John Matthews’s Henry Hunter and the Snagov Beast-Henry Hunter 1

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Adolphus Pringle hasn’t truly known a relatively normal day since he befriended Henry Hunter. It doesn’t matter what’s going on at school, Henry is liable to drag, albeit a willing, Dolf along for the trek for whatever he is hunting at the time. On this trip, Henry has heard of a monster that would make the fabled Count Dracula shake. Will they find this monster as a fable? Or more from the unique viewpoint of an entrée?

Story Telling: We get a middle-grade adventure novel. As with many children’s adventure stories, there’s a touch of the fantastical running through it.

Likes: Henry has a pretty open mind. He is always looking for the next unknown item or creature. Dolf has a loyal heart. He does helps out the best he knows how.

Bella shows a type of family-oriented repentance.

Dislikes: Henry’s parents may have felt a sense of monetary responsibility (what ever that means)–or as the books calls it ‘a bad attack of responsibility’–but where was their parental responsibility? Is the phrase ‘monetary responsibility,’ even the way it’s put in the book, a code for feeling guilty for being rich? Because, the way that the family made their billions is no reason to feel guilty.

And I get why Bella lied, I just don’t agree with it.

Oh, and has The Order of the Dragon never read or watched any scary stories? Don’t they know that worshipping anything, other than the Creator of heaven and earth, ends badly?

Favorite Character: It would be Dolf.

Favorite Quote: Unfortunately, I’ve been requested to not quote from my copy this time around.

Favorite Scene: I enjoyed the sneaking around in Whitby.

Conclusion: This was a fun and cute book. Enjoy it with your hunters, though I don’t advise them to put much stock into the tabloid articles.

Barbara Venkataraman’s Peril in the Park-A Jamie Quinn Mystery 3

I received this book courtesy of Ms. Venkataraman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Jamie’s picture-perfect life is starting to show some cracks. Her boyfriend, Kip, is having trouble with the rest of the Broward County Parks Division. Her father’s visa application is hung up in the bureaucracy of INS. And now she’s getting threatening messages. Who is following her and Kip around on their dates? Does it have anything to do with the body found in the park hosting Ren-Fest? And will her Daddy ever get to America?

Story Telling: And we’re back to a cozy mystery.

Likes: Duke is back. And he has a newish girlfriend.

Kip strongly advocated getting both sides of the story before making any decision. I like his style.

Dislikes: Jamie did jump to a lot of conclusions this time around. It was very different from the previous books.

And I felt the wrong woman was portrayed as the bad guy during Jamie’s meeting with Duke’s newest girlfriend. After all, she is his friend.

Favorite Character: It’s Duke, or Kip.

Favorite Quote ““Thanks for everything, Duke, you’re the bomb!”
“Course I am,” he said. “Assumin’ that’s a good thing.””

Favorite Scene: It’s Ren-Fest. How could I resist Pirate Duke? Really, how could anyone?

Conclusion: This book, while still good, wasn’t as fun as the others were. Perhaps it’s a matter of tastes, or politics?

Samantha Seneviratne’s Gluten-Free For Good-Simple, Wholesome Recipes Made From Scratch

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Gluten-free seems to be quite popular these days. So, how do you fix meals when one or more of the family members has a hard time with wheat? Ms. Seneviratne says she has your solution.

Story Telling: We get a cookbook, complete with photos and tips.

Likes: It’s nice to see the replacement guide so close to the front of the book.

Also, we get a large range of recipes, from soups to breakfasts, and dinners to desserts.

Dislikes: My major problem comes from the photo accompanying “Braised Vegetable Ragout.” The photo shows the cherry tomatoes in the ragout with the stems still attached. Now, it may look pretty, but this is a very bad idea. Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family. Eat the edible fruit, but do not mess with the poisonous greens. After all, they are used for pest control.

Favorite Recipes: The pork chops and the two candies are really good.

Conclusion: This is an interesting book. I hope you find it useful.

Barbara Venkataraman’s The Case of the Killer Divorce-A Jamie Quinn Mystery 2

I received this book courtesy of Ms. Venkataraman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Jamie is embroiled in a bitter divorce. Or her client is anyway. Jamie has her hands full with her client and with her private investigation. See, Duke is looking for Jamie’s dad. All of this goes out the window when Becca, Jamie’s client, becomes the prime suspect in a murder case. And who was murdered? Why, Becca’s husband of course. With another murder to investigate, will Jamie ever find her Daddy?

Story Telling: Welcome back to the cozy mystery starring a lawyer.

Likes: Duke is back. And he is still a big flirt.

We get to meet a new character. Kip is Jamie’s former love, and maybe her future one as well. He was fun to run across.

Dislikes: This time it was Becca. I have never had the misfortune of meeting anyone so self-centered, thankfully.

Favorite Character: It’s still Duke, but Grace comes in a close second.

Favorite Quote: Jamie is definitely a fast-thinker. “Of course! I couldn’t have found him without you. You’re the best!”

Favorite Scene: Oh, it’s a toss-up between the horseback riding date, and Jamie’s volunteering at the food bank.

Conclusion: I had fun with this one. Just don’t consider yourself a vegetarian if you eat seafood. After all, all you’ve cut out is the red meat and poultry.

