Kailey Crain’s life is going perfectly. She has a job she loves with the Seattle Herald and is engaged to a wonderful man, Ryan, who happens to come from money, which isn’t a big deal for Kailey, but they want for nothing.
However, Kailey’s first love, Cade, is never far from her mind. She has always considered him the love of her life and that they were meant to be together; soulmates, if you believe in that kind of thing. But Cade disappeared years ago, without even telling her goodbye.
So imagine Kailey’s surprise when she goes to help a homeless man outside of the ritzy restaurant Ryan has taken her to, only to discover that it’s Cade! Cade is skin and bones, long-haired, his face covered in a long beard, dressed in rags, he doesn’t speak. And, worst of all …. he doesn’t appear to recognize her! Something terrible has happened to him that has left him in a state of confusion. She has mourned him for so long, has he been living on the streets all that time?!?
Cade has nobody, not even his best friend will help, so it’s up to Kailey to help figure out what happened and to try to get him back on his feet. But will helping Cade cost her a life with Ryan?
“You saved my life,” I mutter. “I … I don’t know what to say?” I swallow hard. “How can I thank you?”
“No thank-you necessary,” he says.
I search his moist eyes, and wipe away tears from mine. “I will always be indebted to you.”
“Better plan,” he says. “How about you just save my life someday, then we’ll be even?”
“I will,” I say, smiling through tears. “I will.”
Oh my goodness …. I loved this book! I thought the synopsis looked good, but I saw it had some mediocre reviews online, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It absolutely blew me away though!
This book does switch back and forth between their present, which was 2008, and the past. This allows us to see how Cade and Kailey started out and gives us glimpses of their relationship throughout the two years they were together before Cade disappears. I normally don’t like flashbacks, but when done the way it was in this book, it just works! I absolutely loved Cade in those flashbacks. It let the reader see how full of life, and vibrant Cade was, and of course how much Cade and Kailey loved each other.
“I know what this is,” he whispers, his voice faint above the music. I’ve known it from that first night I saw you at the show, but now there’s no doubt in my mind.”
My gaze is entwined with his. Our eyes are locked and the key is gone. My heart feels full in my chest, heavy but in a good way.
“It’s love,” he says, letting the words slip freely from his mouth. And when they do, they fill the air and multiply like musical notes in a cartoon.
“Love,” I say as the record crackles and skips.
“Love,” he whispers back, weaving his fingers in mine.
And when I set my head on his pillow, and our bodies become one, for the first time in my life I feel as if everything in this crazy, complicated world makes complete and utter sense.”
Cade’s vibrancy in those scenes were such a contrast to the shell of a man that Kailey found outside that restaurant though, which was enough to break my heart. Also, in those flashbacks we got to see Cade’s love of music, all his stories about the legends before they were famous. He could tell you where Kurt Cobain did his laundry and the very lamp post where Pearl Jam got their start. As I said, he was just so full of life and quite the big deal in Seattle at the time, being president of his own record label he started with his friend, James, who in the present, was quite the jerk.
Ryan was a good guy too, but I just felt like he was fighting a losing battle during this book … how could he ever compete with the Cade of the past??
There was nothing I didn’t love about this book! It was an emotional tearjerker, which I love!! I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times I teared up, but it was several times …. This novel is powerful, heartbreaking, and beautiful and I think it would make an amazing movie, if done in the right way. I only wish this book had been a bit longer…. I wanted so badly to see the man Kailey ended up with’s reaction to her surprise! It’s one of those books that you wish were going to be a series so you could see more of the characters you fell in love with! Bravo Jio! This was a job well done. This was my first experience reading this author, but it won’t be my last!
And the whole time I was reading this book with Cade being homeless and how good he was to the homeless in the past made me think of the song What It’s Like by Everlast (Warning! Video is uncensored).
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
Benji and Joshua have been seeing each other for three years now. Most people don’t understand their relationship because they’ve had an open relationship, meaning each could sleep with anybody else they want as long as they don’t have any repeat encounters. However, their relationship is now in jeopardy. Benji wants to close their relationship and be exclusive and Josh refuses. It takes a near hook-up of Josh’s, Van, to actually open his eyes. Van kidnaps him and takes him hours away to meet Benji, where his band is performing, so the two can make-up.
Benji and Josh get back together and are happy to finally be exclusive, but neither can ignore their attraction to Van. They decide that it wouldn’t be cheating if they shared him together. But the couple quickly realizes that Van is the piece that their relationship has been missing all along. Unfortunately, Van doesn’t do complicated and they don’t know if he will be on-board for making their relationship into an official triad.
This book is pretty much what you’d expect from this series, if you’ve read the other two books that came prior: hot and steamy gay sex. Nothing more, nothing less. The relationship between the three guys took a while to progress, but once it did, the book became very graphic. This one was actually steamier than the other two since there were three guys getting together instead of two. And, who wouldn’t want two people making sure their every sexual fantasy was met??
In the beginning of the book, before Van came into the equation, I was thinking Joshua was kind of being a jerk not wanting to get rid of his side pieces. But after they became exclusive I thought Benji was being pretty selfish. He admitted that he doesn’t get sexually attracted to Josh, but doesn’t want Josh to have sex with anyone else. Josh felt terrible when Van kissed him, and Benji got all mad when Josh told him about it, refusing to even talk to him. But then when Benji got drunk and another guy was making out with him and groping him in public, with the pictures all over social media as proof, it was quickly swept under the rug like nothing happened and it was no big deal. But Van definitely seemed to even things out between them. He could give to Josh, what Benji never felt comfortable with, and all three men were there for each other whenever they needed it.
Nothing real earth-shattering happens in this book. Its raunchy sex and delving into the emotional scars that each of the guys battle with from their childhoods. And of course the concerns their relationship has on Benji’s band, Fading Daze.
I’m curious if the straight guys in the band will have books as well or if this series is about over?? I guess time will tell.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Mission Impawsible Paws and Claws Mystery, Book #4 By Krista Davis ISBN13: 9781101988565 Author website: http://www.divamysteries.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
From the “New York Times” bestselling author of “Murder Most Howl “comes another Paws & Claws mystery…
In the pet-friendly town of Wagtail, Virginia, there’s no love lost when Holly Miller meets her match in a murderer…
Holly and her grandmother, Oma, are working their tails off to prepare the Sugar Maple Inn for an upcoming matchmaking event for pet owners. While Holly has no interest in pairing up, Oma plans on playing Cupid and finding someone to warm her reluctant granddaughter’s heart.
Unfortunately, one man Holly does meet is cold, dead cold, and he has a personal letter from Oma in his pocket. As suspicion is cast over the inn’s guests, Holly, with the help of her furry friends, Trixie the Jack Russell and Twinkletoes the cat, must fetch the real killer, or she may soon have a date in court.
Includes delicious recipes for owners and pets!”
If you love your pet and you love your cozies, there is no series better to read the Krista Davis’ “A Paws and Claws Mystery”. You cannot find a better fit if that is your wheelhouse or a better writer in this genre’. Who would not want to live in a wonderful town in the mountains that caters to owners and their furbabies, is inhabited by amazing people and has an Oma(German for grandmother). Mission Impawsible is the fourth book is this fabulous series. I could not put it down! The only downside to that is the book ended too soon and I had to leave my heaven on earth town of Wagtail, Virginia. Holly Miller is a great lead character and I want to hang out with her and her Oma and never leave. Although the murder rate could be a problem.
In this installment of “Paws and Claws” Holly and her Oma are preparing for a big matchmaking event for pet owners at their wonderful Sugar Maple Inn. Holly is still unsure of her own love life, but that does not stop Oma from trying to find a man for her. Everyone is involved in the big event, including Holly’s furbaby Trixie the Jack Russel and Twinkletoes the cat. Once the event is going full force, Holly finds a man alright, but he is stone cold dead and things do not look good. He has a letter from Oma on him. What could that mean, who is he, who did this and why did Holly have to find the body again. Trixie is going to have to stop getting her into these messes.
Krista Davis is such an amazing author. Her writing style flows, takes you on a journey filled with mystery, murder and laughs. Her characters feel like friends and they draw you in so you do not want to leave. There is truly no setting that I would want to hop into and stay for a good long while. There are so many wonderful scenes, plots, clues, conversations, you just never want to put the book down. I enjoyed the path of finding out whodunit as much as I did the time with the furbabies. Ok maybe not as much, but just about. Holly is intelligent and strong and a wonderful friend and granddaughter. There really is nothing I could say bad or slightly not good about this book other than this – it ended and Wagtail is not real, yet.
Even though Mission Impawsible is the fourth book in this fantastic series, you do not have to read them in order. Krista Davis does enough to get you caught up without dragging the story down at all. I would suggest you do read them all because come on – pets are catered to in a mountain town and they are great. I would recommend this book and series to any cozy reader. I would say it is necessary reading for anyone who loves their pets and reads cozy mysteries. And I would also say we all need to band together and make Wagtail a reality. This is definitely one of the best cozies out there. Do yourself a huge favor and read this one and all of them in the series. Seriously, pets catered to, a beautiful setting, fabulous characters and a superbly written mystery – it doesn’t get any better!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*
Beautifully Damaged Beautifully Damaged, Book #1 By L.A. Fiore ISBN # 9781477817506 Author’s Website: http://www.lafiorepublishing.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Aspiring writer, Ember Walsh, moved to the city after college for the opportunities it would afford her. But so far, she hasn’t gotten her big break in writing. Instead, she is waitressing at a restaurant, Clover, and living with her best friend, Lena.
Lena has a new boyfriend that she wants Ember to meet so they go to a local club. But shortly after she meets Todd, the couple disappears and Ember doesn’t see them for the rest of the night. But while sitting at the bar Ember sees an amazing specimen of a man, one that is completely out of her league. But when a drunk gets a little handsy with her and won’t take no for an answer, Mr. Hunk steps in to help.
After that night in the club, Ember keeps seeing Trace, and is crushing on him hard. But unfortunately he’s always surrounded by hordes of women. But there is an instant attraction between them, one that Ember is sure is one-sided. Everybody warns Ember that Trace is a player, and she sees the evidence with her own eyes, but she just can’t seem to stay away.
Trace has a dark past that haunts him, one that makes him think he isn’t good enough for anybody, especially Ember. So, he does the only thing he can do to protect them both … he pushes her away, by any means necessary, even if it shatters her heart.
Ember is determined to not give up, but when Trace does the one thing that Ember said she could never tolerate, will he finally push her too far?
I honestly had pretty low expectations of this book. Not because of the book itself because the synopsis and cover sounded and looked great, but because I got this book free on my kindle. I thought the odds of liking one of the free books weren’t very good. But boy was I ever wrong! This book sucked me in and I didn’t want to quit reading it!
If you love tortured heroes, then look no farther than Trace Montgomery! He’s dark and brooding, gets his rage out in the ring as an amateur fighter, and even has a scene from Hell tattooed on his arm! Trace and his sister had a horrible childhood, with a perverted and evil father. And, Trace blames himself for not being able to save his sister from all she went through. He has also taken the weight of his father’s sins onto his own shoulders. Instead of dealing with his past, he keeps it buried inside himself, where it festers. He loves Ember, but when she gets too close, he just doesn’t feel like he deserves her, and finds ways to try and sabotage their relationship.
