Bella McGuire

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Bella McGuire

  • The Boddy in the Snowbank on Nov. 25, 2011

    I discovered THE BODDY IN THE SNOWBANK after I read Dru's review over at her blog. I don't read many e-Books, but since this novel was free on smashwords I thought I would give it a try. THE BODDY IN THE SNOWBANK tells the story of Mr Boddy's demise, after he is found dead in a snowbank, following a very interesting dinner party. For such a short story (only 8 pages) this story is so much fun. For me, it was very reminiscent of early Agatha Christie, with the country estate and the intriguing characters, with oh so many secrets! With an ending full of surprises and one that I didn't see coming, it sure was a great way to spend a few minutes of reading on a winter's day. THE BODDY IN THE SNOWBANK is free at Smashwords right now. I highly recommend you try out this fun little mystery. It's a definite must for fans of classic mystery novels, and anyone that has ever played Cluedo/Clue.
  • A Cutthroat Business on Dec. 08, 2011

    I discovered A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS after I found the short story THE BODDY IN THE SNOWBANK by Jenna Bennett, and I wanted to read more of her books. A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS is a mystery involving a Savannah Martin, a Southern Belle turned realtor, who gets mixed up with a bad boy, by the way of sexy Rafe Collier, and trips over a murdered colleague. What follows is fun and adventure as Savannah tries to solve the murder, before the murderer strikes again! Before I start I have to tell my readers, that I have a long love/hate relationship with eBooks. I've had two eReaders and both of them were failed experiments. I just don't do well with the eReading phenomena. I like to hold a book and turn the page and yes *gasp* I like to crack the spine. I've all but given up the idea of reading full-length eBooks. However, after reading THE BODDY IN THE SNOWBANK, I connected with the author, Jenna Bennett, on Twitter and she convinced me that A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS was that good, and I just had to read it. So I abandoned my beautiful paper books and I picked up the iPad and downloaded A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS from Smashwords. Guess what I discovered? Jenna Bennett was absolutely right!!! A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS grabbed my attention from the very first page. There were so many laugh-out-loud moments, that at one time I almost coughed a mouthful of lemon gelato up all over the screen!! The sexual tension between good girl, Savannah, and bad boy, Rafe, had my toes curling repeatedly. After the first chapter, I was so immersed in the story and didn't even notice that I wasn't reading a paper book. I simply adored Savannah. Of all the amateur sleuths I've read recently, she has climbed up to the top of my list and completely knocked Stephanie Plum from the #1 spot. She has all of Stephanie Plum's sass and need for adventure, but with southern charm and she's not silly at all. With her southern ways you would expect her to maybe be a little silly, but she's not. She's sweet and assertive and oh so wonderful... “Top of the morning to you, Savannah!” I smiled back, or more accurately, showed teeth. “Hi, Tim.” “You look smashing today. Have a good weekend?” His bright baby blue eyes were malicious. “Great,” I said dryly, knowing full well that I looked like death warmed over. “Stumbling over a bloody corpse, especially one I know, is definitely my idea of a good time. There’s nothing quite like a whole lot of blood to give a girl some color in her cheeks.” I really enjoyed the mystery. It kept me guessing right up to the end, and it was full of lots of realtor knowledge. By the end I actually felt like I'd learnt something about realtors and their dealings every day. This made the story feel very well researched, and as all the pieces of the puzzle fell in place together it left me feeling like I'd read a well put-together story. I give A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS five stars. If you enjoy your cozy mysteries with a good shot of romance, and a love triangle with a sexy bad boy and a Southern gentleman in the mix, then you will love this book. A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS is very reminiscent of the Stephanie Plum books, but the laughs are louder, the romance is sexier and there is a great murder mystery to top it off. Don't hesitate to add A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS to your holiday reading. Readers, you won't be disappointed!
  • Hot Property on Dec. 11, 2011

