Book Review · Cozy Mystery · FIction · Mystery

Death in Cold Waters

Thank you to author Tannis Laidlaw and The Cozy Mystery Review Crew for the gifted copy of this book. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Synopsis

The first book in the new Madeleine Brooks Mystery series!

Madeleine Brooks, Senior Probation Officer, is having problems at work with a boss who is threatened by Maddie’s competence. And now one of her long-term probation clients has been returned to prison on suspicion of murdering a child, the details of which have strong similarities with his original crime. Maddie doesn’t believe it and worries the police are not looking for anyone else.

When Maddie is suspended by her revengeful boss, she finds herself with time and energies she can put to good use. What if her client was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted years ago, just as he has always maintained? This would have implications about the present murder. When Maddie’s teenaged daughter becomes involved, things spiral down.

Has Maddie compromised her own family?

Review

Tannis Laidlaw is another new to me author and I was excited to read the first book in her Madeline Brooks Mystery Series. Death in Cold Waters was a quick and easy read, that kept you guessing until the very end. Death in Cold Waters was full of twists and turns that I did not see coming, and each one of them left me questioning the “who done it” that I developed in my head. Each time I thought I had it all figured out, another twist would be added, and I had to go back to the beginning of the clues to put another guess together. I enjoyed each of the characters created by Tannis Laidlaw, especially Maddie. Maddie’s character of the smart, quick-thinking probation officer made the story what it was. As I read, I could picture this wonderful, charismatic character in each step she took, and each move she made to solve the mystery. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series!

About the Author

Dr Tannis Laidlaw has worn many hats in her career as a psychologist: clinician in private practice, in psychiatric bins and in the prison service; researcher in schizophrenia, anxiety, psychopathy and other personality disorders, mind-body interactions, and the therapeutic use of hypnosis; research manager; writer and lecturer.

She has always been fascinated by the human condition, not only in those with crossed wiring but also when ordinary people are driven to behave in extraordinary ways. Her fiction reflects her psychological background; her non-fiction, her interests as a wife, mother and friend.

Tannis lives with her husband in Auckland, but spends half her time at a deserted beach in Northland, the semi-tropical northern part of New Zealand, and in a remote cabin in the woods on a Canadian lake – all places where she writes and writes and writes.

Book Review · Cozy Mystery · FIction · Mystery

What the Hatmaker Heard

Thank you to author Sandra Bretting and the Cozy Mystery Review Crew for the gifted copy of What the Hatmaker Heard. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Synopsis

When a groom gets murdered, Louisiana hat maker Missy DuBois must look behind a veil of secrets on a former sugar plantation . . .

Bride-to-be Lorelei Honeycutt is brimming with excitement over the elaborate headpiece Missy has created for her wedding but fears she won’t be able to maintain her balance when she walks down the aisle. She’s asked Missy to assist her during the rehearsal at Honeycutt Hall, a once grand sugar plantation now used as the family’s home. Missy’s trying to keep a cool head herself, as her own wedding is coming up in three short weeks on the Riverboat Queen. But after the rehearsal, she overhears the bride and groom quarreling. The next morning, Wesley Carmichael is missing. After searching the house and grounds, Missy discovers the groom lying at the bottom of an old, unused sugar silo—and now it’s up to the mystery-solving milliner to find an unbalanced killer . . .

This is book 6 of the Missy DuBois Mystery series.

Review

This was a cute book and a great cozy mystery!! I have not read any of the other books in the Missy DuBois series, but that did not matter. Sandra Bretting did a great job of writing a story in a series, where she included enough information from previous books so that you understood completely what was happening and some of the history of Missy DuBois. Sandra Bretting’s writing is fun and lighthearted. You can’t help but keep turning the pages. Sandra’s characters are instantly likable and one can’t help but like them from page one. I will be sure to pick up more of Sandra Bretting’s books in the future!!

Rating

About the Author

I was born in Southern California, but moved to the Midwest to attend the University of Missouri School of Journalism. I found my true calling when I took a creative writing class and another student assumed I’d come to Mizzou to be a novelist. (Bless you, oh stranger!)

I returned to California to freelance for the Los Angeles Times and also took every creative writing course I could get my hands on. Now I live in Texas, where I write cozy mysteries and enjoy life with my husband, daughters, and one slaphappy rescue dog.

In addition to having a wonderful agent and publishers, I’m blessed to have the very best readers in the world.

