Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: Geared for the Grave by Duffy Brown

Description (from cover):

'Mackinac Island is a peaceful summer resort town where everyone coasts through the streets on bicycles. But after someone sends a prominent local on her final ride, it's up to one resourceful visitor to get things running again...

Hoping to shift her chances of a promotion in her favor, Evie Bloomfield heads to Mackinac Island to assist her boss's father. Rudy Randolph has broken his leg, and operating his bike shop. Rudy's Rides, is too much to handle by himself. But Evie's good turn only leads to more trouble...

After Evie's arrival, wealthy resident Bunny Harrington dies in what looks like a freak bike accident. Upon closer inspection, it's discovered that Bunny's brakes were tampered with, and now the prime suspect in her murder is also Bunny's number one enemy: Rudy. So if Evie hopes to stay on her boss's good side, she'll need to steer Rudy clear of jail. Now she must quickly solve this mystery so she can put the brakes on the real killer's plan...

My thoughts:

I tend to be drawn to new cozy mystery series like a moth to a flame. I am always hunting for that next cozy mystery series that I will love and wait for the new releases anxiously. I hate to say that, while this was an okay debut, I was not really all that impressed. I thought that I would like to read something a little different, because I really don't really cozy themed mysteries featuring bicycles on a regular basis, but this one just didn't catch my interest as much as I thought it would. I loved the setting. Mackinac Island, which I am not one hundred percent sure isn't a real place, sounds absolutely divine. A small island where everyone gets around on bicycles sounds heavenly. It sounds like a real nice place to escape the busy world we live in today.

Some things in this book were so obvious that it seemed that they were flashing like bright neon signs. I had a hard time wondering why it was taking forever for the main character to catch on to things. My favorite character in this read had to probably be Irish Donna. I never knew what was going to come out of her mouth next and she seemed like a pretty interesting character. I think I liked her more than the protagonist in this story. This book was also a little spastic and hard to follow at times. It seems like there was so much going on at once that it really took something away from the story in the end.

I also felt that things that happened in the plot were a little out of character and really didn't belong. There were times where I thought that things that occurred were a little over the top and not necessarily realistic. I prefer my books to be a little different, but a little real at the same time. I might give the next one in the series a shot, but if the series doesn't right itself in the next installment, this might be a series that I quickly give up on.

Overall Rating: 2

Title:  Geared for the Grave
Author:  Duffy Brown
Series:  Cycle Path Mystery #1
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  December 2, 2014
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Blog Tour Stop & Review: Garden of Death by Chrystle Fiedler

Description (from cover):

'When a local doctor is found dead in Willow McQuade's medicinal garden, she must find the killer to clear her boyfriend's name in this third clever book in the Natural Remedies Mystery series.

Dr. Willow McQuade, owner of Nature's Way Market & Cafe, has put the finishing touches on a new medicinal plant garden for Greenport's annual Maritime Festival and is ready for the festivities to begin. But it's not all flowers and sunshine at the grand opening, when Willow discovers the body of another contestant, Dr. Charles White, face down in her garden.

Willow's hunky boyfriend, Jackson Spade, immediately becomes a suspect due to a recent fight with Dr. White. Willow knows she has to remedy the situation, but it won't be easy with the other applicants' vendettas and vandals wrecking her garden at every turn. And when she finds buried treasure in her garden that just might belong to the legendary Captain Kidd, the stakes become even higher. Was Dr. White searching for that treasure? Did someone kill him to get to it first? With the help of Jackson and her eccentric ex-boyfriend, Willow follows the clues to uncover the truth that someone wants buried...

But can she dig up enough evidence before she becomes the killer's next victim?'

My thoughts:

So this is the third book in the Natural Remedies Mystery series and I have read each and every installment in this series. It's growing on me, but sometimes I just couldn't get past the corny relationship parts in this book. I like Willow and I like the characters somewhat, but her relationship with Jackson, tends to get on my nerves a little. It is just annoying how cutesy they are and it just seems a little over done. I want to see some conflict in their relationship and not have it all be peaches and cream all the time. Sure, Jackson, is the main suspect in the murder in this story, but that just didn't seem like enough conflict to me.

I will say that this mystery had a lot of suspects and everyone had motive. It was a nice little puzzle to try to figure out. Towards the end though, the author starts drifting towards one suspect and the ending wasn't really all that much of a surprise. I would have liked a little more mystery in that area, but overall this book was a good read. My problems with this series before have been that the main character seems to give too much natural remedy advice, but in this one it really was muted and it didn't bother me at all. I actually found the herbs and their descriptions and uses at the beginning of every chapter to be quite interesting and informative. I learned a little something while reading this book and that is definitely something that I can appreciate. 

