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review 2020-03-01 05:57
Review: Murder at Pirate’s Cove by Josh Lanyon
Murder at Pirates Cove - Josh Lanyon

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

A quaint seaside town with picturesque streets, adorably-named shops, and pirate-themed celebrations…Pirate’s Cove is practically made for a postcard. It’s exactly the kind of change New York screenwriter Ellery Page needs. Well, it was until a dead body shows up in his newly-inherited bookstore. Ellery is having a hard enough time saving the failing bookstore and trying to keep the crumbling mansion he’s also inherited from falling down around his ears, so being accused of murder is almost enough to make him want to run screaming back to the city. If he wants to make a go of it in Pirate’s Cove, Ellery will need to think like the detectives in the books he sells and – much to the consternation of handsome the police chief Jack Carson – discover who is trying to frame him before time runs out.

Murder at Pirate’s Cove is a delightful cozy mystery with interesting characters and a quirky town I can’t wait come back to. I admit, cozy mysteries aren’t my usual fare but I love Josh Lanyon’s writing so of course I wanted to give this a try. I’m so glad I did, for this book was a fast-paced, fun, and completely addictive.

Ellery isn’t a detective – heck, he doesn’t even read mysteries – but when someone’s trying to frame you for murder, you (at least in fiction) put on your deerstalker cap and get to work. Ellery has a bright, engaging personality that drew me in even when he’s at his most exhausted and frustrated. He’s also readers’ entree into the world of Pirate’s Cove with its cleverly named stores and gossipy residents. I enjoyed the bits of Pirate’s Cove that were introduced in this story and I cannot wait to learn more as the Secrets and Scrabble series goes on. The most intriguing character in Pirate’s Cove is its police chief, Jack Carson. We only get a taste of the real man behind the badge in this story, but oh, what a deliciously intriguing taste it is. There’s no romance in Murder at Pirate’s Cove, but the energy fairly crackles between Ellery and Jack and I can’t wait for the promise of what’s to come.

The question of who murdered the rather unlikable Trevor Maples is at the center of the story and the mystery itself is wholly engaging. I loved watching Ellery put everything together and Ms. Lanyon keeps the twists coming while still making it believable. Since this is a cozy mystery there is no on-page violence or sex, but even to a non-cozy reader like myself the book isn’t missing anything from the lack of it. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Murder at Pirate’s Cove and I cannot wait to learn more about Ellery, Jack, and the residents of Pirate’s Cove!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-murder-at-pirates-cove-by-josh.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-12-01 04:07
I Buried a Witch
I Buried a Witch - Josh Lanyon

As with Mainly by Moonlight, I wrestled with rating this book. I may do a full review later on, but for now here's a quick and dirty list of what worked for me and what didn't.  Some spoilers below.

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Likes:
- Cosmo - he's a kindhearted witch with a bright personality and an interesting voice. I adored him and want to see him get the happily ever after he deserves.
- When Cosmo acknowledges that his marriage to John isn't one of equals. I loved when he finally stands up for himself instead of letting John steamroll him (more on that below).
- Josh Lanyon's writing, which sucked me in. I read I Buried a Witch in one sitting and can't believe how fast the pages flew by.

 

Dislikes:
- John. He's judgmental, unyielding, domineering, and occasionally condescending toward Cosmo.
- Cosmo ceding all the power in their relationship because he's afraid of losing John.
- The foundations of the romance were shaky to begin with and the more I saw of John the more the fine cracks in the romance developed into dangerous faults. A non-spoiler example: John decides they're going to put a pool in the backyard. Cosmo objects because he's terrified of water. Rather than asking him why or showing any interest in his feelings at all, John dismisses Cosmo and declares they're getting a pool and he wants Cosmo to deal with the contractor.
- I hated that - since this is a romance - it seemed to me like Cosmo would be better off without John. The fact that in one scene he's actually physically afraid of him? No matter that the fear is short-lived, this is a huge red flag for me.
- I loved that Cosmo acknowledges the faults in their relationship and starts to stand up for himself, but it felt like he forgave John quickly with so little give on John's part.
- John's version of compromise at the end made me feel even more unsettled about their future; I feel like he hasn't really changed and he still doesn't accept who Cosmo is.

 

Neutral:
- The mystery involving who was murdering Wiccans was interesting, if understated
- The ongoing mystery plus some witch politics are also interesting (I know I keep using that word, but it really fits this story and it's part of why I rated it as high as I did), but there are a lot of threads to be tied up in the third book. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.

