Icon Tag: Mystery

2 Mini Book Reviews

Posted September 15, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

2 Mini Book ReviewsSerenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point #6
Published by HQN Books on June 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 377
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In the town of Haven Point, love can be just a wish — and one magical kiss — away…
Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he’s arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realises there’s more to sexy, wary Bo.
Bo never imagined he’d be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn’t know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he’s ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there’s room in it for him, too…

A story about a young teacher who is in the process of re-evaluating her life and in the middle of adopting a special needs girl from Columbia when she meets Bowie Callahan – a computer-tech millionaire and his special needs brother.

Reading a Thayne book is like coming home to a sweet cup of warm chocolate. The story is lovely, warm and sweet. I found myself drawn to the two people who were trying hard to find a way to deal with the new developments in their lives.

Katrina had sworn off men due to her boyfriend dumping her on their trip to Columbia and all she wants to do is adopt a little girl she met on her trip and become her mother. Bowie just found out about Milo his young brother who has a possible case of Autism and hopes that Katrina could help him while he awaited the Autism specialist. The attraction between the two had a rocky start, but I loved watching it grow between them through the story and enjoyed seeing these two develop as characters.

The ending was super sweet and heart touching.

2 Mini Book ReviewsThe Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere
Series: Mad for Mod Mystery #4
Published by Henery Press on April 18th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 264
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help to deal with her demons.

She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends, pillow talk with Hudson, and smack talk with the local bad boys. And after the victim is identified as the very doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. An unlikely ally helps navigate the murky waters before her knowledge destroys her, and this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life.

“If you love Doris Day, you’ll love Madison Night, decorator extraordinaire. She specializes in restoring mid-century homes and designs, and her latest project involves abductions, murder and vengeance.” – Books for Avid Readers

“Diane Vallere…has a wonderful touch, bringing in the design elements and influences of the ’50s and ’60s era many of us hold dear while keeping a strong focus on what it means in modern times to be a woman in business for herself, starting over.” – Fresh Fiction

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), humorous murder mysteries, book club recommendations, amateur sleuth books, southern humor, Doris Day, chick lit.

Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with her beau and handyman Hudson James. The two travel to Hudson’s sister and brother-in-law to help with the new development that his brother-in-law is in
Charge of.

Things were suppose to be easy with designing by day and romantic get away at night, but when Madison spots a body in the water – things prove a little more difficult. Now Madison finds herself tangled in deeper secrets, and a few of them are pointing back towards the new development.

Cute, cozy mystery, really awesome easy to love main-character and this entire book was just an easy read. The story was interesting, it kept me hooked. The writing was entertaining and has made the series sound extremely promising.

I have not read the other books in the series but I loved this enough to make sure I pick up any other follow-up because Madison Night and her Doris Day wardrobe obsession is my kind of girl. Her personality alone was charming and addictive.

If you are looking for a good cozy mystery, I recommend this one for you to try.

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Audio Review: Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich Lorelei King (narrator)

Posted September 12, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 20 Comments

Good morning/afternoon! Hope you guys are having a good day. Can you believe its Sept 12 already? Wow. Tomorrow is my nieces birthday and I am super excited because we get to see her for her birthday on Sunday. As we live 4-5 hours away, we only get to spend a little precious time together. Today I have Sophia Rose on the blog and she delivers us an audio book review of Janet Evanovich interesting new series. Like Sophia, I’ve been meaning to try her books for a really long time as well. I think I am just good at collecting books over reading them. Regardless, enjoy her lovely review!

