Thursday, May 30, 2024

YOUR NUMBER'S UP (2022) - Review

Your Number's Up: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery

Your Number's Up: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery by Marylou Webster Ambrose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Planning to visit an assisted living facility, it was suggested I read a cozy paranormal mystery that had been set there. Not exactly a match, but certainly recognizable, the real Overlook Terrace is definitely home to the characters in the book especially wheelchair-bound Rose, who is now 105. Whether she has ESP, as in the story is unsure; but she is definitely a real and fascinating person!

Beautifully constructed, the story moves along with Rose's daughter Marie trying to find the truth about her mother's rumored extraordinary skills while coping with everyday family concerns. The reader will find it easy to relate and to laugh at this intelligent story about family, love, aging, and trying to keep the world running smoothly.

Highly recommended for a comfortable, engaging read that has a happy ending.

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THE STILL POINT 2024 - Review

The Still Point

The Still Point by Tammy Greenwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

QUOTE: "Why waste all that time on something that just disappears. . .We dance and then it's all just a memory." 

My introduction to Award-winning author T. Greenwood was her twelfth novel. RUST & STARDUST, published in August 2018. The story is the gripping, heart wrenching novel of Sally Horner, the 11-year-old kidnapping victim whose abduction in 1948 inspired Vladimir Nabokov's LOLITA. I was surprised that she was now writing about the lives of young dancers.

FIRST LINE: "The world is on fire."

THE STORY: Three young dancers. Three supporting mothers. All friends and competitors. Life has seemed good until a well-known French instructor comes to their coastal California town to bestow a Paris scholarship on an outstanding ballerina.

WHAT I THOUGHT: If you are paying attention, you will glimpse the personal elements the author has scattered throughout the story. Although she has written that THE STILL POINT is not a memoir, Greenwoood raised her daughter, now a professional ballerina, and certainly understands the intense world of dance classes and rivalries. The storytelling makes the book a remembrance of when we were young, took dance lessons, but stopped.

BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended because the writing is beautiful and the plot will keep the reader fascinated by the behind-the-scenes descriptions.

DISCLAIMER: A copy of was provided to me by Kensington Books / Net Galley for an honest review.

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Monday, November 13, 2023


The Bones of the StoryThe Bones of the Story by Carol Goodman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buried under books and not interested in reading? What to do? Read an author who has always been a comfort. I picked up Carol Goodman's new mystery/thriller "The Bones of the Story" and was swept away!

FIRST LINE: "I'm just having trouble getting back on track."

THE STORY: Briarwood College has not forgotten the disappearance of a female student twenty-five years ago and the distinguished Creative Writing professor who died while searching for her. Now, the college President is bringing together faculty, donors, and alumni to honor the victims from all those years ago. When the snow starts, people head home leaving the returning classmates at the college. Old rivalries are raised when they discuss the stories they had written about their greatest fears. And then there are more murders.

WHAT I THOUGHT: All Ms. Goodman's books are what I would call Romantic Gothic Mysteries with similar motifs and designs. She sets her stories in the Hudson River Valley in small college towns. Past college friendships, youthful indiscretions, secret histories and suggestions of ghosts combine to cause suspense and a sense of dread. In "The Bones of the Story" alternate chapters are marked either NOW or THEN and the author makes it even clearer as you start each section.

BOTTOM LINE: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by mystery readers who are interested in the puzzle of a story and interesting characters.

DISCLAIMER: A copy of was provided to me by William Morrow / Net Galley for an honest review.

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Thursday, November 9, 2023


  Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for MurderersVera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jesse Q. Sutanto's "Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers" was a recent book group choice. I'll read a cozy once in a while but was quite surprised by this charming mystery of death and friendship. Everyone loved the book!

FIRST SENTENCE: Vera Wong Zhuzhu, age sixty, is a pig, but she really should have been born a rooster."

THE STORY: Vera Wong, who lives above her forgotten tea shop in the middle of San Francisco's Chinatown, enjoys sipping on a good cup of Wulong and doing some detective work on the Internet about what her Gen-Z son is up to. One morning, Vera trudges downstairs to find a dead man on the floor of her tea shop. In his outstretched hand, a flash drive. Vera takes the flash drive sure she would do a better job than the police. Vera knows the killer will be back for the flash drive; all she has to do is watch the increasing number of customers at her shop and figure out which one among them is the killer. What Vera doesn't expect is to form friendships with her customers and start to care for each and every one of them.

WHAT I THOUGHT: One of the novel's standout features is its unique narrative voice. Vera Wong's character is a delightful blend of sass and vulnerability, making her not just a crime-solving force to be reckoned with, but also a relatable and endearing protagonist. All the characters add layers to the story, each contributing their quirks and secrets to the unfolding drama. From the grumpy police detective to the suspects, Sutanto weaves a web of personalities that adds depth to the story.

