Monday 30 January 2017

Murder on the Vine (A Sullivan Sisters Mystery Book 1) by Jenna St. James

Murder on the Vine (A Sullivan Sisters Mystery Book 1)

Jaycee Sullivan thought it was just another typical day when her pastry chef sister, Jax, asked her to help deliver chocolates to a local winery. However, the discovery of a dead body was anything but typical for Jaycee. Then when the new detective in town, Mike Connors, demands Jaycee keep her nose out of the investigation, she decides she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. After all, her sister’s baking reputation is on the line and the killer is still on the loose. With the help of Gramps, a retired Army colonel, her mom, and Tillie, a former trapeze artist and contortionist, Jaycee is on a mission to snag the killer before her sister’s reputation is forever tainted.  (Summary via Goodreads)

OMG ! ! !  A bookstore with a bar... A bookstore with a bar with  drinks and desserts that go together... One sister runs the bookstore/bar and the other makes the desserts.....  Sign me up ! ! !

Not only do the sisters work together but their Gramps works with them also !!!  And they have a the store !!!   Add a hunky detective, wineries and a contortionist throw a murder in the mix and you have a GREAT book to read !!

We met Jenna St. James with her Ryli Sinclair mysteries series.  Those books had the elderly great-aunt helping Ryli follow leads.  Now with her Sullivan Sisters mystery series we have Gramps along for the ride !!  Maybe down the road the 2 series will collide and a book will be born....How FUN would that be ?!?  But alas, I am getting ahead of myself.  

Murder on the Vine has everything you are looking for in a new series of cozies and it is so much fun reading.  While Jaycee tries to solve the murder of the manager of the winery her sister Jax just got hired to make chocolates for, she has to dodge the hunky detective running the show.  Taking her mother and new neighbor the contortionist Tillie around to other wineries to poke around doesn't provide the answers she is looking only gets the ladies drunk and sillier.  

I could tell you a lot more of whats in the book but in doing so it would be giving it all away and that wouldn't be fun.  I will say this..... You will LOVE the Sullivan family, the bookstore/bar, the story, the mystery and the romance...... and the desserts !!!

I, for one, cannot wait for the next book in this series.  Come on its a bar and a bookstore......

Review by Missi S.

Murder, Curlers, and Cream (Book 1 of the Valentine Beaumont Mysteries) by Arlene McFarlane

Murder, Curlers, and Cream (Book 1 of the Valentine Beaumont Mysteries)

Valentine Beaumont is a beautician with a problem. Not only has she got a meddling mother, a wacky staff, and a dying business, but now she’s got a dead client who was strangled while awaiting her facial. 

With business the way it is, combing through this mystery may be the only way to save her salon. Until a second murder, an explosion, a kidnapping, death threats, and the hard-nosed Detective Romero complicate things. But Valentine will do anything to untangle the crime. That’s if she can keep her tools of the trade in her bag, keep herself alive, and avoid falling for the tough detective. 

In the end, how hard can that be?  (Summary via Goodreads)

Murder, Curlers and Cream by Arlene McFarlane is the first book in her Valentine Beaumont Mystery series and it really gets you going !!!

I fell instantly in love with Valentine, her outfits, her employees and her life.  She owns a beauty salon which has a mortgage payment coming due and one of the regular clients is found dead.....strangled by a cord while waiting in one of the treatment rooms.

Even though her sister is on the police force, Valentine is not going to sit quietly looking pretty waiting for the police to find the killer.  Even when she buts heads with the sexy Detective working the case, she will do whatever it takes to solve the murder and get life back into her salon.

Murder, Curlers and Cream is full of interesting people that as you read you will wonder who did it and why ?  Sure Portia wasn't a very nice woman but did she deserve to be murdered ?  And in Valentine's shop ???

Put your beauty magazine down and pick this book up !!  You will want to keep up with Valentine and Detective Romero.......

Review by Missi S.

Saturday 28 January 2017

Grilled Rye Murder: Book 16 in The Darling Deli Series by Patti Benning

Grilled Rye Murder: Book 16 in The Darling Deli Series

Summer Prescott Books is proud to present the last book in the highly acclaimed Darling Deli Series: Grilled Rye Murder - Book 16 in The Darling Deli Series. 

