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Carla Loves To Read

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carhicks

I am a retired teacher/librarian. I love to read, especially to my grandson.

Carbs & Cadavers (A Supper Club Mystery #1) by Ellery Adams

Carbs & Cadavers (Supper Club Mysteries, #1)4 Stars

Published February 16th 2018 by Beyond the Page Publishing

This book was originally published under the pen name J.B. Stanley in 2008. This is a brand-new, fully revised edition published under the author’s real name, Ellery Adams.

In this first book of the series we are introduced to James Henry, The Professor, who isn’t satisfied with his life. He is recently divorces and has moved back to his small hometown to take care of his aging father after the death of his mother. He tends to eat his worries away and looks for happiness in the foods that he eats, especially cheese puffs. He is working in the local library and does seem to enjoy that part of his life. When a high school teacher comes in and asks to put up a flier for a “Supper Club” for those who want to lose weight, he decides to join not only to lose some weight, but to meet some people. They call themselves “The Flab Five”.

The mystery in this story is who killed local, washed up, football star, Brinkley Meyers. A young woman, who has a strong dislike for Brinkley, is arrested for the crime, but the group is sure she is innocent and set out to prove it. Using their brains, their great questioning techniques and likability, the club works their way through facts, clues, and gossip. Will they be able to come up with the answer to who killed Meyers? There are some side stories going on as well that add interest and flesh out the characters and the town. I enjoyed this story with realistic characters, a friendly setting. This was a fun cozy with a surprising ending that made me smile. Being a full figured gal myself, I appreciated the way the author handled the subject of weight loss, making it a normal part of the story. I am looking forward to reading more in this series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Carbs & Cadavers (A Supper Club Mystery #1) by Ellery Adams”

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Her Final Breath (Tracy Crosswhite #2) by Robert Dugoni

Her Final Breath (Tracy Crosswhite, #2)5 Stars

Published September 15th 2015 by Thomas & Mercer

Tracy is a homicide detective in North Seattle. Tracy is still dealing with the emotions from the trauma of her sister’s murder which we learn about in the first book in this series. She is a no nonsense detective, but not damaged like some other police detectives in other series I have read. She has a boyfriend, Dan O’Leary who is a lawyer and is well-liked by the other officers she works with. Unfortunately for her, her captain, Johnny Nolasco does not feel the same way. He will only be happy when she is no longer an officer with the Seattle P.D.

In this story a serial killer leaves his victims hog-tied in cheap motels where they strangle themselves. He’s given the nickname of “The Cowboy”. Tracy and her team are assigned to the task force to track and to capture this psychopathic murderer. Of course, they are not given enough officers or money and someone is leaking information to the press. The Cowboy leaves no clues behind and is meticulous in exiting his crime scenes. Tracy begins to see similarities to a case closed 9 years earlier by Nolasco and his partner. Along the way, someone is leaving ominous messages to Tracy as well. Will they catch this killer? Will Tracy become a victim? Will Nolasco be successful in drumming her off the force?

Tracy’s abilities are honed by practice. The cases in the book take their toll on her. She is tough, determined, seems to have a sixth sense, and normally works well with her team. Her workload is heavy and the crimes she deals with are awful. The killer is a monster. He is slick, smart, almost invisible, friendly and a very sick individual. Dugoni does an amazing job of creating this psychopath. The rest of the characters in the story all play an important role in getting to the bottom of this string of murders. It starts out slowly, letting the suspense build and build until the ending explodes. Once you get into the story, it is hard to put down.

I can’t recommend this series enough. I have been thrilled with both stories in this series and am ready to go with the next one. If you enjoy thrillers and suspense along with a crime to solve, then pick up this book, you will not be disappointed.

