Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #96: The Girl's Guide to the Apocalypse by Daphne Lamb


"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week the book I am waiting on is The Girl's Guide to the Apocalypse by Daphne Lamb. It's due out September 1, 2015 from Booktrope. 

Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

Welcome to the Apocalypse. Your forecast includes acid rain, roving gangs and misplaced priorities, in this comedic take on the end of the world as we know it, from debut author Daphne Lamb.

As a self-entitled, self-involved, and ill equipped millennial, Verdell probably wouldn’t have ranked very high on the list of those most likely to survive the end of the world, but here she is anyway. Add in travelling with her work addicted boss, her boyfriend who she has “meh” feelings for, and a handful of others who had no businesses surviving as long as they have, and things aren’t exactly going as planned. But despite threats of cannibalism, infected water supplies, and possibly even mutants, Verdell is willing to put in as little effort as she can get away with to survive.


Why am I waiting on this book? It's supposed to be a funny take on survival after the Apocalypse. I like the idea that instead of being all gung-ho about what she needs to do, she wants to put in as little effort as she can get away with and still survive. It makes it sound like this will be a different sort end-of-the-world-as-you-know-it book. 

What book are you waiting on this week? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Teaser Tuesday - Spider's Trap by Jennifer Estep


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Miz B of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can participate, just do the following:
  • Grab your current read and open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and the author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.
Published July 28th 2015
by Pocket Books

"Try to show a little restraint," Silvio whispered as he passed.

Restraint wasn't a popular word in my vocabulary, but I nodded, acknowledging his point. If I killed Dimitri and Luiz, it would just convince the other bosses that I wanted them all dead, and they would probably start trying to murder me again. I'd fought hard for my relative peace and quiet, and I wasn't going to throw it away on a couple of minor mobsters.

Even if I did feel like stabbing both of them. Violently, Viciously. Repeatedly.

~ 4% through on my Kindle

This is from book #13 in Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series, Spider's Trap. Gin Blanco aka the Spider is doing the thinking in the teaser. This is an urban fantasy book. Gin has been elected as the leader of the underworld and this is her first meeting with some of the bosses. Would you keep reading?

What's your teaser this week? Leave a link or the teaser in the comments so we can check it out. Happy Reading!


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: Murder at Barclay Meadow by Wendy Sand Eckel

Murder at Barclay Meadow by Wendy Sand Eckel is a debut novel released July 28, 2015 by Minotaur Books. It's to be the first in a series of Rosalie Hart mysteries. These mysteries fall into the cozy category. Rosalie is very much an amateur when it comes to solving crimes.

Rosalie Hart is unhappy at the beginning of the book. Her husband has requested a divorce because he has fallen in love with another woman. Rosalie leaves the house and moves into her aunt's house on the eastern shore of Maryland. It's a small town and tends to be insular. Everyone knows everybody else's business. This works both for her and against her as she becomes involved in solving the mystery of the body that washes up on her property from the river.

Rosalie takes a class on writing memoirs. The small group of students band together to form a group on Facebook called the What ifs. Together they decide to help Rosalie solve the mystery of Megan, the girl who washed up on the shore of the river.

It's interesting how the author uses Facebook for both Rosalie's group of friends keeping in touch and for Rosalie to keep in touch with her daughter Annie. Considering how many people use it the same way all the time, it makes the characters seem more real.

The one character I didn't like was the Sheriff. I think he was written that way on purpose. In which case, the author did a bang up job on him.

Another interesting aspect of the book is how much of it is spent developing the character of Rosalie Hart. There are parts where that is the main focus, almost to the point of being considered chick lit. But then the mystery takes over again.

The pace is fairly steady. It gets faster towards the end. Eckel keeps you guessing about who amongst the pool of suspects they've been gathering information on is actually the killer. 

I really liked the character of Tyler and I hope there will be more of him in the second book in the series. 

I gave this book 4 stars for balancing the mystery and the character development of Rosalie, and for a good mystery.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #96: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys


"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. 


Expected publication: February 9th 2016
by Philomel Books
This week the book I am waiting on is Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. It's not due out until February 2016, but as soon as I heard about it, I had to add it to my TBR list. 

Synopsis from Goodreads.com: 

The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
Told in alternating points of view, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

Perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson's critically acclaimed #1 New York Times bestseller Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein's Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity.

Why am I waiting on it? Ruta Sepetys other books have gotten rave reviews. Shades of Gray received awards. My brother and mother both read it and raved over it. I think that Salt to the Sea will be a great introduction for me to her writing. It doesn't mention it in this synopsis, but she is also supposed to fit in the Amber Room mystery into this book. That particular mystery I find fascinating. So, award winning writer, great disaster, and great mystery seem like they will blend together to make a really good book.

