Blog Tour! Death Plays a Part

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Death Plays a Part by Vivian Conroy

With her theater closed for renovations, Guinevere lands a summer job cataloging books at a castle on Cornisea, a small island off the coast of England. Together with her little dachshund Dolly, she sets off, expecting an idyllic summer exploring the tiny island. When she arrives, she’s delighted to learn that the castle is hosting a re-enactment of a historic trial, but when a man is found murdered in the dungeon and her new employer is accused, Guinevere jumps into action to find the real killer, uncovering a greedy plot and family secrets.

Thoroughly enjoyable first in a new series, with a charming location, rich plot and of course, an adorable Doxie.  What more can you ask for in a cozy?  I loved this from the very first page,  I felt like I was right there along with Guinevere as she got off the train heading for Cornisea, I could almost feel Dolly tugging at the leash!  The pace was perfect, introducing the characters with just enough detail to make them jump right off the page and setting up the puzzling plot full of twists and turns that kept me glued to the book.  I enjoyed watching it all unfold, locked room mysteries are my favorite and I really appreciated Guinevere’s thought process in solving it,  no sudden AHA! moment for our girl, she sat down and figured it all out rationally.  Go LOGIC!

Overall, Death Plays a Part charmed the socks off me and I can’t wait for the next book to come out in August.  Will Oliver and Guinevere let their sparks fan into a relationship? Will Lord Bolingbrooke ever catalog all of his books? Will the treasure be found? I’m gonna stay tuned for more!

Be sure to stop in at the next stop on the Cornish Castle Blog Tour tomorrow at Avonna Loves Genres

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Series: Cornish Castle #1
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: July 7, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle
ASIN: B06XGHVCHH
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Prawn Identity

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The Prawn Identity by Morgana Best

This is a light and entertaining cozy mystery series, I love heading into the outback to visit Sibyl and her friends and this time around, property developer Greg Summers and his wife Lisa are staying at Cressida’s boarding house on their honeymoon. Greg’s company is currently planning to develop a large area of ecologically sensitive bushland, and this brings protesters out in full force. One morning, Lisa is killed when a balcony collapses. Was it just a tragic accident? Was it related to Greg’s development deal? Who was the real target? Sibyl and her friends set out once again to catch a killer and as if things couldn’t get much worse, the village’s building inspector is trying to close down Cressida’s boarding house for being unsafe and even Sibyl can’t catch a break when Blake’s ex-girlfriend shows up in town.

The Prawn Identity (LOL love the titles in this series!) is a great addition to the series. The entertaining plot kept me guessing with lots of surprises and plot twists and no shortage of suspects. There was lots going on in this one, and I liked that it kept the pace moving quickly, but there wasn’t so much that you couldn’t keep track of what was going on. As always, there’s a lot of laughs (Tiny and the poodle!) and I love the banter between Cressida and Mr. Buttons, and I would love to know more about their back story! Why does Cressida only paint gory death scenes? Was Mr. Buttons really a butler? I need more info!  The surprising ending wrapped up the book nicely, and  the sprinkling of romance between Sibyl and hunky cop Blake adds the awwww factor that makes this series irresistible.

You really can’t go wrong with the Australian Amateur Sleuth series and I definitely recommend this series for any cozy mystery fan looking for suspenseful plots, a unique setting and entertaining characters.

Series: Australian Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Cozy Mysteries Books
Publication Date: April 22, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ASIN: B01EO8ODFQ
ISBN: 9781532898587
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Antique House Murders

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The Antique House Murders by Leslie Nagel

When family friend,Calvin, an estate auctioneer, invites Charley to Mulbridge House, the estate of a recently deceased elderly woman that holds decades of historical finds, including some vintage designer clothes, Charley jumps at the chance to snap them up to sell at her shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. While she’s there, she witnesses a heated exchange between the dead woman’s daughter and a local woman who claims she was promised the estate for the town’s historical society. A fiery feud erupts, pitting the estate’s heirs, who intend to tear down the estate and build high priced homes, against the townspeople opposed to the new development. Charley somehow finds herself caught in the middle and later discovers Calvin dead and the estate’s records missing. She begins her own investigation and uncovers a huge plot surrounding prime real estate, greed and betrayal and finds herself the target of a ruthless killer.

This is the second book in the Oakwood Mystery series and I loved it even more than the first! It’s so easy to fall into the world of Oakwood, Ohio, Charley and her friends are an enjoyable bunch, and a new character promises to lead to a really cute story line in future books. I love the author’s writing style, the story is told from different characters at some points, and lends more depth to the story. The supporting characters are so much more than background noise and it adds a lot to the story. The great plot was a real rollercoaster ride, with so many good suspects and red herrings that it was easy to get thrown off the trail (like Charley did, I guess!) and the great pace kept the suspense building to a thrilling conclusion that will get your heart racing.

Although labeled as a cozy mystery, I’d put it on the outer fringe of cozy, with a few cuss words and a little bit more steamier romance than you’d find in a cozy mystery (although not graphic and certainly just a minor part of the overall story.) It’s not a detractor for me, and I think Marc and Charley are just adorable, and watching their relationship evolve adds a fresh aspect to the genre, a little bit of realistic interaction I don’t often see in books.

The Antique House Murders is an excellent second book in the Oakwood Mysteries series, and one I definitely recommend to readers looking for a not-your-average-cozy mystery. Definitely a series to watch!

 

Series: The Oakwood Mysteries
Publisher: Alibi
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle
ASIN: B01ILZPRPI
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Right Side

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The Right Side by Spencer Quinn

Poignant, eloquent, and spellbinding!

Sgt. LeeAnn Hogan is at Walter Reed, recovering from the disfiguring wounds and trauma suffered in a failed military operation in Afghanistan. Disoriented, angry and scared, she takes solace in the friendship with her hospital roommate, Marci. When Marci’s suddenly dies, it sends LeeAnn adrift; signing herself out of the hospital, she takes off to an uncertain future, deciding along the way to visit Marci’s hometown in Washington State. When she arrives, she finds that Marci’s daughter, Mia, has gone missing. Feeling a responsibility to help, LeeAnn is compelled to help find the little girl, the last thread that binds her to her dead friend. Along the way, she’s forced to confront herself and her demons and start the road back to her new life.

The Right Side will definitely be one of my top books of 2017! More suspense than mystery, it was an fantastic read, and so hard to sum up all the things that I loved without rambling on too long! The pace was perfect, taking just the right amount of time to set up the main character and her world, not only LeeAnn’s mental state after she was wounded, but also snapshots of her formative years, providing a strong base for her reactions and experiences in the later part of the book, which made it feel more authentic and realistic. Superbly written, I was quickly drawn into LeeAnn’s struggles, I couldn’t help but admire her. Her pain, confusion and struggle is palpable, leaving me slightly uncomfortable (in a good way, if that’s at all possible!) and so grittily realistic that it’s almost like reading a true story.  I loved that Goody is a reflection of LeeAnn herself, even if she doesn’t recognize it, and that sets her on a course to recover both mentally and physically. Tough, resolute and enigmatic, they make a perfect pair. The satisfyingly ambiguous ending left the door open for further adventures with LeeAnn and Goody, something I truly hope will come to be.

 

Publisher:Atria Books
Publication Date:June 27, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:978-1501118401
ASIN: B01M6B8X5X
Genre:Mystery/Suspense
Reviewer:Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Hospitality and Homicide

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Hospitality and Homicide by Lynn Cahoon

I sat down last night to read for an hour or 2 until my favorite show came on and missed my show! (Thank goodness for DVRs!) There were two riveting plots in this one, B&B innkeeper Walter is found dead, murdered in a way that closely mirrored the plot of visiting crime author Nathan Pike’s new novel and a child missing after being swept off the beach by a wave. Esmeralda claims he’s still alive but in peril and won’t survive much longer. I was totally roped in by this story line, Esmeralda was definitely the unsung hero of this book! I loved seeing more of her (she’s always been one of my favorite characters!) The storyline about Walter’s murder was baffling and I loved the surprise twist at the end. Throw in relationship issues, Economics finals, broken hearts, hot coffee and a slice of cheesecake and you’ve got a riveting cozy mystery to wrap yourself up in.

I’ve read this series from the beginning, I’ve always felt is was more than just a cozy mystery series, it’s also a community; one that you stop and visit often to catch up with the characters. I love that the story lines progress naturally and there’s always new people to meet and love. I know Deek will be a great addition to the CBM family and what was the deal with Nathan? Multiple personalities? That’s a plot unto itself!

