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Three Mages and a Margarita
by Annette Marie
Series: The Guild Codex: Spellbound #1
Narrator: Cris Dukehart
Length: 7 hours and 14 minutes
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchase
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Rating:
Narration: 4.5 cups Speed: 1.3x

Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig.

It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview — to see if I'd mesh with their "special" clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That's the definition of fitting in, right?

I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they… offered me the job?

It turns out this place isn't a bar. It's a guild. And the three cocky guys I drenched with a margarita during my trial? Yeah, they were mages. Either I'm exactly the kind of takes-no-shit bartender this guild needs, or there's a good reason no one else wants to work here.

So what's a broke girl to do? Take the job, of course — with a pay raise.

Three Mages and a Margarita by Annette Marie is a fun, snarky urban fantasy series with a human heroine who stumbles into a supernatural guild. Laughter, friendship, kickassary and more await you!

Fellow blogger reviews put this series on my radar. I had to laugh at the footnotes on Goodreads from the author, stating this wasn’t a reverse harem story and each book ended without a cliffhanger. I guess the title caused some confusing. LOL This is urban fantasy at its finest.

Tori our twenty-one-year-old heroine is sleeping on her brothers couch while attending college and working at service industry. Tori is a redhead with a temper or maybe she just experiences the customers from hell. After an incident that gets her fired she begins apply for open waitressing gigs and finds herself blackballed by local businesses.

Depressed but not deterred she heads to the next business on her list when she finds an ad for a bartender at the Crow and Hammer. It borders between the upper and lower side of town but still within walking distance. When she arrives, an overwhelming feeling to run hits her, but Tori pushes through and somehow gets a trial gig. The tale that unfolds was hilarious, sweet, and. snark. It was an all around fun urban fantasy with some suspenseful threads and kickassary.

The three mages are friends/roommates and work together collecting bounties. Tori’s interaction with each was unique. There is a little love interest. However, with someone trying to capture a mage and Tori getting into trouble the romance was served as a side dish.

The current threat wrapped up leaving us in a good place. Three Mages and a Margarita set the tone for the series while establishing the world. We encountered different supernatural creatures, learned about the different guilds and how the supernatural remain hidden among the human world.

New to me narrator Cris Dukehart did a fantastic job with Tori and the rest of the gang. She captured their emotions, enhanced the snark and gave each a unique voice.

Snark, friendship and kickassery await you in his fun filled light urban fantasy. Look for my reviews of the next three books, Dark Arts and A Daiquiri , Two Witches and A Whiskey, and Demon Magic and A Martini this summer. A fifth book, The Alchemist and an Amaretto releases in October.

Laughter, friendship, kickassary and more await you, Three Mages and a Margarita by Annette Marie #iloveaudiobooks #UrbanFantasy #GuildCodexSpellbound
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*eBook available in Kindle Unlimited.

About Annette Marie

Annette Marie is the author of YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced urban fantasy, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every single book.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

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As a reader, I often dream about randomly bookish things. Like favorite authors writing a book together, getting my letter from Hogwarts and celebrating magical book holidays. Grab an iced coffee and check out some random wishes. Then be sure and share some of yours.

I want a story where the Aeslin mice from the Incryptid series meet and aid Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files. ALL HAIL The WIZARD OF IMPOSSIBLE PROBLEMS! Jim Butcher and Seanan McGuire can we make that happen?

I want a day where book lovers around the world get together and share their favorite reads. Like a community tea party. Could libraries or pubs around the world plan this please?

I want to consume books in my sleep..like dreams and wake up remembering everything. Imagine being able to listen to ALL the Books!!

I want my favorite series to NEVER end. (sometimes)

I’d like to have magical powers. I could be a Witch, Wizard, Druid or Time Lord.

I want all my fandoms to become movies or shows. (but they must be epic and accurate)

What about you? What bookish things do you dream about?

Make a wish….

If I could wave my wand…. bookish wishes #aeslinmice #HarryDresden #series #booklove
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The Last
by Hanna Jameson
Narrator: Anthony Starke
Length: 12 hours and 16 minutes
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Rating:
Narration: 3.5 cups Speed: 1.4x

For fans of high-concept thrillers such as Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts, this breathtaking dystopian psychological thriller follows an American academic stranded at a Swiss hotel as the world descends into nuclear war - along with 20 other survivors - who becomes obsessed with identifying a murderer in their midst after the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel's water tanks.

Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife's text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he's waiting in the lobby of the L'Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC, has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That's all he knows before news outlets and social media go black - and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are 20 survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can't bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel's water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: Can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?

The Last by Hanna Jameson drew me in with its dystopian setting and murder mystery. Narrated by Anthony Starke this was marketed as a dystopian psychological thriller which led to disappointment.

Jon is at the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland. He recently finished an academic conference. He is mulling over how to respond to his wife’s text, when he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. Communication goes dark. He and others at the hotel find themselves stranded as clouds of orange can be seen on the horizon. Yikes..what a beginning. The story that unfolds deals with the survivors in the hotel. The complications of surviving, the sorry of not knowing about loved ones and then they find a body of a young girl whose been murdered.

The Last was interesting. It was character driven but the setting and circumstances pushed as well. There are twenty survivors at the hotel after a few head out on their own. The characters are quirky and have formed groups of a sort. When the water pressure in the hotel drops, Jon and others investigate. They find the body of a young unidentified child in one of the water tanks. It is then Jon begins a quest for answers.

The tale is told from Jon’s perspective as he interviews, observes and makes discoveries. But their day to day survival is chronicled as well.

Caffeinated Aspects:

  • The mystery. I was curious to know what happened to the little girl. for Jon it gave him a sense of purpose and a chance to avoid the feelings about his wife and stepchildren.
  • The characters backstories, particularly that of Nathan who has ties to the hotel. Jon is a historian and it felt natural for him to keep a journal and investigate.
  • The interactions and reactions of the twenty hotel guests as they spend time in isolation, make runs for supplies and establish rules. It is always fascinating to watch people who normally wouldn’t interact on a daily basis form alliances, friendships and engage. Lines formed based on lifestyle, political views and more. It was interesting viewing all of this from Jon’s perspective. For me this was one of the strongest points of this novel.
  • The hotel L’Hotel Sixieme, surrounded by woods and set far from the outskirts of the nearest town has a rich, bizarre history.

Decaffeinated Aspects:.

  • This was marketed as a dystopian psychological thriller. I expected a much faster pace, danger and plenty of action. While we had moments this fell short of my expectations.
  • The pacing was off and some parts dragged. This I think resulted in the combination of genres. Dystopian and Murder-Mystery. I think both suffered for it. I understand the unique setting the catastrophic event caused, but it didn’t have enough of the action, suspense and near death moments typically found within the dystopian genre
  • I didn’t really care for Jon. I am not sure if it was the narration or his personality. He felt whiney and I struggled in sharing his emotions and thoughts. Perhaps socially awkward is a good word to describe him.
  • The murder didn’t create enough of a sense of danger. Sure a murderer could be living among them, but the tension wasn’t there.
  • I wanted more of some threads. Like the people in the woods and the small town. All of these were dystopian aspects of the story and created that rush one feels when reading the genre.

Anthony Starke provided the narration for The Last. I thought he did an excellent job with Jon’s Mississippi accent. He gave both male and female characters their own unique voice and beautifully handled accents. This was not a favorite narration for me, and after a few chapters I increased the listening speed to 1.5x. I did this because Jon’s voice was slow..so very slow and drab without much inflection. I highly suspect this was a personality trait of Jon’s but it affected my listening pleasure.

I enjoyed aspects of The Last. The author provided a thought provoking look at human interaction and survival during an end of times situation, particularly with the isolated setting but I struggled with the pacing and threads. Had this not been marketed as a dystopian psychological thriller maybe I wouldn’t have felt so disappointed.

THE LAST Audiobook Excerpt - SoundCloud
(338 secs long, 369 plays)Play in SoundCloud
About Hanna Jameson

Jameson had written the first draft of her debut, award-nominated novel – SOMETHING YOU ARE – at just seventeen. Something You Are and two further novels in the series – GIRL SEVEN and ROAD KILL – are available now in the UK, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands. She lives in London currently, and is working on screenwriting projects. She likes whiskey, history, and emotionally taxing TV shows.

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As a reader, I often dream about randomly bookish things. Like favorite authors writing a book together, getting my letter from Hogwarts and celebrating magical book holidays. Grab an iced coffee and check out some random wishes. Then be sure and share some of yours.

I want a story where the Aeslin mice from the Incryptid series meet and aid Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files. ALL HAIL The WIZARD OF IMPOSSIBLE PROBLEMS! Jim Butcher and Seanan McGuire can we make that happen?

