Turkey Day Murder – Leslie Meier

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3/5 Tom Turkeys

On The Back:

Tinker’s Cove has a long history of Thanksgiving festivities, from visits with TomTom Turkey to the annual Warriors high school football game and Lucy Stone’s impressive pumpkin pie. But this year, someone has added murder to the menu, and Lucy intends to discover who left Metinnicut Indian activist Curt Nolan deader than the proverbial Thanksgiving turkey—with an ancient war club next to his head.

The list of suspects isn’t exactly a brief one. Nolan had a habit of disagreeing with just about everybody he met. Between fixing dinner for twelve and keeping her four kids from tearing each other limb from limb, Lucy has a pretty full plate already. So what’s a little investigation? But if she’s not careful, she just may find herself served up as a last-minute course, stone-cold dead with all the trimmings…

My Thoughts:

Another in a series I’m currently working my way through, Turkey Day Murder was one of my least favorite in this series so far.

I mostly like Lucy. She’s kind and caring, but she honestly has no spine when it comes to her husband. Her husband who, in this book, told her that she should’ve been cleaning the house instead. It was so infuriating,a dn, if you cannot tell, I absolutely CANNOT stand Bill!

The mystery was good, though parts of it were slightly obvious and the ending was too perfect for my taste. I know this is a short review, but I really have nothing else to say about the book. Overall a good book that would’ve benefitted if Bill would’ve been away on a trip.

A Killer Maize – Paige Shelton

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3/5 Corn Mazes

On The Back:

Becca Robbins is selling her farm-made jams and preserves at a county fair where business is not the only thing that’s dead…

The last person Becca expects to run into at the Swayton County Fall Festival is her ex-husband, Scott Triplett, who’s operating a shooting gallery. Honesty was not always Scott’s policy, and their unexpected reunion is further complicated when the festival becomes a crime scene. On Becca’s second day there, Ferris wheel operator Virgil Morrison is found hanging from his rickety ride, dead from a gunshot.

As Becca starts to notice Scott suspiciously sneaking around the fairgrounds, she begins to worry her ex may be involved in the murder. Then there’s the shadow she sees in the creepy corn maze and rumors of a gypsy curse—not to mention Virgil’s mysterious spider tattoo. Now Becca must search through a labyrinth of lies, secrets, and superstition to find a kernel of truth…before the killer starts stalking her.

My Thoughts:

It’s been quite a bit (October of last year, in fact) since I’ve read a book in this series, and lately I’ve been trying to not only attack my TBR shelves (which were about to burst) but also read some books in series that I started but stopped for one reason or another. This book fit the bill, so I decided to go ahead and give it a go. I honestly have to say, it disappointed me.

Becca is great, though I still feel like she’s a little bit naive and shallow. She’s a part of a love triangle and people keep telling her the right choice (which is right in front of her face!!!) but she drags her feet. The author tried and succeeded in creating tension in the relationship, but it didn’t really improve my feelings on the entire thing. The secondary characters, however, were great! They all are fleshed out and I honestly feel they’re more relatable than Becca.

The mystery was okay, but there was a huge clue like 75 pages before the ending, so it wasn’t really a surprise. I honestly liked the setting of Bailey’s better than the county fair setting, also.

My main complaint, and the reason I rated this a low three stars, was I lost interest in the book. The last 100 pages or so felt like they dragged to me. It was probably my mood I’m in (I’ve been so busy with other things) but it was still disappointing.

Overall a mediocre book. However, I loved the second and third in this series, so I hope the next one improves.

Death of a Coupon Clipper – Lee Hollis

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4/5 Coupon Clippers

On The Back:

Hayley Powell, food and cocktails columnist for Bar Harbor’s Island Times, is. . .well, kind of broke. So when she’s selected for that extreme coupon-clipping reality game show coming to town. . . . . . she’s thrilled, especially when her competition is nasty nurse Candace Culpepper. But when Haley stumbles across a face-down-in-the-snow Candace–scissors gleaming between her shoulders–she knows the next thing she’ll be selected for will probably be a police line-up.

