Mystereity

Review
5 Stars
Review: The Right Side
The Right Side: A Novel - Spencer Quinn

Poignant, eloquent, and spellbinding!

 

Sgt. LeeAnn Hogan is at Walter Reed, recovering from the disfiguring wounds and trauma suffered in a failed military operation in Afghanistan. Disoriented, angry and scared, she takes solace in the friendship with her hospital roommate, Marci. When Marci’s suddenly dies, it sends LeeAnn adrift; signing herself out of the hospital, she takes off to an uncertain future, deciding along the way to visit Marci’s hometown in Washington State. When she arrives, she finds that Marci’s daughter, Mia, has gone missing. Feeling a responsibility to help, LeeAnn is compelled to help find the little girl, the last thread that binds her to her dead friend. Along the way, she’s forced to confront herself and her demons and start the road back to her new life.

 

The Right Side will definitely be one of my top books of 2017! More suspense than mystery, it was an fantastic read, and so hard to sum up all the things that I loved without rambling on too long! The pace was perfect, taking just the right amount of time to set up the main character and her world, not only LeeAnn’s mental state after she was wounded, but also snapshots of her formative years, providing a strong base for her reactions and experiences in the later part of the book, which made it feel more authentic and realistic. Superbly written, I was quickly drawn into LeeAnn’s struggles, I couldn’t help but admire her. Her pain, confusion and struggle is palpable, leaving me slightly uncomfortable (in a good way, if that’s at all possible!) and so grittily realistic that it’s almost like reading a true story.  I loved that Goody is a reflection of LeeAnn herself, even if she doesn't recognize it, and that sets her on a course to recover both mentally and physically. Tough, resolute and enigmatic, they make a perfect pair. The satisfyingly ambiguous ending left the door open for further adventures with LeeAnn and Goody, something I truly hope will come to be.

Review
5 Stars
Review: The Antique House Murders
The Antique House Murders: The Oakwood Mystery Series - Leslie Nagel

When family friend,Calvin, an estate auctioneer, invites Charley to Mulbridge House, the estate of a recently deceased elderly woman that holds decades of historical finds, including some vintage designer clothes, Charley jumps at the chance to snap them up to sell at her shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. While she's there, she witnesses a heated exchange between the dead woman's daughter and a local woman who claims she was promised the estate for the town's historical society. A fiery feud erupts, pitting the estate's heirs, who intend to tear down the estate and build high priced homes, against the townspeople opposed to the new development. Charley somehow finds herself caught in the middle and later discovers Calvin dead and the estate's records missing. She begins her own investigation and uncovers a huge plot surrounding prime real estate, shady deals, greed and betrayal and finds herself the target of a ruthless killer.

This is the second book in the Oakwood Mystery series and I loved it even more than the first! It's so easy to fall into the world of Oakwood, Ohio, Charley and her friends are an enjoyable bunch, and a new character promises to lead to a really cute story line in future books. I love the author's writing style, the story is told from different characters at some points, and lends more depth to the story. The supporting characters are so much more than background noise and it adds a lot to the story. The great plot was a real rollercoaster ride, with so many good suspects and red herrings that it was easy to get thrown off the trail (like Charley did, I guess!) and the great pace kept the suspense building to a thrilling conclusion that will get your heart racing.

Although labeled as a cozy mystery, I'd put it on the outer fringe of cozy, with a few cuss words and a little bit more steamier romance than you'd find in a cozy mystery (although not graphic and certainly just a minor part of the overall story.) It's not a detractor for me, and I think Marc and Charley are just adorable, and watching their relationship evolve adds a fresh aspect to the genre, a little bit of realistic interaction I don't often see in books.

The Antique House Murders is an excellent second book in the Oakwood Mysteries series, and one I definitely recommend to readers looking for a not-your-average-cozy mystery. Definitely a series to watch!

