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Librarian and aspiring PI Mira James has discovered one corpse a month for each of the eleven months she's lived in Battle Lake, Minnesota. She'd give her left foot to break that streak this April. But when she stumbles across a disturbing note, and a Battle Lake girl vanishes, she has no choice except to get involved. She follows the note's trail and is horrified to discove Librarian and aspiring PI Mira James has discovered one corpse a month for each of the eleven months she's lived in Battle Lake, Minnesota. She'd give her left foot to break that streak this April. But when she stumbles across a disturbing note, and a Battle Lake girl vanishes, she has no choice except to get involved. She follows the note's trail and is horrified to discover that it leads to her father, who died 13 years earlier. It's a race against the clock to crack the secret he carried to his grave in time to save the girl. Meanwhile, chiseled police chief Gary Wohnt is scrutinizing her every move, aching to finally put her behind bars, and Johnny, her sexy boyfriend, is planning a surprise for her. Problem is, she doesn't know if it's a marriage proposal or an intervention. As Mrs. Berns and Mira take on their final case together, Mira discovers it's more personal than she could have imagined, and that she holds not only the life of the vanished girl but the fate of all Battle Lake in her hands. April Fools is the twelfth in an ongoing series featuring Mira James, an urban woman with rural Minnesota roots. The books can be read in any order; each novel stands alone.


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Librarian and aspiring PI Mira James has discovered one corpse a month for each of the eleven months she's lived in Battle Lake, Minnesota. She'd give her left foot to break that streak this April. But when she stumbles across a disturbing note, and a Battle Lake girl vanishes, she has no choice except to get involved. She follows the note's trail and is horrified to discove Librarian and aspiring PI Mira James has discovered one corpse a month for each of the eleven months she's lived in Battle Lake, Minnesota. She'd give her left foot to break that streak this April. But when she stumbles across a disturbing note, and a Battle Lake girl vanishes, she has no choice except to get involved. She follows the note's trail and is horrified to discover that it leads to her father, who died 13 years earlier. It's a race against the clock to crack the secret he carried to his grave in time to save the girl. Meanwhile, chiseled police chief Gary Wohnt is scrutinizing her every move, aching to finally put her behind bars, and Johnny, her sexy boyfriend, is planning a surprise for her. Problem is, she doesn't know if it's a marriage proposal or an intervention. As Mrs. Berns and Mira take on their final case together, Mira discovers it's more personal than she could have imagined, and that she holds not only the life of the vanished girl but the fate of all Battle Lake in her hands. April Fools is the twelfth in an ongoing series featuring Mira James, an urban woman with rural Minnesota roots. The books can be read in any order; each novel stands alone.

