Cover Image: High Spirits

High Spirits

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This is book 2 in the Haunted Haven Mystery series.  It can be read as a stand alone.  I did not read book 1, Be My Ghost.  Set in Florida, Maureen moves from Boston when she inherits an old hotel.  It comes complete with a ghost and 4 elderly residents who live there permanently.  It's Christmas and the hotel is working with a local old movie theater that is running old films.  There was a murder there in the 70's and the local police think the killer is back in town when the projectionist is killed on the 1st night.  A good cozy series and the ghost aren't too overwhelming.
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This is my first book in this series, but I had no problems keeping the characters straight.  I loved the quirky mix of characters.  The mystery and side plot kept me guessing until the end.  The combination of an old murder and a new one was a nice twist.  I will definitely be returning to the Haven House Inn.
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High Spirits by Carol J. Perry is the second book in the paranormal cozy A Haunted Haven Mystery series. As with most cozy mystery series each book in this new paranormal mystery series will contain it’s own mystery that will be solved within so they can be read as a standalone or in any order if choosing to do so. Of course there will be some character development that carries over from book to book for those that follow the series in order.

Maureen Doherty had been settling into her career as a sportswear buyer for a department store when she got the news that the store would be closing. At just that moment when Maureen needed it most she received a letter from a lawyer informing her that she had a mysterious inheritance waiting for her in Haven, Florida. Maureen is now the new owner of a cozy inn on the Gulf of Mexico. The only catch to the inheritance is the inn is supposed to be haunted but not believing in ghosts Maureen saw it as the opportunity for a new career path.

Now as Maureen is getting settled into her new life in Haven, Florida the holiday season is upon her as she tries to drum up new business. Maureen finds that the new owner of the local theater, the Paramount, is running a holiday promotion but she also finds that the theater is just as haunted as her inn. On top of everything just as the festival is beginning Maureen finds there has been another murder in town and finds herself caught up in looking for another murderer before Christmas.

Carol J. Perry was an author that I had my eye on trying one day and that day finally came when I saw the new A Haunted Haven Mystery series. After enjoying the first book in the series I was happy to return with this second installment. Being a fan of crossing the paranormal genre with a cozy mystery I wasn’t surprised to find myself turning the pages quickly with this series. With a nice setting too and some quirky characters this will definitely be one I return to.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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⭐⭐ -- Cute cover on this one!

I don't have a lot to say about this one. It was okay. The setting was cool, the characters were fine. The plot was okay. My main issues was the obsessive amount of repetitive details. I don't need to know every move a character makes. Nor do I need a description of every little thing the character sees. Unfortunately, I don't think this series is for me. 🤷🏻‍♀️

**ARC Via NetGalley**
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A cozy mystery with an animal, I’m in!  Throw in a little a romance and I’m hooked. Second book in a series that can read as a standalone. Set during Christmas so perfect for those winter vibes.
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This is a really fun read. Sometimes it's hard to keep straight the names of the all the permanent residents that hang on the porch and help out when needed but it doesn't detract from the story.
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High Spirits by Carol J. Perry  (Haunted Haven Mystery #2)  4 stars

It’s holiday time in Haven, Florida and proprietor of Haven House, Maureen Doherty is trying to promote her hotel on a tight budget.  Luckily the local vintage movie theatre is promoting classic Christmas movies and has offered to do a cross promotion.  Unfortunately for Maureen one of her guests is murdered and it is up to her and some friendly ghosts to find the killer.

This was an entertaining mystery by Carol Perry, the author of the Witchy City mysteries.  A great follow-up to “Be My Ghost”, I found the paranormal parts a fun addition.  I look forward to the next book in this series.

