Adult Fiction & Non-Fiction Book Reviews by Roundtable Reviews
Check us out for romance book reviews, general fiction book reviews, mystery book reviews, sci-fi/fantasy book reviews, non-fiction book reviews, and cookbook reviews for previously released or upcoming fiction and non-fiction books. Our book reviews always take one thought into consideration -- Would I pay the asking price for this book?
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Hard on the heels of The
Intercept, the first thriller in this series, comes this sequel
that continues the saga of Jeremy Fisk, a detective with the NYPD’s
Intelligence Division of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Still recovering from the
loss of his partner and lover who died at the hands of a Swedish
terrorist, Fisk has another crazed killer to deal with. A brutal
Mexican assassin known simply as Chuparosa is heading north with
mayhem on his mind.
Leaving behind him a trail
of bodies, including 23 beheaded victims on the border, Chuparosa may
intend to make a statement during United Nations week in Manhattan.
A slew of bodies found dead outside the city suggests that is just a
prelude to what awaits the city itself.
Teaming up with a fiery
investigator, Ceilia Garza, from the Mexican Intelligence Department,
Fisk soon discovers his colleague’s “take-no-prisoners”
attitude is not too far removed from their nemesis’s approach.
Whether they want to or
not, Fisk and Garza are going to have to work together to keep
Chuparosa from his ultimate bloody goal but it is going to be a very
Like Fisk’s first
assignment, there will be plenty of plot twists and surprises in what
lies ahead for the detective and the final outcome will be in doubt
right down to the closing pages.
Wolf is the creator of
“Law & Order” and already there’s talk that Jeremy Fisk may
eventually be heading for a similar small screen treatment.
Release Date - November 2013
Melissa BraydenBold Strokes Books
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
In How Sweet It Is, Molly O'Brien lost her partner in a tragic plane crash. Since that, she's avoided the dating scene, but she thinks she's finally ready to move on. It's easier said than done because she balances her personal life with her hard work keeping her struggling bakery open. When her late partner's sister returns to town, Molly is shocked to find feelings developing. This is new territory for Molly, but she can't avoid her growing attraction.
The title of this book really does capture the story's main essence. This is a sweet romance. The characters feel like best friends, the banter is real and often witty, and every page keeps you intrigued in what will happen next. Add in the tempting treats Molly's character whips up for her bakery - my stomach growled more than once reading descriptions - and How Sweet It Is ends up being an addicting romance.
This was my first story by Melissa Brayden, and I am certainly intrigued to read her other stories. It's just a sweet romance that leaves you feeling warm and cozy.
Release Date - January 2014
Bryce AndrewsAtria Books
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
For one year, Bryce Andrews headed to Montana where he worked at Sun Ranch. Working on a cattle ranch was not new to Andrews, but this ranch was very near Yellowstone National Park. During that year, Andrews not only spent time experiencing the daily life of a rancher, but he also faced struggles when a pack of wolves began encroaching on the herds of cattle. Suddenly, Andrews was faced with protecting the herd against an animal he admired.
Badluck Way is beautifully written. While Bryce Andrews recounts most of this story, some sections are told from a wolf's point of view. I loved this division. I don't have wolves in my area, that I know of anyway, but we do have a pack of coyote that have been coming closer and closer to houses over the years. If you ever see one in the open, I have, they are very majestic creates, albeit scary when it is your dog they want to turn into dinner. As I've had that experience, I really understood Andrews' story.
Every detail of Badluck Way is written in a manner that draws you in. It's easy to imagine the feel of a breeze through the gaps in the wall. The sound of the wolves howling in the distance. The picturesque scenery as the sun rises or sets over Montana's mountains. I felt like I was there, and that, to me, is the sign of a truly talented writer.
Release Date - November 2013
Mary Anna EvansPoisoned Pen Press
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
Rituals is the eighth novel in the Faye Longchamp Mystery series. This time, Faye and her adopted teen daughter are in New York helping sort donations to a local museum. Rosebower is an unusual town where the dead still have strong ties to the living, after all it's a town that was founded by spiritualists. This is proven to be all too true when a local medium dies shortly after meeting with Faye and her daughter. Despite being an agorophobic, the medium somehow manages to get out of the room where she was nailed in before the house was set on fire and drive dozens of miles to find Faye and die in her arms. With plenty of suspects, Faye is no longer certain who to trust. It's clear that there are secrets in Rosebower, but who would stoop to murder to keep them hidden?
