Christmas Cow Bells review

Here’s another new series releasing September 24, the Buttermilk Farm Mysteries by Mollie Cox Bryan who writes the Cora Crafts cozy mysteries. I love to read about Christmas any time of the year, and it wasn’t hard to get into the spirit with reading about the snow they were getting in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia in this book as well as going to the Christmas tree farm. Brynn had three very docile dairy cows for cheese making and ended up adopting a dog (that seemed to prefer the barn) along with eventually her neighbor’s cat. She ended up with a sweet deal of a cheese making student who would live on premises, so I can’t wait to read the next book and see how her business progresses.

My Goodreads review:

Christmas Cow Bells (A Buttermilk Creek Mystery #1)Christmas Cow Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is going to be such a fun new series! Even though Brynn hadn’t lived in her house for too long, she’d already made some friends in Willow and Schuyler. I liked how those three worked together, sort of a Nancy-Bess-George type of friendship. I enjoyed her neighbor’s family especially the college guys and thought it was a great idea to have them stay in her guest cottage, especially with some weird things that had been happening on Brynn’s little farm. Someone wanted to drive her away, and someone had set a fire that ended up killing her neighbor. Brynn wasn’t going to back down, and for the most part, she was fairly sensible about calling the police or keeping the fire marshal in the loop if she found things. I didn’t like the sheriff very well, as he came off as condescending, but Mike the fire marshal was nice. I don’t think I caught if he was near Brynn’s age or not but it seemed as if he liked her or could like her. It seemed best and more real to keep any romance out of this first story though. Brynn had enough on her plate!

I loved how Brynn adopted a sweet dog that had been making rounds with the local vet. Brynn had this attitude of Christmas just being another day since she’d had a relationship end badly, but I could tell that she was really lonely and loved Christmas. I had to hand it to her for decorating and making her place as cozy and Christmasy as she could. Having her neighbor’s grandsons around helped with that. A side mystery with another neighbor’s teen tied in with the main one, so I won’t say anything about that, but for the most part, I was satisfied with the wrap-up and very Hallmark-like Christmas ending. Brynn ended up having a good family Christmas after all in her new home.

This releases in a week, but I have several more ARCs to get through, so I’m letting the review out 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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Past Due for Murder–review

Ohhh this was a good one! This is the third book in the Blue Ridge Library series by Victoria Gilbert. I’ve read the first two and really loved them. I like any cozy that takes place in a library setting, and this one has never disappointed me. I especially loved the ending of the book. I do recommend reading the first two books, because you’ll get all the awesome backstories of the characters and be able to appreciate this book even more!

My Goodreads review:

Past Due for Murder (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #3)Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This might be my favorite book in the series, and the ending was just awesome! I hadn’t quite guessed the killer, because the author is very good at using red herrings.

When a local college student went missing then was found near the body of her professor, the police weren’t sure what to think, since there was no weapon found. Amy had talked to the woman just a few days before that and she’d told Amy she had some dirt on a local man and also the man Amy used to date, Charles Bartos. Amy just had to investigate and was nearly killed towards the end, but she had heard a confession from the killer. I liked how it didn’t just end with solving the case. It continued to the planned May Day festival, which was what Prof. Mona had wanted to revive. And old case from the 1800s was somewhat tied in with this one, at least the existence of some gold coins and a killing were solved.

I love how Amy and Richard’s relationship has grown, and aside from a small side mystery, they didn’t keep anything from each other. It was interesting to see the two sets of parents interact. I definitely didn’t like Richard’s parents–and I don’t think he likes them very much either. The end of the book was just perfect! I can’t wait for the next one to come out!

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Shelved Under Murder–review

I really loved this second book in the Blue Ridge Library series by Victoria Gilbert. I really enjoy her writing style of combining the past with the present. I highly recommend reading the first book first–if you’ve read this one, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I think most people will be happier if they read the first book then this one.

My Goodreads review:

Shelved Under Murder (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #2)Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book might just be better than the first book, which I also loved. I do recommend that anyone who hasn’t read the first book yet, read it before this one. You will be much happier if you do!

