Frosted Shadow

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Frosted Shadow (Toni Diamond Mystery #1) by Nancy Warren

Toni Diamond is a beautiful blonde Texan who has worked her way up from poverty to a great lifestyle, all due to the Lady Bianca Cosmetics.

This Mary Kay makeup line enables women to run their own business and allow any to move up the ranks, rewarding the best saleswomen.

Toni is attending their annual conference, along with being one of the motivational speakers. As she starts her address, she is interrupted with the shock that a Lady Bianca representative was murdered.

Toni heads down with the crowd, but realizes this is not a Lady Bianca rep. She isn’t dressed accordingly, and her makeup is more a free makeover than something she’d be showcasing to prospective clients.

Sergeant Luke Marciano wasn’t looking for civilian involvement, and initially believing that Toni was beauty over brains; he never expected to find himself thrilled at the prospect of her interference.

At first drawn to her outer beauty, he quickly finds that overshadowed by her intelligence and quick mind as she proves to be a powerful ally into the world of Lady Bianca.

The dead women turns out to be suffering from a bad marriage, a lover, and attempt of divorce. She wasn’t even here for Lady Bianca, but a mystery book convention. While the police investigate the victim’s husband, Toni takes a step back and focuses on her team.

To Toni’s surprise and disapproval, she discovers that her biggest rival in the business, Nicole Freedman is pressuring her team into making large purchases, amounts impossible to sell in one month, just so that they can win the prize. After witnessing her browbeating one of her team into submission, Toni speaks out against her.

This unleashes one giant catfight, in which Nicole accuses her of not only trying to sabotage her team, but of sending her threatening anonymous emails.

Toni is confused at that, and after the fight ends she gets a reprimand from the higher ups. A fight and a lecture in the span of a few hours? Toni settles on a walk to calm herself, returning to the hotel late and going to the nearest bathroom to relieve herself.

In the bathroom she notices Nicole’s feet in another stall, telling that it is her by her unique shoes. Not wanting another confrontation, she tries to finish quickly and leave, but notices that Nicole is seated unusually and hasn’t moved.

Going to check on her she discovers that Nicole is dead, she too has been murdered.

What?!

Even though they disliked each other, Sergeant Marciano dismisses Toni as a suspect. He believes the two deaths are connected and starts investigating what ties they shared.

Toni decides to do her own investigating, and gets signaled out by the killer. Will she be able to solve the case, or just end up another victim?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this mystery.

Toni works for a Mary Kay type cosmetics company and I love how the author creates a composite of beauty queen with intelligent woman. Diamond is relatable and fun, you quickly being drawn into her life and the mystery that engulfs it.

Hmm…

The mystery was interesting and enjoyable. The only thing I didn’t like was the way they connected the first murder with the second, it was pretty weak to me.

Otherwise, I thought it was a fun mystery and look forward to the next book in the series.

For more mystery reviews, go to Alias Grace

Sew Deadly

SewDeadly

Sew Deadly (A Southern Sewing Circle #1) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Victoria “Tori” Sinclair has just moved from Chicago to small town Sweet Briar, South Carolina to be the town’s new librarian.

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It is a huge change for her, but after her last relationship tanked, her fiancé cheating on her during their engagement party, she needed to get out and far away.

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Tori is eager to run her own library, being full of ideas,

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but she is definitely going to be faced with some serious issues. She is from the North (a Yankee), was not born in Sweet Briar, and has just ousted one of the town’s favorite people when she was hired to become the new librarian.

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Tori visits with some of the town folk, Leona a more recent addition to the town and the antique shop owner; and Georgina the mayor. While Georgina and Tori are talking, they discuss sewing, and Tori is invited to join the sewing circle. Seems like things are going great.

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But not quite. Someone is sabotaging her, stealing the lightbulbs on her porch, giving her a flat, and the former librarian is going around talking smack about her.

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While the sewing meeting starts off to a shaky start, the former librarian boycotting; and Tori not bringing a baked good like she is supposed

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When she shares her ideas of starting a children’s room in the library, everyone jumps in promising to make dress up clothes for the kids.

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Just when things look like they are going up, Tori falls into another pitfall. Her appointment book was swiped and she finds herself unprepared for Mr. Wentworth’s third grade class’ usual appointment of story time and craft. Luckily she manages to think her way out and come up with a butter making idea. As the kids are working hard, Tori talkes to Miles Wentworth, single, tall, dark, and handsome.

Smirkity smirk smirk

Smirkity smirk smirk

The next sewing circle doesn’t go as well as the first. Former librarian Dixie Dunn came and is trying to get everyone against Tori. Luckily the move the conversation to Miles and discuss the sad state of his singlehood since he became a widower, along wit the beauty queen, recently moved back resident, Tiffany Ann. Tiffany Ann was always obsessed with Miles ever since she was 12 and he was her tutor. She doesn’t care about the 13 year difference but promised she would marry him.

Obsessed

Obsessed

After a lot of hard work, Tori has finally cleaned out the storage room set for the new children’s corner. Nina, her assistant, has to leave but Tori is determined to finish cleaning everything for the board meeting and show off where she wants everything to be. As she heads to the dumpster to toss in the final pieces she’s cleaned out, all her plans change. In the dumpster is the body of Tiffany Ann.

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Now the police investigator stupidly believes that Tori killed her, in her anger of becoming part of a love triangle, no one will talk to her, and Tori has to solve this mystery before whoever kills again and causes her to be run out of town.

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Thoughts After Reading:

So I thought this book was pretty good.

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I liked the characters of the book and felt it was interesting. The only thing I don’t like is the way they make the police investigator so incompetent.

Really Mike?

Ugh.

I hate when they do that in mystery novels. Why would they choose Tori when she has no reason to kill Miles? There is no love triangle, no hatred, no revenge, no money, etc.

seriously

There is bound to have been someone else in the town, but instead of making the character intelligent, she makes him like the one in Bloom and Doom, incredibly incompetent.

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For more love triangles, go to Cream Puff Murder

For more on May Vanderbilt, go to A is for Alibi

For book reviews, go to A Study in Scarlet