I did a LOT of reading this month. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting weary of the story I’m trying to write, or if I’m tired of all the sewing I’ve been doing. It’s also possible that I’m still loving the Miss Fortune mysteries and once I start reading I can’t stop, even if it’s long past my bedtime. Since I have friends and online acquaintances who’ve been waiting for reviews, I decided to sandwich other books in between. And as you can see, that strategy resulted in a long list for this month. The good news is that I’m now caught up as far as my Goodreads reading challenge!
Change of Fortune by Jana DeLeon
Miss Fortune Mystery, Book 11
The characters in this series have thoroughly entertained me from the beginning, but this one had my heart racing, wondering what would happen next. The main storyline is that Amahd, Fortune’s would-be assassin, still hasn’t been found, but her time in Sinful under her assumed identity is running out. She decides the only way to get her own life back is to draw Amahd out and take him down once and for all. Of course, Carter, Ida Belle, and Gertie are right there to help. But while they wait for the right time and place, other problems arise in Sinful – food missing from the diner, a domesticated gator, and a disgruntled former mayor keep the Swamp Team 3 busy and the laughs in abundance. I ordered Book 12 as soon as I finished reading!
Feels Like Love by Jeanette Lewis
Snow Valley Romance #1
This is a holiday romance, but it caught my eye, and since we endured Christmas-like temperatures through the first half of May, I figured I might as well immerse myself in the holiday for a day or two. We are introduced to the rural Idaho town of Snow Valley, where April comes home for Christmas. She brings her fiancé Scott, who isn’t impressed with small-town life and spends most of his time buried in his research project. April’s high school love, Wade, now helps her parents on their farm, and she can’t avoid seeing him both at home and at the many holiday events she and her siblings attend. I enjoyed the way April works through her conflicted feelings about what she thinks she wants and what she knows will make her happy. This is a short novella, but well worth the time to read.
Reel of Fortune by Jana DeLeon
Miss Fortune Mystery, Book 12
Fortune has officially retired from the CIA and purchased the home in Sinful, Louisiana where she’d been in hiding from the drug dealer who’d been after her. But it doesn’t take long for trouble to find her. Ida Belle and Gertie take her along for the town’s annual fishing contest, where Gertie unexpectedly wins second place. But one of the fishermen is found in his boat, dead from cyanide. Suspicion is cast on Fortune’s friend Ally, who’d packed lunches for all the participants. The Swamp Team 3 rush in to clear Ally’s name, fighting off mosquitoes, possums, skunks, and an angry bear – in addition to the deadly killer. As usual, the unique brand of humor kept me entertained, and the mystery had me guessing all the way to the end.
Creatures of Habit: Cherrybrook in Spring by Charlotte Brothers
Charlotte is a fellow member of my local RWA chapter, and she was my blog guest last week. Creatures of Habit is her first published romance, and it’s the first of four planned stories, each one taking place in a different season. Set in Regency England, Cherrybrook is the name of the hamlet, and home to the Trellaways and their neighbors the Merritts. The two families have long planned for their children to marry once Lawrence returned from fighting on the continent. But though they were childhood friends, neither Lawrence nor Eugenia is particularly eager for the wedding to take place. Lawrence is relieved when his friend John arrives, and the handsome captain seems to be prepared to sweep Eugenia off her feet. He soon realizes that he himself would be a much better match for the independent young lady she has become, but is unsure how to go about convincing her. I enjoyed this gentle story, and look forward to the next installment.
Swamp Spook by Jana DeLeon
Miss Fortune Mystery, Book 13
Halloween brings a full week of festivities to the town of Sinful, Louisiana, and Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie are involved in the annual maze. Fortune’s post is at a staged beheading, but after returning from a break she discovers that the beheaded dummy has been replaced by a real decapitated body. Thanks to Celia Arceneaux’s meddling, the state police are called in, muddling Carter’s investigation. Carter becomes Fortune’s first client when he hires her and the Swamp Team 3 to find out what really happened. The ladies use the Southern tradition of bringing food to the deceased’s family to begin their investigation, and continue their unorthodox methods of gathering information until Fortune finally hits on the answer. I’m enjoying the way Fortune’s assimilating into small town life while retaining her edge. Can’t wait to dig into Book 14!
Next Door to the Billionaire by Remi Carrington
Bluebonnets and Billionaires #1
This was a Book Club Choice for a Facebook group I follow. Tanner Davis seems to have it all – he’s the heir apparent to his grandfather’s commercial real estate empire, and his fiancé is beautiful and well-connected. But something just isn’t right, and he just can’t bring himself to set the wedding date. A homeless waitress with a heart of gold helps him understand what he really wants and needs. I enjoyed this sweet romance. It’s well-written and other than a few typos toward the end, the editing is great. It’s part of a series, so I may revisit these characters later.
Fortune Furlough by Jana DeLeon
Miss Fortune Mystery Book 14
Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie fly to Florida for a week of sun and fun. On their first evening there, Gertie goes on a date with a man who rescued her from a swimming mishap. When the man is found dead the next morning, Gertie is the number one suspect. Carter needs to protect the citizens of Sinful, so he sends Byron, a Marine buddy now turned successful attorney. But the women aren’t about to sit back and let others do the work they do best. Turns out Gertie’s hot date had scammed several local women out of their life savings, so the list of possible suspects is long. All they have to do is figure out how he died, who had the means to do it. The residents of Sinful aren’t around to distract or help them, but other characters add richness and humor to the story, like Dave, owner of the fishing boat, and the employees at the resort. On to the next mystery!
Rainbow Sprinkles by D. V. Stone
I received a copy of this book when I responded to the author’s request for ARC readers on Goodreads. It’s a very short read (54 pages) but it’s a cute read. This is a sweet romance about a “seasoned” couple and their second chance at love. The attraction between Gloriana, an ice cream shop owner in New Jersey, and Nathan, a business consultant from Delaware, is instant and powerful. But two things stand in their way: distance and guilt. Both had lost a beloved spouse. Both problems are resolved rather quickly and I would have enjoyed learning more about how they overcame them, but the development of the romance is lovely. I’ll be looking for more by this author. This particular story will be available for purchase on July 8.
Cajun Fried Felony by Jana DeLeon
Miss Fortune Mystery Book 15
The Swamp Team 3 gets their first official case when Whiskey, owner of the Swamp Bar, hires them. He’s been fingered in the murder of a young lady he’d been involved with, and since he was one of the last to see her alive he’s the logical suspect. But the young lady wasn’t especially well-liked in Sinful, so there’s no shortage of people with a motive, and time is limited since the DA wants the case sewn up before taking time off for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Carter and Fortune continue their relationship, but in a surprising twist, Ida Belle is seriously considering giving up her spinster status – which could mean an end to the Sinful Ladies Society! Can’t wait to get into book 16!