Category: Mystery

Dead Down East by Carl Schmidt

Posted May 2, 2017 by karenbaron in Crime, Murder, Mystery, Review, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dead Down East by Carl SchmidtDead Down East by Carl Schmidt
Series: Jesse Thorpe Mysteries #1
Series Rating: four-stars
Published by Carl Schmidt on 5/25/2016
Genres: Crime, Humor, Mystery
Pages: 268
Format: ebook
four-stars

Dead Down East, a fictional murder mystery, is both detective noir and smart screwball comedy rolled into one. Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais. She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor of Maine, was assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse goes to fetch her.

Within a week, Jesse has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. He assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, a tie-dye psychic and his rousing girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la Femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of the governor’s former mistresses.

Fresh, witty and loaded with eccentric characters, this first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series is both clever and stylish. It’s an old-school private eye tale with inventive twists and local charm. If you enjoy a well-crafted and zesty narrative, lively banter, or take pleasure in the company of Mainers, you’ll love Dead Down East.

I really enjoyed this book, Dead Down East.

I thought in my mind that it was going to be like Jessica Fletcher meets Sam Spade. However, it was not and I was completely surprised. I love the story, the mystery, the characters and their witty banter.

Our main character is Jesse Thorpe. Jesse is many things. He is a carpenter, a bass player in a local band, a fly fisherman, and a private investigator. He seems to stay busy. Jesse has lots of friends and a likable personality. Jesse is someone I would be friends with.

Jesse’s fishing vacation is cut short by a plea for help from Cynthia Dumais. Cynthia needs Jesse to pick her up and locate who killed the Governor of Maine, William Lavoilette.  Jesse agrees to do this task, putting himself in physical and professional danger. Cynthia is nice enough. She is a real estate agent. However, Jesse ends up with three clients who all want the same thing, him to find who murdered the Governor. Jesse must go through the list of the Governor’s mistresses. There had to be a cliché, why not use the politician? I actually thought this was a great resource to use.

My favorite character though was Angele Boucher. I loved her wit, confidence, her ability to go with the punches. She is extremely verbal about her needs, wants and wishes. She works for a law firm and has a professional side, yet she still cracks jokes and shows her feminine side. She and Jesse have a fun, wonderful relationship.

I believe this will become one of my top mystery series. I loved the noir references and the old school sayings. The portrayal of Maine and its personalities. I loved the femme de fatale references and the way the truth came out. Jesse and his gang of friends are smart and brave. I loved the red herrings, especially the way his friends made bets on who the murderer was.

My rating for this book is 4 stars.

If you love good honest mysteries, check out this series: Jesse Thorpe Mysteries by Carl Schmidt. The second book is A Priestly Affair is now available.

**Where to find Dead Down East **

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

four-stars

About Carl Schmidt

Carl Schmidt graduated from Denver University with a degree in mathematics and physics. As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow he studied mathematics at Brown University.

Carl lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English.

Carl has spent dozens of summers in Maine, on lakes and in the woods. He chose it as the setting for this novel because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. This, along with his formal education, proved invaluable when molding the persona and voice of Jesse Thorpe, the narrator of Dead Down East, and endowing him with both a creative eye for detail and a sense of humor.

Dead Down East is the first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series, which includes A Priestly Affair and Redbone. In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.

Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize.


Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

Posted March 1, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Comedy, Cozy, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Romance, Series, Womens Fiction / 0 Comments

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet EvanovichTricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum #22
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Bantam on November 17th 2015
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Women's Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
five-stars

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.
Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.
As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.

My take on this book:

Wow! Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich is a great, no excellent book. Stephanie Plum is still going after her FTA’s but Ranger needs her help with a security job that doesn’t really go as planned. Then again it could just be that nothing seems to go right when either Ranger or Morelli have Stephanie as part of their plan. Like all the Stephanie Plum’s books, this one still has the mystery with it that will keep you guessing on who the killer is. This time I thought it was a different person than with who actually did it and it didn’t help that one of my suspects turns up dead.

Main Character

The main character, of course, is Stephanie Plum. No matter what I will forever love the way Janet Evanovich has written her. What I like about Stephanie is that she tries to be a good person especially in her mom’s eyes but she also likes to be different. I really like how she tries to act like this tough bond enforcement when she is with Ranger but it just doesn’t always work when she is by herself. Like it happened in this book when she needed Ranger’s help getting her FTA. What I dislike about Stephanie is that she can’t tell her mom that she doesn’t want to be a housewife. However, she really wants to be married. Yet, to who? Ranger or Morelli, I think it is Morelli that she really likes him. I also don’t like how when she has Grandma Mazur and Lula are in any of Stephanie’s cars that she doesn’t lock the doors (would so totally lock their doors).

Secondary Characters

The second character in this book that I like is Lula. What I like about this character is that even though she isn’t a supermodel, Lula doesn’t care and wears whatever she wants especially with her ‘ho clothes that she has kept. So technically this is all of them. I also like that she tries to assist Stephanie in catching the FTAs. What I dislike about Lula is that she has this problem about thinking that she has these special powers or something that gets kind of annoying. No matter what it is though she is, she will make you laugh. Also, Lula is a bit too graphic and she knows that Stephanie doesn’t want to hear it.

