Thursday, 5 October 2017

Peregrine Island by Diane B. Saxton


Peregrine Island
PEREGRINE ISLAND is the recipient of the following literary awards:

2017 Winner of the National Indie Excellence Award for Regional Fiction: Northeast 
2017 Distinguished Favorite in Literary Fiction by Independent Press Awards 
2017 International Book Awards Finalist for Literary Fiction 
2017 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist for Fiction 
2017 Bronze Award for US Northeast Fiction from the Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards

Literary Mystery Highlights an Heirloom Painting on Long Island Sound and the Relationships between Three Generations of Women 

Part “who-done-it” and part family drama, this award-winning novel reveals that neither people nor paintings are always what they appear to be

Contradictory relationships within troubled families are nothing new, but the award-winning psychological novel written by well-known journalist Diane B. Saxton elevates these relationships and the mysterious heirloom painting that both exposes and unites them to an art form.

Peregrine Island interweaves the stories of three generations of women, one valuable painting, the artist who created it, and those who would do anything to possess it – including kill.

Lush with sensory details, this psychologically complex mystery novel is set on a private island in the middle of Long Island Sound. It begins when the family’s lives are turned upside-down one summer by so-called art experts, who appear on the doorstep of their isolated home to appraise a favorite heirloom painting. When incriminating papers along with two other paintings are discovered behind the painting in question, the appraisal turns into a full-fledged investigation and detectives are called into the case— but not by the family whose members grow increasingly antagonistic toward one another.

During the course of the inquiry and as the summer progresses, the family members discover new secrets about one another and new facts about their past. Above all, they learn that neither people nor paintings can be taken at face value.  (Summary via Goodreads)



Peregrine Island by Diane B. Saxton is the first book that I have read that upon completing it, I am still unsure as to if I liked it or not.....  Peregrine Island gives the reader a LOT to think about.  Even after finishing it, it will stay on your mind for some time.  I guess a good one word discription of it would be "intense".

In Peregrine Island there are a total of 12 characters within the entire story and the way that Saxton strings them all together will completely amaze you.  It is like watching a magician do a magic trick.

I love how Saxton devotes one chapter to a character and their point of view of the story.  I think that helps the reader better understand how each character is thinking.  And believe me there is a lot of thinking going on.

Although the story and chapters are viewed through the minds of Winter, her daughter Elsie and granddaughter Peda, you will get to know the men in their lives as well.

Saxton centers the entire story around a painting, a painting that has been in Winter's life for as long as she can remember.  She stares at the people in the picture for hours every day.  She likes to think that she knows the people and how they feel and think.  It takes her away from her own life that at times is hard for her to understand and deal with.   And the story behind the painter is just as mysterious as the characters in the painting.

For a story that has few characters and is set around one object, a story that has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, a story that is read through the viewpoint of three people, focuses on the present as well as the past, I can say for sure that you will find it very entertaining as well as riveting.  I look forward to what Saxton has in store for us with her next novel.

Review by Missi S.






Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Doom with a View (Merry Ghost Inn #2) by Kate Kingsbury


Doom with a View (Merry Ghost Inn #2)
With the arrival of six senior reading group members at the Merry Ghost Inn, the long-awaited Grand Opening week has finally begun for Melanie West and her grandmother, Liza. All is well with the Oregon coast-side B&B until Melanie's dog, Max, finds the dead body of one of their guests. Everyone at the inn immediately falls under suspicion, including the innkeepers themselves. Melanie and Liza are not sure who they can trust, and the idea of cohabitating with a murderer is enough to send chills down anyone's spine. To make matters worse, the curmudgeonly town detective wants them to steer clear of the investigation, but doesn't seem too inspired to solve the case in a timely fashion himself. To clear their own names and to avoid the blight on the inn's reputation that yet another dead body will bring, Melanie and Liza dive headlong into the murder investigation. With a little help from their chuckling ghost, Melanie and Liza dodge the detective, tip-toe around their suspicious guests, and still serve up delicious Bed & Breakfast meals on time in Kate Kingsbury's delightful second Merry Ghost Inn mystery, Doom with a View.  (Summary via Goodreads)


The saying "You can't judge a book by it's cover." fits perfectly for the second book in Kate Kingsbury's Merry Ghost Inn Mystery series.  That saying will come to mind a lot while reading Doom with a View.

