Friday 31 March 2017

Cruel Winter (County Cork #5) by Sheila Connolly

Cruel Winter (County Cork #5)

Snow is a rarity in Maura Donovan's small village in County Cork, Ireland, so she wasn't sure what to expect when a major snowstorm rolled in around Sullivan's pub. But now she's stranded in a bar full of patrons--and a suspected killer in a long-ago murder.

Maura’s been in Ireland less than a year and hasn't heard about the decades-old unsolved crime that took place nearby, let alone the infamous suspect, Diane Caldwell. But the locals have, and they're not happy to be trapped with her. Diane, meanwhile, seeks to set the record straight, asserting her innocence after all this time. And since no one is going anywhere in the storm, Maura encourages Diane to share her side of the story, which she’d never had a chance to do in court.

Over the next few hours, the informal court in Sullivan’s reviews the facts and theories about the case--and comes to some surprising conclusions. But is it enough to convince the police to take a new look at an old case? A clever spin on the classic locked room mystery, Cruel Winter, the fifth in New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly's series, will delight fans of the Emerald Isle.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Cruel Winter is the fifth book in Sheila Connolly's County Cork Mystery series.  And even though I have not read the previous ones, I was able to enjoy the story completely.  And what a story it was !!

First of all it is set in Ireland and I love stories from there.  In Ireland everything seems so relaxed.....even talk about a 20 year old cold case murder.  Maybe because the story takes place in a pub and everyone is enjoying a pint and even though they are about to receive a snowstorm that will prevent anyone from traveling, there is still a calmness while you read it.

Maura has been in Ireland for less than a year.  She grew up in Boston with her grandmother but traveled to Ireland to settle her grandmother's affairs and in doing so she inherited a cottage and pub.  The cottage and pub were owned by a friend of her grandmothers that had no one to leave them to.  So Maura stays in Ireand longer that she expects trying to learn the ins and outs of owning a pub.

In Cruel Winter Maura and friends are preparing for a snowstorm.  Snow is a rarity there and Maura has no idea what to expect.  They prepare as best as they can and as the snow falls, there is a lively bunch left standed at the pub.  Maura and her few employees try to maintain business and keep everyone warm.

Eventually it comes out that one of the individuals is Diane Caldwell.  Twenty years ago she was a suspect in her neighbors violent murder even though there was no evidence supporting that theory.  Diane still claims her innocence but not everyone in the pub believe her.  When it is also learned that one of the individuals was a gardai (policeman) on the case Maura talks eveyone into re-examining the case and see if there was something missed when it happened.

So while they are snowed in with no electricity, limited food and a fireplace for heat, the group come together and review the facts.  Is it possible that they may solve an old cold case before the power returns ??  Or did Diane really do it ?  What will happen if she is found to be guilty ??

I loved Cruel Winter !!  Even though the entire story taks place within a matter of 2 days, there is so much going on.  I was so engrossed in the story that my imagination was wide open......I could see the pub, the fireplace, the people......  I LOVE books like that and if you do also, you gotta read Cruel Winter !!!

Review by Missi S.

Sunday 26 March 2017

Take the Donut (Kelly Clark Mystery #3) by Annie Hansen

Take the Donut (Kelly Clark Mystery #3)

Like donuts, revenge is sweet. But is getting revenge worth the sweet thrill that comes with it? 

There’s been a jailbreak at Kelly Clark’s ex-husband’s prison. Kelly’s first impulse is to run from Steve, but once again she is drawn into solving the mystery of what made her ex-husband derail in the first place. With a new piece to the puzzle, Kelly is tempted to use it to finally get her revenge.

When Kelly suspects one of her close family members may have been involved in Steve’s fraudulent money schemes, she begins to doubt everyone around her.

The third book in the Kelly Clark Mystery Series, Take the Donut, features an interesting heroine who is determined to make a new start. Take the Donut is a cozy mystery that centers on temptation, family drama, greed, and sweet revenge.  (Summary via Goodreads)

NOOOOOO !!!!   I cannot tell you how upset I am after reading Take the Donut.  Annie Hansen is explosive with her Kelly Clark Mystery series and Book three, Take the Donut, blew me away ! !  When I say upset, I say it in the BEST way possible  !!!

One cannot help but fall in love with Kelly, Nikki, Adelle, Jack and the rest of the Clark family.  This family shows you what a family is all about.  Even though they may disagree and fight, they are ALWAYS there for each matter what.

In Take the Donut Kelly is visiting her parents in Florida when she hears news of as a prison break and the prison is the one that her ex-husband is in.  Luckily they learn early that Steve, Kelly's ex, is still in custody.  Even though her ex is still behind bars, the news people are all over the case and Kelly cannot help but wonder if the escaped prisoner was somehow sent to kill her.

While her father is recovering from heart surgery and her sisters are preparing for the upcoming parade and the launch of Adelle's Donut food truck business, Kelly is trying to put her failed marriage behind her, once and for all.  But when she gets lured away from a family member, it puts her right back in the middle of things.

