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review 2017-05-26 11:47
Dead in the Water (Mattie Winston, #8)
Dead in the Water - Annelise Ryan

I almost don't want to call this a cozy; the crimes committed are pretty vividly written, and although not graphic in a visceral sense, I found it emotionally so.

 

Mattie is feeling a little overwhelmed with wedding planning and child rearing when her best friend, co-worker and mentor has a severe medical crisis and another co-worker is one of three murder victims in a 24-hour span. 

 

Gone are the days of the early-series Mattie, the one that fumbled about in a sometimes painfully slapstick manner; she's a more confident, pulled together Mattie, even when she's struggling to keep it all together.  She's a great heroine: smart, independent, rational, and humorous.  Her romantic interest is an alpha male who does not try to control her in the slightest, but instead works with her.  Together they're a great pair to cheer on and the cast of supporting characters are all human and likeable.

 

The murder plotting was excellent and there are ties to cold cases and old history; my only complaint is that this is obviously part of a bigger over-arcing plot and I can't say I care much for those in the context of an on-going series.  A planned trilogy is one thing, but open-ended series have a tendency to get cancelled before the author can resolve that long-game plot, leaving their readers hanging.  I'm not saying that's going to happen here, but it's happened often enough to sour me on the concept.

 

I'm also annoyed that this series started in hardcover, switched to paperback and is now back to hardcover, but that's not the author's fault; I'm just grumping about it because it plays havoc on my shelves.

 

Looking forward to what happens next with Mattie and Steve.

 

 

 

Total pages: 344

$$:  $3.00

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review 2017-05-24 08:29
The Witch and the Dead (Witchcraft Mystery, #7)
The Witch and the Dead - Heather Blake

These are always good fun: sweet without being sticky, sentimental without being sappy and the mysteries always well thought out.

 

As Darcy is moving out of her Aunt Ve's house into her own, Aunt Ve takes the opportunity to clean her garage out and finds a dead body: ex-husband #2 (Aunt Ve likes men) who disappeared the day after the elopement 30 years before.  Seems he never really left Aunt Ve (garage was used for storage, detached from the house, and Aunt Ve traveled extensively after he 'left' - for those wondering about the smell, flies, etc).

 

I'm not even going to bother touching on believability; the premise is a village full of magical witches so really, why bother?  But Blake does create believable characters; magic or not, these are real people and she makes it so, so easy to become invested in their lives. The mystery plot is well crafted too, and heartbreaking in its way.

 

It's a cute story and series, but it's a solid one and I'll keep on reading as long as Black keeps on writing.

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review 2017-05-22 20:25
Review Hospitality and Homicide
Hospitality and Homicide (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon

See this and all of my reviews at Mystereity Reviews

I sat down last night to read for an hour or 2 until my favorite show came on and missed my show! (Thank goodness for DVRs!) There were two riveting plots in this one, B&B innkeeper Walter is found dead, murdered in a way that closely mirrored the plot of visiting crime author Nathan Pike's new novel and a child missing after being swept off the beach by a wave. Esmeralda claims he's still alive but in peril and won't survive much longer. I was totally roped in by this story line, Esmeralda was definitely the unsung hero of this book! I loved seeing more of her (she's always been one of my favorite characters!) The storyline about Walter's murder was baffling and I loved the surprise twist at the end. Throw in relationship issues, Economics finals, broken hearts, hot coffee and a slice of cheesecake and you've got a riveting cozy mystery to wrap yourself up in.

I've read this series from the beginning, I've always felt is was more than just a cozy mystery series, it's also a community; one that you stop and visit often to catch up with the characters. I love that the story lines progress naturally and there's always new people to meet and love. I know Deek will be a great addition to the CBM family and what was the deal with Nathan? Multiple personalities? That's a plot unto itself!

Overall, another excellent chapter in the Tourist Trap series and ranks up there as the best of the series. Definitely a must read for any cozy mystery fan!

