Sunday, November 19, 2017

Death at the Midnight Dragonfly: A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery


Thank you for stopping by today.  Death Comes to the School by Catherine Lloyd will be published on November 28.  It is the fifth book in A Kurland St. Mary Mystery series.

Death at the Midnight Dragonfly by Susan Boles is the third story in A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery series.  It is almost Christmas in Mercy, Mississippi, but Lily Gayle Lambert is not feeling the Christmas spirit.  She is standing outside the Mistletoe Magic Extravaganza, but she does not feel like going inside.  She witnesses an argument between her friend Daisy and her husband, Jack.  Then she notices local bank manager, Tom Hammond stumble outside and become ill.  It seems that Tom imbibed a little too much of Miss Edna’s punch.  The next morning, Lily Gayle rides her bike up to the Midnight Dragonfly Inn.  She wants to visit with Dr. Vlad Templeton running the new sleep study.  It has been a longtime since Lily Gayle has seen her childhood friend.  The police are out front when she arrives.  Vlad found Tom Hammond on his front porch—dead.  A red boxing glove under some nearby bushes points the finger at Daisy’s husband, Jack, who recently joined the new gym. But Jack is not her only friend suspected of the crime.  To clear her friend’s names, Lily Gayle will have to find Tom’s killer.  What happens when she gets too close to the truth? 

Death at the Midnight Dragonfly is a cute story.  It is a quick and easy book to read.  I do suggest reading the first two books in A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery series (Death of a Wolfman and Cherry Cake and a Cadaver)  prior to picking up Death at the Midnight Dragonfly.  The series contains quirky characters and a unique small town.  There is humor throughout the story along with meddling friends.  The mystery was uncomplicated.  I identified the victim and killer before Lily Gayle rode up to the Midnight Dragonfly Inn on her bicycle.  I do feel it is time for Lily Gayle to grow or develop more as a person.  I want to see her overcome her fear of driving (for example).   

I hope that each of you have a beautiful Sunday.  I will return tomorrow to review another book.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Of Spice and Men: A Pancake House Mystery


Greetings!  Full Bodied Murder by Christine E. Blum will be released on November 28.  It is the first book in A Rose Avenue Wine Club Mystery series.

Of Spice and Men by Sarah Fox is the third installment in A Pancake House Mystery series.  A film crew from Hollywood is in town to do a remake of the horror film The Perishing.  Marley McKinney is looking forward to the extra business the movie people will bring to The Flip Side Pancake House.  Marley and Sienna get invited by Christine Gallant, a special effects make-up artist, for a behind the scenes tour.  They arrive to find the trailer door unlocked and a fire inside.  Marley (with a little help) rescues Christine from the burning trailer, but it is too late.  Sheriff Ray Georgeson arrives and Christine’s death is ruled a homicide.  Alyssa Jayde, an actress, is the prime suspect.  Brett, Marley’s boyfriend and Alyssa’s ex-boyfriend, defends Alyssa.  Marley starts asking questions and ends up with a lengthy suspect list.  Who killed Christine?  Can Marley clear Alyssa’s name and find the killer?  Marley’s curiosity just might be her undoing!

Of Spice and Men is an easy to read story.  I recommend reading the first two books in the series prior to Of Spice and Men.  I found the book heavy on romance and jealousy (and light on mystery).  I felt too much of the book was devoted to Brett and Marley’s romance.  Marley was jealous of Brett’s ex-girlfriend and she handled the situation poorly (immaturely).  We are subjected to countless chapters on this situation along with storms that are plaguing the area and Marley talking to (and about) Flapjack (her cat).  The author seemed to use the same verbiage when she was discussing Flapjack (copy and paste).  I am giving Of Spice and Men 3 out of 5 stars.  The murder of Christine was easily solved.  It is not difficult to identify the culprit.  The killer’s motive, though, was interesting. Of Spice and Men is a light cozy mystery.  Many readers will enjoy visiting the charming town and the characters who inhabit it.  The first two books in A Pancake House Mystery series are The Crepes of Wrath and For Whom the Bread Rolls.

If you enjoy my reviews, please consider joining my blog (via Google or email--top right).  Thank you for visiting today.  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on Death at the Midnight Dragonfly by Susan Boles (third book in A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery series).  May each of you have a safe and happy day!  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris 
The Avid Reader


Friday, November 17, 2017

A Fatal Collection: A Keepsake Cove Mystery


Hello!  The Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns will be published on November 28.  It is the first book in A Mystery Bookshop Mystery series (that's a mouthful).  

