Wednesday 30 January 2019

A Canterbury Crime (The Belinda Lawrence Mystery Series Book 4) by Brian Kavanagh

A Canterbury Crime (The Belinda Lawrence Mystery Series Book 4)
The ancient walled city of Canterbury has held many secrets over the centuries but none more mysterious than the death of Professor de Gray. 

Called in to evaluate the contents of his Tudor Manor House, Belinda and Hazel are confronted with a number of suspects who would benefit from the book the Professor was about to publish; a book he promised would re-write the history of St Thomas Becket who was murdered in the Cathedral in 1170. 

Confirming the Professor was murdered proves to be a challenge and, gradually, as they get to know those associated with the Manor House, Belinda and Hazel discover another murder and an intricate web of secrets that leads them to life-threatening danger and finally to the killer, in this fourth book of the series  (Summary via Goodreads)

I love the Belinda Lawrence Mystery series by Brian Kavanagh.  There is so much to love !!!  The books in this series are quick reads.  If you want to get lost for an afternoon or day, pick up one of these books and you will be swept away.

A Canterbury Crime is the fourth book in this series and I can honestly say that this one BLEW MY MIND !!  I have read this one as well as the previous three but this one was completely mind blowing !!  The twist at the end along with some secrets that get uncovered will leave you in a state of complete awe !!!

I just love Belinda and her relationship with Hazel and the work that they do together which in A Canterbury Crime takes them to a mansion with a lot of old secrets.  The owner who recently passed was working on a book regarding a horrible death that happened many, many years ago and before he could finish the book and have it published, he died.  Belinda and Hazel are asked to go through the big house and catalog all the belongings and provide a price for what each item is worth.  While doing so, as is their characters, they want to find the missing chapter of the book that is causing everyone around the author to act suspiciously.

If you read A Canterbury Crime, which I highly recommend, you will get to a part of the story where you will NOT be able to put it down.  Kavanagh will have you so lost in the story that it will be impossible to close the book until you have completed the story.  Secrets will be told and things will start to make sense and you will want to see everything to the end.  You will be so lost that you will feel like you are sitting along side Belinda as things are uncovered.....

I recommend getting lost in the Belinda Lawrence series, you can easily get lost in the story but the trips are will go on a journey far, far away while still in the comforts of home......

Review by Missi S.

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Bones Behind the Wheel (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery #10) by E.J. Copperman

Bones Behind the Wheel: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery (Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries)
Barry Award-winning author E. J. Copperman is back with the tenth hilarious installment in his national bestselling Haunted Guesthouse mysteries.

Haunted Guesthouse proprietress Alison Kerby and her ghostly guest detective, Paul, “auto” know better than to dig into the case of a long-buried sedan and its now-skeletal driver. 

Innkeeper Alison Kerby is determined to keep her mind, body, and soul focused on bringing high-spirited hospitality to her lodgers at the Haunted Guesthouse. She simply has no time for any more murder investigations, no matter what Paul Harrison, her resident ghost detective, says. 

But this time, the mystery comes looking for Alison. Workers unearth a 1977 Lincoln Continental buried in the sand behind Alison’s guesthouse—and they discover a skeleton still belted in behind the steering wheel. 

Paul, of course, is on the cold case—to the extent that a ghostly gumshoe can be—but Alison is still determined not to do the incorporeal investigator’s legwork. Not this time. But her new husband Josh is intrigued, and he offers to help Paul poke into the case of the cold Continental. Uh-oh…has Josh caught the investigation bug? It’s a harsh wake-up call for a harried businesswoman who’d thought she’d told the detective life to hit the road. 

