BSBD Header

BSBD Header

Monday, April 29, 2019

Lost Library (Lost Library #1) by Kate Baray



Lost Library

Paperback, 260 pages
Published April 22nd 2014 by Catherine G Cobb (first published April 14th 2014)



Goodreads synopsis:
Lizzie led a normal life...until the Book arrived. 

Author Kate Baray begins her new paranormal romance series with Lost Library, a tale of werewolves, magic, adventure and romance. 

John Braxton arrives unannounced on Lizzie’s doorstep. Little does she know that when she invites him for a drink on the porch, Lizzie opens the door to a secret world of Lycan, magic, spelled books, and a power hungry mastermind. Caught up in one man’s search for power, Lizzie soon begins to uncover surprising secrets about her own past and powers—but not before stumbling upon a library like no other. And romance with a serious but sexy Lycan? It might just happen… 

Take a romp through the life of the quirky and well-meaning Lizzie as she discovers exactly what it means to live with magic.

***

4 Stars

I finished reading this book in December and am going from my memory about what happened.

I thought this book was decent. The story was interesting. This girl has a new magical ability to read certain kinds of texts but she can’t figure out how to make this ability work. Somehow the text she needs to read is very important to more than one “wolf clan” (okay, lycan clan) in this story. Thus, a rival wolf clan decides they need this book and also the gal who can read it.

The chase is on as John Braxton’s clan who has claimed Lizzie as their own, goes after her when she turns up missing. The whole “wolf transformation” is not too obnoxious and only happens occasionally. 

I do remember the ending being mega cool and a good jumping off point for the next book in the series. I really liked this story and will definitely read book two.

I paid for this book with my own money

____

Kate Baray writes paranormal and urban fantasy. She writes and lives in Austin, Texas with her pack of pointers and bloodhounds. Kate has worked as an attorney, a manager, a tractor sales person, and a dog trainer, but telling stories is the big winner. When she’s not writing, she sweeps up hairy dust bunnies and watches British mysteries.

60 Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar by Dennis Pollock



60 Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar

Kindle Edition, 194 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Harvest House Publishers


Goodreads synopsis:
It’s projected that in 50 years, one American in three will be diabetic. Many today are well on their way to becoming a sad statistic in the war on obesity, high blood sugar, and the related diseases—including diabetes—that can result from a diet that’s seriously out of whack. In his previous bestselling book, Overcoming Runaway Blood Sugar, Dennis Pollock shared his personal experience with this deadly epidemic—including his success at lowering his runaway blood sugar to acceptable levels. Now Dennis offers readers the next step in the battle: 60 practical ways to manage their blood sugar without resorting to a bland unsatisfying diet of turnips and tuna fish. In this step by step, change by change plan, readers will learn how to: reduce their intake of carbs, exercise more effectively, and shed excess weight. A must-have book for readers serious about regaining their health while also lowering their weight and increasing their energy.

***

4.5 Stars

I have recently read one of Dennis’s other books called “You Can Achieve Normal Blood Sugar” and this book is a bit more extensive on the basic details of Diabetes and what you can do to lower your blood sugar.

This book features in chapters the different aspects of the food and what you should and shouldn’t eat. For example, there is a chapter on potatoes which is never good in a diabetic’s diet but there are also sections on nuts and soups that are particularly helpful.

I find books like this great reference material when you discover your sugar is a bit out of control and this shows you step by step how to get that glucose number down.

I enjoy reading Pollock’s books and this one is just as great as his last.

I paid for this book with my own money.

____

Check out Dennis Pollick’s YouTube channel Beat Diabetes.

A Snapshot of Murder by Frances Brody



A Snapshot of Murder

Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published October 25th 2018 by Piatkus



Goodreads synopsis:
Taking the perfect photograph can be murder . . .
Yorkshire, 1928. Indomitable sleuth Kate Shackleton is taking a well-deserved break from her detective work and indulging in her other passion: photography. When her local Photographic Society proposes an outing, Kate jumps at the chance to visit Haworth and Stanbury, in the heart of Brontë country, the setting for Wuthering Heights.
But when an obnoxious member of their party is murdered, the group is thrown into disarray. Is the murderer amongst them, or did the loud-mouthed Tobias have more enemies than they might have imagined?
Armed with her wit and wiles, and of course her trusty camera, it's up to Kate to crack the case, and get that perfect shot too 

***

3 Stars

This book was really slow for me. The murder didn’t occur until 50% into the book and I found myself speculating who might end up dead. I figured it would either be Tobias or Edward.

My favorite characters were Edward, Kate, Marcus and Derek. I found these to be the most compelling of the bunch. In the beginning, I was a little unsure who the main character was considering the immense amount of time focusing on Carine and her background with both Tobias and Edward.

