Mr. Scarletti’s Ghost

Book

Mr. Scarletti’s Ghost (Mina Scarletti #1) by Linda Stratmann

This one has been on my To-Read list for awhile and I absolutely loved this well crafted slice of life in the Victorian times and the fashionable rise of Spiritualism. When a new phenomenon in the form of a spiritual medium named Miss Eustace takes Brighton by storm, Mina becomes worried that her mother and her financially well off friends will become the victims of fraud, Mina sets out to investigate the woman, her intentions and her mysterious past.

Afflicted with scoliosis, Mina Scarletti isn’t expected to marry and have children, so she is free of many of the constraints and pressures that other Victorian women would face. She’s already a successful author of horror stories, and her skepticism of the Spiritualist sensation sweeping Brighton has her free to do a little investigating without arousing displeasure from her family or the townspeople. Practical, clever, sensible and creative, she’s fascinating and so gosh-darn likable. Along with her brother, Richard, friends Dr. Hamid and his family (Oh! Eliza’s storyline was so sad!) it made for a warm and inviting read.

I love the level of realism in this series, it reads like non-fiction. Beautifully researched and rich in detail, from the descriptions of the Brighton seafront to Miss Eustace’s demonstrations, it was brought to life handily and it was so easy to lose myself in the story. I also enjoyed that this was a clean no-murder mystery, just good old fashioned intrigue and deception. This is a a definitely a very highly recommended series for anyone who enjoys historical mysteries and a perfect pool read. Don’t miss this one!

 

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Review: Dark Angel

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Dark Angel (DI Greco #4) by Helen H. Durrant

I couldn’t put this one down, I’m sorry it took me so long to start it! I’ve long been a fan of Helen H. Durrant’s Calladine and Bayless books, but this is my first DI Greco. I can safely say this can be read as a standalone or an entry into the series, I wasn’t lost at all, any prior references are explained enough that they’re not a distraction.

First off, I have to say that Durrant is skilled in drawing in a reader completely into the world she creates, making the book so much more than a gripping mystery (as if that wasn’t enough!), but also the frequently messy lives of the very compelling and realistic (if not flawed) characters. You end up with not only a thrilling case that keeps you turning pages, but also the can’t-turn-away-train-wreck that is Greco’s personal life. I like Greco, he’s unemotional and methodical, traits that frequently cause problems with interpersonal relationships. Reading this, I was reminded Olympia Dukakis’s line from Moonstruck (“Can I give you some advice? Don’t s**t where you eat.”) and boy, is that relevant to this book. Still, I felt for Greco, it was clear he was being pushed into something he didn’t want and that never ends well.

But it’s the case that takes front and center in the book, it got off to a running start with a body found at a music festival by a young woman before turning to the murders of two young men who got more than they bargained for when they burgled a house. The quick pace and many twists and turns kept me greedily turning page after page and that surprise ending left me gasping. An excellent read from start to finish, something I always expect from this author and definitely recommended for fans of gritty crime fiction.

Review: Death of a Russian Doll

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Death of a Russian Doll (Vintage Toyshop #3) by Barbara Early

Poor Liz, her promising new romance with new police chief Ken Young was shattered when his estranged wife, Marya, blew into town looking to reconcile. Liz does her best to get over it, but when Marya is found strangled to death and Ken comes under suspicion, Liz steps in to help her dad solve the murder and uncovers the secrets Marya has been hiding for years. But who killed her?

Another great chapter in the Vintage Toy Shop series, I loved the twisty plot, this wasn’t your ordinary cozy! There were a lot of timely themes in this story that were handled with humanity and grace. When the whole truth came out, it wasn’t difficult to feel for Marya and her tragic history, and it made for a memorable read. I totally knew who did it by a third of the way through the book (and I was completely wrong, so the ending was a surprise!)

As always, the villagers are a hoot and the liberal sprinkling of puns made me chuckle. Add in Liz’s new romance and the nostalgic (at least for me!) setting and the book left me with the warm and fuzzies. A marvelous series that just keeps getting better and better! This book can be read as a standalone, as any references to the earlier books are adequately explained, but I definitely recommend reading them in order (actually I just recommend reading all of them!)

