Fan Mail review

This is the second book in the Aspen Adams series, a suspense series by Daryl Wood Gerber who I came to know about by reading her cozy mysteries. I was a little apprehensive when I started her first book in the series, but after reading a review by a respected blogger (James J. Cudney) and a little convo on Goodreads, I’m glad I tried this series, because I found that I really like it. It’s not that much more intense than a regular cozy–and some of those can be fairly intense at times. I can definitely say that I enjoy Daryl Wood Gerber’s mysteries no matter if it’s cozy or suspense.

My Goodreads review:

Fan Mail (An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense Book 2)Fan Mail by Daryl Wood Gerber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And to think I was afraid to start this series since I was (wrongly) thinking that due to its more serious covers, that it would be one of those scary thrillers that I’m not a fan of, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It just moves at a little quicker pace than the cozies I’ve come to love from this author, the murder scenes while not seriously graphic are a little more defined but still not gross or anything, and some things are just a little more serious, but that’s all good.

I’ve come to really like these characters too! Aspen is amazing how she’s taken in her fourteen-year-old niece Candace, and Candace is a really likable kid now that she’s away from her mom. It’s so cute how she’s kind of protective of her aunt Aspen. I love that Aspen and Det. Nick didn’t waste any time getting together, and they appear to be in a very good place. He’s incredibly patient with her need to investigate but at the same time, he’s sweet and protective but not overly smothering, because Aspen is a very independent lady. She and Nick do work well together. Of course, I can’t forget good old aunt Max who owns a detective agency and is Aspen’s boss while training her in the ways of private investigation.

I honestly had pegged the correct person as the killer, but the motive was so tangled and twisted that it was actually fun winding down all the various paths that led to Aspen figuring it out. I had no idea why I thought this person was guilty, but I just felt that way. The showdown was really exciting, and I was relieved that Aspen had thought ahead to make sure Nick and backup were also stationed near. The ending was a very sweet one for Aspen’s bestie Gwen too. It’ll be interesting to see where the next case takes these characters.

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Stamped Out review

This is the first book in a brand new series by one of my favorite cozy mystery authors, Tonya Kappes. The series is called Mail Carrier Cozy Mysteries and features a mail carrier in her forties named Bernadette Butler. I just love the front porch ladies, a group of four older friends who wait every day for Bernadette to show up with the mail. They’re always a great source of gossip too! I’m really anxious to read the next book when it’s out. Isn’t the cover adorable? That’s Rowena, Bernadette’s cat and Tonya’s real life kitty who always wins employee of the month.

My Goodreads review:

Stamped Out (A Mail Carrier Cozy Mystery #1)Stamped Out by Tonya Kappes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fun cozy and a different occupation for the main character. It had everything I’ve come to love about this author’s books…great small town in Kentucky, nosy but caring neighbors and just the whole family thing going on. Bernie was in her forties, so that made for a little change of pace too. I loved how everything turned out for her, Mac and her friends. I had definitely not guessed the killer, and the showdown was quick but exciting. It was great how Bernie was able to think of what she did to disable the killer, despite the obviousness of being with a killer and what was going on at that moment (which is something I won’t spoil).

I think Vince and Harriette were my favorites on Bernadette’s route. I hope that Vince and Bernie team up again in upcoming books. I think it was awesome how he used his skills after being retired, and he made quite the sleuth. I won’t give away some of the background stories because they’re just fun. Harriette cracked me up how she’d always appear when Bernadette thought she was sneaking quietly around investigating. I’m really anxious for the next book! I think the series is going to be another winner for this author!

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Apple Cider Slaying review

This is the first book in a brand new series called Cider Shop Mysteries by Julie Anne Lindsey who also has written as Julie Chase, Jacqueline Frost (The Christmas Tree Farm mysteries) and Bree Baker, the Seaside Cafe series. I really love everything I’ve read by her, and this book was definitely no exception to that. The characters were amazing, and I was drawn in right from the start.

My Goodreads review:

Apple Cider Slaying (A Cider Shop Mystery #1)Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Anne Lindsey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a such an awesome beginning for a new series! I just love the characters of Winnie, Granny, Dot and Colton! What’s not to love about Granny, a feisty lady who’s not afraid to protect herself, and Dot is just an amazing best friend. I was happy to see that Winnie and Colton eventually hit it off and will be interested in seeing their friendship and hopefully more develop. I could tell that he was interested in Winnie, since he seemed to have incredible patience with her investigating.

