Posted in Book Review, Writing

Book #22: A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder by Julie Anne Linsey

Name: A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Julie Anne Lindsey
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Romance
More Information:  Author Website | Amazon | Goodreads

My Rating: 

Mia Connors is a woman of many talents. As the IT manager of Horseshoe Falls, an upper-class, eco-friendly community, it’s her job to make sure the entire computer system runs smoothly. In her free time, she religiously plays an online RPG called REIGN, cosplays for a variety of events, and spends time with her overbearing family. As she struggles day-to-day with her extreme social anxiety, she bonds with people via her obsession with designer heels and coffee.

When the residents of Horseshoe Falls begin receiving bogus emails about coupons and appointment dates, Mia finds herself in quite the conundrum. She’s confident her system is airtight and no one could’ve possibly hacked into it, but she can’t find the source of the emails.

She returns to her office late one night because the security system was tripped and is shocked to find one of her best friends dead at her desk, his face and head bludgeoned. The new head of security, Jake Archer, immediately fingers her as the killer. As she’s attacked from all angles, Mia must hurry to clear her name before she loses more than just her job.


Continue reading “Book #22: A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder by Julie Anne Linsey”

Posted in Book Review, Manga Review, Reading

Manga that I Recommend (#3)

Previous Editions: 5 Manga that I Recommend | 5 More Manga I Recommend

*Remember to read Right to Left*


#11.) Dengeki Daisy

Genre: Romance, School Life, Mystery, Drama

Author: Motomi Kyousuke

Chapters: 80

Summary: Teru lost her older brother, her only living relative, to cancer while in middle school. Before he died, he gave her a cell phone she could use to contact his “replacement”, an entity called Daisy. Teru knows nothing about this person, besides the fact that their reassurance and comfort was the only reason she got up in the morning. Daisy is closer to her than she realizes and may not be the angel she believes him to be.

My Rating: An absolutely beautiful story. It gets a bit slow and tedious at parts, but they can be skipped over with little impact. Teru is a protagonist any reader will love and sympathize with.

Continue reading “Manga that I Recommend (#3)”

Posted in Book Review

Book #21: Kittens Can Kill by Clea Simon

Name: Kittens Can Kill
Author: Clea Simon
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Romance
Available at and/or More Information: Author Website | Amazon | Goodreads
My Rating: 

Pru Malone has returned to her hometown after trying to live in the big city, which didn’t prove to be the healthiest situation. She’s established herself as an animal behaviorist, dog walker, adoption specialist, nuisance animal remover, and veterinarian assistant. While people consider her to have an incredible bond with animals, it’s actually much deeper than that. She can telepathically communicate with them.

Her latest job is assisting a local lawyer with making a home for his new addition, an adorable white kitten. What she doesn’t expect is finding her client sprawled out on the floor of his mansion or the chaotic relationship between his three daughters. The eldest accuses his death on the kitten, the middle is the black sheep of the family, and the youngest is trying to force her way into Pru’s life as an unwanted assistant. If the poor kitten has any hopes of a future, Pru will have to mediate and somehow convince them to draw a truce.

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Posted in Book Discussions, Book Review

Book Discussion: The Paper Magician

Ceony Twill is a recent graduate of the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. Hopeful and excited, her dreams are destroyed when her teacher tells her the magical world is lacking Paper Magicians and that she must become one. Magicians can only bond with one form of magic and Ceony is less than thrilled at the prospect of folding paper for the rest of her life.

Her new teacher, Magician Emery Thane, is a hermit living at the very edge of society. At first, Ceony sees him as just another eccentric freak, but she quickly learns that even hermits have dark secrets. Within weeks of meeting, Ceony must save her teacher’s heart, figuratively and literally, by harnessing the very magic she despises.

Is Paper Magic really just airplanes and origami? Ceony will have to look past her grievances if she wants to stay alive, especially in the face of forbidden magic called Excision, or the practice of controlling human flesh and blood.

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Posted in Book Review

Book #20: The Puffin of Death by Betty Webb

Name: The Puffin of Death
Author: Betty Webb
Pages: 298
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Romance
Available at and/or More Information: Betty Webb | Amazon | Goodreads
My Rating: 

Theodora “Teddy” Esmeralda Iona Bentley is a zookeeper with the Gunn Zoo in California. During a routine workday, her boss informs her that she will be flown to Iceland in order to pick up an orphaned baby polar bear, two injured puffins, and two Icelandic foxes.

