Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Death By A Honey Bee by Abigail Keam

Here it is, June’s Books & Broads Book Club choice, Death By A Honey Bee by Abigail Keam.  Getting closer to this month, eh, Dear Bloggites?

Death By A Honey Bee by Abigail KeamDeath by a Honey Bee (A Josiah Reynolds Mystery) by Abigail Keam was a fun read.  The author wrote the book in an easy to follow flow with fun, quirky characters.  The story is about a beekeeper, Josiah Reynolds, who finds her rival dead with his head stuck in one of her bee hives on her property.  While the man died of a heart attack, the cops felt there was foul play afoot and their primary suspect was Josiah.

To clear her name, Josiah partners with her assistant, Matt, and begins her own investigation into the death of her rival.  All the characters in the novel were written with fun individual personalities and Josiah’s dry sense of humor and no-nonsense attitude kept the reading interesting.  This novel is the first in a series and the first mystery novel written by Abigail Keam.  Unlike many series novels, Death by a Honey Bee can be read as a stand-alone book which I like.

The only two minor issues I have (well one minor and one pet peeve of mine) with this novel is the ending was predictable as to whodunit and it was written in the first person (I hate that).  I know, some novels are better in the first person and I will one day write a novel in the first person and have to eat crow, but it is an annoyance of mine.  I don’t like being in the mind of each character so intimately that I cannot utilize my own imagination when reading a book in the third person.

Okay, off my high horse before I fall and break a toe, overall, I really did enjoy this book and how the author wrote it.  I was immediately interested in the novel as soon as I started reading because of the quirkiness of the main character.  I will probably go and get the rest of the novels in this series because of my OCD and not being able to just stop when I KNOW there are other books to this series, but also because I did enjoy this storyline and the author’s way of writing.

I give Death By A Honey Bee by Abigail Keam 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you are looking for an easy, fun read with a little mystery, I recommend you go get this book.  Smooches!

~4-Ever, P

 

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Secret Wife by Gill Paul

Hello, Dear Bloggites!  I am back!  This book review is over the Books & Broads Book Club choice for May.  I am getting closer to the current month and I hope to finish June-October in the next five days.  I know, big challenge, but I am up for it now that I got my reading groove back on. 🙂

The Secret Wife by Gill PaulMay’s Book Club choice was The Secret Wife by Gill Paul.  I was dreading this one because it was once again a historical fiction novel set in the years 1914-2016.  Now, not all the years were touched like that last novel we read, but most of them were a chapter in the book.  Gill Paul wrote this book in a toggle effect between past and present which I am not a big fan of, but it was in the third person so that softened the blow.

The Secret Wife is about a love found, lost, and found again between Grand Duchess, Tatiana Romanov, and a Calvary Officer, Dmitri Malama, as well as, about a woman, Kitty Fisher, who has left her husband after he cheated on her and caused her to go to America and start to uncover the true story of her Great Grandfather, Dmitri.

The backdrop of the story is the war between Russia and Germany and the unrest of the citizens under the Romanov rule.  Dmitri and Tatiana first became acquainted when he was wounded in battle and she was assisting all the nurses to care for the soldiers who were brought in from the battlefield.  As the book toggles back to present day, you follow Kitty and her struggle to come to terms with her husband’s infidelity while finding out more secrets as she renovates her Great Grandfather’s cabin.

Gill Paul did a great job at creating complex characters which pulled at the reader’s emotions.  You rooted for true love to win out for Tatiana and Dmitri while rooting for Kitty to come to terms with what she actually wants to do with her life.  The imagery was well written for the readers and Gill Paul stayed true to what was known from historical documents while taking liberties with the “What if?” questions of the people you were reading about.

I enjoyed reading this novel and am always enthralled with the history of the world as I read these types of novels.  I may not be a hardcore Historical Fiction lover, but I think I am growing a crush on it. 🙂

I give The Secret Wife by Gill Paul 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Happy Reading!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg

Hello, Dear Bloggites.  It’s Me, again!  I just finished April’s Books & Broads Book Club book, The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg.  I know, I am still a few months behind but plan on making up for it within the next week by reading all the books I did not read.

The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie FlaggI love Fannie Flagg.  Her writing is very entertaining and easy.  This book is no exception.  The Whole Town’s Talking is about several generations spread out from 1889 to 2020 and all the decades in between.  The story follows a group of settlers and their legacy through the generations in a small town in America.

