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  • Writer's picturehaleylynnthomas22

February Reading Wrap-up and Mini-Reviews

Updated: Mar 17

1. Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop by Darci Hannah (Adult Cozy Mystery) (329 pages) (4.25⭐️)
After a bad breakup, Lindsey Bakewell moves to Beacon Harbor to open her dream bakery in an old lighthouse. Things go awry when on opening day her ex's girlfriend dies eating one of her donuts. This book reads a lot like an adult romance up until the murder takes place. I wasn't immediately invested in the murder, but became more so as it continued and there were twists I didn't see coming.

2. After the Forest by Kell Woods (Adult Historical Fiction) (370 pages) (5⭐️)
Taking place in 1600s Germany, this is a Hansel and Gretel retelling that takes place fifteen yeas after the characters (renamed Greta and Hans) escaped the witch's gingerbread house. Hansel and Gretel is my favorite fairytale so my thoughts are obviously biased. I loved the way this differs from a direct retelling in that it imagines what happens after the original story ends. The magic system is simple but the characters are all so complex and they really made the story for me.
Full Review: Coming soon to the blog!

3. Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off by Darci Hannah (Adult Cozy Mystery) (352 pages) (3.75⭐️)
This is the second book in the Beacon Bakeshop series. In this book, bakery owner Lindsey is competing. in titular bake-off but one of the judges ends up dead under the mistletoe. Much like with the first book the lead up to the mystery didn't really grip me. Once the mystery began, however, I was hooked. This novel features a new character who is obviously meant to be Mirs. Claus and while it's cheesy its very festive.

4. Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie N. Holmberg (Adult Cozy Mystery) (327 pages) (3⭐️)
Estrange from his family, writer Merritt Fernsy inherits an enchanted house in Road Island. Hulda Larkin from the Boston Institute for the Keeping of Enchanted Rooms arrives shortly after to help him manage it. This book goes for a found family story but doesn't quite succeed. Despite this, I liked the slow burn romance of Merritt and Hulda. The enchanted house was fun but the villain was cartoonish.

5. Murder at the Blueberry Festival by Darci Hannah (Adult Cozy Mystery) (319 pages) (4.5⭐️)
This is the third book in the Beacon Bakeshop mystery series and follows Lindsay trying to solve the death of a local after his body is discovered wearing a viking outfit in a boat with his pet goat. Between the chaos of the pranks being pulled and the staging of the body I was hooked from the very start. I do have to wonder, though, how the citizens of this town aren't sick of blueberry because it seemed all they were eating for days was blueberry deserts!

6. A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison (Adult Cozy Fantasy Mystery) (326 pages) (5⭐️)
After quitting her job Alex goes to spend some time with her aunt and cousins who she hasn't seen in years. Then her aunt is arrested for a crime she didn't commit and Alex learns the family has magic. The magic in this book was quite unique but also simple and easy to understand for non-fantasy readers. The relationship between Alex and her family was so warm and it seems Addison is setting up for a potential love triangle in the next book.
Full Review: Coming soon to the blog!

7. Those Pink Mountain Nights by Jen Fergeson (YA Contemporary) (328 page) (5⭐️)
The novel takes place over a singular weekend at a pizza shop and follows three of its young employees - Berlin, Cam, and Jessie. Berlin is struggling with depression, Cam is coping with the disappearance of his cousin Kiki, and Jessie is trying to build a life for herself separate form her family.. This is a very emotional book that tackles a lot of social issues including MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women).
Full Review: Coming soon to the blog!

8. Murder at the Pumpkin Patch by Darci Hannah (Adult Cozy Mystery) (353 pages) (3.5⭐️)
This is the fourth Beacon Bakeshop book and takes place during Halloween night when Kennedy's (Lindsey's best friend) ghost hunting livestream stumbles upon a dead body.. The setup for the mystery was my favorite in the series to date but overall this was my least favorite book. Kennedy never ceases grating on my nerves and the murder method was practically the same as the previous book.

9. Murder at the Blarney Bash by Darci Hannah (Adult Cozy Mystery) (352 pages) (4⭐️)
This is the fifth book in the Beacon Bakeshop mysteries. In this one, Rory's (Lindsey's boyfriend) uncle is suspected of the murder of a mysterious man masquerading as a Leprechaun. This one was the most fun and colorful and even absurd of the mysteries to date. The fact that the real identity of the Leprechaun is unknown for most of the novel adds to the mystery. I liked the twist ending but I wish Hannah would stop tricking me in to believing Kennedy is leaving just to bring her back. The books would be better without her.

10. Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett (Adult Cozy Fantasy) (317 page) (3.5⭐️)
The titular Emily Wilde is a professor who studies faeries. Her research takes her to a remote, wintry village where she is joined by her romantic rival Wendell Brambleby. Emily is a polarizing protagonist as she's very prickly. This is also very much NOT a plot driven story. The plot is just barely there. The real draw is the teasingly antagonistic relationship between Emily and Brambleby and the icy faeries. This book is for the people who read Holly Black's Folk of Air trilogy when they were younger.
Full Review: Coming soon to the blog!

11. A Novel Way to Die by Tamra Baumann (Adult Cozy Mystery) (294 pages) (3⭐️)
Sawyer Davis investigates the murder of her best friend Renee's ex-boyfriend when he's found dead inside Renee's ice cream shop freezer. The characters in this book are very likable and I especially enjoyed that between Sawyer and her teen ward Brittany. This is the second book in a series which I didn't realize when I picked it up. The mystery had a strong set up and I was intrigued but the reveal was lackluster.

AVG. BOOK LENGTH (JAN-FEB): 352.8 pages
AVG. BOOK RATING (JAN-FEB): 79.25/100⭐️ (3.96⭐️)

AUDIOBOOKS (JAN-FEB): 9/20 (45%)
REREADS (JAN-FEB): 0/20 (0%)
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