Desolate Shores (an Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense) by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Pages: 239

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: August 13, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I was blown away by Desolate Shores. The story was full of action and kept me on my toes trying to guess the killer. Every time I thought I guessed it a new red herring would be introduced. Any author that can achieve that with me is a go-to author.

I loved the side story with Aspen’s niece, Candace. I can’t wait to read more in this series to see how their relationship progresses. I feel so invested in their story that I have to know more.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Beyond the Page Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Daryl Wood Gerber, the national bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, returns with a novel of gripping suspense . . .
A chilling murder, an elusive killer, and a family mystery that hits too close to home . . .

After finding the body of her best friend on the icy shores of Lake Tahoe, Aspen Adams refuses to stand by and watch as the local sheriff’s department begins their search for the killer. Launching her own investigation, she’s soon confronted with a growing array of secrets—both about the friend she thought she knew and about many of the people in her own life. As fragmentary clues and escalating dangers threaten to derail her, she must also cope with the disturbing behavior of her deadbeat sister and troubled teenage niece.

Determined to overcome her personal demons over past failures, Aspen is driven to unravel the conflicting evidence and a shifting range of suspects to bring the killer to justice, even as a family trauma unfolds that threatens to upend her life. And as her investigation inexorably leads her to a shocking discovery and taunts her with a solution that is just out of reach, Aspen realizes that the killer wants nothing more than to see her and her niece dead . . .

Memories and Murder (A Tourist Trap #11) by Lynn Cahoon

 

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Pages: 202

Publisher: Kensington (Lyrical Press)

Published: November 12,2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I stumbled on this series about a year ago and have gobbled it up like turkey on Thanksgiving Day. I feel so at home with Jill and her Aunt Jackie every time I open up a book in the Tourist Trap series. We have books, coffee, and murder. A trifecta of perfect cozy mystery ready.

I enjoyed the topic of elder abuse in the form of scams. Unfortunately, there are so many elderly that have no one to watch out for them and they end up losing so much. Lynn Cahoon tackled the subject with finesse and made it entertaining so as not to seem like a lecture.

You can read this series starting with any book in the series but I still suggest reading in order to get the best reading experience.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
NetGalley: It’s October in South Cove, California, and the locals in the quaint resort seem to be happily pairing off in the lull before the holidays. Everyone, that is, except for Jill Gardner’s elderly aunt, who just dumped her besotted fiancé—and she won’t say why.

When Jill hosts a talk at Coffee, Books, and More on the topic of elder abuse, all that’s really on her mind is lunch. But the topic hits close to home when she discovers Aunt Jackie has been getting mysterious calls. Jill’s certain the caller is a con artist, of course, but her feisty aunt claims to understand this, though she’s still shaken—and Harrold’s still heartbroken. Who’s behind the scam and why was her aunt targeted? When a volunteer from the Senior Project is found murdered, Jill’s detective boyfriend is on the case—and it soon becomes clear no one is safe when a caller from beyond becomes a killer in their midst.

A Very Mummy Holiday (A Tourist Trap 9.5) by Lynn Cahoon

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Pages: 81

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 29, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A great addition to the Tourist Trap series. I loved that the novella took place during Thanksgiving as that is my favorite holiday. Family, friends and yummy food.

We get to learn more about Kathi, a newer edition of the series, and I’m not a big fan. She is a good character but personally, she drives me crazy with her need to be perfectly groomed and trying to change Jill.

A Very Mummy Holiday is perfect for a chilly fall weekend read.

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

NetGalley: Jill Gardner has left her book-and-coffee shop behind to spend Thanksgiving week in coastal Oregon with her cop boyfriend, her golden retriever Emma, and a crowd of friends and family. But before the feast can start, foul play interrupts their vacation . . .

