The Secret Place by Tana French

As much as I truly enjoyed Tana French's previous entry in this series (Broken Harbor)  which made me want to like this one as much, it just wasn't possible.
This story centered around a near Cold Case of the murder of a teenage boy at a girl's boarding school.  The characters of the girls in attendance lack dimension and made it very difficult to plow through the story.  The pace was too slow in spots which made me as the reader want to say "Get on with it"  and the high school girls just were too over the top caricatures of what I suppose boarding school girls are believed to be.  Sadly disappointed.


Flowers and Foul Play by Amanda Flower

Fiona Knox feels like the world is crashing in on her - her flower shop has been closed, her wedding is off (her fiancé ran off with the wedding cake baker) so running away seems like a good idea.  Having been notified earlier that she has inherited her godfather's cottage in Scotland, she flies away from her troubles - or is it to more trouble?  As soon as she arrives she and the caretaker discover the body of her godfather's lawyer in the magical garden. But where is the magic?  Everything in the garden seems dead along with the lawyer. In the small village, everyone seems to have a reason to kill the lawyer, but who?  Fiona works to find out while trying to blend into the village life.

Loved it!  The  descriptions of the area and the garden were breathtaking.  The characters were fun, leaving room for growth while still have a good amount of depth.


Southern Discomfort by Caroline Fardig

Quinn Bellandini has opted to help her grandfather by working with her sister Delilah running the family B&B in Savannah.  She also has been told by Delilah and her grandfather that her deceased Uncle Frank is there to lend aid as well. So when she discovers the body of the brother of her friend Drew, she feels that she needs to prove his innocence (clearing her name as well - the police seem to think they were in it together). 

The characters of Quinn and her family were fun and I look forward to more of her adventures, but some of the other characters need some additional dimension.   The story was fun!


In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

This book to me was absolutely fascinating!  Rarely will a work of fiction surrounding actual events urge me to seek additional information of the reality depicted, but before I was halfway through, I had to search out more information about the plane crashes in Elizabeth, NJ.

The writing was superb and the imaginings of the characters, whether based on real life individuals or characters of the author's imagination, I was engrossed by their feelings and reactions to the events.

This book was selected for my book club and we all enjoyed it.


Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Amy and Dan Cahill have been battling time in trying to find the clues to the power which could rule the world - wanting to keep it away from the "evil" branches of the family.  The final clue is located in England and is related to William Shakespeare.

The journey that these two have taken through this and the previous books and shown how they have grown and matured as well as when to trust and when not to.

A series that I will definitely suggest for my grandchildren.


Murder at the Mushroom Festival by Janet Finsilver

Kelly Jackson, manager at the Redwood Cove B&B, decided that she needs to find out more about the region so she signs up for a few of the events related to the Mushroom Festival.  When the body of a local reporter is found murdered in an area where she was with a friend, Kelly knows that she needs to find out what happened. This story revolves around valuable regional resources, greedy, and jealousy.    I love how the characters are growing with the stories.


Broken Harbor by Tana French

This book was profound in so many ways that I'm sure that I will be able to do it justice.  First the crime to be investigated is the murder and attempted murder of a family - father and 2 small children are dead and the mother is in serious condition.  The location is a development that was many years before a vacation area that Mick Kennedy, the homicide detective, and his family used to frequent until his own mother disappeared (committed suicide?).  So the parallels of a broken families run through out.

The writing and mystery is extremely skillful in carrying the reader through not just the victims impacted but also keeping Kennedy's feeling woven through as well.  I will admit that at times it is difficult to follow the trail that is blazed, but it was definitely worth the journey.


Lethal Licorice by Amanda Flower

Bailey King has given up her dreams of being a top chocolatier in New York and returned to the Amish country in Harvest, OH to help her grandmother in their candy business and in particular in this book make the candies the Amish way for the Amish Confectionery Competition. One of the other Amish entrants is not happy that Bailey is their since technically she is not Amish, but Bailey is allowed to continued since she is representing her grandmother's shop.  The other entrant is found dead, however, from an allergic reaction to licorice (the main ingredient for one of the candies being made in the competition).  Since Bailey and the victim were seen arguing and she was one of the people who found the body, Bailey feels compelled to investigate to clear her name.

This was a fun mystery with numerous twists and turns but also great characters and yummy sounding candy!

Can't wait for another trip to the Amish country!


Raspberry Danish Murder by Joanne Fluke

The latest Hannah Swensen mystery has Hannah confused and hurt by the sudden disappearance of her new husband Ross Barton.  Trying to keep up appearances, she works diligently at the Cookie Jar devising new recipes helping others stock up for the coming holidays.  When her husband's assistant borrows Ross' car and then dies in a car crash (later it was determined that he was poisoned by candy found on Ross' desk) Hannah wonders if Ross was the actual intended victim and sets out to find out how it happened.  What she finds are more mysteries!

I've been a faithfully follower of Hannah from the beginning but it seems a bit odd that we have a new love interest, a fast wedding and then the groom disappears.  Did the author regret not having Hannah chose Mike or Norman?

A typical Hannah mystery - enjoyable and a titillation for our taste buds!


The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch

I read the Beautiful Blue Death which was the first in this series so when I saw this Prequel offered on NetGalley and asked for it and was fortunate enough to receive it for review.

 This book chronicles the first case of Charles Lenox and also highlights his personal misgivings about going against his family wishes and starting his career as a private investigator.   What I found fascinating was how Charles and his valet would peruse the daily newspapers to find a crime that they would decide needed investigating and then present themselves for that task.

The book was well-written with clues planted strategically for the reader but not making it easy to solve.
The characters were believable and the setting attention grabbing.