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 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.

Cremains of the Day (A Tallie Graver Mystery #1) by Misty Simon

There's no reverse on the hearse . . .

For Tallulah Graver, marrying wealthy Waldo Phillips seemed like the best way out of the family business, the Graver Funeral Home. But when her marriage falls apart and Tallie is left with next to nothing, she turns to cleaning houses to make ends meet. As humbling as it is to tidy the mansions of the snobby socialites she used to call friends, at least she doesn't have to be around dead bodies. Until . . . 
She discovers one of her employers lying in a closet with a knife sticking out of her chest. This unpleasant shock seems to be part of a web of weird experiences: Tallie's friend Gina's shop is broken into, her ex is stun-gunned where it hurts the most, and now she's receiving flowers from the dead woman. Granted the deliveryman is handsome, but seriously, that's enough to cast a pall over anyone's day. Now Tallie needs to dig deep to clean up this mess--before she finds herself in a grave situation.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

In Cremains of the Day by Misty Simon there is no way that readers will not be drawn to main character Tallulah "Tallie" Graver and cannot help but feel sorry for her.  Tallie is recently divorced and is living above the family business which is a funeral parlor.  When she was married she was in the "rich, stuck up crowd", now she is cleaning the houses of those so called friends.  She is also rebuilding her friendship with her best friend Gina who she wasn't very nice to when she was married.

In Cremains of the Day Tallie is helping Gina with the food for after a funeral and stumbles upon Gina's cousin Katie tied up in Gina's shop and her ex-husband unresponsive in the alley behind the shop.  Luckily he is not dead, just stun gunned.  While Tallie is trying to wrap her head around all that, she goes to the house of one of her ex-friends who has become unbearable to clean for and finds her dead body in a closet !!

All Tallie wants to do is rebuild her life and open up a tea shop next door to her friend's cafe so that she can stop cleaning houses and helping out at her family's funeral parlor.  Unfortunately that is not going to happen when Max, an old friend of her brother returns to town and tells her that her life is in danger and that her ex-husband hasn't been completely honest with a lot of things.  While Tallie tries to figure things out, she finds it harder and harder to trust anyone....especially Max.

Cremains of the Day is the first book in the Tallie Graver Mystery series and it is full of page turning excitement.  Like I said readers cannot help but want to root for Tallie and hope that she can get out of the trouble that her ex put her in.  Simon's writing will have you captivated in the story and not want to leave....even when it gets scary !!!

Review by Missi M.

Friday 13 November 2020

Hanging By a Thread (Second Treasures Mysteries #3) by Margaret Evans


The evidence hangs on threads from a garment in Laura Keene’s thrift shop, a suit less than a year old but belonging to a young man who has left town, or so everyone thinks. During the town’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, a terrible discovery is made, and a story of blackmail, jealousy and greed are brought to light in the third installment of Margaret Evans's thrilling Second Treasures Mysteries, “Hanging By a Thread.”   (Summary via Goodreads)

There is no way readers cannot be fans of the Second Treasures Mystery series by Margaret Evans.  Once you read the first book, Twice Sold Murder, she leaves readers with unanswered questions that make it a must to return to the series with Priced to Kill, the second book and so on.  And Hanging By a Thread, the third book in this series will leave readers with main character Laura Keene coming to a realization with the last line of the book......but the answer to that realization will not be revealed until the fourth book......we hope !!

In the Second Treasures Mystery series Laura Keene has moved back to her hometown of Raging Ford in Minnesota after she left 11 years ago when her parents were murdered and she moved to live with her great-aunt Rose.  After her great-aunt died she decided to move back home where she opened up Second Treasures, a thrift shop.  She also lives above the store and has reconnected with some close friends and has taken one of those friendships to the next level.  Laura and Sergeant Connor Fitzpatrick had been best buds growing up and now that she has moved back home and they are adults, they have decided to start dating and see where that leads.....if only Laura can stay out of murder investigations.

In Hanging By a Thread the town is getting ready to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and Laura is doing a lot inside the store to promote the holiday.  She is also still preparing taxes for some people as well as being on the St. Patrick's Day celebration committee.  She always has a lot on her plate but when a sports jacket appears in a bag for donation at her front door and the jacket is a custom made jacket with the owner's name being that of a local man that worked at the bank but disappeared 2 years ago, you know Laura is going to have to find answers.  And, of course, Connor cannot help her because it is an open investigation.  When another employee from the bank is reported missing and the supervisor looks into the employees work log, she finds some very questionable activity.

Even when Laura tries to stay out of things, it seems she has a magnetic pull and she can't seem to turn her brain off from thinking about things and trying to find answers to matter how many times Connor begs her to stop.

No only is Laura continuing to find out what happened to her parents and who killed them with every book, there is also a "new" case to help solve and when the police make her a police consultant, the door is wide open for her to help the police.  

I love this series and the fact that Evans always leaves readers with a cliff hanging finish guaranteeing that you will be back to read the next book and with Hanging By a Thread the last 3 sentences will leave you speechless and shocked !!!  I cannot get to A Dress to Die For fast enough !!!

Review by Missi M.


Friday 6 November 2020

Saddled with Murder (Dr. Kate Vet Mysteries #1) by Eileen Brady


Veterinarian and amateur sleuth Kate Turner has her hands full trying to juggle two boyfriends, a thriving practice, and a criminal investigation

It's the Christmas season and veterinarian Kate Turner is not feeling very jolly. She's overworked, unappreciated, and dealing with two dissatisfied clients. Throw in a very complicated personal life and Kate's definitely got a case of the holiday blues.

To make matters worse, Kate's ex-boyfriend, Jeremy, is mugged and robbed after they have a heated argument in the hospital parking lot. Then, two of her dissatisfied clients turn up dead (which really gets Kate's tinsel in a tangle). All of these events seem like coincidences, but they add up to something much more venomous.

Saddled with Murder is a cozy holiday mystery from beloved author Eileen Brady that explores the fragility and resiliency of animals and humans whose trust has been broken, and will keep animal-loving readers riveted until the last page.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

In Saddled with Murder by Eileen Brady Dr. Kate Turner has her hands full.  She has taken on a one-year job commitment working at the Oak Falls Animal Hospital while the current veterinarian takes a year long vacation traveling the world.  Her days are full dealing with in house appointments as well as doing house calls.  She is also in the process of trying to figure out her personal life.....her father, who she hasn't spoken to in years has asked her and her grandfather to his house for Christmas and she might have two boyfriends.  Good thing her year long job commitment provided an apartment above the garage at the animal hospital.

While the staff is enjoying an early Christmas celebration, Kate is video recorded as making a Christmas wish....wishing two unhappy clients would go away.  This recording which clearly shows Kate wishing this and another employee, Mari, providing the names of the clients and Pinky, the grounds keeper for the hospital adding a name of his own goes viral.  And when these people turn up dead, the suspect list is longer than Santa's naughty list.  Lucky for Kate one of her relationship interests, Luke, is a police officer taking time out to attend law school so they decide to put their heads together and look into these deaths.  Unfortunately when Kate's other love interest, Jeremy, is mugged, she is put in a very awkward situation.

Readers will love how the balance in Saddled with Murder devotes time for Kate's personal and professional lives and allows her to overthink the Christmas wish and what happened after......  Kate cannot stop looking at the number of views and reading the comments.  Readers will love the relationships she has with her co-workers and Luke and Jeremy.  Readers may end up leaning more towards Luke over Jeremy for obvious reasons....which I won't indulge here.  You will have to read it and decide for yourself....even though Kate will be the one making that decision, or rather Brady will.

If you are an animal lover, murder mystery lover with a hint of romance Saddle with Murder is the perfect fit for you !!  I highly recommend obtaining your copy and getting lost in the story......

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings (Mrs. Claus #1) by Liz Ireland


It's the first Christmas in Santaland for April Claus--but it may also be her last unless she can uncover a villain with a killer Christmas wish. . . 

Love is full of surprises--though few compare to realizing that you're marrying the real-life Santa. April Claus dearly loves her new husband, Nick, but adjusting to life in the North Pole is not all sugarplums and candy canes. Especially when a cantankerous elf named Giblet Hollyberry is killed--felled by a black widow spider in his stocking--shortly after publicly arguing with Nick.

Christmastown is hardly a hotbed of crime, aside from mishaps caused by too much eggnog, but April disagrees with Constable Crinkle's verdict of accidental death. As April sets out to find the culprit, it'll mean putting the future of Christmas on the line--and hoping her own name isn't on a lethal naughty list . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

I did NOT want to finish reading Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings by Liz Ireland.  This book was so fun to read and the way Ireland writes and describes things, your imagination will explode !!  You will feel like you can clearly see everything and feel the cold !!

Main character April is newly married to Santa Claus.  Yes that is what I said and it's true !!  She met him when he was on vacation and staying at her inn, The Coast Inn, in Cloudberry Bay in Oregon.  They had a whirlwind romance that turned into a marriage and April moving to Santaland and taking on some responsibilities as the new Mrs. Claus.  This is going to also be Nick's first Christmas as Santa Claus.  Nick's brother Chris was the last Santa but was killed during a hunting excursion a few months back.

April and Nick live in Castle Kringle in Christmastown with Nick's mother who is the dowager Mrs. Claus and still handles most of the household responsibilities.  Also living in the Castle are Martin and Lucia, Nicks's brother and sister, Tiffany, Chris' widow, and their son Christopher.  In Santaland not only are humans living there but there are elves, reindeers that talk as well as talking, moving snowmen !!!  It is definitely a place I want to visit !!

It is the week before Christmas and there is a lot for the family to do to prepare for the big day as well as a lot of festivities in town.  Unfortunately when Nick is told that an elf has been killed, he rushes to find out what happened.  Later that day one of the snowmen is found murdered, blow torched to just a puddle.  

Sadly everything points to Nick as the main suspect and when the town calls on Detective Jake, not Jack, Frost to come to town to investigate, everyone knows that things are serious !!  Even April is suspicious of Nick......

Christmas is doomed  !!!  Unless April can find out what happened to the elf and snowman and clear Nicks name.

Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings is like a Hallmark movie that took a wrong turn.  Or like a Lifetime movie with a kick !

Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings is a must read !!  Not only will it attract the mystery lover part of your brain but it will attract the Christmas spirit in you.  With talking reindeer, elves and Santa how can you not want to make a cup of cocoa and settle in ?  There is a lot to love with this book and I am very,very glad that it says that it is Mrs. Claus #1 which means that there will be more books in this series and I cannot wait !!!  I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to show up.......

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Jeopardy in High Heels (High Heels #12) by Gemma Halliday & Catherine Bruns


When death hits a contestant on America's favorite game show, fashion designer turned amateur sleuth is on the case!

I'll take "What is Murder" for $200 please, Alex?

Maddie Springer may know more about fabulous heels than tough trivia, but she's thrilled when her hairdresser-to-the-stars stepfather, Fernando, earns a spot on a celebrity edition of American's favorite game show. But she's not so thrilled when, after taping ends, one of the other contestants dies, the media are suddenly everywhere, and one reporter in particular is threatening to not only point the finger at Fernando, but also expose his biggest secrets to the world!

The victim was Doggy Z, a famous rap artist turned recreational marijuana supporter turned cooking show co-host. And it seems everyone in his life had a reason to want him dead—from the 4 ex-wives he was serially unfaithful to, to his deceptively wholesome looking cooking show co-host, to the network executive seen arguing with Dog just before his death, and even the soap opera star who competed against him on the trivia show. Now it's up to Maddie to sift through the suspects and figure out just which person the rapper may have wronged enough to want him dead. With the help of her Hollywood BFF, her hot homicide detective husband, and her endearingly meddling mom, can Maddie track down a cold blooded killer... before she finds herself in final jeopardy?  (Summary via Goodreads)

A book written by Gemma Halliday AND Catherine Bruns.....well reading that is a no brainer !!! These two authors are amazing by themselves but when put together their writing talent is explosive !!!!

Jeopardy in High Heels is the twelfth book in the High Heels Mystery series and you are going to be in love !!  There is so much within this book to capture readers attention and continue its firm grasp on it until you finish the book.  

Main character Maddie has a busy life.  She is married to a police detective, has twins in preschool, is a fashion shoe designer, has a best friend, Dana, who is an actress and family that she will do anything for !!  

In Jeopardy in High Heels Maddie's step-father who is the owner of Fernando's which is a hair salon that caters to the famous and rich is a contestant on Celebrity Jeopardy.  Maddie and Dana are in the audience with Maddie's mom and her best friend to cheer him on.  The other two contestants are an actress on a soap opera and a rapper by the name of Doggy Z.  During the taping of the show it appears that Doggy Z is more out of it than he usually is.  It is rumored that he is always high but during the taping he looks like he is completely out of it.

That evening Maddie's husband, Ramirez, is called into work.  It isn't until later that evening that she learns that the case that he was called into was for Doggy Z.  He was found dead at him home that evening.  Of course Maddie cannot stop thinking about his performance during the taping of Jeopardy and when a gossip reporter finds out that her husband is working on the case, she wants insider information.  Maddie refuses to give in to her until she threatens to out Fernando for the fraud that he is which could destroy his business.  So Maddie, Dana and gossip reporter Tina "work together" to solve the case keeping Fernando's secret safe.

There is a LONG list of suspects regarding Doggy Z's murder...... and 4 of them are his ex-wives !!  Maddie and Dana take it upon themselves to look into his death and though Maddie has a lot on her plate and her husband is the detective assigned to the case and they should really just let him do his job, they are pulled into it.....

Jeopardy in High Heels is such a fun story to read with the characters and the storyline.  Readers cannot help but enjoy it....who doesn't like Jeopardy ?  We may not know the answers or who killed Doggy Z but what's the harm of riding along with Maddie while she looks into it ??

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and knowing it was written by a dynamic duo made it that much better.  Halliday and Bruns alone are magnificient in their storytelling abilities but when paired together, it is a masterpiece !!!

Review by Missi M.