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Tender is the Bite–K-9 narrator
Tender is the Bite
by Spencer Quinn
The dynamic duo of the Little Detective Agency are on the case again. In fact, it seems like several cases. Bernie is the human, and Chet is his canine side-kick. The story is told from Chet’s point of view. Bernie sees Chet as an equal partner and refers to the team as “we” in talking to clients, police officers, and friends. There is a lot of humor in the tale as Chet describes his communications with Bernie and references past mishaps where he has perhaps been a little too exuberant. Most people, even some “perps,” like and respect both members of the team. One thing you can be sure of is that Chet and Bernie will always have each other’s back.
In Tender is the Bite there is lots going on. Some Ukrainians with a secretive boss try to send them on a highly paid security detail in Hawaii. Two young ladies, a standup comedian, and a ferret keep cropping up. A politician and his wife are somehow involved with the others, and a thread emerges that introduces a woman on the police force to Bernie, but is complicated by an officer who seems to have some shady connections. I had a lot of fun with Chet’s view of events and his efforts to understand figures of speech. I also enjoyed watching the pair unravel the many secrets. There is plenty of action to keep you turning the pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Category: Mystery, Humor
Notes: 1. Occasional foul language.
2. This is #11 in the Chet and Bernie series. I have read two others in the series. I didn’t enjoy #10 as much as I did the first or this one. This one checked the boxes for both humor and mystery, and can easily be read as a standalone.
Publication: July 6, 2021—Macmillan—Tor/Forge
“I reckon he knows we’re talkin’ about him—tail’s a dead giveaway.” Something about my tail? Yes, I could feel it. I myself was perfectly still and calm, correct behavior in an interview. My tail is not always a team player. I got it back in line, and in no uncertain terms.
Soon I was in the shower too! Had I forgotten once again about the problem of the shower curtain and how the whole thing with all the poles and screws and rings can come crashing down? Show me the dude who can remember everything.
“On the other hand,” Bernie said, “sometimes it’s a good idea to stir up the hornet’s nest, see where they go.” I gazed at Bernie. He looked good—well rested, not hung over, certainly not sick or feverish. A joke, perhaps? Could there be anything good about hornets? Wasn’t stirring up the nest the last thing you wanted to do? As for seeing where the hornets go, they always go the same place, right at you. Take it from me.
A Springtime to Remember–gardens of Versailles
A Springtime to Remember
by Lucy Coleman
There are times, like today, when I wonder why I would pick a romance off the virtual bookshelves. Then I read a book like A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman and understanding strikes again. I am hit by a combination of the beauty of Versailles, the ostentatious audacity of the aristocracy of days gone by, a passion for history, the mystery of family relationships, and ultimately the gentle magnetism of two hearts drawn into one.
Lexie, a TV presenter, wants more professionally; it is not enough to be the pretty face in front of the camera. She also has to prove her value to her successful brother, Jake, who very publicly fired her. Lexie is combining forces with cameraman Elliot Nielson to produce and financially back their own mini-series of documentaries. Their first project takes them to France to focus on the Palace of Versailles. Their futures are ironically fixed in the past: Lexie has an added interest in Versailles as her grandmother, an avid gardener, spent a year working in the Versailles gardens immediately prior to her marriage. Mysteriously, she never discussed that year with her family.
Indulge in this clean romance with its appreciation for natural beauty and historical context. You will be treating yourself to lots of smiles and a few tears in the midst of a well-told tale.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Boldwood Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Publication: December 26, 2019—Boldwood Books
“Versailles holds so many secrets. The more you uncover, the more you realise the surface has only just been scratched, even after all the years of intense scrutiny.”
I nod my head in agreement, thinking that every family has their problems, they’re just all very different. It’s how you resolve them that counts…
“I’ve learnt that the nature of life is that everyone’s journey is different and, therefore, no one should ever stand in judgement of another. Not least because they have not travelled that same road. Instead, it’s wise to feel grateful if one’s own road is less arduous, or one is simply better equipped to deal with the harsher realities of life.”
Field of Bones: A Brady Novel of Suspense
Field of Bones: A Brady Novel of Suspense
by J.A. Jance
It was all I could do to get through the first half of the book. Don’t get me wrong. Field of Bones, set in Arizona, fulfills its promise of being a suspenseful novel, and it is very well written. The characters are appropriately developed, and I certainly understand the appeal of Sheriff Joanna Brady, mother of three, as the main character of the series. She is a strong woman, but portrayed realistically, not as a superwoman. Part mystery, part thriller, part police procedural, and all suspense fiction, Field of Bones runs the full gamut.
