Saturday, March 17, 2018

Dipped to Death: An Olive Grove Mystery

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Make sure you wear green today so you do not get pinched.  Murder with a Cherry on Top by Cynthia Baxter will be available on March 27.  It is the first book in A Lickety Splits Mystery series.  

Dipped to Death by Kelly Lane is the third An Olive Grove Mystery.  Eva Knox works as the head of public and guest relations for her family’s inn and olive farm known as Knox Plantation in Abundance, Georgia.    Eva was surprised the previous day when one of her ex-fiancés, Dudley Dexter “Dex” Codman III arrived at the inn with colleagues from Perennial Paper.   She is surprised and suspicious of his presence in her hometown especially when they claim they are going to be birdwatching (Dex is not a birdwatcher or nature lover).  After finishing the housekeeping chores, Eva with her dog, Dolly heads for a relaxing afternoon at the lake.   She spots something in the tall weeds and checks it out.  Eva finds Dex naked and dead.  Since Eva had a very loud and public argument with Dex the previous evening, she is a prime suspect in his death.   Eva starts digging to find out what Dex and his cohorts have been up to while in town.  She needs to work quickly because the evidence is stacking up against her.  Someone is not happy with her snooping and attempts to scare Eva away.  What was Dex up to that got him killed? 

Dipped to Death may be the third book in the series, but it can be read alone.  This book is for readers who enjoy light, humorous cozy mysteries.  Eva is one of those female main characters who bumbles and stumbles her way through the book.  Eva does all the work while her sister, Daphne sits around giving orders and playing the genteel Southern hostess (with her pearls and exaggerated Southern accent).  She is doing the housekeeping chores because the girls Daphne hired are daughters of friends and they rarely show up for work (of course).  Personally, I would tell Daphne where she could stuff it, but Eva just takes what her sisters dishes out.  Readers get to enjoy all of Eva’s rambling thoughts along with everything she eats and drinks. Dolly, Eva’s dog, was a delightful addition to the story.  There are two love interests for Eva (a love triangle).  Buck Tanner, the local sheriff and her first ex-fiancé, who calls her “baby doll” (I began to wonder if he knew her real name) all the time.  Ian Collier owns the estate next door and is hiding a secret.  Eva spends a great deal of time ogling the two men and acting like a twit in their presence. The author has a descriptive writing style (every little detail is described) that allows readers to visualize the scenes and includes Southern colloquialisms.  I did tire of the repetition (I got it the first time) and felt the book was too long (366 pages).  I did like the information on the benefits of olive leaf extract.  It was informative and interesting.  The murder occurs early in the book (it was obvious who would be killed).  There are some good clues that will aid readers in identifying the person who committed the dastardly deed.  Dipped to Death does contain foul language, copious amounts of alcohol and what I term “raunchy” talk which is very unusual for a cozy mystery.  I am giving Dipped to Death is 3 stars.   

The other two books in An Olive Grove Mystery series are One Foot in the Grave and Cold Pressed Murder.  Thank you for visiting today.  I will be featuring Murder in Thistlecross tomorrow.  Please consider following my blog (upper right).  I recently added the button to my page.  Have a charming day, drive safely and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, March 16, 2018

Dead Calm: A Mattie Winston Mystery

Greetings!  The Promise by Susan Lantz Simpson will be published on March 27 along with Death by Dumpling by Vivien ChenAnnelise Ryan is a pseudonym for Beth Amos who also writes A Mack's Bar Mystery series (using pen name Allyson K. Abbott).  

Dead Calm by Annelise Ryan is the ninth installment in A Mattie Winston Mystery series.  Mattie Winston, medicolegal death investigator for the medical examiner’s office, and her husband, Detective Steve Hurley are called out during the night to a crime scene at the Grizzly Motel.  At first glance, it looks like a murder-suicide scenario with Craig Knowlton killing Meredith Lansing.  But upon further examination, it is evident that the scene was staged.  Now Steve and Mattie have a double murder on their hands. The more they dig, the more complex the case.   At the site of Steve and Mattie’s new home, the builders dig up a set of unusual remains.  The bones are deformed which causes speculation that the remains are those of an alien (media sensation). Steve is still digging into the Prince case which relates back to Mattie’s father.  They are still missing some key details.  Will Mattie’s father fill in the gaps?  This pair have their hands full with three investigations, a teenager and a toddler to take care of, and the construction of their new home on hold.  Then another victim turns up.  It does not help that the medical examiner’s office is understaffed, and the only potential candidate has a malodourous medical condition.  How will it all turn out?  You will have to read Dead Calm to find out!

