Knot My Sister’s Keeper–review

This is the sixth book in a fairly long-running series called A Quilting Mystery by Mary Marks. It doesn’t take place in a super small town like most of us are used to reading about in cozies, but the friends are so fun and genuine, that I really forgot that they all lived in the Los Angeles area. I definitely want to start at the beginning and see how this one got started since I really enjoyed this sixth addition so much. I need to know what I was missing out on 😉

Note about the image: This is the design of the quilt that Giselle’s grandmother had made, Grandmother’s Flower Garden. I wanted to have a picture of an actual quilt, but all the images said Etsy on them even though I Google-searched for ones that were licensed for reuse. I definitely didn’t want to use someone’s photo. This one shows the design, so just imagine that over and over and over on a large quilt.

My Goodreads review:

Knot My Sister's Keeper (A Quilting Mystery, #6)Knot My Sister’s Keeper by Mary Marks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I normally don’t read a series out of order, but sometimes if a new book to a longer-running series comes out and I’ve been wanting to try the series, I’ll jump in and do that. I’m definitely going to start this one from the beginning. This book was so good, I found it hard to put it down. I quickly grew to like all the regular characters and the idea of the quilting meetings.

Martha Rose was just getting used to being someone’s fiancee when she found out she had a wealthy half-sister who lived nearby, who just happened to also be CEO of an oil company. When they got together, they found out they did both have things in common, mainly the desire to find out what happened in the case investigating their dad’s disappearance 32 years ago. I thought it was kind of interesting and different for the murder to have occurred that long ago instead of having a current murder to solve. Martha and her new sister, Giselle, become friends fairly quickly despite Giselle’s outspoken and seemingly rude comments. Martha found that it was just who she was, but Giselle did try to rein herself in sometimes.

Not only had Martha gained a fiance and sister in a short period of time, she also learned of another couple of someones to join their family. I won’t say who they are so that I don’t spoil it. The cold case murder involved finding and talking to detectives that had worked the case so long ago. One detective had dementia now, but Martha and Giselle felt that she held the key to what had really happened to their father. They did finally get some closure and the story had a really nice ending. I’m definitely curious to see how this all started out. The author does a nice job of getting readers acquainted with the characters but doesn’t let any of the previous murder spoilers slip out, which I definitely appreciated since this was my first in this series to read, but it definitely won’t be my last. Very well written and well-plotted!

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Death Over Easy–review

This is the fifth book in the Country Store series by popular author Maddie Day aka Edith Maxwell. Country Store quickly became a favorite series of mine and I’m always anxious to read the latest addition. It’s always well-written and lots of down home Indiana fun!

The picture I chose because of Mayor Corinne and her female bluegrass group. I have no idea who this group actually is, only that it came up under free-for-use pictures.

My Goodreads review:

Death Over Easy (Country Store Mysteries #5)Death Over Easy by Maddie Day

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know I’ve said it before but this series just gets better and better! Every time I read one, it’s like going “back home…to Indiana” and I’m not even from there! But that’s how good of a job the author does in painting the hometown feeling for the small fictional town of South Lick, IN in the very real Brown County.

Robbie Jordan and her team were gearing up for the Bluegrass Festival and all the awesome business it would bring to her little country store and restaurant–and now her B&B. She’d succeeded in turning the upstairs into three B&B rooms, which were filled for the festival. One room was her very own Italian father, Roberto, and his wife. Robbie had recently found out that she had a living father and had previously visited him and his wife in Italy (this wasn’t in one of the books, just mentioned.) When not one but two murders of locals hit the small town during the festival, Robbie hasn’t really got time for physical investigating, but she still does a lot of questioning and dutifully reports everything she finds to the detective on the case, Anne Henderson. This detective is all business but she does show appreciation for tips that Robbie passed along to her.

I saw that someone else called the showdown with the killer “heart stopping” and I do have to agree! It was definitely exciting and I just couldn’t tap that Kindle fast enough to get the pages turned! I wasn’t happy until the exact end when I read the final outcome–ahh relief that everyone was now safe and the killer or killers were put away for a long time.

It seems like we got a really good sampling of all the favorites in this book. Adele and Samuel made several appearances and Phil brought in his yummy desserts, even staying to make brownie ice cream sandwiches. We got to see a lot of Abe and Robbie together, and the mayor herself even made an appearance with her very own bluegrass band. From what I’d read of the mayor before, this really seemed out of character and I could just see her 20-old-daughter, Danna (Robbie’s employee) cringing from embarrassment, lol. The festival seemed a lot of fun when there wasn’t a murder going on and I was glad to see Robbie got her B&B up and running. I’m pretty sure there’s another book coming and as usual, I can’t wait!

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Town in a Blueberry Jam–review

This is the first book in the fairly long-running Candy Holliday series, written by B.B. Haywood starting in 2010. There are eight books total so far, the most recent having been released in April 2017. I can’t wait to read more!

My Goodreads review:

Town in a Blueberry Jam (A Candy Holliday Mystery, #1)Town in a Blueberry Jam by B.B. Haywood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is nothing as handy as belonging to a bunch of online book clubs! I’m always getting to start books that I wondered when I would ever get around to starting. I’m so glad the club chose this book! I really enjoyed reading about the small fictional town of Cape Willington, Maine and getting to know Candy Holliday, her dad Doc and Candy’s best friend, Maggie Tremont.

In the prologue, it described a man falling to his rocky death off a cliff in Cape Willington. As the book started, it was July and time for the annual Blueberry Festival in town. Everyone was excited, but there was a somberness in the air since the police had just reported the murder of Jock Larson, a local man who thought he was a celebrity since he was an ex-Olympic swimmer. He also thought he was God’s gift to women and a lot of people weren’t that sad to see him dead. When a local gossip column woman was crowned Blueberry Queen (instead of the usual younger high school girl), then the woman was found dead in her own home, all fingers pointed to Ray, a local handyman since it appeared that his hammer was found at the scene. Everyone had a soft spot for Ray who was the gentlest of souls, and Candy was not going to let him go down for a murder she and everyone else in town knew he didn’t commit.

Candy and Maggie made a great sleuthing team and when Maggie couldn’t go with her, sometimes Candy’s dad would add some insight to the case or go with her himself. I thought it was pretty cool that he didn’t try to discourage her from sleuthing. I loved that Candy and her dad had a close relationship, especially after he’d lost her mom and Candy had fairly recently gone through a bad divorce and the loss of a good friend she went to college with. They seemed to be helping one another heal while working on the blueberry farm and tending to the chickens.

This was a really well-written and plotted mystery with so many different angles and suspects that I didn’t even think of suspecting the person that it turned out to be. The showdown with the killer was really exciting–Candy and Maggie acted as each others’ heroes. Best of all, an innocent man was set free. Candy had started working for Ben, the editor of the Cape Crier newspaper, so I’m hoping that something will develop between them. She must like him because her first thoughts when he asked her to take over the gossip column were “Is he going to ask me out?” I think there’s potential! I got a kick out of Doc and his buddies hanging out at the diner.

I’ve been collecting this series as I find the various books and now I’m anxious to keep reading it!

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Against the Claw–review

This is the second book in the Lobster Shack series by Shari Randall. I read the first book when it came out and was excited to read this book, which I thought was just as good, maybe even better.

My Goodreads review:

Against the Claw (Lobster Shack Mystery, #2)Against the Claw by Shari Randall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was great returning to Mystic Bay to visit with Aunt Gully, Allie and Loren, who was home for the July 4th holiday to help at the Lazy Mermaid Shack. Loren had also taken back up with a guy named Patrick who ran the most popular bar/restaurant in town and who had a reputation of being a bad boy. Allie could never see what Loren saw in him, aside from his good looks.

