Book Review

Read or Alive by Nora Page [Book Review]

Better Off Read by Nora Page

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BOOK INFO

Title: Read of Alive

Author: Nora Page

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Publish Date: May 12, 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: Bookmobile Mystery #3

My Rating: 4/5

Read or Alive by Nora Page

BOOK BLURB

A match-made in cozy heaven for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Kate Carlisle, and book lovers everywhere, Nora Page’s third Bookmobile mystery will (book)worm its way into your heart.

Wrongful accusations have librarian Cleo Watkins and her loved ones booked for trouble.

It’s springtime and septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins is celebrating new blooms and old books. To her delight, the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society has brought its annual fair to Catalpa Springs in honor of Cleo’s gentleman friend, respected antiquarian bookseller and restorer, Henry Lafayette. However, trouble rolls in with the fair when a flirtatious book scout makes the rounds, charming locals out of prized books.

Among the conned is Cleo’s cousin, Dot, who handed over a signed, first edition of Gone With the Wind. With no proof the scout took the valuable book, Dot is at a loss. And when the deceitful man is found murdered the very next morning, Dot becomes a prime suspect. To Cleo’s dismay, so is Henry. The scene of the crime is behind Henry’s shop and his bookbinding tool is the murder weapon. As evidence stacks up against Henry, the police aren’t alone in questioning his innocence. Even friends and family ask Cleo how well she truly knows her gentleman friend.

Although books are at the heart of the crimes, Cleo feels dizzyingly out of her depths. Someone is setting up the people she holds dearest. With the authorities on the wrong trail, Cleo has no choice but to catalog the evidence herself. Along with her trusty bookmobile cat Rhett Butler, it will be up to Cleo to book the real killer for good.


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

Read or Alive is the third book in the Bookmobile mystery series by Nora Page. Cleo is back with a new mystery to solve! A conman who deals in books comes to the antiquarian book show in Catalpa Springs. He’s swindling Cleo’s friends, and things go downhill when he is found killed. Cleo knows those close to her can’t be behind the murder, so she sleuths to find the killer.

This is the third book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone. However, I recommend starting with Better Off Read (book 1) and Read on Arrival (book 2).

A cozy mystery centered around books. I enjoy Cleo, her bookmobile, and the small town setting. A delightful read with an older protagonist. Fun and entertaining.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Bookmobile Mystery Series:
  1. Better Off Read
  2. Read on Arrival
  3. Read or Alive
Book Review

Evil by the Sea by Kathleen Bridge [Book Review]

Evil by the Sea by Kathleen Bridge

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BOOK INFO

Title: Evil by the Sea

Author: Kathleen Bridge

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Publish Date: May 5, 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: A By the Sea Mystery #4

My Rating: 4/5

Evil by the Sea by Kathleen Bridge

BOOK BLURB

Liz Holt is bewitched, bothered, and bewildered when a wicked killer objects to a wiccan wedding…

Island life can get pretty weird. Wiccan weddings, psychic brides, mermaid parades, eccentric parrots… Novelist Liz Holt has gotten used to it since moving back to the barrier island of Melbourne Beach, Florida, and once again working in her family’s hotel and emporium, the Indialantic by the Sea. But one thing she’ll never get used to is murder.

Groom-to-be and leader of the Sunshine Wiccan Society, white warlock Julian Rhodes is poisoned at his rehearsal dinner on the hotel’s sightseeing cruiser. His psychic bride, Dorian Starwood, never saw it coming. An old friend of Liz’s great-aunt Amelia, the celebrity psychic engages Liz to find out who intended to kill her intended. With her Macaw, Barnacle Bob, squawking “Pop Goes the Weasel” at Dorian’s pet ferret, and the streets teeming with mermaids in tails, Liz has got to wade through the weirdness and cast a wide net for the killer—before she’s the next one to sleep with the fishes…


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

Liz, a novelist and amateur sleuth, works at her family’s hotel and emporium. In Evil by the Sea, a Wiccan wedding is planned at the Indialantic by the Sea. Unfortunately, the groom dies at the rehearsal dinner. Liz investigates to find the killer.

Evil by the Sea is the fourth book in the By the Sea mystery series. I recommend reading this series in order – Death By the Sea, A Killing By the Sea, and Murder By the Sea. There are a number of characters, and their relationships progress through the series.