Continue reading “Her Final Breath (Tracy Crosswhite #2) by Robert Dugoni”

Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery #1) by Sarah Graves

Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery #1)3 Stars

Published January 30th 2018 by Kensington
I picked this book up as it was advertised as the first in a new series. What I didn’t know was that these characters were well loved in another series, so there was a lot of character development and relationship information that I was lacking, through no mistake of my own. Jake and Ellie have opened up a bake shop on the waterfront of town Eastport, called Chocolate Moose. Apparently, Jacobia (Jake) has experience helping to solve murders, so when the annoying town inspector ends up murdered in their shop, Ellie is the main suspect. Matt Muldoon has been after them since they opened with one complaint after another, even saying he would report them to his “friends at the Maine State Health Department”. Ellie didn’t kill him but she and Jake will have to find out who did or Ellie may find herself under arrest. In addition to the dead man in the kitchen, there is a hurricane headed toward Eastport and the town is planning for their huge 4th of July celebration. Jake and Ellie have a huge order for Chocolate Cherry Cheesecakes for the silent auction. Also, Jake’s dad checks himself out of the hospital after having a heart attack. There is so much going on that I am not sure how it all gets sorted out.

Jake and Ellie are both strong women and work together very well. Jake’s husband, Wade, makes a few appearances in the story, but is not a major player. Bob the sheriff is another good character and he does not want Jake and Ellie investigating on one hand, but feeds Jake information on another. The story rolls along at an okay pace with Jake and Ellie getting themselves in several sticky and dire situations. There were a lot of twists and turns and the conclusion pulling everything together was well done, but I found I did not really get invested in the story. If you are familiar with Sarah Graves’ other series and these characters, you will probably love this book. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery #1) by Sarah Graves”

WWW Wednesday (June 20, 2018)

A busy week with babysitting, deliveries of new furniture and a family reunion out of town so my completed books are lower in number this week.

WWW

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. I did not have a good reading week this week, way too much going on. I hope to make up for it this week. The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery #1) Double Strike (Davis Way Crime Caper, #3) At the Stroke of Midnight (The Naughty Princess Club, #1) Her Final Breath (Tracy Crosswhite, #2)

Audio                       Computer                Tablet                   Physical Book (still reading)

What did you recently finish reading?

Since last Wednesday, I finished reading and/or listening to six books this week. Click on the book to go to my review.

The Secret, Book and Scone Society A Dog's Way Home The Gift for All People: Thoughts on God's Great Grace

A Treacherous Trader (A Collectible Mystery, #4) Jar of Hearts Double Dip (Davis Way Crime Caper, #2)

What do you think you’ll read next?

Three Day Fiancée (Animal Attraction, #2)Three Day Fiancée (Animal Attraction #2)

by Marissa Clarke

Helicopter pilot Taylor Blankenship’s time schedule is maxed out. Between his job, his one-hundred and fifty pound slobbering mess of a dog, and his matchmaking grandmother, he has no time for anyone or anything-especially a woman. If only there were a way to get Grams to back down.

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Carbs & Cadavers (Supper Club Mysteries, #1)Carbs & Cadavers (A Supper Club Mystery #1) by Ellery Adams

Meet the Supper Club, a group of friends dead set on counting calories and catching killers . . .

After giving up his dream job and moving back home to the small town of Quincy’s Gap, English literature professor James Henry is tired of finding his happiness at the bottom of a bag of cheese doodles. In an effort to expand his social life and reduce his waistline, he joins a supper club for dieters who lovingly call themselves the Flab Five. He knows he and his new friends will have to watch what they eat, but he never expected to find murder on the menu. This brand-new, fully revised edition includes tempting recipes!

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The Perfect Couple

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

It’s wedding season on Nantucket. The beautiful island is overrun with summer people–an annual source of aggravation for year-round residents. And that’s not the only tension brewing offshore. When one lavish wedding ends in disaster before it can even begin–with the bride-to-be discovered dead in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony–everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash digs into the best man, the maid of honor, the groom’s famous mystery novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, the chief discovers that every wedding is a minefield–and no couple is perfect.

I will post reviews as soon as I finish. Have you read any of the above books. Let me know what you thought about them.

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts5 Stars

Published June 12th 2018 by Minotaur Books

This story begins with Calvin James (The Sweetbay Strangler) on trial for the murder of four women, including Angela Wong, Georgina Shaw’s best friend in school. Georgina (Geo) is a witness who has made a plea bargain, and after she’s finished giving her testimony, she will be sent to Hazelwood (Hellwood) to serve a five-year sentence. What part did Geo play in Angela’s death fourteen years earlier? If she had told the police what she knew then, would three other women be alive today? As Geo went on with her life, she always lived with the guilt and fear that someone would find out what happened to Angela.