Overall, not a bad book, but not something that left me raving about it at the end. I still think that the series needs some work and I really just need Willow and Jackson to not be so annoying. I am willing to give this series another shot because I actually like learning about the herbs and plants that the author incorporates into her books. I find it interesting and engaging at the same time. I just hope for a little more oomph in the next book.

Overall Rating: 3

Title:  Garden of Death
Author:  Chrystle Fiedler
Series:  Natural Remedies Mystery #3
Publisher:  Pocket Books
Publication Date:  March 24, 2015
Pages:  400
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble


About the Author:

Chrystle Fiedler is a writer who specializes in alternative health topics and the author or coauthor of four nonfiction books: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Natural Remedies, The Country Almanac of Home Remedies, Beat Sugar Addiction Now!, and the Beat Sugar Addiction Now! Cookbook. Chrystle made her fiction debut with Death Drops, first in its series. You can visit her webpage at www.chrystlefiedler.com


This has been a stop on the Garden of Death blog tour presented by Great Escapes Book Tours. Make sure you check out all the other stops on the tour as some are giving away copies of this book!

March 18 – Shelley's Book Case
March 19 – Melina's Book Blog
March 20 – deal sharing aunt
March 21 - Girl Lost In a Book
March 23 – dru's book musings
March 24 – Marie's Cozy Corner
March 25 – Lilac Reviews
March 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews
March 27 – Chloe Gets A Clue
March 28 – readalot
March 29 – Babs Book Bistro
March 31 - Brooke Blogs


a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Great Escapes Book Tours, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review: What the Lady Wants by Renee Rosen

Description (from cover):

'In late-nineteenth-century Chicago, visionary retail tycoon Marshall Field made his fortune wooing women customers with his famous motto: 'Give the lady what she wants'. His legendary charm also won the heart of socialite Delia Spencer and led to an infamous love affair.

The night of the Great Fire, as seventeen-year-old Delia watches the flames rise and consume what was the pioneer town of Chicago, she can't imagine how much her life, her city, and her whole world are about to change. Nor can she guess that the agent of that change will not simply be the fire, but more so the man she meets that night...

Leading the way in rebuilding after the fire, Marshall Field reopens his well-known dry goods store and transforms it into something the world has never seen before: a glamorous palace of a department store. He and his powerhouse coterie--including Potter Palmer and George Pullman--usher in the age of robber barons, the American royalty of their generation.

But behind the opulence, their private lives are riddled with scandal and heartbreak. Delia and Marshall first turn to each other out of loneliness, but as their love deepens, they will stand together despite disgrace and ostracism, through an age of devastation and opportunity, when an adolescent Chicago is transformed into the gleaming White City of the Chicago's World's Fair of 1893.'

My thoughts:

I have to say that typically I usually avoid romances like the plague, but I found this one simply irresistible and impossible to put down. I would have to say that this book would be considered a romance as it portrays one of Chicago's most scandalous affairs, but it really didn't read like a romance novel. I didn't find myself wanting to skip over certain parts and it was by no means cheesy. I actually found Delia and Marshall's story to be quite fascinating and I actually want to learn more. For some reason, I felt like I should have known who Marshall Field was, but until I read this book, I had no clue. This book, however, has me wanting to learn more about him and Delia and what their life was really like.

It seems that Delia and Marshall had to deal with some pretty tough things in their life. From being shunned and snubbed, to having to be in loveless marriages, to other hardships. It was interesting to read about their struggles and how strong their love was for one another and how that survived even the darkest times. I loved how this book focused on their relationship but also showcased Chicago's history. Chicago doesn't tend to be a popular setting when it comes to historical fiction, so it was a real treat reading about something different for a change. Chicago sounds like it was a fascinating city in the time that this novel was set and I am curious to learn more about the Windy City.

I highly recommend this book to people who love historical fiction with a little romance mixed in. The author does a wonderful job of weaving a remarkable story about two people who faced hardships but overcame them by reveling in their love for one another. I think that by reading this book, I have discovered some new historical topics that I wish to discover. I hope that if you do find yourself intrigued by this book, that you will read it and love it as much as I did. I will be checking out this author's other books as the writing was irresistible and such a pleasure to read.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  What the Lady Wants
Author:  Renee Rosen
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  NAL
Publication Date:  November 4, 2014
Pages:  448
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review: The Witch Hunter's Tale by Sam Thomas

Description (from cover):

'Sam Thomas takes readers back to Puritan England with midwife Bridger Hodgson, hailed by the Plain Dealer as "one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction.

Winter has come to the city of York, and with it the threat of witchcraft. 

As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike.

Bridget--accompanied once again by her deputy, Martha Hawkins, and her nephew Will Hodgson--finds herself playing a lethal game of cat and mouse against the most dangerous men in York, as well as her sworn enemy, Rebecca Hooke.

As the trials begin and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?'

