This book was definitely a different kind of read. The story is stated to be based on a medieval fairy tale about a young woman who becomes queen of the country of Xana and puts into place many reforms which increase the prosperity and happiness of her people. According to the legend, Queen Agatha either went about her day completely naked or dressed in a simple way instead of regally. She begins her reign by marrying Prince Olaf and instituting educational reform. When she and the Prince spend time in his country she tries to institute reform there also, but she is thwarted by the Prince’s brother and banished from that country. In her own country she forms a parliament and accepts input from any citizen of the country, including children. She spends most of her time touring her country and meeting and working with the common people. She is adored and loved by all until her death.
I found the story to be intriguing and the political concepts to be radical at times. The author’s stated intention with this book is to open a dialogue and I think he succeeds with that idea. There is definitely a lot to talk about in the way Queen Agatha rules her country. What I didn’t like so much was the writing style. I found it to read much like a listing of facts. There’s not a lot of descriptive narrative here. Of course the book is only about 100 pages. I do think the writing style suits the author’s objective but just isn’t one that I particularly enjoy. That being said, please don’t brush the book aside just because I didn’t care for the style.
I think people who like politics, strong women and radical ideas would really find a lot to interest them in this story. The story itself is well thought out and presented and Queen Agatha is a very likable heroine. I’m going to give this book 3.5 out of 4 stars.
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Another great story from Robert Parker! This one features Sunny Randall who I wasn’t sure at the beginning I would like, but she quickly pulled me into her world.
In “Blue Screen” Sunny is hired to protect a young B-rated film star named Erin Flint. When Erin’s personal assistant is found dead in the gym the assignment turns from protection to a murder investigation. Sunny will have to travel from Boston to L.A. and back again before she unravels all the twists in this mystery. But she won’t be alone. Parker’s Chief of Paradise Police, Jesse Stone, is also in this story since the murder takes place in his jurisdiction. Jesse and Sunny hit it off immediately and together, but from different angles, manage to put the pieces into place.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found Sunny to be a very engaging character who expertly balances her femininity with the toughness required for her job. It was great the way Robert Parker brought characters from his other books together in this one. In addition to Jesse Stone, Susan Silverman from Spenser makes an appearance as Sunny’s psychiatrist.
I would highly recommend this book for mystery lovers. Sunny Randall is another great female detective to add to your reading list (if you haven’t already). Note that this is not the first book in the Sunny Randall series but stands just fine on its own. “Blue Screen” gets 4 out of 4 stars from me!
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Discover something new! Jerome Dumont is a French author and this is the first book in his Rossetti & MacLane series. The version I read is a translation from the French and the first of the author’s books to be translated. Up front I just want to say that the translation is excellently done.
The story opens with Gabriel Rossetti, a young, single lawyer, in Nice, France. He’s in a pretty comfortable routine as summer approaches, processing his cases while being egged on by his assistant Nina, and trading barbs with best friend Martinez. Then Amanda Deschamps walks into his office. Amanda is the owner of a very successful online game design company. Her husband works for her in the business. They are on the verge of launching an industry changing game but Amanda is worried that her husband is having an affair. Gabriel is used to dealing with divorces and the suspicious spouses involved, so he sets his investigator Mr. Paul to the case. What the investigation reveals will take Gabriel from Nice to Montreal and back again, and his days will never again be ordinary.
Gabriel is a confident and charming character, he has laid out his life in a way that suits him, takes the clients he wants, and always does an excellent job. Amanda is a very capable business woman who is confident in her decisions but not arrogant about it. She has created a company that her employees love to work at, and with a growing customer base, has taken the gaming world by storm. Both of these characters have been well-crafted by the author and were a pleasure to get to know. I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the locations where the story take place and the suspense that has been built in to this mystery. In addition, the author gives a lot of background information about the gaming world and either knows the business personally or did an immense amount of research while writing this book.
I’m highly recommending this book for mystery lovers and gamers alike. It seems that the author is planning to have more of this series translated and I will be looking forward to reading them. I’m giving “Dangerous Games” a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.
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Note: I have reviewed a pre-publication copy of this book. It is set to be released September 1, 2015.
I have a new favorite author! Daughter of Ashes is an absolutely wonderful cozy mystery and I am grateful to NetGalley for allowing me to read a pre-publication copy. This book is part of the Hannah Ives Mystery series.
I just instantly fell in love with Hannah. She’s a wife and mother whose children are grown and out of the nest, a state of life I can relate to. In this story, Hannah and her husband Paul are buying a cottage in Maryland and having it renovated. The cottage is located on the river in a charming small town. Hannah is shocked to find out that her former boss Fran also lives there and Fran quickly recruits her to help with clearing old records out of the basement of the courthouse.
Dwight and his son Rusty are doing the renovations on the cottage and one day, while taking out the old chimney, they find the remains of an infant, wrapped in old newspapers, on the chimney shelf. Hannah, being the curious mind that she is, decides to unravel the mystery of the baby. Meanwhile, she and Paul attend a 4th of July bar-b-cue hosted by a local real estate agent, also Rusty’s mom, and while they are there the hostess is murdered. The day before Rusty and been run off the road and now lies in a coma. Hannah has an intuition about all this and follows her instincts to the surprising conclusion.
This book had all the things that make a story great for me. The storyline was pulled straight out of factual historical events and circumstances, the characters are sympathetic and believable, and the author has the ability to describe the setting in a way that makes you feel like you are there with the characters. In addition, this story had a couple of different plotlines going which the author masterfully brought together in a very satisfying conclusion.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries. I will be adding this author to my personal favorites list and more of the books in this series to my wishlist. I hope you will discover and enjoy the book as much as I did. Definitely 4 out of 4 stars for this one.
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First, I want to thank the author for giving me the opportunity to read her book. Second, you need to read this book! This little mystery is a real gem.
Adina Donati is a young lady just starting out her career in Washington, D.C. She works for a think-tank as a researcher during the day, and volunteers at a dog rescue center at night. On Wednesdays, she and her best friend Hilary stop in at McSweeney’s bar for a drink after work. This particular Wednesday everything is going as usual until Hilary ends up dead on the bathroom floor. Adina finds herself being swept up in the police investigation which begins to focus more and more on the work Hilary was doing at the think-tank. She also finds herself in danger after she takes over the project that Hilary’s death left unfinished.
You can’t help but like Adina, who is just a regular person getting caught up in terrible circumstances. Her dating life has gone stale and her mother is constantly trying to match her up. She lives by herself and struggles with the loneliness that comes with it. She gets bored at work and succumbs to social media surfing when she just can’t focus. I could totally relate to all of it. Luckily for Adina the author is about to send a couple of hunky guys her way, just at the moment she needs to be rescued.
This story was very well-written and the narrative flowed smoothly and at a steady pace. I found it difficult to pull myself away from it once the story got going. The characters were believable and felt real to me. I also really enjoyed her descriptions of the parts of the city Adina finds herself in, such as Farragut Square and the Library of Congress.
Lovers of cozy mysteries with some danger thrown in will really enjoy this book. This is meant to be the first in a series and I will be looking for future installments. I give this book 4 out of 4 stars.
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Think Murder by Cassidy Salem
Dangerous Games by Jerome Dumont
Daughter of Ashes by Marcia Talley
Blue Screen by Robert Parker
Broken Prey by John Sandford
Reviews coming soon!