Showing posts with label cozy mysteries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cozy mysteries. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Reviewing The Ellie McEwan Mysteries by Joy Ellis

Book Reviews on Review This Reviews

I love Joy Ellis police series and have read them all. When I heard that two manuscripts had languished in her attic for two decades before being 'rediscovered' I immediately downloaded both titles.

An Aura of Mystery is book one and introduces us to Ellie McEwan in a crime thriller with a supernatural twist. The characters are quirky and well-rounded as all of her characters are - I find it hard to believe this was her first foray into writing. 

Ellie McEwan is a flower shop owner who has an accident while driving home late one night. Days later she wakes up with a new ability, she can see auras. Her friend Carole is well versed in the spiritual side and tries to help her learn to master this new gift, introducing her to an old professor friend of hers who is an expert in these matters. 

While Ellie is coming to terms with what this new gift is going to mean with her getting on with her life, along with her healing from her car accident; the local police force is dealing with a couple of murders.

Inevitably, given it's a Joy Ellis mystery, Ellie realises that her new-found gift could help to catch a killer. The very sceptical DCI Bob Foreman decides to involve Ellie in the investigation and I will leave it at that. You will have to read the book to discover the how, why, what & when! 

The second book - The Colour of Mystery sees Ellie and Michael set up a Healing Centre for specialty care with a variety of 'alternative' healers. While they are busy setting up the new centre and coming to terms with the circumstances they found themselves in at the end of the last book it appears that there is another spate of murders. 

This time respected and well-loved people are acting completely out of character and murdering people. DCI Forman once again asks for Ellie's help as it really seems as though the murderers may be victims themselves. After committing the murder the 'murderers' go into a catatonic state. 

The second book was a lot more obvious, but wanting to know how the characters were going to deal with things kept me thoroughly engaged. These two books will be the only books in this series which is a shame as I found them to be really easy to read and would love to see more. 

These are two perfect books to curl up with one weekend when you don't anticipate any interruptions. Enjoy them with a lovely cup of cocoa and a few nibbles. 

The series that introduced me to Joy Ellis was the Nikki Galena series that I wrote about here - Joy Ellis' Nikki Galena Series. I've read all of Joy Ellis' books as part of my Kindle Unlimited Membership which I can't recommend enough for any fellow bookworms.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, April 11, 2024

Review of Cozy Mystery Genre

Bar Harbor Maine
Bar Harbor Maine 
Photo by mbgphoto

 The "Cozy Mystery" Genre for stories has become very popular.  I thought this was a newer genre until I did a bit of research.  Actually, it has been around for a while.  Think about the TV program "Murder She Wrote" with Angela Lansbury and you find the perfect ingredients for a cozy mystery.  Like so many cozy mysteries this program features a woman who finds herself falling into the role of amateur sleuth.  She is an intelligent woman who also has main career.  The program takes place in a small, coastal town, where everyone knows each other.  She also has a good friend in law enforcement.  As I read more cozy mysteries, I find that these features are common to many of the books.

Why I Like Cozy Mysteries

I like cozy mysteries because they are fairly short, they feature a mystery that keeps my interest throughout the entire book, and many times there is a romantic interest in the story.  Often, they take place in places I have visited and really enjoyed.  In the past year I have read cozy mysteries that took place on the coast of South Carolina, in a small Irish village, small Colorado town, and along the coast of Maine.  I find this genre of books to be a wonderful way to relax and I often pick one up after I've been doing heavier reading.  They are great reads for a day at the beach or to bring along on a vacation.  Many cozy mysteries are part of a series of books with the same characters.

Cozy Mystery I am Currently Reading

Currently I am reading a book by Carlene O'Connor.  It is called "Murder in an Irish Churchyard".  It has an amateur sleuth named, Siobh'an who also runs a bistro.   It takes place in a small Irish village where everyone seems to know everyone and is willing to talk about it.  The book begins with a body being found in the local churchyard among the gravestones.  Siobh'an finds the body and the mystery begins.   All of these are common traits of the cozy mystery. Oh, and yes, there is a love interest with one of the local garda's (police).

As the story progresses, we meet a group of American's who are in Ireland researching their ancestors.  Do they have anything to do with the dead body? I will leave you to read the book and solve the mystery.  You can purchase the book on Amazon at the following link.  https://amzn.to/3TPHOKA


Review This Writers Review Cozy Mystery Books

Many of the writers for Review This have reviewed cozy mystery  books.  Here are a few that are in the RT archives.


Review This Writers Review Cozy Mystery Movies

Cozy mysteries are also very big in movies.  Here are several that Cynthia reviewed for Review This.
Enjoy a Cozy Mystery!!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Reviewing Progress On A Series

Author's Progress Report

A few weeks ago, I reviewed my plans for next year as far as my writing journey goes. I thought it might be fun to give a bit of a progress report on how that is going. I mentioned that I would be introducing a few new series as I move forward. One that will be introduced first is the series that will involve a Babbs Bennett Mystery.

progress on series
Series progress
image courtesy of pixabay.com

Introducing Babbs Bennett

So, my plan is to publish one book a month next year and I'm already working on achieving my goal. The first book to be published in January will be Valentine Vengeance. You will be introduced to Barbara Bennett who is affectionately called Babbs by her family and friends. She is a retired librarian who has returned to her hometown to help her cousin Harlan Holiday as he recuperates from an accident. 

Harlan owns a book store in the small town of Appleton, Indiana. Babbs plans to see to his recovery while running the book store for him in his absence. The two were born only 9 days apart 67 years ago which makes their relationship more like brother and sister than cousins. On her first visit to check on her cousin, he tells her that he didn't fall but was pushed into a ravine. He also mentions a girl who died some 50 years ago. Babbs suspects that the pain medication he is on is causing him to have some rather wild dreams that he thinks are real. 

As the days begin to pass by in the story, readers will be introduced to a cast of characters that I hope they will love as much as I do. Readers will meet Sydney Miller a special needs girl of 16 who comes to Holiday Books each day after school. She believes she is working for Mr. H but there is actually a different reason she comes to the shop each day. 

Babbs has kept in touch with her three best friends over the years and soon asks them to help her solve a 50 year old cold case from their own past. Marjorie, Lizzie (Elizabeth), and Cilla (Priscilla) agree to help her try to figure out what happened to the beautiful girl all those years ago while trying to see if there is a connection to the accident Harlan has experienced. You will have to read the book when it is released to find out what happens and if the Fearless Four can solve the mystery.

Moving ahead...

I have finished writing Valentine Vengeance and even have a cover design for it. I will try to release it as close to January 1st as is possible. Currently I'm working on book 2 of the Babbs Bennett series which I plan to release in February. 

As an author, I enjoy all of the characters that I write about. I must admit that I have really had some fun with Babbs and her friends, we are all the same age. The character of Cilla makes me laugh! I'm hoping my readers will love everyone in the books, too. 

I know many of our regular readers have read at least some of my books already but if you haven't you can find them on my Author's Page on Amazon. I hope if you have read any of my books, you will take the time to leave a review on Amazon. It only takes a second of your time and means so much to me. Reviews help other readers decide whether they want to read the book or not, that is why they are so important. 






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Reviewing Author Plans For 2020

Planning for the Future

I'm going to put myself out on a limb today by publicly reviewing my plans as an author for 2020. I have been weighing my options quietly in my mind for about a month now. So, today I'll put my ideas out there because one of the best motivators is to have people holding you accountable for the goals you have set for yourself. It seems to work for people who are dieting, trying to quit smoking, and a variety of other things that we wish to accomplish. Let's see if it works for a budding writer.

author plans
Can this author reach her goal?
books image courtesy of pixabay.com

Not too long ago, I did a review on Kathi Daley She is another Cozy Mystery author, like myself. I really enjoy her books but the thing that kept niggling at my brain is that she published a book a month in one year. Actually, I think she did it two years in a row. So, 24 books in two years. At first I thought, wow that is impressive. Then I began to think on the lines of could I do that? Could I write and publish 12 books in 12 months. You probably see where I'm going with this.


2020 Goals For This Author


When the year 2019 began, I had only written and published two books. I had been stuck on book three for over a year. In February of this year, the block I was experiencing finally broke away and I was able to finish the third book in the Roni Rainer Mysteries series; publishing it in March. At that point, I didn't really have any set goals for writing other than I wanted to try to write everyday. 

To make a rather long story short, last month I published my seventh book. Without a thought of how many books I wanted to write this year, I was able to add five books to my list of published works. If you had asked me a year ago, if I could do anything even close, I would have probably said that I didn't think so. The words started flowing and the ideas kept coming and so I wrote. Some days I wrote more than others but I did try to write something everyday.

So, my goal for next year is to try really hard to write and publish a book a month for the entire year. I'm going to ask you to hold me accountable to this declaration. I really think that I can do it. I have already figured out that in order to accomplish this I'll need to write (or at least average) about 2300 words a day. I honestly think that is very doable for me. 

I have already roughly planned out how and what I will publish next year. The first thing will be a new series that I am already working on. (I'll have to have at least one book ready to publish in January.) This new series will be called the Babbs Bennett Mysteries. Babbs is older than my other main characters. She is over 65 and has temporarily moved back to her hometown to help her cousin run a book store while he recuperates from a bad fall off of an icy path. The name of the book store is Holiday Books. Holiday is the family surname and her cousin has always played on that family name by decorating the shop each month for that month's holidays. That is going to be a fun part of the creative process, coming up with titles that have to do with different holidays.


Working List of Books to Write

  • January Book One of Babbs Bennett Mysteries (working title Valentine Vengeance)
  • February Book Two of Babbs Bennett Mysteries 
  • March Book Three of Babbs Bennett Mysteries
  • April Book One of Cottonwood Grove Mysteries (new series involves a yarn shop business)
  • May Book Two of Cottonwood Grove Mysteries
  • June Book Three of Cottonwood Grove Mysteries
  • July Book Five of Roni Rainer Mysteries
  • August Book Four of Cabin 9 Mysteries
  • September Book One of Second Chances Mysteries (new series involves a second hand shop)
  • October Book Two of Second Chances Mysteries
  • November Book Three of Second Chances Mysteries
  • December Book Four of Babbs Bennett Mysteries
Well, there you have it; my goals as an author for 2020. What do you think? Am I being too ambitious? 


Already Published Books by Beverly Owens


  • Roni Rainer Mysteries
    1. Death Takes a Spin
    2. Illegal Harvest
    3. The Puzzle of Talking Rock
    4. Missing in Beaver Falls
  • Cabin 9 Mysteries
    1. Campground Corpse
    2. Untimely Checkout
    3. Grifter's Gamble




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Kathi Daley Books Reviewed

Prolific Cozy Mystery Author

I'll be reviewing one of my newly found Cozy Mystery authors today, Kathi Daley. From the list of books she has published, she may be one of the most prolific Cozy authors I have come across. I've read many of them by the way but none who have published as many as Kathi Daley.

river surrounded by trees
Living with views like this seem to inspire Kathi Daley
image courtesy of pixabay.com
According to her bio, Ms. Daley lives near Lake Tahoe. I wasn't too surprised when I read where she lives with her family because as I read Answers In The Attic which is book four in her Inn at Holiday Bay series she describes a few scenes at the shoreline. Her words formed a description in my head that made me think, she has seen that scene. She had lived it. It really isn't even an integral part of the plot but it is descriptions like hers that polish a story. I read that she uses her picturesque surroundings as inspirations for many of her books and the series she has created.