 

 

All in all, I Buried a Witch is an engaging second installment to the Bedknobs and Broomsticks series. Josh Lanyon's writing is as addictive as ever (which bumped this rating up one star for me), but as this really feels like part 2 of 3 of a larger book, I'm waiting to see what happens in Bell, Book and Scandal before I can decide how I feel about Cosmo's journey as a whole. The fact that the romance is so deeply flawed is interesting, so long as the love story is ultimately resolved in a satisfying manner. I'm optimistic and I hope Cosmo comes into his own and John becomes a husband worthy of him.

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review 2019-10-08 17:37
Mainly by Moonlight
Mainly by Moonlight - Josh Lanyon

3.25 - 3.5 stars

Mainly by Moonlight is a book that’s hard for me to rate. I really enjoyed reading it and didn’t want to put it down. I *adored* Cosmo and wanted to see him get the HEA he yearned for.

However, I can’t deny there were *a lot* of little niggling issues I had with the story, the world building, the romance, and some of the characters. (And yes, I’m taking into account this is really 1/3 of a larger story). Little things here and there really pile up.

So I’m vacillating wildly on this rating. My heart says 4 stars, but my brain strongly objects and won’t let all those little issues go.

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review 2019-08-14 16:20
Mainly by Moonlight - Josh Lanyon
Mainly by Moonlight - Josh Lanyon

I have to admit, I skimmed the last third or so of this book because I wanted to see if various things in the plot got resolved, only to discover that they didn't (though apparently one of them is a major plot point in book 2).

 

This is one of those books which could have been so much better if a couple of things had been resolved, or at least the main character actually thought through the consequences of their actions. There's just too much going on and too many characters who are quirky in different ways rather than having actual human characteristics. 

 

Anyway, on to Mainly by Moonlight itself. The basic premise is that our protagonist, an antiques dealer who also happens to have magical powers, runs across a hunky guy while they're both wanting to buy a weird bed at auction and doesn't really think much of it. Later on, he discovers said hunky guy has been trying to track him down, they date and suddenly they're getting married. 

 

Between that decision and the actual wedding, he discovers that his husband-to-be has been bewitched into believing it's true love. Before he finds this out, he's also accused of murder as he's found by the police standing over the body of a man he'd previously argued with. So far so good, complete with quirky meet-cute and ethical dilemma, alongside a practical problem to solve (together or apart), as his impending spouse is the district attorney. 

 

And that's where for me it all goes awry. First off, they are getting married after only knowing each other for 2 weeks. Yes, 2 weeks. And apparently managed to organise buying a new place, getting some renovations done on it and also a pair of wedding ceremonies in that time. Forgive me if that alone is stretching the bounds of credulity. However, more work's been done by the author on the wedding details than on giving hubbie-to-be an actual personality, which means he comes across as a bid of a tree stump and I never quite get a sense of why this is a relationship I'm supposed to care about. 

 

None of that would have been insurmountable, however, compared to the fact that after discovering that there's coercion involved (because putting magic on someone to make them believe they've found The One is just that), not only do they continue with the wedding, they also have sex together while he waits to see if the spell is just going to wear off. Dude, that's just not okay. And our protagonist doesn't seem to see the implications of the fact they've already had sex in these circumstances, not to mention that he doesn't seem particularly angry at his friend for putting him in this situation. Friends who don't mind making you complicit in sexual assault, what can you do?

 

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

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review 2019-06-17 17:54
Another short but fun listen...
Mummy Dearest (The XOXO Files #1) - Josh Lanyon, Sean Crisden

narrated by Sean Crisden another one of my favorite narrators. It's been a while since I enjoyed a Josh Lanyon story and I really enjoyed this one so for me it was an easy choice to enjoy this story again while I was organizing some of my computer files. 'Mummy Dearest' was slated to be the first book in Josh Lanyon's 'XOXO' series and while nothing more has been released since this one, 'Mummy Dearest' is able to stand on it's own as an enjoyable short story.

 

With Sean Crisden as always providing an enjoyable narration that adds depth and interest to the characters and the story this one works really well as an entertaining and enjoyable way to pass an afternoon and if you like a touch of humor in your stories this one hits the mark in that department as well.

 

Definitely recommended for a short, fun listen when you've got a couple of hours to fill.

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