Our Reviews

Most Recent Posts First - Previous Reviews are listed under the Blog Archive on the right hand side.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Obsidian mystery releases for September

MURDER OF THE CAT'S MEOW A Scumble River Mystery by Denise Swanson. ISBN: 978-0-451-23781-1. Skye is convinced that her house is haunted and her fiance will never be able to stay there. She is determined to get the ghost out, so Wally can move in. But before that happens, she is called to the bowling alley where a riled up contestant is choking a cat show judge for insulting his feline. The scuffle is broken up but the next morning the judge is found dead. Now Skye has to put her sleuthing skills to the test. Cat style. Skye is a likeable character who seems like everyones best friend. This is a witty read that will leave you cracking up.

Rating: 3.0

LAST WOOL AND TESTMENT A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery by Molly MacRae. ISBN: 978-0-451-23782-8. The first in a new series! Kath Rutledge has taken over her departed grandmother's fabric store, the Weaver's Cat. Upon arriving to town, Kath finds out there has been a murder and her grandmother was the prime suspect. Before she can clear Ivy's name, Kathy encounters a looming presence in the form of a gloomy ghost. It turns out this spectator wants to solve the murder from beyond and Kath is more than willing to let him try. A great beginning to a new series that focuses on family and friendship. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book. A solid read.

Rating: 3.0

Reviewed by: Kathy Fisher

September Mystery reads

The Sept reads were great this year. There are so many good ones to choose from! Here are a few recaps of those I finished recently.

These are Berkley releases:

BUFFALO BILL'S DEAD NOW A Wind River Mystery by Margaret Coel.  ISBN: 978-0-425-25271-0.  If you enjoy Native American themed books, this one is for you. The regalia of Chief Black Heart in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show are being returned to his people. But the cartons are empty and art collector Trevor Pratt believes theives stole them in route. Vicky and Father John think Trevor knows more than he is telling and when he winds up dead, they know their instincts were correct. While trying to track down the stolen goods, they will also have to untagle a weave of lies that have tied two Arapaho familes together. This is a fast paced, emotional story that will entrance the reader from beginning to end.

Rating: 4.0

THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE CONFEDERATE ROSE by Susan Wittig Albert. ISBN: 978-0-425-24776-1. A small town mystery story set in the south during the Depression era, the Darling Dahlias are an eclectic group of women who stand beside each other through thick and thin. Mostly thin during this time. When one of their own is thought to be the source of a theivery at the bank, each one closes ranks to protect her. The strength of families during this time is amazing and those of us that live now, could learn a thing or two about stretching our resources, standing up for a true cause, and protecting those we care most about. A good solid read.

Rating: 3.0

DEATH WITH A BOW An Accessories Mystery by Grace Carroll. ISBN: 978-0-425-25156-0. Things have not been stellar for Rita lately. Her job is great but her love life is at a stand still. And then the upscale botique she works at hires a new sales girl. Who is all that in a neat and tidy package. Shoved in the back room to answer phones, Rita is not happy. But is she mad enough to kill? Some think so when she is the one to find the new girl dead on the sales floor. Rita better start with a good sales pitch, and fast! This is a cute read with a lot of fun fashion advice. A breath of freshness in the mystery world.

Rating: 4.0

WALL-TO-WALL DEAD A Do-It-Yourself Mystery by Jennie Bentley. ISBN:978-0-425-25556-8. Avery and her partner, Derek, are fixing up a cute little condo. They bargained for a quick flip, not a nosey neighbor. When the busybody ends up dead, Avery suspects foul play and soon everyone is a suspect. It seems some people have deep secrets. But are any of them worth killing over? Hopefully Avery finds out before she ends up on the receiving end.  A sweet mystery with a little romance added in. The characters all mesh together well and are fun to learn more about.

Rating: 3.0

DEATH WHERE THE BAD ROCKS LIVE A Spirit Road Mystery by C.M. Wendelboe. ISBN: 978-0-425-25611-4. FBI agent Manny Tanno thought he had left his tribe and the reservation behind him years ago. But now, he finds himself back at the beginning and knows you can never fully escape your past. In Badlands National Park, there is a place that was used as a bombing range. The Lakota refer to it as the Stronghold. Sixty five years later, the Sioux tribe would like any remaining ammunition defused in the Stronghold. When the company finds human remains near a live bomb, Tanno and the tribal police are called to investigate. As the body is removed, two more are found. The remains are close together but happened years apart. What really happens in the Stronghold? Tanno has to delve back into his own past to find out what is going on in the present. A strong read about the intricate tribal lives on a reservation. The insight into these proud, magnificent people is rewarding. Tanno is a down to earth hero. This story will suck you in quickly.

