It’s almost Halloween and Lucy Stone and her family are getting ready the upcoming celebrations taking place in their hometown of Tinker’s Cove, MaineIt’s almost Halloween and Lucy Stone and her family are getting ready the upcoming celebrations taking place in their hometown of Tinker’s Cove, Maine. In fact, Lucy thinks her husband Bill is going a little overboard in the preparations and is tired of Bill’s friend Evan making himself at home while they work on their contest entries. However, Lucy never would have wished for Evan to meet the fate he did and is devastated when Bill becomes the main suspect in his friend’s murder. Lucy knows her husband is innocent, so she won’t stop until she finds the real killer.
I like the main character of Lucy, who is likeable and fun and has a great sense of humor. I liked Lucy’s friends and family members as well, especially her easygoing husband, Bill. I hated how the local police officers latched onto Bill as a suspect without a proper investigation, but was glad to see that Lucy didn’t give up and that their friend and lawyer was there to help.
There were a couple characters I didn’t care for. One was Lucy’s daughter-in-law whose over-the-top rules for her young son left me shaking my head, but luckily she was only in the book briefly. Lucy’s grandson’s preschool teacher, Heidi, was equally self-righteous and annoying and I was surprised to see the other women in the town allow Heidi to get her way in planning a ridiculous Halloween party for the children of the town.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I like the “cozy” writing style of the author. However, I did confused about who was who in the Cousins family, which made it hard to follow all of the plot details. I have to give kudos to the author for dealing with a serious subject in such a creative way. Flashbacks of a young woman from 1979 tie into the overall mystery as well as the domestic violence theme which plays an important role in the story. This gave depth to an otherwise lighthearted mystery novel and was very well-done.
I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Kensington Books. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. ...more
“No One Needs to Know” is described as the story of caterer Laurie Trotter who works on a movie set that seems to be cursed. A new movie is being film“No One Needs to Know” is described as the story of caterer Laurie Trotter who works on a movie set that seems to be cursed. A new movie is being filmed about a murder of an actress back in 1970. Laurie finds out that current problems on the set could be tied to that old tragedy, and her life could depend on her finding out the truth about the strange events that are occurring.
This isn’t a bad book, but be aware that the story is quite as described. The description given sounds very intriguing, but unfortunately, the movie set isn’t even mentioned until a quarter of the way through the book and Laurie doesn’t step foot on the set until about a third of the way into the story. The key to a good book is usually “show don’t tell”, but in this case, there was too much of the book devoted to the events that happened to Laurie before she took the catering job. The book would have been more suspenseful and faster paced if Laurie’s backstory with her deceased husband and her stalker would have been summarized or covered in a prologue with a few additional details revealed later instead of all of it playing out at the beginning of the book.
In spite of the slow start, I enjoyed the book, and especially like the character of Laurie. She’s smart, a hard-worker, and a good mom, but she’s not perfect. She’s willing to own up to the poor choices she made and is trying to move on and make a better life for her and her young son. There are lots of twists and turns and plenty of creepiness as Laurie learns more about the murder of actress Elaina Styles and finds herself to be deeper in danger as the catering job continues. Once the action began in the book, I was interested in the story and what would happen next. Because of the slow start, I would give the book a rating of 3.5 stars.
I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Kensington Books. I received the book in exchange for an honest review....more
American Pru Parke is now a permanent resident in England and is now planning her wedding to Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse. However, beAmerican Pru Parke is now a permanent resident in England and is now planning her wedding to Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse. However, before they become husband and wife, Pru agrees to complete a short-term assignment at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. This assignment will challenge her gardening knowledge in a new way. She has hired to determine if a journal was actually written by botanist and explorer Archibald Menzies. Not everyone at the garden is happy with Pru’s involvement and when a difficult co-worker is killed, Pru herself becomes one of the main suspects.
I feel fortunate to have discovered author Marty Wingate’s cozy novels. This is the third book in the Potting Shed mysteries and it doesn’t disappoint. Pru balances the stress of a new assignment, planning a wedding, and then investigating a murder with her usual intelligence and grace. She is an interesting main character and I love reading about her relationship with Christopher. The premise of this installment, as well as the investigation, is equally interesting. I enjoyed this book and am eager to see what will happen next for Pru and Christopher. Fans of Ellery Adams or Hazel Holt will enjoy the style and setting of this charming series.
I received this book from NetGalley through the courtesy of Random House/Alibi. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Bookstore/coffee shop owner Jill Gardner is looking forward to an Alaskan cruise with her boyfriend Greg King. However, plans often have to change wheBookstore/coffee shop owner Jill Gardner is looking forward to an Alaskan cruise with her boyfriend Greg King. However, plans often have to change when you’re dating a police detective. When a murderer strikes in South Cove, Greg is called to duty, but isn’t pleased to learn Jill is also on the case!
