Tuesday 27 October 2015

Flipped For Murder (Country Store Mysteries #1) by Maddie Day

Flipped For Murder

In this freshly baked series, author Maddie Day lifts the lid on a small town in southern Indiana, where a newcomer is cooking up a new start--until a murderer muddles the recipe...
Nursing a broken heart, Robbie Jordan is trading in her life on the West Coast for the rolling hills of southern Indiana. After paying a visit to her Aunt Adele, she fell in love with the tiny town of South Lick. And when she spots a For Sale sign on a rundown country store, she decides to snap it up and put her skills as a cook and a carpenter to use. Everyone in town shows up for the grand re-opening of Pans ‘n Pancakes, but when the mayor's disagreeable assistant is found dead, Robbie realizes that not all press is good press. With all eyes on her, she'll have to summon her puzzle-solving skills to clear her name, unscramble the town's darkest secrets, and track down a cold-blooded killer--before she's the next to die... (summary via Goodreads)

If you read books to strengthen your imagination, Flipped for Murder is the book for you.  Maddie Day has a way of allowing you to open the door of your imagination....
Once you start reading the story of Robbie as she opens her country store / restaurant, Pans 'n Pancakes, and get to know the town folk of South Lick, you will feel like you are one of them.
The way Day writes you cannot help but see the store like you are actually walking in the front door and don't be surprised if you think you smell pancakes and coffee.  You will also feel like you know all of the main characters, like Buck the police officer Robbie gets to know all to well in the not so good way and Jim , the Real Estate lawyer who helps her with the paperwork to open the store who she begins to get to know in a non-professional way.  There's her aunt Abele, Phil, her dessert maker, the Mayor Corinne and Corinne's daughter, Danna who all in their own way are there for Robbie to help make Pans 'n Pancakes a success even though a local, Stella, is found dead and the few clues they have point to Robbie. 
You have local store owners Ed and Don who aren't as happy as the rest of the town that Pans 'n Pancakes has opened as well as Stella's son, Roy, who isn't playing with a full deck but seems harmless.
And how can we forget Birdy ?  The stray cat that adopts Robbie as her own.
All of these characters and the story are written so perfectly that you will feel like your nose can smell all the savory items on the menu as well as the crisp fall days, your heart will race when you read about Robbie taking her bike rides to clear her head, you will even think you hear Birdie chirp.....
You may even forget there's a murder to solve and a killer on the loose in this small town..... But don't worry Day won't let you stray too far away......

Review by Missi S.

This book was great. I loved every minute reading it. It is a first in a new series and I can hardly wait for the next installment.
You have Robbie who is the owner of Pan's N Pancakes in a little town called South Lick, Indiana. She along with a few friends are running her dream of restaurant ownership. Robbie is such a fun character. She loves to bike, drink red wine, cook, and do puzzles. She also has a handsome lawyer vying for her attention. What could go wrong? I really enjoyed how the author brought in her mother's character. She thinks of her everyday and how her mom would have been so proud of her and her restaurant. Her mom passed away about a year ago in the storyline. Robbie begins to find out some interesting stuff about her mom and the father she never knew. Who was he? Why wasn't she told about him? Who knows who he really is and why was it kept a secret? Robbie finds that there is more going on in her little town than meets the eye. On her Grand Opening she finds out that a man named Roy hates her, a man named Don knew her mom and dislikes the new mayor Corrine, and Ed resents her because she has opened a restaurant so close to his. If things couldn't get any worse she is the number one suspect in the murder of Stella, the mayor's assistant because she was found with a cheesy biscuit in her mouth.. Why would someone want to frame Robbie and why kill Stella???
I recommend this book to anyone who loves a great mystery with a ton of twists and turns, adventure, secrets, and of course murder.

Review by Penny M.

Sunday 25 October 2015

The Conspiracy (Seacliff High Mystery Book 4) by Kathi Daley

The Conspiracy (Seacliff High Mystery Book 4)

The annual Christmas Carnival is in town and Alyson and the gang volunteer to help out. When strange things begin to happen at the carnival, they wonder if it might be related to the body they found in the cemetery earlier in the month. When Alyson has a potentially fatal accident on the Ferris Wheel, the gang in convinced that someone is out to make sure they don't discover the cover up that runs so deep that even highly respected town residents are involved.  (summary via Goodreads) 

Kathi Daley has done it again. Number four in The Seacliff High Mysteries is a great read. This series is a must read for young adults to adults. In this book you are transported to the wonderful and mysterious Cutter Cove just in time for Christmas break. Cutter Cove loves it's holiday decorations including The Christmas Carnival and of course Santa and his elves. But this year things are not all mistletoe and holly. 
The gang ends up in a cemetery after Trevor's car breaks down. While trying to get to civilization they stubble upon a fresh grave. Thing is this cemetery hasn't had a burial in over 100 years. Instantly Alyson, Mac, and Trevor realize something is wrong and notify the police. Much to the towns dismay they do in fact find a body that hasn't been there long. The gang finds out that the cemetery just so happens to be a hot topic other than the body. It is trying to be bought by a company called Psycorp. Why would a company want to go to all the trouble of trying to buy an old cemetery? 
Alyson,Mac, and Trevor try and put their holiday faces on for the sake of the town and are rooked into being Santa and his elves for the carnival. This is the town's last hope to save jobs due to a deficit in the town funds. While setting up for the Christmas Carnival things start to go wrong left and right. So not only is the gang trying to keep the carnival on track they are trying to figure out who is the killer and why is someone sabotaging the carnival.
Will the kids be able to save The Christmas Carnival? Will they be able to catch a killer before he or she kills again???
You will not only love the mystery and adventure these guys get into you will love the friendship and wish of a child in Santa's ear. All of these things will have you glued to your seat. After reading this book you will definitely be in the Christmas spirit.

Review by Penny M.

Thursday 22 October 2015

The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #1) by Susan Bernhardt

The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1)

On her way to attend a Halloween Ball, Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town, witnesses the murder of a local professor. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental and the community accepts the judgement, Kay decides to uncover the truth for herself. Through her personal investigations, Kay exposes a complex conspiracy, woven deep within the thriving local ginseng industry, that involves some of the more prominent figures and families of Sudbury Falls. 

With her new friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, Kay discusses new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters. As Kay gets closer to the heart of the conspiracy, additional murders happen in quick succession. Before long, Kay learns that the villains are gunning for her, too. Phil, her musically talented but preoccupied husband, determined to keep her safe, withholds from her the one thing she needs most: the truth.  (summary via Goodreads)

This is the first book in a new series by Susan Bernhardt. It is a good start to a new series. It starts out giving you a lot of background information on each character and their lives in Sudbury Falls, Wisconsin. I loved the little town of Sudbury Falls with all the quaint little shops. I fell in love with Sweet Marissa's Patisserie and all of the yummy treats.
The main character Kay Driscoll is near and dear to my heart because she is a retired nurse same as myself. She and her husband Phil have recently moved to Sudbury Falls from Colorado after both retired. Although both are retired Kay still volunteers at the free clinic every week with Dr Anders and Phil is fulfilling a dream of Jazz music and guitars. Kay has some great quirky friends that she walks with everyday. Elizabeth who is very bubbly, divorced, and loves men and Deirdre who always is in deep though. She is a spiritualist like her husband Mike.
Everyone in town is excited for Halloween and the yearly Halloween Ball. A friend of Kay's, Margaret let's her go through some costumes for her and Phil to wear to the Ball and ends up stumbling onto a trunk with a strange white robe. She doesn't really give it too much thought until on the way to the Ball she sees the same robes and curiosity gets the better of her and she follows them to a vacant store. She is terrified when she enters the back of the building to find six people in these robes standing over the body of Professor Walters. She is in shock!! She runs out and goes to the Ball with so many questions and fears but tries to act normal.
The next day she and her buddies go on their daily walk only to find the Professor laying face down in the river dead!
Who can she trust? Will she and her friends be able to find his killer before someone else dies? Why the Professor? Everyone loved him. The small town of Sudbury Falls may not be the quiet little town she thought after all???
This book has adventure, intrigue, lies, betrayal, mystery and tons of twists and turns from beginning to the end. I will say that it is a bit slow at the beginning but keep reading and you won't be disappointed.

