Janice Peacock’s High Strung-A Glass Bead Mystery 1

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

Overview: Jax O’Connell has a new life in Seattle, thanks to the kindness of her late aunt. Now during the ‘Jewelry Makers of Washington League’ extravaganza, a freak accident, followed by a murder, hits. Such bad luck can happen at any time really. But why would the police suspect Tessa Ricci of murdering someone she was helping?

Story Telling: So, we have a new crafter’s cozy mystery.

Likes: Tessa has an interesting way of handling her children.

And Val was willing to help her friends, even if that help was what they were expecting.

Dislikes: Once again, the glass work seemed to bog down the story. Maybe it was just me, but the time spent describing the crafting elements just seemed to drown out the mystery.

Also, I had a hard time feeling for these characters, probably why I noticed the crafting elements so much. The strongest that I felt was how rude Marta was for bringing her basset hound to the bead extravaganza. Sneaking pets anywhere tends to be a bad idea, and inconsiderate.

Favorite Character: It would be Tessa.

Favorite Quote: Aunt Rita did good for Jax. “My only stipulation is this: You must live in my house and find your creative passion.” Of course she could have just gone with passion, in my opinion.

Favorite Scene: The way that Tessa handled her daughters during a clean up session was pretty good.

Conclusion: This is a decent story. You might enjoy it more if you like cozy mysteries and beading.

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Dean Koontz and Ed Gorman’s City of Night-Frankenstein 2

Overview: It’s been less that twenty-four hours since the events of “Prodigal Son.” Detectives O’Connor and Maddison are all-in, so to speak, when it concerns stopping Victor Helios. Along with Deucalion, they are trying to figure out where Helios’s main base of operations is located. The only question is if Helios will find them before they are ready for him?

Story Telling: We are continuing with the Frankenstein story. So, there’s monsters of both the created and human varieties.

Likes: Deucalion has managed to find a way to control his temper. It’s a very unique way. I don’t think that those boys liked it very much.

Lulana, Evangeline, and Moses are doing the best they can for their community, and their boss.

We meet Erika Five, and she seems to be smarter than the rest. Could she be Frankenstein’s doom?

Dislikes: Benny and Cindi were nuts, and only one of them could see it. And that was only partially.

Helios isn’t just cruel, as I had thought from the beginning, he is blind to his mistakes and sins.

Favorite Character: I think I’ll go with Deucalion.

Favorite Quote: “Nevertheless, what will come will come, and each of us must face it in his own way, with as much courage as he can….”

Favorite Scene: Well, we have the one where we see Deucalion’s form of anger management. Or when he gets Arnie to safety. Or the time that Deucalion spends comforting the replaced Pastor Kenny. That one was kind of sweet.

Conclusion: This one was pretty good. Though, the ending was kind of weird. What was the purpose of introducing that last couple?

Steve Altier’s Blast Off! With Gabby and Maddox-Gabby and Maddox 2

review.

Overview: Gabby and Maddox are setting out on their newest adventure. This time, they are part of the “Children’s Astronaut Program.” What will this mission hold in store for them? And will they make it home after a mechanical malfunction?

Story Telling: We have a middle grade adventure with a splash of science-fiction.

Artwork: We get a few black-and-white sketches to go along with the story.

Likes: Gabby and Maddox kept their cool pretty well. And the aliens weren’t so frightening.

Dislikes: It’s not really a problem with the story, but with your humble reviewer. I had a hard time with the idea of two children, under the age of ten, going into space…alone.

Favorite Character: I guess it would be Maddox.

Favorite Quote: Just like a child. “It’s too early to get up, what are your doing?”

Favorite Scene: The pancake breakfast was pretty cool.

Conclusion: A middle-grader will definitely enjoy this one. Enjoy it with yours.

Eric Jay Cash’s A Sunny Day-Cave Kiddos 1

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

Overview: We get to follow four cave children as they learn a new word.

Story Telling: This is an early reader book, as in ‘learn-to read’ book.

Artwork: We get comic book-like drawings, complete with the speech bubbles.

