Another One Bites the Crust

Another one bites the crustAuthor: Ellie Alexander

Series: A Bakeshop Mystery #7

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another deliciously tasteful mystery by Ellie Alexander. Another One Bites the Crust is sure to please your taste buds and satisfy your craving for a good mystery.

When a Shakespeare Festival returns to Ashland, the local bakery, Torte, is called upon as the main supplier of treats for the event. Before the main event can begin, the town is hit with a murder and Jules’s friend Lance, the theater director is the main suspect. Juliet knows Lance is big into drama but has a hard time believing he would murder anyone.  It now falls to Juliet to find the real murderer and prove her friend innocent before anyone else gets cooked.

One of the nicest things about the Bakeshop Mysteries is they are fun cozy mysteries that you can just relax and enjoy. There is nothing too complicated that takes a lot of thinking or over analyzing.  I enjoy the witty banter, the quick pace and the character interactions.  Even though this is the seventh in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone. The author does a great job of giving just enough back story so a new reader can enjoy it without having to have read all in the series.  By this point, if you have read all in the series it is easy to see how well developed the characters are and the flow of the story is great.  I enjoyed how this story focused more on Jules and Thomas and had less to do with Carlos. However, I do foresee him coming back in the next installment with what was mentioned at the end. I recommend this to readers that want a nice, sit by the fire with a blanket story that will make them laugh at times and keep them guessing at what is to come next.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Cold Water

cold WaterAuthor: Samuel Parker

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A pulse-pounding thrill ride that will haunt you past the last page and well into the night.

When Michael wakes up after being buried alive, he just wants to give up at first. He has spent half his life behind bars since before he was a teenager. Now, he has gone back to his home town hoping to live a quiet life and be left alone. The people of Coldwater have other ideas, set on seeking the punishment they feel the prison system lacked. Michael is trying to keep himself alive and figure out the dark powerful forces that are creeping inside him and destroying everything he comes in contact with. The only question now is whether or not he be able to stop it before it is too late.

From the extraordinary mind that brought us Purgatory Road comes the next dark and chilling tale that will be sure to keep readers up well past their bedtime. I was once again mesmerized by the work of Samuel Parker. His writing is so real and chilling that I find the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I turn each page. For a supernatural thriller to be this chilling and realistic is a feat not many can accomplish.  After Purgatory Road, I knew I had to read what Samuel Parker wrote next and I am happy to say I was not disappointed. There are several aspects to this story: the darkness within us all, how we deal with said darkness, and also how our darkness can affect those around us in ways we may never know or understand.  This is not a book for the faint of heart, readers need to be aware that it is dark and just might keep you up at night. With that being said, it is also a good look into the soul of man and a way to see just what we all need to see and be aware of about ourselves. I recommend this to readers wanting a look inside and willing to take what they see and use it for good.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Top Mystery Fiction

As a bonus Christmas treat, we are also releasing our top mystery fiction picks for 2017.

betrayal

1. Betrayal at Iga by Susan Spann

This is such a terrific series that tackles seemingly unsolvable mysteries in Ancient Japan.  And the truth of Hiro’s past is finally brought to light.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sorbonne Affair

2. The Sorbonne Affair by Mark Pryor

For the first book in this series that we picked up, we couldn’t be happier.  The writing is fast paced and the mystery will keep you guessing until the end!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Poet

3. Local Poet by Paul Trembling

The story may be short, but the mystery is anything but.  Filled with a mystery centered around drug trafficking, you’ll finish this one in no time!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

murder-at-the-moor

4. Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering

Another Drew Farthering mystery always keeps up happy.  Even though they are getting a little more predictable, each story is unique and seeing the characters develop from the beginning has been such a fun experience.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

Portrait of Vengenace

5. Portrait of Vengeance

How does Gwen Marcey continue to get herself into these situations?  This book is crucial to understanding Gwen’s past as well as saying farwell to Thelma and Louise?  Confused?  Pick up a copy!

Read the full review here.

Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point resize.inddAuthor: Lisa Harris

Series: Nikki Boyd Files #4

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The newest installment in the Nikki Boyd series is by far my favorite. Lisa Harris has written one of her best and one of my top picks for the year!

Garrett Addison has left his father’s law firm to be a member of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. He hasn’t ever felt like he belonged in that lifestyle and wants to make a difference with what he is doing in his life more than his father would have with their practice. When his team is called out to the scene of a murder of a young girl left with a Polaroid of her scared face just before being killed, they are able to tie her to a string of unsolved murders. The FBI is called in to help, leading Garrett to work with Special agent Jordan Lambert. Garrett and Jordan have a past.  Before she went off to the academy they were in love and could have married each other if distance and careers hadn’t gotten in the way. After years of murders and unsolved cases, Garrett decides he can’t take it and leaves the task force. As time goes by, another dead girl brings the team back together.  Garrett vows that this time will be different, he won’t fail this time. He is more determined than ever to get justice for the murdered girls and keep everyone else safe, including Jordan, who is quickly winning his heart again.

I have been a fan of the Nikki Boyd series since Lisa Harris started writing them and her latest installment doesn’t disappoint. While this is a Nikki Boyd novel, Nikki isn’t the main character. She is in the book, but more as a secondary character this time. The time line starts in 2004 and leads up to the present giving lots of information that wasn’t in the previous books, but adds to the story of Nikki and how she got to the point we see her at starting the series. With Garrett and Jordan as the main characters, we see more than one side to things. Garrett starts with the task force and then leaves to help others in a different way while Jordan is with the FBI. While she is not consistently on the Angel Abductor case, she can’t help but think about it at all times. Their being brought together is a natural occurrence of events and goes along with what the characters would naturally do. And while it is obvious they both have feelings for each other they don’t act on the feelings at inappropriate times that wouldn’t make sense for the story and take away from the suspense, a fact I appreciate greatly. I liked how everything wasn’t wrapped up in a time frame that wasn’t realistic as real life cases sometimes take years to solve and it can be messy.

I have found some authors and books are enjoyable, but forgettable. I am happy to say Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris is not one of those. I recommend this book to those that love a good suspenseful novel with twists and turns throughout and just the right mix of romance to bring the characters together.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Death at Thorbun Hall

Death at Thorburn HallAuthor: Julianna Deerking

Series: Drew Farthering Mystery #6

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Mystery lovers will delight in another fantastic Drew Farthering mystery!

Drew and Madeline Fathering are looking forward to enjoying the invitation to go see the British Open at the Muirfield course in Scotland with Drew’s cousin Lady Rainsby. Drew hasn’t seen Lord and Lady Rainsby since he and Madeline were married and is curious as to the invitation, but happy nonetheless.  Added to the excitement is that Madeline’s friend Carrie Holland is coming from America to stay with them as well.  She and Drew’s friend Nick Dennison were quite the item before the four of them were nearly murdered a year and a half ago and since then Carrie has lost her father and remainder of her family in America.  Shortly after arrival, Lord Rainsby pulls Drew aside and tells him some suspicions of his business partner and asks Drew to do some investigating discreetly.  Not long after this, Lord Rainsby is killed in an unfortunate horse riding accident, but things don’t add up to it being an accident.  As the crew investigates, each person involved seems to have a motive to kill Lord Rainsby, but then other murders begin to happen.  Can they solve yet another case?

So this story had a little different approach than some of the previous mysteries. Typically, they center around the mystery itself and Drew, Madeline, and Nick solving the case together.  In Dressed for Death, Carrie was also involved, which made it even more interesting.  However, this time the story still centers on the mystery but also on Nick and Carrie’s relationship and what is going to become of it.  The only downside is that it took away from some of the banter between characters that I always look forward to, but the characters are also maturing as the series progresses.  As always, the story is fun to read, the scene is set very well, and the mystery is fun to solve.  I pretty well had the villain pegged early on, but not necessarily for the reasons that he or she may have had.