30 review for April Fools

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Sadly this is the last in an excellent series that has kept me entertained for a good while Mira James and Mrs Berns make a great team, whether practicing their martial art, “toe can do” as Mrs B calls is, or investigating the rather large amount of crime in tiny Battle Lake. (Which is about to end up on a list of ten worst places to live, due in no small part to those corpses Mira keeps finding) Jess Laurey has managed once again to witte a page turner, generously sprinkled with humor, romance, a Sadly this is the last in an excellent series that has kept me entertained for a good while Mira James and Mrs Berns make a great team, whether practicing their martial art, “toe can do” as Mrs B calls is, or investigating the rather large amount of crime in tiny Battle Lake. (Which is about to end up on a list of ten worst places to live, due in no small part to those corpses Mira keeps finding) Jess Laurey has managed once again to witte a page turner, generously sprinkled with humor, romance, and small town bonhomie.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    What. In. The. Hell? Did the author just decide to handwave away March of Crime? Jed's body was found and they had a (closed casket) funeral. Mira almost died, saved by the chief of police who clutched her to him and sobbed. Johnny walked away from her. Oops. Never mind. This is not the story you were looking for so we'll pretend none of that actually happened. On its own, April Fools is a good story. It's the last in the series and brings back remembrances of all the previous escapades (except, of What. In. The. Hell? Did the author just decide to handwave away March of Crime? Jed's body was found and they had a (closed casket) funeral. Mira almost died, saved by the chief of police who clutched her to him and sobbed. Johnny walked away from her. Oops. Never mind. This is not the story you were looking for so we'll pretend none of that actually happened. On its own, April Fools is a good story. It's the last in the series and brings back remembrances of all the previous escapades (except, of course, March's) and the goofy cast of characters. It also tackles a very real problem - sex trafficking. Mrs. Berns is accused of murder. Johnny and Gary are having a pissing contest over Mira, though Mira has no clue. Kennie has a decent business idea. A Chick Club is established to help girls see their worth. It's still raunchy in places, has some agenda items, and makes you giggle at times. But completely disregarding the events of the previous book in the series is unforgiveable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    Thank you Toadhouse Books and Netgalley for allowing me to find my new favorite cozy mystery book series! I came across this book after wondering if there was a cozy mystery series that had a month/holiday theme, and I didn't realize this was the last book of the series. Not to spoil too much, but I have definitely put 2 of the other 11 books on hold at the library! CW: Murder, Sex Trafficking  April Fools (Murder by Mystery Month #12)  by Jess Lourey  Published : April 2019 Read Thank you Toadhouse Books and Netgalley for allowing me to find my new favorite cozy mystery book series! I came across this book after wondering if there was a cozy mystery series that had a month/holiday theme, and I didn't realize this was the last book of the series. Not to spoil too much, but I have definitely put 2 of the other 11 books on hold at the library! CW: Murder, Sex Trafficking  April Fools (Murder by Mystery Month #12)  by Jess Lourey  Published : April 2019 Read : March 2019 Format : ebook ARC Genre : Cozy Mystery Page Count : 255 pages Rating :  5/5 Moose Synopsis  Mira James has come across a murdered body every month for the last 11 months. It has cost her one of her best friends, and it might cost her town their "Best Small Town" status. And she is willing to break the streak....until she finds a note in a library book that is literally asking for help. Characters Mira James - our amateur detective main character. She is a librarian and a journalist with a troubled background and a knack for finding dead bodies. Mrs. Berns - our plucky side kick. An 80+ year old bad ass who takes tae kwon do, has the best quips, and also has her own troubled past. Rants, Raves, and Thoughts  THIS IS THE COZY MYSTERY SERIES I HAVE BEEN MISSING. I mean, I love cozy mysteries, but I don't...expect much from them. They are great palette cleansers, and I do genuinely enjoy them! To the point that I go through waves on netgalley requesting some or through Overdrive looking for some. But I don't necessarily LOVE any of them. Until now. This books has shown me that Lourey has taken a well known genre and updated it. There are drug references, her father is quite possibly a terrible person, there is diversity in characters and sexuality, and at least for this book, it isn't explicitly JUST a murder! In fact I hit 50% on my Kindle and realized there hadn't been a murder yet, but I wasn't put off by this? So much was going on showing everything that Mira had gone through, especially after losing one of her best friends six weeks before. The story is also very "of its time" - it in part is a #metoo thought piece. But it also serves to bring awareness to something I personally hadn't realize: it isn't just the states that border the ocean that have a sex trafficking issue. Minnesota is actually on the top 10 list of states with the highest sex trafficking problems. That is not something I had ever thought possible, and the book does a great job of showing how it can be something overlooked. Lourey can build characters too. I may not remember all of the small town cast, but I can tell you that Mrs. Berns comes across as more three dimensional than most "side kicks." She's also exactly who I want to be when I am 80 years old. The men are written a little two dimensional, but I am chalking that up to not having full knowledge of the entire series. Plus, the love stories and triangles of cozy mysteries aren't what I read them for. I am genuinely shocked with how it turns out (again, no other book to have me swaying either way). And honestly? Lourey had me crying over a character that I had never met who died two books ago. She even had me putting non-comic books on hold at the library. What is that? Finally, the portrayal of the teenage girls. So many adults (myself included oh god) want to help prepare the next generation for what they need to look out for. How to look out for gross dudes. How to stand up for themselves. But the actuality is, they know already. They are still going to make the stupidest decisions, but they're more aware than we give them credit. And these teenage girls are written realistically. Yes they love their cell phones and yes they aren't quite ready to tell you the whole truth. But they aren't vapid and airheads. And they will fight for what they believe to be right. Also, I am 100% on board if the next series is all about Maisy and Peaches: Teenage Detectives. She was wearing a ripped pair of Levi's with a Led Zeppelin t-shirt knotted at her tummy and black Cons on her feet. [...] My heart swelled so big it almost cracked. "May I ask what the four of you are dressed up as?" "Superheroes," Angelina said, grinning. Final Moments Honestly, I cannot wait for the other books to come in. If I like one more, I'll buy the entire series for when I need a good cozy mystery. I mean, how many of them have multiple scenes of an 80 year old woman getting high on edibles? Plus, Mrs. Berns legitimately stopped to full-on hug four different trees. -

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was mixed about this one. I was little sad it was the last adventure, I’ve gotten familiar with the characters and all their mysteries. I was glad Jed came back though that seemed far fetched - didn’t he fall off a train into mountains or something? This was the first book that I actually didn’t really want her to end up with Johnny. Their relationship turned annoying and maybe it was too much back and forth and I was tired of that. I actually wanted to see what developed between her and the c I was mixed about this one. I was little sad it was the last adventure, I’ve gotten familiar with the characters and all their mysteries. I was glad Jed came back though that seemed far fetched - didn’t he fall off a train into mountains or something? This was the first book that I actually didn’t really want her to end up with Johnny. Their relationship turned annoying and maybe it was too much back and forth and I was tired of that. I actually wanted to see what developed between her and the chief and suddenly she decides she loves Johnny and chooses him. All that unspoken something between her and the chief poof gone with a “we’ll be just fine” joke. Overall I really enjoyed the series, it kept my attention and I learned to like most of the characters.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Magpoc

