Reviews of Great and Not so Great Books.



Educator in rural NC.

Review: PERIL IN THE PARK by Barbara Venkataraman


Barbara Venkataraman

Genre:  Mystery
Series:  Jamie Quinn Mystery (Book 3)
Publisher: Self Published (June 3, 2013)
Sold by:  Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language:  English

Received for an honest review.

Book Description from Amazon:

There’s big trouble in the park system. Someone is making life difficult for Jamie Quinn’s boyfriend, Kip Simons, the new director of Broward County parks. Was it the angry supervisor passed over for promotion? The disgruntled employee Kip recently fired? Or someone with a bigger ax to grind? If Jamie can’t figure it out soon, she may be looking for a new boyfriend because there’s a dead guy in the park and Kip has gone missing! With the help of her favorite P.I., Duke Broussard, Jamie must race the clock to find Kip before it’s too late.

A preview of the next Jamie Quinn Mystery, “Engaged in Danger,” can be found at the end of the book.

My Thoughts:

PERIL IN THE PARK is the third book in the fantastic Jamie Quinn series.  I have loved the Jamie Quinn books and hope that Venkararaman continues to add to the series for years to come.  I suggest that the books be read in order to fully grasp the plot and character development.

In PERIL IN THE PARK, Jamie is developing a romantic relationship with the new park director, Kip Simons.  Kip and Jamie were romantic as teens and had lost touch with each other.  Soon after Kip assumes his new position, he runs into Jamie and their romance is rekindled.  Kip is having trouble with vandalism at the park and suspects employees who are upset by being passed over for the director’s position.  Jamie gets involved in the investigation of the vandalism due to her concern for Kip.  When a private investigator dies at one of the park’s events, Jamie calls in her own P.I. and friend, Duke Broussard to investigate.  The investigation is intriguing and the situation becomes very suspenseful when Kip becomes missing.  Jamie and Duke are frantic to find Kip and they find out more than they bargained for.

I love the characters in the Jamie Quinn series.  They are realistic and believable.  It’s easy to identify with Jamie and get drawn into the stories.  In PERIL IN THE PARK, Jamie is still unraveling her family history.  She has found her long, lost father and is trying to establish a relationship with him and his wife.  P.I., Duke Broussard, brings wit and charm to the series.  Duke has his own past to repair, as well.

PERIL IN THE PARK is a quick, suspenseful read with wonderful characters.  I would recommend the Jamie Quinn series to anyone who is a lover of mystery.  The series leans more toward cozy mystery and is very enjoyable.  I can’t wait to find out what Jamie gets involved in next.  There’s a preview to the fourth book in the series at the end of PERILS IN THE PARK.  The title of the fourth book is, ENGAGED IN DANGER.  Is an engagement in the works for Jamie?  I hope to find out soon!

Rating:  4.5

Heat Rating:  Mild

Reviewed by: Molly Waters, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More




Genre: Mystery/Romance (Holiday)

Source: Received for an honest review.


  • Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
  • Published Date:  November 21, 2014
  • Language: English
  • Sold by:  Amazon Digital Services, Inc.


          BOOK DESCRIPTION (From Amazon)

Dickens’ Days – an annual event of Victorian decorations and dress, caroling, roasted chestnuts, and this year, murder. The tyrannical Days Coordinator stops at nothing to fulfill his goals. Until death halts him in his tracks.

Katie Sheridan’s best friend Ginger and Ginger’s mother top the suspect list when the victim is found outside their home. The weapon? A potpourri of toxic holiday decorations. No one railroads her friends, so Katie begins snooping.

Detective Dirk Johnson believes keeping Katie safe is difficult even when he’s at her side, but breaks up with her to keep the lead investigator position. He must solve the case within days or turn the file over to a detective with less experience and a direct connection with the mayor. Will small-town politics allow a killer to go free or will Katie and Dirk find a Christmas miracle?


DICKENS OF A DEATH by Ashantay Peters is a perfect holiday story for any lover of mystery and romance.  As a native North Carolinian, I fell in love with the setting of the story as the fictitious mountain town of Granville Falls, North Carolina.    DICKENS OF A DEATH is Peters second holiday mystery featuring Granville Falls.  Both books have the same characters, but may be read as stand alone novels.