I felt like this book could have been 100-150 pages shorter and be a much better title for the publisher. It reminded me of books of yore that prattled on and on and going seemingly nowhere before the point of the story was reached. It was wordy and long-winded.

The setting was interesting once they got to the area where the photography outing was journeying. I also thought the scenes with the dog discovering a body in the basement were particularly clever. I was surprised this was not elaborated on more considering how wordy the rest of the book had been.

I thought the whodunit was quite crafty and the killer quite surprising. Kate seemed to come to many conclusions “off stage” where the reader could not witness it. So in that case, it made the following of the clues particularly difficult.

All in all tis book had a lot of potential, A little overly wordy and long but the clever plot, whodunit mystery and the surprising killer more than made up for its shortcomings.

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.

____

Before turning to crime, Frances wrote for radio, television and theatre, and was nominated for a Time Out Award. She published four sagas, winning the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award in 2006.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The White City (True Colors) by Grace Hitchcock



The White City

Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2019 by Barbour Books


Goodreads synopsis:
Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

***

5 Stars

This book was not what I expected it to be. 

I guess I would categorize it as a Historical Christian Romantic Suspense Intrigue. I thought this might be a true crime depiction of a notorious character from the past, more hard-hitting and hard-nosed. What I found instead was a sweet story about Winnifred Wylde, a pretty modern woman for the time turn of the 1900 century. She dreamed of a life of adventure she found in the pages of her books. Her father, a lawman, lost his wife due to the shock of one of his investigations and has forbade his daughter to ever marry a lawman like himself.

Enter Jude Thorpe. He is everything her father doesn’t want for her future. So, of course, he is the man for her. Then her favorite author, Percy, shows up, charming, good looking and wealthy. He is her family’s ideal for her. 

This story is a mix of the family pushing her to accept the dandy (love that word description) Percy and the investigation of the world’s first serial killer H.H. Holmes wth Jude. I believe this is a story that is inspired by the notorious serial killer, Holmes and told from a Christian romantic perspective.

I thought this was a fun book. I loved all the turn of the century words they used for common items we would use today like purses were called reticules. Great book. The Christian part is not too obnoxious like it is in some books. Very subtle. If you are looking for a sweet historical romantic suspense, check this one out for sure.

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.

____

Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City and The Gray Chamber from Barbour Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Raspberry Danish Murder by Joanne Fluke



Raspberry Danish Murder

Kindle Edition, 385 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Kensington


Goodreads synopsis:
Thanksgiving has a way of thawing the frostiest hearts in Lake Eden. But that won’t be happening for newlywed Hannah Swensen Barton—not after her husband suddenly disappears . . .

Hannah has felt as bitter as November in Minnesota since Ross vanished without a trace and left their marriage in limbo. Still, she throws herself into a baking frenzy for the sake of pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving-themed treats while endless holiday orders pour into The Cookie Jar. Hannah even introduces a raspberry Danish pastry to the menu, and P.K., her husband’s assistant at KCOW-TV, will be one of the first to sample it. But instead of taking a bite, P.K., who is driving Ross’s car and using his desk at work, is murdered. Was someone plotting against P.K. all along or did Ross dodge a deadly dose of sweet revenge? Hannah will have to quickly sift through a cornucopia of clues and suspects to stop a killer from bringing another murder to the table . . .

***

4.5 Stars

When this book starts, Ross is already missing/left/whatever. I am sure all the Team Mike and Team Norman fans are cheering hoping for his demise. But instead of Ross turning up murdered, his cameraman P.K. is the one who bites the dust. I find this sad, really. He was a great character that I liked a lot and hoped would be a good fit with Hannah’s sister, Michelle. This is showing me that Fluke is slowly drawing us away from the TV station setting and moving mainly back into Lake Eden, Minnesota. I have read some books after this one and have noticed the trend. Fluke is making us not so invested in the TV station by the death of P.K. I am sure it will be replaced by other settings of equal interest in other books.

The main cast is as fun-loving as they ever have been and most of the minor players show up at one time or another. I can’t always say this is the case in a Fluke mystery. It is nice to see the town so full for a change.

The name dropping of all the recipe titles is really noticeable in this book compared to most others. I am not sure if I were speaking about a cookie I was making would refer to the complete title of the cookie, bar, whatever. I would just say “check out this oatmeal cookie I made with a splash of lemon. Good, right?”

Looking back on this book after reading future books after this one, I wonder about Ross’s motives as to why he left Hannah all that money. I know Fluke was setting this up for a future plotline but it seems like a normal person might not take these particular actions. It is sometimes hard to remember these are not real people and are instead book characters.

