Blog Tour! Death Plays a Part

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Death Plays a Part by Vivian Conroy

With her theater closed for renovations, Guinevere lands a summer job cataloging books at a castle on Cornisea, a small island off the coast of England. Together with her little dachshund Dolly, she sets off, expecting an idyllic summer exploring the tiny island. When she arrives, she’s delighted to learn that the castle is hosting a re-enactment of a historic trial, but when a man is found murdered in the dungeon and her new employer is accused, Guinevere jumps into action to find the real killer, uncovering a greedy plot and family secrets.

Thoroughly enjoyable first in a new series, with a charming location, rich plot and of course, an adorable Doxie.  What more can you ask for in a cozy?  I loved this from the very first page,  I felt like I was right there along with Guinevere as she got off the train heading for Cornisea, I could almost feel Dolly tugging at the leash!  The pace was perfect, introducing the characters with just enough detail to make them jump right off the page and setting up the puzzling plot full of twists and turns that kept me glued to the book.  I enjoyed watching it all unfold, locked room mysteries are my favorite and I really appreciated Guinevere’s thought process in solving it,  no sudden AHA! moment for our girl, she sat down and figured it all out rationally.  Go LOGIC!

Overall, Death Plays a Part charmed the socks off me and I can’t wait for the next book to come out in August.  Will Oliver and Guinevere let their sparks fan into a relationship? Will Lord Bolingbrooke ever catalog all of his books? Will the treasure be found? I’m gonna stay tuned for more!

Be sure to stop in at the next stop on the Cornish Castle Blog Tour tomorrow at Avonna Loves Genres

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Series: Cornish Castle #1
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: July 7, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle
ASIN: B06XGHVCHH
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Prawn Identity

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The Prawn Identity by Morgana Best

This is a light and entertaining cozy mystery series, I love heading into the outback to visit Sibyl and her friends and this time around, property developer Greg Summers and his wife Lisa are staying at Cressida’s boarding house on their honeymoon. Greg’s company is currently planning to develop a large area of ecologically sensitive bushland, and this brings protesters out in full force. One morning, Lisa is killed when a balcony collapses. Was it just a tragic accident? Was it related to Greg’s development deal? Who was the real target? Sibyl and her friends set out once again to catch a killer and as if things couldn’t get much worse, the village’s building inspector is trying to close down Cressida’s boarding house for being unsafe and even Sibyl can’t catch a break when Blake’s ex-girlfriend shows up in town.

The Prawn Identity (LOL love the titles in this series!) is a great addition to the series. The entertaining plot kept me guessing with lots of surprises and plot twists and no shortage of suspects. There was lots going on in this one, and I liked that it kept the pace moving quickly, but there wasn’t so much that you couldn’t keep track of what was going on. As always, there’s a lot of laughs (Tiny and the poodle!) and I love the banter between Cressida and Mr. Buttons, and I would love to know more about their back story! Why does Cressida only paint gory death scenes? Was Mr. Buttons really a butler? I need more info!  The surprising ending wrapped up the book nicely, and  the sprinkling of romance between Sibyl and hunky cop Blake adds the awwww factor that makes this series irresistible.

You really can’t go wrong with the Australian Amateur Sleuth series and I definitely recommend this series for any cozy mystery fan looking for suspenseful plots, a unique setting and entertaining characters.

Series: Australian Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Cozy Mysteries Books
Publication Date: April 22, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ASIN: B01EO8ODFQ
ISBN: 9781532898587
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Antique House Murders

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The Antique House Murders by Leslie Nagel

When family friend,Calvin, an estate auctioneer, invites Charley to Mulbridge House, the estate of a recently deceased elderly woman that holds decades of historical finds, including some vintage designer clothes, Charley jumps at the chance to snap them up to sell at her shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. While she’s there, she witnesses a heated exchange between the dead woman’s daughter and a local woman who claims she was promised the estate for the town’s historical society. A fiery feud erupts, pitting the estate’s heirs, who intend to tear down the estate and build high priced homes, against the townspeople opposed to the new development. Charley somehow finds herself caught in the middle and later discovers Calvin dead and the estate’s records missing. She begins her own investigation and uncovers a huge plot surrounding prime real estate, greed and betrayal and finds herself the target of a ruthless killer.

