’s All Good!” LOL
Mr. and Mrs. Smith were spies. The specialized in wet work, and so do the characters in Married to Madness. However, this is a bit more twisted than Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Instead of spies, Zack and Brandon are vigilantes – vigilantes who keep their vigilantism from one another much like their predecessors, but not in as loving a manner. Both are stone cold killers, working with their own groups – Zack with a secret group of men, Brandon with an equally secret group of women. I found their own relationship to be violent and twisted, as they physically fight, injuring one another physically, live separately, and then come back together as if nothing happened. Great for the kids sense of security, right? To me, that is defiantly not a healthy relationship no matter if they supposedly love one another or not. Or what they do in their off time.
Neither of them knows about the others vigilante extracurricular activities and keeping secrets is hurting their relationship. Zack begins to suspect that Brandon is a killer and wonders when she will trust him enough to let him know. Of course, he also disappears at all hours of the day and night and she has no clue what he is up to either. Pot. Kettle.
There is violence, madness, murder, and lies upon lies in the book. This I didn’t mind – it is the kind of book it is. What really put me off of the book was the fact that, for all they were supposed to be a family, they didn’t love one another enough to be honest about who, and what, they were. And for all that the story is supposedly about people loving one another no matter the circumstances, I found their violence toward one another to be completely off-putting, though the vigilante thing? Well, good for them for taking out the trash.
Overall, I had problems with the book, but still enjoyed most of it. It is one of those books that I will not, however, place on my “to be read again” shelf.
This book was provided by Netgalley.com for a realistic review. The opinions stated within are mine and mine alone.
There are a lot of what I call “Bakery Mysteries” out there. There is a whole list at: http://cozy-mysteries-unlimited.com/bakery-dessert-list that are, well, delicious. Some are quite yummy, some not. In this case, Sally Berneathy’s Murder, Lies and Chocolate was my first taste of her work, and I found it quite creamy and with a pleasant mouth feel. (Grin)
This isn’t the first in the series, but I did not feel out of place starting my taste of Berneathy here. The story was well paced and I never felt that I was missing parts by not having started at the very beginning. Lindsay runs “Death By Chocolate” a restaurant featuring not only lunch, but luscious chocolate desserts (yes, there are recipes in the back, and they sound marvelous!!!!) She runs the restaurant with her friend Paula who lives next door to Lindsay with her son, two and a half year old Zack. Lindsay’s other best friend, Fred, lives in the house on the other side of her. Fred is a day trader. Or maybe a hacker. Or maybe an undercover agent for MI-6 or the CIA or something. Who knows? Lindsay doesn’t, but that doesn’t keep her from trying to find out!
Rounding out the cast is King Henry, Lindsay’s huge white and yellow “Attack Cat,” Trent the police detective and maybe boyfriend to Lindsay – that is, if she can ever get rid of her useless, self centred, spineless “I want him to be ex if he will ever sign the damn papers” husband, Rick the dirty real estate agent. And boy, is he ever a piece of work!
Lindsay’s day starts off with the unctuous Rick showing up in the restaurant with a criminal wanting to buy Lindsay’s house for twice it’s value. Things go downhill from there when the man drops dead in front of the restaurant, leading to a chain of break-ins, arson, and homicides. Lindsay herself is smart, snarky, and impatient, but not as dumb as some of the other “bakery mystery” characters, and nowhere near as self centred and irritating as, say, Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen. I had to put those down after the first few. The whole ‘love triangle’ and acting like she was some kind of puffed up, ‘real live detective’ just didn’t do it for me. Lindsay sits on the edge – not quite dumb enough to think she can do it all by herself – and besides, she has Fred the Superhuman Next Door Neighbor to back her up. Whats not to like about a guy who shows up with a machine gun he “found in his attic” to run off the smarmy ex?
Overall, this was a 99 cent investment I was happy to pick up from Amazon. I just looked, this is number two in the series, the first one is Death By Chocolate and features Paula. In the blurb about that one, Paula dyes her blond hair brown, hides from everybody and insists on always having an emergency exit from any room. Secrets from Paula’s past have come back to put lives in jeopardy. I will admit it is kind of a bummer to know the outcome of the Paula edition because I read the second one first, but I have no doubt I will enjoy reading the book anyway.
