Set in South Dakota in a small college town, big city drama arrives with a murder of a freshmen in the theater. Emmeline Prather was his English professor and she felt like she was just getting to know this young man but can't imagine why anyone would want him dead. With the help of another professor, Lenny Jenkins, she is determined to find the killer while putting herself in danger.
I had sympathy for the victim, his life had been the family farm and his small high school. Away from home and at college is a huge change for everyone, but he was having trouble finding his place. Em knew he was trying to join a fraternity and her first thought was a hazing incident gone wrong may have been how the student met his demise. The more she and Lenny dug into the case more possibilities and suspects came to light.
As for Em, she impressed me as an amateur sleuth. She is a smart woman and doesn't back down. She followed the clues through several twists very realistically. I was totally surprised where the clues led and the drama that ensued in pursuit of justice.
I like her relationship with Lenny, it brings a little levity to the story. They work well together and exchange a few barbs along the way. I am excited to see where the author takes these characters in the future.
This series is off to a great start. The mystery is complicated and believable. The characters are real with plenty of room to evolve. The setting is intriguing with a huge pool of people to draw into future stories. Mary Angela is an author to watch. I am excited about upcoming installments to this story.
The first book in the Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries introduces readers to Lyndsay Murray. Her lifelong dream has been to open a West Indian bakery featuring food and using recipes from her Grenadian history. The bakery is set to open in the Little Caribbean neighborhood, of Brooklyn, New York. She is so excited to be working alongside her parents, grandmother, and even her brother who is helping out with the opening.
The bakery's opening day arrives and is very well received by everyone in the area except Claudio Fabrizi, who owns and operates another bakery a few blocks away. He doesn't want any competition even though the new bakery is offering very different choices from what he serves at his place. He barges into the Spice Isle Bakery spewing threats and just being nasty. Lyndsay has been dealing with the man for weeks and has had enough. She comes around the counter and has a serious verbal altercation with him in front of a room full of her customers. So when Claudio is found murdered the next day, Lyndsey finds herself at the top of the suspect list, Before her lifelong dream goes up in smoke she has to find the real killer and fast.
I love that this story features a tight closely knit family. Lyndsay starts out pretty meek and mild but over the course of the book her self confidence grows exponentially. It was a pleasure to see this happen. Her grandmother is also a treasure. Sitting at a table crocheting, ready to jump in and help in any way possible. She is not afraid to speak her mind or give a push or a shove to get anyone moving in the right direction. Her parents are hard workers who love their daughter and want to help her succeed. Her father is in charge of the Caribbean music played at the bakery and Lyndsay knows his emotions through the songs he plays. Her brother Dev, a junior partner of an international law firm has taken time off to help during the opening week. Family always comes first and they back it up in both their words and actions. All are cleverly written and evolve nicely throughout the story, leaving plenty of room for growth as the series continues.
The mystery was complex with more suspects than I first imagined. Claudio Fabrizi was not a nice man. He was cantankerous and rude. No wonder his business was going down the tubes. Filled with twists and turns Lyndsay followed the clues, asked some great questions, and did her best to solve the mystery. Like me, she was surprised when the guilty party revealed themselves, but her actions in the showdown were absolutely epic and had me cheering.
I really enjoy Ms. Matthews's descriptive writing style. She sets a scene so well without getting overly wordy. I could easily imagine each place Lyndsay went. I could hear the music and smell the food. All the food served at the Spice Isle Bakery was new to me but everything sounded so good. Recipes for the popular Currant Rolls and Coconut Bread are included at the back of the book.
The Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries are off to a great start with Against the Currant. The characters are unique and interesting as is the setting of the Little Caribbean neighborhood in Brooklyn. I am excited to see the series continuing with Hard Dough Homicide which will be released in May. I am eager to see what drama Lyndsay Murray and her family get into next.
Allie McMurphy is taking over the family business but first she has to do some major renovations and make sure her plans for the grand Victorian meet the approval of the Historical Committee. You see this place is one of Mackinac Islands most beloved landmarks.
