Category: Cozy

Sticks and Bones by Carolyn Haines

Posted September 13, 2017 by karenbaron in Animals, Cats, Cozy, Dogs, Guest Post, Horses, Mystery, Review, Series / 0 Comments

Sticks and Bones by Carolyn HainesSticks and Bones by Carolyn Haines
Published by Minotaur Books on May 16th 2017
Genres: Cozy, Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle

Private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends are celebrating New Year's Eve at the party of the year, a smashing Winter Garden party at the Prince Albert Hotel. It's a dazzling success...until Frangelica "Sister" McFee walks through the door. Sarah Booth knew Sister in college, before Sister became a bestselling author and moved to New York, and fame and fortune don't seem to have tempered her arrogance and cruelty.
Sister's latest book is a memoir about the death of her mother and brother many years ago. Now, a film about the book is in the works, and a film crew has descended upon Zinnia, Mississippi, to tell the complete tale. The film crew soon realizes there may be more to the story than meets the eye--or is told in Sister's memoir--and they hire Sarah Booth to discover the absolute truth about those deaths so many years ago. But Sarah Booth quickly realizes that someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden and will go to any lengths necessary to protect a long-held secret.
Carolyn Haines's next Sarah Booth Delaney novel, Sticks and Bones, is sure to delight series fans and newcomers alike.

Murder, mayhem, old money and family secrets. So fun.

Sticks and Bones by Carolyn Haines is awesome, dahlink. I always find what Sarah Booth and Tinkie get messed up in will make me laugh.

I have read all the books in this series, they are all fabulous. I love Sunflower, Mississippi and the delta area where Sarah Booth lives. The culture and the people we meet through Sarah Booth’s adventures are extraordinary characters.

The mystery Sarah Booth and Tinkie are hired to solve this time really kept me guessing. I truly didn’t figure it out until almost end. Ms. Haines really kept me guessing. I actually dismissed the killer like three times in my head. The death of Son and Cleo McFee is a cold case that is brought up again by the release of a Sister McFee’s best-selling book, which was optioned into a movie deal. The movie production company has hired the ladies to find the truth.

I love the regular characters. Sarah Booth is feisty, stubborn, and brave. She will do anything for the people she loves. Tinkie is a petite, blond who the ability to make men bend to her will. They both run around with their pets, who create as much mischief as the two prying private eyes.

Sarah Booth seems to have decided on her beau finally. I kind of hoped that she might choose Harold, but Coleman and she have a great connection and they seem to be a good fit, too. I know that just making a choice will make Jitty happy.

The drama, lies, secrets, and dysfunction in this old money family is terrible. It is like the money has corrupted their entire beings. I love the way Ms. Haines incorporates all of this into the mystery and uses it to keep us guessing. Never underestimate what someone will do for money.

My rating is 5 stars, and I can’t wait for Sarah Booth and Tinkie’s next adventure. If you haven’t read any of the series you should definitely give it a shot.

**Sticks and Bones**

** Goodreads **        

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

About Carolyn Haines

Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of over 70 books. She was the recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence, as well as the “Best Amateur Sleuth” award by Romantic Times. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of.


A Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell

Posted August 19, 2017 by karenbaron in Cozy, Dogs, Ghosts, Guest Post, Mystery, Paranormal Mystery, Review, Series, Urban / 0 Comments

A Ghostly Light by Juliet BlackwellA Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell
Published by Berkley on June 4th 2017
Genres: Cozy, Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 330
Format: Kindle
five-stars

In the latest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Give Up the Ghost, it will take a beacon of ghostly intervention to guide contractor Mel Turner to the truth... Dangerous tides ahead...  When her friend Alicia hires Turner Construction to renovate a historic lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay, Mel Turner can’t wait to get her hands dirty. Alicia plans to transform the island property into a welcoming inn, and while Mel has never attempted a project so ambitious—or so tall—before, she’s definitely up for the challenge.   But trouble soon arises when Alicia’s abusive ex-husband shows up to threaten both her and Mel, and later turns up dead at the base of the lighthouse stairs. With no other suspects in sight, things start looking choppy for Alicia. Now, if Mel wants to clear her friend’s name, she’ll need the help of the lighthouse’s resident ghosts to shine a light on the real culprit...

This lighthouse holds more than just light.

A Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell this is one of my favorite series. I truly love the mix of history, home renovation, paranormal, mystery and the quirkiness of San Francisco and the bay area.

The world that Ms. Blackwell has created by mixing fact and fiction is so believable. Honestly, I would like to hire Turner Construction just to be a little part of this world.

I really think that Mel is shining in this addition. It’s nice to see her with her new man Landon. She is so happy. She still has things to work on (such as her recent fear of heights0 but don’t we all. She is finally working through all of her jobs: ghost, construction or murder. Landon is extremely supportive. It’s so sweet.

