Monthly Archives: September 2012

Book Review – The Who’s Who Caper!

The Who’s Who Caper: Would You Switch Places With Your Double?

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Lee Duran
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Stranded at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, plain Jayne Roberts (spelled with the ‘Y’ she added during her sophomore year of high school to seem more interesting!) looked up to see her double at an airport counter.  Except this double, Samantha, was smartly dressed, professional, and extremely well made up.  She was, in a word, stunning!  After their eye’s meet, Jayne and Samantha talk and learn that not only do they look alike but they each have impending responsibilities they would like to avoid – Jayne’s dealing with her family while clearing her grandnanny’s house and Samantha’s signing of her divorce papers.  In a moment of uncharacteristic spontaneity, Jayne agrees to switch places with Samantha just long enough for each of them to complete the other’s work.  But when bullets start flying and Jayne is tempted by Samantha’s unbelievably attractive husband, our “plain Jane” wishes she could turn back the clock and return to her calm archivist job back at the T Howard Gladwell presidential library!

Lee Duran’s – The Who’s Who Caper – is a wonderfully original and inventive comedic romp!  Her wit and turn of phrase are sometimes subtle and at other times laugh out loud hysterical.  Both Jayne and Samantha are rich and complex characters and Duran gives them equal billing throughout.  The phrase “plain Jane” is certainly accurate for Jayne and I’m sure her name is no accident – picture a stereotypical librarian, very proper, with a soap opera view of love, whose greatest desire is to one day work in the national archives and you have Jayne.  Samantha is a life long con artist.  Put them together and what you get in The Who’s Who Caper is a double fish out of water story that is widely entertaining.

This is the first volume in the Doubletake Series, and I, for one, am looking forward to more of Jayne and Samantha’s adventures!

Note: A complimentary copy of this novel was provided in return for a review

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Book Review – The King’s Ransom

The King’s Ransom – Arthurian Middle Grade Adventure

Author: Cheryl Carpinello
Rating: 4 of 5
Format: Kindle

When the King’s ransom is stolen and one of his men murdered,young soon-to-be knights Gavin, Philip, and Bryan decide to make inquiries of their own.  But when they learn the man who introduced them and taught them swordsmanship is accused of the crime, their curiosity in the case turns deadly serious.  They vow to find the truth.  But time is running out.  King Arthur is soon to arrive, and if they have not learned the truth by then, their friend will be put to death!

Cheryl Carpinello’s – The King’s Ransom – is a wonderful page turning story that both boys and girls alike will enjoy.  This middle grade book introduces readers to the world of Arthurian legend through the eyes of its young protagonists.   Honor, friendship, mystery and adventure are all here and Carpinello keeps the pace moving; young readers will find it difficult to put the book down.  Her characters are exceptionally well developed and what I liked most is while each of them comes from very different backgrounds – the king’s son, the orphan whose family died of the plague, and the blacksmith’s apprentice – their friendship transcends their station and together they fight for what is right.

This volume is the first in what is sure to be a favorite series for young readers who are fans of this genre.  And lest you think this is a simple straight forward plot line, think again!  Carpinello throws in a couple of fun and entertaining plot twists at the end letting readers know, that there is much more to come!

Note: A complimentary copy of this novel was provided in return for a review.

Book Review: Fracture – The Secret Enemy Saga

Fracture: A Shadow World of Fantasy and Magic

Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Virginia McKevitt
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Only after her mother and step-father’s brutal murders and her subsequent encounter with a lion-esque man named Tegrin, does Kristina realize that her visions of a shadow world are more than just visions; they are a window across the fracture joining Earth and Patwain.  She learns from Tegrin of the evil that has crossed to Earth – The Couton – a beautifully angelic race gifted withe ability to steal memories.  Unfortunately, human memories are more potent than anything they had previously encountered.  Potent to the point of addiction as the incredible high peaks when every last memory extracted leaving behind a lifeless husk.  And now that the fracture and human memories are known to The Couton, it may be too late to stop them.

Virgina McKevitt’s, Fracture: The Secret Enemy Saga, is an interesting twist on the fantasy genre.  It is very difficult to take the majority of a story whose setting is in the “real world” and blend in fantasy characters and make it truly believable. Take the movie “Enchanted” for example, I was never committed to the premise because of this.  But there are exceptions like “Starman” that have such great characterization, that it is easy to believe and become completely absorbed in the story.  Fortunately, MCKevitt does this effortlessly.  Her characters are deep, complex, and compelling and their relationships evolve at just the right pace.  My only complaint would be the time spent in Patwain, it felt a bit abbreviated and I would have liked to have seen Kristina’s education and evolution of her ability explored a bit more.  However, I have hopes that this will come in future volumes of the story as this is the first in a series.

Overall, my favorite is character is Tegrin.  His soul is tortured in so many ways – his people’s history, the betrayal of his lover, the very nature of his job and responsibilities, and his deep belief that he onlyl to serve and does not deserve happiness.

For those who enjoy something a little different in the fantasy genre, check out “Fracture: The Secret Enemy Saga” and you too will be anxiously awaiting the release of the second volume.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for a review.