Before she barely get started she finds a dead body. The deceased is Joe Jessup, a man who had a feud going with Allies grandfather forever and everyone knew it. The police think this makes Allie a prime suspect and that fudges up all of her plans. Instead of getting ready for the grand reopening she has to clear her name and catch the real killer.
Wow, what an awesome debut!!
Allie is a terrific protagonist and a very determined woman. She is focused on her task and no one is going to stop her. Even those on the island that call her a fudgie, meaning she isnt one of them because she only spent summers there growing up. She needs to earn everyones trust and respect so they know she is there for the long haul to bring the McMurphy back to the way is was in its heyday.
The author adds a great supporting cast starting with Charlene, the crazy emergency dispatcher, to Frances Wentworth, who worked for Allies grandfather for years and came along with the business, to a fluffy white puppy named Mal. There are also a group of local that are the most unwelcoming group I people I have ever read about. Thankfully I have been to Mackinac Island and know that is just for the story or maybe there are only super nice to tourists. :) We will see as the series continues if Allie can continue to win them over.
As I said the story takes place on Mackinac Island, a truly beautiful place. It is also a place rich in history and the perfect setting for a cozy mystery series.
The mystery plot was very interesting with a plethora of suspects in addition to Allie. I suspected the whole cranky bunch.
Warning: Yummy fudge recipes are interspersed throughout the book. I hope Nancy puts them all up on her webpage. Thats the problem with foodie cozies. I dont know if I should keep them on my regular bookshelf or in the kitchen with the cookbooks.
We are back on Mackinac Island for the annual yacht race celebration. This brings tourists to the place in droves but one thing that could drive them away is a dead body. That is just what Mal, Allie's pup finds on their early morning walk. When the body is identified Trent's sister becomes the prime suspect and his family completely shuts Allie out. That is no way to keep at relationship going. She wants to be there for him and his sister. So this fudge maker extraordinaire decided to do some investigating of her own. But she also is dipping herself into trouble.
I so enjoy my trips to Mackinac Island with Allie, Jenn, Frances, Mr. Devaney, Trent, Shane, and all the rest of its residents. All the characters are very relateable and there is always something happening at the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop. The whole gang is so dedicated in growing the business and helping the island to shine.
This time we meet several new characters from the yacht club for all the festivities. Allie also visits the Senior Citizen Center for information for not only her investigation but for another surprise.
The main plot and subplots flow as smooth a newly made fudge onto that cool slab of marble. Just like the nuts and fruit Allie adds to her fudge, Nancy Coco blends twists and surprises into her mystery. She writes in a very descriptive way that bring people, places and situations to life.
Take my word for it, you will want to have some fudge on hand while reading this story. Thankfully there are recipes included throughout the book.
I call this a perfect summer read. Sit back, relax and enjoy a literary escape to Mackinac Island.
It has been almost a year since the Ladies were court ordered to form a book club. The League of Literary Ladies quickly turned into more than a book club and even with all their differences these women have managed to become good friends. In this installment Bea has been asked to provide meals for 10 nuns who have come to South Bass Island for a retreat. Chandra, Kate, and Luella are pitching in to help. They also want to get inside the Water's Edge Center and see what is behind the gates of a place the used to be off limits. When one of the nuns is murdered shortly after the retreat starts and another dies in quick succession the place becomes anything but restful. Now with only eight nuns the Ladies start to think about the similarities to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. They are hoping the similarities have ended but they again "assist" the police is catching the killer just to be sure.
This is my favorite book in the series so far. I love the ladies and they sure do land themselves in the middle of one murder after another. Don't think the other residents of South Bass haven't noticed. This time the author adds a very diverse group of nuns to the mix and brought us a super mystery. That may seem like a lot of characters but they are each unique and easy to keep track of We also lose two of them in the early chapters.
The story really does parallel the Christie classic in so many ways, but whether a Christie fan or not, you will totally enjoy this book. Logan liberally spreads the twists and turns throughout and truthfully I figured it out at the same time as Bea. Excellent writing!
