Best Selling Mysteries, Suspense, Thrillers, & Horror

Book Reviews

Mystery Book Reviews Week of April 28 to May 4, 2019

I’m in the process of moving all of my book reviews to one site, Reading Fanatic Reviews. Here’s a list of the mysteries I’ve reviewed this past week! Click the link to see the review.

Paranormal Mysteries

Historical Mysteries

Cozy Mysteries

Thrillers

Mystery Book Reviews Week of April 21 to 27, 2019

I’m in the process of moving all of my book reviews to one site, Reading Fanatic Reviews. Here’s a list of the mysteries I’ve reviewed this past week! Click the link to see the review.

Mysteries & Suspense

  • Bulwark by Brit Lunden (paranormal gothic-style suspense with romance)
  • Cooking with Kandy by Peggy Jaeger (romantic suspense)

Cozy Mysteries

Thrillers

Mystery Book Reviews Week of April 14 to 20, 2019

I’m in the process of moving all of my book reviews to one site, Reading Fanatic Reviews. Here’s a list of the mysteries I’ve reviewed this past week! Click the link to see the review.

Mysteries

Cozy Mysteries

Thrillers

Handbags & Hooligans by Laina Turner

Handbags & Hooligans*

What Happens in Vegas

Before she can really start her new job as a Mary Kay consultant, Presley leaves town for Las Vegas. Her friend Anne has been involved in wedding planning, and she and her fiance decide to ditch all the plans and just run off to Vegas instead. Presley’s younger brother lives in Vegas. Unfortunately, his girlfriend has gone missing, and it appears the brother has secrets as well.

Will they find the missing girlfriend? What secrets have been hidden . . . and by whom? Will the wedding still go off without a hitch? Does a new career await Presley in Las Vegas?

This book wasn’t quite as humorous at the last one, but it was fun to get a little more insight into Presley’s family. I like how the author has been setting up each book of the series with a prologue that describes a key scene that is relevant to the central mystery of the book.

If you have enjoyed the previous books in this series, you will enjoy Presley’s next adventure.

I received a free copy of this book, but this did not affect my review.

Tesla by Jason Walker

Tesla*

Would There Be Danger If What Was Hidden Was Found

Starting with an interesting scene where are Tesla, Edison, and Mark Twain meet with a secret group high up in the relatively new Eiffel Tower, having been invited by  Monsieur  Eiffel himself. The Tesla story is juxtaposed with a more modern one based around a spy named Darren and his wife who work for a secret arm of the CIA, operating as agents for the shadow government. Darren comes across some old original notes of Tesla’s. What will he do with his findings? Will they put him and his family in danger?

This book is written in the present tense, and in general, I think that is an awkward way to write fiction. And unfortunately, in this case, sometimes the other tenses required to show proper sequence of time weren’t chosen correctly around the ubiquitous present tense; this is one of the pitfalls of using the present tense. That said, this was still an interesting read, making the reader of ponder what unknown knowledge might be hiding out there, who are keeping it secret, and what it could mean if it was known.

In just a total aside . . . Since Mark Twain was the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, I think it would have made an ironic twist to have the members of the secret committee him as Sam instead of Mark.

Berried Alive by Chelsea Thomas

Berried Alive*

Going Toes Up in the Berries

In this installment of Apple Orchard Cozy series starts off with a mini mystery! Who is behind the Post-it caper at the Brown Cow? But things soon take an ominous turn. Local business owners are up in arms about the developer who has come to Pine Grove with plans to open up a Massive Mart. When he is found face-down, murdered, in a berry pie, Chelsea and Miss May are ready to step in to help local law enforcement figure out what’s going on.

Who is behind the developer’s death? Will Chelsea pursue the relationship with her favorite detective? What about Germany Turtle, son of the victims is of the previous crime that Chelsea and Miss May helped with?

