Sunday, December 4, 2016

Egg Drop Dead by Laura Childs

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Egg Drop Dead
by Laura Childs


ISBN-13: 9780425281703
Hardback: 288 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club CafĂ©’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them.


My Review:
Egg Drop Dead is a cozy mystery. It's the seventh book in the series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the previous whodunits.

Suzanne and her friends were an enjoyable characters. The story took place around Halloween, so they participated in several Halloween activities. There was even a haunted house (well, forest) chase scene.

While there were clues, this wasn't really a "puzzle it out" mystery. Suzanne poked around, asked some questions, worked to save some horses, befriended one suspect, and didn't find any serious clues against the others. When the critical clue was finely uncovered, the story ended with a scene worthy of an action movie. The heroine saves the day!

There was occasional use of of bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this fun mystery/suspense novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Daughter of Joy by Kathleen Morgan

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Daughter of Joy
by Kathleen Morgan


ISBN-13: 9781441217257
ebook: 261 pages
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
Released: September 1, 2007

Source: "Bought" (during a for-free offer) through Christianbook.com.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Abigail Stanton's whole life was rooted in her faith. In the wake of losing her husband and young son, Abby sets out, bereft and heartsick, to discover what God wants her to do. When she starts working for Conor MacKay, though, the very foundation of her beliefs starts to shift.

As the volatile rancher's new housekeeper, Abby is supposed to keep his house --- and his equally capricious little girl --- in order. Why, then, does she feel confusion, desire, and anything but order every time they are together? Conor tries to hide his own seething emotions beneath a cold facade, but the more ruthlessly he attacks Abby's faith, the more his defenses crack.

As Abby and Conor draw closer to the flame of their attraction, they must grapple with their deepest beliefs and fears. In opening their hearts again, both risk even greater loss for a chance at the greatest love of all.


My Review:
Daughter of Joy is a historical romance set in 1895 in Colorado. It has a common storyline: a lady becomes the housekeeper for a handsome but unkind man with an untamed child and she wins them over. We get some details about everyday life in 1895, but the historical aspect is mostly just a backdrop for the action.

The hero and heroine have some depth to their character and underlying motives which plays a nice role at the beginning and end to make the story unique. However, the middle felt a bit rushed. She decides to marry someone not a Christian in hopes her influence will make the difference. Suddenly everything from the man's past comes back--and seems easily overcome. Too easily. I would have liked it better if his struggle had been a little more developed here. Then she realizes he hasn't changed, really, but is simply doing what she asks because he wants her. At this point, the story slows down and explores their struggles and conflicting emotions again.

I do not find unkind men to be attractive even if they are handsome, so I couldn't quite relate to that. But I could accept that she was attracted to him based on her past and because he wasn't always unkind.

The Christian element was woven into the story. Their religious beliefs were a part of their lives, their past, and motivated their actions. The characters' theology wasn't always correct. It bothered me that a Christian friend was strongly encouraging the heroine to marry someone not a Christian, among other things. However, I didn't get the feeling that we were being asked to accept these conclusions as true but as what flawed, confused humans come up with.

There were no sex scenes or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany

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We Wish You a Murderous Christmas
by Vicki Delany


ISBN-13: 9780425280812
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: Nov. 1, 2016

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
It’s Christmastime three hundred sixty-five days a year in Rudolph, New York, and as Christmas Day approaches, shop owner Merry Wilkinson is enjoying a rare evening off at the Yuletide Inn when she runs into owners Grace and Jack Olsen.

With Jack's health failing, his son Gord will be taking over the day-to-day running of the Inn. But Gord reveals that his new plans have no room for Christmas at the Inn. Merry and the other shopkeepers fret about the effect a bland franchise hotel could have on their livelihoods.

When Gord is found stabbed to death, there’s an entire town of potential suspects—and it’s up to Merry to find whoever brought homicide home for the holidays.


My Review:
We Wish You a Murderous Christmas is a cozy mystery. It's the second book in the series. You don't need to read the previous novel to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the previous whodunits.

This was a clue-based mystery. The heroine was good at noticing important things and understanding what various clues meant. The critical clue for determining whodunit didn't come until nearly the end. She quickly understood what it meant and was able to act quickly to save someone's life. I liked the heroine and the other main characters, so it was an enjoyable read.

There was no bad language or sex. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Hooking for Trouble by Betty Hechtman

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Hooking for Trouble
by Betty Hechtman


ISBN-13: 9780425279458
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: Nov. 1, 2016

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
The Tarzana Hookers’ Yarn University has been a big success, and the classes have drawn in a slew of new crochet devotees. A less welcome arrival is the boxy monstrosity in the yard behind Molly’s house. She hasn’t met her new neighbors, but when she sees a couple struggling on the balcony and later spies what looks like someone lying on the ground, Molly wastes no time calling in her ex, homicide detective Barry Greenberg.

