Friday 26 February 2021

Farm to Trouble (Farm to Table Mysteries #1) by Amanda Flower

 First in a new series!

Shiloh Bellamy cashed in her big city job and 401K to return home to Michigan to save the family farm, but turning Bellamy Farms into a sustainable, organic operation is no small feat. Especially when her new investor is found dead at the farmers market not long after the contract is signed, a contract that the whole town knows her father was wholeheartedly against.

Now, Shiloh must clear her family's name and track down the real killer before her farm dreams wilt before her very eyes. But with her father trying to stop any progress on his land, her cousin belittling her every effort, and the whole town believing her family at fault, Shiloh has to carry the investigation on her shoulders or risk all her dreams drying up before they begin.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Amanda Flower has another great start to a new series with Farm to Trouble, the first book in her Farm to Table Mystery series....and she ends it in such a way that readers will have to return to see what happens....but I'm getting ahead of myself.

In Farm to Trouble Shiloh Bellamy is returning to her hometown Cherry Glen Michigan to help her father on the farm.  Little does she know that the farm is in worse shape that her father let on and it is going to take a miracle to save it.  But Shiloh has taken the first step in obtaining an investor to help and can't wait to get started on turning the family farm into an organic farm with lots of possibilities.  Unfortunately Shiloh wasn't aware that the investor, Jefferson Crocker, and her father have a history and she soon learns that most of the town knows Crocker and it's not all good.  Before Shiloh can work things out she stumbles across a dead body at the famer's market and it is Crocker  !!!

Even though they is a long list of suspects the Chief of Police has his sights on Shiloh and her father.  Shiloh decides she needs to look into Crocker and his hold on the town and learn everything she can so that she can figure out who the real killer is before one of them gets arrested !!

Shiloh has a lot on her plate returning home.  She is adjusting to leaving the big city of LA and her busy job as a television producer to work the farm in the country.  She also left home shortly after losing her fiance Logan and her grandmother and there are people in town that think it was her fault that Logan died and won't be welcoming her with open arms.  When she sees how rundown the family farm is and how much work it is going to need and with the investor murdered and she didn't finalize the contract, she begins to question if coming home was the right thing to do. Before she can work everything out she needs to learn more about who killed Jefferson Crocker and take the heat off of her father and herself.

It always amazes me when I read a book and I wonder how authors can come up with the stories they write but Flower makes it look so effortless.  The words make the story come to life in the readers mind and you feel like you are right there along side Shiloh as she reconnects with her friends, family and hometown.  Readers will wish they could jump inside the book and be there in person. And the way Flower ends the story, leaving something unresolved, will guarantee that readers will be waiting "patiently" for the second book in this series and hopefully an answer ......

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop (Beacon Bakeshop #1) by Darci Hannah

In the first of a new series, after Lindsey Bakeswell catches her celebrity chef fiance sizzling in the arms of another woman, Lindsey leaves big city Wall Street for small town Beacon Harbor, Michigan to pursue her own passion as a pastry baker--and gets mixed up in someone's sweet taste of revenge...

More interested in kneading dough than adding it up, Lindsey's breakup inspired her to set up the shop she always wanted in a place that always made her happy. She'd spent many childhood summers near this beach community and converting the old run-down lighthouse into a bakery cafe and home offers a perfect fresh start for Lindsey and her devoted Newfoundland dog, Wellington.

But not everyone in town has a sweet tooth. The preservation society won't have the lighthouse's history sugar coated by lattes and cakes--and a protest group crashes Lindsey's Memorial Day opening. Then her ex-fiance Jeffrey Plank and his girlfriend Mia Wong arrive to trash the place. In the ensuing chaos Mia chokes on a donut and dies.

An autopsy reveals cyanide in Mia's bloodstream and Lindsey is the police's prime suspect. To clear her name, she's going to need to combine ingredients found in the town's checkered past to uncover the identity of a desperate killer...
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop by Darci Hannah is the first book in her new Beacon Bakeshop Mystery series and it will capture readers attention hook, line and sinker !!  

Main character Lindsey Bakewell moves from New York City to the small lakeside town of Beacon Harbor, Michigan to get as far away from her cheating ex-fiance and his tart of a girlfriend as she possibly can.  She bought an abandoned, rundown lighthouse sight unseen except for pictures on the internet and works at turning it into a bakery and living quarters.  

Everything is ready to go and it is opening day and it seems that the whole town has turned up to support Lindsey and her new business, even some out of town unwelcome guests show up.  Lindsey's ex-fiance, Jeffrey and his tart, Mia, are in town for the grand opening and all eyes are on Mia as she storms in and makes a huge scene stealing peoples donuts and grabbing the latte out of Betty, the realtor's, hand.  Before anyone can control the chaos, Mia collapses on the front lawn.  Later when it is discovered that Mia died from poisoning, everyone looks at Lindsey as the murderer.