I loved how everything came together by Christmas. I definitely hadn’t guessed the killer and was fairly surprised at who it was. It was really cool how a little ginger kitten helped save the day! Maybe Dolly was giving back to her new owner for adopting her! 😉 I’m super anxious now for the next book in the series, but was happy that this was set at Christmas and came out just now.

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Three Widows and a Corpse review

This is the third book in the Food Blogger series by Debra Sennefelder who used to be a food blogger herself. It’s quickly become a new favorite series of mine, and I was happy to return for a late summer visit to Jefferson, CT and visit with some of my favorite cozy characters. Drew always cracks me up! He’s like Hope’s pesky little brother, but he’s really a true friend, and she’s one to him as well. Hope and Claire got some sister moments in. I won’t spoil the second book if you haven’t read it, but Claire had an epiphany about her career future.

My Goodreads review:

Three Widows and a CorpseThree Widows and a Corpse by Debra Sennefelder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stumbling onto another dead body again put Hope in the cross hairs of a killer, but she wasn’t going to let that or Det. Reid stop her from investigating. The case was a crazy one with three women claiming to be the dead guy’s wives. I liked the side story of Claire coming to a decision about a new career path and Hope attempting to help guide her. But like all sisters, they usually managed to disagree where good sense was concerned sometimes. It’s a good thing that Claire was at Hope’s house at the particular time she was though!

Another enjoyable side story was Hope’s assignment working at a magazine that was collaborating with her blog. There was a definite connection to the case though. I love that Hope and Ethan’s relationship has grown and gotten better, and even though he stayed fairly busy with the investigation in this book, he took time out to come and see her. Since this book has it heading toward Labor Day and fall, I’m really hoping to see a Christmas season book out next. I have no idea what the next book in the author’s mind is, but I’d sure love it if it was a Thanksgiving-into-Christmas and covered both seasons. I could picture Hope doing some pretty awesome Christmas trees in her old house!

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Christmas Sweets review

This is a fun Christmasy collection of mysteries, one of which is a murder. The other two were such enjoyable mysteries that the lack of a murder to solve didn’t bother me at all. I found out that I really love the characters of Jaine Austen and her hilarious cat, Prozac. I definitely need to get to that soon, maybe in the new year.

My Goodreads review:

Christmas Sweets (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #18.5)Christmas Sweets by Joanne Fluke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first compiled short Christmas stories volume that I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it. It didn’t seem to matter where a person was in the series. Each book just fit in well.

In the Twelve Desserts of Christmas by Joanne Fluke, we met Matt and Julie a couple of love-struck teachers who volunteered to stay with some kids at boarding school over Christmas. There was no murder, but it was a fun little mystery that Hannah got involved in, since she was baking cookies and desserts for the kids and the two teachers. I enjoyed all these short story characters a lot!

After reading Nightmare on Elf Street by Laura Levine, I was laughing so much that I just knew I wanted to start reading the Jaine Austen series soon. Oh my goodness, the descriptions of some of the funny scenes had me laughing out loud, especially when Jaine’s cat Prozac got loose at the mall. This was a good murder mystery. There weren’t a lot of suspects and I was a little suspicious of who ended up being the killer.

The third story, The Christmas Thief by Leslie Meier focused on Elizabeth Stone, Lucy’s daughter that we don’t really read much about in the books that are about their daily lives. I just knew that Lucy would come to her rescue when poor Elizabeth was accused of being in on the theft of a mega-valuable jewel collection at the hotel where she worked. Miss Tilley came along (I just love this lady!) and the 90-something’s computer skills definitely came in handy in sifting out a perp. Elizabeth got a very happy ending out of the little story!

These three stories just showed how very different Christmas celebrations can be, but the main thing with people is being around those they love, or in Jaine’s case, a pet she loves. Despite Prozac being crazy-kitty-from-Elm Street sometimes, she loves the little bugger a lot!

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Can’t Judge a Book by Its Murder review

When I saw this book on NetGalley and that it took place in a bookshop, I just had to request it to review. It’s set in a fun little town in Mississippi with some great new characters. The book club ladies made me laugh with their sleuthing plans and antics. It was amazing what a former teacher could say to get a favor from a former student who happens to be police chief. 😉 I’m anxious to read more in this series!

