Friday 26 July 2019

Penne Dreadful (Italian Chef Mysteries #1) by Catherine Bruns

Penne Dreadful (Italian Chef Mysteries #1)

Tomato sauce isn't the only thing that runs red...

Local chef Tessa Esposito is struggling to get back on her feet following her husband's fatal accident. And when the police knock on Tessa's door, things just get worse. They've discovered Dylan's death wasn't an accident after all, and they need Tessa to start filling in the blanks. Who would want her beloved husband dead, and why?

With the investigation running cold, Tessa decides it's time to save her sanity by reconnecting with her first love-cooking. And maybe the best way back into the kitchen is to infiltrate Dylan's favorite local pizza parlor, which also happens to be the last place he was seen before he died. But the anchovies aren't the only thing that stink inside the small family business, and with suspects around every corner, Tessa finds that her husband's many secrets might land her in hot water.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Penne Dreadful by Catherine Bruns is the first book in her new An Italian Chef Mystery series and one thing you NEED to know when you start reading this book is to have a snack won't solve the mystery but it will help when you are reading about all the delicious food !!

One unique thing about Penne Dreadful is that the murder already occured when you start reading the story.....  When you start reading Penne Dreadful Tessa is mourning the loss of her husband Dylan to a deadly car accident.  Unfortunately she learns from her cousin who happens to be a cop that the accident looks like it was intentional.  It looks like Dylan's car was tampered with causing it to crash and catch on fire.  Tessa also soon learns that her husband had a lot of secrets which make her question everything she knew about her husband and their life together.

Tessa's cousin Gino gives her the idea to look into Dylan's death but he doesn't realize that she will do anything and everything to come to the truth.......

Bruns captures the readers attention instantly and keeps the reader engrossed in the story throughout.  You will love Tessa's love for her husband and will feel her pain as she comes to terms with all the secrets that he had and you will be on the rollercoaster of your life trying to work through everything with Tessa.  

There is so much to like and love in Penne Dreadful from the relationships to the food to the shady and dark side of Tessa's husband and when all is said and done you will grow to understand why Dylan did what he did.  You will most definitely want more of this series and Catherine Bruns will be on your list of authors to read and watch !!!

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

A Wicked Design (Belinda Lawrence Murder Mystery #5) by Brian Kavanagh

A Wicked Design (A Belinda Lawrence Mystery #5)
Belinda Lawrence returns to her home town of Melbourne, to discover a murder that's close to her heart. 
A murder which leads to the seat of political power, Parliament House. 
The various threads of deceit and intrigue are gradually unravelled and, with Hazel Whitby at her side, Belinda is confronted by warring political factions. 
The mystery deepens with the discovery of a priceless historical item, of value to both political powers, and which places Belinda's life in jeopardy. 
The gregarious Major; 
An enigmatic university Professor; 
Two colourful antique sellers; 
Eccentric retired music-hall entertainers; 
And Belinda's partner, Mark Sallinger...
...all immersed in the scheming and covert encounters besieging Belinda as she solves her most challenging mystery. 
Book Five in the Belinda Lawrence mystery series.  (Summary via Goodreads)

A Wicked Design by Brian Kavanagh is the fifth book in his Belinda Lawrence Murder Mystery series and it is the most INTENSE one so far !!!  I have been a devoted fan since I read the first book in this series Capable of Murder.  I have grown to love Belinda and her sidekick Hazel and have loved watching their relationship take shape.  And I have grown to love Belinda's relationship with Lord Mark Sallinger and was very happy when they decided to get engaged !!!

However everything changes with A Wicked Design !!!  That relationship between Belinda and Mark is challenged when Belinda's old boyfriend is murdered right before Belinda returns to her hometown to tell him face to face that it was definitely over and she was in love with Mark and planning to marry him.  And when Kavanagh "teases" the reader into thinking Mark may have killed Brad, the reader is going to want to speed read to the end to find out the outcome.....

Sadly Brad is not the only one to come to such a brutal end....when more people are found murdered and Mark is unreachable by phone and not answering Belinda's calls or text, what is one to think ?  Well Belinda and Hazel try to keep open minds as they try to find out who killed Brad and the others and why.

Kavanagh will capture the readers attention immediately and you will not want to put the book down until you reach the end and know the truth behind the murders and especially Brad's.  One cannot help but feel for Belinda as she tries to bring Brad's killer to justice and prove Mark's innocence and as always Hazel is there to help lighten the mood !!!

Review by Missi M.

Monday 22 July 2019

Peach Clobbered: A Georgia B&B Mystery (Georgia B&B #1) by Anna Gerard

Peach Clobbered: A Georgia B&B Mystery
What’s black and white and dead all over? Georgia bed and breakfast proprietor Nina Fleet finds out when she comes across a corpse in a penguin costume.

Nina Fleet’s life ought to be as sweet as a Georgia peach. Awarded a tidy sum in her divorce, Nina retired at 41 to a historic Queen Anne house in quaint Cymbeline, GA. But Nina’s barely settled into her new B&B-to-be when a penguin shows up on her porch. Or, at least, a man wearing a penguin suit.

Harry Westcott is making ends meet as an ice cream shop’s mascot and has a letter from his great-aunt, pledging to leave him the house. Too bad that’s not what her will says. Meanwhile, the Sisters of Perpetual Poverty have lost their lease. Real estate developer Gregory Bainbridge intends to turn the convent into a golfing community, so Cymbeline’s mayor persuades Nina to take in the elderly nuns. And then Nina finds the “penguin” again, this time lying in an alley with a kitchen knife in his chest.

A peek under the beak tells Nina it’s not Harry inside the costume, but Bainbridge. What was he doing in Harry’s penguin suit? Was the developer really the intended victim, or did the culprit mean to kill Harry? Whoever is out to stop Harry from contesting the sale of his great-aunt’s house may also be after Nina, so she teams up with him to cage the killer before someone clips her wings in Peach Clobbered, Anna Gerard’s charming first Georgia B&B mystery.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Peach Clobbered is the first book in the Georgia B&B Mystery series by Anna Gerard and it is a GREAT start !!  You will instantly fall in love with the main character Nina Fleet, her house, her quaint little town and even her "enemy".

Nina went through a divorce to a popular golf pro and all she wants to do is settle down in her new big Victoria home and enjoy her gardens and her dog and get to know her neighbors and the town.  Unfortunately the great-nephew of the woman who owned Nina's house before her passed away has other ideas.  Harry feels that the house is rightfully his and he is making things uncomfortable for Nina.  However things take a crazy turn when Nina is rushed through turning her home into a bed and breakfast so that she can help out nuns from a local convert who are evicted.  Things get even crazier when the real estate developer who evicted the nuns is found dead in an alley and it is ruled murder !!!

Nina teams up with Harry, the most unexpected choice, to try to figure out who killed Gregory.....and the list of suspects is quite long including nuns ??  Everyone in town had reasons to dislike him but who would go as far as murder ????

Peach Clobbered is very captivating and Gerard knows how to keep the reader reading.....she has a way of ending a chapter that makes the reader want to read the next chapter.....before you know it you have finished reading Peach Clobbered......

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Lethal Tide (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries #10) by Beth Prentice

Lethal Tide (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries #10)
From USA Today bestselling author Beth Prentice comes the next killer Aloha Lagoon Mystery...

Samantha Reynold's new life in Aloha Lagoon is awesome. She has a great job as a surf instructor at the local resort, a gorgeous boyfriend, bartender Casey Dalton, and a BFF to tell all her secrets to. But when a man from Casey’s past turns up in Aloha Lagoon claiming knowledge of a long lost treasure, life goes from paradise to downright deadly. A body in the rainforest has the police looking squarely at Casey as their number one suspect, and even Samantha has to admit that the evidence against him doesn't look good. Now it's up to Samantha and her BFF to find the real killer, decipher the clues to the treasure, and find out just what skeletons are lurking in her suddenly secretive boyfriend's closet... even if she may not want to meet them!

