A Wicked Yarn review

This is the first book in a brand new series called Craft Fair Knitters by Emmie Caldwell who some of us cozy mystery readers might also know better as Mary Ellen Hughes. Mary Ellen wrote the cozy series Pickled and Preserved series, Craft Corner and most recently, Keepsake Cove, each series being three books long. The first series listed in her bio is Maggie Olensky, which from the covers looks to be a little more edge-of-your-seat than a normal cozy, but the descriptions are interesting. That was a two-book series.

I’ve read and enjoyed the Keepsake Cove series and have been wanting to dig into the other two cozy series now for a long time. Anyone who’s ever been in a craft fair will definitely appreciate this Craft Fair Knitters series, and now I can’t wait for the next book. By the end of A Wicked Yarn, Lia, Hayley and Belinda felt like old friends.

Daphne was such a sweet ragdoll kitty, but I couldn’t find a free image of a white one. I imagine her tail looked a lot like the picture I did find above.

My Goodreads review:

A Wicked Yarn (A Craft Fair Knitters Mystery #1)A Wicked Yarn by Emmie Caldwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being a longtime craft fair participant myself, I really enjoyed the setting for this mystery. How cool would it be to have a venue for doing a nice show every weekend? And the best part was it was inside away from the weather. Although if Belinda the manager’s ex had his way, that barn was going to be torn down once he bought it. Luckily, the crafters never had to find out, because someone offed the guy, and all eyes turned to his ex, Belinda. Main character Lia was a good friend of hers, so with the help of her twenty-something daughter Hayley, they decided to clear their pal’s good name…and bring back their customers due to the pesky detail that the dead guy was found in their barn.

Lia and Hayley were such a fun and likable mom-daughter duo, and they made a good sleuthing team. I like that Lia wasn’t portrayed as someone who was tech-scared (as characters her age are often described in books–I’m older than Lia and I love tech!). The roles were almost reversed from the typical cozy which was fun. Hayley went off on her own while Lia sleuthed online. An added plus was that Hayley started seeing her old friend Brady who was now a police officer who came in handy more than once.

I had a sneaky feeling most of the way through the book of whodunit, but I had no idea why, so it was fun following along and seeing if I got taken by any of the red herrings. The showdown was really good, and just as I was worried the killer was getting away, the police got them. There were a few places where the story went a little slow, but usually it kept my interest due to the craft fair subject. I’m really very anxious now for the next book!

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 Murderous Tangle review

This is the third book in the renamed series Seaside Knitters Society. It’s basically an extension of the original series and had a different name when publishers were switched–that’s the story I read anyway. Like all the books I’ve read so far in the new series, there’s more than just a murder mystery. It’s a story of people and relationships and sometimes unfolds a little slower than a typical cozy, but I’m used to that formula now and love the cozy feeling that this series brings.

My Goodreads review:

A Murderous TangleA Murderous Tangle by Sally Goldenbaum

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know how she does it, but this author always manages to come up with just the perfect knitting situations to create the perfect cozy atmosphere in this series. I’ve really grown to love all these main characters, and yes, even though there are a lot of them, I don’t get confused. I wasn’t sure what to think about their new friend Tess at first, but she eventually fit in with the group.

I eventually guessed who the killer was, and that’s another thing I’ve liked about this series in what I’ve read. Maybe it’s what makes it so peaceful and leaves me thinking about the characters, but it’s a nice break sometimes not to have a main character have a dangerous standoff with the killer. Sometimes the killer is even one of their own and not normally a bad person. I absolutely loved the last scene in the book! It was the perfect cozy Christmas!

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Hounds of the Basket Stitch review

This is the third in the renamed Black Sheep Knitting series, which is now called Black Sheep & Company. The author had to switch publishers, but the series had eight books published as Black Sheep Knitting. No worries, it’s the same great characters you knew in the original books, and they’re just as good in these later books. I’m not nearly caught up, but I’ve read the first two in the Black Sheep Knitting and can never resist getting an ARC of  the latest Black Sheep book coming out.

You’ll enjoy this mystery a lot. Each book has seemed to focus one one of the core characters, and this was Dana’s turn. Dana is one of the knitters who definitely joined Maggie’s group as a stress release, because she’s a psychologist. What I love most about the group is their camaraderie in good times and bad. There’s always food, fellowship and of course, knitting! Pick it up at your favorite book dealer or ask your library to get it for you. It comes out on October 29.

My Goodreads review:

Hounds of the Basket Stitch (A Black Sheep & Co. Mystery Book 3)Hounds of the Basket Stitch by Anne Canadeo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hadn’t read a book in this series since last December and couldn’t resist going ahead with this ARC copy even though it doesn’t publish until October 29. I hadn’t realized how much I missed visiting Plum Harbor and the Black Sheep knitting friends. I really enjoyed the characters of Rose and Holly and hope that they show up in another book. This mystery was a bit different with the murder happening much later, but the actions toward the beginning were a little more important than the later murder, since it was an attack on Dana’s goddaughter who spent a lot of the book in the hospital. I always love how these characters, as different as their personalities are, always work great together especially when it comes to solving murders.

There were some great plot twists, and I was really surprised at the showdown which was short but great. Everything was wrapped up just right as usual and ended with the friends being together. One of them even welcomed a cute furry pup into their family.

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

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How to Knit a Murder–review

Depending on how you want to keep track, this is the second in the Seaside Knitter Society series (it changed publishers hence the series name change), which is how Amazon shows it. But Goodreads shows it as being #13 in the Seaside Knitters Society. Either sounds ok by me, since I haven’t read any of the early ones.

