Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Burned to a Crisp (Cookies & Chance Mystery #3) by Catherine Bruns


From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes the next sinfully delicious Cookies & Chance Mystery... 

Just when things appear to be going well for baker and sometime sleuth, Sally Muccio, life turns up the heat again. 

It’s summertime, and the living is easy for the Muccio clan. Sal’s wedding to her beloved fiancĂ© is rapidly approaching, Mom’s won a beauty contest, and sister Gianna is now a licensed public defender. But when the bakery Sal’s worked so hard for goes up in smoke—along with her dreams!—she’s not sure how much more she can stand. Even worse, the man found dead in the bakery’s back room is none other than Gianna’s latest client, Bernardo Napoli. 

The dough really hits the fan for Sal and Josie when they’re forced to temporarily relocate their bakery to the crazy Muccio home. Trouble is quickly stirred up as the best friend team must now contend with Sal’s father and his new mortuary business “undertakings,” a middle aged mother parading around customers in bikinis, and an Italian family hell bent on revenge. For Sal, several questions demand answers. Where has Gianna disappeared to? What role did she play in Bernardo’s death? What secret is Sal’s fiancĂ© hiding from her? Sal is determined to find answers...before she gets burned once again!   (Summary via Goodreads)

Even though you know that the bakery burns down, it still doesn't make it any easier when you read it.  At least for me ....  I have read all of the books in the Cookies & Chance Mystery series and I feel like I know the family.  Even though the Muccio family is crazy they are a believeable crazy.  I can actually see them as neighbors and being a customer of the bakery.

Catherine Bruns has an amazing talent.....her writing of the story takes you there !!  You will feel like you are standing in the middle of the bakery, or what is left of the bakery, you can feel the emotion Sally has when she has a breakdown over the bakery, and you will absolutely catch your breath over ANYTHING Mike does for her.  You will long for a friendship like Sal and Josie have, you will be thankful you have the parents that you have....or you may wish your parents were a little like Sal's parents, and you will completely love Grandma Rosa.

When you are looking for a book to read or a new author to follow, I highly recommend Catherine Bruns and the Cookies & Chance Mystery series.  When you read a book, you want a connection, a feeling of belonging and a reason to stay.  That is what will happen when you read this series.  I can promise you that you will find a place for you at the dining room table with the girls enjoying coffee and some of Grandma Rosa's cooking or maybe a fortune cookie.  Just be careful with the fortune and don't freak out because of the coffin in the living room.....  It's all just part of the charm of the family.

Review by Missi S. 


Friday, 6 January 2017

She Stopped for Death (A Little Library Mystery #2) by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

She Stopped for Death (Little Library Mystery #2)
Jenny Weston and her mother, Dora, have been receiving strange midnight visits. Bear Falls's own elusive and highly secretive poet, Emily Sutton, has lived her life cloistered away with her sister in a house at the edge of Pewee Swamp. But now, Emily's started leaving scraps of poetry in Dora's Little Library, and Dora makes it her mission to befriend the sheltered woman.

Meanwhile Zoe Zola, almost famous author, Little Person, and the Weston's quirky next-door neighbor, is hard at work on a new book, this one about the inner life of Emily Dickinson. And once again, Zoe's literary work starts making uncanny connections with the events in her own world as Emily Sutton reemerges into society. But Zoe begins to suspect things aren't anywhere near normal at Emily's swamp house or in the lives of the people she claims have abandoned her...until looking further into the poet's half-truths leads Zoe and Jenny to a horrible murder.

The chaos surrounding the ensuing investigation grows even more hectic with Emily’s increasingly erratic behavior, the arrival of a young woman searching for her missing poet uncle, and yet another betrayal in Jenny's love life. And only poetry can set the truth free in Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli's charming second Little Library mystery, She Stopped for Death.  (Summary via Goodreads)

The title She Stopped for Death is slightly misleading....without giving too much away, she doesn't stop for death.... Once you read it, you will completely understand.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli has such an imagination !!!  Her writing gets you right away and she sweeps you right into the story.  I must admit that She Stopped for Death is the first book that I have read where there is a "little person" in the story.  However, Zoe Zola is anything but small !!!  

Zoe lives next door to Dora and Dora's daughter, Jenny.  There is no library in the small town of Bear Falls so Dora has a little library box set up in front of her house.  One night they are visited by local poet, Emily.  Emily has been living in a house with her sister and hasn't been seen or heard from in many years.  To have her out and visiting the library box is a big deal.  So big that the ladies of town plan a big event in her honor.

Unfortunately while helping Emily out, Zoe and Jenny discover Emily's cousin dead.  Also Emily's sister seems to have disappeared.  Can Emily rejoin society and interest people in her new poetry ?  As the night of her big "event" grows nearer, Emily becomes more obsessive and demanding.....

I was completely shocked while reading the ending of She Stopped for Death.  I was so engrossed in the story that I felt like I was there !!  When an author can do that to you while reading one of their books, you have to hope that there are more books by the author.  And luckily there are !!!  Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is a must watch author....and read all her books.  I plan to !!!

