Friday, February 28, 2014

Unlovable by Cynthia St. Aubin

When I was in college I took a class on the essentials of writing.  The professor (and the writing lab) stressed that the opening sentence had to draw the reader in and make them want to continue reading.  I never really mastered that skill, but Cynthia St. Aubin certainly did.  From the opening paragraph, the reader knows that what they are going to read is going to entertain.

Unlovable is in a class by itself, in that it is not like anything I have read before.  It's kind of like an R rated Charmed (you remember Charmed, don't you?) in that the reader is being introduced to Cupid, mobsters, a sexy demigod, and a lecherous security guard, when they all show up in Dr. Matilda Schmidt, (Psy.D, Ph.D) office and reign havoc on her life and good sense. 

My hope is that Unlovable will be turned into a full length book and this will just be the first chapter.  Happy reading.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Foul Play at the Fair

Foul Play at the Fair is the first installment in the Celebration Bay Mystery series by Shelley Freydont.  I like the premise and the idea of the main characters, but they were not well defined and there was too much mystery about them even at the end of the book.  As an example, Chaz (who may end up being the boyfriend) is a complete mystery.  He used to work for a major newspaper as an investigative reporter, but now he's back in Celebration Bay running the family newspaper and fishing.

The mystery was solid and kept me guessing until the end.  Set in a small town in upstate New York, Celebration Bay is known for the festivals that keep the tourists coming back year in and year out.  Liv has just accepted the job of event planner for the festivals, and is still very much an outsider.  She wants to prove to the natives that she is up to the job.  

Just days before the Fall/Halloween festival is set to begin a dead body turns up in the cider press at one of the farms.  Liv sets out to solve the murder so the festival will not suffer and then the town will keep her in the position of event planner. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

The Kitchen House is disturbing, amazing, enlightening, and depressing all at the same time and I highly recommend it to anyone who reads or listens to books.  Think The Help characters before emancipation. 

Told through the eyes of Belle and Lavinia, it spans twenty years.  

In 1791 Lavinia arrives from Ireland, both of her parents died during the crossing and seven year old Lavinia becomes an indentured servant to the ship's Captain, a man who also owns a plantation and slaves.  The Captain seems oblivious to how the slaves are treated by the cruel overseer, as his only contact is with the kitchen slaves.  

Lavinia is given into the care of Belle and Mamma Mae, but Lavinia lives with Belle.  Belle, although born a slave, is also the daughter of the Captain.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Every Trick in the Book by Lucy Arlington

Every Trick in the Book is the second installment in the Novel Idea cozy mystery series.  In this outing, the Novel Idea Literary Agency is sponsoring a festival where fledgling writers can meet with the agents to pitch books and attend seminars to learn what it takes to be a successful author. 

On the first morning of the festival, Lila Wilkins (our mystery solver and main character) meets Melissa Blume, an editor from New York, who could be Lila's twin.  When Melissa is murdered, Lila sets out to find out what happened. 

The first installment in this series is not as entertaining as the first book, Buried in a Book, but it was entertaining and I am liking the minor characters.  Although the murderer is known to the reader early on in the book, the reason why will keep you guessing especially after a second woman is killed.   I look forward to the next installment. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Potion to Die For by Heather Blake

I'm just a little envious of Heather's Blake real life friends, because she must be a real kick to hang around.  I mean anyone who can make up characters like Carly Bell Hartwell, her over-the-top quirky family, hunky ex-fiance' cop, and her married to the town minister best friend, must be able to find the fun no matter what the circumstances. 

Carly is the owner of a magic potion shop in Hitching Post, Alabama.  When Carly find a local lawyer dead on the floor of her shop, clutching one of her potion bottles, she goes from being a popular town healer to suspect number one in the minds of the town folk.  As she works her way through all the clues and suspects, she finds that she may not be over the broken engagement and that Dylan may be back in town to take up where they left off. 

Heather Blake (aka Heather Webber) is one of my favorite cozy mystery writers.  I'm pretty sure I've read all her books; starting with Nina Quinn, landscaper extraordinaire (admittedly my favorite), Lucy Valentine, matchmaker and finder of lost objects (and people), and Darcy Merriweather, with her newly discovered talent of wishcrafting.  They are all well written and you just never know who the culprit is until Heather is wrapping up the story.   

The Magic Potion Mysteries are definitely going on my TBR list and if you like cozies, you're going to love Heather.