Tag Archives: book review

Ballplayer by Chipper Jones

Reviewed by Allen Hott

BallplayerPerhaps not only one of the haughtiest players to have ever played the game but also without a doubt one of the greatest to have ever played major league baseball. Chipper, or (L- a- r- r- y !) Jones as the New York Met’s fans like to call him, tells it like it is as he describes his long career in baseball. The idea that he spent his entire career playing with the Atlanta Braves and while he was there the Braves had some of the greatest years of any baseball franchise is pretty unusual in any sport. Chipper wasn’t the only reason they were so good but he was a very important contributor to that success.

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The book traces his beginnings growing up in a small town in north Florida where he was religiously schooled in the correct way to play baseball by his dad. His dad played college ball at Stetson University and was offered a contract by the Chicago Cubs but since it wasn’t for much money and since Chipper was “on the way” his dad opted to stay on at Stetson as their baseball coach. But more importantly he worked at developing his son into becoming a tremendous ball player.

Matrimony in Miniature: A Miniature Mystery (Miniature Mysteries) by Margaret Grace

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Matrimony in MiniatureMatrimony in Miniature, the ninth book in the Miniatures series, finds protagonist Gerry Porter hustling to wrap up plans for her wedding to Henry Baker. Or, more to the point, her friends are hustling while Gerry pretty much goes about business as usual. The couple agreed to a small, low key wedding, but Gerry is beginning to suspect that with her friends involved, there will be all sorts of added frills. She is okay with that as long as the wedding happens and everyone involved has a good time. However, Gerry’s hopes for that diminish considerably when she receives a phone call from the wedding’s venue alerting her that there has been an accident on the premises. Of coarse the accident turns out to be a murder and Gerry being Gerry, she is soon nosing around to see what she can find out. This leads to her granddaughter Maddie also becoming involved.

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It’s always good to visit Lincoln Point, California and the cast of characters who range from police officers to small town business owners to the crafting group who meet regularly at Gerry’s craft store. While I am not into miniatures, I am fascinated with the ongoing project in each of the books. In Matrimony in Miniature, Maddie and Henry’s granddaughter Taylor are working on Maddie’s science fair entry, a miniature water treatment plant, while Gerry is working on a new Victorian home. I am forever impressed by the creative use of everyday things in making props for miniature models and houses.

Mock My Words by Chandra Shekhar

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Mock My WordsMock My Words is comprised of three storylines. Each one of them is interconnected with a plot that involves a renowned author by the name of David Tan, who left China to live in the United States. The main storyline not only revolves around David’s struggles and challenges as a new teacher at John Steinbeck University in Northern California, but also portrays the stress and anxiety that David experiences while trying to survive a rough patch in his marriage. The secondary storylines involve David’s wife, Laura, and Melissa, a student at the university.

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David is worried and nervous about whether or not the students in his writing course will accept and respect him. This dilemma is due to the disconnect between his writing and his speaking. Although David writes beautiful prose, he speaks English very poorly, which makes it difficult to communicate with people. Even though he wants to share his love of classical literature with his students, they are ill-mannered and rude towards him. It does not get any easier for him when some of his colleagues rebuff him. In addition to work issues, whenever David is at home, he always feels that he has to tread carefully around his wife’s feelings in order not to upset her and possibly ruin any chances at intimacy.

Brooklyn Graves: An Erica Donato Mystery by Triss Stein

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Brooklyn GravesWho would steal a window from a family mausoleum?
Even more perplexing, why would the management attempt to cover it up and not report the problem to law enforcement?

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Erica Donato has a busy life. She is completing her doctoral project, a single parent of a teenaged daughter, and working part time at the Brooklyn Historical Museum at a job that is one-step above an intern. Erica is to complete any task assigned to her at the museum. Her newest project is to assist in an assessment of old letters and sketches long-ago forgotten in an attic. These appear to be related to the company, Tiffany.

Dr. Thomas Flint is a Tiffany expert. She is to assist on escorting him to a mausoleum. As the rainstorm is subsiding, the two enter the cemetery only to be told of its closure. Through the sloppiness of recent rain, the two arrive at the neglected Konick Mausoleum. Although the damage seems to be more damaged by humans than nature, Erica is in awe at the inside of the museum in viewing a window made by Tiffany. Even knowing of the Tiffany reputation, actually seeing the beauty of the glass reaches beyond her wildest expectation.
Now Erica has another challenge, her daughter’s long-time friend, Dima is shot with his body left in front of his home. The family has been close to Erica for years. Why was he killed?

Brooklyn Graves is the second book in the Erica Donato series but can easily be read and understood without having read the first book. Book One is entitled, Brooklyn Bones, book three is Brooklyn Secrets and the fourth books, Brooklyn Wars will be released in August.

Brooklyn Graves is a fascinating and engaging novel as the reader accompanies Erica with her entire investigation and attempting to discover who killed Dima while still learning about the phenomenal Tiffany art, especially in windows.

Brooklyn Graves perfectly balances history of the Tiffany windows into a fictional and engaging story interwoven masterfully.

