Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold – a Review

Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold – a Review


Halloween is MurderAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Beware of all that goes bump in the night…
Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.
But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.
As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.



Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold is the 11th book in her McKinley Mystery series.  Though this is the 11th book in this series , this was my first book and it read very well as a standalone. I have been reading Arnold’s other two series (Madison Knight and Brandon Fisher), which are both violent intense murder mysteries. When I decided to read this book, I did not know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, as this was a fun mystery with a great couple who lead this series.

Sean and Sara McKinley are our heroes, who are married private detectives. Halloween is Murder begins with Sean and Sara promoting their haunted house to a TV reporter, promoting that all the profits go to charity. When the television spot did not appear on the local channel that evening, they learned that the female reporter died. Though they should not get involved in an open police case, nothing keeps Sara and Sean from doing their own investigation.

What follows is a nice murder mystery with multiple possible suspects. What I really
liked about this story was that we did not have any stress, or intense moments, just a nice &  fun old fashion mystery. Sean and Sara were both fun to watch, as well as their team. Halloween is Murder was very well written, a fast read, great characters, and a fun mystery with a resolution that I did not see coming. Carolyn Arnold has given us a different type of murder mystery and I enjoyed it very much.. If you like mysteries that are light,  fun reads, you should give this one a try.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy supplied for review



Accidental Sire (Half-Moon Hollow #6) by Molly Harper-a review

ACCIDENTAL SIRE (Half-Moon Hollow #6) by Molly Harper-a review

Accidental Sire

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 24, 2017

In Molly Harper’s newest paranormal romantic comedy, Ben, Gigi’s old boyfriend, must find a way to save his new love after a freak Ultimate Frisbee accident. But will she want to live after she finds out how Ben had to save her?

In this exciting addition to Molly Harper’s beloved Half-Moon Hollow series, the focus is on Gigi’s ex-boyfriend Ben. When his new girlfriend is killed in a freak Ultimate Frisbee accident, he’s determined to save her, no matter the cost, even if it means bringing her into the darkness of vampire life!


REVIEW: ACCIDENTAL SIRE is the sixth full-length installment in Molly Harper’s contemporary, adult HALF-MOON HOLLOW paranormal, romantic comedy series-a spin off from her Jane Jameson series. This is Ben Overby, and Meagan Keene’s story line. ACCIDENTAL SIRE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty although I recommend reading the series in order for cohesion, backstory and the characters’ histories.

Told from first person point of view (Meagan Keene) ACCIDENTAL SIRE follows the unconventional human death and vampire re-birth of University of Kentucky co-eds Meagan Keene and Ben Overby. Following a freak Ultimate Frisbee accident Meagan lay on the verge of death and the only possibility of survival was through a vampire turning. But only twenty-four hours would pass, unlike the usual seventy-two, wherein our story line heroine would wake up a more powerful and hybrid version of the ‘normal’ vampire. What ensues is the accidental turning of Ben Overby, and the search for the person responsible for the new breed of vampire with above average abilities.

As new vampires, Ben and Meagan will fall under the guidance of Jane Jameson-Nightingale, leader of the local chapter of the World Council for the Equal Treatment of the Undead, and a powerful vampire in her own right. Locked down and treated like fledglings just out of the nest, Ben and Meaghan struggle within the confines of the vampire rules and newbie regulations. But someone wants Meaghan and Ben for nefarious purposes, and on more than one occasion our leading couple find themselves caught up in someone else’s plans.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including many of the previous story line couples, as well as a number of couples from the author’s Jane Jameson series. Meagan is introduced to a world of vampires, shifters and werewolves, as well as a plethora of information about her new life as a supernatural creature of the night.

ACCIDENTAL SIRE is a story of family and friendship, and the struggle for two young people to acclimate into the world of the supernatural. Molly Harper weaves humor, fun, romance and conflict into a paranormal story line where creating the ultimate vampire is akin to creating a more perfect human being. The premise is entertaining and enjoyable; the characters are colorful, energetic and sassy; the romance is sweet, sexy but mostly implied. Molly Harper’s ACCIDENTAL SIRE is a heartwarming story that will captivate your attention with its’ lighthearted look at the supernatural.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell – a Review

Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell – a Review




Meet Me At Beachcomer BayAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository


Love is in the air in St Carys, but you’d never know it – the people of this seaside town are very good at keeping secrets…

The man Clemency loves belongs to someone else. She has to hide her true feelings – but when she ropes in an unsuspecting friend to help, wires start to get crossed.

