Tuesday 26 February 2019

What Doesn't Kill You (Willa Pennington, P.I. #1) & Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs (Willa Pennington, P.I.#2) by Aimee Hix

What Doesn't Kill You (Willa Pennington, P.I. #1) by Aimee Hix

What Doesn't Kill You
A favor for a friend turns into a murder investigation, drawing apprentice PI Willa Pennington into a labyrinth of lies and deception in the shadows of Washington, D.C.

Willa Pennington thought that becoming a PI would be better than being a cop. She thought she'd never have to make another death notification or don a bulletproof vest again. She thought she could move past the pain of losing her best friend. She thought she'd be safe.

But she couldn't have been more wrong.

Now, agreeing to do a simple favor has brought her to a dead body, a missing person, and a battle of wits with an old friend who has dangerous secrets. If Willa can keep her focus, she could solve the murder, find the missing girl, and figure out if the person she's trusted with her life is the one trying to end it.


A 2018 Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel

"One of the best debut efforts I've ever seen. Tight plotting, edge-of-your-seat suspense and a protagonist in PI Willa Pennington you'll want to read about again and again. I couldn't put this book down."--Maggie Barbieri, author of Once Upon a Lie

"A debut that saddles tough-girl noir with the heart of a cozy."--Kirkus Reviews

"This is a solid beginning to a character and setting that could go on to very good things."--RT Book Reviews

"Aimee Hix is an up-and-coming author everyone should watch."--Crimespree Magazine

"The book has plent of twists and surprises, but what stands out is the tight writing and fast narrative of the author's debut novel."--Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine  (Summary via Goodreads)

What a book to debut a new series !!! 

What Doesn't Kill You by Aimee Hix is an amazing book and the story grabs the reader from the very beginning and doesn't let loose until the very end.  

The reader will instantly love and respect the main character Willa Pennington for so many reasons.  Some of those reasons are that Willa loves her family and will do whatever it takes to protect them, she will also do whatever she can to protect friends of the family, she is a woman that knows what she wants and will stop at nothing to get that, no matter how dangerous it is.  She is also someone you want next to you if you ever find yourself in a tough spot or dark alley.....  

And you will love the "relationship" she has with her childhood "friend" Seth.  Their relationship and the hard times and the things that connect them are so deep and trying that you cannot help but respect them for it.  And when it seems like it is getting too much to handle, Hix knows exactly what to write to get us back into the dirt of the story....

The dirt of the story puts Willa in the middle of more than she can handle when she agrees to help her neighbors with a little favor.....A favor that starts with a dead guy !!  This takes Willa and her "cop want to be a PI" training where she never expected it to lead this soon into her career.  However this brings her a lot closer to her childhood friend Seth and opens up a can of worms that they have both been trying hard to keep closed.......

Hix shoots this one out of the ballpark !!  I was on the edge of my seat reading What Doesn't Kill You and I cannot wait to visit the next installment in this series.  I need to know more about the lives of Willa and Seth and see where things take us.......  I hope you will also !!!

Review by Missi S.


Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs

Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs (Willa Pennington, P.I. #2) by Aimee Hix

Sometimes home is the most dangerous place of all.

In a heart-pounding mystery featuring apprentice PI Willa Pennington, a long-standing cold case turns hot in a hurry.

People move to the suburbs for a better life--nice houses, good schools, safe communities. But there's no place you can go that's completely safe from danger. Willa Pennington knows this all too well after her first PI case almost got her killed. Helping her old mentor review a decades-old cold case seems much safer. Then she reaches out to a teenager in trouble, and suddenly a new case rips into Willa's life in a way she could never have predicted. It seems menace is always lying in wait behind someone's door. Especially on the dark streets of the cold suburbs.

Praise for Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs:

"This one's a keeper, and that means the entire series. From the conflicted protagonist, to the neatly twisted and well-placed plotting, I couldn't put the book down."--Kingdom Books

Praise for What Doesn't Kill You, Book 1 of the Willa Pennington, PI Mystery Series:

"Tight plotting, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and a protagonist in PI Willa Pennington you'll want to read about again and again. I couldn't put this book down."--Maggie Barbieri, author of Once Upon a Lie

"A debut that saddles tough-girl noir with the heart of a cozy."--Kirkus Reviews

"This is a solid beginning to a character and setting that could go on to very good things."--RT Book Reviews

"Aimee Hix is an up-and-coming author everyone should watch."--Crimespree Magazine

"The book has plenty of twists and surprises, but what stands out is the tight writing and fast narrative of the author's debut novel."--Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs by Aimee Hix is the second book in the Willa Pennington P.I. series and it is just as captivating as the first one....if not more !!!  

