Review; Sitting Murder

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Sitting Murder by A.J. Wright

After Alice, a recent widow, develops the ability to speak with the dead after her husband dies in a mining accident, her aunt Doris takes advantage of it by bringing in people for spirit readings. After receiving a threatening letter, the police are contacted and Detective Sergeant Brennan and Constable Jaggery begin to investigate. Brennan initially dismisses the letter as a crank but the case heats up quickly when Doris is found suffocated, and there’s no shortage of suspects. But who was the target, Doris or Alice?

Whoo, what a ride! Loved, loved, LOVED this, I was swept up in this deftly written mystery combining the Victorian fascination with mediums and spirits with a classic whodunit.  I loved the simple yet complex plot that takes twist after turn and by the time the surprise ending was unfolding, I was just holding on for dear life! The tragic stories from the suspects made it hard to single one out, and although you think you know who did it, you’ll be wrong.

Sitting Murder was a fantastic mystery and one I will be thinking out for a long time. I’ve not read any of the earlier books in the series (you can bet I will now!) so this book can easily be read as a standalone or as an entry into the series.

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Review: March of Crime

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March of Crime by Jess Lourey

“Gary,” she said on her way out, “I got my nails done. What do you think?” He looked. She held up both her middle fingers. His nostrils flared. I tugged Mrs. Berns outside before he did anything more

If I could give this book a standing ovation, I would. I had a serious book hangover after I finished this one; actually, I finished the last page and went “Auuugghhhaaahhhhh!!!!” Thrilling, hilarious and entertaining, it was a great comeback for Mira and the Battle Lake gang. I love Mira, she’s smart and tough on the outside but so vulnerable and insecure on the inside (and dang it, girl you make some rotten decisions!) Mrs. Berns is always laugh out loud funny and like Mira, I want to be her when I grow up. The plot was fantastically creepy (dolls are creepy enough, but when you stuff corpses in them? *shudder*) and I never saw the end coming. Add in Kennie’s hairbrained money making schemes (which had me rolling with laughter!) and Chief Wohnt (gaaahhhh!!) and you’ve got a blockbuster book.

An excellent read and  I definitely recommend this series for cozy mystery fans. I can’t wait for the next book (please Lord, let it be soon!)

Review: Biscuits and Slashed Browns

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Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day

Biscuits and Slashed Browns is the 4th book in the Country Store Mysteries, and the small town of South Lick, IN is gearing up for a Maple Festival when a visiting college professor ruffles some feathers and winds up dead with a chef’s knife stuck in his chest. Puzzle fanatic Robbie can’t seem to let the matter go, especially when the prime suspects are her best friend Christina and the father of one of her employees! Robbie ruthlessly chases the truth, and finds herself in a couple of sticky situations before being confronted by the killer and barely escaping with her life! (And I loved how the title was a part of the plot!)

I love a visit to South Lick and catching up with Robbie, Buck and Adele and of course, Robbie’s food (I’m going to make those maple biscuits!) and this one didn’t disappoint. The author does such a great job of creating a world that welcomes you back like an old friend. The rich plot had a lot going on without feeling too cluttered, with a fast pace and a riveting plot that kept me glued to the pages. I mean, the floors can wait to be washed, but mysteries don’t solve themselves! Robbie’s bike rides had me, who is freezing in arctic Indiana right now, yearning for those spring days with the promise of warmer weather to come. I would’ve liked to have seen a little bit about the maple syrup process, too bad Robbie didn’t make it to see the Native American sugaring demonstration. And did she ever fix her taillight? Did she give Warren’s crown back to Noreen? These are the things I worry about, folks.

Overall, Biscuits and Slashed Browns serves up another finger lickin’ good cozy mystery and another enjoyable visit to South Lick.

A Will to Die

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A Will to Die by Russell Atkinson

A Will to Die is the 7th Cliff Knowles mystery but also a standalone. What sets this book apart from the other books in the series is that Cliff is a bit of an outsider to this investigation, since it was his estranged sister who died, he was more on the sidelines, not that Cliff let that stop him.

