Bear Witness review

This is the first in a brand new series called Alaska Untamed Mysteries by Lark O. Jensen, a pen name for someone cozy authors know better as Linda O. Johnson, author of the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries as well as the cozy series Kendra Ballantyne, Pet Sitter Mysteries and Pet Rescue Mysteries.

I love armchair traveling and how I could go on an Alaska tour boat , get the scenery described to me, and I never had to leave home just by reading this mystery. This was a fun and different job for a cozy main character, and I’m looking forward to more adventures on the ClemElk!

My Goodreads review:

Bear Witness (Alaska Untamed Mystery #1)Bear Witness by Lark O. Jensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This seemed like a fun and different job for a cozy mystery main character, and the author definitely captured the cozy mystery aspect well. Everything was nicely described and since I probably won’t ever make it to Alaska, it was fairly easy to picture this scenery instead. I have to agree with the reviewer who thought there wasn’t a whole lot to Stacie besides wildlife and her job. I just didn’t feel quite like I knew her that well by the end of the book. I also agree it was a little soon to start a physical relationship especially in the middle of a murder investigation. Afterward, be my guest, lol.

The killer seemed as elusive as the guy they’d been trying to track down before finding him dead, and at times the story seemed a little like it was dragging along when I was just eager to find out whodunit. By the time the showdown came, I was pretty sure I knew who the culprit was, and I was right.

I loved that a Husky dog was in the story, but that’s basically all she was, a companion. I’d hoped she’d have a little more personality, although I realize they’re super smart and have to be on their best behavior if these dogs want to go on tour boats. Since this was the intro to all the characters and surroundings though, I’m definitely willing to read the next in the hopes it’ll be even better.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Crooked Lane via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own. The book releases Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

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Front Page Murder review

This is the very first in a new series called Hometown News Mysteries by Joyce St. Anthony who’s better known in the cozy world as Joyce Tremel, author of the three-book Brewing Trouble series. I remember I really enjoyed the first book and wanted to get back to that series. But I sure never expected to love this historical cozy like I did! I’d grabbed it from NetGalley thinking it looked interesting. I believe I might’ve researched the Joyce St. Anthony name and realized I wasn’t reading a total newbie. But I hadn’t realized until later it was historical. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy it so much! In a way, I’m glad I didn’t read the blurb on NG that time, or I might’ve missed out on a great read by leaving it behind.

The name of book 2 is Death on a Deadline. If you follow that link it’ll take you to Joyce’s website where if you scroll a little, you’ll see the awesome cover and release date of November 8, 2022. I sure hope this series goes over well enough that she can at least make it a trilogy like Brewing Trouble was.

#CrookedLane #JoyceSt.Anthony #JoyceTremel

My Goodreads review:

Front Page Murder (A Homefront News Mystery)Front Page Murder by Joyce St. Anthony
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I honestly hadn’t expected to like this since historical cozies aren’t really my thing. But I gotta say, this was absolutely awesome and now ranks up there with the handful of historical cozies I’ve actually enjoyed not just endured. I was really excited at the end when I started poking around online to see if there was another book in the works. I was super happy to find out it comes out November 8.

Irene was a super likable, very strong young character who’d had to mature quickly, but I liked that she was flawed enough not to be completely perfect. Meaning I kinda figured out who the kingpin was before she did, and I don’t think I’m that good. I feel it was planned to show that even strong people can have times of weakness or where they don’t always add everything up. Lily was a sweetheart of a little sister, and I really liked Katherine’s character after a certain point in the book. Peggy was a great bestie to have and made for a good sleuth partner even though she was pretty nervous about it.

There was a lot of good action, and it never felt like the story was dragging. I loved the showdown and who was on hand to help with it! The book releases tomorrow, so if you enjoy reading historical cozies set in WWII, this is for you. Heck, I didn’t even realize it was for me because I’m not a big history nut, but I guess the 1940s are just recent enough that they don’t seem too weird as compared to some 19th century history cozies I’ve tried to read. The key characters were so likable, I’m really hoping that Irene’s dad and fiancé Bill make it home safely. Oh and that crazy Sylvia! I wouldn’t mind seeing her in the next book as well as Katherine.

