Cozy Mystery

Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams

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I feel like I cheated with this book. The whole premise of Storyton Hall, a resort where folks go to get away from technology and read, is to get away from technology and I read this one as an e-book on my computer because I was too impatient for my library to get a physical copy. I don’t think they let e-readers into this place, but they certainly make people leave their cameras, phones, and laptops in their rooms.

This cozy mystery is set during Valentine’s Day during a week full of events geared towards Regency Romance Novel lovers. Once again it’s all very well done and completely believable even with certain spins this family takes (you’ll understand what I mean once you read Murder in the Mystery Suitethe first book in this series). I am a sucker for a sweet romance and I like the depth of one hinted at within this book. At first I wasn’t impressed, but as I finished the book, I have high hopes.

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Getting Old is the Best Revenge

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I was so excited after reading Getting Old is Murder, I decided to read the second book in the series next. For the most part, it didn’t disappoint.

I loved the depth of Gladdy’s character. I tend to read what I call fluffy books–ones where the main characters don’t deal with too much real hardship. At the end of the day, these are Cozy Mysteries, so there’s nothing too upsetting, but at least she’s allowed to have some doubts about life. It’s nice to find someone real who isn’t so real that they’re utterly depressing.

I wasn’t as surprised by the murderer’s reveal, though there were still a couple twists that kept me on my toes. I think I’ve pinned down Ms. Lakin’s formula, but I’m hopeful that she’ll be able to keep the series exciting. The girls are predictable in that I know that they’ll do something funny and *SPOILER ALERT*: you can’t go wrong with a mob of 70+ year old women taking down a relatively youthful murderer, hehehe.

This book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, but I just got 5 books from the library and a book from Blogging for Books, so it will be awhile before I return to Ms. Gold’s shenanigans (or the appropriate Yiddish equivalent).

Cartoon Cruise Ship Let's Go Cruisin
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Borrowed Crime by Laurie Cass

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Huh…apparently this is the 3rd book in this series. I thought it was the 2nd the whole time I was reading it. I didn’t pick this book for myself which is why I wasn’t sure of it’s placement in the series–before going on vacation I asked my dad to raid my mom’s overflowing collection of Cozy Mystery books that she’ll never read (she’s a compulsive shopper) and this was one he gave me (or maybe my mom gave me because apparently after he’d grabbed 4 or 5 books, she continued to fill the bag).

Anyway, this being in the middle of the series was very evident, kind of to the character’s detriment. Or at least the relationship between Minnie and Tucker. I wanted to like him because I’m usually all for the established couple, but these two are all like, “Speed” as referenced in “Speed 2” (you know, the kind of lame Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock movies): relationships forged after a very intense situation never pan out. I guess they were a relationship forged after an intense situation, because I don’t see them as a couple at all, but that is never explained in this book. I like a good romance (emphasis on the good!) and I barely give them a meh–I don’t like drawing out a relationship that is obviously not going to last (sorry for anyone who loves this couple!).

Anyway, I like the premise. Eddie is cute (the cat)…I’m just not very impressed that this book is I guess playing off other novels (which I haven’t read yet) where the animals solve the crime then try to convince their people of who did it. This one hints and hints, but to take a suggestion from tvtropes.org, there’s way too much “telling” and not enough “showing”–I buy it because I’m told to buy it, not because there’s any indication of Eddie doing something beyond the realm of a cat. I guess the best way to explain it is that I’d never say “oh my god you wouldn’t believe what this cat just did!” You see, one of our cats ninja jump-flips off the wall in the hallway (a good 3.5 to 4 ft up the wall), so I’m not impressed by a cat who senses a few obvious signs of trouble (i.e. blood from a recently shot person who he liked or said person’s hat)–it’s fully in the realm of cat (or dog) to sense these things.

Anyway, the mystery was good–I was surprised by the killer’s identity and the reasoning all worked. There weren’t any stupid “let me get myself into trouble even though I know I shouldn’t” moments, which is a huge plus. All in all this was a nice light read, but not one I’m desperate to get the next one in the series, and I’m not going to hunt down books 1 and 2.

I will offer one complaint about the cover on the version I have (same as above)–it’s quite inaccurate, which annoys me. If their bookmobile was organized like a food truck, that’d be one thing, but it’s obviously described as being essentially a converted tour bus. Still, artistic license and all that jazz–I won’t fret over the artwork as much as I do inaccuracies within the novel itself.

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Murder, Plain and Simple

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This is my first taste of the Amish-themed books that have recently become popular. Given how most I’ve seen have been “Amish Romances”, I’ve been worried that the authors are doing nothing more than promoting the “Disneyfication” of Amish life.

Well, I can happily say that not only does this book not present a Disney version of being Amish, it pokes fun (and seriousness) at the practice of turning Amish Country into a tourist attraction.

While I find the Amish fascinating enough, I also respect their privacy. I could never go on one of those “Amish Tours” as though they’re museum pieces. While it seems like most of the tourists on these excursions look at the Amish as being weird, I think that the tourists are actually the weird ones. When I get wistful for a simpler life, I try to look at my own life and figure out what I can cut out of it, rather than going out into the country to stare at the folks who actually have cut out the non-essentials.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a nice summer cozy mystery, this one is as good as any with the addition of learning about a new culture. One of my aunts lives in Kentucky where there is a pretty decent sized Amish population and one year I went out there for their volunteer fire department’s annual fish fry and auction fundraiser. I understand that there are 2 distinct groups of Amish in that area and both groups sewing circles donated a hand-sewn quilt to be auctioned off. They were simply gorgeous! One of the quilts was white on white and the design was amazing.

Amish Milk Cans-Postcard
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42" x 42" Stella Blue Unisex Baby Quilt
42″ x 42″ Stella Blue Unisex Baby Quilt by heybabycraftco
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***Giveaway!*** Sew Deadly

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I’m relatively new to the cozy mystery genre. I only started reading them because my mom is a book buyer and I was desperately in need of something to read. I must say that I was a quick convert.

This one combines by mom’s love of crafts and my love of libraries. I liked that each of these topics was given an equal amount of attention.  I’ve found that some authors tend to neglect their subplots to the book’s detriment–that wasn’t a problem here. There could have been a little more character development done, but on the whole it was average.

I’m not sure about the Southern stereotypes portrayed in this book. I consider myself a Southerner because of my location, but Hampton Roads is a bubble. It’s the equivalent of a very large city population-wise with a lot of transient people because of the military (please don’t judge our graduation rates too harshly–some parents don’t think to formally withdraw their children from school when they move). I don’t think I’ve ever met a little old lady who says “bless your heart”. I don’t know how it is further south and in actual small towns, so maybe this is a Southern thing and I’m just not a Southerner even though I was born here.

Milo reminds me a lot of my boyfriend, especially when he asked Tori out the first time. I know exactly what it looks like when a guy looks positively relieved when I said that I would indeed go out with him. ‘Course, my guy looks nothing like Milo. Milo is relatively tall and has an averagely muscular build and is a self-declared shy nerd. My guy is 6 ft 4 with a barrel of a chest who simply looks like a Big Truck driver. ‘Course, while my guy isn’t shy (except when it came to asking me out because he was scared), he is very much a nerd (I have difficulty getting him to watch anything not Sci-Fi), he’s somewhat introverted (though not as much as me), and I didn’t insult him when I told him early on that he’s definitely smarter than he looks :-). He made me stumble over the Latin while discussing the various forms of vivipary the other night. Don’t judge the backwards looking redneck truck driver by the cover of his Star Trek universe novel, hahaha.

Anyway, back to the book. I was very surprised by the murderer’s reveal–I didn’t see it coming. I identified most of the red herrings for what they were (and thought them excellent choices). I didn’t like the portrayal of the investigator because it was gratuitous. Yeah, that’s a good word for it. I’ve just looked at Goodreads about this series and am thrilled to see that these characters continue to exist. I shall hold off real judgment on Investigator McGuire (and Ms. Casey) until a few books later when we can see if his character evolves.

Enter this giveaway at: ***Giveaway*** Sew Deadly (powered by Gleam.io).

The Quick and the Thread

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When Marcy Singer opens an embroidery specialty shop in quaint Tallulah Falls, Oregon, she throws a soiree and a Stitch-In. Soon, Marcy’s sign- up sheet for embroidery classes fills up and everyone in town seems willing to raise a glass-or a needle-to support the newly-opened Seven Year Stitch.

Then Marcy finds the shop’s previous tenant dead in the store-room, a message scratched with a tapestry needle on the wall beside him. Now Marcy’s shop has become a crime scene, and she’s the prime suspect. She’ll have to find the killer before someone puts a final stitch in her.

This is the first book in the series and I was instantly hooked. I love the idea of this shop and would love nothing more than a “sit and stitch square” of my own :-). Though I’d probably spend more time reading than stitching. My only complaint about this series is that the characters haven’t grown as much as I would like. I’m 7 books in and I still feel like I’m still just meeting the main characters. The lack of back story about Marcy’s mom in Thread on Arrival was especially disappointing! The mystery aspect is rather good, though I’m getting better at figuring out who the murderer is before Marcy does, though I will say that this is probably because I’ve read more cozy mysteries in the past year than I’d previously read in all of my life. I’m probably just getting better with practice.

Anyway, these are light cozy mysteries that will keep you entertained at the beach this summer.

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Murder in the Mystery Suite Giveaway

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WHO WOULD RESORT TO MURDER?

Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural western Virginia is the storybook resort of Storyton Hall, catering to book lovers who want to get away from it all. To increase her number of bookings, resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together for some role-playing and fantasy crime solving.

But when the winner of the scavenger hunt, Felix Hampden, is found dead in the Mystery Suite, and the valuable book he won as his prize is missing, Jane realizes one of her guests is an actual murderer. Amid a resort full of fake detectives, Jane is bound and determined to find a real-life killer. There’s no room for error as Jane tries to unlock this mystery before another vacancy opens up…

Everything about this book is cozy–the setting, the characters, and certainly the mystery. Except that there’s nothing cozy about the mystery! It’s like an action flick set in a cozy mystery. I highly recommend this book! In fact, the first person who sends an email to flusche.catherine@gmail.com with their name and address, I’ll send you this book for free!

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