Category Archives: Humor

A Review of MACDEATH: An Ivy Meadows Mystery by Cindy Brown

MACDEATH: An Ivy Meadows Mystery

by Cindy Brown

This fun, fast paced, theatre based book is a good start to a new year and a new series. I enjoyed the antics and the lively characters in Cindy Brown’s new book. She uses great dialog to create her story. The characters are quirky but believable at the same time. The humor is part of the story and doesn’t feel forced or artificial. Sometimes it heads toward slapstick, but that’s ok, because who doesn’t like to laugh.

Cindy Brown’s main character, Ivy Meadows, has to try to figure out why the male lead in Macbeth was found dead of suspected alcohol poisoning. The police are calling it an accidental death, but Ivy is sure that it was murder. Simon had quit drinking and had asked Ivy to help him out, to keep an eye on him. She feels like she let him down, and can’t let everyone think that he drank himself to death. But then other suspicious things happen. Is it the Macbeth curse, or something much worse.

This book would be classified as a cozy mystery, I guess. I only found out that cozy was a real genre last year, and I’m still not sure exactly what constitutes a cozy, but the publisher has Cozy showing up on the MACDEATH page.

This is what Wikipedia has to say, “Cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

Well, that certainly seems to fit MACDEATH. I like to read well-written cozies once in a while, and so I have to say that MACDEATH really fit the bill. I give it a solid 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! I look forward to reading the next book in the series (THE SOUND OF MURDER (#2) September 2015).

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES

MACDEATHLike every actor, Ivy Meadows knows that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm—not her flying caldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-wielding dictator of a director.

But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career—and her life.

Books in the Ivy Meadows Mystery Series:

MACDEATH (#1)
THE SOUND OF MURDER (#2) September 2015

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you’ll probably like them all…

Book Details

Series: An Ivy Meadows Mystery
Paperback: 275 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (January 20, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1940976693
ISBN-13: 978-1940976693
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces

About the Author

Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

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A Review of The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The Job (A Fox and O’Hare Novel)

by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Did you like the previous books in the Fox and O’Hare series? If you did, then you will like this one too. Special Agent Kate O’Hare and charming con man Nicolas Fox are back together, traveling the world, and taking down the bad guys. The Job is a very straight line adventure-thriller. There is some mystery, but not much. Mainly Fox and O’Hare have to figure out who the bad guy is, and then come up with an elaborate con, to take him down. All the while, everyone except O’Hare and her boss, is trying to capture Fox, and throw him in jail.

The story is good. It’s fast paced, has a lot of entertaining action, but no real plot twists. You pretty much know what is going to happen, and it does. I had hoped for more. I like to be puzzled. I like to think I have it a figured out, but then to have it be something entirely different. I like plot twists. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed The Job, and had trouble putting it down, but I had wanted more. It just seemed that everything worked out too well and too easily.

I give The Job 3 1/2 Stars out of 5. If you like fast paced books, with a complicated sting operation and a little romantic tension, then you will love The Job.

I received a Digital Review Copy from NetGalley.com.

Book Description

The JobHe’s a charming con man and she’s a dedicated FBI agent, and they’re about to drive each other crazy . . . again! 

The FBI had one demand when they secretly teamed up Special Agent Kate O’Hare with charming con man Nicolas Fox—bring down the world’s most-wanted and untouchable felons. This time it’s the brutal leader of a global drug-smuggling empire. The FBI doesn’t know what their target looks like, where he is, or how to find him, but Nick Fox has a few tricks up his sleeve to roust this particular Knipschildt chocolate–loving drug lord.

From the streets of Nashville to the back alleys of Lisbon, from the rooftops of Istanbul to the middle of the Thames, Nick and Kate chase their mark. When they find themselves pitted against a psychopathic bodyguard and a Portuguese enforcer who gets advice from a pickled head, they decide it’s time to enlist some special talent—talent like a machete-wielding Somali pirate, a self-absorbed actor, an Oscar-winning special effects artist, and Kate’s father Jake, a retired Special Forces operative. Together they could help make this Fox and O’Hare’s biggest win yet . . . if they survive.

Book Details

Series: Fox and O’Hare
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Bantam (November 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345543122
ISBN-13: 978-0345543127
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Authors

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.

Lee Goldberg is a screenwriter, TV producer, and the author of several books, including King City, The Walk, and the bestselling Monk series of mysteries. He has earned two Edgar Award nominations and was the 2012 recipient of the Poirot Award from Malice Domestic.

