Lowcountry Bombshell

Lowcountry Bombshell (Liz Talbot Mysteries #2) by Susan M. Boyer

Liz Talbot is living on the Stella Maris island and has recovered from her past adventures in Lowcountry Boil. She has given up her obsession over ex-sweetheart Michael Devlin, and has admitted her feelings for Nate Andrews, partner in her private investigations and her ex-husband’s brother.

The two have things to work out as he wants to stay in Greenville, South Carolina-but Liz needs to stay in Stella Maris-in order to protect the island from developers and keep Colleen, the spirit of her dead friend who is a guardian spirit for the island. As long as Liz’s investigations fall into her mission-she will assist her in any way she can.

Elizabeth has just gotten a new case, and boy is it a doozy. In walks a beautiful blonde who is the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe.

And that’s not all that’s the same. She has the same birthday June 1st: birth name Norma Jeane Mortenson; her mother Gladys was in and out of hospitals because of her schizophrania; her client was in and out of foster homes; she married a Jim to leave her mother-but also divorced him; she later married a Joe, a baseball star (although only minor leagues, and a few other similarities.

After her second husband died, she changed her name from Norma Jeane to Callista McQueen. Her husband played the lottery every day, and won the big jackpot before he was murdered. Callista moved around, settling on Stella Maris.

She wants to hire Liz as she feels someone is trying to kill her, and mimic Marilyn’s death. Liz only has a few days until, August 5th.

Liz doesn’t know whether this Marilyn stuff is true, but does admit that her client is afraid. She starts investigating and discovers that someone is after her, but who?

Hmmm…?

Then Callista’s psychic/life coach, Harmony, is murdered-the gun one that was used in a murder years ago and should be in an evidence locker-but is missing.

WHAT!

Obviously, someone has infiltrated in Callista’s life and wants to kill her, but who?

Hmmm…

Could it be her mother who has mental disease and fixation on copying Marilyn’s life for her daughter? Or her mother’s friend Grace who is crazy and high strung?

Her ex-husband who is obsessed with her and is unwilling to let her go again?

Her creepy Mrs. Danvers-esque housekeeper?

Niles, the gay yoga instructor who has become her confident and resides in her house?

Hmm…

Her security team who are watching, but somehow allowed someone into Callista’s home?

Her creepy psychiatrist who is way too into Callista?

This is not good

The man who attacked her years ago? Or the man who murdered her second husband?

With each step Liz finds herself in another thread and possibility. But it is clear that someone is after Callista and with each day passing, will Liz and Nate solve it? Or will Callista end up like her namesake?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was good although not as good as book one and three. The mystery is interesting and intriguing-I LOVED it-it was the Nate and Liz relationship that got me.

In the 1st book they were purely professional, although it was super clear that Nate was into Liz. Then in this we are barely in and they are consummating their relationship. I know time passed, but it felt like bang-no buildup nothing.

We also have barely any Colleen, which really causes issues as I grew to like her in the other book and its not the same without her.

Bring her back

I love the Marilyn Monroe angle and that whole storyline. A fantastic idea.

For more Liz Talbot Mysteries, go to Lowcountry Boil

For more female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more on private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

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Triple Six

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Triple Six (The Lightkeepers #2) by Erica Spindler

Thoughts Prior to Posting:

I read this book before the first one, and have my review as it was originally written. 

Plot Synopsis:

Detectives Mikki Dare and Zach Harris are back in their second adventure to battle evil. Detective Dare has worked her way up the New Orleans Police Department ladder and had recently been paired with Detective Harris, to protect him as he utilizes his unique abilities. Detective Zach “Hollywood” Harris is not your average person. He is a Half Light, child of a lightkeeper and a human; this ancestry giving Harris the ability to read emotions and memories, pick up on how many people have been in the area, and track down the “Dark Bearers”, evil ones who are dedicated to destroying the world.

Harris hasn’t told Dare about what he really is, pretending to be a psychic, but unfortunately Dare had became involved in the middle of a fight between the Lightkeepers and Dark Bearers. She was shot, but healed by another Lightkeeper and while can only remember little of what occurred, she is insistent to search out what happened.

She also has become more ingrained in the Lightkeepers, when she unknowingly offered her home to one of the Lightkeepers, Angel.

In this book, New Orleans has been hit with home invasions, and Dare and Harris are put on the case. What they discover is strange: a band of young teens who are destroying homes and attacking adults, yet playing with the children and gaining their trust.

Meanwhile, Angel has been approached by a handsome, older, man.

They begin a relationship that moves incredibly fast and starts changing her personality worrying the Lightkeepers and Dare.

But the two instances become connected and reveal a much darker plot than any had thought of.

Oh no.

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this book was amazingly well done. It constantly kept your interests from beginning to end making it near impossible to set down, as you had to know what was to happen next and whether or not the characters would survive.

I found myself glued to my kindle as I followed the novels twists and turns to its conclusion.

Besides being a captivating and thrilling story, the characters were interesting and relatable. Each one comes from a different walk of life and the obstacles, challenges, and history the author created in these characters really captured your attention and creating a desire in wanting to know more about them and who they are.

All of you

As this is the second installment in the series and I had not had the opportunity to read the previous piece, I was initially confused as to who the characters were and what creatures the Lightkeepers and Dark Bearers are. However, even though I did not have the opportunity to read the prior book in the series Spindler is able to craft a well-done story that quickly brings the reader up to speed with the world the characters live in.

This book was phenomenal and I’m looking forward to reading any to be published in the future.

I give it five out of five stars.

For more on The Lightkeepers, go to The Final Seven

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

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The Itsy Bitsy Spider (An Emma Frost Mystery #1) by Willow Rose

So I was first introduced to Willow Rose when I was checking out the site BookBub, and saw the book Miss Polly Had a Dolly (An Emma Frost Mystery #2) was on sale for free.

FREE!

It sounded good, although I have to admit when I read Emma Frost the first thing that popped in my head was the X-Men character. Even though this is not how Emma is described I am unable to get this image out of my head when reading.

So Willow Rose is a Danish writer, and not to rude or mean or anything (I’m part Danish myself), but I’ve noticed that Scandinavian writers tend to go real, real, dark in their writing. Something that won’t be for everyone.

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Synopsis:

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again

So the book begins with a flashback. A women, Astrid, is stuck in a bunker. She’s not mentally all there, emotionally abused by her mother, and all around disliked by everyone and herself. This makes her the perfect mark with a guy who pushes for more than just hanging out. Astrid is sixteen and has fallen for Christian, but is now pregnant and trapped underground.

Flash-forward to present day. So Emma Frost is a journalist, divorced, and mother of two. Her grandmother (father’s mother), who she has only met once has just died and left Emma her house on Fanø Island. Emma decides the change of pace will be good for them and three move, at the great displeasure of Emma’s father.

It is a cute little island that depends on tourism. A sweet and nice place to live. Emma picks up the keys to the house from the police officer Dan Toft and remarks how nice it will be to leave in a small-town place.

“You must not have much crime here on the island. Must be kind of nice, right?.”

200_s

Famous last words

You notice that always happens. It is a nice quiet community; someone moves there or moves back and the next thing you know bodies are dropping and they are investigating.

Her daughter Maya feels the same as her grandfather, but Victor is pleased. Victor is Emma’s youngest and suffers from the doctors don’t quite know what. Some say aspergers, some autism, some say he just needs attention; all she knows is that he has some mental issues and she needs to do all she can to try to keep him on a schedule. He doesn’t like touching, not being in his room, likes trees, etc.

Meanwhile, a woman down the way has just been murdered. Attracted by the sirens, Emma tries to look into it, not receiving much; turns to a trick taught by an old boyfriend; hacking.

When she looks into the police reports, she discovers that the woman just wasn’t murdered; her heart and liver were also cut out. We are dealing with a cannibal.

Back in 1977, Astrid is pregnant but living okay in the bunker. Every so many months she runs out of the supplies and her captor delivers more. She also gives her magazines and information on being pregnant. Astrid goes through the whole 9 months and deliverers on her own. She gives birth to a boy she names Sebastian.

I have a baby!

Back in the present, Emma meets some neighbors, Sophia and Jack. She gets the lowdown on the island and discovers there is a church that controls the society on the island; once you are in you never can leave. Only a few manage to get out.

