Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Mini-Reviews | Claws for Alarm; Late for Dinner; Nailed

Claws for Alarm | Late for Dinner | Nailed

Here are mini-reviews of three Four-Kitty cozies that I've read recently. I enjoyed them all very much, and I think you will enjoy reading them also!

Claws for Alarm by Karen MacInerney

A Gray Whale Inn Mystery, #8

The Blurb 

It’s summertime on Cranberry Island, and things are heating up for innkeeper Natalie Barnes. She may be hosting a yoga retreat, but things at the Gray Whale Inn are anything but Zen. Between juggling dietary restrictions and managing flaring tempers, Natalie’s about ready for a retreat of her own… far away from the inn’s fit but finicky guests. 

Unfortunately, there’s no reprieve on the island. The lobster co-op and pier are under threat once again, this time by a new arrival whose vision for Cranberry Island looks more like a spread in Coastal Living than a quaint Maine fishing village. When the instigator turns up dead next to the co-op and the police start fishing for suspects, Natalie’s dear friend Claudette is the one they haul up. 

Will Natalie trap the killer in time? Or will she be next?

The Mini-Review

Claws for Alarm is another fabulous addition to the Gray Whale Inn Mystery series. In this latest visit to Cranberry Island, Natalie is hosting a yoga retreat at the inn. Francine Hodges, a new summer resident from Florida, is making a nuisance of herself, by pointing out all the things on the island that she feels are nuisances by not fitting the island's "image." (In other words, she wants to eliminate everything that attracts tourists to the island — not a popular idea, as you can imagine.)

When a murder occurs, the guests at the inn are suspects, along with some island residents. Natalie helps John, the island's resident deputy (who is also her husband), with his investigation by questioning their guests and some of their neighbors. During her investigation, Natalie develops a solid case against more than one person. The evidence and motive for each person is plausible. Natalie and I weren't sure who to trust, leading to a thrilling climax. 

Claws for Alarm is a fun and quick read, with a great cover, a wonderful setting, engaging characters, and twisty mysteries to solve. I really enjoyed it, and I think you will too. Highly recommended!

Four out of Five Kitties

(Note: I received a complimentary copy of Claws for Alarm in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.)


Late for Dinner by M.K. Scott

A Senior Sleuths Mystery, #1

The Blurb 

Marcy Collins proved her investigative skills in the field time and time again, but after an accident leaves her disabled, she’s forced into early retirement in a senior convalescent center. Although her mind and body may not be what they used to be, her steadfast determination to fight crime and advocate for victims continues. 

When her well-meaning former partner is assigned with helping to keep her mind agile, he unknowingly inspires her to search for clues in a long-forgotten cold case. Before he knows what’s happening, Marcy assembles a team of sharp-eyed, witty, and often cantankerous senior sleuths to bring a criminal to justice and help her regain some of what she thought she’d lost for good. 

Follow the former detective and her team of unconventional sleuths as they dig through the clues and wind their way down a treacherous path of deception, tomfoolery, and murder!

The Mini-Review

4 1/2 ⭐s! I truly delighted in this one. Late for Dinner is not only the first book in the Senior Sleuths series by M.K. Scott, it is a spin-off from another series by Scott. Four characters in Late for Dinner — Herman, Gus, Jake, and Eunice — make their print debut in the fantastic Painted Lady Inn Mysteries. Because I enjoyed them a great deal in Scott's first series, I was excited to find them featured in Late for Dinner.

[A little backstory: The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries are about a North Carolina Victorian Bed and Breakfast (with an alarmingly high murder rate!) and innkeeper Donna. Herman, Donna's only friendly neighbor, appears in Books 1-5; at the end of Book 5, he moves to Indiana to live in a retirement center with his army buddies Gus and Jake. Eunice is a pushy, nosy guest in Book 2. In Book 7 Herman, accompanied by Gus and Jake, returns to the inn to officiate as Justice of the Peace at Donna's wedding; Eunice stows away in their car, thus becoming a pushy, nosy wedding guest.]

In Late for Dinner, Herman, Gus, and Jake, now at the Indiana retirement center, team up with ex-Vegas showgirl Lola to help former detective Marcy solve a cold case. They call themselves the Way Over the Hill Gang. They don't let their age or infirmities stop them from solving their case — two cases, in fact. It's fun to see the gang sleuthing, and sneaking out of the home so they can go sleuthing — and even more fun to see how they sneak around to keep the pushy, nosy Eunice from sleuthing with them. 

Late for Dinner captured my interest right away, with its unusual setting, relatable and realistic characters, and humorous banter. I absolutely love the ending. It's very cozy, and makes me eager to read the next Senior Sleuth mystery! This is definitely a series I will continue.

Four out of Five Kitties

Note: I received a complimentary copy of Late for Dinner in exchange for my voluntary honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.


Nailed by Avery Daniels

A Resort to Murder Mystery, #2

The Blurb 

Julienne is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will.

Julienne LaMere gets to attend a Resort Management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado Mountains. What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard.

In addition to attending the conference, dodging a smitten teen boy, and seeking clues among the gossiping — and increasingly tense — guests, her best friend’s heart has warmed to an unlikely man and may get broken. As if her mind isn’t already fully occupied, Julienne and her new boyfriend Mason are skiing down troubled slopes in their relationship. Will Julienne put the scant clues together and unveil the culprit before a murderer gets away?

The Mini-Review

Nailed is a fun, exciting follow-up to Iced. The main character in both books of the Resort to Murder Mystery series is Julienne LaMere, a resort management trainee. Nailed can be read as a standalone; you'll just be missing some backstory on Julie's ex-boyfriend Brandon and absentee boyfriend Mason. 

I really like Julienne. She's relatable and easy to root for. The relationship between Julie and her BFF Porsche is well-written, and wonderful to read about. The supporting characters (especially Julie's "Baker Street Irregulars") are engaging and believable.

Julie's skill at getting people to talk and her natural curiosity (which she used in Iced) are put to good use in Nailed by the detective investigating the murder of Kara Caine. Det Larson asks Julie to assist the inquiries as an unofficial "quasi-confidential informant and a kinda-consultant." I enjoyed watching Julie sleuth and come up with several plausible suspects for Larson to investigate. 

The fast-moving plot made sense, and drew me in from the start. The detailed descriptions of the blizzard made me feel like I was there in Vail with Julie and Porsche. Author Avery Daniels kept me guessing until the end. I am looking forward to the next Resort to Murder Mystery, Spiked. I'm eager to learn what happens with Julie and a certain someone.

Four out of Five Kitties

Note: I received a complimentary copy of Nailed in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

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