Showing posts with label Cozy Mystery Series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cozy Mystery Series. Show all posts

Friday, June 16, 2023

3 Rare (For Me, Anyway) Book Finds

I went to this amazing out of town discount bookstore Tuesday to do what I do when it comes to used bookstores–scour EVERY shelf for hidden and rare treasures. And this visit did not disappoint. Never would I believe I would find a hardback version of Susan Wittig Albert’s first Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter cozy mystery books. A rare treat, indeed. Second to that is the first book in Robin Paige’s Victorian Mystery series, Death at Bishop’s Keep. Now, now, now, and now. To be clear, Robin Paige is Susan Wittig Albert’s penname. Regardless, I’ve always had a hard time finding this book (without ordering it online and all that extra jazz).

Lastly, who would have thought Robert Jordan’s (writing as Reagan O’Neal) Fallon books still existed in hardcover. The Fallon Legacy concludes the trilogy, leaving me in need of just the second book at this point. Nevertheless, this copy of The Fallon Legacy is more than a decent copy, as it is in excellent condition. I practically ripped it from the shelf the second I spotted it in a pile of sleepers.

Anyway, these are all rare, sought after finds for me. Got lucky this go ‘round.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Vanille Caught Something New Today

"Little Caribbean, Brooklyn, New York: Lyndsay Murray is opening Spice Isle Bakery with her family, and it’s everything she’s ever wanted. The West Indian bakery is her way to give back to the community she loves, stay connected to her Grenadian roots, and work side-by-side with her family. The only thing getting a rise out of Lyndsay is Claudio Fabrizi, a disgruntled fellow bakery owner who does not want any competition.

On opening day, he comes into the bakery threatening to shut them down. Fed up, Lyndsay takes him to task in front of what seems to be the whole neighborhood. So when Claudio turns up dead a day later―murdered―Lyndsay is unfortunately the prime suspect. To get the scent of suspicion off her and her bakery, Lyndsay has to prove she’s innocent―under the watchful eyes of her overprotective brother, anxious parents, and meddlesome extended family―what could go wrong?"

Author Olivia Matthew's NEW RELEASE is out TODAY. You can grab a copy on Amazon (affiliate link) HERE

I have a lotttttt of new releases to catch up on. Boy, I tell ya. Life of a bibliophile.

Friday, December 9, 2022

#FridayReads ~ More Carolyn G. Hart Despite a "Break"

"A group of Christie buffs. . .In honor of Agatha Christie's one hundredth birthday, mystery bookstore owner Annie Laurance Darling plans a week-long celebration of mystery, treasure hunts, title clues, and Christie trivia. Yet even as the champagne is chilling and the happy guests begin arriving on Broward's Rock Island, Annie feels a niggling sense of doom. But the last thing she or her guests expect is that the scheduled fun and mayhem will include a real-life murder. The unexpected arrival of Neil Bledsoe, the most despised book critic in America, was sure to raise a few hackles. An advocate of hard-boiled detection and gory true crime, Bledsoe drops a bombshell on the devoted Christie assemblage: He's penning a scurrilous biography of the grand dame of suspense herself. Before the first title clue is solved, no less than two attempts are made on Bledsoe's life. Now Annie and her unflappable husband, Max Darling, find themselves trying to stop a murder in the making-only the first corpse isn't the one they're expecting. . .and it isn't the last."


Now, see, I told my ass this: “Don’t you pick up another Death on Demand book and ruin your appetite for them with the fourth book read in a row." My intention was to read within a different series or genre. To get out from underneath Carolyn G. Hart's fantastic cozy series for a hot minute. And, well, knock some of these unread titles off my shelves before this latest package of books arrive tomorrow (YIKES). Yet, the work week was finished. The rain was pouring. The coffee was brewing. Listen, everything in life was in order for some more familiar, cozy mystery reading. Thus, here arrives The Christie Caper by Carolyn G. Hart (Death on Demand #7).

So I'm already fifty pages into the book and loving it. Wholly absorbed in all matters (from personal to mysterious) stacked within this entry. I'm still getting to know the suspicious characters, as Hart does a great job of putting at least five or six of them in a room to see who behaves in whichever way to get readers to "know" them. And the apparent–though not quite yet established as such–victim is particularly spirited and nasty this go’round. But on the other hand, the main protagonist, Annie, remains pleasant and inviting as our central guide to the mystery. The same can be said for the side characters.

Anyway, this book puts an evident and strictly specific emphasis on its references to Agatha Christie and her works. Every other page does some job in ensuring not to lead readers away from that focus and how much these references operate as clues as well. But by book seven, readers will already have established that Agatha Christie is highly revered and favored by Carolyn G. Hart. So it was only a matter of time before she would draw up a mystery and cast centered around an Agatha Christie convention. And the "draw up" is dedicated and fierce in this entry.

I have yet to indulge in much of Christie's work to get Hart's references, but I'm here for Hart all weekend long as is.

Happy #FridayReads

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Reading some Death on Demand by Carolyn G. Hart

Carolyn G. Hart's Honeymoon with Murder and A Little Class on Murder are books numbers four and five of her award-winning Death on Demand series. Death on Demand itself is a mystery-themed bookstore on a South Carolina island called Boward's Rock. The store is run by a woman named Annie Laurance, who becomes Annie Darling per her eventual marriage to her beau, Max. Nonetheless, as a mystery bookstore owner, Annie is deeply dedicated to everything surrounding the mystery genre–so she knows her stuff. A cast of supporting characters are there as well with equal appreciation for loving and conversing about mystery books. As readers, we are privy to much of these conversations about various mysteries and the authors who write them. Blended so well into the overall narrative, you, the reader, suddenly find yourself intrigued by anecdotal information on, say, Agatha Christie and/or Ross MacDonald. The list is endless.