Mel has two mysteries to solve: the recent murder that her friend has been accused of and the mystery of the lighthouse ghost. Ms. Blackwell does such a great job keeping the whole thing moving through the past, present and glimpses of the future.

I adored the lighthouse history that was included with the story. The treasure maps were so thoughtful. What a wonderful way to teach and entertain your child, so much better than handing them a cellphone to play with.

I found this quote online and thought it was such a great fit for this story. “Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.” ~E.P. Whipple

My rating is 5 stars, of course. If you haven’t read the other books you should try the first book in the series, Home Renovation or you can just start with this one. I guarantee you will want more. Mel and her entourage are worth your time.

**A Ghostly Light**

** Goodreads **        

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

five-stars

About Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the youngest child of a jet pilot from New York and an editor from Texas. She graduated with a degree in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to earn Masters degrees in Anthropology and Social Work from the State University of New York, Albany.

While in graduate school she published several articles based on her research with immigrant families from Mexico and Viet Nam, as well as one full-length translation: Miguel León-Portilla’s seminal work, Endangered Cultures. Juliet taught Medical Anthropology at SUNY-Albany, was a producer for a BBC documentary about Vietnamese children left behind by US soldiers, and worked as an elementary school social worker in rural New York. Upon her return to California, she became a professional artist and ran her own decorative painting, historical renovation, and domestic design studio for more than a decade.

In addition to mainstream novels, Juliet pens the New York Times Bestselling Witchcraft Mysteries and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind, she wrote the Agatha Award-nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series. She is past president of Northern California Sisters in Crime and former board member of Mystery Writers of America.

Juliet lives in a hundred-year-old house with extensive botanical gardens in Northern California but spends as much time as possible in Europe and Latin America. She believes in the magic of language, travel, and cultural exchange to open hearts, minds, and souls.


Give up the Ghost gp

Posted August 18, 2017 by karenbaron in Cozy, Ghosts, Mystery, Paranormal Mystery, Review, Series, Supernatural / 0 Comments

Give up the Ghost gpGive Up the Ghost by Juliet Blackwell
Published by NAL on December 1st 2015
Genres: Cozy, Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle
five-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Keeper of the Castle, San Francisco contractor and ghost whisperer Mel Turner must solve a murder mystery at a haunted mansion in the Pacific Heights...
San Francisco millionaire Andrew Stirling wants to sell his Victorian mansion, but ghostly music, the squeaking of a long-disappeared weathervane, and an angry ghost keep running off potential buyers. After a famous psychic is called in, she informs the Stirlings that their multi-million-dollar renovations to “update” the home have left its resident ghost extremely agitated. So contractor Mel Turner is engaged to track down and replace some of the original features of the house. 
But when the beautiful psychic is found stabbed, it appears someone had a very human motive for murder. Now Mel must use her ghost whispering gift to uncover the secrets of the haunted house on the hill, and her sleuthing skills to catch a killer.

Completely Spectacular!

Give Up the Ghost by Juliet Blackwell. I love this series. The cast of characters, the history, ghosts and of course the bay area. Juliet Blackwell nails the whole package together.

Mel Turner is wonderful, eccentric and knowledgeable. She has such a great personality. I loved the way she does what she wants to do. Only in San Francisco could a general contractor be a woman who shows up for work in sequins dresses and occasional feathers with steel toed work boots. It is great how she jumps in and gets the job done, whether it is helping a ghost, taking a wall down or putting in a window. She is so like her father. I like that she restores the homes instead of tearing them down or apart. She is like a ghost talking Rehab Addict.

In this addition to the series, Mel takes on a new project that starts out as one of her ghost helping clients, so murder is soon involved. Mel keeps asking questions until motives start to surface. We meet some new characters and some of the old return. Mel is different in this book, she doesn’t talk about running away to Paris, and she seems more accepting of her life as it is. Mel’s definitely fitting in her own skin now. Although she is still a workaholic, she seems to finally be over the ex and has an understanding of what she wants. Her Dad is sort of accepting of her ghost helping in the volume. Mel seems happy.

She has quite a collection of ghosts to assist this time. There is one ghost who cleans the kitchen when it is messy. Honestly, I think I would learn to get along with that ghost. In this book more so then before she has to jump through the living hoops to assist the ghosts. Mel meets the murder victims’ family, however this time she feels an unexpected pull towards the brother of the victim. Mel isn’t sure if she can trust her feelings as she doesn’t seem to know what she is doing with regards to this gentleman and her boyfriend is out of town (again) on business.

I think that Ms. Blackwell has created such a great world of rich characters and history. She makes it so easy to follow and has creative plots. I am giving this 5 Stars and completely recommended it. Such a wonderful cozy mystery.

