Saturday, May 31, 2008

Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews

Genre: Romance, Comedy
Gina Foxton is having a very bad day. First, her cooking TV show is canceled. Then, she learns the reason behind the cancellation was that her boyfriend producer was having an affair with the wife of her show’s biggest sponsor. She feels like she’s given a second chance when The Cooking Channel offers her the opportunity of having her own network TV show. The only hitch is that she must compete with the handsome star of Vittles, a very successful cooking show, Tate Moody.

Tate and Gina are forced to compete in a reality cooking show. The winner will be awarded their own show, but is that all they will win? No matter how hard they try, Tate and Gina can’t help but discover a major attraction for each other. Can they put it aside for the sake of their careers?

I never read anything by this author before and this book convinced me to add her to my “auto-buy” list of authors. This story was a joy to read. It was fast-paced and I found the characters quite loveable. I really felt for each of them and I rooted for them until the last page was turned.

Curveball by Kate Angell

Genre: Romance – Comedy

This is the second book in Kate Angell’s baseball series. It was good, but I didn’t think it was as good as the first one.

Three members of the Richmond Rogues are suspended as the baseball season gets underway for brawling with a fellow teammate. Their absence from the game is quite costly to their team and could cause them to lose their shot at a championship.

The leader of the bad boys is Psycho. At the insistence of the Richmond Historical Society, Psycho is forced to have his home renovated. Keely Douglas shows up on his doorstep claiming to be an interior decorator. Psycho is so anxious to get the historical society off his back that he hires Keely, even though he’s sure she lied about her abilities as a designer.

Romeo has to use his charms on a female reporter, after he has a run-in with her causing damage to her suit. Emerson Kent isn’t easy to win over and Romeo has his work cut out for him.

Chaser decides to spend his off time with the girl next door. Jen Reid happens to own the concession stands at the baseball stadium. After all these years, Chaser finds himself quite attracted to his lifelong friend.

Although there were some great one-liners in this book and some fun scenes, it was a bit hard to keep up with all three romances. I felt as if the author couldn’t devote enough time to each romance to truly develop each couple’s story properly. I did, however, enjoy re-visiting the Richmond Rogues and meeting up with some of the characters from the previous book. I’m still looking forward to the next book, Strike Zone.

Squeeze Play by Kate Angell

Genre: Romance - Comedy

I’ve been so lucky lately as I’ve been reading some great books and Squeeze Play is one of them. I love baseball, so this book was off to a great start for me.

After winning the World Series for his team, pro baseball player Risk Kincaid, takes a well-deserved vacation in his hometown of Frostproof, Florida. Jacy Grayson is thrilled that her childhood friend is coming home. Every time one of Jacy’s relationships go bad, Risk is there to pick up the pieces. She needs her friend’s magic touch once again. Risk has no intentions of letting her down.

Stevie Cole is a genius when it comes to baseball trivia. She can compete with the best male baseball fans around. The one thing she can’t compete with is the beautiful fiancĂ© of pitcher Aaron Grayson. Everyone in Frostproof knows she loves the popular baseball pitcher, everyone except Grayson himself. She’s publicly humiliated by his engagement announcement, until she meets Risk’s teammate Zen Driscoll. Aaron quickly becomes a distant memory.

I was surprised there were two romances going on in this book and the secondary romance seemed to get more time than the main story, but I didn’t mind. I loved both couples and enjoyed watching their antics. Kate Angell is excellent at romantic comedy. This was a fun story that is perfect to read during baseball season.

I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason by Susan Kandel

Genre: Cozy Mystery

This is a new series for me. Cece Caruso writes biographies and is obsessed with the old Perry Mason stories and his author Erle Stanley Gardner. Her investigation of Gardner leads her to a prisoner doing a life sentence for the murder of his wife. Years ago he pleaded with Gardner to help him prove his innocence, but he never received a response. Cece intends to find out why Gardner never called the man and she’s determined to prove the man’s innocence, even though the murder occurred 40 years ago.

Cece is a quirky character. Not only is she a Perry Mason addict, but she loves vintage clothes from the 1970’s. Recently divorced, she is trying to juggle a career, a daughter in a troubled marriage, a cat and a dog. I fell in love with Cece immediately. I found her intriguing and cleverly written. The next book in the series is “Not A Girl Detective” and features a Nancy Drew backdrop. This should be quite fun to read.

A Sexy Time of It by Cara Summers

Genre: Romance

Harlequin Blaze #396

I love the Harlequin Blaze series. It’s been a long time since I read a time travel, especially a story in a Harlequin line. Usually I find they aren’t long enough to give time travel stories enough of a plot to keep my interest. That wasn’t the case with this one. The hero travels from 2128 to 2008, while the 2008 heroine is able to go into the future.

