Wicked Witches of the Midwest #1-3

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As the editor of the local newspaper, Bay has a lot of free time on her hands, as nothing really goes on in the small town of Hemlock’s Cove. However, when a murder rocks the small town, everyone becomes weary of Bay and her family. Though the FBI are certain that to apparently ritualistic killings were brought to town due to its rebranding, Bay things something else is going on. She starts diving into the mystery to keep her family safe.

It was a really solid mystery with an interesting premise. Though using ghosts to help solve crimes isn’t a new premise, seeing the family get together to weave a spell to help was new to me. I enjoyed the use of magic, as well as investigative report, worked so well, though it also helps that Bay has the local police detective under her thumb. Making the mystery about looking for an otherworldly answer was really fun.

Since we kind of step into the town and family, we can feel a little lost, however, she does an excellent job introducing us to the character. I loved the cousins as they are very sarcastic, and I actually read one of them in my friend voice in my head. The 3 cousins are really close and act more like sisters, but the bond seems to mimic their mother’s bond with each other. The family dynamic is interesting and it’s fun to watch the 3 generations interact, especially their great-aunt. Also, I had a guess who Landon was early on in the book but I’m glad that he’s a character that is going to stay in the series.

This was an excellent start to the book series.

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The town is getting ready for an all-out bonanza for Halloween, however, the festivities go south quickly when the body of the local drunk is found at the beginning the weekend. No one can figure out why anyone would want to kill him. Landon comes back to check up on things and bites off more than he can chew. Suddenly, Bay’s family is in the cross hairs again, but this time it’s the murder’s.

This mystery gave us very interesting insight into the town’s history. Though it was focused on one person, it expanded past that. Also, the girls check the forests around town which allows us to really see an expanded view of the town. Though the motive is straightforward, the murderer was actually hard to figure out, it took me a while. It was also interesting how Lee incorporated historical events, like stealing gold during the war, into the story and made it work.

They really delve into the victim’s past and it allows the readers to really connect with him which is rare in these kinds of books. Landon was back, and he still a little awkward in this book. We learn more about the Winchester clan.

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Everything seems normal around Hemlock’s Cove until a boat is discovered in the harbour. Two Canadian citizens have gone missing and Landon’s back in town. While Bay tries to be cordial with, it gets a little trickier when they both start giving into their feelings. That has to take a backseat however while they try and find out how and why the two older Canadian’s were killed.

It was an interesting sleight of hand with the 2 mystery going on at the same time. Though the girls always wanted to link them together, they were actually separate. It was also interesting how they used the characters to push the story forward, as well as the mystery.  The story involves a lot more information than one would expect however, it made it very interesting.

Brian is still a tool, he was introduced in the last book, and he is not a person I would like to know in person. Landon really grows a lot in this book, as does Bay, which gives me hope they ‘re going to have an interesting romance in the later books. We learn a lot more about the Winchester family, especially the ex-husbands. I somehow never questioned why none of the fathers were present in these books.

The main thing I disliked about this book was that it ended on a cliffhanger and I really hate cliffhangers at the end of a novel.

 

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Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)

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After finally getting her dream job, Riley Moon is excited to start her career. When her boss goes missing and his brother sends her to try and talk Emerson Knight out of withdrawing all his gold from the bank, he life is turned on her head. Now given the task to babysit Emerson who is determined to get into as much trouble as possible, Riley can’t seem to get a hold of the situation.

This is not a surprise that I loved this book. I listened to the audiobook so I didn’t only get the fantastic writing from Janet Evanovich, but also the lovely reading from Lorelei King. I actually picked up the audiobook because I had seen the 2nd book to this series come out on Audible. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. It was hard to tell what Pheof Sutton brought to the book, but as his writing flows seamlessly into Evanovich’s I will see if any of his books can draw me in.

Similar to all of Evanovich’s books, her characters are quirky and interesting in their own right. Emerson Knight is cocky and quirky enough to have inherited the family mantle of Mr Mysteriouso. Rylee Moon is also an interesting character in her own right, but mainly because she puts up with Emerson’s shenanigans. Rylee is also a voice for the reader, and who says things that any sane person would say.

