Haunted House Murder review

This is the first compilation I’ve read by these authors, but I’m very familiar with and love all their series. It was fun reading about my favorite characters celebrating Halloween. Any of these stories could be read and a person wouldn’t feel lost if they haven’t read any of the series, especially the Hayley Powell story, Death by Haunted House, which I explain in my Goodreads review below.

I’m a little weird about liking to read books in order, and if you are like that too, Barbara Ross’s website has the numbering for all of her books and short stories showing how they fit into the regular Maine Clambake series. Hallowed Out is book 7.5. It looks like this is the group’s first Halloween compilation. Now I’m looking forward to reading one of their Christmas compilations!

Haunted House Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #25.7)Haunted House Murder by Leslie Meier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There were three really fun mysteries in this compilation. I love all these authors’ series to begin with, so I wanted to finally read one of their holiday collections, and since Halloween is my second favorite holiday, (Christmas being my first fave), I couldn’t resist requesting it from NetGalley.

The first one, Haunted House Murder, is a Lucy Stone mystery and is actually a shorter missing person type of mystery, but the other two did have the expected murders, and I didn’t guess the killers in either of one of them. I couldn’t believe that Lucy’s grandson Patrick is already eight years old.

In the Hayley Powell mystery, Death by Haunted House, readers don’t have to be worried at all if they haven’t read any other Hayley Powells, because this one takes place before the series even started. It was fun getting an insight into what Danny was like as a husband (kind of goofy and didn’t think things through a lot.) The first two books definitely had a similar theme: don’t judge your new neighbors by what they appear to be.

In the last mystery, Hallowed Out, by Barbara Ross of the Maine Clambake series, there was a really interesting murder that took place during a ghost tour reenactment. I loved that Le Roi the cat unraveled something that was bothering Julia a little bit. After reading this, I realized that it’s been far too long since I read a Maine Clambake mystery, and that I need to read one soon.

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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Sweet Tea and Secrets review

This is the second book in the Book & Tea series by Joy Avon. I read the first one back in January and really enjoyed getting to know Callie and her great-aunt Iphy who runs a book themed tea shop. This installment makes a perfect July 4th book, because Hearts Harbor is getting ready for their big celebration. I liked this book even better than the first one. I wonder what holiday will be in the next story?

My Goodreads review:

Sweet Tea and Secrets (A Tea and Read Mystery #2)Sweet Tea and Secrets by Joy Avon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this book was even better than the first, and I know I really liked that one. This one is nice and seasonal, perfect for reading this time of year, since the town of Heart’s Harbor is planning a big July 4th event. In the meantime, a cold case disappearance/possible murder was reopened when a visitor to town started asking questions about it. Then the newspaper editor who had been the reporter on the case at the time was found dead in his office. Callie and her friend Det. Falk found themselves right in the middle of another baffling case with a really good twist…or two.

I loved the little side story with Mr. Bates painting pictures of little Daisy and a rescue named Biscuit. I had guessed part of the mystery but not the killer. There were some good red herrings and plot twists along the way which made for a super enjoyable read. Callie and Falk seem to be getting to a good place with a possible relationship, and Falk’s widowed sister Peggy may have found someone too. I can safely say that this is one of my favorite new series, and I’m anxious for the next book.

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

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Death of a Wedding Cake Baker–review

This is the eleventh book in the long-running series Hayley Powell Food & Spirits by Lee Hollis, the pseudonym for brother/sister writing team Rick Copp and Holly Simason. I know I’ve really enjoyed a book when I finish reading it, think about it some more and keep saying “Wow, that was really good!”

When I went to leave the review at Amazon, I happened to noticed that while still coverless, the twelfth book is called Death of a Blueberry Tart, and it’s up for preorder on Amazon. It releases on March 31, 2020. I’m super anxious for that book too and very happy that it comes out a month sooner than I figured next year’s book would, since Wedding Cake Baker released April 30.

My Goodreads review:

Death of a Wedding Cake Baker (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #11)Death of a Wedding Cake Baker by Lee Hollis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even though I haven’t read all of the series yet, I feel like I know Hayley and her friends pretty well and it was fun trip back to Bar Harbor. Her longtime diva friend Liddy was getting married to her on-again, off-again fiance, Sonny Lipton. Liddy was livid when her mom wanted to use her “stupid awful ogre” cousin Lisa as the cake baker. Hey, I did have to giggle a couple of times when she called her that, especially when she added “may she rest in peace” after Lisa was found dead in her bakery.

This was a really awesome mystery with some very clever twists. I had not seen that killer possibility coming–maybe I thought about it but couldn’t think of a reason, so I was back to just reading and enjoying how the story played out. I thought Hayley was a little foolish to confront the killer like she did, but she did use her head when it counted. The side mystery all tied in as well, so I really can’t mention anything about anything for fear of spoiling it. All I can say is, Lee Hollis, please, please, please get that next book published soon!

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‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas–review

This was just the perfect cozy mystery to read a few days before Christmas! If someone wasn’t in a Christmas mood, this book would definitely put them in one. I loved returning to Mistletoe, Maine a year later while Holly investigated yet another murder. With the whole idea of the series being Christmas, it’s so hard to wait for the next book because I know it’ll be a year away. But…it’s always worth the wait!

