Monday, September 30, 2013

Season for Scandal by Theresa Romain

Jane Tindall and Edmund Ware, Baron Kirkpatrick collide at the Sheringbrook ball. She is trying to beat some shady characters, including Lord Sheringbrook, at a card game as a way to get out of debt. She is a little miffed to see Kirkpatrick because, not only does he blow her cover, but he ruins her attempt to discreetly call Sheringbrook out for cheating. He also has the idea to claim he and Jane are engaged and offers to cover her gambling debt – not knowing, until he gets her alone, just how much she owes. She owes the whopping amount of $10,000. It just so happens that her beloved and wealthy cousin Xavier plans to settle $10,000 on her as a dowry. After discovering how things really stand, Edmund finds himself at somewhat of a crossroads. He is a man with some serious issues. All his life, he is considered to be such a good and kind man – solicitous to little old ladies and wallflowers everywhere. What nobody knows is that, due to a family melodrama and tragedy when he was just a boy, he does all these things out of a misguided need for atonement. One of the ways he had always planned on atoning is to marry and produce an heir to carry on the family line. He is a man riddled with guilt, which seem to give him ulcers, and many secrets. The secrets are eating him alive. When he finds himself in this situation with Jane, he finds that the perfect solution would be for them to actually marry. His satisfaction is fleeting when, on their wedding night and in a moment of passion, Jane tells Edmund she loves him. That is her dirty little secret – that she has loved him for years. I think the main reason he didn’t react well to that declaration was because he had such a low opinion of himself for so many years, that having someone else love him seemed very startling. Also, I think in his mind, its one thing to marry someone who doesn’t love you for selfish reasons, but to do so when the other person feels something as true as love seems unethical. So this is the main conflict between the hero and heroine – Edmund struggling to do the right thing by Jane and not drag her into his mess and trying to make her as happy as he’s able, and Jane struggling to be married to the man she loves when she’s not sure he feels anything for her. The two of them might have carried on like that forever, if not for the introduction of the mysterious Turner aka Daniel Bellamy. Thank heavens for villains! It’s prodding and threats from Turner that finally have Edmund confessing the truth to Jane. I loved the turn the book took once Edmund finally came clean to Jane. After all, who better to thwart a con artist like Turner than somebody like Jane who can act and put on a mask better than most? The scenes toward the end between the hero & heroine were very sweet and it was very satisfying to finally say what they really felt. I was so happy to read a book with Jane as the heroine since she was a favorite character in the previous book. In spite of how misguided I felt he was I did like Edmund. No matter how frustrating it was for Jane, I liked how “nice” he was – but I do understand why it irked her. He seemed like the type of character out of a Charles Dickens story. I look forward to reading more books by this author. I will be interested to see if Jane’s friend Lady Audrina Bradleigh turns up in future books.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

This is Book 2 in “The Lynburn Legacy” by this author. This series is the reason that any time I find myself in a discussion about YA fiction, I always start off, “I don’t normally read young adult fiction, but…”. This second installment maintained what I loved about the first book. The story held my interest and kept me reading from start to finish. The characters are three-dimensional, not teenage stereotypes. The characters that I found interesting and cared about in Book 1 seemed even more developed and layered in this book. I was happy to get more of a window into Ash (young wizard and overall hottie)’s inner life in this book. You see his remorse about what part he played in the previous book, his longing for a somewhat stable home life, and his desire to be liked. I enjoyed seeing more of Angie’s older brother Rusty. He made me laugh and it was nice seeing those moments when he revealed how much he cared about his sister and Kami. He also let slip that he’s not as vacant as he would have people believe. And, by the way, I thought it was funny that he refers to Jared and Ash as Sulky and Blondie. I will cry big buckets of tears if he is ever killed off. I love Angie’s snarkiness – it totally reminded me of how I am. The little bit of a romantic triangle between Kami, Jared, and Ash had me interested rather than annoyed (as I normally don’t care for that in stories). I loved the scenes between Jared and Kami. I found them very powerful and sweet. You saw how deeply losing their mental connection affected them.  I can’t wait to read the next book to see how their relationship gets resolved. I totally fell for Jared in this book. Once he stops being so surly, he says a lot of wonderful things to Kami and gives her a lot of support. The dialogue in this book is very witty as usual. One of my favorite sections in the book is when Kami confronts Jared for nor going to school, and working in the local pub:

"It sounds like you're a tavern wench. Fleeing persecution, you have to take up a menial occupation to keep body and soul together. But at least it's honest work, though as you labor, many predatory customers make advances and offer indignities."

