Monday, July 26, 2021

Review: The French Paradox by: Ellen Crosby



Title: The French Paradox
Author: Ellen Crosby
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Format: Hardcover ( 256 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

Lucie Montgomery's discovery of her grandfather's Parisian romance unlocks a series of shocking secrets in the gripping new Wine Country mystery.

In 1949, during her junior year abroad in Paris, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis bought several inexpensive paintings of Marie-Antoinette by a little-known 18th century female artist. She also had a romantic relationship with Virginia vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery's French grandfather - until recently, a well-kept secret.

Seventy years later, Cricket Delacroix, Lucie's neighbor and Jackie's schoolfriend, is donating the now priceless paintings to a Washington, DC museum. And Lucie's grandfather is flying to Virginia for Cricket's 90th birthday party, hosted by her daughter Harriet. A washed-up journalist, Harriet is rewriting a manuscript Jackie left behind about Marie-Antoinette and her portraitist. She's also adding tell-all details about Jackie, sure to make the book a bestseller.

Then on the eve of the party a world-famous landscape designer who also knew Jackie is found dead in Lucie's vineyard. Did someone make good on the death threats he'd received because of his controversial book on climate change? Or was his murder tied to Jackie, the paintings, and Lucie's beloved grandfather?

My Thoughts:

Lucy Montgomery is eagerly awaiting her grandfather Luc coming home to visit.  Lucie's sister is also back working on a big painting for Cricket's upcoming birthday. Harry Cricket's daughter is working on a showing of Jackie's paintings and a journal Jackie left behind when she visited before she died. Lucie is worried about her grandfather being hurt as he spent time with Jackie while she was in Paris.  

When a local writer Parker Lord is having issues with some of his articles he's written and winds up dead in Lucie's vineyard and her sister Mia becomes the prime suspect.  Lucie has her hands full trying to figure out who killed Parker and is Luc's secret going on come out or will Cricket change her mind!

This was great story with so much history of Luc and Jackie.  We also learn about Cricket and Harry and their relationship!  It's definitely worth reading but I would still read it in order to get a sense of various characters!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Review: Thread and Buried by: Lea Wait


Title: Thread and Buried
Author: Lea Wait
Publisher: Kensington 
Series: Mainely Needlepoint #9
Format; Paperback ( 272 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

Haven Harbor is an authentic coastal Maine town--which makes it the perfect location for a new film production. But now it's become the scene of a crime . . .

Needlepointers Angie and Sarah are helping with set design for the movie being shot in their little New England hometown--but as the lighthouse and the wharves bustle with activity, a real-life drama is about to unfold. The producer, Hank Stoddard, has been harassing the pretty young female lead, and the two exchanged heated words at a lobster bake. Now someone's lowered the boom on him . . .

After a wayward piece of sound equipment sends him to his death, theories fly about who went off-script. Meanwhile, a local woman's tragic story about a true love lost at sea, which originally inspired the film, may lead to murderous revelations from long ago. Angie's got to unravel these mysteries, and may need to give more than one killer the hook . . . 

My Thoughts:

This book was difficult to read not to say the story isn't great but it's the last book the writer work before dying.  She was a phenomenal writer!

Angie and Sarah are helping out with a filming of a movie based on a book written by a needle pointer.  Unfortunately the director keeps changing things about the story which takes away from the published book!  When the director winds up dead it's up to Angie and the cops to figure out what happened and who set the director for death.

This book was a fun read as we sift through many possible suspects.  Everyone for actors to sound people to wives it could be anyone who was annoyed with him.  Who harbored the most anger at the director to do the deed?

Friday, July 23, 2021

Review: Little Black Book by: Kate Carlisle


Title: Little Black Book
Author: Kate Carlisle
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Series: Biblophile Mystery #15
Format: e-book ARC ( 384 p.) 
Source: NetGalley

Description:

San Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright is on the case when a rare edition of Rebecca leads to murder in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling Bibliophile Mystery series.

Brooklyn and her hunky husband, security expert Derek Stone, have just returned from a delightful trip to Dharma, where the construction of their new home away from home is well underway, when a little black book arrives in the mail from Scotland. The book is a rare British first edition of Rebecca, and there’s no return address on the package. The day after the book arrives, Claire Quinn shows up at Brooklyn and Derek’s home. Brooklyn met Claire when the two women worked as expert appraisers on the television show This Old Attic. Brooklyn appraised books on the show and Claire’s expertise was in antique British weaponry, but they bonded over their shared love of gothic novels.
 
Claire reveals that during a recent trip to Scotland she discovered her beloved aunt was missing and her home had been ransacked. Among her aunt’s belongings, Claire found the receipt for the package that wound up with Brooklyn and Derek. Claire believes both her own life and her aunt’s are in danger and worries that her past may be coming back to haunt her.
 
But just as Brooklyn and Derek begin to investigate, a man who Claire thinks was following her is found murdered, stabbed with a priceless jeweled dagger. With a death on their doorstep, Brooklyn and Derek page through the little black book, where they discover clues that will take them to the shadows of a medieval Scottish castle on the shores of Loch Ness. Under the watchful gaze of a mysterious laird and the irascible villagers who are suspicious of the strangers in their midst, Brooklyn and Derek must decode the secrets in Rebecca to keep their friend’s past from destroying their future....

My Thoughts: 

Derek and Brooklyn are back in San Francisco after their trip to Dharma.  They have barely unpacked when Derek receives a package from Scotland.  Why would someone send Derek a 1st edition book?  Who does Derek know in Scotland?  

Claire Quinn is in trouble and needs some help and quick which leads her from Scotland to San Francisco  and straight to  Derek and Brooklyn.  After explaining about her missing Aunt Gwen who send a book to Derek.  Some shady people are looking for Claire but no one knows why?

This book took our threesome from San Francisco to Dharma all the way to Scotland to find out what was going on and whose responsible?  This book had so much adventure and intrigue going on.  You found yourself wondering until you reached the end.  This book series is definitely worth the adventure to see how it all played out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Review: Lavender Blue Murder by: Laura Childs


Title: Lavender Blue Murder
Author: Laura Childs
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Series: A Tea Shop Mystery #21
Format: Hardcover ( 320 p.) NetGalley

Description:

Tea Maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs, now in paperback

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.

But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor's lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.

His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00 A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.

As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald's daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a seance. All the while Theodosia worries if she's made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

My Thoughts: 

In this book Theo and Drayton find themselves out with people they don't know the best at a bird hunt shooting   When they find their host Reginald Doyle bleeding to death they decide to try to go home but Meredith is so upset she pleads with them to stay unwillingly they stay for the night and find more questions than answers.

As they dig into the murder the pressure is on everyone to figure out who killed Doyle and why?  When Meredith's daughter-i-law goes missing off a boat in the water the pressure is on Meredith's son of having done something to his wife.    What happened to Fawn and why? And who burned down the Doyle house and killed Reginald Dyle?

I love this series it's a fun with tea being served and Theo running around hoping for a Bruce Wills moment that doesn't come.  It's fun being with her and Dayton as they try to solve this murder and find any and all clues!  

If you haven't read the series you are missing something you will definitely fall in love with these characters and have tons of fun on their many adventures!

Monday, July 12, 2021

Review: A Death Long Overdue by: Eva Gates


Title: A Death Long Overdue
Author: Eva Gates
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Series: Lighthouse Library Mystery #7
Format:  Hardcover ( 372 p.) NetGalley

Description:

When her former director is found dead in the water, librarian Lucy Richardson will have to get to the bottom of the mystery before the killer ends her tale.

It's summertime in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Bertie James's college class is having their 40th anniversary reunion. The opening night reception is held at the Lighthouse Library and Lucy and her colleagues have assembled an exhibit of library artifacts showing how libraries have changed over the years. After the reception, some of the women take a walk down the boardwalk to the pier, using flashlights to illuminate the dark path, but what's scarier than the dark is finding the former director of the Lighthouse Library floating lifeless in the water.