With her wedding just over the horizon, Moira Darling is running around gettin last-minute preparations taken care of. Thanks to the help of a pair of new employees, things at the deli are going more smoothly than ever, and she is just beginning to think she can relax, when she stumbles upon a colleague’s brutal murder. As if things couldn’t get any worse, she becomes a suspect in the crime and is jailed, putting quite the crimp in her wedding plans. 

After getting bailed out of jail, by an anonymous person, Moira finds herself with two mysteries to solve. Who killed her friend, and who paid her expensive bail? Is it possible that they are the same person? Experience the joys and pain in this thrilling and action-packed last book of The Darling Deli Series, as Moira faces her toughest challenges yet.   (Summary via Goodreads)

I am very sad to see these characters go but it has been a heck of a ride. You just never knew what Moira and the gang were going to get into.
Especially this final book in the series! Moira is planning her perfect wedding when things just don't go as planned. But come on ladies what wedding goes on without a hiccup:) 

Seems someone has it out for Moira to the point where they are setting her up for murder! She has even been arrested!!! 

Will she be able to get out of jail and clear her name to say I DO???

Exciting end to the series and a must read.

Review by Penny M.

Monday 16 January 2017

A Fatal Twist (A Downward Dog Mystery #4) by Tracy Weber

A Fatal Twist (A Downward Dog Mystery #4)

Yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s life takes a chaotic turn once she agrees to not only be the doula for her pregnant best friend, but also play foster mother to two puppies. The chaos only gets worse when Kate finds the dead body of a philandering fertility doctor and Rachel, one of her yoga students, fleeing the scene. 

Kate is convinced her student is innocent, and she sets out to find the real killer before her testimony condemns Rachel to a life behind bars. But her hands are full with caring for three dogs, teaching yoga classes, and gaining an unexpected crime-solving partner. If she’s not careful, Kate’s next yoga pose may be a fatal one.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Usually people say that the first sentence was all it took for them to be engrossed in the book.....  And that is usually what I would say.  However in A Fatal Twist by Tracy Weber it was the LAST sentence.  After I read the last sentence and closed the book, I sat back and said "Yeah it's like that."  Everything came together and I was left with a calming feeling.

A Fatal Twist is the fourth book in the Downward Dog Mystery series and if you have read the first three, I think you will agree with me.  Yes there is a murder, yes Kate gets herself in the middle of it, yes Michael gets upset with her, yes Kate figures it out ..... But there is a lot more going on,  Tracy Weber takes it a bit further with the story by allowing the reader to get to know more of the people in Kate's life.  You will learn more about Kate's best friend Rene and her husband Sam as they get ready to welcome twins into the world.  Also Tiffany, Michael's employee and Kate overcome their issues and become friends.  

You will continue to experience the bond between Kate and Bella and the LOVE that is there.  If one of the reasons that you like this series is because of that aspect, don't worry it is there and there are puppies ! !  

If I were to use one word to describe how I felt while reading A Fatal Twist and what I got out of the book, I would say ......


Review by Missi S.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Burned to a Crisp (Cookies & Chance Mystery #3) by Catherine Bruns


From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes the next sinfully delicious Cookies & Chance Mystery... 

Just when things appear to be going well for baker and sometime sleuth, Sally Muccio, life turns up the heat again. 

It’s summertime, and the living is easy for the Muccio clan. Sal’s wedding to her beloved fiancĂ© is rapidly approaching, Mom’s won a beauty contest, and sister Gianna is now a licensed public defender. But when the bakery Sal’s worked so hard for goes up in smoke—along with her dreams!—she’s not sure how much more she can stand. Even worse, the man found dead in the bakery’s back room is none other than Gianna’s latest client, Bernardo Napoli. 