This is the second book in the Oakwood Mystery series and I loved it even more than the first! It’s so easy to fall into the world of Oakwood, Ohio, Charley and her friends are an enjoyable bunch, and a new character promises to lead to a really cute story line in future books. I love the author’s writing style, the story is told from different characters at some points, and lends more depth to the story. The supporting characters are so much more than background noise and it adds a lot to the story. The great plot was a real rollercoaster ride, with so many good suspects and red herrings that it was easy to get thrown off the trail (like Charley did, I guess!) and the great pace kept the suspense building to a thrilling conclusion that will get your heart racing.

Although labeled as a cozy mystery, I’d put it on the outer fringe of cozy, with a few cuss words and a little bit more steamier romance than you’d find in a cozy mystery (although not graphic and certainly just a minor part of the overall story.) It’s not a detractor for me, and I think Marc and Charley are just adorable, and watching their relationship evolve adds a fresh aspect to the genre, a little bit of realistic interaction I don’t often see in books.

The Antique House Murders is an excellent second book in the Oakwood Mysteries series, and one I definitely recommend to readers looking for a not-your-average-cozy mystery. Definitely a series to watch!

 

Series: The Oakwood Mysteries
Publisher: Alibi
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle
ASIN: B01ILZPRPI
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Right Side

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The Right Side by Spencer Quinn

Poignant, eloquent, and spellbinding!

Sgt. LeeAnn Hogan is at Walter Reed, recovering from the disfiguring wounds and trauma suffered in a failed military operation in Afghanistan. Disoriented, angry and scared, she takes solace in the friendship with her hospital roommate, Marci. When Marci’s suddenly dies, it sends LeeAnn adrift; signing herself out of the hospital, she takes off to an uncertain future, deciding along the way to visit Marci’s hometown in Washington State. When she arrives, she finds that Marci’s daughter, Mia, has gone missing. Feeling a responsibility to help, LeeAnn is compelled to help find the little girl, the last thread that binds her to her dead friend. Along the way, she’s forced to confront herself and her demons and start the road back to her new life.

The Right Side will definitely be one of my top books of 2017! More suspense than mystery, it was an fantastic read, and so hard to sum up all the things that I loved without rambling on too long! The pace was perfect, taking just the right amount of time to set up the main character and her world, not only LeeAnn’s mental state after she was wounded, but also snapshots of her formative years, providing a strong base for her reactions and experiences in the later part of the book, which made it feel more authentic and realistic. Superbly written, I was quickly drawn into LeeAnn’s struggles, I couldn’t help but admire her. Her pain, confusion and struggle is palpable, leaving me slightly uncomfortable (in a good way, if that’s at all possible!) and so grittily realistic that it’s almost like reading a true story.  I loved that Goody is a reflection of LeeAnn herself, even if she doesn’t recognize it, and that sets her on a course to recover both mentally and physically. Tough, resolute and enigmatic, they make a perfect pair. The satisfyingly ambiguous ending left the door open for further adventures with LeeAnn and Goody, something I truly hope will come to be.

 

Publisher:Atria Books
Publication Date:June 27, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:978-1501118401
ASIN: B01M6B8X5X
Genre:Mystery/Suspense
Reviewer:Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Hospitality and Homicide

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Hospitality and Homicide by Lynn Cahoon

I sat down last night to read for an hour or 2 until my favorite show came on and missed my show! (Thank goodness for DVRs!) There were two riveting plots in this one, B&B innkeeper Walter is found dead, murdered in a way that closely mirrored the plot of visiting crime author Nathan Pike’s new novel and a child missing after being swept off the beach by a wave. Esmeralda claims he’s still alive but in peril and won’t survive much longer. I was totally roped in by this story line, Esmeralda was definitely the unsung hero of this book! I loved seeing more of her (she’s always been one of my favorite characters!) The storyline about Walter’s murder was baffling and I loved the surprise twist at the end. Throw in relationship issues, Economics finals, broken hearts, hot coffee and a slice of cheesecake and you’ve got a riveting cozy mystery to wrap yourself up in.

I’ve read this series from the beginning, I’ve always felt is was more than just a cozy mystery series, it’s also a community; one that you stop and visit often to catch up with the characters. I love that the story lines progress naturally and there’s always new people to meet and love. I know Deek will be a great addition to the CBM family and what was the deal with Nathan? Multiple personalities? That’s a plot unto itself!

Overall, another excellent chapter in the Tourist Trap series and ranks up there as the best of the series. Definitely a must read for any cozy mystery fan!

Review: Grand Prize: Murder

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Grand Prize: Murder by Vivian Conroy

Vicky Simmons is back in Grand Prize Murder, the second book in the Country Gift Shop series. Author Bella Brookes has come to Glen Cove on a book tour to kick off a scavenger hunt to publicize her newest novel. When a man is found murdered next to an item linked to Bella, Vicky is certain that Bella is being framed and starts her own investigation. Hampered by a reporter with an agenda and trying to keep her promise to Cash to stay out of his investigations, Vicky sets out to unravel tightly held secrets to find a killer.

Light and entertaining, Grand Prize Murder combines colorful characters with a twisty, puzzling plot that kept me glued to the book. This is the second book in the Country Gift Shop series (can be read as a standalone, but I definitely recommend reading the first one in this series!) and I loved returning to Glen Cove and Vicky’s adorable gift shop. What really sets this apart from other cozies is that the clues are little teasers that pulled me in and kept me reading. I would’ve loved it if the scavenger hunt was a bigger part of the story, it would’ve been a great way to introduce more of Glen Cove, giving me a better sense of the place. I liked that Bella was herself a cozy mystery author, sort of like a truth-meets-fiction moment, and I loved how how the scavenger plot was a cozy mystery within a cozy mystery. Cute! And I loved the little plot twist at the end of the book, it really capped off a great mystery.

Overall, a great mystery and a cute little series and highly recommended for cozy mystery fans.

Review: Your Killin’ Heart

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Your Killin’ Heart by Peggy O’Neal Peden

Campbell Hall, a travel agent in Nashville, TN, grew up surrounded by the history of country music. When her boyfriend, Doug Elliot, has to pick up a few paintings at the estate of Jake Miller, a long dead country music legend who died young, Campbell begs to tag along, hoping to catch a glimpse inside the opulent mansion still occupied by Jake’s widow, Hazel. When she’s left alone for a moment, Campbell can’t help but take a look around and peeks into what turns out to be Hazel’s bedroom, with Hazel seemingly asleep in the bed. When it is reported that night that Hazel was found dead and is later determined to have been murdered, Campbell is compelled to investigate. Uncovering long held secrets and pursued by a killer, Campbell risks it all to find justice.

I loved this! The first in a new series, I already know I’ll keep coming back for more. Besides the great plot, the characters were likable and realistic, especially Campbell, she’s my kinda gal. Self-described as “a little too honest” she’s impulsive, inquisitive, and a little bit socially awkward – in other words, me in a nutshell. Even the setting was a character in itself, with tidbits about the music, the history and the culture of Nashville, TN. It was so vivid, it felt like I was really there.

I really enjoyed the plot, lots of good suspects and lots of suspects you don’t realize are suspects and suspects you suspect but aren’t actually suspects. Lots of plot twists and red herrings kept me guessing and the thrilling ending left me satisfied. The story left a few plot points open to be explored in later books and I’m eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

A light, entertaining cozy mystery that will keep you guessing, Your Killin’ Heart is a fantastic start to a new series and a must read for any cozy mystery fan.

Series: A Nashville Mystery #1
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 02, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback/ePub
ISBN: 9781250122681
ASIN: B01M22DDWQ
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Raven Rock

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Raven Rock by Garrett M. Graff

The unthinkable has happened; time has run out, the missiles have been launched and the United States as we know it is doomed. But never fear! The government has planned extensively to assure their safety and that their reign will continue without interruption – even if there’s nothing left to govern after it’s all over!

Raven Rock explores the history of the people and events that brought about these plans, spanning the span of time since the end of World War II, from Truman to Obama (who signed a bill in 2009 giving the US Postal Service the sole responsibility of delivering “biological counter-measures” in the event of a biological weapons attack. Which is better than FedEx (who always seems to deliver my packages late, but that’s another story.)

After I watched a Travel Channel show that talked about The Greenbriar, I picked up Raven Rock to read more about the history behind that Cold War bunker mentality and found much, much more. The easy flow of the book drew me in quickly, the anecdotes and trivia kept things light and interesting and the very linear layout stayed on topic without extraneous detail to confuse the reader.

Raven Rock is an engrossing history illuminating a shadowy aspect of the government not well known or understood and I definitely recommend it to history buffs and trivia fans alike.

Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date:  May 2, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Hardcover
ISBN: 9781476735405
ASIN: B010MHAG72
Genre: History
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Cloakroom Corpse

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Cloakroom Corpse by Sherry Lodge

Cassie Hall and her peep-toe shoes have stepped into another mystery at The Parkstone, the luxury apartment building where she works as the night shift concierge. While checking her mail, she overhears Mason, the day shift concierge, having a heated argument with someone in the lobby. Moments later, Cassie finds Mason in the cloakroom, stabbed with a letter opener. As a prime suspect, and with Mason’s grieving girlfriend to look after, Cassie finds herself on yet another case, despite her police detective boyfriend Eric’s disapproval.

First of all, stick hidden/secret rooms in a book and you’ve captured my attention. Add in a mysterious curse and I’m hooked. I could happily spend an afternoon in a secret room, exploring all the nooks and crannies but since I don’t have any secret rooms, the next best thing is to spend an afternoon reading about someone exploring secret rooms. This looks like it will continue in later books, and I’m looking forward to reading more about The Parkstone and its secrets.

I really enjoyed the great plot, who murdered Mason and why? One by one, all the secrets Mason has been hiding are dragged out, bringing a new suspect. It seems like all of The Parkstone resident have something to hide! Now I’m wondering what Mr. Gilrot’s dirty little secrets are….hopefully in the next book? And Mrs. Canterbury! You know she’s got more than one skeleton in her closet.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a little romance, and the sweet ending capped off a great mystery.

Cloakroom Corpse is a great addition to the charming Cassie Hall Mystery series, and definitely a must read for any cozy mystery lover.

Series: Cassie Hall Mystery
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press
Publication Date: March 19, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN: 9781946063144
ASIN: B06XR6Z8CV
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Single Malt Murder

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Single Malt Murder (Whisky Business #1) by Melinda Mullet

Single Malt Murder weaves a twisty tale of greed, murder and whisky into a captivating cozy mystery. Set in the idyllic Scottish Highlands, Abi inherits a whisky distillery from her uncle and suddenly finds herself the target of threats and sabotage. When a young man from the village is found dead in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to find out who is sabotaging her uncle’s distillery and just what’s important enough to kill for.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, the history and methods of the whisky making process are neatly woven into the story, although I’m not a drinker, I do like to know how things work and it really enhanced the story for me and set the book apart. The twisty, suspenseful plot kept a steady pace and I liked that the author left a few plot lines open to be developed in future books. How will Abi juggle her photojournalist career with a distillery? Will her romance with the hunky Grant lure her to live in Scotland, or will she hang on to her photojournalism career in London? Lots of places to grow, and I definitely want to come come back for more. Add in likable, engaging and quirky characters (I really liked Abi and her three adjectives!) and an exciting ending and you’ve got an excellent debut cozy and a promising start to a new series.

Series: Whisky Business #1
Rating: 4 stars
Publisher: Alibi
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub
ISBN: 9780399179051
ASIN: B01HL180QG
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

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: Aunt Bessie Likes

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Aunt Bessie Likes (Isle of Man #12)  by Diana Xarissa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aunt Bessie returns in the 12th Isle of Man mystery to help her police friends solve the cold case disappearance of three teenage cousins in 1970.  The case flounders when no new evidence is uncovered until an anonymous tip leads police to several bodies buried in a garden. Is 40 years too long for Bessie to unravel the mystery behind the girls in the garden?

In Aunt Bessie Likes, young PC Hugh Watterson is following up on cold cases and decides to pursue the disappearance of three teenage cousins in 1970. Out of all the Aunt Bessie books, I think this will rank up there as one of my favorites. I love cold case mysteries, probably because there’s nothing more satisfying than to find an answer to an unknown. I also love hearing more about the history of Bessie’s Isle of Man (where everyone seems to think murder has only recently come to visit, but Hugh’s stack of cold cases prove this untrue.) The twisty plot, sprinkled with a few red herrings, kept me second guessing myself through the whole book and the ending was both satisfying and exciting.

