The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

Posted by on May 18, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Tim Dorsey | 0 comments

The Stingray Shuffle by Tim DorseyThe Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

Genre: Crime Fiction, Humor, Suspense
Format: Hardcover and Ebook
Series: #5 in the Serge Storms series
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 303
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

When serial-killing local Florida historian Serge A. Storms is off his meds, no one is safe — not Russian hoods, Jamaican mobsters, spoiled frat boys, women’s book clubs, drug dealers, bad Vegas-rejected local lounge acts — especially when $5 million in cash in a bugged suitcase is still racing up and down the Eastern Seaboard. But in the oddball circus known as the Sunshine State, little things like astronomical body counts tend to get lost in the shuffle.

My Thoughts:
It’s been about a year since I last read a Serge Storms book from Tim Dorsey and it was just the kind of lunacy I was in the mood for. I have always described this series as Pulp Fiction takes Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride through Florida and this fifth volume is absolutely all that and more.

It was the usual chaos that happens when Serge is off his meds. In this one Serge came up with some particularly inventive ways to kill people.

This series does not have a linear timeline at all. The suitcase full of money was introduced a couple of books ago. It was fun to get back to that storyline.

The spectacularly inept mob guys from several different countries were my favorite part.

This is violent stuff but in such a darkly humorous way that it just makes me laugh.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy

Posted by on May 12, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Julie Hyzy | 0 comments

Buffalo West Wing by Julie HyzyBuffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy

Genre:Cozy Mystery
Format: Mass Market Paperback and Ebook
Series: #4 in the White House Chef series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 275
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

With a new First Family, White House executive chef Olivia Paras can’t afford to make any mistakes. But when a box of take-out chicken mysteriously shows up for the First Kids, she soon finds herself in a “no-wing” situation. After Olivia refuses to serve the chicken, the First Lady gives her the cold shoulder. But when it turns out to be poisoned poultry, Olivia realizes the kids are true targets.

My Thoughts:
This is a fun cozy mystery series in which the main character, Olivia Paras, is the executive chef at the White House. The added political elements and the insider view of the White House makes it interesting blend of culinary cozy mystery and the unique setting.

It has been a while since I read the previous book in the series there’s really not that much ongonig story so the time lapse wasn’t a problem.

This time around there’s a new President and family in the White House. The book opens on Inauguration Day. After having a good relationship with the previous President and First Lady, Ollie wants to make a good impression but soon feels like her job might be on the line because the new First Lady doesn’t seem to like her much.

Often in cozy mysteries I get annoyed when the protagonist ends up in a dangerous situation merely because of their own stupid choices. In this book I appreciated the fact that Ollie’s involvement in the mystery and the ensuing chaos rather organically. She just happened to be in the right/wrong places for logical reasons.

I enjoyed this one. I’ll probably continue with the series.

3.5 starsRating 3.5/5

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Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith – Audio Edition

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith narrated by Lisette LecatPrecious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Series: #17 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 9 hours, 49 minutes
Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Changes are afoot at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, where Mma Makutsi, who has recently been promoted to co-director, has been encouraging Mma Ramotswe to update to more modern office practices. However, an unusual case will require both of them to turn their attention firmly to the past. A young Canadian woman who spent her early childhood in Botswana requests the agency’s help in recovering important pieces of her life there. With only a faded photograph—and, of course, some good old-fashioned detective skills—to guide them, Precious and Grace set out to locate the house that the woman used to live in and the caretaker who looked after her many years ago. But when the journey takes an unexpected turn, they are forced to consider whether some lost things may be better off unfound.

Busy as she is with this challenging investigation, Mma Ramotswe can always be relied on to come to the aid of her friends—who seem to have a special knack for landing in hot water. Mr. Polopetsi, an occasional assistant at the agency, has made an ill-advised business decision that may lead to serious trouble. And next door at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Fanwell, the junior mechanic, has become helplessly attached to a stray dog who proves to be a bigger responsibility than he can handle. With Mma Makutsi by her side, Mma Ramotswe dispenses help and sympathy with the graciousness and warmth for which she is so well known, and everyone is led to surprising insights into the healing power of compassion, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

My Thoughts:
I’m still enjoying this series seventeen books in. I’ve never read the print editions because Lisette Lecat’s narration is a lot of the reason I like this series

These are sometimes classified as mysteries but despite the fact that the main character is a detective the mystery part of the book is rather light. I consider the series light general fiction.

They are about relationships, friendships, and a love story about the country of Botswana. Precious Ramotswe is the kind of woman I’d like to meet for tea and an afternoon of chatting. She loves her husband, she’s fiercely protective of her friends and she’s immensely proud of her home country of Botswana.

This time around the case involves a Canadian woman who lived in Botswana as a girl and would like to find her childhood nanny. As usual the outcome is not as straightforward as originally expected. There is also the stray dog and a business opportunity that could be troublesome.

I just enjoy listening to these books as I’m driving. It’s good entertainment and Lisette Lecat is wonderful. The voices she does for the characters are wonderful and I’m glad I don’t have to figure out how to pronounce some of the names.