Review: The Marmalade Murders

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The Marmalade Murders by Elizabeth Duncan

Penny Brannigan finds herself volunteering at the local agricultural fair, checking in entrants to the culinary competition and judging the childrens’ pet competition. But shenanigans are afoot when Penny’s friend Florence learns her entries have gone missing, and even more troubling, a Women’s Guild member is also missing and later found dead. All Penny has to do now is sort out who sabotaged Florence’s entries and how her cake ended up under a table with a dead woman.

This one was a fun, light read and frankly, I was more concerned about poor Florence than I was about the unlikable dead woman. I love Florence, I just want to give her a hug, and Mrs. Lloyd is a hoot. How dare they diss Florence’s baking? HOW DARE THEY? *outrage* but it did provide some great red herrings to complicate things a bit. I liked the plot, there were several good suspects and lots of surprises along the way. This is a favorite series for me, I’ve always enjoyed the folksy feel of the characters and the small town Wales setting, the vibrant descriptions leave me with no problem putting myself right in the small town of Llanelen, walking its streets and visiting the small shops and even spending an afternoon at the local agricultural fair (minus the murder, of course.) The author does a great job of capturing the beauty of the Welsh landscape, with all the wildflowers and Penny’s cute cottage (I’ve read this series since the start and I’ve always envied that cottage.)

 

Review: Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them

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Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Get Well Soon isn’t so much a historical book about plagues, it’s also about the human side of plagues; the healers, the sufferers and the people left behind. The book details not only catastrophic plagues like The Black Death, but also some of the lesser known plagues like the Roman Empire-ending Antonine Plague and The Dancing Plague in 16th century Europe (which sounds all very funny until you read that people pretty much danced their feet off. Literally.)

All the major maladies are touched on, from the horrific syphilis and tuberculosis plagues to the ravages of typhoid, smallpox and cholera throughout history. The sad fate of many plague victims, abandoned by their families and in some cases, abandoned by society, was all very heartrending. I also thought it was very interesting how the Victorians glamorized the pale, gaunt appearance of tuberculosis sufferers. Looking at any of today’s popular fashion models or actresses, it’s obvious that’s an ideal that persists even today.

For the most part, this was very entertaining but felt a bit preachy in spots. Although I don’t fault the author for having strong feelings about her subject, it felt a bit like I was being lectured to.

Overall, Get Well Soon is an informative and entertaining trip through the perils of the past, and anyone who loves history (and plagues. I’m sure there are people out there who enjoy a good plague.) will definitely enjoy it.

Thank you to Henry Holt and Co. and Netgalley for an advance copy.  This review is my honest and unsolicited opinion. 

Rating:★★★✰✰ 3 stars
Publisher:Henry Holt & Co
Publication Date:Feb 07, 2017
Language: English
ISBN:9781627797467
ASIN: B01IA6FNUW
Genre:History, Non-Fiction
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Fatality by Firelight

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Fatality by Firelight (Cat Latimer #2) by Lynn Cahoon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis

Cat is hosting her second writers’ retreat at her B&B located in a small academic town of Aspen Hills, Colorado and hoping this retreat will be more tranquil than the first.  Her hopes are dashed when one of her guests comes under suspicion for the murder of local bad boy romeo Tommy. To complicate things, a mystery man shows up who seems to know too much about her, and a series of book thefts has everyone scratching their heads. There’s snow way Cat can’t just sit around, she’s out to solve the mystery!

Review

Gliding down the slopes…blazing fires in the fireplace…the crunch of snow underfoot…steaming mugs of hot cocoa…the dead body in the hot tub – only Lynn Cahoon could make snowy Colorado a hot destination, even in the depths of winter! With several mysteries woven into one fast-paced plot, I was glued to the book until the very last page. I loved the action-packed plot – Stalkers! Murders! Kidnapping! Booknapping! *gasp* – all with so many twists and turns, it was like a cozy mystery slalom! The on-going mystery surrounding the death of Cat’s ex-husband added a layer of intrigue and the mysterious stranger added a bit of spice to shake up Cat’s comfortable life.

