Death by the Book – Julianna Deering

Book 2 in the Drew Farthering Mystery series was everything I hoped it would be, and so much more! It’s the Summer of 1932, and if Drew was planning on a quiet go of it so he could spend time with Ms. Madeline Parker, he was mistaken. Add in Madeline’s dear Aunt Ruth, and Drew has definitely got his hands full.

Death by the Book Cover Image
I absolutely love this cover!

The first murder happens to be the Farthering family solicitor whom Drew had a meeting with. The hatpin and Shakespearian note stuck in his chest has Drew, Madeline, and Nick scrambling to figure out what the meaning, and motive might be. As the bodies start stacking up in what the townspeople begin calling the Hatpin Murders, Drew is doing his best to win over Aunt Ruth, before she manages to get Madeline on a plane and take her from Drew forever.

The twists and turns in the story will keep you turning pages until the killer is revealed. This story was a great follow-up to the first book, Rules of Murder. I am halfway through book number 3, and these books are definitely going to be added to my home library!

You can find Julianna’s web page here: Julianna Deering

You can purchase these fantastic stories here: Julianna on Amazon

Rules of Murder – Julianna Deering

This is the first book in the Drew Farthering Mystery Series. I randomly came across these books doing what I so often do at my local library; walk down random aisles looking at titles and book covers until something grabs my attention. This book cover definitely grabbed my attention. I knew as soon as I saw it that I was looking at a classic mystery novel such as the ones I would find at yard sales growing up and make my Mom buy for me.

Rules of Murder cover image
How amazing is this cover?!

This book was found in the Christian Fiction section of my library, but it is in no way overtly religious (not that I would mind, I like those books as well!), but there is mention of God, and going to Church, and the like. It is set in the 1930’s in Britain (another bonus for me!) and the story as a whole was just good, clean, fun!

Drew Farthering lives at the Farthering Estate, the house that controls the town, if-you-will. Think Downton Abbey. He lives with his mother and step-father, their Butler Dennison, and Mrs. Devon, the head maid, amongst other staff. Nick Dennison, son of butler Dennison, is the best friend of Drew, and a frequent visitor of the estate.

When Drew’s step-father, Mr. Parker, announces that his niece and 2 of her friends will be arriving for a stay from America, Drew is excited for some new company. Madeline Parker and her friends arrive at the estate, and the adventure begins. Two murders need to be solved, Drew is doing his best to focus on the cases at hand, all while wooing Ms. Madeline.

This is a clean written story, like you would expect in cozy mysteries set in today’s timeframe. It is great fun, taking you back to a time when things were simpler, except for solving a murder, that is. That was not simpler. There were no cell phones, no internet, no ballistics studies, and the like.

I’m skipping the spoilers as I always do; but I cannot recommend this book enough! I am almost done with book two and will be reviewing that soon!

What cozy are you enjoying right now?

Michigan Winters…

…The gift that won’t stop giving.

But I really, really wish it would 😦 Schools and businesses were closed all last week; beginning the Friday before. 6 days off from school for my daughter. A half day Monday and Tuesday, and school closed again today because of the ice storm we got overnight. And the second ice storm is coming tonight. So no school again tomorrow. I am just hoping I can make it to work Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I need to keep these vacation days for warmer weather!

Are you stuck somewhere getting hit with the Polar Vortex and now the second storm? How are you keeping the family from getting cabin fever?

The Begonia Bribe – Alyse Carlson

Book 2 in the Garden Society Mystery series.

the begonia bribe cover image

This was a great follow-up to The Azalea Assault. Cam (Camellia) Harris is now tasked with managing the Little Miss Begonia Pageant being held in one of Roanoke’s nicest parks. Cam runs into one of her least favorite people from high school, Mindy, and Cam’s best friend Annie likes her even less. Cam never expected she would get so wrapped up into Mindy’s personal life, but there she is, right in the middle.

Cam once again gets her reporter boyfriend Rob, as well as Annie, caught up in a murder investigation. Annie’s boyfriend, and Rob’s best friend Jake, Police officer in Roanoke, keeps trying his best to get Cam to mind her own business. Cam just seems to always be one step ahead of him.

There are many characters intertwined in this story, from past and present, and again you do not see it coming. The storyline is great, and the characters are well rounded and you really feel for them. Can Cam figure out who the murderer is before more lives are ruined?

I am looking for some new cozy series to read while Michigan is officially closed, so let me know your favorites!

The Azalea Assault – Alyse Carlson

This is the first of three cozy mysteries in the Garden Society Mystery series. As the 3rd one was written in 2014, I do not expect there to be others. Truly a shame ☹

the azalea assault cover image

Cam Harris is the PR person for the Roanoke Garden Society, and gardening has never been more dangerous. When the nationally celebrated Garden Delights magazine agrees to come to Roanoke to feature Roanoke’s best gardens, Cam is tasked with making sure everything goes off without a hitch.

With the help of her best friend Annie, and her boyfriend Rob, she soon finds herself in the middle of a bunch of suspects who had motive to kill the star photographer. Now she not only needs to find another photographer, she also needs to keep her sister Petunia and brother-in-law Nick on the right side of the law, as they soon become the main suspects.

There are a lot of characters wrapped up in this book, but they all have their place in the story, and it flows smoothly from one chapter to the next. If you have read many cozies (such as I have), you sometimes can see what is coming next. This story keeps you guessing to the end.

There are descriptions of many different plants, but not much on the side of actual gardening tips (which I wasn’t expecting).

Here in Michigan right now we are wrapped in the middle of a polar vortex, and literally the whole state is shut down. Which means I took tomorrow off from work, so I have plenty of time to finish book three, write review number two, and do some writing for my own cozy mystery book number 1!

You can learn more about Alyse here: Alyse Carlson – Penguin Random House

Are you trapped inside too? What are you reading to get you by?

What I’m Reading…

… I had to order 3 books from a library two hours away, since my library got rid of all of these books😔 How did I miss that sale?

These books are what got me started on my book obsession. And Encyclopedia Brown, of course.

This book is stamped 1974; I was two years old.

There are not too many books I will read over and again; but it has been so long since I read this story that everything is brand new and like I am reading it for the first time.

Please tell me you have read these stories!

Denial of Justice – Mark Shaw

Oh how I waited to get this from my library. I have been obsessed with watching “What’s My Line” for weeks; and absolutely adore Dorothy Kilgallen.

Disappointed. This book was drier than the toast I burned and tried to give to my daughter with no butter last weekend.

I thought maybe I was not in the mood to read this type of story, so I watched Mr. Shaw’s YouTube video on this. Still dry.

I have been following so much about her. The first gossip columnist; yet she never gossiped about her many year affair, and no one else talked about it.

I just want to say so many good things about this because I admire her so much; and believe she was killed, and did not overdose. But I could not finish this book 😔 I feel like it is time for my own investigative story; one of the truth.

Do you know this story? Do you love the game show as much as I do?