For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

For whom the bluebell tolls

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls (A Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery #2)

This is the sequel to Bloom and Doom. As I posted that book a while ago, let’s recap. In the first book, cousins Audrey Bloom and Olivia “Liv” Rose-Meyer; find their flower shop unwittingly involved in a murder. Audrey is trying to help an old friend call off a wedding to a wealthy man, offering her a job at the flower shop as she no longer will have an income. When said ex-fiancé is found stabbed to death by one of the flower shop tools given to the friend to help her practice, Audrey is on the case to clear her friend’s name.

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Time has passed since the first wedding and things at the flower shop are going well. Audrey has been dating Nick the baker, and that relationship is going well too. And to top it off; Audrey is closer to having enough money to purchase her grandmother’s cottage.

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But then a cloud comes over everything. Her ex-boyfriend, Brad, who left her for the city has come back to town.

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He’s not exactly back for Audrey, but works on the famous reality show Fix My Wedding. 

Wedding

Fix My Wedding is a show in which brides agree to go on air and submit to the all the wedding planners’, Gigi Welch and Gary Davoll, decisions as they create the perfect weddings: flowers, cake, dress, etc.

The place they were going to use for the wedding of a bride obsessed with bells falls through, so Brad told them about their old church with a beautiful bell; and now they are moving the event to Ramble, Virgina.

While the town happily opens up to the crew, others are not so happy. A bride from a wedding gone wrong, has come with a set of bridesmaids to protest the TV show.

And to make things even more difficult for Audrey, one of the show’s hosts, Gary, is an insufferable jerk and the bride a complete diva. Audrey soon finds herself regretting ever agreeing to be on the show.

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But when said jerky host dies, Audrey finds herself worried about more than flowers, as she has to figure out who the murderer is, before he can strike again. Especially as her ex-boyfriend is looking to be the one to hang for the crime.

While said ex was a complete jerk and moron, Audrey can’t stand to see him wrongly imprisoned. So she starts researching into the people surrounding the case and discovers that there is much more about these characters than meets the eye. Before Gary joined the show he was an investigative journalist who made many enemies. As Audrey tries to whittle down the suspects, she finds her love life also in turmoil, as she has to choose between the budding baker romance, or an old flame.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I really enjoyed this mystery, more than the first one as it was far more challenging. It not only had a great twist, but continued that small-town Southern charm introduced in the first book.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next novel in this series.

For more Bridal Bouquet Shop mysteries, go to Bloom and Doom

For more mysteries involving weddings, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more Southern mysteries, go to Death by Darjeeling

For more mystery reviews, go to This Pen for Hire

Death on Demand

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Death on Demand (Death on Demand #1) by Carolyn G. Hart

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I started this series with the book Deadly Valentine (Death on Demand #6) when I picked up an autographed copy at a library book sale. I love book sales.

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I really enjoyed that book and decided to start the series from the beginning, and let me tell you I wasn’t disappointed with it. While at times it may be predictable the character and stories always leave me coming back for more.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book starts off strong with our murderer listing out the items they need to kill their intended victim:

1 Pair of Doctor’s Rubber Gloves

1 Spool of Black Extra-Strong Button-and-Carpet Thread

A Handful of Assorted Keys

Clear Fingernail Polish

Polish Remover

1 Dart

And just one more, the most important of all…

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We can’t reveal that just yet. The murderer needs a little more mystery.

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So Annie Laurence inherited the mystery bookstore, Death on Demand on Broward’s Rock, when her uncle died a few months ago.

Aw...

Aw…

Annie loves the store, as she has always been a book lover and mystery aficionado.

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She loves everything about the bookstore, except this upcoming Sunday. There are quite a few writers who reside on Broward’s Rock, south Carolina, giving Annie the idea to create a writer’s night in which they take turns lecturing or planing a program.

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It had been going well until mean, nasty Elliot Morgan dropped a bomb that he was going to blow apart the next meeting with his new book, all about the famous writers living on the island. Why does he have to go and ruin everything?

Really Mike?

WHY!

To further her anxiety, her old boyfriend is on his way.

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Annie met Max Darling after college when she was trying to strike it big on stage in New York. She was an actress, while Max was one of the producers. Max Darling is from an extremely wealthy family, so wealthy that he doesn’t need to work. Annie left him as she felt it wouldn’t work out as she was born in a lower economic scale and was only able to go to college on a scholarship.

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Max however is not one to give up on something he believes in and has tracked her down to Boward’s Rock using his charm, wit, and acting abilities.