A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes is the first book in A Keepsake Cove Mystery series.  Callie Reed is visiting her Aunt Melodie in Keepsake Cove, Maryland.  Melodie owns House of Melody, a music box shop and lives in an adorable red cottage behind the shop.  The next morning, Callie goes looking for Melodie and finds her dead in the shop.  The police rule it an accidental death, but Callie is not so sure.  After the funeral, Callie discovers that she inherited the shop and cottage.  It is the perfect time for a change, and Callie embraces her new life.  When Callie goes through her aunt’s belongings, she finds a second disposable cell phone.  Why did Melodie need a second phone?  Then someone tries to break into the shop.  What are they after and why is Grandpa Reed’s music box playing on its own?  Questions are piling up and Callie wants answers. 

A Fatal Collection is nicely written, great main character, and it had a nice pace.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the various collectible shops in Keepsake Cove (unique town).  Mary Ellen Hughes created some good characters in a quaint tourist town.  I wish, though, that she had developed the main character a little more.  We are not given enough background on Callie.  I am hopeful the author will rectify it in the next book.  Readers are introduced to many of the shop owners.  I did tire of the numerous clothing descriptions of Callie’s part-time employee (she has an unusual clothing style).  The investigation is minimal and the killer easily identified.  I wish Ms. Hughes had made the mystery more enticing.  I felt the flirting and romance between Callie and Brian Greer inappropriate since Callie has just left her husband (I could have done with less of him too).  I did enjoy the paranormal element and I hope there will be more of it in future books in A Keepsake Cover Mystery series (with a better explanation).   A Fatal Collection is a cute start to the series.  With a few tweaks, it could be a delightful cozy mystery series.

I appreciate you visiting today.  I will be back tomorrow with another book evaluation.  Take care, have a thankful day and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Home All Along: An Amish Secrets Novel


Welcome!  Secrets of Cavendon by Barbara Taylor Bradford will be published on November 21.  I still remember reading A Woman of Substance (in hardcover) when it was first published.  It remains my favorite book by Barbara Taylor Bradford.

Home All Along by Beth Wiseman is the third book in An Amish Secrets Novel series.  Charlotte Dolinsky is living in Paradise, Pennsylvania.   It is a difficult day since she is burying her biological mother.  They had a contentious relationship due to her mother’s mental health issues.  Daniel Byler is approached by Bishop Michael Miller about Charlotte.  It is time for Charlotte to make a choice.  She cannot continue to straddle both worlds (Amish and Englisch).  Charlotte is thrilled when a lost member of her family returns, but she is disappointed when the person is not interested in establishing a relationship.  Charlotte loves the community, but she is not sure about making a permanent commitment.  She needs to look deep inside herself to discover what she wants in life.  What is the right path for Charlotte?  Can she overcome her fears?  Daniel loves Charlotte, but it is not the right time for him to leave his family or the Amish community.  His mother receives disturbing news from her doctor, Eva developed eclampsia and is in a coma, and their Aunt Faye has come to assist them (oh dear).  Is there a chance for a happily ever after for Daniel and Charlotte?

Home All Along is a lovely conclusion to An Amish Secrets Novel series.  I found the book to be well-written, have engaging characters, and a good pace.  Home All Along is not a standalone novel.  You need to read the first two books in An Amish Secrets Novel series prior to Home All Along.  A few of the themes in Home All Along are power of prayer, right to pick your own fate, choices, fear of failure, faith, and love.  Home All Along is realistic.  Life is full of ups and downs which is shown in this novel.  It is interesting to see what choices each person makes in Home All Along.  Aunt Faye is quite a character.  She provides levity to Home All Along.  I am giving Home All Along 5 out of 5 stars.  It was nice to see Charlotte develop over the course of the series.  She developed as a person and a Christian.  Home All Along is one of those books that you want to read quickly to see how it ends, but you also do not want the story to end (because then the series is over).  The first two books in the series are Her Brother's Keeper and Love Bears All Things

I appreciate you stopping by today and reading my latest book review.  I will return tomorrow to share my thoughts on A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Crazy Like A Fox: A Sister Jane Mystery


Happy Wednesday!  I hope everyone is having a good week.  Christmas Angels by Nadine Dorries will be published on November 16.  It is the fourth book in The Lovely Lane Series. A British historical series that takes readers back to the 1950s in Liverpool.

Crazy Like a Fox by Rita Mae Brown is the tenth book in the Sister Jane series.  Jane Arnold and Marian Maggiolo are at Museum of Hound’s and Hunting in Morven Park.  They talk about Wesley “Weevil” Carruthers.  Wesley disappeared in 1954 and his body was never found.  His horn is on display in the museum.  After enjoying dinner, they return to the museum to retrieve Marion’s phone.  They discover Wesley’s horn missing, but the thief left a selfie behind on Marion’s phone.  It appears to be Wesley Carruthers on the phone holding his horn.  Who is the man on the phone and why did he steal the horn?  Jane sets out to get answers with the help of her trusty animal sidekicks and return the horn to the museum.  Jane delves into Wesley’s past to discover what happened back in 1954.  But someone does not appreciate Jane’s investigation and sets out to halt her progress.

Crazy Like a Fox is a confusing novel.  I had not heard of this series prior to picking up a copy of Crazy Like a Fox.  I quickly discovered that it is not a standalone novel. The book starts out with a long list of characters (including animals) and terminology (not a promising start).  Who wants to keep flipping to a list to figure out how this person knows that person?  The author did not provide the backstory needed.  I found the writing awkward and the dialogue between the human characters to be stilted.  I felt the author tried to cram too much into one story.  I believe it is supposed to be cute with all the various animals investigating and talking, but I did not find it appealing.  It just lent to the confusion.  I could not get interested in the storyline.  I was bored and could not wait for the book to end.  The information on fox hunting was confusing.  I thought it was too technical for the average reader.  The mystery was simple and can easily be solved (if you can stay interested).  I am rating Crazy Like a Fox 2 out of 5 stars.  I am not the right audience for the Sister Jane series.  

Thank you for visiting today.  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on Home All Along by Beth Wiseman. The conclusion to An Amish Secrets Novel series.  I hope that you have a beautiful day.  Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Place at Our Table: An Amish Homestead Novel


Welcome!  I appreciate you visiting today.  X Marks the Scot by Kaitlyn Dunnett will be published on November 28.  It is the eleventh book in A Liss MacCrimmon Mystery series. If you are looking for a new science fiction story, check out Prism by Nina Walker.

A Place at Our Table by Amy Clipston is the first An Amish Homestead Novel.  Kayla Dienner lives in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania with her family.  They are awakened in the middle of the night when lightning strikes their barn setting it on fire.  James Riehl is one of the volunteer firefighters who responds and he is smitten with Kayla.  Kayla, though, does not appreciate James encouraging her younger brother, Nathan in signing up for volunteer firefighting training.  The Dienner family lost their oldest son, Simeon while he was serving as a volunteer.  Kayla is attracted to James, but she is not sure she is willing to risk her heart again.  After several chance encounters, James starts to court Kayla.  Then a tragic accident happens upsetting James and his plans for his future.  Kayla becomes frustrated and pushes James away.  Is there a chance for these two to have their happily-ever-after? 

A Place at Our Table is well-written and has a good pace.  I thought the characters were well-constructed and realistic.  I was immediately drawn into the story and it held my attention until the very last page.  There is heartache, love, grief, anger, forgiveness, grace, fear, guilt and regret in A Place at Our Table.  I also appreciated the messages regarding God’s will, power of prayer, and His has plans for each of us.  It is lovely to see how an Amish community comes together to help their neighbors.  It is a shame there is not more of this in our world.  I enjoyed the Amish volunteer firefighter angle.  This is my first Amish novel with this theme (very unique).  A Place at Our Table is a heartwarming as well as heartbreaking story.  I look forward to reading the next An Amish Homestead Novel (Room on the Porch Swing) when it comes out in the spring.  Amy Clipston will be hosting a Facebook chat party tonight at 8 p.m. celebrating the release of A Place at Our Table.

May each of you have a marvelous day.  I will return tomorrow with my evaluation of Crazy Like a Fox by Rita Mae Brown.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader



Monday, November 13, 2017

Eaves of Destruction: A Fixer-Upper Mystery


Welcome!  Perennials by Julie Cantrell will be released on November 14.  Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan will be published on November 17.  You may have watched A Fixer-Upper Mystery series by Kate Carlisle on Hallmark Movie and Mysteries Channel.  Colin Ferguson (he was on Eureka and Haven) plays Mackintyre Sullivan, the mystery author.  The books in the series are A High-End Finish, This Old Homicide, Crowned and Moldering, Deck the Hallways and Eaves of Destruction.  


