Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Telephone Line by Julie Mulhern

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Telephone Line by Julie Mulhern

Series: The Country Club Mystery #9

Published by Henery Press

Publishing date: June 18

Genre: Historical Mystery

Synopsis: A killer is calling, and Ellison’s life is on the line.

Ellison Russell is planning the event of the season—and she’s stressed. Why not yoga?

Because the yoga instructor gets murdered during class—and Ellison’s stress level rises exponentially. Now, in addition to raising a ridiculous amount of money, she’s babysitting a deranged cat (named after the devil himself), taking ten million phone calls (most of them from Mother), and finding more bodies (they’re popping up like dandelions after a spring rain).

There’s no such thing as balance when the killer makes it personal. Can Ellison catch a murderer or will her next namaste be her last? 

……………………………………….

This is one of my favorite mystery series. I still need to read book 8, but should have time to do that before June.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Back Stabbers by Julie Mulhern

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

back-stabbers-by-julie-mulhernBack Stabbers by Julie Mulhern

Series: The Country Club Murders #8

Published by Henery Press

Publishing date: October 23

Genre: Historical Mystery (1970’s Kansas City)

253 pages

Synopsis: All Ellison Russell wanted was an update on her stock portfolio. Instead, she found her broker dead.

With an unexpected out-of-town guest at her house, Ellison is too busy for a murder investigation. Only this time, Detective Anarchy Jones wants her help, and she can’t deny the handsome detective. Can Mr. Coffee supply her with enough caffeine to keep her brain sharp and everyone else happy?

Juggling bodies (one, two, three, four), two-faced friends, her social calendar, and a cat (yes, a cat) is taxing but Mother might be the biggest challenge of all.

With a killer drawing closer, can Ellison put together the pieces or will she be the one getting stabbed in the back? 

……………………

I finished book 7 in this series a week or so ago and it is excellent. I’m really looking forward to reading this book next month!

Thoughts about books I’ve read–Feb 2018

I’m trying something a little different with my reviews. I’ve only done a handful of separate reviews so far this year. So instead I’m going to list all the books I read during a month and write a few sentences about each one or give a link (if I’ve already reviewed the book). I really want to get my reviews under control. And in some cases just write a few sentences. (Did I mention that already?!!)

A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley & Elizabeth Edmondson

A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley & Elizabeth Edmondson

Series: A Very English Mystery #3

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

287 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: February 23

Bottom Line: The last book in this series (because the author–Ms. Edmondson–died). The author’s son finished the book and did a good job with this British cold war mystery.

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Series: Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #2

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Source: Ebook, Library

304 pages

My Rating: B

Reviewed: March 19

Bottom Line: A romance and a mystery . . . Ms. Krentz does a good job giving both equal time. 

White Nights by Ann Cleeves

White Nights by Ann Cleeves

Series: Shetland Islands #2

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Source: Ebook, purchased

392 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: May 25

Bottom Line: The white nights of summer–where it never gets completely dark during the summer. That theme runs throughout this very good mystery.

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

 Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

371 pages

Source: Audiobook, Library

My Rating: A

Narrator Rating: A

Reviewed: March 16

Bottom Line: Excellent story and narration. The story arc which started in the last book continues in this book.

A Youthful Indiscretion by Elizabeth Edmondson

 A Youthful Indiscretion by Elizabeth Edmondson

Series: A Very English Mystery #1.5

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

60 pages

My Rating: C+

Reviewed: February 23

Bottom Line: A short story that provides some background to the books I read before I read this one. However, it isn’t necessary to read this to understand the books in this series.

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel

Series: Peter Grant/Rivers of London Graphic Novels #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Source: Graphic Novel, Library

128 pages

My Rating: B

Reviewed: April 19

Bottom Line: I don’t read many graphic novels, but I really enjoy the Peter Grant series so I really liked the illustrations and the story in this graphic novel. It gave me a new way of looking at the series.

Diamond Girl by Julie Mulhern

Series: The Country Club Murders

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

38 pages

My thoughts

This was a fun short story while we all wait for the next Country Club Murder book! It’s about Aggie DeLucci who is Ellison’s housekeeper. She’s an important character in the series so it’s nice to find out a little more about her. And even though it’s such a short story the mystery is good and finishes up well.

