Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (231)


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm/Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

Rex (Kindle 9%)
- Adam Rocke, Mark Rodgers, Cody B. Stewart

TJ gave the egg another heave and managed to yank it free. 
Practically the size of a football, it was way bigger than any gator egg TJ had ever seen or heard of before.

Death by Diploma (Chalkboard Outlines #1)

26809659Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado.There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.

Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.

As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Southern Belle meets Colorado murder mystery in Kelley Kaye's Death by Diploma, the first in her Chalkboard Outline series. Emma begins teaching at Pinewood High School just before the school is struck by a tragedy -- one of the Janitors, Melvin, has been murdered. Leslie, Emma's first friend, is convinced that Detective Carl is too much of an idiot to close the case. This problem obviously has only one solution. Leslie and Emma: Pinewood High Detectives. 

Emma Lovett is a Southern girl who knows how to use her twang to get exactly what she wants. After leaving her husband, Emma decided to become a teacher and now she's living in Colorado with the rest of her life ahead of her. Emma's brave in a cautious way and readers will enjoy reading her internal mini-monologues. She has a good sense of humor, a big heart, and a love of teaching. Her sunny disposition is respectable because Emma has experienced things that could have taken away that smiling sincerity. but she doesn't allow that to happen. It seems to only increase her ability to care. 

Leslie becomes Emma's partner in crime solving and though she doesn't share the main character spotlight, she's very important to the story. Leslie has been teaching for a few years and she becomes a mentor of sorts for Emma. She's also a big comic relief and quotes Shakespeare quite often. Leslie also pushes Emma outside of her comfort zone, which I think helps Emma begin to really take charge of her new life. Readers will enjoy Leslie's attitude and laugh at her strict dispositions and random acts of cursing. 

It seems at odds with itself, but Death by Diploma is a rather light-hearted murder mystery. Emma and Leslie form a strong friendship, both develop love-interests, and they uncover the story of Melvin McManus, which is an interesting story by itself. There's lots of laughter in this novel as well as serious moments of sadness. It even has a bit of action and a surprise ending. Death by Diploma is a uniquely fresh murder mystery crossed with chick lit that will have readers quoting, or at least wanting to quote, Shakespeare by the final page.

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pigeon-Blood Red

28223259For underworld enforcer Richard "Rico" Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss's priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.

As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Ed Duncan blurs the boundaries of good and evil in his crime novel, Pigeon-Blood Red. While the main characters are mostly cheats, gamblers, murderers, and thugs, it seems a few of them have a sense of honor. 

Through the opening chapters, I struggled to like the characters. Rico is an enforcer for a loan shark and his sense of 'business' is criminal. When the necklace goes missing, he even checks out his girlfriend by intimidating her with a knife, though Jean isn't the best person either. Rico is first depicted as a man who will do whatever it takes to complete a job because he believes that everyone he kills had it coming. 

Robert is a figuratively the scum of the earth. He wants to be a rich playboy but doesn't want to put in the work. He figured he could make money if he had more money and quickly got too caught up. Now he owes the loan shark, Litvak, thousands of dollars with no way to pay. When he sees the opportunity to steal the necklace (of pigeon-blood rubies) he takes it. But that isn't even the worst part. He drags his wife, Evelyn, into it. 

Evelyn is an innocent in the middle of all these criminals. She's a teacher who just wants her husband, Robert, to stop cheating on her and be a better man, a man she knows he could be. She decides to give him one last chance to redeem himself, a second honeymoon to Hawaii. At first he doesn't want to go, making him even worse, but after he steals the necklace, he's on the flight running away from Litvak and his thugs. 

While in Hawaii, Evelyn runs into Paul. Paul is an attorney who lost his wife a year earlier. He's known Evelyn since college and they were once mutually attracted. When Rico follows Robert to Hawaii, Evelyn finds herself in danger and Paul steps in to keep her safe. I think Evelyn and Paul were the only two characters that were likeable and relatable. Readers will sympathize with Paul's loss of his wife and admire his courage to help Evelyn. I think readers will nearly hate Robert as he has no good qualities that aren't part of his facade. But it's Rico who's the tricky one. It's not easy to paint a villain and turn him into something less evil, something nearly likeable, but Ed Duncan does just that. By the end of the novel, I almost respected him. Almost. 

The plot of the novel follows the necklace. The necklace is a priceless piece of jewelry made out of multiple pigeon-blood red rubies. When Robert steals it, trouble ensues, putting everyone in mortal danger. After his death in Hawaii, Evelyn and Paul escape, but feel like they're being followed. The police believe it's because of the necklace. The two must figure out a way to return the necklace and stay alive without having to look over their shoulders the rest of their lives. And that becomes the hardest part. For readers who enjoy action thrillers with a side of romance and crime, Pigeon-Blood Red by Ed Duncan may be the next book on the reading list.

Rating: 2.5/5 Cups

What's Next, Wednesday (22)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.


I'm looking forward to...

Moonlight War -- Act I by William Collins. This is a sequel to a book I reviewed a few weeks ago in the Realmers series. The main characters have advanced to level testing and dangerous missions while some student Venators have gone missing. While Brooke and Evan battle demons, werewolves, and vampires, they also have to keep the fact that they are part demon a secret. Otherwise they could be in even more danger ... maybe from their fellow students.