Book Review: Pawprints & Predicaments by Bethany Blake

Pawprints & Predicaments by Bethany Blake

Pawprints & Predicaments
by Bethany Blake

Daphne, and other locals in Sylvan Creek, are not too happy with Lauren, a TV producer. Lauren is working on a show that features the pet-friendly town, but she is harsh and controlling. At the Winterfest’s first-ever polar bear plunge, Lauren is killed. Amateur sleuth Daphne sets out to find who killed Lauren.

The 3rd book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery series. I have not read the previous two books, but I enjoyed this book and will keep an eye out for others by Bethany Blake.

A cozy mystery for dog lovers. The mystery part was good and kept me interested. The characters and setting were delightful. Sylvan Creek is very pet-friendly, especially to dogs. Most characters have a dog in this everyone knows everyone, and their dog, town. As a nice bonus, recipes for pet treats are included in the back of the book.

I received a digital copy of this book from Kensington and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Lost Books and Old Bones by Paige Shelton

Lost Books and Old Bones by Paige Shelton

Lost Books and Old Bones
by Paige Shelton

Delaney moved to Scotland from the US to work for a bookseller. She has been in Scotland for about a year, and has recently been friendly with a couple of the local medical students. One night, Delaney goes out with the medical students and meets some of their friends. The next morning, one of the women Delaney had met the night before is found murdered just outside the bookshop. Delaney is curious as to why the woman was outside the bookshop, and suspects it may have something to do with the bookshop’s “secret” warehouse.

The 3rd book in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series. This is the first book I have read in this series.

I love the setting. Delaney works for a bookshop in Scotland that specializes in rare books. Delaney was likable, though I wish I had read the first two books in the series to know more about her. Since reading Lost Bones and Old Books, I have checked with my local library and they have the first two books in the series. I’ll be picking them up soon to read them.

This cozy mystery was interesting and incorporated some history about the Burke and Hare murders that took place in Edinburgh 1828. Burke and Hare were two men who killed people and sold their corpses to a local doctor for dissection and study.

I received an eARC from Minotaur Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is expected to be published in April 2018.

Book Review: Jamie Quinn Mystery Series by Barbara Venkataraman

Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection: Books 1-3 by Barbara Venkataraman

Book 1: Death by Didgeridoo
Book 2: The Case of the Killer Divorce
Book 3: Peril in the Park
Book 4: Engaged in Danger
Book 5: Jeopardy in July
by Barbara Venkataraman

Jamie is an attorney that practices family law, but manages to occasionally find herself in the middle of a mystery. To help her solve the mysteries, she gets helps from an amusing cast of characters, primarily her best friend Grace and a private investigator, Duke.

Death by Didgeridoo
The first book in the Jamie Quinn Mystery series.

Jamie’s cousin is accused of murder, and he needs her help. Jamie is an attorney, though not of criminal law, but she want to help her family. Her cousin has Asperger’s, and it’s inconceivable to her that he is capable of committing a violent crime. Jamie, along with the help of a few friends, searches for the real killer.

A humorous cozy mystery. The characters were relatable, and I enjoyed the interactions Jamie had with her best friend and the private investigator. This was a quick, fun read.

The Case of the Killer Divorce
The second book in the Jamie Quinn Mystery series.

Jamie has recently returned to her family law practice after a brief time away to deal with her mother’s death. One of Jamie’s current cases is a bitter divorce, that turns to murder. In her personal life, Jamie wants to learn more about her father.

The murder mystery was light, but with some twists. In addition to the mystery of whether Jamie’s client killed her soon-to-be ex, Jamie decided to search for her long-lost father. I was curious where this story would lead, but it was wrapped up too abruptly for me. As for romance, an old flame returned to Jamie’s life.

A fun and humorous cozy mystery. I have enjoyed the characters in this series: Jamie is smart, compassionate, and relatable; Jamie’s bestie, Grace, is no-nonsense, yet funny; and private investigator Duke is a lecherous drunkard, but likable. Jamie’s aunt and cousin weren’t as prominent in this book as the first, but it’s clear Jamie believes family is important.

Peril in the Park
The third book in the Jamie Quinn Mystery series.

Jamie’s boyfriend, Kip, is having trouble at work. He is the new director of Broward County parks, and someone is trying to make his work life miserable. Between dealing with vandalism in the parks, disgruntled employees, and a land development deal, Kip’s hands are full. Along with wanting to help Kip with his work woes, Jamie also helps her father try to obtain his US citizenship.

This book focused more on Kip and mysteries related to his work. Jamie wanted to help her boyfriend, so she contacted her favorite private investigator, Duke, to figure out who was causing problems for Kip. I enjoyed this story. Kip was another great character, and as usual, Duke brought a lot of humor to the story.