Lindsey along with her baking assistant, Dylan, her best friend from the city, Kennedy, and her sexy neighbor, Rory, start their own investigation into Mia's death.  Unfortunately when there is another murder Lindsey is arrested and taken in......

For a small town Beacon Harbor is loaded with secrets and Lindsey will have a hard time figuring out who she can trust and who she can't.  Readers will be shocked when the culprit is revealed and the story behind it all.  Readers will also enjoy reading and getting to know Lindsey and her new hometown and the people in it.  Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop is an excellent first book in a very strong series and I am confident that I will be returning to this little slice of heaven whenever there is a new book hot off the presses !!!!

Review by Missi M.

Friday 19 February 2021

Wine Tastings Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery #5) by Libby Klein

It's vintage Poppy McAllister when the gluten-free baker and B&B owner tries to solve a murder at a Cape May winery . . . 

When Poppy and Aunt Ginny agreed to host a Wine and Cheese Happy Hour for a tour group at their Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast on the Jersey Shore, they never anticipated such a sour bunch. Grumpy guest Vince Baker should be in a better mood--he's filthy rich and on his honeymoon with his much younger wife Sunny, who seems to dote on him almost as much as her high-spirited teacup Pomeranian, Tammy Faye Baker.

But the honeymoon is over when Vince drops dead the next day touring the Laughing Gull Winery. Turns out he's been poisoned, and it seems like everybody on the tour is hiding something. Now Poppy has to put her gluten-free baking on the back burner and bottle up her feelings for the two men in her life while she charges after a bitter killer with a lethal case of sour grapes . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy's Kitchen!

"Fans of Chopped will have fun juggling the complicated set of suspects and following a romantic triangle that has yet to be resolved."Goodreads)

Wine Tastings are Murder by Libby Klein is the fifth book in her Poppy McAllister Mystery series and with each new book in this series readers will fall deeper and deeper in love with it !!

In Wine Tastings are Murder Poppy McAllister moved back home to Cape May on the Jersey Shore and opened up the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast and they are hosting a group that are in town for a wine tasting experience.  Unfortunately one of the guests is not going to make it through the first tasting at a local winery.  When her friend Kim asks her for help saving the winery's reputation Poppy jumps in.

Even though Poppy has her hands full with running the bed and breakfast, making desserts at one of her boyfriend's restaurants, baking sweets for her other boyfriend's cafe and trying to keep tabs on Aunt Ginny and her friends, she cannot help but do some snooping.....especially when her high school nemesis Amber who is now on the police force asks for her help as an informant. 

Poppy along with her close friend Sawyer, Aunt Ginny and friends will stop at nothing to help Sunny, the widow of the deceased, find out who killed Vince, her husband.  Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a clear path to finding out.  Even when all of the "suspects" are brought to the Butterfly House and are all under the same roof, Poppy has more questions than answers.  Amber has basically given Poppy the key to the city by including her as an informant but that doesn't seem to help at all.....

Readers will love this series and with every new book in it, you cannot help but fall in love.  Readers will receive papercuts on their hands from turning the pages so quickly and you will be powerless to stop reading.  However readers must be warned that the ending will be explosive !!  When Poppy uncovers the murderer and how they came to killing Vince, you will not be expecting it at all !!!  And Poppy will be forced to come to a decision regarding her love triangle and you will be shocked at the LAST sentence in the book......however Klein definitely knows how to keep her readers on the hook and counting days until they can return to Cape May.......

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 18 February 2021

Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery by G.P. Gottlieb

When the owner of the business next door is found dead in his Chicago office, Alene Baron is relieved. She's been suspicious of the food supplements he’s been selling, not to mention the smoothies he's been hawking, which are much inferior to the ones Alene sells at the Whipped and Sipped CafĂ©. Plus, Stanley Huff never cleaned up his garbage in their shared alley. As a shady businessman, Stanley had enemies, but now one of Alene's favorite employees is a suspect in his murder. And that employee is missing. 

Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery includes 22 of the author's best, healthy and delicious recipes!   (Summary via Goodreads)

One thing readers will love when they read Smothered by G.P. Gottlieb is that there is a list of characters in the front of the book so that readers can turn to it whenever they need to check on a person.  And with this cast of characters you are going to want to make sure you know who is who and who is related to or knows who.

In Smothered readers are going to want to make sure they have a drink and a snack on hand because you are going to be spending a lot of time in the Whipped and Sipped Cafe where everything sounds delicious !!  You will be working along side Alene Baron, the owner of the cafe, as she navigates being a single mom to three kids, taking care of her elderly father, runs the cafe and tries to have a relationship with homicide detective Frank Shaw.  Unfortunately besides her having a busy life, Alene seems to get in the middle of a murder.  