Eaves of Destruction by Kate Carlisle is the fifth book in A Fixer-Upper Mystery series.  Shannon Hammer is busy running Hammer Construction in Lighthouse Cove, California.  Many homeowners are hiring Hammer Construction to fix up their residences before the Lighthouse Cove Victorian Home and Garden Tour.  Everyone wants to win Best in Show which comes with a large cash prize and this year they have a famous mystery author as the judge.  Petsy Jorgensen is Shannon’s most difficult client and matters are not helped by the interference of Joe Scully, the building inspector (nepotism got him the job).  Joe seems to have it out for Shannon, and he keeps popping up at her various job sites causing problems.  Shannon arrives at the Jorgensen residence one morning and hears screaming coming from Joan Derry’s yard (across the street).  Shannon takes off running and finds Joe Scully dead in the Derry orangery with a chisel sticking out of his stomach.  Who disliked Joe enough to kill him?  Shannon, with her natural curiosity, starts digging into Joe’s movements before his death.  Soon, though, another death rocks the town.  Shannon with help from mystery writer (and boyfriend), Mackintyre Sullivan set out to track down the killer before they strike again.

Eaves of Destruction is well-written, has engaging characters, and a good pace.  I am a fan of Shannon Hammer.  She is a strong, intelligent female character in a male dominated industry.  Shannon has a warm heart, a sense of humor, and loving friends and family.  I also like the secondary characters such as Jane Hennessey (Shannon’s best friend) and Mackintyre Sullivan (Shannon’s love interest).  The new carpenter, Amanda Walsh was a great addition to the story.  I find that each book in A Fixer-Upper Mystery series is better than the prior one.  The mystery was complex in design with a couple of promising suspects.    I appreciated the author’s use of misdirection and the reason why the murders occurred. I loved the descriptions of the beautiful Victorian homes (I love Queen Anne Victorian homes) in Lighthouse Cove.  The dialogue is engaging and realistic.  There is just the right amount of humor in the story along with romance (it blends in with the story beautifully).  Eaves of Destruction can be read alone, but I do recommend the other books in the series (you can also watch the movies).  If you enjoy A Fixer-Upper Mystery series, check out A Bibliophile Mystery series.  

I appreciate you visiting today.  I will be featuring A Place at Our Table by Amy Clipston tomorrow.  It is An Amish Homestead Novel.  May each of you have a blessed day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Deadly Eclair: A French Bistro Mystery


Salutations!  Christmas Angels by Nadine Dorries will be published on December 16.  It is the fourth novel in The Lovely Lane Series.  A delightful historical nurse series.  

A Deadly Éclair by Daryl Wood Gerber is the first book A French Bistro Mystery series.  Mimi Rousseau owns Bistro Rousseau and Maison Rousseau in Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley, California thanks to her mentor, Bryan Baker.  Mimi is hosting a wedding at Maison Rousseau for Angelica Barrington and Lyle Ives.  The out-of-towners dinner is going beautifully until father-of-the-bride, Edison Barrington arrives late and drunk.  Mimi handles the situation and the event proceeds.  The next morning, Angelica finds Bryan dead on the bistro patio. Unfortunately, the evidence points to Mimi as the killer.  Mimi wants to clear her name and that of her establishment.  Mimi uses her deductive skills to track down the real killer and clear her off the suspect list.

A Deadly Éclair is nicely written, contains good characters, and luscious food descriptions.  Daryl Wood Gerber sets up a lovely backdrop for A French Bistro Mystery series.  I appreciate the descriptions of Mimi’s establishments and the area. We are provided the backstory on Mimi and how she came to live in Napa Valley.  I found Mimi to be a relatable (and likeable) character along with the other people in the story.  I am glad that she is an intelligent woman running her own business.  I did feel that readers are introduced to a few too many characters in the first couple of chapters.  It was hard to keep track of everyone in the beginning.  The pace of the book is a little slower that I usually like, but it does go with this story.  The author is setting the stage for her new characters.  I am rating A Deadly Éclair 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  I wish the murder had been more complex.  One clue (if you need it) gives the identity of the killer.  The why takes a little longer to discern.  I did like the author’s use of misdirection to throw readers off the trail of the real culprit.  There are recipes at the end of the book for the dishes mentioned in the story.  I am eager to read more stories in A French Bistro Mystery series.  The next book is A Souffle of Suspicion which is scheduled to be published in July 2018.

