Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Hooks Can Be Deceiving by Betty Hechtman

Molly Pink’s excitement level is off the hook: The Craftee Channel’s new cable talk show “Creating with Crochet” has scheduled an upcoming taping at the bookstore. While she’s there, TV host Rory Graham is to work with the Tarzana Hookers on a Make and Take bracelet project to draw bookstore customers to the yarn section. It’s a win-win…or so it “seams.”

The situation gets a bit knotted when channel producer Michael Kostner confides to Molly his concern that Rory may have oversold her ability as a crocheter. When the producer’s worst fears are realized, it’s up to Molly to make sure Rory comes through.

Guiding Rory through crocheting-for-beginners will have to wait, though, as Molly suddenly has to untangle the mysterious death of a new Tarzana Hookers member. Marianne Freeman and her live-in companion, Connie Richards, haven’t exactly been gabby since they joined the Hookers, but Connie’s voice is silenced permanently when she is electrocuted while walking on a wet lawn—electrified by an old radio plugged into a faulty extension cord. The fingers point at Marianne, but Molly is fast on the case to protect one of her own. Was Marianne the killer…or the intended target? Why does her younger brother want to keep her from talking to the cops? And why is this whole case starting to remind Molly Pink of an old TV movie?
Series: Crochet Mystery #13 | Publisher: Crooked Lane Books | Release Date: December 11, 2018 | Genre: Cozy Mystery  | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3.5 Cups Challenges Read For:  - Cruisin' Thru The Cozies  Craft Themed- 2019 Try Something New New-to-me author

I’ve been having so much fun discovering new cozies lately.
Molly’s thrilled when she learns a craft show will be taping in the bookstore she works at although her excitement diminishes slightly when she discovers she’ll be more or less babysitting Rory, an actress who will be the host of the show who has no clue how to crochet. As the shows taping date grows closer, Molly’s starting to get things under control until one of their craft club members dies in a mysterious accident. Now Molly and her craft club mates need to figure out who the killer is before they become their next victim.
This one was interesting—I always like a craft-based cozy, even if I can’t crochet to save myself—and I found the characters to be unique.
The mystery in this one was solid. There were a few red herrings being tossed about and I didn’t really expect the outcome, and that’s always thrilling.
Like most cozies, there’s a love triangle. Molly’s ex Barry, who happens to be a detective, and her new boyfriend Mason, who I believe is an attorney. While it seemed to me that she’s more comfortable around Barry, I feel like I was missing a huge chunk of what was going on.
Overall, I had fun with this one. The characters, the mystery, the bookshop/craft club setting but I feel like this one, being book 13, was a little too far into the series to actually pull me in since Molly’s backstory is missing.
I would eventually like to go back and read the previous books in this series.

Crochet Mystery

1-Hooked on Murder  
2-Dead Men Don't Crochet  
3-By Hook or by Crook  
4- A Stitch in Crime
5-You Better Knot Die
6-Behind the Seams
7-If Hooks Could Kill
8-For Better or Worsted
9-Knot Guilty
10-Seams Like Murder
11-Hooking for Trouble
12-On the Hook
13-Hooks Can Be Deceiving

Monday, April 22, 2019

Magnolia Mystic by Lisa Kessler

Skye Olson is a psychic like her mother, and her grandmother before her, but a bad break up with the man she thought was her soulmate has left her confidence in her abilities shaken. While she's in crisis, a real estate tycoon from Atlanta swoops in with his eyes on her shop.

Colton Hayes spent his mortal life plundering royal ships with his pirate crew, but one holy relic changed everything. Now he and the rest of the crew protect the port of Savannah from their captain who traded his cutlass for a fountain pen.
When Colton discovers the captain wants to build a hotel in the heart of historic Savannah, he sets out to stop him, but nothing could prepare him for the violet eyes of the Magnolia Mystic.
Series: Sentinels of Savannah Series | Publisher: Entangled Amara |  Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance/Sci-Fi | Source:  Purchased | Rating: 4 Cups

Challenges Read For:  - Bad Boys of Romance Pirate- Literary Pickers  Belt Buckle - 2019 Try Something New--New Series
Immortal Pirates? Yes, please and thank you!
If you know me, you know I’m seriously addicted to pirates so when I was scrolling on Amazon a few weeks ago this popped up and I had to one-click (one-click will be the death of my bank account one day). Having loved Lisa Kessler’s Moon series, I knew I would be in for a treat.
Skye and Colton were such a fun pair—she’s a psychic who owns a valuable piece of real estate and he’s an immortal pirate intent on making sure his former captain doesn’t get his hands on it—or her.
Skye’s just had her heart broken and her trust destroyed so now she’s questioning whether or not her psychic ability is accurate. When she meets Colton on his ship—a replica of his original pirate ship—she’s drawn to him yet she’s a bit leery at the same time. Colton has a few problems of his own—his former captain is gobbling up most of Savannah’s historic district, his immortality is starting to wear off, and the Holy Grail is missing—yet he knows that Skye’s the one for him. They have great chemistry but Skye’s a little slow to trust Colton. Then there’s the tiny problem that he’s just a few hundred years older than her.
This was such a great start to this series. The characters, their backstory, and the setting was laid out brilliantly and evenly. I didn’t feel as though I was getting bogged down by too much information at once. I also didn’t feel like the backstory got in the way of the present story.
While the romance is resolved in this one, the mystery of the missing Holy Grail carries over to the second book in the series and the ending offers enough of a tease that you’ll want to grab the second book and read them together.
The only problem I had with this one was the fact that Kessler kept using the term privateer rather than pirate. Privateers were vastly different from pirates in that they plundered for Crown and Country whereas pirates—like Colton and his crew—plundered for personal wealth. In fact, the term privateer offended most pirates. I know that this is a minor detail—most won’t have a problem with it—but it’s one of those things that irks me.
Overall, this was a fun and unique light romance that was a quick read.  

Sentinels of Savannah Series

Magnolia Mystic
Pirate’s Passion
Pirate’s Pleasure

Friday, April 19, 2019

My Blog’s Name in Books Tag

Hello, my Lovelies! I hope you’re all having a fabulous day.

I was doing a bit of a file cleanup on my flash drives the other day and stumbled across this book tag—and a few more. When my computer bit the dust last year, I had been working on some book tags and I had, apparently, only saved the bare bones of this one on my flash drive. I’ve done a bit of updating, so here it goes.

This challenge has been making its way through the blogosphere for quite some time and I’m not exactly sure who started it or who tagged me in it. Basically, you take your blog’s name and spell it out using books from your GoodReads tbr list.

I changed this one up a bit. For starters, I don’t using GoodReads for my TBR list—so I can’t link back to it. The books are still coming from TBR pile, but I’m going to tie this into the Blogger Shame Challenge I’m participating in and marking down past due review books. This tag will also serve as a personal challenge for me to read and review the books I’m listing. Hopefully, I’ll manage to cross all of them off within the next few months. 

I couldn’t find a book on my TBR list that started with a ‘y’ nor could I find and author, so I settled for a book that had a ‘y’ in the title.


S—Switch and Bait by Ricki Schultz
I—Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
M—More than Words by Mia Sheridan
P—Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley
L—Life on the Leash by Victoria Schade
Y—Highland Spy by Madeline Martin
A—A Dark and Stormy Knit by Anne Canadeo
N—Never Trust a Pirate by Valerie Bowman
G—Grand Slam by Heidi McLaughlin
E—(The) English Breakfast Murders by Laura Childs
L—Last Call by Alice Clayton
A—A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen

Feel free to grab this tag and join in

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people - though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes, it feels like she’s invisible.

All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend - her grandmother Zelda - who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.

Publisher: Harlequin Audio | Narrator: Imogen Church | Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins  |  Genre: Contemporary Fiction | Source: Purchased | Rating: 3.5 Cups

Challenges Read For:  - 2019 Try Something New--New-to-me Author
I’ve been switching up my reading a bit as of late and this one caught my eye when I browsing on Audible (I was gifted a year’s membership for my birthday). The concept was interesting and how could I resist a book with a stack of books on the cover?
Here’s what’s going on. When Martha Storm, a librarian, discovers a mysterious package containing a book of fairy tales with a dedication to her from her grandmother dated three years after her grandmother’s mysterious death, she’s determined to discover if her grandmother’s still alive. Stepping out of her comfort zone, Martha embarks on a journey that will change her life forever.
I’m a bit on the fence about this one. I enjoyed the writing, the plot, and the narration but, at times, the characters were just a tad bit annoying and, sadly, the big reveal fell a bit flat considering everything leading up to it.
While I felt for Martha, I had a hard time relating to her. She’s a people pleaser always willing to put herself out to do for others and she never tells them no. This behavior has taken over her life and her home to the point she’s become a hoarder or sorts. She didn’t have the best home life growing up—her father was an overbearing wanker and her mother was willing to do any and everything to keep him happy—so I can see why Martha’s the way she is but I don’t really understand why she doesn’t tell most of the people in her life to kiss her arse.
Martha spends so much time in her own head complaining about always doing things for people yet she doesn’t speak up. At times, she’s also very juvenile in her actions. While I couldn’t really relate to her, I did find myself rooting for her, especially when she starts figuring out who she is.
The mystery with her grandmother, Zelda, was interesting. She was a constant source of encouragement and inspiration in Martha’s life until the time of her supposed death. Martha’s determined to figure out why her parents lied to about Zelda’s death.  There’s a lot of whys that I was expecting answers to, and while they did come, I just didn’t feel like they were substantial enough to carry a mystery of this magnitude.  
I really enjoyed how the book of fairy tales—most of which Martha penned when she was young—was the catalyst that helped Martha heal. Most of the tales were about Martha’s dysfunctional family and reconnecting to the tales and reading them aloud were rather cathartic for her. They allowed her to look back on her life and see that she needed to change going forward. They let her find her voice.
There were a few twists in the plot—most I spotted coming but it was still interesting seeing how Martha coped with them. What aggravated me the most with this one was that it felt like it was cut short; right when Marth’s character growth appeared, the book ended. I would have liked to known what came next for her.
This was my first time listening to Imogen Church and I found I really liked her style of narration. She has a way of making the boring bits sounds interesting and that’s always a plus.
Overall, I really liked this one—it was interesting and a bit different—but it had it’s share of problems. The ending felt too abrupt—I actually went back just to make sure my phone hadn’t skipped the ending. I still think this was a worthy read, though.   

Are you a fan of audiobooks?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Day of the Dragon by Katie MacAlister

Real scholars know that supernatural beings don't exist. But the moment I meet Archer Andras of the Storm Dragons, all my academic training goes out the window. Thanks to Mr. Tall, Dark, And Infuriating, I'm learning that I really should worry about those things that go bump in the night. . . and that dragons like Archer are 100 percent pure trouble.

Now I'm caught in the middle of a war. On one side is Archer. On the other is his twin brother. And I am the key to translating an ancient text that could bring balance-or deadly ruin-to our world. But none of that is as dangerous as the seriously sexy sparks between Archer and me. He's too tempting to be real. Too gorgeous to trust. And when it comes to dragons, there's no smoke without deadly fire.
Series: Dragon Hunter 2 | Publisher:  Forever |  Genre: Paranormal Romance  | Source: Publisher  | Rating: 3

Challenges Read For:  - Bad Boys of Romance Literary Pickers  Throw Rug/Blanket -
I always have such a good time with MacAlister’s dragons and Day of the Dragon was no exception.
When Thaisa accidentally sells an ancient text her boss wanted to keep, she’s determined to get it back before her boss harms her grandmother. She never expected her search to lead her straight into the arms of a dragon and into the middle of a ferocious dragon war. Now that Archer’s found his mate, he’s not going to let her go but time’s running out and the battle is raging around them. Will Thaisa be able to solve the text before Archer and the rest of the Storm Dragons are destroyed?
I really liked Thaisa. She’s a bit quirky, tends to ramble when she’s nervous, and I’m never really sure what she’s going to say. She also carries the Poliosis gene, which has caused her to have white streaks in her hair and eyelashes and oddly colored eyes, and she’s had some issues with self-confidence because of it. Archer is the Master of the Storm Dragon’s so he’s oozing alpha dragon vibes, which I rather enjoyed. He’s also a bit mysterious so I was never really sure what his game plan was.
Archer and Thaisa was such a fun couple and they definitely had a boatload of chemistry that was bounding off the page. My only problem with their romance was that it was an instalust/instalove romance. With paranormal romances, I expect the instalove due to the fated mates plot device, but this one just felt a tad bit too rushed. I would have liked to have seen Archer and Thaisa interact a bit more before falling head-over-heels. I was also hoping Thaisa would become a bit more comfortable in her own skin and lose her jealous streak.
The mystery/suspense in this one had me guessing until the end and, once revealed, the character’s actions made sense. I still would have liked to have had more buildup rather than just dumping everything at the end but it still worked.
While I did enjoy this book, I feel like this one faltered a bit compared the first one. This one was a bit rushed and lacked the world building Memoirs of a Dragon Hunter had, which surprised me. I also felt like some of the sex scenes were just out of place.
Overall, I still enjoyed this one. Archer and Thaisa were a perfect fit—he with his demands and her ignoring him while rambling about something trivial—and made for an interesting read. It’s not as well-rounded as the first book in the series but I still think it was a great addition.

Dragon Hunter Series
Day of the Dragon

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Peachy Flippin' Keen by Molly Harper

The McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop has crickets running rampant in the store and hot sauce in the Snack Shack’s ketchup bottles. But as the county coroner, Frankie has enough on her plate without worrying about the increasingly mean pranks being played at her family’s business. And the arrival of Sheriff Eric Linden, both devastatingly attractive and painfully taciturn, is enough to push her over the edge.

Linden, who didn’t seem to get the memo about men in uniform and Southern charm, is condescending and cold, revealing absolutely nothing about his past as an Atlanta police officer, while also making Frankie’s job as coroner as difficult as possible. And with the town’s Fourth of July celebration coming up, it’s essential for McCready’s to be cricket-free and in good working order. Strangling the sheriff will make her job even harder. Can Frankie hold off the threats to preserve her own sanity?

Series: Southern Eclectic 1.5 | Publisher: Audible  | Narrator: Amanda Ronconi  | Length: 2 hrs and 19 mins  | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher  | Rating: 4 Cups
Challenges Read For:   Literary Pickers  - Beer
Frankie’s my favorite McCready so I was thrilled when I got to review this novella.

Not only is Frankie dealing with someone pranking her family’s funeral home and bait shop, she’s also dealing with the fact her one-night stand just so happens to be the town’s newly hired sheriff. And things aren’t exactly going smoothly with Sheriff Eric Linden.

I’m fairly sure that Frankie’s not going to be everyone cup of tea. She’ a bit surly and spoiled but that’s to be expected knowing that she had a childhood illness that nearly killed her. Personally, I find Frankie amusing because I’m never really sure what she’s going to do next.

This one’s told from Frankie’s POV so, sadly, we don’t get to know what’s going on in Eric’s head—I would have loved to see what he was thinking, especially since he’s entered into a new and very unique territory.

Keep in mind, this is novella is a rather short introduction to Frankie’s story. While it gives a nice introduction to the characters and town, there’s not conclusion to this one as it leads into Ain’t She A Peach. Given that most of the accompanying novellas in this series are complete, I was a bit surprised at how abruptly this one ended. Still, I found it to be a worthy addition.

As always, Amanda Ronconi does a brilliant job bringing the characters to life with her narration.

Overall, a short but fun addition to a sassy series.

