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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Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door review

This is the second book in the Jane Darrowfield Mysteries series by Maine Clambake author Barbara Ross. I haven’t heard any additional plans for Jane Darrowfield and really hope there’s going to be more. This particular book came out previously as paperback only and exclusive to Barnes & Noble, but now that it’s past that contract, it’s available December 28, 2021 as a Kindle book and paperback on Amazon as well.

Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next DoorJane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door by Barbara Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jane Darrowfield was on a strange case where her neighbor thought she was going crazy, but Jane’s research showed otherwise. I loved how she went about her research doing both online and some old-fashioned legwork. Jane still reminds me of a twenty-first Jessica Fletcher who I’m pretty sure would’ve embraced all the technology available to her right now. Although I’m not sure being compared to her would make Jane all that happy, lol. I loved it when Jane and Harry got together. They were just so cute!

There were enough suspects that I didn’t really trust anyone except Jane herself and Det. Alvarez. I was suspicious of someone early on, and while my attention was caught by all the other distractions, I was right to be suspicious of the person. The question eventually was whether there was a murder now or not? What happened to this neighbor who thought she was going nuts?

Jane’s discovery led to a good ending as well as a nice little ending for her and Harry. I hope there’re going to be more books in the series, but if not, I feel like this did end in a place I can live with. 🙂 Don’t miss it–the book comes out Tuesday December 28th.

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

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To the Tome of Murder review

This is the seventh book in the Beyond the Page Bookshop Mysteries by Lauren Elliott. I really love this cozy little town by the sea with all its awesome shops. Some of the shops we’ve never seen before got mentioned in this book, and there was an antique shop that Serena, Catherine and Addie all went nuts for. I think Paige and Catherine are still my favorite characters. They’re such sweethearts and the most amazing friends anyone could have. Will Addie finally wear Catherine down and get her to agree to officially work at the bookshop and get paid? You’ll have to read and see!

My Goodreads review:

To the Tome of Murder (Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery, #7)To the Tome of Murder by Lauren Elliott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Quite a bit happened since we visited Greyborne Harbor in June (of their world) when Serena and Zach got married. Now it was time for Thanksgiving, and of course, Addie’s got a murder to solve or watch her cousin Kalea get wrongly charged for killing her boyfriend.

My first guess of whodunit ended up being right, but it was fun to go down all those clever rabbit holes the author provided and see if someone else could’ve done it. I didn’t think Simon would grow on me as the one for Addie, but I was getting on board with that in the last book and a little more in the one before that. I just hope she doesn’t mess it up, as Serena sort of reminded her.

There were lots of secrets and crazy happenings that were connected to the murder investigation, but it was wrapped up nicely before Addie’s big Thanksgiving dinner that included a couple of new friends this time.

I think it ended well and just hope that Addie’s finally coming around and letting herself love someone again. I’m very eager for the next book now!

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 Curious Incident review

This is the sixth book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookstore series by Vicki Delaney who also writes Year Round Christmas mysteries as well as the new Tea by the Sea series. As Eva Gates, she writes the Lighthouse Library. All her series are among my many favorites!

Gemma really showed a more human side than usual in this book, and I enjoyed that a lot. She was amazing taking care of Lauren and what she did at the very end was just so sweet and tissue worthy!

My Goodreads review:

A Curious Incident (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #6)A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who knew Gemma had it in her to be mothering type person for a girl who needed a mom right now? I thought she was pretty awesome and caring at how she took care of Lauren. The fact that Lauren was intelligent only added to it, because Gemma talked to her as if she was older, and it seemed like Lauren really enjoyed that. It was cute how Lauren took on Gemma’s English accent and some of her manner of speaking the more she hung out with her.

To back up, Gemma volunteered to watch Lauren when her mom was suspected of killing her garden club rival and her aunt Irene, the town reporter was at a conference. I’m satisfied with the series in the relationship area too as Gemma and Ryan continued their dating life. Jayne and Andy had drawn closer which pleased Gemma to no end since she was always matchmaking them. I wasn’t sure about the killer until the clues started coming together at the end. I always love how Gemma’s Sherlock-like mind hones in on something and won’t let it go until she’s right.

The ending was super sweet, everything that wasn’t already explained was wrapped up, and I really hope we get to see Miss Lauren again sometime in the series! She’s really a cool kid!

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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Rhubarb Pie Before You Die review

This is the second book in the newer Garlic Farm series by well-established author Gin Jones. I found myself liking it so much better than the first book, which was entertaining and while I could identify with Mabel on a couple of things, I had found myself not liking her character a whole not. At least not until this book came along. It’s definitely a good idea to read the two books in order and get to know the Mabel who first came to the garlic farm as opposed to how she’s changed for the better as far as being a nicer, more human person. I’m really anxious now for the next book!

The little jam jars picture made me think of Betty from the farmers’ market bringing Mabel some rhubarb jam samples.

My Goodreads review:

Rhubarb Pie Before You Die (A Garlic Farm Mystery, #2)Rhubarb Pie Before You Die by Gin Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book so much more than the first one. I liked the first book, but I didn’t like Mabel very much until more toward the end. In this book, she was continuing to become more human and actually interact with people in person. Before, she seemed like a clone or a robot just going through her app work. I believe Rory and Emily had a lot to do with transforming her into someone a lot more likable, and now I can say I do like her a lot better. She was much warmer this time to her friends and even let a feral cat have kittens at her house. Maybe someday she’ll realize that letting Charlie into her life wouldn’t be such a terrible thing either! 😉

I definitely hadn’t guessed the killer, and the showdown was pretty exciting. I think Mabel was finally coming to realize she didn’t hate it so much on the farm because during the book, she seemed to really focus herself on the crops and getting the place sold. With her logical thinking, Mabel was turning into quite the amateur sleuth. Now if she’d just realize she needs a sidekick!

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Pruning the Dead–review

This is the first book in a brand new series called Garden Squad Mysteries by Julia Henry. She writes under some other names, but one of her books I’ve read recently as J. A. Hennrikus was A Christmas Peril .

I quickly grew to love the friends who made up the Garden Squad, a fairly diverse little group, but they all shared the same love of gardening…and adventure when it came to solving the murder at hand.

My Goodreads review:

Pruning the Dead (A Garden Squad Mystery #1)Pruning the Dead by Julia Henry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a well-written and well-plotted starter for a new series and I really enjoyed my trip to Goosebush, Massachusetts. I may not be a fan of gardening as an activity, but I sure felt like the friends who made up the Garden Squad were good friends of mine by the end of the book.

There were a lot of secrets in the town not to mention the murder, but with the help of Lilly’s Garden Squad friends, they all played a big part in bringing down the killer. I especially loved the showdown where Lilly had gathered all the suspects a la Agatha Christie. I liked how the current police chief and the retired chief both worked together and how Lilly took the new chief under her wing and helped him any way she could. I hadn’t guessed the killer, so I just went along for the ride and discovered it as it unfolded.

Lilly was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and generous characters I’ve read about in a cozy mystery, but what I loved was that she was realistic too. It was cool that she and her friends are a little older, but these folks are no strangers to tech, since they all have their smartphones and texting network. I’m anxious to see what the next Garden Squad adventure will be!

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A Scandal in Scarlet–review

This was the fourth in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mysteries by Vicki Delany and it’s definitely become one of my favorite newer series. I love how Gemma uses her sharp powers of observation to know things about people, to the point that some think she’s psychic. It was interesting that there was an older case that involved one of the murder victims that Gemma simply couldn’t let go. The case did get some closure.

I always enjoy these characters and am anxious to return to West London, Massachusetts when the next book comes out.

My Goodreads review:

A Scandal in Scarlet (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #4)A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After a fire destroyed the Scarlet House that was part of the West London Museum, Gemma and Jayne agreed to hold a fundraiser tea in the teashop along with an auction featuring items donated from the town businesses and individual. When Gemma found Kathy, the museum board’s chairman dead in the storage room for the teashop, she agreed to look into things because the annoying business neighbor Maureen claimed she was being blamed for the crime. After another seemingly unrelated murder (yep, Gemma found that body too) Gemma continued to investigate with her trusty sidekick Jayne (sometimes alone though) and must have struck a nerve when she, or rather the cat Moriarty, scared off an intruder after she’d closed one night.

This case had me baffled for sure! I really had no idea who the killer was, but it wasn’t shocked when I found out who it was. The showdown and subsequent boat chase was pretty awesome and exciting. I liked how Gemma and her friends had a little wrap-up session at the very end of the book in the form of a summer picnic. Gemma and Ryan are in a very good place now, so I hope that continues because even Jayne noticed how happy Gemma had been. It was fun that Uncle Arthur was actually somewhat present in this book instead of being just a text. It reminds me of Charlie from Charlie’s Angels how he was never seen. Uncle Arthur was actually not seen in the book, but he was on land and back at his home at one point.

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Elementary, She Read–review

This is the first book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series by Vicki Delany. Vicki is also known for her Year Round Christmas cozy mystery series, the first two of which I had read of her work until this past March when I read the third book in the Sherlock series. I had been wanting to get back to this first book which did help me to know and appreciate the main character, Gemma Doyle, so much better. I’ll be moving on to the second book sometime this summer or fall because the fourth one comes out in November.

Vicki also writes as Eva Gates and will have a new Lighthouse Library coming out soon. I’ve been chosen by an online review club to receive a hardback to review.

My Goodreads review:

Elementary, She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1)Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had only read the 3rd in this series so I definitely had to go to the beginning and see how it all started. Gemma is really very impressive with her observation skills, something that not a lot of people possess and I wish that the one police officer, Louise Estrada, would be nicer to her or at least I wish she’d treat her with a little more dignity than she does. Estrada’s partner, Ryan Ashburton, used to be involved with Gemma (would be interesting to read a prequel about that and when she very first came to the US) and I always figure Estrada is either jealous of that or that he got lead detective over her.

In this first case, Gemma found an old and valuable-looking Sherlock magazine in her store but when she and Jayne, her best friend, tried to return it to the woman, they found she was dead in her hotel room. Gemma of course is looked at as the prime and only suspect, especially in Estrada’s eyes. With her keen observation skills, Gemma is well suited for investigating and she figures if she’s going to prove herself innocent she’d better get started. Another body was found, Gemma felt like she was being followed and never mind that her house was broken into early on. Along with her sidekick Jayne and her date Robbie, Gemma managed to crack this case.

I definitely didn’t see the killer coming, what a good plot twist. Gemma is a little bit different than the usual sleuths in cozies seeing how she’s more formal and not really humorous but I still like her. She’s a fiercely loyal friend to have and she’s very intelligent. Jayne is really lucky to have a friend like that–and Gemma is lucky to have Jayne, her business partner and tea shop owner, for a friend as well. Some things weren’t always as they seemed in this book and I really enjoyed following the story and finding out how all the pieces fit together.

I’m hoping that in the future, Gemma and Ryan might be able to get back together and that Estrada will get over her not-very-niceness to Gemma. I’ll be moving along to the next book in the series in hopes of finishing before the 4th one comes out.

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