The Crafter Knits a Clue–review

This is the first book in the new Handcrafted series by Holly Quinn. I like the idea of the Community Craft store, which is like a craft mall and sells the various handmade items of the town’s people. It sounds like a fun gathering place! The book takes place in early spring in Wisconsin.

My Goodreads review:

A Crafter Knits a Clue (A Handcrafted Mystery #1)A Crafter Knits a Clue by Holly Quinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I might sound like a repeat when I say that I really wanted to love this book as much as I do some of the other handcrafted books about knitting or crocheting, but I just can’t truthfully say that. I liked it, but that was all. It was a good mystery, and I was interested in following it through to the end. But I couldn’t get that attached to the characters. They seemed somewhat juvenile, especially the arguments that Sammy and Det. Nash had. I couldn’t really imagine talking to a detective like that and not getting tossed in jail lol.

I did love the idea that Sammy had taken over her best friend Kate’s shop and carried on her idea of selling the town’s handmade goods. I thought a store like that in a town would be really cool, a fun gathering place. The town’s basketball star worked for Sammy, and she thought of him as her little brother since he was Kate’s little brother. When the yarn shop owner was killed and Sammy saw a suspicious man hanging around, she and her cousin Heidi and her sister Ellie decided to make like detectives and investigate.

One line intrigued me and I’m wondering if that was purposely a teaser or just a killer lashing out. I won’t say what the line is, but if you read it, I think you’ll know what I mean!

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

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Death of a Russian Doll–review

This is the third book in the Vintage Toy Shop by Barbara Early. I didn’t feel lost since I haven’t read the other two yet, but I do need to go back and fill in some questions and history with the characters. I really love this author’s style. There are so many funny little scenes and it was so easy to get to know the characters!

My Goodreads review:

Death of a Russian Doll (Vintage Toyshop Mystery, #3)Death of a Russian Doll by Barbara Early

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even though I have copies of the first two books, this is the first book of the series that I’ve read, but I definitely hope to fix that over the next month or so. I quickly fell in love with the regular characters and I think Liz’s dad Hank has to be my favorite. He’s so…punny, lol. My dad always loved the kinds of jokes and puns that Hank was always spouting.

Liz had dated the police chief Ken Young for awhile and they thought their relationship was making progress when (assuming in the last book) his estranged wife from Russia who had been living in the south showed up. When she was found strangled in the barbershop next door to the toy shop, Ken became the main person of interest. Liz was still friends with Ken and didn’t want to see him go to jail for something she knew in her heart he didn’t do. Along with her dad and an FBI accountant named Mark (who is becoming a closer friend of Liz) Liz started investigating. Hopefully she could discover the truth before it was too late for Ken.

I loved the little side mystery of the Russian doll that seemed to keep moving. Cathy, Liz’s sister-in-law, loved to tease her that it was haunted, since Liz is creeped out by dolls to begin with. The local characters like the two older ladies Irene and Lenora and the local PI Lionel were so funny at times. I loved the scene where Liz ended up at the library thinking it was a book club for seniors that she was investigating. I didn’t guess the killer until it was time to realize it. I thought the mystery was awesomely plotted and moved along at a good pace. I could hardly put it down.

Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.

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The Hour of Death–review

This is the second book in the Father Selwyn and Sister Agatha series by Jane Willan. It’s set in North Wales in a small village and revolves around the lives of an abbey of Anglican nuns and their vicar, Father Selwyn. One nun in particular, Sister Agatha, is obsessed with murder mysteries. She’s a mystery writer in what small amount of spare time she has. Or she can be found discussing the latest case with her longtime friend, Father Selwyn. I hadn’t read the first book, but I definitely intend to! I like these characters a lot!

My Goodreads review:

The Hour of Death (Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery #2)The Hour of Death by Jane Willan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first I’ve read in this series, but I didn’t feel lost or confused when it came to the characters. They were well-explained without going into much of the first story or giving any spoilers out.

I really enjoyed the characters of Sister Agatha and her friend Father Selwyn. It was like a Welsh version of the Father Dowling Mysteries from the 80s, only Sister is older in this and I would say Father is a bit younger than Father Dowling. The nuns are all so cool–they have cell phones and text each other, even the Reverend Mother and Father Selwyn. I didn’t know there even were such things as Anglican nuns, so I learned a little bit about that as well. They even had a tenant as a way to make extra money, an American girl Lucy, who was there to concentrate on her art, but as many of the people in the mystery, she has a secret.