Thank you Netgalley and Kensington Books for this ARC.
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Maureen Doherty has inherited the inn Haven House from a mysterious benefactor. But she needs to do a lot of work to make the inn financially viable. She decides to sell tickets for the Twelve Days of Christmas meals and movies. The projectionist may be a professional, but he has a mysterious past that's connected to the town and could return to haunt him. Meanwhile, real ghosts help Maureen discover clues to the murder mystery. Hopefully, they can help clear her as a suspect. And the ghosts who haunt the various landmarks in town may stir up some romance, too, as they have fun with Maureen's dog Finn and two cats.  
I definitely rooted for Maureen and Haven House to succeed! I'd like to stay there mostly to enjoy the gourmet food, front porch and unique rooms. But that's the only appealing part of the town - everything else seems one-dimensional and wasn't developed in this book. 
Also, the victim's nephew is called Roger and Ralph - maybe I'm reading an uncorrected galley version? 
The connection to the title was introduced close to the end of the book, and I'm interested in reading more about the high spirit. At first, I thought maybe the ghosts were strange, but they actually added appeal to the story.
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A really well done cozy mystery. The series is great and I always love how creative and fun the covers are.
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The second in this spooky cozy mystery series was a great read. Maureen, who inherited the Haven Inn and its collection of ghostly inhabitants, has to solve her next murder or risk running out of money to maintain her inn. The Christmas spin was perfect for this time of year and added an extra element of fun. I particularly liked how the ghosts were not "out to get her" like so many paranormal stories, but were often more than happy to help. I haven't read the first book, but I might just have to go back and read it now. A cute series great for people who love small town mysteries with low stakes. 

This was an honest NetGalley review.
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  Maureen, Ted and the rest of the team at the inn are doing their best to revive the image of the inn, which had sadly fallen into disrepair.  When Maureen first inherited the inn, she did not have any clue on how to run it but with the help of her staff, she is learning fast.  She has big plans but little money and hopes by hosting some extra special events during the Christmas season, she might be on her way to some financial rewards.  One of her plans is to have a dinner/movie night but opening night comes with a closing.  The projectionist is murdered before he can load the second reel.  His death brings back memories of another murder in the theatre and there are enough similarities to wonder if the killer is the same person.

With the help of her ghosts and the unlikely ally, the local chief of police, Maureen is able to splice together the narrative of the sad story and when the villain is revealed, it takes every one by surprise.  In between there are some delightful characters in the small town who make it a very pleasant place to spend time.  I have a feeling that some of the information Maureen discovered will lead to some interesting ends in future tales.  I will be happy to check in again.  Four purrs and two paws up.
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I like this series as it's a lot of fun and the ghosts are very entertaining. Solid mystery that kept me guessing and well plotted.
I think there's a lot of potential even if I'm not a huge fan of the MC at the moment as I found her a bit flat.
 Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
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Maureen and her beloved golden retriever Finn are determined to make this a holiday to remember which means finding a way to promote Haven House on a shoe string. Haven’s vintage movie theater the Paramount has come up with a great Twelve Days of Christmas idea. They’ll feature an impressive list of classic Christmas movies ever made shown by by one time movie actor turned projectionist Decklin Monroe. Nobody bothered to tell Maureen the theater was haunted until Decklin turns up dead in the projection room leaving to Maureen having to defend her staff and guests while trying to keep her high-spirited resident ghosts out of the picture before the guests come for the holidays. This is a very enjoyable story a very different kind of holiday story. The characters are easy to connect with and create this wonderful story.
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High Spirits:  A Haunted Haven Mystery
By Carol J. Perry
Kensington
November 2022

Review by Cynthia Chow

For her first Christmas in Haven, Florida, new Haven House Inn owner Maureen Doherty is looking for money-boosting promotional ideas to pull the historic century-old hotel out of its in-the-red budgetary status. Her unexpected inheritance came with the equally unexpected gift of a multitude of haunting ghosts, one of whom is the very vocal and friendly late movie starlet Lorna Dubois.  That connection makes it all the more logical for Maureen to plan Twelve Days of Christmas dinner & movie events to be held at the equally historic Paramount Theater, which regularly shows vintage movies not easily available to the public.  Rumors have it that the Paramount is haunted by the ghost of Buddy Putnam, a shady hoodlum gunned down in the aisles during a viewing of Animal House.  Ever since Maureen helped to solve a murder involving ghost hunters Haven Police Officer Frank Hubbard is both suspicious and solicitous of her, borderline harassing her while asking if she has any “feelings” about his latest cold case.  One of which just happens to be the same crime that occurred in the Paramount Theater in the 1970s.