“Killer Run” is the fifth book in the “Tourist Trap” mysteries, following “Dressed to Kill.” I found this installment to be faster paced and more enjoyable to read. There are a couple negatives to the book. Jill does a fair amount of moping over her missed trip, and her Aunt Jackie is so bossy she can become annoying. However, I enjoyed the storyline about the charity run and found most of the characters in the book to be likeable and entertaining. I enjoy this light, cozy series and thought “Killer Run” was fun to read and kept my interest in the murder investigation and in Jill’s life throughout the whole book. I think fans of Sheila Connelly or Ellery Adams would enjoy this book.
I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Kensington Books. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review....more
Jill Gardner has a lot to do running her shop, Coffee, Books, and More and now she has agreed to play a part in a murder mystery dinner theater. JillJill Gardner has a lot to do running her shop, Coffee, Books, and More and now she has agreed to play a part in a murder mystery dinner theater. Jill drafts her boyfriend, police detective Greg King, to play a part as well. Jill, Greg, and some of the other friends are willing to participate since the proceeds go to charity and it looks like it could end up being a lot of fun. However, when the dress rehearsal begins, a real murder victim is found on the stage. The victim is Kent Paine, local bank president, whose latest girlfriend was Greg’s ex-wife Sherry who is now one of the main suspects. Can Jill put her personal dislike of Sherry aside to look at the case objectively and find out if she truly did commit murder?
“Dressed to Kill” is the fourth book in Lynn Cahoon’s “Tourist Trap Mysteries” but the first I’ve read. It took me a little while to keep track of Jill’s various friends and their boyfriends, and I never felt I got to know any of them in depth. However, I enjoyed the mystery and the investigation. Jill takes her sleuthing serious even if she is just doing it as a favor for Sherry’s friend. She’s not really fond of either woman, but she does believe in justice.
I liked the plot and found Jill to be an amusing and likeable character. The bookstore and coffee shop provides a nice setting for people in the town to gather and gossip. “Dressed to Kill” is a nice cozy read. I enjoyed the book and would read further installments in this series.
I received this book from NetGalley through the courtesy of Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Caprice De Luca enjoys her career as a home stager in the small town of Kismet, Pennsylvania, but is wary of her newest client. She agrees to help AlaCaprice De Luca enjoys her career as a home stager in the small town of Kismet, Pennsylvania, but is wary of her newest client. She agrees to help Alanna Goodwin sell her home, only as a favor to Ace Richland, a prior client and friend. Alanna is difficult to work with, but when Alanna is murdered, Caprice is saddened and also worried about her friend Ace, who seems to be the main suspect. Caprice is determined to find out who is really responsible for Alanna’s death, even if her informal investigation may made her the killer’s next target.
I’ve not read any of the Caprice De Luca Home Staging mysteries before, but “Drape Expectations” is the fourth in the series. I was able to quickly get to know Caprice and her friends and family. Caprice is a free spirit, preferring Beatles t-shirts and flats to business suits and heels, but she is intelligent and creative and makes an excellent amateur sleuth. I love seeing Caprice interact with her family since they are all there to support each other in times of trouble. Caprice is also right in the middle of a love triangle. She would love to see if she could make a relationship work with Dr. Seth Randolph, but he is away in Virginia for a one-year fellowship and his future plans are unsettled. She has known Grant, who is now an attorney, since he roomed with her brother Vince in college, but recently their long-time friendship seems to have potential to become much more.
I found the mystery to be interesting and Caprice a refreshing and likeable character. The dialogue is well-written, although some of the transitions between the characters’ conversations and the book’s narrative could sometimes be smoother. However, I enjoyed the book and would love to see what happens next for Caprice. I enjoyed reading about her custom-themed open houses, which are really spectacular real estate events, and this unique profession makes an interesting addition to the story. Cozy mystery lovers will like this clever, fun-to-read mystery.
I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Kensington Publishing. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. ...more
“Chilling Effect” is the second in a new series by author Melissa F. Miller. I read (and enjoyed) the series debut, but it’s not necessary to do so be“Chilling Effect” is the second in a new series by author Melissa F. Miller. I read (and enjoyed) the series debut, but it’s not necessary to do so before reading this excellent follow-up novel. As in the first book, Aroostine’s Native American background and reliance on her spirit guide for wise advice put a new twist on the typical legal thriller.
Aroostine is supposed to be relaxing on a romantic vacation with her husband, Joe, but she can’t resist getting involved in a case when her boss in Washington, DC calls for a favor. What looks like a routine embezzlement case at a Native American casino turns into a dangerous dance with a killer. Aroostine and Joe work together to tackle this case and once again, Aroostine uses her Native American background to help in solving the case.
