Amusing look at murder and mayhem at a family gathering at Christmas

Murder at Melrose Court: A 1920s Country House Murder (Heathcliff Lennox Book 1)

By: Karen Baugh Menuhin

Rating: 5 of 5

This is the first book I have read by author Karen Baugh Menuhin. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I am glad I took the chance with the book.

It was both funny and a good whodunnit cozy mystery. I laughed out loud many times during my reading and, while I figured out the whodunnit, I wasn’t quite so sure of the whydunnit.

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A fun mystery read with over-the-top characters

Felicity Carrol and the Murderous Menace: A Felicity Carrol Mystery

By: Patricia Marcantonio

Rating: 4 of 5

I will start by saying that the characters in this book are way over the top. They are almost too much to be believed. At first, I was put off by it but then, I realized that it was meant to be that way.

I took it as a book that was like the first black and white movies, where the good guys were really good and the bad ones were horrible. Once I started looking at it from that point of view, I was able to relax and enjoy it as a bit of comedy mixed in with an interesting mystery.

Felicity is rich and incredibly smart. Maybe the smartest person you will ever meet (see what I mean?) She is pulled away from her home in England to look into murders which have occurred in Placer, Montana.

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Good story but a little confusing for a first time series reader

Alone in the Wild: A Rockton Novel (Casey Duncan Novels Book 5)

By: Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 4 of 5

This is the first book I have read in the Casey Duncan series. It is not, however, the first book I have read by author Kelley Armstrong.

With little information about what the book and series were about, I had some problems with the overall concept and with some of the dialog.

I think if I had started with the first book and read through, this book would make complete sense. However, as I often dive mid-stream into series, I am used to trying to figure out things on the fly. I was able to but some of the story was not as well explained for a first time reader.

Casey Duncan and her husband Eric Dalton (who has an incredible case of selective potty mouth) have gone off for a break in the woods. Casey comes across a dead woman who has a baby in her arms who is still alive.

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Interesting mystery with social media overtones

Journaled to Death (The Journaling mysteries Book 1)

By: Heather Redmond

Rating: 4 of 5

This was an interesting story. While as a mystery, I found it very easy to solve, I was surprised by the use of journaling as a way to make a living on social media.

Or not. Mandy Meadows and her daughter are becoming more highly ranked on a video social media platform (you can guess which one, though the author never said so.) For all the followers that they have, they are making only a few hundred dollars a month. Kind of puts making your fortune on social media in the right perspective.

There is a murder and Mandy is a suspect. She goes from doing her videos and selling stickers to her job as a barista at a hospital to trying to scrounge enough money to keep heart and home together.

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Not really suspenseful and easily solved mystery

The Look-Alike: A Novel

By: Erica Spindler

Rating: 3 of 5

This is the story of Sienna Scott. Ten years before, she found a murder victim. Because of the stress involved with having seen the crime, she left home and headed for England and stayed there for ten years.

She decides to head home again to pick up the pieces of her old life. She has conveniently forgotten the pain of living with her mother, who has mental illness and causes much distress for her daughter.

There are three big reveals in this book, the whodunnit and two others. I solved all three within a page or two of meeting the pertinent characters. I don’t think it was too difficult to do so.

However, Sienna doesn’t seem to see the troubles lying ahead. Also, she falls into a physical relationship with someone she really doesn’t know and then, as quickly, falls in love with him.

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Funny second in series set in an Amish Cupcake shop

Previous Confections: An Amish Cupcake Cozy Mystery

By: Ruth Hartzler

Rating: 5 of 5

This is the second in a series set in an Amish Cupcake shop. Jane Delight is the sleuth, along with her roomies and buddies, a pair of older sisters, Eleanor and Mathilda.

Jane was previously Amish and has run own to her sister, Rebecca who is still in the faith. Jane lives above the shop with her friends and helps Rebecca to help pay her way.

Jane’s ex-husband, Ted, is a rather slimy lawyer and when he hits town with his new wife, Cherri, Jane is forced into meeting him regarding some papers he is attempting to force her to sign. Jane is smarter than that.

However, in the midst of their meeting at a local and expensive restaurant, a man is murdered. When suspicions fall on her ex, Cherri begs Jane to help solve the mystery and find the real killer. Jane agrees both because she feels for Cherri and because Mathilda and Eleanor are itching for a new murder to solve.

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So much fun I was laughing out loud

The Quiche and the Dead (A Pie Town Mystery Book 1)

By: Kirsten Weiss

Rating: 5 of 5

Valentine Harris, known as Val to just about everyone, has come to San Nicholas to build a new life with her fiance. Part of that is opening a pie shop using her recently passed away mother’s family recipes.

The engagement has already been broken as the book begins. Val is trying to rid herself of the last reminder of their time together, her very expensive and unused wedding dress.

Still, she is making a go of running her shop, known as Pie Town. This, in spite of her next door neighbor, Heidi, who is running a gym and hates that people eat sugar. Heidi seems to simply hate Pie Town and Val as well.

A customer drops dead in Pie Town, after eating one of her homemade pies. Because of that, Val becomes a suspect when it is found out that he died of poisoning.

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An engrossing story told about two women in two different times in Edenton, NC

Big Lies in a Small Town: A Novel

By: Diane Chamberlain

Rating: 5 of 5

I’ve read only a few books by author Diane Chamberlain. Each book has caught my attention and left me wanting to read more of her works. Thus far, this book is my favorite.

This is the story of two young women. In the past, Anna Dale, an artist. In the present, Morgan Christopher, an art student who is also in prison when we first meet her.

Morgan has been given a job to do that she doesn’t feel and, in fact, is not qualified to attempt. She is given the choice of staying in prison and serving her time or doing the work, by an impossible date in Edenton.

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A novel about three friends and their wishes for the new year

Mixed Doubles

By: Jill Mansell

Rating: 4 of 5

When I started reading this book, it seemed a little out of date for today. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it or if it had been earlier. It turns out to be the latter. The book was release close to a decade ago and in some ways it shows. Having said that, I still enjoyed reading the book.

Dulcie, Liza and Pru are all friends. At the beginning of the year, they all get together and find out what each one wants.

Liza has never been married and would like to find someone to love who doesn’t bore her silly after a few weeks.

Pru is married to someone that neither of her friends like. Pru is happy and wants to stay that way with her husband.
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A fun second book in this Palms Springs cozy mystery series

Poppy Harmon and the Hung Jury (A Desert Flowers Mystery Book 2)

By: Lee Hollis

Rating: 5 of 5

In this second book in the Desert Flowers Mystery series, Poppy Harmon is settling in, along with her two best friends, to being a real private detective.

Her daughter has returned to live with her, having served her time. That brings her boyfriend, Matt, ever more into her life.

If that weren’t enough, Poppy is serving on a jury in a trial which involves a famous singer who has been accused of assaulting a famous chef.

Poppy also runs into an old co-star of her ill-fated television mystery series. The co-star was also an old flame, of sorts. He wants Poppy to find his adult, though young daughter, who has recently disappeared. He also wants to take up where they left things in the past.

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