All in all, Fatality by Firelight is a thoroughly enjoyable and well-crafted mystery guaranteed to keep you guessing (and entertained!) While this book can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the first in the series to get the full backstory about Cat’s ex-husband (and because it’s a good book.)

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book. This review is my honest, unsolicited opinion

Series: Cat Latimer #2
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date:  Feb 28, 2017
Language: English
Formats:  Kindle/Paperback
ISBN: 9781496704375
ASIN: B01GBAG6VO
Genre:Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: For Whom the Bread Rolls

33179107For Whom the Bread Rolls by Sarah Fox

For Whom the Bread Rolls picks up where book 1 left off. Marley is having trouble with Ida, a vindictive former employee whose childish pranks are wearing thin. When Marley goes to Ida’s house to confront her, she finds Ida dead, bashed in the head by the lamp that she stole from Marley. Concerned that she’s a suspect in Ida’s murder and how that could impact her business, Marley starts snooping, uncovering no shortage of suspects and a flood of motives. Desperate to clear her name, Marley doesn’t waffle around and sets out to catch a killer.

One of the things that lure me in with cozy mysteries are the titles. For Whom the Bread Rolls gave me a smile and if I wasn’t already a big fan of this series, would definitely entice me to pick it up.

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!

Part of what makes these books so enjoyable for me is the rich descriptions of the lush seaside setting.

“When I opened my bedroom window and drew in a deep breath of sea-scented air…”

*sigh*  It’s 14°F outside right now, I could do with some summer time sea-scented air right about now.

Along with the great setting, the engaging characters really enhance this book. I think my favorite person is Ivan and his glowering arm-folding (and tasty dishes!) and I liked seeing more of him in this book. and I hope for more in future books. Could there be a romance brewing with Lisa? I can’t wait to find out!

Sarah Fox has written another yummy Pancake House mystery guaranteed to keep cozy fans coming back for seconds.

For Whom the Bread Rolls is available at book retailers or online at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Random House-Alibi and Netgalley for providing an advance copy in return for my honest review

Series: Pancake House #2
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Random House-Alibi
Publication Date:March 14, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub
ISBN:9780425285107
ASIN:B01HA4LF4I
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New Release: Classical Feng Shui for Health, Beauty &Longevity

feng, shui, book, review, mystereity,Classical Feng Shui for Health, Beauty & Longevity: Transform Your Space to Enhance Well-Being in Body & Home by Denise Liotta Dennis

I’ve been interested in Feng Shui for a long time but never found a good, basic guide for understanding Feng Shui and applying it to my home and life. When I saw this book available on Netgalley, I hoped that this would be my gateway to understanding more about Feng Shui and I wasn’t disappointed.

The information on this book is very well organized and in-depth, with information not only on how natural formations can impact your life, but also the objects in your home. While I was aware that the direction your front door faces can have an impact on your life, I had no idea that where my stove or toilets were placed could have an impact as well.

Using the two types of Feng Shui (Eight Mansions and Flying Stars) and how to determine y I can apply the guidance to my house and hopefully make it more harmonious. Although I live in an apartment and I’m limited in any physical changes I can make, the book has many tips and suggestions to weaken or diminish any negative energies found in my home.

Of the two Feng Shui systems, the Eight Mansions was far easier to understand.  All the information is well laid out in terms a a true beginner like me can understand, but  it’s going to take some time to get a better understanding of Flying Stars and I look forward to studying it further.

Overall, an exceptional book for learning the basics of Feng Shui and I recommend it whether you’re a beginner looking for an introduction, or a practitioner looking for a strong reference book and would make a great gift.

