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Friday, June 30, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Joy Plan by Kaia Roman


The Joy Plan: How I Took 30 Days to Stop Worrying, Quit Complaining, and Find Ridiculous Happiness
by Kaia Roman (Goodreads Author)
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: July 11th 2017 by Sourcebooks


Goodreads synopsis:
As a mother, a wife, and a businesswoman, Kaia Roman always had a plan. But when her biggest plan, the business she co-founded, collapsed, Kaia found herself crushed by depression. And what felt even worse was that, with a husband and two kids relying on her to get out of bed, she didn’t have a plan to move forward.
    Determined to turn her life around and put her ingrained habits of stress and anxiety behind her, Kaia decided to put everything else on hold and dedicate thirty days to the singular pursuit of joy. The results were astonishing—and lasted much longer than the initial month-long project.
    In this uplifting and eye-opening memoir, Kaia uses her business savvy to create a concrete Joy Plan get back on her feet fast. Using scientific research on hormones, neurotransmitters, and mindfulness, along with the daily dedication to creating a more joyful existence, Kaia teaches readers how to move past temporary happiness and succeed in creating joy that lasts. 
    Complete with advice, exercises, and key takeaways, The Joy Plan is Kaia’s step-by-step guide to how she, and everyone else, can ditch the negative and plan for the joy in their lives.

***

4 stars

This book is about finding and living  your joy. Duh, huh? 

Well, Kaia Roman does a great job of showing (not just telling) how she found her way to living her own joy. I felt this was half memoir half self-help book. I learned a lot from following along with Kaia’s life journey. I felt her pain when she wanted her husband to live his joy and not stay in the job he dreaded. I felt her joy as she discovered her true path and how to find it on her own from stumbling block to stumbling block.

When her big dream unraveled in the beginning, I was devastated for her. This was her chance to prove she was somebody. But in her failure, she let her husband down, who was counting on this big dream to pay off since they had sunk so much money and time into it. I kept thinking… “how do you recover from that?”

Kaia Roman shows you how. Step-by-step. 

Give the Joy Plan a try. You won’t be disappointed.


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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Lowcountry Bordello by Susan M. Boyer


Lowcountry Bordello (Liz Talbot Mysteries #4)
by Susan M. Boyer (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, First, 272 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by Henery Press

Goodreads synopsis:
The Charleston streets are dressed for the holidays in sophisticated Southern style: topiaries adorned with red ribbons, garland entwined with white lights, and poinsettias potted in gold planters. The high class bordello in a stately historic home is certainly no exception. When Private Investigator Liz Talbot’s dear friend Olivia swears she saw a dead body in the parlor of this bordello, one Olivia accidentally co-owns, Liz promptly comes to her aid. 
  With her wedding back home on Stella Maris less than a week away, Liz must juggle one elderly madam, two ex and future in-laws, three ghosts in the bordello, four giddy bridesmaids, five lovely courtesans, six suspicious patrons…and a partridge in a pear tree as she tries to keep her bridesmaid out of jail and live to walk down the aisle.

***

4 stars

This is the fourth book in the Liz Talbot Mysteries series.

This mystery centers around an old house. I picture a vintage Victorian. Really classy but falling apart. It is really close to Liz’s wedding and one of her bridesmaids, Olivia, owns half of this building with another lady.  Olivia stumbles across a dead body. And of course, she calls Liz to come investigate instead of the police because of … reasons.

Liz uncovers the mysterious nature of this house and its multitude of residents. The lady who runs it calls it a boarding house but it is looking more and more to Liz like a bordello.

This was a great read. It catches you and hangs on. But the end seemed to be a bit easily wrapped up. The rest of the book was great, though. Just one niggle from me.

Definitely check this one out if you love a good mystery.



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

BOOK REVIEW: Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer


Lowcountry Boneyard (Liz Talbot Mysteries #3)
by Susan M. Boyer (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 286 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by Henery Press


Goodreads synopsis:
Where is Kent Heyward? The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes. 
   But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Kent and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk.
   Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Kent, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.

***

4 stars

This is the third book in the Liz Talbot Mysteries series.