Review by Missi S.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Dead and Breakfast (Merry Ghost Inn #1) by Kate Kingsbury

Dead and Breakfast (Merry Ghost Inn #1)

Melanie West is getting her life back on track after a messy divorce when her grandmother, Liza Harris, asks her to open a B&B with her. Together, Liza and Melanie purchase a purportedly haunted mansion on the Oregon coast and jump right into clearing out the cobwebs. But while attempting to remove wallpaper in an upstairs bedroom, the new B&B owners stumble upon a very real skeleton in their closet.

The police suspect the skeleton is that of the wife of the previous owner of the B&B, but no one in town seems to want to say much about her. As the inn owners try to juggle renovations with their own amateur investigations, their grand opening looms closer and closer--and a friendly ghost in their walls starts playing tricks. But it all comes crashing to a halt when a new body is found stabbed to death on the beach below the inn--the victim chillingly close in resemblance to Melanie herself.

It seems someone doesn't appreciate newcomers prying into the small town's past, and now it's up to Melanie and Liza to get to the bottom of these murders to save their business...and their lives.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I can already tell that A Merry Ghost Inn Mystery series by Kate Kingsbury is going to be a smashing hit !!
Dead and Breakfast, the first book in the series, captures your attention and doesn't let it go.

Melanie and her grandmother become partners of a mansion that they intend to renovate and open up a Bed and Breakfast in.  It doesn't seem that any work has been done in the house for a long time so they decide to start by removing wallpaper.  While scrapping off the wallpaper in one of the second floor rooms, they discover a secret room with a skeleton in it.

Unfortunately thier renovations are put on hold while the police investigate.  And then they are put on hold longer when another crime occurs taking presidence over their skeleton case.  So Melanie and Liza decide to do some investigaing of their own. 

So much going on in Dead and Breakfast and the inn hasn't even opened to the public yet.  Makes you want to stay so you can see what happens when the inn is actually open and people are staying there.  Are there more secret rooms ? Can everyone hear the ghost laughing ?  Why is he laughing ?  Who is he and is he harmless ??

Kate Kingsbury has captured my interest for sure !!  I'm not "big" on ghosts but the ghost in Dead and Breakfast seems harmless and friendly.......right ??

Review by Missi S.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Iced Under (A Maine Clambake Mystery #5) by Barbara Ross

Iced Under (A Maine Clambake Mystery, #5)

The snow is deep in Maine’s Busman’s Harbor and the mighty rivers are covered in ice. Snowden Family Clambake Company proprietor Julia Snowden and her mother, Jacqueline, are hunkered down for the winter when a mysterious package arrives—heating up February with an unexpected case of murder . . . 
Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia’s great-grandmother and disappeared in the 1920s. Who could have sent it—and why? Julia’s search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother’s troubled family history, from a squabble over the family fortune in “frozen water” to the recent unexplained death of Jacqueline’s long-lost cousin Hugh—who’d been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years. To protect her mother’s inheritance, Julia must fend off a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh’s demise, and get back home before the next blizzard buries them all . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

I want to live in Busman's Harbor and I want to be Julia's sister.  I very much enjoy the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross.  I love everything about it !!  I love that while I am reading the story I feel like I am right there knee deep in the snow or sitting at the counter in Gus's listening to the local fishermen tell stories.  

As are books in a series, you develop "feelings" for the characters, you begin to understand how things are, you feel like you are a part of something.....  In Iced Under you get to meet more of Julia's mother's side of the family and you leave Busman's Harbor and spend time in Boston with Julia.  And of course, there is a murder thrown into the mix.  But with this murder it is different.  The individual who is murdered was presumed to be dead for many years.  

I really enjoyed Iced Under and I have to say that it was my favorite of the books in this series.  It's hard to explain without giving away a lot of the book.  It's like you were given a chance to meet a bunch of family members in a relaxing setting even though you were brought there by a death.  And even though someone in the house is most likely the murderer it doesn't feel that way while reading it.  Maybe it also helped that the clambake business is closed for the season.....  

Like I said its hard to put into words the full impact of the story.  I can, however, tell you this....  If you haven't started reading this series yet I would highly recommend putting it on your TBR list.  This is one town full of characters that you will want to get to know.

Review by Missi S.


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

A Pinch of Poison (A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery #2) by Alyssa Maxwell

A Pinch of Poison (A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery, #2)

In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, encounter an uncharitable killer at a charity luncheon sponsored by a posh school for girls . . . 

Good deeds build good character, and good character is what the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies is all about. Lady Phoebe—with the tireless assistance of Eva—has organized a luncheon at the school to benefit wounded veterans of the Great War, encouraging the students to participate in the cooking and the baking. But too many cooks do more than spoil the broth—they add up to a recipe for disaster when the school’s headmistress, Miss Finch, is poisoned. 

