Friday, October 13, 2017

Death Overdue
A Haunted Library Mystery
by Allison Brook

It’s time to move on.  Carrie didn’t work her way through library school so she could shelve books.  Besides, she didn’t want to wear out her welcome, staying with her aunt and uncle.  Perhaps coming home to Clover Ridge was a mistake.  When she is offered the head of programs and events she decides to take a chance and remain.  She feels a warm connection from her first program speaker, retired homicide detective Al Buckley, who is there to speak about a local cold case he was working on.  Before his talk can get off the ground, Al collapses and dies. Carrie is devastated and vows to figure out what happened. Little did she know assistance would come from a former librarian. 

This first installment in a new cozy series is peppered with a realistic look into small town politics and library melodrama. Brook’s details of the overall function and maintaining a harmonious work place within a library is spot on and adds to the storyline.  The characters are authentically portrayed including the changes Carrie makes for her new position.  Though I do see her reverting to her former self in future installments, if just for a short period. The characters are fun, devious, and loving. I don’t know if I enjoyed this so much because I felt comfortable within the pages of this book or it was just a good read.  My own experience, working in a library, was very different from Carrie’s and I was blessed to be a part of a staff that managed to work together nicely.  One thing I do know, I am looking forward to the next installment eagerly.

I wish to thank the publisher for generously providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy through NetGalley for my honest review.

ISBN:  9781683313861
Pub: Crooked Lane Books
Pub Date: October 10, 2017

Genre:  Cozy Mystery/Slight Paranormal Twist

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Skeleton Paints a Picture
by Leigh Perry

In the fourth offering of the Family Skeleton series, adjunct professor, Georgia Thackery finds herself teaching at Falstone Art and Design University.  Feeling a bit lonely, having left her daughter and her best friend at her parent’s house, she’s surprised and very happy to find her best friend, Sid, shipped himself to her.  Did I mention Sid happens to be a fully articulated skeleton?  He likes being with her in the snowy north since he can run the snow blower and shovel snow while being completely covered in full winter clothing.  While enjoying his outdoor freedom, Sid discovers a car partially covered in snow with a young woman behind the wheel.  Georgia soon discovers the victim was employed by the university and was secretly investigating possible art theft on campus.

I found this review hard to write.  I don’t know why.  This was a highly intriguing read with Sid at its forefront.  Honestly, everyone should have a friend like Sid.  He looks after Georgia like a best friend should.  Plus, the information regarding the theft of the young student’s work was very interesting.  The back biting and false friendly staff of the English department was too enlightening.  I’m sure a lot of that goes on.  It goes on everywhere.  This is a fun, relaxing read and one that didn’t require a lot of concentration.  A good beach read or even an afternoon by the fire with a cup of tea or better yet, a glass of wine.  I don’t believe a lot of teens would pick this up even with a talk up.  Some might say that due to the story involving students in college, struggling with the woes of college life would entice them.  Though the theft of the student’s work is the basis of the story, I just can’t see teen readers being interested.  That’s just my opinion.  I would still offer it up as a realistic look at college life. 

I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for approving the Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.

Pub:  Diversion Publishing/Diversion Books
Pub Date:  October 10, 2017
ISBN:  97891635760460

Genre:  Cozy Mystery/Paranormal

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Mining for Justice 
by Kathleen Ernst

As a curator for Old World Museum, Chloe Ellefson understands how ‘unstable’ funding is for historical sites.  Her boss reminds her of this every time he sees her. When the opportunity arises to work for a week at the Pendarvis site, she leaps at it.  Unfortunately, the paper runs a story which highlights the lack of funding to keep Pendarvis open spotlighting the major drain of funds as the Old World site.  As the volunteers and some staff realize who she is, Chloe becomes the target for a lot of negative emotions.  She feels it her responsibility to dampen down these emotions while working hard to help put Pendarvis back on stable ground.  When a doctoral candidate, who has been voicing negative comments regarding the running of Pendarvis is found dead at the foot of the stairs in one of the houses, Chloe’s job gets one more item added to her to do list.  Figure out what is really going on at the Pendarvis site.

