4.5 star review

Review: Love Finds You in Calico California by Elizabeth Ludwig

Love Finds You in Calico California

By Elizabeth Ludwig

I have been living on the edge lately! I have started to browse different sections of my local library and came across a local authors shelf. That is where I discovered Elizabeth Ludwig’s Love Finds You in Calico, California. This is Ludwig’s first  full length novel and I say she did a fantastic job.The cover really caught my eye, with a pistol and bold red boots!  I decided that I had to give this western a chance. I am glad I did! While this is not something I would have usually gone for, I could appreciate the author’s work and style throughout the novel. I generally don’t read books with a strong religious presence, but in this storyline, it worked really well. If I had to describe this title in a single sentence, it would probably go something like this, “Ludwig captures the purity and innocence of budding romance, set against the backdrop of sorrow and mystery”.

Abigail Watts and her father Anson, made their way out West to reap the benefits of the booming silver mining business found in Calico, California. Without her mother’s guidance, Abigail relied heavily on her father, and he on her. However, when a tragic, albeit suspicious, accident claims the life of Anson, Abigail must fend for herself, alone, in the Wild West. With the help of Nathan Hawk, widower and father to a young daughter Lizzy, Abigail is determined to uncover the truth about her father’s demise. Together they will find truth, and maybe true love.

I really, really enjoyed this book. There weren’t any steamy romance scenes, or foul language, nothing that would make my Grandmother blush, and I don’t think adding any of that would have worked with this couple. They each needed simplicity, honesty and love; nothing more. If you were looking for a quick, heartwarming read, this would be a great choice. My only critique is that it was too short. I want to know what happens to this small town, and the book really offered a lot of opportunity to expand on that.

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4.5 star review

Book Review: Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler

The Bleeding Heart

By Christopher Fowler

Usually, I am not one to pick up a book by an unfamiliar author unless someone I trust recommends them. I took a leap of faith this week and checked out Christopher Fowler’s Bleeding Heart, after the local librarian suggested it. I could not be happier with her recommendation! Fowler has quite the bibliography under his belt with several standalone novels and a long running series centered on a specialized detective unit in London. The PCU, or Peculiar Crimes Unit, helps to protect the citizen of London from crimes, which may otherwise cause fright or distress. There is a team of investigators that handle these crimes, usually unbeknownst to the majority of Londoners.

Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart is the eleventh or twelfth installment in Fowler’s Bryant & May series. I could not find where this distinction was mentioned, but after looking at Fowler’s website, I realized it had not been updated with this title. Even though I had no previous knowledge about Detectives Bryant and May, I did not feel lost picking up this late in the sequence. At various points throughout the story, there were hints and minor remarks made to events I can only assume took place in the earlier books, but it did not affect this specific storyline. The investigative nature of this plot gave many opportunities to understand the inner workings of the detectives’ thought processes. Bryant is a little unconventional and often looks outside the box during the investigation. These alternative methods included trips to see a self-proclaimed witch and a magician, amongst other adventures. He also consults bizarre books that date back centuries to find connections to this modern crime. May, on the other hand, is more of a “by the book” detective who doesn’t give much credence to the dark arts and mythologies. He is an anchor of sorts for Bryant and helps to keep him out of trouble with the higher-ups. These old-timers are sticking together to make their way in a changing city, the only way they know how.

Fowler is very skilled in his character development, without being drawn out or excessively wordy. A great many number of conclusions can be made based solely on the features of an individual’s appearance, their home space or even working environment. These nuisances truly connect the reader with the characters. If I can get my hands on some of the earlier installments, I would love to see how the main characters have evolved from the beginning up until this current title.

All in all, if asked if I would recommend this title it would be a hands down yes. The only draw back that I experienced were the differences between American and English English. Some of the spellings, phrases and terminology threw me, but after a few chapters it wasn’t as noticeable. So, grab a cuppa and check out Bryant and May!

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2 star review

Review: The Guardians (books 1-5) by Lola St. Vil

1.The Girl 

2.The Fallout

3.The Turn  

 

4.The Triplex   

5.The Quo

Lola St. Vil seems to have perfected the art of the cliffhanger. The first book of this series was a free download offered on Amazon, which I downloaded on a whim. After reading the first in this series, I was hooked and had find out what happened to these characters. I went ahead and read the next four installments. My addiction did not stem from an enthrallment with the life altering literary skills portrayed {insert heavy sarcasm} by St.Vil, but more so out of frustration that there was no resolution in the first book. After reading the second and third books, and starting the fourth, I hoped that the conclusion was finally near! I was once again let down. For every minor revelation, a catastrophic conflict arises.

I can’t say that I would strongly recommend this series, unless you were looking for a simple and quick read to fill some time. There are numerous spelling and grammatical errors that can be irritating at times. These books were written as a YA series, and if I had known this prior to reading, I probably would have passed it by. The excessive use of slang by Jay was distracting and took away from the story, while adding little to the character development. Emerson’s constant emotional meltdowns and temper tantrums painted her as a weak hero, who could not be taken seriously. While her background story was a little dark, her closeted upbringing resulted in an immature high school student who seemed to expect to receive everything she wants, including someone else’s “husband”. Ameana was a b*tch from the very beginning. Playboy Marcus is a confused teen who wants his “wife” and girlfriend too.

In the end, I can say that I have no interests in pursing the remaining three or four books in the series. Between the ever-changing storyline focus, spelling errors and poor character development I can easily say good riddance to you Guardians.

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