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Showing posts from July, 2015

Investigation Discovery Unsolved Murders, Mysteries & Crimes August/September 2015 Magazine

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Investigation Discovery Unsolved Murders, Mysteries & Crimes August/September 2015 Magazine, Consultant: Joe Kenda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Magazine, 100 pages
Publication: August 2015 by Media Lap Publishing


Great magazine on the newsstands right now (July-Sept 2015) dealing with what Investigation Discovery does best. Nothing deep here. Just a two-page spread on each case. Mostly murders, some serial with a few bank robberies and jewel heists thrown in for good measure. Pretty much all take place in the US but the heists range from Japan to the Bahamas. I read this topic a lot and was pleasantly surprised at the number of lesser-known cases that were included in here and even some I hadn't heard of. There is also a strength in curious missing persons cases which are still current and this is a good vehicle for putting their pictures back out there with contact numbers. Some of these cases are quite bizarre and yes, all the ones you'd expect to find are in here too, but ov…

Winemaker Detective Mystery #1: Treachery in Bordeaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux

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Treachery in Bordeaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ebook
Published 2012 by Le French Book
first published in French 2004
Source: Overdrive e-Library


Winemaker Detective Mystery (1)

I've read every book in this series save the first, so with the 7th book coming out next week thought I'd take care of this unfinished business. I truly adored meeting all the characters in this introductory novel. Benjamin and Virgil actually meet each other too just as Virgil is hired for the job! They've both come a long way as characters since this one. The mystery was all wine business related and not that excited, I mean there isn't even a murder! but watching Benjamin and Virgil putting their heads together over a puzzle for the first time was extremely fun. I tucked into this book and didn't come up for air until everything was solved and I raised my glass of Pinot Noir in celebration. {cheers}




Ann Rule, true crime master, dies

Andreo's Race by Pam Withers

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Andreo's Race by Pam Withers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Tundra Books
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers


A fast-paced action-packed read that had me turning the pages as fast as I could. I enjoyed Withers book "First Descent" but this one is even better. Full of adventure, serious topics such as adoption and baby trafficking are mixed with extreme sports in an adventure race across Bolivia including canoeing, mountain biking, and caving. A former whitewater rafter and outdoor enthusiast, along with being the mother of boys, it's quite apparent the author writes what she knows best and that comes through in her writing which is full of detail and obvious research. The book begins with the two 16yo main characters biking in the Rockies at night and the action, tension and drama never stops for a moment until the exciting climax. Mixed in there is also the story of a family who learns a lesson in how to be closer as a fami…

Murder in the Family: The Dr. King Story by Dan Buchanan

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Murder in the Family: The Dr. King Story by Dan Buchanan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 25th 2015 by Dundurn Group
Source: Netgalley

Dr. William Henry King is the only person to have ever been executed in Northumberland County, Ontario. He came to that fame in 1859 for the murder of his wife by poison. It caused quite the sensation in the little village of Brighton at the time with its tales of mistresses, unborn babes, florid love letters and an attempt to flee. Written by a genealogist, the Brighton town historian and a direct family descendant of Dr. King himself this history of the event and court case is a fascinating read. One gets a feel for the author's love of his material right away and though this is a scholarly volume rather than of a true crime nature, Buchanan's natural storyteller's voice shines through. Filled with direct quotes from source materials and woven together with Buchanan's narrative one gets a feel for the time a…

Winemaker Detective Series (#6) Mayhem in Margaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen

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Mayhem in Margaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 164 pages
Published May 14th 2015 by Le French Book
first published in French, 2004
Source: Netgalley

Winemaker Detective Series (#6)

Another fine entry in the Benjamin Cooker series! I'm in love with these characters and this sixth book is a real family affair. I started with book 2 so from that point on, this is the first time that Cooker's wife plays a role throughout the entire book, it's the first time the much mentioned but never seen office manager actually has a scene but the best part is when Virgile and Margaux finally meet. Cooker is always so playful about Virgile's stereotypical French lover playboy lifestyle, that is until he meets his daughter! LOL. Loved how those two got along, Anyway, the mystery was great too and kept me reading. In keeping with the family theme, it all starts with Margaux just barely escaping death in a car accident where the driver is hid…

Your Worst Nightmare

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So I just finished watching "Your Worst Nightmare" (2014) on Netflix; a TV show of only 6 episodes from Investigative Discovery.  Anyway, this is the most intense re-enactment crime show I've seen.  I hadn't heard of any of the cases before and the show was terrific!  Loved it.  If you don't get it on Netflix all the episodes are available on youtube.  Here's a link to its imdb page.

