Thursday, December 29, 2022

A Streetcar Named Murder by T.G. Herren

 Book Summary
Book Summary

Blackmail in the Big Easy turns to cold-blooded murder in this debut cozy mystery perfect for fans of Jane K. Cleland.

When the mysterious letter arrives by courier, Valerie Cooper doesn’t know what to make of it. She’s become the beneficiary of her late husband’s estranged uncle’s will—a man she never knew—and inherited a majority partnership in the family’s company, New Orleans Fine Antiques. Valerie knows nothing about antiques, but she decides to learn the business and become an active partner. She’s also got her hands full fending off Collette, a woman who wants to sell the huge old house in the Irish Channel neighborhood Valerie and her husband painstakingly renovated.
Valerie isn’t interested in selling—but when her best friend Lauren, drags her to a costume party for the women’s Mardi Gras club, the Krewe of Athena, she stumbles over Collette’s body, a jeweled dagger sticking out of her chest. In a rush of panic, Valerie recognizes the dagger from her shop—and before she knows it, she’s become murder suspect number one.

Egged on by Lauren, she starts digging into Collette’s business dealings, and the deeper she digs, the dirtier it gets. Now all fingers are pointing at Valerie. In a desperate bid to clear her name, Valerie frantically tries to find who could have gotten hold of the dagger. But among a cadre of guests in full costume, it could be impossible to find the thief—and unmask the real killer.

My Thoughts

A Streetcar Named Murder by T.G. Herren is the debut of A New Orleans Mystery series.  I thought the author captured New Orleans.  I like that she included the history of the city and events.  We get to learn about krewes and their origins as well.  Valerie Cooper, the protagonist, is a widow of five years.  Her twin boys are enjoying their first year of college.  My feelings about Valerie are mixed.  I want to like her, but she got on my nerves at times.  I wanted her to be less wishy washy.  The one time she was brave was when she should not have been.  Her friend, Lorna, is a force of nature.  I am amazed that the two are friends, especially after learning how they met.   Lorna came over to introduce herself to Valerie shortly after the family moved in.  The twins were running amok (terrible twos time two), and Valerie was worn out.  Lorna quickly got the boys in line (gave them orders) and then the two ladies enjoyed the wine that Lorna brought with her.  I would have taken the wine and sent Lorna packing.  

I found the story to be a slow starter.  The mystery did not take place until slightly past the halfway mark.  By the time the murder occurs, it was obvious who would die and how.  The solution to the whodunit was easy to figure out.  I believe the information was supposed to be a twist, but it can easily be discerned long before the reveal.  The mystery is wrapped up at the end, so I was not left with any lingering questions.  I did feel that there was too much repetition in the story.  I lost track of how many times we are told Valerie is a widow, that the family does not know why Arthur was estranged from the family, and that Lorna writes romance novels.  The pacing was slow.  The overly detailed descriptions and lack of action are the cause (do we really need to know what each person is wearing down to their tie tac or every detail of how Valerie makes her mac and cheese).  There is mild foul language and the consumption of copious amounts of wine.  There is some humor courtesy of Lorna.  As you can tell, A Streetcar Named Murder was not a hit with me.  A Streetcar Named Murder is a Southern cozy mystery with an enigmatic inheritance, a rude realtor, an unusual knife, a krewe party, a dying declaration, a disheveled detective, and a surprising revelation.

A Streetcar Named Murder is available from Amazon*.  You can follow T.G. Herren on Amazon and you will receive an email when the author releases a new book.   Thank you for joining me today.  I will return on January 3 with Something Old, Something New by Amy Clipston.  It is Amy Clipston's latest contemporary romance.  I hope that you have a safe and Happy New Year!  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader  

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Killer Cupid by Laurien Berenson

 Killer Cupid

Book Summary

Melanie Travis is taking a much-needed break from the dog show circuit for a romantic Valentine’s trip with her husband Sam, but when someone at their cozy Berkshires inn has an unexpected date with death, Melanie must slip into something sleuthier for the weekend . . .
Melanie is delighted at the prospect of three uninterrupted days alone with Sam (and, of course, her prize-winning Standard Poodle, Faith). They’re booked at the White Birch Inn, a picturesque New England resort nestled at the foot of a snow-covered mountain. The inn has a full slate of couples activities planned for the busy Valentine's weekend—date nights, sleigh rides, tobogganing, ice skating, and pop-up shops in the inn's ballroom —from the bubbly to the bubble bath, the resort is a perfect match for Melanie and Sam’s vacation. But the first night of festivities feature an event that isn’t on the program: murder.
The sheriff quickly launches an investigation, but at the inn keeper’s urging—and because she suddenly finds herself a person of interest in the case—Melanie tries to sneak a little detective work into her romantic getaway. But with the resort nearly sold out for the holiday weekend, there's no shortage of suspects, and Melanie’s secret sleuthing is already attracting the wrong kind of attention. Her Valentine’s trip is heating up faster than the chocolate fondue . . . just not in the way Melanie hoped. But if she doesn’t catch the cold-hearted killer soon, another innocent victim will get the kiss of death . . .
My Thoughts

Killer Cupid by Laurien Berenson has Melanie Travis and her husband, Sam along with Faith heading off for a relaxing, romantic trip for Valentine’s Day weekend.  Melanie’s brother, Frank and his wife, Bertie are joining them at the White Birch Inn in the Berkshires.  The couples are enjoying their mini vacay until the events coordinator ends up dead.  The local police are quick to write off the woman’s death as accidental.  Melanie has her doubts.  When the inn’s owner, Evelyn Barker asks Melanie to investigate, she is happy to oblige.  Melanie with assistance from Bertie and Faith sets out to locate the killer.

Killer Cupid   is the twenty-ninth A Melanie Travis Mystery.  It is a novella which can be read in one sitting.  I enjoyed reading Killer Cupid.  I was eager to see what mischief Melanie got into this time. We get to spend time with Melanie’s brother, Frank and his wife.  They go on the trip with Melanie and Sam along with Melanie’s beloved Standard poodle, Fern.  Fern’s age is mentioned a few times.  I hope the author is not preparing us for her departure.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the White Birch Inn and its surroundings.  It seemed like the perfect place to spend a romantic weekend.  The mystery was intriguing.  The events coordinator for the White Birch Inn is found dead by the ice-skating pond.  It appears that she died from exposure.  I had to wonder how a woman who is used to the frigid winter weather is not aware of the dangers of being outside too long.  What was Belinda Rush doing outside late at night?  Melanie is naturally curious about the case.  When the owner of the inn asks her to investigate, Melanie does not hesitate to say yes.  Melanie questions the staff and guests about the victim.  I like that Bertie joined Melanie on her sleuthing ventures.  Melanie is a bad influence.  Faith tagged along on some of the ventures.  The sweet poodle is a good judge of character.  I enjoyed the suspenseful reveal.  Aunt Peg, Davey, and Kevin provide humor, especially the rambunctious Kevin.  I like that we get to spend more time with Sam in this tale.  Killer Cupid is an entertaining cozy mystery, and I am eager for the next A Melanie Travis MysteryKiller Cupid is a merry mystery with a Valentine vacay, a faithful Faith, a deceased employee, sticky smores, spiked cider, and mistrustful Melanie. 

Killer Cupid is available from Amazon*.  A Furry Little Christmas is the next A Melanie Travis Mystery and it will be out on September 26, 2023.  You can follow Laurien Berenson on Amazon and you will receive an email when she has a new book coming out.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return on Tuesday with Something Old, Something New by Amy Clipston.  I hope that you have a relaxing week.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous by Amanda Flower

 Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous
Book Summary

Set in the fan favorite Amish village of Harvest, Ohio, the latest novel in USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower's Amish Matchmaker series brings back the unlikely sleuthing duo of an Amish widow and her zany, thrice divorced best friend. Will appeal to fans of cozy mysteries, small-town mysteries, wholesome romance, inspirational fiction, and readers of Jennifer Beckstrand, Charlotte Hubbard, Rachel J. Good, and other authors of Amish fiction.

Millie’s decidedly 
 Amish best friend, Lois Henry, is outspoken, colorful, and so hopelessly romantic, she’s had four husbands. Millie doesn’t judge, and she also doesn’t expect to run into Lois’s most recent ex, gambler Gerome Moorhead, in small-town Harvest, Ohio. With him is the very young, new Mrs. Moorhead, aka “Honeybee.” Lois is outraged, but Millie is completely shocked to learn the next day that Gerome is already a widower . . .
When a large wood carving at the cozy Munich Chalet falls on “Honeybee,” all eyes turn toward Lois. Who else would want a tourist—a complete stranger—dead? And half of Harvest witnessed Lois’s enmity toward the young woman. Suddenly Millie must put aside her sewing needle and flex her sleuthing skills. She’s no stranger to a murder investigation, after all, and if she doesn’t learn who killed Honeybee, Lois could go from Millie’s boisterous best friend to her horrified prison penpal . . .