Sounds easy, right? Explore a beautiful country with a wealth of animals while waiting for Iceland officials to finish up the paperwork needed to ship animals overseas.

Nope.

While horseback riding along the coast, Teddy and her guide, Bryndis, stumble upon a dead man in the middle of a field of nesting puffins. She recognizes him as a fellow American who caused several disturbances in town (most likely while drunk off his butt) and soon learns he’s visiting Iceland with his suspicious birdwatching group.

Continue reading “Book #20: The Puffin of Death by Betty Webb”

Posted in Book Review, Reading

Book #19: Under Cold Stone by Vicki Delany

Name: Under Cold Stone

Author: Vicki Delany

Pages: 364

Genre: Suspense

Available at and/or More Information:

Author Website / Goodreads / Amazon

My Rating: 

Lucky Smith is vacationing in Banff, Alberta, with her boyfriend, Paul Keller, when they happen to run into Paul’s estranged son, Matt. Shortly after their tense reunion, Matt frantically calls his father late in the evening to say he came home from work to find his roommate dead on the floor of obvious homicide. Being a Chief Constable in Trafalgar, Paul leaps into action and contacts the local police. When they arrive at the apartment, Matt is nowhere to be seen. At first concerned for his safety, suspicion quickly turns to Matt as the suspect.

While Paul is searching for his son, Lucky is stuck at the hotel, worried sick for everyone involved. She calls her daughter, Moonlight (Molly) Smith, and asks her to drive eight hours to Banff in order to help Paul. As a police officer herself, Molly feels somewhat awkward about her mother’s new relationship, especially since Paul happens to her boss, but she immediately answers her mother’s plea for help.


This book had a lot of potential, with themes of ecoterrorism, fraud schemes, murder, and fragmented families…but it left me feeling a bit lost. All of the above topics were happening at once, each involving a different set of characters, and were eventually found to be interconnected. Instead of an international conspiracy or criminal enterprise, everything revolved around a plot of land in the Canadian wilderness that was a prime location for holiday cottages. Realistically, who would go to so much trouble (drugs, murder, fraud, blackmail) just to acquire some real estate?

The ending was terribly anticlimactic, too. A few of the smaller ringleaders were arrested and then the protagonists just shrugged it all off and said the rich will ultimately get away with everything. What kind of closure is that? I didn’t read over three-hundred pages just for the author to throw the book out a window and call it finished.

There’s also no point in calling this a “Molly Smith” novel. All Molly does is encourage some entitled kids to actually take control of their lives and tell the truth. Matt Keller and his girlfriend solved the crime, they just needed Molly and Paul Keller to push it through the legal system.

Overall, it was an okay read – just don’t expect anything worth writing home about. If you want to pass the time with a nice suspense novel, then I recommend this book. It was written very well, I was just disappointed with the plot itself.

Posted in Book Review, Book Tag, Reading

The Book Courtship Tag

I happened to come across this tag while browsing She Latitude‘s blog. It’s been a while since I did my last tag, so this oughta be fun!

Phase 1: Initial Attraction

A book you bought because of the cover

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice immediately caught my attention. It was a bright contrast to
the typical darker colored books around it, so I stopped to read the description.

Sherlock Holmes has retired to the countryside and is, not surprisingly, bored. While watching over his bee hives, he’s bumped into by a teenage girl named Mary Russell. The two find they have a lot in common: high intelligence, an observant mind, and the enjoyment of fighting crime.

Under Sherlock Holmes’s wing, Mary blossoms into a beautiful young woman with a mind to match her tutor’s. When Scotland Yard calls on him for help, he’s reluctant to bring Mary along. However, Mary Russell has other ideas.


Phase 2: First Impressions

A book you bought because of the summary

“As a third child in a society that allows only two children per family, Luke Garner was in hiding for the first twelve years of his life. Then he was given the freedom of an identify card that had belonged to Lee Grant, a Baron (a member of the highest class of society), and was sent to boarding school as Lee.

But now, just when things are finally starting to go right, Lee’s little brother, Smits, arrives at school, and Luke finds himself caught in a web of lies that gets more complex and possibly even lethal – with every passing day.

Can Luke trust the grief-stricken Smits to keep Luke’s secret? And can he trust Smits’s menacing bodyguard, Oscar?