Audio Review:  Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich Lorelei King (narrator)Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich, Lorelei King
Published by Random House Audio Publishing Group on June 20th 2017
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 6 hours 44 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The irrepressibly charming duo of Emerson Knight and Riley Moon returns in another gripping mystery by #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.
Buddhist monk Wayan Bagus lost his island of solitude and wants to get it back. The island was about two hundred miles northeast of Samoa. It had a mountain, beaches, a rain forest, and a volcano. And now it’s gone. Poof! Vanished without a trace.
Brilliant and boyishly charming Emerson Knight likes nothing better than solving an unsolvable, improbable mystery. And finding a missing island is better than Christmas morning in the Knight household. When clues lead to a dark and sinister secret that is being guarded by the National Park Service, Emerson will need to assemble a crack team for help. Since a crack team isn’t available, he enlists Riley Moon and his cousin Vernon. Riley Moon has a Harvard business degree and can shoot the eyes out of a grasshopper at fifty feet, but she can’t figure out how to escape the vortex of Emerson Knight’s odd life. Vernon has been Emerson’s loyal and enthusiastic partner in crime since childhood. He now lives in an RV behind Emerson’s house.
Together, this ragtag, mismatched trio will embark on a worldwide investigation that will expose a conspiracy one hundred years in the making.

For years, I’ve been meaning to try a Janet Evanovich book. I thought it would be her acclaimed Stephanie Plum series, but then this one which was only two books in, caught my eye and, yes, I confess, it was because I adore Lorelei King as a narrator.

I was a little concerned that I was picking up the second book in a series, but shrugged it off. Dangerous Minds ended up doing just fine out of order and would work as a standalone.

The book opens with a startling arrival to wealthy Emerson Knight’s estate. His former mentor, a soft-voiced Buddhist monk states that his island home disappeared. Of course, it was funny, but also set the ball in motion for eccentric Emerson, redoubtable Riley, along with Emerson’s hilarious horn-dog cousin Vernon, and the monk, Wayan, to head out on their latest adventure.

Throughout the book, I found myself bursting out with laughs, mostly at Vernon’s juvenile humor, but nearly as often at Emerson. Evanovich knows how to write brilliant, quirky and engaging characters.

The setting for this latest case is America’s Nat’l Parks that contain volcanic action. I loved this, particularly, since I just spent a bit this past summer camping at a Nat’l Park and exploring its volcanic region and I’ve been to Yellowstone, twice, where lots of the story took place.

This is a lighter suspense story with the bad guys evident from the beginning, but the mystery of what they are hiding in the national parks being the unknown element. There are a few ‘ew’ moments when things get gritty, but for the most part, the intrepid gang of heroes manage to keep life and limb intact while cheesing it up.

There is a very slow-build romance element between Emerson and Riley, but the situation they are in causes this to stop and start its way along. They are a fun pair of opposites.

Lorelei King told a saucy adventure well and I loved that though there are many more male voices than female, she nailed it. Great match for the tone and pace of the book.

So, my first outing with a Janet Evanovich book was a rousing good success and I will definitely want more Knight & Moon adventures. I think the cozy mystery and light romantic suspense lovers would be a good fit for this book/series.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Depth of Lies by E.C. Diskin

Posted September 7, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 20 Comments

Review:  Depth of Lies by E.C. DiskinDepth of Lies by E.C. Diskin
Series: standalone
Published by Thomas & Mercer on September 26th 2017
Genres: Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 288
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“A brilliant examination of the shadows lurking in every relationship and what happens when you step into the darkness.” —Mindy Mejia, author of Everything You Want Me to Be
When Shea Walker, a sunny, easygoing mom, is found dead in a bathtub with a stomach full of booze and pills, the shocking discovery shatters the complacency of her comfortable suburban community.
Kat Burrows, Shea’s longtime friend and former neighbor, is hit hardest. How could a woman she thought she knew so well come to such a sordid end? What could lead happy, well-adjusted, responsible Shea to accidentally overdose on alcohol and narcotics? Or, worse, drive her to suicide?
Compelled to uncover the truth of Shea’s final months, Kat delves beneath the orderly surface of her familiar world to discover a web of thwarted desire, shameful secrets, and shocking betrayal that suggests a scarier explanation for what happened to Shea. As her carefully constructed reality begins to crumble, Kat must question every reassuring assumption her life is built upon to solve the mystery…and summon the courage and resourcefulness to survive it.

A group of friends come together after one of their own is found in a B and B bath tub dead with her belly full of booze and pills. As everyone is ready to dismiss the Shea’s death as suicide, Kat is unable to shake the feeling that something else entirely is going on here and she cannot leave back home until she finds the truth.

This was an interesting read, the story follows Kat as she tries to unfold the lies and get to the bottom of the truth to what really happened to her best friend and we also get to see Shea’s part of the story with the events leading up to the death with the big collision that reveals everything in the end.

I really enjoyed this format. I think it was easy to follow and it made the book hard to put down. The storyline was interesting and it kept my attention. The friends had a lot of skeletons in their closet and it was interesting to see how a tragedy could reveal some very dirty laundry.

I liked how loyal Kat was to her friend and that she did not believe that Shea would kill herself and stuck with her gut feeling. I did find that her loyalty could be felt as overwhelming at times because she was really prying into some personal things and re-opening really fresh wounds.

I was also struggling with how open Kat was at times. I understand that she had no reason to suspect any of her friends, but she basically kept telling everyone what she learned of Shea and some of the dirty secrets including to her widowed husband. I felt like at times she didn’t even understand the damage she could be causing, especially to Shea’s husband Ryan due to all the things he didn’t know about his wife and it was like rubbing salt on an open wound. Regardless, in the end that is probably the only thing that saved her life when the mystery was unrevealed.

Overall, an interesting read, fast paced and easy to follow. The ending was definitely not what I expected, so there is a twist.

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Review: The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter

Posted May 25, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 32 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  The Kept Woman by Karin SlaughterThe Kept Woman: A Novel by Karin Slaughter
Series: Will Trent #8
Published by William Morrow on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
Pages: 480
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Husbands and wives. Mothers and daughters. The past and the future.


Secrets bind them. And secrets can destroy them.

The author of Pretty Girls returns with an electrifying, emotionally complex thriller that plunges its fascinating protagonist into the darkest depths of a mystery that just might destroy him.
With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop.
Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn't belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found.
Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away.
But the worst is yet to come. Evidence soon links Will’s troubled past to the case . . . and the consequences will tear through his life with the force of a tornado, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues.
Relentlessly suspenseful and furiously paced, peopled with conflicted, fallible characters who leap from the page, The Kept Woman is a seamless blend of twisty police procedural and ingenious psychological thriller -- a searing, unforgettable novel of love, loss, and redemption. 
 

Okay, I am kicking myself for not giving Karin Slaughter a try sooner. If you love Crime, Thriller or gritty Mystery and you have not read this author before, you really need to give her a try. This was my first book by Karin Slaughter, but it will not be my last.

The story follows a murder of an ex-cop at an abandoned construction site. A murder that might also be linked to a very wealthy, very powerful and politically connected athlete that has all the money in the world to protect him. A man that Will has already tried to put away due to a rape and has used that power to get away with.

But things are not always what they seem and the crew is about to step into something a lot more dangerous. When a ton of blood at the crime scene implicated Will’s “ex” wife, not only is this case a lot more personal, but a lot more is riding on it.

Wow.. Oh…Wow… I totally adored this. I loved the way the book started with a sneak peak into a scene that sets up the entire investigation. Just as Will, his boss Amanda and partner Faith start to uncover something – there is a brief pause as the author goes back and reveals what had actually transpired through Will wife Angie’s side of the story. It was so messy that it’s scary to think what people with enough money and power can get away with. Angie was a fixer, who got herself involved with the wrong group of people in order to save her daughter. I didn’t know how to feel about Angie, her character was seriously messed up. She had good intentions for sure, but her weird stalking of Sarah (Will’s new girlfriend) and possession of Will was a bit uncomfortable.

