Imagine the horror of walking through a dark, haunted tunnel on a daily basis just to get to gym class. That’s what 16-year-old Rinn Jacobs had to dea...moreImagine the horror of walking through a dark, haunted tunnel on a daily basis just to get to gym class. That’s what 16-year-old Rinn Jacobs had to deal with when she moved from her upscale high school in sunny California to her mother’s alma mater in rural Ohio. Not only does she attend a ghost-infested high school, she sleeps in the same room where an old woman hanged herself. Creepy much!
Of course, her situation isn’t all gloom and doom. The hot farmer boy next door is at her beck and call whenever danger strikes…or if the snow needs plowing. Either way, this guy is super handy – and sexy to boot! Then there’s the resident bad boy, Dino, who just can’t keep his eyes off her. Too bad the school’s meanest mean girl has territorial issues. But as they say, hold your friends close and your enemies closer. That’s what Rinn does when she becomes ensnared by a particularly nasty clique of mean girls.
What her new frienemies don’t know is that she’s on the extreme end of the bipolar spectrum…and that she’s a murderer. Well that’s what she calls herself anyway. You see, without her heavy cocktail of anti-psychotics, things can get pretty ugly. This adds a rather interesting new twist to the standard teen angst melodramatics, don’t you think? In all seriousness, this is a very delicate issue that should not be treated lightly. But I think the author did a fine job infusing mental illness into the story without stigmatizing bipolar disorder. If anything, she shows readers that people who suffer from mental illness are a lot like you and me. Despite her flaws, Rinn is a very likeable character who deals with a lot of self-anguish issues that resonate with a lot young—and old—readers.
With some help from her helicopter mom, she’s taking her pills religiously. Yet other forces are at work—causing her to question reality versus delusions. And as the death toll starts rising, she and her hunky sidekick must investigate the high school haunt’s untimely death to put the nasty spirit to rest once and for all. Trust me, you’ll need to block out some time in your day as you reach the last few chapters. When the pieces start falling together, you’ll be surprised at what they uncover.
This may be a YA book, but that doesn’t mean it won’t creep you out. There are some very unsettling moments that caused the little hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end. Trust me, the waterlogged ghost in this story is no Moaning Myrtle! If you’re squeamish of things that go bump in the night, I advise you to read this one with all the lights on…and maybe watch a Strawberry Shortcake cartoon before going to bed.
Pleasant nightmares, my fellow readers!
Oh and P.S: This book is only $1.99 on Kindle and Nook right now. Get it while the gettins good! (less)
Even though Blaize Clement has passed on into the great beyond, her gifted son is keeping the beloved cozy mystery series alive. Dixie is still stumbling into mysteries in her trademark white Keds and cargo shorts. Her humble abode overlooking the tranquil ocean in Siesta Key is just as cozy as ever. Her boy troubles continue to get more and more complicated. Her regular customers are still counting on her to deliver quality service to their cherished pets of all shapes, sizes and species.
Yep, it seems as though John Clement has found a way to seamlessly continue his mom’s adorable cozy series without a hitch. In fact, this might be my favorite installment because of all the puzzling subplots. The various obstacles seemed totally random and unrelated, yet the pieces all had a way of fitting together toward the very end. Well played, Mr. Clement!
Right after Dixie fearlessly rescued a man from a burning vehicle, the questions just kept multiplying. Why is a strange man in hospital bed insisting that Dixie is his wife? Did the missing bookstore clerk skip town, or is he sleeping with the fishes? The bloody paw prints on the checkout counter sure aren’t a good sign.
And in the midst of murder and mayhem, an unopened letter from Dixie’s ex-boyfriend could potentially ruin the good thing she’s got going on with Mr. Perfect. Should she open Pandora ’s Box or let sleeping dogs lie? You’ll have to read the book to find out! Trust me, this one is definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of strong female characters and four-legged sidekicks. (less)
I love this series for several reasons. One: the picturesque Upper Peninsula setting invoked my happiest summertime memories at Mackinac Island. Oh how I was craving homemade fudge while reading this thing!
Two: the leading lady, Minnie Hamilton, is a cat-rescuing, bookmobile-driving, crime-solving librarian. Enough said.
Three: Minnie’s rescue kitty plays a big role in nabbing the killer. I’ll stop right there before giving anything away, but I will say that this little hero has some seriously impressive sleuthing skills. It’s also very amusing when he responds to his humans with a resounding “merr.”