Dead Calm reminds me of the Energizer bunny—the story just keeps going and going at a fast clip.   Dead Calm has three mysteries with varying levels of complexity.  There is one odd, one simple, and the final one is convoluted.  The main mystery can be solved before you are a quarter of the way through the story.  The Prince case is more complex, and it started in a previous book in this series.  It is a mystery that plays out since readers are not given all the facts necessary to solve it.  This case dominates the book, and we are vast amounts of information relating to it (information overload).  The odd case involving the deformed skeleton is interesting and provides some humorous moments (since people believe the skeleton belongs to an alien).  I felt that the author crammed too much into this one book.  Dead Calm is not a standalone book.  While many details about the characters and cases from previous books is included (goes on for many pages), new readers will be lost.  The characters are realistic and well-developed.  The ending was anticlimactic regarding the Prince case, but the solution was clever.  The crimes are counterbalanced with humor that will have many people laughing hilariously.  There are a couple of items in the book that I could have done without.  One of them being Matthew, Mattie’s young son, peeing on her leg.  While I am sure most people will find it humorous and realistic, I did not feel it needed to be included (makes me glad I had a daughter). There is some repetition of information in Dead Calm.  It makes me wonder if authors think readers forget the facts as we progress through the book. I am giving Dead Calm 4 out of 5 stars.  There is a preview of Last Call (the next book in A Mack’s Bar Mystery series) at the end (both series written by same author).

I appreciate you reading my latest book review.  Tomorrow I will share my thoughts on Dipped to Death by Kelly Lane.  I hope that you have a delightful day.  Make sure you carve out time for yourself.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Clues in the Sand: A Seaside Cove Bed and Breakfast Mystery

Welcome!  Plain Confession by Emma Miller along with The Bengal Identity by Eileen Watkins and A Mother's Gift by Charlotte Hubbard will be out on March 27.  I am featuring Terry Ambrose today.  Readers can follow him on Amazon, Facebook, and Bookbub.

Clues in the Sand by Terry Ambrose is the second A Seaside Cove Bed and Breakfast Mystery.  Rick Atwood owns the Seaside Cove Bed and Breakfast which he runs with the assistance of his ten-year-old daughter, Alex and Marquetta Weiss, who cooks delectable delights for the guests.  A body has been found on the beach clutching a pottery shard.  Could the piece of pottery belong to the sunken treasure ship that treasure hunters are trying to locate?  Flynn O’Connor is an archaeologist who has been looking for the San Manuel, and she is at the top of the police’s suspect list.  The San Manuel is a Manila galleon that sunk off the coast in the sixteenth century and has brought a flood of tourists to Seaside Cove.  Flynn, though, is not the only person trying to locate the lost ship.  Deputy Adam Cunningham could use Rick’s assistance on the case, but Mayor Carter is adamant that the deputy not use Rick’s services.  Rick believes there is something fishy going on, but he is trying to not get involved.  Alex enjoyed solving the last case with her father and wants him to get investigate the murder to prove Flynn’s innocence (and so she can get involved too). Rick just wants to keep his daughter safe, but the fates are working against him.  The mayor goes one step too far and Rick dives into murder investigation.  Who killed the woman on the beach?  Does the murder have anything to do with the sunken ship?  Join in the fun with Rick and Alex in Clues in the Sand.

I was drawn into Clues in the Sand right away.  Terry Ambrose has a lovely writing style.  It has an ease to it.  The story has good pacing as well.  There are some great characters in this book.  Alex is adorable.  I love her inquisitive nature, intelligence and her adventures spirit.  Marquetta Weiss provides a counterbalance to the story.  She is the calming influence as well as romantic interest for Rick and mother figure for Alex.  I appreciate that the author is not rushing the romance between Rick and Marquetta.  There are some great cozy moments in the book.  I especially enjoy Alex’s interactions with Marquetta.  The mystery is intriguing (who doesn’t love a sunken ship with the possibility of treasure).  There are some good clues to aid readers in identifying the guilty party and just the right number of suspects.  While Clues in the Sand is the second book in the series, it can be read without having picked up A Treasure to Die For.  My rating for Clues in the Sand is 4 out of 5 stars.  A Seaside Cove Bed and Breakfast Mystery series reminds me of the cozy mystery series I get (and love) from Annie’s Attic Fiction and Guideposts.  Clues in the Sand has the right combination of characters, setting, writing and plot that make for a charming cozy mystery.  Clues in the Sand is available through Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you for stopping by today.  I will be sharing my review of Dead Calm by Annelise Ryan tomorrow.  May you have a drama free day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Southern Discomfort: A Southern B&B Mystery