Photo was found searching on Google under “licensed for reuse.” This is the book that the ladies were supposed to be discussing but wanted to talk about the murder instead.

My Goodreads review:

Can't Judge a Book By Its Murder (Main Street Book Club Mysteries #1)Can’t Judge a Book By Its Murder by Amy Lillard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a really enjoyable bunch of new characters, and I got such a kick out of the book club ladies wanting to do their sleuthing in such a way that Arlo must have felt like she was herding cats trying to keep them under control and out of danger. I liked Arlo and her bestie Chloe. They worked well together at their business, and Arlo was a fierce and faithful friend when Chloe was charged with murder. She was relentless at trying to prove her best friend’s innocence, and I know Chloe and her little boy truly appreciated it. Mads, not so much, but he seemed to have an incredibly large amount of patience with Arlo–possibly because they dated in high school, but maybe because he’s just a nice guy to begin with. I also enjoyed the character of Frances, the seventy-something woman who worked the desk at the police station. She was a great source of info and gossip.

I loved how when Arlo realized who the killer was, she raced to where she needed to be but managed to get Sam to call the police for backup. Both men who liked Arlo were her exes from high school, and for once I’m a little stumped as to which guy I like for her, although I always tend to lean toward the law enforcement officials in a case like this. Not sure why, but I don’t get tired of that theme of the sleuth liking the cop. Sam does seem nice, and he’s well-liked by the book club ladies. I’ll definitely be interested in reading more in this series and visiting this sweet southern town again.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Monthly Motif Reading Challenge 2020

This one will be a new one for me. It’s run by Kim and Tanya of Girlxoxo, and this is their Montly Motif Reading Challenge 2020 sign-up link.

NOTE: Image is from the Girl xoxo site and created by Kim and Tanya. 

Hopefully books I pick for other challenges will fit in here too. This is the list of monthly motifs, and when it’s closer to the beginning of the year, I hope to have a tentative list of books I hope to read for it:

MOTIFS (THEMES) FOR EACH MONTH

JANUARY-  Winter Wonderland

Focusing on ‘wonderland’, read a book set in a truly wonderful place- somewhere you’ve always thought was beautiful, somewhere with a wonderfully rich culture, a snowy setting, or maybe even a magical realm. It’s your interpretation, so have fun with it.

FEBRUARY- Seeing Red

Read a book with the word ‘red’ in the title OR a book with a red-ish cover. Bonus if it has both.

MARCH- Sub-Genre Sound Off

Choose a sub-genre of your favorite genre and read a book from it. Make sure you mention the sub genre you chose in your review. (Ex. Sub Genres of Fantasy could be Magical Realism, Fairytale Retellings, or Epic Fantasy to name just a few.)

APRIL- Classics or Currents

Read a book published before the year you were born (classic-ish) OR a book published between April 2019 and April 2020 (current.)

MAY- Author Introduction

Read a book written by an author who you’ve never read anything by. Bonus if its been on your TBR for more than a year.

JUNE- Name or Number

Read a book in which a name OR a number is part of the title. Bonus if the title includes both a name and a number.

JULY- Around or Out of this World 

Read a book set in a country other than the one you live in OR written by an author who is from a country other than your own OR read a book that takes place in space or on another planet.

AUGUST- Creature Feature

Read a book that includes a creature of some kind on the cover or in the story. Cat, dog, dragon, werewolf – mythical or real – find a book that features a creature.

SEPTEMBER- When Text Just Isn’t Enough

Read a book that includes more than just text. Maybe it’s a map, a family tree, illustrations, documents like emails or letters- something else that helps to paint the picture.

OCTOBER- Thrills and Chills

Ghost stories, haunted houses, true crime, murder mysteries, a thriller keeping you on the edge of your seat- it’s up to you!

NOVEMBER- Dynamic Duos

Read a book with a couple of characters that make the perfect pair whether in business or in love. (Ex. Sherlock & Holmes, Elizabeth & Darcy)

DECEMBER- Sugar, Spice, Everything Nice

Holiday or winter themed reads, love stories and romances, happy cries, comedies; round out your year with a truly feel good read.

Here’s the sign-up post at Kim and Tanya’s blog again. Have fun if you decide to join us!