Review: A Death in Door Country (Monster Hunter Mystery #1) by Annelise Ryan

A Death in Door County (Monster Hunter Mystery, #1)A Death in Door County by Annelise Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

A Death in Door County is the first book in Annalise Ryan’s creeptastic Monster Hunter Mystery series.

I first learned about this series after I was gifted an ARC of the sequel, Death in the Dark Woods, releasing in December 2023. I was excited to learn about it because it combines two of my favorite things: creepy vibes and cozy mysteries.

This series follows Morgan Carter, a bookstore owner and cryptozoologist, from Door County, Wisconsin. Morgan, like her parents before her, spends her spare time investigating cryptids and that skill is about to come in very handy.

After a few bodies are found along the shores of Lake Michigan with unexplained injuries, Police Chief Jon Flanders asks for Morgan’s help. The injuries look like bites, but not bites from any locally known animal.

Could a rumored lake monster be to blame?

Morgan agrees to help. She’s no stranger to the legends of lake monsters and is more than happy to assist Jon in his on-going investigation.

Y’all, this was really cute. It’s a simple start to a new Cozy Mystery series with a surprising and creative cryptid twist. I definitely enjoyed my time getting to know this main character and a feel for how this series is going to play out.

I’m definitely looking forward to reading more mysterious adventures featuring this plucky-protagonist, Morgan. I also loved how important the presence her dog, Newt, was in the story. You can tell this author is a dog-lover.

It was a little slow for me in the beginning, but I was never not enjoying it. The mystery was fun and I loved how as we got closer to solving it, it started to take on a bit of a Scooby-Doo-type feel.

I was satisfied with the resolution of the mystery and enjoyed the relationship that’s building between Morgan and Jon. I’m looking forward to becoming even more attached to these characters as the series continues.

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who loves their dark fiction, but also needs a bit of a palate cleanser every once in a while.

In the next installment, we’re tackling a Bigfoot!!

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Review: A Cryptic Clue (Hunter and Clewe #1) by Victoria Gilbert

A Cryptic Clue (Hunter and Clewe #1)A Cryptic Clue by Victoria Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Recently, after having a terrible reading experience with a SF-Horror novel that shall not be named, I needed a strong palate cleanser very badly if I was to move on.

Cozy Mysteries are go-to stories for me when I need something like that. Something to make me feel comfortable and like all is well with the world.

That’s exactly what I found here within the pages of A Cryptic Clue, the first installment of the all-new Hunter and Clewe mystery series by Victoria Gilbert.

This series follows 60-year old, Jane Hunter, a recently retired university librarian, who has taken on a new assignment creating an inventory for a wealthy man’s vast rare book collection.

Jane’s excited to get to work and on her first day, as she meets her new boss, Cameron Crewe, she’s surprised by how young he is. She expected a much older man, but Cam is in his early-30s; much closer to her own daughter’s age than her own.

Regardless, she’s there to work and is impressed by Crewe’s manor home and collection. This is going to be a big job. She’s anxious to get started.

Jane dives in, meeting other employees and acquaintances of Cam’s along the way. It’s an interesting house, there’s a lot going on, including a spat between Cam and a woman he was dating and has recently blown off, Ashley Allen.

After a charity event held at the property, Ashley’s body is found in the library the next day. She’s dead and Cam is the number one suspect.

Cam asks Jane, along with his assistant, Lauren, to help clear his name. He certainly wasn’t in love with Ashley, but he never would have killed her.

Jane, intrigued by the mystery presented them, gets to work right away and a lovely, classic-feeling amateur sleuth moment ensues.

I had a lot of fun with this. Gilbert delivered exactly what I was hoping for. I really enjoyed Jane as a main character. She’s smart and no-nonsense. You can tell her relationship with Cam is going to flourish as the series progresses.

