Review: Third Time’s a Crime

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Third Time’s a Crime by Diana Orgain

Third Time’s a Crime is reality TV in book form, except in Cold Case at the Castle, the drama wasn’t scripted! Set at an old mansion that had operated as a boys home many years in the past, ex-cop Georgia and the nine other contestants are tasked with solving the murder of a girl who disappeared decades ago, to solve the mystery first. But when an employee at the castle is found dead, and another contestant is murdered after he was voted off the show, Georgia knows all the murders are tied together and the killer is still very close to the scene. Can she find a cold blooded killer at the castle before she’s the next victim?

This was recommended to me by a friend, who sent me a copy of the book. (Thanks, Joann!) This was the first book I’ve read in the Love or Money series, and I really enjoyed it. I don’t care for reality shows, so I skipped over a lot of the backstabbing/partnering/cheating sort of reality tv shtick. But at the heart of it, this was an excellent plot, lots of action and suspense with plenty of misdirections and a hint of is-it-or-isn’t-it-paranormal to keep you guessing. The satisfying ending tied everything up nicely, and although the book can be read as a standalone, it will definitely suck you right into the series.

I loved the crumbling old mansion setting, very well described and so vivid I felt like it was real. I eagerly followed along as the contestants combed the mansion and gardens, and I loved the dumbwaiter scene (I’ve always wanted to do that!) Combined with the animated characters (especially Bert!) the entire story was dimensional, exciting and totally engrossing.

Overall, Third Time’s a Crime is an excellent mystery, and can be read as a standalone or even an entry into the series. I definitely recommend it for cozy mystery and reality tv fans.

Third Time’s A Crime is available at book retailers or online at  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Series: Love Or Money Mystery
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: Jan 03, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback/ePUB
ISBN: 9780425271704
ASIN: B01E4WAFHW
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Dead and Breakfast

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Dead and Breakfast: A Merry Ghost Inn Mystery by Kate Kingsbury

I love a brand new series. There’s nothing better than the promise of finding a new world to lose yourself in, and Dead & Breakfast is definitely a great new world to get lost in. A beautiful location in Oregon, a big old house set right on the beach, haunted by a laughing ghost, and real skeletons in the closet. This is the recipe for a great book, so I was eager to dive in.

Starting over after a messy divorce, Melanie buys a B&B with her grandmother, Liza, in Sully’s Landing, Oregon. It’s been vacant for years and needs some updating, and while stripping wallpaper in an upstairs bedroom, Melanie and Liza find a hidden door that opens onto a startling sight – a skeleton, dressed only in a nightgown! With only a few weeks until they open, and the police busy with another case, Liza and Melanie start investigating to find a killer before their B&B dream goes up in smoke.

What I really enjoyed about Dead & Breakfast is that it drew me in right from the start, and left me wanting more. I loved the plot, from discovering the secret room to adopting Max to the exciting ending. The story even left a couple of open plot threads that I’m looking forward to seeing more of. I’m dying (ha!) to know more about the laughing ghost (nicknamed Orville by Liza) and what other secrets are lurking at the Merry Ghost Inn.

The main characters, Melanie and Liza, are a likable bunch. I really liked Liza, she reminds me of my own Grammy – high energy, in charge and lovable. There was just enough info to give them dimension, while leaving out just enough that you want to know more. Melanie and Liza made a great team, I loved how they went about snooping around and uncovering clues.

Overall, a very promising start to a new cozy series and I can’t wait to come back to Sully’s Landing and find out more about the giggling ghost!

Thank you to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for the advance copy in return for my honest review.

Dead and Breakfast is available at book retailers or online at  Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

Series: Merry Ghost Inn #1
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Paperback
ISBN: 9781683312390
ASIN: B01IRS85DA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Darkscope

10796935 Darkscope by J. Carson Black

Darkscope skillfully weaves mystery, suspense, thrills, chills and horror into an exquisitely tense story of family secrets, lies and deception.

Chelsea McCord’s marriage is on the rocks and moves back to Bisbee, AZ to be welcomed home by her uncle, Bob. Soon after moving into a little bungalow, Chelsea finds an old Kodak box camera and uses it to take pictures around the small desert town. While looking through the viewfinder, Chelsea sees images from the past; Bisbee how it was 40 years ago. When she develops the film, she finds images of the same woman as she grows from a child to a young woman. Who is she? What are her ties to Chelsea, whose family has a long legacy in the small mining town?

