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2017 Release

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”

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Treble at the Jam Fest (Food Lovers’ Village Mystery #4) by Leslie Budewitz

Treble at the Jam Fest (A Food Lovers' Village Mystery, #4)4 Stars

Published June 8th 2017 by Midnight Ink

Somehow, I missed book #3 so will go back and read it next. There were things mentioned in this book that were obviously sorted out in the last one that left me wondering and feeling like there was a piece missing from the puzzle. Having said that, I still enjoyed this book a lot,

We arrive in Jewel Bay, Montana for the Jazz Festival. As an opener to the festival, some of the musicians put on a short preview concert in the event area behind Erin Murphy’s store, The Merc. When a couple of arguments occur between Gerry Martin, one of the premiere performers, and some others, Erin becomes curious. When he is found dead the next morning on the rocks by the river, Erin finds herself smack dab in the middle of another murder investigation, especially as her boyfriend and his friend are the ones who find the body and see someone push him off the cliff. She is trying to save the festival, run the Merc, deal with her relationship and investigate all at the same time. Can she catch a killer before the last note is played? Will she and Adam weather some changes in their relationship?

All of our favorite characters return and many new ones arrive on the scene. Jewel Bay is a small town and the Merc is right in the center of all the actions. Erin’s mom is cooking up a storm in the Merc’s kitchen and she also takes a big step. Tracy helps Erin with the store and has her area full of chocolate and demand is growing. Erin has hired Lou Mary to help at the store and Tracy seems to be getting her nose out of joint. Adam and Erin’s relationship is going strong and we meet his friend Tanner has come to town with some news. Also new in this story are the musicians and a new deputy sheriff. The cast is diverse yet I missed Kim, Erin’s friend and previous deputy. There is a good representative of a small town, especially one that is a tourist destination.

This mystery is well crafted with many clues. I enjoyed the twist and turns as the list of suspects grew and how Erin manages her business while investigating. The descriptions of the town and the area around it sprinkled throughout the story enable the reader to picture the area, perhaps longing to actually visit and see it yourself. This is a enjoyable mystery that moves right along as connections are made leading up to the surprising reveal. I definitely recommend this book and this series to any cozy mystery lover. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Treble at the Jam Fest (Food Lovers’ Village Mystery #4) by Leslie Budewitz”

Brew or Die (A Java Jive Mystery #4) by Caroline Fardig

Brew or Die (A Java Jive Mystery, #4)4 Stars

Published April 25th 2017 by Alibi

Inspired by her past sleuthing successes, Juliet Langley has officially joined the ranks of Nashville’s licensed private investigators. Although her best friend, cafe owner, and boss Pete, does not mind her sleuthing, he wants her to get back to her music career, not spend her time working as a PI. Having said that, it doesn’t stop him from jumping in with both feet to help Jules solve the cases she is working on. Juliet’s first official case is to collect evidence of a cheating husband – and that gets Juliet accused of stabbing him! There are two different cases happening in this book. When one of her staff, Shane, loses his fiancee to an overdose, he is adamant that she did not do drugs and that she was killed. He asks her to investigate and prove that it was murder before the police close the case. In her PI job, she is working for a partner in a small metal fabricating company. He wants to find out where the influx of money is coming from that his partner is infusing into the company. With two law enforcement officials in her life, her present boyfriend and her ex, she gets more information given to her than the normal PI. She is also still having feelings, even though she does not want to, for Ryder, her ex.

This is a fun series. The story has great characters, several of whom have secrets that will be uncovered as the story progresses. We don’t see much of Gertie in this story and I missed her sarcasm and wit but I know she is still around and I look forward to seeing her again in the next story. This story is a crazy, fun, light, mystery packed with humour, murder, misdirection and romance! I recommend this one to any cozy mystery lover.

