Deader Homes and Gardens(Claire Malloy Mystery, Book 18) by Joan E. Hess

Book Description

Publication Date: February 14, 2012 | Series: Claire Malloy Mysteries
Claire Malloy discovers that house-hunting can be murder—literally—in the latest entry in Joan Hess’s “wildly entertaining series.” (Mystery Scene)
Back from her somewhat unusual honeymoon, Claire Malloy must face the harsh reality of life with her new husband, police chief Peter Rosen, and her teenage daughter Caron—three people simply can’t fit into her cosy two bedroom apartment. After a week of fruitless looking, she finally finds the perfect place—a well preserved large house on a large plot of land in an area called Hollow Valley. There are only a few problems. Such as the real estate agent disappeared mid-showing and hasn’t been seen since. And the last owner died in circumstances labeled ’accidental’ but were actually both ’mysterious’ and ’dubious’. The family that owned the estate is now suing the lover of the dead owner over the rights to the property. Oh, and it isn’t really for sale. When the previous owner’s lover dies practically at her feet, Claire decides to take matters into her own hands. After all, to get the house of her dreams, first she has to find a killer. And all’s fair in love, war, and real estate.
Review –
This is my favorite so far of all the books I’ve read in the Claire Malloy Mystery Series by Joan E. Hess.   The characters are quirky  and interact well and   Claire’s daughter, Caron, is still talking in Capital Letters ( I love it) and her friend Inez shows up too in all her goofy glory.  This book made a hot summer afternoon bearable.

Two Little Girls In Blue by Mary Higgins Clark

Book Description

Publication Date: April 4, 2006
In a riveting new thriller, worldwide bestselling suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark weaves the mystery of twin telepathy into a mother’s search for a kidnapped child, presumed dead.Margaret and Steve Frawley celebrate the third birthday of their twin girls, Kelly and Kathy, with an afternoon party in their new home, a modest fixer-upper in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

The evening of the twins’ birthday party, Steve and Margaret attend a black-tie dinner in New York. When they return home, the police are in the house, and they are told that the babysitter had been found unconscious, the children are gone, and a note demanding an eight-million-dollar ransom had been left in their room.

Steve Frawley’s firm, a global investment company, agrees to pay the ransom. The kidnapper, who identifies himself as the “Pied Piper,” makes his terms known — on delivery of the ransom, a call will come, revealing the girls’ whereabouts. The call comes, but only Kelly is in the car parked behind a deserted restaurant. The driver is dead from a gunshot wound and has left a suicide note, saying he had inadvertently killed Kathy and had dumped her body in the ocean.

At the private memorial Mass for Kathy, Kelly tugs Margaret’s arm and says: “Mommy, Kathy is very scared of that lady. She wants to come home right now.” More unexplainable occurrences follow, indicating that Kelly is in touch with Kathy. At first, no one except the mother believes that the twins are communicating and that Kathy is still alive. As Kelly’s warnings become increasingly specific and alarming, however, FBI agents set out on a search for Kathy. The novel reaches a breathtaking climax as they close in on the Pied Piper and his accomplices, while Kathy’s life hangs by a thread.

In delving into the well-documented but still unexplained phenomenon of twin telepathy, Mary Higgins Clark tells a spellbinding tale that takes us deep into the minds of her characters while lifting us to the heights of suspense.

–This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Review –
This was an audiobook that I listened to through my Kindle and I had been looking forward to it because I have read other books by Mary Higgins Clark and liked them.   Not so this one.  I found it flat and very predictable and not at all like her other books.  It was pleasant to listen to but that’s all.

Twanged by Carol Higgins Clark

Book Description

Publication Date: April 1999
A Week in The Hamptons can be Murder Sleuth Regan Reilly is hired as a bodyguard for singer Brigid O’Neill, a rising country star who has been receiving threatening “love notes.” Brigid also possesses a “magical” Irish fiddle said to be cursed-whoever takes it out of Ireland will have an accident or face death. Still, Brigid brings it to the Hamptons, where her band will perform at a Fourth of July concert. Chappy Tinka, heir to a thumbtack fortune, and his ditzy wife, Bettina, are their hosts. Regan joins them at “Chappy’s Compound,” an oceanfront estate where they encounter Bettina’s guru Peace Man, Chappy’s bumbling sidekick Duke, a feng shui specialist obsessed with rearranging furniture-and a party guest found floating face-down in the pool. Is the curse of the fiddle real? Is there a murderer in the house? As the concert nears, the menace to Brigid grows, and Regan must discover the truth before it’s too late…
Review –
I knew I was in trouble when I heard (this was an audiobook, thankfully a short audiobook) “fiddle music” behind the voice of the narrator.
Bad, just bad.  That’s all I’m going to say.

