Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass

Lending a Paw (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery, #1)Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The secret to finding a good cozy mystery series is finding one where the hero/heroine does something you are deeply interested in and what could be better than a librarian who drives the bookmobile? Minnie Hamilton is a diminutive librarian who just so happens to have a cat with the knack for sniffing out crime. On their first outing with the brand new bookmobile Eddie the cat discovers the murdered body of their bookmobile benefactor, Stan Larabee. The lists of suspects is long , so long that even the librarians are under suspicion. Minnie with Eddie’s help, vows to find the killer before the wrong person is sent to jail.

This is the first in the series but like many cozies it can stand alone as well. Fun to read, full of possible suspects and has a satisfying conclusion. Plus our heroine is a librarian! Recommended to those who like cozy mysteries, libraries, bookmobiles and cats. Or if you just want something quick and fun to read.

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Better late than never by Jenn Mckinlay

Better Late Than Never (Library Lover's Mystery, #7)Better Late Than Never by Jenn McKinlay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the more interesting plots by McKinlay. A twenty year late book is returned to bring attention to a cold case. The suspect list was deep and kept me guessing until late in the novel. Also the Sully -Lindsey -Robbie love triangle is also finally figured out. Let’s just say that was not the surprise in this novel. Worth the read.

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Murder on the Camps de Mars by Cara Black

e0753d52-55ea-484d-97ee-b695c3769939img400Aimee Leduc’s life is a fast paced mystery at every turn. From her love life to her detective agency there is no time for sleep when a stranger appears at her door and tells her she must follow him to find out a secret regarding her father’s murder.
Without giving to much away let me state that this book is a whirlwind read. There are ups and down and surprises around each corner. I was not familiar with Cara Black’s work until I was given this book to read from Soho Crime. The book jacket description made me agree to read the book but it was the first scene that kept me glued to the book reading late into the night.
Black’s characters are believable and well crafted. Her scene setting is superb. The plot moves quickly and subtle hints and clues are left like baguette crumbs throughout.
My only compliant is that there is a bit of a stall, in an otherwise thrilling book, towards the end (about the last 60 pages). With her daughter just threatened Aimee takes her to a safe house then heads to a friend’s and we sit for too long considering the big reveal is just moments away. The brief pause is not enough to effect my overall enjoyment of the book. I will be locating the earlier books in the series and eagerly awaiting new additions to what I can only imagine is a fantastic series based on the latest offering from the Aimee Leduc Investigation series.
Readers looking for a good crime novel, mystery or a Parisian novel should read this book.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Note: I was given this book by the publisher to read and review. In no way did that effect the opinions listed here.

The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl

8dc0135c-937b-4589-b830-109ae4746ec2img400Fans of Matthew Pearl “The Last Dickens” will be fond of his latest book “The Last Bookaneer” set to come out from Penguin Press April 28 2015. Briefly, in The Last Dickens we are introduced to a mysterious group of folks called bookaneers. These literary pirates risk life and fortune for the glory of capturing a prized manuscript from the most sought after authors. In the latest from award-winning Matthew Pearl, we see the last of the bookaneers battle it out in Samoa over the greatest treasure they have ever sought, the last novel from dying Robert Louis Stevenson.

Like all of Pearl’s work, The Last Bookaneer, is a literary thrill. From the first page to last I was riveted by the tale our narrators Mr. Fergins and Mr. Clover spun for the readers. We are taken to exotic places, meet influential authors and of course are given loving descriptions of literature and its effect on readers. Our characters are clever and well read. The plot has twists and turns that can surprise even the most rigorous of readers. And one can only imagine the amount of research that went into this novel. Every chapter is not only entertaining but also a lesson in literary and publishing history.

This novel is a must read for several types of readers; fans of Pearl, literary fiction, publishing history, Stevenson and the novel Frankenstein to name just a few. For this reader it is a volume that will be read many times and treasured as if it was the last manuscript seized by the last bookaneer.

Note: I received this book from the publisher to read and review. In no way did that effect the opinions in this review.

4 of 5 stars

Criminal Confections by Colette London

Criminal ConfectionsCriminal Confections by Colette London
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Criminal Confections by Colette London is the first book in a new Cozy Mystery series. Our crime solver is Hayden Mundy Moore. She just turned thirty is heir to a large fortune and a globe trotter. This self proclaimed chocolate whisperer has the life. Nothing has been able to stump her in her travels until she becomes a guest at an exclusive all chocolate resort and finds herself in the midst of murder. Determined to figure out who killed her friend and whether or not she might have been the real target, Hayden enlists the help of her long time friend, streetwise Danny the security expert. Together the discover that people of the chocolate world all have secrets, some more sinister than others.

