I’ve been pretty busy the last few months, between the holidays and getting two books out, so that’s cut into my reading time somewhat. Also, I’ve read a few stories lately that I deemed not worthy of recommendation.

So only 2 Rad Reads this time around. But they are the first in two series—working your way through the rest of the series should give you plenty of Spring reading!

Pineapple Lies, A Pineapple Port Mystery, #1 by Amy Vansant ~ Free on KU, 99¢ to buy

If one can suspend disbelief early on, this is a lighthearted but intriguing cozy mystery, the first in a 17-book series.

Orphaned Charlotte is raised by her grandmother in a retirement community, until her grandmother also dies when she’s a preteen. Then the other residents take over as surrogate parents. Now 26 years old, Charlotte still lives in her grandmother’s house in the Pineapple Port 55+ community.

Why the need to suspend disbelief? One, such communities almost always have strict rules about no children, and at least one member of each household has to be over 55. Two, why would a young person continue to live in such a place surrounded by senior citizens?

We get the answer to that last question as Charlotte’s relationship with her surrogate mothers, the amusingly nutty Mariska and Darla, is revealed.

Then Charlotte’s usually dull life becomes much more exciting when her neighbor’s dog digs up a bone in her yard, and it turns out to belong to a woman everyone thought ran away from her husband and child years ago.

That child is now a tall and handsome young man, the owner of the local pawn shop. And Charlotte finds him disturbingly attractive. The twisty romp that ensues as she and the young man try to unravel what really happened to his mother is a fun read.

I give Pineapple Lies 4 fingerprints, and Book 2 is loaded up on my kindle.

Murder in G Major, A Gethsemane Brown Mystery, #1, by Alexia Gordon, $4.99 (I think it’s worth it)

This book/series has several things I love—a spunky female protagonist, a picturesque setting in the Irish countryside, and a ghost!

Stranded in Ireland after the job she’d been promised is snatched away and her luggage is stolen, classical musician Gethsemane Brown is forced to take a teaching position at a boys’ school in a small village.

She soon discovers that the old cottage she’s rented is haunted by the ghost of its former owner, a legendary musician and composer. He is reputed to have killed his wife and then committed suicide. His relationship with Gethsemane is contentious at first, but he eventually enlists her help to clear his name.

The characters are beautifully developed, including the ghost, and the story is told with clarity and touches of humor. The setting is also described well. You feel like you are visiting the village yourself.

This first book in the series received the Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel. I have read the entire series and enjoyed each story very much.

My only disappointment is that, other than identifying Gethsemane as African-American at the beginning of Book 1, there is little mention of race nor of any struggles with prejudice. I call this a disappointment rather than a criticism, because I personally prefer realism as much as possible, even in cozy mysteries. But I can certainly understand why the author might choose to leave such ugliness out of the world she has built for the main character of her cozy series.

I enthusiastically give Murder in G Major five fingerprints and recommend the entire 5-book series. (Hope she writes more!)

That’s it for this time around. More to come in a few weeks. Happy reading!