5 Stars
Rip Your Heart Out
Rip Your Heart Out (A Ripple Effect Mystery, Book 4) - Alice Duncan, Jeanne Glidewell

I'm a bit late to the Ripple Effect series, this is the fourth book but only the first I've read and I can safely say this can be read as a introduction to the series or as a standalone. Following the adventures of retired couple Rapella and her husband, Rip, as they travel around the US in their RV, they find themselves in the middle of a mystery wherever they go. Rapella, a charmingly naive chatterbox, made for an entertaining sleuth (and I enjoyed Itsy as the sidekick!) and I was drooling over the beautiful scenery on their cruise. Add in a mouthy cockatoo, a sweet St Bernard and a zippy, lively plot and there was a lot to like!


The plot, surrounnding an anonymous tip that a local woman's death was not due to natural causes and is later determined to be murder. Suspicion is thrown onto Sydney, one of Rip's cardiac nurses and the niece of the recently decesased woman. There were many facets to the plot, from the seemingly "haunted" house to the squabbling siblings to the possible cache of missing gold and I was sucked in from the start. From the breathtaking scenery on the cruise that made me drool to the many lovable (and not so lovable) characters that jumped off the page and the hijinks that Rapella got into had me chuckling (especially the Uber part!) While I read a lot of cozy mysteries, there have been few that were as fun as this and and I'm definitely going to read the other books in the series.


4 Stars
Aunt Bessie Provides
Aunt Bessie Provides - Diana Xarissa

I really like these cold case stories, and this one was intriguing; Constable Hugh Watterson brings Bessie a cold case of a man's body found twenty years ago on the beach and after looking into the few men who left around the same time, only two are unaccounted for, so which one was the man on found on the beach? It's always fun to watch as Bessie and her police friends brainstorm over take-out and hash out the investigation, and the many twists and turns kept the pace moving quickly. And as always with the Aunt Bessie books, it's not just the mystery that keeps me coming back, it's also the on-going evolution of the characters and the charming world the author has created. A light, enjoyable read, perfect for a rainy afternoon.

5 Stars
Scared Stiff
Scared Stiff (A Mattie Winston Mystery #2) - Annelise Ryan

Heh. Poor Mattie doesn't have an easy time of it, does she?


During a blind date with the OCD William-not-Bill, Mattie is called out on a dead body call. Shannon Tolliver was found dead in her front yard, amongst the Halloween decorations. When Shannon's estranged husband Erik is arrested, Mattie knows he's not the killer, so the real question is: who killed Shannon and why?


This was a great followup to the first book; thoroughly entertaining and completely engrossing, it was full of hilarious cringe moments (I laughed out loud through the whole scene when they were recovering the rich couple!) lots of intrigue and one creepy suspect (am I the only one who thought he was creepy at the get-go?) The main plot, Shannon's murder, leads Mattie far and wide in her search for suspects, uncovering quite a few and introducing a few new characters I hope to see more of (the gay bar scene? Loved it!)


Just one thing, I've got a Dropped Thread Alert!

What about the gun? Erik told Mattie that he gave his gun to Shannon, who stored it in the guest bedroom. When Mattie and Hurley went to Shannon's house to see if it was there, Mattie got busy looking at her medicine cabinet, her hormones flared and she got horny with Hurley and she never checked to see if the gun was still there and it was never mentioned again. Arrgh

(show spoiler)


Overall, an excellent second in this series and it made me excited to read more.

3.5 Stars
Review: The Prisoner of Castillac
The Prisoner of Castillac (Molly Sutton Mysteries) (Volume 3) - Nell Goddin

Seven years ago, a beautiful young woman vanished without a trace from Castillac, haunting the villagers and the Gendarme. But when a clue, in the form of a note left on the door to the police station, saying Valerie has been spotted alive, but no further details. Former head of the local Gendarme, Ben Dufort, hears about the note and enlists Molly's help in an informal investigation. With no evidence, no other clues and nothing to go on, can Molly and Ben find Valerie? And who left the mysterious note?


