Mystereity

Review
4 Stars
Of Books and Bagpipes
Of Books and Bagpipes - Paige Shelton

I enjoyed this mix of intrigue, mystery, long ago secrets and murder. Lots of threads for Delaney to untangle, from an unfortunate incident 50 years ago involving Edwin and his university friends to a murder of a William Wallace reenactor. I loved the sights and sounds of Edinburgh and old castles, it was just like being there. The plot kept a decent pace, and there was a lot for Delaney to figure out and the exciting ending left me with raised eyebrows. With all of the red herrings and plot twists, There were a few dropped/unexplained plot threads that I found myself thinking about after I finished the book. Who was the dead guy on the boat and how come nothing could be found about him other than the passport? Weird. And whatever happened to the letter? And what was the whole thing with the shot glasses? I guess I'll never know. But seriously, if Edwin had come clean about the whole thing from the beginning, we never would've had a whole book to enjoy.

Review
5 Stars
Death by Dumpling
Death by Dumpling: A Noodle Shop Mystery - Vivien Chien

What a charming book! This will definitely appeal to any cozy mystery reader, but I can see it being a hit with younger readers (and by younger, I mean younger than my creaky middle aged bones! Young people in their 20s or perhaps even teenagers (there's no bad language or sexual situations) would really like this.) With a sprinkle of romance, a bit of intrigue, adorable characters, a cute setting and a captivating mystery, what more can you ask for in a cozy? The Asian venue was a fresh and unique setting for the mystery. This isn't your average everyday cozy!

 

I loved Lana and her roommate Megan, they made a great team and their enthusiasm caught me up and rolled me right along with them. The cute Asia Village plaza with its Chinese shops sounds like such a great place to visit and browse for a day. Is this a real thing? Is there an Asia Village I can visit somewhere? Hmmm. And the plot! All the twists and turns and red herrings kept me guessing and I was completely turned around upside down by the time I got to the exciting ending. Can't wait to read more from Lana and the gang!

Review
4 Stars
Muffin to Fear
Muffin to Fear (A Merry Muffin Mystery) - Victoria Hamilton

I always love catching up with Merry and her friends and I've been eagerly awaiting cracking this one open. I liked that it took the time to set up and introduce the new characters (the tv crew.) In many cozy mysteries, someone is murdered right at the beginning of the book and there's so little context that I find I don't connect as well to the story. While the dysfunctional TV crew squabbles were tedious at times, it really helped to develop the characters and by the time the murder happened, I was already firmly hooked. Lots of twists and turns kept me guessing and lots of small details that I had to keep track of kept me engaged. Add in Merry's grace and humor, her delightful friends Hannah and Lizzie, a madcap crew of ghost hunters (I love ghost hunters shows!) and a surprise twist at the end and you have one satisfying read. It was every bit as good as I expected from this author, and a great addition to the series.

Review
5 Stars
Murder on the Sugarland Express
Murder on the Sugarland Express - Angie Fox

I love this series, it’s like a bag of potato chips – can’t put it down! The exciting plot is the real star of this book. A well crafted homage to the iconic Murder on the Orient Express, the rip-roaring dual plot combined a long ago ghostly unsolved murder with a current day murder under similar circumstances. Fast-paced with an ending that left my heart racing, it was thoroughly enjoyable and memorable and I admit, I was surprised by whodunit and why. It was an exceptionally well done mystery that even Agatha would appreciate!

 

The ghostly victims of the first derailment returning to the scene of te crime (complete with a Poirot-esque police inspector!) and the thrilling solve of the first case was entertaining (I loved how The Green Lady redeemed herself at the end!) but it was the modern day murder that tugged at my heart, thanks to the great characters, I love how they’ve progressed as the series goes on; all of them have grown to become vivid and realistic and darn it, so likable (even Virginia!) They’re all the reason I eagerly come back with each new book.

Review
5 Stars
Survival of the Fritters
Survival of the Fritters (A Deputy Donut Mystery) - Ginger Bolton

Still reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Alec, 3 years ago, Emily is trying to move on with her life at the donut shop she owns with her father in law. Among the donut shop’s favorite regulars is a group of older ladies, who have a knitting club called Knitpickers. So when one of the Knitpickers doesn’t show up one morning, everyone is concerned. Later, they go to her house to check on her and find her dead, surrounded by donuts. Who killed Georgia and why? Is it related to the unsolved murder of Georgia’s son, Mattias?

