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Sara M. Barton is the author of several fast-paced mystery and thriller series, featuring lively characters and lots of action. "Miz Scarlet" (Scarlet Wilson Mystery series) is a teacher-turned-innkeeper, who throws herself into danger with a feisty determination to make things right, relying on cohorts like "Captain Peacock" and "Colonel Grey Poupon" to help her solve the clues. Deputy Gabby Grimm (Gabby Grimm Fairy Tale Mystery series) protects the citizens of Latimer Falls, where there are more cows, goats, and chickens than people, and she has her hands full when terrorists, organized criminals, and other bad guys wreak havoc with the peaceful village of Latimer Falls, Vermont. Sydney Stansfield (Off-the-Books Mystery series), an artist and interior decorator, is the sidekick of FBI Special Agent Henry Hartman, and she is often dragged into crises that result from his investigations. Bea Jones, a former bookstore manager, is the beleaguered wife of Benedick, a CIA officer forced into early retirement, and they bicker their way through a myriad of intelligence situations of Shakespearean proportions, even as they run their Vermont bed and breakfast, hosting a variety of spies, operatives, and even a couple of war refugees.
The author's passion for writing fiction comes through each tale. "There is nothing sweeter than sticking characters in the hot seat and making them find their way out of the darkness. I'm fascinated by human behavior and I love to see characters grow as they go through tough times. Life is never fair, but I believe in heroes, those people who don't take no for an answer, who put the greater good ahead of 'me, me, me'. But most of all, I enjoy a good story, seasoned with action, memorable characters, unpredictable behavior, and a monkey wrench big enough to jam up the best laid plans. It's the perfect human storm."
on June 10, 2013 :
The Bard’s Bed and Breakfast is a quaint place in Vermont that is operated by a retired CIA agent and his wife. The place is actually sort of a rest home for CIA agents who are dying or who just need to get out of the spy business for a while and relax in a comforting environment.
One guest in this the second in the series, is a chemist who has come to the Bard’s to die, but she is involved in some double agent work and the owners and other guests at the B&B become involved with trying to stop her and the folks she is working for. Of course they are able to call in active agents into the fray and their struggle for right.
I found the book to be interesting and easy to get into and try to figure out what was actually going on. Bea, the big hearted owner, is willing to take in all who have problems and shows a willingness to help them if they are willing to help themselves. She pulls the strings to get everyone on the same page and aimed at the right target. I look forward to reading the first book in the series and also any follow up ones. A very good read.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on April 16, 2013 :
This is the second book in the series. It involves more intrigue among the operators and residents of a B&B which is a retreat for spies between assignments or in retirement. Linda, a former spy now on hospice care, is being cared for at the inn. She has plans for revenge and tries to orchestrate her plans from her sickbed. Bea and Ben, along with some CIA help, must thwart these plans and keep Rose and her sister safe. Another enjoyable story which I received as an Early Reviewer.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Jan. 11, 2013 :
A Plague O' Both Your Houses by Sara Barton is book 2 in the Bard's Bed and Breakfast Mystery Series.
A quick warning, this review will contain spoilers from the first book (as is the nature of a series). If you're interested you can check out my review of Let Slip the Dogs of War here: http://www.librarything.com/work/13226895/book/93063106 or on my blog at: http://needtoreadgottowatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/shakespeare-meets-spies-and-terrorists.html.
Anyway, spoilers beyond here, so continue at your own peril.
Returning to the Bard's the story this time centres around Linda Romano- a retired CIA agent, who specialised in chemical and biological warfare. To be accurate, her job was to find antidotes, but to know how to cure it, she needed to know how it was created. Linda is a crotchety, old woman dying of lupus and plagued with the inability to treat anyone with a shred of decency. She has a nurse (the lovely Manie from Jamaica) to care for her round the clock and cater to her every need.
Linda is at the Bard's to live out her final days in peace and comfort. Being an ex-CIA agent, they set her up at a CIA specialising B&B, much to Bea's chagrin.
Bea and Ben are their usual selves and are still bickering constantly. In this book, we are joined by the Turkmani sisters, Fatima and Wardah- going by the aliases of Emma and Rosalind (Rosie for short) respectively. It's been a few months since the events of the first book and the girls have started at school, while their mother recuperates in Boston and their father fights his brother in Syria.
Again, terrorism is the plot here. When a letter that Linda sends off get intercepted by the CIA, claiming she's poisoned someone, the Bard's is soon filled with CIA agents from around the globe (all undercover of course) to find out the truth, most of which we are kept in the dark about. But then they are spies. Is the devious plot Linda's devised as simple as it appears, or is there a more sinister plan at hand?
In my review of the first book I said it was almost too fast-paced. In this book, that problem's gone. We have some nice down-time in between all the action (which definitely build this time), though a lot of it is information about the first book. There's a lot of deja vu as we re-read the first story in small chunks. I know it's a recap, but it's almost as if we're expected to have forgotten everything about the first book. We do get some nice extras though, giving us a little more information we didn't know about the characters or events from the first book. I was a little sad that there was virtually no mention of Yuri, but maybe he'll be in a another book, provided the series continues. And we do get a few tidbits about the mysterious Afari.
We also have a more complete ending and I can feel the books getting better as the series progresses. Again, I did enjoy this book, perhaps even more than the first. I preferred the plot of the first, but I prefer pretty much everything else about the second.
If you liked the first, you'll like this second book. If you didn't like the first, maybe give this one a try- why not? The series certainly has a charm about it that keeps me following its progress. I can't help but wonder- what dastardly plan will be the plot of the third book I wonder?
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Dec. 26, 2012 :
The second book of the 'Bard's Bed & Breakfast Mystery' serie is even better than the first one. Whereas in the first book the main focus is laid out on the introduction of all the protagonists, the second book goes into a espionage story based on a current and explosive case in the Middle East - Syria and Assad. In my opinion Sara Barton has done a masterpiece in embedding the up-to-dateness into a cosy mystery set out in Vermont.
Bea in her down-to-earth way is not only manoeuvring the trained agents she also has got a big heart for everyone and is always looking forward to killing two birds with one stone. Therefore she mostly needs the help of another confederate to make sure her husband's goodwill.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Dec. 08, 2012 :
A Plague O' Both Your Houses: A Bard's Bed & Breakfast Mystery #2 by Sara Barton
This is the second book of A Bard's Bed & Breakfast that I have read this weekend and I want more of the characters. It's dealing with spies,attempted murder,kidnapping full of drama,humor,wity dialog. It is also a soap opera. I want to know what happens next in the lives at the A Bard's Bed & Breakfast.
Uncle Edward, Lorna, Bea, and Ben are back running the bed & breakfast for the CIA to use.
This time they have a dying guest who worked in the CIA chemist, skilled in creating and defusing chemical and biological weapons. Linda Romano is a mean lady. She has a lot of anger in her life. She has sent a letter saying she poison Harry and if he does not come to visit her he won't get the antidote to cure himself.
Dealing with guests who are from the CIA or those who work with them, is never what it seems to be.
Bea because she was used as a pawn is now named Bea. Her husband ex CIA agent Ben. Always has plans that Bea can't know all of. Uncle Edward retired spy and professor.
Everyone tries to plan around everyone to get them to do what they want and you never know if thier idea is thiers or it fits into the CIA's plan after all.
Bea is still taking care of Rose and Emma while thier mom is still in hospital after being rescued by CIA. The father is working in his country as a rebel for the CIA as long as his family is safe.
I was given this book by the author and asked in return to give honest review of the story.
Published: Nov. 08, 2012 Words: 56747 (approximate) ISBN: 9781301645619
(reviewed the day of purchase)