Surfside Sisters by Nancy Thayer

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Pages: 305

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Published: July 2, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Keely Green always dreamed of leaving the beautiful shores of Nantucket to become a writer. Now she’s a bestselling novelist living in New York City, attending glamorous cocktail parties and mingling with the literary elite. Keely is also dating a charming, perfectly fine pediatric surgeon who looks good on paper but isn’t “the one.” She just can’t bear to break it off—until he declares his desire to settle down. Then Keely’s editor rejects her latest novel. With her personal and professional lives suddenly in shambles, Keely longs for the soothing island way of life.

Growing up, Keely and her best friend, Isabelle, were inseparable. Nothing could come between them—except, as it turned out, Keely’s high school boyfriend, Tommy. Returning home would mean facing Isabelle’s bitter betrayal and seeing for herself the family Tommy and Isabelle have created, the life that might have been Keely’s.

But when Keely’s mother falls into a deep depression, Keely knows what she must do, even though she is reluctant to face her estranged friend. And encountering Isabelle’s older brother, Sebastian—Keely’s longtime crush—only complicates things.

In one incredible summer, Keely must confront the mistakes of the past if she has any chance of finding true happiness in the place she will always call home. Nancy Thayer shines yet again in this uplifting tale of forgiveness and self-discovery.

My Review: Nancy Thayer has joined the cast of my MUST read authors for summer. She joins Mary Alice Monroe, Elin Hildebrand, and Dorothea Benton Frank. It doesn’t feel like summer until I read these authors. Thayer has written another hit. I found myself ignoring everything around me as I read. The heartache Keely felt many times throughout the book tugged at my heartstrings and I wanted to jump into the book and try to fix it for her.

The descriptions of Nantucket make the reader feel as if they are there playing in ocean waves, eating yummy food in the summer sunshine and listening to families excitement on vacation. You will be wishing you could hop on the next flight out.

If you haven’t read Nancy Thayer then start with Surfside Sisters. You will thank me when you are finished.

I received a complimentary copy from Random House Publishing – Ballantine through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

 

The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

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Pages: 368

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: June 11, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only a few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

My Review: Mary Alice Monroe is my go to Southern writer every summer. I live for her view of the beach, sea life and Southern family drama. It allows me a vacation when I can’t take one.

The Summer Guests is a different summer southern read. The focus is on how a hurricane displaces more than people. Families have to find shelter for their pets from million dollar horses to the tiniest puppy. Living so far from the ocean, these are concerns I do not think about when listening to the news. Monroe does an exceptional job of letting one know about this issue.

Fans of southern fiction need to add this to their “must read” list for the summer. You will not be disappointed.

I received a complimentary copy from Gallery Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Toxic Toffee (Amish Candy Shop #4) by Amanda Flower

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Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 25, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Bailey King’s in New York wrapping up a six-week shoot on her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets, when she gets a call from her Ohio town’s resident busybody. With Easter around the corner, Bailey’s been recruited to create a giant toffee bunny for the weeklong springtime festival that will also feature live white rabbits. But back home in Harvest, death becomes the main attraction when Stephen Raber keels over from an apparent heart attack—with Bailey and Raber’s pet bunny as witnesses.
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Except it wasn’t Raber’s heart that suddenly gave out—a lethal dose of lily of the valley was mixed into a tasty piece of toffee. Who’d want to poison a jovial rabbit farmer who reminded Bailey of an Amish Santa Claus? To solve the murder, she and her sheriff deputy boyfriend Aiden must uncover a twenty-year-old secret. She’ll need to pull a rabbit out of a hat to keep a healthy distance from toxic people, including one venomous killer . . .

My Review: Adorable, if you can say that about a murder mystery. The addition of Puff to the series was just the right touch.

Amanda Flower writes with such knowledge of the Amish and does a fantastic job of making the reader feel apart of Harvest, Ohio. You can almost smell and taste the chocolate creations from Swissmen Sweets.

Toxic Toffee is perfectly paced and the red herrings are perfectly spaced throughout. A wonderfully entertaining read.