As a side story, Jamie’s father was having trouble obtaining US citizenship. Jamie enlisted the help of her best friend Grace to discover what was the problem. Grace was once again level-headed and practical, but humorous.

Engaged in Danger
The fourth book in the Jamie Quinn Mystery series.

Jamie works a high-profile divorce case of a woman who wants to get away from her husband, a corrupt businessman. A few side stories are also going on in Jamie’s life, including helping her neighbors discover who owned the plane that crashed and killed their sister and brother-in-law.

A quick and fun cozy mystery. Jamie worked harder in this one than the others. She had a high profile case in this book, and it kicked her into higher gear for work. Plus, her boyfriend, Kip, left the country for work, and she was looking for ways to distract herself while he was away. Jamie and her best friend, Grace, had the opportunity to work together in this book. It was fun to see their work relationship, but they also had a big falling out over personal matters. Also reappearing were Duke, the unorthodox private investigator, and Nick, the slick politician.

Jeopardy in July
The fifth book in the Jamie Quinn mystery series.

Jamie’s current divorce case takes her to an assisted living facility. After visiting the facility and getting to know some of the people, Jamie takes a job there to lead seminars. The job is fairly simple, Jamie will host seminars and help the seniors with their legal paperwork, but, of course, nothing is as easy as it appears. As Jamie spends time with the seniors, she gets involved in a mystery of suspicious deaths and art forgery.

This book brings back Jessie, a friend Jamie made in a previous book, but includes her bestie Grace and the odd, but lovable, Duke. I enjoy the recurring characters in this series. Jamie is fun, but her friends provide some real laugh out loud moments. Jamie’s family drama continues, but takes a backseat to the other action.

My favorite Grace/Jamie interaction in this book:
“I was wondering — do you want to check out a new brewery in Fort Lauderdale? They have games and food trucks.”
“But do they have beer?” I joked.
“They have kegs and kegs of the stuff — with flavors like coffee, and peanut butter and jelly.”
“Call me old-fashioned,” I said, “but I like beer-flavored beer. Do they have any of that?”

This made me laugh out loud because my husband and I enjoy visiting breweries and trying new beers, and we always make fun of the weird beers that breweries make nowadays. I’m with Jamie, I like beer-flavored beer.

This is a fun series. Jamie and her friends, family, and other assorted characters are entertaining and likable. Great reads for fans of cozy mysteries.

I was contacted by the author to review the Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection: Books 1-3. At the time, it was a promo on Kindle, so I downloaded it there. After reading the first three books in the series, I enjoyed them so much, I read the rest of the series.

Book Review: The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone

The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone

The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss
by Max Wirestone

Dahlia Moss is hired to be an industry spy. Her job is to work as a temp at a software game development company and acquire the information her client wants. Mainly, the client wants to know what is taking so long for a game to be developed and they want the code to see what the problem is. However, once Dahlia is at the company, a couple of other issues arise, namely a mystery whistleblower and a dead body in the store room.

The third book in the Dahlia Moss mystery series. This is the first book I have read in this series, and it was a quick and entertaining cozy mystery.

Silly and light. Many crazy escapades occur along the way to Dahlia solving the mystery, but that was the fun of this book. Good for fans of contemporary cozies with kooky characters.

I received a copy of this book from Orbit Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Beignets and Broomsticks by J. R. Ripley

Beignets and Broomsticks
by J. R. Ripley

Maggie runs a beignet shop in a small town in Arizona. The local business owners open their doors on Halloween to give treats to the kids, and Maggie has one of those businesses. After closing up, she has some extra beignets, so she drops by a regular customers place to give them the treat. Unfortunately, Maggie stumbles across a murder scene. Her regular customer had been killed, and Maggie wants to know who did it and why.

The 3rd book in the Maggie Miller mystery series. This is the first book in the series that I have read. A quick and fun cozy mystery with small town atmosphere, quirky locals, and witchcraft.

The story is told from Maggie’s point of view. She is mostly likable, and there are plenty of small town antics involved in her story. She has a few friends and family in the story, but she also has a few people that aren’t exactly friendly. Since I haven’t read the others in the series, I’m not sure about Maggie’s background. It seems she is restarting after a divorce, and her beignet business is part of her new life.

Good for fans of cozy mysteries. I’m originally from Louisiana, so I was immediately drawn to beignets being in the title. To be honest, I was a little disappointed the story took place in Arizona, rather than Louisiana.

I received a copy of this book from Severn House and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Murder on the Rocks by Shawn Reilly Simmons

Murder on the Rocks by Shawn Reilly Simmons

Murder on the Rocks
by Shawn Reilly Simmons

Penelope and her friends are enjoying a nice brunch at a local cafe, when the restaurant is robbed. The women are okay physically, but very shaken after the attack. A series of events follows, and it seems someone is targeting Penelope’s friend Nadia, a tennis pro serving as consultant on the film Penelope is catering. With several strange events occurring, Penelope seeks to learn which events are connected and who is behind them.

