Thursday, December 31, 2015

Books Read - December 2015

Bassett, JoAnn
  • Livin’ Lahaina Loca ****
Fiction.  Second in the Islands of Aloha cozy mystery series starring Pali Moon, wedding planner extraordinaire.  The biggest wedding Pali has scheduled for the whole year is coming up in a week when one of the bridesmaids disappears.  Her long red ponytail is left in Pali’s back seat, and Pali realizes it isn’t a case of a party girl gone missing.

Battista, Jeannette
  • Leopard Moon *****
Fiction.  First in the Moon shapeshifter series.  Kess is on the run from her family and her brother’s dark desire.  She stops in a small town in North Carolina to work for awhile and build up her savings for when she’d need to run again.  But she’s not the only shifter in town and soon finds herself up a tree trying to escape from a pack of werewolves.

Blackwell, Juliet
  • Give Up the Ghost *****
Fiction.  Sixth in the Haunted Home Renovation paranormal cozy mystery series.  Mel has been hired to re-renovate a mansion that was already renovated by another contractor into a modern monstrosity.  The problem is that the home is haunted, and the current owner wants to sell it, but the ghost keeps scaring off potential buyers.  The owner believes if Mel can restore some of the original elements of the house, the ghost will be appeased.

Cook, J.J.
  • Fat Tuesday Fricassee ****
Fiction.  First in the Biscuit Bowl Food Truck cozy series.  Zoe Chase owns the Biscuit Bowl food truck with dreams of opening her own restaurant someday.  Her father has been elected King Felix during the carnival season, and Zoe accompanies him to all the balls thrown by his secret society.  At the last ball of the season, Zoe finds a dead body, and suddenly she and her family are being threatened.

Galenorn, Yasmine
  • Moon Swept *****
Fiction.  Collection of short stories detailing the sisters’ first loves.  Camille and Shamas, Menolly and Keris, and Delilah and Chase.

Harrison, Thea
  • Dragon Bound *****
Fiction.  First in the Elder Races urban fantasy.  Pia lives as quietly as she can, staying out of trouble, keeping a low profile.  When her ex-boyfriend blackmails her to steal from a dragon’s hoard, she knows that she’s put her life at risk, as well as her great secret.  When Dragos finds out that someone has invaded his hoard, he’s headed out to catch the thief and kill her.  When he does catch up to her, their lives are both in danger.

Jaffarian, Sue Ann
  • The Ghost of Mistletoe Mary *****
Fiction.  Eighth book in the Ghost of Granny Apples cozy series.  An offshoot book starring PI Jeremiah Jones who looks into the disappearance of a woman on Skid Row as a favor for a friend.

Lavene, Joyce & Jim
  • Looking for Mr. Good Witch ***
Fiction.  Second in the Retired Witches series.  More witches are being killed in the Wilmington area, but only young male witches.  The council has informed the ladies that they need to find out who the murderer is, their quest takes them to meet the Bone Man, who will only help them if they agree to find his wife and return her to him.

  • Spell Booked ***
Fiction.  Three elderly witches are nearing the end of their power and are looking for new recruits for their coven.  They have their eyes on a young librarian who has a lot of raw energy, but she’s unaware that she is a witch, and they can’t exactly walk up to her and tell her.  They’re also dealing with the thefts  of magical items in the witching community, not to mention a few witch death.

MacInerney, Karen 
  • Beads of Doubt (w/Barbara Burnett Smith) ***
Fiction.  Second book in the beading series begun by Barbara Burnett Smith.  Kitzi Camden is an ex-senator who lives in a mansion in Austin, which is owned by a family corporation.  She is notified by her cousin’s attorney that her residence is being challenged by the corporation, and she and her mother might have to move out of the Manse.  While she is trying to solve that problem, her cousin’s partner in the firm is murdered, and Kitzi needs to find out if the two situations are related.

  • Berried to the Hilt *****
Fiction.  Fourth in the Gray Whale Inn series.  Business is slow, so Natalie is pleased to have two groups of people staying at the inn.  One is from the University of Maine, and the other is from a company from Florida.  Both are invested in pulling up treasure from a sunken ship near Cranberry Island.  Their rivalry, though, might cost someone his or her life.

  • Blueberry Blues *****
Fiction.  Fifth in the Gray Whale Inn series.  Short story of a clambake that went wrong when several islanders got sick after eating Nat’s blueberry pies.  Luckily for her, a photographer got a picture of the culprit.

  • Brush with Death *****
Fiction.  Sixth book in the Gray Whale Inn cozy mystery series.  Nat’s niece, Gwen, is getting ready for her first art show, and two famous artists are arriving to spend time on the island.  Gwen’s mentor, Fernand, throws a party for one of the artists, but the next day Nat finds him at home.  Alone. Dead.

