victoria hamilton

Author & Book Alert: Muffin but Trouble by Victoria Hamilton

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I am beyond thrilled to share an exclusive interview with an amazing author I’ve been following for several years. If you haven’t read the ‘Merry Muffin’ or ‘Vintage Kitchen’ cozy mystery series, you are missing out! Victoria Hamilton writes under a few names and has at least one other series too, which I’ll get to read in the upcoming months… but today, she’s agreed to stop by my blog for the launch of the 6th book in the ‘Merry Muffin’ series: Muffin But Trouble — it released today!

Blurb:

In the new Merry Muffin Mystery from the author of Muffin to Fear, baker Merry Wynter must confront a spiritual guru who may be up to something far from heavenly…

With plans for a new performing arts center at Wynter Castle taking up all her time, baker Merry Wynter has been all but unaware of the fringe group compound near her small town—until a street preacher accosts her with taunts of doom and damnation. Worried that some of her close friends may have been lured in by the group and its charismatic leader, Merry begins digging into the ministry—and soon suspects they may have ties to the recent death of a young woman and the disappearance of many others.

With her rebellious teen friend Lizzie at her side, Merry steps in to confront the eerily submissive community and its misguided members, skeptical of their supposed spiritual leanings. When another young woman vanishes and Merry realizes the lives of people close to her are at stake, she will stop at nothing to uncover the group’s sinister secrets before the murderous ministry can strike again . . .

Includes tasty baking recipes!

Praise for the Merry Muffin Mysteries:

“[Has] the ingredients for a wonderful cozy mystery series.” —New York Times bestselling author Paige Shelton

“A great cozy with varied and interesting characters, nice plot with a few twists, and a good main character . . . Loved it!” —Mysteries and My Musings

“Merry Wynter’s character is extremely well-developed . . . This is a great start to a promising new series for cozy mystery fans. Five Stars!” —Goodreads

***Check out my past reviews on all her wonderful books below. I will also be updating older reviews from many years ago. This page will be Victoria Hamilton’s dedicated author page on my blog. ***

https://thisismytruthnow.com/hamilton-victoria/

Key Author Info:

Author Website – VictoriaHamiltonMysteries.com

Blog: http://victoriahamiltonmysteries.blogspot.com/

Email: Victoria@victoriahamiltonmysteries.com

Amazon and BookBub Links: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007T7LGAU

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHamilton

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MysteryVictoria

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/vintagekitchenm/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/598635.Victoria_Hamilton

Interview:

1 – Q – Who are you and what names do you write under?

A – My ‘real’ name is Donna Simpson, and I have written books under that name; I write as Victoria Hamilton, though I wrote one series as Amanda Cooper.

2 – Q – What is your location?

A – I’m a Canuck… a Canadian, and live in a small city in Ontario.

3 – Q – Tell us all about your available books.

A – Check out my websites for details… http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com  and http://www.donnaleasimpson.com

4 – Q – Tell us a little bit about the genres of your books.

A – I have written, in past Regency romance, paranormal historical romance, historical romance mystery and just released in February a historical mystery A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder. Most of what I write now are cozy mysteries in the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series and the Merry Muffin Mystery series. July 2nd 2019, after a two year hiatus,  #6 of the Merry Muffin Mystery series comes out, Muffin But Trouble!

Who’s excited for the 6th book in the Merry Muffin series?

***

5 – Q – Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

A – My goal always is to write, and to publish. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. I don’t think I’d know who I am if I didn’t write every day.

6 – Q – What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

A – My books are character driven, though I do try to provide a strong plot (VERY important, of course, in a mystery!) so readers for whom character development is important will, I hope, enjoy my books.

7 – Q – What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

A – Keep trying. And if getting published is really important to you, though you do, of course have to write what speaks to you, you also need to have an audience in mind.

8 – Q – What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

A – It took a long time to get published and it was only after writing many books that didn’t make it. This was before self-publishing was a ‘thing’, so there was only traditional publishing or so-called ‘vanity’ presses. But it made me disciplined and it made me hungry, and I made it. I was never a ‘write one masterpiece and then I’m done’ kind of writer, I’m a ‘I want to write and be published’ kind of writer. So I wrote Regency romance to get my foot in the door, and paranormal and historical romance to keep it there, and worked into writing mysteries that way.

9 – Q – What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

A – I read, a lot! I’ve done lots of crafts, but not as much as I used to, and I like singing karaoke! Does eating brownies count as a hobby? If so, I do have one hobby I’m passionate about… brownies!