The girls at Haverleigh all come from highly respected families, none of whom will countenance their darling daughters being harassed like common criminals by the local police. So Lady Phoebe steps in to handle the wealthy young debutantes with tact and discretion, while Eva cozies up to the staff. Did one of the girls resent the headmistress enough to do her in? Did a teacher bear a grudge? What about the school nurse, clearly shell shocked from her service in the war? No one is above suspicion, not even members of the school’s governing body, some of whom objected to Miss Finch’s “modern” methods.

But Lady Phoebe and Eva will have to sleuth with great stealth—or the cornered killer may try to teach someone else a lethal lesson.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I am a HUGE fan of Alyssa Maxwell ! !  Her stories are so easy to get lost in !  Sometimes I don't want to return to the present.  I love traveling through time back to days where things were simple and proper.  

Even though it is set in a time where things were simple, there was still death and murder.  And Lady Phoebe always seems to get in the middle of it.   In a Pinch of Poison it is no different.  

The headmistress of the girl's school that Amelia attends dies after eating a meal prepared and served by the girl's.  And when they have to close the school so that no one else gets injured and the police can investigate, Lady Phoebe and Eva decide to see what they can find out from the girls and employees.   While helping with the investigation Lady Phoebe and Eva are also helping with schooling some of the girls whose parents are abroad and they have no where else to go.

I love the fact that Alyssa Maxwell always has you thinking while you are reading.  I like the fact that there are many possibilities and you start to like the characters and hope that they didn't commit murder...even though you know that one of them did.  She also has an amazing talent in how she inter-mingles ALL of the characters and settings.

I truly enjoy traveling back in time with Lady Phoebe and Eva and I'm positive that you will also !!  Let Alyssa Maxwell take you there !!

Reviewed by Missi S. 

Friday, 23 December 2016

The Cat of Christmas Present (Whales and Tails Cozy Mystery Book 10) by Kathi Daley

The Cat of Christmas Present (Whales and Tails Cozy Mystery Book 10)

With less than two weeks until Christmas Cait stumbles across a man who had been washed up onto the beach. The man is very much alive, but after suffering a blow to the head, he cannot seem to remember who he is or how he came to be on the island. Cait and visiting cat Clarence set out to discover Prince Charming's identity only to find that their charismatic guest may not be so charming after all.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Kathi Daley has done it again! This is an amazing series and mystery full of Christmas hope. I will say I was crying at the end but I am not going to give any spoilers. Kathi Daley amazes me with every book I read and review. I love all of her series and could never choose a favorite because each are all great. 

This one is perfect for Christmas and for the feeling of hope that I was lacking this season. You rock Kathi, thank you.

Review by Penny M.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

A Story to Kill (Cat Latimer Mystery #1) by Lynn Cahoon

A Story to Kill (Cat Latimer Mystery #1)

Former English professor Cat Latimer is back in Colorado, hosting writers’ retreats in the big blue Victorian she’s inherited, much to her surprise, from none other than her carousing ex-husband! Now it’s an authors’ getaway—but Cat won’t let anyone get away with murder…
The bed-and-breakfast is open for business, and bestselling author Tom Cook is among its first guests. Cat doesn’t know why he came all the way from New York, but she’s glad to have him among the quirkier—and far less famous—attendees.

Cat’s high school sweetheart Seth, who’s fixing up the weathered home, brings on mixed emotions for Cat…some of them a little overpowering. But it’s her uncle, the local police chief, whom she’ll call for help when there’s a surprise ending for Tom Cook in his cozy guest room. Will a killer have the last word on the new life Cat has barely begun?  (Summary via Goodreads)

A Story to Kill was so fun to read !!!  If you like getting lost in a book, this is a book you must read !!!  The setting of most of the story is in a bed and breakfast whose owner  is focusing on it  being a Writer's Retreat.

Cat inherits the house from her ex-husband according to his will.  She moves back into it with her best friend, Shauna.  Shauna does all of the cooking, errands and dealing with the guests so that Cat can continue writing her 3rd book.  Unfortunately one of the guests is found murdered in his room and he was a very popular author.  Luckily Cat's uncle is the Police Chief so he is on top of everything.  But who would want to kill the author ?  Who knew he was there ?  Could it have been one of the other guests ?

Once the murder occurs the week goes downhill pretty quick.  Will this be the end of Cat's dream to have a bed and breakfast writer's retreat ???  Can Uncle Pete solve the murder before the end of the week ?

Cat has so much going on between running the bed and breafast, trying to get her word count in every day and trying to get a grasp on her feelings for Seth, her high school sweetheart who just so happens to be working on renovations to the house as well as keep the current guests some what satisfied or at least keep them alive.

Lynn Cahoon has a great first book in this Cat Latimer Mystery series.... I LOVED getting lost in the big bed and breakfast.  I felt like I was a guest......  Need a retreat of your own ?  Wanna get away for a bit ?  Let Lynn and Cat take you there.

Reviewed by Missi S.