Southern Eclectic Series
.5 Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck
1 Sweet Tea and Sympathy
1.5 Peachy Flippin’ Keen
2 Ain’t She a Peach
2.5 A Few Pecans Short of a Pie
3 Gimme Some Sugar

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Last Goodbye by J.A. Jance

Ali Reynolds is finally getting married to her longtime love B. Simpson. They wanted a simple Christmas Eve wedding, but nothing is ever simple with Ali. Even as a motley crew of her friends—Leland Brooks, Sister Anselm, and others—descend on Vegas, the bride-to-be finds herself juggling last-minute wedding plans and a mystery in the form of a stray miniature dachshund. Ali’s grandson rescues the little dog, but Ali’s not in the market for a new pet right before her honeymoon, and leaves no stone unturned in hunting for the dog’s owner. But what she finds is more than just a shaggy dog story…Bella’s elderly owner has vanished, and her son seems to be behind it. So it’s Ali and B. to the rescue—and still making it to the church on time!

Series: Ali Reynolds #9.5  Publisher: Pocket Star | Genre:  Contemporary Mystery | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3.5 Cups
Challenges Read For:  - Blogger Shame
When I was prepping my review of The A List (Ali Reynolds #14), I stumbled upon this review from 2014 sitting unpublished in my drafts. I don’t really recall much of this book, in fact, when I was reading The A List I thought this series and author were new-to-me. As I read through the review, I vaguely remembered a few minor details—about the characters not the plot—but that’s about it. Although, oddly enough, I do remember cover but who could forget that cute little dog? So, I’m not sure if I just struggle to recall a book I read 5 years ago or if this one just didn’t have staying power.

On with my original review from 5 years ago….

Ali Reynolds believes that a Vegas wedding will be quick and simple with no fuss. But when her husband-to-be brings home a miniature dachshund that someone tossed out of a car, Ali finds herself as bride and sleuth as she tries to track down the dog’s owner and spend her honeymoon with her new husband.

A Last Goodbye was such a sweet and moving cozy little mystery.

While I was new to the Ali Reynolds series, I found that I was able to jump into this novella and get an amazing sense of the characters.

Ali wants a quick and simple Christmas Eve wedding. Things quickly change when her grandson rescues a dog and her husband-to-be, B., brings it back to the hotel. Even though Ali insists that the dog must go, she’s quickly embroiled in the hunt to find its owner and is slowly growing attached to Bella.
The way the hunt for Bella’s owner unfolded and the outcome was very touching and it made me stop and think about what happens to pets when their elderly owner is no longer able to care for them.

Overall, dog lovers will enjoy this quick and touching novella.

Ali Reynolds Mystery Series
Edge of Evil
Web of Evil
Hand of Evil
Cruel Intent
Trial by Fire
Fatal Error
Left for Dead
Deadly Stakes
Moving Target
The Last Goodbye (novella)
Cold Betrayal
No Honor Among Thieves
Random Acts
Man Overboard
Duel to the Death
The A List  

Monday, April 8, 2019

Getty Lucky by Carolyn Brown

After being the center of nasty gossip in her last hometown, all Julie Donovan wants in Saint Jo, Texas, is a quiet, uneventful life for her and her daughter, Annie. But when a sexy cowboy walks into her classroom with a daughter who looks like Annie's twin, suddenly the whole town is looking for explanations...