Meanwhile, though Hayley’s BFF Mona was only joking about “taking Candace out,” Bruce Linney, the Island Times crime reporter, definitely isn’t laughing. And what about the smarmy, cold-hearted host of the show, Drew Nickerson, who may have been having a steamy affair with the intentionally-iced nurse? Hayley needs to cut to the chase and find the killer. Everything may hinge on a stray coupon, but Hayley better keep her eyes on the real grand prize: staying out of permanent cold storage!

Includes seven delectable recipes from Hayley’s kitchen!

My Thoughts:

The third in a series of solid, enjoyable reads; Death of a Coupon Clipper combined a game show with small town life and a murder to create a wonderful cozy mystery.

Hayley is hilarious. Absolutely, positively hilarious. She doesn’t care what others think of her and is brutally honest most of the time. It’s a combination that I love! Mona, Liddy, and the rest of the characters are also joys to read about. However, then there’s Lex. I really don’t like Lex and I really hope that we see a whole lot less of him in future books. He’s obnoxious and annoying in my opinion.

The mystery was surprising, however it seemed weak. The killer’s motive was so crazily petty I couldn’t believe it. However, the process leading up to the reveal was wonderful; not too much brazen sleuthing, but enough that it made it a quick read even though the book was over 400 pages long.

Overall a solid book that I flew through and enjoyed.. Recommend and I will certainly be reading the next one!

Fool’s Puzzle – Earlene Fowler

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4/5 Antique Quilts

On The Back:

Leaving behind memories of her late husband, Benni Harper is making a fresh start…Moving to the trendy California town of San Celina, she takes an exciting new job as director of a folk-art museum. While setting up an exhibit of handmade quilts, she stumbles upon the body of a brutally stabbed artist. Hoping to conduct an investigation on her own, she crosses paths with the local police chief, who thinks this short and sassy cowgirl should leave detecting to the cops and join him for dinner. But it’s hard to keep a country girl down, and soon Benni uncovers an alarming pattern of family secrets, small-town lies–and the shocking truth about the night her husband died…

My Thoughts:

Even though I had heard nothing but good reviews of this book, I let it sit on my shelves for more than two years. Fool’s Puzzle delves deep into a western small-town and exposes secrets and lies. It was an excellent first-in-a-series book!

Benni is absolutely hilarious and she’s 100% real. I can totally see a woman like her living in a small town in the west. Chief Gabe Oritz was also well-written. I loved his scenes with Benni and found most of them to be laugh-out-loud hilarious. Dove, Elvira, and Rita were also all joys to read about.

The mystery was wonderful. I didn’t see the killer coming until the ending, and it all was pieced together wonderfully. From what we saw of the setting I loved it, though I could have used a tad bit more to help me picture things like Benni’s house.

Overall, however, a stand-out read. I will be reading the next one.

 

Murder in the Secret Garden – Ellery Adams

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4.5/5 Herbalists

On The Back:

Things really go to seed in the newest novel in the New York Times bestselling Book Retreat mysteries…

There is a hidden garden bordering the grounds of Jane Steward’s book-themed resort—a garden filled with beautiful but deadly plants such as mandrake and nightshade. Tucked away behind ivy-covered walls and accessible only through a single locked door, as described in the pages of Frances Hodges Burnett’s classic novel, the garden is of special interest to Jane’s current group of guests, The Medieval Herbalists. But when one of them turns up dead, Jane must discover whether a member of the group has come to Storyton Hall to celebrate their passion for plant lore or to implement a particularly cruel means for murder.

With thousands of books at her disposal, Jane believes she has the proper materials to solve this deadly problem. If she’s wrong, however, she may lose something far more precious than the contents of Storyton’s secret library…

My Thoughts:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Berkley and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are explicitly my own.*

The Book Retreat Mysteries have become one of the series I look forward to when they’re released, so naturally when I got the chance to get a for-review copy of this book I snagged it.

Jane is a wonderful character, she’s a single mother and yet balances it wonderfully with her duties as manager of Storyton Hall. Edwin, the love interest, is also excellent. He’s surrounded by mystery, but yet you can’t help cheering for him the entire time. The Finns are half good and that’s why I took the half star off. I really like Lachan and Sinclair, but I really could care less about Sterling or Butterworth. They’re boring, and I found myself skimming every time they appeared.