While helping Bertha, known as Lobster Woman, Allie was on her lobstering boat when they pulled up a dead body. The young woman’s body remained unidentified for quite awhile, but in the meantime, the restaurant was hired to cater a party at a wealthy woman’s estate. Allie, Loren and Gully went over for it. Loren and Allie were to spend the night on the woman’s yacht along with a famous singer and her friend. When the body of Lorel’s ex-boyfriend Patrick was found in an inflatable boat that had been tied behind the yacht, Allie figured they were all suspects and was determined to find the real killer. With her friend Verity’s help sleuthing as well as the occasional help from her friend Bronwyn who was a police department intern, the case slowly came together.

Meanwhile, Allie was appearing in a show while her broken ankle was still healing and she had to make sure she got to rehearsals, worked at the restaurant and did some sleuthing. While the showdown wasn’t exactly with the main perp, it was still pretty awesome. Let’s just say it involved Bertha chucking a vacuum cleaner over a railing at someone. I really came to like Bertha in this book and now she’s another favorite character of mine, along with Aunt Gully, of course!

I didn’t guess the actual killer but it didn’t surprise me when I found out who did it. There were a lot of secrets being kept by different people and a few twists along the way that kept this plot moving along and so interesting that I had trouble putting the book down. I’m anxious to see what happens in the next book. Allie doesn’t have a guy interest but I think she could be interested in Hayden, her old classmate, if he showed any interest in her. It’ll also be interesting to see how soon her ankle becomes able to fully dance ballet again. Will she travel back and forth to Boston to dance an occasional show or will she decide that Mystic Bay is too much of a home for her to leave Aunt Gully and the Lazy Mermaid? I hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out!

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Hark the Herald Angels Slay–review

I had read the first two of this series last year before Christmas (prior to starting this blog) and boy, was it hard to resist reading this one since it came out not too terribly long afterwards. I purposely saved it for July and as it turned out, one of the Facebook book clubs picked it for the July discussion this weekend.

This is the third book in the Year-Round Christmas series by well-known author Vicki Delaney. She also writes the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series that I’ve reviewed on the blog, all first three of them. I love the idea of Christmas anytime but the proverbial Christmas in July is well-celebrated in the town of Rudolph, NY in the series.

My Goodreads review:

Hark the Herald Angels Slay (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery, #3)Hark the Herald Angels Slay by Vicki Delany

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an awesome book to read for a July book club discussion, perfect for Christmas in July, which is exactly what the town of Rudolph, NY was celebrating, only to have it interrupted by a murder that takes place (again) in Merry’s shop, Mrs. Claus’s Treasures. This time she definitely has an alibi, the detective on the case personally saw her at the beach when Santa arrived by boat (her dad, Noel).

Merry’s ex-fiance, Max Folger, was in town with some of the employees from the magazine where Merry used to work. Max has another agenda though–he wanted to talk Merry into getting back with him despite the fact that his fiancee, Erica Johnstone, who happened to be granddaughter to the magazine owner, Jennifer, was planning the wedding of the season. After finding Max in her shop, Merry could only think that someone from the magazine must have had it in for him, and she actually got to eventually work a little with Detective Diane Simmonds, who unlike the local police officer, Candy Campbell, respected Merry’s thoughts on the case. Merry’s main employee went missing at the time of the murder, which was a big reason why Merry wanted to be on the case.

I had my suspicions about the killer but there was a good twist and I was off base quite a bit. Everything worked out and Erica honestly became somewhat likable. She and her grandmother came to an understanding about the magazine as well. I love how Merry could feel kindness toward the woman who had stolen Max from her, but possibly she thought of it as Erica doing her a favor, seeing how things turned out. I was glad that Merry finally felt she could move on and allowed Alan into her life more. I’m anxious to see what the next book brings! This series just continues to get better and better.