I appreciate you stopping by today and reading my latest review.  I will return tomorrow to share my thoughts on Eaves of Destruction by Kate Carlisle.  I sincerely hope that each of you have a delightful day.  By the way--What do you get if you cross a turkey with an octopus?  Eight feather dusters!  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Slay Bells Ring: A Caprice De Luca Mystery


Thank you for visiting today.  A Place at Our Table by Amy Clipston will be out on November 14. It is the first book in An Amish Homestead Novel series

Slay Bells Ring by Karen Rose Smith is the seventh book in A Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery series (that’s a mouthful).  Caprice De Luca is staging Christopher and Sara Merriweather home with a “Christmas Delight” theme for their open house.   Chris and Sara own a local hobby store along with Chris making beautiful wood toys during the year.  Chris has been acting strangely since his return from his annual trip to visit old war buddies in Washington, D.C.  Late one evening, Chris (who plays Santa each year) is found dead outside Santa’s cabin on Santa Lane.  Why would someone murder him?  Caprice is asked to look into the crime and see if she can unmask the killer.  She soon discovers that Chris was keeping many secrets.  Which one of them go them got him murdered?

Slay Bells Ring is not a standalone novel.  You do need to read the previous six books in the series or you will be lost.  There are numerous family members (friends, townspeople) and it will be impossible to keep them all straight.  The murder occurs at the 20% mark in the story (I was beginning to wonder if I was reading a cozy mystery). The culprit’s identity can be discovered before the murder occurs (I am not kidding).  I wish the mystery had been slightly more complicated and had been more of the focus of the book.  The focus of Slay Bells Ring is on Grant and Caprice.  They are newly engaged and very much in love (as we are told repeatedly).  Slay Bells Ring is nicely written and has a good flow.  It contains a charming town and a good female main character.  I appreciate Caprice’s fashion sense and love of animals.  Food items and Caprice’s clothing are described in detail (each and every outfit).  Slay Bells Ring is perfect for readers looking for a light-hearted cozy mystery with love, family and Christmas.  There is a preview of Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes at the end of the book (publishes on December 26, 2017).

I hope you found my review helpful.  I will return tomorrow to share my thoughts on A Deadly Eclair by Daryl Wood Gerber.  It is the first book in A French Bistro Mystery series.  May you have a very special day!  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Friday, November 10, 2017

Broken Bones: A D.I. Kim Stone Novel


Hello!  Death at the Midnight Dragonfly by Susan Boles is out today.  It is the third book in A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery series.  Protected in Darkness by Heather Sunseri is out now.  It is the story of Charley Packstone and sequel to Cut in Darkness (part of the In Darkness series).  

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons is the seventh book in the D.I. Kim Stone series.  Kim Stone is ready to go home, but her car has decided not to start.  She is heading back inside the station house when she finds a baby outside.  Kim quickly calls DS Bryant to the station to assist (who cannot help but call his colleagues).  Kim assigns Stacey and Dawson the abandoned baby case and heads out with Bryant to investigate a new homicide.  Kelly Rowe, a down-on-her luck single mum, was found murdered.  This is just the first in a series of killings of prostitutes who work on Tavistock Road.  It leads Kim to encounter two people from her past.  Meanwhile, Stacey and Dawson are trying to track down the individual who abandoned the baby at the police station.  Their only clue is a Romanian shawl that the baby was wrapped in.  This clue leads them down the trail of the Robertson’s who employees Romanian workers.  Something is not right in that factory and it is hope to Kim’s team to uncover the truth. 

Broken Bones is well-written and captivating.  I was immediately drawn in to the story and I did not want to stop reading.  The story is full of twists (I just loved it).  I found the story to be fast paced with loads of action.  I am glad that more of Kim’s past is revealed in Broken Bones.  In each new book in the series, we get a glimpse into Kim Stone’s history.  I like seeing a softer side of Kim with her dog, Barney.  I also appreciate the banter between Kim and her team members.  Broken Bones does contain British slang and some words are spelled differently (than how we spell them in America).  It does not take away from the story and the meaning of the words can be construed from the text.  There is some foul language in the book (fair warning).  I do not recommend reading Broken Bones as a stand-alone.  Each book in the D.I. Kim Stone series builds upon the previous one.  You need to read the books in order.  It will help you to understand Kim and her team.  I am rating Broken Bones 5 out of 5 stars (I loved it).  The revelation of the murderer was the best part.  It will surprise most readers.  