You definitely get sucked into these mysteries once you start reading them. Susan is a great author that I appreciate more and more with every book. I tend to cross-stitch while listening to my kindle read to me text-to-speech.

This author writes through Henery Press and I have discovered so many great authors through this publishing company. If you love this type of book (cozy mystery) check out any book in the Henery Press line up. You won’t be disappointed.

When an heiress goes missing, the woman’s father hires Liz and her company to investigate. But all is not well in the Heyward household. Violent outbursts and such heard by neighbors give Liz pause and make her wonder if the gal just decided to part ways with her parents in the easiest way possible.

The closer Liz gets to the truth, the more danger she finds herself in. 

This is great stuff. Don’t miss it. Check it out today!

I bought this book with my own money.

BOOK REVIEW: Lowcountry Bombshell by Susan M. Boyer


Lowcountry Bombshell (Liz Talbot Mysteries #2)
by Susan M. Boyer (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 266 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Henery Press (first published August 29th 2013)

Goodreads synopsis:
Private Investigator Liz Talbot thinks she’s seen another ghost when she meets Calista McQueen. She’s the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe. Born precisely fifty years after the ill-fated star, Calista’s life has eerily mirrored the late starlet’s—and she fears the looming anniversary of Marilyn’s death will also be hers. 
   Before Liz can open a case file, Calista’s life coach is executed. Suspicious characters swarm around Calista like mosquitoes on a sultry lowcountry evening: her certifiable mother, a fake aunt, her control-freak psychoanalyst, a private yoga instructor, her peculiar housekeeper, and an obsessed ex-husband. Liz digs in to find a motive for murder, but she’s besieged with distractions. Her ex has marriage and babies on his mind. Her too-sexy partner engages in a campaign of repeat seduction. Mamma needs help with Daddy’s devotion to bad habits. And a gang of wild hogs is running loose on Stella Maris. 
   With the heat index approaching triple digits, Liz races to uncover a diabolical murder plot in time to save not only Calista’s life, but also her own.

***

4 stars

This is the second book in the Liz Talbot Mysteries series.

Liz meets Calista who is the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe. But not just in looks, her life mirrors it as well. The people in her life seem to be using this tiny blonde beauty for their own ends. Calista turns to a life coach to assist her in taking control of her life and the life coach ends up dead. Calista asks Liz to help her and so Liz gets immersed into the mystery of Calista’s life.

There are many avenues for Liz to investigate but she is stymied by all her own issues. Her ex has returned and wants a renewed relationship with her. She is confused because it just came out of the blue. Then her partner in her business is being more friendly than usual. What is a gal to do?

This story really keeps you engaged and trying to uncover the mystery of the killer as well as rooting for your favorite love interest for Liz.

Definitely a great story. I got interested in this book after reading the Country Club Murder series. They just seemed to go together.

I bought this book with my own money.

Monday, June 26, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Killer Party by Lynn Cahoon


by Lynn Cahoon (Goodreads Author)
Kindle Edition
Expected publication: July 18th 2017 by Lyrical Underground


Goodreads synopsis:
For a gang of old college buddies, the quaint resort town of South Cove, California, is the perfect spot for a no-holds-barred bachelor party. But for Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books and More—this stag party is going to be murder . . .
   After a few months of living with her boyfriend Greg, Jill is still getting used to sharing such close quarters, but she’s got no hesitation about joining him for a weekend at South Cove’s most luxurious resort. While Greg and his college pals celebrate their buddy’s upcoming wedding, Jill intends to pamper herself in style. But when the groom is found floating facedown in the pool, Jill must find the killer fast, or she might not have a boyfriend to come home to any more . . .

***

5 stars

This is the ninth book in the Tourist Trap Mystery series.

Jill Gardner owns the coffee slash bookshop named  Coffee, Books & More. I like to think of the “more” as all the mysterious hijinks that occur in this sleepy berg. This is one of my favorite series and I am always happy to see what is going on in South Cove. They have become almost like family.

