Sit, Stay, Slay (Dog Club Mystery #5) by V.M. Burns
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is the 5th and final book in the Dog Club Mystery series. I am sad to hear that it is ending as I have enjoyed every one of these books. I loved getting to know Lilly Ann and Dixie and all their family, friends, and dogs. In this story, the members of Dixie’s obedience class are competing in a local dog show. Even though their dogs have all competed well, other dogs were awarded that did not deserve the win. It turns out that Naomi, the judge, has an issue with Dixie. Of course, when she ends up dead, Dixie is definitely a suspect.
As the case is investigated, it seems that there are so many people who had issues with the victim that the suspect pool is huge. There are a lot of red herrings and clues to follow along the way. Lilly, Dixie, their families, Red (Lilly’s Tennessee Bureau of Investigation boyfriend), and all the Dixie Pack members rally together to locate and trap the murderer. With this being the last book, I thought V.M. Burns did a great job tying up loose ends and giving us a satisfactory ending for all the characters in this story. I can’t say enough about the animal characters in these books. They are as important as the humans and are usually integral to the solving of the mystery. I recently watched a podcast where the author participated in a discussion of using dogs in their books. Check it out if it sounds interesting to you; https://crimespreemag.com/crimespree-tv-dog-mystery-authors/. The narrator, Madison Vaughn, is another narrator that I have enjoyed. She has been the voice of all the books in this series and I have enjoyed her performances.
Crust No One (A Bread Shop Mystery #2) by Winnie Archer
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
It has been awhile since I read the first book in this series and I when I saw the next few available in audiobook, I decided I would get back to it. I enjoyed heading back to Santa Sofia, California and the bread shop owned by Olaya Solis. Ivy Culpepper is happily working with Olaya, learning more about baking bread and helping her to run her business. When “Mustache Hank” a local produce provider and friend to the Blackbird Ladies, the group that hang out at the bakery, disappears she is asked by Miguel Batista, a local restaurant owner, to help locate him. Miguel and Ivy used to date in high school, and he is hoping they can rekindle that romance. One thing I liked about this story was that they were not trying to solve a murder, but locate a missing person. Ivy uses her natural curiosity and skill at putting together clues to help Miguel in his search.
I like the characters in this story. Ivy is a well-developed protagonist. She is smart, likeable, loyal and persistent. The secondary characters such as Olaya and Ivy’s best friend Sherriff Emmaline Davis are also very likable and relatable. It looks like Miguel and Ivy might be working things out, so perhaps there will be some romance down the road. The mystery itself developed at a nice pace with plenty of twists that took the story in a very unexpected direction. Winnie Archer did a great job dropping clues along the way to follow until the final reveal and one last aha moment. Overall, an enjoyable story. The narration by Emily Durante was well done with good expression, well done voices and a great pace. I look forward to listening to the rest of this series.
The Last Curtain Call (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #8) by Juliet Blackwell
This is the 8th book in the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, but the first I had read. I had no problem following and enjoying this story. Mel Turner runs the family business, Turner Construction. They are contracted to renovate a San Francisco art nouveau movie palace. Now the important thing to note is that Mel sees and communicates to ghosts. You can bet there will be a lot of them in the decrepit theatre that is also home to squatters. Not only that, but Mel and her fiancé have purchased an older home to renovate and she meets the ghost of an actress that used to work in silent films. With all this going on, the last thing she needs it to find a dead body in the theatre. There is a lot going on that is keeping Mel hopping and her paranormal skills in hyperdrive.
I enjoyed this story very much. Not only do we have Mel as a great protagonist, but the theatre is an amazing setting. The quirky characters the reader meets there also add a lot to the story. Mel’s human relationships are very realistic. The relationship between father and daughter is filled with realistic experiences between parents and their children. Lando, Mel’s finance, he is protective but not smothering, and his love and care are evident. The mystery is well developed and plotted. I did not have any idea who the culprit was, but there were several suspects. I liked the addition of the spirits and some of Mel’s other friends/acquaintances also had some ESP. I liked meeting the spirits and learning some of their stories. The final reveal was quite good with Mel “seeing” exactly what happened years ago. I will be looking for more in this series to see what I have missed. The audiobook was narrated by Xe Sands. She is a narrator I have listened to before and I always enjoy her performance.