Chirp No More
Star Rating: 4/5
Genre: Mystery - Cozy, Supernatural
Buy the book: Amazon
Synopsis (from Amazon): Abigail Carrier is a witch with an itch for a normal life. Living on the Eastern Shore in the town of Shearwater, Maryland, all she wants is to run her bed-n-breakfast with her sister, Evalynn, while focusing on anything but her lackluster love life.
One night, treachery strikes at a Town Hall meeting, and its Abigail who discovers the dead body first. With a long list of suspects who aren’t short on motive, and with the help of her “witchy-gifts” she discovers that there are more secrets than solutions in her sleepy, small town.
WARNING: Light bragging ahead.
I don't know why I don't read more cozy mysteries. I really enjoy them, though the majority of my experience with them has been in the form of television. I really like Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, but my all time favorite (in both mysteries and TV shows in general) is Psych. I can't talk about it here because I'll freak out and take away from the books, so onward! Right, I love playing Whodunnit with myself or whoever happens to be in the room, and I like to think I'm pretty good at it. If you're like me, might I suggest the Shearwater Mystery series by Anna B. Madrise? It is absolutely delightful!
I quite appreciated the Cast of Characters list provided at the beginning of the book because there are a lot of players in this book. It opens at a town hall type of meeting, so lots of names being thrown around, and I would have been quickly lost without that list. I also loved how snappy and sassy everything was. Phrases like "citrus fury" will forever make me laugh. And the theme (all cozy mystery series need a theme, right?) of birds was so charming. To be honest, this series is a little like the TV show Psych, just in reverse. Instead of a normal guy pretending to be a psychic, we have a psychic woman pretending to be ordinary. I'm not at all surprised at how quickly I devoured this book. I finished it in a single evening.
On a personal note, having grown up in northern Virginia, I loved how familiar the region was to me - if you don't know about Old Bay Seasoning, you are missing out! I also personally adore small town environments and their politics. Everyone knows everyone else and are all up in each other's business. I think that's part of the reason Gilmore Girls is so popular. This book captures that perfectly!
The dialogue was a wee bit clunky, not as natural as I would like, but it didn't detract too much. The clues were good, but there were a few things that seemed a little too obvious to me (like the to-be murder victim). That was something I totally called, as well as the murderer! Here comes the brag...I guessed it at 58% into the book, though I have played Whodunnit a lot. Is it okay to be really proud of that? Because I am. That's not a dig on the book at all, but rather a high-five to myself.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story.
Star Rating: 5/5
Buy the book: Amazon
The next book in the series takes place not long after the first. We have many of the same characters, but we're flung into the action more quickly this time since the basics were established in book one. The same things I found charming in the first book are still in play - the sass, the bird theme, the charm of the small town. Love! In this one, though, I feel like we got a better look at Abigail's relationship with her sister, and it's brilliant! That part of the book is written so naturally, from the way they talk to each other to the way they act. Having two sisters of my own, I can say with authority Anna B. Madrise has captured the sisterly vibe perfectly!
As far as the mystery itself goes, I think this one was written so well. The pieces were put deftly into place in this book. When you look back, you can see it all, but it was tough when you looked forward. I didn't win at Whodunnit with this one, though I'm not sad about that. When a puzzle is woven together this cleverly, I don't mind not having seen it.
Ruffled Feathers gets a rare 5/5 stars from me! Thanks for reading!