Snowed In With Death by Ruby Loren is described as a Holly Winter mystery. I received it from Instafreebie through an author mailing list but it also available for the purchase price of FREE from Amazon. Seven detectives are scheduled to be at a resort for a detective convention. Holly is not one of the detectives but she is a detective groupie and she has won a contest by which she was invited as a guest observer at the convention. Struggling to get to the convention through a blinding snowstorm and arriving at the resort to face immediate isolation from the outside world gave Holly a feeling of uneasiness. Given that all the detectives would in turn experience either death or near death, Holly will probably rethink further convention invitations.

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Nicola Is Your Friend … Really?

Wicked Secret by Valerie Keogh really contains a wicked secret. There is the main murder mystery. Who did it? That is not the wicked secret. There is a secondary and much more entertaining secondary murder mystery. Who did it? That is not the wicked secret either. The perpetrators of the two murders hoped their identities were secret, but those identities were not wicked secrets. Nicola, an abrasive almost psychic, a person who had helped the police solve gruesome crimes in the past, had a really wicked secret. My challenge will be to present an idea of what the book is about without revealing the secret. It is an interesting secret and should support reader interest in this novel as well as follow up novels.

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The Good, The Bad, The Better

I received Chase & Chloe by Simone Elise as an Advance Read Copy (ARC) and was asked to read and review it by 12 July 2017. With about four days to read it, I thought this would be easy but not so. It took me four days because it was a unique reading experience for me. I haven’t previously read a novel I both liked and disliked so much. The parts I liked, I liked a lot. The parts I disliked grated on all kinds of sensibilities. This would be a good novel for a book club discussion but might require a referee when discussions became heated. There was a disclaimer that is probably standard on ARC that there might be typos or grammar errors that would be corrected before final printing. I only found one error, a typo, in which the word “one” was used when the word “own” was needed. I was impressed with the mechanical accuracy of my copy. I divided the content into three parts as far as my interest. These divisions are mine, not the authors. Part I sets parameters, introduces characters, and hints at overall plot. Part II bored and sometimes offended me. Once I started Part III this turned into an I-can’t-put-it-down story and continued until the final two chapters. Then it returned to its Part II style but at that point, I didn’t care. I was happy with what I had read

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Notell Motel

Billy and Darla by Jay Lemming is a short story about teenage angst associated with growing up. The angst seems to come from three high-school-age students who have no external sources of inspiration and guidance although each of them has a family base that should be working.

Billy had a girlfriend, Darla, until Billy had a fight with Lane the Linebacker. Billy lost and Darla dumped him. Darla only went with winners. Billy never got over Darla but that didn’t stop him from dating Jessie, a good friend of Darla’s. Unlike his relationship with Darla, Billie’s relationship with Jessie was mostly platonic. Mostly. Except for that one time. Billy had an OK family life. The loss of a brother left a persistent gloom over the family but the family remained stable. Billy was just more ignored. Just like at school where teachers either ignored him or dismissed him. He was also not in the popular crowd.

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How Can You Keep Them Down on the Farm …

Oklahoma Exile by Norma Jean Lutz is the story of a City Girl forced by events to adapt to the life of a Country Girl. The larger conflict is whether she will succeed in doing this while at the same time retaining the identity of Serena. The reader knows immediately that Serena City Girl has a disdain for a country lifestyle. Serena is polite about this and the larger conflict is expressed and takes place largely within Serena herself. Only a very perceptive relative or friend could detect this conflict.

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Christmas and Murder and Cookies

What with the holidays and all, I thought a Christmassy review would be nice. Given my favorite genre, crime fiction, I found the following short read about Christmas, murder, and cookies interesting. There are some who find it difficult to get into the holiday festive mood. Crunchy Christmas Murder by Patti Benning tells us that you should at least fake it and publicly display enthusiasm for the holidays. There aren’t a lot of surprises; this is what I would call a “comfort read.” I think I will make a tag that says that.

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