A prominent parishioner was killed right after Lucy gave a talk to the Art Society. Sister Agatha couldn’t resist investigating when the death was ruled natural. I really got a kick out of her investigation methods. She was a big fan of Agatha Christie of course, as well as Stephanie Plum and Jessica Fletcher, plus some British TV detectives. It was kind of hilarious when they turned the kindergarten Sunday School room into an incident room complete with a murder board.

The mystery was well-written and plotted. I wasn’t really sure until the very end when all the clues pointed to someone who the killer really was. There were some really good red herrings and plot twists going on. The ending was just a very heartwarming Christmas conclusion. I kind of hope that the character of Lucy sticks around awhile. In the meantime, I want to read the first book which I discovered I have on my Kindle.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

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The Pint of No Return–Ellie Alexander

This is the second book in the Sloan Krause series by Ellie Alexander. I finished the first one on January 1 this year. I think I enjoyed this one even more, since we got to learn a little more about Sloan’s past. I love her German family, her soon-to-be ex-husband’s parents and their son as well as her brewery employer, Garrett. I hope things keep going well between them. It’s a sweet friendship that’s building slowly. I hope we don’t have to wait almost a year for the next book. I’m even more interested now in the mystery of Sloan finding her birth parents.

Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Goodreads review:

The Pint of No Return (A Sloan Krause Mystery, #2)The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a really enjoyable followup to the first book I read this year in this series. It was very hard to put down and moved at just the perfect pace.

It was Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, WA and a film crew was visiting to make a documentary. The director took a real interest in Sloan as a female brewer. When the host of the documentary ended up murdered, Sloan began to suspect the film crew members as well as one of the town’s own people. Could she and Garrett help police Chief Meyers find the killer before the killer decided that Sloan was getting too close to the truth?

I’m enjoying the side mystery of Sloan’s search for her birth parents. I had almost forgotten about it from the first book, but it goes into a little more detail in this book by introducing Sally, Sloan’s old case worker. Sally thought something was off about the case when she was working it and apologized to Sloan for not investigating then. I do like that when all is said and done, Sloan is truly happy where she is now with her son and her Krause family. I’m still interested in finding out what comes of the investigation and why her parents gave her up when they clearly loved her.

I like the friendship that’s developing between Garrett and Sloan. It’s sweet and slow, and she’s open to it too as she imagines herself becoming closer to him. The new character of Kat was fun too, and I hope she stays around.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. My thanks to both of them.

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Slay in Character–review

This fourth book in the Cat Latimer series by Lynn Cahoon officially releases November 27, but I was lucky enough to be chosen for reading and reviewing a paperback advance reader’s copy of the book. I love this series, so it was definitely fun to read it before it comes out. There were some fun surprises in this installment that will make cozy readers very happy! I don’t want to say much, you’ll just have to read it when it comes out.

Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. My opinions are my own and receiving the book had nothing to do with whether I reviewed positively or not.

My Goodreads review:

Slay in Character (Cat Latimer Mystery, #4)Slay in Character by Lynn Cahoon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read all the previous books in this series and knew this one wouldn’t disappoint. I wanted to read it more non-stop than I was able, but maybe it helped me savor it more until the next book comes out. This one releases November 27. I volunteered to read an ARC paperback of the book. My opinions are my own, but I absolutely loved this book!

Cat’s writer resort group was an already-established group of writer friends from CT who quickly embraced the Covington college student, Jessi, who was assigned to the session. Jessi worked at the local old West reality town of Outlaw. When her roommate was killed there, speculation was whether the hit was meant for Jessi, who had family ties and whose mother was friends with local mob family member Dante. Cat promised Dante she’d keep Jessi safe, and now she was worried if she would really be able to keep that promise as a couple more attempts were made on Jessi’s life.

I had sort of guessed who did it, but I wasn’t sure why. The showdown was the good, safe kind, and the killer was taken away. I really liked this group of writers. One of the ladies was like a mother hen to Jessie, whose own mom wasn’t really part of her life very much. As a side story, Seth was working on a nice surprise–it definitely was awesome! You’ll have to read it when it comes out to see what that was! There’s also been a couple of other fun additions to the resort family, something else you’ll have to read and see. As always, I’m already anxious for the next book! I wouldn’t mind seeing Jessi as a recurring character like Dante is.

