Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Gold-Diggers, Gamblers and Guns by: Ellen Mansoor Collier



Title: Gold-Diggers, Gamblers and Guns
Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier
Publisher: DecoDame Press
Series: A Jazz Age Mystery #3
Pages: 260
Format: ebook
Source: Great Escapes Book Tour

Description:

During Prohibition, Galveston Island was called the "Free State of Galveston" due to its lax laws and laissez-faire attitude toward gambling, gals and bootlegging. Young society reporter Jasmine (Jazz) Cross longs to cover hard news, but she's stuck between two clashing cultures: the world of gossip and glamour vs. gangsters and gamblers. 

After Downtown Gang leader Johnny Jack Nounes is released from jail, all hell breaks loose: Prohibition Agent James Burton’s life is threatened and he must go into hiding for his own safety. But when he’s framed for murder, he and Jazz work together to prove his innocence. Johnny Jack blames her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis speakeasy, for his arrest and forces him to work overtime in a variety of dangerous mob jobs as punishment. 

When a bookie is murdered, Jazz looks for clues linking the two murders and delves deeper into the underworld of gambling: poker games, slot machines and horse-racing. Meanwhile, Jazz tries to keep both Burton and her brother safe, and alive, while they face off against each other, as well as a common enemy. A soft-boiled mystery inspired by actual events.

My Thoughts:

This book picks up not long after Bathing Beauties leaves off.  Jazz and James Burton are at the Hollywood Club enjoying a night out together when someone takes a pot-shot at the young Prohibition Agent.

Then of course the next day is another murder which some Jazz cares about is on the line for.  It's up to Jazz and her  band of mates to figure out who had the juice to ice a bar owner?  And what is with these odd coins that keep showing up through the book?  Will Jazz rescue her man in time or is he about to be on the hook for murder?

I love this series so much fun going back to Prohibition era and seeing her friends as they go off to solve another murder.    I can only imagine the amount of crime and murder in this time in history, probably enough to fill a big book series like Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries.  I definitely find myself missing these characters as soon as the books end.  In some ways it makes me want to watch Boardwalk Empire or some other era inspired book or movie.  I just love the colorful characters who have so much personality.  The colorfulness of the characters is that on one hand we have Jazz's aunt who is against alot of what Jazz does in the earlier books, in this one she stretches the line in regards to James Burton the prohibition agent, and when she dealing with a cop she fancies she strikes me as a young teenager who shows a more fun side.

All Jazz's friends and acquaintances add something in this book each in their own way help Jazz solve the big crime, and help her nail the murder to the wall.   Jazz in these series shows us how she is dedicated to being a hard journalist and not just a society writer.   Time and again she goes to crime scenes and tries to find out who is killing various people and what they hope to gain with it.  It is unlike most cozy mysteries where the character kind of gets thrown into the murder by being a suspect.  In these books Jazz is trying to solve the crime so that her bosses and other newspaper writers will take her seriously in a world where men still dominate the work place.

Definitely a different time in history.  Also a time in history there aren't many books written about when so many could shed light on that time frame I can only hope others join in with Mrs. Collier and bring this time in history back into the present!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

It's Monday What Are You Reading? #25



It’s Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we’ve read in the past week, what books we’re currently reading and what new books we’re planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It’s hosted by Sheila @One Person’s Journey through a World of Books

Paula Finished Reading:


Simay Finished Reading: 

Currently Reading:

Curiosity Thrilled The Cat by: Sophie Kelly
Death by Darjeeling by: Laura Childs
Gold-Diggers, Gamblers And Guns by: Ellen Mansoor Collier
Clam Wake by: Mary Daheim
A Deadly Grind by: Victoria Hamilton

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review - How Proust Can Change Your Life by: Alain de Botton

Title: How Proust Can Change Your Life
Author: Alain de Button
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 215
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase

Description:

'What a marvellous book this is . . . de Botton dissects what [Proust] had to say about friendship, reading, looking carefully, paying attention taking your time, being alive and adds his own delicious commentary. The result is an intoxicating as it is wise, amusing as well as stimulating, and presented in so fresh a fashion as to be unique . . . I could not stop, and now much start all over again.' Brian Masters, " Mail on Sunday"

'De Botton not only has a complete understanding of Proust's life . . . but what is particularly charming about this small, readable book is its tongue-in-cheek benignity, its lightly held erudition and its generous way of lending itself to what is not only the greatest book of the century but also the darkest and the most eccentric' Edmund White, " Observer"

