Tuesday 25 June 2019

Mystic Deception (Mystic Isle Mysteries Book 4) by Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens

Mystic Deception (Mystic Isle Mysteries Book 4)
From USA Today bestselling authors Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens comes murder, magic, and laughter on the bayou... 

There’s magic in the air at The Mansion at Mystic Isle where Melanie Hamilton works—magic everywhere. The Federation of Magicians has contracted to hold their annual show at the resort on the bayou, and Melanie's excited to join in the fun—nothing like a little hocus pocus to liven things up, right? The winner’s own show and a huge cash prize guarantees stiff competition. And speaking of stiffs, when the contest frontrunner turns up dead, Mel, Jack Stockton, and the staff at the resort rally to chase down the culprit. Is one magician so desperate for fame and fortune they’d kill for it, or is there another reason to work some black magic? Mel conjures up several suspects, but the adept sleight of hand conceals the identity of the murderer. Will an abracadabra and the wave of a magic wand catch the killer, or will it be Mel who disappears? 

Mystic Isle Mysteries: 
Mystic Mayhem (book #1) 
Mystic Mojo (shorts story in the Killer Beach Reads collection) 
Mystic Mistletoe Murder (book #2) 
Mystic Mischief (book #3) 
Mystic Deception (book #4) 

"Writing team Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, a top all-time favorite, have penned a well-written and exciting series with a Southern flair, combining cheeky characters, humorous foibles, and of course, a clever cozy murder mystery." 
—Kings River Life Magazine    (Summary via Goodreads)

Mystic Deception by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens is a fun, fast read !!!  Even though it is the fourth book in their Mystic Isle Mystery series, and sadly the first of this series that I have read, the reader will not be lost or lacking in anything.  You can pick this book up without having read the previous ones and get totally engrossed in the story !!

Melanie Hamilton, the main character, is a tattoo artist at The Mansion of Mystic Isle and everything there revolves around magic.  In Mystic Deception the resort is hosting a big magician competition and there are a lot of magicians as well as fans roaming around the resort.  Unfortunately one of the competitors is found dead and the magician that is arrested for the murder is one of the resorts own acts.  Melanie knows that Eli did not kill the other magician and knows that there are a lot of other more likely candidates but proving that will take some tricks of her own to solve......

I love that the main character is a tattoo artist and she works in a resort that is all about magic.  I love the people that she interacts with and that her deceased granddaddy keeps watch over her and seems to help out in his own way.  

The Mystic Isle Mystery series is definitely a series to get lost in......you get a serious story with a twist of something different.......

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Sweet Tea and Secrets (A Book Tea Shop Mystery #2) by Joy Avon

Sweet Tea and Secrets (A Tea and Read Mystery #2)
Sleuth Callie Aspen wants to light up the Fourth of July tea party by solving a celebrity’s decades-old disappearance, but her digging results in more fireworks than she expects.

Last Christmas, Callie Aspen left her tour guide job and settled in Heart's Harbor, Maine. Now, she helps out at Book Tea, her great aunt’s vintage tearoom, where each treat has a bookish clue. Though she’s excited to start her new life, Callie worries she may regret having burned her bridges behind her. Fortunately, she finds immediate distraction in the preparations for a spectacular Fourth of July tea party, which will recreate key moments from the town's rich history.

Intrigued to learn that 1980s TV star Monica Walker was last seen in Heart's Harbor before she vanished—allegedly to elope—Callie probes the townsfolk for information. She’s stunned when several locals share contradictory stories about the last day before Monica's disappearance. Did she intend to leave her hit TV series? Was she being stalked by her ex? And why is the newspaper editor who investigated the story at the time so anxious about the cold case heating up?

When one of the talkative townspeople turns up dead, Callie aims to catch the killer. But it’s no picnic: Deputy Falk doesn’t want her meddling, and the locals suddenly know more about the past than they’d been at liberty to admit. If Callie and the Book Tea crew can’t crack the case, they’ll pay a very steep price in Joy Avon's explosive second Book Tea Shop Mystery.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Callie Aspen is home !!  In the first book in Joy Avon's Book Tea Shop Mystery series, In Peppermint Peril, Callie returns to her hometown, Heart's Harbor to spend the holidays with her great-aunt.  Of course she gets herself thrown in the middle of a murder case and feels it is up to her to solve the case and bring justice and peace to her hometown.  However Avon teases the reader into wondering if Callie is going to leave her hometown and return to her job as a tour guide and leave everyone and everything she loves in her rearview mirror......