Meanwhile, the author is telling and selling you a great murder mystery with all the operating components that make these books cozy. Yet, they are so, so much more. For one, they are apt and sharper than many nowadays cozies I've read that seem to prioritize lunacy and love triangles as the standard. Secondly, while some primary and supporting cast may annoy me sometimes, Hart delivers humor/comedy like the pro she is. I sometimes run across cozies where authors need to learn how nuance lands a comedic moment. Or lack the ability to put some intelligence behind comedy to keep it from selling eye-rolls and cringe page after page. As a matter-of-fact, I think "nuance" is the correct term to describe Hart's ability, because outside notes of humor her characters simply come off the page to me. I respect it; Carolyn G. Hart won multiple awards for a freakin’ reason.

This all aside, I list three things that keep me returning to this series (aside from Hart's ability to plot).

1. I've entirely warmed up to Hart's duo, Annie and Max. I mention this because I typically wouldn't like the way romances are handled in cozy mysteries–especially those that insist on beginning a romance with a love triangle. Nevertheless, earlier in the series I thought Annie was rude; her and I didn't exactly click. In contrast, Max got on my nerves as the designated love interest in many cozy series. The further into the series I read, the further my view of the two changed. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Abandoning Bewitching Mystery Series by Madyln Alt

I'm officially calling it. After attempting to read the second-to-the-final book in Madelyn Alt's bewitching cozy mystery series, I've decided I can not take on the penultimate entry nor the final book. It's sad because I really enjoyed this series after reading the first book in 2008. It was around the time when urban fantasy was still in my reading "system". Though categorically Madelyn Alt's series isn't urban fantasy, it still maintains a witch-of-sorts as the main protagonist as a small-town woman named Maggie O'Neill. Regardless, I distinctly remember loving the first two books, taking years off, revisiting the series, and loving the third book most of all. Then the fourth book made for a decent read a few years ago. Then I revisited the series again back in 2020 with the fifth book. This is when I realized I’d just about changed as a reader, and that the series just wasn’t interesting anymore.

Still, I had two books left to go. And I decided maybe now was the time to clear the series off my lifelong reading TBR. 

Well, A With in Time made for a 60-page BORE. The deal is that our resident witch, Maggie, is supposed to overhear a conversation involving a teenager who was found dead of an apparent drug. Concerns about a possible perpetrator of this action are swirling about the local school and community. Nevertheless, somewhere in all this Maggie is supposed to overhear a conversation on the subject and subsequently get the mystery started. However, instead, for 60 pages we've got nothing but Maggie all nervous about her "hot date" (I freakin’ HATE this term) with the handsome Marcus character. She finally got to his house and a red flag threw me when he pulled her onto his lap. You know, grown women sitting on men's laps just do something to me.

Anyway, Maggie gets a call about her sister, who is at the hospital preparing to have twins. For whatever reason, this call was urgent. Anyway (again), we get to see Maggie’s mother act a fool. Her grandfather in a wheelchair acts like a fool (another pet peeve of mine is the grandmother/father character who is desperately drawn as amusing with his or her obnoxious antics). Maggie’s father is blah. Meanwhile, Marcus is circulating around her family as their new favorite bit of interest.

So what’s happened with the allegedly murdered teen within these 60 pages? Not a damned thing of interest. It was just… BORING! The sad part is that I actually like Maggie’s voice. But, man is she underused as a character stuck in a hospital waiting on her sister to give birth or some mess. Give me the darn mysteryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Anyway, I’m abandoning the series. I won’t get rid of the books. But they are certainly being pushed to the back of the shelf to make room for more books. Which was my intention upon finishing the series anyway.

I just wanted to see if I could actually complete the last two books. Unfortunately, it's a NO. And I'm cool with that. I have to keep it moving. Plus, I'm really enjoying the book I'm reading in its place.

Monday, September 6, 2021

China Bayles is BACK!


This BABY came in a day early today!  China Bayles is back, after her 2019 lukewarm #27 investigation in A Plain Vanilla Murder.  Nevertheless, I have a good feeling about Hemlock.  Every fifth or so book, Albert takes China out of her home in Pecan Springs and place her in another locale for a mix of crime and history.  So I have a lot of faith in Hemlock picking up the ball where the last entry dropped it (completely).  Anyway, my ride-or-die spirit will always see what's up with China, so here's to a solid start to my week. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Valerie Wilson Wesley's "A Glimmer of Death" is Out! Happy Release Day!

Listen. I stood at the stove about to reheat some lasagna (with cheap off-brand breadsticks from Wal-Mart and a "girl-bye" to them) when the UPS man delivered this baby to me. The book came on time. Delivered on its release date. I didn’t get played like I anticipated. So I was good to go! Y’all know the mailing services are off the chain these days. And my messy tail is contributing to it via Amazon purchases. But we’ll talk about that some other day.


Valerie Wilson Wesley is one of my favorite black mystery writers, and she's back with a new series. Also, she's back with a fresh shift in gears toward undertaking the cozy mystery sub-genre. Wesley is best known for the famous Tamara Hayle lady private-eye detective series. She also has a catalog of black contemporary works out there (Playing my Mother's Blues being one). And Wesley is also known for two gothic romance novels (check the labels for “Savanna Welles”). My point is that Wesley has done about everything except cozy mysteries. Until today where we have A Glimmer of Death, book one in Wesley’s Odessa Jones series.

Get into Wesley's Tamara Hayle private-eye series, please

Monday, December 14, 2020

Bring in the Monica Ferris Needlecraft Series!

Man, was that fast!  So, yeah.  That book I was looking forward to diving into from Monica Ferris's Needlecraft cozy mystery series is here...

Total Pageviews