Barbara Venkataraman’s Death By Didgeridoo-A Jamie Quinn Mystery 1

I received this book courtesy of Ms. Venkataraman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Jamie Quinn has been spending the last six months hiding from the outside world…er, trying to gather her thoughts after her mother’s death. A call from her distressed Aunt Peg seems to be just what Jamie needs to come out of her funk. You see, her cousin, Adam, has been implicated in a murder. His music teacher, Spike, was found murdered. The one who found him was Adam. Can Jamie keep Adam out of jail? Or will the killer silence Jamie first?

Story Telling: We get a cozy mystery. Wait a minute, no saying that it can’t be a cozy mystery because Jamie is a lawyer. She practices family law, not criminal.

Likes: Jamie is desperate to make sure justice is served by having the actual killer behind bars.

Grace was able to help Jamie out the best way she could. See, spending some time in criminal law can be beneficial.

Oh, and don’t forget Duke.

Dislikes: Nick, the prosecutor, is my biggest problem. He seemed to want the easy solution. Not the right solution, the easy one. This makes it hard to trust him.

Favorite Character: Oh, Marmaduke Broussard III. Nothing like a Southern flirt. In fact, the only thing better is a Southern gentleman.

Favorite Quote: Here’s one to show you Jamie’s attitude. “There’s one more thing I should tell you, but I don’t like to bring it up. Since I have no choice, I’ll just throw it out there and hope you don’t think less of me, or make assumptions about my honesty or integrity. The truth is…I’m a lawyer.”

Favorite Scene: I’d have to go with Jamie’s meeting with Duke in the bar. That was fun.

Conclusion: This was a fun book. Enjoy it if you like a little humor in your cozies.

Michelle A. M. Lewis’s Why Willow Wept

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Willow is one of the youngest trees. She enjoys spending time by her river. So what happens when Willow begins weeping? Let’s find out.

Story Telling: This is written in a similar manner as Aesop’s Fables.

Artwork: The illustrations are quite charming and realistic in a cartoon-ish way.

Likes: The artwork is the real attraction to this book.

Dislikes: I believe this book was trying to point out the importance of perspective. Unfortunately, this did not come out well. Rather than use the donkey’s words to teach a lesson on tact–or even to point out that good intentions can sometimes go wrong–Ms. Lewis blamed Willow for feeling hurt.

What kind of lesson is this for a child? That it doesn’t matter what someone says or does, if your perspective is wrong, then it’s your fault for being offended? Way to go for blaming the victim.

Favorites: I don’t have any this time around.

Conclusion: This is one of the few books that I think nobody should read. If you want the best way to handle perspective, or bullies, use Jesus’ words.

Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived In…Brazil

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Roman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Our travels are taking us to one of the nations that are home to the Amazon River. It just happens to be the home of the next Olympic Games as well. Welcome to Brazil.

Story Telling: This is another cultural travelogue.

Artwork: We mix realistic illustrations with photography in this book.

Likes: We still have the basic words and their pronunciations.

Conclusion: This series is interesting, and some of the basic words didn’t seem too rough. Enjoy it with your travelers.

Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived In…Ancient China

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Roman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: We are going really far back in time on this trip. This time we’re heading for China during the Han Dynasty.

Story Telling: It’s still a historical culture book. Research it as you go.

Artwork: We get a colorful form of manga illustration here.

Likes: Some of the ideas and situations were quite amusing.

Dislikes: Obviously some people were more equal than others in this country.

Conclusion: These books are a good way to jump-start your travelers’ curiosity, but make sure you do your own homework.

Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived In…The American West

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Roman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Let’s go time-traveling! This time, we’re heading out along the Oregon Trail. What will we see this trip?

Story Telling: Once again we have a historical culture book.

Artwork: We get some realistic illustrations in this trip.

Likes: This one was pretty fun. And Mrs. Roman nailed the cowboy code.

Dislikes: You’ll have to take this part with a grain of salt. And I only mention it because I have read conflicting accounts. But, Mrs. Roman implied that most of the Natives along the Oregon Trail were mostly peaceful. Other accounts do not bear this one out. Do your own research though. Don’t take my word for it.

Conclusion: This was an interesting book. Oh, and be very jealous of those who left school so early in those days. Their tests were brutal. Enjoy it with your cowpokes.

Joe Chianakas’s Nightmares Under the Moonlight

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: We’re coming close to Hallowe’en. It’s time for the spooks and creepy-crawlies to come out to play. Let’s see what this collection of stories and poems has to offer.

Story Telling: We get an anthology from a single author with the only link being horror.

Likes: These stories aren’t too gory. Nor are most of them too demonic. Mr. Chianakas handled the scares well. Also, some of the stories have good endings associated with them.

Dislikes: There were a few stories and a poem that were too dark for me. I don’t like the bad guys having that much power.

Oh, I have a question for Jaime’s sister in “Whispers and Flames.” How can you hate scary stories, and yet, somehow, be okay with the idea of children killing each other as a form of entertainment?

Favorite Story: I guess it would be “The Destroyer.”

Conclusion: This is one to read on Hallowe’en. The only thing is this author really seems to like Steven King. And that is one author whose style I prefer to avoid.