An early review copy lets me recommend this fun mystery shortly before its release. Watch for it! Or read the first book while you're waiting.
I came i...moreAn early review copy lets me recommend this fun mystery shortly before its release. Watch for it! Or read the first book while you're waiting.
I came in on this second book in a series. Although there were a number of references to the first case, I never felt as though I had to know what had happened earlier in order to enjoy this story. Ava is in the process of being evicted from her rental cabin due to a property sale by the owner, her grandfather’s best her friend. Her very helpful former fiancé, whom she’d left at the altar, helps her move boxes into her fudge shop’s back room where she intends to live for the time being; meanwhile, her former husband and his dog are doing all they can to woo her back, her best friend is involved with a shady operator who put together a fudge festival during tourist season in Door County, Wisconsin and films the whole thing for a potential reality TV show. The celebrity candy makers selected to compete against Ava are doing their best to make Kitchen Nightmares look tame, and the lead judge—Ava’s landlord, a property owner with a lot of secrets—is inconveniently deceased. Murder or suicide? Oh, and the sheriff also thinks Ava is a pain, when he’s not trying to make a pass.
There’s certainly a lot going on this summer in Fisher’s Harbor, so it’s a good thing Ava can count on her family and employee, a young man with slight Asperger’s, to run the shop while she goes sleuthing, breaking and entering, stumbling across bodies, and taking people—and herself—to the nearest hospital. Hot Fudge Frameup is a whirlwind read with all the quaintness of an ethnic community of stubborn Belgians, romance with all the wrong people, an octogenarian marital toss-up, and a dog named Lucky Harbor that might make non-dog lovers, if not find him adorable, at least have a few giggles. Ava’s number of suitors got a little over the top for me, but otherwise, I enjoyed unwinding all the clues and aptly positioned red herrings to the end of the story.
Told in Ava’s first person voice throughout, likeable characters and fun subplots make Hot Fudge Frameup a fun virtual visit to a place I know and enjoy. The fudge-making background is intriguing. I would also consider reading the first book, as well as sequels. This book makes a great addition to Penguin’s cozy mystery line. (less)
I was eager to read and review Bernhardt’s new cozy from my publisher, MuseItUp. The Ginseng Conspiracy is set in the fictional town in Wisconsin near...moreI was eager to read and review Bernhardt’s new cozy from my publisher, MuseItUp. The Ginseng Conspiracy is set in the fictional town in Wisconsin near where I set my own—I think I recognized a couple of characters, too. Big Smile.
Unlike the typical cozy, Bernhardt’s story unravels much like Columbo. The crime of murder appears after the stage was set, readers know who dun it, and we follow the amateur sleuth as she and her sidekicks dig up clues. We want to scream “duck” or “don’t go there!” as conspirators lurk around every corner. The bad guys have a few scenes of their own, and there’s something else going on with our sleuth’s marriage that is part sideline and part red herring. The author did leave a surprise suspect which kept me turning pages in a hurry.
Ginseng Conspiracy is a longer mystery, filled with yummy food and lots of descriptions. Mostly told in first person from Kay, the sleuth’s, point of view, the reader will occasionally wander into other character’s perspectives. Kay’s friends are a blast, and the mythical town of Sudbury Falls is a great place to visit. Fun for those who like meatier cozies. Looking forward to more of Kay and her buddies to come! Recipes? Please! (less)
From reader Maureen Worden, member of Wisconsin Writers Association:
The Map Quilt allows Ms. Lickel to be both story teller and wordsmith. Through Jud...moreFrom reader Maureen Worden, member of Wisconsin Writers Association:
The Map Quilt allows Ms. Lickel to be both story teller and wordsmith. Through Judy and Hart's relationship, Lickel presents the ultimate marriage: a true partnership. When discussing future parental responsibilities, Hart generously assures Judy that she can take a leave of absence to ensure her ability to continue with personal interests such as her quilting group. She could, he suggests, ". . .stay home and avoid need for day care." Judy responds, "So could you."
Their marriage is based on love, mutual respect, and faith. Lickel does not lecture or sermonize but allows her reader to bask in the knowledge that thru hard work, trust, and faith, everything will be resolved. And, of course, it is. Knowing that this family will continue to grow together helps make our futures just a little bit brighter! (less)
A woman is invited to act as her long-missing relative's agent at a probate hearing. She finds more than she bargained for when she visits the tiny co...more A woman is invited to act as her long-missing relative's agent at a probate hearing. She finds more than she bargained for when she visits the tiny community in rural Oregon.
