Friday 31 December 2021

Empress Isabella and a Cracklin' Christmas by Margaret Evans

Holiday and wedding plans spin everyone’s heads as Laura and Connor set their wedding date and practicing their vows and dance moves. Empress Isabella tries to keep everything going as planned, but an unexpected reindeer "deer-napping" threatens to cancel the wedding! And what about the dead body at the tree farm? Or Laura going missing? Who can have done this??

Will Isabella work her magic to pull everything back together in time?


Empress Isabella and a Cracklin' Christmas is the third prequel to the Laura Keene Cozy Mystery series by Margaret Evans.  This is the third novella that introduces the reader into the lives of main character Laura Keene, her hometown of Raging Ford in Minnesota and the friends, family and other residents of the town....and the importance that Empress Isabella has in their lives.  

Readers hopefully read the first two novellas in this little series....first there was Empress Isabella and the Halloween Caper and then Empress Isabella's Disastrous Thanksgiving.  They obviously occured around the two holidays and Empress Isabella and a Cracklin' Christmas follows suit.

The one thing that readers should prepare themselves when they read these three novellas is that at first only Laura could see and feel Isabella who is a cat but then something changed and her fiance Sgt. Connor Fitzpatrick was able to see her also.

Another thing that readers should know when reading these is that even though they are less than 100 pages long each, they are packed with a lot of story and things going on.....

In Empress Isabella and a Cracklin' Christmas not only is the town gearing up for their holiday Reindeer Cheer Festival which is going to include real reindeer but there is a wedding planned as well !! With Laura and Connors wedding set for the 27th of December, Laura is just sitting on the Reindeer Cheer committee as a consultant.  However when some reindeer are reported as missing and some town people are missing as well, Laura cannot help but do some investigating into their disappearances.   

All Laura wants is her hometown to be a safe place for residents as well as tourists that come to visit and to walk down the aisle and marry the man of her dreams......and with Empress Isabella on the case, there is nothing to worry about......hopefully !!

Readers can pick up these novellas and read them all in one sittiing or take your time with them.  Once you start reading, you may have a hard time putting them down.  Evans sure knows how to put the words to the pages to keep you turning them.  I cannot wait to see what is in store for everyone in Raging Falls but I know that whatever it is it will be a GREAT read !!!  Look for the full novel in this series coming out early 2022 !!!

Review by Missi M.


Thursday 30 December 2021

Cold Brew Corpse (A Coffee Lover´s Mystery #2) by Tara Lush

Espresso bar owner Lana Lewis returns in Tara Lush's second Coffee Lover's mystery, a stimulating read that fans of Cleo Coyle and Laura Childs will savor to the last drop.

It's a steamy September, and business is brisk at Perkatory, the hottest coffee shop in Devil's Beach, FL. Much of the clientele pours in from Dante's Inferno, the hot yoga studio next door. But the bright, sunny Gulf Coast days turn decidedly dark-roast when the body of the studio's owner turns up in a nearby swamp.

Between running Perkatory and training Stanley, her golden Shih Tzu puppy, reporter-turned-barista Lana Lewis is too busy to go sleuthing. But when the editor of the local paper asks her to write about the murder, Lana's dreams of getting back into journalism start to percolate.

Lana discovers that the yogi has a nefarious past and her share of mug shots, so grinding her way through the suspect list is a large task. She learns that the victim was fatally beaned by an SUV before she was dumped in the swamp. But was the killer one of her students? An envious yoga teacher? Or a local photographer who seems to know too much?

But no one tells Lana Lewis what to do. Hunting the caf-fiend who killed the yogi puts Lana and Chief Noah's relationship--and Lana's life--in very hot coffee.  (Summary via Goodreads)

In Cold Brew Corpse, the second book in the Coffee Lover's Mystery series by Tara Lush main character Lana Lewis is settling in comfortably back in her hometown of Devil's Beach in Florida.  She returned home after going through a divorce and losing her journalism job in Miami.  Luckily she has her childhood house to live in and a job at the family coffee house, Perkatory.

In Cold Brew Corpse the only thing that Lana should be worrying about is making sure the cold brew recipe is perfect.....unfortunately when Raina, the owner of the yoga studio next door, Dante's Inferno, is reported missing, her journalism senses kick in.  

No matter what Lana does she cannot get it out of her head to look into Raina's case and when her body is found and ruled a homicide, she really wants to dig in....unfortunately writing for the local paper is out seeing as their budget doesn't have the funds to pay her freelancing.  And when she tells her sort of boyfriend Police Chief Noah Garcia what she has uncovered, he is unable to do anything with the information because the case was taken from him by the higher ups.

Things will not deter Lana from continuing to look into Raina's case and when someone is arrested for the murder she doesn't feel like the right person is behind bars but she is unclear as to what she can do about it......

Readers will fall in love with this series and lucky for you if you haven't read these books, it's not too late to catch up.  There is so much to like and you will want to go to Perkatory and Devil's Beach as soon as you can pack a bag.......

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 9 December 2021

Murder on Principle (Will Rees Mysteries #10) by Eleanor Kuhns

Will Rees faces a moral dilemma when a slaveholder is murdered while attempting to recapture a former slave: should he pursue lawful justice or should he let the killer go free? November 1800, Maine. After helping their long-time friend Tobias escort his wife, along with a liberated slave and her child, from the Great Dismal back to Durham, Will and Lydia Rees's lives are interrupted when a dead body is found near their home. The body is that of Mr Gilbert, a slaveholder from the Great Dismal. Was he murdered in pursuit of the former slaves? When it's discovered Gilbert was infected with smallpox, and Gilbert's sister arrives demanding justice and the return of her absconded slaves, Will is torn. Finding the killer could lead to the recapture of the former slaves. Letting them go free could result in a false arrest and endanger the Durham community. Will must make a choice . . .   (Summary via Goodreads)

Even though Murder on Principle by Eleanor Kuhns is about murder, it has a relaxed feel to it when you are reading it.  It could be because the main character, Will Rees, is a very relaxed person or it could be because the story is set in the 1800's and things are done at a much slower pace, or it could be that things in the 1800's are done completely different from modern days due to lack of technology and such.  Regardless when I was reading this tenth book in the Will Rees Mystery series, I felt more at ease reading about the murder and how it was investigated.

