Category Archives: book reviews

Murder at Lambswool Farm is an Intriguing Mystery

Murder at Lambswool FarmMurder at Lambswool Farm

By: Sally Goldenbaum

Copyright: May 2016

Publisher: Obsidiium Mystery

 

Book Blurb

Seaside Knitter Birdie Favazza has long loved knitting, but lately she’s taken on a new challenge—making a family farm operational again. With help from friends, Lambswool Farm is now up and running, with thriving crops and grazing sheep.  In addition, the farm will host rustic, six-course prix fixe dinners plated by local chefs and served on a gorgeous restored harvest table, decorated to perfection with colorful knitted vegetables crafted by Izzy Chambers Perry, her aunt Nell, and the other Seaside Knitters.

But on the night of the first meal, everything spins out of control when one of the guests, Seaside Harbor’s family physician, is found dead on the property. It seems that behind Dr. Alan Hamilton’s friendly bedside manner was a man worth killing.

Soon the town is gossiping and pointing fingers at all possible suspects—including the women at Lambswool Farm. Now the Seaside Knitters must join together to uncover the truth in Dr. Hamilton’s complicated past—and restore peace to town and country alike.

 

My Thoughts:

I’ve read a number of Ms Goldenbaum’s books over the years and have enjoyed them all.  This book reaches new heights in the way her characters act and how much effort they put into solving a mystery that involves the happiness of the entire community.

I haven’t done much blogging this last year or so but this book is bringing the words back into my fingers.   The stranger who comes to town out of nowhere, who spends his time investigating the town and the people in it.  The guileless way he appears to talk to people and make friends. All this and more make Murder at Lambswool Farm the BEST in the series.   I strongly suggest reading it if you love mystery stories.

FTC Full Disclosure:  I borrowed this book from my local library with no thought that I’d review it.

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Filed under book reviews, Cozy Mystery, Mystery

The Fixer is a Must Read Book

The FixerThe Fixer

Author: Joseph Finder

Copyright:  June 2015

Publisher: Dutton

When former investigative reporter Rick Hoffman loses his job, fiancée, and apartment, his only option is to move back into — and renovate — the home of his miserable youth, now empty and in decay since the stroke that put his father in a nursing home.

As Rick starts to pull apart the old house, he makes an electrifying discovery — millions of dollars hidden in the walls. It’s enough money to completely transform Rick’s life — and everything he thought he knew about his father.  Yet the more of his father’s hidden past that Rick brings to light, the more dangerous his present becomes. Soon, he finds himself on the run from deadly enemies desperate to keep the past buried, and only solving the mystery of his father — a man who has been unable to communicate, comprehend, or care for himself for almost 20 years — will save Rick… if he can survive long enough to do it.

This is probably the most interesting and mind boggling book I’ve read in many years. I’d seen the blurb somewhere on line and immediately put it on hold at my local library. I’ve been reading it for almost a week and had trouble putting it down when there were other things I needed to be doing.

This is a story, a murder mystery, and an adventure. It all happens because a young man (Rick Hoffman) is “downsized” from his second career choice job (lots of glitz and money but no substance. He lost everything that he thought mattered to him and finds himself living in his old family home. The house is decrepit and in need of major repairs before he can sell it and have money to move on with.

His next door neighbor approaches him with an offer to do the repairs for a share of the sale. The next day he and this neighbor do some basic work tearing out a wall and Rick sees something hidden between the walls and at that moment his whole life is changed. Rick now  wants to find out the truth about his father who has been in a nursing home for eighteen years after supposedly having a stroke.  His research into his father’s life will lead him down a path full of danger and possible death.

If you read any book this year you need to make it this one.

FTC Full Disclosure:  I took this book out of the Brooklyn Public Library

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Filed under book reviews, Crime Fiction

A Change in Altitude is a Must Read Story

A Change in AltitudeA Change in Altitude
By: Cindy Meyere
Copyright: July 2014
Publisher: Kensington Fiction

With local Maggie Stevens’ baby on the way–not to mention her wedding to Jameso Clark in the works–spring in Eureka promises to be a time of rebirth in more ways than one. To add to the excitement, and refill the town’s depleted coffers, Lucille, the mayor, has wooed a movie producer to Eureka, throwing folks into a tizzy–and inspiring some to reach for the stars. As if that weren’t enough, the bogus Lucky Lady mine the town partially sold turns out to really have gold in it–and possibly a ghost to boot. But with each silver lining, there seems to be a cloud. . .