When the friendly projectionist Decklin Monroe is murdered during Maureen’s first Day of Christmas celebration, Officer Hubbard is back on scene and very intent on pulling her into his investigation.  Maureen would much rather focus on saving the Inn and continuing her holiday events, but the mysterious appearance of fortune-telling cards from Zoltar (where no Zoltar machine is near) makes that impossible.  So while Lorna dons the “essence” of Maureen’s wardrobe and dates another equally deceased ghost, Maureen and her live-in retired staff will have to track down the long-time business owners and residents who may have connections to the Paramount Theater and its increasing number of ghosts.

This second in the series focuses on a close circle of Haven locals who have mingled among some of the Florida Gulf’s most famous visitors.  Haven House Inn rooms are named after the celebrities who stayed in them, with their previous residents still cruising through town.  Bogie, Babe Ruth, and many others might be spotted haunting local hot spots, but in this entry it’s Maureen and her staff who must track down the killer of a possible thug and another aspiring actor.  Frank Hubbard definitely toes the line of abusing his power as he stalks and forces Maureen into his investigation, but his toxicity is balanced out by the charm wielded by her bartender Ted.  Movie fans will love the references to old movies and its stars, while mystery fans will appreciate the slow burn of the investigation. This is an enjoyable second installment by the author of the more psychic-leaning Witch City mystery series.
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Given the publication date of late October and the title, High Spirits, you would be forgiven if you assumed this was a Halloween-related cozy mystery - but you’d be wrong! This story is actually Christmas-themed. It takes place mainly in the weeks leading up to Christmas, in a small beach town near St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida. Maureen is the owner of an old hotel in Haven, Florida, that she inherited in a mysterious fashion and she’s trying her best to update the place. Down the street is a historic theater that is going to show classic movies as a 12 Days of Christmas event and Maureen decides to do a “dinner and a movie” promotion. Of course, since this is a mystery, there’s a murder that needs to be solved. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and this was just as good. It could be read as a standalone without too much trouble. Be prepared for friendly ghosts, delicious sounding food, and tidbits about Florida’s history, as well as some fun references to the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, etc.). The mystery was a good one, even though I eventually figured out who the culprit was. I loved that Maureen’s background as a department store buyer figured into the plot.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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I love the premise of this book - the thought of having ghosts around to help solve the mystery in your newly inherited hotel right on the beach gives you plenty of opportunities for great storylines.  The ghosts aren't very present in this book. Sure, she has some conversations with them but it almost feels like they were added in later to keep the whole haunted inn thing working.  The main character herself is kinda boring, as evidenced by the mundane tasks that she performs that are detailed in this book, such as feeding the dog, cleaning up poop, and the numerous runs she goes on every day.  The story itself was also kind of just there.  It wasn't interesting.  I love this author's other series but I think I am done with this one.
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When you own a haunted Inn and have a resident ghost - who has ghostly friends, you're ready for anything.  However, a murder during a Christmas "dinner with a movie package", turns Maureen's world upside down and brings her closer to discovering exactly why she inherited Haven House Inn.

I enjoyed the mystery and the blossoming relationship between Maureen and Ted.  What makes this series so much fun, is seeing Maureen 's life grow in ways she never expected.  The new friends and staff she has made add to the book.  The continuing mystery of why Maureen inherited the Inn keeps me guessing and I love a "mystery within a mystery".  

If you're looking for a cozy Christmas mystery, High Spirits is perfect!

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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This is a cute cozy mystery! I love the characters and setting and really enjoyed this series.

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
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I like the characters and the setting. I find it fun that some folks in the town believe in the ghosts, some do not and some deny it so they don't get over run by ghost hunters. I guessed who did it, but not why. This didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book however. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a Cozy Mystery, and this is the second book in the Haunted Haven Mystery series. I have read and reviewed the first book in this series before picking up this book. I do think this book can be read as a standalone, but I feel it would be better if you had read the first book before this book. I love the ghosts in this book, and I wished the ghosts would show up more in this book. I enjoyed the mystery parts in this book, but I did guess some of the reveal not all. The ending was really good. The Christmas parts of this book were cute, and throughout this book. This is a great cozy mystery series, and I am really enjoying it. I really love the characters in this series. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Kensington) or author (Carol J. Perry) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
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