Taken from Sandra Bretting’s website: https://sandrabretting.com/index.html
Action/Adventure · Book Review · Cozy Mystery · Crime Mystery · FIction · Mystery

Teaching is Murder

I was gifted this book by Cozy Mystery Review Crew and author Monique Bird in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis

Meet Claire. She has just purchased a home in Fairview, Colorado and loves the life she has. She has also been teaching 7th grade science for 5 years. Although Fariview is a small town that appears to be a tranquil little town, Fairview is anything but tranquil.

Claire is out running one night when she spots a stay kitten run into and empty home. Concerned for his safety, Claire follows the kitten into the empty home and stumbles across the body of a murdered jewelry thief. As if that isn’t enough, the next day Claire receives a cryptic message from a student that she taught last year.

As Claire begins to try and contact the former student to inquire about the strange email, the more dangerous her life becomes. Suddenly someone is after Claire and the missing jewels. As the killer’s attacks escalate, Claire decides to take matters into her own hands. With an old friend who’s now a detective and his handsome older brother, they pursue the murderer. Claire has a plan. It isn’t perfect, but anything is better than becoming the next victim.

Review

This was a nice quick read that I really enjoyed. Monique Bird has a unique way of writing that keeps that story light an airy, while still weaving the scariness of a murder and someone’s life being in danger. In addition, Monique Bird had a way of writing that allowed me to walk along side Claire, and be “a part of her life.” It was so much fun to read and see what kind of trouble Claire got into. Monique Bird also did a fantastic job of keeping me guessing. Every time I thought they had captured the killer and Claire’s life was now safe, there was a twist that Monique through in to push you off the right track. These twists added such fun to the story that you could not help but laugh at Claire and her bad luck. This was a great cozy mystery and I really enjoyed discovering Monique Bird as an author. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series and other books of Monique’s.

Review

About the Author

Monique Bird grew up on an orchard in Utah. She had a favorite spot high in a cherry tree where she would sit, make up stories, and daydream. Now, as a survivor of stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she is actively pursuing those dreams. She also has two cats, Tod and George, who keep her entertained. 

Book Review · Cozy Mystery · Crime Mystery · FIction · Mystery

A New Place, Another Murder

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Book Tour Hosted by Silver Dagger Book Tours

Thank you to Silver Dagger Tours and Christa Nardi for the gifted copy of A New Place, Another Murder. This book was provided to me for an honest review and all opinions are my own.

Synopsis

Meet Sheridan. She has pretty much every thing she has every wish for. She has recently settled into her new home in Appomattox with her husband Brett and his daughter, but longs for something to help keep her busy. That is, until Maddie, her stepdaughter, and her friend are framed for theft and murder. While this is not quite the distraction she had in mind, Sheridan will do anything she can to prove their innocence. Will the truth come out before the person calling the shots takes Sheridan and Maddie out of the picture?

Review

I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I love a good mystery as much as the next person; however, this book just didn’t live up to my expectations. While the synopsis and the over all story were good, I felt like the build up of this story was really slow for my tastes. It took a long time to learn all the information related to the murder, and for me, the way the information was presented was a bit on the confusing side. I did love the characters that were created and I enjoyed the relationships between the characters.

The one thing that bothered me just a little, was that I had never picked up a Christa Nardi book before, and it without a little back history on the characters, some of the information presented in this book was confusing to me. It took me a long time to figure out how all the characters and their backgrounds fit together. I would have wished for just a bit more information on Brett, his daughter, and their relationship with Sheridan as well as a little background on why she had left her previous teaching position. Although this book is the start of a new series, and you should be able to start a series without reading the author’s previous books, I felt that I should have read the author’s Cold Creek Series books first.

Rating

About the Author

Christa Nardi is an accomplished author of cozy mysteries. Christa’s background is in higher education
and psychology, much as her protagonist, Sheridan Hendley in the Cold Creek mystery series. She has
always loved mysteries – reading them, writing them, and solving them. Christa is a member of Sisters in
Crime.

Author Links

***WEBSITE***FACEBOOK***TWITTER***BOOKBUB***AMAZON***GOODREADS***

GIVEAWAY!!

Click on Amazon and scroll to bottom of page to enter!!
Book Review · FIction · Mystery · Suspense · Thriller

The Apartment

Thank you NetGalley, and K.L. Slater for the gifted copy of The Apartment.

Synopsis

It’s an opportunity she can’t refuse. The woman before her tried…

Meet Freya Miller. She needs a miracle. Her husband betrayed her. She is about to lose her family home. And her 5-year-old daughter, Skye, will lose the security she has always know. Freya doesn’t know what she is going to do, that is until she met Dr. Marsden in a coffee shop. He is looking for a new tenant in a fashionable area of London. But the best part is, the apartment is shockingly affordable. To Freya, the Addler House sounds too good to be true…but Freya really doesn’t have any other choices and plus Dr. Marsden is adamant that she and Skye will be a perfect fit with the other residents in the home.

