Thursday, August 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday Book Review - Killer Cupcakes - Leighann Dobbs

Throwback Thursday

Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review - Killer Cupcakes - Leighann Dobbs

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Title: Killer Cupcakes

Author: Leighann Dobbs
 

Review:   Lexy Barker has finally opened her dream bakery, gotten rid of her cheating boyfriend, has a hot cop, Jack Portillo  who lives next door and settled down in  her grandmothers house. Life seemed perfect until her ex boyfriend is found murdered by Lexy's cupcakes.

Lexy's grandmother and her iPad friends try to solve the case so Lexy can reopen her bakery.
 
 
This book is as cute, predictable sweet as the cupcake recipes at the back of the book. The romance is obvious from the first chapter which kind of took away from the build up as I like to call it 'Will They? Won't They?' moment.
 
The second the murder enters the picture it’s so obvious that I wasn't sure I wanted to keep reading.

If a book has fun and interesting characters with lots of humor it can make up for the weak and predictable plot but this novel had none. Lexy was too sweet, Jack was too flat and grandma and her "detective club" were lacking something.

I love Nancy Drew when I was a kid and sometimes pull them out for fun but as an adult I want mysteries to be exciting, intriguing not predictable and flat.

I found several grammar and spelling errors though the book and that is the reason I gave it two stars instead of three.
Thank you Heidi for this review.
Pages:  Kindle Edition, 146 pages
Published:   November 2012
ISBN:  ASINB00A0NOF7G
Quick Rating:  2 out of 5 stars
Why I read this title:  Free on Kindle
Synopsis:  Things are going great for Lexy Baker. She's finally opened her dream bakery, gotten rid of her cheating boyfriend and settled into her grandmothers house with her perky dog Sprinkles at her side.
But her blissful life doesn't last long. When her ex boyfriend is found poisoned with cupcakes from her bakery, Lexy finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation headed up by her hunky neighbor detective Jack Perillo.
With the help of a gang of iPad toting, would-be detective grandmothers, Lexy decides to take it upon herself to find the real murderer in order to clear her name and get her bakery back in business.
As things heat up on the murder trail, in the kitchen and between Lexy and the hunky detective, it's a race against time to put the real murderer behind bars and get back to baking.
Will Lexy get her man?
 Leighann Dobbs
Author Information:  Leighann Dobbs is the pen name of a not so famous author who lives in New Hampshire with her husband, her trusty Chihuahua mix Mojo and her beautiful rescue cat, Kitty. She likes to write romance and cozy mystery short stories and novelettes perfect for the busy person on the go. These stories are great for someone who doesn't have a lot of time for reading a full novel. Why not pick one up and escape to another place the next time you are waiting for an appointment, enjoying a bath or waiting to pick up the kids at soccer?
She also writes books about healthy eating under the name Lee Anne Dobbins.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Book Review Curious Minds

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon, #1)
Title: Curious Minds

Author: Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Stars: 5 out of 5


Review:
Curious Minds is a quirky book with an endless supply of color for characters who will make you scratch your head and laugh.
The writing is up beat and never once lose it flow as well as the banter between Emerson and Riley. The main characters are well developed each having a drive and reason for what they do. The banter will get a little old and might get you a little lost if you are not paying attention but for the most part it is a fun read.
Each characters is just as odd as the next but all seem to have a reason to be in the book.
I can't wait to read the next on in the series.
Advance Copy from Netgalley

Synopsis:
Janet Evanovich, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, teams up with Emmy-winning writer Phoef Sutton for a brand-new series of thrillers featuring the invincible and incompatible pairing of Knight and Moon.

Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.

What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.


About The Authors:
 Janet Evanovich
Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the Lizzy and Diesel series, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and Trouble Maker graphic novel, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, as well as the Fox and O'Hare series with co-author Lee Goldberg.
 Phoef Sutton
Phoef Sutton started as an actor and playwright in college; he was lucky enough to go to a small liberal arts college in Virginia, James Madison University, which encouraged student playwrights. Phoef was one of the only undergraduates to win the Norman Lear Award for Comedy Playwriting. After graduation, Phoef had plays produced at various regional theaters around the country, had his award winning play BURIAL CUSTOMS selected for publication by the Theatre Communications Group and was awarded a National Endowment for Arts Playwrights Fellowship.

After marrying and moving to Los Angeles, Phoef started his career at the NBC television show CHEERS. He stayed with the show for eight years, working his way up from staff writer to executive producer, winning two Emmys and a Writer’s Guild Award. A greater training ground for a writer could not be imagined.

