Killer Pancake

Happy 4th of July!!!!!

So to celebrate today we are going to feature a 4th of July mystery!

Killer Pancake (Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery #5) by Diane Mott Davidson

Goldy has a new gig doing a low-fat catering job for a very expensive make up line, Mignon’s, show of its new product.

After that she will have a booth at Furman County’s Food Fair, over the 4th of July weekend, and a 4th of July party for a rich and very irritating client.

Between all that she is trying to adapt to married life as she is no longer Goldy Bear, but Goldy Schulz, wife to Tom Schulz of the Sheriff’s department. It’s great having this man in her life as he loves her and loves to cook, but being the wife of a policeman has its rough moments as well.

I’m scared!

Arch has ended his magic phase and has entered into a new love of all things ’60s. Hopefully it ends soon (may the next book he be into something else please!).

Goldy is preparing to say good-bye to Julian as after the summer he will go away to Cornell. He has become a true part of the family and a great help in taking care of Arch and in her catering.

Speaking of Julian, he has a new love interest. A knock-out gorgeous, blonde, Australian: Claire. She’s everything a guy could want and everything girls want to be. She is a sales rep for Mignon cosmetics and the one that got Goldy her low-fat gig.

They head over to where the demonstration will be and right smack in the middle of a group of protestors saying that Mignon is testing on animals and making rabbits go blind. One member and Goldy get into a confrontation, with grilled veggies going everywhere.

To make things shockingly worse, Claire is killed in a hit-and-run that turns out to be murder!

Then Goldy’s best friend Marla ends up in the hospital with a heart attack!

Goldy is visited by her abusive ex-husband, John Richard Korman!

What?!

And reporter Frances Markasian keeps popping up everywhere trying to question Goldy or involve her in her “investigation”.

Goldy tries to help find out what happened to Claire and finds out there is a lot more going on in this case-shoplifting, cooked books, love affairs, peeping toms, industrial espionage, and more. Will she make it to see the fireworks? Or be the next victim?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was pretty good and grabbed you well. You kept reading to find out what happened next and it had quite a group of characters to choose from as to who the killer was.

Hmm…

I figured it out though and thought the ending was missing the extra oomph.

Meh

For more Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries, go to The Last Suppers

For more on the 4th of July, go to Death by Cashmere

For more industrial espionage, go to Betty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction

For more mystery reviews, go to Death by Divorce

Happy 4th of July!

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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

Secrets Can Kill

Where I live, school starts tomorrow, so I thought what better way to get “back to school” than with a school centered mystery.

Secrets Can Kill (The Nancy Drew Files #1) by Carolyn Keene

So I know most people started with the original Nancy Drew books, but I never grew up reading those. My first introduction to Nancy Drew was The Nancy Drew Files. And of course, the TV show.

In fact, I was first introduced to Nancy Drew by accident. I was looking for a Sweet Valley High book to read and someone had mis-shelved a Nancy Drew Files. 

I first was interested in Nancy Drew when I picked up a copy on accident, as it was mis-shelved with Sweet Valley High. 

Why not try it out?

I read it and loved it and immediately wanted to read the whole series.

Unfortunately, when I started reading them, they were out of print and the library only had a few books in the series. It then became a treasure hunt as I tried to find copies in thrift stores and library book sales.

Background Information:

So this series began in the ’80s and have some updates from the original series. Nancy Drew originally was a 16 year-old, high school, amateur detective, but in this version she has been aged up to 18, and a high school graduate.

She still lives in River Heights, IL and is in a long distance relationship with Ned Nickerson, who is a student at Emerson College.

Yes that is Rick Springfield. He played Ned in the Christmas episode which you can check out on Netflix or youtube.

Her friends are still cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne; Bess being the beautiful blonde shopaholic who is always eating and George the super athlete in every way. Instead of a blue roadster, in this book she gets a blue mustang convertible.

One of the best things I love in this series are the clothes, the author (as Carolyn Keene is a pseudonym), always gives great detail to what she wears. I’m totally going to add a special section at the end.

One other thing that this series does a little differently is that every book cover has a handsome guy on it, someone who appears in the book. Some people hate that, but I always think of it as a fun guessing game as we try and figure out which of the characters it is.

Hmm…

Another thing this book series does, is that since it is a “case file” there is a little information sheet at the very beginning. Sometimes the suspects mentioned turn out to be who did it, while other times the person whodoneit is someone Nancy never saw coming.

ASSIGNMENT:To pose as a student, go undercover, and investigate a series of thefts at Bedford High.

CONTACT: Daryl Gray, a gorgeous senior with sexy, blueberry colored eyes and an instant attraction to Nancy.

 SUSPECTS: 

  • Jake Webb, a genuine creep who seems to have something on half the kids at school.
  • Walt “Hunk” Hogan, the tough football captain who’s acting strangely paranoid.
  • Carla Dalton, who hates Nancy on sight. Mere jealousy–or something more sinister?
  • Hal Morgan, the class “brain” who Nancy catches cheating on a test.

COMPLICATIONS: There’s more going on at this school than meets the eye. Much more. If Nancy isn’t careful, she could get herself into serious trouble…She could get herself killed.

Nancy thinks this will be a simple job, a few rooms at the school have been broken into, one or two things were stolen. The police can’t do anything as the fingerprints don’t match any of the adults, and the offenses are so minor.

The principal turned to Nancy to pretend to be a student and search who did it, as it is most likely a student. She bought new clothes, will take some easy classes, etc. However, things take a dark turn quickly.

After her shopping trip with Bess she discovers a VHS on her porch. When she puts it in to watch, she sees HERSELF!

What?!

Someone videotaped her, which means whoever she is out to investigate, knows who she is.

The next day, Nancy gets into a race with a handsome guy. When she goes to see the principal and report for her job, it turns out that her contact to know who she really is, is the guy she was racing!

He’s cute!

Daryl Gray is cool, handsome, rich the student body president, and drives a porsche. He and Nancy spend a LOT of time together, and things start heating up between them…

Smirkity smirk smirk

Nancy starts investigating and discovers that they call the strange happenings in the school “the ghost”.

As she searches further she discovers this case involves a kleptomaniac, hidden injuries, false test scores, blackmail, cut brake lines, and espionage!

Nancy figures out who the is responsible for the break ins, but when she goes to confront them the next day-they turn out to be dead! Will Nancy solve the mystery or turn out to be next?

Outfits-

This book doesn’t have as many as later ones do. There is one that caught my eye, when Nancy goes to the dance near the end of the novel. I always imagine her in something like this:

And let’s not forget the cover, I love the purple leather jacket and would totally wear that of I could find one.

Thoughts After Reading:

Loved it! From beginning to end. It had a great twist I didn’t see coming as well.

Nancy’s next case:

Another thing I loved about these mysteries is that they were designed like radio shows and TV episodes. They always made sure to leave you with a little preview of what will come next:

Nancy’s next case:

When she investigates a rock star’s mysterious disappearance, Nancy once again finds herself probing perilous secrets! Her only lead takes her straight to Bess’ new boyfriend. What is he hiding? Finding out my kill her friendship with Bess. But not finding out may kill the kidnapped rock star–with Nancy and her friends next on the hit list.

Can Nancy survive the dark side of the rock scene? Find out in DEADLY INTENT–Case #2 in The Nancy Drew Files,™ available now!

For more Nancy Drew, go to Betty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction

For more private investigators, go to Sam the Cat: Detective

For more female private investigators, go to B is for Burglar

For more ’80s mysteries, go to C is for Corpse

For more undercover mysteries, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more espionage, go to The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate

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The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I have heard of The Manchurian Candidate before, although I had never read the book or seen either movie. It is just one of those things that becomes a part of our language, “Manchurian Candidate” being another term for someone unwittingly being brainwashed.

I really wanted to see the Frank Sinatra version, but felt I should read the book first.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book begins with Sergeant Raymond Shaw receiving a the Medal of Honor for saving his whole platoon after they were captured during the Korean War.

Yay!