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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Chew Vol. 12: Sour Grapes by John Layman

Posted by on Apr 28, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, John Layman | 0 comments

Chew Vol. 12: Sour Grapes by John Layman
Chew Vol. 12: Sour Grapes by John Layman with art by Rob Guillory

Genre: Mystery, Science Fiction
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #12 in the Chew series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 184
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 12 is a compilation of issues 155-60 of the comic series plus a bonus one-shot.
From the back cover:

This the final story arc of Tony Chu, the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from what he eats. Mysteries are solved, secrets are revealed and lives are lost. Many, many lives. This is the end of the line for the New York Times Best Selling, Harvey and multiple Eisner Award-winner series about cops, crooks, cooks, cannibals, and clairvoyants.

My Thoughts:
This series is weird, disturbing, violent and absolutely hilarious. It’s incredibly difficult to talk about without sounding completely off my rocker. But then again, several characters in this series may be completely off their rockers.

It’s been a weird and wild ride and I was looking forward to seeing how the author would manage to wind this up. Lots of bodies is one answer. Solving some mysteries is another. Leaving a few questions open was somewhat expected. A final page that was fabulous was wonderful.

The artwork by Rob Guillory is colorful and fun and manages to present some pretty bizarre and violent stuff in a way that isn’t completely gross. There is plenty of funny stuff in the background of the main action.

This series is just wacky and weird and slightly gross and funny and twisted and interesting.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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This Time Together by Carol Burnett – Audio Edition

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

This Time Together by Carol Burnett narrated by the authorThis Time Together: Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett narrated by the author

Genre: Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 2010
Length: 5 hours, 40 minutes
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Carol Burnett is one of the most beloved and revered actresses and performers in America. The Carol Burnett Show was seen each week by millions of adoring fans and won twenty-five Emmys in its remarkable eleven-year run. Now, in This Time Together, Carol really lets her hair down and tells one funny or touching or memorable story after another–reading it feels like sitting down with an old friend who has wonderful tales to tell.

In engaging anecdotes, Carol discusses her remarkable friendships with stars such as Jimmy Stewart, Lucille Ball, Cary Grant, and Julie Andrews; the background behind famous scenes, like the moment she swept down the stairs in her curtain-rod dress in the legendary “Went With the Wind” skit; and things that would happen only to Carol–the prank with Julie Andrews that went wrong in front of the First Lady; the famous Tarzan Yell that saved her during a mugging; and the time she faked a wooden leg to get served in a famous ice cream emporium. This poignant look back allows us to cry with the actress during her sorrows, rejoice in her successes, and finally, always, to laugh.

My Thoughts:
This is a short but thoroughly enjoyable audiobook. I requested it the day that a friend of mine recommended it. I’m so glad I did.

I grew up watching the Carol Burnett show and have always enjoyed her work. It was nice to spend some time with her again. There’s no way anyone else could have narrated this.

This is a series of anecdotes from her life. Some are funny, some heartbreakingly sad. They are all enjoyable. If you enjoyed Carol Burnett’s show I encourage you to get your hands on this audiobook,

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher – Audio Edition

Posted by on Mar 24, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher narrated by the authorWishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher narrated by the author

Genre: Autobiography, Humor
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 2009
Length: 3 hours, 6 minutes
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Finally, after four hit novels, Carrie Fisher comes clean (well, sort of) with the crazy truth that is her life in her first-ever memoir. In Wishful Drinking, adapted from her one-woman stage show, Fisher reveals what it was really like to grow up a product of “Hollywood in-breeding,” come of age on the set of a little movie called Star Wars, and become a cultural icon and bestselling action figure at the age of nineteen.

Intimate, hilarious, and sobering, Wishful Drinking is Fisher, looking at her life as she best remembers it (what do you expect after electroshock therapy?). It’s an incredible tale: the child of Hollywood royalty — Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher — homewrecked by Elizabeth Taylor, marrying (then divorcing, then dating) Paul Simon, having her likeness merchandized on everything from Princess Leia shampoo to PEZ dispensers, learning the father of her daughter forgot to tell her he was gay, and ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

My Thoughts:
This is a short quick audiobook. I requested it shortly after Carrie Fisher died along with eleventy seven other people. I was glad to finally listen to it. It’s good to hear her voice again.

She wrote the book as a way of sharing the stories she told in her stage show in another format. I’ve never seen the show but my library has a DVD that I might get at some point.

Fisher is up front about her struggles with bipolar disorder, drug abuse and relationship troubles. It’s hard to imagine a book about these subjects being funny but it is. It’s not all laugh out loud though because she’s talking about difficult things.

It was a shame she died at a relatively young age. This book was a nice way to spend some time with her and feel like I was sitting down with her listening to her stories of her life.

There was no way anyone but Carrie Fisher could have narrated this. Her humor and self-deprecation come through clearly. She gets a little loud occasionally but I think that’s holdovers from telling these stories in front of a live audience.

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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