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Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe

Los Angeles, CA United States
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  • Tastes Like Murder

  • Cookies & Chance Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: Catherine Bruns
  • Narrated by: Karen Rose Richter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 40

Sally Muccio's had her crosses to bear: a cheating ex-boyfriend, crazy Italian parents, and an unfaithful husband, just to name a few. After her divorce, she returns to her hometown to start a novelty cookie shop whose specialties include original fortune cookies, served with a sprinkle of foreshadowing. But there's no warning when her ex-husband's mistress drops dead on Sal's porch, and police confirm it's a homicide. Determined to stop her life from becoming a recipe for disaster, Sal takes matters into her own hands.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Where's My Fortune Cookie?

  • By Betababe on 01-17-18

Tastes like Murder Tastes like Fun!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-09-18

In Tastes like Murder by Catherine Bruns, Sally Muccio owns the Sally’s Samples Bakery, where she has to deal with some frustrating clients. Then one day Sally’s personal longtime enemy walks into the shop. The exceedingly rich Amanda tormented Sally throughout high school, and Sally was happy to get away from the bully when she married and moved to Florida. At least, Sally escaped Amanda until the day she walked in on Amanda in bed with her husband. And now he is Sally’s ex-husband, and she lives once again in her hometown near her crazy family and owns a bakery with Josie, her best friend. With anxiety over Amanda’s visit to the bakery, Sally goes to a bar with her friends and ends up drunk after only three beers. Running into Mike, the love of her high school years, Sally lets her intoxication influence her to make out with him until she vomits on his shoes. The day after that proves especially miserable, and then it gets worse when Amanda walks in to the bakery for the second day in a row. When Amanda seems inclined to linger past closing time, Sally makes her leave. But only a few minutes later Sally goes to leave her building only to find the body of Amanda lying on her stoop.

As rumors spread fast and wide within their New York community that Sally killed Amanda, the bakery keeps busy with customers but no actual business. The resulting loss of income really upsets Sally and Josie, influencing them to decide to investigate for themselves. In the meantime, Sally finds herself the source of attention of Brian Jenkins, the new detective on her case. But what about Mike? Which of her two suitors does she focus on? And who is trying to frame her for murder?

I enjoyed this book, with its mixture of mystery and romance. I enjoyed the characters of Sally’s crazy family, including her father, who is obsessed with his impending (or so he wants to believe) death; her mother, who seems to think she is a teenager again; and her grandmother, who is the sensible one around. I did find myself reading the romance narrative through the lens of my own experience, interpreting the pros and cons between Mike and Brian differently than the other characters interpret their actions.

The audiobook is narrated by Karen Rose Richter. For the most part, I enjoyed her performance. But I found her voicing of Josie to be a little inconsistent at times, sometimes not sounding as clearly like her usual voice of Josie, with the New York accent occasionally coming more strongly than at most times. The voice of Kate, the mother of Amanda, also doesn’t sound the same to me throughout the book. The voices of the men occasionally have the same issue, but in general they work pretty well.

I had a good time listening to Tastes like Murder. The book is often guided in its plot with fortune cookies that are popular in Sally’s bakery. I like the way they help to create an outline for the plot without doing so very obviously. Just as most fortune cookies that we get in Chinese American restaurants contain fairly obscure messages that can be interpreted many ways, the messages in this book do the same so that the plot does not become immediately obvious. The characters are fun, as is the plot. My only concern is that I’d like to have seen a bit more depth and detail to the book, but otherwise, it was great. I give it four stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book as a gift from the author, but that had no effect on the content in my review.

  • State of the Art Heist

  • Booker Brothers Detective Agency, Book 1
  • By: Maisie Dean
  • Narrated by: Marie Hoffman
  • Length: 4 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 7

Kacey Chance is an aspiring actress with a cute face and a plucky attitude. She's trying to break into Hollywood, but it isn't easy. She was the prettiest girl in her hometown, but in LA she's a dime a dozen. When a friend offers Kacey a job working at a detective agency, the young actress jumps at the opportunity. The detective agency is unlike any she's ever seen in the movies. It's run by three handsome, single brothers and their sassy grandmother. Her first day at the agency is anything but boring.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Where is the painting? Who took it?

