Review: Black Velvet by Steven Henry

Black Velvet by Steven HenryBlack Velvet by Steven Henry

Series: The Erin O’Reilly Mysteries #1

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural, K-9

Setting: New York City

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2017

224 pages

Synopsis: Erin learned a lot from her partner: stay alert, follow your nose, and once you’ve got your teeth in them, never let go. 

It’s tough working nights with the NYPD. The crime rate is high, the hours are terrible, and forget about a personal life. So when Officer O’Reilly and her K-9 Rolf switch over to the day shift, things are looking up. She’s even able to find time for a new boyfriend. 

But when the theft of a priceless painting from the Queens Museum leaves a fellow police officer dead, Erin and her four-legged partner find themselves dealing with dangerous criminals, sleazy art dealers, and obstructive detectives in a race to capture the killers…and just maybe bring closure to a 75-year-old crime.

My thoughts

This is the first book I’ve read by Steven Henry and I liked it. There’s already another book in this series and I plan to read it.

I like police procedurals and especially like ones that include K-9 dogs! Erin O’Reilly is a patrol officer for the NYPD and her partner is a German Shepherd named Rolf. Her dad was also a cop for NYPD so she knows what the job entails and she’s an enthusiastic and dedicated officer. She and Rolf work well together and trust each other. Erin gets a certain amount of obstruction from male officers which I think most women who have worked in a male dominated workplace will recognize. But she’s also respected by many of her fellow officers as well as her lieutenant.

While she’s on a date a robbery takes place and even though she’s dressed for a date and doesn’t have her gun she calls in the details and runs after the thieves. This leads her to get more involved in the case than a patrol officer normally would. The detectives whose case it is don’t appreciate her involvement and warn her to stay away from the case. Of course, she doesn’t listen and I thought that was the weakest part of the story. I thought neither the detectives nor Erin acted like professional police officers. I guess it was necessary for the story, but that bothered me.

I didn’t feel as much emotional connection with Erin as I would have expected. I think that’s because she didn’t show flaws or weaknesses that she had to work through during the course of the story. I hope I feel I get to know more about Erin in future books and that she shows some of her weaknesses as well as her strengths.

As a whole, I enjoyed the story. I liked reading about Erin and Rolf’s interactions, the characters in the story and the mystery though I did figure out who was behind the theft. I do want to read future books about Erin and Rolf.

My Rating: C+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book involving a heist

Sunday Post: Jan 17

Sunday-Post

This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Last Week–home and blog

New York City–then back home to a cold

We had a wonderful time in NYC. We did some bar and restaurant hopping with our son. He wanted to go to some places he hadn’t been before–and that’s easy to find in New York! We had some great food and great conversations. It was a good visit. He had other plans Saturday night so we went to see a play–Fun Home. It’s staged in a theater in the round so that was very interesting and it’s a musical which both my husband and I love, but it’s a more serious musical and was very well done.

We arrived back home late Sunday evening and on Monday morning I had a cold. 😦 It progressed from my head to my chest during the week and though I’m feeling better I’m still coughing a lot. I spent most of the week resting, sleeping and reading.

Des Moines and house hunting

What time I spent on the internet this week I was looking at house listings our realtor had sent us. That was exhausting!

We left Friday night for Des Moines and didn’t arrive at our daughter’s house until midnight. My husband came down with the cold on Friday afternoon so he wasn’t feeling so great and by the time we arrived I wasn’t either. We started out with nine houses to see on Saturday, but when our realtor picked us up we were down to six (our favorite had sold, another was a short sale and they weren’t allowing showings??! and at the other house they had unexpected visitors). Of the six houses we might revisit two of them and we’re still hoping to get into the house with the visitors! I was ready for bed by the time we got back to our daughter’s house.

We may have to make another visit in February for more house hunting. 😦

Television

I didn’t feel like watching TV which meant I got more sleep and more books read!

The blog

I did very little on the internet this week especially on my blog. I only had two posts ready so that’s all that posted and I didn’t visit blogs. My thinking process were nonexistent…lol. What little I did do on the internet was reserved for looking through house listings on the internet for our trip to Des Moines.

I love comments on my blog and I love to comment on other people’s blogs, so I hope when we arrive back in Maryland on Tuesday I can spend some time catching up on comments.

Blog posts

What I’m reading

The Big Brush-Off by Michael Murphy

What I read last week

Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy 

Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Threads of Deceit by

A Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson

New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

NetGalley

Library books

  • None

E-books

Audiobooks

Next Week–home & blog

We get home Tuesday morning and I’m sure I’m going to need some time to rest and recuperate. If I’m still coughing I’m going to the doctor.

It will be a busy week since I got nothing done last week. Our son is coming next weekend and then we are taking care of his dog while he attends business meetings all the next week.

I’m still trying to complete some posts from 2015 including 2015 reviews. I hope to do some of that next week. And comments.

Blog posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • 2015 reading challenges–how’d I do?
  • Sunday Post

What did you do last week? What books did you collect? What are you planning?

Sunday Post: Jan 10

Sunday-Post

This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Last Week–home and blog

New York City

A short week, since we leave Thursday evening to start our trip to NYC. I’m writing this before the trip to NYC so I can schedule my Sunday Post. We’re planning to go to the theater on Saturday night and to do a lot of stuff with our son the rest of the time. Can’t wait!

I’ve been busy getting some things done around the house as well as on my blog. Thursday has come much too fast!

Television

A bit of TV watching this week. I don’t remember any particular shows! Check out the link below to the Tor.com site about 10 genre shows premiering in January.