What book are you waiting on this week? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Murder At Barclay Meadow by Wendy Sand Eckel


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Miz B of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can participate, just do the following:
  • Grab your current read and open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and the author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.
Expected publication: July 28th 2015
by Minotaur Books

Night had crept up the lawn, making shadows of the men as they worked. The lights on their vehicles bathed the house in manic red and blue flashes like a disco. 
- location 57 on my Kindle

Synopsis from Goodreads.com:
Rosalie Hart’s world has been upended. After her husband confesses to an affair, she exiles herself to her late aunt’s farmhouse on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. With its fields untended and the house itself in disrepair, Barclay Meadow couldn’t be more different than the tidy D.C. suburb she used to call home. Just when Rosalie feels convinced things couldn’t get any worse, she finds a body floating in her marsh grasses. When the sheriff declares the death an accident, she becomes suspicious. The dead girl, Megan, reminds her of her own daughter, and she feels a responsibility to find out the truth.

Rosalie confides her doubts to her friends in her creative writing class, and they ask to join her investigation, beginning the search in earnest. Meanwhile, Rosalie works on restoring Barclay Meadow to its former glory—with help from the rugged Tyler Wells, a farmer who once leased the land. When Rosalie discovers her aunt’s favorite bread recipe on a yellowed index card, she begins baking, and with her deep love for nourishing others rekindled, she starts to feel alive again. But as she zeroes in on the truth about what happened to Megan, she begins getting ominous threats. Determined to get justice for Megan and protect the new home she’s begun to build for herself, Rosalie races to catch the killer in this deftly plotted and heartwarming debut perfect for fans of Jessica Beck and Carolyn Hart.

So, it's a murder mystery, "a cozy debut." And I can tell you this much, the sheriff is not at all happy with her sleuthing ways. Much of the writing is like the teaser, at least so far. I'm about 40% through. Would you keep reading? Does this style suit you? 

And please drop a note in the comments and let us know about your teaser so we can check it out. Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Expected publication: August 4, 2015
by Kathy Dawson Books
I could easily see someone saying to Digby, "Trouble is your middle name." It never gets said outright, but it certainly seems true. Digby is the first person that Zoe Webster meets on her first day of school in the suburbs. And trouble soon follows. They both end up in detention for being late and are assigned to work on a project together. 

It becomes clear though that Digby has his own projects in the works and they pretty much aren't school related. Unless you think looking for a missing teen is vaguely school related. Digby thinks her disappearance could be somehow linked to the abduction/disappearance of his sister back when he was little. He recruits Zoe to help him in his hunt. Along the way, his friend Henry gets involved. By the end of the book, a few others have gotten swept along in Digby's wake as well.

Digby comes across as a sort of cross between Sherlock and Ferris Beuller. Zoe complains, "He's rude, he doesn't take no for an answer, and he treats you like a book he's already read and knows the ending to even if you yourself didn't yet." If nothing else, the word eccentric could describe Digby and his behavior. 

Zoe's parent's split up before the book starts. Zoe and her mother move away from New York City to a quieter suburban city. At least it appears quieter when they first move there. As soon as Zoe gets involved with Digby, the underbelly of the city starts to be exposed. Life is less than smooth with Digby, but it is much more interesting. Up until Zoe meets Digby, she appears to have been a lot quieter and generally well behaved.

I really enjoyed the book. I loved the characters, especially Zoe and Digby.The plot progresses at a steady pace for the most part with periods of intense activity as they get into trouble. The sense of humor is enjoyable, kind of snarky and sarcastic for the most part. The writing is well done. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. If you like the sound of Digby, it's worth checking out. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The quote comes from an ARC and may appear differently in the final copy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes by J.A. Lang


Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes by J.A. Lang is a humorous cozy mystery released July 13, 2015 by Purple Panda Press. This is book 2 in the Chef Maurice series. The good Chef and his friend Arthur have quickly become one of my favorite sleuth pairings. A sample chapter is available on J.A. Lang's website. My review is below the synopsis. And don't forget to enter the giveaway via the link below.

Synopsis:
An invitation to dinner at the home of renowned wine collector Sir William Burton-Trent soon finds Chef Maurice in the middle of an all-too-real murder mystery party, when Sir William is found dead in his own wine cellar.

The guests are acting all innocent, but which one is only playing the part? The pushy Californian film director? The seductive French winemaker?

Or could it be, against all narrative decency, the butler who did it?

With the help of food critic friend Arthur Wordington-Smythe, a large kipper sandwich, and the newly formed Cochon Rouge Wine Appreciation Society, Chef Maurice must get to the bottom of matters before events turn decidedly sour…


My Review:
Chef Maurice is at it again along with his close friend and food critic Arthur Wordington-Smythe. Someone has killed the host of the first meeting of their wine appreciation club. It appears to be a locked room murder case. Chef Maurice is on the spot and on the case immediately much to the chagrin of Lucy the head of the local police department.
Will our bumbling chef to all appearances be able to solve the mystery before someone gets away with murder? 

I absolutely love Chef Maurice and Arthur. The good Chef has so much up his sleeve at any given time there is no telling where they will end up or what they will do in the name of solving the mystery. The sprinkling of French from the Chef adds to his character. Arthur is the perfect foil to the Chef's actions.


PC Lucy is also on the case and trying to keep the Chef from accidentally destroying evidence. She is also dating one of Chef's assistants, Patrick, who is less than skilled in the art of dealing with women. It is a wonderful subplot.


The action and pace are perfect. The writing is well done. And the characters are really rather perfect for the mystery. I love humorous mysteries. I give this one 5 stars.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Now for the giveaway - from the author: