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Middle of a Jungle: USA style

The Mammoth Murders Book Cover The Mammoth Murders
Minokee Mysteries, Book One and Two
by Iris Chacon
romantic comedy, animals
Delia L. Stewart, Miami
Pub Date: 01 Nov 2019

A blind deejay (Shepard Krausse) and an invisible librarian (Miranda Ogilvy) from a tiny, rural Florida town try to solve a double disappearance connected to a recent canoe trip. It ain't exactly "Deliverance," but there's a heap of trouble brewing fer these folks -- some of it human, some of it animal, and all of it deadly. Shep and Miranda rely on their sense of humor as they face dangerous fossil poachers -- but even that is difficult when their engagement is broken amidst a river of troubles. This is Book 2 in the Minokee Mysteries series.

Shep's Italian friend (Carlo Fratelli - cook, chauffeur, valet, & ladies man) aids the couple in their adventures. Shep's animal friend, Zeus, a huge and independent Maine Coon cat, is so clever, he sometimes seems clairvoyant.

The Coffee Ritual ladies of Minokee add their quirky personalities and folksy wisdom to help Shep & Miranda iron out the bumps in their lives. Martha, Bernice, Wyneen, and Charlotte (average age 74.3) gather every dawn on their front porches to sip their coffee while they wait for the sight of the blond Adonis (Shep) jogging past their Magnolia Street cottages.

Shepard's absurdly wealthy, snobbish, and domineering mother (Hermione Montgomery-Krausse) is always behind the scenes, attempting to direct the course of Shep's career. Hermione wants Shep to become a politician, like several of his ancestors. At the very least, she wants her son to become a television commentator. With his blindness, his noble family connections, and his golden good looks, Shepard would be recognized by future voters - which will not happen if he stays in radio.

The shy Miranda shows a surprising inner strength when confronting Shepard's officious mother, and Hermione has been forced to admire the librarian. Hermione vacillates between trying to separate Shep and Miranda or trying to marry them - on Hermione's terms.

Miranda's difficulties with Hermione are compounded when Miranda's parents arrive unannounced from Miami. Dr. Rosario Ogilvy, Miranda's mother, is a soulmate for Hermione Montgomery-Krausse, while Dr. Ezekiel Ogilvy, Miranda's father, sides with his daughter (and Hermione's son) against the two matriarchs.

The serio-comic family battle continues in the background even while Shep and Miranda risk their future and their very lives attempting to find the killers responsible for The Mammoth Murders.

I fell in love with Miranda. I am reviewing here both books one and two in the series.

 I agree her description of Shepard made him seem hot but a beard – not for me. Apparently a good set of abs though, I can see why the Ladies of Minokee liked to watch him run past.

I read book 1 and couldn’t wait to get my hands on book 2. Unfortunately for me, some of the quaintness and curiosity had gone as we now knew about Minokee and Shepard and Dave and Pietro and Miranda’s parents – although we only met them in the second book.

But the storyline is about how people should not be judged by their external appearances. It is their inner being that is important and it is this inner being of Miranda that Shepard falls in love with and brings out in her, so she stops being the Librarian Mouse and becomes the Librarian Lion instead.

And in book 2 we meet Zeus. He is a wonder. And I look forward to reading about his adventures in future books.

This is a series I shall follow.

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What happens when blood makes you sick

Adventures of a Vegan Vamp: Book Cover Adventures of a Vegan Vamp:
Volume 1 (Vegan Vamp Mysteries)
Cate Lawley
crime fiction, mystery, thriller, cosy
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (23 Nov. 2017)
23 Nov 2017

Undead and vegan? Not the afterlife this girl had planned. Waking up thin is one thing. But waking up gaunt, hangry,and undead makes for a very bad day. Mallory's killer better hide, because she's just discovered blood, meat, and dairy don't agree with her, and a future with no cheese is grim indeed. She's out to find her killer...and maybe a vegan cheese that doesn't melt her nose hairs. Click to see how Mallory conquers a killer hunger while hunting a deadly vampire.

A Vegan Vamp?!

