Saturday, April 3, 2021

April New Release Cozies

 Thank you to the authors, publishers, and NetGalley for providing these ARCs in exchange for honest reviews.


Southern Sass and Battered Bride
By Kate Young
Published by: Kensington Books
Rlease date: April  , 2021

Every cozy protagonist needs a BFF like Betsy. She strikes me as the type who would bail you out if she wasn't already helping you hide the body, of course in this Southern Sass cozy, she is actually trying to help Marygene   to find the body and trying not to strangle her cousin Alex, Marygene's former on again off again first love. There is a great depth of character in this story from the pain and anguish that Marygene feels, the lost and hopeless Alex, to the fierce loyalty of Bets and Aunt Vi. There is definitely something strange going on from the missing body to the bomb and back to the reappearing sweat suit clad bride. This one definitely twists and turns as clues surface and red herrings distract, they distract almost as well as as the suave Officer Javier, who shows Marygene something she needed to see, and her Mama told her something she needed to hear. Great story and equally great recipes, as usual!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

March New Release Cozies

 Thank you to the authors, publishers, and NetGalley for providing these ARCs in exchange for honest reviews.

Bodies & Bows (Apron Shop Series)
Written by: Elizabeth Penney
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release date March 30, 2021

Things are getting hectic at Ruffles & Bows, Iris Buckley's apron and linens shop, co-owned with her Grandmother. The summer is coming and tourists are pouring into Blueberry Cove, Maine, plus the group is heading up a Lighthouse Museum project that is sure to bring history to life or at least maybe give a long lost romance a second chance. It is a great place to sail or learn how to sail or even date a former Olympiad sailor, like Iris's friend Bella who was getting over the sting of divorce. This story has a plot that surges like a sewing machine, with multiple suspects and  is at the top of the list. There is no way that Iris is going to let Bella be set adrift by the obvious misdirection and blatant set up not unlike the red herrings that one needs to sift through. There is an important clue so be sure to pay attention when reading! No spoilers from me other than to tell you that it is an enjoyable book and while it is part of a series you do not need to have read the others to enjoy this one. 

Mrs. Morris and the Sorceress (A Salem B&B Mystery Book)
Written by Traci Wilton
Published by 
Release date: March 30, 2021

She is a B&B host with the most and techno savvy ghost. This was my first Salem B&B Mystery but it will not be my last, it was easy to keep p with the characters thanks to the sprinkling of backstory. I will be going back and reading the series starter so I can see how Charlene met Jack and solved his mysterious death. I really enjoyed how the story included a smidge of stereotypical Salem i.e. wiccan/witch aspect through Charlene's friend, Kass. Ah but Kass is not the sorceress of which we speak, no that would be the victim, that would be Madison Boswell, who was not well liked by many but definitely captivated by others. With this group of thespians there is as much drama as there are suspects. Even the back stories have back stories. Charlene does a great job of helping Detective Sam Holden, who seems to appreciate the help she gives by passing on the info that she and Jack are able to gather from internet searches and asking questions. The story starts out with a historical play and ends with a Shakespeare classic and in between Charlene manages to take care of the B&B, provide wonderful happy hour snacks such as the warm chicken dip and white sangria. A good deal of red herrings can be found in this red, white, and blue Independence Day cozy mystery.  

Murder at the Taffy Shop (Cozy Caper Book Group)
Written by Maddie Day
Published by Kensington Books
Release date March 30, 2021

Bike shop owner Mackenzie "Mac" Almeida, bike shop owner, book group member, and tiny house resident is a character with a lot of character. Definitely a bit of character shading by adding her overwhelming need to have everything in it's place, all neat and tidy. In addition to being efficient Mac is also very friendly, which makes her a successful business person who is surrounded by a group of supportive friends and loved ones. Unlike the victim of the story, Beverly Ruchart, who does not induce warm and fuzzy feelings in others, and thereby creating multiple suspects. Mac's BFF, who clearly has no motive, falls under suspicion, making it imperative that the Cozy Capers book club get to the bottom of the mystery. As with the many cozies, local law enforcement, and the State investigator, are not too keen on the groups involvement but they are happy to be kept informed of all the local gossip and any tidbits that they amazingly efficient texting Capers can provide. In addition to a story line that does not go in a straight line, with twists and turns, red herrings, high and low emotions, there are also some wonderful recipes at the end of the story. Do not worry if this is your first Cozy Caper Book Group mystery because it was my first one and there was plenty of back story provided through out the book that I did not feel lost. Great story with great recipes at the end of the book, I tried my hand at the deviled eggs and really like the variation of avocado instead of mayo. 

Under the Cover of Murder (A Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery)
By 
Published by 
Release date: March 30, 2021

Picture Perfect Frame (A Tourist Trap Mystery)
By Lynn Cahoon
Published by Kensington
Release date: March 16, 2021

Welcome to South Cove, a northern California coastal town where Jill and friends spend an evening at the local art studio with a little paint and sip event where tension saturates the room just as much as the paint saturates the canvas. Jill is actually pretty good with handling tension as she helps her BFF get ready for her wedding day in addition Jill not only manages a coffee/book shop but she also manages to keep honeymoon secrets, faith in her psychic friend/neighbor Esmeralda, and her wits when she is asking questions and hunting down clues. This time it seems that Jill needs to watch her back more than usual which keeps her roommate-boyfriend-Chief of Police close at hand to keep an eye on her. I found myself wanting to caution Jill but was happy to see that she did not take unnecessary risks  as she has in the past. The character is so well written/created you cannot help but to develop reactions as you read the story. I was also very happy with the ending and hope that there are still a few more Tourist Trap Mysteries in store for us readers. As always, a recipe is located at the conclusion of the story and this one looks to be quite decadent and ooey gooey!


