Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Shot in the Dark

Title: Shot in the Dark
Author: Cleo Coyle
Published: April 17th 2018 by Berkley Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 352 pages
Genre: Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Coffeehouse Mystery #17

For me, the coffeehouse books tend to go on a bit too long in the middle or the writing team of Cleo Coyle makes things unnecessarily convoluted, but I tend to take a mental vacation in the middle third and then have to bring myself back to the storyline before I miss something that is needed to tie the whole thing together.

With the swipe right dating app scene, the Village Blend is currently the hotspot for digital dating and hookups. All of that goes horribly wrong when a shop-and- drop woman decides to start shooting to scare the man that has thrown her to the curb. Now with the Blend being on the wrong side of publicity and Clare finding a dead body in the bay, too many things are pointing to the Cinder dating app and the history between the current owner and two men that had started the original “Hookster” app years before.

With “theories getting ahead of the facts”, Clare plunges headlong into the middle of not only a murder investigation but also helping to find the source of a new drug called Styx that has suddenly appeared in Greenwich Village and its influences are affecting those that she is very close to.

Clare and her ragtag group of baristas and NYPDs finest, take on not only techno-Darwinism but also set out to clean up their streets before another murder like the Groovy Murders of 1967 can change their landscape and change the Village Blend forever. Whether “Shot in the Dark” is referring to a coffee espresso drink, finding someone in this day and age to date, or a fatal bullet, this seventeenth book in the coffeehouse mysteries has pulled them all together in one historical location.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Shadow of Death

Title: The Shadow of Death
Author: Jane Willan
Expected Publication: April 10th 2018 by Crooked Lane Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover 336 pgs
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mysteries #1

I almost had myself convinced that this book was never going to end. With its constant repeating of where the reader was in the story to adding in never ending clues, Jane Willan turned what should have been a delightful first book in a new series into a hopeless case for me.

Sister Agatha, the librarian of Gwenafwy Abbey in Northern Wales is a mystery writer at heart and when an actually murder takes place on the abbey grounds, she turns to the teachings of her favorite podcast and literary heroes. With death and sabotage running amok on the Anglican abbey’s grounds, Sister Agatha with a reluctant Father Selwyn, set out to answer the relentless questions and tackle the suspect list.

Unfortunately, Jane Willan threw too much into this freshman outing of the Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery series. Certain characters could have been saved for subsequent books that would have allowed them to shine; unfortunately, they just faded into the hodgepodge of too much.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Other People's Houses

Title: Other People's Houses
Author: Abbi Waxman
Published: April 3rd 2018 by Berkley
Format: eBook, Paperback, 352 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

This book is exactly what the title implies. Every house on the street has a story to tell with unique dramas that come together only when one person steps outside of the role that they were playing for everyone else. Slightly pudgy and sweatshirt loving Frances Bloom takes her job as neighborhood carpool mom seriously. To the point of returning to one house when art project supplies are forgotten only to find Anne is a compromising position with a man that is not her husband. Thus begins the downward spiral of Larchmont resulting in each family questioning their own relationships and watching the children involved question their place in their parents’ lives.

In an ‘imperfect, fractured, and embarrassingly glorious’ Southern California neighborhood, Abbi Waxman has her readers laughing aloud as she winds through homes and relationships. There are also tears as realities are faced when their secrets are revealed and how a small child, who does not yet know that his world is crashing down, offers out a hand in support and in doing so, teaches the adults around him a lesson in kindness.

Combining all the ugly truths and humor of raising children, keeping a home running with its never-ending loads of dishes and laundry, and keeping a marriages together, ‘Other People’s Houses’ reveals the truths that the perfect people do not want you to see. The little battles and larger wars that must be endured each day, whether they are behind door, out on soccer fields, or in the middle of the street, Abbi Waxman takes you on an intimate journey through the everyday in a way that only she can.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Lucky Now and Then

Title: Lucky Now and Then
Author: Deborah Coonts
Published: Chestnut Street Press (first published July 1st 2014)
Format: eBook
Genre: Suspense
Series: #3 in the Lucky Novella Series, but #3.6 in the Lucky O'Toole Series

I am not saying that this book is difficult to follow, especially since Deborah Coonts has an annoying habit of repeating too much of Lucky’s backstory and that of her parent. What is difficult is figuring out the exact order of these books since they have gone through too many cover changes and reissues that it is hard to figure out where you should be in the series.

Now and Then is a fitting title since the story bounces back and forth between 1982 and supposed current day 2012. As Albert Rothstein’s first casino is being razed, the backstory of how it all began is told in a chain of events that began when “the big boss” first broke ground on the Lucky Ace and how, in current day, old bones cannot stay buried forever. Especially when an adult Lucky is hypnotized and remembers the details that she was told to forget.

Some of the Lucky O’Toole books are funnier than others and this novel falls somewhere in the middle. I could only take this one in short bursts since the drama of the men in her personal life was too much. I understand the male dominated word of her father’s business and his mafia ties, but going into full repeated detail about each man that she is dating, her friend is dating, she once dated, is too much.

As I said, the author goes into detail about each character so you do not necessarily need to read them in order, but I would suggest that you try even if it is hard to know what that order should be.