I also loved the setting. A grand place with several suites overlooking the water. All the renovations have not yet been completed but will be soon. It would be a lovely place to spend a week or two.
The subplot with Chandra's major plans for her yard, swimming pool and a huge lamppost added a whole element I didn't expect but totally understood as this part of the story played out. She really was pushing the other's buttons and I was surprised by how long it took for one of them to let her have it.
Fun, entertaining, a great way to spend an afternoon. I hope this is not our last visit to South Bass Island. I really want to solve another mystery with the League of Literary Ladies Book Club.
50-year-old Holly Parker has a long bucket list and she has finally decided to start checking items off of it. At the top of the list was visiting all 50 states so when she found a deal on a flight to Las Vegas along with a deal on a hotel she booked her trip.
On her flight, the man next to her fell asleep but chatting with the woman next to him made the trip go pretty fast. She never thought that a chance meeting would lead to finding a dead body and being involved in a murder investigation. That was definitely not on her bucket list.
The mystery was pretty straightforward but the interactions between the characters were hilarious. I felt so bad for Holly getting wrapped up with a family that was so dysfunctional but the author put humor in every place she could. The deceased mother was a terrible woman with her iron thumb on her family. You truly never knew what would happen next with her around.
The setting of Las Vegas was fun. Holly was befriended by an employee of the casino, Peggy, who tried her best to get Holly out to have some fun on her vacation. Holly did have a small daily budget for gambling, she just needed to figure out how to do that. Peggy also took her to see some interesting sites and that led to Peggy getting involved with the bizarre family too.
Anxious in Nevada was a delightfully lighthearted fast read with some crazy characters. I read the book all in one evening and enjoyed it very much. I love the mid-life crisis theme and look forward to reading more books in this series. It seems there are 49 future trips in Holly's future.
Ginny and William Owens have grown comfortable in their "empty nest". Their youngest child moved out 5 years ago. They enjoy their quiet times, Ginny volunteering at church, William reading his newspapers and working in the gardens. A nice relaxing life.
Then their daughter Lillian arrives for an unexpected "visit" with newborn baby Phillip and 3-year old Olivia in tow. Husband Tom is "home, buried in work."
Then a few days later Stephen arrives with his pregnant wife Jane for a short weekend visit. Stephen is going to be the stay-at-home Dad when the baby arrives and Jane will return to her high pressure, high paying job just 3 short weeks after the baby is born.
Daughter Rachel is not far behind, her life is crashing around her both financially and emotionally as her boyfriend leaves her. She needs some time at home to sort things out.
Ginny and William's empty nest is soon overflowing with family and their entire summer will be disrupted as their children are all facing very difficult issues. The days of a kiss, a hug, and a band-aid are long over. They have put the parenthood hats back on the help their children as only parents can.
Life as a parent never ends, whether your kids are 2 or 62, until of course the parent is no longer alive. Part of being a parent is to always be there for your children, no matter what they are facing.
I LIKED IT!!!!
This is a wonderful debut novel depicting modern family life and problems, bringing a family together to cope, learning responsibility and forgiveness and how to survive life today in this fast-paced world.
I must say William and Ginny showed so much patience as their home was overtaken by their children but I can say that is what parents do today. A lot of children are living at home longer or moving home just because with this economy they can't make it on their own. It doesn't even have to be the problems this family faced. It is hard for young people to make it on their own today and a lot of them stay longer than a summer.
This story was nicely paced, the characters were very relate-able, and I really liked the dialogue between all the characters, very well written. The story is interspersed with humor and wit that makes the story even more real and enjoyable.
This would be a great summer beach read. Another perfect "escape" story.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hachette Book Group.. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Edie Brown and her mother were not seeing eye to eye in running the family's fine art and antiques business, but when a huge error had Edie arrested and put on probation for selling stolen goods it was the final straw. She left not only the town but the state.
Now her mother is in prison for art forgery and her uncle has called her home to help him so they don't lose the family business. He sends her to an event appraising items in folk art, her specialty. She meets a woman there with an interesting duck decoy and says she has access to a whole collection. An appraisal this big could be just what Edie needs to get the business back on firm footing.