My thoughts:

So far, I have read every book in this series. You can find my previous reviews of The Midwife's Tale and The Harlot's Tale by click the hyperlinks. I like this series and enjoy a different perspective of Puritan England. I would prefer for the story to be set in London, but it is interesting to read something a little different and to explore York. I really enjoyed this book's predecessor, The Harlot's Tale, and found that I did enjoy this one as well, just not as much as that book. I like Bridget's character and the way she fights for justice, even if things don't turn out well all the time. She has a good heart and good intentions and she is overall a well-developed character. I am curious to see how she will handle things in the next book as this one ended with a little bit of conflict. 

I like when an author does their research and it shows through their writing on each and every page. Sam Thomas is such an author. I feel that when I read his books, I am getting an accurate portrayal of history and how things were like at the time. I always enjoy reading his author's notes as they open up a world of intrigue to this history lover. This has to be something that a historical fiction author struggles with on a frequent basis. All historical fiction authors have to take some liberties with history, but when the reader really can't tell the difference, well that is good historical fiction writing. Thomas portrays historical York as a confused place, struggling with England's civil war and the religious factions trying to make their own places at that moment in time.

The mystery in this one was a little on the disappointing side. Most of this book is not about the murder mystery, but about Bridget's struggle to keep her family safe and dealing with the powerful men of York. Which is all fine and dandy, but if I am reading a murder mystery, I want more detecting involved. This wasn't a bad book, I just didn't enjoy it as much as the second one in this series. I am curious to see where the author plans to take the characters next in their journey and I liked how this one ended with a sense of things not being well and completed. That always makes me anxious to get my hands on the next book and I hate that now I have to wait until it is released. Oh the woes of the vigorous reader. 

Overall Rating: 3

Title:  The Witch Hunter's Tale
Author:  Sam Thomas
Series:  Midwife Mystery #3
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:   January 6, 2015
Pages:  320
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer by Krista Davis

Description (from cover):

'Wagtail, Virginia, the top pet-friendly getaway in the United States, is gearing up for a howling good Halloween--until a spooky murder shakes the town to its core...

Holly Miller doesn't believe in spirits, but the Sugar Maple Inn is filled with guests who do. The TV series in development, Apparition Apprehenders, has descended on Wagtail's annual Halloween festivities to investigate supernatural local legends, and Holly has her hands full showing the ghost hunters a scary-fun time.

But the frights turn real when Holly's Jack Russell, Trixie, and kitten, Twinkletoes, find a young woman drowned in the Wagtail Springs Hotel's gazebo--the spot of the town's most infamous haunting. The crime scene is eerily similar to the creepy legend, convincing Holly that the death wasn't just accidental. Now she'll have to race to catch a flesh-and-blood killer--before someone else in town gives up the ghost...'

My thoughts:

So, yes, it is March and I am reading a Halloween-themed mystery. That goes to show you how far behind I am on my reading list. Nevertheless, this book had me turning the pages at a furious speed. I really have come to enjoy reading this series. Although this is the second book in the series, I really enjoyed this one as well as the first. Not a lot of cozy series draw me in at first, but this one did. I think it is because I connect with the main character, Holly, very well. She is an animal lover and has a knack for solving crimes. I don't exactly solve crimes, but I would like to think that I did.

Holly and Wagtail are prepping for a spectacular Howloween. Ripe with ghost legends in the small town, it doesn't help that a TV series is filming in the area and staying at the Sugar Maple Inn. Of course, there is tension amongst the ghost hunters and when one of them ends up dead, well Holly must discover who had motive, means and opportunity. This was a fun read because of the ghost hunting snippets as well as the mystery. The author did a fantastic job of weaving the two together to make this book one that I couldn't put down.

I wish that I could have read this book closer to Halloween, as the author did a fantastic job of creating an scary atmosphere. You most definitely do not have to read this book near Halloween and I thought that it was just fantastic anyways. I just wish that I could have created the right ambiance and read this book at the right time of the year. Another smashing read by Krista Davis and I cannot wait for the next installment.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer
Author:  Krista Davis
Series:  Paws and Claws Mystery #2
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  December 2, 2014
Pages:  320
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Review: Murder, She Barked by Krista Davis

Description (from cover):

'The Sugar Maple Inn in Wagtail, Virginia, is the country's premier vacation hot spot for pet owners who can't bear to leave their furry friends behind. But this tourist town smells trouble when a killer goes on the prowl...

Holly Miller's life has gone to the dogs. She has no job, her boyfriend's former flame is sniffing around, and a scruffy but loveable Jack Russell terrier is scattering crumbs all over her borrowed car. Just when she thought things couldn't get worse, a troubling phone call about her grandmother sends her rushing home to the family inn on Wagtail Mountain.

