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review 2015-05-06 13:21
Deadly Assets-Enjoyable second outing for Allison Campbell
Deadly Assets (An Allison Campbell Mystery Book 2) - Wendy Tyson

Allison Campbell, image consultant, and all her friends are back and they have an intriguing mystery on their hands.  Two clients of First Impressions image consulting have disappeared on the same trip with Vaughn, Allison's business manager.  While there doesn't seem to be any way it could be related to Allison and her business, it did happen on their watch and it will cause trouble for Vaughn if they aren't found.  One is a 60 year old Italian wine heiress and the other, an 18 year old rising pop star with seemingly nothing in common.

Allison, Vaughn and Mia, Allison's ex mother-in-law get begin trying to find these two women and the path just gets more murky and dangerous as they go.  There are dark family secrets, mob connections, mysterious private detectives and connections back to Italy.  I was sure I knew what was going on several different times but then was proven wrong. It's not an over-difficult mystery but it does have twists and turns along the way.  I enjoyed the plot and the characters very much.  The relationships between the main group of characters is one of the biggest strengths of this series so far.  I really can feel the bonds between them.  This is one of those books I looked forward to getting back to every time I had to set it down.

My only reason for not giving it the full five stars is that you do have to suspend disbelief a number of times.  As with most stories about amateur sleuths, I never can figure out why people answer their questions.  I wouldn't.  If a random person shows up at my door telling me they are investigating a disappearance, I'm not letting them in my house.  I'm shutting the door and calling the police. It's also hard to image a professional at the level Allison is shown to be could just take off from her business from days at a time to investigate these disappearances, much less be willing to spend all the money she spent on rental cars, hotels and new clothes. All that said, I still loved the story.

Interesting mystery, strong women, good inter-personal dynamics, just suspend your disbelief and enjoy the story.  I've already started on the third one.

This book was provided by Netgalley for review but my reviews always reflect my true feelings.

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review 2015-04-26 20:02
Lost Legacy-Family secrets are no fun
Lost Legacy - Annette Dashofy

Lost Legacy is the story of hidden family secrets. Since everyone has a family of some sort, I think most people will find that intriguing. Zoe Chambers, EMT in Monongahela County PA, didn’t realize there were any family secrets in her family until a farmer turns up dead in a barn that her uncles use to own. When the investigation into the death begins, it gets very personal for Zoe very quickly. Her mom and stepdad coming to visit from Florida don’t help the situation.


This is the second mystery in the Zoe Chambers series and I am really enjoying them. In the first one, Circle of Influence, we met our characters, Zoe, Pete, Sylvia, the Krolls, and they became people we could relate to instantly. There wasn’t any of that first-book-in-a-series awkwardness. Now we meet Zoe’s mom and Pete’s dad. The characters become even more 3-dimensional. Annette Dashofy knows how to write realistic characters.


This is what I classify as a Contemporary Traditional Mystery. It’s not a cozy but it’s not gritty. The mystery is the focus and it’s well done. There are believable red herring and the answer makes sense with what we’ve read. I’m definitely ready to move on to the next one!


Book provided by Netgalley but my reviews are always honest and written for other readers like me.

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review 2015-03-04 13:46
Buyer, Beware-And the dead bodies keep coming
Buyer, Beware - Diane Vallere

Buyer, Beware is another fun and well-written cozy mystery from Diane Vallere in her Style and Error series.  I'm enjoying them thoroughly. Samantha Kidd is an out-of-work department store buyer who has moved back from New York to her hometown in Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, as we learned in the first book of the series, the job she moved back for didn't work out, mainly due to dead bodies.  Now, she and her friends are trying to win a contest from the new department store in town to make some money for paying bills.  The new department store is called Heist and the contest is to steal a particular piece of artwork and deliver it to the store.  On the night of the reception to deliver the artwork and receive their prize, Samantha finds another dead body.  Like most cozy heroines, they seem to follow her.

The owner of Heist hires Samantha as the handbag buyer because of her past experience with murder investigations. Yeah, I know, that's a little lame. Amazingly, she goes straight to the police and tells them what she is doing.  Yay!  Someone who realizes that maybe tracking down murderers on your own is a dumb idea!  It shows one of the things I like about Samantha, she's smart.  I like her and I like her friends.  I like the descriptions of the vintage clothes she wears.  I like that she lives in her parents old house and hasn't changed anything so it still has it's 70's decor.  I didn't guess the mystery until it played out so that's another reason to like it. Now if she could just find a job that doesn't involve dead bodies.

