Monday, 18 September 2017

Hair Brained (Bad Hair Day Mystery #14) by Nancy J. Cohen


Hair Brained (Bad Hair Day Mystery, #14)
When hairstylist Marla Vail’s best friend is hurt in a suspicious car accident, Marla assumes guardianship of her infant son. No sooner does Marla say, “Baby want a bottle?” than she’s embroiled in another murder investigation. Her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, determines the crash may not have been an accident after all. But then, who would want Tally—or Ken in the car with her—out of the way? As Marla digs deeper into her friends’ lives, she realizes she didn’t know them as well as she’d thought. Nonetheless, it’s her duty as their son’s guardian to ensure his safety, even if it means putting her own life at risk. Can she protect the baby and find the culprit before someone else ends up as roadkill?  (Summary via Goodreads)

It is hard to believe that Hair Brained is the 14th book in Nancy J. Cohen's Bad Hair Day Mystery series.  I will admit I have not read all of the books in this series....but it doesn't matter !!  This is the 2nd book in the series that I have read and it reads like it could be a stand alone book.

In Hair Brained there is so much going on that you get lost in Marla and Dalton's lives instantly.  As they deal with the death of their good friend Ken, Ken's wife's injuries and caring for their newborn son Luke, you realize that they are doing exactly what you would in their situation.  As executors to their estates and guardians of Luke, they have a lot on their plates.  While Tally is still in a coma Marla and Dalton have to handle everything for Tally while she is in that state.  There are a lot of unanswered questions regarding what to do with Ken's insurance business as well as Tally's shop.  

Everything changes when they find out that Ken was responding to a work related matter and was run off the road intentionally.  As Dalton and Marla go in different directions investigating their friends death, Marla finds out that she doesn't really know her friend as well as she did.  But really .... How well do we know our friends ??  Marla realizes that there is a lot about her friend that she didn't know and hopes that Tally recovers so that she can learn the truth about some of the stuff that is uncovered.

As you are reading Hair Brained and riding along with Marla, you will begin to agree with her and her theories until you turn the page and something happens.  One minute you are sure that the accident was a result of something Ken did but then Marla finds out something relating to Tally and you begin to think that maybe Tally was the intended target........

So many great possibilities that you are always thinking and on your toes while reading this book.  And when you get to the end and everything is revealed....it will blow your mind !!!  I did not see that coming.....did you ??

Review by Missi S.




Friday, 15 September 2017

Cat Got Your Secrets (Kitty Couture Mystery #3) by Julie Chase


Cat Got Your Secrets (Kitty Couture Mystery, #3)
Lacy Marie Crocker has settled into a comfortable groove back home in New Orleans, and with Valentine's Day right around the corner, she's busier than ever running a thriving pet boutique, helping her mother organize the upcoming National Pet Pageant, and untangling her complicated love life. But when delivering a king-sized order of dreidel-shaped doggy biscuits for a Saint Berdoodle's bark-mitzvah, Lacy stumbles into yet another murder scene--and the last person to see the victim alive was her own father. It's up to Lacy to clear her dad's name from the suspect list before Detective Jack Oliver has to cage him for good. But just when she starts pawing at the truth, she receives a threatening letter from a mysterious blackmailer bent on silencing her with her own secrets. And Lacy's not the only one with bones in her closet. Time's running out in this deadly cat-and-mouse game in Cat Got Your Secrets, the delightfully funny third novel in Julie Chase's Kitty Couture mystery series, perfect for "all those feline fanciers who love to read Rita Mae Brown" (Suspense Magazine).   (Summary via Goodreads)

You know you are reading a good book when you are completely lost in the story and you haven't finished Chapter 1 yet.  If you've read the first 2 books in the Kitty Couture Mystery series by Julie Chase, you are already a member of the family.  If you haven't read any yet, what are you waiting for ??

Lacy Crocker lives in New Orleans and although she comes from money, she has worked hare for what she has.  She has her won home and her own business.  She owns Furry Godmother which is a pet bakery and pet accessory store.....and she makes everything herself !!  Even though the store keeps her more than busy, she always seems to end up in the middle of a police investigation.  This time is no different except this time the person of interest is her own father !!  Her dad was the last one to see the deceased alive and of course they had an arguement that was recorded on survelliance cameras. Now her father wouldn't hurt a fly, he's a successful vetenarian !! 

Lacy of course cannot let the good detective Jack Oliver handle the case on his own.  She has to investigate as well.  Even though Lacy has enough to keep her out of trouble being on the National Pet Pageant Welcoming Committee with her mother, running the shop, baking for the shop, making costumes, juggling two guys, she has to clear her dad's good name.

Okay back up.... 2 guys ?  Yes. Not only is there something brewing between Lacy and Jack but a friend from high school, Chase, has let his feelings known to Lacy.  Personally I love the dynamics between Lacy and Jack and think they would make a smashing couple but that is not up to me. (So Julie something for your to think about.....)

