Book Review: Handbook for Homicide by Lorna Barrett

Handbook for Homicide by Lorna Barrett

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BOOK INFO

Title: Handbook for Homicide
Author: Lorna Barrett
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: July 21, 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Booktown Mystery #14
My Rating: 3/5


BOOK BLURB

Tricia Miles must swim against the tide to catch a killer when Haven’t Got A Clue’s assistant manager is accused of murder in the latest entry to Lorna Barrett’s New York Times bestselling Booktown series.

Haven’t Got A Clue bookshop owner Tricia Miles’s relationship is on the rocks. After a not-so-fun vacation with her on-again-off-again lover, Marshall Cambridge, Tricia’s hoping for smooth sailing back in Stoneham. Unfortunately Booktown greets her not with blue skies but with another body.

When Tricia’s assistant manager, Pixie, finds homeless vet Susan Morris’s body behind Haven’t Got A Clue, Pixie’s checkered past makes her the prime suspect. Tricia sets out to clear Pixie’s name armed with only an anchor insignia earring found at the scene of the crime.

As Tricia digs deeper she discovers Susan was involved in a scandal right before retiring from the Navy—but since nobody in the village knows Susan, even Tricia’s one lead is in danger of drying up. With family drama brewing in the background and all of Stoneham convinced her manager is a murderer, Tricia knows she has to get to the bottom of the case soon before Pixie’s life is sunk.

Handbook for Homicide by Lorna Barrett
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

Tricia Miles and the residents of Stoneham are back! Handbook for Homicide is the 14th book in the Booktown Mystery series by Lorna Barrett. Tricia lives in the small town of Stoneham and runs a mystery bookstore. The town has several specialty book shops and book themed businesses that bring in visitors to the town. Tricia also has a habit of stumbling across dead bodies. She uses her love of mysteries to sleuth and find the real killers.

In this book, it’s not Tricia who finds the dead body, but her assistant manager, Pixie. The body is discovered behind the bookshop, and Tricia gets involved when it looks like one of the suspects is Pixie. The dead woman was a homeless vet, with few ties to the area. Tricia’s questions lead to wondering if the woman was killed from something in her military past or if a local was behind it.

An enjoyable cozy mystery. This book is part of a series, but it can be read as a standalone. That said, I recommend reading the earlier books to better understand the relationships between the characters. A good read for fans of cozies. Delightful and entertaining.

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

Book Review: The Grim Reader by Kate Carlisle

The Grim Reader by Kate Carlisle

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BOOK INFO

Title: The Grim Reader
Author: Kate Carlisle
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: June 2, 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Bibliophile Mystery #14
My Rating: 4/5


BOOK BLURB

San Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright was hoping for a fun, relaxing weekend at a local book fair, but a murderer made other plans in the latest in this New York Times bestselling series.

Brooklyn and her new hunky husband, Derek, are excited to be guests at Dharma’s first annual Book Festival. The entire town is involved and Brooklyn’s mom Rebecca is taking charge. In addition to all of her other event related duties, she’s got Brooklyn doing rare book appraisals and is also staging Little Women, the musical to delight the festival goers. If that wasn’t enough, she and Meg—Derek’s mom—will have a booth where they read palms and tarot cards.

Brooklyn couldn’t be prouder of her mom’s do-it-all attitude so when a greedy local businessman who seems intent on destroying Dharma starts harassing Rebecca, Brooklyn is ready to take him down. Rebecca is able to hold her own with the nasty jerk until one of her fellow festival committee members is brutally murdered and the money for the festival seems to have vanished into thin air.
Things get even more personal when one of Brooklyn’s nearest and dearest is nearly run down in cold blood. Brooklyn and Derek go into attack mode and the pressure is on to catch a spineless killer before they find themselves skipping the festival for a funeral.

The Grim Reader by Kate Carlisle
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

Brooklyn is back in this 14th book in the Bibliophile mystery series. Brooklyn is a book-restoration expert who occasionally gets involved with a murder mystery. In this book, Brooklyn and her husband are visiting Dharma, a small town in California’s wine country. They are gearing up for Dharma’s first book festival, and Brooklyn’s mother is organizing the event. Everything seems to be going well… until someone on the festival committee is murdered. Brooklyn is on the case to find the killer.

Likable characters in a charming setting. I haven’t read all of the books in this series, but it is one I try to read in order. As with most series, it helps better understand backstories. Still, The Grim Reader can be read as a standalone.

An engaging and entertaining cozy mystery. I enjoy cozies that involve books, so I usually like the books in this series. In addition to books, there is also a lot of talk about wine in The Grim Reader. A recommended read for fans of cozies featuring books and wine. Delightful and fun.

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

Book Review: Read or Alive by Nora Page

Read or Alive by Nora Page

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BOOK INFO

Title: Read or Alive
Author: Nora Page
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publish Date: May 12, 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Bookmobile Mystery #3
My Rating: 4/5


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.

Read or Alive by Nora Page
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

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.

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.

Book Review: Evil by the Sea by Kathleen Bridge

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


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…

Evil by the Sea by Kathleen Bridge
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

Liz, a novelist and amateur sleuth, works at her family’s hotel and emporium. In this book, 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.

The 4th book in the By the Sea mystery series. I recommend reading this series in order. 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.

Book Review: Murder in the Wine Country by Janet Finsilver

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


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…

Murder in the Wine Country by Janet Finsilver
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

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.

Book Review: Proof of Murder by Lauren Elliott

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


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…

Proof of Murder by Lauren Elliott
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

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

Book Review: The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton

The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton

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BOOK INFO

Title: The Stolen Letter
Author: Paige Shelton
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publish Date: April 7, 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Scottish Bookshop Mystery #5
My Rating: 3/5


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.

The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

This 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 in The Stolen Letter.

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 copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Body in the Apartment by Judi Lynn

The Body in the Apartment by Judi Lynn

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 Body in the Apartment
Author: Judi Lynn
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publish Date: March 17, 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Jazzi Zanders Mystery #4
My Rating: 3/5


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?


The Body in the Apartment by Judi Lynn
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


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.

Book Review: Paw of the Jungle by Diane Kelly

Paw of the Jungle by Diane Kelly

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


BOOK INFO

Title: Paw of the Jungle
Author: Diane Kelly
Publisher: St. Martin
Publish Date: November 26, 2019
Genre: Mystery
Series: Paw Enforcement #8
My Rating: 4/5


BOOK BLURB

Police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner in crime, Brigit, are on all fours as they try to solve their latest Lone Star mystery.

AT THE ZOO
The weather is beautiful, work is slow, and her canine colleague could use a walk. What better day for Megan to take Brigit to the Fort Worth Zoo, where they can let loose and witness the law and order of nature unfold? But what begins as a fun field trip turns serious when a pair of rare hyacinth macaws named Fabiana and Fernando goes missing. Is the new custodian, a gentle soul who happens to be an ex-convict, to blame? Or is something far more sinister afoot?

AND ON THE HUNT
The birds are worth thousands of dollars, and the list of people on the premises who might have stolen them is long. Soon other animals start disappearing. . .and Megan and Brigit have their hands and paws full of suspects. But when a rare black rhino is taken from the zoo, presumably for its black-market-friendly horn, time is of the essence. Can Megan and Brigit find out who’s behind the mystery—before they too become prey?


Paws of the Jungle by Diane Kelly
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

The eighth book in the Paw Enforcement series by Diane Kelly. Officer Megan and her K-9 partner Brigit investigate missing animals from the zoo. In addition to the main crime of finding who stole the animals, Megan is also working a case involving missing jewelry. Plus, her firefighter boyfriend Seth is working with a new paramedic. An attractive woman who causes Megan to worry about her relationship with Seth.

Told using multiple points of view – Megan, Brigit, and the guilty party. Megan is a likable character. She’s hardworking, sensible, and quick witted. Brigit is a delightful dog, and I enjoy her amusing viewpoints. It’s great to read how Megan and Brigit work the case, but also nice to get the viewpoint from the one committing the crimes.

A fun, humorous, and entertaining mystery. An enjoyable addition to the series, and I look forward to reading more books about Megan and Brigit.

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

Book Review: Enforcing the Paw by Diane Kelly

Enforcing the Paw by Diane Kelly

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


BOOK INFO

Title: Enforcing the Paw
Author: Diane Kelly
Publisher: St. Martin
Publish Date: June 27, 2017
Genre: Mystery
Series: Paw Enforcement #6
My Rating: 4/5


BOOK BLURB

When a case of he-said/she-said turns criminal, it’s up to Megan Luz and her devoted K-9 to dig for the truth…

A TAIL OF TWO LOVERS
When relationships go south, some people just can’t—or won’t—let go. When Fort Worth Police Officer Megan Luz and her pawed partner Brigit investigate a series of stalking incidents involving a couple who recently broke up, their detective powers are put to the test. Is this a case of a controlling creep who refuses to accept rejection—or one about a woman scorned whose fury has been unleashed?

WHO END UP IN THE DOGHOUSE…
As hostilities escalate between the former lovers, the situation goes from romantically dysfunctional to downright dangerous. He insists his former flame has become a crazy ex-girlfriend intent on vengeance. She alleges that he is a master of manipulation and lays blame entirely at his feet. Who’s the culprit and who’s the victim? Can Megan and Brigit sniff out the truth. . .before somebody ends up dead?

Enforcing the Paw is part of Diane Kelly’s fun and smart Paw Enforcement series.


Enforcing the Paw by Diane Kelly
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


MY REVIEW

The sixth book in the Paw Enforcement series by Diane Kelly. Officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit investigate a stalking case. The case involves a former couple. He’s claiming his ex-girlfriend is stalking him. She claims he’s manipulating things, and he’s the stalker.

Told with multiple points of view – Megan, Brigit, and the guilty party. I enjoy the humorous parts involving Brigit’s viewpoint. The mystery is entertaining, and Megan has to do a little work to discover what is really going on with the former couple and their problems.

A delightful mystery. Likable characters in a fun story. This is an entertaining series, and I look forward to reading more of these books.

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