Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Motto for Murder (Merry Wrath #6) by Leslie Langtry

Motto for Murder (Merry Wrath #6)
For ex-CIA Agent turned Girl Scout troop leader, Merry Wrath, planning a wedding is infinitely more terrifying than the time she was a mole in Carlos the Armadillo’s drug cartel. To make matters worse, while plagued by insomnia (brought on by diabolical details that include bizarre things like "boutonnieres") Merry and her cat, Philby, witness a midnight murder next door. 

Or do they? With her record of sleeplessness, everyone from her fiancĂ©, Rex, to her Girl Scout troop are questioning her sanity. And when strange incidents of arson start popping up all over Who’s There, Iowa and a mysterious woman vanishes, Merry begins to believe her neighbors are foreign spies. 

Throw in meeting her fiancĂ©’s odd twin sisters, late night visits with Mr. Fancy Pants—the King Vulture at the zoo—and a scary sleep study, and Merry wonders if she’s in danger of losing her mind…or her life.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Motto For Murder is the first book in the Merry Wrath Mystery series by Leslie Langtry that I have read and BOY have I been missing out !!!  I instantly fell in love with Merry and her two cats !!!  Motto For Murder is the sixth book in this series and even though it was the first one that I have read, I was not lost at all !!  Langtry gets the reader up to speed instantly and you fall into the story immediately.

Main character Merry Wrath is a former CIA-spy living in her hometown with her two cats.  She lives across the street from her detective fiance Rex and runs a Girl Scout Troop with her best friend.  And if all that isn't fun enough, Merry is trying to plan her wedding but her insomnia is playing tricks on her......or is it ??

In Motto For Murder she thinks she sees her new neighbors carrying a dead body into thier house.  And when she learns that a woman working for her vetenerian is missing, her CIA skills have her drawing crazy conclusions !!!  

Oh and Merry also meets Rex's twin sisters who recently opened up a Taxidermy shop in town where they dress up dead animals in weird costumes and weird settings.  And when she learns that the missing woman left her beloved cat with the sisters to have stuffed and hasn't picked it up yet, Merry is in full CIA mode......

Motto For Murder was such a FUN read !!  So many different things than most readers aren't use to that it makes for a fast read also.  You cannot put the book down because you really want to make sure that Merry is sane and on the right track.

Review by Missi S.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Dying to Call You (A Dead-End Job Mystery Book 3) by Elaine Viets

Dying to Call You (A Dead-End Job Mystery Book 3)

From Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author Elaine Viets—the thrilling mystery series about one woman trying to make a living... while other people are making a killing.

Still living under the radar in Fort Lauderdale due to her refusal to pay her ex-husband’s spousal support, Helen Hawthorne’s latest workaday job might just be the lowest rung on the employment ladder—telemarketing. She’s spending her hours interrupting dinners and disturbing slumbers, and in return hearing curses and extremely rude suggestions.

Then, while Helen is conducting a phone survey with the wealthy Henry “Hank” Asporth, he puts the receiver down without hanging up…and Helen can’t believe what she hears next. She can just make out a man and a woman arguing, a short scream cut off by a horrible choking sound, then an eerie silence followed by a final “click.”

Convinced she just heard a murder being committed—but with no solid proof—Helen is driven to find out what really happened with Hank and the mystery woman. But if she’s not careful, she just might end up holding a dead line of her own…

Praise for the Dead-End Job Mysteries by Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author Elaine Viets

“A stubborn and intelligent heroine, a wonderful South Florida setting, and a cast of more-or-less lethal bimbos...I loved this book.”—Charlaine Harris
“Brave Viets preps by actually working the jobs she describes in loving and hilarious detail, giving her offbeat series a healthy balance between the banal and the bizarre.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Laugh-out-loud comedy with enough twists and turns to make it to the top of the mystery bestseller charts.” —Florida Today
“Fans of Janet Evanovich and Parnell Hall will appreciate Viets’s humor.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Wit, murder, and sunshine . . . it must be Florida. I love this new series.”—Nancy Pickard
“A heroine with a sense of humor and a gift for snappy dialogue.”—Jane Heller  (Summary via Goodreads)

I love the Dead-End Job Mystery series by Elaine Viets.  Each book in this series is so fun !!  

Dying to Call You is the third book in this series and if you are reading them along with me, you are obvious a fan of the main character, Helen and you also feel like you are a resident of the Coronado Tropic Apartments.