The setting is absolutely amazing. I would love to visit a place like Storyton Hall, and I don’t know if I would ever leave! The mystery was also well plotted. It didn’t have the typical huge MC-almost-gets-killed ending, but it was an absolutely wonderful change. It was a great puzzle.

Overall an outstanding book. Well worth the read. Highly recommend and I’ll read the next one!

July Reading Review

Read only one less than June, so I’d say it was pretty good! I had a large amount of really good books (6 rated 4.5 or over) and July was just a great month.

Books Read: 16

Best Books of June:

  1. Crowned and Dangerous – Rhys Bowen
  2. The Diva Serves High Tea – Krista Davis
  3. Hearse and Buggy – Laura Bradford
  4. A Killer Crop – Sheila Connolly
  5. Death by the Book – Julianna Deering

Yearly Challenge: 93/180 books

Mount TBR Challenge: 25/36 books (extended again!)

Cruisin’ Through the Cozies Challenge: 80/130

I had great luck with July and I’m hoping for great luck in August. Happy reading!

 

Crowned and Dangerous – Rhys Bowen

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5/5 Irish Estates

On The Back:

Nothing is simple when you’re thirty-fifth in line for the British crown, least of all marriage. But with love on their side, and plans to elope, Lady Georgiana Rannoch and her beau Darcy O’Mara hope to bypass a few royal rules…

With Darcy driving me out of London in a borrowed motor car, I soon discover that he isn’t planning to introduce me to the pleasures of sinning in secret—as I had hoped—but to make me his wife!

Of course, there are some quibbles to be dealt with, such as my needing special permission from the King to marry a Roman Catholic and the question of where we might live after the honeymoon. Though he will inherit a title, Darcy is as broke as I am. Even his family’s Irish castle has been sold to a rich American who now employes Darcy’s father as a hired hand.

Throwing these cares to the wind, nothing could deter us from our mission—except perhaps the news that my future father-in-law has just been arrested. It seems the rich American was murdered and Darcy’s father had more than enough motive to do the deed. With the elopement postponed, we head for Ireland where he insists he’s innocent, and it’s up to us to prove it—for better or worse.

My Thoughts:

*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley and Berkley. This title will be released on August 2, 2016. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.*

I want to start by saying that Rhys Bowen is one of the absolute best cozy/historical mysteries that has ever written. Everything she writes is golden and I count myself a fan! This book absolutely fulfilled my expectations and I hope that the ‘Georgie’ books continue for years to come.

Georgie is a character that I compare other characters to. That’s how good she is. She’s smart, cunning, but clumsy, and naive. It all wraps up in a package that is absolutely wonderful to read about! I was slightly disappointed that the ending/cliff-hanger of the last book didn’t carry over into this one, (all stuff you can read on the back cover, so it’s not spoilers) however I hope it’s remedied in the next book.

The mystery was wonderful, however in all of Ms. Bowen’s books, it takes a backseat to the superb characters. I didn’t even guess who the culprit was until the end. Also, the end was absolutely wonderful, and I hope we go back to Ireland in future books.

Overall an absolutely wonderful book. I will read this series for as long as it’s written. Highly recommend!

 

Assaulted Pretzel – Laura Bradford

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4/5 Amish Pretzels

On The Back:

Claire Weatherly found the simple life she always wanted when she opened a gift shop in Heavenly, Pennsylvania—a small town in the heart of Amish country. But when murder disrupts her Heavenly home, it’s up to Claire and Detective Jakob Fisher to find the not-so-simple truth.

The quiet town of Heavenly is buzzing with excitement over the latest guests at the local inn, Sleep Heavenly. Toy manufacturer Rob Karble is in town to meet the members of the Amish community who will soon be crafting a new toy line for his company. But when word gets out that Karble intends to use the Amish designs without employing the Amish to make them, someone sends the interloper to his final reward.

No one wants to believe anyone from the Amish community could commit such an act, but as Claire and Detective Fisher have learned, no one is above sin—or suspicion.

My Thoughts:

Though not quite as good as the first, Assaulted Pretzel was a wonderfully engaging book that I enjoyed.