I want a day where book lovers around the world get together and share their favorite reads. Like a community tea party. Could libraries or pubs around the world plan this please?

I want to consume books in my sleep..like dreams and wake up remembering everything. Imagine being able to listen to ALL the Books!!

I want my favorite series to NEVER end. (sometimes)

I’d like to have magical powers. I could be a Witch, Wizard, Druid or Time Lord.

I want all my fandoms to become movies or shows. (but they must be epic and accurate)

What about you? What bookish things do you dream about?

Make a wish….

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Have You Seen Luis Velez?
by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Genres: Fiction
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Rating:

From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a moving novel about two strangers who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear.

Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?

Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.

Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.

Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde delivered a poignant, relevant, diverse and heartfelt novel about people, perception and privilege.

Filled with poignant prose you will want to reference again and again, our story begins in a high-rise apartment building located in New York City. It isn’t overly fancy and home to middle and lower-income families.

Our protagonist Raymond is seventeen and of mixed race. He lives with his mother who has remarried and has two daughters with her new husband. He spends every other weekend with his father and new wife. On the day we meet Raymond, it’s the last day before his best and only friend moves to California. It is also the day he meets, Mrs. G (Mildred). A 92-year-old blind woman who lives on the fourth floor when she pokes her head out the door and asks, “Have You Seen Luis Velez?”

Raymond goes back to see the woman after school and learns that a young man named Luis, stopped by a few times a week to escort her with her errands. The poor woman hasn’t seen him in almost three weeks. He discovers she has been living on a single can of soup for the last few days. Raymond befriends her and take over Luis’s tasks. It isn’t long before he sets out looking for Luis Velez. And thus our coming of age story begins.

This was my first experience with Hyde and I’d love to see this book on required reading lists.  The story touches on many relevant topics regarding privilege, loss, forgiveness, understanding, compassion, sexuality, perception, diversity, and community. Last but not least, it touched on friendship. The friendship that developed between this young boy and an elderly woman was remarkable, heartwarming and memorable.

The topics were effortlessly woven into the tale as Raymond met different Luis Velez’s in the city. Not every encounter was friendly but a few profoundly changed the lives of Raymond and others.

The story began with the friendship of Raymond and Mrs G, and his search for Luis Velez, but it grew. As their circle of friends grew and so did Raymond. I really liked Raymond. He is a fine young man, and the scenes involving a stray cat sealed the deal for me even before he helped Mrs. G. Secondary characters from the large Velez family to the widowed mother moved me and reminded me how wonderful people can be amid current events.

I laughed, I cried, and I reflected on many of the issues that Hyde touched upon. This is a fantastic story for a book club.

Have You Seen Luis Velez? was a powerful tale that reminds us of the power of kindness. This is a novel whose story you will carry with you, long after you’ve closed the book.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” -Mark Twain

Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a heartwarming, diverse novel that is relevant. It's a story that will stay with you. #NewRelease #MustRead #Fave2019
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About Catherine Ryan Hyde

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of over 35 published. An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer and astrophotographer, she has a published book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

Website | Twitter

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The Summoning
by Heather Graham
Series: Krewe of Hunters #27
Genres: Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Rating:
Heat Level:

A CALL FROM BEYOND…

When Kristi Stewart inherits a property in the old part of Savannah, she knows it comes with stories of hauntings. But she doesn’t believe in ghosts, even while she runs seances for the guests of McLane House Bed-and-Breakfast. Until the inexplicable midnight appearance of one of her infamous ancestors. Terrified, she flees into the night—and right into the arms of Dallas Wicker.

Dallas is trying to uncover the truth about a colleague who died under suspicious circumstances. As strange happenings continue to plague Kristi’s home, it is soon clear that there’s a very living threat in the neighborhood—several people have disappeared without a trace. Dallas can’t find any connection between the victims, but someone wanted them gone, and it might be linked to the history of McLane House. And that means Kristi should be very afraid

The Summoning by Heather Graham takes us to a haunted bed-and-breakfast in charming Savannah, Georgia to investigate strange deaths and missing persons. Ghosts, stories of the civil war and a sweet romance await you.

Graham combines southern charm, paranormal elements, and romance in this fast-paced murder mystery. I loved the historical details and chase.