Rating: 4.5

MURDER UNMENTIONALBE A Sweet Nothings Lingerie Mystery by Meg London. ISBN: 978-0-425-25157-7. Emma abandoned her life as a big city fashionista to help her aunt Arabella breathe new life into her old store, Sweet Nothings. As she settles back into Paris, Tennessee, Emma begins to breathe easily. Until her old life collides with her new one in the form of her ex. When he is found dead inside the door of Sweet Nothings, Emma will need to put on her pantyhose and figure out what is going on. A neat story about vintage unmentionables and the betrayal of a friend.

Rating: 3.0

TREACHEROUS TOYS A Renaissance Faire Mystery by Joyce and Jim Lavene. ISBN: 978-0-42525158-4. Jessie Morton is back at the Renaissance Faire Village working as an apprentice to the new toy maker. But when Chris Christmas is found dead just hours after her arrival, Jessie's holiday plans begin to melt away. It's just like her to try to unwrap a mystery. This series is so much fun! A world away from the world, at the Villiage, people live their jobs. The reader never knows what is going to happen, who is going to show up, or what secrets will be revealed. A lively read!

Rating: 4.0

HOW TO TAIL A CAT A Cats and Curios Mystery by Rebecca M. Hale. ISBN: 978-0-425-25129-4. An albino alligator is loose in San Francisco, which is exciting news. But Rupert and Isabella have better things to do. Who cares that they are cats, they have a more important job such as helping to look into the mysterious Steinhart brothers. They were 1900's era benefactors who provided hte orignal funding for hte alligator's aquarium. And to get to the bottom of it, Oscar's niece needs to follow the money, even when it leads to unsavory places. This is a fun read where the cats help solve the mysteries unearthing the biggest clues. A good read for cat lovers everywhere.

Rating: 3.0

All books reviewed by Kathy Fisher

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Christian Police Romance reviewed

Janice Cantore
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
ISBN# 978-1-4143-5848-2
August 2012
Christian Romance

Second in the series, ABDUCTED follows officer Carly Edwards as she adjusts to refocusing on her new relationship with her ex-husband, Nick. Also added, she has to figure out what's going on with her best friend and roommate, Andi, who seems to have some anger and resentment towards Carly. As new Christians, she and Nick have focused on trying to get close again, but instead he starts pulling away, seemingly because of his injury. Now Carly's partner, Joe, and his wife have their baby kidnapped from the hospital. As Carly tries to find the baby, she connects with reporter Alex, who while nice enough and a good friend, keeps asking her out. Carly has to look toward God for guidance and faith that things will happen as they are meant to, even at the bleakest moments.

Not having read the first one, there was the unfortunate side-tracking of trying to piece things together from the first book (Nick's affair that led to their divorce) and other less major events, but it wasn't enough to detract from the story. Face paced and full of emotional turmoil for Carly, it is a nice romance, mixed in with a little police-drama, that makes for a good Christian read.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Jones
Rating: 3

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Virginia Henley
Signet Eclipse
ISBN: 978-0-451-23600-5
August 2012
Historical Romance
Thomas Anson is forced to watch as the home he loves is auctioned off to the highest bidder to pay for the debts of his father. Watching this he vows to restore his home at Shugborough no matter what it takes. In comes Harriet, the answer to his prayers. Harriet (nickname Harry) comes with a rather large dowry and is very attractive. Harriet however, only wants to marry for love. She is searching for the love that her parents have and will settle for nothing less. As time progresses Thomas begins to fall for Harriet but can he convince her that his love is the real deal?
This was my first read from Virginia Henley and I was not disappointed. The cover alone is tempting. Thomas was a little frustrating at times because he was very focused on restoring his home and lets that get in the way of his relationship with Harriet. If you like historical romances then you will like this book.
Reviewed by Tasha Taylor
Rating: 3

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Liz Carlyle
Avon Publishing
ISBN# 978-0-06-196577-7

After the death of her husband, Lady Anisha Stafford leaves India and returns to London with her two sons. She comes to be with her brother, who is a member of the secretive St. James Society. Rance Welham, the Earl of Lazonby, is sent to meet her and the chemistry between them is sizzling. Rance is trying to clear his name of murder, even though he's been cleared by the courts, he feels he needs to clear his name in public opinion. Rance knows he cannot have Anisha, because being seen with him would ruin her, but Anisha has other plans.