    To start with, I received an ebook copy through Goodreads for this review (my first Goodreads giveaway win! Hoorah!) Also, though this title is the 12th in a 12th part series, I've only read one previously: "October Fest" (Book 6). So I kind of jumped in at the middle and resumed at the very end. The first one I read...didn't really send me. But I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt; there could very well be improvement after eight years (publication-wise). In any case, the writing keep To start with, I received an ebook copy through Goodreads for this review (my first Goodreads giveaway win! Hoorah!) Also, though this title is the 12th in a 12th part series, I've only read one previously: "October Fest" (Book 6). So I kind of jumped in at the middle and resumed at the very end. The first one I read...didn't really send me. But I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt; there could very well be improvement after eight years (publication-wise). In any case, the writing keeps you up-to-speed with characters and relationships in case you haven't read all or any of the others. I didn't feel "lost" at all having not read the rest of the series. Overall, I don't think this is the book for me. I was in it for the library-related content, but other than a clue tied to the last patron who returned a book (which could raise privacy concerns, but maybe I'm putting too much thought into this), the library setting seems to be just that - little more than the place where the main characters happen to go during the day. Maybe there's more library-ness in any of the other ten books in the series and I chose the wrong ones. Another reason this series isn't for me... is that there is definitely an aim towards - how should I put this - people who are into reading about sexy guys. The heroine spends a substantial amount of time thinking about how much she loves her sexy boyfriend, and how hot and perfect he is, kind of to the point where it gets a little embarrassing. The more interesting relationship is the professional one on the crime-solving side of things. How often is an adult woman partnered with a much older woman? Then there's the humor. It's also...not for me. Occasionally there's a funny turn of phrase that gives me a smile - I highlighted the phrase "as ugly as the first pancake," for example - but for the most part the comedy is situational. To give you an idea of what I mean, pot-laced snacks do play into the antics, and yes, they are ingested accidentally. I was ready to be more unrestrained and sarcastic in my review until I read the very end notes which explain Jess Lourey's reason for getting into writing in the first place. I thought, "I can't give this a Book Sins nitpicks treatment." After all, it is a cozy mystery. It did make for good, relaxed bedtime reading. [Note: I accidentally posted a very partial version of this review because I didn't realize the notes section had a character limit. The above is my "real" full review.]

  6. 4 out of 5

    Beth Ann

    Mira James -- oh how I have missed you and Mrs. Berns! Author Jess Lourey winds up (say it isn't so!) her Mira James Murder by Month Mystery series with a humdinger. Librarian Mira James and her sidekick Mrs. Berns find themselves in the thick of things again in Battle Creek, Minnesota. Will there be a murder (undoubtedly) and will Mira be involved somehow (absolutely). The beloved characters of Battle Creek all make an entrance as the mystery unfolds and once again I found myself giggling and l Mira James -- oh how I have missed you and Mrs. Berns! Author Jess Lourey winds up (say it isn't so!) her Mira James Murder by Month Mystery series with a humdinger. Librarian Mira James and her sidekick Mrs. Berns find themselves in the thick of things again in Battle Creek, Minnesota. Will there be a murder (undoubtedly) and will Mira be involved somehow (absolutely). The beloved characters of Battle Creek all make an entrance as the mystery unfolds and once again I found myself giggling and laughing out loud at their antics. While murder is never a good thing it is a very entertaining tale with just enough touches of reality and current events to keep it real and (somewhat) believable. Lourey's characters are so well written and by the 12th novel I find that I am having a difficult time saying goodbye to them. I am hoping that they all speak to her again and make a reappearance somewhere down the road for all of the die hard Mira James fans out there. Per normal Jess Lourey shares the page turner that I have come to expect from her and I loved this book as much as the first one I read - May Day. If you are new to the series I urge you to get a copy of each and every one for your own library. You won't regret it. I was thrilled and honored to receive an ARC of this book for review purposes. It, and Jess Lourey, definitely did not disappoint.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ann W.

    I'm sad that this is the end of the year for Mira. April Fools does a nice job of wrapping everything up. For me the mystery in this final book played a background role to my enjoyment of new time spent with great characters. I love that Kennie Rogers wasn't made into a villain as she could have been and that she and Mira maintain a sometimes tense but always hilarious friendship. I also appreciated Mrs. Berns's arc through the series: not just comic relief but a thoughtful and loyal friend. Fan I'm sad that this is the end of the year for Mira. April Fools does a nice job of wrapping everything up. For me the mystery in this final book played a background role to my enjoyment of new time spent with great characters. I love that Kennie Rogers wasn't made into a villain as she could have been and that she and Mira maintain a sometimes tense but always hilarious friendship. I also appreciated Mrs. Berns's arc through the series: not just comic relief but a thoughtful and loyal friend. Fans of the Murder by Month series will enjoy this one. (I have to add, though, that I was distracted for a good long time at the start of reading by the fact that while the library was burned to a crisp in March, this fact is never mentioned in April. They must do some mighty fast repairs in Battle Lake.) I received an advance copy of this book, in exchange for my review (but I also bought the book, because I really like this series!)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A nice end to a good series, although I have to confess that I was not thrilled with her boyfriend choice at the end. I was totally Team Gary and thought Johnny was too meek. He did seem to come around at the end, and Mira seem to finally get some sense. She has made some poor choices throughout the series. Sad to know that her father’s background was even worse than the way his life had ended. Look forward to see what she writes in the future and whether she does continue with some short storie A nice end to a good series, although I have to confess that I was not thrilled with her boyfriend choice at the end. I was totally Team Gary and thought Johnny was too meek. He did seem to come around at the end, and Mira seem to finally get some sense. She has made some poor choices throughout the series. Sad to know that her father’s background was even worse than the way his life had ended. Look forward to see what she writes in the future and whether she does continue with some short stories for Mira and Mrs. Berns as indicated in the authors note. I really hate to say goodbye to all these neat characters of Battle Lake.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lylan Nguyen

