Halloween Party Murder review

I always enjoy reading the set of three short Halloween stories every year by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross from three of my favorite series. The theme was a murder taking place at three different Halloween parties in three unique ways. My favorite two were the Hayley Powell and Clambake stories. The Lucy Stone series at times really doesn’t interest me as much as the older books did due to the political nature of some of the stories or side issues. I read cozy mysteries to esape that kind of stuff, lol.

My Goodreads review:

Halloween Party MurderHalloween Party Murder by Leslie Meier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The stars are mainly for the second two stories in this collection. I usually like Lucy Stone stories, at least I did before they started having nothing but a bunch of politics and stuff like that. The Halloween portion of the story was great with the haunted house and fundraiser for Lucy’s favorite Hat and Mitten Fund. But it all lost my interest when the political stuff leaked into it and I honestly didn’t even care by then who the killer was or why.

Now I absolutely loved the Hayley Powell Halloween. Halloween with this bunch is always a hoot! And be sure to read those in-between the chapters columns of Hayley’s because they tell about some hilarious past Halloween events with (always) Mona at her funniest. Ha, she was dressed like a shark at the present day party, kinda fitting, no? 😉 Gotta love that crazy Mona and her growing-up kids!

I loved the quick trip to Busman’s Harbor and Julia having a mystery that involved her niece and the girl’s friends. It was an interesting case, and I liked how the state detectives figured they might as well just let Julia in on it from the get-go since she always helped anyway. I never would’ve guessed the outcome in either the Hayley or the Clambake murders, and they sure made for some fun Halloween reading!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own. The book releases this coming Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

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Death of a Wicked Witch review

This is the thirteenth book in the Hayley Powell series by brother/sister team Lee Hollis, comprised of Rick Copp and his sister Holly Simason. I’m not caught up in the series yet, but seeing Hayley and Bruce married didn’t ruin it for me in the least. I think this one has to be the most fun I’ve had reading the columns that are included at the end of some of the chapters along with some of Hayley’s food and drink recipes that relate to the column. I liked it that Gemma and her boyfriend came around, and we got to see what she’s been up to.

As with any series, I always recommend starting from the beginning (like I obviously haven’t done, but to be fair, I did read the first book before reading any of the later ARCs.). It gives the  background of the characters and how different relationships came about. Liddy and Mona took a little backseat in this book, although each one did get a fairly important scene. Their best part was in one of the columns though–definitely don’t miss reading those in this book.

My Goodreads review:

Death of a Wicked Witch (Hayley Powell Mystery Book 13)Death of a Wicked Witch by Lee Hollis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an awesome book for the Halloween season! Not only does Hayley love Halloween, Bruce hates it and so does Liddy which made Hayley’s columns that always appear between chapters even funnier! I really loved reading those this time, and normally they honestly don’t do much for me, but these were different. I laughed out loud at the columns where she told about different Halloween pranks, then there was a bet with Bruce was pretty funny too. I like that she kept them recent.

The mystery itself was a good one! It’s always sad when a nice person gets killed especially one with a yummy food truck. Hayley and Bruce made a great team checking out clues, and even Gemma got in on the act, since she was home from New York with her boyfriend Conner. Gemma had whole issue of her own to deal with, but the outcome was a good one as you’ll see at the end of the book. I hadn’t guessed the killer at all, and Bruce was impressed by his wife during the showdown. The running theme was Hayley trying to get Bruce to stop smoking after he’d quit for a long time before that. The way it was worked into the showdown was great!

I’m still not completely caught up with the series, but it’s one that since I did start out reading the later books as ARCs, I don’t seem to mind going back and reading about how Hayley and Bruce came to be and what the kids got into when they were younger. Liddy and Mona weren’t in the main story much, but Mona got to star in one of the columns which to me was the funniest of any of the columns I’ve read. Super fun and I highly recommend this!

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Death of a Blueberry Tart review

This is the twelfth book in the Hayley Powell Food & Spirits series by brother/sister team, Rick Copp and Holly Simason, known as Lee Hollis. I knew the minute that Hayley’s mom Sheila arrived in Bar Harbor that hilarity would reign, especially when she reunited with her old friends who were Mona and Liddy’s mothers, Jane and Celeste. It was a fun treat to watch these ladies sleuth together!

My Goodreads review:

Death of a Blueberry Tart (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #12)Death of a Blueberry Tart by Lee Hollis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series is always funny, but with Hayley, Mona and Liddy’s mothers all together (since they were longtime friends like their girls were), it was extra hilarious. I absolutely loved the showdown which was just too good.

I’ve been reading the series from the beginning but had honestly started it by reading ARCs of the later books. Reading the older books is really funny too, and it’s a wonder that Bruce and Hayley ever got together. Now married, they were dealing with Hayley’s mom who moved in temporarily due to a romantic breakup. Sheila ended up with a sweet ending as did everyone else. I’m anxious to get back to the early books and eventually get caught up, but I’m not holding my breath to be finished before the next book comes out in July lol.

I did preorder the book but voluntarily read this ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Hems and Homicide review

This is the first book in the Apron Shop series by Elizabeth Penney, and I already can’t wait for the next book! It was a great move to tease the next book (Thread and Dead) at the end of this one. I can always tell I’m going to love a book when I like the main characters right away. It didn’t take much time at all to wish that these characters were my friends too.

My Goodreads review:

Hems and Homicide (Apron Shop #1)Hems and Homicide by Elizabeth Penney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t believe I’ve never read anything by this author before, so I’m really glad I was able to read this book. When I looked at her bio page, I decided I’m going to have to check out some of the other cozies I saw there. This book was just awesome! The characters were a lot of fun, and I just loved Grammie, who was so young at heart that she liked hanging out with Iris and her friends. I don’t think a girl could ask for better friends than Iris has. Madison was so funny and always up for adventure. Sophie and Bella were great too, both being business owners there in town. The girls’ nights they had always sounded fun! Quincy was an awfully sweet cat–he seemed to love everyone and was there for comfort no matter who they were. Even the grumpiest person could find a little solace in good old Quince.

I loved that Iris refound her high school crush Ian, and it’ll be sweet watching their relationship grow. The mystery was really good, a skeleton found in the basement where Iris and Grammie were opening an apron shop, and another current body. There were plenty of suspects and red herrings. I’d sort of guessed the killer but for the wrong person. The showdown was exciting, and I have to hand it to Iris for keeping her head during confrontations and thinking to phone police, do a recording or anything safe that sometimes other sleuths forget about.

It was great having a story wrapup too, all the pieces of the puzzle were explained and we even got more story too. I like when that happens and a story just doesn’t end abruptly because the murder was explained. We got to finally see the shop’s opening. And…there’s even part of the first chapter of the next book which I can’t wait for now that I’ve read the excerpt.

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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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