I also liked Cam. He’s an intriguing leading man, clever, rich and super into books. I’m interested to see how involved he gets in future mysteries. He’s actually a big fan of classic mystery literature, so I feel like that is going to be an influence for him in the books to come.

The mystery itself was simple and easy to follow, which was what I was hoping for. I feel like with many Cozy series, my enjoyment level will increase the more that I become attached to this set of characters.

I feel like in general my ratings for Cozy Mysteries always get stronger as the series progresses. I feel like this series will stay true to that pattern.

We have some nice possibilities for future mysteries that this story already sort of set-up. I’m absolutely planning to continue on with these books as they are released.

I did listen to the audiobook for this one and I loved the narration. I felt like the narrator did a great job capturing Jane’s character and bringing her to life. I would definitely recommend the audio version if you plan to pick this up.

Overall, I think this is a great start to a new Cozy Mystery series. One that I will happily read for as long as they’re published.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I love getting in on this type of series from the start, so this was such a treat!

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Review: The Cornish Village Murder (Nosey Parker #2) by Fiona Leitch

The Cornish Village Murder (The Nosey Parker Mysteries #2)The Cornish Village Murder by Fiona Leitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Cornish Village Murder, previously titled A Brush with Death, is the second installment in The Nosey Parker Mysteries.

This series has definitely become one of my favorites in the Cozy Mystery genre. They’re so fun!

I actually started with the 4th-book, as an ARC, and then the publisher was kind enough to send me a copy of the 1st. I knew without a doubt after that, I needed to read them all.

I since have been reading them upon release, there are now 6-total, the latest being A Cornish Seaside Murder, which I read and reviewed last month. I had missed books 2 and 3 though and really wanted to check those off the list.

I finally have time this month to dedicate to catching up. I actually listened to the audio for this one, which is the first time I have done so with this series and I loved the narration. It was so Jodie.

It was so good, in fact, that I finished it all today while doing my Saturday cleaning.

A little background, this series follows Jodie Parker, who recently resigned from the Metropolitan Police in London, after a close call, and returned to her native village of Penstowan in Cornwall with her teen-aged daughter, Daisy.

She has opened a small catering company, often getting the help of her Mom and a few close friends, to help with jobs. She’s also, since the first book, inherited an adorable Pomeranian, Germaine.

The mystery in this novel revolves around the death of an author who had been attending a local festival. His body was found at the bottom of a cliff. The last person to see the deceased was artist, Duncan Stovall, now the prime suspect.

Jodie takes a personal interest in the case after her and Duncan had really been hitting it off together at the festival activities. She can’t believe he would murder someone, but if he didn’t, that means the killer is still out there.

Jodie can’t just leave that alone.

Along with her new friend, DCI Nathan Winters, Jodie digs into the case and finds this one goes much deeper than she ever could have anticipated. She thought she left London to escape from this kind of crime.

Involving the high stakes world of fine art, I thought this installment was a blast. The mystery was interesting and the characters were, as always, so entertaining and well done.

I adore Jodie as a character. I find her to be so realistic and I love learning about her life. It’s been a treat watching her journey as she adjusts to life back in her hometown. It’s a big change for her from London.

I also enjoy what a great Mom she is and a great daughter. The family dynamics are fantastic. Daisy and Jodie’s Mom are always a big part of the narrative and they bring a lot of humor and love. Germaine as well, love that little pup.

This one was interesting for me because I know where Jodie’s life is heading, but a few of those big changes haven’t happened yet, so it was fun to revisit how it all started.

I’m definitely planning to read the third book, The Perfect Cornish Murder, previously titled A Sprinkle of Sabotage very, very, very soon; as in, probably tomorrow, not gonna lie.

If you love Cozy Mysteries and are looking for a new one to sink your teeth into, I highly recommend this one. There are so many different elements in this series to love. They’re funny, engaging, silly, yet well-plotted and intriguing, with great characters and relationships. It’s a Cozy MUST!!!

