Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Against the Claw

Title: Against the Claw
Author: Shari Randall
Published: July 31st 2018 by St. Martin's Press
Format: eBook, Paperback 326 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Lobster Shack Mystery #2

The first third of the book, I had no idea where Shari Randall was going. The body of a 20-something female tangles on the lobster hooks of Bertha’s boat and Allie, who is still healing from a broken ankle, suddenly feels that she is responsible to find out the identity of the girl with the pitchfork tattoo. What she does not know is this will be the epicenter of the Fourth of July that is quickly descending upon Mystic Bay.

From an over the top estate of a modeling agency owner, to an emotional breakup with an on again off again boyfriend, to dressing as mermaids, to another dead body in a raft, to an incognito star appearing in local theater, to abstract paintings, to a kitschy lobster restaurant, to best friends thinking that they are Cagney and Lacey, this book seems to have a mishmash of it all.

If you haven’t given up by the middle, the confusion will only grow deeper with Shari Randall throwing in all sorts of shenanigans and if was not for a total recap at the end, I am not sure that I would have been able to draw all the strings together in this overly convoluted tale.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

After Anna

Title: After Anna
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Published: April 10th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 388 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

The middle was slow; the last 100 pages were what made the book, but not sure why she threw in the very last part when there was no prepping the reader for it which ending up making it feel like a rushed afterthought. Then again, psychological thrillers tend to throw in bits and parts at the end to give the reader that final sense of closure.

Maggie Ippolitti and Noah Alderman appear to have the perfect life. Having met years after Maggie had given up custody of her daughter to her ex-husband, while she was battling postpartum psychosis, they have built a life with Noah’s son, only to have it shattered when seventeen year old Anna reappears and send the family into a spiraling turmoil.

A second chance is what Maggie wanted, unfortunately Noah is the brunt of this effort and when Anna accuses Noah of the unthinkable, Maggie runs to Anna’s defense only to find out that all things are not what they appear and as Noah is fighting for his life, it is only then that Maggie puts the pieces together and with the help of the local police, puts an end to their misery and able to knit their lives back together.

Told in alternating voices and timelines, the reader can, in a way, see where this is going since Lisa Scottoline loves a happy-ending, but getting there is the challenge. The book holds your interest for the first third, slows to a snail’s pace in the middle, and then the last 100 pages burst with the energy that was missing.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Best Beach Ever

Title: Best Beach Ever
Author: Wendy Wax
Published: May 22nd 2018 by Berkley
Format: eBook, Paperback, 391 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Ten Beach Road #6

It is all about relationships -- those beginning, those ending, and those that are finding their new path.

Midway through the book, I was wondering if this was being set up as the last in the series since each character was reevaluating their life, their partner, and the directions that they wanted to go. It was not until the end, with the discovery of a new property, and a new financial backer, that I realized Wendy Wax was more than likely giving each character a “do-over” (which also happened to be the name of their old home improvement show) and a new jumping off point for their next round of life choices and property renovations.

If you have not read this series from the beginning, the women came together when a financial fiasco brought them to the brink of bankruptcy with only a monstrosity of a property, as recompense, to share amongst them. Using inner strength, and a lot of hard work, they brought the beauty out not only in the home but also in themselves.

As the series has taken shape, they each have told their stories and found their place. Now, with a turning point, they each can decide what their futures will hold and how they will get there. But first, they have one more property and one more chance, to see where this renovation will lead.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Deadly Brew

Title: A Deadly Brew
Author: Lynn Cahoon
Published: September 4th 2018 by Lyrical Press
Format: eBook
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: A Tourist Trap Mystery #9.2

Surprisingly, a novella that I liked even though the ending was rush.

Jill Garden and boyfriend Greg King, with three other couples, decided that there is nothing like a perfect getaway close to home, so why not spend a couple of nights locked in a supposedly haunted house that has been sitting empty for 15 years, and in a few short weeks will be torn down taking with it any last remnants of Maryann Demerit who had disappeared without a trace. All they have to do is pack up a few supplies, wait on the porch for the caretaker to show up with a key, do not let their imaginations run wild, and their adventure can begin.

Just because Maryann was reported to be a witch did not mean anything. Well, maybe to Esmeralda, but when Jill has a dream about the previous owner, books start moving off shelves, stairways and baby items are discovered, the group goes into overdrive to find the answers before the caretaker can lock them out permanently.