Sunday, October 25, 2015

giveaway winner: quicksand by carolyn baugh

Anthony C is the winner of Carolyn Baugh's Quicksand. Congratulations!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

review: season of salt and honey by hannah tunnicliffe

After the death of her fiancé, Frankie flees her large Italian-American family for the solitude of her fiancé’s family cabin. While Frankie’s family wants to comfort her, the fiancé’s mother demands Frankie leave the cabin. Frankie defies the order and begins working through her grief as she meets a few of her new neighbors. Season of Salt and Honey is a tearjerker for sure with wonderful moments of community and family mixed with the devastation Frankie feels over the loss of Alex. There are some surprising developments as well which keep the story moving at a nice pace.
Hannah Tunnicliffe also includes recipes for some of the foods referenced in the book. I made the banana bread which was fantastic. One of my coworkers (I always bring baked goods to work) referred to it as “the best banana bread ever.”
5/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Touchstone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

review: nine lives by wendy corsi staub

A new cozy mystery series from Wendy Corsi Staub begins with Nine Lives which features a widow with a young son unexpectedly finding herself in a town filled with mediums. As Bella prepares to move in with her antagonistic mother-in-law (the medical bills stemming from her husband's death devastated the family finances, especially since Bella got laid off from her teaching job), a cat appears at the house. Bella's son is immediately taken with the cat, but the cat wears a collar and the family must travel on. The cat will appear again though and set Bella and Max on a detour to Lily Dale where Bella will come to realize the cat's owner was murdered.

Nine Lives builds very slowly (for a town of mediums, no one seemed to realize Leona had been murdered until Bella starts to put it all together), but it is hardly unnoticeable given the lively setting of Lily Dale during "the season." There's a lot going on and a great cast of characters, so it works for Nine Lives to be less mystery and more getting to know the town for all its quirks. It's an entertaining story that nicely sets up the series while also providing a satisfying conclusion so that Nine Lives can stand alone.
4/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

review: winter bloom by tara heavey

Tara Heavey’s Winter Bloom is a tear-jerker with every character having suffered some kind of heartbreak. Although Eva, a widow with a young child, is the focus of Winter Bloom, her story is mixed in with the others who begin working on a community garden with her at the home of a persnickety old lady rumored to have murdered her husband. As the secrets of the past are revealed and the stories of each character elegantly weave together, Heavey shows how bonds between friends can provide the support needed to get through life’s difficulties.
5/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery Books.

Friday, October 2, 2015

giveaway: quicksand by carolyn baugh

Thanks to Forge Books you can win a copy of Carolyn Baugh's Quicksand! The giveaway is open to all US residents. Simply leave a comment with your email (so I can contact the winner) to enter. One US resident will win a copy of Quicksand. The deadline to enter is October 23, 2015 at 11:59pm Pacific.

review: quicksand by carolyn baugh

Officer Nora Khalil is part of a joint task force between the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department which puts her in the middle of a purported gang war that has left a teenage girl brutally murdered. The first in a new series from Carolyn Baugh, Quicksand introduces a fantastic set of characters and many threads of future plots while also satisfactorily concluding the primary plot here. With characters like Nora’s father, an Egyptian Muslim, and the more recent immigrants Nora interviews in the course of the investigation, Baugh (who has a doctorate in Arabic and Islamic studies) expertly explores the cultural differences presented in Quicksand, particularly with how the police interviews are conducted. With an energetic plot and beautifully developed characters, Quicksand is a fantastic start to a new law enforcement thriller series.
5/5
Review copy provided the publisher, Forge.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

review: never look down by warren c. easley

The third in the Cal Claxton mystery series gets off to a thrilling start and never stops. When the fiancée of a friend is murdered, Cal ends up mixed up in yet another mystery set in the Pacific Northwest. This time though another perspective is brought in—that of the teenage witness to the murder; this addition keeps the series fresh and heightens the drama as the criminals seek to eliminate anyone who can identify them. As Cal tries to track down the witness, he pursues other leads which get him even more entangled in the conspiracy surrounding the murder. The excitement doesn’t stop even as Cal keeps a level-head and Kelly, the witness, deals with her daily drama of living with her deceased father’s ex-girlfriend and attending an alternative high school.
5/5
Review copy provided the publicist, MM Book Publicity.