An entertaining cozy mystery series. Quirky characters. Charming setting. Fun and light read. A recommended read for fans of cozy mysteries.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the By the Sea Mystery Series:
  1. Death by the Sea
  2. A Killing by the Sea
  3. Murder by the Sea
  4. Evil by the Sea
Book Review

The Last Scoop by R.G. Belsky [Book Review]

The Last Scoop by R.G. Belsky

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BOOK INFO

Title: The Last Scoop

Author: R.G. Belsky

Publisher: Oceanview Publishing

Publish Date: May 5, 2020

Genre: Amateur Sleuth

Series: Clare Carlson #3

My Rating: 4/5

The Last Scoop by R.G. Belsky

BOOK BLURB

The scariest kind of serial killer—one you don’t know exists
Martin Barlow was Clare Carlson’s first newspaper editor, a beloved mentor who inspired her career as a journalist. But, since retiring from his newspaper job, he had become a kind of pathetic figure—railing on about conspiracies, cover-ups, and other imaginary stories he was still working on. Clare had been too busy with her own career to pay much attention to him.
When Martin Barlow is killed on the street one night during an apparent mugging attempt gone bad, it seems like he was just an old man whose time had come.
But Clare—initially out of a sense of guilt for ignoring her old friend and then because of her own journalistic instincts—begins looking into his last story idea. As she digs deeper and deeper into his secret files, she uncovers shocking evidence of a serial killer worse than Son of Sam, Ted Bundy, or any of the other infamous names in history.
This really is the biggest story of Martin Barlow’s career—and Clare’s, too—as she uncovers the path leading to the decades-long killer of at least twenty young women. All is not as it seems during Clare’s relentless search for this serial killer. Is she setting herself up to be his next victim?


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

The Last Scoop is the third book in the Clare Carlson series by R.G. Belsky. When Clare learns her mentor has been killed in an apparent mugging, she takes on his last story. At first, she is looking into corruption in the city. As she investigates, she is led to another story her mentor was working. This one involves a serial killer that has gone under the radar for decades. Clare suspects her mentor was killed because of his stories, so she investigates on her own to discover what led to his death.

Clare is a flawed character, but she has some great investigative skills. She is a Pulitzer Prize winner working for a TV news station. Big stories bring in more money for the news station, but her latest reporting is more personal. She feels guilt about ignoring her mentor, and now that he’s dead, she wants to uncover what happened to him.

I’ve read the first book in this series, but missed the second one. This is a good mystery series, and I plan to read the second book soon to get caught up. I recommend reading the first book, but The Last Scoop can be read as a stand-alone.

Intriguing characters. Gripping mystery. Engaging, interesting, and suspenseful.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Clare Carlson series:
  1. Yesterday’s News
  2. Below the Fold
  3. The Last Scoop
  4. Beyond the Headlines
Book Review

Murder in the Wine Country by Janet Finsilver [Book Review]

Murder in the Wine Country by Janet Finsilver

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BOOK INFO

Title: Murder in the Wine Country

Author: Janet Finsilver

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Publish Date: April 28, 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: A Kelly Jackson Mystery #6

My Rating: 4/5

Murder in the Wine Country by Janet Finsilver

BOOK BLURB

Weeding out killers wasn’t part of the job description…

Kelly Jackson, manager of the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast, is excited to participate in an event to raise awareness for the plight of struggling veterans in their Northern California coastal community. Local wineries are sponsoring tastings, and to prepare for a culinary competition, professional chefs will forage for wild edible greens. Kelly plans to come along, despite a warning to beware of poachers, who have been stealing the highly valued succulent Dudleya farinosa. The senior sleuths who call themselves the Silver Sentinels join forces with environmental activists known as the Succulent Saviors to thwart the poaching operation. When a consultant for the sale of a local winery is murdered, the poachers are suspected—but so is a wine merchant, Kelly’s friend Phil. As Kelly and the Silver Sentinels attempt to root out the real killer, what she digs up might just put her permanently underground…


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

Murder in the Wine Country is the sixth book in the Kelly Jackson Mystery series by Janet Finsilver. Kelly Jackson is the manager of Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast. In this book, Kelly is happy to be involved with an event to help struggling veterans. During the event, chefs are foraging for edible greens for the culinary competition and local wineries are sponsoring tastings.

