Fiction

Book Review: The Wrong Girl

The Wrong Girl
Author: 
Casey, Donis
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This is a book well worth reading as it has all the mystery and glamor and humor a good mystery should have and it has people who help and show compassion for the girl in the story! It is also a story written with the correct facts of the era in which this story plays. I have read the other Donis Casey books and love how this one has come about. Its a follow up of Donis's other series. Can't wait to read the next one!!

Reviewer's Name: 
Sandra

Book Review: And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None
Author: 
Christie, Agatha
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

A stand alone mystery from the great Agatha Christie. This mystery is
inspired by an Olde English nursery rhyme about ten little soldiers. Reading
the poem can give clues as to what is happening and what happens next but the
mystery is bamboozling and enthralling the whole way through. It is a
complicated psychological thriller that takes an epilogue to understand.
Thrilling from start to finish.

Reviewer's Name: 
Elizabeth

Book Review: Shadow Puppets

Shadow Puppets
Author: 
Card, Orson Scott
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

It’s odd for me to read the third book in a series and be confronted with
problems that I usually see by the fourth book. So far, I’ve been on board
with the whole Shadow series as it focuses on an interesting character in the
form of Bean. For two books, I’ve read about Bean’s survival, made all
the more thrilling by the antagonist Achilles. Of course, during Ender’s
Shadow and Shadow of the Hegemon , the series picked up plenty of side
stories and sub-plots. This is what ruined Shadow Puppets for me: the focus
wasn’t on Bean and Achilles, but rather on advancing the story of all these
sub-plots.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Shadow Puppets has a lot of interesting events.
It’s just that it was so entertaining to read about Achilles in the
previous books, and he’s relegated to a bookending motif for this book. We
don’t get to see him directly interact with others, instead of having the
main characters always wondering how he’ll react to their attempts to trap
him. This kind of “telling” instead of “showing” really rubbed me the
wrong way and made the climax of this story (let alone the first three books)
feel quite anticlimactic.

I do appreciate some of what Card does with these well-rounded characters,
and I want to see what happens next with a world in such turmoil and
turnover. And yet, with how unfocused this book was, I don’t know if I want
to get my hopes up for the next books in this series. After all, the central
conflict of the previous two books is now behind Bean, which makes me wonder
what could replace such a heart-pounding game of cat-and-mouse. There are
plot threads to follow into the next book, but I could probably predict what
happens just based on the foreshadowing contained in this book.

An unfocused and slightly anticlimactic conclusion to one of the best
antagonists, I give Shadow Puppets 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Reviews: The Obelisk Gate

The Obelisk Gate
Author: 
Jemisin, N. K.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I’ll admit that reading The Fifth Season had a bit of a learning curve for
the Broken Earth series. Not only did I have to learn about the vastly
powerful magic system based on rocks (and other rock forms), but I had to get
used to a second-person point of view (POV). Jumping between timelines with
similar characters who had different names was a bit confusing, but I was
able to figure it out by the end. Fast forward to the sequel, The Obelisk
Gate, and most of my qualms with the first book were smoothed over or solved
outright.

One of the things I enjoyed about The Obelisk Gate was the increase in the
scale of the magic system. Including the moon in these calculations makes
perfect sense considering the nature of the orogeny magic. I also appreciated
how the story seemed to focus on a single POV, which made for a more intimate
experience as we followed only one or two individuals instead of four. Now
that I was used to the second-person writing style and the character it
described, it didn’t bother me as much as when I read The Fifth Season.

While The Fifth Season set up the world-building for this trilogy, The
Obelisk Gate’s only weakness is that it finally set up the climactic plot
for the third book. Sure, there was plenty of character development and
intriguing twists in the plot in The Obelisk Gate, but they all seemed to be
hinting at something much more significant that wouldn’t take place in this
book. I do appreciate an excellent three-act structure, so this slight
weakness can be seen as merely an artifact of the second book in a trilogy.
In fact, because it was more focused, I liked this book more than its
predecessor. After all, it’s a strong concept with solid execution.

