Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Happy Harry by Barbara Lampert


*Happy Harry by Barbara Lampert
Publisher: Golden Wolf books
Genre: Non-Fiction, Animal Essays
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

“Nobody who loves dogs will be able to resist your book! A magnificent love story!” – Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, international bestselling author of Dogs Never Lie About Love and When Elephants Weep.

In her dog memoir “Happy Harry: A Magical Golden”, psychotherapist Barbara Lampert, a lifelong dog lover, tells the story of her beloved Golden Retriever, Harry. Like her first dog memoir, Harry’s story comes from her mostly uncensored daily journal and takes place in Malibu, California.

Harry was a genuinely free spirit – wild, and very wolf-like. Did all this contribute to his being exceptionally happy? Perhaps.

Harry was not only the happiest being Barbara’s ever known, happy to the very core of him, but also the bravest. More than once in his life, Harry had to face true adversity, and each time, Barbara would look at him in wonder, not fully understanding how a being could be so brave and at the same time continue to be so happy.

Harry literally pranced through life, with a joyous attitude that made being around him like magic. Barbara fell in love with Harry. And as you immerse yourself in Harry’s story, it’s likely you will too! Happy Harry is unforgettable!

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

*Happy Harry by Barbara Lampert


*Happy Harry by Barbara Lampert
Publisher: Golden Wolf books
Genre: Non-Fiction, Animal Essays
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

“Nobody who loves dogs will be able to resist your book! A magnificent love story!” – Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, international bestselling author of Dogs Never Lie About Love and When Elephants Weep.

In her dog memoir “Happy Harry: A Magical Golden”, psychotherapist Barbara Lampert, a lifelong dog lover, tells the story of her beloved Golden Retriever, Harry. Like her first dog memoir, Harry’s story comes from her mostly uncensored daily journal and takes place in Malibu, California.

Harry was a genuinely free spirit – wild, and very wolf-like. Did all this contribute to his being exceptionally happy? Perhaps.

Harry was not only the happiest being Barbara’s ever known, happy to the very core of him, but also the bravest. More than once in his life, Harry had to face true adversity, and each time, Barbara would look at him in wonder, not fully understanding how a being could be so brave and at the same time continue to be so happy.

Harry literally pranced through life, with a joyous attitude that made being around him like magic. Barbara fell in love with Harry. And as you immerse yourself in Harry’s story, it’s likely you will too! Happy Harry is unforgettable!

You don’t have to be a lover of Golden Retrievers to find this story captivating, but if Goldens are your favorite dog, you will thoroughly enjoy this story about Harry the rambunctious, precocious and fun-loving Golden Retriever.

When I first saw this book about Harry, a Golden Retriever I knew I had to read it. I have raised four Goldens throughout my life and currently have Charlie, a two-year-old Golden Retriever. So many things Barbara Lampert wrote about resonated with me. I could relate to so many of her experiences with Harry. The descriptions of Harry are funny and poignant. The writing is entertaining and interesting, and I fell in love with Harry along the way. The story chronicles Harry’s life from the time he is adopted at nine weeks, until his death. Harry is a typical friendly Golden Retriever, and I enjoyed reliving Barbara’s experiences with him. Her love of dogs and how much Harry touched her heart is evident in her writing.

Barbara takes us on a thoughtful and insightful journey. It is a beautiful tribute to Harry and made me laugh at all his crazy antics and cry when his end was near. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a sweet, feel good, well written story. This story touched my heart and made me want to give my dog a hug and make sure I enjoy the time he is with me.

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March Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Fog Ladies: Date with Death by Susan McCormick


The Fog Ladies: Date with Death by Susan McCormick
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Chamomile

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

The Fog Ladies are at it again, spunky senior sleuths and an overstressed young medical resident solving murders from their elegant apartment building in San Francisco. They join a senior dating group, and romantic intrigue soon turns to murder. Graham Parselle, lady killer extraordinaire, plunges off a cliff on a Senior Singles outing. Did one of his dates pitch him over? Or is Olivia Honeycut’s new beau to blame?

