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Search tags: 20-books-of-summer
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review 2017-07-10 22:03
4 Carly Phillips Books--Lucky Break, Sum... 4 Carly Phillips Books--Lucky Break, Summer Lovin', Hot Number, - Carly Phillips

It sure has been fun, re-reading these older books of Carly Phillips.  I had forgotten how crazy and funny the Costas clan was!

This is the second book in the Costas Sisters series and Zoe Costas' story.  Having recently left the Secret Service, Zoe has now started up a security specialist company along with Quinn and Connor.  She is also living at her parents home since they now are fostering Sam, with the hopes of adopting her.  When a strange guy shows up at Sam's party, they all assume he is the temporary social worker on Sam's case but in reality he is actually Sam's Uncle Ryan.  When Zoe finds out that Ryan is not a social worker, she calls him on it and he tells her that he is Sam's uncle.  Both of them decide not to let the family know who Ryan really is until they get to know more about each other....which neither of them seem to mind because there is definite chemistry going on there!  It is pretty funny how completely opposite these two are!

When someone is threatening Sam, Zoe and Ryan work together to try and figure out what is going on and end up taking Sam to Boston where Ryan's family lives.  The Baldwin's way of life is night and day different from the Costas way of life.  This was such a fun comparison!  While working together, things are definitely heating up between Zoe and Ryan and have both of them feeling things that they have never felt before.  The mystery behind the threats was fun and entertaining.  I really enjoyed how everything played out in the end and really loved Zoe and Ryan's happy ending.  

Overall, this was a fun and entertaining story with some great, colorful characters!

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review 2016-08-31 01:46
Silk Stalkings (Material Witness, #3)
Silk Stalkings - Diane Vallere

This is a good series, with really well done characterisations and a nice cozy small-town setting, but the editors blew it with this one and the story wasn't strong enough to compensate.


The story was interesting enough and the murder well-plotted but the sloppy editing not only had characters talking face-to-face and then suddenly hanging up the phone, only to continue chatting face-to-face, but vague references are never followed up on, hints are left dangling and logic trails left from previous edits are left as shadowy dead-ends.  There were quite a few moments where I felt like I didn't have a handle on what was going on, and ultimately that cost this book 1 star.


I'll still happily order and read the next one in the series; perhaps the editor will find his/her mojo by then.

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review 2016-08-28 03:39
To the Last Drop (Maggy Thorsen mystery, #9)
To The Last Drop - Sandra Balzo

I thought this series ended after the last one, Murder on the Orient Espresso, was published in 2013 and had one of the most delightfully macabre methods of murder I'd read yet in a cozy mystery.  So I was very happy to see this 9th book released this year and I snapped it up.


Maggy Thorsen, a 40-something divorcée running a coffee shop, Uncommon Grounds, in the small fictional town of Brookhills, Wisconsin.


I love Maggy; her inner voice is so wonderfully sarcastic and mirrors my own inner dialogue so much, the pages just fly by.  I hadn't realised how much I missed these characters until I picked up the book last night, and then read it all in one sitting.  Balzo writes one of the most realistic settings and some of the most intelligent characters in cozies, in my opinion.  I have no problem imagining any of these people living next door or down the street.


The mystery was good; looking back I think the clues were there and I missed them and a little twist at the end made it a touch more interesting too.


The only thing that didn't work for me was the weird, forced, drama between Maggy and the Sheriff, Jake.  What was the point of that exercise?  It never felt believable and its resolution lost the oomph it might have had under different circumstances.  The whole thing was a fail, although I'm thankful Balzo didn't string it out over another book or two.


I don't know if she plans to write any more in this series or not, but if she does, I'll happily snap them up.  

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review 2016-08-27 11:55
A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall
A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall - Hannah Dennison

In an odd twist, the same humour that usually makes the books in this series so enjoyable is slowly starting to make them less so.


Kat and her mother have this weird, zany dynamic built on the premise that all Kat's life, while she thought her mother suffered debilitating migraines, she was locked in her room writing internationally best-selling romances.  Once she discovers her mother's secret life, she starts learning about all sorts of other stuff too, including a childhood spent in a travelling circus-type thing and previously unknown relatives.  Turns out mom's past is a tiny bit shady.


But after three books, the constant bickering and lying and concealment/discovery is getting old.   The lack of romantic movement between Kat and Shawn and the constant reappearance of David is tiresome.  The mood swings of the 'toffs' at Honeychurch Hall have become so wild I'm beginning to think someone ought to lace their drinking supply with lithium.


The mystery of A Killer Ball was interesting enough, but the ultimate solution was akin to something designed by a wildly imaginative 9 year old.  Or alternatively, it felt like the author forced a scenario to ensure it would catch readers by surprise. 


Still, I didn't flat line my rating because there were still a lot to enjoy; I love Harry and the Dowager Countess is a delightfully mouthy character most of the time.  The setting is brilliant too, and I was especially intrigued by the use of secret rooms and old maps.   I just wish Kat and her mother would grow up; there's plenty of humour here without relying on the two bickering biddies schtick.

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review 2016-08-26 09:16
Crowned and Dangerous (Her Royal Spyness, #10)
Crowned and Dangerous: A Royal Spyness Mystery - Rhys Bowen

In just about any other cozy series, this one would be a 4 star read, but Bowen has set her own standard rather high, and this one comparatively speaking, doesn't quite match up.


My biggest beef with it was the oh so worn out trope of weddingtus interruptus, followed by the even worse "we can never be together again; I'm only thinking of you" cliche.  I get that she's trying to string this romance out as long as possible but I expected better from this author.


Even still, the read was a lot of fun; you can't help love these characters and in this adventure Bowen even gets me to warm to Queenie, the living embodiment of TSTL.  We get an up close and personal introduction to Darcy's family and a visit to the ancestral castle in Ireland.


The mystery was, so-so.  I think it was sort of obvious who the players were but not how the story was going to come together.  The author notes at the end what is historical fact and what she's taken liberties with and turned into (slight) fiction.


All in all a pleasant way to while away the afternoon.

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