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 Bloodshed (book #8)
Death of the Kona Man (book #9)
Lethal Tide (book #10)
Beachboy Murder (book #11)
Handbags Homicide (book #12)

Tiaras & Terror (book #13)
Photo Finished (book #14)
Fatal Break (book #15)

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 returning to Aloha Lagoon Resort.....I know I say this every time I read and review one of the books in this series but it's TRUE !!  No matter what part of the island you are on with whichever author is telling the story, you cannot help being swept away......

In Lethal Tide, the tenth book in this series by Beth Prentice, we are hanging around with Samantha Reynolds.  Sam moved to the island to be with her mum and twin brother Luke.  She gets a job as a surfboard instructor for kids and she's dating Casey who happens to be a hunky bartender.....oh and her brother is dating her best friend Alani.  Life for Sam is pretty much paradise until her, Luke, and Alani stumble across a dead body.....and Casey is the top suspect !!!

Casey, as with everyone, has a past but he has kept that past pretty hidden until some "old" friends show up on the island for "vacation".  These friends have come to the island in search of a hidden treasure and this hidden treasure just happens to be buried in part of the rain forest which happens to belong to Alani's uncle.  When Alani takes Luke and Sam out to see this area, they find the body of Ryan, one of Casey's friends from his past.

Casey would like nothing more than to leave the past in the past, serve drinks to happy vacationers and hang out with Sam and friends.  Unfortunately Sam cannot let things go when Detective Ray has his sights on Casey and Sam finds out one of the friends from the past was more than just a friend to Casey.....

No matter which book in the Aloha Lagoon Mystery series you pick up, you will be tranformed to an island of just have to assist Detective Ray with solving some murders.  

I love that even though these books are written by a collection of amazing authors through Gemma Haliday Publishing, there are similarities in the places in and around the resort are the same and Detective Ray is always the detective called in to solve the cases and even some of the characters overlap into other books.

You cannot go wrong with this series.  The Aloha Lagoon series with take the reader on a nice vacation and you do not need to pack, stop your mail, board your animals or sleep in an unfamilair bed.... all that is required is that you grab a snack and a beverage and get comfy in your favorite reading spot and let the story take you away...... ( some may say its even better than Calgon.....)

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Toxic Toffee (Amish Candy Shop Mystery #4) by Amanda Flower

Toxic Toffee (Amish Candy Shop Mystery #4)
A sweet tooth for murder . . .  
Bailey King’s in New York wrapping up a six-week shoot on her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets, when she gets a call from her Ohio town’s resident busybody. With Easter around the corner, Bailey’s been recruited to create a giant toffee bunny for the weeklong springtime festival that will also feature live white rabbits. But back home in Harvest, death becomes the main attraction when Stephen Raber keels over from an apparent heart attack—with Bailey and Raber’s pet bunny as witnesses.

Except it wasn’t Raber’s heart that suddenly gave out—a lethal dose of lily of the valley was mixed into a tasty piece of toffee. Who’d want to poison a jovial rabbit farmer who reminded Bailey of an Amish Santa Claus? To solve the murder, she and her sheriff deputy boyfriend Aiden must uncover a twenty-year-old secret. She’ll need to pull a rabbit out of a hat to keep a healthy distance from toxic people, including one venomous killer . . .    (Summary via Goodreads)

Toxic Toffee by Amanda Flower is the fourth book in her Amish Candy Shop Mystery series and the second one that I have read.  I fell in love with this series when I read Premeditated Peppermint, the third book in the series.  There is so much to love and I am sorry that I only learned of this series with the third book.....however I am now a devoted fan !!

Bailey King is the main character of this series and while she is a character to love, she is also a character to respect.  She grew up with Amish grandparents but not the Amish way of living.  Her father had left the Amish lifestyle to marry her mother.  Bailey had an amazing job in New York City as a chocolatier but leaves that life behind to move back home to Harvest, Ohio to help her grandmother run the candy shop her grandparents started.

