When we meet up again with Abby Cooper, it's months later after her attack. She's fully recovered and back to work. She's in a relationship w...more3.5 Stars
When we meet up again with Abby Cooper, it's months later after her attack. She's fully recovered and back to work. She's in a relationship with Dutch, who is now in training with the FBI. The night he's back in town, Abby's friend asked her for a favor. And how can she refuse? Kendal assisted her when she was out on leave from work and now he needs her help.
Kendal has been hired to read Tarot cards at a Greek wedding reception. Abby has never done this before, but Kendal assures her it will be easy to learn. As expected, Abby is a quick learner and doesn't have any problems with her readings. Then she meets a man with a history of murder. To Abby's surprise he has killed numerous people and he confirms she is correct about this. Abby soon realizes the bride is the daughter of a powerful mob boss.
Meanwhile Milo, Dutch's former partner, is working a case involving a serial rapist and solicits Abby's help. Things become complicated when the rapist attacks someone close to Abby. Unfortunately Abby has no choice but to withhold information from the police.
The Psychic Eye Mystery series is quickly becoming a favorite. Abby is a no-nonsense type of girl and makes a great amateur sleuth. Like the previous book, Better Read Than Dead is a quick read with lots of twists and turns. Laurie keeps the storyline moving so the reader is never bored. I definitely will continue reading this series. (less)
Maggie is eight months pregnant when she and her husband Martin move back to her hometown. She reconnects with her former friend Julia. Maggie is a bi...moreMaggie is eight months pregnant when she and her husband Martin move back to her hometown. She reconnects with her former friend Julia. Maggie is a bit different now that she's back. She suffered a great loss that has changed her views on the world and as a result she becomes obsessed with protecting her unborn child.
She decides to organize her neighborhood watch program which leads to her discovery of a sex offender living in the neighborhood. Sicken by this, Maggie decides to take matters into her own hands to let him know he is not welcomed.
On Maggie's Watch is a portrayal of how unresolved grief can influence one's behavior. At first glance, Maggie appears to be unstable and it's easy to want to judge her, but when the reader learns of her past history and the loss she endured, it's understandable why she does what she does. Don't get me wrong, though. Some of her actions I found to be a bit over the top, but when I've reacted to a situation based entirely on my emotions, my behavior was irrational, but at the same time made sense to me.
I do have to admit, I didn't like On Maggie's Watch as much as I thought I would. I never warmed up to Maggie and at times found her to be exhausting. I did, however, want her to let go of the past so she could fully enjoy the birth of her child. Despite my frustration with Maggie, I still recommend On Maggie's Watch. The story was an emotional roller coaster for me: frustration to pity to sadness to happiness. My suggestion is to read On Maggie's Watch and decide for yourself.(less)
Now that the hot, humid weather has arrived, my thoughts are turning to my summer reading list. As I began scanning my list, one author just grabbed m...moreNow that the hot, humid weather has arrived, my thoughts are turning to my summer reading list. As I began scanning my list, one author just grabbed my attention: Wendy Wax. Ms. Wax has been on my “new-to-me” author list for a while. I thought Ten Beach Road would be the perfect way to kick off my summer reading.
In Ten Beach Road, the reader is introduced to three women at various stages of life. First is Madeline. She’s a wife and mother and is looking forward to having an empty nest. Dreams fill her mind about what the future holds for herself and Steve, her husband, when she finds herself blindsided by her husband’s secret.
Next is Avery. She’s the co-host of the popular cable home improvement show Hammer and Nail. On the day she learns her contract will not be renewed, she is also told her inheritance from her father’s estate is gone. Now with no job or money, Avery is at a standstill for the first time in her life.
Finally there’s Nicole “Nikki”. She’s a successful matchmaker with offices in LA and New York. Business is well as evident by her lifestyle. Growing up with parents who could not afford the luxuries of life, Nikki promised herself that she nor her brother would ever go without. And now her worst fear has come true.
The three woman have are forced together when they learn their financial advisor stole their investments and made them co-owners of a run-down Florida beach house. Facing dire situations, the woman have no choice but to work together and trust each other in order to get back on their feet.
At first glance, Ten Beach Road can be viewed as a quick, light read. As the story unfolds, themes of self-growth and perseverance begin to emerge. Each woman is tested as they work together to rebuild the house to its original beauty.