I LOVE this series !!  I love the Lacy and her family and their relationships.  I love seeing Lacy and her mother growing closer and understanding each other more.  Lacy's father is just a great dad and supports Lacy no matter what she does.  Lacy has a great best friend, an awesome job, lives in an entertaining area that is far from dull, she has the interest of 2 amazing men, a cat she takes to work..... It is such a treat to read these books and I encourage you to add them to your list if you haven't already.  You won't regret it !!

I cannot wait for more Kitty Couture Mystery books and hope they never stop !!!

Review by Missi S.


  

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Asking for Truffle (A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #1) by Dorothy St. James


Asking for Truffle (A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #1)

When Charity Penn receives a letter saying she won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina complete with free cooking lessons at the town's seaside chocolate shop, The Chocolate Box, she's immediately skeptical. She never entered any contest. Her former prep school friend offers to look into the phony prize--only to end up drowned in a vat of chocolate. Struck with guilt, Penn heads to the southern beach town to investigate why he was killed. But as wary as she is of the locals, she finds herself lured into their eccentric vibe, letting her defenses melt away and even learning the art of crafting delicious chocolates. That is, until delight turns bittersweet as she steps straight into the midst of a deadly plot to destroy the seaside town. Now, only Penn's quick thinking and a mysterious cask of rare chocolate can save the town she's learning to love. Rich and decadent, Asking for Truffle, the first in a new cozy series by Dorothy St. James, is sure to be a delectable read for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.  (Summary via Goodreads)


I'm going to tell you that NO review or comments will do this book justice !  Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James is a MUST, MUST, MUST read !!  

The first sentence "The strange letter I'd received in the mail earlier today had me popping chocolate squares into my mouth as if they were candy." .....  Tell me that doesn't make you want to keep reading.  Here is an author with intrigue and humor and its only the first sentence !!  

And the main character....the girl is named Charity by a grandmother who hated that fact that her precious son got a girl pregnant in college and the girl took off leaving the baby, Charity, on their front steps.  So Charity who hates her name (Obviously !!) goes by her last name Penn.  

So this strange letter that she received in sentence one tells her that she won a trip to a chocolate store in a seaside town and cooking lessons at the candy store.  Are you in yet ??  Who wouldn't want to win a trip like that !!  But she, of course, is skeptical, not because of her upbringing but because she didn't enter the contest.  So her good friend Skinny, yes that's right another great nickname, offers to go to the seaside town and check it out for her.  Unfortunately he is killed in a vat of chocolate right after he leaves an exciting but mysterious message for Penn.  Penn has no other choice but to go there herself to check out the chocolate store and find out why Skinny was killed.

Have you packed your bags yet ??  Okay well once she gets to this rundown seasside town she meets a bunch of interesting people, 2 very attractive brothers, and the owner of the chocolate shop that insists that she take the cooking lessons.  She does, of course, take the lessons but because of her upbringing she is extremely skeptical.  After all she didn't enter the contest and her friend was killed in the store !!  

Once you start reading you will find it hard to stop.  And as you get into the story you will begin to think you know who killed Skinny but then you will turn the page and read something else that will change that thought.  St. James will have you reclined in the chair turning pages and keep you guessing all the way until the end....and isn't that what you want in a book ??

There is so much to love about this story.... the people, Penn's past, Penn's future, the 2 attractive brothers, the Chocolate Box, the quaint little seaside town, the chocolate, Penn's crazy and vicious dog.... And like I said no review will do it justice.....YOU have to read it for yourself !!!  

The only thing that you will not like is that it ends.....but hopefully it won't be long before there is a second book in this AMAZING series.

Review by Missi S.




Monday, 11 September 2017

Dead in the Water (Welcome Back to Scumble River #1) by Denise Swanson


Dead in the Water

The first book in a brand new series featuring New York Timesbestselling author Denise Swanson's beloved Scumble River setting and characters, Dead in the Water is a gripping mystery that won't let you go until you've turned the last page.

A twister, a kidnapping, and a murder--oh my! Scumble River may never be the same.

For school psychologist Skye Denison, there's certainly no place like home. When a violent tornado devastates her small hometown of Scumble River, she can't see how the community will ever recover--especially since town councilman Zeke Lyons appears to have perished in the twister.

But things get even worse for Skye when her police chief husband, Wally, disappears in the midst of investigating Zeke's death, and evidence arises pointing to foul play. Did Zeke really die in the storm, or was he murdered? And could Wally be next on the criminal's hit list?  (Summary via Goodreads)



Denise Swanson's new series beginning with Dead in the Water is a smash !!!  And I'm not just saying that because the town of Scumble River is dealing with tornado's and the after effects.  

You will fall in love with Skye and Wally and the love they have for each other and their community.  With Wally being the Chief of Police he has a lot to deal with regarding the tornado and then when a dead body is discovered it becomes over-whelming.  But before he can begin any kind of investigation, he is sent on an errand by the Mayor and kidnapped.

You can't help but worry about Skye as you read the story seeing as she is very pregnant, dealing with the tornado destroying her home and then not knowing where Wally is.  Her strength and determination are amazing.

