The Book Nook: Front Page Fatality

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Another Kindle purchase, Front Page Fatality, written by LynDee Walker, indulges in the “girl power” trope of being feminine but totally kick-ass.

Nichelle Clarke is the crime reporter for the Telegraph newspaper in Richmond, Virginia.  Lover of designer high heels and complicated puzzles, she finds herself neck-deep in a case of police corruption and missing evidence. Her life becomes even more complicated when one of her co-workers puts the on pressure to try and nab her job, and with the appearance of gorgeous but dangerous Joey. The deeper she goes, the more dangerous it gets. Exciting and engaging , we follow Nichelle down the rabbit hole. Where things are not quite what they may seem.

LynDee Walker’ s time as a journalist clearly displays itself in her writing. Her knowledge of all the behind the scenes elements add to the realism of the story, drawing the reader into Nichelle’ s world. I found Nichelle herself engaging. She reminds me of the women I grew up admiring. Attractive and concerned with her wardrobe but driven and intelligent, proving that you don’t have to be one or the other.

I enjoyed the challenge of the case although when the mystery perp was unmasked, I realised I didn’t have make quite the right guess. It is a mark of good writing that I was not made to feel stupid or disappointed by this fact. As was the tension and adrenaline I felt on Nichelle’s behalf during the climactic third of the book.

Front Page Fatality is an easy and engrossing read that tempted me into buying several of its sequels to follow Nichelle’s quest for glory and truth. Give it a chance and check it out!

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The Book Nook: Louisiana Longshot

Last September I won myself a Kindle Fire. With this little piece of technology you can download free samples and even whole books to read. This opened up a whole new doorway for my reading habits as I had been meaning to start reading more. The sampling ability allowed me to explore less well known American authors that I never would have discovered otherwise. One such example is Jana DeLeon, author of Louisiana Longshot.

Louisiana Longshot is the first in the Miss Fortune series. Set in the less than ordinary town of Sinful, Louisiana, the story follows the downright dangerous escapades of CIA agent Fortune Redding and her two elderly cohorts. After a bounty, complete with vendetta, was placed on her head, Fortune was taken off-grid and given a new cover as Sandy-Sue. The only problem being her cover was a complete mismatch to her and a murder was discovered right in her back garden! With the aid of two less than naive grey-hairs Fortune must solve the case yo save a friend AND keep her cover from being blown. Simple right? Not in a town where banana pudding rules all and the residents are beyond unusual.

What did I think? Well, I really enjoyed it. So much so that I bought the sequels too! I always wanted to be the tough girl on campus, being far too soft and squishy for my own good. It satisfied that part of me pretty well. It was like reading what Laura Croft might get up to if she had a personality and two old ladies to work with. Reading about Fortune’s inability to be girlie (or a civilian) made me feel much better about my own feminine shortcomings. Nothing overly challenging in the thinking department but a nice read for the summer time. Great fun!

The Book Nook: The Magnificent Devices Series

Volumes 1-4 of the Magnificent Devices Series concerns the tale of Claire Trevelyan and her struggles in becoming a lady and fulfilling her dream of attending university.

Fresh out of school, newly titled Lady Claire finds herself homeless and penniless after her father wagered everything on a combustion engine. While making her own way in the world she begins an unusual partnership with local gang who, throughout the course of the series, become very dear to her. The scientist Andrew Malvern provides her with encouragement and the opportunity to prove herself in the face of her mother’s disapproval and the uncomfortable situation she finds herself in with Lord James Selwyn suitor and asshat extraordinaire. Other colourful characters met along the way include: an airship captain with a talent for automatons, the inventor of the great Zepplin airships, a famous activist and her daughter, an unusual rich couple, and a missing father.

The  strength of our main character in the face of opposition is one of the things that kept me hooked on the story. Lady Claire is intelligent and resourceful in a pinch. Her strong bond with the people she loves makes her a very likable character. The writing is simple but enjoyable and the plot is thoroughly engaging. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first four in the series, in the following books the focus is shifted from Lady Claire to the Mopsies. Who, while they were a great source of fun, mischief and heart in the first four, didn’t appeal to me as leading characters in the latter books.

Steam power, trains, airships, adventure, romance, lost children, mechanics and diamond mines all weave together to make an entertaining read suitable for, and recommended to, any young lady of resources!

The Dude

Sometimes when you step out of your front door you will meet the most interesting people. My personal favourite example of this? Yesterday, I met what appears to be the real-life incarnation of The Dude!

Yesterday, I felt much less tired than I have done for a long while so I decided to take the dogs, Scrappy and Rocky, on a nice long walk down to the sea front. It’s about a half an hour walk from my home down to the beach and it was lovely sunny afternoon so I took my time and grabbed a coffee on my way. While meandering along the sea front I saw a very interesting looking person.

From a distance I thought he looked rather like a pirate with his long hair, loose white cotton shirt, and long brightly coloured scarf draped around his neck. For some reason, the dogs started barking and pulled me over to him. Once we started talking they stopped and stood very patiently, which was rather odd. I noticed, now that he was closer that he had knotted the end of his beard and had clearly been scouring the beach as he was carrying some seaweed and charcoal. The latter was sadly getting all over his lovely shirt.

He reminded me of The Dude in his manner. He was very relaxed, open and friendly in his manner. He spoke to me as an equal even though I must be sixty years his junior, easily. He just seemed like a really cool guy to be around and he liked my leather pencil skirt!. The oddest thing about our encounter was that I am an English Language student and he is an Etymology, the origin and history of words, professor in Ireland. Even when I come home for the summer I STILL can’t escape from language professors! We talked about everything from rescue dogs and tattoos, to nuclear science and his research and publications.

So, I guess the lesson I learnt was don’t be afraid to go outside and talk to people. You might meet someone truly amazing! This applies the guys I met back in Preston to. Looks like I might have an interesting summer after all!

The Book Nook: My favourite book

One of the things I loved to do as a child was read. My parents are both big readers. My dad has the tendency to read the same series and authors over and over and over while my mum has read all sorts over the years. During my first two years of high school I read two hundred books, one hundred books each year, a record I was quite proud of. I was going to continue the trend, but in my third year I made some good friends and stopped spending every spare moment in the library. It was my personal brand of escapism, especially during tougher times at school. I would read just about everything and anything. Fantasy and fiction were, and still are, my favourite genres. I think it has something to do with the endless possibilities and imagination that goes into them that just sucks me in.

My favourite book is a classic fiction written by Frances Burnett. My copy of A Little Princess is a 2-in-1 alongside one of her other most famous stories; The Secret Garden. As you can see, it’s a rather battered book as, for a while, I read it over and over.

My much beloved copy
My much beloved copy

My mum bought me this as a Christmas present in 2007. Interestingly, while I immediately fell in love with the rags-to-riches story of a young girl who became orphaned while at an all-girls boarding school, I could barely make it to the half way mark of The Secret Garden. Something about the way Burnett described Sara (our protagonist)’s inner strength during her struggle, and the loving characters that she befriended, appealed to me much more than the demanding, spoilt brat that is Mary Lennox. I admired Sara’s calmness when facing her bullying peers and teacher as I have always been a bit of a hot-head myself.

She is such a loving, sympathetic character I wanted to be like her. To be patient, kind to all, strong, sweet and full of imagination. In complete contrast to Mary Lennox of The Secret Garden who at the beginning of the book, if you will kindly remember, was quite the loathsome little creature. I think it is the strengths of our main character that made this book my all time favourite, though I was a little older than the target audience (I believe). The wonderfully colourful descriptions of the events and wonders that occurred to little Sara didn’t hurt in saving her place in my heart either!