Friday, April 18, 2014

Mind Over Murder review

 Mind Over Murder (A Raven's Nest Mystery #1)

Mind Over Murder by Allison Kingsley is the first book in the Raven's Nest cozy mystery series set in small town Maine and featuring cousins Stephanie and Chloe Quinn.

Mind Over Murder had lots of potential with a bookstore featuring Poe paraphernalia and a healthy occult section as well as a touch of the paranormal with Chloe's extra sense, called Quinn Sense. Unfortunately, the execution did not live up to the potential.

As a mystery, Mind Over Murder was okay. I actually knew who the killer was as soon as the character was introduced - and Kingsley dropped enough clues even as she tried to implicate every other character in the book to keep me firm in my belief of the murderer's identity.

I wanted to like the characters but not one of them was someone I would want in my life. Chloe, who we are supposed to cheer for and empathize with, needs to grow up. She acts and reacts like a tween with her first crush instead of an adult woman who lived alone in New York City for eighteen years. She is also far too much of a pushover for my taste, wanting to keep everyone else happy even if she is unhappy.

Stephanie is even worse than Chloe. She is flat out a horrible person. Stephanie always wants everything her way, no matter how miserable that makes everyone else. She also says "we" a lot but means "you" - as in "We need to investigate" meaning "Chloe needs to investigate" - and she always has a lame excuse and an emotional manipulation to get Chloe to do what Stephanie wants.

The secondary characters also left a great deal to be desired. They were either completely flat or were complete caricatures. The creepy guy who used to own a candy store, the New York City transplant who is a man eating model that hates other women, the cute, single hardware store owner who conveniently wants Chloe. These people don't have personalities of there own in Mind Over Murder.

Over all, I was pretty disappointed in Mind Over Murder and will likely pass on the rest of the books in the series.


Cousins and best friends, Clara and Stephanie Quinn run The Raven's Nest Bookstore, where people go to find their most coveted reads. But they have no idea it's the psychically-gifted Clara who's reading them...

The bookstore has made an enemy of the town crier, Ana Jordon, who claims that the store's occult collection is "poisoning" the town's youth. Meanwhile, the store's number-one employee, Molly, has made no secret of her anger over Ana's antics. So when Ana is found dead, killed by the bust of Edgar Allen Poe sculpted by Molly, the evidence is stacked against her. And Clara must rely on her gift to make sense of this senseless murder...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dangerous Curves Ahead review

Dangerous Curves Ahead by Sugar Jamison is the first book in the Perfect Fit series. The premise was great but I didn't love the characters.

I loved the idea of a romance novel featuring a fashionista who wasn't tall and skinny - a "real woman" so to speak. Ellis is a business owner catering to a customer base that isn't served by the traditional clothing retailers. She is intelligent, funny, and very loyal to her friends. However, Ellis is also too much of a pushover and Jamison's attempt to write Ellis as being perfectly okay with her weight and figure often comes across as Ellis being defensive and not nearly as okay as she is trying to pretend.

The hero, Michael, is someone who Ellis used to have a crush on but who slept with her sister - not exactly a forgivable offense to me but whatever.  Unfortunately, Michael sometimes seemed less intelligent than he should be given that he's a cop. He also expects Ellis to get over her issues but he certainly hasn't dealt with his own which is all too apparent throughout the book. Plus, he demands commitment from Ellis but isn't willing to give back the same kind of commitment. All in all, he's just not a guy I can think of as someone who should get the girl.

I did enjoy the secondary characters - Colin, Michael's Irish rogue best friend, and Cherri, Ellis's friend and retail help, as well as Ellis's sister who you just love to hate.

Overall, I can't say I recommend Dangerous Curves Ahead but if you don't mind uneven characters or romantic hero's who is neither romantic or a hero, you may enjoy this book.


Ellis Garrett is dumping her critical boyfriend, opening a plus-size clothing store, and starting a blog—all to spread the word that fashion shouldn’t require a size-two body, and happiness should allow for the occasional cupcake. Or two. But is indulging fantasies about her sister’s long-ago ex, the still-hunky Michael Edwards, biting off more than she can chew?

