Rest in Peach – Susan Furlong

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5/5 Peach Orchards

On The Back:

In the refreshing new Georgia Peach Mystery from the author of Peaches and Scream, an upcoming debutante ball turns into the pits when a juicy murder scandalizes a small town.

The annual Peach Cotillion, Cays Mill, Georgia’s biggest event, is fast approaching and Nola Mae Harper is just as excited as the rest of the town—even though she’s busy juggling both the cotillion dinner and the grand opening of her new shop, Peachy Keen. But she never expected that plans for the cotillion would end up in the pits because of the cutthroat competition between local debutantes.

When Vivien Crenshaw, insufferable church organist and despised mother of the town’s spoiled-rotten Peach Queen, is stabbed to death, the police turn to Nola’s friend Ginny as prime suspect. Apparently the two had fought over a one-of-a-kind cotillion gown. As Nola steps in to prove Ginny’s innocence she soon finds herself picking through a bushel of suspects, twice as many motives, and at the mercy of a killer all too keen on killing again.

INCLUDES RECIPES!

My Thoughts:

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

Wow, this is the third awesome book I’ve read in a row. When Nola’s friend Ginny becomes the prime suspect in a murder Nola finds herself dragged into an exciting and dangerous web of lies, blackmail, and half-truths. Will Nola tear through the web and save her friend, or will she fail?

I absolutely loved this book. Honestly the first book was simply okay I was completely neutral. So, when I saw this book on Netgalley I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted it. However, I requested it and am now so glad I did. This book was positively amazing!

As I stated with the first book I loved Nola and the cast and crew around her. However, I found Hollis, Nola’s brother in law to be extremely annoying. In this book, though, Hollis plays a very minor role and when he does appear, he is extremely tolerable and great.

I also didn’t care for the mystery in the first book. Yet, again, I was surprise dot find that this book was great in the mystery department. It was wonderfully plotted and it had a great number of suspects and scenarios that could have happened. The setting also took on a vibrant life in this book.

Overall, this book was wonderful. The first book obviously suffered from simply “first-book problems.” However, if this book is any indication, I will simply love this series. I’m sticking around for War and Peach next year!

White House Chef Mystery Series — Julie Hyzy

Part of the recommendations post series.

Some cozy mystery series take one book to hook you in, but I’ve found that the series I enjoy the most take more than one book. It takes two or even three books to really hook me in most series and the White House Chef series was no exception. I read the first book and didn’t know what to think, and it was the same with the second book. However, by the third book I was hooked!

Ollie is the top chef at the White House. She is literally one of the best MCs I’ve ever read. Recurring characters such as Gav, Bucky, Cyan, Peter, and Tom also make for an extremely colorful and entertaining cast. The White House is also the perfect setting for this series. Ms. Hyzy could and did add not only simply murders but she added international incidents, spies, and other international-related topics to the series.

This series is one of my absolute all-time favorites and I was extremely sad when I found out the series ended after the ninth book. However, because Ms. Hyzy knew the series would end at the ninth book ahead of time, she neatly wrapped up the story. (I still want more though!)

If you’re looking for a solid series that’s complete with amazing plotlines, thriller-type subplots, and a very human cast check this series out. I promise you’ll be hooked and want more, even after the ninth book!

Books in the White House Chef Mystery Series:

links are to reviews already on More Mysteries Please

  1. State of the Onion
  2. Hail to the Chef
  3. Eggsecutive Orders
  4. Buffalo West Wing
  5. Affairs of Steak
  6. Fonduing Fathers
  7. Home of the Braised
  8. All the President’s Menus
  9. Foreign Eclairs

Truth Be Told – Hank Phillippi Ryan

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4/5 Bank Frauds

On The Back:

Truth Be Told, part of the bestselling Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan series by Agatha, Anthony, Mary Higgins Clark, and Macavity Award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan, begins with tragedy: a middle-class family evicted from their suburban home. In digging up the facts on this heartbreaking story-and on other foreclosures- reporter Ryland soon learns the truth behind a big-bucks scheme and the surprising players who will stop at nothing, including murder, to keep their goal a secret. Turns out, there’s more than one way to rob a bank.

Boston police detective Jake Brogan has a liar on his hands. A man has just confessed to the famous twenty-year-old Lilac Sunday killing, and while Jake’s colleagues take him at his word, Jake is not so sure. But he has personal reasons for hoping they’ve finally solved the cold case.

Financial manipulation, the terror of foreclosures, the power of numbers, the primal need for home and family and love. What happens when what you believe is true turns out to be a lie?