Helena Sanchez, the former director, wasn't much loved and spent the party being rude to almost everyone there. As a result, Lucy finds herself in deep water as she rocks the boat, questioning several suspects. But she'll have to batten down the hatches and fast before she's left high and dry...and right in the killer's crosshairs.

My Thoughts: 

We're back to Outer Banks and Lucy's boss is hosting her reunion from college.  Various people show up and meet up with fellow classmates but soon they decide to go out on the bluff and their a past librarian winds up dead and the pressure is on to figure out who did it.  Unfortunately she upset alot of people before her death.  Who killed her and why?

This book had so much going on Connor is trying to find a way to talk to Lucy about something personal but people keep getting in the way.  Louisa Jane has convinced alot of the people around to try to summon spirits which she seems obsessed with proving she can do.  Then there are all the attendants of the reunion what motive might they have for the killing.

This book was a blast to read with all the various people showing up and Lucy and Connor running in circles with this discussion.  It was worth reading and following to see what happens in the story to see if your murderer is the same as the real one!

Monday, July 5, 2021

Review: Stayin' Alive by: Julie Mulhern


Title: Stayin' Alive
Author: Julie: Mulhern
Publisher: J&M Press
Series: Country Club Murders #10
Format: e-book ( 250 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

Springtime. Love is in the air. So is murder.

When Ellison Russell, reluctant finder of bodies, chairs a gala in conjunction with the museum’s Chinese funerary exhibit, she expects disaster. So, she’s not remotely surprised when a body turns up.

Ellison is willing to leave the investigation to the police till an attempt is made on her life.

Now she’s juggling evading a killer, her aunt’s overly-amorous beau, her dog’s new love interest, and Mother’s displeasure.

With bodies piling up, if Ellison’s not careful, staying alive might be impossible.

My Thoughts:

Ellison Russel is back and finding more dead bodies.  She is having her Chinese exhibit when she finds a body and the pressure is on to find out what happened add to the fact her beloved dog has falling in love with a local dog who loves to cause chaos.  Will she figure it out in time?  Or will her mother finally have a heart attack over the dead bodies?

I love this adventure as we see all the things we love seeing in Kansas City.  Ellison is up to her eyes in things going on around her romance seems to be in the air and everywhere you turn.  Then the book turns serious when someone is out to get Ellison anyway they can! Definitely worth reading series and learning about Ellison her family and friends can't wait to see what she is knee deep in next!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Review: The Grim Reader by: Kate Carlisle


Title: The Grim Reader
Author: Kate Carlisle
Publisher: Berkley
Series: Bibliophile Mysteries #14
Format: Hardcover ( 319 p.)
Source: NetGalley


Description:

San Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright was hoping for a fun, relaxing weekend at a local book fair, but a murderer made other plans in the latest in this New York Times bestselling series.

Brooklyn and her new hunky husband, Derek, are excited to be guests at Dharma's first annual Book Festival. The entire town is involved and Brooklyn’s mom Rebecca is taking charge. In addition to all of her other event related duties, she’s got Brooklyn doing rare book appraisals and is also staging Little Women, the musical to delight the festival goers. If that wasn’t enough, she and Meg, Derek’s mom, will have a booth where they read palms and conduct séances.

Brooklyn couldn’t be prouder of her mom’s do-it-all attitude so when a greedy local businessman who seems intent on destroying Dharma starts harassing Rebecca, Brooklyn is ready to take him down. Rebecca is able to hold her own with the nasty jerk until one of her fellow festival committee members is brutally murdered and the money for the festival seems to have vanished into thin air.

Things get even more personal when one of Brooklyn’s nearest and dearest is nearly run down in cold blood. Brooklyn and Derek go into attack mode and the pressure is on to catch a spineless killer before they find themselves skipping the festival for a funeral.

My Thoughts: 

In this book Brooklyn and her husband Derek Stone are heading to Dharma's first book festival.  They hope to help out getting ready for the festival along with Brooklyn repairing a book about Little Women.

When they arrive and see what Rebecca Brooklyn's mom has been dealing with it's a wonder that the festival is still on track!  Brooklyn and Derek decide that Rebecca needs their help and will do everything they can to keep her safe and sound.

When murder starts up Brooklyn is determined to find out whose bringing horror to her hometown. The more they dig the more questions arise who would kill a fellow member of the committee for the festival and why?  Was it someone trying to buy up property in Dharma or is someone right in front of them causing them all sorts of grief?

I love this series it's fun and mysterious and you find yourself laughing at times totally worth the adventure.  We get to see what Brooklyn's family is up to and how things have been going.  I love how Ms. Carlisle weaves her stories so you feel like you are traveling along with Brooklyn and Derek and are in for a great ride with a great story!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Review: Carless Whiskers by: Miranda James


Title: Carless Whiskers
Author: Miranda James
Publisher: Berkley
Series: Cat in The Stacks #12
Format: Hardcover ( 289 p.)
Source: Personal Purchase

Description:

When librarian Charlie Harris' daughter is falsely accused of murder, he and his faithful feline Diesel must leap forward to crack the case in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling series.

Charlie Harris has sworn off investigating murder and mayhem after a recent close call. Instead, he's delighted to cheer on his daughter, Laura, who's starring in a production of Careless Whispers. The theater department at Athena College is debuting the play written by a fledgling playwright with local connections and Charlie's son-in-law, Frank Salisbury, will be calling the directorial shots.

Laura is upset to learn that Luke Lombardi, an overbearing actor she knew from her time in Hollywood will also be taking part in the production as a guest artist. Lombardi arrives with an entourage in tow and promptly proceeds to annoy everyone involved with the production. When he collapses and dies on stage, after drinking from a glass Laura handed him, she becomes the chief suspect in his murder.

Charlie knows his daughter is innocent, and he's not going to let anyone railroad his little girl. So, despite his intentions to put his amateur sleuthing days behind him, Charlie has to take center stage, and with Diesel's help, shine a spotlight on the real killer. 

My Thoughts: 

This book follows Charlie Harris as his daughter is working with her husband showcasing a play at the University.  Of course like any book it isn't long before the craziness begins.  First it seems there are two play writers?  Who is the real author of Carless Whispers?  

As the play progress someone is deliberately sabotaging the play and driving Luke Lombardi crazy.  At the night of the opening the tricks have gone too far and someone is killed Luke and Laura Charlie's daughter could have been next!  Charlie is determined to try from afar to figure out what the heck is going on.  Who had it out for the actor and just how determined are they to end the actor's life?

Even though Charlie is warned a few times by Laura to but out he can't because it could have easily have been her.  

I love Charlie and Diesel since the first time I picked up a book.  It's like going to check on old friends and see what they are up to.  Of course the interaction with Azalea and the cats is so much fun to look forward to every time I pick up this author! 

 


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Review: Murder Makes Scents by: Christin Brecher

Title: Murder Makes Scents
Author: Chastin Brecher
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery Series #2
Format: e-book ARC (272 p.)
Source: NetGalley

Description:

Stella Wright loves creating candles at her Nantucket store—and she also has a burning passion for justice. Now, after visiting a perfume conference, she must solve a vial crime . . .

Stella and her globe-trotting mom, Millie, have come home from a perfume industry conference in Paris, where their trip was marred by witnessing the stabbing death of a young man. It’s a relief for Stella to be back on her picturesque island, with the comforting company of her cat, Tinker. But lingering danger may have followed them back across the ocean.

After someone breaks into her candle store, the Wick & Flame, Stella starts feeling spooked. And just as things threaten to ignite, Millie suffers a blow to the head. Stella receives an anonymous note claiming that her mother smuggled a secret formula out of France—and threatening her life if it isn’t returned. Now Stella’s picked up the scent of a cold-hearted criminal and an intriguing puzzle, and things are about to get wicked . . .

