Tuesday 29 December 2020

Hit and Mist (Silicon Valley Mystery #4) by Marc Jedel


He is determined to prove his friend innocent of homicide. He may make things worse ... 

When Marty's surfer-dude pal is arrested for murder, he must squeeze his amateur sleuthing into his packed schedule. With his high-tech job busier than ever and his nieces' antics sidetracking him, Marty is ready for a Thanksgiving holiday. All he has to do is solve two murders. But if he can't even convince his sister to bake his favorite chocolate pie, how can he hope to save his friend?

With the help of his girlfriend, some wacky coworkers and Buddy the rambunctious Labrador, Marty sets out to disprove the ironclad evidence. But as the suspect list blossoms out of control, his bumbling efforts might lead him into problems faster than a failing hard drive.

Can he clear his friend's name before he's blown to bits?

Hit and Mist is the fourth book in the riotous Silicon Valley cozy mystery series but can be read standalone. If you like your murder cases twisty, your suspect lists long, and your detectives clueless, then you'll love Marc Jedel's humorous murder adventure.

Buy Hit and Mist to stumble onto the truth today!  (Summary via Goodreads)

If you are a fan of the Silicon Valley Mystery series by Marc Jedel, the fourth book, Hit and Mist, will grab you immediately !!

In Hit and Mist Marty's close friend, Starbuck's barista Brody is in trouble and even his boyfriend Sergeant Mace Jackson cannot help him !!  It seems that Brody is in the wrong place at the wrong time.....twice !!  First when Marty and his girlfriend, Meghan, are attending a kickboxing class at her gym, the instructor Gabriela goes outside after the class and gets killed by a bomb and Brody happens to be there taking his break from work.  Then the next day when Marty and Meghan go on a kayaking trip to take their minds off of Gabriela's death, they come into contact with another dead body floating in the water....and Brody being arrested for it.

Of course Marty wants to help prove Brody's innocence and he has this crazy idea that he is the police department's secret weapon and helps solve cases.  But with Mace being sidelined due to his relationship with Brody, Marty is on his own.  

Clearly by accident Marty finds out that the new COO at his company is the grieving widow of Gabriela and he and Meghan find out that Gabriela was still using the garden shed at her old house so he begins to form a plan on how to get him to confess to the murders.  

As readers soon realize Marty is very lucky when it comes to "solving" cases.  Marty usually has little to no idea what he is doing but he somehow does uncover the guilty party and bring justice to the victims and their families.  No matter how he does it, readers love the way he goes about doing it !!  And the relationships he has with his family, girlfriend, co-workers and friends will have readers laughing out loud and loving every minute of the story !!  

If you haven't gotten lost in this series, I highly recommend putting it on your "To be read" list..... and let Marty, Rover and crew take you for an enjoyable ride !!!

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 26 December 2020

Murder at an Irish Christmas (Irish Village Mystery #6) by Carlene O'Connor


The O'Sullivan clan of County Cork, Ireland, are back to investigate another case of murder--this time at Christmas!

Garda Siobhan O'Sullivan's holiday plans hit a sour note when murder rearranges the yuletide carols into unexpected eulogies...

This December in Kilbane, if you're planning to warm up with a cuppa tea at Naomi's Bistro, you may have a bit of a wait--the entire O'Sullivan brood has gone off to West Cork to spend the holidays with brother James's fiance Elise's family, including her grandfather, the famous orchestral conductor Enda Elliot. Siobhan is so happy for James and Elise but also quietly disappointed that she must put her own wedding to fellow garda Macdara Flannery on hold. Mac will have to join them later, so he can spend part of the holidays with his mam.

When the O'Sullivans learn everyone will choose a name from a hat to buy a music-related Christmas gift for someone else at the gathering, it seems like their greatest concern--until the cantankerous conductor is discovered crushed under a ninety-pound harp in a local concert hall.

With the extended family--including Enda's much-younger new wife Leah, a virtuoso violinist--suspected in his murder, it's up to Siobhan to ensure the guilty party faces the music. But as a snowstorm strands both families in a lavish farmhouse on a cliff, Siobhan had better pick up the tempo--before the killer orchestrates another untimely demise...
   (Summary via Goodreads)

In Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O'Connor, main character Siobhan O'Sullivan just wants to enjoy the holiday with her brothers and sisters and get to know her brother James' fiance and her family.  The last thing she wants to do is get herself in the middle of a murder investigation.  Unfortunately that is exactly what happens and she cannot help but drag her fiance Detective Sergeant Macdara Flannery into it as well.

Siobhan and her siblings are spending Christmas in West Cork with James' fiance Elise and her family as well as attending a concert orchestrated by Elise's famous grandfather, Enda Elliot.  They arrive in town early so that they can enjoy the holiday and get to know everyone....except they won't be able to met Elise's grandfather because he is found at the mill, the place where the concert is to be held, dead on the floor with a harp on top of him.  Siobhan tries really hard to stay out of the investigation but when she feels that the Garda in charge is looking at the wrong person for the crime, she knows that she has to step in.  And her fiance Detective Sergeant Flannery comes to town with his mother in tow and gets assigned the case.

Siobhan and Dara find they have a tough job ahead of them when they realize everyone has secrets and no one is telling the truth.  Luckily Siobhan has an idea of who is behind Enda's death but proving that will be difficult to do.

Readers will be engrossed in this sixth book in the Irish Village Mystery series immediately.  You cannot help but fall in love with the characters and the setting.  O'Connor will have readers settling back in their comfy spot with their favorite drink and snack and putting the "Do Not Disturb" sign in front of them....they will not want to be interrupted once they get going in the story.

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 19 December 2020

Christmas in Newfoundland — Memories and Mysteries: A Sgt. Windflower Book (The Sgt. Windflower Mysteries) by Mike Martin


From the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mysteries comes "Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries," a welcome addition to the Sgt. Windflower family of books. 
Christmas in Newfoundland is a special time. In the depths of long winter nights memories are made and stories are told. Of Christmas by candlelight and horse and buggy rides to church. Of shopping on Water Street in St. John’s before malls and the Internet. 
In later years, Sgt. Windflower came to work and then to stay in the quiet town of Grand Bank by the Atlantic Ocean where the salt air froze in the wind and the Mounties were welcomed to warm themselves by every fire. 
Come and warm yourself by the fire and hear their stories. Some memories and some mysteries. Enjoy some holiday time with Sgt. Windflower and all the familiar characters that you’d come to know and love. Good food, good friends and always another chair at the table.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Christmas in Newfoundland by Mike Martin is a nice and quick holiday read.  It consists of 10 short stories that have to do with Christmas, it could be a memory of family traditions from when the author was a child or a story centered around his Sgt. Windflower characters.  And in between the stories you will find a picture which was drawn by a member of the Visual Arts Program at Canterbury High School in Ottawa. The pictures really give life to the stories.

There were 2 stories that stuck out to me and stayed with me.  The first story that I really related to was Christmas Lights.  I really related to that story because I truly love seeing all the different lights and displayed around my hometown.  We always drive around town a few times and have one street in particular that every house on it is decorated in full.  We also have a Christmas tree that has a lot of colorful selections so that we are constantly changing the colors and settings.  I loved reading about the authors recollection of Christmas lights and the importance and impact they have on him.  The second story that I thoroughly loved was the one immediately following Christmas Lights, Tizzard's Christmas Dream.  I am a huge fan of the Sgt. Windflower Mysteries and love the characters in this series, especially Tizzard.  He has developed a special place in my heart and to read about the impact the holiday season and the people close to him had on him after he experienced a tramatic accident, really spoke to me.  Even though he is not a real person, Martin gave him life in that story.

Christmas in Newfoundland can be read quickly or slowly....however you chose to read it.  I highly recommend reading it and getting lost in the Christmas spirit.  Martin will have you reminising about some of your old family traditions and may even give you ideas of new things to try and make new in your life.  Whatever reason you pick up this book to read, I hope that it makes you smile and appreciate the little things as well as the big things in your life.

Review by Missi M.

** Even though a murder does not occur in the Christmas in Newfoundland book by Mike Martin, I am sharing my thoughts on this blog because I have read and shared my thoughts on all his books in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series and some of the stories in this book are about Sgt. Windflower, his town and people.  So if you are a fan or not of Windflower you will enjoy this book and who doesn't like Christmas ??  **

Friday 18 December 2020

Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover´s Mystery #1) by Tara Lush


Barista Lana Lewis's sleuthing may land her in a latte trouble as Tara Lush launches her new Coffee Shop mysteries.

When Lana Lewis' best -- and most difficult -- employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café's chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil's Beach, Lana's normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio "Fab" Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he's found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana's café, she becomes the prime suspect.
Even the island's handsome police chief isn't quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn't the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach.
With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana's prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer. After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship -- or will she come to a bitter end?  (Summary via Goodreads)

After losing her job and finding out her husband is cheating on her with someone a lot younger, Lana Lewis moves back home to Devil's Beach in Florida and takes over running the family coffeehouse in Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush.  While Lana is getting use to leading a slower lifestyle, she finds her employee and friend Fab dead in the alley behind the store.  Her old journalistic lifestyle kicks in and she finds herself looking into Fab's death.  Even though the police may be leaning towards suicide or an accidental death, Lana is not totally convinced.

Due to Fab's being a playboy and sleeping with practically every single woman in Devil's Beach and even some that aren't single, Lana has a long list of likely suspects.... starting with Fab's current girlfriend, Paige.  Paige and Lana went to high school together but were never friends and with Paige and her father owning the only other coffeehouse in town, there is a lot of tension between them.  Unfortunately there is a very long list of likely candidates that would have wanted Fab out of the picture.

Lana is determined to find out the story behind Fab's death especially seeing as they had a very heated and public argument earlier in the day.....and she is determined to prove to Police Chief Noah Garcia that she is innocent.

Lush will captures readers attention immediately and you will feel like you were swept away and are in Devil's Beach enjoying the weather and the company.  Readers will be just as interested in solving the case as Lana is.  And you will be powerless to stop rooting for Lana and Noah to hook up.  Readers will love the relationships among Lana and her father as well as with Erica.  You will feel like you are also drinking a nice latte or espresso and sitting and enjoying the sun.....the setting is written so well and quite believable !!

I thoroughly enjoyed escaping to Devil's Beach....even if it were only in my mind and I look forward to the next time I can open the next book in the Coffee Lover's Mystery series.

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 10 December 2020

Saving Tuna Street by Nancy Nau Sullivan


Blanche “Bang” Murninghan is a part-time journalist with writer’s block and a penchant for walking the beach on her beloved Santa Maria Island. Gran left her a cabin on Tuna Street, and she’s got her friends and family--her itinerant cousin, Jack, and Cap, a lovable old fisherman who coddles her like a grandfather, and her friend, Liza, a realtor who looks like she emerged from central casting. All is well. Until the land-grabbing goons arrive from Chicago. Blanche finds herself in a tailspin, flabbergasted that so many things can go so wrong, so fast. Her friend, Bob Blankenship, Liza’s partner, is found murdered in the parking lot of the marina, and she suspects the slick, handsome land developer Sergi Langstrom and his company of chaos are behind it all. Blanche keeps digging. All the way to hell. The goons, it seems, are a front for a drug cartel.The harder Blanche pushes against the source of trouble, the more she is sucked into the vortex of greed, murder, drug runners, and kidnapping (hers). The appearance of the mysterious Haasi, a tiny Native American with glossy braids and dark eyes, complicates things, and it’s a good thing. She appears and disappears but always ends up at Blanche’s side. They all keep getting closer to the sources of the spurious land development and the murder and the drug running. Who can look away? It’s like watching a hurricane, which, literally, comes straight for Tuna Street.   (Summary via Goodreads)

I fell in love instantly when I started reading Saving Tuna Street by Nancy Nau Sullivan.  The setting for Saving Tuna Street is Santa Maria Island in Florida.  The place doesn't actual exist but it is a reflection of Anna Maria Island which I know pretty well seeing as I go there when I visit my mom.

