Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fireworks in Paradise

2291030
's review 
Oct 15, 2017  ·  edit

it was amazing

Kathy Daley writes several cozy mystery series, but the TJ Jensen series is my favorite. In Fireworks in Paradise, just as TJ's family gets settled in for a vacation, TJ gets a call that her father and one of his friends were badly hurt in an accident, only it wasn't an accident at all.

As always, the mystery isn't obvious nor is the guilty party. The friends and family have changed over the course of the years, but they have all changed together so the books don't necessarily have go be read in order.

Reading is a great way to spend a Fall day, and I don't think you will go wrong with Fireworks in Paradise.

I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley, the opinions in my reviews are my own.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

We'll Always Have Christmas by Jenny Hale

Noelle Parker's family's bakery is slowly going out of business since her beloved grandmother died a year ago. When Nicole loses her job and has to move herself and her six year old son home, she accepts a job as the live in helper to William Harrington. Mr. Harrington shares his home with his grandson, Alexander; however, much to the sadness of the elder Mr. Harrington, they are estranged.

As Noelle and her son, Lucus, become close to Alex, Alex is making plans to move to New York.

I liked this book. It is your quintessential Christmas romance. Noelle and her family have dozens of Christmas traditions, Alex and William have none. Can Noelle, in the time she has before Alex moves away, help them to rediscover the joys of the season. Can she bring an end to the feud between Alex and his grandfather? Can she save the family business?

I would definitely recommend this book to all the readers you like seasonal stories, because this one has it all. The characters are well drawn and likable, as are the plots (because there are definitely some subplots). The book will fit right in with the holiday season. So grab a cup of cocoa, your fuzzy slippers, and sit back in front of a nice roaring fire (or space heater, whatever is available) and enjoy.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Secret Garden by Katie Fford

A Secret Garden by Katie Fforde is the story of three couples of various ages as they work their way towards a hopefully happy ending. It is exactly what readers of Katie Fforde expect.

In all of the books I have read by author, Katie Fford, I have found the characters are the story; however, in A Secret Garden the estates gardens are part of the plot until Lorna and Anetha stumbles across a secret garden and decide to restore it to it's original beauty in time for Anetha's birthday party. I will admit that these were not my favorite Katie Fford characters, but they are definitely people deserving of a happy ending.

I love the locations this author chooses and the way everyone solves their own problems to get together. This is definitely a book to tuck in your wicker basket for a trip to the beach.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille

It is my opinion that Nelson DeMille couldn't write a bad book if he tried. Starting with The Charm School which I swear I read in the mid 70s, through the John Cory series that is still ongoing (I hope), I don't think I've missed a book.

While the main characters are similar each one has his own foibles and strengths.  The author gives the reader the James Bond like hero, but unlike Bond, these men are flawed and more real life like.

The Cuban Affair lives up to all my preconceived notions of what a Nelson DeMille suspense novel should include. The suspense is intense at times, the plot is intriguing and believable, and the characters are very well drawn and likeable.  The only way to improve on this book would have been if it had been an audio book, because his books are what audio books are made for.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.  All views are my own.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Last Weekend by Laura DiSilverio

That Last Weekend by Laura DiSilverio has more twists and turns than a roller coaster. Okay, I know that roller coasters don't really have twists and turns as much as they have ups and downs, but I can't think of anything twisty. Anyway, the author is going to keep you guessing until the last chapter (no peaking).

The premise of The Last Weekend is five college friends who meet yearly until one weekend one of the women (Evangeline) is pushed off a fifth floor balcony and the police can't figure out who among the four is guilty. That was the last weekend all of them were together.

Ten years later, an invitation arrives for each of the women and all four decide to attend. Laurel, now a judge, wants to attend to try to solve the crime, Dawn is an artist who has just not found her audience and feels like a failure. Geneva, a therapist who took some time out after college to get her act together and get on the right track, is happily married and eight months pregnant. Ellie just sent her twins off to college and is feeling a bit like a failure and ready to try something new. All of them have a reason to have pushed Evangeline, but all of them declare their innocence.