The novel started off strong. Interesting open, quirky main character with two potential love interests, all the makings of a good cozy mystery series starter. While two murders and one disappearance happen in the book there is a lack of action towards the middle of the book. It stalls and a less dedicated reader may have quit during the middle of the book. Also the killer becomes obvious to everyone but Hayden early on and she (Hayden) does seem to become a little dizzier as the book progresses. Perhaps she has had too much chocolate or one two many bumps on the head but she does not come off as quick witted as she led us to believe early on.

Those faults up front now i cannot say that it was a bad book. The chocolate information is abundant and interesting. Overall, I think this will be an interesting series with murder, chocolate and a love triangle how could a series go wrong.

The publisher gave me vthis book to read and review. In no way does that effect the content of this review.

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The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

The TechnologistsThe Technologists by Matthew Pearl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In my review of The Professor’s Assassin last month I stated that I was eagerly awaiting the release of Pearl’s new novel The Technologists and that from the preview that was included in The Professor’s Assassin it looked like it was going to be one of his best. Well needless to say I was not disappointed. Pearl delivers yet another page turner that had me guessing “who done it” until the very end.

The Technologists is set in Boston 1868 and starts with, of all things, seven shipwrecks. For those who do not know, currently me, my husband and super pup Maverick are on a sailboat sailing around the entire coast line of Florida. It was somewhat eerie to begin the book on a foggy and raining day while sitting on a boat only to discover that Pearl was painting a similar picture in his new novel. Besides the riveting poetic language from sentence number one I was hooked simply because I truly felt the picture being painted around me. But the mysterious disasters did not stop there. As the book progressed more unusual, seemingly hard to explain catastrophes were happening to Boston. The police force was at a loss for answers so they had to make the choice of turning to one of the two colleges in the area, Harvard or the new formed Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They choose to place their faith in the college that was not shocking the city with their “technologies” and sought the help of the professor of science from Harvard. Harvard’s science department unfamiliar and unwilling to accept the new way of looking at the world that was present in MIT was unable to adequately explain what had happened or what would happen next. It looked as though all was loss for Boston until a secret group formed within the walls of MIT began to investigate from the shadows. Quickly the MIT students begin to see how the experimenter was tormenting the city, their only question left was, how would they stop him.

For readers whom this is the first Pearl book you have or will read I must take a sidebar in this review and tell you that if you enjoy it, buy the other three… you will not be disappointed. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Pearl’s novels but I do have favorites. The Last Dickens published in 2009 is my favorite of his works but it has some serious competition with The Technologists. It is not often that I read a mystery and do not pick up on where the author is going long before the culprit is revealed. In Pearl’s latest I suspected many people and was surprised to find out who was really behind it all. For that and Pearl’s attention to detail in his meticulous research I gave The Technologists five stars. Hats off to Pearl for yet another masterpiece.

Novel Moments:

“Throughout his boyhood in a port town, he’d heard so many people spoken of as “lost at sea.” Now it seemed to him the strangest turn of phrase. As long as he was in the water he could not be lost.”
(Kindle Location 200)

“Technology is the dignity that man can achieve by bettering himself and his society.” (Kindle Location 892)

“When you stop the mind from inventing, you stop nature.” (Kindle Location 2339)

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The Professor’s Assassin by Matthew Pearl

The Professor's AssassinThe Professor’s Assassin by Matthew Pearl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Professor’s Assassin by Matthew Pearl is a prequel to his latest novel The Technologists. The regular reader of Pearl will know that he does not disappoint the reader looking for an engaging historical fiction novel. His short story about a professor who is determined to find out the identity of a murderer at the University of Virginia and bring him to justice is no exception. Pearl’s talent for tantalizing the reader with thrilling tales shines through once again. William Barton Rogers (later to be the founder and president of MIT) is the science professor at the University of Virginia and is startled to discover that the riots of campus “volunteers” have turned deadly. Rogers is the first to want justice when one of his colleague’s is slain in the street at the hand of a student and volunteer. With his prodigious knowledge of the area and the help of other students Rogers goes on the hunt for the person responsible so he cannot kill again.

Pearl, as in his novels, creates a character in Rogers that makes the reader want to follow him into the darkest alley to find out who has committed the crime and bring that man to justice. From the first page we, the reader, are captured and cannot leave until the thrilling end.

The short story is riveting and leaves the reader wanting more. The short story also includes sample chapters from Pearl’s upcoming novel, The Technologists, which if the sample is any indication of the rest of the novel is going to be phenomenal. Trust me readers of historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers… you will not be disappointed with The Professor’s Assassin.

Novel Moments:

“William Barton Roger’s eyes tracked the bursts of light in the darkness outside. The other men in the room kept away from the window, as though there was somewhere to hide.” (Kindle Location 33-36).

“Jack would not be so limited forever. Nor would Rogers. More choices would come-they must.” (Kindle Location 944-49)

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