My favorite supporting character would have to be Grandma Mazur especially when she is with Lula. Grandma Mazur is a funny character that is a pain in the butt for her daughter, Stephanie’s mom, and for Stephanie as well. She is especially humorous when she is out with Stephanie on a job.

Things that make it worth reading

One of the things that I love about these books is Janet Evanovich’s ability to transport us to Trent, NJ. It is so real to me and I couldn’t think of another place for Stephanie to live. Another thing I love is that the story moves me but the mystery keeps me guessing throughout and it’s just also full of humor as well.

Here is my warning, though, when you read any Stephanie Plum book you need to eat beforehand, otherwise, you will find yourself stumbling to the kitchen looking for food with your book in your hand.

And my rating for Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich is: Five Stars

Tricky Twenty-Two is an excellent book. I am giving it five butterflies because I love this book. I was so entertained that I didn’t want to put it down at all. The mystery was awesome and one that kept me guessing and stumped at some points. I was stumped but not so much that I want to stop reading the book. Janet Evanovich is an awesome writer and I can’t wait to read more of her books.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

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five-stars

About Janet Evanovich

Janet’s Bio (quoted from her website)

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in LaLa Land. La la Land is like an out-of-body experience –while your mouth is eating lunch your mind is conversing with Captain Kirk. Sometimes I’d pretend to sing opera. My mother would send me to the grocery store down the street, and off I’d go, caterwauling at the top of my lungs. Before the opera thing I went through a horse stage where I galloped everywhere and made holes in my Aunt Lena’s lawn with my hooves. Aunt Lena was a good egg. She understood that the realities of daily existence were lost in the shadows of my looney imagination.After graduation from South River High School, I spent four years in the Douglass College art department, honing my ability to wear torn Levis, learning to transfer cerebral excitement to primed canvas. Painting beat the heck out of digging holes in lawns, but it never felt exactly right. It was frustrating at best, excruciating at worst. My audience was too small. Communication was too obscure. I developed a rash from pigment.

Somewhere down the line I started writing stories. The first story was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania. The second story was about …well never mind, you get the picture.

I sent my weird stories out to editors and agents and collected rejection letters in a big cardboard box. When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency.

Four months into my less than stellar secretarial career, I got a call from an editor offering to buy my last mailed (and heretofore forgotten) manuscript. It was a romance written for the now defunct Second Chance at Love line, and I was paid a staggering $2,000.

With my head reeling from all this money, I plunged into writing romance novels full time, saying good-by, good riddance to pantyhose and office politics. I wrote series romance for the next five years, mostly for Bantam Loveswept. It was a rewarding experience, but after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre.

I spent two years retooling –drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, practicing cussing. At the end of those years I created Stephanie Plum. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives.

It turns out I’m a really boring workaholic with no hobbies or special interests. My favorite exercise is shopping and my drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles.

I read comic books and I only watch happy movies. I motivate myself to write by spending my money before I make it. And when I grow up I want to be just like Grandma Mazur.


Madam Tulip by David Ahern

Posted December 4, 2016 by karenbaron in Cozy, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, New Adult Fiction, Paranormal, Review, Romance, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Madam Tulip by David AhernMadam Tulip by David Ahern
Series: Madam Tulip #1
Series Rating: five-stars
on April 3rd 2016
Genres: Cozy, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 308
Format: Kindle
five-stars

Suspense, mystery, action, a little romance and lots of laughs
Out-of-work actress Derry O'Donnell is talented, professional, just a little psychic... and broke. Spurred on by an ultimatum from her awesomely high-achieving mother, Derry embarks on a part-time career as Madame Tulip, fortune teller to the rich and famous. But at her first fortune-telling gig - a celebrity charity weekend in a luxurious castle - a famous rap artist mysteriously dies.
As Derry is drawn deeper into a seedy world of fashion, millionaires, horses and cocaine, she must race to save her best friend from jail and a supermodel from being murdered. Her efforts threaten to destroy her friends, her ex-lover, her father and herself.
Fans of humorous mystery writers Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen will love Madam Tulip.
Madame Tulip is the first in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

My take on this book:              Wow! Madam Tulip by David Ahern is such a great read. From the moment I started reading the plot summary of this book in an email sent to me by the author I was hooked. This book was most definitely an awesome read for anyone that is into books like this one. This is a book that is funny, has a touch of romance, paranormal/supernatural points, and mystery.

What I liked about this book was not only because it’s different from what I normally read and it’s also refreshing and delightful. Derry O’Donnell had to find a way to stay in Ireland to do her acting career while her mom wants her to be more of an adult. Apparently, Derry is more like her father than what her mom thinks most of the time. The book kept me entertained which is something that I always like about a book. That is to be entertained and feel like I’m experiencing everything that the writer is saying with the characters while it was being written.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about this book. Some of the words didn’t make any sense to me but then again it is written by a Scottish/Ireland writer so that right there can happen. Thankfully though that didn’t put me off with this book and I was still able to stay connected within the book while I looked it up.

