21 February 2017

Elementary, She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, Book 1)


Synopsis from Goodreads: Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop--located at 222 Baker Street--specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman's suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it's a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good. 

Stats for my copy: Hardback, Crooked Lane Books. Expected publication date 3/14/17.

How acquired: Received for review from the publisher through Cozy Mystery Review Crew.

My thoughts:  This book sounded so good that I was really excited to get it and looking forward to reading it. And it was good, but not quite up to my (admittedly high) expectations. The first person narrator, Gemma Doyle, runs a book store/gift shop devoted to Sherlock Holmes and items related to Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Sherlock canon. Not because she is a particularly devoted Sherlock fan, but because her uncle, who IS a particularly devoted Sherlock fan, started the bookstore and she joined him in the business later. But Gemma is a bit like Sherlock. She has acute powers of observation, and there are many conversations wherein she shows off, er, demonstrates said powers of observation by pointing out things the other party to the conversation did not notice or missed. She often comes off as a bit...lofty. Her friends seem to just accept it and aren't put off or insulted by her. But I found her a little irritating at times. She tells us, more than once, that she's offered or attempted to help out the local police investigate crimes in the past only to have her offers rebuffed.

It's been many many many years since I've read any of the Sherlock books, and my only recent experience with him is through the Benedict Cumberbatch TV show (which I do love). So I don't remember if Sherlock himself, the book Sherlock, came across the same way. But since those stories were narrated by Watson, I think that probably helped temper it. Maybe if Gemma's best friend, Jayne, were the narrator here...I just didn't find Gemma to be a very sympathetic character and so I had a little trouble liking her.

That being said, I did like Jayne, and I liked Ryan Ashburton, the local police detective who also happened to be Gemma's ex. And the mystery was good. I was completely in the dark about who the culprit was in the end and it came as a complete surprise. 

15 February 2017

Five Ways 'Til Sunday (Delta Heat 1)

Synopsis from Goodreads: Sometimes a man’s just gotta call for backup…
Delta Heat, Book 1

Marti Kowalski is all wrong for Officer Jackson Teague—he just won’t listen to reason. She didn’t finish high school, runs a bar. Has a tattoo and a blue streak in her hair. Yet he still wants to marry her? She can’t say she’s not tempted, but she’s got a bucket list to complete before she ties the knot.

Not just any bucket—more like a fifty-five-gallon drum of sexual wishes so explicit, there’s no way one man, even Jackson, can fulfill them all.

When Marti turns him down again, Jackson insists on knowing why. That’s when she shows him her list. He takes it, thinks about it—and calls on the only men he can trust: four buddies from his academy graduating class.

Between the five of them, he’s sure they can come up with a plan to check off every item on her list in one wild, wicked weekend. That is, if she has the nerve to follow through—and if he can bear to share her.
Product Warnings
Contains five men on a mission to break down the resistance of one determined woman, using everything in their arsenal from BDSM accoutrements to roleplay of non-consensual situation

Stats for my copy: ebook, Samhain Publishing, 2011.

How acquired: Bought.

My thoughts:  Hot from the first page! I read this novella in one sitting. Twice. Well, I read it in January 2012, and then again a few days ago. I particularly liked the characters. They aren't just random people, they're a couple who obviously love each other. The blurb pretty much tells you the whole plot. While Jackson gets his buddies to help him fulfill Marti's fantasies, he's not just gung ho completely comfortable doing so. But he thinks if he gets Marti through her bucket list, then she'll have no more excuses not to marry him. So for him, the ends justify the means. And that hastily scribbled bucket list was just an excuse. As much as Marti loves Jackson, she's scared of marriage, and she feels she will not be the right wife for Jackson. So she's shocked when she finds herself checking off each fantasy, along with some extra surprises that Jackson and his buddies plan along the way. *sigh* Where is MY Jackson? 

The Water-Method Man


Synopsis from Goodreads: His wife wants out. His mistress wants a baby. The underground filmmaker he works for wants to make a movie of his life: a documentary of failure. Bogus Trumper is a wayward knight-errant in the battle of the sexes, with only his weapon to blame. His complaint is more serious than Portnoy's-- Portnoy never had to drink all that water.

Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, Pocket Books, 1972.

How acquired: Bought.

My thoughts:  This is the second John Irving book I've read. I started collecting everything I came across by him after reading THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, which I loved. Either it's just been a long time since I read Cider House, or this book is just really different. Not to say I didn't enjoy it, because I did. The narrative is somewhat disjointed and bounces back and forth between first person and third person POV, and between the past and the present, so at times it was a little confusing. I didn't love it as much as Cider House, but I did like it enough to want to read more from Mr. Irving.