Dune House Cozy Mystery Boxed Set: Books 1 – 4

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Oh boy, another Cindy Bell series. Can you tell that I like her little fluff novels yet?

Suzie gets a notice that her uncle passed away a few weeks prior, and he had bequeathed his house/bed and breakfast to her. Suzie, ever being the adventurous one, along with her friend Mary, pack up to go check out the house. Quickly, as soon as she arrives, she starts to notice something about her uncle’s death doesn’t quite add up. After some poking around and meeting her cousin, Jason, her investigative journalism senses were tingling. She quickly finds out that not all is as it seems in the small town.

I really like this book. Suzie and Marie were given a great background to work with. They are both older, so they aren’t spring chickens. We do meet a few of the townsfolk, however, this book was really focused on Jason, Suzie and Marie. Though at first Jason seems a little standoff-ish, but we quickly find out what the reason behind that was. I enjoyed Suzie as a character and her desire for the truth is quite nice. I enjoyed seeing her try to get to the bottom of it. We also get to see her future love interest in this book, however, only for like a second.

The book is a good beginning to a series. I really enjoyed this one, and I hope it will be like her other series.

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The girls are finally getting used to living in Garber. At a local fair, they find a beautiful artwork that was painted by a local artist before her suicide. After moving the painting from one frame to another, they find a map leading to a potential location. Suzie, being her, starts to dig into the artist’s past and decides to follow the map. After reaching out to Paul for a lift, the group quickly realize that they might have actually gotten into more than the fun little treasure hunt that they were expecting.

I really enjoyed this mystery. When characters look into a death from the past, and no new bodies pop up it’s a lot more interesting than most stories to me. I enjoyed how while Suzie was looking into the past death, she discovers some information about the town and its history. It helps build the environment and the feeling around the town, it’s especially interesting when it’s at the beginning of a new series.

The characters of Suzie and Mary are expanding really nicely. Bell did add a lot of details into the first book of this series, however, they are still developing. Paul is still an enigma in this book, however, I can see him becoming Suzie’s boyfriend as that is what the author is edging towards. Paul doesn’t have much backstory as of yet, which will hopefully be rectified in later books.

Overall, this was a very interesting book.

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After all of Suzie and Mary’s hard work, the Dune house is finally open to the public. Their first-weekend open seems to be going great until the plumber that they hired from one town over is found dead under the house. Normally there would be a lot of suspects, but there were only 4 guests in residence there is only a limited suspect pool and Suzie has her eye on two of the guests.

This was a slightly different take on the one room mystery as it encompasses the entire house. I did really enjoy the way that Jason handles Suzie in this book, after all, she is the standard cozy novel heroin and doesn’t know how to deal with interrogations as that is not their job. The mystery was interesting and actually allowed us to find out a little more about the town in this book. The history of the little town is quite nice and interesting.

I enjoyed the growth that Suzie goes through in this book, however, Mary was the one that really shines in this story. After all the years having to take care of her children, it makes her very good at managing customers at the inn. The friendship between Suzie and Mary is very light and fun, they rely on each other but can also have a good laugh.

I enjoyed this book, and have high hopes for the series.

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Suzie and Paul are enjoying each other’s company and enjoy getting to know each other. However, when a fishing expedition turns deadly and Paul goes missing Suzie starts to freak out. The police start assuming that Paul had something to do with the murder, and Suzie is just worried that something will happen to Paul next. Now it’s a raced against the clock for Suzie to follow Paul’s clues and find him, hopefully, alive.

I really got to learn a lot about Paul in this book. which was really nice. His protectiveness over Suzie was sweet but scary at the same time. Though you know you’ll never be in danger, let’s hope that the anger isn’t directed towards you. Though there was a mystery, I felt like this book was really about telling the story of how Suzie was coming to terms with her feelings for Paul. They both grew so much and the story was so focused on them that the mystery fell away.

I would say that it was an ok book but not the best out of the four. I still really like this series so far.

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Chocolate Centered Cozy Mysteries Books 1 – 4

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Ally comes home to relax after a messy divorce. She quickly starts working in her grandmother’s chocolate shop again. Soon after her arrival, however, the delivery driver is found dead. Ally is suddenly determined to find justice for the man while trying to get the new detective off her back as a potential killer.

This book was very interesting and it incorporated a lot of elements. Though it is a very standard start to a small town murder mystery, they did play with the fact that Ally did live in the city for a few years. It also got to play the history of the characters to further the Plot of the book. I know this complaint is common for me, however, I found that the murder was a little obvious.

