Saturday, 27 November 2021

Candy Slain Murder (Country Store Mystery #8) by Maddie Day

A Jolly & Delightful Cozy Mystery

Christmas cheer has sent the griddle into overdrive at Robbie Jordan’s popular country store and café. And this year, there’s a new seasonal special to feast on: murder!
 
As December sweeps through South Lick, Indiana, Robbie’s life seems merry and bright like the string lights glistening around town. But strange happenings signal a bumpy ride into the holidays. First a man raises eyebrows at Pans ‘N Pancakes when he claiming to be the long-lost half-brother of Robbie’s assistant. Then a fire destroys the home of a controversial anesthesiologist, exposing skeletal remains in his attic. Helplessly intrigued, all Robbie wants for Christmas is to stop her winter wonderland from becoming a real nightmare. With a decades-old mystery taking shape, can she run as fast as she can in pursuit of a killer who’s harder to crack than a stale gingerbread man?

Includes Recipes for You to Try!  (Summary via Goodreads)


Nothing like getting into the Christmas spirit with a new book in the Country Store Mystery series by Maddie Day.  Candy Slain Murder is the eighth book in this series and by now when you open one of these books up you feel like you are home or visiting a town you know very well.

Robbie Jordan is the main character and owner of Pans 'N Pancakes which is a country store and cafe and recently a bed and breakfast with rooms on the second floor.  Robbie moved back to South Lick, Indiana to be closer to her aunt Adele and open Pans 'N Pancakes....little did she know that moving to this quiet country town would involve her getting in the middle of murder investigations !

Robbie has a knack with crossword puzzles and tries to do the one in the newspaper daily.  Whenever there is a murder in town she leans on her crossword solving ability to work through the suspect list.  Unfortunately sometimes this gets her in trouble and hot water with the killer and/or the police.

In Candy Slain Murder Robbie and her assistants Danna and Jordan are busy as usually with the cafe but when a local doctors house catches on fire and skeletal remains are found in the attic, Robbie is easily distracted.  And when a stranger comes in and introduces himself as Danna's older brother, she is easily distracted as well.  Luckily they are able to do more than one thing at a time and keep serving happy customers.

It is soon learned that the remains are the wife of the doctor who went missing years ago and the police are looking at a lot of suspects but on the top of the list are the husband and the deceased twin sister.  But when there is another murder, the investigation takes a very sharp turn !! 

Readers cannot help but love this series !!  You will love the people, the town and the activities around the Christmas season.  You will want to reserve a room in the bed and breakfast so that you can be as close to things as possible.  Plus hanging around Robbie will be fun regardless of what she is doing.  And I reckon you might should really enjoy your time in South Lick even if there is a killer roaming free.....they won't be for long, that you can count on !!!


Review by Missi M.



Monday, 22 November 2021

Empress Isabella's Disastrous Thanksgiving by Margaret Evans

What on earth is happening in Raging Ford, Minnesota, this Thanksgiving? Laura Keene and Connor Fitzpatrick try to finalize their wedding plans, but when a Turkey Circus comes to town and their favorite, mysterious feline Empress Isabella dips her paw into the works, forget the cranberry sauce because anything can happen! Instead of basting turkeys, mashing potatoes, or whipping up delicious pumpkin pies, the townsfolk...get a little distracted. Keep your windows shut and doors latched--and don't forget to duck as the flock (or rafter) of turkeys run and flutter-fly through the town!

Empress Isabella's Disastrous Thanksgiving is the second prequel to the new Laura Keene Cozy Mysteries series. Stick around for Empress Isabella and a Cracklin' Christmas for the third and final prequel, introducing the new cozy mysteries series.
   (Summary via Goodreads)


Empress Isabella's Disastrous Thanksgiving by Margaret Evans is the second novella in her three part prequel to the Laura Keene Cozy Mystery series.  The first part of this prequel was Empress Isabella and the Halloween Caper and hopefully you read it, if not don't worry you can catch up quickly !

These mini books, which are less than 100 pages and can be read in one sitting, are setting the stage for readers to get to know the people and town of Raging Ford Minnesota in Evans Second Treasures Mystery series.

