Wednesday 28 June 2017

Booked 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery #1) by J.C. Eaton

Booked 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery, #1)

Sophie Phee Kimball is not a cop. She s a divorced, middle-aged mom who works as an account clerk for the police department in a small city in Minnesota. But her retired mother, Harriet Plunkett, is convinced Phee is the only one who can solve the mystery of a cursed book. According to Harriet, four members of her book club have already succumbed to the deadly curse. Harriet insists Phee catch the next plane to her retirement community in Sun City West, Arizona, to investigate. 

Is her mother just bored and lonely? She does have a new pet a long-haired chiweenie (half Chihuahua, half Dachshund) for company and a host of pals (although that number is admittedly dwindling). Phee is certain that their book club selection isn t cursed, but is somebody really knocking off the ladies? As Phee starts to uncover dark secrets hidden in plain sight under the blazing Arizona sun, she ll need to read between the lines before it s someone else s final chapter.... 

You ll chuckle all the way through this delightful romp through Sun City West, as Phee and her mother unravel the mystery behind the sudden deaths of several book club members. It s so cleverly written, you won t guess the perpetrators until the very end. Mary Marks, award-winning author of the Quilting Mystery series"  (Summary via Goodreads)

Booked 4 Murder, is the first in a new series by J.C. Eaton and Sophie "Phee" Kimball is the main character.  From the minute you start reading Booked 4 Murder you are along for the ride with Phee and let me tell you it is a crazy ride !!

Phee, like any loving daughter, will do what she can to help her mother...even if the idea presented is absolutely crazy !  Phee's mother, Harriet, is in a book club and the book they are currently reading has a curse on it !!  And Harriet wants Phee to drop everything and go to Arizona (Phee lives in Minnesota) and investigate the curse.  Even though Phee works at the local police department, she is far from being a cop.  She works in the accounts receivable department.

But it doesn't matter what Phee says, she finds herself sweating it out in Arizona taking demands from her over barring mother to solve the unexplained deaths of the members of the book club reading the "cursed" book.

Luckily Phee has a friend and co-worker back home, Nate, that she bounces ideas and theories off of and even gets helps with some of the clues she uncovers.

Everything falls apart and becomes a three-ring circus when the book club has their next meeting.  All the local news are in attendance as well as CNN and even a psychic from a reality show is there !!  While Phee begins to explain how the book is not cursed and how she can prove it, things start to get out of hand.....

This was such a fun book and a great start for a new series !!!  Highly recommend is a nice easy read, as long as you can handle Phee's mother you will be fine.

Review by Missi S.

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Curried Lobster Murder: Book 14 in The Darling Deli Series (Darling Deli #14) by Patti Benning

Curried Lobster Murder: Book 14 in The Darling Deli Series

Summer Prescott Books is thrilled to present Curried Lobster Murder - Book 14 in The Darling Deli Series!!!! 

Moira Darling is shocked when she wins a free cruise trip and the chance to participate in a cooking competition. Accompanied by her daughter, Moira embarks on this new adventure in high spirits, eager to win the $10,000 grand prize and bring notoriety to Darling’s DELIcious Delights 
Her enthusiasm is crushed however, when one of the contestants dies under mysterious circumstances. When other contestants begin to fall ill and suffer strange accidents, the deli owner becomes convinced that someone on the cruise ship is prepared to kill to win the competition. Will she be able to find out who before it’s too late?   (Summary via Goodreads)

Fun adventure on the high seas in book 14 Curried Lobster Murder by Patti Benning. Or is it MURDER??? Another winner in this series.

This adventure is not on land but on the high seas after Moira has won a free cruise to compete in a cooking contest. Candice is along with her for some mother/daughter bonding but they never planned it would be over murder! A contestant is bumped off and then others are getting sick including Moira. 

Without David with her will she be able to stay out of trouble or will she become a killers next victim???

Can't wait for book 15.

