ellen byron

Author / Series Alert: Ellen Byron & Cajun Country Mysteries

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In the past, I used to share a weekly author alert on my blog. Often it was a new indie writer I’d come across, or it might have been one I really enjoyed reading. Since I’ve given up writing my 365 Daily Challenge and have been posting mostly book reviews and my own book promotions, I decided I needed to get back to a few basics again. One of those will be sharing an alert on authors and series I’ve either finished or gotten caught up on and am awaiting the next book.

I’ve been a major fan of series ever since I was a young child and participated in summer readathons at my local library. I used to sit for hours and read books only ever in order… I’m ashamed to say I have only been about 80% faithful to that rule of reading in order, but I’m trying to be as consistent as possible these days. This week, I’m starting with a series I actually have read in order — The Cajun Country Mysteries by Ellen Byron.

Five in the Series – What a great start!

I have a personal connection to these books because of where they take place — Louisiana. Although I didn’t grow up there, my partner did, so I take a few trips a year to the bayou to visit my other family. I’ve visited a handful of plantations which makes it even easier for me to recognize some of these places, histories, and the culture. It’s ripe with imagination, drama, and intensity — exactly what Byron delivers in her books. The heroine, Maggie, is a perfect balance of intuition and analysis; she never barges into a situation or inserts herself in something where she doesn’t belong. It always feels natural.

If you’ve never read them before, then you must give them a chance. While they fall under the cozy mystery sub-genre, they are truly about the mystery and drama around the town. You might find a recipe or two, and you’ll get a few thoughts from the author about the book, but the series has depth and a very solid cast of intelligent and fun characters. Maggie has an awesome grandmother who drinks just enough to be hysterical. Her parents are wonderful owners of the family’s beautiful bed and breakfast. She’s smitten with the local detective, and her friends come in many shapes, sizes, and forms. I love them all, even the rude ones who sometimes push my buttons!

Meet Ellen Byron

For some links to a few sites that might help you decide to move forward, check these out:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/23234.Ellen_Byron

https://www.ellenbyron.com/

And my own blog page with reviews for all 5 books

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. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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.

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Book Review: Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron

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Mardi Gras Murder (Cajun Country Mystery, #4)Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was really excited to read Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron after winning a copy via a cozy mystery review group I belong to. I was so excited that I ordered the first three books in the Cajun Country series to catch up and read them all last month. Finally… today I cracked open the fresh hard cover release of this fourth wonderful gem and finished it moments ago. Dinner doesn’t need to be cooked for another 30 minutes so it’s time to write a review! All I can say is Byron knows how to pull in her readers with a fury and passion. Loved it… 5 stars all the way!

In this caper, our wonderful heroine, Maggie, found the body in the bayou behind her plantation home three weeks before the book started. And it wasn’t someone she’d ever met before — hooray, the poor girl got a break… except she can’t keep herself from investigating it. This time I blame it entirely on Gran’ who gets sick and convinces Maggie to take her place as a judge in the Miss Pelican contest (okay, a slightly different name but I prefer this one!). After a minor confrontation with another judge, Maggie finds him dead in his car. Throw in some baby drama, a mysterious painting pointing to a hidden treasure, curious genealogical history, and a beauty contest like no other, and we’ve got a fantastic novel.

Maggie’s truly become one of my favorite amateur sleuths. She’s smart and risky but not stupid and dangerous. She’s loving but not overly sweet. She’s intellectual but makes a fool of herself. I kinda wanna meet her in real life… wait, is this Ellen Byron? Hmmm… I might have to become an amateur sleuth and investigate for myself. (Don’t worry, I’m not gonna go stalk anyone!) This series has so much potential, but I’m actually a bit upset and just realized it right now. This book isn’t officially available for purchase until 11/26/18 which means the next one likely one be available until November 2019. What? I have to wait a year to read the next caper… ugh, gonna go sulk!

Psst… Ellen B – if you happen to read this, can I be a beta reader for your next book? PLEASE!

View all my reviews

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 https://thisismytruthnow.com, 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.

Book Review: A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen Byron

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A Cajun Christmas Killing (Cajun Country Mystery #3)A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen Byron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m thrilled to be caught up on the Cajun Country Mystery series by Ellen Byron. I won the 4th book in a contest and will be reading it next month, but beforehand I had to read the first three. I just finished A Cajun Christmas Killing and absolutely loved it. Byron is top-notch when it comes to this genre, and I’ve read hundreds of books to know what I’m talking about!