What can go wrong? How about everything? As Alison dodges stray bullets, discovers a gun in the guesthouse, and reluctantly probes a decades-old murder that turns out to be shockingly relevant even today, her specter inspector tries to keep her spirits up. But as she searches for the key to unlock the case, is Alison headed for her final check-out? Make a reservation to find out in Bones Behind the Wheel, the tenth fun-filled Haunted Guesthouse mystery from national bestselling author E. J. Copperman.  (Summary via Goodreads)

A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series by E.J. Copperman is a very interesting series.  You have Alison Kerby running an inn on the Jersey shore which you would think is completely normal until you learn that ghosts live there and people actually go there to partake in that experience......

Alison has the fortunate (or unfortunate at times) ability to see and communicate with ghosts.  And along with herself, her new husband Josh, and her daughter, Melissa, who are all living, she also has three ghosts and a dog ghost living there.  Melissa can also see and communicate with the ghosts, unfortunately Josh cannot.  

However in Bones Behind the Wheel, the tenth book in this series, Josh becomes involved in the latest case that occurs in the backyard, and he is able to communicate with Paul, one of the resident ghosts via texting.   

There is so much to love within this series......  I love the fact that Alison, Melissa and Alison's mother communicate with the ghosts and Josh cannot.  I love that Josh tries so hard to be involved in things and when he is finally able to communicate with Paul via texting he is like a 5 year-old on Christmas Eve.  I love that Paul can talk to other ghosts through the Ghosternet and love Maxie's high energy even though she's a ghost.

Copperman takes a 40 year-old, cold case and makes it HOT !!  I love the twists and turns in the story with all the characters past and present and how they loop together.  I love the relationships between the living and the ghosts.  I love the setting, an inn on the beach, and the fact that people come to the inn to witness the shows that the ghosts put on.  I love that Melissa has a pet dog that is a ghost.  I love the innocence of Josh and how it is Alison that is the one trying to protect everyone.  I love, love, love it all !!!  And I think you will also.......

Review by Missi S.

Thursday 24 January 2019

Mele Kalikimaka Murder (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries #5) by Aimee Gilchrist

Mele Kalikimaka Murder (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries #5)
From bestselling cozy mystery author Aimee Gilchrist comes a holiday Aloha Lagoon Mystery of ho, ho, homicide!

The only thing that Aloha Lagoon Resort manager Charlotte Conner hates more than her employees working on "island time" is Christmas. It isn't just the over commercialized tripe, but it's also the fact that once-upon-a-time her Christmas would-be wedding went up in spectacular flames. Now she has to share the hated Hawaiian holiday with her twin sister (the one responsible for Charlotte's ruined vows), Alexander Cho (the one currently responsible for destroying Charlotte's peace of mind and libido), and the body of one very dead assistant. Aloha Lagoon's police department can't find anyone else with a better motive for killing Charlotte's assistant than Charlotte herself, so now it's up to her, Alex, and her irritatingly ever-present twin to hunt down the real murderer before Charlotte spends her Christmas in a jail cell for a Mele Kalikimurder she didn't commit. This is one holly-jolly holiday that just might end up deadly!  (Summary via Goodreads)

A Hallmark Channel Christmas movie meets a Law and Order episode....that is how it feels when you read Mele Kalikimaka Murder by Aimee Gilchrist.

Mele Kalikimaka Murder is the fifth book in the Aloha Lagoon Mystery series and one thing about this series that is great is that even though they are part of a series, you don't have to read them in order.  The only thing they have in common is that they all center around the Aloha Lagoon Resort in Hawaii.  They also have some overlapping characters, like Detective Ray.  

In Mele Kalkimaka you are staying at the Aloha Lagoon Resort and hanging around with the temporary manager, Charlotte.  She is there after the previous manager passes away to get it back in order and then she will move on.  While she is there she is trying very hard to not fall in love with the island and her second in command, Alex.  

When her assistant, Mallory, is found murdered, Charlotte has some hard facts to address.  As she comes to terms with realizing she didn't know her assistant as well as she should have, she twin sister, Georgie, shows up at the resort.  All of this is happening during the week before Christmas while the resort and the town gear up for days of festivities.  Charlotte and Georgie aren't on very good terms currently and Charlotte is trying real hard to keep her feelings for Alex in check while the three of them try to find out what got Mallory killed.

