Review: Who Killed Vivien Morse

mystery, book, review, mystereity, vivien, morseWho Killed Vivien Morse by Diana J Febry

Who killed Vivien Morse? A killer, of course. But which one?

When a social worker is found dead in the woods, battered to death with a tree branch, DCI Hatherall and his team are called in to investigate. Was it a domestic dispute? Did the mysterious Druid have something to do with it? Or was it her last client, a damaged girl who clutches a bundle of rags, calling it her baby, Future? DCI Hatherall has to put all the pieces together to find a killer.

This was a fantastic book, so absorbing that I read half of it in one sitting and only reluctantly put it down. I really enjoyed the plot, the many threads woven together to create a multi-dimensional story packed with suspense and intrigue that lead up to a great ending, I loved that sinking realization when you realize what you’ve missed and just what’s going on, then the race to the finish to see how it all plays out.

I really enjoyed the characters, from pragmatic and methodical DCI Hatherall to the colorful villagers, the rich characters added much depth to the story. What really drew me in was the disturbed girl who clutched a bundle of rags, claiming it to be her baby, Future. I just had to know more about it! But I really enjoyed the dotty Druid, Dick Death.

“Death? Your surname is Death?”
“No, it’s pronounced Dee-ath.”

I loved the humor Death brought to the story (not many times you can say that about a book!) and I hope he makes appearances in the later books, he was by far my favorite character in the story.

Although this is book 4 of the DCI Hatherall series, it can easily be read as a standalone. While there were a few references to past events, they didn’t confuse the story at all. This author is going to the top of my authors to watch, and I can’t wait to read more of this series.   Fans of Brit Crime will really enjoy this, with a strong sense of location, well-drawn characters, a strong plot and a satisfying conclusion, Who Killed Vivien Morse is a gripping mystery that will draw you in from the first page.

Who Killed Vivien Morse is available for Kindle fomat at Amazon and in ePub format at Barnes & Noble

Thank you to the author, who provided a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Series: DCI Hatherall #4
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Genre: Police Procedural, Mystery
Formats: Kindle, ePub
Language: English
ASIN: B01HT3MSRI
ISBN-13:2940153107110
Reviewer:  Tam (Mystereity Reviews)
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Review: Hagar’s Last Dance


mystery, book, review, hagar's, last, dance, mystereityHagar’s Last Dance by Maureen Klovers


Hagar’s Last Dance is riveting and enjoyable; with a rich plot, great characters, lots of intrigue, a sprinkle of humor and a little bit of romance, this page-turner will keep you guessing until the end.

Jeanne Pelletier is a contract lawyer by day and aspiring belly dancer by night. Her friend and teacher, Yasmina has talked her into performing at Algiers, a middle eastern nightclub. After her performance, a fire breaks out and Yasmina dies in the flames.

The characters really made the book for me; likable and  unconventional, they added a lot of warmth to the story. I liked ex-CIA spook Jerry most of all; I thought his nicknames were funny and his heartbreaking struggles made him very human. Jeanne is a strong and assertive woman, but also a little awkward and a little clueless sometimes.  I thought the story about Jeanne’s past should’ve come earlier in the book, even if it wasn’t resolved until later (one of my pet peeves is a hint about a tragic past that isn’t revealed until the end.) Jeanne is very  easy to relate to and I really admired her. The victim, Yasmina, proved to be the most intriguing. Although not in the book very long, her presence permeated the book and I enjoyed seeing her layers peeled away bit by bit as the book went on. As  Jeanne delves into Yasmina’s life, she uncovers how little she knew about her best friend.

Yasmina had surprised her.  She was more passionate, more magnanimous, more manipulative and more complicated than Jeanne had ever dreamed.  She was a true performer, a master of illusion, loved by many and understood by none.

Hagar’s Last Dance – Maureen Klover

The gripping plot kept me guessing, with lots of surprise twists and turns.  Part of the plot dealt with Middle Eastern politics, specifically Arab-Israeli tensions, a very timely and potentially controversial topic that was portrayed less as a political issue and more as a human issue.  A steady pace kept the story moving to a satisfying conclusion

Overall, Hagar’s Last Dance is an enjoyable debut to a new series a great book to curl up with.

Hagar’s Last Dance is available at book retailers or on Amazon

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Series: A Jeanne Pelletier Mystery #1
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Chesapeake Books
Publication Date: November 25, 2015
Formats: Kindle
Genre: Mystery
Language
: English
ISBN-10: 0692517634
ASIN: B018JEOC5W
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

TBR Tuesday

TBR Tuesday is a new feature on Mystereity Reviews where I’ll highlight what’s at the top of my To Be Read list.