That being said, Slaughter is really good at making you feel uncomfortable. The book is definitely not for the faint of heart. The author is really good at the dark and gritty and messy murders. She has really amazing skill at unfolding the story and making the pieces fit together like a great big puzzle. I was left gaping by the end of the book because just as I was starting to think I knew what was going on, nope, she threw in a curve ball.

Her characters are amazing and so human. So flawed, but they feel super real and believable. The entire book was just enjoyable.

I did take a star off only because despite me loving the curve ball and the ending – I was a bit reserved on the plausibility of it.

Regardless, I am looking forward to more from this author and definitely revisiting her other books. Because her writing is great and just hooks you from the very first page.

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Review: Where the Dead Lie

Posted April 24, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 31 Comments

Review: Where the Dead LieWhere the Dead Lie by C.S. Harris
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr #12
Published by Berkley on April 4th 2017
Genres: Historical Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

London, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is no stranger to the dark side of the city, but he's never seen anything like this: the brutalized body of a 15-year-old boy dumped into a makeshift grave on the grounds of an abandoned factory. One of London's many homeless children, Benji Thatcher was abducted and tortured before his murder—and his younger sister is still missing. Few in authority care about a street urchin's fate, but Sebastian refuses to let this killer go unpunished. Uncovering a disturbing pattern of missing children, Sebastian is drawn into a shadowy, sadistic world. As he follows a grim trail that leads from the writings of the debauched Marquis de Sade to the city's most notorious brothels, he comes to a horrifying realization: Someone from society's upper echelon is preying upon the city's most vulnerable. And though dark, powerful forces are moving against him, Sebastian will risk his reputation and his life to keep more innocents from harm.

Phew, I feel like I have the hardest time writing this review.

This was my first Sebastian St. Cyr book (despite the fact that it is #12), I have been meaning to read this series what feels like forever so when I was offered it for review? Yes, please.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very atmospheric, but in the heart of it all it is very much so character driven. Could it be read as a standalone? I think so, yes, but and I warn you, you will miss a lot of the character’s back story. Outside of the main mystery, there is a ton going on in the character’s personal life and although I was able to keep up, I felt a little out of the loop.

Despite all that, I was still able to enjoy the book. If I was good at trigger warnings, which I am not, I caution you to go into this knowing it’s a bit of a dark side. Again, this book took me completely out of my comfort zone and I did not find this easy to read. Why? This book deals with the murder of children, rape, flogging and just some really touchy subjects which all of it deals with with like young children around 12-14 year old – so it can be a bit uncomfortable.

This book did have a meaning behind its writing and it was for the author to shed some light on basically street children and how it use to be and the fact that the numbers are still prevalent even in todays society. The horrors, the battles, the means through which they would go through just to survive – I felt there was a message. Despite the fact that it made me feel uncomfortable, it felt realistic.

I read the author’s note and in itself I felt like it was a must read with this kind of a book. She talks about how the research is done, what is fact and fiction and how it was used in her book. It just ties a lot of stuff together, I felt it was important.

As far as the plot goes. It was interesting. I really loved Sebastian and following him as he unraveled the clues to the murders. It was just at times, hard to read, as to me it did feel dark. But, it was good, the writing itself was beyond excellent. Harris is just a really talented writer and has a great way with words. Every sentence just felt so perfectly crafted. I just felt that it was so good, so, so good.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story – despite the fact that it pulled me out of my comfort zone. I found myself rooting for Sebastian to find the killer and avenge all those poor children. As much as it was unsettling, I felt the author did an amazing job. The writing in itself was just brilliant. The characters will stay with me. I will continue this series.

The ending though, ugh… Left a lot of things on the table, it’s not over.