In Murder on Principle there is a lot going on..... first there is a dead body discovered on the land near the Rees' home and the local constable, Rouge, looks to Rees for assistance.  When it is learned that the deceased is an out of town slaveholder looking for a woman slave and her baby and Rees and his wife Lydia know the whereabouts of the two, Rees helps the woman and child out of town to safety.  Unfortunately the sister of the deceased comes to town with some slave takers and demands that the girl and her child be returned to her.  When Rouse ends up very sick he asks Rees to step in and take control of the investigation and find the murderer.

While Rees looks into the case, one of the slave takers is found dead on the opposite side of town as the other body and that piles on a bunch of new questions.  Also it is discovered that smallpox has been brought into the area and that is what Rouse is battling as well as others in town.  So not only is a murderer on the loose in town feared but also a deadly disease......

The Will Rees Mystery series being set in the 1800's allows readers a chance to step away from stories with a lot of technology based crimes and the way they are solved to a much simplier way of living.  And seeing how things are handled will make readers wonder about that simplier time a little bit. Readers will love Rees and his wife and family and how he assists Rouse in the investigations, you cannot help but admire him and the way he goes about things.  This series will not only entertain the reader but it also educates you on the way things were back in the day.......

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 4 December 2021

Death Under the Sea (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries Book 16) by Rosalie Spielman

From debut author Rosalie Spielman comes a to-die-for beach read in Aloha Lagoon!

Former socialite Kiki Hepburn can think of no better place to hide out from her controlling family than the pristine waters of Kauai’s Aloha Lagoon. That is until her debit card is cancelled, old frenemies from her life back home show up at the resort, and a mysterious stranger arrives on the island, intent on dragging Kiki back to the life she so desperately wants to outrun. Kiki is resigned to her fate and ready to say goodbye to her dreams of scuba diving her way through paradise...

Until the mysterious stranger turns up dead.

Suddenly cancelled debit cards are the least of her worries. With the police involved, Kiki is sure her true identity will come out—not to mention her less-than-friendly connection to the dead man. Unsure who she can trust, Kiki sets out to clear her name... before it's on everyone's lips. Throw in an epically uncomfortable wedding engagement, family secrets, stolen couture, a hot dive shop guy, and a kooky landlady with a cranky parrot, and it’s sink or swim for her in Aloha Lagoon.  (Summary via Amazon)

Any time you can escape to Aloha Lagoon in Kauai, Hawaii while sitting on your couch, I highly recommend it !  Death Under the Sea is the latest book in the Aloha Lagoon Mystery series and it debuts a new author to this series, Rosalie Spielman and with this you get to meet a whole bunch of new characters along with some of the staple characters within the series.

In Death Under the Sea main character Kiki, who goes by a few different names, is traveling and going to different places to go scuba diving.  Unfortunately when she ends up at Aloha Lagoon she runs into some trouble....first she learns that her wealthy parents who don't exactly know where she is are about to cut her off financially, she runs into some girls from her high school days and their families, she meets a private investigator who is there to take her back to New York, she meets a cute guy, gets and loses a job, and finds the PI dead in the water......  

Luckily she has also met Dex, his dad and aunt.  His dad gives her a job even though it's only for a day because of the found PI and Detective Ray has her as the number one suspect.  Auntie Akamai gives Kiki a place to stay once Kiki realizes she has no money and can't stay at the resort anymore.

Kiki soon learns who she can trust and who she can't when her high school friends and families turn their backs on her and bascially throw her under the bus....or should we say maybe threw her under the boat ..... But with Auntie Akamai's help, Kiki does some digging to prove her innocence.

With Death Under the Sea being the sixteenth book in this series you have to be a very devoted fan by now and me telling you about this latest book isn't going to persuade you to read it but if you aren't a fan yet.....what are you waiting for ?  You don't have to wait to get a plane ticket, pack or put a hold on your mail.....hop on out to your local book store, get on Amazon or whatever device you use and buy these books and get to reading.  You are going to want to visit Aloha Lagoon Resort as much as possible and you will not want to leave even though the main thing these books have in common are dead bodies.....

Here is a list of the books in this series.....

Ukulele Murder (book #1)
Murder on the Aloha Express (book #2)
Deadly Wipeout (book #3)
Deadly Bubbles in the Wine (book #4)
Mele Kalikimaka Murder (book #5)
Death of the Big Kahuna (book #6)
Ukulele Deadly (book #7)
Bikinis & Bloodshed (book #8)
Death of the Kona Man (book #9)
Lethal Tide (book #10)
Beachboy Murder (book #11)
Handbags & Homicide (book #12)
Tiaras & Terror (book #13)
Photo Finished (book #14)
Fatal Break (book #15)
Death Under the Sea (book #16)

About Aloha Lagoon:
There's trouble in paradise...
Welcome to Aloha Lagoon, one of Hawaii's hidden treasures. A little bit of tropical paradise nestled along the coast of Kauai, this resort town boasts luxurious accommodation, friendly island atmosphere...and only a slightly higher than normal murder rate. While mysterious circumstances may be the norm on our corner of the island, we're certain that our staff and Lagoon natives will make your stay in Aloha Lagoon one you will never forget!

You can also go to :

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Witches, Spiders, and Schemes (Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic #4) by Elizabeth Pantley

A magic mirror to an enchanted world... A mysterious ghost... A hilarious, perpetually annoyed witch... A brave, sassy cat... Two unexplained deaths and a mysterious community filled with secrets... Can Hayden and the people of Destiny Falls solve the mystery and return the community to its peaceful, enchanted existence?

Hayden’s adventures in Destiny Falls continue in book four of the Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series. Starting with a strange old woman at a cave and her father’s mysterious ferry journey, there are secrets to be unwound.