In What Doesn't Kill You, the first book, you find out just how serious and strong and stubborn and loving and "crazy"(in a good way) Willa is.  Especially when it comes to people she is close too.  

Well......hang on to your teacup cuz you are going to take a ride with Willa in this next story !!!  And you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it !!!  

In Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs Willa gets attached to a high school girl that from the moment they met, Willa knew she needed help.....unfortunately she didn't realize how much help she was going to need.  But that doesn't matter to Willa.  She was in from the start !!  And when the trouble pours into her family, she is more than completely in !!

I was hooked with the first book and didn't want to close the book when I finished the second book.  In Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs you learn more about Willa and what makes her who she is....you learn why she left the police force and that just helps put some of the pieces to the puzzle together.  Sadly Seth is not in a lot of the book, but he does show up for the "finale" and well....come on, we knew he would !!  

There is so much in this story to captivate you and draw you completely in.  You will be on the edge of your seat, turning the pages faster than Willa can down an energy drink or cup of coffee....you will be so into the story that you will feel like you are high on caffeine....but in a good way.

I highly recommend reading these books and falling in with love with Willa, her family, her boyfriend and her life.......

Review by Missi S.

Friday 22 February 2019

Death and Daisies (A Magic Garden Mystery #2) by Amanda Flower

Death and Daisies (A Magic Garden Mystery #2)
National bestselling author Amanda Flower returns with her second floral Magic Garden mystery, perfect for readers of Paige Shelton and Sheila Connolly.

Florist Fiona Knox left behind her gloomy life for a magical garden in Scotland, but a murder on her shop’s opening day spells doom.

Fiona Knox thought she was pulling her life back together when she inherited her godfather’s cottage in Duncreigan, Scotland—complete with a magical walled garden. But the erstwhile Tennessee flower shop owner promptly found herself puddle boot-deep in danger when she found a dead body among the glimmering blossoms. One police investigation later (made a trifle less unpleasant by the presence of handsome Chief Inspector Neil Craig), and Fiona’s life is getting back on a steady, though bewitched, track. Her sister Isla has just moved in with her, and the grand opening of her new spellbound venture, the Climbing Rose Flower Shop in Aberdeenshire, is imminent.

But dark, ensorcelled clouds are gathering to douse Fiona’s newly sunny outlook. First, imperious parish minister Quaid MacCullen makes it undeniably clear that he would be happy to send Fiona back to Tennessee. Then, a horrific lightning storm, rife with terribly omen, threatens to tear apart the elderly cottage and sends Fi and Isla cowering under their beds. The storm passes, but then, Fi is called away from the Climbing Rose’s opening soiree when Kipling, the tiny village’s weak-kneed volunteer police chief, finds a dead body on the beach.

The body proves difficult to identify, but Kipling is certain it’s that of the parish minister. Which makes Fiona, MacCullen’s new nemesis, a suspect. And what’s worse, Isla has seemed bewitched as of late…did she do something unspeakable to protect her sister? The last thing Fiona wanted to do was play detective again. But now, the rosy future she’d envisioned is going to seed, and if she and Craig can’t clear her name, her idyllic life will wilt away in Death and Daisies, national bestselling author Amanda Flower’s second enchanting Magic Garden mystery.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Death and Daisies is the second book in the Magic Garden Mystery series by Amanda Flower and I am in LOVE with all of it !!  And there is a lot to love.....

Fiona moves to Scotland after her godfather passes away and leaves her a cottage and garden...at the time Fiona doesn't know how much things are going to change.  In the first book in this series, Flowers and Foul Play, Fiona is getting to know the magic behind the garden, meeting and making friends in the little village and oh yeah, helping to solve a mystery.  Well, things are somewhat the same in the second book when you start reading....except things are completely different also !!  