The characters are very complex and each one has their own fun, quirky side unique to that person.  The novel is an easy read with short chapters.  When I was reading it, I felt as if I was sitting down with a good friend listening to them tell me a fun story.  The author wrote in the third person (which I love) but it was a conversational third person, thus the feeling of being told a story by a friend.

The only big fault in this novel is that by the middle of the book, I found myself becoming bored due to the repeated cadence of the same ‘ol, same ‘ol.  Most stories build up to a climax and then it brings you on the adventure but this story really had no plot or climax, just reading about people and their lives, much like an old-time gossiper of a small town where everyone knows everyone and most are related in some way or another.  By the middle, I was wanting the book to be over.  I did enjoy the story, but it felt like a conversation that went well past its designated end time.

Fannie Flagg is an exceptional author and very entertaining.  You can tell her intent in this book was just to give people entertainment while delving into a little historical nostalgia of a time way back when.  If you are looking for something to read that is entertaining but does not require a lot of thought and focus, this is the perfect book to read.

I give The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg 3 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Happy Reading!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Hey, Dear Bloggites, two posts in a row, Woo Hooo, Go, P (that’s Me!)!  Since I did my book review on February’s book club book, this one is on March’s book club book.  The Books & Broads Book Club chose Faithful by Alice Hoffman for March.

I was unsure of this book, and a bit leery, to be honest after not being able to read February’s book for soooo long.  Be wary, that was not a happy review. 🙂  Enough about that review, we are on this one, Alice Hoffman’s book, Faithful.

Faithful by Alice HoffmanI liked this book, which was such a relief, and I was intrigued by the concept of the story line about how in one instant, a life was turned upside down for one and non-existent for another.  The story follows Shelby Richmond a young lady whose life was changed after a car accident destroyed her best friend, Helene’s, life leaving her paralyzed and catapulted Shelby’s life walking with a burden of guilt.

Throughout the story, Shelby is driven by a series of postcards she felt was left by an angel (possibly Helene since miraculous occurrences happened to people who went to visit her at her parent’s home).  Each postcard had a phrase on it that subconsciously drove the direction Shelby led her life.

The story was a good story line but the characters were not as developed as I would have like to see and they were not very likable, I mean, how can you love someone who lives their life in a self-absorbed world and was very selfish with a “feel sorry for me” attitude?  It is hard, Dear Bloggites.

I loved the postcard concept but I did not like how the author inserted herself in the story.  Many of you have read those novels that you feel you are being directed to feel or think a certain way and those novels are the ones that the author did not remove themselves from the story line to allow you to create your own judgements.

Alice Hoffman did write the story in the third person but it was ruined by her inserting herself in the story guiding my feelings and thoughts about the characters and book.  It was a nice relief to have an enjoyable, albeit dark and moody, novel to read.  I might read another of the author’s books, if the book club picked it, but on my own, I do not think I would pick one of her books simple for the fact that, while I did not hate this book, it did not leave a strong memorable mark on my memory.

I give Faithful by Alice Hoffman 3 out of 5 Bookmarks.  I leave you, Dear Bloggites, to choose to pick it up and read. 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: A Change In Altitude by Anita Shreve

Hello, Dear Bloggites.  This book review has been 7 months and 16 days in the making because that is how long it took me to finally finish FEBRUARY’S Book Club book choice!  FEBRUARY!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

The February Books & Broads Book Club book was A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve.  Now, I understand the author has written 14 novels (if not more now, there were 14 at the time of release for this book), but MAN, I will never read another book by her.  This was a brutal beating for me!

The novel is about a newlywed couple who moved to Africa for the husband’s job.  They rented a cottage that belonged to an older couple (well older than them in the book, they were in their 20s and the older couple were in their 30s).  The premise is for a group of them to climb Mount Kenya.

Now, the book starts as if you are in the middle of a conversation between the newlyweds, Margaret and Patrick.  It felt as if I had turned on a movie I had never seen before right in the middle and was trying to make sense of it.  It was apparent this newlywed couple had obvious issues based on how distant they were to each other in their conversation.

Anita Shreve did create complex characters, but none you really like.  The imagery was the best part of the book when Anita Shreve was writing about Africa, I could truly envision the country in my mind as if I was right there, however, I was highly disappointed in the characters and the way she wrote the book.  The planned trek up the mountain involved Margaret and Patrick, the older couple, Diana and Arthur, and a third couple, Saartje and Willem.

The group dynamic was tense and the reader did not really know why until near the end of the trek when an accident happened.  The accident caused an even deeper rift between Margaret and Patrick after the returned home and changed the way their life would play out.  Pretty good sounding story, eh, Dear Bloggite?  It had its opportunity to be a great book but I feel the author missed her mark.