My Thoughts:

A worthy addition to a simply riveting series, Truth Be Told has solidified my love of this series that I’ll be reading for awhile to come!

Jane and Jake go through a lot in this book and it seriously effects their relationship. Honestly, I was starting to get tired of Jake and Jane having to hide their relationship all of the time, but I hope that events in the end of this book have changed that. I really enjoyed meeting TJ, even though he was very minor, and I hope he reappears later in the series.

The mystery is almost always the star of these books, and this mystery didn’t disappoint. From spine-tingling moments to risky situations and false leads, Ms. Ryan pulled all of the stops for this book and made it an absolutely wonderful mystery. It all pieced together perfectly in the end. I have no idea how Ms. Ryan keeps it all straight in her head!

The only complaint I have about this book was the simple fact that it felt like it took forever to get through. I know that it was longer than the other books I normally read, but it still felt like it took quite awhile to go through.

Besides that, however, this book was a simple delight. I will be reading the next ones for sure!

A Whisker of Trouble – Sofie Ryan

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4.5/5 False Scams

On The Back:

Spring has come to charming North Harbor, Maine, and with the new season comes a new haul for Second Chance, the shop where Sarah Grayson sells lovingly refurbished and repurposed items. Sarah is turning her keen eye to the estate of collector Edison Hall, hoping for fabulous finds for Second Chance—but when her rescue cat Elvis discovers a body in the kitchen, everything goes paws up.

The body belongs to an appraiser who had been hired to check out Edison’s wine collection. When Edison’s sister shows up at Second Chance, she hires Sarah’s friends—the kooky and charismatic trio of ladies who call themselves Charlotte’s Angels and work out of the shop—to solve the murder, Sarah knows she and Elvis are only going to get deeper into the case. But as it becomes a cat and mouse game of lies, cons, cheats, and family squabbles, can Elvis and Sarah claw their way to the truth before the killer slinks away forever?

My Thoughts:

A third book in what has proven to be an exceedingly solid series; A Whisker of Trouble was a funny, masterfully written book that proved Sofie Ryan’s writing talent.

Sarah is the MC, but at the same time she’s not. Her cat Elvis. Her elderly friends Liz, Mr. P, Charlotte, and Rose. The other secondary characters Mac, Nick, Avery and Liam. All of these groups of characters share the main spotlight almost equally. So, though it’s in Sarah’s POV, the book doesn’t necessarily focus on her. Normally, I’d say a book with 10 major characters would be confusing and possibly annoying. However, Ms. Ryan makes it work! All of these characters work together to create a wonderfully unique story that keeps a reader wanting more.

The setting is simply wonderful. I can vividly picture North Harbor, and though Maine seems to be one of the most popular settings for cozy mysteries, the author does a wonderful job of setting this setting apart from the other similar areas in cozy mysteries.

The only really drawback to this book was the mystery. It was wonderful and I had no idea the motive for the murder. However, I correctly guessed the killer about 1/3 of the way through the book.

Besides that one point. A Whisker of Trouble was a wonderfully complex story. Highly recommend this and the first two books in the series!

Library Lover’s Mystery Series — Jenn McKinlay

I haven’t done a recommendations post in a while, so I thought I’d add another one to my growing list of posts in this series.

Jenn McKinlay knows how to juggle. Not necessarily balls or bowling pins (though it would be amazing if it turned out that she did!), but she knows how to juggle writing multiple series at once. For three years in a row Ms. McKinlay was turning out four different books in four different series per year. Now she’s cut it back to three, but I;ve read the first in all of her series but one, and they were all wonderful firsts! However, Ms. McKinlay hooked me with one series that I’ve kept up with until today; the Library Lover’s Mystery Series.

Lindsey Norris is a wonderful MC, full of spunk and know-how, she’s one smart woman who knows a little of everything. Though Lindsey honestly isn’t the main reason I come back to these books; it’s the other secondary characters and the setting that keeps me coming back. Sully, Robbie, Beth, Violet, Mary, and the other friends and community members around Lindsey that really make these books stand out.

The setting in these books is also wonderful, I really want to go to Briar Creek and stay for a week (or maybe forever)! They mysteries are almost always strong and they leave you thinking. Really this series is great! The last two books haven’t been as good as the first four, nevertheless they were still solid mysteries. I’m keeping this series on my shelf for awhile yet and I’m genuinely excited for the next one!