I’m scared.

Irene Justesen is the Danish Jane Fonda, known as the Queen of Fitness throughout the country. She is thought of as a success story as she started out poor but built a powerful company. However, she has lost most to her drinking; and can’t enjoy the wealth and success as she traded it for her daughter.

One night after she has been leading an exercise class, the killer comes for her. She tries to bribe the killer, but nothing works. He kills her, harvests her organs, and shoves a sweatband into her mouth after her death.

Victor is crying out in his sleep about spiders. Emma tries to calm him down, but all he will say is :

“Spider,’ he said. ‘Watch for the spider!”

Now I read up to book six in this series, before I started this blog and circled back to review. One thing I’ve noticed that they haven’t explained is that whatever Victor’s condition is, it gives him some type of ESP. He is able to give warnings and everything he says helps Emma and the police in solving this crimes.

Victor wants to sleep in Emma’s room; something strange and unlike him. When Emma asks him why, he tells her someone died in his room.

WHAT!

Meanwhile, Emma and Sophia have grown to be very good friends. They visit every week and it turns out that Sophia has a new boyfriend and is pregnant with her sixth child (all have different fathers.)

Emma continues to do research and discovers that the people who were all killed belonged to the same church.

Then something odd happens, Victor becomes really sick as it turns out he has been attacked by spiders when he was out in the backyard.

Back in the ’70s, Astrid is celebrating Sebastian’s birthday. Astrid has been careful, but it appears she went either ate too much, calculated wrong, or that the captor forgot to bring them food. They are running out, and even with Astrid giving up her meals and giving them to Sebastian there will soon be nothing. Something needs to happen or else they will be dead.

As Astrid grows weaker and weirded out by her son’s fascination with spiders, she makes Sebastian promise that if the bunker was opened at anytime; for him to run and escape.

Pastor Gotredsen, the minster of the church that controls the island, is very unhappy with the news of Irene’s death. Not because he liked her, but because he knows what this means. They are killing all involved and the minister is next. However, his ego chooses to ignore this and continues believing that he is going to only come out on top.

We also discover that this minister does not truly believe in what he is supposed to be preaching, as he is practicing every sin he is supposed to be against, and the leader of a human trafficking group.

The killer of course comes for the minister, adding one more to his nightly meals.

Emma does some more hacking and discovers that once again the organs were removed and a number two was marked on a wall. They all had numbers on the wall. Counting down to what? Or who?

Emma goes into Victor’s room and removes everything from the walls. As she looks closer at sites of the repainting, she can see that there was a five painted there. Her grandma was killed by this psychopath.

Back in the ’80s, Astrid continues to grow weaker, wondering when the food is coming. Up above she hears the sound of a siren…

Back in the present Emma’s dad is coming to visit. He has been lonely without his family, as after his wife took off for Spain with her lover, all he had was Emma and the kids.

Flashback to the ’80s, and Astrid dies from starvation. Sebastian is the only one left and has only one option left to survive. His mom.

In the present, Emma goes to dinner with Sophia and her chef boyfriend. They are having a great night until they discover what the meal is. Organs. Very fancy-schmancy; but could they possibly be the minister’s organs?

Back in the ’80s, Sebastian  has been alone and scared; his only comfort his pet spiders. One day he hears a sound from the doorway, creak. It opens up and in walks a beautiful blonde girl. She says hello and asks him to play. Sebastian refuses, remembering his mother’s words and taking off in a run. Meanwhile the little girl’s father calls to her, “Emma, where are you?”

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Thoughts After Reading

I thought this was a pretty good mystery. It was suspenseful, kept you guessing and had an intense resolution.

***Spoilers***

So a couple of things, how did Officer Dan pass his psych evaluation? He’s totally a psychopath.

Emma does one stupid thing over and over; she just goes off without telling anyone where she is going.

And how creepy that ending. Your half-brother was trying to rape his nephew, kill his sister, and kill his father. I would be utterly creeped out to see that I has an insane brother like that.

I felt so bad for the father. Impregnated a much younger girl knowing you took advantage of her age ad mental state; but then trying to do the right thing but it turns out your mom and her cronies locked her up in a bunker and lied saying she left. And then your sons tries to rape your grandson, kill his sister, and murder you! He’s gonna need a lot of therapy. That whole family will.

