Monday 29 October 2018

The Hour of Death (Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery #2) by Jane Willan

The Hour of Death
Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn make sleuthing a work of art. But will they paint themselves into a corner when they investigate the Village Art Society president's death?

As Yuletide settles upon Gwenafwy Abbey, the rural Welsh convent's peace is shattered when Tiffany Reese, president of the Village Art Society, is found dead on the floor of the parish hall. Sister Agatha, whose interests lie more with reading and writing mystery stories than with making the abbey's world-renowned organic gouda, is not shy about inserting herself into the case. With the not-entirely-eager assistance of Father Selwyn, she begins her investigation.

Sister Agatha has no shortage of suspects to check off her naughty-or-nice list, until finally, Tiffany's half-brother, Kendrick Geddings, emerges as the prime suspect. There never was any love lost between Tiffany and Kendrick, and of late they had been locked in a vicious battle for control of the family estate. But if Sister Agatha thinks she has the case wrapped up, she'll have to think again.

As the days of Advent tick by, Sister Agatha is determined to crack the case by Christmas in The Hour of Death, Jane Willan's perfectly puzzling second Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Jane Willan has an amazing talent for story telling and capturing the readers attention as soon as you open the book and start reading.  And her originality is off the charts !!  A nun with a Father as her sidekick, a Reverend Mother who encourages one of her nuns to write a murder/mystery book and investigate murder for real, a group of nuns working together making Heavenly Gouda cheese......

The Hour of Death is the second book in the Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn mystery series and hopefully you became a fan with the first book, The Shadow of Death.  If not, there is still plenty of time.  If there is one thing you take away from these books is that there is plenty of time to sit back and enjoy a good book with a cup of tea.  Although once you begin reading you may turn to coffee as you pick of speed with your reading.  You will get so caught up in the story that you won't want to put the book down.

It also amazes me how authors twist and turn stories taking every thing and bringing it together in the end.  Something so small can turn into something huge and when the realization of it hits the reader, you have to sit back and take it all in and then you have a mind-blowing moment !!!  That is what Willan does !!  

I was amazed and fell in love with all the characters in these books and love the setting and the atmosphere and look forward to more in this series.  I encourage everyone to read these books and get lost for a while .......  you will thank me !!!!

Review by Missi S.  

Thursday 25 October 2018

If the Coffin Fits (A Funeral Parlor Mystery #2) by Lillian Bell

If the Coffin Fits (A Funeral Parlor Mystery #2)
Perfect for fans of Carolyn Haines and Donna Andrews, Lillian Bell makes the return with her second Funeral Parlor mystery featuring funeral director Desiree Turner.

When an unnatural cause of death finds one of her clients, Desiree must get to the bottom of the murder before she’s fitted for a coffin, herself.

Funeral director Desiree Turner deals with death by natural causes all the time. Death by unnatural causes? Not so much. Yet, she and her boyfriend Nate have heard some not-so-dear things about the recently departed. A suspicious remark by the late Frank Fiore’s daughters sparks some concern. And when Violet Daugherty faints behind the wheel of her car, Desiree suspects she’s got a front seat to murder. 

Desiree can’t help but look into Violet’s untimely end, but soon after, rumors begin to spread that she’s accusing her clients of murder, which quickly spurs a mass cancellation and Desiree is on the verge of going out of business. What began as an effort to do due diligence for her client turns into a wild goose chase for Violet’s murderer. Desiree must find her proof before everything she works for is lost. But that’s easier said than done, because while everyone else in town is looking to take their business elsewhere, the killer sets sights directly upon Desiree. 

Now it’s up to Desiree to find the murderer before she becomes the next body her funeral parlor serves in If the Coffin Fits, Lillian Bell’s second charming Funeral Parlor mystery.   (Summary via Goodreads)

WOW !!!  If you thought the first book in A Funeral Parlor Mystery, A Grave Issue, by Lillan Bell was a great read......Hang on to your hats !!!  

Lillian Bell captured the reader in A Grave Issue and left the reader with the best cliffhanger she could.  This cliffhanger made it so you could not wait until the next installment in this series.  I know I was hooked and looking forward to the next book.

And she did not disappoint with If the Coffin Fits.  She actually did it again !!!  Another great story with another awesome cliffhanger !!  Bell makes it so you almost want to skip ahead to the end of the story.....but you won't because then you will miss out on so much more !!!

You cannot help but fall in love with Desiree, her family and friends, and even the story !!  Of course you expect there to be death when you read a book centered around a funeral parlor and, of course, because the book is considered a cozy mystery and these books do not disappoint !!  All Desiree has to do is her job...but when things don't feel right, she wouldn't be her if she didn't look into matter what everybody tells her to do.

