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 »

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Jack Daniels and Tea", by Phyllis Smallman

Book # 4.2, the Sherri Travis Mystery

Things get out of control in Dutch’s bar. Sherri will save the day.

Of course this book is disappointing, 11 pages is really too short to give us much of an exciting plot or even time to know the character. It is actually a teaser…..one that could leave us wanting more or simply turn us off….but not me I know how entertaining this series is and after reading many books it did not take me long to become a huge fan of Ms. Smallman no nonsense style.

This teeny weeny story may be short and sweet it is nevertheless written in the usual captivating manner the author is known for. No fuss and straight to the point.

Friday, October 21, 2016

"Zero", by Ty Patterson

Book #8, in the Warriors Series

This series is a must to be read in sequence in order to know how the secret black ops first got together and how they progressed through the times without wondering who is who and what goes where. Although I do not recommend it, “Zero” can also be quite entertaining as a standalone thriller if you wish to skip the previous installments. Book 8, as in all the previous novels starts strong and keeps the heart racing and the reader on edge throughout.

Zeb Carter and his crew with FBI agent Sarah Burke are once again the main players in this fast pace highly explosive story which centers on terrorist holding hostages captive in a hotel and the kidnapping of two high profile boys. Lots of fighting techniques, computer jargon and minutia details shows how the author knows his subjects and enjoys relating his knowledge through his exciting and captivating drama. The novel is well- constructed to be quite visual and believable. Although the plot is complex, it is easy to picture and follow what is going on. It is a heck of a story and a great mystery that keeps its secret till the very end. A bit of love in the future may come next for one member of the team….who knows what Mr. Patterson has in store for his characters. I really like the characterization they are well-developed and far from being static. Surprises over surprises are in the making I am sure….. Till next time….

Another tense and thrilling adventure I enjoyed and glad to add to my library.

Monday, October 17, 2016

"At Bay", by John W Mefford

Book #1, in the Alex Troutt Thriller Series

Being the first in a running series the story centers mainly in getting to know the main player Alexandra Giordano( Alex). We meet her when she is in hospital following a car accident. Alex is dealing with amnesia and doesn’t recall much of her past. As she slowly pieces things together we follow her through her journey.

Alex is a sassy and smart FBI agent and very good at her job it is not surprising her job was the trigger that refreshed her memory, reboots her friendship and old relationships. Being an FBI agent is always with you and as Alex gets involved hunting down a killer even without her complete memory we have a great time following her involvement. There is a bit of humour in this “don’t mess with me agent” as different situations arise such as trying to figure out why a slutty nanny is in her life, why her daughter dress that way, does she really love her husband….etc….The storyline is quite suspenseful, it is hard not to jump to all kinds of conclusions trying to guess what Alex will remember and what will she do when she does….but getting it right may not be easy. This is a well-thought plot that keeps a steady pace and a good cadence, one filled with twists to derail our thoughts but keeps us entertained throughout. I liked Alex she is a great and fun character with a sharp mind and tongue. Strong plot development one that is interesting and entertaining.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"Sumi Collusion", by Gerald J. Kubicki and Kristopher Kubicki

Book# 8, in The Society of Orion series

Book# 22, in the Colton Banyon Mysteries

This is the final chapter in the Society of Orion series and I am glad Mr. Kubicki is moving on and hopefully will bring Colton in a more down to earth journey. I am not a big fan of blue men from out of space or aliens coming to hearth to wipe out everything in sight or super heroes neutralizing the enemy with toys that do not exist.

Having said this, I must give the Kubicki high marks for their imagination and power to move their plots with never ending action although way too farfetched for my taste but again if you are into sci-fi and love an out of this world experience you may enjoy at its fullest the series and especially its finale.

All 8 novels have the same beat: fast paced with short chapters, simple narration, most of the times clean dialogue and populated with a bunch of original characters: good and bad guys. I will not expand on the plot by book # 7, I was out and had lost interest. Now why did I read all 130 pages of book# 8…. well after reading the series up to now I simply couldn’t stay away from the many surprises the Kubicki always brings to their plots albeit it may not always please this hard to please reader but that doesn’t say other readers couldn’t enjoy this genre. So take my words with a grain of salt.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

"Far Horizons", Kate Hewitt

Book #1, in the Emigrants Trilogy

This is a great historical romance novel that will resonate with anyone who is in a long distance romance situation. The premise is based on true events and enhanced with wonderful and colourful tales inspired by Ms. Hewitt creativity. “Far Horizons” is the story of two people who love each other but are separated by both distance and duty.

The story opens in the Highlands of Scotland, the year is 1819. Allan MacDougal and Harriet Campbell are in love but unfortunately Allan and his family were leaving Scotland for Canada and Harriet was to stay behind till the MacDougal were settled down…..

Slow for a kick start but once Allan left for Canada the pacing was more aggressive and the story more interesting. Following the characters is a bit of a challenge but once you settle into the tempo and place each one as they appear telling their version of events then everything falls into place and we can easily trust forward although this may be very confusing and distracting for some. The emotional story reflects the “Harlequin” style the author’s is so well known for with much emphasis on the courtships and feelings of the characters. Although this is book 1 in a trilogy everything wraps up beautifully and leaves no loose ends. Book 2 is set 10 years later, is a great choice for anyone to pick it up or not.

