Book Reviews: The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas and Twinepathy by C.B. Cook @sherrythomas @BerkleyMystery

The Art of Theft
The Lady Sherlock Series #4
Sherry Thomas
Berkley, October 2019
ISBN 978-0-451-49247-0
Trade Paperback

Once upon a time, Sherry Thomas created the first of a retelling of the Sherlock Holmes adventures and, my word, what a charming series this is so far. Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson are a delightful pair and they channel the original Holmes and Watson with a feminine aplomb that makes Sherlock himself much more accessible.

Charlotte is a successful detective, having solved numerous cases, but she’s going to have to become something of an art thief this time. The target is a particular very valuable painting but it’s the documents secreted on the back of the painting that she needs to obtain; if she can’t do so, her client will be ruined. Charlotte recruits her usual partners in crime, so to speak, and the merry band sets off to attend a masked ball and art sale at a certain chateau in France. Charlotte is the true brains of the group but she couldn’t pull this off without the able assistance of Stephen Marbleton and Lord Ingram, not to mention her sister, Livia, and the pragmatic Mrs. Watson.

There’s a great deal of fun to be had in this latest tale but the reader who’s new to the series should probably start with the first book, A Study in Scarlet Women, to enjoy the books to the fullest. If you’re like me, you’ll fall head over heels for Charlotte and company.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

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Twinepathy
IDIA #1
C.B. Cook
CreateSpace, July 2016
ISBN 978-1535201551
Trade Paperback

Twin sisters Brooklyn and Albany have always hidden their telepathic abilities, believing they’re alone in the world in that sense, until a small child shows up on the doorstep, a child who seems to be suffering from total amnesia. Before they can even begin to come up with a plan—although they instinctively know they need to hide the child from their older brother and parents for the moment—two strangers appear literally out of thin air and the world as they know it changes in an instant.

It turns out that superheroes do really exist, with various powers as Data and Blaze explain; Data is a glorified mind reader and is the head of a secret agency of superheroes, the International Defense and Intelligence Agency, while Blaze specializes in teleportation and illusion. Before this first meeting is over, the sisters have code names, and they’ve learned that the little girl, dubbed Maddie, is not the first victim of memory loss. Now, Albany and Brooklyn set out to solve the first mystery—who is Maddie and what is her story?

Twinepathy is a fun tale for anyone who enjoys superheroes and adventure mixed in with a puzzle and I recommend it for a few hours of entertaining distraction from our all too real world.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

Book Review: The Maven Knight by Matthew Romeo @housemontegue

The Maven Knight
The Maven Knight Trilogy #1
Matthew Romeo
Matthew Romeo, December 2018
ISBN 978-0-578-42878-9
Trade Paperback

Mr. Romeo reaches out and pulls the reader right into a frenzied chaos with his Sci-Fi/Fantasy, The Maven Knight. Immediately invested in the action, in spite of not even knowing who is good and who is not, the dust settles soon enough to show that we have a small group of prisoners en route to their proper punishment.

Or so Sarina assumes. She groggily awakens to find her hands tied and tethered. A quick glance around shows the strangers surrounding her are similarly bound. Sarina doesn’t remember anything past tending bar at a banquet, but cannot fathom doing anything to get herself into this situation. Sure, she’s keeping a secret, but certainly not worthy of this retribution.

Talir, on the other hand, cannot specifically pinpoint his “crime”, but is oddly not particularly surprised to find himself in this predicament. Perhaps his cherished Maven armor, his last remnant of his father, is providing some comfort.

As the apparent criminals start to size each other up, their convoy is shot down. Soon, six people are stranded in the middle of nowhere with no reason in the world to want to work together. Except their lives may depend on it.

The saga unfolds from two separate points of view. What initially appeared to be a random sampling of ne’er-do-wells, now seems to be a carefully selected group. But to fully figure out the reason each person was chosen, secrets must be spilled and certain actions will require sincere apologies if there is to be any hope for survival.

Reviewed by jv poore, May 2020.

Book Review: Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith @ericsmithrocks @InkyardPress

Don’t Read the Comments
Eric Smith
Inkyard Press, January 2020
ISBN 978-1-335-01602-7
Hardcover

It’s tough for me to write a review for a book I love more than mochas. But, I can’t not share my ardent admiration of Divya, the sensational Glitch streamer in the center of Eric Smith’s spectacular Realistic-Fiction-YA, Don’t Read the Comments.

Initially, I find it incredibly cool that this high-school student enjoys playing almost as much as she treasures the comfort and camaraderie of her followers and fellow gamers. Impressive that she is making money while doing it. Intensely delighted discovering why.

The man she’d prefer not to refer to as her father, has happily taken everything they built as a family for himself. And his mistress. Divya’s mother is finishing classes and working two jobs, so the payments for trying and talking about gnarly new gadgets makes a significant difference. Her first con appearance might even allow for new furniture.

