The Shadow Garden

The Shadow Garden by Andrew Matthews

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I spotted this book when shelving and it immediately caught my eye as it looked like a spooky version of The Secret Garden. I just had to read it!

Plot Synopsis:

Matty Brand can see and speak the dead, a skill that runs in her family. Her mother asks her to keep it hidden, as others don’t understand it.

They tend to become one of these.

One day she is speaking to her dead father at his grave, spilling her worries on money and about her mother. She is overheard by a villager who speaks to the minister about it. The minister let’s them know that he’s been looking for a way to help them and has secured a job and new home for them at Tagram House.

Tagram House is run by a creepy man who cares for it while raising his ward. Matty can’t stand him as she senses the evil in him, evil that is further extended when she finds the spirit of two murdered children and that the the man running it is the cause of it!

Thoughts After Reading:

I could not get into this book. I found it incredibly boring.

For more children’s books, go to Garfield in The Case of the Mystery Mail

For more ghosts, go to Lowcountry Boil

The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

So I thought it was time for another Cat Who… mystery. I thought, I could write this myself, or once again borrow from an older family member. As you can see I am borrowing my sister blog’s review of the second book in the Cat Who… series.

CatWhoWroteABlog

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“We want you to publish a weekly magazine on interior design.’ ‘On what?‘ Qwilleran said in an unintended falsetto…Qwilleran’s throat felt as if he swallowed his moustache. ‘Gracious Abodes? Is that the name of the thing?” (pg. 10)

In this book I always feel bad for Qwill, as nothing seems to go right for him.

In book two, we pick up a little time after The Cat Who Could Read Backwards,  where we find Qwill eager for a new assignment. While he had some enjoyment on the art beat, art is not where he really wants to be. He wants to do something more exciting like crime, government issues, etc. However, his boss Percy (called that because of his excessive use of the phrase per se) doesn’t really go for that type of “disunity” and “abandonment” of your post.

ithinknot

In other news, Koko is now a proud member…

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Cookie Dough or Die

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Cookie Dough or Die (Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery #1) by Virginia Lowell

After Olivia Greyson’s divorce to a renowned surgeon, she moved home to Chatterley Heights, Maryland. While she was trying to figure out what to do next with her life Olivia was befriended by Clarisse Chamberlain, entrepreneur and businesswoman, who encourages her to buy the historic Gingerbread House and follow her dream to open a cookie shop.

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Since then she and her best friend Maddie have been running the shop together. Olivia runs the numbers and planning; while Maddie is the creative one who is in charge of the baking and making fantastical creations.

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Olivia is catching up on her beauty rest when she hears something downstairs. It’s not a robber, but Maddie coming over to create something fun and wonderful for Spring. After her, the hunky Sheriff Del comes with a a sad message for Olivia; Clarisse was found dead, and it looks like suicide.

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Olivia knows that Clarisse would never kill herself and sets off to discover who murdered her.

KeepCalmSleuthOn

The suspect list is long and complicated. There are her two dueling sons; Hugh and Edward; that have always wanted to inherit the full power of the business. Could they have killed her for the inheritance? Before one was written out of the will?

HMMM

Tammy, Olivia’s old best friend from elementary school, also has a strong motive. She has been in love with Hugh for as long as she can remember. They dated at one time, but Hugh was distracted by another, Jasmine, and Clarisse was set against Tammy from that day on. Even when Jasmine left the picture, Clarisse hated any girl that wanted Hugh. Could Tammy have killed Clarisse in order to marry Hugh?

Very fishy

Hmmmmmm?

And what of Jasmine who just mysteriously disappeared? Is she somehow involved with this?

I wonder...

I wonder…

When a local postman hints that he knew Clarisse received some information from a private detective; he ends up on the hit list.

coincidenceithinknot

It turns out he was poisoned by one of Olivia and Maddie’s cookies.

You know what that means...something is about to happen

Now it is clear that they are the next target. Can Olivia solve the murder before she is killed too?

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t really care for this book. I was a bit disappointed too, as I waited three months for the book to come in from a sister library to read but it wasn’t as good.

IDon'tlikeit

The mystery itself was good, but the way it was carried out was seriously lacking.

Not-Good

The story was okay except there is a lot of information about the characters that we aren’t given which make it a bit confusing. For a first book, it is best to not confuse the reader.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

I didn’t like the mom character as  felt she was far too cliché and boring.

A character like this again?!

A character like this again?!

The end wasn’t all that good either. The mystery was intriguing, but the resolution was too quickly wrapped up. It was very murky mysterious, and then all of a sudden crystal clear. I felt they need more leeway time, steps leading it up to the resolution.

seriously

It was also weird to have a mystery book that features dogs instead of cats. I’m not against dogs or anything, I like them too. But cats and mysteries just seem to go hand in hand. Having a mystery book without one and a dog instead is just so unusual. After all, cats are just so amazing.

loveofacat

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For more mysteries involving a cookie shop, go to Cream Puff Murder

For more Southern mysteries, go to Bloom and Doom

For more suicides as a cover for murder, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

For more death by poison food, go to A Pinch of Poison 

For more Charles Dickens quotes, go to Gorgonzola Cream Cheese Log

For more mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty

A Dark and Stormy Knit

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A Dark and Stormy Knit (A Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #6) by Anne Canadeo

Since Silence of the Llamas, there have been a few changes with the Black Sheep Knitting Group. Valentine’s Day is looming and Maggie is deciding on what classes to teach. Phoebe has finally left Josh, as he hasn’t been treating her right for a while. And even though every citizen voted against it, the mayor has instituted meters in the downtown business area. All the merchants hate it, but are just as stuck as the tourists and shoppers.

Hate this.

Hate this.

But Maggie gets a surprise that morning when she finds all the meters covered in knitted kitty covers.  Yep the Knit Kat Graffiti Artists, (knitting protest artwork group) has struck again.

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Charlotte, Phoebe’s new artist friend from college, starts hanging out. Let’s hope this friendship doesn’t go south like Crystal in Knit, Purl, Die

HMMM

In fact Phoebe has become such great friends, they all go to the art gallery to see Charlotte’s work.

Double double yay

The group also decide to knit things for a homeless shelter to honor Valentine’s Day.

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The day of the art show, the whole gang head out to the college. They meet some professors, but then Charlotte gets a text from Quentin, her ex who won’t take no for an answer.

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She tries to flee, when Quentin comes crashing in. The girls try to help her, but Quentin comes through, knocking Phoebe out of the way.

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After that, no one knows where Charlotte is. They talk to the security guards, give statements; but then as they search everywhere they can’t find her.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

The next day Phoebe goes to Charlotte’s apartment to check on her and see if she is there. But then, finds a dead body.

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They call the police and start thinking that mybe it was the Knit Kat group. Charlotte was a member and Phoebe found her dead body covered in yarn, almost like some kind of a statement.

suspicious Hmm

After the cops look more into the murder, they discover that Phoebe was wrong. That isn’t Charlotte’s dead body but Beth Shelton, some one who looks like Charlotte from behind.

What?

So who killed her? Someone after Charlotte? Or Charlotte herself?

suspense

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So I didn’t really like this one as much as the other books.

horrible

Charlotte and the other characters were too new and didn’t have enough background as to who they were.

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Plus this mystery was extremely easy to solve.

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I think out of all the books in the series this one and A Stitch Before Dying are the weakest and the least interesting. Hopefully the next book will be better, I’m looking forward to it.

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to The Silence of the Llamas

For more books with mistaken identity, go to Grime and Punishment

For more mystery reviews, go to Fool Moon

Till Death Do Us Purl

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Till Death Do Us Purl (A Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #4) by Anne Canadeo

So I know it’s been awhile since I reviewed a Black Sheep Knitting Mystery so let me refresh your memory.

The Black Sheep Knitting group consists of five members: Maggie, widow, ex-art teacher, and owner of the shop The Black Sheep Knitting Shop; Suzanne, real estate agent, mother of many, and a multi-tasking titan; Phoebe, Goth girl, college student, and part-time employee at the knitting shop; Dana, psychologist, mother of two, yoga and heath food enthusiast; and Lucy, recently divorced, dating the town vet, graphic designer.

fantastic

So in the last book, the girls had traveled to a health spa were they helped solve the murder of a self-help guru. Lucy was having some issues with Dr. Matt, her boyfriend, thinking he was cheating on her, but it turned out that he was getting counsling with his soon-to-be-exwife.

HMMM

Yeah, I didn’t like that either.

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So in this book, it is now spring, even though the weather is still chilly. The girls have gathered for their weekly gab and knit, when Maggie throws a surprise on them. Her friend Nora Bailey, and her daughter Rebecca, need help. Rebecca is designing her own wedding dress, knitting it, but the date was changed to be sooner. She needs help making it and the bridesmaid shawls or else it won’t be completed in time.

Wedding

They meet the two and really enjoy their company, especially Rebecca as she is friendly and easy to talk to. It turns out she will be marrying Jeremy, senior chemist at his family’s company, At-Las Technology. They met at the school Rebecca teaches at, when Jeremy came by to volunteer for the science club.

Aw, how sweet.

Aw, how sweet.

Whoa, Rebecca will be marrying into some serious money. But don’t be mistaken, she’s not some gold digger, she is a sweet and normal person.

So as the girls work on the wedding apparel, it has quickly turned everyone’s minds to Lucy and Dr. Matt. The big question, when is the date going to be set?

urkelgif interesting hmm

But Lucy doesn’t want to talk about it. She’s not closed off to the idea of getting married, but she has just gotten divorced, and Dr. Matt is still legally married.

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

Soon everyone is working on the wedding, or are they? Lucy has been procrastinating, with only an urgent message from Maggie making her get to work. She heads down there, and guess who else is in the shop? Edie Steiber, brassy, bold, and exposition queen. Edie has decided to gab about Jeremy and the rest of the Lassiter gang. She’s heard that the company has suffered since the Atkins and Lassiters (get it? At-Las?) have split. They need a new product or else they are kaput.

oooh 101 Dalmations

Monday night, Lucy is still behind and now horrified to learn that the next day she needs to be done. Her and Suzanne meet up and have a secret knitting party.

The next day, the two have found a way to get everything completed. They are trying everything out, dying the shawls that need to be, when Rebecca puts on her dress. As they are chexking the hemline, Jeremy comes right in.

oopsmybad

He’s early to pick up his bride, and while everyone is upset at him breaking tradition. He doesn’t care, he’s a scientist after all.

The two are very sweet with each other. In fact, he wears a special scarf everyday that he had Rebecca make.

Aw, how sweet.

Aw, how sweet.

The whole group goes to the wedding that Saturday at the beautiful Lassiter mansion. The wedding proves to be doubly entertaining as Jeremy’s long-lost twin brother, black sheep, and prodigal son comes.

The wedding is beautiful and whileLucy is looking around the crowd, she notices Rebecca’s principal, and friend, Stewart with his wife and he is crying. Wow, some people get moved at weddings.

The next morning, Lucy heads to the Black Sheep to gab about the wedding when she finds everyone in tears. It turns out that Jeremy is DEAD!!!

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

The night of Jeremy and Rebecca’s honeymoon, Jeremy had to return to the lab for some reason. There was a fire, and everything was burned, including Jeremy. He was so badly destroyed, no one could recognize him.

Hate this.

Lucy and Maggie visit with Nora, as Rebecca is too upset to see anyone. Stewart has also been a good friend, stopping by to see her.

The memorial is in the same place they had the wedding, at the mansion. Lots of people come, so many that Maggie ends up having to sit away from the other Black Sheep Knitting girls. There she overhears Jeremy’s brother and sister gabbing about all the guests and people. She also meets the infamous Louis Atkins, a silver fox who is interested in Maggie.

Smirkity smirk smirk

But then two bombs are dropped on the group. The first, Lucy and Dr. Matt are moving in together. Does Dr. Matt think they have a future? May Lucy be heading down the aisle too?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

The second bombshell, a man’s body was found in a motel this morning. It is Jeremy.

whatsthatsupposedtomean

Yes, Jeremy didn’t die in the fire, but faked his death.

What?

The police suspect Rebecca, thinking that she became mad that he was going to run off on her and killed.

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The Black Sheep Knitters know that Rebecca would do no such thing. It is up to them to find the real killer.

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Did Jeremy’s sister do it, angry that he would abandon the company when they need it most and leave her the captain of a sinking ship? Was it his father who needed the new glue formula to continue his wealthy lifestyle? Did Louis kill Jeremy to get his glue formula? Was his ex-girlfriend Erica so mad that he chose to marry another women, she decided it was better he was dead than with Rebecca? Or is Rebecca not as sweet as she seems but a stone cold killer?

suspense

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Thoughts After Reading:

So this was the first book I read on the series and the one I think is the absolute best.

fantastic

It is well written and the mystery is unbelievable.

Whoa

The whole time I thought I had it figured out only to be utterly and completely wrong.

What?

You really Agatha Christied me.

loveitSupernatural

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to A Stitch Before Dying

For more book reviews, go to One for the Money

Grime and Punishment

Grime&Punishment

Grime and Punishment (Jane Jeffry #1) by Jill Churchill

Thoughts Before Reading:

So the first book I read in this series was From Here to Paternity. I got it for free from the library and hated it (more on that later). For some strange reason I thought I would give the first book a go to see if it was good, and when I read it, I loved it!

As you might have guessed, all the books in the series are reworking of famous films/literature. This one is of Crime and Punishment.

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The story is that widowed Jane Jeffry is doing a great job raising her kids. She has hidden from them the real reason dad was out that night when a car crashed into him, is there for her kids in carpooling, cooking, cleaning, supporting; but even supermoms need a little help.

seriously

She’s supported by her husbands life insurance and interests, letting her be a stay at home mom, and she can even afford a cleaning lady to come in. When her usual person retires, she and her best friend Shelley, the next-door-neighbor, manage to score the best cleaning lady in the neighborhood.

YayHappy-Success-GIF

On the day of the new cleaning lady’s fist day, it is also one of Shelley’s legendary PTA parties. Fed up with people always bringing the same thing, no main courses, and at least one poorly done meal, she now assigns each mother a specific dish, one they can drop off early in the day so everything is ready to go at meeting time. Everyone is used to this and Shelley just leaves her door open as she trusts her neighbors and the cleaning lady will be there.

IDon'tlikeit

That day Jane stops by early to see Shelley, and finds out that their new cleaning lady called in sick. Replaced this morning by another cleaner, who from far away and behind, looks just like her.

weird

Jane and Shelley visit, when Jane realizes she forgot to make her dish. She helps some other ladies drop off food, cleans up from the morning, runs around doing errands and finding ingredients. When she has everything completed, she goes to drop off the salad, happy to have made it under the wire. When she gets home she gets a call from Shelley. It turns out the cleaning lady is dead

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

The police come and start the investigation, one sexy detective paying Jane a lot of attention. In fact they all pay her a lot of attention, thinking she is highly suspect in the cleaning lady’s murder.

Murder

It soon is figured out that the murder meant to kill the original cleaning lady, Edith, rather than the replacement. It turns out Edith is very nosy, and her urge to snoop has netted her something big, and a death wish.

Jane is on the case to figure out who the killer is and clean up her neighborhood. Hopefully she can sweep up the answers before she is the next victim.

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Thoughts After Reading:

In some ways it was very similar to Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, the cleaning woman is nosy and discovers a real tidbit, being murdered for it; but in other ways it is very enjoyable. I loved it so much I had a hard time putting it down, eager to discover which suburbanite is the murderer and what really happened the night Jane’s husband died.

I encourage you to read it as it was fantastic. Yes:

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

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For more mystery reviews, go to A Stitch Before Dying