Monday 30 June 2014

Book Review: Death in Perspective by Larissa Reinhart

Since Larissa Reinhart introduced the world to Cherry Tucker in Portrait of a Dead Guy she has been tantalizing and enthralling readers with this sweet and sassy heroine. Her latest installment is no different. Cherry is back and ready to take on the world, by solving a mystery and keep her own love life out of trouble!

I’ve enjoyed watching Cherry not just solve mysteries, but the interactions in her personal life as well, both with Deputy Luke and also the ups and downs of each of their families. With Cherry’s brother missing there is sure a lot going on with Cherry’s family and I glued to each page wondering how it would all play out.

I always enjoy the mystery elements of the Cherry Tucker mysteries. As someone that reads a lot of mysteries I find it easy to solve my fair share of mysteries. However Larissa Reinhart has me stumped every time!! In the case of this one I liked the realism Larissa Reinhart adds with the real world elements of cyber bullying and suicide. While this is a fictional story readers will recognize elements of life that we hear about on the news, far too often.

Death in Perspective is another thrilling adventure in this series and I’m sure, like myself, readers will fall in love with Cherry Tucker all over again, reminding us all why she is one of our favourite sleuths!

Sunday 22 June 2014

Book Review: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Death on the Nile is a short story featuring Parker Pyne. Parker is on holidays and even though his holiday has been previously interrupted by clients, he's hoping that it won't be interrupted even further. However the other occupants on his cruise have other ideas. One Lady Grayle asks him to find out if she is being slowly poisoned by her husband. He sets out to investigate but before he can uncover the truth Lady Grayle ends up dead.

I find the title of this short story amusing because Agatha Christie has a full length novel under the same title. The full-length Death on the Nile is of course widely popular, having been made into several movies, featuring Hercule Poirot. This short story was unknown to me until I picked it up. The short story was published three years before the novel. I do wonder if perhaps the short story was inspiration for the novel.
In any case it was a good, little story. Parker Pyne doesn't usually solve murders, so it was interesting watching him try his hand at this one. With limited suspects and evidence aplenty, Parker managed to solve it in time.

Another good Parker Pyne mystery.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Audiobook Review: Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance by M.C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin, amateur sleuth extraordinaire, has decided to start up her own detective agency. At first things are slow going with lost cats. However soon she hires her new neighbour, Emma Comfrey, as her secretary and her friend, Sir Charles, refers a case to her. A Mrs Laggart-Brown wants her to investigate the death threats her daughter has received. As Agatha and her detectives investigate they discover a tangle of relationships and murder, as they try to get to the bottom of it.

I’m smitten with Agatha Raisin. She’s sassy, funny and I love that she is now a detective – officially! Cozy mystery series with their amateur detectives poking their nose into things can sometimes get very long-winded, so it’s refreshing to see a series that has gone from amateur to official detective and thus gives Agatha a reason to poke her nose into things!!

I enjoyed the mystery a lot, but perhaps what I enjoyed more was Sir Charles Fraith being around, and James Lacey not. James Lacey is Agatha’s ex-husband, who went off to be a monk and then disappeared. He’s barely even mentioned in Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance and as I’m firmly on Team Charles I was completely fine with this! I have a feeling that M.C. Beaton will be making him pop up sooner or later though.

Penelope Keith is the voice of Agatha Raisin for me. I really enjoyed Penelope’s acting career, being such a big fan of british tv, and I’m glad she’s voicing these audiobooks. I love the voices she provides, especially the caring tones she puts in her voice for Mrs Bloxby, who is perhaps Agatha’s greatest friend. I hope Penelope Keith continues to provide the voice for these audiobooks for many years to come, because both Penelope and Agatha herself are the reason I keep coming back to listen to more.

Purchase Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance by M.C. Beaton at Audible, Amazon.

Friday 20 June 2014

Book Review: Organized for Murder by Ritter Ames

Kate McKenzie is a organizing expert. With 6-year-old twin girls and her ex-goalie and now sports anchor husband, she has plenty of time to put her organization skills to good use. Now she is starting a new business helping others organize. Her latest client requires her to organize and inventory her late husband’s many collections. All is going well until her client ends up dead, poisoned to death. With all the heirs pointing their fingers at her, Kate and her friend, Meg, must try and clear her name.

