The InBetween by Dick Wybrow

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I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

The InBetween is not my usual type of read, but I was intrigued by the description and I am glad that I requested it.  Painter Mann is the world’s best dead Private Detective.  Painter operates his private detecting business in the InBetween, the place for spirits who have not yet moved on to a more permanent location.  He investigates open questions surrounding their death in order to allow them to move on.  Lots of quirky, interesting well written characters, the mechanics of the dead and how they function and move are interesting and well thought out, and there is a great deal of  black humor.  The only issue that I really had with the book was at times it seemed that all the story lines seemed too disconnected and could be difficult to follow. A read for fans of black humor and quirky PI characters.

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Purrder She Wrote & Mistletoe Murder

 

Purrder She Wrote is the second in the A Cat Cafe Mystery Series.  Maddie James is celebrating the grand opening of her Cat Cafe created in her Grandfather’s Victorian on Daybreak Island, a combination cat rescue, cafe, and retreat for cat lovers.  One of the more hot tempered volunteers has a go at a wealthy would be adopter, who is not known for treating animals well, and this leads to trouble when the wealthy woman is found dead on her private beach.  Maddie certainly doesn’t need this type of publicity for her new business venture.  Maddie investigates to be sure her staff member is innocent.  There are subplots involving Ethan, Maddie’s business partner, Val,  her sister, and Lucas, the groomer and love interest.  Fun, fast cozy read for cat lovers.

I picked up Mistletoe Murder because I wanted to begin Leslie Meier’s prolific Lucy Stone series.  I believe there are somewhere around 27 books now in the series.  I know I have read one or two of them, not in any particular order in the past, but as her life changes and she and her recurring cast age through the books, it is a series I think that benefits from reading in order.  As I was reading Mistletoe Murder, which is the first in the series, I realize that I had indeed read this one before so I ended up skimming as I remembered bits of the story.  Lucy Stone lives in Maine with her husband and young children.  She and her husband moved to Maine to escape city life and almost live a homestead type life style, complete with animals, home improvement, knitting, etc.  Lucy works night shift for a catalog company taking orders over the phone for a LL Bean-esque company.

It was really interesting reading this now, as it was originally written in 1991.  I was an adult during that time and this now has a very retro feel for me.  I remember the popularity of LL Bean and Land’s End style clothing and merchandise at that time, phoning in your catalog orders, running around Christmas shopping from actual stores, and having friends who wanted to get into homesteading, some of mine even did move up to Maine and up state New York.  I did feel that Lucy goes a little too far into that “superwoman” trope, but that feels true to the time.  I did enjoy this and I have already bought the 2nd in the series and will be reading that soon.

Sweet Tea and Secrets & Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass

I received both of these titles from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

Sweet Tea and Secrets is the second in a series and I have not read the first but it did not hinder my enjoyment of this installment.  There were references to events in the first book but they were explained enough for the reader to follow along without having read it.  Callie Aspen has moved to her Great Aunt’s home town, Heart’s Harbor, Maine and has taken on a new job at her vintage tea shop.  She is not entirely certain that she is making the right move but pushes forward with fixing up her new home, taking on her new job, and then she gets pulled into investigating an old mystery involving a celebrity disappearance in the town.  Her investigation stirs up old secrets and a killer.

There is a lot going on to keep the reader entertained.   Along with the mystery plot, there are romantic subplots, and the pull from  Callie’s old life as well.  I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to cozy readers as a well paced, fun, mystery read.

Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass is the first in the Exotic Pet Sitters Mystery Series.  Belinda is a pet sitter for the more unusual types of pets.  Currently, she is pet sitting a python.  She moves to a carriage house on an estate and immediately stumbles over a body in the garden.  This pulls her into an investigation involving the estate owner’s son as a romantic lead.  She winds her way through the wide cast of characters and another murder to end up in the killer’s sights herself.  Plenty of characters to sort through in trying to solve this mystery.  Reads like a cozy mystery with a chick lit flair.

Prologue to Murder & The Superfood Alchemy Cookbook

 

I received both these titles in exchange for fair reviews from NetGalley.

