Wednesday 12 August 2015

Audiobook Review: Agatha's First Case by M.C. Beaton

At age 26 Agatha Raisin has already come a long way. She has clawed her way up since leaving the Birmingham slum where she was born. She's lost her Birmingham accent, run away from her drunken husband, and found a job at a public relations office as a secretary. Then her boss asks Agatha to go to the home of Sir Bryce Teller to tell him that he is soon to be arrested for the murder of his wife and that the agency no longer wants to represent him.

Teller, impressed with the pugnacious Agatha, asks her to handle PR for him and even offers her an office and tells her she can hire a staff. Certainly the best thing Agatha can do for her first client is to find out who really murdered his wife and clear his name. And with her wits and gumption, Agatha sets out to do just that.[summary via Audible]

I've been reading the Agatha Raisin mysteries for the last few years and I've loved every one of them. Agatha is big on spirit and determination and regardless of your age she sure is a great model for the strong, confident woman with a "can-do" attitude! When I heard M.C. Beaton was writing a story about her first case, I was excited. I wanted to know what Agatha was like in her 20s!

In this story we get to meet Agatha when she is 26. She is just starting out at a ad agency as a general "dogsbody" and has quite made it yet. She gets thrust in the middle of a murder case, and alike to her cases later on, she bumbles around and gets everything right. She's hesitant to begin with, but her strong passion to make something of herself shines through and she starts to show the Agatha Raisin spirit that we all love!

Agatha Raisin is my all time favorite sleuth and I simply loved her first story. I'm hoping maybe one day M.C. Beaton will write more stories of her younger days, as this one was a delight.

If you're a new fan to the Agatha Raisin mysteries this would be the perfect place to start.

I enjoyed Alison Larkin's narration. Penelope Keith is my all-time favorite narrator of this series but Alison's narration was quite good too.

Definitely a A+ listen and I can't wait for the new book, Dishing the Dirt!

Review by Anna.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Book Review: Feta Attraction by Susannah Hardy

Georgie Nikolopatos manages the Bonaparte House, a Greek restaurant and historic landmark in beautiful upstate New York rumored to possess ghosts and hidden treasure. But when her husband disappears and her main competitor is found dead, it’s up to Georgie to solve a big fat Greek murder.

With her husband, Spiro, inexplicably gone for days, Georgie has her hands full running the restaurant and dealing with the crew of the TV show Ghost Squad, called in by Spiro to inspect the house for haunting. So when she has a chance to take a boating excursion on the St. Lawrence River with her friend Keith Morgan, she jumps on it. But their idyll is quickly ruined when they discover the body of rival restaurant owner Domenic “Big Dom” DiTomasso floating in the water.

When the police start asking questions, it doesn’t help that Spiro can’t be found—and with Georgie on their suspect list, it’s up to her to find her missing husband and find out who killed Big Dom before someone else’s order is up.[via Goodreads]

How can you not get intrigued when the first sentence of a book say this "When you marry a gay man, it shouldnt come as a suprise when he leaves you." That has got to make you want to continue reading. Well it did for me and it worked. I was intrigued during the entire book.

Georgie, part owner of a Greek restaurant called The Bonaparte House, with her "husband" Spiro and mother-in-law Sophie, has anything but a boring normal life. But when Spiro is gone longer than usual on one of his excursions, Sophie starts asking Georgie questions non-stop. Georgie doesn't get worried until she starts receiving strange emails and finds Spiro's cell phone in his room. Then when Georgie and her friend, Keith, come across the body of Big Dom, the closest restuarant rival, face down in the river things get even crazier. Are the authorities really look at Georgie as a suspect ? Not only does she have to try to solve the mysterious emails and get her husband home save but she has to clear her name of Big Dom's murder.

Along with the aid of Inky, tattoo artist and Spiro's new love interest, she ventures down some dark roads but determined she plows ahead.

Susannah Hardy has a knack with her story telling to capture the reader with the first sentence and keeps your interest through until the end. And the surprise in the end will blow your mind !!!

