Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Friday, February 28, 2014

High Heel Series by Gemma Halliday

This block will be over the first six books in the High Heel series.  This mystery series is new to me and I really enjoy the humor.  Several laugh out loud moments when I read the books.

Book 1- Spying in High Heels-267 pages nook version

Book one introduces us to Maddie and her lively crew of family, friends and associates.  Maddie loves shoes and currently designs a children's line.  Unfortunately, her boyfriend is a suspect in two murders.  She knows he is innocent and believes it is up to her to clear his name.  In the process she keeps crossing paths with Ramirez the dangerous homicide detective who would like nothing better than to catch her boyfriend.  The characters are lively each with a distinct personality of their own.  The murder wasn't too easy to figure out until the last quarter of the book.

Book 2-Killer in High Heels-836 pages nook version

Maddie is back and received a call of help from her father who walked out on her and her mom when she was a little girl.  Her new boyfriend Ramirez tells her to let things be, but she is just to curious to know more about the man.  The phone leads to most of the crew ending up in Las Vegas where one twist leads to another.  This story adds in the stalking tabloid boy, mob, murder and knock off shoes.

Book 3- Under Cover in High Heels - 807 pages nook version

Maddie's interference in Ramirez's cases causes him to be demoted to babysitting duty for an actress receiving death threats.  Maddie figures she has to make this right and find out who is sending the threats so Ramirez can get back to homicide.  It doesn't hurt the actress is starring in her favorite television show.  Murder, mayhem and chaos ensue.  Again it is easy to figure out the murder before they are revealed, but the read is worth it.

The next three books were purchased as a set on my nook.  Total pages came to 1,836

Book 4 - Alibi in High Heels

Maddie's career in shoe design is really taking off.  She has become so popular she has been asked to bring her designs to Paris fashion week.  Days before the shoe the top model is murdered with Maddie's stiletto.  Now Maddie is the prime suspect in a murder and has to clear her own name.  Maddie and crew go to travel Europe in order to gets some answers and find the real killer.

Book 5- Mayhem in High Heels

Maddie is planning a small tastteful wedding when she finds her wedding planner dead in Maddie's wedding cake.  Maddie has to get to the bottom of the case before her wedding or she'll be without a groom.

Book 6 - Fearless in High Heels

Great read, finally the murder is a surprise.  Lots of laughs.

Poppy the Purple Turtle by Jennie Cole

Poppy is a purple turtle but she wants to be like all the other turtles.  This is a sweet children's story that shows everyone has something they do not always like about themselves, but by embracing your uniqueness and helping others feel good about themselves you will grow to love yourself.  29 pages nook version

The Gatekeeper's Son by Eva Pohler

The Gatekeeper's Son is a teen love story with Greek gods acting like the Greek gods of mythology.  The twist is we see Hades (aka Gatekeeper) with more understanding traits.  Death is one of his sons and the love interest of our heroine.  The problem is you cannot be with Death without dying and losing the essence of who you are.  Through in some antics by other gods and you have not only human drama but the gods petty dramas.  I enjoyed the book very much and would be fine with the young people in my life reading the story.  302 pages (Nook version)

Star Wars: Vision of the Future by Timothy Zahn

Has Admiral Thrawn returned ten years after his death?  Will the New Republic survive the in-fighting, sabotage, and revelations of collaboration with the Empire? Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Lando Calrissian are back in play as they race to find out just who is causing all the trouble. 520 pages.

"The Bite Before Christmas" by Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost

There are two Christmas-themed stories in this book.  In Lynsay Sands' "The Gift," Teddy Brunswick is spending his holidays alone in a cabin away from the small hometown where he is sheriff.  A lifelong bachelor, Teddy is tired of being the extra at friends' family dinners.  However, a severe winter storm has shut down all the roads as well as the electricity.  So he is surprised to find Katricia Argeneau, the niece of a friend, at his doorstep.  She's in the neighboring cabin, also without power, and they decide to spend their time waiting for the snow plows and utility trucks together sharing food and company.  But Katricia is a very old vampire, and within minutes of meeting Teddy, recognizes him as her long awaited lifemate.  Will she be able to convince the mortal Teddy that they belong together?

The second story by Jeaniene Frost, "Home for the Holidays," takes place in her Night Huntress universe and finds Cat throwing a party in honor of Bones' 245th birthday right before Thanksgiving.  But when a stranger arrives claiming to be Bones' half-brother, Cat is immediately suspicious.  Then when Bones, Spade, Mencheres, Kira, and Annette become extremely enamored of the new vampire, Cat, Ian, and Denise set out to discover how exactly this stranger has enthralled them.

I had not read any of Sands' books before this short story, but I enjoyed it.  Teddy is 62 and thinking about retiring and is embarrassed to find himself smitten with the twenty-some-looking Katricia, but she's actually a very old vampire who is thrilled to find her lifemate after centuries of looking.

I have read Frost's Night Huntress series, and this short story fit right in with the others.  Cat and Bones are a vampire "super couple" in the paranormal romance genre, and to read how he treats her in this tale was a bit shocking.  His half-brother is not only a vampire but also a demon who has put Bones and the others in a trance that may end up causing an overthrow of power in Bones' line of vampires.  His sire, Ian, is on to the stranger and works with Cat to find a way to save their friends.  Cat and Ian's interactions give the story humor as she thinks of him as little more than a vampire gigolo.  There's always lots of action in Frost's stories, and the same is true here.  368 pages (Kindle edition).

