Month: October 2021

Book Review: Twilight’s Fall by J. Steven Lamperti

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment in the “Tales of Liamec” series. The story itself was interesting: a young king and his entourage are ambushed while traveling, and when he finally arrives home, he’s facing a full-scale revolt. The reader meets lots of news denizens of Liamec, including royals, advisors, schemers, revolutionaries, and even a few who are no longer among the living. It was interesting to see so many types of people, and each added something important to the tale.

The author provided a lot of information about the geography of the area throughout the book, and I enjoyed getting a better sense of the land. Since a good bit of time is spent in Capitol, I gained a better understanding of the country’s government and major city as well. All of these made me appreciate this fictional land even more than I already did!

The final major event of the book (which I won’t share to avoid spoilers) was impressively well-written. It was very detailed, and I could easily follow all of the action. And there is PLENTY of action in this book to keep the reader fully engaged. I may even have shed a few tears by the end.

As an added bonus for readers of previous books, a former minor character gets a large role, and I liked seeing how his past very unique experience affected him in the present. The book had a definite conclusion, but teases some possible events to look forward to in future installments.

Honestly, I think this has been the best book in the series so far. We got more character development, more knowledge of the land, and more action. Five out of five chunks of sharp cheddar!

Book Review: Deck the Donuts by Ginger Bolton

I was initially attracted to “Deck the Donuts” by the absolutely charming cover! A cat, holiday treats, snow falling in the background….what could be more appealing? I’m so glad I decided to read this one, and the inside was every bit as appealing as the exterior.

First off, I should say that this is the sixth book in the series, but the first one I have read. I didn’t feel lost or like I was missing something at all. The author provided everything I needed to know to jump right in with this book; it works perfectly well as a stand-alone.

I really enjoyed the small-town setting. I loved the descriptions of local businesses, events, and holiday traditions. The way the residents genuinely cared about others and tried to be kind and helpful was heartwarming. Even though it’s only October, I’m definitely in the mood for Christmas now. This sweet small town provided the motivation for me to start thinking about decorating!

The mystery itself was excellent! Even though the victim was from elsewhere, there were plenty of locals who had reasons to wish him harm. Lots of non-locals were stranded in town, adding to the suspect pool. I enjoyed this mix of suspects, and the way the author directed suspicion in multiple directions. Once everything was revealed at the end all the clues the reader gathered along the way made sense.

I enjoyed reading about main character Emily. One interesting note is that, despite this being Book 6, her romance is still in the very early stages. I might have missed something due to not having read the earlier books, but I get the sense that she has been single and not romantically involved so far. This is a nice change of pace for a cozy, and I appreciate the focus on a single woman who is focusing on her job, her friends, and herself without having a love interest at all times.

I’m happily rating “Deck the Donuts” five out of five wedges of creamy Brie!

Book Review: Hexes & Hijinks by Sherry Soule

“Hexes and Hijinks” is the perfect first installment in a promising new cozy mystery series! It covers everything needed to set up the series (characters, relationships, locations, jobs, pets, and a new love interest) without ever bogging down the storyline. This can be difficult to accomplish at the start of Book 1, and I appreciate the author’s skill in integrating everything so well.

Main character Danika is a breath of fresh air as a cozy heroine. She has pink hair, a serious love of tacos, and a great sense of humor. Occasionally, she directs a comment directly to the reader, which I enjoyed. I felt it drew me in to the narrative, and made me even more immersed in the story than I already was.

The mystery itself was very well-crafted. There were plenty of suspects, and the author seamlessly integrated them all into the story without overwhelming the reader. (There is a helpful character list at the beginning if needed.) I enjoyed Danika’s upfront sleuthing style, and her logical mind and outgoing personality are well-suited to this role. When all was revealed in the end, everything made sense given what the reader had learned along the way.

All in all, I enjoyed everything about this book, and very much look forward to the next installment in Danika’s adventures.

Five out of five slices of provolone!

Book Review: When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky by Margaret Verble

“When Two Feathers Fell From the Sky” is an excellent historical fiction novel. Set in the Nashville area in the 1920s, it tells the story of Two Feathers, a young performer, and her time working at Glendale Park. From a historical perspective, the author shares a lot about what life was like in that time and place. The reader sees glimpses of everyday life for the wealthy park owners, prominent local citizens, and park employees. However, the most impressive lessons come from the light the author shines on the lives of American Indians and African Americans during a time when discrimination was common and accepted. I also enjoyed everything I learned about Cherokee history and culture.

In the midst of all the subtly educational content, there is also a great story. Two Feathers is employed at the park as a horse diver; this means that she rides her horse off a high platform and lands in a fairly small pool at the tower’s base. I loved learning about her act and everything that went into it. The story primarily focuses on Two, but a fair amount of time is spent with her friends and co-workers Crawford and Clive. All three are fascinating characters, with enough back story provided to let the reader truly understand their motivations and decisions.

A bit of magical realism is included as well, as two characters start to become aware of spirits around them. In addition, something odd is going on with the park’s animals, and it was fascinating to watch as the spirit world intersected with the actual one as the mystery was unraveled. I will note that the mystery was actually a fairly small part of the overall story. I recommend this mainly for readers who enjoy historical fiction, as well as anyone who wants to read a quality story about characters and events that don’t get written about nearly as often as they should.

Five out of five slices of perfect Provolone!