Plotting for Murder–review

This was the first book in the brand new Cozy Mystery Bookshop series by Tamra Bauman whose bio says she’s normally a romance writer. I liked how she handled the romance in her first cozy, very nice job! I was undecided on which guy to root for, but by the end, I think I had an idea of what way this might go. But then again, who knows, the next book may surprise me.

I am anxious to read the next book, however I really hope that the author stops using present tense. It did make it a bit harder to read smoothly, but I will say that the rest of the book helped make up for it. The dialogue is some of the best and most normal-sounding (not stilted and too formal, like some I’ve read) that I’ve read. Oh, I can’t not mention little Cooper! That pup has won my heart, he got to be a hero, but over the course of the book, he was helping his mommy’s heart heal.

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

My Goodreads review:

Plotting for Murder (Cozy Mystery Bookshop #1)Plotting for Murder by Tamra Baumann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great mystery, awesome characters and one of the cutest dogs I’ve read about in awhile. I’ll say upfront that I wasn’t a fan of the present tense style and can’t quite figure out why it was used, unless it was supposed to be like Sawyer looking back and writing her memoirs. But even then, it’s kind of annoying, but honestly, I’m glad I didn’t let it stop me from enjoying a great story. The riddle, clues and puzzle aspect really kept me intrigued.

Other than the constant present tense, it was well-written as far as vocabulary, and the dialogue was actually believable–and real-sounding. The author did a great job of painting the nasty uncle as a total snake, because I absolutely couldn’t stand him–am I awful to wish he’d been offed? But then they’d have thought Sawyer did it lol. At first, I wasn’t sure about Brittany, the store employee, but she grew on me more and more. I just love what good thing happened for her eventually! I liked the romance aspect a lot. It was just the right amount. At first I was one team, but by the end of the book I was ready to switch teams. I won’t say, so I don’t spoil it 😉 The other supporting character of Madge was a lot of fun! I got such a kick out of how she and Sawyer would compare case notes, but Dylan the sheriff knew what they were doing all along. Renee, Sawyer’s best friend was a hoot! She was a happy-go-lucky free spirit and dated a new guy almost every week

I can’t leave out the sweet Admiral! Every mystery needs a fun and quirky character. The author nailed it with the Admiral. I hope he’s around for a very long time! (Can I help it if I pictured him as the famous white-haired star of the old Diagnosis Murder series?) 😉 As far as the killer, I was going back and forth on that one, so it was a little bit of a surprise. But it led to an awesome showdown where little Cooper the mini Goldendoodle got to be a hero, and his mommy wasn’t too shabby either! The sheriff showed up just as my nerves were giving out lol. I thought the ending was satisfying as far as the main mystery, but it was kind of fun to leave a couple of little threads dangling. I’m definitely enticed to read the next book!

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The Hidden Corpse–review

This is the second book in the Food Blogger series started last year by Debra Sennefelder, who interestingly used to be a food blogger herself. You can tell she’s no stranger to the world of blogging and promotion. There are some recipes at the end of the book that actually sound doable and seriously yummy!

I read a paperback ARC of this book from #Kensington Publishing, but that didn’t influence what type of review I would give. After my wrists got a little sore from holding the paperback, I got the ARC from NetGalley as well. But…I did buy a digital copy of the book, since I like to show up as a verified review on the big A whenever I can. 😉

My Goodreads review:

The Hidden Corpse (Food Blogger Mysteries #2)The Hidden Corpse by Debra Sennefelder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was great to return to Jefferson, CT and visit with Hope, her sister Claire (she is such a hoot!), her bestie, reporter Drew, police chief Ethan and of course friends like Merrifield Inn owners, Jane and Sally Merrifield. I especially like Jane of two, because she was a mystery writer and still thinks like one. She never discourages Hope from investigating and might even be an enabler sometimes. I would like to see her go back to writing sometime in the series. She makes a good sleuthing buddy or at least sounding board for Hope.

Hope had her hands full with her sister running for mayor, having to contribute five recipes to a cookbook, still working on remodeling her house, training her dog, and now a neighbor was dead making Hope feel responsible. As the body count increased, Hope was trying to stay a step ahead of the killer, so that she wouldn’t become one of the bodies. The showdown was a nail biter, but everything worked out great, and I hadn’t guessed the killer. I liked how there was plenty of closure and explanation-giving before the book ended. The actual ending was very sweet, and I don’t think I could have wished for better! I’m anxious to see what the next book brings.