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

 

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five-stars

About Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the youngest child of a jet pilot from New York and an editor from Texas. She graduated with a degree in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to earn Masters degrees in Anthropology and Social Work from the State University of New York, Albany.

While in graduate school she published several articles based on her research with immigrant families from Mexico and Viet Nam, as well as one full-length translation: Miguel León-Portilla’s seminal work, Endangered Cultures. Juliet taught Medical Anthropology at SUNY-Albany, was a producer for a BBC documentary about Vietnamese children left behind by US soldiers, and worked as an elementary school social worker in rural New York. Upon her return to California, she became a professional artist and ran her own decorative painting, historical renovation, and domestic design studio for more than a decade.

In addition to mainstream novels, Juliet pens the New York Times Bestselling Witchcraft Mysteries and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind, she wrote the Agatha Award-nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series. She is past president of Northern California Sisters in Crime and former board member of Mystery Writers of America.

Juliet lives in a hundred-year-old house with extensive botanical gardens in Northern California but spends as much time as possible in Europe and Latin America. She believes in the magic of language, travel, and cultural exchange to open hearts, minds, and souls.


Murder at Redwood Cove by Janet Finsilver

Posted August 3, 2017 by karenbaron in Audiobook, Cozy, Dogs, Review / 1 Comment

Murder at Redwood Cove by Janet FinsilverMurder at Redwood Cove by Janet Finsilver, Reba Buhr
Series: Kelly Jackson Mystery #1
Series Rating: four-stars
Narrator: Reba Buhr
Published by Tantor Audio on March 21st 2017
Genres: Cozy
Format: Audible Audiobook
four-stars

If it weren't for the fact that she's replacing a dead man, Kelly Jackson would love her new job managing the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast on the coast of Northern California. But Bob Phillips did plunge off the cliff to his death, and Kelly's starting to think it may not have been an accident. Bob's retired friends-The "Silver Sentinels"-are also on the case, especially when Kelly is attacked . . . and another body turns up. Kelly has her hands full with overseeing the B&B's annual Taste of Chocolate and Wine Festival, but she's also closing in on the killer . . . who's ready to send Kelly on her own permanent vacation.

Redwoods, the ocean, great food, fine wine and murder…what more could a girl want?

Murder at Redwood Cove by Janet Finsilver is witty and fun. I think she did a great job with the mystery. Her red herrings were superb. She did a wonderful job of introducing the northern coast of California. I grew up there and love the portrayal of the locals and the use of local culture and crimes.

Kelly Jackson is the temporary manager of the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast. She is our typical noisy busybody sleuth. She is there to replace the previous manager who fell from the coastal cliffs. Or did he? Kelly and a group of senior citizens investigate his death. They may have found more than they were looking for. Kelly is extremely nice and seems to be a very hard worker. She seemed kind of lost at the beginning of the story, but she feels truer to herself by the end. I love that she wears a cowboy hat and has a slight accent.

Ms. Finsilver’s descriptions of the cliffs, ocean, and fog were excellent. She even made me home sick a few times. I think I would like to visit the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast. 🙂

I enjoyed the story. The narration by Reba Buhr was lovely. I loved the accents that she added and the way she brought the suspense to life was wonderful. I will look for other books narrated by her on Audible.

My rating is 4 stars, I love the story and narration but alas I hate when I figure out the bad guy in the first quarter of the book. It is a great read and I will look for the 2nd book in this series.

 **Where to find Murder at Redwood Cove **

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This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

four-stars

About Reba Buhr

Reba Buhr grew up in the Pacific Northwest and now lives in Los Angeles, working in theater, film, and television. She has degrees from Occidental College in theater and classical voice. Reba began recording audiobooks in 2012 and has turned her love for performance into a passion for narrating characters that jump off the page.

Reba is an accomplished voice actor and has lent her voice to many commercials, video games, and animated projects, including Popples and Knights of Sidonia for Netflix, Toonami’s Hunter x Hunter, and Zagtoon’s Zak Storm.

Her theater credits include Stage Door (Terry Randall), The Count of Monte Cristo (Mercedes), Boeing Boeing, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Sally), Kiss Me Kate (Bianca), Les Miserables (Cosette), and Princess Jasmine in Aladdin!: A Musical Spectacular at the Disneyland Resort.

About Janet Finsilver

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, became available on June 7, 2016. The third book, MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE, is scheduled to be out on March 14, 2017.

Janet Finsilver and her husband reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys cooking, and a recent attempt to reduce the number of cookbooks in the cupboard wasn’t very successful. She’s an avid reader—of course!


Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

Posted March 1, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Comedy, Cozy, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Romance, Series, Womens Fiction / 0 Comments

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet EvanovichTricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum #22
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Bantam on November 17th 2015
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Women's Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
five-stars

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.
Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.
As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.

