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For the Love of Reading: May 2021

It’s the beginning of the month and that means it’s time to look back over what I read in May. I know many of you enjoy my reviews and recommendations. This month, if you’re not into cozy mysteries, you may be out of luck!

Musseled Out (A Maine Clambake Mystery, #3)

Musseled Out by Barbara Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another solid entry into this cozy mystery series. The author manages to keep each plot fresh and (so far) it hasn’t gotten stale or predictable. I’m enjoying the new characters that are introduced in each book as well as the development of existing characters. I have to admit, it’s the relationship between the main character and her love interest that keeps me reading these one after the other, I’d like to see some resolution there that feels permanent. Recommended for those who enjoy the genre.


Fogged Inn (A Maine Clambake Mystery, #4)

Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another great book in this series, the plot of this one was very well done. The author does a good job of developing existing characters as well as introducing new ones and that Maine setting never gets old. Recipes are also included.



Nogged Off (A Maine Clambake Mystery, #4.5)

Nogged Off by Barbara Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This novella, set at Christmas time, is the usual cast of characters from the Maine Clambake Mysteries, with the addition of 2 others to create a mystery and some drama. Recommended for those who are reading the series.


The Kitchen Front

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book had all sorts of things to make me like it . . . women as the main characters, recipes and food talk, historical fiction set in Great Britain during WWII . . . and yet it fell flat. The premise is excellent, 4 women competing in a cooking contest using rationed food, but there was no real conflict and the little conflict that was presented was too easily and unrealistically resolved. It was really just too sentimental and light for me but historical fiction fans will probably enjoy it.


The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I know lots of people who loved this book but for me it was just . . . dull. And honestly, if I had been paying attention to the author I would not have read it because I felt the same way about The Once and Future Witches. The premise is so good and some of the writing is really descriptive and beautiful and yet I just did not care what happened. The word that comes to mind for me is tedious.


Iced Under (A Maine Clambake Mystery, #5)

Iced Under by Barbara Ross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My experience with cozy mysteries is that generally by the 4th or 5th book they start to feel forced and stale. That is definitely not the case with the Maine Clambake Mystery books as Ross manages to find new storylines and introduces new characters without it feeling contrived or repetitive. I highly recommend this series for those who enjoy cozy mysteries.


Stowed Away (A Maine Clambake Mystery, #6)

Stowed Away by Barbara Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m tearing through this series and truly enjoying them. This one, though, is the first one where I’ve noticed a bit of repetition, particularly when it comes to sharing details about the previous books. It could be that I’ve read too many in a row or it could be that it’s becoming an issue. In any case, I did appreciate the carry over of some elements from book 5 to this one and I’m looking forward to book 7.


Steamed Open by Barbara  Ross

Steamed Open by Barbara Ross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Barbara Ross continues to keep this series interesting, introducing new characters to create new storylines while keeping the recurring characters true to themselves. Nothing feels contrived as so often happens with a cozy mystery series by this point. Recommended for those who enjoy the genre.




Sealed Off by Barbara  Ross

Sealed Off by Barbara Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another entertaining entry into this cozy mystery series. The main story is fresh and not predictable (although I did figure out one twist this time) but it’s the continual development of the repeat characters and their relationship to each other that keeps me reading this series. I’m already looking forward to the next one but then I’ll be caught up and have to wait for Ross to write more.

I finished that last one on Saturday, May 29th so it’s the first completed square of my Summer Book Bingo card! Here’s to a great month of reading in June! And maybe more variety, too.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. I like cozy mysteries, but I have to be in the mood to appreciate them. Thanks for the recommendations, Carole!

  2. Off to the library, which reopens today, to look for Barbara Ross!

  3. One of the big bonuses of a good book series is revisiting places and characters we enjoy. I’ll check out the series. Thanks.

  4. You’ve been on a bit of a Barbara Ross TEAR there, Carole! 🙂 It’s always fun to get into a series and enjoy them . . . like potato chips! Here’s to a great summer of reading — and congrats on your first Bingo square. XO

  5. I don’t know how many of these cozy mysteries there are, but I think you’re going to work your way through all of them before the summer is over!

  6. I’ve enjoyed seeing your reviews of the Clambake cozies! It’s rare that a series can grow and maintain readers’ interest, but it seems that Barbara Ross can do just that. I’ve only been to Maine a couple of times, but I might have to try this series this summer!

  7. I’m 50/50 on cozy mysteries. I’m one of the (don’t judge people!) few that didn’t continue on with Inspector Gamache. I may have to check Barbara Ross out though – a Bingo square is calling! (And on another note – I’m listening/suffering through The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah and all I have to say is DON’T – if it wasn’t for Bingo I wouldn’t continue.) Happy Hump Day…bring on Friday!

  8. Oh my, I have happy memories of summers where I binged all the cozy series (and as I typed that I remembered binges in ALL the seasons 🙂 curious minds and all that – where did you mark “Sealed Off” on your card?

  9. Based on your 1st reviews of this series, I now have my Mom working her way through this cozy series & she really enjoys it. Have you read the “Penny Brannigan” series by Elizabeth J. Duncan? We’ve both really enjoyed them, too.

  10. I enjoyed that Barbara Ross series a lot. I have the whole set. The Maine location is what drew me in.

  11. Oooooh, a new-to-me cozy mystery series. I find that I don’t want to read anything too heavy these days so have been reading cozies. My favorite series is the Vampire Knitting Club series by Nancy Warren. She has other series that I enjoy as well: Vampire Book Club and Great Witches Baking Show. All paranormal, but that’s not the main point of her books.

  12. I’m like you; once I find a good series, I have to read them all. At the moment I am reading Educated which is kind of mind-boggling. The Nature of Fragile Things was enjoyable.

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