Wednesday 30 May 2018

Murder in the Locked Library (Book Retreat Mysteries #4) by Ellery Adams

Murder in the Locked Library (Book Retreat Mysteries, #4)
Welcome to Storyton Hall, Virginia, where book lovers travel from near and far to enjoy the singular comforts of the Agatha Christie Tea Room, where they can discuss the merits of their favorite authors no matter how deadly the topic . . .

With her twins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, back in school, Jane Steward can finally focus on her work again—managing Storyton Hall, and breaking ground on the resort’s latest attraction: a luxurious, relaxing spa named in honor of Walt Whitman. But when the earth is dug up to start laying the spa’s foundation, something else comes to the surface—a collection of unusual bones and the ragged remnants of a very old book. The attendees of the Rare Book Conference are eager to assist Jane with this unexpected historical mystery—until a visitor meets an untimely end in the Henry James Library. As the questions—and suspects—start stacking up, Jane will have to uncover a killer before more unhappy endings ensue . . .
   (Summary via Goodreads)

A secret library.....a Guardian to that library....specially trained employees......a hidden key in a necklace....old books.....murder...... So much to captivate the reader when you pick up Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams.

Jane Steward has so much responsibility, not only with the sole responsibility of raising her twin sons but the responsibility of running Storyton Hall and then to add skeletal remains and a deceased guest of the resort, one can only wonder how she does it.  But once the reader gets into the book, you can see that Jane is a very strong woman with a devoted family, staff and community and you soon realize that there is nothing that she cannot handle.

A first for me reading a cozy mystery was how the author honored the deceased.....
"The sheriff usually tipped his hat to show his respect for Jane, but when he saw Bart's immobile body and his slack but ruddy face, he removed his hat and pressed it against his chest.  Phelps followed suit, and the two men paused for a moment to recognize that a fellow human being had passed from this world to the next before they both donned their hats again and approached the emergency medical crew."
I was very impressed with Adams for the level of respect that was shown to the deceased in how she wrote the above paragraph.  It allows the reader more feeling into the story.

There was so much in Murder in the Locked Library to entertain and intrigue the reader that it's no mystery how the reader gets to the end so quickly.  I, for one, am a huge fan of Ellery Adams and look forward to visiting Storyton Hall whenever I can.

Review by Missi S.

Monday 21 May 2018

Flowers and Foul Play (A Magic Garden Mystery #1) by Amanda Flower

Flowers and Foul Play (A Magic Garden Mystery #1)
Fiona Knox lost her fiancé and her flower shop—but when she flies to Scotland to inherit her godfather’s cottage and possibly magical walled garden, she may lose her life as well when she’s swept into a murder investigation.

Florist Fiona Knox’s life isn’t smelling so sweet these days. Her fiancé left her for their cake decorator. Then, her flower shop wilted after a chain florist opened next door. So when her godfather, Ian MacCallister, leaves her a cottage in the Scottish Highlands, Fiona jumps on the next plane to Edinburgh. Ian, after all, is the one who taught her to love flowers. But when Ian’s elderly caretaker Hamish MacGregor shows her to the cottage upon her arrival, she finds the once resplendent grounds of Duncreigan in a dreadful shambles—with a dead body in the garden.

Minutes into her arrival, Fiona is already being questioned by the handsome Chief Inspector Neil Craig and getting her passport seized. But it’s Craig’s fixation on Uncle Ian’s loyal caretaker, Hamish, as a prime suspect, that really makes her worried. As Fiona strolls the town, she quickly realizes there are a whole bouquet of suspects much more likely to have killed Alastair Croft, the dead lawyer who seems to have had more enemies than friends.

Now it’s up to Fiona to clear Hamish’s name before it’s too late in Flowers and Foul Play, national bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting first Magic Garden mystery.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

A cozy mystery with a magical garden....that is a first !!!  And the story is set is Scotland !!  I love stories set in seems like if there is going to be a magical garden, it would be in Scotland.  Maybe it is just me but after you read Flowers and Foul Play by Amanda Flower you may agree with me.

Once you start reading Flowers and Foul Play you will be in a trance.  How can you not be ?  You travel from Tennessee with Fiona after she learns that she inherited her godfathers cottage and land.  And on this land just happens to be the magical garden.  However, Fiona doesn't know the extent of the magic and that it is linked to her, or actually she is linked to it.  

But before she can enjoy the garden, she has to solve a murder !!  That's right.  Hours after she arrives in Scotland she is walking the garden and finds a dead body !!!  And when it is found to be her godfather's attorney and the prime suspect is her godfather's longtime friend and caretaker of the garden, Fiona digs deep into finding the real murderer.  What a way to meet the neighbors !!!!

Flowers and Foul Play is the perfect book to get lost in for a while.  It will take you away to a magical place and bring your imagination alive !!  I highly recommend reading it and taking a journey without leaving your couch !!

