(4.5 stars!) In Fortune Cookie, book eleven in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series, readers join Sadie in San Francisco, her sister’s place o(4.5 stars!) In Fortune Cookie, book eleven in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series, readers join Sadie in San Francisco, her sister’s place of residence for many years. My husband and I honeymooned in San Francisco, so it was great to revisit the city with Sadie and Pete.
Sadie never got along well with her sister. Wendy left home when Sadie was twelve, and other than a handful of interactions, there wasn’t much of a relationship between the two women. It was interesting to get to know more about Sadie, her childhood, and her family. She isn’t the only one struggling with difficult issues though. With only three weeks to the wedding, Pete finds himself facing some situations he didn’t expect as well. My heart was aching for both he and Sadie.
I love that, even after so many books, I feel like I am still getting to know Sadie. Josi’s hard work keeping characters interesting and plots mysterious pays off every time. I really had no clue who was going to be the bad guy until it was revealed, though I had a running list that changed often, sometimes from chapter to chapter. This series is one of the few I’ve read where I haven’t figured out who the villain is well before the big reveal.
What I appreciate even more than an unguessable antagonist are well-written characters. More than just description and dialogue, each character’s interactions, concerns, weaknesses, efforts, and motivations are relatable and believable, even those we only meet briefly in the course of Sadie’s investigation. The reader can’t help but feel the emotion and suspense the story is designed to evoke.
The Sadie Hoffmiller series is one of my absolute favorites. As sad as I am that it is winding down, I’m looking forward to Wedding Cake, the last book in the series due to be released in Fall 2014. There is a cliffhanger chapter from Wedding Cake at the end of Fortune Cookie that’s going to keep me on edge all summer. Thanks a lot, Josi. ;)
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review -- http://www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI: received a free hardcopy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review...more
(4.5 stars) This series is so much fun. I enjoyed every minute of it. I liked this book just as much as the first, maybe even more. Spying on spies is(4.5 stars) This series is so much fun. I enjoyed every minute of it. I liked this book just as much as the first, maybe even more. Spying on spies is intense. I was racing to the finish, and had to stop for an appointment just as things became dire for Talia. Talk about being in suspense! I really like Talia, even if she is amazingly paranoid. I appreciate the relationship she has with Danny. I love Jordan's writing style. I certainly hope this isn't the last book with Talia and Danny. I want to read more....more
I’ve been anxious to read The Witnesses, sequel to The Believer, for many years. It did not disappoint. The Believer was Stephanie’s first published nI’ve been anxious to read The Witnesses, sequel to The Believer, for many years. It did not disappoint. The Believer was Stephanie’s first published novel, and I loved it so much it earned 5 stars and made it onto my taking-with-me-on-a-deserted-island bookshelf. Well, I’ll be adding The Witnesses to that shelf as well.
I was turning page after page, at times wondering how in the world Ian and Jill and Daniel would make it through, who would betray whom, who would live and who would die. I was in suspense to the very end, unsure of how things would turn out as the situation became more and more dire for our heroes. There was an unexpected and fascinating twist that I loved.
I am in awe (though not surprised) at how well-crafted and layered the story is throughout both books, and the way the twist worked into events near the end. While the book had a very satisfying conclusion, I still find myself wondering how things worked out in the long run. I need to sit down with Stephanie and either get her to tell me or convince her to write a follow up because I really want to know. I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to Ian.
I highly recommend both The Believer and The Witnesses. They made me think, kept me reading, and stayed with me for days. Well done, Stephanie. Now get going on that follow up for me. (Please?)
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review - www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI: received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review...more
Heather (H.B.) Moore is well-known for her ability to write excellent fictional retellings of the lives and events surrounding Book of Mormon prophetsHeather (H.B.) Moore is well-known for her ability to write excellent fictional retellings of the lives and events surrounding Book of Mormon prophets who lived thousands of years ago. Recently she has also written contemporary women’s fiction as part of the Newport Ladies Book Club series, as well as a few romance novellas for the A Timeless Romance Anthology collection.
As much as I have enjoyed Heather’s previous books, I think her venture into international intrigue with Finding Sheba is her best work yet. The story moved quickly and kept me turning pages, and, except for a few chapters in the middle where there was a lot of driving around the desert that slowed things down just a bit for me, the pace of the story kept me engaged and wondering what would happen next.
Each of the main characters were well-written, interesting individuals with depth and history. The story is told from four main points-of-view: Omar, Amel, and Jade in the modern-day setting, and Nicaula, the queen of Sheba, in the historical setting. The way Heather weaved Nicaula’s chapters in with current-day events worked great for me.
While there are several characters that play a large role throughout the entire story, the reader is introduced to them one or two at a time, so it isn’t overwhelming. I did get a little lost with some of the travel back and forth to different cities and countries (mainly because I don’t know Middle East geography very well) but I didn’t worry about that so much and just let the story flow.
