Saturday, 30 November 2019

Christmas Cocoa Murder (Irish Village Mystery #4.5) by Carlene O'Connor, Maddie Day, Alex Erickson


Christmas Cocoa Murder
'Tis the season for hot chocolate and mouthwatering treats. But sometimes too much of a good thing can be downright deadly . . . 

CHRISTMAS COCOA MURDER by CARLENE O'CONNOR
Siobhan O'Sullivan's hopes for a quiet Irish Christmas are dashed when the local Santa turns up dead in a carnival dunk tank of hot cocoa. Now instead of hunting down holiday gifts, she's pursuing a heartless killer. Seems the dead Santa was no angel either, stealing neighborhood dogs to guide his sleigh. But was it his holiday antics--or worse--that led to his death by chocolate?

CHRISTMAS COCOA AND A CORPSE by MADDIE DAY
When local businessman Jed Greenberg is found dead with a Chocolate lab whimpering over his body, the police start sniffing around Robbie Jordan's country restaurant for answers. Was it something in Robbie's hot cocoa that killed Jed, or was it Cocoa the dog? As the suspects pile as high as her holiday tree, Robbie attempts to get to the bottom of the sickly-sweet murder . . .

DEATH BY HOT COCOA by Alex Erickson
A Christmas-themed escape game seems like the perfect pre-holiday treat for bookstore cafe owner Krissy Hancock and her best friend. But when the host is found dead in a pool of hot cocoa, it's up to Krissy and her team to catch the killer--or escape before getting killed.

There's nothing like a hot cup of murder to warm up the holiday season!  (Summary via Goodreads)



It's like getting 3 books in one !!!  Three great stories to get lost in !!!


I was on the edge of my seat reading the scary tale Christmas Cocoa Murder by Carlene O'Connor, then I felt like I was back in my hometown hanging with my friend, Robbie, in Christmas Cocoa by Maddie Day and to finish it off, I had a blast in a Christmas themed escape room in Death by Hot Cocoa by Alex Erickson.  All three stories were so cleverly written with Christmas and murder as the center points and they were all AWESOME !!!



CHRISTMAS COCOA MURDER by CARLENE O'CONNOR


What a wild tale !!  Santa Claus is murdered in a hot chocolate dunk tank during a Christmas festival and main character Siobhan O'Sullivan is on the case....even though she doesn't start working for the police (guards) until the start of the new year....officially !!!

A dead Santa, an Elf that steals, a rivalry between neighboring town Santa's, dogs wearing reindeer antlers, spiked hot chocolate (spiked in a good way...and a bad way)....so many things to turn you off from celebrating Christmas but author Carlene O'Connor will have you loving the season and singing Christmas carols by the time you finish reading Christmas Cocoa Murder  !!!


CHRISTMAS COCOA AND A CORPSE by MADDIE DAY

You should oughta have a snack handy when you dig into Christmas Cocoa and a Corpse by Maddie Day.  Once you start reading this novella, you will not stop until you get to the recipes at the end.

Day has such a knack for kidnapping the reader's attention and keeping you hostage....but it's all good !!  After all you are hanging out in a little town, South Lick, with a great cast of characters and some good comfy food.....oh yeah and a dead body.  But main character Robbie Jordan will have your mind at ease as she navigates around the case.  

In Christmas Cocoa and a Corpse things hit close to home for Robbie (which seems to be the norm for her) when her boyfriend's father is a suspect in a mysterious dead.....and right before Christmas !!   But never fear, Robbie will have everything right as rain, or in this case snow, before the cookies for Santa are out of the oven !!!


DEATH BY HOT COCOA by Alex Erickson  

I had so much fun reading Death by Hot Cocoa by Alex Erickson.  Main character Krissy goes to an escape room with her friend Rita....and the theme is Christmas !!!  How can anything go wrong ???  Well with a title of Death by Hot Cocoa it's a sure bet that something will definitely go wrong !!  When the host of the escape room is found murdered and Krissy and the others are trapped in the middle of it with their cell phones locked away in lockers and no way out,, Krissy takes it upon herself to figure out which one in this group killed the host and why......

Erickson had my full attention from the moment I read the first few sentences and I was so engrossed in the tale that I felt like I was locked in the escape room with everyone.  Even though someone was murdered, this was a real treat to read....what a creative mind !!!


Three amazing stories in one book !!  These stories with grab your attention and you will have a nice little break from life for a bit.  You can read each of them in one sitting easily or you can try to make them last......however you choose to read them, the only thing that matters is that you enjoy them....maybe with a hot beverage other than hot cocoa !!!


