Review

High Spirits. Carol J. Perry

High Spirits

Published: Kensington
Date: 25th October 2022
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Christmas lights on palm trees and Santa hats on plastic pink flamingos are far from the snowy landscape Maureen and her beloved golden retriever, Finn, are used to. But Maureen is determined to make this a holiday to remember—which means finding a way to promote Haven House on a shoestring. Fortunately, Haven’s vintage movie theater, the Paramount, has come up with a great “Twelve Days of Christmas” idea. They’ll feature an impressive list of the best classic Christmas movies ever made—shown by one-time movie actor-turned-projectionist Decklin Monroe . . .
 
But nobody bothered to tell Maureen that the Paramount is haunted by the ghost of a man who was murdered a few years back. Haven’s top cop Frank Hubbard doesn’t believe in ghosts but, believing that Decklin Monroe was somehow involved, he wants a reluctant Maureen’s help. 
 
That plan is derailed when, on the first day of the festival, a fresh murder victim is found at the theater. Now Maureen has to defend her staff and guests, while trying to keep her high-spirited resident ghosts out of the picture—before they have company for the holidays . . .

High Spirits  is #2 in the Haunted Haven series, and follows Be My Ghost. We find Maureen settling into the Inn that she has inherited rather mysteriously. She has plans for it’s development and they seem to be going well. Ted the chef, and herself also seem to be getting along well and are a great team, along with the rest of the staff.

A fund raiser that involves old movies at the Paramount, leads to a murder. Who killed the victim? Frank Hubbard the local police officer is out to find out, and he does believe that Maureen knows more than she is telling. It’s a weird set up really and his consulting her all the time I found a bit strange. One thing Maureen is though is observant and knowledgeable about fashion and this is an asset in this murder. As well the present day murder seems linked to a long ago one.

I enjoyed the story but found it rather slow paced. There is the murder, and the mystery of who funds the Haven Inn and how did Maureen become chosen to take up as the owner. This isn’t solved yet and no doubt will be a thread going through the series. I will certainly want to read the next one but I am certainly hoping it will have a faster pace to it.

Review

Ellery Adams. Murder on the Poet’s Walk.

Murder on the Poet's Walk

Published: Kensington
Date:  27th September 2022
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

When corpses clutching poems begin turning up around Storyton Hall, resort manager Jane Steward is on the trail of someone exercising poetic license to kill…

As Jane eagerly anticipates the wedding of her best friend Eloise Alcott, Storyton Hall is overrun with poets in town to compete for a coveted greeting card contract. They’re everywhere, scrawling verses on cocktail napkins in the reading rooms or seeking inspiration strolling the Poet’s Walk, a series of trails named after famous authors. But the Tennyson Trail leads to a grim surprise: a woman’s corpse drifting in a rowboat on a lake, posed as if she were “The Lady of Shallot.”

Murder on the Poet’s Walk by Ellery Adams is #8 in the Book Retreat cozy mystery series. However this was my first read in this series and I do believe a reader could easily pick it up here. However like most series – earlier books enrich with background, that cannot be denied. I have plans to move through some previous books in the series.

Jane owns this amazing place that is a hotel that was once her home. It is large and rambling and has some secret passages. She has a large staff, with many who have been with her a long time. They all have roles at the hotel, but when it comes to mystery and murder they are there with their expertise. Jane has two twin boys, about twelve, Hem and Fitz and they feature in small and significant ways in the book. Add in Edwin who obviously loves Jane and the boys, the Cover Girls who are part of a book club and Uncle Aloysius and Aunt Octavia. A large cast with a big family feel.

With a poetry competition going on at the hall, the place is full of hopeful poets who are joining in in a competition that could be very worthwhile. Until one of them is murdered! What is going on? Mystery and sleuthing galore. Half way through on the back of the paper I wrote down who I thought was the murderer, from one small clue. But then I thought as time went by hmm no, of yes, no and YES!

Plenty of poetry and book references. A set of characters to enjoy and like, a little romance and one person out to make mayhem at the conference.

I thought it was a good mystery and read and as I said above I would like to delve into some of the earlier books.

Review

Murder Spills the Tea. Vicki Delany

Murder Spills the Tea

Published: Kensington
Date 26th July 2022
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

The country’s hottest TV cooking show is coming to Cape Cod. And against her better judgment, Lily Roberts is entering America Bakes! with her charming tearoom, Tea by the Sea. Filming is already proving disruptive, closing the tearoom during Lily’s busiest season. But tensions really bubble over when infamous bad-boy chef and celebrity judge, Tommy Greene, loses his temper with Lily’s staff, resulting in an on-camera blowup with Cheryl Wainwright. Just as Lily thinks the competition can’t get more bitter, Tommy is found dead in Tea by the Sea’s kitchen . . . murdered with Lily’s rolling pin.

Suspicion immediately falls on Cheryl, but the temperamental star has racked up plenty of culinary clashes in the past, both on- and off-screen. And nearly anyone associated with Tommy or the show could be the killer: be it one of Lily’s fierce competitors, a member of the beleaguered film crew, or even one of Tommy’s fellow judges—struggling cookbook maven, Claudia D’Angelo or beauty contest winner, Scarlet McIntosh. Now, while she’s baking up a storm for the show, Lily must also whip up an impromptu investigation . . . before the murderer rolls someone else away.

Murder Spills the Tea by Vicki Delany is a fun mystery murder story set in a very pleasant B&B and Tea by the Sea tearoom. Lily is the owner of the latter, and her grandmother owns and runs the B&B.

Vicki is right up to her ears in the chaos of a TV filming of a baking tearooms contest. She is not all that pleased to be taking part and even less so when a murder happens one night in her tearooms. And what is worse one of her staff is accused of the murder.

The TV crew and judges are an interesting lot and most, if not all of them, not that likeable, and some even less likeable than the others. Added to that the other competitor in the town is not that sweet either. Just as well that Lily’s friends and staff are far more likeable.

I didn’t really spot any clues along the way that would lead to the murderer, however when the murderer was finally revealed that person had been at the top of my list, only one other had made me question it, but I couldn’t see any motive for that person.

So an enjoyable story and I would happily try another one in the series.

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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And another week has rolled by. On the whole it was good to me. I had a couple of times with others, which was enjoyable. The funny thing Friday when a group of us gathered it was roaring hot weather and very muggy. And then Sunday with a friend – very cold. Or relatively so! Cardigans and jerseys out for a day! Oh well, that’s summer!

I finished finally Go Tell the Bees I Am Gone and liked it, sure there is a bit of a cliff hanger but was quite comfortable with that!

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Another book off my shelf. A YA, I enjoy Julie Buxbaum and this book deals with that topic of scandal of the privileged paying for their offspring getting into college. So far, good reading.

Admission

Starting to listen to a book I think I bought in an Audible sale awhile back.  Never read the author or listened to the narrator but sometimes its good to branch out.

The Parfit Knight

Up next:

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Review

Be My Ghost. C J Perry

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Published: Kensington Books
Date: 31st August 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Maureen’s career as a sportswear buyer hits a snag just before Halloween, when the department store declares bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Finn’s lost his way as a guide dog after flunking his test for being too friendly and easily distracted. Sadly, only one of them can earn unemployment, so Maureen’s facing a winter of discontent in Boston–when she realizes she can’t afford her apartment.

Salvation comes when she receives a mysterious inheritance: an inn in Haven, Florida. A quaint, scenic town on the Gulf of Mexico hidden away from the theme parks, Maureen believes it’s a good place to make a fresh start with a new business venture. But she gets more than she bargained for when she finds a dead body on her property–and meets some of the inn’s everlasting tenants in the form of ghosts who offer their otherworldly talents in order to help her solve the mystery…

What a great start Be My Ghost is to a new series by Carol J. Perry. It was highly entertaining and I know I am going to want way more about Maureen and her team at the new Haven Inn in Florida that she has somehow inherited.

The inn is haunted. Oh yes some ghosts, I know at least one of them is sure to be a recurring character. Then we have Maureen who is newly arrived at the inn and on the whole she feels she has landed on her feet, after a job loss.

However the inn is somewhat run down and is running at a loss. But… Maureen has vast retail experience and my guess is before too long she’ll be managing this inn way better than it has been. Elizabeth the manager, I felt was most likely skimming from the inn.

Of course there is a murder and while I didn’t solve the whole mystery it was fairly easy to pinpoint before the big reveal.

This is a book that just kept me reading, a page turner for sure. Can’t wait to meet Maureen and Finn (dog) again. It will be an auto-read.

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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Hope you all had a good week. We’ve had heaps of rain. Must almost be floating by now! I’ve had a good week though. Saw one of my great nieces on Saturday. Miss Six. She showed me where she now had a missing tooth. “Is that your first tooth for the tooth fairy?” I asked her. “No, this is my “freeth” she said. Her version of threeth or as I said, “oh your third!” I get such joy from small moments like that!

What I read last week:

I finished listening to The Twelve Clues of Christmas. It was a really good listen with some gruesome death scenes at the end for the murderer.  The Guncle was excellent reading and I am happy I have my own copy of this to put on my keeper shelves.

What I am reading now:

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and listening to

The Bright Side of Disaster

Up next:

Twisted threads 

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Review

Knot Ready for Murder. Mary Marks

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Published: Kensington
Date: 27th July 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Before quilter Martha Rose can tie the knot to Crusher, she has to track down his missing first wife…

Oh dear! Just as at last Martha is ready to plunge into saying yes to marriage to Crusher, it is discovered he was married years ago because of an act of kindness.

Who is Martha? Well first and foremost a quilter. But also in recent years she has become a bit of a sleuth when it comes to murders and such like. She is a bit unorthodox in her methods, although fairly orthodox in her Jewish faith, and I love her Sabbath get togethers with family.