Kelly joins in with some of the activities, and all goes well until crime happens. The crimes include theft and murder. In the previous books, a lot of the sleuthing is done by the Silver Sentinels, a group of crime-solving senior citizens. In this book, Kelly takes on more of a sleuth role.

An entertaining cozy mystery series. Charming setting. Interesting characters. Well-crafted plot. Delightful and fun.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Kelly Jackson Mystery Series:
  1. Murder at Redwood Cove
  2. Murder at the Mansion
  3. Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table
  4. Murder at the Mushroom Festival
  5. Murder at the Marina
  6. Murder in the Wine Country
Book Review

Proof of Murder by Lauren Elliott [Book Review]

Proof of Murder by Lauren Elliott

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BOOK INFO

Title: Proof of Murder

Author: Lauren Elliott

Publisher: Kensington

Publish Date: April 28, 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery #4

My Rating: 4/5

Proof of Murder by Lauren Elliott

BOOK BLURB

Bookshop owner Addie Greyborne must solve a locked-room murder in a supposedly haunted mansion to recover a priceless Sherlock Holmes original…

The seaside New England town of Greyborne Harbor is home to many grand estates, including the Queen Anne Victorian Addie inherited from her great aunt. Now one of those mansions is holding an estate sale, which is just what the bookshop owner needs to replenish her supply of rare editions—even if the house is rumored to be haunted. Assisting an overwhelmed insurance appraiser with the inventory, Addie discovers an 1887 magazine containing Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, which she estimates to be worth over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

But when Addie later finds the appraiser dead in the estate’s private library, with the door bolted from the inside, and the priceless edition missing, it’s a mystery worthy of the Great Detective himself. She’s certain the death and the robbery are connected—but who, other than a ghost who can walk through walls, could have gotten in to do the deed? It’s up to Addie to find the key to the crime—before she’s the next one cornered by a killer…


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

Proof of Murder is the fourth book in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series. Addie is back with another murder mystery in the quaint town of Greyborne Harbor. While helping appraise items for a local estate sale, Addie discovers a first edition of A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes novel. When Addie returns to the estate later, she discovers the appraiser has been killed and the valuable edition is missing.

A locked room mystery. Due to Addie’s involvement with the appraisal, she’s on the short list of suspects. Addie wants to solve the mystery to prove her innocence and find the real killer.

I’ve enjoyed each book in this series, and was happy to see Addie was back for another mystery. The small town setting is great, and I especially enjoy Addie’s bookstore. A series worth checking out for fans of cozies.

An entertaining cozy mystery. Well paced story. Complex mystery. Interesting characters. Delightful and fun.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series:
  1. Murder by the Book
  2. Prologue to Murder
  3. Murder in the First Edition
  4. Proof of Murder
  5. A Page Marked for Murder
Book Review

The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton [Book Review]

The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton

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BOOK INFO

Title: The Stolen Letter

Author: Paige Shelton

Publisher: Minotaur

Publish Date: April 7, 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: Scottish Bookshop Mystery #5

My Rating: 3/5

The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton

BOOK BLURB

New York Times bestselling author Paige Shelton returns with the next installment of The Scottish Bookshop Mystery series, The Stolen Letter

Delaney Nichols is confident she’s doing what she loves—case in point, just one day after returning from her fabulous European honeymoon, she’s eager to get back to the Cracked Spine, the bookstore where she works. But as she disembarks her bus and hurries toward the shop she and another woman collide, sending a stack of books the woman is carrying to the ground.

Delaney’s hapless victim’s name is Mary, and the two women can’t help but notice that they bear an uncanny resemblance to one another. According to Mary, they both also look like the long-beheaded Mary Queen of Scots. Even stranger, Mary believes she is the reincarnation of the Scottish queen. But peculiar as Delaney’s doppelganger is, she doesn’t have time to dwell on it: on her arrival to the bookshop, she learns the Edinburgh city council wants to close the Cracked Spine, citing code violations, and she’s determined to stop them.

But when Mary’s husband dies in a car explosion—and Delaney learns he was the very member of city council who proposed that the city take a closer look at the bookshop’s construction—she starts to wonder if her meeting with Mary wasn’t an accident. Edinburgh has become as filled with intrigue and deception as any European court, and Delaney is determined to get to the bottom of this royal mystery.


