Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Friday, October 30, 2015

"A Wanted Man", by Lee Child

Book #17, in the Jack Reacher series

Our vagabond is on the road again trying to get to Nebraska. Of course not all goes well after hitching a ride with three people it seems that the car’s occupants are nervous and acting very strangely. After observing every detail and watching their moves he soon realizes they are all lying about where they come from and where they are going….this car trip takes a good third of the novel before the story expands into some scheme involving federal agencies and the obligatory terrorists operating in the USA.

Set in third person point of view and with a fluid narrative, the story returns to the present timeline and picks up where “Worth Dying For” ended. Quick action, over the top moment baffling plot twists and lots of acts of vengeance cover the pages although no memorable scenes of extreme violence to talk about. The novel offers something different we find neither sex scenes nor romantic encounters but in place we have sharp depictions of the rural Midwest. But, yes there is a but : the novel is too long and the endlessly long car ride and numerical mumble jumble gets to you. This is definitely the most low-key book in the series where we have a protagonist who takes a very long time to throw his first punch. Maybe I need to realize Reacher is getting old and should expect him to slow down a bit…..no way….give me something exciting….

No bang here but not a terrible read in whole.

"The Track of Sand", by Andrea Camilleri

Book #12 in the Inspector Montalbano series

“The Track of Sand” is my first experience reading Camilleri and his well-known series. Having done so at this point was so smooth it felt I knew the protagonist for a long time and I easily picked the essence of who he was right from the start. Although this novel stands on its own two feet I am sure having read the previous installments would have been an asset.

The story opens with the brutal killing of a horse just off Inspector Montalbano’s veranda. The horse belongs to a stunning equestrian and thus starts the complicated relationship between Rachelle and the Inspector.

This is a complex whodunit plot set in a fictional Sicilian town where the protagonist, an Inspector of police is the character study in this story. We find a lot of local colours and many interesting players especially the seductive temptress and wealthy jockey. The narrative keeps the rapid pace of the investigative path with a few entertaining side trips and meals here and there.

Although the story is relatively short and is quite enjoyable read with a flavour of a Godfather movie peppered with intriguing passages and all the essential dialogue. There are also humorous moments, references to local issues, politics and culture. The plot may be convoluted but the creative chicanery and tweaking of the law provided a dramatic and satisfying development.

This may be my first book but will not be my last.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

"Take the Monkey and Run", by Karen Cantwell

Book 1, in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery

This is a bit of a funny book. At times I had a good laugh at this charming housewife doubling as an inept sleuth. This is a story of a nosy neighbour poking her nose into the goings-on at the house next door and getting involved way over her head at things she knows nothing about.

This is an easy read, written with humour and definitely can’t be taken seriously. Lots of laugh out loud or shaking head moments, this is truly an over the top adventure. There are so many improbable scenes throughout that reading this story is a hilarious experience. The heroine is a 45 year old woman who has not enough sense to stay out of trouble and manages to bring her friends along with her. Of course this plot is thin and completely ludicrous, is populated with a stupid heroine, gorgeous men and ridiculous bad guys. The narration and dialogue are mostly clean but we do find a few hot words here and there that may offend some.

I really don’t know what to make out of this book: did I like it or not…. Since I am not a big fan of irrational comedy or in this case mystery where two people are in love (Barbara and her Husband), lie to one another, assume indifferent personas and battle their differences out to finally fall into each other’s arms. This could have turned into a painful read if it was not for the style of delivery with lines tossed off in rapid fire. I guess in whole not bad…..

"Made in Acapulco", by Carmen Amato

This is a collection of 5 short stories that chronicle Emilia Cruz first experiences as the first and only female detective on the police force. In the 108 pages or so, these snippets of stories take place before the full length novels came our way. “Made in Acapulco” is wonderful introduction to an amazing series.

The stories are well-written and even if short quite captivating. This book not only introduces us to Emilia, it also gives us a bit of her background, her workplace and how she manages to place herself among her colleagues and how she faces the challenges of her job as an investigator.

Although each story maybe brief everything meshes beautifully and flows smoothly. The characterization is believable and Emilia shines in a place ruled by machos…..

I am a fan of this author and I can recommend all of her books.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Firewall", by Andy McNab

Book 3, in the Nick Stone series

By now we know our protagonist has a rich backstory and that he will moonlight taking tasks that seems easy at first in order to pay for his adoptive daughter’s S4, 000 weekly hospital treatments. An easy task or so it seems: snatch a Russian mafia kingpin in Helsinki and bring him to St. Petersburg is his latest mission.

As always the snatch goes bad in fact very bad and we find ourselves in throat clutching action, over the top scenarios described with spectacular precision, in fact too detailed for my taste. Said in the first person of Stone, in the present tense and as he sees it, Nick is constantly moving from point to point and believe me when I say it is tiresome….The story rarely slows down always two guns and a knife with him he takes part in combat, blows up buildings and faces numerous challenges….and the body count mounts. Enough said I am sure you get my drift. At some point the story does stray towards the unbelievable but we really want Nick to succeed and get the funds needed to help Kelly is 7 year old daughter.
Reading “Firewall” is a bit tedious at times but if you like good proficiency in tactic operations you will be well served here. If you plan to visit Estonia you will soon be deterred by the description of the bitter landscape.