“Far Horizons” gives us simple style, clear narrative, clean dialogue, interesting characters and a good story for everyone to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

"Laundry Man", by Jake Needham

Book #1, in the Jack Shepherd crime novel series

The backdrop in this first installment is the vibrant city of Bangkok where we will follow Jack Shepherd who has given up a high-profile job in a DC law firm to take a post as a teacher at Chulalongkorn University. But life is not tranquil for Jack and takes a turn when an ex-colleague supposedly dead for some time calls in the middle of the night, scared out of his wits and desperately wanting to meet him….the laundry man is off and running and things soon gets interesting…..

I definitely was expecting that with a title like “Laundry Man” it should have been all about “cleaning” money, international finances, shady deals and nefarious sorts. I was not disappointed on this point.

Although, the story lacked suspense for a good part the novel as it centered on laundering money, bad banks and financial misdeeds, it did picked up a brisk pace as Jack bounced from lead to the next, from one red herring to another stumbling around exploring various contacts, some of them colourful characters, lots of them chichi type whose real occupations were unclear, and some of them turning up dead. ¾ into, the story shifted gears and became an exciting thriller with Jack changing from a banker/professor into a soft version of Jackie Chan…….unfortunately things petered out by the finale. Maybe once again the unsatisfying ending may be a ruse to lure us in pursuing with the series in order to see what is in store for the intrepid protagonist next. Definitely without any doubts and it is working my end……next “The Umbrella Man” is already on my TBR list.

The prose is clean, evocative and is infused with a sense of place….maybe a bit too much. The author’s technical details of banking and money laundering is well explained and not overly done to be extremely boring. We have panoply of characters to keep track of, quite a challenge at times to picture who is who and where they fit in, eventually it becomes clear.

Overall, a pretty good story

Saturday, October 1, 2016

"The Assassins", by Gayle Lynds

Book #2, in the Judd Ryder and Eva Blake series

I enjoy a good thriller and since Gayle Lynds is the reigning queen and very popular on the fictional espionage scenes and heard so many good words on this book I simply couldn’t let it pass without reading it. “The Assassins” continues the story of retired military spy Judd Ryder and CIA recruit Eva Blake. I assure you there is no need to read book #1 first in order to get right into the action that brings us from Washington D.C. to Marrakech and to Baghdad.

The synopsis in a few words: six world class assassins in an agreement of convenience rob Baghdad museum and escape with each a piece of a priceless limestone tablet…. But that goes horribly wrong when they begin to turn on each other… only one will be left standing…..An interesting premise…...but did it give the punch I expected…..hummmmmm.


There is a lot going on in this fast paced and generally entertaining thriller filled with relentless action, explosions, gunfire and all the old-school spy vibe you may want. The story is rather suspenseful and holds a good tempo in most places but drags in others. I like the short chapters Ms. Lynds utilizes in her book. A rather good move, this keeps minds open to move on. We have long-winded moments that are rather flat and distracting places where I would have gladly skipped, thankfully they were few. Enjoyable are the sharp dialogue and the banter between assassins which are well-done and entertaining. The characterization is good all players excel in their roles.

Not a bad book but not my favourite thriller of all time.

"Last Light", by Andy McNab

Book # 4, in the Nick Stone Series

The highly descriptive writing style is quite exhausting to read for this reason I took a very long break before picking up “Last Light”. This is why I am so behind with this series.

Of course this book is not for everyone after all life for a Secret Intelligence Operator is far from being easy. In “Last Light”, Nick is given an ultimatum when an assassination attempt goes wrong: Kill the target in Panama by last light Friday or Kelly will be killed. What choice does he have…. Mr. McNab has the ability to vividly detail with great action sequences what his main character experiences. It feels as we are walking every messy step in his shoes. This one is no different as the previous books.

And we’re off. Nonstop warrior Nick is on the move with each of his engagement meticulously detailed. Everything is from scenery to flora to wildlife to every piece of armament. Maybe a little less of this with have benefited the narrative flow. As in the previous installment the details become overwhelming and I lost on many occasion interests with this story. The book meanders a lot making it hard to stay focused and motivated. Although the story is not bad it is not great and is in parts a bit dull and long winded, definitely not the author’s best. Mr. McNab nevertheless is at his best when he depicts his military experiences through his scenarios. About the characterization: Nick is good at his trade and his character is definitely down pat by now: gutsy and vibrant. The secondary players are well-developed: the good ones likable and the villains pretty bad. Is this enough to keep a reader motivated and wanted to stick with Nick?….. not in my books it isn’t.

I needed a bit of pushing to get through with this book and I wonder at this point if I will once again take some time before continuing with the sequel “Liberation Day” but again I had the same feelings with book# 3 “Firewall” who knows…… I may change my mind sometime in the future but for now I am definitely putting this series aside……..