Armada by Ernest Cline

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Armada by Ernest Cline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Crown Publishing

I haven't read "Ready Player One" so can't compare the two. I'm really into the science fiction scene, more from the classics and 80s than now so was keen to read this but like a lot of other readers I just kept thinking that the plot had been done before. It's not an accident, though, and is intentional by the author as we're supposed to feel like we've been here befoe. Personally I kept comparing the plot to Ender's Game (which is referenced in the book) but not as good. The author uses this theme to bring about his twist about 2/3s into the book and at that point is when I became engaged and started turning the pages faster. However, the plot once again became predictable. I enjoyed the story; the characters were fun; I didn't dislike it, but I got kind of bored for sections and it just didn't wow me. An ok book perhaps best …

Vampire: The Richard Chase Murders by Kevin M. Sullivan

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Vampire: The Richard Chase Murders by Kevin M. Sullivan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 109 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by WildBlue Press 
first published 2012

I knew very little about this case before reading the book. I read a lot of true crime but some cases make me sick and this one I knew enough about to make me think I didn't want the depth of a book to tell me more. However, I am very glad to have read it. Mr. Sullivan has done an excellent job with a very sensitive subject matter. Some reviews have called the book graphic, or, specifically, the writing graphic, but that's not exactly the situation and especially why I appreciated the author's tact. Yes, the data is graphic but 1) there are no crime scene photos and 2) the graphic details are simply listed information taken directly from police or court documents. The author hasn't taken any creative license in that area. Sullivan has done an exceptional job of providing direct quotes from various …

Pardon My Hearse: A Colorful Portrait of Where the Funeral and Entertainment Industries Met in Hollywood by Allan Abbott & Greg Abbott

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Pardon My Hearse: A Colorful Portrait of Where the Funeral and Entertainment Industries Met in Hollywood by Allan Abbott & Greg Abbott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 250 pages
Published June 15th 2015 by Craven Street Books

My interest in reading this book is because I'm fascinated with the funerary business and practices. The book's claim about Hollywood was only slightly intriguing to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the read but will mention to prospective readers that this book is not a trashy, gossipy book about Hollywood and celebrities; it is a book about the inside workings of a funeral business which happened to be in California and thus crossed paths with the film industry occasionally. The book starts off chronologically telling the story of how Abbot & Hast, two high school graduates in the early fifties got started in the hearse business and eventually became one of the most respected mortuaries in California along with being the owners of the industry leading…

The Ape's Wife and Other Stories by Caitlín R. Kiernan

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The Ape's Wife and Other Stories by Caitlín R. Kiernan
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published November 29th 2013 by Subterranean Press

This is my first time reading this author and I will certainly come back for some more. This is a collection with no theme except perhaps the themes weird and bizarre. These stories are dark, noir, strange, weird, odd and cover a cross section of genres such as steampunk, noir mystery, fantasy, science fiction, historical fantasy and paranormal alongside those that defy being classified. I found some of the stories absolutely brilliant while some didn't quite do it for me, but even those where I didn't "get" it or the ending didn't wow me I will say the writing did genuinely entertain me. Kiernan is a talented writer of the macabre and this first dip for me was overall satisfying such that I'll keep my eyes out for another of her anthologies. I'm not sure she could hold me for a whole novel thou…

Tom Gray #2: Gray Resurrection by Alan McDermott

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Gray Resurrection by Alan McDermott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 180 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Smashwords

Tom Gray (#2)

Completely satisfying!! Loved it. Even better than the first book! I liked the first book but found it rather over-the-top. This time though, Tom Gray's political thriller action is just the right amount of sensational without being overdramatic. A rip-roaring adventure in the jungle of the Philippines has an extremist group kidnapping hostages and all the action you can pack into one book. I was glued to the pages from start to finish. Luckily I picked up books 3 and 4 on sale this month (July, 2015) and can't wait to see how Tom gets on in the next one. Great adrenaline rush!