Edie, her uncle, and Kala work hard to document each piece but when Edie returns to present the appraisal her world turns upside down. The collection has been stolen and the woman accuses her of the theft. Fearing she could end up sharing a cell with her mom she sets off on a quest to find the missing decoys. What she learns is that this robbery may be linked to another in Canada and that she may not be able to trust a man from her past who seems to want to get back together.
Edie has no choice. She teams up with her Uncle Tuck and their tech-savvy employee Kala to catch a thief before things run more "afowl" and her goose gets cooked by the FBI Art Crimes Division for stealing the duck decoys.
First, I have to say the cover of this book is amazing. It draws the reader in and then we read about the beautiful home/grounds where we find Scandal Mountain Fine Arts and Antiques. "Nestled in the foothills of Mount Mansfield . . . just south of the Canadian border", Scandal Mountain is now enjoying a resurgence with new families moving in and new businesses opening and the author brings the town and area to life with her wonderful descriptions.Â She also made it so easy to visualize the decoys.
Ms. Esden also introduces us to some wonderful characters in Edie, Tuck, and Kala. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses and all developed nicely throughout the story while leaving plenty of room for growth in future books. I really enjoyed Kala and all her knowledge. All three are realistic and relatable.
There were also very interesting characters specific to this story, suspects and victims, and victims that may be suspects. They are mixed up in a complex mystery that grabbed me right away. I have always been interested in collecting antiques and this plot played right into that interest. It was so entertaining to follow along with Edie, Tuck, and Kala and the different ways they dug in and followed each clue. Their instincts were strong throughout the book. I was definitely made smarter by what I was reading. And the final page made me smile.
The Art of the Decoy is an intriguing and entertaining mystery. A sensational debut for this series.Â I am really looking forward to reading A Wealth of Deception when it comes out next month.
It seems Kiera and Gage can't even have a honeymoon. Lord Gage sends them a message to travel to Dublin to investigate a nun that has been killed at an Abbey. He provides no details so the newly married couple find transport and get to Ireland as quickly as possible. The people of the surrounding area are not quick to provide much more information, even the other nuns at the abbey and the local Constable seems to holding back. Kiera and Gage have their work cut out for them to solve this case. It also tests their new married life as these two very independent people learn to trust their place now as man and wife.
Kiera has grown so much since this series began, much of the thanks to Gage, but now that she is his wife will he fall into the ways of most men in this time and curtail her independence and freedom when it comes to their investigations. The author has shown us both sides and not everything is resolved by the end of this book.
Huber's stories are very character driven. Servants Anderley and Bree also play major roles in this mystery. Kiera has always been extremely close to Bree and we see Gage and Anderley are very close and trusting as well. We are also introduced to a wide variety of characters and a character from a past story reappears, much to Lady Darby's dismay.
This mystery includes a lot of history and the murder takes a very interesting turn as we learn more about how that history impacts the nun's death. I felt it was pretty complex and just a little hard to keep straight at times. There were so many players, secondary and minor characters that all played a part.
As I have come to expect from this author she paints amazing pictures with her words. The areas around the Abbey formed immediately in my mind. The portion of the story that takes place on the ship almost had me weaving with the motion of the waves.
As I have said in previous reviews to get the most out of these series the stories should be read from the start but this one does read well as a stand alone as the author gives us plenty of background.
I love that as the 5th book in this series that characters are fresh and engaging and the mystery is excellent. The author gives us a little tease for book number six and that made me so happy. I really want to go on more adventures with Mr. & Mrs. Gage.
Providence, Ohio is the place for lovers in this 6th installment of the spectacular series.
But murder plays havoc with a certain couples plans and they are not taking it laying down. Charlotte is very determined to catch the killer and get her plans back on track!
Avery Aames continues to make this series better and better. We have Charlottes crazy bachelorette party, all the shops are doing something special for Lovers Trail Festival, the Providence Players are performing Love Letters, and there are several weddings planned. Nothing in the planned events included a murder! But before Charlottes party ends a phone message changes everyones plans.
