Murder Among the Pines

Murder Among the Pines by John Lawrence Reynolds

I got this one from Early Reviewers for free in exchange for an honest but fair review. My opinion remains my own.

Police chief Max Benson is busy enough with the summer visitors to her sleepy Canadian town, but when her ex-husband becomes the chief suspect in a murder investigation, she might have to clear up her schedule. This was a very quick read. The ending was not really a surprise, but if you like mysteries, I think you’d like this. Perfect for beginning readers. It is the third in the series, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying it.

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Review: Along Came Jones

This book was received in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. My opinions, however, remain my own. Thanks for the chance to read this book!

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Title: Along Came Jones

Author: Victoria Bernadine

Summary: Benjamin Ferrin Macon-Jones has it all: a luxurious lifestyle in Toronto and the love of an intelligent, ambitious woman…until that same woman refuses his marriage proposal, tells him he’s a detriment to her career, and leaves him. Unable to deal with his cantankerous family trying to be supportive, he quietly slips away into the Canadian countryside.

Lou Upjohn has problems of her own. She’s a recluse and agoraphobic, staying safely within the walls of her ancestral home in small town Saskatchewan and depending on Ike, her best and only friend, to deal with the outside world.

Only Ike’s just married another woman and now he’s moving to Vancouver. Before he leaves, he hires the new guy in town, Ferrin Jones, to run her errands and do her yard work. Lou isn’t happy, but even she has to admit the stranger looks mildly interesting.

Both their lives could be changed forever if she only has the courage to open the door. 

My thoughts:

I don’t read much contemporary romance, like, at all, so I was a little surprised to be approached to review this story. However, I am pretty open about my mental health issues, and I found that angle intriguing enough that I said yes. I’m so glad I did!

I am really not a fan of the insta-love that substitutes for a real relationship in so many new books. Maybe that’s because it’s primarily YA, but I *so* don’t want to read about a couple who meet, fall in love, and fall into bed. I’m not into those books. If you are, hey, good for you, but I want real people who have time to get to know one another before they fall.

So this book was a breath of fresh air for me. I loved the MCs – Ferrin was just so appealing, with his crazy family and optimistic attitude. I can see why Lou fell for him – he’s just a great guy. And Lou, she’s so real and so much stronger than she has given herself credit for being. I liked that she didn’t magically overcome her panic attacks. The pacing felt pretty realistic. The bad guy is just human garbage and I was glad to see them get what they deserved.

If you are looking for a good romance with a great small town setting, I would definitely recommend this one. The author says she’s been writing for a long time, and it shows. Recommended.

Review: Invinciman

Title: Invinciman

Author: Ricky Leone

Note: This review was requested by the author, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Setting: near future Canada

Format: ebook

Engineer Ray Martin has this one friend. You know the kind, the one that gets you into trouble, but then gets you back out again? Except that this friends gets him into the kind of trouble that’s going to get him killed; and he may not get him out of trouble ever again.

Ray and Daniel are both engineering students when they meet. Their skills complement each other, and they wind up teaming up to get their projects done. Only trouble is that Ray want to graduate and get the job and Daniel? Well, Ray can’t tell what he wants.

His friendship with Daniel, if that’s what it is, is told in flashback. The story actually opens with Ray being shot in the head and left for dead. And that’s really where I had trouble with the book. The story, and the complicated relationship between the two guys, was really interesting. They want to make robots – excuse me, a “super advanced artificial intelligence robot,” which will fight in an arena like Robot Wars on TV today. Except bigger and badder and more awesome. I absolutely can’t argue with that. It’s the terrorist angle which had me scratching my head. I was excited for the rivalry and the robot fights. And while I knew this was a superhero book, it never felt like the two halves of the story worked together as well as they should have. By the time I got to the ending, I was quite confused.

I’m not sure who I would recommend this one for. I see that it got good recommendations from most other readers, so it might just be me being picky. I would be willing to give this author another try though. I’d like to see some female characters and more diversity too. Thanks for the chance to read this one.

 

Review: As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

Title: As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. Flavia De Luce #7

Author: Alan Bradley

Spoilers for the previous books in the series, so if you’re planning on reading them but haven’t yet, don’t read this review! You’ve been warned.

At the end of the previous book, Flavia’s beloved mother Harriet has been located and brought home to Bishop’s Lacey at last for a burial. But while Flavia has inherited everything, she’s being packed off to Canada to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy to be trained up in all the things a gentlewoman (and a spy?) might need to know. Flavia is homesick, but full of pluck as per usual, so when a body falls out of her chimney, she takes it in her customary stride. Something is clearly a foot.

I enjoyed this one, but it wasn’t as much fun without the usual Buckshaw crowd. Still, it did Flavia good to let her stretch her wings a bit and see what she was made of. Looking forward to the next one.

Cool Reads

It’s been really hot here in Utah and I’m not enjoying it much! Summer is just getting started really and it’s already nearing 100. You know what I need? Some nice frozen reads! Here are a few I can recommend.

Arctic Blasts for Summer Fun

  1. The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Gerard. Our hero with the amazing name went along to the Antarctic where he hung out with penguins. LOTS of penguins.
  2. The Man Who Ate His Boots: The Tragic History of the Search for the Northwest Passage by Anthony Brandt. OK, it’s kind of a downer in spots, but I guarantee that you will feel happy to be nice and warm and scurvy-free when you read it. (At least, I hope you’re scurvy-free. Eat an orange, just to be safe.)
  3. The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander. There are a lot of books about Shackleton, but this one has some of the best photographs from the actual expedition. No matter how hot it is, it will make you shiver.
  4. Tisha: A Wonderful True Love Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaska Wilderness by Robert Specht. I really liked this one.
  5. Daniel Plainway: The Holiday Haunting of the Moosepath League by Van Reid. Hilarious Christmas story.
  6. Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer. His account of Valley Forge is amazing and miserable.
  7. HMS Ulysses by Alistair Maclean. This is an account of submarine warfare during World War II.

This list ought to keep you cool for a bit. I’m going to check the air conditioning now!

 

 

Review: Anne of Green Gables

Title: Anne of Green Gables (Avonlea #1)

Author: L. M. Montgomery

Themes: challenges, family, coming of age, friendship, religion

Setting: Prince Edward Island, Canada early 1900s

Plot: Anne Shirley is not the boy the Cuthberts were expecting from the orphanage, but she was just what they needed to turn their lives upside down.

Review: I read this classic when I was a little girl and I was charmed. I think Anne would have been my “bosom friend.” I had the same vivid imagination, but I wasn’t as outgoing and talkative as Anne was. I definitely wasn’t as sweet as Diana Barry either.

Even when I was young, Anne Shirley’s story was about a different, gentler, slower way of life. To a child of the 21st century, I can’t imagine what they would make of this book. I hope there’s still room for the lively red-haired orphan. She’s a sweet little thing.