Dead and Berried–review

This is the second book in the Gray Whale Inn series by Karen MacInerney. I’m really loving this series and plan to eventually continue reading in it. I had read this book last year as well, but fortunately Goodreads lets you count rereads (I didn’t realize that till recently). One of my Facebook book clubs is discussing the book later this week. I really enjoyed it and hadn’t remembered a lot of what happened, not even the killer!

My Goodreads review:

Dead and Berried (The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries #2)Dead and Berried by Karen MacInerney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read this again, so I’m revising my original review. Even though I read it before, it was still a book I couldn’t put down.

Nathalie Barnes has her hands full. More developers are threatening her beloved island, her ex-fiancé is trying to get her to move back to Texas with him by tempting her with getting her a B&B there, an annoying guest is supposedly wanting to open her own B&B while picking Nat’s brain for ideas, not to mention there are a couple of murders, one of which Nat and Charlene are prime suspects.

In the meantime, Nat’s bestie, Charlene has a new boyfriend, the local pastor named Richard. Nat wasn’t really crazy about him which made Charlene mad, so she didn’t speak to Nat for awhile in the book. We got to meet Charlene’s teenage niece Tania who sometimes ran the store for her. Besties can’t stay mad forever, so of course they shook hands and made up.

I read this book late in 2017 for a book club and have reread it for another book club since I wasn’t really staying very clear on who the killer was along with other details. I didn’t really guess it this time around either until the reveal which was pretty exciting. John once again got to show how sweet of a guy he is by being at Nat’s side when she was (again) in the hospital at the end.

The very ending was cute with a hint of a ghost being put to rest. Earlier in the book, Nat had been hearing things in the attic, but that turned out to be something tangible. There was an old murder case from the 1800s that was solved by Nat finding a diary in the parsonage. I think the girl’s ghost was just trying to say thank you for finding out the truth behind her death.

There are some more recipes that Natalie made in this book. They can be found at the end of the book. The picture above was the closest I could find to Vanilla Flan.

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Murder on the Rocks–review

This is the first book in the Gray Whale Inn series by Karen MacInerney. Karen also writes the Dewberry Farm series which I also like.

My Goodreads review:

Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mystery, #1)Murder on the Rocks by Karen MacInerney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I remembered reading this before but somehow I missed reviewing it or even marking it as read. The story was familiar as I read it this time. Luckily I’d forgotten who the killer was!

Natalie Barnes bought an old bed and breakfast on Cranberry Island but soon found out that a developer named Bernard Katz was planning a huge resort for the area. This would be competition for her B&B, so it was no surprise that when Nat found Katz dead on the rocks, she was the primary suspect. Her friend and neighbor John who was also the island deputy tried to give her as much help and support as he could, but he still didn’t approve when Nat and her friend Charlene decided to investigate.

I had no idea who the killer would be since it didn’t seem directly related to the guy who was killed but it all wrapped up and made total sense later. I hope that Natalie and John have a nice future ahead of them, but they’re just starting out liking each other. I really liked Nat’s friend Charlene. She was funny but really helpful and a loyal friend to Nat. Nat’s niece Gwen who was staying at the B&B while she took art classes also turned out to be a really nice girl. She surprised her aunt sometimes by cleaning the rooms or doing little things without her asking.

I loved the setting of this book since it was an island with mainly one store and restaurant–and one B&B. At the end of the book you’ll find some of the yummy-sounding recipes that Natalie made. The Acknowledgements section is interesting too since it points out that while the Cranberry Isles are real, everything else, including the type of tern mentioned was part of the author’s imagination. Yes, I’m an acknowledgements nerd!

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Forever Fudge–review

This is the sixth book in the Candy-Coated series by Nancy CoCo (aka Nancy J. Parra, Nell Hampton) and I absolutely loved it! It was even more special since I started it while we were still on Mackinac Island last week and I could picture the various places mentioned. This series and another cozy series (Cycle Path by Duffy Brown) are what inspired me to visit Mackinac Island. I’m so anxious now for the next book to come out. The official release date for this one is September 25. My Kindle copy I purchased will arrive tonight at midnight!

I won a paperback advance copy of the book from one of the author’s giveaways on Facebook, but that in no way influenced my decision to review or the review I gave–all that was voluntary.

My Goodreads review:

Forever Fudge (A Candy-coated Mystery)Forever Fudge by Nancy CoCo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had the pleasure of starting this paperback ARC that I won from the author while I was vacationing on Mackinac Island! It was seriously too fun to be able to read and picture some of the places that Allie goes while sleuthing or on her daily rounds. I even visited the bookstore there and talked to the woman in charge who told me she thought the McMurphy was based on one of the hotels (I won’t mention which one, not sure if I’m allowed to) and probably others along Main Street as well. I will say that I bought fudge from this particular hotel and it was amazing!