Ember starts this book out a bit on the naive side, letting her friend walk all over her and not seeing her for the self-serving person she is. But once her eyes are finally opened, she sees what everybody else does. By the end of this book she is a confident woman that goes after all she wants in life, even our tortured hero!
I really liked Trace, but I’m not sure I could have ever forgiven the way he shredded Ember’s heart. It was pretty cruel. But then he also has moments that make your heart melt too.
“It isn’t every day a wish comes true and you, Ember, are the answer to my wish.”
I guess that’s the only way that Fiore keeps us readers liking him! He definitely had his demons to fight! I also found some of what he confessed to Ember and her family to be a little stalkerish/creepy. I was amazed at how easily everybody accepted it, like it was a non-issue. They all turned it into being a sweet gesture that showed what kind of character he had.
This book isn’t just about Trace and Ember’s romance. There is also a couple mysteries to be solved. Who killed Ember’s mom in a hit-and-run, and who murdered Trace’s parents the night he tried to escape. This is where the book can get confusing with several new characters are introduced, and the two mysteries overlapping. I had to stop reading to mull it over for a bit, but after doing that I was able to follow it and understand what happened.
I really enjoyed this book, I loved this extremely damaged man and the woman that eventually saves his heart and soul. I can’t wait to delve into the second book of the series, Beautifully Forgotten, about Trace’s sexy friend, Lucien! I think I may have just found a new author to love!...more
Kushiel’s Dart Phedre’s Trilogy, Book #1 Kushiel’s Universe, Book #1 By Jacqueline Carey ISBN# 9780330493741 Author’s Website: http://www.jacquelinecarey.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
*Beware of Spoilers*
Phedre was born flawed, with a red mote in her left eye. Once her parents realized the mote wasn’t going away, they sold her to a high-end whorehouse, for them to raise until she turned 10, where she can then be sold into service.
Once it became clear to those at Cereus House, that young Phedre took pleasure out of pain, they called Anafiel Delaunay to take a look at her. He immediately recognized what the mote in her eye was, a prick from Kushiel’s Dart, she was marked by the God Kushiel to forever feel pain and pleasure as one. Delaunay already had a pupil and wasn’t looking for another, but after meeting Phedre he decided to buy her bond (at a staggeringly high price) and train her beside his current pupil, Alcuin.
Life with Delaunay was better than anything Phedre could have ever expected. She grew up with the household motto that all knowledge is worth having. He taught her and Alcuin different languages and studies and trained them to be the perfect little spies to help him gain the knowledge that helped him along the political front once they became of age and were able to become true courtesans. But Delaunay did truly love them and their safety was always of utmost importance to him, sending a guard with them on all of their assignations and always letting them choose which patrons they would take on.
But Phedre’s world comes crashing down when tragedy strikes the Delaunay household and she loses everything she holds dear. Now she has to figure out how to move on and who she can trust. However, nothing can prepare her for the betrayal she is about to face and war is brewing. She will have to rely on everything Delaunay has taught her and her own will to survive.
I will be honest, I did not have high hopes for this book. And, sadly I was not proven wrong. I’m coming to learn that in most cases ‘Epic Fantasy’ just means a really long boring book. This one was over 900 pages and really felt like a major waste of time when I was done. But once I start a book, I have to see it through to the end.
I think I could have liked this book better if not for all the politics and name dropping. In the beginning Delaunay was trying to teach Alcuin and Phedre about all the big players and there were so many different people with names I couldn’t begin to pronounce that I was constantly afraid I was going to miss something or get confused by all the players. That was one of the nice things about when Phedre was with the Skaldi, she wasn’t in the loop and therefore wasn’t much politicking to be had. But the politics and names to keep up with gets even worse later in the book.
I did like Delaunay even though he was a ‘nice’ pimp for all intents and purposes. He was the closest thing to a parent that Phedre had ever had. But when both he and Alcuin were killed I really didn’t want to continue the story. There were over 500 pages left at that point and I was like ‘what am I supposed to do with that?’ If only Alcuin would have survived it would have given me something to keep going on. But no, it was not to be. At this point in the book though, I found myself thinking about the story and the characters a lot when I wasn’t even reading the novel so I guess the author should get some credit for that.
But whenever I would think this book was getting better it would take a turn for the worst and I’d find myself bored once again. The whole war part of the book was pure tedium for me. And I hated how things turned out for Hyacinthe (speaking of names I have no hopes of being able to pronounce). I’m sure his situation will change as the series continues, but I don’t see me ever reading another book set in this world.
Another thing that really bothered me in this book is the romantic aspect. Phedre had two front-runners for her love interest and neither of them could ever give her what she truly needs to be happy. Neither could ever hurt her to give her the pain/pleasure she craves. They both gave up so much for her. One gave up his very family and the other broke almost every vow he ever made and was kicked out of the order he was raised to serve his entire life, all for her. However, she will never be able to fully commit to either. She will never be able to be faithful to either, she will never be able to give up her courtesan ways because neither can give her what she needs.
And in no other book have I ever read was there a situation where prostitution was a way of worship. *Shakes head*. Not to mention the priest flogging her until her back was bled open. This book was so far away from my kind of book that it’s not even funny. I’m sure there are some out there that would love this book, I’m just not among that number.
From the author of the New York Times bestseller I Wish You More comes a book that promises continuous love and makes the perfect gift for fans of Emily Winfield Martin’s The Wonderful Things You Will Be and those looking for something new to add to their shelves next to the classic The Runaway Bunny.
Wherever you are,
Wherever you go,
And always know. . .
That feeling you always have in your heart?
That’s me loving you.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal captures parents’ desire to be ever-present in this simple and touching poem offering reassurance of their love. Signs of affection can be found in the natural world around us—from a soft breeze to a shimmering star.
That’s Me Loving You is a cute and heartfelt children’s book that has many uses and will be loved by all who read it or are read it. The book let’s children know that even when they are not with their parent/grandparent (too I would think) they are with them. Even if it is the wind or a butterfly on their shoulder, they are there. I think this would be the perfect book for a child who is going to school for the first time, being away from mom. Even going to camp or to Grandma’s house for the weekend. I enjoyed the phrasing. The accompanying illustrations are cute and eye-catching. This could be a book for any time to show the love a mom has for their child. I know I had a hard time going to elementary school and being away from my mother, this would have been a big help. I think it could also work for if an adult has passed on, if combined with a compassionate rewording here and there....more
Artemis: Wild Goddess of the Hunt The Olympians, Book #9 By George O’Connor ISBN 978-1-62762-552=2 Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
After Apollo: The Brilliant One, it comes as no surprise that George O’Connor would move to Apollo’s sister Artemis: The Goddess of the Hunt; it is one of the more common transitions in Greek mythology. A calculating, sometimes cruel goddess, Artemis’ story is worth the wait. Full of all the spectacular feats and quests, vows and gods interfering in the ways of man are all depicted here, from a well-researched point of view. There is no slouching O’Connor here as he dives deep into the mysteries of the Greek mythos. Portions of the book are cited in the back ‘notes’ as coming from other books in the Olympians series or classic Greek verse (and as a stand-by, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, a staple in high schools).
I’ll admit it. Artemis: The Goddess of the Hunt is much more reader friendly than its predecessor. O’Connor has finally found the right mix and balance between expository, storytelling and reader response. The story, told from the people around her, but notably Hera, is both informative and emotional at the same time, shedding a very human light on a larger than life female figure; and Artemis is the embodiment of the modern woman: wild, free, unfettered and not tied down by any man. O’Connor writes this strong women character well, encapsulating power and self-confidence and toning down sexuality or rather freeing the character of Artemis of sexuality. Artemis: The Goddess of the Hunt skillfully captures one of the more elusive goddesses of the Greek mythos. Even the primary narrator, Hera, has her problems with Artemis (born from Zeus and Leto, a human who along with Apollo and Artemis were brought up in Olympus) but even she maintains a neutral stance throughout the tale.
The artwork complements the story admirably. Graceful lines and skillful inks grace each page and lends itself well to the subject matter at hand. The art is meticulous and planned. almost stale in some spots, but overall it suits the story. The colors are muted and toned down, playing in the blue and purple spectrum, giving a calm, serene (but muted) look to the graphic novel. Bright color only entered in the wilds of the world where greens and reds and earth tones occur. This is especially prominent in the telling of Orion’s tale. Orion who vied for Artemis love, engaged in the hunt until becoming the first man to be included in Artemis’ hunting party, however, his love was rebutted. Artemis had pledged to Zeus at a young age what she wanted for her life and that included neither a husband nor the touch of a man. The colors literally explode off the page during this part of the story, and the vibrancy runs with Orion’s emotions. Kudos must be given to O’Connor for a brilliant use of color that accentuated the artwork and the story immensely. Artemis: Goddess of the Hunt is no slouch in the art department.
For those with an interest in classical Greek mythology, and the legend of Artemis in particular, Artemis: The Goddess of the Hunt is a solid read. A strong female lead, and classical Greek drama pave the way for an interesting ride. Both the story and art are well worth the admission fee and although a bit dry in some places it is probably one of the best of Olympian books in the series. It is well worth the time and effort to read and there are group study questionnaires and appendices containing group notes, further reading s and deity charts. Anyone with a passion for Greek myth, high adventure and the mythological would be prime candidates for this graphic novel.
Egg Drop Dead Cackleberry Club, Book #7 By Laura Childs ISBN: 9780425281703 Author website: http://www.laurachilds.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
In Laura Childs’s New York Times bestselling mystery series, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni—co-owners of the Cackleberry Club Café—are back to track down another bad egg…
Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club Café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.
But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.
Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them…
Author Laura Childs is one of the best in the cozy genre’. She writes 3 different series and I love 2 of them. (I have not tried her scrapbooking one). Her characters are always strong and entertaining, the storylines are always fun and the mysteries are always well written. Egg Drop Dead is all of that. When you get to visit Cackleberry Club it is always a fun time, full to the brim with intrigue and mystery. The owners are the protagonist in the series, Petra, Toni and Susanna with Susanna being the main character. In this installment Susanna goes to pick up some supplies from one of her suppliers Mike Mullin. She cannot find Mike and after searching comes upon his body, what appears to be the scene of an altercation and his poor cows badly in need of being milked.
Susanna is very busy right now with the Cackleberry Club hosting a big Halloween get together and she should be planning her wedding. That does not stop her from trying to find out why anyone would want mild mannered Mike dead. There are quite a few suspects and all for completely different reasons. After all the help that the ladies have given in the past to solve murders, it is only natural they help now. Susanna asks questions, listens to gossip, searches for information and tries to find answers. What precipitated this horrific event is the question. Several suspects present themselves including of course the widow, but also an autistic teen, his over protective mother, and a weird new dairy representative. And some others as well. How will they sift through all of them and keep themselves out of the crosshairs of a killer?