The language and conversation flowed nicely and wasn’t a bit uppity like I’ve sometimes found with other eras. I shocked my husband by actually asking him a few things about WWII (since he’s the history nut in the family lol!) then explained I’d just read a really good mystery stressing how it was fiction though, haha.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Crooked Lane via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library review

This is the second book in the Lakeside Library Mysteries by Holly Danvers who also wrote the Handcrafted Mysteries under the name Holly Quinn. A lakeside library makes a great setting for a cozy mystery! It’s such a cool-sounding place to vacation even in the winter!

My Goodreads review:

Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library (Lakeside Library Mystery #2)Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library by Holly Danvers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was a more enjoyable book than the first one was, and I wasn’t nearly as confused with the mystery like last time. I do like Marge and her dog a lot and wished they’d been in this book a little more. I don’t know why, but I just can’t get into the key characters. While I love how the author writes very realistically worded dialogue, I feel like these characters aren’t people in their thirties but much, much younger by some of the stuff they say to each other. Sometimes Jace doesn’t come off quite as professional-sounding as he should. Maybe it’s just me.

The mystery was good, and I didn’t quite guess whodunit. The showdown was exciting. There was a slight possibility of a new man in Rain’s life, and I hope I guessed right at the very end! #TeamJace

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own. Release date is February 8, 2022 (tomorrow).

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Tailing Trouble review

This is the second book in the Furry Friends Mysteries by Laura Scott. I noticed some of the books showing up on the page listed for her name in GR aren’t her titles, so I’ve linked her name to her Amazon profile where you’ll see a nice picture of her and the two cozies along with the romance books she’s actually written.

I loved this book as much as the first one and hope the author and publisher have more in store for us! Gramps cracks me up and needless to say, he’s my favorite character. Roxy the Boxer took a bit of a back seat to boarding guest Standard Poodle Domino, but she should be happy Domino was there at a crucial time or her mommy might not be!

My Goodreads review:

Tailing TroubleTailing Trouble by Laura Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I get to the end of a book and tell myself, “Oh wow, that was so good!” I know I’ve found a winner. I remember doing that same thing at the end of the first book in this series when I read it too. I absolutely just love Gramps’ character! Maybe it’s because I’ve been without my own grandpa for so long that I just devour anything that has to do with an awesome grandpa/granddaughter duo. I had to laugh at different parts when he’d make Ally pick him up, or she’d give in going somewhere knowing he’d find a way to get to wherever it was he wanted to investigate anyway. The running joke of him shouting into his cell phone might seem corny, but it makes me giggle! He should probably just get a bullhorn and stand outside to call to Ally, lol.

I get such a kick out of the widows fawning all over Gramps in a friendly competition for his attention. It’s cute how he’s got a different way he interacts with each of the ladies living at Legacy House, like playing cards with Tillie. I think if I was Ally, I’d be eating every meal I posssibly could there, lol. Harriet definitely knows how to feed her guests and seems to thrive on doing that. And Lydia’s a whiz with her knitting.

The stories about Ally’s clients and their pets are always entertaining, and I found out it pays to read carefully and not just skim these as not being related to the mystery. Sometimes someone who’s a client might end up being someone to pay attention to in the mystery–or a client knows a key player in the mystery. Now Gramps, he just seems to know everyone! 😉

The showdown was really exciting and I loved how Ally got the upperhand, and sweet Domino ended up being a hero. I nearly expected Ally to end up with three dogs by the time this was over, but everything worked out great. As to whether she’ll get to enjoy a nice date with “her detective” as Gramps was so fond of calling him, well I’m just hoping the next book will address all that and he doesn’t get called away!

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 Three Book Problem review

This is the seventh book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries by well-known cozy author Vicki Delaney (aka Eva Gates of the Lighthouse Library series), and I had the pleasure of having read the series since the get-go. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked Gemma at all, but I got used to her character and think she’s pretty awesome now. The supporting cast is a lot of fun too, yes even at-first-grumpy Det. Louise Estrada who’s a good cop and detective, but Gemma’s always thought she hated her. I think Louise secretly admires how Gemma’s brain works.

Be sure and read the author’s acknowledgements at the end. Lots of our favorite authors wrote during the super difficult times of early 2020, and it’s just interesting to see how well their books came out despite all the hardships. Big hugs to any and all authors who accomplished that!

My Goodreads review:

A Three Book Problem (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #7)A Three Book Problem by Vicki Delany
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a little different from Gemma’s usual cases since all her suspects were gathered right away together and weren’t supposed to leave. It did seem a little overwhelming at first with having all the characters introduced almost at once, but as Gemma went along with her investigation, their distinct personalities started coming through. I had my eye on one in particular almost the whole time, but I didn’t guess right.

Gemma always amazes me with her constantly working brain that notices every little detail. I think even Louise Estrada, the detective Gemma’s always sure hates her was coming around a little bit as she actually pitched in to help with the Sherlock Holmes event a little bit while she was at the mansion babysitting the guests. It’s kind of funny because you can tell she’s pretty fascinated by how Gemma comes up with her findings, but Louise definitely isn’t about to let her know that! Although as observant as Gemma is, I’m betting she already knows!

The showdown was good and mostly non-dangerous at least not to Gemma herself. Gemma’s Sherlock Holmes fan friend Donald always cracks me up, and he was in his Sherlockian glory during this event. The ending was kinda cute, and I’m eager as always to read the next adventures Gemma and her friends get into.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Crooked Lane via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Crimes and Covers review

This is the fifth book in the Magical Bookshop Mysteries by multi-published author Amanda Flower, and it’s a fitting and sweet final book if this is truly the last book. I’ve loved this series since I read the very first book and highly reocmmend starting at the beginning so you can get to know the characters and watch as David and Violet’s relationship grows.

My Goodreads review:

Crimes and Covers (Magical Bookshop, #5)Crimes and Covers by Amanda Flower
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the perfect book for ending the series, if it’s really the last book, but from the author’s acknowledgements, it sounds like it might be. David and Violet’s long-awaited wedding got interrupted by a murder. Violet’s interest was getting this thing solved so she and David could go on their honeymoon. The missing book was also bugging her a lot, and she was all over that.

There were lots of twists and turns, and at times I was a little confused until everything came out at the end. I hadn’t really known which person was guilty, so I just read along and let Violet do the sleuthing, er I mean David and his team too. 😉

I loved the showdown and how the pets and shop helped out. It was pretty exciting and now with the murder aspect taken care of as well as the book, the happy couple was able to go on their trip. The ending was just about the sweetest it could’ve been!

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How to Book a Murder review

This is the first book in a new series by well-established cozy author Cynthia Kuhn. It’s called Starlit Bookshop Mysteries and I gotta say I love the play on the family name Starrs + Lit = Starlit, pretty clever name. And it was a bookshop that was well-known and loved around the town, so it was natural for the daughters Laura and Emma to run it. I really liked their aunt Nora. She was gutsy and wouldn’t let herself get walked on, but she had the biggest heart when it came to her family. No wonder she’d stayed in the family home, and the three of them were now a family.

My Goodreads review:

How to Book a Murder (Starlit Bookshop Mystery #1)How to Book a Murder by Cynthia Kuhn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow I really enjoyed this author’s writing! I know she’s pretty well-known in the cozy world, but I just hadn’t had the pleasure of reading any of her works until I found this on NetGalley. I’m so glad I did, because I got right into the story from the start. I really liked Emma and Laura, the two sisters who ran their family’s bookstore. I enjoyed the interaction of Emma with a guy she went to school with who was now a detective along with the leader of a writers’ critique group she’d joined. The author did an amazing job of creating a character I absolutely loathed! I think you’ll know who I mean once you read the book and probably agree.