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review 2017-05-22 20:23
Review Grand Prize: Murder
Grand Prize: Murder! (A Country Gift Shop Cozy Mystery series, Book 2) - Vivian Conroy

Vicky Simmons is back in Grand Prize Murder, the second book in the Country Gift Shop series. Author Bella Brookes has come to Glen Cove on a book tour to kick off a scavenger hunt to publicize her newest novel. When a man is found murdered next to an item linked to Bella, Vicky is certain that Bella is being framed and starts her own investigation. Hampered by a reporter with an agenda and trying to keep her promise to Cash to stay out of his investigations, Vicky sets out to unravel tightly held secrets to find a killer.

 

Light and entertaining, Grand Prize Murder combines colorful characters with a twisty, puzzling plot that kept me glued to the book. This is the second book in the Country Gift Shop series (can be read as a standalone, but I definitely recommend reading the first one in this series!) and I loved returning to Glen Cove and Vicky's adorable gift shop. What really sets this apart from other cozies is that the clues are little teasers that pulled me in and kept me reading. I would've loved it if the scavenger hunt was a bigger part of the story, it would've been a great way to introduce more of Glen Cove, giving me a better sense of the place. I liked that Bella was herself a cozy mystery author, sort of like a truth-meets-fiction moment, and I loved how how the scavenger plot was a cozy mystery within a cozy mystery. Cute! And I loved the little plot twist at the end of the book, it really capped off a great mystery.

 

Overall, a great mystery and a cute little series and highly recommended for cozy mystery fans.

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review 2017-05-21 15:42
Audio Book Review: A Spell of Trouble
A Spell Of Trouble (Silver Hollow Paranormal Cozy Mystery Series) (Volume 1) - Traci Douglass,Leighann Dobbs

*I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

The description of the book works well to tell you about it, so I'm going to skip the description I usually do.

Okay. I'm sold on the little extras in a story. Amy adds tinkling music as the title is read, and I just loved it. Amy does well with giving small personality differences when Issy and her cousins are together talking. There are little tone and attitude feel to them as she speaks. Amy has made it easy for me to forget she's narrating. This is a good thing! That means the story comes through strong, she's letting the story evolve through her and itself. Well done.


The story moves rather fast in talking to suspects and leads. I liked the quick moving of details and not getting caught up in details. I didn't feel as we missed anything, just that the story moved along a a good pace to keep me interested.

There are photos that Issy is looking for that could incriminate her cousin Gray. Though, I'm not sure what the hard push for these photos is. I'm wondering what else would be in the photo other than Gray in his birthday suit in the woods. There has to be more, right? And the strange feel we get from Gray and another character... we learn a bit about what his ritual was for in the end. But, as I went through the book I started to pick up that magic and witches is kept at a secret and that's what the photo's would have damaged for Gray, make him look like a witch with the town and get in trouble with the council.

I enjoyed the relaxing, cozy mystery here. Sometimes it's nice to take a slower pace then the high octane fights and rush. This was just that for me. You don't have the high suspense thriller heart-thumping worries. Or high action. It's exactly what the book is classified as, a cozy mystery. With a dab of paranormal. There was danger, but nothing that felt like our Quinn family was next on the list to die, though in the end there is a chance.

Issy works with different cousins and other paranormals in town to get to the bottom of the magical case. I found the characters to all be kind. I enjoyed them and their familiars. Even the one character that wasn't really a friend, she starts to grow into more. Nice creation here. Issy and her cousins are great together. I almost got the feel as if they were siblings more than cousins. It's a very tight family network here. And seeing them interact with their different familiars and each others was cute. But I think I really enjoy Brimstone, he's like a mysterious character. Brimstone is a stray cat that isn't anyone's familiar, yet he talks. We don't know when he'll show up.

The best way to solve a mystery is dig in, ask questions, and keep thinking when a suspect doesn't pan out at first try. It may lead you to the true culprit. And Issy does just this.

I enjoyed the relaxing mystery here and enjoyed the characters with their familiars. I would like to continue with the series as it's a story that's easy to relax and just enjoy.

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