My Goodreads review:

'Twas the Knife Before Christmas (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery, #2)‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All I can say is this was the most magical Christmas book I’ve read this season! I love that Holly and Evan are growing closer. Now Ray, the guy from the first book who has been puppy-dog friendly to Holly but she made it clear she didn’t want to date him, has finally found someone a little closer to his own age. And so has his mom, but he’s less than thrilled over that.

It was getting close to Christmas and a guy that Holly’s friend Caroline was seen with arguing at a benefit dinner was found dead in the big bowl of peppermints by the town’s Christmas tree. With Caroline as the prime suspect, Holly couldn’t help but investigate this one. But the killer apparently knew she was on to them, since Holly had a few close calls herself, and the showdown to end all showdowns!

I loved the side story with Evan’s sister but the magical part came closer to the end of the book. I think Holly truly believed that Santa Claus had granted her and her family the perfect Christmas! I highly recommend this book (and the first in series) as just the perfect Christmas cozies!

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

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Death of a Lobster Lover–review

Once again I’ve hopped line and didn’t continue in order so I could take part in a book discussion. It’s not really so terrible. I just have to keep convincing my brain of that, since my brain likes things orderly. I have actually read the first in this series and will get back to book 2, sooner than later, I hope.

This is the ninth book in the long-running Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails series by Lee Hollis, a brother and sister team made up of Rick Copp and Holly Simason. Another great series set in Maine, which is on my list of places to-see!

My Goodreads review:

Death of a Lobster Lover (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery, #9)Death of a Lobster Lover by Lee Hollis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I honestly couldn’t put this down and read it just today. I had only read the first book in the series, but I was happy to see there were no mystery spoilers in this one about any of the previous books.

Hayley and her two best friends, Mona and Liddy, were going on a girls’ weekend trip to nearby Salmon Cove. The cabin they were to stay in turned out to be not much more than a rustic shack with no indoor bathroom. A cute reporter that Liddy had just met was murdered at the lobster bake and despite the nasty mannered Sheriff Daphne, Hayley felt like they needed to find out just why this man was murdered. Little did she know what kind of a hornet’s nest of secrets this would turn into, especially after another man was found dead and Liddy went missing! Mona had taken up with her former friend Corey who lived in Salmon Cove. He was so cute and nice that she was afraid she’d forget she was married.

The case was finally solved and finally the sheriff gave Hayley some little approval for helping bring down a killer. The book has some of Hayley’s newspaper columns and recipes sprinkled at the ends of some of the chapters. I thought it was a nice touch to use the very last one as an epilogue for this story, which turned out a little sad, but it brought true closure to the case.

This book was so hilarious in places! Liddy is an absolute hoot without meaning to be one when she goes on one of her rants and tirades. All three of them are so different from each other but these girls are true blue friends.

I thought the plot was really well written and complex enough to have a lot of stuff going on, but I wasn’t confused about it like I can be when there’s a lot going on. I hadn’t picked out the killer(s) either and I loved the little sting operation at the end with Hayley and the sheriff. I jumped out of order (as usual) in this series for a discussion on the book, lol. I hope to get back to the second book soon!

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Death and a Pot of Chowder–review

This is the first book in a brand new series that launched earlier this month. I had requested the advance reader copy from NetGalley and voluntarily read and reviewed it. The series is written by Cornelia Kidd, which is the pen name for author Lea Wait who also writes the Mainely Needlepoint mysteries, which I’ve been wanting to read. I really loved this first book and hope that she’s got lots more in store for these awesome characters!

My Goodreads review:

Death and a Pot of Chowder (A Maine Murder Mystery #1)Death and a Pot of Chowder by Cornelia Kidd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first book in this brand new series! I love that it takes place in Maine. I have never been there but I love reading about it and hopefully will get to go someday and see some real Maine lighthouses. The author is also known as Lea Wait but I haven’t read any of her other series yet but I know I really am liking this one so far.

Anna Winslow was happily living with her husband Burt and 14 year-old-son Jake. Out of the blue, she got a letter from Izzie Jordan who said she was her half-sister. Anna was delighted to have a sister so she brought her to stay with them at Quarry Island and they really hit it off. They got their first chance at really working together when Burt’s brother Carl was found at sea but hadn’t drowned, it was murder. Since Burt had motive, means and opportunity, he was arrested for the murder. Izzie and Anna were determined to get Burt out of jail. After that they’d talked about owning a restaurant together but I thought it was really awesome on Izzie’s part to put Burt as a priority.

Izzy was really an amazing sister that anyone would be proud to have. She was generous and loyal, pitched right in when she started staying with Anna. I loved Mamie as well. She was everything you’d expect a sweet grandmother to be–she cooked, she fussed over people but she also listened.

There were a couple of side mysteries going on and I guessed one of them at least. I had the killer wrong but I wasn’t too far off. It was fun seeing how Izzie, Anna and their friend Rob, a retired detective would handle the showdown. Everything wrapped up really well. There was one interesting clue that wasn’t addressed, as in someone said oh yeah, that’s why that was. I don’t want to say what it was but it had to do with Burt’s tablet. That clue told me part of what I guessed.

I think it’s so cool that two sisters found each other and worked together to solve a murder. Now they want to be business partners and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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