When Alice Robinson is found strangled in a cemetery, inspector Gerald Witherspoon is called to investigate even though the murder is outside his areaWhen Alice Robinson is found strangled in a cemetery, inspector Gerald Witherspoon is called to investigate even though the murder is outside his area. He has become well-known for his ability to solve murder cases but he immediately knows this will be one of his toughest cases ever - for starters the murder victim's real name wasn't Alice Robinson. Unbeknownst to him, his household staff, led by Mrs. Jeffries, usually helps him with his murder cases but they have doubts about getting involved in this one as they too know the real identity of the murder victim. With all these obstacles has Witherspoon finally come across a murder case that he can't solve?
“Mrs. Jeffries and the One Who Got Away” is the delightful thirty-third book in Emily Brightwell's “The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries” cozy mystery series. With that many books in the series you might think the series would be stale by now but it is not - this book is as wonderfully done as all the other books in the series. Brightwell always manages to add some fresh twists to each book in the series and there are several in this book including a character from a past book (you don't have to have read that book to enjoy this mystery but I'd recommend reading each book in the series since it is so good); many characters who are not what they seem to be; and the household staff’s struggle as they wonder if they are doing all they can to solve the case. I love these characters and how close they have grown throughout the series - the addition of Phyllis a few books back has only made the series richer - she fits right in and I look forward to learning more about her back story in future books. The mystery itself is well plotted with more than one mystery and there are plenty of twists and turns during the course of the book. I did figure out who the killer was close to the end of the book but even then I was surprised not only at the motive but with some very tense moments toward the end of the book – this was very well done by Brightwell.
“Mrs. Jeffries and the One Who Got Away” is another delightful cozy mystery by Emily Brightwell – I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long between books in the series!...more
When Ariana Jackson brings in a hat she wants restored for her wedding to Mim’s Whim’s, Scarlett Parker and Vivian Tremont's hat shop, the two of themWhen Ariana Jackson brings in a hat she wants restored for her wedding to Mim’s Whim’s, Scarlett Parker and Vivian Tremont's hat shop, the two of them jump at the chance to restore it since their late beloved grandmother was the original maker of the hat. Before they can even get started working on the hat, Scarlett signs Ariana hunched over the body of her very dead boss. Many people wanted Anthony Russo dead, including Ariana who is the chief suspect. Vivian and Scarlett think Ariana is innocent and set out to find who is responsible for his death but it won't be easy.
While I have read and enjoyed all three of Jenn McKinlay’s cozy mystery series (The Library Lovers Mysteries, The Cupcake Mysteries, and the London Hat Shop Mysteries) I have always considered the London Hat Shop series to be the lightest and coziest - a bit too light at times perhaps. To my surprise and delight, “At the Drop of a Hat” is a clever mystery, full of twists and turns and a surprise ending. Yes, Scarlett is still fighting her attraction to Harrison to the point where it is becoming annoying (and yes I understand why she is reluctant to enter into another relationship but she comes across as needy at times) - for me that is the weakest part of this book/series. Otherwise there are many things I like about this series: I love the London setting (I got so hungry while reading this book!), I love the hat shop setting, I love the characters (even Scarlett). But it is the mystery and the solution to the mystery that makes this book shine. I can't say too much about it because I'd spoil it but the solution is ingenious. And the surprise at the very end of the book – wow, I can't wait for the next book to see what happens next!
“At the Drop of a Hat” is another nice cozy mystery by Jenn McKinlay....more
When Mayor Lucinda Beckwith Long gives Charlie Harris a set of Civil War era diaries, he is eager to read them not only for their history but becauseWhen Mayor Lucinda Beckwith Long gives Charlie Harris a set of Civil War era diaries, he is eager to read them not only for their history but because the contents may play a major part in the senate race between Lucinda's son Beck and Jason Singletary. It turns out the Charlie isn't the only one who wants those diaries and it looks like someone is even willing to kill if that is what it takes to get them.
“Arsenic and Old Books” is the delightful sixth book in Miranda James’ (Dean James) Cat in the Stacks cozy mystery series - a series that gets better and better with each book. It took me a while to get used to reading about a male protagonist in a cozy mystery (the genre is full of female protagonists) but I like Charlie and of course his wonderful cat Diesel (there is a bonus short story about how Charlie met Diesel which it very cute to read). I also love the supporting characters - I need in Azalea in my life (my mouth was watering as I read the book)! The plot of the Civil War diaries was an interesting one - I am from New England and I am always fascinated at the south’s perspective of the Civil War. I also loved the snippets of the diary that we got to read. The mystery itself is well plotted with plenty of twists and turns - I was expecting someone else to die. There are also more than a few surprises involving the diary – this book kept me guessing from beginning to end!