  • By Troublemer on 12-15-18

A Delightful Mystery with No Murders!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-18

In State of the Art Heist by Maisie Dean, Kacey Chance has decided to quit trying to find jobs as a Hollywood actress and has gotten a job with the Booker Brothers Detective Agency. On her first day, she gets immersed directly into a case when the brothers' best client, Leo Fitz, turns to them because someone stole a valuable painting created by Leo's ex- lover, Hannah Otto, at a party he threw recently. With Leo certain that his ex- wife committed the theft, Lucky Booker, the people person of the three brothers, takes Kacey with him to visit the ex- wife and others who might have been involved. What seemed to be a straight- forward case proves to be much more complicated than before, and Kasey finds herself having to solve the case herself if she wants to keep her job and save the Booker Brothers Detective Agency.

This book was such a fun book to listen to and has a great detective story as well as characters. I particularly appreciated the way that this book contains a fascinating mystery without a single murder. I found myself connecting to Kasey and the Booker brothers, each of whom has a unique, clearly defined character that makes her or him realistic. Each has faults and strengths that makes the character genuine.

Marie Hoffman performs the audio version of State of the Art Heist, effectively assisting the good writing in making the characters seem authentic. With good expression, Hoffman makes listening to this book a delight.

I had a really delightful time listening to State of the Art Heist. The writing was strong, the plot clever, and the characters relatable. Further, the narration made the book even more exciting to listen to. I give this book five stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free for review purposes, but that has no effect on the content of my review.

  • The Ghost and Mrs. McClure

  • The Haunted Bookshop Mystery Series, Book 1
  • By: Cleo Coyle
  • Narrated by: Caroline Shaffer, Traber Burns
  • Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 31

Young widow Penelope Thornton-McClure and her old Aunt Sadie are making ends meet by managing a mystery book shop - a quaint Rhode Island landmark rumored to be haunted. Pen may not believe in ghosts, but she does believe in good publicity - like nabbing Timothy Brennan for a book signing. But soon after the bestselling thriller writer reveals a secret about the store's link to a 1940s murder, he keels over dead - and right in the middle of the store's new community events space. Who gives Mrs. McClure the first clue that it was murder? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent new concept

  • By Dawn on 11-29-18

Creative take of a ghost detective

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-18

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Cleo Coyle, Penelope Thornton-McClure, recently widowed when her husband jumped from their building, has returned to her hometown of Quindecot, Rhode Island to help her Aunt Sadie try to save the family bookstore, which they rename Buy the Book. Pen, as she is known, is thrilled to get famous author Timothy Brennan to come to their bookstore on his tour to promote his newest book, Shield of Justice, featuring Detective Jack Shield, based upon 1940s detective Jack Shepard, who disappeared 50 years earlier. As the abrasive, selfish author wreaks havoc in the store getting things set up in his own style, Pen starts to hear a voice heckle Brennan. But no one else hears the voice. This is because she is hearing Jack Shepherd, long- dead and last seen at the family bookstore.

Then during the author reading, Brennan takes a drink of water handed in a bottle to him by Pen. But upon drinking the water, Brennan starts to choke and soon dies. After being served hard liquor by her aunt to help her deal with the shock, Pen ends up drunk and having a shocking conversation with the dead Jack Shepherd, who can hear her thoughts and transmit his own thoughts to her, for the first time ever. However, he cannot leave the property where he was murdered, so as the case progresses and it becomes evident that the police suspect Pen of what they have come to realize was a murder, Jack gives her advice to do her own investigation. Together, they combine their gifts to solve the murder.

I have to confess that I started The Ghost and Mrs. McClure with only medium- level expectations, not having been deeply impressed by another book by the same author and not always liking paranormal mysteries. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much I enjoyed this one. The plot had some creative points, and I liked the angle that Pen knows details about the case that she has learned from Jack, meaning that she can’t tell anyone about these clues. Thus, she has to find other ways to learn the same information.