Review by Penny M.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Bad Housekeeping (An Agnes and Effie Mystery #1) by Maia Chance

Bad Housekeeping (An Agnes and Effie Mystery #1)

When 28-year-old Agnes Blythe, the contented bifocals-wearing half of an academic power couple, is jilted by her professor boyfriend for the town Pilates instructor, her future is suddenly less than certain. So when her glamorous, eccentric Great Aunt Effie arrives in town and offers a job helping to salvage the condemned Stagecoach Inn, what does Agnes have to lose? But work at the inn has barely begun when the unlikely duo find the body of manipulative Kathleen Todd, with whom Agnes and Effie both have recently had words. Words strong enough to land them at the top of the suspect list.

The pair have clearly been framed, but no one else seems interested in finding the real murderer and Agnes and Effie's sleuthing expertise is not exactly slick. Nevertheless, they're soon investigating a suspect list with laundry dirtier than a middle school soccer team's and navigating threats, car chases, shotgun blasts, and awkward strolls down memory lane.

In Bad Housekeeping, the first novel in the Agnes & Effie cozy mystery series by Maia Chance, danger mounts, deadlines loom, ancient knob-and-tube wiring is explored, and the ladies learn a thing or two about the awful, wonderful mistake that is going back home.  (Summary via Goodreads)

You know it's a good book when 41 pages into it you are already writing the review in your head.  Bad Housekeeping takes no time if sucking you in.  From the moment you open the book, you are best friends with Agnes and totally in love with great-aunt Effie.  

Maia Chance writes in such a way that as your reading the story your imagination runs are so engrossed in Agnes and what she is doing, you can picture it so clearly.  And great-aunt Effie is that crazy relative that everyone has in their family....crazy but also so fun to hang around with.  

Naneda is a town that anyone would want to live in, especially with the assortment of characters living there.  Not to mention that it is where Agnes grew up and her father is the Mayor.  So when Agnes is dumped by her smart, professor boyfriend, Roger she has no where else to go other than back to dad's house.  And because she left the apartment that she lived with Roger so quickly, all she had were her old high school clothes still in the closet at her dads. You won't be able to hold the laughter in when you read the discriptions of her outfits.

Great-aunt Effie shows up in town right after the break-up with big news of her own.  She has been left the Stagecoach Inn by a cousin.  She is in town to salvage and renovate the Inn.  She enlists the jelp of Agnes and cousin Chester but before they start any work, Kathleen Todd, a bigwig in town, is found murdered at the Inn.  And because both Agnes and Effie had words with her the day before, they are top on the list of suspects.

Effie sets her sights on solving the murder and clearing their names.  But as they begin their own investigation, they find themselves in compromising situations.  And then when another person is found dead, they have to work even faster to solve the case so no one else ends up dead....especially Agnes and Effie.

I cannot wait for the next adventure of Agnes and Effie.  I know it is going to be a hoot !!!

Review by Missi S. 

Monday 19 June 2017

No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan

No Turning Back

Anna Graves’s whole life has recently been turned upside down. A new mother, she’s just gone back to her job as a radio presenter and is busy navigating a new schedule of late night feeding and early morning wake ups while also dealing with her newly separated husband. Then the worst happens. While Anna is walking on the beach with her daughter, she’s attacked by a crazed teenager. Terrified, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her baby.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister. A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the “Ophelia Killer,” a serial killer who preyed on the town twenty years ago—and who abruptly stopped when Anna’s father committed suicide.
Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life? Internationally bestselling author Tracy Buchanan takes readers on an emotional roller coaster ride filled with heart-stopping secrets and hairpin turns in No Turning Back, her US debut.   (Summary via Goodreads)

No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan......WOW !!!  I was composing my review while I was reading this book.  The title for one thing is spot on !!!  Once you start reading it, there is no turning back.... and you won't want to.  

Buchanan introduces you to Anna Graves who is a recently single radio presenter who defends herself and protects her newborn daughter from a knife swinging boy.  Although this seems like an open and shut case, it actually starts a downward spiral of events.  Events that are out of Anna's control no matter what she does to prevent them.  As she struggles with her actions of killing Elliott, a young boy, the only person she can rely on is Jamie, the older brother of the boy she killed.  

When she starts to receive emails from the Ophelia Killer, she teams up with Jamie in search of answers.  Could it be the Ophelia Killer after 20 years of silence ?  Why was Elliott acting so strangely when he came into contact with Anna ?  

