An Unwanted Guest

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Thoughts Before Reading:

So when this book was published, I saw it constantly on Goodreads. They had a ton of book trailers, and every time I went on the site, the page would “load” and then play it.

So when I saw it at the Library, I was stoked to read it!

It sort of is a play on And Then There Were Nonestrangers all stuck, snowed in at a resort, and then they start dropping like flies. Which one is the killer-or is there a stranger in the resort?

Hmm…

Plot Synopsis:

Our mystery is set at the Catskills, a beautiful, remote resort.

Gwen Delaney is in Communications. She has never been able to move forward from witnessing a rape in college, and the guilt of doing nothing about it. She studied journalism, but as she could not tell truth, went a different route. Her idea was to bring her friend Riley, to the secluded resort, but now isn’t sure it is such a great idea. Could there be more to her than a sweet, innocent girl-could she have a dark side?

Hmm…

Riley Shuter was always the confident, brash, drop dead gorgeous girl who people loved/hated-but since she has been overseas in Iraq-she is not the same woman. She has severe PTSD, drinks far too much, and is acting strange. Could she have finally cracked?

David Paley is a defense attorney, who is taking a leave of absence. His wife was murdered, with many believing him to have done it. He was acquitted, but is he a murderer? Could someone have known something and he had to silence them?

Lauren Day and Ian Beeton are traveling for a romantic getaway. At first the two corroborate each other’s stories, but then it turns out that they aren’t each other’s perfect alibi. In fact, there are a lot that the two don’t know about each other-could one have a secret they’d kill for?

Beverly Sullivan had planned this romantic getaway for her and her husband Henry only to find out that he has a mistress. He wants the relationship to be over, but Beverly doesn’t. Could this have been a plot to stay together? To further separate? Or could this news have caused one to crack?

Dana Hart is from a poor family, but did all she could to catch a wealthy man. Matthew Hutchinson is that man, except he won’t marry her. The two have a fight-could it have been the last straw-could one have killed?

Candice White is a writer, escaping her duties of taking care of her elderly mother, to work on her book. She is very observant, watching everyone. Could she have seen something, or could there be more to her as well?

Hmmm…?

Which one, which one-or is there an unknown, “unwanted”, guest killing. Will they find out before they are all dead.

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was very well written. WE only know bits and pieces of each character-essentially having no clue as to who could possibly be the killer. It was so well written, but as we neared the end I began to get worried.

Everything was great up until the end. The characters, the tension, the buildup, the suspense-but then the cops finally come, are there for a little bit, and all is solved.

I know, right?

The only problem with giving us so little about the characters it felt as if in the end it was too quickly sewn up.

The last few pages she wrapped everything up very quickly which threw off the pacing and, in my opinion, weakened it.

Very distressing as the rest if the book was fantastic.

For more mysteries not in a series, go to Pieces of Her

For more romantic getaways that turn to murder, go to Murder on Ice

 

Death by Marriage

Death By Marriage (Caribbean Murder Mystery #3) by Jaden Skye

Thoughts Before Reading:

I received this book free from BookBub an amazing site that you can get free ebooks from. You know me and free things.

Since the last book and solving the last case, Cindy and Mattheus have formed a detective team together. He is all logistics and contacts, she can put people at ease and get information the police and others can’t get.

They get called into Saint Thomas to investigate a case of a prominent lawyer who was found dead in a back alley. There is a hurricane coming, and the police are looking to close the case quickly, focusing on his wife who no one likes. Cindy doesn’t think she is guilty and wants to help her, even though her personality makes it hard to want to help.

As they try to adapt to working with each other and creating this new team, they discover there is a lot more to this case than meets the eye. Gambling, vendettas, multiple enemies, mistresses-even his own kid doesn’t even like him.

But then the real shocker-it turns out that the lawyer had another family. Kendra and her daughter were the second family, on another island was his first wife and son Paul-same age as Kendra’s daughter.

This adds a whole new dimension. Did the wives know? Did the kids know? Who killed him? One of them? Two? Or is that a red herring and it was someone else?

Hmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

It was an okay book. The plot was similar to the previous one and the writing and characters were not good. But it did have a great twist in the end.

For more Caribbean Murder Mysteries, go to Death by Divorce

For more by Jaden Skye, go to Death by Honeymoon

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

For more cheating husbands, go to Run Run As Fast As You Can

Apple Turnover Murder

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Apple Turnover Murder (A Hannah Swenson Mystery #13) by Joanne Fluke

I finally get to post this book. This was the first book I read in the Hannah Swenson series, so my views might have changed since then. It was was the first review I ever wrote, and has just been sitting in the wings until I had caught up with the rest of the series.

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Poor little review

So let’s see if the review will stay the way it is, or my having read the previous books & rereading it, will alter it.

Read it today!

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Plot Synopsis:

So Carrie has just been married and Norman is leaving for a dentist conference, his cat, Cuddles, will be staying with Hannah. Hannah settles in for quiet times, but of course whenever we think of all will be well, that is when the shizz hits the fan.

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Mayor Buscombe’s wife, Stephanie, stops by Hannah’s cafe, The Cookie Jar, and asks for cookies for the charity event she is in charge of.

Hannah is shocked that they would ask her for such a large order, that close to the event, and for cookies that take a lot of time to prepare.

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However, Lisa suggests apple turnovers which Stephanie heartily agrees to. However, Hannah has no clue how make one!

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Lisa assures Hannah that her mother-in-law has an old family recipe they can use and all will be well.

