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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Read and Gone–review

This is the second book in the Haunted Library series that is quickly becoming one of my favorite series. I love how the author combines different holidays with Carrie’s family and fun things they do, not simply going through the motions. These people know how to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, and birthdays too! I love books that are set around Christmas anyway, and this one includes a big gem hunt as well.

My Goodreads review:

Read and Gone (The Haunted Library Mysteries, #2)Read and Gone by Allison Brook

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was just as good and maybe even a little more exciting than the first one since there were different people going after some stolen gems since a huge reward was being offered by the owners.

Carrie Singleton’s dad Jim was back in town, and Carrie was worried that he was still up to no good since his line of worked happened to be stealing things. He was actually back for his half of the gems he helped a friend steal. Only when his friend turned up dead and he happened to be at the scene, Jim was taken in for questioning. He was let go into Carrie’s custody, but with another rough thug in town and a couple more murders, it seemed like no one was safe. Even Carrie herself was whacked on the head while looking for the gems–had she found them, she was going to turn them over to Dylan, her insurance investigator boyfriend who would take them to the rightful owner. In the meantime, Christmas is in full swing at the library with parties, programs and finally the staff party. Smokey Joe, who belonged to Carrie but was the library cat, was having a feast racing through the library since a family of mice had been born.

Everything wrapped up nice and clean at the end with an awesome Christmas Eve feast at Harriet and Bosco’s house. I hadn’t quite guessed the killer this time. This was a really well-plotted and at times seemed like a little bit of a confusing mystery, but it was all explained eventually. I love books that take place at Christmas and I could just picture the library tree and decorations as well as Carrie’s Christmas tree. I can’t wait for the next book since Carrie is in a really good place with Dylan and even in her relationship with her dad.

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