Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: Room With a Clue by Kate Kingsbury

Description (from cover):

'Welcome to the Pennyfoot..

The London aristocracy has discovered the pleasures of seaside holidays in Badgers End, and it's Cecily Sinclair's job as the owner of the Pennyfoot Hotel to keep them comfortable and entertained. Detective work is not part of her duties--but Cecily is only too willing to help the local constable when death pays an unexpected visit...

Fatal fall..

The view from the Pennyfoot's roof garden is lovely...but for Lady Eleanor Danbury, it was the last thing she ever saw. A four-story fall has ended her life, and solving the case is no small feat for the snobbish society matron managed to put off nearly everyone, from the hotel housemaid to her harried husband. But murder is bad business, so Cecily sets out to catch the culprit before disaster strikes again...'

My thoughts:

I've been wanting to read this series for years and thanks to Amazon's new Unlimited program, I was able to read this one. I will say that I was a little disappointed as it was a little too easily figured out. I knew who the murder was and why pretty much early on and I was just simply expecting a little more I suppose. I will say that it is a quaint English mystery that is the true definition of a cozy mystery. I will say that the setting and the characters were a treat, but that the mystery was a little too easily solved for my taste.

It was easy to get lost in the scenery of a quaint seaside English town that is known for being a vacation spot for the wealthy. It was also set in one of my favorite historical periods, the Edwardian era, which is what caught my eye in the first place. The main character Cecily seems like she has a lot of gumption and that I could really come to enjoy reading about her detective escapades. Unfortunately, this book was too short to really get a feel for the characters and to see if this is a series I could really enjoy.

While the first book in this series was not like I was expecting, I think I will read a couple more to see if I want to continue with this series. I love the time period and that it is a cozy mystery series I could come to enjoy with time. This series has been around for some time and has some notoriety as it has been around for quite some time. I would love to see how you guys enjoyed this series and see if you had the same reaction.

Overall Rating: 2.5

Title:  Room With a Clue
Author:  Kate Kingsbury
Series:  Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery #1
Publisher:  Jove
Publication Date:  September 1, 1993
Pages:  204
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was received from Amazon Unlimited. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review: Poisoned Prose by Ellery Adams

Description (from cover):

'When Olivia Limoges and other Oyster Bay patrons of the arts sponsor a retreat for famous storytellers, one of them is going to have a very unhappy ending...

Olivia thought gathering some of the most renowned storytellers in one place would be a nice, simple way for herself and the Bayside Book Writers to appreciate their talents. But things take a dark turn when the most famous storyteller in the nation--the captivating Violetta Devereaux--announces onstage that she will meet her end in Oyster Bay.

When Violetta is discovered murdered after the show, everyone involved with the retreat becomes a suspect. There are rumors that Violetta, who grew up in extreme poverty in the Appalachian Mountains, possessed an invaluable treasure. Now Chief Rawlings and the Bayside Book Writers must work at a frenzied pace to solve the crime before someone closes the book on them,'

My thoughts:

This book was by far the best in the series. So much happens in this book with the characters that I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one and see how everything turns out. I was reading this one like crazy and couldn't put it down. I felt this way about the rest of the books in this series, but this one was the icing on the cake. A fabulous and well-written mystery and now I am sad because there are no books left in this series to read. The next one doesn't come out for a couple of months and I am wondering if I will survive the wait. 

Olivia and Bayside Book Writers are at it again. When a famed storyteller ends up dead in Oyster Bay, they team up to help solve her murder. With suspects coming out of the woodwork and secrets piling up, they must be smart about their investigation as this murderer has nothing to lose and everything to gain. A thrilling page turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat dying to see what happens next. Olivia goes through some pretty traumatic things in this book and I am curious to see how those incidents play out in the rest of the series. 

Please discover this series for yourselves, if you haven't already. I love cozies but this is by far one of the best cozy series that I have read ever. The characters are so well-developed and likeable and the author always stuns me with the conclusion. I couldn't ask for a better written mystery. Alas, I have ran out of books and this author seriously cannot pen them fast enough to keep me happy. Disappointed that I will have to wait several months to get my hands on the next installation, but once I do, it will be like returning home and seeing old friends again.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  Poisoned Prose
Author:  Ellery Adams
Series:  Books by the Bay Mystery #5
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  October 1, 2013
Pages:  305
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: Written in Stone by Ellery Adams

Description (from cover):

'When Munin Cooper, known as the witch of Oyster Bay, warns Olivia Limoges that death is coming, neither of them realize that it is the older woman herself who will soon be found dead. And Olivia's instincts tell her that something--or someone--more sinister than a mystical force is at play.

Olivia has a lot on her plate preparing for the Coastal Carolina Food Festival. When she hears the news of Munin's untimely death, however, finding the murderer takes priority. The witch left behind a memory jug full of keepsakes that Olivia knows must point to the killer--but she's got to figure out what they mean.

With handsome police chief Rawlings by her side, Olivia starts to identify some of the jug's mysterious contents--and finds it secrets are much darker than she suspected. Now Olivia must enlist the help of the Bayside Book Writers to solve the puzzle behind the piece of pottery and put an end to a vengeful killer before any more damage can be done...'

My thoughts:

I think that I've made it plainly clear that I have been enjoying this series. I loved all the books in this series, but I will say that even though I loved this one, this is the one that I didn't enjoy as much as the others. I can't explain why exactly, maybe it was that this one didn't focus so much on the coastal scenery as the others. I do love the imagery of the beach that this author portrays and this book features a lot more of the Coastal Carolina Food Festival rather then take me to the quaint beach that I have come to love in this series. I love when Adams describes the beach scenes and for me this book didn't have enough of that. I understand that she probably wanted to switch up the series a little bit, but for some reason I just couldn't love this one as much as the others.

Munin Cooper is the old lady who everyone finds to be strange and local legend has it that she is a witch. She summons Olivia and Olivia meets with her. At that meeting, Munin warns Olivia that death is near and that she should be careful. Olivia shrugs it off and goes home and continues with her life. A week later, Olivia is shocked to find out that Munin has been found dead under mysterious circumstances. Unfortunately, the local police department rule Munin's death as an accidental death and the case is closed. Olivia cannot ignore the hunch that she has that something sinister is at play. Using her trusty poodle, Captain Haviland and her friends in the Bayside Book Writers to solve this local mystery.

Adams uses history and introduces the reader to the local Lumbee Indian Tribe (which is a real tribe in the state of North Carolina). I love how much the author did her research for this novel as it really shows when describing the Lumbees and their way of life. I just wish that the author would have let Olivia spend more time at the beach then attending the festival. Still a great read that keep me flipping page after page. I had no idea who the killer was and what the motive was until the author revealed the conclusion. Don't let the fact that I thought this book was a little different than the others, I still enjoyed it and found it to be truly captivating.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Title:  Written in Stone
Author:  Ellery Adams
Series:  Books by the Bay Mystery #4
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  November 6, 2012
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: The Last Word by Ellery Adams

Description (from cover):

'Olivia Limoges and the Bayside Book Writers are excited about Oyster Bay's newest resident: bestselling novelist Nick Plumley, who's come to work on his next book, but finds himself caught in a deadly ending...

The arrival of Nick Plumley has sent shivers of excitement throughout Oyster Bay. Especially since rumor has it that the Booker Prize winner is thinking about putting down roots here. No one is more thrilled than Olivia and her fellow members when Plumley drops by the first writer's group meeting at Harris' new house. But why is Plumley more interested in poking around the lovely bungalow than in discussing the craft of fiction?

Not long after, Olivia stops by Plumley's rental--and finds that he's been strangled to death. Her instincts tell her that something from the past came back to haunt him, but she never expects that the investigation could spell doom for one of her dearest friends...'

My thoughts:

So I was thinking that surely by the third book in this series, I would get a book that lacked the luster of the previous one in the series and I would be disappointed. Most definitely not the case. I simply cannot get enough of this series. This is cozy mystery done right. I love Olivia's character and her friends and the small town of Oyster Bay, North Carolina. It sounds like heaven on earth. The characters go through so much development in this series that you almost feel as if you are living your life beside them. The author does a fantastic job of creating a lasting relationship between the reader and the characters in this series that keeps drawing the reader in.

I know I read a lot of mysteries and tend to really enjoy all cozies, except for the poorly written, but this is by far one of the most stunning series of them all. This series is a diamond amongst other gems, but it is solid and dependable and I know that I am getting a good mystery when I pick up this series. The author really pours her heart and soul into these books and it really shows. Not what one would think about a cozy mystery series, but this is on a whole different level.

At first, I was concerned that I wouldn't get into Olivia's haughtiness, but it really grew on me. This book had a ton of twists and turns that left me dying to get the end to see how everything played out. This book had the right amount of mystery, romance and the past to keep me intrigued from page one until the very end. I was so sad to see it end, but I do have the next book in the series lined up to read next. Looks like I am getting my fix.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  The Last Word
Author:  Ellery Adams
Series:  Books by the Bay Mystery #3
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  December 6, 2011
Pages:  320
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: A Deadly Cliche by Ellery Adams

Description (from cover):

'While walking her poodle, Olivia Limoges discovers a dead body buried in the sand. Could it be connected to the bizarre burglaries plaguing Oyster Bay, North Carolina? The Bayside Book Writers prick up their ears and pick up their pens to get the story...

The thieves have a distinct MO. At every crime scene, they set up odd tableaus: a stick of butter with a knife through it, dolls with silver spoons in their mouths, a deck of cards with a missing queen. Olivia realizes each setup represents a cliche.

Who better to decode the cliche clues than the Bayside Book Writers group, especially since their newest member is Police Chief Rawlings? As the investigation proceeds, Olivia is surprised to find herself falling for the widowed policeman. But an even greater surprise is in store. Her father--lost at sea thirty years ago--may still be alive...'

My thoughts:

I adore the first book in this series and I adored this one. I can go on and on about the things that make this a fantastic cozy mystery, bur I really want to focus on the one thing that really got my attention: character development. This author is the master at character development. This book opens the reader to connect with the haughty Olivia Limoges. As the reader, we get to see her struggle to change who she is to be more sociable and make friends and we get to see how she handles life when it knocks her for a loop. I simply am in awe at the author's development of her main character in this book. I feel connected to this characters and that is a major trait that many authors struggle with. 

I love how this book has a mystery, but that it also focuses on Olivia and her life. Olivia is somewhat of a loner. Her haughty attitude has alienated her from the townspeople of Oyster Bay, but she does have some close friends in the Bayside Book Writers group. These friends become almost like family in this book and some strong bonds are created not only between the characters but with the reader as well. They solved a mystery before and when another strange string of robberies hits Oyster Bay, they have to take matters into their own hands. 

I simply couldn't put this one down. I love cozy mysteries and tend to like them even if they are not the best written books just because I enjoy the genre so much. This author blew me away. I absolutely cannot wait to read the next one and I am probably going to be reading the whole series straight through for the next couple of days. I am now a huge fan of Ms. Adams and think that she can write an exceptional story. I adore this series and cannot stress enough how well-written this series is. I gave the last book the highest rating on my blog and I enjoyed this one way more than that one. This series just keeps getting better and better.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  A Deadly Cliche
Author:  Ellery Adams
Series:  Books by the Bay Mystery #2
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  March 1, 2011
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams

Description (from cover):

'In the small coastal town of Oyster Bay, North Carolina, you'll find plenty of characters, ne'er-do-wells, and even a few celebs trying to duck the paparazzi. But when murder joins this curious community, the Bayside Book Writers are there to get the story...

Olivia Limoges is the subject of constant gossip. Ever since she came back to town--a return as mysterious as her departure--Olivia has kept to herself, her dog, and her unfinished novel. With a little cajoling from the eminently charming writer Camden Ford, she agrees to join the Bayside Book Writers, break her writer's block, and even make a few friends...

But when townspeople start turning up dead with haiku poems left by the bodies, anyone with a flair for language is suddenly suspect. And it's up to Olivia to catch the killer before she meets her own surprise ending.'

My thoughts:

There is something about this series that made me feel like I would love it. I bought all of this series at the local used bookshop based on a hunch. Finally, I got around to actually reading it and what do you know, I loved it. I loved the setting of a small coastal town in North Carolina (my home state) where everyone knows everyone and all of their secrets and the main character is someone who is refreshing. Normally cozy mystery main characters are likeable and get along with everyone. That is most definitely not the case with Olivia Limoges. Olivia is haughty and at times quite the snob. She is the center of town gossip and she loves to do whatever she wants regardless of the consequences. Most of the time though, Olivia gets away with it.

It was nice to read a cozy mystery with a character who doesn't necessary fit the main character mold. I think that might be why I enjoyed this one a lot as well. Not to mention the literary theme was right up my alley. I simply couldn't put this one down. From page one I was hooked and I knew that I had made a right decision by snatching up the whole series from the bookstore. I am actually going to start on the next one in this series now as I enjoyed this one so much. 

This was a delightful read that was different from the rest of the cozy mysteries in this genre. Something about this author and this character make them stand apart from the rest. I was thrilled to read this one and I can't wait to see how the small town of Oyster Bay, North Carolina changes the haughty Olivia and what her and Haviland (her poodle) will get themselves into next. Now I am off to discover the next gem in this series. A superb beginning to what I hope will become a favorite cozy series of mine.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  A Killer Plot
Author:  Ellery Adams
Series:  Books by the Bay Mystery #1
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  June 1, 2010
Pages:  320
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Boiled Over by Barbara Ross

Description (from cover):

'For Julia Snowden, the Founder's Day summer celebration in Busman's Harbor, Maine, means helping her family's clambake company to prepare an authentic taste of New England seafood. Any Mainer will tell you that a real clambake needs wood for the fire...so why is there a foot sticking out of the oven?

The townspeople want to pin the murder of the RV park owner on Cabe Stone, a new employee of the Snowden Family Clambake Company--who bolted from the crime scene and disappeared. Julia knows having another murder associated with her family's business is a recipe for disaster...but who is the killer? 

Cooking up a proper investigation doesn't leave much time for the rest of Julia's life, and this is one killer who'll do anything to stop her from digging up clues...'

My thoughts:

I enjoyed the first book in this series, Clammed Up so much that when I was approached to read this one, I just couldn't pass it up. I absolutely adore the setting and the atmosphere that the author has created in this series. It is just a dream to be reading about Maine in the summertime. The author has a way with describing the setting so well that I practically want to pack my bags and run away to Maine right this instant. Believe me, if I could I absolutely would. I can't describe how this author weaves her words to make an utterly stunning setting that I escape to every single time I picked up this book.

Julia Snowden has returned from Manhattan to help save her family's clambake business. She is quickly making her way around the small town of Busman's Harbor, Maine and is even involved in the preparation of the Founder's Day celebration. When one of the committee ends up dead in Julia's family's clambake fire, nonetheless, she is determined to clear her family's name and bring a killer to justice. When one of her own employees is accused, she steps in and begins an investigation that will prove that he had nothing to do with it.

Using her smarts and her determination, she discovers who had motive, means and opportunity. I simply couldn't put this book down. Between the stellar storyline and the picturesque setting, I really found myself escaping to Busman's Harbor and unraveling a murder mystery. If you haven't the opportunity to discover this series yet, please do so, as you are missing out on a fabulous and well written cozy mystery. Can't wait for the next release so I can return to Maine and spend some more time with Julia and her family.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  Boiled Over
Author:  Barbara Ross
Series:  Maine Clambake Mystery #2
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  May 6, 2014
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.
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