    April Fools by Jess Lourey ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ So first of all, when I requested this book from Netgalley, I didn’t realize that it was book #12 of a series. With that said, reading this book makes me want to go back and read all of the other ones! It was such an entertaining read! Mira James and Mrs Berns are a force to be reckoned with! They are one heck of a team together and I absolutely adore Mrs Berns. Mira James is living in a small town in Minnesota working as a librarian and is the star of the show. April Fools by Jess Lourey ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ So first of all, when I requested this book from Netgalley, I didn’t realize that it was book #12 of a series. With that said, reading this book makes me want to go back and read all of the other ones! It was such an entertaining read! Mira James and Mrs Berns are a force to be reckoned with! They are one heck of a team together and I absolutely adore Mrs Berns. Mira James is living in a small town in Minnesota working as a librarian and is the star of the show. She is an aspiring private investigator and in the past 11 months, she’s come across 11 dead bodies. Her partner in crime is Mrs Berns. Mrs Berns is a no nonsense, tae kwon do butt kicking (although she says it’s toe can do LOL) 80+ year old woman who is sharper than tac! They have decided that the month of April will be free of dead bodies and will be smooth sailing! Except it’s not. Of course, sh*t’s gotta go down. It involves a mysterious note, a break-in at the library, a politician, possible Big Foot sightings, unveiling of past secrets, trafficking, and murder. DUN DUN DUNNNN.... If the rest of Jess Lourey’s series is as good as this book, I’ll definitely be going back and reading 1-11. April Fools is a quick, cozy, fun mystery book and Lourey does a really good job developing characters. There are plot twists in the book that are not completely predictable and they are also not coming at the readers out of the blue. And although I haven’t read the other books and want to go back to get more background story and really see the stories and characters develop, Lourey does a lovely job adding tidbits from past books into this one and providing short recaps so readers can catch up or remember what happened in previous books. This book was a quick read and I definitely enjoyed it! Thank you Toadhouse Books and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  10. 4 out of 5

    BookwormishMe

    My first foray into a Mira James mystery, and most definitely will not be my last! Jess Lourey spins a fabulous lighthearted but substantial mystery into something both humorous and fun. She has a magical way of making even the most serious of subjects, kidnapping and sex trafficking into an enjoyable read. Especially if the bad guys do get it in the end. Mira James lives in the small town of Battle Lake, Minnesota. She moved there unexpectedly when her personal world fell apart. More like escape My first foray into a Mira James mystery, and most definitely will not be my last! Jess Lourey spins a fabulous lighthearted but substantial mystery into something both humorous and fun. She has a magical way of making even the most serious of subjects, kidnapping and sex trafficking into an enjoyable read. Especially if the bad guys do get it in the end. Mira James lives in the small town of Battle Lake, Minnesota. She moved there unexpectedly when her personal world fell apart. More like escaped there, as the story goes. Mira has a special gift that she has bestowed upon the residents of Battle Lake. She finds dead bodies. And not just any dead bodies, but those related to crime. As such, Mira has developed a nose for private investigation. Only Mira isn’t licensed to do it, and sometimes she jumps in without a plan. That’s where her cohorts come in. This time around Mira finds a note hidden inside a book that was recently returned to the library where she works. There are four men’s names on the note, with some kind of cryptic numbering, and scrawled at the bottom of the note is the word “help.” Mira’s nose for trouble sniffs out a crime here, and off she goes in search of the note writer. At the same time, there is news about a teenage girl missing from a nearby town. Could the two be related? Books like this always put a smile on my face. When I need something not quite so serious, with a little bit of everything - good storytelling, fascinating characters, some romance (but not too much,) and a dab of mystery to keep it interesting - finding a series of books like this makes me smile. It’s the perfect book to throw in your bag, read before bed, or in-between chores. Since finding #12, I’m off to pick up 1-11 too. This review will be posted at BookwormishMe.com close to publication date.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachael Heinan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Spoilers I'm not sure what to say. I devoured all 12 novels in a month. The unexpected development of Gary's attraction was like nothing I've really read before. And I've read a lot. The short scenes between Mira and Gary sizzled with an electricity that was palpable, leading up to the ending of March of Crimes, the library fire and Gary crying over Mira's body. The short description of what he was like after the fire and Mira's acknowledgment that something between then had changed. Then absolut Spoilers I'm not sure what to say. I devoured all 12 novels in a month. The unexpected development of Gary's attraction was like nothing I've really read before. And I've read a lot. The short scenes between Mira and Gary sizzled with an electricity that was palpable, leading up to the ending of March of Crimes, the library fire and Gary crying over Mira's body. The short description of what he was like after the fire and Mira's acknowledgment that something between then had changed. Then absolutely none of that was even mentioned in the next book. Like literally. The entire library burned down, Gary saved her life, and NONE of that of that was mentioned. He wouldn't leave her side after the fire, but we didn't even get that fleshed out. Nothing. As an author, why even the the time setting this up at all? I don't understand why Jess Lourey would even bother making Gary a potential love interest, to have the wonderful scenes that she wrote, only to have a throw away line at the end of this book, the entirety of wrapping up their arc, that they'd be "just fine", even after she finally saw his attraction to her, and she's admitted multiple times her attraction? Johnny as a gladiator? Storming in front of Mira to declare that he'd fight Gary for her? In public, after he'd already presumably talked to Gary in private? None of it made sense. None of the setup that for multiple books appeared to be so strategically planned. Kennie ending up with Brad? Johnny and Mira finally breaking up? Then no payoff after the build-up with Gary? I just don't understand. I don't think I've ever been so disappointed in the ending of a book, let alone a 12 book series. Sigh. I mean, why even bother. I know it's just a book, but I feel an actual physical letdown.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Southern Today Gone Tomorrow