A focusing and foreshadowing of the Broken Earth series, I give The Obelisk
Gate 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Invincible

Book Cover
Author: 
Reed, Amy
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Evie has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and she's agreed to stop
treatment, prepared to face the bitter end. That is, until by sheer miracle,
her cancer completely heals and she can move on with her normal life again.
However, everyone still sees her as Cancer Girl, and she's unable to live the
life she thought she gained back. That is, until she meets Marcus. To her,
even with the danger involved, he is the light at the end of the
tunnel,making her feel invincible to all harm. However, she had no idea she'd
soon be on a winding path down the drain.

This is a story that gets more and more depressing as it goes on. Already
dealing with the depressing topic of cancer from the start, you'll soon find
yourself jumping into topics of death, loss, abuse, and drugs. Since this
comes right from the eyes of the main character, this book has an almost
unbearable pain leading up to a depressing and nerve-racking conclusion. This
book is beyond criticism.

Reviewer's Name: 
Naomi S.

Book Review: The Black Key

Book Cover
Author: 
Ewing, Amy
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

It's been a few months since Violet and her friends escaped to the Farm.
Their plan to overthrow the royalty in the Jewel is coming together. However,
when Violet's sister's life is threatened, Violet is forced to go back to the
Jewel to rescue her. While in there, she discovers shocking secrets that
could both help her plan and put it in jeopardy. As the days to the attack
tick down, Violet must conjure up all her strength to ensure victory and
safety for all, even when her friends are torn away right in front of her
eyes.

If there's ever been a series I'd recommend, it's the Jewel trilogy. It's a
very quick read, and no matter how hard I try, there's not a single flaw I can
find. This book is no exception, and provides an action-packed, gripping
finale to the series. It also hit me with the saddest deaths in any media
I've yet to find (and I've endured Der Flohwalzer). However, this did present
a problem, as it happened right before the book's climactic final battle,
which made it hard for me to get sucked in. However, after taking a crying
break for two hours, my tears turned to unbridled rage against the royalty,
and I was able to get back into what I consider one of the best final battles
of all time. Overall, I highly recommend this book. Just make sure to have
some tissues ready.

Reviewer's Name: 
Naomi S.

Book Review: Murder in Her Stocking

Book Cover
Author: 
McKevett, G. A.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Stella Reid takes herself back to what she considers her best Christmas ever.
Stella had enough to deal with during the Christmas festivities, especially
with the recent vandalism of the McGill nativity display. Then late one
night, she discovers Priscilla Hart, the town bad girl, dying in an alleyway,
and it's clear she didn't go down without a fight. As a way of paying her
respect, Stella begins to investigate Priscilla's murder when almost everyone
around her seems to turn a blind eye, all while trying to ensure that she can
see her family during the holiday season. As the pieces of the puzzle come
together, Stella begins to realize who the culprit is-a culprit who even
thinking of the possibility of them committing murder breaks her heart.

G.A. McKevett released two books in 2018; this one and Hide and Sneak, the
next entry in her Savannah Reid mysteries. Out of the two books, this one is
what I feel is the better quality. It does a much better job of showing over
telling than Hide and Sneak, especially with Stella's grandkids. With both
the mystery itself and the subplot with Stella's family, this story does an
amazing job of being real, with just the right balance of heartwarming and
heartbreaking events to keep up that image. However, this story is not
without its flaws. As much as I loved how the culprit threw plot armor out
the window, I just felt like it came out of nowhere. I expected the culprit
to be at least somewhat linked to the evidence we saw, but I just felt who it
actually was was a failed attempt to mush two plotlines together. Altogether,
I was disappointed by the climax, especially with all the amazing buildup to
it earlier on. But hey, maybe my brain was just foggy from bacon withdrawal.
Overall, I highly recommend this mystery novel with every fiber of my
existence.

Reviewer's Name: 
Naomi S.

