Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Death by Hitchcock: An Edwina Goodman Mystery by Elissa Grodin

Death by Hitchcock: An Edwina Goodman Mystery

Physics and film seemingly have few academic features in common. However, when local siren Bunny Baldwin, a student in the Film Studies Department at Cushing College, is found strangled to death on opening night of the Hitchcock Film Festival, Physics professor Edwina Goodwin puts on her detecting hat. Using her scientific sleuthing skills to assist her almost boyfriend Police Detective Will Tenney, the pair work together to investigate the campus murder. Edwina wants to know--why did the murderer tie a strip of film around the victim's head? Why did the killer time the murder to coincide with the showing of the famous Hitchcock film Spellbound? Was Bunny really killed by strangulation or did the unusual drugs found in her system suggest poisoning? Why do all the suspects have a seemingly airtight alibi? There are certainly sufficient suspects as Edwina quickly ascertains. The head of the Film Studies Department was having a torrid and practically public affair with the victim. His wife was apparently furiuous, but not enough to keep her from also engaging in sexual hanky panky. The victim had stolen a screenplay written by her roommate, Mary, to secure a Hollywood agent. Mary is out for payback. A quirky older woman who uses plants and other natural remedies to cure various ailments followed the head of the department around like a moon-struck calf. And, of course, there's the film department's boy savant who plays chess with Edwina and keeps her updated on the various players. Can Edwina use her knowledge of physics to unlock the strange features of this most unusual crime? When a second murder occurs, it looks like she may--if the killer doesn't find her first.  (Summary via Goodreads)

This book had me hooked from the title. Who doesn't love a good old Alfred Hitchcock film? I love them and the theme throughout this book about film. Especially my favorite movie, The Scarlet Pimpernel. I know it's not a Hitchcock film but it is a classic. This book not only had a great story line but awesome characters that were very intriguing. I totally had the wrong person pegged as the killer the whole time. I really enjoyed the mystery and suspense throughout. With a hoard of suspects and motives you have to be on your toes.

Edwina Goodwin is a Physics Professor at Cushing College in New Guilford. She along with her maybe boyfriend end up in the middle of a murder mystery. They end up at the annual Hitchcock film festival with Spellbound playing only to have it stopped due to a scream. They end up finding Bunny Baldwin dead in the ladies room with a piece of film wrapped around her head. Weird huh but there's more, she was strangled with it and she had homeopathic drugs in her system? Not only do they have a huge suspect pool because Bunny wasn't the most popular person on campus everyone seems to have an air tight alibi. What now??? 

There are so many things going on Edwina decides to put her Physics to good use to try and find a killer before he or she strikes again. No one is safe in New Guilford!

Review by Penny M.

Second-Hand Murder: Book 1 in The Bandit Hills Series by Blair Merrin

Second-Hand Murder: Book 1 in The Bandit Hills Series

Summer Prescott Books is thrilled to announce the first book in this incredible Paranormal Cozy series!!! 

When second-hand shopkeeper, Cassie Cleary, receives a strange donation that is somehow linked to a recently deceased young woman, things in the eccentric town of Bandit Hills get even stranger. Will Cassie, and her P.I. pal Dash, find out the meaning behind the unusual artifact before it's too late? This Paranormal Cozy Mystery is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat, and make you laugh out loud too!  
(Summary via Goodreads)

I am a huge fan of paranormal books and when I was given the opportunity to read Second Hand Murder I jumped at it. This is the first book in a new series and I love love loved it! This series is going to be flying off the shelves. It has everything you could ever want in a paranormal series, a cat, a town known for things that go bump in the night and of course a witch. All of this is just in book one.

Cassie and her mom Julia run a second hand store in Bandit Hills, Tennessee where strange is normal. The saying is "That's Bandit Hills for ya" when anything unexplainable happens. Cassie gets a lot of boxes dropped off every morning for her to go through that people discard and she tries to give them new life in her store. 

