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Mattie Hatter and the Gilded Gauge

Sunday, March 26, 2017


BLOOD ORANGE by Susan Wittig Albert
THE LAST CHANCE OLIVE RANCH by Susan Wittig Albert

BLOOD ORANGE
Book 24 in the China Bayles Mysteries
by Susan Wittig Albert

Paperback

As the New York Times bestselling series continues, China Bayles comes to the aid of a nurse who ends up in the hospital...
 
China is renting her guest cottage to Kelly Kaufman, who needs a temporary place to live as she contends with an acrimonious divorce, including a nasty dispute over ownership of the Comanche Creek Brewing Company. At the same time, as a nurse employed by a local hospice, Kelly has discovered instances of suspicious practices and believes that a patient has been murdered. 
 
On her way to China’s house, Kelly is forced off the road and critically injured, putting her in a medically induced coma. Who wants Kelly out of the picture? Her soon-to-be ex? His new lover—who happens to be the sister of China’s friend Ruby? Or someone connected with the corruption at the hospice? China owes it to her friend to uncover the truth—but she may be putting her own life at risk...

MY REVIEW


After twenty-four stories, the new China Bayles Mystery is as fresh as the herbs mentioned throughout.

The first thing I know about a new China Bayles book is, I’m going to learn so many new things. Practically every chapter begins with information on different herbs, spices, and whatever each individual book is about. The second thing I know is, I’m in for an exciting, fast moving read. BLOOD ORANGE lives up to all of those expectations.

This book touched on so many subjects. The everyday running of China’s many businesses, the world of beer brewing, and even hospice care. Oh, and murder. Like it or not, murder does seem to be a business for China. While that may sound to be all over the place confusing, author Susan Wittig Albert blends is all flawlessly into an intricate, and entertaining mystery that will have fans and new readers alike enthralled.

Once you red BLOOD ORANGE, you’ll understand why this such a long running series. 

Don’t forget to check out the back of the book for some tasty recipes!

📙📖📗📖📗📖📙

THE LAST CHANCE OLIVE RANCH
Book 25 in the China Bayles Mysteries
by Susan Wittig Albert

Hardcover

In this exciting new mystery from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert, China Bayles fears for her husband’s life as an escaped convict targets him...
 
Max Mantel, the killer McQuaid put away years ago, has busted out of the Huntsville prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. McQuaid knows there’s only one way to stop the vengeful convict—set a trap with himself as bait.
 
China wants to stay by her husband’s side and keep him from harm. But McQuaid  insists that she get out of town and go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch, where she’s agreed to teach a workshop on herbs.
 
When China and her best friend arrive at the ranch, she learns the owner, Maddie Haskell, has her own troubles. She inherited the ranch and olive oil business from the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, but Eliza’s nephew is contesting the will. 
 
While China throws herself into helping Maddie, McQuaid’s plan backfires when Mantel executes a countermove he never saw coming. Now McQuaid’s life is not the only one at stake—and this time may really be his last chance...

MY REVIEW


THE LAST CHANCE OLIVE RANCH, is a novel packed with action. Between the chapters dealing with China, and the other chapters dealing with her husband McQuaid, readers with be hard pressed to find any down time in this story. Both characters have their hands full in their respective storylines. Splitting the chapters as she does, author Susan Wittig Albert makes her books feel like two or more stories in one, yet having them cross at times to connect everything together.

As always, I love that each chapter starts off with something interesting. In this case, each chapter featuring China, had a fact to do with olives. The chapters featuring McQuaid simply start by following a time line.

This was a story with so much energy, at times I felt a rush of adrenaline so strong that I just wanted to get to the end of the book so I could take a deep breath. In the end I was I satisfied with the outcome, and found THE LAST CHANCE OLIVE RANCH to be a great story.

I have noticed that with the China Bayles Mysteries, the author is slowly branching away from the more traditional feeling mystery, and getting closer to being considered (at least to me) a suspense thriller series. So far, you will still see cozy-ish things like small towns, an educational aspect, and wonderful recipes, but you will also see a few edgier scenes, and a bit more cursing.

No matter what genre author Albert is aiming for, the one thing that can’t be denied is her truly wonderful writing.

Paperback                                          Hardcover

Now available for pre-order.
Both books release
April 4!

You all know that as a rule, I only review Cozy mysteries. I started reviewing Susan Wittig Albert's books a few years ago. I would say they have been a slightly edgier cozy. However, I have found that they are evolving a bit more still. As always, wonderful writing, but not a true cozy in the sense of what I prefer and review, but not so edgy that traditional cozy readers can't enjoy them. There is cursing. Not one after the other "F" bombs, but lots of h*ll, d*mn, and a few others thrown in.

All that being said, the China Bayles series will appeal to a wider group of readers no. But true cozy purest may not care for them a great deal. 
I'll read the next one, but if they slide any further away from the traditional cozy feel, it may be time for me to say goodbye to them. 

I only bring this up because I know a lot of you who follow my blog, know to expect certain types of books in my reviews. 


As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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3 comments:

  1. I am always happy to read your reviews and your honesty, it is really appreciated because I too like the more traditional cozy although I have read some edgier ones as well. My heart always goes back to the regular kind though.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your reviews with us.

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  3. Thanks for your honest review. I can take some edgier mysteries but it is always good to know when I am getting one. Good job on the review!

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