Booktown Mystery Series – Lorna Barrett

Part of the recommendations post series.

Lorna Barrett is certainly one of the most well-known authors of a cozy series and her Booktown mystery series is perhaps also one of the most well-known cozy mystery series. I’ve tried almost all of the major cozy series by now and they’ve been all hit or miss for me. Some I adore and read religiously, and others I hate and throw them on the pile that I resell to a local used book store, however the Booktown series is one of those series that I love.

Tricia moves to Stoneham, New Hampshire, to open a mystery bookstore. In fact, the entire town of Stoneham is filled with bookstore after bookstore, an idea of town leaders to try and revitalize the economy of the small town. What a dream this would be! To live in a town with a bookstore would be heaven for me, but to live in a town with multiple bookstores; that’s almost too much to handle. (A few of the bookstores mentioned are romance, travel, cooking, mystery, crafting, household, etc) Tricia’s sister Angelica also moves to the town soon after, and Angelica is an absolute hoot! I never tire of reading about these two strong, independent, hilarious women.

The mystery plots are always well crafted, though I must say the last few books have had a more suspenseful buildup to the end. Perhaps one of the best things about this series is the fact that Tricia doesn’t always have a love interest. For most of the series she stands on her own, and it works! Ms. Barrett has proven that a cozy mystery MC can survive without a love interest by her side.

Overall this is a wonderful series. It was actually one of the first cozy mystery series that I read, and I absolutely devoured it. It’s a medium-length (in the cozy mystery world) series leaning towards long with the tenth book being released this year, but it does not feel like it! I always enjoy reading about Tricia and Angelica and highly recommend this series!

Books in the Booktown Mystery Series:

links are to the reviews that are posted on More Mysteries Please

  1. Murder is Binding
  2. Bookmarked for Death
  3. Bookplate Special
  4. Chapter and Hearse
  5. Sentenced to Death
  6. Murder on the Half Shelf
  7. Not the Killing Type
  8. Book Clubbed
  9. A Fatal Chapter
  10. Title Wave

 

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A Muddied Murder – Wendy Tyson

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5/5 Fresh Spring Tomato Stars

On The Back:

When Megan Sawyer gives up her big-city law career to care for her grandmother and run the family’s organic farm and café, she expects to find peace and tranquility in her scenic hometown of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Instead, her goat goes missing, rain muddies her fields, the town denies her business permits, and her family’s Colonial-era farm sucks up the remains of her savings.

Just when she thinks she’s reached the bottom of the rain barrel, Megan and the town’s hunky veterinarian discover the local zoning commissioner’s battered body in her barn. Now Megan is thrust into the middle of a murder investigation—and she’s the chief suspect. Can Megan dig through small-town secrets, local politics, and old grievances in time to find a killer before that killer strikes again?

My Thoughts:

*I received a free copy of this book for an honest review from Henery Press and Netgalley. All opinions stated in this review are entirely mine.*

A lawyer-turned-farmer, a murder, a flood, and tons of suspenseful yet cozy action go together to make A Muddied Murder a winner!

The main character, Megan, has recently transitioned from her job as a big city corporate lawyer to a small-town organic farmer, and she loves it. But when a man is murdered on her farm, and she becomes one of the suspects Megan knows she has to find a killer, before a killer muddies up her dreams.

I loved Megan, she was raw and wonderfully real to me. She showed strength, and weakness, proving that she had flaws. That is how a character should be, that is how real people are. Her comrades,  Denver, Clover, and Claw were awfully wonderful. Denver’s strength and mysteriousness, Clover’s peppiness and helpfulness, and Clay’s brain and truthfulness all went together to add something to this story.

The author did a stunning job with her descriptions. She almost made me want to become an organic farmer in rural Pennsylvania! I can’t wait to read the next book to see if any of Megan’s ideas for her cafe and farm expansions come true.

At one point in the book it looked as if the author was setting up a love triangle, but I am very happy to say that notion was knocked out of the ballpark by the end of the book! Thank you Wendy Tyson for not adding a useless, drama-filled, love triangle to your book. You just proved that a book can stand wonderfully on it’s own without one.

Overall an excellent book. I will most certainly be reading the next one, and I’m going to read some of Ms. Tyson’s other books soon!

Stork Raving Mad – Donna Andrews

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5/5 Stork Stars

On The Back:

Meg is eight and a half months pregnant with twins when Michael asks if she wouldn’t mind another houseguest. One of his doctoral students is directing his new translation of a play by a minor Spanish playwright, and the playwright has agreed to come to town for the production.