Meet the Addler House. The Addler House has secrets. And Freya, she feels like she is being watched…even with her door being locked. A short time after moving in, objects begin moving, there are strange, unfamiliar smells in the apartment, and then there is that blinking light of a concealed camera. Is Freya dream home hiding a nightmarish reality? Was it chance that let Freya and Skye to the Addler house or was it something much more sinister and dark?

As pieces start clicking into place, and as the truth slowly comes out about The Addler House, can Freya and Skye get out or will they be locked in The Addler House forever?

Review

K.L. Slater is a new to me author and this is the first book of her’s that I have read. I thought, overall, the story was good. The book was well written and the characters were immediately likable. Honestly for me, it was the characters that kept me reading. While the story was interesting, I felt like the idea of taking an apartment with no questions asked and the idea that the apartment would only cost what you can afford seems too far fetched to me. Once I got past that part of the plot, the psychological part of this book was intriguing. Like Freya, I too could not figure out what was going on and who to trust and who not to trust. The biggest thing that I did not like about the psychological part of the book was that it was wrapped up way to fast for my liking. I did not feel like there was enough suspense, nor was there enough “start and restarts” of trying to figure out the “who done it.” Once things had started to unravel it was like that was the end of the story and it was finished up quick. I wish it would have been a little more drawn out. Over all this book was good and I would choose to pick up another book of K.L. Slater‘s.

Rating

About the Author

My writing journey . . .

After years of trying to get published and never getting further than the slush pile, I went back to university at the age of 40 where I gained  a first-class honours degree in English & Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing with distinction.

Although I also had a day job during the five years I studied at university, the courses gave me the time and space to try different writing and increased my confidence and belief in my writing. Before I graduated from my MA, I had secured representation at the Darley Anderson Literacy, TV and Film Agency who got me my first book deal. My literary agent is Camilla Bolton.

My first adult psychological thriller for Bookouture, ‘Safe with Me’,  actually started life as my dissertation on my English & Creative Writing degree in 2010.

The creepy voice of Anna came to me strong and insistent . . . she wanted to be written, she wouldn’t go away. I’m so glad I listened!

I first became published writing Young Adult fiction for Macmillan Children’s Books under the name Kim Slater. My award-winning YA debut, SMART, started life as a short story for my MA in Creative Writing in 2012.

I am now a full-time writer. I have a daughter and two stepsons and live with my husband in Nottingham and Yorkshire.

Book Review · Contemporary · Crime Mystery · FIction · Mystery

Come Join the Murder

This month I had the pleasure of working with BookSirens and was gifted a copy of the book Come Join the Murder by Holly Rae Garcia.

Synopsis

Meet Rebecca Crow. Rebecca’s four-year-old son is dead, and her husband is missing.

When Rebecca’s son and husband don’t come home after calling Rebecca to say they had a flat and AAA was there to assist, Rebecca begins to worry. Police are contacted. Divers find her husband’s car at the bottom of a canal with their son’s small, lifeless, body inside. The police have no suspects and nothing to go on but a passing mention of a man driving a van. 

Rebecca, although grief stricken, only has one thing on her mind…REVENGE!!

Meet James Porter. James knows exactly what happened, but he’ll do anything to keep it a secret.

James didn’t plan to kill Rebecca’s son, but he’s not too broken up about it, either. There are more important things for him to worry about. He needs money, and his increasing appetite for murder is attracting the wrong kind of attention.

Will Rebecca get revenge? Will James continue to murder or get caught?

Review

This is my first time reading a book by Holly Rae Garcia. Overall, I thought the book was good. I enjoyed the story, however, I felt like the story was a bit too unbelievable. I don’t want to give too much away, but as the events of the book played out, I did not feel like they could happen without someone being seen or caught. In addition, while I thought the book was good, I was a bit confused as the story of what happened when her son when he died was repeated over and over and the story changed every time. It was not until the end that I figured out that these were the stories that Rebecca had told herself about the incident. I wish that would have been a little clearer from the beginning. Like I said, the book was good, and I enjoyed the read, I just wasn’t lost in it.

I appreciate the opportunity to read and review this book that was given to me by BookSirens and Holly Rae Garcia.

Rating

About the Author

Holly is a corporate photographer by day. When she’s not shooting or editing, she writes short stories and novels and runs a local book club. They meet at the pub. Okay, they’re a wine club that talks about books. Semantics.

