First off, a HUGE shout out to Lynda aka @FishWithSticks for the new title.
Kat Holloway, a cook, and amateur sleuth find more than her palate tempted when a series of antiquities are stolen from various homes of the ton. With the eclectic Lady Cynthia and a new member of the household by her side, Kat begins investigating only to discover her dear friend Danial is already looking into it. When a man is murdered and Danial looks like he might take the fall for it, Kat gathers her wits and friends to find the real killer and see that justice is served.
Jennifer Ashley’s lasted who dun it is an intricate dance of drama and humor with a light sprinkle of romance. Set in the 1800s, Ashley’s heroine is a no-nonsense cook in a fine household with a solid constitution and a marshmallow heart. A complicated woman whose own life has been a series of trials, Kat welcomes all into her kitchen with a stern word and a warm hug. A hardy cast of personable cast adds to the humor with the intractable Lady Cynthia whose only crime is wanting freedom from her gender to the newest addition, Tess, a former child thief whose own issues appeal to Kat’s maternal instincts. The faint romance that started in book one advances alongside the action-packed mystery though fans may have to wait a little while longer to see what fruit will bear from this liaison. Once again, Ashley proves welds her craft with precision no matter the genre.
Dirty Girl by Meghan March
Dirty Girl Duet, #1
May 17, 2018
Greer Karas does the unthinkable when she discovers her boyfriend of two years cheating on her. She takes out an ad stating she needs a man with the right equipment to service all her needs. She is shocked when an old flame who disappeared on her three years ago suddenly turns up to answer her ad. CavanaughWestman may have left Greer but he never forgot her. Now one of Hollywood’s hottest leading men, he wants what he left behind and isn’t taking no for an answer. But there are things Greer doesn’t know about Cav or his past…and he’s positive once she finds out, she’ll be the one to leave him this time, for good.
I picked this up on a whim because it said humor and I’m a sucker for class difference romances. A rich girl falls for a poor boy only to discover he is not what he seems when he suddenly reappears in her after three years of silence. Full of sex and hurt feelings, Dirty Girl isn’t bad but it comes off rather one dimensional for most of the book. The list of questions adds up with with the hero constantly trying to sex the heroine into submission. I think I would have liked it better if March hadn’t focused just on this couple. I wanted more external interaction with other characters; though meeting Greer’s bestie was fun and I think her brother is going to prove interesting. The last little bit was the best part and of course, it ended on a cliffie. *sigh* I think I will read the sequel because, despite it all, I really want to learn more about Cav’s past and how all this came about.
Rogue Soul by Chelsea Mueller
Soul Charmer, #2
July 9, 2018
Callie Delgado is forced to apprentice herself to the Soul Charmer in order to save her junkie brother from a drug dealer. With him firmly settled on her sofa, Callie tries to keep them both safe from the dealer’s growing interest while trying to survive her new job. When soul renters bodies start popping up dead on the Soul Charmer’s doorstep, he tasks her and her partner, Derek, with finding the killer and bringing them to him. But Callie wants justice… and to make sure that the next murder isn’t hers.
In full disclosure, Chelsea is a friend of mine and I am in awe of her with all the hats she wears and her sheer awesomeness as a person. That being said, I am truly sad to have to write this review. I read book one of Mueller’s debut Urban Fantasy and liked though I wasn’t blown away. It reminded me a little of Stacia Kane’s Downside series but without the tension, darkness, or world building. We know a little about the religion-fueled government of Gem City but there is very little interaction with the powers that be. I wanted more about the city, it’s rooted, and what lead them to this. I did find Callie interesting in some aspects but she has an apologetic fatalist attitude that grates. Her life is a combo of bad mistakes and poor judgment with a heaping side of crappy family members that take advantage. For the 30%, all her brother does is sleep. Derek, who came off rather mysterious in the beginning now seems rather emo as he is firmly embedded in Callie’s shadow without much to distinguish him as his own person. I wanted more from everyone. More emotion-more punch. I loved the premise of the conflict and the hints of duel antagonists but the beginning dragged so much, I finally gave up.