A Killer Plot–review

This is the first book in the Books by the Bay series by one of my favorite authors, Ellery Adams. It has that same book coma quality that her Supper Club and Secret, Book & Scone Society has and deals with people who need some sort of healing, whether it’s physical or emotional or a little of both. I love the group of friends in this writers’ group, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series!

The lighthouse pictured is Bodie Island Lighthouse, found on Google using the “licensed for reuse” prompt. It made me think of what Olivia’s lighthouse cottage might look like.

My Goodreads review:

A Killer Plot (A Books by the Bay Mystery, #1)A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first in another awesome series by this author. I love the other series I’ve read in so far, and this was not a disappointment. It reminded me a lot of the friends in her Supper Club mysteries. I liked that Olivia wasn’t a typical protagonist. She was very different in that she was actually rich and owned a lot of property in the town of Oyster Bay, NC.

Olivia Limoges wasn’t a stranger to the gossip and snarky comments that seemed to go with her name around town, but one day after hearing some ladies at the grocery talking about her not giving back to the town, she decided to do something about that. With a little nudge from her friend Dixie who worked at her husband Grumpy’s Diner, Olivia became a member of a local writers’ group, and she wanted to do something nice for them by having her lighthouse cottage renovated. After the murder of one of their own, the group became amateur sleuths as well as writers doing critiques for each other.

I had definitely not guessed who the killer was. I loved how it went down, even Haviland, Olivia’s well-trained and intelligent poodle got to play a small part in going after the killer. He was such a cool dog–it was great how polite he was and how he seemed to know what his human needed. While trying to find the killer, Haviland was used to scare Olivia off the case.

Like some of Ms. Adams’ other series, this wasn’t only a story about a murder mystery, but it was people becoming friends and helping each other heal whether physically or emotionally, getting involved and actually interested in one another’s lives. I love that about a series, because when the perp is caught, you get to have more of the story. I enjoy being able to hear the full reason behind the crimes committed and that everyone involved is safely locked up. Olivia herself had been in need of personal healing, and I think getting to know the others in the group and taking a vested interest in them gave her that human connection that she’d been lacking. She and her friends grew a lot just from their meeting to several weeks later when everyone was enjoying the July 4th fireworks. Olivia found out it wasn’t just enough to shell out money to her town, but giving of herself was important too, and it made her feel very much alive again.

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A Catered St. Patrick’s Day–review

I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by reading this eighth book in the Mysteries with Recipes series by Isis Crawford. I like how it’s a little different from a typical cozy mystery, since it has a dad who sleuths with his daughters–and they’re bakery owners/caterers in their day jobs. The dialogue is fun and kind of reads like a TV show would. I plan to start the series from the beginning eventually.

My Goodreads review:

A Catered St. Patrick's Day (A Mystery with Recipes, #8)A Catered St. Patrick’s Day by Isis Crawford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this mystery featuring an ex-police chief father and his two daughters as a sleuthing team. I really want to start this series from the beginning to fill in a few recurring character holes and to find out what exactly happened to Sean to make him unable to drive. Out of context, I got the general idea, but it’s always good to read from the beginning. I wanted to read this for one of my challenges and thought it was cool to actually finish on St. Patrick’s Day.

I had read one of the later books in the series, but somehow I think I liked this one better. I really love the banter between Bernie and Libby when they’re questioning a suspect on behalf of a client. The book was very dialogue-drive, but some of it was really funny! There was no shortage of suspects here, and I didn’t guess who the killer was until the clues started falling in place, basically I knew because Bernie and Libby had figured it out.

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One Taste Too Many–review

This is the very first book in a new series that came out last December, Sarah Blair series by Debra H. Goldstein. I liked the different twist on sleuth and best friend. In this book, it’s twin sisters, Sarah, who married at 18 and divorced at 28; Emily, who went to CIA to become a chef due to her cooking talents. They weren’t alike in their talents, because Sarah barely got by cooking, but she was able to joke about it and it gave Emily something to do when she’d crash at her house. I can’t wait for the second book in September!

My Goodreads review:

One Taste Too Many (Sarah Blair Mystery, #1)One Taste Too Many by Debra H. Goldstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this first book in a new series, so many cool twists and possible suspects! I definitely had the wrong person pegged as the killer and never saw it coming until the reveal. This book was so good that it had me doubting some people that I probably should trust. I loved that Sarah (like me) was a Perry Mason fan and based some of her sleuthing on what would Perry or Paul do, lol.