There was an apparent error in the story line about how Margaret and Patrick met and I do not know if that was on the editors of the book, the author who had an intended reason behind it and forgot about it, or just plain lack of review when writing, but it bothered me.  I do not like things to go amiss in a story unless there is something down the line in the story that validates the reasons for it.

I do give the author props on her ability with imagery but that was the only thing I found likable, heck, the story ended just about as bad as it began, with no closure and the author leading us to the final assumption that she wanted.

I give A Change In Altitude by Anita Shreve 2 out of 5 Bookmarks.  I do not recommend this book unless you are a die-hard Anita Shreve fan.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: What She Inherits by Diane V. Mulligan

I have a question for you, Dear Bloggites: what would you do if everything you grew up knowing, and believe made you the way you were, turned out to be a lie?  Today’s book review is a wonderful read that answers this question in one way.

What She Inherits by Diane V. MulliganThis book review is on What She Inherits by Diane V. Mulligan.  I received a request, via email, from the author offering her book as a gift if I was willing to review her book.  As you all know, I never say no to reading and helping authors out by providing a review.  Thank you, Diane, for the honor of reading your book and reviewing it.

This story follows two people, in two totally different worlds being pulled and pushed by forces outside their control.  Angela Ellis is a young college student whose mother died unexpectedly and forced her to fly home to put the family house in order.  Casey Seaver is a thirtysomething lady who runs a café on a small island which provides the necessary landscape for her to hide from her past and make her own way.  As the story unfolds, Angela is faced with some rather unusual circumstances which makes her believe she is being haunted by her mother’s ghost.  Casey is faced with the potential need to sell her café and leave her island she loves so much.

Throughout the novel, the reader follows these ladies on their strange journey of trying to find themselves while their worlds are falling down around them.  The characters are well developed and any reader will be able to relate to one or more of them in this book.  You have the popular girl that is a lot deeper than surface level, the self-sufficient woman who does not want anyone to dictate her life, the nerdy guy who finally gets the chance with the girl, the friends who always think they know what is best for your life and do not hesitate to tell you how to live it, as well as, the parental figures who were the rock for the various people, and young love gone wrong.

I truly enjoyed this novel.  This is technically my first Paranormal Fiction I have read that features ghosts and I loved it.  The story offered a wide variety throughout: love, friendship, lost-love, family, new-love, and the list goes on and on, PLUS ghosts, but not the spooky, freaky kind (which are not bad) but enough that they figure to strongly in the storyline.  The novel had a few typos and missed words here and there and it was easy to figure out the end result as the story builds out, but that is not always a bad thing.

I give What She Inherits by Diane V. Mulligan 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  I recommend this book if you want a fun story that will keep your focus.  You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Killer In The Coop by Jamie C. Pritchard

Hello, Dear Bloggites!  Happy March, Ya’ll! 😀  I am once again honored to have been asked to review a book by an author.  Jamie C. Pritchard emailed me with the offer of gifting his book, Killer in the Coop, if I was willing to write a book review for him.  As you all know, Peggy NEVER SAYS NO to providing book reviews or reading new authors she had not heard of. 🙂

killer-in-the-coop-by-jamie-c-pritchardI was intrigued by the story plot in this book.  The plot was about a man, Eli, who writes a 51,000 word essay of his planned shooting and why and sends it to the news media.  The fascination is how the author wrote the story.  Jamie C. Pritchard wrote the story telling the ending first then working backward to the beginning.  I am an ID TV junkie and one of my favorite series works from the end back to the beginning so this format immediately piqued my interest.

The story was written in the 3rd person which I love (as you know) and each character had multiple dimensions to them.  The only complex character was the lead character and that worked in this story line.  I was immediately pulled in by the first few lines of a woman who was calling 911 to report a shooting in her building until the killer, Eli, found her under her desk.

The only thing I did not like about the story was it ended too soon.  I was expecting a long novel and was surprised that it was more of a novella and as I was totally engrossed in the “making” of the man named Eli, I was stopped short with the shocked knowledge that I was at the end.  That being said, I really enjoyed this story and I hope the author continues with other stories about Eli’s life before his final decision to murder a bunch of random people with a strange sense of purpose.  Thank you, Jamie, for sharing your book with me and I look forward to reading more of your written work.

I give Killer In The Coop by Jamie C. Pritchard 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Go grab a copy and enjoy a quick read, you won’t be disappointed.

~4-Ever, P