This was a light, fun read. The author has set up a quirky female amateur sleuth team in Chelsea and Miss May. As often happens in cozy mysteries, there is a lot of humor here, and it is well done. In this book, I particularly enjoyed the little moments with Germany Turtle. I am a massive Jane Austen fan, and Germany Turtle reminded me in his interesting mix of pomposity and servility of Mr. Collins. I like him better than Mr. Collins, though; Germany just comes across as very sweet and perhaps not comfortable than people. His speeches were rather humorous.

I found one glaring error in the book. The author called the Marianas Trench the Mariana Trench. As I have several friends who are named Mariana, this stuck out like a sore thumb to me. But still, I quite enjoyed this quirky cozy.

Necklaces & Nooses by Laina Turner

Necklaces & Nooses*

New Boss Found Hanging!

At her new job in a boutique, Presley walks to find her boss Solange hanging from a light fixture. Presley figures it’s suicide, but Detective Willie thinks it’s a homicide. As Willie works on the case, he and Presley begin dating. Who killed the boss? Will Presley be a suspect since she found Solange? Will she and Willie become an item?

This second book of the series is an improvement over the first. The author isn’t trying so hard to be sassy or quirky and is playing a bit more with Presley’s character. I’m wondering, although, if it will be a thing in this series that Presley develops a romantic interest in whoever is investigating the murder in the book. Book three might give me some insight! The book has some issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage. Most glaring was the improper use of a past participle, *had broke* instead of *had broken*. It was a little jarring to see, but otherwise, I wasn’t overly impacted by these issues.

I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.

Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner

Stilettos & Scoundrels*

Who Killed the Senator?

After a MeToo moment, heroine Presley quits her job in HR and decides to become a journalist. The day after her first interview, her subject–a senator–is found murdered, the weapon being a stiletto heel. Was Presley the last one to see him alive? Her ex-boyfriend Cooper thinks she’s a suspect.

Who murdered the senator? Does this spell the end for Presley’s new career . . . and her freedom? Will old feelings resurface between her and Cooper, or will they be at each other’s throats?

This is the debut novel for the author. I think she was attempting to do one of those quirky, funny cozy mysteries, with humor, but she fell out short of the mark. I’m willing to cut her slack as it is her first book. I am interested to see what happens in book 2.

Just a side comment . . . This book is full of brand names and cultural references. I wonder if that dates a book and/or makes it less accessible to those who aren’t familiar with these references. Books can live on Amazon and other online book stories for a long time. Will a reader ten years from now understand what the references mean?

I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.

Coven at Collington by Shereen Vedam

Coven at Callington*

Witch Wars, Intrigue, and Romance in Fantastical Regency England

Fresh from fending off an attack by hellhounds, Guard of the Green Cross–a secret arm of the Anglican Church meant to handle evil forces and entities if they rise from darkness–the Earl of Braden gets new orders from the Archbishop that are directly opposed to a central tenet of the guard’s code: do not interfere in disputes between witches and warlocks. Centuries ago witch hunts blackened the name of guards (then known as knights), so meddling is now forbidden. Braden has been tasked with retrieving the son of a warlock, who was supposedly taken by a demon, as well as destroy the coven in the area. More is happening at Callington than Braden imagined, and he is more than tempted to enlist the aid of the coven protectress, Merryn, to help figure it all out. Merryn believes that the same warlock who killed her younger brother has taken the boy.

Will Braden succeed in rescuing the boy? What exactly is going on between the warlocks and witches in Callington? Will Braden risk his position to follow what he knows is right? Will he fall for the coven protectress?

The author has done a fantastic job of creating a magical version of Regency England. I love how the first scene in Regency times a flame in a streetlight is talking! I literally did a double take to see if I was reading correctly! There are other magical elements as well, some of which are not truly explained until later. I thought the idea of having this secret group of guards under direct orders of the Archbishop of Canterbury was inspired. Braden is a complicated, fascinating hero to watch wrestle with right and wrong, on both personal and professional levels.

With elements of fantasy, the paranormal, intrigue, and romance . . . what’s not to like!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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    The asterisks (*) by the book title denote the source of the book copy.

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    Three stars = I purchased the book outright (sometimes for free).

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