As for the whodunit, the plot keeps you guessing until the bitter end. You will have to have some foresight to figure this one out. Definitely one of my favorite books from the series. I am not a big Ross fan so having him absent for this one made me happy.


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.

Sifting Through Clues by Daryl Wood Gerber



Sifting Through Clues

Kindle Edition, 364 pages
Published April 23rd 2019 by Beyond the Page


Goodreads synopsis:
The Agatha Award–winning author of Wreath Between the Linesreturns to the Cookbook Nook, where culinary mysteries are giving everyone food for thought . . . 

Book clubs from all over have descended on Crystal Cove to celebrate the library’s Book Club Bonanza week, and Jenna Hart has packed the Cookbook Nook with juicy reads and tasty cookbooks. But she’s most excited about spending an evening with the Mystery Mavens and their moveable feast, when they will go from house to house to share different culinary treats and discuss the whodunit they’re all reading. It’s all good food and fun for the savvy armchair detectives, until one of the members of the group is found murdered at the last stop on the tour. 

As if that weren’t enough to spoil her appetite, Jenna discovers that all the evidence points to her friend Pepper as being the guilty party. And with Pepper’s chief-of-police daughter too close to the case to be impartial, Jenna knows she’ll have to step in to help clear her friend’s name before a bitter injustice sends her to jail. Sifting through the clues, Jenna unearths any number of possible culprits, but she’ll have to cook up a new way to catch the killer before Pepper’s goose is cooked . . . 

Includes tasty sweet and savory recipes! 

***

4 Stars

This is my first journey into the town of Crystal Cove and meeting their residents. This book literally starts off with a bang as one of the store owners participating in Bonanza Week is found dead. There was no one in this book who was particularly unliked or assumed to be suspect number one in the beginning. That is what made this whodunit a bit harder to figure out. You spend your time dissecting all the motives of the residents as to who could have or did commit this crime. People who like to figure these things out ahead of time will find themselves stumped until more glaring evidence is put forth.

The main character does a lot of red herring revealing, getting the reader to veer off into a new direction they didn’t at first intend to take. She is very good at that. I felt like in a true murder investigation Cinnamon would have been removed from the case since her mother ended up being suspect number one for so long. She does disappear for a good chuck of the book and when characters try to text her to get an update on the case, her phone is silent.

I found myself weaving in and out as to whom I thought could commit such a crime. The revealing at the end was quite enlightening. I liked how the author chose to set up the motives of the true killer. Classic. Pay attention to all the clues and you might just figure it all out before the ending.

Just a nice, classy cozy mystery to read on a rainy day to keep the blues away. Check this one 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.



About the Author: 


Agatha Award–winning and nationally bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber is the author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, the French Bistro Mysteries, the Cheese Shop Mysteries (as Avery Aames), and stand-alone suspense thrillers. Little known facts about Daryl are that she’s jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, has hitchhiked around Ireland by herself, and has appeared on an episode of Murder, She Wrote. She loves to read, cook, and golf, and has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni



The Eighth Sister

Kindle Edition, 437 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Thomas & Mercer




Goodreads synopsis:
Robert Dugoni is the author of the bestselling Tracy Crosswhite series. He won the 2015 Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and has written over 15 novels and short stories including The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell and The Eighth Sister.

Amazon Synopsis:
A pulse-pounding thriller of espionage, spy games, and treachery by the New York Timesbestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series.
Former CIA case officer Charles Jenkins is a man at a crossroads: in his early sixties, he has a family, a new baby on the way, and a security consulting business on the brink of bankruptcy. Then his former bureau chief shows up at his house with a risky new assignment: travel undercover to Moscow and locate a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine US spy cell known as the seven sisters.
Desperate for money, Jenkins agrees to the mission and heads to the Russian capital. But when he finds the mastermind agent behind the assassinations—the so-called eighth sister—she is not who or what he was led to believe. Then again, neither is anyone else in this deadly game of cat and mouse.
Pursued by a dogged Russian intelligence officer, Jenkins executes a daring escape across the Black Sea, only to find himself abandoned by the agency he serves. With his family and freedom at risk, Jenkins is in the fight of his life—against his own country.

***

4 Stars

I have to admit I was a little confused by this one most of the way through it. I understood what was happening but what I didn’t get was why everyone was pursuing him so diligently across Russia. As far as I could tell, no true intel passed through his hands. It was just like he went over there told them about something they didn’t want or accept and suddenly he is on the run for his life. I knew there had to be more to all this. It felt like a set up from the get-go.

A Russian asset working for the CIA, one of the “seven sisters” women trained from when they were young to be CIA assets working in high level positions in the Russian government and passing intel to the USA, killed herself in order for Jenkins to escape. And I wondered if the whole sacrifice was really worth it. What did she kill herself for really? Jenkins’s life?

