Today, August 29, is the release date for Tonya Kappes’s newest book, “Betting Off Dead.” Celebrate with her by clicking on this link and filling out the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card, Large Tote Bag, or a signed Kappes Novel.
Gemma Rose has had it with her high paying executive job in Australia and is flying back home to Meadowford, England, near Oxford, to start her new life. She has big plans with her friend, Cassie.
It takes 20 hours of flight time to fly across the world and Gemma finds herself seated next to Jenn Murray. Jenn is terrified all during the flight and to calm her nerves she drinks a lot. But even then Gemma and Jenn have a nice conversation and get to know each other.
When the plane finally lands in England, Jenn hurries off the plane. Gemma takes her time and is one of the last people to exit. It’s because of this that she spots Jenn’s scarf on the seat. Knowing where Jenn is staying she grabs the scarf planning to call Jenn at her hotel and return it to her.
Gemma is excited about her plans to open a tearoom in Oxford. Her best friend, Cassie will be working there. Cassie has found the perfect place for the tearoom but there are two little problems. The first is that Gemma has to get the bank to approve the loan for the tearoom. The last time she spoke with them she was told that the loan was practically hers and not to worry. The other problem is that a group of Chinese men want to buy the same place to open a shop and they’re offering the current owner more money than Jenn has offered. The owners have agreed to sell to Gemma for the lower amount as long as she can get the money to them as soon as possible. Since Gemma is confident of getting the loan she needs she isn’t really worried.
After she sees the spot for her new tearoom, Gemma calls Jenn to return her scarf. The two women visit at the lounge at Cotswolds Manor House where Jenn is staying. Once again, Jenn starts to drink quite a bit and Gemma has to take her friend back up to her room. When they get up there Jenn realizes that she left her pocketbook in the lounge so Gemma goes back down there to find it. It took forever to get to the lounge and back up to Jenn’s room because the elevator is as slow as molasses. Maybe even slower than molasses but she eventually gets back upstairs and returns the bag to Jenn who is in the bathroom brushing her teeth.
The next morning, Gemma gets a message from the police asking her to come to the station. It’s there that she learns that Jenn was found murdered in her hotel room and Gemma was the last person who saw her. Not only that, but rumor somehow got out that Gemma and Jenn were lovers and they had an argument. Gemma is shocked to hear this and told the police that she and Jenn had just met on the air flight over from Australia and only had the beginnings of a friendship let alone an intimate one. Police Inspector Robert Glenn does not believe her and tells her that she is the prime murder suspect.
This can’t be happening! When word came out that Gemma is now suspected of killing a woman the bank refuses her loan. Now what is she supposed to do? She has to clear her name and make sure the bank loans her the money for the tearoom. So Gemma, with the help of the Old Biddies, a group of older women her mother is friends with, start to investigate the murder on their own.
“All-Butter Short Dead” by H.Y. Hanna is one terrific cozy. It’s the prequel to Ms. Hanna’s Oxford Tearoom Mysteries which I now have to get my hands on to read.
Gemma and her friend Cassie are nice characters and the story line is wonderful. Oh, I thought I knew who the murderer was as soon as Gemma started investigating. I’m an old hand in cozy mysteries and I can see things coming from a mile away. I was wrong! I’m embarrassed to say that I was thrown completely off. But that’s what made it a great cozy mystery.
Give this prequel a try but prepared to want to read all the books in the series.
Everyone was having a good time at the Hillside Archery Competition waiting for Heather Shepherd’s friend Jung to show the judges how good he was at the sport and just might possibly win. But the judges weren’t on the field yet and people were wondering what the hold up was.
Heather suddenly sees her husband, Detective Ryan Shepherd, appear on the field and she knew that this meant that a major problem was in the making. And it was a major problem. One of the judges, Kyle Henson, was found murdered, found in the locker room with a carbon arrow in his heart. The killer was obviously an archer but who?
At first Heather was afraid that her friend Jung might be accused because he was falsely accused of a previous murder but there’s no way he killed the judge. Luckily Jung isn’t a suspect because luckily he was at Heather’s bakery, Donut Delights, when the murder occurred.