Even though there is a strong romantic aspect to this story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  There is nothing wrong with a book having more storylines to follow and that is exactly what Mele Kalikimaka Murder gives the reader.  Not only are you following Charlotte around the island trying to find out why Mallory was murdered so she can tell her parents something, you are following Charlotte and Alex into quiet, empty offices while she fights her emotions, and you are also sitting along side her as she works out things with her twin sister.  There is a lot to absorb while reading this will keep you entertained while on the edge of your seat.

I love the Aloha Lagoon Resort Mystery series and cannot wait until I get back to the island for the next mystery.......

Review by Missi S.

Deadly Bubbles in the Wine (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries #4) by Mary Jo Burke

Deadly Bubbles in the Wine (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries #4)
From USA Today bestselling author Mary Jo Burke comes the next deliciously deadly episode in the bestselling Aloha Lagoon Mysteries... 

After Simone Ryan is stood up at the altar by her fiancé, Elliott, she decides to enjoy her would-be honeymoon in paradise alone. She checks into the Aloha Lagoon Resort's bridal suite and promptly begins to drown her sorrows in champagne. But when Simone steps out onto the balcony to take in the glorious Hawaiian scenery, she gets an even better view. Hot local baker, Liam Bentley, is out for a stroll on the beach. Maybe being single isn't so bad after all. 

But when Elliott makes a surprise appearance at the resort—with a younger woman in tow—things turn deadly, and suddenly Simone finds herself not in the role of newlywed but prime murder suspect! Fighting for her life—not to mention her dignity—Simone must uncover secrets from her ex-fiancé's past which may just have killer consequences for her own future. With the help of the ever-so-tempting Liam, his feisty grandmother, and the quirky Aloha Lagoon staff, Simone finds herself tracking down a murderer who may just be closer to home than she thinks... 

The Aloha Lagoon Mysteries: 
Ukulele Murder (book #1) 
Murder on the Aloha Express (book #2)
Deadly Wipeout (book #3) 
Deadly Bubbles in the Wine (book #4)  
Mele Kalikimaka Murder (book #5)  
Death of the Big Kahuna (book #6)  
Photo Finished (book #7) 

Bikinis Bloodshed (book #8)
Death of the Kona Man (book #9)
Lethal Tide (book #10)
Beachboy Murder (book #11)
Handbags & Homicidee (book #12)
Tiaras & Terror (book #13)

About Aloha Lagoon: 
There's trouble in paradise... 
Welcome to Aloha Lagoon, one of Hawaii's hidden treasures. A little bit of tropical paradise nestled along the coast of Kauai, this resort town boasts luxurious accommodation, friendly island atmosphere...and only a slightly higher than normal murder rate. While mysterious circumstances may be the norm on our corner of the island, we're certain that our staff and Lagoon natives will make your stay in Aloha Lagoon one you will never forget! visit us at   (Summary via Goodreads)

I LOVE visiting the Aloha Lagoon Resort in Hawaii !! And with the Aloha Lagoon Resort Mystery series you get to travel all over the island with a lot of interesting people.

In Deadly Bubbles in the Wine by Mary Jo Burke you meet Simone Ryan before she gets to the island.  Simone is stood up at the alter at the courthouse and when she returrns to her apartment, she finds out her fiance, Elliott, not only stood her up at the courthouse but took his belongings from her apartment while she was out.  Seeing as she wasn't thinking straight, she decides to go on the honeymoon alone.  So off to the Aloha Lagoon Resort and the bridal suite she goes.....

Unfortunately she isn't even there 24 hours and she ends up in the middle of a murder investigation.....her fiance's to be exact.  Simone finds out her fiance was on the island with her bosses very young step-daughter and shortly after she has a confrontation with Elliott he is washed up on the beach dead !!