This was an intriguing case, and I have to hand it to the author, he comes up with some pretty unsettling plots (read Fatal Dose!) and this one, a suicide cult preying on Cliff’s sister is no different. Lots of twists and turns, what you think is an insignificant scene comes back later to be very relevant to the investigation, so it keeps the reader on their toes. Since Cliff wasn’t right in the middle of the official investigation, I really liked watching Cliff and the detectives come to the same conclusions separately by different means. Detectives Sanchez and Martin were a great pair, I liked their friendly rivalry and dogged determination. A sprinkling of geocaching (I always find that interesting, one of these days I’ll have to give it a try) and the moving storyline about Denise’s daughter gave a human touch to the story.

Overall, another fantastic book in the Cliff Knowles series and a must read for any fan of realistic police procedurals and a good mystery.

Review: Dead, Bath, and Beyond

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Dead, Bath, and Beyond by Lorraine Bartlett & Laurie Cass

I think this is my favorite of the author’s many series, and I was happy to see it return. They’re always a light cozy read. I love the quaint upstate NY location and I really like Katie, she’s endlessly patient (I am not, so I envy this quality in others) and I love the down to earth realism attitude that retired detective Ray Davenport brings to balance out all the wild theories Katie comes up with. The pace on this is relaxed, and that’s what I love about this series, it’s sets just the right pace for the story, allowing the reader to really get to know the different characters while still keeping the mystery suspenseful. I loved the plot, who killed Katie’s ex-boss Josh the Jerk and why? Lots of suspects and lots of motives, Katie has her hands full investigating, leading up to the exciting conclusion.

All in all, a great addition to the Victoria Square series and an enjoyable read.

Review: Club Room Corpse

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Club Room Corpse by Sherry Lodge

Giveaway!  Win one of two Kindle copies of the Club Room Corpse!
(Contest runs until January 10th, 2018. 2 winners will be picked at random, no purchase required, open to US residents only.  Click link for more info!)

Cassie, Cassie, Cassie. As if you don’t have enough on your plate to keep you busy, what with wedding plans and your concierge job catering to the upscale residents of the Parkstone luxury apartment building and finding who is the lucky recipient of a lovely pair of Lovebirds, but you had to go and find yourself in the middle of another murder. And poor Stella! Readying her 75th birthday party, she is ruthlessly killed. Who could have it in for this innocent little old lady? There’s a whole RSVP list of suspects and motives and as if finding the killer wasn’t hard enough, untangling the half-truths and mysteries of Stella’s life prove to be just as difficult. What’s a fashionista to do other than to put on her Jimmy Choo’s and solve another mystery?

I enjoy this cute little cozy series, from Cassie’s running narrative of what the residents of the Parkstone are wearing to her ability to ferret out the smallest details and help her homicide detective boyfriend close the case, it always puts a smile on my face. The Clubroom Corpse had an especially juicy plot, with a victim who hid many secrets, a whole building full of suspects and lots of clues and misdirections to keep me guessing. I loved the madcap ending, it was a fun and exciting way to cap off an enjoyable mystery. And I’ve got my eye on you Mr. Beasley narrows eyes

 

Review: A Tale of Two Kitties

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A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly

I’ve read this series from the beginning, I always enjoy a visit to Mayville Heights and Owen and Hercules never fail to put me under their spell. A Tale of Two Kitties is the perfect addition to this wonderful series, I enjoyed the the exciting plot; a pair of estranged brothers, a love triangle, and a decades old death combine lead to a present day murder, tearing a family apart. I love the extra layer that Kathleen and Simon’s friendship adds, that what-if feeling it gives me. I mean, Kathleen and Marcus spend almost no time together. They’ve been together how long and they haven’t moved in together yet? Clearly this relationship is going nowhere. Yes, I’m shipping Simon and Kathleen, make this happen, for Mia’s sake. The trove of lost mail discovered behind a wall at the post office was a fun way to tie the story together and add some Mayville Heights history to the story. Combine all of it together and you get a suspenseful and enjoyable cozy mystery with Owen and Hercules saving the day. Irresistible!

Review: A Fatal Collection

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A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes

An adorable and enjoyable cozy mystery, from the charming location to the cute characters and the excellent plot, it was a fun read. I loved the world that the author created with Keepsake Cove, a beautiful little tourist town in Maryland with quaint little shops and I would love to wander around the music box shop, looking at all the different models. The characters were just as charming as the location, I really liked Callie, a realistic main character that is easy to relate to. But the plot really shined, from the ghostly music box to the twisty plot full of misdirections, I couldn’t read it fast enough.

