Sunday, December 10, 2017

Christmas Ranch Rescue by Lynette Eason, Lauryn Eason

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Christmas Ranch Rescue
by Lynette Eason,
Lauryn Eason


ISBN-13: 9780373457472
Mass Market Paperback:
224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: Dec. 5, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
When his former crush is suspected of funneling drugs through her ranch, it's DEA agent Nathan Williams's job to find out if Becca Price is guilty. But after Becca is attacked, his top priority becomes protecting her. Convinced she's innocent, Nathan is determined to find the real culprit before the escalating threats become deadly. An ex's betrayal has left Nathan wary, and falling for the suspect he's secretly investigating is a no-win move, so he must keep an emotional distance. But with criminals preparing for a fatal showdown, can he find the truth in time to save Becca's life?


My Review:
Christmas Ranch Rescue is a romantic suspense novel. It's the fifth in a series, but you can understand this book without reading the previous ones. The suspense came from the bad guys periodically attacking the heroine. I liked that the hero supported and backed up Becca rather than trying to run things. He (briefly) struggled with his judgment about Becca's innocence as his last girlfriend totally deceived and betrayed him.

Becca acted much younger than the trained surgeon we're told she was. She was impulsive, didn't think through her actions, and was driven by her emotions. She was stubborn and didn't have a strong sense of self-preservation, though she didn't want anyone else to get hurt. While I liked that Becca was dealing with a back muscle injury due to a riding accident (thus forcing her to accept help), I found it improbable that she went through a car wreck and everything else with this injury never really impairing her ability to move or getting worse.

Having kept my horse at a boarding stable, I was immediately suspicious of a certain character's behavior and quickly figured out what was going on. Though ...we're never told why the bad guys ran their drug scheme in such a risky way. Since I found it so easy to figure things out, it seemed odd that the good guys felt like the case was so baffling. (Side note: horses don't automatically run from their opened stalls in a barn fire as horses aren't rational when frightened.) There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this suspenseful novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Death of Anton by Alan Melville

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Death of Anton
by Alan Melville


ISBN-13: 9781464208720
Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: Dec. 5, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Seven Bengal tigers are the star attraction of Carey's Circus. Their trainer is the fearless Anton, whose work demands absolute fitness and the steadiest of nerves. When Anton is found lying dead in the tigers' cage, it seems that he has lost control and been mauled by the tigers—but Detective-Inspector Minto of Scotland Yard is not convinced.

Minto's investigations lead him deep into the circus world of tents and caravans, clowns and acrobats, human and animal performers. No one is above suspicion. Carey, the circus-owner with a secret to hide; Dodo, the clown whose costume is scratched as if by a claw; and Lorimer, the trapeze artist jealous of his flirtatious wife—all come under Minto's scrutiny as the mystery deepens.

This amusing and light-hearted novel from the golden age of British crime writing has long been neglected.


My Review:
Death of Anton is a mystery set in England that was originally published in 1936. It's a clue-based puzzle mystery, and a humorous one at that. The reader knows more about what's going on than the detective, but he snooped around, asked questions, and thought things out until he solved the case. Since we learned several clues before he did, it wasn't difficult to figure out whodunit (and what was going on) before the detective.

Even if we'd been told whodunit from the beginning, I still would have read the whole story because I really enjoyed the humor. The main characters were interesting, and the detective had an entertaining view of life. For one thing, he found it ironic that his brother (a Catholic priest) and 7 tigers all knew whodunit but couldn't tell him, so he had to sort it out for himself.

There was no sex. There was a fair amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this entertaining mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate

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Somebody at the Door
by Raymond Postgate


ISBN-13: 9781464209123
Paperback
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: Dec. 5, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
In the winter of 1942, England lies cold and dark in the wartime blackout. One bleak evening, Councillor Grayling steps off the 6.12 from Euston, carrying £120 in cash, and oblivious to the fate that awaits him in the snow-covered suburbs.

Inspector Holly draws up a list of Grayling's fellow passengers: his distrusted employee Charles Evetts, the charming Hugh Rolandson, and an unknown refugee from Nazi Germany, among others. Inspector Holly will soon discover that each passenger harbours their own dark secrets, and that the councillor had more than one enemy among them.

First published in 1943, Raymond Postgate's wartime murder mystery combines rich characters and a fascinating depiction of life on the home front.


My Review:
Somebody at the Door is a mystery set in 1942 in England and was originally published in 1943. A man is murdered using mustard gas, and the police investigate his fellow train passengers. Instead of a typical investigation, we get a series of short stories showing the background of each suspect with events occurring from his point of view. One of these stories was quite exciting. Some were interesting and showed what England was like at the time (Home Guard duties, blackout, etc.). The Inspector also learned this background information, and it helped eliminate some suspects and provided motive and opportunity for others.

I did figure out whodunit from those stories and my guess was confirmed when the Inspector questioned a few people and turned up the final clues. Yet much of the information in the stories was filler--maybe interesting in a historical sense but having little to do with the mystery. Even the exciting sub-story could have been summarized in a paragraph as that person wasn't a strong suspect. Basically, this story may appeal more to fans of historical novels than of whodunit mysteries.