I enjoyed everything about DICKENS OF A DEATH.  In addition to the fantastic setting, it had an intriguing plot.  Christmas in Granville Falls includes a traditional holiday home tour called “Dickens’ Days.”  Visitors may tour historical homes and locations around town and the tour guides and hostesses are dressed in period costumes.  The organizer of “Dickens’ Days” is quite overbearing for the other volunteers involved.  He manages to annoy many people around town and soon becomes a murder victim.  Our heroine, Katie Sheridan, her best friend Maggie, and Maggie’s mother, are at the top of the suspect list.  Katie works with her hunky cop boyfriend, Dirk, to clear their names and find the real killer.

Yashantay Peters created very realistic main characters in DICKENS OF A DEATH.  Katie and best friend Maggie, have the type of long-standing friendship everyone wants.  They would do anything for each other and support each other unfailingly.  Katie’s boyfriend, Dirk, is a handsome police officer and there are several steamy scenes between the two.  I hope that Peters continues writing holiday mysteries featuring these characters.  I would love to see how the romance between Katie and Dirk progresses.  Also, I would like to see what Katie and Maggie get involved in next.  At the end of DICKENS OF A DEATH, Katie vows to be out of town for the next annual ‘Dickens Days.”  She and Dirk are planning a ski trip.  Maybe a ski lodge murder mystery is in the works for next year!

Rating: 4.5

Heat Rating: Hot

Reviewed by: Molly Waters, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More




Barbara Venkataraman

Genre: Mystery

Series: Jamie Quinn Mystery (Book 2)

Source: Received for an honest review.


  • Series:  Jamie Quinn Mystery (Book 1)
  • Publisher: Self Published (2014)
  • Sold by:  Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language:  English


*From Amazon*

Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, has returned to her family law practice after a hiatus due to the death of her mother. It’s business as usual until a bitter divorce case turns into a murder investigation, and Jamie’s client becomes the prime suspect. When she can’t untangle truth from lies, Jamie enlists the help of Duke Broussard, her favorite private investigator, to try to clear her client’s name. And she’s hoping that, in his spare time, he can help her find her long-lost father.

A preview of the next Jamie Quinn mystery, “Peril in the Park,” can be found at the end of the book.


“The Case of the Killer Divorce” by Barbara Venkataraman is Book 2 in her Jamie Quinn series.  I enjoyed this second book as much as the first.  It’s a quick read and I found it hard to put down.  After getting to know Jamie in Book 1, I was eager to find out what develops in Book 2.  I was thrilled to discover that not only is Jamie involved in a murder mystery, but she is also discovering her heritage and experiencing a little romance!

“The Case of the Killer Divorce” has all the familiar characters we were treated to in Book 1.  The story continues from where “Death by Didgeridoo” left off.  Jamie has gone back to work as a lawyer after taking some time off due to the death of her mother.  She barely has time to get back into the working grind, when one her clients is accused of murdering her ex-husband.  As Jamie is working hard to clear her client, she is also reeling with the disclosure of the identity of her father which her mother had kept secret.  A sprinkle of romance is interwoven into the plot and this story is definitely difficult to put down.

The Jamie Quinn series by Venkataraman is refreshing to read.  Mystery with a little humor and romance makes a yummy combination.  I can’t wait to read Book 3 and I hope that Venkataraman is able to continue this series for a long time.

Rating: 4

Heat Rating: Sweet

Reviewed by: Molly Waters, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

DANGEROUS SECRET [The Pinnacles of Power Prequel] by Jessica Lauryn

DANGEROUS SECRET [The Pinnacles of Power Prequel]

Jessica Lauryn

Publisher:  Siren Publishing

Published date:  July 3, 2014


Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense

Source: Received for a honest review.


Book Description from Amazon

Abigail MacKenzie has been trying to put her father’s tragic death behind her.  But when a handsome stranger produces a random clue about her father’s shooting, hopes of finding her father’s killer come flooding back to the surface.  Abigail is determined to get justice for her dad, even if it means learning the secret of a man with eyes that cut straight through the wall around her heart. After making a mysterious discovery that costs him his job, Ryan Newberry is happy to accept any position he can get.  But when he realizes that one of the employees who’ll be working under him at the Washington Valley Hotel is Abigail MacKenzie, the sweet girl he met weeks before, he fears the past might be in danger of repeating itself.  Ryan only hopes that his desires for his new front desk associate won’t lead both of them down a path of danger from which he won’t be able to protect them.

My Thoughts

This is a great romantic suspense with just the right amount of romance and suspense.  At first, I was a little disappointed that the characters were so young.  (College and Graduate age.)  I tend to read books with characters closer to my own age.  This disappointment soon disappeared as I was drawn into the story and I found that I could identify with these younger characters and their experiences.

Best friends Abigail and Julia have summer jobs as desk clerks at the Washington Valley Hotel.  Their boss is a handsome medical student, Ryan Newberry.  Although dating is against the rules for co-workers, Abigail and Ryan manage to become involved.  Abigail is haunted by the murder of her father when she was a young teen.  Her father was a hotel manager and Abigail’s new summer position brings the memories flooding back.  Her father’s murder was never solved and Abigail is determined to solve the mystery.    When several people at the hotel are murdered, Abigail links the new murders to her father’s murder.  She also links her new love interest, Ryan, to all the murders.  Abigail puts herself in danger as she uncovers more and more of the truth.

I enjoyed this book very much.  I wasn’t familiar with the writing of Jessica Lauryn.  Since this book is a prequel to her Pinnacles of Power series, I will definitely be reading more books by Ms. Lauryn.  (There are four books in the series including this prequel.)


Rating: 4 1/2

Heat Rating:  Hot

Reviewed by: Molly Waters

Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More




Publisher:  Smashwords

Published date:  Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN 13: 9781310880230

Genre: Spiritual, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Received for a honest review

Book Description from Amazon

Gabriel, the Archangel and Messenger of God – yeah that Gabriel, visited Mary Miller. He told her, as the key she is destined to spread the Light and vanquish the Darkness. Her first assignment is to restore the soul the Walking Man. Sounds simple enough until she’s thrown in the face of evil, and then Joe Deacons enters her heart. This battle just got a lot more complicated. She must complete her mission without losing all she loves.

My Thoughts

This was an action packed, spiritual, paranormal book.  Mary Miller has been chosen to spread the Light and restore the soul of a homeless man known as, “Walking Man.”  She is under the guidance of Gabirel, the Archangel who is God’s messenger.  As Mary follows Gabriel’s directions, she discovers powers within herself to fight the Prince of Darkness.  The spiritual battles between the Prince of Darkness and Mary are amazing and suspenseful.

Mary’s task of spreading Light is difficult.  As a further complication, Mary becomes involved romantically with Joe Deacons.  Joe falls in love at the first sight of Mary and instantly sets about sweeping her off her feet.  The two become inseparable and Joe helps Mary with her mission.  The suspense builds as the battles between the Prince of Darkness and Mary become more intense.  Mary and Joe are at risk of losing everything – including their lives.

I enjoyed reading this book.  The message of light vs dark was powerful.  I usually don’t read paranormal books, but found the spiritual component in this one very interesting.  Anyone who loves stories about angels and God’s messages will love this book.  Part of the proceeds of Princess of the Light will go to food banks.


Rating: 4

Heat Rating:  Mild

Reviewed by: Molly Waters

Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

REVIEW: DEATH BY DIDGERIDOO by Barbara Venkataraman




Genre: Mystery

Series: Jamie Quinn Mystery (Book 1)

Source: Received for an honest review.


  • Series: Jamie Quinn Mystery (Book 1)
  • Publisher: Self Published, Nov. 22, 2013
  • Language: English


*From Amazon*

Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It’s up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it’s too late. It doesn’t help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn’t commit.


Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman is a tasty little mystery that hits the spot.  With just a little over 100 pages, this quick read is full of everything a mystery lover wants in a light, little story.  The characters are well developed and the mystery will keep you guessing until the end.  Although Death by Didgeridoo is the first book in Venkataraman’s Jamie Quinn series, it is not necessary to read the books in order.

Jamie Quinn is a character that is quickly likable and easy to identify with.  She is still reeling from the death of her mother, when her cousin calls in desperation over the arrest of her son as a murder suspect.  It seems that Jamie is the “go-to” lawyer in the Quinn family, no matter what field of law is needed.  Jamie is sure her type of lawyer skills are not what cousin Adam needs, but she can’t say no to family.  Proving Adam’s innocence in the murder of his music teacher is a daunting task.  Adam has Asperger’s Syndrome and has admitted guilt due to his skewed communication skills.

Death by Didgeridoo is a light mystery.  Sometimes it’s nice to break away from intense suspense of a bloody murder mystery.  I really enjoyed reading this book and will most certainly look forward to the others in the Jamie Quinn series.

Rating: 4

Heat Rating:  Mild

Reviewed by: Molly Waters, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More



ELECTIVE PROCEDURES                                            



Publisher:  Oceanview Publishing

Publishing Date:  July 15, 2014

Genre: Suspense

Source:  Received for an honest review.