I have enjoyed all of the series that this author has published. My favorite is The Mall Cop series and I wish there had been more. This is the first standalone book I have read by Laura DiSilverio I have read. It is excellent, with more layers than I thought possible. Just when you think you have it all figured out, she throws in another twist, an angle I hadn't considered.

I look forward to the next book by Laura DiSilverio. I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley, this review is my opinion.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Finding Southern Comfort by Barbara Lohr

In Finding Southern Comfort the story revolves around Harper Kirkpatrick, a young woman who gets deserted by the her boyfriend of four years when he moves to California. Unable to make the rent and at loose ends, she takes a job as a party planner for kids parties. When the slimy Rizzo sends her out to dance at a bachelor party, she tries to suck it up and dance, but is so out of her element. The home (mansion) owner sends her packing, but unfortunately her car won't start and he finds her in the driveway the next morning. He is not amused.

When Harper finds an advertisement for a nanny, she applies and is granted an interview, turns out the dad is Cameron Bennett, a single fathers, who was also the bachelor party host. His four year old daughter has emotional problems and a severe eating disorder. Harper gets the job.

I liked the characters, except Kimmie and I don't think I'm supposed to like her. I loved that the premise of the story is unusual and watching Bella bloom from a shy little girl in frilly dresses who will only eat baby cereal, into a rambunctious four year old. I liked Connie and Jack who run the house for Cameron. I also like Harper and Cameron.

What I didn't like so much is the quick wrap up at the end of the book. It just seems like there could be a bit more.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Deadly Brew by Karen MacInerney

Deadly Brew is the most recent installment in the Dewberry Farms mystery series by Karen MacInerney and the inside is as perfect as the cover. While all of the books in the series can definitely be read by themselves, the whole series is great and the characters grow with each book.

In Deadly Brew all is not right in Buttercup, Texas. Lucy's well has run dry, her crops desperately need to be watered, and there is no rain in sight. Add to that the man who has just opened a big game hunting farm is murdered at the Fall Festival and Lucy and Tobias (Lucy's veterinary boyfriend) are first on the scene. Can you say suspects? When Serafine, the owner of the Honeyed Moon Mead Winery is arrested for the murder, Lucy knows she must try to uncover the truth, because the bumbling sheriff figures he has arrested someone and the investigation is over.

The Dewberry Farms series is the third (and most recent) series by Karen MacInerney and I like reading all three. The characters in each are as different as possible from each other, but they are all well written, likable, and inquisitive. They are people you would expect to run into at the grocery store or over the backyard fence, who just happen to have a knack for solving crimes.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Take A Chance by Natalie Ann

Natalie Ann writes feel good books about people who aren't really ready to take a chance on love and then they meet "the one".  In Take a Chance the two characters knew each other as children when Rene and her brother visited their really cool grandmother in Lake Placid.
 
Rene was a book reading, clumsy, shy young girl with a little crush on Cole.  When Rene attends her brother's wedding (Second Chance) she meets, and accepts a job with Dr. Max Hamilton (Give Me A Chance) and moves to Lake Placid.  On her first day at the clinic, she slides off the icy road and is rescued by Cole, Deputy Sheriff and twin brother of Celeste (Our Chance).  Cole did not have the easiest time growing up and is rather closed off.  His father was a stern sheriff who never left the house without telling Cole he was "the man of the house" and that he must take care of his mother and sister.  The tone his father set and their last conversation weighed heavily on Cole as an adult.  Somehow the author gets them dating and into a relationship.

I look forward to all of Natalie Ann's books. She writes about regular people, the kind you meet in your doctor's office, the grocery store, and at your local police department.  Even though all of the books are stand-alone, the characters from books one through three are there in the background so you can keep up with them. 

I enjoyed getting to know Rene and Cole through Natalie Ann's words.  Of all of this author's series (this is series number three) Rene and Cole have the most unique road to happiness.

I received an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.  This is my opinion and review. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Murder Wears Mittens

Murder Wears Mittens by Sally Goldenbaum is the latest addition to her Seaside Knitters Society mysteries and it is definitely a winner. It kept me guessing from beginning to end, even the wrap up was a mystery.