Thank you to Llewellyn Publications and Netgalley for an advanced copy in return for an honest review

Classical Feng Shui for Health, Beauty & Longevity is available at book retailers or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Llewellyn
Release Date: December 8, 2016
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Paperback
Language: English
Genre: Non-Fiction, New Age
ISBN-13: 9780738749006
ASIN:B01APSXKHQ
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Iced Under

51rddzzja2lIced Under by Barbara Ross

It’s winter in Busman’s Harbor, and Julia has settled in for a quiet winter. The restaurant she runs with Chris is shuttered for a few weeks, and Chris has gone to Florida to help out a friend. When Julia’s mom received a package containing a very old and expensive necklace that has been missing for several years, Julia tracks down the sender and uncovers her mother’s long lost family with secrets someone will kill for.

I always enjoy a visit to Busman’s Harbor, even in winter. The intriguing plot was a refreshing change of pace from the usual stumbling-over-a-body type of plot, and I read it in one afternoon, I just couldn’t put it down! The mysterious necklace sent by a mysterious relative and the relative’s mysterious death made for a riveting story. I liked that more information was added to the family history, and the “lost” family added a great new dimension to the series.

Overall, the Iced Under is a great cozy read for a cold winter’s day by the fire, I definitely recommend it to cozy mystery fans. This book can be read as a stand alone or as an entry into the series, but I definitely recommend reading all the books in the series.

Iced Under will be released on December 27, 2016.  Pre-order your copy on Amazon Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley, who provided an advance copy in return for my honest review

 

Series: Maine Clambake Mystery #5
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: Dec. 27, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Paperback
ISBN:9781410495778
ASIN: B01DRXCGEE
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New Release! The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages

29771608The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages by David Bercovici

David Bercoivci’s The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages (More or Less) is actually closer to 150 pages, which still makes it a short, concise book considering there are 14 billion years of history packed into it.

I’ve always had an interest in the origins of the universe and life on Earth, but my knowledge is rudimentary. Before starting the book, I’d say my knowledge of the subject was pretty basic, limited to a few college courses years ago, some science documentaries on tv and an article here and there.

The author admits that “the goal of this book is not meant to be deep and comprehensive, but instead to be boldly (or badly) shallow and superficial in the best sense of these words.” Which is a good thing, because although the book is written to be understood by anyone, part of it were still over my head. I had to read this bit by bit because it was easy to overload on the information and at that point, it was hard for me to absorb the information. So I’d take a break for a bit, then go back to it.

Starting with The Big Bang and the formation of Earth, continuing through plate tectonics and finally the evolution of life on Earth, The section that interested me the most was the formation of our planet, including how and why Earth is the only temperate and habitable planet. I was fascinated by the explanations that answered many of the questions I had, such as why Venus didn’t evolve like our planet did and even raised new questions that I can explore.

I did think it was too wordy in some parts, that there was more information presented than was needed to understand a particular point.

Overall, The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages (More or Less) is an excellent book that covers the basics of Planetary physics and Geophysics and is a great overview for those starting out in learning, or who want to expand their knowledge.

Thank you to Yale University Press and Netgalley for providing an advanced copy in return for my honest review.

The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages by David Bercovici will be released November 22, 2016.  Pre order your copy today!  AmazonBarnes&Noble

Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Hardcover, Audio CD
Genre: Science, Non-Fiction
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0300215137
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Death Comes to the Fair

29770003Death Comes to the Fair by Catherine Lloyd

I’ve enjoyed this historical mystery series from the start, and each book is better than the last. In Death Comes to the Fair, Robert is impatiently awaiting his wedding to Miss Lucy. Acting as a judge at the harvest fair’s vegetable contest, Robert awards most of the prizes to Ezekial Thurrock, angering many villagers. When Thurrock is later found dead, Lucy begins to suspect that his death wasn’t an accident. Was he killed by an angry villager? Or is his death connected to a decades old feud?

The suspenseful plot was enjoyable and tricky; there’s a whole village of suspects, including the victim’s brother, whose claims against the Kurland land and the story behind it were a great subplot. The plot unwound steadily up to an action packed ending, where Lucy proves herself a resourceful and stubborn woman, and I look forward to watching how Robert and Lucy spar once married – and their future investigations!

This book can be read as a standalone, or as an entry into the series, but I definitely recommend starting from the beginning, as there are some plot threads that run through the books.

Overall, Death Comes to the Fair is an excellent historical mystery that I definitely recommend to fans of historical and/or regency era mysteries.

