Saturday, October 5, 2013

Drizzled With Death by Jessie Crockett
Jessie Crockett
October 4, 2013
4 stars
Move over Janet Evanovich, her comes Jessie Crockett. A murder with more suspects than you shake a stick at, all with different motives, a van filled with exotic animals who are set free and a charming little town in New England all adds up to one of the funniest cozy mysteries that I have read in a long time.
We start out getting to know Dani (although we never find out her mysterious full first name) Greene who has lied to her family so she can stay home and enjoy some quiet from her family’s full throttle holiday plans. She heads to her sugar shack, the headquarters for her growing maple syrup business. But she is startled by spotting a mountain lion on the porch. The trouble is the police and the game and fish warden believe she had an hallucination.
Graham Paterson, the game and fish warden, answers the call but finds no evidence of the mountain lion and is convinced Dani has been drinking or hallucinating.  The next morning finds him, however, at the Sap Bucket Brigade Pancake-Eating Contest where he intends to inform the town of the exotic animals on the loose but never gets the chance when the most hated woman in town, Alanza Speedwell lands face first in her stack of pancakes.
In between interviewing suspects to clear her own name, Graham teasingly calls Dani the exotic whisperer when the animals run amok and she ends up finding them each and every time.
Ms. Crockett has deftly woven a hysterical tale with twists and turns but is character driven rather than plot driven. The Greene family is fascinating and deals with the everyday strife that every family faces. The reader can feel Dani’s frustration and worry that someone she has known all of her life is a cold-blooded murderer.

I purchased this book for enjoyment.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Designed to Death
Christina Freeburn
Henery Press
September 6, 2013
4 stars
Designed to Death is book two in the Faith Hunter Scrap This mystery series. This was a page turner and I honestly did not figure out whodunit and was surprised by the end, always a treat for me. I’ve been known to know who did it within the first chapter…one time before the murder even happened. Kudos to Ms. Freeburn. I’m going to have to go back and read book 1, which I believe I do have.
Faith Hunter has returned home after a devastating incident involving her former husband while serving in the military. Her grandmothers own a row house, and they kept the third unit for Faith for when she returned. She was raised by her grandmothers after her parents were tragically killed, and they run the scrapbooking store, Scrap This, and have hired Faith on to manage it.
The excitement begins in the store when they host a book signing for a customer who was named a Life Artist Diva by a scrapping magazine. However, her cousin storms in and claims that Belinda won by submitting her layouts. A brawl ensues and the event ends dismally. Later that night, Faith receives a phone call from the security company that they picked up a disturbance. Faith tells them to call the police and decides to go to the store to see what is going on, intent on protecting her grandmothers. Luckily, Faith heads two doors down and rouses her neighbor, Steve, the assistant prosecutor and the man her grandmothers want her to have a future with. When they arrive at the store, they find Belinda dead at the back door. Despite her best efforts to stay out of the investigation, much to the chagrin of homicide detective Ted Roget, her efforts to protect her grandmothers leave Faith over her head in danger.
Likable characters who are not perfect make the Scrap This series one that I look forward to visiting over and over. There are red herrings and suspects aplenty, along with assorted motives that fit each one. If you like cozy mysteries, you’ll enjoy Designed to Death.

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

Along Came a Spider by Kate SeRine

Along Came a Spider
Kate SeRine
August 1, 2013
5 stars
Kate SeRine’s Transplanted Tales never fails to deliver on steamy, heart wrenching romance, action and suspense. I love how she continues to visit with characters from previous books while keeping the focus on the featured couple. Along Came a Spider is book 3, featuring Beatrice “Trish” Muffet who works in forensics for the FMA and Nicky Blue who is a combination of gangster and now, vigilante, known as The Spider.
Both Trish and Nicky were attracted to one another when they were transplanted into the Here And Now, but never acted on it. Nicky wed another and Trish immersed herself in her work. But when tale vampires begin to attack the Ordinaries, Trish is investigating when she finds herself being attacked. To her surprise, The Spider AKA Nicky rescues her. Nicky was thrown into a vigilante lifestyle after his wife was murdered and blamed himself. There are things he doesn’t know, but Trish, who reads the last thoughts of victims, does. Things she doesn’t want to tell him.
Transplanted Tales is one of those series where each installment is like visiting with old friends. It’s like a mash up of Grimm, Once Upon a Time and Sleepy Hollow. If you like any of these shows, you will love this sparkling series. I am anxiously awaiting the novella coming out in spring 2014 and then the next installment next summer.

