Tuesday, April 6, 2021

 

Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck are in the business of flipping properties.  They have so far not done any major projects and their budget is somewhat modest.  That doesn't stop them from bidding on the derelict Music City Motor Court motel in Murder with a View. Because the site offers wonderful views of the downtown Nashville skyline, Whitney doesn't think there will be any problems in finding buyers for the planned condos.  After a bit of subterfuge, she manages to outbid her nemesis, Thad Gentry, and she and Buck immediately start the redevelopment of the site.

The first issue is . . . someone is occupying one of the empty rooms.  The non-paying guest turns out to be Jimmy, a vet who travels around the country on his motorcycle as the mood takes him.  At first Whitney wants to order him to leave, but then she decides that a willing, cheap worker might come in handy during the refurb.  The next problem is when another room is found to be occupied, but this guest has "checked out" of life.  Things get even worse when it turns out that the dead body belongs to none other then rising country music star Beckett Morgan, singer of the popular hit Party in the Pasture.

The motel becomes the site of crying fans and candle-carrying vigils as soon as word of the death gets out. Even with the unexpected increase in traffic, Whitney and Buck are able to continue the renovations.  Whitney does take time off now and then to help her boyfriend, homicide investigator Collin Flynn, question witnesses and track down leads.  She is also a cat-mom to Sawdust, who helps out in all sorts of ways, both with her job and in keeping Whitney safe.

Chapters alternate from Whitney and Sawdust's point of view (yes, we get to hear what the cat is thinking!).  The story is somewhat slow-paced, and the suspects and their possible involvements in the crime are repeated quite often so the reader doesn't lose track of anyone.  As a cat lover myself, I appreciated that Sawdust (and his small feline sidekick, Cleo) were such a prominent part of the story.  I can't recommend taking a cat along to a construction site, though . . .  The story was enjoyable and I enjoyed the vivid Nashville settings.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of Murder With a View from NetGalley in exchange for this review


Thursday, April 1, 2021

 

Who doesn't love a candy shop?  Not only can you find your personal favorites, but there's also the tantalizing possibility of discovering something new and delicious.  That is if the shop is open and the stock is fresh.  Unfortunately, Rosie Hopkins didn't find that when she left London for the country town of Lipton to help out in her great aunt Lilian's shop.  

Rosie enjoyed her job as auxiliary nurse, even though she didn't have a permanent position and with her lack of full nursing qualifications, she was frequently given the most unpleasant jobs around the hospital.  Her relationship with her boyfriend of seven years, Gerard was . . . fine, no really!  Even though he showed no inclination toward proposing and lately seemed to have gotten a bit too comfortable.  

When Rosie's mother calls from Australia and guilt-trips her into helping out Lilian, Rosie hopes that a little distance from Gerard might make him realize how much he misses her.  So Rosie hops on a bus and heads north to the countryside to help out.  Lilian, at 87, is experiencing some health issues, but Rosie and there rest of the family had no idea that she had pretty much abandoned running the family candy shop.  When Rosie arrives, it is dusty and most of the remaining wares are well past their sell-by dates.

As Rosie takes charge of Lilian's life and business, she begins to make friends in town and catches the eye of several interesting men.  Interspersed with Rosie's adventures are flashbacks of Lilian's life, explaining why she never married or left the village.  There are also plenty of comments on particular sweets as well as candy in general.  Several recipes are included so that if the lure of the sweet treats gets to be too much, you can whip some up for yourself.

I was enjoying the book and all the talk of sweets until near the end when it suddenly took a turn into teenaged romance territory.  Rosie was having her flirtations and re-examining her relationship with Gerard, but suddenly there was a lot of giggling, "you really like him, don't yous," and stern advice from matronly ladies thrown about.  When pretty much the whole village turns out to help Rosie get ready for "the ball," I realized the book was aiming for a different direction than I had thought.  It was a good enough, if predictable story, but some of the elements were just a bit too cringey for my tastes.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Sweetshop of Dreams from NetGalley in exchange for this review

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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The Gherkin Scale

5gherkinsb Brilliant!

4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

0gherkins3Don't be givin' me evils!

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