Book Review: Harrowing Hats by Joyce and Jim Lavene

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Harrowing Hats (A Renaissance Faire Mystery, #4)Harrowing Hats by Joyce Lavene

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s the final week in our readathon and I’ve just finished reading the fourth book in the Renaissance Faire Mystery series by Joyce and Jim Lavene — Harrowing Hats. As I’ve come to realize, each book gets better, but on the whole, I’m not an ardent fan of the series. I like some of the characters, the overall setting, and the general writing style, but there are too many aspects I didn’t like to make this a series I’d recommend to others. Part of me wants to continue to see what happens with Jessie, but it’s a big commitment to read the remaining 4 books. Perhaps I’ll change my mind in the future, but for now there are too many other series I want to continue to explore.

In Harrowing Hats, Jessie takes a job at a hat shop to continue her experiences preparing for her PhD program in Renaissance studies. She finds one of the three brothers who run the chocolate shop dead, then a few other crimes happen which make it look like her boss at the hat shop is responsible. It seems whomever she goes to work for is either found dead or accused of murder. Stay very far away everyone, or you might just find yourself a victim, too. 🙂

Jessie’s shenanigans with Chase are of the same sort. Sometimes they’re cute together. Other times, I want to strangle Jessie for the way she treats him. Occasionally, I want to bop Chase over the head for intentionally confusing Jessie or letting her harass him over it. These two… oy, if I were friends with them in real life, I’d drop them so quickly not even The Flash could stop me. Hopefully I got that reference right, as I’m not a huge superhero guy. I’d rather deal with amateur sleuths who charm me. 🙂

I’m glad I read a few of these books as it is definitely showing me the vast range in the cozy mystery genre. These are great for someone who cares less about the mystery and more about the setting. Hopefully others loved it more than me!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.


9 thoughts on “Book Review: Harrowing Hats by Joyce and Jim Lavene

    bettylouise31 said:
    November 23, 2018 at 8:50 AM

    Yes, there other books that are better to read. We have a rain storm yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

    scr4pl80 said:
    November 23, 2018 at 1:16 PM

    Yes, not thrilled with this series. I just started book 3 so obviously I’m behind but I’ll keep going and it won’t stop me from joining you again on a read-a-thon adventure in the future! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Jay.

    Liked by 2 people

    Laura said:
    November 28, 2018 at 1:52 AM

    Is there going to be another readathon next month? I didn’t join in on this one, as I wasn’t able to get the books but I’ve been following along with the reviews. (I had read one of this series previously – not one of the four that were part of the Readathon – and I enjoyed it but I’d probably sooner rather read other things.)

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      November 28, 2018 at 7:07 AM

      Hi. I do them quarterly. After the Christmas holiday I’ll post about possible topics to generate interest. For February or March. 🙂 I agree with you on these books. Weren’t my faves either.


    carhicks said:
    November 29, 2018 at 9:42 PM

    Too bad this series wasn’t for you Jay. I still have not read any past the first one. I might still read them, but not sure when either. This readathon was a bit of a bust for me. Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      November 29, 2018 at 10:13 PM

      I understand. I kinda agree on this one. Will come up with a better one next time!!!

      Liked by 1 person

        carhicks said:
        November 30, 2018 at 3:10 PM

        All the people that voted for this series, but they didn’t seem to participate. Oh well.

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        November 30, 2018 at 9:02 PM

        I know! :O


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