    April Fools, written by Jess Lourey, is a Mira James Mystery, staring librarian Mira James as she solves another murder (or so I assume, as this is the first of these series I have read). Mira is the local librarian and also has a column in the local newspaper for recipes. And, since moving to town, she has a tendency to find a body almost once a month, and is being blamed for the reputation that the town is gaining. It doesn’t help when you live in a small Minnesota town filled with all sorts o April Fools, written by Jess Lourey, is a Mira James Mystery, staring librarian Mira James as she solves another murder (or so I assume, as this is the first of these series I have read). Mira is the local librarian and also has a column in the local newspaper for recipes. And, since moving to town, she has a tendency to find a body almost once a month, and is being blamed for the reputation that the town is gaining. It doesn’t help when you live in a small Minnesota town filled with all sorts of characters (that are honestly far odder than our leading lady). If you enjoy cozy mysteries with crazy characters galore, this is the novel for you! Honestly, this is well written, but I don’t know if I recommend starting in the middle of this series if you aren’t a fan of jumping straight into the crazy. Something tells me that the first book or two eases the reader into this town of interesting characters. The plot was interesting, and again odd, enough to keep my attention and propel me through the story. If you are looking for a big romance story, this isn’t it, and if you want something serious or with really realistic characters, this also isn’t for you. If you want a fun mystery read with some oddball characters, this is a good choice for you. WARNING, THIS IS BOOK NUMBER 12. SINCERELY RECOMMEND STARTING WITH THE FIRST NOVEL IN THE SERIES. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bryna Bischoff

    Loved it !!!! I have to chuckle because I no sooner finished the last page when I was alerted we here in MinneSnowta are under a Winter Storm Watch !!! ... likely equipped with a touch of thundersnow none-the-less :) ... I can't help but think there was no better way to end this series as it was also happening in the book. I so appreciate the kind MN humor in these books and this one surely didn't disappoint. The roles of Mira and Mrs. Berns are strong and memorable!!! Jess touched on a more seri Loved it !!!! I have to chuckle because I no sooner finished the last page when I was alerted we here in MinneSnowta are under a Winter Storm Watch !!! ... likely equipped with a touch of thundersnow none-the-less :) ... I can't help but think there was no better way to end this series as it was also happening in the book. I so appreciate the kind MN humor in these books and this one surely didn't disappoint. The roles of Mira and Mrs. Berns are strong and memorable!!! Jess touched on a more serious manner in the final book, bringing to life or the forefront we as humans shy away from or don't take seriously. She was able to comfortable integrate without being offensive and I as a mom of a young lady appreciate this. Aside from the seriousness this book follows with what we so love about Mira and her time in Battle Lake (which coincidentally I saw run along the bottom of the school closing scroll many times this season) and we laugh at the corny gestures of Kennie and Mrs. Berns intertwined with love and gentle romance between Johnny & Mira.... or is there???? I am sad to see this is the final "scheduled" book in the Series, but maybe, just maybe a few extras will circulate keeping us in the loop on whats happening with our friends in Battle Lake, MN ... with love from a MN fan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Grace Koshida

    After 11 months of finding dead bodies, Battle Lake librarian and PI in training Mira James hopes that April will be a quiet one. The mayor and town residents are in an uproar when they learn that Battle Lake may be in the running for the worst small town to visit in America. This type of publicity would devastate the tourism draw to Battle Lake. An inspector from the magazine is coming to check things out. Then Mira finds a disturbing note in a returned library book about her late father Mark. S After 11 months of finding dead bodies, Battle Lake librarian and PI in training Mira James hopes that April will be a quiet one. The mayor and town residents are in an uproar when they learn that Battle Lake may be in the running for the worst small town to visit in America. This type of publicity would devastate the tourism draw to Battle Lake. An inspector from the magazine is coming to check things out. Then Mira finds a disturbing note in a returned library book about her late father Mark. She is determined to find the truth about his death 13 years ago. Mira's sleuthing leads to several shocking discoveries, one of which is that Mark had been a private investigator. Mira' also learns that her father and 3 other men on the note had met once at a convention. But what she does not expect is to stumble upon one of Minnesota’s biggest crime syndicates involving missing teenaged girls and a secret web site. Mira unwittingly puts her life in danger to save some missing teenaged girls. This is the final book in the hilarious Murder-by-the-month mystery series. Mira's boyfriend Johnny has a surprise for Mira and her friend Mrs. Berns that makes a fitting end. I received an eARC via Netgalley and Toadhouse Books with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book and provided this review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mysteries With Nic