Swanson also has the over-bearing mother, the unlikable mayor and an overly rich father.  Skye's mother, who also works as a dispatcher for the police, is like any mother when her daughter is pregnant.....or just a tad bit more but you can see that she only wants whats best for her daughter.  The Mayor, who is also Skye's uncle, on the other hand is a horrible person !!  With him there is instant hatred that you will have throughout the book.  Which is fine, there always has to be someone to dislike, even if its not the murderer.  And everyone wants a father or father-in-law like Carson, Wally's dad.  He is so rich that it is crazy but what he does with his money only makes you love him.

Not only does Swanson tell a great, mind catching story but the characters are so unique as well.  Even the motorcycle gang has loveable characters, if you can wrap your head around that.

Dead in the Water was extremely hard to put down.  You will want to continue reading to see what happens in Scumble River, who killed the councilman Zeke, and how Skye and Wally handle the tornado.  

It is clear when reading Dead in the Water that family and community mean everything to the people of Scumble River and the extent that a family member will do for their family is the difference between life and death.....

Review by Missi S.





Tuesday, 29 August 2017

A Knit before Dying (Tangled Web Mystery #2) by Sadie Hartwell


A Knit before Dying

A new business might add some much-needed charm to downtown Dorset Falls—and draw tourists to Josie’s yarn shop. But when someone gets murdered, a close-knit community could come undone . . .
 
Shop owner Josie Blair is finally settling into the pace of living in Dorset Falls, Connecticut. Between running Miss Marple’s Knits, jumpstarting a blog, and handcrafting items with the help of her knitting pals, Josie’s too preoccupied to worry about her past in New York. And thanks to Lyndon and Harry, the owners of the brand new antique shop across the street, she has another project in her midst—repurposing a box of vintage crocheted doilies adorned with the most curious needlework . . . 
 
But before Josie can formally welcome her neighbors, she discovers Lyndon stabbed to death by a rusty old pair of sheep shears on the floor of his shop. Police have pinned Harry as the killer, but Josie isn’t so sure. Now, she’s lacing up for another homicide investigation—and no eyelet or stitch can go unexamined, lest she herself becomes ensnared in the criminal’s deadly design . . . 
 
INCLUDES ORIGINAL KNITTING PATTERNS!  (Summary via Goodreads)



The Tangled Web Mystery series should come with a warning.... You will NOT be able put the books down.  Before you pick up a book you will need to clear your schedule for the forseeable future.  You will get lost with Josie in Dorset Falls and will not want to leave....even when you finish the book.

Sadie Hartwell is an amazing author and her talent is amazing as well  !!  When you are reading her books, you will be taken away on a journey meeting some awesome people.

Josie Blair is just getting use to living in Dorset Falls with her grouchy Uncle Eb.  She is now the proud owner of her Aunt Cora's yarn store and she is about to be a landlady for an antique store opening up next door.  That is until one of the owners is murdered.  Josie has a way with secretly figuring things out. And she always seems to ask the right questions.  

When she is cleaning a box of doiles, one of the doiles is very different and she starts to wonder about who the owner could have been and what secrets the box holds.  It will amaze you how Hartwell can take a case from years ago and work it into the present time and how she involves Josie will knock your socks off !!!

I love Dorset Falls and everything and everyone there !!  I wish it were an actual place that I could visit.  But I'll take reading about it and enjoying my time between the covers of the book....

Review by Missi S.


Yarned and Dangerous (Tangled Web Mystery #1) by Sadie Hartwell


Yarned and Dangerous (Tangled Web Mystery, #1)
Time has not been kind to sleepy Dorset Falls, Connecticut, where an erstwhile resident is hoping to bring a tattered yarn shop back to life—but with a murderer on the loose, the whole town is in knots…
 
Josie Blair left Dorset Falls twelve years ago in hopes of making it big in New York City. But after earning an overpriced master’s degree and getting fired by a temperamental designer, she finds herself heading back to her hometown. Her great-uncle was injured in a car accident, and newly unemployed Josie is the only person available to take care of him. Uncle Eb’s wife didn’t survive the crash, so Josie is also tasked with selling the contents of her Aunt Cora’s yarn shop. But the needling ladies of the Charity Knitters Association pose a far bigger challenge than a shop full of scattered skeins…
 
Miss Marple Knits is one of the few businesses still open in the dreary downtown. Josie can’t imagine how it stayed open for so long, yet something about the cozy, resilient little shop appeals to her. But when one of the town’s most persnickety knitters turns up dead in a pile of cashmere yarn, Josie realizes there’s something truly twisted lurking beneath the town’s decaying fa├žade…  (Summary via Goodreads)


When you read a book, you want the story to take you away.  Well pack your bags ..... you are going to want to move to Dorset Falls !!