Okay, who is in the mood for dessert now?

***

10 – Q – Some authors like to make an argument or address an issue when they write. Is there an issue that you’re addressing with your book? If so, what is it?

A – I think the only issue I ever addressed is that everyone deserves a voice. As a woman I kept mine quiet for too long, and I’m just beginning to make it heard.

11 – Q – What gave you the idea for your book?

A – Ideas are never a single entity… it’s like, you set your mind on writing a book, and the ether cooperates with bits and pieces and random tufts of fluff that come together to form a coherent plot. I think a writer’s mind works that way… always vigilant, always on the lookout for just that one piece of inspiration to make a plot come together.

12 – Q – What do you like about writing in your genre?

A – I absolutely love writing mystery, of any type; traditional or historical. I feel like it gives my writing a form, like a pattern, and then I fit my plots, characters and themes into that form. It’s not like it’s a straitjacket, something I have to conform to… it’s freeing, in a way, because although there are certain elements that are required, I am free to riff within that form.

13 – Q – What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

A – Mostly, I love doing it… every day, my preference is to sit down and write, first thing in the morning, and because I do it full time I have that freedom. People always say to me ‘I’d never have the discipline’, but if you have a chance to do what you love most in the world, wouldn’t you do it? If it’s sailing, or knitting, or mountain climbing and you loved it and you could do it every day… it’s the dream job. What I like least is, the flow being interrupted by life. The toughest challenge is managing time: writers now are not just writers, they are publicists and their own assistants, and with social media there are so many drains on one’s time, that it’s a constant struggle to prioritize writing. I feel guilty sometimes that I’m not promoting enough, because I know I could do a better job at that.

14 – Q – Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?

A – There are, it is said, two types of writers, plotters and pantsers… meaning those who plot their books out and outline copiously, and those who fly by the seat of their pants, just writing. I’ve been both in my career. When I started out, an editor would only buy a book if I presented a fairly comprehensive synopsis, which I then turned into a chapter by chapter outline. But over the years, the synopsis got shorter and the outline just didn’t happen and I inadvertently turned into a pantser. I can do it; over the years with many books written I have developed a feel for pacing and length, etc.

But lately it has felt like I am just making myself crazy by pantsing… I have to go back time and again through the book to build consistency, which often doesn’t work that well and needs to be corrected by my editor (thank God for editors… really!). I end up in dead ends and problems happen for which I have no solution. Much tearing of hair and beating of the head with the computer keyboard results. So… with the book I’m currently writing I have gone back to plotting, writing in advance the scenes I need based on a synopsis of the book. I am revisiting the outline as I go, adjusting to meet the needs that develop as some things inevitably change. So far, it is proving to be a great way to speed up the writing and prevent unnecessary hair loss.

We’ll see how long these good intentions last.

I am not a pantser by nature either, so I know how you feel! Keep the hair!

***

15 – Q – Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)?   Who designs your book covers?

A – I actually do think the cover plays an important role. I don’t know if other readers feel the same, but I can recognize a writer I like or a series I’m reading based on similarities from one cover to another. Julie Mulhern covers are iconic; you can tell the series just from one glance. I can always tell a historical mystery I’m going to enjoy by the cover… books by Deanna Raybourne, Darcie Wilde, Anne Perry, and others. And traditional/cozy mystery readers can certainly tell by the cover what they are getting.

As an example… when my Vintage Kitchen Mystery series was moving to a new publisher (from Berkley to Beyond the Page) I had a grand idea for the cover; it would be an image of the musty far corner of a basement and there would be a trunk lit by one beam of light from a basement window, and peeking out of the trunk would be a skull with a hank of hair and a hatchet imbedded. Loved the idea… spooky, fun, kinda retro. Sketched it out, scanned it and sent it to my editor and agent.

They HATED it! Oh, they were polite about it, but they pointed out how it had nothing to do with previous titles, didn’t look anything like other covers in the genre or my series and just didn’t work, from a promotional point of view.

And of course they were exactly right. Look at the cover for Leave it to Cleaver and you will see a fairly standard attractive traditional mystery cover, with the skull and hatchet atop a very pretty wedding cake and my little Yorkie Poo character Hoppy reaching up to sniff. Now, THAT is the perfect cover for a traditional or cozy murder mystery! It was designed by Dar Albert of Wicked Smart Designs; she is brilliant, easy to work with, and can design a cover that works well with a series. She has designed the cover of my latest mystery to come out, Muffin But Trouble, and has magically captured the feel of the Merry Muffin Berkley covers, important now that I’ve moved the series to Beyond the Page.

The bottom line… the covers sell well. There is no point in putting road blocks in your own way when it comes to publishing and selling books.

16 – Q – What type of books do you like to read?  Who are some of your favorite authors?

A – I read a lot of different genres, and I tend to binge. I read traditional mysteries, like Julie Mulhern’s Country Club series. I read historical mysteries like Darcie Wilde’s series that started with A Useful Woman. I read suspense thrillers, like Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, and The Woman in the Window. I read a lot of research books, classic literature, biographies, books about religions, and especially true crime books.

For sharing other authors we need to check out!

***

17 – Q – What have you learned about yourself since becoming an author?

A – I’ve learned that my brain never stops working, but that not everyone’s brain works that way. I think being inside of ourselves we don’t realize that how we do or see things is not always how others do. I watch a fair bit of TV because it is one of the few OFF buttons for my brain, though that doesn’t work all that well. Things on TV… conversations, plot twists, locations, news items… they all contribute to plots I’m working on. So I often have to jump up and jot something down on the WIP or for future reference.

Excerpt of Muffin but Trouble:

“Jezebel!”

“Who, me?” I asked, pointing to my chest like I was playing a weirdly personal game of charades. I was the only female around at that moment except for an elderly woman pushing a rolling walker down the sidewalk along the line of mostly abandoned brick and boarded-up glass storefronts.

“Yes, you. Jezebel!” This time he—the shouter—pointed his finger at me, I suppose so there could be no further cause for confusion. “Harlot!” he yelped, wide-eyed and with a hint of a smile still tilting his lips upward at the corners.

Nothing like being called names on a Monday in mid-October in downtown Ridley Ridge. And the fellow who shouted at me had seemed such a pleasant dude at first, smiling and nodding, despite the sandwich-board sign he wore as he marched up and down the walk. He held another sign, a placard he hoisted high and proud announcing that all of Ridley Ridge was bound for Hell, its inhabitants the spawn of Satin (perhaps being born of a silkworm?), and were condemmed (yes, spelled that way) to etermity (those ns and ms will confuse you every time) in a lake of fire.

I may have called Ridley Ridge the center of hell, true—at times it does appear to be the cesspit of western New York State, with trash blowing along the street and doggie doo just waiting to be stepped in—but some of its inhabitants are lovely people and don’t deserve such a heated fate. Others do, but that is sad, and I try not to reflect on sad things on lovely October mornings.

“Jezebel!” he said again, as if I had failed to hear the first time, or the second time.

“Now, you don’t even know me.” I opened my plastic container and held it out, temptingly, wafting the fragrance of home-baked goodies his way. “Maybe you’re hungry. Or constipated. Have a bran muffin; it’ll solve both problems.”

“God has told me; you’re going to hell,” he said pleasantly, nodding earnestly. “You are abusing God’s grace on earth. You’re a made-up, pant-wearing Jezebel!”

Pant-wearing? Well, yes, I was wearing a pair of pinstripe Lane Bryant body-hugging slacks, with a tunic top and moto jacket. But women had been free to wear pants for decades now; how nineteen fifties of him to disapprove. And makeup . . . ? I don’t leave home without it. How very odd to have verbal brimstone rained down upon me by such a seemingly mild-mannered dude. I pushed my hair out of my eyes—the fall breeze was stiffening—and observed him. I’ll confess to feeling such dissonance that I thought I was hearing sirens in my head, like a brain wave, until the whoop of a police car pulling up to the curb and letting the siren blare in one brief blast told me it was real.

A female police officer, short but looking like she could bench press me and the kooky doomsayer, got out of the car, gave the zealot a look of disgust, and turned to me. “Ma’am, is he bothering you?”

I closed and tucked my plastic tote of muffins under my arm. “He did call me a jezebel, but that’s about it. Oh, and harlot! He did call me a harlot. Sticks and stones and all that.” I smiled. “And he didn’t want a muffin. I already asked.”

“Darn.” She seemed disappointed. Perhaps she would have liked it better if he’d hauled off and belted me. She turned to the street preacher, read his sign, and said, “Barney, I told you to lay off the crap. Now, why don’t you take your illiterate sign, go back to your encampment and leave all of us be?”

