The Night Stand

The Night Stand

What’s on my night stand? (Or my audible player?):


Unequal Affections

Unequal Affections by Lara S. Ormistonby Lara S. Ormiston

I’m usually NOT a fan of fan fiction. In my opinion, it never really lives up to expectations set by the original. That said, I read such great reviews about Unequal Affections that I had to give it a try. Granted, Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite book, so it has some big shoes to fill. This novel, a retelling of the second half of P&P told as if Elizabeth had accepted Darcy’s first proposal, does not meet the caliber of Austen’s original writing (but really, how could it?). It is however, delightful. I am finding myself thoroughly enjoying this foray into what-if.
 
 


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Book Review: Murder Is No Accident

Book Review: Murder Is No Accident

Murder is No Accident by A H GabhartMurder Is No Accident by A.H. Gabhart, captured my attention with it’s witty tagline: “If you like your small-town America sweet and quirky—with a dash of sinister—you’ll love going back to Hidden Springs to find out whodunit this time.”

The old Chandler place should be empty. The magnificent Victorian mansion is for sale, even if its aged owner Miss Fonda doesn’t realize it. But when real estate agent Geraldine Harper enters the house on a sunny October day, she’s not alone. Minutes later, there is a body at the bottom of the steep steps leading to the tower room.

Deputy sheriff Michael Keane is called in. At first blush, it looks like the death was a tragic accident, but clues point to foul play. And when a second body is discovered, the race is on to find the culprit . . . before someone else dies.

Overall, Murder is No Accident was a fun jaunt to a small town with all the characters that involves. Coming from a small town myself, there were definitely times I could relate, despite never having investigated a murder. Read more

Book Review: A Gentleman in Moscow

Book Review: A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor TowlesLooking for a good thick book to get me through the darkest of winter, I selected Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow. I was intrigued by the historical Russian setting as I know little of Russia and the tagline got me: “He can’t leave. You won’t want to.”

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Read more

Book Review: Pursued

Book Review: Pursued

Pursued by Lisa HarrisNikki Boyd is back in action in the third installment of The Nikki Boyd Files, Pursued by Lisa Harris.

Nikki Boyd’s flight into Nashville was routine–up until the crash landing at the airport. When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing–and no one will admit she was ever there. Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. When she flees from the crash, is she running from trouble or straight into it? Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.

I will readily admit that I sometimes struggle with willing suspension of disbelief, but I do try. Pursued stretched my capability though. One of the major incidents within this novel could be fodder for an entire book, one after another is just too unrealistic. Plane crash? Held hostage? Targeted by a sniper? All in a few days work in Nikki’s life apparently. Read more

Book Review: Conspiracy of Silence

Book Review: Conspiracy of Silence

Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie KendigConspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig piqued my interest with it’s promise of a suspenseful adventure and an intriguing take on modern events.

This Is the Way the World Ends.

Four years after a tragic mission decimated his team, Cole “Tox” Russell has been disavowed by the United States. And that’s fine–he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.

The biggest struggle with this novel is that, although it is the first in a series, the reader comes into it almost expected to be familiar with past happenings in these characters’ lives. I learned later that Kendig released a prequel that it appears covers some of these events, which I think would have made following the story line of Conspiracy of Silence much easier. Read more

Book Review: The Kill Fee

Book Review: The Kill Fee

The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch SmithI enjoyed reading The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith last January, in part because it was the first novel I cracked open after my daughter’s birth (the name Fiona was coincidence) and in part because the foray into 1920s London was a lot of fun. So I snatched up the opportunity to read Smith’s second installment of the Poppy Denby Investigates series, The Kill Fee.

Poppy’s career is moving along with a permanent “beat” covering arts and entertainment at The Daily Globe. But in true Poppy Denby form, she stumbles into a mystery involving Russian aristocracy, priceless treasures, assassins and more. Will she be able to identify the murderer and find the missing Faberge Egg before anyone else gets hurt?