She gets the surprise of a life time when she opens an old shoe box and finds a Voodoo doll and a picture. Strange huh? Nay not for Bandit Hill. This does make curious Cassie want to know more about it. Why would anyone give this doll to her and who is in the picture? Well Julia knows who the young woman is because she was in the obituaries a few weeks ago! What??? Could Voodoo be real? The young woman apparently just stopped living with no reason noted on her coroners report. 

With the help of her good friend Dash, her mom, her mom's friend Marla(a physic???) and a host of other amazing characters they search for who or what killed this young woman. 

This book had me on the edge of my seat and laughing out loud all at the same time. The characters are great and it is very well written. I can't wait to see where this great new series goes next.

Review by Penny M.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Girls' Night Out Murder (A Ryli Sinclair Mystery Book 2) by Jenna St. James

Wedding bells are in the air for Matt and Paige. You would think Ryli and Aunt Shirley would be hard at work preparing for the bachelorette party and wedding down at the family lake house. Instead, they are up to their ears in murder and dead bodies. Unfortunately, Ryli seems to be the number one suspect according to the Cavern Beach Police Department. Hoping to stay out of jail and make it to the wedding on time, Ryli and Aunt Shirley hunker down to catch the killer. Between jello shots and unwilling strippers, Ryli and Aunt Shirley chase down and narrow down their list of suspects. But will they find the real killer before the wedding ceremony and before Ryli is taken into custody for the murders? Or, more importantly, before Ryli ends up being the next victim.  (Summary via Amazon)

Even as I was reading it, I couldn't believe it !!  I never saw it coming !!

Jenna St. James has the knack....she has such a talent with her story-telling you won't be able to stop reading.  You will fall in love with Ryli, Garrett, Paige, Matt and all the others....especially Aunt Shirley.  

In Girl's Night Out Murder Ryli and the ladies go to the lakehouse to prepare for Matt and Paige's wedding.  This is where they spent summers growing up.  While in town Ryli, Paige and Aunt Shirley meet up with childhood friend, Susie, who owns a bakery and is making Paige's wedding cake.    Throughout the week, they are reunited with more girls from their summer days and all are invited to the bachorette party at the end of the week, even Whitney who still thinks she is better than everyone else.

Unfortunately Ryli and Aunt Shirley cannot stay out of trouble even when warned and promises made.  
Ryli overhears an arguement one night coming from her neighbor Jim's house and when she goes to check things out the following morning, she discovers Jim has been murdered.  And the local police have HER as their top suspect.

Ryli, Paige and Aunt Shirley only have a few days to clear Ryli's name and find the real murderer before Paige's wedding and Ryli's arrest !!!  

Again Jenna St. James will have you speed reading, flying through the pages and laughing out loud.  I believe I laughed more during this book than her first book, Picture Perfect Murder.....and you will also as you get to know and love Aunt Shirley.  I only wish I had an "Aunt Shirley" in my family......

Review by Missi S.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Picture Perfect Murder by Jenna St James

Picture Perfect Murder

Ryli Sinclair had no idea moonlighting as the forensic photographer for the Granville Police Department would put her in the direct path of a crazed killer. Determined to capture the murderer before she's next in line, Ryli enlists the help of her best friend, Paige, and her elderly great-aunt Shirley, a former private investigator. Driving Aunt Shirley's coveted 1965 Falcon for inspiration, Ryli and the girls chase down clues and the murderer...all with comical results. If only the handsome chief of police, Garrett Kimble, wasn't hampering her every move.  (Summary via Goodreads)

We all know that a cozy mystery is a "cute" mystery story involving a small town/community where everyone usually knows everyone, there's a cat or dog in the story line and someone in the town takes it upon themselves to try to solve the crime before the police do.....  That is what I'm going to refer to as the "filling".  But it is what is around the "filling" that makes the cozy different.  

Jenna St. James puts a lot of layers, frosting and sprinkles around the filling in Picture Perfect Murder.  This is the first book in her Ryli Sinclair Mystery series and I am very thankful that I have the second book on hand.  

The main character, Ryli, has a very interesting and comical group of friends and family.  You will find yourself laughing out loud more than once while reading about what her great-aunt Shirley gets involved in and just her way about herself.  

