Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Finely Knit Murder by Sally Goldenbaum

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A Finely Knit Murder
by Sally Goldenbaum


ISBN-13: 9780451471604
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Obsidian
Released: May 5, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Seaside Knitter Birdie Favazza is thrilled that her granddaughter Gabby will be visiting for the fall and attending the Sea Harbor Community Day School. Gabby loves the school, with its newly-adopted progressive curriculum, and she loves that the Seaside Knitters are teaching knitting as part of the enrichment program.

But not everyone is happy with the direction the school is taking. Outspoken board member Blythe Westerland has sparked tempers with her determination to bring down the current administration. Then, on the evening of an elegant school event, Blythe’s body is found near the school boathouse.

With a killer on the loose, Birdie is determined to keep Gabby safe. Working together, the Seaside Knitters carefully unravel the layers of Blythe’s complicated life, bringing faculty members and town residents under scrutiny.


My Review:
A Finely Knit Murder is a cozy mystery. This is the ninth book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the previous mysteries.

The main characters are very nice, caring people, and they reacted realistically to the murder. The heroines asked reasonable questions and were good listeners. I had two strong suspects based on things the heroines observed and learned. The more they learned, the clearer it was whodunit. I correctly guessed whodunit and why a bit before the heroines finally picked up on what had happened. It was an enjoyable, slowly unraveled mystery.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this warm, cozy 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, May 17, 2015

Murder in Murray Hill by Victoria Thompson

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Murder in Murray Hill
by Victoria Thompson


ISBN-13: 9780425260463
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 5, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
The residents of nineteenth-century New York City turn to midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to protect them from the worst crimes. Now, the two must track down a criminal preying on innocent women…

Frank Malloy has never known any life other than that of a cop, but his newfound inheritance threatens his position on the force. While trying to keep both his relationship with Sarah and his fortune under wraps, he’s assigned to a new case—finding a missing young woman who had been responding to “lonely hearts” ads in the paper before she disappeared. Malloy fears the worst, knowing that the grifters who place such ads often do much more than simply abscond with their victims.


My Review:
Murder in Murray Hill is a historical mystery set in New York city in the late 1890's. It's the sixteenth book in the series, but this story didn't spoil the previous mysteries. However, the author assumed that the reader had some previous knowledge of the characters and their relationships to each other. The story might be confusing at first if you haven't read any of the previous novels.

There was a nice level of historical detail regarding the city, police, and social structure. The characters were varied and had realistic reactions to events. Frank and Sarah basically gathered clues and followed them up in a logic way until they all fit together to solve the puzzle. The women's kidnapping was a good issue to have in a novel, but it didn't make for light reading as it's still an issue today.

There was a minor amount of bad language. There were no sex scenes, but there were frequent references to rape in a "he raped me" way or in vague terms. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting historical 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, May 10, 2015

Seven Threadly Sins by Janet Bolin

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Seven Threadly Sins
by Janet Bolin


ISBN-13: 9780425268001
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 5, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Threadville, Pennsylvania, is famous for its fabric, needlecraft, and embroidery, so it’s only natural that it would become the home of the Threadville Academy of Design and Modeling. While Willow Vanderling has certainly never wanted to be a model, here she is, voluntarily strutting her stuff in a charity runway show in outrageous clothing, all to support the Academy’s scholarship fund.

But the lascivious, mean-spirited director of the academy, Antonio, is making the fashion show a less-than-fabulous affair. After Antonio plays a shocking prank on Willow and her friends that doesn’t exactly leave the ladies in stitches, he mysteriously winds up dead—and someone is trying to pin the blame on Willow.


My Review:
Seven Threadly Sins is a cozy mystery. This book was the fifth in the series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one. This story didn't spoil the previous whodunits.

The mystery had plenty of clues--so many that I found it hard to keep track of what was what. I love clue-filled, puzzle mysteries! The main characters were nice, interesting people. The heroine was great at coming up with possibilities as to who may have a motive and how it was done (using the clues), so I'll give her credit for creative thinking. The heroine did end up in danger, but it wasn't a "hey, let's confront a killer!" sort or a "heroine knows nothing but the killer thinks she does" sort, and she wasn't a helpless damsel, so it worked fine for me and added suspense.

There was no sex or bad language. 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, May 8, 2015

Woof by Spencer Quinn

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Woof
by Spencer Quinn


ISBN-13: 978-0545643313
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Released: April 28, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description from Goodreads:
There is trouble brewing in the Louisiana swamp -- Bowser can smell it. Bowser is a very handsome and only slightly slobbery dog, and he can smell lots of things. Like bacon. And rawhide chews! And the sweat on humans when they're lying.

Birdie Gaux, the girl Bowser lives with, also knows something is wrong. It's not just that her grammy's stuffed prize marlin has been stolen. It's the weird rumor that the marlin is linked to a missing treasure. It's the truck that seems to be following Birdie and the bad feeling on the back of her neck.