All our favorite characters are back and they are all busy as can be. Charlottes assistant, Rebecca, is even trying out for the play as is Deputy Devon OShea. The mayor, Charlottes grandmother, is directing the play and heading up all the festival plans. Fromagerie Bessette is hosting a special wine and cheese tasting. There is also a crazy woman filing complaints about noise pollution and running around town threatening people. Through it all Charlotte and Jordan just wanted a happy wedding day and then they went and found that dead body.
Readers like me have been looking forward to this wedding too so I really wanted this culprit caught so the happy couple could start their years of wedded bliss together without a murder investigation to hold them back. I was amazed at the number of suspects and as each one was crossed off the list I was wondering what we were missing right along with Charlotte. The pages of this book were flying.
The author has a gift. She blends her vivid descriptions of the most yummy cheeses, seriously you can almost taste them, with a mystery that is so vivid it almost jumps off the page. The chapters are like potato chips, you cant read/eat just one. I gobbled up As Gouda as Dead and now I am ready for some more please!
We arrive in Geneva Bay, Wisconsin as Delilah O'Leary is working on her entry for the annual âTaste of Wisconsinâ culinary contest. She is trying to find the perfect recipe for a Deep-Dish Bratwurst Pizza with a pretzel crust. Delilah's ex has moved on with Jordan Watts owner of the local juice bar. Jordan is also working on her entry for the contest.
Delilah shares custody of the large lovable feisty cat Butterball with her ex Sam. Sam has put Butterball on a diet and that makes for a very hungry and unhappy kitty. Delilah agrees to meet Sam at Jordan's juice bar to give him Butterball. While there chaos ensues when a customer is poisoned and dies after drinking a smoothie. Was the victim the real target? How did the poison get in the smoothie? Are other people in danger? Delilah and Detective Calvin Capone are reunited as she finds herself deep in the middle of another murder investigation and on his suspect list.
Then another body is found with a connection to Sonya, Delilah's BFF, sous chef, and namesake âSonâ of Delilah & Son pizza restaurant. The heat gets turned up high. A killer needs to be caught before anyone else gets burned.
I am really enjoying this series set in my home state. Talk of bratwurst and cheese and I am right there. Haven't ever had bratwurst on a pizza but I guess it could easily replace Italian sausage.
Delilah was a little harsh in the first book mostly due to her OCD tendencies but I didn't notice that as much this time, but her Aunt Biz sure is acting strange. Sonya was more of a focus in this story when her past catches up with her. All three of these women are strong with their own struggles. They are all also very stubborn and have a hard time accepting help even from each other. That being said, they are cleverly crafted and I was really drawn into each of their stories. I still am not a fan of Sam but by the end of this story, he earned a few points that may change my opinion in the future. I really love Aunt Biz who knows everyone in town having taught most of them.
Readers are introduced to some new characters too. Harold Heyer, president of the Geneva Bay Convention and Vistors Bureau. With the culinary contest, he seems to pop up everywhere. Molly McClintock aka Mac is Melody's cousin and she is up to something. Jordan Watts, owner of Juice Revolution, and her employee Jarka, who was a doctor in Bulgaria but until her English improves and she can take the necessary tests she can only find work at a smoothie shop. Mac also works at the juice bar. All these characters had a purpose in the story and were fleshed out throughout the story.
Wisconsin has been said to popular with the Chicago mobsters back in the 1920's and the author draws on that history both in Delilah's restaurant and in the mysteries which makes them even more intriguing. With plenty of suspects, twists, and turns I was delightfully entertained. I was able to put some of the clues together before Delilah but not enough to not be surprised at the reveal.
I loved all the descriptions of Wisconsin and that the author takes the time to make her characters sound like Sconies. She also adds humor in all the right places.
Ashes to Ashes, Crust to Crust is a marvelous addition to this series. The characters have grown in ways I like and I am now invested in their lives. The ending sets up a very interesting twist that I am anxious to see play out. The story gets a strong 4 star-fish from me. It was a very enjoyable cozy getaway. I am looking forward to the next book.
