Smarty Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney Series #13)

Wow, this book was busy! It’s like the author had three different novella-length stories she wanted to tell and compressed them all into the same plot line/book. But I don’t mean that as a bad thing. It was just a very busy storyline – which I can see a lot of people not enjoying, but it kept me on the edge of my seat for the last half of the book. I love how Ms. Haines brought Sweetie and Pluto into the storyline and made them active characters – a true animal lover will appreciate it.  I really enjoyed the Lady in Red storyline. I was really intrigued by the role she played in the Civil War and the possible solution to the troubles that she hoped to forward. The modern day storyline revolving around The Lady in Red, however, I have to admit to finding hard to swallow – it felt a tiny bit over-the-top. But I still enjoyed the hell out of this book!  Ms. Haines hints throughout the story that she might be shaking things up again in Sarah Booth’s life. As I’ve always been a fan of Coleman’s, I sort of hope that’s true. I’m looking forward to the next book to find out what happens.

Hex on the Ex (A Mind for Murder Mystery #3)

Ok, I really enjoyed this book, but I have to say the killer was screamingly obvious towards the end – like it could have ended several chapters sooner, but it seemed like the author had more to say so she kept her characters in a state of temporary stupidity until she was ready.

 

Beyond that, a great story – not quite as much woo woo, although the murder has a very occult spin to it. But it was restricted to the murder itself, so we don’t have to read about Liz’s refusal to have an open mind, which was an irritant to me in the last two books. I like Nick and the rest of the cast; they’re all fun to read. I especially love that Ms. Staab doesn’t feel the need for a nemesis, or a love triangle – thank you.

 

I was a little bit on the fence about this series after the second book, but this one has me eagerly awaiting the next book.

Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince (Paranormal Detective #18)

The books in this series are truly fairy tales for adults. No murder mystery, but always a mystery of some kind, meant to provide an opportunity for growth for the protagonist, right down to a ‘moral of the story’ of sorts at the end.

 

Because, or in spite of, this, these stories are always entertaining with fantastic, colourful, characters and really no villains to speak of. My only complaint about the books – well, two really: I wish the author could figure out a way for Aunt Dimity to pass on her wisdom without making Lori impulsive to the point of childish and make Aunt Dimity less condescending while passing on her wisdom. Secondly, if Lori could not jump to so many ridiculous conclusions, that would be great. Although I will say, she was much more rational in this book.

 

Aunt Dimity and the Lost Price centers around the fantastical tales told by a child, and the reality that lies at the heart of them. The child herself makes exactly one appearance in the story, but she makes quite an impression with everyone she meets and Lori and her neighbor Bree follow a string of clues to find the ‘Lost Price’. With an ending not quite what you’d expect, but a happy one, this was a fast, entertaining read. If you don’t try to make these books something they are not (murder mysteries with suspects, etc.), and enjoy them for what they are, they’ll never let you down.

Much Ado About Magic (Enchanted, Inc., #5)

I remember when I finished ‘Don’t Hex with Texas’ thinking, for the first time, ‘she should self-publish the next book because the publishing houses are obviously too stupid to know a good thing when they see it’. So I was thrilled when I read earlier this year that Ms Swendson announced that she’d decided to do just that with the fifth book, Much Ado About Magic. I had it on my e-reader as soon as it was available, and finished it the same day.  The story didn’t disappoint – long held secrets revealed, lots of magical action, and the same wonderful cast of characters in a light, frothy, fun tale. My only ‘gripe’ (and it’s not really that) is the seeming distance between Merlin and Katie – in previous books she was a bit of a confidante to Merlin and I saw no evidence of that in this book. Still, an excellent read and if Ms. Swendson ever decides to physically publish, I’ll buy another copy to add to my bookshelves at home.  I’m truly looking forward to the sixth book in October.

Pies and Prejudice

Well, about 1/2 way to 3/4 of the way through this mystery, I started to get aggravated. It was obvious from the start that Ella Mae had no idea she had any gift beyond being a very good pastry chef. Yet, as the evidence mounts, it’s never explained and she blithely goes along as if she just accepts the effect her pies have on those that eat them without any curiosity or question. Luckily, it’s all explained at the end, the author just waited rather longer than expected to explain everything.  

 

The murder mystery was a good one, although the clues felt a bit disjointed. I guess that’s to be expected – otherwise the mystery might be too easy to solve for the reader.  Still, the ending took me unaware, and I liked it – no obvious solution and no clichés.

 

There are quite a few great characters, although her ‘evil nemesis’ will probably get on my nerves quickly if she makes too much of an appearance throughout the series – pure nastiness is NOT what I look for in a cozy mystery. The aunts are a hoot, and I love the steaminess of the romantic possibilities. I’m looking forward to the next book, Peach Pies and Alibis.

Brownies and Broomsticks (Magical Bakery Series #1)

I’m always a little apprehensive when I pick up a first book in a new series; not sure if the book will live up to expectations. But Brownies and Broomsticks was everything I’d hoped it would be: great characters, fantastic setting (I love Savannah), and the plot was solid and unpredictable.

 

The main players in the book were all likeable and interesting, with lots of possibilities for future development. This is especially true about Katie – lots of hints about her abilities as a witch and I’m looking forward to seeing where it all goes.

 

About the only thing I didn’t like from the start; it looks like the author is going to try to create a love triangle – and I’m not a fan of that. Still, it became apparent that the two suitors were at least interesting. I just hope Ms. Cates doesn’t string it along and make it painful. I’m really, really looking forward to future books in this series.

Hallowed Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney Series #5)

The more I read of this series, the more I truly like it and admire the author. The stories have elements of fun, humour, sincerity, and depth. They are intelligently written and the plots are intricately woven. This book is probably her best in the series so far. I look forward to continuing with the series.

Crossed Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney Series #4)

Carolyn Haines has a talent for making an intricate, detailed plot easy to read and fast moving. Her sense of place is so vivid it’s easy to feel you’re in the Mississippi Delta and it’s lovely to read about someone who respects her heritage.

 

This book’s story was interesting and gripping and I just couldn’t put it down. Jitty is still a nag but at least she’s starting to show signs of a softer side. I’m looking forward to continuing with this series.