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

C is for Corpse

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C is for Corpse (Kinsey Millhone #3) by Sue Grafton

Thoughts Before Reading:

I love my mysteries to challenge me, I love it when an author has completely bamboozled me. The truth being there the whole time, but I was too busy following a red herring to figure it out.

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Now if a book cannot surprise me, they must bring my admiration instead through their amazing characters.

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This book falls into the second category.

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In this book I figured out very quickly who the murderer was, but I didn’t care. I liked Kinsey Millhone and I so enjoyed these writings of Grafton that I continued reading all the way to X.

Cantstopreadingupallnight

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Plot Synopsis:

So in this book, Kinsey is still recovering from the events that occurred in B is for Burglar. Part of her physical therapy and improvement is going to gym and working on her arm.

One day she meets a young man in his ’20s, Bobby Callahan. Bobby was in a horrible accident; being covered in scars, and his face and body misshaped. He tells Kinsey that he doesn’t remember anything that happened in that time period. However, he does have this feeling of urgency that he knew something and someone was after him. He believes the car accident was an attempt on his life.

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He and Kinsey become friends and he hires her to investigate, doing a retrograde crime with very little to go on.

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Kinsey begins and meets his family; a stepsister who is a drug addict, anorexic, and probably has a ton of other issues;

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a stepfather that doesn’t know how to father and is bland;

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and his mother, a real powerhouse but also control freak.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

Three days later Bobby is dead.

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Split on whether accident or suicide, Kinsey becomes even more intent on searching for the murderer and to bring justice to Bobby.

avenged

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Thoughts After Reading

*Contains Spoilers*

So I thought this was well written, but was really sad.

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I loved Bobby. I hate when authors introduce such great characters but then kill them off. Lillian Jackson Braun is another writer that always seems to do that. They just love breaking our hearts.

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I also thought that Kinsey was a little slow on the ball here. If we know the woman who was having an affair with Bobby’s secret, it being that she and her lover killed her previous husband; hid it to look like a burglary, and he is now threatening to expose the gun used with her fingerprints: well then, I think it is safe to assume that as she remarried, she probably married her lover of the time.

duh

And as that lover is her husband, then you shouldn’t trust the husband.

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I still enjoyed the book though and think it is a great read.

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For more Kinsey Millhone mysteries, go to B is for Burglar

For more mysteries with female private investigators, go to Snagged

For more mysteries with female private investigators, go to  A Study in Scarlet

For more mysteries involving mysterious car accidents, go to Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

Jenna’s Journey

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Jenna’s Journey (A Greek Island Mystery #1), by Julie Ryan

Jenna is a middle-aged woman who has just realized that after all her years of marriage she and her husband the two want very different things, that she hates her job, and that she wants to live her dreams.

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She decides to flee from foggy England, to sunny Greece, taking the ultimate vacation.

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As she enjoys her vacation tour, she is accidentally mistaken as a mule for an antiquity smuggling ring, and finds herself at the top of the ruthless leader’s hit list.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

As Jenna unknowingly walks down a path of danger she becomes the object of two men’s attention: the handsome, Greek, Nikos and the attractive, British Tom. While both men seem nice and interesting, Jenna is not sure whom she can trust; is Nikos really as nice as he seems or just looking for another tourist to add to his accomplishments? Tom seems to have picked Jenna out from the beginning of the tour, but while seeming like a great guy there is definitely something he is hiding. But what? Is anything in Greece really as it seems?

Very fishy

Twenty years later, Jenna’s daughter Allie visits Greece to put to rest the ghosts of her mother’s past, but is she prepared for what she will find out?

Interesting

Pair that with a cold case crime, and a detective that is intent of solving the murder.

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Thoughts After Reading:

Unfortunately, this book was not quite all it promised to be.

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While it does involve a mystery and international smuggling scheme, that is actually a rather small plot point in the scheme of the novel. The smuggling is brought in, and deeply captures the reader’s attention as they wonder about what will happen next; but it is quickly stalled, forgotten, and sewn up with a bow in the end.

Come on, Mack

Come on.

What the novel really turns out to be is a story of a women going to a foreign place, finding a foreign lover, and learning “about herself and what she what she wants to do with her life”, ending up with said lover and living in that foreign country. Now that type of story isn’t bad, but I was sorely disappointed as from the summary I expected something quite different.

It's not what was promised.

It’s not what was promised.

The character of Jenna was interesting and enjoyable as I thought the author presented a realistic character in a woman disappointed with life and making a change, yet still doubting herself and leaving the familiar. I also thought the way the she fought with herself over whether to leave her husband or return to work things out was also done well.

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Jenna has serious problems with her husband, and his emotional abuse, but at the same time still remembers the good they had together and wonders if she may be reacting too quickly.

Interesting

The only thing that I could not stand was the way the author wrote the Jenna and Nikos’ romance. In the book, Tom is a sweet, nice, handsome guy from England with a great job in antiquities. It seems as if he isn’t being one hundred percent honest about his job, but maybe he is just trying to sound more interesting.

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However, Jenna finds him so questionable and wants to avoid him as he is “too interested” in her, meaning there must be something wrong with him. But the equally enigmatic Nikos is viewed “more honest” by Jenna and the man she decides to go away with.

Come on, Mack

Author if you want your heroine with the sexy, Greek guy; just be honest and say that is why. Don’t try and convince your reader it is about his “personality” or something, when we can see right through that, you want the “exciting” one.

seriously

The Allie part of the story doesn’t have that much of an impact on the novel, being more of a footnote than anything else.

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The same goes for the detective, who is given a great build up of character, but the author lacked in the follow through, having hardly doing any detecting but having the answer just given to him.

horrible

I didn’t really enjoy this story and would give it two out of five stars.

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For more book reviews, go to Where Are You Now?

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In other news, this is my 100th post! Yay!

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