Senor Mendoza turns out to be a drinker, a smoker, and an inveterate partygoer. Before long, Meg’s kitchen is filled with the smells of Spanish food and the voices of all the wilder souls in both the drama and Spanish departments. Into this chaos arrive two prune-faced administrators, the dean of the English department and a man from the college president’s office, who say that the play must be canceled.

When the dean is found murdered, Meg’s house becomes a crime scene, and the only way to restore peace is to help Chief Burke solve the murders—while rescuing the student’s dissertation and Michael’s tenure—all before dashing off to the hospital to give birth to her twins!

My Thoughts:

At any given time you can find me working on two to three lengthy cozy-mystery series while trying out books in other (smaller) series or trying out books in new genres. The Meg Langslow series is one of the longer series I am currently working my way through, and boy is it a good series!

Donna Andrews has a talent for weaving humor into her mysteries. I don’t think there’s been a book in this series yet that hasn’t made me laugh out loud, or at least chuckle to myself. Meg has an enormous family that is both eccentric, quirky, and loud. Though that may be annoying to some people, Donna Andrews makes it work wonderfully.

The mysteries are always superbly plotted, though some mysteries tend to take a backseat to the family/secondary problems going on in the story. The characters are realistic and fun to read about.

I can honestly say this is a series that I love and will be reading for a long time yet. This is one of those series that every reader, not just cozy-mystery lovers, should pick up and give a try. There’s a 10 to 1 chance that you’ll love it!

A Taste Fur Murder – Dixie Lyle

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4.5/5 Telepathic Stars

On The Back:

Introducing an animal-loving Gal Friday with a telepathic cat, a shapeshifting dog, and a ghost of a chance of solving supernatural crime…

Meet Deirdre “Foxtrot” Lancaster. Trusted employee of eccentric zillionairess Zelda Zoransky, Foxtrot manages a mansion, a private zoo, and anything else that strikes her boss’s fancy. Her job title is Administrative Assistant, but chaos handlerwould be more accurate. Especially after she glimpses a giant ghost-beast in Zelda’s pet cemetery. For some strange reason, Foxtrot is seeing animal spirits. And, ready or not, the fur’s about to hit the fan…

Still reeling, Foxtrot comes home to find her cat, Tango—her dead cat Tango—alive and well and communicating telepathically. But that’s not all: There’s an ectoplasmic dog named Tiny who changes breeds with a shake of his tail…and can sniff out a clue like nobody’s business. So when a coworker drops dead while organizing closets, Tiny is on the case. Can Foxtrot and her new companions ferret out the killer among a menagerie of suspects—human and otherwise—before death takes another bite?

My Thoughts:

A wonderfully unique beginning to a series that I’m sure I’ll read more of; A Taste Fur Murder was a winsome first book.

The characters were eccentric in a great way; ZZ was everything a crazy millionaire should be, Foxtrot was appropriately shocked and amazed at her new abilities and the rest of the characters were great. I really like how the author incorporated so much detail about Foxtrot’s abilities. I feel like I understood the book better thanks to that.

The mystery was great, the killer wasn’t too surprising, but there was a limited pool of suspects to choose from so I doubt I would have been surprised regardless. The only real down point to this book was that it took me awhile to get in to, but recently every book’s been that way.

Overall a great book. I’ll be reading the next one!

Time of Fog and Fire – Rhys Bowen

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4/5 San Francisco Stars

On The Back:

Molly Murphy Sullivan’s husband Daniel, a police captain in turn-of-the-century New York City, is in a precarious position. The new police commissioner wants him off the force altogether. So Daniel accepts an assignment from John Wilkie, head of the secret service. Molly believes her husband is in Washington, working for the president, until she spots him in San Francisco during a movie news segment. Then she receives a strange letter from him, leading her to conclude that he wants her to join him in San Francisco.

She takes her young son Liam on the cross-country train trip, but when they arrive in San Francisco, Molly is told that she’s too late, her husband’s funeral was yesterday. She’s devastated, even more so when she receives a cryptic note saying Daniel’s death was not an accident. In her grief she stays on to investigate, until she meets a strange man at a party, whom she soon starts to suspect may not be quite who he appears. Then Molly finds another body in the basement, but before she can report it, the Great Earthquake strikes San Francisco, and the servant runs off in a panic with Molly’s son. Suddenly Molly has no idea where to turn or whom to trust, and she knows there are many lives on the line, including her own.