I related to this book so much. I’m a mom to twin boys and a hockey-loving sports fan. It certainly was right up my alley from the start. Add in the organizational tips and the suspenseful mystery and I was completely sold on my first Ritter Ames mystery.

I liked how competent Kate is. Some air-head sleuth, who blindly stumbles through a murder she is not. I like how she was constantly writing lists to keep herself organized and enable her to solve the mystery. At her side was her new friend, Meg. With the history of snarky hockey wives she’s not used to having a lot of friends, and it was enjoyable to see her friendship with Meg blossom and grow. I’m definitely looking forward to watching these two solve another mystery together.

Organized for Murder is a very enjoyable first in a new series. Ritter Ames really hit it out the park with this debut, and with her organizational tips included (throughout the book and at the end), I know this is one book I will be hanging onto. Not just for a re-read, but also to refer to the organizational tips. If you haven’t discovered this series yet, I highly recommend picking it up.

Thursday 19 June 2014

Book Review: The Pearl of Price by Agatha Christie

The Pearl of Price is a short story featuring Parker Pyne. Parker is on holidays and the last thing he expects is to get involved in a mystery. However this is exactly what happens when one of the tourist’s pearl earring goes missing and she asks him to solve the mystery.

Given her background in archaeology a lot of Agatha Christie’s stories featured digs, tombs or tourists visiting such places. This is another one in this setting. I haven’t got bored with this setting, so I was glad to another story featuring this. This time it is Parker Pyne visiting and getting involved in a mystery with a wealthy tourist.

I easily picked up the clues and solved this one before Parker. From my experience with the short stories they are a lot easier to solve than the full-length novels, which I rarely am able to solve. There is no murder, as Parker Pyne is more about “finding things” and “making people happy” then a actual murder investigation. It was a fun mystery though and I plan to read more mysteries featuring Parker Pyne.

Audiobook Review: Tarnished & Torn by Juliet Blackwell

Lily Ivory is a witch and owner of a vintage store called Aunt Cora’s Closet. In her time in San Francisco she’s gotten into plenty of trouble. However trouble is heading her way like never before. This time in the form of her father and what could likely be a fire demon!! It all starts innocently enough when she goes to a fair and meets a German lady selling antique jewellery. She’s interested in what she has to offer and suspects that she might also be a witch. Her suspicions are confirmed when the lady turns up dead, pressed between wood with cinder blocks on top. The “pressing” is a old form of torture against witches, which Lily has only heard of. Due to the nature of her death, Detective Carlos calls on Lily to help out and this starts one adventure that Lily nor her friends will forget in a hurry.

I fell in love with this series when I first read Secondhand Spirits. I love Lily as she not just tries to solve mysteries, but also learns what it is like to live in San Francisco and have friends nearby. She was shunned from her own mother and her hometown for being a witch. However her life in San Francisco is pretty great… well except for the murders and the fact that her one-time lover, Sailor, has disappeared.

What I love the most about Tarnished and Torn and this series as a whole, is it is never dull and boring. There is always a lot happening but Juliet Blackwell doesn’t leave readers lost and unable to connect the dots. It is more than just a cozy mystery, with the paranormal elements and more-than-meets-the-eye characters. In Tarnished and Torn we finally meet Lily’s father, who abandoned her as a baby. We discover more about their relationship (or lack there of) and perhaps more about how Aidan feels about Lily. Fans of this series will definitely enjoy some of the sub-plots that have continued on from the previous books.

For me, Xe Sands is the voice of this series. Her portrayal of the characters is beyond amazing. I particularly love the depth she gives to Lily’s familiar, Oscar. Oscar is part gargoyle, part goblin and appears a pot-bellied pig. His suggestion on how to solve the case was to hire Miss Marple, and is aghast to find out that she doesn’t exist and is made up! This scene alone had my laughing until I cried!! After having experienced the previous books as audiobooks I know I will definitely be continuing on with the series in audiobook format only. I wouldn’t hesitate recommend this series to mystery fans and also paranormal fans. It’s not one to be missed!

Check out Tarnished & Torn by Juliet Blackwell on Audible, Amazon.

Listen to a Sample of Tarnished & Torn by Juliet Blackwell, narrated by Xe Sands:

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Book Review: Drizzled with Death by Jessie Crockett

Welcome to Sugar Grove, New Hampshire. Dani Greene is a fourth-generation maple syrup maker. Her family has always made maple syrup and she’s trying to take the family business even further – with not just maple syrup, but organic maple syrup and other products. Her grand plans are disrupted when at a pancake breakfast, Alanza Speedwell falls dead in her pancakes. When Dani learns that the syrup, supplied by her farm, was poisoned, suspicion falls onto her family. With her ex-boyfriend investigating the case, Dani is determined to clear her family’s name.

Being an Australian-Canadian I love maple syrup. In Canada, we put it on everything! A cozy mystery series featuring maple syrup… well I’m all over that!!! I lapped up Drizzled with Death like a tall stack flowing with syrup! It was sweet, enjoyable and I loved every minute of it.

Dani Greene is the youngest, and her older brother and sister sure don’t think she has it in her to grow the family business, and she’s determined to prove them wrong! Even if it means finding a killer first! I love her dogged determined attitude and how quirky she is!! She certainly gets into some funny situations…. including wrestling camels, cassowaries and kangaroos!!

The mystery was well put together and had my inner amateur sleuth working overtime, trying to solve it before Dani. I was in suspense, right up until the end, while I watched the mystery unravel before me.

I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Maple Mayhem. Dani and her family were a hoot and I can’t wait to see what trouble Dani is going to get into next!

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Book Review: Cookie Dough or Die by Virginia Lowell

Best friends, Olivia and Maddie, own The Gingerbread House, a cookie shop that specializes in not just cookies, but cookbooks, cookie cutters… everything cookies! When Olivia learns that her dear friend, Clarisse Chamberlain, has passed away, she’s devastated. Clarisse was her mentor and close friend. When the circumstances surrounding Clarisse’s death don’t add up, Olivia and Maddie take it upon themselves to investigate and find out what happened.

COOKIES! I love cookies, everyone loves cookies. Discovering a new-to-me series that features cookies is like discovering cookies in the cupboard you forgot about! Reading this first book was just like that… devouring a mouth-watering cookie.

I loved everything about The Gingerbread House. The way Virginia Howell describes the shop with all it’s cookie paraphernalia and the close friendship between Olivia and Maddie really drew me in. I enjoyed every minute and didn’t want to put it down until I had turned the last page.

The mystery was fascinating, especially since originally the police rule the death as accidental, not murder. Of course all of us cozy readers know how often the police are wrong! It was interesting watching Olivia, with the help of Maddie, untangle the mystery.

With a sweet, cozy small town, and lots of small town gossip surrounding the death of Clarisse, Cookie Dough or Die was a home-run for me. I liked all the characters, from the snoopy mailman, Sam, to the gossipy reporter, Binnie, and especially Olivia’s dog, Spunky! I’m happy that this is already a long-running series and intend to spend time catching up with what Olivia and Maddie are going to get up to next.

Sunday 15 June 2014

Audiobook Review: In a Witch's Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell

Witch and vintage clothing store owner, Lily, has a knack for getting herself into "interesting situations". For what starts out as a lovely evening out with fellow witch, Aidan Rhodes, ends up in a mystery when a lady at the Art Deco Ball collpases and Lily thinks foul witchy play is involved!! When Detective Carlos asks for Lily's help with the death of a witch, Tarregan Dark Moon "Tara", Lily thinks the two may be connected. As she delves further into another coven she discovers some very evil magic at play.

I like the Witchcraft mysteries because they are always unexpected!! Lily's life is never boring. Besides the main mystery there is always a lot going on and I never finish reading one of these and think it was dull. For all the things that Lily is, she certainly isn't dull. In this one Lily gets to go to a fancy ball, try to untangle a murder case and help Miriam, who collapsed at the ball and is in a coma!! If that isn't enough there is also her love life. Definitely not dull.