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Review: Bel of the Brawl by Maggie McConnon

Posted March 2, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 21 Comments

Review:  Bel of the Brawl by Maggie McConnonBel of the Brawl by Maggie McConnon
Series: Belfast McGrath Mystery #2
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on March 7th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Bel McGrath loves her work as a wedding chef. But with her latest event set to take place at Shamrock Manor, she just can't seem to catch a break. The Casey wedding has left her with ten thousand greenbacks in the hole, a missing staff member, and a dead groom. Now, in between Guinness beers and pub brawls, Bel must find a way to crack the case--even though what she should be cracking are eggs into the batter of the wedding cake. A good Irish girl's work is never done. . .
What begins as local town fodder for an episode of "Wedding Gone Wild" is turning into "Gangsters with Guns." With the Casey family spiraling out of control, and billable McGrath hours being lost by the minute, Bel is definitely in too deep. With all these shenanigans, she barely has time to obsess over her new boyfriend and her own unsolved mystery from years ago! Time is running out on getting the next couple down the aisle before the so-called luck of the Irish takes a deadly turn... Bel of the Brawl will keep Maggie McConnon's fans, new and old, guessing.

When I first saw the blurb for Bel of the Brawl, I knew I had to read it. It’s a cozy mystery, set in a small town. It focuses on Bel and her family who owns the Shamrock Manor (seriously, I love the name) the family is also very Irish. I didn’t read book one, but I kind of get the feel for it in the second book. There has been a murder and Shamrock Manor is suffering a little because it’s a wedding place, so the brides and grooms have a bit of reservation when it comes to booking their wedding. It also doesn’t help that when they do book, Bel’s father gives them massive discounts.

After managing to book the wedding, despite some obvious concerns, things seem to go smoothly until the end of the wedding when Bel discovers the groom – dead in the women’s bathroom. Now the tip money from the wedding is missing, along with one their server’s, and Irish gangster’s are breaking into Bel’s apartment. Can she sort through all the lies flung at her and uncover the real killer?

This was a quick read. I really appreciated the quick short chapters, with my schedule it just seemed to work out well for me. What I liked most about this book is the sibling relationship between Bel and her brother Cargan. The two are very close in this book and are working on the mystery behind the murder and the disappearing banquet server together.

This book was filled with interesting characters, from Bel’s mother and father to her brothers. I really adored the family and the closeness and how they seem to look out for each other. I absolutely adore the way her mother complains about Bel’s cooking, because Bel likes to branch out and try thing that are outside of her parents or Irish comfort zone.

I followed Belfast (loved her name) as she sorted through the lies and was bold enough to approach some people that she never should have.

Also, there is a secondary ongoing mystery in this series with Bel’s long lost best friend Amy. A girl who disappeared years ago and seemed to have shaken the little town. In this book it seems remains have been uncovered and Kevin (Bel’s friend, ex boyfriend) believes that this might be Amy. New evidence has come to light about that night also that shake Bel’s world.

What didn’t I like?

I found myself a bit peeved at Bel and Kevin. In this book Kevin is also getting married to what seems to be a wonderful woman, but because of the connection they share over this mystery with their disappearing friend – Kevin and Bel find themselves in a lip lock not once but twice now. I guess, that bothers me a bit. Bel has some unresolved feelings for Kevin and Kevin seems to as well – but they are also indirectly hurting Kevin’s soon to be wife, who seems to be Bel’s friend and a wonderful person.

The pacing was interesting, but there seem to be a few things I was left unsure of. I wanted to know what happened to the Irish Gangster and the man that was helping him, Donnie.

The reveal was weird and also felt a bit anticlimactic. If you are looking for a cozy mystery that is really just a bit subdued – this will be for you. Also, I wasn’t sure I was 100% on the same page about the reason behind the murder.

But it was cozy, and it did feel like a page turner for me. I didn’t find this boring at all.

Overall, I loved the Irish family dynamics. I loved the secondary mystery lurking in the background and I enjoyed the authors laid back writing. This series comes with well fleshed out characters, some sibling love and an interesting mystery. I did enjoy following the clues and meeting the town locals. I am looking forward to seeing where this takes us next.

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