The enchantments in Destiny Falls are showing cracks, and Hayden suspects that it is tied directly to her family, which has a history that’s more complex than she realized. When two bodies are found floating in the bay it’s clear that the mysteries surrounding Gladstone and the ferry are more dangerous than people realize. And then . . . those spiders.

Luckily, Hayden and her sassy sidekick, Latifa have developed a group of family and friends in this enchanted place who are all ready and willing to help solve the mystery, and release Destiny Falls to resume its normal, amazing, enchanted existence.

Hayden’s many adventures in Destiny Falls will keep you guessing with each book in this intriguing series.   (Summary via Goodreads)

When I pick up and start reading a book in the Destiny Falls Mystery series I am already thinking about what I want to say in my review.....but then I get so engrossed in the story that I completely forget what I was thinking about.

Witches, Spiders, and Schemes in the fourth book in this amazing series byElizabeth Pantley and with each new book readers are taken further and further down the "rabbit hole" and you will not want to leave !!

In this series Hayden who was living in Seattle with her grandmother, great-grandmother and best friend falls through a magical mirror and ends up in Destiny Falls where she is reunited with her father and brother and introduced to more family members, friends and the magic that is within Destiny Falls.  With each new book in this series, we get to dig deeper into Hayden's magical town and people and witness and learn about the magic along side Hayden.  Oh and even in a magical place, unfortunately there is still murder and mayhem.....maybe more mayhem than normal.

In Witches, Spiders, and Schemes Hayden and her brother Axel learn of what their true destiny will be if they open up to it.  And also Hayden is introduced to her father's sister and sons but learn that one of the sons isn't who everyone thinks he is.  Hayden also learns more about her connection to the mysterious bad magic island Gladstone that everyone is afraid to even say the name out loud.  And when her father goes to Gladstone to finally see Hayden and Axel's mother who they believe is being held there due to black magic, the town of Destiny Falls starts to lose it's magical components......

I know that I say this with every new book in the Destiny Falls Mystery series but it bears saying every time....if you are a fan of Harry Potter, you will fall in love with this series completely.   And the way that Pantley ends each book, you have to get your hands on the next one as soon as possible to see what is going to happen next.  Each new book makes the reader want to look through their mirrors with hopes of falling through to Destiny Falls.....I know I take an extra long look at mine.....wishful thinking but hey ya never know !!

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 27 November 2021

Candy Slain Murder (Country Store Mystery #8) by Maddie Day

A Jolly & Delightful Cozy Mystery

Christmas cheer has sent the griddle into overdrive at Robbie Jordan’s popular country store and café. And this year, there’s a new seasonal special to feast on: murder!
As December sweeps through South Lick, Indiana, Robbie’s life seems merry and bright like the string lights glistening around town. But strange happenings signal a bumpy ride into the holidays. First a man raises eyebrows at Pans ‘N Pancakes when he claiming to be the long-lost half-brother of Robbie’s assistant. Then a fire destroys the home of a controversial anesthesiologist, exposing skeletal remains in his attic. Helplessly intrigued, all Robbie wants for Christmas is to stop her winter wonderland from becoming a real nightmare. With a decades-old mystery taking shape, can she run as fast as she can in pursuit of a killer who’s harder to crack than a stale gingerbread man?

Includes Recipes for You to Try!  (Summary via Goodreads)

Nothing like getting into the Christmas spirit with a new book in the Country Store Mystery series by Maddie Day.  Candy Slain Murder is the eighth book in this series and by now when you open one of these books up you feel like you are home or visiting a town you know very well.

Robbie Jordan is the main character and owner of Pans 'N Pancakes which is a country store and cafe and recently a bed and breakfast with rooms on the second floor.  Robbie moved back to South Lick, Indiana to be closer to her aunt Adele and open Pans 'N Pancakes....little did she know that moving to this quiet country town would involve her getting in the middle of murder investigations !

Robbie has a knack with crossword puzzles and tries to do the one in the newspaper daily.  Whenever there is a murder in town she leans on her crossword solving ability to work through the suspect list.  Unfortunately sometimes this gets her in trouble and hot water with the killer and/or the police.

In Candy Slain Murder Robbie and her assistants Danna and Jordan are busy as usually with the cafe but when a local doctors house catches on fire and skeletal remains are found in the attic, Robbie is easily distracted.  And when a stranger comes in and introduces himself as Danna's older brother, she is easily distracted as well.  Luckily they are able to do more than one thing at a time and keep serving happy customers.

It is soon learned that the remains are the wife of the doctor who went missing years ago and the police are looking at a lot of suspects but on the top of the list are the husband and the deceased twin sister.  But when there is another murder, the investigation takes a very sharp turn !! 

Readers cannot help but love this series !!  You will love the people, the town and the activities around the Christmas season.  You will want to reserve a room in the bed and breakfast so that you can be as close to things as possible.  Plus hanging around Robbie will be fun regardless of what she is doing.  And I reckon you might should really enjoy your time in South Lick even if there is a killer roaming free.....they won't be for long, that you can count on !!!

Review by Missi M.

Monday 22 November 2021

Empress Isabella's Disastrous Thanksgiving by Margaret Evans

What on earth is happening in Raging Ford, Minnesota, this Thanksgiving? Laura Keene and Connor Fitzpatrick try to finalize their wedding plans, but when a Turkey Circus comes to town and their favorite, mysterious feline Empress Isabella dips her paw into the works, forget the cranberry sauce because anything can happen! Instead of basting turkeys, mashing potatoes, or whipping up delicious pumpkin pies, the townsfolk...get a little distracted. Keep your windows shut and doors latched--and don't forget to duck as the flock (or rafter) of turkeys run and flutter-fly through the town!

Empress Isabella's Disastrous Thanksgiving is the second prequel to the new Laura Keene Cozy Mysteries series. Stick around for Empress Isabella and a Cracklin' Christmas for the third and final prequel, introducing the new cozy mysteries series.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Empress Isabella's Disastrous Thanksgiving by Margaret Evans is the second novella in her three part prequel to the Laura Keene Cozy Mystery series.  The first part of this prequel was Empress Isabella and the Halloween Caper and hopefully you read it, if not don't worry you can catch up quickly !