Devoted single dad Griffin Luckadeau will do anything to protect his own, and no sassy redhead is going to get in his way. When he thinks Julie is scheming to steal his ranch out from under him to benefit her own daughter, sparks really begin to fly... Julie and Griffin can't seem to cross paths without a scuffle. But when the dust settles, these two Texas hotheads may realize they've actually found something worth fighting for...
Series: Luckadeau/Lucky #3 | Publisher: Recorded Books | Narrator: Brain Hutchinson | Length: 10 hours, 19 minutes | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Won | Rating: 3.5 Cups
Challenges Read For:  -  Literary Pickers  - Saddle
I’m always delighted when I pick up a new-to-me Carolyn Brown romance. This was the first I read in the Luckadeau/Lucky series and, while it had it’s share of problems, I still enjoyed it.
The premise of this was a bit different—Julie’s starting over in a new town to protect her daughter, Annie, from the gossipers but when she discovers a little girl in her class is the spitting image of her daughter right down to the white streak in her hair, she’s left with more questions and problems than she had before. Although Griffin’s attracted to Julie and curious about Annie, he’s leery about why they’re in town and he’s not about to let Julie into his life or his daughter’s life without a fight. Yet as the two little girls grow closer and event throw Julie and Griffin together, he soon starts to realize just what an amazing pair they make.
I thought that Griffin and Julie were interesting. They were both distrusting of each other, but that’s to be expected given what they had both been through. Both were amazing parents and seem to be good people who stepped up when they needed to. But they both had major flaws. Julie was constantly going on about how she was older and wiser than Griffin so she knew what was best for him and the girls. Griffin was determined to hold the sins of his ex-wife and his cousin’s ex-girlfriend over all of womankind so, in his mind, everything that Julie was doing (even the fact she had Annie) was just her way of getting her hooks into his family’s ranch.
While Griffin and Julie were interesting together, I didn’t really see much chemistry or a developing relationship. Sure, there was attraction but their relationship went from distrust/anger/distrust/sex/arguing/distrust/ignoring each other to bickering/sex/let’s get married. There was no relationship growth or even a getting to know you period. I would even classify this as instalust/love as I didn’t see much of that either.
I wasn’t a massive fan of the bit of drama in this one provided by Griffin’s ex. It just seemed a bit odd.
What saved this for me were the spunky little girls, the spirited secondary characters, and the sense of family and community Carolyn Brown’s books always offer.
This was my first time listening to Brian Hutchison narrate and I found him to be enjoyable.
Overall, this one wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t one of my favorites. It was lacking in the romances department but still a worthy read.

Lucky/Luckadeau Series

Lucky in Love
One Lucky Cowboy
Getting Lucky
Talk Cowboy to Me

Friday, April 5, 2019

Single Malt Murder by Melinda Mullet

Abigail Logan never expected to inherit a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. But in the first novel of an engaging new series blending fine spirits with chilling mystery, Abi finds that there are secrets lurking in the misty glens that some will go to any lengths to protect...even murder.

When Abi inherits her uncle's quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot - but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it's clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi's never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge - especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi's new employees is found floating face down in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.
Series: Whisky Business Mystery #1 | Publisher: Audible | Narrator: Gemma Dawson | Length: 9 hrs 57 min |  Genre:  Contemporary Cozy Mystery | Source: Audible | Rating: 3.5 Cups

Challenges Read For:  -  2019 Try Something New New-to-me author
I’m always looking for a something a bit different in the cozy mystery genre and Single Malt Murder fit the bill.
When Londoner Abigail Logan inherits her uncle’s distillery, she’s not exactly sure what to do with it. Neither whisky nor Scotland intrigue her and the only thing left to do is find the right buyer to look after her uncle’s legacy. When Duff, one of her employees, is found dead in a vat then a series of accidents befalls Abi and the distillery, she soon realizes someone is out to sabotage Abbey Glen. Now Abi has to figure out the future of the distillery while tracking down a killer.
This was a wee bit slow at the start. A good third of the book feels like it lags as the setting is established and the characters are introduced but that’s a quite common start for the first book in a new cozy mystery series.
I found that I liked Abi. As a photojournalist, she’s used to being out and about so she feels a bit stilted stuck in the Highlands of Scotland running a whisky distillery. And to further irritate her, the whisky business is a man’s world and she’s not easily accepted into that world. She doesn’t really know who she can or can’t trust, especially since Grant, who was her uncle’s right hand man, could be the one behind Duff’s murder and the accidents at the distillery seeing as, if something were to happen to Abi, Grant’s the next in-line to inherit Abbey Glen.
The mystery was interesting and had several different ways it could have turned out seeing as Duff had made some interesting choices and there was a lot going on behind the scenes at Abbey Glen. As Abi weeds through the clues, she finds that the whisky world is a bit underhanded and treacherous. She also finds that the locals have a lot of interesting stories regarding the original distilleries origins as well as a bit of bootlegging on the side.
While I positive I knew who the killer was from early on, I still had a good time watching my prediction play out.
Like all good cozies, what shaped this cozy was the secondary characters. They were a lively bunch of Highlanders who had stories to share and depth to add.
There is the start of a romance between Abi and Grant and it’s definitely rocky considering she believes him to be responsible for what’s happening with Abbey Glen. And Grant also has a bit of a dark past, which I tend to like because it gives that character just an extra bit of spice.
One thing that bugged me with this one was the fact that Abi—who happens to be a photographer—never once thought about putting security cameras up.
This was my first time listening to Gemma Dawson and it took me a bit of time to warm up to her. I tend to struggle with most women narrators, but I changed the speed up a little and it seemed to help. I wouldn’t mind listening to her again, now that I’m used her style of narration.
Overall, this was a good start to a different type of cozy and it left me eager to see what happens next.
Just a bit of random trivia: All scotch is whisky but not all whiskey is scotch. Scotch is whisky (nope, not a typo, Scottish whisky doesn’t have an ‘e’) made in Scotland from malted barley and hops. While bourbon is whiskey (yep, with an ‘e’ in USA and Ireland) made from distilled corn. 
In Scottish Gaelic, the word for whisky is ‘uisge beatha’ meaning, ‘the water of life’, which is derived from the Latin aqua vitae.
The first recorded mention of whisky distilling in Scottish history was on 1 June 1494 in the Exchequer Rolls of James IV of Scotland. James IV granted a monk, Friar John Cor, malt in order to make ‘aqua vitae’.

