Review Shots: A Tale of Three Kings & Red Harvest

221282 5/5 Broken Stars

ON THE BACK:

For the many Christians who have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other believers, this compelling story offers comfort, healing, and hope. Christian leaders and directors of religious movements throughout the world have recommended this simple, powerful, and beautiful story to their members and staff. You will want to join the thousands who have been profoundly touched by this incomparable story.

SHOT:

Wonderful book on brokenness. I’d never read this author before, but I knew a professor who recommended it very highly. I bought a copy, and I finally got around to reading it. Though short in length, it is powerful, and I highly recommend this for everyone, not just Christian readers!


 

386293 3.5/5 Continental Op Stars

ON THE BACK:

When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty–even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain.

SHOT:

Read this for a class. I enjoyed it, and it was well-written, but I never warmed up to the main character. I don’t believe anyone can honestly warm up to this main character, but I also believe, Hammett wanted it that way. This is definitely a crime mystery classic, and it’s worth the read if you ever get the chance. However, it was certainly not my favorite book.

Advertisements

The Essence of Malice – Ashley Weaver

33602098 4/5 Parisian Stars

On The Back:

The fourth installment in the Edgar-nominated mystery series set in 1930s England.

When Milo Ames receives a troubling letter from his childhood nanny, Madame Nanette, he and Amory travel to Paris where they are soon embroiled in a mystery surrounding the death of a famous parfumier. Helios Belanger died suddenly, shortly before the release of his newest, highly-anticipated perfume, and Madame Nanette, who works for the family, is convinced that her employer’s death was not due to natural causes.

The more Amory and Milo look into the motives of industry rivals and the Belanger heirs who are vying for control of his perfume empire, the more they are convinced that Nanette may be right. When secrets unfold and things take a dangerous turn, Amory and Milo must work quickly to uncover the essence of the matter and catch a killer before the scent goes cold.

My Thoughts:

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Minotaur and Netgalley, but all thoughts stated in this review are my own*

A wonderful book in a truly outstanding series, The Essence of Malice  was wonderful!

I love Amory and Milo, and their relationship dynamic. Their relationship is truly unique, and I like seeing Milo try to remedy his past wrongs. However, I feel that after the tension that permeated their relationship in the first two books left, the strength of their relationship has started going downhill. It is in no way detrimental to the book, but it’s just something I’ve started noticing.

I loved the mystery, it was well put together, and solid. The Belanger family was well-written and I really hope that they reappear in the next book. I loved the change of pace in Paris, also.

Overall excellent, I highly recommend this book and this series!

 

Asking for Truffle – Dorothy St. James

34064623 4/5 Chocolate Truffle Stars

On The Back:

When Charity Penn receives a letter saying she won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina complete with free cooking lessons at the town’s seaside chocolate shop, The Chocolate Box, she’s immediately skeptical. She never entered any contest. Her former prep school friend offers to look into the phony prize–only to end up drowned in a vat of chocolate. Struck with guilt, Penn heads to the southern beach town to investigate why he was killed. But as wary as she is of the locals, she finds herself lured into their eccentric vibe, letting her defenses melt away and even learning the art of crafting delicious chocolates. That is, until delight turns bittersweet as she steps straight into the midst of a deadly plot to destroy the seaside town. Now, only Penn’s quick thinking and a mysterious cask of rare chocolate can save the town she’s learning to love. Rich and decadent, Asking for Truffle, the first in a new cozy series by Dorothy St. James, is sure to be a delectable read for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.

My Thoughts:

An interesting premise, strong characters, an excellently described setting, and so-so mystery all went together to make Asking for Truffle a solid book with a few shortcomings.

I loved the characters. Honestly I went into this book not expecting a lot. I’d never read this author, so (as a general policy) I try to set my standards low. Well, with characters like these my bar was miles too low! Penn was complex, interesting, and fun. I absolutely loved her! Harley and the rest of the characters were also wonderfully diverse and absolutely hilarious!

The setting was excellent, and the premise was extremely unique. I loved it, and I thought the mystery surrounding Penn’s letter was the real mystery in the book. The murder mystery was honestly the only part of the book I didn’t care for. I think it was extremely transparent and I figured the killer out within the first half of the book.

Overall an excellent book I will certainly read the next one and I recommend this one!