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

The Stolen Letter is the fifth book in the Scottish Bookshop mystery series. The main character, Delaney, is an American woman who relocated to Scotland to work in a unique bookshop, the Cracked Spine. Also, Delaney occasionally helps solve mysteries. She comes across a murder mystery to solve.

I recommend starting with the first book in this series, The Cracked Spine. Each book in the series has a unique mystery, but the relationships between the characters grow throughout Delaney’s time in Scotland.

In The Stolen Letter, Delaney runs into Mary on the way to the bookshop. The women immediately notice they look a lot alike, and Mary says they look like Mary, Queen of Scots. Turns out, Mary knows a lot about the dead Queen, and even believes she is the reincarnated Queen Mary. Delaney is intrigued with Mary, but, unfortunately, Mary’s husband is trying to close down the Cracked Spine. When Mary’s husband is killed, Delaney searches for answers.

An enjoyable cozy mystery series. This book, along with the earlier ones, includes a touch of paranormal in the story. While this isn’t my favorite book in the series, I did find it entertaining. The characters are likable and the story is interesting. Delightful, fun, and quirky.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery Series:
  1. The Cracked Spine
  2. Of Books and Bagpipes
  3. Lost Books and Old Bones
  4. The Loch Ness Papers
  5. The Stolen Letter
Book Review

The Body in the Apartment by Judi Lynn [Book Review]

The Body in the Apartment by Judi Lynn

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BOOK INFO

Title: The Body in the Apartment

Author: Judi Lynn

Publisher: Lyrical Underground

Publish Date: March 17, 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: Jazzi Zanders Mystery #4

My Rating: 3/5

The Body in the Apartment by Judi Lynn

BOOK BLURB

The charming homes of River Bluffs, Indiana, make perfect projects for house-flipper Jazzi Zanders. Less charming is her hothead brother-in-law, who’s a bit of a fixer-upper himself.
But could he also be a murderer?
 
Jazzi married her gorgeous contractor Ansel—not his family. But somehow she keeps living with them. So she’s delighted to help Ansel’s brother Radley move out of their home and into his own place, in the same building as his work supervisor, Donovan. But when Donovan is shot and his apartment ransacked following an argument with Ansel and Radley’s older brother Bain, their sibling becomes a suspect—especially after his missing gun turns up as the murder weapon.
 
Told not to leave town by Detective Gaff, big brother moves in with . . . Jazzi and Ansel. Now Jazzi needs to prove Bain’s no killer, not only to keep him out of jail—but to get him out of their house. What was the killer looking for in Donovan’s apartment? And what will happen to the next person who gets in the way?


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

This is the fourth book in the Jazzi Zanders mystery series by Judi Lynn. Ansel’s brother Radley has decided to stay in town, and Jazzi and Ansel help him move into his new apartment. During the move, Ansel and Radley’s brother Bain shows up to try and convince Radley to return to the family’s dairy farm. Unfortunately, Radley’s friend Donovan, who lives in the same apartment complex, is killed while everyone is there. Bain becomes a suspect. Jazzi helps solve the murder.

I’ve read the previous three books in this series and recommend reading them in order: The Body in the Attic, The Body in the Wetlands, and The Body in the Gravel. They can be read out of order though. The personal stories are continued, but the mystery is standalone for each book.

Jazzi, Ansel, and her cousin Jerod flip houses. I enjoy the idea of a house flipper amateur sleuth, so this cozy series is a good one for me. Jazzi also likes to cook and enjoys hosting meals for her family and friends. She seemed to cook more in this book, and there are a few recipes included at the end of the book. I’m still perplexed why the detective on the cases always includes Jazzi in the investigation, even bringing her to interviews. Still, it’s a fun and entertaining series.

A light, cozy mystery. Likable characters and a good mystery.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Jazzi Zanders Mystery Series:
  1. The Body in the Attic
  2. The Body in the Wetlands
  3. The Body in the Gravel
  4. The Body in the Apartment
  5. The Body from the Past
  6. The Body in the Beauty Parlor
Book Review

Revolver Road by Christi Daugherty [Book Review]

Revolver Road by Christi Daugherty

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BOOK INFO

Title: Revolver Road

Author: Christi Daugherty

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publish Date: March 10, 2020

Genre: Crime & Detective

Series: Harper McClain #3

My Rating: 5/5

Revolver Road by Christi Daugherty

BOOK BLURB

Crime reporter Harper McClain is back on the beat when a troubled musician vanishes in Christi Daugherty’s Revolver Road.

