Review: One of Us by Lorie Lewis Ham

One of Us by Lorie Lewis Ham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lorie Lewis Ham hits one out of the park with her first book in the new Tower District Mysteries series. Roxi Carlucci is a strong and bright character with just enough whimsey to soften the edges, and her co-horts are equally as interesting. This installment had everything that interests me, such as theatre, literature, pets, and of course, mystery. The dialogue is stunning, as I felt like I was a fly on the wall throughout the story. Fun to read and with easy flow, I highly recommend this cozy.

I received an ARC for an objective review.

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Review: Cake and Punishment by Maymee Bell

Cake and Punishment by Maymee Bell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were well thought out and likeable. The mystery was intriguing. The romance was lovely. The dialogue was top notch. I felt right at home, especially with all of that southern hospitality. There was even a cat. It takes a lot for me to give a 5 star review, but this book deserves it. I will be reading the second book in this series, as well. Unfortunately, there are only two books in this particular series, which disheartens me. I do wish we could get a few more installments. However, it is noteworthy to say that this is a pen name for Tonya Kappes, who has written many other books and series in the cozy mystery genre that I am sure I will enjoy.

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Review: Dead in Dublin by Catie Murphy

Dead in Dublin

Dead in Dublin by Catie Murphy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved the first installment of this series. I have family/friends in Ireland and we used to go there quite frequently until the pandemic hit. It was so comforting to read about places that we have visited, such as Dublin and Galway, even though a few of the other places mentioned were fictional. The protagonist, Megan, is a delight, and even though I usually like to read cozy mysteries that are written in first person, I still felt engaged in Megan’s thoughts through the journey. The characters are all well formed, and the relationships intriguing. Overall, a great read!

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Review: August – Osage County

August: Osage CountyAugust: Osage County by Tracy Letts

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After reading this play, I was reminded of why I love to read in the first place – Entertainment. Life is hard enough, with all of its issues and disappointments, without having to read about depressing dysfunctional families. While I agree that some drama is always needed in theater, this story is just too depressing and really does not offer any real resolution of problems. I suggest that you be in a real good frame of mind before picking this little saga to read.

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Review: Impromtu

Impromptu.Impromptu. by Tad Mosel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I directed this one-act play in high school, and thought I would revisit it today. It is a short read about 4 actors that are taken out of their comfort zone. Being that I have undergraduate degrees in both, Musical Theatre and Psychology, I have always found this play to be fascinating. Actors always want to be “in character” but in this situation they are forced to play themselves through the improvisation of a play. Typecasting runs rampant in this story, until the actors slowly turn about. All in all, they learn much about themselves and each other in only 27 pages.

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Review: Permed to Death

Permed to Death
Permed to Death by Nancy J. Cohen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a typical who-done-it that lacked the humorous dialogue which, in my opinion, somewhat defines a cozy mystery. While I liked the beauty salon setting, I felt that the main character lacked complexity, and was a bit unlikable. Another issue was the plethora of stereotyped characters in unlikely situations that were introduced shortly thereafter, which made for a confusing time and did not add much value to the plot itself. I did enjoy the smattering of Yiddish expressions throughout, which although irrelevant, I thought added a bit of interest to the story. I must say, however, that it was difficult for me to finish this book, as it really did not hold my interest. I do not believe that I would take the time to read another book in this particular series.

Disclaimer: This Audiobook was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest unbiased review.

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Review: Hex on the Ex

Hex on the Ex
Hex on the Ex by Rochelle Staab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As usual, Staab hits it out of the ballpark with her third installment in the Mind for Murder Mystery series. Although, I am not a huge sports fan of any kind, I found that this book kept my interest quite well regardless. The writing was solid, the characters were well developed, and the mystery was fascinating. I also enjoy the spark of the spiritual and occult, which always teaches me something that I did not know. In addition, there is always great chemistry and humorous dialogue between the main characters. I have really enjoyed this entire series, and hope that the author will continue with it.

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Review: The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe
The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I have never read any of Simses’ work before, but I have to say that I was a bit disappointed by the slow pacing of the story and the lack of character development. The protagonist was a one-dimensional character that was difficult to pin down, as many of her personality traits were conflicted. Like others, I wanted to know more about mystery of Ellen’s grandmother, but that never materialized. I found this book to be very predictable, and difficult to get through. The plot was the age-old rehash of a typical romance premise, and the ending was exactly as expected. The book was turned into a movie for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel, but I must say that it was just as boring, if not more, as the novel.

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