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for providing an advance copy of the book in return for my honest review

Death Comes to the Fair will be released November 29, 2016.  Pre-order your copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Series: Kurland St. Mary #4
Rating:★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: Nov. 29, 2016
Language: English
Format: Kindle/Paperback/ePub
ISBN: 9781496702043
ASIN: B01CMGS5QA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New release! Butter: A Rich History

28110851Butter: A Rich History by Elaine Khosrova

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to read and review a cookbook that recommended using a high fat butter.  While that book went into a little bit of detail on what constituted high fat butter, I realized I still had a lot of questions after a discussion on my review about exactly what determines a butter to be high fat.  So when I requested this book, I hoped to learn more about how to choose a good butter for baking but got a whole lot more.

Butter: A Rich History, by Elaine Khosrova, explores not only the mechanics of making butter, but also the sociological, biological and the cultural aspects of butter and answered questions I didn’t even know I had.  Who knew cows self-medicate by eating different plants? Who imagined that the prohibition of consuming butter led many countries in Northern Europe to turn to Protestantism and separate from the Roman Catholic Church?  I never knew butter was so life changing and interesting. I loved the many stories about the history and folklore, including the story about the mjolkhare or milk hare:

“…a little woolly hare was woven out of sticks, wool, skin, clipped-off fingernails and human hair.  The milk hare was then “sent off” to a neighboring dairy to drink up all their milk, after which it raced home and vomited up all the milk into the thief’s own pails.”

Elaine Khosrova, Butter: A Rich History p. 74

The book answered many of my questions about butter, from which cows give the richest milk to the best way to store butter. The recipes included in the book sound delicious and look easy to make.  I knew a bit about some of the more unfamiliar ones (like Kouign Amann) from watching The Great British Bake Off and I can’t wait to give many of the recipes a try.

Overall, Butter is a very well researched and entertaining book that will make you better appreciate the rich, thick, creamy slab of butter you slather on your toast.  A great gift for any baker, this book would be a great addition to any cookbook collection. (Great Christmas gift idea!)

Thank you to Algonquin Books for the ARC to read in exchange for my honest review

Butter: A Rich History is available at book retailers or on  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Hardcover
ISBN: 9781616203641
ASIN: B01B3VMBO2
Genre: Culinary, Cookbook
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Runes for Beginners

28700190Runes for Beginners: Simple Divination and Interpretation by Alexandra Chauran

This is a great resource for anyone who would like to learn more about the use of Runes in divination, whether you’re just getting started or an experienced user. The detailed and easy to understand information covers everything from the history and meanings of the runes to how to cast and create your own set of runes.

When I began this book, I already had a set of runes and some basic understanding. While some of the rune names are different then what I learned (the book calls one rune Neid, I know it as Nauthiz) it was easy to understand and I liked the suggestions for how to remember the meaning of each rune. I also learned a great many new casts to try out, and I look forward to exploring them. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on creating bind runes, something I always wanted to try but never found any instruction on how to do it.

Overall, Runes for Beginners is an enjoyable and informative book, great for anyone interested in Runes or divination.

Runes for Beginners is available at book retailers or online  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher:Llewellyn Worldwide
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Paperback
ISBN: 9780738748283
ASIN: B01APSXKYO
Genre: Divination, New Age
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The United States of Absurdity

31860053The United States of Absurdity: Untold Stories from American History by Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds

The duo from The Dollop podcast have written a book full of the odd, the outrageous and all the funny stories that never made it into the history books.

This was a laugh out loud funny take on some of the lesser well-known stories that make up the fabric of our history. The presidential cheese story made me chuckle (What. A. Legend.) and the Lobotomobile story was outrageous, but the best story, and the reason I wanted to read this book, was the Kentucky Meat Shower story.

Meat.  Meat rained down all over Crouch’s property.  The meat dropped to the ground in varying sizes.  Some pieces were small.  Some were big.  It was raining meat; Hallelujah, it was raining meat!  The happiest creature was Crouch’s cat, who walked around eating the sky meat like it had won the feline lottery.

