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.

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.   

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.

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.





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 (Farm to Fork    
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! 
 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

November New Release Cozies

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

Fishing for Trouble (An Alaskan Diner Mystery #2)
By Elizabeth Logan
Published by Berkley
Release date: November 24, 2020

How far does a girl have to go to get away from her former cheater of a fiancé'? You would think that returning to one's hometown and running the family diner in Alaska would be far enough, apparently, it is not. Charlotte "Charlie" Cooke, law student turned classically trained professional chef is a character whom you instantly like. Plus this story throws you right into the middle of the action with an ambulance showing up at the diner, which is never a good sign. Turns out that the kid who fell ill (before he had even ordered) was working a summer gig for the J and M fish processing plant. The plant pays big bucks and works college age kids round the clock as well as giving them room and board in a dormitory fashion. So when did Ethan have time to be poisoned by mercury if he was always working? Ryan Jamison, the cheater, is sent by his firm to act as legal counsel for the fish company. Elkview is a small town and the state troopers double as local police meaning that they are spread pretty thin. Trooper Cody Graham aka Trooper, who's like an uncle to Charlie, "deputizes" both Charlie and local reporter Chris Doucette to gather intel and report back while he attends to a training session out of town. I do prefer a cozy where local law enforcement values the efforts of the hard working amateur sleuth.  So in addition to the poisoning, there is a missing person, an unwanted ex-fiancé', several tour groups, uncooperative company types, and the possibility of her parents retirement relocation. That is a lot for one girl to handle but she does have Benny her cat whom she spoils rotten, and I thought I was bad, well apparently they have an app for that LOL. Great story and awesome recipes to try at the conclusion. I am looking forward to making the salmon cakes and jerky, although I don't have access to elk and will be making do with the local grass fed beef.    


Game of Cones (Lickety Splits Mystery Book 4)
By: Cynthia Baxter
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: November 24, 2020

What should have been an excellent business opportunity and romantic getaway for Kate McKay turns into an Agatha Christie-like experience. Stranded at the historic Mohawk hotel (descriptively it sounds like the Stanley Hotel in Colorado) because of a downed tree, Kate and Jake are going to have to do more than to educate the guests on the many wonders of ice cream. Did you know that you can make ice cream with a machine? The recipe for lemon ice cream is found at the back of the book and Kate does a great job or telling us and her "students" how it is possible. So when she isn't teaching or sleuthing, because they are essentially trapped with a killer, she is trying not to freak out about Jake and how he stood her up on prom night more than 10 years ago. There is quite a cast of characters, very unique much like you would find in an Agatha Christie story. They all seem to be connected to the victim in one way or another including the hotel manager. So which one did the deed? You're just going to have to chill until you can get your copy and read as the drama unfolds.    


Murder Between the Pages
(A Main Street Book Club Mystery #2)
By Amy Lillard
Published by Poisoned Pen Books
Release date: November 24, 2020

This next book picks up right where the series starter left off, which is perfect because the book club gals were raring to get to the bottom of the mystery from Missing Girl. The three highly spirited and slightly up there in age gals are sure that fiction was reflecting fact and that the past was colliding with the present. I am not sure what is more humorous, these outrageous octogenarians or Arlo's attempts to keep the ladies out of mischief. You cannot help but shake your head while reading because you know that Arlo has her hands full, and even the local law enforcement tries to warn her that she needs to keep the ladies from hindering the investigation into Haley's murder while they conduct their own inquiries into the 50 year old mystery of the disappearance of Mary Kennedy. I think that the biggest mystery of all is trying to figure out why Arlo doesn't feel that she deserves to have romance and love. So she made what some (Mads) might think was a selfish choice by breaking his heart to protect her own since he was bound for football fame and fortune. Arlo hurt herself as well as Mads and then thinking that she was playing it safe and falling for Sam who then decided that he wanted to leave the sleepy little town of Sugar Springs, Mississippi for a bigger city. Arlo says it is karma and that she ruined things for three people. It's been 10 years Arlo, it's time to move on and take some chances. 