Will Kelly ever be free of Steve and the drama surrounding their divorce ?  Will Kelly always worry that something is going to happen ?  When everything falls apart during the holiday parade, will Kelly and her family stick together as one or will things pull them apart ?

As with the other books in the Kelly Clark Mystery series, you will be on the edge of your seat reading as fast as you possibly can.....and when you finish reading you will be utterly shocked !!  I don't know how Annie does it but she leaves you wanting more....and more....and more !!!

Annie Hansen is an author to watch and her Kelly Clark Mystery series is a MUST read.  If you haven't already I only have one question.....What are you waiting for ???

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Bean in Love (Kelly Clark Mystery #2) by Annie Hansen

Bean in Love (Kelly Clark Mystery #2)

If you enjoyed, Give Me Chocolate, A Kelly Clark Mystery Book One, check out Bean in Love, A Kelly Clark Mystery Book Two. Kelly Clark and her sister are pulled into solving another murder mystery with a local disgruntled ghost as their number one suspect. 

"Annie Hansen has penned a lovely cozy mystery, Bean in Love. Suspense, ghosts...and a healthy dose of chocolate all added up to an enjoyable reading escape." Dorothy St. James, Author of the White House Gardener Mystery Series.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Bean in Love, Book two in the Kelly Clark Mystery series by Annie Hansen is off the charts amazing !!!  As in the first book, Give Me Chocolate, Hansen paints you a picture different from all other cozy mysteries.  As in Give Me Chocolate the death of a neighbor is not   ruled as a murder, it is ruled a suicide.  

When Brian, the curator of the History Center is found dead in the apartment above the museum, it is ruled  as a suicide.  But Nikki and Kelly don't believe that is the case.  Especially as Brian was just in Chocolate Love expressing his fear that a ghost was haunting him.  And once they speak with Brian's twin brother, William, it is clear that Brian would not have taken his own life.

Everyone is busy..... Nikki is working on obtaining a store a few buildings down to open up a coffee house, Adelle and family are downsizing, packing and getting ready to move into a smaller house, and of course, Kelly is trying to write as well as spend as much time as she can with Jack.

Nikki and Kelly want to help William with his brothers case but they are unsure how to do it.  While Kelly is having dinner with William to discuss the case, Nikki uncovers some information that explains everything......and boy does it !!!

As with Give Me Chocolate, Bean in Love allows the reader to really get to know Kelly and crew and fall in love with them and the town.  But don't worry it does not lack any of the cozy mystery aspects.....Hansen just has a different approach.  And her approach will definitely surprise the pants off ya !!!

Review by Missi S.

Monday 20 March 2017

Give Me Chocolate (Kelly Clark Mystery #1) by Annie Hansen

Give Me Chocolate (Kelly Clark Mystery #1)

In the quaint river town of Geneva, IL, Kelly Clark flees California and returns to her hometown to re-start her life after a horrific divorce from an abusive husband. She accepts her sister’s generous offer to live in the apartment above Chocolate Love, her sister’s specialty dessert shop in the Historic District of Geneva. 
Kelly’s life starts to turn around when she reconnects with an old flame. Just when it looks like she is getting her life back on track, she stumbles over a dead body in the kitchen of Chocolate Love. The suspicious death of a Chocolate Love employee sends her hopes for a better future plummeting. Has her violent past and the danger she faced in California followed her home to Geneva?  (Summary via Goodreads)

Give Me Chocolate is the first book in Annie Hansen's Kelly Clark Mystery series.  In this book she sets the stage and gives the reader a lot of background into the characters and the dessert shop.  The dessert shop, Chocolate Love is run by Kelly's sister Nikki.  Nikki and her husband Bob took over the family business when Bob's parents retired.  Kelly moved back home after divorcing her psycho of a husband and lives in the apartment above the shop.  Kelly and Nikki have another sister Adelle who is married with 3 children.

Although Kelly trips over a dead body in the kitchen of the shop one morning on her way out for a run, it is later revealed that the individual died due to a heart attack.  Due to the cause of death, it is ruled death by natural causes.  So, you may ask, where is the mystery ?  If I tell you now, it will kill the story  (No pun intended).  I will say that you want to read it to get to the last few chapters.  That is where the story takes a drastic turn and brings everything together.

The fun thing about Give Me Chocolate is that the "cozy" portion of it being a "cozy mystery" is given more attention.  As I said, the reader is given a chance to get to know the characters and develop a bond with them.  You will actually feel like you live right next door to Chocolate Love and are a part of Geneva, not someone just passing through.

I cannot wait to dig into the second book in this series, Bean In Love.  I have a strong feeling that this is going to one series that I hope has a lot of books in it.  So many possibilities and directions Hansen can take......

Review by Missi S.  

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Elementary, She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1) by Vicki Delany

Elementary, She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1)

Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop--located at 222 Baker Street--specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body. 

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman's suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it's a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

Fans of Sherlock Holmes will delight in the sleuthing duo of Gemma and Jayne in Elementary, She Read, the clever and captivating series debut by nationally bestselling author Vicki Delany.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Whenever we read a book we usually fall in love with something if not everything in the story.  We love the town that the story is centered around, the main character and friends are loveable... maybe the occupation of the main character is extremely interesting..... However there are times when we are so deep into the story that we hate....okay have very strong feelings of dislike towards...something.  In Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany you will develop a very strong feeling of dislike towards one of the main detectives on the case.  Believe me it won't take you long to develop these feelings toward Detective Louise Estrada.

Gemma owns and runs a bookstore that is mainly centered around Sherlock Holmes in a tourist town in West Loudon on Cape Cod.  She also co-owns the Tea Room next door with her best friend Jayne.  The two businesses are adjacent and joined by sliding glass doors.  

After a busy afternoon where the two businesses are busy with a bus tour group of ladies Gemma finds a rare magazine hidden in with the books.  Gemma thinks that she knows who hid it there so after a little bit of sleuthing, her and Jayne pay a visit to the Motel that they woman is staying at.  Unfortunately when they arrive, they find the woman murdered.

While waiting for the police to arrive, Gemma takes pictures of the scene to review later.  Enter Detectives Estrada and Gemma's old boyfriend, Ryan Ashburton.  As soon as Estrada learns that Gemma and Ryan have a past she does everything in her power to solve the case.  Ryan gets kicked off the case and Gemma moves up to top suspect.

When another body is found murdered, it is a race against the clock for Gemma to solve the case.  Unfortunately no one is on her side and no one wants to listen to what she has to say.  Can she solve the case before they lock her up ?

Such a FUN book to read !!!  Delany has another great first book in a new series.  The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series is a must read and watch series !!!

Let me know if you agree......

Review by Missi S.

Monday 13 March 2017

Purr M for Murder (A Cat Rescue Mystery #1) by T.C. LoTempio

Purr M for Murder (A Cat Rescue Mystery #1)
Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat--along with Littleton's dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington--who just happens to be Sydney's old high school crush--is highly suspicious of the sisters' involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton's death--until the killer notices she's pawing a little too closely at the truth.

Delightfully clever and charming, Purr M for Murder, the first in a new series from nationally bestselling author T. C. LoTempio, will leave readers clawing for more.  (Summary via Goodreads)

When you read a book, you want to get away, get lost, meet new people, maybe have a bit of an adventure.  In Purr M for Murder you will visit Deer Park, a cute little town in North Carolina.  But don't worry you will be hanging out with a GREAT group of people....and you're not the only one just getting there.

Sydney McCall has just moved back to Deer Park to work with her sister Kat at the animal shelter ( Okay its an animal shelter but they lean towards cats...)  As they are gearing up for a cat adopting event at their friend Dayna's cafe, they run into Trowbridge Littleton.  Littleton is the landlord of most of the shops in town, including the shelter and rumor has it that he is in the process of jacking up everyones rent.  But when Syd and Kat stop over to Littleton's art gallery to talk to him, they find him dead.

Practically everyone in town have reasons to want him dead but who would have done it and why ??
To make matters worse the lead detective seems to have Kat at the top of the suspect list.  And as if things couldn't get any worse his partner is Sydney's old crush from high school, Will Worthington.

Sydney will do whatever it takes to solve the case and clear her sister's name.  With so many people that disliked Littleton, how will she figure it out.  Can she figure it out before her sister gets arrested or someone else dies ?

T.C. LoTempio knows how to entice the reader and keep the reader entertained.  Purr M for Murder is the first book in the Cat Rescue Mystery series and I, for one, hope that this is the first of many in this series.  Pick up your copy and get taken away to Deer Park.  You won't regret it......

Review by Missi S. 

Saturday 11 March 2017

Murder at the Witching Hour (Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mystery #3) by Kathi Daley

Murder at the Witching Hour (Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mystery Book 3)

It’s the week before Halloween and Kailani Pope has been asked attend her friend Morticia’s wedding. The weeklong event, which culminates with a costumed wedding ceremony on Halloween night, is being held on a private island which can only be accessed by boat. Things start off a little slow but become a lot more interesting when a tropical storm hits and one of the groomsmen turns up dead. Join Luke and Lani as this amateur sleuthing team attempt to determine if the killer is: the mummy in the kitchen who also serves as the chef, the seemingly blind butler, the sexy vampire who is also the maid and bartender, or one of the other kooky and spooky guests at this very unusual wedding event.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Who doesn't love a great Halloween mystery??? This book was boooootifully written. Once you started reading you can't stop. Such a great gothic wedding destination on an island with a castle made to look like Dracula's castle. 

Each of the characters in this series are totally tubular:) Old surfer term. 

Lani and Luke are invited to this wedding and from the start Lani is picking up some weird vibes. Then people begin to drop like flies! You would think being on an island in the middle of nowhere you could find the killer or killers before they find you.

Must read series if you haven't picked it up. Fun, adventurous characters await you on every page.

Review by Penny M.