Finding Sheba is full of intrigue, suspense, love, sacrifice, loss, and history, with a little bit of politics and religion as well. (Biblical, etc. – as pertains to historical events and plot – this isn’t what some consider “LDS fiction.”) There is a small amount of mild language (heck, dang), some violence (hands being cut off as punishment, battles/fights), and some adult themes (references to wedding nights, inferences about violence against a woman prisoner in historical events).
I really enjoyed Finding Sheba, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good international intrigue. I look forward to reading more like this from Heather. Well done!
I was intrigued as soon as I read the summary for A Blind Eye. I enjoyed this story about a conflicted young man, a strong-yet-vulnerable young womanI was intrigued as soon as I read the summary for A Blind Eye. I enjoyed this story about a conflicted young man, a strong-yet-vulnerable young woman with a unique ability, and an interesting storyline that kept me reading.
I really liked both main characters and several secondary characters as well. With a little more page space some of them could have been a bit more fleshed out. Considering the fast-moving plot, that extra character development would have been nice but not necessary and it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story.
The conflict between Christian and his father was well-developed and the reader is left with a realistic “resolution” considering their relationship. I loved the way the setting of the story came full circle.
A Blind Eye was a quick, suspense-filled read that adults will enjoy as much as their older teenagers. Though the book doesn’t hit 200 pages, it didn’t feel short or rushed. I believe this is Julie’s debut novel and I can honestly say I look forward to reading more from her.
Sadie hopes that a week-long cruise to Alaska will give her grown children, Shawn and Breanna, a chance to get to know her boyfriend, Pete Cunningham,Sadie hopes that a week-long cruise to Alaska will give her grown children, Shawn and Breanna, a chance to get to know her boyfriend, Pete Cunningham, a bit better. Things don’t work out so well right from the start. Shawn is hiding something from her and Sadie’s feelings are hurt that everyone seems to know what it is but her. Suspicious activity on the cruise ship leads to someone being hurt and the authorities take Shawn in for questioning. Determined to help clear Shawn’s name, Sadie embarks on a search for answers in a mystery that ultimately claims more than one victim.
When I pick up one of Josi’s culinary mysteries, I know I will be pulled in to the story until the last page. Baked Alaska was no exception. Just when I thought I had something figured out, a new twist sent me down another path. Though cruises aren’t my preferred vacation, reading about Sadie and company’s cruise to Alaska was an entertaining escape and just as much fun as the rest of Sadie’s adventures.
The Sadie Hoffmiller series has become more than just the mystery for me. Reading each book is like visiting good friends. I have loved watching the characters’ relationships change and develop from book to book. I really like Pete and the way he has accepted Sadie and her quirks. Breanna and Shawn have grown as well. I was surprised at the end and might have blinked away a tear or two. I closed the book (well, the PDF) with a huge grin on my face.
Fans of Sadie Hoffmiller are going to enjoy Baked Alaska. I can’t wait to see what happens in Rocky Road. This is one of my favorite book series and I can’t recommend it enough.
All Fall Down is a quick moving story with suspense, betrayal, action and a bit of romance. Julie doesn’t wait to throw the reader right into the actiAll Fall Down is a quick moving story with suspense, betrayal, action and a bit of romance. Julie doesn’t wait to throw the reader right into the action.
The opening hostage scene on the roof was intense. For me it was the most suspenseful part of the story. I really liked both Claire and Rafe. They go through so much and I wondered if they were ever going to catch a break. I saw one twist coming, but I wasn’t sure how it would play out. One of my favorite parts was the first time Rafe meets Clair’s father.
Those who like clean and suspenseful international intrigue, especially fans of Julie Bellon’s other books, will enjoy All Fall Down.
I enjoyed Easterfield written by this author, so I looked forward to reading No Escape. Easterfield is a regency-style story, a very different genre tI enjoyed Easterfield written by this author, so I looked forward to reading No Escape. Easterfield is a regency-style story, a very different genre than No Escape, which may partly explain my frustration.
When reading a mystery-suspense, I expect to be pulled into the story right away. In No Escape there is a lot of info dumping (detail and history) right up front. The author did a great job of describing the little home and area in Wales where the character lived, but it made for a slow start for the book. I was excited when they went to arrest a drug dealer but ended up knowing more about what the house they were entering looked like (including detailed evaluations of a painting, the furniture, walls, floor, doors, latches on the doors and specific decor) than I did about the main character. When the main character supposedly didn't take notice of the young woman standing behind the door then continued (in a very long paragraph) to describe her "chain-store jeans," skin tone, reflect on the effect make up would have on her face and evaluate and agree with her decision not to wear any make up, all while sneaking up on the suspect, I lost interest and put the book down. I don't know any guy who would evaluate a woman's decision to wear make up or notice where she bought her jeans during an arrest, especially a New York cop.
Others have enjoyed the story and the mystery, and since I only read the first 25 pages, I didn't make it far enough into the book to evaluate the mystery-suspense aspect. If a lot of detail and a slow beginning don't bother you, then you may well enjoy No Escape.
If Anna writes another regency-style historical novel where a slower pace and her amazing talent at detailing character and setting are more expected, I will happily pick it up to read. Unfortunately, No Escape just didn't grab me enough to continue....more