Review: A Forgotten Murder (Medlar Mystery #3) by Jude Deveraux

A Forgotten MurderA Forgotten Murder by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When romance novelist, Sara Medlar, arranges a trip to the UK for herself, her niece, Kate and their friend, Jack, she has more in mind than a relaxing family vacation.

They are headed to Oxley Manor, a stately British home, that her friend Stella has recently converted, with generous funding from Sara herself, into a luxury hotel.

The Manor house has quite a history, including the disappearance of two young people a couple decades before. Assumed to have run off together, that fact was never confirmed and their whereabouts never discovered.

Sara feels inspired by the mystery and her plan is to go to the house, inviting all the folks who were there the night of the disappearance, to finally weed out the truth.

Then, obviously, she will write a book about it.

This book was such a delight to read. It has a classic cozy mystery format with a fun group of main characters.

I loved Sara, Kate and Jack. Their chemistry is engaging and definitely a hoot to read. Together they bring some serious amateur sleuthing skills and y’all know I eat that stuff up!!

This is actually the third book in the Medlar Mystery series. I haven’t read any of the other books and had no problem jumping right into this and enjoying the heck out of it. It was fast paced, with plenty of twists and red herrings.

Since reading this, I have added the first two books in the series to my ‘to be read’ list and definitely plan to get to them. I think with these three solving mysteries, my attention could be held for years to come.

Although the ending got truly wild, I am so happy to have a new go-to cozy mystery series.

Thank you so much to the publisher, MIRA, for reaching out and bringing this book to my attention. Also, a hearty thank you to them for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and it is clear y’all know my tastes!

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Review: A Beautiful Corpse (Harper McClain #2) by Christi Daugherty

A Beautiful Corpse (Harper McClain, #2)A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

One night as Harper McClain is having a few drinks and visiting with her best friend, Bonnie, a bartender at The Library Bar, she receives a call that there has been a shooting.

As an investigative reporter on Savannah’s crime beat, Harper needs to get to that scene and fast.

She’s had a couple of drinks by this point, however, so Bonnie insists on driving her. It’s closing time anyway and she promises not to get in Harper’s way.

Once on scene, Bonnie recognizes the murdered girl as 24-year old, Naomi Scott, a waitress at The Library Bar. In fact, Naomi had been working that very night, having just left the bar for home around an hour before.

Reflecting back on it, they realize, Naomi had seemed a bit frazzled right before she left, but why?

The police believe the perpetrator to be Naomi’s boyfriend, Wilson Shepherd, but both Bonnie and Harper, who know the young man, don’t like him for the crime.

Harper follows other leads that send her down some dark roads against some very powerful people.

With her signature style, Harper doesn’t give up. She is determined to get to the bottom of the case and see justice for Naomi and her family.

This is the second installment to the Harper McClain mystery series. While I wasn’t as engaged with this story as I was with the first book, this was still really strong and enjoyable to read.

One of the things I enjoyed so much about the first book was learning about Harper’s past and the trauma that really shaped the course of her life. There wasn’t as much of her backstory in this one and I kind of missed that.

I love Harper as a character. I feel like her job as a crime reporter is a great way to frame a mystery story. I like her interactions with the local police and how that dynamic plays out.

Additionally, this one had a really intriguing ending that set it up perfectly for the third book.

I believe in the next book, we are going to be learning a lot more about Harper’s mother and I’m so ready!

Overall, this is a great mystery series with a strong female protagonist who needs no one to save her. It’s the perfect time to jump in on the series as well, with the third book releasing next Tuesday, March 10th!!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. My apologies for taking so long, it was definitely worth the wait for me. Looking forward to continuing on Harper’s journey!

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Review: Watching From the Dark (DCI Jonah Sheens #2) by Gytha Lodge

Watching from the Dark (DCI Jonah Sheens, #2)Watching from the Dark by Gytha Lodge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up **

This was everything I wanted it to be. Gytha Lodge, you have made me a happy girl.

Signing on to his standard 11 o’clock Skype date with his girlfriend, Zoe, Aidan Poole can tell right away something is off.