The rented house was supposed to be a relaxing getaway. But Jill and her companions feel a sense of danger instead. First, they learn that their hosts’ son had a fiancée, but her disappearance remains unexplained—and then they meet some menacing members of a local trail-riding club. When one of Jill and Greg’s friends finds human remains amid the dunes—with a diamond ring around one mummified finger—things start heating up fast, and they’ll be thankful just to survive through the long weekend . . .

The Friendship Lie by Rebecca Donnelly

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Pages: 272

Publisher: Capstone

Published: August 1, 20149

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Cora Davis’s life is garbage. Literally. Her professor parents study what happens to trash after it gets thrown away, and Cora knows exactly how it feels–to be thrown away. Between her mom and dad separating and a fallout with her best friend, fifth grade for Cora has been a year of feeling like being tossed into the dumpster. But Cora has learned a couple of things from her parents’ trash-tracking studies: Things don’t always go where they’re supposed to, and sometimes the things you thought you got rid of come back. And occasionally, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, which Cora and Sybella learn when they come across a diary detailing best-friendship problems. Told in two intertwining points of view, comes a warm, wry story of friendship, growing up, and being true to yourself. Written by Rebecca Donnelly, author of How to Stage a Catastrophe (an Indies Introduce and Indie Next List honoree), The Friendship Lie will speak to any reader who has struggled with what to hold on to and what to throw away.

My Review:

I found this book enjoyable and enlightening in regards to recycling. In being a substitute teacher, I have learned that fifth grade is a lot harder than I remember and The Friendship Lie shows that very well. More and more kids deal with situations that when I was younger were few and far between like parents splitting and one moving away and I am not talking about just across town. Kids worry more about the environment than ever before. They understand that we are depleting our natural resources and there is no way to recreate. They also start realizing that once what bound them to their best friend may not be something they like or enjoy anymore. They start coming into their own person.

Donnelly has done a good job in showing all the dynamics above between Cora and Sybella. The most important lesson taught in this book is that sometimes all it takes is a conversation to clear the air in a positive light but sometimes that conversation is the hardest thing of all to start.

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

The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

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Pages: 315

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: July 23, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads:

In one life, she’s taken hostage by someone who appears to be a stranger but knows too much. As she’s trapped in a concrete cell, her kidnapper forces her to face what she’s done or be killed. In an alternate life, she eludes her captor but is hunted by someone who is dismantling her happiness, exposing one secret at a time.

Lila’s decorated career as a criminal defense attorney, her marriage, and her life are on the line. She must make a list of those she’s wronged—both in and out of the courtroom—to determine who is out to get her before it’s too late. But even if she can pinpoint her assailant, will she survive? And if she does, which parts of her life are worth saving, and which parts must die? Because one thing’s for certain—life as Lila Bennett knew it is over.

My Review:

An intriguing, fast-paced read.

My BFF called me on release day and said you have to get this book immediately. So of course, I did and I promptly finished within 24 hours.

I enjoyed the chapters alternating between Free and Captured. I felt it added to the suspense of the train wreck of Lila’s life. I could imagine this being made into a movie. I think it would capture the attention of the audience right away.

If you are sensitive to coarse language (F word) then beware as it is present in this book. It does not feel excessive though. Don’t let that stop you from reading this intriguing book.

A perfect read for the last few summer weekends at the beach or lake.

Sifting Through Clues (A Cookbook Nook Mystery #8) by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Pages: 364

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: April 23, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Even though I started reading this series in the middle, I really enjoy the series. My hope is to read the beginning this summer.

Sifting Through Clues has so much to offer from interesting cookbooks to look for, cozy mystery books to read and yummy recipes at the end. I pretty much gobbled it up.

I had no idea who killed Ivy until it was revealed. I honestly thought it was another character and still wanted it to be. Books that can keep me guessing until the end are very enjoyable.

My only problem was with one main, important character, Cinnamon, the Chief of Police. I’m used to the chief being semi-rude with the amateur sleuth but Cinnamon seemed way over the top. She almost seemed too flighty to the point of finding it hard to believe she was a police officer much less a chief. When the book ended I had come to the conclusion I didn’t like her character very much.