In Yarned and Dangerous, the first Tangled Web Mystery series, Sadie Hartwell takes you to Dorset Falls with Josie Blair.  Josie goes there to take care of her great-uncle Eb and to close Aunt Cora's yarn store.  As Josie tries to help Uncle Eb who has a cast on his leg from the car accident that killed Aunt Cora and before she can take inventory of the contents of the yarn store, she finds a woman dead in the storeroom.  It turns out to be one of the woman she recently met that was a member of the Charity Knitters Association.

With the help of another member of the Association she begins taking inventory of the store however her heart isn't into it.  And then some strange things start happening that make Josie wonder about the people in this small town.

Hartwell has made a great character out of Josie you cannot help but fall in love with her.  And you will even find a place for her grouchy Uncle Eb along with everyone else in town.  You will instantly want to have coffee at the general store and stroll along Main Street even though there aren't a lot of businesses on it.

Dorset Falls has something for everyone so find a comfy spot to sit, grab a beverage and a snack and settle in with Yarned and Dangerous.  I was so engrossed in the story that I read it in one day.  That is not required or recommended....take your time and rest assured.....there is a second book in the series, A Knit Before Dying and I am dying to read it !!!

Review by Missi S.



   

Monday, 28 August 2017

Cat Got Your Diamonds (Kitty Couture Mystery #1) by Julie Chase


Cat Got Your Diamonds (Kitty Couture Mystery #1)

Grandeur and opulence are everything in the famed New Orleans Garden District where pets are family and no bling is too big. Opening Furry Godmother, pet boutique and organic treat bakery, is Lacy Marie Crocker’s dream come true--until the glitter gun used to make her Shih Tzu tutus becomes a murder weapon. And Lacy becomes public enemy #1.

Now Detective Jack Oliver is hounding Lacy, and her Furry Godmother investor wants out before his name is tarnished by association. To make matters worse, a string of jewel heists with suspicious ties to the murder case has New Orleans residents on edge. To save her dream, Lacy must take a stand, put her keen eyes to work, and unravel what really happened at her shop that night. But can Lacy sniff out the killer cat burglar in time to get her tail-raising designs on the catwalk?

Witty and whimsical, Cat Got Your Diamonds, the first in a new cozy series by Julie Chase, will be the cat's meow for fans of Rita Mae Brown and Miranda James.  (Sumary via Goodreads)




I actually started this series on Book 2, Cat Got Your Cash, and I loved it so much I just had to read the one that started it all.  

Cat Got Your Diamonds by Julie Chase is the first book in the Kitty Couture Mystery series and this series is such a treat to read !!  It doesn't matter that I read the first two out of order because as soon as you start reading you are completely engrossed in the story.  Chase's writing makes it so easy to become a part of the story.   Your imagination takes off while you read and you can see everything that you are reading !!

You will fall in love with Lacy and want to work in her store.  She owns Furry Godmother which is a store that makes accessories and outfits for pets !!  And Lacy makes they all herself.  Imagine one of your favorite clothing stores and picture all the things in it are for pets to wear.....how fun is that !!!

You can also respect Julie in the way that even though she comes from money, she wants to handle the business without the help of her family money.  She is a very independent and determined woman .... and she can take care of herself.  Even when there is an intruder in her shop, someone is trying to scare her and the sexy Detective that all the women in town are drooling over is trying to protect her, she remains strong.  

You will appreciate the relationship she has with her parents.  And even though her mother comes from old money and has extravagant dinner parties, she is still a down to earth mother....most of the time.  And her father is like most fathers in that he wants his daughter to be happy.  They are there for her no matter what and as you read you can see the love that they all share.

And the ladies in town and the pets that they have that need attention from Lacy's store are a HOOT !!  I know dressing up dogs is no big deal, thats been done for a while.  But chickens and llamas ??  And there are rivals among the ladies and who can outdo who and which pets will have the best outfits !!  The ladies in town, including her own mother, are going to keep Lacy's store a float.

I am in love with this series and am very glad that Book 3, Cat Got Yoru Secrets is in my pile to read.  I cannot wait to see what Furry Godmother has in store next........

Review by Missi S.




Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A Burning Hot Murder (A Sullivan Sisters Mystery Book 2) by Jenna St. James


A Burning Hot Murder (A Sullivan Sisters Mystery Book 2)
With only two weeks before Jax's new bakery is to open, Jaycee and the gang are hard at work finalizing arrangements. Unfortunately, the untimely murder of two Traveler's Bay citizens is putting a damper on the happy occasion. Even worse is the fact that both Jaycee and Jax are once again thrust into the forefront as prime suspects. When Jaycee's boyfriend, Detective Connors, is taken off the case due to a conflict of interest, Gramps gives Jaycee the go-ahead to work her magic and solve the case. Amid the chaos of serving up drinks and gossip at Gone with the Whiskey, cop car chases, motorcycle jumping, gang-initiation rituals, and joyriding in a Miata-smashing truck, Jaycee and the gang must once again traverse their way into clearing the Sullivan name.  (Summary via Goodreads)


Jenna St. James is the author of 2 amazing book series.  In her Ryli Sinclair Mystery Series her main character Ryli is a forensic photographer and with the help of her best friend Paige and her great-aunt Shirley, they "investigate" murders.  In this series you cannot help but fall in love with the characters and want to take a ride with them in Shirley's 1965 Falcon.  We all know that every family has that ONE slightly off the wall aunt, uncle or cousin that makes the family gatherings more enjoyable....just like Aunt Shirley !!