Even in the chill of February, no place touches Harper McClain’s heart like Savannah. She should be walking beneath the historic city’s towering oaks, surrounded by graceful mansions. Instead, she’s hiding miles away on Tybee Island after a mysterious voice on the phone warned her that someone wanted her dead. The call was too specific to ignore. The caller knew everything about her. But that was months ago, and she’s getting tired of being scared.

Her only escape is her work at the newspaper, where the hottest story in town is the disappearance of Xavier Rayne. The singer had a hit album on his hands, and was about to go on tour, but then he walked out of his beachfront home and vanished. The police believe he drowned, but Harper suspects his disappearance may be more ominous than that. Something doesn’t feel right about it.

His bandmates and actress girlfriend say he’s run away before. They expect him to come home. Until a body washes up with two bullet holes in it. Now everyone in Rayne’s life is a suspect. As Harper digs deeper into the case, though, the threats against her own life return. The phone call she received was very real. A killer from her past is coming for her.

Now she must solve two murders, or end up dying on Revolver Road…


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

Crime reporter Harper McClain is back in Revolver Road, the third book in this crime series. Someone wants Harper dead, and she’s been scared into hiding. She’s tired of hiding though, and she believes finding who killed her mother will help solve the mystery of who is after her. For work, Harper is staying busy with the case of missing man Xavier Rayne, a popular musician. Harper works to solve both mysteries.

The mysteries are intriguing. One mystery has Harper digging into the past, and learning the truth about her mother’s murder. The other mystery involves a celebrity that everyone assumes drowned, but Harper suspects there’s more to the story. The characters are well-developed, and I especially like Harper. She is smart, independent, and hard-working. I love settings like Savannah, with such a rich history, the setting is like another character and adds to the enjoyment of the story.

This is one of my favorite mystery series, so I was excited to read this latest book. I’m happy to say, this continues to be an engaging series. I recommend reading this series in order.

Compelling characters. Entertaining story. Atmospheric setting. A recommended read for fans of crime thrillers with strong female protagonists.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Harper McClain series:
  1. The Echo Killing
  2. A Beautiful Corpse
  3. Revolver Road
Book Review

The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate [Book Review]

The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, read my Disclosure Policy.


BOOK INFO

Title: The Bodies in the Library

Author: Marty Wingate

Publisher: Berkley

Publish Date: October 8, 2019

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: First Edition Library Mystery #1

My Rating: 4/5

The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate

BOOK BLURB

Hayley Burke’s fresh start as the curator of The First Edition Society’s library in Bath, England, is about to take a rotten turn in this charming new mystery series from USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate.

Hayley Burke has landed a dream job. She is the new curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling’s First Edition library. The library is kept at Middlebank House, a lovely Georgian home in Bath, England. Hayley lives on the premises and works with the finicky Glynis Woolgar, Lady Fowling’s former secretary.

Mrs. Woolgar does not like Hayley’s ideas to modernize The First Edition Society and bring in fresh blood. And she is not even aware of the fact that Hayley does not know the first thing about the Golden Age of Mysteries. Hayley is faking it till she makes it, and one of her plans to breathe new life into the Society is actually taking flight–an Agatha Christie fan fiction writers group is paying dues to meet up at Middlebank House.

But when one of the group is found dead in the venerable stacks of the library, Hayley has to catch the killer to save the Society and her new job.


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

The Bodies in the Library is the first book in a new cozy mystery series by Marty Wingate. The First Edition Library Mystery series features Hayley Burke, the new curator at Lady Georgiana Fowling’s First Edition library in Bath, England. The library is a mystery lovers dream, especially since it contains many Golden Age mysteries. Hayley is attempting to modernize the library; however, she’s hiding the fact that she doesn’t know diddly about the mystery genre.