Diane Vallere's mysteries are smart and fun.  I'm pretty hooked on them right now.  Fortunately, she has three series out so I have a few more of her books left to read. 

Book provided by Netgalley for review.

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review 2015-01-01 22:00
Buried Leads-Fun in high heels
Buried Leads - LynDee Walker

The picture on the cover of this book was enough to get my interest.  I happen to love shoes.  The story inside lived up to the fun of the cover.  It kept my interest from the very beginning.

Nichelle Clark is a reporter in Richmond VA on the crime and courthouse beats.  She will do anything for a story and would like to move up to covering politics for the Washington Post.  She's smart and funny and clever.  She is one of the more likeable heroines I've met in a while.  She hears about a dead body found in the woods over her police scanner late one night and goes to investigate.  The stiff turns out to be a lawyer and lobbyist for the tobacco industry.  As she doggedly pursues this case, it keeps getting deeper and deeper.  She soon finds herself being warned off and that's enough to get any reporter's juices going.

The mystery in this story is a complex one and I enjoyed it.  No simple solutions here.  It's a pleasure to follow Nichelle's investigation as she sifts through the evidence using her own investigative skills and her arsenal of law enforcement contacts.  I love watching a good detective at work.  Her law enforcement contacts feel professional and competent. I love that she doesn't seem condescending toward the people around her.  I really don't enjoy female detective that seem to think they are above normal life.  Nichelle feels like someone you would be friends with. 

This is more of a traditional mystery to me than a cozy though it has elements of a cozy.  It's not set in a small town and the heroine doesn't have some weird hobby or shop that plays into the mystery like so many cozies.    Nichelle actually has a legitimate reason to be pursuing this case and does it as a professional, it just happens to be a professional journalist rather than a professional detective.  It's a quick read, it's not graphic with violence or sex and it's fun but it's not quite as soft as a cozy generally is.

There is a love triangle but for some reason it isn't as obnoxious as I usually find them though I do need it to resolve soon.  Like most readers, writing love triangles is one of the most annoying things that writers do.  They never feel realistic to me because so few men would put up with them.

It felt to me that there was one small continuity error when she was warned away from investigating one of her suspects.  I didn't think that she had even mentioned to anyone else yet that she was following that path so I'm not sure why she would be warned away from it but that was minor.  Maybe I had just missed something.

I can recommend this book for lovers of traditional or cozy mysteries. It should have great appeal to lovers of either genre and you don't have to have read the first in the series to enjoy this one. This is the first one I have read. 

This book was provided by Netgalley and I appreciated the opportunity to read and review it.

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review 2014-11-25 04:48
Death Comes to London-A satisfying historical cozy
Death Comes to London - Catherine Lloyd

Death Comes to London is a satisfying historical cozy with a likeable characters.  It's the second mystery in the Kurland St. Mary mysteries but the first one that I've read.  Not reading the first one didn't affect my understanding of this book.  Everything I needed to know was explained clearly without feeling like there was a lot of exposition.  I think that takes some skillful writing.  All to say, this can definitely be read as a stand alone.

Lucy and her sister Anna have come to London for a "season" to try to find Anna a husband.  Even though Lucy thinks she is too old for the debutante scene, she would also like to find a husband if possible.  Their friend and Lucy's ex-employer, Major Kirkland, ends up in London at the same time because he is being rewarded (reluctantly on his part) a baronetcy. While making the rounds of the social scene, they all become acquainted with the Broughtons, the son of the family having served with Kurland.  The Dowager Lady Broughton is a very unpleasant woman but when she drops dead at one of the most fashionable balls, the question has to be asked.  Who dislikes her enough to kill her?

The band of amateur detectives are intelligent and pleasant to read about.  They manage to run their investigation with no TSTL moments and the police aren't investigating the case so we don't have the really annoying interference with police that plagues so many mysteries. There is some good information about the state of scientific investigation at the time. I always find that intriguing. The killer becomes apparent before the end but not early enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book.  My overall summation of this book is good plot, likeable characters, interesting setting. I'll be looking for the first book in the series and I'll be waiting for the 3rd one.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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