Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Book Review About Grandmotherly Detectives and Cabana Boys

Okay. Not all of the grandmotherly detectives like cabana boys, and Tansy and Ida Mae are both a little surprised that straitlaced Arlette does--after all, at home, she's the one who keeps people whipped into shape.

However, this is not home. It's Mexico, where the three friends have come to bring Ida Mae's nephew, Ren, home from his mission. They go a few days early to have a dream vacation before meeting Ren, who is doing his best to end his mission quietly (except for his movie quotes) and with honor. Little does he know what lies in store. When Aunt Ida Mae is around, things are never ordinary.

Sun, sand, surf, jewel thieves, who needs anything more, right? You're probably thinking, "Wait, jewel thieves?" Yep. Trouble finds the silver-haired sleuths running straight into the clutches of not one, but two international jewel/artifact thieves. Or is it really one legitimate thief and one not-so-legitimate thief? Who knows? What we do know is that one way or another, Ida Mae and her friends will find a way to solve the mystery, or else they might not come back from their tropical vacation.

Targets and Ties by Tristi Pinkston is a clean, mild-mannered mystery with a little extra fun, a whole lotta spunk, and a touch of religion. One of my favorite things about this book is how Tristi has developed all her characters. Each one has a very defined personality. I'd love to be on an adventure with these gals.  The humor is clever, which I love. An easy, quick read, Targets in Ties is great for an entertaining getaway that doesn't get your heart pounding so hard you can't settle down at night, but keeps you turning pages wondering what Ida Mae and her cohorts friends are going to do next.

I am so looking forward to the next one in this series!

Tristi is celebrating the release of Targets and Ties by giving away a prize! (I'm a poet and I know it! Well . . . kind of. Maybe.)

The goods:

Leave a comment on this blog post, and go visit Tristi's blog at and become a follower.  You will then be entered to win this fun scrapbooking pack, including paper, tags, two decals, and metal tag frames. You have until midnight Mountain time on March 3rd to enter to win.

The lovely author herself!

Buy Targets in Ties online at Amazon

Visit Tristi's website for info about all of her books. I highly recommend it. I mean them. The website and the books. 

*I was not bribed in any way for my review, though if someone offered me Cadbury caramel eggs or Reese's pb eggs, I might cave. Or eat them in a cave. With some of Tristi's books for company. Give me a fuzzy blanket and a warm fire to keep away wild animals, and I'm in 100%.*

Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Review: Family by Design

Rena Jorgensen has everything a thirty-something single woman could want: a career as an interior decorator that is growing by leaps and bounds; a steady, pleasant boyfriend; loving parents and siblings, and a best friend. 

The problem? 

While Rena is in love and has a boyfriend, the two do not go hand-in-hand. Rena finds herself trying to tamp down feelings for her longtime best friend, Tucker. Dashing and handsome, no man Rena dates comes close to measuring up to Tucker. But Rena's been friends with him long enough that she knows he'll never see her as anything but a buddy.

When Tucker's brother and sister-in-law perish as the result of an accident, he is faced with a dilemma-- in the form of his small niece and nephew. Tucker has promised his brother he'll take care of the children, but being in the military means he could be called in from the reserves at any time, and Social Services has reservations about him being a single father in that situation. 

Tucker can only come up with one plan to keep his brother's children: marriage. And he only knows one woman well enough to consider asking. The question is, as much as Rena wants love, children, and a family, will accepting a ready-made one--with the possibility of no deep, romantic love--be the best decision she'll ever make, or the worst disaster ever?

My Review

For me, the test of enjoying a book is whether it draws me. If I'm interested in a story and what happens, I keep thinking about it until I reach the end. 

Family by Design drew me in, and I couldn't wait to finish it. A couple of nights ago, after my kids and husband went to bed, I got my chance. I curled up with some butter pecan ice cream, a warm, fleece blanket, and Family by Design.

One of the things I enjoy most about Heather Justesen's writing is the attention she gives her female leads. They are strong without being obnoxious, and very smart, yet have a tender, vulnerable side to them. I am always interested in their careers. Heather obviously does her research, and that helps the characters' jobs to be entertaining, which sets her books apart in this area. I always feel like I'm learning from an insider's perspective on an industry. 

The romance in this book is very nicely done. The kisses were sweet and very romantic while staying clean. I was agonizing through much of this book, which to me is the hallmark of a good romance. I did yearn for Rena to ask Tucker point-blank what his problem was with an emotional issue. But that's another reason I kept going back to the story, because I couldn't reach in there and shake the characters, so I had to find out what happened!

I particularly liked how realistically the children were depicted, with all their trials. The children were treated like the real characters (And in the case of the nephew, I do mean character!) they were, which added to the tenderness and sweetness of the story. I really enjoyed reading how Rena dealt with her hardships, and appreciated the fact that they weren't glossed over. Being an LDS-themed book, I did wonder where her church family was, especially after certain plot points, but I was so interested in the story that I soon forgot about that. Rena is a down-to-earth heroine who is easy to relate to, and I couldn't help but agonize and root for her. I'm looking forward to Heather Justesen's next book! 

Also, as a special promotion for anyone who buys a book ( Amazon Barnes and Noble )before February 5th, you can get a free ebook for her companion novella, “Shear Luck.” Once you buy a copy of her book go here Shear Luck  to get your free copy! 

As if that weren’t enough, Heather’s holding a host of giveaways! There are still prizes left, so hurry to her blog to find the rules of entering!

*I wasn't compensated in any way for this review.*