Four: There’s a twinge of spookiness when Minnie discovers her houseboat neighbors might be potential killers. How very Cape Fear! Okay, so maybe there isn’t a blood-soaked Robert De Niro clinging to the undercarriage of her car, but there’s still something very creepy about sleeping alone in a houseboat with a killer on the loose!
And need I say that the story revolves around a library on wheels? What more could any cozy fan ask for?
So there you have it. Two incredibly paw-some cat-infused mysteries that are bound to make you purr as you’re whizzing through the pages. Gizzy says, “GOW.” In translation that means, “You’re welcome.” (less)
This is a fun jigsaw-puzzle of a mystery that will keep you guessing until the climactic town theater production. What really makes this mystery seri...more This is a fun jigsaw-puzzle of a mystery that will keep you guessing until the climactic town theater production. What really makes this mystery series special is the protagonist. I love that she’s defying gender roles by heading up a fire department. She’s strong, fearless, and respected by all her employees. Yet she’s also dealing with insecurities and boy troubles that resonate with women readers. I should also mention that her sleuthing sidekick, Myrtle Crepe, is a real kick in the pants. Her antics are amusing, yet she doesn’t go over the top with the trash talking and zany shenanigans…that can get old really fast. I’m excited to see what lies in store for their next adventure. And I’m really looking forward to seeing how Bill and Colleen’s romance develops. It looks as though a dark horse named Pinky might be waiting in the wings—and I can’t wait to see how this fledgling love triangle collides!
Do you ever get sucked into one of those indie movies with meandering plots and questionable characters? You know the kind I’m talking about, right? S...moreDo you ever get sucked into one of those indie movies with meandering plots and questionable characters? You know the kind I’m talking about, right? Sometimes I’m just too tired to change the channel, or I become strangely enchanted by the bizarreness of it all. What makes or breaks these movies is a plot twist that brings it all together. And that, my friends, pretty much sums up what happened with this book.
Looking at the back cover, I assumed it would be a cat-and-mouse type thriller about a woman running from a fiendish stalker while getting romanced by the hunky town sheriff. Turns out, this book was quite a departure from the formulaic romance/thrillers that line my bookshelf. Was that necessarily a good thing? Eh, I suppose. It’s good to break out of our comfort zones every now and then, right? At least that’s what my dad says when he tries to push one of his hard-boiled detective thrillers on me.
As always, Carolyn Haines delivers a puzzling mystery filled with complex characters, four-legged sidekicks, ghostly shenanigans and intriguing subplots. The mystery in this installment is twofold: Who killed the treasure hunter? And what in tarnations is wrong with Graf? With a big storm a’brewin and a slew of dark secrets about to bubble up from under the surface, our sassy Southern sleuth is in for a wild ride!
What really shines in this book is the foreshadowing, which is a key ingredient in a quality whodunit. As Sarah Booth navigates the rocky waters of her relationship with Graf, I couldn’t think of a more perfect setting than a beach town under the threat of a monster hurricane. At the risk of revealing any spoilers, I’ll leave it at that. But I will say that you’ll have a very strong opinion about him after she weathers the storm. (less)
There’s this theory that we tend to not like things we don’t understand. I guess that’s why I was immediately turned off by Cheryl Strayed. Despite her poetic ramblings, I couldn’t understand the logic behind some of the self-serving decisions she made that ended up hurting the people she loved. I disconnected from Cheryl the moment when she drooled all over a male nurse’s bulging crotch while standing over her mother’s deathbed. Seriously? You want to jump some strange guy’s bones while your mother is taking her last dying breaths? I know the mind does some wacko things in traumatic situations, but this just seems bizarre.
Throughout the book, I waited for her to redeem herself, but she continued to dig herself deeper into the hole by making idiotic, impulsive decisions. Why would you go on a solo trek down isolated terrain without a weapon or self-defense training? If you’re toting around a ginormous backpack that’s half your body weight, maybe you should do some rethinking. Oh and before you go on an epic journey through various ecosystems, perhaps it’s a good idea to study a map and weather conditions.
I don’t know, guys. I tried to get past my disdain for this babe in the woods, but even her poetic reflections about the simplicity of nature couldn’t save this book. The flashbacks of her life growing up in a mud-and-straw house with her hippy mother were semi interesting. But did she really need to torture her readers with the gory details about the demise of mother’s beloved horse? There were a couple of chapters about death and dying that I had to skip because the play-by-play details were just a little too much to take.