Review by Penny M.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Sad day in the Book World.... The passing of Joyce Lavene

It is with a heavy shocked heart that I post this.....  A wonderful and amazing author, Joyce Lavene, has passed away today.  If you are a member of Facebook, you may have already heard of this news.  Everyone in the book world is commenting on this unbelieveable news.

As you know I recently posted a book review of my favoriite book, The Tell Tale Turtle, which was written by Joyce with her husband Jim.  Joyce and Jim as a team wrote a number of books together and even some separately.

If you aren't aware of who I am speaking of, you may want to check out their website :


They have written over 60 books ! !  You may have read a book written by J.J. Cook or Ellie Grant.... Those are pseudonym's for Joyce and Jim.

My heart and deepest sympathies go out to Jim, his family and all of the people that Joyce has touched through her writing and her kind heart.  

I would love to say more but I am in complete shock....a part of me is numb.  However I will be posting more of a tribute to Joyce and will be doing something book related in her honor......  So check back soon ! ! !

RIP Joyce  :(

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Roped In: (Karen Maxwell Mysteries Book 3) by K.D. Hays

Her last clients fired her. Now investigator Karen Maxwell needs to prove she can be trusted to solve hard cases or she'll be out of a job. But will she ever be taken seriously as an investigator when her only cases involve a broken jump rope and a dead parrot? 
Karen discovers a whole new world when she goes undercover into the sport of competitive jump rope. Athletes dedicate hours and hours of practice to dreams of making it to the world competition—and some might do anything to win. Add a gym-full of raging teenage hormones and overzealous parents and it becomes even more difficult to discover the truth about that broken rope. 
Meanwhile, the parrot investigation gets Karen in trouble with the Neighborhood Watch, her daughter is developing a suspicious social life, and her son can't be trusted with the toaster oven. Then there's the whole romance thing—Brian is a super serious church leader one minute and then acting like a crazed adolescent the next. Is there enough caffeine in the world to get her through this? (summary via Amazon)

What a fun book ! !  Not only are there 2 cases to investigate, they are so crazy that you cannot help but want to read it to the end.  A jump roping competition where someone tampered with a jump rope ?  An insurance claim where she has to find out if the parrot was in the sunroom when the roof collapsed.  How does one even begin to investigate ?  Well for Karen she enlists the help of her 2 children, Evan and Alicia, for the jump rope case and has them taking classes so she can get close to the team members and mothers.  Unfortunately the daughters of the mother who hired her do not want to cooperate and its the one daughters jump rope that was tampered with.
Trying to figure out the parrot case isnt any better.  Starring at a photograph the homeowners gave to her of the sunroom as it was before the roof collapsed with the very expensive parrot in it has the proof in it but she cant place her finger on it.
Karen struggles with the 2 cases, her brother the "boss", her children's schedules, her new boyfriend Brian, and fitting in at Brian's church but she seems to do it ... somehow.  
K.D. Hays has a way of writing a story with a lot of things going on but the reader has no trouble keeping up with the story and pace.  You will not get lost reading this book but you may find yourself exhausted in a day of the life of Karen Maxwell.....