“Arsenic and Old Books” is another great cozy mystery by Miranda James....more
While her parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, Nola Mae Harper has returned home to Cays Mill, Georgia to help run the family peach farm.While her parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, Nola Mae Harper has returned home to Cays Mill, Georgia to help run the family peach farm. Nola Mae soon finds out that there are financial issues with the peach farm and wonders if there is anything she can do to help. However, her family will soon really need her help when a dead body turns up in the peach trees and her brother-in-law is the main suspect. Nola Mae tries to what she can to clear his name but will it be enough?
“Peaches and Scream” is the first book in Susan Furlong’s Georgia Peach cozy mystery series and the book is as delightful as the cute title. Furlong has done a wonderful job in creating Nola Mae, letting little details about her past trickle into the story until readers feel like they know her. She is an intrepid heroine, reinventing her life more than once, troubled by a secret from her past that caused her to flee Cays Mill, yet willing to return do whatever she can to help her family. Equally well-done is the portrayal of Nola Mae’s family members - her very pregnant sister Ida, her troubled brother-in-law Hollis, and her brother Ray. Although I am not overly fond of peaches, I loved reading about the peach farm and the various dishes made with the peaches as well as the general running of the farm. The mystery itself is well plotted with plenty of twists and turns, including a nifty twist towards the end of the book. Don't be surprised if you think you have figured out who the killer is only to find Furlong has a few tricks up her sleeve -well done!
“Peaches and Scream” is a great start to what I hope will be a long-running cozy mystery series....more
For the most part, Professor Greg “Ginger” McConnell is well-liked and well respected. Therefore, his murder shocks the residents of Crozet, Virginia.For the most part, Professor Greg “Ginger” McConnell is well-liked and well respected. Therefore, his murder shocks the residents of Crozet, Virginia. Like many others, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen liked Ginger and is upset by his death. Soon she finds herself investigating his murder and once again her prying puts her in very real danger.
“Tail Gait” is one of the better recent books in Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy mystery series. Absent from this book is the preachiness that has infected Brown's later books in the series and this allows readers to sit back and enjoy the mystery without feeling like they are being lectured to. The mystery is well done, although I did figure out towards the end of the killer. Interspersed with the current mystery is a story from the Revolutionary War that eventually ties into the current mystery. Brown does an excellent job with this by not only letting readers know what happened to the people in the older story but adding a nice twist that eventually affects the modern-day mystery. The one thing I didn't like about this book is the absence of many of the characters that have been an important part of the series all along - Boom Boom is only mentioned at the beginning of the book, Harry’s husband Fair is absent for most of the book, and Little Mim and Big Mim aren't even mentioned. And this is the second book in which Harry is referred to as Harriet - what's up with that?
A few quirks aside, Tail Gait is another nice mystery by Rita Mae Brown.
Having finished the Dark Tower books, but not willing to leave Roland and his ka-tet quite yet, I read The Road To The Dark Tower to take one more triHaving finished the Dark Tower books, but not willing to leave Roland and his ka-tet quite yet, I read The Road To The Dark Tower to take one more trip into Roland's world. I wasn't disappointed. The book begins with an overview of the history of the books and there is a chapter for each of the seven books, describing and analyzing the action in each one. The rest of the chapters deal with other Stephen King books that are related to the Dark Tower series; a detailed description of each major character in the books; works that influenced the series; discussion of whether the books are Stephen King's Magnum Opus; two time lines (fact and fictional); a mid-world glossary; Dark Tower on the web; and the poem the influence the dark Tower series "Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came".
I bought this book because I recognize Bev Vincent's name from his numerous posts on various Stephen King forums and newsletters and am always impressed with his knowledge. This book is a prefect example, even though I've read all of the Dark Tower books (the early ones several times), I still learned things I hadn't known before. Although the entire book was good, I find the chapters summarizing the books the most interesting, especially where Bev pointed out things that foreshadowed the ending of the last Dark Tower book.
Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, has decided it's time to take a wife, and has made a list of suitable candidates. When he runs the list by his GodmothSylvester, the Duke of Salford, has decided it's time to take a wife, and has made a list of suitable candidates. When he runs the list by his Godmother, she asks him to add her granddaughter, Phoebe Marlow, to the list. When he meets Phoebe, he realizes she doesn't meet his requirements that she be well-born, intelligent, elegant and attractive. Phoebe isn't thrilled at the idea of marrying Sylvester either, she had met him before and disliked him enough to portray him as a villain in a novel she has written. She runs away to her godmother, rather than have to marry him. But circumstances bring her and Sylvester together more than once, and they slowly find themselves falling in love.