There has been one murder, before the story starts.   Hadas, sister of the murdered person, owner of a business, and to be honest not that likeable, makes her appearance.  Oh and she is the “wife” from long ago for Crusher. On the other hand, Fanya who arrives with her was a lot of fun and I so hope we see more of her.

As usual Martha gets herself involved in some unlikely situations, and eventually with lots of assistance I might add, from her family and friends, solves the mystery and enables her life to move forward.

This book felt a little different to the previous ones, I never felt Martha was in any danger and while there were a few red herrings I’d worked out the guilty party early on. I didn’t mind that and thoroughly enjoyed all the quilt talk in this book. If this book appeals to you, don’t start with it, go back to the first one and start there.

Book Connections

Cozy Mystery Series

So many books, I can’t keep up! I decided to look at cozy mystery series I will prioritise. Some I am almost up to date with so I haven’t included those. Another time I might look at other series I want to keep up to date with as well. The one thing about a cozy mystery is they do read quickly on the whole. so that’s a reading positive.

Checked Out for Murder This is #4 in the Haunted Library Mystery series and I have enjoyed the first three via audio. So this is a definite series to follow through.

Love the library ghost, the library cat and librarian Carrie. I see she gets on some reader’s nerves but my nerves are reasonably stable at the moment!! I also like the mysteries and the narrator does a good job.

book cover The Royal Spyness series and I am up to this one #7 Heirs and Graces. So well narrated and a load of fluffy royal British fun. Such easy listening and some interesting murders and situations.

The Whispered WordLook at those yummy scones on the cover, plus the books of course. I enjoyed #1 and The Whispered Word is #2 of The Secret, Book and Scone series. It has a group of women, one of them Nora, runs the bookshop and she knows how to pick the right book for you. Again the narrater Cris Dukehart presents the books really well.

book coverThis is #1 of the Liz Talbot Mystery series. I haven’t started this one but its in my library at Audible …. waiting! Liz Talbot is a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer.Twisted threads

I’m up to date with reading  my quilting cozy series and so even though I don’t do needlepoint this series comes recommended by a respected cozy mystery reader,  so I have this one out from the library. Love the cover again and I am looking forward to reaching it. Because its #1 in the series I am hoping I’ll be able to keep this one for awhile as most interested will have read it.

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Book Connections

Listening is Reading.

I like to listen to books, and have quite a library of them now. Recently I have been making use of some of the series sale at Audible, which means I have more than I can listen to at the moment. I seem also to be gathering cozy mysteries this way. Maybe 2021 is the year of the Cozy Mystery for me.

Cruel Winter This is #5 in a series. No I haven’t read any others and I won’t listen to this one until I come to it most likely.  It is set in County Cork.

This isn’t one I bought, part of the Included, which means I can borrow it for as long as I like. So there is time to reach it.

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This is #6 in the Royal Spyness series and I have listened to the previous five. They are good fun and generally have a good mystery. Also lighthearted.

book cover Another series I haven’t tried and this is #1 in the Liz Talbot series. Set in South Carolina. 

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This is #1 in the Fixer Upper series. A High End Finish by Kate Carlisle. This is the one I will start with.

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And this one is #1 in a series by the same title as the book. Nora the owner of a bookshop can prescribe the right book for a person evidently. 

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Book Connections

Cozy Series I Am Reading

I haven’t given much attention to Cozy Mysteries but I am finding more time for them in my reading life. These are the ones I am enjoying and catching up on at the moment. I’ll try not to get into any more until I’ve read through some of these. I like starting from the beginning of a series. Just one of those things!

Her Royal Spyness Series

I am on #5 of this series and so far have listened to them on audio.  Georgie the heroine is about 30 something in line to the throne in England. She is a very poor member of the aristocracy, but that doesn’t stop her from becoming involved in solving murders. I see it goes up to #15. Not sure if I will get that far!

Kat Holloway Mysteries.

book cover Murder in the East End was the last one I read – it’s #4. Again its set in England and has an Upstairs/Downstairs feel to it. Kat Holloway is the cook, quite young and very astute.As well there is Daniel McAdam who turns up every so often and is a bit of an enigma. They solve murders though! The next one comes out in July 2021.

The Haunted Library Mystery series by Alison Brooks

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Read and Gone is #2 in this series and is set in a small town, USA. Carrie is the events planner at the local library, where we also have a ghost that chats to her. Plus a delightful cat called Smokey Joe. In this book her Dad turned up and it all involved stolen jewels and murders. I have listened to the first two on Audible because they were free and I have #3 queued up as well. After the I’ll have to buy them!!

Quilting Mysteries by Mary Marks   book coverI am reading through this series, I have two more coming from the Library, I just bought the next two because they aren’t at the library and then Kensington will publish I think about #9 mid year and I’ll be all ready for it! I enjoy the characters and the things they get into. Plus the quilting tips of course.

Second Chance Cat Mystery. Sofie Ryan

book cover I’ve read two in this series set in Maine. I enjoy the characters, Elvis the cat and I want to know more about Mac in relation to Sarah. So this is another mystery series I’ll read on much further into.

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