Once again Ernst lays before us a multi-layered novel enlightening readers with historical details blending them with a contemporary mystery in the middle.  She has a way to bring an unknown thread of the tapestry that makes up our country’s history to the forefront of her story.  The history is thoroughly researched without becoming bogged down in details.  The author’s notes and photos add to the facts she has included in her novel.  Behind the scenes peeks at the trials and woes of museums and working historical sites is solid. The mystery dips its toes into the history storyline but does not overpower it.  Chloe’s ability to ‘sense’ emotions is a nice touch.  Though I don’t believe many teens will be enticed by the basic storylines, I do believe those who enjoy a good historical story mixed in with their mysteries will enjoy them.  Also, fans of Ernst’s younger writings will eagerly pick these up as their reading preference yearns for more meaty storylines.

I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for generously providing an Advanced Reader’s copy for my honest review.

ISBN: 9780738753348
Publisher:  Midnight Ink

Pub Date: Oct. 08, 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017

Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid
A series by Deborah Crombie

For a lady that grew up in Texas, author Deborah Crombie has created a wonderful series that is placed in London and surrounding environs.  I discovered this series when I was busy crocheting baby blankets for friends and family.  I enjoy listening to audiobooks while I clean house or crochet and I downloaded the first title, A Share in Death.  I was immediately hooked and found myself listening to a book every two days.

Gemma is a divorced mom working as a sergeant under Detective Superintendent Kincaid of Scotland Yard.  Juggling life worries, as well as their cases, their human flaws, doubts and wonderful personalities come through clearly.  Though the story lines themselves deal with darkness, there is something so uplifting about these two.  It’s a bit refreshing that neither are alcoholics, drug addicts or on the take.  They are as normal as people can be considering what they deal with on a day-to-day basis. 

At the heart of each book is a typical horrible murder.  However, woven within the main story are always a couple of other stories taking place as the murder is investigated.  It could be a back story that gives you history of the area where the murder takes place or possibly about the family.  It could be a back story or even an ongoing story that involves Gemma and Duncan.  Now, some may feel it sounds as if there is too much going on to keep track of all the storylines.  The truth of the matter is that Crombie is a master at making you feel like you are accompanying these two along on their normal day.  As you settle into the story, you realize it’s no different than anyone else’s life.  We have our work, home and family stories and our friendship’s stories. 

Crombie’s descriptions of the British scenery are so three dimensional, it’s amazing she didn’t grow up in Great Britain.   It doesn’t matter if she takes us along on a shopping expedition on Portobello Road or driving through Scotland.  She gives you the full experience through her prose.

So far there are seventeen titles in the series.  I have listened to fourteen.  My one whine about the audios is the inconsistence of the narrators.  My favorite has been Michael Deehy.  He gives Duncan a wonderfully patient sounding voice that I love.  He even performs the female voices excellently.  Jenny Sterlin is another narrator.  Yes, she is female but gives an excellent performance of all the characters. 

I didn’t purchase these through Audible as I’m not a fan of the whole yearly fee and having to pay for each book on top of that.  I’m retired.  I have a fixed income.  I downloaded them from my library’s Overdrive account.  Contact your local library and they can hook you up.  I’m not saying every library has every title of this series.  Libraries pay for each title just as they would for a book.  I actually paid a fee to get a library card for a neighboring county library because they have a better selection of titles that I am interested in downloading.  I believe you can request a title be added just as you would a book.  Again, check with your library. 

If you haven’t discovered this series, I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I have.  

Thursday, October 5, 2017

by  G. M Malliet

Jillian White moved to England from American and is living in the picture-perfect village of Weycombe.  It’s a quaint little place of everyone’s dreams.  She is lucky enough to be living in a gated community with her titled husband and its posh residents.  As we all know, things are not always what they seem when you get behind the closed doors of the houses.  When the real estate agent turns up dead along the river on the jogging path, Jill decides to take it upon herself to uncover who murdered her. 