Continue reading “Brew or Die (A Java Jive Mystery #4) by Caroline Fardig”

No Way Home (Zoe Chambers Mysteries #5) by Annette Dashofy

No Way Home (Zoe Chambers Mysteries, #5)5 Stars

Published March 14th 2017 by Henery Press

Zoe Chambers is a Paramedic and Deputy Coroner in rural Pennsylvania. She also boards horsesand runs trail rides. When one of her boarders’ horses returns riderless, Zoe sets out to find what she hopes is the injured man, Unfortunately, she finds County Commissioner Dale Springfield dead. She assumes that his horse spooked, dragged him before shaking him loose and heading home The autopsy shows different. It turns out that Dale is on the no side of the discussion of allowing a company to frac in their township. Could someone have killed him to prevent him from speaking out? Pete has his work cut out for him on this one to find out who has the most to gain from Dale’s death. While he is investigation this, young people are overdosing on heroin and meth. Is there something mixed with the drugs? Who is bringing in these deadly drugs? Who is Wolfie, the possible dealer?

Meanwhile Zoe has been asked to make a trip to New Mexico with her best friend Rose. It seems her son, Logan has disappeared and his girlfriend has been found dead. Is he the killer or is he in hiding from the killer? There is someone hunting Logan and that puts Zoe right in the path of the killer. Pete heads to New Mexico when Zoe stops answering her phone. Rose is frantic with worry and convinced that the boy she loves like a son is innocent, it’s up to Zoe – with the help of Logan’s sister Allison – to find out the truth of the matter.

The author switches smoothly between storylines in both states without skipping a beat. You are at first in rural Pennsylvania, with its rolling hills, brisk snowy weather, and close-knit community, then quickly transported to New Mexico, with its jagged mountains, bright sunrises, and desert terrain with people as mysterious as the mountains themselves The Navajo friends that Logan and Alison made when they lived there, enter the story with assistance. When we reach the end of the story it comes together beautifully. The conclusion is believable and well-written. Once again, Zoe shows her smarts, her caring nature and the skills she has to assist in emergency situations. Once again, I think this is the best in the series so far. I highly recommend not just this book, but the whole series. This is more than just a cozy, it is a thriller/mystery with cozy characteristics.

Continue reading “No Way Home (Zoe Chambers Mysteries #5) by Annette Dashofy”

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

Girl in Snow2 Stars (It was okay)

Published August 1st 2017 by Simon & Schuster

When I started this book, I was expecting a mystery or suspenseful story based on what I thought the book was about, I was very disappointed. This story is about three characters; Cameron, Jade and Russ and what they learn about themselves in the aftermath of the death of a ninth grader, Lucinda. The mystery element is there, with the investigation here and there throughout the book, but it was almost an afterthought. I plugged away at the story, but found it very slow moving and there was not much happening until almost 75% of the way through. As we learn more about the three characters, we see their dark sides and their secrets. There is a lot of foreshadowing throughout the book, but it is still hard to catch the clues and information as you go through. Much of what we learn about the characters had nothing to do with the murder.

Having said all that, Danya Kukafka’s writing is beautiful. It’s lyrical and very descriptive. It often felt like you were in a dream or hazy foggy place wondering what would come next. I did not become attached to any of the characters while reading this book. It was not until the last quarter or so of the book where the real killer is revealed that had me interested. It moved quickly and the suspense built up.

I did not enjoy this book, but it does not mean others would feel the same way. If you are a fan of introspective writing styles and like books that explore inner turmoil or struggles of the characters, then you will probably enjoy this book much more than I did. As I said above, the writing is wonderful, I did not enjoy the story.

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Man Overboard (Ali Reynolds #12) by J.A. Jance

Man Overboard (Ali Reynolds, #12)4.5 Stars

Published March 21st 2017 by Touchstone
Hardcover, 337 pages
Kindle Edition, 352 pages

My Thoughts: How could I have never read an Ali Reynolds book. J.A. Jance is an author I am definitely going to catch up. I really enjoyed this book.

Ali Reynolds and her husband own High Noon Cyber Security. Their employee, Stuart Raney, is contacted by the aunt of Roger McGeary, a former high school friend and fellow computer geek. Stuart and Roger were really the only friends they each had and when Roger and his mother moved away, Stuart basically became alone. His aunt asks him for help to find Roger’s murderer. Apparently, Roger fell or was pushed off a luxury cruise ship. The authorities call it a death by misadventure but his aunt insists he was murdered. B and Ali agree to help the aunt, but it is really helping Stuart. B is out of town so Ali, Stuart and Cami are pretty much on their own. A twisted serial killer is targeting the grown children of people who have committed suicide. Owen Hansen has hacked into a psychiatrist’s patient files and is now targeting these individuals. Using information he has gained, he is bullying and tormenting them until they decide to end things. With Stuart tracking online information, will they find the serial killer before he is successful with another victim?