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Ghostly Graveyard (Zoe Donovan Cozy Mystery Book 17) by Kathi Daley

Ghostly Graveyard (Zoe Donovan Cozy Mystery Book 17)

When Zoe finds a body laying across the grave of Isaac Wainwright, the man behind a hundred year old legend, she sets out to find the killer before the deputy who is substituting for Salinger, finds a way to pin the murder on her. Meanwhile, Ellie is asked to babysit her cousins baby, Levi is AWOL, and the entire Donovan-Zimmerman household is busy with Halloween activities. (summary via Goodreads)

Another great adventure with Zak and Zoe. I loved the Halloween legend tie into the story. As Zoe says there is always some truth behind a legend. I really have enjoyed reading these books and watching Zoe mature. She is now married, raising kids, and helping Zak with the Academy. I would say the immature Zoe is gone. She loves the family life and all that comes with it. Between all the activities with school being room mom for Scooter, all of his sports activities,working at the zoo and being on committees she is running herself thin. With all of this going on will Zak and Zoe get som alone time?
Out of the blue the town of Ashton Falls gets a new person in town, Duncan Wright who takes over everything Zoe has done to prepare for the Haunted Hamlet. Zoe voices her opinion a little loud about how she feels toward Duncan and everyone hears. Gee, guess who ends up dead and who becomes the prime suspect, yep you guessed it, Zoe. What has she gotten herself into??? Salinger is on vacation and she is having to deal with his fill in who is questioning Zoe. Now she has to find the real killer before she is locked up. This leads her on an adventure into the past and into a legend that could be more real than people know.
This is a fun great Halloween adventure not to miss!

Review by Penny M.

The Skeleton Haunts a House (Family Skeleton Mystery, #3) by Leigh Perry

The Skeleton Haunts a House (Family Skeleton Mystery, #3)

What holiday could bring more warmth to a skeleton’s chest cavity than Halloween? And when you’re a living skeleton who’s not supposed to be seen outside the house, it’s a welcome chance to get some fresh air and rub bony elbows with people. That’s why Sid doesn’t mind wearing a full-body dog suit and going as Scooby-Doo along with Georgia Thackery’s Velma to the Halloween Howl.

Sid can’t wait to go through the Haunted House—but he gets rattled for real when a genuine dead body is discovered. Trapped inside as the police quickly seal off the crime scene, Sid makes no bones about dropping the dog suit and posing as an actual skeleton. This murder is a skull-scratcher, but as long as Sid is on the inside, he might as well case the joint to figure out who used the cover of darkness to commit the perfect crime… (summary via Goodreads)

Wow, I haven't read a book in a while that I have laughed so hard while reading.i couldn't put it down! The author has done an incredible job with the one liners between Sid and Georgia. Even Deborah gets in on the action. This book is the first in the series that I have read. I will be reading the rest because this one was suburb. Between the plot, characters, and humor this author can do no wrong in my opinion. 
Georgia is an Adjunct Professor at McQuaid University who's best friend is Sid who just happens to be a 20 year old skeleton. Yes, I did say skeleton. They have been on a few adventures together solving murder mysteries. But this Halloween Georgia was hoping to just get dressed up and be an ordinary holiday. That did not happen, she and Sid went to her sisters haunted house dressed as Scooby and Velma to have fun and it became a nightmare. Georgia and Sid end up smack dab in another murder mystery. And this time it just so happens it is on the campus that she and her parents who are back from sabbatical work on. Will they be able to figure out this mystery before someone else gets hurt? Will Deborah's haunted house be shut down before it even gets off the ground? And will they get the right person?
There are so many twists and turns, ups and downs during this book you will not want to put it down till the last page is read.
If you want a fun mystery filled with adventure and a little romance sprinkled in you need to read The Skeleton Haunts a House.

Review by Penny M.

Friday 9 October 2015

Ghost of a Potion (A Magic Potion Mystery #3) by Heather Blake

Ghost of a Potion (A Magic Potion Mystery, #3)

In the latest from the bestselling author of One Potion in the Grave, it’s Halloween in Hitching Post, Alabama, and potion shop owner Carly Bell Hartwell has an especially spooky customer to handle…

With all the ghosts that haunt her at this time of year, Carly doesn’t exactly rush to celebrate Halloween.  Even a costume ball organized by her boyfriend Dylan's mother, Patricia Davis Jackson, holds little allure.  But to please Dylan, who wants peace between the two women, Carly reluctantly agrees to go. 