In this installment taking place on Labor Day weekend, Mal sniffs out another murder right away, then soon a TV crew follows since they are filming a mystery series pilot on the island. Rex gets to be shadowed by an actor named Dirk who is supposed to play the police chief in the series. The clues after the first murder occurs are given in the form of chess game clues, and the clues and another murder seem to follow Allie’s previous case locations. Someone had to know her history of helping solve murders on the island, and Allie had her suspicions after a writer for the show said he’d been on the island since May when Allie herself had first arrived.

There was no shortage of suspects and I was really surprised at who the killer turned out to be as it definitely wasn’t who I had in mind. I love how the characters have developed since the first book. Jenn, Allie’s bestie has been on the island all summer (which has me a little confused wondering where the two Christmas novellas are supposed to come in if Allie has only been there since May and this book is taking place in September–maybe parallel time?) helping her with the hotel and running her own events planning service. It’s still up and down as far as the Trent vs. Rex guy-Allie-will-pick decision goes, although I think Allie is realizing that Trent’s heart isn’t really in the island as Rex’s is. I’m personally Team Rex myself, lol.

Two of my favorite characters were on their honeymoon, so they were definitely missed. Jenn and Shane are still an item even though Jenn had to go off to another job for awhile. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in this awesome series! Now that I’ve been to Mackinac, I want to read the series again (as well as another cozy series that inspired me to want to visit Mackinac) with a new set of eyeballs that’s seen this amazing and magical place. I have most of the series on Kindle or iBooks. Maybe on my next Mackinac trip, I’ll get those in paperback since the cover art is always so cute–and it would make for the perfect souvenir.

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The Ghost and Mrs. McClure–review

This is the first book in the Haunted Bookshop series by Alice Kimberley, who is half the writing team of Cleo Coyle. Alice and her husband Marc are continuing this series under their Cleo Coyle name. The latest book will be out September 25. I know I won’t be caught up by then, but I do plan to read this series in order and savor every minute of fun with the ghost of Jack Shepard.

My Goodreads review:

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure (Haunted Bookshop Mystery, #1)The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With the newest of this series coming out soon, I just had to start the series so I would know what the buzz about Jack Shepard was. I can definitely say I’m in love with that ghost, lol! What an amazing character! He and Pen worked well together as a sleuthing team…once he convinced her that she wasn’t crazy and that yes, she really could hear him in her brain. Jack talked her through a very cool sting operation to get the perp to confess. It worked and the person who killed the famous author in Pen’s store was in custody.

I really enjoyed the character of Pen’s son, Spencer. He wasn’t your typical kid. I imagined him as Young Sheldon only with a little more of a loving nature. I liked that he and Pen were strong enough to stand up to her late husband’s family and let them know that Spencer wasn’t going to cave and do what their McClure children did in high society. Spence loved the bookstore and helping his mom. I enjoyed the interaction of Aunt Sadie, although aside from Pen, Spencer and Jack, it’s pretty clear that as nice as she is, those three are the primary characters, at least in this book. The cookie bakery owners, Linda and Milner seemed like nice people. Milner was a good comic relief at times.

I can’t wait to read the next book. I really am going to make myself wait before I dig into the 6th book when it releases. I want to savor all the awesomeness that is Jack Shepard!

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A Tale of Two Biddies–review

This was the second book I read during our road trip and vacation last week. I read a total of six books, and I will be posting them here during the next few days. This was another fun installment in this series, League of Literary Ladies by Kylie Logan. I wanted to be caught up before our book discussion on the third book next month.

My Goodreads review:

A Tale of Two Biddies  (League of Literary Ladies #2)A Tale of Two Biddies by Kylie Logan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the first book of this series that I read earlier this spring. When I found out one of the book groups I’m in on Facebook was going to discuss the third book in October, I thought that while I was on vacation last week I’d read the second book. I had already felt like I knew these ladies and they were friends I was going back to visit.

When Bea Cartwright found the body of a local guy named Richie, everyone wondered if he really had been killed as he’d feared ever since a few days before when he said he was pushed into the water. The town was having a Bastille themed festival, and that included a heavy-metal band named Guillotine. It turned out that Richie had a few secrets he’d been keeping, one which most likely led to his murder.

I was really surprised when the killer was revealed. It was a great plot twist! I can’t wait to read the next since it’s a Halloween theme!

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The Diva Runs Out of Thyme–review

I’m just back from one of my new favorite places to go, Mackinac Island. My family and I took a road trip up there, and I also managed to get quite a bit of reading done this past week. The first book I read, or reread, according to what Goodreads had said, which was that I had read this book already. I honestly don’t remember reading it–maybe I got it mixed up with another book, haha! Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait till our Facebook book discussion September 25.