This book is written in an engaging, addictive manner and I was immediately pulled into the complicated friendship between Georgina, Angela, and Kaiser. When Calvin enters the story, all their lives are changed forever. The story is told predominately by Geo with parts by Kaiser (Kai). There are two time frames in the story, the past dealing with the relationships of the friends and the details of the actual death of Angela and the aftermath. I found myself quickly turning the pages as the story unfolded with the clues and information sprinkled throughout the book. Life in prison is described realistically and is a bit unnerving, but it was essential to the story. It showed us what Geo was really about and how she was able to deal with those five years of her life. It was interesting that the story was broken into five main parts entitled denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, the five stages of grief. This story was well written and if you are looking for a thriller that is a bit creepy, this is the one to pick up. Well done Jennifer Hillier. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier”

Double Dip (Davis Way Crime Caper #2) by Gretchen Archer

Double Dip (Davis Way Crime Caper, #2)4.5 laughing Stars

Published January 28th 2014 by Henery Press

It’s Davis Way’s first slot-tournament season. And it may be her last. Stephanie Plum, Davis Way can sure give you a run for your money!

In this second book of the Davis Way Crime Capers, the story is never dull. Davis is still working undercover for the Casino as well as standing in for Bianca Sanders for public appearances. The story starts off with a bang when they hears shots and when reaching the Sanders’ offices, they find Bianca shot and bleeding. From there the adventure ratchets up. Davis and Bradley are still together and they move into an upscale new condo. While he is out of town, ex-ex-husband Eddie shows up and is staying at the condo while her sister redecorates and she stays at the Casino with her granny. When Bradley arrives back home unexpectantly, he sees Eddie and storms out. That is when Davis starts fainting at just about anything and constantly feels sick. While Davis, Fantasy and No-Hair (Jeremy) are trying to solve the newest problem at the casino, Davis is running a slots tournament pretending to be Bianca, she is trying to salvage her relationship with Bradley, help him as he is dealing with lawsuits and deal with problems from home.

The adventure and laughs never quit. I love Davis, she seems to step into one problem after another. She has a nose for clues and finding solutions, although not always legally. Her sidekick, Fantasy, keeps her in line and they play off one another quite nicely. No-Hair, puts up with their escapades as long as they get the job done. Another great addition to the Davis Way series. On to the next book. I definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a humorous cozy.

Continue reading “Double Dip (Davis Way Crime Caper #2) by Gretchen Archer”

A Treacherous Trader (A Collectible Mystery #4) by Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs

A Treacherous Trader (A Collectible Mystery, #4)4.5 Stars

Published January 22nd 2015 by Beyond the Page

A Treacherous Trader is the fourth book in the Antiques & Collectibles Mystery series. This is the first book in the series that was co-written by Parker Riggs and I very much enjoyed it. This story starts off in Germany in 1937. Leo and Frieda Kurzer along with their two daughters, Sophie and Anna live in Hamburg, Germany. Leo is a Jewish jeweler and is forced to sell his jewelry store to his longtime employee, Rolf (Hitler decreed that Jews could not own businesses in Germany). Rolf gives Leo an expensive tiara to help the family escape to Holland. You can be sure that this tiara will play an important part of the present day story.

Molly Appleby, a writer for an antique and collectible magazine, is engaged to Mark Harrison. The wedding is only six months away and Mark wants them to be married in Burlington Vermont where he is hoping to do his residency. Molly has asked Kitty to go to Burlington with her to help make arrangements for her wedding. When Molly goes down for breakfast the next morning, she joins a woman, Violet Emerson who is in a wheelchair, as there are no tables available. Violet and her daughter, Lindsey, are also there planning Lindsey’s wedding and begin to share various stores they have visited. Talk soon turns to a discussion of photographers and Lindsey is upset to have learned that her father, who abandoned his family when she was young, is none other than Alec Portman of Portman Photography right here in Burlington. As Molly visits various stores to plan her wedding, she learns that Portman is a womanizer and possible jewel thief. One of the women that she learns he had an affair with is Bristol Price who owns a bridal dress shop next to Portman’s studio. Upon visiting the bridal shop, Molly soon learns that Bristol is a very miserable person, and that she still has feelings for Portman. Leaving without a dress, she runs into a woman on the sidewalk with a vintage gown. She wants to see if Bristol will buy it from her. Molly looks at the gown and buys it on the spot. It is exactly what she is looking for. When Alec Portman is found dead, Lindsey is a suspect along with Bristol Price. It turns out that he is the one responsible for Violet ending up in a wheelchair. As Molly investigates to help Lindsy and Violet, the police actually use her skills and she becomes an integral part of the investigation. She also wants to find out more about the beautiful gown and is doing research on it, possibly for a magazine article. What she finds out is amazing and adds a lot to the story.