My Thoughts:

As Stella and her mom Millie return home from a convention in Paris along with a murder it seems they may have brought trouble back with them.  Stella finds herself helping someone get to the bottom of a vial that shows up in Millie's stuff and when Millie winds up in the hospital the pressure is on Stella figure it out!  But will figure out the culprit or will her life be extinguished.

This book was tons of fun from Paris to Nantucket.  It was great to go back to Nantucket to see what everyone is up to and to see the relationship between Millie and Stella so much fun!  Can't wait to see what is next in the series!

Friday, May 14, 2021

Review: The Wright Sister by: Patty Dann


Title: The Wright Sister
Author: Patty Dann
Publisher: Harper Pernnial
Format: E-book ARC ( 218 p.) NetGalley

Synopsis:

An epistolary novel of historical fiction that imagines the life of Katharine Wright and her relationship with her famous brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the world's first airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, establishing the Wright Brothers as world-renowned pioneers of flight. Known to far fewer people was their whip-smart and well-educated sister Katharine, a suffragette and early feminist.

After Wilbur passed away, Katharine lived with and took care of her increasingly reclusive brother Orville, who often turned to his more confident and supportive sister to help him through fame and fortune. But when Katharine became engaged to their mutual friend, Harry Haskell, Orville felt abandoned and betrayed. He smashed a pitcher of flowers against a wall and refused to attend the wedding or speak to Katharine or Harry. As the years went on, the siblings grew further and further apart.

In The Wright Sister, Patty Dann wonderfully imagines the blossoming of Katharine, revealed in her "Marriage Diary"--in which she emerges as a frank, vibrant, intellectually and socially engaged, sexually active woman coming into her own--and her one-sided correspondence with her estranged brother as she hopes to repair their fractured relationship. Even though she pictures "Orv" throwing her letters away, Katharine cannot contain her joie de vivre, her love of married life, her strong advocacy of the suffragette cause, or her abiding affection for her stubborn sibling as she fondly recalls their shared life.

An inspiring and poignant chronicle of feminism, family, and forgiveness, The Wright Sister is an unforgettable portrait of a woman, a sister of inventors, who found a way to reinvent herself.

My Thoughts: 

You say the name Wright and the first thing you think of is Orville and Wilbur Wright you don't realize they had a sister named Katharine who was with them every step of the journey with the aeroplane.  She helped them more than the world knows.

In this book we see Katharine talking about her life and in between are letters to Orville who stopped speaking to her when she wed Harry Haskell.  All the letters and chapters are from Katharine's point of view.  We the reader that is really aren't sure why they aren't talking it's a journey one woman goes on and her emotions everything from being desperate to talk to Orville to anger that he's not answering her.  

It was so beautifully written and the author really developed a great story even if it is one sided.  It was definitely well written without upsetting the history we know of the wright brothers.  Definitely a fabulous historical fiction book!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Review: The Queen's Accomplice by: Susan Elia MacNeal


Title: The Quuen's Accomplice
Author: Susan Elia MacNeal
Publisher: Bantam
Series: Maggie Hope #6
Format: Paperback ( 368 p.) Personal Purchase

Synopsis:

England, 1942. The Nazis relentless Blitz may have paused, but London s nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper s crimes. What s more, he s targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill s spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed the Blackout Beast. A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.

My Thoughts:

The blitz's have taken a break and someone has decided to try to emulate Jack the Ripper with young women who work for the SOE.  Maggie Hope is now working for the SOE and one of the agents has been compromised.  Maggie gets called to Downing Street to meet with a local Scotland Yard cop to figure out what is going on with the young women.  

Meanwhile Maggie's sister is with her father on a small release of 9 days to renounce the doctor and the death's they were performing when she is picked up by the underground and a German officer helps her escape by practically throwing her into a car.

Maggie also finds herself having tea with the Queen whose adamant in owing Maggie a favor she she need it at anytime.  This may come in handy to Maggie at some point.

This book had so much going on with different characters Sarah Sanderson is training for a trip to France and finds herself jealous of Maggie's relationship with Hugh even though they broke up and Hugh has his eyes on Sarah.  

I can't get over how the author weaves so many different stories into one book there is definitely a lot going on but it flows so smoothly that it works.  I have read other authors and it doesn't always flow the way it did here. 

Can't wait to read about Paris!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Review: Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante by: Susan Elia MacNeal


Title: Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante
Author: Susan Elia MacNeal
Publisher: Bantam
Series: Maggie Hope #5
Format: Paperback ( 327 p.) Personal Purchase

Synopsis:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this riveting mystery from Susan Elia MacNeal, England’s most daring spy, Maggie Hope, travels across the pond to America, where a looming scandal poses a grave threat to the White House and the Allied cause.

December 1941. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C., along with special agent Maggie Hope. Posing as his typist, she is accompanying the prime minister as he meets with President Roosevelt to negotiate the United States’ entry into World War II. When one of the First Lady’s aides is mysteriously murdered, Maggie is quickly drawn into Mrs. Roosevelt’s inner circle—as ER herself is implicated in the crime. Maggie knows she must keep the investigation quiet, so she employs her unparalleled skills at code breaking and espionage to figure out who would target Mrs. Roosevelt, and why. What Maggie uncovers is a shocking conspiracy that could jeopardize American support for the war and leave the fate of the world hanging dangerously in the balance.

My Thoughts:

This book follows Maggie and her fellow coworkers at 10 Downing street.  They are all headed to the good old USA at Christmastime.  Maggie and John are hoping to have some time together.  Pearl Harbor has been attacked and Winston Churchill is meeting with President Roosevelt to discuss the war.  Of course Eleanor is causing trouble with some of her causes and Maggie is stuck trying to keep the first lady safe.  Will Maggie succeed or will Eleanor step way out of line?

This book was fun as we got to see what the USA was like during the war.  I love this series with a mix of action, adventure, romance and historical fiction all rolled into one can't wait to see where this series is headed.

Review: The Diva Serves Forbidden Fruit by: Krista Davis


Title: The Diva Serves Forbidden Fruit
Author: Krista Davis
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Domestic Diva #14
Format: e-book ARC ( 304 p.)
Source: NetGalley

Description:

She's a young Martha Stewart...in Old Town Virginia!
New York Times bestselling author Krista Davis delights with the 14th in her enormously popular and completely charming Domestic Diva Mystery series, as entertaining maven Sophie Winston must cut to the core of another murder investigation when members of an international tour group begin dropping like flies all over Old Town, Virginia...

With Old Town's DIY Home Decorating Festival in full swing, Sophie's swamped, juggling a bumper crop of artisans, antique dealers, and decorators for the busy street fair. Still, when her best friend Nina suddenly needs a ride from the airport, Sophie is happy to help...until she sees Nina disembarking in a state of disarray. It's obvious the trip to Portugal soured somewhere along the way. But after one of Nina's traveling companions turns up murdered the following day, Sophie knows something is truly rotten...

Though the crime scene is staged to look like an accident, Sophie isn't fooled and peels off to conduct her own investigation. Her only clue is a strange image the victim scratched into the soil before dying. Could it point to a cryptic killer in Old Town? A bitter travel adversary? Or a cursed artifact smuggled back from the trip? As the mystery grows, so does the body count, and if Sophie doesn't pluck the murderer soon, her best friend may be the next to fall...

My Thoughts:

This book follows beloved Sophie Winston whose working a DIY festival and helping her friends when a local women winds up murdered.  Who would have wanted to kill Lark a resident of Old Town and why?  As other bodies pile up the pressure is on that Nina might be in trouble and Mars and Bernie decide to rally wound Sophie and Nina to keep them safe.  Who wanted to commit murder and why?  Was it related to a recent trip to Portugal?  Or something going on at home?

