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Friday, November 18, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: A Whole Latte Murder by Caroline Fardig


A Whole Latte Murder (A Java Jive Mystery #3)
by Caroline Fardig (Goodreads Author)
ebook, 272 pages
Published November 8th 2016 by Alibi

Goodreads synopsis:
Coffeehouse manager and reluctant sleuth Juliet Langley returns in a gripping novel from the bestselling author of Death Before Decaf and Mug Shot. Just as things are perking up in Nashville, a serial killer sends tensions foaming over.

Juliet's personal and professional lives have recently received an extra jolt of energy. Her romance with the hunky detective Ryder Hamilton continues to simmer, and business at Java Jive has never been better. But her good mood quickly turns as stale as day-old espresso when she finds out that Ryder has been promoted to his precinct's homicide division. With him risking his life to catch the worst kind of criminals, Juliet's growing sense of unease ignites when a local college student goes missing.

Suddenly every Nashville resident is on high alert, especially Juliet's neighbor Chelsea. Juliet does her best to calm the girl's nerves, but her worst fears are confirmed when she finds Chelsea dead. Even though she tries her best to stay out of it, Juliet's involvement puts a strain on Ryder's first homicide case. The situation soon becomes even more personal for Juliet and her best friend Pete Bennett when one of their employees disappears during her shift. As a killer lurks in the shadows, Juliet, Pete, and Ryder seek out a double shot of justice.

***

4 Stars

When I started reading this book I was not a fan of the main character. She seemed a bit harsh. I had not read the previous two books so I did not have a good backstory for everyone. I wish they could have toned down her attitude in the beginning but as the book developed, she became more tolerable and I was enjoying the book.

Juliet lives in a building near a bunch of college students. When she tries to return a scarf to her young neighbor, she ends up finding this gal’s dead body. Her being there makes her boyfriend a bit nervous since he was just promoted to homicide. When Ryder pulls back on his communication, Juliet ends up speaking more and more to a different detective who is a bit more open minded.

This book started out a bit bumpy for me but it turned out to be a great read. Definitelyl check this one out.


I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Sleuthing for a Living by Jennifer L. Hart


Sleuthing for a Living
by Jennifer L. Hart (Goodreads Author)
ebook
Published June 21st 2016 by Smashwords Edition


From the #1 cozy mystery bestselling author of The Southern Pasta Shop Mysteries comes a new series that proves blood can be thicker than water...

Goodreads synopsis
As a young single parent, Mackenzie Elizabeth Taylor has struggled to provide for her teenage daughter. She finally catches a break when she inherits half of an apartment building in Boston from her uncle Al...along with his P.I. business. So what if she doesn’t know the first thing about investigation or if their hot-but-crabby downstairs tenant is a police detective who’s looking for any excuse to handcuff her? Her daughter, Mac the computer whiz, has her back. And these two girls don’t know the meaning of the word quit—not even when their first case takes an unexpected turn.
   The man Mackenzie's been hired to follow in a custody case seems to have upset more than just her client when she spies another person tailing him—a mysterious man Mackenzie would bet is up to no good. But when her mark suddenly winds up dead, and her first and only client is accused of his murder, Mackenzie vows to find the truth. Only one problem: she doesn’t know where to start…or when to draw the line. Who is the mysterious man she spotted tailing the victim? Is he the killer? Is she in over her head, or will she uncover the secrets someone killed to keep hidden? Mackenzie and Mackenzie are on the case, and the world of private investigation will never be the same.

***

4 Stars

I am perplexed by this story. In some ways I was annoyed by it. And in some ways I really enjoyed it.

The whole character set and dynamics reminded me of the Gilmore Girls which I think is odd. But there are no original stories, they say, so I guess I can overlook it. Then the naming of the main character and her daughter being the same really threw me in the beginning. I couldn’t figure out who was speaking for a bit until I realized this fact.

Once I got past all this, I started to enjoy the book and really did like it. Not too happy about the awkward ending  but I guess they need to keep it fresh in order to continue the series.

So… awkward beginning, confusing beginning but in the end, it all worked out well.

I paid for this book with my own money.




