Oceanside Cozy Mystery 6 – 10



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Oceanside Cozy Mysteries #1 – 5



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Peanut Butter and Jelly Murder + Vanilla Glazed Murder



Leila and Eva’s house is finally complete and to fill the last corner of the house they go shopping at an antique shop. However, when the owner is found dead the next day under suspicious circumstances. Though the police are writing it off as a suicide, Heather knows better and persuades Ryan to take another look at the body.

Hello, Lyle my old Foe, I really didn’t miss that character, but he’s back in his book again. I am not a fan of him, and there aren’t any redeeming qualities like there had bee with Geoff. I guess I can be happy that Kate is still quiet. I don’t know why those characters are in the series, to be honest, but I can deal.

The mystery was a little interesting. I felt like it was a little easy to figure out in the end but that’s ok. Heather and Ryan work well together in this book like always. There really wasn’t much character development in this book but I’m coming to expect it from this series.

It’s not a bad book, I just wish there was a little more meat to these books.


Amy and Jamie have finally found their new home. They are settling in well together. However, when one of their new neighbours was found murdered, Amy has to meet her neighbours is the most awkward way possible. Can Amy question her neighbours while not getting on any of their bad sides while also trying to find out who killed the man?

This was an interesting little book that foreshadows what is going to happen in the last book in this series. With Amy and Jamie finally moved in together, Jamie is going to have to get used to Amy being pulled away from the house to investigate murders.

This murder was a little random when it comes to motive, and to be honest I don’t fully understand what the reason was in the end. It was just a little weird, to begin with, but then again so was the victim.

We get to see Rodney again in this book, which is nice since he kinda just fell out of the picture after his girlfriend was murdered in an earlier book. We also got to find out more about him and his family in this book. The character development was utilized well for the furthering of the storyline.

Overall, this was a good little book.

Funfetti Murder + Wild Raspberry Murder
Donut Hole Cozy Mystery 58 – 60


Funfetti Murder + Wild Raspberry Murder



While helping out at a PTA event on Lilly’s request, Heather has a strained encounter with the president of said PTA. When she is found dead in her home, Heather must step back as she is aware she may be a suspect. Now Ryan must figure out whether or not Heather is a suspect and who actually wanted to kill the PTA president, not like it’s a short list.

Well, this was a fun book. Unlike in previous books when Heather is potentially one of the suspects in this book. She actually does volunteer the information to Ryan when she finds out who the victim is. We get to see the relationship between Lilly and Heather grow deeper in this book. We also get to see Heather work through her feelings after being confronted with not being Lilly’s biological mother. For parents who are busy, the worry that they are not taking care of their children the way they should is always a worry.

The murder was fairly simple to solve however, I wonder if the means of murder wasn’t thought through. I work with insulin needles daily and they wouldn’t fit through the cork. Gillard never specifies if she removed the cork or put the poison through the cork but the description of a “big” needle is wrong. My cat’s insulin needles are much bigger than my mother’s and it isn’t long enough to go through a cork.

Other than that inconsistency, it was a fun story.


Just so that they can relax, heather and the crew when to enjoy a murder mystery show at a local restaurant. However, little did they know that they would find the valet of the night dead. Now Ryan and Heather must look into the past of the valet, as well as look into the past of everyone in the theatre group.

I enjoyed this book more than the last few books. This mystery had an interesting backdrop of a murder mystery play being performed the same night. The characters were a little more eccentric than normal, but we can typically brush it off to them being actors and actresses, so they have the flair for the dramatics. We got to see Heather and Amy untangle the intricate relationship web between the victim and the cast of the play.

I enjoyed the character of the Tracey Trigger, she attempts to work as an amateur sleuth but does more harm than good in the end. This almost plays on the idea that due to her not having any idea of police procedures she can contaminate the scene. This is also a little nod to the genre of cozy mysteries as the main characters typically don’t follow the law.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it’s one of the better books in the series.

Banana Fudge Murder + Blueberry Stars & Stripes Murder
Peanut Butter and Jelly Murder + Vanilla Glazed Murder


Banana Fudge Murder + Blueberry Stars & Stripes Murder



Amy, Jamie, Ryan and Heather all go for a double date together. However, they are called away after their waiter was murdered. Jamie now has to come to terms with knowing the victim and Amy being pulled away at any time due to her job. While they are working the case, Amy has to not only has to help Heather find the murderer but also has to work out the issues that she is having with her relationship.

This book has a little more character building, specifically with Amy and Jamie. We get to see them work through their issues throughout this book. Ok well not throughout, just quickly at the end. I would really like to see much more character development and see more realistic conversations between 2 characters who aren’t Heather, Amy and Ryan.

