Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Overdue Reviews - The Vineyard Victims + If You've Got It, Haunt It

Goodreads:  The Vineyard Victims by Ellen Crosby

Blurb:  The death of a former presidential candidate in a fiery car crash at her Virginia vineyard has ties to a thirty year-old murder, as well as to Lucie Montgomery’s own near fatal accident ten years ago, as she searches for a killer who now may be stalking her.
When Jamison Vaughn―billionaire real estate mogul, Virginia vineyard owner, and unsuccessful U.S. presidential candidate―drives his gold SUV into a stone pillar at the entrance to Montgomery Estate Vineyard, Lucie Montgomery is certain the crash was deliberate. But everyone else in Atoka, Virginia is equally sure that Jamie must have lost control of his car on a rain-slicked country road. In spite of being saddled with massive campaign debts from the recent election, Jamie is seemingly the man with the perfect life. What possible reason could he have for committing suicide . . . or was it murder?

Before long Lucie uncovers a connection between Jamie and some of his old friends―an elite group of academics―and the brutal murder thirty years ago of a brilliant PhD student. Although a handyman is on death row for the crime, Lucie soon suspects someone else is guilty. But the investigation into the two deaths throws Lucie a curve ball when someone from her own past becomes involved, forcing her to confront old demons. Now the race to solve the mystery behind the two deaths becomes intensely personal as Lucie realizes someone wants her silenced . . . for good.

My Thoughts:  This is my second try with this series and I think I'm going to admit that it just isn't for me.  I love the wine/vineyard premise and have found the main character's physical disability interesting in that it forces her to deal with physical situations in a different way than I normally see in mysteries.  That said, the mystery was a bit week and Lucie's involvement in the investigation caused me to roll my eyes a bit.  Her entire reasoning for putting her life in danger and causing extra stress to people who are supposed to be dear friends is a garbled remark from a dying intoxicated man and the belief that this same dying intoxicated man is resisting getting out of the car and was therefore trying to commit suicide.  It just seemed a bit of a stretch.  Since all of this is referenced multiple times I had a hard time really connecting with the plot of the mystery or getting investing in the conclusion of the story.  My Rating: Just Okay (2 Stars)

Goodreads:  If You've Got It, Haunt It (A Haunted Vintage Mystery #1) by Rose Pressey

Blurb:   Cookie Chanel has a passion for fashion--and a murder mystery to solve!

Cookie Chanel has opened her own vintage clothing boutique, It's Vintage, Y'All, in the charming town of Sugar Creek, Georgia. Always on the lookout for stylish second-hand steals, she attends the estate sale of deceased socialite Charlotte Meadows. But she gets a lot more than she bargained for when Charlotte's ghost appears before her--offering fashion advice and begging Cookie to find out who murdered her.

As the persistent poltergeist tags along and a possibly psychic pussycat moves into the shop, Cookie sorts through racks of suspects to see who may be hiding some skeletons in the closet. Do a clothing store owner and a disembodied socialite have a ghost of a chance of collaring a killer--or will Cookie's life be the next one hanging by a thread?

My Thoughts:  This was such a fun read! I love vintage clothes and this book did a good job of talking about vintage fashion without getting too bogged down in details.  Cookie is a cute main character who is aware that she really has no business investigating a murder.  I love ghost Charlotte though I am very glad I'm not haunted by her as I think she would get exhausting very quickly.  The possibly psychic cat, Windsong, is also a fun character and I'm looking forward to seeing what skills she develops as the series goes along.  Cookie also has a good friend and a promising start to some kind of relationship with Detective Valentine.  I'm really curious to see how Cookie gets pulled into the next mystery and if she ends up with more haunts.  My Rating:  Really Liked It (4 Stars)


  1. I no longer feel I need to finish a book when I am not enjoying it. Too many to read to waste time! Glad the other one worked out.

  2. Once upon a time I felt I had to finish a book no matter how much I wasn't enjoying it. Then I realized there were too many books that I would love to waste time on ones I didn't. Then years later I had my first reading slump which I think is worse than finishing a book I don't like.

    I love the cover of the Pressey book!

  3. You've got me curious about the second series. The first doesn't feel like a cozy and I am sorry it the mystery wasn't stronger.

  4. Not heard of the one your not a fan of but I really need to try the Rose Pressey one!

  5. The Vineyard Victims cover is cool. 💀

  6. So pleased if You've Got It Haunt It turned out to be really good, so inviting.

  7. I applaud your trudge through the first book, despite your misgivings. I'm afraid that if I don't like a book by the time I've reached the 20% point, I DNF it. I've far too many books and so little time to waste on something I'm not enjoying! But I love the sound of If You've Got It Haunt It - including the title:)).