My Thoughts:

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur. All thoughts and views expressed in this review are entirely my own.*

If you’ve been watching my Goodreads account for the last six months or so you’ve seen that I’ve made my way through the entire Molly Murphy mystery series, and I’ve loved it. Rhys Bowen has such a talent for creating amazing characters and just as good murder plots, and this book was just as good!

The characters are so incredibly three-dimensional; they are very human and show different sides of themselves. In this book we see a lot more of Daniel, which is a refreshing change. You normally see Daniel but he almost always takes a secondary role, however in this book he takes a lead. However, Molly’s reaction to finding out about Daniel’s “death” wasn’t like I expected it; it was very anticlimactic to me.

The mystery and suspense were webbed together skillfully. I love how Ms. Bowen uses real historical events and people in her books, it adds an air of realism to the story that wouldn’t be there without it. This book leaves us at a small cliffhanger type ending which makes me want the next book oh so much more.

Overall this was a wonderful book. I highly recommend this series and recommend this book. I hope there are many more books in the future!

Royal Spyness Mystery Series

Part of the recommendations post series.

I fist picked up the Royal Spyness Series by Rhys Bowen because it sounded funny. I read the first one but for whatever reason it wasn’t my favorite, so I dropped the series. However, months later, I picked up the second one and devoured it, then I read the third one, then the fourth one. I read three books in one series in a row. That is something that I NEVER do. That is how good this series is.

Georgie is 34th in line to be queen of England and she is poorer than poor. Her father squandered most of the family money and her sister-in-law all but kicks her out of her estate home. So Georgie does the only thing she can do, she goes to London and accepts jobs undercover working as a maid doing light cleaning, and, surprisingly, she doesn’t mind it. She loves having to liberty to make her own way in life.

Georgie is an amazing main character, she doesn’t shy away from hard work and she isn’t as flighty or superficial as you’d expect from a woman raised in her status. She solves murders and crimes through deduction without being stupid and she doesn’t let anyone rule her life. Her love interest, Darcy, respects her and loves her, he is also the son of an Irish peer who is penniless. Belinda, the Queen, and so many of the other characters are so realistic and hilarious that thy’ll jump off the page towards you.

Before this series I shied away from historical mysteries; but after this series I found that I enjoy them just as much as contemporary mysteries. This series has amazing twists, crazy turns, and will leave you screaming for the next book. I cannot express how highly I recommend this series. Please, do yourself a favor and get it!

Books in the Royal Spyness Series:

links are to the reviews that are posted on More Mysteries Please

  1. Her Royal Spyness
  2. A Royal Pain
  3. Royal Flush
  4. Royal Blood
  5. Naught in Nice
  6. The Twelve Clues of Christmas
  7. Heirs and Graces
  8. Queen of Hearts
  9. Malice at the Palace
  10. Crowned and Dangerous

The Other Woman – Hank Phillippi Ryan

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4.5/5 Bridge Stars

On The Back:

Jane Ryland was a rising star in television news…until she refused to reveal a source and lost everything. Now a disgraced newspaper reporter, Jane isn’t content to work on her assigned puff pieces, and finds herself tracking down a candidate’s secret mistress just days before a pivotal Senate election.
Detective Jake Brogan is investigating a possible serial killer. Twice, bodies of unidentified women have been found by a bridge, and Jake is plagued by a media swarm beginning to buzz about a “bridge killer” hunting the young women of Boston.
As the body count rises and election looms closer, it becomes clear to Jane and Jake that their cases are connected…and that they may be facing a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to silence a scandal.

My Thoughts:

Wow, I expected this to be a cozy-ish mystery. Hank Phillippi Ryan is one of the first names many people think about in the “cozy” world because she’s won quite a few Agatha awards, and she’s been a huge part of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America for awhile, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t cozy. It certainly falls into the no explicit sex part of cozies, but in many other ways this book would be classified as a thriller. It was a wonderful change of pace from a very talented author that I’ll be reading more of.

The characters were great. Jane was smart, and yet had her problems that she dealt with. She was not perfect in any way, but she was a realistic, relatable human that I really enjoyed reading about. Jake was also great, and Alex was too. However, there looks to be a small love triangle potentially being set up. Let’s all hope not.

There was more than one mystery and they all merged and then diverged from each other to the point where you had o idea what was happening. It was all wrapped up nicely in the end, and didn’t leave you asking many (if any) questions.