My Goodreads review:

The Diva Runs Out of Thyme (A Domestic Diva Mystery, #1)The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Since I don’t really remember reading this in 2017 (but I had reviewed it here and it was marked as read) I’m going to write a better review after re-reading for a book club discussion this week.

Sophie Winston, a party planner and now a columnist of household and good life tips, had always been in some sort of competition with Natasha Smith, who was now living with Sophie’s ex-husband, Mars. Natasha seemed determined to win the stuffing competition. Earlier, Sophie had discovered a dead man in a dumpster who turned out to be a private investigator. She had adopted the kitten he’d approached her with when she was going into the grocery store. It wasn’t too much longer before Sophie stumbled onto another dead body, that of the man who was in charge of the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown. It wasn’t looking good for her because Detective Kenner was ready to pin both murders on her. Detective Fleishman aka Wolf was more sympathetic and not so ready to toss her in jail. Sophie needed to prove her innocence and with the help of her good friend Nina, she set out to do just that.

This was a fun beginning to this series. There were a lot of different characters, but it became fairly easy to sort through and figure out which ones were important. I liked that Sophie had a good relationship with her parents as well as her ex-husband, Mars. Bickering is never fun, lol. I got a big kick out of Mars’ mom June who was totally crushing on one of Sophie’s neighbors, an older man named Colonel Hampstead. There were a lot of people keeping secrets and just as I thought I had it figured out, that person would be cleared. I honestly never saw the killer coming–and this was supposedly the second time I read this! (Maybe I will just use the excuse that going by the date I had down for reading this, I was either pre-op nervous or recovering from surgery when I read the first and that’s why I don’t remember!)

I do want to continue in the series. Natasha cracks me up. She might be a sort of nemesis for Sophie, but she’s pretty harmless. I’m anxious to see how things heat up between Sophie and Wolf too!

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Dying for Strawberries–review

This is the first book in the Berry Basket series written by Sharon Farrow. It’s set in a small lake shore town in Michigan with quaint little shops and awesome older houses. All the shopkeepers enjoy the summer tourist trade, but that trade will be threatened in this story. I think you’ll enjoy reading this and finding out why.

I never knew I could loathe a couple of characters as much as I did the guy that ended up dead and a woman who came to town that Marlee, the main character had to deal with in her former career. I think it takes a skilled author to create characters that seem so real when they’re bad, that we really hope someone will do them in. 🙂

My Goodreads review:

Dying for Strawberries (A Berry Basket Mystery)Dying for Strawberries by Sharon Farrow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed my visit to the small lakeside town of Oriole Point, MI and could just picture the little shops and lakefront Victorian homes like Marlee lived in. It was very well-written and plotted and at times, kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to find out what would happen next.

Marlee Jacob (her family was a Dickens fan–I loved the play on Jacob Marley’s name) ran the Berry Basket shop in town along and like a lot of her neighboring shops, depending on tourist trade. When a local man, who wasn’t very well liked to begin with, announced at a town council meeting that he now owned 30 acres that the zoning commission had voted to zone as commercial–and that he was going to allow big box stores to come and build, someone in town took matters into their own hands. He was found dead in his home by Marlee and her friend Tess. Since the mayor’s wife had gone ballistic and punched him at the meeting, she was arrested for the murder.

Marlee was curious as to how the entire zoning commission, all of which were longtime residents of Oriole Point and supposedly shared the same belief that tourist trade was their sole income, could have possibly decided to allow a zoning change for something that would no doubt bankrupt many of the merchants. Could blackmail or bribery have been going on? After a brush with death herself, Marlee was still determined to find out the truth, and to complicate matters, someone from her past was in town trying to make Marlee’s life a living nightmare.

I wasn’t sure at all who the killer was in this and I loved the showdown because it was exciting with a great twist to it. The killer got hauled to prison and Marlee was somewhat of a hero to a very unlikely person, who, because of who they were, turned the tables to look like they were the big hero. Marlee didn’t care, she was alive and she’d helped prevent someone else’s death. The mayor’s wife was cleared of all charges and announced that her helper for the next event in town would be Marlee! I’m guessing this will be the story of the next book, which I definitely plan to read.

I really enjoyed the characters for the most part. Marlee and her fiance’ have an odd relationship. She’d found out something about him that he hadn’t seemed to think was important to tell her, he’s awfully jealous of a local guy who was Marlee’s boyfriend in high school and was really just a nice and goofy friend to her now. It’ll be interesting if they pick back up where they were or if he realizes he should have come clean with her about his past. I’m not a fan of birds as pets at all, but I have to admit I really enjoyed Minnie the parrot that Marlee adopted at her Aunt Vicki’s insistence. There were a lot of different characters, so I hope in the next book we can get to know the main characters just a little bit better. I do like the main characters, but I don’t feel like I know them quite as well as I thought I should by the end of the book. I did still enjoy it and want to read the next one!

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