Review: Murder by Candlelight by Faith Martin

Murder by CandlelightMurder by Candlelight by Faith Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Murder by Candlelight is a Historical Cozy Mystery set in the village of Maybury-in-the-Marsh, in the Cotswolds, in 1924.

Arbie Swift is an author, who has found new found success after the publication of his book, The Gentleman’s Guide to Ghost-Hunting. He’s the kind of famous now, where since he’s an expert in all things ghost,has individuals seeking him out, asking for assistance with their own hauntings.

For example, he gets asked to the Old Forge, where the lady of the house, Amy Phelps, believes she is being haunted by a spectre. Arbie should know what to do, right?

Hesitant at first, both with his new-found fame, and with the idea that he can actually help Amy with her problem, Arbie finally agrees to go stay at the Old Forge. After all, it could provide good content for his next book.

Unfortunately, while Arbie is there, Amy is murdered. Now Arbie finds himself in the unlikely position of detective, along with his dear friend, Val.

As the two dig into Amy’s life and family, they discover all sorts of potential suspects and motives. It’s a race against the clock as they try to discover the identity of the killer, supernatural or not, before anyone else falls victim…

I have been in such a mood for Cozy Mysteries lately. I’m not sure what it is, the changing of the seasons, or the amount of stress that I have been under at work and in my life, but either way, I am eating them up.

I picked this one up on a whim and devoured it in a day. I loved the quaint setting and Arbie as a main character. I think this story set-up a perfect jumping off point for a potentially long-running series.

As with many other Mystery series, I feel like this is the kind of story where you would just get more and more attached to the characters as the installments add up. It also had a distinct Christie vibe, which really worked for me.

I loved that Arbie was an author of a ghost-hunting book, and whether or not he truly believes in all that, is something you’ll have to discover for yourself upon reading. However, whether he does or not, it certainly sets him up to meet a lot of interesting people.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Arbie and Val, which definitely deserves some more attention. I’m not sure if there are plans for this to be a series, or not, but I certainly hope so. I would be genuinely excited to continue on.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Cozy Mysteries, particularly if you enjoy Historical Cozy Mysteries, Mysteries set in a small town/village, or even if you are just a fan of Agatha Christie’s work.

I feel like Martin did a great job plotting this story, and keeping the Reader engaged, while also creating likable, believable characters.

Thank you to the publisher, HQ Digital, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I truly hope this isn’t the last I see of Arbie and Val!!

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Review: Bless Your Heart (Bless Your Heart #1) by Lindy Ryan

Bless Your HeartBless Your Heart by Lindy Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Bless Your Heart is a Cozy Mystery-meets-Horror novel that I never knew I needed!

This was so stinking cute. My Horror Heart adored it. It was way more graphic than I expected and I loved the small town Southern vibes. Bonus: it’s 1999!

Set in Southeast Texas, this story focuses on the Evans women, who are the owner/operators of Evans Funeral Parlor. Their small town has a bit of a history with the dead becoming restless and the Evans are well-versed in making sure they meet their final rest.

The town has spent the last 15-years in peaceful normalcy. That’s a pretty long stretch, and it’s about to end.

When the town gossip, Mina Jean Murphy’s, body is brought to the Evans for a regular burial, yet she rises from the dead instead, it’s clear that the Strigoi problem is back.

We then follow along, both with the Evans women, and with a local Deputy, Roger Taylor, as they try to figure out what has caused this recent unrest, and as they try to stop it.

This was so fun. The small town vibes, family dynamics and the horror elements, were all very well done.

I was actually surprised at how graphic some of the darker scenes actually were. It was great, just the dichotomy between the cozy and the dark. I loved that part.

It was giving me Sunnydale, but the Texas version, and it was giving me The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, mixed with a touch of Designing Women. I was here for every minute of it.

I listened to the audiobook and absolutely recommend that format if it’s an option for you. The narration style of Stephanie Nemeth-Parker fits the overall story so well.

For me, the only critique is that I wanted a bit more of the mystery. I wanted more substance, more suspense, but I am hoping as the series continues the balance between the other elements and the mystery will balance out.

Speaking of ‘the series’, I’m so happy to learn this is going to be a series. I feel like the more time we get to spend with the Evans, the more attached to them we’ll become and the more we’ll see them grow and change.

I’m particularly interested in Luna, as she’s the youngest, so it’ll be interesting to watch her learn about their powers and responsibility and see how she is going to use it.

If you are someone who enjoys Horror, but also love Cozy Mysteries ((like me)), you have to check this one out. I don’t think I’ve ever really read anything like it and I’m definitely looking forward to more in this charming Southern setting.

Thank you to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Lindy Ryan, you’ve impressed me. I can’t wait for more!

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Review: Death in the Dark Woods (Monster Hunter Mystery #2) by Annelise Ryan

Death in the Dark Woods (Monster Hunter #2)Death in the Dark Woods by Annelise Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Death in the Dark Woods is the 2nd-installment to Annelise Ryan’s Monster Hunter Cozy Mystery series.

This series features cryptozoologist and specialty bookstore owner, Morgan Carter, who helps investigate mysteries that may be linked to potential cryptid activity.

The beauty of this series is that it combines two of my very favorite things: creepy vibes and cozy mysteries.

I really enjoyed the 1st-book, A Death in Door County, when I read it last year and was looking forward to going on more adventures with Morgan and her lovable dog, Newt.

While that first story featured a potential lake monster, in this one, Morgan travels a little farther from home to help investigate possible Bigfoot sightings.

Specifically, the Bigfoot sightings have occurred around the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest area of Bayfield County, Wisconsin. When a man is found dead, with an injury to his throat not thought to be cause by a human, a local warden, Charlie, calls Morgan for help.

Morgan is excited that her cyptid hunter business is finally getting some traction after gaining notoriety following the lake monster case. She’s more than happy to assist Charlie.

Nevertheless, Morgan is a skeptic at heart, so it’s gonna take solid proof for her to claim a Bigfoot is responsible for the fatal attack they’re investigating.

Morgan and Newt travel there and meet up with Charlie, who introduces them to their comfortable temporary lodgings, and then they get straight to work.

Morgan immerses herself in the small town, questioning numerous people about their experiences and opinions when it comes to the area’s Bigfoot legends.

It’s true that some claim to have seen Bigfoot type creatures, but that’s not the only thing Morgan uncovers. She reveals a trail of secrets and lies that could end up having more to do with the recent murder than anyone seems to be suspecting.

As the pressure starts to build, will Morgan and Newt be able to sniff out the killer before they strike again, or could Morgan end up being the next victim?

I had so much fun with this. I actually enjoyed it even more than the 1st-book. I loved that Morgan was traveling away from home, and that she was sort of inserting herself into this new place and digging around, trying to figure out whatever she could.

I loved learning about the local area along with her and meeting the various colorful characters of the small town.

Jon Flanders, the Police Chief, who asked for Morgan’s assistance in the 1st-book, appears in this one as well, as their relationship has continued to grow.

There have been some sparks between them and I love the way the chemistry is continuing to build. They both have some traumas in their past, so I like that it’s moving slowly, at a pace that seems realistic. It makes sense.

I also liked the dynamic between Morgan and Charlie. Charlie, as the local girl, has her own very strong opinions on the Bigfoot legends and I liked how Morgan didn’t let Charlie really sway her one way or another.

The highlight for me though is definitely the relationship between Morgan and Newt. I absolutely adore and appreciate the way that Ryan writes their connection.

As a Dog Mom, who frequently spends the majority of a book worrying about any doggie characters who may be involved, it was so nice to just sit back and enjoy the fact that Newt got to participate in pretty much everything Morgan does.

And I never worried about him! You can tell that Annelise Ryan is a dog person, and I just knew that she wouldn’t take it anywhere uncomfortable. It was freaking great!

At this point, I’m not sure what the long-term plans are for this series, but I really hoping for more books. There’s so much left to explore with Morgan, both as far as potential cryptid mysteries, but also with her personal life.

I am properly attached to Morgan, Newt and even Jon. Keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll be getting news of a 3rd-book soon!

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

I recommend this to Cozy Mystery fans. It’s a unique series and a lot of fun. I’ve never read anything quite like it!

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Review: Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice (Finlay Donovan #4) by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice (Finlay Donovan, #4)Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice is the highly-anticipated 4th-installment to Elle Cosimano’s Finlay Donovan Cozy Mystery series, featuring my favorite gal pals, Finlay and Vero!

When Finlay and Vero mention they need a Girls Weekend, people think rest, relaxation, that the women need to let their hair down. After the events at the Citizen’s Police Academy, it wouldn’t be surprising if they needed a break.

This is Finlay and Vero though, so you know there’s more to it than that. What they’ve really got planned is negotiating with a loan shark, rescuing Vero’s childhood crush, Javi, and finding a stolen luxury car.

Getting away won’t be so easy though. After Finlay’s mother hears about the Girls Weekend to Atlantic City, she insists on going. They’ll need help with the kids and she’s a girl too. She wants in.

Then Steven, Finlay’s ex-husband, gets word of the trip and insists that Finlay cannot take the kids over a state border without his permission, which he’s not giving, but he’s willing to go along.

Thus begins the most hilarious road trip from hell.

They check into a seedy casino hotel, two rooms of course, and Finlay and Vero get to work right away. It’s tricky, but they don’t have a lot of time.

After negotiations with the loan shark, Marco, fail, the gals have to move on to Plan B. They’ll just have to find the whereabouts of Javi and the Aston Martin themselves, using nothing but their phenomenal sleuthing skills.

They figure out where Marco’s suite is and decide to break in to search for clues. I mean, obviously, right!?

Unfortunately, they discover much more than they bargained for in that suite; Marco’s dead body. With police circling like birds of prey, Finlay and Vero need to stay out of their sights, find Javi and get the heck out of dodge before they get accused of killing Marco themselves.

Y’all, I had so much fun with this. First of all, I was stoked to be back with this outrageous cast of characters. I love Finlay and Vero with my whole heart, but it’s not just them. All the side characters are wildly entertaining as well.

The way this one kicked off, with the road trip to Atlantic City, was hilarious. Just how the girls thought they could get away real quick and do what they needed to do, and the next thing you know, we’ve got two rambunctious kids, a opinionated mother and a jerk of an ex-husband in tow.

Then Marco’s hotel room. OMG, I was laughing out loud, exclaiming things. I couldn’t believe how much they were bumbling up that crime scene. It was hilarious.

And people kept showing up! Like, oh, now Nick is here!? I loved that, how even though the setting had changed, we still ended up having the full cast of wacky characters.

I absolutely adored the Atlantic City setting. It’s absurd how many opportunities for hi-jinks they had there. I was living for every minute of it.

This is an extremely strong addition to the series. At this point, my level of attachment for these characters is off the charts and this is one of my favorite mysteries so far.

Overall, Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice is another well-plotted, explosive, uproarious, utterly ridiculous adventure with Finlay and friends. 100% recommend to Readers who have enjoyed other books in this series.

If you haven’t started the series yet, but enjoy Cozy Mysteries full of OTT-humor and wild escapades, you definitely should give it a go.

I have listened to the audiobooks for the last three and have loved that format so much. The narration is perfect, A++!!!

Thank you so very much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I love this series and hope that it continues for a long, long time!

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Review: The Last Devil to Die (Thursday Murder Club #4) by Richard Osman

The Last Devil to Die (Thursday Murder Club, #4)The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Last Devil to Die is the 4th-installment in Richard Osman’s wildly-popular Cozy Mystery series, The Thursday Murder Club, following sleuthing retirees.

This is the most emotional installment yet, and I’m left wondering, if this is a Cozy Crime Mystery, why am I crying!?

The answer is simple. It’s because of the way Osman writes his characters. I feel like it would be impossible to read this series, and not come to love Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim, like they’re your own grandparents.

I absolutely adore them. The humanity and humor that is brought to these stories brings them to life in a natural and engaging way. It’s so enjoyable.

In this installment, one of Stephen’s old friends, Kuldesh Sharma, an antiques dealer, is killed. Shot in what looks like a professional hit. Shocking to say the least.

Unable to let a good murder pass them by, the Thursday Murder Club decides to investigate. Who would want to kill dear old, Kuldesh? It doesn’t make sense.

This multilayered mystery is fun and fast-paced. There’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of characters. We’re thrown into a world of oft-corrupt antiques dealers, art forgers, and most entertainingly, believe it or not, heroin dealers.

In addition to the mystery, I feel like with each installment we are given more info on the backgrounds of our MCs. We get to know them a little more with each mystery.

I loved seeing Joyce come into her own in this one, as Elizabeth is preoccupied with some personal issues. Joyce really stepped up to fill the void and it was nice to see how much her confidence has grown since the 1st-book.

We also learned more about Ibrahim and got some insight into his past. It was touching to see him feel comfortable enough to open up in the way he did here.

As you can tell from the above-statements alone, these books are about so much more than just the murder mystery. Small note of advice before you dive into this one, be sure you have some tissues handy.