Death at Breakfast: A Novel by Beth Gutcheon

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Death at BreakfastDeath at Breakfast is a delightful first book in a very promising new mystery series. Many people dream of traveling when they retire. Maggie Detweiler is not just dreaming of travel, she is ready to go. Freshly retired from her head mistress job, she recruits a long time friend Hope Babbin to accompany her on her first journey. As the two women are as polar opposites, this quick trip to Maine for a cooking class is more or less a trial run to see if different as they may be, these two friends can become ongoing travel buddies. What could possibly go wrong?

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Yes, the two women ate going to a resort in Maine for a week long cooking class, but this is not exactly a completely random selection for their first outing. The local deputy sheriff, Buster Babbin, is the long estranged son of Hope. What does Hope expect from this reunion of sorts? Whatever her motives, Buster is having none of it until, as fate would have it, there is a fire at the Inn and the charred body of a guest is found in the ruins. Now Buster has a job to do right under the noses of his mother and her busybody friend.

Burned Out Old Broads VII: Ten Little Puritans and Burned Out Old Broads VIII: Learning to Love Willie by Joy Johnson

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Boob Girls VIIThe Boob Girls VIIIBenjamin Franklin once stated, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” However, there is that says that at least you can have fun along the way. That is the thought behind Joy Johnson’s delightful Boob Girls series. For most retirees in a home, life is not uplifting.

Author, Joy Johnson has discovered that aging does not mean that life ends. With a few close friends, their lives now consist of humor, excitement, mystery, romance and making the most of each day.

Home is Meadow Lakes Retirement Community for Mary Rose McGill, Marge Aaron, Robinson Leary, and Hadley Joy Morris-Whitfield. These women seem at first to have little in common except for their love of life and learning to enjoy each day sharing their friendships and adventures.

The Criminalist: A Novel of Forensic Science Suspense by John Houde

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The CriminalistThe Criminalist by John Houde, is an average mystery. The plot involves a forensic scientist, Paul Connert, teaming up with Vika Koslava, to try and find her half-sister. They had come to America for be models for an
adult-themed photo shoot but when one of the key people disappears, things begin to go awry. First, Vika’s half-sister comes up missing after a wild night of partying. Then, Vika crosses paths with Paul, who is involved in an investigation of a possible sex-trafficking ring. They ultimately end up working together to catch the renegade cop who is part of the ring.

Out of the Black by John Rector

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Out of the BlackMoney can make people desperate. For Matt Caine, the is exactly his life now, desperate.

Matt’s wife died in a car accident. His wife survived, but his daughter was permanently damaged requiring much rehabilitation and therapy. Unfortunately, providing for Anna’s special needs now requires this time and money. Another disadvantage is that now this single-parent has the challenge of also providing for his daughter and his night. Most businesses are not very understanding.
An old friend is now meeting with Matt, offering him a solution.

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Jay believes an acquaintance of his has money. So now he has developed a scheme. He just needs Matt’s help for it to be possible to solve both of their problems. Added to his problem, Matt borrowed money to pay for Beth’s funeral and his daughter’s hospitalization and care. However, the mobster that he borrowed the money from, now wants it paid back.

The Deceiver by Frederick Forsyth

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The DeceiverA very interesting read, although somewhat cumbersome because of naming all the top personnel in all spy ranks all over the world. Sam McCready is in fact The Deceiver. McCready has worked for many years for British intelligence all over the world. He knows all the good and bad guys that are in or have been in his profession. He has excelled in all his endeavors but to many who sit back and watch he is in fact a bit cocky and very unorthodox in his spy techniques.

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Because of changes at the top of the British Secret Intelligence Service there is an ongoing survey of their agents and their capabilities. Strangely enough one of the persons who has proposed a quick out or retirement for McCready is Timothy Heyward who broke in under McCready and has been very jealous of him over the years. However when the powers that be made known their plan to usher him out McCready requested a hearing to understand their plan and to hear his reasons for wanting to stay on.

A Ghostly Mortality: A Ghostly Southern Mystery (Ghostly Southern Mysteries) by Tonya Kappes

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

A Ghostly MortalityA Ghostly Mortality is the sixth entry into the Ghostly Southern Mystery series by Kappas with protagonist Emma Lee Raines. While Emma Lee is one of the town’s two undertakers, she also has a side gig that is far more interesting. An accidental conk on the head has left her with an unusual talent; she can see and communicate with the dead. And not just any old dead person either. The ones who seek Emma Lee out are the ones who can’t quite move on because the circumstances surrounding their deaths have not been resolved. And so Emma Lee has reluctantly become a “betweener,” a person who helps those stuck on earth move on by solving their cases. The ghosts pass Emma Lee’s name on to the next ghost in line leading the little town of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky to appear to be suffering from “Cabot Cove” syndrome.

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While all of the books in the series up until A Ghostly Mortality have been very close to slapstick funny, this one takes a more emotional tone. The ghost who needs help this time around is none other than Emma Lee’s own sister Charlotte Rae. Readers of the series will remember that Charlotte and Emma Rae haven’t exactly been filled with sisterly love of late. Charlotte refused to believe in Emma’s abilities. Plus, she recently left the family business to work for the competition. But now, she needs Emma’s help.

On the flip side, Emma is faced with the fact that if she helps Charlotte pass over, she will never see her sister again. While the previous books were basically laugh-a -minute, this one comes close to being more of a tear jerker at times. But as always, A Ghostly Mortality is a quick entertaining read with a really great ending.
Enjoy.