The Malt in Our Stars (A Literary Pub Mystery)
By: Sarah Fox
Published by: Kensington Publishing
Release date: November 24, 2020

Sadie just wanted to host an author event at the Inkwell and she ended up with another murder mystery and then some on her hands. Author, Linnea Bliss and her assistant Marcie are new to town so who would possibly want to harm Marcie? What was Marcie doing in a room on the third floor when she had gone to lie down in her room on the second floor. At the same time the Craft Nation film crew from is dealing with malicious mischief as well while filming a new episode featuring Spirit Hill Brewery. All of this chaos has Sadie more than a little nervous or maybe she just has some butterflies because of the way Grayson, the owner of Spirit Hill Brewery, looks at her. Although I have not had a chance to read the series starter I know that their relationship did not start off so well, of course she did accuse him of murder so I find it rather big of him to let that go. Which goes to show that you don't have to start at the beginning of the series to understand who is who. This story starts off like a layered cocktail, with a new and different "taste" as you read, so many mysteries at the same time. Speaking of cocktail, there are some great cocktail recipes at the end of the story as well as a tasty slaw dish that makes you feel a little less guilty about pairing it with a cocktail. 



Berried Motives (A Cranberry Cove Mystery #6)
By Peg Cochran
Published by  Beyond the Page
Release date: November 17, 2020

There is prime time at the Sassamanash Farm when the local evening news anchor and show host of  What's Up West Michigan, the up and coming Betsy DeJong is found dead after televising a local interest interest story about the cranberry farm and store. Monica Albertson our main character and the baker extraordinaire, just can't help herself from getting involved  and asking questions. It seems that this mystery could have started years ago when Betsy's fiancé and senate hopeful, Bob Visser lost his wife in a scuba mishap. Or was it a mishap... I bet you are already getting drawn into the story and you haven't even heard about the other drama involving an adoption, a confrontation, sibling rivalry, and a lost dog named Hercule. Great story with plenty of threads to follow plus some cute side bits like Hercule and of course the dessert recipes. I for one plan to make the White Chocolate Cranberry Orange Cookies and I don't even like white chocolate, but they just sound so good. So even if you don't make the cookies, be sure to grab a scone and a cup of tea before you sit down to enjoy this latest Cranberry Cove Mystery.    

Murder in the Christmas Tree Lot (A Tory Benning Mystery)
By Judith Gonda
Published by Beyond the Page
Release date: November 17, 2020

December in California might not be cold but it is a great place to find a fir tree, just perfect for Christmas. Meet Tory Benning, landscape architect and part owner in Benning Brothers Landscaping. In addition to being a landscape architect, Tory is a little bit of a sleuth, be it unexpected, just like being a newlywed widow (she was married and widowed in the series starter, poor dear). She is ready to tackle the Christmas tree season with a positive outlook with a little help from her friends, Ashley, Adrian, and handsome PI Jake (no being judgy, she isn't looking for a relationship nor does she feel ready to even contemplate it). The season can be stressful enough, and Tory really doesn't need the extra stress of finding a murder victim, on her lot. It seems that Santa is on the naughty list this year, but which Santa was caught by the video camera?  This is a story that wraps a mystery up in a decorative box and then wraps it again just to keep you guessing at what is going on. Several mysteries make up this story and it seems that everyone is keeping secrets. Great characters, it was so easy to get caught up in the story and after reading about the lobster rolls, I think I am going to need to try my hand at making one.


Deeds of the Deceitful (Hope Street Church series)
By: Ellery Adams and Tina Radcliffe
Published by: Beyond the Page
Release date: November 10, 2020

I do like a good cozy character with a posse! Often times a character will have a supportive friend or two but this mystery, not unlike the Supper Club series (nice work J.B. Stanley) has a group to help noodle out the puzzles. This group is a bible study group which is also a new and interesting twist for me as well and I must admit that I am now looking back over the book of Proverbs much like the Hope Street Church bible study group. Cooper Lee has not been lucky in love but she can always count on her friends, of course when the new Chef in town takes a shine to her, she can count on her friends to nudge her in the right direction as well. Thankfully Chef Jon is not on the suspect list, but there are plenty of people who are because Laura Atwood, the victim was not well-liked, even by her daughter, chef Alice Mayberry,  much less her stepdaughter and half owner of the Inn, Mindy Atwood. Cooper and her group have more than just a murder to solve since an extremely rare painting was discovered to be missing when Loretta was discovered to be dead. A pleasant read that keeps you guessing as to who did what and why, not to mention the WONDERFUL Magnolia's Marvels recipes found at the back of the book. I for one have already made the classic 7 layer bars to snack on while reading.    

