Month: January 2023

Book Review: The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos

“The Wrong Kind of Weird” by James Ramos rings true in a way few book about high-school aged characters are able to accomplish. The author has successfully combined his own relative youth with the writing style of a seasoned veteran in the literary field to yield an incredibly well-written and realistic story.

The four main characters are high school students, and they act, speak, and dress like actual teenagers. The situations they find themselves in are typical of real high schools and high school social events. I found the whole dynamic refreshing.

Cam is the main character and heart of the story. The reader will follow along as he navigates his friend group and a romantic relationship, as well as his interactions with a (former?) bully and the “popular kids”. I can’t say this enough….these characters seem very REAL. Some conversations remind me of ones I’ve overheard (or even participated in) with actual kids this age.

The story itself was interesting, and I kept reading to find out what Cam would do next to try to get his personal life straightened out. The book kept my attention throughout, and I look forward to whatever Mr. Ramos decides to write next!

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Book Review: Murder in White by Patrick Kelly

“Murder in White” is the excellent third installment in the Wintergreen Mysteries series. It definitely lived up to the high expectations set by the first two books. Retired police detective Bill is a likeable and intelligent main character, and I enjoyed following his investigation into an unusual local murder. I appreciated the way local law enforcement asked him to help with the murder investigation, acknowledging his past experience and admitting they needed his help.

Due to Bill’s past experience, he is able to conduct his investigation in a methodical, efficient manner. I liked following his process and gradually learning more about the victim, the murder, and the potential suspects and motives along with Bill. There was plenty for him to look into, and once everything was revealed in the end, it all made sense based on what we learned along the way. I found this book to be the perfect blend between a cozy mystery and a police procedural; while the crime is serious and the investigation fairly classic, there’s no gore or other hard-core content.

This time around, we spend a bit of time with Bill’s (previously off-screen) ex-wife, and got to enjoy Bill’s adventures in pet-sitting. Other characters from the first book also make appearances, and I enjoyed the continuity this provided. Readers who are new to the series should be able to pick up everything they need to know fairly quickly, and should be able to follow the story without having read the first books.

As an added bonus, the book is set in the beautiful Wintergreen, Virginia area. Having lived in Virginia for most of my life, I can confirm that the author’s descriptions are accurate and will truly allow the reader to envision the surroundings. Mentions of other local areas added even more to my enjoyment of the story.

As another added bonus, a drone convention is being held in Wintergreen. This provides the reader with some interesting information about drones, as well as a fascinating line of inquiry for Bill to purse as he investigates the murder. I liked this unique addition.

All in all, five out of five chunks of my favorite Provolone!

P.S. Might we suggest that a potential future character (hinted at in this book) be named Chewie? I’m sure chewing will be involved, and it’s always nice to honor everyone’s favorite literary mouse….