I received a complimentary copy from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Body in the Wetlands (A Jazzi Sanders Mystery #2) by Judi Lynn

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Pages: 268

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 23, 2013

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .

My review:

What I like: I love the mystery that runs through each book in the series. The mystery is very interesting and both books have kept me guessing almost to the end.

I enjoy the animals featured and was very pleased to see Jazzi get the kittens from the little boy and not go to a pet store. I imagine those kittens are going to give George the Pug a run for his money shortly.

What I don’t like: Ansel’s insecurity with Jazzi is very disturbing almost to the point of being controlling. Yes, they’ve known each other a while but only been dating two months and already he is pressuring her to let him put a ring on it. A comment is made almost every day. I am tired of reading how handsome he is. We get it, he is the perfect Nordic God. How he acted while away at his family was sickening. Where is the trust he says he has in Jazzi? He is not showing it.

There is a lot of beer drinking while working. Every time they take a break, it’s “Let’s go have a beer.” Maybe they should drink some water every now and then.

The lead detective asking Jazzi for help in notifying next of kin was very far fetched for me. Seemed absurd. Yes, I realize this is fiction but it made the story hard to believe. No police officer that I know would be asking a civilian to help him break the news to the next of kin that someone has died.

I would not give this to a young teenager to read as there are adult situations (no details but heavily implied), drinking and the controlling behavior of Ansel.

I like the Jazzi Sanders Mystery series but it is not my favorite. I will continue to read the series.

I received a complimentary copy from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Drawn and Buttered (A Lobster Shack Mystery #3) by Shari Randall

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Pages: 301

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: February 26, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
The Lazy Mermaid’s business has slowed to a snail’s pace—until a monster lobster claws his way onto the scene…

With the high season behind them, ballerina on-the-mend Allie Larkin and Aunt Gully are finally lying low. But then an unexpected guest arrives at the lobster shack: a crustacean so huge he’s dubbed Lobzilla around Mystic Bay and on social media. Soon, with everyone showing up for a peek in their tank, Allie and Aunt Gully have more on their plate than they can handle.

Meanwhile, another local establishment finds itself in hot water. In exclusive Rabb’s Point, a strange burglary breaches the elegant home of Royal Parrish. Allie takes it upon herself to help with the investigation but, before she can get to the bottom of the case, another alarm sounds: the Lazy Mermaid’s Lobzilla has gone missing and is on the loose! And bodies are beginning to pile up. . .

My Review:
A delightful read that is full of quirkiness and laughter that you will not want to put down. Aunt Gully is the aunt we all wished we had in our lives. She is supportive, loving and ready to jump into the fray with you.

Drawn and Buttered is the third book in the Lobster Shack Mystery series but you can jump into the series at any time. Beware, once you take the plunge you will never want to leave. The series is your typical cozy mystery series with clean language, no gory detailed violence, and no offense sex scenes.

The vivid descriptions of Aunt Gully’s lobster rolls and chowder will have your mouth watering and your mind convincing you that you need to drive to the Connecticut coast immediately. Pretty soon I think my phone is going to automatically book me a plane ticket.

One of my favorite characters is Bronwyn and I keep hoping she makes more of an appearance that an occasional one. She is a great balance to Allie and Verity.

I hope you take a chance and visit my friends in Mystic Bay, Connecticut. I really think you would enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Previously reviewed on my website:

  1. Curses, Boiled Again (Book 1) January 2018
  2. Against the Claw (Book 2) July 2018

Santa Puppy (Tourist Trap #9.75) by Lynn Cahoon

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Pages: 90

Publisher: Kensington

Published: November 11, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This Christmas, Jill is hosting an adopt-a-pet event at her coffee/bookstore. When bathing a sweet pup whose owner has recently passed away reveals a safety deposit box key Jill is on the hunt to find out what is in the box and to find the pup a “furever” home for Christmas.

For me, this was the perfect introduction to the Tourist Trap cozy mystery series by Lynn Cahoon. I was captivated by Jill and her love for reading and animals.

You can read this novella out of order as your first introduction with no problems at all. There are plenty of mentions of things in the past but all the mentions do is make you want to drop everything and read the series from the beginning.