Good Day!  A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot is a historical romance novel and will be published on March 20.  The Summer of New Beginnings by Bette Lee Crosby will be out on March 27.  

Southern Discomfort by Caroline Fardig is the debut novel in A Southern B&B Mystery.  Quinn Bellandini with the assistance of her grandfather and sister run the Bellandini Bed and Breakfast in Savannah, Georgia.  Quinn whips up delectable delights for the guests as well as helping with the cleaning chores.  One night Quinn stops by Green, the restaurant co-owned by Drew and Jason Green, to speak with Drew.  The back door is open, and Jason is on the floor with knife stabbed into his chest.  After falling in the blood and contaminating the crime scene, Quinn manages to call 911.  Detectives Flynn and King are assigned the case.  Detective Flynn is accusatory and believes Quinn aided Drew in bumping off his brother.  Drew is arrested, and the police quit investigating the crime.  Quinn knows Drew is innocent and sets out to pursue the truth with the aid of her sister, Delilah.  Who disliked the unpleasant Jason Green enough to slay him in his own restaurant?  That is just what Quinn intends to find out in Southern Discomfort.

Southern Discomfort is a new series for Caroline Fardig who is the author of A Java Jive Mysteries.  I was never able to get drawn into the story.  I felt the author failed to properly set the stage for her readers with the setting or with the characters.  We are given few details on the main characters or the B&B.  We are given lovely descriptions of Savannah (I would love to visit).  The main problem was Quinn.  I kept hoping she would grow on me, but she did not (I did plot some good ways for the author to do her in).  She had a chip on her shoulder (regarding Tucker and incident that occurred in high school), judgmental, naïve at times, loses her temper frequently and easily, and wishy washy (she is a contradiction).  I found myself cringing at some of Quinn’s comments.  Sal, Quinn’s grandfather had a good attitude and his magic act sounded entertaining (also unique for a B&B).  Delilah seemed grounded and more realistic.  I enjoyed her interactions with Uncle Fred, the resident ghost (Sal’s as well).  I would have enjoyed Southern Discomfort more if Delilah had been the main character with Quinn as her sidekick.  There was a hint of a ghost in the story, but it was in the background.  I wanted more of Uncle Fred (the resident ghost).  He provided some good insight into the mystery.  Solving the crime is not one that can completely be solved because readers are not given all the details until right before the reveal.  Those people who read a significant amount of mysteries will have no problem predicting what will occur (two little nuggets of information give it away).  There was a lack of action in the book (there was Quinn asking questions and I wanted something more).  I felt too much time was devoted to Quinn thinking and speculating about the mystery and Tucker.  Let us not forget the cliché nasty detective (Detective Flynn). The reason for Quinn returning to the restaurant and discovering the body was slim and farfetched.   I think there should have been less focus on Tucker and the romance between him and Quinn.  As you can tell, I was not the right audience for Southern Discomfort (my mother, though, found it funny—as you can tell we have different reading tastes).  To see if Southern Discomfort is the right fit for you, download a sample from your favorite retailer (for e-book readers). My rating for Southern Discomfort is 3 stars.

If you like my book reviews, please consider following my blog (I just added the button to my page).  Tomorrow I will be sharing my review of Clues in the Sand by Terry Ambrose.  I hope you have a lovely day.  See you tomorrow and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Lethal in Old Lace: A Consignment Shop Mystery

