Short Story Review: Norfolk Twilight by M.L. Eaton

Summary (from Goodreads)

A short, but magical, haunting tale of country ways, adventure, loss and love.Two friends are sitting, amicably silent, in the dusk of a winter’s day, when the atmosphere around them changes. Soon a story of love, loss and adventure unfolds, with unexpected consequences for them both.

Favourite Quote

Dusk crept in early from beneath the lowering brow of a winter sky.

Review

An enjoyable read that cleverly weaves tales of the past and the present together.  I liked how the stories seamlessly flowed from one to the other.

This is not a ghost story; there are no tense spooky passages that will make you jump.  However, it is a story of ghosts, where memories of what has gone before are remembered by the fabric of the building in which they were made.

The story is rich in evocative description that gently pulls you into the story. My favourite quote (see above) is the opening line of the tale, and illustrates this perfectly.

Norfolk Twilight is an intelligent, beautifully written short story. I would happily read more from this author.

Rating

I found Norfolk Twilight by M. L. Eaton available for Free on Smashwords

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Poetry Book Review: The Silence Between Moonbeams by Sarah Doughty

Summary (from Goodreads)

The Silence Between Moonbeams is about life — not always romantic, and not always easy, but often beautiful.

Everything is a product of the universe, the one thing about life we all share. It binds us together not only on a cellular level, but it’s also quintessential to the human condition. Thoughts, feelings, triumphs, love, loss, and much more are covered throughout these pages.

Discover what it feels like to live.

Favourite Quote

Let’s paint the stars

with our fingertips

Review

I knew I was already a fan of Sarah’s poetry before downloading a copy of The Silence Between Moonbeams because I follow her blog, and this collection of poems has ensured that won’t change anytime soon.

This was a powerful, beautiful, emotive read, full of honest words and raw emotions. As I moved through the poems, I couldn’t help but admire the strength of the one writing them.  The focus of the poems is a subject close to my heart: the night sky.  Stars, the moon, constellations, galaxies and more are mentioned as the author uses poetry to help with her complex PTSD.

The poems are often short, with a crispness softened with sentiment, that left me thinking before moving on to the next.  I liked how the poetry was broken up by short blocks of text, giving the reader space to process the words being read.  Although I couldn’t pick just one poem as a favourite, for the words of many of them resonated with me, the final line of “Burning Twilight” struck a chord.  “Run free, feel the wind upon your face, and never forget to howl at the moon,” is one line that has stayed with me since I read it.

There is no doubt, this is an inspiring poetry collection, one that I will return to, again and again.

Rating

I downloaded a copy of The Silence Between Moonbeams for free via Smashwords

Book Review: The Case of the Bygone Brother by Diane Burton

The Case of the Bygone Brother is the first book in the Alex O’Hara series by Diane Burton

Summary (from Goodreads)

After taking over O’Hara Palzetti, Confidential Investigations from her dad and his partner, Alex O’Hara’s bottom line has taken a plunge. So when a femme fatale offers her the case of a lifetime along with a huge advance, Alex sees her finances on a definite upswing. But someone doesn’t want her to find the long-lost brother. Complicating matters is the return of Alex’s old heartthrob, Nick Palzetti. Is he really there just to see her or does he have an ulterior motive? The Lake Michigan resort town of Fair Haven is abuzz with the news that O’Hara Palzetti are together again.

Favourite Quote

While my cheeks burned at the memory of that unwanted kiss, I silently cursed my fair Irish complexion.  Genetics betrayed me every time.  “Knuckle-dragger is right,” I said.  “I guess you didn’t stay long enough to see me deck him.”

Review

This is an entertaining little read; romance, suspense, humour, danger…it has everything an interesting cosy mystery needs.

I liked both Alex O’Hara and Nick Palzetti.  She’s determined to make it on her own and is a right little miss independent, while he just wants to protect her and keep her safe.  So, of course, this creates a great deal of tension between the main characters.

The pace felt a little off (too fast) towards the end but throughout the rest of the book, the story moved along at a good pace.  There were enough plot twists and turns to keep me wondering what was going to happen next.  Fair Haven was the perfect setting for this story, with it’s small shops and people who know everyone else (and everyone else’s business).  There were a number of references, especially close to the beginning that were reminiscent of old-school detective novels, which I found charming.

