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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 4 star ratings
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    A ghost that reads! I love it!!

    Designs On Murder: A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery (Ghostly Fashionista Mystery Series Book 1) gets off to a great start and just keeps on going. The first chapter provides a solid initial description of all the people and places, sets the scene and introduces all of the important players (so far). I had a good sense of the setting and surroundings and the characters to start the mystery. Amanda Tucker is an interesting, complex character. She’s innocent, cute, and funny with a good heart and full of concern and consideration for others. She is kind of immature for her 25 years, but in a sweet way. Her language is often a little proper and at times she speaks in an old-fashioned manner, possibly her grandfather’s influence. Yet she also has the maturity, experience, education and presence of mind to open her fashion design studio in Shops On Main and get off to a very successful start. Amanda also seems a bit insecure and lonely with few friends, but the stage is set so well that I was barely into this book and already looking forward to the change and growth I knew would come in future books in the series. Max the “Ghostly Fashionista” is also an interesting, complex character. And best of all, she is a ghost that reads! Max died in 1930, so her slang and old-style phrases are from her time. They are just right - quirky, cute and perfect, like calling someone a pillowcase because her head is full of feathers. I like Max. She is fearless (well, why wouldn’t she be?), very enthusiastic, and supportive of Amanda, which is just what she needs. She is funny and she’s going to be a fun character throughout this series. It’s not just Amanda and Max. Designs on Murder is full of interesting, complex characters, many of whom are suspects at one time or another. I was suspicious (and/or afraid) of nearly everyone at some point. It’s a good mystery that kept me guessing. Max is pretty funny and by her talking to Amanda while Amanda is with other people some pretty funny conversations occur. And I like the way Amanda talks about things, sometimes in a comic, self-deprecating way, to us, her audience. Shops On Main is an interesting place. There is a lot of intrigue and gossip in that building, with everyone rushing to share dirt on everyone else. The story starts with a murder, and when one of the shops is broken into the action really ramps up. The plot is solid and the story so well put together that everything flows smoothly and is very easy to read. In addition to the action and danger, there are interesting descriptions of the vintage clothing and the sewing process and some very pretty outfits. On the darker side, there is a bit of history about alcohol poisoning and Prohibition. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. I love Grandpa Dave. He gives Amanda advice, reins her in just a little without judging and criticizing like her parents seem to do. Max and Amanda make a good pair of detectives and are off to a good start as friends. Amanda is very likeable and I was happy to see some romance come into her life. I can’t say enough about the writing – it’s great and made the book a pleasure to read. Details added to the consistency of the plot and little clues added to the mystery and the personalities of the characters. This is a book you can re-read because you’ll see more and more each time through. I received an advance copy of Designs on Murder from the author. I was not expected to provide a review, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. I look forward to learning more about Amanda and Max and enjoying their adventures in this series.
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    Good start to a new series

    I’m a sucker for books based in historical locations and places I have lived in. With an influx of new cozy series choices out there right now, I was looking for a few new options. When I saw this book based in Abingdon, Virginia adding it to my reading list was an easy decision. And I’m glad that I did. When Amanda Tucker finally follows her passion and opens her own fashion design shop in an old building, she’s not only excited about striking out on her own, she’s excited to find that her lease comes with a resident ghost who died in the property back when it was her family home. But that’s not the only dead resident in the building when one of the other business owners is shot and killed his office. When grandpa Dave comes to visit Amanda’s shop, it turns out he too can see Max, the resident ghost. Soon the three of them are trying to find out who the murderer is and seem to stumble upon something else sinister going on in the shops. But will Amanda be joining Max, or will the three of them solve the murder before they strike again? The mystery was well planned out and had a few red herrings to keep you guessing. But when you get the piece of information that helps make things click a bit more, you realize just how brilliantly it was laid out. I am looking forward to seeing how this series builds from here.
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    Wonderful New Series!

    This is the first book in A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery. A wonderful new series written by Gayle Leeson. Amanda is opening her fashion design shop in an old building in the town of Abington, Virginia. Max a ghost, that can read, just happens to come with that particular shop in the historic building. Murder, a ghost, intriguing characters will keep you turning the pages of this well written story. I loved the book and the interaction between Amanda and Max. Looking forward to more adventures with Amanda and Max. I received an ARC prior to publication and decided to voluntarily review it. Opinions expressed are my own.
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