I received the ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Bandit's Broken Heart by Michelle McLean

A Bandit’s Broken Heart
Entangled Publishing
July 8, 2013
3 ½ stars

After losing her husband of only a month, Brynne Forrester and her three year old daughter move from California to Boston to be with Brynne’s in-laws. Brynne is content without a man in her life, and self-sufficient thanks to her life as a bandit in California. After moving in to her own home, Brynne decides she needs to fill her idle days and convinces the doctor at the clinic to let her assist him, even though she has no formal medical training. She never expected the feelings the doctor stirred deep within her.
Richard Oliver is a dedicated doctor running the clinic for those who may not be able to pay. His staff is efficient and his housekeeper doubles as his secretary. He allows Mrs. Forrester to volunteer, convinced she will be gone within a day, unable to handle the duties. He is pleasantly surprised when he is wrong. He isn’t so pleasantly surprised with her actions when his supplies are stolen. Brynne’s actions set off a chain of events that nearly costs them everything.
A Bandit’s Broken Heart is a sweet romance, focusing more on the building of the relationship between Brynne and Richard, which I find refreshing in this day and age. A strong woman, Brynne is very likable, especially with her devotion to her daughter and her ability to have fun with her. Richard takes a little warming up to but he is definitely a hero to dream about. A Bandit’s Broken Heart is a delightful read with action, romance and characters you will want to revist again.

ARC provided by Netgalley for review.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Surprise Release from Entangled Brazen for Sept 2, 2013: Wicked Heat by Nicola Marsh

Who doesn't love surprises?  The people behind Brazen Books sure do - and they just couldn't wait a whole month before putting out another book for their readers. Surprise!  

Their newest book combines steamy island romance and high personal stakes. What a combination! 

[Insert] Cover, Blurb, Links: AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | iTUNES  then Excerpt. 

Competitors by day, lovers by night…

Allegra Wilks has had the worst month of her personal and professional life. To save her company, she must go on her would-be honeymoon and land the luxury eco-island resort’s lucrative advertising account. But when a lingerie mishap leads her into the arms of a wickedly distracting Australian, Allegra’s tempted to skip the trip and explore the most sensual kiss she’s ever experienced. Too bad their chance encounter at the airport is just that.

Having recently lost his company to his former best friend’s shady business tactics, Jett Halcott is headed to a South Pacific resort to secure an advertising account that will resurrect his reputation and career. Realizing the tantalizing Allegra Wilks is on his flight, Jett envisions a week filled with business and pleasure. But Jett doesn’t know Allegra’s fighting for the same account, or that there’s more at stake than his heart.


“You should do that more often,” he said, reaching out to trace her bottom lip with his fingertip. “You’re beautiful, but when you smile? Wow.”

Uncomfortable with his overt compliments, Allegra sat there and let a guy she’d just met touch her lips with a slow, sensual caress. His fingertip traced her bottom lip in a butterfly-soft sweep that left her breathless.

Their eyes locked as he lowered his hand, and what she saw made her wish she could ditch Palm Bay and travel to Australia.

Blatant lust. Strong. Sexy. Seductive. His eyes deepened to an incredible green that matched a favorite jade pendant she wore often. He wanted her, and in this crazy moment, the feeling was entirely mutual.

He raised his beer to his lips and took a long swig, his heat-filled stare never leaving hers.

Damn, she had no idea what to do in this situation. Make a joke to diffuse the tension? Acknowledge it? Flirt?