  • A Dash of Midnight ****
Fiction.  Collection of three cozy mysteries.

  • Dead and Berried *****
Fiction.  Second in the Gray Whale Inn cozy mystery series set on Cranberry Island.  Natalie and her best friend, Charlene, are on the outs, because Natalie doesn’t fully trust Charlene’s boyfriend, the new, and very handsome, priest in town.  Keeping busy at the inn is helping Nat keep her mind off best friend problems, but as the laundry piles up, she wonders where her helper, Polly, has been for the past two days.  It’s not usual for her to miss a day without calling in, so Nat sets off on her bike to ride to Polly’s  house near the bog.  What she finds devastates her.

  • Death Runs Adrift *****
Fiction.  Seventh in the Gray Whale Inn mystery series.  Nat and John are planning a Florida wedding, and John’s mother, Catherine, is living in their carriage house.  Nat has been gathering blueberries for one of her delectable desserts, when she sees a skiff floating in the water.  When she approaches it to haul it back to shore, she’s shocked to find a dead body in it.

  • Howling at the Moon *****
Fiction.  First in the Tales of an Urban Werewolf fantasy series.  Sophie Garou is a busy auditor with a handsome attorney boyfriend and a gorgeous best friend Lindsey.  Her life is busy...and complicated.  Unlike most women, her mother is a witch, and her father, who abandoned them when Sophie was a baby, is a werewolf.  Four times a year Sophie goes into hiding to turn into a wolf.  Things become even more complicated when a love potion that her mother sells a local politician ends up killing him, and she is charged with murder.  Sophie and Lindsey work together to find the real killer.

  • Killer Jam ****
Fiction.  First in the Dewberry Farm cozy series set in Buttercup, TX.  Lucy has left her job as an investigative reporter to return to her grandmother’s old farm to see if she can make a living homesteading.  Even though she visited with her grandmother as a child, Lucy is viewed as an outsider in the small town when she is the prime suspect in a murder.

  • Leader of the Pack *****
Fiction.  Third in the Tales of an Urban Werewolf series.  Sophie hasn’t seen her father in twenty-eight years, so when he walks into her office, she is suspicious.  He says he wants her to join him in the Paris pack, but she wants no part of it.  But she can’t refuse to help him when he is accused of murdering another werewolf.  Punishment if he is found guilty will be death, and Sophie is determined to have him set free.

  • Mother’s Day Out ****
Fiction.  First in the Margie Peterson cozy  mystery series set in Austin, TX.  Margie is a full-time mother and part-time PI-in-training.  While working on a case of infidelity, she follows the target to a gay bar, where she gets involved in a drag queen contest.  During a quick break to the ladies’ room, she finds one of the other contestants...dead.

  • Murder Most Maine *****
Fiction.  Third in the Gray Whale Inn series.  The inn is hosting a weight-loss retreat, but Nat is dismayed to find that one of the leaders is an old flame of John’s, and they seem to be making up for lost time.  The other leader, Dirk, is jealous of the time Vanessa is spending with James, but nothing is more shocking than him being murdered, and James being named as a suspect.

  • On the Prowl *****
Fiction.  Second in the Tales of an Urban Werewolf series.  Sophie has landed a big client for her auditing firm, but during her first meeting with Mark, she senses that he is interested in more than just a business relationship, and with the current situation of her relationship with boyfriend Heath up in the air, Sophie is sorely tempted.  Unfortunately, the Houston pack is now aware of her existence and sends her an email requiring her presence at a meeting.  She wants to negotiate a deal allowing her to remain in Austin in exchange for some tax and audit advice, but the pack leaders have something much more dangerous in mind.

  • Pumpkin Pied *****
Fiction.  Short story in the Gray Whale Inn series.  Cranberry Island is getting ready for the harvest festival, but spirits are low, since it seems that this will be their last one.  The owner of the land has passed away, and her children are selling it to a rich mainland family who want to build a large home there.  If only there’s some way the islanders can prevent that from happening.

McRae, Cricket
  • Deadly Row to Hoe ****
Fiction.  Sixth in the Home Crafting cozy mystery series set in Washington.  Sophie Mae is hard at work at the local co-op, when she hears her best friend scream for help.  Sophie rushes to her side only to find Meghan staring at the compost pile.  She doesn’t understand what’s wrong until her friend points to the boot sticking out of the bottom of the pile.

