The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn

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Pages: 336

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Published: February 4, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A delightful read for Agatha Christie fans of all ages. Murder, mayhem, and intrigue lurk around corner of the debut novel in a new series.

Being a huge fan of cozy mysteries I jumped at the chance to read this new novel. I am so glad I did. Although it is a fictionalized version of a young Ms. Christie I was able to imagine this was how she started her career as the Queen of Mystery.

In this novel, Aggie is twelve years old and homeschooled and has plenty of time to use her imagination (a gift so many today do not get to explore). She fancies herself a mystery writer but when she finds a dead body she uses that imagination to try and solve the case. She gets herself into plenty of scraps but her friend Hector is always in the shadows to get her out of them.

This is the perfect novel to introduce the Mystery Queen to your young readers and open their world to a future of cozy mysteries.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: A smart and charming middle-grade mystery series starring young detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector, inspired by the imagined life of Agatha Christie as a child and her most popular creation, Hercule Poirot. For fans of Lemony Snicket and The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.

Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal — including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends — to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit.

Filled with mystery, adventure, an unforgettable heroine and several helpings of tea and sweets, The Body Under the Piano is the clever debut of a new series for middle-grade readers and Christie and Poirot fans everywhere, from a Governor General’s Award–nominated author of historical fiction for children.

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

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Pages: 464

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: September 10, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I really wanted to give this book 5 stars but due to the fact that it took close to being 150 pages before I felt like I could not put it down, I have to give it only 4 stars.

There are a few dry chapters as they read like a history book but they are necessary to get the background of how the Kindertransport started in Austria. There are a lot of characters to keep track of in the beginning and at times I had to stop and think who and what their importance was to the story.

I will say, once I got around 150 pages I did not want to put the book down. I found the ending heartbreaking but I do understand that that time is history was full of heartbreak.

The Last Train to London is a worthy read for those readers who love to read about World War 2.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, HarperCollins, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley:

The New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Exiles conjures her best novel yet, a pre-World War II-era story with the emotional resonance of Orphan Train and All the Light We Cannot See, centering on the Kindertransports that carried thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe—and one brave woman who helped them escape to safety.

In 1936, the Nazi is little more than loud, brutish bores to fifteen-year-old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright whose playground extends from Vienna’s streets to its intricate underground tunnels. Stephan’s best friend and companion are the brilliant Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents’ carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis take control.

There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after the Anschluss—Hitler’s annexation of Austria—as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.
Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” in a race against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Žofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad.

Deadly Ride (A Britton Bay #3) by Jody Holford

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Pages: 217

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 22, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 4 stars

My Review: I’m really glad I found this series. It has just the right amount of romance with plenty of mystery.

Molly’s profession of being a newspaper editor gives her the advantage of being able to interview so many suspects under the ruse of writing an article or fact-checking. Her romance with Sam keeps things interesting in that he keeps trying to keep her safe, very lovingly, and she keeps finding ways to get into trouble. Sam is the perfect knight in shining armor.

As with most cozy mysteries, you can read this as a standalone but it is much better if you read in order.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Newspaper editor Molly Owens loves her new life—and her new man—in the beautiful seaside town of Britton Bay, Oregon. But when a car-show killer strikes, she needs to put the brakes on the culprit . . .

As editor-in-chief of the Britton Bay Bulletin, Molly steps in for a sick reporter to cover the Classic Car Crawl, an exhibit of vintage automobiles. Her main challenge is not being driven to distraction by the presence of her hunky boyfriend, Sam Alderich, a fellow car enthusiast whose auto shop is sponsoring the event. But when she and Sam discover the co-founder dead in his car, Molly quickly shifts gears to solve the murder.

With a showroom full of suspects—including the co-founder’s longtime partner, much-younger wife, enigmatic ex, and car owners with grudges and grievances—Molly soon starts to feel like she’s spinning her wheels. And after things take a turn for the worse, it’s all she can do to steer clear of trouble and stay out of a killer’s clutches . . .

Fan Mail (An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense #2) by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Pages: 247

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: November 12, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Fan Mail is just as good as Desolate Shores. Aspen and her niece are a good team both in the investigation of murders and as a family unit. I didn’t want to stop reading from the moment I opened the book.

Please tell me a third book is on its way soon. I can’t wait to see who gets murdered next and how it helps Aspen overcome her past.

Clean romance as a side story, very few curse words, if any, but there are triggers of physical abuse, drug abuse and of course murder.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Beyond the Page Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Agatha Award-winning and national bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber returns with a dark new novel of suspense . . .