    Fresh of reading A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS, I felt like I needed more Savannah Martin and even more importantly I needed more Rafe Collier. So I immediately picked up HOT PROPERTY, the second book in this series.  HOT PROPERTY picks up a few weeks after the end of A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS and sees Savannah trying to get on with her life and sell some houses. Unfortunately her chosen career is in jeopardy when a group of robbers decide to target realtors.  Soon one of the realtors turns up dead and Savannah has to try and catch the murderer before she ends up the one dead.  I love this series and so it's not going to come as a surprise that I simply adored HOT PROPERTY. HOT PROPERTY is the perfect mix of mystery, romance and adventure. The mystery was very good and left me guessing to the very end. This is the second time that Jenna Bennett has almost stumped me. I like to think I'm getting pretty good at solving cozy mysteries but so far Savannah is solving them before me! I really enjoyed Savannah as our amateur sleuth and even though she does put her foot in it (like when she tells Rafe exactly how inappropriate it would be for her to date him and how her family would not approve - girl forget the family, he is hot!) she is so sweet and likable and I find myself rooting for her to survive the adventure, and maybe sell a house or two!! Readers that adore Rafe in A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS will be pleased to know that he is more adorable and more sexy in HOT PROPERTY. Every time he says "darlin'" in that southern accent of his I swear I feel my toes curling involuntarily!! Trust me I'm pretty sure he has the same effect on Savannah. Watching their friendship and the sexual tension develop between them was a treat.  If you like your cozy mysteries on the sexy, romantic side I strongly encourage you to pick up HOT PROPERTY. You definitely won't be disappointed. The only think you will be asking yourself is why you haven't read them before now! HOT PROPERTY gets a 5 stars from me. It is a perfect winter read. No there is no Christmas or snow in it, but there is lots of edge-of-your-seat adventure and quite a few steamy tension-filled scenes with Savannah and Rafe to warm up your bones!
  • Contract Pending on Dec. 13, 2011

    Fresh off reading HOT PROPERTY I decided to pick up the next book in this series, CONTRACT PENDING. This series just gets better and better and I couldn't wait to find out what happens next! Savannah is back to trying to sell real estate and trying to not get into too much trouble. However trouble seems to follow her around when Marquita turns up dead, and it seems like someone is out to kill her and Rafe. It's up to Savannah to find the killer and delve into exactly what her growing affections for Rafe mean for her future.  CONTRACT PENDING is my favorite book in this series so far. All the sub-plots in the first two books come together for a dynamite of a novel that I simply couldn't put down.  While I easily guessed who murdered Marquita, I was so caught up in the story that it didn't deflect in my overall enjoyment of the story. In fact even though I knew the murderer I was surprised by some of the plot points surrounding the murder that I hadn't caught on. There was definitely a lot of gasps and ahhs as I frantically turned each page until I reached the end! This is the third book in the series and I really feel like I've learnt a lot about Savannah in the three books, and I'm continually fascinated by the life of a southern belle... "Todd ordered for both of us: white wine for me, red for himself. Grilled chicken for me, steak for himself. Black coffee for me, cheesecake for himself. Todd is partial to cheesecake. So am I, if it comes to that; I just can’t eat it while I’m out with him. It’s been firmly ingrained in me that a Southern Belle has a sixteen-inch waist and eats like a bird. So when Todd and I go out, I pick at my food and have black coffee for dessert, while I watch him enjoy his cheesecake. Yes, I resent it, but it’s life. I’m used to it by now." A meal without dessert? I couldn't handle the southern belle life, although I'm definitely envious of Savannah's shoe collection! I am absolutely hooked on this series. The murder mystery is always first class. The characters have me glued to every page and I can't wait to find out what Savannah is up to next.
  • Close to Home on Dec. 15, 2011