The characters in this series are intelligent, humorous and just a load of fun. I enjoy the setting and have gotten to feel like I really know Susanna. Reading a book in this series is like visiting with friends, good friends. Laura Childs writing style is always entertaining and intelligent and I like to think of this series as her lower class child. While her tea series is a bit high class, the Cackleberry Club is down home! And for me that is comfortable and cozy. I enjoy the setting and the people who frequent the restaurant. Halloween is being done right and the suspense culminates at the big event.
Even if you have not read any of the other books in this series, reading Egg Drop Dead will be a pleasure. The characters are wonderful from the main ones down to someone just dropping by. Details bring the reader right into the amazing Cackleberry Club and the whole town. Author Laura Childs is one of the best cozy writers and this series is just more proof of that. Get to know the great ladies of Cackleberry Club and their friends. You will not regret a trip to this cozy setting populated with fun people.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*
Better Off Thread An Embroidery Mystery #10 Author: Amanda Lee ISBN13: 9780451473851 Author website: http://www.gayletrent.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
Santa finds himself in a stitch of trouble in the tenth in the series from the national bestselling author of The Stitching Hour…
Marcy is busy helping her customers make hand-crafted ornaments at her embroidery shop, the Seven-Year Stitch. But despite the yuletide bustle, when her friend Captain Moe asks for her help, she can’t refuse—especially when the favor is to play the elf to his Santa for sick children at a local hospital. Despite the ridiculous outfit, Marcy finds herself enjoying spreading cheer—until the hospital’s administrator is found murdered.
Although the deceased had plenty of people willing to fill her stocking with coal, evidence pins the crime on Moe. Now it’s up to Marcy, with the help of her police officer boyfriend Ted and her Irish Wolfhound Angus, to stitch together the clues to clear Moe’s name—before someone else winds up crossed off Santa’s list for good…
Better Off Thread is the tenth book in this series and it is as good if not better than any of the others. This is one of my absolute favorite series and I don’t think there has ever been one thing I could complain about. Okay maybe that I want to read even more about Angus the Irish Wolfhound, but even that is not a real complaint as he does play a part in all of the books. The characters are so likable and the setting so enjoyable, I want to step through the pages and come out right there. Author Amanda Lee has a way of writing that truly draws the reader in, pulls the story out thread by thread to create a work of art stitched together with a deft hand and perfect style.
Marcy is a lovable, enjoyable and intelligent protagonist. Her dog Angus is the best. Her friends are fun and entertaining. I so want to live there. In this installment it is Christmas time and her friend Captain Moe needs a favor. Yes, Marcy is extremely busy at her embroidery shop Seven-Year Stitch, but if Moe needs help, she is going to step up and do it for him. Captain Moe is playing Santa for the sick children at the hospital and he needs an elf. Marcy is the perfect fit, so she agrees. Unfortunately not everyone is in the holiday spirit. Marcy finds chaos when she goes to spread cheer. The hospital administrator has been murdered and unfortunately all signs point to Moe.
Marcy cannot let Captain Moe be railroaded and wrongly accused because she knows without a doubt he is innocent. And there are plenty of suspects out there that had it in for this woman. Political issues at the hospital put a target on her back and her way of dealing with things did not do anything to help remove it. Looks like she finally got worse than she was giving. Marcy puts herself in danger as usual to prove the innocence of the wrongly accused, but even so she never seems to be one of the many to stupid amateur detectives. She always thinks things out and really tries her best to get it done without getting herself killed. Her friends are always willing to help as well and they do their best to get the right person to be held accountable for the murder.
Amanda Lee is such a wonderful writer and this series always flows with intrigue and at the same time fun. Even though this is the 10th in the series, anyone could read this one and any of the others as standalone books. (But why would you). The characters are fabulous, even the sinister ones. In Better Off Thread the author also brings up a touchy subject of organ donation and handles it with the same exceptional touch as she does everything in her books. While Marcy is a whiz with floss, Amanda Lee is a whiz with words, story lines and characters. A truly fantastic read for any season, but especially the perfect gift for the holidays.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review *
Plaid and Plagiarism Highland Bookshop Mystery, Book #1 By Molly MacRae ISBN 9781681772561 Author’s Website: mollymacrae.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
A murder in a garden turns the four new owners of Yon Bonnie Books into amateur detectives, in a captivating new cozy mystery novel from Molly MacRae.
Set in the weeks before the annual Inversgail Literature Festival in Scotland, Plaid and Plagiarism begins on a morning shortly after the four women take possession of their bookshop in the Highlands. Unfortunately, the move to Inversgail hasn’t gone as smoothly as they’d planned.
First, Janet Marsh is told she’ll have to wait before moving into her new home. Then she finds out the house has been vandalized. Again. The chief suspect? Una Graham, an advice columnist for the local paper—who’s trying to make a name for herself as an investigative reporter. When Janet and her business partners go looking for clues at the house, they find a body—it’s Una, in the garden shed, with a sickle in her neck. Janet never did like that garden shed.
Who wanted Una dead? After discovering a cache of nasty letters, Janet and her friends are beginning to wonder who didn’t, including Janet’s ex-husband. Surrounded by a cast of characters with whom readers will fall in love, the new owners of Yon Bonnie Books set out to solve Una’s murder so they can get back to business.
A delightful and deadly new novel about recognizing one’s strengths and weakness—while also trying to open a new book shop—Plaid and Plagiarism is the start of an entertaining new Scottish mystery series. (Goodreads)
Plaid and Plagiarism is an exciting, breathtaking start to Molly Macrae’s newest cozy mystery series. Four women make a life-changing move from the Midwest across the pond to Scotland and purchase a historic bookshop with enough storefront to add a tearoom, plus upstairs room to add a bed and breakfast. What a fabulous idea for we armchair travelers and sleuths; a charming bookshop in the Scottish highlands! And that is what the four women thought, and had prepared detailed business plans. The business plans didn’t take into account finding finding a body in the garden shed of Janet’s home.
I very much enjoyed this tale of family, friends, and mystery! Janet, a retired librarian, and Christine, retired social worker, are very familiar with Inversgail, Scotland. Christine’s elderly parents still live in their hometown where she was raised. Janet and her ex-husband had purchased a beautiful home where they had vacationed until the rat traded her in for a younger model. It will now be the home of Janet and her daughter, Tallie, an attorney-turned-bookseller. Janet’s son, his wife, and beloved grandson live in a neighboring town. Tallie’s friend Summer is an investigative journalist looking forward to her new career in the tearoom with Christine, as well as running the B&B. The ladies have been drawn with excellence, so much so that I feel not only as if I know them well but also that each has characteristics that I can identify with. Other characters, including Una, the murdered woman, are prepared with all that is necessary to feel familiar with them and understand how they fit into the whole.
The plot was a delightfully intricate weaving of new beginnings, careers, and the growing number of suspects and additional layers of mystery. Layers that include secrets in Janet’s family that even she was unaware of, secrets of the former owners, secrets of the murdered woman, secrets everywhere. It would seem, that all seem to tumble in haphazardly but are very well organized and executed by the author. The plot twists and turns are stunning at times, and each one increases the suspense. This reader thought she knew who the bad guy/ gal might be, but was stunned at the final revelation! The mysteries were wrapped up completely and secrets revealed, and I am so looking forward to the next one! I highly recommend Plaid and Plagiarism, especially those who would love fresh word pictures of Scotland, enjoy cozy mysteries written with excellence that include courageous ladies, bookstores, and tearooms....more
Frosty the Dead Man Snow Globe Shop Mystery, Book #3 By Christine Husom ISBN13: 9780425270820 Author website: http://christinehusom.webs.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
A snow globe becomes a murder weapon in the latest cozy mystery from the national bestselling author of Snow Way Out and The Iced Princess.
Mayor Lewis Frost has always been known as Frosty to his friends—not that he has many these days. Controversies swirling around the city council have members wondering if Frosty is trying to snow them. After one councilman storms off in a huff, the mayor turns to curio shop manager Camryn Brooks and asks her to consider taking a seat on the council.
Later, when Cami goes to his office to discuss the proposal, her blood runs cold. She finds Frosty dead, and the very snow globe she sold him earlier that day lies in sparkling shards on his carpet—along with a large diamond. Does the snow globe—which features a peculiar tableau of an armed man and three menacing bears—hold a clue to Frosty’s demise? One way or another, it’s up to Cami to shake things up before the killer’s trail goes cold…
Frosty the Dead Man is the third book in this fun cozy mystery series. I had a hard time when I first heard of this series envisioning a store that sold snow globes. Well, author Christine Husom not only pulled it off, but this installment is the best yet. What a quaint and enjoyable town Brooks Landing is and I for one, love visiting it. Camryn Books runs an adorable snow globe store and she is one fun and fabulous main character. Along with her friends and family, Camryn is once again tangled up in a murder. And once again she is able to sift through the clues and find the killer.
When Mayor Lewis Frost, known as Frosty, stops by and asks Camryn to consider becoming a member of the city council, she is a bit shocked. Yet after another councilman had just stormed off, maybe it should not come be that much of a surprise. Camryn has to think about Frosty’s offer and talk it over with her friends. When she goes to talk to him at his office she not only finds Frosty dead, murdered, but it looks like the murder weapon is a snow globe he was actually interested in when he was in her shop. And if that is not bad enough, there is a huge diamond on the floor as well. Why are people interested in this odd snow globe she has gotten in, with three bears and a man with a gun? What is going on that so many people would want that one, when she has so many other wonderful ones.
Intrigue, shady people, questions, politics, and snow globes, what a combination. I love the characters populated this fictional town. Each book in this series is better than the last. A bit more suspense in the one, but I was able to figure out a few things before Camryn. I did not have it all figured out though and enjoyed getting all the answers along with her. Pinky is a great friend and the duo run a fun combined store. I enjoyed the addition of a few more new characters and the store atmosphere leaves things open for strangers to come into the story without things seeming odd.
Frosty the Dead Man is the most exciting and intriguing in this wonderful series. Definitely the best yet. No matter the season, stopping by Camryn’s snow globe store is a treat. Camryn has to shake things up and see where they fall and she does it so well. Author Christine Husom has written another sparkling cozy that shines no matter what time of year you read it. You do not have to read this series in order as they all work as standalone reads, but they are all worth the time. And it will be a pleasure for sure. I cannot wait for the next installment of this fantastic series.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*
Hocus Focus By James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost ISBN: 978-1-59643-654-1 Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
Any graphic novel that includes a “How to draw the characters” section earns brownie points in my books. Hocus Focus by James Sturm and Co,. just happens to have that, as did Sturm’s Ogres Awake (coincidentally starring the same characters). A whimsical flight of fancy, with young adults its targeted demographic, we once again pick up on the further adventures of the Knight and his trusty, fetching steed, Edward in the Knight’s quest to become the greatest wizard ever. Fun, fun and more fun awaits the reader in this graphic novel, and youngsters will find giggles galore there. It’s truly a delightful read that teaches a very important moral lesson. Hocus Focus is by far the pinnacle so far produced by Sturm, Arnold, and Frederick-Frost. Perhaps adding a few more cooks spice up the dish.