On Deadly Tides
By Elizabeth J. Duncan
Published by Crooked Lane Books
Release date: November 10, 2020

A girls' getaway/painting excursion ends in murder, mystery, and more than Penny Brannigan was expecting to experience. I feel like I found this series just as it is wrapping up so I guess I'm going to need to start at the beginning and read the other eleven books as well. And my TBR list grows ever longer because this series is definitely worth further reading. So many different mysteries wrapped up in one crime or was it more than one crime. One would say that it is quite a small world even that a visit to an art gallery could lead to a variety of information, like a palette of colors that can create a complete picture if you put them on the canvas in just the right way. An unsolved story, a young reporter, an old actor, a girls art experience weekend, a new romance, and murder. This story has you guessing and surmising, questioning and nodding. I couldn't put it down even when I went to get a cup of tea and I cannot wait to try out a welsh cake recipe although I will probably need to find some cranberries instead of currants. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

October New Cozy Releases

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


Bag of Bones (Low Country Dog Walker Mysteries)
By Jackie Layton
Published by Bell Bridge Books
Release date: Ocotober 30, 2020

I really enjoy the way faith and family are interwoven in The Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series. In this book as with many of the cozies I read, family isn't always genetic. Andi Grace sets an excellant example just like her dog Sunny. These stories have just the right amount of spirituality to not be preachy and to still deliver a great cozy, which means that our main character is not perfect but just tries to do their best in all they do. That includes solving murders and this time is no exception. Andi Grace really has her job cut out for her this time as she is literally attached by her high school sweetheart who seems to have nothing but disdain for her now, disdain and a crazy and erratic temper. Not exactly someone who should be running for office, so what is he really up to? That coupled with the fact that the local cat lady, Tabby, is found dead and by Andi Grace and Marc while on a beach run. Was it the aide, the daughter, did she just trip and hit her head, or was it something more? The way these characters, Andi Grace's support system, come together for each other and for complete strangers is awesome. Andi Grace seems to have never met a stranger and excels at making people feel comfortable, not to mention that she had an uncanny ability to match people and dogs. This seriers is not only entertaining but is also a very good reminder to me that all things are possible through God, that prayer works miracles, and that sometimes you just need to give it to God to handle. Looking forward to the next book maybe this time, Juliet won't have to keep waiting for Nate to make some kind of public declaration. 


Bending the Paw (A Paw Enforcement)
By Diane Kelly
Published by St. Martin Books
Release date: October 27, 2020, available on Kindle, audio CD,  and paperback

They say that there is no greater bond than a boy and his dog. I disagree, there is no greater bond than a lady cop and her run-you-down dog aka Officer Megan Luz and Sgt. Brigit. Valentines is when you paint the town red, not when you should be getting called to see a kitchen that has been spattered in red (blood) with no body to be found. This was a strange case and  was definelty thinking outside of the dog bone box. Be prepared to not only know what Megan is thinking but also you get to read Brigit's thoughts and some criminal commentary as well. So this is a she said, she barked, they (nope not telling you if it was a man or woman) plotted story line. Pay attention because the clues are there scattered like so many Valentines day rose petals not to be confused with the petals from a bridal bouquet because newly engaged Megan needs to be thinking about that as well with her upcoming wedding. I was so close to figuring this one out and in fact I came up with part of the solution but I saw this going a different direction. Which means that this story drew me in completely. These stories give you not one crime but two as Megan and Brigit work to determine if there is  a con man or a man who was conned while also  working on the case to find a dead man and still make time for her man, Seth.  

Broadcast 4 Murder (A Sophie Kimble Mystery)
Written by J.C. Eaton
Published by Kensington Books
Release date:  October 27, 2020, Kindle and paperback

I am not sure what is funnier about this series, Sophie and the way she talks to herself about her Mom, Harriet or the way that Harrient caters to her dog, Streetman. Oh to have this kind of zany yet loving relationship LOL. Harriet is the only mom character out of all the cozies that I have come across, that manages to get her daughter into the sleuthing messes. Sophie just wants to deal with numbers not murder and dead bodies or trips to the dog park (Streeman is doggie nongrata). I radio talkshow should have been the last place to find trouble but Harriet manages to find it. She also seems to be plugged into the pop up yard sale grapevine well enough that she also manages to get some great deals on towels for Sophie and Marshall's new place. Sophie is so excited to be setting up house with Marshall, her former Minnesota crush, now her Arizona PI honey and coworker. This story has you shaking your head and chuckling out loud, I dare you to deny it! Just in time for the Christmas holidays, Sophie and Streetman are on the case, oh and Harriet's murder mystery book club, and the pinochle guys, plus the detective agency. Another winning book 4 the J.C. Eaton team! 