If you enjoy my reviews, considering joining my blog.  You can sign up via email (at right).  If you belong to Google+, consider adding me to your circle.  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on Slay Bells Ring by Karen Rose Smith (A Caprice De Luca Mystery).  May each of you have a beautiful day and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Potions and Pastries: A Magical Bakery Mystery


Greetings!  I hope you are having a pleasant day.  Death at the Midnight Dragonfly by Susan Boles will be published on November 10.  It is the third book in A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery series.  

Potions and Pastries by Bailey Cates is the seventh story in A Magical Bakery Mystery series.  Katie Lightfoot along with her Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben own the Honeybee Bakery in Savannah, Georgia.  They provide baked goods that have a magical boost.  Ben, Lucy, Katie, and her fiancé, Declan are out walking along the riverfront and see friend Orla Black telling fortunes.  Orla has a message for Katie that she takes as a warning--sacrifice.  What will Katie have to sacrifice?  The next day Katie sees Orla nearby and wishes to get more information from her.  Unfortunately, Orla walks in front of a car and is struck dead before Katie can speak with her.  It looks like an accident, but Katie’s magical awareness tells her something sinister is afoot.  Katie, Declan and the spellbook club work together to find out what happened to Orla.  But what happens when Katie gets close to uncovering the truth?

Potions and Pastries is best enjoyed if you have read the other books in A Magical Bakery Mystery series.  It can be a little confusing (especially in the beginning) when all the various spellbook club members are introduced.  I found this story to be well-written and engaging.  I was drawn into the story and I liked the magical elements.  Potions and Pastries has great characters that you will enjoy visiting in each new installment in the series.  The only downfall for me was the mystery.  I identified the guilty party before the Orla was struck by the car.  I did appreciate the author use of misdirection to lead readers on a merry chase.  Potions and Pastries is a light cozy mystery with magic, humor, family, friends, pets and luscious baked goods.  I am giving Potions and Pastries 4 out of 5 stars.    I look forward to reading the next novel in A Magical Bakery Mystery series.

I will return tomorrow with my review of Broken Bones by Angela Marsons.  May each of you have a remarkable day.  Take care of yourself and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader  

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Cremains of the Day: A Tallie Graver Mystery


Welcome!  I appreciate you stopping by today.  Canal Days Calamity by  Jamie M. Blair and A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes are out today.  I will be sharing my thoughts on these new cozy mysteries soon!

Cremains of the Day by Misty Simon is the first installment in A Tallie Graver Mystery series.  Tallulah “Tallie” Graver has fallen hard after the dissolution of her marriage to Walden Phillips III.  She is now cleaning homes and working part-time at Graver Funeral Home, the family business.  Tallie left her vacuum at Darla Hackersham’s home and returns to retrieve it.  She discovers feet sticking out of a closet and finds Darla with a knife sticking out of her chest.  This is just the beginning of strange events plaguing Tallie.  Max Bennett, an old friend of Tallie’s brother, has returned to town and seems to be following Tallie.  He is handsome, but it unnerving.  She finds Katie tied up in Gina’s shop and her ex-husband down in the alley.  What is going on?  Tallie needs to unearth the truth before she ends up the next customer at her family’s business.

Cremains of the Day is not what I expected.  I was hoping for a mystery series that centers around the Graver Funeral Home (it would have been unique).  Tallie dislikes the family business and is eager to avoid it (I was eager to avoid her).   I thought the characters lacked development.  The details readers are given on Tallie are mostly about her marriage and what has happened since it dissolved (along with the fact that she really dislikes the family business).  I found her very cliché (another clumsy, down-on-her luck divorcee who does not get along with the local chief of police).  She is newly divorced from a disdainful man whom she let take advantage of her in the divorce settlement (of course).  There is little information given on the town and local businesses.  The mystery is medium level with some nice misdirection. There is mild foul language in Cremains of the Day along with some crude references to Tallie’s ex-husbands privates (they get zapped with a stun gun).   The next book in A Tallie Graver Mystery series is Grounds for Remorse (I will not be reading it).