Then when another boy is found dead in the same fashion as the Ophelia Killer's previous victims, Anna is certain that it is happening all over again.  But will she be able to get to the bottom of things unlike her father who took his own life back when he was investigating the killings 20 years ago ?  

As Anna and Jamie get drawn deeper and deeper into their search for answers, will it destroy them or calm them ?  

It is so hard for me to refrain from going into more details within this story.  I don't want to say too much and give all the juicy, nail biting, coffee getting cold next to you, rapid page turning answers.  I cannot stress enough how awesome No Turning Back is.  If there is a book that will stay with you, that you remember for a long time this is it !!!  No Turning Back is definitely a book club reader for sure !!  There is so much to talk much that it is killing me not to say more !!!!

Please if there is any doubt in your mind about reading No Turning Back, let me assure you that you will love it and it will leave a huge impact on you.  I am already reaching out for any more books written by Tracy Buchanan.....

Review by Missi S.

Saturday 17 June 2017

Love & Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea

Love & Death in Burgundy

From critically acclaimed author, Susan C. Shea, comes Love & Death in Burgundy, an atmospheric mystery novel filled with good Chablis, french cheese, and, of course, murder.

After three years of living in the small town of Reigny-sur-Canne, all Katherine Goff really wants is to be accepted by her neighbors into their little community. But as an American expat living in the proud region of Burgundy, that's no easy task.

When the elderly Frenchman who lives in the village chateau is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the town is turned into a hot bed of gossip and suspicion, and Katherine suddenly finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the small town's secrets. A motherless teenager, a malicious French widow, a brash music producer, and a would-be Agatha Christie are among those caught up in a storm that threatens to turn Katherine's quiet life upside down. As more and more of the villagers' secrets are brought to light, Katherine must try to figure out who, if anyone, in the town she can trust, and which one of her neighbors just might be a killer.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Katherine is an artist and her husband, Michael, is a musician and they live in a small quiet French village.  All Katherine wants to do is fit in with the people of this little village.  They have been living there for 3 years and she is still struggling.  Michael, on the other hand, just wants to play music.  Fortunately for Michael semi-famous country singer Betty Lou Holliday and her producer husband, J.B. move into town for the summer.  Michael spends a lot of time working with them in hopes of making an album and possibly go out on tour.

Things in this quiet town change when elderly village chateau owner Albert is found dead at the bottom of an old steep outside staircase.  Albert and his wife Adele live in the chateau and provide tours of the grand property.  Everyone is shocked to hear of his death especially when it looks like it might have been murder.  But who would want to hurt an elderly man ?  And why ?

While Katherine does her best to support Michael and his musical dreams she is busy getting paintings ready for her gallery show as well as entertain the residents of the village in hopes of shedding some light on Albert's dead.  

Love and Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea takes you to a far away place and you don't even leave your couch.  As she describes the quaint little village, it's people and their lives, you immediately feel like you have known them forever.  Let Shea open up your imagination......

Review by Missi S.

Thursday 15 June 2017

Beware the Orchids (A Shady Acres Mystery Book 1) by Cynthia Hickey

Beware the Orchids (A Shady Acres Mystery Book 1)

New mystery from Amazon best-selling author! 

Ditched at the altar, ShelbyJenkins tosses down her bouquet, quits her job, and accepts a position as gardener and event coordinator at an upscale retirement community. Her first day on the job results with a dead body in the greenhouse under the orchids and with her as the prime suspect! 

Toss in a handsome handyman, quirky characters, and a flirtatious grandma and the fun never stops.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Such a fun cozy mystery. Loved all the characters. Easy read from start to finish. Love the retirement aspect, normally cozies are bakeries or bookstores this was refreshing. I read a lot of cozies and this is going on my top list.

Shaddy Acres is a quaint retirement village that has a new gardener, Shelby Jenkins. She was left at the alter, left her job as a teacher and has started over. Well sorta, her grandmother has decided to move to Shaddy Acres too. She is a hoot! Love how frisky of a character she is and how dynamic of a part of the story line. Of course in the first day of working Shelby is not only in the middle of one murder but two and she has caught the eye of the hunky handyman. 

All of these characters are fun and full of energy. Look forward to book two in the series.