Maybe if I read this before Following Atticus, I wouldn’t be such a tough critic. Their quest was all about stepping outside mundane life and finding something bigger. Cheryl’s odyssey was all about…well Cheryl. Since this is a journey of transformation, I guess that’s okay for some readers. This reader, however, wanted something more.
On a happier note, I will say that I commend her strength and tenacity. It’s nearly impossible kicking a heroin addiction, and she did it cold turkey. That’s pretty dang impressive. Plus I admire her strong, independent spirit. It takes a lot of balls – or shall I say brass ovaries – to hike the entire PCT all alone. I couldn’t even pitch a tent in my own backyard alone without getting the heebie jeebies.
Normally I don’t write such scathing reviews, but I sincerely doubt this is going to affect book sales one bit. With the blockbuster movie coming out, I’m sure more fans will come out in droves. In fact, an author once told me that a healthy mix of one-star and all-star reviews is actually the sign of a book worth reading. Even though I would rather hike the entire PCT in my bare feet than read this book again, I highly recommend it to book clubs. Trust me, Cheryl’s antics will undoubtedly stir up a hearty debate! (less)
I know I'm in the minority here, but I have to say that this book definitely didn't do it for me. Maybe it's because my expectations were too high aft...moreI know I'm in the minority here, but I have to say that this book definitely didn't do it for me. Maybe it's because my expectations were too high after reading "The Fault in Our Stars." Or perhaps the characters were just a little too "too cool for school." I was willing to ignore the impossibility of teenagers having the ability to speak and think like seasoned college professors in "The Fault in Our Stars," mainly because it was such a beautiful story - a masterpiece even! But in this book, it was just too far-fetched to believe that teens could be so wise beyond their years. Yes, some of their antics tickled my funny bone, like when Ben had to pee so bad in the car that he was about to "cry tears of pee." But I got really tired being inside the head of a swoony teenage boy who was totally infatuated with a rather smug, manipulative girl. His constant ruminations about the oh-so-very enigmatic girl next door, was about as interesting as listening to my best friend talk on and on about the guy she's dating. Overall, the story seemed to go nowhere and the characters grew increasingly more annoying as the chapters progressed. Sorry, John Green fans but this was a dud for me. (less)
Egads! There aren’t enough adjectives to describe this repugnant piece of garbage. I wanted to listen to something spooky on our road trip to East Tex...moreEgads! There aren’t enough adjectives to describe this repugnant piece of garbage. I wanted to listen to something spooky on our road trip to East Texas and didn’t want to commit to a full novel. So what better than an audiobook of short horror stories by an established novelist? I’m familiar with Bentley Little’s books and really thought his short stories would be just as solid as his traditional ghost stories. Boy was I wrong! Little did I know, these are horrible – not horror – stories. Trust me, there’s a difference. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I will say that if torture porn makes you uncomfortable, don’t pick up this book. Very awkward when you’re traveling with your father sitting in the backseat! Seriously, how does this shit get published?(less)
In Beauty Queens, the author does a bang-up job showing how the teen castaways 9464733were programed by the media (and their equally brainless stage moms) to strive for nothing more than to become the next “Teen Dream.” They were taught to only worry their pretty little heads about being the most beautiful, thinnest shining star at the pageant. I loved watching them evolve from starry-eyed “Teen Dreamers” to survivalist renegades. The longer they were removed from their self-obsessed worlds, the more they were able to see themselves for who they truly were.
