3.5 stars - I like the characters in this series, but this installment seemed a bit light in investigating and not as good as the prior books in this3.5 stars - I like the characters in this series, but this installment seemed a bit light in investigating and not as good as the prior books in this series. Scarlett's "no dating for a year" resolution is wearing thin, especially when it seems she has met her soul mate in Harrison. Something important comes out about Viv, but then the book ends abruptly on a cliffhanger. I don't care for endings that are up-in-the-air like this, but I fell for it and will probably pick up the next book when it comes out to find out what happens next for Viv, Scarlett, and Harrison....more
Great beginning and a fun read, although it bogs down toward the end and really starts to drag. Fans of the series will like catching up with Claire aGreat beginning and a fun read, although it bogs down toward the end and really starts to drag. Fans of the series will like catching up with Claire and her family, but this isn't the best installment in the series....more
Originally posted on Smitten by Books Blog. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
Beatrice Coleman enjoys quilting, bOriginally posted on Smitten by Books Blog. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
Beatrice Coleman enjoys quilting, but the best part of being a member of the Village Quilters is the camaraderie of working with the other quilters. As a favor to fellow group member Posy, Beatrice and her friend Meadow reluctantly agree to allow members from a rival quilting group to join them in working together on projects for an upcoming quilt show. Since it’s for a good cause, the Village Quilters try to be welcoming to the “Cut-Ups”, Phyllis and Martha, but the newcomers aren’t making it easy. They’re unpleasant to each other and to their adopted quilting group. Beatrice learns the resentment between the two women is mostly due to the fact that Martha is currently dating Phyllis’s ex-fiancé Jason Gore, and it’s obvious Phyllis is ready to let him go. Beatrice ends up in the middle of the dispute between the quilters as well as a murder investigation when she discovers the dead body of Jason.
I enjoy the small town atmosphere of the book, and like most of the main characters. This installment of the Southern Quilting mysteries does a good job of introducing two new characters into the mix of old favorites Beatrice, Meadow, and the rest of the Village Quilters. Martha, especially, is a complex character that I could see fitting into future adventures in Dappled Hills, North Carolina along with Beatrice and Meadow, even though she is from a rival quilting club. Beatrice and Meadow are as likeable as ever. They are very different from each other, but have a wonderful friendship. Beatrice is more calm and rationale, and Meadow is a bit more flighty and emotional. Together, they make a great team for quilting as well as sleuthing. The two friends ask a lot of questions to get to the bottom of Jason Gore’s murder and readers are left guessing as to the identity of the murderer and the motive.
In a crucial part of the plot, elderly quilter Miss Sissy saves the day. It’s nice seeing the older woman help solve the case, but as I did in previous books in the series, I still find her to be a strange character. Her one word proclamations of “Evil!” and “Wicked!” grow tiresome, but luckily I enjoy the other characters in the book.
Everything wraps up in an unexpected and satisfying way in this enjoyable Southern cozy. I am not a quilter, but there is a page of interesting quilting tips at the end of the book. There are also a few recipes included and the one for “Easy, Corny Corn Bread” that looks easy to follow and sounds delicious. Shear Trouble will appeal to fans of Elizabeth Lynn Casey. ...more
After a major set-back in their house-hunting caused by a dishonest real estate agent, Hannah Ives, and her husband Paul, have finally purchased a seaAfter a major set-back in their house-hunting caused by a dishonest real estate agent, Hannah Ives, and her husband Paul, have finally purchased a seaside cottage they love. It’s a historic building, so it needs an abundance of restoration work to make it inhabitable. When work is being done to repair the chimney, the contractors discover the mummified body of an infant. It’s obviously not a recent death, but Hannah will not rest until she is able to find out who the baby was and why the body was hidden.
This book is part of The Hannah Ives mysteries series. I’ve read a few of the prior books, but it’s not necessary to have read any of the other books to enjoy this story. Hannah is a likeable main character who is intelligent and independent and also has a great relationship with her husband who is also smart, kind, and unlike in many mysteries, supportive of Hannah’s investigating. Their kids are grown and they were looking forward to enjoying their new cottage before the horrible discovery of the infant’s body. I enjoy reading about Hannah’s quest for the truth. Some of the middle parts of the book grew a bit repetitive and the story doesn’t have the suspense of “Dark Passage”, an earlier installment in the series. However, this is a very well-written book containing many interesting historical facts, including information about interracial marriages in this country in the 1950s and 1960s that I wasn’t aware of. I found this to be a satisfying mystery with a touching ending.
I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Severn House. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. ...more
This book is nice for some light reading to get you in the mood for the holidays, but is not my favorite book by Wanda Brunstetter. Although the storyThis book is nice for some light reading to get you in the mood for the holidays, but is not my favorite book by Wanda Brunstetter. Although the story is upbeat and often amusing, I feel the characters are too one-dimensional and unbelievable to warrant a rating higher than 3.5 stars.