In Doom with a View Melanie and her grandmother are finally opening up the Merry Ghost Inn and their first guests are 6 senior citizens who belong to a reading group.  How harmful can they be ?  What could possibly go wrong ?  Well ......

As you get use to the routine of running the Inn with Melanie, Liza and their new employee Cindi...who by the way has piercings and tattoos and dresses a little "gothic-y"...judging a book by the cover.... Anyway before the three of them can even get their morning routine down, Melanie's dog Max finds one of the senior citizens dead outside in the driveway.  Unfortunately after the police show up, it is discovered that he fell from the 2nd floor balcony and it wasn't an accident !!!

Everyone in the Inn is considered a suspect meaning no one is allowed to leave town.  This is a huge problem for Melanie and Liza as they have a full calendar and the current guests need to be out in less than a week.  

They know that they did not kill Walter and they know that he was a miserable old man but they cannot see how one of the other members of the group could have pushed him off the balcony.  Can't judge a book by it's cover comes to mind again.....  They are old people with old bones, none of them could have lured Walter out to the balcony and then successfully pushed him.  They would have hurt themselves.

But Melanie and Liza know that looks can be deceiving, especially having hired Cindi and she is doing a great job, so they decide to talk to the guests and see if they can find the murderer.

You will love the relationship that Melanie and Liza have and enjoy getting to know the reading group.  Kingsbury will have you thinking you might know who the guilty party is until you turn the page and read more.  You will wonder about the secrets of the group, especially the sisters...... But when it comes down to it and you finally find out who killed Walter and why you may NEVER look at a senior citizen the same again.....

Review by Missi S.



Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Body on Baker Street (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #2) by Vicki Delany


Body on Baker Street (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #2)

Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson are busy managing the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street and adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room in anticipation of the store's upcoming book signing with the illustrious Renalta Van Markoff, author of the controversial Hudson and Holmes mystery series. But during the author Q&A session, dedicated Sherlockian Donald Morris verbally attacks Renalta and her series for disgracing Sherlock's legacy, only to be publicly humiliated when the author triumphantly lashes back and gains the upper hand. That is until Renalta collapses on the table--dead. Donald insists he didn't do it and pleads to his friends to clear his name. Fortunately, Gemma and Jayne have no shortage of suspects between author's bullied personal assistant, her frustrated publicist, the hapless publisher, a handsome rare book dealer, an obsessively rabid fan, and a world of other Sherlock enthusiasts with strong objections to Renalta's depiction of the Great Detective. It's up to the shrewd sleuthing duo to eliminate the impossible and deduce the truth before the West London police arrest an innocent man in Body on Baker Street, the second Sherlock Homes Bookshop mystery perfect for fans of Miranda James and Kate Carlisle.  (Summary via Goodreads)


One of the best things about reading books in a series is the familiarity of the story.  In the first book you get to know the town and the people and what goes on in the town and with the people.  When you pick up any book in the series after the initial book, it is like you are going back home for a visit.

Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany is the second book in her Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series and as soon as I started to read it, I felt like I was home.  

The series is set in West London Massachusetts, a summer tourist town and the main focus is the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room.   The businesses are attached allowing  access between the two through sliding glass doors.  Gemma and her great uncle Arthur own the bookstore and half of the Tea Room.  Gemma's best friend Jayne owns the other half of the Tea Room.  

Gemma is a unique person in that she notices EVERYTHING and can remember EVERYTHING.  She is very observant....to the point where it can drive people crazy.  But it can also be very helpful, especially when someone is murdered and the crime scene is right in front of her.  Unfortunately the police aren't very appreciateive of her insights.  