This was an enjoyable and funny read. Some compare it to Pride and Prejudice, I noticed the likeness especially in Sylvester's proposal to Phoebe. I enjoyed the characters of Tom Orde and Edmund. I would have liked to see more of Phoebe's sisters, however. Sir Nugent made me laugh out loud at times with his foolishness.
Sylvester is the perfect book for fans of Regency romances....more
In this charming romance by Betty Neels, Josephine Dowling is working as a ward sister at a London hospital and engaged to be married when she meets JIn this charming romance by Betty Neels, Josephine Dowling is working as a ward sister at a London hospital and engaged to be married when she meets Julius van Tacx. But she's not really sure she loves Malcolm, her fiancé, and is having doubts about marrying him, and especially living so close to his family, so she breaks off her engagement. As if having to deal with a broken engagement wasn't enough, she has to deal with Julius who always seems to turn up at the worst possible time. When he asks her to marry him,she finds herself agreeing although she's not in love with him. But her feelings soon change to love. How can she stay married to a man who doesn't return her feelings?
I love reading Betty Neels when I need to escape from the real world. There's nothing surprising in her books, you know that the couple will meet, clash, have a misunderstanding or two, maybe be involved in a crisis where the heroine will shine (in this book it's a car accident) and eventually will live happily ever after. And, some days, that's just the kind of book I need to read!...more
Tori Cannon has returned to Lotus Bay for her grandmother's funeral and, because she is at a crossroads in her life, she decides to stay with her granTori Cannon has returned to Lotus Bay for her grandmother's funeral and, because she is at a crossroads in her life, she decides to stay with her grandfather for a while. She is saddened to see how run down her grandfather’s bait shop, motel, and house have become and, with the help of her friend Kathy Grant, tries to spruce up the place with the idea of opening the hotel up again. Much to her dismay her grandfather has other ideas but Tori doesn't have much time to dwell on her problems - a murder victim has been found in one of the hotel units. Tori and Kathy get caught up in solving not only that mystery but the mystery surrounding an abandoned house Kathy is hoping to buy. The two of them need to be careful or they too will be bait for a killer.
“With Baited Breath” is the nicely done first novel in the Lorraine Bartlett’s Lotus Bay cozy mystery series. Since this is the first book in the series, in some ways it acts just to set up the characters – Tori, her grandfather, Kathy, Annisa, and Noreen - and this is perfectly done. By the end of the book I felt like I knew all the characters, especially Tori and Kathy, and Lotus Bay itself. I love the Lotus Bay setting and wish I could visit there myself. I also love the characters especially Tory and Kathy but I really like Anissa. She has a bit of an edge to her and takes some getting used to as a character but she adds a nice bit of sharpness to the book. Again, because this is the first book in the series and sets up the background for future books, some things in the book are resolved a bit too neatly (although what happens to Tori's grandfather towards the end of the book did make me smile- if only I could be that lucky in real life!) however the reason for the murder in the book is anything but soft and cozy it is all too real, sad, and frightening. This plot-line was particulary well done by Lorraine Bartlett.
“With Baited Breath” is another nicely done cozy mystery by Lorraine Bartlett and a good start to a new series....more
Signing television show host Damian York to a book contract is a huge deal for the Novel Idea Literary Agency and Lila Watkins has her hands full makiSigning television show host Damian York to a book contract is a huge deal for the Novel Idea Literary Agency and Lila Watkins has her hands full making sure the book signing and garden party go perfectly. Her to-do-list is so long it is straining her relationship with her boyfriend, police detective Sean Griffiths. As busy as she is, she becomes even busier when a skull is found buried in her yard. Lila wants to find out who the murder victim is, but almost before she can begin investigating a current murder occurs. Soon Lila’s investigation into both murders puts her -and those closest to her - in very real danger.
I have to admit that when I heard that the Novel Idea Cozy Mystery series was changing authors I almost didn't read ”Played by the Book” - I thought there was no way it would be as good as the first three books in the series. I am glad I changed my mind - this book is as good as the first three in the series and the change in authors isn't even noticeable (however there is a sly wink and a nod in the book as to how difficult the change of authorship of a series can be which made me chuckle). Lila has my dream job and I love the description of the books she is reading - I also love the sample query letter in the book (a nice touch for would-be authors reading the book). The supporting characters all add a nice touch to the book. Also nicely done is the description of the town and businesses - it actually felt like I was visiting inspiration Valley as I was reading the book. The mystery itself is well plotted with plenty of twists and turns and red herrings along the way - there are also some nicely done tense and scary moments in the book.