Claire is the same wonderful MC she was portrayed to be in the first book. Benjamin and Jakob are also wonderful, but for them it’s a bad thing, in my opinion. If, and that’s a big if, I like a love triangle in my mysteries it’s only if one of the characters will be a clear winner. That didn’t happen here, though, and it’s honest to goodness annoying because both men are portrayed as equally great guys.

Diane grated on my nerves a bit, also. She was portrayed as such a strong character in the first book, but in this book she reversed all of that and became so fragile it was annoying. If an author’s going to make a strong character please keep them at least moderately strong.

The mystery was well thought out. It was filled with twists and turns and I honestly didn’t know what would happen next.

Overall a very solid book that I enjoyed! I will be reading the next one.

Bran New Death – Victoria Hamilton

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4.5/5 Bran Muffins

On The Back:

Expert muffin baker Merry Wynter is finally ready to turn her passion into a career. But when a dead body is found on her property, she’s more worried about cooking up an alibi…

Merry is making a fresh start in small-town Autumn Vale, New York, in the mansion she’s inherited from her late uncle, Melvin. The house is run-down and someone has been digging giant holes on the grounds, but with its restaurant-quality kitchen, the place has potential for her new baking business. She even has her first client—the local retirement home.

Unfortunately, Merry soon finds that quite a few townsfolk didn’t like Uncle Mel, and she has inherited their enmity as well as his home. Local baker Binny Turner and her crazy brother, Tom, blame Melvin for their father’s death, and Tom may be the one vandalizing her land. But when Tom turns up dead in one of the holes in her yard, Merry needs to prove she had nothing to do with his death—or her new muffin-making career may crumble before it starts…

My Thoughts:

Wow, two great first-in-a-series books in a row! I confess, I didn’t know what to think when I picked up this book; I’ve read mixed reviews on it, but I am glad to say that I really enjoyed this book!

Merry was a fun main character, and she had a very different past. However, she was hard to warm up to, especially at the very beginning. Shilo, Pish, and the other characters were also fun to read about. Autumn Vale had an absolutely hilarious quirky group of characters that I’d love to learn more about.

The mystery was solid, and I didn’t put together the clues until Merry did. It was solid, yet simple and I really enjoyed it. The setting was also wonderful, I loved the quirky town with it’s unfriendly inhabitants.

Overall a solid, very good book. I will certainly be reading the next one. Highly recommend!

Hearse and Buggy – Laura Bradford

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5/5 Horse and Buggies

On The Back:

Claire Weatherly has fled a high-stress lifestyle for a slower pace—in Amish country: Heavenly, Pennsylvania. She only planned a short visit but instead found herself opening an Amish specialty shop, Heavenly Treasures, and settling in.Claire loves her new home, and she’s slowly making friends among the locals, including Esther, a young Amish woman who works in the shop. So when the store’s former owner,the unlikable Walter Snow, is murdered, and the man Esther is sweet on becomes a suspect, Claire can’t help but get involved.

Newly returned Detective Jakob Fisher, who left Heavenly—and his Amish upbringing—as a teenager, is on the case. But his investigation is stalled by the fact that none of his former community will speak with him. Claire’s connections make her the perfect go-between.

As Claire investigates, she uncovers more than she wanted to know about her neighbors. And suddenly, everything she had hoped to find in this peaceful refuge is at risk . . . 

My Thoughts:

I’ve had this book on my physical TBR shelf for close to two years now. It was a ‘lucky’ find that I wasn’t expecting at a thrift store for an extremely cheap price. I have to say I am extremely disappointed in myself for the simple fact that I didn’t read this book earlier. It was superb!

I love Claire, she was broken and put-together at the same time and the author weaved her backstory in a way that made it suitably distant, yet close at the same time. Claire was slightly tedious at the beginning when she thought over and over again how lucky she was to be in Heavenly, but that soon remedied itself. The other characters were also great. I loved Diane, and I think a subplot involving her would be extremely enjoyable to read. The author seems to be setting up a love triangle, but I hope that’s remedied in the next book.

The mystery was well-plotted and solid. There was nothing really ‘surprising’ about it, but it was a good cozy plotline. The setting was wonderful. I loved how the author described Heavenly. It sounded perfect, and it renewed my interest in the Amish culture.

Overall an excellent book, it was a perfect light cozy for a beach read. Highly recommend!