Friday, August 12, 2022

Murder at Beechwood

 Murder at Beechwood is the 3rd book in the series by Alyssa Maxwell that centers around Newport, RI in the Gilded era.  The series gives the reader a peek at the lifestyle of the lifestyle of the extremely wealthy American families in late 1890s.    Emma Cross is a cousin of the Vanderbilt family living and as such she interacts with the who's who of the American industrialists.  While being a lesser Vanderbilt relation, she has the opportunity to live independently and without some of the restrictions and expectations placed upon the debutante daughters of the Vanderbilts and their peers.   Her lineage does afford her the opportunity to visit the famous homes of Newport though;  sometimes as a social call and other times as a lifestyle reporter for the local paper.  The books focus on the crimes she finds herself at the center of and uniquely positioned to obtain insight the police would otherwise not uncover.  Although the books can be read alone, it is more enjoyable to read them in order as there are references to past adventures and existing relationships.  

This particular book focuses on the Astor family estate and the summer season kickoff Mary Astor hosts for the 400 Hundred.  Emma finds herself in attendance in her role as the society writer.  But her new friendship with Grace Wilson, due to cousin Niely's courtship of the young lady, provides her inside access to the social events.  This access is important to the investigation of several crimes that appear to be interrelated but not definitively.   Maxwell does a wonderful job of unraveling the details and keeping the mystery engaging.   There is a nice balance of description about the gilded era and the plot lines.  Emma and her household are very likeable characters and Emma's strong will is made apparent through the dialogue, both external and inner.  I enjoy reading about the era but am certainly glad to live in the modern world with all the choices and opportunities provided to both genders.  

If you are looking for a historical cozy mystery this is a great series to try.  In many ways it is the American version of the Rhys Bowen series.  


Murder at BeechwoodMurder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyable book set amongst a wealthy society. its fun to read about some of the famous industrialist families we learn of in history books. Maxwell does a wonderful job of creating characters both likeable and easily despised. Emma Cross is a wonderful antagonist and her relationships with her cousins and her childhood friends are quite engaging. The mystery itself is well written and the different subplots fit well together and are resolved appropriately.

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book # 70
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes  RI
  3. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2022  Series: 36  Book #1
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2022   Book #83
  5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #63
  6. Cruisin thru Cozies  Historical #2
  7. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #78
  8. Craving for Cozies  Book #71
  9. Medical Examiner Challenge 5 Toe Tags
  10. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scene-road; bluff; ocean; hospital; steamer ship
    • Weapon- gun; gun; drown; dagger; fire
    • Detectives- emma cross; jesse
    • Victims- Charlie; Naomi; Virgil Monroe, Wyatt Monroe, Nate Monroe
  11. Six Shooter Challenge  Target # 33 Shot #3
  12. Historic Fiction  #histficreadingchallenge   Book #9
  13. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #34. A book set in Victorian times 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

A Call for Kelp

 A Call for Kelp is the 4th Seaside Cafe book by Bree Baker.   Set in the Outer Banks of NC the books make you dream of a beach vacation.  It is so easy to visualize the beach, surf and boardwalk scenes as described in the book.  The mystery that surrounds the death of Mitzi Calgon while she is in town helping to promote the documentary being filmed by Everly Swan's Aunts in an effort to raise awareness of the plight of bees.  In addition to the murder of Mitzi there appears to be something Det. Grady Hays is not sharing with Everly.  As the story progresses it feels more and more like there are secrets being kept from Everly which causes her to be unsure of her relationships with those around her.  I look forward to reading about life in Charm, NC and to see how the small town relationships evolve.  


A Call for KelpA Call for Kelp by Bree Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

enjoy reading about Everly Swan and her friendships with Det Grady Hays and her bff The mystery surrounding the death of retired tv star, Mitzi Colgan is well structured with plenty of misdirection and suspicion. If looking for a series set at the beach with good friendships and relationships this is a good series to read.

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #  69
  2. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2022  Series: 35 Book #1
  3. What an Animal Book #41
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2022   Book #82
  5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #62
  6. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #53
  7. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #77
  8. Craving for Cozies  Book #70
  9. Medical Examiner Challenge 2 Toe Tags
  10. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scene- museum; lighthouse
    • Weapon- poison; shove
    • Detectives- Everly Swan
    • Victims- Mitzi Calgon; Skeet Ulvanich
  11. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #35  Shot #4
  12. OWLS 22  # 41 History of Magic: A book that mentions a historical witch or wizard 
  13. Pick your Poison #37  a book by an author whose name is a trade or profession 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A Murder Yule Regret

 I must have had a subconscious decision to read Christmas in July books.  I ended up reading 3 different books set at the holidays this past month.  A Murder Yule Regret is the 7th book in the Bread Shop series by Winnie Archer.  Ivy Culpepper finds herself working 2 different parties hosted by starlets while helping her boss, Olaya, at Yeast of Eden.  In addition to the well constructed mystery with multiple side crimes including blackmail and stalking, there are developing relationships mixed within the story.  I appreciate the author discussing the positive aspects of the relationships and how Ivy values the support she and Miguel have for each other.  These cozies always seem to have a nice balance of highlighting the positives of human nature along with the dark side that leads to murders. 

 If you are looking for a mystery with strong relationships and delicious bread and appetizer recipes/descriptions then look no further.



A Murder Yule RegretA Murder Yule Regret by Winnie Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

mouth watering bread and appetizers play a huge role in this story as there are multiple catering gigs at the center of this Hollywood starlet centric story. the small town charm of Santa Sofia is interrupted at the holidays when 2 starlets throw holiday parties. unfortunately neither had murder on their agendas when they made their guest lists. the story is well developed with lots of surprises and a fairly shocking outcome

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book # 68
  2. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2022  Series: 33 Book #1
  3. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2022   Book #81
  4. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #52
  5. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #76
  6. Craving for Cozies  Book #69
  7. Medical Examiner Challenge 2 Toe Tags
  8. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scene- cliff/swimming pool
    • Weapon- push/drown
    • Detectives- Ivy Culpepper/Det York
    • Victims- Edward Yentin/Cordelia Knight
  9. Six Shooter Challenge  Target # 31 Shot #4
  10. Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2022 #34 protagonist starts with "i"

Review: Nearly Dead in Iowa

Nearly Dead in Iowa Nearly Dead in Iowa by Wendy Byrne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars



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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Poinsettias and the Perfect Crime

 Poinsettias and the Perfect Crime is book #3 Diana Flowers Floriculture Mysteries  This series is a lot of fun to see the different dynamics amongst the characters.  This installment is full of family drama and residual high school age drama.   Mixed in among all this is the murder of Bill Wrexton and the disappearance of a valuable diamond.  The plot is a mix of light hearted fun directed at Diana's friend, Fergus and his conspiracy theories and a bit like a government spy novel.   Diana has drama in the form of her ex boyfriend appearing on the scene as well as a high school rivalry resurfacing.   Meanwhile it is the holiday season and her floral business is booming and expanding.  This is always an interesting sub story and learning experience.  I look forward to reading more of this series.  If you want a light hearted and somewhat humorous cozy this is a great series to try.  


Poinsettias and the Perfect CrimePoinsettias and the Perfect Crime by Ruby Loren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

a great mix of family drama and a murder. there are lots of plot twists that read like a james bond movie at times that make this book a fun read the whole conspiracy theory aspect of the series is lots of fun too and makes you pause at times

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2022  Series:26  Book #2
  2. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2022   Book #80
  3. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #61
  4. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #51
  5. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #75
  6. Craving for Cozies  Book #68
  7. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tags
  8. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scene- den
    • Weapon- knife
    • Detectives- Diana Flowers/Fergus
    • Victims- Bill Wrexton
  9. Six Shooter Challenge  Target # 30  Shot #4
  10. Around the Year in 52 Books #36. 2 books related to flora and fauna - Book 2

Monday, August 8, 2022

Strawberried Alive

 Strawberried Alive is the 14th Cupcake Mystery by Jenn McKinlay.  I always enjoy reading her different series but this one is fun because it is an ensemble cast with a core group of friends who have been close since high school.  It is always fun to see relationships last and grow and to get glimpses of their history together in the storyline.   The movie quote game is always a fun aside in this series as well.  In this book, the family is growing and it is fun to see how the new baby was woven into the story as well.  

The mystery was an interesting premise and showed the traditionally united Old Town store owners being divided into factions.  It was intriguing to see how the success of the Fairytale Cupcake business was misconstrued by some of the fellow business owners and how jealously is a part of all aspects of life especially when things are tough.   I enjoyed the business logic that was built in from Tate's guidance and the creative financial solution that was presented, it added depth and authenticity to the storyline.  I look forward to reading more about these group in future installments and to watch their relationships continue to grow.


Strawberried AliveStrawberried Alive by Jenn McKinlay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

always enjoyable to read aboubriningt the Fairytale Cupcake ladies. This book does not disappoint as there is some foul play going on in Old Town and the ladies find themselves embroiled in it again. This time their fellow shop owners aren't so tolerant and accuse them of bringing blight to the area. The mystery takes the reader through the different shops in the Old Town district and we meet some shady characters as well. The whodunit is somewhat predictable but not totally obvious. All in all an enjoyable read

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book # 67
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes  AZ
  3. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2022  Series: 34 Book #1
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2022   Book #79
  5. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #50
  6. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #74
  7. Craving for Cozies  Book #67
  8. Medical Examiner Challenge  2 Toe Tags
  9. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scene-store
    • Weapon- sculpture 
    • Detectives- Mel 
    • Victims- Jacob Wright
  10. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #11  Shot #2

Sunday, August 7, 2022

The Perfect Guests

 The Perfect Guests is a thriller by Emma Rous.  It is a well thought out multiple timeline book that felt an awful lot like the classic Agatha Christie novels.  There are plenty of twists and turns and the ending certainly left your jaw open.  The characters take the reader through a wide range of emotions including dislike, fear, and pity.   The pieces are all linked up a the conclusion of the book and felt like they were well presented rather than forced upon the storyline.  If you like books with a variety of characters including those that are not very likeable then this book is a good choice for you.  


The Perfect GuestsThe Perfect Guests by Emma Rous
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

great suspense

This book keeps twisting and turning til the end. The dual timeline plot intertwines wonderfully And all the pieces fall into place at the very end

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book # 66
  2. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2022   Book #78
  3. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #73
  4. Medical Examiner Challenge 1 Toe Tags
  5. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scene- lake
    • Weapon- drowning
    • Victims- Markus Meyer
  6. Pick your Poison #64 a book known for having an unexpected twist at the end