Gossip around town is that architect Haywood Dodd plans to make a big announcement at the party. But before he can address the crowd, he’s found dead with Patricia standing over him, holding the murder weapon. Anxious to clear Patricia’s name and perhaps broker a truce with her, Carly would love to use her snooping skills to find the real killer. Only she has bigger problems to deal with—ghosts are flocking to her for help, including a very persistent Haywood Dodd… (summary via Goodreads)

I have read and loved all of Heather Blake's books. She just amazes me with each and every book she writes. I enjoy all the locations and characters that her books provide. This one had me from the first chapter. 
The small town of Hitching Post, Alabama is a wonderful town that anyone could call home. The characters living in this small town are so real and fun they feel like they could be your neighbors. 
This book starts out with Carly trying to go into hiding because of Halloween and All Saints Day until the day after at midnight. She knows if she comes across a ghost between now and then she has to help he or she cross over or they will be stuck in their graves till the next year. Of course Carly's mama is having no part of this and wants her to go to the Harpie's party at Ezechial Mansion to support her father's bid to get into the elusive Harpie's. So we all know Carly and she ends up going with Dylan. She never wants to disappoint her mama not that her mama would ever let her.LOL Little does anyone at this party know that it will end in murder. Haywood is the victim and unfortunately for Carly the ghost that she has to help. Who would want to kill Haywood??? 
To really put a cramp in her hibernating plan Patricia is standing over Haywood with the murder weapon in her hand. Let's just say that there are a lot of emotions that fly when you have Carly and Patricia in the same geographical area. Yikes! So not only does Carly have to help poor Haywood she has to help Patricia because she is under arrest. Talk about a hot situation. 
I loved all the mystery and different revelations that occurred in this book. I couldn't put it down because of all the twists and turns and secrets that were flying around town. I am telling you that you will not see them coming and will enjoy the magical adventure that only Heather Blake can write.

Review by Penny M.

Wednesday 7 October 2015

The Dangerous Truth about Mad Catwomen (Tales of ice-cream and espionage) by J.M. Salisbury

The Dangerous Truth about Mad Catwomen (Tales of ice-cream and espionage)

When a retired spy’s peaceful life is threatened by a vengeful enemy from her past, she must decide whether to leap for safety or to fight to defend her warm spot by the fire. 
Winciette Jenkins lives in Widegate Bay, a seaside town of fading gentility on the South Coast of Engand. She takes her ice-cream van to the promenade every day, winter and summer, and parks at a pitch in front of the beach huts. She bakes cakes, grows sweet peas, and has a cat called Belle. She is a middle-aged lady with a cat, who loves the rhythms and sounds of her gentle life, and is content to be seen as a stereotype. 
But Winciette is both more and less than she seems. To start with, her name isn’t really Winciette Jenkins, it’s Etta Bishop, and she is in hiding; in hiding from the Met, in hiding from vengeance, in hiding from herself. And she has been living a half-life here in Widegate Bay, hiding in plain site for five years. Unrecognised. Unseen. 
But all that is about to change. Someone is looking for her. A picture of her with her sister Sassy is being put up all over Widegate Bay, with a number to call and the offer of a reward. Few people would recognise the glamorous singer from twenty years ago as the dowdy ice-cream lady they see every day, but it only takes one person to see her clearly. And one person does.   (Summary via Goodreads)

This is a great start to a new series. I liked reading this book. The Seaside town of Widegate Bay hooked and reeled me in with each chapter. I wanted to finish this book in one sitting because I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. There are so many twists and turns it makes for a fun and entertaining read. 
You have a seemingly innocent ice cream lady, Winciette who is definitely not who she appears to be and a host of other characters to round out the bunch.
Winciette is trying to live a quiet life until a poster shows up all over town and people begin to ask questions. Will she and her wonderful kitty Belle stay and fight or leave? Little does she know that she doesn't have to do this alone. She comes to find that she has friends to help. She has Danny, a teenager that has an awful home life, Jack, an ex soldier that would never leave a man or in this case women behind and finally Ted Hicks who is the chairman of the Beach Hut Association. Together this bunch face all kinds of danger, adventure, intrigue, and find that not everything is as it seems. 
I look forward to the next book in this series.

Review by Penny M.

Friday 2 October 2015

Eyewitness by Carolann Camillo & Phyllis Humphrey

The big break Toni Abbott longed for has finally arrived. She has been cast as the soap opera villainess everyone loves to hate, and because of her, ratings are soaring. Then her lucky streak runs out. During a late-night photo session, Craig, the photographer, is shot to death. In the confusion Toni hits her head and is knocked unconscious, and when she awakes, she can't recall what happened. If she could regain her memory, could she identify the killer? Apparently the killer thinks so, because soon after the incident, Toni hears someone breaking in to her apartment and barely escapes. Too bad the police believe she is somehow responsible for Craig's murder. It doesn't help that her character on the show is so convincingly nasty and conniving.
Was the target really Craig, or did the killer aim for Toni and miss? Craig was an unscrupulous womanizer. Any number of people might have wanted him dead, including a career criminal he helped convict, his business partner, his wife, and his mistress. Despite her winning personality, Toni has her share of enemies, among them an older actress jealous of her success and the show's director, whose animosity baffles her.
With the help of Michael Benedict, a handsome young criminal lawyer, Toni sets out to awaken her dormant memory and unmask the killer. Meanwhile the character she plays, Alexandra, is in a coma, fighting for her life. The writers will decide Alexandra's fate, but Toni must save herself.  (summary via Amazon)

What an amazing story.  What would you do if you are involved in a murder but don't remember it ? And you may have seen the killer ?  What if there have been a few "attempts" on your life ?  What do you do if the police don't take you seriously ?  Well you do what Toni does and tries to remember that night that her memory has blocked out.  And add a very handsome and caring attorney to your team.

Unfortunately the business that Toni is in, show business, has a lot of suspects.  While at a photo shoot with Craig Landis, Craig is shot and murdered and Toni passes out and wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the evenings events.  Being the villainess on a very popular soap opera also has her questioning if she may have been the intended target. Between herself and Craig the list of suspects is long.   And you may think you know who the murderer is but your won't know for sure until you finish the book.  The twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Carolann Camillo and Phyllis Humphrey have a winner in this book.  Due out on October 15th, you will want to add this to you winter reading list.  

The Telltale Turtle (Pet Psychic Mystery #1) by Joyce & Jim Lavene

Mary Catherine has a rare gift - she can talk to animals. A flamboyantly dressed four-time widow, Mary Catherine pulls top ratings for her pet psychic radio show and helps run an animal shelter. Then one day Mary Catherine hears pitiful thoughts of anguish coming from a house. Rushing inside to help, she finds an injured turtle crying bloody murder - and the dead body of his owner, a society matriarch with a fortune, lying nearby.
By tuning into Tommy the turtle's thoughts and memories, Mary Catherine becomes a vital, if ridiculed, resource for the detectives. But now a psycho caller is threatening the lives of Mary Catherine and Baylor, her haughty and overprotective tabby cat, while dangling clues in front of her like bait. Despite the annoying charms of PI Charlie Dowd - aka, potential husband number five - can Mary Catherine use her talent to find a killer more cold-blooded than the star witness?
Includes recipes for pet treats!  (summary via Amazon)
The Telltale Turle is a book I read last year but it has stuck with me.  Joyce & Jim Lavene are exceptional authors who really have a knack of keeping your interest throughout the entire book.  I'm an animal lover so maybe that is why I loved this book or maybe I loved it because of the interesting job Mary Catherine has, or maybe the murder intriqued me....whatever the reason, I wanted to share this book with others.  Its not something that should be kept secret !!!