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Motto for Murder (Merry Wrath #6) by Leslie Langtry

Motto for Murder (Merry Wrath #6)
For ex-CIA Agent turned Girl Scout troop leader, Merry Wrath, planning a wedding is infinitely more terrifying than the time she was a mole in Carlos the Armadillo’s drug cartel. To make matters worse, while plagued by insomnia (brought on by diabolical details that include bizarre things like "boutonnieres") Merry and her cat, Philby, witness a midnight murder next door. 

Or do they? With her record of sleeplessness, everyone from her fiancé, Rex, to her Girl Scout troop are questioning her sanity. And when strange incidents of arson start popping up all over Who’s There, Iowa and a mysterious woman vanishes, Merry begins to believe her neighbors are foreign spies. 

Throw in meeting her fiancé’s odd twin sisters, late night visits with Mr. Fancy Pants—the King Vulture at the zoo—and a scary sleep study, and Merry wonders if she’s in danger of losing her mind…or her life.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Motto For Murder is the first book in the Merry Wrath Mystery series by Leslie Langtry that I have read and BOY have I been missing out !!!  I instantly fell in love with Merry and her two cats !!!  Motto For Murder is the sixth book in this series and even though it was the first one that I have read, I was not lost at all !!  Langtry gets the reader up to speed instantly and you fall into the story immediately.

Main character Merry Wrath is a former CIA-spy living in her hometown with her two cats.  She lives across the street from her detective fiance Rex and runs a Girl Scout Troop with her best friend.  And if all that isn't fun enough, Merry is trying to plan her wedding but her insomnia is playing tricks on her......or is it ??

In Motto For Murder she thinks she sees her new neighbors carrying a dead body into thier house.  And when she learns that a woman working for her vetenerian is missing, her CIA skills have her drawing crazy conclusions !!!  

Oh and Merry also meets Rex's twin sisters who recently opened up a Taxidermy shop in town where they dress up dead animals in weird costumes and weird settings.  And when she learns that the missing woman left her beloved cat with the sisters to have stuffed and hasn't picked it up yet, Merry is in full CIA mode......

Motto For Murder was such a FUN read !!  So many different things than most readers aren't use to that it makes for a fast read also.  You cannot put the book down because you really want to make sure that Merry is sane and on the right track.

Review by Missi S.

Monday 14 May 2018

Dying to Call You (A Dead-End Job Mystery Book 3) by Elaine Viets

Dying to Call You (A Dead-End Job Mystery Book 3)

From Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author Elaine Viets—the thrilling mystery series about one woman trying to make a living... while other people are making a killing.

Still living under the radar in Fort Lauderdale due to her refusal to pay her ex-husband’s spousal support, Helen Hawthorne’s latest workaday job might just be the lowest rung on the employment ladder—telemarketing. She’s spending her hours interrupting dinners and disturbing slumbers, and in return hearing curses and extremely rude suggestions.

Then, while Helen is conducting a phone survey with the wealthy Henry “Hank” Asporth, he puts the receiver down without hanging up…and Helen can’t believe what she hears next. She can just make out a man and a woman arguing, a short scream cut off by a horrible choking sound, then an eerie silence followed by a final “click.”

Convinced she just heard a murder being committed—but with no solid proof—Helen is driven to find out what really happened with Hank and the mystery woman. But if she’s not careful, she just might end up holding a dead line of her own…

Praise for the Dead-End Job Mysteries by Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author Elaine Viets

“A stubborn and intelligent heroine, a wonderful South Florida setting, and a cast of more-or-less lethal bimbos...I loved this book.”—Charlaine Harris
“Brave Viets preps by actually working the jobs she describes in loving and hilarious detail, giving her offbeat series a healthy balance between the banal and the bizarre.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Laugh-out-loud comedy with enough twists and turns to make it to the top of the mystery bestseller charts.” —Florida Today
“Fans of Janet Evanovich and Parnell Hall will appreciate Viets’s humor.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Wit, murder, and sunshine . . . it must be Florida. I love this new series.”—Nancy Pickard
“A heroine with a sense of humor and a gift for snappy dialogue.”—Jane Heller  (Summary via Goodreads)

I love the Dead-End Job Mystery series by Elaine Viets.  Each book in this series is so fun !!  

Dying to Call You is the third book in this series and if you are reading them along with me, you are obvious a fan of the main character, Helen and you also feel like you are a resident of the Coronado Tropic Apartments.

Dying to Call You has Helen working as a telemarketer and you really get a good glimpse of how awful it is to be on the other end of the phone.....especially when Helen hears a woman being murdered !!  Of course in true Helen style, she cannot let it go, even when the police "investigate" and tell her there was no crime committed.  Helen knows what she heard and knows that she cannot just go on making calls.  

The path that Helen goes down to solve this case is unlike anything you can Viets can imagine and write these stories is amazing to me.  Viets will have you turning the pages faster than you can hang up on a telelmarketer and then she will have you wanting to apologize for your actions.....  

