Review: Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker

cover157052-medium Beware the Man of the Year. You may praise him, resent him, even want to be him: but beneath the elegant trappings that define him, danger looms. Caroline Louise Walker’s stunning debut novel, for fans of Herman Koch’s The Dinner and Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door, delves into the increasingly paranoid mind of a man whose life as the most upstanding of citizens hides a relentlessly dark heart.

Dr. Robert Hart, Sag Harbor’s just-named Man of the Year, is the envy of his friends and neighbors. His medical practice is thriving. He has a beautiful old house and a beautiful new wife and a beautiful boat docked in the village marina. Even his wayward son, Jonah, is back on track, doing well at school, finally worthy of his father’s attentions. So when Jonah’s troubled college roommate, Nick, needs a place to stay for the summer, Hart and his wife generously offer him their guest house. A win-win: Jonah will have someone to hang with, and his father can bask in the warm glow of his own generosity. Continue reading “Review: Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker”

Review: A Crafter Hooks a Killer by Holly Quinn

cover155619-mediumCommunity Craft proprietor Sammy Kane suspects that a tantalizing thread links the deaths of her best friend and a bestselling author. But can she weave together the clues?

Samantha “Sammy” Kane is settling into her new life in idyllic Heartsford, Wisconsin, running her late friend Kate Allen’s craft shop, Community Craft when one early June day, bestselling crochet author Jane Johnson visits Heartsford. Captivated by Community Craft, Jane devotes a chapter in her new book, Behind the Seams, to the store. Sammy is honored, though satisfaction quickly turns to shock when she finds Jane strangled to death―her cold hands clutching a copy of her most recently published book, with the words “THE END” raggedly scratched into the cover. Continue reading “Review: A Crafter Hooks a Killer by Holly Quinn”

Review: Sweet Tea and Secrets by Joy Avon

cover155623-mediumLast Christmas, Callie Aspen left her tour guide job and settled in Heart’s Harbor, Maine. Now, she helps out at Book Tea, her great aunt’s vintage tearoom, where each treat has a bookish clue. Though she’s excited to start her new life, Callie worries she may regret having burned her bridges behind her. Fortunately, she finds immediate distraction in the preparations for a spectacular Fourth of July tea party, which will recreate key moments from the town’s rich history.

Intrigued to learn that 1980s TV star Monica Walker was last seen in Heart’s Harbor before she vanished—allegedly to elope—Callie probes the townsfolk for information. She’s stunned when several locals share contradictory stories about the last day before Monica’s disappearance. Did she intend to leave her hit TV series? Was she being stalked by her ex? And why is the newspaper editor who investigated the story at the time so anxious about the cold case heating up?

When one of the talkative townspeople turns up dead, Callie aims to catch the killer. But it’s no picnic: Deputy Falk doesn’t want her meddling, and the locals suddenly know more about the past than they’d been at liberty to admit. If Callie and the Book Tea crew can’t crack the case, they’ll pay a very steep price in Joy Avon’s explosive second Book Tea Shop Mystery.

I was eagerly looking forward to this second installment in Joy Avon’s Book Tea Shop Mystery series as I thoroughly enjoyed the first, In Peppermint Peril.  I was not disappointed.  Sweet Tea and Secrets had everything that I had loved in the first, and more.

First, I really do like Callie Aspen.  She has her unlikable moments, but they don’t show themselves very often.  She’s smart, she’s fun, and she’s an animal lover, always bringing her Boston Terrier, Daisy, along with her.  Also, her Aunt Iphy is a hoot, even if she does tend to be a bit meddlesome.  But, considering her age and the fact she lives in a tiny town, I’ll give her a pass.

Second, I enjoyed the double mystery.  Cold cases fascinate me, likely because I’m a total science fanatic and seeing forensics and the like put into play is exciting for me.  That alone was enough to interest me, but when a murder happens while Callie’s investigating this cold case, I was definitely hooked.  Although I had pretty much figured out what had happened in the cold case early on, the resolution of it wasn’t anything like I had expected, so that was a wonderful surprise for me.

Sweet Tea and Secrets is an exciting and engaging cozy mystery.  It’s a quick read, but enjoyable all the way to the end.  I can’t wait to see what Callie, Iphy, Peggy and the rest get up to in the next installment.  A great cozy series for anyone who loves a good cup of tea and a murder or two.

4/5

*Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of this book.

Review: Luck of the Draw by B. J. Daniels

cover151594-mediumHe may get a second chance at his one true love–if someone doesn’t kill her first. When Garrett Sterling leaves for a horseback ride through his family’s sprawling Montana property, he’s expecting a relaxing break from the construction at the Sterling guest ranch. What he gets is something far more sinister. It all happened so fast that it’s hard for Garrett to sort out the facts. But two things are certain: someone is dead and the killer knows there was a witness.When a woman from his past emerges as a key piece of the investigation, Garrett is determined to uncover what really happened that day, how she’s involved–and why everything she’s ever told him is a lie. Continue reading “Review: Luck of the Draw by B. J. Daniels”

Review: Belly Up by Eva Darrows

cover150128-mediumWhen 16 year old Serendipity Rodriguez attends a house party to celebrate the end of sophomore year, she has no intention of getting drunk and hooking up with a guy she’s just met, let alone getting pregnant. To make matters worse, she has no way of contacting the father and she and her mother are about to move to a new town and in with her grandmother.

It’s hard enough to start your junior year as the new kid in school, but at 5-months pregnant it’s even harder. So when Sara meets Leaf, who asks her out and doesn’t seem to care that she’s pregnant, she finds herself falling.

Juggling the realities of a pregnancy with school and a new relationship are hard enough, but when Jack, the father of her baby, turns back up, Sara’s life goes from complicated to a complete mess. With the help of her overbearing mother and grandmother, Sara will learn to navigate life’s challenges and be ready for anything, as she prepares for the birth of her baby. Continue reading “Review: Belly Up by Eva Darrows”

Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

cover148684-mediumEveryone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life. Continue reading “Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding”

Review: Unbroken Cowboy by Maisey Yates

cover148992-mediumDane Parker traded in his trailer-park roots for glory as a bull rider. But when a serious injury sidelines him for months, it’s the first time he can’t just pull himself up by his bootstraps. The last thing he wants to deal with is sweet family friend Bea treating him like one of her wounded animals—or the unexpected attraction that suddenly flares between them.

Beatrix Leighton has loved Dane for years, while he’s always seen her as another sister. When she enlists his help to start her animal sanctuary, she thinks it will give him purpose. Instead, it brings all the desire she feels for him to the boiling point. Bea’s father taught her early on that love means loss. But could her forbidden crush turn into a love that will last a lifetime? Continue reading “Review: Unbroken Cowboy by Maisey Yates”