A Little Something For Everyone


After reading one of her books, I decided to check out what else she had written. Currently, I'm reading Romeow and Juliet (book one) in the series Whales and Tales. I'm enjoying it even more than the Answers In The Attic. So, out of curiosity I looked to see what else she has written. Mainly to start a list of other books to possibly read. Let me tell you, there is a series by Kathi Daley for just about anyone's taste. I read that in 2014 she published twelve books in that one year. That is a book a month, people! Being an author myself, that is impressive, very impressive. I thought I was cranking mine out in a fairly rapid pace but it takes me longer than a month to finish a book. I digress.

To date, she has twelve or thirteen cozy mystery series to choose from:
  • Zoe Donovan Mysteries
  • TJ Jensen Mysteries
  • Whales and Tails
  • Sand and Sea
  • Writers Retreat Southern Seashore
  • Tess and Tilly
  • Seacliff High
  • The Inn at Holiday Bay
  • A Hathaway Sister
  • Haunting By The Sea
  • Rescue Alaska
  • A Cat In The Attic
I'm probably going to have to sample at least one in each of her series. She has even written a cookbook featuring recipes from one of her main characters Zoe Donovan. I haven't read any in that series yet but I probably need to. There are something like thirty-two books in that series alone. 

I mentioned that the first book of Kathi Daley that I read was one of the books in the Inn at Holiday Bay. I'm not certain but I think her premise in that series is to be able to feature the holidays celebrated throughout the year. The book I read was number four in the series and featured July 4th with mentions of fun things they planned for Halloween. Personally, as an author, I think that is brilliant! I have be honest, it actually has inspired me. There is a new character in my head who is screaming for me to write her story but I hadn't come up with a solid idea for what the series would revolve around. She seems to want to have a bookstore or at least I think she does but nothing solid has come to the left hemisphere of my brain just yet. It just might be fun to have a sub-theme of holidays in whatever shop my new character decides to do business in. I'll let you know when she and I come up with a plan.

Anyway, I thought I would introduce you to this Cozy Mystery author today. I think you will find at least one of her series to be to your liking. Caitlin Hart, the main character in the Whales and Tails series is pretty funny, I'm really enjoying her a lot. If you are looking for a new book to read, I recommend taking a look at her books. I seriously don't think you will be disappointed in any that you might choose.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Cabin 9 Mysteries New Book Launch Review

Book Two Coming Soon


I'll be launching the second book in the Cabin 9 Mysteries series in the near future. Book two is titled Untimely Checkout. I thought it might be fun to talk a little about the series and the newest book today. 
cabin-nine-mysteries
Cabin 9 at Whispering Oaks Campground
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Back in August of this year, I released the first book in this new series, Campground Corpse. Readers met my main character Taylor Reigler who had inherited a campground in Indiana. She arrives at the old campground site in April to find the cabins filled with inches of dust and the ground waist high in grass and weeds. Her dream of spending about a month to get things up and running seemed destined to failure with all of the work that needed to be done. She meets Gavin Bishop and his sister Gwen on her first day at the grounds which begins a new friendship. That is where the mystery begins to unfold.


Cabin 9 Mysteries Book Two


In Untimely Checkout, the second book in the series, the story continues with a new mystery to solve. The story moves forward to early June with progress being made on the restoration work Taylor had hired done. Taylor and Gwen are testing out recipes in the main lodge on the crew of Webb Nailed It. Taylor hopes to get the campgrounds opened to overnight guests in the very near future and wants to decide what foods will be served as a part of the breakfasts. The crew is more than happy to come in every morning to eat for free and give their opinions as to what they liked or didn't like about the breakfast fare. 

As with most Cozy Mysteries, before the first chapter ends a body is found and a murder needs to be solved. I won't spoil the plot here and tell you who was found or who done it or why, obviously I hope you will want to read the book when it comes out. I hope that I have woven a story that you will enjoy as you visit the activity at Whispering Oaks Campgrounds.

If you read Campground Corpse, you will remember Gwen and Gavin and the contractor Glenn Webb. They join us in the second book along with Aunt Flossie, the great-great-aunt of Taylor who happens to reside in spirit form on the grounds. You will meet some new characters in book two that I hope you enjoy. I know that I certainly enjoyed bringing them into the story as I wrote it. 

As you read this new book, I hope there are times that you giggle, times that you say awww, and times that you think about something shared. As the plot unfolded in my head, I certainly had those moments.


Uncertain release date


I wish that I could tell you a specific day that the new book will be released. The story is finished with all of the i's dotted and t's crossed. It has gone through all of the edits and is waiting for a cover. That is the hold-up this time around. I waited a little late to ask my cover designer to make the new one. He is away on a holiday and when he returns he promises to get right on it. In the meantime, if you haven't read the first book in the series, you might want to read it before Untimely comes out. You don't have to, I feel that both can stand alone but reading the first one will help you know a little history of the returning characters. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Raspberry Danish Murder Reviewed

A Culinary Cozy Mystery

raspberry danish
Raspberry Danish Anyone?
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
I recently read Raspberry Danish Murder and wanted to review it for you today. This book happens to be number 22 in the Hannah Swenson Mystery series. Written by Joanne Fluke and published by Kensington Books this is a mystery that could almost pass as a cookbook.