A Review of DOUBLE STRIKE by Gretchen Archer

Double Strike

by Gretchen Archer

Gretchen Archer’s Davis Way series reminds me of the best books in the Stephanie Plum series. Her character, Davis Way, is funny, irreverent, and smart. She gets into trouble, but can always work her way out. Every chapter is filled with over-the-top situations brought on by the hilarious antics of her fellow Bellissimo Casino employees, or the ridiculous demands of Bianca Sanders, the self-important owner of the Casino. Davis Way was hired to impersonate her, whenever Bianca decides that she doesn’t want to do something. She has to do everything from attend meetings for Bianca, to fill-in for her at an outdoor Casino party. And Bianca gets to choose her wardrobe!

But this is only half of Davis Way’s job. She has to go undercover to try to discover what is going on in “Strike It Rich”,  a top-secret casino within a casino. She gets hired as an assistant to the young, high energy, Social Media Director, Elspeth Raiffe. She has to learn to speak Twitter and Pinterest, become adept with posting on Facebook and YouTube. and to talk in hashtags. #InOverHerHead

Meanwhile back in her personal life, Davis is going to get married, but when her fiancée, Bradley Cole, goes to city hall to get the marriage license, he gets denied. Davis is still marries to her no good ex, #EddieTheAss. Now this has to be fixed. Which takes Davis back to Pine Apple, Alabama.

As you can see just a hint of the craziness that goes on in this book. It is page after page of fun, with a little mystery thrown in. I just love this series. This is book three. You really should read all of them, but if you want to start here, you will still know what is going on, but, seriously, start with Double Whammy, because you deserve all the laughs. #DoubleWhammy #DoubleDip #DoubleStrike

I give Double Strike 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! If you like the early Stephanie Plum books, then you will love this, along with the other two books in this very funny series. This is one series that I am going read every book, just as soon as I can.

I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher, Henery Press.

Book Description

Double Strike lgBellissimo Resort and Casino Super Spy Davis Way knows three things: Cooking isn’t a prerequisite for a happy marriage, don’t trust men who look like David Hasselhoff, and money doesn’t grow on Christmas trees. None of which help when a storm hits the Gulf a week before the most anticipated event in Bellissimo history: the Strike It Rich Sweepstakes. Securing the guests, staff, and property might take a stray bullet. Or two.

Bellissimo Resort and Casino Super Spy Davis Way has three problems: She’s desperate to change her marital status, she has a new boss who speaks in hashtags, and Bianca Sanders has confiscated her clothes. All of which bring on a headache hot enough to spark a fire. Solving her problems means stealing a car. From a dingbat lawyer.

Bellissimo Resort and Casino Super Spy Davis Way has three goals: Keep the Sanders family out of prison, regain her footing in her relationship, and find the genius who wrote the software for futureGaming. One of which, the manhunt one, is iffy. Because when Alabama hides someone, they hide them good.

DOUBLE STRIKE. A VIP invitation to an extraordinary high-stakes gaming event, as thieves, feds, dance instructors, shady bankers, kidnappers, and gold waiters go all in. #Don’tMissIt

Book Details

Hardcover: 270 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (October 21, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1941962149
ISBN-13: 978-1941962145
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces

About the Author

ARCHER-picGretchen Archer is a Tennessee housewife who began writing when her daughters, seeking higher educations, ran off and left her. She lives on Lookout Mountain with her husband, son, and a Yorkie named Bently. Double Whammy, her first Davis Way crime caper, is a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist and hit the USA TODAY bestsellers list.

 

Book Description from Publisher’s page, Double Strike

A Review of Double Dip by Gretchen Archer

Double DipDouble Dip
by Gretchen Archer

If you are ready for a fun filled, witty, mystery, “Double Dip” is just what you need. Ms. Archer has written a novel that will have you chuckling and smiling and maybe even laughing out loud from time to time. You will be in for a real riot. The humorous situations will remind you of the early Janet Evanovich numbers books. You remember them. The ones you couldn’t put down because Stephanie just kept getting in one predicament after another, and you couldn’t wait to see what Granny would do next. Well “Double Dip” is the same type of book. Davis Way is in one funny spot after another. She is always wise cracking with her partner at work, Fantasy, or to herself, much of the time, and she just can’t get it right with the love of her life, Bradley Cole. AND she even has her Granny in this book. The situations, predicaments, and characters will keep you interested, and the writing will keep you reading.

I really enjoyed this book, probably even more than the first one, “Double Whammy”. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, “Double Strike”, due out this Fall.

I give this book 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you have been missing the fun of the early numbers books, this book will bring it back to you. This is fresh writing from a new talented author.

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description
Publication Date: January 28, 2014

SNAPPY, WISE-CRACKING AND FAST PACED…

“A smart, snappy writer who hits your funny bone!” – Janet Evanovich

It’s Davis Way’s first slot-tournament season. And it may be her last.

Things are dicey at work. A personal assistant goes missing, a little old lady goes on a suspicious winning streak, and a Bellissimo executive goes gaga for Davis. She follows a disappearing slot-tournament player trail to the So Help Me God Pentecostal Church in Beehive, Alabama, then jumps headlong into a high stakes holy scandal.