I’m actually not sure what the plans are for this series. I’m hoping this isn’t the last book. There were some aspects of this that felt conclusive, but there’s still a lot of life left to live for these characters, nonetheless.

If you haven’t started this series yet, let me assure you, the hype is real. You don’t want to miss out on this!

I definitely recommend these to anyone who enjoys Cozy Mysteries, character-driven stories, or stories following older characters. Just be prepared to feel things…

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Review: Murder, She Wrote: Fit for Murder (Murder, She Wrote #57) by Terrie Farley Moran

Murder, She Wrote: Fit for MurderMurder, She Wrote: Fit for Murder by Jessica Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fit for Murder is the 57th, and latest installment, in the long-running and beloved Cozy Mystery series, Murder, She Wrote.

If I am counting correctly, this is the 36th-book that I have read in the series. I absolutely adore Jessica Fletcher. These are my go-to, number one, comfort reads.

They’re nostalgic, relaxing and always entertaining. I just love MSW and its intrepid amateur sleuth.

This mystery is entirely set in Jessica’s hometown of Cabot Cove, Maine. As much as I love when Jessica travels, getting to learn about different places and being dazzled by new settings, I do always love a story set in Cabot Cove.

I enjoy the comfort of being with Jessica at home, surrounded by her very best friends, and often nosy neighbors. This installment was no exception to that.

This mystery involves a new-to-town fitness instructor, Martin Terranova, who causes quite the stir by paying a little too much attention to some of his older clientele.

One woman in particular, Bertha Mae Cormier, whose property abuts Terranova’s gym, appears to be of particular interest to the trainer, decades her junior.

When one-time Cabot Cove Gazette editor, Evelyn Phillips, points out the startlingly-unbalanced relationship to Jessica, she can’t help but agree.

The optics aren’t great, but what could Terranova stand to gain from a relationship with Bertha Mae?

Shortly after Terranova comes to Jessica’s attention, he is found dead in his weight room. Before you even say it, no, Jessica didn’t do it. We all know that, but someone did.

We go along with Jessica as she digs into Terranova’s past and tries to suss out the killer.

With Jessica’s friend Evelyn as the leading suspect, the clock is ticking. Jessica needs to get to the bottom of this and quickly, before Evelyn takes the fall.

This was a fun one. I love how in a tither the whole town got about this guy’s presence. It was like they had never seen a personal trainer before. People flocked to him, but were also highly suspicious of everything he did.

There were a lot of interactions amongst the townspeople during Jessica’s investigation and I really enjoyed that. Many of the characters, most actually, we’ve met before in previous installments, so it was fun seeing them again.

I also enjoyed Evelyn being back and she and Jessica working together. Evelyn is bullheaded and has a tendency to steamroll through anything in her path, but Jessica seems to be a calming force for her. That worked well here.

There was some drama included involving the town Budget Office, which I wasn’t expecting and frankly, I’m not sure why was included. The book was exciting enough just following the mystery surrounding Terranova’s murder.

With that being said though, that was really the only thing I felt was a little wonky. Overall, I have been so delighted with Terrie Farley Moran being at the helm of this series.

Since the passing of the series original author, Donald Bain, Farley Moran has done the best job of capturing the original tone and feel of the series. I am so happy this long-running series is still going strong and I will continue to pick them up for as long as they are published.

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Another great installment from Terrie Farley Moran. These books are the epitome of Cozy to me, and I’ll continue reading them until the end of time. Keep ’em coming!!!

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Review: The Expectant Detectives (The Expectant Detectives #1) by Kat Ailes

The Expectant Detectives (Expectant Detectives, #1)The Expectant Detectives by Kat Ailes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

The Expectant Detectives is a new style of Cozy Mystery that I have certainly never read before. I found it to be charming and a heck of a lot of fun; pure enjoyment.

I love Cozy Mysteries that feature an MC and their friend group trying to solve a local mystery. A few favorites, to be noted for example, from recent years would be The Thursday Murder Club, Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers and The Marlow Murder Club.

All three of these books have one important thing in common, the MCs are older than we would typically find in the Mystery genre. These older, dare we call them elderly, characters are quirky, fun and provide a bit of a different perspective than the norm.

In The Expectant Detectives, Kat Ailes uses a very similar set-up to other Cozies, but her intrepid group of amateur sleuths are pregnant women, not elderly individuals.