Clouds in My Coffee – Julie Mulhern

29844875 5/5 Mr. Coffee Pot Stars

On The Back:

“A sparkling comedy of errors tucked inside a clever mystery. I loved it!” – Susan M. Boyer, USA Today Bestselling Author of Lowcountry Bordello

From a USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

When Ellison Russell is nearly killed at a benefactors’ party, she brushes the incident aside as an unhappy accident. But when her house is fire-bombed, she’s shot at, and the person sitting next to her at a gala is poisoned, she must face facts. Someone wants her dead. But why? And can Ellison find the killer before he strikes again? Add in an estranged sister, a visiting aunt with a shocking secret, and a handsome detective staying in her guesthouse, and Ellison might need more than cream in her coffee…

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, humorous murder mysteries, historical mysteries. Books in the Country Club Murders Humorous Mystery Series: THE DEEP END (#1) GUARANTEED TO BLEED (#2) CLOUDS IN MY COFFEE (#3) Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you’ll probably like them all… Author Bio: Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean-and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is-she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.”

My Thoughts:

Wow. Each book in this series just gets better and better. Clouds in My Coffee was an outstanding book in an excellent series.

I love Ellison. She is absolutely hilarious! She has a spine, and isn’t afraid to tell people what she thinks. I also like Anarchy, though I wish we’d find out more about him. He’s still shrouded in mystery. The new characters introduced in this book; Aunt Sis and Marjorie are also wonderfully written. I hope we see more of them in the next book!

The mystery was excellent, but it takes a back seat to the characters and their problems, which is fine. Some authors try to do this and don’t pull it off. Ms. Mulhern tries it and wonderfully pulls it off!

Overall an absolutely wonderful book. I absolutely can not recommend this enough! I will read the next one!

Bitter Harvest – Wendy Tyson

33009650 4/5 Adirondack Chairs

On The Back:

Megan Sawyer should be shouting from the barn roof. Washington Acres survived its first year, the café has become a hotspot for locals, and Winsome’s sexy Scottish veterinarian is making house calls—only not for the animals. But as summer slips into fall and Winsome prepares for its grand Oktoberfest celebration, beer isn’t the only thing brewing. 

When the town’s pub owner is killed in a freak accident, Megan suspects something sinister is afoot in Winsome—but no one is listening. As nights grow longer and temperatures chill, Megan must plow through Winsome’s fixation with autumn festivities to harvest the truth—before another dead body marks the season.

My Thoughts:

A stunning premise filled with solid characters and a thriller-ish plot, Bitter Harvest was a wonderful sophomore book in this series!

Megan is definitely a strong main character. She knows what she feels, and she doesn’t waiver. Her sleuthing is a little bit more than I typically like, but it works. I like Denver, Clover, Bibi, and the rest of the characters, also. Really the only character I didn’t like was the perpetrator, who I wasn’t supposed to like.

The mystery was strong, ans, as I mentioned, had a thriller feel to it. However, I feel that the ending was rushed. The big picture part of the mystery also feel into a stereotypical cozy mold, which wasn’t my favorite. The setting was wonderful, and the premise of the series is to-die-for.

Overall an excellent book. I can’t wait to read the next one (which I’ve already got an ARC of!) Highly recommend!

On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service – Rhys Bowen

32969127 5/5 Italian Villas

On The Back:

A delightful new Royal Spyness Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Crowned and Dangerous.

When royal sleuth Georgie Rannoch receives a letter from her dearest friend Belinda, who’s in an Italian villa awaiting the birth of her illegitimate baby, she yearns to run to her side. If only she could find a way to get there! But then opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way—her cousin the queen asks her to attend a house party in the Italian Lake Country. The Prince of Wales AND the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding.

What luck! A chance to see Belinda, even if it is under the guise of stopping unwanted nuptials. Only that’s as far as Georgie’s fortune takes her. She soon discovers that she attended finishing school with the hostess of the party—and the hatred they had for each other then has barely dimmed. Plus, she needs to hide Belinda’s delicate condition from the other guests. And her dashing beau, Darcy is (naturally) working undercover on a dangerous mission. Then her actress mother shows up, with a not-so-little task to perform. With all this subterfuge, it seems something is bound to go horribly wrong—and Georgie will no doubt be left to pick up the pieces when it does.

