Review: A Deadly Thaw

Sarah Ward, Mystery, Deadly Thaw,New release!  Pick up your copy today!

A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward

If you read only one book this year, A Deadly Thaw should be it.  A tense thrill ride through twisted justice and family secrets, it will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you breathless.

Lena Grey was convicted 14 years ago of killing her husband, Andrew.  Not long after she is released from prison, a man is found shot to death in an abandoned morgue and is positively identified as Andrew.  If he wasn’t killed 14 years ago, who did Lena kill and why?

I loved this from the first page; I don’t think I’ve ever read a more delightfully labyrinthine plot. I think the most compelling aspect of the book was that you’re just as in the dark about Lena as are the police and Lena’s sister, Kat.  You’re not given any clues, so every revelation is just as shocking to you as it is to the characters.  I admit, I had an inkling what was behind Lena’s behavior change as a teen, but had no idea how it played into the later events. But the book was in no way confusing, it unraveled layer by layer, amping up the tension which each page.  The shocking conclusion was heart-stopping and wholly satisfying and left me wanting more.

Besides the suspenseful plot, the characters really make this a memorable book.  Sadler and his team are realistic and believable, and Kat was believable and realistic as a baffled sister trying to unravel Lena’s clues. It was very easy to relate to Kat’s bafflement to her sister’s actions, and her frustration while trying to figure out the clues Lena was sending to her.  I really thought Mark was an interesting character; he went from one of Kat’s therapy clients to the sensible and pragmatic shoulder for Kat to rely on.  While it wasn’t possible within the book to expand his character, I could easily see him and his fellow ex-soldiers carrying a book of their own.

Overall, A Deadly Thaw is a riveting and compelling book that will thrill lovers of action-packed mysteries.  This is the second book in the Inspector Francis Sadler series, but it can easily be read as a standalone.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books and Netgalley for providing an advanced copy in return for my honest review.

A Deadly Thaw is available at book retailers, on  Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Series: Inspector Sadler #2
Rating:  ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: Sept.  27, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Hardcover
Genre:
Mystery, Police Procedural
ISBN-13: 978-1250069184
ASIN: B01CNTDM50
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Semi-Sweet Hereafter

Now available! Pick up your copy today!
mystery, cozy, book, review, mystereity, semi, sweet, hereafterThe Semi-Sweet Hereafter by Colette London

“Chocolate Whisperer” Hayden Mundy Moore travels the world helping companies improve the quality of their chocolates.  In The Semi-Sweet Hereafter, Hayden is in London assisting  Phoebe, the  wife of  celebrity chef  Jeremy Wright.  Phoebe owns a failing chocolate pâtisserie and needs Hayden’s help to turn it around. When Jeremy turns up bludgeoned to death,  Hayden falls under suspicion.  To clear her name, she has to hunt down the real killer.

The premise of the book, a globe trotting chocolate expert  was really a fun change of pace from the usual cozy.  Loaded with  tips and tricks for baking with chocolate, as well as yummy recipes, this chocoholic bookworm was hooked from the first page.   Hayden is a likable main character, and I could relate to a lot of her quirks (I, too, like going to grocery stores when I’m in a new place!)  The absorbing plot had clues that were so well hidden (in plain sight, no less!)  that I didn’t realize they were clues until the end.  I’m not really sure why Hayden believed she was a suspect well  into the book.  Even if the police seriously suspected her, she would’ve had her alibi verified and cleared her within a day.  The other suspects were a lot more…well…suspicious.  A disgruntled former assistant, an angry young chef, an angry corporate sponsor  and a ruthless agent all had a lot more motive and opportunity than Hayden had.

As I haven’t read the first 2 books in the series, I really didn’t understand Hayden’s weird relationships with her accountant and her bodyguard. I think there is supposed to be some kind of sexual tension or attraction, it really didn’t come through. For me, it was incongruous and distracted me  from the excellent plot.

Overall, a very enjoyable read with an great premise and an equally good plot, despite a few distractions.  It can be read as a standalone with minimal confusion but reading the series in order would probably enhance this book, mostly for the characters’ backstories.

Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Semi-Sweet Hereafter is available at book retailers, and at  Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Series: A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery
Rating: ★★★★✰
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Language:
English
ISBN-10: 1617733490
ASIN: B01A4API20
Review: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Book Club Murders

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New release! The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel

Charley Carpenter, owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, is a member of the Agatha Book Club (named after the Dame herself) with a clique of high society ladies. After two local women are found dead, Charley and BFF Frankie find clues that link the murders to their book club. Charley reluctantly takes the information to Detective Marcus Trenault. Despite their rocky past, Charley and Marcus must team up to stop a murderer.

Fantastic book! I thoroughly enjoyed The Book Club Murders, so much so that I turned around and read it again, just to see if I could pick up all the things I missed! I first heard about this book from Wanderlust’s  fantastic review  and couldn’t wait to read it.  And I wasn’t disappointed! Great characters and a fast-paced plot sucked me in right from the the first chapter. Guileless Charley and intense Marc are equally matched in the strong-willed and stubborn department. While I thought their romance was a bit overwrought, it was cute and softened the story a little.And the plot! Full of red herrings, surprise twists and fast-paced action, it kept me guessing until the very end. I loved how all the red-herrings were a plot thread in themselves.. The Agathas and their secrets and tragedies added just the right amount of drama to give the plot lots of depth and dimension. I have to ask, though: who shot the video at the crime scene? Did they ever investigate it? Perhaps it will be in the next book…

Overall, an exceptional mystery and I can’t wait for the next book in the series! I definitely recommend this book as a must read.

A big thank you to Random House – Alibi and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Book Club Murders is available at  Amazon Barnes & Noble

Series: The Oakwood Mysteries #1
Rating: ★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Alibi
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Format: Kindle, ePub
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Language: English
ISBN-13: 9780425285206
ASIN:  B01A4ATX9E
Reviewer: Mystereity Reviews

TBR Tuesday (Sepetember 27, 2016)

I finished all 5 of the books on last week’s TBR, do I get a prize?

No?

Ahh well, here’s this week’s TBR

28233217 Cat With A Clue – Laurie Cass

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.

I started this one last night.  The first page says that the real life Eddie passed away a few months ago.  *sniff* RIP Eddie. *mrr*  I love this series and got sucked right in, from the first page,  as always happens with these books.

 

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Worth Killing For – Ed James

On a busy London street, a young woman is attacked in broad daylight and left bleeding to death on the pavement. Among the eyewitnesses are DI Simon Fenchurch and his wife.

Fenchurch pursues the attacker through a warren of backstreets and eventually arrests a young hoodie with a cache of stolen phones—an ‘Apple picker’ on the make. The case should be closed but something feels off…Was this really just about a smartphone? Why did the victim look nervous before she was targeted? And why don’t the prints on the murder weapon match the young man in custody?

Before Fenchurch can probe further, his superiors remove him from the case, convinced he has let the real culprit run free. But Fenchurch is determined to get to the truth and, before long, uncovers a conspiracy that reaches high above the street gangs of London.

#2 in the DI Fenchurch series, and I’m expecting it to be another action-packed and intricately plotted book from a great author.

 

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31305593The Swap – Nancy Boyarsky

When Nicole Graves arranges a summer-long swap of her Los Angeles condo for a London couple’s house, she thinks it’s the perfect arrangement. She’s always dreamed of seeing the real London; she’s also hopeful the time away with her husband Brad will be good for their troubled marriage. 

But things don’t turn out the way Nicole expects: The Londoners fail to arrive in L.A. and appear to be missing. Then people begin following Nicole and making threats, demanding information she doesn’t have. Soon, Nicole realizes she’s in serious trouble––but she can’t get Brad or the police to believe her. 