All in all, another exciting Bessie adventure, and I highly recommend this adorable and well-written series to cozy mystery fans looking for a clean, light read.

View all my 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: When the Grits Hit the Fan

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When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day (Country Store #3)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buried in the depths of winter in southern Indiana,  it’s been months since diner owner Robbie Jordan has found herself in the middle of a murder.  All of that changes when she finds a local professor dead, frozen beneath the ice in the middle of Crooked Lake.  When Robbie’s friend Lou falls under suspicion, Robbie can’t help but investigate.  With a town full of people who hated the victim, several suspects who have seemingly airtight alibis, puzzling objects found in the walls during remodeling and an intruder who keeps breaking into the  hidden tunnel under Robbie’s diner, Robbie’s sleuthing skills are put to the test. Can she find a killer with a perfect recipe for murder?

Out of the three books in this series, this one is my favorite. The series has finally hit its stride, showcasing the flavor of southern Indiana with a picturesque setting, colorful characters and an absorbing plot that pulls you right into the wonderful world of South Lick. Picture it: the snow gently falling on the rolling hills, the small town diner serving delicious food with a heaping side of gossip, and the warmth of friends and family – it’s all so inviting that it’s easy to get comfortable. And that’s what I like most about cozy mysteries, how comfortable you are sinking into them, and the Country Store series is an excellent example; it’s a great place to spend a few hours, even if there is a murderer on the loose. Throw in a victim that you love to hate (let’s face it, it’s always satisfying when a thoroughly disagreeable character is the victim, isn’t it?) and no shortage of suspects, each with their own good motive for murder, plus hidden tunnels, puzzling objects found in the walls during remodeling and an action packed ending and you have the perfect recipe for a great cozy mystery.

When the Grits Hit the Fan will be released on March 28, 2017.

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book. I was not compensated, and this is my honest and unsolicited review.
Series:Country Store #3
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher:Kensington Books
Publication Date: 28 Mar 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:9781617739293
ASIN: B01GBAIXGK
Genre:Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

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)

Review: Juggling Kittens

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Juggling Kittens by Matt Coleman

Spencer wasn’t the type of kid who would have teachers lined up asking about im. He was a weird, effeminate kid who made bad grades and rarely paid attention. He had blonde highlights and wore vests with fur. But he also wore a typically blank expression and once got a pen cap stuck between his front two teeth. This particular cocktail of traits made him a target for bullies but invisible to anyone who might defend him. And that anyone was me. He was invisible until he disappeared and then suddenly he was all I could see. Plastered across my mind like a million missing flyers no one would ever hang.

Set in small town Ruddy Creek, Arkansas just after 9/11 Ellis Mazer is newly hired to teach English to bored 7th graders at a small public school in Arkansas. After one of his students, a poor and friendless boy named Spencer, stops coming to school, Ellis tries to contact him at his home and discovers that no one knows where he is. Coming on the heels of the disappearance of a young girl, a disappearance Spencer’s father is implicated in, Ellis becomes concerned and worried and begins to search for Spencer, determined not to let him slip through the cracks.

When I saw the title Juggling Kittens, I was intrigued. When I read the first chapter, I was hooked! I loved the easy writing style, the suspenseful plot and the quick pace, all blended together to create an starkly realistic tale from a great new voice in the crime fiction genre.

This was one of those plots that will stick with me for awhile,  revolving around the disappearance of two children in rural Arkansas and one teacher’s quest for the truth.  It touches on that primal fear that everyone has, the horror of children in danger.  Fueled by that primal fear and that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when faced with all the possibilities, you can’t help but race through the book to find out what happens next.   The colorful characters really brought the story alive, creating a true to life world that could be anywhere in America. Along with the excellent plot, the story blends social commentary about America right after 9/11, from the atmosphere of worry and fear to the educational system to the often bleak existence of life in rural Arkansas. As the story unwinds, you see Ellis change from idealistic to disillusioned as he confronts several new realities.