    When I read a good book I get so caught up in the outside world, that I can almost feel that I'm right there - in the story, observing it, living it. A good book evokes a passion in me, a passion to read more. As most of my readers know I simply adored the first three books in Jenna Bennett's Savannah Martin series. However, my adoration was nothing compared to how much I simply LOVED the fourth book, CLOSE TO HOME. CLOSE TO HOME sees Rafe off deep undercover, and Savannah back in Nashville missing him more than ever. However Savannah has her hands full, with an unplanned pregnancy and her sister-in-law turning up dead. It's up to Savannah, yet again, to put aside her real estate career and try and figure out the puzzle of Sheila's death. CLOSE TO HOME is an emotional rollercoaster. I had read a few reviews that had said how much CLOSE TO HOME is an emotional read, but I don't think I was prepared for how emotional. I quickly got wrapped up in the story, as Savannah tries to decide what to do with her pregnancy, especially without Rafe by her side to help, and tries to help her brother come to terms with his wife's death. I read CLOSE TO HOME within a day, as I was constantly willing myself to read more, more, more to find out what would happen to Savannah and her family. I won't give too much away as I don't want to spoil this for other readers, but I will say that this is a 5-star read that evokes so much emotion and backs up everything that I have said that this series is an outstanding series. If you love your mystery and your romance, you need to be reading this series! Jenna Bennett will have you falling head over heels for this Southern Belle, her complicated love life, and the adventures she has!
  • A Done Deal on Dec. 16, 2011

    Fresh off the emotional rollercoaster that was CLOSE TO HOME, I picked up A DONE DEAL to read next. Luckily A DONE DEAL was released on December 15th, so I didn't have to wait before I got a chance to pick up Savannah's story again. A DONE DEAL sees Savannah back in Nashville, licking her wounds after her latest adventure. She quickly becomes immersed in investigating Alexandra Puckett's new step-mom-to-be, and trying to avoid getting killed. I think Savannah describes it best... "But here I was, back again, and there was a sense of inevitability about it. A feel of fate, of things coming full circle." This is exactly how I felt with A DONE DEAL. So much has happened since Savannah's first adventure in A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS, but she has very much come full circle. She has grown and matured (yes even when you're well past your teens you can do that!). She's found someone that she wants to spend the rest of her life with, and yet there are so many things blocking her way to true happiness. I simply love that Savannah is coming around full circle, and that it is clear that a few of the storylines in previous books are being tied up. A DONE DEAL reads like a final book in a series. I'm not sure if Savannah will have anymore adventures to share, but for me I feel like I have read a completely epic, wonderful series with A DONE DEAL bringing it around full circle and being the best book of the series! I strongly recommend readers to read the Savannah Martin series. Read them in order from A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS onwards. Prepare yourself by taking at least a week off work, loading up your house with chocolate, ice-cream and all kinds of goodies, and settle in to read one of the best mystery series I've read in a long time. They are on-the-edge-of-your-seat adventure, with lots of thrills and toe-curling moments (seriously if Rafe doesn't curl your toes nothing will!). After finishing A DONE DEAL I feel so happy to have discovered this series, and a little sad that there is no more Savannah for me to discover. Luckily for me there will be plenty of chances to re-read the series! A DONE DEAL is a 5-star read. It's full of adventure, romance and a must-add to any mystery readers shelves.
  • White Collar Christmas on Dec. 16, 2011

    I'm not usually a fan of short stories, because sometimes they don't grab me, and other times I just feel like it's not enough. Luckily I was surprised when I picked up WHITE COLLAR CHRISTMAS and it grabbed me instantly. WHITE COLLAR CHRISTMAS tells the story of Sara and her first undercover operation. The man she has to bring down in sexy and oh so appealing. Will she be able to do the job, or will she fall under his spell? I really liked this story. It was well written and grabbed me from the first sentence. While I did feel like I could have had more, it was definitely more than enough to keep me interested for the short time it took me to read it. I will definitely be picking up another one of Misty Evans' books, and maybe next time a novel to satisfy my need for a longer story.
  • Same Time Next Year on Dec. 16, 2011

    I don't read very much romance these days. I more concentrate on mysteries, but after finishing the Savannah Martin series (which had quite a lot of romance, which I enjoyed) I thought I'd try a romantic short story.  SAME TIME NEXT YEAR is about two people that meet at the same hotel, same time every year. For the desk clerk she thinks they are cheating on their spouses, but who are these people and what is their story? Oh I liked this one! It was such a sweet, romantic story that was a perfect length for me. It was interesting seeing their relationship from different peoples point of views, and how they viewed each other.  I definitely recommend this for fans of romance, and even someone just wanting to dip their toe into the romance genre. A fun short story and definitely worthy of 5 stars.