Julius Caesar: Retold in Modern-day English by Timothy Knapman

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Julius Caesar: Retold in Modern-day English by Timothy Knapman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published July 1st 2015 by QEB Publishing

Tales from Shakespeare

Though meant for younger audiences this faithful retelling of the Shakespeare is suitable for all ages and I can see it being used by students studying the play and even adults wanting to finally get to know their Shakespeare without reading the actual plays. I'm familiar with Julius Caesar, having studied it in high school, read the original and seen the play at Stratford, but this was many years ago so I'm not able to compare this version to the primary source except to say I found nothing lacking from what I remembered of the tale. It is written in a highly entertaining storyteller's voice and has several sketches per chapter. While written in modern English there are some short quotes from Shakespeare in the margins and being fond of Shakespeare retellings and adaptations I find this a quality choice.…

Hamlet: Retold in Modern-day English by Timothy Knapman

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Hamlet: Retold in Modern-day English by Timothy Knapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by QEB Publishing

Tales from Shakespeare

Hamlet is my favourite Shakespeare and I read pretty much every retelling I find. I really enjoyed this one, the author is faithful to the story including all the plot points even to minor details. I couldn't think of anything he missed. The author also lets the reader know from the start that Hamlet is playing at being mad to give the story a finite plot and not leave us with the questioning and debate the original play does. I agree with this opinion so am satisfied with the portrayal. So much happens in Hamlet that being a faithful adaptation of only 50 pages this is an action-packed story with little character development except for Hamlet himself. Aimed at younger readers, the book is suitable for all ages from middle school to those studying the novel to adults who would like to get to know Shakespeare but are too …

Fear of Our Father: The True Story of Abuse, Murder, and Family Ties by Lisa Bonnice & Stacey M. Kananen

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Fear of Our Father: The True Story of Abuse, Murder, and Family Ties by Lisa Bonnice & Stacey M. Kananen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Berkley

For the most part a riveting read of a sick and twisted abusive father who gets his and then the stunning trial of the daughter accused of murdering the mother. Stacey Kananen presents her own story of her life from her abuse at the hands of her father and the daily nightmare living in a household held hostage by his violence to the trial where she was accused by her own brother of co-plotting and committing the murder of her mother. Separating the book into thirds it was the middle portion that I got bogged down in, as the authors used a clumsy method of non-linear storytelling jumping around from telling Stacey's life story from childhood to the unravelling of the police case in the disappearance of her mother and her brother's confession to murdering their father. This read as if Stacey …

Winemaker Detective Mysteries #5 Cognac Conspiracies by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen

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Cognac Conspiracies by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 140 pages
Published February 18th 2015 by Le French Book (NY)
first published in French, 2004)

Winemaker Detective Mysteries (#5)

I'm a fan of this French cozy series that always keeps a background theme of fine wine and cigars, with a dash of French cuisine and vintage cars. This time the mystery isn't quite so cozy and I think this is my favourite in the Benjamin Cooker series so far! A devilish mystery with some dirty little secrets which, admittedly, weren't hard for this reader to guess but were wickedly fun to see popping up in Cooker's dignified world. Cooker's character has been pretty much defined by this fifth entry into the series. The books don't need to be read in any certain order for the sake of the plot as they are episodic but to appreciate Cooker and his assistant Nathan as human beings then reading them in published order will enlighten one as to their…

Happy Canada (Book Challenge) Day!

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July 1st and we all know what that means!

Yes! It's the start of the new Canada Book Challenge!  Look at this year's logo! Isn't that the coolest thing ever?!! Way to go John!

The Challenge as always is to read 13 books between now and next Canada Day, well June 30, 2016.  As last year, I'm going to set my own personal challenge as I find reading 13 books gets done too soon.  My personal challenge this year is to read 13 mystery books by Canadian (ex-pat. included) authors.  Like always, I'll include all books I read for the challenge but won't consider the challenge completed until I've read the 13 mysteries.  I have a few authors I need to catch up on such as Alan Bradley & Linwood Barclay and then there are some famous Canadian mystery writers who I have embarrassingly never even read such as Louise Penny & Joy Fielding.  Then there are the numerous ones I've only read one book by such as Maureen Jennings and Gail Bowen.

Posts here.

My list w…