With Eureka’s financial future at stake, Lucille will have to wrangle Lucky Lady’s greedy half-owner to regain control. Meanwhile, just as Jameso is getting comfortable with the imminent role of husband and father, his wayward sister, Sharon, comes to Eureka to escape a troubled marriage. Can the residents of Eureka find the courage to stand up to ghosts of all kinds and get their beloved town back on its feet in time to welcome their newest addition–and celebrate the gifts of spring. . .?

 

Spring is looking to be a very interesting time this year. The town is mostly broke, weddings are planned, and the Mayor is desperate to bring money into the town’s coffers. What must be done, what can be done?

This is a very tricky story to read and review. There are so many things going on at once that you need to take notes to know what the characters are doing and who they might be related to. Let’s start with Sharon. She is running for a husband who is a danger to her, her daughter Alina and lastly to himself. Sharon and Alina make a cross country escape in a car that might or might not make it. She is praying that her brother (who she hasn’t heard from in years) will be able to help them. Driving into town Sharon is met by another character who will be looking into her life Sergeant Josh Miller who pulls up behind her parked car to see if she needed any help.

Then we have her brother Jameso (AKA Jay Clarkson) who is getting married and his intended bride is pregnant…
So much is going on, and only 302 pages to fit it all into. This book starts out as if it would be a 500 pager but it will surprise you how quickly you will fall into the cadence of reading, and ignoring the world around you as you engage with the people of Eureka and their lives. I’ve probably left out a bunch of people who are going to make you want to slap them, or laugh at them.. but that’s my job as a reviewer. This book is an intriguing story and I honestly think you should beg, borrow or steal a copy to hide in your reading corner with.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.

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Filed under book reviews, Contemporary Romance, Romance

Death on Eat Street is a Culinary Success

Death on Eat StreetDeath on Eat Street
Author: J.J. Cook
Copyright: April 2014
Publisher: Berkeley Prime Crime

Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but first, she’ll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side of mystery…

When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama.

Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away.

After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.

Zoe has reached her breaking point. Between a cheating boyfriend, being constantly passed over for promotion at work, and the most pushy mother in the world she’s had it! Zoe is going to reach for her dream of owning her own restaurant.
She buys a closed diner and does enough to bring the kitchen up to code. But to raise the money needed for a full refit and updating she decides to run a food truck to raise the money to finish her dream plan. It’s hard work and she’s fighting against all the established operators and the interference of family. After an argument with one of the other truck owners who park down by the police station she comes back to the restaurant and has another unending fight with her ex.
To make matters worse she is out of the truck for maybe half an hour and comes back to find a dead body wedged into her truck cab.
This is just the start of J.J. Cook’s new Biscuit Bowl Mystery series and if you want to know more about this first adventure you’re going to have to beg, borrow or steal a copy. I find that the mix of characters (her family and street people) make for a great read. I’m not handing out any spoilers. LOL
FTC Full Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the authors who only asked for a fair and impartial review.

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Filed under book reviews, Cozy Mystery

Savannah and Dirk Strike Again

Killer Physique Killer Physique
By: G.A. McKevett
Copyright: April 2014
Publisher: Kensington Books

Plus-sized P.I. Savannah Reid gets a taste of the high life when she attends a Hollywood premiere on the arm of husband Dirk Coulter. Savannah may be a newlywed, but even she gets weak in the knees when she meets celebrity athlete-turned-movie-star Jason Tyrone. So imagine how she feels when the star’s rock-hard body is found rock-hard dead…
Some guys have everything. With his stunning looks and dazzling charm, Jason Tyrone is America’s favorite new action hero. Make that was. Once so spectacular in action, the blockbuster idol was found dead in his hotel room after his latest premiere. Despite his chiseled physique, Jason is never getting up again…
Though the autopsy reveals Jason may have gotten his killer body through doping, no one wants to believe the beloved athlete is a fraud, least of all Savannah. Soon she’s deeply immersed in the dark world of body enhancing drugs, and wondering if the world-class gym where Jason worked out is really just a front for a lucrative drug ring. Was Jason’s death the price he paid for threatening to expose other celebrities caught in the clutch of keeping a flawless image? Or was everyone’s favorite hero a victim of his own desire to always be at the top of his game? No stranger to society’s obsession with image, Savannah is determined to get to the truth. And for the voluptuous investigator, this time it’s personal….

