The Turquoise Trail Mystery

The Turquoise Trail Mystery (Barbie and Friends Book Club) by Rita Baldacci

Barbie is a model working in Santa Fe, showcasing beautiful turquoise jewelry. She meets the designer, Rosa, and the two become instant friends.

Rosa is a Pueblo Native American and offers to show Barbie around the new and old parts of the region. As she hands her a map to show her where to go, Barbie remarks on the artistry of it and stumbles onto a mystery.

Rosa’s sister Susanna has been missing. She was a talented artist and wanted to leave the Southwest for New York City. Her grandfather, an elder in the tribe, did not want her to leave as he worried that she would forget her culture if separated from her people. After the fight, Susannah ran away.

And she isn’t the only thing to have vanished. Around that time a very important headdress, one used in an important ceremony, also disappeared. Until it can be recovered, no ceremonies are allowed to continue.

The jewelry photos come out perfect and Barbie gets time off. That works out perfectly as Rosa calls her up to invite her to come with her for an art show. They look at the paintings, but one of them puts Rosa into total shock! It is her grandfather in his headdress! It wasn’t signed but instead a symbol of scissors cutting through a blue line.

There are two other paintings by the same artist and when they look at the area where a signature should be, they discover two other symbols. One is a red half circle on a line, like a setting sun. The other had a box with a squiggly line coming out. Both remind Barbie and Rosa of the symbols that Susannah would use and decide they must be clues to lead to where she lives.

Hmm…

They look at a map and discover the Turquoise Trail, figuring that must be the blue line in the first painting/symbol and they make plans to investigate the next day. As the continue past ghost towns they come to near the end of the trail, going to Tijeras Canyon, figuring that is the scissors on the map (Tijeras means scissors in Spanish).

They later head down sunset road and find the symbol of the last painting to be group of trees by a river. As they continue down will they find what they are looking for? Susannah and the headdress? Or will this all have been one giant wild goose chase?

 

Thoughts After Reading:

It was an extremely cute story and I loved it. It is one of my favorite of the Barbie stories I received in the book club.

For more Barbie books, go to The Secret of the Three Teardrops

For more children’s books, go to The Silver Deer

For more mysteries involving a disappearance, go to Emilie and the Sky World

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The Lesson

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The Lesson (Stoney Ridge Seasons #3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Thoughts Before Reading:

So this book is in a series, but only the third one is marketed as a “mystery”.

In the first Stoney Ridge Seasons book, The Keeper, Amish woman Julia Lapp has had to deal with a lot since her father’s heart trouble. She is trying to keep their farm, Windmill Farm, together against all odds. But luckily she will now be marrying Paul Fisher, who she has been in love with for years. But now Paul has stopped their marriage from happening, and she knows who is to blame, Roman Troyer. Roman Troyer is a unique kind of Amish as he likes to travel around Ohio and Pennsylvania with his beehives. He tells the other men about his travels and convinces many that this is the life. While Roman and Julia are fighting, Roman finds himself settling at Windmill Farm and liking it, but will it be enough to convince him to give up his roaming life?

Hmm…

In the sequel, The Haven, the story focus on Julia’s younger sister, Sadie. Sadie has just returned from spending the winter in Ohio after training under a healing women to learn her ways and bring them back to her community. She tells no one of her arrival, including her somewhat boyfriend Gideon Smucker. Her family is surprised when she arrives early and with a baby! Yes, while Sadie fell asleep waiting for her bus, a baby was dropped off at her feet. Gideon assumes the worse, which angers Sadie and opens a window for troubled college youth, William Stolz.

What?!

Plot Synopsis:

In this book, The Lesson, Mary Kay Lapp, otherwise known as M.K., has grown up into a woman’s body but doesn’t have the sense of an adult. She still has troubles with long-distance thinking of the consequences of her actions.

After a run-in with the schoolteacher, and accidentally laying her up for the semester, M.K. becomes the next teacher. Much to her dismay as she can’t stand the idea.

No!!

But one day as M.K. is continuing along, she finds the dead body of a sheep farmer. This amateur detective has decided it is up to her to discover the truth and who is responsible.