Whisky Business Series
Single Malt Murder
Death Distilled
Deadly Dram

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Murder’s Son by Joy Ellis

Twenty years ago a farmer and his wife are cut to pieces by a ruthless serial killer.

Now a woman is viciously stabbed to death in the upmarket kitchen of her beautiful house on the edge of the marshes.

Then a man called Daniel Kinder walks into Saltern police station and confesses to the murder.

But DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans of the Fenland Constabulary soon discover that there is a lot more to Daniel than meets the eye. He has no memory of the first five years of his life and is obsessed with who his real mother is.

With no evidence to hold him, Jackman and Evans are forced to let him go, and in a matter of days the lonely Lincolnshire Fens become the stage for more killings and Daniel has disappeared.
Series:Jackman & Evans (Published Order), Book 1, Jackman & Evans (Recommended Listening Order), Book 2  | Publisher: Audible | Narrator: Richard Armitage  | Length: 9hrs 30 min | Genre: Contemporary Mystery/Thriller | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4 Cups 

It was rather interesting to be back with Jackman and Evans as they race against the clock to stop a murderer and figure out the connection to a murder that occurred twenty years ago.
When a woman is found stabbed to death in her kitchen, Daniel Kinder walks into the police station, confesses, then pleads to be locked up so he won’t murder again. While he knows an alarming amount of details regarding the murder, Jackman and Evans are convinced he didn’t murder the woman and there’s no actual evidence to hold him so they have no choice but to release him. Although when another woman is found murdered and Daniel has no alibi or memory of what he was doing during the hours of her murder, they start to wonder if they let a killer go.
Could Daniel’s theory—and obsession—that’s he’s the son of a woman who brutally murdered her employees twenty years ago be true? If so, could he have the same blood lust that plagued her? Now that a third woman has been murdered, Jackman and Evans find themselves digging through evidence from twenty years ago hoping to shed light on Daniel’s parentage while trying to figure out the who the killer really is.
If you like a good British crime drama/mystery/thriller, which I do, then this is your cup of tea.
DS Maria Evans and DI Rowan Jackman are, hands down, my favorite detectives. They click so well while investigating—they are just this perfect little crime fighting team. There’s also this personal connection between them that, while it’s obviously there, they sort of ignore it but it always just under the surface. I’m really hoping that they eventually act on this connection because I think they would make a great romantic match.
I thought the mystery in this one was brilliant. I enjoyed how parallels between this case and the one from twenty years ago kept popping up. There’s a fragility to Daniel due to past events and I was never really sure what he would do or what he was capable of doing. He was damaged physiologically and it led him on an interesting path.  While I had a feeling who it was and why, I was never completely sure until the end.
Along with the murder mystery, there’s a bit of corruption going on in the constabulary, which made for an interesting back story. I found that both tangents mixed together brilliantly and both were solid and fully fleshed out.  There’s also some interesting bits with the mysterious computer specialist called Orac.
This one wasn’t as heavy as Their Lost Daughters but it’s still not a light read, not a lot of mysteries/thrillers are. Of course, there’s violence, blood, and death but it didn’t come off as overly graphic. We’re given a glimpse of the crime scenes but they’re not overly described.
This is the first book in the series yet it was marked as the second in the listening order (I’m a bit confused by this—maybe this was recorded after the second book?) but what I’ve found so far is that they’re rather flexible when it comes to the order in which they are read. I felt like I got a better sense of the characters and  their backstories in this one but I didn’t feel like it was anything that I needed to know while going through Their Lost Daughters, if that makes sense.
Richard Armitage, once again, delivers a flawless narration. I’m not going to lie, I could listen to him narrate anything, but there’s that mysterious quality to his voice that makes him perfect for this genre. Also, as a side note, I’d love to see this series turned into an Acorn/ITV/BBC series with him playing the role of Jackman.
Overall, not as strong as or as twisted as Their Lost Daughters but still a brilliant mystery/thriller that I highly recommend. It was interesting watching how events from a person’s past plays with their psyche.