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Final Roasting Place–review

This is the second book in the newer Cook-Off Mysteries series by Devon Delaney. I read that the author had participated in cook-offs herself, so the info presented in her books is firsthand experience. It sounds like she’d won some impressive prizes too–look her up on Goodreads and you can read her bio there.

I enjoyed this book very much even though I haven’t yet read the first one. I had gotten an ARC of it awhile back, but I had also bought the Kindle copy of it as a pre-order. I’m anxious to read the first book and will be looking forward to the third book coming out next June.

My Goodreads review:

Final Roasting Place (A Cook-Off Mystery #2)Final Roasting Place by Devon Delaney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hadn’t read the first book yet in this series and I do intend to do that, but I can’t say I was ever lost in this one. The only thing I was a little bit confused on was Detective Bease’s age–I kind of wanted to picture him as Columbo given his description, but I have a feeling he’s closer in age to Sherry. I quickly got to know Sherry and her gotta-love-him dad, Erno. I got a kick out of her dad and his two lady friends who were quick to take care of him when he had a panic attack. Bease was a good detective too. I don’t really know enough about him to hope Sherry takes him up on his lunch invitation or not. The next books I’m sure will reveal that.

Sherry had just won another cook-off at a TV station when the power went out, her dad was missing temporarily, and when the power came back on, one of the news anchors had been stabbed to death with a tool that came from Sherry’s dad’s rug making store. Sherry’s good friend Amber came in to help her watch the store since Dad had had a panic attack while being questioned by Det. Bease. Sherry knew she’d better get to the bottom of this, especially after another murder occurred. Someone seemed to be trying to frame her father.

I really enjoyed these main characters! Erno was a well-respected businessman who had some quirky quotes he’d give on different occasions. Amber was a really awesome friend to Sherry when she came to pitch in at the store.

I had actually guessed the killer, but only because of an earlier clue. It was fun to see how this person got taken down at the end. When real life slows down a bit, I will be reading the first in this series so I can see how it all got started. Looking forward to the next book that I noticed comes out next June–I think by then I can have the first one read 😉

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Just What I Kneaded–review

This was another fun installment in a new to me series that even though I haven’t read it from the beginning, I have been able to follow the characters with no issues. I started reading as of the last book, but the character of Jane quickly grew on me. She seems like someone that I would get along with well since we have similar values. I like that she attends church and even reads a devotional. With the lack of religion and fear of offending people so prevalent now, this is super refreshing! It’s just another face of who Jane Marsh is: mom, fiancee to Dale, paralegal, prankster to the friends and amazing cook. I love some of the escapades she got into with her friends in this book!

There are some yummy-sounding recipes in the back that would be something the dinner club members would make. They appear to be contributions from readers and authors. I like reading the little notes at the back and saw that the author herself had worked as a paralegal, so that makes sense why she’s very knowledgeable about law matters in her writing. Enjoy!

My Goodreads review:

Just What I Kneaded (A Dinner Club Murder Mysteries Book 5)Just What I Kneaded by Karen C. Whalen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was only my second book I’ve read in the series, but I feel like I know the characters already, and they seem like old friends.

Jane just happened to be in a bakery when a murder was going on. She’d heard the killer’s voice but didn’t feel like it fit the main two suspects. In the meantime, she was helping her insurance adjuster friend Nash who was hoping for a promotion if he solved this case, which involved two major celebrities and possible insurance fraud.

I loved how Jane and her friends Olivia and Libby went sleuthing. I’m guessing that they’ve done this since book one, but it was fun to read about. Jane’s fiance’ Dale even helped her a little and was a huge help at the showdown with the killer. I had sort of suspected the killer, but when their alibi was given, I must have been satisfied enough to think it was someone else. The book was a little slower-paced in some places, but that’s ok because sometimes it’s nice to kick back and read about the sleuth’s normal life–in this case, her dinner club friends. But the fun thing was that dinner club always ended up talking about the case, which may or may not have scared off some potential new members.

I still intend to read this series from the beginning when real life slows down a little bit, since I want to find out about Jane and her friends from the very beginning, and how her romance with Dale started. For now I was just happy to have a little window of time for finishing this book.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a ARC of this book provided by the author via BookFunnel. I would like to thank the author for allowing me to do this–also for her patience when real life got busy. I did enjoy this book very much!

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