‘Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow’ by Jessica Townsend is a suspenseful sequel in middle grade series

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“Wundersmith: The Calling of Morigan Crow” is the sequel to the first book in the “Nevermoor” series, “Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow,” about a young girl who was whisked to Nevermoor just before she had been doomed to die on her 11th birthday. As an illegal immigrant in Nevermoor, the only way she can stay in Nevermoor is to pass rigorous trials to earn a place in the illustrious Wundrous Society — which she does in the first book.

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‘The Widows’ by Jess Montgomery is a gripping historical fiction set in turbulent coal mining Appalachia

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In “The Widows,” author Jess Montgomery visits a time and place that is not often memorialized in fiction. In a corner of rural Ohio, where coal mines control the lives of the residents and the immigrants who come to America to work in the mines, the lives of the miners and those who live in town intersect through the relationship of two women, both widows, who fight for justice.

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‘Outfoxed’ by David Rosenfelt continues the fabulous Andy Carpenter/dog-filled mystery series

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From the fertile, facile, and unfailingly funny imagination of author David Rosenfelt comes “Outfoxed,” the fourteenth installment of the Andy Carpenter mystery series. But don’t let the fact that it’s the fourteenth installment deter you from picking it up — Rosenfelt cleverly manages to make each book a stand-alone that can be enjoyed by either new readers or Andy Carpenter “veterans.”

Actually, there are no foxes in the novel, but, as always there are plenty of dogs, and one in particular — a fox terrier — plays an important role in the unfolding of the plot. Here’s the scenario: Lawyer Carpenter is representing a wealthy client, one Brian Atkins, who is doing time in prison for alleged embezzlement of funds from his own company, a software firm. The firm is at the vanguard of new technologies.

Andy is running a special program at the prison, a program which partners prisoners with dogs (from Andy’s own rescue) in order to provide some very productive time for those inmates. Atkins is about to be paroled, but he mysteriously escapes and heads directly to the home of his ex-partner. A short time later, he’s spotted running in panic from the house, and inside the house, his wife and ex-partner are found stabbed to death.

Atkins, of course, is not only the main suspect, he is the only suspect — a typical Andy Carpenter client — but Andy is not so sure he should try to defend Atkins on the murder charges; that is, until he sees Atkins risk his own life to save his prison “partner” dog from an onrushing police car. Carpenter says, in effect, a guy who would do that cannot be a murderer.

Carpenter is a fascinating main character. His love of animals has caused him to start a dog rescue (much like real-life Rosenfelt and his wife). Also like the author, the love of his life is his golden retriever, Tara. Like all Rosenfelt plots, this one is filled with not only dogs, but also surprises, suspense, danger, wonderful banter among virtually all the characters, and laugh-out-loud insult humor and self-deprecating humor from Andy, the first-person narrator.

Mystery lovers, dog lovers, and anybody who loves to laugh should not miss “Outfoxed” or any of the earlier thirteen Andy Carpenter novels. David Rosenfelt never lets you down.

Please note: This review was first published at ShelterMe.tv. This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher for review purposes.

‘The Curious Cats Spy Club’ Super Sleuth Set by Linda Joy Singleton is a lovely middle grade mystery series

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Middle grade readers will adore “The Curious Cat Spy Club” series by Linda Joy Singleton. It’s a series about three middle school kids, two girls and a boy, who get together in the first book to rescue three kittens they accidentally find abandoned in a plastic bag in a dumpster. These three kids happen to be especially talented, each in a different way, and each of their talents is needed in order to solve the mystery of who abandoned the kittens, and where they came from.

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‘Caught in Time’ by Julie McElwain is the third novel in the Kendra Donovan mystery series

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“Caught in Time” by Julie McElwain is a thrilling action mystery featuring Kendra Donovan, an FBI agent who was thrown into the past, to 1815 Regency England. It’s a far cry from the 21st century and her life as a profiler for the FBI, but in each of the three Kendra Donovan mystery novels, Donovan manages to get embroiled in a murder, and she’s the best chance at getting the real culprit found.