This is recommended for anyone who likes a good, solid cozy mystery who also loves and adores CHOCOLATE! Yep, that’s me!
I don’t write 700 page books padded with useless words that take three chapters to describe a doorknob! – Kimball Lee
Temptation Road and Speaking of the Charmed Life, the two current editions of Lee’s series, speaks to the quoted comment regarding her writing style. This qualifies more as a short story, a novella, rather than a book,only 49 pages. And she attempts to stuff a world into these short pages, a world of mystery and magic which would have been much better served by a writer with a more expressive hand. Given that, there are still things to like about the book, even if I deeply wish that someone else had handled the writing.There is a world of beauty in the thought of the book – one that could create a world of wonder. A beautiful, magical house, wild creatures who wander into the yard and strop themselves against your knees. Hate and love and strangeness.
I will admit, however, that a writer friend of mine will probably love the idea of the novella over a long novel. She has three very small children, a house to run, and books to write, so novellas fit her needs exceptionally well. What I didn’t care for was the choppy delivery, the compression of what could have been beautiful paragraphs into single hard, choppy sentences. The flow simply wasn’t there.
The cover nearly kept me from reading the first book. It has no correlation to the story, instead appearing to be just a stock photo that fits with other books that Lee writes. If I hadn’t read the description, I wouldn’t have read it because the “sex me up” style doesn’t work for me. And those who expect “sex me up” book certainly will be disappointed.
The mysticism in the book is confusing, to say the least, though the good and evil characters are more interesting than most. In the second book, the relationship moves forward rather roughly, with a heavy overtone of punishment that pretty much creaped me out. The inability of Rae, the main female character, to accept the incredible gifts that she is given, instead winding into a whining, baby obsessed wreck, was truly disappointing. Though she is supposed to be more special than one can imagine, instead, she strikes me more as the type of woman who blows things totally out of proportion – spoiled. Meh.
Overall, I really wanted to like it more than I did. However, in many ways the book was oddly appealing. I know, sounds weird, huh? Gripe gripe gripe and yet I found it interesting enough to immediately download the next one and read it. I don’t know. I will get the next one simply because I am interested to see what happens next. I hope I am not disappointed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I would – but will be happy if I am not.
Back in August of last year I wrote a review of To Murder A Saint by Nicole Loughan. At the time I really enjoyed the book, set in both the swamps of Louisiana and the City of New York. There were some issues with it, without a doubt. Nicole is a journalist first and foremost, and her first foray into a non-fiction work of mystery was rough, but showed exceptional promise.
Since that time, I have had pleasant on-line conversations with Nicole, and learned a bit about her, as well as passing along some Cajun tidbits that I thought were appropriate. Nicole, being the sweetheart she is, took my input like a true lady.
This new book set amongst the same families as her previous is far more comfortable for me. In a way, not trying as hard to handle the patois of Southern Louisiana has refreshed her book, making it more realistic and easier to read than a somewhat stiff attempt at the language of the South. One still gets some of the flavor of the Southern language and the world view, and it is more relaxed for it.
In All Saints’ Secrets Fanchon is recovering in New York from the brutal attack that she suffered at the end of the previous book. You get more insight into Fanchon in this book, learning a bit more about her and what drives her as a person. As with the other, this isn’t really a long book, and the descriptions of the bayou country still aren’t on the level of someone like James Lee Burke, but Nicole is making great strides. The language of the characters is not as stiff, and she does more description of the landscapes and the surroundings than she did before. This is a great improvement when it comes to my personal tastes. I know not everyone agrees with me, but descriptions of surroundings and people are very important to my manner of reading. I want to be able to close my eyes and see my surroundings when I am reading. Without that, a book simply doesn’t hold my attention.