For more mysteries with investigative reporters, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more mysteries with psychics, go to The Final Seven

For more BookBub books, go to The Saint Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre

For more mysteries, go to Apple Turnover Murder

The Final Seven

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The Final Seven (The Lightkeepers #1) by Erica Spindler

Detective Michealea “Mikki” “Mad Dog” “Double D” Dare has worked hard to reach where she is.

gotthis

And now she has some green guy who is the FBI’s lapdog being promoted to detective and given to be her partner. Her mission, be a good cop and protect this new detective at all costs.

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Detective Zach Harris has special abilities. He can read energy off of others, touch objects to see what others are feeling or pick up memories, and has the ability to charm and persuade anyone.

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He had been living off his abilities, using them to get whatever he wants, when an FBI agent approached him and asked him to participate in their experimental program.

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These two couldn’t be more different, but are pushed together as the case they are on is terrifying. The first Saturday in July, a coed is kidnapped with the number 7 carved into the door. The next week it continues. They have to track this guy down before he finishes whatever his master plan may be.

Not-Good

While they search for the truth, it turns out there is more to this FBI agent that found Zach and an explanation to his abilities, more sensational than Zach could have ever imagined.

WHAT!

WHAT!

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was good, but I read the second book, Triple Six, first and liked it better as the characters were more developed and settled in with each other.

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But this still was a great book, and set up the introductions as to who the characters are and their mission.

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The ending was fantastic. Spindler is a talented writer and has a skill for creating a powerful thriller and wonderful characters.

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

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For more serial killers, go to Sleeping Beauty

For more FBI, go to Ashes to Ashes

A Murder in Mohair

Murderinmohair

A Murder in Mohair (Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #8)

So Plum Harbor has left the Hollywood glitz behind and returned to life as normal.

You know what that means...something is about to happen

You know what that means…something is about to happen

It is summer time in Plum Harbor and the sleepy town is rudely awakened with the murder of the local movie theater owner, Jimmy Hubbard.

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It appears to be a robbery gone bad, but why of all places would one hit a struggling cinema when there were plenty of other buisnesses in the downtown area that would have more money?

Sounds fishy...

Sounds fishy…

Besides murder, the other thing to hit the town is a psychic, Cassandra Waters.

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Cassandra has been helping one their friend Edie’s niece Nora talk to her deceased son. All the women are doubtful of such powers, with their friend Edie coming to them asking if they could observe and let her know how Cassandra gets her information.

The girls decided to hold a psychic/knitting night and see if they can trap Cassandra into revealing her phony self.

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In other news Lucy is approaching an important birthday and thinking about her future with Matt. Is she wasting her time in believing that the two will marry have a child together? Should she move on? Or is she getting anxious for nothing?

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The knitting/psychic night comes upon the girls and they find it not quite what they expected. Everything said is vague; but at the same time it feels as if Cassandra is privy to privileged information. How does she do it?

urkelgif interesting hmm

One day as Lucy is walking along mulling over her future, when she comes across Cassandra’s home, and sees Richard, Nora’s husband. He’s leaving Cassandra’s house and she is dressed in very little.

Very fishy

Very fishy

Soon after Cassandra is found dead and it is up to the Knitters (minus Maggie as her cop boyfriend does not like her getting involved) to figure out who the killer is. Did someone murder Cassandra because her crystal ball revealed a secret someone would rather keep hidden? And who killed Hubble? Are there two murderers roaming around Plum Harbor or are these crimes connected?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I knew it was only a matter of time before they brought in psychics or the occult. Every mystery series does and the psychic always seems to “reveal” something “crucial” to the mystery. I’m kind of done with it to be honest.

It's been done TOO many times

It’s been done TOO many times

This book wasn’t downright horrible but also not downright amazing. I found it to be only okay.

Meh

Meh

I did like that they brought in a minor character that was mentioned in previous books instead of an old friend we had never heard about. It s always weird when they introduce these new characters that are “old friends” that we are only hearing about now and never hear of again in the future.

IDon'tlikeit

The mystery I thought was easily solvable and lackluster.

eh

She still hasn’t topped Til Death Do Us Purl I think that remains the best book in the series. You should definitely check it out.

