Lenni Reviews: “The Mystery of the Curiosities” by C.S. Poe

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

In this sequel to Mystery of Nevermore; Snow and Winter are back!

Sebastian Snow is enjoying a peaceful life running his antique store and spending his free time with his boyfriend; detective Calvin Winter. But it all too soon turns back into an irresistible mystery when a cryptic message smashes through the window of Sebastian’s store. But when bricks with notes become dead bodies with notes, Snow and Winter must unravel the identity of the killer and why the suspect is connected to P.T. Barnum’s lost museum.

What a fun and wicked sexy ride! I got to geek out over an old-timey mystery, thrilled by the action, and moved by the romance. Calvin and Sebastian are cute without being annoying and they are a blast to follow through the book. Like spiked dark chocolate, this is a sweet romance with a kick. If I had a complaint, I would want more backstory on the villain. It had this very “That’s the one! Okay, BYE!” sort of feel. But this wasn’t a deal breaker for me. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief” by Lisa Tuttle

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review has been cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Finding herself in desperate need of a new job and place to live, Mill Lane happens upon an advertisement for a brave assistant with a good memory. After inquiring, Lane becomes the partner of Mr. Jasper Jesperson, a detective. Pickings are slim at first until a sleepwalker and the disappearances of several local psychics both fall into their laps. Now, it is up to Jasper and Lane to solve these seemingly unrelated cases.

This book is just good fun. Jasper is the sort of detective character who is smart, clever, and charismatic yet a bit irresponsible. Lane is also intelligent yet charmingly self-depreciating and together they make a formidable pair you will enjoy following though the story as it unfolds.

Although this genre is not my expertise, I think I can safely call this a cozy mystery and I has a lot of fun reading it. I was on the edge of my seat and I would love to read the next one when I get my hands on it. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Fine Summer’s Day” by Charles Todd

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Inspector Rutledge is sent to investigate a murder where the victim had no known enemies. The more he investigates, the less the case makes sense until two other seemingly unrelated men lose their lives in the same way and Rutledge is led on a strange case he must solve before breaks out all over Europe.

This is a very detailed and thrilling historical mystery. I enjoyed this despite mysteries not really begin my thing and this this being the seventeenth in a series had no effect on my understanding. This book stands just fine on it’s own.

There are a few frustrating parts; especially Rutledge’s fiancee, Jean, who knows she’s marrying a police officer yet is somehow all huffy when he has to go do his job yet wants him to enlist in the army as World War I looms? She’s such a superficial character I couldn’t wait for her scenes to be over so the adults could talk again. But it’s a well written, cozy mystery with other very intuitive, smart, and realistic characters. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Pathogen” by Jessica L. Webb

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is recommended 18+

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

In this second entry into the Kate Morrison Mystery Series, Dr. Morrison is tapped to solve a mystery surrounding a deadly viral outbreak in a rich little town called Hidden Valley. Working with her girlfriend; Sargent Andy Wyles, Kate scrambles to simultaneously treat her patients, find out how to stop the virus, deal with demanding rich people, and navigate her new relationship with Andy.

This is not the type of book I usually pick up as medical thrillers just aren’t my thing but this time I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. I found the collection of smart, capable people to be a relief. There are ill meaning characters and a pretty annoying bully but nobody working to solve this problem is grossly incompetent. Sometimes a stupid character will be used for plot purposes but not here.

Andy and Kate are a true power couple; quick thinking, intuitive, and well-developed but I do feel I would have needed to read the first book to get the full impact of what happens between them. This is especially evident in the ending (which I will not spoil) where the combined events and stresses of both books impact the ending. And as this is an LGBT novel, there is a little smut but the soul of this book is the medical mystery. It may not be my usual fare but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Haunting of Timber Manor” by F. E. Feeley Jr.

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated for 18+.

*This review is cross-posted at Otakus and Geeks.

Daniel Donnelly has sadly lost his parents in a terrible accident. He gets a phone call from his estranged aunt who tells him he is now heir to a fortune and a house called Timber Manor. On the way there, Daniel has to pull over in a huge storm and Sherriff Hale Davis – a native of the town near Timber Manor – helps him out. But the manor holds a dark and powerful secret that puts Daniel’s life in great peril

While Daniel and Hale make a good couple and you’re rooting for them, the novel makes a great ghost story. The tone is perfect for curling up in a blanket and reading this on a stormy night.It was good to have the story switch perspectives to get everyone’s thoughts on what’s happening but I feel the supernatural story development had more care put to it than the romantic development. Daniel and Hale have that insta-love thing going on that will bug you if that’s an aspect of romances that bug you.

And can Francine get a spin-off series!? PLEASE!!

Giving this a 3.7 out of 5.

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Finally Watched It: “Stranger Things”

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The subject of a series of unethical experiments, Eleven escapes her tormentors and is found by three young boys; Lucas, Dustin, and Mike. But Eleven isn’t the only escapee and with townspeople vanishing, the organization is hunting Eleven down.

