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

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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

What’s coming up at Sammi Loves Books…

As we move towards the end of June, the season of reading challenges approaches here at Sammi Loves Books. Yay!

July is Indie Only Month

August is Historical Fiction Month

And as always, I’m really excited! 🙂

Looking Ahead to Festive Reads Fortnight 2016

festive reads fortnight

I know it might seem a little early, but we like to plan ahead here at Sammi Loves Books.  Well…sometimes 😉

This year’s Festive Reads Fortnight begins on 11 December 2016.  I have a few stories that I have been putting to one side for this reading challenge, but I am always eager for more. 😀  If you have any recommendations or review requests for stories that centre on the Christmas / Winter Solstice period (no matter the length or genre, whether self-published, or posted on a blog or Wattpad, etc), I would love to hear from you!  Comment below or contact me through my ‘Contact Me’ page.

To see what I read for last year’s Festive Reads Fortnight, click here.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Novella Review: Vastian Lore by S.C. Gregory

vastian lore by s c gregory

This novella is packed full with as much action and plot as a full length novel, so as to not give too much of the story away, I thought I would give you the story description in the author’s own words rather than my own for a change, for fear of spoilers.


Sometimes taking the job means betraying family…

Turns out Norarl is fine with that, once he accepts that his whole life has been a lie.

His half-sister wants him dead.  His twin brother would only be too happy to help her succeed, but they also want more than just his murder.

Arius and Zadraal will do everything in their power to free an army whose sole purpose is to destroy all life not like their own.  The only problem?

To break the magical seal of the Gate of N’sumenel requires the sacrifice of an Earthbound Elemental.

The real test will be if Norarl cares enough about his new-found allies to fight alongside them?


The first thing I want to talk about is the cover.  I think the artwork looks amazing.  The style and colours work so well with the story and it makes you want to pick up the book and skim through the pages.

Next, the world the author has created is full of description and a level of depth that shows she knows this world inside out.  From the rules that govern magic and the creatures that are found in the story, to the knowledge of the religion and the world’s history, even the names of the characters, which are pronounceable (unlike some fantasy worlds where the author is trying to do something different and stand out), there is no question of consistency and continuity from the beginning of the story to the end.

What I liked most about the story was the banter and interaction between Norarl, Zaria, Leso and Orlan.  As a group, they worked really well together. Norarl is a very interesting character with a complex backstory and as I worked my way through the book, I couldn’t help but wonder how things were going to end.

The pace of the story is fast and fuelled with high energy action (and humour).  The story and the world it is set in certainly captures the imagination and the twists in the plot will keep you guessing at what will happen next.  And as for the end, it is intriguing and does a great job of setting the scene for what is to follow.

I would definitely read more by this author.  She has a flair for wordsmithery, as she has shown in her vivid descriptions.  If you like steampunk fantasy and story that you can sink your teeth into, I can’t recommend Vastian Lore highly enough.  It’s a great read that I read in one sitting simply because I couldn’t put it down.

I received a free signed copy of Vastian Lore by S.C. Gregory from a giveaway run on the author’s blog.  You can learn more about S.C. Gregory by visiting her blog, here.  You can purchase a copy of Vastian Lore, as a kindle book or a paperback via Amazon.

July is “Indie Only Month” at Sammi Loves Books!

Indie Only

We are almost at that time of year again…yep, a whole month of Indie authors and indie books.  I thought I would put up this post now, so that I can start planning the TBR list and the subsequent review list.

So, if there are any indie authors out there who would like to see a review of their work on Sammi Loves Books, please get in touch, via the comments on this site or by using the form on the contact me page.

This year, I am doing things a little differently, and opening the field wider than in the two previous years I have done it.  Why?  To ensure I am giving myself the maximum opportunity to come across new writers 🙂

This list outlines what I am looking for:

  • Fiction, of any length
  • poetry collections
  • short story / flash fiction / micro fictions collections
  • As long as it is not too long, I will review work published on a website / blog – don’t forget to include the website link to what it is you want reviewing 🙂
  • Work published on Wattpad
  • I will also be open to reviewing spoken word / audio books – for example, poetry or flash fiction uploaded to YouTube

Ideally, all works should be completed rather than being serialised, but if the opening chapters work well as a stand alone piece and give a good idea of the story, I will definitely give it a go.

When it comes to e-books, I most often tend to lean towards those published via Smashwords (especially in epub format) although I do sometimes read iBooks.  It is much rarer for me to read Kindle books, but never say never!

There you have it.  My plans for 2016’s Indie Only Month.  We still have a few weeks to go but I am excited all ready! 🙂


If you would like to see what was read and reviewed in past challenges, check out these links:

Indie Only 2015

Indie Only 2014


I write book reviews because I love reading, but also because I believe in supporting other writers.  If you think the same way as me, please be sure to return the favour: follow one of my blogs (Sammi Loves Books / Sammi Scribbles), follow me on Wattpad or read, rate, review and vote on stories I’ve written – see here.  

The world is a much better place when we help each other out!