Mini Reviews ~ Three Buddy reads!

Posted February 8, 2020 by Stormi in Audiobook Reviews, Book Reviews / 6 Comments

This COYER is doing buddy reads and so I am putting two of my buddy reads that I have done together in one post as I am getting behind on my reviews again. 🙂

Marked for Death by Colleen Helme is a favorite cozy series and it happens to be Berls, from Because Reading, favorite too and since we both needed to get to this latest book in the series we decided to buddy read it and I am really glad we did!

Trouble follows Shelby Nichols

Why wouldn’t it?

She works for a mob boss.

And the police.

A desperate call from a friend in need turns Shelby’s life upside down. Someone is out to prove that Shelby is a fake, marking her for murder. How far will they go?

As the clock ticks down, she realizes no one is safe, and it’s up to her to stop them. Will she succeed? Let’s hope so, because time is running out…

This series has been a lot of fun from the very beginning but I really liked this one. The fact that someone was kind of stalking Shelby to try and figure out how she knows the things she knows. In this one someone is putting the lives of others in danger to try and prove she is a fake and things hit pretty close to home.

Shelby is a mind reader because of an accident that happened in book one and it has gotten her in a lot of trouble especially since she works for both sides of the law…lol. (She doesn’t have much choice when it comes to the mob boss as she does like living, but she has come to care about ‘Uncle Joey’.

The only thing that kept this from getting 5 stars from me is how much the author keeps trying to blur the lines between Ramos and Shelby. Shelby is a happily married woman and the occasional flirting with Ramos is okay, but I think she is starting to get into no turning back territory that I don’t like. Someone is going to get hurt. Yes, I get that Ramos is a hunky and dangerous man (works for Uncle Joey) and can see the appeal but she is married with teens. I just didn’t like something that happened towards the end.

Overall, I totally recommend this series and I think you need to start with book one to get the full effect!

4.5 stars

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen was a reread and to be honest I think I might have liked it more the first time as I wasn’t as much of a fan this go around. This was never one of my favorite Austen books and so that didn’t change. I listened to this one with Sophie (who reviewed it on Hot Listens), which made it a fun listen.

‘The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!’

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

The Dashwood sisters along with their mother have been pretty much kicked the the side by their brother who inherited everything and seems to be whipped by his wife who talks him into not giving them much money to live on, but they make due. They find a nice cottage to call home where they meet a lot of interesting people. The young Marianne Dashwood is the lovelier of the two and she catches the eye of both Mr. Willoughby and Colonel Brandon (who is older), of course Marianne at first chooses the younger Willoughby but not all is as it seems with him. Elinor also finds herself in a bit of a romance with Edward Ferrars who seems to have a secret of his own.

The two sister have to find their way through the messes of falling in love and have it mixed with everyone being all in their business and making their own assumptions about what is going on, especially with Marianne.

So my favorite sister would be Elinor but my favorite suitor would be Colonel Brandon and I think I would have liked this more if those would have been the two that got together. 🙂

Though you get a good bit of both sisters experiences with falling in love, it’s aggravating that for all the hoopla over with Marianne choose Colonel Brandon, they didn’t have much time in the book and that is a bummer as I really like Colonel Brandon even if he likes Marianne.

So not my favorite but still a fun listen and I thought the narrator Wanda McCaddon did a great job.

3 stars

I listened to Memories and Murder by Lynn Cahoon as a buddy read with Kara from The Bookwyrm’s Hoard and had a fun time talking about our love of this series and the characters!

It’s October in South Cove, California, and the locals in the quaint resort seem to be happily pairing off in the lull before the holidays. Everyone, that is, except for Jill Gardner’s elderly aunt, who just dumped her besotted fiancé—and she won’t say why.
When Jill hosts a talk at Coffee, Books, and More on the topic of elder abuse, all that’s really on her mind is lunch. But the topic hits close to home when she discovers Aunt Jackie has been getting mysterious calls. Jill’s certain the caller is a con artist, of course, but her feisty aunt claims to understand this, though she’s still shaken—and Harrold’s still heartbroken. Who’s behind the scam and why was her aunt targeted? When a volunteer from the Senior Project is found murdered, Jill’s detective boyfriend is on the case—and it soon becomes clear no one is safe when a caller from beyond becomes a killer in their midst. 