Then, later, when Kami finds Jared riding his motorcycle to the site of the super villain’s meeting place, she takes him to task:

"I mean, you're going into a situation where something really bad might be happening, and you've decided to make sure they can hear you coming? Better hope being a tavern wench works out, because you, sir, will never be a ninja."

The story had me hooked and anxious for Book 3. At the end of the previous book, things looked pretty bleak – the super villain caused a lot of destruction before going off to create his magical army, things between Kami and Jared were in a deplorable state, and there was a lot of uncertainty about who or what was “safe”. In this book, everybody on the side of good (or at least against human sacrifice) is kind of in a holding pattern waiting for the dastardly & very evil sorcerer Rob Lynburn to make his move. That’s not the strategy Kami prefers, but Rob’s wife Lillian is in charge and that’s how she wants to do things. Until then, Rusty tries to teach the others some non-magical self-defense, Ash & Jared train together strengthening their sorcerer abilities as well, and Kami’s crew all go on intelligence gathering assignments. I think the romance elements were balanced well with the rest of the story. I eagerly, and hopefully, await the total destruction of Rob Lynburn. I cannot wait for the next book! I highly recommend trying this book, even if you don’t normally read young adult fiction.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Always On My Mind by Jill Shalvis

This is Book 9 in this author’s “Lucky Harbor” series. I have enjoyed the previous books in this series and I liked this one as well. Lean Sullivan is back in town after leaving when she was 17. She came back to helping her ailing grandma run her bakery. She’s itching to follow her MO and get out town soon. It’s not necessarily that she really wants to leave, but the dark cloud of Sweet Wars hovers over her. Sweet Wars is the name of the cooking reality show Leah competed in. She doesn’t want to stick around when her family, friends, and everyone else in town sees her fail. For years her lousy father tried to drill it into her that she was only capable of failure. She struggles with those demons of self-doubt every day. Jack Harper, sexy local firefighter and Leah’s longtime friend, is so attuned to her moods that he recognizes something’s wrong. Growing up, when things at home would get too rough, she’d sneak out and hang out with her buddy Jack for comfort. Despite how close they were, they never had a sexual relationship. I thought the author did a good job of using flashbacks to illustrate how special their relationship was when they were younger. Now it seems that fate is intervening – in the form of Jack’s cancer survivor mom. Jack’s mom has been feeling poorly and she tells Leah about how worried she is about Jack with his bad knee and his inability to have a committed romantic relationship. This works on Leah’s emotions so she impulsively tells his mother not to worry because they are a couple. I liked the heat generated by these two. There was a nice balance between the sexiness and the emotion. I was happy with how things worked out in the end. I look forward to reading more books in this series as well as other books by this author.

Bound by Night by Larissa Ione

This is Book 1 in this author’s “MoonBound Clan Vampires” series. I have been a fan of this author’s books for years, so I was happy that this book didn’t disappoint. In the world the author has created, vampires have been enslaved by humans in much the same way that African Americans were in the United States’ history. In the opening of this book we are taken back to the vampire rebellion when Nicole Martin was 8 yrs. old. It left most of the people she loved dead including her beloved vampire nanny, and left her brutalized by their vampire chef. Twenty years later Dr. Nicole Martin, billionaire heiress and CEO of Daedalus Corporation, finds herself in a scene out of her worst nightmares. She is confronted, on her turf, by two vampires and ends up abducted. Vampires Riker and Myne are not out looking to commit random mischief. They are on a mission. They are trying to avert a war between vampire clans. In order to do that, they must retrieve the vampire midwife Neriya from the evil clutches of Nicole’s company and return her to her clan. Even though Nicole was made CEO recently of the Daedalus Corporation – which was started by her father – it becomes very apparent that she is woefully uninformed about all of the company’s unethical dirty dealings. She has always been extremely focused on research and trying to cure human diseases through vampire testing. Needless to say, her blinders are definitely ripped off in this book. I liked that it was fairly early in the story that Nicole and Riker compared notes about what really happened the night her family and nanny (his mate) were killed. I also liked that, in spite of who she is and who her family was, the MoonBound clan generally treat her pretty decently. Riker, especially, never says or does anything to Nicole that he can’t come back from. The relationship develops nicely, in spite of Riker’s struggle with survivor’s guilt, and the intimate scenes pack a lot of heat. I found the supporting characters very interesting and look forward to reading about them in future books. My favorite supporting characters were Myne, Bastien, Grant, and Aylin. I hope Aylin can somehow leave her father’s clan.