Lily is a interesting character. She was chased out of her hometown by witch hunters and hasn't gotten close to anyone. Even her own mother doesn't like that she's a witch. But she's settling into a good life now, with her vintage clothing store and making friends with fellow witches. I like watching her life evolve, as she becomes happier with herself and her place in San Francisco.

The Witchcraft Mysteries are truly magical. They are everything I love about magical cozy mysteries are more than just a murder mystery! I'm excited to start the next one.

I listened to In a Witch's Wardrobe with the narration by Xe Sands and I can only use one word to describe her narration... flawless. She is the voice of Oscar, Lily's familiar, to me and her narration is part of the reason I love this series so much. If you like audiobooks I suggest trying this series on audio.

Check out In a Witch's Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell at Audible, Amazon.

Friday 13 June 2014

Book Review: Agatha Raisin and the Curious Curate by M.C. Beaton

Agatha is at a loose end. Her ex-husband, James Lacey, is gone and her friend and some-time lover, Sir Charles Fraith, is in Paris. When the vicar’s wife, Mrs Bloxby, advises that a new curate is coming to Carsley, Agatha doesn’t realize that this is going to be the start of a new adventure. Everyone in Carsley is smitten with the handsome, new curate. However not everyone shares that opinion, and when the curate ends up dead, it seems the police are ready to pin the murder on Mr Bloxby, the vicar. Could the vicar have been jealous and killed Tristan, or did someone else want him dead? To ease herself out of boredom Agatha and her neighbour, John, investigate.

I’m a big fan of Agatha Raisin. She’s stubborn, fun and sometimes crazy! She’s definitely never boring, as indicated by this adventure. However, on the outside it seems like she is bored. She pretends to not be interested in the murder. She’s not attracted to her neighbour, John, and since Charles and James are off elsewhere, there is no-one else to spark an interest. For all her faults, Agatha really is a romantic at heart and I hope one day in between all these murders she does find that someone special.

The murder in this one was quite interesting because Tristan wasn’t a local. It seems he’s gone from church to church, charming the patrons at first, but there is something sinister under that charm and it’s his sinister actions that look like the reason he has been killed. It was a tangled web and I enjoyed trying to unravel it before Agatha.

In The Case of the Curious Curate I really missed the lack of Sir Charles and to a smaller degree, James. I love Agatha’s interactions with Sir Charles and I really hope he makes an appearance in the next adventure.
This is Agatha’s 13th adventure and I still enjoy them as much as I picked up the first one (Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death). I enjoy watching Agatha solve murders and the trials of her love life. I can’t wait to read more!

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Book Review: Final Notice by Jennifer L Hart

Jackie Parker is a process server, who is now out of a job when she has had enough of her boss’ grabby hands!! Together with her husband, Luke, and his brother, Logan, they decide to go into the business of property management. With Luke and Logan’s brawn and her brains, their new company Damaged Goods Property Management can’t go wrong. Well that is until they discover a dead body at the first job! Now they are hunting down a killer and discovering the ups and downs of going into business with family!

I really enjoyed the first book I read/listened to by Jennifer L Hart (The Misadventures of a Laundry Hag: Skeletons in the Closet) and I was looking forward to a new series by this author. I simply loved Final Notice. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard to the point of being close to tears from a cozy mystery in a long time!!

Final Notice is a barrel of laughs with so many zany, hilarious situations as Jackie, Luke and Logan battle trying to evict tenants in their business of “property management”. Jackie certainly has a knack for getting in trouble and in this first mystery she manages to get herself in smelly situations, including a fight with a female wrestler in baby oil, and some not-so-sweet smelling adventures! From beginning to end I couldn’t stop laughing at all of their sticky situations! Who knew property management could be so funny… and dangerous!

I enjoyed the mystery part of Final Notice. At first it seemed straight forward in that it appears that the previous tenant had murdered the girl and left, but as Jackie investigates further she finds it is anything but simple. The “Jane Doe” girl reminds Jackie so much of herself in her younger years that she’s determined to find out what happened to her.

Final Notice has so many memorable characters and moments that I think it will appeal to all cozy readers. Under all the comedy there is a family that will do anything for each other, and the family values shines through on the pages. Jackie Parker and the hunky Luke and Logan won my heart over with this first mystery and I can’t wait to see what is in store with the next book, Lease on the Beach.

Monday 9 June 2014

Book Review: Yarn to Go by Betty Hechtman

Casey Feldstein isn't really the kind of girl that sticks to anything. Medical school, law school, working in a PI office, they all only lasted a short time. Now she's a dessert chef, living in the guest house of her Aunt Joan's house. However, when Joan is accidentally killed in a car accident, she must also add something else to her list - running a yarn retreat! Joan ran "Petite Retreats", fun weekend-long yarn retreats, and she had one all booked and now Casey must step in. She's not a knitter, but she does her best to honour her aunt's memory. With a dark cloud already over the weekend, especially with the accidental death of a knitter at the last retreat, Casey must not just step in, but also turn her hand at solving a crime too when one of the knitters if found dead.

I'm a knitter and a crocheter and I love reading mysteries that centre around yarn. This mystery was fun in many ways, but mostly it was fun seeing my favourite hobby through Casey's eyes, being that of a newbie. All the abbreviations and code names that I take for granted, like my "stash", ie. my yarn stash, are new to her. She soon learns a lot more than she ever though she wanted to know about yarn.

There are two deaths that have occurred even before I got into the first chapter. Those being Casey's aunt and Amanda Proctor, a knitter that died at the end of the last retreat. As they say accidents go in threes, and soon another dead body is added to the list. I guessed early on who the killer was and the motive behind it. This didn't take anything away from my enjoyment of the mystery at all. I really liked Casey and the other ladies and gents (yes even men knit!) who attend the retreat, and it was fun to experience the yarn retreat with them.

Yarn to Go was a very fun first-in-a-new-series for me. I enjoyed this small town of Cadbury by the Sea. With Casey's love of baking and her growing interest in knitting, I know this is one series I will be keeping up with.

Sunday 8 June 2014

Audiobook Review: Skeletons in the Closet by Jennifer L Hart

Maggie Phillips is your run of the mill housewife. She's a stay-at-home mom to two adventurous boys and wife to ex-Navy SEAL and all-around hunk, Neil. Apart from her disastrous in-laws she has a great life. That is until her best friend volunteers her to clean the mansion of the new neighbours. Douglass Kline is creepy and his wife, Alessandra,... well let's just say she gets around!! All goes well until Alessandra ends up dead and Douglass looks like the number one suspect. With friend, Sylvia, egging her on to dress in black and investigate, the pair give it a go at sleuthing!

I love funny cozy mysteries! I'm a huge fan of the zany antics of Stephanie Plum (as published by Janet Evanovich) and along with a good mystery, I love a mystery that keeps me giggling as well. The Misadventures of the Laundry Hag: Skeletons in the Closet definitely falls under the zany and funny category. I laughed and laughed at all the antics that Maggie and Sylvie get up to. For example, who knew that when you go in the middle of the night to investigate a suspect's house, that you will get held up by the suspect's elderly mother and rip your pants open and end up in jail! Yes this happens to Maggie. She's a walking disaster and her antics sure made for more than just a few giggles.

The mystery itself was very good. While Douglass is very creepy with the torture devices he keeps around for show, he is also very hapless and it's clear he isn't guilty of murder. This left me with many suspects and trying to figure out who killed Alessandra before Maggie.

There is a great cast of characters in this first book in this series. I really enjoyed the relationship Maggie and Neil have, and it's refreshing to have a sleuth that has a husband a family, as many that I've read lately have been single. Together with the unpredictable brother, Marty, I know the characters are definitely going to have me coming back for more. I need to know what kind of trouble Maggie is going to get up to next!!

I listened to Skeletons in the Closet as an audiobook with the narration provided by Suzanne Cerreta. This was my first time listening to Suzanne and I definitely will listen again. She provides the perfect voice for Maggie and I liked how you can hear the laughter in her voice, at all of Maggie's misadventures!

If you're looking for a fun audiobook for a car trip I recommend giving The Misadventures of a Laundry Hag: Skeletons in the Closet a go. At just six hours, it is the perfect length for car trips and it will keep you laughing and recalling Maggie's adventures with a smile.

Saturday 7 June 2014

Book Review: Scene of the Climb by Kate Dyer-Seeley

In Kate Dyer-Seeley's debut mystery we meet Margaret Mary Reed, "Meg" to her friends. She's newly out of college and still trying to deal with the recent accidental death of her father, the top-notch journalist, Charlie Reed. Following in her father's footsteps she hopes to be a journalist, that is if she can find a job. When she discovers a journalist job at adventure magazine, Northwest Extreme, she decides to tell a small lie about her outdoor experience. After all a job is a job right? Little does Meg know that this job will mean scaling cliffs after contestants on the Race of the States outdoor adventure race. During a trip out with the contestants Meg witnesses the death of Lenny Ray, one of the contestants, and is horrified to find a killer in their midst. She does what any good journalist would do and starts to hunt down who killed Lenny!

Since I'm more the indoors type I wasn't sure about an adventure-style cozy mystery. I could see how they would appeal to those that love that mysteries and also love to climb cliffs. However, I'm more the climb-into-my-bed-with-a-good-book kind of person. However, within pages of reading Scene of the Climb I discovered Meg was more like me than I thought. Meg is an mocha-full-fat-with-extra-whip kind of girl and she's clearly out of her depth with all the adrenaline junkies at Northwest Extreme. However with her tenacious "fake it until you make it" attitude she's more than happy to try and fit in.

With a murder that takes place on a trail, amidst the beautiful rocky terrain of Oregon, this mystery was thrilling from the start. While I may not have been outside on the trail, my adrenaline sure was pumping as Meg witnesses the murder and then has to dodge bullets and cougars to try and avoid being the next victim. I loved the mystery. It took just the right turns to keep me interested and I didn't want to put the book down, not even for a second!

Friday 6 June 2014

Book Review: Tempest in a Teapot by Amanda Cooper

Sophie Taylor is returning to Gracious Grove, the place where her grandmother lives and she spent her holidays as a child. When her restaurant goes belly up in New York she decides it's time to move from the big city, back to Gracious Grove and lick her wounds! In Auntie Rose's Victorian Tea House, run by Nana, she finally feels like she's healing and ready to move onto the next stage of her life. However, before that can happen she has a murder to solve! One of her friend's fiance's mother dies at a nearby tea house and Sophie is called in to help find a murderer!

When it comes to caffeine I'm a big tea drinker. I start each day at 5:30am with a cup of Earl Grey tea and I couldn't imagine not drinking tea. A mystery series featuring not just one tea house, but two? Well I'm all over that!

I had high expectations going into this series. I really enjoy mysteries with cats (notice the adorable Birman on the cover) and tea and I was hoping that Tempest in a Teapot would live up to my expectations. I'm happy to report that Tempest in a Teapot far exceeded my expectations. This story had the air of the feeling of settling into your favourite chair, with a cup of tea and a good book. Complete and utter comfort, especially with the surroundings of Gracious Grove.

Gracious Grove is a little different from other cozy towns I've read about. It is a "dry" community, in that no alcohol is allowed. Naturally some locals would like to see this changed, especially Cissy's brother, Pete, who does his best to smuggle in alcohol! With Gracious Grove being a dry town, I felt like I'd almost gone back in time to prohibition, with tea-sipping ladies gossiping about everyone in town.

With this lovely setting, it was easy to picture Sophie wanting to return to Gracious Grove, and form a new life there. As she had spent her summers there, she already knew many of the locals and she enlists their help to assist with the investigation.

I liked Sophie. Even though her restaurant has gone belly up, she seems determined to brush herself off and help her Nana with Auntie Rose's Victoria Tea Room. Along with Sophie, there is a whole host of interesting, secondary characters that grabbed my attention. Cissy, her good friend from her days of spending her summer in Gracious Grove, is the same as ever and depicts perfectly the "little lost girl" and comes across as very naive. Even as I'm reading the story I wanted to wrap Cissy up in a hug and protect her, just like Sophie tries to do.

Amanda Cooper writes an engaging mystery in her first book in this new series. With intriguing characters and a delightful setting, I can already tell this series is going to be a firm favourite. For tea drinkers all across the world I highly recommend this series.

Thursday 5 June 2014

Book Review: Night of the Living Thread by Janet Bolin

It's almost Halloween in Threadville and life certainly is busy. Willow and her friends are busy preparing for Edna's wedding to the local doctor, Gord, and Ben is preparing to host the Zombie Retreat at the Elderberry Bay Lodge. With an anxious mother-of-the-bride in town and zombies running rampant, it is going to be anything but quiet for Willow at her store, In Stitches. However life becomes a whole lot more complicated when her mother foists an unwanted house guest on her and one of the wedding guests is discovered dead in the lake. In between wedding preparations and avoiding zombie attacks, Willow and her friends set about trying to solve the murder.

I love visiting Threadville. Of all the fictional cozy towns it is one of my absolute favourites. All those embroidery, yarn and fabric stores just makes the inner crafter in me drool and want to visit there! In Night of the Living Thread, one of our favourite crafters, Edna, is getting married and the other women of Threadville have a great surprise for her... an amazing wedding over skirt that is made up of every kind of embroidery possible!! It definitely is a vision and one that Edna is bound to love!

To say that Janet Bolin is a masterful storyteller is an understatement. In each of the previous books I've enjoyed how she blends elements of embroidery and needlecraft with the mystery, giving even the most seasoned crafter, more information about the crafts they love. And the mystery? What a mystery it was with a town full of zombies running rampant and a couple of new characters that you will just love to hate!!

In Night of the Living Thread we are introduced to a few new characters, many of whom probably won't be making a comeback. However, I hope Edna's mother, Mrs Battersby, isn't one of them. She first appears as a grumpy, nit-picky mother, but there is more to her than meets the eye. She totally won me over and I hope she makes a second appearance in later novels because I think she could bring a lot of Threadville.

If you haven't started the Threadville Mysteries yet I recommend running to your bookstore or online bookseller straight away to pick up this series. It's alive with charming characters and unputdownable mysteries and it is one series that you are going to be adding to your favourites!

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Book Review: Hot Fudge Frame-Up by Christine DeSmet

Ava Oosterling is settling back into Door County, Wisconsin, selling fudge and creating new mouthwatering flavours. She's also gearing up for the first ever Fudge Festival. Along with two other cooks she will be trying to out-fudge them with the best tasting fudge ever! However when one of the judges winds up dead, it looks like they have a murder in their midst.

I quite enjoyed the first book in this series, First-Degree Fudge. It set the scene nicely with Ava and her grandfather running a combination fudge and bait shop, and I fell in love with this beautiful area in Wisconsin. I was more than happy to take another delicious journey with Ava.

I liked the character development that Christine DeSmet has added in this second instalment. We met all the characters in First Degree Fudge, and now after reading Hot Fudge Frame-Up I feel like I know them like neighbours. I especially like how we learn more about the special friendship between Ava and her grandfather. It might sound weird having a fudge-and-bait combo shop, but with the special friendship between Ava and her grandfather that simply shines off the pages, it's not weird at all.

The mystery kept me on the edge of my seat, as I tried to unravel the clues laid out and figure out who killed Lloyd. More importantly Lloyd was involved in real estate deals, one of which that could mean the end of Ava's shop. It was interesting watching this all unravel, and I spent much time trying to figure out the mystery.
With captivating characters and a suspenseful mystery, Hot Fudge Frame-Up was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I can't wait to see what Christine DeSmet has in store for us next. In the meantime, with the mouth-watering recipes at the back of Hot Fudge Frame-Up I will be eagerly heading into the kitchen with this book in hand to try them out.