Sunday, October 21, 2018

REVIEW: Be Our Ghost

Be Our Ghost
Author: Kate Kingsbury

Melanie West and her grandmother, Liza, run the Merry Ghost Inn in Sully's Landing. The quiet, comfortable atmosphere of Sully's Landing is a real tourist draw. People who want some serious R&R enjoy the small town atmosphere. Unfortunately, a local wants to change the vibe of the town. Jason Northwood is proposing a large arcade and other changes that might transform the town into one of those cookie-cutter, bright lights, jangling tourist trap towns. Three buildings downtown are going to be demolished to make way for the arcade and many local residents and business owners are upset. But how can anybody fight a billionaire? It seems Northwood's plans will go through no matter what locals think. Well....at least until he is found stabbed to death after a meeting about the arcade plans. All of the local residents who attended the meeting are suspects. Who decided to block Northwood's plans by killing  him? When local pub owner Doug Griffith is arrested, Melanie knows he is innocent. She has to find the real killer!

I enjoyed Be Our Ghost, the third book in the Merry Ghost Inn Mystery series. My favorite character is Cindi Metzger, the assistant who moves to the beat of her own drum. She had a rough childhood but got past it. Now she loves to express her individuality through her clothes, jewelry and tattoos. She has her own sense of style and doesn't care what anyone else thinks about it. I enjoy her as a character...quite feisty but loyal to her friends. :) Melanie and Liza are both intelligent and determined women.

The story kept my attention from start to finish. The mystery was engaging and had plenty of suspects and twists. The story was nicely paced....not too slow and not too fast. All in all, a nice addition to this cozy series. I will definitely be reading more!

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Crooked Lane via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Saturday, October 20, 2018

REVIEW: Sold On a Monday

Sold on a Monday
Author: Kristina McMorris

OMG -- this book is so emotional, distressing and strangely beautiful, all at the same time. It's 1931...the depression is ravaging the economy and families all across the nation. A reporter snaps a photograph of a farmhouse with two children sitting the steps next to a sign. The sign reads: 2 Children For Sale. Ellis Reed never intended to publish the photograph, but he does...and it makes his career. But it has devastating effects on those two children and their family. Ellis and his co-worker, Lily Palmer, work to right the wrong they've done.

I was sucked into this story from the start and couldn't put the book down. I can't even imagine the hardships, difficult choices and heartbreak of farm families during the depression. So many people without work. Unable to pay debts. Unable to even buy food or clothe their children. It must have been so scary. And decisions were made that in easier times never would have even been a possible choice. There are documented cases where children were actually sold. Horrific!

This story is well-written, moves along at a perfect pace and is hauntingly emotional. Kristina McMorris has written several other books. I'm definitely going to read more by this author! This book is fantastic!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**


Friday, October 19, 2018

REVIEW: A Dark and Twisting Path

A Dark and Twisting Path
Author: Julia Buckley

A Dark and Twisting Path is the 3rd book in the Writer's Apprentice Mystery series. I have to admit that I haven't read the other two books in this series yet. I think I might have enjoyed this book more if I had read the first two books before this one. I was able to follow the story and enjoy it, but I would have understood past events that are very important to the plot and the characters a lot better. So, while it isn't completely necessary to read this series in order, it might be a good idea anyway.

There is a lot of serious stuff going on in this book -- a kidnapped child, murder, burglary, stalking -- it has a little bit of everything. Lena London is an engaging and capable main character. She's intelligent and loyal, standing by her new boyfriend despite his multiple run-ins with the law. She knows he isn't a killer, and she works hard to help him prove it. The supporting characters are well-developed and believable. This isn't a cutesie cozy mystery....it's got some pretty serious crime and complex things going on behind the scenes. The story is on-going through all of the books, which is something I enjoyed. There is enough background information given just in case a reader hasn't read the other books or has forgotten things over time. But, the story line isn't bogged down in back-tracking, either. The mystery moves along at a nice pace, with great suspense building and plenty of twists.