This was a great mystery dealing with elderly scams and I had a bit of a time guessing the killer! This is by far probably my favorite cozy mystery series and I just love all the characters and how involved you get in wanting everything to go well for each of them. It’s sad when something happens to them and in this one aunt Jackie is being scammed, or at least Jill is pretty sure she is because the call says that he is Jackie’s dead husband. It’s messed up something huge in Jackies life and Jill is going to get to the bottom of things!

Then add a murder into the mix and things get a bit more interesting and Jill even though she is always told to stay out of things by her detective boyfriend Greg, can’t help but try and figure out things!  This was a really good one and can’t wait for the next one!

Since I buddy read this with Kara and we had a cool chat about it and she was nice enough to send me a transcript of our chat I am keeping the review short so you can have fun reading out talk. 🙂

4.5 stars

Memories and Murder – a buddy read discussion with Stormi and Lark

*Should be no plot spoilers but might be relationship spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read this far into the series, so just a heads up! 🙂 

STORMI: I really liked Memories and Murder! I always enjoy books from this series. 🙂

LARK: I finished it last night! I enjoyed it, too. One of the things I really like is how the relationships [in this series] progress at a normal rate, neither too quickly nor too slowly. I’m thinking particularly about Jill and Greg, but also Jackie and Harrold, and Amy and what’s-his-name. (His name slips my mind.) I mean, Jill is cautious (and who wouldn’t be, after discovering her first husband was having an affair), but she and Greg are moving forward as a couple at a pace that works for them. I get so frustrated with mystery series that keep the main character in relationship limbo for six or ten books in a row: “Will they or won’t they get together?” I’m so glad Ms. Cahoon doesn’t pull that kind of thing on her readers. There are plenty of ways to keep the narrative tension up while keeping the main character involved in a stable, evolving relationship.

STORMI: Me too! I hate that “will-they-won’t-they” or throwing in another guy for a couple books. 

I really love Jackie and Harrold; they are so cute! I also like the new guy [in the bookshop], Deke.

LARK: I like Deke, too. He fits into the Coffee Books and More “family” very well, and I love how he stepped up when Jill had to throw that creepy campaign manager out of the store.

STORMI: Yeah, he was great, and I liked how Greg teased him.

LARK: Yes, I thought that was cute, too.

STORMI: Did you guess the killer? I had it pegged but it took most of the book. 😁

LARK: I was about to ask you the same thing! I suspected the person briefly when we first met them, but then I settled on someone else as more likely. [spoilers removed]  The real killer came off as very likeable and personable. I didn’t really suspect them seriously until very close to the reveal. 

Did you ever believe Uncle Ted might actually be still around, or did you think it was a con?

STORMI: I hoped it was a con because I like Harrold, but I wasn’t real sure from the very beginning.

LARK: I wasn’t sure at first, either. Like you, I hoped it was a con, because I didn’t want Harrold’s heart to be broken. I like the two of them (Jackie and Harrold) together, too.

STORMI: The next [book] is about Amy’s wedding and I can’t wait for it to come out! Maybe it will push Jill and Greg closer to the altar LOL.

LARK: I have a feeling you may be right — but at the same time, Jill doesn’t like to feel pushed when it comes to relationships. So I hope she’s ready. After this book, I think she’s a lot closer than she was!

STORMI: [changing subject] I was as shocked as Jill that Harrold and Josh were friendly!  That took me by surprise LOL.

LARK: Oh, me too! I even had a moment of wondering if Josh had engineered the Uncle Ted thing as a way to split Jackie and Harrold up. But I guess Josh is getting over her.

STORMI: I thought maybe he found himself a woman since it mentioned he loss some weight 😁

LARK: Josh? Maybe. Who could the author pair him with? Lille? Carrie? … Esmeralda?!