While this might be the twenty-seventh novel in the Krewe of Hunters series, we can read these paranormal romantic suspense stories featuring a special unit of the FBI as standalone. Within the series you will find mini-series within involving a group of characters. (Usually 3-4 books with similar names/covers) It looks like the next few will feature inns and I am excited.

Aside from the ghosts who often aid the living in solving these cases, I love that these books share the historical history as we travel around the United States. Savannah is a city rich in history and I enjoyed the details.

Kristi Stewart owns the McLane Bed & Breakfast. The morning Dallas Wicker a member of the Krewe of Hunters checks in, she has her first encounter with a ghostly relative. Dallas is not in town officially, but posing as a private investigator after a string of unusual deaths and the disappearance of two locals.s.

I loved the inn, and its owner Kristi. she kept her Uncles staff and they are currently at full capacity. I enjoyed getting to know the visitors, suspects, and locals. Kristi ends up assisting Dallas and the chemistry between them heated up as they look for a connection between the victims.

Seances, ghostly spirits and the McLane family tree all added interest as Graham wove them all into the murder-mystery. We see Adam and his lovely wife, but Dallas and Kristi were the lead in this investigation.

The romance was served on the side and I’ve long ago swallowed the little blue pill concerning these romances. The chemistry was a mix of sweet and heat, but their shared connection regarding ghosts, history and mysteries made their connection feel genuine.

The Summoning was a lot of fun and I enjoyed piecing together the clues. I am looking forward to visiting an inn situated between Harrisburg and Philadelphia that is reportedly haunted in The Seekers, the next installment of the Krewe of Hunters.

The Summoning by Heather Graham takes us to a haunted in in Savannah as #KreweofHunters Agent Dallas investigates strange deaths. #NewRelease #Pararnormal #RomanticSuspense
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About Heather Graham

Also published as Heather Graham Pozzessere and Shannon Drake. New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Heather Graham majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write, working on short horror stories and romances. After some trial and error, she sold her first book, WHEN NEXT WE LOVE, in 1982 and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. She wrote the launch books for the Dell’s Ecstasy Supreme line, Silhouette’s Shadows, and for Harlequin’s mainstream fiction imprint, Mira Books.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

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The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.  See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

For the first time in the thirteen years we have lived here, our tree in the backyard is dropping helicopter seeds. Billions of them! Everywhere. You can’t step outside without being attacked and our patio and porch are covered. Man, I hope it waits another thirteen years to do it again.

I think I managed to visit everyone for last week’s Sunday Post. I am going away with my husband in June. He has a business trip and I will explore downtown and read. I am behind on writing reviews! LOL, I panic when I have three or more to write even though they won’t post until mid-June/July. Stay Caffeinated!

Last Week on the Blog
This Week on the Blog
  • The Summoning By Heather Graham (review)
  • Have You Seen Luis Velez? By Catherine Ryan Hyde (review)
  • If I Could Waive A Wand… (feature)
  • The Last By Hanna Jameson (audio review)
  • Three Mages And A Margarita By Annette Marie (audio review)
New Arrivals at the Caffeinated Cafe

Click to learn more: Wanderers, Twice in a Blue Moon, Murder Knocks Twice, Her Deadly Secrets, Pinky Got Out!, The Wallflower Wager, Sapphire Flames, Justified

A special thank you to Del Ray, Gallery Books, Brilliance Audio, Gallery Books (gifted), and Random House Kids, Avon Books, Forever Publishing

Around The Blogosphere
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Made me laugh.
Link Up Your Edition Of The Sunday Post

Before you link up: Please be sure your weekly post includes a link back to Caffeinated Reviewer and the Sunday Post

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Side Jobs
by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files #12.5
Narrator: James Marsters
Length: 13 hours and 13 minutes
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchase
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Rating:
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.35x

Here, together for the first time, are the shorter from Jim Butcher's DRESDEN FILES series — a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies managed to close in record time. The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious. Also included is a new, never-before-published novella that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of the new April 2010 hardcover, Changes.

My quest to listen to the Harry Dresden Files continues and Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher is a compilation of novellas.

I usually like to save the novellas for last but because of what happened in Changes, I decided to listen now before begin Ghost Story.