Mike must be losing his detective’s touch. He doesn’t recognize Ellis when he bumps into her at Size Me Up, and he certainly doesn’t remember his ex-girlfriend’s outspoken sister being so irresistible. Her curves are indeed dangerous—and so is her wit. Could it be that Ellis is his Perfect Fit? One thing’s for sure: Mike will make it his sworn duty to find out…

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cry Wolf review

Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1)

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs is the first full length novel in the Alpha and Omega series but you definitely should read the novella, Alpha and Omega, first or it is a little confusing.

I have been devouring this series compulsively - it's just addictive and that starts with Cry Wolf! The more I read about Anna and Charles, the more I want to read. The people and events surrounding them are always interesting and often dramatic but never seem to go too far, in the sense that it never seems over the top or eye roll inducing.

The relationship between Anna and Charles is an interesting read because the two characters are so different and each have their own issues that need to be overcome. Charles is an alpha and an enforcer, not exactly an emotionally available guy, plus he's several hundred years old. Anna is in her twenties, has only been a werewolf for a few years, and was severely abused during that time. However, as an Omega, Anna is learning about her place and her power now that Charles has told her what she is. For his part, Charles wants to protect Anna but is trying hard not to smother her or scare her.

Add in Anna meeting the members of Charles' pack, a witch with evil plans, and a new werewolf haunting the mountains near the pack's home, and you get a novel with a fast paced plot and a lot of emotional turmoil. Cry Wolf has a little bit of everything - action, romance, plot twists, beautiful location, and fantastic characters.

I highly recommend the Alpha and Omega series by Briggs but definitely read the novella, Alpha and Omega, before reading Cry Wolf.


Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack... and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna's inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blood Sisters review

Blood Sisters:  The Women Behind The War Of The Roses

Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the War of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood is an interesting look at the female historical figures of a fairly famous period in British history.

Historically known as the War of the Roses between the York and Plantagenet lines who vied for the throne of England, the term wasn't used during the period in question. Blood Sisters focuses on Margaret Beauford, Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth York, Anne Neville, and Margaret of Burgundy - mothers, wives, and sisters of the men vying for the throne and who are the more usual focus of historians.

Blood Sisters is an interesting book, not only because it focuses on people who were instrumental but have since largely been ignored, but also because Gristwood is very frank about speculating and informing readers there are simply things we can never know for sure as documentation does not exist any longer, if it ever did.

Historians often portray the royal women as powerless or corrupt but Gristwood simply shows that they were real people with real lives who made the most of their station in life while not being allowed to rule in their own right - even those who were queens - but who were by no means powerless.

Blood Sisters is a well written account of the lives of women that haven't been fully explored in such an even handed way previously and one that any fan of the pre-Tudor and Tudor eras should definitely read.


From best-selling historian, Sarah Gristwood comes the true story behind Philippa Gregory’s recent novels – the women who gave birth to the Tudor dynasty. It is a fiery history of Queens, the perils of power and of how the Wars of the Roses were ended – not by knights in battle, but the sinewy political skills of women.

The events of the Wars of the Roses are usually described in terms of the men involved; Richard, Duke of York, Henry VI, Edward IV and Henry VII. The reality though, argues Sarah Gristwood, was quite different. These years were also packed with women's drama and – in the tales of conflicted maternity and monstrous births – alive with female energy.

In this completely original book, acclaimed author Sarah Gristwood sheds light on a neglected dimension of English history: the impact of Tudor women on the Wars of the Roses. She examines Cecily Neville, the wife of Richard Duke of York, who was deprived of being queen when her husband died at the Battle of Wakefield; Elizabeth Woodville, a widow with several children who married Edward IV in secret and was crowned queen consort; Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, whose ambitions centred on her son and whose persuasions are likely to have lead her husband Lord Stanley, previously allied with the Yorkists, to play his part in Henry's victory.

Until now, the lives of these women have remained little known to the general public. Sarah Gristwood tells their stories in detail for the first time. Captivating and original, this is historical writing of the most important kind.