Review: Arrivals and Arrests

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Arrivals and Arrests by Diana Xarissa

I’ve been a long time fan of Diana Xarissa’s other series, so I was eagerly anticipating this book when I saw it come up on Amazon. Set in the familiar locale of the Isle of Man, Arrivals and Arrests has a whole new cast of characters to get to know. I liked it from the first paragraph and liked it even more when I saw Fenella moved from Buffalo, NY – my hometown! And not one joke about the weather! (People from Buffalo will understand.) I enjoyed this book so much, I read it in one afternoon, I couldn’t put it down!

The book follows Fenella, a middle aged college professor who inherits a flat from her aunt, Mona. The day after she arrives, she stumbles upon Alan Collins, a shady businessman, laying dead in an alley behind her building. Fenella finds herself in the middle of the investigation and as if that’s not stressful enough, Fenella finds that Mona hasn’t “moved on” after her death, and keeps popping up unexpectedly to prod Fenella into investigating.

I really enjoyed the twisty plot. Having just arrived to the island, Fenella doesn’t know anyone and you’re just as much in the dark about the suspects as she is, and every motive she uncovers is as new to her as it is to you. With many misdirections, it was fun to join Fenella as she tracks down a killer while meeting new friends on the island.

Arrivals and Arrests brings a whole new crew of characters to love. Mona and Shelly were my favorites, I thought they were a real hoot, adding lots of humor to the story. Fenella also finds herself beihng courted by three eligible men, her neighbor Peter, the dashing Donald Donaldson and dishy detective Daniel Robinson. Which one will Fenella choose? (I’m partial to the dishy detective.)

Most of all, I loved the Tale and Tail pub! Like Fenella, I could easily spend hours there among the cats and the books. Is there an actual place like that on the Isle of Man? If so, I’m booking my flight tomorrow.

Overall, Arrivals and Arrests is an excellent debut to a promising new series and I look forward to more of Fenella’s adventures. I definitely recommend this to readers looking for a fun cozy mystery to curl up with for an afternoon.

Arrivals and Arrests is available at Amazon

Series: Isle of Man Ghostly Cozy #1
Rating:★★★★ 5 stars
Publication Date: Nov. 18, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN: 978-1537699547
ASIN: B01KQWEU2U
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)
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Review: A Ghostly Gift

24954886A Ghostly Gift by Angie Fox

A short and sweet read, A Ghostly Gift has a touch of humor, a sleazy ghost bar, and a heartwarming tale that will hit you right in the feels.

After reading the 4th book in this fantastic series, I vowed to catch up with all the other books. A Ghostly Gift is a very short story (it took me a half hour to read) set just after the first book. Verity’s sister, Melody asks her for a favor; a friend’s resale shop is being terrorized by a ghost and she needs Verity’s help to get rid of the ghost before anything valuable is broken. With gangster ghost Frankie by her side, Verity goes to investigate and uncovers a long lost secret: a dead WWII soldier needs help to find his old sweetheart.

This was heartwarming and a little sad; my heart went out to the poor soldier and his lost love, who have spent decades mourning their lost love. When they were eventually reunited, it made me a little teary. I’m a sucker for this kind of thing.

Overall, an excellent short story in a fantastic series, and highly recommended for paranormal mystery fans.

Buy it on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble

Series: Southern Ghost Hunter #1.5
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Angie Fox
Publication Date: Feb 15, 2015
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub
ISBN: 2940151540735
ASIN: B00TOZ9EC2
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Southern Spirits

24582237Southern Spirits (Southern Ghost Hunter #1) by Angie Fox

Poor Verity. Forced to repay her cheating ex-boyfriend Beau for their wedding after she jilted him at the altar and trashed the reception, she faces having to sell her home to repay her debts. After accidentally “grounding” Frankie, the ghost of an old mobster, Verity finds that she can see and speak to ghosts. When her ex’s brother, Ellis, asks for her help to get rid of an angry ghost in return for the money to save her house, it’s a deal Verity can’t refuse. When Verity uncovers a decades-old murder, Verity must use her new abilities to track down a killer.

Southern Ghost Hunters is fast becoming my favorite cozy series, with its exciting plots and great characters. I’ve already read two other books in the series, so I finally sat down to see how it all began.