In her other series, A Sullivan Sisters Mystery Series, you have sisters, Jaycee and Jax, who live with their mother and their retired Army Colonel grandfather.  Jaycee and Gramps own Gone with the Whiskey which is a bookstore and bar that favors John Wayne.  Gramps lives and breaths all things John Wayne.  Jax is an amazing baker and she makes delicious desserts that are paired up with an adult beverage and sold at the bookstore.  Jaycee is dating a detective on the police force and he can't even keep the sisters out of trouble.  But no matter what mess they get into they ALWAYS have Gramps on their side.  Oh and to add more humor into the story Gramps girlfriend Tillie is a former contortionist and trapeze artist !!

It is obvious in her writing that Jenna St. James gives high regard to family and its dynamics.  In her writing she gives you different insights into two very different families and the ups and downs that can occur.  Hopefully in most families murder is not a continuous occurence and maybe your "crazy" relative is slightly more sane that Gramps or Aunt Shirley.....either way I'm sure you will truly enjoy reading these books.  Not only are they entertaining but they are very easy to read....how fast you get through them is totally in your hands.......


In her Ryli Sinclair Mystery Series she has written 3 books (so far)  They are :
Picture Perfect Murder  (Book 1)
Girl's Night Out Murder (Book 2)
Jus An Old-Fashioned Murder (Book 3)

In The Sullivan Sister Mystery Series she has :
Murder on the Vine (Book 1)
A Burning Hot Murder (Book 2)


Feel free to check her and her books out at : 

https://www.amazon.com/Jenna-St.-James/e/B018MDHY7I

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15186053.Jenna_St_James

https://www.facebook.com/jennastjamesauthor/


Review by Missi S.



Friday, 18 August 2017

Hunting Hour (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #3) by Margaret Mizushima


Hunting Hour (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery, #3)

Deputy Mattie Cobb is working through issues from her past and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to focus on herself, when she and her K-9 partner Robo get called to track a missing junior high student. Until they find the girl on Smoker's Hill behind the high school, dead. But that's only the start of trouble in Timber Creek, because soon another girl goes missing--and this time it's Sophie Walker. Hard as they search, Cole, Mattie, and Robo can't find her anywhere. Mattie's primary suspect, a strange man who lives near the wilderness area, calls to report he hears deer "screaming" in the woods. Suspecting the man might have lost touch with reality and be referring to something he's done to Sophie, Mattie takes Robo into the dense pine forest, hoping to pick up a trace of her scent. But when Robo does catch Sophie's trail, it leads them to another clue that challenges everything they thought they knew about the case. Now Mattie and Robo must rush to hunt down Sophie's kidnapper before they're too late in Hunting Hour, the third installment in critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima's exhilarating mystery series.   (Summary via Goodreads)


Total adrenaline rush !!  

Once you start reading Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima you will NOT be able to put the book down.  Mizushima's way of telling a story is so energetic and captivating, it will keep you on the edge of your seat !!  Her writing keeps you guessing until the very end....she makes you believe or think you know where the story is going and who is going to be the bad guy but then she throws some twists and turns that are completely unexpected.

Although this is the third book in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series and the first one that I have read, I was not lost or lacking information at all.  

A young girl is found murdered and Deputy Mattie Cobb and her dog Robo are called in to follow scents and try to find the murderer.  While they are following evidence and interviewing suspects, another young girl goes missing...and this one is personally close to Mattie.  As she tries to stay professional and keep her emotions in check, things from the case stir up some family memories that she would like to forget. 

I have never read a book with a dog playing such a huge role in the story before.  It was amazing to read how smart dogs really are and what they are capable of doing if trained in the field.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading more in this series!!

Review by Missi S.



Monday, 14 August 2017

The House on Beale Street by Loraine J Hudson


The House on Beale Street
A dream house in a small town. 
A cup of coffee on her porch. 
Her dog at her feet. 
What could possibly go wrong? 
Plenty. 
Bumps in the night, unwelcome visitors, an angry friend, and a lingering threat from a local robbery leave Marianne Reed wondering if her new home might become a nightmare. The question is, is it new house jitters, or is danger just around the corner? 
The House on Beale Street is the debut novel by Loraine J Hudson, who lives and writes in a small town in Michigan. She loves oldies rock music, stained glass, playing in her garden, snuggling with her dogs, riding her off-track thoroughbred horse, and – of course – writing. She has also published a series of middle grades fantasy chapter books under her pen name, Judith Wade.   (Summary via Goodreads)



The House on Beale Street is Loraine J. Hudson's debut novel and I am already looking forward to her next book !!

