Fatal Cajun Festival review

This is the fifth book in the Cajun Country series by Ellen Byron, and it didn’t take long for it to become one of my favorite series. I feel like these characters are old friends and reading another book in the series is like a long-awaited reunion with them. Even Ru and Vanessa have tamed down and are actually pretty decent characters now (compared to what they were like in the first couple of books!) The books can easily stand alone, but to get the most out of Maggie’s backstory and her journey with dating Bo, it’s advisable to start at the beginning. Enjoy and laissez-les bons temps roulez!

My Goodreads review:

Fatal Cajun Festival: A Cajun Country MysteryFatal Cajun Festival: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just like all my book trips to Pelican, LA, I didn’t want this one to end! I love that Bo and Maggie have been planning their wedding (even though they’ve failed at coming up with a date). Vanessa was still able to be snarky, but now she was Maggie’s friend, and she came in handy at giving advice on handling a bully seeing how she was one herself not so very long ago. I like the new and improved Rufus too. He’s been a dad for a few books now and even though he’s not with little Charli’s mom, he is crazy about his baby girl. Maggie’s friend Gaynell got a chance to shine with her Gator Girls band but she was worried about a high school bully named Tammy coming to the music festival. Tammy was a very rich and successful singer, and when she got there, she proved just how mean she could still be by suggesting that Gaynell was the one who killed her manager.

There was a really good twist in the plot which created another little mystery, and just when the killer was taken care of and the murder was solved, there were still more surprises coming. It was an enjoyable roller coaster ride to the finish and I absolutely can’t wait 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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Plantation Shudders–review

This is the first book in the Cajun Country by Ellen Byron, and this is my second time reading. I wasn’t blogging two years ago when I read it the first time, so I wanted to share my Goodreads review here, especially since I’ve added to it. This is one of my favorite series, and since I’m fairly sure I didn’t read Body in the Bayou (the second book), I’m hoping to visit Pelican, LA again very soon!

I won’t be able to include this in most of my challenges, maybe Craving for Cozies, since it’s a reread only within the last two years, but that’s ok. I know of another challenge just for rereads–if I do enough of them this year, I’ll join it! LOL

My Goodreads review:

Plantation Shudders (Cajun Country Mystery, #1)Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Original review from 2017) This book was a great start for the series and I can’t to read the next and see what happens in that adventure. I love the little lagniappe too!

ADDED TO on 3-22-19: I think I’ve improved a little in writing reviews and I just wanted to add a few things, since it’s been a little over two years since I read this. One of the FB book clubs will be discussing it soon, and I thought it was a good excuse to revisit the first book. I’ve noticed since I have read more of this series that I love how the book just doesn’t abruptly end when the perp is caught. It was great how Bo showed up and along with Maggie, they went through the how and why of the killer’s actions. The first book’s group of guests ended up seeming like a real family. The showdown with the killer in this book was one of the most awesome I’ve read.

Since my love for the characters has been established for a couple of years, it was fun to go back and try to remember my first impressions of them. Ru and Vanessa were just as loathsome the second time around LOL! Gran was just as feisty but loving, and I enjoyed rereading the scene where she helped enable Maggie to snoop in the room the deceased had used. Word to the wise: Gran doesn’t make the best sentry when snooping in a crime investigation room. 😉

I’m not sure that I ever read the next book, since I had joined a review group and received a copy of the Christmas book next. I will have to do something about that! 😉 In rereading the Lagniappe and the Acknowledgments, I caught a few things I hadn’t the first time around. This was definitely a book that was worth reading again!

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Mardi Gras Murder–review

This is the fourth book in the Cajun Country series by Ellen Byron, and I absolutely loved it! I didn’t want the book to end, but the showdown came a little before the exact ending of the book, which was spent recapping and telling about everyone having fun at Second Mardi Gras. Tug has fussed about his gumbo recipe the whole time and we get to find out who the grand winner of the trophy was. Nope, not going to tell, you’ll just have to read and find out! 😉 There was a fun side story with Maggie restoring a painting and getting to interact with Bo’s son Xander.

My Goodreads review:

Mardi Gras Murder (Cajun Country Mystery, #4)Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this newest installment in the Cajun Country series! It’s always like going back home to old friends in Pelican, Louisiana when I read one of this series.