The only real problem with this book that I had the the fact that the two main characters, Jake and Jane would call each other “Jakey” and “Janey” at points throughout the book. It was annoying. Besides that, however, this was an amazing book that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. I’ll be reading the next one!

 

Booked for Trouble – Eva Gates

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4/5 Lighthouse Library Stars

On The Back:

Lucy has finally found her bliss as a librarian and resident of the Bodie Island Lighthouse. She loves walking on the beach, passing her evenings with the local book club, bonding with the library cat, Charles, and enjoying the attention of not one, but TWO eligible men. But then her socialite mother, Suzanne, unexpectedly drops in, determined to move Lucy back to Boston—and reunite her with her ex-fiancé.

To make matters worse, Suzanne picks a very public fight at the local hotel with her former classmate Karen Kivas. So, when Karen turns up dead outside the library the next morning, Suzanne is immediately at the top of the suspect list. Now Lucy must hunt down a dangerous killer—before the authorities throw the book at her poor mother…

My Thoughts:

Booked for Trouble was a good, albeit slow, second in this series. Filled with murder, new fun characters, and a wonderful setting, this book was a solid second.

I think the Outer Banks is one of the most widely used cozy mystery setting there is; I can think of at least three other series besides this one that take place in this same area, and though that may seem repetitive, it isn’t. Each author does a wonderful job of spinning their series it’s own way and not making the series sound the same. Eva Gates has proven that she, also, has the talent to take an existing setting and make it entirely her own, without sounding like a broken record.

The characters are wonderful; Lucy is the perfect cozy MC. However, there is a love triangle. Why, oh why must authors add love triangles? Especially ones like this one where both love interests are equally good. It’s frustrating and really annoying. The mystery was good. It dragged towards the middle, but by the end it picked back up. I had no idea who the killer was, and I was surprised at the end.

Overall a good book. There were a few minor problems, but I’ll be reading the next one!

Mattie Winston Mystery Series – Annelise Ryan

Part of the recommendations post series.

I think this is the only series (that I’m caught up with) where I’ve given every single book a five-star rating. Many other series came close, but this is the only one that hit the mark, and I am extremely excited to say that Annelise Ryan has confirmed that she will be writing at least three more in this series. Ms. Ryan does a superb job blending humor and realism together to create an absolutely compelling mystery.

Mattie is a nurse who”s involved in a scandal at the hospital where she works. To escape the scandal, and the resulting gossip about it, she accepts a deputy coroner’s position. Mattie is hilarious and makes hilarious mess ups that I could see myself doing in her position. Set in small-town Wisconsin, Mattie never goes above the police to solve a case, but instead it’s part of her job to work with the police.

Filled with hilarious characters and their missteps. Though not the most popular series; this series is definitely a winner.

Books in the Mattie Winston Mystery series

links are to reviews posted on More Mysteries Please

  1. Working Stiff
  2. Scared Stiff
  3. Frozen Stiff
  4. Lucky Stiff
  5. Board Stiff
  6. Stiff Penalty
  7. Stiff Competition

Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle

Prelude: I’ve been asked over and over by friends and acquaintances at the library and at gatherings where to get started with cozies, so I decided to start a small series of posts about my favorite cozy mysteries series because I obviously think they’re great places to start.

List of this series’ posts.

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The Coffeehouse mystery series is one of my all-time favorite cozy series. It was probably one of the first series that I kept up with. It’s lengthy, with the latest book, Dead to the Last Drop, being the 15th book in the series, but it’s definitely worth reading.

Clare, the main character, lives and works in the Village Blend, a coffee shop that’s been in her ex in-law’s family for years. All of the books take place at least partially in New York City (with the exception of book #15). That alone breaks the cozy mystery mold of small-town setting, and I was hesitant to read the first book because of that; however, the author makes this work in a way that you never notice it’s not in a small town.

Overall these mysteries are great. There’s a couple of not-so-great books in the bunch, but in a series of 15 books there’s bound to be a few I don’t care for. I highly recommend this series and encourage you to read it.

Books in the Coffeehouse Mystery Series:

links are to the reviews that are posted on More Mysteries Please

  1. On What Grounds
  2. Through The Grinder
  3. Latte Trouble
  4. Murder Most Frothy
  5. Decaffeinated Corpse
  6. French Pressed
  7. Espresso Shot
  8. Holiday Grind
  9. Roast Mortem
  10. Murder By Mocha
  11. A Brew to Kill
  12. Holiday Buzz
  13. Billionaire Blend
  14. Once Upon A Grind
  15. Dead to the Last Drop