“You, Miss Police Officer, are the worst of all among the lost women of Ridley Ridge,” he said, waggling his finger at her, a smile plastered on his face. I could see now that he wore a cheery Hi. My Name Is Barney. Ask me about Salvation badge on his sandwich board, like someone marketing pricey herbal diet aids. Only he was apparently selling eternal afterlife, not just lengthy life on earth. “Usurping a man’s rightful place and wearing pants; disgusting,” he said to the cop, leering at her square, trim frame in neatly pressed khaki.

“All the better to agitate righteous types like you, Barney,” she said with a wry smile. “You should see me at the disco on a Friday night, dressed in sequins, waggling my tatas and bootie.”

He grimaced. I grinned.

“You should leave now, or I’ll cite you for loitering,” she said. “I’ve told you before to stop harassing folks. I won’t be so nice next time.”

“It’s against nature and God’s plan,” Barney said, as if she had not spoken. “My wife will never do that, wear pants, get a job. She knows her place, to provide for me whatever I so desire. That gun should be in the hands of your husband so he can keep you in line.”

“I’ll tell my husband that when we go out for target practice this weekend and I beat him on bull’s-eyes. He’ll laugh his ass off. Now go on . . . go,” she said sternly. “Beat it! Out of town. I have a badge and a gun; I’m not afraid to use either.”

That slimy smile, worse than any sneer, wedged on his unpleasantly moist mouth, he nodded, then waved to a fellow nearby, who was stapling the pamphlets to telephone poles, and trotted over to him. They bent together, whispering. I squinted, thinking I recognized the guy who had joined him, but he turned away before I could get a good look. They hustled away together, quickening into a gallop as a van with the words “The Message is with Us—Follow Us to Salivation!” painted on the side pulled up to the curb. He climbed in after it, as did the other fellow.

“What’s his problem?” I asked, about the guy who had called me a jezebel.

“Barney? Me,” the officer said, turning to me after the van sped off. “And you, and the whole of our sex who don’t conform to ankle-length dresses, long hair and modestly downturned gazes. We are to procreate, work for our master, and nothing more. That is the mission of the Light and the Way Ministry.”

“Oh well,” I said, walking away with a cheerful wave. “Nothing to do with me!”

Right then I should have known; nothing good comes of being cheerful in Ridley Ridge. Saying it was none of my business was like a cosmic taunt, a dare to the universe to come mess with me.

(Note: This interview will have a Part 2 Follow Up in a few months when the next book in the Vintage Kitchen series launches)

***

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: Breaking the Mould by Victoria Hamilton

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Breaking the Mould (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery, #8)Breaking the Mould by Victoria Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Breaking the Mould is the 8th installment in the ‘Vintage Kitchen Mystery’ series written by Victoria Hamilton. I’ve read all the previous books and received a copy from NetGalley this time (thank you). I was excited to catch up on the series and because it was a Christmas-themed tale.

Jaymie is on the team to prepare for the Dickens Festival in their the upper Michigan / on the border with Canada town of Queensville. While preparing one of the outdoor fixtures with a local carpenter, the owner of a house nearby has a fit — a real Scrooge — because part of it needs to be secured by a small anchor that would reside on the very edge of his property. It’s been like that for years, but this is the man’s first year living in the house rather then renting it out. He’s a professor at the local college as well as generally disliked by most people. Of course, he ends up dead… and which local resident was it. Current or ex wife? Son? Handyman? Housekeeper or her son whom the villain ruined for no good reason? Plus several other townies are involved. This time, it’s a vintage mould that does in the murder victim. Readers are treated to a fun history of vintage Christmas items and stories, including a few delicious-sounding meals that we might want to try. Meanwhile, Jaymie visits with her friends and grows closer to her new husband, Jakob, and his daughter, Jocie.

Hamilton is a good writer who keeps us interested not only in the main mystery but all the supporting cast sub-plots and shenanigans. I enjoy catching up with the different personalities and learning about connections between the families. The villain was a righteous jerk who deserved what happened to him, in my opinion (and in book world only)! Jaymie also stands up for herself in this book to her newspaper reporter boss and the new police detective. While both were great scenes, I think it possibly came to close together and made me question whether there were too many changes in Jaymie all in quick fashion. I like her strength, but she also needs to be a little sneaky and subtle sometimes to get the job done.

Now that I’m current on 2 of the author’s series, I might need to check out one of her other ones. The next book in this series wouldn’t be available until this fall (not even sure there is one yet either) and the other series I read has been on hold for a while. Has Anyone else checked out her other books and have thoughts to share?