These mini books, which are less than 100 pages and can be read in one sitting, are setting the stage for readers to get to know the people and town of Raging Ford Minnesota in Evans Second Treasures Mystery series.

In Empress Isabella's Disastrous Thanskgiving the people of Raging Ford are gearing up for the Thanskgiving holiday and are welcoming a traveling Turkey Circus to town.  Unfortunately a lot goes wrong with the circus with all the turkey's, as well as the wild turkeys that are on the preserve by the Old Library in town, being let loose and a dead body is found in the woods.  

Main character Laura Keene who owns the Second Treasures thrift shop is the "owner" of Empress Isabella who is a cat that only Laura and her fiance Sergeant Connor Fitzpatrick can see.  Empress Isabella feels that something is off with this Turkey Circus so she goes and watches everything around the three tents that they put up in town.  She soons learns what they are really in town to do and she gathers her "friends" which are probably other cats no one can see and she helps save the holiday.....unfortunately it is after the turkeys go crazy, the town is a mess from that and the dead body is discovered....

Readers will love these little stories and if you have a few hours, you will have no problem reading one....or two of them in one sitting.  I was able to accomplish that with the first two and know that the last one will go just as smoothly....even if the story doesn't go that way.

I look forward to the third book because Evans is setting the stage quite nicely for Laura and Connor to celebrate Christmas and then get married on December 27th......I'm sure nothing will go wrong but if it does, I bet Empress Isabella will be on top of things !!!

Review by Missi M.

Sunday 21 November 2021

Slashing Through the Snow (Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #3) by Jacqueline Frost

Maine innkeeper Holly White returns to sleuth another seasonal slaying in the third Christmas Tree Farm mystery from bestselling author Jacqueline Frost.

Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm is going into the B&B business, and Holly White is looking forward to her new role as innkeeper. Even better, Mistletoe, Maine's sheriff, Evan Gray, has deputized his little sister Libby to help Holly wrap presents for Mistletoe's toy drive. But a cold wind ruffles the cheery holiday decorations when a new guest checks in: Karen, a vicious B&B critic, who could make or break the new inn. And the short December days turn even darker when Evan and Libby find Karen's dead body in the gift-wrapped toy donation box.

The suspect list is longer than Santa's naughty list, and local resident Cookie is on it, since her fingerprints are all over the murder weapon, a metal nutcracker that she gave to Holly. So is Libby, who recently moved to town from Boston in less-than-savory circumstances. But cranky Karen was an oh-holy-nightmare to lots of the townsfolk, such as Evan's reporter friend Ray; Christopher, the inn's former contractor; and confectioner Bonnie, whose Gum Drop Shop was a direct target of Karen's scathing prose.

To figure out the killer's identity and clear Cookie's name, Holly and her friends brainstorm at The Hearth, the farm's café, while her mother keeps them fueled with Christmas goodies fresh from the oven. But if they can't put the culprit on ice, Holly may never see another Christmas.   (Summary via Goodreads)

There is so much to say and love about the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series by Jacqueline Frost from the people, the Christmas-y wonderland of a town, to the businesses, to the relationships and friendships and let's not forget the murders !!  And let's not forget the town is called Mistletoe !!!

I fell totally in love with this series after reading the first book, "Twas the Knife Before Christmas, and continued that love with the second book, Twelve Slays of Christmas and was very excited to open Slashing Through the Snow, the third book, and get lost in the story !  You don't have to read the previous books to fall in love but I think you would want to start at the beginning to get the whole package.

In Slashing Through the Snow Holly White and her family have their hands full running the family business, The Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm, and Holly especially is busy because this is the first season for the Bed and Breakfast they built.  As inn keeper Holly takes pride in her job as well as everything and anything to do with the Farm and will stop at nothing to protect it, the town and especially the people.  And when a gift given to her by her dear friend Cookie is used as a murder weapon and Cookie is the top suspect, Holly jumps into detective mode.....however, her boyfriend Sheriff Evan Gray does not like it one bit !!

As soon as you open a book in this series you are taken away to a Christmas wonderland in your head.  You will instantly see everything clearly and feel like you are right there in Mistletoe enjoying everything Christmas.... the great thing will be that you will be toasty warm sitting in your favorite reading spot drinking your favorite drink and munching your favorite snack....and I wouldn't blame you if it was hot cocoa and cookies !!

Reading the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series is like watching a Hallmark movie in your head.  You will love the characters, the town and you will be right there along side Holly as she goes around town snooping and looking for clues to prove her dear friend Cookie's innocence.  

And not to say too much and ruin any part of the story but the last chapter had me crying in a good way and I cannot wait until the next book to see the direction Frost takes the people of Mistletoe.....

Review by Missi M.

Monday 15 November 2021

The Murder Before Christmas (Charlie Kingsley Mysteries #1) by Michele Pariza Wacek

If you've got a problem, Charlie Kingsley probably has a tea that’ll help make it right.

EXCEPT when it comes to love. She does NOT do love potions.
Not even for Courtney, her pregnant new client who showed up three weeks before Christmas seeking a love potion because her husband was cheating on her.
So, Courtney asked about poison, instead.
She said she was joking. That's what happens between wives and husbands. They get angry and talk about killing each other. They don't really mean it.
It seems to make sense ... until Courtney’s husband turns up dead on Christmas Eve.
He was poisoned, of course.
And who is the number one suspect? Courtney. Of course.
But did she actually do it? Or is she being set up?
It's up to Charlie to sort through all the twists and turns in a case that gets more complicated the deeper she digs.

Meet Charlie. Better known as “Aunt Charlie” from the award-winning Secrets of Redemption series. She's back, making teas and solving cases in this funny, twisty, cozy mystery series set in the 1990s in Redemption, Wisconsin.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Talk about frustrating !!  In The Murder Before Christmas main character Charlie Kingsley is asked to help a woman when her husband is poisoned but no one will be completely honest with her !!

