mystery

Book Review: The Skeleton Paints a Picture by Leigh Perry

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When there are thousands of cozy mystery series available, it’s often difficult to figure out which one to choose. A little over two years ago, I stumbled across a a brilliant series called the Family Skeleton Mysteries written by Leigh Perry. I’d read the first few and loved them, but had to wait until she wrote her fourth one. I got a bit behind but when I saw she was releasing her fifth one this fall, I ordered a copy of The Skeleton Paints a Picture and read it this week. I think it’s probably my favorite one to date. I’m still reveling its hilarity — 5 stars all the way!
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To start with, the main character is an English professor in New England– two things I adore! the other main character is a ‘dead’ skeleton that can move and talk. Yes, you heard me correctly. The guy who inhabited the body/skeleton in the past was murdered and searched for his killer in an earlier book, but… the gist of the series is that he doesn’t really know much about his former life, and since a majority of the population would not accept him living in society as a skeleton, he hides out with Georgia and her family. As her lovable, witty, and sarcastic sidekick, Sid helps Georgia solve crimes whenever they fall into her lap… which is usually because Sid has stumbled into them.

Think of the humor and imagination in this series. Leaving a skeleton in a room to listen to people and find out clues without anyone knowing you’re doing it. Then again, what if someone catches the skeleton walking around since he CAN move? Creativity without any bounds in Perry’s awesome series. I truly look forward to reading each successive book. In this caper, Georgia’s working out of town and she has no one with her (parents, daughter, friends)… so Sid ships himself in a box to her rental house where he inadvertently finds a dead body in a car during a snowstorm. He was restless and had to go walking in the middle of the night. Who can blame the poor guy?

Georgia interviews colleagues while trying to do whatever she can to win the coveted tenured position that’s up for grabs. Will she do it? Will an ex who still has feelings for her cause a final downfall with Sid’s discovery… or discovery of the talking skeleton himself? So many laughs… great character development and constant page-turning brilliance. A must read for anyone who likes their books a little more unusual than the norm!

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.

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Book Review: Wedding Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

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I’ve been waiting for the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke to bounce back from a few lackluster books, and Wedding Cake Murdermade it happen. I’d give this fun caper somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars.

After 18 books debating between Norman and Mike, Hannah finally makes a decision when a third man’s proposal suddenly enters the ring. Ross Barton was a great friend in college, and we saw some hints of romance in one of the earlier books, but nothing came of it. In the last book in the series, Ross came back into her life and proposed… Wedding Cake Murder is all about Hannah’s wedding. But besides that wonderful sub-plot, we also see Hannah as a contestant in the Food Network’s latest dessert show. She’s actually on TV! She’s competing against professional dessert chefs. And she finds another dead body. We must be up to 20 at this point, as a few books had multiple murders, and she didn’t actually discover every single one herself.

When you strip away the recipes, you’re down to about 200 pages, but they are packed full of drama and witty conversations. I love the bonds between Hannah and her sister. I like her romance with Ross, but something seems a little shady. I’m still rooting for Norman even though Hannah’s now married. :O Yes, I said it out loud. Nonetheless, these are Fluke’s best desserts and the description of the Food Network show is spot on. Loved everything about it. The culprit really could have been at least five different killers which helped round out this story more than others. It was like an early book in the series where the balance between fun and mystery was a fair split.

I can’t wait to dive into the next one… already ordered two more from the library so I can hopefully catch up this fall to be current.

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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 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: Halloween Hijinks by Kathi Daley

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I’ve seen author Kathi Daley showing up in my feed on various social media platforms, but I hadn’t downloaded any of her books in the last few years. I decided to give one a try, and since I was in a fall and Halloween mood, I went with the first book in her Zoe Donovan series, Halloween Hijinks. It was free this week due to an anniversary sale, and when I looked up more on Daley, wow… She’s got a lot of books and this is a lengthy series. How cool to find a very prolific author.

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In this series debut, Zoe rescues various animals with her partners Ellie and Levi. There’s a growing rivalry between two sports teams, but it soon gets personal and more dangerous. When Zoe discovers the dead body of one team member, things look bad for a close friend of hers. Then an ex-enemy (now possible friend?), Zak, shows up to help save the day. Zoe has a few scenes with her complicated family, just enough to set the scene for the series. It’s a light investigation meant to wet our appetites for the characters and the setting… and it works.

I enjoyed the animal rescue background. The writing is easy to follow. It’s less than 200 pages which meant I devoured it in under two hours. It fit the bill for a Halloween-themed book, and I am curious to read more this fall. Kudos to the author for offering it up years later as it’s found her a new fan.

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: Death in the Stacks by Jenn McKinlay

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Who wouldn’t love a book with an autumn theme set in a library? FIVE (5) stars to this hilarious cozy mystery. I truly enjoyed Death in the Stacks, the eighth book in the Library Lover’s mystery series written in 2017 by Jenn McKinlay. I’m a big fan of her other series too, but this one is my favorite. What made it even more exceptional was the character cross-over from her other series, the Hat Shop and The Cupcake Bakery. I haven’t yet read her About a Dog series, so there may have been a cross-over there, I’m just not certain. Nonetheless, wow, what a great caper.
33801790.jpgLindsey throws a giant benefit gala in the library to raise money for Briar Creek’s favorite literary hot spot. Unfortunately, the newest board president, Olive, is a huge thorn in everyone’s side. I’m talking mean-spirited, nasty, and rude… even the lemon can’t stand her! If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the lemon is one of Lindsey’s librarian’s who’s often unhappy with Lindsey over decisions at the library. Olive thankfully turns up dead, but it looks like the newest library employee is responsible. Lindsey promises she won’t investigate but the lemon asks her to do so. It’s an intense finish where three possible suspects face off with Lindsey, Robbie, and Sully stuck in the middle. Whose story do they believe? Emma must come to the rescue to save her boyfriend (what?)!