Malliet’s story realistically portrays the lives of this quiet little group where everyone thinks they know what is really going on. Malliet keeps you guessing as Jill goes about her day to figure out who is embellishing and who is not giving her all the facts.  Each character is colorfully described and each stand out on their own.  Along with the mystery storyline, Malliet has created a story that deals with a young, contemporary woman who is struggling with issues of self-confidence and a failing marriage.  There are several story lines within this novel and Malliet keeps them moving.  A good contemporary mystery.

I wish to thank the publisher for generously providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy through NetGalley for my honest review.

ISBN: 978738754260
Pub: Midnight Ink
Pub Date:  October 8, 2017

Genre:  Contemporary Mystery

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sleep Like a Baby
An Aurora Teagarden Mystery
by Charlaine Harris

Opening a new Aurora Teagarden mystery is like greeting an old friend after a long absence.  Upon discovery of this series, I consumed the first four in one weekend.  It was so much fun.  Was I excited Harris has revisited the series?  DUH!!  Now Aurora (Roe to her friends) and Robin have dipped their toes into parenthood.  As Robin flies off to an author’s award ceremony, Roe comes down with the flu and she is in desperate need of assistance with baby Sophie.  Roe wakes in the middle of the night to the highly unhappy wailing of her daughter only to discover her help is absent, there’s a body in her backyard and a storm is brewing.  Luckily Roe’s much younger, brother is available to help out.  On top of this mess, her mother’s new husband and Roe’s friend, John has had another heart attack and is in the hospital.  How is Roe going to get through this mess and still find her way around new motherhood? 

Harris is one of those authors that is versatile in her story telling.  She bounces from one storyline to the next.  Vampires, ghosts and murders.  One protagonist that you don’t want to meet in a dark alley and one struck by lightning.  Her characters are varied and she doesn’t often shy from bumping a few off.  If you are a fan of her Sookie Stackhouse series, you might want to give some of her other series a try.  I will give you fair warning, they are nothing like that one.  Each series stands alone.  What is life but a challenge, no?  Go on.  You know you want to. 

I wish to thank the publisher for generously providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy through NetGalley for my honest review.

Pub Date:  September 26, 2017
Pub: St. Martin’s Press
ISBN:  9781250090065

Genre:  Cozy Mystery

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Turkey Trot Murder
by Leslie Meier

We all want to believe that living in a small town will protect our children and keep our family and friends safe.  No drugs, no gangs, no murder.  Everyone gets along and you never need to lock your doors.  Lucy Stone is discovering that drugs are being sold at the nearby community college. Lucy stone is surprised when she learns of a drug problem on the campus of the community college.  Could this be what led Alison Franklin to mistakenly tread on the thin ice that led to her death?  Alison’s dad, the wealthy Ed Franklin, is blaming the influx of immigrants and targeting the new owner Rey Rodriguez and ‘his kind.’  Lucy’s afraid that things are changing in her little town and not for the better.  Not willing to leave things alone, Lucy is determined to figure out who is responsible for the trouble brewing in her town.

In her 24th installment of the Lucy Stone series, Meier turns to the headlines and brings them into the town of Tinker’s Cove.  I don’t normally pick up books that rip themes from the well-trod news but Meier gives her protagonist a backbone and initiative to step up and create change and understanding of these pivotal issues.  She doesn’t get on a soap box and brow beat the issues.  They are treated fairly and diplomatically and wraps it up in a nice little cozy mystery.  Oh, don’t think for a minute that this isn’t gritty.  It has grit and substance but you will walk away with a good feeling of justice being served and friends uniting.

I want to thank the publisher for providing an advanced reader’s copy through NetGalley for my honest review.

Pub:  Kensington Publishing
Pub Date:  September 20, 2017
ISBN:  9781496710307

Genre:  Cozy Mystery