When Kacey, an employee at the cafe, goes into the alley behind the cafe and screams, everyone comes running.  They find the door to the fitness center, Better Be Fit, open and the owner, Stanley lying on the floor.  It doesn't take long to realize that he's dead.  Alene  cannot help but continue to question everything about his death, especially because she knows Stanley's wife.  

When Alene's dad, Cal, ends up in the hospital and Stanley's widow, Sylvie, ends up in the room next to him Alene gets to know the family a little more than she would have liked.  Sadly everyone begins to look guilty in her eyes and when she learns one of her employees is related to the family and goes missing, she cannot stop from asking questions.  

Gottlieb sets the stage beautifully for readers and with providing the list of characters in the beginning, you have your own little cheat sheet of sorts.  And with all the twists and turns in Smothered you will be grateful to have the list so that you can keep track of everyone and check off those you believe are innocent.  However when the real killer is revealed I'm sure you will be as shocked as I was because I'm certain they weren't even on your radar.

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 13 February 2021

Finished Off in Fondant (Courtney Archer #2) by Rosemarie Ross

Hosting a friendly competition reality cooking show could be the perfect career boost for Chef Courtney Archer--but when her co-host is found murdered, Courtney must work through layers of deception to find the real culprit.

Despite a few early hiccups, Courtney is thrilled with her starring role on The American Baking Battle, filmed at a grand resort in the Pocono Mountains. The icing on the cake? The new season has a wedding theme--complete with formalwear. But the first day on set, the producer seems to care more about profits than pastry--and the topper comes when her cohost Skylar falls ill. Little does she know things are about to end in tiers...

When a barely coherent, blood-covered Skylar is discovered at the doorway of his room, Courtney is horrified to walk inside and find a towering wedding cake--thoroughly smashed by the body of a woman in a bridal gown. Now suspicion is filling the studio and falling on Skylar, and Courtney has to look at coworkers and contestants, working through layers of deception to find the real culprit...
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Finished Off in Fondant by Rosemarie Ross is such a FUN read !!  Finished Off in Fondant is the second book in her Courtney Archer Mystery series and readers cannot help but fall in love !!

Finished Off in Fondant follows main character Courtney Archer as she is co-hosting The American Baking Battle and her friend Shannon is one of the judges.  The show is filmed at the Coal Castle Resort where her Cooking with the Farmer's Daughter show is also filmed.  While filming is going on everyone is staying at the resort which Courtney is quite familiar with having done it before.  Unfortunately a lot is going on with Courtney as she has decided to come clean to her viewing audience and tell the truth about her background.  After she tapes the truthful episode she cannot stop thinking about what that will do to the show, her fans, as well as everyone employed on the show, especially her producer and dear friend, Eric.  

Courtney doesn't have long to wallow in her self-pity because her co-host, Skylar, on the baking show returns to his room at the Castle to a dead body !!  Unfortunately he doesn'ty know how the deceased ended up in his room or who killed her.  Courtney knows that there is no way that he could have killed the woman even though he did have history with her.  Courtney cannot help but try to find out the real killer even if it makes everyone a suspect and gets Courtney in hot water !!

Readers will be drawn to the storyline immediately and you will feel like you are right there next to Courtney as she tapes the show and moves around the resort.  You will love the cast of characters from the celebrities to the contestants to the employees working around the resort.  Even though there is a long list of suspects for readers to chose from, you will still be in shock when the killer is revealed !!!

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Sabotage at Somerset: A charmingly fun paranormal cozy mystery (Oxford Key Mysteries Book 4) by Lynn Morrison

Nat has identified the evil menace stealing Oxford’s magic. Can she stop them before it is too late?

Natalie, Kate and Mathilde know who is wreaking havoc on Oxford’s magic. Now their challenge is to ensure they are brought to justice. When a film production comes to Oxford, it provides the group the chance to bait the perfect trap.

But the film set is plagued with problems from the moment it arrives. Equipment is damaged, scripts go missing and the lead actress is poisoned.

Nat and her friends will have to work fast if they want to salvage the production and trap the culprit.

There’s just one problem: Has the evil menace caught onto their plans or is someone else trying to sabotage the show?
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Every time I begin reading a book in the Oxford Key Mystery series by Lynn Morrison I am reminded of the Harry Potter series and every time I review a book in this series, I cannot help but say that.  Fans of the Harry Potter series will absolutely love this series .... and every new book in the series makes me love it more and more !!