Amy and Sunny were getting ready for the Heritage Festival where the library would have a table of products to sell, most of which were donations. Amy and Richard stumbled onto the body of a dead local artist, the same artist they were going to talk to about donating a couple of her paintings. A local drug dealer was suspected but he swore he saw someone else running from the scene. While helping the police with the investigation–yes, Brad actually asked Amy to help since she has art history as a background–Amy found some unsettling information that may or may not have involved her uncle in the world of art forgery. Maybe this murder was something bigger than what it looked? Amy and Richard must be careful investigating this case or they could both end up dead.

I liked how both of these books so far have used an older case which ties in with the contemporary case being worked on. A new character, Hugh Chen, was introduced as an art forensics expert from the state of Virginia and Lydia may just have found herself a new male companion. Knowing Lydia, she will take it slowly since she adored her husband, Andrew. Someone else had adored him as well and closure for that ties in, in sort of a bittersweet way. I love that Amy and Richard are getting closer in their relationship. The regular characters, Walt and Zelda, were more comfortable and open with their relationship as well. I just love those two! The temporary characters weren’t especially memorable, only Hugh and I do hope he comes back for a visit or tries to make a distance friendship with Lydia work out.

This series has quickly become one of my favorite new series and I’m so anxious for the next book to come out. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.

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A Murder for the Books–review

This is the first book in the Blue Ridge Library series by Victoria Gilbert.  It looks like she’s new to writing, at least from what I saw of her Amazon page, but her writing sounds like she’s been at it for many years. She spins a great mystery and has some fun characters that you will come to love as much as I have! This series had me from the library setting. 😉

Since I’m currently far enough into the second book to confidently be able to tell you this: PLEASE be sure you read THIS book first, then the second! It’s really advisable.

My Goodreads:

A Murder for the Books (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #1)A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a well-written and well-plotted mystery! There were some twists and turns, memorable characters that I already can’t wait to visit again and an awesome side mystery along with the murders that occurred. I definitely didn’t guess the killer!

Amy Webber was the library director at the Taylorsford Public Library in Taylorsford, VA. Her best frieind, Sunny Fields, was her assistant and the only other paid help. After a nasty breakup with her fiance’, Amy came back to live there with her Aunt Lydia in the old family house. The town was fairly uneventful aside from a very old few cases of questionable deaths. That is until a couple of new murders happened. Did they have anything to do with the old cases or could they possibly be linked to the new housing development that was in the works. Amy being a trained researcher as a librarian couldn’t help but start looking into the cases. Her new interest, choreography and dancer Richard Muir, only wanted to protect her in case the killer was still around, but he had to admit it was interesting investigating, especially the parts involving the older cases and seeing how the new cases could be related.

I love libraries to begin with and any mystery concerning someone who works in one has my interest. I enjoyed all the characters and their interactions with each other and with Amy. It was like she’d never been gone as far as the older people were concerned. Richard was a sweetheart and I can’t wait to see how their budding relationship develops. I hope that Sunny can eventually bring herself to dating Brad, the chief deputy who obviously had it pretty bad for her all those years, even after she rejected him in high school. As abrasive as Brad started out in the story, I wasn’t sure I was going to like him, but he did have a good side and finally came around. At least he wasn’t constantly warning Amy off the case or telling her he’d toss her in jail for interfering.

I’m really anxious to read the next book, in fact I had started it but since there was only one book ahead of it, I thought I’d be happier if I read book one first. But that’s just me. 😉

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Pasta Mortem–review

This is the seventh book in the Supper Club series by Ellery Adams. This one was also co-written by Rosemary Stevens. I’m all caught up now and ready for the next book. This series makes me laugh, smile and get leaky eyes all in the course of one book.

My Goodreads review:

Pasta Mortem (Supper Club Mysteries Book 7)Pasta Mortem by Ellery Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this has to be the best book yet in this series! Just everything about it, the mystery itself to the characters’ personal relationships just shines.