For the first time in Ronan’s life his charm has failed him in winning over the woman he wants. Loving her from afar appears to be his only option.

Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend, but something isn’t quite right. And now a long-buried secret is slowly rising to the surface.

The truth has a funny way of revealing itself, and when it does St Carys will be a very different place indeed…



Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell is a sweet chic lit romance.  We meet our heroine, Clemency at the start, when she boards a plane and sits next to a man who immediately draws her attention.  Sam, our hero, is distant at first, but our bubbly charming Clemency is hard to ignore for too long.   When they arrive at their destination, Sam quickly disappears and Clemency catches up to him to learn that he is married.

Three years later, they will meet again, as Sam comes to St. Carys, on the arm of Clem’s sister Belle.  Both are shocked to see each other again, and though she learns that Sam’s wife died, Clemency has to keep her distance, since Belle is now engaged to Sam.  We also get to meet Ronan, another hero in this sweet story.  Ronan is a long time friend of Clem and they work together as real estate agents.  Because she is determined not to interfere with Belle’s relationship with Sam, Clem will get Ronan to help pretend that they are a couple.  Clemency was a great heroine, always fun, caring, romantic and loyal to her friends and family. 

Ronan meets Kate during a showing, and they become friends.  In a  short time, he will begin to realize that he is falling for Kate.  This was a another romance that mingled with the main characters, and the fun people of St. Carys.   The only one I wasn’t crazy about was Belle, who came across as snobby, arrogant and bitchy.  Towards the end, this will change somewhat to make her more likable.  I loved the close friendship between Clem and Ronan, which made this story so good, as they were fun,  humorous, with witty banter.    The relationship between Sam and Clem was quieter, since it doesn’t really happen til later in the book. 

This was a very nice romance, with wonderful characters, small town atmosphere, and a few very nice background stories.  The other good characters besides, Clem, Ronan, Sam, Belle, Kate were Josephine, Verity and Marina. The story with Marina was very good, and emotional.  Jill Mansell does a wonderful job writing a fun story line that also touched series subjects, such as cancer, adoption and gay relationship.  I wholly recommend Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay as a book for you to read.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella – a Review

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella – a Review


My Not So Perfect LifeAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository


Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?



My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella is a standalone novel.  Katie Brenner, our heroine, has just started a new dream job in London.  Katie grew up in a small town, where her father has a farm.  She is determined to make a successful life in London, which she has always dreamed would be her perfect life; which at this point is not so perfect.  Katie, who uses the name Cat, hates her daily train commute to work, since she can’t afford the rent in London.

She is the new girl on the job at a marketing firm, where she finds herself totally in awe of her boss, and naïve as to the politics of the workers and management.  Her co-workers befriend Cat, and constantly complain about the boss, Demeter, who is somewhat of a bitch.  However, Cat sees in Demeter everything she wants for her future; successful high paying job, designer clothes, celebrity acquaintances, lives in a mansion, and has a happy family life. Cat feels if she works hard, she can attain the same life.  But nothing is always as it seems.

Just when she gets to impress Demeter with some of her ideas, and meets hot Alex, one of the owners of the firm, Cat is shocked when she is fired.  When she is unsuccessful in finding another job, Katie (back to her real name) is forced to go home; secretly telling her father that she is on sabbatical in order to help him with starting his new Glamping business on the farm.  Katie uses her wonderful marketing savvy to do a great job in setting up a website to promote the new business, utilizing an Instagram site for pictures, and other unique ideas. After a short time, Katie is shocked to see Demeter arrive on their farm for a family vacation.   Katie is still angry at Demeter, and goes out of her way to disguise herself somewhat and make life a little crazy for her ex-boss.  In a short period, Katie will see Demeter in another light, which turns out to be a not so perfect life. Once Katie learns more about Demeter, the book does take a turn, which for me I enjoyed much more.  I found the first half of the book a bit slow, and especially a little ditzy when she was doing those crazy antics to Demeter; but I really loved the last third of the book.

What follows is a nice story about learning that what you see in front of you is not always reality.  Katie begins to see how Demeter, living the perfect life, has many of her own problems; her marriage is suffering; she works long hours in a demanding and competitive job; she doesn’t spend much time with her children, who are somewhat distant with her.  Slowly, when Demeter finally recognizes and remembers Katie, things change with their relationship.  Katie privately gets Demeter’s kids to understand their mom better, and to be nicer. Demeter learns more from Katie about how the office staff hates her, and wants to make amends.  However, soon Alex arrives on the farm and Demeter knows he is here to fire her, since everything on the job was crumbling around her.  It will take Demeter and Katie to join hands to discover the truth about what was happening behind the scenes.