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Review: A Murder is Announced (Miss Marple #5) by Agatha Christie

A Murder is AnnouncedA Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

As some of you may know, one of my 2023-Reading Goals is to read all of the full-length novels in the Miss Marple series in order.

A Murder is Announced is the third novel in the series and generally considered one of the best. I had been greatly anticipating this one and had so much fun with it.

Christie’s stories are complete nostalgia for me. They’re comfort reads and this one, the classic set-up, it felt completely her.

This one is set in the village of Chipping Cleghorn and follows the events that occur after the local Gazette runs an advertisement stating, A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 p.m.

No one knows what it means, but the village is a titter about it. Many locals decide there is only one way to find out, thus arriving at the stated destination at the appointed time.

As they gather in the residence, without warning the lights are extinguished and a gun is fired. As the lights come back on, a gruesome scene awaits them.

Who is the victim? Who is the killer and why?

As with the previous novels, Miss Marple wasn’t in the house at the time of the crime, but gets consulted after due to her expertise in such affairs.

This had a big cast of quirky characters and it was fun trying to work out all the connections and varied relationships. There is also talk of an inheritance of sorts and I always love that trope.

I wasn’t necessarily trying to figure out the whodunit whilst reading this, but I will say, the reveal did surprise me. I feel like Christie succeeded in pulling the wool over my eyes; a misdirection, if you will.

Overall, I loved it. It was such a great mystery, with intriguing twists that did ultimately surprise me.

Also, I feel like we got more face time with Miss Marple in this one and she was in more danger than ever before. It was tense and intriguing. Well done!

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Review: A Cornish Seaside Murder (Nosey Parker #6) by Fiona Leitch

A Cornish Seaside Murder (A Nosey Parker Cozy Mystery, #6)A Cornish Seaside Murder by Fiona Leitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**


A Cornish Seaside Murder is the 6th-installment of the Nosey Parker Mystery series by Fiona Leitch. This is the 4th-book in this series that I have read and I have been enjoying my time with these mysteries so much.

These books follow Jodie Parker, who resigned from the Metropolitan Police in London after a close call and returned to her native village of Penstowan in Cornwall with her teen daughter, Daisy, and their Pomeranian, Germaine.

Jodie created her own catering company and it is taking off. With the help of Daisy, her Mom and other friends, she’s created quite the little team.

Recently though, after assisting her beau, DCI Nathan Withers, on a couple of cases, Jodie has been brought onto the Penstowan Police force as a DS. That is the capacity she is working in throughout this mystery.

It’s tough, trying to juggle the catering with the DS position, as well as being a single Mom. We see Jodie grapple a bit with finding balance in this story.

The mystery involves the local fishing community and sees one man dead, as well as a college-aged man beaten to the point of being in a coma. It appears that the beaten man was actually tortured, like someone was trying to get information out of him.

What is the connection between these two men and what led them to this outcome?

All this excitement is happening amidst the annual Mermaid Festival, so the town is packed. Jodie and Nathan need to solve this one quick before it has the chance to escalate, possibly harming innocent observers.

As always, I had so much fun with this. I love the cast of characters Leitch has created in the charming village of Penstowan. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed watching Jodie try to navigate her new life back home.

There’s been some adjustments, but she has a lot of support and I’m so happy with the progress her business and relationships have made.

I will say, I found this one to be a bit more serious in tone than previous installments. I think just because of the nature of the crimes involved. It didn’t have quite the same level of silliness that I enjoyed before, but I still had fun with it.

I am curious to see if there are going to be more books in the series. I certainly hope so. The ending of this, it’s hard to tell. It could go either way. This could be the end, but fingers crossed Leitch has more in store for us. I’d be so excited to get my hands on a book #7!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, One More Chapter, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I would absolutely recommend this series to any Cozy Mystery Lover!