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Shelved Under Murder–review

I really loved this second book in the Blue Ridge Library series by Victoria Gilbert. I really enjoy her writing style of combining the past with the present. I highly recommend reading the first book first–if you’ve read this one, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I think most people will be happier if they read the first book then this one.

My Goodreads review:

Shelved Under Murder (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #2)Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book might just be better than the first book, which I also loved. I do recommend that anyone who hasn’t read the first book yet, read it before this one. You will be much happier if you do!

Amy and Sunny were getting ready for the Heritage Festival where the library would have a table of products to sell, most of which were donations. Amy and Richard stumbled onto the body of a dead local artist, the same artist they were going to talk to about donating a couple of her paintings. A local drug dealer was suspected but he swore he saw someone else running from the scene. While helping the police with the investigation–yes, Brad actually asked Amy to help since she has art history as a background–Amy found some unsettling information that may or may not have involved her uncle in the world of art forgery. Maybe this murder was something bigger than what it looked? Amy and Richard must be careful investigating this case or they could both end up dead.

I liked how both of these books so far have used an older case which ties in with the contemporary case being worked on. A new character, Hugh Chen, was introduced as an art forensics expert from the state of Virginia and Lydia may just have found herself a new male companion. Knowing Lydia, she will take it slowly since she adored her husband, Andrew. Someone else had adored him as well and closure for that ties in, in sort of a bittersweet way. I love that Amy and Richard are getting closer in their relationship. The regular characters, Walt and Zelda, were more comfortable and open with their relationship as well. I just love those two! The temporary characters weren’t especially memorable, only Hugh and I do hope he comes back for a visit or tries to make a distance friendship with Lydia work out.

This series has quickly become one of my favorite new series and I’m so anxious for the next book to come out. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.

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Murder at the Breakers–review

This was the first book in the historical cozy mystery series called A Gilded Newport Mystery by Alyssa Maxwell. I had been wanting to read it for awhile and finally got my kick start to read it when a Facebook group decided to discuss it. Alyssa herself was the guest and she was so interesting! She said this was the very first mystery book she’d written. She also informed us that she’s working on the seventh in this series. I better get to reading so I can get more caught up! I didn’t think I’d like a historical cozy as much as I liked reading this one! I think I’m addicted, at least to this series.

My Goodreads review:

Murder at the Breakers (Gilded Newport Mysteries #1)Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Newport, Rhode Island when my family and I visited several years ago, especially the Cliff Walk with all the gorgeous mansions, so I was excited to read a mystery series based on the various mansions.

Emma Vanderbilt Cross feels like she’s just a shirttail relation to the famous Vanderbilts, Cornelius and Aunt Agnes that built The Breakers. But to her cousins, she was an equal when they were kids. Her cousin Niely (Cornelius III) was always good to her even as adults. When her uncle’s financial secretary is killed on the grounds and Emma’s half-brother Brady is accused of the murder, Emma will stop at nothing to find the real killer, even if it means risking her own life.

Emma was such an awesome and strong character! I loved how she was kind to everyone, no matter what their class. She befriended a teen-aged maid who had come to her and her Nanny looking for work when the maid became pregnant. Nanny was such a sweetheart. She was much more than a servant–she was more like a grandmother to Emma since Emma had never felt any real affection from her own parents. They always seemed to be away and Emma always seemed to be the one to go to Brady’s assistance when he was in trouble.

Despite some threats on her life, Emma kept on investigating and along with a new friend, Derrick, they got to the bottom of the murder as well as a couple more killings done by that same person. I really never suspected this person!

This was so well-written I could picture myself in the 1800s Newport summer (not as a character, I don’t think I’d be able to stand those suffocating outfits lol). There were some great red herrings. Now there are two men who seem interested in Emma. My first thought was to be Team Derrick but now I’m not sure–Jesse is a policeman and would be a lot more of a steady person. Derrick is exciting and likes to investigate. I think I’ll just have to read the next book to make a proper decision! 😉

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