There was a lot of character building in this book. They drop the reading into a book, where all the character has a lot of history together. I did enjoy finding out more about the backgrounds of all of there character, but I am in love with character building. All is an interesting character, however, she does fit into the standard archetype for a lead female lead. Typically, Luke is the typical standoffish cop, however, he wasn’t outright mean so it’s all forgiven.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. This isn’t a surprise because I like Cindy Bell.

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Ally is settling back into Blue River and starts spending with her grandmother again. However, when someone uses her grandmother’s chocolates to kill a woman in the apartment complex her grandmother wants to move into, suddenly it becomes all hands on deck. Ally must try and find out who would want to frame her grandmother and herself for murder.

I do like Cindy Bell, however, I found that this book dragged on quite a bit. It was filled with unnecessary details that didn’t progress the plot. Though there were 2 main suspects it was easy to figure at who did it, and though they try to confuse the reader, it didn’t really help. Ally took far too many risks in this book and could have really jeopardized the case. I know that Ally wants to be independent, however, she really should listen to Luke more.

Speaking of Luke, he is much more lovable this book. Again due to his investigation the last book, it’s understandable for his demeanour, however, I like him much more. Also understandable is the fact that Ally is still really uptight and naive about love due to her divorce. Ally and Luke make a very cute couple. Charlotte was really fun especially with her impending move which makes a good portion of this book focused on Ally’s separation anxiety.

This was not my favourite book in this series.

 

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Ally goes to the next town over to try and win the contract with a local hotel. Everything seems fine until she starts to bring some of her grandmother’s things to the car, she finds her trunk isn’t so empty. She calls Luke and he calls the police. However, the new detective in town is more determined to figure out why Ally killed the man than find the actual killer.

I hate to say this is a trend, however, this book also dragged a little too much for me. After destroying a crime scene in the last book you would think that she would be more careful, but alas Ally is still not listening to Luke. Luke’s hands were pretty much tied throughout the book which left ally doing some pretty dangerous things, however, it was cute seeing him go out to bat to try and clear Ally’s name.

Ally really needs to learn to talk to people close to her and open up more. So many of the personal aspects of this book were because of Ally’s lack of communication. Luke was preoccupied most of the book and Ally never once asked him about it like an adult and just started assuming negative things. We do get to find out more things about Ally’s past which makes the reader understand the thought process behind Ally’s actions. Charlotte helps Ally a lot during the investigation in this book, and I just enjoy how feisty she still is even in her older age.

I enjoyed this book more than the last, but there still needs to be some work with the pacing.

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The local farmer’s market is a time-honoured tradition and makes everyone in Blue River come out and show their support. However, when the youngest son of one of the big farms is murder, everyone starts looking for the murderer. Ally starts looking into it because she’s can’t believe that the victim’s own brother had anything to do with it.

This book is very interesting and builds the town’s surrounding as well as a little history between Ally and the family. Ally and Charlotte look into the case as it’s in a different town that means Luke has no access to the case files or any finding. As per usual, Ally makes too many risky decisions, and I feel like Luke should have a tracker on her.

Ally actually grows this book, shocker I know. She’s actually starting to feel like a well-rounded character, and less flat. Luke and Ally are still in a really weird limbo when faced with the future of their relationship. Charlotte is having fun playing matchmaker this book. 

There are no time markers really in this book series so we don’t really know how long the between periods are. I find it a little irritating.

Bekki the Beautician Mysteries 12 – 14

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Bekki and Nick have finally scheduled time off and Bekki plans on lounging around and simply enjoying being with Nick. However, Nick has other plans. He goes behind her back and planned a camping trip. While it’s not Bekki’s favourite activity, she is determined to enjoy it. When Bekki finds a fellow camper murdered in the woods, suddenly they are alone in the woods, with a murderer on the loose.

This was an interesting little book. I enjoyed how the main characters were dropped into an environment completely different from the norm. It’s a thought process I think that a lot of people who have gone camping have thought about, at least I know I have. What would you do if there was a murder in the middle of the woods and you were stuck there? Now mind you, most of us are not cops like Nick and Morris, but it was interesting to see them go through the scenario.

I enjoyed seeing Sammy grow in this book. She is always in the back, however, in this book we get to see her be an integral part of the story. She pushes through her insecurities and works with everyone to find the murderer. Seeing Bekki and Nick work close together is nice, since in most of the book Bekki is trying to hide the fact that she’s investigating from Nick.

It was a nice read and an interesting thought experiment for anyone who camps.

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Everything looks like it’s going to be a normal day at the salon for Bekki, however, when one of her clients dies in her chair, the day just went south. Though the death was quickly classified as a heart attack, something just doesn’t feel right for Bekki. So while trying to move on, she also starts looking into Stella’s passing.

There was a little more expansion in the town this book. Mainly, we got to learn a little more about Angela from the bakery. We also get to meet Stella Black in this book. I feel like we might have briefly met her in another book, as she does seem a little familiar. Always love books where we get to learn more about the murder victim as well as the murder. Sadly, we only really find out the interesting things about the murder near the end.

The mystery was relatively straightforward and I had my suspicions early on. However, there was a little twist near the end that was really interesting. I feel like for most people, the book would lead them to draw a certain conclusion, however, I found it quite noticeable.

We also ot to meet Nick’s new partner, however, I don’t find them quite as irritating as Bekki and Sammy did. I found that it was a little over exaggerated their reaction to them.  He makes a silly joke, as suddenly they don’t like him. I did enjoy his character though.

Overall, it’s a really strong book in the series.

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While Nick and Bekki are away at a conference in London, something odd happens. At a demonstration for fillers, the volunteer dies. At first, everyone assumes that there was a possibility that there was an allergic reaction, however, looking further into the case there appears to be some foul play. Quickly, Bekki is stuck into another murder investigation.

The mystery itself was very straightforward, and once we get a little information it is very easy to figure out who the killer is. They tried to insert a little plot twist part way through the book, however, it didn’t really work. It was such a different avenue to investigate that it didn’t really work. I did enjoy how Bekki was out of her element and in a different country, it added to the mystery.

I enjoyed how Nick relaxed a little near the beginning and end of the book, we got to see them not in the middle of an investigation which was nice. I still think that Bekki should listen to Nick more when it comes to investigations, as he is the seasoned investigator. We do get to see her spend all her time investigating as she doesn’t have her salon to run, and I enjoyed that she didn’t have to hide the investigation from Nick. It was nice to see that we got some character development with the murderer and the victim. As you all know, I love me some background to understand the motivations.

This was a good book to continue or end the series with. At this time, this is the last book in the series.


Bekki The Beautician Mystery 9 – 11

Bekki the Beautician Cozy Mysteries 5 – 8

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When Bekki gets an unexpected from her friend in New York, it should be a joyous occasion to catch up with each other. However, when she is found dead in her hotel room, the mood turns dark. Though Nick suggests not looking into this case, however, Bekki can’t let it go. She delves into Jasmine’s life and her death.

I temporarily forgot how much I love this series. Bekki and Nick are really cute together, with Bekki’s tendency of getting into trouble, Nick is needed to keep her alive. Though Bekki did investigate the case a little, however, she actually plays it safe throughout the book. That doesn’t stop Bekki from getting in trouble because of the case.

The mystery was interesting. It’s a little sad that it had to incorporate one of Bekki’s friends from New York being murder. The murder does actually shine a light on Bekki’s past and her shenanigans as a teenager.

The relationship between Nick and Bekki grew in this book. With Bekki more aware of her relationship issues thanks to her previous relationship. They have gotten better at communicating. Also, Bekki isn’t trying to run off and do her own thing without talking with Nick.

Overall, I really like this book.

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Christmas is right around the corner, and Bekki is getting ready for the holidays. However, when a local man was killed by the dry cleaner in “self-defence”, everyone town gets a little on edge. However, the police and Bekki all know something else is going on but can’t prove it. Bekki is determined to clear John’s name and find out what really happened.

Ok, Bekki was a little overzealous about clearing John’s name after the murder that claimed his life. After reading multiple of these books, it’s easy to understand the passion that she has to solve the cases, however, she should maybe not go poking a murderer. She works really hard to solve the case and find some type of evidence for Nick to be able to go after the murderer, but she should take a little bit more care.

Nick and Bekki also finally talk about their relationship in this book. Though Bekki’s slight fear of rejection is evident throughout the series, she finally voices it to Nick. They were really cute during the book.

I really enjoyed the book.

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Bekki is so excited when she gets to, not only watch their show but work with a famous magician during their show in town. When something goes wrong with the trick, Bekki and Nick have to work fast. While the potential of it just being an accident is high, there is something that doesn’t really feel right. They delve into the pair’s past for any clues why anyone would want to kill him.