Fiona's sister, Isla, shows up to stay with Fiona as she tries to figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life.  Fiona, on the other hand, has decided to stay in Duncreigan, take care of the cottage and garden, and open up a flower shop.  Unfortunately after a brutal storm a body is washed up on the beach and Fiona finds herself investigating the murder .....again.  But Chief Inspector Neil Craig wants her to stay as far away from everything murder-related so that she will be safe.......

As you follow Fiona around as she opens the flower shop, hangs with her sister and friends, you can't help but feel like you, yourself are there in Scotland along side her.  You will fall instantly in love with everything in this quaint little village.....and will want to help Fiona unpack and settle right in.  And as you are reading and getting lost in the story, there is a point when a "secret" is revealed !!!  And this is a very, very big secret that will change the course for future books in this series.  You know that there are going to be more books because of the ending and even though it is kind of a cliff hanging ending, it will have you hooked !!!

Review by Missi S.

Tuesday 19 February 2019

The Bengal Identity (A Cat Groomer Mystery #2) by Eileen Watkins

The Bengal Identity (A Cat Groomer Mystery #2)
Everyone knows a leopard can't change its spots. But can a thief hide the spots on a catnapped Bengal? Groomer Cassie McGlone is about to find out . . .

With no ID for his pet, an agitated young man shows up at Cassie's Comfy Cats claiming his house has burned down and he needs to board his big, brown cat, Ayesha. But after a bath washes dye out of the cat's coat and reveals beautiful spots, Cassie suspects the exotic-looking feline may in fact be a valuable Bengal show cat, possibly stolen. At the same time, there are rumored sightings of a "wild cat" in the hills of Chadwick, New Jersey. Could there be a connection?

When Ayesha's alleged owner turns up dead, it looks like whoever wants the beautiful Bengal is not pussyfooting around. Working with the police, Cassie and her staff need to be careful not to reveal the purloined purebred's whereabouts while they discreetly make inquiries to cat breeders to find her real owners. But after a break-in attempt rattles Cassie's cage, it's clear someone let the cat out of the bag. And when a second body is found, it's up to Cassie to spot the killer, who may be grooming her to be the next victim . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Bengal Identity is the second book in Eileen Watkins' Cat Groomer Mystery series and it is just as CATivating as the first one.  You don't have to be a cat lover to enjoy this series as there are a lot of things to capture your attention.

Cassie McGlone, the main character, owns her own little business, Cassie's Comfy Cats, where she grooms cats as well as boards cats for people going on vacation or what not.  She has a spunky assistant, Sarah, who doesn't let her age deter her at all.  And if things can't get any better, Cassie is dating the local veterinarian, Mark.  And her best friend, Dawn, is also a business owner, owning her own shop down the street from Cassie called Nature's Way.

Something I love about the Cat Groomer Mystery series is that there are very strong, independent business women in the stories.  And in The Bengal Identity you can only grow to love Cassie and Dawn more.

Cassie will do whatever she can for her friends and loved ones as well as the cats she owns and cares for and in the Bengal Identity rescues.....

When an exotic cat is brought in "disguised" and the owner acts in a questionable manner, Sarah and Cassie are immediately on edge.  And after they give the cat a bath and find out that the cat has been dyed to cover up it's true colors and identity and the cat proves to be a well trained cat, they begin to suspect more to the story.  Especially after they hear of a hit and run accident and the victim is identified as the man who dropped the cat off, Cassie feels that she has to do whatever she can to protect the cat and find out it's true identity and owners.

The Bengal Identity will capture your attention immediately and you will not want to put it down until you also know the story behind Ayesha and know that she is home safe and sound with her real family.  Watkins knows how to dangle the toy in front of you to keep you playing the game.....She also provides the reader with some good insights into cats and the rescuing side of the hoarding aspects.  It is an amazing thing that the organizations do for the animals.

I have always been an animal lover, cats especially, but if you're not, Watkins will help you become one.....

Review by Missi S.

Monday 18 February 2019

The Homicide Magnet (Grandma Bertha Solving Murders, #2) by Matt Ferraz

The Homicide Magnet (Grandma Bertha Solving Murders, #2)

Want a beach body? Kill somebody and dump the body on the beach!

A holiday by the sea turns into a nightmare after a man is found dead. Thankfully, Grandma Bertha is on the case. Accompanied by her dogs, powered by her beer and armed with her knitting needles, the old lady is known as The Homicide Magnet, for always being around when people get killed. Now she has to prevent the murder of a millionaire in the hands of his diabolical wife, decipher a most unusual clue and dig the past to solve a crime that left deep scars in a girl’s mind and body.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

The Homicide Magnet by Matt Ferraz is like reading 4 books in one !!!  As you travel along side Grandma Bertha as her and the doggies see the world, you also get to help her help people.  Even though you are reading the story of Grandma Bertha traveling, every where she goes she solves a crime.  And with each of these places and crimes, it is like you are reading a whole new book.

First you are at the beach with Grandma Bertha in Heart Shaped Murder.  There she is walking along the beach with the doggies and she is confronted by Winifred whose boyfriend has falled and broken his leg.  Unfortunately by the time they get back to where he was he is dead and not by natural causes.  And this is just after his father was murdered !!  Grandma Bertha can tell when things aren't what they seem and she also feels for people...especially ones who are being wronged.  Needless to say Grandma Bertha takes Winifred under her wing and helps solve two murders before she moves on in her travels.

Then Grandma Bertha meets Antoinette and Richard Wood in A Matter of Wife and Death and knows instantly that there is something seriously wrong in that relationship.  She meets them at the hotel but when they leave Richard invites her back to their house.....mansion actually.  Antoinette is not happy with that turn of events as she is trying to kill her husband so she can be a rich widow.  Of course with Grandma Bertha around that cannot happen.  Before Antoinette can compile a plan to kill both Grandma Bertha and Richard, Grandma Bertha outsmarts her.......

After making sure Richard is safe Grandma Bertha again moves on......  In A Study in Brown Grandma Bertha sees a couple on the street and can tell immediately by watching them for a few minutes that there is something serious wrong.  Unfortunately before she can figure it out, they enter their apartment building and moments later a car accident occurs and shots are fired inside the building....leaving the wife dead.  Grandma Bertha tries to figure out if the accident and the shooting are connected and if the husband is actually innocent for trying to shoot a burglar or guilty of shooting his wife......

Then we go with Grandma Bertha to visit an old friend, Marina, in Captured on Canvas.  Marina  has a party to unveil a painting she did.  It's a portrait of her mother but one of her guests sees something completely different.....leaving Grandma Bertha wondering if there is more to what the girl saw.....

Grandma Bertha has a way of friending people and getting them to reveil things they might not have told to anyone before.  She makes you feel loved and comfortable.  If you were wronged, she will do whatever she can to right that fact.  If you are innocent, she will do whatever she can to prove that fact.  If you are guilty.....beware !!!  Grandma Bertha may seem like an old lady who likes to drink and knit and take naps at the most inappropriate times, but do NOT underestimate her at all !!!!

The Homicide Magnet was sure a treat to read.  It was one book but four wonderful stories included.  Grandma Bertha is definitely someone you want on your side, and age is just a number to her !!  She is capable of solving any case and when she is done, she has made some amazing friends for life.

Review by Missi S.

Sunday 3 February 2019

A Murderous Marriage (A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery #4) by Alyssa Maxwell

A Murderous Marriage (A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery #4)
Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, are preparing for a wedding, but it may not be the happy occasion everyone hopes for . . .

Since the Great War, some family fortunes have suffered, including those of the Renshaws. Despite being the granddaughter of an earl, Julia Renshaw is under pressure to marry for money—and has settled for Gilbert Townsend, a viscount and a wealthy industrialist. He is decades older than Julia, and it’s clear to her sister Phoebe—and to Eva, who has been like a surrogate mother to the girls—that this is not a love match. Nevertheless, the wedding takes place—and in a hurry.

At the reception aboard the groom’s yacht, there appears to be tension between Gil and several guests: his best man, a fellow veteran of the Boer War; his grouchy spinster sister; and his current heir, a nervous young cousin named Ernest. The bride is also less than pleased when she discovers that her honeymoon will be more crowded than expected—with Gil’s pretty secretary, among others, coming along.