Even though this book is about as deep as Wiley Coyote/Roadrunner cartoon, it will get you thinking about everything that’s wrong with the media and corporate greed. I hope it will help teens realize that there’s more to life than what they see on in the mirror. (less)
I’ll tell you right now that Unspoken has earned a spot next to all my other “to read again” books on the shelf. When authors take on a gothic ghost s...moreI’ll tell you right now that Unspoken has earned a spot next to all my other “to read again” books on the shelf. When authors take on a gothic ghost story, they absolutely must use the dark and gloomy setting to their full advantage. Pick up a Barbra Michaels book and you’ll see just what I mean. This talented author has clearly mastered the art of mood and atmosphere. Through her lyrical prose, she creates a sense of poetic dread as the protagonist hunts down clues in her sleepy little English village. I felt like I was right by Kami’s side as she investigated the dark English manor filled with secrets and shady suspects. Trust me, this book is definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of gothic mysteries filled with romantic tension, quirky gal pals and magical creatures.(less)
I love books about road trips, so I didn’t even think twice about spending one of my precious Audible credits on this one. It has all the right ingred...moreI love books about road trips, so I didn’t even think twice about spending one of my precious Audible credits on this one. It has all the right ingredients for the perfect cross-country journey of self-discovery: A troubled family, an anxiety-ridden teenage girl, and a good ol’ American road trip. But alas, the book didn’t even come close to delivering on its promising premise. To be honest, I’m rather surprised by all the five-starred reviews. I was expecting the two teenage sisters and the oblivious parents to evolve at some point, but nope. I was looking forward to exploring the weird roadside attractions as the holy rolling family traversed across the American Southwest. Not so much. The characters are pretty much restricted to generic greasy spoon restaurants, dingy motel rooms and vending machine snacks. I was bored after the first chapter but hoped that the plot would develop at some point. Didn’t happen. I’m used to feeling let down like this when I read short stories with abrupt, unresolved endings. It sucks when you invest a lot of time into a book and end up getting duped in the end. No more titles by this author for me, thanks. If you want to read a great road trip book, give this one a pass and pick up Amy Roger’s Epic Detour.(less)
Sylvia Dickey Smith has mastered the art of evoking a sense of dread in her lyrical atmospheric descriptions of the mysterious bayou country. Moody atmosphere, colorful characters, good food and one heck of a strong-willed protagonist are all key ingredients for a quality Southern fiction novel. This author delivers all of these things in spades in her Sidra Smart mysteries.
This is not your typical amateur sleuth mystery, mainly because there are some really weighty issues at the core of the story. Some of the descriptions of are rather dark and disturbing, so this book is not for the squeamish. Filled with punchy dialogue, colorful characters and brutal murders, this book is somewhat of a mash-up of Patricia Cornwell meets Gillian Flynn with a Cajun twist. Hard-boiled mystery fans are sure to enjoy this puzzling whodunit.
I highly recommend listening to this on audio. The narrator did a fantastic job unfolding the story in a somber tone. Unlike other narrators who drive me bonkers with their rapid-speed chipmunk-on-crack storytelling, she did a stellar job keeping the pace and capturing Sid’s voice. This is well worth an Audible credit!(less)
I scored this on Audible for a mere five bucks, and it’s worth every penny and more! The narrator is top notch, and the characters are highly amusing....moreI scored this on Audible for a mere five bucks, and it’s worth every penny and more! The narrator is top notch, and the characters are highly amusing. This is my first venture into the the Royal Spyness mystery series, and I assure you it won’t be my last! Set in the Great Gatsby era, the irrepressible Lady Georgiana is stuck in Scotland with her bumbling brother and his odious family. Seriously, these creatons could give the Dursleys a run for their money. As luck would have it, she gets hired as a holiday party hostess at stately old manor in a picturesque English village. It all seems too perfect, until the dead bodies start stacking up. From the moment she arrives, people drop off like flies in a series of “accidental deaths.” Do these freak accidents have something to do with a long-standing witchy curse? Or are escaped prisoners to blame? You’ll have to read the book to find out! If you like jigsaw puzzle mysteries with a dash of humor and romance, this book’s for you. (less)
There’s nothing I’d rather do on a cold winter’s night than nestle down into my comfy couch with some fireball whiskey, a tubby gray housecat and a Pennyfoot Hotel mystery. The author does a fine job unraveling just bits and pieces about the eclectic cast of hotel staff and dangling that carrot as their love stories develop. In this book, I finally got to see some sparks fly between Gertie and the enigmatic groundskeeper, Clyde. I promise to not give anything away, but I will say that there was a moment between them that was so incredibly sweet, I had to re-read it several times!
So this year, the Christmas curse comes in the form of a dead actor named Archibald Armitage. Seriously, what mother would name her kid Archibald? Well, I guess you could nickname him Archie like that cute freckled redhead dude in the comics…but I digress. So when the maid stumbles upon Archie’s dead body, it appears he was poisoned by a lethal dose of arsenic-laced plum pudding. All eyes point to the temporary head housemaid Beatrice Tucker (aka Tucker the Terrible), who personally served him the plum pudding up in his suite. She may be a tyrant, but is she capable of murder?