Sarah and her twin Emily were different as night and day when it came to personality and talents. But at least Sarah got to pinch-hit for Emily (who was main person of interest in the murder of her ex brother-in-law) by doing a pretty funny stand-up telling about recipes that the cooking-challenged in the world like to use.

If Bill hadn’t been dead from the get-go, he’d have been on my list of people I hoped would be offed. The author did a great job of painting him as real jerk. The other person mentioned who was already dead was actually a favorite character if that’s possible, Bill’s mom aka Mother Blair. Sarah talked about her so much and the great relationship they’d had, it was almost like she was right there. She’d originally adopted RahRah and when she died, she wanted her beloved cat to go to Sarah.

As far as living characters go, I liked Harlan a lot. He was such a nice boss and incredibly patient with Sarah and all the running off she seemed to do because of helping at the Food Expo. He was just a decent human being, since he was helping a cooking student as well as doing pro bono work without complaining. I’m kind of hoping there’s a future for Sarah and Harlan along the way as something more than boss and employee. Emily was a fun, free spirit and a seriously talented chef with great people skills. It was cool how each twin sister had her own separate qualities that made up their duo–I got a kick out of hearing some of their escapades as kids. I’m really anxious to read the next installment when it releases in September!

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Drawn and Buttered–review

This is the third very fun book in the Lobster Shack series by Shari Randall. Aunt Gully is my favorite character, and I always enjoy any storyline she’s involved in. The particular side story in Drawn and Buttered was a good one, and I got such a kick out of her toward the end of it. Allie’s dance-related story had to do with an upcoming production of The Nutcracker that she was dancing in. She had longed to dance the Dewdrop role, but her doctor said her ankle was still not strong enough to withstand full-force pointe dancing.

My Goodreads review:

Drawn and Buttered (A Lobster Shack Mystery #3)Drawn and Buttered by Shari Randall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this latest addition to the Lobster Shack series! It definitely made a great Halloween tale with the spooky scene in the cemetery where one of the local college students was found murdered–along with a stolen lobster–and all the talk of the ancestors of the founding family being ghosts or vampires. There were a lot of secrets and no shortage of suspects either. I wasn’t sure who did it, so it was just a fun ride to see how it all played out.

Aunt Gully was at top speed in this book. She’s such a character, and I know that I would get along with her really great. The side story of her being sweet-talked by a guy who wanted to franchise her chowder ended up in the usual hilarity. She milked the attention and gifts for all it was worth, but finally gave him her answer. Allie got Verity to go with her on a couple of sleuthing missions, and those always ended up being crazy.

Another side story was Allie getting a specialized role in The Nutcracker from her choreographer, since she was still being told by her doctor that her ankle wasn’t strong enough for dancing en pointe. Everyone had the usual happy ending, and I’m really anxious now for the next book.

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Glitter Bomb–review

This is the fifteenth book in the Scrapbooking Mysteries series by Laura Childs, who has been joined by Terrie Farley Moran in writing the last several of these books. I thought this book was able to stand on its own, and I felt very much like I knew Carmela and her best friend Ava by the end of the book. I do want to start the series from the beginning, but as I said in my review, I couldn’t resist the lure of a brand new book looking at me from the library shelf. 😉

My Goodreads review:

Glitter Bomb (A Scrapbooking Mystery, #15)Glitter Bomb by Laura Childs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit, this brand new shiny book at the library drew me in, even though I hadn’t read any previous books in this series, but now I definitely want to start reading the rest of the series. If this book alone is any indication, this seems like a really fun series. I just love the banter and bad puns that go back and forth between besties Carmela and Ava. There were some good laugh out loud moments, even during the showdown. I just love Carmela and her take-no-crap attitude…and her sarcasm, lol.

I was a little confused at times with all the business dealings going on in the book, but as I read I was understanding it a little better. I never figured out who the killer was, and that was one very cool showdown, wait till you read about it! There’s a lot I could comment on, but I don’t want to spoil any of the good stuff. I’m just happy I got this initiation into the Scrapbooking series, and now I’m looking forward to reading from the beginning and seeing how the Carmela/Edgar romance got started. They are pretty adorable!

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Murders on Elderberry Road –review

This is the first book in a series that started in 2003, and written by author Sally Goldenbaum. Most cozy fans know her from her Seaside Knitters series. I had seen on Amazon (I think) that she was continuing this series, much like she did with Seaside Knitters Society. There are already three books up for preordering. You can see the titles on Cozy-Mystery.com’s Sally Goldenbaum page.