This is a rather Gothic look at the Southern Mystery genre, filled with poverty, isolation, and a deep sense of family history. It is easy for me to see what is there, as that is home to me. In the last book, others, who hadn’t traveled to the area, would not have been able to see the landscape as well, should they have closed their eyes and tried. This time around, seeing Fanchon’s surroundings would be easier. There is still a bit of “stiffness” to the writing, but not anything that makes the book unreadable. Instead, I was pulled in immediately and glad to have another look at Fanchon and her story. The storyline is both clever and creative, leaving you knowing at the end that there is a follow up, but this is by no mean a cliffhanger. You could also read this book as a standalone, but I went back and read the first book again before I read this one (as I am habitualized to do) and enjoyed Secrets all the more for it.
Overall, this is a pleasant way to wile away an evening of the Gothic South, mystery, a hint of terror, and a soupcon’ of romantic thought. I look forward to the next and recommend the book to anyone who would enjoy the style.
I bought this book for myself, and didn’t receive the first one, or this one, from the author. All comments are my own thoughts.
This is going to be a really weird post, but maybe it will get some conversation going. You see, I am sort of a geek. Well, a lot of a geek, really. I just finished reading Breath by Kristen Ashley which made me laugh hysterically at all the references to Battlestar Gallactia, Fringe, etc. Then I have been struck by one of my whacko insomnia binges (three days so far) and I also got called for jury duty (well, I got the notice, but they went to 5098 and I was 5172, so I didn’t have to go, but still). Now, I am watching Helix the new Scifi channel show, and so far it reminds me a lot of The Stand.
So anyway. . . when I am on an insomnia binge my mind goes into overdrive, and I start thinking about things, and then I think about more things, and my Weirdo Monitor goes off the scale. Well, my friends used to say that I was more like a Mad Scientist than anything else. I get to thinking and can’t even remember how to tie my shoes much less remember to eat or sleep!
I started out thinking about Juries. And U.S. legal customs. Which really tick me off. Come on – a defense
attorney’s job is to get people off, no matter that they are guilty, no matter what they have done. Rape, murder, sadism, you name it. A prosecutor’s job is to get the defendant prosecuted – no matter if they did it or not. Cops jobs are to get a suspect and get them prosecuted (and having worked with police for dogs years, I can tell you, the concept of “close the case” is more important than whether the person is innocent or guilty). So I am sitting here thinking, the last time I had jury duty, the guy was soooo guilty (a brutal rapist) and yet the defense attorney was turning himself inside out to make the poor victims suffer the horrors of the damned in order to get his client off. Twelve people, none of them but me and one other had any experience in forensics, police work, evidential procedure, or the law. “A jury of your peers.” Pffft. I can tell you, this guy was NOT my “peer” by any stretch of the imagination. Yep. That definitely keeps me up at night.
I did get to read Kristen Ashley, as I said. I have read her other Colorado Mountain series books, but Breath was good in that the main female character is such a geek! When I am having sleep issues, I find that reading something that is totally just for fun is about the only thing I can handle. Certainly can’t do anything that takes mental concentration or hand/eye coordination! LOL But it is fun, sorta like being all juiced up on endorphins after a long run. It just doesn’t help the spread of my thighs as well as running does! ROFL
So, Helix you ask? Well, I am nine minutes down from the end of the first episode, and I have to say, I really like it so far. I could get all intense talking about medical labs and ancient viruses, biological warfare and all that . . . all sorts of fascinating issues, but that is several pages of ranting and raving, and you would be either bored or think I am a total whack job, so what can I say? (GRIN) The last part of the show – – – there is a scene that is totally, totally C.R.E.E.P.Y. . . . Monkeys will never look quite the same to me! I hope they don’t shut this show down. I am way sick of really good shows being taken off the air and replaced with stupid “reality” programming . . . come on, reality? More like “let’s all do the “I’m too stupid to live” programming.
Maybe tonight I will sleep. Then I can put up some good reviews instead of mad rambling! For now, I finished the first episode of Helix and now I am watching the newest Criminal Minds. Gotta love Penelope Garcia!!! Oh, she is mentioned in Breath also. Cool.