Prologue to Murder is book 2 in the A Beyond the Page Mystery Series.  In this series, Addie Greystone has returned to her family’s home and opened a book shop and is living in the family manse.  There is a lot of history with the Greystones and other founding families in the town and not all of it is positive.  This makes for some tension and creates some difficulties for Addie in fitting into life in the town.  A murder, hidden treasures, secret tunnels and maps, pirates, a nasty gossip columnist, and a couple of love triangles all add to the story.  There is quite a bit going on here with several characters appearing quite rapidly.   A fun, quick mystery read.

The Superfood Alchemy Cookbook is an extraordinarily beautifully photographed cookbook organized by the health effects that various superfoods have on the body, for example “Reducing Blockages…”  a chapter focused on Berries, Bell Peppers, Ginger, etc.  and  “Focusing and Calming..”  Blueberries, Coffee, Chocolate, etc. The recipes included are simple to follow and include easily sourced ingredients.  The book also includes sections on essential oils, kitchen equipment, and meditation.  A good cookbook for people who want address health issues with diet or simply include more superfoods in their diet.

Thread on Arrival

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I received a free copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

Thread on Arrival is book 8 in the Mainely Needlepoint Series.  Trouble begins in the small community when Ike, a local man who lives in a run down garage on his property off the money he makes collecting bottles, is murdered.  Who could have murdered him and why?  Angie pokes her nose in, uncovering clues, looking for motives and for the identity of a young teen who seems to be the only suspect.    I have not read any earlier books in this series and so I was not  tuned in to any ongoing relationships or back-stories of the recurring characters.  I suspect I would have found the story line richer with that knowledge. I did guess the killer and the reason very early on, so I would have liked a little more subterfuge or some other red herrings.  Quick cozy mystery read.

Sifting Through Clues, The Hidden Corpse, No Grater Danger, & Awakened

 

I received a free copy of Sifting Through Clues from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.   This is number 8 in the Cookbook Nook series by Daryl Wood Gerber.  Crystal Cove is hosting a Book Club Bonanza Event and the town is being descended upon by hordes of book tourists.  Jenna Hart has stocked her Cookbook shop to the gills in preparation for the event.  She also is participating in a progressive dinner, house shopping,  and wedding planning, so quite busy.  A dead body in the midst of this hive of activity is the last thing she needs.  When a friend seems to be the most logical suspect, Jenna reluctantly investigates trying to clear her name.

Fun mystery with lots of suspects and clues.  There is a great deal going on in the book to keep the reader entertained and guessing up to the end.  A great read in this series!

The Hidden Corpse is the second book in a the A Food Blogger Mystery Series.  I really enjoyed the first one and picked up the second book right away.  In this book, an elderly neighbor of Hope’s dies in a house fire.  Hope feels guilty as she had seen evidence that the neighbor should not have been living alone.  The fire investigation reveals a second body in the house and this raises all kinds of questions, Was it murder? Was it arson?  Who was this other person?  Why were they there?  What starts as Hope investigating to ease her own mind turns into much more, involving several people from the town.  Well done mystery plot with plenty of clues and suspects for the reader to mull over.  The theme is fun and very timely.  A series I will be continuing to read.

No Grater Danger is book 7 in the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series by Victoria Hamilton.  I have been reading this series for a while and continue to enjoy it.  In this installment, Jaymie is caught up in investigating several criminal acts against an elderly property holding member of the community.  There are plenty of people who might want to do her harm for various reasons and it is up to Jaymie to sort it all out.  The investigation is interspersed with domestic scenes from Jaymie’s home life with her new husband, Jakob,  and step child, Jocie.  There are changes afoot in the town, how will they effect Jaymie, her business and her husband, and his business.  Cozy mystery leaning more towards small town life as the series as progresses.  Fun, quick read.

Awakened was an impulse buy.  I found myself out with no book and needed something to read.   I liked the beginning, with the tension that was built and the pacing, but after the first half, it turned out to be not for me.  I was looking more for a horror stand alone and this is evidently the first in a series and is more about government conspiracy theories.  Probably right for someone, but not me.