Wednesday 29 April 2020

Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut (Death by Chocolate Mystery #3) by Sarah Graves

Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut (Death by Chocolate Mystery #3)
When a pirate festival blows into their small town, bakeshop owners Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree and her best friend Ellie White expect they’ll be busy baking up a storm, but instead they find themselves marooned in a new murder investigation after someone kills a well-known food writer and TV personality . . .

Everything is shipshape at Jake and Ellie’s new waterfront bakery, The Chocolate Moose, especially now that the annual Pirate Festival is dropping anchor in their quaint island village of Eastport, Maine. Jake and Ellie are ready for the bounty of tourists sure to flood their shop. But their plans quickly sink when the body of celebrity foodie, Henry Hadlyme, is discovered in the Moose’s basement.

Jake and Ellie are horrified, but their shock turns to dismay when Jake is pegged for the murder. Now, to clear Jake’s name and save the shop, Jake and Ellie must swashbuckle down and figure out who among Henry’s numerous enemies scuttled him in the cellar. Was it a long-ago jilted sweetheart’s vengeful relative? His long-suffering personal assistant? Or perhaps some bitter-as-dark-chocolate unknown enemy, now aboard the mysterious ship lurking in Eastport’s harbor?

Alas, dead men tell no tales, so Jake and Ellie will have to get to the bottom of the case on their own and find the real killer before anyone else is forced to walk the plank . . .

Includes a Recipe!   (Summary via Goodreads)

Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree is one of the luckiest and unluckiest people in Eastport Maine.....that is if she was real.  But she is not.  Jake Tiptree lives in Eastport in a huge house with her husband, her son, his wife and their son, plus Jake's father and and his wife who also happens to be Jake's housekeeper.  Jake and her best friend Ellie own The Chocolate Moose which is a bakery specializing in chocolate treats.  In all that she is the luckiest person.  She has a houseful of people who she loves and who love her.  She works with her best friend and they get to see the enjoyment on people's faces while they eat the goodies from The Chocolate Moose.  However the unlucky part is that she is always in the middle of a murder investigation.

Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut is the third book in the Death by Chocolate Mystery series by Sarah Graves and in this book it looks like Jake is heading straight to not pass Go and do not collect $200.

While the town is in the middle of their annual Pirate Festival, a well known food personality comes to town to do some podcasts for his Eat This show but no one in town is interested in doing it....especially Jake and she gets into an argument with him in front of the store and a bunch of people.  So when he is found stabbed to death in the basement of The Chocolate Moose, Jake is at the top of the suspect list.

Of course everyone knows that Jake wouldn't kill anyone and if she did she wouldn't do it in the basement with a sword that belonged to her husband.  Someone is going through a lot of trouble trying to frame Jake for the crime but who and why ??  Jake and Ellie decide to find out before the state police get to town and arrest Jake !!

Readers cannot help but love this series.  You cannot help but love Jake and her friends and family.  You will want to take a trip to Eastport to visit and taste the goodies they are making at The Chocolate Moose. And Graves will have readers so engrossed in the story that before you know it you will be closing the book and sitting back tired and hungry.......but well satisfied.

Review by Missi M.

Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake (Death by Chocolate Mystery #2) by Sarah Graves

Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery #2)
The island fishing village of Eastport, Maine, has plenty of salty local character. It also has a sweet side, thanks to Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree, her best friend Ellie, and their waterfront bake shop, The Chocolate Moose. But when island life is disrupted by the occasional killer, Jake and Ellie put their chocolate treats aside to make sure justice is served. 

This summer, Eastport’s favorite lovebirds, kindergarten teacher Sharon Sweetwater and Coast Guard Captain Andy Devine, are getting married. The gala reception is sure to be the fĂȘte of the season, especially with a wedding-cake-sized whoopie pie courtesy of The Chocolate Moose. For Jake and Ellie, the custom-ordered confection will finally reel in some much-needed profits. But the celebratory air, and sweet smell of success, are ruined by foul murder.