Sharp, Deborah
  • Mama Does Time ****

Fiction.  First in the Mace Bauer cozy mystery series set in Florida.  Mace and her sisters have their hands full keeping track of Mama, and the night Mama calls Mace to say that she was at the jail, because a body had been found in the trunk of her car only adds to Mace’s stress.  The family bands together to solve the mystery, as Mace comes up against the gruff new detective in town.

Books Read - November 2015

Adams, Ellery
  • Writing All Wrongs ***
Fiction.  Seventh in the Books by the Bay cozy mystery series.  Olivia and Rawlings are headed to Palmetto Island for a few days to celebrate their honeymoon.  The rest of the Bayside Book Writers group will then join them for the local festival celebrating pirates.  A film crew will be there promoting their pirate-themed TV show.  Olivia wakes in the middle of the night to hear the sound of a ship’s bell off in the distance.  She looks out her window to see a woman in white walking along the shore.  The next morning Olivia is walking her dog on the beach, when she suddenly sees the body of a woman dressed in white lying in the sand.

Allen, Conrad
  • Murder on the Lusitania ***
Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series set on cruise ships around the world.  George Porter Dillman has been hired by the Cunard line to protect their interests on the Lusitania’s maiden voyage.  He makes himself well known to the other passengers, learning as much about them as he can.  His first case comes about when a disliked journalist is found dead in his cabin.

Beaton, M.C.
  • The Case of the Curious Curate ****
Fiction.  Thirteenth in the Agatha Raisin series.  A new curate has come to town and won over the hearts of many women.  Even Agatha is taken by him, though she thinks there is more to him than he is revealing.  After dining with him, she heads home, only to be woken up with the news that he had been murdered, and the chief suspect is none other than the vicar himself.  Mrs. Bloxby begs Agatha to investigate and prove her husband’s innocence.

  • The Day the Floods Came ***
Fiction.  Twelfth in the Agatha Raisin series.  James and Charles are gone, and Agatha is away on an island vacation.  A young couple she sees at the hotel are caught up in tragedy, when the wife is drowned, and the husband is accused of the murder.

  • The Deadly Dance ****
Fiction.  Fifteenth in the Agatha Raisin mystery series.  Agatha finally opens her own detective agency and hires her new next door neighbor, Emma, as another detective.  When Emma meets Charles, she sets her cap for him, but as he pays more attention to Agatha, Emma begins to have murderous thoughts toward her employer.

  • The Fairies of Fryfam ****
Fiction.  Tenth in the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series.  Agatha rents a cottage in Fryfam, as she feels she needs a break from James Lacey.  Colorful lights in her garden that no one will talk about, make her wonder if there are fairies about.  At the big manor, a Stubbs painting has been stolen, then the owner is murdered, and Agatha and Charles begin investigating.

  • The Haunted House ***
Fiction.  Fourteenth in the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series.  A woman in a neighboring town claims that her house is haunted, and Paul wrangles Agatha into investigating it.  What they find is not paranormal, just plain old murder.

  • Kissing Christmas Goodbye ****
Fiction.  Eighteenth in the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series.  Agatha hires a young girl to work on the easy cases of lost pets, but Toni proves herself to be more capable than that.  An elderly woman tells Agatha that she thinks her family is trying to kill her, and after she does die, Toni assists Agatha in tracking down the killer. 

  • The Love from Hell ****
Fiction.  Eleventh in the Agatha Raisin mystery series.  Agatha and James have finally tied the knot, but the marriage it floundering.  James thinks Agatha is sleeping with Charles, and James is actually sleeping with Melissa, a newcomer to the village.  He has also been told that he has a brain tumor.  James is attacked and disappears, and Melissa is found dead.  Agatha and Charles try to solve both the murder and the disappearance.

  • Love, Lies and Liquor ***
Fiction.  Seventeenth in the Agatha Raisin series.  Agatha’s ex-husband, James, invites her for a holiday along the coast, and envisioning a lush tropical climate, Agatha packs her most romantic and skimpy outfits, only to find that they’re staying in a cold, dreary England seaside town.  James, who remembers the town as being fun and sunny, is also depressed at the reality.  While there, Agatha has an argument with another woman at the hotel who ends up murdered on the beach, strangled by Agatha’s scarf.

  • The Perfect Paragon ****
Fiction.  Sixteenth in the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series.  Agatha’s detective agency is doing good business when a young girl in the neighboring village disappears.  Agatha is determined  to find the girl and gets all of her crew working on the case.

Blake, Deborah
  • Veiled Magic *****
Fiction.  First in the Donata Santori urban fantasy series.  Donata works for the NYPD as a Witness Retrieval expert.  Her special witchy skills allow her to speak with the dead, and speaking with recently departed victims is one of the best ways to solve murders.  In this particular case, Donata speaks with the murderer who accidentally died trying to steal a painting that was being restored.  After he departs, Donata is surprised that the murdered art restorer who was working on the painting follows her home with a desperate cry for help.

