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When I started reading this book, it seemed a little out of date for today.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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Interesting dramatic whodunnit

Sealed Off (A Maine Clambake Mystery )

By: Barbara Ross

Rating: 4 of 5

This is the eighth book in the Maine Clambake mystery series. It is the first book I have read by author Barbara Ross. While I read it stand-alone, I suggest reading the earlier books as I was confused by the relationships as well as the characters. It was a little like dropping into a movie halfway through.

The book is definitely more dramatic than not. Generally, I expect some humor in cozy mysteries and this book did not have that. While not a suspense book, it is more of a straight mystery.

The characters live on the coast of Maine and make most of their money during the tourist season when people come to their lovely town and want to indulge in a real Maine clambake. My husband is from Maine and when I described the clambake to him, he agreed it was authentically portrayed.

The family has their share of drama with all sorts of revelations, both personal and historical, and some of those are contained in this book. There are multiple mentions of other things that had occurred in earlier books as well.

When a body is found on the island where the clambakes are held, suspicions fall immediately on the ex-con.

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Slightly confusing story for a first time reader

Come Homicide or High Water (Welcome Back to Scumble River Book 3)

By: Denise Swanson

Rating: 4 of 5

This is the third in a new reboot of an older cozy mystery series. It is the first one that I have read. It was definitely confusing to walk into the middle of this story, because that is how this book reads. You really must need to have read earlier books to understand the dynamics of the characters and their relationships.

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A new Amish mystery series by Amanda Flower

Matchmaking Can Be Murder (An Amish Matchmaker Mystery Book 1)

By: Amanda Flower

Rating: 4 of 5

This is the second Amish mystery series I have begun reading by Amanda Flower. This series is a spin-off of the first, the Amish Candy Shop mysteries.)

In this story, Millie Fisher has come back to Harvest, Ohio. She is a widow who spent the last ten years taking care of her sister whose health was failing.

Millie is a matchmaker and she intends to start up her business, helping both the Amish and the English find their true companion. Sadly, her niece Edith, had chosen her first husband unwisely and appears to be heading down the same path with her new fiance.

When a murder occurs and Edith comes under suspicion, Millie and her newly re-found friend from childhood, decide to pull out all stops to find the real murderer.

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Fun to read with lots of twists and turns

Stamped Out: A Mail Carrier Cozy Mystery

By: Tonya Kappes

Rating: 5 of 5

I’ve read other series by Tonya Kappes and decided to try this one as well. It is a story about a postal carrier, Bernadette Butler. Bernadette is a widow and the book starts out on the tenth anniversary of her late husband’s death.

She is still grieving though she is shocked to discover she has forgotten the actual date. She went back to delivering mail after her husband’s death and the towns people all know and love her. She also gets caught up on the gossip and hears things because others forget she is there.

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Fun start to a new cozy mystery series

Poppy Harmon Investigates (A Desert Flowers Mystery Book 1)

By: Lee Hollis

Rating: 5 of 5

This is the first book in a new mystery series set in Palm Springs, California. I’ve been to Palm Springs and what I recall most about it was that it was hot as blazes.

Many individuals retire to Palm Springs and this is a book about three such ladies.

Poppy Harmon was an actor in a television series which featured a private detective and she was his secretary. Now, its been a number of years since she left Hollywood but she married and put her acting long behind her.

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A pivotal book in this cozy mystery series

Verse and Vengeance: A Magical Bookshop Mystery

By: Amanda Flower

Rating: 4 of 5

I’ve read other books and series by Amanda Flower, mainly in her Amish mysteries. I really enjoy her writing, so I took a chance with “Verse and Vengeance”, which is completely different from the books that I have read.

There are earlier books in this series and it became apparent to me, fairly early on, that this book would be a pivotal story in what goes on next.

It was also a bit difficult for me to catch up to the premise and to understand how the characters related to one another. The author did a good job of giving back story information without giving away much of the earlier books. However, I think I could have gotten much more from the story if I had read the earlier books first.

In this book, Violet Waverly is in charge of the magical bookstore which has, in all of its incarnations, been part of her family for hundreds of years.

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A great start to a new mystery series set in Alaska

Thin Ice: A Mystery

By: Paige Shelton

Rating: 5 of 5

I have read other books by Paige Shelton. Those books were more of a cozy mystery but with this book, “Thin Ice”, Ms Shelton breaks out into a suspense-filled mystery.

The book is the beginning of a new series, so while there is closure on some issues, others are just beginning to take shape.

Beth, a writer of very popular books, is fleeing. From whom, she doesn’t remember. She has a form of amnesia about the events regarding her kidnapping. All she knows is that she must get far, far away from where she lived before to feel free from the horror of having been abducted and held against her will.

She heads to Alaska to get away from it all. She doesn’t quite realize quite how remote a town she has picked, until she lands in it. Still, she is happy to be free from the shadows that had been taking over her life.

Within a few short days, a mystery arises which she feels compelled to help solve.

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