Heather now plans to take off her baker’s hat and exchange it for her investigator’s hat and find out who murdered the judge and ruined the competition for everyone.
There is long list of suspects including the dead judge’s wife who he was cheating on and rumor has it that she was cheating on him too. Or it could be the one of the competitors who was the favorite to win the contest and was trained by the judge years earlier. Or it might even be that suspicious looking man that Heather keeps seeing who drives a white Ford Fiesta.
The murderer could be anyone and it isn’t going to be easy for Heather to investigate. Her bakery is being expanded and the construction noise is deafening, she has a ton of online orders she and her crew have to get out, and her Private Investigator’s test is coming up in a week and she wants to study more so she can pass it.
But nothing is going to stop her from finding out who killed the judge and why.
“M&M Surprise Murder” by Susan Gillard is the 17th in her Donut Hole Cozy Mystery series and it’s just as cute as the previous 16 books. Ms. Gillard’s novels all seem to take place within a couple of weeks of each other which means there’s a lot of murder going on in the book’s venue of Hillside, Texas but there’s also a whole lot of donut making too. I’m a real fan of the donut making part.
I do enjoy this long series. Since there are so many and come at a steady pace readers don’t have to try and remember who’s who and what’s what and I like that. These books are like one continuous story.
The characters are friendly and even though the plot lines are like a formula, the formula works. Someone is killed in Hillside, Texas as Heather and her baking crew are creating a new delicious donut; Heather is asked to investigate even though fans know she’ll investigate if she’s asked or not; and her husband, police Detective Ryan Shepherd, will tell her not to investigate even though he wants her help. The stories are simplistic which is not a bad thing at all. I like going into a new book in this series knowing that I’ll be very familiar with all the characters and the area and expecting nothing more than a cute who-dunnit. You don’t always have to read some heavy serious novel, it’s okay to find a lot of fun, easy reading in a book. As far as I’m concerned I read for enjoyment and to take me to someplace outside of my real life.
Reading for enjoyment is exactly what this cozy series is for. Start with the first book in the series so you can see how the characters develop. Reading should be fun and the Donut Hole Cozy Mystery books are a whole lot of fun.
Mable Wickles may be in her mid 60’s but that has never stopped her from investigating all the murders that seem to take place in her hometown of Parson’s Cove. Let’s face it, even Sheriff Reg Smee knows he needs the all the help that this amateure sleuth can give him, not to mention the coffee and baked goods that she brings along.
But this new investigation is kind of personal to Mable. Jakie Flanders, the 40 year old son of Mabel’s best friend Flori Flanders, has been accused of murdering Victor Fleming, Flori’s cousin. According to police, Jakie was seen arguing with Victor, beat him up, and then locked Victor in an ice fishing shack during the coldest days of the year. When Victor’s body was found a few days after a blizzard, Victor was frozen solid.
Mable knows that Jakie had always been in trouble when growing up but since he got married to his second wife he’s been a good family man even if his temper is a bit short. Mable also knows that Jakie is not a murderer and she plans to prove that to the town. But that isn’t going to be easy to do since Jakie refuses to talk to Mabel in his jail cell. He won’t even speak with his mother, Flori, or his dad Jake. If anything, he’s telling everyone to stay away “or else.” “Or else?” Mable does not like to be threatened and knows that there is something else going on and that she’s the one to figure it all out.
She gets the help of Nathan Horne, who works in the post office by day but during his lunch breaks, evening hours, and days off he helps Mable with his trusty computer gaining insights on the many suspects they have in this murder. Even Sheriff Reg Smee is giving information to Mable and Nathan so they can help him find the real killer. Flori is also doing her best to help out. Mable and Flori might both be in their 60’s but they have no problem doing anything at all. These are not “little old ladies.”
The beginning was adorable. Flori has a tendency to cry at the drop of a hat and her family gathered at her home for an intervention to get Flori to stop crying so much. Mable was asked to come because of her friendship with Flori even though Mable has no problems with Flori’s tears. I was pulled into “Frozen Identity” by reading this because it made the characters seem very real not to mention I thought the whole thing about an intervention to have someone stop crying was pretty funny. Having a great start to a story is the best way to get a reader involved in the plot and Ms. Rose did a good job of pulling me in.