This book had so much going on between Sophie's mystery and Natasha's drama made you really wonder if Sophie would figure it out in time?  Si many twists and turns that you begin to wonder if Sophie will get to the bottom of it in time or will it be the mystery that gets away from her?  I am such a huge fan of Sophie Winston books they are great and realistic. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Review: The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by: Susan Elia MacNeal


Title: The Prime Minister's Secret Agent
Author: Susan Elia MacNeal
Publisher: Bantam
Series: Maggie Hope #4
Format: Paperback ( 306 p.) Personal Purchase

Synopsis:

For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent is a gripping new mystery featuring intrepid spy and code breaker Maggie Hope. And this time, the fallout of a deadly plot comes straight to her own front door.
 
World War II rages on across Europe, but Maggie Hope has finally found a moment of rest on the pastoral coast of western Scotland. Home from an undercover mission in Berlin, she settles down to teach at her old spy training camp, and to heal from scars on both her body and heart. Yet instead of enjoying the quieter pace of life, Maggie is quickly drawn into another web of danger and intrigue. When three ballerinas fall strangely ill in Glasgow—including one of Maggie’s dearest friends—Maggie partners with MI-5 to uncover the truth behind their unusual symptoms. What she finds points to a series of poisonings that may expose shocking government secrets and put countless British lives at stake. But it’s the fight brewing in the Pacific that will forever change the course of the war—and indelibly shape Maggie’s fate.

My Thoughts:

Maggie Hope is recovering from her previous adventure in Scotland, when she learns of ballerina's being targeted by someone and Maggie thinks of her friend Sarah.  She rushes reluctantly to solve the issue with the ballerina's before Sarah is a target. Will she figure it out in time or will Sarah be next?

This book had so much going on for Maggie we see a darker side of her dealing with all she had been through plus seeing her go and help her friend.  This is a great series for anyone who loves reading about historical fiction especially during WWII.  


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Review: Sealed Off by: Barbara Ross

T

itle: Sealed Off
Author: Barbara Ross
Publisher: Kensinton
Series: Maine Clambake Mystery #8
Format: Paperback ( 246 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

Early October is “winding down” time in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but there’s nothing relaxing about it for Julia Snowden. Between busloads of weekend leaf peepers at the Snowden Family Clambake and a gut renovation of the old mansion on Morrow Island, she’s keeping it all together with a potentially volatile skeleton crew—until one of them turns up dead under the firewood.

When the Russian demo team clearing out the mansion discovers a room that’s been sealed off for decades, Julia’s baffled as to its purpose and what secrets it might have held. Tensions are already simmering with the crew, but when one of the workers is found murdered, things come to a boil. With the discovery of another body—and a mysterious diary with Cyrillic text in the hidden room—the pressure’s on Julia to dig up a real killer fast. But she’ll have to sort through a pile of suspects, including ex-spouses, a spurned lover, and a recently released prisoner, to fish out one clammed-up killer.

My Thoughts:

Julia and her family are winding town their tours for the summer and are having relatives visit the old estate when a feud between Chris's brother Terry and a worker of Sonny's Jason but heads over a girl.  Have old feud's resurfaced?  When Jason winds up dead and Terry is on the hot seat!  We also learn more about Terry's past crime and whether he was wrong convicted.

We also learn more about workers who use to work on Morrow Island and what happened way back when which I loved learning about the workers and things they went through.  It was such a fun end of the summer mystery that I was captivated by the story and loved how it played out in the end!

Can't wait to see what is next in the clambake mysteries!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Review: To Coach A Killer by: Victoria Laurie


Title: To Coach A Killer
Author: Victoria Laurie
Publisher: Kensington
Series: The Life Coach Mysteries #2
Format: Hardcover (304 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

Soaking up a luxurious new chapter alongside her saucy bestie, Cat Cooper plans on emerging as the premier life coach in East Hampton by summertime. All she has to do is survive an offseason replete with desolate beaches, slow business, and murder . . .

As the Hamptons drags through early spring, Cat's shot at becoming the toast of the town in time for Memorial Day is dwindling--and fast. The only client she can find has been housebound for decades and claims to be the victim of a devasting curse. Then there's the matter of Detective Shepherd's intense jealousy over Maks Grinkov, the handsome bad boy who approaches Cat with an unusual offer she can't stop thinking about. Havoc finally breaks loose when a string of murders rocks the coastal community, landing Maks on the hook as the culprit . . .

While the body count rises, Cat goes from life coaching to sleuthing for the truth about Maks's less-than-wholesome background. But after digging deeper, she questions if Detective Shepherd had an unwitting hand in a related homicide case after tangling with the wrong people. With a storm approaching shore and no one to trust, Cat and her sharp-tongued best friend, Gilley, must solve a client's curse and a series of violent deaths before a killer sends them all sailing to their doom . . . 

My Thoughts: 

This book follows Gilley and Cat as they are meeting their first new client who feels he is cursed and Cat is having trouble buying into the curse but using some techniques from Heath to help her client over come his fear and to hopefully rid the curse on him.

When Cat wants to help Det. Shepard solve the murder case of his wife.  She was murdered years ago and her murder happened while she was showing a house.  Who killed her and why?  Is it connected to the Angel of Death?  An assassin who gets paid after a job is completed.  Maks also uses Cat a few times in this which hurts her relationship with Shepard.  Will they ever fix their relationship?

This book was incredible with so much going on.  It was like a total rollercoaster ride which Ms. Laurie always takes her readers on when you open one of her books!  Can't wait to see what is next in the Hamptons!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Review: For Batter or Worse by: Jenn McKinlay


Title: For Batter or Worse
 Author: Jenn McKinlay
Publisher: Berkley
Series: Cupcake Bakery Mystery #13
Format: e-book ARC ( 288 p.)
Source: NetGalley

Description:

The Fairy Tale Cupcake crew must discover the truth behind a death sprinkled with suspicion before Mel and Joe can say "I do", in the thirteenth Cupcake Bakery Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay.

Life is sweet and business is booming at the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery--and the fact that Mel and Joe are getting married is the icing on the cake. Their reception will be held at the swanky resort where Oz works as the pastry chef. The wedding planning is all fun-fetti and games until Mel and Joe meet the head chef at the resort who has been making Oz's life miserable. When the eccentric chef insults Mel's bakery, Oz gets into a blowout argument with the culinary prima donna.

Things turn extra sour when the chef is murdered, and Oz is the police's main suspect. As the countdown to the wedding day begins, Mel, Joe, and the rest of the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew must sift through clues to catch the real killer and clear Oz's name before their wedding plans are totally battered and baked.

My Thoughts; 

Mel and Joe are days away from getting married and are finalizing their wedding along with checking on Mel's worker Oz whose recently joined a new job as a pastry chef in a hotel.  While there they see an altercation between Oz and head chef Miles who seems to be a big Diva Chef,  When he is found dead the next day and Oz is leaning over him it's up to Mel to figure it out before Oz winds up in jail.  Who killed Chef Miles and why?  Was it someone he upset or was he into something much worse?

This book was great fun anytime Angie's brother's are there it is always a riot! Add to the fact Angie and Tate are getting ready for their baby to arrive it's a fun adventure with a great mystery in the middle and Mel is determined to solve it before her honeymoon!  

The players in this book all seem to have questionable agendas.  Some seem to be out for knocking others out so they can be the best chef and leaving others behind in their dust.  That doesn't seem to phase Oz who just wants to create great desserts or Mel who just wants to clear her pastry chef!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Review: The Devil's Bones by: Carolyn Haines


Title: The Devil's Bones
Author: Carolyn Haines
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Series: Sarah Boothe Delaney #21
Format: Hardcover ( 368 p.) personal purchase

Description:

Spunky southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney tackles a thorny murder while away on a girls' weekend.

Sarah Booth and Cece are in Lucedale, Mississippi, where the newly-pregnant Tinkie is treating her friends to a girls' weekend at the fabulous new Bexley B&B. The facials, organics, food, and fitness coaches are supposed to be phenomenal, but Tinkie's primary aim is to attend the Sunrise Easter Services at the incredible Palestinian Gardens, a miniature Holy Land that spreads over 20 acres and has recreations of all parts of Jerusalem—and to speak with the Biblical scholar, gardener, and creator of the Palestinian Garden Daniel Reynolds.