Bekah, Divya’s best bud and imperative part of D1V’s streaming success and popularity, has designed swag to sell. Appearing on a panel will broaden their audience, as well as put them in close proximity with current fans. It is a great opportunity.

Divya’s mother is not so sure. Pride and gratitude war with worry. Some of the comments she’s seen have been downright mean. Apprehension turns to angst as the trolls’ words turn from taunting to threatening. Harassment intensifies as the con date gets closer.

Even Bekah is ready to bow out. Disappointing, yes, but certainly something Divya understands. And yet, Divya already knows that she will attend. She will be scared and alone, but the trolls will not win easily.

There is one person that remains positive and supportive. If only he wasn’t a fan she’d bumped into online. Aaron is constantly dodging desk-duty at his mom’s medical practice to work on a new game he is creating. He is grateful, though a bit perplexed, that his father has been so supportive and willing to cover for him. His mom will not even listen. Perhaps if he had received any form of payment or contractual agreement from the “friend” he was working with, she would be a bit more open. And, maybe Divya and Aaron have more in common than moms that just don’t understand.

I dig how this book gets the typical teen as well as reaching students that truly have roles and responsibilities outside of school. I’ll be adding this to several classroom libraries.

Reviewed by jv poore, January 2020.

Book Review: A Bottle of Rum by Steve Goble @Steve_Goble @SeventhStBooks

A Bottle of Rum
A Spider John Mystery #3
Steve Goble
Seventh Street Books, November 2019
ISBN 978-1-64506-003-1
Trade Paperback

Spider John Rush and his sidekick Odin are pirates in the process of retiring from the business. What with one thing or another, Spider John has decided to become an upstanding member of society. No more riding the bounding main, pillaging and killing. Or so he says. Odin not so much. But when the innkeeper where they do their serious drinking is murdered right under their noses, they can’t help becoming involved. John has discovered the murder weapon to be a throwing knife he made and gave to a young pirate friend named Hob. Hob became enthralled with the notorious Anne Bonny and sailed away to further adventure in piracy. The thing is, Spider John caught up with the murderer, and it wasn’t Hob. So where is his friend, and why did that man have his knife?

A naturally noticing and curious man, Spider John means to find out. Perforce, Odin goes along with him, bellyaching all the way.

Soon they find themselves in a predicament at what seems to be an asylum for the insane and the sick. There is a cemetery with several fresh graves, as well.  Since they only ever see one of the patients, a young woman obsessed with death, John doesn’t know for certain if Hob is shut up somewhere within the creaky manor house or if he inhabits one of those graves. And when confronted with Half-Jim, a one-armed, one-legged, all the way crazy pirate who’d as soon kill a man as look at him, finding Hob becomes a real problem. Apparently, Half-Jim has set his sights on Spider John to add to the body count.

The dialogue is wonderfully written for an entertaining bunch of foul-mouthed pirates. The action proceeds at a goodly pace. I often forgot this was supposed to be a mystery as I got wound up in the actions of the worst bunch of ruffians a reader ever met. A fun read.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, January 2020.
https://carolcriggercom.sitelio.me/
Author of Five Days, Five Dead, Hereafter and Hometown Homicide.

Book Review: The Speed of Falling Objects by Nancy Richardson Fischer @nfischerauthor @InkyardPress @The_FFBC

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Title: The Speed of Falling Objects
Author: Nancy Richardson Fischer
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon
Google Books // Book Depository // Indiebound

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The Speed of Falling Objects
Nancy Richardson Fischer
Inkyard Press, October 2019
ISBN 978-1-335-92824-5
Hardcover

From the publisher—

From the author of When Elephants Fly comes an exceptional new novel about falling down, risking everything and embracing what makes us unique. Don’t miss this compulsively readable novel about the most unlikely of heroes.

Danger “Danny” Danielle Warren is no stranger to falling. After losing an eye in a childhood accident, she had to relearn her perception of movement and space. Now Danny keeps her head down, studies hard, and works to fulfill everyone else’s needs. She’s certain that her mom’s bitterness and her TV star father’s absence are her fault. If only she were more-more athletic, charismatic, attractive-life would be perfect.

When her dad calls with an offer to join him to film the next episode of his popular survivalist show, Danny jumps at the chance to prove she’s not the disappointment he left behind. Being on set with the hottest teen movie idol of the moment, Gus Price, should be the cherry on top. But when their small plane crashes in the Amazon, and a terrible secret is revealed, Danny must face the truth about the parent she worships and falling for Gus, and find her own inner strength and worth to light the way home.

To enjoy a book, I don’t necessarily have to like the protagonist and that’s a good thing because I had a bit of trouble liking Danny. Sure, she had a disability but, after 10 years, you’d think she would have learned to accept the loss of her eye with a modicum of grace but not so much. Granted, bullies have made her life uncomfortable and she’s had to cope with an absentee father but there are a lot of people worse off than she is so my empathy for her was limited. Having said that, she doesn’t hold a candle to her father when it comes to being a narcissistic douchebag and he actually made me feel a little kinder towards her. At the very least, we see Danny gain some maturity during the coming ordeal and I did appreciate that.