A Sprinkle of Sabotage (A Nosey Parker Mystery)
Written by Fiona Leitch 
Published by One More Chapter
Release date: March 11, 2021

Jodie might get stuck in a potato sack as a movie extra but she is a star when comes to subbing for the on-set caterer. That is until the leading man serves blowfish at a small birthday dinner party. The story has you guessing as to whether it was a an accidental poisoning or if it was intentional. Jodie is as cheeky as always and feeling confused about what she is feeling/thinking about her best mate who does a Mr. Darcy (when did he get a 6 pack, eh?) and then there is DI Withers who causes her to ... yeah you get the picture, but he gets a great job offer from his old precinct. While on set,  Jodie knows that something just isn't quite right and all that movie drama isn't helping. For the first time Nathan realizes that it is better to work with Jodie than against her and they officially team up to solve this medieval movie mystery. I almost jumped to the end because I was so into the story and the relationship development that I was tempted to see if it was going to make me cry or make me cry.  Yep I cried, not gonna tell you why, as Jodie would say, you need to work it out yourself. I REALLY like how the recipe reads as if Jodie is reading it to you, and those tempura fritters were so good that I sampled a few before serving them to the family. Quality assurance after all! 



A Deadly Chapter (Castle Bookshop Mystery)
Written by Essie Lang
Published by Crooked Lane Books
Release date: March 9, 2021

Shelby Cox, bookseller and town newbie didn't have to go far to find a body this time, right outside her "door" and of course she is going to be curious since the victim was in her shop just a few days before looking for someone. Feeling as if she needs to get to the bottom of this mystery, after all, the victims distraught daughter is in town demanding answers and the list of suspects seems to be growing, Shelby is well on her way to irritating the local law. In addition to worrying Sheriff Stone and Aunt Edie, Shelby's boyfriend/Coast Guard investigator, Zack, who is working out of town on a secondment, begs her to be careful. You cannot help but be caught up in the sleuthing path that Shelby takes us on or agreeing with the need to ask questions. After all, this isn't her first time around murder or mystery, it is the first time it has been "dropped" almost right on her door/boat step. Shelby is completely relatable and you can't help but like her new BFF, Erica, owner of the shop Chocomania which sells the best truffles! I really wish that Erica would share a recipe or two! I was a little worried up until the end but am happy to see that it all worked out. Looking forward to the next Castle Bookshop Mystery. And I am quite serious about those truffle recipes!     




Fatal Fried Rice (A Noodle Shop Mystery)
Written by: Vivien Chien
Published by: St. Martin Paperbacks
Release date: March 9, 2021

Who would blame Lana for wanting to take a cooking class in another town? Unfortunately it looks like murder is on the menu and she still isn't going to be any closer to mastering the kitchen. To make matters worse, guess who is at the top of the suspect list? Lana gets support from all of her friends in this one, from her boyfriend, handsome Detective Adam Trudeau, to Peter the Ho-Lee Noodle House Chef and of course roommate Megan and life long friend Kimmy. Kimmy adds quite a bit of sass in this one, making it LOL funny at times. I must say that I am always surprised as to just how tight plaza community is in these books, the Mahjong Matrons are always full of great tips and the hairdressers are definitely excellent source of intel aka gossip.  A few well placed red herrings make for clever distractions not to mention how great all the foods sound. I REALLY wish there were recipes at the end of the books (HINT- HINT).

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

February New Release Cozies

 Thank you to the authors, publishers, and NetGalley for providing these ARCs in exchange for honest reviews.


Death by Chocolate Snickerdoodle (Death by Chocolate Mystery)
By: Sarah Graves
Published by: Kensington
Release date: February 23, 2021

Jake and Ellie should really consider getting proper PI licenses with all of the work they do, plus they could consult with Sheriff Bob, that is if he doesn't finally lock them up to keep them safe. This is one action packed sleuthing adventure and the story will have you constantly guessing as to who did in Alvin because we all know it wasn't Billy. A crazy amount of red herrings and partial solutions. As always, Jake and Ellie manage to pull each other into one situation after another. I think that this was the most action packed installment yet and it gave some excellent backstory regarding Jake's past employment with a certain unethical group of people. My only complaint is that while I really like the chocolate sauce recipe, I was hoping for the chocolate snickerdoodle recipe. 

Furbidden Fatality (A Catskills Pet Rescue)
By Deborah Blake
Published by: Berkley 
Release date: February 23, 2021

What would you do if you won the lottery, I'm not sure that I would purchase a pet rescue at the insistence of a forceful feline that needs rescuing but it sure makes for an interesting cozy setting!  Kari Stuart was living day to day, without a purpose but it seems that fortune has favored her and life is giving her a direction. A direction and a challenge as the animal shelter needs a savior, a handyman, and a sleuth when the antagonistic animal control guy ends up dead on the property while seeming to have been caught causing trouble. We know that Kari didn't do the deed and obviously this killer has hands instead of paws so her wards are off the hook, but both Kari and the former owner are high on the suspect list. The cops don't seem to want to help, or at least the lead investigator and his sidekick, the Chief is completely by the book which can be good and bad as vandals endanger the animals and set the restoration attempts back further. Fortunately for Kari, her furry companion won't let her quit and there just might be some help from the new vet as well. Highly entertaining, great red herrings, and a very nice way to remind people that there are fur babies that need help too. This story reminded me of my desire to volunteer at a local shelter, now to finish the proper paperwork. 

Hop Til You Drop (A Jules and Bun Mystery)
By: J.M. Griffin
Published by: Kensington
Release date: February 23, 2021

Juliette and Bun are back and this time they are hiding eggs and finding bodies. Jules and Bun make a dynamic and psychically linked duo, which is decidedly different and unique. This time Jules is actually invited to use her people skills by Sheriff Carver. There is also a hint of romantic interest, perhaps to be expounded on in later stories, because Jules reassures Bun that he is the only guy for her. She is entirely too busy between the rabbit sanctuary and the wool shop she is up to her ears in work and has no time for a romantic involvement even if it does seem that she is turning a few heads. Of course this does seem to happen in conjunction with finding dead bodies or finding herself injured. Truly entertaining, and who couldn't love a Bunny with "super powers" as a side-kick!