After Ryli gets called to photograph a murder scene for the police, she gets the urge to try to solve the murder to impress the Chief of Police, Garrett, who she can't stop drooling over.  Even though she is told over and over by Chief Kimble, it falls on deaf ears especially as her group of amatuer sleuths increases with great-aunt, retired private investigator encouraging it all.  

Not only does Picture Perfect Murder have a comical group of characters, it has just the right amount of romance, a tiny bit of danger, the killer gets caught in the end and there is a second book, Girl's Night Out Murder, ready to be read !!!

And believe me, the way Picture Perfect Murder ends, you will want to have book 2 ready.

And you are getting the chance to receive Girl's Night Out Murder FREE ! ! ! !  Email me a question you would like to ask the author, Jenna and your name will go into a drawer to WIN the book !!!!!  

Review by Missi S.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Swimsuit Body (Cypress Bay #2) by Eileen Goudge

Swimsuit Body (Cypress Bay, #2)

New York Times "bestselling author Eileen Goudge blends mystery and romance in a captivating new novel featuring intrepid property manager Tish Ballard, whose client s beachfront home becomes a headline-making homicide scene With a Hollywood movie about to start filming in the California seaside town of Cypress Bay, Tish Ballard, owner of Rest Easy Property Management, welcomes her first celebrity tenant. Delilah Ward isn t your typical beautiful, spoiled actress; she s America s sweetheart. Even Tish is charmed by the young star, which makes her gruesome discovery of Delilah s bloodied corpse all the more gut-wrenching. When someone near and dear to Tish is named a person of interest, the fearless property manager defies the wishes of her former heartthrob, homicide detective Spence Breedlove, and launches her own investigation with help from her best friend, Ivy, and her erstwhile sidekick, McGee. But no sooner than she starts rubbing elbows with the movie cast and crew including Delilah s eerily efficient personal assistant, the starlet s sexy costar, and the film s predatory director is her own life threatened. With so much at stake, Tish has no choice but to do whatever it takes to lure a crafty killer out of hiding."Swimsuit Body" is the 2nd novel in the Cypress Bay Mysteries, which began with "Bones and Roses," but the books can be read and enjoyed in any order.  (Summary via Goodreads)

WOW !!  WOW !!  WOW !!

I am in SHOCK !!!  I never saw it coming and I bet you won't either !!  

Swimsuit Body is the 2nd book in the Cypress Bay Mystery series by Eileen Goudge.  I, unfortunately, did not read the first book but I don't feel as I missed anything.  Although I may go back and read the 1st book, Bones and Roses just because I loved this one so much.    You cannot help but fall instantly in love with Tish Ballard and her quirkly circle of friends.  She has a great job managing homes on the ocean and taking care of the rental aspects as well.  

Tish is beside herself when one of her homes is rented by a celebrity, Delilah Ward, who will be staying for a while due to filming a movie in the area.  Little did anyone know that this would be the last stop for Delilah.  Delilah is found murder by the pool by Tish which sends Tish into the world of movie stars and elaborate parties trying to find the murderer.  

As she bumps elbows with the cast and crew of the movie scene, she also bumps heads with Detective Spence Breedlove who happens to be her high school crush gone bad.  As she gets to know the cast and crew it becomes harder and harder to know who to trust....after all they are actors......  Can Tish solve the mystery before another person ends up dead.....

You will be on the edge of your seat especially when you get to a certain point in the book.  Once you overcome the shock of it, you won't be able to stop reading ......

This book is due out on June 7th but if I were you, I'd pre-order it now.  

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont (Wrenn Grayson, #1) by Connie Chappell

Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont (Wrenn Grayson, #1)

Historian Wrenn Grayson arrives at the Rosemont mansion expecting to receive payment for her services from the mansion's new owner, Clay Addison. That expectation dies when she and Clay find Trey Rosemont murdered on the foyer floor. Across town, police officers race to Eastwood University. Priceless Egyptian artifacts were stolen from the history department safe. Wrenn's longtime love, Eastwood professor Gideon Douglas, heads the department. Only recovery of the artifacts will save his career.