An adoring fan and a string of murders: a demented show of love that leaves no one safe . . .

Local celebrity news anchor Gloria Morning is used to receiving declarations of love and praise in her weekly fan letters, but when a Lake Tahoe doctor is murdered and she gets an anonymous note telling her it was done for her glory, her appreciation turns to panic. Unsure of where else to turn, she enlists the help of novice private investigator Aspen Adams. No sooner does Aspen begin digging into who sent the macabre note than another murder occurs, followed by another note, and she soon realizes she’s up against a ruthless and deranged killer.

Working with scant clues and a puzzling array of potential suspects, Aspen is determined to unearth the elusive connection between the victims and her client. But as the body count grows and the murderer remains a mystery to both her and the police, Aspen discovers she’s gotten closer to the killer than she ever imagined, and now she must risk everything she holds dear to stop the killings, including her own life . . .

Murder, She Uncovered by Peg Cochran

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Pages: 284

Publisher: Random House Publishing

Published: May 28, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: Why did I wait so long to read this??? I could not put it down. It kept me guessing the entire time.

Elizabeth’s character grabs you immediately and you feel like you’ve known her forever. I was surprised how independent and strong she was given it is 1938 in the book. The more the book progressed the more her confidence grew.

I am already lobbying for Santa to bring me a kindle gift card so I can get books one and three. I want to see how it started and where Elizabeth’s character is going. Definitely, a must-read series for those who love historical fiction and cozy mysteries.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Random House, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: An intrepid 1930s Manhattan socialite uncovers deadly secrets during an assignment to the Hamptons in this riveting historical cozy mystery for readers of Victoria Thompson, Susan Elia MacNeal, and Rhys Bowen.

Westhampton, 1938. To the dismay of her well-to-do family, Elizabeth “Biz” Adams is quickly establishing herself as a seasoned photographer over at the Daily Trumpet. Growing more confident in her decision to pursue a career, Elizabeth is thrilled when she and her reporter sidekick, Ralph Kaminsky, are sent to Long Island to cover the story of a young maid found dead in one of the glamourous summer homes in the devastating aftermath of the Great New England Hurricane—also known as the Long Island Express.

At first, it’s assumed that the young woman was caught in the terrible storm, but when a suspicious wound is found on the side of her head, the police suspect murder. The maid’s death becomes even more tragic when it’s discovered she was pregnant, and with Elizabeth and Kaminsky at the scene of the crime, the Daily Trumpet scoops all the other papers in town.

The young woman’s boyfriend emerges as the likeliest suspect. But as Elizabeth follows the story, she begins to wonder whether someone in the household of the maid’s employers might be responsible—someone who’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth about the baby’s paternity hidden. . . .

A Deadly Dealer (Antiques and Collectibles #3) by Ellery Adams

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Pages: 333

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: January 22, 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Molly Appleby’s career as a reporter for Collector’s Weekly is finally taking off, as is her relationship with coworker Matt Harrison. But the more time she spends covering Southern antiques and collectibles, the more times she finds herself face-to-face with a new mystery. And when she’s sent to Nashville to cover the famous Heart of Dixie auction, where all the major players in the world of collectibles gather, her hopes of steering clear of foul play are quickly dashed when a renowned and well-respected dealer is found murdered.

My Review:

The third book to the Antiques and Collectibles series is a great addition. Molly and Matt are moving forward with their relationship. Molly and her mom are still enjoying their time together around the antiques and collectibles.

I enjoy how Ellery Adams keeps you guessing until the killer is revealed. I did not guess who it was and thought to myself, “Wow, how did I miss that?”

Now on to the next one in the series.

A Fatal Appraisal (Antiques and Collectibles #2) by Ellery Adams

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Pages: 645

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: January 22, 2015

Rating 4 almost 5 stars

Amazon:

In the world of antiques and collectibles, it helps to have a sharp eye for quality, a good ear for gossip, and a nose for murder.

Molly Appleby loves her job at Collector’s Weekly covering auctions and estate sales all over the South. When her latest assignment takes her to Richmond, Virginia, to interview the staff of the hit TV show Hidden Treasures, she’s expecting a quick, fun trip. But when one of the show’s appraisers is found murdered, Molly realizes that once again she’ll have to put on her detective’s cap until the culprit is captured.

As Richmond locals flock to the show hoping their family heirlooms turn out to be valuable antiques, Molly’s busy behind the scenes interviewing the show’s staff and tracking down clues. When yet another staff member is killed and Molly herself is threatened, she’s determined to discover which of the expert cast members of Hidden Treasures might be hiding a sinister secret, because no matter how priceless, she knows that no antique is literally to die for.

My Review:

“Fewer and fewer Americans possess objects that have a patina, old furniture, grandparents’ pots, and pans – the used things, warm with generations of human touch… – Susan Sontag, On Photography

Ellery Adams opens chapter 1 with this quote and I tell you I was blown away. It hit me like a ton of bricks because it is so true. Everyone wants new, new, new and nothing from their parents or grandparents. The thought is, “Just throw it away.” I look around my house and I have a lot of hand-me-downs from my parents and grandparents and those items seem to be my favorite things to use. I am currently using a blender and food chopper from my great aunt who bought them new in the early 80s. Every time I get them out I think of her and miss her. I feel as if she is in the kitchen with me. This is what Adams does when she writes, she makes you think and reflect on your life. I have no idea if she is aware she does that but she does.

A Fatal Appraisal is one of her earlier books she originally published under Jennifer Stanley. I really liked it and you can see she has always been a gifted writer. Molly, her main character, in The Antiques and Collectibles series is a gem. She is, what I call, average size, but she thinks she is too heavy and is wanting what most of us what in life, someone to love and share our daily life with. Unfortunately, her current interest gets called away on a family emergency to Ohio and she gets to sent to North Carolina to write an article on an antique and collectible show. Of course, she finds a dead body or two.

I could not put this book down and then when I finished I listened to the audiobook. I wanted to see how well the narrator portrayed the characters and I was impressed. Either way, you read this book I do not think you will be disappointed. I suggest starting with the first book in the series, A Killer Collection but you do not have to.

Deadly Vows (A Britton Bay Mystery #2) by Jody Holford

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Pages: 220

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 9, 2019

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
Britton Bay is buzzing with preparations for a wedding at the bed and breakfast where Molly rents a small carriage home. Molly is even helping out and plans to interview the rising star caterer—until the woman is found dead. And then the bride-to-be goes missing. To make matters worse, the venue is owned by Molly’s new boyfriend’s mother—and Molly was among the last people to see the victim alive. All of which makes solving the crime her top priority . . .

With the nuptials indefinitely on hold, Molly will have to sift through a sticky mix of suspects, including a rival caterer with a short fuse, a groom with an illicit secret, and a wedding party riddled with personal drama. And if she doesn’t discover the truth soon, Molly might be her own front-page news . . .

My Review:

A solid second book in the Britton Bay series. I’m still in love with the characters and the town. I really want to know the full story behind Corky. I just think there is one

Again plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing.

I’m very impressed that the language and romance were clean considering the author is also a romance author. I appreciate it was. An easy read and whether you’ve read the first book or not I think you can easily pick right up with the series with book two.

The exciting news is that book three is already in the works.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington/Lyrical Underground through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Deadly News (Britton Bay Mystery #1) by Jody Holford

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Pages: 184

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 30, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the best debuts I’ve read in a while. Love the series already.

Molly is used to a life of moving from place to place with her dad being in the Army. After walking in on her now ex-boyfriend sizzling the sheets with his ex, Molly has decided to expand her horizons and work and live in a small town as the new editor of the local newspaper.

Molly pushes Vernon, to be the reporter he used to be and write with passion and dig deeper for the story. When he does not show up to work for the second day in a row, Molly takes her new position seriously and goes to his home to check on him. Unfortunately, she finds more than she bargained for with Vernon on the floor in a pool of his own blood. She realizes he was not a favorite of the town but who would want him dead? As Molly investigates she finds there is someone who doesn’t like her as well and the threats against her are mounting up faster than the heat between her and Sam, the local mechanic. Will Molly survive long enough to test the flames that Sam ignites?

I am always a little hesitant and guarded when I start a new series with an author I am not familiar with. First books in a series can make it or break it for me and this series was a pleasant surprise. I feel in love with the characters and the town from the beginning. I am disappointed that I cannot automatically start reading book two.

The mystery was one of the best I’ve read lately. Plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing. When the killer was revealed I was shocked. It was well hidden.

The language and romance were clean. An easy read, meaning you can stop at any point and be able to pick right back up without having to review. A perfect book to introduce someone to the cozy mystery club.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington/Lyrical Underground through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.