Michael Phillip Cash’s Schism-The Battle For Darracia 1

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

Overview: On the planet Darracia there is a storm brewing. The Darracians are the ruling class, with the Quyroos seeming to be the serving class. The current king has long ago committed a trespass against the Darracian way. He married a Plantan woman. Their son, V’sair, is partially the cause for the stirrings of a civil war. Will V’sair fall due to his own insecurities? Or will he gain the aide of the Elements to save his family?

Story Telling: Well, we have come from Urban Fantasy, through horror, and to a science-fiction tale from Mr. Cash.

Likes: V’sair is the premier Doubting Thomas. He understands the Doctriness, yet he doesn’t feel them down in his gut like the rest of the Darracians do. But he doesn’t deny the ideas when he witnesses them.

Reminda and Drakko truly had big plans. I hope that their plans come to fruition.

Zayden didn’t seem to hold any animosity against his half-breed little brother. He showed how much he is willing to give for him.

Dislikes: Staf’s attitude left much to be desired.

Favorite Character: It would be Reminda.

Favorite Quote: Reminda to Drakko: “Sometimes we must let nature do what it must.…It is not easy , but we must let him find himself.”

Favorite Scene: I enjoyed the part when V’sair learns that maybe the sacred texts might have been misinterpreted.

Conclusion: This is a good start to the trilogy. I hope Mr. Cash manages to keep up the threads through the next two books.

Agatha Christie’s Nemesis-Jane Marple 12

Overview: Jane Marple has just receive3d some rather surprising news. Mr. Rafiel, from “A Caribbean Mystery,” has died, and left a provision for Miss. Marple in his will. He has proposed a game, of sorts. If Miss Marple can find out what crime as committed, and who did it, she will earn 20,000 pounds. It sounds like fun. The first stop is a garden tour….

Story Telling: Once again, we have a British estate/cozy mystery. Jane Marple is up to her old tricks, this time it’s for profit.

Likes: Mr. Rafiel really took care of Miss Marple. His respect for her abilities didn’t blind him to her weaknesses.

This book asks a couple of very serious, and sensitive, questions. First can a girl legally claim rape if she has regrets, or her parents disapprove of the younger couple’s actions? And do you condemn a con-artist for murder based on his past actions? Ms. Christie’s answers to these questions are not the ones that most modern women want to hear. I, personally, agree with her conclusions, though not everyone will.

Dislikes: Mr. Rafiel’s lawyers were a little too pushy for my tastes.

Favorite Character: Miss Cooke was a cool little mystery for us to figure out.

Favorite Quote: Good old Miss Marple. I love how she put it. ““Any coincidence,” said Miss Marple to herself, “is always worth noticing. You can throw it away later if it is only a coincidence.””

Favorite Scene: I enjoyed the talks Miss Marple had with Elizebeth Temple and Archdeacon Brabazon.

Conclusion: This was a terrific story. Miss Marple has a way of seeking out justice.

Dean Koontz’s Every Day’s a Holiday-Amusing Rhymes for Happy Times

Overview: And now, back to poems. This time the poems are tied to a single theme. Mr. Koontz has just about every holiday celebrated, as well as a few spontaneous additions.

Story Telling: We just get to see a bunch of little rhymes.

Artwork: Mr. Parks kept with the penciled illustrations. This time the game is played with toads.

Favorite Poems: Both “Memorial Day” and “Christmas Day” were beautiful. “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” was a good reminder. And “Me Day” was just fun.

Conclusion: Another great book. And like before, I didn’t find all of the toads.

Dean Koontz’s Ashley Bell

Overview: Bibi Blair is a young woman who seems to have her life ahead of her. Her fiance is on a mission with his SEAL team, and soon to be home. Oddly enough Bibi gets both bad news, she has cancer, and good news, it’s been miraculously healed, in all of two days. A chance encounter tells Bibi why she was spared. A creep named Terezin has a girl by the name of Ashley Bell. Bibi has to save her, but who is she?

Story Telling: Mr. Koontz has often used the ideas of science-fiction in his works. This book is a bit more fantastical in it’s workings. Don’t be too quick to judge this book over one of Mr. Koontz’s techniques. Yes, the modern wisdom says never to use it, but that’s because of how easy it is to mess the story up.