Luke finds that living Among the Barons puts him in the deadliest danger he has ever faced.


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Posted in Book Review, Reading

Book #18: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Name: Uprooted

Author: Naomi Novik

Pages: 456

Genre: Suspense, Fiction, Fanasty

Available at and/or More Information:

Amazon / Goodreads / Author Website

My Rating: 

When I bought this book, I was expecting a cute fantasy about a village girl growing into a self-confident woman in a world full of magic, witches, wizards, and typical evil. I was very, very wrong, but in a pleasantly surprised way.

Agnieska lives in a village bordering the Wood, a forest known for its unrelenting evil and poisonous atmosphere. The people living in the valley rely on the Dragon, a wizard who protects them with his magic. In exchange, a young girl must be given to him once every ten years. To refuse would mean certain death for the entire valley, not that anyone has ever been brave enough to oppose a wizard. The girls return as high-class ladies with dreams of a life in the city, dreams too big for the village they once called home.

Agnieska and her village are positive that the Dragon will choose Kasia, Agnieska’s best friend. Kasia is everything that Agnieska is not: beautiful, talented, refined. However, on the day of the feast marking his arrival, the Dragon does not choose Kasia, much to everyone’s shock and dismay. He chooses Agnieska, the tomboy with a curse of never having clean clothes.


My Thoughts:

‘Uprooted’ is like nothing I’ve ever read before. Naomi Novik created a world that is totally original – a combination of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘World of Warcraft’, with undertones of Book #3: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones and Book #8: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.

The Wood is an evil entity that is generally accepted as unbeatable, as a concrete part of life in the valley. As I read, I could feel their terror. I could sympathize with their feelings of resignation that nothing could be done to stop it. Once I learned the origin of the Wood and why it was so determined to kill everyone and everything in its sight, I was blown away. I’ve never read anything quite like it.

There weren’t many things I disliked, except for one thing. Wizards and witches were separated from the normal villages at a young age. They were born with magical powers, sometimes in a family never touched by magic. They’re immortal, but able to be killed. My problem is they weren’t described in great detail, besides basic information about their hair and skin. Are they normal people visual-wise, like Agnieska? Or slightly different, like the Dragon? As a reader, I would’ve liked to know more about them.

I like Agnieska’s determination and her unwavering love for her friends and family. However, I was a bit annoyed that she cried over everything. You don’t have time to cry, girl! Your home is under attack by something you can’t touch and you’re curled up into a ball, crying your eyes out!

Overall, though, I loved this book. You need to read it. Seriously. But, be warned: the trees around your house will suddenly seem evil and the bushes will try to grab you as you walk by. There is a lot of death and torture in this book, definitely not for the faint of heart.

 

Posted in Book Discussions, Book Review

Death Comes to Pemberley: Book vs. Mini Series

I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but this is one of those rare times when the movie is better than the book. To summarize the plot, Elizabeth and Darcy have been married for six years since the end of Pride and Prejudice, have two young sons, and are comfortably living at Pemberley. Elizabeth has seamlessly taken over her role as the lady of the estate, to the point that even the gossips who thought she only married Darcy for the money are begrudgingly agreeing that she’s actually a wonderful person.

But their peaceful life is interrupted (once again) by Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s wild-child younger sister. She appears at their front door, hysterical and crying, saying her husband and his closest friend are dead. As the master of the house and the local magistrate, Darcy sets out to investigate. What he finds confirms his fears: he’s once again entangled in another of Wickham’s schemes, one that might cost them both dearly.


Elizabeth Darcy’s Role:

I was disappointed with how P.D. James portrayed Elizabeth in the book. The reason shecharacteristicobserver was so universally liked in Pride and Prejudice was her feisty intelligence and bravery, but she’s reduced to just another housewife in Death Comes to Pemberley. I’ll concede that it’s more historically accurate, but it defeats the whole purpose of Elizabeth Bennett Darcy.

 

 

What the book lacks, the mini-series made up for. Elizabeth is the protagonist – she’s the one who pieces together the mystery surrounding Wickham’s life, the one who ultimately saves his life and the one who rescues Pemberley from disgrace.

Mr. and Mrs. Darcy’s Relationship:

While Darcy makes a few offhanded comments about missing and loving his wife, he and Elizabeth have maybe two conversations in the book. As a fan of Pride and Prejudice, I was looking for a cute sequel to their roller-coaster courtship, not a few sweet references here and there.