NEW INFO: Red-faced moment but I’ll own up to my goof: I just found out from a friend and blogger that it looks like the originals are being reworked into Kindle copies with new titles and covers, but basically the same story. Good news is if you’ve not read the old ones or don’t own them, just go order the Kindle copies with new, updated covers. I won’t cancel my preorders, but I wish I hadn’t ordered used copies of the old paperbacks now. Oh well, I hadn’t read the first book when I saw the synopsis for the revamped first book. And…right on the Amazon page, it states what the previous title was. ::face palm::

I love that in both series she writes about a group of women who are all different ages but brought together by the camaraderie of an activity they like, in this case it’s quilting. Her little character descriptions before the story starts are interesting and I always think they’re helpful. I’m hoping to get caught up before the new books start releasing in June, July and August.

My Goodreads review:

Murders on Elderberry RoadMurders on Elderberry Road by Sally Goldenbaum

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I noticed online (now I forget where, possibly shopping Amazon) that the author is continuing this series as Queen Bee Quilt Shop, so I knew I wanted to make an attempt to read the older books first. I happened to have this one in my TBR and was very happy to find that it’s much like her Seaside Knitters series, meaning that there’s a group of awesome friends of all ages who get together and quilt, hence the Quilting Bees.

I really enjoyed getting to know all these characters. There were little pencil-looking sketches of each of the eight members of the quilting bee shown at the front of the book, much like the author does with her character list in the other series, only with a drawing and short description. I always like to read through those, and even though eight seems like a lot in a group, by the end of the book, I felt like I knew most of them fairly well, as well as some of the town members. My favorite character of course was Po, since she was like a mom to the younger members and the story does seem to center more around her. I love her sense of family and wanting her friends around her as much as possible. Eleanor Canterbury was the oldest member and I got a kick out of her. She came from old money and some might have thought she’d be snooty, but she was ready with the rest of them to get the case solved–and to perfect her quilting.

This book wasn’t as long as the typical Seaside Knitters book, but it was definitely as thought-provoking and not just about the mystery. It was also about the people themselves. The showdown of this book was epic, and I liked the epilogue that tied everything up in a neat package. I found the rest of the series and will be starting them soon, hopefully before the new books start.

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Restaurant Weeks Are Murder–review

This is the third hilarious and fun book in the Poppy McAllister series by author Libby Klein. I just love her sense of humor that she puts into all these books. It’s so refreshing, and even the cat Figaro gets to be in on some of the mischief and crazy happenings. My favorite character is Aunt Ginny, and she sure didn’t disappoint this time. She was at all the filmings of Restaurant Week with her crew of senior friends. I had to chuckle at them running bets on who would do what, since the whole week was very drama-filled. I can’t wait till the fourth book comes out!

The cat in the picture made me think of Figaro, although I always thought he was darker gray. I couldn’t resist adding it due to the orange eyes.

My Goodreads review:

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery #3)Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby Klein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this may be the funniest in this series yet! Despite the murders or any attempts at murder, there is still always plenty to laugh at. Aunt Ginny is such a hoot when she decides to wear one of her what seems like endless crazy outfits. This time I couldn’t stop laughing at Figaro, that little stinker cat! He just seemed to know that someone was allergic to him and kept mysteriously showing up in their room. I loved how he drew Poppy into his mischief too! He did something fairly important later on in the book–won’t spoil that, but it was pretty cool.

When one of the judges for the Restaurant Week competition was murdered, Poppy worried that she’d be in jail before the day was over, since it was her dessert that the judge was eating. Not to mention the headache of having to work alongside Gigi, a chef who had her own restaurant but was a little too cozy with Tim, Poppy’s ex-boyfriend that she herself seemed to be getting closer with. All the chefs had some sort of secret, so there was no shortage of suspects in the murder, sabotages and attempted murders that followed. In the end, Poppy overcame her quandary about whether Tim or Gia would be the guy she chose, but there was still a tiny little issue which I won’t mention, since I don’t want to spoil it.

I had guessed the killer randomly, but I had no idea of the reasoning and the story behind their why. The showdown was pretty awesome showing once more that a good chef can even handle a killer if the right equipment is available! I am more anxious than ever for the next book because of how this one ended. It’s not really a cliffhanger, since the murder was solved. Just read it and see if you agree!

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