I really enjoyed this book and would love to read additional installments in this series. Aroostine is a strong, independent woman and makes a great main character. She is brave, caring, and compassionate and does what she thinks is right, usually ignoring the consequences. Sometimes her husband Joe seems selfish to me, but he really grows personally and in his support of this wife in this book. The case is intriguing and will keep you guessing at who the killer really is. I enjoyed the fast pace and the author’s writing style. I would recommend the book for fans of Thomas Perry or James Doss.
I received this book from NetGalley through the courtesy of Thomas & Mercer. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. ...more
“Critical Vulnerability” is the first in a new series by author Melissa F. Miller. The main character is federal prosecutor Aroostine Higgins and when“Critical Vulnerability” is the first in a new series by author Melissa F. Miller. The main character is federal prosecutor Aroostine Higgins and when the story kicks off, she is having the worst week of her life. It all starts when Aroostine is assigned a high profile case with little time to prepare and a very unsympathetic judge presiding. Things go downhill from there when Aroostine is plagued with mysterious “clerical errors” affecting her case, a fire in her home, and a near fatal surgery. Soon she realizes this isn’t just a run of bad luck - someone is trying to ruin her life and she is determined to find out why.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I really enjoyed it. I liked the main character and the plot kept my interest throughout the book. I would have liked the characters to have been fleshed out a little more and a more backstory given. However, the narrative did get right to the heart of the plot and resulted in a fast-paced book. Also the information given about Aroostine really sets the book apart from other legal thrillers. Aroostine was adopted at a young age, but still follows some of the Native American customs she learned at a young age from her biological grandfather. Aroostine uses the tracking skills she learned as a child and in times of trouble, her spirit guide is there to help her.
The fast-moving story, unique main character, and Aroostine’s interesting background make this a great book. I look forward to reading more books by this author.
I received this book from NetGalley through the courtesy of Thomas & Mercer. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Kate McKay is horrified to learn an eighteen-year-old girl with whom she and her daughter are acquainted is missing. Katie found Rosie Anderson to beKate McKay is horrified to learn an eighteen-year-old girl with whom she and her daughter are acquainted is missing. Katie found Rosie Anderson to be quite, sweet, and respectful and she is hopeful that Rosie is okay. The news Kate and other Sussex residents gets about Rosie is not good. Kate becomes involved in the lives of the Andersons when she tries to comfort Rosie’s grieving mother. Kate soon learns that in spite of their outwardly perfect family, not everything is as it appears in the Anderson home.
“Bones of You” is an unusual book with some touching moments, but it also has its share of despicable characters. The main character, Kate, however is a wonderful main character. She is smart, hard-working, and tries to be the best wife, mother, and friend that she can. She had reached out to Rosie and feels compelled to learn more about her and to now provide whatever help she can to Rosie’s mother. She gets in over her head with the Andersons, but is determined to see things through and find out what really happened to Rosie.
The narration of the book is split between Kate’s point of view and Rosie’s telling of the story of her own life, as it flashes before her eyes. Kate and the reader learns that some of the other people in Rosie’s life are not so wonderful. Some of this is hard to read, but the story is very compelling and suspenseful. Some of the things that come out about Rosie’s family seems over the top and unnecessary given other horrifying events already included in the book. All in all, I enjoyed this intense book and the unique way in which Rosie’s story was told.
I received this book from NetGalley through the courtesy of Kensington Publishing in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is asked to help identify the remains of a teenager. The request doesn’t come through usual law enforcementForensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is asked to help identify the remains of a teenager. The request doesn’t come through usual law enforcement channels, but from amateur web sleuth Hazel “Lucky” Strike who uses the Internet to research cold cases. Hazel is researching the disappearance of eighteen-year-old Cora Teague and thinks Tempe can help. Tempe has reservations, but decides to work on the case. Even though the case is unusual and possibly dangerous, it’s a welcome distraction from her complicated personal life with police detective Andrew Ryan.
I have read and enjoyed each of Kathy Reich’s well-written mysteries in this long-running series, but of course I’ve liked some better than others. “Speaking in Bones” isn’t my favorite, but is still an excellent book and enjoyable installment in the series. The puzzle at the heart of the book is intriguing and it was interesting to read about the amateur crime-solvers who use the Internet to locate and investigate a variety of cases. The character of Hazel was especially entertaining and showed that not every skilled investigator is a professional.
Tempe is an intelligent, complex character that I usually really like, but I found myself frustrated by her actions in this book. I wish she would have been more decisive in her personal life and less impulsive professionally since she repeatedly postpones giving Andrew Ryan an answer to his marriage proposal and puts herself in danger over and over again throughout the investigation. I still enjoyed the book and was surprised by the unexpected ending to the case. The author gives mixed signals as to the direction Tempe’s love life will be taken, and it will be interesting to find out what happens in the next book in the series.