The plot was well thought out and made sense in a warped way. Though the plot was weird and outlandish. The authors managed to make all of the situations that the characters get in to follow a fully thought out plan.

I really like this book, and will pick up the second book in this series.

Skeletons & Scones (Sky High Pies Mysteries #8)

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When a new resident of Crescent Creek, and local psychic, comes to Kate after receiving a threat on her life. Though Kate encourages her to go to the police, she refuses. Only hours later, she is found at the scene of a murder. While the police are looking into the murder, Kate delves into the psychic’s past and tries to figure out what really happened before she came to Crescent Creek.

I’ll be completely honest I don’t know what to say about this book. I enjoyed it and it’s storyline, however, it simply wasn’t one of my favourites. We got to meet new characters in this book that add to town’s landscape. We explored the town a bit more and it’s surrounding, which just adds more to it actually being a place on the map. Also, we got to see Adam again, and he’s always fun.

The mystery was very simple. I enjoyed how Kate looking into Maureen’s past when she figures out something isn’t adding up. Kate doesn’t really help must with the murder investigation but puts in her 2 cents like always.

It was an ok book, just nothing really stood out in this one.


Murder for Millions (Sky High Pies Mysteries #7)
An Imitation of Murder (Sky High Pies Mysteries #9)

Oceanside Cozy Mystery 6 – 10

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The Shepard clan decides to take a bike tour, on Detective Peter’s suggestion. However, when things go wrong and Heather’s notices a body right off the trail. When Detective Smith mentions that there may be a link between this murder and a murder from 2 years previous. Now, Heather and Ryan and pulled into another murder mystery.

Ok, I know that I read a lot of books, however, after the first time we meet the murderer I knew exactly who it was and why they did it. It was a very straightforward mystery and utilized very common tropes that are found in the mystery genre. It really felt laking for me, however, that might be because I figured it out right away.

We get to learn more about Peter in this book, or rather more about the potential relationship between him and Jeana. He is a very cute character, and he seems still really young. He does fit with Jaena, who also seems really new to the world. We learnt more about Detective Smith, even though he should be out of the book series relatively soon.

This was an ok book, however, it could have been much better.

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After a horrible review that was left online about their doughnuts leads Heather and Amy to Salem. The day after arriving, their customer is found dead and they find themselves on the top of the suspect list. They must now look into the mystery to clear their names before they get put in jail for something they didn’t do.

I always love when the team are travelling and not in their hometown and are wrapped in the middle of another murder mystery. As it is situated in Salem, we get to see the team work with Psychics, I kinda wanted there to be witches but there isn’t any in this book. I will say that the story wasn’t that straightforward so it was interesting, however, I did have the guess really early on, and it was correct. However, if you don’t pay attention, then until Heather’s explanation it would be difficult to figure out.

I really enjoyed seeing Maricela again in this book, it has been too long. It was also fun to see Maricela as the logical mind next to Amy who believes in psychics and all that jazz. Similarly to in previous books, Heather and Maricela work really well together, almost better than with Amy. It was also interesting to see Heather giving Maricela adv about her relationship with Jung. It made them more relatable as characters, as this book series seems to have the monopoly on happy couples.

All in all this was a fun little book to read.

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This is Ryan’s first case on the force and he’s out to prove himself. So Heather tries to step back, however, when he gets too stuck he brings Heather in for her ‘baking’ knowledge. Heather puts her sleuthing to work to try and figure out who would want to kill a cupcake baker. The only other creepy thing is how similar the kitchen of the two bakeries are.

The murder itself was really obvious about who the murder was, however, the reasoning behind it took a little longer to find out why. It was interesting getting into the motive for the murder. Though the reasoning is very convoluted reason for the murder, however, it was interesting. I enjoyed seeing Ryan and Heather working together on this case again.

Ryan is a much more interesting character while his working in comparison to when he’s moping around about not being all to work. I expected Peters’ character to become a little more active in this book, however, he is still in the back and this saddens me. He seems to be a very nice character that Gillard could play with but he’s still in the background of the story. So we finally get to meet Edna’s admirer and he’s really cute. I hope we see more of him in the future books as he seems to be an interesting character to add. Chief Chet is a little awkward when it comes to trying to tell Ryan what he wants him to do, I’m sure he will even out in the future.

