Book Reviews

desperate housedogs

Title: Desperate Housedogs
Author:  Sparkle Abbey
Publication Date: 2011
Formats: Hardback, Kindle, Kobo
Genres: Mystery, Cozy Mystery



Ok, maybe my reason for selecting this book wasn’t great, I like the title

and the cover seemed interesting but my reasons for reviewing are honorable.

This is probably one of the best books I have read this year, it was fun, it was exciting, it was enjoyable and most importantly it had characters I could relate to.  Be it ex beauty pageant contest Caro, Ollie the aged rock star or Malone, the cop with a mission, they were all believable.  They may sound like they stepped out a soap opera (and that is a possibility with this book) but I found I actually cared about the why and wherefores of what they did.  They were actually three dimensional characters and that is rare in books nowadays.

Now obviously there was more to this book than the characters, there was actually a murder to be solved, but it really was in the background.  I mean it was there, it was feasible and it was solved but it really did play second fiddle to the humans and their pets.  For me this was a real plus, some may not see it that way, but we got to learn about the suspects through their interactions with their pets and the pets were pivotal to how the plot was laid out.

I found this a novel but enjoyable method for the authors to utilize and it really added to my enjoyment.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves animals, loves a bit of humor and likes a bit of mystery and mayhem tossed in for good measure.

5 stars

Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories

Title: Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories
Author:  Mr. Kim Newman
Publication Date: 2017
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Kobo
Genres: Horror, Short Stories



So I will be honest, this was not the book I was intending to read, I had wanted to read Anno Dracula but when this one turned up instead I thought, why not and it was perhaps one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I have a really short attention span, so being an anthology really suited and then the subject matter was so diverse that it was like reaching into Pandora’s Box – you were never too sure what you were going to pull out.

This is a great compendium of stories, many of which take well known characters and continues the dialogue along, often with unexpected and interesting results.

Personal favorites were A Drug on the Market, a continuation of Jekyll and Hyde, Just like Eddy, which was a great treat, Red Jacks Wild, which was probably my favorite and continues the Jack the Ripper storyline and The Intervention, which scared me to the point I couldn’t sleep.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who likes horror or the unusual or just wants a short story with a bit of a grunt but be warned some of these stories are a bit heavy going and one last word of advice, don’t read if you have problems sleeping at night.

5 stars

Superfluous WomenTitle: Superfluous Women
Author:  Carola Dunn
Publication Date: 2015
Formats: Hardback, Paperback, Kobo
Genres: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Historical Fiction



Those who have read my previous reviews will know that I recently read Carola Dunn’s Corpse at the Crystal Palace and though I enjoyed it, I found it a bit tedious in the beginning and had my doubts about reading any more in the series.  Well I am pleased to say that I really enjoyed Superfluous Women, it was a traditional murder mystery but in this instance it didn’t drag its heels but was zipping along from the very first page.

Perhaps my change in view is due to reading a previous book but I think it can be attributed most to the fact that we were not just reliant on Daisy as our means of solving the case.  Other characters, who were well developed and unique, took us along for the ride and this allowed us, as the readers, to come to our own conclusions about what has occurred.  It really enjoy this is murder mysteries as I am one of those page turning sleuths who develops my own theories as I read.

While I would say this wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea I would recommend it for a lazy afternoon in the sun or in Australia, a wet afternoon in front of the fire.  It is a relaxing, enjoyable and entertaining read.

4 Stars

Title: The Case of the Unsuitable SuitorThe Case Of The Unsuitable Suitor
Author:  Cathy Ace
Publication Date: 2018
Formats: Hardback, Kindle, Kobo
Genres: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Historical Fiction


I will admit from the outset that I thought this book was something it wasn’t when I picked it up.  I believed it was a Historical Mystery, as it is described on Goodreads, but I don’t include books set in the 21st Century as historical, so I was a bit unprepared for that.

Additionally, as you would have gathered by my opening comment, I hadn’t read any of the previous books so I was caught off guard at both the modern topics and language, even though it was located in a small country town.

So now we have gotten these points out of the way I will state that I did enjoy reading this book, the characters were entertaining, the setting was convincing and it had a good dash of humor which helped to make it a pleasant book to curl up with.  Now I know this doesn’t sound like a rousing review and I will concede that I did have a major issue with this book – the plotline.