I'm definitely going to read the first two books in this series, then read this one again. Then I will be ready for the next book in this series! Very enjoyable book! I look forward to more!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Thursday, October 18, 2018

REVIEW: Little Shop of Found Things

The Little Shop of Found Things
Author: Paula Brackston

After leaving London for a fresh start, Xanthe runs an antique store in Marlborough with her mother, Flora. Xanthe finds herself feeling a connection to the people that owned the items that they offer for sale in the shop. Then it becomes more than just a feeling....she touches one item and finds herself transported back to 1605. A ghost demands Xanthe's help with righting an injustice.

This book is such a nice blend of supernatural, mystery and romance. It's a bit like Outlander meets antique-ing. I found the plot creative and interesting...I didn't want to stop reading! This book is a nice start to a new series. I can't wait to find out what object might send Xanthe back into the past in the next book!

Paula Brackston is the author of several other books including The Witch's Daughter series. The Little Shop of Found Things is the first book by Brackston that I have read. I'm definitely going to check out her other books!

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from St Martin's Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

REVIEW: Foundryside

Foundryside
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett

Sancia Grado is a thief. She's a very good thief, in fact. So good that she gets hired to sneak past multiple guards at the Tevanne docks and steal a magical artifact. And she does -- but she never realized how important and dangerous an item she was stealing. Now powerful people want her dead. She has two choices -- die, or learn to harness magic to save herself. Guess which one she picks?

This book is amazing! I love Sancia as a main character. She is intelligent, cunning and feisty. But...she still gets in over her head. Totally over her head. But, she's wily enough to do whatever she can to get herself out of trouble...which leads to more trouble, of course. This book has engaging characters, an entertaining plot and lots of creative story-telling. Loved it!

Foundryside is an excellent start to a new fantasy series. I will definitely be reading more! Robert Jackson Bennett has written several books including Mr. Shivers and the Divine Cities trilogy.

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Crown Publishing via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

REVIEW: The Dream Daughter

The Dream Daughter
Author: Diane Chamberlain

It's 1970. Caroline Sears' husband has died fighting in Vietnam and her unborn daughter will be born with a life-threatening heart defect. There is no way to treat her daughter's condition and Caroline is devastated. Then her mysterious brother in law, Hunter, proposes a fantastical solution to the problem that might just save the baby's life. Hunter is a physicist and tells Caroline that she can travel forward in time, access advanced medical care for the ailing baby, then come back to 1970 with a healthy daughter. Only things don't go as smoothly as Hunter promises.....

This story is so creative with many twists and surprises. While it is a tale about how much a mother is willing to sacrifice and endure for her child, it also gives a healthy lesson about not messing with time. There are consequences. While time travel is not a new plot by any means, I loved the premise of this story. The book is well-written, paced nicely and the author really takes a new and creative approach to the idea of time travel.

Diane Chamberlain has written more than 25 books. I really enjoyed this story and will definitely read more of her books!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from St. Martins Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**


REVIEW: Stars Uncharted

Stars Uncharted
Author: S.K. Dunstall

There is a lot going on in this sci-fi romp -- body modifications and exchanging, evil and greedy corporations, space exploration, and just lots of action-packed adventure. It's a space adventure that gave me a Firefly-type fix, with more intrigue and genetic modifications added into the mix. Sometimes I just need an entertaining adventure in space to make me happy. This book put a smile on my face. :) See?

For the first third of this book the story dealt mainly with genetic modifications and body exchanges. While that is interesting and I like the Nika (the body modder) as a character, the story moved a bit too slowly for me at first. But, once the action got started, I was so hooked on this story. It definitely kept my attention. The character development and the world is just so richly creative. This was definitely fun to read!

This sci-fi story is well-written, engaging and incredibly creative. I like it when I find a story that is different and new....this isn't just a recycled sci-fi plot with tired trope-y characters. Nicely done!

The cover art is gorgeous!!

S.K. Dunstall also write the Linesman series. I liked this book, so I'm definitely going to read her other series!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**