Life in Havens, Ohio, doesn't stop for this crime spree. Wrenn works for Mayor K.C. Tallmadge. He wishes Wrenn would stop searching down clues ahead of the police and pacify temperamental playwright Barton Reed. Barton's play is just days away from opening in the town's historic Baxter Theater.

Amid murder, theft, or curtain calls, Wrenn's instincts prove sharp. But it's her stubborn one-woman approach that places her directly in the killer's path.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Great start to a new series. Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont is full of twists and turns. It will have you gathering clues with every turn of the page. This is a nonstop suspense thriller with an amazing cast of characters. It is very well written especially the detail that she goes into describing the historical sites. Loved this!

Wrenn Grayson is a very head strong woman who has set up her own business called Wrenn Grayson, Historian. She even has her first paying customer, Clay Addison. He just bought the Rosemont estate and wanted all the historical information on the property. He is not only a friend but the retired Chief of Police for Havens, Ohio. She goes to the house to meet Clay to pick up her first paycheck and ends up getting more than she bargained. She and Clay went into the house only to find the body of Trey Rosemont a man that was already supposed to be dead? Things go down hill from there for Wrenn and Clay when Lieutenant Frank Elmore shows up with a chip on his shoulder and fire in his eyes. Long story! 

Now Clay becomes the prime suspect and Wrenn has to do something. Who would want to murder Trey Rosemont? Where has he been for 25 years? And why come back now?

To make life even more interesting and frustrating Wrenn's boyfriend, Professor Gideon Douglas is also dealing with the police. Uuuggghhhh! There has been a robbery at the University. Someone has broken into the vault and stolen an Egyptian death mask and jewelry that are priceless. This is going to be devastating not only for any further funding to the University but to Gideon's reputation. 

What is Wrenn to do??? Yep you guessed it she is going to do what ever it takes to clear Clay of murder and help her hunky boyfriend get the stolen goods back. But can she do all of this while a killer is targeting her??? 

I am excited for book two to see where the author takes the characters. There is some strong language and sexual innuendos. But it doesn't take away from the book.

Review by Penny M.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Another emotional day in Cozy Mystery Land..... Jim Lavene has reunited with his wife, Joyce. Together again Forever......

I woke up this morning and got on Facebook on my new phone and the first thing I see is that Jim Lavene passed away suddenly yesterday.  I thought it was a cruel joke or something.  How is that possible ?  He just sent me the latest book, The Last to Remember, to review 4 days ago.  He posted on Facebook yesterday morning !!!  But the deeper I got, the more it became real.  Everyone was posting condolences on his page.....

How can someone that you haven't even met have such an affect on you ?  I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Jim Lavene or his amazing wife Joyce.  But we had a connection, like some many other people, when we read their books.  

Jim and Joyce were a team....but more than that they were so strongly connected to each other, it was like they were one.  We were all emotional when we learned of Joyce's sudden passing last fall but for Jim it was devastating.  He lost his other half.  They say that when 2 people are totally connected and so deep in love that after one of them passes away, the other will most likely pass soon after.  I cannot imagine the pain that Jim felt every minute of every day after Joyce passed.  

Everyone is saying that Jim is now with Joyce where he belongs.  They are back together as they should be.  I understand that and I agree.  I just cannot help but feel alittle selfish and wish that he didn't have to go so soon.

But Jim will never be gone, just like his wife, he will live forever in the stories that he wrote and the stories that thay wrote together.  It may be a little sad when I pick up a book to read but while I read it I know that they will be looking over my shoulders.....together again at last.

My condolences go out to the Lavene family.... No words can even express the deepness of their loss....  May they find some comfort in knowing that Jim and Joyce are together again and are as one....

RIP Jim Lavene....I, myself, will miss you deeply.  

Jim & Joyce Lavene.....
May they fly high over the clouds together...

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Streusel Creme Killer: Book 5 in The INNcredibly Sweet Series by Summer Prescott

Streusel Creme Killer: Book 5 in The INNcredibly Sweet Series

If you loved the Frosted Love Series, you’ll love the INNcredibly Sweet Series, which continues the ongoing adventures of Missy, Chas and the gang, after their move from LaChance, Louisiana, to the sleepy seaside town of Calgon, Florida. 