Verity dumps out a vase full of dust, not realizing it’s an urn filled with the last remains of Frankie “The German”, a mobster who was killed 100 years ago. Now Frankie is “grounded” and can’t leave the property unless Verity carries his urn with her. Frankie is able to help Verity see The Other Side and interact with ghosts. Frankie is a real hoot, and the perfect sidekick for Verity. Thanks to him, she manages to find some much needed money for an elderly widow and to put an angry ghost to rest.

I loved the first ghost story line, with Jilted Josephine and her poltergeist mother. I would’ve liked to have seen Verity go back and help them more, maybe that will come in a later book. It just made me sad that poor Josephine is still locked in her room. *sigh*

The second ghost story line, helping her ex’s brother, Ellis, get rid of the angry ghost that’s destroying his work to restore an old distillery, was very exciting. I loved the Colonel, I wavered between thinking he was protecting Verity and attacking her. The story behind the poltergeist was tragic (like Josephine!) and I really felt for the poor ghostie. I’d be mad too, if that happened to me!

Overall, Southern Spirits is a a real page-turner; fun, exciting and addicting. I definitely recommend this series as a must read for fans of paranormal and/or cozy mysteries.

Enter now to win a print copy of Southern Spirits on Goodreads from now until October 24th, 2016 (US and Canada)! The Kindle version is free on Amazon for a limited time!

Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

Series:Southern Ghost Hunter #1
Rating:★★★★ 5 stars
Publication Date: Jan. 18, 2015
ISBN-13:978-1939661210
ASIN: B01DH47396
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Release Day: Deader Homes and Gardens

32149236Deader Homes and Gardens by Angie Fox

A spooky tale of a haunted mansion, evil spirits, and Egyptian curses will leave your poor nails bitten to the quick in this exciting paranormal cozy mystery.

Verity Long has given up her graphic design business to become a  full-time ghost hunter.  With gangster ghost Frankie by her side to lend her his power to The Other Side, Verity awaits her first ghost hunting job.  When Lee, the last heir to the very haunted Rock Fall mansion, calls her in to investigate, Verity has to battle a murderous spirit hell bent on keeping the secrets of Rock Fall from being uncovered.

I could not put this down and read this in one evening. I can’t remember the last time I read a cozy mystery with this much depth, it reminded me of the early Ghost Hunter books by Victoria Laurie; a scary baddie, lots of thrills & chills, a sprinkling of horror, a dash of humor, and that creepy kind of suspense that raises the hair on the back of your neck.

    “Lord have mercy.  Dozens of doll heads, broken from their bodies, stared up at me through the gently moving water in the basin.  Their eyes opened wide, their cracked mouths smiled. My blood went cold.”

My blood went cold reading that.  *shiver*

The plot surrounds the Treadwell family, who died mysteriously after a cache of Ancient Egyptian treasures were brought home after a dig in the early part of the 20th century, was excellent, very well written with lots of red herrings and plot twists. The ghosts were the stars of this book, from the mute little girl, Charlotte to the scarred Governess to Frankie, the gangster who blackmails Verity into allowing a gangster get-together in her backyard in return for his help. Complete with flapper girls, a jazz band, and a spectral craps table, it sounded like the kind of happening party anyone would want to be caught dead at. I loved the descriptions of the grounds at the mansion, a beautiful abandoned garden left to grow wild.  My Secret-Garden-obsessed self was in heaven.  I’d love to explore something like that (but without the evil ghosts, thanks)

While there are references to previous books, they don’t distract from the plot, so this can be read as a standalone but you will want to read the other books after reading this one!

Overall, an exceptional cozy mystery for any time of year, but especially good for a Halloween read.

Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

I was provided an advanced copy of the book by Season Publishing, Moose Island Books and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review

Series: Southern Ghost Hunter #4
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Moose Island Books
Publication Date: Oct. 09, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Language: English
Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1939661371
ASIN: B01M98PA4S
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

The Swap

31305593The Swap by Nancy Boyarsky

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

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

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

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

The Swap is available for pre-order at book retailers or online at  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

I was given an advance copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.