I am a little confused by the title. Certainly, raspberry danish is mentioned early in the book and there is a recipe for the danish but beyond that it wasn't mentioned again and I don't see the relevance to the mystery or the murder. Just an observation on my part. Although, I guess after 21 other books in the series it might have gotten tough to come up with new titles.



A Short Synopsis of Raspberry Danish Murder

Hannah Swenson lives in the small Minnesota town of Lake Eden. She co-owns a cookie and coffee shop called The Cookie Jar. The story opens in November when people are getting ready for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season. We find out early in the book that Hannah is a newlywed but the problem is her new husband Ross has disappeared. Ross works or worked for a local television station and just left one day without his belongings or even his car. Hannah and her family keep hoping that he will return with a logical explanation any day now. In the meantime, Hannah has a cookie business to run and a whole lot of cookies to bake for the upcoming holiday season.

Hannah has some help in searching for her missing husband from the local law enforcement and her husband's assistant P.K. There is something about P.K. He is covering for his missing boss and trying to find clues as to where he can be but he has also taken over Ross's office and ends up driving his car when his has to go into the shop for repairs. No one seems to be able to discover where Ross has gone and then P.K. ends up dead after eating some candy that was sent to the office for Ross. Was the candy meant for the missing Ross or did someone plan to kill P.K?


My Review of this Cozy Mystery


I enjoyed the book, the mystery part. I mentioned earlier that it could almost pass as a cookbook. At first I enjoyed having recipes for cookies, pastries and savory dishes after the chapters they were mentioned in. After a while, I almost found it annoying. Don't get me wrong, the recipes sounded pretty good and the formatting of the pages was clever but goodness gracious they started to get in the way of finding out what was happening in the actual story. Personally, I feel that the recipes could have been included but perhaps a little note that states the recipe can be found at the back of the book instead of after every chapter. They would be easy to reference in a paperback but in an ebook they would be difficult to go back to after reading the book.

The mystery, itself, was well written and intriguing. I loved the characters and the different events that transpired, the solution to the murder and the explanation about Ross. Although, the Ross situation needs a whole lot more words. My guess is it will be addressed in the next book. This book stands alone quite well but I think I might enjoy reading the earlier books for the backstories on many of the characters. 

All in all it is a very good mystery and I think you will enjoy it. You might not have a problem with all of those recipes. Frankly, I like to put a recipe or two in my own books but they are always at the back and hopefully non-intrusive. I also enjoy seeing recipes in books but I prefer them at the back and as a little bonus but I don't need tons of them. If I want a cookie cookbook, I'll buy one. When I buy a Cozy Mystery...well, I want a mystery. I got one and it was a good one, I just didn't appreciate all those extra pages of cooking tips. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Selective Spells Book Review

Witches, Spells, Dogs & A Mystery

french-bulldog
Is this Beezley the man turned into a dog?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I'll be reviewing another Cozy Mystery for you today: Selective Spells by Willow Mason. It is Book 1 in the series Beezley and the Witch. It is also the debut novel of this fellow Indie Author.

The story is told in the first person by the main character. She is a witch living in a small town who has been excommunicated from her coven. Up until she got into trouble with the white witches in the area she was a librarian of sorts guarding boxes of spells that shouldn't be tampered with. Now, she has lost her job and her powers are diminished to a certain degree but not completely gone.

Losing her job and the support of the coven is bad enough but then the leader informs her that she is being evicted from her home, too. A witch has to eat and work in order to pay rent no matter where she lives. Searching for employment, she finds a notice for a job that requires the employee be a witch. She decides to look into the opportunity because she is still a witch she just isn't a part of the coven.

This is when she meets Beezley for the first time. He is in the form of a French Bulldog and will be her boss if he gives her the job. Humans wouldn't be able to understand Beezley's canine ramblings; it would just sound like barking, yipping and yapping. But since our narrator is a witch she understands everything he says. It turns out that he was once a Detective on the police force but has been turned into a dog. He is working on the same case that he had when he was in his human form but has trouble with little things like communicating with non-witches, texting on his phone, and using the computer. 

The two don't exactly hit it off in the first interview and our Witch is not interested in the job until she finds out about her eviction. She goes back to take the job and ask to live with the dog detective. They begin to work on the mystery of deaths that are marked as accidents but Beezley's instincts think there is something more to the whole sorted mess. We travel through the pages of spells, deception, betrayal and surprises as the readers.


Recommendation of Selective Spells

I highly recommend this cozy mystery to anyone who loves the genre. It was unique in the concept of the plot. The characters were both humorous and believable. Well, as believable as one can be if they are a witch and a man turned into a dog. That is the wonderful thing about fiction! The characters can be anything and anywhere. 

I enjoyed the story being told in the first person instead of the more standard third person. Being an author, myself, I know that is a little more difficult to write. Our little witch is allowed to have her snarky thoughts and we see her vulnerability better from her perspective. 

This book was extremely fun to read and to work through the clues of the mystery. Well, done Ms. Mason! I look forward to your future books. I think many of you will enjoy Selective Spells, also. The plot flows nicely, the premise is original and the reading is light and cozy just like it is supposed to be.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Murder in Helvetica Bold Book Review

Thistlewood Star Cozy Mystery Series

newspaper printing machine

Helvetica Bold might be found in these print blocks
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Late last week, I finished A Murder in Helvetica Bold. Today, I'll be offering you a review of the first book in this Cozy Mystery Series written by Jessa Archer another Indie Author.

The series is called Thistlewood Star Mysteries and currently has three books published. Each title includes a different typeface from the old fashioned way of printing a newspaper. Of course with the advent of computers those old machines aren't used any longer and we don't refer to them as typeface but fonts. Still, the typeface or font titles intrigued my curiosity. 

