Murder Over Mochas by Caroline Fardig

Solid, cute, cozy mystery with a dead guy, an amateur sleuth, an ex-fiancé, an ex-boyfriend, a potential boyfriend, and a couple of cops. Oh – and a coffee shop! I’m going to admit, I often choose books based on their covers, and I chose this one for the coffee. #yesidid

The protagonist Juliet is likable and genuine. I liked that I could envision her expressions and feel her exasperation. The police officers and a few other secondary characters were a little bit one dimensional to me, but I didn’t mind, as I was busy trying to solve the mystery before they did. I liked Juliet’s best friend Pete, also. He’s a sturdy, reliable dude – and every cozy mystery needs a Pete.

Fardig did a nice job weaving a creative, fresh mystery with just enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. I was onto the perp before Juliet was, but it still took me a good while to do it, and I had fun from beginning to end.

-calliope

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Review: Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber 

Sometimes predictable is just the thing you need, especially when it’s painted with the brush of faith and hope. Macomber is an expert in helping her characters gain faith in humanity and hope for themselves – even when it seems impossible. 

Any Dream Will Do is the motto of Shay’s new friend — the one who will help Shay save herself from the pit of despair she needs to step out of. But Shay hasn’t believed in dreams in so long, that’s a tough order to fill. 

I enjoyed this quick read centered around redemption and loving others. I’m not sure the story was quite realistic – there were some hokey parts where I suspended my disbelief – but it certainly was hopeful. And although only a small part of the book focused on romance, Macomber wrote a lovely happily ever after. 

-calliope

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Review: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

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A friend…a very good one.  Someone who knows you better than you know yourself.  Someone you can turn to in your darkest hour, to help you pick up the pieces.  What can be better?  Leah considers herself lucky to have such a person in Emmy.  She’s been there for her through it all, even after all the time they were out of touch.

And now, Emmy is willing to give up everything and start over for Leah.  Everything begins to unravel, however, when a local girl turns up beaten and left for dead.  And then Emmy goes missing.  Exactly when did Leah see her last, anyway?  As Leah digs deeper and deeper, she realizes that maybe she didn’t really know Emmy that well after all.

This is the perfect follow-up to Miranda’s last novel, All the Missing Girls.  It has just the right mix of intrigue, mystery, whodunit-ness to keep you guessing.  And even if you put pieces of the story together before the halfway mark, as did I, the last 30% is sure to take you for a ride.  That alone is enough of a reason to grab this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Perfect Stranger

Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

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There are those books that, while good enough to keep you reading, aren’t necessarily in the “can’t put it down until I finish it” category.  And as voracious readers, we understand that.  Not every story can be a page turner of epic proportions.  That’s what I was thinking as I worked my way through the first half of this one.  But then, oh boy.

The loss of a child is unimaginable for most of us, thankfully.  So it’s impossible to truly understand how we might react.  Would you find the strength to go on?  Or would you curl up in a ball and simply wither away?  Jacob’s mother is faced with just this dilemma when his young life is tragically ended on a rainy street.  To make matters worse, the driver just keeps on going.  Justice is not served, she’s left without a child and a purpose, and a killer runs free.  So she leaves town, presumably hoping for a fresh start elsewhere.

The detectives on the case, however, can’t let it go.  Lead after lead is exhausted, and still they plow on, hoping for that big break.  And finally it comes.  But it’s not what they expected.  Actually, it’s not what anyone expected.  And this is where I’ll stop.

Told in differing viewpoints alternating between past and present, this story is unforgettable.  Seems like a simple detective novel at first, but ends up being so much more.  So much more that I did not move from my couch as I raced through the last half.  Get it, read it, and enjoy!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  I Let You Go

Review: The Scam by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

  
Criminal Nick Fox and FBI agent Kate O’Hare can’t be beat. They’ve got banter, brains, and brawn. In this installment of the Fox and O’Hare series, the duo saves lives, makes a date with the Hawaiian owner of the Shave Ice shack, travels around the world more than a few times, takes down bad guys with aplomb, and manages to scam one of the biggest scammers in the casino industry.  

I was ready for a fast-paced full-on adventure, and I certainly got one. Reading The Scam was like watching an action movie – in a good way. When the bad guys seemed to have the upper hand, I was on the edge of my seat. When Kate’s dad joined in the scam, I was grinning about the terrific father-daughter relationship. And when Nick whispered sweet nothings … Well, I laughed … and then it warmed my heart. 

The Scam isn’t realistic, but it’s fun, fast, and fabulous. 

-calliope

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Review: The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly

41GV+5TmsBL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Sometimes you just know. You pick up a book, look at the cover, read the blurb on the back. And you decide it sounds pretty good so you give it a chance. And then you start reading it. Within the first few pages, you know you’ve found something good. These little gems don’t come along very often, but this one by Mary Louise Kelly was just that kind of book for me.

Caroline Cashion has a happy, successful life. She makes her living as a college professor. She can’t believe how lucky she is to actually get paid for doing what she loves. Although single, she’s very satisfied with her life. She also enjoys a close relationship with her family, eating dinner with her parents several times a week. The only dark spot in her cheery little world is a nagging pain in her wrist. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, surely, as she spends her days hunched over her computer typing away. But a semi-routine doctor’s visit turns up something both ominous and puzzling. Caroline has been walking around with a bullet lodged at the base of her skull. Ominous because, well, it’s a bullet at the base of her skull. And puzzling because, well, she’s certain that she’s never been shot. As she seeks to find out the truth, she uncovers family secrets that have been buried for several decades. And she garners the attention of those who would rather those secrets not come to light.

This book was an incredible read for me. The plot is original and intriguing, and I couldn’t put it down. The author weaves a story full of twists and turns leaving the reader desperate to find out what’s going to happen next. The only thing that kept this from being a five star book for me was a twist towards the end that stretched the limits of character credibility for me. Still, an excellent story!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:The Bullet

Review – The Good Suicides by Antonio Hill.

18507507*Full disclosure – I received this book from http://www.bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review.*  

This is my first time reading anything by Antonio Hill – in fact, the thing the attracted me to the book was not the blurb, but indeed the title.  I like authors that tend to write outside of the proverbial box, and judging from the title, I thought why not give this one a try.   I am pleased to say that I’m glad that I trusted my instinct.

The blurb reads like a typical thriller.  Set in Barcelona, we have a group of work colleagues who go on a team bonding weekend and come back with a shared secret.  Suddenly, a few members of this group start to die in circumstances that resemble suicide.  Is it coincidence or are there elements of foul play?   Inspector Sadalgo must investigate before anyone else ends up dead.

Now, I’ve read many a book that has been translated into English and elements have definitely been lost due to translation issues.   The translator, Laura McGloughlin, has done a very good job; not once do you feel as though there is a break  or fragment in the prose.   For his part, Hill has created some very realistic and three dimensional characters, even if Inspector Sadalgo does sometimes fit the formula of a tired detective who sometimes goes rogue.

Readers of thrillers and crime fiction need not fear that they will guess the ending or the theory behind the conclusion; Hill expertly manages to divert the reader down many different paths, albeit very believable paths.   This isn’t an easy read in the sense that Hill does not let you off the hook with a simple crime-investigation-conclusion formula.  You do get this, but it is a rocky, and fun,  path along the way.

If you want to read a good crime story, then I really recommend this book.  It is a slow burner that will ultimately provide you with hours of satisfaction.

The Good Suicides: A Thriller

Until next time,

Pegasus.