In this story, we meet and follow, Alice. She and her boyfriend, Joe, are expecting their first child. Although not planned, they’re both excited about the pregnancy and looking forward to the next steps in their relationship.

Thinking their city-located flat will be too small for their growing family, they decide to move to the sleepy village of Penton. They just feel like it would be a more desirable place to raise a child. Safer and all that…

That is until a dead body is discovered at a prenatal class they have joined. They can’t believe it. This is not what they thought village life would be like.

Now everyone in attendance at the class is a suspect, including Alice and Joe.

Together with a few of the other pregnant women, Alice begins looking into the murder herself. She needs to clear their names before this baby arrives.

Side note, Alice has a glorious dog, Helen, who could easily turn out to be my favorite character of the year. I just adored her and the joy she brought to the narrative.

I was really entertained by this story. The audiobook was well done, the narration so on-point with the humor that it had me laughing out loud numerous times.

I thought Ailes set-up for this story was creative and truly unlike anything I’ve read before. Alice has a dry, witty sense of humor that worked well for me. She tells it like it is. She’s pretty blunt about her pregnancy and the way it is changing/affecting her body.

I also liked that it wasn’t just Alice that was pregnant, she had her new friends to share the experience with, as well as to help her do some first-rate investigating.

For me, I wouldn’t say the initial murder was totally compelling. It didn’t even make sense to me at first how they were so confident it was a murder, like it almost felt like it could have been an accident or something.

Nevertheless, I was willing to go on that journey with the characters because I was enjoying them so much. After a while, the more the ladies dug in, the more secrets and intrigue they revealed, then I was hooked.

Overall, this is a fantastic debut Mystery. It had just the right amount of humor and fun, mixed in with the actual mystery. I think the longer this series goes on, the more attached that I’m going to get to these characters and this village as well.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m definitely looking forward to more from Kat Ailes!

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Review: Murder Most Antique (Stamford Mysteries #2) by E.C. Bateman

Murder Most Antique (The Stamford Mysteries #2)Murder Most Antique by E.C. Bateman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Murder Most Antique is the 2nd-book in E.C. Bateman’s Stamford Mysteries series.

I really enjoyed the 1st-book in the series, Death at the Auction, and have been eagerly anticipating this follow-up.

This Cozy Mystery series follows Felicia Grant, whose has returned to her home village of Stamford to help her Dad run their family-owned Auction House.

In this installment, Felicia has been convinced by her best friend, Cassie, Stamford’s Mayor, to assist with the town’s annual Georgian Fair. Felicia is mildly put out, but she tries her best to grin and bear it. She’s hoping the lavish period costumes will be the worst she’ll have to endure.

When the headline speaker is found dead though, it’s clear this isn’t going to your average fair. As more bodies drop, Felicia finds herself trying to track down another killer.

Who says small town life is boring?

I enjoyed this. It’s a good book, but I didn’t have as much fun with it as the installment. It seemed to drag for me for some reason. It just felt overly-long and I wasn’t super intrigued by the mystery.

It does kick-off quickly, with a person missing before you are even 10% in, but after that, I don’t know, it just never really took off for me.

Yeah, I don’t really know what else to say. Sadly, it just wasn’t a gripping read for me. At the end of the day, I’m still proper attached to these characters and hope that the series continues.

I really enjoy Felicia so much, but I hope if there is another installment that it brings back a bit more of her humor. This one almost felt too serious for her. It sort of lost some of the dynamic magic amongst the characters from the 1st-one.

I would recommend this series for anyone who enjoys Cozy Mysteries that feature small town, or village, life. The amateur sleuthing vibes are on point and I am looking forward to seeing more of Felicia and friends.

Thank you to the publisher, One More Chapter, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Even though this wasn’t a new favorite, I am really hoping we get more books in the series.

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Review: Murder and Mamon (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #4) by Mia P. Manansala

Murder and Mamon (A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery Book 4)Murder and Mamon by Mia P. Manansala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Murder and Mamon is the 4th-book in Mia P. Manansala’s Culinary Cozy Mystery series, Tita Rosie’s Kitchen.

This series, set in the town of Shady Palms, follows Lila Macapagal and is full of food, friends and family drama. I have vibed with every book in this series so far and have really enjoyed getting to know Lila, her family and friends.

In this installment, Lila’s godmothers, April, Mae and June, lovingly known as the Calendar Crew, are embarking on a fresh business venture; a new laundromat.