You will get a kick out at Gemma's ability and the way she explains it to people.  You will also love Jayne who is just your average baking enthusiastic, always there for her friends friend.  And Ashley who works in the bookstore is a HOOT with her ever changing outfits....you will want to own her wardrobe by the end of the book.

Delany's ability to open the reader's mind so that you can see the town and the people is spot on !!  Just the simple paragraph describing Gemma's walk home from the shop is as if you are watching the scene on a screen right in front of you.  

If you want to not only get lost in a book but have a place that you can revisit and fall right into the story, I highly encourage you to check out this series and this author.  The first book, Elementary, She Read sets the stage and gets you to fall in love with West London and all it has to offer.  I personally cannot wait to go back !!!

Check the author out at  :  http://vickidelany.com/   


Review by Missi S.
  



Monday, 18 September 2017

Hair Brained (Bad Hair Day Mystery #14) by Nancy J. Cohen


Hair Brained (Bad Hair Day Mystery, #14)
When hairstylist Marla Vail’s best friend is hurt in a suspicious car accident, Marla assumes guardianship of her infant son. No sooner does Marla say, “Baby want a bottle?” than she’s embroiled in another murder investigation. Her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, determines the crash may not have been an accident after all. But then, who would want Tally—or Ken in the car with her—out of the way? As Marla digs deeper into her friends’ lives, she realizes she didn’t know them as well as she’d thought. Nonetheless, it’s her duty as their son’s guardian to ensure his safety, even if it means putting her own life at risk. Can she protect the baby and find the culprit before someone else ends up as roadkill?  (Summary via Goodreads)

It is hard to believe that Hair Brained is the 14th book in Nancy J. Cohen's Bad Hair Day Mystery series.  I will admit I have not read all of the books in this series....but it doesn't matter !!  This is the 2nd book in the series that I have read and it reads like it could be a stand alone book.

In Hair Brained there is so much going on that you get lost in Marla and Dalton's lives instantly.  As they deal with the death of their good friend Ken, Ken's wife's injuries and caring for their newborn son Luke, you realize that they are doing exactly what you would in their situation.  As executors to their estates and guardians of Luke, they have a lot on their plates.  While Tally is still in a coma Marla and Dalton have to handle everything for Tally while she is in that state.  There are a lot of unanswered questions regarding what to do with Ken's insurance business as well as Tally's shop.  

Everything changes when they find out that Ken was responding to a work related matter and was run off the road intentionally.  As Dalton and Marla go in different directions investigating their friends death, Marla finds out that she doesn't really know her friend as well as she did.  But really .... How well do we know our friends ??  Marla realizes that there is a lot about her friend that she didn't know and hopes that Tally recovers so that she can learn the truth about some of the stuff that is uncovered.

As you are reading Hair Brained and riding along with Marla, you will begin to agree with her and her theories until you turn the page and something happens.  One minute you are sure that the accident was a result of something Ken did but then Marla finds out something relating to Tally and you begin to think that maybe Tally was the intended target........

So many great possibilities that you are always thinking and on your toes while reading this book.  And when you get to the end and everything is revealed....it will blow your mind !!!  I did not see that coming.....did you ??

Review by Missi S.




Friday, 15 September 2017

Cat Got Your Secrets (Kitty Couture Mystery #3) by Julie Chase


Cat Got Your Secrets (Kitty Couture Mystery, #3)
Lacy Marie Crocker has settled into a comfortable groove back home in New Orleans, and with Valentine's Day right around the corner, she's busier than ever running a thriving pet boutique, helping her mother organize the upcoming National Pet Pageant, and untangling her complicated love life. But when delivering a king-sized order of dreidel-shaped doggy biscuits for a Saint Berdoodle's bark-mitzvah, Lacy stumbles into yet another murder scene--and the last person to see the victim alive was her own father. It's up to Lacy to clear her dad's name from the suspect list before Detective Jack Oliver has to cage him for good. But just when she starts pawing at the truth, she receives a threatening letter from a mysterious blackmailer bent on silencing her with her own secrets. And Lacy's not the only one with bones in her closet. Time's running out in this deadly cat-and-mouse game in Cat Got Your Secrets, the delightfully funny third novel in Julie Chase's Kitty Couture mystery series, perfect for "all those feline fanciers who love to read Rita Mae Brown" (Suspense Magazine).   (Summary via Goodreads)