Dying to Call You has Helen working as a telemarketer and you really get a good glimpse of how awful it is to be on the other end of the phone.....especially when Helen hears a woman being murdered !!  Of course in true Helen style, she cannot let it go, even when the police "investigate" and tell her there was no crime committed.  Helen knows what she heard and knows that she cannot just go on making calls.  

The path that Helen goes down to solve this case is unlike anything you can Viets can imagine and write these stories is amazing to me.  Viets will have you turning the pages faster than you can hang up on a telelmarketer and then she will have you wanting to apologize for your actions.....  

Review by Missi S.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Better Off Read (Bookmobile Mystery #1) by Nora Page

Better Off Read (Bookmobile Mystery #1)

When her best hope of saving her storm-damaged library is found murdered, senior librarian Cleo Watkins hits the road in her bookmobile in search of justice.

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins won’t be shushed when an upstart young mayor threatens to permanently shelve her tiny town’s storm-damaged library. She takes to her bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to collect allies and rally library support throughout Catalpa Springs, Georgia.

However, Cleo soon rolls into trouble. A major benefactor known for his eccentric DIY projects requests all available books on getting away with murder. He’s no Georgia peach, and Cleo wonders if she should worry about his plans. She knows she should when she discovers him bludgeoned and evidence points to her best friend, Mary-Rose Garland. 

Sure of Mary-Rose’s innocence, Cleo applies her librarian’s sleuthing skills to the case, assisted by friends, family, and the dapper antiquarian bookseller everyone keeps calling her boyfriend. Evidence stacks up, but a killer is overdue to strike again. With lives and her library on the line, Cleo must shift into high gear to close the book on murder in Better Off Read, the charming Bookmobile series debut by Nora Page.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I really thought I knew who the bad guy was.  I was pretty certain I had it in the bag but Nora Page really tangled it up in Better Off Read.  But hey I am not complaining at all !!

Better Off Read is a captivating page turner and Page has you falling in love with librarian Cleo Watkins, her cat, Rhett Butler, and the town of Catalpa Springs, Georgia...close to Florida but not too close for Cleo.

Even though Cleo should have retired already, her love and devotion of books keeps her young.  And even though the library isn't open due to storm damage, she still has the bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to keep her busy.  However, when a grouchity old neighbor is murdered and her grandson, Ollie, is the main suspect, Cleo will do whatever she can to prove his innocence.

Better Off Read will keep the reader thoroughly engrossed with the murders, secrets, blackmailing, grouchy old people you cannot help but laugh at, (we all know 1 or 2 in our own lives) the food, the relationships, dogs and a cat !!

Page has done an excellent job setting the stage for future Bookmobile Mystery books and I, for one, will have my library card at the ready.....

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Cake and Punishment (A Southern Cake Baker Mystery #1) by Maymee Bell

Cake and Punishment (A Southern Cake Baker Mystery #1)
In the first of a delectable new Southern-set baking cozy series, Sophia Cummings, pastry chef extraordinaire, must craft the perfect cake for an old friend’s wedding while sifting through the suspects in a murder.

Bucolic Rumford, Kentucky has glowing fields of bluegrass, a fine selection of bourbons, and now a professional pastry chef. Broken-hearted Sophia Cummings has come home from New York City. She’s not there a minute before she’s charmed into making her high school friend Charlotte’s wedding cake. The kitchen at the Rumford Country Club seems perfect until Chef Emile’s body is discovered, sprawled near the stove, a cast iron skillet on the floor close by.

With one look at the shiny, new frying pan, Sophia knows it’s not Emile’s. She offers her knowledge to Sheriff Carter and her talents to Evelyn, the manager, who needs an interim chef. The mood in the country club is grim: Emile’s peppery personality had burned members and staff alike. Sophia wonders which one of them burned him?

Perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and JoAnna Carl, Cake and Punishment―with authentic Southern recipes!―will satisfy your sweet tooth.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Grab a glass of sweet tea or a cookie before you pick up Cake & Punishment by Maymee Bell.  You will want a sweet treat while you are reading it !!  ( You can thank me later....)

Cake & Punishment introduces you to Sophia Cummings who returns home for a "short" visit after catching her boyfriend in the act.  She thinks that she is only home for a short time to mend her broken heart but her mama, Bitsy, has a completely different plan.

