I'm trying out a new review format, and I hope readers will like the new style. I only review cozy mysteries that I have purchased/borrowed from the library. This blog has become something for my own pleasure, more than to obtain review copies, so I'm switching things up! Enjoy!!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Book Review: A Margin for Murder by Lauren Elliott

It's time for another adventure with bookseller, Addie Greyborne. This time she's on the road with her assistant, Paige, as they travel to nearby town, Pen Hollow, for a library booksale. There appears to be tension at the booksale, as the library is closing down, and the town is very angry at both the Mayor, and the benefactor that has pulled out. Addie is planning on just buying a few books and leaving. However, when the option to buy the bookmobile turns up, Addie leaps at the chance. Her vision for driving around in the bookmobile is short lived though, when it is involved in a fatal crash. What appears to be an accident soon turns to murder, especially when the local Sheriff is determined to point the finger at Addie and Paige.

The Beyond the Page Bookstore Mysteries are one of my absolute favourites. I love books about books, and this one is a first class series. Every story delivers a tantalizing story, involving interesting books and a fascinating whodunnit. Of course, there is also the sub-plots surrounding Addie and her friends, that keep me coming back for more.

I really liked the setting of picturesque Pen Hollow, with all its history and gothic intrigue. The murder itself was interesting and difficult to solve. I didn't manage to solve it before Addie did, and  the ending left me saying "oh my". It was definitely a denouement that would make Agatha Christie proud!

I absolutely loved everything about A MARGIN FOR MURDER. Beyond the mystery, Addie's friend, Serena, is pregnant and there is a lot going on in Addie's love life. The ending gave me that "curled toes in cozy delight" feeling, and I can't wait for the next adventure!

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Book Review: Strawberried Alive by Jenn McKinlay

STRAWBERRIED ALIVE is the latest book in Jenn McKinlay's popular Cupcake Bakery Mysteries, and she left me devouring this book whole!

All seems calm at the Fairy Tale Cupcake Bakery. Mel is happily married to Joe, and Angie and Tate are enjoying the early days of parenthood. However, things look to change when Mel is shot at outside the bakery, and local business owners start turning up dead! Is Mel the target, and who would want to kill her neighbours? Mel and her friends are going to have put their special skills to the test to solve this one.

I love this series. I've been reading them since I discovered the first book, SPRINKLE WITH MURDER, in 2011. They are always on my must-buy list, and every book just showcases how fabulous this series is. The latest instalment is no different. I love the slightly different angle of this one, with Mel being targeted. Is it for something she has previous done? Maybe someone doesn't like her sleuthing? Without gushing too much, I simply loved the mystery and especially the final denouement. Mel definitely gets to have a Miss Marple moment, with unveiling the killer!

I can't say enough good things about this series. If you haven't read these yet, I strongly recommend picking up SPRINKLE WITH MURDER and reading all of them. While it is not essential to read them in order, these books are like cupcakes and you simply can't have just one!

STRAWBERRIED ALIVE is another fantastic instalment in the series, and I can't wait to see what adventures Mel, Angie and Tate go on next!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Book Review: Lost Coast Literary by Ellie Alexander

Book editor Emily Bryant finds herself unexpectedly in the charming town of Cascata on California’s Lost Coast, holding the keys to her grandmother’s rambling Victorian mansion. While sorting through her grandmother’s things, Emily learns that to inherit the estate she must edit old manuscripts. It’s a strange request from a family member who was basically a stranger.
Emily quickly realizes that there’s something different about these manuscripts. Any changes she makes, come true. At first, she embraces the gift. She has a chance to help characters find true love or chart a new course for their future. Only things go terribly wrong. Her edits have the opposite effect. The sweet and funky seaside community of Cascata is reeling from the chaos Emily has created. Everything she thought she believed about her family and her past is in jeopardy, and no amount of re-writing can fix the damage she’s done.
Then she finds one last manuscript. If Emily can get this edit right, then maybe she’ll have a chance to create a new narrative for herself and everyone around her.[summary via Publisher]

Disclaimer: This isn't a cozy mystery. However it is written by cozy mystery author, Ellie Alexander.

Lost Coast Literary is Ellie Alexander's first foray into a non-mystery General Fiction novel, and if this one is any indicator, I absolutely can't wait to see what else she has in store for us!

Emily Bryant is returning to Cascata, California, to deal with her late Grandmother's estate. However it isn't all hugs and family reunions, as Emily and her Dad left the coast when she was a child, and never had anything to do with his family.  What Emily finds at her grandmother's estate will question everything she thought she knew about her childhood and her family.

I absolutely loved this book! I confess, I didn't read the synopsis when I got it. With a lot of my favourite authors, I just go in "blind" because I know their previous work, and I know I will love anything they write. So I didn't actually know it wasn't a cozy mystery when I started. However I had faith that I would love it because Ellie Alexander's Sloan Krause Mysteries are some of my absolute favourite mysteries!

It's not just that Lost Coast Literary is a book about books [my favourite kind of books], or that the characters and the plot is so compelling that I couldn't put it down [I couldn't!], it's that the concept was so completely unique to me. Magic manuscripts? Sign me up! I just loved everything about this book, and without gushing too much, it's fair to say it is easily my favourite book this month!