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Review: Death Comes to Marlow (Marlow Murder Club #2) by Robert Thorogood

Death Comes to Marlow (Marlow Murder Club, #2)Death Comes to Marlow by Robert Thorogood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Death Comes to Marlow is the second book in Robert Thorogood’s Marlow Murder Club Cozy Mystery series.

I had so much fun with the first book, The Marlow Murder Club, so I was anxious to get my hands on this one. I felt the cast of characters was very fun and I was anxious to embark on another case with them.

This mystery kicks off when Judith, along with her best friends Suzie and Becks, attend the pre-wedding festivities for Sir Peter Bailey at his stately-mansion on the Thames.

Sir Peter called and invited Judith himself and even though they aren’t technically friends, or even acquaintances for that matter, the way he frames his invitation…well, she just can’t say no. Gathering her troops, Judith is sure that the night will be one to remember.

As it turns out, Sir Peter is marrying his nurse, Jenny, and not everyone in the family is happy about it. There’s even a bit of a scene made by Sir Peter’s son, Tristram, voicing his opinions. Oh, the drama!

That little spat pales in comparison to the what happens next. A large crash from inside the house, draws party-goers to investigate. Shockingly, they find the groom-to-be crushed by a giant wooden cabinet in his office.

Sir Peter doesn’t survive. The police are notified, and since Sir Peter was discovered in his locked office, they do not suspect foul play. It was a horrific accident, pure and simple.

Judith disagrees. She refuses to believe their accident theory. Something doesn’t feel right and she’s determined to get to the bottom of it. Judith, along with Becks and Suzie, begin their own investigation.

It’s clear the police won’t get it right without them.

I did appreciate how quickly Thorogood kicked off this story. There’s not a lot of filler in the beginning. Before you know it the ladies are at the party and the juice is being squeezed.

I loved that we had a classic locked-room mystery on our hands; one of my favorite tropes. I also liked the drama surrounding Sir Peter’s family and the issue of a large inheritance being at stake.

For me, I did find that it dragged a bit around the halfway point. I felt like their investigation was slowing down and there was a little too much focus on side-plots involving the ladies than I necessarily cared for.

I wasn’t really engaged with those aspects and was always just wanting to get back to the mystery of Sir Peter’s death. Because of this, the pace was off for me.

With this being said, I still enjoyed the characters and the cozy feel. I also really enjoyed all the classic-feeling mystery elements, like the detective denouement at the conclusion. That was really fun!

In short, even though this wasn’t quite as fun and engrossing for me as the first book of the series, I will absolutely be picking up the next book when it releases.

Thank you to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I look forward to reuniting with these ladies soon for another case!

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Review: The Moving Finger (Miss Marple #4) by Agatha Christie

The Moving FingerThe Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading an Agatha Christie novel is such a fun experience and comfortable place for me. I enjoy these classic mysteries so, so much. They never get old!

One of my 2023-Reading Goals is to read all of the full-length novels in the Miss Marple series in order.

Even though I am a little behind my initial ‘one-per-month’ goal, I still think I stand a great chance of completing these all this year. The Moving Finger is the third novel in the series and I found it an absolute delight!

In this story we follow Jerry Burton, who after an unfortunate accident relocates himself, along with his sister, Joanna, to the little village of Lymstock to recuperate from his injuries.

The idea is that the quiet village life will be the perfect setting for him to relax and heal. Little do the siblings know that quiet villages often hold the most sinister secrets and dastardly deeds.

Not long after their arrival, the Burtons receive a poison pen letter; basically, the troll comments of their time.

The letter accuses them of terrible things, of living together and not actually being brother and sister…

It’s not true of course and they’re quite curious as to who would hold such vitriol against them. They just moved to Lymstock, after all, they hardly know anybody. Who would be so crass?

Soon it becomes clear that Jerry and Joanna were not the only victims. People throughout the village received similar vicious letters, all accusing the recipients of different horrible things.

At first, it seems more a nuisance than anything else, but then one goes a step too far and a woman ends up taking her own life after receiving one of the letters.