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to The Postman Always Purls Twice

For more on encountering the spirit world, go to Grave Peril

For more book reviews, go to Fangs But No Fangs

Grave Peril

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Grave Peril (The Dresden Files #3) by Jim Butcher

So Harry Dresden has had a tough year. First a crazy wizard blowing people up from the inside out,

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To werewolves of all types ravaging the city:

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And now we have the spirit world going crazy!

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Yep, he’s had to team up with old pal, Michael Carpenter, Catholic and a Knight of the Cross.

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Spirits have been riled up all over, are acting out and no longer tethered to special spots, etc.

Not-Good

As Harry goes back to the office the next day, he is approached by a young woman, Lydia, a practitioner who begs for protection. Harry offers to give her some help, as he knows she is hiding something from him. This seems to happen a lot Harry what with with Monica and the werewolf guy.

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That night Harry and Michael decide the only way to stop some of these things from happening, is for Harry to risk heading over the border from our world to the supernatural one. A very scary thing to do when most of them hate you or are after you.

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In fact he is trying to stay away from his fairy godmother (actual fairy) Lea who wants him as her slave. As she starts to spin her fairy magic, he just manages to overcome her spell and Michael luckily saves him before she takes his blood.

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However, the work they do doesn’t always fly with the police as they get arrested. Michael’s wife, Charity, comes for Michael and reads Harry the riot act. Susan also comes for Harry, in a slightly better mood as with her man she has another story for the newspaper she works for, The Arcane.

As the two head back to Harry’s place they encounter something they weren’t expecting, Vampires.

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But these vampires promise no attacks. They were sent by Madame Bianca to invite Harry to the Vampire Court, as Bianca is elevated to the rank of Margravine of the Vampire Court.

Not-Good

Susan wants to go to the Vampire Ball, but Harry is not interested. Bianca is still angry about what happened in Storm Front, and has threatened to kill him. While the invitation protects him from any vampire harm such as sucking of blood or direct killing, they could use a loophole and find a way to destroy him. Better watch out Harry, non-magical people don’t always understand everything and Susan is tenacious. She’ll find a way to get into that party, even if it becomes the death of her.

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The two spend the night together, but are awoken early by Michael. Michael has heard from the priest of the church Harry placed Lydia. Something tried to attack her last night, but was kept out. She started freaking out going through withdrawal (from either a mortal or magical substance) and tried to go out to the creature. The priest was able to protect her during the night by reading the scriptures. But in the morning she disappeared.

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Harry decides the only thing to do next os to go to a psychic in Oldtown, Mortimer Lindquist. When Harry comes upon him packing, he knows Mortimer must know something he’s not telling. When Harry questions him further, Mortimer brings up an old book of his, They Shall Rise. He’s convinced the border between our world and the magical Nevernever is constantly eroding, new ghosts are coming over, and that there is something even eviler, a Nightmare.

Things go from bad to worse as he is called in by the Chicago Police Department for an old friend, Mickey Malone. Before Harry can enter a true “home, he has to be invited in by a family member. Mrs. Malone complies, he comes in to see Mickey chained up as he is a madman.

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When he uses his Sight, he sees that Mickey’s soul and mind have been torn apart as if he was attacked by a wild animal. To top it off he has “spiritual” barbed wire curled around him, just like he saw in the other ghosts he’d been fighting. Who is trying to control these ghosts and people? Why?

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

Harry is able to destroy it, but through great pain. What is this Nightmare? And can Harry stop it?

There is only one thing left for Harry to do in order to get his answers. He must go to the Vampire ball, but will he manage to survive it?

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*Spoliers*

As always Butcher presents a powerful, thrilling, and suspenseful story.

fantastic

Burt let me worn you, this one is full of pain, angst, and was pretty harsh. I’m on a Jim Butcher break after reading this as it was heart wrenching.

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The hardest thing was what happened to Susan. Now I may never have been a fan of her and Harry together, but I never wanted her turned into a vampire. Super intense ending, totally heart crushing, yet powerful.

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For more Dresden Files, go to Fool Moon

For more private investigators, go to A is for Alibi

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front

For more mystery reviews, go to The Midwife’s Tale