Book Notes: The Cartographers Review

 

The Cartographers
by Peng Shepherd

A map is much more than it seems. Also? I wished I had paid more attention to paper maps. 😮

About The Cartographers

What is the purpose of a map? 

Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.

But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable and exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence…because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.

But why?

To answer that question, Nell embarks on a dangerous journey to reveal a dark family secret and discovers the true power that lies in maps…

Perfect for fans of Joe Hill and V. E. Schwab, The Cartographers is an ode to art and science, history and magic—a spectacularly imaginative, modern story about an ancient craft and places still undiscovered.

 

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book-a murder mystery with magical elements. The story is told through several points of view from people who knew Nell and her parents when Nell was just a toddler, before everything went horribly, terribly wrong.

I also really enjoyed the magical elements, which are rooted in the history of map-making, corporate greed, and plagiarism.

This is also a story of obsession, sacrifice, and deeply held secrets that have the power to destroy…and to heal.

I pulled me in and held me to the end.

Recommended if you enjoy your mysteries with a bit of magical realism.

 

 

Publishing Information

ISBN: 9780062910707
ISBN 10: 0062910701
Imprint: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 400 pages

Book Notes Review A Generation of Vipers

 

A Generation of Vipers

 Book 4 in the Dr. Nell Ward mystery series

 by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett

Summary

 A killer is hiding in plain sight, like a snake in the long grass… When Dr Nell Ward stumbles across a woman’s body amongst the purple heather on Furze Heath, she was on the lookout for nests of poisonous adders. But something is lurking out here far more dangerous than vipers. A cold-blooded killer is on the loose and this is not his first victim. As DI James Clark begins to investigate, a pattern emerges pointing towards this being the work of a serial killer. Every victim shares the same physical characteristics – all of which are a match to Nell herself. As Nell is pulled into a tightly coiled mystery, she can’t help feeling someone is tracking her every move… Can she unmask the murderer before they strike again? A completely gripping and page-turning cozy mystery, perfect for fans of Richard Osman, Janice Hallett and Robert Thorogood.

My Thoughts

Before reading A Generation of Vipers, I read the first three books, A Murder of Crows, A Cast of Falcons, A Mischief of Rats, in the series. While it isn’t necessary to read the first three, I recommend it. You’ll get a better understanding of the characters, their relationships to each other, and how they change throughout the series. I also have to mention the titles—all of them use collective nouns for the specific animal in the title. In other words, a group of crows is called a murder, a group of falcons is called a cast, rats are referred to as a mischief, and vipers are a den. The next two books in the series are titled the same way. Clever, but not surprising considering Sarah Yarwood-Lovett was an ecologist for 18 years prior to becoming an author. That experience comes through in A Generation of Vipers. Yarwood-Lovett has used that experience to create strong characters, especially Dr. Nell Ward. Nell is an ecologist, working for a company that conducts surveys of potentially ecologically valuable sites for clients. This career draws on knowledge of environmental concerns, but not in an over-bearing way. But as Nell goes about her job, this time conducting surveys on a construction site, she stumbles across a body and finds herself involved in another murder investigation. A scientist, Nell is smart and has an inquisitive mind. Qualities that also serve her well in murder investigations. But in A Generation of Vipers, Nell is in the crosshairs of a murderer, and her smarts may not be enough to save her. Some of the tropes present in the story are the English countryside/village, amateur female sleuth, friendship and tension with the local constabulary, and a tight community of people she can depend on when needed. The mystery kept me guessing all the way to the reveal. Yarwood-Lovett excels at planting red herrings and misdirection. At one point, early on, I was sure I had the mystery solved. But doubts set in as I kept reading, and when the killer was finally revealed I wasn’t even close, and I’m fine with that. Her characters are well-rounded and include several members of the local police department and her co-workers. Yarwood-Lovett also included a section at the end called “The Nature of the Crime.” In this part of the book, she talks a bit about her writing process. She also draws upon her extensive experience as an ecologist, explaining more about the methods and species included in the book. I’m glad she included it because I liked reading it. I enjoyed reading all the books in the series so far, and I’m looking forward to reading the next two books.

Thanks to #NetGalley and Embla book for a copy of #AGenerationOfVipers in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Review-Fatal Fudge Swirl

book cover with three ice cream cones. Village buildings and a village green decorated for Halloween in the background.

Fatal Fudge Swirl

by Meri Allen
Book Three in the Ice Cream Shop series

Book Details

A movie production brings drama—and murder—to a close-knit New England village, forcing Riley Rhodes to scoop out the suspects.

Read more here.

 

My Thoughts

Fatal Fudge Swirl is a quick, enjoyable read. Suspects include employees of the wealthy murder victim’s inn, family members not happy their money flow was cut off, and the ex-wife of the victim’s fiancé. The murder victim also has links to the movie currently filming in the village but were those links strong enough for someone to commit murder? It’s a possibility, which expands the number of potential suspects.

Not only was the ‘why’ of the murder a mystery, but so was the method. Keeping the murder weapon an unknown until the murder was solved added another layer to the novel. For this reader, I enjoyed trying to figure out the murderer’s identity as well as the method he or she used to accomplish the deed.

Fatal Fudge Swirl is the third book in this series, and I haven’t read the first two. Some problems/issues/relationships clearly have their beginnings in the earlier books, but enough context was given that I wasn’t left confused as to what was going on in this book. Reading the books in order though would mean not having those “I wonder what happened prior to this” questions.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Fatal Fudge Swirl. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an e-copy for review.