I really liked Alex, who was considered a womanizer, and whom Katie finds herself falling for, but she  thought  that he was having an affair with Demeter, which turned out to be another untrue fact.  When Alex shows up at the farm, their relationship begins to turn into a very nice romance.  There were some very good characters that Kinsella has created besides Katie, Demeter, & Alex.  Especially, Katie’ s Dad and Stepmom, Biddy were a lot of fun, and Demeter’s two kids.

As I have noted before, the last third of the book was great, with Katie rising up to help save Demeter, and her nice romance with Alex.  Katie herself used the time on the farm to prove that she was very talented in marketing and working with customers.  Her not so perfect life was a fun motto on her Instagram page, which added to the fun at the end.  This was a good and humorous story that I feel you should be reading.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


Good at Games by Jill Mansell – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Good at Games by Jill Mansell – Review, Spotlight & Giveaway

Good at Games cover

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM / The Book Depository

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Mansell captivates with a madcap tale of the games lovers play.

Who will make the next move?

How does one become accidentally engaged? That’s what Suzy Curtis thinks when she suddenly finds herself very publicly engaged to handsome Harry Fitzallan, local town hero. Harry wants famous rock star Jaz to be his best man—only he’s Suzy’s ex-husband and a recovering alcoholic. Suzy’s half sister Lucille loves getting to know the family she’d never met, but she can’t help her attraction to Jaz, nor can Suzy quash her entirely inappropriate feelings for Leo, Harry’s engaged brother!

With all these wild players at the table, mayhem is bound to ensue. As each new piece comes into play, everyone has more to lose, and the only way to win is if you’re good at the games of love…



After reading the back cover of Good at Games by Jill Mansell, I got totally confused when I started reading the book.  It took a few chapters and a few rereads, but please persevere as it is well worth it. There are lots of characters, and they all get their say, all in their perspectives, and it does bounce around a lot. But I persevered, and I’m glad I did, it’s a very funny book, and worth the read.

Most of the action happens around the ex-rock star and former alcoholic, Jaz Dreyfuss. We meet him, his ex-wives, and the current love in his life (or current bubble-head, as she is described), as well as a selection of their relatives and friends.Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is as mad as a hatter.

Suzy is the heroine of this tale. She is a feisty, wise-cracking, ex-wife (she is number two). She is an estate agent extraordinaire.

The hero was harder to pin down, I thought it was either brother. And at one point, I didn’t think she would settle for either.

Suzy’s mother, who recently died, has left Suzy and her siblings to discover a skeleton leaping (literally) out of the family cupboard.  Good at Games was an excellent, witty story;  full of likeable and wacky characters.

I really enjoy this wild and wacky story by Jill Mansell.

Reviewed by Julie B.

Copy provided by Publisher


About the author

Jill Mansell photo


With over 10 million copies sold, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Mansell writes irresistible and funny, poignant and romantic tales for women in the tradition of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Jojo Moyes. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.


If you want to learn more about Jill Mansell, you can click on the following links.

Website: / FacebookTwitter: / Goodreads




Could there possibly be anything nicer in the world than a Curly Wurly?

Alone in the office, Suzy lovingly peeled off the wrapper and admired the dappled chocolate covering. Then she bit into it, her teeth sinking through the toffee, her head twisting from side to side in order to bite off that first heavenly mouthful…oh, and they were sooo much better straight from the fridge…


Suzy’s eyes snapped open and she spun around guiltily. Damn, she’d been so carried away she hadn’t even heard the door open and close behind her.

And, double damn, it had to be Leo Fitzallan.


“Bitten off more than you can chew?” inquired Leo with a slight smile.

Suzy’s mouth was full—OK, overfull—and the toffee was welding itself to her teeth like quick-setting cement. Waving her hand apologetically, praying the melted chocolate wasn’t about to spill out and dribble attractively down her chin, she chewed and swallowed, chewed and swallowed, threw the rest of the Curly Wurly onto her desk and chewed and swallowed again.

Oh dear, not at all like the girl in the Cadbury’s Flake ad. In fact, more like Waynetta Slob guzzling a pizza.

“Sorry,” said Leo. “I obviously interrupted a special private moment.”