In this book Izzy's knitting shop and Izzy and her friends (Cass, Birdy, and Nell) are working with the community to knit hats, socks, and mittens (along with a few scarves) for those in need. When Cass runs across a young boy and his dog in the laundromat one very rainy evening, she can't stop looking until she is able to return the school uniform he dropped. When the group finally locate the family, they find Cass' aunt Sister Fiona is a champion of the family and that the mother is not home. A murder, a nosy reporter, a shocking will, and many great meals to discuss the events, knit, and solve the crimes.

As with all of her books the author weaves the story without letting on who the guilty party will turn out to be. The characters are well drawn, as you would expect after eleven books (this is number twelve) but not tiring. There are the four main women, their spouses/boyfriend, family members, community leaders, etc., etc., etc., but there is also a cast of characters in the front of the book. Murder Wears Mittens is as enjoyable as Death by Cashmere, the first in the series.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Vintage Wedding

A Vintage Wedding by Katie Fforde is a lovely book by an author who makes you cheer on the characters. She makes you want them to get their happily ever after, even if she leaves you to draw your own conclusions.

In A Vintage Wedding, we meet three women who join forces to plan and carryout weddings in their small town. Beth has just moved to town and attends an raffle at the town hall. When her number is drawn, she finds that the same number was given to another attendee, Rachel. Rachel is also new to town and Beth and Rachel bond along with Lindy, a single mother who has always lived in town. Beth is in the process of planning her sister's wedding and Rachel and Lindy join her. In the process of getting the wedding together, they decide to set up shop as full service wedding planners.

In between the planning, all three women meet and date a variety of men, which is nice and adds to the story. But for me the story is three women of divergent backgrounds and talents bonding over a new business.


I was given a copy of A Vintage Wedding by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Dangerous Woman from Nowhere

A Dangerous Woman from Nowhere by Kris Radish is one of those hard to put down books. So hard to put down that I am writing this review after only getting four hours of sleep. A definite five stars, recommend to everyone book.
Kris Radish is a storyteller and I love all her books, so I guess it is not surprising that I liked A Dangerous Woman from Nowhere. What is surprising is the theme. Unless I've missed one or two of Kris' books, this is a departure from her usual books. In a way the book reminded me of several of Sandra Dallas' books, another can't miss author.

Brair is a damaged woman. On her own, at a very young age, after escaping a very abusive environment, she's found half starved, in a cave, by Joseph and Nora. They take Brair in and teach her how to survive and what it is to be loved. Joseph sends Brair to take care of Logan's ranch in his absence and when he returns they fall in love and run the ranch together.

One day while Brair is in town, the owners of a gold mine kidnap Logan and Brair vows to get Logan back. The book follows the Brair's journey to the mountains and into the mines and the people she meets who help her and those who are against her.

I cannot recommend this book more.



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Finding our Forever by Brenda Novak

A good start to a new series by Brenda Novak.

The search for her birth mother leads Cora to Silver Springs and the New Horizons Boys School where on the first day she meets Elijah, her birth mother's adopted son.  Although there are definite sparks, Eli tells Cora that there can be nothing between them except a physical relationship.  Before long, Eli is having trouble keeping his distance and Cora is conflicted about whether or not to tell her secret.

This is not one of my favorite books by Brenda Novak, but that could be because so many of my favorite books come from her Whiskey Creek series and I'm not ready to leave them behind.

Sunny Side Up by Sonia Parin

A great start to a cozy mystery series. There is Eve, who on a surprise visit to her aunt arrives to find the house surround by police tape and her ex-husband dead on the kitchen floor. Then there is the neighbor who reluctantly helps Eve find up guilty party. And lastly Jack the good looking, single detective.

Sunny Side Up is a great way to spend a couple of evenings. I look forward to reading the second book in the series, because the author has a way with her characters that makes me want to see how they progress.

No One But You

Dawson returns to the family farm after a year in jail awaiting trial for the gruesome murders of his parents.  Now that he has been acquitted, his only goal is to get the farm in shape so he can get his sister out of the state's care and home.  Because the house was trashed by vandals, Dawson advertises for a caretaker/housekeeper.

Sadie Harris accepts the job because she is desperate to make enough money to support her son and get away from her abusive, soon-to-be ex-husband, who also happens to be a power hungry cop.  The town still thinks Dawson is guilty, but after just one day, Sadie trusts him and thinks he was falsely accused.