Maggie’s family’s b&b is in trouble again. Luckily no one’s died on her property, but one of her guests dies on the family plantation that they sold a few years earlier. Will they ever get a break? A ruthless NYC businessman with a penchant for annoying people turns up stabbed to death. Was it his disinterested wife? A loving step-brother? An ex? A nephew? A business partner? Or someone with a different connection who wanted him gone for treachery in the past? It’s convoluted but that’s always the best kind of mystery. Throw in Christmas bonfires, Maggie’s romance with Bo, her ex-bf returning much to her chagrin, and a proposal from someone new, and she’s gonna be grilled herself.

Byron creates superb characters. They leap off the page and demand to be heard. Sometimes you love them, other times you want to strangle them. But you will always feel something for them. The pages turn themselves, it’s so easy and natural. Rarely if ever do I find a dull scene or anything transitory. Everything has a purpose whether it’s about the main mystery or the progression of the core character set. I am so excited to start the next one in the series for my review group. If you’ve never sampled this series, it’s a must read!

View all my reviews

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 https://thisismytruthnow.com, 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.

Book Review: Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron

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Body on the Bayou (Cajun Country Mystery, #2)Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

After devouring the first book in the Cajun Country Mystery cozy series by Ellen Byron, I had to jump on the second, Body on the Bayou. It’s quickly becoming one of my new favorites series, and I definitely recommend it for other cozy mystery fans. Set in Louisiana on a plantation home converted into a B&B, the charming setting and characters truly invoke a wonderful southern atmosphere while sharing and spreading great history and relationships among the town of Pelican.

In this caper, Maggie is forced into serving as the maid of honor for a rival-turned-friend (Vanessa) from the last book. She and the groom’s family have been at odds for 150 years due to a curse one of them brewed up. When Vanessa’s extended family comes into town, she sticks them on Maggie as part of the responsibilities for the maid of honor. Unfortunately, a few of them turn up dead! Maggie tries to solve the case, grows more attracted to the new detective Bo, and determines who she really wants to be. Will she be able to help bring a long-lost family member back to the fold? Or will she get caught up in the downside of a wedding not meant to happen easily?

Byron is a talented writer with tons of humor ingested into dialog and narrative. It sometimes crosses the line into witty or stomach-cramping clearly showing great range in how to keep your readers invested and entertained. The pages are easy to follow, I digested this one in under 3 hours. It’s got 4.5 stars from me… the only reason I didn’t give it a full five was parts of the story were a little forced — nonetheless, it made for fantastic reading and shouldn’t worry anyone. This is a very solid series. I can’t wait to devour the next one in a week as I try to catch up on this awesome cast of characters so I can read the ARC for the latest one next month.

View all my reviews

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 https://thisismytruthnow.com, 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.

Book Review: Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron

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Plantation Shudders (Cajun Country Mystery, #1)Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Earlier this week, I was selected to receive a copy of the fourth book in this series. I had been meaning to try the series for a while, but couldn’t get out of the TBR slump. Since I prefer reading books in order when they’re part of a series, I had to order the first three and finish them before I needed to review the latest one. I picked this up yesterday and finished it within three hours. It’s a quick-n-easy read but full of wonderful characters, descriptions and scenes. I highly recommend the series and will definitely keep reading the rest.

Maggie split with her boyfriend of 6 years after running a successful business in NYC together. He finally proposed [to another girl!] and took the company away from Maggie, so she went home to Louisiana to figure out her next steps. Her family (parents and grandmother) run a B&B out of their plantation home– the nicest but also one of the last still standing. There is a long-time rivalry between her family and another, and unfortunately, the Chief of Police belongs to that other family. Oops, poor Maggie’s gonna have quite an uphill battle if she keeps getting pulled into the role of an amateur sleuth. When the detective on the case retires, a new one from a larger town in the state arrives to takeover… but he’s related to the Chief, part of the family who has a grudge against her, and is a smoldering man she dreams about. The series has a perfect setup and backdrop, and then in this initial book, several guests die while staying at the B&B. How are they connected? Who’s the murderer? And what’s the history that’s got someone all shook up to cause the ‘plantation shudders?’

Byron excels at creating ambiance. You can tell from her word choice and style that she’s been to Louisiana and experienced the culture. I researched her a bit and now understand her fascination with everything Cajun. My other half is from LA, so I’m very familiar with all Byron’s described, and she lives in NYC and writes for TV. We have lots of stuff in common, so it’s no wonder I adored this first book. It has everything I want in a cozy from humor to emotion, sarcasm to educational tidbits. The characters made me happy and angry, everything is believable, and I really felt a strong connection with the way the story unfolded. I can’t wait to read the next one this weekend!

View all my reviews

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 https://thisismytruthnow.com, 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.