Once again, Sturm and Co. have written a very tight dialogue driven ship. The action starts almost immediately and doesn’t stop until the final punchline. Terse and to the point, the younger reader won’t have an iota of a problem following the linear but twisting plot. Dialogue and action share an equal proportion throughout the book. The story is delightful and airy, full of magic (well one spell with disastrous results), and a mythic feel, as it largely weaves elements of “The Wizard’s Apprentice.” – one may remember Disney’s Mickey Mouse adaption in Fantasia. This being said, of course, says that there is a positive moral message. Patience pays off; the swing ending at the end is a good laugh. We are introduced to the aged Court Wizard who fulfils his role as the mentor teaching a student a lesson.
To reiterate my comments on Ogres Awake: the artwork, as mentioned previously, contains a “How to Draw” section, so the characters are clean, dynamic and simple. In fact, Sturm’s artwork is deceptively simple. Designing characters with young children’s drawing abilities in mind is no small feat – care has to be placed into the designs of the panels so that they are easy to read, reproducible for young readers and dynamic enough to let the inner child roam free giving the Knight (and Edward) new adventures, expanded now to underwater adventures and space fare (even Edward has a space helmet to draw!). All the good fun from this encourages interactive reading in young adults. Kudos for Sturm and Co. for adding this element once again in Hocus Focus, as Sturm did in the former graphic novel – it’s a good technique and encourages the arts in youngsters. It’s a hands down, win-win situation here.
The assimilation of story and art is easy to do; doing it well is another matter altogether. Sturm, Arnold, and Frederick-Frost do it right. Together, the art and dialogue cannot be separated – not without compromising the integrity of the story. Together they tie everything together. They define the Knight (not so much Edward) and the elderly, accomplished Wizard
Introducing your child to the wonders of art is a prize worth taking home, and Hocus Focus provides that outlet. Introducing them to graphic novels and the stories they tell excites both visual and language skills: Hocus Focus performs this well. For any child the adventures of ‘The Knight’ and Edward will become part of treasured memories, and a wellspring of ideas from which to draw (no pun intended) and draw. Overall I would...more
Third Time’s a Crime A Love or Money Mystery, Book #3 By Diana Orgain ISBN 9780425271704 Author’s Website: dianaorgain.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
After two hit reality TV shows brought ex-detective Georgia Thornton into America’s living rooms, audiences can’t get enough of her quest for love and justice. Now producers have come up with an all-new show set in a haunted castle in Golden, California. Georgia and nine other contestants will need to solve the mystery of a teenage girl who disappeared at the castle in 1968.
Except there’s one rather substantial problem waiting for everyone when they arrive: one of the groundskeepers is found drowned at the bottom of the castle’s empty pool. Now Georgia and the other contestants will need to work together, because there’s a different sort of game afoot—and it’s not one they can afford to lose.
Third Time’s A Crime is, in my opinion, the best so far in Diana Orgain’s series, A Love or Money Mystery. Diana has another hit with this setting and the mysteries within. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Georgia and Scott figure out who the bad guy/ gal, especially when it appears that somebody is going after Georgia and her loved ones. The author’s description of the setting, including the beauty of the area and the gardens contrasted with the dark, cold interior of the castle, the living quarters, kitchen, “solitary”, and the corridors and stairs has enough detail to be enticing.
Georgia and Scott have been invited to participate in a new reality TV show, Cold Case in the Castle, that is filmed on location in a haunted castle that was originally a reform school for boys. Georgia and Scott are one of five pairs of people who are attempting to solve a mystery from about 50 years earlier, the murder of a young woman who was the librarian at the castle. She was one of only a handful of women who worked and lived there. Other pairs include a forensic anthropologist and an FBI profiler who were well known on the show, Hunting Bones. one pair includes a priest, one a psychic who looked like a lumberjack, and one the niece of the murdered librarian.
As with other reality programs, the couples rely on the votes of their fans; one couple would be eliminated per day. Some had fans from previous shows, such as the couple from Hunting Bones, as well as Scott and Georgia. As the games begin, they have to surrender their phones, tablets, and laptops. Each pair would receive one item to help them on the search, and they could form alliances with other teams to maximize use of whatever item they had.
The creep-out factor began before the filming did with an impending storm and hundreds of blackbirds flocking to the property from the ocean, crashing into the castle, breaking windows. Georgia found the body of a groundskeeper is found in the long-empty, abandoned pool. She didn’t share her vision with anyone in which Jane came seeking her help to get justice for her murder. It just gets better and better, and could be a setting for one of Scott’s horror stories!
The characters are so well-defined that they could step off the pages and into the castle. The author’s skill with dialog, wit and humor shine and highlight our favorite and our one-time characters. The other four teams of folks on Cold Case are each uniquely eccentric: at times they are more competitive than a tennis player at Wimbledon and at other times as creepy as the castle seemed to be. Yet they all fit together into the whole of the novel, each contributing to the sometimes wacky world of Hollywood filming.
The stakes are higher than ever for Georgia. If she and Scott are able to stay in the game through to the final two couples, a big-time reality show, Global Tracker, has expressed interest in hiring her. If they were prepared to make an offer to her, they would be equally interested in the team with the forensic anthropologist and the FBI profiler, giving Georgia a secondary interest in solving the crime. To her credit, her primary interest was to get justice for the Jane.
The plot keeps a reader’s attention; it drew me in from the first page through to the end. There were more twists and turns than the staircases, bringing continual change to the landscape of the story. There is more than one mystery, adding to the intrigue at any given time. Does Jane’s spirit – or those of boys who died there – haunt the castle? Father Gabriel seems to think so, as he wants to release all the spirits trapped inside, even though it conflicts with his purpose of being there. While I might appreciate seeing a castle like this in the daylight, when I think about sleeping there at night, I am very content with being an armchair sleuth! I did not figure out who the bad guy/ gal was, but found the ending and resolutions to be very satisfying. I highly recommend Third Time’s a Crime and the first two books in the series to anyone who enjoys creepy settings and reality TV with a bit of romance in their cozy mysteries.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight Charley Davidson, Book #11 By Darynda Jones ISBN# 9781250078216 Author’s Website: http://www.daryndajones.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Charley and Reyes are back to business as usual in their life, seemingly back to normal, or what’s normal for them anyway. All their secrets are out in the open and they’ve promised not to keep secrets from each other ever again. So when Reyes’s brother hires Charley to investigate the couple that abducted Reyes when he was just a baby, why does Reyes get so bent out of shape? He’s adamant that Charley drop the case, but won’t tell her why. And it’s not like Charley is really going to stop doing something she wants to even if her hunk of burning love forbids it!
Charley’s Uncle Ubie is still in danger of being murdered as Charley and Reyes have not been able to locate the man who is expected to kill him. And worse, Ubie is slated for hell for something he did to protect Charley. They have him under tight surveillance in order to keep him safe until his would-be murderer can be dealt with.
Meanwhile, they discover Amber has a stalker that must handeled as well …
I did enjoy this book much better than the previous installment, The Curse of Tenth Grave. Maybe it was finally finding out just how depraved the Fosters really are! I enjoyed meeting Reyes’s brother, Shawn, as well.
Reyes took his role as teacher very seriously in this book, realizing that Charley has to learn how to use some of her abilities in order to protect their daughter and herself. Although I found some of his methods, to be questionable!
The duo found a new way to bring the heat between the two, although I didn’t find it as enjoyable from a reader’s standpoint, but at least the intimacy was there, as I found it lacking in the last book.
Now I have to talk about some of my book-loving friends and how when books have a little segue into the next installment several of them scream and groan cursing the ‘cliffhanger’. In most cases, I don’t think they are truly cliffhangers. However, Ms. Jones definitely threw us off the cliff on this one …. I mean I knew nothing good was going to come of Charley and Reyes’s little experiment (and I can’t believe Charley gave in so easily …. Maybe it was Jose?), but I did not expect what happened. I can’t wait for the next installment. I have no doubt Charley will find a way to set things right. But seriously, the next book needs to get here already!!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*...more
The New York Times bestselling author of New Leaf returns to Mystic Creek, Oregon, where a wounded heart finds a place to call home. . . .
After a career on the rodeo circuit, Ben Sterling longs to settle down on his farm and start a family like his brothers. He’s searched all over for the woman of his dreams. Yet the only one to spark his interest is the new owner of the local café. Getting her attention, however, won’t be easy.
Sissy Sue Bentley has worked hard to make it on her own, and she doesn’t need another man in her life. From her alcoholic father to the men she’s dated, who were after only one thing, they are nothing but trouble. Except Ben keeps showing up whenever she really needs help. Sissy struggles to deny her growing feelings for him—but soon Ben’s tender concern has her hoping for a happier future. Then her past comes barreling back into her life, and it will take more than the love in Ben’s heart to hold them together.
NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED.
Sissy Sue has a good life. She owns her own business, a cafe called the Cauldron. She is a hard worker, and she is not afraid of doing what she needs to do to be successful in her business. She has friends but she does not have that special someone in her life. She does not want Ben to be in her life, she has seen men like him before. She has had an abusive past and she is not going to let any man in. To say that she has a lot of baggage from her past would be an understatement. Ben is a great guy who has decided that he wants a wife and family and he wants Sissy Sue. But he knows that it will be a hard job convincing her that he is different than other men and he is right for her. He has to break through the walls that Sissy Sue has erected around her heart.
The characters are well developed and well rounded. You can understand Sissy Sue’s reluctance to get involved with someone like Ben because all of her experience with men has been negative. Ben is a very patient and understanding man, and if anyone can make Sissy Sue change her mind, it is Ben. I really like the interactions between them and the chemistry was very strong. The secondary characters were also well developed and added a lot to the story.
The author is very talented in her descriptive writing. The small-town setting seemed very realistic to me and it felt like someplace I would like to visit. The cafe sounded like a fun place to eat and hang out for a while. I could just picture the scene where all of Sissy Sue’s chickens were escaping and it made me laugh out loud.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted women’s fiction. It is a sweet, romantic book that will make you feel good while you are reading it. You will laugh, you will sigh and you may have tears in your eyes. I enjoy when I experience all those types of emotions while reading. I have read other books by this author and they have all been very good.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Pop Goes the Murder Popcorn Shop Mystery, Book #2 By Kristi Abbott ISBN13: 9780425280928 Author website: http://www.kristiabbottauthor.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
Gourmet popcorn entrepreneur Rebecca Anderson and her poodle, Sprocket, are back on the case, in the second Popcorn Shop Mystery from the author of Kernel of Truth.
Despite Rebecca Anderson’s best efforts to distance herself from her ex-husband, the guy keeps popping up. When Antoine offers to feature her breakfast bars and popcorn fudge on his popular cooking show, she suspects he’s once again trying to butter her up—but the TV exposure for her gourmet popcorn shop, POPS, is too good to turn down.
Things take a shocking turn when the crew comes to Grand Lake to film in her shop, and Rebecca discovers Antoine’s assistant electrocuted in a hotel bathtub. Now the police want Antoine to come clean. Her ex may be a pain, but he’s no killer. So Rebecca decides to bag the real culprit. If she isn’t careful, however, she may be the next one getting burned.