Two Times as Hot by Cat Johnson

This is Book 2 in this author’s “Oklahoma Nights” series. Emma Hart met pro bull rider Jace in the previous book. They meet up again in this book and we finally find out exactly what did or didn’t happen when they first met. They are both likable characters so I was happy about the possibility of the two characters involved romantically. However, after reading this book, I am glad Emma and Logan wound up together. At the opening of this book, Emma and Logan Hunt meet when everybody is gathering for Becca (Emma’s sister) and Tucker’s wedding. Logan is Tucker’s commanding officer and friend. As soon as Emma and Logan see each other, there is a mutual physical attraction. There are only two minor obstacles to their efforts to be alone – Tucker’s younger sister who is making Logan uncomfortable with her infatuation, and Jace’s half-hearted pursuit of Emma. I loved the flirting and sexy scenes between Emma and Logan. I also liked how they found they liked each other as people as well as being attracted sexually. They are very well-matched. After the wedding, due to a misunderstanding, neither of them have the other’s contact info. It’s about three weeks after the wedding that Emma discovers she is pregnant. It would have eased her mind a little if she knew what frame of mind he was in. Logan was a man looking to nest. She returns to Oklahoma and before she lets him know about the pregnancy they get to know each other even more when she picks up the slack and help him with his family’s country western store. Logan’s dad used to run it but he hasn’t been able to due to his health. I enjoyed the cozy scenes while they were working together. I was happy with how things worked out in the end and with Logan’s reaction to Emma’s pregnancy. I look forward to reading more books in this series.

The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell, and Kimberly Kincaid

This anthology features stories by three different authors: “Where there’s smoke…” by Donna Kauffman, “The Gingerbread Man” by Kate Angell, and “Sugar and Spice” by Kimberley Kincaid. I liked all of the stories in this anthology, but my favorites were probably the stories by Kauffman and Angell. The book starts out with three friends – Clara Parker, Abby Denton, and Lilly Callahan – participating in the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookie Swap in the little Blue Ridge town of Pine Mountain. The cookies people provide are auctioned off with the proceeds going to charity. Abby confides to her friends that her donation – thankfully anonymous – is a container of little gingerbread men with candy canes to make them anatomically correct. Her cookies are a big part of her story later on. You get a brief introduction to each of the three women before they leave the auction and go their separate ways, before reuniting at the end. I loved how strong the friendships between the women are. Just before the ladies leave, a well-dressed, handsome stranger shows up, asks for directions and bids and wins Abbey’s gingerbread men.

The Kauffman story focuses on Clara. Clara is not in a good place. She recently had a public dumping, which (in a very “I Love Lucy” way) led to her being fired from her job as a relationship columnist, and subsequent immediate re-hiring as a cookie columnist. Unfortunately for Clara, while she is a good writer, she is not a good baker. She does a quick run to snag a cookie baking made easy book and winds up running into an old friend. Will Mason is a firefighter and signing copies of a racy calendar he recently did for charity. He is delighted to run into Clara (whom he always just referred to as “Parker”). They never knew it, but back in their younger days when they were science buddies, they both had a mad crush on each other. Circumstances caused them to be apart for years but this meeting gives them a second chance to finally take their relationship to another level. I loved this story – it was sweet and sexy at the same time. Will was such a great guy and was so good to Clara.

The Angell story focuses on Abbey. On her way home, Abbey happens upon a car accident. The man in the crash is Lander Reynolds – the man who bought her gingerbread men at the auction. Abbey drags him to the safety of her home and tends his wounds. She has also injured her big toe in her rescue mission. She feels worse when she finds out what distracted Lander before he crashed. Apparently he was hungry, opened the cookie box and did a double-take after seeing the candy cane accessories on the obviously very male gingerbread. I was happy that, when she finally confesses to being the erotic baker, Lander doesn’t react badly. Over the time the two are snowed in at Abbey’s cabin they have heartfelt conversations, interrupted by steamy sex, and have fun getting to know each other. This story might have been my favorite of the anthology. I loved the scenes with Lander helping Abbey decorating for Christmas (both the house and the cookies), and the scenes with Abbey’s cat.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sweetly Bad by Anya Breton

In a typical paranormal romance, the hero has abs of steel, says all the right things (or at least thinks all the right things), is extremely well-endowed, has no money worries, and is a fabulous and instinctive lover, and generally an excellent example of maleness. Except for the abs of steel, Drew is the antithesis of that type of hero. One of the things I really liked about this story is that the hero, Andrew “Drew” Haizea, is very much a flawed character. At the beginning of this story, Drew and Erica Pearce are introduced to each other when Drew’s Ferrari breaks down and Erica (who owns an auto-body shop) gets the call for service. Erica is immediately struck by Drew’s masculine beauty but is very underwhelmed by his behavior and comments, both to her and what she hears Drew saying on the phone. Drew is a little surprised, at first, to find he’s attracted to a plus size woman – that not being his usual type. While he’s cooling his heels at the auto-body shop, he finds out how much worse his day is going to get. He is an Air witch and his family is a big deal in their witch community. Due to some naughty public behavior, his mother cuts him off financially and puts him on the “rogue witch list”. That makes him a social pariah as well as opens the door for assassins to take their best shot at him. What is perhaps more humbling for him, is discovering that, once stripped of his previous social status, women are not as hot for him anymore and he has no shortage of past flames informing him that he is not the great lover he believed himself to be. I loved Drew’s journey of self-discovery. As Erica observes, he is a very different man by the end of the story than he is at the beginning. I enjoyed the romance between Drew and Erica. I think he was good for her and vice versa. I liked how he helped her with her awful sister and she stood up to his controlling mother for him. After reading this story, I discovered that it was actually a stand-alone sequel to a previous story about Drew’s brother called “Wickedly Good”. I immediately bought that one and enjoyed it as well. I look forward to reading more by this author.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dangerous by Jacquelyn Frank writing as JAX

This is not the first book by this author that I have read. I am a fan of her earlier books. Unlike some other readers, I did not feel as though there was nothing but sex on every page. I have no problem with that type of book if written well, but I don’t believe that was the case with this book. I didn’t feel it was any more or less sexual than any other paranormal romance. I think the author is good at creating a mood in her books. In this case, there is always the threat of danger. The threat posed by the Morphates felt like things were on the verge of an apocalypse. The Morphates seem part vampire/part science experiment gone wrong and the evil scientist behind it all is Eric Paulson. After seeing how powerful Devon is physically I wondered, along with Liam, why she felt the need to hire his firm for protection. After finishing the book, I got the impression she hired them for a few reasons: Liam and his humans are trained fighters and Liam has first-hand knowledge of how to kill a Morphate; she could protect herself but wanted others to protect her work from falling into the wrong hands; and I think, in an attempt to draw out her assassins and determine who is behind the attacks, she counted on the Morphates to underestimate the humans. Her strategy seemed to work since Ambrose expressed his disdain for humans and didn’t consider them any threat, but he was unsuccessful with his aims.

The romance itself was enjoyable. I liked the way Liam and Devon treated each other with respect. I would be interested to see in future books how the issue of their having differing lifespans gets resolved. I also really enjoyed the relationship between friends and co-warriors Inez & Kellen. It seemed like, toward the end of the story, Kellen hinted that he might like Inez more than a friend. Overall, I liked this romance, and look forward to reading more from this author.

Monday, September 16, 2013

One Night in the Spa by Kathy Lyons

Kim Castillo is the manager for John’s Fitness. Her best friend, David, is the manager of the spa next door. You find out right at the beginning of the story that Kim and David each have a serious problem. Kim is going through some physical changes and her hormones are all out of whack. David has a deep, dark secret. Although he has been friends with Kim for a few years, she doesn’t know the real reason he originally befriended her. He had a little corporate espionage in mind. You find out that it’s not as sinister as it sounds. However, the thing that makes David’s secret such a betrayal is that he kept the secret for so long. That fact would put him in the category of irredeemable jerk in my book, if not for his suffering over the years. You get his POV in the story and see how he fell hard for Kim and how keeping his secret along with never expressing his feelings for her has been penance enough. His longing and devotion really come through in the story. The moment when they finally come together physically, and the HEA that comes later are very satisfying and make the story worth reading.

