Daily Archives: May 18, 2014

June 2014 Books

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week of June 1
Lights Out! by Donald Bain
A Second Helping of Murder and Recipes by Jeanne Cooney – Hot Dish Heaven #2

Murder, Simply Stitched by Isabella Alan – Amish Quilt Shop #2
Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews
Night of the Living Thread by Janet Bolin – Threadville #4
The Book Stops Here by Kate Carlisle – Bibliophile #8
Razing the Dead by Sheila Connolly – Museum #5
Mr. Monk Is Open for Business by Hy Conrad – Mr. Monk #18

Tempest in a Teapot by Amanda Cooper – Teapot Collector #1
The Diva Wraps It Up by Krista Davis – Domestic Diva #8
Hot Fudge Frame Up by Christine DeSmet – Fudge Shop #2
Scene of the Climb by Kate Dyer-Seeley – Pacific Northwest #1
Independence Slay by Shelley Freydont – A Celebration Bay #3
Inaugural Parade: The First Three White House Chef Mysteries by Julie Hyzy

Paw Enforcement by Diane Kelly – Paw Enforcement #1
Thread End by Amanda Lee – Embroidery #7
Engaged in Murder by Nancy J. Parra – Perfect Proposals #1
Yarn Over Murder by Maggie Sefton – Knitting #11
Deadly Decor by Karen Rose Smith – Caprice De Luca Home Staging #2

week of June 8
Blessed are the Dead by Kristi Belcamino – Gabriella Giovanni #1
All Day and a Night by Alafair Burke – Ellie Hatcher #5
Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall

week of June 15
The Old Blue Line by J. A. Jance – Joanna Brady novella
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau – Testing #3
Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich – Stephanie Plum #21
Terminal City by Linda Fairstein – Alexander Cooper #16
The Body in the Woods by April Henry – Point Last Seen #1
Dead Lil’ Hustler by Victoria Houston – Loon Lake Fishing #14

week of June 22
Strange Gods by Annamaria Alfieri
Nine Lives to Die by Rita Mae Brown – Mrs. Murphy #23
Basil Instinct by Shelley Costa – Miracolo #2
A Catered Fourth of July by Isis Crawford – Mystery with Recipes #10
A Sense of Entitlement by Anna Loan-Wilsey – Hattie Darvish #3
Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin – Brenna Spector #3
The Last Heir by Chuck Greaves – Jack MacTaggart #3
Death in Perspective by Larissa Reinhart – Cherry Tucker #4
Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner

Red Man Down by Elizabeth Gunn

Red Man DownRed Man Down by Elizabeth Gunn is the fifth book in the “Sarah Burke” mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, May 2014

Sarah Burke’s Saturday off is interrupted when she is called to a shooting – a rookie cop has been involved in a shootout with a criminal stealing copper wire from a warehouse. When the criminal in question turns out to be ex-cop and Red Man Ed Lacey, Sarah is shocked. The evidence suggests he wanted the cop to shoot him. But why?

Sarah and her team delve into Ed’s life, and soon decide to re-open an investigation into three deaths. The more they investigate, the more obstacles they encounter – particularly from the family, who quickly close ranks. What are they hiding?

This was a very enjoyable drama where Sarah and her team work a case that involves the death of a police officer and once that can of worms is opened, this investigation take an unusual turn. Someone is hiding something which leads to more death and it’s the painstakingly story that keeps my attention that I couldn’t stop reading until I knew who was behind these deaths. The author did a great job in telling this story and putting me right in the middle of all the action with Sarah and her guys. Everyone is back and I can’t wait for the next book in this terrific series.

Death of a Mad Hatter by Jenn McKinlay

Death of a Mad HatterDeath of a Mad Hatter by Jenn McKinlay is the second book in the “Hat Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, May 2014

Scarlett Parker and her British cousin, Vivian Tremont, are hard at work at Mim’s Whims—their ladies’ hat shop on London’s chic Portobello Road—to create hats for an Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea, a fund-raiser for a local children’s hospital. It seems like a wonderfully whimsical way to pass the hat, and Scarlett and Viv are delighted to outfit the Grisby family, the hosts who are hoping to raise enough money to name a new hospital wing after their patriarch.

Unfortunately, the Grisby heir will not live to see it—he’s been poisoned. When traces of the poison are found on the hat Scarlett and Viv made for him, the police become curiouser and curiouser about their involvement. Now the ladies need to don their thinking caps and find the tea party crasher who’s mad enough to kill at the drop of a hat.

This is another good read in this entertaining series. Jenn knows how to pull you into the story so that you are right there with the characters prodding them along in finding clues to expose a killer. Everyone is back and I love the interactions between all the characters, especially the back and forth banter. A good read and I’m looking forward for more adventures with this duo.

A Tiger’s Tale by Laura Morrigan

A Tiger's TaleA Tiger’s Tale by Laura Morrigan is the second book in the “Call of the Wilde” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, May 2014

When a normally mellow tiger at a rescue facility trees a terrified vet, animal behaviorist Grace Wilde needs to use her psychic ability to get to the root of the problem.

A tiger can’t change his stripes—but if his behavior changes suddenly, there’s a reason. So when even-tempered Boris the Siberian tiger goes into attack mode, Grace knows there’s more to the story. Something is agitating the big cat. As she uses her telepathic ability to calm the tiger, she realizes he has witnessed a theft—not of something but of someone. A teenaged volunteer at the animal rescue facility has been taken…kidnapped.

The problem is Brooke Ligner’s parents believe their troubled daughter ran away and Grace can’t exactly reveal her source. Even though sexy cop Kai Duncan is aware of Grace’s secret ability, he can’t initiate an investigation based on the word of a tiger. Now, as Grace searches for solid clues to rescue the missing teen, it’s the human predators she’ll need to watch out for.