Jill and her now roomie boyfriend, Greg King are taking a few days off at the historic Castle while Greg celebrates the upcoming nuptials of his high school friend, Levi Walters. But celebration turns to mourning when Levi is found dead in the pool. 

Since Greg is the best friend of the groom, a detective from Bakerstown is investigating. Greg doesn’t like that he can’t delve into the mystery so he encourages Jill to do a little sleuthing. The suspect list is long and Greg just can’t fathom any of his friends as suspects. Who could have ulterior motives where Levi is concerned? It turns out to be nearly everyone.

This mystery was interesting, well plotted and it keeps your attention all the way through the process of the investigation. There is a bit of drama around new barista, Toby is still in the doldrums over his recent breakup and Aunt Jackie is as snarky as ever. There is just nothing better as far as I am concerned. Cozy Heaven. Definitely check this series out. You won’t be disappointed.


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

Friday, June 16, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Whack Job by Kendel Lynn


by Kendel Lynn (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 228 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Henery Press (first published May 8th 2014)


Goodreads synopsis:
When Elliott Lisbon blends her directorship of the Ballantyne Foundation with her PI-in-Training status by planning parties and performing discreet inquiries for charitable patrons. But when the annual Wonderland Tea Party makes everyone go mad as a hatter, Elli gets pulled into a shooting, a swindle, and the hung for a Faberge egg.

From seedy pawn parlors to creepy antique shops, Sea Pine Island’s other half prove to be as wacky as the wealthy. As Elli falls farther down the rabbit hole, she finds a scheming salesman, a possessive paramour, a dead donor–in fact, the only thing missing is a bottle labeled “Drink Me.” As events evolve from curious to crazy, Elli gets lost in the maze and finds herself trapped in a house of cards with a killer.

***

4 stars

This is the second book in the Elliott Lisbon Mystery series.

Elliott is working toward her PI license and she had the old police chief helping her attain this dream. But Ransom isn’t quite as open about it. But Elliott doesn’t give up. She moves forward in any way she can. 

When a valuable jeweled egg goes missing, Elliott is asked to look into it. This will help her with her hours toward her license but she finds road blocks at every turn. While she is doing that she is planning a Wonderland Tea Party on the Ballantyne Estate. Then one of the unique tea services gets broken and Elliott is on the hunt to find a replacement.

Definitely an entertaining series. This story starts off with a bang. It will keep you guessing and wondering whether Elliott will figure it all out.


I bought this book with my own money.

BOOK REVIEW: Board Stiff by Kendel Lynn


by Kendel Lynn (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, First, 302 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Henery Press


Goodreads synopsis:
As director of the Ballantyne Foundation on Sea Pine Island, SC, Elliott Lisbon scratches her detective itch by performing discreet inquiries for Foundation donors. Usually nothing more serious than retrieving a pilfered Pomeranian. Until Jane Hatting, Ballantyne board chair, is accused of murder. The Ballantyne’s reputation tanks, Jane’s headed to a jail cell, and Elliott’s sexy ex is the new lieutenant in town.

Armed with moxie and her Mini Coop, Elliott uncovers a trail of blackmail schemes, gambling debts, illicit affairs, and investment scams. But the deeper she digs to clear Jane’s name, the guiltier Jane looks. The closer she gets to the truth, the more treacherous her investigation becomes: a brutal attack on her own suspect and the murder of a witness. With victims piling up faster than shells at a clambake, Elliott realizes she’s next on the killer’s list.

***

4 stars

This is the first book in the Elliott Lisbon Mystery series.

Elliott Lisbon is the director of the Ballantyne Foundation on Sea Pine Island, SC. When the chair of one of the Foundation’s boards is accused of murder, Elliott has to save the reputation of the Foundation.

Then her old flame shows up as the new police in town. Lieutenant Ransom has his eyes on Elliott but Elliott does not want to go there. Well, maybe she does, but she is not allowing herself.

There are a lot of twists and turns in her journey but the conclusion is definitely worth the wait.