Overall, another excellent chapter in the Tourist Trap series and ranks up there as the best of the series. Definitely a must read for any cozy mystery fan!

Review: Grand Prize: Murder

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Grand Prize: Murder by Vivian Conroy

Vicky Simmons is back in Grand Prize Murder, the second book in the Country Gift Shop series. Author Bella Brookes has come to Glen Cove on a book tour to kick off a scavenger hunt to publicize her newest novel. When a man is found murdered next to an item linked to Bella, Vicky is certain that Bella is being framed and starts her own investigation. Hampered by a reporter with an agenda and trying to keep her promise to Cash to stay out of his investigations, Vicky sets out to unravel tightly held secrets to find a killer.

Light and entertaining, Grand Prize Murder combines colorful characters with a twisty, puzzling plot that kept me glued to the book. This is the second book in the Country Gift Shop series (can be read as a standalone, but I definitely recommend reading the first one in this series!) and I loved returning to Glen Cove and Vicky’s adorable gift shop. What really sets this apart from other cozies is that the clues are little teasers that pulled me in and kept me reading. I would’ve loved it if the scavenger hunt was a bigger part of the story, it would’ve been a great way to introduce more of Glen Cove, giving me a better sense of the place. I liked that Bella was herself a cozy mystery author, sort of like a truth-meets-fiction moment, and I loved how how the scavenger plot was a cozy mystery within a cozy mystery. Cute! And I loved the little plot twist at the end of the book, it really capped off a great mystery.

Overall, a great mystery and a cute little series and highly recommended for cozy mystery fans.

Review: Your Killin’ Heart

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Your Killin’ Heart by Peggy O’Neal Peden

Campbell Hall, a travel agent in Nashville, TN, grew up surrounded by the history of country music. When her boyfriend, Doug Elliot, has to pick up a few paintings at the estate of Jake Miller, a long dead country music legend who died young, Campbell begs to tag along, hoping to catch a glimpse inside the opulent mansion still occupied by Jake’s widow, Hazel. When she’s left alone for a moment, Campbell can’t help but take a look around and peeks into what turns out to be Hazel’s bedroom, with Hazel seemingly asleep in the bed. When it is reported that night that Hazel was found dead and is later determined to have been murdered, Campbell is compelled to investigate. Uncovering long held secrets and pursued by a killer, Campbell risks it all to find justice.

I loved this! The first in a new series, I already know I’ll keep coming back for more. Besides the great plot, the characters were likable and realistic, especially Campbell, she’s my kinda gal. Self-described as “a little too honest” she’s impulsive, inquisitive, and a little bit socially awkward – in other words, me in a nutshell. Even the setting was a character in itself, with tidbits about the music, the history and the culture of Nashville, TN. It was so vivid, it felt like I was really there.

I really enjoyed the plot, lots of good suspects and lots of suspects you don’t realize are suspects and suspects you suspect but aren’t actually suspects. Lots of plot twists and red herrings kept me guessing and the thrilling ending left me satisfied. The story left a few plot points open to be explored in later books and I’m eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

A light, entertaining cozy mystery that will keep you guessing, Your Killin’ Heart is a fantastic start to a new series and a must read for any cozy mystery fan.

Series: A Nashville Mystery #1
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 02, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback/ePub
ISBN: 9781250122681
ASIN: B01M22DDWQ
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Raven Rock

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Raven Rock by Garrett M. Graff

The unthinkable has happened; time has run out, the missiles have been launched and the United States as we know it is doomed. But never fear! The government has planned extensively to assure their safety and that their reign will continue without interruption – even if there’s nothing left to govern after it’s all over!

Raven Rock explores the history of the people and events that brought about these plans, spanning the span of time since the end of World War II, from Truman to Obama (who signed a bill in 2009 giving the US Postal Service the sole responsibility of delivering “biological counter-measures” in the event of a biological weapons attack. Which is better than FedEx (who always seems to deliver my packages late, but that’s another story.)

After I watched a Travel Channel show that talked about The Greenbriar, I picked up Raven Rock to read more about the history behind that Cold War bunker mentality and found much, much more. The easy flow of the book drew me in quickly, the anecdotes and trivia kept things light and interesting and the very linear layout stayed on topic without extraneous detail to confuse the reader.