Series: Nicole Graves Mystery #1
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Light Messages Publishing
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Paperback, Audio
ISBN-13: 978-1611531886
ASIN: B01L2XI3IY
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

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 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

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)

Review: The Woman in Blue

25942279The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

An ethereal vision of a woman in blue in a graveyard one night leads to the body of a beautiful young model found dead in a ditch.  DI Nelson and his crew  find themselves in a new investigation to find who is strangling blonde women in the medieval pilgrimage town of Little Walsingham. At the same time, Ruth is contacted by an old university friend who requests Ruth’s help in tracking down the author of several threatening letters.

I really enjoyed this latest installment in the Ruth Galloway series. The main plot, the murders of two blond women, tied in with the sub-plot of the threatening letters so well that it was impossible to see a connection at first. All the clues were there, neatly woven into the story so well that you didn’t realize until much later how pertinent they were.

The great locale, the medieval pilgrimage town of Little Walsingham, oozed Ye Olde World Charm (I admit I fall for it every time. I’m a sucker for hedge lined country lanes, medieval churches and quaint English villages.)

Also, this time on Cheaters, Nelson and Michelle are forced to re-evaluate their relationship, while Ruth waffles between hating Nelson and hating herself for loving Nelson. Ruth is starting to irritate me; I just want to give her a shake and tell her to move on. I have to say, Ruth’s attitude towards Hillary was a little surprising to me. I know Ruth’s staunch disapproval of religion is a mainstay of the series, but I thought that her feminist ideology would at least recognize that female vicars don’t have it easy and to have some empathy.

Let me just say that I feel my life is severely lacking without a Cathbad to pop up randomly in a purple cloak to spout arcane wisdom and I’m not sure who to call to remedy that.

And just what did Nelson say to Ruth at the end?!

Overall, another great book in a series I highly recommend to readers.

The Woman in Blue is available at book stores everywhere and on Amazon

Review: Jørn Lier Horst – Ordeal

norsk, Norwegian, nordic, crime, police, procedural, mystery, book, review, ordeal, mystereityOrdeal by Jørn Lier Horst

Jørn Lier Horst never fails to impress me, his William Wisting series draws you in with their intense and thrilling plots. A former police detective in Norway, his experience shows with how well crafted and realistic the story’s investigation plays out. In Ordeal, the cold case of a taxi driver missing for over 6 months has Wisting stumped, that is until a close friend tells him about a strange customer at her cafe who makes several comments that could be clues to the case. That starts Wisting on a journey encompassing illicit activities going back decades, the seemingly unconnected murder of a young woman, and daughter Line’s impending motherhood.

One of the things I love about this book (and the series) is how clean it is.  That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy a more complex story in other books, it’s just that I really appreciate how sleek and uncomplicated this series is. There’s no excess filler in the plot; it’s a straightforward police procedural with a minimum of extraneous details. And yet the stories never seem to suffer because of it; the labyrinthine plots just suck you in from the beginning.

I also like how Wisting and daughter Line work together but separately on cases; the unique symbiosis adds so much depth to the story and really highlights how close Wisting is to Line, and yet how distant their relationship is in a lot of ways.

Overall, another stellar book in the incomparable Wisting series, and I definitely recommend this series to any mystery lover.

 

Ordeal is available at book retailers or you can order a copy on Amazon

Review: Missing by Ed James

30318747Missing: A Gripping Crime Thriller by Ed James

Thrilling, compelling and gritty, Missing delves into the difficult subject of of child sexual abuse and its impact; not only for the victim, but also the family and the police officers assigned to investigate the case.

This will definitely be high on my favorite books of the year list, the finely woven plot unwound bit by bit, with lots of plot twists and red herrings that kept me guessing as the book raced towards the shocking finale.

The main character, Craig Hunter is a likeable guy. I mean, who wouldn’t love a copper that would jump out a window into a tree to rescue a cat? I really enjoyed that scene, it made for a great start to the book. I also liked how well the characters from the Scott Cullen series were integrated into the story, adding more dimension to the characters I already knew (and loved.)

Overall, Missing is a dark, riveting, and memorable book with a strong plot that will draw you into the middle of the action. I definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys police procedurals or just a good, old-fashioned hard-boiled mystery.

Missing by Ed James is available on Amazon