August 20, 2016

Review: Outside the Lines by Sheila Lowe




Product Description: 
What should have been a routine afternoon on the witness stand for Forensic Handwriting Expert Claudia Rose turns into a shocking assault that leaves her bruised and bloodied. Following on the heels of a series of other traumatic events, the attack sends Claudia to the brink of a breakdown. 

Her fiancĂ©, L.A.P.D. Homicide Detective Joel Jovanic, learns of the attack while leading a homicide investigation into a mailbox bomb. An innocent housekeeper in the tony Venice neighborhood is dead and the homeowner is the CEO of a major pesticide-producing corporation that has been targeted in the past. When a notebook found in a geocache near the crime scene leads to the protest group People for Safe Food, Jovanic needs Claudia to identify the handwriting of a suspected eco-terrorist. 

Though she may have recovered physically from the assault, weeks later Claudia’s fears continue to plague her. Desperate to get away, she accepts an invitation to lecture in the UK, but her trip turns into a nightmare when she runs afoul of both the FBI and New Scotland Yard. Jovanic’s homicide case has followed her to London where she finds herself unexpectedly allied with the chief suspect. 


My Thoughts:
Outside the Lines is the 6th book in the Forensic Handwriting Mysteries but it definitely stands alone. There are references to incidents in the earlier books but nothing that makes a difference in this story line.  

Forensic Handwriting Expert Claudia Rose can easily analyze a person by their handwriting. She sees what people work hard to hide. With this skill she's become a valuable part of her fiancĂ© Joel's success as a homicide detective. 

In this case, an incident that starts out as a harmless scare tactic by a group of people protesting a pesticide corporation, turns deadly when someone is accidentally killed. Now the leader of the group is on the run and asking Claudia for help. As the lead suspect he's being chased down by Joel who warns Claudia away from him but she can't help getting involved. Now tension strains Claudia and Joel's relationship as she works on figuring a way to make things work for everyone.

My Recommendation:
I really love how Sheila builds the story. Different scenarios have you thinking you can guess at what's coming next but as you read on you realize you were wrong. Through the twists, the suspense builds up to the gratifying end. I highly recommend this book, and series, to anyone who loves a good mystery with a surprise ending.    

June 23, 2016

Review: Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

Product Description:
Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the "time-travel professor," and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.

My Thoughts:
Indiana Belle is book three in the American Journey Series but also stands alone if you haven't read the previous two books. The American Journey Series is also the second time travel series by the author whose previous Northwest Passage series was also about time travel.

In Indiana Belle I felt that the circumstances leading to how Cameron was able to time travel were a little far-fetched. He kind of bullied the professor into sending him back in time because of a photograph and I feel that the professor didn't handle the situation well.

Once I got past that, the story comes alive and I could clearly imagine what life was like back in 1925. That is what I love most about all of Heldt's works. I can always vividly imagine life back in the day.

I also felt a bit of suspense throughout the book because from the beginning the professor warns about messing with history. In this instance changes would actually threaten the professor's own existence.  As a result I felt a growing sense of unease because clearly Cameron was changing history and I was kept in suspense until the very end. There was also a quick peek at the future which makes me hope a future time travel book is coming soon.

Overall this was another great time travel book from an author I've come to look forward reading.

My Recommendation: 
I recommend this for anyone who loves time travel romance.


February 29, 2016

Review: The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton


Product Description:
In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn't know much about what she's gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she'll be working with "a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes," and Delaney can't wait to get started.
When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, and who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An unexpected bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his piercing eyes, and a rolling brogue -- and it doesn't hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt.
But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact -- a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare's plays -- goes missing, and Edwin's sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own, to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio, and how it's connected to the tragic death, all without getting harmed herself.

My Thoughts:
From the cover, I was expecting a typical cozy mystery with an amateur sleuth chasing down the clues and eventually solving the crime. What I got was an amateur sleuth finding pretty much only one clue, asking a few questions and miraculously solving the crime. Nothing really flowed right. 

I don't buy the motivation behind Delaney leaving the US for Scotland, the club Edwin is a part of seems like it should be a bigger part of the story but doesn't amount to much, Rosie witnessing an accident and then ending up flirting with the victim doesn't tie into anything, Delaney hearing voices from the books around her is an interesting side plot but nothing is made of it and I could go on and on but it's all more of the same. 

I was hoping for a whole lot more from the book but at the end of it all I enjoyed the characters so much, I just might read the next book in the series. If it wasn't for side characters like Elias, Tom and even little Hector I wouldn't bother. I hope the storyline flows much better in the next book of the series. If the subplot isn't going to be fully flushed out, I hope Shelton leaves it out so it doesn't distract from what is enjoyable in the storyline. 

My Recommendation:
I recommend this to anyone who likes cozy mysteries with more emphasis on good characters rather than a believable plot. 

February 20, 2016

Review: The Exorcist Who Loved Me by Jennifer Savalli



Product Description:
Hiring an exorcist is not something widowed single mom Holly Archer ever thought she’d do. But the blackouts she’s been having mean someone—or something—is hijacking her body and she wants it stopped, like yesterday.
The hottie who shows up at her door is the first man who’s sparked her interest since her awful marriage. It’s no hardship to give herself over to his skills, and in short order the spirit is ejected—and Holly comes face to face with Celia, the ghost of her dead husband’s mistress.
Lawe Callahan figured this would be an easy case, and by morning he’d be headed for another town, leaving Holly and her witchy amber eyes behind. Until she agrees to help the ghost, who refuses to budge until her killer is brought to justice.
As the investigation heats up, so does Lawe and Holly’s attraction. But their differences not only threaten any chance of something real, their quest for the truth could drive a killer to tie up all loose ends—permanently.

My Thoughts:
Cheesy title aside, The Exorcist Who Loved Me was a great book. Being released by Samhain Publishing I also thought it would be a very spicy read but the romance was actually on the tamer side. My beef with romance books is how fast the main characters fall in love and jump into bed and this one is no exception but the story most definitely makes up for it.  
Being haunted by your dead husband's mistress is like the ultimate slap in the face but Holly handles it well and with Lawe's help they uncover the truth of what was thought to be Celia and Holly's husband's accidental death. The way the mystery is solved is very believable and the story flows naturally around it.
This is Book 2 in the Must Love Ghosts series but is also a stand alone as I have not read the 1st book in the series and didn't feel like anything was missing. I enjoyed this one so much, I'll most likely be going back to read book 1, Must Love Ghosts.

Product Description:I highly recommend this one for anyone who loves paranormal romance with a well balanced storyline.  

February 7, 2016

Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald



Product Description:
Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy's funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor―there's not much else to do in a dying small town that's almost beyond repair.
You certainly wouldn't open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You'd need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy's house is full of them), and...customers.
The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel's own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought.

A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.

My Thoughts:
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a sugary sweet story that was a little too predictable for me. I didn't connect with any of the characters nor was I rooting for them in any way throughout the story.... but it was a cute story. 

I like the idea of a complete stranger from another country pulling together the small town and helping the residents who were quickly losing hope. I just wish there were a little more twists and turns so I didn't see every plot line coming from a mile away. 

I especially love all the talk of books and how Sara shares books with the town. I think that's what saved the book from being a total dud for me. Overall it was an enjoyable read, I just feel it had potential to be a much better story. 

My Recommendation:
I recommend this one for anyone who loves light and fluffy chic-lit.