There are lots of twists and turns in Mable’s investigation and the pages just fly by as you’re trying to figure out the reason behind Victor’s murder.
This is the first Parson’s Cove mystery that I’ve read and it was a wonderful book. Author Sharon Rose has some well thought-out characters living in this icy, snowy town. “Frozen Identity” will not be the last in the series for me to read. I plan on looking for the rest and enjoying more time in Parson’s Grove.
It’s very early morning and hundreds of unemployed people are quietly waiting in line talking to each other or trying to sleep as they wait to get a job application. Women have little babies with them, men hoping to be able to support their families quietly praying to get a job, anything to pay the bills. Out of nowhere a Mercedes Benz come roaring into the crowd, purposely running over as many people as possible. People were killed, severely injured, burned, maimed while the Mercedes driver, Brady Hartsfield, gleefully drives off. Retired detective, Bill Hodges, was determined to find this psychopath after all of this especially when Hartsfield tried to get Bill to kill himself.
But Brady was hard to capture and a year or so after the slaughter at the job fair he tried to blow up the venue where thousands of young teens were listening to their favorite boy band. Bill Hodges and his team were able to stop him. Hartsfield wasn’t killed but was hit over the head and ended up in a hospital in a Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic for people who couldn’t move, or talk, or feed themselves because of a brain injury. But Hodges was sure that Brady knew what was going on around him and visited him weekly trying to get Hartsfield angry enough to talk, or better, yet attack the retired police detective but that never happened. Hodges is sure that Hartsfield is planning something and is just biding time. But for what?
The nurses in the ward are experiencing some strange things when they go into Brady’s room to care for him. Water in the bathroom goes on by itself, picture frames start moving, and some of the staff find themselves in some sort of stupor losing themselves while just looking out a window.
Bill Hodges now runs his own detective agency called Finders Keepers and he and the co owner, Holly Gibney, is still focusing in on Brady Hartsfield. Bill kind of believes that Brady is responsible for all the telekinesis activity but it’s hard for him to really believe that Brady has the ability to do this.
And then the suicides begin.
Suddenly teens start killing themselves, nothing all that odd here since teens do commit suicide but not the daughter of his close friend. This young lady has everything to live for and yet she became so depressed and felt so guilty that she attempted suicide. Then Hodges notices that some adults are also killing themselves and all of them had some kind of relationship with Hartsfield. Some were nurses in the hospital and some were people who were injured during the Mercedes Massacre. And the teens that were committing suicide were the kids who were at the venue for the concert when they were younger.
Bill tried to get the police to help him figure this out but they don’t believe him so it’s up to Bill and his Finders Keepers team to figure out what’s going on.
“End of Watch” by Stephen King is the third in the Bill Hodges trilogy, the third of one of the best horror trilogies I’ve read in awhile. These books have to be read in order, “Mr. Mercedes” then “Finders Keepers” and then “End of Watch.”
The story is really good if not a little hard to swallow at times but it’s a Stephen King book. But what makes this an outstanding trilogy are the characters. Bill Hodges is the kind of man that anyone would be proud to call “friend.” He is truly loyal to people and it’s in his nature to try to help. Holly Gibney, the co owner of Finders Keepers, is a complex, troubled person who is making great strides in turning herself a more confident person. There are others here who the reader becomes attached to and really cares about.
Brady Hartsfield is a well thought out evil genius. He has no qualms in killing anyone for any reason especially if it’s for revenge and he’s out to kill Bill and others just for revenge.
I’m secretly hoping that King kind of goes on with this series by introducing more books about the Finders Keepers investigation agency.
It’s hard to say exactly what goes on because I don’t want to ruin it for others. But I will say that it is violent, a little nerve wracking, and it will get you thinking.
This last book of the trilogy is the best of the three but I recommend all of them to Stephen King lovers.