However, we go through a flashback and it is revealed that when the platoon was captured, they were actually taken to Manchuria, and brainwashed by the Communists to believe that Sgt. Shaw saved them. In reality, he becomes a sleeper agent for them, controlled by the Queen of Diamonds. When he sees the card he is activated, given his mission, and obeys orders of which he soon forgets.

He is controlled by his mother, Eleanor, who is prepared to use him to set up a puppet government through his stepfather, Senator John Yerkes Iselin.

Meanwhile, a member of said platoon, Major Bennett Marco has been suffering from some horrible nightmares. He keeps having the reoccurring vision of Shaw killing their comrades, while being observed by Chinese and Soviet Union intelligence officers.

He doesn’t think anything of it, until one of his other platoon mates tells him he has been having the same dream.

Major Marco is now facing a mystery and sets out to discover the truth of what really happened.

Will he discover the plot in time and stop it? Or will he be too late for the Manchurian Candidate?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I just did not like this book.

Try as I might I could not get into these characters. I just couldn’t stand them.

And it had such a cool setup with the espionage and the mystery. That makes it even worse for me as it just did not deliver.

For more espionage, go to The Princess Plot

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Yellow Room

For more mystery reviews, go to How to Wash a Cat

Betty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction

So I was reading an old Archie ComicBetty and Veronica Double Digest Magazine No. 129, and found a fun mystery that I thought I would share with you all.

Yay!

Betty and Veronica talk about their love of Nancy Drool (Nancy Drew) and their imaginations take over:

For more of these type of posts, go to 11 Famous Murder Riddles

For book reviews, go to The Falling Machine

Snagged

snagged

Snagged (Regan Reilly Mysteries #2)

Thoughts Before Reading:

So before I started reading this in order I read #10 Laced and #3 Iced. Both books started off with a strong beginning, but had a weak ending.

However, Decked blew me away as I just LOVED it and Snagged did the same thing. Now it has me wondering, were those just fantastic and the rest of the series so-so? Or was Laced and Iced just two duds in a wonderful series? I don’t know, but let’s move on to the review!

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Plot Synopsis:

Miami Beach has become the hot spot in which many threads will tangle together to create one intense knot.

plotthickens

Richie Blossom has been trying for years to invent the perfect invention, the big one, something that will help mankind. And he might have just done that. Richie Blossom has created the most indestructible, form-fitting, one-size fit all, panty hose.

wow

I know, I wish that were real it would be fantastic.

Aw+man+i+missed+the+porn+raid+again+i+am+_9614058b2062adb4c677dd212977b011

And of course for any of you millennials who have grown up in the techie world of casual, women used to not be bare-legged at work as it was unprofessional, instead wearing tights or panty hose.

Nowadays it just seems like you don’t see it unless it is winter.

Anyways, his run-proof, snag-proof, callus-proof, always form-fitting panty hose; was created for his deceased wife who’s thin legs always had baggy stockings.

Aw...that sucks

Aw…that sucks

And he made it just in time. Land developers are after the South Beach to create a new hotspot, and his retirement home sits on the primest location. When the owner was killed last year in an accident, they had luckily signed a lease before her demise or else they would have been kicked out. Now that year is ending, and unless they can get enough money to purchase it from the deceased landlord’s sister; they will all lose their homes.

Blog-Child-Support-Oh-No

Not only has Richard finished this multi-million dollar invention before the deadline to purchase, this weekend Miami is holding the National Panty Hose Convention, the perfect plan to get his stuff out there.

wantyouyes

Meanwhile, Regan has also traveled from Los Angeles to Miami to be in her friend, Maura Durkin’s, wedding.

Wedding

Maura’s father worked for Regan’s father Luke, until he decided to move from New Jersey to start his own funeral parlor business in Miami. The families remained close through the years, even with the distance.

Besides a Panty Hose Convention and a wedding, the hotel is also hosting a Funeral Convention. As most of the family friends are in the death business, the Durkins decided it made the most sense to have them at the same time.

Read it today!

After Regan checks in and spends some time with Maura, she is sent by the bride to check on her uncle, Richie Blossom, and make sure he’s okay and doesn’t forget to come to the rehearsal dinner and other family events.

When Regan goes to bring Richie back, they find themselves almost killed by a car. And this was no accident, the car tried to hit and kill them. But why?