It can't be that easy, can it?

It can’t be that easy, can it?

So Hannah starts to feel good about the charity event. She is especially excited for the brother sister dance team who will perform. The two grew up in foster homes and have a great talent. Sadly, the sister seems to be getting sick.

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But they hope that she will be well by the time the curtain rises.

Everything seems to be working out…that it until Lisa’s husband, Herb, asks Hannah for a favor. Herb has an amateur magic act, of which Hannah has assisted him in before. He asks her if she will be willing to do it again, as Lisa is claustrophobic and can’t do all the tricks. Hannah doesn’t want to, but agrees.

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To make things worse, Hannah has to once again wear the purple nightmare that clashes with her red hair. Otherwise known as her costume.

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At rehearsal, Hannah encounters Professor Bradford Ramsey. Bradford Ramsey was the professor that Hannah was studying under when she attended college. He would write her special “love poems”, and spend hours with her. Only problem is, he forgot to mention he had a wife. Hannah has been lucky so far, as  Professor Bradford Ramsey hasn’t recognized her. That all changes tonight, as he finally put the pieces together and tries to get Hannah to become a Swenson sandwich, as he is also seeing her sister.

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Hannah is enraged at his behavior and tells him to leave her sister alone, and then goes off to get ready to perform. Everything is ready for the actual show, except one thing. No one can find Bradford Ramsey. Hannah spots him backstage asleep and yells for him to get moving. When he still won’t budge, she goes to shake him, knocking him over, and realizing he is dead.

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Yep, once again Hannah has discovered a dead body and is on the case. This won’t be an easy mystery to solve as Bradford had many mistresses and many enemies. The suspect list has many of the townspeople on it; including Hannah’s own sister Michelle!

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Adding to her troubles is that Norman has returned and is acting strangely; almost as if he doesn’t want to see her anymore…

Is it over for these two?

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Thoughts After Reading:

So I originally when I first read this I thought it was a cute mystery, but easily solvable.

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After the death of Bradford, I immediately knew who the killer was. I did not think this ruined the book though, as I found the characters charming and enjoyable.

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Now how do I feel?

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I couldn’t stand it. Hannah was always going on about this or that, her random lectures seem to be getting longer and longer in every book…

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They keep making Andrea stupid about little things, but smart about harder things. It reminds me of what he says in After the Thin Man:

Nick Charles: At 3:30 Anderson threw this note into my window. He was planning to use some of the information he had gotten…Dancer, how do you spell Topeka?

Dancer: None of your business

Nick Charles: This note is a poor attempt at illiteracy. The easy words are spelled wrong and the hard ones right…

That’s how I feel about Andrea. I her attempt to make Hannah smarter and Andrea dumber, she makes easy things “too hard” for her to do or understand; but she can grasp difficult things. I hate it, it’s annoying.

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And something else that really bothered me, was that the are going to make the apple turnovers, an “old family recipe”, but instead of making their own dough for the pastry they went with pre-made biscuit dough. I found that odd for an “old family recipe”.

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I mean even IF they were just “using” it to save time, why wouldn’t they include an alternate dough recipe?

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It was not very good. I’m not sure why it hooked me the first time.

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For more Hannah Swensen Mysteries, go to Plum Pudding Murder

For more book reviews, go to Paper Roses

A is for Alibi

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A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries #1) by Sue Grafton

So before I begin the review let me first say how upset I am at Sue Grafton. I’m signed up for all her news updates, but I received nothing about the newest addition to the series, X.

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I was first was introduced to this series when I was reading an Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, seven years ago. One of the books they recommended was J is for Judgement.

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Not too long after I found the book at a library sale, but after I bought it I realized it was part of a series.

So I decided the only way to read it would be to start from the beginning, with A is for Alibi.

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So the book takes place in the ’80s.

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Kinsey Millhone is thirty-two year old, twice divorced, no kids, private investigator living in Santa Teresa (parody of Santa Barbara), CA.

Every book starts off with this short piece of info and the closing remarks to her case. We then flashback to the actual mystery.

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Nikki Fife was convicted of her husband’s murder eight years. She believes herself to be wrongfully accused and wants to hire Kinsey to find out who actually murdered him.

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Nikki first became involved with her deceased husband when she was his mistress. She was married to him for four years, of which he was only faithful for six months. Nikki said that at first she was angry and listened in phone calls, followed him around, wrote down every infidelity; but by the time he had been murdered; Nikki didn’t care anymore. She just wanted to move forward with her life.

As Kinsey looks into Nikki’s case, she discovers that an accountant named Libby Glass, twenty-four, also died from ingesting ground oleander four days after Laurence Fife died. The police couldn’t tie the two cases together at the time. Libby’s boyfriend Lyle Abernathy believes that she was seeing some “Santa Teresa attorney”.

Who done it?

Who done it?

Kinsey starts questioning and looking in the case; from the cute laywer Charlie Scorsoni, Gwen Fife the ex-wife, Lawrence’s two children, and Nikki’s deaf son Colin.

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As Kinsey continues to investigate she discovers that there are a lot of questions and a killer that most definitely does not want to be caught.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was a good introductory novel. Kinsey was an interesting, different, and fun character. After I read it, I eagerly wanted to read the next books in the series.

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I thought the book did have a few issues. It was easily solvable and Kinsey made one huge mistake. Getting involved with a possible suspect never turns out well.

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But otherwise I really enjoyed the book.

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For more private investigators, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

More ’80s books, go to The Dollhouse Murders