In Saving Tuna Street Blanche is trying to save her street, Tuna Street, her home, her island as well as try to solve a murder .... oh and stay alive.  Developers are trying to move into one section of the island which includes Tuna Street to build big mansions and shopping centers.  Everyone is up in arms over this including realtor and friend Bob Blankenship who states at the town meeting that the developers would get the required permits over his dead body.  Sadly the next day Bob is found in his car in the parking lot with his neck broken.  Bob's business partner and Blanche's best friend Liza is torn up over it and wants to see justice for Bob.  

Blanche cannot seem to catch a break when Hurricane Wilma hits the island and does a lot of damage to her cabin.  Luckily for her she can move in with dear Cappy who is like a grandfather to her and her cousin Jack.

Blanche works part-time for the Island Times newspaper so she starts writing serious articles about the developers and the bad that they will be doing to the island if what they are proposing goes through.  Unfortunately Blanche does not know that her cousin Jack who lives in Chicago is involved with the same developing people and what they are really involved in.

When Blanche ends up hurt and Jack comes clean on his involvement with everything, Blanche teams up with Liza and Haasi, her new found cousin, and go against Police Chief Duncan's warning to stay out of it.  They have to save their island and find out who killed Bob....no matter what !!!

Readers will be swept away in this book... powerless to stop reading !  You will be so into the story that you will feel the heat from the sun and feel like you have sand in your toes.  You will not want to leave Tuna Street.  But luckily you won't have to be gone long because this is the first book in the series and Sullivan teases of plenty more adventures to be had with Blanche.

Review by Missi M.

Sunday 6 December 2020

Christmas Card Murder (Lucy Stone #26.5) by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, & Peggy Ehrhart

Join bestselling authors Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Peggy Ehrhart for a collection of the coziest Christmas capers! Everyone dreams of a picture-perfect small-town Christmas, but when murder is in the cards, some holiday greetings are addressed to kill... 

In the midst of holiday home renovations, Lucy Stone accidentally unwraps a murder mystery decades in the making when she discovers an old Christmas card with a nasty message belonging to one of her farmhouse's previous residents. The case may be colder than a New England Christmas, but Lucy's determined to sort it out before Santa comes to town.

The Island Times Christmas soiree gets off to a scroogey start when Hayley Powell, Mona Barnes, and Rosana Moretti receive a Christmas card from the town flirt, Carol Waterman, who threatens to run off with one of their husbands! The ladies chalk it up to an imprudent prank...until they find Carol mistletoe-up under her tree... 


Slay bells ring when the body of Arborville High School's beloved art teacher (and annual Christmas card designer), Karma Karling, is discovered on the first day of the Holiday Craft Fair. Now, Pamela Paterson and the Knit and Nibble crew must swap swatching for sleuthing in order to put a Christmas killer on ice.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Christmas Card Murder is actually a book consisting of three short stories written by three amazing authors.  All of these stories are obviously Christmas themed.  I will give you a brief, mini review of each story below.

CHRISTMAS CARD MURDER by Leslie Meier  .....  In Ticker's Cove, a little seaside town in Maine, Lucy and her husband are tearing down a wall upstairs to make their master bedroom bigger.  While doing this they find a Christmas card that was hidden inside the wall and it has a very unChristmas-like message hoping the recipient rots in hell.  It is only signed with the initials G.B.  This leads Lucy down the rabbit hole as she tries to find out the story behind this.  Seeing as she is a reporter for the local newspaper, the Pennysaver, she knows how to dig up facts.  

Christmas Card Murder will have readers enjoying this little tale and how Lucy goes about finding out the truth behind the card....and it will warm your heart a little when the mystery behind the card is resolved.  And just in time for Lucy and her family to hang the stockings to await Santa's arrival.

DEATH OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Lee Hollis  .....  Death of a Christmas Carol was a very quick read for me !!  As soon as I started reading I was hooked and read it in one sitting !!

When Death of A Christmas Carol starts Hayley, one of her best friends Mona and her boss's wife Rosana are getting things ready for the office Christmas party.  They are having fun getting ready and keeping Mona from sneaking into the cheesecake when another co-worker David comes into the office and gives the three ladies a joint Christmas card from his much older girlfriend, Carol Waterman.  Unfortunately Carol is not well liked by the three and when they see what she wrote on the inside it confirms their feelings.  Carol states that she is leaving town with one of their husbands !!  When all three husbands show up late to the party and all have lame excuses, the ladies let their imaginations run wild.  Sadly when they go to Carol's house the next day to confront her, they find her strangled under the Christmas tree !!

Hollis will have readers turning the pages faster than Santa comes down the chimney trying to find out the truth and who killed Carol.  There will be two big shocks when you get to the end and you will never see them coming !!!

DEATH OF A CHRISTMAS CARD CRAFTER by Peggy Ehrhart  .....  Pamela and Bettina are working at the annual Holiday Craft Fair selling their knitting creations and those of their Knit and Nibble knitting group when the event is suspended due to a death at the Christmas tree lot outside.  When they find out that the deceased victim is a teacher of Pamela's daughter Penny from when she was in high school, they are in shock.  But they get an even bigger shock when they find out she was murdered and a dear friend of their's is arrested.  The two decide that they have to look into her death and possibly prove their friend's innocence.....

Death of a Christmas Card Crafter is another fun and quick read.  The storyline and the atmosphere will have readers settling in for the good read.  The way Ehrhart brings the story full circle will amaze readers and also insures that they will be looking into other books she has written.

Christmas Card Murder is the perfect book to pick up during this holiday season.  Each story can be read in one sitting or if you're just taking a small break from holiday preparations, you can read them over time.  However you chose to read them, I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did !!

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 3 December 2020

Arson at the Ashmolean (Oxford Key Mysteries #3) by Lynn Morrison


When the smoke clears, a man lies dead and a young woman looks to blame.

The fire in the Ashmolean’s archives reveals itself to be a cover-up for the real crime: dozens of valuables are missing from the shelves. Unfortunately, security guard Andrei Radu dies from smoke inhalation, elevating the crime to a homicide.

