M. J. Arlidge’s Pop Goes the Weasel-Helen Grace 2

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

Overview: It’s been a year since DI Helen Grace has been forced to face down a serial killer. Now it appears to be starting all over again. Men are being found in very compromising areas, and they aren’t the only ones suffering the consequences. Can this situation end any better than the last one?

Story Telling: This is another semi-dark police procedural. And yes, Helen hasn’t left England yet.

Dislikes: I have two problems with this novel. Let’s start with the major one first. There is a Christian denomination referenced in this book, the Christian Domestic Order to be precise. Now, I couldn’t write this review before I looked this denomination up. See, I thought the denomination was invented for the book. Unfortunately, that is only part of the truth. The Christian Domestic Order is called something else in the world, and it did originate in England. Yet the portrayal of this order in the book was much more violent than those who choose this order truly act. As it is, this book seems more inline with a certain Middle-Eastern religion, than straight-forward Christianity.

And then there was Emilia. The nicest way to put her in this book was that she was a pain. My reading partner has a very unladylike assessment of her. Yes, the public has a right to know if a serial killer is hunting in their neighborhoods. That right ends where the victims’, their families’, and other innocent bystanders’ rights begin. Some times you swallow your pride, and the story if you cannot get it without destroying an innocent’s life.

Likes: Charlie was still a good person to follow. We saw just how bad the situation in the last book affected her, and how she dealt with the fallout. She wants to do the right thing. Helen tried to do the best thing for her nephew.

Favorite Character: It’s Charlie.

Favorite Quote: I don’t know why I can’t find one here.

Favorite Scene: The best part was the epilogue. It was sweet.

Conclusion: This might be a novel that causes Mr. Arlidge to lose some of his readers. They must remember that Mr. Arlidge is British, as such, he gives a British point-of-view on Christianity, which might not be the same as America’s. And that’s sad, because it’s a good book. When it comes to the Christian aspects, try to picture the guy as someone who doesn’t represent Jesus very well. After all, it is a police procedural, and not all professing Christians are Christian-like. It’s another good book by Mr. Arlidge. I’m looking forward to the next.

M.J. Arlidge’s Eeny Meeny- Helen Grace 1

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

Overview: Something has gone very wrong in Southampton. Two people are being kidnapped and left with a horrible choice. They are left in an isolated area with no food, no water, and a gun with only one bullet. What kind of person derives pleasure from such a sick game? And can Helen Grace’s team stop the game before any more participants are forced to play it?

Story Telling: This is a police novel, albeit one of the more gritty forms. As well, this novel is based in England. I guess Southampton kind of gives that part away.

Dislikes: It’s mostly the gore. Sometimes, the story requires it, as in this case. It’s just disturbing.

Likes: Mr. Arlidge did something that marks him as a true international writer. He makes sure that the readers from outside of his country were well-aware of what the abbreviations meant. And I thank him for that.

Charlie and Mark were pretty cool, even if they both had their own problems to deal with.

Now, back to the gore. It isn’t over the top, nor in brutal detail. It’s kind of, not really glossed over, but implied without beating you over the head with the amount of detail. It makes for a more enjoyable read.

Favorite Character: It will have to be Mark Fuller.

Favorite Quote: Sorry guys, I couldn’t find one this time around.

Favorite Scene: I enjoyed joining Charlie when she found out that she was pregnant.

Conclusion: There is some hope in this book. And, it’s an interesting, as well as a clean, read. Enjoy it if you like police procedurals, or foreign mysteries.

Ronald Rice’s My Bookstore-Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop

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

Overview: With commercial giants like Barnes and Noble, or online monoliths like Amazon, is there still a market for the community, independently owned bookstores? According to the essays in this books, they sure do. Let’s follow these authors on a cross-country journey to some of their favorite bookstores.

Story Telling: This is a book of essays, but don’t let that put you off. Where else will you find an essay in the form of a comic strip?

Dislikes: The only problem I had was that a few authors allowed politics to, well, envelop every aspect of their lives, or at least it seemed that way. But, outside of God and family, I don’t think that anything should envelop your life to this extent.

Likes: It’s refreshing to hear that neither the printed books nor the bookstores are doomed. That is just hopeful for those dreaming of seeing their books in print.

