Murder at Wedgefield Manor (A Jane Wunderly Mystery #2) by Erica Ruth Neubauer
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I requested this book from Kensington on Netgalley because it sounded like it was right up my historical cozy mystery loving alley. I love books set in the 1920s and this one sounded like it was right out of a Christie novel. After a couple of chapters, I realized this was the second book in the series, so I went back and read the first book before I read this one. And I’d have to say, it probably wasn’t necessary, there were very few mentions from the first book and none of them impacted this story but it was well worth the read. This series is definitely now very high up on my must-read list! The books are so easy to sink into, with great characters, a dash of romance and amazing twists to keep the plot moving quickly.
I enjoyed this one a lot, I’ve come to love the characters and look on them as friends. Jane is easy to relate to; equal parts strong, sassy and vulnerable, you just want to be her friend. The dashing and mysterious Redvers adds some spice and watching (well, reading) their chemistry and tenacious investigating makes it easy to “fall” into the story quickly. I also liked that it picked up from where the last book left off, with many of the same characters and giving us more of a look into who they are.
While I figured out “whodunit” pretty quickly (there weren’t many suspects, which made it pretty easy,) I enjoyed watching the story unfold and all the twists and turns. I could’ve done with a bit less of the rehashing that happened throughout the book, but I didn’t feel that it slowed the plot down any; the pace moved along steadily and it really didn’t take much to draw me in and keep me there. But the ending! Absolutely smashed it, loved the thrilling North by Northwest chase at the end and the last chapter left on an open note makes me salivate for book 3.
If you enjoy Agatha Christie, great characters, lovely scenery and riveting plots, this series has it all.
Ink and Shadows (Secret, Book, & Scone Society #4) by Ellery Adams
Rating: 5 out of 5.
This series has the power to stick with me for a long time after I finish the latest in the series and this book is definitely no exception. Equal parts heart wrenching, terrifying, heartwarming, and compelling, Ink and Shadows is the perfect read for Women’s History month. But you know what really wows me about this series? How gosh darn realistic and authentic is feels, none of the usual tropes or lazy writing. Just amazing characters, very well developed plots and the pure emotion that I feel reading through this makes each book so anticipated.
There was a lot going on in this one, which kept the pace moving quickly without sacrificing details. Celeste and her daughter are new in town and have just opened a gift shop, Soothe, near Nora’s bookstore, Miracle Books. But life is anything but soothing for the newcomers, who become the target of an overzealous church group, who brands Soothe, Miracle Books and other businesses as being “unchristian”. If that’s not enough, Bren is found dead near Nora’s house and not long after, Celeste herself becomes a murder victim. With two murders to investigate, lots of secrets and lies muddying the case, an unexpected friend of Nora’s past challenging her status quo and the agony of the impossibility of being in two places at once, this made for a taut thriller that kept me turning pages.
Murder in an Irish Village (Irish Village Mystery #1) by Carlene O’Connor
Rating: 3 out of 5.
I read this one for the r/CozyMystery Discord book club read, and I thought it was just….okay. A lot of the book was laying out the backstory for the characters, which is appreciated but rather than being woven into the story, it was more or less all dumped in the first 10 chapters or so before getting into the mystery part of the plot. The downside is that the mystery part of the plot was overshadowed by the plethora of intimate details of the family, making this feel less like a mystery and more like just plain fiction. Other reviewers commented that they felt the pace was too slow in the book and I agree completely. I skipped several chapters here and there when the story wasn’t advancing and didn’t miss much.
Overall, not a bad read but not good enough to want to continue in the series.
Details in the Document (The Inn at Holiday Bay #14) by Kathi Daley
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
I enjoyed this one, but it felt like a “springboard” basically just existing to introduce new plot points for future books. And as such, I feel a bit unfulfilled and as a whole, the story felt like it never really came together. The main plot about the inn’s guest who was acting strangely and later found shot on the beach after the storm and dying soon after was a good plot but I felt like it was shoved into the background, and other smaller/less important things were given more space instead, like the bones recovered from the plot of land Abby didn’t even know she owned – which also led to a lot of pages on expanding the inn. That stuff should be in the background, not eclipsing the main plot. I did like that Abby finally got resolution about the death of her husband and son.
I also questioned the hurricane as a plot device. The book is set in late spring (I’m guessing late April or early May) and there was a hurricane. Hurricane season is June 1st through November 1st, but really doesn’t get cranking until late summer/September. So how was there a hurricane racing up the coast before hurricane season even started? Hmm…looked it up, in the entire history of tracking storms, only 2 were before June 1st, one in 1887 and one in 1951, so I guess it’s possible but unlikely.
Did I love the book? Sure, I look forward to each one and devour it in one evening but I’d say it’s not one of my favorites and I’d probably skip it on a re-read.