This was a fun book and a good continuation of the series.

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Heather and Lilly are getting ready for Nick’s first visit to Key West, however, this Thanksgiving isn’t going to be as calm as they want it to be. After a horrible accident happened, killing a man, everyone thought it was just that. However, It takes a lot to make a deep-fried chicken explode. Heather and Ryan work together to find out if it was just an accident or if someone what trying to go after the poor man.

This story was a little confusing, I don’t know if it was supposed to be or if it was accidental. Regardless, it wasn’t very well structured if it was intentional, there wasn’t enough information that was given to the reader to make an educated guess about how the murderer was. It even felt like Heather was grasping at straws in the book. If you think about it enough out could guess the murderer but it’s all based on circumstantial evidence rather than concrete evidence, which I didn’t enjoy.

I was enjoyable to see Nick again, even though he wasn’t really in the book very much. What little he was in the book, it was nice to see his relationship with Lilly again after the last few books. We did get a little bit of the background to the victim’s family, however, since they were under investigation it wasn’t much of a surprise.Peters was still in the background and acted very much like a lost puppy where Jaena is concerned. I really want to know more about Peters, so hopefully, he won’t be another Jamie but we have yet to see.

Overall, it was an ok book.

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Jamie’s mobile pet grooming business is up and running. However, after his first day, he is left with a dog whose owner has gone missing. Ryan and Heather go looking for the owner and quickly find her dead. They now have to figure out who would want to kill the victim, and Jamie and Amy have to figure out what to do with the dog that is now in their possession.

Though I do like that Jamie is a larger part of this mystery than before, it was a little bit of an awkward start. The fact that Jamie was the one who initiated the search and no one taking it seriously made it a slow start. However, once it did start it fell right into the tropes that come with someone changing their identity. It was ok, however, a little predictable sadly. I did, however, like the use of DNA in this book. For once they use actual science and not just conjecture. It made it wrap up nicely in the end.

Like I said before, I enjoyed seeing Jamie in the book again. It was an integral part at the beginning. He is normally in the background, so it was nice to see him brought forward and used in a book for once. Amy seems to have calmed down in the book, however, it’s obvious that she still doesn’t like them. It’s just nice that her reactions are not as annoying as in the first few books where she was around bodies.

It was an ok book, however, it’s still not one of my favourites.


Oceanside Cozy Mysteries #1 – 5

Chocolate with a Side of Murder (Daley Buzz Mysteries #1)

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There is something weird happening in town, and it only just got worse when the owner of the local chocolate shop is found dead. Sabrina discovers the body, and due to her past trauma, she is determined to find out who did it. With her boyfriend, David, on the case, she has her finger on the pulse of the investigation.  

Sabrina is a little too bold and far too aggressive when questioning the murder suspects. She would never get any of the information needed if she spoke to anyone that way. It is a natural human reaction to clam up. Much over, David should not be sharing so much information with Sabrina while the case is still open. That goes so far against protocol that he could have gotten into a lot of trouble if any of the suspects had reported Sabrina’s visit to the police. Even when David finds out, he doesn’t have the appropriate reaction to her snooping.

The mystery is pretty cut and dry, and there wasn’t much to the mystery. I wish it would have had a little more dimension to it. Once a certain clue was given, relatively early on in the book, it was easy to figure out. 

I did however like David, his protocol-breaking and all. He is very caring and supportive… just maybe in the wrong way. Sabrina does have an interesting back story, so that was interesting. It made it understandable why she couldn’t walk away from the murder. 

It was an ok book but I’m not sure that I’m going to continue the series.

Murder for Millions (Sky High Pies Mysteries #7)

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Life seems to have gotten back to normal for Kate, however, when her father’s old friend comes into Sky High Pies drunk things get a little weird. When a threatening poem is delivered to several of the businessmen around town. Kate is now looking into who is would want to blackmail the men in question, however, she is being blocked by a PI from Utah.

