Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past review

This is the third book in what quickly became a favorite newer series for me. It’s called Salem B&B and written by Traci Wilton, a pen name for the writing team of Traci Hall and Patrice Wilton. I fell in love with the ghost of Dr. Jack from the get-go and love how he and Charlene interact and research cases together. Salem at Christmas sounded awesome!

My Goodreads review:

Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past (A Salem B&B Mystery, #3)Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past by Traci Wilton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such an awesome Christmas mystery! I just love the cover of this book and could really picture the B&B all decked out for Christmas. I felt sad for Jack knowing how much he’s always liked Charlene that he couldn’t give her a Christmas hug, but he seemed fairly happy. He always came in handy for helping to research during a case, and he made a good silent sleuthing partner for Charlene. This case was dealing with the murder of one of the locals, and it was actually someone who was a good benefactor, so it was a little sad to have them killed.

Charlene was dealing with her parents staying till after Christmas, and her mom wasn’t the most likable person, but I have to admit, she grew on me after a while especially what she helped with toward the end. I wasn’t right about the killer this time, but finding the real one was a good little adventure and showdown. I’m hoping that Charlene is getting a little closer to opening her heart to Sam after this book, at least they seemed to be in a decent place for now. I really liked Charlene’s dad a lot! That man was a saint to put up with her mom lol. And I liked the character of Avery who Charlene hired to help Minnie with housekeeping chores. I hope she sticks around. I’m always anxious for the next book in this series!

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Murder at the PTA review

This is the first book in the Maya & Sandra series by brother/sister writing team Lee Hollis. I love the characters they always come up with, sometimes funny and always memorable. The book spent a year as a B&N exclusive, but for some reason I never got around to reading it even though I do own the paperback. (It probably got buried under some other books I haven’t gotten to yet!) I was going to just order the Kindle version and was pleasantly surprised that I actually won a copy from a recent Goodreads giveaway. I’d also gotten it from NetGalley. Now I’m super anxious to get hold of the second book whenever that might be coming! 

My Goodreads review:

Murder at the PTA (Maya and Sandra Mystery, #1)Murder at the PTA by Lee Hollis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book a lot! I knew I’d like anything this author writes, because I love their other two series. It’s great how they can set a different tone for each series they’ve written. Maya and Sandra were the two most unlikely candidates for sleuthing partners, but they worked together really well once Maya adjusted to Sandra being a senator’s wife. She soon found out that Sandra wasn’t the typical prissy trophy wife but someone who was very committed to a new friendship and possibly sleuthing partnership. Sandra was pretty smart and able to read people well too.

Someone had offed the vice principal of the high school the night that Sandra had her first PTA meeting as president, and the woman’s sister hired Maya’s PI firm to prove that it was murder not suicide. What a crazy web of deception and secrets this all led to! I loved it, and the showdown was super exciting, at least to me. The wrap-up was great and whatever wasn’t already explained got mentioned as to the outcome. What a fun ending! Now I can’t wait for the next book!

I won a Kindle copy of this book in the Goodreads giveaway, but that in no way affected my review, and my opinions are completely my own.

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Little Bookshop of Murder review

This is the first book in the new Beach Reads cozy mystery series by Maggie Blackburn, better known as Mollie Cox Bryan who writes the Cora Crafts and Buttermilk Creek cozy series as well as the older Cumberland Creek series. Who wouldn’t love a bookstore right there on the beach that happens to be part of an island?

My Goodreads review:

Little Bookshop of Murder: A Beach Reads MysteryLittle Bookshop of Murder: A Beach Reads Mystery by Maggie Blackburn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this start to a new series and loved the idea of a bookshop right there on the beach. I can definitely say the author did a good job of not making me like Summer very much for a while. She totally came off as a know-it-all who had no use for any books except those that were Shakespeare and scholarly. But the more I read, I did feel a small connection to Summer with my hatred of spiders. True, I don’t spaz out like she did or sleep under netting, but I really dislike them a lot! I felt like during the course of the book, she did start to change just a little. She was always good to her cousins and aunt, but I think the island and her mom’s good friends were starting to get to her and soften that hard outer shell she’d put up. Reading and actually enjoying the book her mom had been reading for book club seemed to help her a lot.

