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Full Blast by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes  ISBN 978-0312983307

Full Blast by Janet Evanovich

cover art from Full Blast by Janet Evanovich

 

This is a fun light read with quirky romance, fun characters, and a few mysterious twists.  I found this book in the FREE box at the public library and it was definitely what I needed at the moment but it doesn’t have to stay in my permanent collection and that is okay.  If you have a weekend with not much to do but sit in front of the wood-stove and sip tea (or something else!) then this is the book for you!  All the zaniness you expect from Janet Evanovich: a lingerie store owned by the former librarian, a baker making brownies with aphrodisiacs, and an amorous poodle trying to waylay the heroines dog.  It’s funny.  It’s light.  It’s perfect for a stormy weekend!

 

From the Back Cover

Dear Reader,

Get ready to have the hottest time of your life with the sizzling duo of newspaper editor Jamie Swift and mysterious millionaire Max Holt. My good friend Charlotte Hughes and I set out to create a whole new world, separate from my Stephanie Plum novels, yet inhabited by the same kind of zany, hilarious, and totally unique characters that we love. There’s never a dull moment for the residents of Beaumont, South Carolina. Lately, a heat wave’s spiked the mercury-and everyone’s sex drive! These days, when Jamie runs into Max, it’s all she can do not to tear his clothes off-and the feeling is mutual. But trouble seems to follow Max like moths to a flame, and Jamie suspects he’s all wrong for her. Meanwhile, the lingerie shop is having a sale on edible underwear, while the bakery’s selling aphrodisiac-laced brownies and x-rated birthday cakes. Even Jamie’s dog, Fleas, is dodging passes from the amorous French poodle next door! But when someone starts bumping off some of the town’s more annoying citizens, all clues lead straight to the new personals section in Jamie’s newspaper. Pretty soon, things are getting hot and heavy, as Max and Jamie start uncovering secrets-and undressing each other…

So settle in with a tall, cool drink, and have fun with Full Blast. We’ll be back soon, with another steamy romantic adventure featuring Jamie and Max. Happy reading!

Janet and Charlotte

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Organize Your Corpses: death is never tidy by Mary Jane Maffini ISBN 978-0425215807

Organize Your Corpses by Mary Jane Maffini

cover art from Organize Your Corpses by Mary Jane Maffini

Organize Your Corpses: death is never tidy by Mary Jane Maffini was a great read.  Charlotte Adams is a professional organizer who has returned to the small town where she grew up after a messy split with her fiance.  She is renting an apartment from an old friend who has convinced her to adopt two dachshunds and is trying to get her to adopt a third.

An old teacher whom everyone refers to as Hellfire Henley, has recently inherited an old house that was owned by a hoarder and fallen into disrepair.  She calls Charlotte to help her find some “very important documents” and help her shovel out the old family home.  Charlotte dutifully goes home and writes up an estimate and a contract and returns to the home to find Hellfire Henley crushed under a fallen beam and piles of old moldy newspapers.

This book is fun and twisty with lots of vibrant characters and enough questions to keep you guessing.  The book says “organizing tips included!” — but even us unorganized people won’t be too upset by them for they are little quotations that start a chapter and allude to something coming up: for example, “Never place a large object over a smaller one…”

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All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz

All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz

cover art from All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz

Irene Stenson is an orphan who was raised by her aunt after the mysterious alleged murder/suicide that took her parents away from her the summer of her 16th year.  Her best friend, Pamela Webb, had taken her out for dinner and returned her to a dark house and she knew something was wrong.  Her father, the local sheriff, had never left the porch light off and they were supposed to be home and waiting for her to arrive by curfew.   Irene never heard from Pamela Webb, daughter of Senator Webb and presidential hopeful, after that night until she received an email from her just before the book opens.