She’s on a losing streak at home, too. Her days, nights, and dinners run together, as Davis juggles a revolving door of uninvited guests, namely her rotten ex-ex-husband, Eddie Crawford. And Bradley Cole thinks three’s a crowd.

The worst? Davis doesn’t feel so hot. Maybe it’s the banana pudding, or maybe it’s a little bundle of something else.

DOUBLE DIP. A reckless ride in the fast lane, and Davis Way can’t find the brakes.
Books in the Davis Way Crime Caper Mystery Series:
DOUBLE WHAMMY (#1)
DOUBLE DIP (#2)
DOUBLE STRIKE (#3) (Fall 2014)
Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you’ll probably like them all…

Product Details
Series: A Davis Way Crime Caper
Paperback: 260 pages
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inchesHenery Press; 1 edition (January 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193838394X
ISBN-13: 978-1938383946
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
Paperback: 11.2 ounces

About The Author
Gretchen Archer is a Tennessee housewife, mom of three, grocery-list and crime-caper writer. She’s the author of the Davis Way Mystery series.

The book description is from Amazon. Double Dip

A Review of The Wobbit: A Parody (Kindle Edition) by The Harvard Lampoon

The WobbitThe Wobbit: A Parody (Kindle Edition)

by The Harvard Lampoon

I really wanted The Wobbit to be a fabulous book. Too bad, it didn’t quite match my expectations. The main problem that I had with the book was that I hated the character Billy Bagboy. He was the parody of Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit, so he was all though the book. Unfortunately someone thought that they would portray him as a stupid, slovenly, tub of lard instead of connecting some characteristics of Bilbo to Billy. They could have exaggerated some of Bilbo’s traits, but Billy really has nothing in common with Bilbo. He is so gross that it makes it hard to read some of the passages. BTW: The artist who painted the cover, and anyone associated with commissioning, designing, or approving the cover art work must not have read the book, because Billy Bagboy is described as obese. He has fat rolls covering his fat rolls, but that wouldn’t sell many books, would it?

If you can ignore Billy, much of the rest of the book is rather funny. I loved the characters L. Ron (Elrond) and Dumbledalf (Gandalf). The Internet trolls, Björn, and the Elvisking were pretty good, but I thought that they kind of sleep-walked though the part with Puff the Magic Dragon. That could have been so much funnier. The Battle of the Five Armies at the end had some funny characters showing up to join in the fight, but it seemed a bit confused.

The Wobbit is a parody of The Hobbit, so if you aren’t very familiar with The Hobbit, you will miss most of the jokes. If you love J.R.R. Tolkien, and have devoted your life to middle-earth, then you will feel that this book is sacrilegious. If you don’t fall into either of those groups, and you are young enough to get the timely references, then you probably will be mildly entertained by The Wobbit, but don’t expect to be rolling on the floor laughing.

I give this book 3 Stars out of 5. It’s OK, just barely. I chuckled a few times, but I was hoping for so much more.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: November 26, 2013

The sequel to the parody of the sequel to the prequel to The Lord of the Rings

When Aaron Sorkinshield and his band of Little People embark on a totally feasible quest to reclaim the hoard of Academy Awards stolen from them by the lonely Puff the Magic Dragon, senile wizard Dumbledalf suggests an unlikely and completely unqualified accomplice: Billy Bagboy, an unassuming wobbit dwelling in terrorist-riddled Wobbottabad.

Along the way, the company faces Internet trolls, moblins, one really big spider that must be at least an inch and a half wide, and worse. But as they journey from the wonders of Livinwell to the terrors of Jerkwood and beyond, Billy will find that there is more to him than anyone—Tolkien included—ever dreamed. Propelled to his destiny by a series of courageous adventures and indented paragraphs, Billy will set out on the greatest YOLO of all time . . . one that leads deep into the dark caverns hiding a mysterious man named Goldstein, who’s just trying to have a nice seder.

Product Details

File Size: 4912 KB

Print Length: 176 pages

Publisher: Touchstone (November 26, 2013)

Sold By: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

Language: English

ASIN: B00EB9Z60

Text-to-Speech: Not Enabled

X-Ray: Not Enabled

Lending: Not Enabled

About the Author

The Harvard Lampoon debuted in February 1876 and is the world’s longest continually published humor magazine. Lampoon alumni include comedians Conan O’Brien, Andy Borowitz, Greg Daniels, Jim Downey, Al Jean, and B.J. Novak. Other alums have written for Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Futurama, Late Night with David Letterman, Seinfeld, 30 Rock, and dozens of other shows. The Harvard Lampoon is also the author of Nightlight and The Hunger Pains. Visit HarvardLampoon.com.