In Empress Isabella's Disastrous Thanskgiving the people of Raging Ford are gearing up for the Thanskgiving holiday and are welcoming a traveling Turkey Circus to town.  Unfortunately a lot goes wrong with the circus with all the turkey's, as well as the wild turkeys that are on the preserve by the Old Library in town, being let loose and a dead body is found in the woods.  

Main character Laura Keene who owns the Second Treasures thrift shop is the "owner" of Empress Isabella who is a cat that only Laura and her fiance Sergeant Connor Fitzpatrick can see.  Empress Isabella feels that something is off with this Turkey Circus so she goes and watches everything around the three tents that they put up in town.  She soons learns what they are really in town to do and she gathers her "friends" which are probably other cats no one can see and she helps save the holiday.....unfortunately it is after the turkeys go crazy, the town is a mess from that and the dead body is discovered....

Readers will love these little stories and if you have a few hours, you will have no problem reading one....or two of them in one sitting.  I was able to accomplish that with the first two and know that the last one will go just as smoothly....even if the story doesn't go that way.

I look forward to the third book because Evans is setting the stage quite nicely for Laura and Connor to celebrate Christmas and then get married on December 27th......I'm sure nothing will go wrong but if it does, I bet Empress Isabella will be on top of things !!!


Review by Missi M.


Sunday, 21 November 2021

Slashing Through the Snow (Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #3) by Jacqueline Frost

Maine innkeeper Holly White returns to sleuth another seasonal slaying in the third Christmas Tree Farm mystery from bestselling author Jacqueline Frost.

Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm is going into the B&B business, and Holly White is looking forward to her new role as innkeeper. Even better, Mistletoe, Maine's sheriff, Evan Gray, has deputized his little sister Libby to help Holly wrap presents for Mistletoe's toy drive. But a cold wind ruffles the cheery holiday decorations when a new guest checks in: Karen, a vicious B&B critic, who could make or break the new inn. And the short December days turn even darker when Evan and Libby find Karen's dead body in the gift-wrapped toy donation box.

The suspect list is longer than Santa's naughty list, and local resident Cookie is on it, since her fingerprints are all over the murder weapon, a metal nutcracker that she gave to Holly. So is Libby, who recently moved to town from Boston in less-than-savory circumstances. But cranky Karen was an oh-holy-nightmare to lots of the townsfolk, such as Evan's reporter friend Ray; Christopher, the inn's former contractor; and confectioner Bonnie, whose Gum Drop Shop was a direct target of Karen's scathing prose.

To figure out the killer's identity and clear Cookie's name, Holly and her friends brainstorm at The Hearth, the farm's café, while her mother keeps them fueled with Christmas goodies fresh from the oven. But if they can't put the culprit on ice, Holly may never see another Christmas.   (Summary via Goodreads)


There is so much to say and love about the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series by Jacqueline Frost from the people, the Christmas-y wonderland of a town, to the businesses, to the relationships and friendships and let's not forget the murders !!  And let's not forget the town is called Mistletoe !!!

I fell totally in love with this series after reading the first book, "Twas the Knife Before Christmas, and continued that love with the second book, Twelve Slays of Christmas and was very excited to open Slashing Through the Snow, the third book, and get lost in the story !  You don't have to read the previous books to fall in love but I think you would want to start at the beginning to get the whole package.

In Slashing Through the Snow Holly White and her family have their hands full running the family business, The Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm, and Holly especially is busy because this is the first season for the Bed and Breakfast they built.  As inn keeper Holly takes pride in her job as well as everything and anything to do with the Farm and will stop at nothing to protect it, the town and especially the people.  And when a gift given to her by her dear friend Cookie is used as a murder weapon and Cookie is the top suspect, Holly jumps into detective mode.....however, her boyfriend Sheriff Evan Gray does not like it one bit !!

As soon as you open a book in this series you are taken away to a Christmas wonderland in your head.  You will instantly see everything clearly and feel like you are right there in Mistletoe enjoying everything Christmas.... the great thing will be that you will be toasty warm sitting in your favorite reading spot drinking your favorite drink and munching your favorite snack....and I wouldn't blame you if it was hot cocoa and cookies !!

Reading the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series is like watching a Hallmark movie in your head.  You will love the characters, the town and you will be right there along side Holly as she goes around town snooping and looking for clues to prove her dear friend Cookie's innocence.  

And not to say too much and ruin any part of the story but the last chapter had me crying in a good way and I cannot wait until the next book to see the direction Frost takes the people of Mistletoe.....


Review by Missi M.




Monday, 15 November 2021

The Murder Before Christmas (Charlie Kingsley Mysteries #1) by Michele Pariza Wacek

If you've got a problem, Charlie Kingsley probably has a tea that’ll help make it right.

EXCEPT when it comes to love. She does NOT do love potions.
Not even for Courtney, her pregnant new client who showed up three weeks before Christmas seeking a love potion because her husband was cheating on her.
So, Courtney asked about poison, instead.
She said she was joking. That's what happens between wives and husbands. They get angry and talk about killing each other. They don't really mean it.
It seems to make sense ... until Courtney’s husband turns up dead on Christmas Eve.
He was poisoned, of course.
And who is the number one suspect? Courtney. Of course.
But did she actually do it? Or is she being set up?
It's up to Charlie to sort through all the twists and turns in a case that gets more complicated the deeper she digs.

Meet Charlie. Better known as “Aunt Charlie” from the award-winning Secrets of Redemption series. She's back, making teas and solving cases in this funny, twisty, cozy mystery series set in the 1990s in Redemption, Wisconsin.   (Summary via Goodreads)


Talk about frustrating !!  In The Murder Before Christmas main character Charlie Kingsley is asked to help a woman when her husband is poisoned but no one will be completely honest with her !!

In The Murder Before Christmas by Michele Pariza Wacek, the first book in her Charlie Kingsley Mystery series a young pregnant woman, Courtney, comes to her asking for her help.  Charlie is not a private investigator.  In fact she is far from that....Charlie makes specialty teas and tinctures for clients out of her home.  But Courtney had heard from a friend that Charlie could develop a love potion and she desperately needed that to save her marriage.  After talking with Courtney and learning why she needed a love potion, she stresses to her to go home and have a heart to heart talk with her husband and see if that helps the marriage.

Unfortunately Charlie learns that Dennis, Courtney's husband, died on Christmas Eve and the cause of death was poison.  Charlie cannot shake the feeling that she somehow could have helped the couple.  But when she goes to offer her condolences, she is asked to look into Dennis' death.  Against her better judgement she agrees to ask some questions.....unfortunately no one will tell her the complete truth and she always walks away knowing the person is keeping secrets from her.  And as she gets deeper into the case, she finds more reasons for people to want Dennis dead and things pointing to Courtney as the killer !!  But deep down Charlie knows that it wasn't Courtney but she doesn't know how to get to the bottom of things !!

Readers will totally love The Murder Before Christmas.  You will love how Charlie seems to run in circles and not get anywhere and with the series being based in the 1990's, you will enjoy the simplicity of not having the internet and such to rely on to find answers.  I highly encourage readers to grab a copy of The Murder Before Christmas and get lost in the story just like I did.....no thank you is required.

Also check out Michele's other books and get to know the author at :   https://mpwnovels.com/


Review by Missi M.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Beauty Expos Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery #6) by Libby Klein

Gluten-free baker Poppy McAllister is about to see the ugly side of beauty expos...

Easter weekend on the Jersey Shore is hopping. Poppy's Bed and Breakfast is busier than ever, but she needs to leave things in the hopefully capable hands of Aunt Ginny--and paws of Figaro the black smoke Persian. She's selling her paleo muffins and keto cookies at the Health and Beauty Expo in Cape May's Convention Hall. Normally sharing a booth with the love of her life would be a treat, but she's recently discovered secrets that throw her new romance into chaos.

But more secrets are about to be exposed at the expo. In his keynote address, prominent cosmetic surgeon Dr. Lance Rubin reveals his breakthrough anti-aging technology. Unfortunately, someone has one-upped him with a truly foolproof anti-aging formula: murder. With the plastic surgeon dead under his own UV mask, and bedlam reigning in the hall and back at the B&B, Poppy needs to follow a twisted trail marked by glowing footprints to unmask a killer...   (Summary via Goodreads)


Beauty Expos are Murder is the sixth book in the Poppy McAllister Mystery series by Libby Klein and if you aren't a fan yet, it's not too late !!  In Beauty Expos are Murder Klein packs a lot into this story and you will be hooked !!!  

Poppy McAllister always has a lot going on but it looks like things may be slowing down in one area of her life....since the first book, Class Reunions are Murder, Poppy has been juggling two men.  She returned home to Cape May to live with her Aunt Ginny and attend her class reunion where she reconnected with her high school sweetheart Tim.  She also met Gia and started baking for his coffee shop.  Well finally in Beauty Expos are Murder she is committing to Gia.....but, of course, with Poppy it won't be as easy as she hopes.

In Beauty Expos are Murder Poppy and Gia have a booth at the Health and Beauty Expo being held at the Convention Hall as well as everything else they have going on.....him running the coffee shop, her running the Bed and Breakfast with her aunt.....and then Gia's wife comes to town and there's a death at the Expo and Poppy happens to be the one to discover the body !!

Wait......back up....Gia's wife ??  Yes, that is a secret he kept from Poppy so there is a lot of tension there and you will want to read that all for yourself.... I won't ruin the fun for you !

Now back to the dead body..... Dr. Lance Rubin is a cosmetic surgeon who is very popular and the big draw to the event so when it is his body that winds up dead, you know there is going to be a lot of pressure to solve his murder....and when one of Poppy's high school enemies asks for help on another case, she finds it hard to say no.  Seeing as the person asking is a cop and Poppy has sort of helped her in the past, she finds herself in the middle of a major mess !!

There is so much going on in Beauty Expos are Murder that you will stay up past your bedtime and neglect other things in your daily life just so you can stay on top of what is going on with Poppy.  The characters in this story will feel like real people that you will grow to love and want to protect.  You might even find yourself putting together a list of things to pack so you can go stay at the B&B and tag along with Poppy until you realize you are reading a book......


Review by Missi M.


 

Friday, 29 October 2021

The Enemy You Gnocchi (Italian Chef Mysteries #3) by Catherine Bruns

It's the deadliest thyme of the year...

With snow dusting the ground and sauce sizzling on the stove, local chef Tessa Esposito is ready to serve up some holiday cheer. And with the annual Festival of Lights underway, it seems nothing can dim her spirits. Not even Mario Russo, the newest scrooge in town whose espresso bar has been quickly disrupting businesses and stealing customers from Harvest Park's favorite coffeehouse.

But when Mario is discovered at the festival's opening, face down in a Santa suit, Tessa realizes the bah humbug runs deeper than she could have imagined. And when one of her dearest friends is implicated in the crime, she must make a list of Mario's enemies, check them twice, and discover the cold-blooded killer. Especially before they can sleigh again.  (Summary via Goodreads)


The Enemy You Gnocchi by Catherine Bruns is the third book in her Italian Chef Mystery series and two things will happen when you start reading it..... first you will be hungry immediately and want to eat everything mentioned....you may even think you smell the good food that Tessa is cooking.  Secondly this book will get you into the Christmas spirit even with a murder involved.

The Italian Chef Mystery series centers around Tessa Esposito and her restaurant Anything Pastable in Harvest Park and her unlucky knack of getting involved in a murder and the investigation.  It all started in the first book, Penne Dreadful, after her husband's death and continues with each new book and a new murder.  Even though her cousin Gino is a police detective and her cousin Gabby is dating a police officer and she in continually told to stand down, she doesn't.

In The Enemy You Gnocchi there is a new coffeehouse in town, The Espresso Lane, and the owner Marco is not liked by many in town.  And his coffeehouse is taking away from Java Time, the coffeehouse that is been there forever and everyone loves owner Archie.