This was pretty much the standard for this book series. Someone knows about Kate’s past and comes to get her help in a mystery that normally caused by a threat to their family member. This book series is becoming a little formulaic, however, this is the downfall of too many cozy mystery books. The mystery isn’t that complicated and you can easily figure it out within a short time at the beginning of the book. Sadly this wasn’t the best book in this series when it comes to its plot.

We get to see more growth in the relationship between Kate and Diana. There have quickly become best friends again in this series. I’m surprised that Kate’s and Trent’s relationship hasn’t grown at all, and I feel like it’s almost stale. I get that they’re not getting back together, but I feel like there should be at least some advancement.

I did enjoy seeing the expansion of the city in this book. We got to learn some more about some of the citizens and their backgrounds. We also get to learn more about Blanche and Kate’s parents this book.

It was an ok book but not my favourite in the series.


Deadly Desserts (Sky High Pies Mysteries #6)
Skeletons & Scones (Sky High Pies #8)

Maple Syrup Mysteries 1 – 3

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Nicole Fitzhenry-Dawes is always trying to catch up with her family of overachievers. However, when her uncle dies, she’s the only one who was willing to come over to Michigan and settle his affairs. However, when she was informed that she was bequeathed his sugar bush, she has the choice to leave her life as a lawyer behind and become a Maple syrup farmer. When some questions about her uncle’s death pop up, she decides to stick around for a little while.

The mystery as very interesting, and not really something that I’ve seen before. This was the first book that I’ve read from James, and I will say that she has a very good writing style. She uses the style to make you want to look where she wants you to look. I did have a guess to the murderer was, however, it was later on in the book. I really enjoyed the way that the mystery flowed and the information was provided.

This book has a lot of character introductions as well as town building. We get to a really good understanding of the murder victims as well as all of the characters in this book. The only thing that I don’t understand is that Nikki is so blind to the obvious clue that as mentioned at the beginning of the book. I’m sure it was put in the book on purpose, but I think it was more annoying than anything else. We have to watch Nikki make everything more complicated because she doesn’t know Mark’s “secret”. Hopefully, it is resolved later in the season.

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Caught in a snowstorm on her back into Fair Haven, Nikki ends up hitting a person. By the next morning, they realized that she wasn’t what caused for the victim’s death. She is quickly working with the police to try and figure out who would want to kill such a nice man. She also has to figure out what else is going in with the shelter, because things are just not adding up.

The mystery was very interesting and had some subtle nuances throughout the book. The mystery was fairly straightforward, however, it does deal with a storyline that is not normal in the cozy mystery genre. When dealing with a mystery in an animal shelter, the natural jump is to dog fights. This was the case in this book, however, it was handled perfectly and gave information about laws that would surround that issue.

They still haven’t revealed Mark’s “secret” in this book and this is getting really really annoying. I know, I know, it’s only the second books but it’s obvious that they are going to get together in the later books. Thankfully they already removed the love triangle that is normal in these books. I did enjoy the growth in the relationship between Nikki and Erik in this book. They have started becoming really good friends. I just really want the relationship between Nikki and Mark to just be ironed out.

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Nikki is finally in the full swing of things at the farm. However, when one of her employees has an accident, Nikki is pretty sure that something else is going on. Though she can’t convince the police to investigate, she takes matters into her own hands.  However, the more that she digs into the case, the more she thinks something is going on past a simple attack.

The mystery was really interesting, however, it felt like it was more running around trying to get the police to take on the case. I understand what was going on at the police station, however, it was a little much. There were obvious clues really early on to who the attacker is. Though James does try and focus our attention on another character throughout the book.

There was a nice throwback, however, it was only to the previous books. We ended up working with a character from the previous book, however, we didn’t really get to find out much about their past. The mystery did get Mark and Nikki closer and eventually together. Thankfully is open secret has been revealed to Nikki. I am so happy that it was taken care of, I think that was the most annoying thing in the book. We do get to find out more about Mark’s past as well as Nikki. We also now know why she had such a negative reaction when she saw Mark’s wedding ring.

Finally, this is a book that I really enjoyed.

I really enjoyed the book and I’m glad I picked up this book series.