There seemed to be a lot of repeating going on as far as questioning why or who, but hey, Summer was new at sleuthing, so I chalked it up to that. In the end, she came through during the showdown and showed some bravery although a lot of it was built-up anger. I had figured out fairly early who the killer was, but it was interesting to see this unfold and how the characters went about sleuthing.

I really enjoyed Aunt Agatha, Piper and Mia’s characters a lot as well as Glads and Marilyn, Hildy’s good friends. At times I just wanted to shake Summer, but at the end there was a super sweet moment. I think I’m going to like her much better in the next book after all she’s gone through in this one. Change in a character is sometimes a really good thing and helps them grow and develop, so I’m anxious to see what the author continues to do with Summer. I’m definitely interested in reading more in the series.

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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Murder in Connemara review

This is the second book in the Home to Ireland series, which is exclusive to Barnes & Noble for a year from its publication of July 28, 2020. It’s written by Carlene O’Connor who most cozy fans know from her Irish Village series. She always has some good characters to share in her books, and this one was no exception. It had been a while since I’d read the first book, but the author did a good job catching readers up if this was the starting point for anyone–and without giving any spoilers, which is always a plus.

Thanks to #Kensington Publishing for the paperback ARC to review. Clifden Castle picture found at Wikimedia Commons.

My Goodreads review:

Murder in ConnemaraMurder in Connemara by Carlene O’Connor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I enjoyed this book even more than the first one. I loved the settings of the two castles and just the whole description of Ireland itself. Being an armchair traveler, I feel like I got a nice vacation in without all the fuss and bother. This author always has a nice assortment of characters, some likable and some not so much.

There were all kinds of suspects to pick from while the body count kept rising. Tara hadn’t really expected to run into a murder when she was trying to get ready for her shop’s grand opening, but things worked out for her in the long run. Even DS Gable asked for her help this time around. Danny wasn’t happy about it, but they still ended up in a good place. I didn’t realize who the killer was until right before Tara figured it out. There was a good showdown and escape scene along with the killer getting outed. I liked how everything was wrapped up and explained if not along the way, it was explained at the end. I’ll be anxious to read the next book that comes along. I’ll have to read in the author’s other series in the meantime.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC paperback of this book provided by Kensington Publishing, and my opinions are my own.

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For Whom the Book Tolls review

This is the first book in a new series called Antique Book Shop mysteries by Laura Gail Black, and I think she’s definitely got a hit on her hands with the series. I felt like Jenna and Rita were my old friends by the time the book ended, and I really can’t wait to read the next book. I hope Jenna eventually gets a dog or cat for the bookshop. At least in my opinion, I’ve enjoyed cozies about bookstores that have pets.

My Goodreads review:

For Whom the Book Tolls: An Antique Bookshop MysteryFor Whom the Book Tolls: An Antique Bookshop Mystery by Laura Gail Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this new mystery! It’s a great concept for a cozy and pretty much everything I want in a cozy mystery as well. Rita was such a great new friend for Jenna and so was Mason, the young guy she hired for the shop who used to work for her Uncle Paul. I can’t even imagine how awful it would be to come to a new town all hopeful to reconnect with a fun and goofy uncle just to find him dead.

This of course put Jenna in the cross hairs of an ambitious detective who wanted to wrap up the murder in a nice neat package. His partner wasn’t downright mean like this guy was, so that was a definite plus for Jenna. I loved how she and Rita got along together, and once Mason joined them, they made quite the trio of friends. I definitely hope Keith makes the trio a foursome!

I hadn’t completely committed myself to guessing who did it, but it honestly didn’t surprise me much. The showdown was pretty exciting, and if I was Jenna, I’d be thanking my guardian angel for the help that arrived! I really enjoyed how the book went on a little more after the showdown and explanation. At that point, it was important to me because it showed how Jenna had cemented her friendship with new people in this new town. I’m so anxious now to read the next book!

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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Murder in the Bayou Boneyard review

This is the sixth book in the Cajun Country series by Ellen Byron, another of my favorite authors. I’ve been reading this series since its beginning and have fallen in love with this sweet Louisiana town and the Crozat family. And yup, even ol’ Rufus has grown on me, since he’s changed a lot since the very first book. Now first book Ru, I didn’t like him at all! Halloween at Crozat and the neighboring B&Bs was an adventure, to say the least!

My Goodreads review:

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard: A Cajun Country MysteryMurder in the Bayou Boneyard: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pelican at Halloween time was pretty awesome! I never completely guessed the killer, because all the red herrings and clues were so good and leading in all different directions. I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. I got a kick out of Gran and her wedding plans right in the middle of a murder. I love that little Xander has come such a long way, and I can’t help but feel that Maggie can claim some credit for that with giving him art lessons ever since she met Bo. Xander also taught Maggie that Halloween can be fun again.

That picture of Gopher on the cover is so darn cute! I think it might be my favorite cover so far! And yes, he did get to wear his costume along with his other dog friends. I’ve absolutely loved this series since the very first book, and I hope it runs for a very long time. Trips to Pelican, Louisiana are always a lot of fun. The baddies get theirs, and the wrap-up always gives that extra closure readers like. As always, I can’t wait for the next book!

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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Murder Most Sweet review

This is the first book in a brand new series that just came out several days ago. It’s called the Bookish Baker and is authored by Laura Jensen Walker who has quite a bit in common with Teddie St. John, the main character in this book. I absolutely love Teddie and her friends…and her sweet little dog Gracie. When Teddie retired from her government job after her cancer diagnosis and treatment, she only thought she’d be involved in the kinds of murder mysteries that lived in her books. I’m so anxious now for the next book!

My Goodreads review:

Murder Most Sweet: A Bookish Baker MysteryMurder Most Sweet: A Bookish Baker Mystery by Laura Jensen Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book and the unique main character! Teddie’s sense of humor was so awesome in light of her being a breast cancer survivor and making little jokes about herself. She was a strong lady who knew what she wanted and didn’t want. The cozy mysteries she wrote sounded really good, maybe a little like this series 😉 From reading the author’s bio, I feel like she’s adding some of her own experiences to Teddie’s life, and it was all so interesting. I enjoyed the characters of Char and Sharon a lot too! The three of them really were like the 3 Musketeers. I couldn’t put the book down at all during the time Char and Teddie went on a road trip to sleuth. Gracie was just the sweetest dog ever and definitely played a good part during the showdown with the killer.

I’d had some suspicions about the person who ended up being the killer but fell for the red herrings along the way. I was happy to see my suspicions were right though. I’m so anxious to read the next book in this series!

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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Checked Out for Murder review

This is the fourth book in the Haunted Library series written by Allison Brook, pen name of Marilyn Levinson. I absolutely love this series and Evelyn, the library ghost that presented herself to Carrie in the first book. Evelyn always has some good insight to whatever murder that Carrie finds herself involved in solving. Carrie did use more control this time and actually enlisted some help. I enjoyed that her mom and dad were both in this book. I really like her dad’s character, especially now that he’s reformed and has a legitimate career. I’m always anxious for the next book in this fun series!

My Goodreads review:

Checked Out for Murder (The Haunted Library Mysteries, #4)Checked Out for Murder by Allison Brook
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I always enjoy reading the newest of this series when it comes out! I just love Evelyn, the library ghost and was just a little worried when she didn’t seem to pop in a whole lot, but her appearances got to be a little more normal later in the book. I like where Dylan and Carrie were in their relationship and continue to be. It was interesting to spend more time with Carrie’s mom, since she was in this book quite a bit more than any others. She and her current husband Tom were in town for a movie he was acting in.

I was proud of Carrie for being more cautious and trying to do a good job of staying safe by taking someone with her whenever she went someplace that could end up dangerous. I was surprised by who the killer was. Because of some very clever red herrings, I had my sights on someone else. The showdown was nice and peaceful. After one murder attempt and some threats, that was a nice change of pace. And everything was wrapped up at the end with Carrie’s dinner she had. I’m already anxious for the next book!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book, and my opinions are my own.