After CHEERS, Phoef has produced and created a number of television shows and consulted on others, including NEWS RADIO and BOSTON LEGAL. He is honored to have won a Peabody Award, a GLAAD award and a Television Academy Honors award for this work on BOSTON LEGAL. Recently, he has worked on critically acclaimed series TERRIERS for FX and THE SOUL MAN for TV Land, DEFIANCE for SyFy Channel and ALPHA HOUSE for Amazon.

He has directed a short film – a suspense tale called ‘TIL DEATH. ‘TIL DEATH has been shown and various film festivals around the world and received prizes at the Garden State Festival and WorldFest in Houston, Texas.

Phoef has also worked for many years as a screenwriter and script doctor. MRS. WINTERBOURNE, directed by Richard Benjamin was an adaptation of a novel by one of his favorite authors, Cornell Woolrich. THE FAN, directed by Tony Scott and starring Robert DeNiro was an adaptation of the novel by Peter Abrahams.

Phoef is a published novelist – FIFTEEN MINUTES TO LIVE, a romantic-thriller; DEAD MAN: THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, a horror novel and its sequel DEAD MAN REBORN.
2015 is a promising year for Phoef, with the debut of his collaborations with Janet Evanovich, WICKED CHARMS and publication of his hard-boiled crime novel CRUSH.

Phoef lives in South Pasadena, California with his wife Dawn and his daughters Skylar and Celia.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Book Review: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

 Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Title: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Author:  Erik Larson
Stars: 5 out o5
Review:
Erik Larson is the author of five best sellers including the Devil 
in the White City and The Garden of Beasts which collectively sold more 
than 6.5 million copies.  His books have been published in 17 different 
countries (this taken from the back of his book)
 
Dead Wake is a 
very interesting if somewhat long book.  The writer goes into quite a 
bit of back ground about the lives of the people involved in the sinking
 of the Lusitania, a luxury ocean liner, on it's way from the United 
States to England in the year 1915.
 
W W 1 was going on and 
England was losing to Germany, but in the United States life was going 
on as normal even with all the bad news from Europe.  Pres Wison is in 
office and a side story in the book speaks of his courtship of a Miss 
Edith Galt.  After the death of his 1st wife Pres. Wilson goes into deep
 mourning but still has a country to run and a public to answer to.  He 
has a hard time trying to remain focus and for a while loses his his 
way.  His romance with Miss Galt adds and interesting side to the story 
of the sinking of the great ship.  
 
I found the story most 
interesting in that the author goes into the back stories of the 
different passengers whom you think survived the sinking, but not always
 so.  Not only were people lost but very valuable paintings by famous 
artists, and an original manuscript of "A Christmas Carol" by Lewis 
Carroll, irreplaceable treasures lost forever.
 
The author gives 
you many things to think about, was the sinking because of carelessness 
of the British government war room or was it a purposely and precise 
"accident" to cause the Americans to finally make a commitment and come 
into the War?  
 
He also tells the story of Captain Turner, the 
Captain of the Lusitania, gives a brief back ground on him helping the 
reader to realize that he was very capable at his job and that the 
sinking could not be laid at his feet as the "Room 41" tried to do.  
 
Did it work? Did it not? 
 
Another
 interesting back story is about the captain of the U boat, Schwieger, 
and how successful he was at the amount of ton age he sunk up to and 
including the sinking of the great liner.  His family is later 
interviewed and spoke of him feeling sick as he watch the passengers 
struggling in the 55 degree water, how he put the periscope back down so
 he didn't have to watch their last struggles.  But his official record 
tells a different story.  
 
At the announcement of the sinking of
 the Lusitania all England and America were in shock, but in Germany 
there was cheering and great happiness making Schwieger a hero of the 
Fatherland.  The loss of life was appalling, but at least this time it 
didn't have any thing to do with "classes". 
 
I give this book five stars out of five!  A great book!
 
The book is informative, interesting, very well written, 
Thank you for the Review Eileen. 

Synopsis:
 On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.

Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.


About The Author:

Erik Larson 
Erik Larson, author of the international bestseller Isaac's Storm, was nominated for a National Book Award for The Devil in the White City, which also won an Edgar Award for fact-crime writing. His latest book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, has been acquired for publication in 20 countries and optioned by Tom Hanks for a feature film. Erik is a former features writer for The Wall Street Journal and Time. His magazine stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's and other publications.