Aunt Nora was having some internal issues at the college where she taught, so that was an interesting side story that was wrapped up well but still showed that college professors weren’t exempt from workplace drama.

I was completely surprised by the whodunit, and the showdown was pretty epic. I was proud of Emma for thinking to do something she did. I think she and Jake might just have a future friendship and maybe beyond now that they were getting along. I can’t wait to see what the girls come up with next for their bookstore that thanks to a successful author event seemed to be doing well now.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Crooked Lane via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Cold Brew Corpse review

This is the second book in the newer series called Coffee Lovers Mysteries by Tara Lush, and I’m really enjoying getting to know these characters. I found myself giggling at what was going on more than once! Great humor and dialogue among the characters is what I really appreciate about a good cozy. I can’t wait to read the next one!

My Goodreads review:

Cold Brew Corpse (A Coffee Lover's Mystery #2)Cold Brew Corpse by Tara Lush
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I liked this book even better than the first one! It just had more of a regular cozy vibe which I remember not getting as much with the first book. I can’t really explain it, but I just liked this book so much better. The two main characters of Lana and Noah seemed a little more mature and comfortable together. I loved that they were at least on a “we need to date” basis, but it was mainly his crazy hours that kept them from it. That and another case. Lana was awesome as a first person narrator, and I enjoyed the author’s sense of humor coming out in her–and some of the other characters. The dialogue was just so good, and I love how natural-sounding it is!

I’m pretty sure Peter Lewis aka Dad was my fave character in the first book, and that’s definitely not changed. And Erica’s the best bestie a girl could ask for. There was a little side mystery of the cold brew batch going wonky on them. I had my suspicions, and you might too once you read the book!

I was completely surprised by the whodunit, and the showdown was a good one. Lana didn’t get by unscathed though, but by the time she was okay, she was ready to hit the workplace once more. I’m eager to read more in this fun series! That little Stanley pup has stolen my heart!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Crooked Lane via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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A Brush with Murder review

This is the first book in the brand new series Paint by Murder by Bailee Abbott, a new-to-me author even in her other persona of Kathryn Long who started a cozy series called Sierra Pines B&B. I have the first book and now that I’ve read her work as Bailee, I want to read Boarding with Murder she wrote as Kathryn.

I loved how the sisters, Chloe and Izzie in this book had such an awesome relationship as well as fairly normal parents who loved them to the moon and back. Katy their mom was a great cook who loved experimenting with all kinds of fads and trendy food, but she knew what her kids and friends liked. I’m really looking forward to the next book. I might already be Team Hunter. 😉

My Goodreads review:

A Brush with Murder (A Paint by Murder Mystery #1)A Brush with Murder by Bailee Abbott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another awesome new mystery by a new-to-me author with a great sense of humor that shines through to her characters. Her main character Chloe isn’t as funny or snarky as Chloe’s sister Izzie or some of the others, but Chloe did have some great one-liners and knew just what to say.

Gotta say, I was really ready to loathe Ross’s character being that he was the ex-boyfriend, and everyone knows how those guys are usually jerks in books, am I right? But Ross turned out to be a decent and likable character. I’m not sure I’d want Chloe back with him (I’m Team Hunter already, lol), but he’s a super good friend to have and promised he’d always be there for her. That cute ball of fluff on the book cover is Max who’s just a good little friend to Chloe and not a crime fighter, yet anyway. The sisters had a great relationship, and their parents, while sometimes a little flaky and out there, were good people who loved both their kids unconditionally.

At one point in the book, I started suspecting the person who ended up as the killer, but this clever author eventually steered me off course. The showdown was a good nail biter one. There were a couple of side mysteries that got cleared up as well, so there are no hanging storylines in this series. I’m awfully eager now to read the next book and am hoping it comes out more than once a year like some 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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