I’m a lover of books and my choices are eclectic, depending upon my mood. I like a well-written story with action and thrills as well as those lighter stories with laughter and food–yes, even chocolate. Every now and then, I put together my list of entertaining books that I thoroughly enjoyed—some authors I sampled for the first time while others are like old friends.
If Dark Chocolate Demise, by Jenn McKinlay, doesn’t have you reaching for a delicious cupcake, then your snack-o-meter must be on the fritz! Scottsdale, Arizona is doing its first “Annual Zombia Walk” and the Fairy-Tale Cupcakes crew, including baker, Melanie Cooper and business partner/best friend, Angie DeLaura are enthusiastically joining in the fun, providing the fancy cupcakes and a real coffin. But the fun becomes a nightmare when a real body, looking like one of their own, is discovered in the coffin. With the love-of-her-life, Joe DeLaura, staying away while prosecuting a high-profile Mafia boss, the realities of a Mafia boss’s revenge could be the real-deal. While Joe orders his numerous brothers to keep Mel safe, she charges ahead by baking her fairy Tale Cupcakes for her shop. With so much happening, Mel strives to ignore her numerous cupcake-eating-body-guards, does her best to de-stress and attempts to untangle her mixed-up love-life. Helped along by goodies like Dark Chocolate Demise, Marshmallow Mummies and Vanilla Eyeballs, Mel, Angie and her loyal crew eventually find the killer Zombie and their happy ending. This is my first Jenna McKinlay mystery but definitely not my last. Besides enjoying every cupcake crumb and calories, this cosy has a solid story, surprise twist and very likeable characters. Dark Chocolate Demise has the added bonus of some mouth-watering recipes to bake and nibble while enjoying this light-hearted read.
Nicola Furlong’s book Heartsong, is the first of the Sisterhood of Shepherds series chronicling the friendships, lives. loves and struggles of sisters Faith, Hope and Charly Shepherd. Heartsong is Charly’s story of rebuilding the family nursery after a devastating storm wreaked its havoc on all the young stock. Fiercely independent, Charly must learn to accept help, even if it’s from her well-meaning, brown-thumbed brother-in-law who has yet to find his niche in early retirement. In the midst of the ups and downs of running a family nursery, the Shepherd patriarch reveals he has a secret—a promise made decades ago that he wants to fulfill before he dies. Nicola has written an inspirational tale that shows family is everything; love, loyalty and honour are unbreakable bonds. It is also a story of heartache, redemption, faith and new discoveries including the destiny of the Shepherd sisters on “Project Heartsong.” Besides being a well-known Canadian writer who loves chocolate, Nicola is also an avid gardener who knows her plants. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, especially if it contains another fabulous recipe like “Charly Shepherd’s Chunky Chocolate Cookies.”
Top Secret Twenty-One, by Janet Evanovich, has bounty hiunter, Stephanie Plum not only bringing back felons who skipped their court dates but is acting as mysterious Ranger’s assistant in hunting down an elusive and deadly Russian assassin. Both cases overlaps with Steph’s other assignments and her boyfriend, Joe Morelli’s latest homicides. Somehow stuck with annoying Randy Briggs, the Trenton Hospital’s midget security guard, our fave bounty hunter dodges bullets, bombs and a pack of homeless Chihuahuas. While coping with all this, Stephanie muddles through Grandma Mazur’s bucket list which includes Joe’s scary Grandma Bella and a specific part of Ranger’s anatomy. Managing to escape the clutches of a killer. our fearless bounty hunter brings her felon to justice. But best of all, she gets to experience Morelli’s secret bucket list involving an egg-timer, a spoon and marshmallow fluff. Grab your copy of Top Secret Twenty One, a great any-time, light-hearted tale with plenty of laughter.
If you want something more with action, thrills and guaranteed to keep you reading through the night, then these stories will keep you turning the pages.