I so much enjoyed this tale that I read the following 3 stories in the series plus the 2 novellas. Still not a 5 star rating but enjoyable romps through just what happens when a vampire can’t stand the taste of blood and cannot digest it either. So how does she take in nutrition? Protein shakes with a mixture of vegetables etc to ensure she gets the necessary minerals etc.

Each book leads onto the next with a cliff-hanger and with the 2 short stories lying in the middle and intersecting – covering some of the same time periods but other aspects.

They are cosy murder mysteries, with magic, witches, political intrigues and lots of power plays. Living a long time gives vampires lots of time to plot it seems…

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Down by the sea and the plum tree

The Cottage at Plum Tree Bay Book Cover The Cottage at Plum Tree Bay
Darcie Boleyn
Romance , Women's Fiction
Canelo
Pub Date 25 Jul 2019

One summer can change everything...

Catherine Bromley has spent her life in Penhallow Sands, dedicating herself to work and supporting her emotionally fragile mother. Since her father left, it’s always been the two of them and Catherine has no interest in romance. What’s the point when men just leave? And besides, her mother needs her.

But when handsome novelist Mark Coleman arrives to stay at the cottage overlooking nearby Plum Tree Bay, Catherine’s world is changed. She’s soon bumping into Mark everywhere – or being thrown at him by her matchmaking friend! The chemistry is undeniable. But can Mark let go of his painful past to be the man that Catherine can rely on? And will Catherine find the courage to let love in?

A heart-warming romance set in Cornwall and perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley.

I kept reading, but when I was some two-thirds of the way through I was still hoping that something would happen that was new and novel and surprising, but it didn’t.

This book sauntered rather than trotted or even cantered to the end of the story. The trope was on too even a keel.

Darcie can write better and does when writing historical fiction. Just too cosy for me… This story only just reaches the 3 star mark..

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And Cornwall grows fine wines

The House at Greenacres Book Cover The House at Greenacres
Darcie Boleyn
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Canelo escape

All roads lead home…

When Holly Dryden fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past – and Rich Turner – behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble has led her back to the family vineyard and it’s time to tell Rich the truth – he’s a father.

Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly’s anger fades in the glow of Rich’s undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can’t change the past, the future is still theirs to write…

An uplifting, emotional Cornwall-set romance perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley

This is a gentle second chance romance, set in Cornwall and their vineyards.

It is cosy in style and written so as to be fairly contemporary in language but not explicit in behaviour – the behaviour is implied as we have 2 pregnancies before marriage in it!

It is very family oriented and lauds the benefits of living within a multi-generational household unit – even though this can be very problematic as my mother-in-law would have attested if she admitted it… her mother being a tyrant..

Overall a very pleasant story and style, but for me a little too sweet, I prefer more drama and bite.

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And the magic word is?

Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets Book Cover Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets
(The Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries) #2
Holly Bell
humour, fantasy, female sleuths
Independently published
(24 Dec. 2018)

Amanda Cadabra, asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch with irascible feline familiar, always said that was no place for a research centre. The lost village in Madley Wood, where the leaves don’t grow, and the birds don’t sing.

An old secret. A new build. A body. Only one witness. Only one person who can see that witness: Amanda Cadabra.

Only one place that can tell the story: the Cellar of Secrets, in 1940. And only one person who can go there: Amanda Cadabra. With, of course, only one grumpy cat.

Only one person who might help: the personable but intractable Inspector Trelawney. But this is a peaceful English village … who would do anything as criminal as murder? Will she find them before they find her?

Please note that to help the reader to be immersed in Amanda's world, this British-set story, by a British author, uses British English spelling, grammar and usage, and includes accents, dialects and a magical language.

Well not abracadabra of course… What a strange name, but of course, one that is very memorable.

So we have a cosy mystery novel set in a strange village with ghosts and witches and hidden secrets.

At times, I thought I was reading a book for teenagers or for US readers who wanted to have a traditional English village with all the traditional English characters in it. Including funny names and so on.

That said, it was an enjoyable and humorous tale with engaging lead characters – Amanda herself and her feline familiar and the detective who can’t know the real truth about witch-craft, but sort of knows about ghosts.

Very light reading but ..

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