I have to say, at first, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the point. Just like in the real world, life ain’t fair in Ruddy Creek. You have to take it as it comes.

Intense, darkly funny and unforgettable, Juggling Kittens is an exceptional debut mystery and Matt Coleman is an author to watch. Recommended!

Thank you to the author for a copy of the book, in  exchange for my honest review.

Juggling Kittens is available at book retailers or online at Amazon

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing
Publication Date: Oct 4, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:9781945502064
ASIN: B01LWCQ1FD
Genre:Mystery/Suspense
Reviewer:Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Dead Wrong

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Dead Wrong by Helen H. Durrant

At Hobfield, a troubled housing estate in northern England, a bag of severed fingers are found in a bag on the playground. Soon after, the butchered remains of two bodies are found in a field next to Hobfield. DI Calladine and partner DS Ruth Bayless are put in charge of the investigation. With few clues, reticent residents and a brutal killer on the loose, Calladine and Bayless rush to track down the killer before more bodies are found.

I’ve read the later books in this series, and grabbed this one to see how it all began and right from the grisly first chapter you’re thrust into the action. A killer appears to be “taking out the trash” one thug at a time at the run-down housing estate notorious for drugs and desperate people. Calladine’s gut instinct tells him there’s more to this than just someone trying to get rid of the bad apples, and slowly reveals the back story to the killer’s motives. It made for a riveting plot and I loved the plot twist at the end and the action-packed conclusion was definitely one of those can’t-read-fast-enough endings.

In addition to the fast paced plot, the characters are realistic and interesting. Calladine, a fine detective grapples with his inability to commit to his relationships and the care of his mother, in a nursing home due to advanced dementia. He is, of course, overwhelmed by everything on his plate, and DS Bayliss does a great job as a sidekick to keep him on an even keel.

Overall, Dead Wrong is a grisly, gripping and unflinching crime thriller and a great start to the Calladine & Bayliss series. I definitely recommend it to Brit Crime fans, or anyone who enjoys a good police procedural.

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

Series:Calladine & Bayliss #1
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Joffee Books
Publication Date: July 3, 2015
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback/ePUB
ISBN: 9781523358601
ASIN: B010Y7641M
Genre:Police Procedural
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Death at the Dog

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Death at the Dog by Joanna Cannan

How can a man be murdered in a room full of people, with no one witnessing the act?

It’s evening at the lounge of the local pub and squire Matthew Scaife is ensconced in his usual seat, nodding off after a few pints. One by one, the regulars show up, a few local couples, including Scaife’s sons, Edward and Mark and author Crescy Hardwick, who is bitter over being thrown out of her cottage by Scaife. At the end of the evening, Edward goes to wake Scaife and realizes he’s dead and a local doctor called in to attend insists on an autopsy. When evidence of murder is found, Scotland Yard is called in and Inspector Guy Northeast arrives to investigate. All the circumstantial evidence points to Crescy, who was heard to threaten Scaife’s life but despite motive and means, no opportunity can be found. Did Crescy kill Scaife? If not, who did?

Death at the Dog is the second British Library Classic I’ve read in the last few weeks, and a classic mystery, a man killed in a room full of people and no one witnessed the murder. This was one of those plots where you know how it’s done, even before the detective realizes it, but you’re completely in the dark about whodunit and why and the surprise ending was very entertaining.

I enjoyed the portrayal of life in wartime Britain as it happened; not just the war effort and its toll on the citizens but also the mundanity of life in wartime, from blackout shutters to petrol shortages to the village’s upheaval from refugees fleeing the London bombings. It’s an authentic snapshot of life in rural war-torn England. The colorful cast of characters really helped bring the story to life.

Death at the Dog is a superb vintage mystery from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Fans of Agatha Christie or Josephine Tey will appreciate and enjoy this well written mystery, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys a well crafted mystery.

Thank you to Endeavour Press and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in return for my honest review

Series: Inspector Guy Northeast #2
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher:Endeavour Press
Publication Date: Dec 28, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:9781542346184
ASIN: B01MZ4J3EX
Genre:Classic Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Catnip

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Catnip by Valerie Tate

What can go wrong when an elderly matriarch leaves the family fortune to her cat? Just about everything, including ‘catnapping’ and murder!