  • Restoration of Faith– This tale is set before Storm Front and Harry is working to obtain his private detective license. He finds a young, feisty runaway and battles a bridge troll. This showcases Harry’s humor and compassion.
  • Vignette– I think this was originally written for a PR piece, something that is handed out at a con. It is Harry and Bob discussing business cards. I love Bob.
  • Something Borrowed– from My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding Billy and Georgia’s wedding. I loved finding out how Butcher came to name them. It made me roar with laughter. And who says supernaturals are scary. Wait until you meet the MIL. We battle a seriously pissed off enemy bent on revenge.
  • It’s My Birthday Too – from Many Bloody Returns Shoes and Molly play a major role in this tale as Harry tries to give Thomas a birthday present.
  • Heorot – from My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon In which there is beer, Gard and a terrible monster to battle. This was creepy but we got to see Harry do a transference spell and save a young bride.
  • Day Off – from Blood Lite This was hilarious. Poor Harry tries to take the day off, but you know how that goes. Werewolves, explosions and mites ensue.
  • Backup – Thomas’ point of view This was my least favorite, but it was interesting hearing and seeing how Thomas experienced the events.
  • The Warrior – novelette from Mean Streets This story focuses on Michael and a threat to him. I loved the story from beginning to end.
  • Last Call – from Strange Brew Take me out to the ballgame. Murphy and Harry team up to catch a creature who is manipulating beer.
  • Love Hurt -from Songs of Love and Death Harry and Murphy team up to solve some murders and end up at the county fair. I need more from this one.
  • Aftermath – novella from Murphy’s point of view, set forty-five minutes after the end of Changes. Suspenseful, touching and it all made me what to dive into Ghost Story. Murphy only confirmed the grizzly ending of Changes. UGH!

This collection was fantastic, but even more than that I loved the brief explanations and insider info Butcher gave us at the beginning of each story. We learn how stories came about, how long it took him to write and heard awesome things about other authors.

Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher was a fun, enlightening and entertaining listen #loveaudiobooks #DresdenFiles #urbanfantasy
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About Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires. His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly. An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs whenever he can make time for it. Jim currently resides mostly inside his own head, but his head can generally be found in his home town of Independence, Missouri. Jim goes by the moniker Longshot in a number of online locales. He came by this name in the early 1990′s when he decided he would become a published author. Usually only 3 in 1000 who make such an attempt actually manage to become published; of those, only 1 in 10 make enough money to call it a living. The sale of a second series was the breakthrough that let him beat the long odds against attaining a career as a novelist.

Website | Twitter

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The Scent of Murder
by Kylie Logan
Series: Jazz Ramsey #1
Genres: Mystery
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Rating:

First in a new series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan, The Scent of Murder is a riveting mystery following Jazz Ramsey as she trains cadaver dogs.

The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.

The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case, obsessed with learning the truth.

The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan is the first in the Jazz Ramsey mystery series. Murder, loss, friendships and an old romance kept cadaver dog trainer Jazz Ramsey busy in this murder-mystery.

From the cover and the description, I thought Jazz would be a full-time dog trainer and involved in law enforcement. However, she is an administrative assistant at a local Catholic high school. She trains cadaver dog on the side. While this was a letdown, the overall mystery was interesting.

Jazz is helping a friend retrain his pooch within an urban environment when she discovers a body. When she discovers the murder victim is a former student she cannot help but investigate.

This was a fun start to the series. The Cleveland police detective assigned to the case ends up being her ex-boyfriend, Nick. Apparently there are still feelings there. I got the initial feeling that duty and commitments made them take a step back.

The author spends some time allowing us to get to know Jazz, her family, friends and co-workers. I liked Jazz. She is stubborn, smart, curious and great with animals.

The story could be described as a cozy, but felt more inline with the Mercy Kilpatrick series by Kendra Elliot. While that series has more romance, this series has the potential to develop as it progresses.

The murder of a former student, with secrets, plenty of enemies and oodles of artist talent was an interesting one. The surprise twist was well done and felt authentic. I liked that Jazz kept Nick informed of her findings. He didn’t encourage her, but didn’t discourage her either. There is some trust there.

The cadaver dogs had some scenes, and I am hoping we see more in future episodes. All in all this was a good solid mystery with characters I will enjoy getting to know further.

When a former student is murdered, # Jazz Ramsey begins to investigate in The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan. #NewRelease #mystery
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About Kylie Logan

Kylie Logan also known as Casey Daniels and a few other writers, is author of the Button Box mystery series and the League of Literary Ladies mystery series published by Berkley Prime Crime. Loves, old buttons and classic books

Website | Twitter | Facebook

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The Burning Issue of the Day
by T.E. Kinsey
Series: Lady Hardcastle Mystery #5
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Length: 9 hours 20 minutes
Genres: Historical, Cozy Mystery
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Rating:
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.0x

January 1910. A journalist has been killed in a suspicious blaze. Everything points to a group of suffragettes, but the apparent culprit insists she is innocent.