I would recommend the reader begin with one of the previous books before reading this one, or it could get confusing. Slow paced and delicately intertwined with mystery, this one sometimes gets bogged down. I found myself putting this down quite often and having a hard time getting back into it. Fans of Carlyle might enjoy this one, but it was a hard one for me to get through.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Jones
Rating: 2

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Some last minute summer reads!

Carol Wolper
Gallery Books
ISBN: 978-1-4516-5722-7
July 2012
Anne Boleyn is high on romantic optimism. She is dating her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Henry Tudor, a wealthy Hollywood power broker. Anne is well aware that she can be replaced in a nanosecond. So she utilizes everything she has to continue her reign as Henry’s favorite.
Ms. Wolper tries to embrace the historical Anne Boleyn in this modern adaptation. She implements jealous and back-stabbing friends, an ex-wife and one-sided Hollywood politics. Is it equivalent to the true story of Anne Boleyn and the Tudors? It certainly tries to; but a true history buff will be disappointed, however,I found the book unique and quite entertaining.
Reviewed by Charlene McConnell
Rating: 4
Brenda L. Baker
New American Library
ISBN: 978-0-451-23689-0
July 3, 2012
Women’s Fiction
Watching a man in a coffee shop isn’t out of the ordinary for investigator Jason Cheddick, but getting caught doing it, is unusual. When the man suddenly collapses minutes into their conversation, Jason finds out that he man has two identities: one as Eric McCoy and also as David McCoy.
Kendra McCoy is an ambitious business woman. Her husband, Eric, a political analyst, is “perfect” because he allows her to concentrate solely on her catering business. Lesley McCoy, a daycare worker, is married to David, a wildlife guide. Even though he is gone for weeks at a time, Lesley is content.
The two women meet at the hospital, both finding out their husband is in a coma, they are faced with defining the biggest lie of their lives.
This book grabs your attention from the very first page. Ms. Baker surprises everyone when she reveals the “real McCoy!”
Reviewed by Charlene McConnell
Rating: 4
David Cristafano
Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 13-9780446582216
March 2010
Contemporary Fiction
At the age of six, Melody McCartney and her parents witnessed a brutal murder committed by Tony Bravaro, a New York mob boss. The family is forced into the Witness Protection Program to keep them safe. Twenty years later, Melody is weary of her life. To overcome boredom, she uses the Witness Protection Program to relocate and reinvent herself.
Unexpectedly, Melody is faced with two new men in her life. Sean, her new caseworker, who is trying to transition Melody to her new location and Jonathon Bravaro, son of Tony, who promises her freedom and a normal life. Does she ignore the Feds and believe the words of the son of a Mafioso killer? Melody begins an unpredictable and dangerous journey.
This is Mr. Cristafano’s debut novel and it is very well-written and enormously entertaining! Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year!
Reviewed by Charlene McConnell
Rating: 4 1/2

Please forgive the formatting on these reviews and enjoy the comments!