Long Island Iced Tea (A Catering 
By: Maria DiRico
Published by: Kensington Books
Release date: February 23, 2021

Mia Carina is a feisty one, and who wouldn't be if they had family with a little "f" that had to deal with the Family with a big "F".  Doing her best to get the new Belle View Banquet Manor Event/Catering venue up and running while keeping her Dad, former Family lieutenant, on the straight and narrow.  The plot is excellent and the story/character development keeps you anchored to your seat as if you wearing a pair of concrete galoshes. No one really misses Tina, and the best that can be said about her is that she was a looker. Otherwise she was something else that we cannot repeat, at least not in English. I will forever think of New York Iced Tina when I hear the words pasta puttanesca and I will most likely snicker. I am looking forward to the further driving adventures of Mia and how things work out with her new marketing manager, wink wink!

Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop (A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery#1)
By Darci Hannah
Published by
Release date: February 23, 2021

Eating a donut may be bad for your health but it most certainly should not be deadly! Lindsey Bakewell (and yes she can), former financial wonder woman and recovering baker (recovering from a jerk fiancé) has decided to leave New York for a quite lake town in Michigan, after all, she made it there, so she and her pup Wellington, can make it anywhere. Buying a dilapidated landmark lighthouse, thereby saving it from developers, and renovating it into a bake shop and home, she has her work cut out for her. You would think that the preservation society would be happy, you would think. You can tell right away that this is one determined character. She has a lot riding on opening day and doesn't help that her ex-fiancé shows up with his girlfriend and her followers/friends to cause a mess of trouble and a mess. While Lindsey might have wished that Mia would just choke on her words she did not mean for her to choke to death! Teaming up with her sexy and secretive book writing, former military, neighbor is going to get to the bottom of this mystery because there is more than just dough riding on the outcome. Your typical cozy town with some extremely awesome characters, especially her pup who Perfect series starter and the recipes, OMG, I think I gained 10 pounds just reading through them! 

Murder in an Irish Bookshop (An Irish Village Mystery)
By: Carlene O'Connor
Published by: Kensington
Release date: February 23, 2021

Siobhan is so lucky! A new bookshop and just in time for her birthday, if only she had some free time or a really good reason to go into the store and look around. Oh wait, there is a murder in the store and apparently it was the same time as her surprise birthday party. Well if that isn't a good reason to be a little bookish I am not sure what is! In addition to the new bookshop owners are a few authors who are in town for  a potential book deal with a well to do agent. Authors can oh so dramatic, but then again so is half of the couple that owns the bookshop, requiring people to quote James Joyce or other notable Irish writers to be granted entry to the store, and not allowing the usual fiction. Tsk Tsk, that sounds awfully fishy to me. Plenty of red herrings for Siobhan, Macdara, and the new recruit to chase down, and some of them are quite obvious to Siobhan.  I won't giveaway any of the plot but I will tell you that this one is a great follow up to the Christmas episode as it seems that we are getting closer to a wedding date! Oh and the Irish Beef Stew is amazing, especially when served with Siobhan's brown bread. 



Shucked Apart
By Barbara Ross
Published by:
Release date: February 23, 2021

Without giving too much away I would suggest starting at the beginning of the series because if you start with this one and you are a classic cozy reader you are going to feel a little sad at the end. This story, this sleuth. Andie Snowden, really came to life for me and even without all of the back story I had just enough to be able to navigate the river of clues. And what a  variety of clues there were and no one was above suspicion, except for Andie, who has enough experience flushing out the truth that even the state police Major Crimes unit. This quickly goes from a high priced robbery to a homicide. There are several red herring and some tasty looking recipes at the end of the story. I do hope that the story goes on. I am always amazed at how much I learn in cozies, like this one and the way oysters are grown and harvested, the different stages of development and how brackish vs fresh water influences the flavor.  

A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery Book #1)
By Amy Pershing
Published by: Kensington Books
Release date: February 23, 2021

I love series starters, you get to be there from the beginning and you also get a little of the history for context. In addition to history,  Sam has some notoriety in case you aren't up on your YouTube chef knife fights. Going back home to have a fresh start and an old house is just what this chef needed, some good friends old and new and a slobbery ginormous puppy too! You instantly take a liking to   even if she was too tall for a girl. Personally, I wouldn't mind some more height myself. This story had quite the plot patterns, definitely resembled a nest of sweet Vidalia onion rings, interlocking but still separate. Oh and the things you learn about Sam's friends, organic veggies, secret trysts, a "quiet" librarian, and the Harbor Master (swoon)! This mystery kept me guessing, except for the romance, I knew that was going just the way it needed to. I do like a happy ending and cannot wait to read the next one!



Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder (A Hannah Swanson Mystery)
By Joann Fluke
Published by: Kensington Books
Release date: February 23, 2021

Hannah is still getting over the death of her marriage/ex-husband/thoughts of romance. Moishe her beloved kitty refuses to set a paw back in the condo so Hannah and Moishe are staying with Norman. What Hannah needs is a distraction and Andrea's fiercely protective attitude gives Mayor Bascomb a proper slap-down for shouting disparaging things about both Andrea and her husband, police Chief Bill. Unfortunately, Andrea also  to discovers his dead body after when she returns to City Hall to apologize. This time Bill cannot investigate and Mike actually asks Hannah and Norman to help. It seems that the Mayor has made a few more enemies than friends including but not limited to his own wife. So many suspects and so many recipes, where does one start? My rational mind says to start with the chocolate because we like chocolate but my suspicious mind says that a triple chocolate cheesecake could be too decadent and I should start with the Stroganoff Light. One thing that they both can agree on is that Hannah needs to let go of her fears and look at what/who is right in front of her. Team Norman all the way! 


