Clearing my NetGalley Shelf #BookReviews

Hello lovelies! Today I’ve got some short reviews for you of some books which have been gathering dust on my NetGalley shelf for a while now. I’ve made a resolution to try and clear my NetGalley shelf or at least get my feedback ratio up to 80% and I’m determined to do that this year! Without further ado, here are the reviews:

Title: A Body in the Bookshop (Kitt Hartley 2) by Helen Cox

Date Published: 31st October 2019a body in the bookshop

Publisher: Quercus Publishing

Genre: cosy mystery 

Description:

A PAGE-TURNING COSY MYSTERY SET IN THE PICTURESQUE CITY OF YORK. PERFECT FOR FANS OF BETTY ROWLANDS, LJ ROSS AND FAITH MARTIN.

It’s nearly Christmas in York, but it seems the season of goodwill hasn’t touched everyone…

When DS Charlotte Banks is suspended from the police on suspicion of assaulting a suspect in the burglary of a local bookshop, librarian Kitt Harley and her friend Evie Bowes refuse to believe she is guilty. But why is she being framed?

With Charlotte’s boss DI Malcolm Halloran unable to help, Evie decides to take matters into her own hands. Kitt takes little persuading to get involved too – after all, as well as Charlotte’s career to save, there are missing books to be found!

From the tight knit community of York’s booksellers, to the most gossipy bus route in the country, Kitt and Evie leave no stone unturned to get at the truth behind the burglary.

Then the discovery of a body raises the stakes even higher. For Evie, and now Kitt, this case is as personal as it gets. Can they catch the murderer in time to turn a bleak midwinter into something merry and bright?

Review:

So this is the second in the Kitt Hartley series which I didn’t realise until I started reading it (I really need to start reading synopsis more closely) but it’s easily read as a standalone.

I was drawn to this novel as it’s set in York, one of my favourite cities in Britain and I do love a cosy mystery.

This novel is billed as a cosy mystery but I think it’s a little bit more of a mystery with a side of romance as there were a few steamy scenes scattered throughout. 

The cast of characters was likeable if a little eccentric and there were some nice twists and turns through the story.   

Again like a few books in this genre, I think it could have done with being a little shorter as it dragged slightly near the end, although it didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment of the book.

A Body In The Bookshop is a solid mystery with great characters. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author.

Title: Emma Ever After by Brigid Coady 

Date Published: 30th January 2018

Publisher: HQ Digitalemma ever after

Genre: Romance

Description:

Emma Woodhouse knows the world loves nothing more than a celebrity romance. And, as a rising star at Mega! Management, she match-makes some of the biggest names in the business. Who cares if it’s all for show? For Emma, fauxmance beats the real thing any day!

But Emma has a huge task ahead. She needs to find fake girlfriends for every member of Breach of the Peace, the world’s hottest new boy band. Rich, talented heart-throbs, they should have their pick of the ladies – but, with band mates Will and Ed determined to undermine her every move, and her best mate Gee voicing disapproval about her chosen profession, Emma’s carefully ordered world begins to fall apart.

Is it possible that Emma doesn’t know best after all?

Review:

So this is the oldest book from my NetGalley shelf! It’s been gathering dust on there for about two years, oops!

Truthfully I don’t remember what drew me to this book, I think at the time I was looking for something a bit fun and light hearted.

So I’m going to admit I didn’t realise that this was an Emma retelling, you’re probably thinking but it’s got Emma in the title you dope but again I didn’t make the connection until I started reading it.

I usually do enjoy a Jane Austen retelling but this one fell a little bit flat for me. Maybe it’s because my favourite retelling of Emma is the nineties movie Clueless and the subsequent TV series or maybe it’s because Emma is my least favourite of all of Austen’s books, I can’t exactly pinpoint it.

Overall not my cup of tea but I think if you enjoyed the original Austen novel then you may like this a bit more than I did. 

Title: Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk

Date Published: 14th March 2019

Publisher: Flame Tree Presswill haunt you

Genre: Horror

Description:

You don’t read the book. It reads you.

Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler–former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead–was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son’s future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. But Jesse is wrong.

The legend is real–and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however.

By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author’s deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare.

The real horror doesn’t begin until you reach the end. That’s when the evil comes for you. 

Review:

I have to say the blurb for this book intrigued me, so having not read anything else by this author I thought I’d give it a go.

The writing was wonderfully vivid and creepy and the story really drew me in but then the story became something I wasn’t expecting; weird. I mean it got really, head tripping, weird. I know some people like weird horror but I have to admit I’m not a fan.

Overall not my cup of tea but I would still be open to reading something by this author again.

Title: The Vicarage Murder (Monica Noble 1) by Faith Martin

Publisher: Joffe Books

Date Published: 30th August 2019the vicarage murder

Genre: Cosy Mystery

Description:

IN A QUIET COTSWOLD VILLAGE ALL HELL IS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE

Monica Noble is throwing a party to welcome the village’s new residents. The guests include Margaret and her cheating husband Sean. Also on the list are a celebrity chef, an Oxford university professor, a 40-something divorcee, and the owner of a chain of gyms.

Then as the drinks are flowing, a shotgun blast rings out. One of the guests is found dead.

DCI Dury and Sergeant Jim Greer are soon on the scene and discover that the victim had many enemies. Almost all the guests harbour secrets and motives for murder. Even Monica’s daughter comes under suspicion.

When another villager is strangled to death nearly a week later, the stakes are raised.

