ravenwood

Book Review: Tea, Treats & Terror by Carolyn Dean

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Tea, Treats & Terror (Ravenwood Cove Mystery #9)Tea, Treats & Terror by Carolyn L. Dean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you’re new to the Ravenwood Cove Mysteries, there are currently 10 published by Carolyn Dean. They are usually ~100 pages each, considered novellas, and are very lighthearted and simple whodunits. The books are more often about the relationships between the characters, the lovely Oregon setting, and the everyday things people go through in life.

In this caper, a new tea shop opens in town. Will it take over the current coffee shop? A few residents are worried, especially when the owner begins to spread bad news about his competition. Who dares move to a new town and tries to hurt the citizen? Amanda will figure it out… except the poor guy dies from an allergy attack even while trying to get his epi pen to work. What happened?

I enjoy seeing Amanda’s marriage and relationship with her husband. She is also getting close to a new person in her life that has ties to her past. I won’t spoil it, but it was a bit of a shock to see where this story went! It’s been over a year since I read the first few books, so I can’t be sure if history was changed a little. Either way, it makes for good tale, and I look forward to the next one. Light, simple, and fun… you can read them in an hour and just have a relaxing adventure.

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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. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. 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: Fruit, Flower & Flames by Carolyn Dean

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Fruit, Flower & Flames, the 8th book in the Ravenwood Cozy Mystery series written by Carolyn L. Dean, was published just last year. I had purchased all the remaining books in her series around Christmas but just got around to finishing them this week. Now she’s published books 9 and 10… which I’ll be reading at some point. Kudos to her for growing a fine series of short, light and easy-to-digest mystery and small-town-happenings books where it’s more about the characters than the plots.

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In this caper, Lisa announces she’s dating the son of a wealthy family who’s returned to Ravenwood Cove after abandoning the town years ago when their business went bust. It all seems to fast and shady for most of the friendly inhabitants, but Amanda wants to support her bestie. With more free time on her hands, as James, her new husband, is out of town, Amanda befriends the family only to watch a tragic fire impact them. But when someone turns up dead and it’s definitely arson, what’s the real scoop? Throw in some friendly flower competition, renovations from a new contractor, and some lingering doubts about who to trust, and you’ve got a fun little read.

I’m enjoying the development in the series. I wish they were about 20% longer just to give us a bit more meat to pull apart when trying to decide the culprit, but I always enjoy the banter and camaraderie of the various families and friends. While not the best in the series, it’s got a good story and brings new people to the town. Dean is successful in moving the plot along while continuing to build a town we’d all like to visit — minus the rather large amount of murders that happen in a single place, of course.

 

 

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: Rocks, Roses & Riptides by Carolyn Dean

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After reading a few books in the Ravenwood Cozy Mystery series last year, I purchased the rest from Amazon last fall. I’m closing out all books on my TBR that I currently own so on July 1st, I have nothing in my owned queue and can begin picking out new reads for the second half of the year. Don’t worry, I have plenty in line… 1200+ on my TBR and about 20 I’ve agreed to read at some point this year! This week I’m focusing on Carolyn L. Dean and the 7th book in her series, Rocks, Roses, & Riptides.

rocks.jpgI find Dean’s style charming and easy-to-read — usually in less than 90 minutes. Her books are light and fluffy with a bit of fun sentiment, romance, and small-town investigation. While I thought the last book I read in the series was a little too simple, this one stepped it back up… I was very happy with the mystery, investigation and outsiders coming to town for a TV reporting segment. Add in a few TV on-air reporters, camera guys, assistants and other staff, you’ve got tons of suspects when the not-so-nice female reporter suddenly falls face first into a cake she’s sampling as part of the segment. Poor Ruby, Amanda’s friend, who’s trying to win the competition — did she suddenly turn bad? Was it someone in town with connections to the TV reporting crew? Or was it someone in the crew backstabbing their leader?

Amanda tries to stay out of it, but she’s smack in the middle, especially when she’s almost kidnapped to help cover up the crime. She’s too good for that, but she has to find a way to escape. Her wedding is about to happen in the next few days… she can’t be a corpse bride, right? Of course she makes it, but the story keeps you guessing until the end. Kudos to Dean for making this one of the shiners in the series so far. Although it covers more outsiders than insiders of Ravenwood, there are lots of other side stories to keep our favorite townies in the mix. I can’t wait to start the the next one and see if married life will agree with Amanda.

 

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: Sun, Sand & Secrets by Carolyn Dean

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In the 6th book, Sun, Sand, & Secrets, of the Ravenwood Cozy Mystery series published in 2017 by Carolyn L. Dean, Amanda ponders the question of what it will mean to marry her sweetheart, James, a local police detective. In the course of her analysis, Madeline Wu, a local shopkeeper we’ve met before, goes missing, then someone turns up dead. Along the path, a neighboring town’s mayor gets involved, and some new romances might be brewing around the lovely little Oregon town.

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I enjoy reading about the comings and goings of Amanda’s renovated bed and breakfast / inn. This book felt more like a mini-edition, prepping us for Amanda’s upcoming nuptials, rather than a full-on mystery. While it was fun, cute, and cozy, the mystery was very light – much more than usual. I enjoy light mysteries, but the crime didn’t happen until about 50% into the book, and there wasn’t a lot of investigating in the second half. It was a good read, but not a standout in the series. Still worth taking on, as it’s under 2 hours… and I really do love the interactions Meg, Truman, Gram, and all the other wonderful characters.

I like inserting these types of books into bigger thrillers so I get a break from major analytical thinking, but I still have some puzzles to solve and the comfort of a fun, warm and interesting setting. It’s not a complete week unless I’ve sneaked in a cozy of some sort. Two more reviews to write, then I officially shut down and begin vacation mode!

 

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: Sea, Sky and Skeleton by Carolyn L. Dean

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I started reading Carolyn L. Dean‘s cozy mystery series over two years ago, but I hadn’t been able to get back to it for a long time. After the holidays, I bought the next five books and committed to read one per month in 2018 until I caught up. I’m finally back to reading them and picked up with Sea, Sky & Skeleton, the fourth book, this week. It was like a nice welcome home reminding me what I’d missed. I enjoy Dean’s easy writing style, colorful characters, and clever settings.

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I read the Kindle version in my iPad in about 90 minutes, as it’s only ~150 pages. Amanda runs a B&B, but it’s in need of repairs. She finds cash on the beach, then a dead body. Given she still hasn’t gotten the friendliest of welcomes from all the townspeople, she keeps trying to win them over. She’s almost there. I look forward to the day they name her mayor.

I enjoyed the plot of the story and the development of the characters. It comes together nicely in the end with a cute little bow, too. My only concern is that two scenes were rushed relatively quickly, and while they helped draw out the killer, I would have loved another 30 pages of background and setting to help round it out to a perfect read. Minor item tho… as I still enjoy the dialogue and rapport between Mrs. Granger, Jennifer, and Amanda. I’m also very intrigued by her boyfriend’s family… so many siblings, something has to happen in the future.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. 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.

Review: Mistletoe, Moonlight and Murder

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Mistletoe, Moonlight and Murder3 of 5 stars for Carolyn L. Dean‘s Mistletoe, Moonlight and Murder, the third novella in her “Ravenwood Cove” cozy mystery series. I downloaded this book on Kindle a few weeks ago when it was on-sale, as I had enjoyed the previous two novellas and wanted to continue reading the series. While it was a fun story and introduced a few good new characters, it wasn’t as good as the first two.

Amanda Graham continues to remodel the inn she inherited from her uncle, opening up to lots of new guests as the town prepares for the Christmas holiday festivals. As she’s driving to meet her contractor in a nearby town, a huge mudslide occurs and envelopes the car in front of her on the road. When she runs out to save the victim, she realizes it’s James’ brother, Ethan. Just as she saves him from the collapse, and they are running away, she sees another body. But this one has been dead for months, and no one knows who it is! As James, Ravenwood Cove’s detective, matches the body to someone who ran away months prior, Amanda learns the victim was shot and had been hiding a necklace. Using her usual sleuth-like skills, she finds the necklace and helps the police solve the case. But this time, she’s just a little too late and ends up cornered by the culprit and almost killed herself.

While the mystery had some fun aspects to it, there were very few red herrings and hardly any real suspects. We learned little about the victim and weren’t sure who he was connected to. I stuck with the story and enjoyed the ending, but it was very rushed. Overall, it had good parts, but I felt like it was missing something.

Amanda’s friendships in the town are growing, and she’s becoming more of a solid root with a few core characters. She has a ways to go, but I feel like it will happen. I look forward to books 4 and 5 to see if they take an upward turn.

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Review: Dune, Dock, and a Dead Man

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Dune, Dock, and a Dead Man
3.5 of 5 stars to Carolyn L. Dean‘s Dune, Dock, and a Dead Man, the second book in her “Ravenwood Cove” cozy mystery series. While I found the first book a little better, this one was also good and helps bring more structure and appeal to the series. I like the main character and she’s starting to settle into Ravenwood Cove with ease, driving change in all the areas that were needed in the tourism-starved town.


Story

Amanda Graham has started making friends in Ravenwood Cove, and this time, she finds two friends who need help with men who won’t leave them alone. Jennifer, the woman whose father saved Amanda in book 1, is having trouble with the mob trying to locate information her father hid before he died. Meg, Amanda’s best friend, is having trouble with a man she met from an online dating site who is harassing her. When one of the men turns up dead, and the other potentially has a connection to the him, the town is in an uproar. As Amanda cozies up to James, the detective she’s been flirting with, she gets access to more police information. But when she starts finding connection to many of her new friends and the core families of the town, she’s concerned she may be close to the killer. When she puts all the clues together, one of the villains attacks her and the other admits his/her guilt and willingly goes off to jail. What’s crime-hunting coming to these days???


Strengths

The town’s setting and core families are filling out and readers get to know who’s who in this release. Relationships are forming and future plots are likely being assembled.

I like how the two plots weave in and out throughout the story. You think you’ve figured it out, then you are confused. The primary one was complex. There were two obvious leads, both of which you find yourself leaning towards, then you realize different people had different pasts with the deceased and a likely motive.


Suggestions

As complex as it was for a cozy, take it further! Add another 60 to 75 pages and draw out the mystery just a bit more so we feel fully engaged.

Tell us about the uncle’s secrets. It was mysterious in book 1, and I’d hoped it would keep growing… but no mention in book 2. Bring it back!


Final Thoughts

I like the series and it’s a good filler as an e-read in between physical books. Easy to get thru in 2 hours. I like the author’s style.

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