Killer Jam by Karen MacInerney – **TOP PICK**

2A140777-8364-484E-8345-2B28556A1572

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

51FF226C-25C3-4E0A-A904-06CF4EDE9DC0

I chose this cozy mystery to listen to on a whim, having downloaded it a while back from Amazon Prime Reading (audiobook version). What a pleasant surprise it was! I looked forward to my morning walks so that I could get caught up on what was happening with Lucy Resnick and Dewberry Farm. Here’s my synopsis of what it’s about….

Lucy Resnick, former Austin, Texas reporter turned homesteader, has purchased her grandparents’ farm in Buttercup, Texas. It had been sold 15 years prior after Lucy’s grandfather died. The new owner, Nettie Kocurek, has recently sold it to Lucy. But unbeknownst to Lucy, she was only sold the surface rights (what’s on top of the soil), and not the mineral rights (what’s beneath the soil). Nettie Kocurek wants to perform an oil exploration in the middle of Lucy’s pastureland with future plans to install an oil well if any oil is found there. Nettie is nursing a grudge against Lucy’s family because she was dumped by Lucy’s grandfather over 60 years ago. When Nettie turns up dead at the Founders’ Day festival and Jam-off, Lucy becomes a prime suspect. But with so few sympathetic reactions to the old woman’s plight from the Buttercup community, how will Lucy ever uncover the true killer and clear her name?

img_3243

I loved so many things about this book. The perfect country setting, Dewberry Farm in Buttercup, Texas, with residents that have names like Ursula, Opal, Rooster, Bessie Mae and Tobias. Lucy’s cow, Blossom, formerly known as Heifer #82, and her overweight, bald poodle, Chuck. The ongoing rivalry between the citizens of Czech and German descent, and laugh-out-loud moments reading about things like Lick Skillet Day, a bus that runs on fry grease, the real estate agent with the license plate that says BUY BUTT on it, and the mention of lots of kolaches. The murder mysteries were on point, and the colorful, quirky characters were amusing to say the least.

Kolaches

I LOVED Killer Jam. Karen MacInerney is a new favorite cozy author. Extremely highly recommended.

Have you ever read a cozy mystery by Karen MacInerney?  I’d love to hear what you thought about it.

A7643199-0514-4BB4-AB15-4A23157DDCF1

Advertisements

WWW Wednesday, October-25-2017

66700ECC-013B-4656-B0C4-F3231EF64932

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. The three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

The idea is for book lovers to share their answers to these questions with other book enthusiasts. Just leave the link to your own WWW Wednesday post in the comments section. No blog? No worries. Just answer the questions in the comments section for others to enjoy. Here’s mine…

Currently Reading:

015C1C3D-0926-444C-AD50-75A5B0C43BD1

Under an Adirondack Sky

Harlequin Heartwarming books are sweet, tender romances that I always find time to read since they are great stories but without the draining effect of some other books.  So when I’ve finished a particularly angst-ridden or psychologically challenging read, a Heartwarming book is just the thing for me. And sometimes I just go on a Heartwarming binge since I enjoy them so much.

2A140777-8364-484E-8345-2B28556A1572

Killer Jam

I love Cozy Mysteries, especially during the colder months for some unknown reason, so I chose Killer Jam to read since it’s been on my TBR pile for some time.

Recently Finished:

03F8D4C8-7B70-455A-AD15-4C008FD5962D

Heart’s Refuge

I loved this book! It was just what I needed. I can’t get enough of that sweet cover!! That dog is so cute!! The protagonist won me over in this book. Cheryl Harper writes great stories.

What I might read next:

28D747F7-1228-4F80-AD95-3EBAD3F54970

Planted

Planted is a cozy mystery book that I received for an honest review from the author. It sounds interesting and I’m looking forward to reading it.

So there you have it.  What do you think about my selections?  This is my first WWW Wednesday so it might be slow going at first with regard to commenters.  But hopefully it will gain momentum as time goes on.  I’m really interested in what everyone else is reading, has read or plans to read, so please share your WWW Wednesday post, or just comment below.  So…..

65E344E4-3EAF-43A9-A1B6-394B138413EB

Enjoy!!

Muffins and Mourning Tea by H.Y. Hanna

7F53482D-6594-4A89-93CC-F926F5721537

My synopsis: It’s May Day, first day of Spring in England, and Gemma regretfully agrees to celebrate it with her best friend, Cassie. The Oxford University tradition is to gather on Magdelan bridge (pronounced Maudlin) and listen to choristers sing from the Bell Tower above Magdalen College during the wee hours of the morning. When a young man hurls himself off of the bridge into the river Cherwell below Gemma isn’t initially alarmed since that is somewhat the custom. But until now everyone has succeeded in emerging from the river unscathed. Charlie Foxton was not as fortunate. A likeable young man by all accounts, Charlie didn’t seem the sort to participate in such foolish antics. It’s no wonder that what was initially deemed an accident quickly turned to a suspicion of murder.

D1B4EA45-A5BA-49E6-A67E-4975901A1351

Kids jumping off of Magdelan Bridge into the river Cherwell below

My Thoughts:  HY Hanna delivers another stellar, clever mystery with international characters that add intrigue and spice to the story. (Her audible narrator, Pearl Hewitt, does an exquisite job at imitating the accents for the various Russian characters in the story.) I can depend on a solid mystery and some laugh-out-loud moments whenever the “old biddies” interfere in the murder investigation. Their practical, albeit unconventional sleuthing methods, are hilarious. The luscious tidbits about Oxford University and the surrounding area are always a plus in this series.  I liked Gemma’s transition from normally mild-mannered girl to imposing figure at times in this installment. There’s an inkling of trouble in paradise with Gemma’s boyfriend, Devlin O’Connor, and the suspicion still lingers beyond the conclusion of the book. Overall, I absolutely loved this cozy mystery (I think it’s my new favorite one of the series), and I look forward to the next book in the series, Four Puddings and a Funeral.  Extremely highly recommended.

Have you ever read, or listened to, any books in the Oxford Tearoom Mystery series?  If so, what did you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

F371AA00-C5A0-45CA-AE8C-730BF2F08475

Bell Tower at Magdelan College – Oxford University

Till Death do us Tart by H.Y. Hanna

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 4.5 stars

Gemma Rose, owner of the Little Stables Tearoom in Oxford, has had her cat, Muesli, entered in the village fete cat show by her well-meaning mother, Evelyn Rose. Muesli, a common moggie cat, has no chance of winning this pure breed expedition. Dame Claire Eccleston, a snobbish, uppity opponent in the contest, makes this fact clearly known when she scornfully insults Muesli with the common farmhouse moggie designation. As Gemma anxiously awaits the judging of the cats, a scream rings out, and Dame Claire is knocked down in the crowd. But the woman doesn’t get back up. She’s dead, presumably of a heart attack, clutching an angina pill in one hand as she lay on the ground. She was at risk after all, being overweight and continually warned by her doctor to watch her intake of fattening desserts. She’d callously ignored his advice, even wolfing down rich cake she brought to the fete. But when her manner of death is called into question, Gemma sets out to uncover the real cause of death and the culprit behind the murder. This will prove to be a daunting task since Dame Claire Eccleston, Gemma quickly learns, was disliked by almost everyone she’d come in contact with.

Till Death do us Tart is another entertaining instalment in the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries series. H.Y. Hanna delivers yet another solid mystery, infused with intellect and wit that keeps you engaged from start to finish. Her audio narrator for the series, Pearl Hewitt, is outstanding. Her portrayal of the characters’ emotions—astonishment, exasperation, horror, chagrin, further enhances the story. Her impersonations can’t be beat, from the old biddies, to the maid at Eccleston House, and even Muesli the cat, are some of the best I’ve ever heard. An intrinsic quality that serves this series well.

If you enjoy well-crafted British cozy mysteries, you’ll love Till Death Do us Tart. And for those who like listening to audiobooks, this one is a winner.

Review: Two Down, Bun to Go


Two Down, Bun to Go by H.Y. Hanna My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜

Professor Quentin Barrow is found dead, stabbed to death with an Egyptian Dagger. Gemma’s former Oxford chum and still good friend, Seth Browning, is charged with the murder. Seth was seen arguing with professor Barrow before the body was discovered. A staunch advocate for the homeless and other such causes, Seth was getting pushback from the professor regarding a piece of college donated property that would have benefited the homeless. Barrow’s pompous, elitist attitude disgusted Seth, and his repulsion for the man was evident. Gemma knows her friend could not have committed the murder, although she must admit his current odd, uncharacteristic and mysterious behavior is quite alarming. But how can she prove his innocence when there is so much circumstantial evidence pointing to Seth? With the help of handsome CID Detective and former boyfriend, Devlin O’Connor, contending beau, Lincoln Green, and the meddlesome but lovable Old Biddies, Gemma uncovers a slew of others who might have killed the unpopular professor. The question is, which one of them actually did?

I don’t know how H.Y. Hanna manages it, but each successive book in her Oxford Tearoom Mystery series is better than the last. Don’t let the whimsical, cute little cover fool you. They rival other renowned and beloved writers of British mysteries hands down. Her characters’ magnetic personalities captivate; from the endearing to the villainous, they’re all equally entertaining. The way in which she describes her mother’s witty charms and hapless adventures, the antics of the Old Biddies, and little Muesli the cat, never fails to elicit chuckles. The plot moves along effortlessly as the reader is immersed in English life and subtly educated about the peculiarities and uniqueness of the University of Oxford—a real treat and added bonus.

Read it, you’ll LOVE it. And if you want an even greater experience, do yourself a favor and listen to the audio version. The narrator does a stupendous job of bringing the characters to life. Very, very highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Review: Tagged for Death

Tagged for Death
Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐💫 Sarah Winston, 38, is devoid of a social life since divorcing her husband, CJ Hooker, former Air Force Base Security Forces squadron commander. Forced to retire for “misconduct” after having had an affair with a 19 year old airman, Tiffany Lopez. Sarah does, however, enjoy frequenting garage sales, and recently she’s snagged a great buy at one in particular, even managing to collect various free items for charity. Back at her small apartment, while sorting out the charitable items to be taken to the military base thrift shop, she finds a bloodstained shirt with her ex-husband’s initials on the monogrammed cuff, along with another piece of bloodied clothing, a maternity top, that belonged to his dismissed lover, Tiffany Lopez. Flabbergasted as to how either of the items wound up with her other collectibles, and in a panic, Sarah frantically tries to locate CJ. When he finally contacts her she shares what she found and he assures her he’ll figure out what’s going on. But when blood is found on Tiffany’s dorm room floor, and Sarah soon finds a skull and bones on the thrift store grounds where she volunteers, will she be able to prove that her ex-husband didn’t have a motive for murder?

I really enjoyed Tagged for death. The mystery of what happened to Tiffany Lopez unfolds gradually while we simultaneously gain a window into Sarah’s life as an ex-military wife, and how she is forced to redefine herself after losing much of her identity after moving off the military base. While Sarah has to learn to adapt to life as an ordinary civilian and divorcee, she’s savvy when it comes to using her wits to investigate the murder of her ex-husband’s lover. The struggle to rid herself of the love she still has deep down for her cheating husband, while endeavoring to make a little money to sustain herself by setting up garage sales for friends and acquaintances, endeared me to her character. She’s a fighter, determined to overcome adversity, and I admired that quality. Tagged for Death is not a whimsical cozy. It has a mature theme that held my attention as much as the mystery aspect. There are a few twists that I didn’t expect, and that makes me curious and eager to move on in the series, as these twists warrant further development. A great story. I am definitely interested to see how Sarah gets on with her life. Recommended.

View all my reviews

Review: Murder is No Accident

Murder is No Accident
Murder is No Accident by A.H. Gabhart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

⭐⭐⭐💫 3.5 stars.
Young Maggie Green, 15, knows she has no business in Miss Fonda’s alluring Victorian mansion by herself. But she can’t resist. Even though the elderly Miss Fonda has invited her to come by whenever she wants, Maggie’s mother, who cleans the mansion with Maggie’s help, does not approve of her being there when they’re not working, especially since Miss Fonda is relegated to a gentle care facility now and the house sits empty. As young folks are sometimes prone to disobey their parents’ wishes, Maggie is inside the mansion in the tower room which is above the third floor, accessed by a trap door in the room beneath, making entries in her secret diary when she hears real estate agent, Geraldine Harper, entering the house. Careful not to be heard, Maggie stays still and quiet, hoping the well-known agent will leave shortly. But wait, there’s another set of footsteps heard in the house, and Geraldine hears them too. When she encounters the other intruder, a person she clearly knows, a conversation ensues and when Geraldine threatens to beckon the police, Maggie hears what sounds like someone tumbling down a flight of stairs. In fear, she waits a little while before leaving her hideaway and discovers the real estate agent dead at the bottom of the stairs. She calls 911 with Geraldine’s phone and sneaks away from the house unnoticed before the police arrive. Or did she get away unnoticed? In time Maggie becomes privy to not one murder, but two, and will she be able to keep herself out of harms way before the threats of a killer make her murder victim number three?

Murder Is No Accident is the first book I’ve read by A.H. Gabhart, and it was a pretty good mystery. What I liked most was the climactic ending. It was a different experience reading about a young teen discovering murder victims, as opposed to an adult. Some of the complexities that accompany mysteries featuring an adult protagonist is not present in this book, which was a little bit of a minus for me. The pacing started out slow but gradually picked up. It ebbed and flowed, with the ending reaching a crescendo. I think some of the parts in the beginning of the book made me feel as though it was written to appeal to an older demographic with the mention of dementia, strokes, accidents amongst the elderly, and the infirmities that are typically associated with aging. It was a little depressing, but thankfully those subjects didn’t prevail throughout the entire book. The sleepy town, Hidden Springs, where the murders took place, was comprised of quirky characters that tend to inhabit small, southern towns. A Deputy, Michael Keane, had a continual presence in the book, and the direction of his love life was somewhat of a secondary plot. I ultimately enjoyed how things turned out for him. The other characters made their appearances without much fanfare; sprinkled about here and there. Nothing particularly endearing about any of them besides Maggie and the boy who had a crush on her, Anthony. They were a sweet, innocent pair. Aside from them, there wasn’t a whole lot of character development that would make me long to read more about what happened to any of them in the future.

All in all, whereas the mystery aspect wasn’t bad, and the conclusion plausible, this was just an okay read for me. Others may really enjoy it. I just needed a little more excitement to keep me turning the pages, and that wasn’t the case for me.

Thank you Baker Publishing for an ARC of this book. In return I have provided an honest review.

View all my reviews