You may think I’m jumping the gun here, calling it Spring, but I live in northern Florida, so our spring has actually started. We have truly beautiful weather for about 2 months; then it gets stinking hot (for 6 months)!
Okay, on to the book reviews in a moment, but first I wanted to give you all a heads up. I have Fatal Forty-Eight on Sale this week for just 99 cents, and I’ll have more bargains to tell you about this weekend.
So stay tuned!
Now for the rad reads…
Murder at the Marina, A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery, Book 1, by Ellen Jacobson – Free
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this book. Let me start with the positives.
Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her wedding anniversary. Instead her hubs, Scooter, buys her a fixer-upper sailboat. This premise definitely caught my attention, since I was raised in a family of boaters. I spent many a weekend, as a preteen and teenager, hanging out at marinas.
And what married woman hasn’t gotten at least one disastrous present from her husband? (Like the ugly yellow robe mine bought me for Christmas one year.) Mollie’s internal reaction to the boat and her attempts to get her hubs to sell it add humor to the story.
Also, the mystery itself is very well crafted, and the book is well-written. (Only a few typos and one small inconsistency, which is in the subplot).
I did not suspect the person who ended up being the killer, and yet my first thought was that it made perfect sense. That’s the way it should be in a good mystery!
The mystery was what kept me reading, even though I was having trouble relating to this couple. And I struggled to pin down why that was. I’m a fairly visual person (as are 65% of the American population) and I just couldn’t visualize this couple.
So I went back and re-read the first two chapters. There are physical details about these two, and they are very artfully woven into the narrative of the story. So why did I have no internal image of them?
I realized it was because I couldn’t figure out how old they were. They’ve been married ten years, and there’s no mention of previous marriages. Yet, Scooter is “retired,” but only because his business partners forced him to sell out to them, and he made enough from the sale to live independently.
Most of the folks they hang out with at the marina are middle aged or older. But I had trouble visualizing a man called Scooter as middle aged.
Another factor in the “having trouble relating” category was the subplot of Molly competing for an investigative reporter position—at an online publication about alien abductions. Molly is even convinced that one of the women at the marina was a victim of such abductions, but that remains an aside and isn’t really developed.
I think maybe the author worked a little too hard to make the main characters quirky. But there are plenty of other more realistic yet quirky folks at the marina, including a Japanese bobtail cat that adopts Mollie—although she thinks it’s the other way around.
And having said all that, I’ve downloaded Book 2 in the series and plan to read it soon. There are 7 books total, so far—a nice satisfying number for those of us who like to get to know characters and visit them periodically, like old friends.
And the other books are reasonably priced.
I give this story 4 fingerprints!
Here Comes the Witch, A Main Street Witches Cozy, Book 1, by Ani Gonzalez – 99 cents (Free through KU)
When I started this book, I thought that I wasn’t going to like it. First, there was the cover. While lovely, I felt it implied a cutesy type of witch cozy, which isn’t usually my cup of tea.
Then there was the premise, which seemed a little over the top. Kat Ramos, a Manhattan jewelry designer, is looking for capital to start her own store when she agrees to an odd proposal. Liam Hagen has renovated his family’s ancestral home (which happens to be cursed) and he wants to sell it, but first he needs to break the curse, by marrying a descendant of the witch who cursed it in the first place.
That descendant is Kat, who agrees to a sham marriage followed by a quick divorce.
She thinks she’s entered the Twilight Zone when she arrives in Liam’s hometown of Banshee Creek. The whole town is haunted and is proud of it. They even have their own ghost-hunting group, which does a booming business.
I like my paranormal in small doses that are at least somewhat realistic, i.e., it could happen, maybe… This story seemed to be heaping the paranormal on.
But I do like a good ghost story. So I kept reading.
I’m so glad I did! The story is well written and the mystery around the ghost and the curse is intriguing, with some very nice twists and turns.
And I kinda fell in love with Kat and Liam as they (slight spoiler alert) are falling in love with each other.
Plus this series is very reasonably priced.
The author just released Book 7, a Valentine book with a wedding! And it is only $0.99, at the moment.
Four fingerprints for Here Comes the Witch.
The First Time I Died, A Garnet McGee Mystery, Book 1, by Jo Macgregor — $4.99 (and worth it)
This is one of the best written books I’ve read in a long time (excluding misterio press authors, of course 🙂 ) And the story concept is quite original, a new twist on the protagonist going home to find closure for old unresolved issues.
Graduate student Garnett McGee goes to her hometown for Christmas, and finds herself drawn into trying to solve the ten-year-old murder of her high school sweetheart. But after a near-death experience, she finds herself thinking thoughts and feeling feelings that are not her own, and having flashbacks to experiences she never had.
When she was brought back to life by the paramedics, apparently she didn’t come back alone.
This story is poignant at times, suspenseful at other times, and engaging throughout.
And kudos to Ms. Macgregor and her publisher for a practically flawless technical presentation. No typos, no grammatical errors. Quite refreshing.
I have read Book 2, and am looking forward to Book 3, which I have on my kindle but haven’t yet read. I’m saving it for a special occasion.
Five fingerprints for The First Time I Died.
That’s it for this time, Folks. Happy reading!!