Book Talk on a Thursday: Behind the Frame

I’ve reviewed several Hallmark romance books, but this is my first mystery.
Savannah Shepherd left her art curator job in Chicago to return home and teach art in the village of Carson. She has a developing romance with a local doctor and she’s planning a big art festival. She gets drawn into solving a murder when a town councilman is killed and a chef is arrested. Savannah and her two sisters work together to clear the innocent chef.
This is a typical small town, amateur sleuth, cozy mystery. The fact that all three sisters’ names begin with the same letter made it a bit confusing until they could be sorted out. They are different characters though, with different jobs and lives and traits, so that helped.
The mystery was good, with enough red herrings mixed with the clues to be suspenseful. The murderer was unmasked and caught “off stage,” which is an odd choice. I prefer to see the bad guy get caught myself. I enjoyed the small town setting and the characters. The mystery wasn’t particularly compelling, and the writing is okay. This is the second book in a series, but reads fine as a stand alone.

I was given a free advance copy of the book from Hallmark Publishing, but that did not induce me to review the book, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: Arsenic with Austen

Arsenic with Austen is the first in a new series, Crime with the Classics from author Katherine Bolger Hyde and Minotaur Books.

I’m a sucker for a good mystery. Add a small town, some books, tea, and cats, and I’m all in.
Arsenic-with-Austen-bookArsenic with Austen did not disappoint!

A traditional “fair play” mystery with clues and red herrings, it kept me guessing until the end, just the way I like it.

Emily has inherited an old mansion from her aunt and decides to live there and turn it into a writers’ retreat. Along the way though, she begins to suspect her aunt did not die naturally. Add in Emily’s teenage love, Luke, and then a second chance at romance arrives. The fact that Luke is a law enforcement professional just adds to the complications.

I loved this one and hope Hyde is able to keep this series going all the way to Zapped with Zola!

Book Talk Tuesday: Dangerous to Love

I don’t often read books that can be labeled “Hot,” or “Steamy,” but Elsa is a friend so I dove right in.

dtl

From the Amazon description:

Emma Spencer had anything but a normal childhood. It encompassed foster parents, biological parents and several years at a convent boarding school. Now her foster parents have been murdered and she may be next. When she falls in love, searching for answers becomes more devastating than she ever imagined.
Buck Hill had a crush on Emma at seven years old and when they are reunited he realizes she is the one he has been waiting for. As the two lovers search for the reason Emma is in danger, Buck finds he is a piece of the puzzle.

***

I enjoyed the chemistry between Emma and Buck and the mystery/suspense is good. At first, I had a bit of a problem sorting out how Emma fit into the story and with the foster parents, but Elsa did a good job bringing it all together.