When Sharon’s bitter ex-boyfriend Toby is poisoned with an arsenic-laced milkshake, Andy is jailed as the prime suspect and the wedding is cancelled, whoopie pie and all. Then Sharon makes a shocking confession—one that sounds like a fishy attempt to get Andy off the hook. Now both the bride and groom are behind bars. And with the fate of The Chocolate Moose at stake, it’s up to Jake and Ellie to catch a poisonous predator before someone else sips their last dessert.

Includes a Recipe!  (Summary via Goodreads)

There is so much to love in Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves.  First you have main character Jacobia Tiptree, who everyone calls Jake for short, and her best friend Ellie, who is also her business partner, and they own the Chocolate Moose, a bake shop.  They live in Eastport, Maine in a little town on the water.  Jake and her husband Wade own a huge house where not only do they live in it but their grown son, his wife and their son along with Jake's dad and his wife, Jake's step-mother and housekeeper all live there as well.  (Phew....)

Sadly in Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake Jake and Ellie's business is struggling.  They are hoping that the upcoming wedding they are baking for will help keep their business afloat until tourist season starts.  Unfortunately a local drunk and unpopular ex-boyfriend of the bride is found dead behind the local bar, The Rubber Ducky, with a milkshake cup from The Chocolate Moose near him.  It is learned that Toby, the deceased, was poisoned which forces Jake and Ellie on high alert.  

Jake loves working with Ellie and will do whatever it takes to make sure that they can continue working together....even if that means putting herself in danger.....more than once.....

Reading Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake will have the reader hungry and tired as you are reading it.  You will be hungry because you are reading about all the yummy treats being made at The Chocolate Moose and you will be tired because Jake is always on the go !!  Even when the girl has blood oozing out of her arm and she is drugged, she does not stop !!!

Graves writing will have the reader feeling like you are right there along side Jake and Ellie as they race all over town trying to solve the murder before the state police do.  You will fall in love with the town, the relationships, the shops and everything else.  You are going to wish that you could go hang out at The Chocolate Moose and The Rubber Ducky with Jake and Ellie.  You are never going to want to leave......

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Dead on the Vine (A Finn Family Farm Mystery #1) by Elle Brooke White

Dead on the Vine: A Finn Family Farm Mystery
Perfect for fans of B. B. Haywood and Peg Cochran, Ellie B. White's whimsical series debut is full of farm fun, complete with a helpful baby pig.

Reluctant farmer Charlotte Finn needs the help of the livestock to sleuth a mysterious death.

Charlotte Finn never wanted to inherit the family's produce farm--much less plow a heap of money into it. Her plan is to hammer a great big FOR SALE sign into the farm's fallow furrows--but Charlotte's sunny hopes of a quick sale succumb to a killing frost when she finds a dead body entwined supine in the tomato vines. The poor man, it seems, was run through...with a pitchfork?

Now, Charlotte is stuck with running the farm in the midst of a murder investigation. Charlotte's knowledge of farming is smaller than her bank balance, so she relies on caretakers Joe and Alice Wong and their farmhands. Can she trust them? She doesn't know them. There's also farmer Samuel Brown, who still carries a childhood grudge. But the case gets personal when Charlotte learns that the victim might have been her own kin--and seeds of suspicion grow into a fertile field of suspects.

Charlotte turns to the farm's baby pig to help root out the killer. Soon, the goats, geese, and horse join in, but will Charlotte harvest a murderer--or buy the farm?  (Summary via Goodreads)

Elle Brooke White has a hit with Dead on the Vine !!  Dead on the Vine is the first book in her Finn Family Farm Mystery series and boy are you in for a TREAT !!!

Charlotte Finn inherited her great-uncle's farm after he died.  Along with her two best friends, Diane and Beau (who are brother and sister), Charlotte heads to the farm to see whether she should sell it or try to make a go of it.  The farm is in Little Acorn, California and besides having farm animals, it had fields and fields of fruit and vegetables.

Before they can meet the employees and take a grand tour of the land, they stumble across a dead body in the fields.....and there is no was murder !!  Sadly Charlotte becomes so friendly with the local police Chief that she calls her by her first name.  

