Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower

25894026 Last book of the readathon, Crime and Poetry, A Magical Bookshop Mystery was an excellent start to a new series.  The main character, Violen, is tricked into rushing home, a place she did not want to return to after a traumatic event in her youth.  Shortly after she arrives there is a murder and her grandmother is a suspect, so Violet investigates to clear her grandmother’s name.  The grandmother is the proprietor of a bookshop, but it is not an ordinary bookshop.  Magic, wise animals (perhaps familars), hunky love interests, and lots of books make for an enchanting combination in this cozy mystery.  I can’t wait to read more!

An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly

226687731 This is the third in the County Cork Mystery series by Sheila Connolly.  In this series, Maura is a novice pub owner and an American ex-pat, who inherited a pub in Ireland.  This series does a great job at immersing the reader in the setting, developing a great sense of place.  The mystery  in this book revolves around Irish music and musicians and the importance of it in Irish culture.  The recurring characters of Bridget, Billy, Mick, Rose, and Sean are all here again and are becoming more fully developed as the series progresses.  There is the start of romantic developments in this book as well as the murder mystery and the Irish music storyline.  The storylines work well together and make this a very satisfying read.  This is truly  a series that gets better and better!

White Colander Crime by Victoria Hamilton

24611568 The second book of today’s readathon, White Colander Crime by Victoria Hamilton is book 5 in the A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series.  This book in the series is set at Christmas time, so there is a holiday theme to it.  The secondary storyline involves Jakob and Jaymie’s romance that develops nicely building on the previous book.  The murder plot begins when Jaymie stumbles upon the body and her boss’s son is accused.  Attempting to clear his name leads to exposing other crimes putting Jaymie and Valetta in danger.  There was a lot going on in White Colander Crime,  between the holiday theme, the romance and the intertwined crimes. so the focus was not on the Vintage Kitchen theme as much as it had been in earlier books.   Definitely a bit darker than the earlier books in the series as well.  A well done mystery that shows growth and development that should occur with a series over time.

A Timely Vision

7620279  Read A Timely Vision by Joyce and Jim Lavene as my first book for the Hooked on Books 24 hour Readathon.   In this series opener, Dae O’Connell the mayor of her small beach front town and small business owner , has a psychic talent for finding lost or missing objects.  Her quest for a missing object actually leads to a dead body and plunges her into the murder investigation.  Along the way , she deals with a common criminal, a related cold case and a shady real estate developer all with the help of a couple of romantic interests.  I enjoyed this and found it to be a good set up for a cozy series with a paranormal element.

As a side note, Joyce and Jim Lavene were a husband and wife cozy writing team. responsible for a large number of popular cozy series over the years.  Joyce passed away last October and I believe that Jim is continuing writing.

Better Homes and Corpses

24792627This is the first in a new series, A Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery.  In this series, the protagonist, Meg,  is a decorator/restorer/antique collector, who has moved to the Hamptons after catching her fiance cheating with his ex. Meg runs into an old college roommate and that chance meeting leads to a murder investigation.  The case involves old family money, amnesia, estranged family members, hidden affairs, an ex popping out of the woodwork and new romance. The plot is well done with lots of twists and turns.  The characters are interesting and I really liked Meg and can’t wait to read more in this series.  Excellent new cozy!

Library Reads

These three are library reads I picked up recently.  The Question of the Missing Head is a book club read for the Booktrader of Hamilton book club.  The protagonist Samuel has Asperger’s Syndrome and it is is his quirky behavior and reactions that drive much of the action.  His sidekick, Ms. Washburn, is an interesting character in her own right.  Finding herself unemployed and with a “question” she contacts Samuel and they fall into a partnership of sorts at Samuel’s business – answering questions.  The main question for the novel is “what happened to the head”, the head being stored at a Cryonics Institute for reanimation at some later date.  The mystery and the cast of characters is well crafted with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing.  Samuel strikes me as being very like Sean Stone from Chasing Shadows, a TV show I really like and can’t wait to see another season on Acorn TV soon.

