Thursday, August 17, 2017

Review: SARA Trilogy by Ernie Lindsey

Sara's Game (Book 1) - “Are you ready to play the game?”
Compelling from the start, the game begins with Sara’s three missing children. An anxiety-riddled mystery greets the reader and whisks you away on a fast-action thrill ride of craft and intellect. Sara was like Bruce Willis in Die Hard.

Could Sara’s husband, who went missing years ago, be involved? Or is it a jealous, competitive co-worker who’s behind this calculating scheme? I loved the riddles and clues. They really made you think while combating the clock.

I also liked how it incorporated video game theory and analogy.

An exciting read! It makes me want to continue the series. What other games await Sara?
Sara's Past (Book 2) - Four bombs in four countries. Could Sara's past have anything to do with it?
Turns out an old high school classmate is looking to even the score.
Sara's Fear (Book 3) - Two dangerous psychopaths and one mother's fear. It's Sara's worst nightmare yet. Shelley Sergeant (Book 1) and Patty Kellogg (Book 2) team up to get revenge on Sara.
Best one in the trilogy and a grand finale to the series.  
My rating: 4.5 stars

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Review: NEW SHOES by Shelley Coriell (Vol. 2)

This is the second collection of short stories starring the clever granny detective, Lottie King.

Newly-retired Lottie King is in heaven in "New Shoes." On a mission to find the perfect shoes to wear on her Caribbean cruise, she never expected to find a body. Of course, you can't keep a former homicide detective away from a crime scene. This case takes us back 63 years. Who would shoot a guy and stuff him between the walls?

In "First Dance," Lottie signs up for a pole-dancing class. Now there's an image that stays with you. But who would kill the instructor?

Most of these stories were good, except for "Unexpected Delivery," which is a montage of letters written to an unknown recipient. What?

Otherwise, these were clever and witty. A good short story always leaves you wanting more, and this reader definitely wants more Lottie King.

My rating: 4 stars

Review: THIN ICE by Shelley Coriell (Vol. 3)

Lottie King has officially started her own PI business, doing detective work for missing persons, cheating spouses, and, of course, homicide investigations.

Her first case begins with a dead body in "Thin Ice."

"Sweet Success" is about the murder of a romance author at a chocolate festival. Sounds sinfully delicious.

Then there was the case of the murdered twin, but it seemed that the wrong twin may have gotten wacked.

Fun, clever, and witty! Best mysteries ever!

My rating: 5 stars

Review: EUPHORIA LANE by Tina Swayzee McCright

For Andi, moving into her first condo seemed like euphoria...until she finds a dead body in the dumpster and all the HOA fines start coming through. Geez, it seems like you can't even turn around without breaking some sort of violation from the homeowner's association. There was just too many rules! And if the dead lady in the dumpster was part of the HOA board, then any one of the neighbors could've killed her.
It would seem the town reverend is the prime suspect in the murder, but Andi doesn't think so. Of course, she didn't really set off trying to find the killer. She just sort've fell into the gig in the midst of fighting the jerk president in charge of the HOA board. And it would seem that everyone in town had an opinion to who dunit.

This little mystery was pretty engaging overall, but it was a little confusing keeping up with all the assumptions and the clues. I mean, it didn't quite make sense right away. And the fact that we were dealing with an amateur sleuth didn't make it that much more engaging. But I did feel for Andi as she helplessly fought to keep the HOA off her back, while, at the same time, trying to evade a killer.

A suitable read.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Friday, May 5, 2017

Review: THE GRUMPFACE by B.C.R. Fegan

"In a land far away, in a time long ago, was the Village of Hay near the Forrest of Ho."  I had to giggle at this first line.