There were no sex scenes, though there was a description of a nude female's breasts. There was some bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this historical mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale

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Princess Academy:
The Forgotten Sisters
by Shannon Hale


ISBN-13: 978-1-61963-485-5
Hardcover: 323 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Released: March 3, 2015

Source: ARC review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
After a year at the king’s palace, Miri has learned all about being a proper princess. Instead of returning to her beloved Mount Eskel, Miri is ordered to journey to a distant swamp and start a princess academy for three sisters, cousins of the royal family. Unfortunately, Astrid, Felissa, and Sus are more interested in hunting and fishing than becoming princesses.

As Miri spends more time with the sisters, she realizes the king and queen’s interest in them hides a long-buried secret. She must unravel the mystery, protect the girls, complete her assignment, and finally make her way home.


My Review:
The Forgotten Sisters is a young adult fantasy novel. It's the third in a series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one. However, if you read this one before the others, much of the suspense of the first novel will be spoiled. The first novel is very worth reading, so I'd recommend reading these in order.

Miri is a determined and adaptable young lady who wants to go home but is ordered to first teach three girls how to be princesses. She makes a bargain: she'll do the teaching in return for ownership of the land her village uses, otherwise their land is about to be sold out from under them. No one realizes the challenge they set her. She (and the sisters) have to be clever and very adaptable to push past every challenge and make things right.

I like how the girls paid attention to what was going on, worked well together as a team, and used their skills in unique ways to solve problems. The characters were likable and reacted realistically to events. There was no bad language or sex. Overall, I'd highly recommend this fun novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Death in the Stacks by Jenn McKinlay

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Death in the Stacks
by Jenn McKinlay


ISBN-13: 9780399583759
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Lindsey Norris and her staff are gearing up for the Briar Creek Library's annual Dinner in the Stacks fund-raiser. The night of dinner and dancing is not only a booklover's dream--it's the library's biggest moneymaker of the year. But instead of raising funds, the new library board president is busy raising a stink and making the staff miserable.

Although Olive Boyle acts like a storybook villain, Lindsey is determined to work with her and make the event a success. But when Olive publicly threatens the library's newest hire, Paula, Lindsey cracks like an old book spine and throws Olive out of the library.

The night of the fund-raiser, Lindsey dreads another altercation with Olive--but instead finds Paula crouched over Olive's dead body. As the plot thickens, Lindsey must catch the real killer before the book closes on Paula's future


My Review:
Death in the Stacks is a cozy mystery. It's the eighth in a series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil the whodunits of the previous mysteries.

This was a clue-based mystery. Since so many people had secrets that they didn't want Olive to reveal, it was more an exercise of eliminating suspects through alibis than finding clues that pointed to a specific killer. Whodunit had occurred to me shortly before the big reveal, but the author spun things in a way that made me wonder if that person would end up being the killer. The suspense scene at the end was caused by Lindsey and her friends trying to save someone. Lindsey locking herself--unarmed--inside a house with a killer inside and help outside wasn't her most brilliant moment.

There were no sex scenes. There was some bad language. Overall, it was an enjoyable novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering

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Death at Thorburn Hall
by Julianna Deering


ISBN-13: 9780764218293
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing vacation, but he soon finds a mystery on his hands. Lord Rainsby, his host at Thorburn Hall, fears his business partner may be embezzling and asks Drew to quietly investigate. Before Drew can uncover anything, Rainsby is killed in a suspicious riding accident.

As Drew continues to dig, he suspects that the motive may relate to international events. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.


My Review:
Death at Thorburn Hall is a historical mystery set in 1935 in England. It's the sixth book in a series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this novel didn't spoil the previous mysteries.

The characters had depth and reacted realistically to events. The mystery was a clue-based puzzle with some complexity. I was pretty certain of whodunit by about 75% of the way in and and only became more convinced as the story finished. It took Drew a little longer to figure out whodunit, but I felt that the reasons he didn't see it sooner were reasonable.

The main characters were Christian, and Carrie struggled with trusting God with her future (and Nick's safety). There were no sex scenes or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Better Late Than Never by Jenn McKinlay

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Better Late Than Never
by Jenn McKinlay


ISBN-13: 9780451488640
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
When the Briar Creek Public Library holds its first overdue book amnesty day--no fines for late returns--the volume of incoming materials is more than Lindsey and her staff can handle. But one tardy tome catches her attention--a copy of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, twenty years past due. When Lindsey looks up the borrower, she's shocked to discover it was a murdered teacher named Candice Whitley, whose killer was never found. Candice checked out the novel on the day she was murdered. Now Lindsey wonders if it could provide a clue to the decades-old cold case. No one noticed who brought the book back in, but could it be Candice's killer? Lindsey is determined to catch the culprit one way or another, because justice for Candice Whitley is long overdue...


My Review:
Better Late Than Never is a cozy mystery. It's the seventh in a series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil the whodunits of the previous mysteries.

This was a clue-based mystery. Lindsey picked up on connections between the cold case and some current events, asked questions, and looked at old pictures of the people involved. Because of her ability to make connections, Lindsey asked a critical question that would narrow things down and figured out whodunit right before finding herself in danger from that person. The main characters were entertaining, quirky, nice people.

There were no sex scenes. There was occasional use of bad language. Overall, it was an enjoyable novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.