Can Monica help the local detectives save her daughter and solve the murders before anyone else pays the ultimate price?

This is the first of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with great characters and baffling crimes which will keep you gripped till the final page.

Perfect for fans of classic whodunits by authors like Agatha Christie, LJ Ross, TE Kinsey, and J.R. Ellis.

MONICA NOBLE was widowed young, leaving her to raise her feisty daughter on her own. That is, until she met and fell in love with Graham Noble, a country vicar (pastor), who enticed her to leave her high-flying job in advertising in the city and move to the Cotswold countryside. There she found bucolic life very pleasant indeed — until murder started to rear its ugly head. And she discovered, to everyone’s surprise, that she had a flair for solving the most unholy of crimes.

Please note this book was first published as “AN UNHOLY MESS” under Faith Martin’s pen name JOYCE CATO.

Review:

So I’ve read a couple of Faith Martin’s series now and I always enjoy reading new series.

The Vicarage Murder was what I’ve come to expect from Faith Martin, an entertaining cosy mystery.

I liked Monica, she’s bold, confident and not your typical vicar’s wife, especially as she’s been married before and has a teenage daughter.

My problem was that it took a long time to get into the real nitty gritty of the novel and there were a lot of characters and their points of view to keep track of. I would still recommend this if you love a summery cosy mystery set in the British countryside.

Thank you for reading and I hope you’re all keeping safe and staying home if you can xx

#BookReview #MiniReviews Pancakes and Corpses/Mango Cake and Murder #cozymysteries

I don’t know about you but I need some light hearted reading right now, so I turned to my old favourite cosy mysteries. Both of these books were free at the time I brought them but Pancakes and Corpses has gone back up to 99p.

Title: Pancakes and Corpses (Peridale Cosy Cafe Mystery book 1) by Agatha Frost

Date Published: 22nd January 2017

Genre: Cosy Mystery

Description:

Soon to be divorced Julia South never expected to be caught up in solving a murder, untilpancakes and corpses she discovered the body of her cafe’s most awkward customer. With a new smug Detective Inspector in town who underestimates her every move, Julia makes it her mission to discover the real murderer, before her village friends are dragged into the frame, and more bodies are discovered.

Book 1 in the Peridale Cafe Mystery series! A light, cozy mystery read with a cat loving and cafe owning female amateur sleuth, in a small village setting with quirky characters. No cliffhanger, swearing, gore or graphic scenes!

Review:

I’ve seen Agatha Frost’s books around Amazon for a while now with their cute food themed titles and fabulous covers but never quite got round to actually reading any but I needed a bit of light relief and thought why not? (Plus at the time it was free and I love me a bargain).

Our sleuth Julia moved back home to Peridale after the breakdown of her marriage and set up her life’s dream of owning her own bakery. Disaster strikes when an awkward customer is murdered and the lead suspect is one of her oldest friends. She can’t help investigating and puts herself in danger in the process.

Pancakes and Corpses is a light hearted cosy mystery which was a nice break from reality for a few hours.

It’s got everything you want in a cosy mystery. Delicious sounding food, gossipy village setting and a likeable but nosy amateur sleuth.

My only complaint was some of the more minor characters felt a little bit flat/generic but there is the potential to develop these as the series goes along. 

Overall a fun start to the series and one I may carry on with in the future.

*******

Title: Mango Cake and Murder (Mom and Christy’s Cozy Mysteries Book 1) by Christy Murphy

Date Published: 30th September 2016

Genre: Cosy Mystery

Description:

mango cake and murderWhat do you get when you combine mango cake, murder, and Mom?

An unlikely recipe for a better life!

When Mom convinces Christy to ditch her “lousy” job and help with the catering business, their fledgling partnership suffers a few setbacks. One of them can’t cook, they’re short a catering van, and the guest of honor at their first party is murdered.That would be bad enough, but then, Christy’s cousin, Celia, becomes the prime suspect.

Solving a murder is no easy task, but when drunken death threats, a dashing detective, and terrifying taxidermy are added into the mix, the case becomes almost impossible to crack. Who knew a small town like Fletcher Canyon could be filled with so much craziness?

Will the disaster-prone duo find the real killer before Celia’s reputation is destroyed, or will Celia end up in prison for murder? Find out in this quick comedy cozy!

This novella is the first book in the Mom and Christy’s Cozy Mysteries series, and is a complete mystery that you can read in an hour or two. It does NOT contain strong language or graphic violence. But it does contain a cute cat!

Review:

Christy is newly divorced and living with her mother again. Her mother decides she wants to start a catering business and asks Christy to help. Their first job is catering a party for a crotchety old man who ends up getting murdered. Christy’s cousin falls under suspicion and Christy and her mom decide to investigate.

Until I read this story, I didn’t realise just how many amateur sleuths are a) in their mid to late thirties and b) newly divorced.

Mango cake and murder is a quick and fun read if you’ve got a spare couple of hours.

I have to say I’m still a little wary of when an author fictionalises themselves but it worked okay for this story. There is a bit of a Sherlock/Watson dynamic between Christy and her mother, her mother being the Sherlock in this situation.

I also like the fact that there was some more diversity than usual in this genre with Christy and her family being Filipino.

I think overall the story could have done with a little bit more editing,  it suffered from that thing where there was a little too much emphasis on the more trivial things and not quite enough description. 

Will I carry on with this series? I don’t know. I don’t think this story was quite strong enough to entice me to get the next in the series but if I see the next on offer I may be tempted into buying it.

What about you? What’s your go to read when you’re stressed?