The dough really hits the fan for Sal and Josie when they’re forced to temporarily relocate their bakery to the crazy Muccio home. Trouble is quickly stirred up as the best friend team must now contend with Sal’s father and his new mortuary business “undertakings,” a middle aged mother parading around customers in bikinis, and an Italian family hell bent on revenge. For Sal, several questions demand answers. Where has Gianna disappeared to? What role did she play in Bernardo’s death? What secret is Sal’s fiancĂ© hiding from her? Sal is determined to find answers...before she gets burned once again!   (Summary via Goodreads)

Even though you know that the bakery burns down, it still doesn't make it any easier when you read it.  At least for me ....  I have read all of the books in the Cookies & Chance Mystery series and I feel like I know the family.  Even though the Muccio family is crazy they are a believeable crazy.  I can actually see them as neighbors and being a customer of the bakery.

Catherine Bruns has an amazing talent.....her writing of the story takes you there !!  You will feel like you are standing in the middle of the bakery, or what is left of the bakery, you can feel the emotion Sally has when she has a breakdown over the bakery, and you will absolutely catch your breath over ANYTHING Mike does for her.  You will long for a friendship like Sal and Josie have, you will be thankful you have the parents that you have....or you may wish your parents were a little like Sal's parents, and you will completely love Grandma Rosa.

When you are looking for a book to read or a new author to follow, I highly recommend Catherine Bruns and the Cookies & Chance Mystery series.  When you read a book, you want a connection, a feeling of belonging and a reason to stay.  That is what will happen when you read this series.  I can promise you that you will find a place for you at the dining room table with the girls enjoying coffee and some of Grandma Rosa's cooking or maybe a fortune cookie.  Just be careful with the fortune and don't freak out because of the coffin in the living room.....  It's all just part of the charm of the family.

Review by Missi S. 


Friday 6 January 2017

She Stopped for Death (A Little Library Mystery #2) by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

She Stopped for Death (Little Library Mystery #2)
Jenny Weston and her mother, Dora, have been receiving strange midnight visits. Bear Falls's own elusive and highly secretive poet, Emily Sutton, has lived her life cloistered away with her sister in a house at the edge of Pewee Swamp. But now, Emily's started leaving scraps of poetry in Dora's Little Library, and Dora makes it her mission to befriend the sheltered woman.

Meanwhile Zoe Zola, almost famous author, Little Person, and the Weston's quirky next-door neighbor, is hard at work on a new book, this one about the inner life of Emily Dickinson. And once again, Zoe's literary work starts making uncanny connections with the events in her own world as Emily Sutton reemerges into society. But Zoe begins to suspect things aren't anywhere near normal at Emily's swamp house or in the lives of the people she claims have abandoned her...until looking further into the poet's half-truths leads Zoe and Jenny to a horrible murder.

The chaos surrounding the ensuing investigation grows even more hectic with Emily’s increasingly erratic behavior, the arrival of a young woman searching for her missing poet uncle, and yet another betrayal in Jenny's love life. And only poetry can set the truth free in Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli's charming second Little Library mystery, She Stopped for Death.  (Summary via Goodreads)

The title She Stopped for Death is slightly misleading....without giving too much away, she doesn't stop for death.... Once you read it, you will completely understand.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli has such an imagination !!!  Her writing gets you right away and she sweeps you right into the story.  I must admit that She Stopped for Death is the first book that I have read where there is a "little person" in the story.  However, Zoe Zola is anything but small !!!  

Zoe lives next door to Dora and Dora's daughter, Jenny.  There is no library in the small town of Bear Falls so Dora has a little library box set up in front of her house.  One night they are visited by local poet, Emily.  Emily has been living in a house with her sister and hasn't been seen or heard from in many years.  To have her out and visiting the library box is a big deal.  So big that the ladies of town plan a big event in her honor.

Unfortunately while helping Emily out, Zoe and Jenny discover Emily's cousin dead.  Also Emily's sister seems to have disappeared.  Can Emily rejoin society and interest people in her new poetry ?  As the night of her big "event" grows nearer, Emily becomes more obsessive and demanding.....

I was completely shocked while reading the ending of She Stopped for Death.  I was so engrossed in the story that I felt like I was there !!  When an author can do that to you while reading one of their books, you have to hope that there are more books by the author.  And luckily there are !!!  Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is a must watch author....and read all her books.  I plan to !!!

Review by Missi S.

