Ocean’s 8—Great Cast, Boring Plot

Ocean's 8 movie poster
Ocean’s 8

A group of thieves, led by conwoman Debbie Ocean, set out to steal a priceless necklace off the neck of a famous actress at the Met Gala. All-star cast led by Sandra Bullock.

1—Predictable Plot

When Debbie Ocean gets out of jail on parole, she sets about gathering a cast of criminals for the biggest heist of their lives. A heist that goes off without a hitch. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching Leverage reruns, but I was expecting something to go wrong at some point, and anticipated watching the criminals have to react on their feet. This is not what happened. There’s a few complications, but they get handled immediately, no alteration to the larger plan needed. Also, the title kind of gives away that an eighth person will unexpectedly join their ring. Continue reading “Ocean’s 8—Great Cast, Boring Plot”

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone—The Beginning of the End of the World

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning book cover
Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning

Warlock Homes: A Study in Brimstone, by G. S. Denning, is a fantastic, comedic take on Sherlock Homes, and is just as ludicrously fun as it sounds. Being the journal of one Dr. John Watson, it chronicles his first cases with the bumbling but powerful Warlock Holmes, and starts with John’s apology for ending the world.

1—The Characters

I loved the characters in this book. There is, of course, Dr. Watson, who narrates. Watson is observant and sarcastic—not to most of the people he speaks with, but to his reader, and, once comfortable with him, to Warlock. Next there’s Warlock Holmes himself, who is less than observant, and yet endearingly so. There’s Vladislav Lestrade, a nihilistic vampire and Scotland Yard detective, as is Torg Grogsson, an honorable ogre with a love of ballet dancers. There’s also a host of characters that don’t repeat from story to story, each with their own individual quirks. Continue reading “Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone—The Beginning of the End of the World”

In a Witch’s Wardrobe—The Woman in the Mirror

In a Witch's Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell book cover
In a Witch’s Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell

In a Witch’s Wardrobe, by Juliet Blackwell, is a cozy mystery set in San Francisco, told from the first-person perspective of Lilly Ivory, a witch and owner of a vintage clothing store. This time out, she’s helping a young woman under a sleeping curse.

I have also reviewed previous entries in this series.

1—Sleeping Beauties

We start out at a costume ball, where everyone is dressed up like from the 1920s. Lilly has gone with Aiden, the witch “Godfather” of the Bay Area, but when she runs into a young woman, Lilly gets a vision of the woman reaching out to her but covered in vines. Aiden tells her to leave it alone. Later, that same young woman falls into a coma in the ladies’ bathroom, and Lilly sees her spirit trapped in a bathroom mirror. Again Aiden tells Lilly to leave it alone. But Lilly is never one to shrink when she can help, and soon Lilly finds out that another young woman has died from this same curse. Continue reading “In a Witch’s Wardrobe—The Woman in the Mirror”

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman—Part2—From Vienna to Budapest

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss book cover
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, by Theodora Goss, continues the adventures of the Athena Club—a gathering of women who were all experiments and daughters of alchemists—from their meeting and formation of the Club in The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. This time out, the Club are trying to rescue another daughter-experiment, one Lucinda Van Helsing.

I’ve broken my review up into two parts partially because this book is a doorstopper and partially because the book itself is divided into two parts. The first part of my review can be found here.

1—When Last We Left Our Heroines

Mary, Diana, Justine, and an increasingly unstable Lucinda had disappeared, kidnapped by Mr. Hyde, who is Mary and Diana’s father. He’s had them taken to a crumbling castle in the middle of the Styrian forest. Hyde wants Lucinda’s blood, and is willing to take it at gunpoint, to try to save his patient. Continue reading “European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman—Part2—From Vienna to Budapest”

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman—Part 1—From London to Vienna

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss book cover
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, by Theodora Goss, continues the adventures of the Athena Club—a gathering of women who were all experiments and daughters of alchemists—from their meeting and formation the Club in The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. This time out, the Club are trying to rescue another daughter-experiment, one Lucinda Van Helsing.

I’ve broken my review up into two parts partially because this book is a doorstopper and partially because the book itself is divided into two parts.

1—The Setup

Mary Jekyll receives a letter from her old teacher Mina regarding the disappearance of Lucinda Van Helsing, spurring her and Justine—disguised as Justin—to leave early for Vienna and the home of one Irene Norton nee Adler, via the Orient Express. They also have to borrow money from Sherlock Holmes, Mary’s employer, which they all chafe at, but needs must. Meanwhile, Diana Hyde, Mary’s sister, sneaks along with Mary and Justine. Sherlock goes missing shortly thereafter. Continue reading “European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman—Part 1—From London to Vienna”

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter—Secret Societies, Murder, and Tea

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss book cover
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, by Theodora Goss, follows the meeting and adventures of the daughters and ’daughters’ of mad scientists in 1890s London. Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein, along with the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, investigate the murders of young women in White Chapel and their connection to the sinister Societe des Alchimistes.

