Thursday 25 April 2019

Bikinis & Bloodshed (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries #8) by Anne Marie Stoddard

Bikinis Bloodshed (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries #8)

From USA Today bestselling author Anne Marie Stoddard comes a fabulously fashionable mystery in paradise...

After a very painful—and very public—divorce from her cheating football star husband, Kaley Kalua just wants some peace and privacy. Cramming only the essentials (clothes, shoes, and makeup) into her Prada duffel bag, Kaley returns to her hometown of Aloha Lagoon to manage her Aunt Rikki’s clothing shop, the Happy Hula Dress Boutique. A new job, new friends, and a change of scenery are just what she needs to turn her life around. It doesn’t hurt that Kaley’s handsome childhood best friend, Noa Kahele, has also moved back to the small resort town.

Unfortunately, life on the island isn’t quite the peaceful paradise that Kaley was expecting. Not everyone is thrilled about her return—especially Louana, Happy Hula’s assistant manager, who thinks that she deserves Kaley’s new job. And when the woman is found strangled by a bikini top from the boutique, the police make it clear that Aunt Rikki is their main suspect. But Kaley is determined to prove her aunt’s innocence! Between dodging a nosy local reporter and sparring with her high school nemesis, Kaley compiles her own list of suspects. In the process, she also attracts the attention of a dangerous killer. If Kaley isn’t careful, she could wind up trading her colorful wardrobe for funeral black…

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)
Ukulele Deadly (book #7)
Bikinis and Bloodshed (book #8)

Death of the Kona Man (book #9)
Lethal Tide (book #10)
Beachboy Murder (book #11)
Handbags Homicide (book #12)

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!
   (Summary via Goodreads)

I LOVE the Aloha Lagoon Mystery series published by Gemma Halliday Publishing Co.  How can you not like a series that centers around an island resort and involves murder ?  Each book in this series is written by different authors but have the Aloha Lagoon Resort and the homicide detective in common in all the books.

Bikinis & Bloodshed by Anne Marie Stoddard is the 8th book in the series and we are introduced to Kaley Kalua who returns to the island after divorcing her cheating football star husband.  Her Aunt Rikki and old childhood friend, Noa, are more than happy to have her back....for different reasons.  Aunt Rikki is glad to have her back and hires Kaley as Assitant Manager at her high-end clothing store, The Happy Hula Dress Boutique.  

But before Kaley can unpack and settle in an employee from the store is found murdered behind the store and Aunt Rikki is looked at as the top suspect.  Kaley, with help from Noa, goes against her better judgement and starts questioning people to prove her aunt's innocence.  Unfortunately when another employee from the store is injured Aunt Rikki is arrested and a note attached to a rock is thrown through the living room window at Kaley and Nao !!!  Even though the note is telling her to back off, Kaley is more determined to find the person behind everything !!! 

I love this series and returning to the Aloha Lagoon resort and meeting new people and seeing more of the resort in the different books in this series.  No matter who you hang around with in whatever area of the resort you are in, you are sure of two things.... the first is that you will love it and wish it were real so you could meet the people and visit the resort and secondly there will be a murder....or two !!!   So grab a drink and a snack and settle don't even have to pack to take the trip to paradise......

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

A Dream of Death (Kate Hamilton Mysteries #1) by Connie Berry

A Dream of Death (Kate Hamilton Mysteries #1)

On a remote Scottish island, American antique dealer Kate Hamilton sleuths a killing that eerily replicates a murder still unsolved after 200 years.

Autumn has come and gone on Scotland's Isle of Rothsay, and the locals gather for the Tartan Ball, the annual end-of-tourist-season gala. Among the invited guests is American antique dealer Kate Hamilton. Returning to the island where her husband died is brutal, but Kate is determined to repair her relationship with her sister-in-law, Elenor Spurgeon, the proprietor of Rothsay's deluxe country house hotel.

Kate has hardly unpacked when a body turns up, murdered in an eerie recreation of an infamous unsolved murder two hundred years before. And the only clue to the killer's identity lies in a curiously embellished antique casket. When Bo Duff, the gentle handyman who had tried to save Kate’s husband's life, is taken into custody, she teams up with vacationing Detective Inspector Tom Mallory to clear Bo’s name. To accomplish that, they’ll have to unmask a killer who seems bizarrely fixated on the past…because two hundred years is an awfully long time to hold a grudge in A Dream of Death, the tantalizing series debut by Connie Berry.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

A Dream of Death by Connie Berry is her debut novel in the Kate Hamilton Mystery series and I have to jump to the end of the book and start this review off by saying...... The way that Berry leaves the reader in this first book will have us longing for the next book in this series !!!

A lot goes on in A Dream of Death.... You travel along with Kate as she returns to her deceased husband's home on a Scottish island at the request of her sister-in-law, Elenor.  She returns to the house her husband and sister-in-law grew up in that Elenor has converted into a elaborate hotel with cottages.  Elenor requested that Kate come because she was afraid of something and knew that she could count on Kate to help her.  Unfortunately Elenor refuses to tell Kate anything until after the Tartan Ball which is a big after season celebration.  Elenor also tells Kate to read a book, The Diary of Flora Arnott written by a local on the island and will discuss everything at a later date.  Before Kate can even begin to read the book, Elenor is found dead.  Kate and the only other guest of the hotel, Tom Mallory, find themselves drawn together to try to solve Elenor's death and when a local man Bo is taken in for the murder, Kate finds herself doing whatever she can to prove his innocence.  Kate knows that there is no way that Bo would harm anyone but trying to get the police to listen to her falls on deaf ears....even with the help of Detective Inspector Mallory on her side.  

I loved A Dream of Death for so many reasons.  I love that there were murders from over 200 years ago factured into the present story and that families were still there on the island and linked together.  I loved picturing the hotel and the cottages and the surrounding areas.  I loved the budding relationship that was beginning between Kate and Tom.  I loved the mystery and story behind the hotel and how things from the past kept creeping into the story.......  Berry, in my opinion, has a GREAT start to a captivating series and I look forward to returning to Kate's life and seeing what develops......

Review by Missi S.

Tuesday 23 April 2019

The Murder Book (Cold Case Investigation #2) by Lissa Marie Redmond

The Murder Book (Cold Case Investigation, #2)
Cold case detective Lauren Riley wakes up in the hospital certain of two things: she was stabbed and left for dead...and the person who did it was a cop.

After being brutally stabbed at her desk late one night, Lauren Riley works her way backwards through the haze to piece together who attacked her and why. A mysterious phone message forces her to enlist the help of a retired lieutenant to track down a witness who is desperate not to be found. As she digs into the Buffalo Police Department's hidden past she uncovers a terrible secret, one a fellow officer would kill to protect.

Packed with suspense and featuring a detective who "relentlessly--and with morbid humor--gets the job done" (Booklist), The Murder Book continues a series praised by Kirkus Reviews as "an excellent police procedural combined with a psychological thriller."  (Summary via Goodreads)

It didn't dawn on me until I finished reading Chapter 7 of The Murder Book by Lissa Marie Redmond and closed the book to take a break as to what the title actual meant.  The Murder Book is a crucial part of the Cold Case Department where main character Lauren Riley and her partner Reese work.....and it is stolen when Lauren is stabbed and left for dead.  Everything in the department revolves around that book and for it to be stolen could mean a lot of different things.  And even though Lauren is in no shape to work or track down the book, she is going to do it anyway !!

Lauren is a headstrong, independent and determined woman and she will stop at nothing to solve a cold case and bring justice to a victim and their family.....even if she is recovering from being stabbed, has a collapsed lung and headache from having her head stepped on !!  Those things just help fuel the burning fire inside her making her very, very good at her job !! 

The Murder Book is the second book in Redmond's Cold Case Investigation series and if you read the first book, A Cold Day in Hell, you are obviously a fan of Lauren's and her partner Reese.  The love will continue and overflow in The Murder Book.  You will again love their relationship and when Reese moves in with Lauren while she recovers from her attack, you cannot help but respect their commitment to each other.  

The Murder Book is probably more captivating than A Cold Day in Hell only because the reader is getting to know the characters and their lifestyles in the first book.  But once you read the second book, you are now an invested fan and like Lauren you feel like you have more to lose......and love.  I strongly recommend this series and cannot wait for the next installment.

Review by Missi S.  

Wednesday 17 April 2019

Murder from Scratch: A Sally Solari Mystery (A Sally Solari Mystery #4) by Leslie Karst

Murder from Scratch: A Sally Solari Mystery

Restaurateur Sally Solari’s cousin Evelyn may be blind, but she can see all too clearly that her chef mother’s death wasn’t an accidental overdose―she was murdered.

Santa Cruz restaurateur Sally Solari’s life is already boiling over as she deals with irate cooks and other staffing issues at the busy Gauguin restaurant. The rainy December weather isn’t cooling things down, either. So she’s steamed when her dad persuades her to take in Evelyn, her estranged blind cousin whose mother has just died of a drug overdose.

But Evelyn proves to be lots of fun and she’s a terrific cook. Back at the house she’d shared with her mom, Evelyn’s heightened sense of touch tells her that various objects―a bottle of cranberry juice, her grandfather’s jazz records―are out of place. She and her mom always kept things in the same place so Evelyn could find them. So she suspects that her mother’s death was neither accident nor suicide, no matter what the police believe.

The cousins’ sleuthing takes Sally and Evelyn into the world of macho commercial kitchens, and the cutthroat competitiveness that can flame up between chefs. In Leslie Karst’s scrumptious fourth Sally Solari mystery, Sally will have to chop a long list of suspects down to size or end up getting burned.  (Summary via Goodreads)

On the back cover of Murder from Scratch by Leslie Karst Edith Maxwell is quoted saying "[A] delicious plate of mystery...Don't read while hungry !"  And I can say that is a good piece of advice however I would add that having a snack handy will help.  Otherwise you might find yourself putting the book down and finding yourself elbows deep into making homemade pasta.....not that that would be a bad thing but I would recommend that you finish reading the book first.

And once you start reading Murder from Scratch you fall in love with Sally's cousin Evelyn and want to help the girls find justice for Evelyn's mothers death.  Sadly we do not meet Jackie but we get to know her through her daughter and we fall in love with the mother daughter duo.  We cannot help but feel for Evelyn as she is the one that stumbles over her mothers body.  And even though Evelyn is blind the reader will be amazed to learn how she copes with the disability and we see how the disability does not deter her at all !!!

I was a bit hesitant when I read that there was a blind character in the story and that she had a huge role in it.  One of my biggest fears is becoming blind and even though that is still a huge fear, after reading about Evelyn, her friends, and the steps that they take to help with their blindness and the things that they are able to do despite it, I was encouraged.  I read the Acknowledgements at the end of the book and Karst did research regarding the disability and reading the story it showed.  It always amazes me when I read about the research that an author puts into a work of fiction.  And I have to say that it really makes the story.

I highly recommend reading this latest book in the Sally Solari Mystery series.  There is so much to love and tasty recipes at the end of the book to try.  You will fall in love with Sally and her cousin and will start to look at restaurant life and blindness a bit differently and with more respect after reading it.

Review by Missi S.

Monday 8 April 2019

The Hidden Corpse (Food Blogger Mysteries #2) by Debra Sennefelder

The Hidden Corpse (Food Blogger Mysteries #2)
Former reality TV baking show contestant and recent divorcĂ©e Hope Early is trying to find her recipe for success as a food blogger—but murder keeps getting in the mix . . .

When Hope’s elderly neighbor perishes in a home fire, she can't help but feel somewhat responsible. Only the day before, Peggy Olson had called her over, having burned a pot on the stove while she was sleeping and filling the house with smoke. In fact, she couldn't even remember cooking. Clearly, it was dangerous for the woman to live alone.

But it turns out she wasn't alone. When a second body is discovered in the basement of the burned house, suddenly what appeared to be a tragic accident is beginning to look like premeditated murder. As rumors spread like wildfire, Hope is determined to sort out the facts and smoke out a killer, but she might be jumping from the frying pan straight into the fire . . . 

Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen!  (Summary via Goodreads)

As a blogger I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Hidden Corpse by Debra Sennefelder.  Even though the main character, Hope, is a food blogger and does a lot more blogging than I do and she gets paid for doing it, it still was a treat !!

The Hidden Corpse is the second book in Sennefelder's Food Blogger Mystery series and I really wish I had read the first one also.  Not that I was missing anything or was lost, it's just that from the background that was provided, I know that the first one was just as amazing as the second one.  

As much as I envied Hope for her job and lifestyle, I did not envy her detecting skills and getting into trouble.  I did enjoy reading about it and while reading it, I did feel like I was there along side her....but I also knew that I wasn't (and yeah that it was a story and not real....)  Sennefelder's writing has the reader feeling like you are the kitchen with Hope cooking and blogging, about to run into her neighbor's burning house trying to save the neighbor, hanging out having coffee and chatting with Drew or having tea with Jane at the even feel like you're walking over junk when she goes to visit one of the "suspects" in the murders.

And who can blame Hope for trying to help the police solve the murders when one of the murdered victims is her elderly neighbor and the other one is the wife of a friend.  And of course when the police turn to the husband as a suspect, Hope knows that there is no way that Cal would even think about killing his wife and to say that he actual did it is crazy !!!

I loved getting lost in The Hidden Corpse and finding another town to visit and more people to call my friends and I cannot wait until I can return to Jefferson and hang out with them all and maybe "help" Hope solve another murder.......

Review by Missi S.