When Birdie and Bowser start digging into the mystery, not even Bowser's powerful sniffer can smell just how menacing the threat is. And when the danger comes straight for Birdie, Bowser knows it up to him to sic 'em.


My Review:
My review on Amazon.

As a member of Amazon Vine, I'm able to review books through them, but--as I understand the terms--I'm only allowed to post my review on Amazon. Because I really liked this book, I'm posting a description of the book here with a direct link to my review on Amazon.

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, May 3, 2015

Murder in Merino by Sally Goldenbaum

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Murder in Merino
by Sally Goldenbaum


ISBN-13: 9780451415370
Trade Paperback: 334 pages
Publisher: Obsidian
Released: May 5, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Izzy Perry is busy helping the Knitters make a throw to celebrate her aunt and uncle’s fortieth wedding anniversary, and she’s finally selling the cottage she lived in before she got married. A mysterious but friendly vacationer to Sea Harbor, Julia Ainsley, wants to buy the home even though she’s never been inside.

On the day of the open house, a body is uncovered in the cottage’s backyard. Julia’s name and phone number, found in the victim’s pocket, instantly make her a person of interest. Soon, though, the spotlight of suspicion widens to include old friends. Now the Seaside Knitters must unravel the real reason Julia has come to town and this leads to a tragedy, long buried, slowly coming to the surface.


My Review:
Murder in Merino is a cozy mystery. It's the eighth in the series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the previous mysteries.

This author really puts the warm and cozy into her cozy mystery. The main characters are very nice, caring people. They also react realistically to events. The author shows the impact that a murder can have on a small community and how past decisions can come back to bite you. The heroines asked reasonable questions, were good listeners, and looked into angles where the police might not have access but the Knitters did because they were friends of the people involved.

About halfway through, I had two strong suspects based on suspicious hints more than clues. The clues didn't narrow things down much until nearly the end. Once the final clues were found, it was clear which of my two suspects was the murderer and why. The mystery of Julia also kept me fully engaged in the story.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this warm, cozy 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, May 1, 2015

Last One Home by Debbie Macomber



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Last One Home
by Debbie Macomber


ISBN-13: 9780553391886
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Released: March 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Growing up, Cassie Carter and her sisters, Karen and Nichole, were incredibly close -- until one fateful event drove them apart. As a teenager, Cassie ran away from home to marry the wrong man, throwing away a college scholarship and breaking her parents’ hearts.

Now thirty-one, Cassie is living in Seattle with her daughter and hoping to leave her past behind. After finding the courage to end an abusive marriage, Cassie is back on her own two feet, the pieces of her life slowly but surely coming together. Then Cassie receives a letter from Karen, offering what Cassie thinks may be a chance to reconcile with her sisters. Cassie opens herself up to new possibilities: making amends with her sisters and finding love once more.


My Review:
My review on Amazon.

As a member of Amazon Vine, I'm able to review books through them, but--as I understand the terms--I'm only allowed to post my review on Amazon. Because I really liked this book, I'm posting a description of the book here with a direct link to my review on Amazon.

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, April 26, 2015

Killer in the Kitchen by Donald Bain

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Killer in the Kitchen
by Donald Bain &
Jessica Fletcher


ISBN-13: 9780451468383
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Obsidian
Released: April 7, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Jessica loves the Leg & Claw restaurant, owned by young couple Brad and Marcie. And the restaurant is the couple's dream come true. But when famed chef Gerard Pepe Lebeouf decides to open an eatery right next to theirs, tensions rise fast and hot and lead to a nasty confrontation between Lebeouf and Brad. When Lebeouf is found dead with a knife planted in his chest, Brad becomes suspect number one. But plenty of others had a motive to kill Pepe, and it's up to Jessica to uncover who really added murder to the menu.


My Review:
Killer in the Kitchen is a cozy mystery. This is the forty-third book in the series. You don't have to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this one doesn't spoil the whodunit of previous novels.

Though there is crime scene evidence, we're told only such general information that it doesn't eliminate suspects. Jessica can't get anyone involved to talk with her--even the people she's trying to help--and a lot of people had motive and opportunity. Jessica's main job was to keep asking questions until she caught someone in a lie and then she used that to prompt the truth out of the suspects. Once people started to talk, the murder and whodunit was very quickly uncovered.

The characters were interesting and complex people. You couldn't always tell if they were acting suspiciously or if their behavior was simply amplified by stress and grief. I have a small pet peeve against Jessica in this one. She's solved hundreds of murders and knows better, but twice she doesn't tell anyone that she's going--alone--to confront a strong suspect. This lack of caution wasn't needed for the storyline to work, so I can only guess that it was meant to increase suspense. It didn't work for me.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. 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.