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. One thing I want to say, I did not want to finish this book. Normally I fly by reading these novels as fast as I can because I cannot wait for the next novel. However, with this being possibly the end of the series, I went at a snail pace. This novel however, I would have loved to get more insight on her father and the criminal activity he was involved in. I must have read too much into the synopsis because I thought this novel would go deeper in I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. One thing I want to say, I did not want to finish this book. Normally I fly by reading these novels as fast as I can because I cannot wait for the next novel. However, with this being possibly the end of the series, I went at a snail pace. This novel however, I would have loved to get more insight on her father and the criminal activity he was involved in. I must have read too much into the synopsis because I thought this novel would go deeper into her father's background. Except the novel briefly talked about it and then focused more on her and Johnny's dysfunctional relationship. (hence the 4 star review). Furthermore, I can relate to Mira's issues with her parents; however, sometimes it got annoying and I just wanted to scream "you're 30 years old!!! learn to accept what it is and live life!!". There is one major plot-twist and I am unsure how I feel about it (so you'll just have to read February Fever first then April Fools to get the full picture; but it's worth it). Overall...I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and I am sad to see the series end. I hope Mira comes to terms with her past and learns to accept Johnny for who he is.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Scot

    I hadn't read any of the earlier books in this series. I just picked it up and started reading as it was the end of April and the title made me want to read it before May. The series premise: this librarian in a small town in Minnesota discovers a corpse about once a month and then solves the mystery of who committed the crime. At first I thought it was inane, and just too frivolous and silly to even bother continuing. I was also a bit taken aback by some gratuitous sleazy double entendres and s I hadn't read any of the earlier books in this series. I just picked it up and started reading as it was the end of April and the title made me want to read it before May. The series premise: this librarian in a small town in Minnesota discovers a corpse about once a month and then solves the mystery of who committed the crime. At first I thought it was inane, and just too frivolous and silly to even bother continuing. I was also a bit taken aback by some gratuitous sleazy double entendres and sex references by the narrator, the main character Mira. I guess women today enjoy more of this in their light fiction than I realized, and perhaps I have been sexist in assuming they might not joke in such a fashion I would not be startled to hear men use among themselves. There was also a typo of alter when it should have been altar early on that irritated me, and I feared there would be more sloppiness. However, the witty regional humor started to win me over, as did the hijinks of an irascible secondary character, a feisty octogenarian who also worked at the library. The plot got more and more interesting as I read along, so I decided to stop being such a fussbudget and just enjoy the ride.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    Mira James, a librarian in a small Minnesota town, finds a disturbing note in a returned library book and can’t keep from doing a little sleuthing. Soon the town is rocked by the disappearance of a high school girl. Mira sets out to find the girl and determine what is going on, aided and abetted by an amusing group that of course includes the notorious Mrs. Berns. I really enjoyed April Fools and am sorry this book may be the last in the series! The plot is serious and timely. Darker aspects are Mira James, a librarian in a small Minnesota town, finds a disturbing note in a returned library book and can’t keep from doing a little sleuthing. Soon the town is rocked by the disappearance of a high school girl. Mira sets out to find the girl and determine what is going on, aided and abetted by an amusing group that of course includes the notorious Mrs. Berns. I really enjoyed April Fools and am sorry this book may be the last in the series! The plot is serious and timely. Darker aspects are offset by humor in other parts of the book, and without giving anything away I will say the plot is wrapped up in the end. There are some surprises that readers of the series will love. And a seriously awesome woman power theme runs throughout. The ending was heartwarming and satisfying, both for this book and potentially for the series. But the ending does set up a fun jumping off point if the author writes another book in the series. If you enjoy mysteries I recommend April Fools! You do not have to have read the rest of the series to enjoy this book but I would recommend starting at the beginning. I read an ARC copy. The opinions in this review are honest and my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    cindyoffermans

    This was my first of the murder-by-month mysteries and I’m sorry that I started with the last one but boy, it was good! I love a good cozy mystery and this one is one of my favourite ever. Besides the good mystery, it was seriously funny, the characters were interesting and there was a romantic angle as well. Mira James is a librarian who has a track record for discovering dead bodies and solving murders. However, all these murders are about to put her little town on the do-not-visit list of the T This was my first of the murder-by-month mysteries and I’m sorry that I started with the last one but boy, it was good! I love a good cozy mystery and this one is one of my favourite ever. Besides the good mystery, it was seriously funny, the characters were interesting and there was a romantic angle as well. Mira James is a librarian who has a track record for discovering dead bodies and solving murders. However, all these murders are about to put her little town on the do-not-visit list of the Tourism Board. When she finds a mysterious note tucked away in a library book, Mira starts investigating with the help of her friend Mrs Berns. What she finds out is quite shocking for her small community but also for Mira herself as her father’s name is also on this mysterious note. Throw in some trouble in paradise between Mira and her boyfriend Johnny and a police officer who makes up this love triangle, a quirky mayor and some corrupt (or not?) politicians and you get a wonderful cozy mystery book! Thanks to Netgalley for this review copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Athena Rupas