We meet Lady Dunbridge after mourning her husband's death for two years. She and her âmaidâ and butler journey to Manhattan in 1907 where her friend Bev Reynolds will introduce her to all her high society friends. Right after they get off the ship gunshots ring out, she hears Bev scream, and chaos ensues. Getting through the crowd they find Bev's husband dead in the arms of a floradora girl crying that he killed himself. The evidence doesn't support that claim and the police set their sights on Bev as their main suspect. Lady Dunbridge may have just arrived but she knows her friend is not a killer. While making her introduction at all the dinners and balls she vows to keep her eyes and ears open to prove her friend's innocence. Of course, she will do a bit of snooping too.
Ms. Noble has created an impressive amateur sleuth in Lady Dunbridge and teamed her up with excellent assistants in her âmaidâ Lily, and butler Preswick. Lily has many talents and Preswick does all he can to keep the both of them safe. All three are strong characters. The supporting cast includes Bev Reynolds, her staff, her husband's staff, and their friends. They are a very eclectic group. Bev's husband Reggie ran with a horse racing set and he seems to have owed everyone money. Bev friends are the elite set and the spouses of the men her husband seems indebted too. The author has really fleshed out these characters by the end of the story.
Solving the mystery takes us all around New York to the dinners and parties and out to the Reynold's stable at Holly Farm where their horses are kept and trained. There is twist after twist after twist. I had my focus drawn to one character and then away and back again, yet the climax was surprising and exciting.
The author gives us so much detail throughout the whole story that every place came alive in my mind, The same with the people. Her words generated some wonderful imagery. She also kept true to the language of the time which I liked.
This series is off to an excellent start. The author has left doors open for future installments. I am excited to learn more about Lily and Lady Dunbridge and her life as she continues to live in New York.
We return back to Indigo Gap just in time for the Crafty Mom's Escape Weekend. In addition to getting ready for the event, Cora is helping with scenery for the upcoming play at the local theater. But before the curtain goes up for the production, the curtain comes down on its director, Stan Herald. Cora's friend Zee is found near his body and becomes the prime murder suspect. Cora, Jane, and Ruby know their friend is innocent. They commit to finding the real killer to free their friend all while handling the Mom's who have escaped for a fun and crafty weekend. Hopefully, the weekend will be a beading success on both counts.
A strong group of friends shines within these pages. Cora, Ruby, Jane, Cashel, come together to help their friend Zee. Cashel handles the legal stuff. Cora and Jane do the sleuthing. Ruby does whatever is needed so the others can do their thing. In this story, that means keeping the moms entertained and she does is well. These characters are a lively group and people I would love to be friends with, tagging along crafting and sleuthing would be a blast.
It does take a group of people to handle everything happening within these pages. Mollie Cox Bryan has crafted a clever mystery to go along with the crafting theme. Twists and turns really kept me guessing. Even after a confession, the case is not solved. This was a good one that kept me guessing right up until the end.
It is stories like these that make me love cozy mysteries. Before an accident left my right side paralyzed I was quite the crafter. Books in this series have not only brought back great memories but allowed me to vicariously do some arts and crafts. In fact, I think I could make some of the beads described with one hand and just a little bit of help with the cutting.
Wonderful characters, a great mystery, and fun crafts make this story A Perfect Escape! I am ready to book my next trip to Indigo Gap!
Pepper Reece's life was in flux, her job eliminated and her marriage over. She took a gigantic leap and bought the Seattle Spice Shop in the Pike Place Market. She is working at making the place her own while keeping all the current customers and gaining new ones too. It is a popular place where tourists, fellow shopkeepers, and local market customers stop by for a cup of spice tea to get their day started.
One morning when Pepper arrives to open the shop she finds a body blocking her path with one of her stamped cups in his hand. Doc, was a panhandler that had recently shown up on her corner. He hadn't been dead for long and Pepper is surprised to find out one of her employees was already in her shop. Tory Finch works for Pepper but she is also an artist. She tells Pepper she came in early to work on some sketches. The police take her presence to mean something else. They have made her their prime suspect and have placed her under arrest and thrown away the key. Pepper wants to help as does the rest of her staff but Tory just wants to be left alone. Pepper will not let her employee be railroaded. She is going to spice things up by finding the killer herself.
