Sunday, April 30, 2017

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse TysonEven though the title says that the book is for people in a hurry, I wasn't expecting it to be just over 100 pages but that was a nice surprise because I'm not the worlds best science-y type person. In addition to being short, this book is very readable taking the history of the universe and making it well, not easy to understand, but at least palatable. I'm not sure how much of it I'm going to retain, but I'll takeaway the feeling of having read a very nice shorts intelligent book.

Four stars
This book comes out May 2

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford

I'm sure we know more of Laura and Roberts backstory from earlier books in the series, but I've only read the first one. I didn't especially feel like I was missing out because of that mostly because of the superlong expository scene where Robert picks up a small dog and then talks to him. And, while I realize the dog isn't child, it is a plot moppet extraordinaire. He always seems to know what's going on, he always wants people to follow him into places they should go, and he always seems to be the wisest of all the characters.
This was a nice little story, even with the dog, it was slow and gentle but there seem to be a lot of extraneous subplots. Robert is attending a house party, trying to get Flora, but then he's delighted that she's there. There is literally no angst about the fact that the woman that he's trying to get away from her suddenly showed up where he is. And we get the daughter of the house trying to wrangle her self into position as Roberts wife, but she is easily shaken off as well.
One of my biggest peeves with this book is not the fault of the author but with the back cover blurb which was nothing at all like what the story was, and less the blurb author was reading some different version of the story. They played up the villain who ended up not being in the book very much at all except for a scene that was sort of thoughtlessly tacked onto the end.
A nice enough read but with a lot of problems.

2 1/2 stars
This book comes out May 2

Friday, April 28, 2017

Sweet Tea and Spirits by Angie Fox

Sweet Tea and Spirits (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries, #5)Verity Long and her skunk are back along with her ghostly friend, Frank. She's been hired by the newest president of the local heritage society; the one who beat out her boyfriend's mother (who hates, HATES Verity.) Too bad Julia is dead. But Verity is concerned that Julia appears to have been moved. Was it something on the physical plain or a malevolent ghost? Julia had hired Verity because somebody in the heritage house keeps moving the mannequins into... inappropriate positions.
But who would have wanted Julia dead? Her husband whose previous two wives both died? Or someone else from her past? And why would the ghost of a former Widows and Orphans house be moving items around the house?
Not a lot of plot but I don't think regular readers will be too upset.

Three stars
This book came out April 25
Follows Deader Homes and Gardens

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Four Bridesmaids and a White Wedding by Fiona Collins

Four Bridesmaids and a White Wedding by Fiona   CollinsJojo is aghast. She's booked a hen's weekend (bachelorette party) for her friend Wendy, their two other friends from college, as well as Wendy's soon-to-be sister-in-law who none of the other ladies have ever met. Instead of a weekend of pampering, Jojo signed them all up for a boot camp run by none other than Wendy's serious boyfriend from college. The One That Got Away.
All of the women are struggling in their lives: Rose's marriage has become humdrum with three teen daughters and a husband who travels incessangly; Sal spent ten years in a bad relationship and has just started sleeping with the chef of the pub she owns and she isn't sure what to do about it; Jojo is so involved in her work that her personal life has fallen to the side; Wendy isn't sure six months is long enough to get to know the person you're marrying; and Tamsin... well, Tamsin is a little less developed than the four friends so we don't get to know her as well other than that she also seems to be a workaholic.
This was a fast and fun book. Because it was short and we got glimpses of four different women's lives, no one story was really well-developed. But if you go into it knowing that, this is an enjoyable book.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out April 28

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall: A Honeychurch Hall MysteryOnce again, Kat Stanford is pulled into a murder investigation when the local postmistress turns up dead. Muriel Jarvis was also the local gossip. It was she who lost Hannah's mother's latest creation, another story written under her pseudonym, Krystalle Storm. It is also Muriel whose husband had recently died and left her deep in debt. Could it have been that Muriel was using her position to ferret out people's secrets and then making them pay for her to keep them?
This was an interesting book that had a nice mix of new and familiar characters. Harry is back as is his philandering father and slightly-dim-but-sweet mother. So is her brother who I didn't particularly like and I have a feeling we're going to see more of him. A lot of story shoved in to this book and I don't particularly love all of the side characters (the Iris/Alfred combo wears a bit) but other than that a nice addition to the series.

Three stars
This book comes out May 2
Follows A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Thing Lou Couldn't Do by Ashley Spires

The Thing Lou Couldn't Do by Ashley SpiresI didn't even realize that this book was by the same author as The Most Magnificent Thing.  I just liked the cover. And the story lived up to the cover. Lou is a little girl who can do anything. Except one thing. And her friends don't make fun of her for it, they just try to help. And whether she ends up doing it or not, they can still have fun.
Looking forward to more Spires books.

Five stars
This book comes out May 2

Monday, April 24, 2017

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton

Another lovely book with three little vignettes, three linked stories. Narwhal has decided that he is going to be a super hero and Jelly offers to be his sidekick. They have fun, help a friend, and discover their own super powers.
I'd still characterize Narwhal as overenthusiastic but with a good heart. Jelly is still hesitant but game. A lovely story and one worth sharing.