Irene, who left town with her aunt and never returned until now, is staying at a small inn with a series of cabins on the lake.  She calls her friend a number of times upon her return to town but can’t reach her.  Irene speaks briefly with the inn-keeper, Luke Danner a former soldier who has bought the inn to take up writing in his free time, seems a bit taciturn to be in the hospitality industry (reprimanding her for leaving all the lights on in her cabin — a post traumatic stress technique because she found her parents in a dark house) and eventually leaves late at night to go to her friend’s house.  Irene finds Pamela dead, apparently a suicide.

Irene doesn’t believe that her father committed murder / suicide and she also doesn’t believe that Pamela committed suicide and so the story continues.

Luke Danner follows his guest to Pamela’s house and seems to be quite helpful in the investigation.  This is following in the theme of soldier PTSD which seems popular right now but also the trauma in the heroine’s life of finding the bloody scene of her parents gives them a connection that is sometimes lacking in romantic suspense novels — commenting on the pros and cons of therapists provides some actually funny dialogue.

I liked this book and while I doubt I would ever feel the need to read it again — it was good to read once!

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Fundraising the Dead: a museum mystery by Sheila Connolly  ISBN 978-0425237441

 

Fundraising the Dead: a museum mystery by Sheila Connolly

cover art from Fundraising the Dead: a museum mystery by Sheila Connolly

Eleanor “Nell” Pratt is a fundraiser at a prominent Philadelphia museum.  Over the many years of the historical society’s existence they have gathered a great deal of very important artifacts from the leading families.  Nell is one of the employees with the most seniority because the non-profit realm often having a pretty quick turnover because of the abysmal pay and semester interns who only help as long as it looks good on the resumes.  When important papers (signed letters from George Washington) go missing from the Terwilliger Collection, Marty Terwilliger  turns to Nell.  The Director is new (and Nell’s on again off again lover) and the collections manager is relatively new and they also have some of the easiest access to the collection.  Nell is a known entity with a commitment to the Historical Society.  So Nell and Marty Terwilliger (the trustee) enlist Marty’s cousin who just happens to be an FBI agent who researches lost historical pieces.  This cat and mouse game goes back and forth in all kinds of red herrings and “planted” artifacts in employee apartments and enlisting Marty’s youthful nephew in the high tech bugging scene.  It was a wonderful story that is rich in historical trivia and museum life.  After many questions and much plotting — Marty and Nell capture the “bad guy” and kudos are passed around to all deserving people.  A very satisfying conclusion.

 

 

From Publishers Weekly

Old families, old papers, and the old demons of sex and money shape Connolly’s cozy series launch, which will appeal to fans of her Orchard and (as Sarah Atwell) Glassblowing mysteries. The venerable and cliquish Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society has a security problem. Documents worth millions are missing, and the staffer who uncovers the losses is found dead in the stacks. Nell Pratt, the society’s director of development, is instructed by board member Marty Terwilliger to account for the absence of Marty’s ancestor’s correspondence with George Washington. It’s a rare improbability–why ask the fund-raiser and not the director of collections or the board itself?–in an otherwise sturdily constructed plot. There are no real surprises, but the archival milieu and the foibles of the characters are intriguing, and it’s refreshing to encounter an FBI man who is human, competent, and essential to the plot.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Description

At The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques, fundraiser Eleanor “Nell” Pratt solicits donations-and sometimes solves crimes. When a collection of George Washington’s letters is lost on the same day that an archivist is found dead, it seems strange that the Society president isn’t pushing for an investigation. Nell goes digging herself, and soon uncovers a long, rich history of crime.

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Night of the Living Deed: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery by E.J. Copperman ISBN 9780425235232

Night of the Living Deed: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery by E.J. Copperman

cover art of Night of the Living Deed: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery by E.J. Copperman

Alison Kerby is freshly divorced mother of a nine year old who has moved back to her home town and bought an old Victorian to renovate and make into a guesthouse (NOT a Bed & Breakfast — she doesn’t cook).  Shortly after she starts her work, a strange occurrence takes place — a bucket of compound lands on her head and she starts seeing ghosts.   After this she discovers that her mother has always been able to see and speak with ghosts and her daughter as well.