BRIDE OF THE HIGH COUNTRY A Runaway Brides Novel Kaki Warner Berkley Sensation ISBN: 978-0-425-24750-1 June 2012 Historical Romance In this latest book by the talented Kaki Warner, we meet Margaret Hamilton, now an adult, who escaped a brothel as a young child and became a ward of a wealthy Manhattan widow. Now her name is different and she is slated to marry well, to Doyle Kerrigan. Doyle, an Irish man who has clawed his way to notoriety as a businessman, needs a respectable wife. He has no idea the woman he plans to marry has such a sordid history. When Margaret learns that Doyle was a runner in his early years she is shocked since it was runners who contributed to the death of her impoverished parents. She leaves Doyle at the altar and cunningly escapes to the west. What she doesn’t count on is being followed by Doyle’s business partner, the Pinkerton men, and even a man from her childhood. She gives a harrowing chase right into Heartbreak Creek. Perhaps the best part of this book is that we get to catch up with characters from past books who have built lives in Colorado. Honestly, this is a terrific western romance with just as much passion, description, and depth as this author’s previous novels. I loved this book and I predicted that Ms. Warner would be an author to watch. I love it when I’m right! Reviewed by Jeri Neal Rating: 4 1/2
CHARMED BY HIS LOVE Janet Chapman Jove ISBN: 978-0-515-15090-2 Contemporary Romance June 2012 Chapman delivers an excellent addition to her lengthy series about Maine. We meet Duncan MacKeage, a construction company owner who is building roads and bridges to a fancy resort overlooking Spellbound Fall’s new inland sea. Duncan looks like a dour, bad-tempered Highlander. Deliciously, he has a heart of gold and is enamored with the widow, Peg Thompson. Peg is equally drawn to Duncan but her baggage is considerable. The mother of four lively children, she is trying hard to keep her home together on limited resources. She is also convinced that the family curse would cause any man she fell in love with to die young, just like her husband and other male family members. Duncan is having none of this and his romantic pursuit is lots of fun. This is a terrific novel, filled with interesting characters, some people from past books, and a slight paranormal bent that involves time travel and magic. Not to be missed by fans of this series, readers are in store for a fun reading treat! The kids are delightful and the romance sizzles through these pages. Reviewed by Jeri Neal Rating: 4
WILD TEXAS ROSE Whispering Mountain Jodi Thomas Berkley ISBN: 978-0425250372 Historical Romance This is the story of Rose McMurray and Texas Ranger Duncan McMurray, known in previous books as "Duck". At its center it is a story about cowboys and their sweethearts and we follow several storylines involving relationships and romance. In the beginning, Rose is summoned by her old school friend to stand up with her at her wedding. From the beginning Rose knows something is not right about the wedding plans and the relationship. Early on, Duncan is introduced as her adopted brother, who shows up at unexpected times. This novel has a number of secondary romances and themes. All entertaining and woven expertly into the plot, the predominant focus is on Rose and Duncan and their "dance" with each other. Excellent character development, a fine Western setting, this novel's only flaw involves trying to focus on too many secondary stories, to the detriment of the main romance. Still, fans of this author will love this book. Reviewed by Jeri Neal Rating: 3
ALL SUMMER LONG Fool's Gold Susan Mallery Harlequin HQN ISBN: 978-0373776948 August 2012 Contemporary Romance This latest offering in the Fool's Gold series is a delight to read and enjoy. We meet Former underwear model turned businessman, Clay Stryker, who has vowed never to love anyone again, after enduring a loss. He is drawn to Charlie Dixon, a local firefighter, who is large-boned, blunt, and outspoken. She is also overwhelmed by Clay's physical beauty but quickly learns that he is more than a pretty face. Clay wants to make a successful business in Fool's Gold and in the process of him settling there, we get involved with various family members including his brothers, his mother, and Charlie's retired ballerina mother, Dominique. This is a complex romance with excellent character development and hot scenes between these two different and interesting personalities. At its heart this is a book about the losses people experience and how it can make them strong and ultimately open to finding love and romance in an unexpected place. Should not be missed and probably one of the best in the series! I want to write like Susan Mallery when I grow up! Reviewed by Jeri Neal Rating: 4 1/2

Some new reviews from summertime books!

FRAGILE Shiloh Walker Berkley ISBN: 978-0425250952 August 2012 (re-issue) Romantic Suspense Luke Rafferty is a former combat soldier who has gone to medical school and now works as a physician in an emergency room in Lexington, KY. He has seen many difficult things, both as an Army Ranger and as a care provider. While he is restless in his job at the hospital, he doesn't exactly know why. Devon Manning is a survivor. Abused and abandoned as a young child, she lived a life on the streets, addicted, until placed with a loving family. Now a social worker who works with abused children, she catches the attention of the handsome doctor she deals with on occasion. When Devon is threatened, her new relationship with Luke takes on different dimensions and she is upset over his protectiveness. To say more would give away this fantastic story. In true Shiloh Walker fashion, this is a gritty book filled with people who have lots of angst. The character development is superb and we get a glimpse of Luke's twin brother, Quinn, who has his own book. I read this book in one very long, late into the night frenzy. Hated to see it end! A terrific novel! Reviewed by Jeri Neal Rating: 4 1/2