I paid for this with my own money

BOOK REVIEW: A Geek Girl's Guide to Justice by Julie Ann Lindsey


A Geek Girl's Guide to Justice (Geek Girl Mysteries #3)
by Julie Anne Lindsey (Goodreads Author)
Kindle Edition, 237 pages
Published October 3rd 2016 by Carina Press


Goodreads synopsis:
Mia Connors finally has this #adulting thing under control. She's set to launch a massive project at work, her social calendar is filling up and, if you can believe it, she might finally get the guy. But when one of her grandparents' close friends is discovered floating in the lake—D-E-A-D—all she's after is justice. And there's only one person who can make that happen.

Deputy US Marshal Jake Archer is working undercover when he gets the call about a murder in Horseshoe Falls. The vic may have been close with Mia's family, but it doesn't take long for Jake to discover that he had far more enemies than friends.

Horseshoe Falls is abuzz with news of the murder, and Mia's determined to get to the bottom of things, despite Jake's direct order to stand back. Jake didn't open his heart to the possibility of a future with someone just to let her get herself killed. Now they have to contain the panic within Horseshoe Falls, apprehend the fugitive and figure out how to salvage their relationship—before Mia finds herself in the crosshairs.

Book Three of The Geek Girl Mysteries 

***

5 stars

This is the third book in the Geek Girl Mysteries series.

Mia has a big project at work concerning giving all the residents of the Horseshoe Falls community wifi. The only problem is … squirrels! Apparently these are special squirrels because a man is studying their behavior. The squirrels keep messing up the wifi AND to top it off, Mia finds yet another dead body in the pond this time.

Mia does a lot of juggling. Being the head of her grandmother’s company gives her a lot of responsibility, not to mention her much love IT job and yet another project she wants to undertake that has to do with the virtual world she and her friend created demanding more of her time than ever. The girl is just worn out. I am not sure why someone with so many demands on their time keeps poking around in a murder investigation but this geek girl just cant help herself.

Another winner from Julie Anne Lindsey! You just have to try this series out. I am sure you will love it.


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

BOOK REVIEW: Thread and Gone by Lea Wait



Thread and Gone (Mainely Needlepoint #3)
by Lea Wait (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 290 pages
Published December 29th 2015 by Kensington


Goodreads synopsis:
When a priceless antique is stolen, murder unravels the peaceful seaside town of Haven Harbor, Maine. . .

Angie Curtis and her fellow Mainely Needlepointers know how to enjoy their holidays. But nothing grabs their attention like tying up loose threads. So when Mary Clough drops in on the group's Fourth of July supper with a question about an antique needlepoint she's discovered in her family attic, Angie and her ravelers are happy to look into the matter. 

Angie's best guess is that the mystery piece may have been stitched by Mary, Queen of Scots, famous not just for losing her head, but also for her needlepointing. If Angie's right, the piece would be extremely valuable. For safekeeping, Angie turns the piece over to her family lawyer, who places it in a safe in her office. But when the lawyer is found dead with the safe open and ransacked, the real mystery begins. 

***

4 stars

This is the third book in the Mainely Needlepoint series.

When someone asks Angie Curtis and the Mainely Needlepoint team about the authenticity of an old piece of needlework she found in her attic, Angie entrusts her family lawyer with it. She puts it in her safe one night. But by day break, she is dead and the needlepoint is missing.

I love to cross stitch, so a mystery centering around needlepoint is right up my alley.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this whodunit. And I have to admit that I had no idea until the killer was revealed. I love it when a mystery can stump me.

This is a highly recommended series from me. I love it. I speed read through it just trying to navigate all the twists and turns. Definitely check this book out if you love any sort of crafting.


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

BOOK REVIEW: Dollar Daze by Karin Gillespie


by Karin Gillespie (Goodreads Author)
Kindle Edition, 216 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Henery Press (first published 2006)


Goodreads synopsis:
Cupid is running rampant in Cayboo Creek, South Carolina, and all the Bottom Dollar Girls have been struck dizzy with his arrows…

When high school heartthrob Brewster Clark returns to town, both Birdie and Mavis are angling for his affections, threatening their long-term friendship.

