The Only Girl in China

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Author: Eric Qiao

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Pages: 348

 

As a young boy, Ed was adopted out of a Chinese orphanage. He grew up living the privileged life in LA. As a young man, he has decided that he is going to find the sister that he left behind. Part of that plan involves going to teach in rural China, as part of a UNICEF mission, with fellow UNICEF teacher, Lorie. At their first break, Ed flies out to meet his PI and finds out some distressing news about what is believed to have happened to his sister. Rural China is not exactly his idea of a good time, so he decides to take off. Before he can make a clean break, however, a young girl is murdered. The main suspect: Ed. Now, he and Lorie decide that they must solve the mystery behind this crime, no matter what.

This is Qiao first novel, and I would say that it is a wonderful debut. The story is unique; a premise unlike any that I have read before. The main characters were fully developed, with the secondary characters having enough to them to get a sense of who they are and to be able to visualize them. The setting of this novel is mainly in a very remote area of China (think no electricity or running water), and the author did a spectacular job with his descriptiveness of the location. The only real criticism that I have, is that it could have used a bit more proofreading, as there were some errors that stood out while reading. It was definitely not enough to turn anyone off from reading it, though, as they weren’t abundant or major errors. Had I not known that this was a debut novel, I would not have guessed that this was his first outing. I would say that this is an author to watch!

 

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Turbo Twenty Three

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Author: Janet Evanovich

Series: Stephanie Plum

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Bantam

Pages: 304

 

Stephanie’s latest skip, who was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler, decided to hijack another one. This is what he was in the middle of doing when Stephanie and Lula found him. This time, it was a truck full of Bogart ice cream. Lula swears she can drive the truck, and when she crashes it, out falls a dead guy dressed up like a Bogart Bar. Ranger just happened to have been hired to do security for Bogart, and needs Stephanie to go undercover for him at Bogart and their rival plant. This means spending a lot of time with the hot man himself. This could put some stress on her relationship with the other hot man in her life, Trenton’s sexiest detective who she happens to be engaged to be engaged to. Meanwhile, Lula and Randy Briggs have decided to be Naked & Afraid, and Grandma Mazur has a new biker boyfriend in her life. This could all spell disaster, but it definitely means a wild ride!

This was much like the other books in the series. It is a great fast and easy read, if you are just wanting something fun and familiar. There still isn’t much satisfying progress in the relationship area, which I know frustrates many readers of the series. If you are one of them, this book will ultimately not make things better for you. This one was actually better for me than twenty-two was, I think. I put the last one down a lot, and this one seemed to move at a better pace. Overall, it was a good read, and a good contribution to the series.

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)

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Author: Janet Evanovich

Series: Knight and Moon

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Bantam

Pages: 336

 

Riley Moon, a native Texan and recent Harvard grad, has landed the job of her dreams working for the esteemed Blane-Grunwald company. She’s low on the totem pole, and her first “big job” ends up being basically a babysitting job to the eccentric recluse (but incredibly wealthy), Emerson Knight. Knight decides that he would like to see his gold that is supposedly being held at Blane-Grunwald. When it can’t be produced, along with a missing Grunwald brother, an investigation ensues. The head of that investigation: Knight and Moon. Their investigation leads them running for their lives, across the country, underground, in to the federal reserve, and more before they uncover the true plot.

I have always been a big fan of Janet Evanovich. Her Stephanie Plum series is one of my all-time favorites, I love Lizzie and Diesel, and I have long thought that she should have kept her Barnaby and Hooker series going. This one fell kind of flat for me. The premise was good, I just wasn’t as invested in these characters as I usually am, and it didn’t hold my interest. Was it worth reading? Absolutely! Am I glad that I borrowed it instead of buying it? Yes, because I most likely will not be re-reading it. Will I read the next one in the series? You bet! I love this author, so I will definitely give this series a second chance to make a good impression.