My Rating: B

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #6.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Audiobook

Source: Audiobook, Purchased

29 Minutes

My Rating: B

Reviewed: April 19

Bottom Line: Very short, but what a fun story about something larger than Peter’s dog running around the British library!

Twelve Days of Faery by W.R. GingellTwelve Days of Faery by W.R. Gingell

Series: Shards of a Broken Sword #1

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

136 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: June 8

Bottom Line: A short book (novella), but a fun and satisfying fairy tale retelling that turns the usual fairy tales upside down!

…………………………..

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Shadow Dancing by Julie Mulhern

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months.

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

shadow dancing by Julie mulhernShadow Dancing by Julie Mulhern

Series: The Country Club Murders #7

Published by Henery Press

Publishing date: June 19, 2018

Genre: Historical Mystery, cozy

Synopsis: Visiting a psychic is outside the norm for Ellison Russell. Finding bodies is not. Unfortunately, the psychic’s crystal ball says she’ll soon be surrounded by death. Again. 

Drat. 

Now there’s a corpse in the front drive, a witchy neighbor ready to turn Ellison and her (not so) little dog into toadstools, and a stripper named Starry Knight occupying the guest room. 

How did 1975 go so wrong so quickly? 

Ellison must handle Mother (who’s found a body of her own), make up with a certain handsome detective, and catch a killer, or the death surrounding her might be her own. 

……………………………………….

I don’t read many cozy mysteries, but I love this series. They’re really fun to read without being silly. I’m all caught up and looking forward to this book!

Watching the Detectives by Julie Mulhern

watching-the-detectives-julie-mulhernWatching the Detectives by Julie Mulhern

Series: The Country Club Murders #5

Publication date: May 23

e-ARC (from NetGalley and the publisher)

–All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Historical Mystery (1970’s Kansas City), Cozy

Ellison Russell wanted a decorator, not a corpse. Too bad she finds Mrs. White in the study killed with a revolver. Things go from bad to worse when she finds Mr. White in the dining room killed with a candlestick. With so many bodies, is it any wonder Detective Anarchy Jones’ new partner considers Ellison a suspect?

With the country club gossips talking a mile a minute, an unexpected cocktail party, a visit from Aunt Sis, and a romantic decision, Ellison hardly has time to think about murder. Unfortunately, the killer has plenty of time to think about her.

…………………………

My thoughts

I’ve read these books since Julie Mulhern started publishing them in 2015. They are such fun books to read. They have a lot of humor, but also sometimes a very serious side which is the case with this book. It’s a cozy and historical, but Mulhern adds some serious issues. I like that.

Ellison Russell

Ellison Russell has a strong voice. Mulhern does a good job through these books showing Ellison from the first book when she’s an unhappy wife, protective mother and downtrodden daughter, not too sure who she is to the present loving mother and daughter who is very much her own woman–self-confident and willing to stand up to her strong-willed mother. With each book Ellison comes to know herself a little more.

With Watching the Detectives Ellison makes some decisions about her future, deals with her disapproving mother, her rebellious daughter, infuriating Aunt Sis and two very different suitors. And, of course, Ellison finds more murders which a new detective teamed with Detective Anarchy Jones finds very suspicious.

Clue aka Cluedo

I like the use of “Mrs. White in the study with the revolver”–reminiscent of the board game Clue. (Called Clue in North America, but originally begun as Cluedo in 1949 in the UK. I had never heard of Cluedo before!) Although the book doesn’t explicitly mention the board game Aggie at one point tells Hunter, “Mrs. White in the study with a revolver.” (Note: This may have changed in the final copy).

1974 Kansas City, Missouri, USA

The historical aspect–1974 Kansas City, Missouri in the United States–makes this series especially interesting. Ellison comes from a wealthy background where people are expected to marry well, belong to the Country Club, where husbands golf, wives play bridge and don’t have jobs and no one causes scandal. Secrets are kept in families. However, times are starting to change: the 1960’s have already happened with the Vietnam War, peace protests and perhaps the biggest change–birth control. Women can have control of their bodies and even start having careers. They don’t have to get married and have a husband take care of them. However, I think the country club set was probably slow to change–especially the older generation such as Ellison’s mother.

The mystery

I thought the mystery was well written. There are contradictory clues plus I didn’t know what to think of Mrs. White. Not knowing the character of the victim made it harder to guess the why and who of the mystery. I did guess before the end of the story who did it, but it didn’t take away my enjoyment of the book at all.