Review by Penny M.

Friday 9 June 2017

Boston Cream Killer: Book 8 in The INNcredibly Sweet Series by Summer Prescott

Boston Cream Killer: Book 8 in The INNcredibly Sweet Series

If you enjoyed the Frosted Love series, you'll love the continuing adventures of Missy, Chas and the gang in The INNcredibly Sweet Series!!! 

The sleepy beach town of Calgon is rocked by scandal in this latest thrilling installment in The INNcredibly Sweet Series. Mysterious things are happening that will affect Missy and Chas in ways that they never imagined. Why has a mysterious woman suddenly appeared in Chas’s life, and who is she? Who is behind the strange and dangerous circumstances surrounding Chas’s family business? There are difficult decisions to be made, that may change the course of Missy and Chas's lives forever. When events and circumstances threaten to divide them, will they stand together, or will they face their challenges alone? How well do they know Spencer, and how far will he go to protect those whom he loves? Find the answers to these tough questions and more in this gripping tale.  (Summary via Goodreads)

WOW!!! I love this series. Missy, Chas and the rest of the gang are in up to their cupcakes full of adventure in this book. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. So much adventure, mystery, and surprises abound in this installment of The INNcredibly Sweet series. Tons of life choices, new beginnings, as well as old and new enemies. 

I look forward to book 9 and all the excitement that awaits everyone in the small town of Calgon.

Review by Penny M.

Tuesday 6 June 2017

River City Dead (Aggie Mundeen Mystery #4) by Nancy G. West

River City Dead (Aggie Mundeen Mystery #4)

Advice columnist Aggie Mundeen and SAPD Detective Sam Vanderhoven plan their first rendezvous at a San Antonio River Walk hotel during Fiesta Week—sumptuous sights, sounds, and festivities in the middle of America’s Venice. A vacation from crime and a reset for their tumultuous relationship.

But murder descends on the Casa Prima Hotel. Disturbing revelations surface about the Fabulous Femmes, Aggie’s new friends holding a convention. Evil emerges at parties in La Villita. Calamity plagues Aggie’s debut dance performance at the Arneson River Theater, the celebration skewed by carousing, crazies, and corpses. Even in idyllic River City, crime complicates relationships.

Books in the Aggie Mundeen Humorous Mystery Series:


Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all...
   (Summary via Goodreads)

River City Dead by Nancy G. West is the fourth book in her Aggie Mundeen Mystery series.... It is the first book in this series that I have read.  Fortunately I wasn't lost reading it.  I know in a perfect world we want to read a series from the beginning. however, as a book reviewer / blogger that seldom happens.  It is always a concern when reading a book well into the series that you will be lost or fear that you won't be able to enjoy the story.  HAVE NO FEAR because River City Dead is not like that.

As soon as I started reading River City Dead I was engrossed in the story and felt like I was a long time friend of Aggies.  And the setting....smack dab in the middle of Fiesta Week !!  Oh what a thrill !!  

Aggie and her Detective boyfriend are meeting at a hotel where the festivities are taking place.  Aggie of course is very excited until she gets there and finds out someone has the penthouse suite that Sam had reserved.  As if that isn't bad enough when Sam lets her look in at the crime scene Aggie recognizes the deceased.  It is her neighbor and friends daughter in-law and they all had lunch recently.  

Sam has to be there to help in the investigation when it is ruled a homicide.  Aggie refused to leave and go home when she knows she can help with the investigation.  And she has a strong desire to have the case solved and give the girl and her family peace.

While Sam is doing his part, Aggie is investigating some of the other guests at the hotel who also knew the deceased.  

Who will solve the case ?  Will Aggie get herself in trouble ?  Can Aggie and Sam trust each other and strengthen their relationship ?

Even though this is the first book that I have read in this series, I can assure you that it is not my last !!  I need to know more about Aggie and where things are heading with Sam.....

Review by Missi S.

Monday 5 June 2017

An Eye for a Spy: A Clara Callaway Mystery by Lillian Dore

An Eye for a Spy: A Clara Callaway Mystery

Journey back to 1920s England, and join young Lady Clara Callaway and her lady’s maid, Alice Hart, as they go detecting together! 