For one, Zoe isn’t in front of the camera. He observes her, but then she goes into the bathroom and starts running a bath.

Anticipating something kinky may be in the works, he sits back and watches.

Things take a disturbing turn however, when he observes a shadowy figure entering her apartment and then the bathroom, closing the door behind him.

Next he hears sounds of a struggle. Zoe is being attacked and there is nothing he can do!

Well, you’re probably thinking, he could call the police. But he doesn’t.

Not right away, anyway. He ultimately does end up calling the next day, but if Zoe were brutally attacked, wouldn’t he want to get her help as soon as possible?

If you think this sounds like an intriguing way to a kick off a story, you’re absolutely right!

When his odd crime report makes its way to the desk of DCI Jonah Sheens, he and his team decide to take on the case.

Soon they discover, Zoe didn’t survive the attack. Now tackling a murder investigation, Sheens and the team dig deep into her life, friend group and mysterious relationship with Aidan.

I really enjoyed the first installment to the Jonah Sheens series, She Lies in Wait, and was highly anticipating this release.

I am happy to report this exceeded my expectations. I feel like Lodge’s writing has matured in such a pleasant way. The investigatory aspects of this were so strong.

I loved being back with Sheens and the other officers. They work so well together as a team and that is nice to see. Often there can be a lot of drama within investigative units, so it is nice to see a group that works together in a supportive way.

I do think this can be read as a standalone, so if you haven’t read the first book, please don’t let that keep you from picking this one up. If the premise sounds good to you, jump on it.

I have a feeling you’ll be adding the first book to your TBR after. As you should, because it is great too!

As for me, I am so excited about the potential for this series. I hope it lasts a long, long time. I know I will be picking up every single one that gets released.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Random House, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate it. I am looking forward to reading so much more from Gytha Lodge in the future!

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Review: The Ancient Nine by Ian K. Smith

The Ancient NineThe Ancient Nine by Ian K. Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

**2.5-stars**

IT IS DONE!

This book was so long. Entirely too long in my opinion.

Following Spenser Collins, a boy from the Southside of Chicago through the hallowed halls of Harvard, as he gets punched for the Delphic, one of the most exclusive of Harvard’s famous final clubs.

Along with his friend, Dalton Winthrop, a Harvard legacy, they set out to unravel the Delphic’s secrets and some mysteries surrounding the club, including the disappearance of a wealthy young man, that remain lore on campus.

Yes, that sounds interesting doesn’t it? Who doesn’t love secret clubs and long-buried secrets and mysteries?

I was excited to receive this as an ARC many moons ago but then never got around to reading it. When I picked it up last month, I had no idea it would be such an undertaking.

What could have been a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat mystery, was instead a tedious and detail-ladened account of the most droll nature, with pages and pages of things such as: a boring romance, that had no bearing on the overall storyline, detailed accounts of basketball practices, including the drills that they went through each day, and unimportant geographical details of each scene.

At one point, I threatened to DNF this but was simply astounded by it all. I had to continue.

The author had a good idea here, the makings of a solid story but who let him go to print with so many inconsequential details dragging the entire book into Bore Town!?

It’s really a shame and that’s all I am going to say on that.

Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read an review. I appreciate it, as always.

I am sorry I did not enjoy this more but honestly, the story and the author would have best been served if it had undergone another serious round of editing.

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Review: Murder, She Wrote: A Time for Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land

A Time for Murder (Murder She Wrote #50)A Time for Murder by Jessica Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When a young woman seeks Jessica out to question her about the first murder case she ever solved, under the guise of being for her high school newspaper, plenty of memories are drawn to the surface from that time 25-years previously.

Jessica was a young woman herself then, working at a high school in Abbott, Maine, living with her loving husband, Frank, and their nephew, Grady. The Principal at her school ended up being murder and Jessica helped to nab the culprit, or did she?

Once that same inquiring young lady ends up dead, Jessica discovers she wasn’t who she was purporting to be. She wasn’t a high school student at all.

It turns out she may be related to that same Principal who was murdered all those years ago. But why was she choosing now to ask about the case? And are the two cases related?