Sabotage at Somerset is the fourth book in the Oxford Key Mystery series and by now, if you have read the previous books you are a fan and more importantly, you feel like you are a part of the group.  This series follows main character Natalie Payne as she begins her new job working in the colleges of Oxford as an event coordinator.  However her main focus and more important responsibility is to protect the magic that is within.  The magic and protecting it is a part of her being as her grandfather was also a prefect and worked at the college for years.  Along with 2 other prefects, Kate and Matilde, her pet wyvern, her boyfriend Edward and her friend Harry, they will face their greatest challenge in Sabotage at Somerset.

Nat's uncle Harold is coming to the colleges to film scenes for his historical period drama while Nat and her group are still working on resolving the problem with the magic to which they are getting closer to solving.  They now know the masterminds behind it, Oswald Beadle and Thomas Hobbes, one being a human and the other is an Eternal.  Nat with the help of her grandfather has summoned a lot of other Eternals within the colleges to help stand guard during the filming in case there is trouble.  Unfortunately Nat is drawn on a difference course when one of the members in the film is poisoned.  

In this series Nat always has a full plate with her regular job creating memorable ceremonies, trying to save the magic, hanging with her friends and boyfriend but in Sabotage at Somerset she may just have more than she can handle.....

Sabotage in Somerset is my FAVORITE book in this far !!!  With it being the fourth book in the series readers are pretty familiar with the storyline and the characters and setting.  You will have come to love and hate certain people and you will want to see things through to the end as Nat and company does as well.  There will come a point in this book where you will be powerless to stop reading, the "magic" will have taken over your body and a spell will be cast for you to keep reading until you get to the end and you will be thankful for that.  The last 20 or so pages of this book will grip your emotions and take them for a rollercoaster ride !!  You will laugh, cry and be fearful almost all at the same time !!!

The Oxford Key Mystery series is a must read and you should really add them to your to be read pile because before you know it Post Mortem at Padua will be here and you are definitely going to want to be caught up !!!

Review by Missi M.


Monday 8 February 2021

Fish Out of Water (Ozarks Lake Mystery #1) by Marc Jedel

 A small-town homicide. A community swamped in secrets. Can married amateur sleuths bait and capture the killer before the truth slips away?

Elizabeth Trout had escaped her rural Arkansas hometown. Compelled to sort through her deceased grandmother’s belongings, she and her new husband Jonas make an unexpected trip down south to the family ranch. But when the property manager turns up dead, Elizabeth is rocked when her ex-boyfriend-turned-deputy arrests her for the murder.

As incriminating evidence piles up and the sheriff’s convinced he’s got the right suspect, Elizabeth and Jonas must fish for clues on their own. With a multitude of potential culprits and her husband’s contrasting personality, Elizabeth fears she may be left dangling on the hook for a crime she didn’t commit.

Can these newlyweds net the real killer before Elizabeth is jailed for murder?

Fish Out of Water is the charming first book in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series from the best-selling author of the Silicon Valley Mystery series. If you like quirky characters, clever twists and turns, and puzzling whodunits, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s humorous tale.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I am a fan of Marc Jedel and his Silicon Valley Mystery series so when I saw Fish Out of Water I knew I had to give it a go.  Fish Out of Water is the first book in his Ozarks Lake Mystery series and he has a great storyline and cast of characters you will love !!

Fish Out of Water follows two people, Elizabeth "Ellie Mae" Banks-Trout and her husband Jonas Trout.  They have returned to Elizabeth's hometown of Jenkins Arkansas to go through her grandmother Mimi's house that was left to her as they want to have an estate sale and sell it.  Elizabeth's mother , Dr. Banks, has hired an estate assessor to help them go through the house and get it ready for the estate sale.  Unfortunately shortly after Elizabeth and Jonas arrive to town, her ex-boyfriend, a Sheriff Deputy, arrests Elizabeth for the murder of Duncan Fowler.  Duncan Fowler was a teacher at the high school, photographer, and property manager among other "seedy" jobs.  Luckily Elizabeth is processed and Jonas pays her bail so that they can continue to prepare for the estate sale as well as look into who actually killed Duncan.

Readers will enjoy reading and getting to know Elizabeth, Jonas, and her hometown.  You will love the small town feel and how everyone knows everything about everyone but there are still many secrets waiting to be told.  I personally enjoyed how Jedel dedicates each chapter to either Elizabeth or Jonas so that you are getting the viewpoint of each of them.  I think that that really helps readers to get to know the characters better and not one-sided.  And they way that there are so many viable candidates for the murder and why each of them could have done it will make your head spin !!!

I highly recommend reading Fish Out of Water and also look into Jedel's other series, Silicon Valley Mystery.  They both have unique storylines with enjoyable and loving characters that will make you want to jump in the book and join in the fun !!!

Review by Missi M.