My Thoughts

Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous by Amanda Flower is a fun cozy mystery.  I laughed often while reading the fourth An Amish Matchmaker Mystery.  Millie and Lois have a new case.  Gerome Moorhead, Lois’ most recent ex-husband, is in Harvest, Ohio on his honeymoon to the newest Mrs. Moorhead (aka Honeybee).  When Honeybee gets clocked by an oversized cuckoo, Lois rises to the top of the suspect list.  Millie aka the Amish Marple is on the case.  Of course, Lois is not about to be left behind.  Can the duo uncover the killer before Lois gets carted off to the hoosegow?  

Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous is a delight to read.  I like Amanda Flower’s writing style.  It is relaxed and engaging.  I quickly found myself drawn into the story. I was quickly flipping the pages to find out what happened next.  I love a book that makes me laugh.  There are great characters in this series. They are fun and quirky.  Millie has her goats who seem to understand her.  She has added a cat to the household.  Lois is a hoot.  She is the opposite of Millie.  Lois likes busy patterns and loud colors.  She carries a purse that reminds me of Mary Poppins satchel.  You never know what Lois will pull out of her purse (there is at least one rubber mallet in there—you never know when you are going to need one--and let us not forget the staple gun).   Margot Rawlings is the village’s community organizer.  This is one woman that you wish to avoid, or you will find yourself “volunteered” to help with an event.  Let us not forget Juliet Brook, the pastor’s wife, and her pet pig, Jethro.  Juliet plans to make Jethro a Hollywood star.  

The whodunit was entertaining.  Lois and Millie manage to get into a scrape or two (thanks to Lois).  Millie asks questions and searches for clues.  I like how the whodunit involved both the Amish and the English communities.  The mystery delved into an issue that is prevalent in our country.  No sect is immune as we see in this story.  My only complaint is that the mystery was easy to solve.  I easily picked out the guilty party early in the story.  The antics of Millie’s goats had me laughing out loud.   The author gave the goats great personalities.  Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous can be read as a standalone, but you are missing out by not reading all the books in this delightful series. There is a preview of Blueberry Blunder at the end which is the eighth An Amish Candy Shop Mystery.  Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous is a witty whodunit with a polka dotted pig, a clobbered bride, a bulging bag, rampageous goats, a caring community, and the Amish Marple.   

Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous is available from Amazon*.  The other books in An Amish Matchmaker Mysteries can be found hereBlueberry Blunder is the eighth An Amish Candy Shop Mystery and it comes out May 23, 2023.  I wonder what mystery Bailey King will find herself involved in this time.  You can find Amanda Flower's other books here.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope that you had a happy holiday and received plenty of books or gifts cards to get books (always on my Christmas list).  I am off to straighten up my storage area.  I need to make room for the inflatables I used for my holiday display.  This is the not fun part.  I hope you have a very Happy New Year.  I will return on January 3 with Something Old, Something New by Amy Clipston.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas 

Greetings!  This is our Christmas tree this year.  My mother's Santa is next to it.  I hope that Santa has been good to you this year (and if he hasn't then I hope you spoiled yourself). May your holiday be filled with joy!   Take care, stay warm, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Death Checked Out by Leah Dobrinska


Death Checked Out:  A Larkspur Library Mystery by Leah Dobrinska

About Death Checked Out

Death Checked Out: A Larkspur Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Level Best Books (December 6, 2022)
Number of Pages ~300
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BHJJ1QRT

She’s used to checking out books. A death? Not so much. 

Greta Plank, resident librarian in the small, lakeside town of Larkspur, Wisconsin, prefers her rose-tinted glasses extra rosy, thank you very much. Ever since a family tragedy landed her in Larkspur, she’s kept a happy-or-bust outlook. But Greta’s cheery resolve takes a hit when she finds the town recluse dead at the base of the stairs leading from his deck to the lake. What she assumes is a terrible accident Greta soon learns is something more sinister, and to make matters worse, new-to-town Detective Mark McHenry cites her as not only his primary source for the case, but his top suspect.

To clear her name and return to life as she knew it before the murder, Greta decides to do some clue cataloging of her own. After all, she’s got her master’s degree in library science with an emphasis in research methodology…how hard could a criminal investigation be? With the help of her fellow librarians and her lawyer mom, Greta begins checking out the pages of the murder, uncovering details about the recluse’s rare book collection and Larkspur’s real estate market as she tries to understand why anyone would have authored his death.

But with friends and neighbors stacking up as both victims and suspects, Greta must cross-reference the facts and put a hold on her idyllic worldview if she wants to get the full story without paying the fine of her life.

About Leah Dobrinska

Leah Dobrinska is the author of the Larkspur Library Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in the Wisconsin Northwoods, and the Mapleton novels, a series of standalone small town romances. She earned her degree in English Literature from UW-Madison and has since worked as a freelance writer, editor, and content marketer. As a kid, she hoped to grow up to be either Nancy Drew or Elizabeth Bennet. Now, she fulfills that dream by writing mysteries and love stories. Death Checked Out is her debut cozy mystery.