One of the reasons that I enjoy this series is the setting.  When I was young we use to visit my father's family at their funeral home.  To some it may be scary or depressing but to me it was anything but.  My great-aunt and uncle made sure to educate my brother and I on the in's and out's of the funeral parlor scene.  Reading this series with this setting takes me back....and even if funeral parlors aren't your cup tea, you will still love this series and the ending will have you counting down the days until the next book in this series.  (Hurry up Lillian.....I got to know what happens next !!!!)

Review by Missi S.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

In Cold Chocolate (A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #3) by Dorothy St. James

In Cold Chocolate (A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery, #3)
In Dorothy St. James’s third delectable Southern Chocolate Shop mystery, a new batch of chocolate and troubles of the heart cause a string of disasters for the Chocolate Box’s new owner, Charity Penn.

The vintage seaside town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina seems like the perfect place for romance with its quiet beach and its decadent chocolate shop that serves the world’s richest dark chocolates. The Chocolate Box’s owner, Charity Penn, falls even further under the island’s moonlit spell as she joins Althea Bays and the rest of the turtle watch team to witness a new generation of baby sea turtles hatch and make their way into the wide ocean.

Before the babies arrive, gunshots ring out in the night. Cassidy Jones, the local Casanova, is found dead in the sand with his lover Jody Dalton—the same woman who has vowed to destroy the Chocolate Box—holding the gun. It’s an obvious crime of passion, or so everyone believes. But when Jody’s young son pleads with Penn to bring his mother back to him, she can’t say no. She dives headfirst into a chocolate swirl of truth and lies, and must pick through an assortment of likely (and sometimes unsavory) suspects before it’s too late for Penn and for those she loves in Dorothy St. James’s third rich installment of the Southern Chocolate Shop mysteries, In Cold Chocolate.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I am a HUGE fan of the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series by Dorothy St. James ..... and it's not because there is chocolate involved !!  There are so many things to love about this series.....from the main character Charity Penn to the chocolate shop she inherited to the sexy lawyer neighbor that she has a crush on to the fact that it all takes place in a seaside town !!  You will also love the relationships among the characters in the story....even the ones that aren't "nice".  

And in In Cold Chocolate one of the not "nice" relationships is the focus of the story.  It's no secret that Penn does not get along with Harley's ex-wife Jody.  But when Jody is found standing over a dead body, Penn promises Harley's son, Gavin, that she will get his mom home in time for his first day of school.  Unfortunately school is scheduled to start in less than a week and Jody was found standing over the dead body holding the smoking gun.

If you have read the previous two books in this series, you know that Penn does not back down from a fight and life has never been easy going for it will be no surprise to see her dig her toes in and start investigating the death herself.   She will do anything and everything to insure that Jody will be there for Gavin on his first day of school even though all the evidence shows that Jody is guilty.

Fall in love with Penn and her a walk on the beach.....check out the turtle nests.....enjoy a milkshake or a piece of chocolate.....while you read these books, you will feel like you are on Camellia Beach....and you will not want the story to end !!

Review by Missi S.

Friday 12 October 2018

Premeditated Peppermint (Amish Candy Shop Mystery #3) by Amanda Flower

Premeditated Peppermint (Amish Candy Shop Mystery #3)
Someone’s sweet on revenge . . .

Christmas is Bailey King’s favorite time of year. For her first Yuletide in Harvest, Ohio, the former big-city chocolatier is recreating a cherished holiday treat: peppermint combined with molten white chocolate. But her sugar high plummets when her former boyfriend walks into the candy shop she now runs with her Amish grandmother. New York celebrity chef Eric Sharp and his TV crew have arrived to film an authentic Amish Christmas. Bailey’s not about to let her beloved town—and Swissmen Sweets—be turned into a sound bite. Unfortunately, she gets more publicity than she bargained for when Eric’s executive producer is found strangled to death—and Eric’s the prime suspect. 

With Bailey’s sheriff deputy boyfriend out to prove Eric’s guilt, her bad-boy ex tries to sweet-talk her into helping him clear his name . . . and rekindle their romance to boost ratings for his show. Now, between a surplus of suspects and a victim who wasn’t who she seemed, Bailey’s edging dangerously close to a killer who isn’t looking to bring joy to the world—or to Bailey—this deadly Noel . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

Premeditated Peppermint by Amanda Flower is the first book in her Amish Candy Shop Mystery series that I have had the pleasure of reading and even though it is the third book in the series, it didn't feel like it.  I was actually surprised to read that it wasn't the first one.  Flower gives the reader some insight into the past and it's just enough for the reader to get to know Bailey, her grandmother, the candy store and the town.

