Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Review: The Mystery of the Silver Spider

The Mystery of the Silver Spider The Mystery of the Silver Spider by Robert Arthur
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The boys are off to Europe to go undercover. It's as ridiculous as you might expect.

Lame plot about Jupe, Bob, and Pete who inexplicably make friends with a young Prince in a near-miss fender bender. They bond immediately and are invited to the coronation festivities, compliments of our dues ex machina, Mr. Hitchcock. Lots of silliness, climbing up and down the sides of buildings, hiding out, and silver spiders. Throw in a dose of 1970's amnesia as a plot device and you've got a hot mess of a stew going, baby.

I usually love these books but this one misses the mark for me. I'll continue reading through the series so you don't have to. Only 2 stars but I still love you, boys.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Review: The Cutting Season

The Cutting Season The Cutting Season by Attica Locke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh, book, I wanted so badly to love you. You came highly recommended, and, on the surface, checked all of my book love boxes. Two mysteries for the price of one. One in the present, one in the past. Historical storyline interwoven with the modern day. A grisly murder. Plenty of suspects. Add in some racial tensions, economic divides and family baggage and you would think this book would be my jam.

Sadly, I was just a bit underwhelmed, and held a vague dislike for Caren throughout the entire book. I wanted to like her. I should have liked her. But I didn't. I liked the modern day mystery but I wanted a different ending. I would have pursued it, Caren. But I'm not a quitter like you. 3 stars.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Review: Survival of the Fritters

Survival of the Fritters Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As we cozy lovers know, you need to follow a formula to kick off a new series. Take a spunky heroine (seems to usually be a woman, but sometimes a man). She has an odd job (shopkeeper, artisan, juggler). Place her in a small town locale full of quirky characters. A yet unestablished love interest, and usually a love triangle brewing on the horizon that may or may not get resolved sometime around book 3. A murder occurs (gasp!). And the heroine is going to stick her nose in it and solve it before the trained police force. Oh, and usually part of the love triangle is one of the cops, naturally. This formula stays pretty true most of the time.

Here we have small town Wisconsin. Emily owns a donut shop. She's a widow and she is oddly devoted to her cat and describing his every move. And I can see the author got feedback on it, because she is super careful to point out in great detail the care and safety of the cat at all times. You don't need to explain why it's ok for our chirpy heroine to leave the cat alone for a couple of hours with his litter box and cat jungle gym and toys and treats. Stick to the mystery, woman.

We have a dead body that Emily and her nosy friends discover. It's a friend, so I guess the setup is ok. Then some nonsense and some things that make zero, and I mean zero sense, the smatterings of attraction between two male characters, and the big reveal. Plus some recipes that I will never try but wish I would because hey, donuts are delicious.

It was pretty ok, all things considered, so I'll give it three stars and probably read the next one. Now I desperately want a donut.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Review: The Shoemaker's Wife

The Shoemaker's Wife The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a lovely journey from the mountains of Italy to life as an immigrant in the United States. I loved it.

Chiro and Enza are star-crossed lovers. They meet in tragedy and sorrow, meet again and circumstances and time continue to keep them apart, until it is right. I'm a sucker for a good story, rich in history, complicated relationships, and deep family ties. This book was like unwrapping a lovely gift. I listened to the audio, and really enjoyed it. In fact, I'm still thinking about this story. It's that good.

A tearjerker for me, and I highly recommend it for people who love history and love. If you don't like those things, you won't like this one. 4.5 stars.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Review: The Upheaval

The Upheaval The Upheaval by Erica Stevens
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was a real stinker. Editing issues abound. The characters have the worst dialogue and are mostly unlikeable. I couldn't muster enough emotion to really care about any of them. Possibly weird Carl by the end, but that's a stretch.

Basically the world starts to meltdown. Earthquakes, tsunamis. volcanic eruptions. We are in the Northeastern US but it's most likely world-wide. Maybe the other books will explain more, but this mystery will not be solved for me, because I'm content to leave them all on this ridiculous cliffhanger.

1.5 stars. Giving a half star because I finished and Carl kinda grew on me. Kinda.

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Review: The Mystery of the Fiery Eye

The Mystery of the Fiery Eye The Mystery of the Fiery Eye by Robert Arthur
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I adore riddles! We get a fun one in a cryptic message this time. I beat Jupe to the punch and figured it out before him. Sorry, Jupiter. Better luck next time.

We have a missing jewel, some mysterious busts, a riddle, and a boy named August August. (Really? So dumb). Anyway, the Three Investigators are on the case, and when I say the Three Investigators I mean Jupiter Jones, with a little bit of Bob Andrews thrown in for basic library research. Pete, you are dead weight, my friend. I fail to see you investigate anything. More like One Investigator and his Tag Along Friends, amirite?

The mystery is a good one and I remember this one fondly. Remember, I am re-reading the whole series so you don't have to! You're welcome. 3 stars.

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Review: The Secret of Skeleton Island

The Secret of Skeleton Island The Secret of Skeleton Island by Robert Arthur
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jupe, Pete, and Bob are on their way to a movie set to catch a ghost and search for treasure. Oh, and do a little scuba diving, too. Why can't I be one of the Three Investigators?

Pete's dad is connected. I think that's how they met Alfred Hitchcock, right? Anyway, these boys have a pretty decent life regardless. They are headed from sunny California to the East Coast to play in the Atlantic, the land of the pirates. Gar! Throw in some period-appropriate racism, an armored car heist, and some general villainy, and you've got yourselves a mystery, folks.

The mystery is a little loose, as usual, but I enjoyed it. Someday I will finish reviewing all of these books so you don't have to. 3 stars.

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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Review: Caroline: Little House, Revisited

Caroline: Little House, Revisited Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ah, Laura Ingalls Wilder, you have given me so many years of enjoyment. As fictionalized and whitewashed as your family story is, I love it so much. So when I heard someone had been authorized by the estate to tell Caroline's story, I knew I was in. I was not disappointed.

You see, I am a pioneer at heart. I love everything about Laura's story of life in Wisconsin all the way to South Dakota. I love Caroline and Charles. And I love Almanzo most of all (swoon!). And I've always had a not-so-wonderful picture of Ma Ingalls in my mind. I didn't dislike her, but she wasn't my favorite character. I always related to Charles and Laura's wild spirit, and need to continually move and explore the country. But this book changed that for me. Caroline, in this version, helps me understand her better. And I completely fell in love with her version of Charles. True or false, I loved this glimpse at the Ingalls family as they moved from Wisconsin to Kansas. Jack, Pet and Patty, the wolves, Mr. Edwards. All of it. It made my heart sing.

The writing was a little uneven and it wasn't a fast read, but I loved the story and my return to Little House. 4 stars. I want more.

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