I really enjoyed the first two books in this series (Murder By the Book and Murder By Design) so I was excited to receive Murder By the Way for reviewI really enjoyed the first two books in this series (Murder By the Book and Murder By Design) so I was excited to receive Murder By the Way for review. The beginning of the story was more “tell” than the rest as Kennedy reviews the events of the last little while, but the writing is good. Once things got going, it didn’t take long for me to find the rhythm of the story.
While Kennedy is an interesting character to me, and I’ve enjoyed seeing a bit of her toughness soften with her love for Luke, it is Luke that is my favorite character. Due to a sudden military trial, their wedding is rushed and Luke must leave to testify immediately after the reception. This means that he is “physically” gone for a large portion of the story, but with phone calls and texts to Kennedy he remains peripherally involved.
Another favorite character is Sloan. He is a former FBI agent, and I liked not knowing if he was a good guy or a bad guy. His actions could lead either way, and it isn’t until the end that the reader learns whether he is good or bad. (I’m not saying!)
One thing I was glad to see was that Cade, Kennedy’s ex-husband, steps up and we get to see the better side of him. He has a hunch and follows through, setting the mystery in motion.
Several of the well-known characters from Betsy’s previous novels are back, as frustrating as ever. And what would a Betsy Brannon Green mystery be without Miss Eugenia?
I enjoyed the story and was happy to be surprised by the twist at the end. It played out differently than I thought it would and I was satisfied with how the story ended. The last few pages of the book are recipes and I can’t wait to try Miss Eugenia’s S’more Cookies. All in all, a great third installment of the Kennedy Killingsworth series.
After the traumatic events during her visit to Boston, Sadie is in dire need of rest and relaxation. She heads to Hawai’i to recuperate, but after a fAfter the traumatic events during her visit to Boston, Sadie is in dire need of rest and relaxation. She heads to Hawai’i to recuperate, but after a few weeks the anxiety takes over. Sadie spends most of the day locked in a small condo, not even finding pleasure in cooking as she once did.
When she finally ventures out at the insistence of her friends, the Blue Muumuus, what was supposed to be a peaceful snorkeling trip ends in Sadie discovering a body trapped in the water. It’s enough to send her over the edge and into the care of a therapist.
The young son of the woman whose body Sadie found seeks her out with a list of questions about his mother. Sadie decides to learn more and use the experience to help her deal with the memories of the grisly encounter. She puts her investigative skills to use and uncovers details that lead her to think the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death may not be what they first seem.
It was interesting to see Sadie in Hawai’i, alone in a small condo with no family around her. It made me a little sad to see her so affected by what she’d gone through the past several months, and yet it was reassuring and realistic, adding depth to Sadie’s character. The description of her interaction with the woman’s dead body, while far from graphic, was creepy enough to make my skin crawl.
There was great suspense and misdirection. I often figure out the bad guy in other mysteries, but I love how Josi keeps me guessing in every book. I’m never sure of the villain until the end and I’m always surprised by something.
I’m not sure how Josi manages to keep things so fresh in this series, but she has, especially as it has grown into something bigger than I think even she expected. As long as she keeps writing Sadie Hoffmiller books, I will keep reading them. I love this series and recommend it to everyone....more
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle is the first in a series of novels by Ben English. The book opens with Mercedes having an interesting discussion wit3.5 stars
Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle is the first in a series of novels by Ben English. The book opens with Mercedes having an interesting discussion with a mysterious older gentleman who is more than he appears. That was enough to catch my interest and make me read on to find out if these two characters meet again.
The author has a talent for writing interesting characters of varying backgrounds. The first part of the book is a series of written snapshots of each character, giving the reader a peek into their current situations and the sequence of events that eventually lead them to meet up. Because there are several characters, this part seemed to drag a bit and it took a little while to get back around to the other characters. Jack is very likable if a bit too good to be true (a famous actor AND a champion swimmer AND an author AND a trained agent.)
The first half of the book was a lot of set up for the rest of the story so it was considerably slower than last section. Once I got past the flashbacks, introductions and history of the characters, I was pulled into the action and it was like watching an intense action film. The villain’s intentions were terrifying and immense. The scenes in the building were particularly suspenseful. There were some formatting issues in my version where a number of quick scene and point-of-view changes weren’t separated by asterisks or hard returns but I was able to figure it out by context. This issue may have been resolved by now as I have an older copy.