A sucker for a good sentence, a happy ending, and the smell of books—both old and new—Leah lives out her very own happily ever after in a small Wisconsin town with her husband and their gaggle of kids. When she’s not writing, handing out snacks, or visiting local parks, Leah enjoys reading and running. Find out more about Leah, join her newsletter community, and connect with her through her website,

Author Links



Amazon Author Page:






My Thoughts

Greta Plank is a librarian in Larkspur, Wisconsin.  Greta’s move to Larkspur was for her to get a fresh start.  She is happy to be away from the memories of her deceptive ex-boyfriend.  It took time, but Greta has made friends with her curmudgeonly neighbor, Franklin.  She stops by his house after work and finds Franklin dead at the bottom of a set of stairs.  Greta thought it was an accident until the town’s new detective begins questioning her.   Greta is surprised that Detective Mark McHenry believes she killed her friend.  Greta works with her fellow librarians to prove her innocence.

Death Checked Out by Leah Dobrinska is the debut of A Larkspur Library Mysteries.  Greta Plank is a woman who has a cheery attitude.   She enjoys living in Larkspur.  She likes the small town where everyone knows you and gossip spreads faster than maple syrup on hot flapjacks.  I enjoyed getting to know the town and its residents.  Larkspur reminds me of Stars Hollow.  The mystery was straightforward.  Greta is at the top of Detective McHenry’s suspect list.  She feels the only way to clear her name is to find the guilty party.  Greta gets help from her fellow librarians, Josie and Iris.  Greta is told to keep details of the case to herself, but she is quick to share them with everyone she encounters.  There are a couple of suspects, a red herring, and pointed clues.  There is a tense reveal.  The crime has a good wrap up at the end.  I enjoyed the Nancy Drew references in the story.  I also liked how Greta, Josie, and Iris were there for each other (Josie more than Iris).   Death Checked Out is an upbeat cozy with Biff the tabby, a librarian in love, a deceased recluse, rampant rumors, a caring community, a determined detective, and a sleuthing librarian.


“Greta, thank you for coming. I’m sorry I was occupied when you arrived.”

“Don’t worry about it. I have the holds for you.” She reached into her canvas bag and pulled out the books Franklin requested from the library.

“Ah yes, excellent. I can’t wait to dive in.” He shuffled through the stack, pausing to read the back cover of Crime and Punishment before he met Greta’s gaze. “These’ll be great. Please, take a seat. Can you stay a minute? Can I get you anything to drink?”

“I can stay for a bit.” Greta set her bag down and smoothed her skirt under her as she sat on Franklin’s couch. “But I don’t need anything.”

“You’re about the only person I know who doesn’t need anything from me, Greta.”

Greta waited for him to explain what he meant, but Franklin just steepled his fingers under his chin. His hair was streaked with gray, and he looked a little more out of sorts than usual. His forehead was creased with deep worry lines, and he stared straight ahead, but didn’t seem to see what was in front of him. The man was temperamental, to say the least. But typically, Franklin was anxious for her to tell him all about her day at the library and any town happenings. He may not get out much, but he liked to keep tabs on Larkspur.

“Anything you want to talk about?”

Franklin looked up, startled, as if he’d forgotten there was someone else in the room with him. “Terribly sorry, Greta,” he sighed. “I’ve got a lot on my mind.”

Greta paused for a second and then decided to take advantage of the relationship she’d built with him to try to get some answers—even if she was being what some might consider nosy. If there was something wrong, she wanted to help him make it right. “The phone call?”

Death Checked Out is available from Amazon* and Barnes & Noble.  You can find Leah Dobrinska's other novels here.  The author is hosting a giveaway as part of the tour.  One person can win a paperback copy of Death Checked Out, a bookmark, and a canvas library tote (sorry, but US Only).  You can click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Leave a comment for an extra entry. Good Luck!  Thank you for joining me today.  I will return on December 27 with Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous by Amanda Flower.  It is the fourth An Amish Matchmaker Mystery.  Lois and Millie have a new case to investigate.  Let's hope Lois does not get Millie into too much trouble.   I hope that you and your families have a very Happy Holiday!  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 
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Tour Participants

December 12 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT

December 12 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 12 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW  

December 14 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Elza Reads – REVIEW

December 16 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

December 16 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT


December 17 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 18 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW

December 18 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

December 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

December 19 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 20 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 20 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

December 21 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

December 22 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 22 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 23 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.