Thank you for visiting today.  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on Potions and Pastries by Bailey Cates.  By the way--Why did the turkey sit on a tomahawk?  To hatchet!  May each of you have a splendid day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Quiche and the Dead: A Pie Town Mystery



The Quiche and the Dead by Kirsten Weiss is the first book in A Pie Town Mystery series.  Valentine “Val” Harris opened Pie Town in San Nicholas, California five months prior.  She is finally starting to break even and is happy with her choice to settle in San Nicholas.  Val made a quiche to welcome Heidi Gladstone and her new business Heidi’s Health and Fitness to the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, Heidi is against sugar (and anything with flavor along with Val’s slogan for her business) and shop regular Joe wins the quiche (he made a bet that Heidi would not eat it).  Unfortunately, Joe soon clutches his stomach and keels over.  Officer Gordon Carmichael responds to the 911 call along with Detective Shaw.  It is determined the Joe was poisoned and business grinds to a halt at Pie Town.  Charlene McCree, pie crust maker extraordinaire, believes she is a prime suspect and ropes Val into doing some snooping.  They uncover that Joe liked to investigate local crimes along with his recently deceased friend, Frank Potts.  What had Joe uncovered that got him killed?  It seems that San Nicholas is not the sleepy little town it appears. 

The Quiche and the Dead starts off with a murder in the very first chapter.  I liked the method of murder (poisoning) and the pie shop (it sounded cute).  The main character, Valentine Harris was not appealing.  I found her whiny and unlikeable (her overreaction to each and every encounter with Heidi became annoying).  Charlene is supposed to be a secondary character, but she dominates the book.  She is over-the-top, quirky and a conspiracy theorist.  Charlene goes around town with a lazy cat around her shoulders like it is a fur stole (she states the cat is narcoleptic and would get lonely at home).  It sounds humorous, but after numerous mentions of said cat it starts to become tedious and repetitive.   The mystery was simple and the suspect list was limited.  The killer’s identity can be distinguished early in the story (the person stands out—no clues needed).  The story dragged along towards the end with much speculation and talking (along with more wackiness from Charlene).  There is also flirting between Valentine and Officer Carmichael (Val is getting over a broken engagement). The author failed to adequately set up the backdrop of San Nicholas (we are given scant details).   My rating for The Quiche and the Dead is 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay).   The Quiche and the Dead did not inspire me to want more A Pie Town Mystery novelsBleeding Tarts is the next book in A Pie Town Mystery series and it will be out in April 2018.

Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on another book.  Have a wonderful day and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Monday, November 6, 2017

Knit to Kill: A Black Sheep & Co. Mystery


Welcome Back!  A Spoonful of Magic by Irene Radford will be published on November 7.  The story of a kitchen witch and her "magical" family.

Knit to Kill by Anne Canadeo is the first book in A Black Sheep & Co. Mystery series (continuation of Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries).  The ladies are off to enjoy four days on Osprey Island, Maine before Lucy Binger gets married.  Suzanne Cavanaugh’s friend Amy has loaned them a cottage and they are looking forward to a relaxing few days.  The first night, Maggie has agreed to teach a knitting class to Amy’s knitting group.  They witness an argument between Dr. Julian Morton and Derek Pullman.  The next morning during yoga class, they hear sirens.  They find out that Dr. Morton was found dead on the rocks below the cliffs.  Evidence suggests that Julian was pushed to his death.  When Amy’s husband becomes Detective Dunbar’s prime suspect, the ladies discover that Julian had many enemies.  Can they untangle the clues and nab the killer before the end of their weekend?

Knit to Kill is technically the ninth book in the series.  I recommend reading the other books in the series prior to attempting Knit to Kill.  The full backstory (not even last names) of the main characters is not provided in Knit to Kill.  I found the majority of the book devoted to drinking, eating, walking, biking, knitting, talking, more eating, spa treatments, and swimming.  The mystery was a small portion of the story and it was unchallenging.  My rating for Knit to Kill is 3 out of 5 stars.  The killer’s identity can be discerned before Dr. Morton’s body is discovered below the cliffs.  With a lack of action, I found that the story dragged.  I wish there had more investigation and less speculation (and rehashing).  There is a recipe for French toast (mentioned in the book) at the end of the book along with a shawl pattern.  Knit to Kill is a light, breezy cozy mystery that will appeal to many readers.

Thank you for visiting.  I will return tomorrow with another book evaluation.  Before I close--What do you call a running turkey?  Fast food!  May each of you have a remarkable day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ghost on the Case: A Bailey Ruth Ghost Novel


Salutations!  I hope you are having a very special day.  Did you remember to turn your clocks back?  Canal Days Calamity by Jamie M. Blair will be published on November 8.  It is the second book in A Dog Days Mystery series.