The cast of characters is quirky and relatable. In addition, Hayley is a likable protagonist – smart, witty, and hard-working. After starting as curator, one of her actions was to open the library up to a group of Agatha Christie fan fiction writers. When one of the members of the group is found dead in the library, Hayley turns amateur sleuth to find the murderer. Hayley is concerned about the image of the library, and she wants to make sure the library’s name is not smeared due to the murder.

In short, The Bodies in the Library is a charming new cozy mystery with entertaining characters and a lovely location. In addition to the mystery, there are some things going on in Hayley’s personal life – she’s got a daughter in college, an ex-husband, and a boyfriend. Hayley looks to be a fun amateur sleuth, and I’m looking forward to following along with in this series. A good read for fans of cozies, especially ones that feature books and libraries.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Bibliophile Mystery Series:
  1. The Bodies in the Library
  2. Murder Is a Must
Book Review

Clarets of Fire by Christine E. Blum [Book Review]

Clarets of Fire by Christine E. Blum

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, read my Disclosure Policy.


BOOK INFO

Title: Clarets of Fire

Author: Christine E. Blum

Publisher: Kensington

Publish Date: September 24, 2019

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: Rose Avenue Wine Club Mystery #4

My Rating: 4/5

Clarets of Fire by Christine E. Blum

BOOK BLURB

Wine connoisseur Annie “Halsey” Hall must turn up the heat on a felonious firebug . . .

Halsey and the ladies of the Rose Avenue Wine Club are celebrating with newlyweds Penelope and Malcolm, who are thrilled to be opening their new winery. They’re also partnering with a cherished neighborhood eatery, Rico’s Pizza, which will be serving young clarets from their fall harvest. But as Halsey attempts to savor the bouquet of her Tooth & Nail Cab, a different scent intrudes—smoke. The nearby pizza parlor is going up in flames. As they rush to the scene, Halsey’s rescue dog Bardot pulls a body from the burning building—the pizza delivery driver—but it’s too late.

When investigators determine a rag soaked with gasoline in a bottle from the winery started the blaze, police suspect both the pizza parlor owners and Penelope and Malcolm of arson and murder. With her friends’ business and freedom at stake, it’s up to Halsey to smoke out the real arsonist—before somebody else gets scorched . . .


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

Clarets of Fire is the fourth book in the Rose Avenue Wine Club Mystery series by Christine E. Blum. A neighborhood pizza place is burned. The fire was arson, and someone was killed in the blaze. The prime suspects are owners of a local winery. Halsey and her friends in the Rose Avenue Wine Club are on the case to clear their friends and find the guilty party.

A light and fun cozy mystery, especially good for wine lovers. The entertaining group of friends adds to the fun of this series. However, I always find Bardot, Halsey’s dog, to steal the show.

A solid mystery with charming characters. Clarets of Fire can be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading the series in order. I have read the previous three books, and look forward to reading more in this series.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Rose Avenue Wine Club Mystery Series:
  1. Full Bodied Murder
  2. Murder Most Fermented
  3. The Name of the Rosé
  4. Clarets of Fire

Book Review

Murder in the First Edition by Lauren Elliott [Book Review]

Murder in the First Edition by Lauren Elliott

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, read my Disclosure Policy.


BOOK INFO

Title: Murder in the First Edition

Author: Lauren Elliott

Publisher: Kensington

Publish Date: September 24, 2019

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery #3

My Rating: 4/5

Murder in the First Edition by Lauren Elliott

BOOK BLURB

Addie Greyborne is preparing for the holidays at her bookstore in seaside New England—but a winter storm is coming, in more ways than one…

Addie’s getting into the spirit for the upcoming Charity Auction—especially since she’s got an 1843 copy of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol to donate. Her former colleagues at the Boston Public Library have confirmed that its worth runs toward the high five figures, which should help with the new pediatric wing. Her mood darkens, though, when a visitor from the past appears—Jonathan Hemingway, the father of her late fiancé. His presence stirs up sad memories for Addie, but also has her fuming when Jonathan, true to his womanizing ways, runs off for a lunchtime liaison with Teresa Lang, who’s in charge of the auction.

