Oceanside Cozy Mysteries #1 – 5

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Heather and co. have finally made the jump and moved to Key West. While preparing the opening for the new store and settling in, the owner of the neighbouring restaurant is found dead. Tensions are already high as the people on the street don’t like newcomers, but after someone points in their direction, it gets even worse. Looks like Heather and Amy don’t get a slow introduction to key west, instead they are thrown into another murder investigation.

So at the last book of the other series all of Heather’s friends decide to follow her to Key West and leave Hillside. I have never seen a more noped out of making the lead character make brand new friends. I get the resituating the characters of a story can be difficult, but I hope that the characters can be used properly and they don’t just live in their own little bubble.

The storyline in this story does allow the reader to situate themselves in the new surroundings. We didn’t meet a lot of characters in the book, which was a little weird as they are in a new city. Apparently, hey only have 5 neighbours on this street, now I’m assuming that this is a very short block on a street because I’ve never lived somewhere that a street only had 6 shops.

The mystery was a little obvious I felt. I feel like it was more about getting a feel for the city rather than the actual mystery itself. We got to know the police a little more, one that Ryan will be replacing and the other will be his partner.

It was an ok book, I’m hoping the book will get better in the future.

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Amy finally convinces Heather that they should learn how to scuba dive. On Bernadette’s suggestion, they decide on Shelly’s diving school. However, when something goes seriously wrong leaving one of the employees dead, Heather and Amy are pulled back into another murder. They help the police with the case while trying to also hire new staff for the store.

So… where is everyone in this book? We get to see Lilly, Heather, Amy, Digby and a little Ryan. I know in theory the Jamie should be working to set up his own business, I’m just surprised that no one is even mentioning it. I feel like the characters that were brought over from the last book to make things easier, are being left out.

Though the mystery was relatively easy to figure out. I feel like, similar to the last book, Heather is being cut out. This causes a simple investigation to take longer than absolutely necessary. I feel like it has become less about the mystery and more about the tension between Heather, Amy and Detective Smith. This makes the story a little more trying than the previous book.

Given that this book series is set in a new place, I feel like they could use the location a bit more. I felt like there was a little disconnect between the characters and the location. As someone who has never been to Key West, I would be interested in finding out more about the location.

I really want this book series to hit its stride.

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Eva and Lelia have been keeping busy and have met a new friend at the senior centre. However, when her son is found murdered the duo turn to Heather. In the midst of her opening week, Heather delves into the past of the group’s newest acquaintance to track down a killer.

We got to meet a few more standard characters. I enjoyed how we got to get some character development with the new characters. However, due to her being in the middle of the investigation, it is a little bit if a cheat. I feel like Betty will be a good addition to the golden age girls. Yes, I have given them a nickname.

This mystery was a little tricky, but if you notice some clues and have random knowledge about gambling, it’s quite simple to figure out. I do enjoy the trick that was used in this book to add some dimension to the case.  This is the first time that I’ve seen it be used in such a way in a book recently and it was refreshing.

We get to see the family go out and play tourists, however, I really wish that there was more description of their surroundings. Hillside became so vivid in the last series, but now I can’t even imagine the street that they work on.

It was a fun little read.

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Heather is invited to the local bed and breakfast to work out a potential business agreement to supply them with doughnuts. The owner invites them to stay the night to see how breakfast works. Heather and Ryan agree right away if only to get out of the sweltering heat, that is their house. However, their stay is elongated when one of the guests is murdered at breakfast, and Detective Smith asks them to look into it as the guests might open up to them. So much for a nice relaxing evening at the bed and breakfast.

We got to see a little more of Key West in this book, well by a little bit more, I really mean the bed and breakfast. We didn’t get any descriptions of the surroundings. I feel like the area where Heather and the gang moved too is very flat. I don’t mind if writers use a place they’ve never been, which I don’t know if Gillard has or has not been to Key West, however, it just feels like a set rather than part of the story.

The mystery was something that we’ve seen before. Someone at the Inn murdered another guest very publicly, however, no one knows who did it. There are plenty of misleading lines of questioning that Heather and Amy track down. They eventually figure everything out on with some help from the police and the owner of the B&B.

This wasn’t my favourite book in this series by far.