After waking up at the crack of dawn for the service the three friends wander around the gardens, taking in the wonder of entire cities in miniature and the acres of the Holy Land, with the River Jordan winding through it all. The day is brightening when the find themselves at the Mount of Olives—with a dead body.

Daniel identifies the dead man as local lawyer Perry Slay, who was well known for his sly and underhanded dealings, and had plenty of people out for his blood. When Erick Ward, a local pharmacist, is arrested, Sarah Booth takes the case.

As the bodies pile up like a pillar of salt and the suspect list grows as long as the River Jordan, Sarah Booth, Cece, and Tinkie must resurrect the truth before their own lives—and that of Tinkie's unborn child—are endangered. 

My Thoughts: 

Sarah Booth and Cece and Tinkie are on a mini retreat to Lucedale Mississippi enjoying a treat Tinkie gave them Easter weekend!  When the bodies start pilling up Sarah is up to eyes figuring out whose killing people and making it look like the local pharmacist is up to no good.  The problem is Sarah can't see to keep Erik the pharmacist out of trouble or with an alibi as the bodies stack!

This book had everything and Jitty dressed as all sorts of characters.  It was such fun to watch Jitty and Sarah try to figure their way out of this.  Definitely a great Easter story for those who love holiday theme mysteries!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Review: Murder Once Removed by: S. C. Perkins


Title: Murder Once Removed
Author: S. C. Perkins
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Series: Ancestry Detective #1
Format: Paperback ( 319 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

S.C. Perkins' Murder Once Removed is the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and present.

Except for a good taco, genealogist Lucy Lancaster loves nothing more than tracking down her clients’ long-dead ancestors, and her job has never been so exciting as when she discovers a daguerreotype photograph and a journal proving Austin, Texas, billionaire Gus Halloran’s great-great-grandfather was murdered back in 1849. What’s more, Lucy is able to tell Gus who was responsible for his ancestor’s death.

Partly, at least. Using clues from the journal, Lucy narrows the suspects down to two nineteenth-century Texans, one of whom is the ancestor of present-day U.S. senator Daniel Applewhite. But when Gus publicly outs the senator as the descendant of a murderer—with the accidental help of Lucy herself—and her former co-worker is murdered protecting the daguerreotype, Lucy will find that shaking the branches of some family trees proves them to be more twisted and dangerous than she ever thought possible. 

My Thoughts: 

This book follows Lucy Lancaster who works at finding history for her clients.  While working on her latest job when a friend of hers winds up dead thinks it's connected to her work and is determined to unearth who really killed Seth Halloran back in 1849.  Which leads Lucy all over the place to library and ancestry.com to Texas state records going way back to see what happened.  But someone else is determined Lucy get to the truth and quick?  Will she figure it out or will her time run out?

I enjoyed this story with so much going everything from murder to cute agents hanging around her to keeping secrets senators ask her to keep quiet on.  How will Lucy widdle through it all to solve this one.  Well she does and is totally amazing to watch in action an adventure that is worth the risk to read and see if you can solve it before she does!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Review: Coached To Death by: Victoria Laurie


Title: Coached To Death
Author: Victoria Laurie
Publisher: Kensington
Series: The Life Coach Mysteries #1
Format: Paperback ( 352 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

When Catherine Cooper settles in the Hamptons on the heels of a nasty split from her long-time husband, the luxurious coastal community seems like the perfect place to get back on track in style. But as Cat soon discovers, starting fresh on the East End can be deadly . . .

Cat Cooper never imagined selling off her in-demand marketing firm would mean going from the pinnacle of success to a walking hot mess. Gouged from an unexpected divorce, Cat suddenly finds herself struggling through a new career as a business-savvy life coach for the hopelessly adrift in East Hampton and contending with Heather Holland--a spiteful neighbor who will do anything to bully her out of town. But her second act may very well continue behind bars when Heather's dead body turns up next to a shattered punchbowl . . . and Cat's pinned as the murderer.

But given Heather's mean girl reputation, any one of the guests at her invite-only luncheon could have committed the crime before planting Cat's punchbowl next to the body. Determined not to trade designer duds for an unflattering prison jumpsuit, Cat sides with her best friend Gilley to scour chic boutiques and oceanfront mansions in search of the criminal who framed her. With a stoic detective looking to get her in cuffs, it's up to Cat to catch the real killer and land on her feet once again . . . 

My Thoughts: 

This is a spinoff series of M.J and Abby Cooper.  When Abby's newly divorced sister teams with computer extrodinare Gilley anything that can happen will happen.  In this book as Cat Cooper is starting a new company as a life coach she ends up with a client who needs all sorts of help and also Cat and Gilley find themselves investigating a murder of Cat's nasty neighbor Heather Holland.  Who killed her and why?

This book showed the smarts and sass in this book as Cat and Gil work to solve the crime and get Cat out of the hot seat.  It had so much going on and so much we've come to love about Ms. Laurie.  Such a skilled storyteller it pulls you in and makes you feel like your right along with Gil and Cat getting into trouble and watching Cat put the pieces together for this wonderful adventure!

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Review: How To Knit A Murder by: Sally Goldenbaum


Title: How To Knit A Murder
Author: Sally Goldenbaum
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Seaside Knitters Society Mystery #13
Format: Paperback ( 306 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

A mysterious woman arrives in picturesque Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, and the Seaside Knitters welcome her into their cozy world of intricate patterns and colorful skeins. Unfortunately, nothing frays a warm introduction like cold-blooded murder . . . 
 
With her shy manner and baggy jeans, Rose Chopra becomes an unlikely superhero the night she stumbles into Izzy Perry’s shop and inadvertently saves a shipment of yarn from water damage. When the Seaside Knitters help the enigmatic handywoman settle into town and find work at a popular real estate company, Rose proves she can fix just about anything—until a potential homebuyer is killed and she becomes entangled in murder . . .
 
The moment controversial entrepreneur Spencer Paxton is found dead in a pricey ocean-side house, accusations fly at the last person on the property—Rose. But the Seaside Knitters have their doubts. After all, Spencer’s political aspirations as well as his company’s plans to pave over Sea Harbor’s historic art district with luxury apartments earned him some very real enemies . . .
 
Now, Izzy, Birdie, Nell, and Cass must swap knitting for sleuthing as they struggle to move the needle on a twisted homicide case causing turmoil across town. As tensions build in the sleepy New England community and Rose’s secret past unravels, the ladies face an unsettling realization—true victims aren’t always the ones buried six feet under . . . 

My Thoughts:

This book introduces Rose Chopra, Spencer Paxton and Bree MacIntosh who have come back home to Sea Harbor but when Paxton pushes people the wrong way he winds up dead and Bree and Rose are looking like good suspects to his murder.  Could they have something to do with it or is it an old crime that happened and it was time for payment for the crime?  Nell, Izzy and their friends have their work cut out for them when they go back to high school and see what happened way back when!

Rose Chopra was a shy timid girl in high school who excelled at Math but crossed hairs with Spencer Paxton when it came to math and he chose to torment in her in high school so she wouldn't forget she was a nothing and he ruled the school.  Bree Spencer's wife wants almost nothing to do with him.  They are married in license only Bree wants to do her art and stay as far from Spencer as she can.  Could either of these women really have committed the crime?

I love this story it was fun and such a pleasure to go back to Sea Harbor and see what everyone is up to and how they solve the next mystery!  It was such fun to read this book and travel back to high school and see what they uncovered!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Review: If Books Could Kill by: Kate Carlisle


Title: If Books Could Kill
Author: Kate Carlisle
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Series: Biblophile Mystery #2 
Format: e-book ( 280 p.) personal purchase

Description:

Book restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright is attending the world-renowned Edinburgh Book Fair when her ex Kyle shows up with a bombshell. He has an original copy of a scandalous text that could change history—and humiliate the beloved British monarchy.
When Kyle turns up dead, the police are convinced Brooklyn's the culprit. But with an entire convention of suspects, Brooklyn's conducting her own investigation to find out if the motive for murder was a 200-year-old secret—or something much more personal.