It was close to mid-February in Quincy’s Gap and the town was buzzing for a couple of different reasons. A beloved TV show from the late 80s was having a reunion party in a neighboring town and one of the cast members just happened to be editor of a southern type living magazine that had just published an article on why Quincy’s Gap was one of the most desired small towns to live in. The five friends were pretty livid about this as was the rest of the town. For one thing, nosy reporter and newspaper owner Murphy who had acted like she was their friend but had written some murder mysteries with them all as characters, had been going around taking everyone’s pictures claiming she’d use it in one of her newspaper articles. Instead it was part of this magazine spread. Citizens were not happy since it would me overcrowding of schools and just generally overcrowding of everything. The people in Quincy’s Gap liked being a small town and wanted it to stay that way.

When Murphy’s new real estate partner was killed in that bed and breakfast, the police of course turned to Murphy as prime suspect. The five supper club friends were torn about working on this case since Murphy hadn’t been so nice to them just recently. They all decided she could be nasty but she was not a killer. This mystery had a lot of fun twists and turns. I sure never saw the reveal coming. The very ending was probably the sweetest most awesome thing I’ve read in a long time!

I liked how the characters’ personal lives all had something similar going on. The couples were having issues with their couple lives, just like real life people do, and they had to figure out how to fix that while working the case. I admired how they did put their family and personal problems first though. By Valentine’s Day, everyone had a very satisfactory solution to their issues and all five friends could truthfully say they were very happy.

I really hope there are more books coming in this series. I would be sad if this series did end but I think this book was so good that if for some reason that happened, we have some great closure and memories of our friends knowing they’re all doing well. More books would be better though so being an optimist, I will keep hoping! If you love the recipes in this series, you’ll love that there are nine of them at the end of this book.

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Stiffs and Swine–review

This is the fourth book in the Supper Club series by Ellery Adams which has quickly become one of my favorite series for both the mystery itself and the camaraderie of the five people who have become fast friends, literally through thick and through thin. If you scroll back to May, you’ll see my review for the fifth book which I’m going to go back and go over a bit on my own before proceeding to the sixth book. This one had a very sweet and a little bit of a leaky-eye ending if you like that kind of sweetness. Not overkill just really cool!

My Goodreads review:

Stiffs and Swine (A Supper Club Mystery, #4)Stiffs and Swine by J.B. Stanley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was late summer in Quincy’s Gap and our five friends had been invited to be guests of honor at a neighboring town’s Hog Fest. They were going to judge the hogs in a dress-up contest and also help at the pie eating contest. When one of the barbecue contestants, a loud obnoxious man named Jimmy, was found dead in his camper, Gillian was taken in for questioning since she had had a meltdown with this guy the day before. Since Lucy was a deputy, her help was more welcomed by Sheriff Jade Jones (Bennett developed a crush on her) than the rest but overall, the police there were friendly enough and did their job without being condescending like Donovan at Lucy’s home station was known for. James and Lucy’s former relationship was still a little strained but they still functioned well together as mystery-solving friends. James had felt himself drifting a little from Murphy since she seemed to have changed. Then she told him she’d signed a book contract. She’d been writing about murders in their town but said the characters were loosely based on them. Bennett was definitely not amused when he heard that.

On the home front, Scott and Francis at the library had a little mystery of their own which really ended up so awesome at the end! What a cool little sting operation they pulled with James’s, Lucy’s and Mrs. Hasting’s help. Jackson and Milla had become much closer and James was pleased to find out his dad had proposed to this lovely lady that he’d become so comfortable being around as a mother figure. During the trip, Bennett had been studying very hard for his chance on Jeopardy. When they got home, James had one more thing to take care of with Murphy. Even his beloved bookmobile that had broken down earlier got a happy ending.

I don’t think this mystery was so much focused on guessing the killer because at one point, everyone pretty much knew who, now they had to figure out how to nail the person. The showdown was pretty exciting and James got to be in the spotlight. Gillian was happy to have her freedom and had told the whole story about why she’d had that meltdown a few days ago with the obnoxious barbecue man. She got to do something that was very generous as well as suggesting something very generous as well. That’s what I love about all these people. Despite their personal demons, faults or whatever you want to call them, they are true friends to one another. Who wouldn’t love to be friends with any one of this awesome Flab Five group?

I’ve read the next book but may go over it quickly before moving on to the sixth book. At least I have a good two-book fix for awhile for this series, since the seventh one has recently come out!

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