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That day the store is closed, but Annie goes in for some inventory to settle her nerves as she contemplates what will happen tonight.

Tonight will be horrible!

Tonight will be horrible!

Max decides to stay that night and assist Annie with her writer’s group. The writers all enter in at their own pace. Captain Mac is a retired cop who moved to Broward’s Rock and was a friend of Annie’s uncle. He’s also been a big help to Annie after her Uncle Amos’ death. He’s not a writer, but participates in giving insight into police procedure and criminal experience.

1944: Dana Andrews puts the spotlight on Gene Tierney during the interrogation scene of the film noir, 'Laura', directed by Otto Preminger.

Emma Clyde is a mystery queen, and author of the famous Marigold Mystery Series.

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Janis and Jeff Farley; Jeff the writer of children books while Janis is the illustrator.

Fritz Hemphill who does green beret shoot ’em up war books.

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Kelly Rizzo who did psychological thrillers.

Sorry but I don't think so.

And Elliot bringing up the rear.

Hate him.

Hate him.

Just then Harriet Edelman comes in bursting with news that the vet Jill Kearney was murdered the night before.

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She went in to look on an animal recovering from a procedure and interrupted a robbery. She was smacked in the head and because of her thin skull, died from it.

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Suddenly Elliot announces his newest non-fiction book. Titles Criminal Minds, all about the horrible, scandalous things done by the authors who reside here on Broward’s Rock.

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Just then the lights go out, a scream rings, and when the lights come on Elliot dead by a poison dart.

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Chief Frank Saulter believes that Annie is the murderer, having first killed her uncle for her inheritance and then Elliot when he threatened to reveal it all in his book.

Not-Good

With Annie racing against the clock, it is up to her and Max to do some private detecting to figure out who the real killer is.

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As they start looking into what dirt Elliot had on the bunch this is what they find out.

  • Captain Mac admits that he was involved in a paternity suit.
  • Annie tells Max how she helped a friend escape a bad marriage and save their child by having the friend be admitted to a hospital under her name and give the baby up for adoption.
  • Kelly has had crimes of animal killing following her all over. She says her sister is the one that does it and she is just protecting her, but is that the truth?
  • Hal Douglas’ wife disappeared. Many believe he killed her, but he insists that he is innocent.
  • Harriet supposedly stole a story and printed it under her own name.
  • Jeff beats Janis.
  • Emma’s husband was cheating on her and then just happened to “fall overboard”.

Who is the killer? And will Annie figure it out before he strikes again? Or worse, she is put on trial for murder.

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Thoughts after reading:

So I love this book and the way Carolygn G. Hart writes the characters. Annie and Max are just fantastic!

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Annie is not only lovable but intelligent and able to out the pieces together quite nicely.

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I also love how sweet Max is and how he stays in the end to open his “private detective agency that isn’t a private detective agency.”

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*Spoiler Alert*

I only have two issues with the book:

  1. If Max has so much money, why didn’t they just buy a laptop to read Elliot’s disk instead of sneaking into Elliot’s house and Annie getting injured. You think that would be much easier for them right?
  2. I figured the mystery out really early on. Her uncle died and was investigating two places, where guess what Captiain Mac was the only person involved with one of them. I mean, come on. A paternity suit, you know it had to more than that Annie. Also, how could a police officer retire and afford an expensive house like he does. It’s obvious he’s dirty.

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But to tell the truth I really didn’t care about either one as I just loved the characters and decided to read the whole series.

And as I love this series you will be seeing a lot more reviews on them in the future!

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For more books from library book sales, go to A is for Alibi

For more mystery reviews, go to A Pinch of Poison

 

No Limits

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No Limits (Ultimate #1) by Lori Foster

No Limits (Ultimate #1) by Lori Foster is a sexy, suspense story. Cannon “the Saint” Colter: Mixed Martial Artist, hunk, and all around good guy; is returning to his hometown in Ohio.

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An old family friend, Tipton Sweeney, has passed away and left him an inheritance. Cannon doesn’t need the money, but has just finished a gruesome fight and eager for a break.

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There he discovers that Sweeney left him half of his house and pawnshop, the other half given to his granddaughter Yvette.

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Yvette Sweeney was a sweet beautiful girl that Cannon rescued from kidnappers back when she was a teenager. She always had a crush on him, but Cannon wouldn’t allow anything to happen, as she was far too young. Now charged by her grandfather to convince Yvette to stay in Ohio, he also decides that it is the perfect time to let her know how much he cares for her.