Missy and Echo return to Calgon, after an eventful visit to Louisiana. Trouble arises when the sweet bookstore owner, whose business is right next door to Echo’s candle shop, discovers a body in her store. Newly appointed Medical Examiner, the enigmatic Timothy Eckels, makes a gruesome discovery that will have prominent citizens of Calgon shaking in their boots.   (Summary via Goodreads)

I am so in love with The INNcredibly Sweet Series! It deserves more than 5 stars. Book 5 Streusel Creme Killer will have you on the edge of your seat. Again, I know I have said this before but it is true that once you start a Summer Prescott book you can't stop. There is always so much excitement that I want to find out what is going to happen next in Calgon.

All I can say is WOW and WOW! Missy and Echo are back from their adventure in LaChance, Louisiana and ready to get back to a normal routine. Well we all know that things just don't work that way in Calgon, Florida and Missy,Echo,Chas,Kel,and Spencer are in the middle of a disaster! When Echo goes to open her store she sees chaos right in front of her eyes. Carmen Feeney is standing outside her bookstore in tears and hyperventilating. Come to find out through Echo's fiancé Kel that the Vice Mayor Diane Fellman was found dead in Carmen's store.

 Who would want to kill the Vice Mayor??? And why in Carmen's bookstore? 

Things get even stranger when Tim Eckels the town mortician and medical examiner with his assistant Fiona take a look at the body. I don't want to give too much away but you might want to have an empty stomach. YIKES!!! It is crazy! Then more starts to happen that not only involves their small group but the whole town. Not to mention Chas already has a prime suspect, Carmen the elderly bookstore owner? What? Missy and Echo venture out on their own to try and help Carmen who they just can't believe killed anyone. 

This book will have you scratching your head and saying "did that just happen???" The twists and turns abound in this book. I can't wait for book 6. No one is safe in Calgon. Who will be next???

Review by Penny M.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Raisin the Dead (Bread & Batter Mystery #2) by Karoline Barrett

Raisin the Dead (Bread & Batter Mystery #2)

The author of Bun for Your Life returns to Destiny, New York, where bakery owners and amateur sleuths Molly Tyler and Olivia Williams never crumble under pressure...
While the rest of Destiny is focused on the arrival of an upper crust perfume mogul, Molly is more concerned about what’s on the front page of the newspaper: her mother. Library director Anne Tyler was photographed at the most romantic restaurant in town having a cozy dinner with library advisory board member Philip Baldeli. But there’s more for Molly to worry about after Philip is found dead a few days later.
When Detective Sean Corsino zeroes in on Anne as a person of interest in the case, it turns down the heat on his budding romance with Molly. But after he’s injured during the course of his investigation, Molly and Olivia must step in to sift through the clues and clear Anne’s name.  ( Summary via Goodreads )

I have a confession to make.... I read this book slowly.  After I read Bun for Your Life which is the first book in this series by Karoline Barrett I knew I never wanted to leave Destiny.  So when Raisin the Dead came along, I took my time.

There is so much to love about this series.  You have Molly who is co-owner of a bakery with one of her best friends, Olivia.  Her other best friend, Emily, owns a bookstore next store.  Molly is dating Sean, the hunky detective in town.  Her parents are still happily married and her mom is the Director at the library.
Molly has a nice apartment in an old Victorian house and her landlady, Dottie,  is a nice old lady who is like a grandmother to her, right down to homemade cookies.  And the other tenant in the house just happens to be the hunky detective !!!  

I mean seriously.... Why wouldn't you want to live there ??

Okay maybe there is a murder that puts Molly's mom at the top of the list of suspects.  And, of course, Molly cannot just sit quietly and wait for Sean to do his job questioning her mother when the "real" murderer is still out there.  So with the help of her reluctantly friends and one eager employee, she sets out to solve the case.

You really must put this series on your TBR list and if you read them slowly that is okay.  Destiny is such a great small town that you will fall in love with it and not want to leave either !!!