My take on this book:

Wow! Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich is a great, no excellent book. Stephanie Plum is still going after her FTA’s but Ranger needs her help with a security job that doesn’t really go as planned. Then again it could just be that nothing seems to go right when either Ranger or Morelli have Stephanie as part of their plan. Like all the Stephanie Plum’s books, this one still has the mystery with it that will keep you guessing on who the killer is. This time I thought it was a different person than with who actually did it and it didn’t help that one of my suspects turns up dead.

Main Character

The main character, of course, is Stephanie Plum. No matter what I will forever love the way Janet Evanovich has written her. What I like about Stephanie is that she tries to be a good person especially in her mom’s eyes but she also likes to be different. I really like how she tries to act like this tough bond enforcement when she is with Ranger but it just doesn’t always work when she is by herself. Like it happened in this book when she needed Ranger’s help getting her FTA. What I dislike about Stephanie is that she can’t tell her mom that she doesn’t want to be a housewife. However, she really wants to be married. Yet, to who? Ranger or Morelli, I think it is Morelli that she really likes him. I also don’t like how when she has Grandma Mazur and Lula are in any of Stephanie’s cars that she doesn’t lock the doors (would so totally lock their doors).

Secondary Characters

The second character in this book that I like is Lula. What I like about this character is that even though she isn’t a supermodel, Lula doesn’t care and wears whatever she wants especially with her ‘ho clothes that she has kept. So technically this is all of them. I also like that she tries to assist Stephanie in catching the FTAs. What I dislike about Lula is that she has this problem about thinking that she has these special powers or something that gets kind of annoying. No matter what it is though she is, she will make you laugh. Also, Lula is a bit too graphic and she knows that Stephanie doesn’t want to hear it.

My favorite supporting character would have to be Grandma Mazur especially when she is with Lula. Grandma Mazur is a funny character that is a pain in the butt for her daughter, Stephanie’s mom, and for Stephanie as well. She is especially humorous when she is out with Stephanie on a job.

Things that make it worth reading

One of the things that I love about these books is Janet Evanovich’s ability to transport us to Trent, NJ. It is so real to me and I couldn’t think of another place for Stephanie to live. Another thing I love is that the story moves me but the mystery keeps me guessing throughout and it’s just also full of humor as well.

Here is my warning, though, when you read any Stephanie Plum book you need to eat beforehand, otherwise, you will find yourself stumbling to the kitchen looking for food with your book in your hand.

And my rating for Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich is: Five Stars

Tricky Twenty-Two is an excellent book. I am giving it five butterflies because I love this book. I was so entertained that I didn’t want to put it down at all. The mystery was awesome and one that kept me guessing and stumped at some points. I was stumped but not so much that I want to stop reading the book. Janet Evanovich is an awesome writer and I can’t wait to read more of her books.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

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five-stars

About Janet Evanovich

Janet’s Bio (quoted from her website)

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in LaLa Land. La la Land is like an out-of-body experience –while your mouth is eating lunch your mind is conversing with Captain Kirk. Sometimes I’d pretend to sing opera. My mother would send me to the grocery store down the street, and off I’d go, caterwauling at the top of my lungs. Before the opera thing I went through a horse stage where I galloped everywhere and made holes in my Aunt Lena’s lawn with my hooves. Aunt Lena was a good egg. She understood that the realities of daily existence were lost in the shadows of my looney imagination.After graduation from South River High School, I spent four years in the Douglass College art department, honing my ability to wear torn Levis, learning to transfer cerebral excitement to primed canvas. Painting beat the heck out of digging holes in lawns, but it never felt exactly right. It was frustrating at best, excruciating at worst. My audience was too small. Communication was too obscure. I developed a rash from pigment.

Somewhere down the line I started writing stories. The first story was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania. The second story was about …well never mind, you get the picture.

I sent my weird stories out to editors and agents and collected rejection letters in a big cardboard box. When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency.

Four months into my less than stellar secretarial career, I got a call from an editor offering to buy my last mailed (and heretofore forgotten) manuscript. It was a romance written for the now defunct Second Chance at Love line, and I was paid a staggering $2,000.

With my head reeling from all this money, I plunged into writing romance novels full time, saying good-by, good riddance to pantyhose and office politics. I wrote series romance for the next five years, mostly for Bantam Loveswept. It was a rewarding experience, but after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre.

I spent two years retooling –drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, practicing cussing. At the end of those years I created Stephanie Plum. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives.

It turns out I’m a really boring workaholic with no hobbies or special interests. My favorite exercise is shopping and my drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles.

I read comic books and I only watch happy movies. I motivate myself to write by spending my money before I make it. And when I grow up I want to be just like Grandma Mazur.