Monday 31 August 2020

Thread and Dead: The Apron Shop Series (Apron Shop #2) by Elizabeth Penney

Thread and Dead: The Apron Shop Series
Tragedy strikes in Thread and Dead, the second book in Elizabeth Penney's cozy mystery series—and now everyone in Blueberry Cove, Maine, is on pins and needles. . .

Iris Buckley is busier than ever this July, with the town’s annual Lobster Festival fast approaching. In just a matter of days her apron shop Ruffles & Bows, will be jam-packed with tourists eager to lay eyes on its world-class collection of aprons and linens—and Iris’s inventory is running low. Then, just when all hope seems lost, Iris gets a call from Eleanor Brady, a wealthy, reclusive spinster who just happens to have trunks full of vintage fabrics. Would Iris like to come down to Eleanor’s cottage estate Shorehaven and have a look? 

Before long Iris is on the scene—and on the case. Turns out that Eleanor has rented Shorehaven to the handsome, charismatic environmentalist Dr. Lukas de Wilde and his flock of students. What begins as an apron-scouting endeavor soon morphs into a full-blown murder investigation when Dr. de Wilde’s beautiful young teaching assistant turns up dead. Now it’s up to Iris—along with her partner-in-love-and-crime Ian Stewart—to unravel the mystery before the Blueberry Cove killer strikes again.

Praise for The Apron Shop series

“Quirky-meets-fun.”—Woman's World on Hems & Homicide

“Penney knows the recipe for delivering just what cozy readers are looking for.” —Reviewing the Evidence    (Summary via Goodreads)

I would love to live in Blueberry Cove in Maine but it would have to be exactly like it is in the Apron Shop Mystery series by Elizabeth Penney.  I would want to hang out with Iris Buckley and her group of girlfriends and work either with Iris and her grandmother in the Apron Shop or at the Belgian Bean with Sophie.  And I would totally want to have a cool boyfriend like they do.....or their friend Madison.

In Thread and Dead, the second book in the Apron Shop Mystery series, Blueberry Cove is gearing up for the week long lobster festival so everyone is busy !!  And Iris is extra busy.  She co-owns the Apron Shop with her grandmother and gets a phone call from the owner of Shorehaven Cottage looking to sell some vintage linens and other items.  While at Shorehaven Cottage she meets Dr. Lukas de Wilde who is staying there for business.  Little do they know how exciting the week is going to be and they are going to get to know each other quite well. 

Dr. de Wilde is staying at Shorehaven Cottage with a group of colleagues who are working on a project called Farming the Sea which is about farming sea animals and plants.....mainly seaweed.  Unfortunately when Iris, Madison and Ian (Iris' boyfriend) are out rock climbing the morning after the The Taste O'the Sea reception, the start of the lobster festival celebration, Iris sees one of the members of the project laying on a rock ledge dead.  When it is ruled a homicide Iris, Grammie and the girls decide to do their own investigating.

Along with running the store, looking into the homicide, and hanging with her friends, Iris is also looking into the background of Eleanor, the owner of Shorehaven Cottage, her parents and some vintage clothing and jewels.

Even though the two things have nothing to do with each Iris id determined to find answers for both situations......

I loved getting lost in Thread and Dead.  There is never a dull moment and even when Iris and her grandmother are hosting a girl's night, it is a good time !!!   And readers will love the determination Iris has when she wants answers.  And the girl has NO fear !!   Readers will be drawn to Blueberry Cove and will not want to leave.  Readers will love the town, the people and the relationships among the people....especially Iris and her group.  A part of me was left in Blueberry Cove and I intend to visit whenever Penney publishes a new book in this series.

Review by Missi M.

20 Questions with Authors : Gary Corbin

Gary Corbin is a novelist, playwright and editor.  His books are mainly thrillers and some of them you can get the audio version and he may actually be the person reading the story to cool !!!

Here is a list of his books....

The Lying Injustice Thriller series has 2 books (so far)

Lying in Judgement
Lying in Vengeance

The Mountain Man Mystery series has 3 books (so far) 

The Mountain Man's Dog
The Mountain Man's Bride
The Mountain Man's Badge

The Valorie Dawes Thriller series has 3 books (so far)

In Search of Valor
A Woman of Valor
A Better Part of Valor

And he also wrote Write Better Right Now

Now let's get to know his personally.....


1.  What is your favorite color ?   The blue of my girlfriend’s eyes. And purple.


2.  Sunset or sunrise ?  Sunset. That means I can have wine!


3.  Coffee, tea or soda ?  Coffee. I roast my own and it makes rising in the morning a pleasure.


4.  What is your favorite movie ?  Whatever I get to see once the pandemic ends!


5.  What are your favorite toppings on pizza ?  Feta cheese, spinach, red onion, and sun-dried tomatoes. Red sauce, of course!


6.  Cake or pie? What is your favorite ?  Nothing beats warm apple pie and ice cream.


7.  Favorite author (besides yourself) ?  Toughest question of all! I’m going to go with John Irving. I might pick someone different tomorrow.


8.  Horror movie or chick flick ?  Ugh. Neither.


9.  Cat or dog person? Do you have any? If so, what and names please....  Dog! We have a pretty one-year-old Golden Retriever named Penelope, who believes she rules the universe. (She’s not far off.)


10.  Ideal vacation ?  Eating my way across Italy and Greece.


11.  Camping or 5 star hotel ?   Hotel. I hate being cold.


12.  Favorite season and why ?  Autumn. Love the changing leaves, the brisk breezes on sunny afternoons, harvesting from the garden…and football!


13.  Name ONE thing you are afraid of .....  Dying alone.


14.  Name ONE thing you cannot live without....  Pizza.


15.  What was your favorite subject in school ?  History.

16.  What was your least favorite subject in school ?  Trigonometry. I never quite understood it, or even why we have it.


17.  What movie have you seen more than once ?  It’s a Wonderful Life. We watch it every Christmas.


18.  What is your guilty pleasure?  (Can't be an answer already given...)  Dairy Queen’s hot fudge brownie with ice cream. So bad, but so good.


19.  Who is your celebrity crush ?  Jennifer Lawrence has charmed me in every role she’s ever played.


20.  Tell us something we don't know that you would like people to know about you ......  I came from a family of nine kids. We grew up in a 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom house. This is probably why I absolutely crave privacy…I never had it growing up.

To get to know Gary and his books, go to :

Saturday 29 August 2020

Doggone Dead (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries #1) by Dane McCaslin

Doggone Dead (The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries #1)

Retired high school teacher Gwen Franklin has a new pet valet business with her BFF, and a whole new leash on life. But a killer is about to come sniffing around . . . 

Gwen Franklin is looking forward to spending her retirement drinking her favorite coffee and reading mystery novels. Those peaceful plans are brought to heel by her best friend, Nora. Sporting stiletto heels, leggings, and a “more is better” makeup routine, fifty-something Nora Goldstein has a penchant for marrying—and divorcing—rich men. Now that Gwen’s got free time, Nora figures they should start a dog-walking and pet-sitting service together.
But it’s far from a walk in the park when the corpse of Linda Fletcher is found in Nora’s kitchen. Linda was Nora’s nemesis, and the large knife protruding from her chest points to murder. With no doubt that her bestie’s being framed, Gwen puts her sleuthing skills—acquired from reading every Agatha Christie mystery—to the test as she digs through suspects, including four disgruntled ex-husbands, ten greedy ex-stepchildren, not to mention all her exes’ exes. But with death threats and another body surfacing, can Gwen curb a killer before her own (dog) days come to an end?  (Summary via Goodreads)

Doggone Dead, the first book in the 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mystery series, by Dane McCaslin is a total hit !!  Readers will not be able to put this book down once they start reading it.  The characters, the setting, and everything else will capture your attention and you will be powerless against the force.

In Doggone Dead Gwen Franklin has just retired from her job of teaching high school kids and is looking forward to staying up late reading in bed, sleeping in without the alarm clock waking her up, not having to deal with bratty students and just hanging around her house and yard.  Unfortunately her best friend Nora Goldstein has other plans for the two of them !!

In Nora's apartment building and across the street at the dog walking park there are a lot of dogs..... Nora decides that her and Gwen should start a dog walking and pet sitting service and when one of Gwen's students, Brent, is her Uber driver on the way to Nora's, he ends up being a part of the business.  While they are getting the word out to all the residents in Nora's apartment, Nora's neighbor ends up in Nora's kitchen.....dead !!  Sadly the killer could have been anyone because no one locks their apartment doors when they are going on a quick errand.  While the two friends who feel like sisters try to figure out if Linda was the intended target or if it actually could have been Nora seeing as it was Nora's apartment, Nora's many step-children begin to appear.  Nora has quite a few ex-husbands who left her well off financially however the step-children disapprove.  Would one of them be willing to kill her to get at her money ??  Or it could be someone pretty much standing right in front of them and they don't even know it.  Can they figure it out in time ??

I think that The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mystery series is going to be one of my favorite series.  This is definitely going to be a series that I will be keeping an eye out for.  I love the main characters and their relationship.  Their friendship is one that we can all wish for !!  And the "trouble" that Nora gets into and Gwen has to help get her out of will have readers laughing out loud.  Even the murder and the way they go about solving it is quite entertaining !!  And the way that Gwen reverts to her teaching methods throughout the story only makes it better.  McCaslin really sets the stage perfectly in Doggone Dead ..... I cannot wait for the next book to see where the adventure takes the ladies......

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 27 August 2020

Mums and Mayhem (A Magic Garden Mystery #3) by Amanda Flower

Mums and Mayhem (A Magic Garden Mystery #3)

A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden's left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox's father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona's blood be spilt?

World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan. Fiona Knox, owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi's birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert's intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona's father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized.

Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father's name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose--the source of the garden's magic--from the standing stone.

The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she's grown unless she's able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth--fast.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Readers cannot help but fall under a spell when reading the Magic Garden Mystery series by Amanda Flower.  Once you open one of the books in this series, you will be swept away to the little village of Bellewick in Scotland and you won't want to leave !!

There is so much to love in this little have main character Fiona Knox who moved there from America after inheriting her godfather's property.  This property included a quaint little cottage and a beautiful garden and inside this garden is magic.  Fiona doesn't quite fully understand the magic behind the garden other than that after her godfather died, he left everything to her and she is now the new Keeper of the garden and she possesses the magic to keep it alive.

In Mums and Mayhem, the third book in the series, Fiona and her garden are tested to the full extent when a fiddler player who has come back to Bellewick to perform his coming home concert is killed during intermission, the entire garden dies and Fiona's father ends up a suspect in the murder !!  

Fiona's parents came to Scotland to see Fiona and her sister Isla and hopefully to tell Fiona a secret regarding her godfather and why she was chosen to be the Keeper of the magical garden.  Before Fiona even gets to see her parents she has to help with Barley McFee's homecoming concert.  When he doesn't reappear after intermission is over, Fiona is sent to his tour bus to get him.  Unfortunately she finds him dead in the tour bus and when she finds out that her parents have lied about knowing the fiddler and her father is a suspect in his death, she takes it upon herself to investigate.  Even though her boyfriend is the Chief Inspector and will not be happy with her.....

Mums and Mayhem is full of secrets that need to be told but the holders of the secrets are just as determined to keep them secret as Fiona is to bring them to light.  Once Fiona sees that the magical garden is completely dead, she begins to question everything about why she was picked to tend to the garden in the first place.  Unfortunately her parents are now the only people who can shed any light on that matter but it seems they don't want to share that secret.  

Even though her parents are being secretive and frustrating to Fiona, she still has to clear her fathers name because she knows that he wouldn't have killed Barley....even if he lied about knowing him.

I just love this series and am so glad that I have been able to read all three books in the series.  I can only hope that there will be more and more books to follow.  I love traveling to Bellewick and hanging out with Fiona in the garden, Duncreigan, and her flower shop, The Climbing Rose Flower Shop, and when she visits her friends and the pub.   Who couldn't use a little magic in their life ??  And when they don't have to leave the comforts of their home and can wear their comfy clothes, even pajamas, who wouldn't want to do it ???  I highly recommend the Magic Garden Mystery series...whether you believe in magic or not, you are sure to enjoy the story !!!!

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Murder at Kingscote (Gilded Newport Mysteries #8) by Alyssa Maxwell

Murder at Kingscote (Gilded Newport Mysteries, #8)

In late nineteenth-century Newport, Rhode Island, journalist Emma Cross discovers the newest form of transportation has become the newest type of murder weapon . . . 

On a clear July day in 1899, the salty ocean breeze along Bellevue Avenue carries new smells of gasoline and exhaust as Emma, now editor-in-chief of the Newport Messenger, covers Newport's first-ever automobile parade. But the festive atmosphere soon turns to shock as young Philip King drunkenly swerves his motorcar into a wooden figure of a nanny pushing a pram on the obstacle course.

That evening, at a dinner party hosted by Ella King at her magnificent Gothic-inspired "cottage," Kingscote, Emma and her beau Derrick Andrews are enjoying the food and the company when Ella's son staggers in, obviously still inebriated. But the disruption is nothing compared to the urgent shouts of the coachman. Rushing out, they find the family's butler pinned against a tree beneath the front wheels of Philip's motorcar, close to death.

At first, the tragic tableau appears to be a reckless accident--one which could ruin Philip's reputation. But when Emma later receives a message informing her that the butler bullied his staff and took advantage of young maids, she begins to suspect the scene may have been staged and steers the police toward a murder investigation. But while Emma investigates the connections between a competing heir for the King fortune, a mysterious child, an inmate of an insane asylum, and the brutal boxing rings of Providence, a killer remains at large--with unfinished business to attend to . . .   (Summary via Goodreads)

Murder at Kingscote is the eighth book in the Gilded Newport Mystery series by Alyssa Maxwell and I have to say I believe this is my favorite one of this far.  I have had the pleasure of reading all of the books in this series and have fallen in love with everything about it.  Readers cannot help but love and admire the main character, Emma Cross, everything she does for herself and others and everything she stands for.

The Gilded Newport Mystery series is set in the late nineteenth century and they are set in Newport, Rhode Island.  The series follows Emma Cross around as she is a reporter turned editor-in-chief of a local newspaper.  The newspaper is owned by Derrick Andrews who is interested in Emma for more than her reporting skills....and she likes him but fears she does not fit into his lifestyle.  Derrick and his family are rich and they belong to the "Four Hundred" group.  This is a group that is defined as the number of wealthy people that will fit nicely into Caroline Astor's New York ballroom.  (Caroline Astor was a socialite and an heiress who ruled in society during the nineteenth century.)  Emma has aunts and uncles that belong to the Four Hundred but she, herself, does not.  This, however, does not stop her from being invited to events and seen in the company of members of the group.

Not only is Emma known for her wealthy relatives and her reporting skills but she is known to help solve a murder from time to time....and in Murder at Kingscote she is again in the middle of a murder.  After Emma and Derrick attend the very first automobile parade, they are invited back to the home of Ella King for a small dinner party.  While attending dinner Ella's son, Phillip, shows up late and is drunk, and a short time later the butler is found wedged between an automobile and a tree.  Baldwin, the butler, dies a short time later from his injuries and Phillip is placed on house arrest while the police investigate.

Emma will do whatever it takes to solve a case and when she is called upon by Mrs. King to look into Baldwin's murder she enlists the help of her society journalist, Ethan Merriman to go undercover as the new butler to get to know the other servants to see what he can learn about Baldwin's murder.  Ethan and Emma also had to get Mrs. King's and Jesse, the head detective's, approval.  But having someone on the inside doesn't make it any easier for Emma to solve the case......

Maxwell always amazes me with her story telling abilities.  And to write about a time in the past when things were so different.  She writes like she actually lived during the time making readers feel like they are there also.  While you are reading this series, you cannot help but get lost in the story and the series.

Review by Missi M.


Monday 24 August 2020

Getting to know author Alyssa Maxwell

Tomorrow is the release of Murder at Kingscote, the  eighth book in The Gilded Newport Mystery series by Alyssa Maxwell.  I was able to get her to take a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer some questions regarding her books, her life and her writing.  Continue reading to get to know her and her books.....

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1.  Why do you write during the time period, the nineteenth century, that you do ?

Don’t forget, I also write post-WWI in my Lady & Lady’s Maid series. But for the Newport series, the late 19th--early 20th century made the most sense. I knew I wanted to set a series in my beloved Newport, and what is the most visible, famous thing about Newport? The Gilded Age mansions, of course. Maybe I could have set my mysteries in those houses as museums in the current time, but I much prefer to read and write historicals. I enjoy the challenge of a sleuth having to rely on her wits and personal resources such as friends and family, her knowledge of the city, etc., than on modern forensics. She also has the challenge of overcoming the obstacles women faced at the time, so she has to be twice as clever as a man would. And then there’s the challenge I set myself to learn more about Newport’s rich history. Sometimes my search for information is like a treasure hunt, and that keeps the series fun and fresh for me.

2.  How much research goes into writing one of your books ?

Quite a lot! But now that I’ve done the initial research on the two periods I write about, a lot of the research for each individual book takes place as I’m writing, as the need arises. I’m especially fond of poring through old newspapers to find tidbits that help me shape each plot. For instance, in Murder at Kingscote, I found information about the first-ever automobile parade in Newport, organized by Alva Belmont, which took place in the summer of 1899. That sent my plot off and running. News articles from the period have also helped me pinpoint specific facts I couldn’t find elsewhere. Of course, my favorite kind of research is actually being in Newport, where I can experience details firsthand. Every trip up is an adventure!

3.  What draws/drew you to that time period  ?

I love so much about the Gilded Age. I’m not blind to its problems. People were not treated equally. Many suffered while others exploited them and profited as a result. Although women’s roles were expanding both socially and civically, there were still many restrictions on their lives. But there was also such beauty created during that time. Architecture and craftsmanship reached incredible heights and became a testament to what human beings are capable of under the right circumstances. One of my favorite artists, John Singer Sargent, painted countless portraits during this time that revealed not only the wealth of his subjects, but something of their personalities and even private thoughts. One of them, a portrait of a little girl names Beatrice Goelet, so enchanted me I made the child a character in Murder at Ochre Court. Even clothes were works of art, with designers such as Charles Frederick Worth bringing women converging on Paris each spring to spend tens of thousands on their yearly wardrobes.

4.  What is your favorite thing(s) about that time period ?

One of my very favorite things about the period is my husband’s family’s connection to the Gilded Age. No, they weren’t robber barons. But they owned a moving company and transported furnishings in and out of the mansions each season, along with props and equipment for the Newport Opera House. In the 20th century they also diversified into demolition and reclamation. As mansions became considered white elephants, before knocking them down the company would reclaim much of the woodwork to be used in the building of new houses. One mansion we know they took down belonged to Reginald Vanderbilt. Another fun fact is that my husband’s great grandmother, from Ireland, worked as a maid in one of the mansions, although we haven’t yet discovered which one.

5.  You have 8 (so far) books in the Gilded Newport Mystery series and 6 (so far) in the A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery series, is the Gilded Mystery series your favorite series to write about ?

I think initially I did favor Gilded Newport over A Lady and Lady’s Maid, but characters have a way of burrowing into a writer’s heart so that they very quickly feel like part of your family. As much as I love Emma and her cohorts, I love Phoebe and Eva and the rest just as much. It’s been a journey with all of my characters as they’ve grown and developed, sometimes in ways I didn’t anticipate, but that’s part of the fun and part of my journey as a writer.

6.  Is it hard writing 2 different series set back in time ?  

Oddly, I don’t find this difficult at all. I’m able to separate the two, spending six months writing a book in each series, and focusing on only one at a time. If I tried to write them consecutively, I think I’d completely lose track of everything. But the system I have is working, and it’s always a pleasure to settle back into one world or the other.

7.  Do you think you will even write a book during current times ?

I would never say never, but at the moment I have no plans to do so. I enjoy immersing myself in history too much to leave it, for now.

8.  How big of an influence is your husband on your writing ?

Huge! Yet a lot of his influence is indirect in that all of his childhood memories and points of reference are of Newport. Through him, I’ve learned about Newport and the people who live there – the real people, not the summer residents and transplants – from an insider’s perspective rather than that of a tourist. I’ve gotten to see the Newport most tourists don’t necessarily bother to explore. When we go back to visit, it’s both a vacation and a homecoming for both of us. Knowing him and his family has helped shape many of the characters, such as Nanny, Jesse, Great Aunt Sadie, and even Emma herself.

9.  Does your husband read your books ?

He does! My busy guy is a little behind, but he’s reading Murder at Chateau sur Mer right now. One thing he doesn’t do is read my drafts. I know a lot of husband’s do, but I feel that’s what my trusted and long-time critique partners are for.

10.  What can readers expect in the future from you and your writing ?

I recently signed a new contract for three more Lady and Lady’s Maid books, and my fingers are crossed that I’ll soon be signing another for Gilded Newport. That will keep me busy and out of trouble until 2023!

11.  What is something that you wish your readers knew about you ?

Hmm… I don’t have a lot of secrets! If you follow me on Facebook, you already know a lot about me. You’ll know I love antiquing and consignment shopping, and that my house is mostly furnished in what I consider secondhand treasures. I love miniatures and dollhouses and have made it a hobby. I’ve been self-educating myself about monarchs and other butterflies, and my husband and I make sure our yard is butterfly-friendly. And you know my husband and I consider Newport our home away from home. I guess one thing I do want people to know is that I’m very approachable and just a regular person. It always surprises me so much when I meet a reader at a booksigning, and they seem a little nervous. I’m so not a person anyone needs to be nervous about meeting. If anything, I’m the nervous one, but I always enjoy it and I’m looking forward to getting out there again, especially in Rhode Island.

Yes most authors are down to earth and very approachable people but to readers who are diehard fans, authors are celebrities to us, we are amazed by your ability to write in such a way that we can get lost into another world while sitting in our living rooms. Alyssa and I am have never met, however, we talk via the internet and I have read all of her books to date but if I were to have the pleasure of meeting her, I would be like a kid meeting Superman, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny........

Get to know her and her books at :

And make sure you come back tomorrow to check out my thoughts on her latest book in The Gilded Newport Mystery series, Murder at Kingscote. 

Friday 21 August 2020

Catnapped! (A Dead-End Job Mystery #13) by Elaine Viets

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From Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author Elaine Viets—the thrilling mystery series about one woman trying to make a living... while other people are making a killing.

If there’s one thing the very wealthy might value even more than their money, it’s their precious pets. So when local socialite Trish Barrymore hires Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont to recover her beloved show cat—named January’s Jubilee Justine—from her ex-husband Mortimer, the case seems simple enough.

But when the husband-and-wife PI team show up to take possession of Justine, they’re greeted not by a cute kitten but a murdered Mort—knocked on the noggin by a mahogany cat tower. And the feline is nowhere to be found.

To get the scoop on who could have committed the dire deed, Helen takes a job as a cat groomer. But as she navigates the cutthroat world of cat shows—and their equally catty owners—she discovers there is much more to the crime than just a purloined pussycat… 

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

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

I am a huge fan of the Dead-End Job Mystery series by Elaine Viets and I am amazed how Viets keeps coming up with dead-end jobs for main character Helen Hawthorne to apply for and get.  Catnapped is the thirteenth book in this series and boy oh boy will it capture your attention !!!

When the Dead-End job Mystery series starts Helen had left her cushy life in St. Louis after catching her husband cheating on her and when she filed for divorce, the judge awarded her ex-husband half of her future earnings.  She vowed that he would never get another dime out of her so she left and drove until her car broke down in Ft. Lauderdale.  She got an apartment and started getting "dead-end jobs" staying under the radar so she wouldn't get found out.  Luckily for her she moved into the Coronado Tropics Apartments where her landlady is like her second mother and she fell in love with her neighbor Phil.  Things gradually worked out for Helen so that now (in recent books) she and Phil have their own business as private investigators which is good because Helen seems to always find herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

In Catnapped Helen and Phil are looking for a kitten, Justine, whose "parents" are going through a messy divorce but have an agreement regarding visitation for Justine.  Justine was suppose to be returned to her "mother" Trish but when her "father" Mort fails to return her, Trish has her lawyer contact Helen and Phil to retrieve Justine.  Unfortunately when they arrive at Mort's house, they find him dead with no sign of Justine.  Shortly after Trish receives a call looking for ransom money for the return of Justine so Helen goes undercover at a cat cattery to try to find out where Justine is and who may have killed Mort.  Phil does his part by looking into things via the internet.

Before they can solve that case Margery, their landlord, has a confrontation with her ex-husband, Zach, who she hasn't seen in 30 years.  Shortly after the confrontation he is found dead and Margery is arrested for his murder !!!

Helen and Phil have their hands full in Catnapped dealing with all these cases .... and the Coronado is not the same without Margery there so they have to do whatever they can to find out who killed Zach so that she can come home !!! 

There is so much in this series to capture readers attention and you will want to move into the Coronado so that you can enjoy your evenings hanging around the pool with the gang and a glass of boxed wine.  You will fall in love with Helen and all her dead-end jobs and her relationship with Phil will capture your heart.  I long for every time I can open a book in this series and escape to Ft. Lauderdale without leaving my couch or packing a suitcase.......

If you haven't read any of the books in this series that is okay.  You don't have to read the books in any kind of order and can pick up any of them and not be lost at all.  However, if I were you, I would want to read ALL of the books in the series.  Readers cannot help but fall in love with Helen and as she grows throughout the series, you will also.  

Review by Missi M.

Friday 14 August 2020

Marriage, Merlot & Murder (Wine & Dine Mysteries #4) by Gemma Halliday

Marriage, Merlot & Murder (Wine & Dine Mysteries #4)

 From #1 Amazon & New York Times bestselling author Gemma Halliday comes the next deliciously deadly mystery in wine country in the USA Today bestselling Wine & Dine mysteries!

Emmy Oak is hosting her first wedding at her family's Oak Valley Vineyards, and she's worked hard to make sure it goes smoothly. And why wouldn't it? The blushing bride is beautiful, the groom is charming, and the parents-of-the-bride are paying Emmy a tidy fee that may just put her struggling winery in the black next month. Only all her best laid plans fizzle faster than flat champagne when the groom goes missing just moments before the ceremony...and Emmy finds him bludgeoned to death on her terrace! Suddenly Emmy's dream wedding turns into a crime scene, and when the entirely-too-enticing Detective Christopher Grant sets his sights on the wrong suspect, Emmy knows it's up to her to find out who committed the matrimonial murder. Was it the overprotective father-of-the-bride who seems to be harboring secrets of his own? The jealous ex-boyfriend with a violent streak? The victim's calloused and cunning cousin? Or was the groom charming women other than his fiancée...and his philandering ways finally caught up to him? Emmy isn't sure, but the deeper she digs, the more she realizes the victim wasn't exactly innocent...and his killer may threaten to strike again!

**Simple and delicious recipes & affordable wine pairings included!**

"Ms. Halliday is the undisputed queen of the genre: she knows how to blend fashion, suspense, laughter, and romance in all the right doses."
Fresh Fiction

"I rank A Sip Before Dying as one of my favorite fun reads. I say to Gemma Halliday, well done!"
The Book Breeze

"The Wine & Dine Mystery series is a definite to read and keep an eye out for more to follow."
Cozy Mystery Book Review

Wine & Dine Mysteries:
A Sip Before Dying - book #1
Chocolate Covered Death - book #2
Victim in the Vineyard - book #3
Marriage, Merlot & Murder - book #4
Death in Wine Country - book #5
Fashion, Rosé & Foul Play - book #6

Rating: This story does not contain any graphic violence, language, or sexual encounters. Its rating would be similar to PG-13 or what you would find on a Hallmark Channel movie or TV series.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Gemma Halliday knows how to tell a story !!!  I love her Wine & Dine Mystery series and every time I read one of these books, I fall deeper and deeper in love !!

Marriage, Merlot & Murder has main character Emmy Oak gearing up to host the very first wedding at her family winery, Oak Valley Vineyards and, of course, her best friend Ava Barnett is there to help.  Emmy has done everything she can possibly do to ensure that the bride has the fairy tale wedding of her dreams and the bride, Juliet, is absolutely a princess.  However before the bride can say I do and take the steps to her happily even after, the groom Freddie ends up late for the ceremony......and when Emmy goes looking for him, she finds him dead......and there are a lot of likely candidates for his murder !!

Emmy knows that she should leave the murder to her "kind of" boyfriend, Detective Chris Grant, but she feels really bad for Juliet so she figures she can ask a few people a few questions.  Emmy also feels that the best candidate for Freddie's murder is Juliet's dad and seeing as he still owes her for the wedding that didn't happen, she feels this is her opening.  Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of people that could have been the one to kill Freddie when Emmy finds out more about the bride, groom, their wedding party and their lives.  

As Emmy and Ava dig into the groom and his past, they find a lot more bad things than good things and they start to really feel protective of Juliet.  Even though they are beginning to be thankful that the wedding didn't happen, they want to find out what happened to Freddie so that they can help Juliet process things and move forward with her life......even if it might be the end of Emmy's !!!

I just LOVE the Wine & Dine Mystery series and I have to say I think that Marriage, Merlot & Murder has to be my least until I read the next book in the series.  As this book is the fourth book and I have read the previous three, I have to say that I am a devoted fan and an invested reader and feel like a part of Emmy's life.  Yes I know that it is fake and just a story....but when you are reading it you feel like it is real and you are right there along side Emmy in everything she is doing....even if it is just hanging out with Ava.  Halliday has created a great cast of characters in this series along with a fantastic setting, the winery.  I could read a story about Emmy and her life without a murder happening and Emmy and Ava getting in the middle of it....although it might make things less interesting when it comes to her dealings with Grant.

I highly recommend grabbing Mariage, Merlot & Murder, of any of the books in this series and grabbing a glass of wine or cup of coffee and settling back in your comfy chair and letting Halliday and Emmy take over your mind for a few hours...... you will totally thank me !!!

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 13 August 2020

Booked for Death (Booklovers B&B Mysteries #1) by Victoria Gilbert

Booked for Death (Booklovers B&B Mysteries, #1)
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 From the critically acclaimed author of SIBA Okra Pick A Murder for the Books, Victoria Gilbert embarks with a new series for perfect for fans of Kate Carlisle and Juliet Blackwell.

A book lover's B&B in an idyllic waterfront village becomes the scene of a grisly murder--and a ruthless battle between treachery and the truth.

Nestled in the historic waterfront town of Beaufort, North Carolina, Chapters Bed-and-Breakfast is a reader's paradise. Built in 1770, the newly renovated inn hosts a roster of special events celebrating books, genres, and authors. It's the perfect literary retreat--until a rare book dealer turns up dead in the carriage house during a celebration of Golden Age mystery author Josephine Tey.

The victim's daughter points the finger at forty-two-year-old widow and former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed, who inherited the B&B from her great-aunt Isabella. Charlotte is shocked to discover that the book dealer suspected Isabella of being a thief who founded Chapters on her ill-gotten gains. Charlotte has successfully learned the B&B business in a year, but nothing has prepared her to handle a death on the premises. 

Armed with intelligence and courage and assisted by her vibrant older neighbor, a visiting author, and members of a local book club, Charlotte is determined to prove her innocence and to clear her great-aunt's name. But the murderer is still at large, and equally determined to silence anyone who might discover the truth behind the book dealer's death. Now, Charlotte must outwit an unknown killer--or end up writing her own final chapter.
    (Summary via Goodreads)

In Booked for Death, the first book in the Booklover's B & B Mystery series by Victoria Gilbert, Charlotte Reed inherits a Bed and Breakfast from her great-aunt in Beaufort, North Carolina and she moves in to run it.  Chapters, the Bed and Breakfast, hosts events surrounding books, authors and book lovers.  The property also included a beautiful garden and a carriage house.  The carriage house is occasionally rented by an author so that he can write and do research in peace.

Charlotte and her live-in housekeeper and cook, Alicia are getting ready to host a week long celebration of author Josephine Tey however before they can really get to know the guests and begin the celebration, one of the guests is found stabbed in the carriage house.  At this event there are not only the week long guests but Charlotte, Alicia, another cook, Damian, Charlotte's friend and bookstore owner, Julie, and a few other locals that belong to the bookclub that meets at the B & B.

Lincoln Delamont who was at the B & B with her wife and daughter is found stabbed in the carriage house during a costume party at the start of the week long celebration.  Charlotte finds herself eyeing all of the people who attended the party trying to uncover the person responsible.  While she is looking into the murder, she also comes across some cryptic letters and a journal that belonged to her great-aunt in the library.  Not knowing much about her great-aunt or the reason why Chapters was left to her, she decides to look into her great-aunts history.

Charlotte has a lot on her plate running Chapters and looking into her great-aunts history and now with one of the guests being murdered, she can't help but wonder if there is a murderer under her roof or if one of her friends could have done it.  She decides to enlist the help of her next door neighbor since she was around when her great-aunt was alive hoping she might be able to help.  Little does she know the can of worms she is opening by doing that.

While Booked for Death is in your hands, you will feel like Gilbert has cast a spell on you.  You will be whisked away to Beaufort, North Carolina withoug leaving your house.  You will also want to look into all of the guests staying at Chapters as well as the locals.  And when neighbor, Ellen, gives some insight into Great-Aunt Isabella's life, you will be all in !!  Gilbert provides the readers will a book load of likely candidates for wanting Lincoln Delamont dead but when the actual murderer is uncovered you will be quite shocked !!!!

Review by Missi M.