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The Pomeranian Always Barks Twice–review

This is the first book in the brand new series called Furever Pets by Bookshop Cafe series author Alex Erickson. I really like his bookshop cafe series, so I knew I’d be wanting to read this one as well. The book is available exclusively at Barnes & Noble for a year, then I understand it’ll be available at other booksellers.

I found the cute Pom picture under the licensed for reuse section of Google and thought that maybe Stewie looked something like this, since the dog has a little frostiness in its face, and Stewie was an older pup.

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

My Goodreads review:

The Pomeranian Always Barks Twice (A Furever Pets Mystery #1)The Pomeranian Always Barks Twice by Alex Erickson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fun start to what looks like it should be a great series. I love the idea of the pet adoption agency. Right away I could tell Liz was in this because she genuinely loved pets, but her competitor Courtney was all about the money. Liz was an awesome character. I liked that she’s a bit older than the usual protagonist, meaning she’s got a grown son and a college-age daughter. She doesn’t always make the best or safest decisions, but honestly, what amateur sleuth does, right? 😉 Little Wheels the cat was a great character too! I’ve mainly only heard of dogs needing wheels for their back legs, particularly dachshunds because of their long bodies being susceptible to disc disease. But sweet little Wheels had been born with useless back legs. With her wheels, she could zip around faster than any of the pets staying with Liz. Wheels was Liz’s own cat, and she thought sometimes about adopting a permanent buddy for her.

I really enjoyed the mystery which had some good red herrings. Just as I’d like one person for the murder, I’d switch to someone else. I was completely surprised by the reveal, which came after a pretty cool stakeout and showdown. I loved that Liz’s daughter Amelia ended up helping her in the investigation. They made a really nice team. Ben and Manny were good father/son characters. This was just a nice little family, which is a pleasant break from the usual pattern of cozy mysteries having the main character just having broken up with someone and ending up with a triangle, or more, of people they like. (I still like any cozy pattern-minus the triangle lol–but different is good too!) I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series!

I voluntarily read and reviewed a paperback ARC provided to me by Kensington Publishing. My opinions are my own and were not swayed by receiving the book.

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Something Read, Something Dead–review

This is the fifth book in the Lighthouse Library series by Eva Gates, which is a pen name for Vicki Delany who some know best for her Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series. In fact, there was a cool little reference to that series, see if you can find it!

I just love Charles, the library cat. It was hilarious how he showed an unwelcome library visitor that he wasn’t welcome. I found this picture on Google under licensed for reuse, and I think Charles might look something like this.

My Goodreads review:

Something Read, Something Dead (Lighthouse Library Mystery, #5)Something Read, Something Dead by Eva Gates

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was even better than the last book, and I really liked that one a lot. While this is only the second book I’ve read in the series (I seriously do need to start it at the beginning), I’m never lost, because the character relationships and previous happenings are referenced or explained, and…I like that there are never any spoilers.

Josie and Jake’s wedding was coming up soon and when the “Louisiana Mafia” as Josie called her Grandma Gloria, aunt and cousins on her dad’s side, showed up, Josie was nearly tempted to grab Jake and elope. One of the cousins died after eating a dessert at Josie’s shower at the lighthouse, and since the dessert was made by Josie, her bakery was closed for the investigation, and she was the main person of interest. Sam Watson who was the usual detective had to step to the side and allow the state detective to take over, and it wasn’t easy for Lucy to investigate without him getting angry.

There was an awesome twist toward the end that I never saw coming, and I hadn’t really figured out the killer. I had it down to two people, but no particular reason, so it was fun to watch it play out. I especially liked that Lucy had all the suspects and both detectives gathered at her aunt Ellen’s house and was able to do her big reveal there, like in so many TV shows and older mysteries.

The side story of the library desperately needing $100K for emergency repairs was interesting and even had a little drama of its own, when someone spread rumors that the donations would revert to the town’s operating fund if the library didn’t raise the total (which was a total lie). In the end, everything worked out great and I was very pleased with the book’s ending as well. While I’m anxious for the next book, I hope I can get caught up with the first three before it comes out!

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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A Fitting End–review

This is the second book in the Magic Dressmaking series by Melissa Bourbon. I read the first one back in January, and I was ready to visit Bliss, TX again and see what everyone was up to.