Review by Missi M.





Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Murder Cuts the Mustard (Beryl and Edwina Mystery #3) by Jessica Ellicott


Murder Cuts the Mustard (Beryl and Edwina Mystery, #3)
In the lean years following World War I, brash American adventuress Beryl Helliwell and prim and proper Brit Edwina Davenport form a private inquiry agency to make ends meet, hoping that crime does indeed pay . . .

The latest occurrence to disturb the peace in the quaint English village of Walmsley Parva hits rather too close to home—in fact, the prime suspect has taken up residence in Edwina's potting shed. Her elderly gardener Simpkins has been secretly sleeping there after a row with his disreputable brother-in-law and housemate, Hector Lomax.

When Hector is found murdered in the local churchyard, Constable Gibbs comes looking for Simpkins, who was last seen arguing with his kin in the pub the night before. Based on the sad state of her garden, Edwina has grave doubts that the shiftless Simpkins could muster the effort to murder anyone. The two sleuths throw themselves into weeding out suspects and rooting out the real killer.

But this is no garden variety murder. The discovery of a valuable ring, a surprise connection to Colonel Kimberly's Condiment Company, and a second homicide all force Beryl and Edwina to play catch-up as they relish the chance to contain the culprit . . .(Summary via Goodreads)



Murder Cuts the Mustard by Jessica Ellicott is the third book in her Beryl and Edwina Mystery series and it is a HUGE hit !!!  I fell in love with Beryl and Edwina when Beryl crashed in front of Edwina's house in the first book in this series, Murder in an English Village, and that love grows with every one of these books.

In Murder Cuts the Mustard the story and murder are very close to Edwina when her gardener, Simpkins, is the center of things.  First his brother-in-law and roommate, Hector, is found murdered and even though Simpkins is not a suspect, Edwina and Beryl are asked to look into the case when the father of the paperboy is arrested.  Also Simpkins is in possession of a valuable ring that even he does not know the story behind it.  And while Simpkins is trying to deal with the death of his brother-in-law, strangers come to town declaring him the recipient of a huge fortune....one that could change his life forever !!!

While Edwina and Beryl try to help Simpkins deal with all the turmoil, they are also going around town putting the pieces to Hector's last days on earth in order.....they soon realize that there are a list of people that weren't on the best of terms with Hector and they all have very good reasons to have killed him.....

I love Edwina and Beryl !!  I love their relationship and the way they work together.  I thoroughly enjoy reading this series and try to read the books slowly so that I can completely enjoy them and linger in Walmsley Parva hanging out with Edwina and Beryl as long as possible.  I hope to visit as often as I can !!!


Review by Missi M.


Monday, 18 November 2019

A Means to An End (Cold Case Investigation #3) by Lissa Marie Redmond


A Means to An End (Cold Case Investigation #3)

Detective Lauren Riley risks her life to close the book for good on a killer who's never paid for his crimes.
When cold case detective Lauren Riley returns to work after being stabbed by a fellow police officer, it's clear that her troubles are far from over. The body of a young woman has been found in the same woods as a murder victim from one of Lauren's most horrifying cases. It doesn't take long for Lauren to be back at square one confronting David Spencer, the quietly deranged man she could never prove was a killer. Lauren convinces the police chief to put together a task force to uncover the connections between the brutal slaying of both women and the murder of two cops. But things go south quickly, forcing Lauren into a deadly game that she can't afford to lose.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Okay before I even begin to tell you what I thought about A Means to an End by Lissa Marie Redmond I am going to go on record and say that there should be TWO disclaimers listed in the beginning of the book.  The first should state that the reader should be forewarned when reading this book that when they get to just past the middle of the book, you will NOT want to stop reading until you get to the end.  And then they should also state to the reader that when they get to the very last page in this book, they will feel A LOT of emotions and need to be left alone for a short time after closing the book to get their emotions in check before going on with their regular lifestyle.
A Means to an End is the third book in her Cold Case Investigation Mystery series and, boy, does Redmond know how to capture the readers attention immediately and keep a strong hold on you until the very end.....and even then, the reader is left wanting more !!  And that is especially true with this third book because of the way Redmond ends the story....
Lauren Riley is obsessed with David Spencer, who she helped get away with murder !!  She didn't intend to and didn't know what she was thinking when this all happened way back in the first book in this series, A Cold Day in Hell.  And her obsession boils over in A Means to an End and she will do whatever it takes to put him in jail where he belongs.  Unfortunately Lauren sees red when it comes to David Spencer and no matter what her partner Reese and everyone else says and does, she feels she has to do this alone !!
I would tell you more about Lauren and what happens in this story but I do not want to give ANYHING away and I feel like I might if I keep typing !!  I really cannot say enough to encourage you to read this book.  I honestly think that if you are a fan of this series or this author, it is a given that you will read it.  However if you aren't a fan of either you will be once you read one of these books.  You will have to read all of them and like me, Redmond will be on your list of authors to following and books to read.  I cannot wait to see what happens with Lauren in the fourth book........