As this is the first in a series, I am sitting patiently waiting for book 2....well as patient as a reader can be. This is definitely a book to add to your reading list and an author for start following.

Review by Missi.

Book Review: An Accidental Murder by J New

Young widow, Isobella Bridges discovered and fell in love with The Yellow Cottage as a child. Many years later she returned to the Island, discovered it was for sale and bought it on a whim. Or so she thought. She had no idea at the time how much it would change her life, nor that it was yet to reveal all it’s secrets. Ones that even Ella couldn't imagine. 

She purchased the cottage from an old lady, but this was no ordinary old lady. And she left her cat, but this was no ordinary cat. 

Ella soon realises that this isn't the only gift the old lady left. 

Having only been in residence a few short weeks, and still unpacking boxes, she receives a telephone call from her brother, inviting her up to London for Sunday lunch. 
This call sets in motion a series of events that puts Ella’s life, and those of the people closest to her in danger. [summary via Goodreads]

I loved this book so much that I couldn't put it down till I finished. It grabbed me from the first few paragraphs. You feel like you are in the Yellow Cottage with Ella sitting by the fireplace sipping tea and Phantom curled up on a rug while reading. By the way, Phantom is the cat that comes with the Yellow Cottage. He is actually a ghost cat:)

Some of the characters in this book are Jerry, Ella's brother and his wife Ginny. They live in London not far from Ella. They have been trying to set Ella up with a gentleman since her husband John passed five years ago. She is very content just to be able to call Yellow Cottage her home. But little did she know that when she bought Yellow Cottage her life would forever be changed.

This book may be short but it is packed full of adventure, mystery, murder, danger, and of course ghosts:) I am looking forward to many more adventures and mysteries with Ella and Phantom in Yellow Cottage.

Review by Penny.

Monday 10 August 2015

Book Review: Chef Maurice & the Wrath of Grapes by J.A. Lang

An invitation to dinner at the home of renowned wine collector Sir William Burton-Trent soon finds Chef Maurice in the middle of an all-too-real murder mystery party, when Sir William is found dead in his own wine cellar.

The guests are acting all innocent, but which one is only playing the part? The pushy Californian film director? The seductive French winemaker?

Or could it be, against all narrative decency, the butler who did it?

With the help of food critic friend Arthur Wordington-Smythe, a large kipper sandwich, and the newly formed Cochon Rouge Wine Appreciation Society, Chef Maurice must get to the bottom of matters before events turn decidedly sour…[summary via Goodreads] 

Such a great book. Loved getting to know the characters. This is the first book I have read in this series and I can say it will not be the last.
Sir William Burton-Trent, owner of Bourne Hall has invited Chef Maurice and Arthur to a dinner and wine tasting. But what they get is more than a taste of wine, they get a taste of Murder!

Chef Maurice is a jolly, world renound , wine loving character that loves a good mystery and you will fall instantly in love with his dry humor. He describes himself as a great chef and detective:) His friend Arthur, a food critic for the England Observer is always along for an adventure when Chef is around. Even though you will read not always privy to what is going on in the mind of Chef Maurice.
Also, loved PC Lucy and her willingness to go along with chef on his hunches. And of course, you can't forget Patrick, Chef Maurice's Sous-Chef and how he tries to reign in Chef at the Le Cochon Rouge and keep and eye on PC Lucy:)

I found this book addicting,funny,adventurous,and educating since I know nothing about wine. I can say I was in stitches in parts and holding on tight to my Kindle in other parts. Can't wait till the next book comes out in October 2015.

Review by Penny.

Featured Author: Judy Penz Sheluk + Giveaway

Today we are featuring new author, Judy Penz Sheluk. Judy is the author the Hanged Man's Noose, the first book in the Glass Dolphin Mysteries.

Check out Hanged Man's Noose at Amazon.

Small-town secrets and subterfuge lead to murder in this fast-moving, deftly written tale of high-stakes real estate wrangling gone amok.

Journalist Emily Garland lands a plum assignment as the editor of a niche magazine based in Lount’s Landing, a small town named after a colorful 19th century Canadian traitor. As she interviews the local business owners for the magazine, Emily quickly learns that many people are unhappy with real estate mogul Garrett Stonehaven’s plans to convert an old schoolhouse into a mega-box store. At the top of that list is Arabella Carpenter, the outspoken owner of an antiques shop, who will do just about anything to preserve the integrity of the town’s historic Main Street.

But Arabella is not alone in her opposition. Before long, a vocal dissenter at a town hall meeting about the proposed project dies. A few days later, another body is discovered, and although both deaths are ruled accidental, Emily’s journalistic suspicions are aroused.

Putting her reporting skills to the ultimate test, Emily teams up with Arabella to discover the truth behind Stonehaven’s latest scheme before the murderer strikes again.

We're giving away one KINDLE COPY of Hanged Man's Noose.

To enter: 
1. Comment below. 
2. Giveaway is open international. 
3. Giveaway ends on August 12, 2015 at midnight and the winners will be contacted by email.

Friday 7 August 2015

Book Review: Hopscotch Homicide by Kathi Daley

When Zoe finds the body of the lunch lady on the hopscotch course the week before the new school year, she is pulled into a mystery that will find her volunteering as soccer mom, classroom mom, and PTA board member. It's funny, it's family, it's a Zak and Zoe murder investigation.[summary via Amazon] 

I had so much fun reading this book from the moment I picked it up:) I love that Zak and Zoe are now proud "parents" to 3 kids, dogs, kitties, and a new school. They have been busy. 

Since the honeymoon they have so many new responsibilities, PTA assistant, coordinator for PTA activities, Soccer mom, Football mom, cheerleader mom, on top of solving the murder of the lunch lady. Zoe is loving being Supermom right now but I am thinking things may get a little hairy in the next adventure of Zak and Zoe:) 

About the book inside a book, I loved it. Phyllis is great with the kids and they are showing her that life isn't over for her and a chance for love is in the air:) Can't wait for the next adventure for Zak, Zoe,Phyllis, all the kids and of course Levi and Ellie.

Review by Penny.

Book Review: Smothered, Covered & Dead by Liz Lipperman

Aspiring sportswriter Jordan McAllister never imagined she’d end up as a food critic for a small time newspaper. Writing the culinary column for the Ranchero Globe is a challenge, and even though she can’t make a grilled cheese sandwich without burning it, she has no trouble finding herself in hot water.

When Rosie LaRue finds her ex in the apartment with her ice pick in his chest, Jordan knows that she and the Empire Apartments gang must act quickly to keep their friend out of jail. Despite the fact that the deceased has a long list of people who wanted him dead, things aren’t always what they seem, and Jordan ends up in the hands of a crazed killer, desperately searching for a way to stay alive. [summary via Amazon]

I had a lot of fun reading this book. I had not read any of the previous Jordan McAllister Mysteries and didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. I loved the characters and the story line. I couldn't put it down.

Jordan is up to her neck in another murder mystery with her best friend being accused of murdering her ex husband. Jordan knows that her friend Rosie is innocent and so do all go her friends from the Empire Apartments. So naturally Jordan and all her friends pitch in to try and find the real killer.

We all know that Jordan can't stay out of trouble so it is no surprise when things go from bad to worse when another body is found. So how does all this fit? Is it connected to Rosie's ex or are there two murderers running loose in Ranchero? You have it all in this book. You have a culinary column writer, Jordan who burns grilled cheese trying to learn to cook, you have love triangle's with ex's, you have romance that is in bloom, and of course murder. This is a wonderful mystery that will have you on the edge of your seat till the very end. I can't wait to read the next installment of The Jordan McAllister mysteries.

Review by Penny/

Thursday 6 August 2015

Book Review: The Long Paw of the Law by Laurie Anne Marie

Welcome to Comfortville, a quaint little town nestled inland from the Pacific coast.

Ashley Crane is busy nursing a broken heart, working tirelessly as a cook, and hanging out with her family and best friends when her boss at the restaurant is murdered.