Candy Cane Crime (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery)
By Amanda Flower
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: October 27, 2020, available on Kindle 

While Bailey is busy doing some promos in New York, cousin Charlotte is busy over-seeing the Candy Cane Exchange fundraiser. Definitely a story as sweet as a candy cane and with a little bit of mystery. No bodies or mayhem but there is conflict and Charlotte is left a little conflicted. A short story that will give you a little inside view of the Amish, or at least the Amish of Harvest, Ohio. No need to have read the other Amish Candy Shop stories to keep up with this one since it is from Charlotte's point of view and not Bailey's. It does introduce you to some of the main characters and a yummy recipe from Charlotte herself which will make a perfect little something to hand out to just about anyone who might have a sweet tooth. While this will hold me over until the New Year, I look forward to Bailey's next adventure.


Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas (A Candy-Coated Mystery with Recipes)
By Nancy Coco
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: October 27, 2020, available on Kindle and paperback

Christmas time on Mackinace Island where the winter is cold but the candy kitchen is hot from all that fudge that Allie McMurphy is busily making for her online orders. By the way, there are several fudge recipes that grace the pages of this sweet yet satisfying cozy that you will want to make before you even finish the book. There is a big secret in this story and it isn't that Allie and Mal, her bichonpoo, have a tendency to come across a body or two. One of the best aspects about these stories that you can pick up any of the Candy-Coated Mysteries and have no problem following the plot or keeping track of the characters. As the story progresses, Allie thinks back to past events so we can all be on the same page. I love her upbeat attitude and how nothing seems to get her down for too long. As with any good cozy, Allie has her eye on a guy, the strong silent type and local law enforcement officer, Rex. Things have become a little complicated what with his ex-wife coming back as a damsel in distress. Allie is pretty much a do it yourself type of gal and isn't going to wait for someone to rescue her, even if she does get into some sticky situations. 

Murder at an Irish Christmas
By Carlene O'Connor
Published by
Release date: October 27, 2020, available on Kindle, audiobook, and Hardcover

Family time and time off from working as a Garda, that is all Siobha'n is looking forward to with her brood when they travel to West Cork to spend Christmas with her future sister in-law's family. This isn't turning out to be a traditional Christmas in any form. The patriarch and famed conductor is found dead in the barn turned concert hall, instantly putting Siobhan into inspector mode. Siobhan's clan asked her not to work this season but how can she not when there is a killer on the loose. Is it the obvious suspect or someone else? So many secrets to be unwrapped and none of them have the makings of a holly jolly Christmas. Another great Irish mystery with a wonderful recipe for Irish Brown Bread.

 
A Page Marked for Murder (A Beyond the Book 
By: Lauren Elliot
Published by 

Much like the lasgana from Mario's, this story is multi-layered and very good. Addie Greybourne cannot seem to keep herself out of mystery solving, but this time it will surely win over her business neighbor Martha once and for all. Matha's daughter, Addie's shop assistant Paige has not had the best of luck with men, her Dad took off when she was young leaving her with what turns out to be a first edition of the Secret Garden, and her college professor bails after she has their little girl. Now both are back in town and  Martha has definetly gone MaMa bear over it. Which is great until ends up dead in the alley behind the bakery and of course is the one to find him. She can't stand to see Paige suffer and surely Mama Martha didn't mean she would kill the guy when she said that she was going to put an end to his nonsense, she didn't mean and end to him, did she?  Layer number two involves the mystery of how Gloria fell off of a ladder while event prepping for the town's Fire and Ice event, leaving Pippin, her pooch to be taken car of by Addie. Addie can't believe how quickly she falls for the dog, since she never considered herself a pet person. Lastly, mystery number 3 has to do with the Secret Garden book going missing...There are several out of towners in town for the festival and some who are in town for other things, perhaps nepherious things. Addie is sure to get to the bottom of it with the help of Paige who watches the shop, Serena who is great for bouncing ideas off of and of course Simon, her partner in crime and in matters of her heart. Addie is getting so close to being able to say those three little words that weigh heavy on her mind and her emotions. Great story, cannot wait for the next one, maybe a little Valentines Day and a priceless love story to go with it. 

On Borrowed Crime: A Jane Dough Book Club Mystery
By Kate Young
Published by Crooked Lane Books
Release date: October 6, 2020, available on Kindle, Audible, Hardcover, Audio CD

Lyla Moody of the Jane Doe Book Club has a horrific mystery dumped quite literally on her doorstep. One of their own had become paranoid and obsessed with a Jane Doe case and it seemed to be her undoing. There was no way Lyla was going to be able to leave this mystery alone, regardless of what a proper Southern lady should be engaged in. Much to her mother's dismay, Lyla was going to look into things, she was a private detective's assistant after all. If you aren't hooked yet you soon will be. While Lyla might not be as proper as her mother would like, this series starter is a right proper Book #1. The characters are multilayered and while we get a bit of a back story I don't think we have seen everything just yet. Lyla is a textbook example of a Steel Magnolia with a touch of sophisticated sassy. 


Garland of Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery #22)
By Carolyn Haines
Published by Minotaur Books
Release date: October 13, 2020, available on Kindle, Audible, and Hardcover

Tinkie is still organizing pre-baby trips and this time it is a Christmas vacation to a small Mississippi town that is full of gossip, backstabbing, and unladylike behavior. All this group wants for Christmas is some holiday cheer and a break from investigating. Instead they are hired by a haint and I don't mean like Jitney, Sarah Booth's relative ghost, to determine who is causing the socialite swingers such grinchy grief. It looks like it will tke a Christmas miracel to get to the bottom of all this muck, and in fact they do end up in some swampy territory when one of the more congenial townsfolk goes overboard duing the Christmas regatta. I am always impressed by how well Sarah Booth and Tinkie work together to tackle these cases. I am equally impressed by the wonderfully descriptive breakfast meals they managed to find at the B&Bs they have stayed with over the last few books. So be sure to grab some fresh-made biscuits before you settle in for a nice winter's read.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

September Cozy Mystery New Releases & Reviews

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

Candy Slain Murder
By Maddie Day
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: September 29, 2020 available on Kindle and paperback

Christmas time in South, Lick Indiana at the Pans N' Pancakes cafe/shop/B&B. The perfect time to be with family and friends and to enjoy a hearty bowl of stew and some chocolatey mocha peppermint muffins. Yes the recipes are included so be sure to skip to the end, get cooking, and thenrelax as Robbie Jordan solves not one but two murder mysteries. In this installment, Mayor Corrine meets her son, Dr. William Geller finds his "long lost" wife, and Robbie finds herself between a rock and a hard cookie. There are plenty of unusual characters with more than enough motive to have committed the crime. Although Robbie is not a native of South Lick, her restaurant is the communications hub making it a great setting for meeting all of the friendly and some not so friendly people. With each book you get to know the main characters a little bit better but Maddie Day always takes time to reintroduce the locals and their quicky personality traits. It is easy to pick up a random Country Store Mystery and still be able to understand the relationships withouth having to start at the begining. You will want to read the others just because they are so good and those recipes! Who needs a cookbook when you can have a cozy collection with recipes. Another winner with an awesome ending!


Christmas Cupcake Murder (A Hannah Swenson Mystery)
By Joanne Fluke
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: September 29, 2020, available on Kindle, Audible, hardcover, and paperback

A flash from the past and a new twist with wonderful holiday recipes! Hannah is busy cooking up sweet things when she encounters a mystery man with amnesia. The residents of Lake Eden take him in and start brainstorming on how to help. No murder to solve in this one folks, which is pointed out in the preface, but there is still the mystery of Joe Smith to solve. One thing is certain, there is no mystery about how good Hannah's cookies and cupcakes can taste. Layered throughout the story are holiday confections that are sure to please everyone's palate with easy to understand instructions that flow right along with the storyline. I do wish that they were at the back of the book, only because they can be distracting because I want to stop reading and start baking! I am especially eager to try the Pineapple White Chocolate Bar Cookies and the Christmas Baked Brie. A very nice foray even without a murder and another story that makes me even more a part of team Norman! 


Death Dismay and Rose' (A Wine Trail Mystery #6)
By J.C. Eaton
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: September 29, 2020, available on Kindle and paperback

Norrie Ellington is literally counting the days until her winery overseeing job is complete and her sister and etymologist brother-in-law return. Ah, but that means there is still time for at least one more mystery and this time it involves the two witches which the winery is named for. The two witches who created a two part curse. Any publicity is good publicity right? Not if it means that the odious from the historical society is dead and Norrie's new etymologist friend is Grizzly Gary's number one suspect. Thanks to this series you will learn about wine and bugs, not that they are a good pairing but it does make for interesting reading. Remember to beware the partridge eye while armchair sleuthing. I have noticed that Norrie seems to be getting more and more brave with regards to her fact finding missions and manages to get Don, Theo, Stephanie, and Godfrey involved in one way or another. I am surprised that she hasn't considered using one of her experiences as a screenplay and save herself some work and time. This series is so good with character developement that I am not ready for Norrie to go back to the big city and leave the wine trail, her winey family and friends, or her handsome attorney behind.