Longtime fans of Reichs’s novels will enjoy the book and will be interested to see the developments in Tempe’s personal life. Readers who are only familiar with Temperance Brennan from the television series “Bones” may be surprised at how different Tempe is in the books. She has a more sociable personality than the TV version of the character, has a different set of co-workers, and Canadian Police Detective Andrew Ryan as a love interest instead of FBI agent Booth. However, fans of a good mystery, especially one with forensic science playing a large role in the investigation, will enjoy the book.
I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Bantam, in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Faith Fairchild is looking forward to spending the Fourth of July holiday on Sanpere Island, Maine. This year is a little different than past celebratFaith Fairchild is looking forward to spending the Fourth of July holiday on Sanpere Island, Maine. This year is a little different than past celebrations since her family is staying with friends while their own cottage undergoes some much needed renovations. Staying with her friends, puts her right next door to an ominous situation. The unusual terms of a recently deceased woman’s will cause members of a wealthy family staying at the family’s beach home “The Birches” to compete for an inheritance and it looks like someone will do whatever it takes to be the lucky heir.
I have read several of the prior books in the series and always liked the main character, Faith. She is an excellent caterer, minister’s wife, and mother. She balances all parts of her life, although in this book she’s dealing with pride, but sadness, that her children are growing up. However, in this book, it’s another character that steals the show. Sophie Maxwell, staying with her uncle at The Birches, and a former babysitter for Faith’s children Ben and Amy, is such a wonderful character. She is smart, determined, vulnerable, and truly a good person. I loved all of the scenes with Sophie and would love to her appear in future books or even in a series of her own!
“The Body in the Birches” starts out on a high note with Sophie’s arrival at “The Birches” and the reader learning about all of the terms of her late aunt’s will. The scene of a house full of relatives hoping to inherit is reminiscent of a great Agatha Christie plot, with a house on the coast of Maine instead of the English countryside. I like seeing Faith interact with her Ben, but some of the scenes with Faith and her friends are a little too wordy and left me eager to get back to Sophie’s narrative. Overall, I really enjoyed this latest in the Faith Fairchild mystery series.
I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program. I have chosen to write an honest review. ...more
Joanna Brady has a busy life – she is a happily married mother of two and is the sheriff in Conchise County, Arizona. In her job, she’s currently juggJoanna Brady has a busy life – she is a happily married mother of two and is the sheriff in Conchise County, Arizona. In her job, she’s currently juggling two murder cases and trying to make sure there are no further victims.
This series just keeps getting better and better. All of the main characters are likeable and I love seeing how they have grown. I love seeing Joanna both on the job and interacting with her family. Both cases in “Remains of Innocence” are suspenseful and one of the cases has a shocking conclusion which I won’t spoil by saying too much. The book is completely accessible to anyone new to the series. Those who have read other books in this series will be thrilled with how suspenseful and satisfying this latest installment is.
As a bonus, the edition I purchased included a novella featuring Joanna’s husband Butch. I enjoyed this peak into Butch’s life before he had met Joanna and think this is an excellent story. I would definitely recommend the novel and the novella to both Jance fans and anyone who enjoys a well-written, suspenseful mystery. ...more
“After the Fall” is the first book I have read by author Patricia Gussin. The book has several subplots that do eventually come together in support of“After the Fall” is the first book I have read by author Patricia Gussin. The book has several subplots that do eventually come together in support of the main plot of dirty dealings going on during the approval process of a new drug that could help save lives. Laura Nelson is the main character who after a tragic accident is forced to change careers and gets caught in the drama of those who want the drug approved and someone who would do anything to delay that process.
The suspense throughout the book is wonderful and once I started, I didn’t want to put it down. Laura is intelligent and determined and I enjoyed reading about her. Some of the male characters didn’t have a much depth and were clearly the “good guy” or the “bad guy”. The “bad guy” was a jerk without many redeeming qualities, but Laura’s love interest seemed too good to be true. At one point in the book, Laura confides to him that she had been keeping a major secret from her deceased husband, one that could speak to her integrity and he barely blinks and says it’s okay with him. I would have expected a little bit of a dilemma on his part. I also found some of the dialogue to be unnatural which made some of the scene awkward. However, the plot grabbed me enough that I was able to ignore the flaws and still kept reading, eager to find out what would happen next in Laura’s life and in the fate of the new drug going up for approval. Although it doesn’t have all of the elements of conspiracy, I think fans of Robin Cook’s medical thrillers would enjoy this book.
I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Oceanview Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. ...more