What I Read: June 13-19

Aurora by David Koepp: This was a read-in-one-day sort of book – fast-paced and interesting, without being TOO heavy (although focused on an apocalyptic-adjacent event). Koepp wrote the screenplay for Jurassic Park, so this reads very much like a movie. Thank you Harper Books for the finished copy! | My Aurora review on Instagram

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple #2) by Agatha Christie: I enjoyed this more than the first book, but I don’t know if Miss Marple and I can be friends. I’ll probably read the remaining four books I have in this series, but I’m not sure I’ll go beyond that. Looks like I’ll be scurrying back to Poirot in a few months…

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma: This started off incredibly promising and fizzled out, FAST. Between interesting (read: embarrassing and immature) names for body parts and a male lead who actually turns out to be a pretty big jerk, you’re not missing much if you decide to skip this one.

Witch and Famous (Witch Way Librarian Mysteries #3) by Angela M. Sanders: Witchy books can be really hit or miss for me, and this series continues to be a favorite! Sanders perfectly balances the magical and witchy elements with real life. The mystery in this one had me guessing until the very end, and I was thrown off by some very clever red herrings. Thank you Kensington for the ARC! | My Witch and Famous review on Instagram

Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar #1) by Harlan Coben: I’m no stranger to Harlan Coben, having read a handful of his books over the past few years. After catching up with Karin Slaughter’s backlist, I decided to shift my focus to starting the Myron Bolitar series from the beginning. Myron and Win are some of my favorite characters to revisit, and this series does a decent job of filling the Karin Slaughter void in my reading life. And for a book published in 1995, this didn’t feel TOO dated which is an achievement on its own.

CURRENTLY READING: Getting back into historical romance and finally reading All the Duke I Need by Caroline Linden. Thank you Avon for the finished copy!

What I Read: April 11-17

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin: This is an absolutely lovely book about friendship and life and death. Have some tissues ready, but also be prepared for a heartwarming, sweet read.

Come With Me by Ronald Malfi: This book is interesting and well written, but completely misrepresented. Come With Me is classified as horror, but (in my opinion) it read more like a mystery/thriller with a handful of spooky elements. There’s a little bit of a twist at the end that’s clever, but ultimately this didn’t really serve up what I was looking for.

A Thorn in the Saddle (Cowboys of California #3) by Rebekah Weatherspoon: This came highly recommend and for good reason – it’s an absolute delight! This is my second Rebekah Weatherspoon book (I read Rafe a few months ago) and I appreciate the minimal angst and drama between the main characters (minor spoiler: no third-act breakup here, and it’s refreshing!) Thank you Kensington for the ARC!

CURRENTLY READING: I picked up The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker (available 5/17/2022) last night. I’m only a handful of pages in but i’m always down for a good gothic novel. Thank you Harper Collins for the ARC!

What I Read: March 14-20

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgerton #8) by Julia Quinn: The Bridgerton series ended on a little bit of an odd note. Gregory is kind of the forgotten Bridgerton sibling – only popping up a handful of times (and really, for a sentence or two) in some of the previous books. This story is cute enough on its own, but it was a bit too drawn out and a little too lackluster for me to really have enjoyed it. However, I completed my goal of finishing the series before season two starts on Netflix, so i’m calling this a win.

The Ravenous Dead (Gravekeeper #2) by Darcy Coates: This was a decent continuation of the series, but I felt like it was a little repetitive in places (I enjoyed book #1 just a smidge more). The secondary characters still shine in this one, with one, in particular, stealing a scene or two towards the end. This is categorized as horror, but it’s really more of a cozy mystery with some spooky elements. Thank you Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC!

Busted (Will Trent #6.5) and Unseen (Will Trent #7) by Karin Slaughter: I have one more book left in the Will Trent series (book #10, since I read book #8 and book #9 completely out of order a few years ago) and I am DISTRAUGHT. Unseen was particularly upsetting because a huge part of the plot revolves around a much-loathed character from the Grant County series (but the book is incredible, as always. It’s a character you love to hate). PRO TIP: If you have not read any Karin Slaughter books, either pick up a standalone (I’d recommend Pretty Girls) or start the Grant County series from the beginning.

Space Junk (Space #1) by Sara L. Hudson: This was my most pleasant surprise of the week. I downloaded this book on my Kindle after it came highly recommended from a beloved friend (and it was only $.99, I think). This is a romcom, heavy on the comedy part – some moments had me laughing out loud! I’m also adding Flynn to my unofficial list of book boyfriends. The best part? There’s an entire series, featuring the supporting cast we met in Space Junk, and it’s available on Kindle Unlimited. My only dilemma is between purchasing the series on its own or finally signing up for KU again.

Danger on the Atlantic (Jane Wunderly #3) by Erica Ruth Neubauer: I’ll be honest – this is a cute historical cozy mystery series, but Redvers is really who keeps me coming back for more (he’s so dreamy. Think part James Bond, part Sherlock Holmes). Danger on the Atlantic takes place on a cruise ship, so there’s somewhat of a locked room mystery element at play. Thank you Kensington for the ARC!

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward: This was an odd book. I could tell it was written with the intent to perplex and confuse the reader, but I was pretty aware of the main “twist” right from the start. There are some really sad and awful reveals in the last bit of the book, but they feel a bit rushed and left without much explanation. Overall, it’s just incredibly sad – but worth a read.

CURRENTLY READING: I started The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab last night – I pretty much ignored this when it was getting a lot of hype, but I ended up with a copy of the book so I figured it’s worth a try. I like it so far, but i’m not even 50 pages in yet.

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Lemon Drop Dead by Amanda Flower

I am absolutely loving this series! I need to go back and start from the beginning. Lemon Drop Dead takes us back to Harvest, Ohio, to visit Bailey at Swissmen Sweets, a candy shop she owns with her grandmother.

When a mysterious baby shower guest turns up dead later that night, Bailey gets tangled up in yet another murder mystery, complete with some intense family drama and a secret child. Amanda Flower does a great job of balancing the Amish and the English characters, and often explains the differences in culture and the issues that can cause.

And, of course, Jethro the pig makes an appearance!

Thank you Kensington Books for sending me an ARC of Lemon Drop Dead!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer

Even though I love historical fiction and I love cozy mysteries, for some reason i’ve struggled in the past to read historical cozies…well, that streak finally ended with Murder at the Mena House! I absolutely loved the first book in this new series – Jane is a fun main character, Aunt Millie is mysterious and precocious and intriguing, and the dashing Mr. Redvers might be my absolute favorite.

Set in Egypt, young widow Jane is spending time abroad with her Aunt Millie at the Mena House Hotel. They meet some interesting characters right from the jump, and when sassy socialite Anna Stainton is found murdered, it’s a race to find the culprit before another body turns up. I had such vivid imagery of this in my mind while reading! It felt like going on vacation. Murder at the Mena House has Clue (yes, the board game) and Agatha Christie vibes, and i’m so excited to pick up the next book in the series!

Thank you Kensington Books for sending me a copy of this book!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Fresh Brewed Murder by Emmeline Duncan

A promising start to a brand new cozy mystery series, Fresh Brewed Murder tackles some tougher topics but never loses that overall cozy vibe that readers love.

Sage has recently opened Ground Rules, a coffee cart located in a food truck park in Portland. She barely has time to make more than a few lattes before she finds a repeat (and grumpy) customer dead right in front of her cart. Sage is immediately high on the suspect list, because a box cutter from her very own cart is the murder weapon.

We get a glimpse into Sage’s complicated life story (which I assume we will get more of in future books!) and the author doesn’t shy away from tough issues like homelessness and gentrification.

Thank you Kensington Books for the ARC!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Death at the Salon by Louise R. Innes

Death at the Salon is the second book in the Daisy Thorne mysteries, and I had a lot of fun reading it! Daisy owns Ooh La La, a local hair salon in a small English village. When one of her customers ends up dead mere hours after her (final…) appointment, Daisy has to work fast to not only clear her name, but keep herself (and her staff!) safe from a murderer on the loose.

Fans of cozy mysteries are sure to love the setting and characters of this series – I can’t wait to see what Daisy will do next!

Thank you Louise Innes for the digital ARC!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – A Matter of Hive and Death by Nancy Coco

A Matter of Hive and Death is the second book in the Oregon Honeycomb Mystery series, and I liked it even more than the first! Wren is a great main character and her Aunt Eloise, best friend Porsche and charismatic kitty Everett are absolutely delightful. (And, of course the tall, blue-eyed Officer Jim Hampton…)

The mystery in A Matter of Hive and Death was fantastically written and really fun to solve, with a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing.

Thank you Kensington Books for the ARC!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Death by Chocolate Snickerdoodle by Sarah Graves

Best friends Jake and Ellie, owners of the Chocolate Moose, are wrapping up their busy summer season. In an effort to prepare for the winter and make some extra money, Ellie takes on a big catering order. At the same time, they’ve decided to enter Eastport’s annual cookie baking contest. When the local curmudgeon ends up dead, Jake and Ellie take it upon themselves to investigate (they have a reputation for doing so…)

This is the second book i’ve read in this series, and it definitely won’t be the last. There are so many laugh-out-loud moments – Jake is an absolute HOOT. Ellie is a bit more levelheaded and the “brains” of the pair, but their friendship is adorable and their proclivity for snooping where they shouldn’t is always entertaining.

Thank you Kensington Books for the ARC!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop by Darci Hannah

There’s so much to love about this book! I was immediately interested when I found out it was set in northern Michigan (in the book, Beacon Harbor is close-ish to Traverse City). When Lindsey buys an old lighthouse in Michigan and quits her cushy job in New York City, she gets a little bit more than she bargained for.

With time, she renovates the lighthouse into a bakery/apartment and gets ready for a successful opening day. However, when her ex-fiance’s new girlfriend ends up dead after eating one of Lindsey’s donuts, she finds herself (and her brand new bakery) stuck in the middle of a murder investigation.

This was such a fun read. Darci Hannah does a great job of portraying life in a small Michigan town. The love interest in this book is DREAMY as heck and the supporting characters are a lot of fun.

Thank you Kensington Books for the ARC!