Ever-so-proper Gracie Tobias meets Rusty the dreamy doctor of her dreams but soon discovers he’s actually a blue-collar duct doctor. Will their wildly different social positions drive a wedge between them? Meanwhile Elizabeth is trying to put the sizzle back to her marriage. Not even octogenarian Attalee is immune to love’s siren call. She gets engaged to beau Dooley and plans a wild bachelorette party and steamy honeymoon.

Traveling love’s rocky road keeps the Bottom Dollar Girls asking, “Is it ever too late for moons and Junes?” Through much laughter and a few tears the girls discover that the answer is a resounding no

***

4 stars

This is the second book in the Bottom Dollar Series. This series has a lot of the same cast but each book features a different set of characters from the same town. This book focuses on long-time friends, Mavis, Birdie and Gracie.

Gracie meets the so -called perfect match but is he really? Will her affection fall to another, a more local man, a man who seems all wrong yet all right for her?

Mavis and Birdie vie for the affections of the jock from high school. But has he changed his old ways enough to find love with one of them. Or is he just playing them both and holding out hope for is own dream date? I will not spoil the fun.

Another fun read.


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

BOOK REVIEW: A Dollar Short by Karin Gillespie


A Dollar Short: The Bottom Dollar Girls Go Hollywood (The Bottom Dollar Series #2)
by Karin Gillespie (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 260 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by Henery Press (first published 2005)

Goodreads synopsis:
It isn’t every day a movie star steals your husband. When that day comes for Chiffon Butrell of Cayboo Creek South Carolina, she looks to the Bottom Dollar Girls to help her out of one fine mess. 

Husband Lonnie has run out to Hollywood and holes up with famous star Janie-Lynn Lauren. He’s left behind Chiffon, her three children and a very tiny bank account. Chiffon breaks her ankle and has to rely on her estranged sister Chenille to lend a hand. 

When the tabloid media gets wind of her husband’s torrid romance, sleepy Cayboo Creek lands on the star map. Under the glare of camera lights, the two sisters must put aside longtime grievances to forge a newfound relationship. Meanwhile the rest of the gang is cooking up a questionable scheme to raise money for the senior center. 

***

4 stars

This is the second book in the Bottom Dollar Series. This series has a lot of the same cast but each book features a different set of characters from the same town. This book focuses on Chiffon Butrell and her sister, Chenille.

It wasn’t a surprise to Chiffon that her husband had taken up with another harlot. The only surprise was that this harlot was a mega movie star. And this movie star liked to antagonize Chiffon in every way she could. 

You root for Chiffon. Will she finally do what is best for her? Will her sister, the teacher unduly laid off from her job find love with the local boy?

I am so used to reading cozy mysteries that it took me awhile to realize there wasn’t going to be a mysterious dead body showing up. The book kept my interest all the way through.  And I have to say that this book gave me a lot of stress. So it reads as really real. Kudos to the author.


I paid for this with my own money.

BOOK REVIEW: Send in the Clowns by Julie Mulhern


Send in the Clowns (The Country Club Murders #4)
by Julie Mulhern (Goodreads Author)
Kindle Edition, 238 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Henery Press


Goodreads synopsis:
Haunted houses are scary enough without knife-wielding clowns. Especially murderous knife-wielding clowns. So thinks Ellison Russell, single mother, artist, and reluctant sleuth.
Now death wears a red nose and Ellison is up to the blood-stained collar of her new trench coat in costumes, caffeine, and possible killers. Who stabbed Brooks Harney? And why? Money? Jealousy? Drugs?

With Mother meddling, her father furious, and her date dragged downtown for questioning, turns out Ellison's only confidante is Mr. Coffee.

***

5 stars

This is book four in the Country Club Murders series. 

When Ellison’s daughter doesn’t return from her trip to the haunted house, she decides to pay the venue a visit. And of course, in true Ellison style… she finds a dead body! She can already hear her hyper-critical mother cringing.

She is repeatedly asked to stay out of Anarchy’s investigations but she just can’t stay away when she feels her input could help crack the case.

Another great offering from a wonderful author. Definitely check it out.

If you love all those cop shows from the 70’s, cop shows in general or anything that is mystery related. You will love this. Check it out.


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