This story is set to the backdrop of the Jack the Ripper story. Jack the Ripper has been killing in three different time periods – 1880, 2008 and 2128. Neely is able to visit all three time periods due to a psychic connection she doesn’t quite understand. In 2128, it’s Max’s job to identify Jack the Ripper without changing any history. This means he cannot save the lives that the Ripper has taken. He has to quietly stand by when Neely could become the next victim. What makes things even harder is that Max has fallen in love with Neely.

Harlequin Blaze brings hot and sexy romance alive in this one. The chemistry is absolutely sizzling between Max and Neely. It’s a fast-paced book you can read in a matter of hours.

Catch as Cat Can by Rita Mae Brown

Genre: Mystery

First, let me start off with how much I love the Mrs. Murphy series. I just adore re-visiting the town of Crozet, Virginia and getting reacquainted with Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her family of fur babies. I can’t get enough of this series.

Crozet’s annual Dogwood Festival is coming and as the citizens begin preparations, Mrs. Hogendobber discovers her hubcaps have been stolen – right off her car! Imagine that! As Harry helps her investigate the crime, they begin to stumble upon dead bodies. Obviously this is about more than stolen hubcaps.

Mrs. Murphy isn’t about to let Harry walk right into the middle of danger, at least not alone. She recruits the help of her buddies Tucker and Pewter to help assist in unraveling this mystery.

Mrs. Murphy, Tucker and Pewter are so much fun to read. Two cats and a dog solving mysteries…what could be better?

Reading Challenges

I finally decided to go through my TBR and pick out books for reading challenges. I never did challenges before, but they sound like fun. Here are the ones I'm doing and my book choices...

Romance Reading Challenge

1. Scandal by Julie Kistler
2. Paint it Red by Carla Cassidy
3. Feels Like Family by Sherryl Woods
4. Strike Zone by Kate Angell
5. Fast & Loose by Elizabeth Bevarly

Amateur Sleuth Reading Challenge

1. Murder of a Smart Cookie by Denise Swanson (Scumble Rivery Mysteries)
2. Through a Glass, Deadly by Sarah Atwell (A Glassblowing Mystery)
3. Catnapped by Gabriella Herkert (An Animal Instinct Mystery)
4. Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
5. The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly (A Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
6. Death by Pantyhose by Laura Levine (A Jane Austen Mystery)
7. Bitter Sweets by G.A. McKevett (Savannah Reid Mystery)

Romance Club Reading Challenge

1. All About Evie by Beth Ciotta (Author I never read before)
2. Weddings Can Be Murder by Christie Craig (Romance with wedding in the title)
3. Scandal by Julie Kistler (Romance with the word Scandal in title)
4. Paint it Red by Carla Cassidy (Romance with a color in the title)
5. Everybody Loves Evie by Beth Ciotta (Romance with the word love in the title)
6. The Life of Reilly by Sue Civil-Brown (Romance with a name in the title)

On the Porch Swing Reading Challenge

1. Paint it Red by Carla Cassidy (Book with a color in the title)
2. The Life of Reilly by Sue Civil-Brown (Book with a name in the title)
3. Her Father's House by Belva Plain (Book with house in the title)
4. Feels Like Family by Sherryl Woods (Book with family in the title)
5. Homicide at Blue Heron Lake by Susan Page Davis/Megan Elaine Davis (Book with lake in title)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Clare Cosi is convinced to return to The Village Blend as the manager of a coffeehouse she worked at years ago. As she, and her cat Java, move to New York to take up residence above the coffeehouse, she stumbles upon an unconscious body on the floor. She’s shocked to discover it’s her assistant manager. Clare can’t imagine who would do such a horrible thing to her employee. The police immediately rule it as an accident, but Clare doesn’t buy their theory and begins to do an investigation of her own. Will Clare learn what really happened to her assistant or will she find herself a victim as well?

This is the first book in the Coffeehouse Mystery series and what a great beginning. This story is chockfull of characters the reader will want to know. From Clare to her daughter to her ex-husband to her distinguished employer. Not to mention a very attractive homicide detective, who Clare can’t take her eyes off of.

The book also includes recipes and coffee-making tips. Not only do I want to read the rest of the books in the series, but I would love a nice hot cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain right about now.

Murder Is Binding by Lorna Barrett

Genre: Cozy Mystery

This is the first book in the Booktown Mysteries, a brand new cozy mystery series, by Lorna Barrett. The setting of the book captured my interest immediately - a whole street with nothing but different bookstores for all the different genres. An avid reader's dream come true!

Tricia Miles buys a mystery bookstore, Haven't Got A Clue, in the safest town in New Hampshire. She even has a cat named Miss Marple. When Tricia discovers one of her fellow bookstore owners dead, she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery with her being the prime suspect. So much for her newly found peaceful life. To add to her misery, her overbearing sister arrives ready to save the day. Unfortunately, that's the last thing Tricia wants or needs at the moment, but her sister refuses to take no for an answer.

There are so many twists and turns to this story. It keeps you guessing and riveted until the very last page is read. The bad thing - the next book doesn't come out until February 2009. I've already put it on my "to be bought" list.