Not to give any spoilers but it was one of those books were red herring abounded and in my opinion the excuse of coincidence was a tad overused.  While I did enjoy the summary and the coincidences were all nice and plausible, I felt a little lack lustre at the conclusion.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a really light read and has no high expectations.  Its pleasant but not earth shattering

3 Stars

The Corpse at the Crystal Palace

Title: The Corpse at The Crystal Palace
Author:  Carola Dunn
Publication Date: 2018
Formats: Paperback, Kindle
Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction



In all honesty I found this book very slow to get going, which was disappointing but I feel that this could be attributed to the fact that I had no prior knowledge of the characters or Carola Dunn’s method of writing, as this is the first book I have read of her work.

With the introduction of the police and Daisy’s husband I became more interested and the plot seemed to be brought to the fore, so instead of dwelling on the interactions within Daisy’s life, details I had no prior knowledge of, we began to concentrate on the murder.  In my experience this brought the characters to life and made me eager to turn the pages, as the story was well written and complex enough to retain my interest.

As Carola Dunn moved towards her climax, I found myself immersed in the outcome and I will admit that I stayed up late to find out the conclusion, which I feel is a clear indication that I enjoyed the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an easy reading mystery and obviously to fans of the preceding books, one of which is sitting beside me on my desk as I type this review.

3 Stars

Street FreaksTitle: Street Freaks
Website: Terry Brooks
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2018
Formats: Hard Back, Audiobook, MP3 CD
Genres: Science Fiction, Mystery, Dystopian Fiction


I have long been a fan of Terry Brooks, reading the majority of his books soon after their release date but I will be entirely honest, I found Street Freaks a very difficult book to read.  While I found the premise of the book interesting, from the start I struggled with how the book was written.  It seemed quite laboured and didn’t seem to flow, which hampered my ability to actually enjoy the plot unfolding.

The books strength was the characters, I particularly enjoyed Holly and Penny-Girl who were anything but typical characters and were allowed to act unpredictably.  These young adults were believable characters which many will relate to.  Their solution to the dilemmas they encountered didn’t border on the absurd; I found that I could comprehend their reactions even as I was shaking my head in disbelief.

The plot itself was a bit predictable and though there was a concerted effort to build in red herrings and distractions, the ending was never really in doubt.  I did enjoy the action scenes as Terry Brooks has a real skill in placing his reader at the center and letting them observe firsthand the unfolding scene but in the end I felt a little disappointed on finishing the novel.

The resolution was never in doubt and it all finished kind of predictably.

3 Stars

Title: Trent’s Last CaseTrent's Last Case
Author:  E.C. Bentley
Publication Date: 1913
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Hardcover, Audio CD
Genres: Mystery, Detective, Classics



Occasionally you read the blurb on the back of a book and you smirk, thinking that this is an overestimation by a mile, but in the case of EC Bentley’s Trent’s Last Case the comment that it had its ‘with its labyrinthine and mystifying plotting (it) can be seen as the first truly modern mystery’ was the truth.

To begin with this book was written in 1913, therefore it is a bit hard to read.  It is very detailed, very descriptive and perhaps a bit slow moving compared to current mystery novels.  While this initially is a bit distracting once I got used to the style I enjoyed reading and absorbing the intricate detail and this is the key point in this book.  The intricate detail is key to how the story unfolds and the twist at the end.

With not one but three reveals you need to concentrate to understand what is happening and in all honesty I think this missing a bit from recent releases.  This is a labyrinthine plot and while the style is very laid back, you feel each jolt as it occurs.

The characters were an interesting blend and perhaps typical of the day, the writing was skillful and the plot was unexpected.

I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who really wants to be kept guessing.  It will be worth your time.

4 Stars

W R Gingell Shards of a Broken SwordTitle: Shards of a Broken Sword
Website: W.R. Gingell
Publication Date: February 2, 2017
Formats: Kindle, epub, pdf, Irf, pdb, txt
Genres: Romance, Fantasy


Author W.R Gingell has produced a delightful series in the Shards of a Broken Sword trilogy.  Containing three distinct story lines with marvelous characters it is an enjoyable read which moves along at a cracking pace, ensuring that there is never a dull moment.

My favorite feature of this book was the characters; each was distinct, with their own motivations.  Utilizing stream of consciousness we are able to relate to the trials they are enduring and agonize over the decisions they make.  While I found this really enjoyable, in places

it did make the plotline rather obvious but this didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the stories.

In the final book the separate storylines are woven together and while there was the chance tha

t this could appear contrived, it didn’t.  I feel that in part this was due to the predictability of the plot but despite this I still found the book exceptionally enjoyable.

The Complete Trilogy also had the added benefit of two mini stories, which focused on resolving some of the grey areas which remained at the conclusion of the series.  I thought this was a great idea.

I highly recommend this book for readers who like fantasy with a twist and the romantics at heart

4 Stars