Alison bought the house based on the fact that it had 7 bedrooms and would be relatively easy to transform into a guesthouse.  It was only discovered later that the previous owner had been found dead in the home with a private investigator.  According to police reports, they had committed suicide.

This was a wonderful romp through small town New Jersey shore — part home make-over, part paranormal ghost whisperer.  However, despite my poor verbalization, it was a well-done mystery with great characters and a good story.  I would recommend this mystery for a quiet weekend on the porch or in front of the wood  stove (it just depends on the season!)

 

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Welcome to the first Haunted Guest House mystery-the getaway every reader can afford.

Newly divorced Alison Kerby wants a second chance for herself and her nine-year-old daughter. She’s returned to her hometown on the Jersey Shore to transform a Victorian fixer-upper into a charming-and profitable-guest house. One small problem: the house is haunted, and the two ghosts insist Alison must find out who killed them.

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Sentenced to Death: a Booktown Mystery by Lorna Barrett ISBN 9780425241868

Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett

cover art of Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett

 

Tricia, who is a character I love (how could a librarian not love a book seller?) seems to be in a quandary about the men in her life: her ex-husband sends her expensive presents, one past boy friend makes innuendos even though they have broken up long ago, and another ex-boyfriend asks to go out to dinner.  She seems confused and though the relationship scenario is cleared up by the end of the story it does make for a thick slog at points.

Debbie, the owner of the “Happy Domestic”, ends up dead in the middle of chapter one and through the course of the book we learn a great deal about how unhappy this domestic was.  This death is caused by a freak accident — at least that is what everyone but Tricia believes.  So while Tricia is busy setting up education funds for Debbie’s son and trying to come to turns with Ginny getting a job as manager of Debbie’s old store; she is also trying to figure out how a person can stage a freak accident.

I love the Booktown Mystery series — I liked this book.  Was it my favorite of the series?  No not really, but with 5 books they can’t all be your favorite.

 

Product Description

As the owner of Stoneham, New Hampshire’s mystery bookstore Haven’t Got a Clue, Tricia Miles can figure out whodunit in the latest bestseller long before she gets to the last page. But when her friend is killed in a freak accident, Tricia must use her sleuthing skills to solve a murder mystery that promises to be much more sinister than the books on her shelves.

About the Author

Lorna Barrett is the New York Times bestselling and Agatha-nominated author of the Booktown Mystery series.

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Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann ISBN 9780786297924

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

cover art by Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann was a book written from the point of view of a flock of sheep.  Right there I know I am going to loose some people because some people have a really hard time shifting perspective and immersing themselves in the “willing suspension of disbelief”.  However, I think Leonie Swann worked it right.  What is important to a flock of sheep?  Their shepherd and good grass in the pasture.  The book opens with the shepherd being dead with a shovel in his gut.  So all continues from that point.  The tone is consistent and the characters are rich.  Is it the best book I have ever read?  No, but I liked it and thought the effort well worth reading.

 

 

From Booklist

*Starred Review* A completely original, sparklingly inventive, cleverly written story, first published in Germany, about a flock of Irish sheep who vow to solve the murder of their shepherd, George. George has always treated the flock like humans, reading to them, feeding them the best fodder, protecting them from the local butcher, acknowledging their individual personalities, and even promising to take them to Europe. Imagine the flock’s shock when George is found dead in their meadow with a spade stuck in his chest! Led by Miss Maple, the smartest of them all, the sheep decide they must find out who killed George (depriving them of the best–and only–shepherd they’ve ever had). How they finally achieve this ambitious goal makes for a quirky, humorous, lively, weird, surprisingly dark yet joyous tale that shows how a disparate set of sheepy personalities can work together for the greater good. Although the plot meanders a bit, readers willing to accept the premise will find themselves engaged–rooting for the sheep, marveling at the ingenuity of the author, or simply enjoying the madcap story. Good fun and a fine first novel from a promising new writer. Emily Melton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved –This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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