When Alice Hart finds third footman Eddie Arnott poisoned in the downstairs storeroom, the discovery shocks the household. Who would kill such a kind young man? However, Eddie’s death leads to an even more disturbing discovery—there is a spy in the house, and it could be any member of the staff. 

Now, Alice has been tasked by the mysterious Mr Black to help find the killer by detecting in the one place Lady Clara cannot—belowstairs. And as Alice is forced to confront the idea that any one of her friends could be a murderer, she learns the hard way that sometimes, the truth comes at a cost.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Even though the Clara Callaway Mystery series by Lillian Dore are short stories, they are packed with excitement !!  

In An Eye for a Spy you are taken back to the 1920's to Innestead Abbey.  This is the home of Lord and Lady Burnham and their daughter Lady Clara who is the main character in these books.  Lady Clara along with her personal maid, Alice, seem to get caught up in murder.  

This time the murder is too close for comfort when Alice finds fellow employee Eddie Arnott dead.  He was only missing for 40 minutes during breakfast clean-up.  How could he end up dead in a storage cupboard ?  Also Alice could tell by looking at him that not only was he dead but he had been murdered !!

Detective Inspector Thorpe arrives with a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service who informs them that Eddie Arnott was actually undercover looking into the employees of Innestead Abbey for a German spy who has been successful in operating in England for years.  They fear that he was murdered because he uncovered who the spy was.  

When Alice is asked to continue investigating, she is more than happy to assist.  This will be the first time that her and Clara are actually asked to help !!  So a plan is set in motion to insure that Alice will not be the next employee that ends of dead.  She is given 3 names of gentlemen that the BSIS has little background on.  

While going about her normal day, she makes it a point to encounter all 3 gentlemen and engage in casual conversation.  She is able to cross one of the names off of the list but that doesn't get her any closer to solving the case.  Fortunately a midnight snack helps her solve the case.....unfortunately it is someone that no one would even suspect as being a German spy !!

I love the Clara Callaway Mystery series so much !!  You can read them quite quickly.  They take you back in time where you get to hang out in a lovely home with some very interesting characters and you don't have to leave your couch.  

Review by Missi S. 

Designing for Death: A Clara Callaway Mystery by Lillian Dore

Designing for Death: A Clara Callaway Mystery
Journey back to 1920s England, and join young Lady Clara Callaway and her lady’s maid, Alice Hart, as they go detecting together!

When a fashion show turns fatal, it’s once again up to Clara, Alice and Giles to solve the case. The promising young fashion designer Grizelda Marston has died suddenly during the biggest show of the year, and the competition for prime suspect is fierce!

At the request of Inspector Thorpe, Clara and her friends set out to find the killer. But is this a crime of passion, greed—or something else? And as they did deeper into the case, Clara learns just how far a person will go for fame.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Designing for Death by Lillian Dore is my favorite Clara Callaway Mystery series book so far !!  Maybe it is because I am familiar with the characters and love Clara and Alice or it could be that they are set in the 1920's and in England or the storylines of the murders.

In Designing for Death Clara and her personal maid Alice leave Innestead Abbey to go to a fashion show in Oxford.  Family friend Giles goes along as well as Lord Burnham's driver, Sam.

Clara is very excited to attend the fashion show as she recently met one of the designers, Grizelda Marston at a party.  Grizelda and her partner Jeremy Tate have designs in the show along with 3 other designers.

In the middle of the show however Grizelda drops .... dead !!!  Of course Clara and Giles run to her aid only to realize that she is indeed dead.  While trying to preserve the crime scene they try to notice anything they can that will solve the case.  But when the local police arrive on the scene it it quite clear that they have no idea what they are doing.  Clara has Sam contact Detective Inspector Thorpe in hopes that he can take over the case.  Thorpe arrives alone so he asks Clara and friends to help with the investigation.  Obviously they jump at the chance to help !!

After interviewing the other designers it becomes clear that this case is different than the others that Clara has been involved in.  Can she still crack the case ?  

The lengthens that people will go to in order to success is amazing.....but deadly ?  

Lillian Dore is an author to follow !!  You cannot help but fall in love with this series and Clara.  

Review by Missi S.