 

I’m not going to lie, the adorable cat on the cover made me want to pick up this book and it didn’t disappoint! The excellent plot reeled me in like a fish and kept me turning pages and guessing almost up to the very last page! I liked that Emily didn’t really go out and investigate, she just put the clues together (not that it didn’t stop her from getting into trouble at the end.) I loved the characters, from spunky Lois and the Knitpickers to pragmatic Brent and the spark between him and Emily (mmph) they were all charming and realistic characters but let’s face it, we all know it’s the adorable feline Deputy Donut who steals the show. An excellent introduction to picturesque Fallingbrook, Wisconsin and definitely a place I’m eager to visit again.

Part II
The Alienist - Caleb Carr

So, I realized 2 things with the second episode

 

1) It doesn't have the same tone as the book.  I mean, yeah, the atmosphere and the crimes are dark, but what the series misses is the sort of feeling of lighthearted adventure that the book had.  I miss that.   

 

2) I'm really not liking the guy who plays Roosevelt.  He's this tiny hipster masquerading as the big, legendary, over the top Theodore Roosevelt.  Not a fan.  You messed that up big time, TNT.

 

3) It appears as though they're heading towards a Sarah/Moore romance and NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NONONONONO.  NOT NECESSARY.  STOP!

 

4) The Issacson Brothers are the only ones showing some life, the others seem like they're plodding through a 19th century soap opera.

 

 

Review
5 Stars
Flowers and Foul Play
Flowers and Foul Play: A Magic Garden Mystery - Amanda Flower

Fiona's going through a rough patch; her flower shop's gone out of business, her fiancé cheated on her and then she gets word that her godfather has died and left her his cottage in Scotland. Arriving to reclaim her inheritance, she discovers the body of Alastair Croft, the lawyer handling her inheritance. Worried that the police suspect her godfather's most trusted friend and employee may be implicated, Fiona asks a few questions around town and discovers that nearly everyone had a motive to kill Alastair.

 

What a lovely book! The beautiful Scottish countryside drew me in, the magical garden hooked me. With engaging characters, the beautiful setting and the excellent plot, it was a thoroughly charming and light cozy. I loved the writing style, the book came alive with each page, from "seeing" the garden come alive, to the mischievous Duncan the squirrel (and the rivalry between Duncan and Ivanhoe that cat!) to the dramatic landscape of the coast, it was almost like being a part of the action. So well done! The action packed ending had me biting my nails with each page and in the end, there were a few plot threads in the book that I look forward to seeing resolved in later books in the series. This was an excellent first in a new series and I look forward to seeing more of Fiona and friends!

Review
4 Stars
Murder on the Toy Town Express
Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery - Barbara Early

Book 2 of the Vintage Toy Shop series was every bit as good as the first! This is shaping up to be a go-to series, and not just because I love the setting so much (and I’m with Liz about Sahlen’s Hot Dogs, mmmm.) The twisty plot kept me guessing right up to the exciting ending, and there were a few “oh no way!” moments along the way. I love Liz’s relationship with her dad, they make a great team and the running puns are always funny.

 

“You have a mind like an elephant’s.”


“Yeah, wrinkled, gray and way too much junk in the trunk. But that’s totally irrelephant.”

 

I felt bad for Liz in this one. I mean, what’s wrong with a woman casually dating 2 guys? Apparently a lot, since Liz’s family felt like they needed to nag her about it every 2 minutes. Can’t a single girl have a little fun?

 

It was the plot that really stands out in this book, who killed Comic Book Craig and why? Craig wasn’t a likable guy by any means, and there were plenty of motives and suspects to keep me guessing, and the side plots added both a bit of fun and introduced new characters I hope to see more of in later books. The big plot twist at the end made for an exciting and satisfying conclusion and by the very last page, I was already dying (pun intended) to read the next book (October can’t come soon enough!)

*sigh*

My NetGalley addiction is out of control

The Alienist - Caleb Carr

Verdict: Not bad, but I wish they hadn't put Kriezler and Roosevelt at odds and Sarah really doesn't do it for me.  She plods along like a man. But I'll definitely be back for part 2

The Alienist on TNT tonight
The Alienist - Caleb Carr

The Alienist by Caleb Carr, is airing tonight on TNT. As a rule I avoid adaptations of my favorite books, but  I'm going to give this one a shot because I've always wanted to see this made into a movie

Review
5 Stars
Jeopardy in July
Jeopardy in July: A Jamie Quinn Mystery (Jamie Quinn Cozy Mystery Book 5) - Barbara Venkataraman

 

Ahhh Jamie, how can you be such an adept investigator but be so oblivious to what's around you? *sigh*

 