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Halloween is one of Amy’s favourite time of year, so when the local Halloween cruise asks for them to provide the sweets for the cruise, they jump at the chance. Along with providing deserts, they are invited on the cruise for one night. However, when the guest of honour is murdered while out at sea. Heather, Amy and Ryan must figure out who did it before reaching land and losing all of their suspects.

So we got to see Ryan and Heather working together again. This is very similar to their one-day investigation from the last series, however, this time it’s on a boat. The way that the murder was carried out was interesting and used the surroundings and events well. I did like seeing Ryan investigation again.

I enjoyed seeing Jamie being used a little in this book than the other books. I wanted to see some character growth in this book, however, it was sadly not evident in this book.

I really want this series to get better in the future.


Donut Hole Cozy Mystery 58 – 60
Oceanside Cozy Mystery 6 – 10

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Donut Hole Cozy Mystery 58 – 60

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Doughnut Delights crew decides that it would be good to go to and perform some team building activities. Little did they know that a terrible accident would leave a member of one of the other teams dead. However, something doesn’t look right to Heather. So the team od Doughnut delights decide to work together to figure out who murdered the poor victim.

 

Well, that is one way to work on the group’s teamwork, solve a murder. I have never been a fan of one-day mysteries because they always feel unrealistic. This sadly wasn’t any different. I get that this story wouldn’t have worked if it was spread over multiple days, however, it still seemed a bit rushed.

We got to see a lot of the kitchen staff in this book as they all work together to find out who was the killer. Though, Heather was the one who did most of the work. Hell, even Ryan was a little useless this book.

It was a fine book to read but now my favourite of the season.

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After all that they’ve been through, or not been through really, Heather and Ryan finally meet Hoskin’s wife. However, when she is implicated in a murder, Heather and Ryan have to struggle to keep their emotions in check and figure out if she really is the murderer. Something doesn’t quite feel right as they trust her. However, the one good thing that came from this is that Hoskin’s finally that understands the importance of the investigative aspect of the job.

We finally get to see more about Hoskins’ family life. We have known for a while now that he is the son-in-law of the chief. That being said, he has always been lazy. This time Millie, his wife, is the one in the hot seat this time. This forces Hoskins to work hard to figure out who actually killed the old lady as he believes that it was not his wife. We finally get to see him grow as a cop and that is nice. I feel like it was forced as he is going to be the detective left in charge of Hillside while Heather and Ryan are away.

I enjoyed the storyline of the book and how the mystery worked out in the end. It was an interesting plot, that though I have seen something like that before, it was still really interesting.

I really enjoyed this book, it was one of the more enjoyable books in this series.

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Heather and Ryan are about ready to move to Key West just a couple of final things to do before they leave. However, when 2 strange murders happened in town, Heather is pulled into another mystery. While the two murders don’t look like they would be related, the victims actually were business partners. Now they must look into the potential of it being business related.

I’m so glad that I never have to hear about Lyle Clark again after this book. Heather wraps up her last case in Hillside before leaving to Key West. I will now have to start a new series after a bit of a break.

There were 2 murders in this book which was interesting. There were parallels between the two investigations as the victims were partners. Lyle Clark was heavily featured in this book. However, that was to be expected as it is the last book in Hillside. One of the murders was interesting as it was a poisoning, and I found it to be more interesting than the gunshot.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. The next series is also being written right now.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Murder + Vanilla Glazed Murder


 

Vanilla Cream Murder + Chocolate Peanut Brittle Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #44 + #45)

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When Heather finds out that Roadkill Rodney has found love, and also found his way to Hillside. However, after only a few hours together, Rodney comes in search for Heather as he has just found his girlfriend dead in her store. Ryan and Heather must no sift through Norma’s past and figure out who would have wanted to kill her.

This was better than the last book. I was not terribly sure how this story was going to play out, however, I did feel like it was a little obvious. Clarke was used a little more in this book compared to the last book, however, not to the point that I would like. We do get to see the friendship between Eva and Leila developing even more throughout the book. They seem to be two peas in a pod in this book.

We got to see Rodney Roadkill in this book. It was a little surprised to see him in this book, though he was an interesting, I’m not sure how else they are going to use the character further in this series.

This book was enjoyable and a good continuation to the series.

