Title and Author: The Mystery of the Curiosities: Snow & Winter: Book Two by CS Poe

Published by: DSP Publications

Format: ARC

Genre: mystery romance

Order at: Amazon | Publisher | Barnes and Noble

Reviewed by: Anya

What to Expect: Snow & Winter tackle another fast-paced murder mystery.

Plot: Life has been pretty great for Sebastian Snow. The Emporium is thriving and his relationship with NYPD homicide detective, Calvin Winter, is everything he’s ever wanted. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Sebastian’s only cause for concern is whether Calvin should be taken on a romantic date. It’s only when an unknown assailant smashes the Emporium’s window and leaves a peculiar note behind that all plans get pushed aside in favor of another mystery.

Sebastian is quickly swept up in a series of grisly yet seemingly unrelated murders. The only connection tying the deaths together are curiosities from the lost museum of P.T. Barnum. Despite Calvin’s attempts to keep Sebastian out of the investigation, someone is forcing his hand, and it becomes apparent that the entire charade exists for Sebastian to solve. With each clue that brings him closer to the killer, he’s led deeper into Calvin’s official cases. 

It’s more than just Sebastian’s livelihood and relationship on the line—it’s his very life.

Review: The Mystery of the Curiosities continues the story of antique shop owner and amateur sleuth Sebastian Snow and trouble is brewing in Emporium again. I admit that I had to look up P.T. Barnum because I hardly remembered anything about him and it was quite fascinating to read about all the hoaxes he created. In this book, the murderer uses P.T. Barnum’s supposedly long gone curiosities to lure Sebastian into solving peculiar riddles. Since the bodies tend to pile up quickly when it comes to Seb, he has little choice but to comply with the notes the killer has been leaving for him.

I think Sebastian has a lot of potential. He is witty, sarcastic, a bit of a troublemaker, and he’s fun to read about. I would love to see more development of his character in future books as his relationship with Calvin grows. The part that annoyed me about him was the way he kept constantly putting himself in danger even when he knew it would distress his boyfriend and might amplify his PTSD symptoms. He seems intent on helping Calvin but then turns around and gives him a whole new patch of gray hairs with his amateur Sherlock stunts. Be better, Seb!

I absolutely adore Calvin. He has been through plenty of grief in his past and it’s obviously hard for him to open up and let another person to get close to him. He presents a tough exterior to the outside world but there’s marshmallow softness under those rock hard abs. He loves pet names, which is kind of silly yet cute, and he wants to give Seb Valentine’s Day date of his dreams. I’m a sucker for protective guys and he tries so hard to keep Seb away from all the ugly aspects of his NYPD job.

The relationship between Sebastian and Calvin has grown in many ways since they started dating in the first book. They are definitely more in tune with each other and more open about their respective issues and how to handle them. The sex between them is SIZZ-A-LING! Calvin’s dominant side is definitely a plus but he’s also willing to switch it up and just wants to make Sebastian happy in every way he can.

By now you all know I live for awesome secondary characters and this story got quite a few of them. William Snow, Seb’s dad, deserves the biggest heart for being incredibly supportive. Not only is he always there for his son, but he is also stepping up to help Calvin when his real family basically cuts him off. All the kudos to great dad! I also really like Max, Seb’s employee and friend, and I wouldn’t mind him finding a hot romance of his own in the next installment in the series.

In terms of the mystery plot, I thought this book was a good continuation of the series. The pace was on point, the clues were timely enough to keep things interesting and the red herring was pretty well executed. Without giving too much away, the reveal was the weakest part of the story for me, I didn’t think it was plausible enough and I honestly expected the crimes to have more connection with the curiosities.

What you might not like/doesn’t work for you: The mystery plot was pretty intriguing, but I found the killer’s motivation in the climactic scene lacking and not entirely convincing.  

What you will love: SASSY Sebastian and his slightly exasperated yet loving boyfriend Calvin. William Snow and his dog Maggie are beyond adorable! Nice tour around New York City’s famous locations and plenty of creepy riddles to keep you entertained.

When not reading for pleasure, Anya is proofreading so it’s ALL THE BOOKS ALL THE TIME for her. She absolutely loves introducing people to new books and share the moment of “SQUEEE that book is amazing!” with them. Read all of her reviews here.

Connect with her:  @shiny_luv

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