On a side note to the author.....  Karoline PLEASE rush me the 3rd book when it is out.  I miss Destiny already.

Review by Missi S.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Heated and Spiced With Murder (A Josie Rizzo Cozy Mystery Book 3) by J R Pearson

Heated and Spiced With Murder (A Josie Rizzo Cozy Mystery Book 3)

The heat is on, in more ways than one! 

It's date night for Josie and Tony, and what promises to be a very spicy evening is snuffed out when Tony's close friend, chef Manny Epstein, is arrested for the murder of rival restaurant owner, Marco Gonzales. 
Tony is certain police have arrested the wrong man and by all means, he is determined to find the truth. 
Unfortunately, he and Josie are up against a couple of dirty cops to uncover who the real killer is. Tagging along for the investigation, Josie's tech-savvy twin brothers are there to help prevent Manny from being thrown behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. 
All the while, Josie and Tony's relationship starts to heat up and Josie soon learns why her brother, Reese, isn't a fan of the new happy couple. 

Grab a napkin! This one tasty mystery you don't want to miss!   (Summary via Goodreads)

Wholly Mollie Guacamole!!! Heated and Spiced with Murder book three in The Josie Rizzo Cozy Mystery series is too hot to handle! This is a must read series. When I start reading these books I have to finish the same day. Each book leaves you with an exciting ending and surprises.

In this book Tony and Josie are finally on a romantic date together at a hot spot in West Emily, Tortillas and Beans. It's owned by Manny Epstein who was and still is like a father to Tony since his father went to prison for killing his mother. Everything is going great until two officers from West Emily walk in and take Manny down town for the murder of Marco Gonzales, the owner of Pico De Gonzales a rival restaurant. He and Marco have been at odds for years and this means he is suspect number one! Tony is not going to stand for this so he and Josie start their own investigation. Tony is not happy about Josie being apart of it but he knows she is stubborn and at least this way he can keep an eye on her. NOT! Josie with the help of her younger twin brothers do some investigating on their own. 

Will Tony be able to keep Josie safe and out of the underbelly of West Emily? And will they be able to find the real killer before they shut the jail doors for good on Manny???

I love, love, love this series. I can't wait for book four. I feel some big surprises coming our way.

Review by Penny M.

A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall

When antique dealer Kat Stanford stumbles upon the partially mummified body of a young woman in an abandoned wing at Honeychurch Hall, suspicion falls on those who had been living there many years ago. And it appears that the deceased had been murdered. Given her mother Iris’s checkered past, Kat is not surprised to learn that Iris knew the victim.

Meanwhile, the unexpected appearance of former lothario Bryan Laney sets female hearts aflutter. Despite the passing years, time has not dampened his ardor for Iris, but the feeling is not reciprocated.

With stories of hidden treasure and secret chambers, past and present collide. As Kat becomes embroiled once more in her mother’s mysterious and tumultuous bygone days, she comes to realize that life is never black and white, and sometimes it is necessary to risk your own life to protect the lives of the ones you love.  (Summary via Goodreads)

This is book three in The Honeychurch Hall mystery series. I have not read the first two books in the series and feel it would have helped to have a little background on the characters but that said I was still able to follow along. 

Kat is the local expert when it comes to Antiques and Appraisals. She has been asked by Rupert, the current Earl to look at a painting. This doesn't make Lady Edith happy at all! While trying to take a drawing off the wall Kat opens up a secret passage with a room full of books and bookcases and literally falls into another room below. She and her mom Iris find the skeleton of a young woman that seems to have been there since the early 50's and holds a lot of secrets. Some that people may die to keep covered??? 

This is where things become very interesting. Between all the secrets, suspense, and intrigue you will be tied to this book. 

Just so happens that a lot of people from around the time the women died are still at Honeychurch Hall. Things go down hill quickly when another murder occurs. 

I enjoyed this book not only for the wonderful plot line and writing but for the humor. This book will have you snickering and wondering how many secrets can be buried and why??? Will this madcap group be able to solve the mysteries and who will end up paying the price for all the secrets?

Review by Penny M.