ISBN-10:  1608091163

ISBN-13:  978-1608091164



 Elle Harrison is back! She and her pals Jen, Becky, and Susan travel to Mexico where Jen has arranged cosmetic surgery, after which she will recover in a plush hotel suite. But more is going on at the hotel than tummy tucks. Soon after they arrive, Elle sees the woman in the suite next door fall from her sixth floor balcony. When the room is later occupied by another patient, Elle finds her brutally mutilated body on that same balcony. Police question Elle as the last person to see these women alive. Their doctor also takes an interest in Elle; a woman staying at the hotel asks Elle to help her fend off a creepy stalker; a veiled woman sneaks into Elle’s suite at night, and her late husband, Charlie, reappears (or Elle imagines that he does) when Elle gets pushed under water in the ocean and nearly drowns. As dangers swirl and intensify, Elle is forced to face her unresolved issues with Charlie, even as she races to find the connections between killings before more patients-including Jen-can be murdered. And before she herself becomes prey.


 ELECTIVE PROCEDURES by Merry Jones is a great suspenseful novel that I couldn’t put down.  It’s book 2 in the Elle Harrison series, but can be read as a stand alone.   It follows THE TROUBLE WITH CHARLIE which was highly rated in reviews.

In Elective Procedures, Elle Harrison is grieving for her deceased husband.  In an effort to cheer her up, her friend, Becky, drags her into a fortune teller’s shop and insists that they have their fortunes read.  Both friends are told they will soon meet the loves of their lives while traveling.  Elle, however, is also given ominous warnings of death and danger.  She doesn’t take the fortune teller’s warnings seriously until she and Becky are invited to accompany their friend, Jen, to Mexico where Jen is scheduled for several plastic surgery procedures.   There, the friends find that all the fortune teller’s predictions are coming true — the romantic predictions AND the ominous predictions.  Suspense builds as Elle becomes involved romantically with Jen’s surgeon.  Some of the doctor’s patients are horrifically murdered and Elle, herself, experiences a couple of “accidents” that makes it clear she is the next target.

Elective Procedures is full of unexpected, chilling, suspenseful developments that kept me turning the pages.  I can hardly wait for the next book in the Elle Harrison series.

RATING:  4.5


REVIEWED BY: Molly Waters


REVIEW: CHASING CHARLIE by Kathy Carmichael (The Texas Two-Step Series, Book 1)





Publisher:  ePublishing Works!

Published date:  January 19, 2014

  • ASIN: B00CFXOY48

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Source: Received for a honest review

Book Description (from Amazon)

Raised in a family of rodeo champions on a South Texas cattle ranch, Charlie wants only one thing: to avoid thrill-seeking cowboys.

Davis Murphy, cowboy wannabe and one of Dallas’s most eligible bachelors, needs a pretty and witty faux fiancée so his widowed mother will marry her longtime gentleman friend.

Charlie, his local librarian, seems the prefect choice.

Charlie’s first reaction is to run, but she’s promised herself to step out of her plain-jane routine.

When Charlie accepts, Davis’s plan is set. But now Charlie’s sweet ways are challenging his bachelor heart.

THE TEXAS TWO-STEP, in series order
Chasing Charlie
Country Courtship
Courting Trouble
My Southern Bride
Western Pleasure

Stop by the main site today for a giveaway


My Thoughts

CHASING CHARLIE by Kathy Carmichael is a perfectly light, refreshing read for summer.  It’s great for an afternoon of reading on the beach or by the pool.  I really enjoyed this fun, charming romance about Charlie and Davis.  Charlie is a librarian in a Texas town who has fallen into a routine and is bored with the men she dates.  She has practically resigned herself to settling into a “librarian” lifestyle.  Her roommate advises her to step outside the box and live a little larger.  Charlie accepts the advice and starts living larger with the purchase of a shape hugging, red dress that is very atypical for a librarian.  The dress transforms Charlie into a knock-out and draws the attention of her most handsome library patron, Davis.

 Davis, an accomplished businessman, frequents the library to research cowboys and ranching.  He’s ready to allow someone else to manage the family business so that he can pursue his dream of becoming a cowboy.  Also, Davis would love for his widowed mother to accept the marriage proposal from her long-time companion who will be leaving the country soon.  He knows his mother will never agree to the proposal and leave the country until she sees that Davis is settled.  Davis devises a plan to find a temporary fiance’ to show his mother that he is settled so that she can pursue her happiness.  When Davis spots Charlie in the red dress, he knows she will be perfect for his scheme.