The main characters in the book are twins Thelma and Elma Hochstetler who are almost identical in looks, but very different in personalities. Thelma sometimes come across as flighty, but she is kind, loving, and fun. Elma is organized, serious, and sometimes nagging, but has a good heart. The twins are supposed to be in their early thirties, but come across as much younger, not all of which can be explained by their Amish way of life. The story would have been more enjoyable if their ages matched their actions. They are away from home for the first time and as a way to become a part of their new town, they agree to bake something to sell at a charity auction. Their “lopsided Christmas cake” serves the purpose and leads to them meeting two eligible bachelors, quiet, hard-working Joseph and handsome, outgoing Delbert.
The twins have never been married, but they haven’t given up on marriage, so they are eager to get to know the two men and see what happens. Thelma’s outgoing personality is the perfect complement to Joseph’s shyness, while Elma and Delbert’s strong opinions and no-nonsense attitudes creates obstacles to their romance. The couples have various ups and downs and a well-meant girlhood promise almost gets in the way of happiness for one of the pairs. The bond between Thelma and Elma is a highpoint of the story.
I’ve read and enjoyed several of Wanda Brunstetter’s Amish novels. This book was written by Wanda, along with her daughter-in-law Jean. What I like about this book is it’s written so that there is the expected happy ending, but the story takes some unexpected turns. Everything doesn’t turn out perfectly for all the characters, and I appreciate this realism. The Brunstetters give us a glimpse of the Amish way of life and show us that not all Amish people are the same, even identical twins. The book has a fun plot with some very touching moments, but unfortunately, there is too much silliness and not enough depth to the characters in this short book. The authors do provide a nice bonus, though. The recipe for the famous “lopsided cake” is included at the end of the book.
I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Shiloh Run Press. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Eddie G. has just been promoted from his job as a pit boss at the Sands and is trying to get used to his new position of “Casino Host”. He doesn’t minEddie G. has just been promoted from his job as a pit boss at the Sands and is trying to get used to his new position of “Casino Host”. He doesn’t mind catering to the high rollers coming into the casino, but it feels strange to him to be getting paid for just sitting around at the hotel bar. Eddie doesn’t have much time to think about things because he soon finds out, the hard way, that somebody is trying to kill him. Eddie would have helped him anyway, but when he gets a request from his friend Frank Sinatra to help Judy Garland with a problem in Los Angeles, it’s the perfect reason to temporarily leave Las Vegas!
I really enjoy reading the books in the “Rat Pack” series. The atmosphere and characters are perfect and the books transports you to 1960s Vegas, and in this case, old LA as well. There isn’t as much involvement in the book by Frank and Dean, but I enjoyed “getting to know” Judy Garland. Although the book is fictional, I learned some things that actually happened in Ms. Garland’s life that I never knew before. The fictional characters in his series are just as appealing as the real ones. Eddie is a tough guy, but an honest person and a loyal friend. His part-time bodyguard Jerry is a great mixture of toughness and vulnerability and he and Eddie make a unique and likeable pair. I enjoy seeing them get into scrapes, dodging danger, and helping their famous friends.
This installment of the series has an intriguing beginning and is action-packed throughout the book, wrapping up with a touching ending. There are other books in this series that I’ve liked more, but it’s still a fast-paced, fun read that will make you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time and spent some time with the real Rat Pack.
I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Severn House Publishers. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review....more
I have read every book in Lisa Scottoline‘s Rosato and DiNunzio series and am seldom disappointed. “Corrupted” is another winner in this long-runningI have read every book in Lisa Scottoline‘s Rosato and DiNunzio series and am seldom disappointed. “Corrupted” is another winner in this long-running series. The books remain fresh and relevant with interesting plots full of twists and turns and “Corrupted” is no exception. The series rotates the lead characters and this book features the founder of the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm, Bennie Rosato. Bennie is a tough as ever as she fights for her client, Jason Leftavick, who has been accused of a murder he says he didn’t commit. However, Bennie also shows a vulnerable side as she becomes more and more frightened of losing the case and letting her client down, as she feels she did years earlier when she represented Jason in a juvenile case that went wrong. The flashbacks to that prior case are compelling and heartbreaking. Then, you can feel the tension as the current case progresses. After everything the characters have gone through, you want things to turn out, both for Jason and Bennie’s sake. This book also shows some of Bennie’s personal life, which shows even more of Bennie’s softer side. Bennie is so used to handling everything on her own, it’s great to see how moved she is when her partner, Mary DiNunzio, and the associates of the firm show they have her back when things get rough.
“Corrupted” begins in the present, flashes back to Bennie’s first time representing Jason in 2002, and then picks up the story in the present. The book is full of legal insights, dramatic courtroom scenes, investigation into the murder by Bennie and firm investigator Lou Jacobs, and even a potential romance for Bennie. Once I began the book, I didn’t want to put it down. The sweet, touching ending, after so much sadness and tragedy experienced by both Bennie and her client, is perfect. I highly recommend the book to fans of Scottoline or readers who enjoy well-written legal thrillers or novels of suspense.
I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program, and I have chosen to write an honest review. ...more
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