Julie Seedorf

Thursday, October 20, 2016


POCKETBOOKS AND PISTOLS by Dorothy Howell
DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES by Shannon Farrow
SADDLE UP FOR MURDER by Leigh Hearon

POCKETBOOKS AND PISTOLS
Book 9 in the Haley Randolph Mysteries
by Dorothy Howell

Hardcover

Available October 25

Haley Randolph isn’t exactly a model sales clerk at Holt’s Department Store. But when the corporate office acquires a high-end boutique chain and extends a juicy discount to employees, the fashionista will do anything—maybe even a little hard work—to keep the part-time gig and clinch a Mystique handbag, the season’s absolute must-have, at a heart-stopping price . . .
 
With the extra duties she’s taking on, Haley’s positioning herself to be Employee of the Month. But when Haley discovers former Holt’s employee Asha McLean shot dead behind the store during orientation training, it turns out there’s more to die for than hot designer deals. The ensuing negative publicity could force Holt’s to close its doors permanently, sinking the surrounding shopping center—and Haley’s job—into oblivion. 
 
Haley can’t fathom why anyone would harm Asha—until she learns that her former coworker, who secretly lived in Sherman Oaks and owned a mint BMW, was seriously shady. Upon closer inspection, Asha’s duplicitous lifestyle not only earned lots of cash, but plenty of mortal enemies.
 
As authorities question her innocence and business wanes, Haley’s desperate to sack the murderer and save Holt’s in time. Otherwise, instead of rocking a Mystique, Haley might end up full of holes—or worse, locked away in a very unflattering shade of orange . . .

MY REVIEW


A humorous read with a not so perfect series lead. Fun!

The first several pages of POCKETBOOKS AND PISTOLS had me laughing out loud! Protagonist Haley heading up orientation for new hires for the store she works for, and one of the new hires in particular . . . hilarious!

If you have read the Haley Randolph series, you already know that Haley isn’t your typical cozy heroine. Her time spent in the department store where see works is nothing like most cozy leads who own their own little store that they adore. Have you seen the TV comedy Superstore (If not, check it out)? LOL . . That is the feel I got during some of those scenes.

POCKETBOOK AND PISTOLS was a fun read. The story really flowed well and held my attention, and the whodunit was very well plotted.

I’m new to this series, but I easily followed the story. While I always suggest starting a series at the beginning, if you have the chance to read POCKETBOOK AND PISTOLS, you can read it as a standalone.

My one little nitpick is the over use of - - -, meaning sentences-with-hyphens-between-each-word types of sentences. That was a bit distracting to me. But certainly not enough to not read the next book! 

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DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES
Book 1 in the Berry Basket Mysteries
by Sharon Farrow 

Paperback

Available October 25

With seasonal crowds flocking to its sandy beaches, lively downtown shops, and the Berry Basket, a berry emporium with something for everyone, the lakeshore village of Oriole Point is ripe for summer fun—and murder.
 
Much has changed for Marlee Jacob since she returned to Oriole Point, Michigan, three years ago. Between running the Berry Basket, dodging local gossip, and whipping up strawberry muffins, smoothies, and margaritas to celebrate the town’s first annual Strawberry Moon Bash, the twenty-nine-year-old hardly has time for her fiancĂ©, let alone grim memories of her old life in New York . . . 
 
But unfortunately for Marlee, Oriole Point is muddled with secrets of its own. First her friend Natasha disappears after an ominous dream. Next the seediest man in town threatens to crush her business. Then an unknown person nearly kills her on the night of the Bash. When she discovers a dead body while searching for Natasha, Marlee realizes she’ll have to foil a killer’s plot herself—before the past permanently stains her future.

MY REVIEW


A promising start to a new series.

I’ve been looking forward to reading DYING FOR STARWBERRIES since I first heard about the book. It looked to be a light and fun mystery. While it was good, it didn’t quite meet my expectations. This is in no way because the author didn’t do a good job, because she did. It’s just that I am used to cozies having a little more humor to them. Also, a conversation at the very beginning of the book was a bit much for a cozy I think (And that is just my opinion). I’m sure other readers won’t even blink when reading it.

I will say, author Sharon Farrow started out strong with this first book in her Berry Basket Mysteries. She writes one heck of a mystery, and I found myself working hard trying to figure out whodunit.

Because Ms. Farrow is a talented writer, and DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES is the first book in the series, I will check out book two if given the opportunity.

Check out the back of the book for some tasty recipes.

NOTE: My four star rating is for the author’s writing technique and imagination, which are good. Just because this book wasn’t for me, I won’t penalize the author by lowballing the star rating. 

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SADDLE UP FOR MURDER
Book 2 in the Carson Stables Mysteries
by Leigh Hearon

Paperback

Available October 25

At first, horse trainer and Carson Stables owner Annie Carson blames the random losses of local livestock on feral animals stalking Olympic Peninsula county’s farms and ranches. But when one of her own flock is found savagely slaughtered, it gets personal. Then it turns dangerous, when Annie discovers the body of a young woman hanging in her new hay barn. Suddenly, she’s up to her neck in complicated mysteries—one involving her private life. But her sleuthing skills aren’t exactly welcome by the sheriff. And as she uncovers a clue to the killer’s identity, Annie fears she’s leading a deadly trail straight to her door.

MY REVIEW


Fans of the first book in the Carson Stables Mysteries will be thrilled with this installment!

SADDLE UP FOR MURDER is a horse lover’s mystery for sure. Readers get to spend a great deal of the story on protagonist Annie’s ranch. If you’re not into horses one way or the other, you will leave this book with more fondness and knowledge about them, and enjoyed the learning.

This second book in author Leigh Hearon’s Carson Stables Mysteries was a strong story and a difficult mystery to solve. Each time I came close to what I believed was a solution, Hearon added something that would throw me off my answer.

While SADDLE UP FOR MURDER is a cozy mystery, it’s a bit more, not edgier really, just a bit heavier. That’s not quite right either. Got it…there isn’t as much humor as many cozies. It stays a little serious. That being said, the story is very well written, and worth the read.

If this is your first book in the Carson Stables Mysteries, check out the back of SADDLE UP FOR MURDER, for an excerpt of the first book in this series, REINING IN MURDER.



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