A Brush With Death (A Nosey Parker Cozy Mystery #2)
By Fiona Leitch
Published by: One More Chapter
Release date: February 12, 2021

There is a certain art to cooking, especially cake decorating and there is a certain art to actual art. Jodie (Nosey) Parker, former Met beat cop now a sleuthing caterer with a wicked wit, who also has excellent recipes at the end of her stories, is doing what she does best, using her nosy/investigative skills. This time though there is a little bit more involved as she feels inexplicably drawn to guest artist,  Duncan Stovall. His marriage is a joke but his art is amazing and Jodie figures that he might just be her cabbage picker, if he isn't a murderer that is. An author who said he had a hot lead dies, the book writing wife who seems like an ice princess, and a financial wizard turned art seller who is obviously the guy who defrosts the princess.  DI Withers is becoming accustomed to Jodie's help but he is sending some mixed signals on a personal level and then there's her best mate, Tony, who says he will be there to help pick up the pieces and promises not to judge when her fling is flung. So why does Jodie feel twinges of guilt? In addition to the men in her life, Jodie has her Mom, daughter Daisy, and to keep her grounded. Excellent story and ended just the way I was hoping and somewhat expecting, I was surprised by who did the deed and why. 


Hiss H for Homicide ( A Nick and Nora Mystery)
By T.C. Lotempio
Published by: Beyond the Page Books
Release date: February 9, 2021

I liked this one very much and the not so subtle nod to the iconic mystery solving married couple, Nick and Nora Chase. Furry Nick is quite the charmer and a very talented feline but his penchant for Scrabble tiles and ability to get his point across to Nora. Nora is a feisty former investigative reporter who is as smart as she is stubborn. I had no problem keeping up with the plot or the characters. I will point out that I am not a fan of the more than one romantic possibility but if Special Agent Daniel doesn't make it exclusive why shouldn't Nora go down the "what if" path with Samms. I'll tell you why, it never works out well, that is why, pick a guy and move on. Rant over.   Great story with some colorful characters and excellent sandwich recipes that I will be needing to try ASAP. I was derailed by one red herring thinking much like the Feds, that a mob boss is going to claim to be innocent, but how innocent could he really be?  Highly entertaining and even made me want to see about getting or streaming a copy of The Thin Man while enjoying one of those tasty sounding sandwiches. Gotta love the classic PI movie mojo! Oh and who is Nick Atkins anyway?? 



Murder With a View (A House-Flipper Mystery)
By Diane Kelly
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release date: February 9, 2021

Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck weren't expecting murder when they started the Music City Motor Court makeover. This was my first House-Flipper Mystery and it was extremely easy to get into the story and keep up with the various characters. Just enough backstory was incorporated when needed without disrupting the flow of the plot/scene. While I know nothing about remodeling a home, much less a hotel, I was able to visualize exactly what Whitney and Buck were doing as they demolished and renovated. Jimmy, the vet turned vagabond was an interesting character and a nice nod of respect to those who are or have served. Plenty of suspects from a dissed diva, some star struck groupies, the boys in the band and a mysterious JC. Just like any good cozy, this one comes with great friends, a playful per named Sawmill (too cute and all too appropriate) a little bit of romance, and a cooperative cop, who is also part of the romance portion.  Great story that kept me glued to the book like shingles on a roof!




Studying Scarlett the Grey (Undercover Cat Mysteries)
By: Kelle Z Riley
Release date: February 2, 2021

Bree is back and younger than ever, or at least her latest undercover assignment has her looking like a kid. An amazing chemist, an amazing spy, an amazing baker, an amazing girlfriend. Plenty of red herrings and some great suggestions on what to do if you get stuck in a trunk. There were quite a few bits of mystery to this one and the murder is really going to shock you. I really liked the progression of both the story and the relationships. A little bittersweet but since I am a huge fan of exclusivity I think that Bree has made the right choice, She may be a lady who can blend into any crowd and go unnoticed but that doesn't mean she isn't doesn't turning heads. The blending of science, sleuthing, and of course, baking is an amazing combination and I cannot wait to try both the cookies and the rat-loaf.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

January New Release Cozies

Thank you to the authors, publishers, and NetGalley for providing these ARCs in exchange for honest reviews.


One Poison Pie
By Lynn Cahoon
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: January 29, 2021

This book has all the ingredients of a great cozy, a little paranormal, a little romance, a strong main character with super supportive friends/family and best of all its a culinary cozy! I read this story in one day, it was so good that I just could not put it down and have already downloaded the one before it so that I can start at the beginning. Not that you need to know how Mia ended up in Magic Springs or what trouble she became mixed up in shortly after she arrived. Mia is a different type of witch, a kitchen witch. I instantly think of those little stuffed dolls that were popular in the early 80s and have the sudden desire to get one and name it Mia. Mia's familiar/kitchen doll is named Gloria and I am absolutely mesmerized by the character development that went on to show the relationship between Mia and Gloria. I like how Mia makes mental lists to keep herself on track, or to at least try and keep herself on track. She is definitely wavering when it come to Trent Majors, and who could blame her after the last guy, he who shall not be named/Isaac. Magic Springs is definitely a magical place and I am eager to read the next book as well as trying out new recipes.



Death Bee Comes Her (An Oregon Honeycomb Mystery #1)
By Nancy Coco
Published by: Kensington Books
Release date: January 26, 2021

A Havana Brown, Halloweentown week, and homicide, plus an an ecologically forward thinking shop owner who is as busy as the bees she advocates for. Wren Johnson has been so busy getting her Let it Bee business up and running that she hasn't had time for much else outside of the daily walk that she and her harnessed cat,  go on each day by the beach. A very likeable main character with a supportive couple of side characters and the fact that there are recipes laced throughout the book makes this a honey of a story. The mystery itself had very few red herrings but lots of page turning action and poor was stung when it came to a little romance (there is definite potential just not sure which guy). Not sure what will develop in the next book but I am looking forward to a possible frenemy subplot and maybe a little groveling by a certain male character. I look forward to making some tasty cookies helpful home remedies. 


Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery)
By: Alexis Morgan
Published by : Kensington Books
Release date: January 26, 2021

Abby McCree is dealing with more than just a murder, this time she is also having to deal with her MOM. Amazing scene writing, made me feel like I was in the room with Abby as she tried her best to maintain her cool while also trying to be a supportive sleuth. I was almost surprised that the book didn't catch on fire between the sparks of contention from the McCree women or the sparks of romance between Abby and Trip. I will also admit that at one point in the store I sucked in my breath and thought "OH NO," when Abby and Trip had a big disagreement. Gist of the story is that Abby is still relatively new to town but she has decided that Snowberry Creek is going to be her town, her home, and her future, and her Mom needs to deal with it. At the same time, Phoebe McCree has decided that she likes spending time with the new BBQ man of mystery, Owen even if it means spending time with him in jail because he is a person of interest. Abby can't let her Mom down or the a variety of other people even though she may be putting her new and fragile relationship with Trip on the line. He hates it when she is in trouble or danger. Great story, great character development that can stand on it's own without needing to have read the three books that came before. Oh, but you will want to read them just to see how it all started.

Ink and Shadows (Secret, Book, and Scone Society Mystery #4)
By Ellery Adams
Published by: Kensington Books
Release date: January 26, 2021

The words Ink and Shadows are the perfect description for this Secret, Book, and Scone Society mystery. Ink for the tattoos and ink for the books, shadows from the past and shadows in the present.  A strong story featuring a strong group of friends who show that they will not be intimidated by the shadowy thoughts of the Women of Lasting Values as Nora and Sheldon create a jaw dropping window display featuring powerful women, fierce females as Sheldon calls them. This story shows the power of community when used for good as the Society shows to young Bren, and her mother, Celeste as well as the power of community used to intimated as we learn from Celeste's past and the WOLV of the present. We get a nice glimpse into Nora's past with the introduction of an old friend who would make a wonderful addition to the crew on occasion. Nora has a lot to deal within addition to the murder and standing up to the unreasonable prejudice against her window display, the pleading in Jed's voice is heart wrenching. Great story about support, the support you give and the support you receive. 


A Tourist Guide to Murder
By VM Burns
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: January 26, 2021

Sam and the gang go on holiday to a British B&B that incorporates a mystery centered tour. that inadvertently contributes a murder mystery as well. One would need to be on their game to have a CLUE on how to begin to solve this conundrum. Sam, aspiring writer and mystery bookstore owner must up her game. The Yanks will need to rely on their various skills as they go from room to room, suspect to suspect, and all while still enjoying their tour, good thing they each have their own skills that pair perfectly with their personality. Oh and Sam still manages to find time to work on her historical novel, which one of the reasons they are in England to begin with.



Undercover Kitty (A Second Chance Cat Mystery)
By: Sophie Ryan
Published by: Berkley
Release date: January 26, 2021

While Elvis may be a star at the Atlantic Coast Cat Show it is and the combined super sleuthing of Sarah, Rose, and Mr. P that really takes first place. Who would have thought that a cat show would be the place of so much drama? Ah, but drama there is, from mischief to murder. A well thought out plot with multiple mysteries and I was so wrapped up in the story that I, unlike Elvis, forgot to eat my tuna fish salad lunch thank goodness I was inspired to recreate Mac's lasagna rolls. I would never have guessed that you could start a fire with potato chips. In addition to this new information, each character offers much to the story, although I was wondering who Rose and Charlotte thought that should be matching Nick up with since the only other eligible character was Jess, since she wasn't really dating Sarah's brother Liam. In addition to the sleuthing aspect, I was intrigued by the Second Chance store and the wonderful repurposing ideas that Mac, Avery, Charlotte, and came up with. I might just need to find myself some tea cups and zebra plants for a fairy garden.

The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
By: Dorothy St. James
Published by Berkley
Release date: January 19, 2021

This Southern set cozy is part murder mystery and part rescue mission, rescuing the library books that are about to end up in the landfill so the town can have a bookless library. Would you think that Trudell Becket, yes she is Beckets' girl (everyone seems to know her Dad), is a mild mannered librarian? I think not! Tru is an amazing and multifaceted character who is passionate about the the books, her friends, Dewey the formerly homeless cat, and her freedom, since she obviously did not kill the city manager. There is more than one mystery to this story and a few well crafted red herrings, plus a possible love interest. That is, if Tru, can let go the hurts and wrongs of the past.  


Murder on the Menu (A Nosey Parker Mystery)
By Fiona Leitch
Published by
Release date: January 15, 2021
She left the Met to quell her daughter's Daisy's fears, she moved back to her home town because she needed distance from her ex who was more of a donor than a Dad, and she started a catering business because cooking calmed her. She didn't expect to have to help get an old friend off the suspect list, temporarily take care of a white fluffball (like that was really going to be temporary after her daughter met the pup), or be aggravated and enticed by DCI Withers. Jodie (Nosey) Parker is an ace detective even if she isn't walking the London beat anymore, and you have have to respect her quick wit, dogged determination, and loyalty to family and friends. My first, but not my last Nosey Parker mystery.



A Curious Incident ( A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery)
By: Vicki Delany
Published by
Release date: January 12, 2021

A pup, peonies, and partners make for a curious mystery in this latest Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery. The last thing that Gemma Doyle expected to do was take a case for $10 from a little girl, or to give temporary lodgings to her new "client." There is a lot more than flowery sentiment going on in the Garden Club where tempers flair, something definitely smells and it is not just the fertilizer. Is this a case of ivy envy or could there be a more nefarious explanation? Gemma and Jayne are hot on the trial of clues even if Detective/boyfriend Ashburton does not agree. One thing that I have noticed in this series is that as they go on, Gemma becomes just a little bit more sentimental and like a slightly overbaked macaron, her hard shell is cracking just a bit. Oh but Jayne's macarons would never be overbaked and I absolutely love the idea of tea with raspberry macarons and mini coconut cupcakes!