When the confrontations turn deadly, Nicole must either solve the case or become the next victim.

I was offered an advance copy by the author and was intrigued by the premise.  Looking at the great reviews, I’m expecting a real page turner!

 

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Dead Man’s Shadow – Anne Wilkinson32203985

Will and Bella have just bought an old house, and Bella’s mother, Alex, has agreed to help do it up.

When the floorboards are torn up, she finds letters written by a man named Edward Barton, requesting deeds relating to a property called Gothic Hall.

She starts to investigate the site of the old house, and learns that bones were found nearby during some construction work.

There’s a mystery to be solved and if there’s one thing Alex likes, it’s a good mystery…

Tales of arranged marriages, conspiring families and dangerous liaisons are soon unraveled, revealing the complicated relationship between Edward Barton and Harriet, a young heiress who longs to be free from her controlling brother.

This has all the makings of a great book – history, mystery, murder and based on true events, I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

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29778567The Corpse with the Garnet Face – Cathy Ace

The seventh book in the Cait Morgan series finds the eccentric Welsh criminologist–sleuth accompanying her husband Bud to Amsterdam to try to unravel a puzzling situation.

To Bud’s surprise, he discovers he has a long-lost uncle, Jonas, who’s met an untimely death. Bud’s mother assures him Jonas was a bad child, but, from beyond the grave, Uncle Jonas begs his nephew to visit the city he adopted as his home to delve into the life he built for himself there, founded on his passion for art.

With an old iron key as their only clue, Cait and Bud travel to Amsterdam to solve the cryptic message left by Jonas—and to honor the final wishes of a long-lost relative.

This has been on my TBR list for months and I’m finally going to get this started.  I’ve never read this series before, but I was drawn in by the old iron key.  I’m a sucker for old iron keys, ever since I read The Secret Garden when I was a kid.

 

So what’s on your TBR this week?  Leave a comment, I’d love to hear!

Read The Season: Autumn

After a long, hot summer, the beginning of Fall is always welcome.  Crisp mornings, apple cider, pumpkin spice flavored everything, trees are a riot of color, the smell of wood smoke in the air.  Ahhhhh.

And what better way to enjoy the coming season than to curl up with a good book?  Here are some new releases that will put you in the spirit!

mystery, cozy, book, review, mystereity, liv, and, di, in, dixie, party, die, want, to

It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To – Vickie Fee

 Between a riverboat gambler-theme engagement party and a murder mystery dinner for charity, Dixie, Tennessee, party planner Liv McKay is far too frenzied to feel festive. Add to the mix her duties at the annual business women’s retreat and the antics of a celebrity ghost-hunting diva, and Liv’s schedule is turning out to be the scariest thing about this Halloween—especially when the ladies stumble across a dead body in a cemetery…  (See my review)

Super fun cozy mystery starts with a ghost hunt in a cemetery, leads to a murder and ends with a Clue themed Halloween costume party.  A great addition to TBR lists, also a great book club read.  Get your copy today!

Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

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Kathi, Daley, Mystereity, Cozy, Mystery

Pumpkins in Paradise – Kathi Daley

Between volunteering for the annual pumpkin festival and coaching her girls to the state soccer finals, high school teacher Tj Jensen finds her good friend Zachary Collins dead in his favorite chair. When the handsome new deputy closes the case without so much as a “why” or “how,” Tj turns her attention from chili cook-offs and pumpkin carving to complex puzzles, prophetic riddles, and a decades-old secret she seems destined to unravel. (See my review)

A really great plot, with great characters and even “treasure hunt” kind of puzzles (I’m a sucker for that)  The victim, Zachary Collins, sounded like he was a fun and interesting guy to know, it’s a shame the reader didn’t get to know him more.  An enjoyable read with heart-warming moments,  likable characters, and a hunky new cop in town,  Serenity, NV will never be the same.

Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

Autumn Leaves Divider

mystery, cozy, book, review, mystereity, death, pumpkin, spice, bookstore, cafe

Death by Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson

Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .(See my review)

Excellent book to get you in the Halloween mood! I loved the locked room mystery and the action packed ending will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: The Healing Art of Essential Oils

30268360The Healing Art of Essential Oils: A Guide to 50 Oils for Remedy, Ritual, and Everyday Use by Kac Young

An excellent reference as an introduction to essential oils and aromatherapy, a must have for healthy living.

A few months ago, I got a neck massage and the therapist used juniper and eucalyptus oil and I was curious to find out why those particular oils? So when I saw this book for offer on NetGalley, I was interested in expanding my knowledge and this book accomplished that and so much more.

Kac Young obviously knows her oils and she explains them well, breaking down each essential oil’s properties and usage. The explanation of the various ways to use essential oils (diffuser, inhaler, on the skin, etc) Very well researched and easy to understand, the book guides you through how to purchase quality oils, how to blend them and the best uses for each oil. There are so many useful tips in here, from how to blend the fragrances, to how to use essential oils to cure common ailments and even recipes for everyday products. Since it’s cold/flu season, I plan on utilizing the recipes to clean and sanitize the air in my home, plus household cleaners and hand sanitizers that are all natural. I really want to try the anti-aging serum (have you seen how much they cost at the store? Much cheaper to make it myself, and with all natural ingredients!) I have never had so many bookmarks in one book before, I can’t wait until the book is released to buy a hardcover to keep as a handy reference.  I really enjoyed the history of the use of essential oils,  it just proves that for common ailments, the best medicine are the tried and true remedies that have been around for hundreds, if not  thousands, of years.

Overall, a great book to get budding aromatherapists started, and would make an excellent gift for anyone interested in all-natural products for healing and in the home.

The Healing Art of Essential Oils is available at book retailers or online at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Llewellyn Publications and NetGalley who provided an advance copy in return for my honest review.

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Publication Date: January 8, 2017
Language: English
Genre: Non-fiction, Health
Formats:
Paperback, Kindle, ePub
ASIN: B01FOR0YHM
ISBN: 9780738750477
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Quirky Essays for Quirky People: The Complete Collection

24904879Quirky Essays for Quirky People by Barbara Venkataraman

Humorous, entertaining and witty, Quirky Essays for Quirky People has 24 essays/short stories about life, family, and the perfection of life as an imperfect person.

I’m a big fan of the author’s cozy mystery series, so I expected this to be just as laugh out loud funny and it was! The story about her cooking disaster made me laugh until I cried.  I related to so many of the stories! As a lazy bones procrastinator who can sniff out candy a mile away, I saw myself on quite a few of those pages. The author’s stories about her family were heartwarming and sweet, they sound like wonderful people to be around. I loved the story about losing power after a hurricane.  I have lived in Florida and the trauma of losing power after a storm.  If there is a God, he has a seriously mean sense of humor to make hurricane season during the already hot and sweaty summer months.  I have to say, though, that I now live in Amish country and I can tell you they’re not as disconnected from the modern world as people believe. For example, I was in Walmart recently and watched an Amish woman wheeling a cart through the store.  There was only one item in the cart: a big, electric box fan.  Hmmm…….

Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, Quirky Essays for Quirky People is a hilarious look into life and the perfect book to curl up with when trying to avoid doing something else.

Quirky Essays for Quirky People is available on Amazon

 

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor
Formats: Kindle
Language: English
ASIN: B00KC7BNNY
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Clock and Dagger

28550292Clock and Dagger (Clock Shop Mystery #2) by Julianne Holmes

In Clock and Dagger, the second in the Clock Shop Mystery series, Ruth is once again plunged into the middle of a murder. The clock is ticking, can Ruth find a killer before time runs out? (Note: spoiler ahead)

It’s just after Christmas in Orchard, MA and clock maker Ruth Clagan is busy with several events, and with troublemaker Becket Green’s unreasonable plans. Just days before she’s set to re-open Cog & Sprocket, word gets out that Beckett is planning a bookstore/coffee shop/corner market/clock shop to rival all the struggling businesses in Orchard. During an open house event staged to spur local patronage to the town’s shops, one of Ruth’s employees is found dead and shortly after, another is critically wounded. Can Ruth put the pieces together before it’s too late?