Also new is that Ninang April’s niece, a recent art school graduate, gets sent from the Philippines to Shady Palms by her family. She’ll be staying with Ninang April and the plan is for her to help out at the laundromat.

Instead of the Macapagals celebrating their grand opening though, they find their building vandalized and April’s niece lying dead with a threatening message scrawled beside her.

Devastated by all that’s occurred, the Aunties are beside themselves with grief and fear. Who would target them like this? According to the threatening message, it appears that perhaps their well-known meddling and gossip may have finally pushed someone over the edge.

With the local police making little progress, Lila feels compelled to begin her own investigation. She’ll do whatever she can to protect her family.

With one family member dead, Lila isn’t willing to just sit back and risk more.

I really enjoyed this. It was exactly the fun-spirited story that I needed right now. There’s just something about returning to a beloved Cozy Mystery series, reuniting with characters that feel like friends and solving oftentimes OTT-cases with them, that I will never grow tired of.

I’m a true sucker for this series. I will never stop reading them. As long as they’re published, I’ll be picking them up. It’s just my kind of Cozy.

While this wasn’t my favorite in the series, I do think it is a super strong installment. I liked getting to know even more about the Aunties, as Lila is forced to dig a little more into their personal lives in this one.

I also found the conversations regarding why the victim came to the United States in the first place rather interesting. It involved a bit of a scandal and Lila had to try to figure out the ins-and-outs of that as well.

The mystery had me stumped. I had a lot of suspects, everyone seemed suspicious and I even questioned if the victim was who the killer intended to take out. At the end of the day, it was just a lot of fun. Pure entertainment.

I would recommend this series to any Cozy Mystery fan, particularly if you enjoy Culinary Cozies. There’s a lot of food talk in these books, with vivid, mouth-watering descriptions. If you don’t walk away hungry, you may not have a soul.

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

I’m such a fan of this series and am already anticipating the 5th-installment. I cannot even begin to imagine what sort of craziness the Macapagal family is going to get involved in next, but you better believe I want a front row seat!

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Review: Mother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon

Mother-Daughter Murder NightMother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This title, Mother-Daughter Murder Night, it’s catchy, isn’t it? Admittedly, it had me intrigued from the get-go.

It just sounds like something I need in my life right now…

Totally kidding. I haven’t lost it that bad. Yet…

The truth is, I really knew nothing about this book going in. I had just seen a few friends enjoying it and I had a tremendous amount of FOMO.

At the end of the day, I’m so happy that my complete inability to sit on the sidelines as others enjoy themselves led me to pick up this book.

It’s such a fun and engaging, though low-key mystery. I was pulled in by the cast of characters and they definitely ended up being my favorite part.

In this story we follow Lana Rubicon, an L.A. Real Estate mogul, her adult daughter, Beth, and Beth’s teenage daughter, Jack. It’s a trio that I grew to love.

After a bit of a health scare, Lana is forced to move in with Beth and Jack. Lana and Beth’s relationship has been a little strained, they’re just very different people, so the situation has them both a bit on edge.

Things get much worse, however, after Jack discovers a dead body while at work.

Jack works as a kayak tour guide on the local waterfront and comes across a young man floating, dead, while out in her kayak. Obviously, it’s quite upsetting for the teen.

The police questioning and subsequent interest in Jack in the aftermath of her discovery is even more upsetting for Lana and Beth. The detectives can’t possibly suspect that Jack had anything to do with this young man’s death, can they?

When it becomes clear that Jack, is in fact, a suspect, Lana takes it upon herself to begin her own investigation, find the real killer and clear their family name.

Jack is all for the amateur sleuthing undertaken by her Grandmother, while Beth definitely would rather let the police do their job. Certainly the evidence will prove Jack’s innocence, or will it?

I loved Lana. She stole the show for me. She is an absolute fireball and goals for me when I reach her age. I really enjoyed her character throughout. She added a great level of humor and sass to the story.

I also really enjoyed the set-up of the mystery. The events leading to the sleuthing. It was an intriguing murder, particularly in light of what you find out about the victim. I was curious as to what had happened to him and how his body ended up where it did.

In my opinion, this story would be a good fit for fans of the Finley Donovan series.

Though it’s not silly, or slap-stick, like FD, the level of mystery and intrigue is very similar, as well as the level to which interpersonal relationships are explored. It gave me a very similar vibe and entertainment level.

Overall, I found this book to be engaging, fun and really well-written. I am glad that I picked it up and look forward to reading more from this author in the future!

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