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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.6 out of 5
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  • I enjoy a lot of cozies, but love this series!

    The Summer of 2019 saw me reading a lot of cozy mysteries and they were all starting to feel the same. Still enjoyable, but no real wow factor. I was getting burnt out on the genre. And then Mulberry Mischief, the fourth book in A Berry Basket Mysteries, found its way into my life and my enjoyment for cozies was reignited. Sharon Farrow introduced me to very well developed characters and a town I knew I would want to visit again. But what really stood out to me was that she actually had some nasty characters, and not just someone who died right away and we find out they weren’t very nice. These evil characters were present throughout the story and added even more depth to the book. So when I saw Hollyberry Homicide was coming out I knew I would be reading it. And I was not disappointed. Farrow continues developing her characters, and even better, something is always happening. In some cozies most of the story is just the sleuth running around tracking down clues and talking to suspects. But in A Berry Basket Mysteries, we are not only engaged in Marlee’s life, but those of her friends and co-workers… even with the people that Marlee can’t stand! Farrow also incorporates the Christmas theme really well. In some cozies it’s more so for the cover art and mentioned a couple of times in the book, but not so in Hollyberry Homicide. You get Christmas from Marlee’s obsession with decorating her house and store, to the various times she is preparing food for her shop and parties, to the town’s huge Christmas tree falling over numerous times because of the lake effect winds. It seems like every chapter mentions the holidays, but it’s done well. As for the murder, there are lots of suspects whose secrets slowly come out over the course of the book. I thought for sure I knew who the killer was, but I was wrong. And I am so happy with who the killer turned out to be. You don’t need to start A Berry Basket Mystery series from the beginning because Farrow knows how to fold the reader into the story without them becoming lost. But if you do decide you want to (and you should because it’s a great series!), then the first book is Dying for Strawberries. And while you’re at it, you may as well buy all the rest of the books in the series too!

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  • “Marley was dead”

    When the 95 year old man who was set to play Jacob Marley in the town’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol” dies, Marlee Jacob is tapped to take over her namesake role. But with two more actors dropping out for health reasons another leaves for fear that production is cursed. But Marlee doesn’t believe in curses and suspects a murderer is loose and behind it all. But can Marlee learn her lines, run her business, and find a murderer while still being around to celebrate Christmas? She’s hoping luck will be on her side. A fun holiday themed read that will have you saying “Bah humbug” and “God bless us everyone “along with the best of them!

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  • I loved it

    This is the fifth book in the series. It was a ‘berry’ delicious cozy mystery. The characters were interesting and the whodunit was well written and kept me guessing. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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  • Fun and murder

    small-business, small-town, family-dynamics, friendship, amateur-sleuth, law-enforcement, investigation, cozy-mystery***** The first corpse was a wealthy 95 year old curmudgeon who always played Marley in the local production of A Christmas Carol, so everyone assumed that it was natural causes. Lots more about him came out after that and the play seemed cursed as players continued to have unexpected problems. The small but fairly affluent town had lots of secrets and divas to add to the mysteries that were as thick on the ground as the lake effect snow. A really good whodunit with some fun situational humor. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley.

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  • HOLLYBERRY HOMICIDE by Sharon Farrow

    HOLLYBERRY HOMICIDE by Sharon Farrow is the fifth book in the A Berry Basket Mystery series. It’s the story of Marlee Jacob, the owner of The Berry Basket in Oriole Point, Michigan and the town’s production of The Christmas Carol by the local theater group, the Green Willow Players. Nobody embodies Christmas more than Marlee. She loved everything about it – the smells, the sights, the sounds, the tastes, the decorations – which there are never enough whether at home or at the shop, the parties, the need for more of trees, her birthday and of course The Christmas Carol for which she was named. When Everett Hostetter is found dead on a bench in the train exhibit at the Historical Museum, everyone assumes he just died of old age considering he had just turned 95. They figured he had sat down on the bench to rest and to enjoy eating his gingerbread cookies since he was still holding the cookie bag and cookie pieces were on his face and under the bench. Everett’s passing left a big hole in the annual Christmas production since he always played the part of Jacob Marley. Since Marlee had been named after the character in Dicken’s story and it was a great play on words – Marlee Jacob playing Jacob Marley, they figured it would be a great advertising stunt to sell more tickets and asked her to take up the part in the play. After some thought, Marlee agreed to play the role. After finding out she had to wear Everett’s costume that hadn’t been washed in years and having trouble finding the time to study her lines, Marlee was starting to second guess her decision. Marlee had picked up the pieces of the gingerbread cookies that were on the floor where they found Everett and stuck them in her pocket since no trash can had been readily available. It wasn’t until a couple days later that she found them and fed them to a squirrel that dies suddenly bringing up questions that maybe old man Everett didn’t just pass away peacefully. With other accidents on other actors in the play, rumor started circulating that the play was cursed and bad luck will befell on those involved with it. A local business man, a retired attorney and also Everett’s attorney, agreed to play Santa for Marlee in her shop. In payment, she bought him supper at the local pub. He seemed to drink more than eat at supper letting some secrets slip out about some of the local residents. When he was killed when the town Christmas tree falls on him, was it an accident or murder? Can Marlee learn her lines with all that’s going on both on the stage and off? Is Everett the center to it all? The list of folks that did not like Everett is long because he seemed to never have a kind word for anyone or anything, but was it bad enough to murder him? Are the deaths connected? Was the fire at Calico Barn an accident or deliberate? Is Marlee getting to close making her life in grave danger? Is Marlee’s birthday going to be a happy one? Will they have a Merry Christmas? HOLLYBERRY HOMICIDE is a magnificent Christmas cozy mystery that would be a joy to read any time of the year. Sharon Farrow weaves such a magnificent story that she has us falling in love with Marlee with her array of furry and feathered family members and house guest, her family by blood and by choice - consisting of the employee of The Berry Basket and dear friends, and the towns people of Oriole Point as we take the many twists and turns the story takes us on as we trying to figure out whodunit and why. Love a story where I have to change my idea about who that is more than once and I’m still surprised at the big reveal. That’s exactly what this author did! Although part of the series, HOLLYBERRY HOMICIDE can most definitely be read as a standalone book. Don’t short change yourself thinking you can only read this Christmas story during the holiday or you will be doing yourself a great disservice. Highly recommend this book for anyone that loves a well-written cozy mystery! 5+ STARS I, for one, was happy to see recipes at the back of the book after having our taste buds tempted so during the pages of the story

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