They mystery in book one takes place in a small town in Tennessee. Ruth Townsend has moved back to her hometown after her marriage ended abruptly. As a young girl she worked for the local newspaper and learned the art of producing a newspaper with an old printing press. Her former boss and the owner of the Thistlewood Star passed away several years ago and the newspaper office sat neglected. Ruth buys the building and the paper in hopes of reviving the little paper. Currently it has about 12 subscribers but Ruth wants to change that.

While visiting her best friend, Wren, for lunch one day they hear a scream from outside. A elderly neighbor has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in her home. Ruth and Wren can tell by the position of the body and the look of surprise on Edith Morton's face that it most likely was not an accidental fall. 

Ruth had been a reporter for a newspaper in Nashville before returning home to Thistlewood and Wren is the town's only mortician. Both women have experience with dead bodies and this one doesn't look right to either of them. How will they be able to convince the local sheriff that it wasn't an accident? He does seem inclined to just brush it aside and close the case.


My Recommendation for A Murder in Helvetica Bold


I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan to read the other books in the series. The characters were interesting and diverse. The plot flowed nicely and there were a few twists along the way. I'll give a little spoiler that won't tell you anything about the solving of the mystery. The use of the typeface names is really kind of clever on the author's part. The tradition of the newspaper's former owner was to do each obituary in a different lettering. He kept records of each one used in the past. Ruth uses Helvetica Bold for Edith Morton's to keep up the tradition. 

There were some funny scenes in the book and a little suspense. Overall, I loved the book and think you will, too. I did see a review that I found interesting. The reviewer had taken offense in the author's descriptions of some of the older characters. The reviewer called it a case of ageism. Being a not so very young chicken myself, I wasn't insulted. I thought her observations of senior citizens was sometimes amusing and also realistic but not insulting. Anyway, I loved the premise and the book. It is well written and kept my interest until the end. The author also surprised me as to who "did it". If you love Cozy Mysteries, I think you will enjoy this book.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Kitty Confidential Book Review

What If You Could Talk To The Kitty?

kitty eyes
Confidential conversations with a pampered cat
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I will be reviewing the book Kitty Confidential with you this morning. It is book one in the Pet Whisperer P.I. series by Molly Fitz. The series falls into the Cozy Mystery sub-genre of Mystery fiction and is a delightful addition to the other "cozies" in the world of books.

Angie Russo finds herself working as a paralegal in a local law firm after earning seven different associate degrees in college. She would just as soon go for another degree but her grandmother has insisted that it is past time for her to find her true calling in life. Little did either of them know what that "calling" would turn out to be.

Accidental Sleuth Meets A Spoiled Cat

Angie awakes from a near death experience in the law office of Fulton, Thompson and Associates. She was supposed to be making coffee for the people who have come to hear the reading of a will. Instead she finds herself flat on the floor with a large cat sitting on her chest. Octavius Maxwell Ricardo Edmund Frederick Fulton, said cat, is telling her that his late owner did not die of natural causes. The thing is, Angie understands what the cat is saying to her. None of the others gathered around her seem to be able to communicate with this pushy kitty. So, why can Angie suddenly understand everything he speaks?

Octo-cat, as Angie nicknames him, has led a pampered life in a huge home. He isn't too excited to stay in Angie's humble abode but he needs her help in solving the murder of his beloved Mrs. Fulton. He insists on only drinking expensive bottled water and his meals must be of a certain canned variety. He is moody, sarcastic and suddenly a very wealthy cat. 

Molly Fitz is the pen name for the author Melissa Storm. Writing under the different moniker, Ms. Storm has created a fun little series involving an interesting cast of characters. Any human who is owned by a cat can most likely relate to Angie being pushed around by a cat with an attitude. Well, except for the part of actually understanding what those mews mean. We are pretty sure what our kitty cat is trying to tell us but Angie can speak "cat". 

This was an entertaining little read that I think most of you will enjoy, especially if you share your life with a feline companion. The mystery has some nice little twists and turns while the characters are enjoyable to follow throughout the plot. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series; I think you will, too.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Secrets In a Bottle Cozy Mystery Review

Delightfully Quirky Cozy Mystery

great dane
Great Dane A Cozy Pet In Secrets In A Bottle
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I had the pleasure of reading Secrets In A Bottle the other day and wanted to give it a review today. Written by independent author, Shelly West this Cozy Mystery is her debut novel and the first book in the Whodunit Antiques series. 

Abigail Lane lives in Boston with her Great Dane, Thor. She despises her job but can't afford to quit. One morning her mother calls with a cryptic message telling her that her Grandmother is in the hospital and Abigail needs to go deal with it. 

Cramming her large dog into her VW, Abigail drives to the seaside town of Wallace Point to meet the grandmother she has never known. Her mother has refused to tell her anything about her family over the years. Abigail hopes her grandmother will live long enough for her to finally meet her and hopefully find out why they have been kept apart for so many years. 

Arriving at the hospital, Abigail finds her grandmother in a coma. Many of the townspeople are surprised to learn that Mrs. Lane has a grandchild. Abigail is taken to her grandmother's antique shop Whodunit Antiques to stay and help run the business while her grandmother recovers. Apparently her grandmother had tripped over a dead body that seems to be missing now. As the story progresses Abigail also hears of the history of the quaint little town and a long feud between a whaling family and a family of pirates. 

Do you want to find out more? Well, then run on over and grab your copy of this engagingly fun cozy mystery! Ms. West has created a wonderful little town filled with interesting residents for you to get to know. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and look forward to reading the second book in the series, soon. I think you will enjoy this book especially if you are a fan of cozy mysteries like I am.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Review of the Death On Demand Series by Carolyn Hart

Collage of the Death On Demand Series by Carolyn Hart
The “Death on Demand” series acquired it's name from the Mystery Book Store [Death on Demand] owned and operated by the series' central character, Anne (Lawrence) Darling. The stories take place on a fictional South Carolina island (Broward's Rock) located off the coast of the mainland and reached only by ferry boat. 

I only recently discovered this mystery series and am currently reading my way through the entire series of 27 (to date) books.  I had seen Carolyn Hart's name in the library mystery section several times, but had never read any of her books until about 2 months ago. After reading the first book, I became 'hooked'. The characters are charming, the plots interesting, the reading 'light' with humor and good taste and downright fun throughout. 

Although there is usually a murder (or two), it is secondary to the stories of the characters who solve the mystery of the crime. By that I mean there are no heavy details (like blood & gore) to wade through about the actual murder. The descriptions center more on the characters, their backgrounds and the uniqueness of life lived on an island. 


South Carolina Low Country


Marsh scene in the South Carolina Low Country
South Carolina Low Country (Source: Pixabay)

The main reason I love the setting is the author frequently mentions island residents going into Beaufort or Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA, all quite easily reached after taking the ferry from Broward's Rock to the mainland. After having spent years camping at Hunting Island State Park just past Beaufort, having visited Charleston several times and having lived in the Savannah, GA area for nearly 20 years, the author's descriptions of these places is so familiar and such fun to re-visit through the pages of the books. If you have never been to any of these places in the 'Low Country' (a geographic and cultural region along South Carolina's coast, including the Sea Islands) you will find the descriptions of the area delightful).  


Death on Demand



Death on Demand, book 1 book cover
Book One in the "Death on Demand" Series

In Book 1, simply titled “Death on Demand”, Anne Lawrence has returned to the South Carolina island of Broward's Rock where she spent many summer vacations as a child to take over her uncle's mystery book store she inherits after his death. The plot begins with a weekly meeting of island mystery writers at her book store during which one of the writers (the most irritating one) is murdered. Anne becomes the primary police suspect, but she and her boyfriend, Max Darling, investigate and solve what appeared to be a classic 'locked-room' mystery. 

As the Death on Demand series continues, Anne Lawrence marries Max Darling and together they seem to become involved in one mystery after another, often solving them with the help of several friends who are regulars at both the bookstore and in their lives. One of them is Max's mother Laurel. Laurel is often joined by two other older ladies, Henny, a former WWII pilot and former teacher and Emma, a mystery book writer who also  lives on Broward's Rock Island. Max and Anne also become good friends with the island's Chief of Police, Billy Cameron, who is a regular character in the series, along with his wife, Mavis and other members of this small island police force. As I read my way through the series, the characters become as familiar as my own family. 


Image of a  book store
(Source: Pixabay)
By using a mystery bookstore for her background, Hart has given her characters the opportunity to talk freely about other mystery authors and books. If you are a mystery story fan (as I am) you will recognize many of the book titles and authors mentioned throughout the series. 

Cats play a regular role in the stories too, with a black cat named Agatha (after Agatha Christi, Anne's favorite mystery writer) who lives at the Death on Demand bookstore and a white cat named Dorothy L (primarily Max's cat) who lives at Max & Anne's home.



Carolyn Hart



Author Carolyn Hart
Author Carolyn Hart
Carolyn Hart, a former newspaper reporter born in Oklahoma in 1936, has been writing books since she left journalism upon the birth of her first child. Early on, women writers were not much recognized for writing mysteries, but with the advent of authors such as Sue Grafton and Sara Parentsky, publishers began to recognize American female authors in the field of mystery.

Carolyn Hart also has written two other regular series, the Henrie O mysteries which features a 70-something retired newswoman, Henrie O'Dwyer Collins, as she travels the country and the world, solving crimes that seem to follow her as she travels, and the very humorous Bailey Ruth Raeburn Ghost series about the ghost of a woman killed at sea who returns to earth via the "Rescue Express" to help her fictional hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma while trying not to violate the Precepts for Earthly Visitation and adjusting to her powers on earth. 

In 2015, Hart decided that keeping up with all her series and characters was becoming too much, and decided to end the Anne & Max Darling series to give her more time for her Bailey Ruth series.  Instead, as Hart wrote "Anne and Max looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t even think about it!”, so (thankfully) Anne and Max returned. 

Today Carolyn Hart, author of more than 60 novels and one non-fiction book about Oklahoma,  today resides in Oklahoma. She is a delightful author who specializes in traditional mysteries, also known as cozy* mysteries.


*Wikipedia defines 'cozy' also known as "cozies", as a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.  

I would definitely classify Broward's Rock Island, South Carolina as such a small intimate community and Death on Demand as a very delightful series. 



Open book on the sand at a beach
Source: Pixabay



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Book Review written by (c) Wednesday Elf (2019)




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Probable Paws Mystic Notch Series Reviewed

Revisiting A Favored Cozy Mystery Series

cat lying next to blue fence
A guardian of magic, perhaps?
A few years ago, I reviewed the Mystic Notch series of cozy mysteries here on Review This. At the time of that article there were only four books in this delightful series. While looking for something new to read, I discovered that more books have been written since then. 

I had forgotten just how delightful the humans and cats were in this entertaining series of mysteries! Willa and her cat Pandora are still as fun to read about as in the other books of this Cozy Mystery Series. 

If you recall, Willa has inherited a bookstore from her Grandmother in the quaint and magical little town of Mystic Notch. Along with the shop, she also inherited her grandmother's Victorian house and of course the very intelligent cat, Pandora. In the 5th book, Willa is beginning to realize that there just might be something very special about her cat. Of course, Pandora is trying to be patient with this human of hers while trying to teach her the ways of communication. 

Willa still sees ghosts which is an ability that she acquired after a terrible accident a few years ago. The ghosts aren't anything to fear, they are actually pretty friendly. Willa would say they are more annoying than frightening. In Probable Paws, the visiting spirit is Adelaide Hamilton who doesn't ask Willa to find the person who took her life as most of the ghosts do. Adelaide is more concerned that Willa find a certain recipe book and make sure that it gets to Elspeth. Willa remembers that her Grandmother had mentioned this same book in her will and also wanted to make sure that Elspeth got it. What could be so special about a cookbook? Well, perhaps the recipes contained it might be a clue but I won't spoil it for you.

I will tell you that Willa is not the only person in town who is searching for that book. If you remember there has been a struggle in the little town for generations between the people who know good magic and the dark ones who want to exert their evil magic into the town. So, obviously some bad people are also looking for the book known as Betty's Recipes. There is another searcher for the book that Willa is unaware of. Are they one of the good ones or a bad one? Well, you will have to read the book to find out. Will the cats of Mystic Notch be able to help the humans?

If you read the other books in this series, I think you will want to read the fifth book. I enjoyed it immensely. If you have not read any of these books, I highly recommend that you get started. You will not be disappointed if you are a cozy mystery fan, a lover of cats and don't mind a friendly ghost or two.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cree Blue Psychic Eye Mystery Series Reviewed

Cozy Mystery Series With A Paranormal Flair

Psychic Image
Psychic Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Recently I began a mystery series: the Cree Blue Psychic Eye Mystery books. I would like to give you a little review this morning. Most of our regular readers are aware that I love a good mystery book and that I am partial to the Cozy Mystery genre. I began writing my own cozy series last year so I am a bit partial to the genre.

This series caught my eye as I scrolled through my choices of options for a new series to read. First of all it is a set of cozy mysteries so, it won't be too graphic on the murder details and then the touch of paranormal intrigued my brain. The thought of a sleuth that had psychic abilities seemed interesting and just a tad different. I like different!

Well, I am here to tell you that I am not disappointed in clicking the buy it button for the first book! Kate Allenton, the author, has not made me regret my choice. Her premise for the setting and characters are fun to read. Cree Blue is witty, smart and a little bit on the sassy side. She is a modern southern belle who just happens to have the ability to "see things" whether she wants to or not. She would also just as soon that people not know about her gifts. She uses her unusual ability to see beyond the veil to help solve cold case crimes, not for money or fame but because she wants to help the victims and to get the justice their lives deserved.

Cree Blue has made me laugh several times with her witty comebacks and her descriptions of people and events. There were also times I found myself thinking, "You go, girl!". She is quite an enjoyable little sleuth to get to know as I turn the pages.

Because these are cozies there are not things within the plot that are super gory, no frightening spirits or explicit sex scenes. The couple of ghosts that show up in the first book are friendly and helpful sorts. They won't make you scream and throw down your book! There is a bit of a romantic attraction but not in a way that will make your cheeks turn scarlet.

If you like a well written mystery, the kind that keeps you guessing; then I think you will enjoy the Cree Blue Psychic Eye series as much as I am. They are not tomes so they don't take an extremely long time to read. I think that if you give the first book a chance, you too will become a fan of this female sleuth who has psychic abilities.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Coffeehouse Mysteries - A Series Review

The Coffeehouse Mysteries - a cozy book series review
Buy the Coffeehouse Mysteries by clicking here!
If you love reading murder mysteries in coffee shops then Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse books are ideal for you. Well maybe not the one where the caramel chocolate latte is poisoned, but.....

I do like murder mysteries - both the easy to read cozy mysteries (which Cleo Coyle's ones are) and the grittier ones by the likes of Ruth Rendell or Kathy Reichs.

The Coffeehouse books are a little different in that they involve coffee - yes a whole series of books that unite both coffee and murder, want to know more?

Let's review the series of The Coffeehouse Mysteries, be warned this could become almost as addictive as your morning cup of Joe!

Clare Cosi is the Star of the Coffeehouse Mysteries

A Coffee Lover & Sleuth Too!

Clare Cosi is the heroine of these murder mysteries and she works as manager (soon to be partner) of The Village Blend a coffee shop that has been in Greenwich Village, New York for decades as it was started by her ex-mother-in-law, referred to simply as Madame!

As well as being the manager Clare seems to somehow have a connection to murder on a regular basis and then wants to solve the case - her ex-husband (and soon to be partner in The Village Blend) claims she has a Nancy Drew fixation ........and he might not be wrong.

Throughout the book Clare shares little tidbits about coffee - making it, the differences between beans, coffee folklore and more. To give you some background Clare moved away from New York with her daughter Joy when her marriage ended and only recently returned to New York for the first book in the series - On What Grounds. During the time she was away she worked as a food and coffee writer so has all of this knowledge which gets sprinkled through the books.

Clare has a good relationship with her ex, but the man she'd like in her life is a Police Detective called Mike Quinn which is pretty handy when you're after details of a case as well. Clare also has a good relationship with her ex-mother-in-law who is also a little nosy and loves to help Clare out when she's trying to solve a case.

Reviewing the Coffeehouse Mysteries
Image from Pixabay, adapted by Lou of Lou's Designs

Why I Like The Coffeehouse Mysteries Book Series

The murder mysteries always seem to have a connection to The Village Blend Coffeehouse which could give you pause before drinking there ....... unless you like puffer fish that is. For those of you who don't 'get' that sentance then you need to read book #3 - Latte Trouble!

What sets these books apart from other whodunnits is the coffee. As I mentioned before sprinkled throughout the books are little bits of coffee trivia which I found really interesting. The trivia didn't detract from the story line, but it did add another layer to the story which I enjoyed.

To further seal the coffee influence with these books you'll find recipes from the stories at the end of the book. If you're in a book club you could recreate a Caramel Chocolate Latte to drink while you discuss the ins and outs of Latte Trouble to really get in the mood.

Who is Cleo Coyle?

The Author of the Coffeehouse Mysteries

Cleo Coyle is actually two people, husband and wife writing team - Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini. They released the first book - On What Grounds - in September 2003 and now they even have their own website with recipes and a forum for fans - The Virtual Village Blend.

Cleo Coyle Books in Order

I'm linking to books here for you, but I should mention that I've been reading the kindle editions of these books and am thoroughly enjoying reading them that way.

On What Grounds (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 1) is the first of these books and it's where Clare Cosi returns to take over as the manager of The Village Blend.

I actually haven't read this book yet as I started off reading book 2, then book 3 and I haven't looked back! I will read it once I've finished the rest of the series though.


 Through the Grinder (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 2)
Through The Grinder is cool because you get to see inside the murderer's mind without it revealing who the person is.

In this book we also see Mike Quinn's jealous side as Clare gets herself a love interest who (rather predictably) turns out to be a main suspect in a rash of murders made to look like suicides and all customers of the Village Blend.


 Latte Trouble (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 3)
Latte Trouble is the third book in the coffeehouse mysteries and this time the murder hits even closer to home with the murder weapon being a poisoned latte poured by the lovable Tucker - can Clare's chief barista be a murderer?

This book could be the end for Clare as she's taken into the seedy underworld of the fashion industry and drugged, but wait I know I have more of these books so it'll turn out okay!


 Murder Most Frothy (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 4)
Murder Most Frothy doesn't actually take place in Greenwich, but at the Hamptons.

In Latte Trouble we were introduced to David Mintzer, celebrity restaurant owner, who was impressed by Clare's coffee knowledge.

In this the fourth book in the series, David has brought Clare, Joy and Madame to stay at his Hamptons' home to help train his staff up as baristas and of course this means that someone is going to be murdered while they're partying their way through a Hamptons' summer.


 Decaffeinated Corpse (A Coffeehouse Mystery Book 5)
Decaffeinated Corpse is the fifth book in this series and is the one I'm currently reading.

One of the interesting things I've found with this book is about how decaffeinated coffee is made because this book is all about a new coffee bean that is grown as a decaffeinated bean.

I was surprised by the first body that we 'meet' in this book (although it's the second murder in chronological order and the first wasn't a surprise to me), when the body fell onto the sidewalk I thought I knew who it was going to be and I was wrong which is always a good start to solving a whodunnit!


The following books are the rest of the series in order. I haven't read these yet, but will add a short description to them as I do.


  • French Pressed 
  • Espresso Shot 
  • Holiday Grind 
  • Roast Mortem 
  • Murder by Mocha 
  • A Brew to a Kill 
  • Holiday Buzz 
  • Billionaire Blend 
  • Once Upon a Grind 
  • Dead to the Last Drop 
  • Dead Cold Brew 
 Due to be released in April 2018 - Shot in the Dark

Do You Love Cozy Mysteries? We Do!

The contributors here at Review This often review books for you and I've found that a lot of us really enjoy a cozy mystery or two, in fact one of our contributors, Bev Owens, has actually published a couple of her own cozy mysteries which are awesome. 

So, if you want a break from the fast pace of New York (where the Coffeehouse Mysteries are set) then why not take a trip to Beaver Falls with Beverly Owen's Up cycling mysteries.

Here are a few of the other cozy mysteries we've reviewed for you..


Cozy Mystery Series ReviewMystery Series Review: Cats, Cupcakes and Killers
Author Sylvia Selfman has done just that with her Izzy Greene series in Cats, Cupcakes and Killers. All seven mysteries are published together ...

Cozy Mysteries and women sleuthsReviewing Cozy Mysteries and Favorite Women Sleuths
Like cozy mysteries starring smart, female sleuths? ... My favorite genre is mystery and right now I'm particularly attracted to easy-to-read cozy mystery stories

Mrs fix it mystery seriesMrs Fix-it Mystery Series Reviewed
A very enjoyable series of mystery books with Mrs Fix It as the female sleuth. ... I was a little sad when I came to the last page of the 15th book.

Reviewing The Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery SeriesReviewing The Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Series
I recently read the Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Series by Leighan Dobbs and enjoyed it immensely. It was pretty easy to get attached to the ...

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee - A Mystery ReviewChef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee - A Mystery Review
A celebrity chef is found dead in a lake. Was it an accident as the police reported? Or was it suicide or murder? Can you solve the mystery ...


We're not all a 'murderous bunch' and we review plenty of other books too, but at the moment I just can't get enough of the cozy mysteries that are out there and I'm sure that you'll love them too.

 If you're not into the more grisly murder mysteries then the cozy mysteries are for you. I once heard them described as the Mills and Boon of mystery books and that made me smile because they are light reading and in general they don't contain descriptive violence (although obviously there is murder involved). I think of them as 'genteel murder mysteries' similar to Agatha Christie's books, but without the nostalgic feel of a different era.

Grab a coffee and let me know what you think of this series of books and don't forget to check out some of the other cozy mysteries too.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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