Plum Deadly (by Ellie Grant)

Cozy Murder Mystery

After being falsely accused of embezzlement and fired, Maggie returns to her home town in North Carolina to lick her wounds.  Penniless and all but unemployable, she finds herself waiting tables at her aunt’s pie shop, Pie in the Sky.  

Then her former boss turns up at Pie in the Sky and tells her he knows who stole the money and has called a press conference in which he will name the real thief and clear her name. But after he turns up dead that very night she has gone from fry pan to fire and become the number one suspect in his murder.

With a little help from Ryan, a local newspaper reporter, she sets about clearing her name and finding the murderer.

Plum Deadly reminded me a lot of the Cats in Trouble mysteries by Leann Sweeney and the Coffee House mysteries by Cleo Coyle.  If I have a criticism it’s that some things were left unexplained and hanging. But it’s possible those things will be revisited in the next books in the series and for the most part I enjoyed this book.

Many thanks to Edelweiss and Gallery Books for providing me with this ARC

The Hero (by Robyn Carr)

Contemporary Romance

After escaping from a secretive cult, Devon finds herself walking along a back road with her young daughter. When Rawley sees her on the side of the road he knows she is running and offers her a lift and a safe place to stay until she can decide where to go next.

Recently widowed, Spencer is still in mourning over the death of his wife.  Thunder Point is a chance for a new beginning as the coach of the local high school football team. So when Rawley helps Devon to find a job and start building a life in Thunder Point he immediately pushes thoughts of the beautiful blonde from his mind.

But as the weeks pass he finds himself drawn to her and they take some tentative steps towards a relationship. But both have baggage. Both have children. And Devon has a controlling and manipulative cult leader on her trail.

The Hero is what readers expect from Robyn Carr.  It is a well written contemporary romance which is about more than just Devon and Spencer.  Stories from previous books are revisited and characters are introduced who will appear in future books. The Hero reminded me a little of Shelter Mountain (Virgin River Book 2).  That’s not a bad thing, Shelter Mountain is probably my favorite in the Virgin River series and I enjoyed this book almost as much.

Many thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Love Overdue (by Pamela Morsi)

Contemporary Romance

DJ is the poster girl for prim and proper librarians. She is conservative and staid, she wears muted tones and safe shoes. That is who she is and it’s who she wants to be. Except for one night, eight years earlier when she decided it was time to see what she was missing. She went out for a night of drinking and dancing with friends and ended up in the bed of a stranger.

Now in her late twenties she has accepted the job of Library Administrator in a small rural town in Kansas. But when she arrives she finds things are not going to go as smoothly as she had hoped. The acting librarian is recalcitrant in the extreme; she is living upstairs from her landlady; and the landlady’s son is the stranger she hooked up with eight years earlier.

DJ is trying desperately to avoid Scott. He’s a player who cheated on his wife and had an affair with a married woman. But those things don’t quite gel with the man she is getting to know. Still she needs to fight their growing attraction to each other and hope he never remembers that one night eight years earlier.

Love Overdue is cute and quirky small town romance which every now and then becomes something a little more. The characters in this story are wonderfully odd and just a little broken.
It doesn’t always work. The repeating of the same events from the different points of view of the heroine and the hero got a little confusing and I’ve never been a fan of flashbacks as a plot device. I actually thought I had missed something when I got to the end and went searching for a few missing pages. Only after rereading the ending did I realize I hadn’t missed anything.
But those are small things and I enjoyed this book a lot. Enough that I’ve bought a couple of other books by Pamela Morsi.

Many thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.