My Review: 

This book follows Brooklyn whose in England attending a book fair when she stumbles on an ex of hers who has a book and ends up dead because of it will Brooklyn read her last book or while her time be cut short?

I love this series it's such fun to visit with Brooklyn and Derek and see what they are up to this time it seems Brooklyn has her hands full with her ex Kyle and what is going on with him.  This book was such a fun and exciting read!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Review: #Scandal by: Sarah Ocker


Title: #Scandal
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover ( 416 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...

My Review: 

Lucy is standing in for prom of her best friend Ellie who is sick or is she really.  She ends up on a date with Cole who she has had a thing for him for years, but due to his relationship with her bestie Ellie she has kept her distance but this one night everything gets thrown out the window.

Lucy's phone goes missing and social media being what it is it's not long before Lucy's pictures are everywhere.  Including some questionable ones with Cole.  Lucy finds herself outcast and having to work with other people to try to find out who took her phone and who has shammed her to death.

Meanwhile Lucy's sister Jayla Heart is hitting rock bottom.  Her life is falling apart and she returns home hoping for some solace but she hasn't been completely forthcoming with her family.  Hollywood isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I really enjoyed this book and seeing how Lucy would deal with the social media nightmare!  It was definitely interesting to see it all play out I love how in the end Lucy and Jayla became stronger as sisters and how Lucy ended up with new friends who could care less about the www or #whatever!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Review: Intensity by: Sherrilyn Kenyon


Title: Intensity
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publisher: Nemsis Productions
Series: Chronicles of Nick #8
Format: Hardcover ( 400 p.) Personal Purchase

Description:

It’s a demon-eat-demon world for Nick Gautier. Just when he thinks he’s finally gotten a handle on how not to take over the world and destroy it, Death returns with an all-star cast that is determined to end the Malachai reign and lineage forever. Worse? Death and War have found the one, true enemy Nick can’t find, and even if he did, it’s one he could never bring himself to banish or kill.

Now framed for murders he hasn’t committed, and surrounded by new friends who might be turncoats, Nick is learning fast how his father went down in flames.

The heat in New Orleans is rising fast, and Nick’s threat-level has gone into a whole new level of intensity. He’s learning fast that when War and Death decide to battle, they don’t take prisoners. The don’t negotiate. And they’re both immune to his biting sarcasm and Cajun charm. To win this, he will have to embrace a new set of powers, but one wrong step, and he will belong to the side of Darkness, forever.

My Thoughts: 

Nick's had a bad year and just keep getting better all the time. This time around someone else is causing trouble in Nick's life someone he hasn't met yet and will be his biggest enemy his son.  Who seems determined to end Nick's existence but in the process his son will disappear as well.  Will Nick figure out how to best his unborn kid or will this future child get the best of him.

This book had everything we've known to love about Nick.  From his mom to his demon friends and all those inbetween!  I loved this story and glad to see it will continue in some way.  I felt there was more to Nick than we know.  Definitely a great series for those who love Nick and everything Sherrilyn Kenyon!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Review: Death of A Wedding Cake Baker by: Lee Hollis


Title: Death of A Wedding Cake Baker
Author: Lee Hollis
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #11
Format: Paperback ( 320 p. ) Personal Purchase

Description:

For Matron of Honor Hayley Powell, catching a half-baked poisoner before her friend's wedding will be icing on the cake . . .

Liddy Crawford, best friend of food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell, is getting married. The wedding is the talk of the town in Bar Harbor, Maine, including snide gossip about the age gap between the bride and her groom, local lawyer Sonny Lipton. But the cruelty of the comments is nothing compared to the nasty wedding cake baker, Liddy's quarrelsome cousin Lisa.

So when the belligerent baker is found facedown in a three-tier cake, the victim of a poisoned slice, there are more suspects in town than names on the guest list. With Sonny getting cold feet, Liddy getting hot under the frilly collar of her wedding gown, and a killer possibly crashing the ceremony, Hayley vows to solve the crime before her best friend walks down the aisle . . .

Includes seven delectable recipes from Hayley's kitchen!

My Review: 

This book follows Hayley Powell as she is helping her friend Liddy with her wedding preparations for her upcoming wedding to Sonny Lipton.  There seems to be so many issues with the simple wedding.  When Liddy let's her cousin make her wedding cake which leads to disaster.

When Liddy's cousin winds up dead and the cake she made to Liddy's exact description Liddy has to switch gears to find a new cake and a new baker.  So who killed Lisa Liddy's cousin and why? Was it someone connected to Lisa's past or someone connected to Liddy's wedding?

Sonny is also acting very strange. He keeps failing to keep appointments with Liddy for the wedding.   What is going on with Sonny and why is he acting so strange?

This book was crazy with so much going on.  It felt like needing notecards to keep up with it.  With the Liddy drama and Sonny's disappearance act you felt like something was definitely up and the truth was such a surprise.  I really enjoyed the end!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Review: Tails You Loose by: Carol J. Perry

Title: Tails You Loose
Author: Carol J. Perry
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Witch City Mystery #2
Pages: 365
Format: e-book
Source: Purchase

Description:

Her instincts may be killer--but can she catch one this wicked?

After losing her job as a TV psychic, Lee Barrett has decided to volunteer her talents as an instructor at the Tabitha Trumbull Academy of the Arts--known as "The Tabby"--in her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. But when the school's handyman turns up dead under seemingly inexplicable circumstances on Christmas night, Lee's clairvoyant capabilities begin bubbling to the surface once again.

The Tabby is housed in the long-vacant Trumbull's Department Store. As Lee and her intrepid students begin work on a documentary charting the store's history, they unravel a century of family secrets, deathbed whispers--and a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels hidden right below the streets of Salem. Even the witches in town are spooked, and when Lee begins seeing visions in the large black patent leather pump in her classroom, she's certain something evil is afoot. But ghosts in the store's attic are the least of her worries with a killer on the loose. . .

My Review: 

This book follows Lee Barrett as she is about to begin her next big adventure and new job teaching kids at The Tabitha Trumball Academy of Arts known better to people as The Tabby.  Before she even begins someone is found dead whom Lee's Aunt Ibby knows.  Who killed Bill and why?

As they adventure continues Lee also stumbles upon a lot of history about Tabitha Trumball who spend her remaining years at the Tabby under the guise of being insane!  Nobody knows for sure what happened in the end except for her nurse Megan.

I found this book great it combined history and witchcraft, and all things Salem.  Such a fun adventure to be on Ms. Perry doesn't disappoint.  She makes you feel like your right next to Lee during the whole story!  Can't wait to see what is next for Lee!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Review: Egg Shooters by: Laura Childs


Title: Egg Shooters
Author: Laura Childs
Publisher: Berkley Series: Cackleberry Club #9
Format: e-book ARC (304 p.)
Source: Publisher

Description:

A murder in the local hospital is raising everyone's temperature in the latest book in the New York Times bestselling Cackleberry Club series.
     
Suzanne Dietz, co-owner of the Cackleberry Club Café, is visiting her fiancé, Dr. Sam Hazelet, when a masked gunman bursts into the emergency room. He shoots two people and would probably have done more damage had Suzanne not brained him with a thermos full of chili. Still, the gunman manages to escape.

Now the ladies of the Cackleberry Club are determined to find the killer before he finds them.

My Review:

This book was such a fun adventure following Suzanne and her co-workers at the Cackleberry Club as they are trying to solve an attack at the local hospital where Suzanne was bringing dinner to her soon to be husband.

With a murder going on plus people stealing major drugs all over the place the stakes are high as Suzanne and company try to figure out whose selling drugs and why.  Also Junior makes another wonderful appearance trying to help.

I love this series it's such fun to see what Suzanne and her co-workers are up to.  You never know what you are going to get especially when you add Junior to the mix!