The book description is from Amazon.   The Wobbit: A Parody (Kindle Edition)

A Review of The Norfolk Mystery by Ian Sansom

Norfolk-Mystery-Ian-Sansom-coverThe Norfolk Mystery: A County Guides Mystery (Kindle Edition)

by Ian Sansom

I wasn’t planning on reading The Norfolk Mystery, but since it ended up coming my way, and I had a little extra time, I decided to check it out.

This was a fun story with a couple of interesting characters. The narrator of the story is Stephen Sefton. He was out of work and down to his last few pounds, and ends up as an assistant to Professor Swanton Moreley. Moreley is always talking and instructing and getting on everyone’s nerves. He is so much bigger than life. He is very precisely scheduled. He uses an egg timer to keep himself writing on schedule. He has written untold number of books and articles, and is writing multiple things at once. He is very funny, but never tries to be.

The novel revolves around a suspected suicide. A vicar is found hanged in his church. Sefton and Morley can’t leave the area until the death is settled, because they were outsiders and material witnesses. Their presence disturbs the town and some of the residents seem unusually anxious to have them leave.

This book was an unexpected good time. I enjoyed the characters and their interplay with the local residents. I probably won’t be searching out the next book in the series, but I had fun with this one.

I give this book 3.5 Stars out of 5. It was fun, but not that memorable. If you like stories set in the English countryside pre WWII, then this could be right up your alley.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: November 12, 2013 | Series: County Guides to Murder

Love Miss Marple? Adore Holmes and Watson? Professor Morley’s guide to Norfolk is a story of bygone England: quaint villages, eccentric locals—and murder …

It is 1937, and disillusioned Spanish Civil War veteran Stephen Sefton is broke. So when he sees a mysterious advertisement for a job where “intelligence is essential,” he eagerly applies.

Thus begins Sefton’s association with Professor Swanton Morley, an omnivorous intellect. Morley’s latest project is a history of traditional England, with a guide to every county.

They start in Norfolk, but when the vicar of Blakeney is found hanging from his church’s bell rope, Morley and Sefton find themselves drawn into a rather more fiendish plot. Did the reverend really take his own life, or is there something darker afoot?

A must-read for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Charles Todd, this novel includes plenty of murder, mystery, and mayhem to confound.

Product Details

File Size: 1196 KB

Print Length: 237 pages

Publisher: Witness Impulse (November 12, 2013)

Sold By: HarperCollins Publishers

Language: English

ASIN: B00E7RX68A

Text-to-Speech: Enabled

X-Ray: Not Enabled

Lending: Not Enabled

About the Author

Ian Sansom is a frequent contributor and critic for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The London Review of Books, and The Spectator and a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. He is the author of nine books, including Paper: An Elegy and the Mobile Library series.

The book description is from Amazon.   The Norfolk Mystery: A County Guides Mystery (Kindle Edition)

A Review of The Creeps: A Samuel Johnson Tale by John Connolly

The CreepsThe Creeps: A Samuel Johnson Tale

by John Connolly

I quite enjoyed reading this humorous, absurd, farfetched fantasy novel. I imagine that it is geared toward the Young Adult reader, but I went right along reading like I was young again. I must admit that I have liked a few YA series, and this one had the same sort of feel as Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl does, not a rip off by any means, just a similar feel. When I get the time, I think that I will have to jump back and read the first two books in the series.

I give The Creeps 4 stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up. If you like Artemis Fowl or Diskworld, you will like this.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: October 22, 2013 | Series: Samuel Johnson Tales

In this clever and quirky follow-up to The Gates and The Infernals, Samuel Johnson’s life seems to have finally settled down—after all, he’s still got the company of his faithful dachshund Boswell and his bumbling demon friend Nurd; he has foiled the dreaded forces of darkness not once but twice; and he’s now dating the lovely Lucy Highmore.

But things in the little English town of Biddlecombe rarely run smoothly for long. Shadows are gathering in the skies; a black heart of pure evil is bubbling with revenge; and it rather looks as if the Multiverse is about to come to an end, starting with Biddlecombe. When a new toy shop’s opening goes terrifyingly awry, Samuel must gather a ragtag band of dwarfs, policemen, and very polite monsters to face down the greatest threat the Multiverse has ever known, not to mention assorted vampires, a girl with an unnatural fondness for spiders, and highly flammable unfriendly elves.

The latest installment of John Connolly’s wholly original and creepily imaginative Samuel Johnson Tales, The Creeps is humorous horror for anyone who enjoys fiction at its best.

Product Details

Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (October 22, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1476757097

ISBN-13: 978-1476757094

Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches

Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces

About the Author

John Connolly is the author of The Wrath of AngelsThe Burning SoulThe Book of Lost Things, and Bad Men, among many others. He is a regular contributor to The Irish Times and lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at JohnConnollyBooks.com, or follow him on Twitter @JConnollyBooks.

The book description is from Amazon. The Creeps: A Samuel Johnson Tale