Likes: Bibi’s “Captain” grandfather was exactly what she needed at the time.

Paxton will make a good husband. He was right by Bibi as soon as he was able.

Pogo is a great friend, though I don’t think he is that good of an employee. Not caring for money can cut both ways.

Dislikes: For starters, Solange St. Croix is a big problem. If you have to make a public mask for yourself, then you will–in the long run–be living a lie.

Terezin is just too cold for my tastes. But I have to admit, that he was easy to spot.

Now here comes a bit of a delicate situation. I have no doubt that Nancy and Murphy loved Bibi. However, their reliance on fate is dangerous to my mind. Yes, there are things that you cannot change. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t try. You change what you can, even if it is only yourself.

Favorite Character: Oh, I’d say that it was a three-way tie between Paxton, Pogo, and Toba.

Favorite Quote: Mr. Koontz does have a sense of humor. “Okay, you’ve got me, I am caught, revealed. Before I was Calida Butterfly, I was of course Calida Caterpillar.”

Favorite Scene: There were two. Bibi’s escape with the Hermiones was clever. And Paxton’s and Pogo’s visit with Nancy and Murphy after they repaired Bibi’s old recorder was fascinating.

Conclusion: This novel is no where near the heights that Mr. Koontz reached with “Watchers,” “By the Light of the Moon,” or “Strangers.” But it’s not as bad as “The Bad Place.” You’ll see some fascinating ideas in this one, at the very least.

Sibeal Pounder’s Witch Wars

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

Overview: Tiga Whicabim seems to have rotten luck. Her guardian, Mrs. Heks, seems to hate her. But there’s this really weird…thing in her shed. Fran claims to be a fairy from Ritzy City. A new fight for the Top Witch of Ritzy City is about to start, and Tiga has been entered into the competition. Can Tiga win Witch Wars and stay in Ritzy City for good? Or will she have to return to Mrs. Heks?

Story Telling: Well, we have a middle grade fantasy book. Here’s your reader alert, trigger warning, whatever you wish to call it, the next sentence is not politically correct. This book is more suited to girls rather than to boys.

Artwork: The illustrations worked well. Especially with one of the major faults of Sinkville.

Likes: Tiga, Peggy, and Fluffanora showed some great social graces during the competition.

Fran was just ditzy enough to be funny.

Mrs. Brew was cool. Or maybe I just liked Ratty Ann.

Dislikes: How can something be called Ritzy without any color? And considering the ages of the contestants, how was it still standing?

Favorite Character: It would be the Brews.

Favorite Quote: Fluffanora has a pearl of wisdom to give parents and children alike. “It’s not my real name. When I was four, I demanded they change it. I used to be called Anna, but Fluffanora seemed cooler at the time. Sometimes I wish they hadn’t given me everything I wanted.”

Favorite Scene: The time that Tiga spent with the Brews was fun.

Conclusion: The story is good for the age-range. But there are some British words in the beginning. You might have to explain what Ms. Pounder means by ‘torch.’

Dean Koontz’s The Paper Doorway-Funny Verse and Nothing Worse

Overview: Mr. Koontz has decided to give into his humor streak. And he has given into it through poetry.

Story Telling: What can I say? It’s a book of poems. Funny poems, children’s poems, but poems nonetheless.

Artwork: Mr. Phil Parks uses penciled illustrations. These are cute especially since they are used in a game involving mice.

Likes: The poems and artwork complimented each other pretty well. Not to mention that both were just fun.

Favorite Poem: ‘Peg Leg Zeg’ was good in a morbid way.

Conclusion: I had fun with this one. Though I never did find all of the mice.

Carl Brookins The Case of the Yellow Diamond-A Sean Sean Mystery

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

Overview: Sean Sean (no, I did not stutter) has been hired by Tod and Josie Bartelme. See Josie wants to find out what happened to her great-uncle’s plane that went down off the coast of Yap Island during World War II. For some reason, somebody wants the couple to cease their efforts in finding the plane. What could possibly cause a person to take such drastic action in order to stop a woman’s genealogical project? Sean is willing to find out.

Story Telling: What do you call an old fashioned private-eye novel that’s been crossed with a newer suspense novel? I’m not sure, but I know that it’s a mystery. It says so on the cover.