The second book in the series is The Case of the Fabulous Fiance, which sounds just as entertaining as the first.

Rating

I read The Case of the Bygone Brother by Diane Burton via Wattpad

Book Review: Raining Men and Corpses by Anne. R. Tan

Raining Men and Corpses is the first book in the Raina Sun Mysteries by Anne R Tan.

Summary (from Smashwords)

When it rains, it pours … and this amateur sleuth may be in over her head.

Graduate student Raina Sun is trying to keep her head above water as the bills roll in when her dashing college adviser cons her out of several months of rent. Her quest to retrieve the money sets in motion a streak of even worse luck.

First, she stumbles on her advisor’s dead body and becomes a suspect in his murder. Next, the only man she’s ever loved reappears as the lead detective to the case. Raina’s having trouble interpreting his signals–does he want to reignite their passion, or just stay close to his prime suspect?

Her life careens further out of control when her grandma shows up at Raina’s postage-stamp-sized apartment, dragging a red suitcase and trouble of her own. As Raina summons her sleuthing skills, she discovers that when it comes to murder, there may be no place for an amateur.

Favourite Quote

Who wouldn’t want to spend time with the human embodiment of milk and cookies?

Review

What really caught my attention about this series were the fun covers and the light-hearted, murder-related names for the books. They looked and sounded entertaining; other titles include Gusty Lovers and Cadavers, Breezy Friends and Bodies, Barmy Darlings and Deaths, and Sunny Mates and Murders.  There was no way I was going to miss giving the first book in the series a try.  And of course, by this point I already had high hopes for this story…

What did I like about the book?  The main character, Raina, is from an Asian American background, which is very fresh and exciting, and rather unusual for cosy mysteries.  It was nice to read something so different.

What didn’t I like so much?  I found this book a little slow going, not because of the pace, but because I just couldn’t seem to get into it and when I did, it didn’t hold my attention for too long.  That being said, I was interested in finding out who murdered Holden (I had guessed who the culprit was), so carried on reading until the end.  I wasn’t really a big fan of many of the characters, the exception being Raina’s grandmother, Po Po.  She was fantastic.

Will I be reading the second book in the Raina Sun Mysteries, Gusty Lovers and Cadavers?  I’m not sure, although looking at its reviews on Goodreads, its average rating is higher than Raining Men and Corpses so I might succumb.  Have you read this book / series?  If so, what were your thoughts?

Rating

My rating: 2.5 / 5

 

I downloaded a copy of Raining Men and Corpses by Anne R Tan for FREE via Smashwords

Book Review: A Body in the Backyard by Elizabeth Spann Craig

A Body in the Backyard is the fourth Myrtle Clover Mystery by Elizabeth Spann Craig.

Summary (from Wattpad)

It’s just an ordinary day for octogenarian sleuth Myrtle Clover—until her yardman discovers a dead body planted in her backyard. This death isn’t cut and dried—the victim was bashed in the head with one of Myrtle’s garden gnomes.

Myrtle’s friend Miles recognizes the body and identifies him as Charles Clayborne… reluctantly admitting he’s a cousin. Charles wasn’t the sort of relative you bragged about—he was a garden variety sleaze, which is very likely why he ended up murdered. As Myrtle starts digging up dirt to nip the killings in the bud, someone’s focused on scaring her off the case. Myrtle vows to find the murderer…before she’s pushing up daisies, herself.

Favourite Quote

This precognition was an irritating thing.  It made you feel like you were always one-step behind.

Review

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and the first in the Myrtle Clover Mysteries that I have read.  And, I can say I really enjoyed this cosy mystery.  Myrtle Clover is an entertaining sleuth.  She reminds me a little of Miss Marple as she is always popping up everywhere, but unlike Miss Marple, Myrtle is so much more proactive when it comes to finding the evidence she needs to solve the case.

Myrtle is a fantastic sleuth determined to get to the bottom of the case before her son, Bradley’s chief of police, Red does.  Red is an interesting character.  Professionally he doesn’t want his mother to interfere with a murder inquiry.  Personally he is worried about her, and thinks at her age she should be living in a retirement home.