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

The Fog Ladies: Date with Death by Susan McCormick


The Fog Ladies: Date with Death by Susan McCormick
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Chamomile

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

The Fog Ladies are at it again, spunky senior sleuths and an overstressed young medical resident solving murders from their elegant apartment building in San Francisco. They join a senior dating group, and romantic intrigue soon turns to murder. Graham Parselle, lady killer extraordinaire, plunges off a cliff on a Senior Singles outing. Did one of his dates pitch him over? Or is Olivia Honeycut’s new beau to blame?

Upon picking this one up, I knew I was in for a fun read. These ladies are a hoot and I loved getting to join them for this exciting mystery! I haven’t read the others, but found that I was able to follow along without trouble and got to know the ladies who formed the group of friends lovingly referred to as ‘The Fog Ladies’ fairly easier regardless, Still, if the others are as much fun as this one, I recommend reading them all, and in order to get the most enjoyment out of the series!

The Senior Singles sound like a fun place to make friends, enjoy outings and events together, and maybe even find that special one. Dating over sixty is no walk in the park, and the Fog Ladies are intrigued when one of them mentions the group. What sounds like harmless fun quickly becomes a quest to find a killer and the ladies are on the hunt!

The humor in this one made this story, and I loved meeting these ladies and getting to join in in the fun at their impromptu meetings! I loved the differing personalities and even enjoyed Sarah and Chantrelle’s special place in the story. And Boris, we can’t forget Boris!

The mystery was intriguing, and I loved unraveling it along with the Fog Ladies! While I did guess the killer before it was revealed, I admit the story kept me guessing for a while which is always a treat in a mystery! I tend to peg the killer pretty early on, so the twists and surprises in this one provided a fun puzzle to unravel.

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Perfectly Fine Neighborhood edited by Kayleigh Dobbs, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Wile E. Young


The Perfectly Fine Neighborhood edited by Kayleigh Dobbs, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Wile E. Young
Publisher: French Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, LGBTQ, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary, Horror
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

For all of human history ghosts were real and they were everywhere. Then, one day, after a horrible cataclysm, they all disappeared.

That was the story of THE PERFECTLY FINE HOUSE.

But there are more tales to be told from that world. And a thrilling lineup, ranging from horror legends to relative newcomers, have joined forces to bring you:

– a roadside attraction featuring a real, dead serial killer

– a pair of twisted sisters whose sibling rivalry only begins with suicide

– a hitman hired to facilitate a ghostly sexual liaison

And more!

The first unhaunted house was just the beginning. Come, stake your claim in…

THE PERFECTLY FINE NEIGHBORHOOD

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

The Perfectly Fine Neighborhood


The Perfectly Fine Neighborhood edited by Kayleigh Dobbs, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Wile E. Young
Publisher: French Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, LGBTQ, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary, Horror
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

For all of human history ghosts were real and they were everywhere. Then, one day, after a horrible cataclysm, they all disappeared.

That was the story of THE PERFECTLY FINE HOUSE.

But there are more tales to be told from that world. And a thrilling lineup, ranging from horror legends to relative newcomers, have joined forces to bring you:

– a roadside attraction featuring a real, dead serial killer

– a pair of twisted sisters whose sibling rivalry only begins with suicide

– a hitman hired to facilitate a ghostly sexual liaison

And more!

The first unhaunted house was just the beginning. Come, stake your claim in…

THE PERFECTLY FINE NEIGHBORHOOD

If you love paranormal horror, I have quite the treat for you!

One of the biggest strengths of this anthology had to do with the wide variety of approaches the contributors took to the theme. A few of them were a little too gory for my tastes, but I still found their stories to be well written and memorable. Horror fans who love the bloody side of the genre may have completely different responses to them, of course, and I thought it was wonderful that so many different writing styles and horror subgenres were included to suit all sorts of readers. I wish I had space in this review to cover every tale, but I will have to limit myself to only speaking about three of them for the sake of brevity.