As Cecily hunts down the clues, she finds that several houseguests – and even some of her staff – have a beef with Archie. While her staff prepare for the holiday festivities, and her husband continues to sit on his ass with the newspaper, she will stop at nothing to ferret out the killer before he (or she?) strikes again.
I raise my mug of spiked cider to the author for delivering a deliciously atmospheric Christmas mystery filled with loveable characters, red herrings and romance! I look forward to meeting up with my old friends at the Pennyfoot next December.
Merry Christmas to all – and be sure to not accept unsolicited puddings from frienemies. (less)
I was lucky enough to snag an advance copy (job perk!), so I can tell you that it definitely contains some pearls of wisdom – especially for those who...moreI was lucky enough to snag an advance copy (job perk!), so I can tell you that it definitely contains some pearls of wisdom – especially for those who need some help in the self-control department. Go to Chick Lit Café to read the Q&A! http://loonachicklit.wordpress.com/20...(less)
I must confess, the cover is the reason why I bought this book. How can you go wrong with a dog detective who might just be the reincarnation of Elvis Pressley? The slapstick humor is front and center of the mystery, so this should appeal to those who like their whodunits loaded down with zany hijinks and slapstick banter. Amidst the silly shenanigans, there’s a mystery involving a murderous Ebenezer Scrooge with a vendetta against mall Santas. The mystery begins when Callie’s beloved uncle Charlie almost dies in an “electrical accident” while sitting in Santa’s throne. The hijinks ensue when she teams up with her binge-eating cousin/BFF to ferret out the killer. Complete with a cast of eccentric Southern women, this series is somewhat of a mashup of Steal Magnolias and Janet Evonovich’s Stephanie Plum series. The off-the-wall antics got a little tiresome, but I’d be lying if I said that some of the girls’ ill-fated escapades weren’t amusing. Plus there’s some romantic intrigue going on between Callie and her soon-to-be ex hubby. (less)
I’ve always been very “meh” about Heather Graham’s formulaic thriller, but sometimes she delivers some quality stuff. Plus, this audiobook was on clearance for five bucks, so I decided to go for it. Unfortunately, I got what I paid for. Lured by the haunted New Orleans setting, I really wanted to like this book, but sadly it was stilted by flat characters and a very tedious plot. It all seemed very rushed, and the author failed to make the most out of an incredibly spooky location. When you’re setting a horror story in New Orleans, you owe it to your readers to take a page from Anne Rice’s playbook and delve into the evocative, mystical Louisiana setting. I hardly ever quit a book, but I had to stick a fork in this one long before the Scooby Doo cast of characters solved the mystery.(less)
The pros: If you’re having a bad day, week – or in my case – month, this boo...moreGo to my blog, Chick Lit Café, for the full review! http://bit.ly/1fUOFJB
The pros: If you’re having a bad day, week – or in my case – month, this book will turn that frown upside down! It’s a fun, fluffy, fast read filled with zany hijinks, quirky characters and slapstick humor. There’s a smidge of a mystery somewhere in between Jaine’s clumsy shenanigans, but really it’s all about the comedy. Toward the end, I was preparing myself for disappointment, but the author managed to surprise me with an unexpected plot twist. All in all, not too shabby!
The cons: I was hoping this would be an atmospheric Halloween mystery, but not so much. Don’t let the cute witchy kitty and jack-o-lantern on the cover fool you. Aside from an ill-fated costume party and couple trips to the store for fun-sized Halloween candy, this book is not Halloweenie at all.
I should also add that I was really annoyed by the wonky subplot involving sporadic email messages from Jaine’s kooky parents. Their kooky antics were a little too over the top, and I just flat-out didn’t care about their silly neighborhood drama. I’m sure loyal fans of this book series find this kind of thing to be cute and endearing, but I thought it was lame and distracting.