1—Notes and Interruptions

The book is in epistolary format, ‘written’ by Catherine Moreau with commentary by the other girls. There’s an ‘Author’s Note’ at the end of chapter one, where Catherine explains the notes and why she’s kept them in the book—partly to help illustrate the characters of the various young women about whom she is writing and partly so you can see what she’s had to put up with while writing it. It’s very meta, but very entertaining. Continue reading “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter—Secret Societies, Murder, and Tea”

Black Cat Crossing—Bad Luck For A Killer

Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch book cover
Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch

Black Cat Crossing, by Kay Finch, is a cozy mystery that is told from the first-person perspective of would-be author Sabrina Tate as she tries to clear her aunt’s name of murder, as well as save a so-called “bad luck cat” from her aunt’s handyman.

1—Death on the River

When Bobby Joe Flowers comes back to town claiming to be Aunt Rowe’s half sister—and entitled to half of everything she inherited, including her rental cottage business—he shortly thereafter gets himself killed. Aunt Rowe is the prime suspect and Sabrina isn’t about to let her aunt go to jail, so she starts investigating on her own. There’s no shortage of suspects but a dearth of clues. Was it one of the many women Bobby Joe scammed, pretending to love them when he only wanted their money? Or was it the local Game Warden, who’s mother was Bobby Joe’s latest broken-hearted victim? And is there a connection between Bobby Joe’s death and the cold case of a young woman killed on the very same river behind Sabrina’s cottage? Continue reading “Black Cat Crossing—Bad Luck For A Killer”

Death by Dumpling—A Delicious Mystery

Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien book cover
Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien

Death by Dumpling, by Vivien Chien and the first in the A Noodle Shop mystery series, is a cozy mystery that follows Lana Lee’s amateur investigation into the murder of her family’s restaurant’s property manager Mr. Feng after Lana accidentally delivers him lethal dumplings.

1—The Plot

The plot kicks off when Lana’s mother’s best friend Esther comes running into the restaurant with news that Mr. Feng is dead. Initially everyone thinks it’s an accident—Mr. Feng had serious shellfish allergies. But Detective Trudeau, of the Fairview Park Police Department, thinks it was murder. What’s more, he seems convinced that the Lee’s cook, Peter, is the killer. Lana can’t believe that the boy she grew up with is a cold-blooded murderer and set out with her best friend Megan to prove him innocent. But Peter’s suspicious behavior casts doubt in even Lana’s mind. Continue reading “Death by Dumpling—A Delicious Mystery”

Caught Dead Handed—Psychics, Witches, and Murder in Salem

Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry A Witch City Mystery book cover
Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry

Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry is the first in the Witch City Mystery series. Told from the first person point of view of Lee Barrett, we follow her as she returns home to Salem, Massachusetts and becomes a TV psychic—and finds out she just might by psychic for real.

1—The Mystery

Lee gets her new job at WHICH-TV as host of Nightshades, where she introduces old movies and tv shows and takes calls from viewers, after the previous host, Ariel Constellation, gets killed. There’s another murder in town too and Lee is convinced they’re connected. What’s more, she’s started to see visions in Ariel’s obsidian ball. She’s also adopted Ariel’s cat—and witch’s familiar—O’Ryan. Continue reading “Caught Dead Handed—Psychics, Witches, and Murder in Salem”

The Resurrection Game—Family is Bloody Business

The Resurrection Game by Michelle Belanger book cover
The Resurrection Game by Michelle Belanger

The Resurrection Game, by Michelle Belanger, is the third Shadowside novel. An urban Fantasy told in first person perspective, it follows Zack Westland—the mortal name of the Anakim angel Zaquiel—as he battles one of his own brothers bent on revenge for an act Zack doesn’t remember committing.

1—Memory Troubles

Zack’s lack of memory is still getting him in trouble. He’s apparently done something to one of his Anakim brothers named Tashiel that’s set Zuriel on his hellbent quest for vengeance. Zuriel has sworn to destroy Zack’s life, to kill all those close to him. It starts with a woman named Marjory, a woman very important to Zack if for no other reason than she holds some of the keys to his past. Now Zack is looking for Marjory’s daughter and hoping he finds her before Zuriel does. Continue reading “The Resurrection Game—Family is Bloody Business”