The “but” you can hear coming is because of the topic: violent, horrible, sex slavery. It makes for a combo of “I can’t stop reading, leaving characters in this torturous situation” and “I can’t read anymore; it is just too painful.” Kudos to the author J.A. Dance for the skills to put me in this situation. At the same time, I have to say Jance does not include details of the violence, but offers enough information that anyone with an imagination will get the picture. Given the number of books she has published, I think a lot of people admire her storytelling talent. This book is just too terrifying for me, and I doubt I will read any more of her books.
Although some of the tension is relieved in the last half of the book, the story is far from over. At that point, I did enjoy watching how the professionals from various fields perform their duties and work to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to HarperCollins Publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Notes: #18 in the Joanna Brady Mystery Series, but despite the number of books that preceded this one, I had no trouble following the personal interactions because they were limited compared to the suspenseful storyline.
Publication: September 4, 2018—HarperCollins Publishers
At the end of this long, difficult day, he was in over his head. She needed a kind way to encourage him without undermining his confidence.
The pressure Latisha applied during the required three-minute wait hurt like crazy, but Garth was grateful for that. You had to be alive to know that it hurt.
“…did you ever get around to having that baby? The last time I saw you, you were big as a barn.” Randy Trotter was a lot of things, but politically correct wasn’t one of them. He was known for putting his lizard-skin Tony Lamas in his mouth, sometimes both of them at once.
Picked Off–vegan running a goat dairy
by Linda Lovely
I enjoyed Picked Off, a cozy mystery by Linda Lovely, but I didn’t love it and I didn’t think it was as good as the first book in the series.
On the positive side, it has an interesting plot, likable characters and appropriate injections of humor. In fact, there is an exciting escape scene that is as funny as all get out! It’s worth reading the book just to experience that piece of writing. There are lots of fun, folksy figures of speech to roll off the tongue and stir the imagination.
On the negative side, Brie, who is helping her Aunt Eva with Udderly Kidding Dairy, is as enmeshed as ever in her attractions to Paint and Andy who are best friends to each other. The irony of a vegan who runs a dairy farm and engages in cheese and meat curses is lost on no one and remains amusing in the second book. The romantic triangle, however, is losing its appeal. Brie, along with the author, appears stuck on the fence. My other criticism is that there were a few loose ends that did not get tied up. I am especially interested in the missing backpack containing evidential video footage. It seems to have dropped off the radar.
The basic plot is interesting: Carol Strong is campaigning for South Carolina governor and her son, football star Zack, is attacked during a Halloween themed rally for her benefit. There is more mayhem, lots of entanglements, and plenty of folks to accuse. Imagine trying to identify suspects when most guests are wearing masks. Brie, her friend Mollye, and Aunt Eva find themselves overly and dangerously involved, but the reader benefits by enjoying the plot’s development.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #2 in the Brie Hooker Mystery Series
Publication: June 5, 2018—Henery Press
My nerves jangled. Who could blame me? Yesterday’s assault would have scared the beans out of a bowl of chili.
Eva returned around lunch time, exhausted. Airlines could assess a surcharge for the size of the bags under her eyes.
…we were more out of our depth than a vegan at a wienie roast.
The Stepchild–does the past really stay in the past?
by Joanne Fluke
If you are a fan of Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen cooking mysteries, you will be surprised and possibly disappointed by The Stepchild. I know Fluke has a huge following for the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series. I found the one I read too syrupy sweet with the emphasis on the personal lives of flat characters and their recipes.
The Stepchild is a completely different type of book. I would classify it as a psychological thriller. It begins with a prologue that focuses on two dramatic events. Then the scene fast forwards to describe the sudden problems of Kathi Ellison whose father is only a few weeks away from becoming a senator. There is a life changing secret in Kathi’s past that even Kathi does not know about.
Three quarters of the way through the book I almost stopped reading it because of what appears to be a strong paranormal aspect. I am glad I continued on to the end as the story progresses in a different and unexpected direction with surprising implications. The Stepchild is an unsettling read, but a good one.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thriller
Publication: July 25,2017—Kensington Books
To succeed in political circles he had to give up something, the same as in everything else. In the city you had to give up nature, in a marriage you had to give up privacy, and in politics you had to give up little pieces of yourself, carefully doled out in meetings and speeches, making your life smaller with each passing encounter. It was almost like bleeding, and Doug sometimes wondered what would happen when he was bled dry.
Now that she was awake, sleep eluded her like a fickle lover, tempting her by making her body warm and drowsy, but forcing her eyes to open.
And now, in the late fall, the leaves were swirling in the wind, blowing up against the wooden snow fences, gathering in piles. She could see the woods by the side of the narrow road, the carpet of fallen leaves and the lovely, deep darkness behind the bordering trees.