Review by Missi S.

Friday 11 May 2018

Better Off Read (Bookmobile Mystery #1) by Nora Page

Better Off Read (Bookmobile Mystery #1)

When her best hope of saving her storm-damaged library is found murdered, senior librarian Cleo Watkins hits the road in her bookmobile in search of justice.

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins won’t be shushed when an upstart young mayor threatens to permanently shelve her tiny town’s storm-damaged library. She takes to her bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to collect allies and rally library support throughout Catalpa Springs, Georgia.

However, Cleo soon rolls into trouble. A major benefactor known for his eccentric DIY projects requests all available books on getting away with murder. He’s no Georgia peach, and Cleo wonders if she should worry about his plans. She knows she should when she discovers him bludgeoned and evidence points to her best friend, Mary-Rose Garland. 

Sure of Mary-Rose’s innocence, Cleo applies her librarian’s sleuthing skills to the case, assisted by friends, family, and the dapper antiquarian bookseller everyone keeps calling her boyfriend. Evidence stacks up, but a killer is overdue to strike again. With lives and her library on the line, Cleo must shift into high gear to close the book on murder in Better Off Read, the charming Bookmobile series debut by Nora Page.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I really thought I knew who the bad guy was.  I was pretty certain I had it in the bag but Nora Page really tangled it up in Better Off Read.  But hey I am not complaining at all !!

Better Off Read is a captivating page turner and Page has you falling in love with librarian Cleo Watkins, her cat, Rhett Butler, and the town of Catalpa Springs, Georgia...close to Florida but not too close for Cleo.

Even though Cleo should have retired already, her love and devotion of books keeps her young.  And even though the library isn't open due to storm damage, she still has the bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to keep her busy.  However, when a grouchity old neighbor is murdered and her grandson, Ollie, is the main suspect, Cleo will do whatever she can to prove his innocence.

Better Off Read will keep the reader thoroughly engrossed with the murders, secrets, blackmailing, grouchy old people you cannot help but laugh at, (we all know 1 or 2 in our own lives) the food, the relationships, dogs and a cat !!

Page has done an excellent job setting the stage for future Bookmobile Mystery books and I, for one, will have my library card at the ready.....

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Cake and Punishment (A Southern Cake Baker Mystery #1) by Maymee Bell

Cake and Punishment (A Southern Cake Baker Mystery #1)
In the first of a delectable new Southern-set baking cozy series, Sophia Cummings, pastry chef extraordinaire, must craft the perfect cake for an old friend’s wedding while sifting through the suspects in a murder.

Bucolic Rumford, Kentucky has glowing fields of bluegrass, a fine selection of bourbons, and now a professional pastry chef. Broken-hearted Sophia Cummings has come home from New York City. She’s not there a minute before she’s charmed into making her high school friend Charlotte’s wedding cake. The kitchen at the Rumford Country Club seems perfect until Chef Emile’s body is discovered, sprawled near the stove, a cast iron skillet on the floor close by.

With one look at the shiny, new frying pan, Sophia knows it’s not Emile’s. She offers her knowledge to Sheriff Carter and her talents to Evelyn, the manager, who needs an interim chef. The mood in the country club is grim: Emile’s peppery personality had burned members and staff alike. Sophia wonders which one of them burned him?

Perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and JoAnna Carl, Cake and Punishment―with authentic Southern recipes!―will satisfy your sweet tooth.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Grab a glass of sweet tea or a cookie before you pick up Cake & Punishment by Maymee Bell.  You will want a sweet treat while you are reading it !!  ( You can thank me later....)

Cake & Punishment introduces you to Sophia Cummings who returns home for a "short" visit after catching her boyfriend in the act.  She thinks that she is only home for a short time to mend her broken heart but her mama, Bitsy, has a completely different plan.

Within a matter of a New York minute of being back home in Rumford, Kentucky Sophia has agreed to make a wedding cake for her friend Charlotte.  As they are discussing the cake at the Country Club, they happen upon the body of Emile, the head cook of the Country Club.

All Sophia wants to do is make Charlotte's wedding cake but when the manager of the Country Club hits the top of the list of murder suspects, she finds herself knee deep in investigating.  This puts her in hot water with the Sheriff.  Unfortunately Bitsy and friends are hoping to keep Sophia and the Sheriff together personally ..... not professionally.

I just LOVED the Southern town feel of Cake & Punishment !!!  And having the main character a baker who only wants to bake treats and make everyone feel good is always a win in my book.  The relationships that develop throughout the story leave the reader looking forward to the next installment of The Southern Cake Baker Mystery series.  I, for one, cannot wait to see what recipe Sophia bakes up.....

I love that some cozy mystery books include recipes in the back of the book and with Cake & Punishment I took advantage of that.  My mom and I baked up Kentucky Derby Pie which was featured in the story and I can say it was a winner !!!!  Take a look.....

Review by Missi S.