Likes: This is an interesting way to teach a child to read. Mr. Cash takes the word of the book down to it’s basic sounds and then brings it all together.

Dislikes: “Kiddos”? Really? We aren’t goats. Oh well, he’s the author.

Favorite Part: I enjoyed it when the cave children finally got the word out.

Conclusion: It’s an interesting way to get your children to recognize and learn new words. Enjoy it with you cave children.

Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived in…Egypt!

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

Overview: It’s travel time again. This time we’re heading to the home of the Nile, pyramids, and the pharaohs of old.

Story Telling: This is a cultural as well as a travel book.

Artwork Ms. Wierenga has a nice watercolor style. Quite attractive, perfect for catching the eyes of the chosen audience.

Likes: We still get the basic words and the pronunciation key.

Dislikes: Are there no simple dishes in Egypt?

Conclusion: This is an interesting series, thought I find it more suited to the older children.

Nan McAdam’s The Secret Key of Mim-Charlie Kadabra Last of the Magicians 2

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

Overview: Trouble is brewing in Mim again. Charlie is having a hard time finding his family and friends. They seemed to have disappeared from the face of Mim. During a Haroon council, Charlie learns of the Key of Mim. Will finding the Key restore Charlie’s family and friends? Or is there more to this story? And is there any ally left to help?

Story Telling: Well, this is still a middle-grade fantasy, complete with magic.

Likes: We get to see Santa? At least the Storm King is still devoted to his family.

Dislikes: This book seemed to be too much. There was just too much weight and responsibility for a ten-year-old boy. Charlie had to worry about his family, friends, and his own life. The last one was because, apparently, Charlie’s powers are inherited through his staff.

Also, when it cam to Fen’s prejudices we seemed to get a lecture. Allow me to offer Tolkien’s rebuke concerning old wives’ tales or other passed down knowledge. “But do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know.”-The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chapter 8 Farewell to Lorien.

Also it is heavily implied that bad people and/or things were made that way by circumstances and other people. In all due respect, that idea is a bunch of bull. I’ve heard of people who have lived through some horrific conditions, and they turned out to be some of the best people in the world. Likewise, some of the luckiest people, can turn out to be some of the biggest monsters.

Favorite Character: I’ll go with Charlie’s Grandfather.

Favorite Quote: Sorry guys, not this time.

Favorite Scene: The Christmas Village was fun.

Conclusion: This book didn’t live up to the promise of “The Secret of Mim.” Perhaps it is a question of tastes, but I doubt it.

Cheryl Hollon’s Shards of Murder-A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery 2

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

Overview: Savannah Webb is in the process of settling into her late father’s position as the owner of Webb’s Glass Shop. Part of her inherited duties is judging the Spinnaker Arts Festival. Unfortunately, the Best of Show winner disappears before the awards ceremony. Good thing that Savannah found her while walking Rooney. The bad news is that now Savannah is a person-of-interest at best, and a suspect at the worst. Can she save herself from a potential conviction? Or will she have a bigger problem than she ever imagine?

Story Telling: Ms. Hollon has given us a fun cozy mystery. And, thankfully, we don’t get tied down in the romantic elements that are so popular in this genre.

Likes: I admit it. Humor tends to be a miss with me. The jokes, or lighter scenes, resonated with me this time. It made the book more enjoyable.

Edward is cool. He is the ultimate old-fashioned guy with a fun twist. And he brings some interesting snacks to the gang.

Jacob is an interesting guy. Add to that the devotion that Mrs. Underwood shows to him, it’s a great addition to the story. Mrs. Underwood even found booties for Suzy, Jacob’s service dog.

Rooney is a fun addition as well is Amanda’s attitude.

Dislikes: There were only two things that I didn’t care for in this book. For starters, the first lesson in Savannah’s glass shop got a little too in-depth for my tastes.

And secondly, Megan Loyola is not what I would call a great artist. Great art is uplifting. It brings hope into the world, not just beauty. And it leaves the world better off because it came into being. Megan’s art left a trail of destruction everywhere she went.

Favorite Character: It has to be Edward.

Favorite Quote: We have a couple. This response from Amanda is our first. “ Yep, it’s my thing. How soon do you want to start?”

And here’s one from Savannah. “Rooney tore a hunk of material from the attacker’s pants. I had to touch it to get it away from Rooney, so that scrap should have the attacker’s DNA along with mine and Rooney’s, of course. Do you need a DNA sample from Rooney?”

Favorite Scene: Rooney’s agility meet was fun. Especially the after effects. Or we could go with the get-together with the gang and Edward’s parents.

Conclusion: This is a fun book. It kind of reminds me of a more mature Scooby-Doo gang, albeit with less emphasis on the supernatural. Enjoy it.

Dean Koontz and Kevin J. Anderson’s Prodigal Son-Frankenstein 1

Overview: Forget what you may know of ‘Frankenstein.’ Mary Shelley, so obviously, pegged Victor wrong. He wasn’t trying to just create life, he was trying to improve humanity. Deucalion, his first–and most famous–creation doesn’t quite agree. So, how do you stop someone if there is a safety switch embedded in you to keep you from killing him? Get an accomplice or two. And this is where Detective’s O’Conner and Maddison come in. Of course, they have to find a serial killer first….

Story Telling: This is what we would call a re-telling novel. Not that I personally call it a re-telling, more of a continuance of the original novel–if you ignore Frankenstein’s demise.

Likes: How about this! Nobody here is a “woe is me” character. There is no whining. This is a major improvement.

Carson is a pretty brave woman. Not only did she try to keep her city safe, she also worked to keep her brother with her.

Deucalion is an amazing guy. I liked his attitude.

A few of the so-called New Race are showing some of the gifts of the Old.

Dislikes: Victor Helios nee Frankenstein has a big problem with this thing called an ego. His is too big. Way too big. We complain when God plays god. What makes man think that he can do any better. Plus, he is just cruel.

Poor Roy Pribeaux. His ideas of perfection are good for a laugh, as long as you don’t see how he is trying to find his ‘perfect’ woman.

Favorite Character: Both Erika Four and Patrick Duchaine showed the hope for the New Race.

Favorite Quote: ““Victor was a man,” Deucalion continued, “but made a monster of himself. I was a monster…but feel so human now.””

Favorite Scene: Almost any of Deucalion’s entrances or exits were fun. Also, I wouldn’t mind living around Kathleen Burke’s place. We might trade books.

Conclusion: I’m glad that I went ahead and read this book. Now, I have to find the rest of the series, so I can see what happens to the would-be god. Even those who don’t like the original story, will enjoy Mr. Koontz’s variation.

Kate K. Lund’s Putter and the Red Car-A Cross Country Family Adventure

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

Overview: Putter is so excited. His family is moving across the country. What will we discover on this journey?

Story Telling: We get a dog story this time. Using animals can be a difficult story to pull off.

Artwork: We get a realistic colored-pencil drawing style with this book.

Likes: Dog books are fun. And I enjoyed the illustrations.

Dislikes: Remember how I said that animal stories can be hard to pull off? Well, it’s mainly because you run the risk of having your characters come off more like masks disguising the humans.

Favorite Quote: “The scenery became more and more beautiful.”

Favorite Scene: Ms. Velicue did a great job on Mt. Rushmore.

Conclusion: This book was okay. But, it might be best to read it with the older children.

Marci and Elle Fair’s Ellie’s Best Beach Vacation Ever-The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant 4

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

Overview: Ellie and Pudgy are on their way to the beach. What kind of fun will they have this time around?

Story Telling: The tempo is still upbeat, and as usual fun. What else can I say, it’s a picture book.

Artwork: The Ladies Fair are still using the scrap-book themes with this series.

Likes: Ellie and Pudgy still do things that most children will find fascinating.

Favorite Character: Pudgy.

Favorite Quote: “We all have to start small, to grow something big.”

Favorite Scene: Ellie and Pudgy had the right idea of where to go swimming.

Conclusion: This was a fun book. Enjoy it with your young’uns.