Four Stars
This book comes out May 2
Follows Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Brew or Die by Caroline Fardig

Brew or Die: A Java Jive MysteryThis series is starting to redeem itself for me a little bit, a very little bit. Rather than Juliet Langley just bungling about, getting involved in murders, she's now a trained investigator. Her first job doesn't go very well (the man she's been trailing claims she's attacked him rather than the mistress he just dumped) but she is starting to get the hang of it when Shane, one of the coffee shop's workers, asks her to investigate the death of his fiancee. She apparently died of a drug overdose but Shane claims she's been clean for years. So Juliet (and, of course, Pete) jump into the world of party planning, once again even going undercover to help solve the case.
I still wish we didn't have the love triangle... which may not actually be a love triangle? This will-they-won't-they is cute enough for the span of a book, but not more than that. And we're now six books into the series. This is what got me off of Joanna Fluke and this series is heading that way for me. At least Juliet was slightly less ditzy in this book.

Three stars
This book comes out April 25

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dial P for Poison by Zara Keane

Dial P For Poison by Zara KeaneI requested this book from NetGalley on a whim. There are any number of cozy series that I'm already reading and I didn't really need another. But I found one.
Maggie Doyle is a former cop. She found her husband cheating on her, reacted badly, and then accepted her aunt's offer to help run a movie theater/cafe in Ireland. Even though Maggie can't cook. Like, really can't cook. Instead of finding a relaxing life, Maggie is surrounded by her aunt's cats, she struggles not to alienate her aunt's customers while her aunt is getting surgery, and then discovers the town's evil queen dead at the local movie night. And the local garda seems eager to pin the crime on her aunt. It's up to Maggie to keep her out of jail.
There are some issues with this book, as there are many when an author is trying to build a series, but I really enjoyed Maggie and hope to read more about her.

This book came out April 12
Four stars

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Good Day to Buy by Sherry Harris

A Good Day to Buy by Sherry HarrisAt the end of the last book, I wasn't sure that I liked our narrator, Sarah, very much. This book got her more on an even keel for me. Her brother has mysteriously shown up in town after nearly two years of estrangement. And this is right on the heels of a sale where the husband and wife were viciously attacked while Sarah was running their tag sale.
Now Sarah has to balance the love of her ex-husband (who doesn't really impress me much) with the love she has for her brother. There is also still a lot of tension between Sarah and her ex, most-eligible-bachelor attorney, Seth.
I like the way this story is heading better than the last one. This is still a fast, fun, and fluffy series worth following.

Three stars
This book comes out April 25

Monday, April 17, 2017

Slow Burn Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Lane Jensen has only just figured out that Finn Donnelly is a man. Well, she knew, but she didn't know he was A MAN. After being burned as a teen, she has never really considered that love could be something that she could have. And now that she's finally figuring out that Finn could be everything she's ever wanted, but will she be too late?
Slow Burn Cowboy (Copper Ridge, #7)Finn has trained himself not to want more than Lane can give. But he's done. He's done rescuing mice, he's done being the handyman. Basically, he's done being the boyfriend who doesn't get the sex. So... he and Lane start having sex. All while his life is falling to bits. Well, sort of. All of his brothers have moved back to the family ranch since their grandfather left it to them equally. Even though Lane is the one who's been there, taking care of everything. Now he has to share with the brothers he hasn't seen in years; the brothers who all left Copper Ridge.
It was an interesting book trying to continue a series while bridging into a new set of siblings. The romance between Lane and Finn suffered a little because of it but overall I think Maisey Yates' readers will enjoy.

Comes out tomorrow
Three stars
Followed by Down Home Cowboy

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Miss Feesenschneezen Is Ill by David Parmelee

Miss Feesenschneezen Is Ill by David  ParmeleeI was really expecting this to be a picture book, something along the lines of the Miss Nelson series. But this was more of a chapter book. And it was definitely again about an unruly class in need of a substitute. But this time we get to see the varied substitutes that come in to teach our unnamed narrator's class. There's the teacher from overseas here on an exchange program, a woman who used to work in a juvenile detention center, and a host of others that try to come in and teach this class, and fail.
A nice book but without the fun of Viola Swamp.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out April 20

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Thing About Love by Julie James

I think that FBI/US Attorney fans are going to be very happy with this book. Not only do we get to revisit the Chicago office, we get a whole new couple to root for.
Six years ago, Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd were in the same training class and battled each other every step of the way. They parted thinking "good riddance." And never gave the other a thought as Jess moved to L.A. and assumed John was recruited into an elite team in D.C. But, after his mother's illness, John ended up home in Chicago. Too bad he just found out that his girlfriend of two years is cheating on him with one of his best friends. And found out in the worst way possible.
Jessi just went through a divorce and has moved back to Chicago to be closer to her family and to her best friend. She's a great undercover agent and isn't surprised to be picked for an elite op taking down a corrupt Floridian mayor. However, she is surprised to find out that her partner in the op is none other than her old buddy John.
We get to see both John and Jessica's versions of what happened six years ago which is pretty nice, to see where misunderstandings took place. And I liked that the two actually talked about their differences. There was a lot of angst and some Medium Misunderstandings at the end that were a little overdrawn but it was an overall nice story and regular James readers will be pleased. The tie-ins to previous books are incredibly light and this would work as a good stand alone for new readers as well.

Four stars
This book comes out April 18

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Murder Is for Keeps by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Penny Brannigan is just spending a quiet afternoon painting at the local castle ruin. She follows a fox to what used to be a dog pen and discovers a dead body. It is the body of one of the local volunteers working to restore the castle to it's former beauty.
Murder Is for Keeps by Elizabeth J. DuncanThere are secrets to be discovered about the castle, both old and new. Penny's friend, retired policeman, Gareth is also drawn into the mystery when it turns out his grandmother was connected to a murder at the castle in the 1920s.
The mystery was a little hard to follow. I do appreciate that Ms. Duncan doesn't make Penny fall into the all-too-familiar trap of having a love triangle. It is always resolved by the end of the book.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out April 11