Rebecca Anderson and her wonderful poodle Sprocket are doing pretty well. Her popcorn shop POPS is doing better and better. When her ex-husband famous TV chef and entrepreneur Antoine pushes the idea to feature her shop along with her tasty breakfast bars and popcorn fudge on his cooking show, Rebecca really cannot turn it down. The exposure will really get her name and her product out there and she can use all the help promoting her business she can get. Even if she really does not want anything to do with her overbearing and the huge personality of her ex.
Antoine and his entire crew descend upon Grand Lake and things get crazy. Not only does Rebecca have to deal with his demands and pressing schedule, but now one of his crew ends up dead. Rebecca herself discovers his assistant dead in the hotel tub, electrocuted. Yes, Rebecca never liked Melanie and she was probably the catalyst to the end of her marriage, but she never wanted her dead. Things start to come out that unfortunately shed a bad light on Antoine. What was his assistant up to behind his back, why was he knocking on her door about the time she was murdered. Yes, this was no accident. This was murder and Antoine is the prime suspect. No way does Rebecca believe he did it and she feels there is nothing else she can do, but find the real killer. Will she be able to do that without becoming the next victim?
I really enjoy the Popcorn Shop Mystery series. I did not think I would, I mean what can you do with a popcorn shop. Thanks to author Kristi Abbott’s fun and entertaining writing style and her ability to come up with new and what are bound to be delicious popcorn related recipes, her series flows, pops, and delights. The characters are enjoyable and continue to become more and more developed. The setting is a pleasure and her mysteries are intriguing. Of course, the addition of a dog always helps me to relate more to any book.
Pop Goes the Murder is the second installment in this wonderful cozy mystery series – Popcorn Shop Mystery and I think it is even better than the first. Rebecca is a wonderful lead character and her investigating is fun and full of intelligence and mystery. I cannot wait to see where the characters go from here. Author Kristi Abbott writes with humor and crafts a tale that keeps you entertained. Laughs, intrigue, food, a dog, a wonderful mystery, seriously what more could you want. Grab a tub of gourmet popcorn, call the dog up and settle back for a great cozy read.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*...more
Assault and Beret A Hat Shop Mystery, Book #5 By Jenn McKinlay ISBN#9780425279595 Author’s website: www.Jennmckinlay.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
London milliner Vivian Tremont and her American cousin and partner, Scarlett Parker, tip their caps to their beloved shop on Portobello Road in Notting Hill and set off for Paris, where Viv can’t wait to teach a hat-making class. But she has another reason to travel to the City of Light: to find the man she impulsively eloped with years ago and have their marriage annulled.
William Graham is not only handsome and charming, but he also has a glamorous job as an insurance investigator who works with priceless pieces of art, most recently a small Renoir that has been discovered in a junk shop. But when both Will and the masterpiece suddenly disappear, it’s up to the ladies from London to follow the trail of clues. They’ll need to hold on to their chapeaux, however, because someone is a master in the art of deception.
Assault and Beret is another stellar read from author Jenn McKinlay. With its spunky protagonists, Parisian setting, and lots of wit and intrigue, it is a fitting sendoff to one of my favorite cozy mystery series.
Milliner Vivian and her cousin/business partner Scarlett make their way from London to Paris in this fifth Hat Shop Mystery. Vivian is there to teach a hat making class while Scarlett is tasked with finding Vivian’s mystery husband and talk him into an annulment. Scarlett locates the charming Will quickly, but things do not go quite as planned when he and Vivian reconnect as Viv is tempted to rekindle things with Will. When Will is abducted and a recently discovered Renoir disappears, Scarlett decides she cannot solve this alone, and the shop’s business manager (and Scarlett’s love interest) Harrison rushes in to help. Together they unearth secrets and find the most unlikely of answers to the mystery.
I adore the Hat Shop Mystery series and am so sad that Assault and Beret is the final installment. I miss the usual London setting, but Paris makes for a fitting sendoff. I was concerned that the different setting would mean not getting to say goodbye to some of the recurring characters, but McKinlay manages to find reasons for all of them to make their way to Paris. Scarlett continues to be a plucky, straight forward protagonist who makes smart choices. Viv has never been my favorite character; she is just too flighty for me, and here is no exception. I understand that she has her teaching commitment, but she is annoying in her inability to help with the investigation. Of course, Harrison is my favorite character. His loyalty and English charm make him quite endearing, and I am so glad that his patience pays off in the end. Nick, Andre, and Alistair are such good examples of friendship. I will miss all of these characters so much.
The mystery surrounding Will’s disappearance and the Renoir painting is very well executed. There are lots of scenarios and suspects to provide plenty of twists, turns, and red herrings. I admit that I briefly suspected a certain person’s true nature early on, but, nonetheless, I felt like I had been punched in the gut when all was revealed. Lots of tension kept me reading well past my bedtime – I simply had to find out what happened. McKinlay’s writing is witty, and her characters and scenes jump right off the page, and I feel like I am part of the action.
I highly recommend Assault and Beret to fans of any of Jenn McKinlay’s three cozy series and to any reader who enjoys good characters, a bit of romance with their mystery, and smart writing.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*
Telling Tails Second Chance Cat Mystery, Book #4 By Sofie Ryan ISBN 9781101991206 Five Stars Author’s Website: sofieryan.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The New York Times bestselling author of A Whisker of Trouble returns as secondhand shop owner Sarah Grayson and her rescue cat, Elvis, get caught up in a case of she said, she said….
When Sarah Grayson opened a secondhand shop in the quaint town of North Harbor, Maine, she was expecting peace and quiet. Then she was adopted by a rescue cat named Elvis and a kooky trio of senior sleuths known as Charlotte’s Angels. Now she has nine lives worth of excitement…
Sarah’s friend and employee Rose is delivering a customer’s purchase when the quick errand becomes a deadly escapade. Rose arrives just in time to see the customer murdered by his wife, but before she can call the police, she is knocked out cold. When she wakes up, no one believes her, especially after the woman claims her husband is very much alive and has left her for someone else—and has a text message and empty bank account to prove it.
Despite her convincing story, Sarah is sure something is fishy—and it’s not Elvis’s kitty treats. Sarah, Elvis, and the Angels are determined to unravel this mysterious yarn, before the feral killer pounces again… (Goodreads)
Telling Tales has some of the most lovable characters in today’s cozy mystery genre and a cat who, among his skills as a feline lie detector and mystery solver, also has to watch Jeopardy! every evening. This is fourth in the Second Chance Cat Mystery series, but can be read as a standalone. It is so hard to put down, as the family of Sarah and her brother Liam is so inviting! Charlotte’s Angels, who have been surrogate family members since she was a child, demonstrate seniors who are not dotty old fools but as untapped treasures they truly are.
Sarah is the owner of Second Chance, a re-purpose/ thrift/ antique store in a quaint, coastal Maine town. Her grandmother, who has recently remarried, has been travelling and volunteering to help build homes along the East Coast with her hubby. Charlotte’s Angels watch out for Sarah in Gram’s absence, but they also work part-time for her in the shop. Of course, they continually remind her that they’d changed her diapers so she concedes – or pretends to – to their wisdom.
The Angels are a trio of Gram’s lifelong pals, Charlotte, Rose, and Liz, with Rose being the most adorably featured. Rose lives in one of the three apartments in Sarah’s home. Rose has a sweetheart, Alfred or Mr. P, who has a PI license now so they can legally ‘help’ the police and Sarah with the icky situations she becomes embroiled in.
This time it is Rose who gets into a situation when she goes against Sarah’s decision that if the purchaser of a pair of lovely antique silver candlesticks needed them delivered to his wife that day, to call a cab to deliver them. Instead, Rose takes the cab to the address given to them, lets the cab leave, and knocks on the doors. Through the window, as she sees what looks like the back of a woman dragging the body of the candlestick buyer, she is hit over the head. The next thing she remembers is a dog kindly nudging her and alerting its owner to her presence.
Rose wasn’t prepared for her friend’s concerns when they went to the hospital ER where she was checked out and patched up. Michelle, the police detective and Sarah’s BFF, thinks perhaps she had a stroke and hit her head when she fell. Two others kind of agree with her and are asked to leave. Another simply doesn’t quite think she really saw what she said, as it seems too implausible. Sarah wants to believe her, and is willing to take the drives to see the home and talk to relatives of the candlestick guy. By the next day, the Angels are behind her enough that they are starting to ask around and Mr. P is using his computer … uh … skills to see what he can find out on the people involved. And what he finds is that there is much more to the candlestick guy and his family than anyone could have guessed…
The author is remarkable when it comes to designing her characters! Each one is so well defined, if not as through Sarah’s eyes, than through their appearance, their words and actions, and their hearts. The dialog is masterful, and most of the regular folks are complex. Those who are only in this cozy are described as well as necessary for their roles. The puzzler is – who are the suspects and who are the victims? Kind of hard to determine without a body!
The plot is cleverly planned and flawlessly executed. That being said, it is a real bear to figure out who the bad guy/ gal might be! It is full of humor, cat antics, intrigue and suspense. After much consideration, I figured out whodunit, but had to wait for Sarah to discover the motive and backstory to know why-dunit. The motive was somewhat surprising, as well as why the candlestick guy bought the candlesticks. The end was completely satisfying with no loose ends left untied except for the ongoing wonder of who will win Sarah’s heart besides Elvis. For a good time, I highly recommend reading Telling Tails. It is great for a cold night and roaring fireplace or on the beach, if you don’t mind getting caught laughing out loud by yourself! It is the best of both worlds for those who love cats and cozy mysteries. It is also for those who enjoy and value multi-generational tales....more
Jacob’s Faith Breeds, Book #11 By Lora Leigh ISBN# 9781843607489 Author’s Website: http://www.loraleigh.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
When Jacob was in the labs, he knew how to play the game, making the demented scientists think he was a tame puppy, doing as they wished to protect himself and the rest of his pack. But they weren’t as vicious as their tormentors had always hoped them to be, so they knew their time was limited as there was already talk of them executing the wolves by year’s end.
But one night they threw Jacob’s packmate, Faith, into his cell, drugged out of her mind to make her more accommodating. They’d seen how he watched her, how he always reacted to her, and knew there was something there. He was told to breed her that night, but Faith was too young and innocent for the likes of him and he knew if they did as the scientists wished, they’d use it to torment her even more later. He always expected he’d end up with her eventually, but not like this. But in the end, he couldn’t let her keep suffering, the drugs making her ache for his touch. But as he was just getting started with her, the lab around him exploded and they were all able to escape. Jacob could never forgive himself the horror of what he’d done to Faith. So, he stayed away from her for her protection, figuring she wouldn’t want to see him after what he’d done anyway. However, he never understood the ramifications of the bite mark he left on her. He had no idea the unsated desire he saddled her with.
It’s been six years and the pack was pulled together to help protect their Alpha and his mate. It’s the first time Faith had seen Jacob since they escaped from the lab. But as soon as Wolfe and Hope were safe Jacob left again, breaking her heart even more.