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

 This first book in a series by Jacqueline Winspear is set in England in the aftermath of the Great War, known here in the U.S. as WWI.  Maisie Dobbs worked her way up from a lowly servant to a Girton College educated psychologist/detective. Maisie is asked to find out if a businessman's wife is having an affair.  She follows the wife to her weekly assignation-a cemetery where her lover is buried.  Why did the lover kill himself?  Was the burden of being a disfigured war veteran too much to bear?  A good story that left me wanting to know more about Maisie and to follow more of her cases!  294 pages.

"Hollywood & Mine" by K.C. Ford

Jack Hoffman is a reality TV host on a renovation show.  A contractor by trade, he and his brother (who works behind the scenes on the show) are living pretty good lives in L.A., even if Jack does have to hide in the closet to appease the network.  But that may change when he meets the brother of the show's latest featured homeowner.  Cassius has just arrived from Oklahoma after being kicked out of the family by his father.  He's quiet and seems fragile and "princely" to Jack.  He's also a former champion pairs figure skater who was forced to quit at the top of his game.

The author's phrases and descriptions are quite unusual, but I liked the story for the most part.  Cas is a very unique character, and Jack doesn't quite know what to make of him.  The book could have used closer editing, but I enjoyed the main characters and their interactions.  203 pages (Kindle edition).

"Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding" by Marie Sexton

After getting married in "Paris A to Z," Jon and Cole are back in Arizona living near Jon's widowed father, George.  Cole is rich and with Jon as his accountant, their lives are pretty easy; however, Cole wants something he may never have - a baby.  He knows that finding a woman who will give up her child to two men won't be easy, and after nearly a year of waiting he is becoming desperate.  On top of that, George is pushing him to reconcile with his estranged mother.  He tries by inviting her to spend Christmas with them in Germany, but Cole and Jon leave early to fly back to Arizona when they learn that an expectant woman is interested in meeting them.  Will she pick them to adopt her baby?  If not, how much longer will they have to wait?  Will Cole and his mother ever forgive each other enough to have a relationship?

This book is part of the Coda series, and I enjoyed it more than some of the others featuring Jon and Cole.  Cole really grew in this story, letting us see his desperation and despair over wanting something that his money can not buy.  His interactions with his mother are uncomfortable and sad but feel real.  We also get to glimpse his thoughts and self-reprimands in his e-mails to his best friend, Jared, in which he describes his and Jon's journey to find a baby.  He became a much deeper character in this book, and I grew to like him more and more.  140 pages (Kindle edition).

"Accompanied by a Waltz" by Andrew Grey

Jonathon Pfister is a third grade teacher whose idyllic life turned sad and empty when Greg, his partner of 17 years, died of a sudden heart attack.  After nearly two years of mourning and grief, his step-daughter surprises him by renting a small apartment in Vienna for his summer vacation.  She wants him to rejoin the world while she tours Europe before she starts her college semester in France.  He reluctantly goes and soon becomes friends with his landlady's teen son, who acts as a guide to the city.  But when he meets the young man's older brother, Fabian, Jonathon is surprised to find himself the object of Fabian's attention.  Can Jonathon let go of the past and end his mourning for Greg to find happiness again? 

This was a lovely and well written story of grief, attachment, and redemption.  Vienna and its culture are highlighted and help Jonathon see a larger world outside of his sadness.  We also learn about Jonathon's childhood and life before Greg, which were not easy.  I would liked to have learned more about Fabian's past, but I still enjoyed the book.  200 pages (Kindle edition).

Shiver by Karen Robards

(Posted for Diann Stark)

Samantha Jones repossess cars for a living, she is barely making ends meet for her and her son. She goes to get a BMW and finds a man that has been brutally beaten in the trunk, then she is hit in the head and thrown into the trunk with him. She is convinced that he is part of the mob and they are going to be killed. With Samantha’s fast thinking they escape, Samantha forces Daniel to retrieve her young son Tyler before they go into hiding. This is a mystery that has you on your toes. There is a lot of violence and you don’t know for sure who you trust. It all comes together at the end of the book.

Audio book: 10 hours and 13 minutes, 448 pages

Mercy Street by Mariah Stewart

(Posted for Diann Stark)

This is book one of the Mercy Street series. Mallory Russo is a former Conroy, Pennsylvania, policewoman. Russo and newly hired detective Charlie Wanamaker try to find two teens missing after a local playground shooting. The police believe that one or both of the missing kids is the shooter. The minister of the community is billionaire Robert Magellan cousin. He comes to Robert wanting Robert to financially support Russo to investigate the shooting because one the children is the grandson of his secretary at the local church. They end up finding the children and realize there is more to the story than they first believed.

Audio book: 9 hours and 24 minutes, 400 pages

Adam’s Fall by Sandra Brown

(Posted for Diann Stark)

Lilah cannot stand Adam Cavanaugh, her sister's boss, when he has an accident that causes him to have a serious spinal cord injury, Elizabeth asks Lilah to help him. Lilah is an excellent physical therapist, and refuses to help him. But Elizabeth convinces her to try, and when Lilah arrives in Hawaii to work with Adam, the sparks fly! He doesn’t want her there anymore than she wants to be there. But Lilah promised her sister she would help so she was determined to stick it out. As he continues to get better they both realize they are falling for each other.

Audio book: 5 hours and 48 minutes, 208 pages