My Thoughts:

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Berkley. All opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.*

A great book is a book that makes me crave more. A book that transports me to the setting, and makes me feel as if I am participating in the mystery. On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service was a truly great book.

Georgie was wonderful. It is absolutely wonderful to see how much she’s progressed and matured throughout the series. She’s almost like a different character, but it isn’t bad. It’s wonderful. I really love the other characters, too. Darcy is great, though I wish the whole Georgie/Darcy marriage thing would be resolved soon!

The mystery was excellent, though slightly predictable. It had tons of parts that fit together nicely. The setting was absolutely a joy to read about. I loved the Italian aspect and how it’s incorporated into the entire plotline.

Overall an absolutely standout book in a series that I absolutely love! I can’t wait to see how Ms. Bowen pulls off Georgie and Darcy’s marriage! If you are looking for a series that connects fiction with real events, then the Royal Spyness mysteries are most certainly for you.

A First Date With Death – Diana Orgain

22668758 4.5/5 Mansion Stars

On The Back:

Reality TV meets murder in the first in a new mystery series from the author of the Maternal Instincts Mysteries and co-author the New York Times bestselling Scrapbooking Mysteries.

When brokenhearted Georgia Thornton goes looking for romance on reality TV, she has nothing to lose—apart from a good man, a cash prize, and maybe her life… 

What was Georgia thinking? Sure, some cad ditched her at the altar, but can she really find love on TV? Her best friend—and producer of the reality show Love or Money—thinks so. Ten men. Ten adventure-filled dates. What can go wrong? For starters, a faulty bungee cord that hurls Georgia’s first date into a tragic spiral off the Golden Gate Bridge.

He’s replaced by Paul Sanders, Georgia’s former fiancé. But the cop isn’t looking for a TV gig. Suspecting that the lover’s leap was no accident, Paul’s going undercover. When another bachelor gets a fatal kiss-off, the reality is that someone has killer new plans for the show—and for Georgia herself. Now, under the threat of permanent cancellation, Georgia fears that the only man on the set she can trust is the one man she just can’t count on…

My Thoughts:

Wow. I opened this book because I thought it was an interesting premise for a cozy series. To be honest, I set my standards low; I’ve never read anything by this author and the book’s theme seemed slightly superficial. Wow, again. This book was anything but superficial. I absolutely loved it!

Georgia was an absolute gem. She basically played a bachelorette, but she was anything but ditzy. She was smart, strong , and a former police detective, all of which blended together to create a fantastic MC. Scott was also a great character, he had tons of layers and was definitely a well-rounded character.

The mystery was excellent. I absolutely had no clue who the killer was until the reveal, and the entire plot was wonderfully plotted. I wasn’t sure about the premise; a Bachelor-type reality TV show? I didn’t know what to think, but it was amazing! I loved it, and I especially loved the way the author incorporated it into the entire plot. I was genuinely interested to see who would win the show!

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how this book would be, but I am extremely glad I picked it up. I highly recommend it, and can’t wait until the next one! A perfect summer beach read!

Dead in the Water – Annelise Ryan

30324949 5/5 Waterlogged Stars

On The Back:

Deputy coroner Mattie Winston is starting to feel like she’s in way over her head . . .

As the single mom of an energetic toddler and an investigator working for the medical examiner’s office in small-town Sorenson, Wisconsin, Mattie is used to her life being a juggling act. But now that she’s moved in with Detective Steve Hurley and his teenaged daughter Emily, and has started planning their wedding, her home life is looking more like a three-ring circus. And with her boss and friend, Izzy, suddenly having a health crisis, she could not be more grateful for the newest staff member in the ME’s office, Hal Dawson.

All too quickly her gratitude turns to shock when a floating body found trapped against a dam turns out to be Hal, but the cause of death isn’t drowning—his throat’s been slashed. Hal was supposed to be fishing on his day off with his girlfriend. And when their empty boat is found in a nearby lake, the whereabouts of the woman becomes an even more urgent question.

To find out what really happened to her coworker, Mattie may need to rock the boat. But a killer is just as determined to keep the truth from ever surfacing, even if that means making Mattie the next one to go under.

My Thoughts:

I’ve waited for a long time for this book, then I decided to wait longer. Now, I wish I had waited even longer because the next one doesn’t come out until next year! Dead in the Water was an absolutely electrifying book. Filled with spine-chilling moments and relatable characters, it was a winner!