 
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Scam Chowder is the second book in Maya Corrigan’s A Five Ingredient Mystery  Series.  When I read the first in this series, the theme didn’t really “grab” me, but the story line and the characters were so good that it didn’t matter.  In this book, Val is still living with her Granddad and dealing with his little deception about his cooking column.  Granddad becomes the prime suspect in a murder after a con artist who specialized on scamming the elderly dies after eating his food.  Val puts her investigative talents to work to clear his name and look into the elder fraud.  There is a romantic side plot that stops and starts throughout the book giving Val something else to think about it.  There are also hints at perhaps another romantic interest.  Overall, a good cozy mystery read with fun characters and an engaging plot line.

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave was a book I picked up after seeing it mentioned on another book blog.  I liked the story and the characters and loved the Wine Country setting.  I actually found the secondary characters’ storylines more interesting  than the main character’s.   There were lots of intertwining storylines here and a past and present storytelling that worked really well.  The storylines were very  neatly tied up in the end with the message being that “you shouldn’t live your life based on doing what you think you should do.”  I liked the book and think I probably would have liked it even more when I was younger (probably more the target demographic).

Caught Dead Handed

19083257  Just finished this first in the A Witch City Mystery series.  Lee Barrett has come home to Salem to interview for a TV station job and finds the position filled.  She stumbles over a body and into a new job, as the host of a psychic TV show.  Lee uses her powers of observation to pick up clues to the murder and the attempted catnapping of the victim’s cat, Orion.  There are paranormal abilities, done here with a light hand.  A possible love interest in the form of a police officer involved in the investigation.  A coven of witches and the interesting setting of Salem for a witch/magic based series.  I did resolve the myster prior to the end, however  I really enjoyed this and will definitely read the next one.

Latest Cozy Reads

 

I am trying to get back into the swing of things with reading cozies.  These are four that I took off the top of my TBR stack.  First, Dead Men Don’t Eat Cookies, another book in the cookie cutter shop mystery series.  This time around Livie and Maddie get thrown into trying to solve a cold case.  The case wraps itself around an old missing person, a teen looking for her father, and the town’s founding family’s history.  Fun, quick read involving  all  the familiar recurring characters and the town and shop as colorful backdrop.  Fans of this series will enjoy this latest book.

To Brew or Not to Brew is the first in a new series.  I will be honest and admit  I picked this up (without my glasses on) just from the title, thinking it was another tea themed cozy. Whoops!.  The brewing here is all about the beer.  Max has just returned from being trained in beer brewing in the German tradition and is opening a new brewery in her hometown of Pittsburgh.  Events seem to be conspiring against her getting her brew pub up and running and then there is a murder or not ?  There seems to be a question of what is really happened.  Max becomes embroiled in the investigation that involves other local business owners, a preservation society, and her new chef and love interest.  A fun theme and a new location for a cozy, I look forward to reading more and seeing how Max handles her brew pub, her family and her love life.

A Clue in the Stew by Connie Archer is one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  This outing involves a famous author, accusations of plaigarism,  a copy cat killer, an adoptee looking for her family, and a love interest for Jack.  Lucky deals with all the chaos and keeps her head.  She has the support of the recurring characters, Sage and Sophie, and love interest, Elias.  I love the small Vermont town setting and the idea of the Soup themed restaurant.  The plot has lots of twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.  Good cozy mystery read!

Booked for Trouble is the second in the Lighthouse Library Mystery.  I really enoyed the first in this series and this one did not let me down.  It definitely  lived up to the promise of the first book.  The setting, a lighthouse library on the Outer Banks, is so unique and and interesting.  The characters are multidimensional and engaging.  In this book, Lucy deals with her mother’s ongoing visit, a murder of one of her book group members, a hostile board, and a mysterious woman in grey.  Lucy handles it all with aplumb.  She is a character you can imagine being friends with in real life.  I look forward to reading more in this series.