Tail of the Dragon by Connie di Marco

Julia Bonatti makes her living as a professional astrologer but sometimes the unreliable income makes her budget a bit tight. Her former boss and current astrological client, attorney David Meyers, has begged her to fill in for a week at his firm while his secretary is on vacation. Julia agrees,  only to become embroiled in a murder mystery her very first day. However, the first murder won’t be the last and Julia will need to utilize every skill to solve this murder mystery.

TAIL OF THE DRAGON is the third book in the Zodiac Mystery series and wow, this series only keeps getting better and better! Connie di Marco’s unique approach to the cozy mystery genre continues to intrigue me as I love how astrology plays a crucial role in the series. I also appreciate that Connie di Marco explains the more complex aspects of her astrological reasoning so that people like me who aren’t familiar with astrology are able to both comprehend and enjoy it.

Julia is a great heroine! I love her loyalty to her friends, even when murder is thrown into the mix. Her bravery coupled with her quick intelligence make her the perfect amateur sleuth. I look forward to visiting with her in future books to see what troubles find her next!

Connie de Marco integrates Julia’s love for astrology with her amateur sleuthing skills to craft one heck of a good mystery. TAIL OF THE DRAGON is another stunningly good tale in a series that only gets better with each installment. If you like unique cozy mysteries with lots of twists and turns, then TAIL OF THE DRAGON is just your cup of tea. Easily recommended!

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Review: Sold On A Monday by Kristina McMorris

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Published:    8/28/18                                       Rating: 5*

Sourcebooks Landmark                                ISBN: 9781492663997

Just so tired of covering and photographing society events for his newspaper Ellis Reed drove through a town and stopped by a sign and scene that evoked memories of a dark past from his childhood.  The sign read “ 2 CHILDREN FOR SALE”.  Evidently it was the final act of a family’s struggle to feed themselves in 1931.  The great Crash, the great depression, bread lines, soup kitchens – it could have been written by so many families who couldn’t stand to see her children starve.  

Ellis took the picture bringing it back to the paper where Lillian Palmer saw it and brought it to the chief editor who wanted a story to go with it.  It was the big break Ellis Reed needed, even though the picture was never meant for publication. But then just before it was printed, it was damaged and Ellis had to go back and re-take the photo, only the original children weren’t there, so he substituted other children into the photo with disastrous results.  

Both Ellis and Lillian realize that their actions had caused a great deal of misunderstanding and grief and though there was connection to their friendship they both felt the need to try and correct the actions that had been set in motion. As the two try to mend the fractured family, they naturally find a commonality and sense of soul in each other.  

As this book was inspired by an actual article and photograph from a newspaper that stunned a nation, you’ll find this to be a powerful novel of love and redemption between two unexpected souls who found their way back to a way of life they had been missing,

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen

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NET Galley August 7, 2018       Series:  Her Royal Spyness #12

ASIN  B077CNY4P9                   Rating:   5*

Have to say I really enjoyed FOUR FUNERALS AND A WEDDING from a series and an author I had never read before.  There were plenty of chuckles that slipped past my lips as I got further and further into this story and mystery.   Judging that this is the 12th volume in the series I can just about imagine some of the scrapes our heroine Georgie had to have gotten into based on the innuendoes mentioned of some of her past  klutziness.  Somehow if Georgie were a real person I’d definitely have to make her a BFF.

Getting back to the story, it seemed that things seem to be really going Georgies way – not only is she making plans for her long awaited wedding to the love of her life, but she has just learned that she is the heir of one of her mothers ex-husbands – Sir Hubert Anstruther .  Plus he has invited her to make her new home in his house in the country.  And so begins the main offensive of Georgie versus the household staff at Eynsley Hall who clearly do not want any interference of a Royal whose expectations are for them to serve her.   

Georgie, along with a lively plethora  of other family and friends was a delight and all the secondary characters only added to the enjoyment of the entire mystery.  Questioned  – who were these odd band of misfit servants? Why have a cook who didn’t even know how to brew a decent cup of tea?  Alas, you will have to read this marvelous tome to discover the latest foibles of Lady Georgiana! 

A total delight from start to finish!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

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For a debut novel THE OTHER WOMAN had a twist to it I never saw coming!  Thinking about it did I have my own idea on how it could have played out, well yes – but I was not the author and because of that I still think it was extremely good.  

Emily thinks Adam is perfect; so perfect that she couldn’t imagine why he took notice of her.  Basically she just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop because her self esteem couldn’t comprehend that this ever so handsome dude was paying so much attention to her.  What Emily never suspected was that in the back ground there was a sinister  ‘ other woman’  who was not about to let Emily come between her and her son!

From the moment Emily met “Pammie”  the mother, she sensed that this woman had a very deep bond with her son and knew that in spite of Pammie’s kind words, there was a sense of knowing that they were only spoken, but not felt.  Unfortunately, Adam wouldn’t believe that his mother had any ulterior motives towards Emily after he had asked her to marry him. Emily knew better but couldn’t speak a bad word against Pammie and had to walk on eggshells  to see Adam happy.

You’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat thru this one from beginning until the end.  Great psychological thriller casting a tense  dysfunctional relationship between Emily, her fiancé Adam and his twisted mother Pammie.       Hold onto your seat – you won’t see the twist when it hits you like a bolt of lightening!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: More Or Less a Countess by Anna Bradley

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Publication: August 7th 2018 by Lyrical Press

ASIN:   B078LJSGY9

Series:   The Somerset Sisters #2

Right from the boat I have to say I LOVED this story!  From the beginning to the end  I couldn’t put it down!   Violet Somerset was a terrific heroine and her attempt to save her young sister was well thought out as well as extremely entertaining!   One (me) had to laugh out loud at Violet’s remarks to Nicholas, the Earl of Dare, who was so clueless as to the double entendre’s Violet was continually lobbing at him.   For Nicholas, who had never had problems in seducing or attracting females – as the handsome bachelor earl – really couldn’t comprehend  why he was having so much trouble trying to charm this very unique and intelligent young woman!  He was told she was shy and unassuming – but with him she was anything but!   I found the story be unbelievably funny, until of course the game was up when Nicolas found out his ‘Hyacinth’ was none other than her older sister Violet, who by that time was just almost ready to tell him the truth. 

Bottom line:  Again I loved this story and can’t wait for the third book in this absolutely delightful series!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Tiffany Blues by M. J. Rose

Tiffany Blues

Publish by Simon & Schuster  – Aug 7, 2018        ISBN13: 9781501173592  

Rating:  5*

Set in New York in 1924, you are introduced to 24year old Jenny Bell, who is struggling to make ends meet while studying art.  Through the friendship and manipulations of her closest and – only friend – Minx Deering, Jenny is selected along with the other top students to study at the luxurious home of Louis Comfort Tiffany Laurelton Hall.   Jenny has closed herself off to any romantic entanglements and for the most part trusting many people, knowing that she must rely only upon herself and is working hard towards that end. 

Unfortunately, Jenny’s past seems to be following her to Long Island with images of her beloved mother, her hateful step-father, waterfalls, and murder from the dark hallways of the notorious girls reformatory Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women.  As she tries to bury those memories of her imprisonment, she must keep those secrets at bay while she is being sensually pulled towards Oliver, grandson of Mr. Tiffany.

Competition is fierce for the prize that is being offered for the artist who submits the best example of their art and win a spot at Tiffany’s New York Gallery.   But then a series of incidents both suspicious and disturbing let Jenny know that someone is out there who knows of her past and is trying to scare her away before all is  revealed.  

Not only did I love this story and M.J.Rose’s beautifully detailed and expressive descriptions of the grandeur of Laurelton Hall, but she drew the characterizations of her subjects with emotions and motives that one could almost believe they were there experiencing the beauty that Tiffany had created and being able to understand Jenny’s innermost issues. 

The romance that sprung between Jenny and Oliver was both breathtaking and a bit heartbreakingly enduring as well as very real.  The suspense and nature of the villain was rather obvious but the TWIST at the end I hadn’t seen coming nor was I prepared for it.    All in all – this is a book you must put on your list for a remarkable and entertaining read. 

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Cooper’s Charm by Lori Foster

Cooper's Charm

Reviewed by Annetta Sweetko

Phoenix and Coop are an amazing couple, both getting over painful memories – his to his heart and her is more physical – to learn to trust and love. His young wife was killed in a hold up and Phoenix was attacked by two men in her shop. So both have escaped from the world as best they could but now it’s time to come back and they find they can do that together.

Author Lori Foster has the ability to make all her people come life in her books and even the bad guys are realistic. The characters living and working on the campgrounds are varied personalities, lovable with interesting quirks and fun to watch as they deal with day-to-day living.

I have noticed in a number of books that there is a main romance and a secondary one and that is the case with Cooper’s Charm. Phoenix’s sister Ridley arrives and having suffered a confidence busting divorce. Her romance with the scuba instructor Baxter is a interesting one that will have you cheering at the end when they kind of get back at the ex in a way.

If you love light hearted camaraderie, sweet yet steamy romance, a protective man and a woman learning to be strong again, and people you just want to be around then get your hands on Cooper’s Charm.