From Beer to Eternity
by Sherry Harris
When an author you like starts a new series, there are always some questions. Will I like this series as well as the last one? Will this just be a rehash of the previous series with new names for the characters and a different setting? Will the plot be fresh and intriguing? I can answer those questions for Sherry Harris’ Sea Glass Saloon Mystery Series. I really enjoyed the first book, From Beer to Eternity. She has started a completely different series, and it is good!
Chloe Jackson goes to Emerald Cove in the Panhandle of Florida when her best friend Boone dies while on deployment in Afghanistan. She had promised him that she would help his grandmother Vivi, owner of a bar on the beach, if something happened to him. Chloe takes a leave of absence from her position as a children’s librarian in Chicago to attend his memorial service and help Vivi who doesn’t seem to want her help.
It is hard to fit into the tight knit community of Emerald Cove, especially as a Northerner. After a local is found knifed outside the back door of the bar, it is hard to know whom to trust. From Beer to Eternity is populated with interesting characters. The first person Chloe finds she can open up to is Joaquín, a very handsome and skilled barkeeper. He puts on a show for the ladies to earn great tips, but his heart belongs to his husband Michael. Rhett is another interesting local—good-looking and always on hand to help Chloe. Is he a murderer keeping her in his sights? Who is this Ann Williams that Chloe keeps hiring as a handywoman? How about the two cowboys who try to run Chloe off the road?
As Chloe tries to find the killer and get the focus off of Vivi, she also struggles to find a place to live during high tourist season. She hopes to develop a relationship with Vivi who seems to want nothing to do with her. So Chloe starts working at the bar without being hired and noses around town, trying to ask questions without being killed.
Someone is not happy with Chloe and her investigation. Chloe turns over a lot of seashells that are hiding relationships and secrets and puts herself in danger. It must be time to return to bustling Chicago and immerse herself in books and children once more, leaving behind Emerald Cove and the small group of Heritage Business owners who are resisting change.
I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #1 in the Sea Glass Saloon Mystery Series
Publication: July 28, 2020—Kensington Books
The desk was old and scarred. The chair, modern and ergonomic. almost seemed like a metaphor for this area—the old and new trying to work together, but not always succeeding.
I wished I were back at my job in the library, wiping snotty noses and recommending books. That job was like being Santa Claus. Finding the right book for the right child was a great gift. To see their shiny, happy faces at story time brought me joy.
“Rumors? About me?” As far as I could tell, Emerald Cove thrived on rumors and innuendo. Unfortunately, so far almost everyone but Leah and Ivy had doctoral degrees in how to say something without saying anything.
Lineage Most Lethal
by S.C. Perkins
Having read a very positive review of the debut novel in S.C. Perkins’ Ancestry Detective Mystery Series, I decided, when the opportunity arose, to give Lineage Most Lethal, the second book in the series, a try. I am fairly neutral on the interest continuum when it comes to genealogies, but this cozy mystery afforded a different perspective for me on family trees. I also learned a little about the intricacies of researching lineages.
Lucy Lancaster is an outgoing young woman who shares office space with two friends in downtown Austin, Texas. Currently she is spending a week at the high-end Sutton hotel working for Pippa Sutton to investigate her family’s history and compile the information into a video to be presented at a family gathering. As the plot progresses, we learn about Lucy’s own beloved grandfather’s involvement in World War II and a little about her former boyfriend, Ben, an FBI agent who has ghosted her.
Lucy’s research turns dark when a stranger dies before her eyes, Pippa’s mother Roselyn begins acting strangely, and Chef Rocky is found dead. Lucy’s grandfather shares secrets from the past, and suddenly it seems many in the present are in a dangerous state. As Lucy tries to juggle all the balls, she is pushing against a murderer’s timetable as well as her professional and personal commitments.
Although I suspected the identity of the murderer, I did not grasp the intricate connections of the victims, potential victims, a nutcase who appeared sane, and their descendants. The tale includes a few red herrings dealing with cipher codes and given names as well. The solution is definitely complicated. Well played, S. C. Perkins!
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #2 in the Ancestry Detective Mystery Series, but worked well for me as a standalone.
Publication: July 21, 2020—St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur
“The point is, do yourself a favor and halve your problem by sharing it with someone.”
I would do my part to protect these people, even if I would never meet them and got branded by the APD as a genealogist who was a taco short of a combination plate.
Ben took my hand and led me out the French doors into the winter wonderland, the white fairy lights making the falling snow glitter like diamonds.
by Wendy Tyson
I am overwhelmed at the plot complexity in Wendy Tyson’s Sowing Malice. When a rich man dies in Winsome, Pennsylvania, a storm of activities is released including a murder, distraught widows and lovers, planted evidence, semi-abandoned houses, and inheritance issues. More importantly, a murder victim is transferred to Megan’s property where it can’t be missed and attention is diverted to Megan Sawyer. Megan, the widow of a soldier she loved deeply, lives in Winsome with Bibi, her grandmother. She owns and manages an organic farm that supplies her café and other restaurants with fresh organic produce. In this book in the series, she is also finishing renovations on a house on adjoining land she purchased. Her goal is to convert it and a barn into an inn, education facility, and event center. Her Scottish boyfriend, the local veterinarian, continues to play a role as he supports her and patiently waits for her to be ready for a deeper commitment.
All of this story background is the vehicle for delivering a plot with more legitimate suspects than you would think possible. Megan has to work hard to discern the motivations of the various characters and determine who is lying and why. Family relationships keep the focus on tangled connections; extra effort is needed to sort out what occurred when and who benefits from it.
It will come as no surprise to Wendy Tyson fans that she achieves success with this cozy mystery as she racks up yet another page turner. As the book concludes, there are also several surprises in the personal arena that will leave the reader smiling with satisfaction.
I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #6 in the Greenhouse Mystery Series, but would be great as a standalone.
Publication: July 14, 2020—Henery Press
“My grandfather liked to play games with people. If you understand that about him, then everything makes sense.”
“You’re impossible, you know.” “I think these days I’d be called strong and independent.” Megan laughed. As usual, her grandmother was right.
“I don’t follow.” “Because you’re probably sane, and the actions of cruel people don’t make sense.”