There were other entertaining characters in this story also: Wanda the psychic and her brother, Crazy Dan, her neighbour, Miles, and Pasha the feral cat (one of my favourites).  I liked how the other characters interacted with Myrtle, their opinions varying from a nosy old lady to a vulnerable OAP, from the stern teacher who taught them over thirty years ago to the crank gnome collector.

This gentle-paced cosy mysteries was a fun, quick read.   I will definitely be reading more of the Myrtle Clover Mysteries, maybe even before this month is out.

Rating

Originally I was only going to award the book 3.5 / 5 but Myrtle was so much fun I bumped it up to 4

I found “A Body in the Backyard” by Elizabeth Spann Craig on Wattpad.

Book Review: Shadow of Doubt by Linda Poitevin

Summary (from Wattpad)

When police officer Kate Dexter runs over a man on a dark country road, the last thing she expects to discover is that he’s also been shot. Unable to get help because of the storm that caused the accident in the first place, she takes the unconscious stranger to her family’s farm, intending to alert the local authorities.

Then Jonas Burke regains consciousness, and his shocking blue eyes and incredible story give her pause. Is he the victim of the conspiracy he claims? Or is he the dirty cop-turned-murderer that’s the subject of a Canada-wide warrant?

With a manhunt underway for the fugitive she’s now harboring, Kate finds herself torn between career and instinct. Even as everything cop in her insists she turn him over, her heart tells her he’s innocent…but can she trust a heart that’s gone as rogue as the cop she may be falling for?

Favourite Quote

The gesture of familiarity twisted through Jonas with all the subtlety of a prison-made shank.

Review

This was one of those books where, on reaching the end of the chapter, I found myself saying, “Just one more”.  Again and again and again.  I just couldn’t stop reading until I reached the end.

The story, set in Canada and then the United States, is told from the perspectives of both Kate Dexter and Jonas Blake.  Their characters are so different from each other that you are pulled along by their toing-and-froing, and the tension between them was palpable throughout. I also liked Todd Jennings, Dexter’s partner.

There is plenty of action in this story, and so many twists and turns to keep you wondering where the next threat is going to come from.  After all, the odds are stacked against them from the start. The pace of the story was just right; fast enough to keep the reader engage but not so fast that they got lost.

As I read, I could clearly envisage each place Dexter and Blake visited.  From the country road where the story began, to the dark alleys, diners and motels that they called into.  The ending wasn’t unexpected, but I was kept guessing as to how the story was going to get there, which made for a fresh and captivating read.

This is one of the best books I’ve read on Wattpad, and I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially to those who like their crime novels to have a romantic suspense element to them.  I will certainly be reading more by this author, without a doubt.

Rating

4.5 / 5

I found Shadow of Doubt by Linda Poitevin on Wattpad.

Bookish Reflections – June 2017

A monthly round up of all things bookish at Sammi Loves Books…It’s my attempt at becoming more accountable in my reading and reviewing habits…


 

In a nutshell

I’ve more or less caught up with my backlog of reviews.  There is only one now outstanding and as it’s a historical fiction book, I’ll save it and post it in August for Historical Fiction Month.  July is Indie Only Month (one of my favourite times here at Sammi Loves Books).  I’ve already got a few books earmarked for reading and reviewing,

Books I’ve reviewed

Favourite read of the month

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • The Lancashire Witches by Harrison Ainsworth

Books I’ve downloaded

  • You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant
  • Memory Man by David Baldacci

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

June‘s “What I’m reading and reviewing next month” goals

  • Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles [complete]
  • Fallen by Lauren Kate [complete]
  • Torment by Lauren Kate [complete]
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth [complete]
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth [complete]
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

What I’m reading and reviewing in July

July is Indie Only Month here at Sammi Loves Books, so the only books that I’ll be reviewing will be ones written and published by Indie authors.  And I’m very excited 🙂

Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal is 57.  I have read 22.  39% complete.  Currently 6 books behind schedule.

Other reads (books not on Goodreads)* : 1

Total books read so far this year: 23


* “Other reads” means books that are not listed on Goodreads, but ones that are still of novel / novella length.  I’m not counting anthologies, single short stories, magazines / ezines, but I will count short story or poetry collections if they are not too short.