I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s been a busy month for me, which lead to my TBR pile is growing faster than I can read them (and review them!)  But school has started, vacations are over and the weather has cooled down to tolerable temperatures, so I really have no excuse not to get back into the reading habit.  But I’ve got some great titles to get me back in my reading groove

26200503

Hagar’s Last Dance by Maureen Klovers

A tiny bit of a cheat, I’m currently about half way through this one and loving it!  Great characters, a gripping plot and belly dancing.  This one was so easy to fall right in to!

By day, Jeanne Pelletier is a small-town girl toiling in obscurity at a stuffy Washington, D.C., law firm; by night, she’s Zahira, the city’s newest belly dancing sensation. But one evening, her performance becomes literally too smoking hot…

When a blaze rips through the city’s premier Middle Eastern nightclub and kills Jeanne’s beloved belly dance teacher Yasmina, Jeanne is drawn into a deadly mystery. Soon, she’s assembled a zany, crime-fighting urban family consisting of her obnoxious ex-CIA agent neighbor; her commune-dwelling, wild child best friend; and a sexy Scottish hacker bent on wooing the commitment-phobic Jeanne. But as Jeanne and her friends uncover a string of lovers and a web of family secrets stretching back to the Middle East, Jeanne is forced to confront a dark family secret of her own...

Available in paperback at book retailers and also on Kindle at Amazon

 

31306965

Who Killed Vivien Morse by Diana Febry

This one is the absolute next on my TBR pile, I’m looking forward to a good Brit crime story to sink my teeth into.

Vivien Morse, a young social worker is discovered battered to death in Silver Lady Woods. Everyone assumes she was attacked by her estranged husband until her supervisor disappears. The connection appears to be Vivien’s last client. A damaged and disturbed girl who believes a bundle of rags is her lost baby and never leaves the family farm while she awaits the return of her lover.

The matter is confused by the arrival of a stranger to the area clearly searching for something or someone and an escaped convict with connections to the area.

DCI Hatherall has to separate fact from fantasy to discover who did kill Vivien Morse.

Who Killed Vivien Morse is available on Kindle at Amazon

 

28700195Classical Feng Shui for Health, Beauty & Longevity

I’ve already started this one as well, and I’m enjoying reading a bit each day.

Improve your wellness, extend your longevity, and secure a healthy environment with the ancient power and wisdom of Classical Feng Shui. This guide provides you with well-researched information about the everyday use of traditional and modern forms of the five elements, empowering you to balance their influence in ways that will make you happier and healthier.

Using the two most popular Classical Feng Shui systems—Flying Stars and Eight Mansions—Master Denise Liotta Dennis presents step-by-step instructions on how to heal and protect both you and your home against detrimental formations. This book features hands-on techniques that you can easily apply to your home and personal situation, helping you achieve a better and more vibrant life.

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Cat with a Clue by Laurie Cass

One of my favorite cozy mystery series, I can’t wait to catch up with Minnie and Eddie!

The national bestselling author of Pouncing on Murder returns as librarian Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat Eddie discover there’s a true crime story unraveling in their own nonfiction section. . . .
 
Early one morning while shelving books in the library, Minnie stumbles upon a dead body. Authorities identify the woman as an out-of-towner visiting Chilson for her great-aunt’s funeral. What she was doing in the library after hours is anyone’s guess . . . but Minnie and Eddie are determined to save the library’s reputation and catch a killer.
 
As rumors about the victim circulate through Chilson, the police are in a bind over a streak of baffling break-ins. Luckily, Minnie and Eddie are traveling the county in their bookmobile, and they’ll stop at nothing to find the spineless killer before the final page is turned on someone else.

Available in paperback at book retailers or on Amazon

Review: It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To

It's Your Party Die If You Want To Review MystereityIt’s Your Party, Die If You Want To by Vickie Fee

It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To is the second book in the Liv and Di in Dixie series, but can be read as a standalone.

Liv is a (very talented) party planner with a lot on her plate; a riverboat gambling engagement party and a Clue themed Halloween costume party fundraiser (note: Clue is my favorite movie of all time so this was a big hit with me! I loved the descriptions of the costumes, it was almost like I was right there! )

But before the parties get underway, Liv has to help out at the annual retreat of the Professional Women’s Alliance of Dixe (PWAD), and her duties include chauffeuring celebrity paranormal TV star Lucinda Grable. When a member of PWAD is found murdered and a friend is arrested, its up to Liv and best friend Di to clear her name and catch a killer.

With a rich plot that kept me turning pages, I found it hard to put down. The pacing was just right; fast enough to keep the story moving but with enough detail to give it dimension. Add in a sprinkling of humor, quirky characters and a section at the the end of the book with tips on how you can create your own murder mystery party, this was a solid read and very recommended for cozy mystery fans looking for a great book to put them in the Halloween mood.

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To is available at book retailers, or at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Series:  Liv & Di In Dixie #2
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Language: English
ASIN: B01A4ANVWE
ISBN-10: 1496700643
Review: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Crêpes of Wrath by Sarah Fox

28439218The Crêpes of Wrath by Sarah Fox

Fantastic start to a promising new series! I sat down to read this for a few moments and ended up finishing it in one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down!

There are two plots in the story, the main plot about the murder of Marley’s cousin Jimmy and the subplot of a string of burglaries both had no shortage of suspects. Well paced, the plot spanned the book well without getting bogged down and it read so fast and easy that I was sorry when I got to the end of the book.  And also a little hungry, especially after reading about all the delectable dishes cooked up by Ivan.  Now I’m going to have to buy a waffle maker so I can try them for myself!

The characters were fun and likeable, although I would’ve liked to have seen more of Cousin Jimmy, he would’ve been a lively addition to the story.   Marley is a great main character; easy to relate to, smart, funny and a little naiive.  The little bit of romance between Marley and an old friend was cute and added just enough AWWW to be endearing without being schmaltzy.

Fun, cute and light, I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a great cozy mystery to curl up with on a rainy afternoon.

Note: an advanced copy of this book was kindly provided by Netgalley and Alibi boks in exchange for an honest review.

The Crêpes of Wrath: A Pancake House Mystery is available on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble

Series: A Pancake House Mystery #1
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Alibi
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Formats: Kindle, eBook
Language: English
ASIN: B01A4ATX58
ISBN-13: 9780425285091
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Shameless Plug

WritereityI have just started a sister blog, Writereity, devoted to writing.  I hope to post several times a week with diverse topics covering creative writing, baking/recipes and in the future, maybe a short story or something original.   If you have a minute, I would be grateful if you could check it out and maybe give me some feedback or ideas. Thanks so much!

 

Review: In the Company of Dolphins

30365079In the Company of Dolphins: A Memoir by Irwin Shaw

Print Length: 107 pages
Publisher: Open Road Media (August 16, 2016)
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B01GP8MOIQ
Reviewer: Mystereity Reviews

When I read the description of In The Company Of Dolphins, I thought it was going to be a kind of travel guide. I was completely mistaken, and I was not disappointed. In The Company Of Dolphins is so much more than a travel guide; it is a fascinating look back, not only to the exotic ports of call but also on the life and times of a brilliant author.

The book, originally published in the mid 1960s, is a memoir of author Irwin Shaw’s cruise around the Mediterranean on a chartered boat. As a boy growing up in Brooklyn in the early part of the 20th century, he would look out at the boats moored in the harbor and dream of cruising the world. Decades later, his dream came true; he chartered a boat and sailed along the coast of Italy from St. Tropez (“…there is a whiff of Sodom and Gomorrah to it, and a little of a superb detention home for delinquent girls”) to Monte Carlo, (“It is all very much like a camp for condemned millionaires.”) around  Italy’s boot over to Yugoslavia and then up to Venice. Along the way, the reader is treated to the author’s beautiful observations of each port of call, as well as life at sea.

“Sleeping at sea, with the cradling motion of the ship and the hypnotic rush of water past the portholes”

Shaw, In The Company of Dolphins

Shaw’s style of writing is engaging; you almost feel as though you’re sitting in a little cafe with him, listening to his stories of sailing around Italy and Yugoslavia. I was taken in from the beginning, and I enjoyed experiencing the beautiful locations not only through his eyes, but also through the romantic rose-colored glasses that comes only by looking back fondly on by-gone times.

A short biography is included at the end of the book, and what an interesting life he led. Besides his many successful novels (including the WWII epic The Young Lions,) he was also a WWII veteran, having served in North Africa and Europe, and was a photographer who documented many important moments in the war, beginning with D-Day.

In The Company of Dolphins is a captivating and light-hearted memoir, and a perfect read during an afternoon at the pool.

In The Company of Dolphins is available for Kindle on Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest opinion.

 

Review: Death by Pumpkin Spice

31187826
Death by Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson

Death by Pumpkin Spice, the third in the Bookstore Cafe series, has Krissy scoring a date with the handsome Will to a Halloween party.  During the party, a woman dressed as Marilyn Monroe is found dead.  With 2 other women dressed in the same costume, which woman was the real target and why?

I loved the plot; a torrential rainstorm, a Halloween costume party, family secrets, multiple suspects and one very large horror house made for a very Agatha Christie-type mystery with lots of red herrings, plot twists and suspects. Good pacing leading up to an action packed ending made for an enjoyable read.

The main character,  Krissy was likable, both smart and tenacious.  The other characters didn’t have much dimension, but that may have been done in the earlier books in the series (which I have yet to read.)  The ex-boyfriend story line and the looming love triangle also didn’t do it for me. It was mostly a distraction, which is a shame because the plot was strong enough to make an excellent book without the relationship drama.

Overall, a really great plot made this a very enjoyable book and one I recommend for anyone who loves cozy mysteries.  I haven’t read the other books in the series, and although it had a few references to previous books, I found that it didn’t hamper my enjoyment at all.

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for an advanced copy to read and review.

Death by Pumpkin Spice will be released on September 27, 2016.  Pre-order your copy on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble

 

 

Series: A Bookstore Café Mystery #3
Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Format: Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1617737550
ASIN: B01A4APJ1A
Reviewer: Mystereity Reviews

 

Review: Dressed to Kilt

27420075Dressed to Kilt (Scottish Highlands Mystery Book 3) by Hannah Reed

This is such a fun series, with a great setting in the Scottish Highlands and fun, quirky characters. Dressed to Kilt has Eden nearing the end of her stay and in the middle of another murder investigation. I really enjoyed the plot, with hidden family secrets, red herrings and plot twists keeping the plot moving along smoothly.  The ending left the door open for a lot more adventures in Scotland, and I’m looking forward to seeing how her story develops (and more mysteries!)

I have to say, Eden has been in Scotland for six whole months and finally goes on a date with Leith.  Glacial doesn’t come close to describing the pace of her love life.  I can only hope her books move faster than her romances.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Dressed to Kilt and recommend the series to cozy mystery fans.

Dressed to Kilt is available in bookstores or on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

 

Series:  Scottish Highlands Mystery #3
Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (July 5, 2016)
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Ebook
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425265846
ASIN: B016JPTQH2
Reviewer: Mystereity Reviews

Review: The Bluebonnet Betrayal

27774344The Bluebonnet Betrayal by Marty Wingate

In The Bluebonnet Betrayal, Pru is asked by an old colleague to set up a Texas themed display at the famed Chelsea Flower Show.  The display is beset by one problem after another, and just when it seems it can’t get any worse, Twyla, the president of the Austin gardening society is found dead under a pile of rocks. It’s up to Pru to get the garden ready for the show and to find Twyla’s killer.

I just discovered this charming series not long ago.  With characters you can easily relate to, vivid locations and well-drawn plots, it’s a great series to sink into and enjoy.  Each book can be read as a stand-alone although I would say that there’s a greater effect from reading the series in order.

The Bluebonnet Betrayal was a very enjoyable read, with a plot that will keep you guessing; there were so many red herrings that I gave up trying to figure it out and just settled back to enjoy the story.   You can’t help but root for Pru and the rest of the gardeners to keep at it and get the display ready for the garden show.

The reason why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is because I really didn’t appreciate Pru’s self-entitled attitude that the DCI investigating the murder should give her all his information.  It’s one of the more frustrating cozy cliches that I see used over and over again; that the amateur sleuth should know every fact in the case. I understand the reasons why authors do it, but it just rubs me the wrong way.  And didn’t Christopher tell Pru in one of the earlier books about how a case was lost because a detective told his wife some information?

Overall, this was a fantastic book in a very enjoyable series, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries.

 

This book is available for Kindle on Amazon

 

Review: Dead & Buried

30841710Dead & Buried by Helen H. Durrant

Dead & Buried is the fifth book Calladine and Bayless series, and I was really impressed by how quickly I was able to sink into the story, despite having not read the first four books in the series. Great characters and a fantastic plot combined to create a gripping story, fast paced and impossible to put down.

The plot moved swiftly and played out so smoothly that I read most of it in one afternoon. I enjoyed watching how the investigation moved seamlessly, connecting all the deaths to a single event 40 years in the past.

What I really enjoyed about the book is that the murder was the focus of the book. While there are obviously back stories to the characters, it’s detailed efficiently enough to make things clear, without distracting the reader from the plot. I really appreciated that, it rounds out the characters with enough detail to give them dimension without being too much filler.

Overall, an outstanding police procedural and very much recommended to Brit Crime fans.

Thank you to Joffe Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review.

Dead & Buried is available in book stores or on Amazon