Larson has taught non-fiction writing at San Francisco State, the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and the University of Oregon, and has spoken to audiences from coast to coast. He lives in Seattle with his wife, who is the director of neonatology at the University of Washington Medical Center and at Children's Hospital of Seattle, and the author of the nonfiction memoir, Almost Home, which, as Erik puts it, "could make a stone cry." They have three daughters in far-flung locations.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Book Review Stephen King and Philosophy


Stephen King and Philosophy

Title: Stephen King and Philosophy


Author\Editor: Jacob M. Held

Stars: 5 out of 5

Review:

I found the insight and philosophical issues address in in many of Stephen Kings book interesting and this story. From Carrie to the Dark Tower series each book deal with the horrifying and often supernal side of the human mind. IF you get past the imaginary of Stephen King you find he write about the human condition and how people react to the unknown. Each Novel brings up questions we all much find answers for ourselves.

This book dives into those questions and answer we have to find and justify. This book has a look at the different series and books written by Stephen King and the questions he sends out to readers as they find themselves pulled from word to word. A questions is brought out is Stephen King another philological like Aristotle and Plato using words to imaginary to help the human mind discover what they need to find out for themselves.
FYI if you haven't reads some of Stephen King Novels this will ruin some of those stories and plots. So read with cautions.

Received Advance Copy from Netgalley.

Sysnpsis: 
 Haunting us with such unforgettable stories as The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption, Salem s Lot, Carrie, The Green Mile, and Pet Sematary, Stephen King has been an anchor of American horror, science fiction, psychological thrillers, and suspense for more than forty years. His characters have brought chills to our spines and challenged our notions of reality while leaving us in awe of the perseverance of the human spirit. The first book in the new Great Authors and Philosophy series, Stephen King and Philosophy reveals some of the deeper issues raised by King s work. From retribution, freedom, and moral relativity, to death and insanity, the chapters of this book expose how King s stories access the questions and fears that haunt each of us in the middle of the night."

About The Author: Editor:
Assistant Professor of philosophy at the University of Central Arkansas specializing in legal and political philosophy, nineteenth-century German philosophy, and applied ethics.
 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review Throwback Thursday Freedom - Jonathan Franzen

Freedom - Jonathan Franzen



Title: Freedom
ISBN 9780312600846
Copyright 2010
Pages 562

Quick Review: 4 Stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It: This is the book of the moment, the latest Great American Novel. Plus I liked The Corrections back in the day when Franzen was dissing Oprah

Where I Obtained the Book: I picked this up at my local public library.

Synopsis: Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul, the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter (environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man) she was doing her small part to build a better world. But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become a very different kind of neighbor an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes? In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom's characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.

Review: I liked this book. While I saw in reviews it had some deeper meanings about America in a post 9-11 world, this book worked for me as a dissection of a relationship, the story of a family. I believe that any two people who want to be together AND are committed to the relationship can succeed. Some of those relationships just take a hell of lot more work than others. This story delves into a relationship where one spouse, with the best of intentions, entered into the marriage without being committed. Patty Bergland sought to break free from confining parents, an abused past, a mentally ill best friend, and a frustrated life and married a nice guy who she didn't love 100 percent. Her husband spent his life energy trying to make up that difference until he just couldn't.

What I liked is just when you think Franzen had broken down the marriage to its component parts, he breaks it down even more. His ability to expose the core truth of a relationship and a family is what makes him a genius. I have seen where some people are made uncomfortable by Franzen's writing; or they dismiss it as puerile nonsense. I think it is because in some ways they can see the realities of their own relationships in it. The danger of becoming complacent with the others in our life and having them just slip away due to small negligences before they can be saved. A great marriage requires great work, every single day.

If you want a fantastic read and an on-target analysis of a family, then Freedom is for you.

Author Biography: Jonathan Franzen was born in Western Springs, Illinois on August 17, 1959. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1981, and went on to study at the Freie University in Berlin as a Fulbright scholar. He worked in a seismology lab at Harvard University's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences after graduation.
His works include The Twenty-Seventh City (1988), Strong Motion (1992), How to Be Alone (2002), and The Discomfort Zone (2006). The Corrections (2001) won a National Book Award and the 2002 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. He also won a Whiting Writers' Award in 1988 and the American Academy's Berlin Prize in 2000. He is also a frequent contributor to Harper's and The New Yorker.

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