Wednesday, March 27, 2013

At Last by Jill Shalvis

At Last is the story of Matt, hunky park ranger, and Amy, the diner waitress, and reformed bad girl.  Amy was a "bad girl" because of life circumstances; an uncaring and absent mother, the loss of the grandmother who raised her until she was 12, and a step-father who tried to sexually assault her when she was 16.  Consequently, she was on her own from the time she was 16 and used what she could to survive.

Amy moved to Lucky Harbor and started her life over, she made a few good friends and avoided men like the plague.  She chose Lucky Harbor because she had discovered her grandma's old journal and wanted to retrace the path that her grandma and grandpa had hiked when they were very young.

The first hike goes terribly wrong and Amy gets lost.  She calls her friend, Maggie for help and Maggie sends Matt to rescue Amy.  Amy doesn't want help from any man, but they get stuck overnight together and Matt sets out to woo Amy.  However, Matt has his own issues and has trouble figuring out what he really wants too. 

I really like the Washington location and the storyline can be fun.  But when I finish the books I'm left thinking why can't there be a little more story.  I mean we have a very small harbor village, where all the men are 6'4", built, athletic, successful in their chosen careers, looking for a life partner, perfect houses, beyond excellent in bed, and massively handsome.  Really, where is this village? 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Carrie McClellan, a well established writer of historical fiction, go to Scotland to research and write her upcoming book on life in the 18th century.  Carrie names her character Sophia Patterson in honor of one of her little known ancestors and rents a cottage on the bluffs near Slains castle, where she retraces the life of Sophia, a distant relative of the Duchess of Slains, who has taken in Sophia after all of her family dies.

The Winter Sea tells two stories.  One is the story of Sophia Patterson and in the other the we learn of  the similarities between Carrie's life and the life of Sophia, because as Carrie researches she starts to remember things that could have happened to Sophia. 

It is obvious that Susanna Kearsley researches the locations, time periods, and people in her stories. The location in Scotland was richly described and I want to visit Slains castle and walk about the ruins.  I want to befriend Sophia and Kirstie and sit with them on the beach while the waves go in and out.  I want to sit in a pub with Stewart, Graham, and Carrie and talk about the rich history of the area.  I want to stay all night in the little cottage that Carrie rents from Jimmy Keith. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend

What a great cozy mystery!  The dialog reads like someone is actually speaking and the quirky characters are fun.

Tempest in the Tea Leaves takes place in Divinity, New York which is actually any small town USA.  Everyone knows everyone, everyone knows your business, and you can't get away with anything.  The books opens as 29 year old Sunshine Meadows packs up her on VW, moves out of her parent's penthouse in New York and, against their wishes, moves to upstate New York to open a fortune telling business in a haunted home she bought with her trust fund.  Needless to say, Sunny's lawyer mother and heart surgeon father do not approve of her lifestyle choices anymore than they approve of her changing her name from Sylvia to Sunshine.

Sunny's first customer is the town librarian.  While reading the tea leaves, Sunny tells the librarian that a man is going to murder her, and sends her on her way with some tea leaves to relax her.  She then calls the police to report the predicted murder, unfortunately she waits about 30 minutes to long and when the police detective arrives, the librarian is already dead, poisoned by the tea Sunny sent home.

Of course, Sunny is the number one suspect and, of course, the detective is good looking, and thinks Sunny is a flake and a murdered.  When the mayor tells the detective he must utilize Sunny's physic abilities to solve the crime, mayhem ensues.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Killer Read by Erika Chase

A Killer Read by Erika Chase is not my favorite book this year, in fact, the only thing I really liked about it is the mystery was not easy to solve.  The characters were likable, but it honestly just felt like an advertisement for all the other cozy mystery writers.  Interspersed in the plot were quotes by other cozy writers, titles of other cozy mysteries recommended by the characters, book lists for all the characters of current cozy mysteries, with a few Agatha Christie, Dan Brown, etc., books.  It was a real turn off for me.

A Killer Read is set in Ashton Corners, Alabama.  The Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straw Society is meeting at Molly Mathews old Southern manor when a stranger is discovered lurking in the foyer.  He says he came in to use the phone, because his car has broken down.  After he uses the phone, he leaves, then is found shot to death by the members as they are leaving.   About the same time as the murder, a manuscript starts showing up in the middle of the night at Lizzie Turner's house.

As the members of the ACMR&CSS try to solve the murder, they uncover long buried secrets from the past, which have to be solved along with figuring out why the stranger was at Molly's and where he fits in with the town.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Deal to Die For by Josie Belll

It's always fun to find a new series where the characters are not 25 years old.  You know, characters who are more like the people who are reading about them.  That's what Josie Bell, aka Jenn McKinlay and Lucy Lawrence, gives us in this series about a group of four women, who spend most of their free time looking for bargains.  

In A Deal to Die For, the second in the Good Buy Girls (get it) cozy mystery series, Maggie Gerber is just getting ready to open her new secondhand store right across from her arch nemesis, sleazy, man eater Summer Phillips. In order to stock up on merchandise, Maggie and the rest of the Good Buy Girls will be attending the local street fair where wealthy resident Vera Madison will be selling expensive vintage clothing.  When Vera ends up dead and a woman shows up and claims she is the rightful heir of Vera's home and property, Maggie and her friends set out to solve the mystery and ensure that Vera's daughter, Bianca, gets what should be rightfully hers.  

I like this series, but I would like to see a lot less of the interactions between Maggie and Summer.  We get it, they hate each other, let's move on to a healthy competition for customers and goods.  More mystery, more interactions with the group, and less mean girl fighting.  Make Summer a minor character and the series will be a lot more fun in the future.  Better yet, move her out of town. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva

Gabriel Allon is a famous art restorer working at the Vatican when a woman's body is discovered.  Was she pushed or did she kill herself?  Gabriel Allon is a retired spy and assassin from Israel. Gabriel is asked to investigate her death and sets out to do so in this thriller which I got from Audible for a bargain price.

I liked the story, but I think I would have liked it more if it had been a book that I could have skimmed back through to check a fact or character.  For a person who like thrillers with lot of people getting killed, this series is definitely something you would like.  For me, I like a little less gore as I'm driving to the store. 

All Sales Fatal by Laura DiSilverio

All Sales Fatal is the second installment in the Mall Cop Mystery series by Laura DiSilverio and it is on sale for Nook and Kindle for just $1.99.  The mall cop in the title is E. J. (Emma Joy) Ferris, decorated war hero recovering from a catastrophic knee injury she got in Afghanistan, daughter of a famous movie star father, and granddaughter of a (kind of retired) CIA agent, who is making time at the local mall while she waits for a police job to open up for her. 

E.J. finds a murdered teenage boy with gang affiliations outside the mall, unfortunately the security cameras in that area have been sabotaged.  Shortly thereafter her boss disappears and E.J. sets out to find out what happened.  Was it one of his three ex-wives?  Is something nefarious taking place in that corner of the mall and did the boss discover it or was her perhaps in on it? Will Detective Hellend ever treat her with the respect she deserves and is there a spark?  Will she find out who the cookie man really is and is there a spark?  Some of these question will be answered in this installment, but for some we'll just have to read Malled to Death