Good story but not my preferred

"A Paris Affair", by Tatiana de Rosnay

This is a short story collection of forbidden loves where infidelity is a given. Ms. De Rosnay demonstrates 11 ways to deceive and/or leave your partner/lover.

The book is not big 128 pages or so and if full of intensity, love and much more. In each story we had a different perspective of how women see their marriage and how they find out that their husband cheated on them and how they took their revenge.

Told with humour but also with sadness the author works her magic and takes us to Paris where love hardly plays a role but the more complex nature of relationships. The pinpoint is an affair and the emotional ride that makes us uncomfortable and mad but it will not stop the reader flipping page after page for more.

This is delightfully wicked….simply fantastic and so real….

Saturday, October 10, 2015

"Flay", by Ty Patterson

Book 5, in the Warriors series

Mr. Patterson in this latest stepped slightly out of hard core thrillers genre to give us in “Flay” a more crime action mystery with a hefty dose of action and a lot of entertainment. This latest has a terrific but gruesome storyline to chill our veins and is another winner for Mr. Patterson.

We follow two plots: one involves a serial killer who likes to skin off his female victims and the other concerns Middle Eastern terrorists. The threads weaves nicely together although the drama may be stretched a bit far in both stories, I still kept turner pages at a rapid pace to keep up with the suspense. Heart pounding twists and turns all through giving us a downright thrilling experience. The writing is spot on and moves right along bringing everything to life…although scary at times. The characterization is good, the Warriors are smart and likable and the bad guys are very very nasty, just the way I like my characters in this type of books. The foxy twins Meghan and Beth’s clever retorts added a touch of smarts, humour and chic to the novel and their contribution is an added thrill. Of course we have a grandstanding finale to close up everything neat and tidy.

For those planning to read this series I would highly recommend to read the books in orders for maximum enjoyment.

"Blood and Roses", by Mark Dawson

Book 3, in the Beatrix Rose trilogy

The final part in this amazing trilogy is heartbreaking and sad that we have reached the final moments. Once more along with Beatrix we are on a roller-coaster ride from start to finish.

Two are left on her kill list and once more Mr. Dawson action packed thriller will have our protagonist on a chase of a life time. The action are super exciting and suspenseful and as kept me on the edge of my seat the entire 224 pages. This is a great trilogy all books were brilliantly written to provide intense action from page one. This time Beatrix travels from North Africa to New York to finally reach her goal in the swamps of North Carolina. Although our protagonist finds her final moments in “Blood and Roses” this conclusion may also open doors to a spin off with the making of a new assassin….who knows what is in store for us next.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the books for the riveting storyline, the strong characterization, the sharp narration and dialogue and mostly for having kept me captivated for many hours.

I highly recommend this trilogy. To buy all three books at once would be your best bet.

Friday, October 2, 2015

"Blood Moon Rising", by Mark Dawson

Book 2, in the Beatrix Rose trilogy

Beatrix is on the hunt for her third target and she really doesn’t mess around to get to her end game. Her next move brings her to Iraq, her eyes are on a man surrounded by mercenaries and getting to him and staying alive will be a very challenging endeavor.

Great setting, vivid description of life and a heck of a protagonist: a superwoman out for revenge. This story is gruesome also gripping. Action from start to finish, everything is fast-moving all the way through and very tense. The narration is perfect, no frills, no fuss just the right pitch: great dialogue. Some twists and turns and lots of suspense. This is a great novel the best so far in the trilogy. I routed for Beatrix and wanted her to succeed: get him and stay safe. Although not very long (224 pages or so) this story gives nevertheless quite an adrenaline rush. It is one story very hard to put aside, so heart-stopping.

I simply love Beatrix’s adventures. They are so well imagined and delivered that I hate seeing the ending coming soon. I would recommend to buy all three books mainly once started you will want to see how things progresses….addictive from the start.

Great story

"In Cold Blood", by Mark Dawson

Book 1, in the Beatrix Rose trilogy

Be warned, once you start with the first book you will flip pages till you have reached the final chapter in book 3. This is a great series where the author takes the time to set up the stage in order to hook you up in his world then bang he pushes you into gritty action and one of those thrilling moment you will not want to let go. Yes that good.

Beatrix Rose, the protagonist, is an assassin with six names on her hit list. She has pay back on her mind and in “In Cold Blood” she goes after her first target, a mercenary held hostage by Somali terrorists. Although this is the first installment there is a whole back story I seemed to have missed out on. Mr. Dawson does allude to the past from time to time but not enough to fill the void. I guess those who have read other books may know more about Beatrix and conclude this series is a spin-off of another series. Time will tell for the novice.

This is a quick read, not taxing at all and packed with explosive action from start to finish. This propulsive thriller has an interesting lead character in Beatrix, she is direct and all business she plain does her move without a second thought and as the most dangerous assassin in a government kill squad she is not a kind of person you want to play with. Following her on her deadly quest is exciting and very captivating.

Very good quite entertaining