Monday, March 19, 2018

Spouse on Haunted Hill by E. J. Copperman

Where Alison Kerby's ex-husband goes, trouble follows. This time, unfortunately, he's brought that trouble right to her doorstep. On the run from a business deal gone bad, Steven, aka "the Swine", owes some scary people a staggering sum of money. No need to panic, though. He has a plan: sell Alison's Jersey Shore guesthouse to pay them off. Before Alison has a chance to read Steven the riot act, he disappears - after a mysterious man trailing him ends up full of bullet holes. Now the police are next to darken her doorway. For all his faults, Steven is still the father of Alison's daughter, so with the help of ghosts Maxie and Paul, Alison sets out to find her ex and clear him of the murder. But if the bad guys get to him first, he may not have a ghost of a chance....

Series: Haunted Guesthouse, Book 8 | Publisher: Audible Studios | Narrator: Amanda Ronconi | Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins | Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Cozy Mystery| Source: Publisher | Ratings: 3.5
I’m a bit on the fence about this one. While I felt it was leaps and bounds better than the last few books in the series, it still doesn’t measure up to the first few books. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t one of my favorites.
Here’s what’s happening. When Steven, Alison’s ex-husband, shows up at Alison’s guesthouse looking for a place to hide out until trouble blows over, she’s not exactly thrilled. She’s even less thrilled when she finds herself trying to clear him of a murder charge but he is the father of her daughter. Although the more she starts uncovering, the closer danger gets to her family and she soon starts to realize that Steven might not be innocent after all.
I feel like the characters have changed too much. I’m not talking about character growth, I’m talking about a complete change to their personalities. They’re starting to seem annoying, selfish, and unlikable. It’s like the original characters have been swapped out for ones that I don’t really recognize anymore.
The mystery was decent and held my attention but it lost some of the uniqueness of the others and started feeling more like a normal cozy mystery rather than a paranormal. Normally the mystery involves some dealings with ghosts other than Paul and Maxi who are either witnesses or the actual clients but in this one they were dealing with a living client.
Overall, it was just okay. I don’t know if I’m just getting tired of the series and need a break before starting the next one or if the series is just getting stale.

Haunted Guesthouse Series



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A High-End Finish: A Fixer Upper Mystery by Kate Carlisle

Shannon’s home-renovation and repair business is booming, but her love life needs work. On a blind date with real estate agent Jerry Saxton, she has to whip out a pair of pliers to keep Jerry from getting too hands on. Shannon is happy to put her rotten date behind her, but when Jerry’s found dead in a run-down Victorian home that she’s been hired to restore, the town’s attractive new police chief suspects that her threats may have laid the foundation for murder.

Determined to clear her name, Shannon conducts her own investigation—with the help of her four best friends, her eccentric father, a nosy neighbor or two, and a handsome crime writer who’s just moved to town. But as they get closer to prying out the murderer’s identity, Shannon is viciously attacked. Now she’ll have to nail down the truth—or end up in permanent foreclosure.…
Series: A Fixer-Upper Mystery, #1 | Publisher: Audible | Narrator: Angela Starling | Length: 8 hours and 52 minutes | Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery | Source: Publisher | Ratings: 3.5 Cups
I’m normally not one for books that feature home improvement themes because, to be honest, my house is sort of like that movie The Money Pit, so I usually avoid having to relive the home improvement drama that seems to abound here but this is a cozy mystery and I’m always up for a new and unique cozy mystery series.
Here’s what’s going on. When Shannon’s blind date, who happens to be a complete and utter wanker, is found murdered in a Victorian she’s been hired to restore, she becomes the new police chief’s prime suspect. It doesn’t help matters that her tool is the murder weapon.  And when Shannon is attacked, she along with her friends and family are determined to clear her name and catch the person out to get her.
For this one being a first in a series, I was surprised at how nicely the book flowed. Normally, they tend to be bogged down with introductions and backstories but I loved the pacing of this one.
I liked Shannon, for the most part, she’s determined, a little quirky, and she knows her way around a home renovation. But, at times, she seems a little too juvenile. I mean, she’s still having problems with the girls that were the ‘means girls’ in high school. And it was a constant complaint of hers throughout the book, so it got a bit annoying. She should really be over that by now.
Like most cozy mysteries, there’s a bit of a love triangle going on involving Eric Jensen, the new chief of police, and Mac Sullivan, a writer. While both men seem interested in Shannon, I find myself rooting more for the police chief than the writer and I’m eager to see where it goes.
I thought the mystery was well handled and I liked the way it was layered with several incidents. I did work out who it was fairly early on but it was still interesting discovering it along with the characters.
This was my first time listening to Angela Starling narrate and, I have to say, I rather enjoyed it.
Overall, I enjoyed most of this one. The ‘mean girls’ thing, I could have done without, but the rest of the book was fun.
Learn more about Lighthouse Cove and its residents HERE.