You know you are reading a good book when you are completely lost in the story and you haven't finished Chapter 1 yet.  If you've read the first 2 books in the Kitty Couture Mystery series by Julie Chase, you are already a member of the family.  If you haven't read any yet, what are you waiting for ??

Lacy Crocker lives in New Orleans and although she comes from money, she has worked hare for what she has.  She has her won home and her own business.  She owns Furry Godmother which is a pet bakery and pet accessory store.....and she makes everything herself !!  Even though the store keeps her more than busy, she always seems to end up in the middle of a police investigation.  This time is no different except this time the person of interest is her own father !!  Her dad was the last one to see the deceased alive and of course they had an arguement that was recorded on survelliance cameras. Now her father wouldn't hurt a fly, he's a successful vetenarian !! 

Lacy of course cannot let the good detective Jack Oliver handle the case on his own.  She has to investigate as well.  Even though Lacy has enough to keep her out of trouble being on the National Pet Pageant Welcoming Committee with her mother, running the shop, baking for the shop, making costumes, juggling two guys, she has to clear her dad's good name.

Okay back up.... 2 guys ?  Yes. Not only is there something brewing between Lacy and Jack but a friend from high school, Chase, has let his feelings known to Lacy.  Personally I love the dynamics between Lacy and Jack and think they would make a smashing couple but that is not up to me. (So Julie something for your to think about.....)

I LOVE this series !!  I love the Lacy and her family and their relationships.  I love seeing Lacy and her mother growing closer and understanding each other more.  Lacy's father is just a great dad and supports Lacy no matter what she does.  Lacy has a great best friend, an awesome job, lives in an entertaining area that is far from dull, she has the interest of 2 amazing men, a cat she takes to work..... It is such a treat to read these books and I encourage you to add them to your list if you haven't already.  You won't regret it !!

I cannot wait for more Kitty Couture Mystery books and hope they never stop !!!

Review by Missi S.


  

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Asking for Truffle (A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #1) by Dorothy St. James


Asking for Truffle (A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #1)

When Charity Penn receives a letter saying she won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina complete with free cooking lessons at the town's seaside chocolate shop, The Chocolate Box, she's immediately skeptical. She never entered any contest. Her former prep school friend offers to look into the phony prize--only to end up drowned in a vat of chocolate. Struck with guilt, Penn heads to the southern beach town to investigate why he was killed. But as wary as she is of the locals, she finds herself lured into their eccentric vibe, letting her defenses melt away and even learning the art of crafting delicious chocolates. That is, until delight turns bittersweet as she steps straight into the midst of a deadly plot to destroy the seaside town. Now, only Penn's quick thinking and a mysterious cask of rare chocolate can save the town she's learning to love. Rich and decadent, Asking for Truffle, the first in a new cozy series by Dorothy St. James, is sure to be a delectable read for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.  (Summary via Goodreads)


I'm going to tell you that NO review or comments will do this book justice !  Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James is a MUST, MUST, MUST read !!  

The first sentence "The strange letter I'd received in the mail earlier today had me popping chocolate squares into my mouth as if they were candy." .....  Tell me that doesn't make you want to keep reading.  Here is an author with intrigue and humor and its only the first sentence !!  

And the main character....the girl is named Charity by a grandmother who hated that fact that her precious son got a girl pregnant in college and the girl took off leaving the baby, Charity, on their front steps.  So Charity who hates her name (Obviously !!) goes by her last name Penn.  