Luckily for Simone she is befriended by Ellen Bentley and her adorable grandson Liam.  With their help she uncovers a lot that she didn't know about her fiance and her life......

Aloha Lagoon Resort is the place to be !!  All of the books in this series will take the reader will feel like you are vacationing on the island and you will also be  pulled into whatever trouble the main character is in and you will want to help them and Detective Ray solve the case so that everyone can relax and enjoy mai tais poolside......

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Batter Off Dead (A Southern Cake Baker Mystery #2) by Maymee Bell

Batter Off Dead (A Southern Cake Baker Mystery, #2)
For fans of Joanne Fluke and Leslie Meier comes the second in Maymee Bell’s delectable Southern Cake Baker mysteries.

Vanquishing the villain who vitiated a village vintner vexes vaunted pastry chef Sophia Cummings in this sweetly sinister second Southern Cake Baker mystery.

Sophia Cummings may be unlucky in love, but she knows that the way to a man's heart is through his sweet tooth. This evening, she plans to use that knowledge—and her skills as a New York City-trained pastry chef—to open the hearts and wallets of Rumford, Kentucky’s richest men. Sophia, proprietress of For Goodness Cakes, has been commissioned to cater the Heart of the Town Library charity fundraiser at Grape Valley Winery. She’s spent all her dough to make this a successful event, raise her profile, and win more plum catering jobs.

At first, the going is as smooth as an elegant chocolate ganache. After nibbling Sophia’s tasty treats, Ray Peel, the winery’s landlord, announces he will pay off Rumford’s library loan. But the evening soon turns decidedly frosty when Ray is murdered—before he can make good on his promise, and before he can pay Sophia for her catering services.

For Goodness Cakes will collapse if Sophia can’t collect what she’s owed. So Sophia once again puts on her sleuthing apron to figure out who iced Ray. A glass of your favorite red or white is the perfect accompaniment to Maymee Bell’s scrumptious Batter Off Dead―with authentic Southern recipes!
   (Summary via Goodreads)

When you find a book that is so good that you cannot put it down there is a love/hate feeling wrestling inside you.  You love that the story is so captivating that you cannot put it down.  You are so lost in the story that you become the story.....  And then there is that bad feeling when you finish the book so quickly because it's over before you know it.  And you hate that you have to close the book, go back to your regular life, and wait for what seem like forever until the next installment of that series....that is providing the book is a part of a series and there will be more......

Well you don't have to worry after you finish reading Batter Off Dead by Maymee Bell.  This is the second book in her Southern Cake Baker Mystery series and as with books in a series, they only get better !!!  I fell in love with Cake and Punishment, the first book in this series (I even made one of the recipes featured in the story.....) and could not wait for the next one.  When I got my hands on Batter Off Dead, you better believe that my life stopped while I read it !!!

There is so much to love with these books.....  The main character, Sophia, returns to her very Southern hometown and instantly decides to stay even though she stumbles across dead bodies !!  She resumes friendships like there was no gap in time, you will just love her mother, Bitsy, and the way they all talk, and the way that there are committees and groups for everything, and the FOOD !!  We cannot forget about the food.  In the first book, Cake and Punishment, it was all about the sweets and treats but in Batter Off Dead there is an italian restaurant that gets talked about and there is no lacking in describing the food !!!

And we cannot forget about the murders !!!  And of course Sophia's boyfriend, Carter, the town sheriff.  Even though he constantly warns Sophia to stay out of the investigation, her momma and her friends cannot help but drag her into it....who can resist when they hand her a glass of wine ??  You have to be southernly after all.....

I love love love this series and even though I read the books quickly, the story stays with me until the next book and I pick it up and get right back into things like I never even left town.  You will thorough enjoy these books !!!  I will warn you however.....make sure you have a glass of wine, cup of coffee or tea and something to eat and a comfy spot to sit because you will be there for a while......

Review by Missi S.