I have never been to Seattle but when I think about the city, I think of rain and coffee. After reading this book I will also think of the Pike Place Market and Pepper's fantastic shop. She and her staff make their own spice blends depending on the month and the season. They also create and sell their own spiced tea. I could almost smell the aromas right through the pages and I learned some interesting things too. The market is a real place and also very unique, on the waterfront with views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. There are many levels, passages and nooks, and crannies. The author's descriptions draw a clear picture but I still had to look it up online to satisfy my curiosity. I would love to enjoy it in person someday.
Pepper is a caring individual. She watches out for her friends and staff, and she takes an active role with the homeless that spend their time at the marketplace. When 2 panhandlers had a disagreement about her corner she went out to help them find a suitable answer when others may have just called the police. Her ex-husband just happens to be one of the officers that patrols the area on his bicycle and she tries to involve him as little as possible in her life. The staff is a quirky group that works well together.
I enjoyed the mystery in this story. The connections that were revealed opened up a realm of possibilities. With some original twists, the story evolved in a satisfactory fashion. I was caught up in the whodunit right away, but with Pepper's background in Human Resources, a couple of things had me shaking my head. I appreciated how the homeless issues were addressed and the part they played in the story.
As the first book in the series, this story gave me everything I was looking for, intelligent and engaging characters, a spectacular setting, and a mystery that made me think. I look forward to reading the next book in this series soon.
Darien Gee, the author of Friendship Bread takes us back to Avalon, Illinois, population 4243.
Madelines Tea Salon is the place residents meet and catch up and even occasionally get together as a group like the members of The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society founded by Bettie Shelton. Under Betties guidance, even the most reluctant of Avalons residents come to terms with their past and make bold decisions about their future.
Isabel Kidd is fixing up her ramshackle house while sorting through the complications of her late husbands affair. Ava Catalina is mourning the love of her life and helping her young son grow up without his father. Local plumber Yvonne Tate is smart, beautiful, and new to Avalon, but finds that despite a decade of living life on her own terms, the past has a way of catching upno matter where she goes. And Frances Latham, mother to a boisterous brood of boys, eagerly anticipates the arrival of a little girl from Chinaunprepared for the emotional roller coaster of foreign adoption.
Bettie has helped so many people and now she is facing a trial of her own. Everyone needs to come together and create something truly memorable just for her.
Darien Gee writes about friendship and she does it masterfully. I was actually sad when I reached the last page. Bettie may not be adored by everyone in Avalon but she sure is the glue that holds the town together. She believes the answer to every problem is scrapbooking and saving memories. It is also the community of scrapbookers and their families that gather together to share their projects and support each other through good times and bad.
While Bettie is the main character of this story, the supporting characters are written just as well. A few characters return from Gees first story but we are introduced to new ones as well. There are several prominent supporting characters. You need to take your time, this is not a book to rush through, so you can really get to know these fabulous. characters and their stories. I said in my review of Friendship Bread that is was a story to be savored and the same is true with this story. The characters are rich and their stories feel real. One story line reminds me of similar circumstances in the Miss Julia Series by Ann B. Ross.
Gee has written another heartwarming and inspiring story that you will want to share with all your friends. I can only hope that this is not our last trip to Avalon. Both books are fabulous and can be read as stand alone but you will want to read both and then you will want to bake bread, start scrapbooking and get together with all your friends and family. The recipes and scrapbooking tips are a real added bonus.
Thrilled to have any job with a paycheck, Vicky heads out to host an open house for Davis Realty. The last thing she expects to find is her boss naked and dead in one of the bedrooms.
As she tries to come to grips with finding him and wondering if she still has a job her house is mysteriously vandalized. Are the two incidents connected? Vicky thinks they are and besides she thinks Detective Nick Carson just may have feelings for her as she discovers she may have some for him. He is doing his best to keep her safe and keeps pumping him for information about the case so that she can help catch the killer before the killer catches her.