This book was a little too predictable. I know that a lot of cozy mysteries are supposed to be predictable but I felt like the story was more of a backdrop for what was going on than anything else. I know that the ending of this book was the actual focus of the book, however, that doesn’t mean that the main story should have been disregarded. I feel like it’s a given that Bekki is in danger and Nick saves her, as it has been in all the books up until now.

That being said, the ending was really cute. It was totally obvious really, but I was still excited. It didn’t help that I already knew the title of the next book in the series.

I really liked this book series.

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While running around and finishing the last few things for the wedding, Bekki happens upon a murder. However, when the cops are looking at Bekki as the murder, she fights back by trying to figure out who was that one who actually killed the jeweller. But there is one other thing on her mind, will she ever get the wedding rings in time for her wedding.

While planning the wedding, Bekki stumbles onto a body. Well, the body of the jeweller who was engraving her wedding rings. She gets pulled into another murder mystery just days before her wedding. This makes everything a little more complicated. She rushes around trying to solve the murder while prepping for the wedding.

The mystery was a little fun as it dealt with a larger scheme than just the murder. We get to see some criminals again, different from the last book and the drug ring.

We don’t really get to see much of Nick in this book in comparison to the previous books. He still makes an appearance and is loving and supportive as always. He might want to be a little more firm about the “No getting in dangerous situations” rule.

I really enjoyed this series.

Bekki the Beautician: Books 1-4

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After deciding to pack up her life in New York and return to her hometown and take over her mother’s salon. When the owner of the other salon is found dead, after a not so favourable conversation with Bekki, suspicion falls on her. Her old flame, Nick, has her back and is determined to get her off the hook.

This was a cute little story. Bekki, other than having a name I will never remember how to spell, was an interesting character. She has spunk, and she is willing to stand up for herself. Though she should have taken a step back in this book, she managed to show Nick that he wasn’t infallible.

The tension between Nick and Bekki throughout this book was interesting. I hope that we find out more about their past relationship. I feel like there is so much there that is still untapped.

I enjoyed the first book and I’m looking forward to the following books in this series.

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After finally settling into her new life, or old one, Bekki is feeling comfortable. With the salon becoming very successful, and even rekindling some friendships that were lost when she moved to New York. Her world is once again shaken when the baker is found dead of an apparent suicide. Something doesn’t seem right about it, so Bekki looks into it, against Nick’s warnings.

I don’t agree with all the methods used by Bekki in this book. A lot of amateur sleuths toe the line between legal and illegal, but Bekki completely disregards the law in this book. I don’t like how Nick just sweeps everything under the rug. I get that he is supposed to love her babe is a cop and needs to act like one.

I did like the mystery in this book. It made a personal for Bekkibut also separate enough that she could step back and think about it.

Overall, it was an enjoyable book.

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Sammy is working an event when a murder takes place. She is found over the body and is assumed the killer. Bekki is determined to clear her friend’s name. Though Nick is doing is best, Bekki decides to take matters into her own hands and investigates the murder herself. She finds out a lot about the most influential family in town.

Sammy is in the hot seat this time and Bekki isn’t going to let this one go. Bekki is still a little too reckless for my liking. Nick acts more like a cop in this book compared to the last time, but he still sticks his neck out quite a bit. I want Bekki to follow the law and listen to the police a little more. I understand that she has to learn but she nearly ruined the case in this book.

The mystery was a little easy to figure out, I found that you could tell early on. Nick is wb the picture at the beginning of the book, and Trevor makes another appearance in this book. Thanks to his appearance Bekki and Nick’s relationship is worked on in this book. Nothing like the ex-boyfriend showing up to start talking about your feelings.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book

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Bekki gets a call from her old boss. He is scheduled to be the stylist for the pageant in New York but a large number of his staff are sick and needs Bekki’s help. She leaves Nick behind to help out him out. Quickly, 2 judges are found dead and Bekki is found in the middle of yet another murder investigations.

Another really good book in this series. We get to see Bekki back in New York thanks to the beauty pageant and we get to see a glimpse into her old life. Her old friend was interesting but no one is really all that nice towards Bekki, between her old friends, and old flame it seems almost better that she has moved back home.

She gets stuck in the middle of yet another murder mystery while she’s away and Nick can’t help her this time. She doesn’t really work the case, but it’s become the habit for her to think about cases while she’s near one. She doesn’t go out of her way to solve it, but she does help.

the relationship between Nick and Bekki is a little strained at the beginning, but they work on it throughout the book. It’s nice to see a couple that actually talks about their issues.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.