Sifting Through Clues will leave you hungry and ready to tackle the recipes included. I’m ready to bake up some cheesy scones.

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

Mother’s Day Mayhem (A Tourist Trap # 10.5) by Lynn Cahoon

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Pages: 75

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 2, 2019

Rating: 3.5 stars

NetGalley:
Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More is almost out of Mother’s Day cards. She has a few more in stock, but she’s set them aside because she needs Greg’s help choosing one for his mother. It’ll be Jill’s first time meeting her boyfriend’s mother, and she’s understandably nervous.

Turns out Jill isn’t the only one having feelings about mothers. Kyle, who works at the antique store next door, needs to find the perfect card for a mother he hasn’t seen since he was five—when she went away to jail. But her arrival in South Cove isn’t exactly celebratory, her behavior toward her son unexpectedly restrained. Piqued, Jill discovers that a mother can never be replaced . . .

My review:
I have enjoyed these novellas until the next full-length novel is released but I felt this was out of order. I would suggest reading Mother’s Day Mayhem before Killer Party.

Mother’s Day Mayhem is the perfect way to pass a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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

Corned Beef and Casualties (A Tourist Trap Novella) by Lynn Cahoon

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Pages: 67

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 5, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It is St. Patrick’s Day in beautiful South Cove, California and the town is throwing a party with green beer and fireworks.

Jill finds herself in shock when one of her customers she felt a kinship to is found dead on the beach. Will Jill do as her detective boyfriend asks and stay out of the investigation or will she wind up right in the middle? Will the luck of the Irish be on her side?

I am enjoying the novellas in this series as I am trying to catch up from the beginning. You get a quick visit and get to catch up with everyone without the experience of a full-length novel.

If you like St. Patrick’s Day, you will want to read this novella. The ending was very intriguing with a bit of magic that the day likes to offer.

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.

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

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Pages: 240

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: October 30, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Linden is in Paris to celebrate his father’s birthday with just the family. Unfortunately, Paris is flooding at a rapid rate due to neverending rain and both parents get sick. As Linden tries to care for his father at the hospital he starts realizing he may not have much time left to bond with his father.

My feelings have run from I did not like the book at all (2 stars) to wow, what a powerful message (4 stars). After sitting here a couple of hours after finishing I have decided on a four-star review. I started this book thinking it was mainly about the flood and how it would bring the family together but it is about so much more. The moral I got out of the book is tragedy makes you see things you gloss over in life or refuse to see due to your own shortsightedness. Instead of assuming what others think or see about you, ask them. It is much better than letting the wrong thoughts fester for years. You may lose out on something remarkable being shortsighted.

There are no steamy sex scenes but there is a gay storyline. I don’t remember a lot of obscene language so if there is any it must be minimal and feel right for the story. Of course, tons of Paris landmarks are mentioned so allow yourself time to look them up if you are not familiar with them.

This was my first book by Tatiana de Rosnay and I have already bought Sarah’s Key to read soon.

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.

Wreath Between the Lines (Cookbook Nook Mystery #7) by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Pages: 213

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: November 8, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The holidays have arrived and so has Jenna’s older sister and family along with some holiday drama. As Jenna is trying to save her sister’s marriage, her father’s friend Jake experiences a horrific present in the murder of his friend. Jenna takes it upon herself to solve the murder in time for a holly jolly Christmas day.

This is my second book (but the seventh in the series) that I have read and it has whetted my appetite for the series. I am interested to read how it all started. I agree with other readers that each book can be read as a stand alone but you will get more from the series if you read in order. The author does a superb job in giving enough background information for new readers.

I love that the author includes recipes at the end of the book. A huge pet peeve of mine is reading about such delicious dishes and no recipes. It has been known to turn me off on a series.

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