Review
4 Stars
Review: Raven Rock
Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself--While the Rest of Us Die - Garrett M. Graff

See this and more of my reviews at Mystereity Reviews

The unthinkable has happened; time has run out, the missiles have been launched and the United States as we know it is doomed. But never fear! The government has planned extensively to assure their safety and that their reign will continue without interruption - even if there's nothing left to govern after it's all over!

Raven Rock explores the history of the people and events that brought about these plans, spanning the span of time since the end of World War II, from Truman to Obama (who signed a bill in 2009 giving the US Postal Service the sole responsibility of delivering "biological counter-measures" in the event of a biological weapons attack. Which is better than FedEx (who always seems to deliver my packages late, but that's another story.)

After I watched a Travel Channel show that talked about The Greenbriar, I picked up Raven Rock to read more about the history behind that Cold War bunker mentality and found much, much more. The easy flow of the book drew me in quickly, the anecdotes and trivia kept things light and interesting and the very linear layout stayed on topic without extraneous detail to confuse the reader.

Raven Rock is an engrossing history illuminating a shadowy aspect of the government not well known or understood and I definitely recommend it to history buffs and trivia fans alike.

Review
5 Stars
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!

Review
4 Stars
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.

Review
5 Stars
Review: Your Killin' Heart
Your Killin' Heart: A Mystery (Nashville Mystery) - Peggy O'Neal Peden

Campbell Hall, a travel agent in Nashville, TN, grew up surrounded by the history of country music. When her boyfriend, Doug Elliot, has to pick up a few paintings at the estate of Jake Miller, a long dead country music legend who died young, Campbell begs to tag along, hoping to catch a glimpse inside the opulent mansion still occupied by Jake's widow, Hazel. When she's left alone for a moment, Campbell can't help but take a look around and peeks into what turns out to be Hazel's bedroom, with Hazel seemingly asleep in the bed. When it is reported that night that Hazel was found dead and is later determined to have been murdered, Campbell is compelled to investigate. Uncovering long held secrets and pursued by a killer, Campbell risks it all to find justice.

 

The first in a new series, I already know I'll keep coming back for more. Besides the great plot, the characters were likable and realistic, especially Campbell, she's my kinda gal. Self-described as "a little too honest" she's impulsive, inquisitive, and a little bit socially awkward - in other words, me in a nutshell. Even the setting was a character in itself, with tidbits about the music, the history and the culture of Nashville, TN. It was so vivid, it felt like I was really there.

 

I really enjoyed the plot, lots of good suspects and lots of suspects you don't realize are suspects and suspects you suspect but aren't actually suspects. Lots of plot twists and red herrings kept me guessing and the thrilling ending left me satisfied. The story left a few plot points open to be explored in later books and I'm eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

 

A light, entertaining cozy mystery that will keep you guessing, Your Killin' Heart is a fantastic start to a new series and a must read for any cozy mystery fan.

The post in which I muse

Slowly, ever so slowly catching up in fits and starts, I've gotten 3 reviews done.  Just a few more to do (okay, 6 but I'm 3 ahead of where I was last week, so I'm enjoying a small victory.)

 

Review
5 Stars
Cloakroom Corpse
Cloakroom Corpse: A Cassie Hall Mystery - Sherry Lodge

See this and all of my reviews at Mystereity Reviews

Cassie Hall and her peep-toe shoes have stepped into another mystery at The Parkstone, the luxury apartment building where she works as the night shift concierge. While checking her mail, she overhears Mason, the day shift concierge, having a heated argument with someone in the lobby. Moments later, Cassie finds Mason in the cloakroom, stabbed with a letter opener. As a prime suspect, and with Mason’s grieving girlfriend to look after, Cassie finds herself on yet another case, despite her police detective boyfriend Eric’s disapproval.

First of all, stick hidden/secret rooms in a book and you’ve captured my attention. Add in a mysterious curse and I’m hooked. I could happily spend an afternoon in a secret room, exploring all the nooks and crannies but since I don’t have any secret rooms, the next best thing is to spend an afternoon reading about someone exploring secret rooms. This looks like it will continue in later books, and I’m looking forward to reading more about The Parkstone and its secrets.