In The Murder Before Christmas by Michele Pariza Wacek, the first book in her Charlie Kingsley Mystery series a young pregnant woman, Courtney, comes to her asking for her help.  Charlie is not a private investigator.  In fact she is far from that....Charlie makes specialty teas and tinctures for clients out of her home.  But Courtney had heard from a friend that Charlie could develop a love potion and she desperately needed that to save her marriage.  After talking with Courtney and learning why she needed a love potion, she stresses to her to go home and have a heart to heart talk with her husband and see if that helps the marriage.

Unfortunately Charlie learns that Dennis, Courtney's husband, died on Christmas Eve and the cause of death was poison.  Charlie cannot shake the feeling that she somehow could have helped the couple.  But when she goes to offer her condolences, she is asked to look into Dennis' death.  Against her better judgement she agrees to ask some questions.....unfortunately no one will tell her the complete truth and she always walks away knowing the person is keeping secrets from her.  And as she gets deeper into the case, she finds more reasons for people to want Dennis dead and things pointing to Courtney as the killer !!  But deep down Charlie knows that it wasn't Courtney but she doesn't know how to get to the bottom of things !!

Readers will totally love The Murder Before Christmas.  You will love how Charlie seems to run in circles and not get anywhere and with the series being based in the 1990's, you will enjoy the simplicity of not having the internet and such to rely on to find answers.  I highly encourage readers to grab a copy of The Murder Before Christmas and get lost in the story just like I thank you is required.

Also check out Michele's other books and get to know the author at :

Review by Missi M.

Friday 12 November 2021

Beauty Expos Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery #6) by Libby Klein

Gluten-free baker Poppy McAllister is about to see the ugly side of beauty expos...

Easter weekend on the Jersey Shore is hopping. Poppy's Bed and Breakfast is busier than ever, but she needs to leave things in the hopefully capable hands of Aunt Ginny--and paws of Figaro the black smoke Persian. She's selling her paleo muffins and keto cookies at the Health and Beauty Expo in Cape May's Convention Hall. Normally sharing a booth with the love of her life would be a treat, but she's recently discovered secrets that throw her new romance into chaos.

But more secrets are about to be exposed at the expo. In his keynote address, prominent cosmetic surgeon Dr. Lance Rubin reveals his breakthrough anti-aging technology. Unfortunately, someone has one-upped him with a truly foolproof anti-aging formula: murder. With the plastic surgeon dead under his own UV mask, and bedlam reigning in the hall and back at the B&B, Poppy needs to follow a twisted trail marked by glowing footprints to unmask a killer...   (Summary via Goodreads)

Beauty Expos are Murder is the sixth book in the Poppy McAllister Mystery series by Libby Klein and if you aren't a fan yet, it's not too late !!  In Beauty Expos are Murder Klein packs a lot into this story and you will be hooked !!!  

Poppy McAllister always has a lot going on but it looks like things may be slowing down in one area of her life....since the first book, Class Reunions are Murder, Poppy has been juggling two men.  She returned home to Cape May to live with her Aunt Ginny and attend her class reunion where she reconnected with her high school sweetheart Tim.  She also met Gia and started baking for his coffee shop.  Well finally in Beauty Expos are Murder she is committing to Gia.....but, of course, with Poppy it won't be as easy as she hopes.

In Beauty Expos are Murder Poppy and Gia have a booth at the Health and Beauty Expo being held at the Convention Hall as well as everything else they have going on.....him running the coffee shop, her running the Bed and Breakfast with her aunt.....and then Gia's wife comes to town and there's a death at the Expo and Poppy happens to be the one to discover the body !!

Wait......back up....Gia's wife ??  Yes, that is a secret he kept from Poppy so there is a lot of tension there and you will want to read that all for yourself.... I won't ruin the fun for you !

Now back to the dead body..... Dr. Lance Rubin is a cosmetic surgeon who is very popular and the big draw to the event so when it is his body that winds up dead, you know there is going to be a lot of pressure to solve his murder....and when one of Poppy's high school enemies asks for help on another case, she finds it hard to say no.  Seeing as the person asking is a cop and Poppy has sort of helped her in the past, she finds herself in the middle of a major mess !!

There is so much going on in Beauty Expos are Murder that you will stay up past your bedtime and neglect other things in your daily life just so you can stay on top of what is going on with Poppy.  The characters in this story will feel like real people that you will grow to love and want to protect.  You might even find yourself putting together a list of things to pack so you can go stay at the B&B and tag along with Poppy until you realize you are reading a book......

Review by Missi M.


Friday 29 October 2021

The Enemy You Gnocchi (Italian Chef Mysteries #3) by Catherine Bruns

It's the deadliest thyme of the year...

With snow dusting the ground and sauce sizzling on the stove, local chef Tessa Esposito is ready to serve up some holiday cheer. And with the annual Festival of Lights underway, it seems nothing can dim her spirits. Not even Mario Russo, the newest scrooge in town whose espresso bar has been quickly disrupting businesses and stealing customers from Harvest Park's favorite coffeehouse.

But when Mario is discovered at the festival's opening, face down in a Santa suit, Tessa realizes the bah humbug runs deeper than she could have imagined. And when one of her dearest friends is implicated in the crime, she must make a list of Mario's enemies, check them twice, and discover the cold-blooded killer. Especially before they can sleigh again.  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Enemy You Gnocchi by Catherine Bruns is the third book in her Italian Chef Mystery series and two things will happen when you start reading it..... first you will be hungry immediately and want to eat everything may even think you smell the good food that Tessa is cooking.  Secondly this book will get you into the Christmas spirit even with a murder involved.

The Italian Chef Mystery series centers around Tessa Esposito and her restaurant Anything Pastable in Harvest Park and her unlucky knack of getting involved in a murder and the investigation.  It all started in the first book, Penne Dreadful, after her husband's death and continues with each new book and a new murder.  Even though her cousin Gino is a police detective and her cousin Gabby is dating a police officer and she in continually told to stand down, she doesn't.

In The Enemy You Gnocchi there is a new coffeehouse in town, The Espresso Lane, and the owner Marco is not liked by many in town.  And his coffeehouse is taking away from Java Time, the coffeehouse that is been there forever and everyone loves owner Archie.

Tessa as per her usual has a lot on her plate with the restaurant, cooking and baking, as well as helping with the annual Festival of Lights but when Mario who is playing Santa at the event is found murdered after going on a break, she knows she has to do something.  And when her cousin takes Archie in for questioning relating to the murder, she know she has to step up and prove his innocence.

Tessa luckily doesn't have to do it alone as her cousin Gabby is right there for her.....unfortunately her brother Gino does not like her or Tessa getting involved.  However trying to find Marco's murderer proves to be tougher than they realized seeing as there weren't many people in town that liked the guy and they soon learn that his past may be chasing him as well......

Readers will not want to stop reading The Enemy You Gnocchi and the only time you will stop is to get a drink, something to eat and many use the ladies room, or the little guys room.  Not only will you love the town and the businesses, the people and the activities but the fact that it is close to Christmas and everyone is in the Christmas spirit, or most people are, you will get that warm, cuddly feeling.  And as you read and get deeper into the story, you will be frozen in your spot......and I will warn you that Chapter 11 will give you GOOSEBUMPS !!!!  And that is all I have to hurry up and go grab your copy and get lost with Tessa.....

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Buried Secrets: The Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series Book 11 by Mike Martin

RCMP Sergeant Winston Windflower is at a crossroads as career opportunities intrude on his near-perfect life in the blustery paradise of Grand Bank, Newfoundland.

Just as the pandemic ends, the little oceanside communities are rocked by the murders of prominent figures, an RCMP Staff Sergeant in St. John’s and a minister in Grand Bank, and it’s implied that there are national security implications to at least one crime. There’s also a sinister new character hanging around doing the parish’s dirty work.

Windflower finds himself a primary investigator, balancing work, potential major changes, and life with a young family while seeking guidance from his ancestral teachings and dreams.

Are the crimes connected, and can Windflower and his team find the killer before they strike again? As the police work becomes more complicated and even dangerous, Sgt. Windflower finds time to enjoy his family, his friends and always some great food.

Come back to Grand Bank for another great adventure in Sgt. Windflower Mysteries.  (Summary via Amazon)

Reading the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series is like hanging out with family and friends.  Author Mike Martin has a way with his writing that your eyes breeze over the words and you instantly connect with Windflower and whatever he is dealing with in his life....and that is usually a lot !!!

In Buried Secrets, the eleventh book in this series Windflower has a lot on his plate with a few cases that he is working on hitting close to home and things in his personal life are causing him some turmoil as well.  Luckily for Windflower his work with the communications section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in St. John's is coming to an end sooner than expected as he is needed for more important things back home in Grand Bank.  Unfortunately a previous boss, Staff Sergeant Alison Morecombe, who is on leave from her job at the time, is found dead in her home in St. John's and it is shortly ruled murder.  However before Windflower can do anything with that case, he is called back to Grand Bank to look into the death of beloved Reverend Bob Prowse who is found dead in his bath tub.  Upon a closer look and autopsy, it is discovered that Reverend Bob's death was from insulin poisoning but he was not diabetic.

While Windflower gets back into the groove of things in Grand Bank with the job, employees and cases, he is also getting reaquainted with his wife, Sheila, their 2 daughters and his Uncle Frank....not to mention all the friends in town.  

No matter what Windflower has on his plate, he has no problem handling it, whether it is food or life.  And in Buried Secrets he has a lot of things to address.  One thing he is having trouble with has to deal with the job so he turns to Creator and the dream world side with his Auntie Marie guiding him through it.  

Readers by now know that when Windflower is on the case, you can be assured of it being solved and in Buried Secrets there are a few cases that he is deep into....readers will love reading about his take control manner and how he handles whatever comes his way and the things that come his way will make your jaw drop !!  And when things in his personal life begin to get cloudy for him, you know that even though its foggy, he will be able to see clearly soon enough.

I love the relationships in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series.  I love the customs that he follows with the smudging, prayer and the dream world he connects with.  Readers cannot help but long for the life that Windflower and Sheila have with each other and the friends they have in Grand Bank.  And even though it was foggy throughout my time in Grand Bank, I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait to get back to see where Martin is going to take the story......

Review by Missi M.

Sunday 24 October 2021

Empress Isabella and the Halloween Caper by Margaret Evans

Something is amiss in the Halloween Haunted Woods in Raging Ford, Minnesota, this year. Laura Keene and her friends handed the reins over to several eighth-graders to run, but, oh my! What is going on?? Bags of Halloween treats are vanishing in the darkness, some floating up into the air! Hisses and soft whiskers are tickling the noses of some of the kids, but there’s no one there! Bullies are being tripped up! Children are running out of the woods, and Laura and her fiancé Sgt. Connor Fitzpatrick dig into what’s happening. They shoo away some bats, suspecting dark forces may be responsible, but who...or behind it all?  (Summary via Goodreads)

Whether you are a fan of the Second Treasures Mystery series by Margaret Evans, Halloween, cats, ghosts, small towns, friendships, haunted houses, costumes, and/or getting lost in a good story, Empress Isabella and the Halloween Caper is your cup of tea !!

Empress Isabella and the Halloween Caper is also a novella and less than 80 pages long so you can grab a snack and a drink and settle in for a few hours and read it in one sitting or you can space it out and enjoy it at your leisure.

Empress Isabella is a cat that lives with Laura Keene and hangs out in her second hand store, Second Treasures, and only Laura and her fiance, Sgt. Connor Fitzpatrick, can see her.  For the longest time only Laura could see her until her and Connor got engaged and now lucky for him he can also see her.

In Empress Isabella and the Halloween Caper the town of Raging Ford is gearing up for the Halloween holiday and it's Halloween Haunted Woods event....and this event is huge !!  A selected few are on the decorating committee to decorate a wooded area across from Connor's parents house and the kids walk through it on Halloween and get spooked and come out with a bag full of candy and other goodies.....except this year there is a surprise or two and Empress Isabella is going to be part of it but no one knows that and when it happens, Laura and Connor are left asking if she was doing good or evil......

Seeing as it is days away from Halloween this is the perfect time to get lost in a Halloween themed story and the fact that Empress Isabella and the Halloween Caper is short, you will be able to add it to your schedule easily........

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 23 October 2021

Castles, Catnip & Murder (A Dickens & Christie Mystery #5) by Kathy Manos Penn

It was supposed to be a relaxing vacation. Now this legendary location could be hiding a killer in its battlements.
Leta Parker’s retirement in the Cotswolds’ rolling hills has been a balm for her soul. And heading off with her friends and talking four-legged companions to a cat yoga retreat on the cliffs of Cornwall’s Arthurian coastline seems like the perfect mix of relaxation and exploration. But when a fellow yogi’s corpse pose nearly becomes permanent, Leta believes it’s no stretch to suspect foul play.

Seeking the cause of the death-like pose, the Little Old Ladies’ Detective Agency springs into action to hunt down the culprit. But with the poor woman’s recent tragic history, the resort’s grieving owners, and a doubtful local DI all conspiring to muddy the picture, this case could end up in ruins.

Will the crack team of senior sleuths unearth the evidence to throw a would-be murderer in the dungeon?

Castles, Catnip & Murder is the intriguing fifth book in the Dickens & Christie cozy mystery series. If you like tenacious retirees, witty banter, and fascinating myths and legends, then you’ll love Kathy Manos Penn’s trip to the Round Table.  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Dickens & Christie Mystery series by Kathy Manos Penn is so fun to read !!  If you read one book in this series, you will be an immediate fan and want to read the additional books.  In this series the main thing that readers will love is that the main character can talk to and understand animals.  Leta Parker is the main character and she has moved from the States across the pond as they say and lives in Astonbury in the Cotswolds with her cat, Christie and her dog, Dickens, and they communicate all the time !!  And those aren't the only animals Leta can understand.

Leta has made life in Astonbury quite enjoyable...she has a close knit group of friends, has some hobbies to get her through getting use to early retirement as well as getting over her late husband Henry.....and one of her hobbies is attending yoga classes as often as she can.

In Castles, Catnip & Murder Leta and some of her closest friends are going on a yoga retreat to Knights' Rest and Christie along with the cat living at Knights' Rest will be participating in the yoga classes and Christie cannot wait !!

Unfortunately while at the retreat they meet Caryn Darby who recently lost her fiance Arthur.  His death was ruled accidental but she believes otherwise and when she gets very ill, Leta and her friends, who are also known as the LOL's, the Little Old Ladies' Detective Agency, decide to do some investigating.  But before they can figure out the who and why of Caryn's illness, they discover that they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg !!

Another great thing about the Dickens & Christie Mystery series is that Penn provides a list of characters at the beginning of all her books so that readers can look back at any point while reading the story to make sure they know who is who.  However, even though she provides this list, you will have a hard time trying to crack the case.  I highly recommend that you sit back with a snack and a drink and settle in and let Leta and her friends tell the story and uncover the details and the killer......

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 21 October 2021

Murder with All the Trimmings (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper #4) by Elaine Viets

‘Tis the season for sleuthing when secret shopper Josie Marcus’s ex falls victim to a festive fiend…

Josie’s latest mystery shopper report won’t help business at Naughty or Nice, Maplewood’s raunchy year-round Christmas store. But she can’t worry about work when her ex-dealer, ex-convict, ex-boyfriend, Nate Weekler, just came home for the holidays, prepared to fight Josie for custody of their daughter. Josie wishes he’d catch the next sleigh out of town, but instead, Nate is poisoned…and suddenly Josie is a person of interest.

With Nate’s criminal past, he’d never make Santa’s “Nice” column, but his own list of enemies also includes plenty of “Naughties” who might want him dead. Josie will need her team of little helpers to wrap up this case, before the killer commits another holiday homicide.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I am a huge fan of author Elaine Viets and her Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Mystery series.  Every time I read one of the books in this series it becomes my favorite one so far and Murder with All the Trimmings, the fourth book in the series, is now my favorite....that is until I read the fifth book.

In Murder with All the Trimmings Josie is thrown into her worst nightmare.....the father of her 9 year-old daughter Amelia comes to town ! Josie and Nate never married and when he was arrested for being a drug dealer, she did not let him know that she was pregnant.  She didn't think that he would ever get out of the Canadian jail he was in and even told Amelia that her father was dead.  But when he shows up and wants to get back together with Josie and be a family with her and Amelia, Josie is not happy.  Josie has finally found the man of her dreams in Mike the plumber and wants nothing to do with Nate.  Unfortunately Josie's world comes crumbling down on her when Nate dies.....but let's back up just a bit.

Mike's ex-girlfriend who is the mother of his teenage daughter opens up a Christmas store right next to two other Christmas themed stores except her store, Naughty or Nice, is not your normal Christmas store.  Doreen is a thorn in Josie's side and her daughter Heather is a thorn in Amelia's side.  Heather is not a nice person at all and unfortunately she takes after her mother and sadly Mike does not see it at all.  When it comes to his daughter, she can do no wrong.  

When two people die, Nate being one of them, and they are ruled murder and their deaths are from poisoning and the only thing they have in common is that they both ate chocolate cake from the store next door to Doreen's, Elsie's Elf House, Josie is thrown into a murder investigation....again.  And this time not only is she a suspect but Mike is also.  Josie has to figure out how to prove that neither her or Mike poisoned Nate and some woman that they didn't even know and do it fast !!

Readers cannot help but fall in love with this series and no matter what book you pick up, you will be instantly drawn into Josie's life and not want to leave.  Viets has a great cast of characters for readers to love and the stories and the murders that she comes up with will grab your interest immediately.  And as you get to know everyone, even the nosy neighbor Mrs. Mueller, you will be ready to move into the neighborhood and help Josie navigate through life.....

Review by Missi M.

Monday 18 October 2021

Strawberries and Crime (A Finn Family Farm Mystery #2) by Elle Brooke White

In Elle B. White's delightful second Finn Family Farm mystery, farmer Charlotte Finn and her sleuthing baby pig are neck-deep in strawberries and crime.

Things are finally growing smoothly on the Finn Family Farm. With the help of caretakers Joe and Alice Wong and farmer Samuel Brown, Charlotte Finn is starting to feel at home at the Santa Barbara County produce farm she inherited. But all is not strawberries and cream: A blight is destroying young berry plants. Worse, another mysterious death is shaking Little Acorn.

The victim is grizzled, cantankerous Linc Pierce, the only farmer in Little Acorn whose strawberry crop was fruitful. Charlotte and her old friend Beau Mason find him hanging from the rafter, an apparent suicide. But a cursory search turns up a half-eaten sandwich. Who eats before he kills himself?

Chief Goodacre suspects foul play. Her prime suspect is Beau, who exchanged words--and worse--with Linc earlier in the day. Meanwhile, Little Acorn's farmers point accusing fingers at one another, recalling Linc's suggestion that someone sabotaged their strawberries. As Charlotte searches for clues to exonerate Beau, she finds something on Linc's workbench not buried in dust. Could this be why Linc's strawberry plants are alive? And, perhaps, why Linc is dead?

Now, if Charlotte and Horse--the farm's baby pig with a bottomless stomach and an insatiable hunger for sleuthing--can't root out the murderer, they, too, may end up dead and berried.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I fell in love with the first book, Dead on the Vine, in the Finn Family Farm Mystery series by Elle Brooke White and couldn't wait for the next book and it is finally here !!  Strawberries and Crime is full of entertaining stories and lovable people and a farm and community that you will want to be a part of !!

Charlotte Finn is the main character in this series and she has inherited her great-uncle's farm in Little Acorn.  Not only did she inherit the farm but the people and the animals associated with it are her responsiblility as well....and one animal in particular she couldn't get rid of no matter what....and that is Horse, her trusty companion and all around know-it-all protector the pig.

In Strawberries and Crime the farm is alive with activity as Charlotte's childhood best friend Diane is building and working on opening a farm to table restaurant on property on the farm and everyone is doing whatever they can to help.  Unfortunately Charlotte is pulled in a different direction when some of the strawberry crop starts dying and she finds out that hers isn't the only farm having this trouble.  Then when her and Beau, Diane's brother as well as Charlotte's dear friend, meet up with some other farmers and there's an argument between Beau and another farmer, Linc, things go downhill quickly.  And when Beau and Charlotte go to Linc's farm to apologize, they find him dead hanging in his barn.  It doesn't take Chief Goodacre long to realize that it was murder and the murderer staged it to look like suicide and Beau was the last person to have a confrontation with him.

Even though Charlotte should be tending to her strawberry plants and helping Diane get the restaurant ready to open, she is pulled into looking into Linc's death....she has to for Beau's sake.  With the help of Horse and friend and farmhand Samuel, they decide to find out who would benefit from damaging other farmers crops and getting rid of Linc.   Luckily Beau is taken off the suspect list early in the investigation, however, Diane's contractor Danny is taken in for Linc's murder.  Diane and Danny have been getting to know each other on the personal level and she knows that even though he has a temper, he wouldn't have harmed Linc.  

Charlotte, Samuel and Horse work as a team looking into Linc's murder but it seems the suspect list gets longer rather than shorter and they seem to be fighting an uphill battle......

Readers will LOVE this series with the unique characters.....especially Horse the pig and the relationship that he has with Charlotte.  Readers will love the setting and want to move to the farm to partake in all the fun....but I'm sure you will want to steer clear of the murder...if you can help it !!!

Review by Missi M.


Wednesday 13 October 2021

Death Rang the Bell (Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mysteries #3) by Carol Pouliot

21st-century journalist Olivia Watson thinks travelling back in time to 1934 to attend a Halloween party with her friend Detective Steven Blackwell will be a lot of fun. And it is...until she witnesses the head of the Shipley Five-and-Dime empire murdered, and fears the killer saw her face.

The smart move is to return to the safety of the present, but Olivia possesses a secret and is about to defy the unwritten rules of time travel. She convinces Steven to let her stay in his time and help unravel the motives behind the murder, even if it means risking her own life to save another.

When Steven delves into the investigation, he discovers how a bitter relationship, a chance encounter, and a fateful decision converged to set the stage for murder. In a maze full of unreliable clues and misdirection, dark secrets refuse to stay buried and forgotten ghosts won’t fade away. Steven is reminded that old sins cast long shadows.

Can Steven catch the killer before time runs out for Olivia?  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mystery series by Carol Pouliot is a fun and different series with one character living in the 1930's and the other living in the present time.....however in this third book, Death Rang the Bell, Pouliot adds another twist and goes back to the early 1900's to bring the story together.  

In the Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mystery series Olivia Watson is a journalist and has her own research business in the present time and Steven Blackwell is a detective in the 1930's.  They found out that they can travel back and forth between times by holding hands and crossing over the threshold of Olivia's bedroom which in Steven's time was his mother's bedroom.

In Death Rang the Bell Olivia is spending more and more time in Steven's time.  Unfortunately neither of them thought that Steven's neighbor, Benjamin Shipley, would get murdered and Olivia would be an eye witness.   As Steven and his department investigate Shipley's murder, the suspect list seems to grow as they get deeper into Shipley's family's past.  And when they find out some things from 20 years ago that could have a major impact on the case, this will make things more interesting as well as more complicated for Steven and his crew to figure out. 

In this installment in this series, the majority of the time is spent with Steven and his case and I think readers will enjoy their time there.  Readers cannot help but enjoy the relationship that Steven and Olivia are developing as well as reading how each of them is amazed when they cross over into the other's time period.  Reading about how the police do their jobs back in the 1930's as opposed to now and all the differences is eye opening to say the least.....and the amount of control that Olivia has with not going online to look into the events to help Steven solve the case will amaze readers....I don't know about you but I would be totally tempted to peek. 

I highly recommend taking a trip into the past with this series.  You will fall instantly in love with everything this series has to offer......

Review by Missi M.