Charlotte and friends decide to work together to get the farm in tip top shape.....and it's all hands on deck, including some very smart animals led by a very cute little pig named Horse.  It seems that Charlotte has decided to keep the farm and work at making it profitable but someone in town doesn't want her to stay and they are sabotaging things around the farm.

Charlotte and Horse will do whatever it takes to save the farm..... even if it means doing something beyond dangerous !!!

Dead on the Vine is such a fun book to read....even with murder on the menu !!  You cannot help but love the relationships in the story, especially with the animals.  It's like a modern day Charlotte's Web with different characters.  And the human relationships are a treat as well.  You cannot help but fall in love with Little Acorn and the way that White writes the story you can see everything so clearly in your head.......and that is what a GREAT book is all about !!!  I highly recommend and encourage you to become a fan of this author and book !!!!  

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 18 April 2020

Deep Bitter Roots (Book 2 in Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery) by Joy Ann Ribar

Deep Bitter Roots (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series Book 2) by [Joy Ann Ribar]

The promise of Spring in Deep Lakes, Wisconsin brings the community out of hibernation to plan the annual Roots Festival. Bubble and Bake owner Frankie Champagne just wants to help the Granite Mansion quarry heiress plan the keynote presentation. So, why does she find herself in the middle of the legendary and deadly Quarry Curse?  (Summary via Amazon)

Deep Bitter Roots is the second book in the Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery series by Joy Ann Ribar and boy is it a page turning, nail biting, breath holding story !!

Do you even read a book then sit back and ask yourself "How did the author think of this ?"  I do...quite a lot actually but with Deep Bitter Roots, I asked that question throughout the story.

In Deep Bitter Roots the reader is hanging around with main character Frankie Champagne and hanging around with her is off the charts fun !!  Just hanging around her on a regular day would be fun because she owns Bubble and Bake, which is a bakery in the morning and a wine bar at night and she also owns Bountiful Fruits, which is a vineyard where she makes wine for the wine bar and she is dating the local medical examiner.  To say Frankie has her hands full is just plain stating the facts but add a murder investigation to her list and LOOK OUT !!  Okay no she is not with the police but she does write for the newspaper and when there is a murder in her town, she takes it personally and has to try to solve it.

And in Deep Bitter Roots the murder hits a nerve with Frankie as the person murdered is Emily Spurgeon.  Frankie is asked by the mayor to work with Emily on a speech for the park re-dedication ceremony.  The town is rebuilding Spurgeon Park and adding some buildings and a gazebo and they thought it would be great to have Emily say some words seeing as the park is named after her family.  Her family owned the Deep Lakes Granite Works which employed a lot of people when it was open and she still resides in the Granite Mansion.  Frankie gets to know Emily while working on the speech and is shocked when she shows up to a scheduled meeting to learn that Emily had passed away in her sleep.  Luckily Frankie and Sheriff Alonzo Goodman are childhood friends and he lets her look over the scene and come to some conclusions for herself.  Frankie doesn't believe that Emily died innocently and when it is determined that Emily was murder, Frankie jumps head first into the case.

I have to warn the reader to read carefully....there are some key points throughout the book that will aid you in solving the case....I for one, overlooked them until they were brought up towards the end....and then the light bulb went on.  Ribar knows how to keep the reader thinking and enjoying the story.  I love how she takes things from the past and brings them front and center in this story.  And the way Frankie works through the case will have the reader in awe.  You cannot help but LOVE everything there is about Frankie, her jobs, her family, her friends and her community.  I would love to visit Deep Lakes and will do so every time Ribar writes a book.

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Easter Hair Hunt (Bad Hair Day Mystery #16) by Nancy J. Cohen

Easter Hair Hunt (The Bad Hair Day Mysteries, #16)

When hairstylist Marla Vail attends an Easter egg hunt at historic Tremayne Manor, she’s only there to fix hair for a client, Bonnie “Blinky” Morris. But when she’s asked to comb the grounds for leftover goodies, Marla discovers more than just a few dyed eggs. The dead body in the bunny costume is definitely not having a good hare day. And Blinky seems to have disappeared down a rabbit hole.