Kam hadn't even known about her Basque side, until her geneaologist mother shows her pictures. Charged with bringing back any family mementos and taking a little vacation, Kam, a program analyst, soon discovers there's plenty of action in the back country, starting with the handsome deputy Mitch who comes to her rescue when she gets lost trying to find town.
It's not long before Kam hears versions of her missing relative, Vasco's, disappearance, starting with his friends, ending with a corrupt judge and an unprofessional sheriff. Add in a young girl with multiple personality disorder, white supremacy creeps, blazing guns and a friendly spirit who wants to make sure her brother winds up withe the right life partner and you've got one high-spirited read.
An enjoyable, quickly-paced contemporary romantic mystery with quirky characters. (less)
From the publisher: Court of Lies Brooke's attempt to start a new life is shot to pieces as her ex-husband lurks around every corner of change. An advancement in her career begins with a contract offered by the charismatic Scott Marshall who also wants to contract her heart. Her plans are shattered as a bullet rips through her shoulder. Falsified evidence and twisted statements infiltrate the courtroom as a case of attempted murder multiplies its victims. Brooke's psychic friend furtively supplies clues to the detectives as they work against the corrupt local police force. Brooke's conscious filters the evidence as she attempts to clarify her relationship with Scott Marshall and the possible manipulations of her ex-husband. Both men have motive and opportunity and are suspects in her attempted murder.
Dawn Kunda’s debut novel, Court of Lies, is a romantic drama set in the lushness of a Wisconsin fall forest. The author uses her legal and PI background to set the stage for attempted murder. But who is innocent and who is guilty? The story begins with the suspense-filled shooting and progresses through the bungled investigation, the list of suspects and the mysterious bag of apples.
Kunda’s story-telling can only get better as she continues to develop her craft. Scott and Brooke’s relationship was tender. Readers of romantic suspense will appreciate her richly descriptive scenarios of time and place and her ease of legal situations that create a suspenseful adventure with Court of Lies. (less)
I loved the Augusta Goodnight series, this is new.
Miss Dimple Disappears Mignon Ballard c. Dec 2010 Minotaur ISBN 9780312614744 Hardcover $23.95
Mignon Ball...moreI loved the Augusta Goodnight series, this is new.
Miss Dimple Disappears Mignon Ballard c. Dec 2010 Minotaur ISBN 9780312614744 Hardcover $23.95
Mignon Ballard, author the delightful Augusta Goodnight series, sets off on a different tack with her new mystery series set in Georgia during WWII.
Told in 1940 charm, spies are everywhere and Elderberry’s grade school boys are on the case – or at least one in particular. Willie Elrod is convinced he saw his former first grade teacher, Miss Dimple Kilpatrick, kidnapped. Why won’t anyone believe him? Not even his pretty fourth grade teacher Miss Charlie Carr?
Charlie’s got enough trouble on her hands trying to explain the school janitor’s untimely death the day Miss Dimple, who taught school for forty years and never missed a day, disappears. Are the two events related? And why aren’t the police doing more to find the missing teacher? Charlie and her third grade teacher friend, Annie, decide to do all they can to help find Dimple. Underneath the intrigue of the missing teacher, Charlie and her widowed mother, Jo, are actively involved in the war effort, with Jo Carr helping on the homefront at the munitions plant. The women put on social events, send packages and visit bereaved families to try to make life a little easier for soldiers away and home on leave. At the town’s Thanksgiving dinner, Annie meets the soldier of her dreams. But what about Annie’s special friend, Will? When Charlie later meets Will, a pilot in training, Charlie feels guilty for having romantic feelings for him, especially since Charlie’s long-time friend has just left for the army and asked her to write to him. Charlie and Annie never dismiss Miss Dimple’s plight, however, and eventually become convinced that Dimple’s engineer brother is the key to her situation.
Miss Dimple is not a helpless captive. Her attempts to plant clues for her would-be rescuers are quaint, brilliant and tender. Her love of community is well-defined by her attempts to draw the attention of the people she knows so well.
Mignon Ballard has created a wonderful little slice of Americana during a terrible era. Never mincing sentiment, she showcases all the sorrows and joys of the time with true-to-era lifestyle and lingo. A sweet read. (less)
Ms. Houston came to do an author chat in my hometown library. She was very nice, fun, and answered questions...even the obnoxious guy in the second ro...moreMs. Houston came to do an author chat in my hometown library. She was very nice, fun, and answered questions...even the obnoxious guy in the second rown who told her that, while her first books were sort of "rough," he could tell she'd improved a lot. Note to self: laugh and say thank you, even while turning red.
I forgot that I had already read this one, but I probably would have purchased it anyway.(less)