Sick (A Project Eden Thriller ) by Brett Battle

Book Description

Publication Date: April 19, 2011
For fans of Stephen King, Blake Crouch, and Michael Crichton comes a new, heart-pounding thriller by Brett Battles…
Daniel Ash wakes after midnight to the cry of his daughter. Just a bad dream, he thinks. She’s had them before. Yet he can’t help but worry when she cries out again as he pads down the hallway. Stepping through her doorway, he expects to find her sitting up in bed, frightened by a nightmare.
But the nightmare is his. It’s real. And it’s just beginning…
Something is burning Ash’s daughter alive. Something horrible that is spreading beyond the walls of their home, and taking no prisoners.
Thirty seconds later, Ash will discover his daughter isn’t the only one in his family infected, and as his world spins, coming apart at the seams, a team of armed men in biohazard suits bursts into his house.
But these aren’t the good guys.
They haven’t come to save Ash’s family. They’ve come to separate them, to finish what they started.
The problem is Ash refuses to disappear. He wants only one thing: to find those responsible.
Because humanity is on the brink of execution.
And man is pulling the trigger.
Review –
This is the second book about the  majority of earth’s population being wiped  by evil forces that I’ve read in the last month or so … that’s scary.
Sick is horrifying in that all of us fear the unknown and the unseen.  Knowing that a virus that causes a painful death is floating around in the air and could be coming your way is paralyzing.  What do you do?  Where do you go?   That is the premise of this book and a faction of the evil doers are the ones that are SUPPOSED to keep you safe and they are NOT doing a very good job.   I loved this story and will definitely be reading the next one.

The Warning (Sarah Roberts, Book Two)by Jonas Saul

Book Description

Publication Date: February 27, 2011
The Warning (Sarah Roberts Book Two)
Sarah Roberts has spent the last four years helping people stay alive through the messages she receives from the dead.
She receives a daunting communication from the Other Side regarding her sister’s murderer, and where she can find him, but the message is not clear enough to confirm the man’s identity.
Then she receives The Warning, a message that tells her to stand down – let it go. She refuses and enters a complex where the odds are stacked heavily against her. The tables turn, and Sarah becomes the hunted rather than the hunter.
How many people have to die to catch one murderer? How far will Sarah go?
Sarah must face the absolute horror and reality that has become her life as an Automatic Writer. The Warning begins as a flame, ignites to a fire and explodes in an inferno of violence over a girl who receives messages from the dead to help the living.
Review –
Although I didn’t read the first book in the Sarah Roberts series this book was a great stand alone.  Vivian is already dead in this installment so I’m assuming the book one was mostly about her and how her death occurred.
This book caught my attention for the first page and never let go.  It is fast paced and packed with action.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

The Chocolate Bridal Bash (Choloholic Mysteries #6) by Joanna Carl

Book Description

Publication Date: August 1, 2006

Caught up in a whirl of champagne and china patterns, bride-to-be Lee McKinney has butted heads with her future mother-in-law over every detail of the wedding bash. The last thing she needs is trouble with her own mother. But this is bigger than the hot versus cold hors d’oeuvres debate: Sally McKinney doesn’t even want to be at the wedding if it takes place in Warner Pier, her hometown.

Irked that her mom might be MIA on the Big Day, Lee heads to her aunt’s chocolate shop, TenHuis Chocolade, for advice. There, the bride is shocked to learn that years earlier, her mother ran away on what would have been her own wedding day—hours before her fiancé was found dead, an apparent suicide. Now, to smooth things over with her mother—and ease her own way down the aisle—Lee must untangle a mystery older than she is….

Review –
Before this installment of the Chocoholic Mysteries I had only read volumes one, two and three. Don’t ask me what happened to four and five, I guess I’ll have to pick them up sometimes when I don’t have anything else to read, which doesn’t happen often.  Anyway, this is my favorite so far. The characters work well together and are believable although we don’t see as much of the regulars as in previous books and the main character has a very bad habit of saying the wrong words when she’s nervous and that trait went to the extreme in this book and was distracting. All in all, it’s a nice read for a hot afternoon in Oklahoma.

About the Author

JoAnna Carl is the pseudonym of a multipublished mystery writer. She spent more than twenty-five years in the newspaper business, working as a reporter, feature writer, editor and columnist. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and also studied in the OU Professional Writing Program. She lives in Oklahoma but spends much of her summer at a cottage on Lake Michigan near several communities similar to the fictional town of Warner Pier.