Moving back home is a huge shock to Bailey because she has to respect her grandmother's Amish way of life as well as half of the town who are Amish also.  But as you will learn fast while reading these books, Bailey is quick to adapt to everything......including murder !!

It seems murder has a way of working itself into her life and she is soon becoming the person to go to when someone dies.  Even though the better choice would be Aiden, her boyfriend who is actually a Sheriff Deputy.  

In Toxic Toffee Aiden has no other way to work a murder investigation without agreeing to let Bailey stay is the only way that the Amish will talk to the police, through Bailey.  Bailey is beside herself with this great responsibility but soon realizes just how dangerous Aiden's work is......

Flower has a special knack of blending the Amish way with the English way in her storytelling.  She gives the Amish a voice that they wouldn't get the reader a different view of thier lifestyle.  Flower shows the reader the hardship that the Amish face daily as well as the family dynamics that holds them together.   I love getting lost in this series and look forward to the next time I venture to Harvest, Ohio.  I know it will be a TREAT !!!

Review by Missi M.

Sunday 14 July 2019

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody (Jane Darrowfield #1) by Barbara Ross

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody (Jane Darrowfield #1)
Jane Darrowfield is a year into her retirement, and she’s already traveled and planted a garden. She’s organized her photos, her recipes, and her spices. The statistics suggest she has at least a few more decades ahead of her, so she better find something to do . . .

After Jane helps a friend with a sticky personal problem, word starts to spread around her bridge club—and then around all of West Cambridge, Massachusetts—that she’s the go-to person for situations that need discreet fixing. Soon she has her first paid assignment—the director of a 55-and-over condo community needs her to de-escalate hostilities among the residents. As Jane discovers after moving in for her undercover assignment, the mature set can be as immature as any high schoolers, and war is breaking out between cliques.

It seems she might make some progress—until one of the aging “popular kids” is bludgeoned to death with a golf club. And though the automatic sprinklers have washed away much of the evidence, Jane’s on course to find out whodunit . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

OMG !!!  I could not put Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody down....nor did I want to !!!  Barbara Ross knows exactly what to write to draw the reader into the story and keep them there !!!

Ross's main character Jane Darrowfield is retired and leads a simple life until she gets asked by friends to help with "uncomfortable" situations.....little problems that they cannot resolve themselves because they don't want to upset another person.  So Jane steps in and helps the situation resolve itself.  This is all innocent until Jane is approached by the director of a 55 and over living community.  He would like Jane to move into the community as a potential buyer looking to move in but really to snoop and help him with a delicate situation.....unfortunately he doesn't tell Jane what that situation is and before she gets the hang of things, someone is found dead on the golf course.

Jane has her hands full getting to know the residents and employees of the facility as well as understanding all the groups and their dynamics.  She is reminded of high school and all the groups and the bullying that went on back then that she feels like she went back in time in a way......

Determined to make Walden Spring a better place and try to solve the murder, Jane muddles through.   Even when they find out the man that was murdered isn't who everyone thought he was and when Jane's friends try to convince her to leave and move back home, her determination becomes even stronger !!

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody is a great book to get lost in....there is a lot of relatable things in this story for all will love Jane and her group of will even develop feelings for the residents and employees of Walden Spring and may even want to move there by the time you finish reading this amazing story !!!

Review by Missi M.

Monday 8 July 2019

Murder's No Votive Confidence (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery #1) by Christin Brecher

Murder's No Votive Confidence (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery #1)
Nantucket candle store owner Stella Wright specializes in creating unique candles for every occasion. But someone sets the stage for murder when a Memorial Day celebration becomes a wedding to die for . . .

Jessica Sterling’s candlelight-themed nuptial promises to be the perfect kick-off to the summer’s first official holiday weekend. Stella’s thrilled to have been chosen to provide the decorative centerpiece for the wedding ceremony: a two-foot, tall scented unity candle—a symbol of the happy couple’s love. But it looks like the bride-to-be’s uncle won’t be walking his niece down the aisle after he’s found dead. The murder weapon is Stella’s seemingly indestructible candle, now split in two.