Will M.K. solve the crime? Or will she just get herself into more trouble.

Hmm…

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Thoughts After Reading

I didn’t like e how the author wrote M. K. She would use these short choppy sentences that made it seem as if M.K. was that hyperactive squirrel from the Hoodwinked film. It gave me a headache to read.

I thought The Keeper was good, but every book after just got worse and worse. I thought this one was horribly written and do not recommend it.

I hate it

For more mysteries involving schoolteachers, go to Paper Roses

For more book reviews, go to Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla

Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla

Usually I wouldn’t post a book review on a Thursday, but since this book takes place onThanksgiving and it is Thanksgiving, I thought it would be perfect.

Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla (Sunset Reads #2) by D.C. Triana

            In Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla, by D.C. Triana, we return to the publishing company, prospering under the blissfully married Cristina and Will. But in this volume the focus is shifted from them to their friends: Cristiana’s friend from childhood, Layla; and Will’s Special Forces colleague. Layla has fallen for Damian, and he shares her feelings; but instead of creating a relationship Damian abruptly leaves, breaking Layla’s heart.

Years have passed and FBI Agent Damian has returned as a new threat has risen against Will and Cristina. Gus Schwartz, a computer genius, and his company Skyline Enterprises has been revolutionizing industries, along with ransacking their financial accounts. They need compelling evidence to prove that he and his employees are purposefully committing these crimes and Damian will be going undercover to infiltrate the crew at their latest job, Sunset Reads. Damian is eager to help out his friend, but surprised to discover Layla has just been appointed Public Relations Director. He is as equally surprised to discover that he still has feelings for Layla and that she in return wants nothing to do with him.

Layla had hoped to never see or spend another minute thinking about Damian, but finds that will be an unrealistic goal, as he will be working in her department. To make matters worse, she becomes the center of this ring of intrigue; finding herself dodging bullets, becoming a Mata Hari, and forced into having constant FBI protection. With all of this happening, the question isn’t will they save the company: but will they survive?

Thoughts After Reading:

I really didn’t enjoy this novel as I felt it paled in comparison to its predecessor. In Sunset Reads: Will & Cristina; there was a lot of development into the lives of the characters, along with the “life” of the company. We became attached to the characters and the company as we followed their stories, growth, and how the company and publishing world affected them. Cristina was a writer who went through many difficulties, finding a home with Sunset Reads and with Will’s mother. For Will, he had to contend with an abusive stepfather, his drive in Sunset Reads being a way to protect his mother and preserve her legacy. We see how he has to woo Cristina to win her favor; along with having to woo the public in order to have the company prosper. Because of this direct connection, the threat to them and Sunset Reads is felt as acutely with the reader as it is with the characters.

This was not the case with Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla. We are not given a lot of background into who these characters are or their paths that made them the people they are today. They fail to be relatable, so when their situation gets suspenseful or stressful it isn’t as evoking of emotions in the reader.

Damian and Layla also have no direct connection to Sunset Reads, so the level of urgency isn’t the same and their attention isn’t as focused in protecting it. For Layla, she has barely begun working at Sunset Reads, we never see her actually doing her job, or see what threat these hackers and grifters pose against her directly. The same applies to Damian who is supposed to be investigating as ordered by the FBI and in order to aid his friend; but hardly even focuses on the situation; choosing to spend his time investigating Layla’s body. The “threat” against the company is hardly present in the story, mostly being a tool to throw Layla and Damian together or to incite their feelings.

This book doesn’t really build a relationship between Layla and Damian as they go from dislike, Layla of Damian, speedily to desire and then “love”. There isn’t a lot of growth in them or why the relationship will work now when previously Damian stalled it. The emotional relationship is not really seen, the emphasis being on the physical relationship instead.

As a companion in the series Sunset Reads I found it to be lacking. I expected a more rounded tale of characters and plot, giving this one out of five stars.