The character of Molly is well developed and I really liked her. I have read one other book in this series and had not trouble following the story. The research she does is very realistic and the whole adventure will make a wonderful article for the magazine. Based on the end of this story, I think it is going to move from North Carolina to Vermont for future books. A great story that I recommend to cozy mystery lovers as well as those who are interested in preserving history.

Continue reading “A Treacherous Trader (A Collectible Mystery #4) by Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs”

The Secret, Book and Scone Society (Miracle Springs, North Carolina #1) by Ellery Adams

The Secret, Book and Scone Society5 Stars

Published October 31st 2017 by Kensington

The Secret, Book and Scone Society is the first in a brand new cozy mystery series from Ellery Adams. We were introduced to the beautiful setting of Miracle Springs, a charming small town as well as a group of four women who become friends while trying to solve a murder. When a newcomer to town is pushed in front of a train, the women all want to see justice served, thus The Secret Book and Scone Society is born.

Nora Pennington was badly injured with extensive burns, She never tells anyone what happened and prefers to be left alone. She came to Miracle Springs for healing of her spirit more than anything. She opens a bookstore and uses what she learned from a nurse in the hospital to become a “book psychologist”. When she meets three other women in this small town who also have their own secrets, they begin to trust and depend on one another. Nora, Estella, June and Hester start out as unlikely friends but they soon become a strong group and a force to reckon with. The mystery involves real estate fraud, infidelity and murder to prevent discovery. It moved quickly yet there was a lot of detail to get to know the woman in this first book in the series. I loved the characters of the women and the EMS personnel that begins to develop feelings for Nora. Maybe she will heal after all. A different type of cozy, but enjoyable nonetheless. I will definitely read the next one in this series.

Continue reading “The Secret, Book and Scone Society (Miracle Springs, North Carolina #1) by Ellery Adams”

A Dog’s Way Home (A Dog’s Purpose) by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog's Way Home4.5 Stars

Published May 9th 2017 by Forge

The story is sweet and pulls at one’s heartstrings . There is a bit of The Incredible Journey and a bit of A Dog’s Purpose to it. I loved that both cats and dogs are highlighted even though the main character and narrator is a dog named Bella. Just like the author’s other books, the story is told from a dog’s perspective so the writing style is short sentences, not a huge vocabulary and a bit childlike which makes this a good book for any age and those who might have a lower reading level. That is not to say that I did not enjoy this book, because I did. It is a bit different from the others I have read because this was one dog and one life, but what a life.

Several subjects were brought up and high current. The discrimination of Pitbull type dog breeds, the problems of feral animals, how they are treated and the fact that many animals are just abandoned as well as Service Animals for both physical and emotional support. Bella’s story is wonderful. She is an abandoned dog who is taken in by her person, Ethan. It turns out that not only can she sense when a seizure is coming on, but has wonderful senses and is able to provide comfort to those in distress. The story is told from her point of view stating that she just wants to be with her person and have a purpose. Her journey when she is separated from Ethan is amazing. It has a lot of adventure, side trips, and new people along the way. There is humor in just the right places, action, mystery, some sadness but overwhelming happiness as well as hope. I did need a few tissues along the way, but it was not too bad. Being a dog lover, I loved this book. It was well plotted with characters that I both loved and disliked. For every animal lover there are those who don’t like animals and some of those are in this book. If you enjoy animal stories, pick this one up. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “A Dog’s Way Home (A Dog’s Purpose) by W. Bruce Cameron”

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