Fixer Upper Series
Eaves of Destruction (Fixer-Upper Mystery #5) 
A Wrench in the Works (Fixer-Upper Mystery #6)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Wardrobe Malfunction by Samantha Towle

Vaughn West is at the height of his acting career. He's the it man of Hollywood - until the ultimate betrayal sends him into a downward spiral of alcohol-infused days, ending with a different woman in his bed every night. His only way out of the funk is accepting a new movie deal with the hottest director in Hollywood.
Charlotte Michaels is a designer-brands girl on a thrift-store budget until she lands the mother of all jobs as Vaughn West's wardrobe assistant on his latest movie.  

Only their first meeting doesn't go as planned, and now, Vaughn is acting like a jerk. So why do their clothes seem to keep falling off whenever they're around each other? And why can't Charly seem to keep her mind in the closet and off Vaughn? Things are about to get hot, dirty, and messy in Hollywood. Especially if Charly's closely guarded secret falls out of her closet. 

Publisher: Audible Studios | Narrators: Amanda Ronconi, Alexander Cendese | Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins | Genre: | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4 Cups

Challenges Read For:  Literary Pickers  - High Heels

I needed this book. 2018 has not been my year thus far so I needed something fun, witty, quirky, and deliciously sexy and Wardrobe Malfunction was that and so much more.   

Here’s what’s going on. When Hollywood heartthrob Vaughn West discovers his girlfriend’s been sleeping with his best friend via a talk show, he decides the best way to get over the hurt is by drinking and shagging his days away. That is until a hot movie deal lands in his lap, now Vaughn’s getting his act together and focusing on the movie until his wardrobe assistant catches his eye.

Charly’s landed her dream job but it’s not exactly going as planned and the fact they can’t keep their hands off each other isn’t helping. Neither’s sure what’s going on between them but the one thing they do know is that they want to keep it quiet. Charly has secrets she needs to keep and Vaughn has his tarnished reputation to rebuild.

Charly and Vaughn were great together. They just clicked and I loved the easy banter they had. And they had the best first meeting, ever. Seriously, how can things not be interesting when the first time they meet he gets aroused when she’s taking in his pants and she accidentally pokes him in the balls with a straight pin.

So, this one definitely started with lust. They were both attracted to each other and gagging for a shag but they weren’t looking for a relationship. Vaughn needed to sort himself out and get back on track after being a party animal and Charly was hiding things. The relationship was gradual and bloomed when they spent time at Vaughn’s house away from his celebrity lifestyle. I liked seeing them grow as a couple.  

I wasn’t a fan of the drama in this one, which is why I gave it 4 instead of a 5-cup rating. I’m never a fan of drama for drama’s sake and this is what it felt like. The argument/misunderstanding when Vaughn’s ex pops back up in his life then Charly’s little surly moment when she thought Vaughn wasn’t going to ask her to his sister’s wedding, they seemed to be added in just for the sake of drama. Then there was the big requisite blow up, which could have been avoided if Charly just would have told the truth. Seriously, a five-minute conversation over a cup of tea or coffee and it would have been done and dusted.  Also, throughout the book, this ‘secret’ was built up to seem like something more than what it turned out it be and that just annoyed me. I need something more substantial for my dramatic moments.

I’ve really been enjoying dual narration in my audiobooks lately. It just adds something extra to the book. Of course, Amanda Ronconi is one of my favorite narrators so I’m always thrilled when she narrators. This was my first time listening to Alexander Cendese and I enjoyed his male narrations, although his female narrations were a little too whiny.

Overall, this was the book I needed at time I needed it. It had wit, humor, heat, and fun. Yeah, there were a few blips with the drama but I liked characters and I liked they were different. I’ve been enjoying seeing more crafty heroines, Charly’s a seamstress, and this, I believe, was the first time I’ve read a book where the hero was an actor.

Are you a fan of dual narration?