When Lady Hardcastle receives a letter from a suffragette requesting her urgent help, the retired spy turned sleuth knows only she stands between an accused young woman and the gallows. Evidence at the scene makes Lizzie Worrel’s innocence difficult to believe, and with the police treating it as an open-and-shut case of arson, Lady Hardcastle faces a barrage of resistance as she tries to dig out the truth.

With her trusted maid and confidante, the formidable Flo, Lady Hardcastle sets off in pursuit of the truth as time runs out for the accused suffragette. Was she set up? And if so, is the real culprit a traitor to the cause—or part of a darker conspiracy?

I cannot believe it is the third Wednesday of the month, yet here we are with another guest review from Sophia Rose. Today she is sharing a historical cozy mystery, The Burning Issue of the Day by T.E. Kinsley. Enjoy!

Sophia Rose’s Review

In 1910, the Bristol News reports a suffragette has killed a newspaper man during an arson demonstration and is now up for murder.  Lady Hardcastle and her intrepid lady’s maid, Florence are now on the case to prove Lizzie Worrel innocent and find the true arsonist and killer.

The Burning Issue of the Day is the fifth in the Lady Hardcastle historical cozy mysteries.  There is a flow to the series, but the reader/listener could get a book out of order as there is a fresh mystery in each installment.

In this latest, the ladies leave their village for the nearby city to involve themselves in the suffragette movement, newspaper industry, and big city politics.  With the help of police detective, Inspector Sutherland, who has been told to let the arrest stand and not continue investigating, the help of young, energetic suffragette leader, Georgie, and the return of cynic female reporter, Diana Cordal, they face up against a powerful group of Bristol’s leaders who they are investigating for the crime.

The Lady Hardcastle series are a fun historical cozy mystery series about a pair of retired spies that moved to the country for a rest from their former activities, but find murder investigation an engaging alternative hobby.  No one suspects this pair of being more than an eccentric and entertaining widow and her maid, but Lady Emily Hardcastle has a first class brain behind her playful and sometimes vague remarks and Flo, her little Welsh maid, grew up agile and capable in the circus and is trained in the martial arts.  They are an entertaining pair of friends and amateur sleuths.

I enjoy how each installment of this series focuses on a different aspect of history from that Edwardian time period.  Music, car racing, moving pictures, and now women’s suffrage.  The city of Bristol is brought to life and I appreciate the historical backdrop the author takes the time to paint.

The mystery in this one is slow burn as the group conducts their investigation.  There was a good bit going on that could be part of it or simply a distraction.  There were many players that had to be investigated, too.  So, it gets along slowly.  I figured out most of it ahead of time, but it’s always enjoyable to see how they work it out and bring about justice.

Elizabeth Knowelden is the narrator for this series and she is sensational at bringing the characters, including the men, various classes, and the historical tone to life.  Flo is the point of view of the story and I like how she is portrayed with the more lively voices given to the others except Inspector Sunderland who tends to be the straight guy in the humor moments.  I love how Knowelden’s narration brings that special shine to the stories.

All in all, this was another easy going, delightful addition to the series.  Those who enjoy lighter-toned historical mysteries with a great deal of humor should give this series a try.

Check out Sophia Rose's thoughts on The Burning Issue of the Day by T.E. Kinsey #historical #mystery #LadyHardcastle
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About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate. Associate Reviewer for Delighted Reader blog.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About T.E. Kinsey

Tim Kinsey was born in England in the 1960s when everything was groovy. He grew up in London in the ’70s when everything was brown and mostly made of corduroy. He went to university in Bristol in the 1980s when hair was big and spectacles bigger. He worked in magazines in the ’90s when Britannia was cool. In the early-2000s, when the millennium was new and the possibilities boundless, he helped the Internet to boom by working on one of its most famous sites. And now he writes murder mysteries. Tim lives just outside Bristol with his wife, two drum kits, four guitars and a robot vacuum cleaner. The couple’s three children have long since been encouraged to leave home, ostensibly to enable them to make lives for themselves, but mostly to make more room for drum kits, guitars, and robot vacuum cleaners.

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