4/16/14

Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon



★★★¾

GENRE: Cozy Mystery
SUBJECT: inheritance, municipal harrassment, hidden treasure
Setting: South Cove, CA
CHARACTERS: Jill Gardner, Miss Emily, Amy Newman, Greg King, Bambi, Sabrina Jones, George Jones
DATE READ: April 13 - April 15
NO. OF PAGES: 209
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI 
SOURCE: NetGalley for review

PLOT:....................................................................4.50
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................4.00
TOPICS: ...............................................................3.50
STYLE:..................................................................4.00
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................3.00
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................3.50
OWNERSHIP:......................................................4.00
Threshold Quality.................................................3.50
Average..............................................................................................3.75

Jill Gardner left her legal job 5 years ago and moved to South Cove, CA to open a cozy store that sells coffee and books.  One of her first friends was cranky old lady, Miss Emily.  When Miss Emily runs into problems with the city Council, she turns to Jill for help.  Miss Emily turns up dead one day and all her problems are literally left to Jill -  stocks, house, and threats.

The council has given her 30 days to bring Miss Emily's house up to code so while working inside and out on the repairs, Jill is fighting off the dangers related to Miss Emily's murder and the efforts of the Mayor and his friends to force the sale of the old house that Miss Emily left to Jill.

I loved the story line as well as the characters that had me rooting for their safety.  A touch of romance was thrown in for good measure.  Hope the next installment gets here soon!

4/14/14

Deadly Endplay by Ken Allan



 ★★★

GENRE: Mystery
SUBJECT: Duplicate Bridge,  jealousy
Setting:
CHARACTERS: Fran Stinson, Kit McCrea, Dan Cogan, Corey Loucks, Clayton Carmichael
DATE READ: April 10 - April 13
NO. OF PAGES: 224
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI 
SOURCE: NetGalley for review

PLOT:....................................................................2.50
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................3.00
TOPICS: ...............................................................3.25
STYLE:..................................................................3.00
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................3.00
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................3.00
OWNERSHIP:......................................................3.00
Threshold Quality.................................................3.25
Average..............................................................................................3.00

I love to play bridge, almost as much as reading so when I saw this book that centered around a small town's duplicate bridge group, I thought it would be great!  Unfortunately, though the bridge portions were great and very informative, the mystery was very lack luster and barely even there.  A non-bridge player would have ditched the book, but since I love bridge, I persevered.  Hopefully, the next one will be better.

4/11/14

Murder at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison



★★★★

GENRE: Mystery
SUBJECT: inheritance, social stigmas
Setting: Devon, England
CHARACTERS: Katherine Stanford, Iris Stanford, Lady Edith Honeychurch, Rupert Honeychurch
DATE READ: April 6 - April 10
NO. OF PAGES: 304
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI 
SOURCE: NetGalley for review

PLOT:....................................................................4.00
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................4.50
TOPICS: ...............................................................3.50
STYLE:..................................................................4.00
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................3.50
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................4.00
OWNERSHIP:......................................................4.50
Threshold Quality.................................................4.00
Average..............................................................................................4.00

Kat Stanford has abandoned her position as host of an antique show to start her own business expecting her widowed mother to join her. To her surprise, Kat is contacted my her mother Iris and told to meet her in Honeychurch Hall in Devon. Kat is not thrilled by the surprises that greet her when she finds her mother in a dilapidated Carriage House fighting off a local who wants the land for an amusement park. When murder is added to all the unknown factors, Kat needs to investigate not only for her own safety but her mother's freedom.

Absolutely loved the characters, their quirkiness as well as the setting and plot!

4/6/14

Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal



★★★½

GENRE: Mystery
SUBJECT: Biological warfare development
Setting: Scotland
CHARACTERS: Maggie Hope, Clara Hess, Sarah Sanderson, John Stirling, Winston Churchill
DATE READ: March 31 - April 5
NO. OF PAGES: 320
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI 
SOURCE: NetGalley for review

PLOT:....................................................................3.00
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................4.00
TOPICS: ...............................................................3.00
STYLE:..................................................................4.00
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................3.00
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................3.50
OWNERSHIP:......................................................3.50
Threshold Quality.................................................4.00
Average..............................................................................................3.50

Maggie Hope has returned home from her undercover assignment in Berlin, injured both physically and emotionally. Assigned as an instructor at a spy training site in Scotland, her spirit remains scarred as her body recovers.  Entangled in a new network of secrets, Maggie must put aside her own feelings to discover what is threatening the life of her friend and other civilians while the war rages and the global threats increase.

I thought that the plot on this mystery was a bit thinner than any of the previous but possibly that was in preparation for Maggie's next adventure.  Moving forward historically, there may have been lulls that needed to be handled to get the characters to the next phase of the adventures.

Seeing Maggie battle her inner demons was enough to carry the story.  Waiting for the next one!

3/30/14

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd



 ★★★¾

GENRE: Fantasy YA
SUBJECT: shyness, insecurity, magic
Setting: Midnight Gulch, TN
CHARACTERS: Felicity Pickle, Frannie Jo Pickle, Holly Harness Pickle, Boone Harness, Cleopatra Harness, Jonah Pickett, Threadbare Brothers, Iasbelle Thistle, Oliver Weatherly
DATE READ: March 27 - March 30
NO. OF PAGES: 311
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI 
SOURCE: Publisher for Review

PLOT:....................................................................4.00
CHARACTERIZATION:.......................................3.50
TOPICS: ...............................................................4.00
STYLE:..................................................................4.00
ORIGINALITY:.......................................................4.00
ADDICTIVENESS:..............................................3.50
OWNERSHIP:......................................................4.00
Threshold Quality.................................................4.50
Average..............................................................................................3.81

This is an entertaining story of a young girl who finally thinks that she has found home - a place with family and a friend but also magical. Felicity Pickle arrives in Midnight Gulch with her little sister and her mother. Felicity is a word gatherer - she sees words everywhere but she is so shy is unable to articulate them.  

Felicity feels a connection with Midnight Gulch and sets out to find out why her mother is a wanderer and works to free her from the family curse.

I really enjoyed the story - each character has their own kind of magic and the solution to the curse is simply magical!