Monday 21 January 2019

Murder with Reservations (A Dead-End Job Mystery #6) by Elaine Viets

Murder with Reservations (A Dead-End Job Mystery Book 6)
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 on the run from the long arm of the law, Helen Hawthorne has found employment as a maid at Fort Lauderdale’s Full Moon Hotel, picking up after clueless tourists and keeping her head down.

But staying discreet gets a bit more difficult when Helen opens the hotel Dumpster and discovers the dead body of a fellow hotel employee. Then, a hotel guest is murdered in the shower, and Helen’s no-good ex-husband Rob arrives in town in search of the money the court said he deserves.

With the police already suspicious, and her friends frantically trying to keep Rob off her trail, Helen knows the only way clean up the mess is to find the killer. But if she’s not careful, the killer just might find her first…

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 just love the Dead-End Job Mystery series by Elaine Viets.  I have read books one through six so far and cannot get enough of Helen, her crappy jobs, her crazy landlady, Margery, her perfect boyfriend Phil , her friend Peggy and her parrot and everything else  !!!

And in Murder with Reservations, the sixth book in the series, Helen's dead-end job is a maid in a hotel that has a "cursed" room.  And everyone wants in.....  A few months before Helen starts working at The Full Moon a robber with a lot of money stays there but before he can hand the money off to his partner, he dies.  Unfortunately the money is never found.  So while Helen is trying to do her job still hiding out from her ex-husband, all her co-workers are secretly searching the hotel for the missing money.

And hiding from her ex-husband is harder than ever because he has finally tracked her to Florida and is even staying at The Full Moon.  While her co-workers sneak her in and out of the hotel, her ex-husband Rob is getting closer and closer to finding her....until Margery gets involved.......

This is my favorite book so far in this series......I just love Helen and what she will do to not give one dollar of her hard earned money to her lazy cheating ex-husband.  I love her relationship with her landlady and friends at the Coronado Apartments.  I love the nights hanging by the pool with Margery, Peggy, her parrot Pete and Margery's deadly drinks.  Helen and Phil have a realistic relationship and in this book we get to see and learrn more about Rob.  Not to mention in this book there is murder, murder, and murder !!!  More murders than ever !!  And of course Helen is right smack in the middle of them all !!  But with one of the murders there is a very interesting twist that not even Helen could predict......

I HIGHLY recommend the Dead-End Job Mystery series by Elaine Viets.  You will get completely lost in these books and will love every minute of it !!

Review by Missi S.

Saturday 19 January 2019

A Killer Kebab (Greek to Me Mystery #3) by Susannah Hardy

A Killer Kebab (Greek to Me Mystery, #3)
The new Greek to Me Mystery from the author of Olive and Let Die and Feta Attraction

The Bonaparte House is closed for the season, and Georgie Nikolopatos looks forward to fixing up the Greek restaurant and historic landmark—until her renovation plans hit a fatal snag.

With her divorce underway, her mother-in-law returning to Greece, and the tourists gone, Georgie finally has life under control—and the Bonaparte House to herself. She quickly hires a contractor for some much-needed renovations to reopen in time for a special Greek-style Thanksgiving meal. Georgie is suspicious though when former dishwasher Russ Riley arrives with the construction crew. He still has an ax to grind with the Nikolopatos family—but is it sharp enough to kill?

When Georgie finds the body of her divorce lawyer amid the construction debris and Russ is quickly arrested for murder, something about the case doesn’t add up. While Georgie is no fan of Russ, even a bad egg deserves a crack at justice.

Includes delicious Greek recipes!
   (Summary via Goodreads)

I was organizing my book shelves and came across A Killer Kebab by Susannah Hardy and couldn't believe that I hadn't read it already.  A Killer Kebab is the third book in her A Greek To Me Mystery series and I LOVED the first two.  I was very upset that I missed this one and hadn't read it yet......until I realized that I HAVEN'T READ IT YET....... So I sat right down leaving the book shelves more unorganized that when I started and opened the book.....