If you haven’t read the preceding books in this series, you really should read them before reading this book–mostly because they are so good. I was a little unsure about Ellison in the first book–The Deep End–because I thought Ellison let so many people walk all over her. However, she grows a backbone as the series continues and becomes a character I love.

I hope there are more books in this series!

Book Rating: B+

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WWW Wednesday: May 3

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Taking on a World of Words. The idea is to answer the three questions below. For more information check out the Taking on a World of Words blog.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (Science Fiction, Space Opera) — I’m listening to the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton. I’ve just started it and I’m loving it!

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier (Fantasy) — Another book I’ve barely started, but I loved the first two books in this series. Blackthorn and Grim are such good characters.

Recently finished

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #1) Science Fiction, Time Travel — Lots of action. So fun to read.

Watching the Detectives by Julie Mulhern (Country Club Mysteries #5) Historical Mystery, Cozy [NetGalley–publishing date, May 23] — This is one of my favorite mystery series and the series just gets better and better.

Reading next (perhaps–I’m very much a mood reader!)

Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #3) Mystery, Police Procedural

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #2) Science Fiction, Time Travel

What books are you reading, want to read or have read?

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Clouds in My Coffee by Julie Mulhern

clouds-in-my-coffeeClouds in My Coffee by Julie Mulhern
Series: The Country Club Murders #3
Genre: Historical Mystery, cozy
Setting: Kansas City, Missouri
Published by Henery Press
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: May 10)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
256 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: When Ellison Russell is nearly killed at a benefactors’ party, she brushes the incident aside as an unhappy accident. But when her house is fire-bombed, she’s shot at, and the person sitting next to her at a gala is poisoned, she must face facts. Someone wants her dead. But why? And can Ellison find the killer before he strikes again? Add in an estranged sister, a visiting aunt with a shocking secret, and a handsome detective staying in her guesthouse, and Ellison might need more than cream in her coffee…

Initial impressions

  • This series gets better and better. Ellison is a smart character and I’ve enjoyed reading each book to find out what Ellison and the other characters are doing in these books…plus the mystery is good, too!

The story

  • Ellison’s sister and her aunt are both in town and neither want to stay with Ellison’s mother so Ellison is stuck with them.
  • Her sister has decided to leave her husband. And then the husband arrives so Ellison has to deal with him, too, since her sister refuses to do so.
  • A woman seated next to Ellison at a dinner dies after she drinks from Ellison’s glass. Ellison is convinced it’s just an accident.
  • But more “accidents” happen until Ellison has to admit maybe someone is after her. But the question is why? Ellison decides she better investigate.

Pluses

  • This has quickly become one of my favorite mystery series since I began reading it about six months ago.
  • I love the historical feel of the 1970’s with country clubs, Watergate and Richard Nixon’s resignation.
  • The humor in these stories is spot-on. Humor isn’t easy to do well, but Julie Mulhern manages to get it right.
  • Even though there’s humor and this is a cozy series, it’s not silly. Ellison has been through serious problems and is stronger because of that. She’s discovering who she is and what she wants from her life.
  • I like the relationship Ellison has with her high school age daughter Grace. Life  hasn’t been too easy for them since Ellison’s husband and Grace’s father was murdered.
  • I love Anarchy Jones’ name! And he’s a good character, too.
  • There’s a bit of romance in these books, but Ellison isn’t ready to trust a man too far yet–plus she has two men she likes who would like to become her significant other.
  • Other characters are fun to read about, too. I really like Ellison’s father and, of course, Ellison’s mother is over-the-top, but she loves Ellison even if she doesn’t always like what Ellison does and tries to control Ellison’s life.
  • I love the covers for each book in the series.

Minuses

  • Ellison almost goes over the edge between being smart and being dumb when she refuses to believe someone might be trying to murder her.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I’m looking forward to the next book!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Julie Mulhern always wanted to be a writer. She spent her childhood creating pen names and dreaming of exotic, mysterious, romantic places. To that end, she went to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia (because, when you’re from the Midwest, the South is both exotic and romantic). There she earned degrees in politics and French. She even spent a year living in Paris. But the Midwest beckoned and she returned home. Now she lives with her husband, two daughters and a dastardly dog. It might not be exotic or mysterious but it is romantic.

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