DI Robinson, Oxford’s leading detective, is determined to see the guilty prosecuted. A witness puts Kate’s young assistant Francie at the scene. She claims to be innocent but DI Robinson isn’t convinced.

Nat and her friends know the likely perpetrator is the person behind the problems with the magic. Can they save Francie from going down for a crime she didn’t commit?
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Books in the Oxford Key Mystery series by Lynn Morrison should come with a warning label !!  There should be a warning that you will not expect the books to end with such a dramatic cliff hanger !!  I thought after reading Burglary at Barnard with the way Morrison left the readers with such a big open ending,  I would have been prepared when I started reading Arson at the Ashmolean.....but that wasn't the case at all !!

When readers got to the end of reading Burglary at Barnard they learn that the Ashmolean museum is on fire.... but first I must back track.....

In the Oxford Key Mystery series readers are hanging out with Natalie, Kate, Mathilde, Harry, Edward, H the wyvern, Bartie and Nat's grandfather.  Natalie, Kate and Mathilde are prefects and they work at the colleges inside Oxford and oversee the magic within.  Harry  is the assistant to the Principal at St. Margaret College and she became close to Nat when Nat started as Head of Ceremonies for Oxford and Edward is Natalie's boyfriend and they are both able to see and experience the magic with Nat's help.  Bartie and Nat's grandfather are Externals and they are among a large group that oversee and protect the magic.  However we know from the first two books in this series that someone is messing with the magic and shifting the boundaries of the force field.

Okay that provides you with an insight into this series ...... now Arson at the Ashmolean, the third book in this series, we pick up right where Morrison left off in the second book with the group learning about the fire at the museum.  Luckily the fire is contained and nothing valuable is lost however Andrei, the security guard, is found dead in the storage area where the fire originated.

Nat and her group are still trying to figure out what is wrong with the magical boundaries and who is too blame for this but when Kate's assistant is arrested for the fire and murder of Andrei, they decide to investigate this knowing that she is innocent.

Nat always seems to have a lot on her plate and in this book, that is still the case.  Not only is she working on her next ceremonial event, the magical problems, now the fire and murder but she has to leave the flat she has been living in since arriving at her new job.  She was provided the flat for 6 months and that timeframe is coming to an end.  Readers will enjoy the flat hunting she and Mathilde go on and the result of her living problem.

I have said it before and I will say it again..... If you are a Harry Potter fan, the Oxford Key Mystery series is a must for you to read !!  You will thoroughly LOVE the people, magic and the setting !!  There are times that you will crack up laughing while you read about Nat and the trouble H gets her in and you will curse yourself at turning the pages so slowly and wish you had a spell of magic that could turn them for you.

I highly recommend reading this series and will take this time to warn readers...... especially with Arson at the Ashmolean.....the ending will shock you .... because it will leave you turning the page to read more and there will not be another page or chapter....just the description for the next book in the series.  If that isn't a sure way to make you look forward to the next book, I don't know what else an author can do.  You will have to get the next book to answer the opened questions you will have..... BRILLIANT !!!

Review by Missi M.


Monday 30 November 2020

Catch Handle by Alison O'Mara

 Arabian horses are admired for their strength, grace, and athleticism. They are beautiful, intelligent, and remarkable animals. 

As a newly minted veterinarian, Vivian Anderson knows and loves horses better than most. With an important horse show on the line and the search for a full-time vet job fast-approaching, Vivian is fully occupied at her Aunt’s Arabian horse ranch and her equine medical externship. 

Vivian’s world is abruptly shaken by a shocking murder that casts suspicion on the people she thought she knew best. Stolen medications, fatal “accidents,” unsavory horse handling, and a handsome newcomer have Vivian reeling. She cannot shake the feeling that the seemingly random events are all part of the same puzzle, but who can she trust? 

Vivian is about to learn just how dangerous her world of horses can be.  (Summary via Goodreads)

You have got to be kidding me !!  Why ? Why ? Why ? That is the question you will be asking when you finish reading Catch Handle by Alison O'Mara. Why would she do that to us readers ?  

Catch Handle is a cozy mystery that will have readers shocked at the ending !!  Your mind will be completely blown !!

In Catch Handle Vivian Anderson lives with her aunt Abby who runs a horse ranch and Vivian is starting her new full-time job as a large animal veterinarian.  Vivian works with David at his veterinary clinic and they do a lot of house calls to take care of local animals.  Vivian and Abby are participating in a horse show and that's where everything starts.....

Vivian is staying on the grounds during the weekend of the show so that she is there during the night to check in on the horses if the need arises.  Unfortunately during the second night Vivian's dog, Mutt wakes her up and insists on going for a walk and on that walk she comes across the body of Zepner.  Zepner is the hired help for a local ranch where the owner, Pamela, is horrible !!  Also Zepner has been know to cheat at the shows.  Of course there is a long list of likely candidates that wouldn't cry over Zepner's death but Vivian still doesn't like to think that someone close to them could have done the deed.

Vivian has her hands full with her job, helping her aunt at the ranch and she is dating two guys.  Colin she has known pretty much her entire life and he is trying to take their relationship out of the friendship zone while Nate is the step-son of one of the other local ranches and is a lawyer and he would like to get to know Vivian better.  Vivian takes to dating both of them which as we read, we see that she has a lot of difficulty managing that.....but she sure sounds like she's having fun with it !!

Vivian cannot stop her brain from seeing Zepner's body and trying to find out who killed him and why.  And then when someone else is found dead, her brain kicks into overdrive.....

Readers will be SHOCKED when the murderer is revealed !!  There is no way to have seen that coming, this person would not have been on our radar.  And we know that Vivian would not have suspected this person either !!  Readers will love the storyline and the relationships among everyone.  O'Mara knows how to write the story allowing the readers imagination to open up and readers will feel like there are right there next to Vivian throughout the story.  And when you get to a certain part in the book, you will have to keep reading until you get to the end..... I know I had to know the end !!

Review by Missi M.