Room With a Roux (A Pancake House Mystery)
Written by Sarah Fox
Published by Lyrical Press
Release date: January 12, 2021

They went to the mountains for a little quiet time and what they found was a body in a snowbank. Marley, who is known for being unable to leave a mystery alone, and husband Brett plan a snowy mountain getaway at Holly Lodge only to have to cut their trip short when one of the owners is found dead, murdered. Back in Wildwood Cover and trying to get ready for Christmas with not one but four trees to decorate, Marley has plenty on her plate, and not just the yummy gingerbread muffins or cinnamon pancakes either (recipes included).  From disappearing ornaments to red headed ghost sightings and a slew of questions to be asked, Marley is definitely up to figuring out the who done its in this one.  A story with some great characters and the plot build up was like a snowball rolling down the hill, gaining speed and getting bigger until the finish and the big reveal. I was right about the murderer but not the motive.

 

Pawsitively Betrayed (A Witch of Edgehill Mystery)
By: Melissa Erin Jackson
Published by Ringtail Press
Release Date: January 10, 2021

The last book in the series and the best one yet. Little mouse, Amber, has the weight of the world on her shoulders and a very supportive cast of characters have got her back. All Amber wants to do is make her enchanted toys, enjoy her family and friends, and fall asleep watching Vamp World with her boyfriend Jack. She deserves to be able to do all those things but the Penhallows and their cursed magic will not rest until they get her family grimoires and change the past to over-write the present. The Penhallows are on the move as they go for broke or rather as they try to break Amber. Amber is the perfect cozy character, she thinks of others before herself and questions her abilities which are really quite amazing. You get a nice prologue at the start of each story which helps to lay the groundwork for the new story but you will really want to start with the first book because she grows so much as a character. There are laughs, tears, family, friends, rivals, frenemies, cats (of course) and fate of Edgehill and maybe even magic itself.. It has been a wonderful journey and while I would love for this story to continue it does have the loose ends tied up very nicely.

   
Killer Comfort Food ( A Farm-to-Fork Mystery)
By Lynn Cahoon
Published by:
Release date: January 5, 2021

The weather is cold and the outlook on saving the farm from rezoning is bleak. That won't stop Angie Turner, part owner at the County Seat restaurant, from getting things accomplished including a little sleuthing. An array of characters make their way into this latest Farm to Fork Mystery from a missing daughter, ladies who yoga (instead of the ladies who lunch), land developers, an unidentified murder victim, and a shifty ex-husband. The County Seat family gets busy not only with food prep and dinner service but also with helping Nancy, one of the cooks to protect her family. She isn't the only one who seems to need protecting, as Ian does his best body guard impression and sticks to Angie like gum on a shoe to keep her safe. Funny thing is she still manages to find trouble, but at least she keeps everyone apprised of her sleuthing. This series definitely shows illustrates that sometimes the family you choose is the best family of all. There isn't much that this crowd won't do for each other and I like the subtle faith references, not something you see much these days in most fiction. I also appreciate the various food dishes that are mentioned and look forward to making the Quick Cookies recipe found at the conclusion of the story!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

December New Release Cozies

 Thank you to the authors, publishers, and NetGalley for providing these ARCs in exchange for honest reviews.

Absence of Alice (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery)
By: Sherry Harris
Published by: Kensington Books
Release date: December 29, 2020

WOW, that was one crazy trip down the rabbit hole. This cozy was as intense as the Hatter is MAD. I do not know how garage sale guru and professional organizer, Sarah Winston,  was able to keep her head or her wits about her. Great plot development, just like a well played chess match, and there are a slew of players. Sarah has to rely on her wits in order to find her friend and landlady, Stella, who has been kidnapped. Instead of a ransom, Sarah is told to follow the clues. Clues that are as nutty as the March Hare and as confusing as Wonderland itself. I was able to mark one or two possible suspects off the list but it took me rereading a few passages just to be sure. My heart ached when Sarah's ached, for her missing friend, for having to lie to her love, and for knowing that she had lost the trust of those she thinks highly of, but what would any of them do if they were in her shoes. She was determined to do as instructed until she couldn't. What a story! I think I need a glass of wine and a Bianco pizza!  


Bait and Witch
By Angela M. Sanders
Published by Kensington Books 
Available on December 29, 2020

The perfect job for the perfect cover for someone who just blew the whistle on a Senator's aide. Or at least that is what Josephine Way, with the unusual star birthmark, thought she was doing. At least that is until she ends up in the middle of a land dispute between the library trustees. If that was not interesting enough lets add a little magic to the mix. I liked the twist on the magic and the idea that there is not one type of witch but rather there are those who have special powers, Josie seems to be a bibliowitch who can talk to books and get the books to talk back. Of course this is a little scary and a lot of overwhelming at first and completely fueled by emotion. Oh and one more bit to add to this interesting story is the murder aspect, of course. It seems that a body has been discovered, the body of a finisher. So who were they coming to finish off? There are a whole lot of rabbit holes to go down with this cozy as the plot thickens and the characters are developed. First in a new series and definitely off to a great start. and I will be the first to admit that I did not see that one coming with regards to the murderer.  

A Catered Book Club Murder (A Mystery with Recipes)
By Isis Crawford
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: December 29, 2020

The Simmons sisters are professional bakers and amateur sleuth's although Bernie would argue that since they have been hired by the Longley Mystery Book Club,  they are now professionals. As professionals they are willing to kick over rocks and "break" into buildings/homes if need be to find the answers to the question of who killed Margo. You have to respect a girl or a couple of girls who can ask the hard questions and go the extra mile, hopefully that extra mile won't include quicksand. This book comes with a nice variety of baking recipes and some tasty baked good descriptions as well. Several red herrings and realism when it comes to siblings being siblings with their Dad reflecting on the fact that they still bicker just like when they were children. This was my second Mystery With Recipes mystery and  I liked the  extra twist of a first person aspect of their Dad and former police chief, Sean, and his bit to help their investigation. As a diehard romantic I would have liked to have seen a little bit more interaction between Bernie and Brandon and Libbie with Marvin, beyond a few pages in the  RJ's bar setting. 