This series is always a fun, laugh-out-loud, absorbing read. You can't help but like Jamie, a sassy, independent, and strong woman, yet vulnerable and a little unsure (especially when it comes to Kip!) Her banter with Duke is always hilarious, and the gents at the old folks' home (named 'La Vida Boca', a take off on the Ricky Martin song,  translated, it means 'The Mouth Life' which made me laugh a bit too, considering the sassy level of many of its residents!) In Jeopardy in July, Jamie is uncovers a case of art forgery that turns into murder and I enjoyed how the story weaved together several threads into one intricate plot. Jamie is also reconsidering the focus of her law practice and I can't wait to see how that develops in coming books. The book capped off with an exciting conclusion that opened up so many possible future storylines (which I'm looking forward to!) My only criticism was that I thought the showdown at the end ended a little abruptly, but it was still satisfying. A few new characters were introduced that I hope to see return, especially Herb, Uncle Teddy and his friends. The heartwarming twist at the end was adorable and left me with a serious case of the feels, if you've been following the series from the beginning, it was a satisfying and endearing end to the book and left me eagerly awaiting the next book.

Review
4 Stars
The Fast and the Furriest
The Fast and the Furriest - Sofie Ryan

Another fun mystery in the Second Chance Cat series, The Fast and the Furriest dug into the shadowy past of Mac, the enigmatic handyman at Second Chances. And what a story it was! It would've made for a great soap opera plot even Elvis the cat could get in to (as long as it wasn't on during Jeopardy, of course.) When Erin Fellows shows up in town looking for Mac and is later found dead, Mac comes under suspicion after an eyewitness places him at the scene. Sarah's sassy senior friends, an informal PI agency calling themselves "Charlotte's Angels", kick into gear to solve the murder to save their friend.

 

I always enjoy this series, it's a relaxing, light read and the charming characters make it feel like I'm catching up with old friends. I have to say, Sarah is stubbornly clueless about Nick's interest, maybe he needs to step up his game? I enjoyed their "field trips" they took in the course of their investigation (Stevie's alibi made me laugh) and it all came together for an exciting ending, Mr. P. certainly is a man of many talents.

 

Overall, The Fast and the Furriest is a delightful addition to an already great series. This book can easily be be read as a standalone or an entry into the series, as any references to prior books are summed up nicely and it would be easy for readers new to the series to understand.

Reminder

Always save the reviews you're in the middle of writing in case of an unexpected reboot

 

 

 

 

Review
4 Stars
Death of a Toy Soldier
Death of a Toy Soldier: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery - Barbara Early

 

Ok, first of all, I have an ulterior motive for picking up this book. You see, I know the setting very, very well. East Aurora, a small town outside of Buffalo, NY, is home to landmarks like Vidlers, The Roycroft, and of course, Fisher-Price and all of its toys. So when I saw that Death of a Toy Soldier was set in that tiny speck on the map that few people outside of Western NY know about, I had to read it. The book was full of recognizable places and captured the flavor of the town so well that it made me feel like I was transported back to the bricked lined Main Street with its wide sidewalks and cute little shops.

 

The plot surrounds a man who brings a box of old toys to be appraised at the vintage toy shop owned by Liz McCall and her retired police chief father Hank. When the man and is later found dead in the middle of the night, murdered with a lawn dart and Hank falls under suspicion, there's no choice for Liz and her father to investigate, turning up family squabbles, a possible haunting and some mischievous fun.  Lots of red herrings and false clues made this an enjoyable and puzzling plot and I loved the charming characters that truly embodied the warm community atmosphere of the town. The surprise twist and exciting ending capped it all off and left me eager to read more.

 

An excellent debut mystery set in a place close to my heart and I definitely recommend it for cozy mystery fans looking for a fun and enjoyable read.

Review
5 Stars
Sitting Murder
Sitting Murder - A.J. Wright

After Alice, a recent widow, develops the ability to speak with the dead after her husband dies in a mining accident, her aunt Doris takes advantage of it by bringing in people for spirit readings. After receiving a threatening letter, the police are contacted and Detective Sergeant Brennan and Constable Jaggery begin to investigate. Brennan initially dismisses the letter as a crank but the case heats up quickly when Doris is found suffocated, and there’s no shortage of suspects. But who was the target, Doris or Alice?

 

Whoo, what a ride! Loved, loved, LOVED this, I was swept up in this deftly written mystery combining the Victorian fascination with mediums and spirits with a classic whodunit.  I loved the simple yet complex plot that takes twist after turn and by the time the surprise ending was unfolding, I was just holding on for dear life! The tragic stories from the suspects made it hard to single one out, and although you think you know who did it, you’ll be wrong.

 

Sitting Murder was a fantastic mystery and one I will be thinking out for a long time. I’ve not read any of the earlier books in the series (you can bet I will now!) so this book can easily be read as a standalone or as an entry into the series.