Books in the Library Lover’s Mystery series

links are to reviews posted on More Mysteries Please

  1. Books Can Be Deceiving
  2. Due or Die
  3. Book, Line, and Sinker
  4. Read It and Weep
  5. On Borrowed Time
  6. A Likely Story
  7. Better Late Than Never

 

The Cracked Spine – Paige Shelton

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4/5 Scottish Bookshops

On The Back:

In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn’t know much about what she’s gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she’ll be working with “a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes,” and Delaney can’t wait to get started.

When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, and who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An unexpected bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his piercing eyes, and a rolling brogue — and it doesn’t hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt.

But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact — a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays — goes missing, and Edwin’s sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own, to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio, and how it’s connected to the tragic death, all without getting harmed herself.

My Thoughts:

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

A new series from a well established author, The Cracked Spine was a wonderful series debut filled with suspense, mystery, and laugh out loud moments.

The entire premise of this story is entertaining: getting fired ad then answering an add to go work in a bookstore halfway around the world? That may sound crazy to some, but that’s exactly what the MC, Delaney did.

Delaney was an excellent MC, she was strong when it called for it, but she also showed she was human. I loved the fact that she couldn’t understand everything that was being said when she first arrived because of the Scottish brogue. I think that often we forget that the US and UK both speak english, but some words and phrases are extremely different from one another. I also loved the rest of the characters, Hamlet, Rosie, Edwin, Elias, and Aggie. They were all wonderful and there are some questions the author plants about them in the book that are never answered. It really makes me want to read the next book!

The mystery was very good. The ending took a turn that I honestly did not see coming. Honestly, the only bad thing about this book was the fact that it was slow. I felt that the entire book was simply hard to get into. It may have been suffering from first book syndrome, or it may have been my mood, however it was terribly slow at points and it couldn’t keep my attention at others.

Overall this was a wonderful book. I honestly think that I think it was slow simply because of the mood I was in when I read this over the last week. However, because it was slow I deducted a star. On to the next book!

 

Cozy Mystery Publishers: The Next Three

The Settled

Minotaur

Minotaur is an imprint of St, Martin’s Press, and it could arguably be placed into the 41606_61833928537_5653253_npowerhouse sections of this post. However, I didn’t place it there because, though it is most certainly one of the most respected and known about publishers, it’s number of cozy mysteries being published per month is only marginally bigger than Henery Press.

Minotaur is responsible for Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy series, Donna Andrew’s Meg Langslow series, Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series, and both of M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth series. Minotaur is also bringing back three very popular series this year by publishing a book after each series has had a hiatus. The Aurora Teagarden series by Charlaine Harris and the Wine Country mystery series by Ellen Crosby will be making a reappearance in 2016!

Minotaur’s main drawback, however, is their prices. Most of their books are first published in hardcover, making them more expensive, and it’s usually a year before the book comes out in paperback, if then. Overall, Minotaur is a publisher that is going extremely strong

Henery Press

Henery Press is the second newest on this list, but it’s quickly earned it’s place on this list logo_henery pressof cozy publishers. Publishing Susan Boyer’s Liz Talbot mystery series,. Gretchen Archer’s Davis Way Crime Caper series, LynDee Walker’s Headlines in High Heels series, and Julie Mulhern’s Country Club Murders, among many others.

They have recently started picking up more authors and publishing more books, and now they are one of the top cozy mystery publishers. Honestly, I’ve never seen their paperbacks in stores; you have to either order them online or get the ebooks. However, their ebooks almost always have low prices under $5.

Midnight Ink

Midnight Ink is very similar to Henery Press in the way their books are sized, shaped, O1mInXkZand distributed. They publish longtime cozy favorites such as Karen MacInerney’s Gray Whale Inn mystery series, Deborah Sharp’s Mace Bauer mystery series, Cricket McRae’s Home Crafting mystery series, and Jess Lourey’s Murder-by-Month mystery series. Just like Henery Press, I’ve never seen their books in a chain bookstore (ie Barnes & Noble, etc). However, they have solidified their place in the cozy world through the authors and series they’ve published.

These three are numbers 4, 5, and 6 (in my opinion) of the major publishers of cozy mysteries. They might not be as big as Berkley or Kensington, but they are all growing strengths in the cozy mystery world.

Book Haul 3/18

I absolutely love getting new books, and sharing what I got with others is almost as god as buying new books. This book I’ve had almost no time to read, and it’s practically killing me. However, these new books should be a balm to help me until I can get reading again. Feel free to comment your recent haul in the comments! All of these books were actually bought at a local thrift store.

Total Books: 19

Total Amount Spent: $8

If Fried Chicken Could Fly & If Bread Could Rise to the Occasion — Paige Shelton Been wanting to read it, only 25 cents each!

Wound Up in Murder — Betty Hechtman Super cheap.