The most interesting part of this book didn’t happen until Jenkins finally made his way back to the US. His enemies were closer than he knew. The latter half of the book made up for all the uncertainty at the beginning.

I thought this book was good. Very good. The part in the courtroom especially telling. Not as intense as it could have been, but decent. I particularly liked the ending.

If you are looking for a good spy thriller, check this one 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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine



Wolfhunter River

Kindle Edition, 330 pages
Published April 23rd 2019 by Thomas & Mercer



Goodreads synopsis:
Rachel Caine is the New York TimesUSA Today, and Amazon Charts bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including the Stillhouse Lake series and the New York Times bestselling Morganville Vampires series.


***

5 Stars

I have to admit this is not as intense and in your face as books one and two. But this one is still a great addition to the series. 

Goodreads doesn’t really give a synopsis so here it is in a nutshell:

Gwen is convinced to go onto a reliable tv program to plead her case and show her point of view. But the whole thing backfires and she is ambushed by one of the rich mother’s of one of Melvin’s victims. And not only ambushed but this lady is making a documentary about Gwen’s life and the whole debacle. But this lady intends to paint Gwen as monstrous as her ex-husband, Melvin, the serial killer. Not long after she gets used to the fact these documentary people are in town she discovers someone has put her phone number on the internet for the assistance in helping battered and abused women in danger. Gwen and family are drawn into a hell hole of peril and jeopardy they don’t expect. 

And it goes on from there. 

I am giving this five stars because this is awesome. Not as intense and thrilling as books one and two but it holds its own. There is an odd transition between when the documentary people arrive in town and Gwen deciding to help this girl in Wolfhunter River. This town is all kinds of messed up. I actually hope there are no real towns like it. Super scary.

Even more revelations are divulged about Sam Cade. And these threaten to disrupt the lives of them all. This is hair-raising and petrifying and I am not sure anyone will come out mentally coherent.  There will have to be lots of therapy to overcome stuff like this and I am horrified just reading about it. I can’t imagine how hard it was to write it. To live with the characters and these situations day after day. I applaud the author for her intention to write something that comes off as so real and authentic. How does Caine not have nightmare at night writing this stuff?

Great books three to the series. I hear there might be a fourth book in the works and I wonder where in the world it could go from here.

An intense and awesome psychological thriller series unlike any other. Read it and be in awe!



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.

Easter Bunny Murder by Leslie Meier



Easter Bunny Murder

Hardcover, 263 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Kensington



Goodreads synopsis:
Spring has sprung in Tinker's Cove, and Lucy Stone has a mile-long to-do list. From painting eggs with her grandson, to preparing the perfect Easter feast, to reviving her garden after a long, cold winter, she hardly has time to hunt for a killer with a deadly case of spring fever... Lucy has always loved covering the annual Easter egg hunt for the Pennysaver. Hosted by elderly socialite Vivian Van Vorst at Pine Point, her luxurious oceanfront estate, it's a swanky event where the grown-ups sip cocktails while their children search for eggs that are as likely to contain savings bonds as they are jelly beans. But when Lucy arrives with her three-year-old grandson, VV's normally welcoming gates are locked, and a man dressed as the Easter Bunny emerges only to drop dead moments later… Lucy discovers that the victim is Van Vorst Duff, VV's grandson, and soon learns that not all is as it seems at idyllic Pine Point, where the champagne and caviar seem to be running dry. Always a social butterfly, VV has been skipping lunch dates with friends, and her much-needed donations to local charities have stopped with no explanation. Maybe she's going senile, or maybe her heirs are getting a little too anxious to take over her estate… As Lucy gathers a basketful of suspects, she's convinced someone's been hunting for a lot more than eggs, and she'll have to chase the truth down a rabbit hole before the killer claims another victim…


***

4.5 Stars

This series is really growing on me. and it shows clearly why you shouldn’t judge a whole series based on your feelings about one book.  The first book I read in this series wasn’t my favorite. It was just okay and I considered not returning to Tinker’s Cove because of it. Every book I have read since has been getting better and better. Mysteries more complex. This and the St. Patrick’s Day Murders have been two of my most favorite.

This book had a pretty complex mystery that I was cheering the author for crafting. When the guy in the bunny suit died I was more concerned for the rich lady in the house being practically held captive  by her family and I could already tell was being mistreated. Elder abuse just screamed at me from the pages. Meier really made me feel with this one.

There was one surprise after another. And I was indeed shocked by who the culprit ended up being. Very clever plotting. I liked it. Definitely check this one out if you have been wanting to add Leslie Meier to your TBR stack.


I bought this book with my own money.