That’s a pretty thin synopsis but I don’t wanna even attempt to give anything away. I don’t know what is going on with these little original series these days but WOW, are they impressive. The characters are written so well you relate to them immediately and the flow of this is on point. I won’t give away too much but I will say that the sheriff character in these types of shows can take entire seasons to deduce things but Jim Hopper is on the damn ball. And Winona Ryder as Joyce? She’s just amazing.  Even the kids make these fabulous performances.

The only bad thing about this is just a common writing thing where if the characters provided simple explanations, some misunderstandings would be avoided but that’s just a very, VERY minor gripe.

I get some serious Outer Limits, Twin Peaks vibes from this show and it trips my nostalgia switch being set in the early 80’s. This is yet another series where I am so glad I listened to people when they insisted I watch it. Completely worth my time and I look forward to season 2.

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Lenni Reviews: “Timing” by Mary Calmes

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Stefan Joss has been invited to be in his best friend’s wedding. Not only does his boss take this as a chance to take on a sales deal to the trip to Texas, Stefan has to deal with his friend’s brother, Rand Holloway; who has made no effort to restrain his hatred of Stefan. With the chaos of the wedding and meeting with his client, Stefan learns there is more to Rand’s feelings than hatred and his business deal ends up risking his life.

While meant as a romantic mystery kind of story like Mystery of Nevermore, the mystery in this book took far back seat to the romance. Not a criticism, just something I noticed. I can see either adding more of the mystery or taking it out entirely and just having the wedding be the backdrop that brings Stephan and Rand together.

Anyways, Rand as a hard-ass cowboy coming to terms with how he fucked up and will do his part to fix it and Stefan putting in effort too worked for me. I liked them both and I wanted to see them together. The smexy times are prevalent and positively indulgent so if you want a healthy dose of manluvin, this book is more than happy to dole it out along with some romantic sappiness.

When it came to the action/mystery parts, I kinda got whiplash. You’re crusin along in this lovey dovey romance and WHAM! Rape! Murder! Guns!

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“Well… That took an uncomfortable turn…”

Even so, I enjoyed this book. You can feel the love all over; even aside for our main pair. The details in describing ranch life (Rand owns a ranch) were written well enough to get a real feel for the setting and I ended this book with a cheesy grin because it was so damn sweet. 4 out of 5.

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Underrated Movies: “The Great Mouse Detective”

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I’ve been on a kick lately of making my kid watch the movies I grew up with to see if she likes them and if I still get any enjoyment out of them. We’ve done Return to Oz, Secret of NIMH, Jurassic Park, Labyrinth, and Flight of the Navigator so far. It’s been one heck of a trip for me, let me tell you. When I remembered this title, I couldn’t wait to pop it in.

Watching it now, it is certainly darker than I remember. When Olivia’s father is kidnapped, it’s scary, Rattigan orders one of his henchmen eaten alive by a cat, that henchman is shown drinking and is quite obviously drunk off his ass, Basil smokes AND drinks beer and there’s this part that I TOTALLY forgot about:

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Let’s face it; she’s a burlesque dancer.

She does a frikkin strip tease. That’s what it is. No sugar coating.

I am not saying these are bad things by any means but none of this would fly in a kid’s movie today. However, this sadly overlooked Disney film is so much fun and it’s a shame it’s not mentioned more often. There’s just something about older kid’s movies (some of them anyway) that seemed to expect more from the kids in the audience. Basil’s flagrant use of science, math, and SAT level vocabulary are offset by his huge ego and selfishness. Rattigan is genuinely frightening but he’s voiced by Vincent Price. He HAS to be scary then. Dawson is the perfect foil for Basil and Olivia isn’t just an annoying kid; she tries her best for just a child. The animation is beautiful, the story has layers I didn’t see before as a kid, and man I could SO see a spin-off TV series with this.

All in all, great movie that is just fun, heartwarming, and well done. It even got me talking about Sherlock Holmes, which now my kid wants to read. And hey, if a movie is good enough to inspire a 9 year old to read classic literature, I’m all for it.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Mystery of Nevermore” by C. S. Poe

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is intended for 18+

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Ever walk into work and find a pig heart under a dislodged floorboard? Me neither but Sebastian Snow has. Now he’s caught up in a mystery involving the works of Edgar Allen Poe and falling for the lead detective on the case – Calvin Winter – despite being in a rocky relationship with another cop, Neil Millett. More important than his now complicated relationships, Sebastian can’t resist being nosy and may very well end up the next victim.

First off, it was interesting having the main character; Sebastian, have achromatopsia. I didn’t know that was a thing and learning about it through our main character didn’t slow down the pacing of the book.

As for the rest, the mystery itself was compelling and I’m not a fan of mysteries. To be fair, it’s likely because I’m a literature geek and it was based around Poe’s work. Sadly, I have to take a point off for (er, spoilers, kinda?) damaging a rare book. I’m a bibliophile and a librarian. You just don’t hurt books.

But seriously, this book was a fast, fun, and naughty read. Sebastian and Calvin are characters you can empathize with and have a decent amount of chemistry. The mystery itself I can’t really comment on as I don’t have much experience in this genre but I found it interesting. I would consider reading more in this series in the future. 4 out of 5.

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