She hated feeling out of control, had instigated steps her entire life to avoid it. Yet in a loaded thirty seconds, Jett had made her damp with just one look and made her flounder.

“Is the blatant charm an Aussie thing or is it just you?”

Thankfully, he blinked, and broke the scorching stare that made her want to grab a napkin off the bar and fan herself. “It’s me.” He leaned in close. “Time you fessed up.”

Yikes. Was her reaction to him that easy to read?

“To what?”

His lips almost brushed her ear. “You’re battling an incredible urge to drag me into the nearest janitor’s closet and ravish me.”

She laughed at his outrageousness. “Sorry. I don’t do sex in cleaning closets. Too many hazardous chemicals.”

“Yeah, those pheromones can be killer.”

She loved his quick wit and for the second time in as many minutes, wished she’d met him at a different place, different time.

            “Pity.” He reverted to a smoldering stare that had her wishing she’d ordered a vodka shot chaser. “Sex in confined spaces can be fun.”

“I’ll take your word for it.” Heat crept into her cheeks and she signaled the waiter for a glass of water. To douse herself with.

“Not the answer I was hoping for,” he said, shifting his barstool closer so their thighs brushed. “Would’ve been better if you’d said, ‘Sounds good, Jett, let’s go try.’”

She cleared her throat and gratefully accepted the water from the waiter, drinking it all and wishing she could run the cool beaded exterior across her forehead. “How did we get onto this crazy topic?”

“Started with you wanting to ravish me.” He clinked his beer bottle to her empty glass. “Seriously. There’s no need to hold back. I can take whatever you want to dish out.”

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad

Mr. Monk Helps Himself
Hy Conrad
June 4, 2013
4 Stars
Thank goodness for the Monk books. I happen to adore Tony Shalhoub who played Monk but I simply couldn’t get in to the series. After delving into the books, I realized his multitude of phobias played out better in the written word for me. I was a bit worried when I discovered there was a new author for the books, but I can put that worry to rest. Mr. Conrad is every bit as enjoyable to read as the previous author and in fact, added a touch of humor that made me laugh out loud.
There is a lot going on in Mr. Monk Helps Himself. Natalie is going for her P. I. license so she and Monk can start their own agency, Monk mysteriously “has his ways” for getting around when Natalie is not available, Natalie is investigating her own case while Monk has his hands both in her case and one that is setting his phobias into overdrive.
Twists and turns in both cases keep the reader guessing on not only whodunit but why and there is plenty of character growth for both Monk and Natalie, which is always a treat. Characters should always be allowed to grow. Suspenseful, high-risk danger is the icing on the delectable Monk cake. Fiji water anyone?
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for review.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Disenchanted & Co. #001- Her Ladyship's Curse by Lynn Viehl

Disenchanted & Co. 001
Lynn Viehl
August 12, 2013
4 ½ stars

Set in steampunk America, known as Toriana due to losing the Revolution, Her Ladyship’s Curse is the first installment in a series filled with magic, mystery and danger. Charmian “Kitt” Kittredge is a woman on her own with a business of her own. A non-believer in magic, Kitt investigates the unexplainable and finds the true explanations. But her life is put in danger when Lady Diana Walsh hires her to find out who is tormenting her during the night. What Kitt finds puts Lady Diana in peril and herself in a line with a man up to no good.
Lord Dredmore is a deathmage who is fascinated by Kitt. He declares himself her protector which is no easy feat and barely manages to spirit her away to his estate when danger looms too close. He is dark and brooding and not at all the type of man one would believe to harbor tender feelings for a woman.
I was immersed in Her Ladyship’s Curse from the first page. Ms. Viehl’s world-building is exceptional and the reader is transported to Toriana. The descriptions are vivid and vibrant, every character is well-rounded and has personality. And with the cliffhanger ending, I am on pins and needles for the second installment, due in October, His Lordship Possessed.

Book provided by Netgalley in exchange for review.