When trying to solve a murder, everyone needs a friend who’s all ears. For Marla, that’s her husband, homicide detective Dalton Vail. They make an eggcellent team. Dalton isn’t the kind to leap to conclusions, but with his wife seven months pregnant, and knowing Marla finds crime-solving to be irresistible, he worries about her running off on another hare-raising adventure.

Marla’s peeps are hoping for a happy ending, but she may have found a basketful of trouble this time. Can she crack the case before Blinky becomes the next victim?

Recipes Included!   (Summary via Goodreads)

I am a huge fan of the Bad Hair Day Mystery series and any time that I can pick up one of the books in this series and get lost, I am going to do it !!   Easter Hair Hunt is the sixteenth book in this series by Nancy J. Cohen and I was hooked immediately.

Main character Marla Vall is a very, very busy person.  Not only does she have her own business, a hair salon and day spa but she "helps" her husband solve murders.  Marla has an awesome relationship with her husband, Dalton, who happens to be a homicide detective and the pair have worked together on a number of cases....mainly because Marla cannot help herself and most times she "discovers" the dead body first.

In Easter Hair Hunt Marla is helping her friend, Blinky, at a fundraiser at a historic house, the Tremayne Manor.  The Tremayne Manor hosts special events, has a restaurant, gift store, and provides tours of the inside and surrounding gardens.  Marla is at the Easter Egg Hunt fundraiser to help Blinky with her hair when she is done playing the Easter Bunny for the kids.  Unfortunately when Blinky doesn't resurface after playing the Easter Bunny, Marla gets nervous and starts looking for her only to discover a dead body in the costume and Blinky missing !!!

So even though Marla is almost 8 months pregnant, she still wants to help Dalton solve the case and find Blinky.  And when Lacey, the owner of Tremayne Mansion asks Marla for her help tracking down who is stealing little items from the house, Marla charges like a bull in a china shop !!  Nothing and I mean nothing can stop Marla when "she" is on a case....even her unborn son kicking her from time to time telling her to focus on him !!!

The good thing about Marla is that she can multi-task better than anyone and when her and Dalton, with the help of her step-daughter Brianna, work things out on their Sunday outings or sitting around the dinner table, the killer had better watch out !!!

Cohen is always amazing me with this series.  I mean the lady has 16 books in this series and one cookbook dedicated to recipes throughout this series !!!  Readers .... this series is a MUST read !!  If you haven't started reading these books, I highly encourage you to pick them up !!  You will thank me !!  There are so many things to love when reading them !!

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 11 April 2020

Bonbon with the Wind (A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #4) by Dorothy St. James

Bonbon with the Wind (Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery, #4)
Join Penn and Stella on their latest adventure!

There's a legend in the Sea Islands that before a hurricane hits the Gray Lady can be seen walking down the beach warning of doom. Penn doesn’t believe in such silly stories, but she does believe weather forecasters. A powerful hurricane is heading their way. Everyone on the island of Camellia Beach is busy boarding up windows and securing valuables to upper levels of buildings. Joe Davies, a local treasure hunter with an unquenchable sweet tooth, claims to have seen the Gray Lady walking toward him just that morning and is terrified for his life.

After the storm passes everyone returns to survey the damage. As Penn walks her little dog Stella on the beach, she finds Joe Davies’ body washed up onshore. Not only that, it looks as if an exploding transformer caused Joe’s seaside shack to burn to the ground. Did the Gray Lady claim another victim? Many on the island believe that is exactly what happened.

Penn is sure there’s another explanation. She follows the clues and hints of lost gold to discover that the truth behind the treasure hunter’s death is as much of a maze as the boating channels winding their way through the local marshes.   (Summary via Goodreads)

I LOVE returning to Camellia Beach even during and after a hurricane hits ... and that is what is going on in Bonbon With the Wind, the fourth book in Dorothy St. James' Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series....oh and a dead body or two.

Charity Penn, who goes by Penn, lives in Camellia Beach after inheriting a chocolate shop and it's not just your average chocolate.  She makes the candy with a special chocolate that only she gets which makes it very special and popular.  Even though this is the fourth book in this series, Penn is still dealing with her new life and somehow this new life involves her with dead bodies and murder and her in the middle of it.