Death on the Green (Dublin Driver Mystery)
By Katie Murphy
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: September 29, 2020, available on Kindle, Audible, and paperback

A Texan in the land of leprechauns, or at least a Texan who has become limo driver for Leprechaun Limousine Service in Ireland. Another first for me, both the book and the main characters vocation.  This story wastes no time in teeing up the murder and the mystery sending Megan Malone into a water hazard to try and help a drowned Lou MacDonald.  There is no putting around with this story, it was intriguing and humourous while at the same time I never felt stuck in the sand because I hadn't read the series starter. The story was masterfully developed and the red herrings were par for the course. It's not easy being a professional driver but as you learn when she dons a gold chauffeur's uniform at the request of infamous Carla de la Fuente. That segue was highly entertaining and added a bit of glitz and glamour. I do think that even with Megan's friend Niamh and Detective Bourke being an unofficial pair there is a little spark there for Megan and Detective Bourke. But who knows what the future holds or who Megan's next job might introduce her to. Oh wait, there is a teaser for book three at the end of this one so you do know that she is involved with a "brash American" named Cherise Williams who is on the hunt for proof that she is the heir to the Earldomn of Lyetrum.     


For Letter or Worse (A Stationary Shop Mystery)
By Vivian Conroy
Published by Poisoned Pen Press
Release date: September 29, 2020, available on Kindle and paperback

Cozys are extrememly infomative and  great way to learn new things such as the uses of washi tape, a crafting tape found at Wanted. This Stationary Shop Mystery involves 3D card making, a socialite birthday party, and murder. Once again stationary store co-owner Delta is asked by former police officer Jonas Nord to get to the bottom of a mystery. Hazel, Delta's friend and business partner has her back and the Paper Posse (Tundra's very active adult ladies) are buring up the cell lines hunting down clues to help. This story was full of action from the get go with plenty of suspects to go around. Is it the over wrought model/wife, the wealthy interior decorator/husband, the young and coquetish dog walker, the local designers who were pushed aside, a golden boy nephew, the mysterious workerman, or the ghost of tragedies past. No need to have read the first book to be able to follow along. Definetly a page turner with a suprise ending, a surprise in so many ways and a little bit of a cliff hanger, but isn't that what makes a cozy so good in addition to the well developed characters and the smidge of potential romance for maybe both of the Wanted gals?    

Ginergerdead Man (A Five-Ingredient Mystery)
By Maya Corrigan
Published by Kensington
Release date:  September 29, 2020, available on Kindle and paperback

I  had no idea that there was such a thing as a gingerdead man cookie. I also have never tried Grasmere gingerbread before now, I would say that it is more like a shortbread than a gingerbread, but very tasty especially with a cup of tea. I have read a Five-Ingrediant Mystery before, but you don't need to know the characters to be able to enjoy the story. Set with a Christmas backdrop and a bit of A Chrismtas Carol feel, the Ghost of Christmas 'presents' visits Santa at the volunteers' tea and let's just say that Santa should have left the cookie alone. In this case, Santa was very naughty and the ghosts from his past are catching up with him. At the same time, Val Deniston, personal chef and the Cool Down cafe manager is teamed up with her Granddad the guy behind the Codger Cook newspaper column and part time private eye will have a Dickens of a time solving this one. With more than one death in this holiday tale and Val is caught up in the middle of both. This story offers red herrings and and easy to make recipes for cookies and a casserole, each only takes five ingredients. A quick easy and highly enjoyable read.  

Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder (A Kabob Kitchen Mystery)
By Tina Kashian
Published by Kensington
Release date: September 29, 2020, available on Kindle and paperback

It is the Christmas season on the Jersey Shore. There is a nip in the air and the sea when takes a dip in the Polar Bear Plunge and finds herself involved in yet another murder mystery. Lucy doesn't really have time to be involved but once again the number one suspect, baker and fellow business owner Susan Cutie, has pleaded with Lucy to help clear here name. This series has developed quite nicely, especially the relationship between Lucy and her fiancé, Azad. I really enjoy reading about a couple who are supportive of each other and even go as far as to sleuth together. While Lucy and Katie are running around town looking for clues and wedding venues, the evidence is mounting against Susan. On the plus side, Lucy does learn how to make moussaka, and you can too thanks to the recipe at the end of the story. I would suggest you make or pick up  some hummus  (recipe found in Hummus and Homicide) and sit back with this Christmas cozy sure to entertain while also enthralling. The solution is not an easy one to figure out but it certainly does explain things. Looking forward to the next book and Lucy's upcoming nuptials.