Good plot, although I figured most of it out 2/3 of the way through the book. The murderer was a surprise (mostly because they weren’t in the book much) and I loved Caroline’s intriguing back story and I enjoyed all the random trivia about clocks.

The conclusion didn’t do it for me, though. First of all, I used to work as an emergency operator/dispatcher and I find it hard to believe that a police department would cancel an emergency call if someone called back to say it was a false alarm. I guess it had to be that way to set up the damsel in distress ending, which was disappointing. The saving grace was Beckett trying to redeem himself, but I’m betting he’ll be a thorn in Orchard’s side for a while to come.

Although likable, Ruth is rather obtuse. At one point, the bad guy says, “One thing I’ve always liked about you is your intellect.” and I snorted. Really? It took her until the end of the book to figure out why Ben was in a snit.

Overall, an enjoyable read, even with all the plot holes. I like this series enough to continue with it, and I recommend it as a nice, light mystery.

Clock and Dagger is available at book retailers, on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble

 

Series: Clock Shop Mystery #2
Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Paperback
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ASIN: B01839Q4HM
ISBN-13:9780425275535
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

TBR Tuesday September 20, 2016

I was looking forward to putting a big dent in my TBR list this week.  So what do I do?  Go ahead and request more books.  sigh why do I do this to myself?  Oh yes, because I love reading!

So, here’s what’s on my Kindle this week:

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The Origins of Everything by David Bercovici

Covering 13.8 billion years in some 100 pages, a calculatedly concise, wryly intelligent history of everything, from the Big Bang to the advent of human civilization.

A short (100 pages) book,  it packs a lot of information into each page, but it’s written so  that anyone can understand it.  I’m already well into it, I’ve always had an interest in the origin of the universe and the evolution of our planet.  This book is so fascinating and has already blown my mind.

 

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Clock and Dagger by Julianne Holmes

Expert clockmaker Ruth Clagan has another murder on her hands in the second Clock Shop Mystery from the author of Just Killing Time.

I’m also well into this one, and I loved the first book in the series, Just Killing Time.   It took me a bit to get into this one, but I’m really enjoying it now.  I love the little small town in Massachusetts where the book is set, it reminds me a lot of the tiny town where I grew up.  I love the multi-dimensional plot, and the supporting characters are getting a little more dimension.  Solid read so far!

 

24904879Quirky Essays for Quirky People: The Complete Collection by Barbara Venkataraman

This one has been on my TBR list for awhile now, and I’ve been reading each essay when I have a few minutes to read, but not enough time to get back into a book.  I’m about a third of the way in and the essays have been very enjoyable and laugh-out-loud funny.  The Dinner Party has been my favorite so far, it was so relatable!   It was just like when my family gets together for dinner. Oh, Dad’s off the wheat wagon again, and sister-in-law doesn’t like green bell peppers and Mom is doing Paleo now and….yeah, I related to that entirely too much.

 

The Healing Art of Essential Oils: A Guide to 50 Oils for Remedy, Ritual, and Everyday Use by Kac Young30268360

Simple and potent, essential oils will transport you into a new world of aromatic awakening, physical healing, and natural delight. The Healing Art of Essential Oils is a comprehensive guide to fifty carefully selected oils, providing a master class in beneficial uses, blending suggestions, spiritual uses, background and history, cautions, names, ruling planet, and corresponding element.

After I got a neck massage a few weeks ago that used Juniper and Eucalyptus essential oils, I’ve been interested in learning more about how to make and use them.

 

29064426Dangling By A Thread by Lea Wait

The Mainely Needlepointers are about to learn that no man is an island—especially when greedy developers want his land . . .