Now Wolfe has sent Faith on a fool’s mission to find Jacob to give him some papers their Alpha felt was important. So with Hawke by her side they have been searching for her mate for several months. And, they finally find him in some hellhole bar in a hellhole town. After she and Hawke fight off a group of men (if you can call them that) who want to have their way with Faith, Jacob grabs her and carts her off to the house he’s staying at. Now all of a sudden he’s decided he’s ready to claim her as his mate. And worse, her Alpha is demanding she stays there and have sex with him! But how can she stay with a man that doesn’t even want her?
I wasn’t sure about this book in the beginning. Jacob definitely takes some getting used to. And, he came off as a domineering jerk at first. However, once Faith stopped fighting him and accepted their mating, he ended up being kind of sweet. Especially once he revealed all the ways he’s provided for her over the years. I can’t even blame him for staying away, he thought that’s what she needed to get past what happened in the lab and to mature enough to be ready for their mating. Plus he had no idea that he put her into the mating frenzy with that first encounter and that she’s suffered for six long years.
It was pretty great when Jacob and Faith were able to work together and he realized that she’s not the delicate flower he always thought her to be. When he learned that she could protect herself, not that it would keep him from protecting her, mind you, but he learned she wasn’t a burden, but a true partner. A good thing, considering his job and her refusal to ever be separated again.
However, their past comes back to haunt them when a team of Coyotes and humans lead by the most perverted man in the labs comes to take Faith from him. He’ll fight to the death to protect her, if that what it takes!
This ended up being a pretty good book and we’re introduced to a new kind of breed, the winged breeds that have psychic powers. They have met Aiden’s mate and want to go back to the labs to rescue her, if she’s still alive. But Aiden only has bad memories of her and refuses to go save one of the scientists that did such horrible things to them. The new breeds insist it’s the only way to save the wolves. This is a nice segue into Aiden’s story and I can’t hardly wait! And, I’m sure we’ll get more of Faith and Jacob as well since Aiden is Faith’s brother. Plus when this story ended …. Faith was still in heat and based on what Cian had said at the end I suspect she’ll need Charity most urgently of all.
Henrietta The Dragon Slayer: A Very Short Prequel Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, Book #.5 By Beth Barany ASIN: B00EB3PI04 Author’s Website: http://author.bethbarany.com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
In this very short prequel, meet Henrietta the legendary Dragon Slayer before the grand adventure that changes her life. In which she meets mysterious fighters, recounts her tale in a raucous tavern of how she killed the Fire Dragon of Britham’s Keep, and meets Jaxter the Jester.
Enjoy this peek at Henrietta right before all of thrilling adventures of this young warrior on one final quest … against an opponent she swore never to face again.
A story for those who want a taste before plunging into the adventure of Henrietta The Dragon Slayer (Book 1), Henrietta and The Dragon Stone (Book 2), and Henrietta and the Battle of the Horse Mesa (Book 3) (coming soon!).
I found the base story engaging. However, at times I found the writing style not to my liking and then out of the blue – I would be totally engaged again.
I liked when Henrietta came upon the tavern with its unique building design. Henrietta wondered
“Was the tavern trying to be a castle, or a castle trying to be a tavern? Its ambiguity pleased her.”
I found this thought making me like Henrietta even more.
The writing at times had me wondering, but the introduction to the main character, Henrietta was good. Had me definitely chuckling at one of Henrietta’s sayings….
”In for a beer, in for a bed, she liked to say.”
Henrietta’s story-telling was filled with humor and excitement, keeping her audience captivated. This is what I liked best about this short story.
I got the sense that the continuing story would be worth pursuing…Something I shall consider at a later date. But as this prequel stands, I would definitely not classify it as a stand alone. As a teaser, mission accomplished.
Rock Chick Rock Chick, Book #1 By Kristen Ashley ISBN# 9781849231848 Author’s Website: http://www.kristenashley.net/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
India Savage has been in love with her best friend’s brother since she was five years old when he held her hand at her mother’s funeral. And her friend Ally more than approves as they even made a blood pact when they were younger that Indy would marry Lee so they could be “real” sisters. Oh and Indy will name her and Lee’s daughter after Ally ...more
Dead Cold Brew A Coffeehouse Mystery, Book #16 By Cleo Coyle ISBN#9780425276112 Author’s website: www.Coffeehousemystery.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
After everything Clare and Mike have been through, they deserve a little bit of happily ever after. So when Mike decides to put a ring on Clare’s finger, Clare’s eccentric octogenarian employer is there to help. She donates the perfect coffee-colored diamonds to include in the setting and the name of a world-famous jeweler who happens to be an old family friend. But while the engagement is steeped in perfection, the celebration is not long lived.
First, a grim-faced attorney interrupts their party with a mysterious letter bequeathing a strange, hidden treasure to Clare’s daughter. Next, the renowned jeweler who designed Clare’s ring is found poisoned in his shop. Both events appear to be connected to a cold case murder involving a sunken ship, an Italian curse, a suspiciously charming jewel thief, and a shocking family secret. With deadly trouble brewing, Clare must track down clues in some of New York’s most secret places before an old vendetta starts producing fresh corpses.
Dead Cold Brew, the sixteenth book in the Coffeehouse Mystery series, is as fresh as the first book, On What Grounds. Combining a sixty-year-old mystery and sunken ship with the current day perils of a sniper targeting the police, it is a suspenseful adventure from beginning to end.
Someone dressed as a superhero is targeting police, which is stressful enough for Claire and her boyfriend Mike Quinn, but when one of Mike’s team is shot right in front of the coffeehouse, things hit a little too close to home. Claire is struck by the reality that her relationship with Mike is not enough if something were to happen to him, and the pair finally becomes engaged to be married. In the midst of the police drama, Matt is approached to submit a custom coffee blend to be served on the replica luxury ship, the SS Andrea Doria. Matt has ties to the original ship as his godfather Gustavo was on board when it sunk in 1956. When a secret legacy is bestowed on Matt and Gustavo’s daughter Sophia and Gustavo is poisoned, the story really heats up, the sixty-year-old mystery and the present day police struggles collide. Murder, kidnapping, purloined jewels, and stolen identities all come together for quite a ride.
The Coffeehouse Mystery series is one of the meatier cozy series out there. Dead Cold Brew starts off with the exciting sinking of a real life Italian luxury liner and does not slow down until the suspenseful climax at the end. Since this is the sixteenth book in the series, one would not be surprised is the series was starting to go stale, but Dead Cold Brew is as fresh as ever. There is a lot going on throughout the book, but the various plot threads never become messy and all is neatly tied up at the end of the book. I like that Claire and Mike’s relationship is progressing, but I am left a bit perplexed at Matt and Claire’s continued flirtation. Their relationship seems to be stuck, and I am curious to see what, if anything, changes in the future with Matt’s evolving personal life.
Claire is a strong, level-headed protagonist. Perhaps it is because she and I are about the same age, but I find her quite relatable and realistic. Though she does find herself in some crazy and dangerous situations, they never come across as totally implausible nor she “too stupid to live”. I have never been able to decide how I feel about Claire’s ex-husband Matt. On one hand, he is a cad, but he is also charming and seems to genuinely care for Claire. I do, however, definitely like Mike. At times, I find him too standoffish, but I do think he and Claire make a good team. The recurring supporting characters, including the coffeehouse staff, Madame, and police officers add realism to the story. The characters specific to Dead Cold Brew are more caricature like, but interesting and varied. They provide enough red herring s and Italian color to keep me reading.
Dead Cold Brew would be just fine with only one mystery, either the police sniper or that revolving around the ship sinking. At first, the two do not seem to go together at all, but Coyle does a masterful job of weaving the past and present together. Even though I did figure out both mysteries rather early on, this did not make the book any less suspenseful or enjoyable.
I liked Dead Cold Brew quite a lot and heartily recommend it to fans of the Coffeehouse Mystery series and to readers who enjoy weightier cozy mysteries.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*
Dirty Money Roughneck Billionaires, Book #1 By Jessica Clare Author’s Website: http://jillmyles.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
Southern Texas heats up when four roughneck billionaires set their sights on love in the new series from New York Times bestselling author Jessica Clare.
Boone Price and his brothers know oil; at least, the dirty, backbreaking side of working an oil rig. But when their scrubby, worthless hunting land turns out to be sitting on top of one of the biggest oil wells in North America, they go from the rig to the boardroom and end up billionaires practically overnight.
Now with enough money to do whatever he wants, Boone is developing a taste for fine things. And the finest thing he’s ever seen is Ivy Smithfield, local realtor. Boone’s determined to buy her affection and show the world that he’s more than just a dirty fool with a bit of money. Ivy’s classy and beautiful – she’ll make the perfect trophy wife. The fact that she’s sexy and funny is just a bonus.
There’s one tiny problem – Ivy’s as dirt poor as Boone is. Her carefully crafted veneer of luxury? All an act to promote her business. What’s Boone going to do when he finds out the woman he’s falling for is, well, in his league?
Dirty Money starts with Boone Price, the oldest brother of the Price family, getting mad because Bates, the partner of their company PBO (Price Brothers Oil) for their new job, sent a businessman in a suit who criticized his method to find oil, and disrespected him thinking Boone was just a normal worker, instead of the boss. After this show of disrespect, Boone confronts his partner at a Golf Course where at first, he is not let in because is for rich people and he doesn’t appear like one, even though he is a billionaire. Not carrying that they have called security, he storms into the field and ends all partnerships with Bates, knowing that Bates is the one that needs the partnership more than PBO. Later that night, at a bar with his brothers, Boone still is irritated that rich people look down on him because he doesn’t look like them, he decides that he needs to look more classy, and takes on his brother advice to look for a house. There are flyers of realtor’s offices, and he notices a blond woman in one of them, preferring the women than a house, he decides to get himself a classy trophy wife, and the women from the flyers is what he needs. The next day, Boone arrives at the office of Three Jacks, where he meets Ivy Smithfield, the women from the flyers, decides that he’s going to get her. The only problem is that Ivy is living check by check and needs the next commission very badly or she might not make ends meet, and now that her sister is attending college she needs it more than ever. Without knowing who Boone is at first, she decides to help him get house, and thinks he is joking at first when proposing to go out in a date with her. After she finds out the truth, she is more eager to sell him a mansion, and get the big commission, but the more she know Boone, the difficult it’s becomes too denied their attraction.
I liked Dirty Money, it was a different and at the same time similar experience when reading a book by Jessica Clare. While the storyline is similar to some of the other Billionaire series that she has, the characters were entirely different from those previous series. Boone was such a refresh character to read and fun to see with what new things he tried to impress Ivy. His spending of money and investment was so different and shocking to read, but so much fun.
Boone is very different to the other billionaire characters that Clare has written before, while the billionaires in her other series already come from families with money or understood how to spend or act as billionaires, Boone is the opposite. His way of living is still modest to one point, but if he has money he will buy, even if is not for sale, he will charm the owner to sell it. I loved the way that Boone deal with disrespect, if I had money as he did, I would do the same and burn things to the ground.