I found myself connecting with the characters in this book, though Jack’s constant slang from the 40s eventually gets annoying, especially since he tends to repeat the same terms the whole time. I also appreciated the way mystery novels changed Pen’s grieving and sullen son, Spencer into a boy more eager about learning and his mother’s business at the bookstore.

Caroline Shaffer performs the chapters narrated by Pen, while Traber Burns performs the chapters written in 3rd person about the experiences of Jack. It feels a little strange and disjointed to use the two different narrators, whose voices don’t mesh well together. Individually, each does a good job, but I thought they didn’t fir well together.

I had a good time listening to The Ghost and Mrs. McClure. I appreciated the fun details found throughout this book and which kept me listening avidly. I definitely intend to listen to the next book in the series. I give this book five stars.

  • The Mitford Murders

  • By: Jessica Fellowes
  • Narrated by: Rachel Atkins
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 126
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 115
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 117

Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nursemaid, chaperone, and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially 16-year-old Nancy, an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories. But then a nurse - Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake - is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret....

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Expected much, very disappointed

  • By Kindle Customer on 02-02-18

Ripped from the headlines! In 1920!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-03-18

The Mitford MurdersIn The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes, Florence Nightingale Shore returns to England in January 1920 after nursing in France during the Great War. She gets onto a train and never gets off on her own, having been badly beaten until she dies soon after being discovered.

In the meantime, 18-year-old Louisa Cannon, daughter of a washerwoman, deals with her Uncle Steven, who has used her as a pickpocket since she was a young girl and who now intends to hire her out to lascivious men for sex. He has forced her onto the train to take her to one such man when Louisa manages to break free from him and jump off the train. As the railway police officer Guy Sullivan helps Louisa recover from being injured in her jump, he gets word of the murder of Nurse Shore. Louisa is then thrilled to get a job as nursery maid at Asthall Manor for the Mitford family, titled Lord and Lady Reedsdale. She becomes a close friend of the oldest daughter, 16-year-old Nancy, and together the pair look into the murder, along with Guy Sullivan.

The Mitford Murders bases its story upon a real case that remains unsolved and poses a potential solution to the mystery. The book initially contains disparate threads that come together as the book progresses and draw the reader into the plot. The book begins with interest, but it then picks up the pace even further and makes the reader eager to keep reading and not put the book down. By the end, the shortened chapters and high drama keep people from being able to put the book down.

Rachel Atkins performs the audio edition of this book. Interpreting the content effectively, she does a good job of conveying the material in the book to listeners. Because the story jumps among different settings, it has potential to pose some confusion if not handled properly by the performer. But Atkins keeps things clear for listeners and entertains us with this creative book. Listeners to the audiobook get an extra treat in the form of an interview with the author about writing books set in the 1920s and the fine line between fiction and non-fiction, especially in a book like this drawn from a genuine case.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Mitford Murders and felt drawn to the plot and the characters. I truly felt myself wanting Louisa and Guy to succeed and thought the book was very exciting. I look forward to listening to the next book in the series and give this five stars!

  • The Whispered Word

  • By: Ellery Adams
  • Narrated by: Cris Dukehart
  • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71

Nora Pennington, the owner of Miracle Books, believes that a well-chosen novel can bring healing and hope. But she and the rest of the members of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society know that, sometimes, practical help is needed, too. Such is the case with the reed-thin girl hiding in the fiction section of Nora's store, wearing a hospital ID and a patchwork of faded bruises. She calls herself Abilene, and, although Nora and her friends offer work, shelter, and a supportive ear, their guest isn't ready to divulge her secrets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • OMG! NOW WHAT DO I DO?

  • By Anonymous User on 11-09-18

One of the best of 2018!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-30-18

In The Whispered Word by Ellery Adams, the four women who form the Secret, Book, and Scone Society have decided to try to raise morale in Miracle Springs, NC by dropping off secret gifts at the homes of those who seem most troubled in the aftermath of the crash of the local bank. Then an overly thin young woman wearing a dress that she swims in and a hospital wrist band shows up at Nora Pennington's store, Miracle Books, needing help. Calling herself Abilene Tyler, the young woman shows an incredible knowledge of books and gets hired by Nora part- time. When the four women start out to deliver their gift packages, they start at the house of a particularly negative woman, but Nora finds the woman, Amanda Fry, floating dead in a filthy pond at her house.

Though the police seem ready to label the death a suicide, Nora believes otherwise because Amanda would not have treated her books as badly as some books in the house were left. When Kenneth Fry brings a rare book to Nora for an appraisal, she is certain it belonged to his mother despite the her having left the books to someone else. Further, Nora finds evidence that Abilene hasn't been straight with them about her connection to Amanda Fry, but as Hester, owner of the Gingerbread House, has taken Abilene under her wing, especially after discovering what a gifted baker Abilene is, this has the potential to tear about the still-new Secret, Book, and Scone Society.

The Whispered Word is the sequel to last year's highly received The Secret, Book, and Scone Society,, and it promises to be just as successful. Despite a strong mystery plot, the book contains so much more than just an exciting mystery. It features powerful messages about the value of women's working together to support each other and help each other heal from both physical and emotional damage. But this book also contains the women helping men, in particular Nora's new love interest, Jed Craig, an EMT who has damage in his own personal life that Nora begins to help him cope with.

Nora serves as a bibliotherapist, in which role she offers suggestions of various books that will aid people with their issues. The books do not consist of the typical self- help books but instead a combination of fiction and non- fiction books that will help her customers face their issues in a new light. This book contains numerous references to existing books, showing a huge range of genres and topics of books that made me intrigued to want to look some up.

Chris Dukehart performs the audio edition of this book and does a powerful job of interpreting this most powerful book. She makes the book seem all the more effective and relatable as she draws the reader into experiencing the characters as genuine friends and the situations as ones we witness in person.

The Whispered Word has proven to be one of my favorite books of 2018, combining as it does the strength of a good mystery that only Adams can create as well as the empowering message of the value of working together to help each other heal and serve others less fortunate. I highly recommend it, but if you haven't read The Secret, Book, and Scone Society, I'd recommend starting with that one to understand the dynamics going on among the women. I give this book a hearty five stars!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • A Darling of Death

  • Helen Binney Mysteries, Book 5
  • By: Gin Jones
  • Narrated by: Lisa Valdini
  • Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

Helen Binney is frustrated with the challenges of her lupus and is desperate to hit something - anything! So what better place to go than a martial arts studio owned by a friend? Only her frustrations remain when she finds herself in a minor car accident, a female martial arts competitor mocks her physical limitations, and the studio owner won't let her engage in any satisfyingly high-impact exercise. But when the rude competitor is found dead in the locker room, Helen is distracted from her personal problems. She learns that the woman owned a bed & breakfast, and wasn't very good at making friends. Murder suspects abound....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Vivid depictions of characters and clever plot

  • By Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe on 11-28-18

Vivid depictions of characters and clever plot

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-28-18

In <strong>A Darling of Death</strong> by Gin Jones, Helen Binney is frustrated with her increasingly worsening lupus and decides to take her emotional response into her own hands by joining the Zubov House of Sambo and hitting something. The only problem is that her friend, Kolya Zubov, owner of the martial arts studio, insists she learn to breathe first by studying tae chi instead of hitting things. Helen watches as a man spars with a woman, who shows clear superiority in the art of sambo over the man but plays dirty, injuring the man's shoulder. Helen would love to get that good, but since Kolav insists she learn to breathe first, Helen takes a lesson in tae chi. When she goes to the locker room after her lesson, she finds one of the showers running, but when she discovers the body of Danica, the woman Helen watched spar, lying in a puddle in the shower stall, Helen realizes she has a new mystery on her hands.

Aided by her faithful driver, Jack, Helen starts to go around her small Massachusetts town, but someone doesn't want her to poke her nose into the murder and tries to stop her. In the meantime, Helen has other concerns. Ambrose Tate, Helen's former lawyer, who rents her garage in which to do his woodworking and with whom Helen has recently developed a love interest, is being altogether too nice to her, scaring Helen. And then there is the mystery of the goings on at the nursing home, where Helen visits her friends to catch up on all the local gossip. Why have the directors been holed up in a conference room at a local B&B for days? Helen has a lot on her plate, all while dealing with the lupus that is attacking her body.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to listen to <strong>A Darling of Death</strong>. As in the previous four books in this series, I highly appreciated the mystery, as well as the characters, who had real depth to them as individuals. The mystery kept me guessing about the direction it would take and often surprised me despite the book's having only a few major characters. The plot is heightened by the believability of the characters, who come alive in the reader's mind. I particularly appreciated the way Helen deals honestly with her lupus and has to deal with the limitations caused by living with a chronic medical condition. However, she doesn't let the lupus control her but instead works around her disabilities.

Lisa Valdini performs the audio edition of this book. Her voicing of Helen and other characters makes them spring to life in the listeners' minds, adding to the already vivid depictions of these characters by Jones. I like the way Valdini often sounds as if she is smiling as she performs this book. The voices she uses for her characters and the expression given to narrating the book add even further to the positive listening experience.

<strong>A Darling of Death</strong> was a highly enjoyable book that I appreciated getting to listen to and wanted to finish all in one sitting. As it neared a conclusion, I found myself both eager to learn the solution and dreading reaching the end because I didn't want to leave the world of Helen Binney. I give this book five stars.

<strong>Disclaimer:</strong> I received this book for free for review purposes, but that had no influence on the content of my review.

  • A Hole in One: A Glass Dolphin Mystery

  • Glass Dolphin Mystery Series, Book 2
  • By: Judy Penz Sheluk
  • Narrated by: Kelli Lindsay
  • Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 17

Hoping to promote the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, co-owners Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland agree to sponsor a hole in one contest at a charity golf tournament. The publicity turns out to be anything but positive, however, when Arabella’s errant tee shot lands in the woods next to a corpse. They soon learn that the victim is closely related to Arabella’s ex-husband, who had been acting as the Course Marshal. With means, opportunity, and more than enough motive, he soon becomes the police department’s prime suspect, leaving Arabella and Emily determined to clear his name.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A real brain teaser

  • By Jan on 12-16-18

Another great audiobook

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-28-18

In <strong>A Hole in One</strong> by Judy Penz Sheluk, Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland, partners in the Glass Dolphin Antique Shop, are helping to sponsor a charity shotgun golf tournament. As they prepare for the start, they hear the starter shotgun go off 25 minutes prematurely, only to be told that the real gun is locked up. Once the tournament begins, Arabella joins Emily and two male friends as a foursome despite her little experience with golf. As her ball goes into the woody area, Arabella searches for it, only to come across the body of a man shot in the chest. Though he looks familiar, she can't place him. But then, her ex- husband, Levon Larroquette, the course marshal for the tournament, comes up and recognizes the face of his father, Mark Larroquette, who went out for a pack of cigarettes one night 24 years earlier, never to return.

The problem is that Levon claims not to have seen his father since that day 24 years ago, but Arabella saw the two arguing together in the park just a few days earlier. Then, Emily's newest date, Luke, who was part of the golf foursome and earlier denied any recognition of the dead man, admits that a week earlier he rented a boat to the man under the name of Kevin Hollister Cartwright . This complicates things even further when Emily reveals that this name belongs to her ex- fiancé. So the two partners in the Glass Dolphin determine to get to the bottom of the case.

I highly appreciated listening to <strong>A Hole in One</strong>, which, though the sequel to <em>The Glass Dolphin</em>, does not require readers to have read the first book to enjoy. The mystery has many creative twists and turns, offering surprise after surprise without seeming unrealistic. I liked the way I tried to anticipate the next moves but discovered each time that I was wrong because the twists were even more intriguing than I had imagined.

Kelli Lindsay performs the audio edition of this book and helps to make it even more exciting. She uses believable voices, though sometimes they don't stand out as entirely distinct from each other. Since the book has so much excitement in it, Lindsay makes a good decision not to over- emote, leaving the book to speak for itself. In doing so, Lindsay makes this book a highly enjoyable listening experience.