Evanovich, Janet
  • Tricky Twenty-Two *****
Fiction.  Stephanie Plum works in bonds enforcement at her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds office.  Lately she’s been co-habitating on and off with her boyfriend Morelli, a police detective.  He stuns her by dumping her without notice, but he can’t stay out of her life.  In the meantime, Stephanie calls upon Ranger, co-owner of an elite security company, to help her catch some of her FTAs, and her feelings for him are ramped up again.

Jaffarian, Sue Ann
  • A Body to Spare *****
 Fiction.  Tenth in the Odelia Grey mystery series.  Odelia and her mom are waiting at the car wash for her car to be ready, when suddenly a scream rings out.  As everyone rushes toward the screamer, Odelia realizes he’s standing behind her car with the trunk open.  A trunk with a dead naked body in it.

  • Booby Trap *****
Fiction.  Fourth in the Odelia Grey cozy series.  Odelia and Greg have finally tied the knot and set up housekeeping at Greg’s house in Seal Beach.  A serial killer is loose in the area, and a woman who believes the killer is her son asks Odelia for help in proving that it isn’t him.  With killings mounting up, Odelia is on overdrive trying to find out if the famous plastic surgeon is or is not the Blond Bomber.

  • Corpse on the Cob *****
Fiction.  Fifth in the Odelia Grey cozy series.  Odelia has tracked down her estranged mother whom she hasn’t seen in 34 years.  Although Greg urges her to call Grace first, Odelia decides to fly to Massachusetts and surprise her instead.  At the autumn fair, Odelia searches for her mother, only to find her kneeling over a dead body.

  • Hell on Wheels ****
Fiction.  Ninth book in the Odelia Grey series.  Odelia and her husband, Greg, travel down to San Diego for a quad rugby tournament in which some of their friends are playing.  While they are there, a friend of theirs is on the court, when a member of the opposing team wheels up to him and whispers something.  A fight ensues, and when the other players are able to separate the two men, one of them lies dead on the floor.

  • Hide and Snoop *****
Fiction.  Seventh book in the Odelia Grey cozy mystery series.  Odelia’s new boss, Erica, brought her 3-year-old niece, Lily, to work and foisted her off on Odelia all week.  At the end of the week, Erica brings the child’s clothes, toys, and car seat into Odelia’s office and announces that Lily is Odelia’s responsibility for the weekend.  Since Odelia needs her job, she takes Lily home with her, not knowing there is a price on Lily’s young head.

  • Love Bytes ****
Fiction.  Short story of a BBW who meets a man through a personal add on the Love Bytes website. 

  • Secondhand Stiff *****
Fiction.  Eighth book in the Odelia Grey series.  Odelia’s mother has come for a Thanksgiving visit, and they all gather at Greg’s parents’ house for the feast.  Greg’s second cousin, Ina, is a troubled teen who finds herself accused of murder.  The family bands together to prove her innocence.

  • Thugs and Kisses ****
Fiction.  Third in the Odelia Grey cozy mystery series.  Odelia’s boss, Mike Steele, has gone missing, and her firm assigns her the task of finding him.  While she and Greg are trying to work out the differences in their relationship, she attends her 30th high school reunion with her friend, detective Dev Frye.  While there, her old nemesis is shot, and she is high on the suspect list.

  • Too Big to Miss *****
Fiction.  First in the Odelia Grey cozy mystery series.  Odelia is shocked when she hears that one of her good friends has killed herself, and she can’t believe that’s true.  At the memorial service, Odelia meets Greg Stevens, a fellow mourner and another of Sophie’s friends.  He doesn’t believe she committed suicide either, and the two join forces to try to learn the truth.

  • Twice as Dead *****
Fiction.  Sixth in the Odelia Grey mystery series.  Odelia’s half-brother, Clark, has come for a visit after retiring from his job as chief-of-police back home.  Odelia’s best friend, Zee, is hosting her daughter’s wedding at a private club, and she and Odelia have gone to the cloakroom for a minute to de-stress.  Somehow Odelia’s “curse” is once more in action, when they find another dead body sitting on the floor in the cloakroom.

Katz, Marcus and Tali Goodwin
  • The Tarot Shaman: Connect to Your Animal Spirits *
Non-fiction.  Instructions on using the tarot to connect with animal spirits.

Ventura, Varla
  • Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night: Facts, Fictions, and First-Hand Accounts ***

Non-fiction.  Historical look at legends of banshees, werewolves, and vampires.