I read the first one last year as an ARC (then couldn’t resist gifting to myself as a beautiful trade paperback), and it worked perfectly as a standalone. It didn’t take me long then or now to get caught up with who was who. The author provides a very handy character list in the front of the book. Some people have said they don’t like those, but I think they’re kinda cool and handy. I love what I’ve read of this series and I really want to start at the beginning.

My Goodreads review:

How to Knit a Murder (Seaside Knitters Society, #13)How to Knit a Murder by Sally Goldenbaum

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading only my second in this awesome series, I realized what sets them apart, and that is people. These books are more than just a great cozy that is solved by a group of friends. They’re about the people they come into contact with. Sometimes some of the people don’t have much to do with the case itself, but I never have the urge to speed read or read super fast. There’s just a feeling you get afterwards that you want to hold onto for awhile. I feel like I’ve been with some real friends.

Rose Chopra was a newcomer to town, although she’d lived there as a child and young teen. She made friends with the Knitters as well as another newcomer who was their friend, Bree. When Bree’s husband was killed at a house that Rose was doing repairs on for her new boss, Stella, she was the only person of interest the police could come up with for that moment. But after this clever group of friends put their heads together and refused to let go of this case, the truth came out. Rose had a very interesting story which was shared by another person in the town but who had unfortunately died. Getting to that point was bittersweet but led them to their killer.

I do want to start this series at the very beginning and see how these friendships came about and grew. I just love that they always consult with each other. None of them braves out on their own or seems to be in any mortal danger. That’s kind of refreshing. These ladies, along with their two new friends are definitely people that I would want to hang out with! I love the friendship of the older guys in town too. They always celebrated as if their fourth buddy was still with them. They loved life and weren’t afraid to let anyone know. I think I’ll need to visit Sea Harbor again soon!

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

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Knit, Purl, Die–review

This is the second book in the Black Sheep Knitting series and part of the first three book set that I borrowed from Overdrive recently. I’m really enjoying the story of five women who love to knit, gossip a little and solve murders. The reader gets a little glimpse into each one of their lives at different times in the book since the book is written third person.

My Goodreads review:

Knit, Purl, Die (Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, #2)Knit, Purl, Die by Anne Canadeo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the first book in this series so much that I couldn’t resist going on to the second book and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The little knitting group had grown by one person, an old friend of Maggie’s, Gloria who had just moved back to Plum Harbor with her very young new husband, Jamie. The girls all enjoyed being around Gloria, she was so full of life…until someone decided to murder her. Only problem was that the police figured it was an accidental drowning since it happened in her own pool and her tox screen showed painkillers and alcohol in her system which apparently seemed normal to the investigators.

In true Black Sheep fashion, the friends took poor grieving Jamie under their wing and vowed to find out what really happened to Gloria.

I really enjoy how they have their little morning meetings and sometimes a few of them will join Maggie at the shop for lunch. This investigation was pretty much entirely done by the ladies in the group since the police had already dismissed it as accidental drowning. I did like that for once the ending didn’t have anyone in danger. The case definitely wrapped up well and even though I had some suspicions throughout the book, I hadn’t guessed the outcome that tied them all together.

Since I borrowed the first 3 books in one e-volume from Overdrive, I plan to go ahead and read the next book before it expires, a good way to cross off some TBRs.

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While My Pretty One Knits

This is the first book in the Black Sheep Knitting series by Anne Canadeo. If you like books like the Seaside Knitting series where a group of friends get together and act as the sleuths for the case, then you will also like this one. I really liked it a lot and plan to read on in the series.

My Goodreads review:

While My Pretty One Knits (Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, #1)While My Pretty One Knits by Anne Canadeo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Five good friends have a knitting club at their friend Maggie’s shop, Black Sheep Knitting. When a rival yarn shop owner is found dead in her own shop, Maggie is the first one the police look to since it’s no secret the two of them didn’t get along well even though Maggie tried to tolerate the other shop owner, Amanda. Maggie had just hosted well known knitting author Cara Newsome who had just written her second book and was looking into having a TV series as well. She’d hoped that would help promote her shop but now with the town thinking she’s guilty of murder or even a person of interest, things aren’t looking too great for her business. Her faithful friends are not about to let Maggie go down since they all know she’s innocent.

This was such an enjoyable mystery and story of how five women came together over the love of knitting, something that has actually been making a comeback with younger people. The little group consisted of five very different women of all ages but the thing they all had in common was the love of their art and soon, their friendship and camaraderie with each other, along with helping Maggie of course.

I did guess the killer but not really for the reason that was given at first, although the clues were planted and as it unfolded I saw the why. There weren’t a whole lot of people in the story line that could have done it but I think it was written so we the readers could guess it. The take down was pretty cool, Maggie was proven innocent and the perp even confessed. After that the girls all thought they should name their knitting group the Black Sheep even though Maggie was no longer the black sheep in Plum Harbor. She said there was a touch of black sheep in all of them, referring to their snooping, gathering gossip and doing whatever clandestine thing it took to save her from a murder charge.

At the end of the book, Phoebe shares her Jell-o dye recipe, Maggie shares some felting resources, Lucy shares a few sock monkey hat resources since she was knitting those for her nieces and Suzanne shares her famous guacamole dip recipe. I thought it was fun that the notes were written from the actual characters. I’m definitely going to read more in this series!

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