The staff--and a frisky calico kitten named Twinkletoes--adopts Holly and her new dog on arrival. But someone in this friendly town is bad to the bone. One of the employees at the inn has been killed in a hit-and-run accident--which is looking anything but accidental. Now Holly and her furry companions will have to nose out the murderer before someone else gets muzzled.'

My thoughts:

Wagtail, Virginia sound like a dream come true. Who wouldn't want to go to a quaint mountain town that caters to animal lovers and their pets. I just wish I could live in a place like this. I know my chihuahua, Avery, would love to be there. Holly Miller lives a fast paced life in Arlington, Virginia. She just lost her job and her relationship with her boyfriend is on the rocks, so when she gets a distressing phone call from a family friend, she rushes to Wagtail to see her grandmother. Little does she know that when she arrives she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and everyone is suspect.

I had a lot of fun reading this one. Rarely, and I mean rarely, do I ever really enjoy reading debut mysteries and this one was a blast to read. I really enjoyed the characters and connected well with Holly's character. She loves animals and as I do as well, it was hard not to like her. Also her little Jack Russell terrier is a funny little dog that has her own antics. It was very hard to put this one down. I enjoyed it from the first page and was sad when I finished it. Lucky me, I am reading the next one in the series The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer right now, so I don't have to leave behind Wagtail quite yet. 

A light and entertaining read that left me wanting more. I adored this book and hope that you will read it too and love it as much as I did. I haven't read any books by this author before, but I am now curious about her other series. If those are as good as this one, then I really need to get to reading them soon. A charming series that I have now added to my favorites list. I won't be skipping books in this series anytime soon.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  Murder, She Barked
Author:  Krista Davis
Series:  Paws and Claws Mystery #1
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  December 3, 2013
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Blog Tour Stop & Review: Suspendered Sentence by Laura Bradford

Description (from cover):

'Living among the Amish of Heavenly, Pennsylvania, shop owner Claire Weatherly has come to appreciate a simpler, more peaceful way of life. But secrets within the close-knit community can certainly complicate things--especially when they lead to murder...

After the Stolzfus barn catches fire, Claire is awed by the response of the community. Hundreds of Amish men gather together to raise a new barn for the family in a matter of days. But in the midst of the work, a human skeleton is unearthed. Found with the remains is half of a friendship bracelet last seen on Sadie Lehman, an Amish teen long believed to have left her strict upbringing for the allure of English ways.

Now Detective Jakob Fisher--once a member of the Amish community himself--is determined to solve the young woman's murder. With Claire's help, he must dig into the past and bring to light long-buried secrets--secrets that someone is willing to kill to protect...'

My thoughts:

I have to say that this book was by far one of the best in this series so far. I read it in a short amount of time as I could hardly put it down. This series seems to get better and better as it goes on. I love the interactions that Claire has with the Amish and how the author shows the reader how the Amish are. I always find myself eager to read these books because I always learn something about the Amish and how fascinating their way of life is. I love to read books where I learn something and this series has that in droves. The author has done her research and you can tell on each page. 

Claire has unseemingly found herself involved in yet another murder mystery involving the Amish in her small town of Heavenly, Pennsylvania. She doesn't go out looking to solve crimes but they always seem to land right on her doorstep. When a local Amish farmer's barn goes up in flames, human remains are discovered. It appears that the remains belong to Sadie Lehman, who everyone thought had left the Amish to chase the English lifestyle. However, we soon learn that Sadie never left but was buried close to her friends and family without anyone ever knowing what happened to her. Claire wants justice for Sadie and sets out to solve a murder and find out what really happened to the teenager all those years ago. 

There's something about the Amish that draws me in and this author sure does know how to make a book engaging. I love Claire's character and her natural curiosity about the Amish. I love how the author weaves a story using both English and Amish characters. If you have yet to discover this series, I highly recommend it. This book was the best so far and I cannot wait to read the next one.

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  Suspendered Sentence
Author:  Laura Bradford
Series:  Amish Mystery #4
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  March 3, 2015
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Laura Bradford is the author of the new Amish Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin). In addition to this new series, Laura is also the bestselling author of the Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series (under her pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey), and an award winning romance author for Harlequin American. Her third romance, MIRACLE BABY, was named RT Magazine's Reviewer's Choice Award Winner for Best Harlequin American of 2010. KAYLA'S DADDY—her first romance—was nominated for the same award and has gone on to be translated in both Spain and Germany. A graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, Laura lives in New York with her family.



This has been a stop on the Suspendered Sentence blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure you stop by all the hosts on this blog tour!

March 2--WV Stitcher
March 3--The Gal in the Blue Mask
March 4--Babs Book Bistro
March 5--Tea and A Book
March 6--A Chick Who Reads
March 7--Mystery Playground
March 8--Girl Lost In a Book
March 9--Back Porchervations


 
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.
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