Book Review: Hide and Sneak

Author: 
McKevett, G. A.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency has a new case that takes them up in
the world to famous actor Ethan Malloy. His wife and child have gone missing,
and he's counting on Savannah and the rest of the agency to return them safe
and sound. The case is already a dire one, but when the family's nanny is
found murdered near a forest trail, the situation becomes even more severe.
Savannah is rushing both to find Ethan's family and catch the nanny's killer
before another victim is claimed. With paparazzi swarming at every turn and
evidence that leads to more dead ends than not, this is shaping up to be
Savannah's deadliest chase yet. Will she be able to apprehend the culprit
before the final seconds of the clock tick down?

G.A. McKevett released two novels in 2018; this one and the first novel in a
spinoff series. While I personally find this book to be the one of lesser
quality, it's not by much at all. The mystery is handled in a phenomenal
light, and I was off my seat with anticipation of what would come next. It
all ended with a culprit I didn't expect, but was obvious in hindsight, which
I feel is a clever way to go about a culprit in a mystery. The side plot with
Tammy's parents was also handled really well. However, the reason I feel like
this was the lesser novel is because I felt like it often relied too much on
exposition to drive the mystery forward, which kind of beats the storytelling
purpose of "show, don't tell". However, I still consider this one of G.A.
McKevett's best works to date, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone and
everyone.

Reviewer's Name: 
Naomi S.

Book Review: Pampered to Death

Book Cover
Author: 
Levine, Laura
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Jaine Austen is relieved to receive a gift trip to the Haven, a luxury resort
along the California coast, from her flamboyantly gay neighbor Lance.
However, upon arriving there, she realizes that the Haven is a fat
farm in disguise run by Olga, the Diet Nazi (her words and not mine). She's
sharing her "luxury vacation" with Mallory Francis, a famous movie star, and
her staff. While gracing the big screens is Mallory's job, her true calling seems to
be making enemies with everyone she comes across. So when Mallory is found
strangled by a piece of kelp during a seaweed wrap, the suspect list is
longer than Rapunzel's hair with added extensions. Not wanting to spend any
longer in Diet Hell than necessary (and yes, she does call the Haven that),
Jaine puts on her detective slippers once again to catch a culprit once
again. However, this will prove to be Jaine's most challenging cases yet, and
her chase to catch the culprit will put her life on the line more than ever
before.

Let me just get this off my chest. I-love-this series! It's so well-written,
and never ceases to amuse me. I love how this series waits until later than
most for the murder to happen,making the reader make assumptions on who the
culprit is before the murder takes place. However, every book I've read from
this series so far has a major flaw. While the actual investigation for each
book is individually unique, the main climax always follows the same format.
It goes as follows:

1) Jaine is left with no clear culprit until she remembers a piece of
evidence she missed
2) The person who seems like the furthest thing from the culprit is always
the culprit
3) Just as Jaine finds the culprit, they try to kill her
4) Something saves Jaine last-minute
5) The culprit is arrested

This book is no different. I really wish Laura Levine would break away from
this format, as it makes the series very repetitive. However, I just hope she
does it in future mysteries. But overall, I'd highly recommend this mystery,
especially for a good laugh. The mystery kept me guessing while still keeping
me relaxed, Jaine Austen is the most relatable protagonist ever, the sub-plot
with her parents is hilarious in an "I really shouldn't be laughing at this"
kind of way, and Prozac is-well, Prozac! Just make sure to have something to
strangle with (noose, execution chain, chimichanga, whatever suits you),
because I assure you that no Jaine Austen mystery has made me want to
strangle Lance more than this one by the end. You have been warned.

Reviewer's Name: 
Naomi S.

Book Review: Without a Trace: The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon

Without a Trace: The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Author: 
Starr, Mel
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This medieval surgeon/bailiff is back for another adventure in the 12th book of this series. Hugh de Singleton is called upon to use his sleuthing skills to locate a missing noblewoman and her maidservant who disappear "without a trace" while traveling in the company of others in a caravan. Hugh is stumped at every turn as no clues turn up in his investigation. Will this mystery be the one he cannot solve?

Reviewer's Name: 
Tammy

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