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Boston Scream Murder review

I always look forward to the newest book in this series (like I do soooo many others!), and of course, this Halloween-themed addition to the Deputy Donut series definitely didn’t disappoint! It’s the fourth book of what I hope will be a nice long series for author Ginger Bolton who’s also known as Janet Bolin, author of the 5-book cozy series Threadville. I’ve been wanting to get back to that series, because I really enjoyed the first book.

Deputy Donut became one of my favorite series the minute it came out. I really enjoy all the various characters in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin especially that of Tom Westhill, main character Emily’s father-in-law. If anyone is new to the series, I highly recommend reading it from the beginning. The author is good about catching readers up and not giving spoilers, but it would be better to get to know the characters from the ground up. Dep, the little cat that the Deputy Donut shop is named for, is a total sweetheart, well except when she needs to get into her carrier. She got a good part doing something to the killer toward the end, go Dep! (Nope, she’s not the type to tear their head off or chomp their leg, she’s much more clever!)

My Goodreads review:

Boston Scream Murder (A Deputy Donut Mystery Book 4)Boston Scream Murder by Ginger Bolton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It had been about a year since I went book tripping to Fallingbrook, Wisconsin during their July Fourth celebration. I loved how the town did up Halloween. It was the perfect Halloween cozy from the decorations and kids’ Halloween parade to the murder case itself set on an eerie-at-night lake.

There was a decent amount of suspects in this case, but I got a weird feeling about someone kind of early although going down all the red herring paths is always fun. My gut feeling came true but the reason was something I couldn’t have known. I always have loved it when Emily’s best friends all got together, and since she’s been hanging out with Brent in a non-dating sort of way, there were three happy couples (when Brent wasn’t working a murder, that is), one of which was super happy due to an announcement.

I think Tom will always be my favorite character. He’s kind of the patriarch figure but only offers his expert protection as an ex-police chief when he feels it’s absolutely necessary. I really liked Nina a lot–she fit right in with the Deputy Donut family which still did have Jocelyn, but she was mainly off at college. She did get a small but important role in the book. We got to see a little more of Cindy, Tom’s wife and who knew, she’s a cat whisperer as well as a talented pottery artist. I’m hoping the next book might be a Christmas themed one, and as always, I can’t wait for it.

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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15 Minutes of Flame review

This is the fourth book in a fairly new series called Nantucket Candle Maker by author Christin Brecher. It’s quickly become one of my favorite newer series where I make sure I get to the next book. The characters have grown quite a bit since the beginning, but Stella still bothers me a little when she plows headfirst into dangerous situations simply because her curiosity can’t stand it. But she’s goodhearted and does have a logical mind for crime solving. She’s pretty darn lucky too as far as getting into and out of places without being seen! I’m really curious as to what’s going to happen in the next book with a little announcement that came later in the book. I can’t even hint at it, so my advice would be to read and find out! 🙂

My Goodreads review:

15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker, #3)15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an awesome Halloween story! Sometimes in books it’s hard for me to really get into the historical mystery that exists, but I found myself really intrigued and interested to find the outcome. Stella and Peter were in a good place, but he seemed distracted during the case and didn’t help quite as much as Stella would have hoped. He had a good reason which was revealed at the end, but Stella was able to help Andy even more than usual which I think may have gotten Andy a little more interested in her than longtime childhood friend. I really hope a triangle doesn’t start in full force. For the second time in a cozy, I like both guys equally and would feel bad rooting for either.

I loved the gathering of suspects type showdown and how in some way, the skeleton of the Quaker woman that Stella found got to help take down the killer (not literally, no worries about spookies if that’s not your thing.) The setting of the Morton House and the little shack was so perfect for the Halloween event they planned. It was nice and eerie at times but only in an explainable way. This has quickly become one of my favorite series, and I’m very anxious now to read the next book.

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