When a beloved local bartender is arrested, Stella’s sure a visiting police Captain running the case made a rush to justice. With superstitious brides-to-be cancelling orders and sales waxing and waning at her store, the Wick & Flame owner decides to do some sleuthing of her own. Abetted by a charming reporter and challenged by the town’s sexiest cop, Stella’s determined to shine a light on the truth and uncover a killer who’s snuffing out her own flame.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Murder's No Votive Confidence by Christin Brecher is the first book in her Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery series and after reading it I am HOOKED !!!  Her main character Stella Wright lives on the island of Nantucket, owns her own business, Wick & Flame, is surrounded by family and friends and is doing what she loves.....creating candles with special scents. 

In Murder's No Votive Confidence Stella and her friend Emily are preparing for a wedding ..... a celebration worthy of a celebrity.  Emily is the wedding planner and 8 months pregnant while Stella is in charge of all the candles for the event including the most important one, the unity candle......however things take a turn in the wrong direction when the unity candle is used to kill a member of the wedding party !!!

While Emily tries to keep the wedding on track and everyone in the celebration mode, Stella looks into other suspects when a good friend and life long resident is arrested for the murder....and with Stella's keen sense of smell, she is a nose ahead of the authorities.

This is an amazing debut book in this series by Brecher and one to love everything about !!! It is a great book to get lost in and feel like you are along side Stella on the island.....and that is not a bad place to be !!!

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 6 July 2019

Strangled Eggs and Ham (Country Store Mysteries #6) by Maddie Day

Strangled Eggs and Ham (Country Store Mysteries #6)
Robbie Jordan’s rustic country store is growing in popularity. But when a dead body appears, it turns out that Robbie’s home-style cooking attracts hungry customers—and murder!

While Robbie scrambles through breakfast orders for her expanding clientele at Pans ‘N Pancakes, tempers run as high as the sticky August heat in South Lick, Indiana. Real-estate developer Fiona Closs plans to build a towering luxury resort at one of the most scenic hilltops in Brown County, and not everyone can see the sunny side of the imposing proposition—including Robbie’s furious Aunt Adele, who doesn’t waste a minute concocting protests and road blockades. When tensions boil over and a vocal protester is silenced forever at the resort site, Robbie ditches the griddle to catch the killer. But if slashed tires are any indication, she’ll need to crack this case before her own aunt gets served something deadly next . . .
   (Summary via Goodreads)

The best thing about reading books in a series is that when you get to the sixth book in that series, you are a part of the series.....not just a reader or a fan but you feel like you are an actual part of the story.  And that hold very true when you get to Strangled Eggs and Ham written by Maddie Day.  I have been a loyal reader of her Country Store Mystery series that when I open the book to read this latest tale, I feel like I'm returning to my favorite town to hang out with some of my favorite people.  When you read books in a series like this your mind has formed a picture of the town, the country store, and the people, so when you start reading a new book, your brain automatically opens up that place in your mind and away you go !!!

And you cannot help but LOVE Robbie Jordan, the main character in this series, for so many reasons. She is a solid part of her little town of South Lick owning Pans "N Pancakes.  Everyone in town goes to Pans "N Pancakes for the food and to catch up.....especially when there is a recent murder in town.  And you cannot help but LOVE Robbie's Aunt Adele and the things she gets involved in.  

In Strangled Eggs and Ham a real-estate developer is looking to open a luxury resort on a scenic hilltop which has a lot of town people up in arms trying to prevent of which is Aunt Adele.  However things go downhill quite rapidly when one of Robbie's guests in her bed and breakfast helping the cause is found murdered on the site !!!  Of course, Robbie jumps into action to find out who killed him and try to keep the peace in town.

The Country Store Mystery series is a great series to read.... you will feel like you are a part of the community and it won't take you long to feel right at home with everyone and everything in this series.  As they say in South Lick, you should oughta get to reading this series......

Review by Missi M.