Lethal in Old Lace by Duffy Brown is the fifth book in A Consignment Shop Mystery series.  Reagan Summerside is stunned and thrilled when Walker Boone proposes to her.  She barely gets to enjoy the moment when Aunt Kiki disrupts them.  Elsie and Annie Fritz Abbot are lacking mourners at Willie Fishbine’s wake (if you knew him, you would not mourn him either).  The Abbot sisters are professional mourners and need every cent of their income since they lost their savings in a get rich quick scheme.  The next day, Reagan and Aunt Kiki get a visit from Fishbine’s grandson.  He witnessed Aunt Kiki stealing a candy bar from his grandfather’s coffin.  He wants it replaced and for them to find out who killed Mr. Fishbine.  The death was ruled accidental, but the young man has a different theory.  Then BW (Reagan’s dog) finds a body partially buried in the Abbot sister’s vegetable garden.  Bonnie Sue and Willie Fishbine were both residents of Sleepy Pines Retirement Center.  Is someone killing off the residents?  With the Abbot sister’s the primary suspects in one of the crimes, it is up to Reagan and Aunt Kiki to get answers. 

A Consignment Shop Mystery series is best read in order.  I am happy that Regan and Boone are engaged.  I just hope Regan gets the wedding she desires (her mother has gone into overdrive).  The book contains good writing and a fast pace.  The characters are established (well developed), and I just love the setting of Savannah.  Duffy Brown provides beautiful descriptions of the area.  There are several characters with various quirky traits like Aunt Kiki.  Boone is a saint to put up with Regan and her family (he is a nice balance to Reagan).  Reagan and Aunt Kiki remind me of Lucy and Ethel in I Love Lucy (screwball comedy).  The mystery will lead readers on a merry chase.  I do wish there had been a little less action.  There needed to be some calm moments in between the frenetic ones.  Lethal in Old Lace was different from Iced Chiffon (first book in the series).  The author seemed to have ramped up the zany antics and quirk factor in Lethal in Old Lace.  My mother laughed continually while reading Lethal in Old Lace (she thought it was hilarious). I loved the reference to Gilmore Girls in the book (my favorite show).  There are various martini recipes included.  Lethal in Old Lace is an entertaining cozy mystery that will have readers in stitches and perplexed over the killers’ identity. My mother read the series last week, and chuckles could be heard emanating from her bedroom.
Thank you for visiting today.  I will be reviewing Southern Discomfort by Caroline Fardig tomorrow.  I hope you will stop by.   Please consider following my blog.  Just click the follow button (upper right).  May you have a splendid day.  Take care of yourself and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Instead of drinking on St. Patrick's Day, pick up a good book!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Six Feet Under: A Kenni Lowry Mystery

Happy Monday!  The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton will be out tomorrow.  It is a new paranormal novel.   Leslye Walton is the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava LavenderFixin' to Die by Tonya Kappes is the first book in A Kenni Lowry Mystery series and is currently $.99 on Amazon (ends Thursday).

Six Feet Under by Tonya Kappes is the fourth A Kenni Lowry Mystery.  Kendrick “Kenni” Lowry is the sheriff in Cottonwood, Kentucky.  Kenni’s mother, Vivian is in a tizzy because the host of the Culinary Channel’s Southern Home Cookin’, Frank Von Lee is coming to town.  Frank, a chef and food critic known for his critical food appraisals, is going to pick between Viv’s pot pie or the barbecue joint in nearby Clay’s Ferry. Only one of them will be featured on the show. Viv has beautified herself for her meeting with Frank and has now roped Kenni into checking out the competition.  The day after her meet and greet with Frank, he is found dead in his hotel room with a partially eaten poisoned pot pie on his desk.   A poor review of the pot pie is on the desk as well which puts Vivian at the top of the suspect list.  Mayor Chance Ryland has his doubts about Kenni’s impartiality (with good reason) and removes her from the case.  Deputy Finn Vincent (and Kenni’s boyfriend) is put in charge of the murder investigation.  That does not stop Kenni and the ghost of her grandfather, Poppa from nosing around.  Kenni is determined to clear her mother’s name off the suspect list. 

Six Feet Under may be the fourth book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone.  Six Feet Under is a light-hearted, humorous cozy mystery with emphasis on small town dynamics (gossip, greasy and deep-fried food, nosy neighbors, secrets).  I found the book nicely written with a good pace.  The mystery is simple, and the killer easily identified.  There is some misdirection, but the suspect list is limited.  Vivian Lowry is an over-the-top, zany character who does not nutty antic after another (Botox, illegal handicap placard, dragging Kenni into her schemes, etc.).  If I was Kenni and lived in this town, I would have an out-of-town locksmith change all the locks in my home, install a high-end security system with lights and cameras just to keep the mother out of my home.  Kenni does not follow proper police procedures (I believe the only reason she is sheriff is because of her Poppa’s history) or the law in some cases.  She lets her mother run roughshod over her (I hope Kenni starts developing a backbone soon).  Readers who enjoy humorous Southern cozy mysteries, will enjoy reading Six Feet Under. The next book in A Kenni Lowry Mystery series is Dead as a Doornail which will be released on May 15.