Louisiana Longshot (Miss Fortune, Book 1)

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Author: Jana DeLeon

Series: Miss Fortune Mystery

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Jana DeLeon

Pages: 248

 

Fortune Redding is a CIA assassin. Unfortunately for her, her name has been leaked, and now she is on a hit list. In order to keep her out of sight of those looking to claim the bounty on her, her boss sends her to Sinful, LA to pose as his niece who was supposed to go there to take care of a family estate. This situation puts Fortune well out of her element, but she does what she has to do. She finds herself posing as her complete opposite: a former southern belle beauty queen, who is now a librarian. She is barely starting to try to settle in, when the dog that came with the house digs up a human bone. This leads to her having to work with not only the hot, nosy local deputy, but the crazy old ladies that run the town (the Geritol Mafia), in order to solve the mystery.

This was a really fun read! It was especially enjoyable, for me, as I am originally from a small town in Louisiana, so I can see some of the things that are described in the book. Honestly, though, it would be fun for anyone looking for a quick, fun read with many laugh out loud moments. I would compare the feel and humor of this book to the Stephanie Plum or Diesel and Lizzy series’ by Janet Evanovich. If you are a fan of those, then you should really enjoy this.

Bad Monkey

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Author: Carl Hiaasen

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Pages: 400

 

Andrew Yancey was a detective with the Monroe County Sheriff’s office, until an altercation with his lover’s husband got a little out of hand. Now he has been reduced to an Inspector on the “roach patrol”. He also has an arm in his freezer. The detective in him doesn’t believe the story behind this arm, though, and he believes that is he can prove and solve the murder it will buy his way back in to his badge. It won’t be that simple, though. He will have to wade his way through a horde of kooky characters including the deceased’s wife and daughter, ambitious (to a fault) real estate developers, the aforementioned (now ex) lover, a crazy voodoo priestess, and of course, the bad monkey.

This was my first Hiaasen read, and was recommended and loaned to me by a friend. It will definitely not be my last! The setting/world was beautifully built and easy to imagine, and the characters were so well developed. The story was entertaining, and laugh out loud funny in many places. It had stories within the main plot that kept the mind working, and enough questions within it that I really wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

The Creeping

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Author: Alexandra Sirowy

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Fantasy

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 400

 

Twelve years ago, when they were six, Stella and her friend Jeanie disappeared while picking strawberries in Jeanie’s front yard. Stella returned, Jeanie didn’t. No one knows what happened to them, and it has become what the town, and Stella, are known for. Stella has no memory of what happened that day, and she is beyond trying to figure it out. She is over everything having to do with it. That is until the body of another little red haired girl shows up. Fragments of Stella’s memories begin to resurface, and she begins to try to remember, with the help of those around her. If you hunt for monsters, you will find them…

I really enjoyed this book! It wasn’t quite what I thought that it was going to be, from simply looking at the cover and reading the blurb in the bookstore, but it turned out to be really enjoyable. The writing flows really well, and the characters are really well written. I had a very clear picture of them and the setting while I was reading. I actually became really engrossed in it and read the last 250 pages in one sitting, and I love when I can do that. It has some really great twists in it, and when I thought I had it figured out, I didn’t. I recommend it!

Wicked Charms (Lizzy and Diesel, Book 3)

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Wicked Charms (Lizzy and Diesel, Book 3)

Author: Janet Evanovich/Phoef Sutton

Series: Lizzy and Diesel

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Bantam

Pages: 320

This series is a spin-off of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, which includes the hot “unmentionable”, Diesel. He teams up with sweet, cute Lizzy, who found out in the first novel in this series that she is also an unmentionable. Since the beginning, they have been attempting to find all of the Saligia stones. Lizzy is one of two people in the world who are able to “feel” the stones, and other empowered objects, when they are near. Diesel’s crazy, but charming, cousin, Wulf also wants the stones, and has the other person. In this novel, they are attempting to gain possession of the stone of Avarice. This stone makes the person in possession of it incredibly greedy. This leads to an all-out treasure hunt, some kidnapping, and complete mayhem and hilarity.

As this is a spinoff of the Stephanie Plum series, it is written in that same style. It holds within it Evanovich’s typical humor, mixed in with action and mystery. It is a fun, light read. It’s perfect if you need a little pick-me-up.