Favorite Quote: Here’s a good one. “I write because I have to, because when I don’t, I feel as if I’m losing my sense of self.

Favorite Essay: Those would be the ones written by Kristen Harmel, Carolyn Hart, and the joint essays by Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown, and Wendell and Florence Minor.

Conclusion: This is a great book for the aspiring writer to read. And enjoy it even if you are one of those who enjoy the company of loaded bookshelves.

Michael Connelly’s Chasing the Dime

Overview: Henry Pierce has just moved in to a new apartment, complete with a new phone number. Unfortunately, that number belonged to a girl named Lilly. Since his break-up with his fiancé, Henry decides to find Lilly. Will this idea work out for the best? Or will he regret ever starting out on this excursion.

Story Telling: Normally, a mystery involving people outside of law-enforcement, or the legal field, being the protagonists is called a cozy-mystery. I’m not so sure what kind of mystery this would be, as it breaks the other rules for a cozy.

Dislikes: It’s Henry. This guy is supposedly a certified genius. I understand that just because you are a genius in one field, it doesn’t mean that the genius branches out to all aspects of your life, but this guy doesn’t even have the basics of common sense. His moral code irked me as well.

One more thing. I don’t care if you prefer to call it ‘social engineering,’ a lie is a lie. At least be man enough to admit to it.

Likes: Playing the game of cross-over cameos is pretty fun. Also, there were quite a few honorable characters in the story.

Favorite Character: Well, there’s Nicole, Robert Renner, and Clyde Vernon.

Favorite Scene and Quote: There isn’t one here.

Conclusion: This is a story for those who prefer it dark. Personally, I prefer some redeeming factor in my protagonists.

Sterling’s Crocheting School-A Complete Course

Overview: Handmade work seems to be enjoying a comeback. This leaves the question for the new crafter: what should I start with? Sterling has an answer. Why not crochet?

Story Telling: This is a how-to book, but it is more of a reference guide.

Likes: This has step-by-step instructions, as well as accompanying photographs for each stitch, or variety of stitches, and pattern stitches.

The book also walks the reader through various ways to get the same effect.

Favorite Pattern: This book works more with the stitches, so there isn’t any pattern per se.

Conclusion: This is a good resource for the beginning and more experienced crotcheter. You may have to pair it with tutorial videos if you are more of a visual learner.

Dean Koontz’s Winter Moon

Overview: Jack and Heather McGarvey have had a very interesting year. But it’s beginning to look up.. The father to one of Jack’s closest friends and former partner has left them a major windfall. Say goodbye to the violence of the city life. No more hour-long commutes to the closest store. Hello snow, quietness, good clean mountain air. What could possibly go wrong? Um, should we tell them that they are in a Dean Koontz book?

Story Telling: Mr. Koontz has a few different storylines. This one is a monster book.

Dislikes: This is kind of hard to explain. Perhaps, it’s because I’ve started with Mr. Koontz’s later books, but this one seemed to be missing something. Even the ending left something to be desired.

Likes: Eduardo was a neat old man. He may have preferred the more, down-to-earth stories, but he was willing to shift his thinking to fit the facts as presented.

Eagle’s Roost seems like a nice place to live, if the snow wasn’t such a threat.

Favorite Character: Harlan Moffit. I can’t tell you much about him, but this is the guy who is good for a party.

Favorite Quote: This one is pretty strong, you might want to read the whole thing in context. “Luther saw it coming years ago. Said politicians were tearing down a thousand years of civilization brick by brick but weren’t building anything to replace it.”

Favorite Scene: It would be when Toby got his dog. As well as when Paul was playing word games with Toby.

Conclusion: There is a lot of hope in this book, but it isn’t one of Mr. Koontz’s best. If you don’t mind a little uncertainty, give this one a shot.

Lincoln Child’s Deep Storm–Jeremy Logan 1

Overview: Dr. Peter Crane is used to high-stress jobs. After all, both the submarines in the Navy, as well as a few research groups aren’t exactly known for peace and relaxation, not even if you are an adrenaline junkie. His new assignment might just be more than he can handle. Peter has been called in to assist with the puzzle of the century. One a very special dig, members of the Deep Storm crew have fallen victim to a odd set of calamities. Unfortunately, there seems to be no common denominator. Can Peter find out what’s going on? Or, will he fall victim to outside forces?