I love Mattie. Absolutely love her. She’s funny, honest, and, most importantly, real. Mattie is the type of character you’d expect to see in life, there is absolutely no stiffness when it comes to her. Hurley has definitely matured and evolved since his introduction into the series, and I really like him. I also love Emily and Matthew, both of which add another dimension to the plotline that wasn’t there before.

The mystery was excellent. It was really something I’d expect to find in a more thriller-ish book, but it was superb. It finished off with a cliffhanger, though, so we’ll have to see how it ends up when Dead Calm comes out next year.

Overall superb. One of my absolute favorite series, and a series I can’t recommend enough. Please, do yourself a favor and read these books. Highly recommend!

Death of a Lobster Lover – Lee Hollis

32451963 4/5 Lobster Stars

On The Back:

Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell is off on a girls’ getaway with her two best friends. But soon they’ll have to get away from a killer

The quaint fishing village of Salmon Cove, Maine, seems like the ideal location for a girls’ weekend with Hayley’s gal pals, Liddy and Mona. Liddy’s on the rebound from a breakup, but when she meets a handsome tourist, it looks like a little romance might liven things up.

Unfortunately, Liddy’s new sweetheart is found dead on the beach the next morning at the town’s Lobster Bake, next to an overturned cooking pot. The liberated lobsters may be scrambling back to the sea, but Hayley’s not about to let a murderer escape so easily. To crack the case, she’ll need to blow the lid off some serious undercover activity–or risk becoming ensnared in a killer’s trap…

Includes seven delectable recipes from Hayley’s kitchen!

My Thoughts:

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Kensington and Netgalley*

A delightful new book that picks up where the series left off, Death of a Lobster Lover was an exciting book that I enjoyed!

Hayley Powell is one of the few MCs that makes me laugh out loud. Her shenanigans and crazy wit, make her a joy to read about. I also love how she unapologetically investigates any happenings in her town (or in this book’s case, her vacation town). I really love Mona, though I wish we’d get to see her husband! He’s always talked about, but I can’t remember ever meeting him (though with eight previous books, I could’ve forgotten!).

The mystery was solid, and it deviated from the cozy norm–which is a good thing! I didn’t guess the different components until the end, and I loved how the authors pieced it together! Really the only part I didn’t like in the book was the setting. Though it was beautiful, I feel like Bar Harbor adds a certain charm to the books, that this book was lacking.

Overall an excellent book in a series that I love. Highly recommend!

Identity – Ingrid Thoft

18693737 5/5 Unidentified Stars

On The Back:

“Thoft’s gripping sequel…A quirky and empathetic heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a surprise ending make this a winner.”
Publishers Weekly

Firecracker P.I. Fina Ludlow returns in the next hard-driving entry in the acclaimed series by Ingrid Thoft.

It’s been a couple months since Fina’s last big case—the one that exposed dark family secrets and called Fina’s family loyalty into question—but there’s no rest for the weary, especially when your boss is Carl Ludlow.

Renata Sanchez, a single mother by choice, wants to learn the identity of her daughter Rosie’s sperm donor. A confidentiality agreement and Rosie’s reticence might deter other mothers, but not Renata, nor Carl, who’s convinced that lawsuits involving cryobanks and sperm donors will be “the next big thing.” Fina uncovers the donor’s identity, but the solution to that mystery is just the beginning: within hours of the case going public, Rosie’s donor turns up dead.

Fina didn’t sign on for a murder investigation, but she can’t walk away from a death she may have set in motion. She digs deeper and discovers that DNA doesn’t tell the whole story and sometimes, cracking that code can have deadly consequences.

My Thoughts:

Fast paced, engrossing and entirely readable, Identity was a simply amazing book that I devoured.

I absolutely love Fina. She is one of the strongest characters I have ever read, and I love her interactions with her family (especially her father.) Some changes happened in her relationship with Christian, and I hope that plot line continues with the next book. The rest of the cast is all excellently written,

The mystery was plotted wonderfully. I didn’t really expect the killer until the end, even though there was a limited pool of suspects. I love the dedication Fina has for her job, and I love that the author shows that being a PI is a viable business.

Overall a superb book. I can’t wait to read the next one! Highly recommend.