I liked Ivy, she had fun and serious scenes, but at the same time we could always see that her main goal was to do the best for her sister. I loved her inner strength to fight for a better life for her sister and herself, and work hard for her ideas and ambitions. I hated that other people stepped over her and took her earnings.
Dirty Money had funny scenes that helped the story to not be all completely romance, most of them were thanks to Boone, but others that I liked came from the interaction between Ivy and her sister, mostly from her sister refusing to call her Ivy,
“She crosses her legs and gives me an expectant look. ‘So tell me about your day. Did you find another meth house in the suburbs?’
‘Weider than that’, I tell her. ‘I got a new client today.’
‘And her took me out to dinner?’
Her brows go up. ‘And?’
‘And he’s a billionaire.’
Her eyes get huge. ‘What? Get out’….”
I’m interested to learn what type of stories and love interest will the other Price brothers will have, and if Ivy’s sister will find a billionaire for herself or just to see more of her and this couple in the future.
If you’re fan of Jessica Clare or her other series, then I recommend you Dirty Money, the first installment in her new series, Roughneck Billionaires. In this story, appearances can misguide the rich and the poor, but most of all bond two people that need somebody to complete them in their exact opposite views, but with the same past.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
Axe hasn’t had an easy life. His mother left his father and him when he was just a boy. His dad was so distraught he was never the same again. He built the cottage Axe and he lived in and spent all his daylight hours down in his workshop carving beautiful wooden creatures, all for when the love his life would finally return. But sadly she never did and he died in the raids when the family he was working for wouldn’t allow him in the safe room. Now Axe is all alone, living in the cottage, not even able to afford electricity to heat the place. The one good thing in his life was getting accepted into the Black Dagger Brotherhood training program, an opportunity he won’t squander!
Elise lives with her father and aunt and uncle. But there is a sadness that lingers over their home ever since her cousin was murdered. Her uncle walks around like a ghost and her aunt doesn’t leave their room. Nobody discusses what happened and they haven’t even had a proper fade ceremony to say their goodbyes.
Now Elise’s father is worried that she may face the same fate as her cousin. Elise has had to resort to sneaking out to attend school so she can complete her doctorate. But one night her father catches her and it leaves herself facing the possibility of sehclusion. But instead her dad is persuaded to get her a bodyguard instead so that she can finish school, while staying safe. And her dad just happens to hire a male she just met and is strangely attracted to, Axe! Things between the two quickly heat up, but will outside forces break them apart?
This was another really good book in this spin-off series. I love this more simplistic series in our beloved Black Dagger world. We get new characters, new romances, and another look at our favorite brothers and their shellans as well! And this book focuses on my favorite brother, Rhage, so there was no doubt that I’d love this one! Although it was sad, what Rhage and Mary were going through; the possibility of losing the family they so recently built. But I had no doubt that it would all work out in the end, especially with our favorite foul-mouthed fallen angel telling them just that! I sure do love Lassiter too! He just brings so much fun to the series. And, with all that Rhage and Mary were going through this book definitely needed his brand of humor!
“Rhage, we have a problem–“
“You weren’t supposed to tell him!” Lassiter barked.
Rhage frowned. “Lassiter?”
“Fuck you!” came the muffled response.
Mary pointed to the hearth. “Lassiter is in a Santa suit, stuck in the chimney, impaled on something that means he can’t dematerialize. So we’ve got a problem.”
Rhage blinked once. And then threw his head back and laughed so loudly the windows shook.
“This is the best fucking Christmas present ever!”
“Fuck you, Hollywood!” Lassiter yelled from inside the chimney. “Fuck you so hard–”
But of course the main couple in this book is Elise and Axe and I really enjoyed them as well. Axe had a rough childhood after his mom left and it’s hard to imagine him living on his own, struggling to keep himself fed and unable to even afford heat. I kept waiting for the brothers to find out and force him to the mansion, but it never happened.
Elise is a driven female that knows exactly what she wants in life. I was surprised how quickly she jumped in the sheets with Axe being such a goody two-shoes though, and I honestly thought Troy would be more of a problem, then he was. Not to mention, her father. But I knew from the beginning when she preached about honesty that it would become the thing that ripped them apart later. And it quickly became obvious what secret Axe would be hiding that put the wedge between them. But the couple gets help from an unlikely source. Will it be enough to save them?
This was a really great read and I can’t wait for my next Black Dagger Fix!...more
Dark Side of the Moon Dark-Hunter, Book #9 Were-Hunter, Book #3 By Sherrilyn Kenyon ISBN# 9780312934347 Author’s Website: http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/ Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Susan Michaels’s life has gone to hell in a hand-basket. She was a bulldog of a reporter after the story of her life, but after her big story broke it was revealed that her main source had lied and she became the laughing stock of the journalistic world. No reputable paper would have her, forcing her to work on a rag that reports vampire sightings and the like. The man she thought she loved left her high and dry not wanting her reputation to tarnish his own. The only good thing she has left in her life are her friends Angie and Jimmy.
When Angie calls with what sounds like a lead on a real story, Susan jumps to meet her at a local animal shelter. But she somehow gets roped into taking a cat home with her, despite the fact she’s allergic. But when Susan removes the too-tight collar, imagine her surprise when the kitty turns into a full-sized leopard and then into a naked and very sexy man!
Ravyn Kontis is a Were-Hunter that has been made into a Dark-Hunter after his at the time intended mate betrayed him and caused the women and children of his village to be brutally tortured and murdered. Artemis granted him his act of vengeance, but the remainder of his family could never forgive him for the loss of their loved ones, in fact, one of his brothers is the one that killed him. And, Ravyn didn’t even fight him, so overwhelmed with guilt, he just let it happen.
Ravyn was dying his final death in that animal shelter with the magical collar around his neck keeping him from shifting, but he couldn’t keep the form of a small house cat for long, it was only a matter of time before his head would have exploded as he got bigger and bigger. Thankfully Susan got him to safety just in time! But sadly, his rescue cost Susan’s closest friends their lives. And worse Susan and Ravyn are wanted for their murders!
The Daimons have partnered with humans to rid Seattle of Dark-Hunters. Before his death, Jimmy had told Susan about corruption that went way up the ladder in the police force, now in hiding, Susan and Ravyn must figure out what is going on and how to stop it!
This was a good book in the Dark-Hunter/Were-Hunter world. I really enjoyed Ravyn…. Those Were-Hunters get me Every. Single. Time! Sexy, loyal, and, tortured by his past, he had me eating out of his hand or paw… And, it’s pretty cool that he can get around that whole burning in the sunlight thing by turning into a cat.
I enjoyed Susan as well. She had her own tortured past to deal with, not to mention the horrible events of her present circumstances. I loved how she found ways to help and comfort Ravyn, even when he didn’t want it! I figured out what was going to happen between these two pretty early on, but it was fun to “watch”.
Again, we saw more of the things that Ash goes through to be able to help his hunters, and the pain he puts himself through when he is unable to help.
We also got re-introduced to a very angry and vindictive Nick! Which is bound to get only worse after how he was tricked in this book! I’m anxious to see what happens next in this series!
A Christmas Dream A Sweet Short Story for Christmas By Denisa Carroll ASIN: B018WGXQ3Q Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Jem and Rex couldn’t have been more different. Yet they were so drawn to one another that within four months they were married, much against the advice of their friends and family.
Now they are newlyweds, they are looking forward to spending their first Christmas together in their beautiful new London flat. They may be very different people, but they couldn’t be more in love.
But now Jem has started to have some strange dreams which, in one way or another, start to draw attention to their very many differences, and tensions start to appear.
Will it turn out to be the beautiful Christmas that they were looking forward to – or will everybody be proved right, and they should never have married at all?
A quick read (approximately 7,000 words). The Christmas imagery was really well portrayed. I certainly felt like it was a cold winter’s day approaching the Christmas holiday. I was totally immersed in the holiday spirit.
A newly married couple move into a flat together. As they renovate, Jem starts having unexplained dreams with hard to decipher meaning. This eventually creates tension in the couple, where none had ever been before. Both husband and wife are thrown off guard.
Once evening, after a row about the placement of the Christmas tree, Jem watches TV and quickly comes to realize the following and that they had to work past this difficult situation:
“They were supposed to be together because they loved each other more than words could articulate, that was why.”
The ending caught me off guard, but in a good way (I will not supply any spoilers). As this is a short enough read, you can quickly get to the end of the story for yourself.
The ease of reading Denisa Carroll’s words will certainly have me on the lookout for more of her writing....more
Christmas Past Magic Moments Novella, Book #1 By Tara Taylor Quinn Author website: http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/ ASIN: B01M5GBZOL Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
What do you do when you live in Christmas Town, Maine, and don’t believe in Christmas or faith or magic? You become their sheriff and protect the town so that her people can have their fantasy.
What happens when a three-year-old child goes missing right before Christmas in this town you’ve sworn to protect? You do whatever it takes to find her and bring her home.
Even if the only lead you have is a gypsy empath you have reason to mistrust?
I must say, I usually do not have a great love for novella’s but Christmas Past blew me away. I thought, maybe it is that time of year (seeing as Christmas is now only five days away). But on closer examination, it is just that this story is so well told. Right from the cover, I was totally immersed in the story. The main characters, Sheriff Chad Andrews and Bella Potter were engaging and well developed in this short read.
We start the tale in Christmas Town, Maine. Bella Potter is feeling off, she feels fear first and then panic. Bella wants to fight these feelings but she knows better. You see, Bella is an empath (though she is trying to fight/deny this “gift” of hers). At one point, the feelings are so great she calls Sheriff Andrews to tell him what she is feeling. Prior to this (and unbeknownst to Bella), Camille Posey (a three-year-old) has been taken. So when Chad gets the call from Bella, he proceeds to her house to find out what is going on. Is Bella the lead he needs to find Camille in a speedy time frame? After all, the faster a missing child is found, the better the outcome.
What transpires is a coming of age so to speak of Bella accepting her gift and of Chad opening his heart and accepting differences among people.
I found the following passage quite telling of Chad’s views and acceptance of love (at least initially):
“Mostly I believe that what people call ‘love’ is really a feeling of well-being they get because the other person is somehow meeting their needs. And when they no longer meet those needs, the feeling dissipates, evaporates, until there isn’t even vapor evidence that it ever existed.”
Given the brevity of the story, I won’t go into more details so as to not give away any spoilers. Suffice it to say that I literally could not put it down. I will certainly go looking for more stories by Tara Taylor Quinn.
The Devil’s Cold Dish A Will Rees Mystery #5 By Eleanor Kuhns ISBN#9781250093356 http://www.eleanor-kuhns.com/ Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
In the next 1790s historical mystery from MWA Award winner Eleanor Kuhns, Will Rees’ small farm town begins to suspect his wife of murder by witchcraft
Will Rees is back home on his farm in 1796 Maine with his teenage son, his pregnant wife, their five adopted children, and endless farm work under the blistering summer sun. But for all that, Rees is happy to have returned to Dugard, Maine, the town where he was born and raised, and where he’s always felt at home. Until now. When a man is found dead – murdered – after getting into a public dispute with Rees, Rees starts to realize someone is intentionally trying to pin the murder on him. Then, his farm is attacked, his wife is accused of witchcraft, and a second body is found that points to the Rees family. Rees can feel the town of Dugard turning against him, and he knows that he and his family won’t be safe there unless he can find the murderer and reveal the truth…before the murderer gets to him first. (Goodreaads)
The Devil’s Cold Dish is a study in just how destructive envy and anger can be to a family’s livelihood and well being. Suspenseful, well paced, and full of historical detail, it is an interesting and enjoyable trip back in time to post-Revolutionary War Maine.