The House on Beale Street is the house that Marianne bought and recently moved into.  It is a nice small house in a quiet neighborhood and she is excited to do renovations to the house, get to know her neighbors and enjoy sitting in her yard with her big teddy bear of a dog Rowdy.

That is until she meets her neighbor, Ashley, and learns of a burglary that happened in the neighborhood just before she moved in and one of the robbers hid out in the cornfield behind her house.  It is also rumored that the robber may have hid in Marianne's basement and left something behind before he took off running ending up hit by a car and killed.

When strange things start to occur Marianne, her friend Louise, and her step-daughter Natalie piece together a timeline and clean out the basement.....but they find nothing of value and end up with more questions than answers.  

Marianne tries to put it aside when Ashley stops over with an off the way story providing more unanswered questions but makes her feel like she misinterpreted everything and maybe there just isn't anything to worry about........until a knock on the door reveals the truth.

The House on Beale Street is a easy to read, hard to put down book and it is a GREAT debut book.  Hudson is definitely an author to follow !!

Review by Missi S.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Murder at Chateau Sur Mer (Gilded Newport Mysteries #5) by Alyssa Maxwell


Murder at Chateau Sur Mer (Gilded Newport Mysteries #5)
In the late nineteenth century, Newport, Rhode Island, is home to some of America s wealthiest citizens. It s also the beat of society reporter Emma Cross, a less well-heeled cousin to the illustrious Vanderbilts, who occasionally moonlights in solving murders . . .

Covering a polo match for the Observer, Emma s job is to take note of the real players off the field Newport s well-bred elite. But the fashionable facade is breached when a woman in gaudy clothing creates a scene demanding to speak to the wife of Senator George Wetmore until she is escorted off the grounds by the police. 
The next morning, police detective Jesse Whyte asks Emma to meet him at the Wetmores Bellevue Avenue home, Chateau sur Mer, where the senator s wife, Edith, has mysteriously asked to see her. Upon entering the mansion, Emma is confronted with a crime scene the intruder from the polo match lies dead at the foot of a grand staircase. 
To avoid scandal, Edith Wetmore implores Emma to use her reporter skills and her discretion to investigate. When Emma learns the victim was a prostitute and pregnant she wonders if the senator was being blackmailed. As Emma peels back layers of deception and family secrets, she may have met her match in a desperate killer who will trample anyone who gets in the way...   (Summary via Goodreads)



I feel like I am going to sound like a broken record when I write a review for one of Alyssa Maxwell's books.  Her books are AWESOME !!  I cannot say it enough.  I don't know that I am giving them justice when I review them.


When you read one of Maxwell's books whether it is A Gilded Newport Mystery or A Lady and Lady's Maid book, you are in for a journey !  


Murder at Chateau sur Mer is her latest book in the A Gilded Newport Mystery series and while you are reading it you will feel like you took a ride in a time machine.   If you have been reading this series, you are very familiar with Emma Cross and her way of life.....her independence and her will to help any one that knocks on her door and even those that don't.  And you also know that she somehow gets involved in murder cases whether the police want her help or not.


Well Murder at Chateau sur Mer is no exception although slightly different.  Although Emma is interested in the murder that occured and, of course, would like to find justice for the deceased, she is taken back when she is asked to look into the death.....by the wife of the husband accused.  Emma does not know the Wetmore's very well but everyone knows them to a point, after all George Wetmore is a Senator.  Mrs. Wetmore does not believe that the police will do a throrough job investigating the case because the woman that was murdered was a lady of the evening.  She knows that Emma is just the right person to ask to look into the woman's death.

Emma will stop at nothing when she is on a case.  She will go above and beyond what others would shy away from to find justice....even if it means going into a Gentlemen's Only establishment to question a person of interest.

As you read you cannot help but fall in love with Emma and you can truly understand how two men could have feelings for her.  You can also understand her dilemma about maintaining her independence and wanting to do more in the world than be someone's wife.  She is someone for all girl's to look up to and to aspire to be like.....even if she is fictional and from a time long ago.

There is so much to say about Murder at Chateau sur Mer, Emma Cross, and Aylssa Maxwell's talent for story telling, but to talk about it and to read it first hand are 2 different things entirely.  I highly recommend picking this book up, adding it to your to read list and taking a journey with Emma.  You will feel like a different person afterwards......

Review by Missi S.



Saturday, 29 July 2017

Perish from the Earth (A Lincoln and Speed Mystery #2) by Jonathan F. Putnam


Perish from the Earth (A Lincoln and Speed Mystery, #2)

Newly minted trial lawyer Abraham Lincoln is riding the circuit, traveling by carriage with other lawyers and a judge to bring justice to the remote parts of Illinois. Meanwhile, Lincoln's close friend Joshua Speed steams up the Mississippi River aboard a steamboat owned by Speed's father when suddenly, his journey is interrupted when a rigged card game aboard the ship turns to violence--and then murder. 

When a young traveling artist is accused of the crime, Speed enlists Lincoln to defend him. Together, Lincoln and Speed work to find evidence of the artist's innocence. But soon they come to discover that more than just the card games are crooked aboard the Speed family's ship. As the day of judgment hurtles towards them, Lincoln and Speed must fight to save not only the life of Lincoln's client but also the merit of Speed's good name.