The setting for the core story, on the other hand, was pretty darned great. I love disaster/survival tales and, for sheer terror, you can’t do much better than the Amazon rainforest. I just can’t imagine having to deal with all the dangerous critters, the enormity of the landscape, the fear that survival is not a given.

Bottomline, while I really couldn’t care much for any of the primary characters, the plane crash and its aftermath saved the day, so to speak, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to read The Speed of Falling Objects.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2019.

About the Author

I’m a published author with children’s, teen and adult titles including: The Golden Globe, Lyric’s World and Promises (Junior Jedi Knights Trilogy) for LucasFilm (Berkeley Press), Feel No Fear, The Power, Passion and Politics of a Life in Gymnastics (Hyperion), Monica: From Fear to Victory (HarperCollins), A Journey: The Autobiography of Apolo Anton Ohno (Simon & Schuster), Nadia Comaneci: Letters to a Young Gymnast (Basic Books), and Winning Every Day with Shannon Miller (Bantam Books).

I’ve written for a circus, a graduate school, tried my hand at waitressing (I was terrible!), baking carrot cakes (I was messy but good!), and been lucky enough to ultimately do what I love – write.

I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and our mostly wonderful (but sometimes vorpal) Vizsla. When I’m not conjuring a story, I love to kite-board, bike, ski or plan adventures with my two guys, who both make me laugh for different reasons and are the best partners in fun a gal could ever imagine.

If you want to learn more about my latest novel, When Elephants Fly (publication date September 04, HarperCollins/Harlequin Teen), please visit my website: www.nancyrichardsonfischer.com

Author Links:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Instagram

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway

Win a copy of the SPEED OF FALLING OBJECTS
by Nancy Richardson Fischer (US Only)

Starts: 25th September 2019
Ends: 9th October 2019

Enter here.

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Book Review: The Devil’s Wind by Steve Goble—and a Giveaway!

The Devil’s Wind
A Spider John Mystery #2
Steve Goble
Seventh Street Books, September 2018
ISBN 978-1-63388-484-7
Trade Paperback

A second helping of pirate noir is served up by author Steve Goble. Former pirate Spider John signs on to an honest job on the ship “Redemption, ” but shortly after the ship puts out to sea, Captain Brentwood is murdered in his locked cabin. Spider John is joined on this ship by his ex-pirate friends, 15 year old Hob and one eyed Odin, who brags of sailing with Blackbeard, wrestling giant squid and screwing mermaids. The crew must avoid the Royal navy ships, who are pursuing Spider John and his friends for piracy and espionage, and evade the ruthless pirate Ned Low, on the prowl in these waters.

There are suspects aplenty in the other crew members and passengers: Sam Smoke, a pirate suspected of being a spy for Ned Low; Abigail, the captain’s beautiful daughter, who has caught the interest of Nicholas Wright, another sailor; Rufus Fox, an educated man and tinkerer; and Hadley, a former slave.

These are not the Disney-fied pirates of the theme park, but pirates who are scarred, filthy, and curse with a vengeance, ie “bubble headed lobcocks.” At one point Spider John muses, “He suddenly wished he owned all his fingers and all his teeth, and perhaps a razor and some soap.” No swashbuckling to be found in these pages, only a cast of interesting characters, lots of seaworthy action, and a right smart plot.

Reviewed by Susan Belsky, October 2018.

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To enter the drawing for a print copy of
The Devil’s Wind by Steve Goble,
leave a comment below. The winning
name will be drawn on Thursday evening,
December 6th. This drawing is open
to residents of the US & Canada.

Book Review: The Bloody Black Flag by Steve Goble

The Bloody Black Flag
A Spider John Mystery #1
Steve Goble
Seventh Street Books. September 2017
ISBN 978-163388-359-8
Trade Paperback

Avast landlubbers! Author Steve Goble introduces a new detective in this first book of a new series. Spider John Rush, a former pirate, is trying to find his way back to his wife Em and his son Little Johnny, now age eight. Spider had served on a whaling ship and then on a pirate ship. Now he signs on to a ship sailing to Jamaica, in hopes of making some money, with his friend Ezra Coombs.

Ezra and Spider were on Lama, which went down in a storm.  Ezra’s grandmother had been hung as a witch and his mother also. Spider’s gram had been burned. It was a bond they shared. The two escaped from Boston ahead of an angry mob.  Ezra is accused of being the son of a witch by a tattooed crew member named Tellam from Salem.

Ezra is found dead on deck, with a flask beside him, murdered in cold blood by a shipmate. But which one? In this adventure on the high seas, set in 1722.  Spider uses his skills of observation and the tools of his trade as a ship’s carpenter, to discover the murderer. A clever twist on the amateur detective character—fans of historical mysteries and seafaring tales will enjoy sailing with Spider John and the crew.

Reviewed by Susan Belsky, October 2018.