The book is well written. The plot contains information about artificial intelligence which was interesting. The suspense builds throughout the story and the pace is steady. The topics in the book; suicide, artificial intelligence, cyber bullying and tracking people using their electronic footprint all added realistic and scary story lines. Because of the Cyber Security involved here, this was a wonderful way to showcase the talents of High Noon. I am looking forward to more stories about Ali Reynolds. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Man Overboard (Ali Reynolds #12) by J.A. Jance”

Tying the Scot (The Highlanders of Balforss #1)

4 Stars
Published November 27th 2017 by Entangled Publishing, LLC (Amara)
Paperback, ebook
Published February 6th 2018 by Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio
Audio CD or download
About the Book: At age eleven, Alex Sinclair pledges an oath to the Duke of Chatham promising to serve and protect his illegitimate daughter, Lucy FitzHarris. Nine years later, the duke unexpectedly takes Alex up on his vow, offering the future Laird of Balforss his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Now a man, hotheaded Alex has difficulty convincing Lucy—who would rather starve to death than marry a vulgar Scot—to go through with the arranged marriage. Once Lucy arrives in Scotland, she cannot resist the magic of Balforss or the allure of her handsome Highland warrior. But when Alex seemingly betrays Lucy right before their wedding, she is tricked into running away. Alex must rein in his temper to rescue his lady from unforeseen danger and Lucy must swallow her pride if she hopes to wed the Highlander she has come to love.

Continue reading “Tying the Scot (The Highlanders of Balforss #1)”

The Little French Bistro by Nina George

The Little French Bistro5 Stars

Published June 13th 2017 by Crown
Hardcover, 336 pages
Paperback, 368 pages
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Audio CD by Books on Tape

About the Book: From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop, an extraordinary novel about self-discovery and new beginnings.

Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage. After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as the end of the world.

Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.

With all the buoyant charm that made The Little Paris Bookshop a beloved bestseller, The Little French Bistro is a tale of second chances and a delightful embrace of the joys of life in France.

Continue reading “The Little French Bistro by Nina George”

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours5 Stars

My Review: This book is based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals. Knowing that, as I read, I had a very hard time not getting this book wet with my tears. Georgia Tann, director of a Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. , kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country who were not able to have their own. This story was heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. All you need to do is google Georgia Tann and you will find many articles about this human trafficker.

The story is told in two timeframes. The one in the past narrated by a young girl, Rill, whose brother and three sisters were taken from their parents and brought to this so-called orphanage. Families believed that this was temporary and they would get their children back, WRONG. The parents of this young family did not even understand what they were signing. By the time they realized what had happened, they were unable to get their children back. Children were not treated well in the home. They were punished severely for minor indiscretions and fed as little as possible. Sleeping arrangements were not the best, in fact the family of 5 slept in a basement room on smelly, musty cots for a long period of time. Blonde children were particularly valuable as they were more easily adopted, bringing the larger sums of money to it’s crooked founder. Her story is heartbreaking, and though hers is a made up character her story is representative of many that were factual. The modern day story follows a grown woman, Avery, from a prestigious family who wants to find the truth about her beloved grandmother, now suffering from dementia. An accidental meeting of an older woman in a nursing home, sets this search in motion and once started, Avery refuses to give up until she finds out about her own family background.

The past story is what this book is really all about. The characters are more developed and the story is more emotional. The plot is very well written and the two stories tie together nicely. I liked the character of Avery, willing to go against her mother, Honeybee’s, wishes for the first time in her life. I kept turning the pages quickly to see what would happen next. Even though this is a sad read, I enjoyed finding out about the story. I had no idea that this had gone on in the past, even though there is still human trafficking now. Well done Lisa Wingate. This book is historical fiction, but I believe anyone who enjoys good Literary Fiction will enjoy it.

Continue reading “Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate”

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