Friday, July 19, 2013

DOLLED UP TO DIE, by Lorena McCourtney

 If you were a detective, what would you do if you responded to a frantic call about a shooting and found the "victims" were dolls? Then what if, in investigating that mystery, a real dead body is discovered?
 Assistant PI Cate Kincaid decides to jump in and help her client solve the crime, even though Cate's supposed to confine her investigations to straying husbands and fraudulent insurance claims. Dolled Up to Die is a light-hearted mystery with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the final pages.
 McCourtney skillfully weaves several storylines into the plot, which adds to the fun. Dolled Up to Die follows the first book in the Cate Kincaid series, Dying to Read. However, it’s not necessary to read the first one in order to enjoy Dolled Up to Die. If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries, this one's for you.

 My thanks to the author and Revell for providing my review copy.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

SMALL TOWN GIRL, by Ann H. Gabhart

 Thankfully, Ann Gabhart wasn't ready to leave Rosey Corner, Kentucky, when she finished writing Angel Sister. Her latest novel, Small Town Girl, brings readers the story of Kate Merritt, the "angel sister" from the first book.
 The story opens with Kate helping her older sister dress for her wedding. One little problem--her sister is marrying the man Kate has been secretly in love with since she was fifteen. At the wedding, Kate meets the groom's best friend, a charmer named Jay Tanner. Jay notices Kate's expression when she looks at her sister's new husband and sets out to make her smile.
 Jay's charm works its way into Kate's heart, but she knows he's a rolling stone and doesn't trust him to remain in Rosey Corner. Since the novel is set in late 1941, the shadow of another world war hangs over the community, adding depth to the story.
 Whether Kate and Jay could resolve the issues that separate them kept me turning pages past my bedtime. Gabhart does a masterful job in bringing Rosey Corner and its inhabitants to life. As a small town girl, I found myself nodding in recognition at the behavior of some of her characters.
 Many of the characters from Angel Sister appear in Small Town Girl, a real bonus for readers like me who came to love the Merritt family in the first book. Small Town Girl is a delightful novel. I'm pleased to recommend it as a great summer read--or a fall or winter read, for that matter.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story.
 My thanks to the author and Revell for providing my review copy.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Sarah Marshall didn't want to leave the bustling city of Chicago to accompany her aunt and uncle over the Santa Fe Trail to the New Mexico Territory. She had close friends in Chicago, and loved the comforts of city life. But her uncle insisted she come along to care for her ailing aunt. Since they'd taken Sarah in when her parents died, he claimed she owed him obedience. Sarah's intention was to travel with them as far as Kansas City, where other family members planned to join them on the trek. Then she'd return to Chicago.
 Ethan Harper's family operates Harpers' Stage Stop, a waypoint on the Santa Fe Trail. Ethan carries a burden of guilt for his part in the death of his older brother's wife, so has made it his mission to find his brother a replacement wife.
 When several unfortunate occurrences strand Sarah and her aunt at Harpers' Stage Stop, Sarah is consumed with plans to find a means to return to Chicago. For his part, Ethan sees Sarah as a good match for his widower brother.
 McDonough has done a wonderful job of handling a cast of varied characters, making each one unique and likeable. While reading this book I felt I knew the Harper family. In Whispers on the Prairie, descriptions of the stage stop, the prairie landscape, and the Trail were perfectly done. The reader feels part of the story every step of the way.
 Whispers on the Prairie is "prairie romance" at its best! I hated to see this story end, but thankfully this is the first book in the Pioneer Promises series, so I look forward to reading more about the Harper family in Books 2 and 3, releasing in 2014.
 My thanks to the author and Whitaker House for providing my review copy.