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Leila gets Donut Delight one morning, pale and shaking. When she reveals that she’s found a dead body in the entrance of her and Edna’s house. She doesn’t know who it is or how he got there. Heather acts quickly to get Ryan on the case. Now with 2 more adults in the house, Heather and Ryan work together to figure out who committed the crime and get her friends back into their home.

Ok, so this book wasn’t my favourite. It actually took longer than normal to read. Heather’s obsession with Clarke is a little out to left field I find. Though Heather is written as an obsessive character, this is even much even for her level. I get that this businessman is bad news, but the focus on him is a bit much.

The story was interesting, as was the murder mystery. The added aspect that Eva and Leila are caught up in it due to the scene of the crime is interesting. I’m not sure how they are going to continue and finish off that storyline as it might be a little difficult to tie up one week to the the next.

I have my standard complaint of not giving enough time for the story on the victim’s background or the store staff. But these seem par for the course now.

Overall it’s an ok read, just not great.

Kiwi Lime Surprise Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #40) + Peaches and Cream Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #41)

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Heather and the gang escape to Key West Florida, and everything is perfect until she’s woken up in the middle of the night by someone being murdered. Even though they are away from their little town, Heather is still pulled into yet another investigation, just this time Ryan isn’t there to help.

I enjoyed this book until the very end, and then it got ruined by the overarching storyline that I don’t like. I will say though, I don’t ever want to be anywhere around Heather as people keep turning up dead.

I do like the twist that she took her assistants to Florida to relax and though they got to relax she was caught up in yet another murder investigation. I personally don’t think that it was helping the story that she was actively investigating given that she knows that a PI needs to be brought in to the investigation by the local police. I would have preferred it to be rather by accident.

It was an interesting book though, and I did enjoy the linking of a past murder to the present, however, I feel like it could have been executed a little better.

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With the booming economy in Hillside, that means more Tourists. But when the owner of the tourist depot is found dead, not all is well in the town. With no evidence anywhere, Ryan and Heather have to try and track down who wanted to kill him and unravel his dark past.

Alright, one more plot point was completed, and boy am I happy about it. It’s nice having Ryan back in the book. Also, having Amy getting her PI license was a smart move for the story. It’s an enjoyable little read, and I do enjoy that we got to find out the backstory of the victim. It is the aspect that I enjoyed the most about this book.

Also, we get to see a little bit more character development with Eva, and Amy in this book. The characters are starting to have more substance again, which is good, however, I which it was closer to the beginning of the series and not so far in. But, it’s better late than never.

Overall it is a fun little read.


Raspberry Coulis Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #38) + Creme Brulee Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #39)
Cotton Candy Fluff Murder + Cherry Dream Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #42 + #43)

Cream Puff Murder (Hannah Swensen #11)

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After a long work out at Lake Eden’s new health club, Hannah stumbles upon the body of Ronni Ward in the Jacuzzi. This instructor did not have many friends, which leaves Hannah with a suspect list as long as her arm. Also, with her mother’s book launch party around the corner and 10 pounds to loose, Hannah doesn’t have time for this murder.

This is the book that caused the downfall of Mike in my opinion. In the movie series, he’s a lovable character, however, in this book he’s very annoying and shows how little he takes Hannah’s feelings into consideration. It’s understandable that since they have an open relationship that he can see other people, but he should at least tell her and not find out the way she did. She worked really well with Andrea to solve this murder using little tidbits of information that she gets from Mike and Bill. However, how they ended up solving the murder was just sheer luck in the end. I know not everything needs to be planned out but it Kinda bothered me in the end. It’s a good continuation of the series just not my favourite book.


Carrot Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen #10)
Plum Pudding Murder (Hannah Swensen #12)

Strawberry Cream Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #1)

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After Heather’s former assistant is found dead in her own doughnut shop, she finds herself as the prime suspect in the suspected murder. With no one believing her that something is off with the investigation she embarks on finding out who actually killed Christa.

If you like The Hannah Swensen Series then you’ll like this. The doughnuts that are described in the book just sound amazing. The character development is a little shallow in this book, but it’s a nice quick read so it’s forgivable. I still wish that there was more depth to the characters, but with 45 books I’m sure there will be more development.

Since it’s free on Amazon Unlimited I’ll probably be reading the entire series.


Maple Frosted Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #2)