I enjoyed this “A Tiger’s Tale,” even more than the first book as we get to know more about Grace and her abilities. The author does a good job in keeping me interested and engaged in this delightfully charming whodunit. With some twists and turns and aided by an eclectic resource of friends and animals, I eagerly await the next book in the series, especially with how this one ended.

The Pickled Piper by Mary Ellen Hughes

The Pickled Piper by Mary Ellen Hughes is the first book in the new “Pickled and Preserved” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, May 2014

After her dreams of romance are crushed, Piper Lamb decides to pursue her dream of opening her own shop of pickles and preserves, called Piper’s Picklings, in the idyllic small town of Cloverdale. But she isn’t in town long before she encounters a barrelful of trouble.

The Cloverdale Fair offers Piper a sweet opportunity to promote her business. With her new assistant, Amy, she sets up a booth centered around an eye-catching display of the ever-popular dills in an old-fashioned barrel of brine.

But things soon turn sour when fairgoers witness a fight between Amy’s boyfriend, Nate, and town council blowhard—and bagpipe player—Alan Rosemont. When Rosemont is found floating in Piper’s barrel, Nate becomes the prime murder suspect. With Amy’s boyfriend in a pretty pickle, there’s no time to dillydally. But as Piper searches for the real killer, she needs to be careful to preserve her own life…or she may end up a pickled Piper herself.

I enjoyed this freshly-made story that was as sweet as the small town our heroine lives in and as sour as the murders that landed in her path. The author did a great job in pacing this light-hearted whodunit and setting up the mystery with enough suspects to keep me turning the pages, as I had to know who was behind it all. I liked that this tome teased me with clever twists that enhanced the delivery of this mystery as I followed the path of the killer. I like that the crime solving aspects of this story was a collaborating endeavor, led by Piper and their friends, lending a hand to clear Nate’s name. I love the small-town atmosphere giving a sense of close-knit family. Piper and her friends are very likable and I’m excited about their next adventures in this pleasantly delightful debut series.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

All Things Murder by Jeanne Quigley

All Things MurderAll Things Murder by Jeanne Quigley is the first book in the new “Veronica Walsh” mystery series. Publisher: Five Star, May 2014

Emmy-winning actress Veronica Walsh is accustomed to role-playing. Over her thirty-two-year career on the soap opera Days and Nights, her character has been a businesswoman, wife (multiple times), mother, prison inmate and fugitive. None of that prepared her for the role of a real-life sleuth.

When Veronica cannot land a new part after the soap’s cancellation, she returns to her Adirondack hometown for what she hopes is a temporary visit. No sooner does she arrive than Veronica finds herself in a swirl of turmoil, with her neighbor at the center. In the span of a few hours, powerful businesswoman Anna Langdon extends an invitation to Veronica to discuss a business proposal, ends a short romance with Veronica’s high school beau, threatens to evict one of her retail tenants and thwarts a deal to build a mall on local farmland. Veronica receives an unexpected welcome-home present when she finds Anna’s body the next morning, the cast-iron skillet used to kill her lying at her feet. Soon Veronica is chasing leads with the help of friend Mark Burke and her former co-star Alex Shelby.

Twists straight from a soap script, including two leading men vying for her attention, entangle Veronica as she gathers clues. Will Veronica solve the case, or will the killer be as elusive as an acting job? And will she play the heroine or the damsel in distress?

I like this book with its short chapters that had a nice flow in that you didn’t lose your place as the story moved along. The author did a good job in setting the pace and the tone in this light-hearted drama that hooked me immediately as I wanted to know what’s going to happen next. Veronica is not your typical amateur sleuth, which sets her apart from the others. There was a mixed bag of suspects and I enjoyed narrowing down the list with the clues that the author presented with some interesting twists. I got a sense of living in a small town in this comfortably written whodunit and it was fun. Boasting a likable cast of characters and good dialogue, this was a good read and I can’t wait to see where we go next with Veronica and her friends.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

Murder at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

Murder At Honeychurch HallMurder at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison is the first book in the new “Honeychurch Hall” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur, May 2014

Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house at Honeychurch Hall, an isolated country estate located several hundred miles from London.

Yet it seems that Iris isn’t the only one with surprises at Honeychurch Hall. Behind the crumbling façade, the inhabitants of the stately mansion are a lively group of eccentrics to be sure—both upstairs and downstairs —and they all have more than their fair share of skeletons in the closet.

When the nanny goes missing, and Vera, the loyal housekeeper ends up dead in the grotto, suspicions abound. Throw in a feisty, octogenarian countess, a precocious seven year old who is obsessed with the famous fighter pilot called Biggles, and a treasure trove of antiques, and there is more than one motive for murder.

As Iris’s past comes back to haunt her, Kat realizes she hardly knows her mother at all. A when the bodies start piling up, it is up to Kat to unravel the tangled truth behind the murders at Honeychurch Hall.

What a great read! This mystery immediately grabbed my attention and was hard to put down. I love the comfortable tone that took me to a place in aristocratic Europe, reminding me of a modernized Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs rolled into one solid plot that that kept me in suspense, as I had to find out what was going on with this eclectic and quirky cast of characters. The interjection of comedic exploits kept the story light with some laugh-out-loud moments and I loved the interactions between Kat, her mother and the inhabitants of Honeychurch Hall. The author did a great job in delivering a wonderfully crafted and action-filled drama that was entertainingly delightful and I’m looking forward to the next exciting adventure that awaits Kat and Iris.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog