Monday, 23 November 2020

On Deadly Tides (Penny Brannigan #11) by Elizabeth J. Duncan


With a picturesque black and white lighthouse, pebble beaches and stunning views of sea and mountains, the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales is the perfect place for an idyllic mid-summer painting holiday.
And watercolour artist, businesswoman, and amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan is enjoying the retreat enormously - until she discovers the body of a New Zealand journalist on a secluded beach just as the tide is going out, threatening to take the body with it.
The post mortem reveals the victim died from injuries "consistent with a fall from a great height," and the death is ruled accidental. But Penny thinks there's more to the story. Curious how the victim came to such an untimely end at this most inhospitable spot, she uncovers a link to a mysterious disappearance several years earlier.
And as her holiday romance with a wildlife photographer turns to love, she learns some truths about herself, too, that surprise her.
As the winds of change blow through Penny's own life, she sets sail on a friendly tide for a future she never dreamed possible, in a beautiful place she never imagined.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

On Deadly Tides is the eleventh book in the Penny Brannigan mystery series by Elizabeth J. Duncan and the first book in the series that I have had the pleasure of reading.....and boy was it an awesome read !! On Deadly Tides felt like it could have been a stand alone book or the first in a new series.

Main character Penny Brannigan and her friend Alwynne are on a girl's get away weekend to a motel for a painting retreat with actor turned painter, Bill Ward.  On the friday evening there is a welcoming party in the bar of the hotel and Alwynne goes to bed early so Penny is on her own.  Penny meets two people Colin Campbell and Jessica Graham both there seperately.  Colin is a wildlife photographer in town to take photos of local wildlife and Jessica is in town to write about local interests as well as look into an old case of a missing person.  The three of them share a table in the bar and get know each other.

After parting ways Penny doesn't think much of Jessica until the next morning while her and Alwynne are at the local lighthouse setting up to paint it and its surroundings when Penny looks down the cliff at the beach below and sees Jessica's lifeless body.   After it is investigated it is ruled that Jessica's death was an accident.  Only Penny can't help thinking there is more to it especially seeing as the backpack that Jessica had with her friday night was no where to be found.  It wasn't at the scene or in her hotel room.  

When Jessica's mother, Louise, comes to claim her body her and Penny hit it off and soon agree that there is more to Jessica's "accident".  Unfortunately the police cannot just go on what someone thinks or feels and do not take things seriously until Louise is poisoned one night at the hotel.

Now that the police are looking into Jessica's death Penny can concentrate on her growing feelings for Colin.  The two have spent some time together and have been keeping in touch.  But when Colin gets on board with his curiousity on Jessica's death as well, Penny will allow him to assist her in investigating.....

On Deadly Tides will capture readers attention immediately and they will want to solve Jessica's murder also.  They will also be drawn to the storyline behind the missing person case from seven years ago.  And who cannot be curious when a new relationship is blossoming..... Duncan will draw the reader in and as you get lost in the story you will be powerless to shut the book....not that you will want to.  It is always a treat when you are reading a cozy mystery to have a love story intertwined in the story and Duncan has aced that as well.  Whether you are a long time fan and have read the previous books or you are reading On Deadly Tides and this is the first book of this series that you have read, you will be a devoted fan !!

Review by Missi M.



Saturday, 21 November 2020

When Murder Comes Home by Shana Frost

 An adventure she’d asked for, being a murder suspect? Not really.

Introverted yet brilliant (former) accountant Aileen Mackinnon ditched her risk-less life in the city for the village of Loch Fuar, nestled in the picturesque Scottish Highlands. Now she’s the co-owner of her Gran’s inn, Dachaigh, and an amateur innkeeper to ten new guests. But when one of her guests doesn’t turn up for breakfast and the other dangles over the window sill, Aileen finds herself in deep waters, especially with the handsome local detective.

One man show, Detective Inspector Callan Cameron couldn’t be happier— finally a murder if not two! The only issue- he’s forced to join forces with the new innkeeper in town. What could be more horrible than having a partner? A partner Callan loves to argue with? A partner that gels with his detection style seamlessly?

Between bloody murders and stolen rings, the tension is high, so is the heat. They might not always see eye to eye, but can they agree: whodunnit?

When Murder Comes Home is the first novel in the Aileen & Callan Murder Mysteries based in the fictional town of Loch Fuar in the Scottish Highlands. This 55,000 word novel will make you bite your nails and laugh alongside lovable characters. Ready to enjoy some gore and lots of suspenseful fun? Download this book now!  (Summary via Goodreads)

When Murder Comes Home by Shana Frost will have readers conflicted.  Readers are going to fall in love with Aileen Mackinnon and her desire to leave a demanding job in a big city to move to the village of Loch Faur to run her grandmother's inn but they are going to hate that after she spends time and money renovating it and reopening it murder also checks into the inn on her re-opening weekend.

Aileen's grandmother moved to a nursing home and can no longer run the inn so Aileen decides to leave her job and home and move into the inn and run it but she has to fire the current innkeeper and repair a lot of things in the inn before she can open it up to guests.  After the town along with Detective Inspector Callan Cameron, help Aileen fix it up, she welcomes 10 guests to the inn for the re-opening weekend.  

While Aileen is getting use to running an inn and trying to satisfy all of the guests needs, she never expected to have one of the guests murdered .... and it looks like one of the other guests is the murderer !!!  Aileen joins forces with Callan to try to solve the murder but they have no idea why someone would murder another stranger.  It doesn't seem that any of the guests know each other and according to the security cameras no one entered the inn on the night of the murder......

When Aileen and Callan go to the nursing home to visit her grandmother, they learn that her grandmother's engagement ring which Aileen thought wasn't real was indeed real diamonds and it is no longer in the safe at the inn.  How could someone have gotten the keys that Aileen always has on her and gotten in the safe..... and how did they even know about the ring in the first place ??

Aileen and Callan seem to have more questions than answers and when someone else in the inn is murdered, they must put their heads together and solve this case......

Frost has a way of drawing the reader into the story and her vivid descriptions will have the readers imagination on overdrive.  Readers cannot help but love everything in this story and will want to make reservations at the inn, even chancing thier own lives.  And there is a secret about Callan that she hints at at the end of the book that will insure readers will be looking for the next book to see what unfolds......

Review by Missi M.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Falling into Magic (Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic #1) by Elizabeth Pantley

 When Hayden was a child, she lost her cat. Adults told her the cat ran away, but she knew the truth. The mirror had taken her. She knew because the mirror had given her a glimpse of an alternate world and had nearly pulled her in, so she was certain the cat had suffered that fate.

Twenty years later Hayden discovers the secret of the mirror when she is thrust into it. She learns of a world she never knew existed, and a family she never knew she had. But danger brought her here, and it followed her. Now, Hayden is on a mission to remove the threat, so that she can begin her magical, meaningful new life in this enchanted world.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Even though the day Hayden was born her family was torn apart leaving her with a missing father and older brother and a mother who ran away, she had a good upbringing.  Her grandmother and great-grandmother (Granana) raised Hayden and they did pretty well.  She has a best friend Luna who is also her business partner producing an online magazine, her grandmother and Granana, and her loving cat, Sassy.  Even though she has a good life, she cannot help wondering about her parents and every so often she sees something in her mirror that doesn't make any sense.....until one day she and Sassy fall into a construction hole and end up in a whole new place !

After falling through this hole Hayden wakes up in a bed and can communicate with Sassy !  Then she is introduced to her long lost brother who is the person that she would see in the mirror once in a while growing up.  Once she gets over that initial shock, she is hit with a lot more .... like she is in a hidden place called Destiny Falls and at the house of her grandparents called the Caldwell Crest.  The Caldwell family is considered the Chosen Ones and are treated like royalty.  She is soon introduced to her grandparents, reunited with her father as well her half brother and 2 half sisters.  She learns that the house and town are magical in a way that is hard to understand but quite enjoyable.

It all seems like a fairy tale and Hayden is soaking it all up until there is a death on the grounds of Caldwell Crest and Hayden wonders if it is the same person that pushed her through the portal.  Hayden and her brother Axel develop a quick bond and after his jeep is broken into and her belongings are searched, they begin to work with Sheriff Jaxson Redford to try to solve the murder.

Hayden has no idea when or even if she can return home to her family and friend so she sends them all emails telling them that she is in Denmark doing research for work so that they won't worry about her.  So she periodically sends them emails with photoshopped pictures buying her time while she gets to know her family and Destiny Falls secrets and help solve the murder.

To say everything is overwhelming for Hayden is an understatement and to provide you with more to the story would be ruining the story for the readers.   Falling into Magic by Elizabeth Pantley is like Harry Potter meets the Hallmark channel with a Law and Order undertone.  Readers will find something that perks their attention and keeps you engrossed in reading.  You are not going to want to leave Destiny Falls either and hopefully when you close the book, you will be a fan and looking forward to the next book in this series.....I know I am !!

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Bert and Norah: The Missing by Bernard Burgess


Set in the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains state of Wyoming, the second book in the Bert and Norah series is a tantalizingly multifaceted story of investigation into the missing child of a high level figure. Things are seldom as they seem in a mystery made more complex by an array of possible suspects. The B & N investigation team must deal with numerous complications as they become the secret, behind-the-scenes investigation of the investigators, at least one of whom is suspected in the crime. Norah must tend to her gravely ill mother during the early part of the case, leaving Bert to carry the load while seeking her inputs during nightly talks. On the periphery, a mysterious man seems to shadow and watch Bert’s every move. He appears to be part of a conspiracy to stop the B & N investigation at any cost. Coywolf companion animal, Missy, helps keep Bert grounded and Norah’s spirit high, as they walk, think, and eat pie around some of Wyoming’s scenic beauty. In the meantime, a young man turns up missing, and another theory is born. While this team is trying to figure out “who-dun-it”, the ultimate goal is to return those who are missing to their families. Will Norah’s gift and Missy’s nose steer them in the right direction, before the missing are sacrificed at the altar of high level greed.    (Summary via Goodreads)

GOOSEBUMPS !!!!  That is what you will get when you are at the end of Bert and Norah: The Missing by Bernard Burgess.  The Missing is the second book in the Bert and Norah Mystery series and if you read the first one, The Nickel Dime Murders you most likely closed the book after having your mind blown !!

Bert and Norah are a husband and wife investigative team and have their own business, B & N Investigations, and in The Missing they will get drawn into a case that may be too much for them to handle.  While Norah is away sitting with her dying mother, Bert gets a call to investigate a missing teen.  When he has his initial meeting to discuss the case, he finds out that the missing teen is the 16 year old daughter of Wyoming Governor Samuel Patterson.  Knowing that they have to trend carefully not knowing why she was taken, Bert and the Governor begin meeting secretly to discuss the case.  Meanwhile Norah, who can communicate with spirits and feel things spiritually communicates with the spirit world while with her mother.  When Norah's mother takes a miraciously turn and is sent home, Norah in able to join Bert on the case.

When they learn that the son of the Governor's best friend is also missing and someone tries to run Bert off the road, Norah urges him to be very careful.  She can see in the spirit world that he could be in danger or heading right into it.

Burgess is a word genuis and knows how to tell a story.  He knows how to keep the readers attention throughout the book and provide us with an explosive ending that will have us looking for the next book in this series.  With each book we learn more about Bert and Norah's relationship and their tie to each other.  We also see that the cases become more involved but it's nothing that they cannot handle together and their spirit connection gets stronger and stronger !!

Review by Missi M.

Monday, 16 November 2020

Varnished Without a Trace (A Tallie Graver Mystery #5) by Misty Simon

 Her number is up . . .

This Christmas, Tallie Graver would like to take a break from running her cleaning business to be with her boyfriend, Max, and enjoy their first holiday together--alone. Instead, she's stuck keeping her mother and grandmother from duking it out during the town's annual Christmas Eve bingo game. As for festive spirit, she'll have to settle for her mean-spirited Aunt Ronda, whose mouth could use some soap.

The night only gets worse after Tallie discovers Ronda's body. It seems someone cleaned her clock with a can of varnish. While all the evidence points to Ronda's husband, Tallie doesn't believe her beloved Uncle Hoagie could do such a dirty deed. Of course, his sudden disappearance doesn't help his case. If Tallie hopes to clear his name, she'll need to dig up some dirt to locate the real killer. Otherwise, someone else could get rubbed out . . .

Praise for Cremains of the Day

"Simon kicks off a new series that combines a bit of humor and romance with a heroine who knows no boundaries while searching for the truth that will keep her out of jail."
--Kirkus Reviews 

"An amusing new series with an engaging, spirited sleuth." 
--Library Journal

"You'll be cheering as the clues pile up in this creative cozy mystery."
--New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon  (Summary via Goodreads)

You would think that by reading the first four books in the Tallie Graver Mystery series by Misty Simon, readers would be prepared for what unfolds in the fifth book, Varnished Without a Trace.  Boy are we wrong !!!

Simon throws ALL the punches she can in this book and main character Tallie is right there to catch them all !!

In Varnished Without a Trace readers will think that they are going to have a mellow story seeing as it starts with Tallie, Max, Tallie's mother and grandmother attending bingo at the firehouse on Christmas Eve.  I mean it's Christmas time, a time where everyone is in good spirits and visiting with family and eating lots of yummy food.  However for Tallie her uncle Sherman who is the Fire Chief is dealing with a firebug and wants him or her caught before the fires esculate and someone gets hurt or dies so he asks Tallie to look over the files to see if fresh eyes will catch something.  Also as everyone is leaving the firehouse after bingo, her aunt Ronda is found dead after being hit in the head with a can of varnish.  Aunt Ronda is married to Uncle Hoagie and they own the hardware store in town which is where Tallie and Max have been spending a lot of time there as they are renovation their apartment above the family funeral home.

All Tallie wants to do is spend this first Christmas season with Max and her family and relax and enjoy it.  But when Uncle Sherman and Police Chief Burton ask her for help and she sees how tired they both look, her heart goes out to them.  

Vanished Without a Trace has so much going on with the firebug and a murder......and Tallie finds out that certain family members aren't who they say they are and that sends her down a dark path.  But when the firebug takes things to the next level and her favorite employee, Letty, is trapped in the burning house, Tallie sees red and I'm not talking about fire engine red !!  

Everyone knows that Tallie will go out on a limb to save her town and everyone in it.  She still feels like she has to prove herself from when she turned her back on everyone when she was married to Waldo and she was a snob.  Sadly she can't see that everyone has forgiven her and have grown to depend on her to help solve any crime that threatens their town.

Readers will be totally on the edge of their seat reading this latest installment in this series.  There is a lot to handle but with Tallie on it, we know that everything will be okay in the end....we just have to get through the nail biting and breath holding stage and let Tallie take us to the finish line .... in her own time and way.

Review by Missi M.

Carpet Diem (A Tallie Graver Mystery #4) by Misty Simon

 Live and let dust . . .

Now that Tallie Graver’s cleaning business is starting to shine, she’s ready to go squeegee to squeegee against Audra McNeal for a major contract at the Astercromb mansion. Tallie’s not afraid of a little friendly competition from the new cleaner in town. In fact, Tallie likes Audra, though she wonders how her glamorous rival manages to clean house and maintain her fancy manicure. Tallie has her rubber-gloves full staying one step ahead of her nemesis. Until she finds a well-polished hand poking out of a rolled-up carpet, rendering her competition . . . dead.

Though it lands Tallie the big job, there’s nothing tidy about Audra’s death. So between polishing and scrubbing, Tallie’s determined to find the killer. Hopefully the police chief doesn’t mind her cluttering up his investigation with the filthy dealings she discovers. Turns out Audra was not as squeaky clean as she appeared. And confronting her killer could bring Tallie to a very foul end indeed . . .
   (Summary via Goodreads)

MIND BLOWN !!!  Sometimes readers wonder if an author can continue to amaze them with their series when they are a few books in.....well I am here to tell you that not only does Misty Simon keep the readers attention in her Tallie Graver Mystery series but she will have you on the edge of your seat with every new book and I highly warn you to be firmly sitting when you read Carpet Diem, the fourth book, because you may just end up on the floor !!!

If you have read the previous books in this series, you are a fan and feel like you are a part of the family or the town as you are now invested in it all.  If you are on the fence, Carpet Diem will put you over and in the yard !!

In Carpet Diem Tallie and a new friend, Audra, are going against each other for a huge cleaning contract.  If Tallie wins this contract her and her cleaning girls will be set for a while and maybe Tallie can convince her parents that she can do more than work for the family business, Graver's Funeral Home.  On the night before they are to compete for the contract, the Astercomb mansion is opened for them to walk through.  Unfortunately Tallie has a big date with Max who is in town for the weekend so she sends one of her employees, Bethany, in her place.  By the time they are scheduled to meet Tallie is going in blind because the files that Bethany sent are still downloading.  And that's not all ... when she gets to the property Preston Prescott a thorn from her past is there to torment her.  Of course he would be there as the owner is his aunt, Mrs. Petrovski, and for some reason she does not like Tallie.  While Tallie and Audra set off to each clean a room in the mansion to showcase their skills, Preston lingers near Tallie to ensure she loses.

After Preston succeeds in sabotaging the job securing it for Audra, Tallie leaves in a huff forgetting some of her supplies.  When she returns later to get them, she finds Audra''s body wrapped up in a rug in the dumpster.  Even though Max is now going to be staying for a whole month and she should focus on him and her cleaning company, she feels she has to find out what happened to Audra.  Max being the great man that he is offers to help with looking into Audra's life and the people in it while Tallie tries to convince Police Chief Burton to let her help in the case.  And with him also dealing with a drug bust case he could use her help.....

In Carpet Diem, as with previous books in this series, there is no shortage of suspects for Tallie to look into but readers will not be prepared for who ends up being the culprit !!  This person will not even be on our radar !!  

Simon has such a way with her writing that readers can sit back and enjoy the story and get lost in Tallie's life and fall in love with her and her friends and family more and more with each book.  However she also has a knack of getting readers minds going so that they can play along with Tallie and her investigative skills and try to solve the case ..... if they choose to.  Either way Simon has your best interest in mind.

Review by Missi M.

Deceased and Desist (A Tallie Graver Mystery #3) by Misty Simon

Window of opportunity . . .

 Most housecleaners don’t do windows, but Tallie Graver loves leaving a pane of glass streak-free and sparkling. After a dirty divorce from a filthy-rich jerk, she's started her own cleaning business to make ends meet. On her latest job, prepping a renovated bed and breakfast for a grand re-opening, she's standing outside on a ladder, wiping off a grimy pane, when she spies a man on a bed through the glass. But the B&B isn't open for business yet—and the man's not sleeping. Her family owns the Graver Funeral Home, so Tallie knows a corpse when she sees one.
The victim is a shady building inspector with a reputation for handing out passing grades for a greased palm.With the local police resistant, Tallie launches her own investigation, before she gets a rep as a town crank. But it's going to take more than a squirt bottle and a squeegee to clean up this mess. With the help of her gal pal Gina, Tallie searches for a killer's motive. But she'd better be careful, or it'll be curtains for this window cleaner . . .
“An amusing new series with an engaging, spirited sleuth.”—Library Journal  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Tallie Graver Mystery series by Misty Simon is a MUST READ !!  The main story line is enough of a story but when there is a new murder in every book and with the story behind that murder, readers cannot help but love it !!

Tallie Graver has a pretty good life.  She lives above the family business that her father keeps trying to get her to commit to full time.  She doesn't want to work at the Graver's Funeral Home for the rest of her life, she is happy with her small cleaning business.....and solving murders.  She has her boyfriend, Max, who lives in Washington D.C. currently and her best friend, Gina, who lives across the street.  She is pretty contend with her life and readers would totally enjoy reading about all of that without Tallie getting involved when there is a murder in her town......but it does add speed to our page turning !!

In Deceased and Desist, the third book in the series, Max is in Hawaii for work and he did ask Tallie to go with him but because of her cleaning business, she was unable to go.....but once she sees a dead body laying on a bed in the inn that she is cleaning windows for, I'm sure she regretted that decision.  When the coroner rules the death a heart attack but Tallie remembers clearly that the head looked wrong and the neck had to have been broken, she knows that she has to investigate.  And to make matters worse or better (depends on the readers idea of it) Police Chief Burton is out on medical leave due to an injury so he has a replacement, Hammond, that dislikes Tallie from the very beginning.  Those two butt heads worse that Tallie and Burton !!  And when Burton calls Tallie and asks her to look into things, she can not believe it !!!

With Max out of town Tallie looks to Gina to be her side kick and Gina couldn't be happier until her new boyfriend, Tallie's brother, gets upset with her !!  Readers will love that Gina and Jeremy are dating and we can only hope that maybe there will be a double wedding in the series ??  

Deceased and Desist is an explosive story !!  Blackmailing, secrets, murder, love, commitment, lies, family.....this story has it all and more !!  And Tallie and Gina are right there in the middle of it !!  I really like the Tallie and Max duo but Tallie and Gina working together is also a good fit !!  

There is no way that readers will not love this series and with every book they read they fall deeper and deeper in love with Tallie and her life !!  I cannot wait to see what trouble she gets into about you ??

Review by Missi M.