3.5/5 stars. This one was enjoyable but got a bit tedious after about half. I liked the resolution of the mystery behind Valerie's disappearance but I think it would've done better as a side plot, or if there had been some kind of side plot. Most of the book was really just a series of missed opportunities and while that makes for some tension and suspense, it wasn't meaty enough to be the sole focus of the book. But what really bothers me is what's not in the book:, some details get skipped over and at the end of the book, it's all resolved. This is something I've noted in the other 2 books; in the first book, it was the ending. One minute you're in the middle of the exciting ending and the action cuts off to Molly telling her story at the pub. In this book, it was all the action outside of the main plot (which, as I said, wasn't really enough to span a whole book.) Ben Dufort, who has now resigned from the Gendarmes, is barely in the book, there are very few scenes with him and Molly and at the end they're kissing and holding hands. Wha? I realize that the series has been leading up to this, but it just seemed out of place and not fleshed out. I would've liked to have seen it come about more naturally.


So, this was good, thanks to the excellent characters, but the plot (or lack thereof) held it back from being a 5 star read.

4.5 Stars
The Luckiest Woman Ever
The Luckiest Woman Ever (Molly Sutton Mysteries) (Volume 2) - Nell Goddin

At the local fine dining restaurant, Molly eavesdrops on a wealthy old woman's not-very-happy birthday party. Known throughout the village for being contemptuous and unlikable, her assembled partygoers look less than thrilled to be there. At the end of the evening, Molly finds the woman lying dead on the bathroom floor and it's determined that the woman died from cyanide poisoning. Molly, having witnessed the whole evening, begins to investigate (which is a good thing, since the local police chief isn't very good at solving murders.) What she uncovers is decades of secrets, lies and a rage that has simmered for decades.


This is quickly shaping up to be a favorite series, I'm really enjoying Molly's adventures in France. This one introduced some new characters that I hope will be returning. And the victim! While a nasty character you love to hate is common in books, this one really takes the cake. She was gleefully hurtful, thoroughly vile, and mercilessly horrible and yet I still loved her antics (or maybe I was just waiting for the moment she paid for it, I don't know. But what a delightfully rotten character!


Really, if I wasn't so wholly caught up in the story, I probably would've figured out the clues, but no, it all just flew past me. Lots of red herrings threw me off track and the pace was perfect to keep me turning pages. The ending was a lot better than the first book; I was riveted, watching it all unfold. This was a thoroughly enjoyable cozy read, perfect to curl up with, especially if you have a croissant and a glass of fine wine.



I'm currently in the middle of 3 books and all 3 have become really annoying for one trope or another, which makes me not want to read anything at all.  




Reading my way through the Mattie Winston series and was going to add the next book to my currently-reading list on Goodreads and discovered I....already read it?


So I thought, must be a glitch or something.  But no, there's a review?

WTF? I have no memory of having read it! Now, you may be saying to yourself "Well, you do read a lot..." but I usually remember books I enjoyed.  


I must be getting old.

5 Stars
Working Stiff
Working Stiff - Annelise Ryan

I don't know why it took so long for me to hear about this series, but I'm happy I found it! Laugh out loud funny and suspenseful, it was impossible to put down. In fact, I started this on audiobook and it motivated me to get out for my daily walk, but switched to the Kindle copy because it was so good, I just couldn't wait any longer to finish it!


Mattie is equal parts hapless and unflappable, with a positive attitude that I really enjoyed and appreciated. Despite the setbacks of her failed marriage, her cheating husband accused of murder and quitting her job, she took it all in stride and kept going, no dwelling on a pity party for our Mattie. The other great characters made the book even more enjoyable, from the hairdresser at the funeral home to Joey the superhero to Izzy and Dom, I loved every one of them (well, except the reporter. Why does there always have to be an annoying reporter? Ugh.) The smoldering on/off romance was amusing and a tad overdone, but I enjoyed it anyway. I really liked the forensics trivia tucked in there (I'm a sucker for that stuff) and the well-crafted plot had plenty of surprise twists and turned up suspect after suspect, ending with a bittersweet unexpected revelation at the end. I didn't pick up on who the murderer was until just before the exciting (and slightly hilarious) ending. Altogether, this was an excellent start to a series and I'm already well into the second book. Outstanding!


Reading progress update: I've read 50%.
Working Stiff - Annelise Ryan

I got halfway through this on audiobook over the last few weeks while I walk every day and frankly, I just can't wait to get through this any longer, it's just too good!