Big Sky Wedding by Linda Lael Miller

This is Book 5 in this author’s “Parable, Montana” series, but it’s only the first full-length book I’ve read by this author. After reading it, I’m interested in reading previous books but I was able to enjoy it anyway without having read them. Zane Sutton is a major movie star, but lately celebrity has not been enough. He feels like, at his age, he needs to put down roots and start acting like a grown-up. When he shows up in Montana, his first impromptu encounter with Brylee Parrish does not go so well. Brylee had some erroneous assumptions about Zane based on his movie star status. I like that, in spite of how harsh she approached him, Zane doesn’t act like a jerk and rub it in too badly when she realizes she was wrong. I liked that Zane and Brylee had so much in common – their love of riding horses, both being dog people, both wanting to start a family, and both being unlucky in love. He had a gold digging ex-wife in his past, and she was left at the altar.   I enjoyed watching Zane and Brylee’s attraction and relationship grow. I thought the side storyline with Zane’s kid brother Nash was interesting. It was sweet seeing Zane in the big brother/substitute father role. I look forward to reading more books by this author and other books in this series.  

His By Christmas by Kaitlin O'Riley *Free Giveaway*

I got 2 early reviewer copies of His By Christmas by Kaitlin O'Riley from the publisher. I thought I would do a giveaway for the second copy. Just leave a comment with your email address - you can leave it like: amandap (at) hotmail (dot) com. The deadline will be Monday, September 30th. I will pick a winner at random and contact the winner and post it on this blog as well. This will be open to US & Canada readers only.

Official release date: October 1, 2013

"Yvette Hamilton knows just what she wants for Christmas--a dazzling marriage. And if marrying the ton's catch at the height of the Yuletide season is how she can prove herself, she'll be the most respectable of the many ladies competing for his hand. But one accomplished rake has other, much more tempting ideas. . .

The illegitimate son of a duke, Lord Jeffrey Eddington knows society will never truly respect him. He thought he'd found acceptance as a friend of the Hamiltons, but Yvette's seeming snobbery makes him wager to win her hand no matter what it takes. Too late, he finds her frivolity conceals an intelligent, appealing woman. Now they face a hard choice between the holiday dreams they think they want most. . .and the very real love they can't resist."

No Strings Attached by Kate Angell

This is Book 2 in this author’s “Barefoot William” series. This was a fun, sexy romance. I enjoyed the story and the characters. The two main characters, Sophie Saunders (from Saunders Shore) and Dune Cates (from Barefoot William), are both sort of on equal footing financially. She comes from a wealthy family, while he got fame and wealth from a successful career as a pro volleyball player. There is an 11 year age difference between the two, with Sophie being the younger one. However, she is over 21 so I’m glad that it didn’t end up being a huge source of conflict in the book. One source of conflict, although thankfully not between Sophie and Dune, is that she is that their two families and communities have a long standing feud. Nobody really came to blows over this or experienced any real nastiness in this story. Overall, the Saunders crowd is just a little more snooty and high-end, while the Cates family and community of Barefoot William is a little more accepting and laid back. Sophie comes off seeming very timid and a little sheltered at times. There are two things that save the character for me. First, she’s a very kind and good person at her core. Secondly, she is aware of her limitations and short-comings and seeks to break out of her comfort zone. At the opening of the story, she is looking to work at one of the shops/attractions on the boardwalk in Barefoot William. She’s not looking for employment for a paycheck. She’s volunteering so that she can discover something she enjoys and is good at so she can find her niche in life. She happens upon Dune Cates and his buddy and volleyball partner Mac James and they all re-connect. She and Dune had last met up at a volleyball tournament for charity. Although he doesn’t remember, Dune and Sophie first met when she was 7 and he was a teenager and he helped her out. I loved how the author handled Dune’s reaction once he was clued in to that first meeting. In these types of situations in romances, the hero tends to blow things out of proportion, claiming the heroine was deceiving him. I was happy that Dune had a better reaction. I felt like Sophie and Dune brought out the best in each other and treated each other with respect.

I also really enjoyed the secondary romance between Mac James and t-shirt shop owner Jenna Cates. They had sparks from the beginning, even though at first their attraction was masked by sniping at each other. I totally understood Jenna’s point of view. She has a bad history of picking guys and Mac was never somebody’s idea of serious boyfriend material. I loved the way they slowly realized just how much they liked each other. Mac charmed me with his goofy, charming, quirkiness and made me laugh. I also loved the relationship between him and her protective cats - so cute. I look forward to reading more books in this series and other books by this author.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Much Ado About Dutton by Claudia Dain

This is Book 6 in this author’s “Courtesan Chronicles” series. I’m not normally a stickler for reading a series in exact order. However, I think you have a greater appreciation of the characters if you read the previous books in this series.