Saturday 6 April 2019

Murder, She Meowed (Pawsitively Organic Mysteries #7) by Liz Mugavero

Murder, She Meowed (Pawsitively Organic Mysteries #7)
Kristan "Stan" Connor loves concocting tasty organic treats for dogs and cats--and she also loves her fiance, pub owner Jake McGee. But she's not so enthusiastic about finding a dead body at her own bachelorette party . . .

Stan and Jake's wedding will soon take place on the town green in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, followed by a reception at their beloved Irish pub filled with friends, family, and their four favorite canine companions. Stan just has to endure the traditional girls' night out first. Male strippers jumping out of gigantic cakes aren't her preferred entertainment. But the hired hottie never gets around to taking it all off . . . because someone takes him out first with one of Stan's kitchen knives. A heartbroken Stan recognizes the victim as one of the delivery men from the local farm--who must have been moonlighting for some extra cash. Now the guest list has turned into a suspect list--and Stan's making a vow to find the killer . . .

Includes Gourmet Pet Food Recipes!

Praise for Purring Around the Christmas Tree

"For fans of pet-themed mysteries, Mugavero pens a purrfect New England Christmas cozy, which also includes gourmet pet treat recipes."
--Library Journal    (Summary via Goodreads)

Murder, She Meowed by Liz Mugavero is the seventh book in her Pawsitively Organic Mysteries series and boy is it an amazing book and series !!!

Stan (nickname for Kristan) and Jake are planning their wedding .... unfortunately everything is going wrong !!  Stan doesn't want a big wedding and wants to have it simple with the ceremony and reception taking place at Jake's pub, however, her mom and sister have other ideas.  Before Stan can set things straight, she breaks down and allows her sister to hold a bachelorette party at Stan's shop.  But instead of the male stripper jumping out of the cake to do a strip tease, he is found stabbed to death in the cake !!!

Stan cannot help but ask questions even though her sister-in-law to be is the Sargeant of the police force and is always telling her to butt out and leave things to her.  And when Stan starts to get wierd notes and threats, she will do whatever she can to speed up solving the murder.

I fell in love instantly with Stan, Jake, their friends and family and their lifestyle.  I love that they both own their own businesses and take some of their dogs to work with them.  And their relationship is one to treasure !! When you're reading The Pawsitively Organic Mystery series, you will want to be there....sitting on a barstool at Jake's or hanging with Stan at the patisserie.  You will feel like you are a part of the family and you won't want to leave.  I mean .... come on....the place is called Frog cute is that ??  

At the end of Murder, She Meowed Stan and Jake do get married and they are able to do it the way they want, even though Stan's mother tried very hard to change everything.  I cannot wait for the next book in this series because I know even though they are going on their honeymoon, I am sure Stan will get involved in something.  She cannot just relax !!  I look forward to reading what comes next in their lives.  

I highly recommend this series especially if you love animals, relationships, family, and small towns with a side of murder......

Review by Missi S.

Monday 1 April 2019

Murder at Melrose Court: A Country House Christmas Murder by Karen Menuhin

Murder at Melrose Court: A Country House Christmas Murder

It's 1920 and Christmas is coming. Major Lennox finds a body on his doorstep - why on his doorstep? Was it to do with the Countess? Was it about the ruby necklace? Lennox must go to Melrose Court, home to his uncle, Lord Melrose, to uncover the mystery. But then the murders start and it snows and suddenly everything becomes very complicated...  (Summary via Goodreads)

I would NOT want to be Major Heathcliff Lennox or as he preferred to be called Lennox.  First a dead body shows up on his doorstep and before he can process that, he goes to his uncle's to celebrate the holidays and someone is murdered and Lennox is the main suspect.  Of course he would be on the top of the list because he is found standing over the dead body holding his pistol and the deceased had been shot......

Lennox knows that he did not shoot Countess Sophia, or the man that died on his doorstep, and it appears that it is up to him to solve both murders.....for his sake and to help ease his uncle's heart as his uncle and the Countess had just announced their plans to marry !!!

With a house full of family and guests to celebrate the holidays along with all of the employees that run the estate, Lennox has his hands full and a long list of possible suspects......until another guest "falls" from a window providing more work for Lennox.  Fortunately the weather holds back the police so that he can investigate and question everyone freely.

Murder at Melrose Court by Karen Menuhin is a very captivating story.  The reader will instantly travel back in time and feel like a guest at Melrose Court, Uncle Charles' estate. You will instantly love Lennox, Uncle Charles and cousin Edgar and will most likely harbor ill feelings toward the Kingsley family.  You will most likely also feel sorry for Gertrude and Natasha and admire Lennox and Cooper.  One thing for sure is that you will not want to stop reading until you have read the last word and know that Lennox has found justice and cleared his good name.

Review by Missi S.