Thursday, February 22, 2024

{I've Been Reading} The Baby I Stole

 


The Baby I Stole by McGarvey Black 

This is an entertaining read if you don't think about the details too much. How can a woman just come home from an afternoon at the beach with a stranger's baby in her arms? I spent the whole book waiting for things to fall apart, and they eventually did because nothing else could possibly happen. By the end things actually made a lot more sense than I would've expected them to. 

The Boy Who Cried Bear by Kelley Armstrong 

When I choose this book to read, I didn't realize that it was the second in a series and apparently the characters were introduced in a previous series. I feel like I was missing a lot of necessary details, although I warmed up to the characters eventually. A ten year old boy goes missing after reporting that he saw a bear just outside a tiny well-hidden forest town. As the search for him intensifies, it becomes clear that it wasn't an animal who took him, it was a person....and there aren't many suspects in the isolated wilderness. 


Mrs. Morris and the Mermaid by Traci Wilton

I picked up the eighth Salem B&B Mystery because the mermaid festival sounded fun. The actress who played the mermaid in a cult classic film has agreed to appear on the lead float and her rival, who starred in a more recent remake, is also on the scene, stirring up conflict. The author does a great job of portraying the conflict between fans of the remake and fans of the original and capturing the business of the festival. That might be my one complaint -- there's so much going on that it distracts from the mystery. Add in the witches and ghost that are already present in  this series and there's a lot of magical fun to enjoy.  


Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

{I've Been Reading} DM Me for Murder

 DM Me for Murder by Sarah E. Burr 



When Coco Cline arrives for a meeting with mega-influencer LaTage, she finds the popular internet star dead. This is the third book in the series, so it's not the first brush Coco has had with murder and LaTage's fans are quick to start spreading rumors about what might have happened. The one is a fun, quick read with lots of pop culture and social media references. The mystery itself is well developed and kept me interested. There was just enough back story to keep me from feeling lost, even though I hadn't read the previous two books.  I also appreciate that when the author referred to events from the previous books, she didn't give away the endings to those mysteries. 


Case of the Bleus by Korina Moss

Everyone is after the secrets behind Church Bleu, a legendary cheese created by Willa's former employer, Max Dumas. Instead of leaving the recipe in his will, Max teases them with an enigmatic clue that infuriates his daughter and employees, who all think they should have been trusted with the instructions. At first I thought the solution to this one was obvious, but it got a lot more complicated than I expected and the ending is absolutely perfect.  



Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. 

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

{I've Been Reading} A Fatal Groove

 


A Fatal Groove by Oliva Blacke 

The second Record Shop mystery has everything I love about cozies, even a little bit of crafting. Along with her sisters, Juni Jessup runs Sip and Spin Records in the same space where her grandparents once owned a record shop. When the local mayor dies just after finishing a cup of their coffee, its definitely bad for business. Mayor Bob wasn't a great mayor, but no one seemed to dislike him. Between the murder investigation and the local Bluebonnet Festival, Juni barely has time to catch her breath. I found myself vicariously enjoying the food trucks and music and history of the fictional town, not to mention the annual hole digging competition. The mystery itself is engaging and complex. Happily, the third book is due out soon so I'll be spending more time with the Jessup sisters. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

{I've Been Reading} Of Hoaxes and Homicide

 Of Hoaxes and Homicide by Anastasia Hastings

I absolutely love this series and the second book is almost more fun than the first! Of course it couldn't have existed without the first book setting up Violet's unexpected new role as an agony aunt....but this one has a cult that Violet's stepsister is much too intrigued by. Sephora has been absolutely devouring stories of the group, which include rumors of virgin sacrifices. When "Miss Hermione" receives a letter from a troubled mother she joins the Childred of Aed herself in an effort to rescue a missing girl. This one got a little darker than I expected, but the gruesome events were filtered through Violet's Victorian sensibilities, so it wasn't too dark.  


The Book of Renfield by Tim Lucas 

This book weaves text from the original Dracula in with original notes by Doctor Seward and Renfield telling the story of his own life and how he became a servant of the vampire. I picked it up after watching the recent movie, which combines characters from the original book (which I haven't reread in decades)...so I was reading about the wrong Renfield, if that makes any sense at all. It was an enjoyable read for the most part, but some sections absolutely dragged and the introduction and the author's notes at the end were downright tiresome.  I'm apparently not enough of a Dracula fan to thoroughly enjoy this. 


The Au Pair by Jane Renshaw 

Melanie is the second au pair to work for the Davidson family. Her predecessor, a young girl named Alice, is missing, assumed drowned after her clothes were found on the beach. Deep scratches on her bedroom floor show where Alice pushed a heavy dresser against the door, presumably to keep someone out. The story alternates between Alice and Melanie and as soon as Melanie is introduced it's revealed that she's there to investigate what happened to Alice. I never quite got caught up in the suspense of this one and couldn't suspend my disbelief nearly enough to be satisfied with the ending.  


Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. 


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