Raven Rock is an engrossing history illuminating a shadowy aspect of the government not well known or understood and I definitely recommend it to history buffs and trivia fans alike.

Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date:  May 2, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Hardcover
ISBN: 9781476735405
ASIN: B010MHAG72
Genre: History
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Cloakroom Corpse

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Cloakroom Corpse by Sherry Lodge

Cassie Hall and her peep-toe shoes have stepped into another mystery at The Parkstone, the luxury apartment building where she works as the night shift concierge. While checking her mail, she overhears Mason, the day shift concierge, having a heated argument with someone in the lobby. Moments later, Cassie finds Mason in the cloakroom, stabbed with a letter opener. As a prime suspect, and with Mason’s grieving girlfriend to look after, Cassie finds herself on yet another case, despite her police detective boyfriend Eric’s disapproval.

First of all, stick hidden/secret rooms in a book and you’ve captured my attention. Add in a mysterious curse and I’m hooked. I could happily spend an afternoon in a secret room, exploring all the nooks and crannies but since I don’t have any secret rooms, the next best thing is to spend an afternoon reading about someone exploring secret rooms. This looks like it will continue in later books, and I’m looking forward to reading more about The Parkstone and its secrets.

I really enjoyed the great plot, who murdered Mason and why? One by one, all the secrets Mason has been hiding are dragged out, bringing a new suspect. It seems like all of The Parkstone resident have something to hide! Now I’m wondering what Mr. Gilrot’s dirty little secrets are….hopefully in the next book? And Mrs. Canterbury! You know she’s got more than one skeleton in her closet.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a little romance, and the sweet ending capped off a great mystery.

Cloakroom Corpse is a great addition to the charming Cassie Hall Mystery series, and definitely a must read for any cozy mystery lover.

Series: Cassie Hall Mystery
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press
Publication Date: March 19, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN: 9781946063144
ASIN: B06XR6Z8CV
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Single Malt Murder

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Single Malt Murder (Whisky Business #1) by Melinda Mullet

Single Malt Murder weaves a twisty tale of greed, murder and whisky into a captivating cozy mystery. Set in the idyllic Scottish Highlands, Abi inherits a whisky distillery from her uncle and suddenly finds herself the target of threats and sabotage. When a young man from the village is found dead in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to find out who is sabotaging her uncle’s distillery and just what’s important enough to kill for.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, the history and methods of the whisky making process are neatly woven into the story, although I’m not a drinker, I do like to know how things work and it really enhanced the story for me and set the book apart. The twisty, suspenseful plot kept a steady pace and I liked that the author left a few plot lines open to be developed in future books. How will Abi juggle her photojournalist career with a distillery? Will her romance with the hunky Grant lure her to live in Scotland, or will she hang on to her photojournalism career in London? Lots of places to grow, and I definitely want to come come back for more. Add in likable, engaging and quirky characters (I really liked Abi and her three adjectives!) and an exciting ending and you’ve got an excellent debut cozy and a promising start to a new series.

Series: Whisky Business #1
Rating: 4 stars
Publisher: Alibi
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub
ISBN: 9780399179051
ASIN: B01HL180QG
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New Release! The Courtyard Corpse

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The Courtyard Corpse: A Cassie Hall Concierge Mystery by Sherry Lodge

Cassie Hall, a concierge at the exclusive Parkstone luxury apartment building in Bethesda, MD, is thrilled when golf superstar Kip Ace and his wife, Bunny move into the building. Not long after, Cassie finds Kip in the Parkstone’s Crabapple Courtyard – dead! With The Parkstone in a 24 hour lockdown while police investigate, restless residents and her job on the line, Cassie sets out to find a killer

I really enjoyed this charming cozy, it was a great weekend read. With a fast-paced plot full of misdirection that had me glued to the book, it was one of those great stories where you change your idea of whodunit with each chapter. With likable characters and a comfortable atmosphere, it was easy to get locked into The Parkstone with all the other residents. I got a real kick out of Mrs. Canterbury, and Cassie is an engaging main character, determined, stubborn and resourceful. I liked that the characters had enough of an introduction to give you a good idea of who they are, but leaving a few questions to be (hopefully) answered in later books.