Lost Coast Literary reads like a love letter to bibliophiles. From all the book references to the gorgeous descriptions of the coast, food and people, this book should be on the top of your reading list. While you're there definitely add the Sloan Krause Mysteries too, because first and foremost I'm a book enabler... just like Emily!

Monday, April 18, 2022

Book Review: Knit or Dye Trying by Allie Pleiter

As spring comes to Collinstown, the village launches a food festival to draw a new group of tourists. Libby, proud owner of Y.A.R.N., has planned a yarn event to provide an alternative option to a foodie weekend. Artisan fiber dyer Julie Wilson—known for her work with animal-friendly, plant-based knitting fibers such as bamboo and hemp as well as her brilliant use of color—will hopefully draw a crowd with a special dyeing workshop.
The festival begins, but it draws more than crowds. First a flock of sheep parades down the street, herded by farmers protesting Julie’s antiwool stance. Then Julie’s celebrity chef sister appears, and the siblings resume a long-standing rivalry. Despite all this, Julie’s workshop has sold out. Libby is thrilled, and they’re preparing for a full house. But the night before the event, Julie is found alone in the warehouse event space—dead. The witty “Watch Julie Wilson Dye” workshop title now has a terrible new meaning—and it’s up to Libby to catch a crafty killer.[summary via publisher]

Knit or Dye Trying is the second book in Allie Pleiter's fabulous Riverbank Knitting Mysteries. It's Spring in Collinstown, and yarn shop owner, Libby, is looking forward to another event, this time with yarn dyer, Julie Wilson, who works on plant-based fibres only. However, the event comes to a crashing halt when Julie is found dead.

Being a yarn dyer myself, I was immediately drawn to this series. I love knitting, and everything fibre related. It's not often that I see the occupation of "yarn dyer" in cozy mysteries, and it was with absolute morbid curiosity that I was glued to every page, waiting to find out who killed Julie!

Allie Pleiter writes absolutely vivid, beautiful and tantalizing cozy mysteries, and her newest is no different. Building on the first book, we learn more about Collinstown, especially as Allie goes head-to-head with the President of the Chamber of Commerce. Politics aside, I just love her description of everything in Libby's Y.A.R.N. shop! I practically wanted to reach in and touch the fibres!

Knit or Dye Trying is a fantastic addition to this series. The mystery kept me guessing right up to the final donouement, and I didn't want the story to end! From a yarn dyers point of view, she gave such interesting coverage of the process, that I'm sure many knitters will want to try dyeing yarn for themselves! Whether you love yarn, or just love a really good mystery, this series should definitely be on your must-read list!

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Book Review: A Perfect Bind by Dorothy St James

Tru Beckett succeeded in building a secret book room in her now bookless library, where book lovers from lovely Cypress, South Carolina, can rejoice in the printed word. Now she's working hard to maintain the little library downstairs while keeping her "real job" upstairs in the bookless technology center. The last thing she needs is a mysterious vandal who seems intent on breaking into her secret book-filled sanctuary and creating chaos. The nasty interloper doesn't steal anything, but brutalizes the books, damaging them and knocking them off shelves. 
A patron of the secret book room tells Tru that there have been creepy goings-on at the library for years, especially in the basement where the secret book room is located. He's heard rumors of a poltergeist that haunts the library, determined to scare off readers. Tru is certain it's hogwash, but she's at a loss to think of who might be vandalizing the beautiful books she fought so hard to protect. And when a dead body shows up right behind the library, Tru is certain that it's not a ghost but a cold-blooded killer that she and her trusty tabby Dewey Decimal will need to uncover.[summary via Amazon]

A PERFECT BIND is the second book in the Beloved Bookroom Mysteries, and I've devoured both of them this month! I absolutely can't get enough of this series! Why? Because they are a mystery wrapped within a mystery, and they are such a delight!

The main mystery revolves around the death of local mechanic, Owen Maynard, when he is found dead behind the library. Owen is found with one of Tru's "secret" library books. How did he get it and does his death tie into the secret bookroom?

Beyond the mystery, we have the secret of the bookroom, in the basement of the library. A small recap if you missed the first book: when the library was turned into a "book-free" library, Tru saved as many books as she could and put them in the bunker downstairs, and operates it as an illicit library. For me, this is the best secret within a secret that I have ever seen in a book! I just love the idea of a library of physical copies, underneath a library. Naturally Tru and her friends don't want too many people to know about the library, especially not Detective Jace Bailey.

The mystery was a lot of fun, and there were some tantalizing edge of your seat moments, as Tru, Flossie and Tori try to find the killer. I did guess the killer early on, but it never took anything away from the story. The final denouement was thrilling to say the least, and I liked how all the storylines tied together in the end. I won't give too much away, but I definitely loved the final chapters of the book. 

A PERFECT BIND delivers a cleverly crafted mystery, with such interesting characters. It leaves the reader satisfied, but still wanting just a little bit more. Like will we ever know what genre of books Flossie writes? Will head librarian, Mrs Farnsworth, ever find out about the secret bookroom?

If you haven't picked up this series yet, I highly recommend it. You won't be disappointed.