I read the previous book in this series (Thread and Gone) and loved the setting, a small town in Maine and the embroidery theme. Hmm,  now that I think about it, I was going to read the other books in the series.  But that’s a TBR for another day…

 

What are you reading this week?  Leave a comment and tell me what’s at the top of your TBR pile:

 

Review: The Hope that Kills

Ed James, Police, Brit Crime, London, Mystereity, Ed JamesThe Hope that Kills (DI  Fenchurch #1)  by Ed James

Fast-paced and heart-stopping, The Hope That Kills is a chilling look into the dark side of human trafficking and a thriving sex trade industry.

When two young prostitutes are found dead, with no ID and seemingly no official identities, DI Simon Fenchurch, driven by the disappearance of his daughter 8 years ago, relentlessly pursues every lead through London’s seedy underground sex trade, looking not only for a killer but also clues to his daughter’s whereabouts. What Fenchurch uncovers is a horrifying morass of corruption, human trafficking and exploitation.

I’ve been a long time fan of Ed James’s books and I’ve been looking forward to reading this one. So, when I started this book, I expected an exciting and compelling story, and I wasn’t disappointed.  The thrilling plot draws you in quickly, and the non-stop action keeps the pace moving swiftly right up to the exciting conclusion. The only thing that bothered me is that the armed support unit apparently doesn’t see the need to surround a house to prevent a suspect from running out the back door.  Shouldn’t that be SOP?

Simon makes a great main character, dedicated and intuitive.  While the use of a flawed hero may not be a new idea, Simon’s pain is very real and humanizes him; who can’t relate to a grieving father, living with the pain of losing his only child?  The use of drums was, I thought, a powerful metaphor for the rhythm of life, but were Simon’s drums the unconscious recognition of his daughter’s heartbeat, or just the remembrance of each moment without his daughter? Either that or he has dangerously high blood pressure.  You decide.

This was the first of James’s books set in London (the rest are set in Edinburgh) and although vividly drawn, I just didn’t connect with it as well as the Edinburgh setting. I’m not sure I have a real reason for that, except that it’s my perception that as a giant mega-city, London just doesn’t have the same character as Edinburgh.

Overall, an exceptional start to a new series from an already great author, and recommended fans of Brit crime or gritty police procedurals.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review

The Hope That Kills is available at book retailers, or on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Series: A DI Fenchurch Novel  #1
Rating: ★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: Sept. 1, 2016
Formats: Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Language: English
ASIN: B01AAAKV4O
ISBN-13: 9781503936553
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Who Invited the Ghost to Dinner

28902351Who Invited the Ghost to Dinner: A Ghost Writer Mystery by Teresa Watson

Ghostwriter Cam (who can actually see ghosts) is back for another adventure in Waxahachie, TX.  In this book, Susan Ingram is murdered during a dinner theater performance of Blithe Spirit. In a striking coincidence, her mother in law, Lillian, was murdered in the same place in the 1960s, and in the same manner.  Are the two deaths related? It’s up to Cam to unravel the secrets of the past to solve the murders of today.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was looking forward to this one and it didn’t disappoint. This was a complex mystery with lots of surprise twists, and I admit, although I had a lot of theories who the murderer was, I really didn’t guess the true outcome.  There’s also a bit of a cliffhanger, as the mobster ghost of Mac “The Faker” Green is still hanging around because his murder still needs to be solved. I loved the heartwarming scene with Reed at the end, it was a great way to end the book.

While the plot and characters (love Grandma Alma!) are what make this series for me, the unrealistic action really pulls me out of the story.  There seems to be a lot of bombings in a small city like Waxahachie, maybe Cam’s police chief boyfriend Mike should investigate that further and spend less time telling Cam to stop investigating so he can “keep her safe” ::insert eye roll::  If I was Cam, I would get myself one of those Kevlar suits that bomb disposal technicians wear. One can never be too careful.