A Fatal Collection will delight any cozy mystery fan, and this stands out as one of the finest mysteries I’ve read in 2017. I look forward to seeing the series continue, can’t wait for the next book!

Review: Death Distilled

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Death Distilled by Melinda Mullet 

The second book in the Whisky Business Mystery series, Death Distilled is a solid tale of old secrets, revenge and murder, both in the current day and hundreds of years ago. And that’s what I liked best about this book, the blending of mysteries from two separate time periods and then tied together at the end. Add in secret passages and you’ve got an intoxicating cozy mystery.

My only gripe is there was too much packed into the book and I felt like it rambled a bit too long. At around 2/3 of the way through the book, I started to get a little bored. If a few scenes in the middle were trimmed or removed, it would’ve heightened the tension and suspense.

The colorful cast of characters and the side plot historical mystery really made the book engaging. I was far more interested in the historical mystery (and the hope of more secret rooms and passages) than I was in the minutae of the rock star soap opera. The conclusion was both thrilling and tragic and a great ending to the story.

Overall, an entertaining and enjoyable read and I am eagerly watching for the next book in the series.

Review: Quackery

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Quackery by Lydia King and Nate Pedersen

Equal parts mortifying, morbid and fascinating, Quackery is a guided tour through the horrifying world of medicine and health care in days gone by. I eat these kinds of books up like candy, who doesn’t like lurid trivia of the not-so-good ol’ days? I know I do!

I really liked the layout, it’s akin to my favorite magazine, Mental Floss with little factoids on every page to highlight the subject. Very well organized, full of stomach turning stories of medical mistakes and maladies, it kept me turning pages and very thankful I live in the modern day.

 

Review: Killer Party

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Killer Party by Lynn Cahoon

I liked this, but I didn’t love it. While the mystery was interesting and intriguing, I didn’t care for any of Greg’s friends, and that made me feel a little apathetic towards solving the murder and seriously Jill, get over the whole relationship angst. The surprising and exciting ending was a great way to end the book, and overall it was entertaining and enjoyable. Mostly, I just enjoy another visit to South Cove and catching up with Jill, Greg and the Coffee, Books & More gang (And I really concerned about Aunt Jackie!)

Review: Murder in Mayfair

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Murder in Mayfair by D.M. Quincy

Murder in Mayfair is an excellent debut historical cozy, with a labyrinthine plot that pulls you deep into their Georgian era world from the very first page. It was so easy to lose myself in the world the author created, from the picturesque English countryside to London’s dirty streets, the attention to period detail was adept without weighing down the story. This was the kind of book where the characters become almost like familiar friends, from the enigmatic Lilliana to the brilliant Thea to the dashing and witty Atlas Catesby (that name, right? I feel like I need a jaunty cat named Atlas Catesby.) and the suspenseful plot kept me turning pages well into the night.

Overall, Murder in Mayfair is a lovely introduction to the world of Atlas Catesby, with a taut, suspenseful plot with many twists and turns, a charming early 1800s setting and riveting characters it will definitely be a series to watch for.

Review: Doom With a View

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Doom with a View by Kate Kingsbury

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, the second in the Merry Ghost Inn series. From the enchanting and picturesque Oregon setting to the charming characters to the suspenseful plot that kept me guessing right up until the end, it was an engaging and absorbing read. I loved the reveal at the end, both heart-wrenching and tragic, it was a great way to end the book. I really love Orville the Laughing Ghost, it’s a fun element to the story and adds just a touch of spooky that gives the series a little flavor.

Although a great book, it rambled a little bit in some places and while this wasn’t a huge issue, there were a couple of scenes I found myself flipping through because they were a bit repetitive. Overall though, it wasn’t a big issue, it was still an enjoyable read and this series is quickly moving up on my must-read series list.

Overall, a solid second book in a what’s shaping up to be a can’t-miss cozy series and very enjoyable.

Review: The Cryptic Crossword Caper

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The Cryptic Crossword Caper by Russell Atkinson

Mags has settled in Buck’s Gap, CA to enjoy a quiet retirement from her civil service job, spending her time solving crossword puzzles and discussing the latest thriller with her mystery book club. While her well-meaning friends try to set her up with wealthy crossword puzzle author Morris Butcher as the perfect match, Mags is content to enjoy the single life. But when she discovers Morris stabbed to death in his kitchen, the investigation uncovers a possible link to a jewel heist that occurred years ago and many of the missing diamonds have never been found. A series of cryptic puzzles could hold the key to the mystery, and Mags is determined to help Chief Rick Moran crack the case.