My Goodreads review:

A Fitting End (A Magical Dressmaking Mystery #2)A Fitting End by Melissa Bourbon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started this series earlier this year and I’m really loving this story line! Both of the books have been well-written and plotted. There were so many good suspects and red herrings in this one that I didn’t guess the killer, in fact I was super surprised when it was revealed. Just the surprise of that alone made the somewhat non-exciting showdown seem ok.

I love how Will and his daughter Gracie’s story is evolving. Gracie is such a nice character, and I was glad to see her have more of a role in this book. I also like Mrs. James, even though at first she does come off as a little too high-society. Josie, who isn’t quite Harlow’s bestie but they became closer after Harlow made her wedding gown in the first book, took a little bit of a backseat to the action in this book, which was fine. But there’s a sweet surprise in store for her, at least that’s Harlow told her. I like how the story line itself is developing, a little more at a time, bits and pieces come together in each book. I’m sure there will be even more to learn after this one, and I’m anxious to keep reading the series.

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Plantation Shudders–review

This is the first book in the Cajun Country by Ellen Byron, and this is my second time reading. I wasn’t blogging two years ago when I read it the first time, so I wanted to share my Goodreads review here, especially since I’ve added to it. This is one of my favorite series, and since I’m fairly sure I didn’t read Body in the Bayou (the second book), I’m hoping to visit Pelican, LA again very soon!

I won’t be able to include this in most of my challenges, maybe Craving for Cozies, since it’s a reread only within the last two years, but that’s ok. I know of another challenge just for rereads–if I do enough of them this year, I’ll join it! LOL

My Goodreads review:

Plantation Shudders (Cajun Country Mystery, #1)Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Original review from 2017) This book was a great start for the series and I can’t to read the next and see what happens in that adventure. I love the little lagniappe too!

ADDED TO on 3-22-19: I think I’ve improved a little in writing reviews and I just wanted to add a few things, since it’s been a little over two years since I read this. One of the FB book clubs will be discussing it soon, and I thought it was a good excuse to revisit the first book. I’ve noticed since I have read more of this series that I love how the book just doesn’t abruptly end when the perp is caught. It was great how Bo showed up and along with Maggie, they went through the how and why of the killer’s actions. The first book’s group of guests ended up seeming like a real family. The showdown with the killer in this book was one of the most awesome I’ve read.

Since my love for the characters has been established for a couple of years, it was fun to go back and try to remember my first impressions of them. Ru and Vanessa were just as loathsome the second time around LOL! Gran was just as feisty but loving, and I enjoyed rereading the scene where she helped enable Maggie to snoop in the room the deceased had used. Word to the wise: Gran doesn’t make the best sentry when snooping in a crime investigation room. 😉

I’m not sure that I ever read the next book, since I had joined a review group and received a copy of the Christmas book next. I will have to do something about that! 😉 In rereading the Lagniappe and the Acknowledgments, I caught a few things I hadn’t the first time around. This was definitely a book that was worth reading again!

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Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

This is the fourth book in the well-known Hannah Swenson series by Joanne Fluke. I had read several of the later books in the series as ARCs and forgot just how much I enjoyed the earlier books. I can definitely see this one playing out as a TV mystery, but I don’t think they’re going to be making any more of this series into movies, unless I heard wrong. I didn’t hear anything official though.

My Goodreads review:

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #4)Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of the first books I put on my Goodreads TBR back when I first joined, and I was glad to revisit it and read it. There’s just something extra awesome about the older books in this series. The new ones seem a little different, but this book is how I always remembered the characters. The mystery was a good one! Poor Norman had bought some land wanting to demolish the house on it, but Delores discovered a body in the basement, the woman who sold Norman the house and land. Hannah swore she wouldn’t investigate this time, but since Mike never got terribly upset anymore, she gave in. I love how the chapters in the older books tend to end on a little bit of humor.

I was already completely familiar with all the main characters, so the newer one I really liked was Freddy, the handyman who was a little slow, but his cousin was teaching him the trade. The side story of robbery money starting to appear in Lake Eden was interesting, and I couldn’t help but think that maybe it tied into the murder. I had an idea of who might have been the killer, but changed my mind until the clues started coming fast at the end. It was a pretty exciting ending, no real action like clobbering the killer or anything, but it was cool how it played out (pun intended, you’ll see why if you read it!). If I only went by the books, I would be like Hannah and not be able to decide between Mike and Norman. They both so darn nice!

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