This is not your typical happy ending so you will find yourself a tad teary at times. Unfortunately, I think there are more stories like this in the real world.

I received a complimentary copy of this novella from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Deadly News (Britton Bay Mystery #1) by Jody Holford

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Pages: 184

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 30, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the best debuts I’ve read in a while. Love the series already.

Molly is used to a life of moving from place to place with her dad being in the Army. After walking in on her now ex-boyfriend sizzling the sheets with his ex, Molly has decided to expand her horizons and work and live in a small town as the new editor of the local newspaper.

Molly pushes Vernon, to be the reporter he used to be and write with passion and dig deeper for the story. When he does not show up to work for the second day in a row, Molly takes her new position seriously and goes to his home to check on him. Unfortunately, she finds more than she bargained for with Vernon on the floor in a pool of his own blood. She realizes he was not a favorite of the town but who would want him dead? As Molly investigates she finds there is someone who doesn’t like her as well and the threats against her are mounting up faster than the heat between her and Sam, the local mechanic. Will Molly survive long enough to test the flames that Sam ignites?

I am always a little hesitant and guarded when I start a new series with an author I am not familiar with. First books in a series can make it or break it for me and this series was a pleasant surprise. I feel in love with the characters and the town from the beginning. I am disappointed that I cannot automatically start reading book two.

The mystery was one of the best I’ve read lately. Plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing. When the killer was revealed I was shocked. It was well hidden.

The language and romance were clean. An easy read, meaning you can stop at any point and be able to pick right back up without having to review. A perfect book to introduce someone to the cozy mystery club.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington/Lyrical Underground through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Purrder She Wrote (A Cat Café Mystery #2) by Cat Conte

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Pages: 320 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: July 31, 2018

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

In the second book of the Cat Café Mystery series, Maddie has opened her cat café with her Grandpa Leo and close friend Ethan. On the opening day, a catfight between a volunteer and a customer disrupts the happy harmony. Later that day the customer is found dead with a catnip toy stuffed down her throat. As the police coming slinking around the café can Maddie find the killer before he or she gets away?

I want to start my review off with this announcement: I was not a fan of this book but please read other reviews before making a decision if this book is for you. There are plenty of reviews praising this book. I think it was just not for me, which happens. I would suggest you start the series with the first book, Cat About Town.

The mystery was good as there were a lot of red herrings to keep you guessing as to who the murderer was but there was too much going on and too many characters. I had to keep flipping back and reminding myself who was who. Especially in Maddie’s love interests. I found the love interests to be distracting to the story.

Let’s talk about Maddie’s father…a self-centered jerk! I know I am not the only one who thought this about him. He cared more about his precious job on the hospital board than two of his own daughters. I am thankful I have a dad who would have told the snobby board to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine!

If you love cats and mysteries give the Cat Cafe Mystery series a try, you may love it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Death by a Whisker (A Cat Rescue Mystery #2) by T. C. LoTempio

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Pages: 318 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: February 13, 2018

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Since returning to Deer Park, NC, Sydney has been helping her sister run the Friendly Paws Animal Shelter. They are in need of money to keep the shelter running and provide much needed upgrades. A fundraiser has been planned with a famous author at the local bookshop. Unfortunately, the author experiences a nasty accident and is unable to attend. They decide to turn to Ulla Townsend, a local girl who made it big. While at the fundraiser, Ulla falls victim to a fatal accident. Can Sydney solve the crime without upsetting someone who is close to her?

This is a fast-paced cozy mystery that can be read quickly. I thought it was good but not one of my favorites as it did not hold my interest exclusively. I cannot pin point why as the writing and plot were good. Maybe my interest was not as keen since it was not a culinary cozy, which are my favorite.

I have not read the first book in the series but I did not feel as if I missed anything nor did I feel lost as I was reading. The author did a great job giving brief backgrounds of the characters. It does appear there could be a love triangle brewing for the main character, Sydney. I’m not sure Will is her “ride or die”. It would be interesting to follow this particular story line.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for a copy to read in exchange for an honest review in my own words.