If Hooks Could Kill — Betty Hechtman May resell this because it’s pretty far down in the series. However, I have the first book on my shelf so I’ll probably wait.

Dread on Arrival — Claudia Bishop Again, I may resell this, it’s like super far down in the series.

Murder of an Open Book — Denise Swanson Super cheap.

The Diva Frosts a Cupcake — Krista Davis Already read, but I don’t have a copy, so now I do!

All Fudged Up — Nancy Coco Have this on my Nook but based on whether I like it or not I may give this away.

The Wolfe Window & The Marsh Madness — Victoria Abbott Read the first in this series awhile ago, these are the the 3rd and 4th.

In The Still of the Night — Jill Churchill Sounds pretty good

A Catered Fourth of July — Isis Crawford Super cheap.

A Root Awakening — Kate Collins I need to resume this series.

Dead as a Scone & The Final Crumpet — Ron and Janet Benrey May resell these also, but it was both in the series, so I picked them up.

Design on a Crime, Decorating Schemes, & Interior Motives — Ginny Aiken Yet again, I may resell these. This is the entire series so I may not, though.

Twanged — Carol Higgins Clark Super cheap.

I’m super pleased with the prices I got for these books!

Review for The Broken Spine by Paige Shelton coming soon!

Cozy Mystery Publishers: The Powerhouses

I call these two the powerhouses of the cozy mystery world because they are the two publishers you will probably hear the most of in the cozy world. These two publishers will also make up most of the books you see in your bookstores. Each has their drawbacks but both are great publishers who have brought cozy/traditional/light mysteries to a huge audience.

Berkley Prime Crime/Obsidian

twitter_logo_400x400I lumped these two together because they’re both imprints of Penguin, and if you hear about one you’ll hear about the other; their website, Twitter, and Facebook are even combined. Berkley is responsible for some of the most loved traditional mysteries such as the Coffeehouse Mystery Series by Cleo Coyle, The Royal Spyness Series by Rhys Bowen, the Booktown Series by Lorna Barrett and the Tea Shop Mystery series by Laura Childs. Obsidian is responsible for the Psychic Eye mystery series by Victoria Laurie and the Witchcraft Mystery Series by Juliet Blackwell to name a few.

Berkley/Obsidian (I’m going to simply call them Berkley from now on) also are on top of my list for best quality paperbacks. Their paperbacks aren’t very flimsy and they hold up well. However, Berkley is not the best for price. They do have Kindle/Nook deals which brings certain of their book prices down from $7.99 to $1.99, but in the long run they don’t have as many sales as Kensington does.

Besides that one drawback Berkley is by far the biggest of the publishers I’ll list today, and I believe that they are one of, if not the, best publisher right now in terms of quality and variety.

Kensington

Kensington-logoKensington has been in the cozy world for awhile, but just recently it seems like they’ve pushed farther into this genre. Almost every month now they have a new cozy series debuting, and I have found many a gem from Kensington.

Kensington is responsible for the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series by Joanne Fluke (arguable the most popular cozy mystery series still being published), the Jaine Austen mystery series by Laura Levine, and the Lucy Stone series by Leslie Meier. As I said above, they’ve been around for quite some time, but just recently they’ve started a huge push into the cozy world that caused me to label them a powerhouse of this genre of publishing.

Kensington does not have the same quality paperbacks Berkley has. However, they do have quite a few more sales on ebooks than Berkley does. There are almost always 15-20+ cozy mysteries you can get for your Kindle/Nook from Kensington for under $5.

Both have their perks, and I believe that as Kensington continues to grow in the cozy mystery world they will grow to rival Berkley for size in terms of cozies published per month.

Cozy Mystery Publishers: Who Are They?

I’ve had people ask me how I judged mass market paperback cozy mysteries from the rest of the MMP romances and other genres on the shelves of your local used bookstore, thrift store, or library book sale. I almost always have the same answer for them; look at the spine of the book for the publisher’s logo.

When I started enjoying cozy/traditional mysteries I was lost, there were so many of them, but I soon began to build up my library by looking at the publisher of the book. Many publishers in the cozy mystery world don’t only publish one series, they publish many series.

Through this post series I am going to hit on the two major, three settled, and one up-and-coming cozy mystery publisher; Berkley Prime Crime/Obsidian, Kensington, Minotaur, Henery Press, Midnight Ink, and Crooked Lane Books. These are in no way the only publishers that publish cozy mysteries, but these six publishers do make up an extremely high percentage of the cozy mysteries that are published.

Stay tuned; these posts will drop soon!