In Bonbon With the Wind a hurrican hits the island town and when the residents return to access the damage and move on, Penn and her dog, Stella, uncover a dead body on the beach.  This is not just a dad body, it is a friend and someone that Penn and her friend Althea had seen right before the hurrican hit.  Joe was walking on the beach scared saying he had come in contact with "the Gray Lady".  "The Gray Lady" is said to be a ghost who warns of impeding death.  So when Joe's body is found talk of ghosts is high on the gossip chain, even bringing "ghost hunters" to town to see if they can catch sight of the ghost.

Penn is drawn into the case when Joe's wife and daughter show up in town looking for answers and they have a lot of questions.  Top of the list of questions is how their husband/father who is actually John who use to own a car dealership ended up at Camellia Beach as a retired fisherman.  And Penn also learns about a bank robbery that may have had something to do with John/Joe going into hiding.....

St. James will have the reader on the end of their seats reading this story.  You cannot help but love Penn and all her friends and town.  And the devotion Penn has when her town or a member of it is hurt will melt your heart like a hot summer day does to chocolate.  I also love that when I read these books, I feel like I am there....I can see the town and the beach, I want to hang out in the chocolate shop and even the back deck looking out over the marsh and I definitely want to get to know Harley and everyone else a lot better.  So I will be returning to the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series as often as St. James writes the books......  I hope you do also !!!

Review by Missi M.

Friday 3 April 2020

Murder at the Taffy Shop (Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery #2) by Maddie Day

Murder at the Taffy Shop (Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery, #2)

Cape Cod bicycle shop owner Mackenzie “Mac” Almeida and her mystery book club find a certain accusation of murder quite the stretch . . .

When your mother is an astrologist and your dad is a minister, you learn to keep an open mind. Which is just what Mac loves to do—exercise her mind by puzzling out fictional clues in the mystery novels she reads and discusses with her Cozy Capers Book Group.

But now Mac’s friend Gin has found herself in a sticky situation. After wealthy genealogist Beverly Ruchart is found dead outside Gin’s taffy shop, the candy maker becomes a person of interest. When it’s revealed that Beverly was poisoned the night Gin brought a box of taffy to a dinner party at Beverly’s house, she’s bumped to the top of the suspects list. It’s up to Mac and her Cozy Capers crime solvers to unwrap this real-life mystery. But this time they might have bitten off more than they can chew . ... (Summary via Goodreads)

Murder at the Taffy Shop is the second book in Edith Maxwell's Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery series and this series is a HIT !!!

The reader cannot help but love main character Mac Almeida, her job, her friends and her town.....and her pet, Bella, who is a parrot and a big part of Mac's life.  Mac owns a bike shop where she sells bike merchandise, repairs bikes and rents bikes out.  She has a mechanic, Orlean, and her brother, Derrick, works for her.  She owns a little house behind the shop.  Her best friend, Gin, owns a candy store on Main Street, they go walking most mornings before their busy days start, they belong to a book club that reads cozy mysteries and in Murder at the Taffy Shop, Mac and Gin discover a dead body on the sidewalk next to Gin's candy store.  

When they realize the deceased is Mac's parents neighbor and Gin's boyfriends ex mother-in-law, they become curious.  And the night before Gin and her boyfriend, Eli, were at a dinner party hosted by the deceased and it seems no one in town really liked her.....but to murder her ??

Even though they know they should leave the detecting to the police, Mac, Gin and their book club members decide that it wouldn't hurt to look into a few people to see if they can find the killer before the police.  After all they are just trying to make their quaint little touristy town safe. 

I love this series....there is so much to love !!  Once you start reading you feel like you are a member of the community and feel like you are there !! Maxwell has such a knack with her writing that your imagination wakens as you read the story.  And having a parrot in the story is a nice treat from the normal cat and dog side kicks....don't get me wrong I still love cats and dogs but with Bella.....well I'll let you see why a parrot is the best choice in this story.

Review by Missi M.