Thoughts on character development: Jaine Austen really is the star of the show. She’s cute, spunky and riddled with all sorts of bad habits. Unlike a lot of main characters in chick lit books, she’s fashionably challenged and a little on the pudgy side. She wears her elastic-waste jeans with pride and has a weakness for all things sugary and deep fried. How can you not love a girl like that? We could totally hang out! Although, she can leave her freinemie at home. Her next-door neighbor, Lance, is a real tool. I was really hoping he was the killer just so he’d get pushed off a cliff or locked up in prison for life. (less)
This was a quality audiobook. Great narrator, fast-moving plot, interesting characters, swoony teen paranormal romance - pretty much the perfect escap...moreThis was a quality audiobook. Great narrator, fast-moving plot, interesting characters, swoony teen paranormal romance - pretty much the perfect escape from reality! I'm hoping there's going to be a romantic triangle brewing in the next book because Craven and Samantha would be dynamite together! The author did a fine job tying up the story at the end, while leaving her readers with lots of questions! All in all, this is an entertaining read for paranormal romance enthusiasts. (less)
The mystery revolves around Violet, a single mom who’s struggling to keep her fledgling real estate gig afloat. She’s desperate to make a sale, but her only prospect is a crumbling old house filled with wall-to-wall clown paraphernalia – yikes! And it doesn’t help that her only buyer, Doc, is constantly rejecting the historic homes. Why is he always sniffing around the rooms like a bloodhound? And what’s the deal with his mysterious day job? Of course, Violet’s only priority is to make a sale before her three week deadline is up, but she can’t help but to wonder about the enigmatic hottie. Not that it matters because her best friend is totally infatuated with Doc. Plus she’s dating Wolfgang, a wealthy jeweler who just inherited the creepy clown house, so the last thing she needs is another male distraction. Uh yeah, right!
Things get complicated when Violet discovers that little girls are vanishing from Deadwood. Fearing that her daughter might be the next face on the missing girls posters, Violet sets forth on a mission to find the kidnapper. Good thing she formed an accidental friendship with a gun-toting old codger named Harvey. He may be crusty on the outside, but underneath that grisly exterior, he’s a total softy. He’s kind of like a male version of the ubiquitous “zany grandma” characters that you see in Janet Evanovich books. But despite the cliché, the banter between Harvey and Violet is incredibly funny. Between his inappropriate quips and her neuroticisms, they make an excellent team!
Speaking of fun secondary characters, Doc sure kept me guessing. Although he’s dating Violet’s best friend, he spends a lot of time protecting her from potential stalkers. And when he’s not at his mysterious job, he’s in the library pouring through books about Deadwood’s historic sites. Clearly he and Violet have some serious fireworks brewing, but there’s too much at stake if they act on their desires.
There’s so many questions that need to be answered – and I’m already starting to miss old Harvey and his potty mouth humor! Even though this book is heavily steeped in romance, the author does a fine job keeping the focus on the mystery. I enjoyed watching Violet and her trusty sidekick confront possible suspects and piece together clues in creepy old houses. Plus there’s a scene toward the very end that gave me the willies. Don’t be fooled by the light-hearted banter and silly antics, this book isn’t for the faint of heart! (less)
If you like paranormal erotica, you'll love this book. I, however, was lured in by the New Orleans setting and spooky ghost mystery. Unfortunately thi...moreIf you like paranormal erotica, you'll love this book. I, however, was lured in by the New Orleans setting and spooky ghost mystery. Unfortunately this book didn't focus too much on the latter, so I will not be continuing on with the series. I only finished it because audiobooks are expensive and I don't like to be wasteful.
I like cozies that are heavy on the mystery with a light dash of romance. I’m in it for the quaint setting, the quirky characters and the cute little furry sidekicks. And that’s exactly what I got with this atmospheric farmers market mystery. The fall festival setting swept me away to my favorite time of year when the air is crisp and apple pies are plentiful. The author did a fine job spinning a tight web of plot threads and red herrings. As I pieced together the clues and hit a few dead ends, I felt like I was navigating my way through an elaborate corn maze. And speaking of those creepy, claustrophobic corn contraptions, there is indeed a corn maze scene that will give even the most jaded mystery fans the shivers! Oh and there’s a dash of “gypsy magic” thrown in to the mix, adding to the delicious Halloweenie atmosphere.(less)
Colleen embodies everything I love in a female protagonist. She’s fearless, strong-willed, witty – and an animal lover to boot. Plus she’s a firehouse chief, which is quite impressive all in itself! Her colorful sidekicks were all very amusing, especially the flirtatious real estate developer, Pinky Salvatore, who habitually summoned her to his bachelor pad with smoke signals. But most of all – I enjoyed Colleen’s horse-herding border collie, Sparky.
If you love animals, charming small-town settings and entertaining characters, this book’s for you. The mystery unfolds at a steady pace, and even the most seasoned mystery buffs are likely to be surprised by the ending. All in all, this is one heck of a debut, and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment. (less)
Cocktail Hour isn't all margaritas and tapas - McTiernan tackles some troubling issues - from adultery to mental illness to family dysfunction. Emotional, fascinating - and sometimes unsettling - this is one quality read for anyone who enjoys stories about love, loss, friendship and deceit.
