Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Book Review: Pride, Prejudice and Peril by Katie Oliver

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader must in want of a good mystery.... Or that is certainly the case for me! I love cozy mysteries and when I find a new series I adore I whoop for joy!

*commence whooping*

Pride, Prejudice and Peril is the first book in a new series by Katie Oliver, featuring Jane Austen scholar, Phaedra Brighton. Phaedra loves everything about Austen, including dressing up in regency attire to inspire her college class students. However, she lands herself in the middle of a mystery when her friend's husband turns up dead, right in the middle of filming a reality tv show, Who Wants to Marry Mr Darcy, on their property. 

I love Pride and Prejudice. My first introduction to Pride and Prejudice was "that" BBC mini-series in high school. Together, with a few friends, we read it for the first time and then, of course, re-watched the mini series. Fast forward to discovering there was a mystery series, where the first book is inspired by it and of course, I had to read it! 

I absolutely loved Pride, Prejudice and Peril. I had fun figuring out which characters corresponded with the original characters, and of course, trying to the solve the mystery! The author had me completely stumped with this one! I was guessing in the dark, and didn't come close to the solving the mystery before Phaedra.

Pride, Prejudice and Peril is an absolute stunner of a first-in-a-new series. With a cat named Wickham *squee*, a Detective Morelli AND British Professor Mark Sedon, as potential love interests, and her father's bookshop, to provide a cozy setting, you can bet I will be back for the next book. I absolutely can't wait!

Monday, February 13, 2023

Book Review: Murder at the Bookstore by Sue Minix

She can write the perfect murder mystery… But can she solve one in real life? 
Meet Jen Dawson, mystery writer, coffee lover, and amateur detective? Crime writer Jen returns to her small hometown with a bestselling book behind her and a bad case of writer’s block. Finding sanctuary in the local bookstore, with an endless supply of coffee, Jen waits impatiently for inspiration to strike. But when the owner of the bookstore dies suddenly in mysterious circumstances, Jen has a real-life murder to solve.  
The stakes are suddenly higher when evidence places Jen at the scene of the crime and the reading of the will names her as the new owner of the bookstore … Can she crack the case and clear her name, before the killer strikes again?[summary via Publisher]

Readers, I have a new favourite bibliomystery series and it's dynamite! Murder at the Bookstore is the first in a new series by Sue Minix, and if this debut is anything to go by it's going to be fabulous!

Jen Dawson is a mystery writer with writer's block. She's trying to work on her second novel and it's just not forming. However, lucky [or maybe unlucky] for her there is about to be a major distraction in town. When the owner of the bookstore is killed in a not-really-a accident it looks like she's going to have put the pen down and solve a real life mystery!

I love, love bibliomyisteries. If they are set in a library, bookmobile or bookstore it's almost guaranteed that I'm going to like it. However, I loved this one! I was intrigued from the very first page. As always, I tried to solve the mystery alongside the sleuth, and I thought I had all the pieces in place... but I didn't! The final pieces of the denouement definitely surprised me, and the ending was fantastic!

If you're looking for a new bibliomystery, you just have to pick up Murder at the Bookstore! You won't be disappointed, and you'll be counting down the days until the next one! I know I am!

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Book Review: Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke

When Juni Jessup and her sisters Tansy and Maggie put all their beans in one basket to open Sip & Spin Records, a record-slash-coffee shop in Cedar River, Texas, they knew there could be some scratches on the track, but no one was expecting to find a body deader than disco in the supply closet.

Family is everything to the Jessups, so when their uncle is arrested by Juni’s heartbreaking ex on suspicion of murder, the sisters don’t skip a beat putting Sip & Spin up for bail collateral. But their tune changes abruptly when Uncle Calvin disappears, leaving them in a grind. With their uncle’s freedom and the future of their small business on the line, it’s up to Juni and her sisters to get in the groove and figure out whodunit before the killer’s trail—and the coffee—goes cold.

Music and mocha seem like a blend that should be “Knockin' On Heaven's Door,” but caught up in a murder investigation with her family and their life savings on the line, Juni wonders if she might be on the "Highway to Hell" instead.[summary via Publisher]

Oh my! Oh my! Do you ever pick up a book and right from the first page it is instant love? That is how I felt when I read Vinyl Resting Place. I'm by no means a music aficionado. I listen to music, but would I know the difference between listing to a vinyl and listening on streaming? Nope! Did this stop me from loving every single page of this debut? Also no!

Right from the beginning I was hooked on the family dynamic between the three Jessup sisters, Juni, Tansy and Maggie. Together they are opening a vinyl shop and cafe in the exact location where their grandparents used to operate a record store. It is fate! Or it will be if they can solve the murder case that has literally landed in their laps!