Wedding Bell Blues (A Teddy Bear Mystery)
By: Meg Macy
Published by: Kensington Books 
Release date: December 29, 2020

Sasha Silverman is not only a terrific teddy bear salesperson but also a sharp sleuth and she is going to need to use every bit of her ability to help save a wedding. Not that she wanted to be an attendant for a bridezilla, wear four inch heels with ankle bows, or deal with some very odd men looking to purchase teddy bears for lots of cash and no questions. This story has more than one subplot and a very happy ending in spite of the predicaments with not one but two murders and be careful of red herrings because they are as prevalent as the Valentine hearts surrounding this story. Great character development, I really was starting to get very annoyed with bride Cissy even if this was her one and only big day to remember for the rest of her life. Great family dynamics, lots of support and love, and the fact that the police grudgingly accept Sasha's assistance is also a nice bit. I had not read a Teddy Bear mystery before and had no problem keeping up with who the players were, and I don't just mean Sasha's ex-husband, what a egomaniac. Looking forward to the next one!



Murder With Oolong Tea (Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery)
By: Karen Rose Smith
Published by: Kensington Books 
Release date: December 20, 2020

Daisy had no intentions of getting involved with another murder. She wasn't particularly fond of the victim, she had respect for her old English teacher but it is hard to not be involved when you find the body and several people come to you asking for you to be involved. Guess how many of those people were from the police department. That's right much like the shape of the letter "O" in the word Oolong, there were zero requests from the Willow Creek PD. I will say that lately it seems like all the cozy heroines are having some issues with their cozy guys and my heart keeps riding that roller coaster. Trust seems to be a theme in this story on several levels. This is also a great story to help remind us that we never know what someone else is going through and that a little kindness goes a long, long way. The story played out well and for at least 2 chapters I was pretty sure I knew who the guilty party was and then BOOM, nope I was wrong, but that is okay because I now have some great recipes to try out and will be consoling myself with a piece of that lovely sounding Blueberry Coffee Cake and super cozy Cabbage Soup perfect for these cold December nights.  


Scones and Scofflaws (Cape May Cozy Mystery With a Twist)
By: Jane Gorman
Published by: Blue Eagle Press
Release date: December 20, 2020

The story does a great job of setting up the mystery and then anthropologist turned B&B hostess, Anna McGregor leads us through a merry chase and I thought I had it partially figured out but then realized...red herring. I would suggest you skip to the back of the book to find the scofflaw recipe and make one to enjoy while you armchair sleuth your way through this charming and cozy mystery. Anna is definitely not one to sit around and wait for local law enforcement to find the killer, she may be a killer baker but her scones couldn't have killed her B&B's first customer, could they? The story sets us up for many interesting characters and some unusual future stories. While I am not a fan of the multiple love interests angle it will keep things interesting. My only negative remark is that I REALLY would have like to seen a scone recipe to go with the scofflaw drink directions. 




A Deadly Edition (A Blue Ridge Library Mystery)    
By: Victoria Gilbert
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Release date: December 8, 2020

Amy's big day is at hand and there are copious amounts of  details to be completed, including the inclusion of the mother of the groom. Amy and her in-laws haven't really hit it off but that cannot be helped nor, it seems that they don't get along with Richard either. This is not the time to worry with such trifles, after all a man has been found dead in the garden shed and it appears to be relateed to questionable artwork. This book wastes no time in setting the seen, hightening the emotions and then introducing the murder. Aunt Lydia's beau, Hugh Chen, thinks that Kurt Kendrick is to blame and while he is not exactly a squeaky clean businessman, Amy has a gut feeling that he is not to blame. There are several people who seem a bit sketchy in this one including the deceased. It seems that there might be more than one closet  with skeletons. On the brighter side of things I adore Amy's wedding gift for Richard, I am not sure how she managed to find time for that while working full time, wedding prepping part time and sleuthing the other part of the time. As with the other installments in this cozy series, this one delivers mystery, murder, and a nice start to what is sure to be a lasting marriage. I look forward to the next edition.  


Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Shop Mystery)
By Tara Lush
Published by Crooked Lane Books
Release date: December 8, 2020

From hard hitting investigative reporter to hard tamping barista/shop co-owner.  Looking for something new in somewhere familiar Lana Lewis returns home to Devil's Beach to help her Dad run Perkartory the family coffee shop while she regroups from a job loss and a divorce. Honestly I think she is better off without either of them, especially the husband who left her for a younger (practically out of high school younger) woman. Now all Lana wants to do is learn to pour some latte art and to not look bad while competing in the Sunshine State Barista Championship. She is definitely not looking for love in all the right or wrong places but she can't help but notice a certain police chief, Sheriff Hottie as one might call him, that same someone (Erica) might just have changed the contact info in Lana's phone. I'm not sure how much he can be trusted though, he doesn't even drink coffee or tea for that matter, just hot water with a lemon? What is that all about? Our story starts with a latte art lesson and then the defection and death of lead barista and local lothario, Fabrizio Bellucci from Milan. The man went through women like a fashionista goes through shoes. Did he fall off the roof or was he pushed? Either way  Lana wants to find out the truth. Jilted lovers, irate boyfriends, an odd older couple, the surfer dude, or was it the Girlfriend and her scary coffee shop owning father, just so many suspects to choose from. Lana gets that investigative itch and well, coffee making just isn't going to cover it like investigative reporting can. I have never had a latte but after looking up latte art I think I am going to need to try one and you should definitely try this new series starter.  
 
Hidden Treasure (A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery)
By: Jane K. Cleland
Published by Minotaur Books
Release date: December 8, 2020

It had been a while since I read a Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery, but I am happy to report that this one is just as good as Glow of Death. I love the beautiful book covers that have really improved with each book. These stories offer up some nice details regarding antiques and this one is no different, from the incredible WW II era French chandelier from in Josie's new home to the mysterious box and cat statue belonging to Maudie, Josie's newest acquaintance and possible client. Josie instantly takes a liking to Maudie and feels a sort of kinship with the older lady who has decided that it is time to live her life the way she wants to by traveling and writing a blog. Maudie's nieces, Celia and Stacy,  are not hip on the idea and in fact that act as though Maudie should be in a home being taken care of because she is forgetting things, like the fact that she wants to have the box and cat appraised and then sold. Josie quite literally stumbles upon the victim, who has been killed in Maudie's new apartment and Maudie seems to have disappeared along with the box and statue. Is this a robbery gone wrong or a bait and switch with a side of double cross? Plenty of people to suspect and plenty of clues to find. 

