Sunday 6 July 2014

Book Review: Ill-Gotten Panes by Jennifer McAndrews

In her debut series Jennifer McAndrews delivers a stunning mystery, with a flaming red-headed heroine that readers are not going to forget in a hurry...

Georgia Kelly has packed up her life in New York City, complete with a job loss and departing fiance, and is heading home to Wenwood, New York, to live with her grandfather, until she figures life out. In Wenwood she finds a quiet life. That is until a local is killed and the police point their finger at Georgia's grandfather. With Grandy about to be arrested for murder, Georgia and her new friend, Carrie, set about trying to find the real killer.

I love new series and as a reader, I'm lucky in that many new series are published every month for me to try. I instantly warmed to this new sleuth, Georgia Kelly, within the first few pages of Ill-Gotten Panes. She has fiery red uncontrollable hair and her hair certainly matches her personality. In no time at all she's getting herself buried deep within a murder investigation.

In this first mystery we meet Georgia, her grandfather, Grandy, and her new friend, Carrie, who owns a antique store. She enlists Georgia to help her repair a Tiffany lamp, and through this we learn more about Georgia's hobby of stain glass. It's not a hobby that I know much about it and I found it fascinating. Alike to Georgia I use craft as therapy, and I it's nice to read that I'm not the only one. Crafting can be very therapeutical!

The mystery was a great whodunnit. While I did guess early on who the murderer was, it wasn't until the last minute that I had tied everything up together. It was cleverly crafted and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Wenwood was such a delight to visit. Between the locals, Georgia's new companion in the form of a cute, little, white kitten named Friday and the adventure of a murder mystery I had a splendid time with this first mystery and I can't wait to see what Jennifer McAndrews has on offer next.

Friday 4 July 2014

Book Review: Silence of the Lamb's Wool by Betty Hechtman

Casey Feldstein has her hands full yet again with baking, yarning and solving a murder. Casey is continuing on with yarn retreat business she inherited. While she didn't begin as a knitter nor crocheter she's learning more about yarn and enjoying the retreats. This new retreat will be fantastic as she plans to even include sheep shearing and spinning!! However when the retreat's teacher is found dead, and the death is declared a suicide, the retreat looks like it might just fall apart. It's up to Casey to pick up the pieces and solve the crime. With Casey at the helm it's going to be one yarn retreat no-one will forget.

I love to crochet so early on I picked up Betty Hechtman's crochet series and instantly became a fan for life! I like the way she weaves elements of crafting with the mystery so seemlessly. I always finish one of her mysteries satisfied that I've not only enjoyed the mystery but picked up for a tips for the crafter in me too!!
In this new series Casey is as beginner of a knitter as you can get. She doesn't even have a yarn stash (yet!)! She is enjoying running the retreats and learning along the way. She also has a insatiable curiousity! Part of the reason I enjoy following Casey's adventures is because I really like reading about each retreater's journey into knitting and crochet. They are all at different skill sets and through the story I almost feel like I'm right there, alongside them, taking part in the projects and building friendships in only a way that yarn can.

Yarning aside, Betty Hechtman delivers a delightful mystery in this latest instalment. What first appears to be suicide, clearly is murder and I enjoyed watching Casey put her "detective shoes" on and solve the crime. Fans of Betty Hectman's earlier mysteries won't be disappointed with this one. In my opinion, it's one of her best and I'm looking forward to seeing where she takes Casey and her friends next.

If you haven't read this series yet I highly recommend giving it a go. The mystery will delight you and afterwards you'll be itching to start a knitting or crochet project of your own!

Book Review: Cozy Food, edited by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

If you are a cozy reader (and especially those of the culinary variety) then you know how delectable those recipes at the end of the mystery are. Almost every culinary cozy mystery I buy I end up trying out the recipes at the back. It’s the perfect way to make the mystery last just a little bit longer. Well Nancy Lynn Jarvis has helped fans of those recipes and compiled an awesome cookbook with lots of cozy mystery recipe goodness!!

With a star studded list of contributing authors this cookbook has everything from main courses and desserts, with over 220 recipes! Each recipes contains an introduction to the author and their books, followed by a mouth-watering recipe. I’ve already wowed my family with several recipes, including Jenna Bennett’s “whoopee pies” and Annie Knox’s “Hot Grudge Sundae Cake with Dark Chocolate Fudge Sauce”!

If you buy one recipe book this year make it Cozy Food. After I finished browsing the recipes I was pleased to see that Nancy Lynn Jarvis includes the Cozy Mystery Author’s Biographies, and includes book lists. I will definitely be checking out all the books by these authors. I’m pretty sure there is enough cooking and reading to last me a full year!

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Book Review: Some Enchanted Eclair by Bailey Cates

Hollywood has come to Savannah with the shooting of a film called Love in Revolution. Katie and her Aunt Lucy are called in to step in as caterer, when the previous caterer was fired. However what starts as just another job turns out to be a deadly murder mystery when Simon Knapp, the Production Coordinator, is found killed – stabbed with a knife from the Honeybee Bakery! Katie and the gang at the Honeybee Bakery start to investigate and try to unravel the mystery.

I’ve really enjoyed the previous mysteries in this series. They are simply spellbinding with mouth-watering recipes after the adventure. This latest adventure, however, tops the previous mysteries and provides a page-turning mystery, that is one of the best I’ve ever read.

With each book Katie Lightfoot is finding out more about her witchy powers. She’s a lightwitch and also a “catalyst”, meaning she seems to attract trouble! She, nor the members of her spellbook club (coven), are surprised when the victim Simon, reveals via a psychic, that it will be Katie that will find his killer! It was enjoyable to read the subtle blend of magic and mystery, with Katie heading the adventure and solving the mystery.

My favourite thing about this series is that it evolves at a realistic pace. From the start I was captivated by the spark between Declan, fireflighter, and Katie, and I really enjoyed the twist that Bailey Cates put into their relationship in Some Enchanted Eclair. Fans of Declan and Katie will certainly enjoy this sub-plot, as much as I did.

If you haven’t discovered the Magical Bakery Mysteries I highly encourage you to race to your bookstore and pick them up today. While you are there pick up all four because you are going to want to read them back-to-back and fall head over heels for these spellbinding witches!

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Book Review: Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett

In the 8th mystery in the Booktown Mysteries Lorna Barrett takes readers on a new suspenseful adventure. It’s winter and all is quiet in “Booktown” Stoneham, New Hampshire. However, with Tricia’s sister, Angelica, running two businesses and being newly-appointed President of the Chamber of Commerce her life is anything but dull. Particularly since her Chamber of Commerce receptionist, Betsy Dittmeyer, likes to stir things up by constantly reading everyone the riot act and causing trouble. When Betsy is found dead, crushed under a bookcase, Angelica and Tricia are sad but not surprised. However there was more to Betsy than met the eye, and Tricia is intrigued enough to investigate and see if she can hunt down a killer!

The Booktown Mysteries were one of the first modern cozy mysteries series I ever discovered. Each year I settle in to enjoy the latest offering and every time I’m not disappointed. With the release of Book Clubbed, Lorna Barrett has kept up this wonderful tradition of keeping me thoroughly entertained.

From the first book, Murder is Binding, to this book I’ve enjoyed watching Tricia adapt to life in Stoneham. Her life has had many ups and downs, especially in her romantic life. Her ex-husband, Christopher, has now taken up residence in town and she’s no longer dating Police Chief, Grant Baker. She seems to be enjoying life on her own. Just her and her darling cat, Miss Marple. However there is one relationship in her life that is blossoming and that is the one between Tricia and her older sister, Angelica. When we were first introduced to Angelica I wasn’t sure about her. She seemed to rub Tricia up the wrong way and they didn’t get along at all. I’ve really enjoyed watching the two get closer, and in Book Clubbed they share some wonderful, close moments. Anyone with a sister or a brother in their life that is also their best friend, will appreciate the direction that Lorna Barrett has taken these wonderful sisters. It is heart warming and beautiful, and I’m so glad that Angelica is not just a part of Booktown, but a big part of Tricia’s life too.

Lorna Barrett never fails to offer a suspenseful cozy mystery. The mystery certainly kept me on my toes and right up to the denouement I was holding my breath, waiting to see how it would all my play out.

Fans of this series will rejoice at another wonderful instalment in their favourite cozy mystery series. Lorna Barrett provides a entertaining, highly enjoyable new mystery for readers to solve, and I can’t recommend Book Clubbed enough. If you haven’t read this series yet I recommend picking up Murder is Binding and beginning what will quickly become one of your favourites.