Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

I’ve absolutely loved everything Jennifer Hillier has written, so of course I was beyond thrilled to receive an advance copy of her newest one.

Fourteen years ago Geo did the unthinkable. And now that past has caught up with her. When her best friend Angela disappeared, most people assumed that she’d run away. But not Geo. Geo knew the truth. And when everyone else finds out about her crime, there’s no escaping the consequences. So she goes to prison, does her time, and tries to put her life back together when she’s released. When bodies start piling up again, though, the question must be asked. What’s the connection to Angela’s death? And how does it involve Geo?

This book is everything you’d want in a thriller. Great characters, gripping storyline, psychopathic suspense, twists and turns…it’s all there. So do yourself a favor and read it. And then read the author’s others if you haven’t already.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Jar of Hearts

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Review: The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall

I love stories like this. Historical, epic, tales of families and their pasts & presents. And of course, all families have secrets. Those secrets play a big role in this latest book from Susan Crandall.

Tallulah had a very unusual childhood. Growing up in a small town means being part of the gossip. And her family offered up much to gossip about. Her parents’ erratic, volatile relationship meant that she and her siblings were left to their own devices much of the time. It fell upon her shoulders to raise her younger siblings during the many times her mom was off saving the world.

So when Tallulah escapes and goes off to build her own life, she has little intention of ever returning. But she can’t stay away when her brother is accused of murder. And this family reunion of sorts will expose all kinds of secrets from her childhood.

Great story, wonderful characters, and beautifully written!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Myth of Perpetual Summer

Review: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is so darn good. I’ve enjoyed every single one of her books. From the very first pages until the last word she keeps you guessing. And this one is no exception.

Maggie has a happy life. Her handsome husband, Noah, is a successful doctor. She adores her stepson Caleb. Together the three of them are living the American dream. There’s just one piece missing for Maggie. She has a daughter, Anna, who she hasn’t seen since she was a baby. But now Anna is back in her life and everything seems perfect. Until it’s not so perfect anymore.

Things begin to quickly go wrong. However, it goes from bad to the absolute worst when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused of the crime. Did he or didn’t he? And what was going on with Anna in the weeks leading up to her death? These are the questions that Maggie is faced with as she tries to cope with the loss of Anna while at the same time Noah is on trial for his life.

Besides the fact that the author is simply brilliant, I loved the way this one was written. Noah’s story begins with the conclusion of his trial and works its way backwards. We hear Maggie’s story going forward from the time she’s reunited with Anna. The two collide in a dramatic finish when Noah’s fate is revealed. Grab this one and be ready for quite a ride!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: After Anna

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

Buy MURDER OVER MOCHAS

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

Buy MARCH OF CRIME

Review: Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

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Sandra Brown never disappoints me.  While not all of her stories have been five stars for me, they’re all highly worthy of a mention.  Her newest is no exception.

Kerra Bailey’s career as a TV journalist has never been better.  And to top it off, she’s managed to snag the interview that’s eluded all others.  Major Franklin Trapper has shunned all publicity for the last several years.  Now he’s agreed to meet with her, to tell his story as the reluctant hero of a horrific bombing many years ago.  And the shocker for the audience?  Young Kerra was one of the people the Major saved.

But somebody doesn’t want the story told.  Fear of the case being reopened, maybe?  Regardless, both the Major and Kerra find themselves with their lives on the line.  Kerry escapes relatively unscathed, the Major isn’t quite so lucky.  Joining forces with his estranged son plunges her deeper into the mystery of who’s to blame.  And of course, romance happens.  It wouldn’t be a Sandra Brown without steamy love scenes, after all.

This is what she does best, writing about murder and mystery and love.  Another winner from this author!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Seeing Red

 

Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

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Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks.  When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.

Most of us are familiar with that eerie little rhyme, maybe not being completely aware of the meaning.  Some of us even know the story behind it, knowing that it’s based on a true crime occurring in the late 1800s.  But have you ever wondered about the dynamics behind the family tragedy?

When Lizzie discovers first her father and then her stepmother brutally murdered, everyone immediately feels sympathy and concern for her.  To have witnessed the aftermath of such a gruesome scene surely must have been a shock.  As time goes on, however, events come to light casting doubt on her innocence.  And the family itself surely wasn’t a happy little group.  There’s enough suspicion to go around.  Was it Lizzie?  Or was it the mysterious man sent by her uncle?  Or maybe one of her father’s business associates?

The story weaves itself back and forth between the day of the crime, the days leading up to the murders, and the aftermath.  It’s fascinating for the criminal investigation procedures of the time if nothing else.  The author does a great job of creating an entirely believable story that very well could be the true story behind an unsolved crime.  And it absolutely made me want to read more about it!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  See What I Have Done