Review by Missi M.




Friday, 15 November 2019

Pumped for Murder (A Dead-End Job Mystery #10) by Elaine Viets


Pumped for Murder (A Dead-End Job Mystery Book 10)

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.

Newly married, Helen Hawthorne can’t wait to start her life anew—and start an investigation agency with her PI hubby, Phil. Her penchant for working dead-end jobs comes in handy when they’re hired to look into a fitness fanatic who may be cheating on his wife.

Taking a receptionist job at their subject’s gym, Helen soon discovers that she has to start pumping her own iron if she wants to keep an eye on the weight-lifting lothario. And after Helen and Phil land another case that has them investigating a murder committed in the 80s, Phil is reminded way too much of the bad old days of cocaine cowboys and blood-soaked streets.

With her past finally behind her and a duo of dangerous mysteries to solve, Helen is all set to start sleuthing for real. But if she wants to make a living of it, she’s going to have to do some heavy lifting…

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)



Pumped for Murder by Elaine Viets is the tenth book in her Dead-End Job Mystery series and there is so much for the reader to enjoy and love !!  In Pumped for Murder Helen and her new husband Phil have just opened the doors to their new private investigators business and they are working out of apartment 2C at the Coronado Tropic Apartments and lucky for them they have 2 cases to work on.  Their wonderful and colorful landlady, Margery, put them in touch with her mechanic who wants the death of his brother looked into.  His brother died 25 years ago and they ruled it a suicide but the brother thinks he was murdered.  And then their neighbor and friend, Peggy, introduced them to a friend who wants to know if her husband is cheating on her.  Phil takes the reins in the cold case because some of the research will be easier for him due to his background while Helen takes a job working the front desk of the fitness center where the woman's husband works out at.

Even though Phil and Helen are working some aspects of the cases separately, they still spend plenty of time together as newleyweds and business partners. And both cases turn out to be harder than they expected......

I could read a book about the goings on around the Coronado Tropic Apartments without the murder and mystery....the characters are fun people who get along and sit by the pool every night with snacks and boxed wine....my kind of group.  Now don't get me wrong...I LOVE the trouble Helen gets into and she does it with so little effort !!!

I'm glad that Helen and Phil are FINALLY married and still living at the Coronado and love the fact that the opened their practice there as well.  I also love that even though  Helen is getting her life in order and not hiding out from the law anymore, she is still working dead-end jobs for the cases.  I love all the relationships and friendships that have developed and continue to develop and I love that when I start reading one of the books in this series I can sink into my comfy seat and settle down and hang out with some old friends.  And even though I am reading them in order you do not have to. Viets writes so that whatever book you pick up, you know what is going on immediately !!


Review by Missi M.






Saturday, 9 November 2019

Murder on the Island (Belinda Lawrence Murder Mystery #6) by Brian Kavanagh


Murder on the Island (a Belinda Lawrence Mystery #6)

Belinda and Hazel find themselves on the island of Guernsey where they are invited by Sir Mark's mother, Melba, Lady Sallinger. Other house guests include her parents, a handsome interior designer, a slovenly bookseller, a Jesuit priest, and Catherine, a mysterious woman writer. Soon after, the residents of the old Tudor mansion are thrown into confusion with the discovery of human remains buried in the garden.
The priest tells of the Guernsey Martyrs, burned alive in 1556 for theft, and he believes a silver cup from that theft, is hidden in the house. One murder and a second mysterious death lead to revelations of past crimes that resonate to the present day and result in an exciting resolution tinged by the island's history of Nazi occupation. 