Varnished Without a Trace (A Tallie Graver Mystery)
By Misty Simon
Published by Kensington Books
Release date: September 29, 2020, available on Kindle and paperback

This story puts a new spin on the word "family." It's Christmas time and the Bingo game is hot or at least fast paced and slight scary when you play with Tallie's family. This time the game turns deadly when cleaning queen Tallie finds her Aunt Roda dead right outside of the Bingo hall. To make this mystery even stranger, her Uncle Hoagy, Roda's husband goes missing and a look alike is found at his hardware store, dead. With the exception of Tallie's boyfriend, Max it seems that everyone is relatd to everyone else in . That is until Tallie starts asking just how are they related to Hoagie and his family. In addition to that mystery, Uncle Sherman head of the fire department wants no needs Tallie to try and figure out who the fire bug might be that is creating havoc around town. Mysterious fires that do just enough damage but not complete destruction. Lots of secrets and Tallie just cannot leave well enough alone and it seems that she has garned some respect from Police Chief Burton who wants her thinking skills but not her getting into trouble as a result of what she thinks" skills to help him discover the murderer, locate Hoagie, and relocate the look alike corpse. Good think Tallie is a well developed character who can multitask with just enough snark to added in to get the job done, and done right. She might not want to be in the family mortuary business but she sure does know how to clean up a murder mystery. 

Winner Cake All (A Chef-to-Go Mystery)
By Denise Swanson
Published by Poisoned Pen Press
Release Date: September 29, 2020, available on Kindle and paperback

The personal chef trifecta and an absolute dream job in my opinion, is what Dani Sloan does for a living. Cozy mysteries have the best main characters, so very real and down to earth, completely relateable and   is no different. So what is worse than taking a much needed catering job for a bridezilla? When the bridezilla is your boyfriend's exwife and the murder victim. This series is told in a He said/She said format which means you get know what our culinary clue-finder is thinking as well as her campus cop love interest. I really enjoy the way the chapters go back and forth to give a bigger picture and such great character developement. Dani knows that Drake is going to be top of the suspect list, especially since he was at the dinner when the storm hit and Yvette aka Bridezilla was hit. Dani knows that there is no way her guy could have done it, after all, he was well rid of the god-digging diva and couldn't be happier with his personal chef, accept that he would really like more alone time with her, but their jobs keep them both so busy. So in addition to getting up before the crack of dawn to make lunch-to-go bags to sell to the college kids, landing the catering job that is going to help her with home maintenance, personal chef  gigs for the well to do, playing Dear Abby to the three girls who live with her, work for her, and treat her like a big sister, Dani will also need to add a dash of sleuthing that might just help more than one person have a happy ever after.   

   


Checked Out for Murder (A Haunted Library Mystery)
By Allison Brook
Published by Kensignton Books
Release Date: September 8, 2020, available on Kindle, Audible, audio CD, and Hardcover

Turns out you don't have to be a Hollywood star to act like a diva, just being married to an actor can have the same effect. Carrie, mild mannered librarian, daughter of a reformed con man, girlfriend to an investigator (priate sector), friend of the library ghost and former librarian Evelyn Havers and local sleuth, if caught up not only in some Hollywood style film drama but also with a mysterious woman who claims to be a psychic who is later murdered. Sort of draws you right in doesn't it? Well it gets even better as Carrie tries to calm her mother's nerves when her (younger than Mom) Stepdad is cast to star opposite of his former vixen-like fiancee who left him high and dry years ago has decided to flirt like there's no tomorrow. Carrie hates turmoil and wants to help everyone around her, including Daphne, the girl who claimed to be psychic. The two had hit if off and Carrie just knows that they would have been the best of friends if they had been given the chance. I really enjoy the way Carrie looks on the bright side and has a knack for hunting down knowledge, must be those librarian research super powers that make her such a natural sleuth. It seems that there are two and maybe even three mysteries to solve in this story and Carrie is ready and able with her guy and her friends ready to back her up. Excellant number of twists and turns that create a nice and tidy ending bringing it all together. 


