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 Final Vow by Amanda Flower 

This is number three in a series – and I so wish I had read the first two, well, first. I totally dug the storyline: Kelsey Cambridge, historical farm director gets herself embroiled in a murder mystery. And I dug the characters: bridezilla, jerky ex, perky assistant, grouchy good old boys club, Wonder Woman wedding planner, and uber-supportive wannabe boyfriend. But I struggled to empathize with them, because I didn’t get to know them deeply enough. I almost felt my heartbeat faster when things got a little dicey for Kelsey, but for the most part I was on an even keel, just watching the events unfold but not really feeling them. 

I think I need to read number four though. Now that I’ve been introduced to Kelsey et al, I need to see where the romances go, how the Cherry Foundation decides to proceed, and if ringing the bell makes it into daily rotation at Barton Farm. By the end, I was invested, and now I need more!

-Calliope

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Review: The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

01-ab “Love what they destroyed.
Destroy what they loved.”

This story is nothing like I’ve read from Ms. Reisz before. NOTHING. In fact, this story has to be one the most insane stories I have ever read. I went in knowing nothing. No spoilers or anything, just a vague idea that it’s about thievery and bourbon. That’s it. But when I finished I sat back and wish I took Dramamine for all the twists and turns this book had. A truly wild ride.

SYNOPSIS
When Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it’s to discover he’s been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it’s property of the Maddox family who owned and operated Red Thread Bourbon distillery since the last days of the Civil War until the company went out of business for reasons no one knows… No one except Paris.

In the small hours of a Louisville morning, Paris unspools the lurid tale of Tamara Maddox, heiress to the distillery that became an empire. But the family tree is rooted in tainted soil and has borne rotten fruit. Theirs is a legacy of wealth and power, but also of lies, secrets and sins of omission. The Maddoxes have bourbon in their blood—and blood in their bourbon. Why Paris wants the bottle of Red Thread remains a secret until the truth of her identity is at last revealed, and the century-old vengeance Tamara vowed against her family can finally be completed.

You must go into this story blind to truly appreciate the way the story unwinds itself on the pages. Deception, lies and revenge are the main themes of this tale. And one seriously messed up family. I won’t reveal spoilers, but I will say that you’ll never see the end coming. While some parts in this story will make you squirm, if you just take a deep breath, you’ll be fine.

To be honest, I held off reading this because I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this more, or even as much, as her Original Sinners series. That series is bananas. But I am so glad I took a chance. Tiffany has a writing style that is so addicting, you can’t help but be sucked in. You won’t be disappointed in anything you read from her.

~Melpomene

Buy The Bourbon Thief HERE

Review: Rhythm & Clues by Sue Ann Jaffarian 

These Odelia Grey mysteries satisfy me so. Jaffarian includes much more than just the crime and sleuth aspect; some of the books focus on Odelia and her attorney boss Mike Steele. Others give us strong subplots involving Odelia’s friends on the police force. This latest in the series includes rock stars, bodyguards, and the delicate relationship between a strong daughter and her strong mother. 

While rock legends don’t do it for me (and so I was a little bored with that part of the plot), Odelia unraveled murders with her signature stubbornness and throwing caution to the wind. I loved the middle-of-the-night meddling, the saving grace of Odelia’s formerly criminal friends, and the comic relief that reminds me of Stephanie Plum. Much to my delight, Jaffarian also surprised me in Rhythm & Clues with my most favorite part of any book ever: the hint of a romantic happily ever after.

 *Vroom vroom*

Can’t wait for the next one. 

-calliope

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Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

01 aclo This has to be the one of the most unique books I have ever read. Unique in the sense that I’ve never read Steampunk before. All the talk of gears and ray guns and such was just wild for me. Now toss in vampires, werewolves and ghosts and you have the making a crazy story. Not to mention romance, cuz of course I need romance in my stories. This was just plain fantastic.

When Lucy decided to visit her cousin, Kate, she thought she was there to merely help her get well. She had no idea that she was about to get sucked into such drama. From pushy relatives to ghost hauntings, she has more on her plate than she ever thought possible. Last thing she wants is to deal with a mean, yet handsome, man who seems to be everywhere she looks. I liked Lucy. She had spunk. She wasn’t going to let anything scare her off until she figured out what was making her cousin sick. Not even the big bad beast could move her along.

Miles was fun to watch. Yes, he had is secrets. Yes, he was brash. But he cared for his family and was trying to do the best for them. In the ways of the “beast” it was sweet to see him fall for Lucy, even though he didn’t want to. He tried to protect her and push her away, but she wasn’t taking any of his crap. These two were too stubborn to not connect with each other.

The best part of this book is that it’s clean. As with all Proper Romances, this story has nothing to hide. Teens to adult can enjoy this story without worrying about sexy scenes. I look forward to letting my daughter read this when she’s ready.

I’ll admit, I had no idea what I was getting myself into here. I have no idea what’s “traditional” steampunk and what isn’t. I still don’t know. But what I do know is that I completely enjoyed this story. And if all steampunks are like this one, then I know I found another genre to add to my TBR.

~Melpomene

Buy Beauty and the Clockwork Beast HERE.

Review: The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg


I am addicted to these Fox and O’Hare novels. Federal agent O’Hare and genius criminal/informant Fox work together to catch super bad guys across the globe. Working so closely together, they’ve managed to peek into each other’s personal lives… and even fall in Like. 

The Pursuit gives the reader a double whammy. The pair finish a case in the beginning chapters and quickly land a new case… One they can’t even put on the books. One that sends them to Belgium and the Paris underground. It’s a con. Maybe the biggest con they’ve ever pulled. And their lives depend on them making zero mistakes. 

Part comedy, part MacGyver, and part Ocean’s Eleven, The Pursuit is the perfect light read to get me laughing and holding tight to the edge of my seat in the same chapter. I’ll read them as fast as Goldberg and Evanovich can write them. 

-calliope 

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