Overall, an excellent followup to the first book with an outstanding mystery that will keep you guessing.  This book can easily be read as a standalone, but I do recommend reading the first in the series.

Who Invited the Ghost to Dinner is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

 

Series: Ghost Writer Mysteries #2
Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publication Date: February 1, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, ePub
ASIN: B01BDX4UHQ
ISBN-13: 2940152733075
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Much Ado About Muffin

cozy mystery, Victoria Hamilton, mystereity, booksMuch Ado About Muffin: A Merry Muffin Mystery by Victoria Hamilton

Much Ado About Muffin has Merry returning from an extended stay in Spain to find that Roma, an overbearing opera singer, has come to stay at Wynter Castle and has managed to rub everyone in Autumn Vale the wrong way, especially thorny postmistress Minnie Urqhart. Soon after arriving home, Merry finds Minnie dead, stabbed with a letter opener that looks like one Roma had when she threatened Minnie on a previous occasion. Merry knows Roma didn’t kill Minnie, and sets out to find the real killer.

Merry is finally moving on with her life after putting her feelings for her late husband to rest. For some reason, she has to go around and apologize to all of her friends for being away for so long and I’m not sure why. Apparently Autumn Vale citizens get upset if you don’t call them constantly, I guess.  But it’s good to see Merry getting past things and thinking of the future and I’m dying to know what her new idea for the castle.

The main plot, solving Minnie’s murder, was done quite well; several suspects with motives and lots of plot twists made for a riveting read. The subplots, with Shiloh acting strangely and Emerald seemingly caught up in the cult-like Consciousness Calling group added to the suspense and kept me guessing and turning pages through the book.

I loved that there was a lot of Hannah in this story, she’s my favorite character  and I’d love to see a whole plot around her.  Lizzie is also a great character, her teenage angst is well drawn and true to life.  But for me, it’s the location that’s a  big draw for me,  I grew up in Western New York and the author sets the setting perfectly.  It’s so easy for me to visualize exactly where Autumn Vale is, and it sucks me into the story better than anything else.

What happened to Merry’s luggage, anyway?  That thread was completely dropped and since it figured into one of the subplots, I wondered why it was dropped.  I had visions of Minnie wearing some expensive Italian shoes that Merry picked up while in Europe.

And I am going to make those chocolate walnut muffins very, very soon.  *drool*

This can be read as a stand-alone, as prior events are explained (and not a hindrance to the plot) but I recommend reading the series in order, because there are some on-going plot threads that would be better understood if the books are read in order.

Much Ado About Muffin is available at book retailers, on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble

Series: Merry Muffin Mystery
Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Format: Kindle, ePub, Paperback
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Language:
English
ISBN-13: 978-0425282588
ASIN: B01839Q4WW
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Daufuskie Island

Daufuskie Island, Mystery, Time Travel, Mystereity, John Lueder, Adventure

Daufuskie Island by John Lueder

The St. John family owns a summer house on Daufuskie Island, off the coast of South Carolina. After a hurricane, Caris and her kids discover a mysterious treasure chest containing a note and a silver key. The key unlocks a mysterious silver door in an old, abandoned lighthouse that leads the family on a harrowing adventure through history.

This book was riveting; I couldn’t put it down. The story switches between each character’s adventures, and I found myself racing through them to get to the next. The characters were very believable, from the squabbles between the children (reminded me of my own childhood!) to the family’s reactions to the confusing events and the situations they found themselves in. I think my favorite character was Maitland, I love the idea of someone from the past being transported into present times and how they cope with it.

While enjoyable for adults, it would be a great learning companion for middle school aged kids, with scenes set both in the Revolutionary War and Civil War that would enhance their history classes. Although there’s some minor violence towards the end of the book, It’s not any more graphic than what kids see on an average cartoon or superhero movie, so very little parental guidance would be necessary.

Overall, a captivating, exciting and thrilling romp through history, Daufuskie Island will appeal to history buffs of all ages, from kids to adults.