I really enjoyed the great plot, who murdered Mason and why? One by one, all the secrets Mason has been hiding are dragged out, bringing a new suspect. It seems like all of The Parkstone resident have something to hide! Now I’m wondering what Mr. Gilrot’s dirty little secrets are….hopefully in the next book? And Mrs. Canterbury! You know she’s got more than one skeleton in her closet.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a little romance, and the sweet ending capped off a great mystery.

Cloakroom Corpse is a great addition to the charming Cassie Hall Mystery series, and definitely a must read for any cozy mystery lover.

Review
4 Stars
Single Malt Murder
Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery - Melinda Mullet

Single Malt Murder weaves a twisty tale of greed, murder and whisky into a captivating cozy mystery. Set in the idyllic Scottish Highlands, Abi inherits a whisky distillery from her uncle and suddenly finds herself the target of threats and sabotage. When a young man from the village is found dead in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to find out who is sabotaging her uncle’s distillery and just what’s important enough to kill for.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, the history and methods of the whisky making process are neatly woven into the story, although I’m not a drinker, I do like to know how things work and it really enhanced the story for me and set the book apart. The twisty, suspenseful plot kept a steady pace and I liked that the author left a few plot lines open to be developed in future books. How will Abi juggle her photojournalist career with a distillery? Will her romance with the hunky Grant lure her to live in Scotland, or will she hang on to her photojournalism career in London? Lots of places to grow, and I definitely want to come come back for more. Add in likable, engaging and quirky characters (I really liked Abi and her three adjectives!) and an exciting ending and you’ve got an excellent debut cozy and a promising start to a new series.

One down...

8 more to go....

 

*sucks on fancy tobacco flavored pen-like thing*

 

No lie, I had a pen here on my desk and had to move it somewhere else because I tried to smoke it too many times.  Felt foolish until I realized that sucking on a pen wasn't any weirder than sucking on a pen like thingy, which I then thought about for an hour instead of writing another review

 

.  

 

 

Review
2 Stars
Alas, She Drowned
Alas, She Drowned (The Stratford Upon Avondale Mysteries) (Volume 1) - Monica Knightley

Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises."
William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well.

I had really high hopes for this book, it started out as a promising mystery. Set in a charming Shakespearean-themed village, it had a great plot; an odious and unpleasant theater critic is murdered (always enjoyable when that happens!) and lots of suspects to muddy the waters. It really kept me guessing (and turning pages) and I didn't suspect the murderer at all.

But that's pretty much all the book has going for it. I really wish I could've rated this higher than 2 stars because the plot was a lot better than 2 stars but it came down to the unlikable characters. I thought Nick was an obnoxious bull's pizzle (Thank the bard himself for that one!) and Maggie's not much better. I really wanted more out of her character - she had a lot of potential in her back story but ended up a two-dimensional chatterbox with poor judgment skills.

Sigh.

The post in which I explain

Did you know nicotine helps control ADHD?

 

Did you know when you have ADHD and stop smoking your ADHD comes roaring back, rendering you incapable of completing the most basic tasks, such as reading a chapter or writing a book review?

 

 

I didn't either until 10 weeks ago.

 

The post where I say fuck this shit, no longer in the mood.

I have gone from simply procrastinating on reading and writing reviews to NO LONGER FUCKING CARE and have pretty much abandoned everything.


So if you don't see me for awhile, I'm perfectly fine but taking a sabbatical for an undetermined amount of time.  May be back next week.  May be back next year.  Who knows.  Be well.