Sunday, September 09, 2012

August Paranormal Picks

Dark Brethren Novel-Book
Tracey O'Hara
August 2012
Bianca Sin is a forensic witch whose latest case is one of the worst she has ever experienced. Someone is using dark magic in a horrific manner and the bodies are stacking up and leaving the calling card of The Dark Brethren. Bianca teams up with Lancelot McManus, a homicide detective who is known not to be to fond of witches except for Bianca and with a little help from shapeshifter Oberon DuPrie, hopefully they will figure out the why and how before more are murdered. As Bianca and Lance work closer together, their underlying attraction comes to the surface and secrets from the past as well as the present will either bring them closer or tear them apart. Meanwhile politics plays a part as Bianca and her team are removed from the case and end up having to work the case illegally, knowing that nobody will be able to solve the case except for them. And as time runs out, Bianca and Lance may just end up giving all. So, if you are looking for a great mystery with a paranormal fix, SIN'S DARK CARESS is just the ticket.
Reviewed by Lori Sears
Rating: 4
The Chosen Ones-Book 5
Christina Dodd
Signet Select
ISBN: 978-0-451-41324-6
August 2012
Aleksandr Wilder disappeared a couple of years ago and since then his family has grieved his loss. The Chosen Ones have continued to fight the Others, but it has seemed to become a losing battle without their brother. And now Charisma is missing and feared dead and the losses are taking their toll on the group as the final countdown approaches. But Charisma isn't actually missing, she was just following the earth's call and ended up lost in the tunnels underneath the city and is hurt and fighting for her life. Just when she thought that death was certain, someone more beast than man saves her life. He is the Guardian of the Belows and she is drawn to him when most are terrified of his appearance. He tends to her, saves her and secretly starts to fall for the lovely woman who brings hope to him. Charisma falls for him as well and vows to help him remember who he really is and maybe they will save each other. The Chosen Ones Series has been so much fun and with WILDER it comes to a close, maybe! I have truly enjoyed the series and look forward to more from the talented Ms. Dodd. She gives her paranormal romance fans everything they could ask for and more from the sensual love scenes to the action and angst.
Reviewed by Lori Sears
Rating: 4 1/2

A Celta Novel-Book 11
Robin D. Owens
Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-25314-4
August 2012
Garrett Primross is the only survivor of a horrible disease that killed a group of people including the woman he loved. Now several years later the disease is back and the Healers of Celta are asking for him to suffer through the sickness again in order to procure a vaccine. He knows that he will suffer greatly, but how can he turn them down, even though he will be saddled with the one healer he has tried to avoid at all costs; she is his HeartMate. The woman destined for him, but after losing his first love he will be damned before he will ever pursue her. She is not aware and since her family has been in hiding for years she just assumed her HeartMate decided not to come for her. Her family was wrongly accused of being a part of an evil occult blamed for deaths and the gossip pretty much destroyed them. Now mostly everyone treats them with disdain, including some of the Healers Artemisia works with. But with her help, Garrett survives the disease again only to be thrust into an investigation related to Artemisia's families past. They will have to team up and investigate a murder and maybe even admit that becoming HeartMates might just be the right thing to do. HEART SECRET is another lovely romance by Ms. Owens and even if you are not a paranormal fan you will truly enjoy her stories.
Reviewed by Lori Sears
Rating: 4
Lori Sears

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Warrior Laird by Margo MacGuire

Margo Macguire
Avon Publishing
ISBN# 978-0-06-212288-9
August 2012
Historical Romance

The only thing that will save Highlander Dugan MacMillian's clan is the treasure at the end of a map. Set out with his piece of it, he comes across a beautiful lass named Lady Maura Duncanson. Little does he know that when he saves her life, she takes his part of the map to combine with her own. She wants the treasure so that she can get to her sister and escape from her imminent marriage to a wealthy old baron. The more time they spend together, the more they come to realize that teaming up is the only way for them both to get what they want. But what happens when what they want ends up being each other? Will Maura get to her sister and what happens when the baron and his men catch up to them? Adventure, lost treasure and a bit of heated passion mark this romance as a "don't miss". Transporting the reader through the Scottish Highlands, there's nothing better to read than a sexy Highlander and a fiesty heroine just perfect for him.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4

Sunday, September 02, 2012

August Release - A LADY NEVER LIES by Juliana Gray

A LADY NEVER LIES - Juliana Gray ISBN# 978-0-425-25092-1 Berkley Sensation

Widow Lady Alexandra Morley is in dire need of funds. So she sets out to an Italian castle with her companions, only to discover that the castle has also been rented to three gentleman. One of whom is Phineas Burke, a scientist with an extraordinary invention that is on the cusp of greatness - a gasoline powered carriage! The cause of her anxiety is not his talent or his grand invention, but her deep seated attraction to him. Finn Burke also has a bad case of desperate attraction to the Lady Morley. He's fallen madly in love, but with her, he can never be sure if it's him or his funds that she's really after. Alexandra doesn't want to ruin what they have with marriage, but Finn will take nothing less. On the edge of the modern era, the future is bright and alluring for Finn and Alexandra, but will old ways keep them apart? High-charged adventure, scientific creativity, electric passion and wonderful secondary characters make this a stellar romance to savor. Look for the sequel to this one coming soon in November!

Reviewed by: Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4