Jackman & Evans Series (recommended listening order)

The Murderer's Son
The Fourth Friend
The Guilty Ones
The Stolen Boys

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The A List by J.A. Jance

More than ten years after the abrupt end of her high-profile broadcasting career, Ali Reynolds has made a good life for herself in her hometown of Sedona, Arizona. She has a new house, a new husband, and a flourishing cybersecurity company called High Noon Enterprises, where her team of veritable technological wizards hunts down criminals one case at a time.

But the death of an old friend brings Ali back to the last story she ever reported: a feel-good human interest piece about a young man in need of a kidney to save his life, which quickly spiraled into a medical mismanagement scandal that landed a prestigious local doctor in prison for murder.

Years may have passed, but Dr. Edward Gilchrist has not forgotten those responsible for his downfall—certainly not Ali Reynolds, who exposed his dirty deeds to the world. Life without parole won’t stop him from getting his revenge. Tattooed on his arm are the initials of those who put him behind bars, and he won’t stop until every person on that Annihilation List is dead.
Series: Ali Reynolds #14 | Publisher: Gallery Books |  Release Date: April 2, 2019| Genre: | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3.5 Cups
This one was a bit different from what I was expecting. I went in thinking this was going to be a straight up mystery and it ended up being a suspense/thriller and I’m not mad about it.
When Ali Reynolds helped expose a fraudulent fertility doctor who impregnated clients with his own sperm, she never expected to end up on his hit list ten years later. With the help of his mother and another inmate, Dr. Edward Gilchrist is on a mission rid the world of those who brought him down. As his list gets shorter, Ali and her team of techies soon realize she’s next on the dirty Doctor’s Annihilation List.
I’m not going to delve too deep into this one as I don’t want to give too much away because it’s one of those books you need to start fresh going in.
There’s a lot going on in this one and, at times, it felt a little congested as there was so much backstory needed to move forward. Although I didn’t mind seeing as the events of the past was what put the present events into motion. Without the backstory, this one would have fallen flat.
This is my first time reading a full-length Ali Reynolds Mystery (I read a novella years ago but can’t recall much of it) and since it’s the fourteenth book in the series, I was a bit worried I would struggle with the characters. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. While I would like to know more about Ali and her circle, I still feel as though I was able to get a nice sense of who they are.
I found the suspense/thriller aspect of this one to be riveting as we see the events playing out on the page as they happen. We get to see the origin, the thoughts of the characters, and the way it’s carried out and I found that to be an interesting take.  
Overall, if you’re looking for a different take on a suspense/thriller then you’ll enjoy this one. There’s a lot of characters to keep up with but it’s well worth the read.

Edge of Evil
Web of Evil
Hand of Evil
Cruel Intent
Trial by Fire
Fatal Error
Left for Dead
Deadly Stakes
Moving Target
The Last Goodbye (novella)
Cold Betrayal
No Honor Among Thieves
Random Acts
Man Overboard
Duel to the Death
The A List