I was instantly at home with Georgie in the Bonaparte House in Bonaparte Bay.  A Killer Kebab is a little different than the first two in a very big way.  In A Killer Kebab the restaurant is closed for the season, as is most of the town, and there are very few people around.  However, even though there are mainly locals with a few outsiders, there is still enough for a murder to occur  And boy does it......right in one of the restrooms at the Bonaparte House !!! 

Because it is the off season and Georgie's mother-in-law is in Greece for the winter, it is the perfect time for some renovations to be done.  Unfortunately on the first day of demolation, Georgie's lawyer is found murdered in the debris......and Georgie is the one to find him....of course.  

As much as Georgie wants to continue the renovations, when her cook, Dolly's, son is arrested for the murders, and even though he is a good candidate for the murders, Georgie cannot help but feel that there is more to the story and doesn't feel extremely confident that they have the right person.

Georgie piles a lot on her plate "investigating" things and when people close to her start to get hurt, she digs her heels in, puts her head down and charges full speed into the tangled mess.......  

You cannot help but love Georgie for her determination and stength and even though she is a very independent person, she knows when she needs help and doesn't hesitate to ask others even knowing how dangerous things may get.

A Killer Kebab is a page-turner, make your coffee cold kind of story......make sure you are prepared when you open the will be there for a while.  You will not want to leave Bonaparte Bay until you know everyone is safe and sound and in for the winter.

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday 16 January 2019

The Lost Traveller (County Cork #7) by Sheila Connolly

The Lost Traveller (County Cork, #7)

Danger comes to Cork in the seventh County Cork mystery from New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly, and it’s up to Maura Donovan to find a way to protect all she’s worked for.

Pub owner Maura Donovan is settling into a charmed life in Ireland—until a mutilated body on her property ends her lucky streak. 

Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork—much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever—but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck. 

It begins with Maura’s discovery of a body in the ravine behind the pub. And then, the Irish gardaí reveal that the victim’s face has been battered beyond recognition. Who is the faceless victim? Who wanted him dead? And why was his body dumped in the backyard of Sullivan’s Pub? Even after the dead man is finally given a name, nobody admits to knowing him. In the tight-knit world of Leap, no one is talking—and now it’s up to Maura to uncover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly quiet town. 

Laced with warm Irish charm, a delightful small-town setting, and a colorful cast of characters, New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly’s seventh County Cork mystery, The Lost Traveller, conspires to delight.  (Summary via Goodreads)

There is something about reading books in a series.....when you read them you feel like you are home.  It is a comforting feeling.  It's like seeing a friend you haven't seen in a while or visiting a restaurant or store you haven't been to in a while....

The County Cork Mystery series by Sheila Connolly gives the reader a warm feeling.  Even with the stories taking place far away in Ireland (far away for me anyway) you feel like you are right there.  I find myself so engrossed in the life of Maura and her friends at the pub that when I'm reading I'm lost in the Ireland ways......when Mick, Rose, Billy or anyone else from County Cork speaks to Maura I hear the accents.....

I love the closeness of everyone and how that took to Maura instantly.  If you've read any of the other books in the series, you know what I mean.  Maura who lived in Boston inherited a cottage and pub in County Cork and with The Lost Traveller, the seventh book in this series, she has been there a year.  Even though she is still getting use to things, she seems to be quite comfortable.....even solving crimes....or at least helping the local police, the gardai.   

In this seventh book, The Lost Traveller, you are introduced to more differences between Ireland and the United States and you continue to learn things with Maura.  

I love reading books in series, especially ones that take the reader away.  When I opened The Lost Traveller and started reading, I was instantly inside Sullivan's sitting next to Billy by the fire.  And when Maura went back to the cottage after the pub closed, I was right there along side her.  It felt like there was no time in between this book and the last one I read.

Connolly has a way of opening the reader's imagination and allowing the reader to travel to a place so far away.  You get so involved in your reading you will swear you hear Mick's accent along with all the others and you will see Rose's devotion and energy as well as feel Billy's age and wisdom.  