Publishing Information

Published by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250267108
Genre: Mystery
320 pages

Book Notes-Blueberry Blunder

 

Book cover for Blueberry Blunder-spotted pic wearing a yellow hard hat, blueberries in crates and boxes, framed out warehouse in backgroundBlueberry Blunder
Amish Candy Shop Mystery #8

By Amanda Flower

About Blueberry Blunder

Amanda Flower’s USA Today bestselling Amish Candy Shop Mysteries combines a fascinating look at Amish life with the sugar rush of candy making, a quirky whodunit, and a hint of romance between chocolatier Bailey King and her law enforcer boyfriend. This eighth installment raises the charm even more, as filming begins for Bailey’s new reality TV show just in time for a big blueberry festival to jam up the small town of Harvest, Ohio.

Bailey King, star of TV’s Bailey’s Amish Sweets, is building her dream candy factory in Harvest, Ohio. But no sooner is the frame of the new building up than she finds the dead body of a surly contractor who has a long list of enemies—including people in the Amish community. To add to the drama, Bailey is being filmed by a crew for her upcoming show. . .

When Bailey’s TV producer pitched a reality show about building the factory, Bailey was shocked that the network picked it up. She’s not shocked that many of the Amish working on the jobsite refuse to be on camera. However, local community organizer Margot Rawlings is ecstatic—because the filming coincides with Harvest’s First Annual Blueberry Bash. Margot believes the media attention will make Harvest the most popular destination in Holmes County. But now, the county may become known for all the wrong reasons . . .

Bailey will have to sift through a crowd of angry villagers and thousands of blueberries to solve the murder, save her new venture, and protect her Amish friends. At the same time, she and her longtime boyfriend, Aiden Brody, are making big decisions about their future together—a future that may be in jeopardy if Bailey is the next pick on a killer’s list . . .

Thoughts

Aiden has returned to Harvest to hang out his shingle as a private investigator. This time Bailey and Aiden work together to solve the murder of local contractor Wade Farmer. Sheriff Jackson Marshall, whose nasty personality has been hinted at throughout the series, makes his appearance in Blueberry Blunder and his reputation is well-earned. There are multiple suspects with plenty to gain with Farmer’s death. Numerous twists and turns send a reader down multiple paths while trying to solve the case. The murder isn’t the only issue raised in the book.

Bailey’s cousin, Charlotte King, is engaged to be married to Deputy Luke Little. Charlotte was shunned by her family after she left the Amish. Now that her marriage is close, Charlotte wants her family at her wedding, but her father is unmovable. When Charlotte left her ultra-strict order, she also ceased to be a member of the family. Charlotte is still grieving that loss, and the reader begins to understand the cost Charlotte has paid to pursue living life on her terms. We also meet Luke’s parents, and they are a trial unto themselves. From DC, neither understands the choices their son has made-in where he lives, in what he does, or the fact his fiancée is former Amish. In other words, both are marrying outside of their expected social circle and neither set of parents is happy about it.
I enjoyed reading all the books in this series, and Blueberry Blunder was no exception. If you like murder mysteries with humor, well-developed characters in a simple, yet complex setting, and a puzzling mystery, then give this series a try.

Other Books in the Series

Peanut Butter Panic

Lemon Drop Dead by Amanda Flower

Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower

Candy Cane Crime by Amanda Flower

Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower

Toxic Toffee by Amanda Flower

Premeditated Peppermint by Amanda Flower

Publishing Information

Kensington Books-Blueberry Blunder

336 Pages, 4.12 x 6.75 in

  • ISBN: 9781496734631
  • ON SALE: 05/23/2023
  • FICTION / MYSTERY & DETECTIVE / AMATEUR SLEUTH

Copy provided by the author.

 

Book Notes-In Farm’s Way by Amanda Flower

Book cover for Amanda Flower's book In Farm's WayIn Farm’s Way
A Farm to Table Mystery
by Amanda Flower

When the husband of Shiloh’s best friend becomes a murder suspect, Shiloh starts investigating to clear his name.

Wallace Field is the owner of Field’s Brewing Company, located in Shiloh’s hometown of Cherry Glen, Michigan. Even though the brewery is relatively new, it’s grown quickly and Wallace has plans to go national. But before he can do that, he needs to find a new brewmaster for the brewery. The purpose of tonight’s event is to name a new brewmaster. Shiloh was invited to the reveal party by her best friend, Kristy Garcia Brown. Kristy’s husband, Kent, is one of the bartenders at the Field’s Brewing Company and one of two finalists for the brewmaster’s job.

Other attendees at tonight’s event are members of MOBA, Michigan Organic Beer Association. Wallace is a member, but there is no love lost between Wallace and fellow MOBA members, as Shiloh learns when she overhears a conversation between two members. Wallace is suspected of cheating—stealing others’ recipes for home brewed beers and passing them off as his own.
The brewmaster position is up for a vote. The voters sampled two cherry flavored beers-one developed by Kent and the other developed by Jason Brennan. Wallace declared Jason the winner, to the shock of nearly everyone there.
The next day, Shiloh discovers Wallace’s body at an ice fishing competition. She’s determined to stay out of the investigation, but when Kent becomes a strong suspect in the murder—because he was the last one to see Wallace alive—she needs to get involved.

Thoughts on In Farm’s Way

In Farm’s Way is the 3rd book in the Flower’s Farm to Table series. Shiloh Bellamy is still struggling to get the farm on firm financial footing. She’s in the process of certifying the farm as organic, but her father doesn’t encourage her efforts. Shiloh must also contend with her rocky past. I’ve enjoyed watching her confront her obstacles and move past them as she reinvents herself and the family farm. The series as a whole is a fun one, and one I’ve enjoyed reading.

Other books in the series:
Farm to Trouble
Put Out To Pasture

Other books by Amanda

Thanks to #NetGalley for providing a copy of #InFarmsWay