McKinlay has struck gold in this series for me. I love her characters, and that’s probably my favorite aspect of this book. When my other faves come for a visit from London and Arizona, we get a wonderful side story about how they all now know one another. McKinlay’s quips and banter move the pages along easily… I’m just so sorry it ended this quick. I thought I could stretch it out over the weekend, but I found myself with a few hours on Friday, and well, I couldn’t put it down!

Awesome series… newest one comes out this month. I can’t wait. Thanks for all this fun.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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: Suspects – A Northwest Murder Mystery by Ken Haynes

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I won Suspects: A Northwest Murder Mystery written in 2017 by Ted Haynes through a Goodreads Giveaway contest. It’s a mystery / suspense thriller written in a very methodical manner and focusing on different characters in alternating chapters.

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Candy’s husband is found nearly dead on their back porch. Friend and neighbor Dan had stopped by but he finds Ken with a wound and is uncertain how it happened. Hours later, Ken dies and both Candy and Dan are suspects. As chapters proceed, we hear from members of Dan’s family, the police, and a few other characters. Each character attempts to tell us what they know and clarify if they’re a suspect. Dan, a lawyer but not the criminal kinda, presents as many potential suspects as possible to clear both him and Candy of the crime. As the book progresses, we learn more about the deceased’s life and former family, as well as who actually killed him. There’s a small love/romance story woven in the pages, and there’s a good twist in the end, too.

This is written in a very different manner than I’m used to. It’s procedural, almost explained as someone thinks or talks. There’s narrative and dialog, as well as side stories about different things going on in everyone’s lives, but it’s an atypical read for me. That said, parts were fantastic. Others were a little light or weak for me. But on the whole, it deserves a solid 4 stars. I liked Dan and suspected him of being a misleading narrator, but in the end, I realized why he acted the way he did. I won’t give away if he’s the murderer or not, but he’s a likable guy.

I’m curious to see what else the author publishes and if it’s as procedural as this, meaning it’s his style, or this was done as a one-time style opportunity. I’m glad I took a chance. It has a lot of potential.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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: The Anchor is Key by Linda Anthony Hill

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I belong to a cozy mystery group which offered me the opportunity to read a copy of this book. Since I review all books I read, today’s latest review is for The Anchor is the Key by Linda Anthony Hill. The author is new to me, but she’s written several other books before publishing this one in 2017. It might be part of a new series, but so far this is the only one. I would be interested in reading more in the future.

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In this book, we spend a few weeks with Celeste, a psychic, whose business is suddenly beginning to expand with an influx of clients. She’s meeting spirits with trouble passing over to the next world and learning someone was either murdered or forced to commit suicide. As Celeste tries to clear a business and warehouse from both evil and good ghosts, she finds herself falling for a few new guys and meeting religious people who question what she’s doing. Little does she know, someone is orchestrating a lot more of her life from a hidden position. It’s curious why she can’t figure it out on her own, but we soon learn what’s been blocking her.

At first, I was concerned about the book. It was very simple and meandered all over the place. By about 20%, it started to gel… this is the life of a psychic. It’s how we should read and understand the book. I then began to really like the format and approach. There are a few areas that were too open-ended, and the book ended with a lot of questions and areas where we are left to wonder what actually happened. If there’s an upcoming sequel, I’m good with the way this one ended. If this is the end, I’m a little unsure why it didn’t wrap things up in a better manner. It felt rushed otherwise and somewhat incomplete.

That said, I came to like the author’s style and find myself on the edge of the couch wondering what each new spirit could contribute to the on-going mystery. I like the author’s setting and Celeste is quite a character. She’s too direct to be someone I’d like in real life, but as a primary character, I enjoyed her ability to get things accomplished.

I’m curious to see where this one goes. I’d give it 3.5 stars… possibly more depending on what happens in the next book, e.g. if it becomes a series with more answered questions. Kudos to the author for creating a very interesting narrative and cast of characters.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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: Double Fudge Brownie Murder by Joanne Fluke

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The 18th cozy mystery in the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke is called Double Fudge Brownie Murder and was published in 2015. In this caper, Hannah travels to Las Vegas with her sisters for their mother’s surprise wedding. Hannah is also still waffling between Norman and Mike, but everything changes in this book. A special guest shows up and follows Hannah back to Minnesota where Hannah receives not one but three marriage proposals. She also finally makes a decision at the end of the book. Hallelujah!

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The mystery in this novel begins once Hannah returns to Lake Eden for her court date. In the last book, she accidentally hit someone with her car and was charged with vehicular manslaughter. But when the first day of jury selection arrives, it’s the judge whom Hannah finds dead. She and her friends try to solve the crime by investigating the judge’s current and former wife, children, colleagues, and political connections. When the culprit is finally revealed, Hannah’s about to become his/her second victim. Will she survive in order to marry…. oh yeah, right, you didn’t think I’d give away who she said yes to, did you?

This is a typical Joanne Fluke book, but nearly 400 pages this time. There are more recipes than usual, and the story content is largely based around Hannah’s decision to marry and her mother’s wedding. Always good fun, but it leaves less and less room for the mystery. This one started out good, but it petered away…. in the last 20 pages an unfamiliar perp shows up and we’re left going… ‘um, is this two different books?’

That said, I give it a 4 for the overall evolution of Hannah’s and Lake Eden’s inhabitant stories. We learn a lot about existing characters and feel that warm and wonderful cozy appeal.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.