I just hope that Maura will stay in Leap and run Sullivan's for many, many more books in this series.....even though she seems to "attract" dead people.  That is just one more thing you love about these books.......

So sit back with your cup of tea or pint....whichever you fancy and hang with the gang at Sullivan's..... They will welcome you with a smile............and you will be a friend for life.

Review by Missi S.

Tuesday 8 January 2019

Death of a Russian Doll (Vintage Toyshop Mystery #3) by Barbara Early

Death of a Russian Doll (Vintage Toyshop Mystery, #3)
Just in time for the holidays, fans of Leslie Meier and Vicki Delany are going to want to pick up the charming third installment in Barbara Early’s Vintage Toy Shop mysteries.

It’s all fun and games with toyshop owner Liz McCall until deadly secrets are unwrapped upon the eve of the holidays.

Who knew? Liz McCall is not thrilled when her boyfriend Police Chief Ken Young introduces her to his estranged wife Marya. The model-quality Russian immigrant, back in East Aurora to rekindle their romance, will be working as a hairstylist at the barber shop next door to Well Played, the toyshop Liz manages for her dad. When Marya offers to help with the shop’s doll rehab project, Liz can’t help but offer up only a weak smile, but her secret hesitations are for naught when Marya’s body is discovered in the barber shop with a hair dryer cord wrapped around her neck. 

Liz’s dad, retired from the police force, is asked to investigate since Ken is the prime suspect.The whole town is abuzz with the scandal and Liz has a few questions of her own, wanting nothing more than to forget the loud argument she overheard between Marya and Ken the night before. There could have been other motives… Was Marya going to cut into a competing hairstylist business? Who is the bumbling private investigator hanging around and why won’t he explain himself? 

All eyes are on Liz, including those of an odd matryoshka doll in the shop which seems to move of its own accord, to unravel this entertaining riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that is Death of a Russian Doll, the third jolly Vintage Toy Shop mystery from Barbara Early.  (Summary via Goodreads)

What a great book to read during the holidays....Death of a Russian Doll....not because there is a murder...but for everything else !!!  The Vintage Toyshop Mystery series by Barbara Early has an awesome setting....a toy store !!!  And it's run by an amazingly awesome family !!  Liz McCall and her "retired" police chief father own, run and live above the toyshop and Liz's sister-in-law works at the toy shop.  

Unfortunately in Death of a Russian Doll there is a murder right next store at the barber shop !!!  And when the victim ends up being the wife of the current police chief, Ken and Liz's "sort of" boyfriend you know Liz is going to get involved.  Not only does Liz dip her toes in but her father is asked to step in and take over the case seeing as the current police chief is not only the victim's husband but the top suspect.

So while Liz comes to terms with the secrets that Ken has kept from her and her father is off working the case,  you, the reader, get to fall in love Liz and crew.  And not only do you get to ride along trying to solve the case, you also get to see Liz juggle her love interests and you also get to know her sister-in-law Cathy and her interests in toys.....dolls !!!

The Vintage Toyshop Mystery series is a great series to get lost in with the amazing characters that Early introduces you will be in love instantly !!!

Review by Missi S.

Sunday 6 January 2019

Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game by Matt Ferraz

Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game
British sleuth Sherlock Holmes can solve any mystery from a small clue. American traveler Pollyanna Whittier can only see the good side of every situation. The only thing they have in common is their friendship with Dr. John Watson. When Pollyanna shows up in London with a mystery for Holmes to solve, she decides to teach the detective the Glad Game: a way of remaining optimistic no matter what. A dangerous - and hilarious - clash of minds, where these two characters of classic literature need to learn how to work together in order to catch a dangerous criminal.  (Summary via Goodreads)

If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, you will LOVE this interpretation of them.  Matt Ferraz shows you a delicate side to the detective and doctor in Sherlock Holmes and the Glad will be GLAD you read it !!!

In Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game Doctor Watson is dealing with the apparent death of Sherlock Holmes.  Holmes went to confront an enemy and the two were last seem falling over a cliff.  Even though the bodies were never found, it is presumed they both died.  While Watson is trying to come to terms with the death of his friend, Holmes landlady, Mrs. Hudson meets and introduces Watson to Pollyanna.  Pollyanna is an American who is in London for medical attention.  

Pollyanna had an accident that landed her in a wheelchair.  The American doctors said she would never walk again however, a doctor in London said that he could heal her.  So her family and town raised money so that she could travel to London for treatment.

When Watson meets Pollyanna he is drawn to her and when he finds out the doctors name, he feels he must step in because he feels she is being taken advantage of.  Watson cannot understand how Pollyanna can be so happy all the time and see bad things as being Pollyanna teaches him the Glad Game.  You find something to be glad about in every situation and then things look better .....  Even though Watson stepped in and the doctor, Tate, tells Pollyanna she is "healed" and sends her money back to her and she is returning to America, she tells Watson she is glad for she was able to meet him, his wife and Mrs. Hudson.

Years later after Holmes does in fact return.....he did survive the fall and lost his way for a few years but does Pollyanna !!  As a married woman !!  Unfortunately the man that she married is anything but what he says he is.....  He meets with Holmes and Watson to hire them....  this leads them on a case that even Pollyanna's Glad Game will be hard to follow......

Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game takes you back in time to when Pollyanna was young and in love, brings you back to the present when she is married but it isn't what it looks like......and with Holmes and Watson on the case and both having developed a strong relationship with Pollyanna will do whatever it takes to ensure that she continues playing the Glad Game for many years......

You will have a hard time putting this story down until you finish it.  You will also fall in love with Pollyanna and her contagiously happy personality.  You will find yourself well invested in finding out the truth behind Pollyanna's marriage and will also want to see her happy and in love again !!!

Ferraz will draw you in and keep you captivated from the first word until you've read the final word and close the book.....but don't worry it is a good journey to go on and you are in very good hands.......and you may even catch yourself playing the Glad Game as well.

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

One Taste Too Many (Sarah Blair Mystery #1) by Debra H. Goldstein

One Taste Too Many (Sarah Blair Mystery, #1)

For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there's only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch--murder!

Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty-eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired hometown she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she's the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily--an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant . . .

Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily's award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death--being in the kitchen!

Includes quick and easy recipes!  (Summary via Goodreads)

Mind Blown !!!!  I do not care how good you are at solving mysteries....One Taste Too Many is one mystery that will test you !!  Debra H. Goldstein doesn't make it easy for you either.  She has such a dymanic story with a strong list of suspects.

In this first book in the Sarah Blair Mystery series you are introduced to the main character, Sarah and her twin sister Emily.  As we get to know the twins we are also introduced to their jobs and co-workers.  Sarah is a receptionist for a lawyer Harlan and we really get to know Harlan quite well because Emily becomes a suspect in the death of Sarah's ex-husband.  And we get to know Emily and her co-workers because there is a Food Expo taking place that the restaurant that Emily works at is front and center in the event.  Unfortunately the murder also occurs right before the Expo is scheduled to begin.

Sarah will do whatever it takes to prove her sister's innocence even when things turn on her and the cat she agreed to take care of when her mother-in-law passed away.  Even though she has been taking care of RahRah for a few years now, it looks like ownership might go to her ex-husbands latest fling !!!  

Sarah seems to have more than she can handle but as we read the story, we realize that she can handle a lot !!!  

You cannot help but fall in love with everything in this series !! You will love the characters, their jobs, their relationships, the bond between the sisters and even the cat will find a place in your heart.....and like I said ..... solving the case isn't as easy as one might think when you start reading One Taste Too Many and when you finish the book and find out the truth.....I hope you are sitting down and alone because you just might curse out loud !!!

Review by Missi S.