Thursday 5 January 2017

Dead and Breakfast (Merry Ghost Inn #1) by Kate Kingsbury

Dead and Breakfast (Merry Ghost Inn #1)

Melanie West is getting her life back on track after a messy divorce when her grandmother, Liza Harris, asks her to open a B&B with her. Together, Liza and Melanie purchase a purportedly haunted mansion on the Oregon coast and jump right into clearing out the cobwebs. But while attempting to remove wallpaper in an upstairs bedroom, the new B&B owners stumble upon a very real skeleton in their closet.

The police suspect the skeleton is that of the wife of the previous owner of the B&B, but no one in town seems to want to say much about her. As the inn owners try to juggle renovations with their own amateur investigations, their grand opening looms closer and closer--and a friendly ghost in their walls starts playing tricks. But it all comes crashing to a halt when a new body is found stabbed to death on the beach below the inn--the victim chillingly close in resemblance to Melanie herself.

It seems someone doesn't appreciate newcomers prying into the small town's past, and now it's up to Melanie and Liza to get to the bottom of these murders to save their business...and their lives.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I can already tell that A Merry Ghost Inn Mystery series by Kate Kingsbury is going to be a smashing hit !!
Dead and Breakfast, the first book in the series, captures your attention and doesn't let it go.

Melanie and her grandmother become partners of a mansion that they intend to renovate and open up a Bed and Breakfast in.  It doesn't seem that any work has been done in the house for a long time so they decide to start by removing wallpaper.  While scrapping off the wallpaper in one of the second floor rooms, they discover a secret room with a skeleton in it.

Unfortunately thier renovations are put on hold while the police investigate.  And then they are put on hold longer when another crime occurs taking presidence over their skeleton case.  So Melanie and Liza decide to do some investigaing of their own. 

So much going on in Dead and Breakfast and the inn hasn't even opened to the public yet.  Makes you want to stay so you can see what happens when the inn is actually open and people are staying there.  Are there more secret rooms ? Can everyone hear the ghost laughing ?  Why is he laughing ?  Who is he and is he harmless ??

Kate Kingsbury has captured my interest for sure !!  I'm not "big" on ghosts but the ghost in Dead and Breakfast seems harmless and friendly.......right ??

Review by Missi S.

Sunday 1 January 2017

Iced Under (A Maine Clambake Mystery #5) by Barbara Ross

Iced Under (A Maine Clambake Mystery, #5)

The snow is deep in Maine’s Busman’s Harbor and the mighty rivers are covered in ice. Snowden Family Clambake Company proprietor Julia Snowden and her mother, Jacqueline, are hunkered down for the winter when a mysterious package arrives—heating up February with an unexpected case of murder . . . 
Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia’s great-grandmother and disappeared in the 1920s. Who could have sent it—and why? Julia’s search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother’s troubled family history, from a squabble over the family fortune in “frozen water” to the recent unexplained death of Jacqueline’s long-lost cousin Hugh—who’d been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years. To protect her mother’s inheritance, Julia must fend off a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh’s demise, and get back home before the next blizzard buries them all . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

I want to live in Busman's Harbor and I want to be Julia's sister.  I very much enjoy the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross.  I love everything about it !!  I love that while I am reading the story I feel like I am right there knee deep in the snow or sitting at the counter in Gus's listening to the local fishermen tell stories.  

As are books in a series, you develop "feelings" for the characters, you begin to understand how things are, you feel like you are a part of something.....  In Iced Under you get to meet more of Julia's mother's side of the family and you leave Busman's Harbor and spend time in Boston with Julia.  And of course, there is a murder thrown into the mix.  But with this murder it is different.  The individual who is murdered was presumed to be dead for many years.  

I really enjoyed Iced Under and I have to say that it was my favorite of the books in this series.  It's hard to explain without giving away a lot of the book.  It's like you were given a chance to meet a bunch of family members in a relaxing setting even though you were brought there by a death.  And even though someone in the house is most likely the murderer it doesn't feel that way while reading it.  Maybe it also helped that the clambake business is closed for the season.....  

Like I said its hard to put into words the full impact of the story.  I can, however, tell you this....  If you haven't started reading this series yet I would highly recommend putting it on your TBR list.  This is one town full of characters that you will want to get to know.

Review by Missi S.