The story of Grumpface had sort of a "Beauty and the Beast" theme. A man, who only seeks to win the heart of a beauty, must complete a list of challenges when he is captured by Grumpface. I guess the tasks would only represented the man's worthiness of the fair maiden. The illustrations were simple and vibrant. I especially liked the volcano rendering and I enjoyed the comical undertone throughout. But I thought there were a few holes in the story line. It just had some things that didn't quite make sense, and I also didn't take to the language too well. Were kids even going to understand that? Rhyming was cute, even though some of the lines were a bit too cheesy for my likes.

Overall, I thought this was a cute children's story.


My rating: 3 stars

Review: THE MISSING PIECE by Marie Lavender

Alyssa is a reserved college student, an English lit major that preferred the company of a paperback more than anything else. "She wasn’t prepared to venture into the dating scene like everyone else on campus. Of course, ‘dating’ was actually a pretty loose term these days. She preferred her own company to that of the male persuasion. They all seemed to be caught up in the weekend scene and were so full of themselves that it was probably better if she avoided them altogether." (5)

One morning, she wakes up on the lawn in front of an unknown fraternity house with a raging hangover and absolutely no recollection of the night before. It's at this point that she learns that, under the influence of too much alcohol, she actually went upstairs with a guy she didn't know. Oh, no! You don't suppose that they...that she...? With rampant thoughts of pregnancy and STD's, Aly becomes paranoid and seeks to find answers to what happened that night. Did she go all the way with some guy named Brendan? Fortunately, the guy's roommate, Justin, was willing to help her out.

The "missing piece" is finding the truth for young Aly, and the reader becomes interested to find out, too, especially when Aly is such a sweet girl that you can't bear for anything bad to happen to her. You feel for her as she goes through the stages of confusion and panic over the possible what-ifs of that night. I liked that Justin was there for her, making Aly realize that her crisis may have revealed a very small and very cute diamond in the rough.

Short and compelling, story is a quick, satisfying read.


My rating: 4 stars

Review: THE SUGAR BABY CLUB by Teresa Lo

"My name is Jasmine Lewis, and this is my story. It’s a cautionary tale about money, sex,

and power, but I guess those words are redundant. Money is always about sex and power. And sex is always about power. And why have power if you can’t have sex and money? But anyway, this is a story about money, sex, and power. This is the story of The Sugar Baby Club." (8)

The night of a frat party was the night Jasmine screwed some loser douchebag, egged a dorm room, and got arrested for underage drinking. As we dive deeper into the story, it ripples into the different lives of a group of dorm girls, but mainly centering on Jasmine and Kita. They each have their issues and problems, but they strive for purpose and independence. Jasmine was seeking validation from a man who wouldn't cast her away like some cheap, ugly lay, and Kita wanted to go to Paris. Then Jasmine discovers this thing called "sugaring," where a young girl dates an older, rich guy, who pays for tuition, vacations, and other great stuff. One girl made $50K a year being a sugar baby. Wow! Where do you sign up? But, wait, what's the catch?

With the goal of going to Paris, Jasmine and Kita decide to be sugar babies. The goal was to make $40K each and get out before it becomes too addicting. Sound easy, right? Of course, it's never that easy.  

So the reader tags along as Jasmine and Kita go through "sugaring." Although intriguing at first, after a while though, you feel like you've gone through as many dates as you can handle and the "sugaring" gets a little old. I mean, some of the guys are pretty boring. What I liked, however, is that it doesn't get dirty. Yes, there's sexual acts, but it's subtle and not overly done. Even though I felt the girls were degrading themselves and pretty much selling their bodies for money, I still felt a sense of empathy for them, especially when they were so inexperienced. How can someone fall into this life at such a young age? Well, as crazy as it sounds, it does happen. And this life pretty much becomes a learning process for the girls, who are repeatedly spurned by "salt daddies" yet continue to recite the mantra, "It's all about money." But will money bring them the happiness they seek? Or will they realize that money is the root of all evil?

So raw yet sensitive, story is a expressive rendition of the life of a call girl or "sugar baby." It's touching, but, like I said, it gets old fast.


My rating: 3 stars