Finished Off in Fondant (A Courtney Archer Archer Mystery)
By Rosemarie Ross
Published by Kensington Publishing
Release date: December 1, 2020

Second book in the series and just as good as the first! My only suggestion would be to add some of those recipes to the back of the book. After reading about the different contestant culinary offerings I wanted to try my hand at making them as well. Especially since the judges are kind enough to point out ways to improve them. Speaking of the judges, it is nice to see how well they are meshing this time, even though poor Skylar is more than a little steamed over the treatment he receives by the producer. Skylar was in the wrong place at the wrong time being stalked by a woman he had never even wronged, much less murdered. The producer who could very well be a suspect just because his disposition could curdle milk. Courtney comes clean about her background and things are touch and go with Drake, which is okay because I am Team Eric all the way. Courtney needs to take Shannon's advice not only in business but also in affairs of the heart. Shannon knows the recipe for love just like these contestants know which ingredients to mix together to make awesome wedding related menus and meals. I do like the addition of Pamela the personal security guard, because Shannon is bound to get into trouble, after all you can't make a wedding cake or solve a mystery without breaking a few eggs. 


How to Frame a Fashionista (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
By Debra Sennefelder
Published by Lyrical Underground
Release date: December 1, 2020

Kelly Quinn is not only fashionable but also forgiving. Not sure I would be willing to help the "dragonista of Seventh Avenue" avoid jail by searching for a killer. The evidence leads to Serena Dawson, Kelly's former boss and bane of her former "life" existence. Kelly has every right to just walk away, after all she has a leaky roof to take care of, a boutique business to continue growing, and a new relationship that keeps her guessing. Kelly is just one of those characters, your typical cozy character who can't help but help and you can't help but like.  Is this murder about an ex-wife or a fitness phony, or is it something else all together? In between consigning clothes and submitting fashion articles, Kelly will do her best to solve this mystery as well as the one involving her family drama. Why does her Uncle seem to find only negative things to talk about, why the cold shoulder and hateful looks, what exactly did Kelly do that was so bad? On the plus side she might just be making headway with Detective Wolman, nope not going to refer to her by her first name even if Kelly is dating the Detective's brother.   

Premeditated Mortar (A Fixer-Upper Mystery #8)
By: Cate Carlisle
Published by Berkley Publishing
Release date: December 1, 2020

This was my first Shannon Hammer story and I am sure that it will not be my last. The characters are engaging and you do not have be a series follower to be able to follow the story. As with all good cozys, Shannon has a great group of family and friends, and her guy sounds like one smart and appreciative beau. I really appreciated the fact that the author took a couple of sentences to explain how Shannon got into construction in the first place.  A unique concept, to take a former institution and to turn it into something new and commercially shiny while sticking to the original architectural integrity. You can tell that Ms. Carlisle definitely did some research. I also enjoyed the plot twist which I definitely did not see coming. The imagery made it very easy to see the wonderful scenery in my mind's eye and to contemplate a trip to northern California. With the amount of time that will be needed for this latest renovation and the size and grandeur I could easily see a follow up story that picks up slightly from where this one leaves off. I also liked the helpful hint about how to deal with mold using white vinegar where you have wall paper, one never knows when those little tidbits of knowledge can come in handy.


A Whisker of a Doubt
By Cate Conte
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release date: December 1, 2020

Book number 4 in the series and book number 1 for me. So I will be needing to put 3 more books on my TBR list because I really enjoyed this Cat Café mystery. What a unique idea, a cat café where you can get to know a kitty while having a coffee. This story definitely proves that while cats don't change their spots, everything is not always what it seems. My imagination is every bit as wild as Maddie James, so when she was being a doubting Thomas,  I was doing the same, which means she is a completely relatable character. I also liked that she had a good relationship with her Grandpa, who gave credence to her theories no matter how wild they may be. She is a bit like the feral cats that she is trying to protect, hesitant to trust and fearful of being hurt. She has a great support system of family and friends as all good cozy main characters have with lots of character development. The story has lots of false leads and red herrings and just when you think you know what is happening, you find out that you were completely wrong. There were at least four times where I thought one thing and it turned out to be something else all together. Excellent work as an author because it made the story that much more entertaining. Looking forward to the next one as well! 


Wine Tastings Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
By: Libby Klein
Published by:
Release date: December 1, 2020

Poppy needs to make a decision, she can't have her gluten-free muffins and eat them too. Of course she is usually too busy to take time out to eat which worries her doctor. Between the Butterfly Wings B&B, creating divine desserts for Tim, bistro baked goods for Gia, and trying to keep her Aunt Ginny out of the hoosegow. Now on top of it all she is having to work twice as hard to get bookings for the B&B thanks to some bogus posts and bad reviews from the last book (curse that Gigi) and is working with a tour group looking to take in some wine country. Unfortunately, wine and murder do not pair nearly as well as wine and any one of the recipes found at the back of the book. I have ingredients list ready for the paleo blueberry scones and the gluten-free strawberry tiramisu with sweet red wine. The tour group is a very unusual assortment of people who seem to somehow be connected even though they swear they don't know each other, accept for the victim whose trip is being hijacked by his daughter and her husband in an attempt to make the new and very young wife very uncomfortable.  Not to spoil the story but it will get a little dark and serious before the end and the very end well let's just say that I am not so sure I was happy with the coin toss and then I was feeling like a rolling pin had come out of no where. Plenty of suspects and red herrings and the unusal working relationship that Poppy and Kim seem to be working towards, which is really mature of them both (high school drama). My final comment about the book is that I'm already hungry for the next one and the Maxine crab has got to go!