Within a matter of a New York minute of being back home in Rumford, Kentucky Sophia has agreed to make a wedding cake for her friend Charlotte.  As they are discussing the cake at the Country Club, they happen upon the body of Emile, the head cook of the Country Club.

All Sophia wants to do is make Charlotte's wedding cake but when the manager of the Country Club hits the top of the list of murder suspects, she finds herself knee deep in investigating.  This puts her in hot water with the Sheriff.  Unfortunately Bitsy and friends are hoping to keep Sophia and the Sheriff together personally ..... not professionally.

I just LOVED the Southern town feel of Cake & Punishment !!!  And having the main character a baker who only wants to bake treats and make everyone feel good is always a win in my book.  The relationships that develop throughout the story leave the reader looking forward to the next installment of The Southern Cake Baker Mystery series.  I, for one, cannot wait to see what recipe Sophia bakes up.....

I love that some cozy mystery books include recipes in the back of the book and with Cake & Punishment I took advantage of that.  My mom and I baked up Kentucky Derby Pie which was featured in the story and I can say it was a winner !!!!  Take a look.....

Review by Missi S.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Class Reunions Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery #1) by Libby Klein

Class Reunions Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery #1)For fortysomething Poppy McAllister, taking a stroll down memory lane in Cape May, New Jersey, isn’t just awkward—it’s deadly.

Newly widowed and stuck in a middle-aged funk, Poppy has been running on cookies, infomercials, and one-sided chats with her cat for months. There’s no way on earth she’s attending her twenty-five-year class reunion—especially after receiving a very bizarre letter from Barbie, the popular cheerleader who taunted her all through high school. At least, not until Poppy’s best friend practically drags her to the event . . .

Using the dreaded homecoming as an excuse to visit her eccentric Aunt Ginny, Poppy vows to leave Cape May with pride and Spanx intact. Too bad Barbie is still the queen of mean at the reunion. And worse, that her dead body is lying right in front of Poppy’s old locker. Singled out as the killer, it’s up to Poppy to confront her past and clear her name. But between protecting her aunt from disaster and tackling a gluten-free diet, can Poppy crack the case before she’s voted “Most Likely to Die” by the murderer?

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!
(Summary via Goodreads)  

If you graduated from high school in the late 80's like me, you will really appreciate a lot of things that Class Reunions are Murder has to offer.  Libby Klein takes the reader on a nice journey down memory lane.....and there are TWO mysteries !!

Class Reunions are Murder starts with you getting to know Poppy who is dealing with the death of her husband.  All she wants to do is stay in her pj's, eat, sleep, and hang with her cat Figaro.  Unfortunately her best friend Sawyer persuades her to go back home to attend their 25th year class reunion.  As much as she doesn't want to go, she also doesn't want to let her friend down.  Plus she will be going back to her childhood home and seeing her Aunt Ginny.

As in a lot of schools, Poppy and Sawyer and their friends dealt with "bullying" and the head of the "bullying club" was Barbie and Barbie hasn't changed at all.  So when Barbie is found dead with a pompom stuffed in her mouth at the reunion people aren't overly shocked.  Unfortunately she was found in front of Poppy's locker by Poppy !!

Even though the list of suspects is long, their old classmate, Amber, who is on the police force now only has eyes for Poppy.

While Poppy tries to stay out of jail for a murder she did not commit, Aunt Ginny has a huge problem also.  Aunt Ginny is trying to stay out of the nursing home !!  An employee from the Department of Youth & Family Services has been coming around saying that they have received numerous complaints that Aunt Ginny is unfit to live alone.  Aunt Ginny make be a number of things, but unfit is not one of them.

Even though there is a lot going on in Class Reunions are Murder, Klein has the ability to keep the reader completely focused and so engrossed in the story that you feel like you are right there in New Jersey.  You will instantly fall in love with Poppy and appreciate her strength and determination.

I had an extremely hard time putting the book down and when I got to the end and both mysteries were solved, it was mind blowing..... But nothing could have prepared me for the way Klein ended the ending with a HUGE opening....  I cannot wait until I get my hands on the next book in this series, Midnight Snacks are Murder, to see where things are heading for Poppy and Aunt Ginny..

Review by Missi S.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Capable of Murder (Belinda Lawrence Murder Mystery #1) by Brian Kavanagh


The old lady's body lay at the foot of the stairs. The police believe it was an accidental fall that killed great-aunt Jane. Young Australian Belinda Lawrence is convinced it was murder and when she inherits her great-aunt's ancient cottage and garden on the outskirts of Bath, England, she finds herself deep in a taut mystery surrounding her legacy.