And swallowed again.

Hooray, didn’t even dribble!

“There.” Suzy executed a quick curtsy. “All gone. Now, how can I help you?”

He was wearing Givenchy aftershave—none of your Tommy Hilfigers or Calvin Kleins for Leo Fitzallan, thank you very much—and an expensively cut dark suit. Suzy wondered if he had chosen the bottle-green shirt and blue and amber tie himself, or whether Gabriella had picked them out for him.

Probably Gabriella. A man who drove a gray Volvo would never be that adventurous. And the dark blue in the tie exactly matched his eyes.

Definitely Gabriella.

“I thought maybe we should call a truce,” said Leo. “How does that sound to you?”

Blimey, Suzy thought, like a miracle. Quick, give the man a bottle of water and see if he can turn it into Chardonnay.

Aloud she said, “So what’s brought this on?”

“My brother’s happy with you. By Christmas you and I’ll be related. The last thing I want is a family feud. Easier all around if we bury the hatchet now,” Leo said easily. “Put the bickering behind us. What d’you say?”

He was even more attractive, Suzy realized, when he was in a good mood. During the last few days all he’d seemed to do was scowl, sneer, and generally radiate disapproval, which was sexy enough in its own way, of course, but it really was amazing the difference a few laughter lines could make.

“I agree.” Her mouth curled up at the corners. “That’s it then. From now on we’re going to be completely lovely to each other. And I’ll just have to find someone else to bicker with.”

“So long as it isn’t Harry,” said Leo.

“Harry isn’t the bickering kind.” Suzy smiled sunnily at him and perched on the edge of her desk. “This feels quite weird, actually. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do now. If this were Friends we’d be giving each other a group hug.”

For a split second something indefinable flickered in Leo’s eyes. The next moment it had gone. He pushed his fingers through his ultra-straight dark hair, heaved a sigh and shrugged as if searching for inspiration.



rafflecopter giveaway

NOTE: The Reading Cafe is NOT responsible for the rafflecopter giveaway. If you have any questions, please contact the tour promoter

a Rafflecopter giveaway


#TripleX by Christine Zoldenz and Angelisa Stone-a review

#TripleX by Christine Zoldenz and Angelisa Stone-a review

Triple X

Amazon.com / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 18, 2015

Does size really matter?

Two women spin a tale of comedy and new beginnings after they wake up and find themselves in a jail cell over 3000 miles away from home. Rehashing their adventure in front of a less-than-sympathetic judge, they give a laugh-out-loud and extremely detailed story of a road trip that finds them in a ton of trouble.

Battling age, weight, and their own personal demons, not only do they discover the open road and a life they misplaced somewhere in their 20s, they also find themselves. From breakups and stealing cars to blurry memories of something that might have happened in New Mexico, these two women will take you on a real journey, full of fun and, well, situations that people only write about and never really do….or do they?


REVIEW: #TRIPLEX is a wonderfully funny storyline that follows two forty something women-wives, mothers, writers, overweight and feeling lost-as they trek across country on their three month journey of enlightenment and realization ending in Vegas where our heroines find themselves in jail with a story to tell. Angelisa and Christine fight the battle of the bulge, issues of self esteem and insecurity, and a desire to once again feel needed and loved. #TRIPLEX is a humorous and entertaining look at self-discovery for two women whose lives have revolved around only family for far too long.

If you are over forty and married with children there are many scenarios that will be familiar, heartbreaking and right on the money.

Told from alternating first person points of view, the storyline follows Angelisa and Christine-two online best friends and writing partners-who have yet to meet in real life. When Christine finds her husband having sex with a much younger and slimmer ‘Malibu Barbie’, she pulls Angelisa onto the road, heading across country where their final destination (three months later) is a writer’s convention in Las Vegas. Along the way, our duo will rediscover their inner child, a slimmer self, and the women they had lost so many years before. There is plenty of author name dropping, a blogger or two, and a series of books and number one best sellers.

Zolendz and Stone combine the mundane with the extraordinary resulting in a hilarious and humorous storyline that will have you both laughing and crying at the same time. There are moments of disillusionment followed by realization that perhaps you are the only one responsible for your own happiness and no one else. From pink unicorns to killer yoga, frat parties and sex clubs, cupcakes and M&Ms, Angelisa and Christine find themselves in laughable situations where in the end two women will find friendship when they needed it the most. Size really doesn’t matter as long as you accept yourself for who you are.