In “Jurisdiction,” Eddie and his fellow officers tried to figure out who or what had been killing ghosts. I thought the premise of this tale was a clever one, and I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the conclusion. Eddie’s interest in this case overshadowed everything else in his life, including his relationship with his partner. This was an interesting way to realistically showcase some of the protagonist’s flaws while also keeping the pacing strong and steady until the final scene. I was left yearning for more and would love to read a sequel if Mr. Vincent ever decides to write one.

Thomas decided to kill his wife in “The Perfectly Fine Family” so that she could join him in his peaceful afterlife. Honestly, that was not a decision I would expect a ghost to make, so I was immediately sucked into his story as he planned out the ideal way to ensure he and Marie would be together forever. There was a surprising streak of humor in the storyline as well that suited the characters perfectly. Horror and humor should be mixed together more often in my opinion!

While I generally shy away from stories about serial killers, “Addict to Slaughter” had such a creative spin to the topic that I soon became insatiably curious to find out more about John Miller and his terrible compulsion to kill others. The twist showed up early and will probably be something most horror fans figure out early on. Knowing there is more to his life that meets the eye was all I needed to remain interested.

The Perfectly Fine Neighborhood was deliciously scary.

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto


The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto
Publisher: Level Best Books
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Movie star Nicky Tallon selects architect Wren Fontaine to renovate Turnbull House, where he’ll be filming his next movie. Even to Wren, used to old homes, this one is special: a 200-year-old federal-style home on a private island in New York harbor, designed by the most celebrated architect of the day. But Turnbull House hides many secrets, such as the disappearance of the sea captain who built it. That’s just a historical curiosity, until a studio executive no one likes is killed.

Wren just wants to keep her worksite safe, but then another murder occurs, and she starts noting eerie connections between the mysteries surrounding the Turnbull family and Nicky and his entourage. The handsome star seems to have two girlfriends, a childlike folk singer and a cynical fashion model. Meanwhile, renowned actress Veronica Selwyn renews a friendship with Wren’s father, which Wren finds more disturbing than she wants to admit. She concludes it’s time she and her girlfriend Hadley take the next step and find a place together, an exciting but stressful change.

As the attacks continue, Wren realizes she will have to solve the mysteries surrounding Captain Turnbull and Nicky Tallon. Turnbull House speaks of order and harmony, and Wren must dig deep to see how the house has affected its owners, old and new. Fortunately for her, the eminently practical Hadley is by her side, pepper spray at the ready—because a frighteningly clever killer is about to find that Wren is getting too close to the horrific truth.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto


The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto
Publisher: Level Best Books
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Movie star Nicky Tallon selects architect Wren Fontaine to renovate Turnbull House, where he’ll be filming his next movie. Even to Wren, used to old homes, this one is special: a 200-year-old federal-style home on a private island in New York harbor, designed by the most celebrated architect of the day. But Turnbull House hides many secrets, such as the disappearance of the sea captain who built it. That’s just a historical curiosity, until a studio executive no one likes is killed.

Wren just wants to keep her worksite safe, but then another murder occurs, and she starts noting eerie connections between the mysteries surrounding the Turnbull family and Nicky and his entourage. The handsome star seems to have two girlfriends, a childlike folk singer and a cynical fashion model. Meanwhile, renowned actress Veronica Selwyn renews a friendship with Wren’s father, which Wren finds more disturbing than she wants to admit. She concludes it’s time she and her girlfriend Hadley take the next step and find a place together, an exciting but stressful change.

As the attacks continue, Wren realizes she will have to solve the mysteries surrounding Captain Turnbull and Nicky Tallon. Turnbull House speaks of order and harmony, and Wren must dig deep to see how the house has affected its owners, old and new. Fortunately for her, the eminently practical Hadley is by her side, pepper spray at the ready—because a frighteningly clever killer is about to find that Wren is getting too close to the horrific truth.

The intriguing characters we meet at the opening of The Turnbull Murders grabbed this reader’s interest right away. R.J. Koreto described this new work as a ‘Historic Homes Mystery,’ and I for one, never imagined what a super backdrop architecture could be for a murder.