STORMI: Maybe a new  lady 😁

LARK: Could be! That’s the fun of these small-town cozy mysteries. You get invested in the whole town, and the relationships between the characters. I loved how Cahoon paired up Sadie and Preacher Bill in this one.

STORMI: Yes! They were so cute!

I think that has to be the hard thing with cozies, keeping track of everyone and making it all stay cohesive and continue to make you want to know more about everyone and not just the MCs.

LARK: I think that Lynn Cahoon does a good job of balancing the mystery and the town saga aspects of the story.

STORMI: I think she does too! She is one of my favorites. [The series is] the first cozy I ever listened to, and the narrator is great, and so I have to listen to each one LOL.

LARK: I haven’t ever tried this series on audio. My library doesn’t carry the audio, and I always seem to get approved for the e-ARC, so I just read them. They’re nice and quick, good for when I just want something light.


That’s the good thing about cozies as they are such quick fun reads!

LARK: [changing subject]  What do you think about Esmeralda, and about Deke’s mom? First, it sounds like they might have [some past in common.] But I get the sense that both of them — and maybe Deke, too — really do have some actual psychic gifts or intuition, even if Jill doesn’t believe in it.

STORMI: I like Esmeralda, and it did seem like Deke could see things, even if I am a skeptic like Jill. 😁

LARK: I know that a lot of so-called psychics are faking it. But I have had a few uncanny experiences in my own life, and I have known a couple of people who definitely have a gift of one kind or another. So I’m more open than skeptical about the possibilities, even in real life.

STORMI: I am one of those who needs to see it in action before believing like ghosts LOL. I need to see one first 😁.

LARK: Well… I heard ghosts once, or at least, I heard something from the past. I was alone in my in-laws’ house, and I heard 1920s-style music and happy laughter coming faintly from downstairs. I went down, thinking my in-laws had come home and turned on the TV or radio, but there was no one home, and no TV or radio on anywhere. And [there were] no other houses near enough to hear. I can’t come up with any “normal” explanation for what I heard… but I definitely heard it. Apparently one or two other people had experiences in the house, too.

STORMI: I spent the night in a ‘haunted hotel’ but nothing happened — slept like a log LOL!


STORMI: [changing subject] Anything more to add to our talk? I can’t think of anything.

LARK: No, me either. Except that I also appreciate that this book highlighted the dangers that seniors (especially) can face from scammers.

STORMI: Oh yes, it was very realistic!

LARK: It’s really tough for older folks who don’t always understand the way that modern tech works. My mom and stepdad are savvy about scams, but my first dad is more trusting and less knowledgeable, and I worry he will get caught by one of these things.

STORMI: Yeah, my dad is not tech-savvy at all! 😐

LARK: I recently read about an organization in Albuquerque that pairs seniors with tech-savvy teens, to teach the seniors how to use their smartphones and so on. It ends up benefitting both the seniors and the teens. 

STORMI: Oh thats cool!

LARK: [changing subject]   I’ve got to go fix dinner. But it’s been great to chat about books! Thanks for buddy-reading with me.

STORMI: It was lots of fun chatting with you! Thanks for buddying with me as well.


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6 responses to “Mini Reviews ~ Three Buddy reads!

  1. Oooh, that Colleen Helme series looks like just the thing. I’ll have to try it.

    Fun that you were able to do so much buddy reading. I’m hoping to get at least one more buddy read in by the end of the month. I enjoyed S&S more b/c we were buddy listening. You know, I think I’d prefer Elinor and Brandon as a match much better, too.

  2. I love reading the back and forth between you and Lark on the last book. And I love the movie version of Sense and Sensibility with Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon, so when you talk about his character that’s who I see in my head😁

  3. I think it’s telling that you and I gave the same review to Shelby – please don’t let her go there with Ramos!

    Sense and sensability is my least favorite Jane austen (though I love the movie with Kate Winslet), so I get the meh feelings.

    And love y’all’s chat! So fun!

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