Category Archives: Books

Project Dogway by Sparkle Abbey

Here we Go againProject Dogway by Sparkle Abbey is part of the “Here We Go Again Short Story Anthology”. Publisher: The Story Vault, February 2014

It’s high fashion hijinks in Laguna Beach with designer togs, spa pampering, and jewels galore…and that’s just the dogs.

With canines on the catwalk at this fundraising haute dog fashion show, pet therapist, Caro, and cousin Mel, owner of the local Bow Wow Boutique, are mingling with the crowd, but still not speaking to each other.

But when one of Caro’s clients, Phil Tawny, the protective owner of Shadow, an award-winning beagle, drops dead at the event, the feuding cousins find themselves embroiled in much more than a fashion “faux paw.” There’s a rabid Shadow fan, a fame-hungry ex-wife, and a detective who doesn’t want them sniffing around his investigation.

But Caro and Mel refuse to sit/stay, and soon find themselves on the tail of a killer.

I enjoyed this short story where Caro and Mel are on the case in search of a missing dog and finding a murderer among the people at the fashion show. I love the comfortable tone and the pace of this light fare with its easy flowing chapters. A good read that fits perfectly in between the full-length novels.

Shenanigans in the Shadows by Kari Lee Townsend

Here we Go againShenanigans in the Shadows by Kari Lee Townsend is part of the “Here We Go Again Short Story Anthology”. Publisher: The Story Vault, February 2014

Psychic Sunshine Meadows is used to predicting trouble, but never sees mischief and mayhem coming her way. After Detective Mitch Stone moves in, her cat Morty refuses to accept him. Both resort to all sorts of shenanigans as they compete for her attention. When Morty sees his shadow, Sunny knows she can’t endure six more weeks of doom and threatens to put them each in the doghouse if they don’t quit misbehaving. When her best friend’s priceless heirloom wedding rings go missing and a break-in is discovered, they must put their differences aside and work together to figure out whodunit.

This was a great read and a long overdue visit with Sunny and her friends. In this light fare, a missing ring has Sunny and Mitch looking for a thief and it was very enjoyable watching them fit all the pieces together to solve this puzzling crime and boy was it fun when the thief was revealed. Now that I know there is a new book coming in this series, this was a nice interlude and I can’t wait for the next book in this delightfully charming series.

Power Play by Catherine Coulter

Power PlayPower Play by Catherine Coulter is the 18th book in the “FBI” thriller series. Publisher: Putnam, July 2014

#1 New York Times–bestselling author Catherine Coulter returns with the newest full-throttle adventure in the FBI series featuring Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock.

Natalie Black, the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James, has returned to Washington, her job in jeopardy. Her fiancé, George McCallum, Viscount Lockenby, has died in a car accident, and mysterious rumors begin that she’s responsible begin to surface: she broke off the engagement and, heartbroken, he killed himself. Then someone tries to force her off the M-2 outside London. Again, rumors claim it was a sympathy ploy. When she returns to the United States, she’s nearly killed when a car tries to mow her down while she’s out for a run. No one believes her except FBI Special Agent Davis Sullivan.

Meanwhile someone is following Sherlock. A stalker? Then someone tries to shoot her from the back of a motorcycle, but the assailant gets away. Sherlock next gets a call from an Atlanta mental hospital warning her that Blessed Backman has escaped. This is not good news. Blessed is a talented psychopath out for revenge against the agents, primarily Sherlock, whom his dying mother begged him to kill since she and Savich brought down her cult.

How to find out who’s trying to kill the ambassador to the U.K.? How can they get their hands on Blessed Backman before he succeeds and kills Sherlock? The clock is ticking and the danger intensifies . . .

I love this series and the author once again delivers a fast-paced and thrilling drama that was hard to put down from the start to a conclusion worthy of Savitch and Sherlock investigative and sharp shooting skills. The mystery grabbed my attention and I love watching how it all plays out with some surprising twists that gave this story a bit of jolt that as to what was going on. A good read that I enjoyed immensely and I can’t wait for the next book in this terrific series.

Mind Over Murder by Evelyn David

Mind Over MurderMind Over Murder by Evelyn David. Publisher: Trace Evidence Press, June 2014

The last time the police knocked on psychic Valentine Zalmanzig Cohen’s door they ignored her advice and the wrong man ended up in prison for murder. Five years later the knock comes again. Another couple killed in the same house. A copycat killer? Or has the original killer struck again? The police are willing to consider that perhaps they’d been wrong, but is Val willing to risk her marriage, career, and maybe even her life to try again?

I like it. When both she and her husband becomes the main person of interest in several vicious murders, Val does what she needs to do in order to clear their name, this despite being threatened and discovering some painful news. The mystery was well played out and kept me glued to the pages as I had to know what happens next. The author did a good job in hiding the killer in plain sight, which gave me a surprise. I like Val and Jake and a nod to the author because I figured out who Ruth was. Will we see more of Val and Jake? I hope we do, as this was a very good read.

Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner

Phantom InstinctPhantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner is a new stand-alone thriller where an injured cop and an ex-thief hunt down a killer nobody else believes exist. Publisher: Dutton, June 2014

When shots ring out in a crowded L.A. club, bartender Harper Flynn watches helplessly as her boyfriend, Drew, is gunned down in the cross fire. Then somebody throws a Molotov cocktail, and the club is quickly engulfed in flames. L.A. Sheriff Deputy Aiden Garrison sees a gunman in a hoodie and gas mask taking aim at Harper, but before he can help her a wall collapses, bringing the building down and badly injuring him.

A year later, Harper is trying to rebuild her life. She has quit her job and gone back to college. Meanwhile, the investigation into the shoot-out has been closed. The two gunmen were killed when the building collapsed.

Certain that a third gunman escaped and is targeting the survivors, Harper enlists the help of Aiden Garrison, the only person willing to listen. But the traumatic brain injury he suffered has cut his career short and left him with Fregoli syndrome, a rare type of face blindness that causes the delusion that random people are actually a single person changing disguises.

As Harper and Aiden delve into the case, Harper realizes that her presence during the attack was no coincidence—and that her only ally is unstable, mistrustful of her, and seeing the same enemy everywhere he looks.

Meg has done it again. She’s written a fast-paced, action-filled and an intense drama that kept me riveted to the pages of this fascinating story of two lost souls who fight a fight that ends in a hail of an emotional tug of war. Every time I pick up a book my Meg Gardiner, I know she’s going to take me on a high-stakes roller coaster ride that keeps on going until the ride comes to a hard stop and I’m left wondering how it is all going to end. The author did a great job in capturing my attention that I did not want to put this book down and then she blew my mind with a surprising twist that I did not see coming. Whoa! This was a great read and I can’t wait to see what adventure Meg will take me on next.

Ill-Gotten Panes by Jennifer McAndrews

Ill Gotten PanesIll-Gotten Panes by Jennifer McAndrews is the first book in the new “Stained-Glass” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, July 2014

Stained-glass aficionado Georgia Kelly packed up her city life for the quiet of small town Wenwood, New York. But the sleepy village’s peace is about to get shattered—by murder.

After a banking scandal loses Georgia her job and fiancé, she decides that a change of scenery will help piece her life back together. But escaping to her grandfather’s house in the old-fashioned, brick-making Hudson River hamlet of Wenwood, New York, turns out to be less relaxing than she expects. Not only is the close-knit community on edge about their beloved brickworks being turned into a marina to draw in tourists, one of those most opposed to the project winds up dead—cracked over the head with a famous Wenwood brick.

Georgia wouldn’t be broken up over the news except for the fact that the main suspect is the deceased’s biggest adversary—her grandfather. Now, to remove the stain from her grandy’s record, Georgia will have to figure out who in town was willing to kill to keep the renovation project alive, before someone else is permanently cut out of the picture.

This evenly paced light fare with a comfortable tone and chapters that flowed easily from one scene to the next culminated in a good mystery that kept me going until the end. The author did a great job in moving the story forward as I had to know what happens next. With a list of suspects who could have done the deed, it was fun watching it all fall into places with hints here and there that kept me on my toes as to the identity of the killer. With endearing characters that I wanted to embrace, the author created a solid plot that was likable and I can’t wait to see what further adventure awaits Georgia and her friends in Wenwood, NY in this pleasantly appealing debut series.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett

Book ClubbedBook Clubbed by Lorna Barrett is the 8th book in the “Booktown” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, July 2014

New York Times bestselling author Lorna Barrett is back in town—Booktown, that is—with another page-turning mystery. This time bookstore owner Tricia Miles and her sister, Angelica, put their own problems on the shelf to catch a killer who turns a bookcase into a murder weapon.

Cranky Chamber of Commerce receptionist Betsy Dittmeyer is done reading people the riot act. After she’s crushed by a fallen bookcase, the next item to be read is her last will and testament—which is packed with surprises. It soon comes to light that Betsy was hiding volumes of dark secrets behind that perpetual frown of hers—and one of them just might have been a motive for murder.

While Tricia tries to help Angelica—the newly elected Chamber of Commerce president and Betsy’s boss—solve the mystery, she discovers a hidden chapter in her own family history that rocks her to her very core. And with her ex-husband and the chief of police vying for her affections, it’s doubly hard to focus on who might have buried Betsy in a tomb of tomes.

But as Tricia and Angelica try to read between the lines, they need to watch their step…and make sure the killer doesn’t catch them between the stacks.

This series continues to get better and better and I love it. In the latest adventures of Tricia, she becomes involved in yet another murder. This was a well-written whodunit that had a comfortable tone and the story was easy to follow as each chapter led us with clues to the killer identity. The author did a great job by providing us with several likely suspects who when revealed, I didn’t see that one coming. There were some occurrences within the pages of this book that tested the strength of our heroine and I like how she prevailed in the aftermath. A good strong showing in the telling of this story and I look forward to the next book in this delightfully charming series.