HMMM

Regan begins to investigate and discovers this is no isolated incident. Someone is after Richie to kill him. But is it for his panty hose formula or the retirement community?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

As Regan continues to investigate she also discovers that the landlady didn’t die in an accident, but was murdered.

Murder

Now Regan has put herself up to quite a job; find out who killed the landlady, who is trying to kill Richie, and doing her best to protect him from any future harm; all the while doing her normal duties of maid of honor.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

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Thoughts After Reading:

First I really enjoyed this book a lot. I thought the mystery was well done and all the characters were a lot of fun.

loveitSupernatural

While most mystery novelists believe that a mystery = murder, I like how Clark’s work, while involving a previous murder and attempted murder, focuses more on fashion espionage.

this is going to be good

I really liked this book and am looking to the next books in the series that I haven’t read yet. I also want to add this book to my collection of mysteries.

wearegoingtoneedabiggebookshelf

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For more Regan Reilly mysteries, go to Decked

For more private investigators, go to A Study in Scarlet

For more female private investigators, go to A is for Alibi

For more espionage, go to The Princess Plot

For more mysteries taking place during a wedding, go to Bloom and Doom

The Princess Plot

Princess Plot

The Princess Plot (Scandia #1) by Kristen Boie

Jenna is an average girl. She goes to school, comes home, and hangs out at her best friend’s house. The only thing that sets her apart os the fact that her mother is extremely protective. She hardly ever lets her do anything or go anywhere.

I never get to do anything fun.

I never get to do anything fun.

One day, Jenna and her best friend are approached by a man handing out fliers. His company is making a princess movie and need someone to fill a secondary part. He gives them the fliers and hopes that they will come to the auditions.

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On one hand Jenna really to try out, but on the other: she knows her mother would be dead set against it. After a lot of hemming and hawing, she decides to go for it. When she arrives at the audition, she turns in her backpack and phone to the coat check and waits in line. With so many other beautiful girls there, Jenna is convinced she won’t be chosen.

I never get to do anything fun.

To her surprise, Jenna is picked and asked to immediately fly out to the country of Scandia, the place where the movie will be filmed.

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Jenna tries to turn them down, as she knows her mother will say no way, but it turns out they already spoke to her mother and was given approval. They return her phone with a text from her mother, telling her it is okay and that she hopes she has fun. Texting will be the only way they will be able to communicate from now on as they have limited satellites.

Very suspicious

Very suspicious

Jenna is quickly whisked away to a castle in Scandia where she discoverd everything has been a huge, fat, lie.

What?

It turns out that there is no movie.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

Instead the crown princess is very ill and can’t make any public appearances. Her father just died, and her uncle has been named Regent. They all thought that not having the princess around might look as if the regent is taking over or give credence to the rumors that he murdered/kidnapped the king. So on they went to find a girl that closely resembles the princess, enough that with a few minor changes, no one would think it wasn’t her.

perfectplan

At first Jenna goes along but then finds things weirder. No one will talk about the princess. Her phone can’t send messages to anyone other than her mom. And the Regent acts very weird around her. It unsettles her more and more.

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She overhears that the princess is not missing, but has run away. She then goes on to discover that she is to be here indefinitely, her mother has no idea where she is, and that the country is in the midst of a rebellion. What’s a girl to do?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I have to admit this was waaaay better than I thought it would be.

wow

It had a great plot and doesn’t fall into the usual young adult cliches.

fantastic

It was also nice to read a YA novel that isn’t all about finding a boyfriend, but one of espionage, rebels,  inequality, etc.

dangermiddlenameaustinpowers

The only thing I didn’t like about this book, was how dense Jenna was. Really? You think your super protective mom who doesn’t let you spend the night at a friend’s house, someone you’ve known all your life; and you actually believe she will let you go to an entirely different country with strangers?

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

And you don’t find it odd that you can never talk to your mom? And that she didn’t call to say good-bye?

Very suspicious

Very suspicious

Otherwise it was a pretty good YA book.

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For more young adult mysteries, go to The Dollhouse Murders

For more reviews, go to Blueberry Muffin Murder