I’m hoping that this series continues as Deering is beginning to venture into pre-World War II having mentioned Hitler in several instances of this story. I would like to continue to see all of the characters grow and develop.  After all, the next logical step for Drew and Madeline is children and wouldn’t that be a huge adventure for all?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Imperfect Justice

Imperfect JusticeAuthor: Cara Putman

Series: Hidden Justice #2

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: December 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A legal thriller that meets all the criteria for a complete thrill ride and more!

Emilie Wesley has worked hard to keep the women that come in to the Haven safe from the abusive men in their lives. When her latest client, Kaylene Adams, is said to have killed her daughter, wounded the other and killed herself, Emilie has a hard time believing the story delivered by the media. Kaylene was ready to leave her abusive husband and start a new life, so why would she suddenly kill herself and the children she loved so very much?  Reid Billings, Kaylene’s brother, may not have been close to his sister in recent years but still has a hard time believing she could have taken her own life and attempted to take her daughters with her. Reid finds a box he had forgotten his sister left at his place, he opens the box and finds a letter asking him to fight for custody of her daughters if something should ever happen to her. He may have been estranged from his nieces, but now he is determined to fight for the only family he has left. The letter tells him to ask Emilie for help in getting custody. Together the two must work together to prove Reid is better suited to raise his niece than her own father. When everything seems to be against them, they turn to a strength together to save a young girls life and maybe find something more in the process.

As the second book in the Hidden Justice series, Cara Putman gets right to the point with suspense, intrigue, and mystery for a story that is unstoppable. Emilie was a secondary character in the first book and now carries the story herself with ease. We see some of how she is affected from what happened in Beyond Justice and can understand her a little more with the background given her. The story does have several different arcs but they all tie in together by the very end. While it might not be obvious till the end who Emilie’s stalker is and how he ties into the story, give it time to play out and you won’t be disappointed. I felt there were a few moments that the tension was cut short abruptly and could have been played out a little further, but that is just me personally, I often like things to go a little further than others for the sake of suspense.  It is obvious Cara Putman knows what she is talking about when it comes to the legal aspects of the novel, a fact that helps carry the story greatly.

I am becoming a fast fan of Cara Putman’s writing and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. I recommend this book to those that love a suspenseful story with a tinkling of faith mixed in and a sprinkling of romance to top it off.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinion expressed within are my own.

Beyond Justice

Beyond JusticeAuthor: Cara Putman

Series: Hidden Justice #1

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Hayden is a young lawyer on track to fulfill all her dreams, that is if her current case doesn’t kill her first.

Hayden McCarthy uses the pain of her past injustices to drive her to be the best attorney she can be. After winning an unwinnable case, she is assigned a new case against the government which turns out to be much more than anyone could have foreseen. The more she investigates and the closer she gets to the truth, the more danger she finds herself in. She looks to those around her for help including her roommate’s cousin, Andrew Wesley. His father is a congressman and with her taking on the government, she sees the difficulty in having any kind of relationship with Andrew.  Just when she thinks she is finding answers, the more those around her end up injured or in danger making Hayden question if she can follow through with the case or give it up and keep everyone safe and let go of her pursuit of justice.

This is the first Cara Putman book I have read and I am kicking myself for not reading her works sooner. This was a fast-paced, intense, enjoyable read. There was just the right mix of tension with romance throughout the entire story. Hayden’s backstory was interesting and I would love to see it fleshed out more in further novels. The way she uses her past to fuel her present frustrations is something we can all relate to on some level. Even if we don’t use the past to fuel us, it is something we can do. Different situations for everyone, but it made the emotional connection with the characters that is needed for the reader to stay engaged. I read this after reading several novels I just didn’t enjoy by other authors, which made Beyond Justice even better. The plot is more than just one murder investigated by a lawyer; it goes deeper showing a real motive for the criminals.  It is obvious the author is familiar with the topics discussed, everything is real enough to stay believable and carry the story to completion.  I recommend this book to anyone that might enjoy a John Grisham type thriller with clean language and a bit of spirituality mixed in. I can’t wait to see what the next installment in the series will bring.