So this strange letter that she received in sentence one tells her that she won a trip to a chocolate store in a seaside town and cooking lessons at the candy store.  Are you in yet ??  Who wouldn't want to win a trip like that !!  But she, of course, is skeptical, not because of her upbringing but because she didn't enter the contest.  So her good friend Skinny, yes that's right another great nickname, offers to go to the seaside town and check it out for her.  Unfortunately he is killed in a vat of chocolate right after he leaves an exciting but mysterious message for Penn.  Penn has no other choice but to go there herself to check out the chocolate store and find out why Skinny was killed.

Have you packed your bags yet ??  Okay well once she gets to this rundown seasside town she meets a bunch of interesting people, 2 very attractive brothers, and the owner of the chocolate shop that insists that she take the cooking lessons.  She does, of course, take the lessons but because of her upbringing she is extremely skeptical.  After all she didn't enter the contest and her friend was killed in the store !!  

Once you start reading you will find it hard to stop.  And as you get into the story you will begin to think you know who killed Skinny but then you will turn the page and read something else that will change that thought.  St. James will have you reclined in the chair turning pages and keep you guessing all the way until the end....and isn't that what you want in a book ??

There is so much to love about this story.... the people, Penn's past, Penn's future, the 2 attractive brothers, the Chocolate Box, the quaint little seaside town, the chocolate, Penn's crazy and vicious dog.... And like I said no review will do it justice.....YOU have to read it for yourself !!!  

The only thing that you will not like is that it ends.....but hopefully it won't be long before there is a second book in this AMAZING series.

Review by Missi S.




Monday, 11 September 2017

Dead in the Water (Welcome Back to Scumble River #1) by Denise Swanson


Dead in the Water

The first book in a brand new series featuring New York Timesbestselling author Denise Swanson's beloved Scumble River setting and characters, Dead in the Water is a gripping mystery that won't let you go until you've turned the last page.

A twister, a kidnapping, and a murder--oh my! Scumble River may never be the same.

For school psychologist Skye Denison, there's certainly no place like home. When a violent tornado devastates her small hometown of Scumble River, she can't see how the community will ever recover--especially since town councilman Zeke Lyons appears to have perished in the twister.

But things get even worse for Skye when her police chief husband, Wally, disappears in the midst of investigating Zeke's death, and evidence arises pointing to foul play. Did Zeke really die in the storm, or was he murdered? And could Wally be next on the criminal's hit list?  (Summary via Goodreads)



Denise Swanson's new series beginning with Dead in the Water is a smash !!!  And I'm not just saying that because the town of Scumble River is dealing with tornado's and the after effects.  

You will fall in love with Skye and Wally and the love they have for each other and their community.  With Wally being the Chief of Police he has a lot to deal with regarding the tornado and then when a dead body is discovered it becomes over-whelming.  But before he can begin any kind of investigation, he is sent on an errand by the Mayor and kidnapped.

You can't help but worry about Skye as you read the story seeing as she is very pregnant, dealing with the tornado destroying her home and then not knowing where Wally is.  Her strength and determination are amazing.

Swanson also has the over-bearing mother, the unlikable mayor and an overly rich father.  Skye's mother, who also works as a dispatcher for the police, is like any mother when her daughter is pregnant.....or just a tad bit more but you can see that she only wants whats best for her daughter.  The Mayor, who is also Skye's uncle, on the other hand is a horrible person !!  With him there is instant hatred that you will have throughout the book.  Which is fine, there always has to be someone to dislike, even if its not the murderer.  And everyone wants a father or father-in-law like Carson, Wally's dad.  He is so rich that it is crazy but what he does with his money only makes you love him.

Not only does Swanson tell a great, mind catching story but the characters are so unique as well.  Even the motorcycle gang has loveable characters, if you can wrap your head around that.

Dead in the Water was extremely hard to put down.  You will want to continue reading to see what happens in Scumble River, who killed the councilman Zeke, and how Skye and Wally handle the tornado.  

It is clear when reading Dead in the Water that family and community mean everything to the people of Scumble River and the extent that a family member will do for their family is the difference between life and death.....

Review by Missi S.