The village is in shock. The letters have to be coming from one of their own, but who?

As the Reader, you follow along as Jerry and Joanna become more ingrained in the town and the families living there. Jerry is determined to weed out the culprit.

This was so much fun. I loved getting to know the people in the town, hearing their stories and watching how they were all connected.

Village life is so interesting to me. There is a deep history in such places and many of the families living there are connected in ways that might not be apparent upon first glance. I love parsing all that out.

It was interesting to me that Miss Marple doesn’t appear until about 75% of the way through this novel. Yet she still plays a major role in the solving of the crime.

It felt like more of a cameo than a starring role, but somehow, Christie made it work. Not only that, she made this feel like a true part of the series. We’re just watching Marple’s crime-solving resume grow and I’m here for it.

Christie fooled me in this one. I had a few different theories, but I actually didn’t guess who was actually behind it all.

It all made sense once she laid it out, but yeah, I definitely didn’t see it coming. I wasn’t working super hard to try to figure it out, but she definitely successfully distracted me while the truth was hiding right under my nose.

I also really loved Jerry as a character. He got more than he bargained for during his period of recuperation, but it certainly turned out well for him in the end.

I am so looking forward to starting the next book in the series, A Murder is Announced. I’ve heard incredible things about it and can’t wait to see what new mystery awaits!!

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Review: The Body in the Library (Miss Marple #3) by Agatha Christie

The Body in the LibraryThe Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Body in the Library is the second full-length novel in Agatha Christie’s beloved, Miss Marple series.

One of my 2023-reading goals, is to read all of the novels in this series in order. This is actually one of the ones I have previously read, but I was still so excited to pick it up again.

It has been a decade since I last read it, so I was due for a reread. It’s so funny, too, because somehow in the interim, I had totally rearranged the plot of this novel in my mind.

For example, I was thinking the body was found in the library at the tail-end of a dinner party, but that isn’t the case at all. I’m like, where the heck did I come up with that?

This story actually kicks off with Mrs. Bantry being awoken by her maid, Mary, letting her know, through sobs, that a dead body of a girl has been discovered in their library.

At first, Mrs. Bantry thinks she is dreaming. How the heck would a dead body have ended up in her home? She alerts her husband, Colonel Arthur Bantry, of the news. From that moment on, it’s off to the races.

Seriously, Christie wastes zero time with this one. The discovery of the body is announced on page 2.

Colonel and Mrs. Bantry have no idea who the young woman is. She certainly wasn’t an invited guest. From first glance, she doesn’t appear the type of girl who would be privy to their same social circle.

The authorities are notified, of course, but Mrs. Bantry also calls on her friend, Miss Jane Marple, who knows a lot about this sort of thing. A swift and vigorous investigation begins.

I really enjoyed getting to know the players involved in this one. There was such a great mix of people and getting to the bottom of the mystery was a wild ride.

Again, Miss Marple is sort of a side character at this point, but her reputation definitely proceeds her. She is known for being quite observant and knowing a lot about these types of things; crime and psychology.

I liked having Inspector Slack around again for the investigation and getting to know even more individuals in the greater-St. Mary Mead area.

This is such a classic. The vibe is just quintessential Murder Mystery set in a small village. It exudes what we’ve come to know as, Cozy Mystery.

Finally, I loved Miss Marple’s explanation of the hows/whys of this crime, and getting to that point was equally as fun.

Overall, I am certainly glad I reread this. It was fun to read hot on the heels of my read of The Murder at the Vicarage: A Miss Marple Mystery.

I am really looking forward to continuing on with this series and completing it all this year!!

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Review: The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #2) by Agatha Christie

The Murder at the VicarageThe Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 2022, William Morrow released new editions for the entire Miss Marple series. Each one features a beautiful floral design matched with stunning color combinations.

Like a Publisher’s dream, I promptly bought the entire set. Then with all of these precious new softcovers in hand, I thought, when I am going to read all of these?