Tessa as per her usual has a lot on her plate with the restaurant, cooking and baking, as well as helping with the annual Festival of Lights but when Mario who is playing Santa at the event is found murdered after going on a break, she knows she has to do something.  And when her cousin takes Archie in for questioning relating to the murder, she know she has to step up and prove his innocence.

Tessa luckily doesn't have to do it alone as her cousin Gabby is right there for her.....unfortunately her brother Gino does not like her or Tessa getting involved.  However trying to find Marco's murderer proves to be tougher than they realized seeing as there weren't many people in town that liked the guy and they soon learn that his past may be chasing him as well......

Readers will not want to stop reading The Enemy You Gnocchi and the only time you will stop is to get a drink, something to eat and many use the ladies room, or the little guys room.  Not only will you love the town and the businesses, the people and the activities but the fact that it is close to Christmas and everyone is in the Christmas spirit, or most people are, you will get that warm, cuddly feeling.  And as you read and get deeper into the story, you will be frozen in your spot......and I will warn you that Chapter 11 will give you GOOSEBUMPS !!!!  And that is all I have to say.......so hurry up and go grab your copy and get lost with Tessa.....


Review by Missi M.





Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Buried Secrets: The Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series Book 11 by Mike Martin

RCMP Sergeant Winston Windflower is at a crossroads as career opportunities intrude on his near-perfect life in the blustery paradise of Grand Bank, Newfoundland.

Just as the pandemic ends, the little oceanside communities are rocked by the murders of prominent figures, an RCMP Staff Sergeant in St. John’s and a minister in Grand Bank, and it’s implied that there are national security implications to at least one crime. There’s also a sinister new character hanging around doing the parish’s dirty work.

Windflower finds himself a primary investigator, balancing work, potential major changes, and life with a young family while seeking guidance from his ancestral teachings and dreams.

Are the crimes connected, and can Windflower and his team find the killer before they strike again? As the police work becomes more complicated and even dangerous, Sgt. Windflower finds time to enjoy his family, his friends and always some great food.

Come back to Grand Bank for another great adventure in Sgt. Windflower Mysteries.  (Summary via Amazon)




Reading the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series is like hanging out with family and friends.  Author Mike Martin has a way with his writing that your eyes breeze over the words and you instantly connect with Windflower and whatever he is dealing with in his life....and that is usually a lot !!!


In Buried Secrets, the eleventh book in this series Windflower has a lot on his plate with a few cases that he is working on hitting close to home and things in his personal life are causing him some turmoil as well.  Luckily for Windflower his work with the communications section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in St. John's is coming to an end sooner than expected as he is needed for more important things back home in Grand Bank.  Unfortunately a previous boss, Staff Sergeant Alison Morecombe, who is on leave from her job at the time, is found dead in her home in St. John's and it is shortly ruled murder.  However before Windflower can do anything with that case, he is called back to Grand Bank to look into the death of beloved Reverend Bob Prowse who is found dead in his bath tub.  Upon a closer look and autopsy, it is discovered that Reverend Bob's death was from insulin poisoning but he was not diabetic.


While Windflower gets back into the groove of things in Grand Bank with the job, employees and cases, he is also getting reaquainted with his wife, Sheila, their 2 daughters and his Uncle Frank....not to mention all the friends in town.  


No matter what Windflower has on his plate, he has no problem handling it, whether it is food or life.  And in Buried Secrets he has a lot of things to address.  One thing he is having trouble with has to deal with the job so he turns to Creator and the dream world side with his Auntie Marie guiding him through it.  


Readers by now know that when Windflower is on the case, you can be assured of it being solved and in Buried Secrets there are a few cases that he is deep into....readers will love reading about his take control manner and how he handles whatever comes his way and the things that come his way will make your jaw drop !!  And when things in his personal life begin to get cloudy for him, you know that even though its foggy, he will be able to see clearly soon enough.


I love the relationships in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series.  I love the customs that he follows with the smudging, prayer and the dream world he connects with.  Readers cannot help but long for the life that Windflower and Sheila have with each other and the friends they have in Grand Bank.  And even though it was foggy throughout my time in Grand Bank, I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait to get back to see where Martin is going to take the story......




Review by Missi M.