The plot thickens…

Racing to the conclusion, we follow both past and present timelines, as the cases converge into a wild finish.

It was such a joy to be back with one of my idols, Jessica Fletcher, for this, the 50th installment to the beloved Murder, She Wrote mystery series. As many fans of the series know, the long time author for this series, Donald Bain, sadly passed away in 2017.

The series has since been taken over by Jon Land, a veteran Thriller writer. This is the third book published since he has taken the reins and my first that I have read since the transition.

With this being said, I can definitely tell a difference in tone since the change and although it is different, I do not dislike it. I will continue to read the series as long as they are being published.

If you are looking for a fun, quick and cozy mystery series with no shortage of volumes to pick up, I highly recommend this one!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy to read and review! It really was such a pleasure. Keep them coming!

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Review: The Long Call (Two Rivers #1) by Ann Cleeves

The Long Call (Two Rivers, #1)The Long Call by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Darkly evocative and smartly written!

My first Ann Cleeves did not disappoint. I consider myself already anxiously anticipating the next installment to this all new, Two Rivers, series.

I was so pleasantly impressed with this. By far the best traditional mystery I have read this year. It is obvious from the first pages that Cleeves is a skilled, veteran mystery writer.

Following Detective Matthew Venn and two of his junior colleagues, Jen and Ross, was an absolute delight. I felt like I was there with them, learning the evidence as they were. Matthew was just a lovely protagonist. Thoughtful and introverted, extremely smart and dedicated to the idea of truth and justice for all.

At the beginning of our tale, Matthew is attending his estranged Father’s funeral. Standing in the back he observes neighbors, and other locals, he might once have considered friends.

But he has left that part of his life far behind after the strict evangelical community his parents were a part of could not accept that he is gay. Basically excommunicated from the community, he hasn’t spoken with either of his parents in many years.

Upon quietly making his exit from the church, he receives a phone call from one of his colleagues. The body of a murdered man has just been found on a beach not far from his current location. He of course rushes to the scene and thus begins an investigation into the community of which he was once a part.

I loved the tone of this novel. From start to finish the writing was so intelligent and gripping. It gave me strong Broadchurch vibes whilst also reminding me of the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith. I would say if you enjoy the Cormoran books, you should DEFINITELY pick this one up.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. I am in love with it and cannot wait to continue on with the series!!! Well done, Ms. Cleeves!!

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Review: The Furies by Katie Lowe

The FuriesThe Furies by Katie Lowe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**2.5-stars rounded up**

A girl found dead on the grounds of a prestigious, all-girls private school. So, the mystery begins.

As a reader, you do not know the identity of the girl. Fun, right? Then begins out protagonist, Violet, telling of her days at the school and the events leading up to the mysterious death.

You grab your popcorn and settle in for what is sure to be an intense murder mystery and then it’s not.

There was so much about this book that should have worked for me. It was described as being set at a private school in a sleepy, coastal town. YES! Give me that.

I love that type of atmosphere and literally seek it out in books. I live on an island out in the middle of the ocean for goodness sake! My life is a sleepy, coastal town. I never really felt that sense of place though while reading this. The atmosphere just wasn’t there for me. It could have been anywhere.

Violet, the new girl at the school, is odd and unsure and desperate to fit in. When Robin befriends her, she is smitten right away. Robin seems dangerous and way more mature than Violet. Two other girls, Alex and Grace, ultimately make up their group of four. This set-up was very reminiscent of The Craft which also should have worked for me as that is one of my favorite movies, EVER.

Again, it just fell flat for me. The relationships were never intriguing or captivating enough. I didn’t believe it. The girls are in sort of a secret group that is headed up by one of their teachers. She teaches them about the classics and the history of the school itself, which was once the setting for witch trials and executions.

Okay, great. That all sounds interesting as well but the school stuff was just so boring to me. Perhaps if I was a bigger fan of the classics in question, of myths and legends, such as ‘the furies’ I would have been more into that aspect. Sadly, I am just not so fear it went heinously over my head.

Then the girls beginning dabbling in occult practices trying to harness magic for themselves. As expected they push it way too far with dire consequences. This was the one aspect of the book that kept me reading but even this, used in their eyes for revenge, I ended up feeling lost amidst all the details.

I’m not sure if it was the format that put me off or the fact that the writing, although using intelligent topics, words, structure, etc., it just felt so technical. It lacked heart. I am not sure if I am expressing this correctly or not, I just felt the entire story lacked emotion. I never, ever connected with it.

I know a lot of people are going to enjoy this as all the basic elements are in place for a solid story. Just personally, it wasn’t for me.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with an opportunity to read and review this book. I know this is a debut for this author and I would be interested in reading whatever she releases next.

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BLOG TOUR: New Release, The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox

The Widow of Pale HarborThe Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**


A town gripped by fear.
A woman accused of witchcraft.
Who can save Pale Harbor from itself?


Welcome to Pale Harbor, Maine, 1846, where a young widow, Sophronia Carver, haunts the halls of her mansion by the sea. Her home, Castle Carver, goes unvisited by the locals as they believe Sophronia to be a witch suspected of killing her husband, magazine magnate, Nathaniel Carver.

Shunned and mistreated by those in town, Sophronia shuts herself off from the rest of society. Having inherited her husband’s magazine upon his death, she spends her days reading submissions, drinking tea and taking short walks on the cliffs of her property.

Sophronia’s only company, her loyal domestic staff made up of one lady’s maid, a serving girl and a groundskeeper. Her maid, Helen, is more than just a maid however, she is a trusted companion who takes her task of caring for Sophronia quite seriously.

When a new transcendentalist minister, Gabriel Stone, a widower himself, arrives in the sleepy town, he takes an interest in the case of the secluded woman. After visiting with her, he finds her to be quite charming and quickly becomes smitten.

Soon dark events push the two of them further together and things really begin to take off. Someone is out to get Sophronia, leaving cryptic messages and dead things for her to find.

The clues all relate to different poems and stories by Edgar Allen Poe. When the cryptic messages turn to murder and Sophronia is a suspect, she and Gabriel team up to investigate the crimes on their own.

With equal parts Mystery and Romance, this Historical Fiction novel is steeped in the gothic atmosphere that I love. Set on the rocky coast of Maine, this is a perfect book to pick up during this most wonderful season of the year, AUTUMN.

I really enjoyed Sophronia as a character. She was not dealt an easy hand but took all that was thrown at her with a grace that truly set her apart from those around her. She was sweet and caring and although misunderstood and mistreated by the townsfolk, she never became jaded or vengeful.

Gabriel, as well, was a great. Although a bit mysterious, and perhaps not exactly what he was purporting to be, he was strong and caring. I loved watching him and Sophronia learn to confide in each other and trust one another. They both really needed someone on their side and as a duo, they paired quite nicely.

As the pace is picking up, we also have an old friend of Gabriel’s arrive for a visit, Tom. He was fantastic. He brought a flirty good humor to the story that was much needed at that point as the action was getting dark. Gabriel and Tom had such a strong friendship, it was great to see that on page between two grown men. Very well done indeed.

I also appreciated the complex relationship between Sophronia and Helen. I don’t want to get into this too much as it could be a bit of a spoiler but let’s just say that, in truth, it was not the most healthy of relationship. Dedicated, to be sure, but also quite codependent. Helen was great to read. She is surrounded in mystery and quite creepy. She definitely adds a lot to the story!

Overall, I adored this book. While it did start out a little slow, once it picked up the pace was incredible. I always appreciate a slow burn and this one would certainly fall into that category. I would have enjoyed a bit more atmosphere, particularly surrounding Castle Carver itself, but that is definitely a personal taste issue and no reflection on the actual story.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Graydon House Books, for providing me with an early copy of this book to read and review. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint.

In my opinion, Hester Fox is an absolute blessing and this book helped cement her status as an auto-buy author for me. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!!!

This lovely gothic tale releases tomorrow, Tuesday, September 17, 2019.┬áDon’t miss out, be sure to pick up a copy to add to your Spooktober TBR. You won’t regret it!

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Review: Pasta Mortem (Supper Club Mystery #7) by Ellery Adams and Rosemary Stevens

Pasta MortemPasta Mortem by Ellery Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Oh, what a delightful treat to be back with James Henry and his jovial Supper Club!

In this, the seventh installment of the Supper Club Mystery series, we return to Quincy’s Gap, Virginia at a time when the town is gaining a bit of unwanted attention.

A well-loved, no longer running television show has decided to host their 25th-year reunion at a local B&B where the show was once filmed. This event brings actors and fans alike to the once quiet town.

Hot on the heels of the acting types and those who love them, comes an ambitious real estate developer who has his sights set on a couple of large Quincy’s Gap properties. A few of the local residents, including James, are more than dismayed to hear of his plans for the town.

The interactions between the locals and out-of-towners are tense, with many just wishing things would go back to normal. Before that can happen, the real estate developer ends up dead. Bludgeoned to death in his bed at the B&B.

The prime suspect, resident nosey reporter, Murphy, has had run-ins with the Supper Club members in the past. Although they do not trust her, they also don’t believe her to be a murderer.

So, as they do, James and the gang set out to discover the true culprit.

I have read every book in this series and I just adore them. The characters are so fun and I love how they interact with one another. This one did feel a little more serious than some of the others as far as tone but I still really enjoyed it.

The humor wasn’t as prevalent but regardless of that, it is still a really solid cozy. You do not necessarily have to read them all or in order but I think you gain the best reading experience from doing so. Over the course of the series, you watch the different members of the group grow and change. It’s lovely.

If you are a fan of cozy mystery series, love food and like to laugh, you should definitely check this series out. I highly recommend to my cozy friends. You know who you are! Thank you to the publisher, Beyond the Page, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I really appreciate the opportunity!

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Review: We Were Killers Once (Brigid Quinn #4) by Becky Masterman

We Were Killers Once (Brigid Quinn, #4)We Were Killers Once by Becky Masterman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Like many retired Agents before her, Brigid Quinn, has found it hard to leave life in the FBI behind. Living in Arizona with her husband of 2-years, Carlo, a former Priest and University Professor, she is working as a Private Investigator and acclimating to this new chapter in her life.

Jerry Beaufort is just starting a new chapter as well. He has been behind bars for year as the world around him changed and progressed.

Once free, Jerry sets out on a quest to find a document that ties him to a set of killings, one little known and one made famous by Truman Capote’s masterpiece, In Cold Blood.

That’s right. In 1959, Jerry spent some time with Perry Smith and Dick Hickok, the two men sentenced to death for the Clutter killings. There was another family killed during that time, the Walkers, and Jerry was there.

When he learns Hickok may have left a written confession behind with a Priest, pointing the finger at him, he knows he needs to track it down no matter what the cost. His investigation leads him to the door of Brigid and her unsuspecting husband, Carlo.

Thus begins a game of cat and mouse where you are really unsure of who holds what role. Brigid is on to Jerry and she is not going to let some criminal steamroll her. We read both perspectives so there really isn’t much by way of mystery but it is compelling nonetheless.

Although this is the fourth book in Masterman’s, Brigid Quinn series, like many Adult Mysteries, you can read them out of order or as stand-alone novels. I liked Brigid a lot. She is a bit older than the protagonists I generally read but some of my favorite mystery series do involve older sleuths.

There is something more believable about reading from an experienced detective’s point of view. Brigid was no nonsense and I really enjoyed that about her. I could definitely picture myself picking up more books in this series as some point.

I also really enjoyed the premise behind this. The whole, what if there was a 3rd person involved in the Clutter killings? It was interesting to me to take a true life case and add a twist to it. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to do that with newer cases but I think here it worked quite well.

Overall, this was solid. There were some parts I think could have been edited out or down but it was a smooth read and a good story. It didn’t knock my socks off but I had a fun time reading it nonetheless.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, who knew of my love for In Cold Blood and offered to send me a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate the opportunity and know I will pick up more Brigid Quinn books in the future.

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