So, if you’re heading out to the beach or the park or simply reading on your deck, Ten Beach Road is the perfect companion for a lazy afternoon spent reading. (less)
Meet Casey. The newest member of the White House staff. She was personally selected by the First Lady due to her gardening practices, philosophy and v...moreMeet Casey. The newest member of the White House staff. She was personally selected by the First Lady due to her gardening practices, philosophy and vision. On the day Casey is to present her new plan to the First Lady and the Grounds Committee, she is attacked and discovers the body of a Treasury Department employee.
When someone close to her is hauled into the police station for questioning, Casey takes it upon herself to learn more about the victim and why she was killed. You see, Casey is a bit of a mystery buff and always has a mystery book with her. Channeling her inner Miss Marple, Casey is able to follow the clues to solve the mystery.
Flowerbed of State is the first book in the brand new White House Gardener Mystery series. It centers around Casey Calhoun as she transitions from South Carolina to the District working for the White House. She's a likable and competent sleuth, always managing to stay one step ahead of the Secret Service.
I figured out the killer early in the story, however it did not prevent me from enjoying Flowerbed of State. St James provides a host of secondary characters that will keep the reader engaged, entertained, and interested in learning more about them. I'm looking forward to reading book two in the series. Cozy fans will enjoy this newest addition to the genre. Recommended.
April. Charlie and Sam. Isabelle. Four lives that intersect as a result of a decision to escape one's life.
Pictures of You begins with Isabelle fleein...moreApril. Charlie and Sam. Isabelle. Four lives that intersect as a result of a decision to escape one's life.
Pictures of You begins with Isabelle fleeing her marriage after she discovers her husband is having an affair. Luke is not the man her mother wants her to be with when she began dating him as a teenager. Instead of listening to her mother's warnings, Isabelle runs off with Luke and later marries him.
April is not the typical "girl-next-door" type. Which is why Charlie fell in love with her the moment he first saw her. The pair eventually marry and have one son, Sam. Sam suffers from asthma and finds himself always under his parents' cautious watch. Some may think April's parenting style is unconventional, but it's obvious she adores Sam.
That same fateful day Isabelle decides to leave her husband, April is also escaping her life. The two collide on a foggy day leaving April dead, Charlie and Sam grieving over her death and Isabelle feeling responsible for killing her. Weighed down with remorse, Isabelle seeks out Charlie and Sam. She wants to tell them how sorry she is for what has happened and asks for Charlie's forgiveness. Instead she finds herself drawn to Sam and begins a relationship with Charlie.
Pictures of You provides an inside look on how grief affects the living. For Charlie, he now is forced to raise Sam alone and to honestly look at his marriage and the woman he fell in love with. How well do we really know our spouse? Charlie is left with many unanswered questions surrounding April's death.
Isabelle initially isolates after the accident. When she starts picking up the pieces to move forward, she is given a second chance. Will she take advantage of this opportunity despite what has happened? Or will she wallow in self-guilt about the accident and the end of her marriage that she remains permanently stuck?
And Sam. How does a young boy grow up without his mother? April was different than the others moms. She took him out of school so the two of them could have an adventure. How will he adjust to Isabelle's and Charlie's relationship?
Pictures of You is by no means a light, quick read. Leavitt created characters so complex that I found myself slowing down to take in the story. I admit I was against Isabelle's and Charlie's relationship from the start. Leavitt's style of writing vividly painted the raw pain and deep loss both felt after the accident, that it was almost as though they were drawn to each other as two magnets. Yes, I understood their immediate attraction for each other, however I did not want to see them as a couple.
April is the link that ties Charlie, Sam and Isabelle together. Unfortunately the reader does not hear April's story in her own voice. Instead the reader learns about April through memories and other people's perceptions. From this, I found it difficult to like April and easy to judge her. I wish I could have read April's story in her voice, especially the events that led her to leave Charlie.