The 5th book in the A Red Carpet Catering Mystery series, but the first one I have read. I enjoy cozy mysteries, and found this to be an entertaining, light read.

This book packed a lot of mystery. There were two main mysteries, who attacked the cafe and who was after Nadia. Plus, there were a couple of smaller mysteries, theft in the local police department and the filmmaker’s family feud. I thought it was a bit much, and could have done with a little less mystery.

I received a copy of this book from Henery Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Better Dead by Pamela Kofler

Better Dead by Pamela Kopfler

Better Dead
by Pamela Kofler

Holly’s husband, Burl, has up and died. Holly is not exactly sad to see Burl go, after all, he was cheating on her and nearly bankrupted her B&B business. Just when she’s ready to move on and get her life back together, Burl shows up. Now he is a ghost, and needs Holly’s help so his spirit can move on. Turns out, Burl was involved in a drug smuggling ring, and he wants Holly’s help to break it up. To complicate matters, Holly’s old high school flame is back in town, and staying at her B&B.

A paranormal cozy mystery. The first in the B&B Spirits Mystery series. A fun and entertaining read. The characters were well-developed, with Holly being smart, determined, sarcastic, and likable. I’m originally from Louisiana, and a fan of cozy mysteries, so this was right up my alley. Looking forward to more of this series.

Mystery. ✓
Romance. ✓
Humor. ✓
Ghosts. ✓
Small town charm. ✓
Dog named Rhett. ✓
Mint julep recipe. ✓

I received a copy of this book from Kensington Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett

The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett

The Liar in the Library
by Simon Brett

A suspicious death occurs after an author talk at the local library. Jude becomes a prime suspect, and must solve the case to clear her name.

This book was a bit of a tribute to the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. The classic whodunit solved by amateur sleuths. Lots of references to the formula of a classic detective story.

Jude and her neighbor, Carole, are amateur sleuths in the small, fictional English village of Fethering. This is the 18th book in the series, but the first one I have read. It was okay as a standalone read, but I think I may have understood the recurring characters more if I had read some of the previous books.

I enjoyed the mystery part of the story, but it was light on character development. I wasn’t a fan of the main characters, and didn’t see any chemistry to keep me reading the series.

A light read. Good for fans of cozy mysteries, especially those set in England and/or with middle-aged protagonists.

I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Full Bodied Murder by Christine E. Blum

Full Bodied Murder by Christine E. Blum

Full Bodied Murder
by Christine E. Blum

I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Halsey moves to Southern California from New York City. Her new neighborhood takes some getting used to, but some friendly neighbors invite her to join their Rose Avenue Wine Club. Halsey enjoys wine and wants to meet her new neighbors, so she happily accepts the invitation. Unfortunately, Halsey goes to the wrong house for her first wine club meeting… and stumbles upon a dead body. The police see Halsey as a suspect, so she and the other wine club members take on a little sleuthing to prove her innocence. It turns out, there are quite a few suspects on Rose Avenue.

I always enjoy a cozy mystery, and I like to read with while enjoying a glass of wine, so this book seemed right up my alley. This was a solid mystery, though there did seem to be a lot of other things going on with the neighbors. Mostly likable characters, but not enough character development to truly care about anyone. The dog, Bardot, was pretty great though. I saw that this is set to be a series, and it was a good introduction to the characters.

I thought the list of wines in the back of the book was a nice touch. Also, the glossary for wine-related lingo could be helpful for non-wine drinkers.

Full Bodied Murder was a light read and good for fans of cozy mysteries.

Book Review: For Better or Worse by Donna Huston Murray

For Better or Worse by Donna Huston Murray

For Better or Worse
by Donna Huston Murray

I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ginger Barnes is working on a DIY project at her daughter’s house when she gets involved with some of the neighbors. One is a frazzled young mother with a controlling husband. The other is a young man who is helping to care for his grandmother, who ends up in the hospital after a fall down some stairs. Meanwhile, after Ginger’s best friend tries to set her up with a new fella, Ginger finds herself working as a babysitter for the man’s grandson… though Ginger suspects something is off with the parents. With all these new people in her life, Ginger tows the line between being nosy and keeping her mouth shut versus stepping in when something is really going on.

Ginger Barnes is a widow with a recently married daughter and a son in college. She enjoys walking her dog and working on DIY projects… and occasional sleuthing. Ginger seems to question most everyone and everything she encounters. This was a well-written character that seemed real, with real life worries and concerns.

This was a quick, lighthearted book. Great for fans of cozy mysteries. Though the story is written in an easy reading and lighthearted way, some difficult topics are discussed, namely domestic abuse.

This was the first book I’ve read in this series. It was a good read, and I look forward to reading more about Ginger Barnes and her amateur sleuthing.