I haven’t read a lot of international intrigue or any books by Dan Brown and similar authors, so I’m not sure how well Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle compares to other books like it. It is a longer read (about 456 pages) and yet there is so much story yet to tell, as evidenced by the three sequels currently available. Jack Be Nimble: Tyro is the next book in the series. If you like larger-than-life heroes, interesting characters, and international suspense then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle.
Royal Secrets is the long-awaited sequel to Royal Target and picks up shortly after Royal Target ends. Those of you who follow the blog know that I amRoyal Secrets is the long-awaited sequel to Royal Target and picks up shortly after Royal Target ends. Those of you who follow the blog know that I am a big fan of Traci’s Saint Squad series and how Traci weaves romance into her suspense. Royal Target and Royal Secrets are my guilty pleasures, though, based more in romance yet with enough of Traci’s classic suspense to keep things moving at a good pace.
Royal Secrets (and Royal Target) appeal to me because for a little while, I get to suspend reality and experience something very different from my normal life. For example:
--Meeting and falling in love with a handsome prince. (What woman hasn’t wondered what THAT would be like?)
--A faithful LDS woman as a main character who speaks several languages, travels the world and knows how to handle a weapon.
--A strong, well-trained security operative who can protect herself AND her man.
--Life in a Mediterranean beach-side chateau with a closet full of ball gowns and plenty of opportunities to wear them.
Something I appreciated in Royal Secrets was that though the focus is on Alora and Prince Stefano, the reader gets enough of a continuation of Janessa and Prince Garrett’s story to tie them all seamlessly together without detracting from Alora and Stefano’s budding romance. We get to see how things go when Prince Garrett meets Janessa’s parents (though I think Janessa should have clarified with Prince Garrett much earlier the importance of keeping her CIA employment status a secret from her family), as well as how the royal family handles things when the truth of Prince Garrett’s conversion is revealed.
Because I read 100+ books a year and it’s been a while since I read Royal Target, I took the opportunity to re-read it before reading Royal Secrets and I’m glad I did. It was nice to have the characters fresh in my mind as I read through Royal Secrets. If you have not read Royal Target yet, I suggest doing so first as the characters and plot in Royal Secrets rely heavily on the continuation of events from the first book.
Royal Secrets is an enjoyable read that I would recommend to any fan of romantic suspense.
Bloodborne has everything that makes a suspense novel great. The threat is terrifyingly believable. The protagonists are imperfect and relatable. Close calls and unknown elements keep the reader turning pages. There is the black and white of right and wrong along with plenty of gray in between.
While the story is told mainly from Erin and Sean’s viewpoints, the reader experiences a significant amount through the villains’ points-of-view as well. The story carries smoothly between each character. I love that the reader gets to know one of the nicest characters in the book through the eyes of the main bad guy, who isn’t quite as unfeeling as one might expect.
Because suspense novels are very plot-based, I was not expecting the depth with which Gregg wrote Erin and Sean. Don’t get me wrong, Gregg is great at writing 3-dimensional, believable characters (if you’ve read Blink of an Eye, you know what I’m talking about). Bloodborne went well beyond my expectations, not just with characterization, but with the interaction between the two main characters as well. Erin and Sean’s relationship (don’t assume I mean romance here) is multi-faceted and complex.
I give Bloodborne 5 stars. I’m headed straight over to the Whitney Award website to nominate it for the Mystery-Suspense category. Well done, Gregg!...more
Fun continuation of the Isabelle Webb series. Think female Indiana Jones-ish but 60+ years earlier in history. I look forward to reading the next bookFun continuation of the Isabelle Webb series. Think female Indiana Jones-ish but 60+ years earlier in history. I look forward to reading the next book!...more
Yi Jichun (aka Jason Yi) is a young American attorney recruited to go under cover as a Chinese judge in order to discover and eliminate corrupt judgesYi Jichun (aka Jason Yi) is a young American attorney recruited to go under cover as a Chinese judge in order to discover and eliminate corrupt judges in the Chinese system. What Yi ends up discovering is much more than corrupt judges and city officials. If events set in motion are not stopped, countless American lives will be lost.