The Courtyard Corpse is a great start to a new series, and definitely one I’ll keep on my watch list. Cozy mystery fans will find a great new world to enjoy at The Parkstone, and a perfect weekend read.

The Courtyard Corpse is available at book retailers or online at Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Series:Cassie Hall Concierge #1
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publication Date: March 12, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN: 9781946063137
ASIN: B06XJQW23W
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New Release! Purr M for Murder

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New release!  Purr M for Murder is a fantastic start to a new series and will appeal to cat fanatics and cozy mystery fans looking to curl up with a purr-fectly charming tale.

Sydney and her sister Kat run Friendly Paws, an animal shelter in Deer Park, North Carolina. The shelter has run into financial difficulties, so Sydney and Kat team up with a local coffee shop to host a Cat Cafe, all to benefit the shelter and to get some of the cats adopted. The only problem is that one of the townspeople, an influential property owner named Trowbridge Littleton, is determined to shut the Cat Cafe and the animal shelter down. Determined to change his mind, Sydney and Kat show up at his shop and discover him dead on the floor. Under suspicion and intent on saving the animal shelter from being closed, the sisters team up to find a killer.

Read my full review or better yet, pick up the book at your local book retailer or online at Amazon   |  Barnes & Noble

New Release Cruel Winter

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New release!  Cruel Winter by Sheila Connolly

An outstanding mystery with a fresh, original plot that drew me in and kept me turning pages. There’s no stumbling over a dead body here; instead, a cold case is poured over and debated. It was almost Agatha Christie-ish, simple, yet complex in a locked room setting.

Read my full review or better yet, head to your nearest book retailer to pick up a copy or buy online at   Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

New Release! For Whom the Bread Rolls

33179107Happy Release Day, Sarah Fox!  For Whom the Bread Rolls is now available!  

Sarah Fox has written another yummy Pancake House mystery guaranteed to keep cozy fans coming back for seconds.

The great plot and steady pace kept me guessing, and that surprise ending crêpe’d up on me and it was over almost too fast. The plot was tricky with lots of misdirection to keep things interesting, and there was muffin that diminished how much I enjoyed this book.

All of these puns are bacon me hungry!

Read my full review here or better yet, pick up your copy today at your local book retailer or onliine at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

New Release! Pressed to Death

30846960Pressed to Death (Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum #2) by Kirsten Weiss

Maddie has just bought a haunted grape press for her Paranormal Museum when she’s accused of stealing it by a vintner that Maddie later finds dead. Coerced into investigating by her mother, Maddie puts catching a killer at the top of her to-do list, along with staging a room at a Halloween haunted house and hosting a Death Cafe at the Paranormal Museum.

I liked this, but I was a little disappointed. At the heart of this book is a good premise and an intriguing plot. The current day murders had a lot of twists and turns, and the story behind the haunted grape press (and everyone’s reaction to it) was entertaining. I loved Maddie’s room at the Haunted House (actually, I would’ve loved to see the whole thing!) and the descriptions of the custom Oujia boards she sells made me want to go out and buy one. As for Adele’s new descriptions of her teas, I thought they were colorful and a bit corny, but pornographic? Nope. Harper needs to get out more.

Unfortunately, the murders weren’t the focus of the book; the plots were largely buried under the weight of Maddie’s love life, the town placing bets on whether Maddie will solve the crime, the Ladies Aid anarchy, the Death Cafe, and the terrifically annoying Detective Hammer whose purpose seems only to be a distraction and is a negative stereotype that makes police look bad (as if they need any more of that. I’m seeing this more and more in books and it infuriates me.  I doubt it’s the author’s intent to vilify the police, but it’s entirely unwelcome.  It’s such a cliche to have a bitchy woman character that hates the MC, and it’s implausible that such an immature, hostile and rude person would stay on the force long enough to become a detective. Ugh. Can we stop this, please? )

I just feel like it was all too much…stuff that was crammed into the book, and the plots suffered for it, especially the haunted grape press story line, it just sort of petered out with a barely-there resolution.

Overall, this is a very cute and enjoyable series (and I still love the idea of a paranormal museum!) and this book was a good read but it would’ve been so much better if the focus was more on the mystery and less on all the other silliness.

