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review 2017-12-31 18:23
The Art of Running in Heels (Chinooks Hockey Team #7) by Rachel Gibson
The Art of Running in Heels - Rachel Gibson

 

Ms. Gibson scores a victory with The Art of Running in Heels. Lexie and Sean make it easy not to take life to seriously. In a world of unnecessary reality shows, needless celebrity and heartbreaking current events, it's tales like Running in Heels that make you sit back and take notice. A flighty bride on the run finds her prince in the most unexpected of places. The first time I read a Rachel Gibson novel I fell in love. Through kooky characters and over the top situations, she provides wisdom. In this case she shows the benefit of loving yourself, despite what others believe. A lesson we're never too old to learn and share.

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review 2017-12-18 23:27
About That Kiss (Heartbreaker Bay) by Jill Shalvis
About That Kiss - Jill Shalvis

 

What makes reading fun is watching an author explore new directions. About That Kiss is Jill Shalvis veering into new territory, but reminding readers, she has the talent to back it up. While keeping with tradition and seducing our socks off, Joe and Kylie add some mystery to the lovable canvas of Heartbreaker Bay. What began with a kiss grew in a most intriguing way. From a scene stealing dog, to a curmudgeonly father, a flighty mother and a missing penguin, Ms. Shalvis keeps the charm while adding a hint of suspense. What I enjoy most about the crew from Heartbreaker Bay is that thet show how love can build a family. Blood may not bind them but heart does.

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review 2017-12-04 18:45
Alive in Shape and Color, edited by Lawrence Block
Alive in Shape and Color: 16 Paintings by Great Artists and the Stories They Inspired - Lawrence Block

 

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this collection as much as I did last year's: IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW, which contained stories centered around the art of Edward Hopper. This time around, the authors got to choose whichever artist/painting they liked, upon which to base their stories.

 

If you had to guess which artist upon whom Michael Connolly based his story, it would be easy for anyone familiar with his work to do so. For those of you who are not familiar with Connolly's fictional detective Harry Bosch, his name comes from the painter Hieronymous Bosch, and this story was inspired by Bosch's work "The Garden of Earthly Delights," (the third panel). This was my favorite story within-short, sharp and packing a punch.

 

Jeffrey Deaver also impressed me with his story inspired by prehistoric cave drawings at Lascaux. This clever little revenge tale takes place in the present and perhaps captures the intricacies and competition within the world of archaeology.

 

S.J. Rozan's story was inspired by "The Great Wave" by Hokusai. I was not previously familiar with Rozan or Hokusai, but now I feel compelled to learn more about them both. This tale was another gut puncher, but somehow I finished it feeling satisfied and happy for the protagonist.

 

The Great Wave by Hokusai

 

Lastly, Joe Lansdale's tale was inspired by Norman Rockwell's "First Trip to the Beauty Shop." Even though the painting is perky and cute, the story is definitely not. It was sad, poignant, and scary-all at the same time. I enjoyed the heck out of it. 

 

 

All told, that's 4 stories that impressed me a great deal. That's pretty good for any old anthology, but I expected so much more from this one, based on my experience with IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW. Perhaps it was a case of being disappointed by my own high expectations, or perhaps it's just that these tales didn't work as well for me as they did for other people. Whatever the case, I'm glad I read this anthology, otherwise I would have been wondering what I had missed.

 

Recommended!

 

Alive in Shape and Color

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

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review 2017-11-14 01:28
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
Surprise Me: A Novel - Sophie Kinsella

A special thank you to NetGalley, Edelweiss, and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

I have also had the pleasure of reviewing My Not So Perfect Life and couldn't wait to read Surprise Me.  Sophie Kinsella, you've done it again!  I absolutely adore your writing and your words make me smile.  (If you haven't listened to one of Kinsella's books, I highly recommend it, especially if narrated by Jayne Entwistle.)  