    I absolutely love that this book is set in a small town in my home state of Minnesota. Mira James is the small town's librarian. One day she finds a disturbing not in a returned library book which sets her off doing some detective work. Next, the town is shocked by the disappearance of a high school girl and Mira goes about finding the girl. Aided by the notorious Mrs Berns and others, Mira is determined to find out was is going on in her small town. The plot is at times serious but the darker a I absolutely love that this book is set in a small town in my home state of Minnesota. Mira James is the small town's librarian. One day she finds a disturbing not in a returned library book which sets her off doing some detective work. Next, the town is shocked by the disappearance of a high school girl and Mira goes about finding the girl. Aided by the notorious Mrs Berns and others, Mira is determined to find out was is going on in her small town. The plot is at times serious but the darker aspects are balanced out by humour throughout the book. The book has a satisfying end which is both heartwarming and satisfying for fans of the series. This book is number 12 in the series (and the final book) but you don't need to have read the previous books to understand and enjoy this book. It is however recommended! “I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    I would be really sad that April Fool's is the last of the Mira James mysteries if a: I couldn't go back and read them all over again and b: I didn't suspect/hope that Jess Lourey will at least give her fans some short stories and novellas! The first one I read was Knee High by the Fourth of July, picked up at a mystery convention, and I learned the secret of clearing room on a crowded plane aisle: snort/laugh VERY loudly and often while reading. The author's sense of humor and great pacing/acti I would be really sad that April Fool's is the last of the Mira James mysteries if a: I couldn't go back and read them all over again and b: I didn't suspect/hope that Jess Lourey will at least give her fans some short stories and novellas! The first one I read was Knee High by the Fourth of July, picked up at a mystery convention, and I learned the secret of clearing room on a crowded plane aisle: snort/laugh VERY loudly and often while reading. The author's sense of humor and great pacing/action had me hooked, and I've not been disappointed with any of the other books in this series. April Fool's captures the humor of the other books, and also deals with some serious and current issues in a way that never feels like preaching, but makes the point none-the-less. Jess Lourey is one of those authors whose books will always have a place on my bookshelves!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Thank you to the author Jess Lourey as I won this through a Goodreads Giveaway. All thoughts expressed are my own and left voluntarily. Oh my goodness I loved this!! Mira James is such a lovable, small town girl working at the local library alongside her friend Mrs. Berns (who is an older lady and absolutely hysterical). Together they not only run the library, but put their minds together to solve local crimes. Hilarity ensues which keeps the book on the lighter side even considering the darker t Thank you to the author Jess Lourey as I won this through a Goodreads Giveaway. All thoughts expressed are my own and left voluntarily. Oh my goodness I loved this!! Mira James is such a lovable, small town girl working at the local library alongside her friend Mrs. Berns (who is an older lady and absolutely hysterical). Together they not only run the library, but put their minds together to solve local crimes. Hilarity ensues which keeps the book on the lighter side even considering the darker truths they are trying to bring to light. I adored all the characters in Battle Lake, Minnesota - each contributed to the story and made it that more enjoyable. I can't believe I have never discovered Mira James before, I can't wait to meet her again. I couldn't put this down, highly recommend!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Dagg

    The slightly unimaginatively titled ‘April Fools’ rounds off the Murder by Month series featuring Mira James and her sidekick Mrs Berns. This is the first book in the series I’ve read, and whilst it did more or less work as a standalone, clearly it would have had more impact if I’d read the previous books. Just occasionally you’re left wondering ‘Hang on, who are they?’ when a character is mentioned who’s obviously meant to be familiar. That said, the book is fun and enjoyable, and certainly live The slightly unimaginatively titled ‘April Fools’ rounds off the Murder by Month series featuring Mira James and her sidekick Mrs Berns. This is the first book in the series I’ve read, and whilst it did more or less work as a standalone, clearly it would have had more impact if I’d read the previous books. Just occasionally you’re left wondering ‘Hang on, who are they?’ when a character is mentioned who’s obviously meant to be familiar. That said, the book is fun and enjoyable, and certainly lively. The madcapness never descends into slapstick and is carefully managed and not overdone. You just have to accept that finding a body a month in a place as small as Battle Lake is perfectly feasible! The plot is a little complicated but well handled and is original. The pace is swift, the humour witty and all in all it’s a nice escapist read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kym G

    I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read this book. This is the first novel by Jess Lourey I have read and funnily enough, it's #12 of the series. If I had read some previous books in the series I would've been more familiar with the characters in the story. Having said that, this still kept me up late into the night, the fast paced mystery keeping me on the edge of my seat. I was quite I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read this book. This is the first novel by Jess Lourey I have read and funnily enough, it's #12 of the series. If I had read some previous books in the series I would've been more familiar with the characters in the story. Having said that, this still kept me up late into the night, the fast paced mystery keeping me on the edge of my seat. I was quite worried that some of my favourite characters were going to get hurt, or worse. The witty dialogue and refreshing way of viewing things made this book very easy to read. It's always satisfying when the bad guys get what's coming to them.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Jess Lourey sends this series out with a bang - what a book! Mira and Mrs Berns rock this women’s fiction mystery with courage, aplomb, and just the right amount of irreverence. They stand up for each other and they stand up for teenage girls. Mira does the brave thing of looking into a crime that suggests some guilt by her father. And Jess Lourey writes ancillary female characters that are meaningful and properly developed. This isn’t a “I’m a feminist you need to be one too” kind of story. Thi Jess Lourey sends this series out with a bang - what a book! Mira and Mrs Berns rock this women’s fiction mystery with courage, aplomb, and just the right amount of irreverence. They stand up for each other and they stand up for teenage girls. Mira does the brave thing of looking into a crime that suggests some guilt by her father. And Jess Lourey writes ancillary female characters that are meaningful and properly developed. This isn’t a “I’m a feminist you need to be one too” kind of story. This is a “I’m a woman, you’re a woman, let’s back each other up, hold each other up, and teach the next generation how to do it too” kind of story. And i loved it. NetGalley provided an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ileen