Monday 23 November 2020

On Deadly Tides (Penny Brannigan #11) by Elizabeth J. Duncan


With a picturesque black and white lighthouse, pebble beaches and stunning views of sea and mountains, the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales is the perfect place for an idyllic mid-summer painting holiday.
And watercolour artist, businesswoman, and amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan is enjoying the retreat enormously - until she discovers the body of a New Zealand journalist on a secluded beach just as the tide is going out, threatening to take the body with it.
The post mortem reveals the victim died from injuries "consistent with a fall from a great height," and the death is ruled accidental. But Penny thinks there's more to the story. Curious how the victim came to such an untimely end at this most inhospitable spot, she uncovers a link to a mysterious disappearance several years earlier.
And as her holiday romance with a wildlife photographer turns to love, she learns some truths about herself, too, that surprise her.
As the winds of change blow through Penny's own life, she sets sail on a friendly tide for a future she never dreamed possible, in a beautiful place she never imagined.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

On Deadly Tides is the eleventh book in the Penny Brannigan mystery series by Elizabeth J. Duncan and the first book in the series that I have had the pleasure of reading.....and boy was it an awesome read !! On Deadly Tides felt like it could have been a stand alone book or the first in a new series.

Main character Penny Brannigan and her friend Alwynne are on a girl's get away weekend to a motel for a painting retreat with actor turned painter, Bill Ward.  On the friday evening there is a welcoming party in the bar of the hotel and Alwynne goes to bed early so Penny is on her own.  Penny meets two people Colin Campbell and Jessica Graham both there seperately.  Colin is a wildlife photographer in town to take photos of local wildlife and Jessica is in town to write about local interests as well as look into an old case of a missing person.  The three of them share a table in the bar and get know each other.

After parting ways Penny doesn't think much of Jessica until the next morning while her and Alwynne are at the local lighthouse setting up to paint it and its surroundings when Penny looks down the cliff at the beach below and sees Jessica's lifeless body.   After it is investigated it is ruled that Jessica's death was an accident.  Only Penny can't help thinking there is more to it especially seeing as the backpack that Jessica had with her friday night was no where to be found.  It wasn't at the scene or in her hotel room.  

When Jessica's mother, Louise, comes to claim her body her and Penny hit it off and soon agree that there is more to Jessica's "accident".  Unfortunately the police cannot just go on what someone thinks or feels and do not take things seriously until Louise is poisoned one night at the hotel.

Now that the police are looking into Jessica's death Penny can concentrate on her growing feelings for Colin.  The two have spent some time together and have been keeping in touch.  But when Colin gets on board with his curiousity on Jessica's death as well, Penny will allow him to assist her in investigating.....

On Deadly Tides will capture readers attention immediately and they will want to solve Jessica's murder also.  They will also be drawn to the storyline behind the missing person case from seven years ago.  And who cannot be curious when a new relationship is blossoming..... Duncan will draw the reader in and as you get lost in the story you will be powerless to shut the book....not that you will want to.  It is always a treat when you are reading a cozy mystery to have a love story intertwined in the story and Duncan has aced that as well.  Whether you are a long time fan and have read the previous books or you are reading On Deadly Tides and this is the first book of this series that you have read, you will be a devoted fan !!

Review by Missi M.



Saturday 21 November 2020

When Murder Comes Home by Shana Frost

 An adventure she’d asked for, being a murder suspect? Not really.

Introverted yet brilliant (former) accountant Aileen Mackinnon ditched her risk-less life in the city for the village of Loch Fuar, nestled in the picturesque Scottish Highlands. Now she’s the co-owner of her Gran’s inn, Dachaigh, and an amateur innkeeper to ten new guests. But when one of her guests doesn’t turn up for breakfast and the other dangles over the window sill, Aileen finds herself in deep waters, especially with the handsome local detective.

One man show, Detective Inspector Callan Cameron couldn’t be happier— finally a murder if not two! The only issue- he’s forced to join forces with the new innkeeper in town. What could be more horrible than having a partner? A partner Callan loves to argue with? A partner that gels with his detection style seamlessly?

Between bloody murders and stolen rings, the tension is high, so is the heat. They might not always see eye to eye, but can they agree: whodunnit?

When Murder Comes Home is the first novel in the Aileen & Callan Murder Mysteries based in the fictional town of Loch Fuar in the Scottish Highlands. This 55,000 word novel will make you bite your nails and laugh alongside lovable characters. Ready to enjoy some gore and lots of suspenseful fun? Download this book now!  (Summary via Goodreads)

When Murder Comes Home by Shana Frost will have readers conflicted.  Readers are going to fall in love with Aileen Mackinnon and her desire to leave a demanding job in a big city to move to the village of Loch Faur to run her grandmother's inn but they are going to hate that after she spends time and money renovating it and reopening it murder also checks into the inn on her re-opening weekend.

Aileen's grandmother moved to a nursing home and can no longer run the inn so Aileen decides to leave her job and home and move into the inn and run it but she has to fire the current innkeeper and repair a lot of things in the inn before she can open it up to guests.  After the town along with Detective Inspector Callan Cameron, help Aileen fix it up, she welcomes 10 guests to the inn for the re-opening weekend.  

While Aileen is getting use to running an inn and trying to satisfy all of the guests needs, she never expected to have one of the guests murdered .... and it looks like one of the other guests is the murderer !!!  Aileen joins forces with Callan to try to solve the murder but they have no idea why someone would murder another stranger.  It doesn't seem that any of the guests know each other and according to the security cameras no one entered the inn on the night of the murder......

When Aileen and Callan go to the nursing home to visit her grandmother, they learn that her grandmother's engagement ring which Aileen thought wasn't real was indeed real diamonds and it is no longer in the safe at the inn.  How could someone have gotten the keys that Aileen always has on her and gotten in the safe..... and how did they even know about the ring in the first place ??

Aileen and Callan seem to have more questions than answers and when someone else in the inn is murdered, they must put their heads together and solve this case......

Frost has a way of drawing the reader into the story and her vivid descriptions will have the readers imagination on overdrive.  Readers cannot help but love everything in this story and will want to make reservations at the inn, even chancing thier own lives.  And there is a secret about Callan that she hints at at the end of the book that will insure readers will be looking for the next book to see what unfolds......