Weaver Will Rees has returned to his childhood farm in Dugard, Maine, with hopes of settling into a regular routine with his pregnant wife Lydia, sixteen-year-old son David, and five adopted younger children. He is a wanderer at heat and is quickly bored with the monotony of farm work. Things heat up when a local man is murdered and all eyes turn to Rees as the perpetrator. Rees, who has some anger issues, is guilty of fighting with Ward before he died, but he certainly did not kill him. Additionally, rumors are swirling that Lydia is a witch. To make things worse, his sister will not leave him alone wanting him to support her and her family. When a second man is murdered and the scene staged to look like black magic is at play, Rees decides that Lydia is in real danger and ferries his family off, hopefully to safety. Rees stays behind with intentions of finding out who has it in for him and unmask the true murderer. When a third man is killed on Rees’s own property, he is in for the fight for his life to clear his name.
The Devil’s Cold Dish is the fifth book in the Will Rees Mystery series but the first book that I have had the opportunity to read. Since I do not know all of the characters’ back stories, I had a hard time warming up to them all. I cannot decide if I like Rees very much, but he is an intelligent man and seemingly devoted to his new family. His family members and the town’s residents are anything but boring, and I am particularly curious to find out more about David. The relationships are all complex making them realistic and believable. Rees’s sister Caroline is the nastiest character in the book. I had the urge to slap her in every scene in which she appeared.
The mystery itself is well executed, and I like that it is such a personal endeavor for Rees. His vested interest adds suspense. He has obviously rubbed most of the town residents the wrong way so there are plenty of people to suspect of having it out for him. I did guess who is behind it all about midway through the book, but the danger to Rees and wanting to know the how and why of things kept me reading, rushing to get to the end.
The Devil’s Cold Dish is a well written historical mystery. I confess that I enjoy the historical aspects more than the actual mystery this time around. I will definitely go back and read this series from the beginning. Though the book can be read as a standalone, I think reading from the start of the series would enrich the experience. I recommend this to fans of historical literature, especially those interested in the early days of America.
The Ghosts of Misty Hollow A Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery #6 By Sue Ann Jaffarian ISBN 9780425282083 sueannjaffarian.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The author of Ghost in the Guacamole returns as a spiritual medium and her spectral sidekick encounter murder and mystery in a Massachusetts farmhouse—
Mysterious plots abound when spiritual medium Emma Whitecastle offers aid to a famous novelist, but her spectral sidekick Granny Apples will help her write all the wrongs.
Bestselling crime writer Gino Costello is working on his next book in a historic farmhouse in the heart of Massachusetts. His story features some paranormal elements so he’s invited family friend Emma to provide her input as a medium. But as soon as Emma arrives—with her boyfriend, Phil, and Granny Apples in tow—that’s when the real trouble begins.
Emma is immediately contacted by the Browns, a family of ghosts who originally owned the house in the early nineteenth century. They need Emma to help them locate the spirits of their two children who disappeared. Meanwhile, a dead body appears at the house. Now Emma, Granny, and Phil must read between the lines to find answers before a killer books it…(from Goodreads)
What a delightfully funny and fascinating cozy mystery! This is the first Granny Apples mystery I’ve read, and I do hope to read more! As a ‘skeptic’, I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I began to read, but was drawn in by the warm and intelligent couple, Emma and Phil, then Gino, a best selling novelist who they go to visit. Emma has a television show about paranormal activity, and her fiance Phil is an attorney and rancher. Gino and his wife Vanessa know Phil and Emma as Gino’s daughter and Emma’s daughter are very close friends. Emma and Phil have been invited to the home Gino and Vanessa are renting in a beautiful New England rural area so Gino can pick Emma’s brain about paranormal activity for a novel he is planning to write.
When they arrive, they meet Gino’s assistant, Leroy, who has a certain charm while being…just not quite right. Marta, the cook and housekeeper Vanessa brought from their Chicago home is a quiet, industrious woman who seems afraid to meet Emma’s eyes and rubs her crucifix around her. Vanessa is anything but the loving wife to Gino, whining about being out in the country with nothing to do. It isn’t long until they find that Granny Apples has joined them. Granny Apples is Emma’s great-great-great-grandmother who continues to return and enjoy the lives of Emma and her daughter. As a ‘ghost whisperer’, Emma can see and hear Granny but Phil cannot.
Waiting to greet Emma are the ghosts who she learns are family members who had lived on the property when it was still in their family. The property has well over a century of history; Gino shows Emma and Phil a photo album that includes the original farm house and the main home which had been renovated by a former owner. The ghosts who currently are on the property are seeking the “twins”, children of Nana Abby, Chester and Clarissa, who had disappeared when they were only eight. It was never certain whether they were kidnapped or murdered, but they had never ‘crossed over’. Abby and her grandson Blaine, the primary spokesperson, continue to search for them, wanting to bring the twins safely across so the family will be together. While Emma has helped solve many mysteries, a cold case from over 100 years earlier and the only helpers being ghosts proved a challenge even for her.
Gino’s wife left the morning following Emma and Phil’s arrival. Due to a family emergency, Marta left for a couple days, then Leroy went away to see a friend. A morning after Vanessa, Marta, and Leroy left, Emma and Phil were out for an early morning run and saw a vehicle at the old farmhouse. Upon further exploration, they found the murdered body of a man they didn’t recognize. After several hours of crime scene work, the police were only able to learn the name of the man who was unknown also by the owner of the property.
With the help of Fran, a local medium and retired librarian, Heddy, a retired teacher, Granny Apples and the family ghosts, Gino, Emma and Phil hope to solve the cold case of the missing twins – and find out who the flesh and blood bad guy is before he takes someone else out.
Emma, Phil and Granny Apples are developed very well; even though this is the sixth in the series, I felt as if they were easy to get to know. Gino and those they meet in rural Massachusetts were defined as well as necessary for their roles. Part of the fun of getting to know them, I think, is seeing how Emma and Granny could interact, also the ghosts at the farm, and how that looks to someone ‘outside’ the family. Gino must have felt conflicting emotions as he watched Emma carry out a conversation with someone he couldn’t see or hear, but Phil has become quite used to it.
The plot is intriguing! It was interesting to see how Emma was there to help Gino learn more about paranormal activity should he want to use it in his novel, and how he learned enough to write more than one novel! It was also fun to see how feisty Granny Apples is for a woman of her ‘time’ while the ghosts on the property are much less outspoken. I enjoy reading about or watching cold case resolution, and this was certainly different from any I’ve seen! The bad guy/ gal who murdered the stranger in the old farmhouse was probably more challenging to discover until some of the layers of deception were peeled away. I like mysteries that are hard to solve, so in many ways this has been a most pleasant reading venture. I highly recommend it! And as it is a ‘clean’ mystery, it can be enjoyed by older teens as well as adults of any age.
A Perilous Undertaking Veronica Speedwell #2 By Deanna Raybourn ISBN#9780451476159 Deannaraybourn.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Veronica Speedwell returns in a brand new adventure from Deanna Raybourn, the “New York Times” bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries… “London, 1887.” Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman’s noose in a week s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer. But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. From a Bohemian artists colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed…. (Goodreads)
A Perilous Undertaking is the fabulous follow up to A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn. Full of quirky characters, witty banter, an interesting mystery, and plenty of sexual tension, this is really a fine work of historical fiction.
Full disclosure time: I am a huge fan of Deanna Raybourn so I had high expectations for this sophomore entry in the Veronica Speedwell series. As much as I loved A Curious Beginning, I was not disappointed here. Raybourn has created a pair of fantastic characters who are independent and do not care one whit about fitting into society’s expectations of them. Veronica is a lepidopterist (butterfly hunter and collector), and Stoker is a natural scientist and explorer, the black sheep third son of an aristocratic family. They have plans to go on a great adventure, but the trip is postponed when their benefactor breaks his leg and cannot travel. So, the pair must be content to continue their work cataloging Lord Rosemorran’s family collection of “treasures”. Their plan is to turn it into a museum of sorts.
Veronica is pleasantly surprised to find herself invited to the Curiosity Club, an all female society where women can discuss any topic, socially acceptable or not. When she arrives at the club, she is introduced to “Lady Sundridge”, whom Veronica immediately recognizes her true identity as someone of great prestige and influence. Lady Sundridge tasks Veronica with clearing renowned artist Miles Ransforth’s name before his guilty sentence can be carried out at the end of a noose. With the very tight deadline and seemingly futile cause, Veronica agrees to look into things and drags Stoker along for the ride. Even after they are threatened (more than once), the detective duo carry on to find the truth, taking them into the bohemian world of artists and danger.
I absolutely adore Stoker and Veronica. Raybourn has created such complex and well drawn characters that I feel like I have known them forever. They are, above all else, friends, with taught sexual tension between them at times, colleagues, and each other’s greatest advocate. Their banter is the star of the book, their dialogue witty, and they know exactly how to push each other’s buttons. Veronica is sure that she is always the smartest person in the room (and she is probably right), but, whereas she was a bit of a snot in A Curious Beginning, here she is more mature and bit more approachable. We learn more about both Veronica and Stoker’s past, but there continue to be ghosts getting in the way of their relationship.
I do love that we get to meet some of Stoker’s family, and his brothers are just as idiosyncratic, though in a much more socially acceptable way, as Stoker. I hope we see more of them in the future. All of the recurring supporting characters and those that are central to this mystery are all well developed and interesting. The artist community provides a plethora of defining eccentricities that kept me on my toes.
The story moves at a quick pace, but it does take a couple of chapters for it to really get going. The atmosphere, attention to historical detail, and authentic language and “voice” fully transported me to Victorian England. This is yet another circumstance where Raybourn excels. With every page read, the twenty-first century felt more and more distant, and I was reluctant to return to the present.
The mystery itself is engaging and exciting. The sense that time is running out is palpable and adds to the adventure. Veronica and Stoker approach everything as they would a science experiment, and their thinking is most always logical and practical. This juxtaposition of science against the art community is great. There are plenty of red herrings along the way, and plenty of suspects to keep readers guessing. There are some perilous moments but also some laugh-out-loud moments. One scene between Veronica and Stoker in a love grotto is particularly chuckle worthy, as is their adventure into an opium den.
I truly love the Veronica Speedwell series and cannot wait to read what trouble our investigating pair gets into next. A year between books is much too long to wait. I highly recommend A Perilous Undertaking to fans of Deanna Raybourn’s other works, and to those who appreciate witty writing, a strong sense of place and time, and eccentric characters.