Story Telling: I’m not really sure where to file this book. We have one part adventure, one part espionage, another part mystery, plus a bit of science-fiction to boot.

Dislikes: It’s mostly a matter of tastes. I don’t care much for aquatic our espionage novels.

Likes: Admiral Spartan was an impressive man. He seemed to want the best for the whole situation.

Favorite Character: It would be a toss up between Dr. Flyte and Admiral Spartan.

Favorite Quote: “So what? A black panther’s beautiful, too…right up to the minute it rips your guts out.”

Favorite Scene: It was the conversations between Dr. Flyte and Peter.

Conclusion: This was a decent book. I hope you enjoy it.

H. Eugene Lehman’s Architects of Anglo-American Justice-Draftsmen of Common Law from Roman Britannia to the Constitution of the United States of America

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

Overview: Everyone has heard of a common law. Of course, it’s usually in the terminology of a ‘common law marriage.’ So, how about a history lesson on the American and English laws?

Story Telling: This is a history book. And like all history books, the historian is just as important as the time frames included.

Dislikes: Here’s my problem, history is everyone’s story. Yet, most historians only give one particular point-of-view. This happens to be an atheistic, progressive viewpoint.

Also, just because something is in the public domain, it doesn’t mean that people will necessarily go look the items up. If you are going to refer to the American Founding Documents, then at least include those documents in an appendix.

Likes: It was fascinating to learn about Alfred the Great, Good Queen Bess, and some of the background of the Revolutionary War.

It was also neat to see how communistic the Puritans really were.

Favorite Section: That would be the Doom book of Alfred the Great, and the section on the United States.

Favorite Quote: There are two, one from Alfred the Great, and one from Thomas Payne. Here’s the first: “My will is to live worthily, and after my life, to leave to them who come after me a memory of my good works.”

And the one from Thomas Payne. “I prefer peace, but if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so my children can live in peace.”

Conclusion: This can be an interesting book. But, by now, you should know my motto: do your own research.

Ben Blatt’s Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve-What the Numbers Reveal about the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing

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

Overview: Have you ever wondered if two books were by the same author, or co-author? Do you wonder if you can find your favorite author’s fingerprints? If you are a word-nerd or any fancier of the written word, this might be a book you find interesting.

Story Telling: This is a non-fiction book. It focuses more on the statistics, instead of the written word.

Dislikes: The major problem was the focus on the statistics, especially during the comparisons of male and female authors. You see, Mr. Blatt used e-books for his research so, in some cases, it was pretty evident that he hadn’t read the books. His example for the differences in men and women writers was J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” Yes, there aren’t any female characters in the unexpected party. But, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any mention of the women in Tolkien’s world. There are more ways to refer to women besides ‘she’ and ‘her.’ Besides, while men will write more adventures and war novels, women tend to write more romances and erotica (can you really tell the difference today?). Guess when genre requires both genders?

Also, the reading grade levels seem to be inaccurate. While the words might be simple or monosyllable, no one–in his or her right mind–would give “Fifty Shades of Grey” to an elementary student.

Likes: A lot of this was fascinating. Some of the ways they proved authorship was cool. Even when the authorship was a known pseudonym, the processed worked with surprising accuracy.

The quotes were fun, and–at times–encouraging.

Favorite Section: That would be the section on the differences in the cover designs.

Favorite Quote: Granted, this one isn’t from the author, but it fits. “Your style is an emanation from your own being.–Katherine Anne Porter”

Conclusion: This is a fascinating book. Just be careful about the knowledge you receive. Like the grade levels, you have to consider each book and the reader at the time.

Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived In…the Mayan Empire

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

Overview: Let’s kick off the time machine. This time we’re heading to the Mayan Empire. What are we going to learn on this trip?

Story Telling: Once again, we have a historical cultural book.

Artwork: We get more realistic looking illustrations.

Likes: Somehow, Mrs. Roman kept the violence of the Mayans out of this book.

Conclusion: This is a decent starter book for Southern and Central America. However, wait until your children are older to continue the lessons.