Poppy remains a likeable, root-for-able heroine. She continues to learn along the road of her adventures. And she may be stumbling through the mysteries that arise, but she has the curiosity of a cat and the loyalty of a best friend. Read more

The Night Stand

The Night Stand

What’s on my night stand? (Or my audible player?):


A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towlesby Amor Towles

I am thoroughly enjoying making my way slowly through this tome. It’s a long one, and I’m a slow reader, but it is well worth savoring. I love how this NPR book review put it: “All of the verbal excess, the gently funny mock-epic digressions, the small capers and cast of colorful characters, add up to something undeniably mannered but also undeniably pleasant.” It may take me a few months to finish this one, but I know I will tackle his first novel, Rules of Civility, once I’m done.
 
 
 


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Book Review: Another Day, Another Dali

Book Review: Another Day, Another Dali

Another Day Another Dali by Sandra OrchardAnother Day, Another Dali surprised me.

The world of art theft can be a deadly game–one that Serena Jones understands all too well.

When FBI Special Agent Serena Jones takes on the case of a forged Dali painting as a favor to her grandmother, she assumes it will be a typical investigation. Hopefully collaring the thief will also mean finally measuring up in her grandmother’s eyes. But the deeper she delves into the forgery and the suspects surrounding it, the less typical it becomes.

The Dali isn’t the only painting that’s fallen prey to the forgery-replacing thief, raising the possibility of a sophisticated theft ring — one with links to dirty cops, an aspiring young artist, and the unsolved murder of Serena’s grandfather. To make matters worse, someone connected to the forgeries seems to be determined to stop Serena’s investigation — no matter the cost.

Another Day, Another Dali gives the plucky Serena Jones–and readers–a new high-stakes case to crack. You won’t want to miss a single brushstroke!

Never having read anything by Sandra Orchard, I didn’t fully know what to expect with this novel. Read more

Book Review: Maybe It’s You

Book Review: Maybe It’s You

Maybe It's You by Candace CalvertWith a threatening past, a young girl in trouble, and a romance on the horizon, Maybe It’s You has all the makings of a good romantic suspense novel.

ER nurse Sloane Ferrell escaped her risky past — new name, zip code, job, and a fresh start. She’s finally safe, if she avoids a paper trail and doesn’t let people get too close. Like the hospital’s too-smooth marketing man with his relentless campaign to plaster one “lucky” employee’s face on freeway billboards. Micah Prescott’s goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive Sloane Ferrell. Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane’s past. Can hope spring from crisis?

Candace Calvert’s latest novel tends to be rather middling, neither compelling nor boring, interesting but a little bit forgetable. I appreciated the inclusion of a “regular” job — Micah’s position working in marketing for the hospital (I myself work in media for a nonprofit). This novel had something of a slow start, but progressively improved as the story deepened. Read more

Book Review: Dressed for Death

Book Review: Dressed for Death

Dressed for Death by Julianna DeeringHaving read Rules of Murder a few years ago, when I had the opportunity to check out the latest in the Drew Farthering Mystery series by Juliana Deering, Dressed for Death, I snatched it up.

Amateur detective Drew Farthering and his young wife are invited to a special Regency-era house party being hosted by old friends. While a bit unusual (no vehicles allowed, only authentic Regency era resources), the fun is unabashed. Until someone dies. Was it a drug overdoes? An accident? Intentional? Was it murder? Drew sets about to help his friend (and satisfy his insatiable curiosity) by solving the puzzle. But what he finds leads to more bodies and more questions…

I think perhaps jumping straight from book 1 to book 4 has caused me some issues. I felt as though I was expected to know some of these characters (even secondary characters), their relationships and quirks before I opened the pages of this book. Truly, I think there is a way for authors to neither bore their followers nor leave new readers in the dark, so I was somewhat disappointed that I felt like the new person in the Farthering world, unaware of who the players were.

Otherwise, though, Dressed for Death, was a fun affair — if murder can be considered fun! The Regency era party sounds delightful. Who wouldn’t want to dress up and pretend to live in another era for a weekend of fun and frivolity? But the illusion comes to a crashing halt when Drew’s best friend’s fiancee is found dead. Read more