Well in Sweet Tea and Secrets, Avon's second book in this series Callie returns home for good just in time to help Aunt Iphy prepare for the big Fourth of July celebration......and again get in the middle of a murder case.  But this time she can't help herself !!  Okay maybe she can help herself but it seems like she has a knack when it comes to suspecting everyone and helping the local deputy, Falk, weed through everything.

I'm a huge fan of Avon and this series.  I love Callie and the way she suspects everyone and works though everything and wants to help her hometown anyway that she can.  I love the innocent relationship she has with Deputy Falk and their chemistry ( I just know things are heating up for them...).  I love the small town feel that Heart's Harbor has and that while reading these books, you feel like you are right there along side Callie.  Your imagination takes over as you read these books and you are there !!  I couldn't put this book down and was mildly upset when I got to the end.....but I know that when the next book in this series comes out, it will only take me a moment to get back into being a part of Heart's Harbor......

Review by Missi M.

In Peppermint Peril (A Book Tea Shop Mystery #1) by Joy Avon

In Peppermint Peril (A Tea and Read Mystery, #1)
Joy Avon’s festive series debut featuring a book-themed tea party organizer will be tons of fun this Christmas for Lorna Barrett and Jenn McKinlay fans.

In the run-up to Christmas Eve, organizer of book-themed tea parties Callie Aspen and her lovable Boston terrier will have to conquer threefold trouble—a mysterious will, a missing heirloom and a dead body—to restore the festive spirit to their small town.

This Christmas, Callie Aspen returns to her childhood hideout Heart's Harbor, Maine where her great aunt runs Book Tea, a vintage tearoom where every sweet treat contains a bookish clue. Upon arrival in the fairy-tale snowy town, Callie is drawn into the preparations for a special tea party at Haywood Hall, the rambling house of Heart's Harbor's oldest resident, rich but lonely widow Dorothea Finster, who invited her estranged relatives, old friends and the elite of the town to make a mysterious announcement about her will. 

Believing they can touch a part of her fortune, everybody is determined to come, despite not liking each other or even their hostess. And Callie's old friend Sheila complicates things by using the tea party to announce her daughter's engagement, even though her daughter isn't sure she's in love with the young lawyer her mother thinks so perfect for her. 

Catering to people who each have their own agenda isn't easy for the Book Tea crew, especially once the valuable engagement ring goes missing and a dead body turns up in the conservatory. Can Callie and her great aunt use their love of clues to dig into the crimes and show their unhappy hostess and squabbling guests the true Christmas spirit?  (Summary via Goodreads)

In Peppermint Peril there is no shortage of suspects.....one of the things to love about this first book in Joy Avon's debut book in her Book Tea Shop Mystery series.  

In Peppermint Peril you meet Callie Aspen who returns to her hometown of Heart's Harbor to spend the holidays with her great-aunt.  Unfortunately for her when she goes to help at a party at the Haywood Hall, a place that holds dear childhood memories for her, a long-time employee of the property is murdered.  Because the property and this employee meant a lot to Callie and her childhood, she feels it is up to her to find out who killed him.  And after meeting the local detective, she becomes more determined to solve the case !!

Joy Avon has a hit with this debut novel and the reader will find it extremely difficult to put it down.  I could not tear myself away from Heart's Harbor and all the members of this quaint little town.  And like I stated the book is full of capable suspects.  Avon will have Callie and the reader looking at one particular individual, and with good reason, but then when you turn the page you are introduced to another suspect with an even better reason for wanting Mr. Leadenby dead.

Avon will have you so engrossed in this story that you will feel the winter weather, smell the hot cocoa and feel Daisy brush up against your leg.....you will be able to picture Haywood Hall and all its glory and fall in love with it just like Callie did.  And you will start to warm up to the growing relationship between Callie and the deputy, Falk, and even though you want to help solve the murder, even if only by reading the words, you will not want to get to the last page.....

Review by Missi M.