There are some key things about the main characters in this story that you should know going in. In some ways, Anne and Dutton both try to get out from under the shadow cast by their parents. Anne is the illegitimate child of an English lord (a huge jerk by the way) and a rather unsuccessful courtesan. Dutton is the legitimate child of a different English lord (also a colossal jerk and a very, very bad man). Dutton’s father also played a part in the dark past of Lady Sophia Dalby. Sophia is such a fabulous character & she’s the glue that helps hold the series together. Whenever the conversation comes up in my book groups about which fictional character you wish you could meet, I always think of her. Lady Dalby is an enigmatic Oracle in the series, a master tactician. She’s someone you’d much prefer to have as a friend rather than an enemy. For a time Anne lived with Sophia, and Sophia regards her as another daughter. It was during that time that she came into the orbit of Lord Dutton. The chemistry between them was fierce. However, nothing much came of it for a few reasons. At first, they were both single but he was up to no good. Then later on, she married someone else and he took to the bottle and went on the decline. Dutton seemed to be convinced at one point that Sophia was haunting him, somehow trying to contribute to his ruin and blamed him for the sins of his father. I liked how, at the end, they talked and she explained that she never blamed him for what his father did. She was trying to help him, without him realizing it because she knew that when they met, he wasn’t the kind of man Anne needed. Now, two years after marrying another man, Anne is a wealthy widow and he has gotten himself together since the death of his wicked father. They have both changed a little for the better. For her part, Anne realizes her feminine power and becomes a little more bold and confident. Dutton shows signs of some maturity without losing all his original bad boy sexiness. I loved how the author brought to life the electricity between Anne and Dutton for me. The scenes between them were sexy without being cheesy. Even though there were several side storylines with supporting characters (both old and new), I always felt like the focus was on the two main characters. I never found it too cluttered or distracting. I think that is one of the things I love about this series – they are so well-written, have such good story-telling, that the many characters and their individual storylines woven throughout the main plot just add to the texture and overall richness of the book. If it wasn’t done well, it might be annoying, but it’s done very well. As usual, the witty dialogue had me laughing and smiling in places.

I keep cheering for Sophia and Ruan to have their happy ending. I love how the author says of them,
They smiled in the same instant, a soft smile between adults in a world of infants. 
I am intrigued by some of the new characters. I’m hoping Antoinette will find love – maybe George Grey, Prince Vasily, or Lord Lanreath? I’m always fascinated by Sophia’s nephew George Grey. I’d love to read a story with him as the hero. I was also interested by his twin Elizabeth and the seemingly mutual attraction between her and Lord Raithby. I was looking forward to this story for so long that I was so happy it ended up being as good as I hoped it would be. I look forward to the next book in the series and the further adventures of my favorite characters.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bagpipes, Brides, and Homicides by Kaitlyn Dunnett

This is Book 6 in this author’s “Liss MacCrimmon Scottish Mystery” series. However, this is only the second book I’ve read by this author and I think a reader would still be able to enjoy it without having read the previous books. The events in this mystery take place as the sleuth and main character, Liss, is preparing to soon marry her longtime love. A major character in this story is Liss’s micro-managing mother, Violet. Given that she wasn’t in the other book I’ve read, I’m hoping she doesn’t appear in all the books. I had a lot of sympathy for Liss and her father. While Liss is more relaxed about her wedding preparations, her mother is a “mother-of-the-bride-zilla”. Being a scotophile, she arranges for Liss’s wedding to share time with the upcoming Western Maine Highland Games. There is just one snag. Due to a history scholar’s divisive re-enactment, the wedding site promises to be flooded with protesters for one reason or another. One problem is traded for another when that same scholar is murdered. No more protesters to worry about, but the police are looking to Liss’s dad as a potential suspect. I thought there was a very reasonable justification to the main character to act as a detective – clearing her father. I enjoyed the mystery, in spite of the obnoxious mom. I thought the murder location was interesting with the almost “locked room” aspect. I look forward to reading more books in this cozy mystery series.