'It contains more human interest and play of fancy than most fiction . . . de Botton, in emphasizing Proust's healing, advisory aspects, does us the service of rereading him on our behalf, providing of that vast sacred lake a sweet and lucid distillation.' John Updike, "New Yorker "

'De Botton's little book is so charming, amusing and sensible that it may even itself change your life.' Allan Massie, "Daily Telegraph"

'This engaging book is one of the most entertaining pieces of literary criticism I have read in a long while.' "Sunday Telegraph"

'A very enjoyable book' Sebastian Faulks

My thoughts:

One of my bookworm friends and I have been saying for a long time that we really should read Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. We're both after reading the books that are commonly referred to in modern literature and culture, classics that seem to have left a deep impact on everyone who read them. However, this time she read it, but I was defeated by fear-- I wasn't afraid of the book, but I was afraid of how big his sentences are. I must afraid the book still scared me. Yet I was lucky enough to get a copy of How Proust Can Change Your Life, which made me even more curious about Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time. I will read it when/if I get supersick or if I break a leg or something one day. And if you're going "what the hell?" here's why...

Written  by the crafty Alain de Button, How Proust Can Change Your Life is about Proust's life, his character and thoughts as well as his writing. As I haven't yet read anything of his, know only that he's French and likes to form very long sentences, it was a very enlightening book for me. The whole thing about reading it when I break my leg is actually in reference to something his brother said. He said sickness and broken legs were appropriate situations for reading Proust'a work. Actually, Proust explained everything in such a long way that there are competitions in England titled, "Summarize Proust." Those who take part need to summarize Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time in 15 seconds tops. The person who had the best score even though he needed more time was Harry Baggot. His summary goes like this:

Proust's novel ostensibly tells of the irrevocability of time lost, of innocence and experience, the reinstatement of extratemporal values and time regained. Ultimately the novel is both optimistic and set within the context of human religious experience. In the first volume, Swann visits--

Now, can you tell me you're not scared?

Proust is mostly portrayed as someone who doesn't go out much and spends most of his days in his bed. However, we see in How Proust Can Change Your Life, we see that he throws unbelievable parties and was known for the very big tips he used to leave at restaurants. I'm actually surprised that this born-wealthy man who figured out he's not the son his father dreamed of wasn't party hopping all the time. Instead, he chose to read, think and write.

In addition, when I learned that he was homosexual, all those things said about him about "not wanting to be among people" made sense. Unfortunately, homosexuals have a hard time in society even today, and I imagine it was even harder back then. What is love if you can't hold hands on the street with the person who means the world to you?

What I'm trying to say is that if you're afraid of reading Proust, aren't sure if he'll be worth the effort or if you need some reassuring like I did, this is the book for you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Butterfly Cove by: Christina Skye

Title: Butterfly Cove
Author: Christina Skye
Publisher: Harlequin
Series: Summer Island #3
Pages: 336
Format: Nook e-book
Source: Purchase

Description:

Maybe opposites don't always attract. If they did, architect Olivia Sullivan would have run away with bad boy Rafe Russo when they were teenagers. Instead, Olivia has spent ten years dreaming up designs for a life that hasn't gone the way she planned. Still reeling from her career's implosion and her father's death, Olivia thanks her lucky stars for the support of her three lifelong friends. But this good girl is through sitting on the sidelines. When Rafe returns to the beautiful Oregon coast where they grew up, her former flame ignites a new desire. Now Olivia must take a walk on the wild side to show the new deputy that in matters of love, being bad can feel very good.

Freshly back from Afghanistan, rugged ex-Marine and new deputy Rafe is done breaking laws and hearts. He's always regretted leaving Olivia behind, but now she's after adventure and he'd better proceed with caution. Because wanting her again might be easy, but fighting for a future together will be his biggest risk yet.

My Thoughts: 

In this book Olivia Sullivan has headed home to Summer Island after loosing her job and dealing with the recent death of her father she has come home to go through his things and get the house ready to sell.  What she didn't count on was Rafe Russo being a cop in town and bumping into him so quickly.  What is Rafe doing back and how long is he around for?

Rafe has been the bad boy trying to win the love of a good girl Olivia. He has seen many things since he left Summer Island, but he found himself back in town unsure of his future what it will hold and whether he will ever find a way to fix things with Olivia.

This was a great love story including meeting characters from previous stories.  It was great to watching the chemistry between Rafe and Olivia and seeing what things Olivia will go to to win the bad boy in town.  This book was so quick I was able to read it in one sitting!  Can't wait to see what Christina Skye writes next!