CATNIP is a mystery set in the picturesque town of Dunbarton, Ontario, and tells the story of what befalls the dysfunctional Dunbar family, and the chaos that ensues, when the matriarch of the clan leaves the family fortune to her cat.

That formidable feline proves to be more than a match for the humans in his life, until one fateful night when, caught unawares, he is stuffed in a sack and carried away.

A nosy neighbor with a nasty, suspicious mind points the finger of suspicion at the Dunbars and Christopher Mallory, the young attorney who is the trustee of the estate, and under the terms of the will, they face losing everything.

When a murder occurs, Christopher finds himself confronting a ruthless killer who would do anything to conceal his or her identity, including to kill again.-Via Goodreads

I’ve read the third book in this series, so I picked up Catnip to see how the series started, and I wasn’t disappointed. I liked that there was two separate mysteries combined in one plot, the catnapping of Marmalade and a murder. The first part of the book was concerned with setting the scene, introducing the characters, and laying the foundation of the plot, and then the lead-up to the catnapping had me on pins and needles, sure the dastardly event would happen on the next page. I thought it was a pretty effective way to really grab hold of a reader! Although the ending was a tiny bit implausible, it was exciting and satisfying and tied everything up nicely.

Note: No animals are harmed in this story

I have to say; at the beginning of the book the Dunbars were a petulant and shallow bunch, but the author did a great job redeeming them. I liked that they gained a lot of dimension by the end of the story, evolving into realistic and likable group that you want to visit again and again. Marmalade is the true star of the show, of course. He’s definitely star material!

Overall, this is a delightful and well written cozy mystery debut, and I definitely recommend it for fans looking to get wrapped up in a new world.

Catnip is available at book retailers or online at Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Series: The Dunbarton Mysteries #1
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher:Red Cottage Books
Publication Date:July 11, 2014
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:9781500413170
ASIN: B00LR10HH2
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Dead to Begin With

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Dead to Begin With by Vivian Conroy

See this and all of my reviews at Mystereity Reviews

Coming home can be murder.
Vicky Simmons is looking for the simple life. She’s ready to trade in London for a slower pace by opening a British Country Gift Shop in her old hometown on the coast of Maine. Little does she know a few old faces are back in Glen Cove, including unrequited teenage crush Michael Danning—having taken over the local Gazette and looking better than ever.

All is looking rosy until Vicky finds herself face-to-face with a dead body and Michael is the prime suspect. When the sheriff links the motive for murder to the unsolved disappearance of a teenage girl twenty years ago, Vicky must turn amateur sleuth. She’ll stop at nothing to save Michael…and unmask the real killer!-Via Goodreads

A good start to a new series, and while it started off slow, I’m glad I stuck with it. Once the story got going, it was hard to put down and by the time I wound my way up to the exciting ending, I was hooked. The plot blended an old disappearance with a new murder, and the many plot twists kept me on my toes, there were so many suspects that were more suspicious than the actual culprit. I admit, I didn’t know who the killer was until a few pages before Vicky figured it all out, but the clues were all there. Well done!

The cute setting of Glen Cove sounds like the sort of quaint New England small town familiar to anyone who has ever watched Murder, She Wrote. In fact, I kept waiting for Jessica Fletcher to ride down the street on her bike! The colorful cast of characters added a lot of charm to the story, especially Cash. I thought his character evolved the most during the story, and that gave him more dimension than the other characters.

I have say, the one thing that brought down my enjoyment of the book was Vicky’s mom, Claire. The plot and the characters added enough drama to keep the book interesting without the unnecessary distraction of a harping mother. She just didn’t add any value to the story for me.

Overall, Dead to Begin With is a charming, entertaining and absorbing cozy mystery and a great start to a new series. I’ll definitely keep this on my list of series to watch, and I recommend it for cozy mystery fans, who will find a lot to like.

Thank you to Harper Collins/HQ Digital for an advance copy in return for my honest review

Dead to Begin With is available for Kindle at Amazon or at Barnes & Noble

Series:Country Gift Shop Cozy #1
Rating:★★★½ 3.5 stars
Publisher: Harper Collins/HQ Digital
Publication Date:Jan 13, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePUB
ISBN:9780008239183
ASIN: B01N0TBEZO
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)