To Molly’s shock, Barry reports that nothing is amiss with her neighbors and asks her to lay off with the amateur detecting. Molly knows she wasn’t just seeing things, but with no body to prove her case she’ll have to unravel the evidence on her own—because someone in Tarzana is tangled up in murder.


My Review:
Hooking for Trouble is a cozy mystery. It's the eleventh book in the series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the previous whodunits.

Molly sees a body in her neighbor's yard and calls the cops, but the body is gone by the time they arrive. No body, no murder. So Molly tries to figure out who was killed (which isn't as easy as it sounds), who did it, and why.

It's a clue-based mystery, and you can guess whodunit from the clues. However, a critical clue about "why" was described so vaguely that the reader has little chance of guessing the motive before Molly explains it. Molly wanted to catch whodunit in an incriminating action at the end, but she apparently gave little thought to video-taping it as proof or protecting herself if she was spotted by whodunit.

There were no sex scenes and no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl

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Fatal Frost
by Nancy Mehl


ISBN-13: 9780764217777
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: Nov. 1, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Mercy Brennan, a U.S. Marshal, is assigned to a joint task force with the St. Louis PD that puts her in the sights of St. Louis's most powerful gang. The gang believes Mercy has possession of some highly sensitive and incriminating information, so her boss assigns Mark St. Laurent--a Deputy U.S. Marshal and Mercy's ex-boyfriend--to get her out of town until they can guarantee her safety.

It isn't until a freak ice storm hits, stranding them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office, that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy closing in to put their lives at imminent risk. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive--if help is even coming at all?


My Review:
Fatal Frost is a Christian suspense novel. It's not a romantic suspense as the situation didn't really allow a romance. It was more about Mercy finding healing for past hurts so that she could potentially have a relationship in the future. I liked the characters, but I felt more intrigued by the internal conflicts faced by some of the side characters (like Tally, Troy, and Angel) than by Mercy and Mark. The suspense came from the constant physical danger from gangsters with guns and a bad snow storm.

But parts weren't very realistic. For example, a point is made about the danger of attack by bad guys and the need to keep watch, then they do things like take a shower or that otherwise make themselves vulnerable. They're outnumbered but often don't immediately handcuff or tie up their captives. Later, they don't even consider using newly available ATV vehicles to escape danger.

Several characters re-connected with their childhood faith in God. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy lots of action and aren't bothered if some parts aren't realistic.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Friday, November 18, 2016

A Royal Christmas to Remember by Jeanna Young and Jacqueline Johnson

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A Royal Christmas to Remember
by Jeanna Young
Jacqueline Johnson,
Illustrated by:
Omar Aranda


ISBN-13: 9780310748021
Hardback: 32
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Released: Oct. 11, 2016

Source: Review copy from the publisher through BookLook.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
With the arrival of the most spectacular winter in years and Christmas only a night away, Princesses Joy, Grace, Faith, Charity, and Hope find themselves in the midst of a scene right out of a holiday fairytale. But then the threat of bandits in the village lead the king away from the castle on Christmas Eve!

Suddenly, the bandits come crashing into the castle. Praying to God for courage and safety, the princesses are soon rescued by five brave squires. The next day, the princesses go to the village to see how they can be of help to the people, discovering that the true meaning of Christmas is in sharing rather than storing up things for themselves.


My Review:
A Royal Christmas to Remember is a children's book for ages 4-8 years old. The illustrations are of the "animated movie" style and do a good job of illustrating the text, though I never did figure out which princess was which. It's a nice story about what Christmas is really about. It included the father reading to the princesses about Christ's birth, and they sing a Christmas song.

Yet the main lesson of the story seemed to be that Christmas is about sharing rather than greedily (their words at the very end) storing up things for yourself. I thought what they decided to share was very odd, though. The village had been burned and many precious items stolen, yet the princesses give away...their Christmas decorations! And their gifts.

A sacrifice, to be sure, but I'm thinking the villagers would have better appreciated an invitation to stay at that large castle until their houses were fixed or something more practical. I guess considering what will actually help those in need is a topic for a future book, though. Overall, it's a fun story that kids will enjoy, even if this adult was a little disappointed.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Killing Thyme by Leslie Budewitz

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Killing Thyme
by Leslie Budewitz


ISBN-13: 9780425271803
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Pepper Reece is busy conjuring up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor and crossing her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena.

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. When Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth.


My Review:
Killing Thyme is a cozy mystery. It's the third book in the series. You don't need to read the previous novel to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the previous whodunits.

The mystery was clue-based. The critical clues didn't come until nearly the end. I must admit that I didn't guess whodunit, though I came close. The main characters were interesting and likable, and the trap that they set at the end was fun. There was a very minor amount of bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.