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‘Kingdom of the Blind’ by Louise Penny is a Careful Balance Between Mystery and Canadian Small-Town Winter Charm

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Jump right in to “Kingdom of the Blind” by Louise Penny even though it’s the eleventh in this series about Armand Gamache, a detective in Québec who has risen through the ranks although is he currently suspended. In this story, he is appointed as a liquidator, or executor, of the will of a woman he does not know. In fact, the two others appointed as liquidators, one of whom he does know, also do not know the deceased who chose them.

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‘Little White Lies’ by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Is a Lovely YA Tale of Determination and Debutantes

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Former debutante Jennifer Lynn Barnes shares with readers the trials and tribulations of what goes into being a society deb and living the life of the rich and famous. In “Little White Lies,” protagonist Sawyer Taft goes from fixing cars and taking care of her mother to living with her grandmother and participating in nine months of preparation to be a debutante — in return for half a million dollars.

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‘The Perfect Candidate’ by Peter Stone

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In “The Perfect Candidate,” debut author Peter Stone uses Washington, DC as the perfect backdrop for a young high school graduate from rural California who becomes enmeshed in a murder mystery. The story is actually a thriller as Cameron Carter, the small town Congressional intern to charismatic Congressman Billy Beck, discovers that the Congressman he admires might be guilty of murder to keep a scandal from ruining his career.

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‘Now You See Her’ by Lisa Leighton and Laura Stropki Is a YA Thriller

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“Now You See Her” by Lisa Leighton and Laura Stropki is a young adult novel based on an improbable occurrence. Two high school girls, one driving through a rainstorm and the other running into the street to avoid a kidnapper, switch bodies.

Amelia wakes up in a body that is entirely unfamiliar to her. White skin and short, Sophie’s body is not at all like hers. When she goes home with Sophie’s parents, her life there seems unreal. Sophie’s life has appeared to be perfect — her tennis ability, her beautiful home, her expensive car, her perfect wardrobe, her handsome boyfriend. But when Amelia literally steps into Sophie’s shoes, she finds that the perfection is only skin deep in many areas.

Sophie’s parents argue a lot, her handsome popular boyfriend seems to be boyfriend in name only, and Sophie is involved with the school bad boy at night. Amelia is also determined to find out who was trying to kidnap her and why. It’s difficult when Sophie’s father just wants things to be as they were. And he warns Sophie to keep out of Amelia’s business.

But when her sister and mother are in danger, Amelia-in-Sophie’s-body is not going to stop. In the process, she breaks up with Sophie’s boyfriend and falls for Sophie’s neighbor. She finds out that Sophie’s friend is a real friend, and together, the three try to solve the mystery.

The authors do a fabulous job switching voices in the first person narrative from both Sophie and Amelia’s points of view. The mystery of who is trying to kidnap Amelia and her sister and the mystery of what the strange connection is between Amelia and Sophie will keep the reader turning page after page.

Definitely a good choice for mystery and paranormal readers.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Katherine Tegen Books, the publisher, for review purposes.

Andy Carpenter is ‘Rescued’ In this Latest Mystery by David Rosenfelt

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If you’ve never read an “Andy Carpenter Mystery” by David Rosenfelt, “Rescued” is certainly a fine place to start — because this entry, the seventeenth in the series, is just as entertaining, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny as all the earlier sixteen.

Rosenfelt’s dry and self-effacing sense of humor is, as usual, on display on virtually every page of “Rescued.” This time, the wealthy, super-bright, and self-confessed rather lazy lawyer, Andy Carpenter, is persuaded to defend an ex-cop who’s been accused of murder. The ex-cop is also the ex-lover of Andy’s wife Laurie, who is herself an expert investigator.

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‘A Borrowing of Bones’ by Paula Munier Is an Action-Filled Murder Mystery

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Who can resist a mystery with charismatic working dogs galore and even a cat rescue? With “A Borrowing of Bones,” author Paula Munier delivers a perfect paean to those who work to keep our wilderness safe (our forest rangers), our military veterans, and both dogs and cats who come into our lives and calm us down, give us unconditional love, and keep us warm on cold nights. Some, like the incredible dogs in this story, protect us.

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