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 19 November 2020

Falling into Magic (Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic #1) by Elizabeth Pantley

 When Hayden was a child, she lost her cat. Adults told her the cat ran away, but she knew the truth. The mirror had taken her. She knew because the mirror had given her a glimpse of an alternate world and had nearly pulled her in, so she was certain the cat had suffered that fate.

Twenty years later Hayden discovers the secret of the mirror when she is thrust into it. She learns of a world she never knew existed, and a family she never knew she had. But danger brought her here, and it followed her. Now, Hayden is on a mission to remove the threat, so that she can begin her magical, meaningful new life in this enchanted world.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Even though the day Hayden was born her family was torn apart leaving her with a missing father and older brother and a mother who ran away, she had a good upbringing.  Her grandmother and great-grandmother (Granana) raised Hayden and they did pretty well.  She has a best friend Luna who is also her business partner producing an online magazine, her grandmother and Granana, and her loving cat, Sassy.  Even though she has a good life, she cannot help wondering about her parents and every so often she sees something in her mirror that doesn't make any sense.....until one day she and Sassy fall into a construction hole and end up in a whole new place !

After falling through this hole Hayden wakes up in a bed and can communicate with Sassy !  Then she is introduced to her long lost brother who is the person that she would see in the mirror once in a while growing up.  Once she gets over that initial shock, she is hit with a lot more .... like she is in a hidden place called Destiny Falls and at the house of her grandparents called the Caldwell Crest.  The Caldwell family is considered the Chosen Ones and are treated like royalty.  She is soon introduced to her grandparents, reunited with her father as well her half brother and 2 half sisters.  She learns that the house and town are magical in a way that is hard to understand but quite enjoyable.

It all seems like a fairy tale and Hayden is soaking it all up until there is a death on the grounds of Caldwell Crest and Hayden wonders if it is the same person that pushed her through the portal.  Hayden and her brother Axel develop a quick bond and after his jeep is broken into and her belongings are searched, they begin to work with Sheriff Jaxson Redford to try to solve the murder.

Hayden has no idea when or even if she can return home to her family and friend so she sends them all emails telling them that she is in Denmark doing research for work so that they won't worry about her.  So she periodically sends them emails with photoshopped pictures buying her time while she gets to know her family and Destiny Falls secrets and help solve the murder.

To say everything is overwhelming for Hayden is an understatement and to provide you with more to the story would be ruining the story for the readers.   Falling into Magic by Elizabeth Pantley is like Harry Potter meets the Hallmark channel with a Law and Order undertone.  Readers will find something that perks their attention and keeps you engrossed in reading.  You are not going to want to leave Destiny Falls either and hopefully when you close the book, you will be a fan and looking forward to the next book in this series.....I know I am !!

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Bert and Norah: The Missing by Bernard Burgess


Set in the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains state of Wyoming, the second book in the Bert and Norah series is a tantalizingly multifaceted story of investigation into the missing child of a high level figure. Things are seldom as they seem in a mystery made more complex by an array of possible suspects. The B & N investigation team must deal with numerous complications as they become the secret, behind-the-scenes investigation of the investigators, at least one of whom is suspected in the crime. Norah must tend to her gravely ill mother during the early part of the case, leaving Bert to carry the load while seeking her inputs during nightly talks. On the periphery, a mysterious man seems to shadow and watch Bert’s every move. He appears to be part of a conspiracy to stop the B & N investigation at any cost. Coywolf companion animal, Missy, helps keep Bert grounded and Norah’s spirit high, as they walk, think, and eat pie around some of Wyoming’s scenic beauty. In the meantime, a young man turns up missing, and another theory is born. While this team is trying to figure out “who-dun-it”, the ultimate goal is to return those who are missing to their families. Will Norah’s gift and Missy’s nose steer them in the right direction, before the missing are sacrificed at the altar of high level greed.    (Summary via Goodreads)

GOOSEBUMPS !!!!  That is what you will get when you are at the end of Bert and Norah: The Missing by Bernard Burgess.  The Missing is the second book in the Bert and Norah Mystery series and if you read the first one, The Nickel Dime Murders you most likely closed the book after having your mind blown !!

Bert and Norah are a husband and wife investigative team and have their own business, B & N Investigations, and in The Missing they will get drawn into a case that may be too much for them to handle.  While Norah is away sitting with her dying mother, Bert gets a call to investigate a missing teen.  When he has his initial meeting to discuss the case, he finds out that the missing teen is the 16 year old daughter of Wyoming Governor Samuel Patterson.  Knowing that they have to trend carefully not knowing why she was taken, Bert and the Governor begin meeting secretly to discuss the case.  Meanwhile Norah, who can communicate with spirits and feel things spiritually communicates with the spirit world while with her mother.  When Norah's mother takes a miraciously turn and is sent home, Norah in able to join Bert on the case.

When they learn that the son of the Governor's best friend is also missing and someone tries to run Bert off the road, Norah urges him to be very careful.  She can see in the spirit world that he could be in danger or heading right into it.

Burgess is a word genuis and knows how to tell a story.  He knows how to keep the readers attention throughout the book and provide us with an explosive ending that will have us looking for the next book in this series.  With each book we learn more about Bert and Norah's relationship and their tie to each other.  We also see that the cases become more involved but it's nothing that they cannot handle together and their spirit connection gets stronger and stronger !!

Review by Missi M.

Monday 16 November 2020

Varnished Without a Trace (A Tallie Graver Mystery #5) by Misty Simon

 Her number is up . . .

This Christmas, Tallie Graver would like to take a break from running her cleaning business to be with her boyfriend, Max, and enjoy their first holiday together--alone. Instead, she's stuck keeping her mother and grandmother from duking it out during the town's annual Christmas Eve bingo game. As for festive spirit, she'll have to settle for her mean-spirited Aunt Ronda, whose mouth could use some soap.