I’m already a big fan of this author, having read most of his Cliff Knowles FBI series, and when I saw that The Cryptic Crossword Caper had combined a realistic police procedural with a cozy mystery, I was intrigued; how well could these two very different genres work together, especially since the author hasn’t written any cozy mysteries? Extremely well, as it turns out. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked and I read most of it in one evening! The cozy mystery blended with the hard-nosed procedural perfectly, with all the cozy elements you’d expect; a light read, a little bit of action, amateur sleuths, a sprinkle of light romance, and a lovable cast of characters. Combining it with Chief Rick Moran’s methodical and realistic investigation makes for a riveting, suspenseful story that even Jessica Fletcher would envy.

Besides being probably the only book to combine cozy mystery with police procedural, what sets this book apart was that it was so interactive, with several puzzles that the reader can work on their own that, when completed, held several clues to the murder. (Don’t worry, if you’re not a puzzle fan, the puzzles are “worked out” in the book, so you can still follow along. I really enjoyed trying my hand at the puzzles and while the cryptic crossword was a bit above my skill set, I had a great time working it and the cryptograms and Sudoku. For me, it added an extra layer to keep me involved and reading (not that the book needed anything more to keep me reading!)

The Cryptic Crossword Caper is an excellent read that will appeal to any mystery fan, there’s something for everyone.  I look forward to reading more adventures with Rick, Mags, and the rest of the charming citizens of Buck’s Gap.

Review: Held for Ransom

The first 13133718in the Cliff Knowles series, Held For Ransom is a nail-biting thriller following the FBI’s investigation into the kidnapping of a wealthy tech executive. Written by a retired FBI Special Agent, what really sets this series apart from the usual police-thrillers is the ultra-realism and attention to detail that puts the reader right in the middle of an FBI investigation, watching the events unfold like you’re right there in the middle of the action. Told from the perspective of Special Agent Cliff Knowles and the victim, Carl Fischer, it’s a gripping story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I really enjoy this series, so I picked this one up to “see how it all started” after reading several of the later books, and I and wasn’t disappointed. Cliff is a likable, unflappable investigator (I loved the patience he had while trying to keep the victim’s wife on track to get information. I’d have lost my marbles!) The story unwinds bit by bit, drawing me into the heart of the investigation and it reads like one of those docu-crime shows on cable, where each clue teases just a bit more of the story. I loved all the FBI terminology and procedures, it really enhanced my understanding of the actions and reactions of the characters and the story feels like it plays out in real time, moving at just the right pace and the exciting ending kept me frantically turning pages. This is the perfect series for any fans of gritty police procedurals or docu-crime shows on cable and one I definitely recommend.

Amazon Link

Series: Cliff Knowles #1
Publication Date: October 15, 2011
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, Paperback
ASIN: B005WCUSOY
Genre: Police Procedural, Mystery, Thriller
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Sweet Tea & Spirits

34624615After a puzzling phone call predicting a murder, Verity and gangster ghost buddy Frankie are hired on the sly by Julia Harper Youngblood to investigate who is leaving the Sugarland Heritage Society’s mannequins in compromising positions at a Civil War era home for widows and children. When she later finds Julia dead, she’s going to need the ghostly inhabitants to help her find a killer, and uncovers a very salacious history that no one expected.

Every time I read the newest book in the Southern Ghost Hunter series, I rave that it’s the best book so far. So, it should come as no surprise to you when I say Sweet Tea and Spirits is the best one so far in this series! Virginia, the MIL you love to hate, offers up a few surprises and even gangster Frankie shows off an unexpected side. I loved the glimpse into Verity’s family history, and I hope Ida will make an appearance at a later point. The exciting ending capped up a suspenseful plot that weaved a bit of saucy Southern history with spectral shenanigans into a thrilling adventure sprinkled with humor.

Overall, Sweet Tea & Spirits is an excellent addition to the Southern Ghost Hunter series and a must read for any paranormal mystery fan.

Series: Southern Ghost Hunter
Publisher: Moose Island Books
Publication Date: 22 April 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ASIN: B07168ZNVX
ISBN: 9781939661395
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

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)

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)