Note: I thought I would relate the unusual circumstance of this publisher when I asked if I would be allowed to read ARCs. I was told that they really wanted people who would give five stars every time. Now, I only give five stars when I find something that is outstanding. I just don’t give it away like it is candy. 5 star ratings have to mean something, at least to me. They told me that they would like me to read the book and if I found something wrong that would make me rate it lower to let them know and then they would change it and then that would allow me to give it a 5 star rating. Uh. I don’t think so. At the time of my reading if it is a 3 star quality in my eyes, I’m giving it a 3. I think it is a little underhanded to want me to rate it 5 stars just in case they change anything to make it better before publishing. And anyway, shouldn’t the publishing company be responsible for making the book as great as it can be when they are doing galleys and whatnot? Making the ARC reader responsible for making their book better is sort of like when the big auto makers send all their stuff to Mexico and try to make the product cheaper by using not as experienced workers.  Okay, rant over but it annoyed me. And so obviously, I chose not to be an ARC reader there.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Death by Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson


Death By Pumpkin Spice (Bookstore Cafe Mystery #3)
by Alex Erickson (Goodreads Author)
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Kensington


Goodreads synopsis:
Bookstore cafĂ© owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .
   As if a run-in with an old flame and a failed marriage proposal weren’t enough to horrify Krissy for one night, a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely . . .
   With the estate on lockdown and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them . . .
   I really enjoyed this Death by Coffee mystery burt I totally missed the cafe/bookstore aspect of the story. I feel this setting is key for the series as a whole, so, yes, missed it greatly.

***

4 Stars

Our story starts when Krissy Hancock is invited to a halloween party at the posh estate of one of the town’s elite citizens. Apparently, it is quite an honor to get an invite. Of course, our heroine isn’t quite in line with the high class in Pine Hill’s so she comes as her friend, Will’s plus one. The story stays in the mansion setting for most of the book and I had a total “And Then There Were None” feeling about the whole thing.

When one of the three Marilyn Monroe look-alikes winds up dead, I thought we were on our way to a series of multiple killings, but alas, my Agatha Christie spin did not occur. Shucks.

Officer Paul Dalton is also at the soiree, and reluctantly asks Krissy to assist him since he is the only officer at the scene and the rain outside has made it impossible for another detective to make it to the mansion. It is a bit of an awkward situation since she is there with Will and spending all her evening with Paul.

I just love this series and this was just the perfect accent to fall, a pumpkin spice murder! You all really need to pick this one up for your own library.


I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.

BOOK REVIEW: Dressed to Kill by Lynn Cahoon


by Lynn Cahoon (Goodreads Author)
Paperback
Published June 23rd 2015


Goodreads synopsis:
Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More in the tucked-away town of South Cove, California—is not particularly thrilled to be portraying a twenties flapper for the dinner theater murder mystery. Though it is for charity…

Of course everyone is expecting a “dead” body at the dress rehearsal…but this one isn’t acting! It turns out the main suspect is the late actor’s conniving girlfriend Sherry…who also happens to be the ex-wife of Jill’s main squeeze. Sherry is definitely a master manipulator…but is she a killer? Jill may discover the truth only when the curtain comes up on the final act…and by then, it may be far too late. 

***

4 Stars

I am not sure how I skipped this book in the series, but I did. I love the world the author has created here as I have said in other blog posts. But this book, for some reason, didn’t capture me the way the other books had. I didn’t feel excited reading it. It also took me awhile to get back into the book and become more familiar with the character set again. I think a tiny bit of introduction to the main players might be a good idea here. Again, just my opinion, others may have found this an easy transition but in my case I had been away from the characters for a few months and I needed a refresher on the base/core group.

I think my main reticence came from Jill’s need to “not interfere” with her boyfriend’s investigation like she had in the past. I know that her decisions to hold back in that way was probably how the rest of us in the “real world” might tackle the problem, but Jill? It just seemed unrealistic and unnatural. And in someways, I think the book suffered from this plot point.

Don’t get me wrong, I still gave the book 4-stars because…. favorite book world ever. But I thought it just needed a bit of an oomph somewhere. Not completely pleased, but I didn’t hate it either. I look forward to the next book in the series (I am reading out of order): Tea Cups and Carnage.


I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.