After reading the author's previous novel Barefoot Girls -which also includes one helluva villain - I knew I was in for a treat. She has a real knack for getting inside the mind of a certifiable sociopath, and Bianca really takes the cake! That is one crazy-ass bitch, and I hate to think that there could be real-life Biancas preying upon unsuspecting men and exploiting their "friends" weaknesses. She grew more despicable with each chapter - and I couldn't wait to get to the very end to watch it all come crashing down. I can safely say this is one of the most evil female antagonists I've encountered in a very long time. She's so bad, she makes those Lifetime movie psychos look like playful kittens!
The posse of gal pals all had interesting backstories, but out of all of the women, Kate is my fave. Yes, she's totally naïve and sometimes just plain dumb, but she's also loyal and incredibly sweet. Fresh off the farm and new the big city, she's refreshingly un-jaded and ready to befriend anyone with a seemingly friendly face. Although I constantly wanted to shake her and tell her to smarten up, she really hit a soft spot in my hardened, misanthropic heart.
If you think about it, haven't we all been there? At some point, don't we all find out the hard way that we can't accept everyone at face-value? To quote Dan Rather, "A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that not everybody wishes you well." (less)
A word to the wise, don’t read this book alone at night. I made the grave mistake of reading it while my husband was out of town and had to call him in the middle of the night so he could talk me off the ledge. Parts of this book really gave me the heebie jeebies – especially the cemetery shootout scene. Come to think of it, this book is a good cautionary tale for staying away from cemeteries after sundown – and to sign up for a self-defense class. It’s a scary world, and I shudder at the thought of real-life Scarabs roaming the city streets.
Overall, this book is one heck of a thrill ride that is sure to impress fans of fast-paced mysteries by the likes of Jeff Abbott, Harlan Coben and John Sandford. Hugo Marston is my kind of hero, one who’s willing to rush into a burning building to take down the bad guy – and risk everything to save his friends. This author has the rare ability to make sitting on my cushy couch feel like a heart-pumping chase through creepy Parisian graveyards. (less)
Since I’m a fan of Alice Kimberly’s works, I knew this would be a quality read. And, of course, I was right. I had a lot of fun solving the “Poe Code” and tearing through the pages until the fearless protagonist found the hidden treasure. With a wealth of eclectic characters and fascinating trivia facts about Edgar Allen Poe, it’s a real winner for fans of jigsaw puzzle mysteries.
In addition to solving the “Poe Code” murder mystery, readers are also taken back in time to the events leading up to Jack Shepard’s death. Of course, we only get a little glimpses here and there, and we probably won’t find out whodunit until the end of the series.
Overall, this is a quality read that is sure to win over fans of cozy mysteries! (less)
This book is so incredible; I don’t even know where to begin! I guess I could sta...moreFind the full review on my blog, Chick Lit Café! http://bit.ly/ZkLuWz
This book is so incredible; I don’t even know where to begin! I guess I could start with Samantha. Despite the whole superhuman thing, I think a lot of readers can relate with her struggle to overcome her past. Anyone who has suffered from an abusive upbringing will emphasize with Samantha’s self-doubt and trust issues. I really fell in love with this character because she desperately wants to be a good person, but ghosts from the past kept dragging her back down the rabbit hole.
In addition to an incredibly endearing main character, the author knows how to weave together a tightly-plotted mystery.
I felt like I was right there with Samantha as she stumbled upon bizarre clues – like a petrified dead body in the middle of a museum – and came up with more questions than answers. The momentum kept building – leaving me with no other option but to tear through the pages until I knew San Francisco was safe from a ginormous earthquake. I’ll stop right here before I give anything away. But I will say that she’s dealing with one helluva evil witch who’s willing to wipe out an entire city to get what she wants.
While I’m at it, I should mention the setting. Like Juliet Blackwell, this author uses the San Francisco backdrop to her advantage. I especially loved her descriptions of the spooky circle of trees amid the backdrop of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Oh and the nighttime rendezvous scene at the Santa Cruz boardwalk totally evoked images of Lost Boys. What is it about carnival rides after dark? There’s something really unsettling about being all alone in an amusement park with the dead eyes of carousel horses staring back at you. (less)