That very night, Julia pounds on her sister’s door, brandishing a bandaged hand and reporting a hot-tempered outburst on her new husband’s part. Julia is feeling doubt and regret about her hasty decision, but returns to the boat. Then the next morning, before the yacht can depart the harbor, Gil’s body is found in the water below—and Phoebe and Eva must discover who pushed him over . . . before the Renshaws’ social standing is irreparably stained by Julia’s arrest for his murder . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

Wow !!  Nothing can prepare you for what A Murderous Marriage has in store for the reader.  Alyssa Maxwell is effortlessly able to send the reader back in time with her words.....  As soon as you open the book and begin reading, you feel like you just got out of a time machine and are back in the year 1920 where you would think things would be much easier and the stress factor would be low.  But that is not the case when you hang around the Renshaw family.

In A Murderous Marriage you begin the story preparing for the eldest daughter Julia's wedding. She is to marry a viscount who is quite a number of years older than her.  And even though the family wonders if this is the right thing for her to do, Lady Julia is determined to marry him.

Unfortunately in the middle of the night, the wedding night, Julia shows up at her sisters hotel room with a cut on her hand wondering if she did the right thing after her and her new husband had a fight.  However once she calms down she realizes that she is being silly and returns to the yacht to her husband and her commitment.  In the morning the groom is found washed up to shore causing the police to arrest Lady Julia and detain the remaining wedding guests to their hotel.

Lady Phoebe and her maid Eva know that there is no way that Lady Julia would have thrown her new husband overboard regardless of their fighting but it looks like the police only have eyes on her for the crime.  

Lady Phoebe and Eva will do whatever it takes to prove Lady Julia's innocence, even if they have to cross some lines to do that.  And the hotel is full of suspects from Gil's sister and brother to his best friend from the war to his too friendly secretary.

Maxwell will have you on the edge of your seat wondering what trouble the ladies are going to get in to and what secrets they will uncover and as you get closer to the end of the story, your heart will be racing as you turn the pages..........

Review by Missi S.

Friday 1 February 2019

Fields' Guide to Assassins (Poppy Fields Adventures #2) by Julie Mulhern

Fields' Guide to Assassins (Poppy Fields Adventures #2)
Poppy Fields, Hollywood IT girl extraordinaire, accompanies her A-list mother to Paris, and why not? It’s PARIS!

What her mother doesn’t know is Poppy’s on assignment. Her mission? To help bankrupt a drug cartel. To do that, she must access encrypted account numbers, evade a drug lord with a grudge, dodge a Russian oligarch, and align herself with a man who looks like a Norse god. Oh, and there’s that plot—the one to launch a massive attack on the City of Lights.

If Poppy’s not careful, La Vie en Rose might just turn funereal black.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

I couldn't put Fields' Guide to Assassins by Julie Mulhern down !!  I just LOVE Poppy !!!  Here you have a "spoiled rich girl" whose mom just happens to be a famous actress but underneath it all, she (Poppy that is...) is anything but what everyone thinks she is.

And we get to hang out in Paris with Poppy and her mom !!!  While her mom is there filming a movie, Poppy is there to meet a private banker and uncover secrets she doesn't even know that she is seeking.  Poppy is trying to make the world a better place by bringing bad guys to justice, unfortunately not very many people know this and the ones that do don't believe that she can and are trying to keep her safe.  Luckily for everyone concerned, Poppy is getting good at her job....or lucky, depends on who you ask.

While in Paris Poppy is assigned a bodyguard that looks like Thor....she confuses the two quite often which will have the reader laughing out loud.  Poppy and Mark seem to work well together and it's a good thing because not only is the leader of a drug cartel still after her ( You have to read Fields' Guide to Abduction ) but it seems that half of Paris is as well.  

Poppy and Mark leave a pile of dead men throughout Paris but Poppy will do whatever it takes when there are terrorist threats on landmarks in the area and one of them is where her mother is shooting her latest film.  Even though her and her mother have a strained relationship, they come together when it counts !!!

I fell in love with the first book in the Poppy Fields Adventure series and this second one just added to the love !!  I could not put it down, there was so much excitement and hidden gems of humor that had me tearing through the pages.  I was slightly disappointed when I finished but knowing the third book is coming out soon, helped lessen the pain......

Review by Missi S.

Also .....   Pick up your FREE copy of the first book in the series, Fields' Guide to Abduction.....below are the links.  Dont MISS out on this AWESOME book !!!!

Amazon - http://bit.ly/PoppyFields1
Barnes & Noble - http://bit.ly/PoppyFields1bn
iTunes - http://bit.ly/1PoppyFields
Kobo - http://bit.ly/PoppyFields1kobo