Ghost on the Case by Carolyn Hart is the eighth book in A Bailey Ruth Ghost series.  Bailey Ruth Raeburn, a heavenly emissary, is thrilled when she gets a message from her supervisor, Paul Wiggins to report to Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions.  Wiggins has a new assignment for Bailey Ruth.  She gets to return to Adelaide, Oklahoma (her home town) to help Susan Gilbert.  Susan receives a $100,000 ransom demand for her sister, Sylvie.  She is told to steal the money from her employer’s safe and wait for their return call at midnight—she never gets a call.  The next morning, Susan heads to work and discovers the place crawling with police.  Susan’s boss, Wilbur Fitch was found dead in his study and Susan is at the top of the suspect list.  Bailey Ruth sets out to unearth who knew Susan could open the safe and why they wanted Wilbur dead.  Can Bailey Ruth get Susan set back on the correct path?

Ghost on the Case was an entertaining novel.  Bailey Ruth is a firecracker.  I enjoy her fashion sense, wit, intelligence, and determination.  While Ghost on the Case is the eighth book in the series, it can be read alone.  All the background details on Bailey Ruth are provided in the book.  I found Ghost on the Case to be nicely written and to have a good pace.  I like how Bailey Ruth works with Sam Cobb, the police chief, to solve the case.  There was just the right amount of humor in Ghost on the Case.  My rating for Ghost on the Case is 4 out of 5 stars.  The mystery had some great elements.  I wish, though, it had been a little more challenging.  There was repetition of details regarding the case that I wish the author had eliminated (we do not need reminded so often).  I liked how Ms. Hart included my favorite childhood restaurant (The Spaghetti Warehouse) and several wonderful novels.  I will be continuing with A Bailey Ruth Ghost series.  If you are looking for a light and entertaining cozy mystery, pick up a copy of Ghost on the Case.

I appreciate you stopping by and reading my latest review.  I am going to spend my day relaxing, reading and watching Christmas movies.  Make sure you take time out of your busy schedules for yourself.  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on Knit to Kill by Anne Canadeo.  By the way--What key has legs and cannot open doors?  (prepare to groan)  A Turkey!  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Thread the Halls: A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery


I hope you are having a pleasant and relaxing Saturday.  Potions and Pastries by Bailey Cates will be released on November 7 along with Eaves of Destruction by Kate Carlisle.

Thread the Halls by Lea Wait is the sixth book in A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series.  Angie Curtis is looking forward to a quiet Christmas in Haven Harbor, Maine with her family, friends, and boyfriend, Patrick West.  Then Patrick gets a call from his mother, Skye West that she is returning for Christmas and bringing some movie people with her.  Patrick needs help getting Aurora (their estate) prepped for Christmas in two days (there goes Angie’s quiet Christmas).  The Mainely Needlepoint group help Patrick prepare for the holidays including custom embroidered little pillows for Skye’s guests.  After the guests arrive, Patrick and Skye are taking a walk when they discover one of the actor’s dead in the snow.  Was it an accidentally killing by a hunter or was it deliberate?  Then Patrick eats poisoned cookies and Angie is blamed.  She is determined to find the culprit and get her Christmas back on track!

Thread the Halls is nicely written and has a nice pace which makes it a quick read.  The emphasis in Thread the Halls is on Christmas, friendship, food and family.  The murder does not occur until the 25% mark in the story.  There is little investigation in the book and it is child’s play to solve.  There might as well be a giant neon arrow pointing to the culprit.  There is a little surprise near the end that some readers might not anticipate.  It was interesting to read about various Maine Christmas traditions including the Christmas boat parade (we have a similar one in my area).  My rating for Thread the Halls is 3 out of 5 stars.  Thread the Halls can be a standalone book.  All the pertinent details are included in this installment.  I was not a fan of Patrick West (or his mother) in this book.  He assumed his money would get him everything he wanted done (which is mentioned several times).  I did tire of the repetition of information.  The same details are repeated throughout the book. I would have preferred more substance and less fluff.  If you are looking for a light cozy mystery that is big on Christmas spirit, then check out Thread the Halls.  

I appreciate you visiting today.  I will be featuring Ghost on the Case by Carolyn Hart next time.  May you have a heartwarming day!  By the way--Why do turkeys say "gobble gobble"?  Because they never learned good table manners.  Take care and Happy Reading!

Kris
The Avid Reader