Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: The Courier – Heart Pounding Thriller

The Courier

By Gordon J. Campbell

To say Gregg Westwood is having a bad day is an understatement. His secure job as a medical supply rep in Japan has been abruptly terminated.  After the bad news, he stops at one of his favorite watering holes, the Officer’s Club on the United States Airforce base in Tokyo. Gregg joins a couple of acquaintances for a drink. This decision will change his life.

These two men purportedly working for the US government’s finance and accounting group are actually members of a US intelligence agency. Over lunch the next day they offer Gregg a job as a courier. It is fast and easy money for what they describe as a mini vacation, traveling to other countries business class, delivering parcels than returning home to his family.

Gregg accepts the offer and is soon off to deliver the package. What he hasn’t bargained for are the assassins on his tail. He has unwittingly become a huge part of stopping an international drug ring, having street thugs attempting to kill him and will be called on to rescue someone he dearly loves before his job is complete. Before the last pages, Gregg will transition from courier to mercenary out of necessity and self-preservation. This is the beginning of his new life.

To say The Courier is a fast-paced thriller does not do it justice. The action never ends and it perfectly compliments the plot. Just when you think Gregg is going to be captured or killed, he lives to fight another day like a modern-day James Bond.

The characters are diverse and engaging. Some of them are decidedly creepy and determined to get a literal boatload of illegal opioids into the US. Adding reality to the character’s profiles brings them to life on the pages.

The Courier is destined to become a best-seller and I envision a blockbuster movie in the future. As we all know the book is always better than then film, so enjoy the masterful story before it hits the big screen. This is the first book I’ve read by Campbell and the first book in a series. I cannot wait to read the next Gregg Westwood boo

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for a fair and honest review. See it here: https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/the-courier-gordon-campbell

Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: Southern Harm – Murder Too Close to Home in this Cozy

Southern Harm

A Southern B & B Mystery

By Caroline Fardig

Finding the perfect Christmas gift for her boyfriend Tucker’s Aunt Lela perplexed Quinn. When Tucker come up with the idea of making an outdoor firepit for his aunt to enjoy during the colder days in Savanna, Quinn knew it would be perfect. They started right away, even though a hot spell was blanketing the area. The sweltering heat had them sweating in Lela’s back yard, but when human bones were dug up as the work began things really heated up.

Aunt Lela is promptly arrested after the bones are identified as her teenage neighbor that went missing years ago. Apparently, Lela thought her ex-husband had a fling with the young girl and went so far as torching her car to keep her away from him. That gave the police motive and opportunity for the arrest.

Tucker is devastated, but reluctantly agrees to let Quinn and her sister, Delilah do some amateur sleuthing to see if they can turn up any evidence that his aunt is not guilty. Even though he is uncomfortable with the situation, the girls convince him to let them dig into the dead girl’s past. This ruffles the feathers of more than one of Savannah’s elites, including his parents.

The further the investigation progresses, the closer it gets to home. Two more people are arrested in conjunction to the murder, making it more personal to the girls than before. They will not stop digging into the past, no matter how dangerous it is, until the truth is revealed.

This fast-paced cozy mystery is full of red herrings and plot twists. Each of the suspects have motive and opportunity. Like all cozies, the main characters only solve mysterious murders in their spare time. Quinn and Delilah are the owners of a B&B along with their grandfather. True to life, they have to make the guests breakfast and work the check-in desk, making them well rounded and interesting.

Fardig is a prolific writer and her expertise as a cozy mystery author shines in this series as well as the others she has written. I have read several books in her Java Jive series and thoroughly enjoyed them. Southern Harm is the second book in the series, but read well as a stand-alone cozy. I highly recommend this book as well as this author.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: My Little Crocheted Christmas – Adorable Decorations and Gifts to Crochet

My Little Crocheted Christmas

Festive Projects to Make the Season Bright

By: Doerthe Eisterlehner

Most people that crochet have stashes of yarn. Little bits that are too much to throw away, but not big enough to make a blanket or scarf. My Little Crocheted Christmas will help you clear out your stash by creating adorable Christmas gifts and decorations. From cute little pencil toppers to cozy wrist warmers you can create lovely handmade gifts and decorations with very little yarn.

Each project has beautiful color pictures as well as step-by-step instructions. The difficulty level is clearly listed as well as the list of materials needed.

The patterns are grouped together in sections. The first section is “Sweets” which includes a wreath and Advent Calendar to create. Next comes “Gift Ideas”. These include an adorable stuffed fox, finger puppets and a cute cozy for the coffee lovers on your Christmas list. Lastly is “Decorations”. I love the little Santas and snowmen. They will make a cute addition to a wrapped gift and then can be used as ornaments after the gift has been opened.

There are bells and ornaments as well as an entire crocheted Nativity scene. It would be perfect for small children to play with during the holiday season and perhaps all year. When my children were young, they wanted to touch and play with Christmas decorations.  We always had a few they could play with because that keeps everyone happy. The Nativity set is perfect for youngsters to touch and play with – nothing breakable and just the right size for small hands.