A second vicious murder by a ruthless killer intensifies the tension and Belinda, now under threat herself, is befriended by two charming men: her neighbour Jacob and real estate agent Mark Sallinger. But can she trust them? And what interest has befuddled antique dealer Hazel Whitby in the cottage?  (Summary via Goodreads)

When you read the brief description of Capable of Murder by Brian Kavanagh on the back of the book, you know that Great-aunt Jane is going to die.  There is hardly a surprise there and you may even know that after Belinda, her great-niece and main character, receives the letter asking her to visit that she will be dead upon Belinda's arrival.

And if you read the entire description on the back of the book, you see that Belinda does not agree that her aunt's death was an accident and you will be so engrossed in the story and her interest in finding the killer that when someone else ends up dead, which we were forewarned of, it will totally blow your mind and make you STOP reading while you TRY to grasp this person's death !!

Kavanagh grabs the reader from page one and continues that hold until you read the last words.  And not one to ruin anything for the reader but the last paragraph will have you extremely overjoyed that Capable of Murder is the first installment in the Belinda Lawrence Mystery series and there are more great books following it.  

Now that Belinda is finally settled into her new home in this quaint English village and she has TWO murders solved, she can sit back, relax in her new home and garden, and get to know the area.  I'm sure nothing else could possibly go wrong..... But if you are a huge fan of Capable of Murder like me, we can only hope something goes bad....

Review by Missi S.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Bad Neighbors (An Agnes and Effie Mystery #2) by Maia Chance

Bad Neighbors (An Agnes & Effie Mystery #2)
Agnes Blythe and her glamorous Aunt Effie must take a break from restoring their inn to rake in the clues when a local mechanic is murdered in national bestselling author Maia Chance’s charming second Agnes & Effie mystery.

It’s leaf-peeping season in Naneda, New York, and Agnes Blythe has settled into helping her eccentric Great Aunt Effie restore the Stagecoach Inn. It seems nothing can shatter the golden idyll―or the ka-ching of cash registers―until a mechanic at Hatch Automotive is found bludgeoned to death with a wrench. 

Sweeping into action, Agnes and Aunt Effie are on the scene, when a tourist-laden motor coach breaks down outside of town. The Stagecoach Inn isn’t exactly ready for guests, but Agnes and Effie agree to take in a group of seniors while they wait for repairs. But then, Agnes finds herself pulled into the investigation when she learns her new boyfriend, gorgeous Otis Hatch, is the Naneda Police Department’s prime suspect. 

With bodies falling faster than the foliage, Agnes must leaf through the more viable suspects and clear Otis’s name of murder in Bad Neighbors, the charming second Agnes and Effie mystery from national bestselling author Maia Chance.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Following Agnes and Aunt Effie around is exhaustingly fun !!!  I love the Agnes and Effie Mystery series by Maia Chance.  There is NEVER a dull moment when reading these books !!  And Bad Neighbors does not disappoint !!!

If you are a fan of cozy mysteries you know that the premise of these books is that they are usually set around a small town where everyone knows everyone.  Yes there is a murder and yes the main character who knows next to nothing about solving the crime jumps full force into solving the case.  This is not because the law enforcement in the town can't do it but because either the murdered victim is someone close to the main character or the main suspect is someone close to the main character.  And in Bad Neighbors the main suspect is Agnes' boyfriend, naturally Agnes and Aunt Effie are on the case !!!

But with it being the height of the fall foliage season in Naneda and the whole town is involved in the  
annual Harvest Festival a murder is not something the town wants people focusing on.....especially with a judge in town judging all of the festivities.

While Agnes and Aunt Effie are hosting a few stranded tourists who are having vehicle trouble, they venture around town asking innocent questions trying to prove Otis is innocent but then when another member of the community is found murdered as well, it makes things more difficult.....

I am always amazed at the talent that authors have with their story telling and the way they circle around things and have the reader believing one thing but then as quick as you turn the page, you are being taken down yet another believable path...... And Maia Chance has you turning pages faster than the leaves are changing color and convinced that you know who the real killer is until Aunt Effie lights up another cigarette and with that the tables turn yet again......

So go to your comfy place with your beverage and snack of choice and hunker down for a while.  Once you open Bad Neighbors you will be in for a while......

Review by Missi S.