For Whom the Book Tolls (Antique Bookshop Mystery #1)
By Laura Gail Black
Published by Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: September 8, 2020, available on Kindle, Audible, audio CD, and Hardback

A troubled past, a bright future, a broken heart, a heart flutter, old family, new friends all sum up Jenna  Quinn. Wrongly accussed of a crime she didn't commit, Jenna just needs a fresh start in a new place and her Uncle, whom she hasn't seen in years contacts her to offer the very sanctuary she seeks.  Right away this story grabs a hold of your emotions, as Jenna's life goes from bad to really bad when she finds her Uncle, dead at the bottom of the stairs and learns that she is the sole heir to his shop, his home, and his various book investments. Needless to say, she is suspect number ONE and the lead detective refuses to see it any other way, his partner on the other hand, well he is not only easy on the eyes but also open minded. Jenna makes new friends as she takes on the task of starting her life over while trying to find out why her Uncle's life is over. This is a great start for a new series with an nice amount of interesting characters who may or may not be the guilty party. I do believe there was even a little foreshadowing and maybe even some name clearing for Jenna further down the road.


Little Bookshop of Murder (A Beach Reads Mystery)
By Maggie Blackburn
Published by Crooked Lane
Release Date: September 8, 2020, available on Kindle, Audiobook, audio CD, and Hardcover

A beach read about a book store that specializes in beach reads, I LOVE it! This story does an excellent job of taking an uptight literary professor and turning her into a more carefree individual. The death of Summer's Mom brings her back to the home she left behind for what she thought, would be academic greatness only to suffer from an embarrassing episode of arachnophobia while teaching a class which leads to a viral video and a leave of absence. Summer returns to the busom of family with a goal of getting in and getting out, after all why would she want anything to do with her mother Hildy's romance littered bookstore. Me thinks she doth protest too much until Summer learns that while Hildy was trying "to be" someone else decided that she was "not to be." With the help of her super supportive aunt, cousin, and Hildy's book club ladies, Summer is sure that she can get to the bottom of this because they will listen to many and speak to few. Though she be but little, she is fierce! Excellent plot building and an ending that is going to make you say "huh" and wish that the next book was already out. Sit back and enjoy this great beach read with a cup of Constant Comment or better yet, take it to the beach and read.   


Murder in the Bayou Boneyard (A Cajun Country Mystery)
By Ellen Byron
Published by Kensington Books
Release Date: September 8, 2020, available on Kindle and Hardcover
 
A dip in bookings and a climb in rougarou sightings lead to murder and mayhem in this latest Cajun Country Mystery. It is Halloween time at the Crozat B&B and Maggie is not a fan of the October holiday. The one thing she had been looking forward to was meeting a new Canadian cousin and her family who found them through an ancestry search. As luck would have it, the cousin is a massage therapist and Crozat B&B just opened a new spa to increase bookings. In addition to the spa they are also taking part in Pelican's Spooky Past with four other B&Bs to combat a local real estate investor and creator of an app called Rent My Digs. Each location was offering an event that capitalized on the Halloween traditions of the region and the Crozats were offering an immortelles craft and Creole and Cajun meal to give one the experience of an authentic condolence call at the Crozat Plantation. Guest will also have the opportunity to watch a play taking place in a boneyard/cemetery. Sounds like fun right? Except that there is a rougarou making an appearance and scaring all of the guests. It is sure to be the death of the Spooky Past tour or at least the death of someone. Don't worry if you get a little lost with the characters because every Cajun Country Mystery comes with a listing at the front of the book of the cast of characters and there are some incredible recipes at the back of the book straight from the story. I heartily recommend the very hearty Trinity Chicken Soup, so named because it uses the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking, onions, green pepper, and celery. Perfect for cold October nights or just because you need to feel some comfort while you read your Cozy. 


What Not to Wear to a Graveyard (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
By Debra Sennefelder
Published by Kensington Books
Release Date: September 8, 2020, available on Kindle

My first fashionista Kelly Quinn cozy and I know that it will not be my last! Even the name Kelly Quinn sounds fashion forward. I did feel a little like I had jumped into the middle of the story but since it was more of a novella it made me hungry for the next book, which is due out in December. This one takes place around Halloween, perfect opportunity for a fashionista with a resale business to make a killing. Or in Kelly's case, she finds a murder victim. The very same one who would have been giving her a windfall for finding a lost dog. So instead of getting ready for renovation to the Lucky Cove Resale Boutique with the reward money, Kelly is getting ready to track down a killer by following the clues. Once I got into the story I was hooked and wanted it to go further and to "meet" more characters. One last thing to remember, high heeled stiletto style boots are an example of What Not to Wear to a Graveyard.