Despite my reservations with Charlie's relationship with Isabelle and not hearing April's voice, I still highly recommend Pictures of You. Leavitt will keep you up long into the night as you find yourself being pulled into the story.(less)
Alexandra first encounters the Night Bookmobile after an argument with her boyfriend Richard. She's walking home late at night when she noticed the Wi...moreAlexandra first encounters the Night Bookmobile after an argument with her boyfriend Richard. She's walking home late at night when she noticed the Winnebago. Thinking it odd, but not feeling afraid, she approached the vehicle and noticed an older man reading a newspaper. He invites her in and she quickly realizes the Bookmobile has every book she has read on its shelves. Confused by this, Alexandra starts to question Mr. Openshaw, but he politely tells her the library is now closed. Its hours are from dusk to dawn.
She returns home to find Richard waiting for her. She explains what happened, but Richard flat out doesn't believe her. From that moment on, Alexandra becomes obsessed with finding the Bookmobile again. Richard eventually leaves her and she spends every moment, when she's not working, reading Every night she walks in hopes of seeing the Winnebago. Nine years later, her path crosses with Mr. Openshaw again.
This time she asks him if she can work for him. He declines and suggests she becomes a librarian. She immediately goes to school and upon graduating, she is hired at a new library branch in Chicago. Years later she meets Mr. Openshaw again and asks if she can work for him. Again he refused.
This time, the rejection is too much for Alexandra to handle. She begins to resent all the time she has spent reading and that she allowed her life to pass her by while she primarily focused on books and building her collection.
I'm not sure what I expected when I picked up The Night Bookmobile. The ending definitely caught me off guard, so much so that I had to reread it. What began as a light, quick read turned very dark quickly. The ending left me full of questions as I wondered what will happen next for Alexandra.
Be sure to read the author's "After Words" upon finishing the story. It will provide insight on the novel.(less)
At the age of 40, Daphne Martin is beginning a new chapter in her life. She has relocated from Tennessee to her Virgina hometown after divorcing her a...moreAt the age of 40, Daphne Martin is beginning a new chapter in her life. She has relocated from Tennessee to her Virgina hometown after divorcing her abusive husband Todd (who is currently serving time in prison). She's trying to make a fresh start by turning her passion for baking cakes into her own business: Daphne's Delectable Cakes.
Unfortunately for Daphne her first client, Yodel Watson, is ornery and the town's gossip. Ms. Watson is quite difficult (to put it mildly) and has Daphne running in circles with the changes for her cake orders. Naturally Daphne remains professional and tries to accommodate Yodel's unrealistic demands (she is her first client after all). When Daphne arrives at Yodel's home with her third cake, she unexpectedly finds herself involved in a murder investigation.
Rumor has it that Yodel was poisoned. And because Daphne found her dead, it is assumed that an ingredient in one of Daphne's cakes may have poisoned her. To prove her innocence and keep her business from being ruined before it even begins, Daphne must find Yodel's killer.
Murder Takes the Cake is the first book in this cozy series. Although the story centers around Daphne's attempt to rebuild her life, the reader is also introduced to a host of secondary characters. Fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy this light, quick read. Murder Takes the Cake is a good start to a promising series. Recommended.
Lacey is recently divorced. She's trying to pick herself back up and move on. She lives with her cat Cleo and is content with this arrangement. Then s...moreLacey is recently divorced. She's trying to pick herself back up and move on. She lives with her cat Cleo and is content with this arrangement. Then she meets Jack. Her loud, obnoxious neighbor. He's constantly arguing with his girlfriend and quite frankly, Lacey is tired of it. She has decided to ignore Jack.
Until Cleo gets pregnant by Dog, Jack's cat. Now Lacey has no choice but to interact with him. Little does she know, Jack just may be the man she is looking for.