”Played by the Book” is the nicely done fourth book in the Novel Idea cozy mystery series – Iam glad the series is continuing and I look forward to reading the next book....more
Jennifer DeLuca is a single mom, struggling to raise her daughter Avery after the death of her husband. Her struggles are made harder because six-yearJennifer DeLuca is a single mom, struggling to raise her daughter Avery after the death of her husband. Her struggles are made harder because six-year-old Avery is having a hard time accepting the fact that her father is gone. Ryan Mazyck is a single father who is raising daughter Sophia after his divorce. Sixteen-year-old Kaylee is pregnant and trying to decide what to do with her baby when it is born. Steven and Lily are ready to start a family but have had no success in getting pregnant. These five people are struggling but during doing their best. Little do they realize that a Christmas pageant will bring them all together and forever change their lives.
“The Christmas Light” is exactly what I'm looking for in a Christmas romance novel - the romance is sweet, the book is a bit light and fluffy, happy yet sad at times, and totally predictable. This is the type of book where you know what is going to happen so you just sit back and enjoy the ride. While the book features five characters the main story is about Jennifer and Ryan. This story is heartbreaking at times (keep tissues nearby!) and very realistically done. You may think you know where their story is going but there are a few surprises along the way. The Kaylee/Stephen/Lily story is again predictable but also has a surprise or two. Also mixed in with all of this is the story of the Christmas pageant run by Miriam and Gloria - these two are a hoot and add some much-needed laughter to the book. If I have a complaint about the book it is the writing style – the present tense is a bit jarring and takes some getting used to.
“The Christmas Light” is the first book I've read by Donna VanLiere but it won't be my last. Well done. ...more
Now that Audrey and Grant Whitman's children are grown and living on their own, they decide to turn their house into a Bed and Breakfast. This is mostNow that Audrey and Grant Whitman's children are grown and living on their own, they decide to turn their house into a Bed and Breakfast. This is mostly Audrey’s dream but the two learned long ago that marriage is made of compromise and letting each other follow their dreams. Unfortunately, their youngest daughter Landyn has yet to learn these lessons and when her husband Chase makes a major decision without consulting her she begins to wonder if her short marriage will survive. Can LandYn and Chase learn to communicate with each other before it is too late?
“Home to Chicory Lane” is the first book in Deborah Raney’s new “Chicory Inn” series and serves as a nice introduction to Audrey, Grant, their children their triumphs and their heartaches. While Audrey, Grant, and the Inn are the heart and soul of this series, the focus of this book is on Landyn and Chase. I have mixed feelings about these two characters - at times I felt sorry for them (their money issues are all too real and an unexpected surprise makes those issues even worse) and at other times I wanted to shake them (the decision that Chase makes without consulting Landyn is almost unforgivable but her reaction is as childish as his action) - these two have serious communication issues. Halfway through the book I still wasn't sure if I liked these two characters but by the end of the book, as they matured, I started to like them more and more. Since this is a Christian romance, there is plenty of talk about listening to what God wants, which may not be everyone's cup of tea - more than once I wished the characters would to talk to each other about what they wanted and not what God wanted (I’m pretty sure God would want them to be happy).
“Home to Chicory Lane” is the first book I've read by Deborah Raney but it won't be my last - I want to know what happens next to the Whitman family. ...more
Caitlyn Winters has her life planned out – she is in medical school and when she finishes her internship and residency she's going to Africa to help tCaitlyn Winters has her life planned out – she is in medical school and when she finishes her internship and residency she's going to Africa to help the people there who don't have adequate medical care. Nowhere in her plans was falling in love but she has indeed fallen in love with fellow medical student Noah McIlroy. Not only that but she's pregnant? Caitlyn feels like all her dreams are crumbling around her are they?
“The Christmas Bouquet” is another cute book in Sherryl Woods’ Chesapeake Shores series. This is a different type of romance novel because caitlyn and Noah are already a couple - the big conflict in this book is whether they should get married. This does drag on a bit - the strongest part of this book is when Woods shows Caitlyn at work which shows how good she is as a doctor and how much it means to her. The book could have used more seems like that and less talk about what Caitlyn should do (don’t get me wrong – Caitlyn’s dilemma is a very real one for any woman, I just think it could have been more deeply plotted. For example, what did Caitlyn think she was going to do with the baby if she decided to work in Africa instead of marry Noah?) Compared to Caitlyn Noah is a saint - he has to be the most patient man on the planet as he waits for Caitlyn to make her decision. These differences aside, Caitlyn and Noah really make a cute couple and with the O'Brien family figuring predominately in the story (especially Mick O'Brien) this is a light yet delightful romance.
“The Christmas Bouquet” is a cute romance - perfect to read during the holiday season. ...more