At first the investigation is left to Nathaniel Thompson, the local handsome police detective. But when Thompson arrests the wrong suspect, Ashley takes the investigation into her own hands.
Solving the case won't be easy. She'll need help from her parents April and Burt, her best friends Sean and Lara, and her cute and clever cat Charlie.

It's up to Ashley Crane to find the real murderer in Comfortville before they strike again.[summary via Amazon]

What a great read. This book was really fun reading. Loved getting to know all of the characters,especially Ashley. She and her cat Charlie are a great team. I liked how Ashley would quote Shakespeare throughout the book and always stump people about what she was talking about:) Like how the relationship is developing with Nate and of course, who can forget about Sean. I think she may have a keeper in Sean. 

The mystery was exciting to try and figure out who had done the crime. I must admit the author had me fooled and I loved it:) Can't wait to read the next adventure of Ashley and Charlie.

Review by Penny.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Book Review: Tailing a Tabby by Laurie Cass

In the bookmobile, librarian Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat, Eddie, roll out great summer reads to folks all over the lake town of Chilson, Michigan. And when real-life drama turns deadly, Minnie makes sure justice is never overdue.

The bookmobile is making its usual rounds when Minnie and Eddie are flagged down by a woman in distress. The woman’s husband, a famous artist, needs emergency medical care. After getting him into the bookmobile, Minnie races the man to the hospital in time…but his bad luck has only just begun.

After disappearing from the hospital, the artist is discovered slumped over the body of a murdered woman. Minnie knows that her new friend didn’t commit the crime, but the evidence paints an unflattering picture. Now this librarian and her furry friend have to put the investigation in high gear and catch the real killer before someone else checks out.[summary from Amazon]

If you like cats you will enjoy this book. If you like books you will enjoy this book. If you like cats and books you will want to read this book.

Books, a cat, living on a houseboat, dating a gorgeous doctor, a best friend who owns a fabulous restaurant, driving a bookmobile around town, new interesting friends.... What more could Minnie Hamilton ask for ? A murder to which a newly acquired friend is the top suspect ? Deep down Minnie knows that Russell "Cabe" McCabe, infamous artist could not have murdered Carissa Randle. Not only was Carissa a fan of Cabe's but Cabe was recovering from a recent stroke leaving him weak and physically unable to have performed the act.

As Minnie gets deeper and deeper into the case, talking everything over with Eddie who understands her completely and even responses, she finds it hard to believe any of the people she meets who were involved with Carissa could have wanted her dead. But she has to figure it out because she needs to help Cabe and his wife Barb.

Ride along with Minnie and her cat Eddie as she roams around town trying to bring justice to her new friend and save his paintings from losing their value. Just be careful not to rock the boat too much.

Review by Missi.

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Featured Book: Berried Secrets by Peg Cochran

Today we are featuring a brand new series from author, Peg Cochran. Some readers might know Peg from her Gourmet De-Lite Mysteries, her Lucille Mysteries and she also wrote the Sweet Nothings mysteries as Meg London.

Check out her new series: 
It’s cranberry picking time—in an all-new mystery series from the national bestselling author of the Gourmet De-Lite Mysteries… 

When Monica Albertson comes to Cranberry Cove—a charming town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan—to help her half-brother Jeff on his cranberry farm, the last thing she expects to harvest is a dead body. 

It seems that Sam Culbert, who ran the farm while Jeff was deployed overseas, had some juicy secrets that soon prove fatal, and Jeff is ripe for the picking as a prime suspect. Forming an uneasy alliance with her high-maintenance stepmother, Monica has her hands full trying to save the farm while searching for a killer. Culbert made plenty of enemies in the quaint small town…but which one was desperate enough to kill?

Today we're giving away a paperback and a kindle copy! That's two copies to two lucky readers.


To enter:
1. Comment with the format you'd like to win and leave your email so we can contact you if you're the winner.
2. Giveaway for paperback is open US/Canada and Kindle copy is open international.
3. Giveaway ends on August 5, 2015 at midnight and the winners will be contacted by email.