The stories are indeed hilarious and absurd, but not necessarily untold. I’ve seen a few of the stories in other places, and Reddit is full of Action Park stories (and even has its own subreddit, /r/actionpark, or check out these commercials of seemingly innocuous Action Park rides on Youtube.)

Overall, The United States of Absurdity is a short and funny look at US history,  great as a time-waster, side-splitting funny and a must-read for trivia fans and history buffs.

The United States of Absurdity is available at book retailers or onine at Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Ten Speed Press and NetGalley, who provided an advance copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Hardcover
ISBN: 9780399578755
ASIN: B01KE61LUC
Genre: History
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New Release! Dangling by a Thread

29064426Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait

Jesse lives a hermit’s life on an island just off Haven Harbor’s shore, alone except for his beloved Great Cormorants. When a millionaire visits Haven Harbor and decides to buy Jesse’s island, Jesse’s only concern is to save the island for the birds. When Jesse is found dead, there’s plenty of suspects, but who was the killer and why?

I enjoy Haven Harbor and its cozy atmosphere and the enjoyable plot kept a steady pace through the book, with a little bit of action to added to the suspense. I had a good idea who the killer was halfway through the book but it turned out I was wrong (close, but wrong.)

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A Great Cormorant. I agree with Patrick, they are surreal!

I liked the Save the Cormorant movement, and I especially liked that Angie and her friends were strong enough in their convictions and their loyalty to Jesse to risk the ire of the local townspeople to save their habitat.

I like Angie and the other characters (especially Gram) but I have to say, the one thing that put me off in this book was Angie and her issues.  Her attitude towards Patrick was a little annoying; despite the fact that she’s a caring person who doesn’t judge, she seems to think Patrick is a snob only because he’s rich which makes her feel insecure. Seriously, Angie, get over yourself.

I thought the climax of the book was a little abrupt. The plot was slowly and steadily moving along, then screeched to a halt. It was, for the most part, a satisfying conclusion and the plot was resolved, but it was incongrous with the pace of the book and a the loose ends a little too neatly tied up.

Overall, I enjoyed Dangling by a Thread and I will continue to read the series and those Maple Oatmeal cookies sound amazing. No raisins for me, please.

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Edit: I made the Maple Oatmeal cookies today and they are delish!  They were super easy to make  and I substituted chopped pecans instead of raisins.  They baked up beautifully and the end result is a light cinnamon-y chewy cookie.  I think next time I’m going to drizzle a little maple glaze over the top.  But that’s a whole other post.

Dangling by a Thread is available at book retailers or online   Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley, who provided an advance copy to read and review in return for my honest review.

Series: A Mainely Needlepoint #4
Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 Stars
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: Oct. 25, 2016
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Epub
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Language: English
ASIN: B01BAYWZHU
ISBN-13: 9781496706263
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: 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 an 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)

New Release: A Memory of Muskets

28700178A Memory of Muskets by Kathleen Ernst
Original review date: May 21, 2016

A Memory of Muskets, book 7 in the Chloe Ellefson series,combines a heart-wrenching tale of Roelke’s ancestors, finely woven into a riveting present day mystery of a Civil War re-enactor   found dead at Old World Wisconsin.  With nothing to identify the dead man, the investigation stalls and another Civil War re-enactor is shot to death at Milwaukee’s German Fest. Roelke works to piece together the pieces and find a killer. Throughout the book, the tragic story of Roelke’s ancestors unfolds as Roelke and Chloe purchase the Roelke homestead, which has been in his family since the time of the Civil War.

The present day plot was really well crafted; I had no firm suspects (although I hoped Petty guilty of the murders.) and the ending did come as a surprise. The characters continue to grow and gain some dimension and have become a solid unit.

What I really loved was the Roelke family history. There was a lot I could relate to with this book; I have been working on my family’s German genealogy over the last few months, so I guess I felt a certain kinship with the story. It certainly brought much enjoyment for me reading it, as it could just as easily have been my own history. I’m woman enough to admit that I did cry at the end of the book. When I said a heart-wrenching story, I wasn’t kidding.