She’s worn a lot of hats over the years, working as a waitress, bartender, 911 dispatcher, wedding photographer, lab technician, and a handful of soul-crushing roles at soul-crushing companies. But not her current role, that job is fantastic (in case her boss is reading this).

Holly loves the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Daniel Keyes, Richard Matheson, and Stephen King. Dark stories with sad endings are her jam. In her own writing, she leans towards the horror, sci-fi, and dystopian genres.

Holly lives on the Texas Coast with her family and five dogs.

Adult Fiction · Book Review · Contemporary · Crime Mystery · FIction · Mystery · Suspense · Thriller

The Family Upstairs

This month I had the pleasure of participating in a buddy read with We Be Book’N. This book club gets me into so much trouble…turning me on to new books to read and sucking me in to buddy reads, but I would not have it any other way!!! 🙂

Synopsis

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets. 

Goodreads.com Synopsis of The Family Upstairs

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

Meet Libby Jones. Adopted as a young child, Libby has always wondered who she is. Days after her 25th birthday, Libby receives a letter in the mail that she has been waiting for her entire life. The letter not only tells her the identity of her birth parents, but also tells her that she has inherited her parent’s abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames Rive. The home is worth millions!!! Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. Little does she know that others have been waiting this day as well…

Review

The only way to describe this book is weird…the kind of weird that you can’t keep but reading!! This is the first book that I have read by Lisa Jewell, even though I have several of her books on my shelves! And while weird, this book did not disappoint! When I first started reading this book, I thought it was going to be a nice story about Libby and her inherited home and how she fixes it up (I have a bad or good habit of not reading the synopsis of a book before I read it). Boy was I wrong!! This book flips back and forth between the present and 25 years ago. It describes Libby’s life now, but also the disturbing life going on at 16 Cheyne Walk. As I read the descriptions of the lives that were being lived at 16 Cheyne Walk, I was in awe and a little mad about what was happening at the home. I was frustrated with the things that the kids in the house were going through (enter my social work background). This book was like an accident scene…you know, the kind that you know you should look away from, but at the same time, can’t bear to turn away form. Lisa Jewel tells a fantastically haunting story that captured me early on. The story was intriguing and you could not help wondering what was going to happen next. Lisa Jewel‘s writing is wonderfully descriptive and I could imagine the home and the experiences in my mind’s eye. This book was full of suspense and mystery that kept me guessing to the very end. The only thing about this book that I didn’t like was that it wrapped up too quickly…I felt there was more story to tell and more to wrap up. This book left me wishing for more!!

I am so glad that I finally read a book by Lisa Jewell. I am also glad that I read this book as a buddy read as we all had fun sharing our theories of what was happening in the book. It was wonderful to be able to share frustrations with the book and know I was not the only one feeling that way!!! Lisa Jewel is definitely on my list of authors to continue to read. I am excited to get my hands on the other books that she has written!!!

Rating

About the Author

Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.

Action · Adult Fiction · Book Review · Crime Thriller · FIction · Mystery · Thriller

No Exit

I am in a book club on Facebook called We Be Book’N. One of the Buddy Reads this month was the book No Exit. This book had been sitting on my shelf for a while and I had been hearing good things, so I jumped into the Buddy Read.

Synopsis

A kidnapped little girl locked in a stranger’s van. No help for miles. What would you do?

Meet Darby Thorne. A college student in Colorado, she leaves school to travel to Utah to see her dying mother. Darby is trying to beat the blizzard that is on its way, but unfortunately the blizzard is upon her faster than she predicted. With the roads becoming impassable, Darby is forced to pull over at a remote highway rest stop to wait out the storm. Darby enters the rest stop and finds 4 complete strangers.

All Darby knows about her mom is that she is “okay.” Desperate to call home, Darby struggles to find a signal. In her search, Darby makes a horrifying discovery. In the van parked next to her car is a little girl locked in an animal crate! At first Darby believes that she is just seeing things, but then her mind goes into overdrive…who is the child? Why has she been taken? How can she save the little girl?

In her struggle to save the little girl, Darby must figure out which one of the strangers is the kidnapper. Darby needs to save her life and the little girl’s, but the question is Who Can She Trust?

