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 »

Sunday, June 26, 2016

"Jack in the Green", by Diane Capri

Book # 5, in the Hunt for Jack Reacher series

This complementary book was a free offer when singing up to Ms. Capri’s newsletter and was my introduction to the author as well as with the series. Although “Jack in the Green” may be the 5th novel in the series I stepped comfortable right into the drama and enjoyed this short story (90 pages) quite a bit. It was a good teaser to continued reading Ms. Capri’s imaginative creations.

Indeed we are talking about the famous Jack Reacher, the long-time protagonist of the best-selling author Lee Child but Ms. Capri spins a totally different web, of course it is around the famous character although in the drama he is only mentioned and never appears. The main players are FBI Agents Kim Otto& Carlos Gaspar and in “Jack in the Green” information of the whereabouts of Reacher leads them at a memorial service honoring dead and injured soldiers in Tampa, FLA. And then the action begins…….

Ok I will not go any further, we need to read this. It is a fun concept, lots of intrigue to keep us entertained although slightly predictable action. Let’s not forget a novella needs to say a lot in a few words and a thriller needs to keep us engaged, this book does both plus gives us an interesting plot that keeps going on and good characters to root for.

Good story, “This is the way I see it” my thoughts are mine and have not be influenced by the offer.

"11th Hour", by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book 11, in the Women’s Murder Club

It has been years since I started the Women’s Murder Club and since most series tend to get stale after a while, I needed to put the series on hold take a break and step away for some time before getting back to it in order the get the utmost and enjoy the mysteries once again. I did this and happy having done so. I enjoyed “11th Hour” and I am now ready to continue with book 12.

In “11th Hour” we have two cases going on at the same time: one involving a shooter taking down drug dealers and the second unearthed heads in the back yards of a well-known actor’s home. Lindsay along with her partner works both cases. Of course all member of the Club play parts, using their expertise and thinking outside the box to solve the crimes. On the personal side, Lindsay is pregnant, is having trouble in her marriage and this is only a start of her troubles…..

It was nice to come back to good, comfortable and familiar characters and be entertained following each one as they act their parts. The mystery kept my attention all through first of all there are many secondary story lines to follow and keeping everything straight is a must. The action is fast paced and thanks goodness to short chapters and simple narration making “11th Hour” an easy and enjoyable read. We do have some twists although each move is basic and may not be totally original. Reading novels written by Mr. Patterson or his collaborator (Maxine Paetro) fans know what to expect from this awesome writing team. When one needs a break and be away from taxing literature, “11th Hour” could be the answer. It did the trick for me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Forgotten", by Catherine McKenzie

Once in a while I love to take a mental break and read something light and refreshing, a women’s fiction (chic-lit) seems to do the trick although it is always preferable to suspend a certain degree of disbelief to enjoy the experience.

If you had the chance to start over, would you? Or would you just try to pick up the pieces of your life and move on? What a dilemma…

This enjoyable story has Emma, the protagonist facing this challenge after she went missing in Africa and declared dead. Returning home 6 months later she finds her world has been turned upside down and her life is as she knew it gone…….what to do now.

“Forgotten” relies on many of the elements popular for the chick-lit genre: a protagonist Emma with a best friend, trouble with a mean girl at the office, having mix feelings about her boyfriend and having an attractive stranger on the sideline to distract her and of course what women like best….shopping. The premise is a well- crafted mix of humour and sadness but most of all make you realize that life goes on. Although quite predictable we do have a few twists, quite a few suspenseful moments, lots of back-stabbing and a tad of romance. This is a story easy to get lost into from page one, wanting to know the outcome. The story has a steady pace, flows smoothly and plays out nicely. The characterization is also good and is well thought out.

“Forgotten” is a cute novel and a great book to bring to the beach

Friday, June 17, 2016

"In Satan's Shadow", by John Anthony Miller

After reading Mr. Miller’s first book I was hoping to be swept into another great adventure with his second book. The drama set in Berlin during WW11 did not disappoint. “In Satan’s Shadow” is an extraordinary story of espionage, deceit, courage and love.

British agent Michael York is sent to Berlin to flush out an informant and a spy that may have been a factor in the death of his predecessor. The traitor may be a member of Berlin’s renowned String Quartet and Michael’s mission is to find out who is responsible without falling prey to the Gestapo. Each member is close to the German war effort: Amada is married to a high ranking officer, Erika works in the logistics department, Gerhard works as a draftsman for the Armaments Department and Albert is well connected in high places.

If you think this story doesn’t have tension you would be mistaking. Getting close to each member is vital to extract information for the Allies without attracting attention. As we follow Michael fear of him getting caught is at every corner. The descriptive narrative is such that I felt that I was there on the scene observing his every move wanting him to get out of his predicament, escaping the Gestapo or not revealing who he really is. I really was emotionally vested rooting for Michael. Mr. Miller knows how to build slowly tension and never let it ease till you reach the final words. This outstanding story is well-written with rich knowledge of the period, strong descriptions of people’s emotions and vivid observations of a Berlin on its final days.

This is a hard book to put aside it is such a page-turner that once started you want to see how everyone will fare at the end. We have well developed and mostly charismatic players to hold us glued to every word in this drama. Of course Mr. Miller gave us an unforeseen twist at the end to add another touch to the never ending suspense. This is another gripping and excellent read.

I wish to thank Mr. Miller for providing an electronic copy of this book for my thoughts. “This is the Way I see it” and in no way was I influenced by the offer.

"The Other Side of Silence", by Philip Kerr

Book # 11, in the Bernie Gunther Series

This series has brought us back and forth in time during and after the war and has told us in each one of its installment an exciting episode revolving around Gunther’s life. In this latest, we are 10 years after the WW11, the protagonist is pushing 60 and is now working under a false name as a concierge at the grand Hôtel du Saint- Jean-Cap- Ferrat on the French Riviera. All he wants is to live a peaceful life and forget his past. Of course Mr. Kerr will not let him stay idol and a new drama is set in motion to captivate us.

Most of the action takes place in hotels or private houses, with flashback to war time Germany. Blackmail and homosexuality are the main themes although the story also dabbles in espionage where more than one skeleton come out of closets. The mystery is told in the long winded narrative by Bernie Gunther and his voice is as personal as ever it feels he is telling his experience to you (the reader). As always we find real people with the fictional characters and the obligatory femme fatale. The plot is an intricate tale of treachery and counter treachery and shows once again that Mr. Kerr is still the master at misdirection…...It also captures the malaise and paranoia of post war.

The story meanders a lot and has tedious parts. I did not find this latest adventure to be as captivating as the previous ones but it still has interesting parts and with each flashback we learn more about Bernie’s past in East Prussia. As always historical events are mentioned and exploited: such as the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustoff by a Russian submarine and stories around British aristocrats spying for Russia.

Bernie’s adventures are better enjoyed knowing the recurring characters’ back story, so reading this series in sequence is highly recommended.

Bernie has not run out of steam yet and will return in “Prussian Blue” next year.

Although this latest may not have been my favourite I am still a huge fan of this author.

Friday, June 10, 2016

"Project Moses", by Robert B. Lowe

Book 1, in the Enzo Lee Mystery Thriller series

“Project Moses” tells how a zealous investigative reporter is thrust into an exhilarating and dangerous investigation covering the suspicious death of a local judge and prosecutor. This is a fairly conventional story, a fiction based in San Francisco during the 1990’s, written by Pulitzer Prize winner for local investigative specialized reporting. This is Mr. Lowe’s debut novel and a prefect summer read.

This bio-terrorism story filled with some romance, suspense and plot twists kept me guessing from page one and held my attention most of the time. It was a bit far-fetched and lacked some character development but in whole a very decent drama. The plot is solid and mostly intriguing. I was easily swept up in the action and often teased when the story deviated from the main character’s escapade to focus on a new player. On the down side some long descriptions slowed down the tempo and were such a huge distraction my brain got carried away during those pauses but thankfully the story fast regained its pacing and became exciting once more.

If you like conspiracy theory and corporate shenanigans “Project Moses” will hook you in for hours and make you uneasy even fear genetic engineering.

"What She Saw", by Sheila Lowe

This is a fiction of course it is a fiction or is it? Could something like this really happen?

I am a fan of mystery and willing to suspend disbelief and go with the flow if the plot sounds realistic enough. “What She Saw” is a bit over the top but also pretty captivating. Imagine yourself on a train and suddenly coming out of a daze, totally lost with any knowledge of whom or where you are. . Unraveling amnesia was behind this well-done story and a fun read that held my attention from start to finish.

This is the story of a young woman who one day wakes up to find two identities: Jenna and Jessica and goes to no end to find out what really happened to her. The plot is a bit slow to take off but once going this unique story line gets exciting and the quest for identity gives us fascinating twists and turns. Controlling human minds through implants and its consequences is a scary concept although “What She Saw” manages beautifully to touch the subject by leaving out the gruesome aspects. Of course this is a mystery and in all mystery we need good guys and bad guys and we have here questionable characters to ponder on, where do they fit? The story is cleverly written and there is much going on to keep the attention at bay. Along with the identity crisis we have a political conspiracy and some evil technology thrown in. The characterization is good and the players have interesting parts. The narration and dialogue are simple and to the point. Overall this is an easy read and an enjoyable story.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

"Dragon Head", by Mark Dawson

Book 3, in the Beatrix Rose Hong Kong Stories

This is the final episode and another great story where Beatrix shows her talents as a ruthless individual and the deadliest ex-operative in the British government.

This time Beatrix seemed overwhelmed and needs to shake off her opium habit while at the same time extract vengeance. The fast dirty action is somewhat unbelievable and totally over the top when Beatrix appeals to the leader of the triads “Dragon Head” in order to save Grace, the young Chinese girl she had once rescued. Grace was now being held prisoner for ransom by Wo Shun Wo, an underboss who had subsequently kidnapped her from her hotel room. Beatrix needs all the help she can get even if she has to sell her soul to the devil.

Although short, this is another great adventure that pulls you in from the start, excellent characterization and simple narration. . Taking the triads head on by a kick-ass female protagonist can only be entertaining…and it is definitely. This series is a good diversion and is quite captivating. Again take the time and read all three books in a row, together they make a decent novel to enjoy.

" Nine Dragons", by Mark Dawson

Book 2, in the Beatrix Rose Hong Kong Stories

This novella around 90 pages or so is the continuation in the prequel to the bestselling series Blood and Roses and the second in the trilogy. I highly suggest reading in sequence and planning to read all three of them one after the other.

“Nine Dragons” picks up where “White Devil” finished. It has ton of action and packs a lot of punch in the short pages as we follow Beatrix’s trials and tribulations. Within its 90 pages there are more shooting and stabbing one can imaging to read in a full size novel. Mr. Dawson knows how to write thrilling adventure that keeps us on the edge of our seat. Beatrix is as lethal as ever and is a wonderful character and so are the supporting actors.

Now stay tuned for my take on book 3