Likes: There is a phrase that I live by. “Beware of the tiny.” The smaller the person, the bigger the attitude/threat level. Sean Sean definitely has the attitude, we get that on straight from the start.

Josie and Tod seemed to support each other. They make a good couple.

Dislikes: Honestly, the antagonists didn’t make much sense to me. Certain actions seemed to make them more of a target. Also, what was the purpose of shooting Cal?

Favorite Character: Oh, it would be the Revulons, Betsy and Belinda. They were fun.

Favorite Quote: We get this one from Sean’s meeting with the two guys in the know. “You been reading those detective novels again, aint’cha, Tommy?”

Favorite Scene: The time Sean spent wit Tommy and Abe was great, but not as kind as what he did for Abe when Tommy had his attack.

Conclusion: This was a pretty good novel. I just wished that I knew for certain why Cal was shot.

Better Homes and Gardens’ America’s Best Cross-Stitch

Overview: The editors of ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ have offered us a new pattern book. This time it’s for cross-stitch.

Story Telling: This is a bit more than a pattern book. We also get some discussion of the art of cross-stitch.

Likes: The graphs utilize both symbols and color, making it easier to follow for both the newer cross-stitcher, as well as the more, shall we say, advanced.

Dislikes: My only complaint is that sometimes the patterns don’t always appear to be in the same section as the photos of the finished product. Some of this is because the sections have a lot of projects and the photos are spread throughout the book.

Favorite Pattern: I want to try the Partridge in a Pear Tree doily, though there was that one deer pattern as well.

Conclusion: This is another great addition for the crafter’s library.

Leslie Budewitz’s Assault and Pepper-A Spice Shop Mystery 1

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

Overview: Pepper Reece is hoping her new spice shop will revitalize her life. After all, she’s recently lost her job in a law-firm’s HR department, and a husband. Things are looking up, until an old pan-handler named Doc is found dead on her shop’s doorstep–so to speak. The detectives aren’t acting like it’s natural causes, especially since they’ve arrested one of her employees. Did Tory kill Doc? Pepper doesn’t think so, and she’s out to prove it.

Story Telling: Oh boy! We have a cozy mystery here. Something that can so easily go wrong when you forget the mystery. Good thing that didn’t happen here.

Likes: Sam was a pretty good guy. I liked Tag as well. He seemed to be very devoted.

Doc wobbled along the fine line of trying to get his daughter to support herself while working toward her dream, and trying to live her life her way.

Dislikes: Honestly, it was Pepper. We clashed. I thought that she was a little too…um…flighty?

Favorite Character: Marianne Finch tried to mend bridges between her step-daughter and her husband.

Favorite Quote: Marianne’s explanation about Doc’s attitude is a good one. “He’d done so much for her. Paints, brushes, canvas. Private lessons. But he wanted her to be practical, to be abler to support herself.

Favorite Scene: Pepper’s talks with Marianne were some of the best parts.

Conclusion: This is a good mystery. Especially if you don’t’ mind the more…flighty…characters.

Thomas Hall’s Nothing As It Seems

I received this book courtesy of Mr. Hall, for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Megan Gallagher seems like she was such a nice girl. She worked as a nurse for a rehabilitation hospital, for those who are unable to stay in a hospital but shouldn’t be heading home yet. So why would somebody want to kill her? Craig Walker is called in when the chief investigator–Jim Prescott–can’t shake the feeling that Megan’s death wasn’t natural. Can Walker and his partner, Munoz, find out what happened to Megan? The real question is how many people have to die first.

Story Telling: We have a cross between a murder mystery and a suspense novel.

Likes: Craig Walker had a pretty good attitude. As long as somebody was willing to work for the answers, even if they needed help, he had respect for that person.

Dislikes: Both of the suspects just bothered me. They were portrayed with very little in the form of innocence potential, nor a clear-cut show of guilt.

Plus the ending was a bit of a downer for me. For those who know me, know that I like a clear black and white picture.

Favorite Character: Craig Walker.

Favorite Quote: Here’s something that shows why I like Craig Walker. “And as I told you, I have great respect for the judgment of cops who are willing to ask for help.”

Favorite Scene: I liked how Hayley dealt with her family. Also Craig Walker and David Munoz had a great conversation with Dr. Reed.

Conclusion: For the most part this was a great book. I just didn’t care for the ending.