Friday, April 9, 2021

Book Spotlight: Guinevere Triology by: Cheryl Carpinello

 

A beautifully written story with fascinating characters, set in medieval England, and featuring characters of legend like the legendary King Arthur and Merlyn…



By Cheryl Carpinello

Title: GUINEVERE TRILOGY
Author: Cheryl Carpinello
Publisher: Silver Quill Publishing
Pages: 371
Genre: Middle Grade / Teen / Young YA

BOOK BLURBS:

GUINEVERE: ON THE EVE OF LEGEND

Princess Guinevere dreaded her upcoming thirteenth birthday. It signaled the beginning of her official role as the Lady of her father’s castle.
No more adventures in the forest with Cedwyn. No more explorations outside the castle walls. No more excitement. No more danger. No more fun.
Cedwyn—her companion for as long as she remembered—viewed her circumstances differently.
A Medieval coming-of-age story relevant today.

GUINEVERE: AT THE DAWN OF LEGEND

Ancient Stones. Mystical Stones. Autumnal Equinox.
Down upon a wide plain the yellow orb shines strong.
Racing side by side, the two laughingly ride.
A mist descends. The laughing stops.
A dangerous Medieval tale of two friends. Of a loyalty not often seen.

GUINEVERE: THE LEGEND

Fiercely loyal, Cedwyn always rushes to Guinevere’s defense. Stubborn to a fault. Always there for her. A future Knight? His one and only hope. A hero? Not what Cedwyn strove for, but it sought him.

Guinevere rarely thinks with her head. Just the opposite. Thinking with one’s heart: a recipe for trouble. And trouble finds Guinevere, all too often. Stubborn, she refuses to abandon those depending upon her. Even when ordered by her father, the king.

And so these two—both on the edge of Legend—barrel forth in this deadly dangerous and riveting Arthurian adventure.

Guinevere: The Legend is the concluding entry in the Guinevere trilogy by Cheryl Carpinello, a compelling Arthurian tale with strong characters and a story that explores the themes of friendship and loyalty against the backdrop of a society rocked by a crisis. The little children have been kidnapped, and Cedwyn is with them. Guinevere has made a vow to rescue Cedwyn and she leaves home without telling her father, an act that fills her with guilt. But she doesn’t know her bravery might put Cedwyn in harm’s way. She is just fifteen. And eleven-year-old Cedwyn trusts her absolutely, considering her as his queen. He is certain that she’s coming for him and the children. Can she save them from the renegades who hold the children captive? Traveling across the dark waters to the land beyond, Gaul, is perilous. In spite of the grim tales she’s heard from the old wizard Merlyn, will she continue?

This is a beautifully written story with fascinating characters, set in medieval England, and featuring characters of legend like the legendary King Arthur and Merlyn. In this novel, the author deftly develops a tale of adventure that revolves around Guinevere as a young girl and her loyalty to those she loves. The reader encounters her at the very start of the story, poised and on the go, determined to save her friend. Cedwyn is a richly developed young character as well and I enjoyed the way the author develops his friendship and devotion to the protagonist. The writing is filled with strong imagery, including elements of the setting like the rugged landscapes. The author’s unique ability to unveil the strong emotions of the characters and to keep the story realistic is a great addition to the strengths of the novel. The medieval era is reflected in the unique style of conversation and in the beliefs of the characters. Guinevere: The Legend is a gripping tale that keeps the reader turning the pages until the very last one…Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite

 


Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend

Chapter 1

Hunting

 

G

uinevere stared into the shadows along the edge of the forest. She could hear Cedwyn shifting from foot to foot beside her, unable to stand still. She sighed, the bow of sturdy pine in her hand growing heavier like her heart. Her thirteenth Birth Day was in a few days, but she wasn’t excited. Birth Days were supposed to be fun, but not this year. Not for her, not for a princess.

She frowned as Cedwyn adjusted the leather quiver of arrows on his back again. Sometimes, like today, her patience with the nine-year-old was short.

“Guin’ver?”

“Hush!”

“But ...”

“Hush!”

She stamped her foot on the ground, annoyed at being interrupted. “Cedwyn,” she snapped. “What is so important that you can’t be quiet?”

“I’m hungry, and the bottoms of my trousers are damp. Can’t we go back to the castle?” His voice betrayed his hurt at her tone.

Guinevere knew her anger wasn’t with Cedwyn. It wasn’t his fault. The bottom of her green ankle-length tunic, also damp with the morning dew, was starting to make her ankles itch. Her stomach chose that moment to begin grumbling. It started as a low vibration but grew louder as if it hadn’t been fed in days.

Cedwyn heard it and started giggling. He tried to smother the sound by covering his mouth, but he was too late.

Trying to keep from laughing also, Guinevere shook her head. “How are we ever going to shoot a rabbit with all this noise?” She tousled his blond hair to let him know that she was not serious. “Let’s try for just ten minutes longer. Then if we find nothing, we’ll go back. Is that all right?”

Cedwyn nodded, not wanting to make any further noise.

Her eyes wandered across the blue sky. The English summer sun had barely reached above the far hills when they had first arrived at the forest. Now, it was well on its way in its climb toward the dinner hour, and they hadn’t even had a proper breakfast yet. Cedwyn’s mother was sure to be upset that they had been gone so long.

“Come on,” he whispered. “The only creatures we’ve seen moving have been badgers and Cornish hens. We could of had five bloody hens by now.”

“You better not let your mother hear you use that word. Anyway, I told you, it’s good luck to bag a rabbit on the eve of your thirteenth Birth Day,” Guinevere said.

Cedwyn studied her face, unsure if she was telling the truth or not. Then his blue eyes widened, and he grabbed her arm as she turned to continue hunting. “Wait a minute! You promised to help me bag a rabbit on the eve of my tenth Birth Day. You said that was lucky!”

She turned to him, her balled fists on her slim hips. “You need to listen closer when I talk to you. I explained the difference between boys and girls. Boys have to seek luck on the eve of their tenth and fifteenth Birth Days. Since girls are naturally luckier than boys, they only have to seek luck once, on the eve of their thirteenth Birth Day.”

Cedwyn eyed her suspiciously. “But I thought that the eve was the night before. Your Birth Day isn’t until the day after tomorrow.”

“That’s true, but the eve of something can also be anytime close to the day.”

“You sure?”

“Of course I am! Otherwise, what would happen if the day before I didn’t get a rabbit? This way there are more chances to get one. Now, let’s go. I’m sure I saw the grass moving up ahead, and I don’t think it was the wind.” She didn’t mention to him that she needed lots of luck.

Cedwyn obediently followed her, mumbling to himself. “We’re still running out of time.”

They hadn’t gone far when he thought of something else. “Guin’ver?”

She turned, her long brown braid whipping around. “Shh! You will scare the rabbits away!”

“But you also promised to teach me how to hunt with a bow and arrow once you are thirteen.”

“Yes, but if you don’t stop your chatter, I won’t. Do you understand?”

Cedwyn nodded. A slight upturning of his mouth betrayed his satisfaction at her promise.

“Then let’s go.”

He followed, a smile highlighting his chubby cheeks. He then smacked into Guinevere who had abruptly stopped.

“Wha...”

A hand clamped down over his mouth followed by an angry “Shh!”

Cedwyn moved quietly up to her side, his nine-year-old frame coming up to her shoulders. When she looked him, her brown eyes sparkled with excitement in the midmorning light. Her lips formed the word “Look.” His blue eyes followed her out-stretched arm.

There, just beneath the pine trees where the wild grasses grew-- movement. He stared at the spot. Then the tall green stalks bent again, betraying the presence of something beneath.

“How can you tell if it’s really a rabbit?” he whispered.

“See how the stalks move forward a bit and then part?”

Cedwyn nodded.

“Well, the forward movement of the stalks is the rabbit testing out the goodness of the food. And then where the grasses part---that is---when the rabbit stops and starts feeding,” Guinevere said, her pride in her knowledge showing. “Hand me an arrow.” She held out her hand as Cedwyn pulled an arrow from the small leather quiver on his back.