Madam Tulip by David Ahern is an awesome book and I believe the next two books will be just as wonderful as this first one is. I am giving this book a five stars rating. I am also going to be recommending this book to anyone that likes books in these genres.

Anyways until the next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove.

** Where to find this book **

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five-stars

About David Ahern

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate and taught in major Universities but could never explain to his granny why he didn’t own a stethoscope.

Finding the challenge of pretending to know things exhausting, David Ahern shaved off his beard and absconded once more, this time to work in television. He became a writer, director, and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

For no particular reason, David Ahern took to writing fiction. Madame Tulip wasn’t his first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’d ever had with a computer. The second in the Madam Tulip series, Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, was published in autumn 2016. He is now writing the third Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.

David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.


Burning North Diamonds for Drugs

Posted October 13, 2016 by karenbaron in Adventure, Crime, Fiction, Review, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Burning North Diamonds for DrugsBurning North: Diamonds for Drugs by Phil Cuda
on January 28th 2016
Genres: Crime, Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 494
Format: ebook
three-stars

In January 2000, the Australian federal government is alerted that smugglers are stealing flora and fauna in North Queensland. Two special undercover agents are sent to investigate. The agents uncover diamond and gold thefts, as well as huge quantities of drugs being trafficked into Northern Australia, North America and Europe as well as around the world by a huge Paris based crooked Global Corporation. The pair set out to destroy the drug cartel, which in turn sends out its own brand of killers to destroy the agents. A huge bounty is placed on the heads of the agents as they battle to thwart the corporation and stop its laundry list of crimes. From Cairns to the Gold Coast, to Paris and the jungles of Malaysia, to New York and Australia and back again to Paris, the battle rages on. With the agents finally on the cusp of closing down the corporation's illegal operations in Australia, they need to survive long enough to defeat the French connection. Phil Cuda was born in 1945 in Southern Italy. His parents moved to North Queensland when he was five. He says his parents "had four children and only the clothing on their backs after the war problems in Europe and more so in Italy. Australia was and is a land of opportunity for anyone who cares to work. I am a grandfather and love it." He still works in property development. Publisher's website: http: //sbprabooks.com/PhilCuda

My Thoughts:          The Australian version of James Bond

I had a hard time getting into this book. I would say that it took me at least 30% before I was ready to commit. I like a good crime story now and again. This one turned out fairly good.

I like Adams for the most part, and his partner Landers seemed like a nice enough guy. I kind of thought that Adams is a definite guy’s guy. I also thought his libido was fairly overactive. He seemed like a good agent, as he wasn’t just the team leader but completely part of the team. I truly backed up his partners and they did the same or him. Adams and Landers were very good at figuring things out.

Once the story got moving the action was superb. I enjoyed the different locations and getting to know a little bit about Australia. The other character were also believable. I feel that Mr. Cuda could have put a little more into his female characters. I liked his sister Ros Dante. She has spunk, I felt it made her seem realistic. I didn’t realize there was black market trade for Australian animals. I feel a little naive. I think that even though this book was fiction it opened my eyes to other parts of the world. I enjoyed reading about their adventures.

My rating is 3.5 stars. I really liked the book, slow start and all. I will recommend this to my male friends as I feel they would appreciate the story more.

**Where to find Burning North: Diamonds for Drugs**

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

Watch the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37NmecDlQWQ&feature=youtu.be

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three-stars

About Phil Cuda

Phil Cuda was born in 1945 in Southern Italy and moved to North Queensland when he was five. His parents had four children and very little else after the war in Italy. “Australia was and is a land of opportunity for anyone who cares to work. I am a grandfather and love it.” He works in property development.


One Person’s Craziness by R.T. Ojas

Posted October 13, 2016 by karenbaron in Adventure, Aliens, Fantasy, Mystery, Novella, Review, Time Travel / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

One Person’s Craziness by R.T. OjasOne Person's Craziness by R.T. Ojas
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on February 6th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 102
Format: Kindle
three-half-stars

Amoli is a mysterious man with an even more mysterious past. During a recorded session with a psychiatrist, he reveals his perplexing story about survival, hope, ancient civilizations, and cosmic adventures.

My Thoughts:          Could this be what happened to the old civilizations?

I have to say that this isn’t really the type of book that I normally read. However, I was most intrigued by the book’s description. The book is a novella and a really quick read.

The book starts out a little on the slow side but kept me interested throughout Amoli’s adventure. I enjoyed the historical references and the not-so-historical parts of the story. I sort of pictured them somewhere like Easter Island.

I liked Amoli’s character. He had a little comedian in him, yet he tried to be tough even when he was scared.  I was really hoping that he would find Azanita and she would return his feelings. The alien part of the story was acceptable. Scully and Molder would have enjoyed this interview. I can imagine that they would have had so many questions. The ending was probably the greatest part. I won’t spoil it, but I didn’t see it coming.

My rating is 3.5 stars. I really liked the book but thought there could have been a little more to the adventure. I think that Mr. Ojas will only become better and better as a writer and I look forward to reading more of his works.

**Where to find One Person’s Craziness**

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

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three-half-stars

About R.T. Ojas

Software Engineer at day. Writer at Night.