This review is really hard to write. On one hand, I have tons to say about the excellent plot but I don’t want to give anything away! I think this is an amazing read any time of the year, but definitely perfect for Halloween. Vengeful ghosts, haunted cameras, visions of horrible deaths, it’s got it all. This was a real edge of your seat story that just drew me in deeper with each page, one of those books where you don’t have an inkling what’s going on until it’s revealed in the story, making you feel a little off-balance and a little unsteady, which really heightened the suspense.

At the heart of the book was the mystery of a woman who disappeared in the 1940s, as told in the present day as well as the past. I loved how the old box camera told the story; the smell of death coming from the camera, the snapshots, and literally chasing Chelsea through the house (which was creepy and a little funny at the same time. All I kept thinking about was The Brave Little Toaster.) The subplots, Chelsea’s ex, Bob’s run for governor, and Sunshine, really added to the tense atmosphere and kept the story moving at a breakneck pace.

Overall, I really enjoyed Darkscope and it was a bargain at only 99¢ on Amazon. I definitely recommend it as a Halloween read or for fans of paranormal mysteries.

Darkscope is available online at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Breakaway Media
Publication Date: Oct 09, 2011
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub
ISBN: 2940013266414
ASIN: B004E9U6U2
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Horror
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Ghost of a Chance

28320545Ghost of a Chance by Angie Fox

Another quick foray into Sugarland, Ghost of a Chance has Verity and gangster ghost Frankie helping out ghost buddy Matthew Jackson to recover a necklace that his mother had promised him – 150 years ago. Verity (with Frankie, of course) crashes a party at the Jackson home by working as a server during the annual family Christmas party to reunite a son (who has spent the last 150 years feeling bitterly alone after his mother threw him out for joining the Union army during the Civil War) and a mother who has spent the last 150 years mourning him. The part where Verity was trying to get the mother to look out the window and see him? *sniffle* And a happy ending? You can’t go wrong.

The great thing about these very short stories is how rich the plot is, considering there’s only 40 pages! The story unfolds quickly, with just the right amount of detail to be a satisfying read without feeling incomplete or rushed.

Overall, enjoyable and satisfying, Ghost of a Chance is a great little tale to while away an hour.

Ghost of a Chance is available at Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

Series: Southern Ghost Hunter #2.5
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher:Moose Island Books
Publication Date:Jan. 4, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub
ISBN:2940157706692
ASIN: B01H65B0NM
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Paws and Effect

28504510Paws and Effect by Sofie Kelly

Kathleen is out to breakfast with boyfriend Marcus when they unexpectedly meet up with Marcus’s old college friends; John, Danielle and Travis. Not long after, Danielle is found dead – and the evidence seems to implicate Marcus, who doesn’t have a good alibi. Kathleen knows there’s something Marcus isn’t telling her, but she also knows that Marcus did not murder his friend. With the help of her friends and her magical cats, Owen and Hercules, Kathleen wades through the secrets between friends to catch a killer.

This is such a cute series, and I always enjoy visiting Kathleen and the gang in Mayville Heights. I can’t believe we’re up to #8 of Owen and Hercules and their shenanigans! As usual, they’re busy walking through walls, making themselves invisible, and biting the heads of catnip chickens while smugly pointing out clues.

This was a great plot, I liked that details about the victim were filled in as the story went along, because you don’t really get to “know” her before she is killed and those details gave clues to who the killer was. I guessed who did it early on, based on what I thought was a clue and it turns out I was on the right track, but the “clue” wasn’t a clue at all, or even a red herring.

This can easily be read as a standalone, as past events aren’t really a part of this story and the few references don’t hinder this book for new readers. But I definitely recomend reading the other books in the series because magical cats. Owen and Hercules are the real stars of this series, if only because their antics add some humor and whimsy to the series.

Overall, another great book in an enjoyable series and I don’t hesitate to recommend this series to cozy mystery fans.

Paws and Effect is available at book retailers or on Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

Series: Magical Cats Mystery #8
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: Oct. 4, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Paperback
ISBN: 781410492647
ASIN: B01AHKXJ78
Genre: Cozy Mystery
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)