The blog

I’m still working on some end-of-year posts as well as posts for the new year. I was working on my 2015 challenge post (talking about how I did with my challenges last year) when I realized I hadn’t written sign-up posts or even really decided what challenges I want to do this year.

So I spent the rest of the blog time this week getting sign-up posts completed and linking them to the host blogs. I also did a post showing all the challenges I’m taking part in on one post with my goals for each challenge. Then I completed pages for each challenge where I will be keeping track of the books I read for that challenge.

The challenge I’m most excited about is the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Bingo Book Challenge–mainly because the bingo card is so awesome! (The bingo card was created by Greg Lindahl and I found the challenge on the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.)

Blog posts

What I’m reading

Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy 

What I read last week

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

NetGalley

  • None

Library books

  • None

E-books

Audiobooks

  • None

Around the Internet

agentcarter-top
New season of Agent Carter starts in January

From Tor.com — “Don’t Miss These Ten Genre Shows Premiering in January”

Next Week–home & blog

We get home on Sunday night and then have another short week as we are heading to Iowa for the Martin Luther King three-day weekend.

We have a very busy year ahead of us. My husband has decided to take early retirement later this year and we are planning to move to Iowa. This next weekend house hunting.

Blog posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • 2015 reading challenges–how’d I do?
  • Sunday Post

What did you do last week? What books did you collect? What are you planning?

Review: On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle

on-what-grounds

On What Grounds
by Cleo Coyle
Narrated by Rebecca Gibel
Series: Coffeehouse Mystery #1
Genre: Mystery (cozy)
Published by Berkley, 2003 (AudioGo, 2011)
Audiobook, purchased
275 pages
7 hours, 59 minutes
Grade: B
Narrator Grade: A-
Synopsis: Introducing a delightful new series featuring Clare Cosi, manager of the historic Village Blend coffeehouse…

Clare arrives at work to discover the assistant manager dead in the back of the store, coffee grounds strewn everywhere. Two detectives investigate. But when they find no sign of forced entry or foul play, they deem it an accident. Still, Clare is not convinced. And after the police leave, Clare can’t help wondering…If this was an act of murder, is she in danger?

The perfectly measured burr of a dispassionate detective had suddenly changed into the explosive boom of a take-no-shit street cop.
Suffice it to say, I froze.
and
“Aw shucks,” I told the reporter, “It’s all in the grounds.”

Cheers

  • I really enjoyed the narrator of this book. She does a great job with the different voices. Madame and Tucker are especially good characters when we hear them speak.
  • I like Clare a lot. I like the coffee shop and the people Clare encounters there.
  • Java Jive, Clare’s Siamese cat, is fun to read about–especially since I like cats.
  • I like Clare’s ex-husband, too, and hope he shows up in more of the books.
  • Lieutenant Quinn, the policeman in charge of the case, was also a pretty good character. I wasn’t sure why he encouraged Clare to investigate this mystery on her own though.
  • Because this is a cozy mystery and Clare isn’t a police officer or private investigator, Clare doesn’t have a professional reason for people to talk to her. And yet people do talk to her. However, the author handled that aspect of the story pretty well.

Jeers

  • There’s a little too much information about how to brew the perfect cup of coffee. However, I do enjoy coffee and the narrator made it sound very interesting!

And a few thoughts . . .

  •  I liked the narrator so much that I need to read the next book to see whether it’s the narrator and her distinctive voices I liked so well or if I also like the writing and the mystery!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge (Hoping to read 100 books this year)
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog

Review: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

 

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick
by Joe Schreiber
Series: Perry & Gobi, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011
E-book, Library
192 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Ferris Bueller meets La Femme Nikita in this funny, action-packed young adult novel.

It’s prom night—and Perry just wants to stick to his own plan and finally play a much-anticipated gig with his band in the Big Apple. But when his mother makes him take Gobija Zaksauskas—their quiet, geeky Lithuanian exchange student—to the prom, he never expects that his ordinary high school guy life will soon turn on its head. Perry finds that Gobi is on a mission, and Perry has no other choice but to go along for a reckless ride through Manhattan’s concrete grid with a trained assassin in Dad’s red Jag.

Infused with capers, car chases, heists, hits, henchmen, and even a bear fight, this story mixes romance, comedy, and tragedy in a true teen coming-of-age adventure—and it’s not over until it’s “au revoir.”

I thought about those South American cattle farmers who shoved the weakest, scrawniest cow in the river upstream, protecting the rest of the herd while schools of piranha ripped the poor sacrificial heifer to shreds. Whether or not that actually happened, I didn’t know or particularly care–as a social model for high school dynamics, it was too cruelly perfect.

and

“I liked you better when you were this geeky quiet exchange student.”

“Well, perhaps I liked you better when you just shut your mouth and stared at my chest,” she said, “but we cannot always get what we want in this world.”

Likes

  • This book is a romp through New York City in Perry’s dad’s Jaguar! I like the above description: Ferris Beuller meets La Femme Nikita. That’s the vibe for this book. I didn’t take it too seriously.
  • It takes place mostly in one night–prom night.
  • It reminds me a little of the British movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. That movie is violent, but also funny. This book is mostly funny and light, but also violent and serious at times–especially when I least expected it.
  • Starting each chapter with a question for a college essay entrance application is very funny and apropos since Perry is a high school senior and is waitlisted for Columbia University.
  • I like both Perry and Gobi a lot.

Dislikes

  • Because the book is both funny and violent it’s kind of hard to know how to respond. The book is pretty light most of the time, but is also serious at other times.

Thoughts

All in all, I like this book. It isn’t one to take too seriously which in some ways is too bad because there are serious parts to it. But maybe being too serious would make a young adult book seem too preachy.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • The 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog.
  • The Book Bingo Challenge.