Thank you to Mountain Arbor Press and Netgalley for a copy of the book in return for my honest review.

Daufuskie Island is available at book retailers or at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Mountain Arbor Press
Publication Date: July 23, 2016
Genre: Mystery, Time Travel, Adventure, History
Format: Paperback, Kindle, ePub
Language:
English
ASIN: B01J0HDWI0
ISBN-13: 978-1631830310
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

TBR Tuesday – September 06, 2016

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

Labor Day has been and gone (where the heck did summer go?) and I’m now 3 books behind on my 2016 reading challenge.  I’m hoping to make a dent in my reading this month, and I’ve got some promising titles:

 

Daufuskie Island, Mystery, Time Travel, Mystereity, John LuederDaufuskie Island – John Lueder

This magical story of time travel, magic, and adventure is a modern-day quest through the low country paradise of Daufuskie Island.

I’m already halfway through this one and really enjoying it.  In the vein of Half Magic by Edward Eager (one of my favorite childhood books) this would appeal to middle graders who love adventure and magic.

 

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29343597 The Hope that Kills – Ed James

New series from one my favorite authors, The Hope that Kills has been at the top of my TBR list since the author first began teasing readers about it, so I was beyond excited to find it on NetGalley.  Set in London, DI Fenchurch investigates the savage murder of a prostitute and uncovers a complex and evil scheme as he delves into London’s sex trade.

 

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29523521A Deadly Thaw – Sarah Ward

Lena Grey is found guilty of murdering her husband, who was found smothered in their bed. She offers no defense, and serves fourteen long years in prison. But within months of her release nearly two decades later, his body is found in a disused morgue, recently killed. Who was the man she killed before, and why did she lie about his identity?

I’ve been seeing a lot about this book recently, and I was intrigued by this story of family secrets and murder.

 

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cozy mystery, Victoria Hamilton, mystereity, booksMuch Ado About Muffin – Victoria Hamilton

In this fresh mystery from the national bestselling author of Death of an English Muffin, baker Merry Wynter comes to the aid of an innocent woman accused of murder.
 
When muffin baker Merry Wynter sees an innocent woman accused of murder, it’s dough or die...

I love this series, set not far from where I grew up in Western New York, and I’ve been looking forward to catching up with Merry and her gang for a while now.

 

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What’s at the top of your TBR list this week?  Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about it!

Review: Pumpkins in Paradise

31130648Pumpkins in Paradise by Kathi Daley

I’ve heard great things about Kathi Daley’s books from other reviewers, and now I see what all the fuss is about. Pumpkins in Paradise is an enjoyable and entertaining cozy mystery, guaranteed to get you into the Halloween spirit.

After finding her elderly recluse friend, Zachary, dead in his home, Tj senses something isn’t quite right with his death. After the police close the case as natural causes, Tj is compelled to investigate. To find a killer, Tj must solve the puzzle of Zachary’s past and uncover his tragic secret.

While the plot was pretty easy to figure out, I really enjoyed the “treasure hunt” puzzles, I love a mystery within a mystery, and I enjoyed trying to solve the clues along with Tj. Zachary sounded like he was a fun and interesting guy to know, I’m a little sorry that his introduction in the story was his death. He was a touching character, and the funeral scene made me sniffle, all that heartbreak, loss and regret was very moving. Tj is a good-natured and likable character, and her loyalty to her friends and family is admirable. While the other characters weren’t very developed, this is the first in the series and I look foward to getting to know them better in later books.

Overall, Pumpkins in Paradise was a delightful read, perfect for Halloween book club reads or just to curl up with on a chilly fall day.

Pumpkins in Paradise is available at book retailers, on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Henery Press and NetGalley who provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

 

Series: Tj Jensen Mystery
Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Henery Press
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Formats: Paperback,  Kindle, ePub
Language: English
ASIN: B01GQPYU8U
ISBN-10: 1635110890
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)