Charlie reluctantly agrees to Davis’s plan and the two embark on a humorously staged romance that quickly becomes not such a farce after all!  Problems abound, however, with Davis’s reputation as a handsome, little-black-book owning, bachelor.  Also, Charlie has a very strong dislike of cowboys.  Throw Charlie’s two over-protective brothers into the mix, and the combination makes a very good story.

CHASING CHARLIE is the first book I’ve ready by Kathy Carmichael and it definitely won’t be the last.  Luckily, this is only the first of her Texas Two-Step Series.  I’m looking forward to more delightfully refreshing romantic reads by Carmichael.

Rating: 4.5

Heat Rating:  Sweet

Reviewed by: Molly Waters

Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More


The Circle Eight: Caleb by Emma Lang



Publisher:  Beth Williamson 

Published date: February 6, 2013


Genre: Historical Western Romance

Source: Received for a honest review


Book Description (from amazon)

A Texas Ranger, a lady blacksmith, a fierce passion, a dangerous game.

Caleb Graham has spent the last four years in too many dangerous situations to count. As a Texas Ranger, he knows no fear, or at least he never shows it. When he’s sent to force a blacksmith off government seized property, he runs face to face into the woman who will change his life.

Aurora Foster grew up on the very land the obnoxious Ranger is trying to throw her off of. Her parents and her husband died for it and there is no chance she would leave without a fight. A lady blacksmith might be an anomaly but she has the strength of the steel she forges and the courage to fight for what she believes is right.

When Aurora is inadvertently injured by Caleb, he seeks medical help from a neighboring ranch. The sprawling hacienda is full of the finer things in life and the one person Caleb never expected to see again… his youngest brother Benjamin. Forced to flee from a man who has kept the boy captive, the trio become traveling companions in a deadly game where no one wins.

Life turns upside down and sideways for Caleb and Aurora, caught in a game neither of them expected while they desperately try to save the boy who was lost to his family. Pursued and hunted, the three of them ride for the Circle Eight ranch. The unlikely pair of rescuers fight their attraction and for their lives.

My Thoughts

Texas Ranger Caleb Graham has the assignment of evicting a blacksmith from government property.  Soon after meeting Rory Foster, Caleb realizes that this blacksmith is a woman.  Aurora, (Rory), has no intention of being evicted and insists the land is her birthright.  Caleb has quite a battle on his hands as he is determined to carry out his assignment and Aurora is determined to keep her land.  Through no fault of Caleb’s, the lady blacksmith becomes injured.  The injury is severe enough to need medical attention and Caleb transports Aurora to a neighboring ranch that has a doctor on staff.  While Aurora’s wound is being treated, Caleb discovers that his kidnapped younger brother, Benjamin, is being held at this ranch.  Caleb, Aurora, and Benjamin are a trio that must make an escape.  It’s Caleb’s intentions to return to his family’s home with Aurora and Benjamin.  As the kidnapper and his posse are in pursuit, the trio ride for their lives toward The Circle Eight Ranch.

CALEB is the third of five in THE CIRCLE EIGHT series.  Each book can be read as a stand alone novel, which is how I read CALEB.  This is a self-published book by Beth Williamson writing as Emma Lang.  I thoroughly enjoyed THE CIRCLE EIGHT: CALEB.  I loved the character Aurora.  She is a tough western woman with a sassy mouth.  Her manner of speech shocks Caleb, who is not accustomed to women talking and behaving the way Aurora does.  Aurora loves being a blacksmith.  As an only child, she was taught by her father and is very proud of her craft.  She fights Caleb like a wildcat to hang onto her land and continue being a blacksmith.  Caleb sympathizes with Aurora, however, there is nothing he can do about helping her keep her land.  Prior to 1840, women could not be legal landowners in the state of Texas.  As a ranger, Caleb must uphold the law.

Caleb is a great match for Aurora.  Although, there’s little time for romance while being chased by an angry kidnapper, the two fall in love.  Caleb was raised in a large family and is dedicated to them.  He was astonished to find his missing brother and is eager to return him to The Circle Eight Ranch.  Managing to escape and travel toward home is a venture Caleb wouldn’t have been able to undertake without the strength and bravery of Aurora.  The venture is made even more suspenseful with the sparks of romance between the two.

I found THE CIRCLE EIGHT:  CALEB to be a very enjoyable western romance.  It was hard to put down.  There are several twists and turns and the characters are wonderful.  There is more action than romance in this novel, however, the romance is quite spicy!

Rating: 4

Heat Rating: HOT

Reviewed by: Molly Waters

Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More


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