Review: Rosemary and Crime by: Gail Oust

Title: Rosemary and Crime
Author: Gail Oust
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Series: A Spice Shop Mystery
Pages: 288
Format: Nook e-book
Source: Purchase

Description:

Murder comes well-seasoned in this charming mystery featuring a smart and spunky new amateur sleuth, small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott.

Welcome to Brandywine, Georgia. Piper Prescott has decided to follow her dream and open Spice It Up! A shop that features the best spices from around the world. Her ex-husband predicts the idea will be huge failure but with a little help of her BBF, Reba Mae, and even her ex-mother in-law she is determined to make it a success.

But when she goes to meet with the chef she is featuring at her Grand Opening she finds he is not going to be cooking anything for her or anyone else. She finds him stabbed to death in his kitchen. The new police Chief Wyatt McBride quickly decides Piper makes a perfect prime suspect. Piper and Reba Mae will do anything to change his mind and go to great lengths to prove her innocence even putting their own lives in danger.

My Thoughts:

This was a great book featuring Georgia Spice Shop Owner Piper Prescott who is trying her hand at a spice shop called Spice It Up!  When on her opening day a  chef is found dead, and Piper finds herself in hot water as the main suspect.  She and her friend Reba Mae work to clear Piper's name.

Also Piper is dealing with her daughter who is having her own issues.  With her father having a new girlfriend and not her mother and father together.  Which leads to chaos in this book.

Then there is the new police Chief McBride who is everywhere Piper tries to investigate.  As the book goes on Piper wonders how McBride always knows to show up.  This book was full of so much mystery and intrigue it made you wonder who would figure out the killer's identity Piper or McBride?

Definitely a great book to read the author did a fabulous job with it can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's Monday what are you reading #24



It’s Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we’ve read in the past week, what books we’re currently reading and what new books we’re planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It’s hosted by Sheila @One Person’s Journey through a World of Books.  This week has been super busy with lots of time out in the sun and kids and doggies swimming in the pool.



Paula's Read Books:
This is bad since I haven't done a meme in quite a while I have a ton of books I've read but I'm going to just list this past week so not to confuse anyone thinking I'm a super reader who can read tons in one week.  Here goes:



Simay Read This Week:


Currently Reading: 

Clam Wake by: Mary Daheim

My Favorite Books for July so far are:


What I Plan To Read Next:

There are so many great books that honestly you will have to check back next week to see what I have read.  I have been spending alot of this summer catching up on my tbr list so it doesn't get out of control which it is.  I am hoping to make a huge dent in it this summer.

Review - The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by: Catherynne M. Valente

Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Author: Catherynne M. Valente 
Series: Fairyland
Publisher: Corsair
Pages: 328
Format: Paperback 
Source: Personal purchase

Gather up your courage and your wishes; grab a little pinch of luck - and prepare to be swept away, in a ship of your own making, to a land unlike any other. September is a twelve-year-old girl, Somewhat Grown and Somewhat Heartless, and she longs for adventure. So when a Green Wind and a Leopard of Little Breezes invite her to Fairyland - well, of course, she accepts (mightn't you?).

When she gets there, she finds a land in crisis and confusion - crushed by the iron rule of a villainous Marquess - she soon discovers that she alone holds the key to restoring order. Having read enough books to know what a girl with a quest must do, September sets out to Fix Things.

As September forges her way through Fairyland, with a book-loving dragon and a partly human boy named Saturday by her side, she makes many friends and mistakes; loses her shadow, her shoes and her way. But she finds adventure, courage, a rather special Spoon, and a lot more besides . . .

My thoughts:

While reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, what I often found myself thinking was "I wish I were September!" I don't even know how to explain to you what a wonderful Fairyland this is without spoiling too much. Add in some Alice in Wonderland, and then some fairy dust from Tinkerbell, then stir that with ink from Neil Gaiman's LAMY fountain pen, boil it with Grimm's Fairytales and once it hits the boiling point, you probably will get Catherynn M. Valente's dream world.


September is a 12-year-old girl from Nebraska. She is very bored of washing the same pink and yellow cups. When he sees her like that, The Green Wind feels sorry for her and takes her away with him. (WARNING: That's when you'll start having jealousy fits). September takes off with him without saying goodbye to her mother and fathers. But then again, we shouldn't judge her because:

all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown.”

In Fairyland, September meets witches, befriends a dragon, has to do as the evil hearted Marquees says. She meets a boy named Saturday, who's the son of water. And the narrator, on the other hand, is someone we do not see, someone who fills in certain information for us. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is really one of those books that you need to read and live through yourself since it cannot be put into words other than than the author's own.


Respect The Arc