All ratings are on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (great).
DEADLY HEAT by Richard Castle (Nikki Heat #5) - 4
Nikki is juggling two cases. She's working a serial killer leaving a weird clue to tie his murders together when someone connected with her mother's murder case tries to kill her. Can she juggle both while dodging bureaucratic red tape?
As usual, the writing is a bit hard to get into, but once I do, I get lost in the story. The characters could be a bit better developed as well. Honestly, both are minor flaws because I have fun with this book. Very creative tie in, and I am already looking forward to the next one.
NICK AND TESLA'S HIGH VOLTAGE DANGER LAB by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Nick and Tesla #1) - 4
Pre-teen's Nick and Tesla have their summer plans rearranged when their parents head out on a scientific trip and they are sent to live with the mad scientist uncle they barely know. But when a rocket they've build winds up in the not so abandoned home down the street, they find a mystery on their hands.
I found this debut to be quite fun. The mystery was decent and the climax was quite suspenseful. It started a little slowly due to the set up and the characters were a bit shallow, but the target middle grade audience won't care. As a bonus, there are several science projects included you can do after reading the book.
NOTE: I received this book via Amazon's Vine program.
EXILE by Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities 2) - 5
When Sophie discovers an alicorn - an extremely rare and valuable animal - she winds up with the job of training it. That would be hard enough, but she still hasn't recovered physically from being kidnapped, and more danger is coming to her new home.
It took a little bit to get back into this complex world, but once I did, I was once again immersed completely. The characters are great and the story is a page turner. Read the first one first, but definitely read these books. They are great for all ages.
THE CHOCOLATE BOOK BANDIT by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #13) - 5
Lee sits in on a library board meeting, but the missing member is found murdered at the bottom of the basement stairs. The woman was quiet, and everyone seemed to like her. So why was she murdered?
These books are always light and fun, and this is no exception. I do wish we'd see more of the sizeable collection of supporting characters, but Lee is always a fun host to a fast paced puzzle that will leave you drooling for chocolate and the next book.
DEATH AL DENTE by Leslie Budewitz - 3 (Food Lover's Village #1)
Erin Murphy is back home in
to help run the family general store.
She's helping run a new event to help bring tourists to town, but it
gets off to a rough start with a family friend is found murdered behind the
shop on opening night. Who could have
done it? Jewel Bay, Montana
This debut just wasn't quite ready. While
and a few core characters are well developed, the rest of the cast is fairly
flat. Likewise, the plot moved forward
in fits and starts, although there were some interesting twists. Overall average, and I'll think hard before I
continue on to the next one.
MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT by Caroline Carlson (Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1) - 5
Hilary dreams of become a pirate. But she' s a girl and the daughter of an admirable. Still, at the first chance, she runs away and joins up. Tasked with finding a treasure using a map with no markings, she might be in over her head. Can she do it?
This was a complete delight. The characters are warm and charming, the plot moves forward quickly, and the book is filled with great humor. I can't wait for the next one to come out (fall of 2014, but I'm not counting at all). Definitely recommended for anyone in the target middle grade audience or older.
NOTE: I got this book via the Amazon Vine program.
DRIVE TIME by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Charlotte McNally #4) - 4
Charlie is hot on the trail of a car scam that seems to be getting more out of hand. Meanwhile, she's looking into threatening phone calls at the private school where her fiancee works and a job offer to another city is making her life even more complicated.
Charlie seemed to make a few leaps early in the book that didn't make much sense to me, but once the story got rolling, it followed logically from one twist to another. The characters were great as always, too. This is it for the series, at least for now, but I feel this is a great place to leave the characters. However, if they return, I'll be back to grab the next volume.