The night only gets worse after Tallie discovers Ronda's body. It seems someone cleaned her clock with a can of varnish. While all the evidence points to Ronda's husband, Tallie doesn't believe her beloved Uncle Hoagie could do such a dirty deed. Of course, his sudden disappearance doesn't help his case. If Tallie hopes to clear his name, she'll need to dig up some dirt to locate the real killer. Otherwise, someone else could get rubbed out . . .

Praise for Cremains of the Day

"Simon kicks off a new series that combines a bit of humor and romance with a heroine who knows no boundaries while searching for the truth that will keep her out of jail."
--Kirkus Reviews 

"An amusing new series with an engaging, spirited sleuth." 
--Library Journal

"You'll be cheering as the clues pile up in this creative cozy mystery."
--New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon  (Summary via Goodreads)

You would think that by reading the first four books in the Tallie Graver Mystery series by Misty Simon, readers would be prepared for what unfolds in the fifth book, Varnished Without a Trace.  Boy are we wrong !!!

Simon throws ALL the punches she can in this book and main character Tallie is right there to catch them all !!

In Varnished Without a Trace readers will think that they are going to have a mellow story seeing as it starts with Tallie, Max, Tallie's mother and grandmother attending bingo at the firehouse on Christmas Eve.  I mean it's Christmas time, a time where everyone is in good spirits and visiting with family and eating lots of yummy food.  However for Tallie her uncle Sherman who is the Fire Chief is dealing with a firebug and wants him or her caught before the fires esculate and someone gets hurt or dies so he asks Tallie to look over the files to see if fresh eyes will catch something.  Also as everyone is leaving the firehouse after bingo, her aunt Ronda is found dead after being hit in the head with a can of varnish.  Aunt Ronda is married to Uncle Hoagie and they own the hardware store in town which is where Tallie and Max have been spending a lot of time there as they are renovation their apartment above the family funeral home.

All Tallie wants to do is spend this first Christmas season with Max and her family and relax and enjoy it.  But when Uncle Sherman and Police Chief Burton ask her for help and she sees how tired they both look, her heart goes out to them.  

Vanished Without a Trace has so much going on with the firebug and a murder......and Tallie finds out that certain family members aren't who they say they are and that sends her down a dark path.  But when the firebug takes things to the next level and her favorite employee, Letty, is trapped in the burning house, Tallie sees red and I'm not talking about fire engine red !!  

Everyone knows that Tallie will go out on a limb to save her town and everyone in it.  She still feels like she has to prove herself from when she turned her back on everyone when she was married to Waldo and she was a snob.  Sadly she can't see that everyone has forgiven her and have grown to depend on her to help solve any crime that threatens their town.

Readers will be totally on the edge of their seat reading this latest installment in this series.  There is a lot to handle but with Tallie on it, we know that everything will be okay in the end....we just have to get through the nail biting and breath holding stage and let Tallie take us to the finish line .... in her own time and way.

Review by Missi M.

Carpet Diem (A Tallie Graver Mystery #4) by Misty Simon

 Live and let dust . . .

Now that Tallie Graver’s cleaning business is starting to shine, she’s ready to go squeegee to squeegee against Audra McNeal for a major contract at the Astercromb mansion. Tallie’s not afraid of a little friendly competition from the new cleaner in town. In fact, Tallie likes Audra, though she wonders how her glamorous rival manages to clean house and maintain her fancy manicure. Tallie has her rubber-gloves full staying one step ahead of her nemesis. Until she finds a well-polished hand poking out of a rolled-up carpet, rendering her competition . . . dead.

Though it lands Tallie the big job, there’s nothing tidy about Audra’s death. So between polishing and scrubbing, Tallie’s determined to find the killer. Hopefully the police chief doesn’t mind her cluttering up his investigation with the filthy dealings she discovers. Turns out Audra was not as squeaky clean as she appeared. And confronting her killer could bring Tallie to a very foul end indeed . . .
   (Summary via Goodreads)

MIND BLOWN !!!  Sometimes readers wonder if an author can continue to amaze them with their series when they are a few books in.....well I am here to tell you that not only does Misty Simon keep the readers attention in her Tallie Graver Mystery series but she will have you on the edge of your seat with every new book and I highly warn you to be firmly sitting when you read Carpet Diem, the fourth book, because you may just end up on the floor !!!

If you have read the previous books in this series, you are a fan and feel like you are a part of the family or the town as you are now invested in it all.  If you are on the fence, Carpet Diem will put you over and in the yard !!

In Carpet Diem Tallie and a new friend, Audra, are going against each other for a huge cleaning contract.  If Tallie wins this contract her and her cleaning girls will be set for a while and maybe Tallie can convince her parents that she can do more than work for the family business, Graver's Funeral Home.  On the night before they are to compete for the contract, the Astercomb mansion is opened for them to walk through.  Unfortunately Tallie has a big date with Max who is in town for the weekend so she sends one of her employees, Bethany, in her place.  By the time they are scheduled to meet Tallie is going in blind because the files that Bethany sent are still downloading.  And that's not all ... when she gets to the property Preston Prescott a thorn from her past is there to torment her.  Of course he would be there as the owner is his aunt, Mrs. Petrovski, and for some reason she does not like Tallie.  While Tallie and Audra set off to each clean a room in the mansion to showcase their skills, Preston lingers near Tallie to ensure she loses.

After Preston succeeds in sabotaging the job securing it for Audra, Tallie leaves in a huff forgetting some of her supplies.  When she returns later to get them, she finds Audra''s body wrapped up in a rug in the dumpster.  Even though Max is now going to be staying for a whole month and she should focus on him and her cleaning company, she feels she has to find out what happened to Audra.  Max being the great man that he is offers to help with looking into Audra's life and the people in it while Tallie tries to convince Police Chief Burton to let her help in the case.  And with him also dealing with a drug bust case he could use her help.....

In Carpet Diem, as with previous books in this series, there is no shortage of suspects for Tallie to look into but readers will not be prepared for who ends up being the culprit !!  This person will not even be on our radar !!  

Simon has such a way with her writing that readers can sit back and enjoy the story and get lost in Tallie's life and fall in love with her and her friends and family more and more with each book.  However she also has a knack of getting readers minds going so that they can play along with Tallie and her investigative skills and try to solve the case ..... if they choose to.  Either way Simon has your best interest in mind.

