Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Mystery Review: A Whisper of Bones by Ellen Hart

Publication Date: Feb. 28, 2018

From the Publisher:

Fans of Jane Lawless new and old will be fascinated by newly minted Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Ellen Hart's latest intricate puzzle in A Whisper of Bones.

Britt Ickles doesn't remember much from her only visit to her mother's childhood home when she was a kid, except for playing with her cousin Timmy and the eruption of a sudden family feud. That's why, when she drops by unannounced after years of silence, she's shocked when her aunts tell her Timmy never existed, that she must be confusing him with someone else. But Britt can't shake the feeling that Timmy did exist...and that something horrible has happened to him. Something her aunts want to cover up.

Britt hires Jane Lawless, hoping the private investigator can figure out what really happened to her cousin. When a fire in the family's garage leads to the discovery of buried bones and one of the aunts dies suddenly and suspiciously, Jane can't help but be pulled into the case. Do the bones belong to Timmy? Was the aunt's death an accident, suicide, or homicide? What dark secret has this family been hiding for decades? It all depends on Jane Lawless to unravel.

My Thoughts:

I requested this book for review, not realizing this was book twenty-five (!!) of a series. But I could jump right in; it wasn't difficult to get to know the characters, the way it does in some series. You can easily jump in right here with A Whisper of Bones, though I'm now tempted to start at book one...

The mystery here was solid and intriguing: who is buried under the garage, and why is the whole family trying to cover it up? The story is very atmospheric, the mystery is well-written, and the series element doesn't get in the way of things--no lengthy sidetracking storylines about the secondary characters, like some series do, especially this far in.

There are quite a few perspective shifts, which made me want to get back to our lead character, and how she was going to solve the crime. But overall, I really liked this, and I'll be checking out the authors other books. Recommended, if you're behind the curve, like me (book twenty-five! how did I miss this series for so long?).

**NetGalley provided copy for review**

Monday, February 19, 2018

#MMGM Review: Marabel and the Book of Fate by Tracy Barrett

From the Publisher:

In Magikos, life is dictated by the Book of Fate's ancient predictions, including the birth of a royal Chosen One who will save the realm. Princess Marabel has grown up in the shadow of her twin brother, Marco, who everyone assumes is the true Chosen One. While Marco is adored and given every opportunity, Marabel is overlooked and has to practice her sword fighting in secret.

But on the night of their thirteenth birthday, Marco is kidnapped by an evil queen, and Marabel runs to his rescue. Outside the castle walls for the first time, accompanied by her best friend and a very smug unicorn, Marabel embarks on a daring mission that brings her face-to-face with fairies, trolls, giants--and the possibility that all is not as it seems in Magikos.

My Thoughts:

This was a fun, fresh take on the traditional fairytale/princess story--and one not just for girls.

I liked the humor in this story, the tongue-in-cheek references to modern technology, and the go-getting attitude of Marabel, despite playing second fiddle to her brother. It was a quick read, and one I could see being really fun to read aloud, at home or in the classroom.

Recommended for kids (and grown-ups) who like fairytales, but are looking for a new take on the traditional stories.

**NetGalley copy provided for review**

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Cozy Mystery Book Review: Wedding Cake Crumble by Jenn McKinlay

Publishing date: Apr. 8, 2018

From the Publisher:

Wedding bells and death knells are ringing for the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew in this latest mystery in the New York Times bestselling series

With Angie and Tate's wedding just around the corner, it's a happy--but very busy--time for Mel. Not only is she doing double duty as both the maid of honor and best man, but her bakery, Fairy Tale Cupcakes, has just been hired to provide cupcakes for a famous author's book signing. But when the author turns up dead, it's just the start of a murder mystery that Mel must solve.

My Thoughts:

This was the first book I read in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, so I was expecting to take some time getting up to speed. Not so: I was quickly familiar with the characters, who are charming and just plain fun to hang out with.

The murder mystery was solid. I liked how the author (or characters) didn't take herself too seriously, and made a little fun of the fact that there was yet another murder in their small little town and social circle. In fact, the first few chapters reveal that several murders were committed before we get to the main crime: the murder of a local author with lots of skeletons in her closet.

The story drags a little toward the last quarter of the book, when two of the main characters get married. But I imagine that faithful readers will enjoy this part.

Jenn McKinlay has the cozy mystery genre down. I'd recommend this series, and think I might go read book one now... 

**NetGalley copy provided for review**

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