Meticulously research and deftly plotted, Jonathan F. Putnam's second Lincoln and Speed mystery, Perish from the Earth is the superlative follow-up to These Honored Dead, praised by Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin as "Splendid...one of the most enjoyable works of fiction I have read in a long time."  (Summary via Goodreads)



Perish From The Earth is the secnd book in the Lincoln & Speed Mystery series bu Jonathan F. Putnam and even though I haven't read the first book (yet) it felt like it was a stand alone story.  

In Perish From The Earth you spend some time riding on a ship with Joshua Speed.  As he is on the ship conducting business for his father who owns the ship, he witnesses a heated arguement between the gambler on the ship and a cotton planter.  The cotton planter Jones, loses all his money and causes a big scene until he is escorted back to his room by one of the crew members.

Once back on land Speed meets up with good friend circuit lawyer, Abraham Lincoln.  While out for a walk by the river the two of them come across a rather large bundle.  Upon closer examination they are shocked to find it is a body..... a body that Speed knows.  It is the cotton planter Jones from the ship.  Then a short time later an arrested is made for the murder.  A traveling artist Bingham who was also on the ship is arrested in front of Speed and Lincoln and Lincoln quickly convinces Bingham to appoint his as his lawyer.

Lincoln is given 3 weeks in order to obtain evidence proving his client's innocence.  Speed and his sister Martha travel the river talking to whoever they can to help Lincoln win his case.

This book was very interesting to read.  You got a glimpse into the slavery aspect of the time, traveled a steamboat, and met a lot of interesting characters without leaving the comforts of your living room.  I love when a book is so good that the story takes you away and Perish From The Earth does just that !!

You will enjoy the journey that Joshua and Martha take and you will truly love the twists and turns as you get into the middle of the trial of Bingham.

Review by Missi S.





Saturday, 15 July 2017

Murder in Mayfair (Atlas Catesby #1) by D.M. Quincy


Murder in Mayfair (Atlas Catesby #1)
In 1810, Atlas Catesby, a brilliant adventurer and youngest son of a baron, is anxious to resume his world travels after a carriage accident left him injured in London. But his plans are derailed when, passing through a country village, he discovers a helpless woman being auctioned off to the highest bidder--by her husband.

In order to save her from being violated by another potential buyer, Atlas purchases the lady, Lilliana, on the spot to set her free. But Lilliana, desperate to be with her young sons and knowing the laws of England give a father all parental rights, refuses to be rescued--until weeks later when her husband is murdered and Atlas is the only one who can help clear her name of the crime.

Fortunately, Atlas is a master at solving complicated puzzles, both with games and the intricacies of human motivation, and finds himself uniquely suited to the task, despite the personal peril it may put him in. But soon Altas learns the dead man had many secrets--and more than a few enemies willing to kill to keep them quiet--in Murder in Mayfair, the first in a new historical mystery series by D. M. Quincy.  (Summary via Goodreads)




What do you do if you are enjoying a meal when you hear a commotion outside where a woman is being auctioned off by her husband ?  If you are a gentlemen like Atlas Catesby, you venture outside.  And if you are truly a gentlemen, you purchase the woman so that you can insure that she will be protected.

After Atlas saves the woman from her cruel husband he takes her to his sister's home until he can get to know her and figure out the best way to help her.  But before he can do that, things get worse.  The woman that he rescued Lilliana Warwick has 2 young sons and her husband Godfrey refuses to allow her to see them.  And before anything can be worked out Godfrey is found dead in the apartment above his store....and it is ruled murder.  

Atlas takes it upon himself to investigate Godfrey's death in order to clear Lilliana's name as well as his own.  Unfortunately as he investigates, the suspect list grows in numbers and the clues lead Atlas to secrets in Lilliana's past as well as Godfrey's family.

Murder in Mayfair has more turns that a country back road.  D. M. Quincy keeps the reader on their toes and their eyes on the pages.  Luckily there isn't a speed limit when reading...there would surely be tickets for speed written.  I truly loved the twists and turns throughout the story and cannot wait for more books in the series.


Review by Missi S.





Monday, 10 July 2017

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much (Mad for Mod Mystery #4) by Diane Vallere


The Decorator Who Knew Too Much (A Madison Night Mystery Book 4)

When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help to deal with her demons. 

She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends, pillow talk with Hudson, and smack talk with the local bad boys. And after the victim is identified as the very doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. An unlikely ally helps navigate the murky waters before her knowledge destroys her, and this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life. 

“If you love Doris Day, you’ll love Madison Night, decorator extraordinaire. She specializes in restoring mid-century homes and designs, and her latest project involves abductions, murder and vengeance.” – Books for Avid Readers 

“Diane Vallere…has a wonderful touch, bringing in the design elements and influences of the ’50s and ’60s era many of us hold dear while keeping a strong focus on what it means in modern times to be a woman in business for herself, starting over.” – Fresh Fiction 

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), humorous murder mysteries, book club recommendations, amateur sleuth books, southern humor, Doris Day, chick lit. 