Eisterlehner’s book is just what crocheters need to kick off the holiday season and clear out their stashes. There are projects that range from beginner to experienced, with a wide variety of projects to choose from.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: Meditative Origami – Finding Mindfulness Through Coloring & Origami

Meditative Origami

Finding Mindfulness Through Coloring & Origami

By: John Montroll

Montroll brings a new twist to origami by combining adult coloring with origami. Both of these art forms are mindful and meditative. The ancient craft origami is used to help concentration as well as enhance mindfulness. Coupled with coloring, which is known for stress relief. Honestly, everyone needs to take a break from electronics for a while each day and take a breath. Meditative Origami will help you do just that.

The only instructions you need to know before getting out your colored pencils, markers or crayons is to note the shaded areas so you know which side of the paper will be folded.

There are detailed instructions included to create animals, birds and other simple origami structures. Be sure to check out page 7 as all of the basic folds are explained. Each has step-by-step written instructions along with illustrations. I like the arrows showing which way to properly fold each of them.

Meditative Origami is a great way to unplug and relax. So many of us don’t feel as though we have the time to do so, but it is really important to take care of yourself. Grab the kid’s crayons after they go to bed and just take a bit of time for yourself. There is something soothing about connecting with an ancient craft after a crazy electronic day – give it a try, you just might like it.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: Patchwork Quilt Designs Coloring Book – Inspiration For Your Next Quilting Project

Patchwork Quilt Designs Coloring Book

By: Carol Schmidt

Patchwork quilts are a piece of American history dating back to the eighteenth century. Our forefathers knew how to reuse and recycle before it became popular today. It was a necessity and way of life.

Quilting has made a resurgence. Works of art are created with bits of fabric thoughtfully planned and placed together to create a beautiful mosaic. Quilters are inspired by new and old patterns, much like the ones depicted in Carol Schmidt’s Patchwork Quilt Designs Coloring Book.

 The 31 pages of designs to color represent many of the classic quilting patterns. Everything from Tumbling Blocks to Dutch Rose are included. Each perforated page can become your personal work of art by using pens, crayons, markers or colored pencils.

Perhaps you are a quilter. The pages might inspire you to try a new design. Or maybe you are contemplating a new color scheme. What better way to work it out than on one of the quilt designs in this book?

Non-quilters will also enjoy the classic, simple shapes on the pages. Unlike most adult coloring books, most of these designs are not comprised of small spaces. There are a few pages that have smaller details, but for the most part the use of color and shades will be the star of your completed pages. This is a plus for anyone that may have trouble seeing the smaller spaces as well as those that want the colors to be the focus of the finished page.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: Paper Animals in Action – Make a Moving Menagerie for your Kids

Paper Animals in Action

By: Rob Ives

How would you like to create a paper Flying Pig for your kids? You can create that and many more animals with Ives’ Paper Animals in Action. By using household items like clothes pins and paperclips along with the model parts included in the book, you will love the menagerie of moving paper animals you can create to entertain your children or grandchildren.

By opening and closing the clothes pins, your child will be able to make a goose fly, a penguin flap his wings and a dog nod his head. There are twelve different animals, with step-by-step instructions for adults to create them.

The instructions are clear and easy to follow. By reading through the instructions as well as looking at the step-by-step color illustrations, adults will have no problem making each of the paper animals. I suggest surprising your youngster with the completed animal unless he or she is extremely patient.

Each animal will have to be cut out, scored and folded. Paperclips need to be bent and glue has to set. While the construction is not difficult, I know my grandchildren would be hopping around “helping” and asking when it would be done. They do not have the patience to wait for glue to dry, nor should they be expected to at their ages.

My suggestion would be to create a few of these adorable paper animals after your child goes to bed. He or she will be delighted to wake up to a zoo of moving animals to play with.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: Tracking Game – Latest in the Timber Creek K-9 Series

Tracking Game

A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery

By Margaret Mizushima

Deputy Mattie Cobb is called away from a community dance and the arms of Cole, the man she has fallen in love with, to investigate a suspicious fire. Upon reaching the scene, Mattie and her K9 partner, Robo, find something far more sinister. One of the locals is found dead next to his burning vehicle and another respected member of the community has a head injury after being hit with shrapnel from the explosive fire. To make matters worse, they soon discover this was no accident.

So begins the trail of lies and deceit that Mattie and Robo have to follow to bring the criminals to justice. Other crimes are revealed which leads to the Timber Creek sheriff’s department bringing Glenna Dalton, the new wildlife manager in their area, into the picture. It will take all of them working against the clock to prevent another killing, not to mention apprehending the person or persons responsible for all of these crimes.

Meantime, Mattie and Cole’s relationship has heated up. Not wanting to push her, Cole is patient but open about his love for her. Mattie knows she loves Cole, but cannot say the words he so longs to hear. Her family history has built a wall around her heart. She truly loves Cole and must learn to move beyond her past to take steps towards their future.

Tracking Game is a fast-paced mystery. The plot unfolds beautifully throughout the story, urging the reader to read just one more chapter late into the night.  I love mysteries with several viable suspects and this book delivers. Mizushima gives us suspicious locals and outsiders of the community. Any one of them could be the killer, but you will have to wait until the last chapters for the bad guys to be satisfyingly revealed.

This is the second book I’ve read in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series. Previously I read Burning Ridge, the first book in the series. Somehow, I missed the other books, but I did not feel confused by not having read the entire series in order. Tracking Game reads fine as a stand-alone. But if you love the plot and characters as much as I do, you will undoubtedly want to read all of the books in the series.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review