<em>A Hole in One</em> was a great book that I really loved getting to listen to. I liked <em>The Glass Dolphin</em>, and <em>A Hole in One</em> measured up to the first book. The creativity of the plot and fun characters made this book a great listen. I give it five stars!

<em>Disclaimer:</em> I received this book for free for review purposes, but that had no influence on the content of my review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Sharpe Cookie

  • Maycroft Mystery Series, Book 6
  • By: Lisa B. Thomas
  • Narrated by: Kelley Hazen
  • Length: 5 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8

When an auction of family treasures leads to murder, amateur sleuth Deena Sharpe sets out to catch the culprit. A missing coin collection could be the key to the puzzle. While Deena babysits the thrift shop for her friend who is out on maternity leave, strange things start happening. Her sister-in-law Estelle thinks they are messages from beyond the grave that point to the killer. Can they separate truth from fiction before someone else gets hurt? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Enjoyable

  • By lynda on 10-10-18

The best in the series so far!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-15-18

In <strong>Sharpe Cookie</strong> by Lisa B. Thomas, Deena and Gary Sharpe accompany Deena's brother, Russell Sinclair, and his wife, Estelle Fitzhew Sinclair, to the high- end estate auction of Estelle's parents. To honor her parents, Estelle has her family's old chauffeur, Leonard Deets, drive them to the auction in the family's old Bentley. But things go wrong at the sale, as Estelle notices items getting auctioned that she had set aside to keep. When a cherished painting goes up for auction, Estelle races to the front, grabs the painting, and runs out the building, only for everyone to hear a scream. When she goes outside, Deena finds Estelle staring in horror at Leonard lying dead on the ground next to a gold coin belonging to a set scheduled to be sold but discovered stolen. It looks like he was killed when the coin thief escaped with the set and ran into Leonard.

Determined to get to the bottom of the murder of her mother's loyal driver, Estelle enlists the assistance of Deena to help her investigate the case. Assigned to do community service for kicking the auctioneer in the shin when taking the picture, Estelle helps out at the charity thrift shop run temporarily by Deena while her best friend is on maternity leave. Then strange things start happening in the store, which Estelle interprets as messages from her dead mother. Soon the sisters- in- law find themselves rushing to solve the theft and murder before someone else gets hurt or even killed.

<strong>Sharpe Cookie</strong> was a fun, creative book in the Maycroft Murder Mysteries series. This sixth book is my favorite so far in the series. It had a great plot, with delightful details and characters. I had fun as the women keep changing their minds about the identity of the murderer, coming to a new conclusion each day. The pair's deductions have clever repercussions for the unique plot points.

The characters add a lot to the fun of the book. I especially enjoyed getting to know Estelle, who is usually down-to-earth with her blue- collar husband, Deena's brother, Russ. However, she can channel her mother's imperiousness when necessary to interrogate people. The developing relationship between Deena and Estelle adds significantly to the pleasure of listening to this book.

Kelley Hazen performs the audio edition of <strong>Sharpe Cookie</strong> and adds to the fun of this delightful book. I particularly appreciated her voicing of the character of Estelle, who speaks with a different accent than the Texan accent of Deena and others from her community. Hazen does a great job of making this book come alive.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to <strong>Sharpe Cookie</strong>, a highly creative book that uses twists and turns to make the plot all that more pleasurable. I definitely recommend listening to the prior books in the series before this one, but fans of the series will especially appreciate this book. I give this book five stars.

<strong>Disclaimer: </strong> I received this book for free for review purposes, but that had no impact on the content of my review.

  • Sharpe Point

  • Maycroft Mystery Series, Book 4
  • By: Lisa B. Thomas
  • Narrated by: Kelley Hazen
  • Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9

Retired from teaching, rookie investigator Deena Sharpe wants justice for the wrongly accused. She also wants to impress her new boss. But when she trips over a dead body in the church’s haunted house, the police try to pin it on one of their clients. Can Deena defend a person she thinks may be guilty?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Read