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. 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.

Book Review: No Grater Danger by Victoria Hamilton

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No Grater Danger (Vintage Kitchen Mystery, #7)No Grater Danger by Victoria Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Vintage Kitchen Mystery series by Victoria Hamilton is the kind that grows on you with each new edition. I’m now finished with the 7th book, No Grater Danger, and have one more left to be current with the available releases. It’s one of my goals for this year’s reading challenge – too not fall behind on series and authors I enjoy reading. Overall, I liked this book, and I found the mystery challenging and clever.

Jaymie is newly married to Jakob and learning to be a mother to her stepdaughter, Jocie. Jocie’s experiencing a few issues at school with other kids and is pushing her boundaries, but Jaymie quickly figures out how to step in and be a good parent. Jakob is supportive of her plans, and they decide on plans for future businesses for their family. Meanwhile, Jaymie’s checking out a collection of vintage graters. Between stolen goods, a few death attempts on an older woman Jaymie met once before, and a plot to turn somewhat unused waterfront property into bigger real estate investments, the bodies begin to turn up!

While this is a cozy mystery series, the murder doesn’t happen until about 50% into the book; however, there are other mysteries beforehand leading up to it, so I wasn’t concerned as the intrigue and suspense percolated from the beginning. In the end, the reasoning and clues all made sense. I guessed the killer but not right away, as it really could’ve legitimately been 3 people with valid reasons. Hamilton gives you lots to think about, and with the supporting cast and the subplots, you’re always entertained.

I particularly enjoyed learning all about the vintage tools in this book. I could more easily picture them and their uses this time. I much prefer cozies with a theme I can connect to, and this is a series that lives up to the sub-genre. I’m looking forward to the latest one which came out late last year and is on my Kindle to start later this 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. 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.

Book Review: Leave It to Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton

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Leave It to Cleaver (Vintage Kitchen Mystery #6)Leave It to Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Leave It to Cleaver is the 6th book in the ‘Vintage Kitchen Mystery’ series written by Victoria Hamilton. All I can say is… this series keeps on getting better. Jaymie and her sister are cleaning out a friend’s home when they discover a body trapped in a trunk for over 30 years. Who killed the missing teenager? It seems to be one of their friends who fought back in high school with the girl, except a second body turns up days later. That girl disappeared from high school around the same time. Someone was up to no good… what kinda shady characters was Becca hanging out with!?!?

Hamilton’s mystery itself is complex and full of believable suspects. I liked the way Jaymie went back and forth with her suspicion cast upon several people she knew and was close with. As she learns the truth about adoption, abuse, cheating, and hidden tempers, everything comes to a blow. What excelled in this story was the structure and approach. In alternating chapters, we see exactly what happened to different characters thirty years ago, all in third person perspective. We also see Jaymie’s current investigation, and decide for ourselves how the details will play out.

On the personal side, Jaymie is engaged, which we knew from the last book… but her wedding is finally here and it’s a double one with Becca, her sister. We meet more members of Jakob’s family – he’s such a good influence and match for Jaymie. And Grandma Leighton comes for a visit. Another wonderful edition in this series. I’ve already got the next one in my queue to order.

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Book Review: Muffin to Fear by Victoria Hamilton

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Muffin to Fear (Merry Muffin Mystery, #5)Muffin to Fear by Victoria Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Muffin to Fear is the 5th book in Victoria Hamilton’s ‘Merry Muffin Mysteries’ series. It takes place in Autumn Vale, New York, an upstate town with its very own Wynter Castle, Merry’s home after her great-uncle left it to her in his will. She’s been renovating it since moving to the small town, and now she just married the former sheriff. As a ~40ish former stylist from NYC, Merry’s enjoying a more relaxed life, except it’s not relaxed… bodies keep showing up!

This time, when she returns from her honeymoon, Pish (her late first husband’s gay best friend) has rented the castle out to a team of paranormal investigators who have a show on TV. They search for ghosts and hold seances. Two of the crew are killed. Who had it in for them? And was there some sort of other worldly interference? Doubtful, murder’s usually achieved (not really a goal I suppose) by someone quite angry or hurt. In this case, both! Merry solves the case with Virgil’s help as she earns the favor of the new sheriff. My favorite character is her friend at the library who always arrives at the last minute with all the answers. Then Lizzie… a somewhat troubled teen wise beyond her years. Will she be okay? It’s getting scary how close she is with a killer sometimes.

This is a great series. I love the supporting characters, but Merry is a true heroine. Sometimes flawed, occasionally a buddinski (sp?), but always on top of her game. Between the extensive cast of crew and paranormal investigators, she has her work cut out for her here. The best part: complexity in how all the team fit together. The not-so-great part: Too many characters to play detective. It got confusing way more than it needed to, and in the end, it was a 20 page explanation of ‘why’ the person was killed. Too much for one book.

But I’m a fan and I will be sticking with this series. I’m even more excited now that I’ve confirmed a 6th book is in the works for late spring. Now my weekend is complete… well okay… it’s a lot better!

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. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. 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.

Book Review: Much Ado About Muffin by Victoria Hamilton

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Much Ado About Muffin (Merry Muffin Mystery, #4)Much Ado About Muffin by Victoria Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Autumn Vale in upstate New York is the place [not] to be. I say that only because it seems you’ll be murdered if you visit too often. In Much Ado About Muffin, the fourth book in the Merry Muffin Mystery series by Victoria Hamilton, Minnie, the post office supervisor, is killed! We surely didn’t like her in the first few books because she was mean to Merry. ‘She deserved to die’ some might say, but there was the briefest moment in the beginning of this book where she was somewhat kind. Rest assured, then she was back at the nastiness, so we don’t feel all that guilty, right?

Hamilton’s created a wonderful town full of lovable characters. I am getting more and more connected to this cast of kooky inhabitants. Some are just plain old weird. Others are insufferable. Many are adorable. But no one will be spared, I suspect, except perhaps Merry. When she’s away visiting her late husband’s brother, the town is running amok. That is, its citizens are. Merry gets a marriage proposal while in Europe. Will she take it? Upon her return, Roma, a diva with a waning voice, is trying to recover in Merry’s castle simply until she can go back onstage in NYC. Unfortunately, Roma’s pissed off a lot of people, including Minnie. Did she then kill Minnie in revenge? Or is it one of her boarders who don’t seem to like Minnie other than she’s agreed to leave them her house if she dies. Then she dies! Ah, who would of guessed?

Hamilton’s writing continues to please. Her style and tone are always great. This is a wonderful series and I will keep reading the books. I’ve held back the full 5 stars because I think she’s capable of more. Merry has lots of connections about town. Build up the families. Add in some additional friends. Give her a stronger job. Make her truly ready to takeover the town. Then I’ll be so enamored with this series, I will re-read it many times!

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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. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. 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.

Book Review: Death of an English Muffin by Victoria Hamilton

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Death of an English Muffin (Merry Muffin Mystery, #3)Death of an English Muffin by Victoria Hamilton

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A strong cozy mystery [for me] must contain a complex mystery with a mean victim, a group of solid core characters, a bevy of potential culprits who are tied together in a fascinating manner, and an easily visible and charming locale. The third book in the Merry Muffin Mystery series by Victoria Hamilton, Death of an English Muffin, has all that and more. I give this one 4.5 muffins, I mean stars.

The Villain
A nasty old woman visiting the castle with her friends is killed. Cleta had some of the most offensive (for a cozy) and ruthless dialog I’ve ever seen. She’s a miserable lady who takes her frustrations out on everyone else, and therefore, she deserved to be the one to die in this book. Readers will love seeing her get her just desserts!

The Core Characters
Merry is awesome. She’s a realistic and smart woman who is trying to figure out her path. Sometimes she pushes too hard, others she backs away in appropriate measures. I like her character a lot and she makes me want to find my own castle to renovate. Her friends are growing and she’s building connections among the people in Autumn Vale. In the last book, I worried she didn’t have better ties, but they are growing. I like the budding friendship / relationship with Sheriff Virgil, too.

The Suspects
Cleta’s fellow 80-something gals from New York City came with her. Friends (or frenemies) for more than 50 years, they hold secrets over one another and use them to get whatever they want. Which one is lying? Which one is telling the truth? Why are they all so bitter? Oh, those high society biddies need to be taken down a notch or two, and Merry is just the gal to do it.

The Setting
Autumn Vale is in upstate New York. It’s a gorgeous and inspiring village. I love the landscape, the castle and the small-town feel. To see the rivalries with neighbor cities is also amusing. I feel immediately transported to it.

All-in-all, this series is developing strongly. I recommend it for most cozy readers. I can’t wait to pick up the next one.

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. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. 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.