For more on Sunset Reads, go to Sunset Reads: William & Cristina

For more espionage, go to The Manchurian Candidate

For more FBI, go to Triple Six

For more going undercover, go to Secrets Can Kill

For more book reviews, go to Everybody Wanted Room 623

Everybody Wanted Room 623

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Everybody Wanted Room 623 (Everybody’s a Suspect #2) by Cecil Murphy

Dr. Julie West has just arrived at the Cartledge Inn after a call by reformed prisoner Stefan Lauber. However, it turns out that Lauber has just been murdered.

According to the hotel clerk, everybody has been asking for Room 623. Why?

Throw in the mix Pastor James Burton who has come to the inn to meet the same friend. The two have strong feelings for each other, but Dr. West’s unbelief in Christ sets up a wall impeding any relationship to move forward.

What to do?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was horrible.

Ugh

A good premise but badly constructed book and boring. This author doesn’t seem to know how to write a good mystery. So much was told through another person instead of something that was in front of the characters.

A lot of these side characters who relayed all the information were annoying as well.

The Christianity parts were written much better than in the previous book, but this was still bad.

I figured out the bad guy as soon as they introduced him, it was painfully obvious.

For more on Everybody’s a Suspect, go to Everbody Loved Roger Harlan

For more book reviews, go to This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

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This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies (Reed Ferguson Mystery #1) by Renée Pawlish

Thoughts Before Reading:

I belong to a site called BookBub in which you can be redirected to get  Kindle books cheaply or for free. This was one that was on the free section of the site.

I picked this book because every facet of it intrigued me. The cover was interesting in its 1940s noir feel, the title with it instantly bringing to mind a character who loves film (especially noir) as much as me; and the synopsis sounded great. Now did it live up to its expectations?

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Reed Ferguson loves old film noir. He’s favorite is The Big Sleep starring his hero, Humphrey Bogart.

On the case!

In fact, Reed wants to be just like his hero that he has decided to start his own detective agency.

investigate

As he lives in Colorado, he doesn’t have to be licensed. Now Reed may dream of being the next Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe; but hasn’t hit it big on a case really. He spends most of his time watching old movies or sitting around reading detective novels.

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Unfortunately, Reed’s dad doesn’t view things the same way.

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He thinks of Reed as playacting and wants him to concentrate on a “real” job.

What?!

So Reed is hoping that he will get a “real” case to prove that it is a “real job”.

One day a beautiful blonde walks into his office. She is straight up a femme fatale out of his movies. Her name is Amanda Ghering and she wants Reed to find her dead husband. She’s willing to pay anything.

Right off Reed smells something fishy, but agrees to investigate. As he has his first case, he is raring to go.

Amanda Ghering’s husband, Peter, traveled a lot and was quite the wanderer. However, that lead dries up quickly as none of those women appear to be involved.

Hmm…

Reed also hears conflicting information and begins to follow Amanda, knowing that there is a whole lot more to the tale than what she is saying.

When Reed gets his life threatened, that seals the deal for him. He’s in this to the final stretch.

He follows Amanda to a restaurant where she passes a comic book to a waiter, who passes it along to another woman.

Hmm…

After a bit more investigating, and pressure on Amanda, Reed discovers that he’s been made a patsy. Amanda was behind the disappearance/murder of her husband. She hired this group of avengers of women’s rights and injustice, the X Women, by lying and saying her husband is abusive and controlling. When they discovered the lie, they let her husband go, and he has been missing ever since.

Seriously?

Reed tries to help aid Amanda, but she has pissed off the wrong people. These women will not be treated as such without a fight.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I did not like this mystery which made me sad as I thought it was going to be a winner. I mean I love classic noir, ’80s music, comics; etc. But this was just boring and badly written. And don’t be using Spider-man if you don’t even know who he is or how he acts.

I really didn’t care for Reed as he was boring and lazy, I mean we read more about him eating  than his actual investigating.

Ugh

The side characters were too numerous and annoying. The goofball brothers, ugh please no more.

Pretty much a fail for me. 0 out of 0 stars.

I hate it.

For more on private investigators, go to The Red Headed League

For more BookBub books, go to The Itsy Bitsy Spider

For more book reviews, go to Psycho