From a Mother’s Day mystery and random dinosaurs to a contemporary cozy mystery based around the owner of a bakery whose best friend and soon to be employ is embroiled in the murder of her previous boss at the local bank. Vanilla Bean Murder by Deany Ray is the second in her Ouna Bay Cozy Mysteries series. This lucky free find was a lovely novella length mystery with a touch of romance and a dash of humour.
Now keep in mind this is a second book in the series (I really lucked out with a freebie), so there are some moments where you feel you are missing a bit of information. The relationships are more defined and there is a hint of that being something that came out of the previous book so I won’t give names and details.
What I really enjoyed about this one is that I didn’t see the murderer coming… I mean, towards the end I was getting the feeling that something wasn’t quite right but I was just as surprised as the main characters (Becky) as to who did it and why.
I am definitely interested in taking a look at the first novel in the series as well as continuing on (once the book budget allows of course…). Deany Ray does a terrific job creating interesting characters. The story felt well thought through and had a great pace. The mystery, as I mentioned, was intriguing and unexpected. Definitely a fun read out in the hammock on a warm afternoon, especially since that is exactly what I did! And who doesn’t love a title like Vanilla Bean Murder. It sounds so… scrumptious.
Well, it may not be Mother’s Day coming up but I picked up A Mother’s Day Murder by Dee Ernst as a lucky free find all the same. This is the first in a series – Mt. Abrams Mysteries. And was an interesting read. Dee Ernst wrote this book around a more mature main character – Ellie Rocca, a divorced mother of two who now works from home running her own business as an online editor of books that would otherwise be self published. With a grown daughter trying to find her way and an elementary aged daughter just starting to grow she is a busy woman in a rather traditional suburban town where “nothing happens”.
That is, until something DOES happen. I found this contemporary mystery book to be a rather fun read, though I agree with other reviewers in that there are a lot of new characters coming at you very quickly. While I did not write out a cheat sheet to keep track of them all I was sorely tempted.
The love interests are interesting, the main character honest about her confusion and feelings and a total trouble magnet. There is some suspense, a touch of romance, some tongue in cheek reflections on suburban life and characters I would definitely like to learn and read more about. At only a little over 2 hours suggested reading time I would probably consider this a novella, and happily there are more available in the series.
Every once in a while you just need a novella to fill a quiet afternoon, to escape a boring evening. Pains and Penalties (A Geek and Things Cozy Mystery Novella #1) is a terrific choice for a short but complete read. A Projected hour and a half read I found that I didn’t have the feeling that the mystery was rushed or the main character under written. Sarah Biglow is quite brilliant in that she introduces her small town but doesn’t follow through and fully describe and deal with each and every individual in the area. Instead she focuses on a moderate assortment of pertinent (and perhaps a few red herring) characters and runs with it.
The main focus is on Kalina Greystone who is newly returned to her home town Ellesworth, Ma after her father’s passing and her inheriting of his comic shop. This is run with the assistance of her teenage nephew AJ. Included in the comic book shop are multiple references to games and comics, even super heroes that are current and memorable (Daredevil, Cards Against Humanity), there was even one for me to make not to check into later – Zombie Dice.
Right in the beginning we are introduced to ex high school sweetheart and current Detective Christian Harper. When Mrs. Davies known for her baking and wining of fair prizes is murdered at the annual Solstice Fair, Kalina can’t stop herself from getting involved. After all her nephew was on hand while the woman died and as hard as it was to return to her hometown from the city it IS her home now and for Kalina that means she can’t help but dig deeper and try and help.
I was stumped almost to the end as to who committed the murders. The timeline is actually quite reasonable over the span of a couple days. I did not feel this story was rushed at all. I would not call this a romance as well as a mystery, definitely murder and cozy but the romance is not really developed nor really focused on in this book.
I am definitely open to reading book #2… if you are looking for a fun and quirky setting with lost of current and contemporary references to all things “geeky” Pains and Penalties might just be the book for you!