Review

OH MY GOODNESS!!! Taylor Adams is a stellar writer! They weren’t kidding when they said he “diabolically ratchets up the tension with every page.” This was a book that was FANTASTIC from start to finish. This book pulled me in at page one and I could not put it down until I finished. Each time I thought I had figured out who the kidnapper was and how Darcy was going to save herself and the little girl, Taylor Adams would throw a wrench in my predictions taking the tension up notch after notch until I could not turn the pages fast enough!! There were so many twist and turns to this book that definitely left me on the edge of my seat. Taylor Adams writes in such a way that allows you to feel the stress of the situation and the stress of the characters. In addition, there were places in the book where I felt myself holding my breath wondering what turn the story would take next. This book was incredible! I cannot recommend it enough!!!

Rating

About the Author

Taylor Adams directed the acclaimed short film And I Feel Fine in 2008 and graduated from Eastern Washington University with the Excellence in Screenwriting Award and the prestigious Edmund G. Yarwood Award. His directorial work has screened at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival and his writing has been featured on KAYU-TV’s Fox Life blog. He has worked in the film/television industry for several years and lives in Washington state.

Adams is the author of EYESHOT, OUR LAST NIGHT, and NO EXIT, published by Joffe Books (http://www.joffebooks.com/).

Author Bio taken from https://tayloradamsauthor.com/

Adult Fiction · Book Spotlight · Contemporary · FIction · Mystery · Thriller

Book Spotlight: Little Lovely Things

Check out Little Lovely Things written by Maureen Joyce Connolly!!

Published April 2, 2019!!

Synopsis

Meet Claire Rawlings. She chose the wrong time to get sick. While on the highway, on her way to drop off the kids at daycare so she can get to work as a medical resident, Claire does not have time for the nausea that is beginning to overtake her. Getting more nauseated by the minute, Claire’s world suddenly turns sideways causing her to stop at a gas station, run to the bathroom and pass out. While this is alarming in itself, Claire’s two young daughters are sleeping in the back seat of the car when Claire passes out. Claire wakes up just a few minutes later, but her car and THE KIDS are gone!!!

The police are called, but they have no leads as to who took Claire’s daughters let alone where they could be. As each hour, then day passes with no word on the girls, guilt presses down on Claire. While feeling guilty about her missing children, Claire tries to hold onto her strained marriage.

But then, a witness comes forward…a potentially unreliable witness. But Claire clings to the hope that her daughters are out there somewhere and this man may know where.

Taken from the book jacket itself: “Little Lovely Things is the story of a family shattered by unthinkable tragedy, and the unexpected intersection of heartbreak and hope.”

Where to Buy…

You can buy the book now at these following places…

Amazon

Barnes and Nobel

Books-A-Million

Indiebound

Or purchase an audio version to listen to in the car…

Audible

Google Play

audiobooks.com

I really hope you enjoy this read (or listen)!!!

Book Review · FIction · Mystery · Thriller

Travels of Quinn

This month, I had the pleasure of working with the Cozy Mystery Review Crew to read and review the book Travels of Quinn by Sasscer Hill.

Synopsis

Meet Quinn who was born an Irish American Traveller gypsy. Raised by her father and step-family, Quinn was trained from an early age to be a con artist. During one of her cons, things go awry and Quinn is arrested for attempted robbery. Quinn is sentenced to pay restitution working on a horse farm, which Quinn surprisingly loves as she falls in love with each of the horses.

Then one day, the farm’s owner is brutally murdered and Quinn becomes the prime suspect in that murder. Quinn goes on the run and uses every scam and con she knows to not only save herself but prove her innocence. Can Quinn figure out the real murder before she goes to prison for life for a murder she did not commit or will she be murdered herself because she knows too much?

Review

For some reason, I have always had a fascination with gypsies. I am not sure if it is because of all the stories that I have heard about them or if it is because there are so many different types of gypsies with their own life styles and customs. Whatever the reason, when I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I just had to read it! And let me tell you, Sasscer Hill’s book did not disappoint!!

From page one, Sasscer Hill’s writing pulled me right in! The descriptions of Quinn and her family had me turning pages to see what kind of con they would pull next!! Then, Quinn is caught in the act of stealing and the story completely changed. It captured me into a murder mystery that kept me guessing at every page! I thought I had figured out what had happened early on, but each time I thought I had the entire mystery figured out, a new piece of the story was introduced and all my theories about what had happened went POOF! I enjoyed every minute of this book, and had a hard time putting it down, which is probably why I finished the book in 2 days!!!

I must admit that I a so glad that I found this book and author, however I am disappointed that there is not another book about Quinn. I am hoping that Sasscer Hill writes more books about Quinn, but for now, I will settle reading some of her other books (which I am sure will be just as good as this one)!! I am so glad to have discovered this author.

Rating