Lowcountry Bordello

Ready for our final Christmas mystery?

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Here we go:

Lowcountry Bordello (Liz Talbot Mystery #4) by Susan M. Boyer

It’s Christmastime in Stella Maris and P.I. Liz Talbot is preparing the last few things she needs to complete for her wedding, only days away. She’s interrupted when her cousin and bridesmaid, Olivia, calls to say that she discovered her husband’s dead body.

OMG gasp

When Liz heads out to Charleston to meet with Olivia they discover the body is “missing” and Olivia’s husband is alive and well. Liz thinks it is all in Olivia’s imagination, that is until a dead body matching the description is found not too far away.

hmmmaliasgrace

Hmmm…

Even though she is swamped with wedding details and the upcoming Christmas holidays, Liz decides to investigate. Things take an even more surprising turn as Liz discovers the house in which Olivia found the dead body is not only Olivia’s aunt’s house but also a bordello.

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I know, right?

When it turns out that the person murdered was about to blow the whistle on it, Liz finds the case brimming with suspects; five mistresses, six johns, and an illegitimate relative that’s always wanted his due. To make matters even more difficult, Olivia is arrested for the murder and if Liz doesn’t solve the case before her wedding, she’ll be out one bridesmaid and her best alive friend.

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Thoughts After Reading:

Susan M. Boyer has done it again. I’ve never been a big fan of mysteries in which one of the main characters was a spirit helping aid the detective, nor Southern mysteries; but Boyer’s incredible storytelling and writing is able to push past any reservations I might have. Not only is Boyer’s mystery amazing with its colorful and endearing cast of characters, but also provoking and challenging as we have multiple crimes and multiple suspects; with surprises and twists at every turn of the page.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, finding it practically impossible to put down. Even when I wasn’t reading the book, part of my mind continued to contemplate, guess, and wonder what the reveal would be. Boyer has created another masterpiece and I am looking forward to the next one in the series. I give this book a five out of five stars!

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

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For more Liz Talbot Mysteries, go to Lowcountry Boneyard

For more by Susan M. Boyer, go to Lowcountry Bombshell

For more Christmas mysteries, go to And Only to Deceive

For more private investigators, go to The Key to Midnight

For more female private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

Lowcountry Boneyard

So I was given an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of this book in exchange for an honest review. I read it withoutI read this book first before book one and two, but decided to not change anything but leave the review the same.

Lowcountry Boneyard (Liz Talbot Mystery #3) Susan M. Boyer

I am an avid reader of mysteries, but have never been a fan of the supernatural mystery genre. I have often found them redundant, (as they seem to be the same story told over and over again); have the ghosts, ghouls, vampires, zombies, etc being the one to do all the actual work instead of the investigator or police officer; or used as just another venue to tell a supernatural love story. Most of the time when I read a synopsis involving the help of the dead, I pass it by.

However, Lowcountry Boneyard (A Liz Talbot Mystery), by Susan M. Boyer, intrigued me and once I started reading it, I found it extremely hard to put down.

Liz Talbot is a private investigator, placed on a case to look into the disappearance of heiress Kent Heyward. Assisting her is her boyfriend, and partner in business, Nate Andrews, and dead best friend from high school turned ghostly guardian, Colleen.

Liz is going to need all the help she can get as this case takes her into a world of the wealthy, involves a family with long reaching arms, and a dark secret that those involved would do anything to stop Liz from discovering.

I really enjoyed this book as the mystery was amazing. The characters are realistic in their approach to the case, not discovering the answer immediately, but going through a lot of threads until they find the one that leads to the right answer. This one had a wide collection of possible suspects and theories, leaving mystery lovers enthralled as they try to discover what really happened to Kent Heyward.

Liz Talbot is an endearing character with her Southern charm, ladylike ways, intuition, and stubbornness; all cumulating in the perfect P.I. She is equally matched with Nate Anderson, partner and lover, whose cool logic balances out her more impulsive personality. I also enjoyed the spirit of Colleen, who role as guardian has the right amount of restrictions on what she can and cannot do, allowing Liz to not diminish in her ability to solve cases, yet have a bit of help when she needs it.

After reading this novel, I am inspired to read all that came out prior, and stay on the lookout for those to come. I’d give this novel a five out of five.

For more Liz Talbot mysteries, go to Lowcountry Bombshell

For more by Susan M. Boyer, go to Lowcountry Boil

For more private investigators, go to The Key to Midnight

For more female private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

For more disappearances, go to Kidnapped!

A Willing Murder

A Willing Murder (A Medlar Mystery #1) by Jude Deveraux

I have never been a big romance fan, but every book lover (and librarian) has come across Jude Deverux’s name before. I mean she’s a big name in the romance game.

This is Deveraux’s first mystery and I never would have probably read it if it weren’t for the fact that when I was processing the book I happened to read this snippet on the back:

Some secrets are better left buried…

When he was done what he came to do, he patted the dirt down, then stood up. To make sure it was done right, he went around the tree again and again, stamping harder and harder, crushing what was buried beneath the soil.

As he walked away, he smiled at the peaceful houses around him. His small town was such a nice place. In fact, maybe ridding it of undesirables had been a favor to the neighborhood. A lesson had been learned, and nothing like that would ever happen again…”

WHAT!

Sara Medlar grew up in Lachlan, Florida with her brother-ugh the jerk who will not be named. She was deeply in love with someone, but a simple misunderstanding drew them apart and he married another woman and had children.

from my sister blog janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

She moved away, and became a best-selling romance novelist. After selling millions upon millions of books, she faced a big brick wall-writer’s block.

From there she needed something new and moved back home, to Lachlan, bought the beautiful old mansion she has always loved and renovated it.

She also became a godmother to the boy that should have been her grandson, Jackson Wyatt, helping care for him and encouraging him-even investing in his business.

Jackson Wyatt has had a hard life. His father was abusive and cruel, his mother leaving him-but Jackson still having to spend the summers with him (court order). When he was a boy, the girl who was his friend and he was crazy about, Cheryl, disappeared.

His stepfather, who was the only real father to him, passed away and passed on the business to him (the one that Sara invested in). His half brother joined him in the business but unfortunately, tragedy would strike again, as his brother was killed in a car accident and Jackson ended up with a broken leg.

Afterwards, he began to be depressed, so Sara and his mother decided to meddle in his life-and trick him into staying with Sara so she can keep an eye on him.

Kate has grown up with the only family she knows being her hypochondriac and manic-depressive mother, and controlling/manipulative uncles.

Family is a mess.

After her life took a downturn, she wanted something new. She discovers that she has a aunt, her brother’s sister, and decides she is going to meet her. She never knew her father-and is ready for some real answers-ones she can’t get from her mother.

Unfortunately, while she got a job, she couldn’t get a place to stay. She discovers that her aunt has a young guy living in there-and afraid that she is being taken advantage of-decides she needs to move in and protect her.

I better make sure you don’t take my aunt’s money.

Unbeknownst to her, Sara used the same fear to get Jackson to move in. Telling him that she was afraid her niece might be trying to take advantage of her.

Your help

Kate shows up and things go smoothly, until they go out to look at some property Jackson purchased, and they discover two skeletons, and that’s not a joke-I mean two literal skeletons.

One body is Cheryl and the other Jackson’s dad. The police want this wrapped up and plan on no investigation. This upsets Kate, Sara, and Jackson who want Cheryl treated right.

They all start investigating, but someone out there has worked very hard to keep this secret and will continue to do all they can to keep it that way.

Thoughts After Reading:

So first things first:

There was very little romance, which surprised me as this was Jude Deveraux. I’ve never read any of her books but I imagine them to have a lot. Correct me if I’m wrong.

I thought it was pretty good, and of course wanted to know what happened.

I liked the character’s interactions-although they all become extremely best friends in an instant and talk as of they have been friends forever-a bit premature for the time they have known each other.

The mystery was good, but I figured out the ending pretty early.

Lowcountry Boil

Lowcountry Boil (A Liz Talbot Mystery #1) by Susan M. Boyer

So I first became aware of the Liz Talbot Mysteries with the third book, Lowcountry Boneyard. I was a book reviewer for a blog, we didn’t get paid but I did get free books to read, like that gum commercial.

I tried to get the rest of the series but the libraries didn’t have it and I thought about buying it but I really wanted to read it first. I finally got my hands on the first book, so here we go!

Liz Talbot left Stella Maris Island, her hometown, for college and marriage and has hardly been back. Her high school sweetheart, Michael Devlin, married her evil cousin Marci Miller (seriously she has some screws loose), and then she married, Scott Andrews, turned out to e a narcissistic conman.

She is divorced and now runs a successful private investigator team with her ex-brother-in-law Nate Andrews. (It is obvious he has feelings for her but Liz doesn’t see it and still carries a torch for her high school sweetheart).

Everything changes when she sees the ghost of her high school friend, Colleen Stevens. She warns her to come back to the island as her grandmother, Gram is dead.

At first Liz thinks her grandmother died by accident, but soon she and her brother. Blake Talbot, Police Chief, decide there was something more happening.

Liz inherits her Gram’s house and Colleen, a guardian spirit who is connected to the island. As long as Liz remains on the island, Colleen is there to guide and protect her-but if Liz doesn’t stay then terrible things will happen.

As Liz says goodbye to Nate and her other life, she sets out to make Stella Maris her new home and solve who killed Gram.

She finds herself in a wasp nest of developers, fighting city council, blackmail, hired guns, domestic violence, choosing between her old flame or starting something new, and more! Will she find out the truth, or end up joining Colleen in the spirit world?

Thoughts After Reading:

It was a great read. I love how classy and ladylike Liz is, as a Southern woman should be, along with how tough and resourceful she is.

This novel is great read as it gets intense in the middle and I was flipping pages trying to get to what happened next.

I loved it and can’t wait for book 2!

For more private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

For female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more Southern mysteries, go to Design for Murder

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Christina’s Ghost

Design for Murder

Design for Murder (Death on Demand #2) by Carolyn G. Hart

It has been a while since we reviewed a Death on Demand, so let’s do a quick review. Annie Laurence, from Texas, tried to be an actress in New York, but when she didn’t ht it big she headed to Broward’s Rock of South Carolina where her beloved uncle lived. When he died, she inherited his mystery bookstore, Death on Demand.

She was followed by the wealthy billionaire, Max Darling, who she met in New York and fell in love with. She left him as she felt they were too different, but Max won’t let true love get away. He opens up a private investigators business on the island. Meanwhile, in the last book, Elliot Morgan was murdered and a whole list of suspects were involved-with Annie being number one. She and Max solved the case and since then life has been good.

Until…Annie is hired to do a Mystery Night for historic Chastain’s garden and historic house show. The Historic board is championed by tyrant Corinne Pritchard Webster who likes everything her way. She didn’t want to add this mystery night, but was outvoted, the board hiring Annie to plan it.

Corinne is a snake, but Annie is thrilled to create her own murder mystery play with clues! This is perfect as it takes her mind off her fight with Max about wedding plans.

Annie receives a note from Cordelia with her outline for the murder mystery, which infuriates Annie as she spent hours planning something else. But when she presents it to the board she discovers it wasn’t sent by Cordelia, but that someone pretended and sent a mystery to embarrass Cordelia.

After that Annie works extra hard on an English style murder mystery that has no resemblance to anyone whatsoever and her booth for the night. Before you know it, the day has come and it is time to stage it all. As Annie does a once-over of the grounds she spots the body in the wrong place. When she goes to move it-it turns out to not be a mannequin but a real body. Cordelia! But which of the many people who hated her murdered her?

Could it have been Lucy Gaines, the once fiancé of Corrine’s brother, the relationship Corrine broke up. Soon after Corrine’s brother died and Lucy never married or had children. She also was stuck working and dealing with Cordelia everyday. Did it finally get to her and she killed her to get back at the life that could never be?

Mayor Webster, Corinne’s husband, has been alienated from her for years. In fact he developed a relationship with one of the local teachers. Could he have murdered her to get his money, freedom, and a new girl?

Or her…

Corinne bought off her niece, Gail’s, “unsuitable” boyfriend and has been crushing her spirit. Could she had snapped and finally stopped her aunt from being involved?

She has taken all paintings and works made by local and museum artist Tim Bond. She has a contract that they are owned by the museum and selling them not to Tim’s New York show, but loaning them out to other museums. This will ruin his career. Did he kill her to get everything back? Or was it his girlfriend Sybil Giacamo who hates Corinne and wants to help Tim, her lover?

You know artists have artistic temperament

Roscoe Merrill got drunk when out of town on business. He slipped up on his marriage and Corinne just happened to see him. She holds that over him and threatens to ruin his perfect marriage. Did he kill her to end the blackmail? Or was it his wife who killed Corinne  to ensure no one sees their marriage as anything less than ideal?

Dr. Sanford has been practicing on that area to work exclusively with a doctor in his specialized field. He has plans to increase the hospital and increase his work. Corinne wouldn’t let him change anything in the hospital. Could he have done it, so that he continue his love?

Is it?

Edith Ferrier gives so much to the community and wanted to have the position of president of the historical society as it is her favorite thing. Corinne wouldn’t give up her power, even though Edith would do a better job. Was this the last straw after constantly being crushed? Did she snap and kill her?

Unfortunately, the only one who the police are focusing on IS Annie! Will she be able to solve the case or be sipping her future mint juleps in jail.

Thoughts After Reading:

It’s so good, and always get me.

A real page turner!

For more Death on Demand, go to Death on Demand

For more Design for Murder, go to So Many Books to Review, So Little Time

For more Historical Socities, go to Death by Cashmere

For more Southern mysteries, go to For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

For whom the bluebell tolls

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls (A Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery #2)

This is the sequel to Bloom and Doom. As I posted that book a while ago, let’s recap. In the first book, cousins Audrey Bloom and Olivia “Liv” Rose-Meyer; find their flower shop unwittingly involved in a murder. Audrey is trying to help an old friend call off a wedding to a wealthy man, offering her a job at the flower shop as she no longer will have an income. When said ex-fiancé is found stabbed to death by one of the flower shop tools given to the friend to help her practice, Audrey is on the case to clear her friend’s name.

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Time has passed since the first wedding and things at the flower shop are going well. Audrey has been dating Nick the baker, and that relationship is going well too. And to top it off; Audrey is closer to having enough money to purchase her grandmother’s cottage.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

But then a cloud comes over everything. Her ex-boyfriend, Brad, who left her for the city has come back to town.

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He’s not exactly back for Audrey, but works on the famous reality show Fix My Wedding. 

Wedding

Fix My Wedding is a show in which brides agree to go on air and submit to the all the wedding planners’, Gigi Welch and Gary Davoll, decisions as they create the perfect weddings: flowers, cake, dress, etc.

The place they were going to use for the wedding of a bride obsessed with bells falls through, so Brad told them about their old church with a beautiful bell; and now they are moving the event to Ramble, Virgina.

While the town happily opens up to the crew, others are not so happy. A bride from a wedding gone wrong, has come with a set of bridesmaids to protest the TV show.

And to make things even more difficult for Audrey, one of the show’s hosts, Gary, is an insufferable jerk and the bride a complete diva. Audrey soon finds herself regretting ever agreeing to be on the show.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

But when said jerky host dies, Audrey finds herself worried about more than flowers, as she has to figure out who the murderer is, before he can strike again. Especially as her ex-boyfriend is looking to be the one to hang for the crime.

While said ex was a complete jerk and moron, Audrey can’t stand to see him wrongly imprisoned. So she starts researching into the people surrounding the case and discovers that there is much more about these characters than meets the eye. Before Gary joined the show he was an investigative journalist who made many enemies. As Audrey tries to whittle down the suspects, she finds her love life also in turmoil, as she has to choose between the budding baker romance, or an old flame.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I really enjoyed this mystery, more than the first one as it was far more challenging. It not only had a great twist, but continued that small-town Southern charm introduced in the first book.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next novel in this series.

For more Bridal Bouquet Shop mysteries, go to Bloom and Doom

For more mysteries involving weddings, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more Southern mysteries, go to Death by Darjeeling

For more mystery reviews, go to This Pen for Hire

Death by Darjeeling

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Death by Darjeeling (A Tea Shop Mystery #1) by Laura Childs

Thoughts Before Reading:

I came upon the book Steeped in Evil at the library and decided to check it out. After I had started it, I realized it was part of a series and of course you know what that means. We have to go back and start this mystery series from the beginning.

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Former advertising executive, now owner of a tea shop, Theodosia “Theo” Brown is busy with preparations for the Lamplighter Tour, a walking tour into the best homes and gardens of Charleston.

Theo has two shop employees Drayton Conneley, tea expert, perfect blenderer, and her right hand man; along with Haley, perennial college student, baker, and waitress; and Earl Gray, rescued mutt.

A wrench is thrown in the works when businessman Hughes Barron who is attempting to buy out historical homes and raze them for other means is murdered during the tour.

And not just murdered, poisoned! And Theo’s newly blended lamplighter mix is the vehicle the murderer choose.

Theo finds the investigation honing in on her, only to switch to Haley’s best friend Bethany as she was seen in a heated argument with the deceased, and was the one to serve him tea. Theo sets out to clear Bethany’s name and her tea; finding out that Barron is rife with enemies; from environmentalists to spurned ladies, to crooked business partners, it seems like everyone had a reason to kill him.

And Theo must watch out, she’s just been warned by the killer, back off or else she’s next.

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Thoughts After Reading:

It wasn’t very good.

I hate it

It spent a lot of time developing the characters and their many backstories, but very little time on the actual mystery. And the ending reveal was abominable.

For more mysteries featuring poison, go to The Sign of the Four

For more on tea, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more Southern mysteries, go to Crazy, VA

For more mystery reviews, go to A Case of Identity

Crazy, VA

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Crazy, VA (Lil & Boris #1)

Sheriff Littlepage “Lil” Eller of Crazy, VA must be crazy to live in a town full of her relations who hate her and each other.

For years the Ellers and Littlepages have been having their own Hatfield and McCoy type feuding. All except for one female Littlepage and male Eller who decided to run way together and have a child.

After their death she was raised by her aunt, a pariah from the group, and has hated both factions of her genetic code. She becomes the sheriff and tries to govern a town where most of the population hates her and one used to taking bribes rather than following law and order.

She finds herself heir to millions when an oversight by her grandfather left her in the Littlepage will. Instead of holding onto it, she donates it to the county to be the new home for rescued animals.

Lil is no stranger to rescue animals as the only deputy she can hold onto is a previously abused tomcat, Boris.

Then Crazy has its first murder in ages when Lil’s cousin Lisa Littlepage Hunter is found dead.

This case is extremely difficult as not only does she have to spend time questioning people she can’t stand, but finds herself in one tangled web with people blocking her every which way.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like this book at all. It took forever to get to the mystery part, just introduced a bunch of characters without taking them anywhere, and ended abruptly.

The only thing I did like was the character of Boris. After all:

happinessBooksCat

For more cat-centered mysteries, go to The Cat Who Turned On and Off

For more Southern mysteries, go to Death Threads

For more Charles Dickens, go to The Disappearance of Edwin Drood

For more mysteries, go to The Cereal Murders

Death Threads

So I know today is Pi/Pie day

I was going to make one and post it and switch with Friday’s post, but Friday is Saint Patrick’s day and I wanted to post a Saint Patrick’s day recipe. I went back and forth on this…

Then I finally decided, book review today and recipe Friday, a pie recipe to tie in with this day & Saint Patrick’s Day. So here we go with our book review:

deaththreads

Death Threads (Southern Sewing Circle #2) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

So I read this book and was planning on reviewing it, but then I couldn’t remember what happened other than I didn’t like it.

So I had to reread it in order to review it. Let’s see if my views changed.

So after a disastrous discovery of her fiancé cheating on her, Tori decides to move to Sweet Briar, South Carolina. There she found herself the victim of horrible pranks, a ton of residents upset with her replacing their favorite librarian, and a suspect in a murder.

But that’s all in the past. Now Tori is doing well at the library, has been accepted as a member of the town, dating a handsome teacher, and working hard on her sewing-grateful for her new friends and community.

But then things take a dark turn…Colby Calhoun: handsome, local author, newspaper reporter, and husband of Tori’s friend and sewing circle member–reveals that the town has been perpetuating a lie. The story is that the town was burned by Yankees in the Civil War, the Sweet Briar people coming together and rebuilding on the ashes, but Colby reveals that the town was really burned when a moonshine distillery caught fire.

Obviously Colby has never seen the film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance or else he would know:

Ransom Stoddard: You’re not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?

Maxwell Scott: No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

The town becomes furious at Colby, all talking about how they would like to hurt him. His wife and kids are bullied or treated as pariahs. Even in the sewing circle Debbie isn’t accepted.

Tori is the only one who sticks up for her. Later when she checks on Debbie, the two discover the house ransacked, a threatening note, blood in the area, and a missing Colby.

Tori sets out to discover what happened to her friend’s husband and tries to catch whoever is doing this, because:

Also in this book, Tori meets an eccentric older woman who made up a boyfriend the past five years. But now it looks as if the man is real as they are getting married. Who could he be?

Thoughts after Reading:

Let’s see how did I feel?

The first one was much better. This one was boring.

It took a looooong time to get the characters moving.

And the mystery was easily solved. As soon as they brought the characters in it was clear what was up.

For more Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries, go to Sew Deadly

For more Southern Mysteries, go to Cookie Dough or Die

For more mysteries, go to The Itsy Bitsy Spider

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

Bloom and Doom

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Bloom and Doom (A Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery #1) by Beverly Allen

Audrey Bloom and her cousin Olivia have opened up a bridal shop in their hometown of Ramble.

Double double yay

What makes their shop stand out from others is that they specialize in the meaning of flowers. Once something that crucially studied in the Victorian era but has died out today; the Bloom cousins have decided to bring it back.

Meaning-of-Flowers

After a newspaper interview declares that the Bloom sisters have a 100% success rate in their marriages, they are chosen to do the flowers for two big weddings. The first being the wedding of the Mayor’s only daughter to her sweetheart, and the second being Jenny Whitney with the most eligible man inn town, Derek Rawling.

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Jenny and Audrey used to be friends back in the day; garage sale buddies, hanging out every Saturday. One day Jenny dropped her, lost weight, and joined the popular crowd; sayonara Audrey.

See ya!

See ya!

But as Jenny comes into the shop to choose her flowers, Audrey notices that she is not as excited and unlike most brides doesn’t have a single idea what she wants in a bouquet. Strange.

Very suspicious

Very suspicious

Even weirder, as her mother is the one making the decisions, they pick flowers that mean forsaken and other bad omen type flora. Doesn’t look good one bit.

Not-Good

A few days later Jenny calls Audrey canceling everything she ordered. She has decided that she will not be getting married after all as she doesn’t really love Derek, but instead was just seeing him because her mother wanted her to. She isn’t sure what she will do next with her life as she hasn’t been trained in anything, besides the early days when before her dad died when they owned a restaurant.

idon'tknowwhatI'mdoing

Audrey takes pity on her and offers her a trial job working at the shop.

gotthis

Jenny tries but sucks at cutting and trimming the flowers. While everyone else thinks it is a bad idea, Audrey gives her a bag with the floral scissors to practice at home.

Meanwhile, every day the new bakery owner, Nick, has been coming in to purchase flowers. Audrey thinks he is pretty cute, but since her fiancé jilted her for a “more interesting” New York City, she has been wary. However, maybe this guy…

Very fishy

Maybe.

The next day, Derek is found dead.

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He was discovered in his car, murdered with the floral scissors. The police arrest Jenny as they believe that she killed him.

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Now Audrey, is eager to prove her friend is innocent; armed by her cousin, the new baker, and the rest of the floral staff.

gotthis

To make matters even worse, Chief Bixby is in charge of the investigation, and he hates the Bloom cousins. Not only did he arrest Jenny but he is also trying to pin the murder on Blooms as well.

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Thoughts After Reading:

So I really enjoyed this mystery. I thought the characters were fun, the knowledge of the flowers were actually interesting, and I was eager to read more.

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However, there were a few things I didn’t like. Like Bixby trying to pin everything on the Bloom cousins because of his allergy to flowers?

really?

Or when he confiscates every set of scissors because the murder weapon is a set of floral scissors. Why? It make no sense? He already had the murder weapon in his possession.

seriously

But otherwise it was a great read. I’m ready for the sequel.

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For more Southern Mysteries, go to Sew Deadly

For more books revolving around Weddings, go to ‘Til Death Do Us Purl

For more mystery reviews, go to The Postman Always Purls Twice

 

Sew Deadly

SewDeadly

Sew Deadly (A Southern Sewing Circle #1) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Victoria “Tori” Sinclair has just moved from Chicago to small town Sweet Briar, South Carolina to be the town’s new librarian.

change

It is a huge change for her, but after her last relationship tanked, her fiancé cheating on her during their engagement party, she needed to get out and far away.

moveon

Tori is eager to run her own library, being full of ideas,

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but she is definitely going to be faced with some serious issues. She is from the North (a Yankee), was not born in Sweet Briar, and has just ousted one of the town’s favorite people when she was hired to become the new librarian.

badfeeling

Tori visits with some of the town folk, Leona a more recent addition to the town and the antique shop owner; and Georgina the mayor. While Georgina and Tori are talking, they discuss sewing, and Tori is invited to join the sewing circle. Seems like things are going great.

fantastic

But not quite. Someone is sabotaging her, stealing the lightbulbs on her porch, giving her a flat, and the former librarian is going around talking smack about her.

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While the sewing meeting starts off to a shaky start, the former librarian boycotting; and Tori not bringing a baked good like she is supposed

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When she shares her ideas of starting a children’s room in the library, everyone jumps in promising to make dress up clothes for the kids.

wow

Just when things look like they are going up, Tori falls into another pitfall. Her appointment book was swiped and she finds herself unprepared for Mr. Wentworth’s third grade class’ usual appointment of story time and craft. Luckily she manages to think her way out and come up with a butter making idea. As the kids are working hard, Tori talkes to Miles Wentworth, single, tall, dark, and handsome.

Smirkity smirk smirk

Smirkity smirk smirk

The next sewing circle doesn’t go as well as the first. Former librarian Dixie Dunn came and is trying to get everyone against Tori. Luckily the move the conversation to Miles and discuss the sad state of his singlehood since he became a widower, along wit the beauty queen, recently moved back resident, Tiffany Ann. Tiffany Ann was always obsessed with Miles ever since she was 12 and he was her tutor. She doesn’t care about the 13 year difference but promised she would marry him.

Obsessed

Obsessed

After a lot of hard work, Tori has finally cleaned out the storage room set for the new children’s corner. Nina, her assistant, has to leave but Tori is determined to finish cleaning everything for the board meeting and show off where she wants everything to be. As she heads to the dumpster to toss in the final pieces she’s cleaned out, all her plans change. In the dumpster is the body of Tiffany Ann.

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Now the police investigator stupidly believes that Tori killed her, in her anger of becoming part of a love triangle, no one will talk to her, and Tori has to solve this mystery before whoever kills again and causes her to be run out of town.

dearlordhelpme

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Thoughts After Reading:

So I thought this book was pretty good.

likeit

I liked the characters of the book and felt it was interesting. The only thing I don’t like is the way they make the police investigator so incompetent.

Really Mike?

Ugh.

I hate when they do that in mystery novels. Why would they choose Tori when she has no reason to kill Miles? There is no love triangle, no hatred, no revenge, no money, etc.

seriously

There is bound to have been someone else in the town, but instead of making the character intelligent, she makes him like the one in Bloom and Doom, incredibly incompetent.

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For more love triangles, go to Cream Puff Murder

For more on May Vanderbilt, go to A is for Alibi

For book reviews, go to A Study in Scarlet