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Bloom by Kenneth Oppel and Sophie Amos (Narrator)
Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton and Margaret Strom (Narrator)
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe
Cleopatra in Space: Queen of the Nile by Mike Maihack
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
A Death Long Overdue by Eva Gates and Elise Arsenault (Narrator)
Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Giant Days, Volume 14 by John Allison Giant Days, Volume 14 by John Allison
The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alka
The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling
Handbook for Homicide by Lorna Barrett and Cassandra Campbell (narrator)
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak
Love, Jacaranda by Alex Flinn
A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh
Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow
Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Volume 1 by Naru Narumi
The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Raven Black by Ann Cleeves and Gordon Griffin (narrator)
Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
Restaurant to Another World Volume 2 by Junpei Inuzuka and Katsumi Enami (Illustrations)
The Ripple Effect by Malorie Blackman
The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert
The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum
Shadowspell by Jenna Black
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
The Wall and the Wing by Laura Ruby
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
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Bran New Death: 12/22/20

Bran New Death

Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton is the start of the Merry Muffin mystery series. Merry Wynter has put her worldly belongings into storage and has headed north to Autumn Vale in Upstate New York to a castle she's inherited. Her late uncle Melvin died in a car crash. Having been blacklisted from modeling, she has nothing else better to do than to see the place in person and hopefully sell it.

Upstate seems to be rife with castles in cozy mysteries and tiny towns that are so close to Canada they're probably floating on yet to be discovered islands in Lake Ontario. Such is the life of the cozy series written by Canadians for Americans. As I have family from both sides of that border, I don't mind.

Shortly after Merry arrives and begins the arduous task of getting the the mansion and its grounds, a man ends up dead. Merry is now stuck in Autumn Vale until the killer can be caught.

Merry Wynter is unusual among the cozy mystery leads I've read. She's older and more jaded. She's almost a throwback to Kinsey Millhone or Anna Pigeon. Unlike those two, though, she's also very clearly part of Gen-X. Most of mystery series I've read jumped from having Boomer sleuths to having Millennial ones.

While Merry will clearly be earning her keep in Autumn Vale through her baking, her ability to solve this mystery isn't directly related to her baking. Besides working in fashion, she's had a bunch of other jobs, some of which come in handy here for recognizing the shenanigans behind the murder. I like Merry is a well rounded person.

The second book is Muffin But Murder (2014).

Five stars

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