 

Review
3 Stars
Get Well Soon
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer   Wright

See this and all of my reviews at Mystereity Reviews

Get Well Soon isn't so much a historical book about plagues, it's also about the human side of plagues; the healers, the sufferers and the people left behind. The book details not only catastrophic plagues like The Black Death, but also some of the lesser known plagues like the Roman Empire-ending Antonine Plague and The Dancing Plague in 16th century Europe (which sounds all very funny until you read that people pretty much danced their feet off. Literally.)

All the major maladies are touched on, from the horrific syphilis and tuberculosis plagues to the ravages of typhoid, smallpox and cholera throughout history. The sad fate of many plague victims, abandoned by their families and in some cases, abandoned by society, was all very heartrending. I also thought it was very interesting how the Victorians glamorized the pale, gaunt appearance of tuberculosis sufferers. Looking at any of today's popular fashion models or actresses, it's obvious that's an ideal that persists even today.

For the most part, this was very entertaining but felt a bit preachy in spots. Although I don't fault the author for having strong feelings about her subject, it felt a bit like I was being lectured to.

Overall, Get Well Soon is an informative and entertaining trip through the perils of the past, and anyone who loves history (and plagues. I'm sure there are people out there who enjoy a good plague) will definitely enjoy it.

Thank you to Henry Holt and Co. and Netgalley for an advance copy.  This review is my honest and unsolicited opinion. 

Review
4 Stars
Review: Fatality by Firelight
Fatality by Firelight (A Cat Latimer Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon

See this review and more at Mystereity Reviews

 

Cat is hosting her second writers’ retreat at her B&B located in a small academic town of Aspen Hills, Colorado and hoping this retreat will be more tranquil than the first.  Her hopes are dashed when one of her guests comes under suspicion for the murder of local bad boy romeo Tommy. To complicate things, a mystery man shows up who seems to know too much about her, and a series of book thefts has everyone scratching their heads. There’s snow way Cat can’t just sit around, she’s out to solve the mystery!

 

Gliding down the slopes...blazing fires in the fireplace...the crunch of snow underfoot...steaming mugs of hot cocoa...the dead body in the hot tub - only Lynn Cahoon could make snowy Colorado a hot destination, even in the depths of winter! With several mysteries woven into one fast-paced plot, I was glued to the book until the very last page. I loved the action-packed plot - Stalkers! Murders! Kidnapping! Booknapping! *gasp* - all with so many twists and turns, it was like a cozy mystery slalom! The on-going mystery surrounding the death of Cat's ex-husband added a layer of intrigue and the mysterious stranger added a bit of spice to shake up Cat's comfortable life.

All in all, Fatality by Firelight is a thoroughly enjoyable and well-crafted mystery guaranteed to keep you guessing (and entertained!) While this book can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the first in the series to get the full backstory about Cat's ex-husband (and because it's a good book.)

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book. This review is my honest, unsolicited opinion

Review
4 Stars
Review: Aunt Bessie Likes
Aunt Bessie Likes (An Isle of Man Cozy Mystery Book 12) - Diana Xarissa

See this review and more at Mystereity Reviews

 

Aunt Bessie returns in the 12th Isle of Man mystery to help her police friends solve the cold case disappearance of three teenage cousins in 1970.  The case flounders when no new evidence is uncovered until an anonymous tip leads police to several bodies buried in a garden. Is 40 years too long for Bessie to unravel the mystery behind the girls in the garden?

In Aunt Bessie Likes, young PC Hugh Watterson is following up on cold cases and decides to pursue the disappearance of three teenage cousins in 1970. Out of all the Aunt Bessie books, I think this will rank up there as one of my favorites. I love cold case mysteries, probably because there's nothing more satisfying than to find an answer to an unknown. I also love hearing more about the history of Bessie's Isle of Man (where everyone seems to think murder has only recently come to visit, but Hugh's stack of cold cases prove this untrue.) The twisty plot, sprinkled with a few red herrings, kept me second guessing myself through the whole book and the ending was both satisfying and exciting.

All in all, another exciting Bessie adventure, and I highly recommend this adorable and well-written series to cozy mystery fans looking for a clean, light read.