 

So the honeymoon is over and Van is now learning to deal with the slob she calls her own. Dirk also have problems, what with his birth parents coming to stay with them and meet him for the first time.
To help with the newlywed’s mood and to help lighten it up “the boys” invite them to the premiere of a new movie starring Jason Tyrone. It’s too bad this nice kid is dead before the night’s even over. Van and Dirk are on the job, between the parents (who turn out to be really cheap people) who don’t think Van should be “wasting” Dirk’s money on expensive foods (really her own cash) and Dirk trying so hard to work this murder case, life in the Reid/Coulter house is getting to be a bit much.

Savanna and Dirk are two of my favorite detectives. This series always hits the spot, entertainment wise and laugh wise. I highly recommend you beg, borrow or steal a copy and hunker down with it in your favorite reading spot.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher who only asked for a fair and impartial review.

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Filed under book reviews, Mystery, Women Mystery Authors

Panthers Play for Keeps is a Sure Winner

Panthers Play For KeepsPanthers Play for Keeps
By: Clea Simon
Copyright: April 2014
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

When Pru Marlowe takes a dog for a walk, she doesn’t expect to find a body. But Spot, a service dog in training, has too good a nose not to lead her to the remains of the beautiful young woman, and despite her own best instincts, Pru can’t avoid getting involved. The young woman seems to have been mauled by a wild cat – and Pru knows there have been no pumas in the Berkshire woods for years. And while Wallis, Pru’s curmudgeonly tabby, seems fixated on the idea of a killer cat, Spot has been sending strange signals to Pru’s own heightened senses, suggesting that the violent death was something more than a tragic accident. As motives multiply, a cougar of a different sort sets her eyes on Pru’s sometime lover, and another woman disappears. With panther panic growing, Pru may have to put aside her own issues – and her own ideas of domesticity – to solve a savage mystery.

 

Pru has found a new source of income and is now training a service dog for someone who will be losing his sight totally over the next few weeks. While out on a training session in a nearby wooded area Spot finds the body of a young woman who appears to have been attacked by a wild animal.
This time out Pru is dealing not only with a dog who is being trained, but the foster home that Spot is living in while training and the family that he will eventually be caring for. The cast of characters here are as varied as much as their hidden secrets. Not only do they have secrets that they share but also secrets from each other.
Pru has to work her way through a jungle of problems as the bodies begin to pile up and also deal with her personal life and her connection to the Detective in charge. She must learn to listen to Wallace, Spot and a host of other pets.
I’ll say it again, each new adventure in this series gets deeper and more intense as the author carries her creations to new heights of angst and anxiety. I highly recommend that you read this book. Beg, borrow or steal a copy, just read it and enjoy.
FTC Full Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher who only requested a fair and impartial review.

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Filed under book reviews, Paranormal Mystery, Women Mystery Authors

Grey Howl is a Classic Mystery Read

Grey HowlGrey Howl
By: Clea Simon
Copyright: March 2014
Publisher: Severn House

A prestigious literature conference is convening in Cambridge and Dulcie Schwartz is the university liaison for the event, meeting and greeting some of the finest minds in her field.

But events do not run according to plan when one scholar’s presentation is sabotaged while another visiting professor disappears. As Dulcie and her boyfriend Chris struggle to solve problems and soothe egos, a strange apparition starts to haunt the bi-annual event. And even Mr Gray, the ghost of Dulcie’s late, great cat,,appears to be overwhelmed, leaving Dulcie to manage an increasingly backstabbing crew of professional rivals, one of whom may be a killer.

Dulcie’s life feels like it’s spinning out of control. She is going to be presenting a paper at the conference taking place at her university so of course the department chair has decided that she also has to be in charge of taking care of everything else also. Meeting the visiting scholars, making sure they have what they need while still trying to have a life of her own is in a word daunting.
Things start going sideways when one of the scholars asks for help retrieving the file that supposedly contained her notes for her presentation, and claiming that someone has sabotaged her computer. Finding out that everyone in the visiting group has a past that crossed lines over the years (and also having affairs with each other) is making it difficult for her to keep them in line.
Add in some possible poisonings, a dead body, and once again being seen as a person of interest by the police is making Dulcie wonder why she ever let her boss push her into being liaison to the visiting trouble makers.
Clea Simon, in each succeeding book in this series is proving that she is up there with the greats. Her stories bring to mind authors like Dame Agatha Christie, John Sandford and J.J. Marric. Her ability to juggle so many people and multiple crossing plots make her books a genuine pleasure to read, collect and share with friends.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher who only asked for a fair and impartial review.

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Filed under book reviews, Mystery, Women Mystery Authors