Overall, a another solid entry into the Chloe Ellefson series and I can’t wait to read more. This book can be read as a standalone, but would be better appreciated if the series was read in order.

Thank you to Midnight Ink and Netgalley, who provided an advance copy in return for my honest review.

A Memory of Muskets  is available at book retailers or online at   Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Series:Chloe Ellefson #7
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: Oct. 8, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback/ePub
ISBN: 978-0738745152
ASIN: B01APSYQ1A
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Worth Killing For

30320413Worth Killing For by Ed James

A gritty, hard-boiled story about gangs, crime and murder on the streets of London, Worth Killing For isn’t your ordinary police procedural, it’s a look at the seedy side of city life that lives and breathes every day, but most of us don’t notice until it impacts our own lives.

DI Simon Fenchurch witnesses a fatal stabbing of a young woman on the street in London and chases down the suspect, a young boy on a bicycle. After apprehending him, a number of cellphones are found, indicating the boy is a cellphone thief known as an “Apple Picker”. After evidence turns up that exonerates the suspect, Fenchurch is forced to set him free. As he investigates further, he uncovers a sophisticated petty crime ring led by an elusive figure named Kamal that appears to be branching out into violent crime. But who is Kamal working for?

Just a few pages into the book, you’re already in the midst of the action and it doesn’t let up until the end of the book. I enjoyed the complex plot, there were many layers to the story that peeled off little by little right up to the shocking conclusion. A lot of hot social topics in today’s society are neatly knitted into the story, such as racial tension, gangs and crime, making the book so realistic that you feel like you’re right there on the street.

Overall, an enjoyable read from one of my favorite authors and this series is shaping up to be a blockbuster. I would say that this book can be read as a standalone, but to fully understand the characters, they should be read in order.

Worth Killing For will be released on October 11, 2016 and will be available at book retailers or on Amazon

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley, who provided an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Series: DI Fenchurch #2
Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: Oct. 11, 2016
Language: English
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Format: Kindle, Paperback, Audio
ASIN: B01CGBC70G
ISBN-13: 978-1503938229
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Dead Man’s Shadow

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Dead Man’s Shadow by Anne Wilkinson

In 1890, a new church is being erected in Stoke Newington, headed by a charismatic preacher named Tristan King whose congregation is at odds with the C of E teachings. Despite the disapproval of many of the townspeople, King’s church manages to attract a following, including a young woman desperate to escape her controlling half-brother.

In the present day, Alex’s daughter just bought a new house, and Alex offers to help with the renovations. When an old floorboard is pulled up to reveal an old box containing papers related to an old church, Alex can’t help but find out more about them. Not long after, old bones are found nearby at a construction site. Alex’s investigating leads her to an unbalanced woman trying to prove ownership of King’s church. Soon, Alex finds herself tied up in past events and current mysteries, trying to put all the pieces together.

While I enjoyed the book, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. I thought the historical part of the mystery dragged the book down, most of it was pretty predictable and I found myself flipping through much of those chapters. While it was interesting, it went on too long. If pared down to be less wordy, and the modern day plot beefed up a little more, this would’ve been a 5 star book.

The present day plot about Jane and ownership of the church fizzled out with an anti-climactic whimper and I was left wondering why it was a part of the story, it was almost like an afterthought.

I did enjoy the genealogical part of the mystery; it was interesting to see Alex connect the dots. Genealogy is a hobby of mine and I love those aha! moments when you finally find that missing link in a family tree.

Overall, I enjoyed the writing and the premise was interesting but I just didn’t connect with the story at all.

Dead Man’s Shadow is available for Kindle on Amazon

Thank you to Endeavor Press and Netgalley for providing an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

Series: Mrs Stonier Mystery #2
Rating: ★★★✰✰ 3 stars
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication Date: Sept. 20, 2016
Language: English
Genre: Mystery
Formats:
Kindle
ASIN: B01M0UMJUP
ISBN-13: 9781539045557
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 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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30320413

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!

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)

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.

 

28550292

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: 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: 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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Death by Pumpkin Spice

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Death by Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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