Thank you to Midnight Ink and Netgalley, who provided an advanced copy in return for my honest review.

Pressed to Death is available at book retailers or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Series: Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum #2
Rating:★★★✰✰ 3 stars
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: March 8, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback/ePub
ISBN: 9780738750316
ASIN: B01FOR0Z7G
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them

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Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Get Well Soon isn’t so much a historical book about plagues, it’s also about the human side of plagues; the healers, the sufferers and the people left behind. The book details not only catastrophic plagues like The Black Death, but also some of the lesser known plagues like the Roman Empire-ending Antonine Plague and The Dancing Plague in 16th century Europe (which sounds all very funny until you read that people pretty much danced their feet off. Literally.)

All the major maladies are touched on, from the horrific syphilis and tuberculosis plagues to the ravages of typhoid, smallpox and cholera throughout history. The sad fate of many plague victims, abandoned by their families and in some cases, abandoned by society, was all very heartrending. I also thought it was very interesting how the Victorians glamorized the pale, gaunt appearance of tuberculosis sufferers. Looking at any of today’s popular fashion models or actresses, it’s obvious that’s an ideal that persists even today.

For the most part, this was very entertaining but felt a bit preachy in spots. Although I don’t fault the author for having strong feelings about her subject, it felt a bit like I was being lectured to.

Overall, Get Well Soon is an informative and entertaining trip through the perils of the past, and anyone who loves history (and plagues. I’m sure there are people out there who enjoy a good plague.) will definitely enjoy it.

Thank you to Henry Holt and Co. and Netgalley for an advance copy.  This review is my honest and unsolicited opinion. 

Rating:★★★✰✰ 3 stars
Publisher:Henry Holt & Co
Publication Date:Feb 07, 2017
Language: English
ISBN:9781627797467
ASIN: B01IA6FNUW
Genre:History, Non-Fiction
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Aunt Bessie Likes

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Aunt Bessie Likes (Isle of Man #12)  by Diana Xarissa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aunt Bessie returns in the 12th Isle of Man mystery to help her police friends solve the cold case disappearance of three teenage cousins in 1970.  The case flounders when no new evidence is uncovered until an anonymous tip leads police to several bodies buried in a garden. Is 40 years too long for Bessie to unravel the mystery behind the girls in the garden?

In Aunt Bessie Likes, young PC Hugh Watterson is following up on cold cases and decides to pursue the disappearance of three teenage cousins in 1970. Out of all the Aunt Bessie books, I think this will rank up there as one of my favorites. I love cold case mysteries, probably because there’s nothing more satisfying than to find an answer to an unknown. I also love hearing more about the history of Bessie’s Isle of Man (where everyone seems to think murder has only recently come to visit, but Hugh’s stack of cold cases prove this untrue.) The twisty plot, sprinkled with a few red herrings, kept me second guessing myself through the whole book and the ending was both satisfying and exciting.

All in all, another exciting Bessie adventure, and I highly recommend this adorable and well-written series to cozy mystery fans looking for a clean, light read.

View all my reviews

Review: Fatality by Firelight

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Fatality by Firelight (Cat Latimer #2) by Lynn Cahoon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis

Cat is hosting her second writers’ retreat at her B&B located in a small academic town of Aspen Hills, Colorado and hoping this retreat will be more tranquil than the first.  Her hopes are dashed when one of her guests comes under suspicion for the murder of local bad boy romeo Tommy. To complicate things, a mystery man shows up who seems to know too much about her, and a series of book thefts has everyone scratching their heads. There’s snow way Cat can’t just sit around, she’s out to solve the mystery!

Review

Gliding down the slopes…blazing fires in the fireplace…the crunch of snow underfoot…steaming mugs of hot cocoa…the dead body in the hot tub – only Lynn Cahoon could make snowy Colorado a hot destination, even in the depths of winter! With several mysteries woven into one fast-paced plot, I was glued to the book until the very last page. I loved the action-packed plot – Stalkers! Murders! Kidnapping! Booknapping! *gasp* – all with so many twists and turns, it was like a cozy mystery slalom! The on-going mystery surrounding the death of Cat’s ex-husband added a layer of intrigue and the mysterious stranger added a bit of spice to shake up Cat’s comfortable life.