A great debut for this series! The author has given us very believable characters in Vicky and Nick and added a couple of lovable canine characters as well. I love that her ex-husband hates dogs and these dogs dont like him much either. Zip and Titan are priceless. You may find yourself laughing out loud at Vicky and the way she is trying to deal with her life. These characters have so much potential for growth in this series.
This is a very quick read with a lot of humor, just a bit of romance and a clever mystery. The book cover says Evanovich fans will love Vicky and they are right. This fan enjoyed Vicky and this story. I am excited to see whether a real romance develops for Nick and Vicky. I have a feeling they will hit many bumps in the road as she finds herself in the middle of future investigations.
ILLUSTRATED BY BOBBI SWITZER
This week I was given the pleasure of reviewing my first children's book and it was so much fun. My 2 year old grandson and I sat down and read the book. Then he had everyone reading to him about Bailey's Day and he even sat quietly and "read it" himself several times.
Bailey's Day is about a dog who truly "owns" his owner. Bailey's owner is a mailman and when he sets off to work that's when Bailey's fun begins. He meets his friend, Frankie the wiener dog, and their travels start, the swimming pool, the park, the taco stand. Bailey has to keep watching for his "Dad" the mailman, so his isn't caught on his adventures.
Bailey is a real dog and is really owned by author/mailman Robert Haggerty. The book includes several pictures of the real Bailey enjoying his day. This part of the book was a real hit at our house, owning 2 dogs ourselves, some of the pictures look a little familiar.
This is a truly wonderful children's book. It is a book that will grow with my grandson as we continue to read it to him and when truly learns to read himself. This book earns a top rating from Grandma but more importantly it is GRANDSON APPROVED!!
We return to Ashland, Oregon at what should be a slow time at Torte but Jules and the Torte team are preparing for a big event. The museum at the local college had landed the huge honor of unveiling Shakespeare's lost manuscript, Double Falsehood to the public. Important people from up and down the west coast will be attending and Torte will be serving them a feast of food from the Elizabethan era. They are also making some amazing chocolate sculptures to add to the exhibit.
But the Shakespeare's Lost Pages at SOMA reveal does not go as planned. Just before the doors are supposed to open an eagle eye noticed the pages on display are fake and the real lost manuscript has been stolen. A search is immediately started and a museum employee is found badly injured in the basement and a security guard is killed. Lance immediately decides he and Jules can find the missing artifact and the thief. The Professor also asks her to keep her eyes and ears open. She just hopes she doesn't become the killer's next missing artifact.
All my favorite characters are back and have time to shine within these pages. I am so happy that Juliet and Carlos are settling in their lives off the cruise ship. Carlos works so well with everyone and is such a great mentor. I think he brings out the best in Jules too giving her the confidence to take on big events like the one at the museum. Rosa plays a bigger role in this story because her uncle Javier is the director of the museum and is in charge of organizing the unveiling event. Every time I read a book in this series I enjoy the way everyone at Torte is like family. They support each other, cheer them on or pick them up depending on the situation. All are very well-developed with room to continue to evolve as the series continues.
Ms. Alexander also introduces readers to new characters with the museum staff. It is a small group but they all play vital places in the plot. Suspects all, we get to know them just well enough not trust any of them. The plot is filled with twists and turns but the true guilty party was evident to us much sooner than it was to those in the book. I really enjoyed the way the reveal played out. The author's detailed descriptions put me right there in the moment.
Again, the food details had me drooling. I really wish Torte was a real place and I could just pop in to have one of Andy's special coffees, a cup of Sterling's soups, a slice of Marty's bread, and one of Bethany's brownies. Of course, anything Jules baked up would be wonderful too.
Bake, Borrow, and Steal is a marvelous addition to this series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I encourage you to read the series from the start to truly enjoy these remarkable characters.
Now the waiting begins, Donut Disturb will be released on June 28. I see love will be in bloom. I can't wait!