While the novel primarily falls into the cozy mystery genre, Sutanto seamlessly incorporates social commentary into the narrative. Vera Wong's journey becomes a reflection of societal norms and expectations, challenging stereotypes about age, gender, and race. The author cleverly addresses serious issues with a light touch, ensuring that readers both enjoy the mystery and contemplate the underlying themes.

BOTTOM LINE: Highly Recommended. "Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers" is a standout addition to the mystery genre, offering readers a refreshing take on the classic whodunit. Jesse Q. Sutanto's masterful storytelling, coupled with Vera Wong's irresistible charm, creates a novel that is both a lovely read and a laugh-out-loud experience. Fans of cozy mysteries will find themselves eagerly awaiting Vera Wong's next unsolicited adventure. This is the second title, after "Dial A For Aunties", in the series.

DISCLAIMER: A copy of "Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers" was provided to me by Berkley/Net Galley for an honest review. 

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Friday, June 9, 2023


Rehearsed to Death (Domestic Partners in Crime, #2)

Rehearsed to Death by Frank Anthony Polito
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
On Sale: May 23, 2023

Over the years my reading choices have often been books that surprise me, that teach me something new. I picked up "Rehearsed to Death", because it was about theatre, an HGTV hit reality show, and Detroit. It was a fun quozy mystery mixed with romance, rescued dogs, and Mini Coopers.

FIRST LINE: "As cohost of a popular home renovation show, I had a few principles to which I prescribed:
If you're going to do something, do it right.
Don't pay someone to do a project you can do yourself.
Every project ultimately takes longer than you estimate it will."

THE STORY: Partners JP and Peter created 'Domestic Partners' (think 'Bargain Block'). During a break between seasons, playwright Peter has an opportunity to see his play produced locally with JP starring and directed by a first rate (and terribly unpleasant) director, Xander Sherwood Deva. Shortly before the show is to open, Deva is found strangled by his own elaborate neck scarf. Was it an accident or murder?

WHAT I THOUGHT: Frank Anthony Pollito has created a series that will be a favorite of many readers. Peter is the narrator and scattered throughout are mentions of special things (from Michigan and beyond) like Sanders Bumpy Cake, Creamora, and Carnegie Mellon University. It made the book lots of fun even though the plot construction was uneven. Some characters are more fully developed than others but the description of clothing especially on the well-dressed is great.

BOTTOM LINE: This is the second title, after "Renovated to Death", in the Domestic Partners in Crime Mystery and has gathered a lot of interest from cozy/quozy readers. The author reads the audiobook version which has gotten some nice comments too.

DISCLAIMER: A copy of "Rehearsed to Death" was provided to me by Kensington Books/Net Galley for an honest review.

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Monday, May 15, 2023


Everything She Feared

Everything She Feared by Rick Mofina
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
On Sale: April 11, 2023

FIRST LINE: "Seventeen-year-old Anna Shaw didn't want to die."

THE STORY: A strong and ambiguous opening draws the reader into "Everything She Feared" and the pages keep turning. A teen falls taking a selfie at the edge of a cliff. The last thing she sees is nine year old Katie Harmon looking down at her.

Using a variety of points of view, the story is a puzzle with bits and pieces carefully shared throughout. The worry is, "Was Katie involved?" This all turns out to be much more complicated and there are many characters to follow from detectives, therapists, true-crime podcasters, and a journalist researching the death of his sister.

WHAT I THOUGHT: This was my first (and probably last) Rick Mofina. His writing style is repetitive which works for most readers, but some will find overdone. He did his research on police procedures in Washington State and beyond. My other comment is the ending seems to happen quickly although I was finally able to stop holding my breath. He does know how to touch his readers and I would give this book a 3.5

BOTTOM LINE: RECOMMENDED for mystery/thriller readers. If you find you enjoy Mofina, he has written many books in several series and has a devoted following.

DISCLAIMER: A copy of was provided to me by Harlequin Trade Publishing/Mira /NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Sunday, May 7, 2023



Here's a preview of the best new books for the 2023 Fall/Winter season and it's FREE!

Buzz Books 2023: Fall/Winter, the 23nd volume in the popular sampler series, presents readers with an insider’s look at more than sixty books due out this season—the largest collection to date. At the end of most excerpts, you will find a link to the full galley on NetGalley!

Such major bestselling authors as Kate Atkinson, Chuck Palahniuk, Zadie Smith, and Mona Awad are featured, along with Stephen King, Mitch Albom, Nelson DeMille, and Janet Evanovich.
Fiction is broken down into categories such as Notables; Debut authors; and Commercial Fiction. A whole range of non-fiction categories are included as well as several Young Adult titles.

First introduced for the 2012 Book Expo America, the FREE digital Publishers Lunch Buzz Books have become the place for both industry professionals and book lovers in general to discover and read about the books expected to spark high demand BEFORE they are published! After many selections, you have the option to follow a link and request the complete galley copy from Net Galley if you qualify as a 'professional' reader.

Buzz Books 2023: Fall/Winter is available NOW on Amazon! Did I mention it's FREE!