"'Belinda Lawrence is a woman who is highly charged when it comes to solving a mystery. She lets nothing stand in her way right down to entering other people's home without invitation. I like her independent nature, her daring maneuvers, her determination. Mr. Kavanagh did a great job choosing characters that supported and/or worked against Belinda. A good read filled with suspense and mystery.' " - ALTERNATIVE READ
"'Belinda is the type of heroine that will be beloved and leave readers wondering what's happening to her next. I know I will be.' " - AMAZON. Yvonne Reviews.
"'Brian Kavanagh has an amusing turn of phrase and his interpretation of the wonderful English mystery series of yesteryear makes for delightful entertainment.' " - AMAZON. Angela S.
Book Six in the Belinda Lawrence mystery series."
   (Summary via Goodreads)




I am a huge fan of the Belinda Lawrence Murder Mystery series by Brian Kavanagh and have to say that Murder on the Island, the sixth book in this series, is, by far, my favorite one....so far !!!

Murder on the Island does not give the reader time to breath !!  This book should come with a warning label !!  The warning would read something like this.... " Please read the following Belinda Lawrence Mystery book in a well lit room, have a drink and a snack handy. Turn cell phone on silence and tell all friends and family you cannot be disturbed.....you will want to read this book in one sitting !!"  You may want to stop reading so that you can absorb what you are reading but it will prove to be very difficult to do.

In Murder on the Island Belinda and Hazel are going to Belinda's future mother-in-law's house with a handful of other guests who include Belinda's fiance, Mark as well as her parents.  The other guests are unknown to Belinda and Hazel and they find them quite interesting....to say the least.  Sadly, but not surprisingly, Mark is called away on business so Belinda is left to deal with her future mother-in-law herself.  Unfortunately when a storm comes in knocking power out it causes more discomfort when the housekeeper is found dead in the garden.  This is right after the gardener digs up the skeleton of a baby.

There are more questions than answers when the dark stormy night brings an unexpected visitor to the house and people are turning out to not be who they say they are.......

I was in SHOCK over a few things that happened in this book, more so than the usual shock in previous books in this series, and am very interested in how Kavanagh is going to take things in the future books.  Somethings cannot be taken back.....or can they ???

I highly recommend reading this series.  These books are very intense and can be read quickly or you can try to read them leisurely....I wish I could have but once I start, it is near impossible to put them down !!!



Review by Missi M.






Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Ginger Snapped to Death (A Cookies & Chance Mystery # 8) by Catherine Bruns


Ginger Snapped to Death

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes a hilarious holiday whodunit!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…Unless you’re Sally Muccio.
The full-time baker and sometime sleuth is ready to burst into song. She and her husband are expecting a bundle of joy, her sister’s wedding is just around the corner, and it’s Christmas, her favorite time of year. But when Sal’s the victim of a carjacking by Santa himself and a forgotten item links her to a murder, she doesn’t feel like ho-ho-hoing anymore.
Damian Ruger was a drug user, womanizer and first-class jerk. And unfortunately for Sal, she once had a connection to him in high school. The dough really hits the fan when her bakery's gingerbread cookies are found next to his dead body, and Sal's cake server is used as a murder weapon. Someone is trying to frame the expectant mother, but why? Sal has no choice but to try to clear her name...before she and the baby are singing Christmas carols in prison!

*Recipes Included!*

The Cookies & Chance Mysteries:
Tastes Like Murder (book #1)
A Spot of Murder (short story in the "Killer Beach Reads" collection)
Baked to Death (book #2)
Burned to a Crisp (book #3)
Frosted With Revenge (book #4)
Silenced by Sugar (book #5)
A Drizzle Before Dying (short story in the "Pushing Up Daisies" collection)
Crumbled to Pieces (book #6)
Sprinkled in Malice (book #7)
Ginger Snapped to Death (book #8)

What critics are saying:

"A fantastic cozy mystery!"
—InD'Tale Magazine

"I want to visit more with all of the quirky characters just to see what crazy and outrageous things they will do next!"
—Fresh Fiction

"The Cookies and Chance Mystery series is more than just a series....it's a family !! Once you read the first book, you are hooked and feel like a member of the crazy Muccio family."
—Cozy Mystery Book Reviews    (Summary via Goodreads)



OMG !!  OMG  !!  OMG  !!  In a ten star rating system, I give Ginger Snapped to Death a 14 star rating with a side of "What is she thinking ?"   And that can be asked of the author Catherine Bruns AND Sally Muccio Donovan !!!

In Ginger Snapped to Death it is December, just before Christmas and Sally is 9 months pregnant plus her sister, Gianna, is about to walk down the aisle.....so there is a lot going on !!!  If you are a fan of this series, which I so hope you are, then you know that no matter what is going on in Sally's life, nothing is normal and things can go wrong at any second. And boy does it !!!  

When Sally is carjacked by two Santa's you would think that that would be enough to push you over the edge but then a long forgotten boyfriend from high school is found dead and something from the bakery is found near his body, Sally is on the top of the suspect list.  So, of course, even though she is pregnant and ready to pop, her husband warns her to leave it alone, and the police demand she back off, Sally and Josie do the complete opposite.....just like us the reader know and want them to do !!!

Once you start reading Ginger Snapped to Death you are caught up in Sally's life....her loving husband and their relationship, her business and her commitment to the bakery and Josie, her love and hate relationship with her family and their crazy ways, her magnetic nature of getting caught up in murders and not being able to leave the investigating to the police....and all being 9 months pregnant !!!  

With Ginger Snapped to Death being the eighth book in the Cookies & Chance Mystery series and having read all of the books to date and having met the author a number of times and being that I consider the author a friend it is with the utmost of respect that I say that I don't know if I will look at a mall Santa the same way ever again ...... and that's not such a bad thing !!!


Review by Missi M.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Rocky Road & Revenge (Cambria Clyne Mysteries #2) by Erin Huss


Rocky Road & Revenge (Cambria Clyne Mysteries Book 2)

From author Erin Huss comes another “hilarious and fun” (Huffington Post) addition to the Cambria Clyne Mysteries. 

For apartment manager, Cambria Clyne, every day is a bad hair day, and her birthday is no exception. At least the rest of her life is in order. Her daughter is thriving in their new home, Cambria is up for a promotion at work, and she’s got two men vying for her attention—the hunky ex-maintenance man and her dreamy baby daddy. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, Cambria’s best friend, Amy, has just landed the role of a lifetime on the hit prime time drama Ghost Confidential. Yes, things are looking up for Cambria Clyne, and this just might be her best birthday yet! 

Until it all goes up in flames. 

Celebrations are put aside when the stars from Ghost Confidential start showing up dead. There’s a killer with a personal vendetta on the loose, and when suspicious items show up in Amy’s possession, it becomes evident that someone is trying to pin the murders on her. Now Cambria must figure out who is attempting to frame her best friend, all the while still taking care of her daughter, dealing with the crazy antics of her residents, choosing between two men, and preparing for a property inspection that could make or break her apartment management career. Will Cambria catch the killer before anyone else shows up dead? Or will this birthday be her last? 

Cambria Clyne Mysteries: 
Strawberry Swirl & Suspicion (prequel short story in the Pushing Up Daisies collection) 
French Vanilla & Felonies (book #1) 
Rocky Road & Revenge (book #2) 

"You cannot help but fall in love with Cambria!" 
—Cozy Mystery Book Reviews    (Summary via Goodreads)



Like I said after reading the first book in the Cambria Clyne Mystery series by Erin Huss, French Vanilla & Felonies, "You cannot help by fall in love with Cambria!" and that goes double for Rocky Road & Revenge.  Cambria Clyne is "all that and a bag of chips" !!

After reading French Vanilla & Felonies, I was a huge fan of Cambria.  I was in love with her and everything about her.  Now after reading Rocky Road & Revenge not only am I a fan of hers but I want to move into the apartment complex she manages and hang out with her on a regular basis !!!

In Rocky Road & Revenge things hit really close to home when Cam's best friend Amy is being framed for the murder of Amy's co-star.....okay....let's back up a bit.  Amy is an actress and Cam's best friend and she also lives in an apartment in the complex Cam manages.  Amy is on a television show where she doesn't get along with her co-star and when the co-star is found murdered, Amy is the prime suspect.  Unfortunately Amy doesn't have an alibi for the time of the murder and things are not looking good for her......

The thing I love the most about Cam is her ability to multi-task.  She is getting the property ready for it's yearly inspection, she is trying to help Amy prove her innocence, she is celebrating a birthday, taking care of her 3 year-old daughter, dating a police detective and trying to figure out the best way to co-parent her daughter with the one night stand that produced said daughter......  Even though things seem to be spiralling out of control and a normal person would hide under their bed, Cam runs at danger straight on....no seriously, she does !! You have to read it to believe it !!!

I highly encourage you to read this series.  Huss will have you holding your breath as you turn the pages, hitting yourself in the forehead while reading one page and then laughing out loud on the next.  She will have you rooted to your seat while you get lost with Cam and all the "fun" that she is having.  And when you get to the end, Huss will have you breathing a sigh of relief and smiling when you put the book down.


Review by Missi M.