Since there are twelve full-length novels, I told myself, very sternly I might add, that I would read one per month for all of 2023. That sounds like a solid plan, right?

Well, it would have been, but then I put off starting the first one until March; now I am behind and the pressure is on…

I have to say though, after completing this one, I am reinvigorated in my quest to read all of Miss Marple’s novels in order. This was such a fun time.

The Murder at the Vicarage is the first full-length novel in the series and I was actually surprised that Miss Marple is not the MC/narrator. The Vicar, Leonard Clement, is!

I don’t know why I didn’t know that, but I liked it a lot. It was fun to get to know the icon, Miss Jane Marple, from an outside perspective. You get her pluses and her minuses. A more honest interpretation, you could say.

I really enjoyed the mystery of this. It was completely engaging from the start. The murdered man, one Colonel Protheroe, was a bit of curmudgeon. He was a Judge and definitely had more enemies than friends. Even the Vicar had a cross word for him a time or two.

After Protheroe is murdered at the Vicarage, the entire village of St. Mary Mead seems to become involved in the investigation.

As you can imagine, no other citizen has more to offer in the solving of said crime than our Miss Marple. That woman misses nothing, usually because she’s spying on everyone from the comfort of her garden.

It was interesting for me to consider how the tropes involved in this story are all fairly well-known tropes today, but at this time, it wasn’t quite like that. It sort of all began with Christie, you know?

Her work has influenced so many creators over the years and her formulaic writing style is the epitome of a classic mystery. I love it. I found this to be so comfortable and fun, it was like a warm drink on an eerie night.

I am definitely continuing on with the series straight away. Next up is The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery, which will be a reread for me.

It’s actually one of my favorite Christie’s that I have read, so I am really excited to revisit it with my stunning new edition!!

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Review: Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for MurderersVera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Sixty-year old, Vera Wong, is a widow, mother and owner of a small, rarely visited, tea shop in San Francisco.

Vera, adheres to a strict schedule, and can be opinionated when it comes to other’s lives and scheduling, particularly her son, Tilly. For example, if you aren’t up by 4-4:30 a.m., you’re basically wasting the day away.

As our story begins, you get to meet Vera and learn all about her little peccadilloes from her perspective. I loved her from the very start. She’s perfect.

Vera’s ordered world is suddenly turned upside down when one morning she discovers the body of a deceased man inside her tea shop!

Suspecting she will do a better job than the police, Vera decides to take the investigation into her own hands. The police don’t seem to suspect foul play, but Vera knows, something funny is going on here.

Through a random series of events, Vera comes up with four likely suspects: Julia, the dead man’s wife, Rikki, Sana and Oliver, the dead man’s twin brother. She then inserts herself into the suspect’s lives, because how else is she going to determine which one is guilty?!

Thus, her super-stealthy, and by that I mean over-the-top, often hilarious, slightly-meddling, yet well-intentioned, investigation begins.

I really, really enjoyed this story. The cast of characters, led by Vera, was truly the highlight for me. They were all relatable people, who ended up bonding with Vera in their own ways and for their own distinct reasons.

Vera was definitely a force to be reckoned with. She has such a big heart, is quirky as heck, sweetly innocent in many ways, but also willing to bulldoze anyone in pursuit of her goals. When Vera tells you to jump, you ask how high.

I loved learning about the characters and watching their relationships develop. It was like they all needed support and ended up, through these unfortunate circumstances, finding exactly what they needed.

The overall story was cute, cozy and heart-warming. At times, I did wish for a slightly more intriguing Mystery to help propel the plot, but the found family elements were so strong, it more than made up for that, in my opinion.

I always feel like I connect well with Sutanto’s humor and characters. I just really enjoy her writing style. It’s become such a comfort for me and she is an auto-buy author because of that.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. As expected, this was super fun and cute! I cannot wait to pick up more from this author in the future.

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