Family Affair was originally published in 1994. Less than 120 pages, it's easy to finish this story in an hour or less. If you are new to Macomber, I wouldn't start here. Instead I recommend her Cedar Cove series. Family Affair is an easy, quick read, but forgettable after you read the last page.(less)
Sophie’s sister Hannah is getting married. Sophie graciously offers to help Hannah plan her wedding despite her reservations with the groom-t...more3.5 Stars
Sophie’s sister Hannah is getting married. Sophie graciously offers to help Hannah plan her wedding despite her reservations with the groom-to-be. When the groom’s ex-wife is found murdered, he becomes the number one suspect on Sophie's list. Sophie finds herself involved with the murder investigation to ease her doubts her sister is not marrying a killer.(less)
Sophie finds herself at odds with her rival Natasha. Sophie's neighbor has died and Natasha is renovating his home for a house tour. When Sophie is as...moreSophie finds herself at odds with her rival Natasha. Sophie's neighbor has died and Natasha is renovating his home for a house tour. When Sophie is assigned a room, the battle is on between the two women. When a dead body is found inside the home, Sophie finds herself involved in another murder investigation. (less)
Bianca Piper is not the prettiest of her friends. Well, that’s what Wesley Rush thinks anyway. He tells her she’s the “Duff”. Designated Ugly Fat Frie...moreBianca Piper is not the prettiest of her friends. Well, that’s what Wesley Rush thinks anyway. He tells her she’s the “Duff”. Designated Ugly Fat Friend. See, Wesley’s plan is to be nice to Bianca in order to get closer to her two gorgeous friends, Casey and Jessica. And just who is Wesley Rush? He’s the hottest, richest guy in their high school. Every girl has a crush on him. Almost every girl, anyway. Bianca certainly doesn’t believe in young, teen love and really doesn’t see why other girls are fascinated with Wesley. He’s really NOT all that.
Bianca is furious with Wesley for labeling her this way. She vows not to speak to him and avoids him at all costs. But this changes when she’s paired with him for a school project. What started out as a “I HATE YOU” relationship turns into an enemies with benefit relationship. Bianca and Wesley start sleeping together and initially Bianca feels she has it under control. Sex with Wesley is a means to an end. She’s using him to distract herself from how terrible and out of control her home life is. Soon, things take an unexpected turn for Bianca when she realizes she has developed feelings for Wesley.
The DUFF may not be a book for all readers (but in fairness, can’t that be said for any book?) due to its sexual content. Yes, Bianca and Wesley have a lot sex. . . casual sex which raises red flags given their age. It’s quite easy for the reader to quickly judge Bianca for her actions and easily conclude she’s no different from the girls she ridicules.
It’s here where the reader needs to take a step back and focus on why she makes these decisions. The world that she knows, the world that she’s so protective of is falling apart and there’s nothing she can do but watch it crumble. To distract her from the pain, she sleeps with Wesley. But what she doesn’t realize is her emotions are causing her to connect to him on a level that is just as equally frightening.
Bianca certainly isn’t an easy character to like. She’s cynical, flawed and very judgmental. She’s secretive and withholding, but she’s scared and so insecure. She’s a teenage girl who sometimes doesn’t make the best decisions. Although circumstances may be different, some readers may see a little of themselves in Bianca.
The DUFF was a quick read for me, as I read it in less than three hours. I admit, I picked it up for that reason only so I was quite surprised that I was still thinking about it days later. Recommended.
Piper Donovan is down on her luck. She was recently written out of her soap opera, A Little Rain Must Fall. Not having any callbacks from her audition...morePiper Donovan is down on her luck. She was recently written out of her soap opera, A Little Rain Must Fall. Not having any callbacks from her auditions, Piper is forced to give up her Manhattan apartment. She returns home to Jersey to live with her parents. Her father is a former cop and her mother owns The Icing on the Cupcake bakery. It’s there that Piper spends most of her days when she’s not auditioning.
Piper stayed in touch with the leading actress from A Little Rain Must Fall, Glenna Brooks. When the two friends meet for lunch, Glenna announces she’s getting married on Christmas Eve and asks Piper if her mother would be so kind to make her wedding cake. Piper immediately accepts on her mother’s behalf. It’s also during this lunch that Glenna discloses she has received a disturbing letter (anonymously written) about her upcoming nuptials. Piper warns Glenna to be careful.
Days following their lunch, someone close to Glenna is mysteriously murdered. All clues lead back to this letter. And it’s not until another person from the soap is left for dead that Piper begins to realize someone is determined to not see Glenna walk down the aisle and will kill anyone that is in the way.
To Have and To Kill is the first book in Clark’s new Wedding Cake Mystery series. I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed her previous Key News series, so I was looking forward to reading this mystery. As usual, Clark did not disappoint. She has created a likable and intelligent amateur sleuth in Piper. There’s a hint of a love interest for Piper, but it doesn’t overshadow the mystery. Piper’s parents round out the storyline as her mother is battling personal issues that may threatened her livelihood.
Overall I really enjoyed To Have and To Kill. It’s a light, cozy mystery that is perfect reading for a lazy afternoon. I’m looking forward to reading future mysteries starring Piper.