Monday 17 June 2019

While My Pretty One Knits (Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries #1) by Anne Canadeo

While My Pretty One Knits (Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, #1)
The Black Sheep Knitters -- Maggie, Lucy, Dana, Suzanne, and Phoebe -- meet once a week without fail, sharing the varied and colorful skeins of their lives as much as knitting tips, recipes, and small-town gossip, and creating an intricate, durable pattern of friendship. Now a shocking murder has peaceful Plum Harbor, Massachusetts, in knots -- and the Black Sheep women must herd together to protect one of their own from a scandalous frame-up.
Maggie Messina, beloved owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Shop, is thrilled to be hosting a workshop for one of her former students, now a celebrity in the knitting world. But the celebration is upstaged when Amanda Goran, the owner of the rival Knitting Nest, is found dead in her shop on the other side of town.
Maggie had reasons to dislike Amanda, a thorn in her side ever since Maggie's shop surpassed Amanda's in popularity. Then again, it wasn't hard to dislike Amanda -- the contentious woman, whose marriage was on the rocks, seemed to specialize in causing misery all over town. But the pointed evidence has a detective casting a suspicious eye on Maggie. She may be a whiz at knitting, but can she keep the police from needling her before her shop, her reputation, and her circle of friends become unraveled?  (Summary  via Goodreads)

While My Pretty One Knits by Anne Canadeo is more than a cozy mystery....it is a story about friendship and the depths of that friendship among a group of women.  

In Plum Harbor Maggie owns a knitting shop called the Black Sheep Knitting Shop and she developed a bond with 4 other women when they came together for a class Maggie was teaching....now these women - Lucy, Dana, Suzanne and Phoebe - will do anything for each other and in While My Pretty One Knits, their commitment to Maggie will be shown.   When Maggie's rival is found murdered in her knitting shop across town Maggie is considered a person of interest.....mainly because the two were competitors in a small town.  Maggie's friends know that she would not do anything to harm someone let alone kill them but convincing the police will be a different story !!!

I loved how Canadeo provides the reader with a different aspect of a cozy mystery.  You get to really look into Maggie and her friends, with a new romance for one of them thrown into the mix.  The reader gets a deep feeling of friendship and commitment and to see what a friend really and truly will do for another.  The book provides the reader with a different way of investigating and solving the murder....a quiet and more laid back approach if you will.  Even though the main focus, of course, is on solving the murder and clearing Maggie's name, it is done around the reader getting to really know the characters and their town.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read more in the Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series......

Review by Missi M.

Friday 14 June 2019

Killer Cuts (A Dead-End Job Mystery #8) by Elaine Viets

Killer Cuts (A Dead-End Job Mystery Book 8)

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.

Miguel Angel’s chic salon is where Fort Lauderdale’s high society hairdos get done. Even though Helen Hawthorne is just a gofer at the upscale salon, she has to admit the fabulous Miguel Angel is a master at the craft of coif.

But with great heads of hair come great headaches. Especially when Miguel Angel and Helen try to prepare the pregnant fiancĂ©e of Kingman "King" Oden for her nuptials. King is a bloated, loudmouth bully with a gossip blog, a TV show, and a lousy attitude. When King tries to throw his weight around the shop, Miguel Angel delivers a vicious dressing down—along with a killer threat.

Unfortunately, that’s why Miguel Angel is named the prime suspect when King's body is found drowned in a pool at his own wedding. Helen knows her boss might have a temper, but murder? That’s just not his style.

So it’s up to Helen to find out which of King's countless enemies wanted to give him a final, fatal rinse…

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

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

I LOVE the Dead-End Job Mystery series by Elaine Viets !!!  I have been reading them in order and seeing as I just finished the eighth book I am more than a devoted reader....I am Helen's best friend (even though she doesn't know it), I am a resident at the Coronado Tropic Apartments (even though I don't pay rent) and I follow Helen around like a lost puppy dog (except I don't leave my couch)

I think that Killer Cuts is my favorite of this series....so far.  I love Helen's latest dead-end job working in a high-end salon where the owner, Miquel Angel, does hair for the rich and famous.  Helen's job is to fetch drinks and magazines and clean up after Miquel Angel is done with a client.  In this book I think Helen really likes this job and her co-workers unllike the other jobs shes had in the past.  I'm going to hate that she leaves this job but I know the next job will be entertaining as well.

In Killer Cuts besides planning her wedding to Phil, her private investigator neighbor, Helen gets caught up in another murder.  When Helen, Miquel Angel, and his assistant go to the mansion of one of his clients to fix her hair and make-up, the happily married couple are only married for 90 minutes when the groom is found dead in the pool !!  Of course Miquel Angel was recorded argueing and threatening the groom before the ceremony !!!  

Of course Helen takes it upon herself to do her own investigating but at least this time she has Phil helping her.....well most of the time anyway !!!

The Dead-End Mystery series by Viets is a great series to get lost in.  You will love everything about it.....Helen, her apartment and friends, her fiance, even her crappy jobs are interesting....and let's not forget the murders and Helen's talent of getting in the middle of them......  I encourage you to read this series....you won't regret it !!!!

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Murder Flies the Coop (Beryl and Edwina Mystery #2) by Jessica Ellicott

Murder Flies the Coop (Beryl and Edwina Mystery #2)
One would hardly call them birds of a feather, but thrill-seeking American adventuress Beryl Helliwell and quietly reserved Brit Edwina Davenport do one thing very well together--solve murders . . .

Sharing lodging in the sleepy English village of Walmsley Parva has eased some of the financial strain on the two old school chums, but money is still tight in these lean years following the Great War. All of Beryl's ex-husbands have proven reluctant to part with her alimony, which is most inconvenient.

So when the local vicar--and pigeon-racing club president--approaches them with a private inquiry opportunity, the ladies eagerly accept. There's been a spot of bother: the treasurer has absconded with the club's funds and several prized birds.

Beryl and Edwina hope to flush out the missing man by checking his boardinghouse and place of employment at the coal mine. But when they visit the man's loft, they find their elusive quarry lying in white feathers and a pool of crimson blood, stabbed to death--the only witnesses cooing mournfully.

After a stiff gin fizz, the ladies resume their search for the missing funds and prized birds--and now a murderer. Beryl and Edwina aren't shy about ruffling a few feathers as they home in on their suspects. But they had better find the killer fast, before their sleuthing career is cut short . . .
   (Summary via Goodreads)

I fell in love with Edwina Davenport and Beryl Helliwell in the first book in Jessica Ellicott's Beryl and Edwina Mystery series, Murder in an English Village and I became a devoted fan after reading the second book in this amazing series, Murder Flies the Coop.

Not only does Ellicott paint a wonderful picture of the friendship between these two old friends but she also provides the reader with a quaint little English village to escape to.  In this second installment in this series we are witnesses to Edwina and Beryl deciding to open up their own detecting business seeing as the positive results they had when they solved the case in Murder in an English Village.  And seeing as they need to raise money for the upkeep to their home and have money for basic things, it seemed like the best idea yet......and it also seems that things just kind of end up at their door.

Edwina and Beryl are hired by the vicar to look into the disappearance of a member of his pigeon racing club and some money that was in his possession.  It wasn't hard for them to find the missing individual and rule that he was murdered however, finding the missing money turns out to be more challenging.  And when they are hired to find mssing jewelry that belongs to the wife of the owner of the mining company, things get more exciting for Beryl.  Beryl lives for the excitement more than Edwina and that may be why they work so well together...Edwina keeps Beryl centered and grounded more.

Whatever the case is, you can be sure that these two women are more than capable of handling everything it entails.  Ellicott will have you turning the pages as fast as your eyes can take in the words and your fingers can turn the pages.  You will be thoroughly invested in the story and will love Edwina and Beryl and the way the interact with each other and everyone around them.  You will love that Edwina is such a delicate flower and Beryl is a daredevil of a woman and the way they seem to complete each other.  I cannot wait for the next adventure these two take......

Review by Missi M.

Murder in an English Village (Beryl and Edwina Mystery #1) by Jessica Ellicott

Murder in an English Village (Beryl and Edwina Mystery #1)
As friends, the boisterous and brash American Beryl couldn't be less alike than the prim and proper British Edwina. But as sleuths in an England recovering from the Great War, they're the perfect match . . .

1920: Flying in the face of convention, legendary American adventuress Beryl Helliwell never fails to surprise and shock. The last thing her adoring public would expect is that she craves some peace and quiet. The humdrum hamlet of Walmsley Parva in the English countryside seems just the ticket. And, honestly, until America comes to its senses and repeals Prohibition, Beryl has no intention of returning stateside and subjecting herself to bathtub gin.

For over three decades, Edwina Davenport has lived comfortably in Walmsley Parva, but the post-World War I bust has left her in dire financial straits and forced her to advertise for a lodger. When her long-lost school chum Beryl arrives on her doorstep--actually crashes into it in her red motorcar--Edwina welcomes her old friend as her new roommate.

But her idyllic hometown has a hidden sinister side, and when the two friends are drawn in, they decide to set up shop as private inquiry agents, helping Edwina to make ends meet and satisfying Beryl's thirst for adventure. Now this odd couple will need to put their heads together to catch a killer--before this sleepy English village becomes their final resting place . . .
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Murder in an English Village by Jessica Ellicott takes the reader on a pleasant journey back in time....a time when things are just getting back to some kind of normalcy as a village recovers from the Great War.
We meet Edwina Davenport who has to advertise for a lodger as a result of the after effects of the war....but luckily for her one of the people who responds to the advertisement is her old friend from boarding school, Beryl Helliwell.  

Edwina is having a hard time getting back in the good graces of some members of the village due to her lack of funds so Beryl goes into town and tells Prudence Rathbone, the local gossip in town, a little lie that her and Edwina are investigators working for the King and that Edwina's hardships are actually a cover for their work.  Beryl herself is kind of a celebrity as her adventures are well documented in the newspapers.

Unfortunately even though it is a lie that Edwina and Beryl are investigators, someone in the village attacks Edwina the night that the lie was told.  This forces Edwina to look back to when a local young girl went missing while working the fields while the men were at war and the local police didn't do much in the way of investigating.

Edwina and Beryl find themselves asking questions and looking into things when they find another local girl dead in a field and again the local police are doing very little with the case ruling it as an accident.  Havinig been the ones to find the girl and look around the scene, they are certain that it was not an accident.....

Ellicott takes the reader on an adventurous journey and introduces them to some interesting characters in this quiet little English village and the twists and turns will captures the readers attention and keep it throughout this book.  The reader will enjoy getting lost with Edwina and Beryl as their guides as they nagivate through the village finding justice for two young women......

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Southern Sass and Killer Cravings (Marygene Brown #1) by Kate Young

Southern Sass and Killer Cravings (Marygene Brown #1)

Life has always been sweet on Georgia’s Peach Cove Island, but a case of murder has Marygene Brown down in the pits . . .

For generations, the women of the Brown family on Peach Cove Island have been known for their Southern sass and sweet homemade desserts at their beloved Peach Diner. Since their mother's passing two years ago, Marygene has been stuck in Atlanta while her sister Jena Lynn has been running the family business. Now Marygene has left her husband and returned to her hometown, where she can almost feel Mama's presence.

But all is not peachy back home. Marygene has barely tied on an apron when a diner regular drops dead at the counter. When it turns out the old man's been poisoned, Jena Lynn is led away in handcuffs and the family eatery is closed. Now, to save her sister and the diner, Marygene must find the real killer. With some startling assistance from her Mama's spirit, Marygene will be serving up a special order of just desserts . . .

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

You know a book is good when you are in the middle of reading it and you are already getting your thoughts in order to write your review.  And that is exactly what happened while I was reading Southern Sass and Killing Cravings by Kate Young !!

I instantly fell in love with Marygene Brown, her family and friends, and her hometown !!  As soon as you open up the book and start reading the story you will be hooked.  

The story starts with Marygene moving back to her hometown after leaving her abusive husband....kind of with her tail between her legs because when she left it wasn't on great terms with her sister.  Her sister Jena Lynn has been running their family business, The Peach Diner, since their mama died and Marygene comes back home to help with the diner.  Unfortunately before she can unpack and settle in to her mama's house an elderly local man drops dead in the diner !  Before he breathes his last breath, however, he hands Marygene a piece of paper with some letters and numbers written on it and tells her not to trust anyone.  Well.... with her father as the sheriff and her ex-boyfriend one of the deputies, that is going to be almost impossible to do.  Oh and Marygene's mother is kind of stuck between here and the afterlife and only Marygene can see her......

There were times while reading Southern Sass and Killer Cravings that I laughed out loud and then there were times I was on the edge of my seat holding my breathe.  Both of these constitute a good read in my book.  There is so much for a reader to love about this book....from the family dymanics to the friendships and relationships to the town and the shops to the way the townspeople talk and some of the sayings they have to the murders and the story surrounding them....something for all readers !!!

I thoroughly loved this first book in this new series by Young and look forward to spending more time with Marygene and her quaint little town.  I cannot wait to see what develops......

Review by Missi M.