Maggie Parker is a witch but, shhh, don’t tell anyone. She and her mother, her aunt Meme, and sister Lilith are doing their best living in Kentucky and making sure their mortal neighbors don’t know about their coven. It isn’t easy with their “familiars” around. Familiars are usually an animal-shaped spirit believed to serve a witch as a domestic servant, spy and companion. Aunt Meme’s familiar is an owl named Miss Kitty, Lilith’s is a macaw named Gilbert, and her mother’s is Riule, a cat but Maggie’s familiar is a 1965 red AC Cobra classic car named Vinnie.
Each witch has to have a life’s journey and Maggie’s is to work as a spy with a little known division of Interpol called SKUL, Secret Keepers of the Universal Laws. The fact that her partner at SKUL is hunky Mick Jasper doesn’t hurt matters one iota. Mick does suspect that something is a little different about Maggie and her car. He’s seen things that Maggie won’t explain and when Maggie tried to put a spell on him to erase what he saw the spell didn’t take. Uh oh.
Maggie’s new assignment with SKUL is to pretend to be married to Mick so they can go undercover and investigate illegal gambling in the race horse industry. She has to somehow get close to the wives of the gamblers which is is hard to do since the wives don’t seem to like her. Maybe Maggie will try a little spell to get on their good side even though her coven does not want their members ever using witchcraft.
Another problem is that Maggie sort of likes Mick. Okay, she really likes him and is very attracted to the man. Her family on the other hand, is not thrilled with Mick and would like nothing more than for him to disappear. Even Vinnie the car hates Mick and has no trouble letting Maggie know his feelings.
The gambling investigation, while at first might have been fun, soon gets quite dangerous. Well, maybe not so dangerous to Maggie since she can twitch her nose, wave her hand, and get herself out of a dire predicament but the same can’t be said for Mick or the horses. Working for SKUL is not going to be easy for her but Maggie plans on doing her best since this is her life’s journey. And maybe she can get Mick to take an active interest in her without using her witchy powers.
Alright, I’ll admit it, “Betting Off Dead” by Tonya Kappes is one cute book. It was fun reading about all the powers Maggie and her family have and are yet forbidden to use. Every so often they cheat, I mean, I can totally understand waving your hand and putting yourself in your room on the third floor without climbing all those steps, and why bother physically cleaning up when you can move your finger and the house is spic and span without breaking a sweat? I want those powers.
The SKUL plot was interesting except I really don’t like it when the main male in a book is perfect and good looking. Does that really happen in real life? Nope, but that just may be why it happens in fiction.
The characters are very entertaining too especially auntie Meme and Vinnie the car and there’s a little sub plot about a mortal who loves Maggie and knows about her powers. His love does cause a problem with her investigation and I liked how Ms. Kappers weaved it in.
I had fun getting to know Maggie, her family, and familiars and would love to read more about them. But I don’t want to get too close because aunt Meme has a short temper and she might turn me into a frog.
Lots of short ghost stories in “20th Century Ghosts” by Joe Hill. We meet a ghost who is haunting a movie theater; a boy who can build hideaways with cardboard boxes where once you crawl in you just might never crawl out; a strange tale where a mom and dad warn their son about not letting the card people find him; an inflatable boy whose parents have to inflate him every so often because he’s a balloon; and lots of other strange tales.
I’ve always liked short stories and author Joe Hill takes after his horror-writer dad, Stephen King, and presents some good ones here. Are they scary, well, yes and no. There’s no gore or anything like that but ghosts do frighten me even though the ghosts in this book aren’t all that bad. The scariest things about the stories is that they make you think about human nature and what you could be hiding from yourself and others. Would you be able to murder someone because they hurt your feelings? And if you could kill them, how would you do it?
If ghost stories and tales that make you wonder and gets you thinking then definitely read this. I’m kind of assuming that if you’re not a fan of horror you wouldn’t ever consider reading Hill anyway.
To my cousin, who doesn’t even like to mention Stephen King’s name, I’d tell her to skip all of Joe Hill’s books too. But if a ghost haunting a movie theater intrigues you then read this anthology.