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, February 24, 2017

"Risen Gods, by J.F. Penn and J. Thorn

It took time and a couple of books before I became a fan of Ms. Penn, now I easily can say I am one of her faithful readers that simply can get enough of her dark fantasy adventures.

Set against the backdrop of Aotearoa, New Zealand, “Risen Gods” is rich with myth and history of the island. It opens with Ben and Lucy are out sailing when a tidal waves strikes the coast and the two lovebirds are separated in the chaotic aftermath. New Zealand is rocked by earthquakes and aftershocks, volcanoes are erupting, the country is turned upside down, people are dead and those who are not believe the gods are coming…. Chaos everywhere, smoke demons are attacking, octopuses (octopi)are grabbing people, some escape and some fall and are eaten up….and as we follow Ben and Lucy journeys on their separate route we see the evil through their eyes. The duel protagonists battle supernatural and human evils to save those they love from destruction by the gods and find each other again…..

This very captivating story is coloured with Maori beliefs and legends and is well- done and extremely visual. I was such a riveting, macabre and mythical experience that I couldn’t put this book down and read it in no time. The author’s knowledge of history, mythology and archaeology and the country’s culture shine through her words. A great amount of researched went into this book no doubt. I also like the characterization Ben and Lucy are realistic in their approach and the secondary cast, good and bad are excellent players. 

This is an excellent read.

I was given a copy of this book by Ms. Penn for an honest and unbiased review.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"Casino Caribbean", by Graham Tempest

Book # 1, in The Casino series

I enjoyed this book for its appealing story that kept my attention from start to finish. Action-packed with frequent plot twists sending a freelance sleuth into a timely journey involving the lucrative world of internet gambling.

Oliver Steele the main character is a forensic accountant by profession who was hired by billionaire Carlton Tish to squash the operation of a casino in Antigua. Along with an exciting mystery we fall in a world of international laws concerning casinos, travel to different places from Antigua to the States, to London, Belize and other exotic places. The experience is very visual and the description of the locals and customs made everything seemed quite possible. This is a fast and suspenseful read with multiple characters showing up; some good guys but some tough ones to give our sleuth a hard time. The style is simple but well-done to be a captivating and an alluring adventure. This introduction was a fun read that combined many facets in which we find some humour, a lot of technology, a solid mystery with plenty of action and one populated with unconventional characters.

After this introduction I can say yes I will read more by this author.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Trained to Kill", by Antonio Veciana

What a story, one that will join the multiple conspiracy theories on who may have killed Kennedy. Now in his late 80’s, Mr. Veciana reveals in his memoirs how Maurice Bishop, actually David Atlee Phillips, a rising figure in the CIA recruited and trained him to be a professional conspirator. 50 years after Kennedy assassination he decided to tell the world the explosive information he has about the case.

Mr. Veciana was an accountant by profession living in Cuba during Castro’s regime when he was approached to spy for the CIA. So hurt by what was happening to his country, he never regretted fighting Fidel. Inside the book is the story of CIA plots against Castro, Kennedy and Che. Stories hard to believe happened if they weren`t told by someone at the heart of it all.

Although the author admits he doesn’t know who killed John Kennedy, he knows who wanted to: two months before the assassination he was introduced to Lee Harvey Oswald by the CIA. By then he was an agent and had already tried to kill Castro. By the end of his career, he knew too much, became a threat, found himself a target, framed for an offense he did not commit and sent to prison. What a life…..

This is an excellent read and very informative. Vivid descriptions of how an asthmatic banker masterminded terrorist attacks in Havana and all this under the watchful eyes if the CIA. Detailed roles he played and much more. This story kept me glued to the words and interested from page one. It is smoothly writing and very intense….excellent book.

I received this book for free via Eidelwess for an honest and unbiased review.

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Undertow", by R.M. Greenaway

Book #2, in the BC Blues Crime series

One year has passed since the first story ended. In this installment we have Constables Leith and Dion back together working in North Vancouver. It doesn’t take time before they get deeply involved in a pair of hugely intricate murder cases: one tragic cold case and the other the double murder of Cheryl Liu and her baby daughter. Everything soon morphs in one incredible tangle where nothing is sure and no one is really telling the truth. We need to decipher all this as we go along and follow Leith and Dion tackling the 2 investigations.

As in her previous novel “Cold Girl”, Mr. Greenaway penned another multilayered mystery that dilly-dallies a lot and is way longer than necessary. I would say it is one of those books you love or hate for that reason. The author pays great attention to small details slowing every down to a crawl. Leaving aside action which is so scattered you rarely see some I needed to change tack, put my mind to it in order to keep up with this puzzle. As it slowly revealed itself piece by piece the mystery started to grow on me and I didn’t mind pushing on.

This novel is definitely a character driven mystery with many players to keep track of some of which may show up in one or the other investigation or not at all….that was also a challenge. The style is a little different and is quite unique and may have all the attributes to make it fascinating but as in the first book I found it to be a hard book to get into. The style may not have totally appealed to my taste but this does not mean “Undertow” is not a well-written and captivating mystery, it is in many ways. It simply wasn’t meant for me.

Thank you Dundurn and NetGalleys for this ARC

Friday, February 3, 2017

"The Third Rail", by Michael Harvey

Book # 3, in Michael Kelly, PI series

Thrillers are all about fast-paced plots and a hero that faces impossible situations and somehow get himself/herself out just in the nick of time. Definitely Michael Harvey has patted down this formula to a tee and is exploring it to the max. In the previous novels some historical incident were the bases for the plot, “The Third Rail” is no deferent, the story in the 3rd book relates to an accident which happened in 1977 when a four cars on E1 derailed and plunged to the street killing 11 persons. In this mystery Kelly was on board, his father was the conductor….fast forward to today, Kelly is drawn into a deadly cat- and mouse game when one morning while he was waiting for a CTA commuter train a man shoots and kills a woman near him….this is déjà vu all over…..and the start of random killings…and a PI on the chase.

This story is pure adrenaline rush as its peels its mystery one page at a time in a tone that is tough reflecting the protagonist rough side. The author deftly alternates between Kelly’s first-person perspective and third-person accounts of the men Kelly seeks. The many intersecting plot threads in this convoluted tale need our full attention although they do come together by the end, you will miss out if your attention wavers just a bit. This book is an engaging and a pretty good action thriller featuring tough, cynical characters in a bleak setting and is one hard to put down.

"Switchblade", by Michael Connelly

A Harry Bosh Short Story

Book: 18.5 in the Harry Bosch series

Give me a break Mr. Connelly do you really need to put out a 50 pages or so book with half of it an introduction to a future book. What a shameful marketing ploy
Yes the first few pages leave a thrilling little story. It has the usual Connelly touch and excitement but ends fast and is not satisfying in my book. Why did I get it, perusing books at the library I saw this book available from one of my favourite author. I knew I had to get it and did not bother with the synopsis or anything else I simply download it and voilà. ….lesson learnt …..yep I felt for it but at least I didn’t pay a cent….