Very carefully, her heart pounding, Guinevere nocked the arrow and steadily drew the bowstring back. Taking a deep breath to steady her arms and calm her heart, she let the arrow loose. She watched the spin of the feathers as the arrow sped to its target like a hawk diving after its prey.

Suddenly a horrendous cry filled the air. Guinevere and Cedwyn jumped into each other’s arms. They crouched on the ground and covered their ears as the shrill cry continued to make their ears ring.

“Wh...what is that?” Cedwyn whispered.

Guinevere shook her head in reply.

And then, a different sound—of something crashing through the grasses and scrub thickets. They inched their way up to peek above the grass. There—crashing and charging around the thickets—the biggest wild boar they’d ever seen.

Cedwyn looked at Guinevere. “Ain’t that your arrow sticking in its side?”

She nodded slowly, in shock that she’d hit anything. For a few moments, they watched as the boar ran first in one direction and then another in what appeared to be a crazed pattern. But Guinevere recognized the pattern: the wounded boar was searching for its hunters .

“Come on,” she said, grabbing his hand. “We have to get out of here now!”

“Why?” Then he had his answer. The boar roared in anger. The ground trembled under their feet as the boar spotted them and barreled straight for them. It had found the culprits responsible for the arrow in its side.

“Run!” Guinevere said, no longer quiet.

Cedwyn needed no further urging. He took off with Guinevere close behind him. The thunderous crashing of the boar through the grasses and scrub brush vibrated through every part of their bodies.

Guinevere chanced a look behind her and realized that the boar was gaining on them. She glanced around. Off to the right was a smaller pine tree that Cedwyn could climb to get up out of danger. He was the slowest, but they were running faster than ever. Guinevere reached for Cedwyn’s shoulder, heard a thud, and her hand found only air. He cried out as he hit the ground. The exposed tree root had claimed its first victim of the day.

She reached down to help him up, but his foot was stuck solid. Seeing the boar grow in size as it got closer, Guinevere’s brain frantically looked for a way to save Cedwyn and herself. If she made enough noise, she could get the boar to follow her into the forest. That would give Cedwyn time to get loose and up the tree.

“I’ll lead the boar away. Get yourself free and then head for that tree.”

Cedwyn looked in the direction Guinevere pointed.

“Get up in it as far as you can go and hang on until I let you know it’s safe to come down. All right?”

Cedwyn nodded, his eyes wide with fear.

“Stay down and be still ‘til you hear from me. Then be quick!”

He nodded again, searching behind them for sight of the boar.

Guinevere jumped and shouted, “Halloo boar! Here I am. Come and get me!” She waved her arms, diverting the boar’s attention to her. Once spotted, she ran. The pounding of its hooves told her the boar was following and, if possible, coming even faster. “Cedwyn! Now!” Guinevere shouted as she dashed for the safety of the trees.

Behind her, the boar charged, pain fueling its rage. Thundering through the grasses and scrub brush, it focused only on reaching the creature responsible for its pain. Behind them, Cedwyn frantically dug and pulled on the root to free his foot.

“Guin’ver! I can’t get loose!”

“You have to! Try harder! Pull harder!”

Cedwyn dug and kicked his foot until he felt it start to loosen. Finally pulling free, he stood up. He could see the boar charging after Guinevere. He ran for the pine tree. Grabbing branches, he pulled himself up until he was too high for the boar to reach.

“I’m in the tree!” he yelled.

Not turning around, Guinevere raised a hand and continued running.

Once in the forest, she slowed to let her eyes adjust to the darkness, and as she waited, the sounds of the boar grew louder. Finally, she could just make out a faint trail. She ran down the path, trying to find some place to hide so that the boar would run past her.

Up ahead was a pine tree with low hanging branches. Using her last bit of speed, she reached the tree and jumped. Her hands grasped a branch; pine needles pricked her skin. She pulled herself up, struggling to breathe, her arms aching from the effort.

Before she could get a good hold, the whole tree shook. Pine needles fell, sticking in her hair and on her clothes. Screaming, she fought to hold on, ignoring the bark cutting into her skin. At least if the boar gets me, I won’t have my thirteenth Birth Day. She didn’t know which would be worse: the boar or turning thirteen.

The boar charged the tree again. Her grip loosened. She screamed louder, suddenly sure that turning thirteen wouldn’t be as bad as facing the angry boar.

“Guin’ver! I’m coming!” Cedwyn’s only answer was another scream from the forest. He loosened his arms and slid down the tree, unmindful of the scratches from the bark.

Guinevere’s right arm flailed above her, blindly searching for a higher branch. Her fingertips brushed the bottom of one sliding through the sap. She stretched up, grasping the branch firmly with one hand. Trying not to think of what would happen if she fell, she let go with her other hand. For just a moment she felt herself slipping down, but her fingers found the branch, and she held on. The boar hit the tree again. It shook hard enough to nearly topple over, and Guinevere screamed once more.

Then she heard another more horrible scream. Its piercing sound traveled up the trunk into her body. Thinking it was Cedwyn, she looked down and saw a rock hit the boar’s side with the arrow. Its angry cry filled the air one last time before the wounded animal ran off deep into the forest.

Guinevere leaned against the rough pine trying to breathe.

“Is it gone? Can you see it?” Cedwyn asked, peeking out from behind a bush.

Guinevere searched the path that the boar had taken. There was no sign of it, and she couldn’t hear it anymore either.

“It’s gone. We’re safe. C’mon out.”

As Cedwyn made his way to her, she climbed down the tree and collasped on the ground, her legs too wobbly to hold her. Both of them were a mess. Guinevere proceeded to brush some of the dirt, pine needles, and small twigs off her clothing. Strands of hair had escaped from her braid, and she tried to tuck them back as she pulled out the pine needles.

Cedwyn plopped beside her, brushing twigs and pine needles off his clothes. Guinevere reached over and rubbed dirt off his cheek. They looked at each other and burst out laughing from relief at still being alive.

“I..thought..we..were...dead!” Cedwyn said between laughs.

“You should have felt that tree shake! I was sure I was the boar’s next meal!” Guinevere paused before adding, “Thank you for coming to my rescue.”

“You saved me too. That’s what friends are for.”

“Yes. I’m only glad that we’re still alive to be friends,” she said, squeezing his hand. “Let’s go. We’re really late now, and we don’t even have a rabbit as a peace offering.”

He nodded. “We’re gonna be in trouble.” Then, as if someone had heard them, upon the wind came a faint but clear voice.

“Lady Guinevere! Cedwyn!”

Grabbing hands, the two ran, fearful of what awaited them at the castle.

Suddenly Cedwyn stopped and pulled Guinevere backwards, almost knocking her down. Grinning, he pointed under a bush at the side of the path. Laughter spilled out from her as she saw their trap in the thicket where they had set it earlier that morning. It was no longer empty. Inside crouched their peace offering: a rabbit! They stuffed the rabbit inside the small leather satchel Guinevere carried; their good humor restored until the wind carried that voice again, this time louder and angrier.

“Lady Guinevere! Cedwyn!

 




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Cheryl Carpinello taught high school English for 25 years. During that time, she worked with numerous students who didn’t like to read for a variety of reasons. However, she discovered that even the most reluctant readers became engaged in the classroom and in reading when she introduced units on King Arthur and the works of ancient world writers. Upon retiring, she set out to write fast-paced, action-filled stories in these setting to encourage young readers to read more. When not writing, you can find her reading, spending time with family, and traveling.

Cheryl’s books:

Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend (1)

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (2)

Guinevere: The Legend (3)

Guinevere Trilogy ebook only

The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table)

Sons of the Sphinx

Tutankhamen Speaks

Grandma/Grandpa’s Tales 1

Grandma/Grandpa’s Tales 2



Website: https://www.cherylcarpinello.com

Blog: carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1






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