 

This witty and at times emotional novel takes a closer look at marriage and how we can still be surprised by those we think we know best.  Sylvie and Dan have been together for ten blissful years.  They have a lovely home life complete with twin girls, fulfilling careers, and an envy worthy relationship.  A trip to the doctor predicts that they will live for another 68 years—this gives new meaning to "until death us do part" when it spans seven more decades together.

 

To keep the marriage alive, Project Surprise Me is born.  The couple will surprise each other to keep things fresh and exciting.  But is seems that each "surprise" exposes the flaws in their relationship and drives them apart.  

 

Sylvie seemingly enjoys her work at a museum even though there are some pretty archaic systems in place—the owner, Mrs. Kendrick resists technology and Sylvie chalks this up to as charming.  Mrs. Kendrick's nephew, Robert, takes an interest in the operations of the museum and questions their methods and systems.  Is he trying to close down the museum and turn it into two-bedroom condos?     

 

Facing changes both personally and professionally, Sylvie experiences a tremendous amount of growth.  She adored her late father and has kept up the Princess Sylvie persona he created as a way to honour him, when in actual fact, she is doing herself and her family a disservice because she is not being true to herself.        

 

I fell in love with the supporting cast of characters, this is really where Kinsella excels at writing.   The tender exchanges between Sylvie's neighbours John and Owen were some of the most beautiful writing in the book.  One of my favourite quotes is when John says "Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating."

 

Kinsella's latest work is charming, thoughtful, and simply delightful.

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review 2017-11-07 19:00
Deadbomb Bingo Ray by Jeff Johnson
Deadbomb Bingo Ray - Jeff Johnson

Mark my words readers, Jeff Johnson is an author to watch! I haven't yet read anything from him that I haven't enjoyed, and as such he's one of my go-to authors.

 

In DEADBOMB BINGO RAY, we have a tall, handsome "fixer" who earned his nickname during an unfortunate incident at a casino. He earned his reputation the hard way and everyone knows who he is and stays clear.

 

That is, until he finds himself on the radar of one Tim Cantwell, a man he's already taken down once. Unfortunately, Cantwell did not learn his lesson the first time around and now he's looking for revenge. Throw in the beautiful Mary Chapman, a black man named Skuggy, DBR's secretary Agnes, her son Cody, and the new love of his life, Abigail, and you have a memorable cast of characters. Will Cantwell be successful in his bid for revenge? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I need to get one thing straight with you-DEADBOMB BINGO RAY is NOT a hero. He is not a good guy. What he is is a thinker-capable of masterminding schemes and plans that make Lex Luthor look like a drooling idiot recently escaped from the asylum. Oh, and he sometimes kills people.

 

What makes this story so entertaining is the characters. Even though DBR isn't a good guy, you cannot help but admire the style with which he goes about his nefarious deeds. His home sounds beautiful, he rescued a Pomeranian, and, (like most of Johnson's main characters), he cooks. His secretary Agnes hates Woody Allen so much,(because of the situation with his step-daughter), she tells everyone she meets that she's going to kill him. She also loves dogs. Ray's friend and sometime assistant, Skuggy, is an hilarious mystery of a man with long fingernails and colorful language, who likes Newports. All of these characters are so vividly drawn and real, they seem to come to life with little to no effort on the part of Johnson. He makes it look easy.

 

There is plenty of material here that will offend people; as previously stated DBR is not a good guy. People die. Some animals die. That's part of the gritty reality of this neo-noir world and that's who these people are. At least when they are committing crimes, they do it stylishly.

 

One more thing I want to mention is the inclusion of song titles/bands throughout the novel, many of which I weren't familiar with. I did not listen to all of them, but when I had the opportunity and the means to do so, I did. I felt like these songs helped to set the mood of what was coming next and I also thought it helped to achieve an almost movie-like experience while reading.

 

These are all the reasons I said at the start that Jeff Johnson is an author to watch. Every book I've read from him so far is totally different from the rest, but they all have one thing in common and that is STYLE. I like it and hopefully you will too!

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get a copy here: Deadbomb Bingo Ray

 

*I received an e-ARC of this book via Edelweiss and Turner Publications in exchange for my honest review. This is it. *

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