0 Stars
Irish Stewed: An Ethnic Eats Mystery - Kylie Logan

I got to the part when she was outraged that everyone wanted their usual burgers and fries rather than the quinoa and lentil salad and by that point I realized this book was entirely irredeemable. 0 stars

4 Stars
The Advice Column Murders
The Advice Column Murders: The Oakwood Mystery Series - Leslie Nagel

This is the third book in the Oakwood series, I loved the first two, so I was really excited to read #3. I adore how well written this series in, from the creative and twisty plots to the lovable characters, and this one was no exception! Very nicely plotted, with two murders that occur just steps from Charley’s front door. After a new family moves in next door, Judith’s adult daughter, Sarah, is found murdered. Later, Judith is found murdered in the street, the blame falls on a carpenter with ties to the family. Charley smells a setup and investigates into the family’s past and uncovers several secrets. With a few mini mysteries to solve along the way (I loved the revelation of who was behind the advice column and I don’t think they should stop!) to the person responsible for the vandalism delaying the expansion at Charley’s vintage shop, Old Hat (which was puzzling, not puzzling as in whodunit but puzzling as in *scratches head* whaat?) and there were many surprise twists that kept things interesting right up to the exciting ending. Wholly enjoyable and entertaining, The Advice Column Murders is another great addition to this excellent cozy series.

Reading progress update: I've read 18%.
Irish Stewed: An Ethnic Eats Mystery - Kylie Logan

Kylie Logan's books have always been hot/cold for me but my first impression of this one is 98% negative (Sophie being the only reason I'm hanging on) The main character, Laurel, is a self-absorbed narcissistic snob who turns her nose up at everything and even takes great pains to point out to strangers that she's not actually related to the sister of the woman who graciously took her in as a foster child.  I can't understand why anyone would write such an unlikable and annoying main character.  I'm giving it about another 10% and if it doesn't improve, I'm done with a 0 star rating.  Ugh!

Is it just me?

Is it just me, or are there fewer mystery books to request on Netgalley the last couple of months? It used to be that the first of every month, there'd be dozens of new titles, now it seems like there's just a few a week.  My Netgalley addiction is jonesing for a fix and the dealer is out of stock.  *sigh*

5 Stars
The Third Girl
The Third Girl (Molly Sutton Mysteries Book 1) - Nell Goddin

This was entertaining and lovable, and I'm definitely a fan of the series after reading this! There's just something about this book that grabbed me from the first page, I fell head over heels into Molly's world; her excitement at living in France, seeing it all for the first time, it felt like I was seeing it too (I've never been to France, so I enjoyed exploring the countryside through her eyes.)  Maybe it was the colorful characters or the beautiful setting, all drawn as rich as French food. Maybe it was the easy way the story progressed, with the characters evolving with the story.  I liked how effortlessly it segued between the point of views of several of the characters and even how it segued between the French and English characters. The intriguing plot, surrounding the disappearance of a local art school student, had many suspects and I didn't suspect who the murderer was until the very end of the book, just before the MC did.  Very well crafted! The only criticism I have is the ending wasn't entirely satisfying.  At the pivotal point, the action cut off, then went to Molly telling everyone what happened. It was a bit of a let down for me, but not enough to put me off the series. Loved it!  

4.5 Stars
Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot
Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot (A Ditie Brown Mystery) - Sarah Jane Osborne

 I really enjoyed this one, it was relatable, realistic and inviting. The characters really made it for me; warm, true to life and charming, from```the capable Ditie, stepping up to take in Ellie's kids to the sassy Lurleen to the sweet romance between Ditie and Mason, I found myself roped in from the first page. Lurleen is really the one I want to know more about, her back story was hinted at several times in the book and I'm looking forward to learning more about her. The suspenseful plot kept me glued to the pages, the corporate espionage angle was interesting and intriguing (I want to try that product!) but I have to say, that ending....I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't that. It was a little convoluted. Not bad, just a bit confusing who was one what side. Also, the TSTL moment by one of the characters at the end just felt a bit unrealistic (I don't want to spoil, but jeeeeez.) But it was a great mystery and an edge of your seat and the recipes included at the end of the book sound delicious and there's a couple I can't wait to try. An excellent start to a new series and one I'll look forward to reading more of in the future.

Reading progress update: I've read 70%.
The Third Girl (Molly Sutton Mysteries Book 1) - Nell Goddin

The Third Girl is going to be close to the top of my Top 10 books of 2018.  Fantastic book!