Exploring the Mysteries of the Mind

Tag: Emily James

September Rad Reads

Just 2 book reviews for you this time, folks! Partly because I read a couple of duds these last few weeks, and also I’ve been spending some of my reading time on writing the next Judith Anderson C.o.P. on the Scene book.

The first draft is real close to done!! Yippee! Then I can start editing, which is my favorite part of the process.

(Oh, and I put together another boxed set from the Marcia and Buddy series. See below! You can preorder on Amazon or get it elsewhere now. Don’t ask how I ended up with different release dates…long story.)

So without further ado, here are those reviews! Enjoy, Kass

~~

A Sticky Inheritance, A Maple Syrup Mystery, Book 1, by Emily James ~ Free on KU or $2.99

Again, full disclosure: I know this author, but I am recommending her books because they are terrific!

Nicole Fitzhenry-Dawes is a criminal lawyer in D.C. who travels to Fair Haven, Michigan to make arrangements for her favorite uncle’s funeral. Once there, she discovers two things. One, her Uncle Stan left her the maple farm where she had spent many a summer growing up, and two, his suicide might have been murder. Then she learns two more things—the local medical examiner is really attractive, and she enjoys running a maple farm a whole lot more than she ever liked being a lawyer.

I really love these characters. They are fully developed, three-dimensional people. I also really liked the premise of setting a mystery series on a maple syrup farm and in the nearby town. And there are plenty of twists and turns, a touch of romance, and dogs!

I have read this entire 13-book series, and loved every one of the stories. A Sticky Inheritance and this entire series gets 5 fingerprints.

Ghost Walking, A Maggie York Paranormal Mystery Book 1, by Ally Shields ~ $5.99

(Sorry, this one isn’t discounted — see below for whether it would probably be worth it for you. It was for me.)

Not believing won’t make the ghosts go away.

This book is a combo of two of my favorite things, a well-written police procedural (with a female cop) and a ghost story.

Maggie York is on medical leave because she almost died in the line of duty. Actually she did flatline and was revived, and that whole process somehow triggered a latent “gift”—she can now see ghosts.

She sets out to find her shooter, but a ghost (who witnessed the shooting) shows up and wants her to solve his murder first. And her butting into that case does not endear her to the sexy male cop who has taken her place on the homicide squad.

There’s a lot to like about this book. The pacing and character development are good, and the plot is complicated enough to be interesting (could have been more twists and turns, but there are a few surprises). But what I liked best was Maggie’s characterization. Her skepticism and reluctance to embrace her gift make her more realistic, as does her resistance to the appeal of the sexy cop.

Unfortunately, this first-in-series is not discounted, but if you like character-driven police procedurals and ghosts, it’s worth the price. (Or watch for it to go on sale.) I plan to read more of this series.

I give Ghost Walking 4 fingerprints!

And here’s the scoop on that new collection:

The Marcia Banks and Buddy Collection III, Books 8-10

Even small towns can harbor a killer!

In the third collection from this fun cozy series, service dog trainer, Marcia Banks and her four-legged best friend, Buddy sniff out killers and fraudsters.

An impulsive fiancé, a “Mob Killer” Roman candle, and a bison bull named Tarzan are a recipe for Independence Day mayhem for Jess Randall, owner of the Mayfair Diner.

Then Marcia stays with her friend Becky in Williston, Florida, while training a dog’s new veteran owner, and discovers that flea markets can hide dangerous secrets.

And when a charming newcomer sweeps sheltered Susanna Mayfair off her feet, Marcia pokes into the man’s past, and discovers a trail of broken hearts and outstanding warrants.

Save $4 compared to individual book prices!

AVAILABLE ON:  AMAZON (releases 9/22) ~ APPLE ~ NOOK ~ KOBO ~ GOOGLE PLAY

Kass’s Summer Rad Reads

How did it get to be July already? I hope you all are having a good summer.

Here’s some summer reading for you. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any good free or 99 cent books this past month, but two of these are $2.99 (or free on Kindle Unlimited).

Sugar and Vice, A Cupcake Truck Mystery #1, by Emily James ~ Free on KU or $2.99

Isabel Addington is hiding from an abusive husband and trying to make a living selling cupcakes from a food truck. But both her living and her life are in jeopardy when the old man whose 100th birthday party she’s catering drops dead.

I’m familiar with this author, and her ability to develop characters and settings is remarkable.

But I wasn’t completely enthralled with this protagonist at first. She’s got a hard shell, which of course she has come by honestly. And her situation requires that she move frequently, to stay one step ahead of her abusive husband, so what’s the point of making friends, right?

But I really liked the unusual premise of a cozy’s main character escaping abuse and felt a good bit of sympathy for her.

And as the story unfolds, the handsome local detective—who starts out convinced she is the murderer—along with his adorable young niece begin to worm their way past Isabel’s defenses.

I have read all five books in this series, totally enjoying the evolution of Isabel from closed-off and defensive to fiercely loyal and protective of those she loves. The series ended way sooner than I would’ve liked.

I give Sugar and Vice and the rest of the series 4½ fingerprints.

The Medium of Branden Bay, A Ghost Cozy Mystery, by Kelly Mason – $2.99, Free on KU

(Note: I’m not crazy about this cover; I think it makes the story seem frivolous, which it is not.)

I’m not a huge paranormal fan but I do love a good ghost story, and this one is very good indeed. Set in a lovely seaside town in southwest England, it has a touch of humor, some quirky characters, a likeable protagonist and the requisite cat.

Smarting from a relationship gone sour, Becky James moves to her grandmother’s old house for the proverbial fresh start. But she discovers she’s inherited more than the Beach House and Grandma’s love of baking—she can also see ghosts. And her house is full of them.

Soon she is caught up in trying to solve a murder and the disappearance of a young girl.

With some interesting twists, this fun story left me wanting to read more about Becky and Branden Bay.  Book 2 is patiently waiting for me on my kindle.

I give The Medium of Branden Bay 4 fingerprints!

Murder In the Meadow, A Never Too Late Mystery #1, by DonnaRae Menard ~ $5.99 (I think it’s worth it)

(Again, not crazy about the cover; but this book is traditionally published, so the publisher picked it.)

Grandmothers and inheritances seem to be a theme this month. Only in this book, the main character, Katelyn Took has inherited a dilapidated farm, seventeen cats, and an addled old woman she has never met before.

All Kate wants is to sell the place and get back to her own life, which is definitely not in the hometown she fled ten years ago. But there are a few complications. One, a stipulation in Gram’s will says she has to live on the farm until homes are found for all the cats. And two, it’s looking like Gram’s death in the meadow wasn’t an accident!

The plot is interesting, but the characters are the best part of this story. Some of them are quite quirky (especially the four-legged ones), but mostly they are very real. More than once I felt like I was sitting at the kitchen table with Kate and Ruth (the confused old lady) trying to figure out how to make ends meet.

I just finished reading an advance copy of Book 2 and it’s equally good. Murder on Eagle Drop Ridge releases July 21st.

I give Murder in the Meadow 4½ fingerprints.

(You can also order the paperback HERE and support your local bookstore!)

That’s it for now, folks! Don’t forget to preorder my new book, To Bark or Not To Bark.

 

 

 

© 2022 KASSANDRA LAMB

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