What interested me most in The Hainan Incident was reading about the Chinese culture and geographical locations. There were a few suspenseful scenes that had me holding my breath. I’m not a big reader of political & international suspense novels, so I’m not sure how The Hainan Incident compares to national titles in the same genre. I do think that it might appeal a bit more to my husband, so I’m going to give him my copy to read.
Fans of international intrigue are going to enjoy this story full of Chinese culture and history, political scandal, terrorist threats and suspenseful action. The main character, Jason Yi, is LDS, but there is no preaching and only a few specific religious elements are mentioned. The Hainan Incident is D.M. Coffman’s debut novel.
It couldn’t be good for business to have a guest drop dead in the vegetable garden.
With a first line like that, I knew I was in for an entertaining read with Garden Plot.
Erin, the owner and director of a halfway house for recovering addicts as well as mother to a 13 year-old daughter, is our narrator in this story told in first person. The book begins with Erin finding a body of a guest/patient in her garden that has unfortunately been shot in the head. As she tries to deal with notifying the authorities and keeping other guests/patients from coming upon the gruesome scene, we are introduced to several colorful characters.
The author did a great job writing these numerous secondary characters, especially considering we only get to know them through Erin’s eyes. Of course, as director of the home, she knows more about them than anyone in the house. She doesn’t know them well enough, however, to know who might have committed murder.
Running the Whole-Life Wellness Center in Mississagua, ON, Canada, is more than a full-time job for Erin. It’s how she is healing from the sudden death of her husband three years earlier. She feels an obligation toward the guest who lost his life at her center and she doesn’t feel like she can rest until she understands how and why he was killed and placed in her garden.
After visiting the deceased’s wife, Erin learns that the guest who checked into her center may not be the person everyone thought he was. After information from another guest connects some dots, Erin decides to do a little more investigating on her own much to the frustration of Detective Liam Harris, who ultimately concedes that she has a way of getting information from people but doesn’t want her putting herself in danger for reasons that are personal as much as professional.
I laughed out at least a dozen times throughout the book, especially in the last few chapters. There were a few places that I felt that Erin and Detective Harris’ questioning-motive sessions went in circles a little much, but it didn’t change how I felt about the book. I enjoyed the author’s voice in the book — it was a bit different than other mysteries I’ve read.
I give Garden Plot 4 stars out of 5 because it was an entertaining read that kept me turning pages (I couldn’t put it down) and it made me laugh out loud. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery with LDS characters (references to the religion but not preachy at all)....more
I really like they way the cityscape and landscape from the two main locations are blended together on the front cover. It caught my eye. The story caught my attention as well, and I had no problem turning pages because I wanted to see what would happen. I believe this is the author’s debut novel, and if so, she did a great job on her first published novel.
I liked the main characters and the relationship between Jacey and her son, Blaze. I despised John, her ex-husband, though at times his character felt a tad bit cliche. The writing is good with a nice flow and the suspense was effective. The climax near the end in the woods was very well done. I found it gripping and was swept up in the emotion between mother and son. I also enjoyed the relationship between Grant and Blaze.
Those who like a little romance with their suspense won’t be disappointed. I wasn’t sure how to take Kale at first, but soon caught on as to why he was acting the way he was toward Jacey.
At about 200 pages, The Alias is a fairly quick read and held my attention until the end.
There were only a few things that came up that I might have changed. Using the name Blaze for the boy was distracting to me. It is different enough from the other characters’ names that it stuck out to me and pulled me from the story a bit. The next thing could be considered a ***SPOILER*** so if you have read the book or don’t care about spoilers, click and drag to highlight the text below to read it. If you hate spoilers, then don’t.
There was good romantic tension throughout the first part of Jacey and Kale’s developing relationship, but I was disappointed in the lack of kisses. There was one small kiss at the field office, but that was all. When they said those three wonderful words and became engaged at the end, there wasn’t even a hug. I know this is a mainly a suspense novel but considering the amount of focus on Kale and Jacey’s budding romance in the last half of the novel, it would have been nice to have a bit more lip-locking (clean, of course). That’s just my preference, though.
I found The Alias to be an enjoyable read and give it 3.5 stars out of 5. I look forward to reading more of Mandi’s novels in the future. ...more