I didn't think I could like a series as much as I like the Whiskey Creek, but I was wrong.  From the first page I was routing for Dawson and Sadie, as roadblock after roadblock is put in their way.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Suddenly Engaged by Julia London

Suddenly Engaged is an engaging story and I liked every bit of it except the title.  I'm just not sure where the suddenly comes in to play.  So pay no attention to the title, put on your beach hat, and enjoy the story of Kyra, Dax, and six years old Ruby Coconuts.

Kyra is the hard working single mother of precocious Ruby.  Dax is the grumpy neighbor whose wife left him for his partner, and Ruby is the red headed, pigtailed, bundle of cuteness.

The story is well crafted and the characters are nice to get to know. The plot has a few unexpected turns that keep the reader interested and, if you are like me, wanting to read more from the author.

Thoroughly enjoyable book.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A French Affair

This is my fourth book by Katie Fford and it may just be my favorite.  I say may be because I think she writes the perfect summer/beach read and this really is a feel good summer read.

Gina and her sister inherit their aunt's antique stall in The French House and a small amount of money, with the stipulation that if they make a profit there will be a bit more.  Gina jumps wholeheartedly into learning the business with the help of Matthew, the owner of The French House.  As she learns the antique business, she also uses her PR background and suggests ways to improve the business for all the vendors.

The plot of this book is well crafted, with several twists and turns to keep the reader interested from the first chapter to the last.

I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Late Bloomer by Barbara Lohr

First year teacher meets student ten years later and sparks fly.  I liked the book, but I think Carolyn, the teacher, was more of a late bloomer than Brody, the student.  It was also a little off putting how Carolyn would "school" Brody on things, like she was still the teacher and he was her student.  Or like the people on Facebook who feel the need to correct the grammar of other people, including strangers.

Still this was a good love story, if a little slow at times, and Carolyn and Brody seem good together.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Our Chance

Our Chance by Natalie Ann is a book that I think will tug at your heart strings.  It is the story of the Lake Placid B and B owner, Celeste, and her mysterious neighbor, Caleb.
Celeste is a two-time cancer survivor with a positive attitude, a twin brother named Cole who saved Celeste's life when she was a teen, and the best cookies in Lake Placid.  Caleb is a rich, retired, software inventor, who keeps to himself until his dog, Sparky decides to play matchmaker.
I love this author's stories.  This is her third series and I have read all of the books within those series.  And while all of the books within each series has recurring characters, they are all standalone books.  I do think this may be the first one to make me get all teary eyed.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hospitality and Homicide

Hospitality and Homicide by Lynn Cahoon is the latest installment in the Tourist Trap series and is a well-crafted cozy mystery. The author has good characters with great personality quirks, some you love and some you love to hate.

In Hospitality and Homicide there are two mysteries. A murder and a young boy who has gone missing without a clue after being shot out to sea on a sneaker wave.  Town psychic/police dispatcher insists the young boy is still alive giving the family hope that is not shared by the police chief/boyfriend of the main character/sleuth, Jill.

I enjoyed this book. I plan to go back and read some of the others in the series, but the great thing is that even though I haven't read them all, they definitely are standalone books.

I was given this book by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Little Helper by Karen MacInerney

Mother's Little Helper is the latest, and I think greatest, addition to this series.  Margie has come to terms with the fact that her soon to be ex-husband is in love with a female impersonator and is ready to move on. Unfortunately it appears that internet dating and friend recommendations might just not be the change she's looking for.  Sure adds entertainment for the reader though.

On the mystery side, Margie gets embroiled in several. The first being the sock clad streaker at the senior center which leads to Margie's daughter's pet pig going missing, and the second being the sudden death of a personal trainer in the bedroom of a fellow PTA member.

Karen MacInerney writes funny cozy mysteries.  Her characters are hilarious and react as you or I might if put into the situations that come their way.  I always root for Margie and her two kids and hope the kids will soon escape from the organic food preparing grandma.  I look forward to each new book as I am hoping Margie will find love or perhaps just have a successful date.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Design Your Own Crochet Projects by Sara Delaney

As a long time crocheter and knitter, I have never been adventurous enough to branch out into the art of designing my own patterns.  This book is actually a confidence builder for a person like me.  The instructions are clear and the templates the author supplies are very useful (and welcome), also she gives permission to copy them for personal use.