The Kill Switch by James Rollins, co-authored with Grant Blackwood, is the long awaited novel featuring Tucker Wayne and his loyal canine partner, Kane. Captain Wayne and his military dog, Kane, have been involved in Sigma Force assignments before but this is their first solo adventure showcasing the intelligence, abilities and stalwart teamwork of a military dog and his human partner. Completing one assignment of successfully protecting a Russian industrialist’s life,Tucker and Kane are assigned another task of bringing an arrogant Russian scientist, Abram Bukulov, back to America as quickly as possible. But no matter where they go, someone is betraying their whereabouts and they are relentlessly hunted by a team of deadly assassins, controlled by a mysterious Russian general bent on revenge and power. The Kill Switch is a heart-pounding thriller as on lyJames Rollins and Grant Blackwood can create—writing with real-time knowledge, up-to-date research plus a deep understanding of world politics and power. If you start this book, be sure you have no appointments or social engagements to interfere with a darn good story about a man, his almost human dog, a travelogue of lesser-known places they traverse and the evil people lurking behind public faces.
Don Easton is a former RCMP undercover operative who knows the criminal world extremely well. The Benefactor begins with the apparent accidental traffic death of a 75-year old woman until a closer look at the car links it to an organized Asian crime syndicate.. Undercover operative, Jack Taggart and his partner Laura Secord, once again dives into the gritty Vancouver criminal underworld—only this time, they uncover how extensive Chinese spies have set their tentacles uncovering both industrial secrets as well as the complex world of computer hacking of highly classified government files. Easton’s books have always been realistically entertaining as his characters are believable and the scenarios are right out of today’s headlines. He definitely knows his topics and has clearly lived through some of the hair-raising episodes. For exciting escapism and a darn good read, grab your copy of The Benefactor today.
Rick Molina is another writer who can take today’s headlines and build a credible story—Full Tilt is such a story. A young woman, burned beyond recognition and desperate to escape from whoever confined her, manages to gasp, “There are others” before she dies. A search of the area where the fire began leads to the discovery of another body and a pendant, battered and charred but recognizable as a guardian angel. Years ago, Kate Page and her little sister were each given a guardian angel pendant by their Mom. A devastating car accident plunges the car they were in into the river where 7-year old Kate desperately tried to hold onto her 4-year old sister’s hand, but the pull of the currents was too strong for young Kate and Vanessa was swept away.. Years later, a police enquiry about the angel pendant renews hope that somehow Vanessa survived. Now a leading journalist and single Mom to a young daughter, Kate begins an investigation of her own, wanting to believe that her sister is still alive. Readers are shown two sides of the story—the pain-staking and often heart-breaking police investigation as well as the traumatic ordeal of a sister, searching for her missing sib. It is an unbelievably sick psychotic who can patiently stalk and capture young women for his collection and enjoyment. It takes a certain calibre of writing to make this story believable and scary without sensationalizing it. This is my first Rick Molina and it won’t be my last, but you will definitely want to keep a close eye on your daughters. . . .
Jayne Ann Krenz’s, story Trust No One is an entertaining, fast-read on a genre Krenz does best—mystery suspense with a big dollop of romance. When Grace Elland finds her dream niche of creative marketing and blogging on social medias for her boss, motivational guru. Sprague Witherspoon, she puts her past behind her. But it all comes roaring back when she finds her boss’s dead body and a vodka bottle near him. Her recurring nightmare returns with a vengeance and being on the suspect list has Grace fleeing back to her lakeside childhood home for some peace and tranquillity. Instead she begins receiving email from her dead boss. Being an optimistic person by nature, she endures an uncomfortable blind date with her neighbour, a rich, pessimistic venture capitalist, Julius Arkwright, whop begins to realize something is troubling Grace. Threatened and stalked by someone, Grace turns to Julius for help. Now united as a team after a botched mugging, the pair make a list of potential suspects. With Julius’s mantras”Trust no one” and “Everyone has a personal agenda,” Grace stumbles onto the truth the same time Julius realizes who is behind everything. Jayne Ann Krenz doesn’t disappoint. Trust No One is a suspenseful read with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end.
Okay—that’s my list of entertaining books by writers who know how to grab your attention and hold it captive. Let me know how you like these.