I enjoyed the story and also liked how we got to meet the victim before they were murdered. It’s an interesting little story, it still has Lyle Clark as a suspect near the end. I feel like the Character is running its course and hopefully will be gone soon. I do like how Kate isn’t anywhere in this book or the past few one.

Overall, it’s a fine book, but I really want to get longer stories.



While out with the family for the 4th of July, Heather notices something’s odd about a house nearby. When she discovers the occupant of the house was murdered, Ryan and Heather start work quickly on the new crime scene. With a messy divorce to sift through Ryan and Heather have to figure out who in the victim’s family would have wanted to kill her.

This was an interesting little book. I was a little surprised that mystery was a lot easier to solve than previous books. However, we did get to see Jamie more in this book which was a little nice. We get to see some development between Jamie and Amy which is lovely, as to this book, we’ve only really seen hear-say.

Like I said, is an easy murder to figure out so when you read it don’t be surprised. I did like the mystery and how seamlessly it went together even if it was a little easy. This might be the one time that the doughnut doesn’t sound too appealing, and that is for someone who likes jalapenos.

Regardless, this was a fun little book to read.

Chocolate Chip Custard Murder + Mint Creme Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #46 + #47)


Blueberry Spangled Murder + Strawberry Sprinkled Swirl Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #48 + #49)



After a horrible accident at a 4th of July celebration, Heather, Amy and Ryan get pulled away to look at the scene of the crime. They have to figure out if the death was a result of an accident or if someone had tried to murder the seemingly lovable man. But things only get a little more complicated when they find out that he had wanted to change his will. This isn’t going to be an easy

I enjoyed the book, however, as without a confession this case wouldn’t have been solved. Everything is circumstantial and there is no proof to point the finger at anyone. I really don’t like books like this because without the confession it would have never gone to court. I know there are cases like that in the real world, but it bothers me.

We got to see the other characters more in this book which was nice. Though there wasn’t much character development in this book, I still love seeing the ever-expanding characters in this book.

Overall, it was a fine book. Just could have been a bit better.


When the speaker at a function at the newly opened hotel is murdered in his room in the middle of the night trouble start brewing. With only 2 keys to the room and both accounted for, they have to figure out how the murderer got in and out without the use of the key. Heather and Ryan have to figure out their own locked room mystery.

I have read many locked door mysteries and this one took an interesting look at the common mystery. I felt like it may have been a little obvious from the get-go, but then again… I read too many mystery books. I enjoyed the simplicity of the story. I have read some very elaborate ways for the mystery to work.

The world in this books has expanded a little more with the addition of the hotel. Though this was very focused on the mystery and we didn’t really get to see anyone except Amy, Heather and Ryan in this story.

This story had a really good base and I really want Gillard to expand her books. It’s ok if she doesn’t put out a book a week and give the books a little more meat.

Vanilla Cream Murder + Chocolate Peanut Brittle Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #44 + #45)
Banana Fudge Murder + Blueberry Stars & Stripes Murder


Chocolate Chip Custard Murder + Mint Creme Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #46 + #47)



When the only other private investigator in Hillside is murdered. The last person who was known to have a fight with him was Amy. Now with her in the hot seat, Ryan and Heather are working as hard as possible to clear her name. Which is a little hard as Amy can’t help out this time around.

I have to say that I enjoyed this book a lot more than the previous books. Though I don’t like Kelly, his character was well used in this book. This book gave him more of a background than previous books. He turned out to be more than Kate’s lap dog.

Though Clarke made an appearance in this book, it wasn’t overwhelming… well until the end. I am starting to not mind him as much, but I feel like that is just due to repeated exposure.

It was kinda nice seeing one of the main characters in the hot seat again. I normally don’t like it, but it’s been a while so it’s a nice throwback to the beginning of the series.

I still want more with the bakery staff but I’ve almost given up on that.

Overall it was a fun book.


After the arson at Eva’s house, Heather hires a designer to figure out how much it would cost to repair their house. However, when the interior designer is found dead, everything is on hold again. Now that they have to figure out who wanted this designer down. They have to work through her iffy business practices and have to find out who would want to kill the interior designer.

This was a mildly interesting book. We got to see the bakery staff a little but not as much as I would like, but it was nice to have them in the story. We did get to meet another character that I feel will probably fit in well with the other characters and will be making an appearance in the future books.

The mystery was a little odd, and you couldn’t figure it out until later in the book when they had more information. I enjoyed the role reversals of who called who to the crime scene.

Overall it was a fine book to read.

Cotton Candy Fluff Murder + Cherry Dream Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #42 + #43)
Banana Fudge Murder + Blueberry Stars & Stripes Murder