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Yvette Sweeney has just returned home to face the loss of her grandfather and all the bad memories she longs to forget. When she discovers that she will be sharing half the inheritance with Cannon; she decides to prove to him and everybody that she is calm, collected, and not a victim anymore.

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Cannon surprises her as he is intent at not only helping her overcome her past, but also face her issues of the day. While these two steam up their relationship, it appears that someone isn’t happy with Yvette’s return.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

Somebody wants her gone, but who could it be? A crazy female fan of Cannon? Her obsessed ex-boyfriend? Or somebody else altogether?

urkelgif interesting hmm

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Thoughts After Reading:

This was a really suspenseful book, as Foster knows how to craft a spellbinding story. She really keeps one on the edge of their seat as you try to determine who is after Yvette and why they want to scare her off.

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Foster’s characters are also amazing, Cannon is the perfect guy as he is not only physically impressive with his MMA build, but also really emotionally there for Yvette. He cares about all her hang-ups, wounds, and insecurities and works with her to empower her and help her overcome those issues.

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Yvette is adorable and one that anyone can relate to, as who hasn’t had something in their life scar them and find it hard to find others, especially a romantic partner, who understand what they need to overcome that.

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The secondary characters are just as lovable, as all of Cannon’s MMA fighter friends are really endearing. Most of all Arnie Jacobson, who is like Cannon’s brother and just as protective of Yvette as if she were his own sister.

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Another great character is Vanity, Yvette’s friend from California and a stereotypical California girl. This brash and bold girl is definitely going to add some color in the books to come.

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The only issue I had was that this book was way too extreme in the “sexy” part. I got it for free and thought the synopsis was interesting, but the graphic ways Foster describes the relationship between Cannon and Yvette was too much for me.

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Other than that I thought the story and characters were great, leaving me wondering what’s next to come in the Ultimate Series. Although I’m not sure I could handle another one.

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Too much for me

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For more reviews, go to Cherry Cheesecake Murder

Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

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Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters by Lida Sideris

After Corrie Locke’s father died, she decided to give up the private investigating business and get into something that is safe and secure; becoming a lawyer.

Everything will be fine.

Everything will be fine.

In fact, Corrie has just landed the job of her dreams, an associate lawyer at a big entertainment production house. Only problem is, this is far from what she dreamed as safe and secure.

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Instead Corrie has a crazy supervisor who changes his mind every second, her ex-boyfriend that was a huge mistake works there too, a gossipy Human Resources executive, a Vice President that doesn’t understand the word “no”, and much more.

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To make things even more complicated, Corrie finds herself donning her gumshoes when someone begs her to investigate a suicide, he believes is a cover for murder.

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Once word is out that Corrie is back in business, she gets two more cases: finding a famous basketball player’s lost lucky charm, his Siamese cat; and figuring out who is making a famous rapper believe he has been abducted by aliens.

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In between lawyering and investigating; Corrie has an old friend she’d always crushed on come back in her life; and a man she can’t stand but is attracted to. What’s a girl to do?

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Thoughts After Reading:

            Fans of Veronica Mars will enjoy reading about this teenage private investigator trying to leave the life, only to discover it is something in her blood.

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Corrie was a fun and likable character as you relate to her normalcy in an office full of strange temperamental people. Her partner in investigating, best friend, and secret crush; Michael, is not only adorable in his nerdy everyday personality, but just as lovable in his attempts to be like Colombo or other TV detective.

gotthis

This novel was very engaging and the three mysteries were fun, interesting and great to challenge any reader. The lost cat and rapper tales are minor, but still engaging, and the overall investigating arc of the suicide as murder; is intriguing as it takes a series of twists and turns in trying to find out is it really a murder? And if so who could be the killer?

FRIEND!!???

Who??

The only issues I had with the book was at times it seems to be a little bit disorganized, waiting until halfway in to give us the back-story the author is constantly hinting at.  I would have preferred if we were introduced to it earlier as it helps one understand the characters better. The other problem I had with the novel was the love triangle between Corrie, Michael, and the assistant district attorney. A lot of mysteries have been doing this lately, and I for one am tired of reading it.

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But as those are such minute issues, and on a whole the story was almost impossible to put

down,

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I would give this four and a half stars out of five.

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For more books on private investigators, go to Fool Moon

For more female private investigators, go to One for the Money

For more suspicious suicides, go to Knit, Purl, Die

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Italian Wife