The mini-series treats the underlying issue of Georgiana’s future more gravely than the book does and this dilemma causes friction between Elizabeth and Darcy. Elizabeth is for one suitor, while Darcy is for the other. There are moments where it’s suggested Darcy regrets their marriage and Elizabeth becomes anxious. The book, on the other hand, is more laid-back and devil-may-care. Elizabeth and Darcy aren’t very involved; the decision is entirely up to Georgiana.

The book, on the other hand, is more laid-back and devil-may-care. Elizabeth and Darcy aren’t very involved; the decision is entirely up to Georgiana.

Darcy’s Role:

I was also disappointed with Book Darcy. He loses that spark, that gentlemanly mysteriousness that women fell in love with. Darcy is overwhelmed by Wickham’s predicament; he worries constantly, he simpers and mopes, and, to be brutally honest, he’s annoying. Again, it’s more realistic that he lets the legal system do its thing while he watches from the sidelines, but that realism is what made the book slow and dry.

In the mini-series, we see that strangely endearing Darcy temper. He’s a handsome man who walks with confidence but is also not afraid to show his wife and family affection. While Book Darcy lacks personality, Movie Darcy takes Wickham by the neck and demands answers (figuratively speaking).

Final Verdict:

The mini-series is filled with surprises, drama, and Darcy magic, while the book falls short with a dry, monotone narration and laid-back plot.

I seriously recommend the mini-series to anyone, not just Pride and Prejudice fans. It was beautifully filmed and the actors fit into their roles perfectly. The book…not so much. I’ll still include information for anyone interested, but I’m actually really curious about your opinions. Am I being overly critical or do ya’ll agree?


Death Comes to Pemberley:

Author: P.D. James

291 pages

For more information: Publisher Website / Goodreads / Amazon

Mini-Series:

3 episodes

For more information: IMDb Overview / PBS / BBC Trailer

Posted in Book Review, Reading

Book #17: The Murder House by James Patterson and David Ellis

Name: The Murder House

Author: James Patterson and David Ellis

Pages: 451

Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Horror, Romance

Available at and/or More Information:

Patterson Official Website / Amazon / Goodreads

My Rating:

Detective Jenna Murphy has returned to her hometown after being away since she was child. Her uncle is chief of police and she’s rented a decent apartment of her own, but she just doesn’t feel like she fits in, like she belongs. When she begins to have terrible night-terrors about a screaming girl and voices telling her to move faster, she regrets ever leaving New York.

Soon afterwards, a local woman named Melanie is murdered, along with her boyfriend and famous talent scout, Zach. Their bodies are found in the infamous ‘Murder House’, a multi-million dollar mansion that’s been the center of several deaths and disappearances over the years. Jenna is sent to investigate and is horrified by what she sees. The killer didn’t just kill them – he ruthlessly tortured them, keeping them alive long enough to watch each other suffer.

As Jenna follows leads and draws her own conclusions, she’s taken off the case and suspended. To discover the truth and finally stop the brutal killings shaking their town to the core, Jenna must put everything on the line and risk losing her career.

…I have to know, I have to finally know. Even if it kills me.


My Thoughts:

Wow, this book was a whirlwind of cliff-hangers and sudden twists. Poor Jenna just couldn’t catch a break. She isn’t my favorite heroine, probably doesn’t even rank in the top 10 to be honest, but she is pretty badass. When most people would throw in the towel and escape, she dove forward like a bulldozer.

Now, I love this book. It had me hooked within the first chapter. My only problem is that all the sudden twists make ‘The Murder House’ pretty confusing. If you don’t read the entire book in one go, but read it in installments around work or school or just life in general, then you’ll be absolutely lost. There are many characters to remember, all of whom have dark pasts and some angle in the mystery. My advice? Set aside a weekend and read the entire thing. Trust me, it’ll be pretty easy after you read the first chapter.

‘The Murder House’ is beautifully written. Patterson and Ellis masterfully mixed past and present together in a serial murder case that spans generations, plus all the injustice and backstabbing will just make your blood boil.

Don’t get attached to a suspect – it changes just about every other page. One chapter it’s this guy, the next it’s another guy, and then it’s both of them, with maybe a third somehow connected. It’s gets easier to understand the more you read, but in the beginning it’s a bit much to swallow all at once.