With the backdrop of mouthwatering Texan food [where can I get some of the delicious barbecue?!] and delightful, puny names for drinks in their cafe, this was a most tantalizing mystery! With their Uncle Calvin's penchant for laying [just] on the wrong side of the law, the girls needs to put their heads together to solve the crime. Their dynamic is brilliant, and I liked how they had just enough differences to not always get along, but that they also had each others backs when it counted!

This was a first class debut! I'm still in bathing in that afterglow of reading a good mystery, and not quite ready to move on to another book yet. Surely a sign of a good read! The mystery is exciting, the sleuths are delightful and readers will be patiently waiting, wanting to visit Cedar River again. I know I sure can't wait! 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Book Review: Death by Arts and Crafts by Alexis Morgan

As the newest member of the Snowberry Creek City Council, perpetually overextended Abby McCree is picked to liaise between the council and the new planning committee for the town’s first ever arts and crafts fair. As far as gigs go, it’s a fun one—Abby’s spending the weekend tooling around Washington State, checking out similar fairs with her two besties, coffee shop owner Bridey Roker, and ceramic artisan Dayna Fisk.

As Abby spreads the word about Snowberry Creek’s fair, recruiting the industry’s biggest movers and makers, the trip feels like a glittering success. But then, someone is found murdered at one of the events and vendors begin disappearing amid suspicious circumstances. Abby’s determined to keep her hands clean, until Dayna finds herself stuck at the top of the suspect list. Now, Abby must weave the clues together and clear her friend’s name before the killer claims another victim—maybe even Abby herself . . .   [summary via Amazon]

Death by Arts and Crafts  is the sixth book in the Abby McCree mysteries, and my first introduction to Snowberry Creek. However, it definitely won't be my last, because I absolutely loved this book!

Coming off a reading slump, I dove straight into this mystery centred around an arts and crafts fair. Snowberry Creek is getting ready for its first arts and crafts fair, and as a new member to the council, Abby McCree is helping out. However, she gets more than she wishes for when a dead body turns up and one of her friends gets tangled up in the mystery!

From the first page, I was absolutely hooked! The author writes believable, likeable characters and I couldn't wait to take an adventure with them! Abby is determined to not get involved in another murder case, and she really does try to stay out of it. Unfortunately trouble seems to follow her around. Especially as her friend, Dayna, seems to be tangled up in it!

About halfway through the book I was convinced I had identified the killer, and I was happy to be mostly right! I love when the ending is a surprise, and I definitely got a surprise with this one! The final denouement was thrilling, and kept me hooked until the end.

I am just smitten with the characters in Snowberry Creek, and while I wait for the next book to come out, I will be going back to read the earlier mysteries! If you haven't visited Snowberry Creek you need to... today!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Book Review: Knits, Knots and Knives by Emmie Caldwell

For once things seem to be running smoothly for knitting enthusiast Lia Geiger. Her daughter is living on her own and happy with her new job on the alpaca farm. Plus, Lia and her Ninth Street Knitters have been knitting for the Civil War reenactment being held on the grounds next to the Crandalsburg Craft Fair. It’s all fun and battle games until one of the “injured soldiers” turns out to be the very real victim of a murder, and Lia’s friend and neighbor falls under deep suspicion. Suddenly, the good folks of Crandalsburg are spinning all kinds of yarns and pointing fingers at one another. Lucky for Lia, she has the combined wits of the Ninth Street Knitters to help her ply the truth from this crafty killer.[summary via publisher]

By day I'm a yarn dyer and knitter, and by night I love to read cozy mysteries... which is why the Craft Fair Knitters Mysteries are a match made in heaven for me!

Lia along with her daughter, Hayley, and her friends are gearing up for the Crandalsburg Craft Fair and a Civil War reenactment. However, things go awry when the reenactment turns real and one of the participants is killed. When Lia's neighbour is fingered for the crime, Lia and the Ninth Street Knitters must put their heads together and solve the crime.

I love this series! It deftly combines my two favourite things: knitting and a good mystery! This one was especially good! Growing up in Australia, I've never seen a Civil War reenactment in person. I now live in Canada, and I have to say I still haven't. However, Emmie Caldwell writes such a good tale, that I felt like I was alongside Lia and Hayley and watching it all unfold!

Emmie Caldwell always delivers a first class whodunnit, and Knits, Knots and Knives was especially good! It was a race to the finish, as I tried to solve the mystery before Lia and her friends.

If you like a good story with a side order of yarn delight, I highly recommend this series. It's the perfect book to put in your favourite yarn-lovers stocking this holiday season.