I discovered Faye Longchamp back in 2012 with the novel Plunder. That also happens to be the story where Armande, Faye's adopted daughter, is introduced. Had I not had that background, I may have struggled with this book a little more than I did. I really think this is a series you need to read in order. Faye's husband Joe and young son also make brief appearances, but they don't last very long.
The mystery is definitely involving and keeps you guessing. I usually try to solve mysteries as early as possible (a little too much Scooby Doo when I was a kid I guess), but Rituals kept throwing me for a loop and I found it hard to pick out the killer early on.
I can't say I liked this entry more than I liked Plunder, but it was still a very enjoyable read. I do, however, recommend getting all of the books in the series and reading them in order.
Marietta Gatti is forced from her husband's estate after his untimely death. While it's a bit of a shock, this also gives her the freedom she's yearned for. Her late husband never truly loved her, her mother-in-law certainly made it known that she was unliked. What hurts is that her father never responded to her in the years she was in that insufferable situation. She left angry that her father pushed her into this marriage, but he's all she has left. She returns to Venice to find her father and hopefully restore their relationship.
In Venice, Marietta learns her father died, yet those closest to him are saying he has to have been murdered. The police are not doing anything about it, so Marietta begins to investigate his death. When one of his closest friends also dies, Marietta knows something is wrong. Worse, her prime suspect is a man she's becoming quite fond of.
Venice in the Moonlight is a very short mystery/romance. Despite its brevity, it comes off as an intriguing, well-rounded mystery. It's set in 18th century Italy, and I loved the change of pace. Most historical romances take place in England, so I grow tired of the same old setting. Having this historical take place in Italy definitely drew me in. It's more mystery than romance, but that's definitely not a bad thing. All in all, the story, setting, and characters make this a very worthwhile story.
Become a Mental Athlete is a very short, easy-to-follow guide into giving your brain a workout. Each chapter is short, spanning only a few pages per topic. Topics include:
Building mental stamina
Programs/software designed to help improve memory skills
For me, this material is all common sense. Perhaps my job writing press releases and blog for some medical professionals has me a little more in tune with this subject, but everything came down to being things people already know. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for brain health. Stress isn't good for the mind or body. Sleep is important for your mental health.
If those subjects seem like things you never knew, I think you'll find Become a Mental Athlete to be a valuable read. Otherwise, I doubt you'll find any content you didn't already know.
I've actually helped neighbors make maple syrup when I was a teen, so I know a lot about the process. Stephen and Alison Anderson, owners of Wisconsin's Anderson's Maple Syrup, have written a very detailed, easy-to-follow guide into maple syrup. It covers everything you need to know from identifying the right trees to preventing contamination.
There are 11 chapters in all. They include:
History of Maple Syrup
Identifying and Tapping Maple Trees
Filtering and Bottling Syrup
Cooking on an Evaporator
Collecting Sap With Tubing
End of Season Care
Designing a Sugarhouse
Grading and Selling Your Syrup
Making Other Maple Products
Anderson's Maple Syrup is a third-generation business so they do know what they're doing and their advice is sound. The one thing I wanted to mention, if you're in Vermont, Vermont legislators apparently didn't feel dealing with the economy and job loss was enough, and last year, they decided to spend time revamping Vermont's grading system by sticking closer to the IMSI guidelines and eliminating all Grade B ratings saying that consumers do not want Grade B because they view it as inferior quality.
In Vermont, you are no longer supposed to use Grade A, Grade A Fancy, Grade B, etc. Now you use "Golden," "Amber," "Dark," and "Very Dark." No one knows what happens when syrup makers buck the system and stick to the terms Vermonters know. It is worth considering your market though. I've been in Vermont for decades, and I want Grade B syrup. I'll be sticking to local farms that stick to the terminology I know and who offer the Grade B syrup that I enjoy.