Six Feet Under will be available on March 13.  Thank you for visiting today.  I will be featuring Lethal in Old Lace by Duffy Brown tomorrow.  I hope you have a day full of happiness and love.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
St. Patrick's Day will be here soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Cold Blooded Brew: A Killer Coffee Mystery

Welcome!  Shipyard Girls in Love by Nancy Revell will be available on March 22.  It is the third novel in The Shipyard Girls Series.  I cannot wait to read the latest installment in this historical series.

Cold Blooded Brew by Tonya Kappes is the fourth A Killer Coffee Mystery.  Roxanne “Roxy” Bloom owns the Bean Hive in Honey Springs, Kentucky.  Pam Horton is getting married to Truman Phillips and she is feeling overwhelmed courtesy of her best friend, Hillary Canter.  Hillary is bamboozling Pam into making changes to the wedding which is causing more work for event coordinator, Babette Cliff.  Pam, after a pep talk from Roxy, stands up to Hillary which causes her to lash out.  The next morning, Roxy arrives at work and finds a female in a white coat seated in front of the Bean Hive.  Roxy quickly discovers the woman is dead and not who she thought.  Sheriff Spencer Shepard is on the case, but the victim antagonized numerous people which leaves a plethora of suspects.  When Babette ends up at the top of the suspect list, she enlists Roxy’s help in clearing her name.  With the Bean Hive the central hub for gossip, you never know what key piece of information Roxy will overhear.   Can Roxy ferret out the killer?  Come back to Honey Springs for a cup of coffee, a delectable treat, gossip and a murder investigation in Cold Blooded Brew.

Cold Blooded Brew is best read after enjoying the other three novels in A Killer Coffee Mystery seriesTonya Kappes has a conversational writing style that draws the reader into the story.  Cold Blooded Brew has a steady pace and light Southern humor.  Honey Springs is a charming small Southern town with quirky characters who love to gossip.  There are actually two mysteries (subplot regarding mortgage loan company) in Cold Blooded Brew.  I like how the author tied them together.  There are plenty of suspects and good clues to aid readers in solving the case.  All the storylines are wrapped up in the end with a lovely feel-good ending.  Cold Blooded Brew is a light-hearted cozy mystery that will entertain readers with its multi-faceted mystery, romance and humor. Cold Blooded Brew is available on Kindle Unlimited.  The other books in A Killer Coffee Mystery series are Scene of the Grind, Mocha and Murder, and Freshly Ground Murder.

Thank you for taking time out today to visit.  I will return on Monday with my review of Six Feet Under by Tonya Kappes which will be published on March 13.  May you have a very special Sunday.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Who Moved My Goat Cheese?: A Farm-to-Fork Mystery

Who Moved My Goat Cheese? by Lynn Cahoon is the first story in A Farm-to-Fork Mystery series.  Angie Turner has moved to River Vista, Idaho to live on the farm she inherited from her grandmother (Nona).  She has partnered with her best friend, Felicia Williams to open The County Seat which has a farm-to-table concept.  It is only three weeks until they open, and the pair are still working to line up all their local vendors.  One of the vendors they would like to work with is Gerald Moss of Moss Farm who sells goat cheese.  The one caveat is the crusty Mr. Moss who only sells his products to people he likes.  Fortunately for Angie, Mr. Moss and his goat Precious take to Angie right off.  He talks to her about his farm, his cheese cave and a secret that he will enlighten her on in the future.  The next morning Angie is told that Mr. Moss is dead.  Angie soon discovers that not many people cared for Mr. Moss or are upset at his passing.  This distresses Angie especially since Mr. Moss knew her Nona, and it sets her on the path to solving his murder.  When Angie goes to investigate the scene of the crime, she comes across Precious and ends up with a new farm resident.  Angie fits in her sleuthing in between setting up the restaurant, taking care of Precious and Dom (her St. Bernard pup), purchasing supplies for the restaurant, and visits from her neighbor, Mrs. Potter.  Who disliked Mr. Moss enough to kill him?  Angie is determined to find out in Who Moved My Goat Cheese?