All in all, Fatality by Firelight is a thoroughly enjoyable and well-crafted mystery guaranteed to keep you guessing (and entertained!) While this book can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the first in the series to get the full backstory about Cat’s ex-husband (and because it’s a good book.)

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book. This review is my honest, unsolicited opinion

Series: Cat Latimer #2
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date:  Feb 28, 2017
Language: English
Formats:  Kindle/Paperback
ISBN: 9781496704375
ASIN: B01GBAG6VO
Genre:Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: When the Grits Hit the Fan

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When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day (Country Store #3)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buried in the depths of winter in southern Indiana,  it’s been months since diner owner Robbie Jordan has found herself in the middle of a murder.  All of that changes when she finds a local professor dead, frozen beneath the ice in the middle of Crooked Lake.  When Robbie’s friend Lou falls under suspicion, Robbie can’t help but investigate.  With a town full of people who hated the victim, several suspects who have seemingly airtight alibis, puzzling objects found in the walls during remodeling and an intruder who keeps breaking into the  hidden tunnel under Robbie’s diner, Robbie’s sleuthing skills are put to the test. Can she find a killer with a perfect recipe for murder?

Out of the three books in this series, this one is my favorite. The series has finally hit its stride, showcasing the flavor of southern Indiana with a picturesque setting, colorful characters and an absorbing plot that pulls you right into the wonderful world of South Lick. Picture it: the snow gently falling on the rolling hills, the small town diner serving delicious food with a heaping side of gossip, and the warmth of friends and family – it’s all so inviting that it’s easy to get comfortable. And that’s what I like most about cozy mysteries, how comfortable you are sinking into them, and the Country Store series is an excellent example; it’s a great place to spend a few hours, even if there is a murderer on the loose. Throw in a victim that you love to hate (let’s face it, it’s always satisfying when a thoroughly disagreeable character is the victim, isn’t it?) and no shortage of suspects, each with their own good motive for murder, plus hidden tunnels, puzzling objects found in the walls during remodeling and an action packed ending and you have the perfect recipe for a great cozy mystery.

When the Grits Hit the Fan will be released on March 28, 2017.

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book. I was not compensated, and this is my honest and unsolicited review.
Series:Country Store #3
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher:Kensington Books
Publication Date: 28 Mar 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:9781617739293
ASIN: B01GBAIXGK
Genre:Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Join me in celebrating The Swap with an Author Q&A and Giveaway!

The Swap by Nancy Boyarsky has finally been released, I read the advance copy last year and loved it.  I’ve been impatiently awaiting the release date ever since, and now everyone can enjoy it!

The author, Nancy Boyarsky, has done a wonderful little Q&A, don’t miss it!  And to celebrate the release , I’ve got an autographed copy to give away to one lucky winner (US residents only) and details can be found at the bottom of the page. Contest is open from February 7, 2017 until February 21, 2017. Enter to win today!

My review:

When Brad Graves is transferred to London temporarily, wife Nicole comes along in an attempt to save her failing marriage. After arranging a house swap with the Lowrys, Nicole and Brad settle in at their temporary home. Soon after, strange things happen and Nicole begins to feel like her life is in danger. After reporting several terrifying incidents to the police, who are sympathetic but disbelieving, and when the Lowrys don’t show up at her LA condo, Nicole begins to investigate on her own and finds herself being drawn deeper and deeper into trouble.

The Swap is the debut novel by the author and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I sat down to read it. Once I started it, it was hard to put it down! I read about half of this one evening and then couldn’t sleep all night because I was so busy thinking about what was going to happen. I loved the premise of a house swap gone wrong, and there was a mystery on almost every page. Who can Nicole trust? Who is behind the attacks and what do they want? What happened to the Lowrys? And the one question that wasn’t answered, who broke in to her condo in L.A.?

This was the kind of thriller that raises the hair on the back of your neck, and it’s all too easy to feel Nicole’s fear as she’s stalked, threatened and accosted by thugs, her anguish over her crumbling marriage, and her betrayal, anger and sadness towards Brad. On the other hand, there were a few times when I wanted to reach in the book and give Nicole a good, hard shake and tell her to wake up. Seriously, girl, your intuition is waaay off! The spectacular conclusion was the perfect way to end the book, a little romance and a lot of action. What more can you ask for?