  • By Ashley Hedden on 09-16-18

Murder in a Church Halloween Carnival

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-14-18

In <strong>Sharpe Point</strong> by Lisa B. Thomas, Deena Sharpe gets embroiled in another murder case when she stumbles over a body at the haunted house at her church's Halloween carnival. Ray Brewster, the church's janitor with an unsavory reputation, lies dead. Soon, Deena's best friend's husband, Ian Davis, calls her in to his law office with a new investigative job. Though no post- mortem has been completed, a client of his in the midst of pressing harassment charges against Ray, Wendy Fairmont, is suspected of having killed the man. Then it comes out that Ray was blackmailing Wendy, a former beauty queen, now a wedding planner. The pressure from Mayor Thornhill for an arrest in time for his upcoming election forces Detective Gutmann to arrest Wendy. But even he soon suspects Wendy has been set up, so he too turns to Deena for help in finding the truth.

<strong>Sharpe Point</strong> was a fun book to listen to with enough humor and cleverness to make it highly enjoyable. I particularly liked the character of Sylvia, Deena's mother-in-law, who has always been highly critical of Deena's care of Sylvia's son, Gary. The characters in this book come alive and seem real, especially the details of how Deena wakes up unkempt, unlike the stars in movies. The plot has fun elements, with a creative ending that came as a surprise to me.

Kelley Hazen performs the audio version of <strong>Sharpe Point</strong>. Her female voices sound good, but though I have liked all her narration in previous books, several of her male voices came across as annoying. This was especially true of Deena's senior citizen neighbor, Edwin, and Charlie Abbott, son of the Reverend Abbott. However, I did appreciate her narrative parts.

I enjoyed <strong>Sharpe Point</strong>, appreciating the many fun characters and plot points. I look forward to the next book in the series and give this one five stars!

<strong>Disclaimer:</strong> I received this book for free for review purposes, but that had no effect on the content of my review.

  • Bickering Birds

  • Cozy Corgi Mysteries
  • By: Mildred Abbott
  • Narrated by: Angie Hickman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

When Katie caters a meeting of the Feathered Friends Brigade and drags Fred along, they expect nothing more than loquacious chatter about birds as they endeavor to build a professional relationship with the owner of the wild bird shop. Fred and Katie are quickly roped into a moonlight snowshoeing hike in hopes of spotting a rare owl. While the endangered bird proves elusive...the murdered man in the snow is hard to miss. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A good read

  • By cosmitron on 10-24-18

Highly creative mystery

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-14-18

In <strong>Bickering Birds</strong> by
Mildred Abbott, Winifred "Fred" Page and her corgi sidekick, Watson, gets involved in yet another murder in her new hometown of Estes Park, Colorado. On the day that her new bookstore, The Cozy Corgi, opens, Myrtle Bantam and the 12 members of her Feathered Friends Brigade come in. After Myrtle tastes the delicious baked goods made by Fred's partner, Katie, she hires Katie to cater the next meeting of the Brigade. Before they know it, Fred and Katie are joining the group, along with park ranger Leo, on a night bird walk through the Rocky Mountain National Park. However, just as they enjoy seeing some elk, a scream pierces the air and scares the elk away. The club curmudgeon, prone to accusing everyone in the group in turn of poaching, has been murdered.

Fred has solved a couple murders in the recent past, so the man she has been seeing, Police Sgt. Branson Wexler, approasches her to order her not to get involved. What a big mistake! Fred gets so enraged at the order that she sets out to solve the case before Branson can do so. But as always, it is Watson who truly saves the day.

I have had fun listening to the Cozy Corgi Mysteries, and <strong>Bickering Birds</strong> is a good addition to the books. As someone who personally has a hate- love relationship with a parrot, even I found myself feeling sympathetic towards the birds of the title. The book drew me to appreciate Watson all the more, making me cheer as Watson saves the day.

Angie Hickman narrates the audio edition of this book and gives a strong performance. She plays the role of Fred, who gives a first- person narrative of the book, with the flavor and energy one might picture coming from Fred. Her depictions of the dignified Watson's inner voice add to the fun.

<strong>Bickering Birds</strong> proved to be a fun, clever book with a unique angle. Abbott exercises creativity in her plots, something I have come to fully enjoy.

<strong>Disclaimer:</strong> I received this book for free for review purposes, but that had no effect on the content of my review.