Who Moved My Goat Cheese? is a good start to A Farm-to-Fork Mystery series.  I liked the authors conversational writing style and the story had a steady pace.  It made reading Who Moved Goat Cheese? a pleasure.  The story has good characters, but I wished the author had given readers more of Angie’s backstory.  I hope we learn more about Angie and Felicia in the next story.  I loved Dom, Angie’s St. Bernard puppy.  He reminds me of my dog, Doozy (his name tells you about his character).  Dom was a delightful addition to the story as was Precious, the goat. Both were quirky, entertaining and added levity to the story.  I like the theme of farm-to-table and it was nicely incorporated into the mystery.   The mystery had several suspects and there was good misdirection.  I was able to identify the killer early in the story, but it took longer to find out why this person killed Mr. Moss.  The mystery had some intriguing elements (I would say more but I do not want to spoil it for you).  I would like to have a little more action in the next book in the series.  The life lesson about not being able to change the past and not to dwell on it is a good addition to the book.  It is one many people struggle with daily (myself included).  I am giving Who Moved My Goat Cheese? 4 out of 5 stars.  I will be reading Killer Green Tomatoes when it comes out.   Who Moved My Goat Cheese? is a feel-good cozy mystery that readers of Lynn Cahoon and cozy mysteries will enjoy.

I appreciate you reading my review.  I will be sharing my thoughts on Cold Blooded Brew by Tonya Kappes tomorrow.  I hope you have a relaxing day that is filled with lovely books to read.  Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, March 9, 2018

Hummus and Homicide: A Kebab Kitchen Mystery

Welcome!  Clues in the Sand by Terry Ambrose is the second novel in A Seaside Cove Bed and Breakfast Mystery series.  It is a charming cozy mystery and will be published on March 15.  Plain as Day by Laura Bradford is An Amish Mystery short story that will be available to readers on March 13.

Hummus and Homicide by Tina Kashian is the first story in A Kebab Kitchen Mystery series.  Lucy Berberian is returning home to Ocean Crest, New Jersey after quitting her job as a patent attorney in Philadelphia.  Lucy’s parents own Kebab Kitchen and can certainly use her help in the restaurant since they are down a waitress. Lucy is happy to reconnect with her friend Katie Watson.  Lucy is staying with Katie and her police officer husband, Bill while she is in town.  Lucy is surprised to learn that her parents are contemplating selling the restaurant.  They already have three potential buyers that include Lucy’s former boyfriend, Azad Zakarian.  The one thing marring Lucy’s enjoyment at being home is Heather Banks.  Heather was the mean cheerleader girl in high school, and now she is the new health inspector.  She quickly learns that Heather has not changed one iota since high school.  Heather comes to do an inspection of the premises before the restaurant can be listed for sale and, despite the cleanliness of the facility, she lists nitpicky (and bogus) violations.  The next day Heather returns to eat from the new hummus bar (which she criticized the day before).  After Heather departs, Lucy takes the trash outside and finds Heather dead in the back-parking lot.  Detective Clemmons is assigned the case, but he holds a grudge against the Berberian family (thanks to Lucy’s sister).  Raffi, Lucy’s father, wants her to investigate Heather’s death and find the culprit before their business is ruined.  Lucy, with help from Katie, retraces Heather’s steps the day she was killed and delves into Heather’s life looking for suspects.  Who disliked Heather enough to murder her?  The bike shop owner, a restaurateur, the mob boss, the suspense author who was dating Heather, or the loan shark?  Join Lucy in her investigation in Hummus and Homicide.