Books in the Madison Night Humorous Mystery Series: 

• MIDNIGHT INK (prequel novella in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE) 
• PILLOW STALK (#1) 
• THAT TOUCH OF INK (#2) 
• WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL (#3) 
• THE DECORATOR WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (#4) 

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all...   (Summary via Goodreads)



The Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere, the 4th book in her Madison Night HUMOROUS Mystery Series.....is quite entertaining !!!

You cannot help but fall in love with Madison, the main character.  She is quite querky in her obsession with Doris Day and anything relating to that timeframe.  Her business is centered around the 50's and 60's and keeping that era alive.  

However in The Decorator Who Knew Too Much she takes a vacation from her work and travels with Hudson to help his brother-in-law with a strip mall construction idea.  Unfortunately on the first day at the site, Madison sees a dead body in the water at the river.  But once the police arrive and search there is no body to be found and she has put herself in a bad situation with Hudson's brother-in-law, Jimmy.

From that moment on the visit is nothing like what it was planned out to be.....especially after a body is found floating in the river a few days after Madison saw it.  

While Madison and Hudson try to enjoy their time away and to strengthen their new relationship, it becomes clear that Madison has placed every one in danger....or so it seems.  Upon further investigating and hard thinking, things begin to come clear to Madison but how to prove it becomes a different story.   And wil she be able to do that before anyone else gets hurt or killed ?

Vallere has a way of engulfing you up into the story from the moment you begin until the second you close the book.  The connections within the book are shocking but in the end they all make sense.  It is a very entertaining, funny and mind-blowing story.....

Review by Missi S.






Friday, 7 July 2017

Benjamin Franklin and The Quaker Murders by John Harmon McElroy


Benjamin Franklin and The Quaker Murders

Everyone in Philadelphia thinks Jacob Maul, the Quaker stonecutter, is a murderer. How could there be any doubt? In September of 1785, two women were found dead on his property—one of them in his bed—with bruise marks on their throats. The only person who comes to a different conclusion is the city’s most famous citizen, Benjamin Franklin.
But at seventy-nine years of age, Franklin doesn’t want to acquire a reputation for solving his neighbors’ problems. Instead, he recruits a younger man, Revolutionary War veteran James Jamison, to make inquiries under his direction and collect information that could prove the Quaker’s innocence. Franklin’s considerable intelligence guides Jamison, but as the investigation unfolds, details emerge that threaten to dismantle the great man’s assumptions.
The Quaker Murders contains rich details about both Benjamin Franklin and life in eighteenth-century Philadelphia, a large, bustling city that was still recovering from the rigors of the war for independence.  (Summary via Goodreads)



If you are a fan of The Quaker Midwife series by Edith Maxwell or A Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery series and/or The Gilded Newport Mysteries series both by Alyssa Maxwell, I highly recommend Benjamin Franklin and the Quaker Murders by John Harmon McElroy.  And don't think that because Benjamin Franklin is involved it is going to be a boring, historical book.  It is far from that.  I will admit to taking notes while reading it .... only because I wanted to be certain that when I sat down to write my review I was giving McElroy the credit he is so deserving of.

Jacob Maul a Quaker stonecutter has seen too much death...right in his own home.  His first wife dies from injuries after being hit by a wagon, his second wife found strangled next to him in bed, and then the sister of his second wife found strangled and discarded on his property.  After Mrs. Coons (Lizzie), Jacob's second wife's sister is found, he is arrested for the murder.

Captain James Jamison, who happened to be saved by Maul's oldest son, John, during the battle at Monmouth, is summoned secretly by Benjamin Franklin to discuss looking into the deaths.  Franklin does not believe that Maul is guilty and once he presents his reasoning to Jamison, Jamison finds himself agreeing.  

After this initial meeting, plans are set in motion.  Jamison will look into the deaths but mainly focusing on Lizzie's death as her sister's death was 7 years earlier.  Franklin and Jamison set up an arrangment so that no one will know that Franklin is behind the investigation.  It will be best if he is left out of it all together.

Jamison puts out word around town that he is looking into the murder and asks anyone for information to come forward.  He also sets out to visit Lizzie's family members and anyone that knew her so that he can learn more about her.  While on a trip out of town, a riot occurs in the jail resulting in Jacob Maul's
death.   This does not stop the investigation as it is important to the rest of the Maul family that Jacob be found innocent, if that is the case.

As you travel along with Jamison you will not believe some of the things that are uncovered regarding Lizzie and the secrets involved in her life.  You will also find amusement in the relationship between Jamison and Franklin.  And when they obtain a confession for Lizzie's death, you will be completely shocked.  And when you close the book for the last time, I believe you will be in awe of McElroy in the way in which he wrote a very entertaining and captivating story....and yes you can brag that you read a book on Bejamin Franklin.


Review by Missi S.