This time it’s almost time for Mardi Gras and that has Maggie’s dad Tug immersed in the ever-important gumbo cook-off for the Mardi Gras festival, and perfecting this year’s recipe. A few weeks before, the whole area had been badly flooded and a John Doe was found on the Crozat property. When one of the judges for the Miss Pelican Mardi Gras pageant was found dead, actually dying (by, you guessed it, Maggie) there was speculation about whether this death was connected to that of the John Doe.

This case took Pelican’s finest, er well Bo being the finest and Ru being the only other detective that could go, on assignment in NYC since the John Doe suddenly had an identity and was from NYC. Oh, it was so funny when Bo would call Maggie with his day’s happenings. If we thought the Pelican PD didn’t think highly of cousin Ru, let’s just say the NYPD really topped them on that. They couldn’t wait to see him leave, lol. Taking Ru to NYC was like taking a kid to a big toy store! All he could think of was food, more food and Broadway shows.

The mystery pulled in some past history regarding orphans that had arrived in Pelican by train. There were plenty of suspects and since I had no idea of who I suspected, I just enjoyed reading how it all turned out. The showdown was awesome and actually fun. And…just wait until you read the book ending. I gar-an-tee you’ll love it!

I really enjoyed all the teen contestant characters, even Belle who proved that she wasn’t as shallow as some people had thought. The bond between cousins Kaity and Allie was pretty awesome, kind of how close Maggie and her cousin Lia are. They weren’t about to let some pageant ruin their family ties. I liked the other new character of Jayden too. Kaity seemed really taken with him, so I really hope that their characters show up again. Maggie was even on good terms now with Whitney, Bo’s ex who was remarried and not having much luck in the baby-having department, but by the end of the book, there was a great solution for her and hubby Zach. I really didn’t want this book to end!

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Downright Dead–review

This is the second book in the series Southern B&B Spirits by Pamela Kopfler. I enjoyed reading the first one in January of this year so much that I jumped at the chance to review an ARC of this second book from NetGalley. This one definitely didn’t disappoint, and it was very hard to put it down. It can work as a stand alone book, but I think you’ll really enjoy it a lot more if you read the first one, Better Dead. You’ll love Burl! 😉

My Goodreads review:

Downright Dead (A B&B Spirits Mystery #2)Downright Dead by Pamela Kopfler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been awhile since I read the first book, but I quickly felt at home at Holly Grove B&B with the awesome main characters of Holly, Nelda, Sam, Miss Alice and Mackie…and of course, Jake!

When Holly’s dead husband Burl entered the pearly gates, Holly Grove’s resident ghost was gone. But the TV show that had filmed a segment about Burl’s haunting that made the B&B wildly popular returned to film some more, Holly panicked. If that wasn’t enough, a ghost debunker named Tru Stalwort, who regularly followed/harrassed the show and its star, Sylvia Martin, showed up early. He was just as obnoxious and nasty as Sylvia and Holly’s friend Liz (the producer) had described him. When he was found dead at foot of the widow’s walk, evidence pointed to Holly herself. Another body turned up later which really made Holly worry about the B&B’s reputation, but at least no one could blame her for that death. I loved how she and Jake sleuthed together. Even Miss Alice and Nelda got in on the action.

I liked the side story with Thomas Sinclair too. I thought it was odd that Nelda and Miss Alice seemed to know who he was, but wouldn’t comment on why. I can’t really tell more without spoiling this. Let’s just say this book was funny and cry-worthy–and at times I felt like punching Tru (when he was still alive and debunking, that is). I never suspected the awesome twist towards the end that concerned Holly. I had also not guessed the killer.

Even though everything was wrapped up well with a heart-warming ending, I’m definitely ready for another book in the series. It looks like Jake and Holly are back at a fairly good place. His being an ICE agent isn’t easy on their relationship, if they even have one, and I’m hoping they can work things out in future books.

I highly recommend this book if you’re cool with paranormal cozies. It can easily stand alone, but if you want to enjoy it to its fullest, I would suggest reading the first book, so you can get to know Burl better. He was so funny in the first book, and it’s really worth reading it to have all that back story.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance e-copy of this book provided by NetGalley and the publisher.

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