Category Archives: Book Reviews

Kill and Run by Lauren Carr

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Kill and Run by Lauren Carr Kill and Run by Lauren Carr
Narrator: C.J. McAllister
Series: Thorny Rose Mysteries #1
Published by Acorn Book Services on October 14, 2016
Source: iRead Book Tours
Genres: Mystery
Length: 11 hrs 1 min
Format: Audiobook
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Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

Before long, the case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to sift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

The mystery in Kill and Run was good. Carr lets you think you know who the bad guy is, right up until you’re wrong. Everything tied together, although some of the coincidences were a little tough to swallow. I don’t know why I thought this was going to be a cozy mystery, because it’s got a harder edge than that, which is not surprising considering Murphy is with NCI and a member of an elite secret force called the Phantoms. The tone of the narrator made it seem more like a thriller and less cozy, too. It does have a bunch of quirky animals, though, which is a cozy trait and the amateur sleuth – Jessica – who puts herself in dangerous positions.

There are a lot of characters in this. From Murphy and Jessica’s families to the military folks, it’s a lot to keep track of. I listened to the audio, I guess print and ebook versions have a cast of characters in the front, but I didn’t have access to that. For the most part, I could keep track of everyone, but it is a large cast. We do get to know the main characters well.

Jessica and Murphy are obviously in love and make a good couple. They’re both smart and their own people. I did find their pet names for each other a bit annoying. Oh, and let’s not forget that Jessica’s eyes are violet, as we’re told more than once.

It was a good mystery with lots of action and just enough clues. My main complaint is that it does rely a lot on coincidence to get everyone involved in the case. A solid read.

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About Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

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Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau
Published by Tanglewood on March 14, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Picture Book
Pages: 32
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Argyle Fox, with his signature style, wants to play outside on a springtime day, but the wind is wreaking havoc with his fun and games. As soon as he builds a card tower, climbs into a giant spider web, or takes up his pirate sword, here comes the wind: Woosh!

Mama Fox tells grumpy Argyle that if he thinks long enough, he will come up with something to do. Following his mother’s suggestion and inspired by her knitting, he works all the pieces of his day together and creates the perfect solution.

The story of Argyle teaches that failure is often a path to success and celebrates perseverance, creative thinking, and an old-fashioned springtime activity.

We woke up this morning to more snow and cold temperatures. Ohio’s weather has been crazy lately. I swear it was almost 60 yesterday. I needed some spring and Argyle Fox provides just that. It’s a windy spring day and Argyle Fox wants to play outside, but the wind ruins everything he tries to do, until he comes up with a solution.

It’s a fun cute book. I like the ingenuity it encourages. On the other hand, I don’t think wind should really ruin playing pirate or knight and I don’t think it was nice for the other woodland creatures to discourage his imaginative play. You don’t need a cardboard castle to pretend to fight a dragon. Or a paper hat to be a pirate. And I’m pretty sure building a tower of cards outside is never a good idea.

But, if the wind hadn’t made him grumpy during his other games, he wouldn’t have been able to figure out the perfect thing to play with or have been able to share his idea with his friends.

I like the illustrations.  The colors are nice, not overly bright, but not dull either. The cover gives a good example of the style. I also like how the pictures show us what happens when the wind blows, the text doesn’t have to.

It’s a good spring book and I think kids will be able to relate to Argyle Fox. He plays games they’re familiar with and I can even see using his “project” as a start for one of your own.

 

About Marie Letourneau

Marie Letourneau lives with her family on Long Island, NY. Marie studied fine arts at Hoftsra University’s New College where she earned her BFA. In 2006, her first book as both author and illustrator entitled, “The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres” (Tanglewood Books) won ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, Bronze Medal. She has done design work for (and appeared on) The Nate Berkus Show, and The Revolution with fashion icon Tim Gunn. In 2014, Marie was a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards for her stationery shop Le French Circus, on Etsy. She loves animals, beets, roller skating and plays roller derby. Marie is married with two children, they have two dogs and a cat.

Thursday’s Tale: The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog

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Thursday’s Tale: The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog
Published by Papercutz on April 4, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Graphic novel, Fairy tale
Pages: 80
Format: eARC
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The Little Mermaid is Hans Christian Andersen's most celebrated tale and is beautifully adapted here as a graphic novel by the Eisner award nominated duo Metaphrog (Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers).

The Little Mermaid lives deep under the ocean and longs to see the world above. When at last she is allowed to rise to the surface at age fifteen, she falls in love with a young prince. In order to become a human and to be with him, she makes a dangerous pact with the Sea Witch.

I’m always a little worried about re-workings of The Little Mermaid. So many of us have seen the Disney version and expect the happy ending for the prince and the mermaid. Metaphrog isn’t giving us a happy ending, they are sticking closer to the original by Hans Christian Andersen.

Our Little Mermaid does fall in love with a human prince and does make a deal with a witch, but the witch is not scary. The Witch is helping and warning our mermaid, but the mermaid still wants to have legs and the witch obliges at the cost of the mermaid’s voice. The mermaid does get to live in the prince’s palace, but the prince marries someone else. In the end, the little mermaid jumps into the sea, dissolves into foam and will live forever in the water. It’s a sad story really.

Metaphrog does cut out the more religious aspects of the original, which should make it appeal to a larger audience. The concept of souls that was so important in the original is left out here.

I loved the illustrations. They are gorgeous and full of detail. The underwater scenes are in shades of blue and green while the land scenes are warm oranges and reds. The mermaid’s feelings can be seen in her expressions. I found the panels easy to follow, which is not always the case, probably because I don’t read many graphic novels/comics.

I think this would be a good book to read with kids, but only if they are going to be okay with a the ending not being the happy wedding. My daughter would have been; I don’t know that my niece would enjoy it. It is beautiful though.

This spread is from early in the story, when the Little Mermaid is dreaming of the time she’ll be old enough to see what’s above the water.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

About Metaphrog

Metaphrog are Franco-Scottish duo Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers, award-winning graphic novelists.

Their Louis series has received several prestigious award nominations including three for the Eisner Awards (the Oscars of comics), and critical acclaim worldwide.

They tirelessly promote the medium of comics and their own work, travelling to deliver talks and workshops, They are Patrons of Reading at Northfield Academy from 2013 until 2017, the first graphic novelists to fill such a role, and were Writers in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2015.

They are winners of The Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 for Best Visual Artist.

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