The Swap is an excellent 5 star thriller that will keep you turning pages – and looking over your shoulder – right to the very last page.

The Swap is available  at book retailers or online at  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author and  Q&A

bf60141f0dd9656ae499ed0830238e99The Swap: A Mystery is Nancy Boyarsky’s first novel. She has been a writer and editor for her entire working career. She coauthored Backroom Politics, a New York Times notable book, with her husband, Bill Boyarsky. She has written several textbooks on the justice system and articles for newspapers and magazines. In addition to her writing career, she was communications director for political affairs for ARCO. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a major in English literature. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and now lives in Los Angeles.

What made you decide to have The Swap set in London? Did you consider any other locations?
London is my favorite of all cities. My husband and I go there almost every year. I wanted to have a mystery built around the concept of an innocent abroad, and London seemed the perfect setting.

How did you do your research for The Swap? Did you go to London?
My husband and I swapped houses with a London couple a number of years ago. The house in Chiswick is the house we stayed in, although I made it more sinister for the sake of the plot. We also took a tour up the west coast of Scotland to the Isle of Skye, a journey I included in the book when Nicole goes (much against her will) along that same route. On the way to Skye, we stayed at a wonderful hotel called the Isle of Eriska. The hotel is an old manor house dating back to the late 19th century. I put that in the book as well. Other research, like train schedules, money conversion from pounds to swiss francs, etc.,I looked up on the web. Finally, I had a editor friend who’d spend many years living in London check it over mistakes I’d made in describing London. She was very helpful.

Which of your characters is your favorite?
My heroine, Nicole Graves. Why? I like the way she acts on her instincts without hesitation. She’s very brave. I admire those qualities. I myself am much more cautious, although I am just as curious about people and their lives as she is.

What scene did you find was the most difficult to write?
I don’t think any were harder or easier than others. It’s tough for me to get the first draft written. Then, reading it over, it’s painful to see how much work remains to be done fixing plot glitches and refining my writing. That said, I do love rewriting. I used to attend the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. One of their sayings is: “There’s no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting.” That’s absolutely true, at least for me.

What’s next for Nicole?
My publisher is releasing the next installment of Nicole’s story, The Bequest, in August. It takes place in L.A. When one of Nicole’s coworkers is murdered and leaves her a fortune of unknown origin, she’s caught in the crosshairs of a media feeding frenzy and the murderer. There’s also a hot romance.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A cat. I have three. Muriel Spark in A Far Cry From Kensington, my favorite of her books, gave this advice to a character who wanted to write but was having trouble concentrating. “If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, especially some piece of writing, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work, the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk-lamp. . . .The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquillity of the cat will gradually come to affect you so that all the excitable qualities that impede your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, very mysterious.”

What lessons did you learn from writing your first book that you’ll apply to writing future books?
Don’t rush it. Sometimes the story seems to write itself; other times, it’s a long, difficult slog, like I’m experiencing with my third book. Either way, if you keep at it, you’ll eventually finish the story and have the challenge and pleasure of going back for the rewrite.

What are your influences/inspirations for writing?
I’ve always loved to read, and I majored in English literature in college. I’ve wanted to write a novel as long as I can remember but had no idea how to begin. I have spent most of my career as a writer and editor of nonfiction articles and, later, in corporate communications. Only when I took a mystery writing class at UCLA Extension did I learn how to set up the plot for a mystery novel. And then I had it!

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being an author?
Holding the first copy of that book with my name on it is an enormous thrill. It’s hard to beat that. Being a published author gives me an audience for my stories, which is very important to me. And, finally, I love reading reviews from readers. Thank heavens that most of them have been kind.

 What’s the best way for readers to contact you?
My email is nboyarsky@roadrunner.com. My Facebook author page is under Nancy Boyarsky.

Book Giveaway

One lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive a signed copy of The Swap!  Entering is free and easy, click on the graphic below to enter.  Good luck!

To enter: Click on the giveaway image below.  and Rafflecopter will give you 3 ways to enter.  Each option will give you one entry, and you can enter up to 3 times a day!

Giveaway is open to US residents only
Winner will be chosen at random
Contest is open from February 7, 2017 to February 21, 2017
No purchase necessary
give-away