There are also some great patterns to make with techniques that can carry through for a new designer.  Instructions are clear for everyone.

NetGalley supplied a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

No Charm Intended

No Charm Intended by Mollie Cox Bryant is the second book in the Cora Crafts Mystery series. In this book Cora and Jane work more as partners in solving the mysterious disappearance of Jane's daughter's babysitter.  I really liked the more equal partnership and hope it continues in future editions.  We got more of an insight into Cora's romantic relationship(s) and no insight into where Jane's personal life is taking her.  I admit to wanting more Jane and less Cora at this point in the series.

This is a new series and the author is introducing the new characters.  Along with the returning characters, each book brings a group of students/retreat participants, who may or may not be the culprit. This is good because it makes the mystery harder to solve.  So far, I like the characters and the relationships, but I can see getting bored with Cora having two men who seem to "like" her.  I remember another series I read for a while and gave up on just for that reason, 30 somethings in platonic relationships with two men seemed unrealistic.

I would like to know more about Jane and have her find someone steady and continue to help with solving the mysteries.

All in all, this is a good series, with likeable characters, an interesting location, great scenery, fun crafts with instructions in the back, and not so easy to figure out crimes and criminals.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova was hard to put down. It was one of those books that kept me up until 4:00 a.m., two nights in a row, because I just had to know what was happening next.  Like her book, The Historian, the author wraps the reader into the pages and leaves us wanting more.

In The Shadow Land the author melds the past and the present into one story and tells the tale of a dark time in Bulgaria's past. A past (in the not so distant time) when a person could be taken from their family, with no warning or trial, and sent to labor camps until someone decided to let you out. Chilling and masterfully related to the reader by relating the experience of concert violinist Stoyan Lazarov.

Alexandra is a young woman who has come to Sofia to teach when she accidentally picks up the box holding the ashes of Stoyan Lazarov.  In her quest to return the remains to Mr. Lazarov's family, Alexandra is aptly aided by Bobby, the Bulgarian taxt driver with many secrets of his own. When they are followed to where the family is supposed to be, they discover that not only is the family in peril, but so are Alexandra and Bobby and they people they meet along the trip.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I honestly loved this book and highly recommend it to other readers.  I also recommend The Historian, which is on my top ten list.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Kneaded to Death by Winnie Archer

Perfect mystery, perfect characters, perfect ending with just enough hints of the future to keep the reader (me) coming back for the next book.
I was fairly confident I was going to like Kneaded to Death because I have loved everything I've read by this author.  She makes up the best characters and weaves them into relationships with characters that you wouldn't expect. Plus the upside is these characters can develop further in the upcoming books.
Set in Santa Sofia, California, six months after the hit and run death of her mother, Ivy Culpepper has moved home to help her father deal with his loss and because she needs family too. She visits a local bread bakery and is invited to join the group for classes. The first night of class, there is a disturbance in the parking lot and when the student bakers go out to investigate, they find one of the other students dead in her car.  As Ivy starts to investigate, she finds there are many mysteries in her corner of Santa Sofia.
Very enjoyable cozy mystery.  I can't wait to find out what happens in the next installment.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Give me a Chance

Give Me a Chance by Natalie Ann is the second book in a new series (you don't have to read all the books in the series, there are; however, visits with the characters in book one, Second Chance).  This installment is the story of Quinn, the foster kid from Chicago, and Max, the plastic surgeon from New York.
Max needs a nanny for his two young children after an unexpected divorce and move from New York to Lake Placid.  Quinn needs a full time job, a nicer place to live, and enough money to get ahead and help her three (now adult, but struggling) siblings who were split up when they were sent to foster care.
I liked this book because it is a feel good story and I was routing for the characters to shed what is in the past, leave it in the past, and make a connection. It's the perfect story to just sit back and enjoy an evening or two.  There is also the added enhancement of Quinn's mother turning up and trying to ruin Quinn's chance at happiness.
The kids add to the enjoyment of this book. They are just precocious enough and they need Quinn to help them heal after their mother's abandonment.