Our lead character, Wren, is as you have might have already guessed, an architect- but a special sort, with an interest not only in the history of certain styles of homes, but in the specific homes she is asked to restore. The home she tackles on Turnbull Island is that perfect icon of murder locations: it’s isolated. And, it has this sort of haunting back-story…none of which prepares either our lead, or the reader, for the first murder.

The investigation, while important, still takes a backseat to Wren’s interaction with her employer and his entourage. The world of the theater is another whole interesting part of the setting.

Wren’s girlfriend is incidentally involved at the start, as her job brings her to the same location. There’s a touch of family involvement, new friendships, and suddenly something that seems like another murder attempt. The threat looms and is cleverly tied to a long past mystery on Turnbull Island.

R.J. Koreto is brilliant at keeping the plot turning, all the while, keeping our attention on all these other, totally engaging, details. It’s hard to keep clues in mind while you are being entertained by gossip! To quote one of the characters: “Wow, just wow.”

This is a wonderful read, not only for mystery fans, but for anyone. It’s fast paced, with well-developed characters and an impossible to predict plot. Recommended!

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Day Before Tomorrow by Monique Britten

The Day Before Tomorrow by Monique Britten
Publisher: Tellwell Publishing
Genre: Historical Literary Fiction
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Juliette and George Morgan know all about Living the Good Life. As the town’s newest ‘it’ couple, they succeed in transforming the otherwise sleepy farming community of Rickshaw into a hotbed for musical talent and social enterprise. A poignant and beautifully layered tale, the Day Before Tomorrow is a portrayal of an era once removed, yet not forgotten – from the early to late seventies – with much of the story taking place within the Morgan family’s domestic locus and the community in which they live. Relationships become so intricately woven, adult and adolescent lines become blurred and an illicit connection between teacher and student builds into hidden, often disturbing scenes of love, secrets and human experience. When the Morgan’s future essentially falls down in mid-flight, the family is forced to cope with not only trauma, but coming of age and ultimately moving away from their safe haven of Rickshaw. An indictment of survival, shattered innocence, death, love and optimism, this tale is one that will transport your mind, speak to your heart and stay in both long after you have closed the cover.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

The Day Before Tomorrow by Monique Britten

The Day Before Tomorrow by Monique Britten
Publisher: Tellwell Publishing
Genre: Historical Literary Fiction
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Juliette and George Morgan know all about Living the Good Life. As the town’s newest ‘it’ couple, they succeed in transforming the otherwise sleepy farming community of Rickshaw into a hotbed for musical talent and social enterprise. A poignant and beautifully layered tale, the Day Before Tomorrow is a portrayal of an era once removed, yet not forgotten – from the early to late seventies – with much of the story taking place within the Morgan family’s domestic locus and the community in which they live. Relationships become so intricately woven, adult and adolescent lines become blurred and an illicit connection between teacher and student builds into hidden, often disturbing scenes of love, secrets and human experience. When the Morgan’s future essentially falls down in mid-flight, the family is forced to cope with not only trauma, but coming of age and ultimately moving away from their safe haven of Rickshaw. An indictment of survival, shattered innocence, death, love and optimism, this tale is one that will transport your mind, speak to your heart and stay in both long after you have closed the cover.

This is a novel that will stay with me for a long time. A multi-generational novel of a family, their friends, and the effect illness and an illicit relationship had on them… not only in the time it happens but reaching through time. Things are linked in ways you might not expect when you open the book.

The story is told through vignettes, and, thankfully, the author is good about sharing what time we’re looking at in each segment.

The characters are well-drawn and three dimensional. You may love them and want to smack them at the same time. My favorite character was Juliette. I would have loved for her to be my best friend. And, her take on “the day before tomorrow” (the very best kind of day) resonates with me in so many ways.

There are so many layers and complexities that the story builds on and the ending is haunting. I highly recommend this book and am anxious to read more books by this author. Surprisingly enough, it appears this may be her debut novel – it’s so well-written I would have expected the author to be more experienced. Kudo for a job well done.

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