Review: Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Season by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land

Murder in Season (murder, she wrote #52)Murder in Season by Jessica Fletcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Season is the 52nd-installment of this beloved series starring famous author and amateur sleuth, Jessica Fletcher.

This is the 5th-book written in the series by Jon Land, who took the reins after the passing of the series original, and long-standing author, Donald Bain. This is the 35th-book that I have read in the series.

Sometimes it feels like I have been reading this series my whole life. Honestly, I hope it continues that way.

There’s something about settling in with a new Jessica Fletcher mystery in front of me. The epitome of cozy.

As with many Adult Mystery series, you do not need to read these in order. You can really start anywhere.

You’ll learn the characters as you go along and before you know it, it will be like reuniting with old friends every time you start a new story.

If you are interested in starting this series, I would recommend just reading the synopsis for a bunch and picking whichever one sounds most interesting to you.

Jessica travels a lot, so there are mysteries set all over the world, in addition to her hometown of Cabot Cove, Maine.

In this installment, Jessica has recently moved back into her home on Candlewood Lane after a lengthy reconstruction project following a house fire.

The Christmas holiday is approaching and Jessica is looking forward to having her nephew, Grady, and his wife, Donna, and son, Frank, stay with her for the occasion. It seems like a long time since they have all been together.

Unfortunately, as luck would have it, or as Jessica’s luck would have it, one of the final bits of reconstruction includes some trenching in her back yard, where not one, but two bodies are discovered.

The corpses appear to have been moved there, along with a trunk of old documents, from another location. Making it even more mysterious, one set of remains looks to be over a hundred years old, while the other is much more recent. How are they connected?

Now instead of focusing on the holiday, all of Jessica’s focus is on the remains.

Adding to the stress of the investigation, a tabloid reporter, Tad Hollenbeck, known for his overly sensationalized reporting, suddenly arrives in town claiming to be doing a story on how Cabot Cove is the “murder capital of the country”.

Tad’s headline seems to be coming true when he is found dead in his local hotel room.

What’s one more mystery for Jessica, Mort and Seth to solve?

I had so much fun reading this; learning more about the history of Cabot Cove and having Jessica back home.

This holiday is going to be tough, not being able to be with my family like I regularly would. I really needed something nostalgic like this to help with the 2020 blues.

Jon Land is settling in nicely as the author of this series. In the beginning, I’ll admit, I was worried, but he really nailed the tone on the last two.

I will continue to pick up the books in this series for as long as they are published. I am hoping with Jon Land now at the helm, that will be for a very long time to come.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and I review. I truly appreciate the opportunity!

View all my reviews

Review: In a Midnight Wood (Jane Lawless #27) by Ellen Hart

In a Midnight WoodIn a Midnight Wood by Ellen Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a Midnight Wood is the 27th installment of Ellen Hart’s beloved, Jane Lawless mystery series.

Y’all, I discovered this series on a whim back in 2018, when I requested a copy of A Whisper of Bones. The cover was gorgeous and I was so blinded by it, I failed to notice it was the 25th book in the series.

I decided to give it a go anyway, and I’m so glad that I did!

Like many other long-standing Adult Mystery series, these don’t necessarily need to be read in order. I also feel they make great standalones.

However, once you meet Jane and her best friend, Cordelia, you’ll definitely be back for more!

In this installment, Jane and Cordelia are heading to the quaint town of Castle Rock, in their home state of Minnesota, to visit a friend and participate in a local Arts Festival.

The Festival coincides with Homecoming Weekend and the friend they are staying with, Emma, just so happens to be planning her 20th-class reunion for the occasion.

In a completely unrelated turn of events, the body of Emma’s high school sweetheart, Sam, is discovered. When Sam went missing 20-years ago, it was assumed he ran away, clearly not the case.

Jane, a private investigator, who also happens to be involved in a Podcast that covers Minnesota cold cases is very intrigued with Castle Rock’s discovery.

So begins the investigation of what happened to Sam all those years ago.

I had a ton of fun reading this. I absolutely love Jane and Cordelia. Their friendship and banter, it cracks me up all the time.

At first, I had a little difficulty differentiating between some of the characters we meet in Castle Rock, but once the ball got rolling, that was no longer an issue.

I am really looking forward to picking up more books in this series. I missed the 2019 release, Twisted at the Root, so I will probably start there.

