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  • It’s a small world

    Miranda takes a group out for rock climbing and drawing. One of the group members uncovers some bones that turn out to be Miranda’s missing cousin. The sheriff chalks it up to human error in the wild, but Miranda and her family aren’t buying it. Her cousin was an avid outdoorsman and knew the area well. When the autopsy uncovers foul play, Miranda and Austin promise her aunt that they will find out who did this to her cousin. As they dig in, it seems Miranda wasn’t the only one connected to the body as the group who found the body also have ties to her cousin as well. Can Miranda and Austin uncover the secrets her cousin was keeping as well as those in the group, or will Miranda be the next family member to mysteriously disappear? The whole concept of the business Miranda runs is fabulous. Who wouldn’t want to sign up for a session? Along with some history and drawing, the whodunit is always intriguing and well laid out with plenty of red herrings along the way. Country life at its best!

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  • A joyful journey

    Draw and Order by Cheryl Hollon is the 2nd A Paint and Shine Mystery. It can be read as a standalone if you have not had a chance to indulge in Still Knife Painting. I thought Draw and Order was well-written with a developed main character. The author captured the beauty of the area with her picturesque descriptions. I love the sound of Miranda’s farmhouse and barn. Miranda is trying to get her distillery up and running while conducting Paint and Shine Cultural Adventures. The fates seem against her distillery as she has one set back after another. I enjoyed the humor sprinkled throughout the story. Miranda needed the patience of Job to deal with Ron, the handyman. Miranda’s cousin has been missing for five years. While on a tour with Risky Business Adventurers, they stumble upon a skeleton at Battleship Rock. Miranda’s Aunt Ora asks her to investigate and gets justice for her cousin, Howard Cable. Miranda has the assistance of Park Ranger, Austin Morgan who is her neighbor and potential romantic partner. There are a handful of suspects some with stronger motive than others. I like how the mystery tied into local legends and the area where Miranda takes her excursion clients. The whodunit does get off to a slow start with it picking up steam toward the middle of the book. The reveal is anticlimactic. It depends upon your sleuthing prowess on when you solve this mystery. I liked the why and how it related to our main character as well as the local area. I enjoyed learning more about Miranda and her family. I do sometimes find Miranda frustrating, but she is a generally likeable and a relatable character. We get to see Miranda and Austin’s relationship deepen as they spend more time together. Draw and Order is an enjoyable read. I look forward to the next A Paint and Shine Mystery. Draw and Order is a joyful journey with a missing man, plein air painting, crispy chicken, an irritating repairman, several suspicious suspects, a curious cave, and smooth moonshine.

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  • Loved it!

    cozy mystery, family dynamics, friends, law enforcement, amateur sleuth, murder investigation, small town, small business***** The Paint and Shine Mystery series takes place in a small town in Eastern Kentucky that is in the middle of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Miranda Trent has moved back to Kentucky from New York after she inherited her uncle’s Red River Gorge homestead and has started a business including painting and hiking and is getting ready to begin making moonshine from her uncle's recipe. This time, she and the small group come upon both a major storm and a skeleton which turns out to belong to her cousin. The characters are true to life and the mystery is very well done and totally enjoyable. I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you!

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  • LITTLE BLACK BOOK by Kate Carlisle

    LITTLE BLACK BOOK by Kate Carlisle is the 15th book in the Bibliophile Mystery series. It’s the story of Brooklyn and Derek Stone, newlyweds whose lives revolve around LOVE – as in: L – lots of adventures O – offers services to the innocent V – vigorous over the bad guys E – embraces family and friends Upon their return from Dharma, they find a package addressed to Derek containing a rare British 1st edition book titled “Rebecca” with no note and no return address. Thinking it strange, the mystery didn’t begin until the next day when Claire Quinn shows up asking about a package her aunt, Gwyneth Quinn, had mailed. Seems her aunt has turned up missing and her residence ransacked. A postage receipt for the mailed package is all the clues she had to finding her. With attempts already made on Claire’s life since she’d came back to the states, the fact that Brooklyn knows Claire from having worked with her on the “This Old Attic” show and Derek having worked with Gwyneth in his previous job at M16, there was no question that Brooklyn and Derek would help Claire find the clues to find her aunt and the reason for her disappearance while keeping Claire safe. For safety sake, the three of them pack up, leave San Francisco and go back to Dharma. However, danger seems to be lurking around every corner. The two men they knew were following Claire end up murdered - both with antique knives. It is decided that for the safety of family and friends that they needed to leave Dharma and travel to Scotland to the source of the disappearance to find clues to lead them to the answers they needed. On the flight to Scotland, it’s learned that Claire is very educated and not only knowledgeable in weaponry but also proficient in the use of them as well. Upon arriving in Scotland, Claire had arranged for them to stay Castle MacKinnon where her aunt’s dear friend is the head housekeeper. It’s in Scotland that the real work begins to find Gwyneth, Derek’s dear friend he’s determined to find. They meet lots of folks – some very nice and some extremely not so nice. Will they be able to tell who is helping them and who is putting up road blocks in their way or do them harm? Will they be able to decipher the clues they have as well as others they run across in time to find Gwyneth unharmed? Is events in Claire’s past or deeds of her missing father the reason for her aunt’s disappearance? Will the person trying to harm Claire try again in Scotland? Will there be more deaths in connection to this case? Kate Carlisle’s research and attention to detail is evident as she wrote this book. The detail to both the weaponry and book binding facts are not only extremely interesting, but also needed to make the story realistic. This expertly woven mystery is like taking the trip into a haunted forest that takes you on some detours, has a few dangerous critters cross your path and a few adventures along the way all the while keeping you on edge with excitement, but at the end you find the way to the solution happy to see daylight but thrilled for the journey along the way. It was delighted to see that the mouthwatering treats mentioned in the book have their recipes listed in the back of the book. LITTLE BACK BOOK, although part of a series, can most definitely be read as a standalone book. However, after reading this one, you will be excited to read more of Brooklyn’s adventures as well as anxiously awaiting the next adventure in the coming books. It’s a book you won’t be able to put down once you open the cover. I find this to be true with Kate’s books. It is without a doubt and most wholeheartedly a FIVE STAR book!

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  • This cozy series keeps getting better!

    I enjoyed Still Knife Painting, the first book in the Paint and Shine Mysteries by Cheryl Hollon and think book two, Draw and Order is even better than the first! In Still Knife Painting there were some things I thought could have been improved a bit, but since it’s the first book in the series, it’s totally understandable to have some growing pains. In Draw and Order, Hollon fills in those gaps and continues to impress me with her well thought out characters and fantastic descriptions of the farm house and all it’s out buildings, along with Lover’s Leap and the various trails in the National Forest. Miranda is trying to juggle so many things in this book that I was amazed she had time to solve a mystery. But that’s where the community came in. Her mother came to visit to help with her Aunt’s grieving process, but ended up helping Miranda even more. Ron is a new character with flaws, but he has a lot of potential and could be an interesting love interest for Miranda’s mom. And Austin, the forest ranger and love interest for Miranda is always there to lend a hand. There is more mention of moonshine history and making which is why I love to read, to learn new things. And I’m excited for when the moonshine still is actually up and running… maybe we’ll learn even more about the process. And there is so much Southern food and idioms that it gives Draw and Order such a unique feel to it. As far as the mystery went, although the body was found early on, it was a bit slow to get started. By the middle it was picking up steam though. With the various professions of the Risky Business Adventures group I was thinking it would be A Murder on the Orient Express situation (which would have been super cool!), but it went in a different direction and ended with a big bang. If you’re looking for a cozy filled with lots of Southern flair and a fantastic community, you should check out the Paint and Shine Mysteries!

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