Kiss the Dead (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #21) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Book Description

Publication Date: June 5, 2012 | Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter (Book 21)
When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more…
But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them…
Review-
This book was a real let down and didn’t live up to others in the series for me. Now, I’m still a fan of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter but she really had no real purpose in this plot.  The case she was working on involved a few vamps and once they were disposed of that was it and she went  “home” with her lovers and others and it was like the sky opened up and a light flashed and said “let there be sex”  The End. 
I’m thinking LKH may be bringing Anita to the end of her run.  Only time will tell.

Trial by Fire by J. A. Jance

Book Description

Publication Date: December 1, 2009
In the heat of the Arizona desert, a raging fire pushes temperatures to a deadly degree, and one woman is left to burn. Pulled naked and barely breathing from the fire, the victim has no idea who she is, let alone who would do this to her — or why. In her hospital bed she drifts in and out of consciousness, her only means of communicating a blink of the eye. And then an angel appears. Misguidedly known around town as the “Angel of Death,” Sister Anselm has devoted her life to working as an advocate for unidentified patients. To her burn patient, she is a savior. But to this Jane Doe’s would-be killer, Sister Anselm’s efforts pose a serious threat. Ali Reynolds is on the scene as the new media relations consultant for the Yavapai County Police Department, keeping reporters at bay and circumventing questions about arson and a link to a domestic terrorist group called Earth Liberation Front. But her job quickly becomes much more. As Ali struggles to help Sister Anselm uncover the helpless woman’s identity, they realize that by locating the missing relatives they may be exposing the victim once more to a remorseless killer determined to finish the job. Faced with the possibility of putting all three of their lives in jeopardy, Ali fearlessly pursues justice — and what she discovers is a secret even darker and more twisted than she ever could have imagined.With unerring skill, Jance delivers relentless suspense in what is surely her finest novel yet in this riveting and addictive series

Review –

This is my first experience with anything written by J.A. Jance but  I can promise you that it will not be my last.  This was an audiobook and I listened to it in my car while running errands nearly everyday and  it was hard to turn off the engine and wait until the next opportunity to drive again.  The plot was great and moved at a very fast pace and the characters were very realistic and  since this is the first in the Ali Reynolds series I can’t wait to find others to listen to or read.

A Perfect Blood(The Hollows, Book 10) by Kim Harrison

Book Description

Publication Date: February 21, 2012 | Series: The Hollows (Book 10)

New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison returns to the Hollows with the electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed Pale Demon!

Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.

She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.

Review –
I’ve read all the books in The Hollows series and this ranks as one of the best for a number of reasons.  First, I found it very hard to put down, second, Rachel’s character, though obnoxious in the beginning  grows to maturity by the end(leading up to something special in the next installment, I hope.) and third Kim Harrison’s book are always entertaining and each plot gets better and better.  If you are looking for a new series to start, I HIGHLY recommend you start The Hollows.

Murder Unleashed by Rita Mae Brown

Book Description

Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Unscrupulous bankers, abandoned homes, and a cold-blooded killer on the loose: Mags Rogers and her wire-haired dachshund, Baxter, dig up the dirt in the second scintillating novel in New York Times bestselling author Rita Mae Brown’s delightful new series featuring some doggedly determined canine sleuths and their intrepid human companions.
Settling into ranch life outside Reno, Nevada, with her gregarious great-aunt Jeep Reed and Jeep’s German Shepherd, King, former Wall Street trader Mags doesn’t miss the cutthroat world of investment banking—because its destructive tentacles have reached westward to the Silver State. The foreclosure crisis has taken a huge bite out of the local real estate market, where rows of homes sit unsold and forsaken—but not empty.
A group of squatters, including desperate single mothers with children, are living under the radar in the houses on Reno’s Yolanda Street—without water or electricity. Big-hearted real estate broker Babs Gallagher enlists Jeep and Mags to start a community outreach program, but that means going up against uncaring utility companies, corrupt officials, ruthless politicians—and a merciless murderer. When a former banker is found brutally slain in one of the abandoned homes, the notion of “cutthroat business practices” takes on a whole new meaning.
Baxter, King, and some other canine detectives leave no bone of contention buried as they help their human charges untangle a string of murders rooted deep in the heart of Red Rock Valley’s prominent citizenry. Though Reno deputy—and Mags’s unofficial significant other—Pete Meadows uncovers evidence of blackmail, shady real estate ventures, and rumors of lost treasure, the killer seems to hold all the cards in a city of gambling and sin. Luckily, Mags, Jeep, and Babs still have a few tricks up their sleeves. As nefarious sexploits and backroom backstabbing reverberate throughout the county, the dogs are officially off the leash—and on the hunt for a killer. Along the way, they encounter curious coyotes, human kindness and treachery, and a long-buried stash of riches.
Review –
This story was weighed down with too much time spent on the foreclosure debacle in this country and not enough time on the characters and their interactions.  A BIG disappointment.