I would highly recommend this if you are looking for an Adult Mystery series with LGBTQIA+ representation. I feel like finding that rep in this space can be a challenge.

Jane, the protagonist in this series, is a lesbian and there have been queer side characters in both of the installments I have read.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I am definitely looking forward to solving more mysteries with Jane Lawless!!!

View all my reviews

Review: Rebel Rose (The Queen’s Council #1) by Emma Theriault

Rebel Rose (The Queen's Council, #1)Rebel Rose by Emma Theriault
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Rebel Rose is the first book in the new series by Disney, The Queen’s Council.

Each book will be written by a different author and follow the story of a different Disney heroine.

This first novel follows my favorite Disney heroine, Belle, from Beauty and the Beast. The action picks up a few months after the conclusion of the Disney animated movie.

Belle and Lio have defeated the curse and his kingdom has been restored to its former glory.

The couple have since been married, although Belle refuses to take the title of Princess of Aveyon. One of their first orders of business as a couple is to travel to the beautiful city of Paris, with the hopes of restoring Lio’s relationship with the King of France.

Arriving in the City of Lights, Lio is reunited with his cousin, Bastien. They will be staying with him, which is fortunate for Lio, since as a Duc, Bastien is used to navigating the ins and outs of France’s ruling class.

Lio’s a bit out of his element, having been under the curse for a decade.

The year is 1789 and France finds itself on the brink of revolution. Belle is fascinated as she learns about the potential populous uprising.

She personally feels caught between the two worlds. She lived her early life as a commoner. It was only after being held prisoner at the enchanted castle, and starting a relationship with Lio, that she would ever be allowed to walk among the aristocracy.

She understands the plight and demands of the people and hopes that Lio will listen to her urgings to make their province a better place for all.

Returning to their own castle, Bastien travels along with them, trying to distance himself from the potential violence of the city. Lucky, Belle.

This guy is a creeper, y’all, and Belle can see if from the very beginning. She doesn’t trust him and the two are at each others throats.

What happens next is an odd series of events that leaves Belle and Bastien alone in the castle while Lio travels the province.

Things do not go well.

I really enjoyed this one, guys, and feel like this is a solid start to The Queen’s Council series.

I wasn’t sure going in what the connection of the series would be, but there were some reveals in here that provided insight into that. Let’s just say, I am really looking forward to continuing.

Theriault did a wonderful job of creating this historical world. I also loved how true to the characters she stuck.

I felt like it was a smooth transition from the movie content to this story. Belle, Lio and some other favorites, such as Mrs. Potts, Lumiere and Cogsworth, all behaved as you would expect them too and I appreciated that consistency.

There is quite a bit of serious subject matter within this story and I do felt it read fairly slow. There were some lulls in the action, or even some portions I felt could have been removed.

I love politics in stories though, so for me, it worked. I can definitely see how some people may not be as interested in those aspects however, or feel that the pace is too slow for their personal tastes.

Overall, I think this is a solid story and one that any Beauty and the Beast fan should check out. Particularly, if you are a fan of Belle’s strength, stubbornness and pure heart.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney-Hyperion, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to the next book!

View all my reviews

Review: Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

Ghost SquadGhost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Ghost Squad, Claribel A. Ortega’s debut novel, is a shining example of why I love reading Middle Grade.

This story follows 12-year old, Lucely Luna, who lives in St. Augustine, Florida, with her father.

He runs his own business giving walking ghost tours of the city. Regardless of the fact that that sounds amazing, business is not going well.

It seems like no matter what he does, he just can’t make enough money to keep afloat. In fact, they are in danger of losing their home.

When Lucely overhears this news, she is beyond worried. This is the house she grew up in. The ghosts of her ancestors live here.

That’s right. Lucely can see and interact with the ghosts of dead family members. They’ve become dragonfly spirits and she believes that magic is tied to the property.

They cannot lose it.

Together with her best friend, Syd, the girls try to figure out a way for Lucely’s Dad to get the money he needs to hold off the bank foreclosure.

Unfortunately, the girls inadvertently cast a spell that awakens malicious spirits, who then wreck havoc, threatening not just them and the dragonfly spirits, but the entire town.

From there we follow the girls as they try to figure out a way to undo what they have done.

They seek assistance from Syd’s grandmother, Babette, who happens to be a witch, and her fat tabby cat, Chunk, who I loved.

This entire book was full of action, heart and humor. I loved Lucely and Syd’s relationship. It was so pure. They showed unconditional love and care for one another, it filled my heart.

Syd’s gradmother, Babette, was a great character as well, as she guided the girls in the magical arts.

Ghost Squad is based on Dominican folklore and I really enjoyed how that cultural influence could be felt throughout the story. In addition, there is mystery, intrigue and some chilling, spooky moments.

Personally, I think this book can be enjoyed by all readers, regardless of age. If you love spooky stories, with ghosts and magic, you should definitely give this one a shot!

I am looking forward to seeing what Claribel A. Ortega comes up with next. I will 100% be picking it up!

View all my reviews

Review: One of Our Own (Gregor Demarkian #30) by Jane Haddam

One of Our Own (Gregor Demarkian, #30)One of Our Own by Jane Haddam
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I received my ARC copy of One of Our Own, by Jane Haddam, I was elated, but it was also bittersweet.

This is the 30th, and final book, of her beloved, Gregor Demarkian series. The author, Orania Papazoglou, writing under the pen name of Jane Haddam, unfortunately lost her battle with cancer in July of 2019.

Prior to this novel, I have read nine other books in this series; the first eight, and then I read Bleeding Hearts, number eleven in the series, because it sounded so interesting.

I really enjoyed them all. A lot of the earlier books in the series were holiday-themed, which I always love in my Cozies.

The main protagonist of this series is, Gregor Demarkian, an Armenian-American, ex-FBI Agent, who consults with local police departments on bizarre and compelling cases.

Gregor lives on Cavanaugh Street in Philadelphia, which is essentially an Armenian-American enclave. Over the course of the series you get to know the various characters in his community and it’s really a lot of fun!

With this novel, from the start, it felt a little different. I commented early on that it felt choppy. The author did not have the chance to finish this one herself, it was actually completed by her sons; seriously, what an honor.

I wonder, however, if perhaps she didn’t have the chance to go through final edits on this if that was the case. The Prologue in particular, for me, felt like she wrote a framework of how she wanted it to go and planned to go in and smooth it out at a later time, but never had the chance?

Obviously, I have no way of knowing what the exact process of getting this novel ready for print was, but it did feel different than her earlier work.

Additionally, there was some content in here that made me uncomfortable. There’s a big focus on immigrants and immigrant populations throughout the novel.

Basically, you have a neighborhood that is shifting. For example, one building that might have once been filled with German immigrants is now filled with Spanish immigrants. So, you have characters that are feeling affected by those shifts. As a reader, you get a lot of their thinking, or even ranting, about these new communities.

For me, I felt like while that is a valid topic to examine if your setting is a vibrant city like, Philadelphia, and that I understand you will have community members who will feel very passionately about the topic, I still felt like the content could have been handled with a bit more care.

There was a lot of stereotypes being thrown about and not until the very end did I feel like they were challenged at all.

The narrative did come full circle on that topic; I am happy with how it ended up, but there were a few characters getting there that were downright vile. I just wish at least Gregor would have put up a challenge to what they were saying.

The mystery itself was interesting, although it did wrap up rather quickly. I love Gregor, and his now wife, novelist, Bennis Hannaford.

Overall, this is a good novel, but I would definitely recommend starting with the earlier books in the series. In fact, the first book in the series is Christmas themed, so perfect timing!

I am really going to miss Gregor, Bennis, Tibor and the rest of Cavanaugh Street, but luckily, I still have twenty more books in the series I can pick up!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity.

My deepest condolences to her sons. Their Afterword brought me to tears. Orania sounds like an amazing woman, she certainly left a legacy with her work and will be missed.

View all my reviews

Review: Camp Murderface by Josh Berk and Saundra Mitchell

Camp MurderfaceCamp Murderface by Josh Berk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

It’s 1983 and Camp Sweetwater is ready for its grand reopening.

A summer camp in rural Ohio, Sweetwater mysteriously closed its doors 30-years ago, but now it’s refreshed and ready to take campers again.

Corryn Quinn and Tez Jones are two such lucky campers.

As frightening as the prospect of summer camp is, being shipped away from home, alone, with no contact with your family, Corryn and Tez are both ready to leave their regular lives behind for a while.

They meet on the bus trip there and its pretty much decided. They will be best camp friends. It’s at least decided for Tez.

Once at the camp and divided into their respective cabins, the kids go about starting the most epic summer ever. They hope.

It doesn’t take long however, before very spooky, scary things start occurring.

There’s a mystery afoot. One Corryn and Tez vow to get to the bottom of.

This story is hilarious. I listened to the audiobook, which I highly recommend. From the very beginning, I was giggling aloud.

The story alternates between Corryn and Tez’s perspectives. The narrators did such an incredible job bringing this to life. The timing of the jokes, the intonation, it was all superb!

As this is Middle Grade, the story itself isn’t super complicated, or overly dark, but I think it is wildly creative and definitely channels all the spooky vibes that are perfect for young readers.

I loved this, as it gave me such nostalgia for the spooky content I used to enjoy as a kid. I was feeling Scooby-Doo, I was feeling R.L. Stine; it’s just a ton of fun.

Camp Murderface leaves off at a great spot for a continuation of the story. I will definitely pick it up if one is published.

I loved Corryn and Tez both so much! They are just the best. Super clever and sincere. I will go on any adventure with them; no matter how scary.

View all my reviews

Review: Second Chances by P.D. Cacek

Second ChancesSecond Chances by P.D. Cacek
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Second Chances is the follow-up to P.D. Cacek’s 2019 release, Second Lives, which I read and reviewed last year.

In that novel, we learn of a global phenomenon where souls, in some cases, a long time dead, are reincarnated in a sense, into the bodies of recently deceased humans.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the bizarre occurrences, but the newly matched souls with bodies are known as Travelers, mostly accepted within society and protected under the law.

In some cases, the families of the recently deceased people, now inhabited by the souls of other people, agree to take these Travelers in and basically absorb them into their families.

It’s an odd concept, but definitely creative and also quite interesting to think about.

In this installment, we are mainly following twins, Jessie and Abbie, whose father is the leader of a religious movement known as, True Borns.

Daddy’s main area of focus happens to be preaching hate against the Travelers, or Imposters, as they call them. Otherwise known as imps.

We also follow a mentally unstable teen boy and his equally unstable mother, as well as a few other people related to the Traveler phenomenon.

I’m not sure how I feel about this one, y’all. It hurts my heart, but I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first novel.

It was definitely interesting, particularly the overall picture of what is going on in this world. If you think about the ramifications of what our world would be like if this actually happened, it’s creepy AF.

With this being said, there were also large portions, or storylines, of this book that just didn’t sit right with me. Frankly, they made me uncomfortable.

Particularly, Jessie’s storyline as a trans character, but also the treatment of mental health for Curtis and his mother. I would definitely be interested in seeing OWN voices reviews on those two representations here, should they come up.

Overall, I just don’t think it was a solid match for my tastes.

It is a good book though, don’t get me wrong. I would recommend picking it up, especially if you really enjoyed the first book.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Flame Tree Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity!

There is a reader for every book, and a book for every reader.

View all my reviews

Review: The Extraordinaires (The Extraordinaires #1) by T.J. Klune

The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries, #1)The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

The Extraordinaries brought an explosion of quick wit and good humor. Oh, and also Queer Superheroes and relatable fandom vibes.

Need I say more?

Set in the fictional landscape of Nova City, superheroes are very real. They’re called Extraordinaries and swoop in to save the city just as you would expect them to do.

Also, as you would expect, there are people who are obsessed with them and their own unique celebrity. Fangirls and fanboys alike swoon over their power and abilities.

Nick Bell is a regular teen in Nova City, who also happens to be the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom.

His biggest crush, Shadow Star, is currently one of the active Extraordinaries in the city. Frequently battling his archnemesis, Pyro Storm, the two sometimes leave destruction in their wakes.

Nick is invested in every minute of it.

The story follows Nick and his absolutely phenomenal friend group, as he sets his sights on a relationship with Shadow Star, even if that means he’ll need to become Extraordinary.

Y’all, the writing of this story is incredibly strong.


It’s so rapid fire and intelligent.

The dialogue amongst characters will definitely keep you on your toes. The main character, Nick, suffers from fairly severe ADHD, and in a way, the narrative seemed to reflect that.

I’m not sure if I am explaining that correctly, but it seemed as if the narrative accurately portrayed how Nick would have been experiencing, or reacting, to what was going on around him.

It felt extremely real, even though a lot of the storyline was actually rooted in unreality.

Overall, I was really, really in awe of how this story unfolded.

I loved all of the characters, the nod to classic superhero story arcs, the serious real world issues that were addressed; it was all quite impressive.

I definitely intend to carry on with this series, if there are more books planned. The characters were very easy relate to; so much so, you’ll want to be part of their friend group.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Teen, for providing me a copy of this to read and review. I was so impressed with T.J. Klune. I cannot wait to pick up more of their work!

View all my reviews

Review: The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson

The LoopThe Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Turner Falls, Oregon, is a small town with a big problem.

A local biotech company’s experiments seem to have gone terribly wrong, but when local misfit teens start to notice, who is going to believe them.

Y’all, The Loop was a bloody, gritty, gruesome, good time!

Our main protagonist, Lucy, was so well-imagined. I loved reading from her perspective. Smart, witty, and slightly jaded, she found a strength within herself she didn’t even realize was there.

Along with her two friends, Brewer and Bucket, Lucy and the boys come face-to-face with the bioengineering gone wrong.

It has gone very wrong indeed. Make no mistake, Johnson does not shy away from gore and general stomach-churning details. We stan.

There is also a conspiracy podcast element which I absolutely adored. It was an exceptional device for tying in biting social commentary.

The podcast host was entirely realistic and I thought he was an excellent addition to the cast of characters. I can’t imagine the story without him.

The comparison to Stranger Things is understandable, although these kids seem much more mature than the original pack from ST. I mean, obviously there is a big age difference.

However, the overall vibe, is there.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, smart, evil corporation horror thriller…wait, is that a thing?

Yes. It is now and I want more of it.

I had a ton of fun with this. I am excited to read more from this author. I think he made really great choices with how this story unfolded. It was humorous and horrifying, which are two things that go so well together.

Like peanut butter and chocolate. Do not disagree with that.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Gallery Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I appreciate it so much and urge any horror lover to give it a shot.

View all my reviews

Review: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1)Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Emilia and her twin sister, Vittoria, are witches, who live secretly among humans on the island of Sicily. Their family runs a renowned local restaurant, where both girls work.

At eighteen years old, they’ve been raised hearing the lore of their family, and other beings of the underworld; mostly at the knee of their beloved Nonna.

But these stories become all too real after Emilia discovers the body of her murdered sister.

Overcome with grief, Emilia’s saving grace seems to be her need for vengeance. Her overwhelming need to find her sister’s killer keeps her from wallowing in despair for too long.

Pairing herself with a Prince from Hell, Wrath, Emilia begins to follow clues through the shadow-ridden Sicilian streets, as more and more witches fall to the same fate as Vittoria.

In the beginning, I’ll admit, I wasn’t sold.

The first couple of chapters seemed generic. Emilia felt like many YA characters I had read before. I was sceptical.

However, I am so happy to report, I had no reason to be. Once Emilia and Wrath met up, everything began to fall into place and I ended up really enjoying this.

While the format was slightly typical, as far as enemies-to-lovers tropes go, I still thought it was special; and I love that trope.

I thought the evolution of their relationship was perfectly paced and the way they worked together, two thumbs up. Until the bitter end, I was with them, hook, line and sinker.

As the story unfolded, I was so impressed with Emilia’s guts and determination. She’s up against some super scary forces, yet never backs down.

Pushing herself to the limits, her ability to stare straight in the face of danger was admirable. By the end, she’s one of my new favorite heroines.

As far as Wrath goes, we stan. Everything about him, from his snarky attitude, his knowledge of all things dark and hellish, his tattoos, his sexy outfits, I loved it all.

I also feel like we have so much more to learn about him. Fingers crossed this happens moving forward in the series.

The atmosphere is top notch as well and I liked that Maniscalco didn’t shy away from some very dark images and scenes. This last bit of this book was absolutely wild and I cannot wait for the next one to be released!!!

Seriously, is it too early to request a copy!?

Thank you so much to the publisher, Jimmy Patterson, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I truly appreciate it!

View all my reviews