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: March of Crime by Jess Lourey

I really really love this series of mystery novels set in small town Minnesota. I’ve waited patiently (and by patiently I mean stalking NetGalley and Amazon and the author’s website) for each new release. And I’ve enjoyed every delicious moment of librarian sleuthing, senior citizen joking, boyfriend avoiding, festival attending, and the good guys overall trying to keep out of trouble while helping find the bad guys. 

But this one failed me. Lourey wrote this installment just a little too much on the other side of lewd and bawdy. I’ve gotten to know the main character over the years, and she wouldn’t forget underwear, much less deliberately go without it. I didn’t like the contrived sensuousness at all. 

The mystery was a little macabre for me as well. I just want to go back to the earlier books and enjoy a decent cozy mystery without wincing and scrinching my nose. 

Maybe my tastes are tame compared to yours. Maybe you like when things get a little crazy and you were disappointed with earlier books, waiting for more crazy to happen. If so, read March of Crime, and you’ve got your wish. 

-calliope

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Review: The Lives of Desperate Girls by MacKenzie Common

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Two girls.  About the same age.  Both missing.  And then one is found dead.

Nobody seems to pay that much attention to Helen’s death, except those people hoping it may somehow be related to Chloe’s disappearance.  Because, after all, Chloe’s the important one.  Helen’s just a poor girl from the reservation.  Chloe’s rich, white, and popular.  So of course people are going to be more concerned about her.  At least that’s the way Jenny sees it.  And it bothers her.

It bothers her so much that she begins to dig deeper, hoping to uncover the truth about what happened to Helen.  At the same time, she has to face the truth about what happened to Chloe and the part she played in it.

This was a good, solid story for me.  The suspense is there, but it also has a very humanistic approach.  The author delves deeply into societal divides, across races and classes and even high school cliques.  A good read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Lives of Desperate Girls

Review: This is Not the End by Chandler Baker

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What if, instead of dead actually being forever, there was a possibility of bringing your loved ones back to life?  Instead of losing those closest to you forever, you had the power to undo their death?  That’s exactly the premise in this chillingly semi-futuristic story.

In one instant, Lake’s world is shattered.  A tragic car accident takes the lives of both her best friend and her boyfriend.  Miraculously she survives.  But she’s left with an unimaginable dilemma.  You see,  technology has given people the ability to be resurrected.  Not just randomly and at will, mind you.  Instead, every person receives one resurrection on their eighteenth birthday to be used on whoever they choose.  That’s one resurrection, though.  And Lake can’t imagine making that choice.

To make matters even more difficult, her resurrection choice has already been promised to her older brother who was tragically paralyzed years earlier.  She’s not even close to her brother anymore, so she surely can’t imagine wasting this precious gift on him. Especially when the love of her life and her best friend have died.

Things aren’t always what they seem, of course.  As Lake struggles to come to terms with the accident, while also recovering from her own injuries, she discoveries that nobody is who they seem to be.  And then, of course, there’s a new guy to complicate matters.

This story is a lot of things.  It’s science fiction, for now at least.  It’s a romance.  It’s a teen drama.  And it’s a mystery with one heck of a twist at the end that I sure didn’t see coming.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  This is Not the End

 

Review: All the Ways the World Can End by Abby Sher

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Funny.  Sad.  Relatable.  Unbelievable.  This book covers all this and more.  And then it goes back and repeats.

Lenny has a lot going on in her life.  A LOT.  Her dad is dying from cancer, mom is a busy attorney who uses her job to escape that harsh reality, and sister Emma is away at college. That leaves Lenny to deal with the day to day stuff.  Still, she’s in denial about how sick her dad actually is.  She copes by keeping a list of all the different ways there are for the world to end.  Oh and her crush on one of her dad’s doctors.

I went back and forth on how much I enjoyed this book, alternating between liking it very much and just liking it.  It’s good, heartbreakingly so at times.  But there are some underlying issues I didn’t feel good about.  Lenny’s behavior at times borders on mentally unstable.  Understandable with all she’s dealing with but still.  And her obsession with the doctor is over the top. Nevertheless it’s a good read, a realistic picture of life and dealing with death.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  All the Ways the World Can End

Review: I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

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Even though I usually run true to form with my book choices, every now and then I surprise myself by going outside my norm.  This is one of those times.

Maddy had it all together.  A stay at home mom, she seemed to thrive on taking care of her husband, her daughter, her house…all her pride and joy.  But then why would she take her own life?  Were things really as good as everyone believed?  This is what her family is left to ponder as they try to come to terms with her death.

Maddy, however, has another job on her hands.  She’s gone but not really, stuck somewhere between here and there.  Before she moves on for good, she’s determined to make sure her family will be okay without her.  Whether that means mending fences between her husband and daughter or doing some matchmaking from beyond, she has her hands busy.

This was a good story, much different from what I’d normally pick.  Sappy and sweet in some places, sad and melodramatic in others, with a few surprises along the way.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  I Liked My Life

Review: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

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A couple of years ago, I discovered the magical world of ARCs.  Oh the joy in receiving a book before the “rest of the world”, being able to dive into it before anyone else can get their hands on it.  But the best part of reading advanced copies for me is finding new authors with outstanding debut novels.  Such is the case with this one.

Hawthorn has never been one to follow along with  everyone’s idea of normal. She doesn’t fit into any group at school, has one good friend, a hippie for a mom, and an active imagination.  So when Lizzie Lovett mysteriously disappears, Hawthorn takes it upon herself to find out just what happened to the town’s golden girl.

But she takes things a bit too far, as with most things she does.  Working in the diner where Lizzie was employed, visiting the woods where she was last seen, getting friendly with Lizzie’s boyfriend…all in the name of solving a missing person’s case.   And of course, she gets more than she bargained for.

This is an interesting book to review.  I’m not quite sure what it is.  A mystery, sure, but not in the truest sense.  A story of teen angst and drama, possibly.  But aren’t all teens full of angst and drama?  A romance…maybe a tad.  In any case, it’s good.  Hawthorn is funny, and she’s admirable as a leading teen character.  And the ending is satisfying with every question being answered.  A good story!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett