Catherine Coulter’s Point Blank-An FBI Thriller 10

Overview: Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock have a new opponent in this novel. Moses Grace is hunting down anyone who seems to be close to our favorite couple. If that wasn’t bad enough, the man seems determined to taunt Savich at every step of the way. At the same time, another FBI agent is on her vacation. Unfortunately Ruth’s treasure hunting vacation is about to turn into a nightmare.

Story Telling: We have a new–for me anyway–thriller novel. Of course the FBI Thrillers is a long running series.

Dislikes: My biggest problem with this novel was how the whole town–that Ruth was in–seemed to turn a blind eye to the headmaster and, at least one of, the teachers of a musical academy having highly inappropriate relationships with the students. At a minimum, both aggressors should be fired and banned from any and all teaching jobs.

Of course Moses Grace had a nasty attitude.

Likes: Dix Noble and his whole police force were determined to find the killer in their midst.

Marilyn Warluski seemed to thrive in spite of her family. That is something when you consider how a gem came out of that particular den of vipers.

Favorite Character: This time it’s Ruth.

Favorite Scene: Now this is a toss-up between when Ruth solved her treasure map, and when Dix took her and his sons to see Detective Morales.

Favorite Quote: This fits perfectly. ““Oh dear,” Ruth said, “I’ve got to cancel all my credit cards. I left my backpack and my wallet in my car.””

Conclusion: This was a fun story. Just don’t think about the plausibility of the story too much and you will have fun with it.

Susan Wittig Albert’s Bittersweet-China Bayles 23

Overview: China and Caitlin are meeting McQuaid and Brian in Utopia to have Thanksgiving with her mother and step-father. Too bad that Sam, China’s step-father, had a heart-attack prior to their arrival. Good thing that Leatha, China’s mother, has a friend coming to stay with her to help out with the newly formed sanctuary. Wonder why that friend needs to talk to China though?

Story Telling: It looks like we’re time traveling with this novel. I was unaware that this cozy mystery took place before ‘Blood Orange’.

Dislikes: It very well may be my ignorance of the subject matter, but I had problems with this story. The biggest problem I had was how the PETA volunteers were portrayed as intrinsically good, but maybe making a few mistakes along the way. I don’t see trespassing, and filming a legal hunt as intrinsically good. Here’s the thing, PETA is known as an example of the motto “the ends justify the means.” This group is known to humiliate, terrorize, or out-right lie just to get their wishes passed onto the culture.

Mackenzie seems to suffer from “don’t need no man” syndrome. On one hand she tries to find a boyfriend, on the other, she’s tough enough to do what has to be done, and any attempt to keep her from being targeted is seen as preventing her from doing her job. For the most part, I wanted to drop her off of a cliff.

A lot of Ms. Albert’s personal beliefs seem to be force fed to us through this book. It can come across as being ‘preachy’ if you have a low enough tolerance for it.

Likes: China was worried about her mother’s situation. And she did try to help Sue Ellen. And Ethan Conway seemed to be a great guy.

Favorite Character: Oh my, this could be difficult. Let’s just go with Doc Masters.

Favorite Quote: I don’t have an offering for you this time.

Favorite Scene: This would be Mackenzie and China’s brunch meet up.

Conclusion: I’m glad that I read ‘Blood Orange’ first, as I probably wouldn’t have tried it if I read these books in order. This is a love it or hate it book, so you might not find any middle ground. I hope you enjoy it much more than I did.

Sarah Wittig Albert’s Blood Orange-China Bayles 24

Overview: China is gearing up for a busy month in Pecan Springs. She has a new class to teach on herbal liqueurs, her weekly gardening article is due for the city’s paper, and holding down the fort while her husband is away. She doesn’t have time to worry about her business partner, Ruby’s sister Ramona starting her usual tricks. At least her paying guest, Kelly shouldn’t bring any extra trouble, right?

Story Telling: This is a cozy mystery of sorts. Sure China runs a herbal shop, along with a few other ventures (seriously, where does she find the time to sleuth around), but she is a retired lawyer. This happens to be one of the later books in the series.

Dislikes: There were two problems for me with this book. For starters: Ramona would be kicked out of my home for her attitude. Yes, southern hospitality states that you are polite to guests and include serving refreshments with a smile. However, proper etiquette requires the guests not act as if they own the place, your time and your skill set. Ramona bulldozes over any and everyone in her path. The way she pressures people to do what she wants, is selfish, and spoilt. She needs some good old-fashioned southern discipline.

And two: I understand that people are not fond of smoking, or smokers in general, in this day and age. That does not give a non-smoker the right to be rude. Smoking is not illegal, therefore you don’t have the right to act as if a smoker is on the same level as a leper. Those judgmental comments do nothing except cost you a friendship, and paints you in a poor light in general.

Likes: The recipes seem interesting. China was a pretty good mother. She has giving Caitlin plenty of time to stretch her wings. The girl is learning violin, and being quite the entrepreneur with her chickens.

Pecan Springs definitely suffers from small town syndrome. Everyone knows everything about what you are doing, what your spouse is doing, and where your child is at this very moment.

Favorite Character: That would be Bob Godwin and Bud. That’s one surefire way to keep the customers coming around.

Favorite Quote: Does a sign count? Because Bud’s uniform is cute. “Bud trots over to the table wearing a sporty blue bandana and a leather saddlebag with pockets marked, Cash, Credit Cards, and Tip, as well as a little sign that says, Don’t feed me French fries, but steak is great.”

Favorite Scene: That would be China and Lara’s visit to Mrs. Mueller. Now that is graduated southern hospitality.

Conclusion: This was a decent story, as well as an interesting crime. Maybe you can find a new sleuthing partner with this series. Enjoy the ride.

Dr. D.G. Hessayon’s The Vegetable & Herb Expert

Overview: How do you handle a first garden? Sure there are many books will tell you how to set up your first bed, and how to space your plants. But where do you go from there? How do you tell your little seedlings from the weeds in the garden? Or worse, how do you even know if your little plants are healthy? Or how to fix any problems that may arise from those health issues? This book seeks to help you out there.

Story Telling: This is a reference book. This one is based on gardening.

Dislikes: There isn’t a real problem with this book, except that it is situated for English gardeners more than Americans.

Likes: This book separates each vegetable and includes photographs of the problems with each family as well as how to cure the issues if at all possible.

Conclusion: This book may have been meant for gardeners in England, however the information can be utilized by every gardener. Use it to improve your gardening production this year.

James Patterson & Peter De Jonge’s Beach Road

Overview: Tom Dunleavy once was a star basketball player in his youth. But, basketball wasn’t in the cards. Good thing that East Hampton needs another lawyer. Sure his clients don’t need much, but that leaves enough time to play a few pick-up games at Willie’s. However that last game had a few unfortunate results. Now Tom has to defend the opposing team’s star player. Who killed Tom’s friends? Have the police made a rush to judgment?

Story Telling: This is a cross between a suspense novel, and a court drama. As James Patterson had a hand in this novel’s development, pay close attention to the chapter headings as these will let you know who you are following at the moment.

Dislikes: Tom is a rather unlikable character.

And the whole book seemed to try to prove that rich white people hate everyone who isn’t white or rich. This brings a sense of flatness to the individuals in this story.

This brings us to the twist that was advertised for this book. I’m not going to spoil the twist for you. Let’s just say that I wasn’t a fan.

Likes: The best part of this story was Kate’s devotion to the truth.

Conclusion: This is not the best Patterson novel to start with. If you do decide to go with this one, stop right after the verdict. I wish that I did.

James Patterson and Howard Roughan’s Murder Games

Overview: Dylan Reinhart is usually worried about running his classes at Yale. Considering that he is teaching those classes, calling in sick isn’t really an answer. Of course, he has to be contacted by a Detective Needham. It turns out that his book was sent to a crime reporter, with a murder attached to it. This would just be an exciting romp, if the author’s photo wasn’t destroyed as well. Let’s face it, Reinhart is now invested.

Story Telling: This is a murder mystery. Yet it isn’t quite a police procedural.

Dislikes: A couple of things bothered me with this selection. For starters, Mr. Reinhart’s sexuality doesn’t really effect the story. And before you bring up the adoption side-story, you have to realize that international adoptions are nearly impossible for everyone, straight or not. Basically, Tracy isn’t in the story enough for his gender to matter.

And the second is when a police officer asks (paraphrasing of course) “what kind of person calls for an attorney?” Oh sure, the implication is simple, if you’ve done nothing wrong, why would you need an attorney? Unfortunately, that’s not the real world. And the last time I checked, the Fifth Amendment is for every citizen of the United States, and not just the guilty.

Likes: Detective Needham had to grow on me, but she was pretty decent in the end.

The retired judge had hard choices to make. It may seem like he had buried evidence in the crimes, but if it isn’t convincing, or compromised, then you have to declare it inadmissible. You can’t use something that might be a disregard for anyone’s constitutional rights. At the very least the man tried to be fair.

Favorite Character: That would be Julian. His attitude was quite interesting, and he tried to see the good in a dirty job.

Favorite Scene: This is a toss up. Sure, Julian’s set up was cool. But, the Reinhart hunting trip was just fun.

Conclusion: This is an interesting story. For the most part, it’s a murder mystery. Of course you have to deal with Mr. Patterson’s habit of switching between first and third person points-of-view. Enjoy it, when you get the chance.

DeAnna Knippling’s The Third Portal

Overview: A young woman has gone to war through an extra-terrestrial portal, leaving her loved ones behind. Now she’s home, or at least her body is. What is going on?

Story Telling: This is a short story. And it fits quite well into the science-fiction realm, though I would consider it more of a soft version.

Dislikes: The biggest problem is that this story is too short. I had a hard time understanding the differences that the portals caused.

Likes: The emotions of the mother, who we are following, came out very clear. Her anger, hurt, and aggression are understandable, and relatable.

Conclusion: This is an interesting story. I might have enjoyed it more, if I didn’t get so lost easily. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

David Baldacci’s One Good Deed-Archer 1

Overview: Aloysius Archer has just been paroled. He has a list of do’s and don’t’s, and a second chance at life. Too bad his first job ended up so badly. A man is murdered two doors down from him. He really doesn’t want to go back to prison. Guess he needs to find out who did it instead.

Story Telling: This is a murder mystery, however it’s more of a historical fiction based story.

Dislikes: Archer is an annoyance for me. He was given just a few guidelines to follow. And within a few hours of getting into town, he has broken two of them, intentionally. And he doesn’t seem to let his brain lead much, relying on more of his heart and instincts.

Both Hank Pittleman and Lucas Tuttle seemed to be the same man, just greedy, wicked people who didn’t care about who they hurt. Why is it that many of these books portray the wealthy as greedy monsters? Wealth in of itself isn’t a sign of greed, it’s how you use it.

Likes: This is a hard one, as I found many of these characters to be unredeemable. Ernestine seems to be a great woman. And one who tries to help as many of the parolees as she can.

Favorite Character: This is someone who is only referenced in the book. The former Officer Crabtree was a wonderful father. I find it hard to believe that he would have been executed during that timeframe however. Today, maybe, but during the ‘30’s or ‘40’s, not a chance.

Conclusion: This story might work for you. However, if you, or the recipient of this book, are anything like me and don’t prefer noir-like detective novels, then you may just want to miss this one. But hey, maybe you might have fun with the darker tales. Enjoy your reading.

Sewing For Your Home

Overview: So you were just gifted a sewing machine. The question becomes, how do you get started in the craft? You could go looking at patterns. However, why not try house furnishings first? You can get practice with your new machine, and a rather fast project to showcase. This is what this book seeks to help you with.

Story Telling: This is more of an idea book. A rather rare branch of the crafter’s reference books.

Likes: This book works best to get ideas from. However, it also strives to guide you through making your projects.

I especially appreciate the fact that we get to see the differences in fabric weight, and what projects that would work best for them.

Favorite Section: That’s going to be the curtains. Thought each section will get it’s fair share of usage.

Conclusion: Pick this book up for guided inspiration, whether it’s for a gift or yourself. It will make a great gift for those who have been planning on redoing their home decorations.

Catherine Coulter’s Nemesis-FBI Thriller 19

Overview: At JFK airport, a man threatens to detonate a grenade. Meanwhile, back in the D.C. area, a man is murdered–stabbed with a ceremonial knife. Too bad that two of the FBI’s more successful agents, Sherlock and her husband Savich, are on the case. Of course, two cases means that the couple is split for the most part. Sherlock is in New York dealing with the terrorist plot. And Savich is in Virginia, especially after a second body is found.

Story Telling: This is a murder mystery/suspense series. So far, it appears that each book stands on its own

merits.

Dislikes: The head of the Alcott family troubled me from the start. She struck me as a pot-stirrer. She liked to even rile her daughter-in-law up to the point of potential violence, as well as irritating many others.

And anyone who is willing to kidnap an entire family just to force one person to commit a terrorist act, is evil incarnate.

Likes: This is a dual story. If I had to pick just one enjoyable line, that would be Savich’s. Terrorism just isn’t fun to read about, whether it’s fictional or real. Perhaps I’m in the minority in this point. I enjoy the urban fantasies as well as the more realistic stories.

Cain Lewis’s brother-in-law, and boss, was a good man. He reminds me more of a by the book introvert, than a jealous man.

Griffon Hammersmith was fun to follow, as well as Cam. They made a fun trip on both story lines.

Favorite Character: Griffon could really think outside of the box. His quick wit saved a lot of time.

Favorite Scene: That was when Savich met with Delko. Both times were fun to read, though the end of the first meeting was

beautiful.

Conclusion: This is a fun story if you have an open mind. Enjoy it, and perhaps you might want to find other books in the series. I might try another one as well.