Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Salon: Mysteries and Love

As the colder temperatures arrive, a good book is always a fun way to relax and unwind. Today I'm sharing a book and an audio book that I hope you will enjoy as much as I did.


Being a mystery shopper has its perks, but for single mom Josie Marcus, it also has its problems. It seems Josie has a knack for being at the wrong place at the wrong time and finding dead bodies.  

Josie's latest assignment is simple - check out an upscale lingerie store and be fitted for a bra (which she gets to keep). Her first surprise comes when Josie discovers her high school gym teacher is the store manager. She had looked out for Josie in the locker room when the other girls, one in particular, teased her for being underdeveloped. Right after that the teacher quit and Josie never knew why.

Things are going well on the shopping assignment until Josie gets another surprise. Her major tormentor in school, Francine 'Frankie' Martin, breezes through the store still tormenting everyone in her path.

A short time later Josie discovers Frankie dead in the ladies restroom at the mall and her former teacher is arrested for the murder. Josie agrees to help her former teacher and find the real killer. As Josie begins to look into the murder she finds more and more people had reasons to want Frankie dead.

Author Elaine Viets will keep you guessing right up until the end. As one suspect is cleared, another is brought to light. Meanwhile, Josie is also dealing with her young daughter, her sometimes cantankerous mother, a new vet boyfriend, at cat named Harry, and Stuart Little, an abandoned shih tzu.

AN UPLIFTING MURDER will have you laughing one minute, worried for Josie's safety the next and all the while trying to figure out who the real killer is. The sixth installment in the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopping Series is a stand alone book. References to Josie's prior "shopping adventures" will only entice you to read the entire series. And by the way, there's great shopping tips at the end of the book.

An Uplifting Murder, A Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper Series by Elaine Viets, Obsidian, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-451-23170-3, Paperback, 304 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the author and the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

SAFE HAVEN by Nicholas Sparks
I have a love/hate relationship with Nicholas Sparks' books. I enjoy his writing but I know more than likely it will be a sad story or at least parts of it will be. I hate that about his work. However, at the same time I realize it must be included because he writes his characters to be realistic. These are characters you can really relate to either through personal experience or by knowing someone who's been in a similar situation.

All this holds time for SAFE HAVE as Sparks once again draws readers into a bitter love story with his latest novel of suspense, intrigue, danger and love.

Katie is a quiet, young women who tries her best to go about unnoticed by the residents of Southport, NC. But in this small town, it's hard for residents not to notice the beautiful mysterious woman.

Through a series of events, Katie slowly starts to make friends with Alex, a widower with two young children, and Jo, her out-spoken next door neighbor. Though she is reluctant to trust anyone, she slowly begins to come out of her shell.

Told through tortured memories, readers learn of Katie's former love and the menacing events that caused her to flee hoping to hide forever.

Author Nicholas Sparks tells the story not only from Katie's viewpoint, but also from that of her tormentor. It is in these sometimes ramblings that I caught myself saying, 'enough already.' However, I quickly realized these rambles were necessary to show the conflict and emotional swings her tormentor was going through.

SAFE HAVEN will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, while giving you a look at the terrifying life some people face daily and no one seems to notice.
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, Read by Rebecca Lowman, Hachette Audio, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-60788-619-8, 10 CDs, Approximately 11 hours run time 

FTC Full Disclosure - I request this audio and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


  1. Mason - Thanks for sharing these reviews. I know what you mean about Nicholas Sparks. He details both the wonderful and the terrible side of life experiences. Reading a Sparks novel is not a neutral experience; the reader gets invested.

  2. I haven't read a Sparks book for awhile, but he does have the knack for tapping into the readers' emotions, doesn't he?

  3. Margot, you are so right about reading a Sparks novel. You can't help but get invested in it. But that's what makes it a great read.

    Joanne, Sparks can tap so many emotions in such a short period of time. He can have you going back and forth with the same character even.

  4. I do like the Josie series. Thanks for the preview!

  5. The Uplifting one sounds terrific - my kind of read for NaNo month :)

    I have to admit I've never read Sparks. My daughter says they're far too emotional for me. I'd sob. :)

  6. The mystery sounds like fun...and like it would take us back to high school and all those horrendous experiences! LOL

    Nicholas Sparks is an author I haven't read in awhile. I've had my eye on this one, though, and I'm now thinking I should give it a try.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  7. That's a great line about being in a terrified roller coaster ride and no one else knows or cares. That sense of dfacing your fears all alone is indeed terrifying.

  8. Hi Mason --Have you ever read the Nicholas Sparks memoir he wrote with his brother? "Three Weeks With My Brother" is really worth a read if you like his work. I thought it was excellent.

  9. I've read all her books in this series and I can't wait to pick this one up off my shelf. Sometimes I don't like when I have too many books to choice from. Thanks for the review.

  10. Julia, the Josie Marcus series is fun to read. Hope you enjoy this one too.

    Jemi, Elaine Viets' series are great fun to read. Sparks is a tear jerker for sure.

    Laurel-Rain, always enjoy visiting your blog. The mystery will take you back to high school pranks and Sparks' book is good.

    Stephen, the fears the protagonist faces in SAFE HAVEN are the type you wonder how can this be continuing in our time.

    Patricia, I haven't read that one by Nicholas Sparks. I'm betting I'd have to have an extra box of tissue for that read. I always cry when I read (or listen) to his books.

    Dru, I know what you mean. There are so many great books to read it's hard to pick just one at a time. Josie is a fun character. I think you'll enjoy this too.

  11. What a great title! Your review certainly makes me want to read one of these books!


  12. Monti, thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoy reading these.

  13. The Josie Marcus series looks like fun. That's a new one for me. I haven't been reading a lot of Nicholas Sparks lately. Just haven't been in the mood for his kind of emotional roller coaster ride.

  14. Mason, thanks for mentioning "An Uplifting Murder." I know you get many books to review and I'm delighted that you mentioned my Josie Marcus series.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.