Soon after, Addie heads to Teresa’s office at the hospital—and finds the poor woman’s dead body. What she doesn’t find is her valuable first edition. What sort of Scrooge would steal from sick children and commit murder in the process? As a Nor’easter bears down and a mystery emerges about Jonathan’s past, Addie must find out if she can appraise people’s motives and characters as well as she can appraise rare books…


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

Addie Greyborne is back for book three in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series by Lauren Elliott, Murder in the First Edition. Addie donates a valuable book to a local charity auction. When Addie discovers the organizer of the event is dead and the donated book is missing, she investigates to discover who could be behind the murder and theft.

I’ve read the first book in this series, Murder by the Book, but haven’t yet read the second book, Prologue to Murder. As with most series, this one is probably best read in order. Murder in the First Edition can be read as a standalone though.

I enjoy Addie’s book store and the small town atmosphere. This is one of my favorite settings for a cozy mystery. The fact that the mystery revolves around a missing book only adds to my enjoyment. The mystery involves Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and proves to be a valuable item for the local charity auction. Addie uses her knowledge of books to find the book thief.

The mystery is a standalone from the previous books, but Addie’s personal story continues. In this book, she is reunited with someone from her past – her late fiancé’s father. She doesn’t really trust him, and this plays a big part of the story. Plus, Addie has a couple of local men interested in her, but she’s having a hard time moving on and starting a new romance.

A delightful cozy mystery. I enjoyed Murder in the First Edition, and plan to go back and read book 2 in the series. This is a cozy mystery series I look forward to keeping up with. Good for fans of cozies who enjoy bookish themes set in a small town.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series:
  1. Murder by the Book
  2. Prologue to Murder
  3. Murder in the First Edition
  4. Proof of Murder
  5. A Page Marked for Murder
Book Review

The Body in the Gravel by Judi Lynn [Book Review]

The Body in the Gravel by Judi Lynn

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BOOK INFO

Title: The Body in the Gravel

Author: Judi Lynn

Publisher: Lyrical Underground

Publish Date: September 24, 2019

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: Jazzi Zanders Mystery #3

My Rating: 3/5

The Body in the Gravel by Judi Lynn

BOOK BLURB

Even in a lovely town like River Bluffs, Indiana, flipping houses can be a challenge. Especially when there’s the proverbial skeleton in the closet—and a literal corpse in the driveway . . .

House-flipper Jazzi Zanders has her work cut out for her. Her latest flip, which she co-purchased with her fiancée Ansel and cousin Jerod, is a three-story fixer-upper that’s more of a droopy-downer. One corner of the house is sinking and needs to be jacked up with a new cement foundation. That costs money. And causes headaches. And creates a work environment that’s not only hostile, it’s downright deadly . . .

Jazzi knows it’s a tough job. Which is why she hired Darby to lay the cement. But when Darby gets into a fiery argument with the furnace man—and then never shows up to lay gravel for the driveway—Jazzi starts to wonder if the rumors about Darby are true. Did he kill his wife and son and bury them in the yard like some folks claim? When Darby’s dead body comes pouring out of a gravel truck, murder upstages the real estate market as her biggest concern . . .


Purchase Links: Amazon


MY REVIEW

House-flipper Jazzi is back for the third book in the Jazzi Zanders Mystery series by Judi Lynn. Jazzi, her fiancé Ansel, and her cousin Jerod have a new project with a big home that requires a lot of work. One of their first tasks involves repairing the cement foundation and redoing the driveway. They contract with Darby, a cantankerous old man, for the cement work. When Darby turns up dead, Jazzi is on the case to find the killer.

I’ve read the previous two books in this series and recommend reading them in order: 1) The Body in the Attic, 2) The Body in the Wetlands. That said, they can be read out of order. The personal stories are continued, but the mystery is standalone for each book.

For me, this series is an okay cozy read. The writing is a bit clunky and I sometimes shake my head with the characters dialogue and actions. Still, I find it entertaining. My biggest fault with this series is how the detective on the case always involves Jazzi and asks for her help in solving the case. It’s a fictional story though, so I can gloss over that absurdity and enjoy the mystery. Mainly, I enjoy cozy mysteries with house flipper protagonists, so I’ll keep reading this series.

A light, cozy mystery. Likable characters and a decent mystery.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Jazzi Zanders Mystery Series:
  1. The Body in the Attic
  2. The Body in the Wetlands
  3. The Body in the Gravel
  4. The Body in the Apartment
  5. The Body from the Past
  6. The Body in the Beauty Parlor