    Mira James is No April Fool! What a crazy ride Librarian and amateur PI Mira James and her good friend octogenarian Mrs. Berns go on in the snows of Battle Creek, Minnesota! They are trying to save some missing girls and uncover possible sex trafficking as well as protect the town’s reputation as a tourist mecca. Meanwhile Mira can’t decide if she loves her boyfriend Johnny the town heartthrob or if Gary the Police Chief might have feelings for her. And an old presumed dead friend reappears to t Mira James is No April Fool! What a crazy ride Librarian and amateur PI Mira James and her good friend octogenarian Mrs. Berns go on in the snows of Battle Creek, Minnesota! They are trying to save some missing girls and uncover possible sex trafficking as well as protect the town’s reputation as a tourist mecca. Meanwhile Mira can’t decide if she loves her boyfriend Johnny the town heartthrob or if Gary the Police Chief might have feelings for her. And an old presumed dead friend reappears to thicken the already muddled plot. Jess Lourey has again written a touching funny suspenseful mystery you will love. I was given an advance copy for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Janet Graham

    Wonderful and Intricate Mystery I love this book! This is the 12th in a series and stands alone well. There is a bit to much sex for a 'cozy' mystery, but the story is great! It is not too gritty or violent, just not 'cozy' subject matter. There is lots of humor to offset the dark subject matter. There is humor and wit throughout the book that will keep a smile on your face for most of the book. The reader is not exactly sure what is going on until the big reveal at the end of the book. I want to Wonderful and Intricate Mystery I love this book! This is the 12th in a series and stands alone well. There is a bit to much sex for a 'cozy' mystery, but the story is great! It is not too gritty or violent, just not 'cozy' subject matter. There is lots of humor to offset the dark subject matter. There is humor and wit throughout the book that will keep a smile on your face for most of the book. The reader is not exactly sure what is going on until the big reveal at the end of the book. I want to read more of this author's books in general and this series in particular. I received this ARC for free from Net Galley. This is my honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Louise Nicholson

    I Bet You’ll Like This Book I enjoyed Jess Lourey’s 12th of 12 books in the Mira James series without having read any of the others. Mira does give the briefest of rundowns of the other murder mysteries that have plagued her hometown of Battle Lake, MI (real place, fictionalized). Jess Lourey wrestles well with the “suspension of disbelief” inherent in a murder series: an awful lot of murders for one small town; in this case, they can doom plucky Battle Lake to a spot on the 10 Worst US Towns whi I Bet You’ll Like This Book I enjoyed Jess Lourey’s 12th of 12 books in the Mira James series without having read any of the others. Mira does give the briefest of rundowns of the other murder mysteries that have plagued her hometown of Battle Lake, MI (real place, fictionalized). Jess Lourey wrestles well with the “suspension of disbelief” inherent in a murder series: an awful lot of murders for one small town; in this case, they can doom plucky Battle Lake to a spot on the 10 Worst US Towns which will devastate tourism & drive the town under. The reader learns a lot of information and genuine life lessons. Do visit Jessica Lourey’s Ted talk as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I recieved an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book had me on the edge of my seat as Mira tackles bigfoot, a sex-trafficking ring, her crazy love life and some family secrets. I absolutely loved every second of this novel. It was the perfect finish to an incredible series. I have to admit, I have tears in my eyes thinking that it's over but I know i will happily visit with Mira, Mrs. Berns and all of my other favorite again and again. I had a hard time putting it down. Thank you, Jess I recieved an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book had me on the edge of my seat as Mira tackles bigfoot, a sex-trafficking ring, her crazy love life and some family secrets. I absolutely loved every second of this novel. It was the perfect finish to an incredible series. I have to admit, I have tears in my eyes thinking that it's over but I know i will happily visit with Mira, Mrs. Berns and all of my other favorite again and again. I had a hard time putting it down. Thank you, Jess Lourey. I will never forget the Murder by Month series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Probably the best book of the series and the author says it's the last one. I kind of figured that as this is the 12th book, so she's out of months, unless she starts on a new jaunt with the same character. The previous two in the series, #11 and #10, were disappointing. I loved this one. Much better character development. Was sad to read that she started the series to get through grief when her husband committed suicide. I didn't know that. I started the series a few books in when I came across Probably the best book of the series and the author says it's the last one. I kind of figured that as this is the 12th book, so she's out of months, unless she starts on a new jaunt with the same character. The previous two in the series, #11 and #10, were disappointing. I loved this one. Much better character development. Was sad to read that she started the series to get through grief when her husband committed suicide. I didn't know that. I started the series a few books in when I came across the State Fair one, then went to #1 to read in order.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I really enjoyed this book by Jess Lourey and plan to catch up with the first 11 books in the series! Mira is someone I'd like to be friends with, and I wish I had a Ms. Berns in my life! I also wish I had a girls' club like theirs when I was a teenager. I think it is good to shine a light on human trafficking (happens right under people's noses) and I can't wait to read more books from this author! I really enjoyed this book by Jess Lourey and plan to catch up with the first 11 books in the series! Mira is someone I'd like to be friends with, and I wish I had a Ms. Berns in my life! I also wish I had a girls' club like theirs when I was a teenager. I think it is good to shine a light on human trafficking (happens right under people's noses) and I can't wait to read more books from this author!

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