Hummus and Homicide is nicely written and has a steady pace.  I like that the author sets the stage for the series by giving us Lucy’s background and introducing us to her family and friends.  The mystery was interesting, but the killer can easily be discerned early in the book (one detail is the key).  There are some interesting suspects that Lucy questions.  I just wish that there had been more action.  If Lucy is going to continue to be a sleuth, she needs to work on her questioning technique.  Her queries sounded more like accusations.  Lucy also has a temper (triggers easily) and loose lips.  You can tell that Tina Kashian (aka Tina Gabrielle) has written romance novels.  We have Lucy’s ogling her romantic interests.  She admires the attractive and handsome Azad (many times) and appreciates Michael Citteroni’s physique.  The family kept pushing Lucy and Azad together trying to rekindle their romance.  I prefer romances that progress slowly over the course of a series and for it not to overshadow the mystery element.  As usual, there was repetitive information (Cooking Kurt’s show was mentioned five times for example).  Hummus and Homicide was a typical cozy mystery where the main character returns home, someone dies, she investigates and solves the crime, there are love interests, potential sidekick, the amateur detective is inept in her questioning, and the main character realizes she likes being home and is going to stay.   There are some nice cozy moments in the book.  You can tell that Lucy’s family loves her and the mother is especially happy that her daughter has returned to Ocean Crest.  My rating for Hummus and Homicide is 3 out of 5 stars.  I will check out Stabbed in the Baklava when it releases in August.  Hummus and Homicide is just the first book in the series, and I hope Tina Kashian ups her game in the next book in A Kebab Kitchen Mystery series.  There are recipes (hummus) at the end of Hummus and Homicide

I appreciate you visiting today.  I am off to make a special birthday dinner for my daughter, Betsy.  She turned the big 30 today.  I will return tomorrow with my review of Who Moved My Goat Cheese? by Lynn Cahoon.  I hope one of your wishes comes true today.  Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, March 8, 2018

His Risk: The Amish of Hart County

His Risk by Shelley Shepard Gray is the fourth novel in The Amish of Hart County series.  Calvin Fisher left Horse Cave, Kentucky when he was fourteen years old and has done many questionable acts.  Calvin is now an undercover informant for the DEA.  He gives them intel on the Kings, a gang who commits illegal acts.  Calvin has worked his way up the ranks to get close to West Powers, the president of the organization.  Calvin receives a phone call from his sister-in-law, Waneta Fisher.  Mark, his brother, has renal cell carcinoma in his right kidney and will be undergoing surgery.  Calvin needs to return home to Hose Cave to be there for his brother.  But Calvin needs to ensure that trouble does not follow him home.  Alice, an Amish preschool teacher, is housesitting for her brother, Ed while he and his wife are vacationing in Pinecraft.  She is on the front porch when Calvin arrives.  The pair are drawn to each other, but Calvin does not feel he is good enough for Alice.  Alice knows she should avoid Calvin since he is Englisch and has had a troublesome history.  As they spend time together, their feelings grow.  One night, Alice is walking home, when a car goes by her slowly several times.  The next morning, the car is found abandoned and on fire.  Then the preschool is broken into and many of the items inside destroyed.  Calvin fears that the incidents are related to him and his connection with the Kings.  Alice begins to wonder how well she really knows Calvin.  Who is behind the incidents?  Can Calvin keep Alice safe?  Come along to Hart County and get to know Alice and Calvin in His Risk.

His Risk is a compelling romantic suspense novel that is well-written with interesting characters.  I like the authors writing style.  The story has a steady pace and smooth transitions.  His Risk is told from Calvin, Alice, Irene and West’s perspective.  I like being able to discover how each character was feeling and thinking.  Her characters are realistic with their doubts, struggles, and flaws.  Alice was a strong, smart spunky woman with an inquisitive nature.  Calvin has a danger and mystery about him which attracts Alice.  While His Risk is the fourth book in the series, it can be read alone.  Do not be surprised, though, that after reading His Risk you want to pick up the other three novels in the seriesHis Risk is a story about forgiveness.  Forgiving of others and oneself.  Other Christian elements include trusting God, power of prayer, having strong faith and following God’s path for your life.  There is an issue of a parent abusing a small child in the book.  I was glad to see Irene stand up to the bully, but I was puzzled by Alice’s handling of the situation. I hope we get to find out more about Irene in future books in the series. I enjoyed watching the characters grow in character and faith as they faced adversity.  The four characters learn valuable lessons along the way.  His Risk is an emotional novel with danger, mystery and romance.  The first three novels in The Amish of Hart County are Her Secret, His Guilt and The Gift.

Enter to win a copy of His Risk. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced March 28 on the Litfuse blog!

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Her Fear will be the fifth book in The Amish of Hart County and it will be published on July 24.  Thank you for reading my review.  Next time I will be featuring Hummus and Homicide by Tina Kashian.  Have a beautiful day and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader