Halloween Party Murder by Leighann Dobbs

Halloween Party Murder by Leighann Dobbs

Halloween Party Murder is a fun novella. Juniper Holliday throws the best parties and this year's Halloween party is gearing up to be fabulous — until the cops cut it short after a dead woman is found in the guest house. Juniper is funny and eccentric and not afraid to speak her mind. I enjoyed the tension between her and the dective on the case. There's a touch of paranormal: a few helpful ghosts, and some friendly neighborhood werewolves. It was funny, the mystery was clever, and I thoroughly enjoyed the characters. The next in the trilogy will come out just in time for Thanksgiving. ...
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Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

The setting of Daisy Darker is amazing. The family is gathered at Seaglass, a lovely (spooky) old Victorian on a tidal island, to celebrate Nana's birthday. The house is isolated at high tide and there is no cell phone service. It's a dark, stormy night, of course, and when the 80 clocks in the hall strike midnight, Nana is found dead in the kitchen, with a creepy poem written in chalk on the wall. The reader is sure it's murder, even if the family isn't. The setting was the high point though. The family, while definitely eccentric, is not likeable. The story is narrated by granddaughter, Daisy Darker, Nana’s favorite, who was born with a heart condition. The narrator does a great job of telling us the story through Daisy's voice. Events unfold hour by hour, in the wee hours of Halloween morning, with chapters from Daisy’s childhood interspersed throughout. The Darker family is hiding secrets and they are all...
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Enjoy the View by Sarah Morgenthaler

Enjoy the View by Sarah Morgenthaler

Enjoy the View is smart and funny and cute. It's the third in a series but works fine as a standalone. Come December, though, I might go back and read #2. River Lane was a Hollywood starlet, determined to still make movies, she has agreed to make a documentary about the small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. Sounds like an easy light job, but the locals are not welcoming to tourists. Undeterred, River is determined to do what she set out to do - film a documentary. A chance meeting with a mountain guide, Easton Lockett, leads her in the direction of Mount Veil. Naturally, she along with Bree and Jessie (her staff helping her film her documentary) all have climbing experience, so instead of filming the town, they film the mountain climb. Easton and River are adorable together. They're playful and joking but also have each other's backs, which is necessary on the mountain. The town has some quirky sweet characters...
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The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell

The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell

I didn't enjoy The Dogs of Riga. It started off interestingly enough, with two dead men in a life raft. Detective Kurt Wallander picks up the case, but it's frustrating with no crime scene, no motive, and no witness. Eventually, the two are traced back to Latvia and a Latvian detective comes over to Sweden to help. But then it goes off the rails a bit. The Latvian detective goes back to Latvia and gets killed. Wallender is summoned to Riga to "help" with the investigation but gets tangled up with crooked cops, revolutionaries, the widow. He blunders around and feels sorry for himself. By the time I decided to just quit, I only had an hour or so left, so went ahead and pushed through, but it wasn't worth it. Emotional, fish out of water detectiveWish I had dnf-ed it ...
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Wine for Normal People by Elizabeth Schneider

Wine for Normal People by Elizabeth Schneider

Wine for Normal People is such a good book. I enjoy wine — well, some wines — but know very little about it. Wine is complicated, from the color, to the region in which it's grown, to the correct pairing with food, and the temperature at which it's served. I tend to stick with what I know I'll like, but this book has given me a bit of confidence to pick some less safe options. The book is interesting and conversational. We learn how to taste wine, how it's made, how both the winemaker and where the grapes are grown affect that taste. We get a quick tour of wines in both the Old World and New World. The author also gives advice on pairing wine and food, not a list to memorize, but characteristics to take into account. I listened to the audiobook narrated by the author, who also has a podcast by the same name. It felt like a friend...
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A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn

A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn

A Beautiful Place To Die is a mystery/thriller set in South Africa in 1952 right after the Boer government came to power and instituted laws that restricted relationships between racial groups. Emmanuel Cooper, an English detective, is sent to Jacob's Nest, a small town near the border of Mozambique where the chief of police, Captain Pretorius, has murdered. Cooper is tasked with investigating the crime but runs up against roadblocks galore. First, Pretorius was not just the police chief, he dominated the town. He was a prominent landowner, he and his family owned or controlled most of the businesses, he felt free to do what he wanted. He was also a model Afrikaaner. Then, the Security Branch arrives, determined to find the killer but to be sure that it's a killer that suits their needs, effectively pushing Cooper out of the official investigation. Of course, like any good detective, Cooper continues his search. The mystery itself is well done, with a...
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