Review by Missi M.

Deceased and Desist (A Tallie Graver Mystery #3) by Misty Simon

Window of opportunity . . .

 Most housecleaners don’t do windows, but Tallie Graver loves leaving a pane of glass streak-free and sparkling. After a dirty divorce from a filthy-rich jerk, she's started her own cleaning business to make ends meet. On her latest job, prepping a renovated bed and breakfast for a grand re-opening, she's standing outside on a ladder, wiping off a grimy pane, when she spies a man on a bed through the glass. But the B&B isn't open for business yet—and the man's not sleeping. Her family owns the Graver Funeral Home, so Tallie knows a corpse when she sees one.
The victim is a shady building inspector with a reputation for handing out passing grades for a greased palm.With the local police resistant, Tallie launches her own investigation, before she gets a rep as a town crank. But it's going to take more than a squirt bottle and a squeegee to clean up this mess. With the help of her gal pal Gina, Tallie searches for a killer's motive. But she'd better be careful, or it'll be curtains for this window cleaner . . .
“An amusing new series with an engaging, spirited sleuth.”—Library Journal  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Tallie Graver Mystery series by Misty Simon is a MUST READ !!  The main story line is enough of a story but when there is a new murder in every book and with the story behind that murder, readers cannot help but love it !!

Tallie Graver has a pretty good life.  She lives above the family business that her father keeps trying to get her to commit to full time.  She doesn't want to work at the Graver's Funeral Home for the rest of her life, she is happy with her small cleaning business.....and solving murders.  She has her boyfriend, Max, who lives in Washington D.C. currently and her best friend, Gina, who lives across the street.  She is pretty contend with her life and readers would totally enjoy reading about all of that without Tallie getting involved when there is a murder in her town......but it does add speed to our page turning !!

In Deceased and Desist, the third book in the series, Max is in Hawaii for work and he did ask Tallie to go with him but because of her cleaning business, she was unable to go.....but once she sees a dead body laying on a bed in the inn that she is cleaning windows for, I'm sure she regretted that decision.  When the coroner rules the death a heart attack but Tallie remembers clearly that the head looked wrong and the neck had to have been broken, she knows that she has to investigate.  And to make matters worse or better (depends on the readers idea of it) Police Chief Burton is out on medical leave due to an injury so he has a replacement, Hammond, that dislikes Tallie from the very beginning.  Those two butt heads worse that Tallie and Burton !!  And when Burton calls Tallie and asks her to look into things, she can not believe it !!!

With Max out of town Tallie looks to Gina to be her side kick and Gina couldn't be happier until her new boyfriend, Tallie's brother, gets upset with her !!  Readers will love that Gina and Jeremy are dating and we can only hope that maybe there will be a double wedding in the series ??  

Deceased and Desist is an explosive story !!  Blackmailing, secrets, murder, love, commitment, lies, family.....this story has it all and more !!  And Tallie and Gina are right there in the middle of it !!  I really like the Tallie and Max duo but Tallie and Gina working together is also a good fit !!  

There is no way that readers will not love this series and with every book they read they fall deeper and deeper in love with Tallie and her life !!  I cannot wait to see what trouble she gets into next....how about you ??

Review by Missi M.


Grounds for Remorse (A Tallie Graver Mystery #2) by Misty Simon

No more cheating . . .

Best friends Tallie Graver and Gina Laudermilch both seem to spend a lot of time around urns. For Tallie, they're part and parcel of the family business, Graver's Funeral Home. Even though she's traded ashes for dusting with her own cleaning business, she still works part-time for her folks and lives above the funeral parlor. For Gina, they're the vessels that contain her heavenly brew at her coffee shop, Bean There, Done That. And both women are learning that owning a business can make finding time for romance challenging.

But when Gina's new beau turns out to have a wife, who barges into the coffee shop to take him home, she can't contain her bitterness and loudly threatens to poison his cup or boil him in a vat of coffee. So when Mr. Wrong turns up dead at the bottom of a staircase inside Gina's locked home, she finds herself at the top of the police's suspect list. Tallie needs to sweep in to save her friend. But she'll need to watch her step, or she may go from being a funeral home employee to becoming their next client . . . (Summary via Goodreads)

Grounds for Remorse by Misty Simon is the second book in the Tallie Graver Mystery series and I LOVED it !!

Tallie Gravers is a very busy woman.  She is trying to rebuild her life after her marriage fell apart.  She is also trying to rebuild friendships that she damaged while she was a snob in her married life.  She is living on the thrid floor of the family business, Graver's Funeral Home, working for the family business part time as well as running her own cleaning business.  She is cleaning houses for the rich people that she thought were friends during her marriage.  And she has reconnected with Max, a childhood friend of her brother and they are taking it to the next level.

Max lives 3 hours away currently but in Grounds for Remorse he is back in town for a 10 day vacation.  Max and Tallie are looking forward to spending time together.  Unfortunately when Gina, Tallie's best friend ends up in trouble, they drop everything to help her.  Gina had been seeing Craig who is a guy that she thought was amazing....until his wife storms into the cafe and practically drags him out !!  Early the next morning when Gina is heading downstairs to open up the cafe, she stumbles across Craig's body.  Things do not look good for Gina seeing as the staircase that he is found in is locked and only she could have let him in.  She was also overheard by everyone in the cafe threatening what she would do to him if she saw him again and it wasn't pretty !!!

Tallie and Max put their alone time aside to help prove Gina's innocence.  Unfortunately doing that may be impossible when they find out Craig had 2 wives, numerous girlfriends and possibly one of them is pregnant.

Readers cannot help but fall in love with everything about this series.  You cannot help but love the relationship and tension between Tallie and Chief of Police James Burton.  The family dynamic, business and relationships will tug on your heartstrings....especially the growing relationship between Tallie and Max.  The way that Tallie puts herself out there and in the middle of the investigations and how she helps solves the murders will keep you turning the pages and looking forward to the next installment in this series.  I know I cannot wait to open up Deceased and Desist to see what trouble Tallie gets into......

Review by Missi M.