One cannot help but fall in love with Bailey and her town, Harvest....especially during the Christmas Holiday.  The entire town is gearing up for the Christmas Market and Bailey's ex-boyfriend, Eric, shows up with a production crew in hopes of filming a cooking special including Bailey and her Amish grandmother.  But before Bailey can get the approval from the Amish community to film inside the candy store, the executive producer is found dead in the gazebo in the middle of the Christmas Market.....and Bailey finds Eric standing over her body !!

Premeditated Peppermint has more twists and turns than a corn maze during Halloween however it will have you craving snow, hot cocoa and candy canes !!!  I highly recommend reading this book....any time of the year !!

Review by Missi S.

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Crumbled to Pieces (Cookies & Chance Mystery, #6) by Catherine Bruns

Crumbled to Pieces (Cookies & Chance Mystery, #6)
From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes another tantalizingly tasty culinary mystery...

In need of some quick dough, full-time baker and sometime sleuth Sally Muccio decides to rent the vacant apartment over the bakery to a friend of her grandmother's. Allegra Fiato is nothing like Sal's darling Grandma Rosa, though. She's mean, dishonest, and harboring a deadly secret.

When the elderly woman is mowed down in a hit and run, it quickly becomes obvious this was no accident. Grandma Rosa asks for Sal's help to find the killer which involves a last minute trip to Vegas crashed by Sal's crazy parents, stolen fortune cookies, and a mysterious missinglocket. To add more spice to the mix, a loved one makes a startling admission to Sal that shocks her to the very core. Suddenly, Sal's world is in danger of crumbling around her. Can she put the pieces back together in time before the killer makes her the next victim?

*Recipes Included!*

The Cookies & Chance Mysteries:
Tastes Like Murder (book #1)
Baked to Death (book #2)
A Spot of Murder (short story in the "Killer Beach Reads" collection)
Burned to a Crisp (book #3)
Frosted With Revenge (book #4)
Silenced by Sugar (book #5)
A Drizzle Before Dying (short story in the "Pushing Up Daisies" collection)
Crumbled to Pieces (book #6)

What critics are saying:

"Catherine Bruns has whipped up another delicious treat with this delightful cozy. If you like your mysteries to taste sweet this one is a good choice."
--Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick!

"I want to visit more with all of the quirky characters just to see what crazy and outrageous things they will do next!"
--Fresh Fiction
   (Summary via Goodreads)

The Cookies & Chance Mystery series by Catherine Bruns is one series that I can not put down once I start reading.  With Crumbled to Pieces being the 6th book in this series, you are already invested in the story, you are a member of the family and you can settle right in and pick up like you never left.

When you read a series you are a fan and there is usually one of two (or more) things about the series that you love.  With this series, I love everything !!  I love Sally and her best friend Josie, I love the bakery that they own and run, even the crazy fortune cookies.....and talk about crazy, we can't forget Sally's mom and dad !!!  You cannot help but love their relationship !!  Even though Sally and Mike have an amazing relationship also, Sally's parents are a "seasoned" kind of relationship a lot of us can only dream of having.  And now Sally's sister Gianna and her boyfriend Johnny are becoming more serious and yes I have to admit I cried during one big scene in the'll know it when you get there !!!

And the most important person in the whole series, of course, is Grandma Rosa.....with her intuition and her quirky sayings.....we all want a grandmother like her.  No matter what is gong on with Sally and the crew, they always have Grandma Rosa in their corner.  She is the backbone and the strength in their lives.  And lets face it when Sally is concerned, she needs it !!!

In Crumbled to Pieces we meet a family crazier than Sally's.....if that is even possible.  But yes it is and we get to see more of Mrs. Gavelli.  Mrs. Gavelli is Johnny's grandmother and Grandma Rosa and Sally's parents neighbor.  She's always been in the stories and her sharp-witted ways and dislike for Sally have always left their mark but when she needs help finding out who murdered her dear friend, she swallows her pride and asks for Sally's help.

The path that they take will have you on the edge of your seat.....they go to Vegas !!!  Okay just the ladies go but boy do you wish you were there !!!  I know I did !!!  

Catherine Bruns does not disappoint in this 6th book in this series !!  Every book gets stronger and stronger and makes you feel like a member of the family and she know how to leave her fans wanting more......  Hurry up book 7 !!!!

Review by Missi S.