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Sandy


The Best Man by Ana Blaze-a review

THE BEST MAN by Ana Blaze-a review

The Best Man

Purchase Link:  Entranced Publishing / Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Barnes and Noble/

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 29, 2013

Beth Chase is too busy planning perfect weddings to worry about the lack of action in her own love life. But if she was looking for a man, she wouldn’t be looking at Colin Pratt. Her boss swears that Best Man Colin is a quiet scholar and science fiction writer who couldn’t possibly cause a fuss at his own brother’s wedding. He’s clearly never met the man in question. Snarky, sexy and more than a little inebriated, Colin is the final obstacle between Beth and the last perfect wedding she needs to make partner. Of course, when she helps him into a taxi at the end of the night she has no idea that he’s only just begun to poke holes in her professional exterior. Colin might have the skills to seduce a romance professional, but can he convince her that he’s the best man to share her happy ever after?


REVIEW: THE BEST MAN is a contemporary romance storyline focusing on wedding planner Beth Chase and Colin Pratt-a self proclaimed quiet Scottish professor who, but for the quick actions of Beth, almost destroyed an entire wedding ceremony before it ever began. As the best man at his brother’s wedding, there is more to Colin than meets the eye.

The storyline follows as Colin endeavors to apologize to Beth for his recent behavior at his brother’s wedding. A quick series of mishaps will force the couple together and out of guilt, Beth invites Colin to stay at her place for a few days. Colin and Beth are instantly attracted to one another, and Beth tries but fails, to keep Colin at arm’s length. Beth doesn’t do relationships-although we are not privy as to ‘real’ reason why- and Colin wants more from Beth than a couple of days of relaxation and fun- he wants forever.

Colin is a man possessed-possessed by the need to be loved and find a woman who will accept him. There is plenty of humor as we watch Colin seduce his way into Beth’s bed on numerous occasions. Colin’s backstory is revealed and we learn that he really is the quiet, nerdy professor. And Beth-she is a strong, independent, successful woman, who is afraid to lose everything to the man who has stolen her heart. But she may be too late when she finally realizes that Colin is the man for her.

THE BEST MAN is a fast paced, short story and humorous look at one week in the life of Beth Chase and Colin Pratt. From Colin’s first drunken stumble to his last declaration of love, he is the man who would find his way into Beth’s heart and her life. Ana Blaze has written a cute storyline that pulls you into the hectic life of a successful wedding planner who is reluctant to find love in a quirky Scottish professor.

Copy supplied by the publicist.

Reviewed by Sandy


Ineligible Bachelor by Kathryn Quick-a review

INELIGIBLE BACHELOR by Kathryn Quick-a review


ORDER LINKS:  Amazon / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release January 8, 2013

Frederika “Freddy” McAllister has loved Logan Gabriel since…well, forever. Unfortunately, she’s spent most of forever in the dreaded “friend zone,” harboring what has to be the longest-running crush of all time. But now Freddy has a plan to make Logan see her as more than just the girl next door: She’ll enter him in Elan Magazine’s Eligible Bachelor Contest, then swoop in to soothe his bruised ego when he loses.

There’s just one tiny problem: Logan wins! And that means he’s headed to a mansion in New Jersey where six beautiful women will vie for his affections on reality TV. Making matters worse, the producers want Freddy to tag along and help choose his ideal match. Suddenly her perfect plan becomes a perfect nightmare, as Freddy scrambles to outwit conniving contestants and convince the man of her dreams that the woman of his has been by his side all along


REVIEW: INELIGIBLE BACHELOR is a contemporary romance short story that plays right into the hands of fans of some of television’s reality programming. When Freddy McAllister enters a photograph of her childhood sweetheart into a contest she failed to read the fine print-she had inadvertently entered him a contest to be the next Bachelor for a reality program.

Heartsick and heartbroken, Freddy is cast by the show’s producers to choose who stays and who goes. And along the way, Freddy’s heart choses Logan knowing she will be sending him into another woman’s arms.

Ineligible Bachelor is a cute, quirky read that delves into the ‘unreality’ of reality TV programming. The writing is simple and the storyline is a quick read before bed. Following a script was never more difficult when two hearts meant to be together are forced to choose someone else. But like all romance storylines, all is not lost when the producers see something that neither one was willing to admit.

If you like fun, romantic, uncomplicated storylines INELIGIBLE BACHELOR is the perfect read.

Copy supplied by author.

Reviewed by Sandy