Wednesday 29 September 2021

The Glitter End (Stationery Shop Mystery #3) by Vivian Conroy

The third book in the Stationery Shop Mystery Series from Vivian Conroy! Murder is on display in this small-town cozy mystery!

Perfect for: For fans of Lauren Elliot and Essie Lang. For readers of cozy mysteries and small-town fiction. Stationery shop owner Delta Douglas is finally settling into small-town life in Tundish, Montana. But with the tourist season drying up, she must find a way to draw in her stationery shop clientele. Well-known artist Tilly Tay is just the ticket--and her new miniature gold mining display is sure to be a hit attraction in town.

But on the day of the grand reveal, Delta discovers a tiny prospector dead in the exhibit. That's when a body is found at the nearby motel, perfectly mirroring the miniature murder. Soon enough, Delta's artist guest is suspected of the crime and her shop is suddenly cast under a cloud of bad press. With her faithful Paper Posse at her side, Delta must pull no paper punches to crack the case and save Wanted's reputation before more trouble comes into the fold.  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Stationery Shop Mystery series by Vivian Conroy is such a hoot to read !!  This series is set in a little town in Montana called Tundish and the town is focused on gold mining and the Wild West.  Main character Delta Douglas moved there to be closer to her college roommate Hazel and help her run her stationary shop, Wanted.  While Delta is still getting use to small town living and getting to know the people and the businesses in town, she somehow gets entangled in a murder investigation.  And The Glitter End, the third book in the series, is no different.

In The Glitter End Delta invites Tilly Tay an artist that specializes in creating towns and people in the minature form to built a minature version of Tundish and display it in the shop for a few weeks to bring some business to the town as it heads into the slow winter months.  Unfortunately shortly after Tilly arrives Delta witnesses her arguing with a gentleman whose identity she lies about.   When the gentleman is found stabbed to death in town, Tilly is arrested for his murder.  Delta and her friend Jonas feel that they need to look into the murder seeing as Delta is the one to bring this all into their small town.

Not only does Delta have the murder to look into but her grandmother starts hanging around a man new to town and there are rumors that he isn't who he says he is.  Delta is very close to her grandmother and will never forgive herself is her grandmother gets hurt or taken advantage of.

Conroy keeps the reader thoroughly invested in The Glitter End till, well, the end actually and readers will wonder if family is always who they say they are as Delta and crew uncover a lot of secrets and shady characters in Tilly's life.  And even though there was a murder readers will still want to pack a bag and hit the road to Tundish to check out the shops and the scenery.......

Review by Missi M.  

Sunday 26 September 2021

Killer Among the Vines (Wine & Dine Mysteries Book 7) by Gemma Halliday

From #1 Amazon & New York Times bestselling author Gemma Halliday comes a killer new culinary mystery novel in the USA Today bestselling Wine & Dine Mysteries!

Emmy Oak's family run winery has been in the headlines one too many times and for all the wrong reasons. Which is why she's decided to hire a night security guard, Bill Buckley, to keep an eye on the place. Only when Buckley calls her in a panic about a tripped alarm, Emmy again fears trouble at Oak Valley Vineyards. A fear that is realized in the worst way when Emmy rushes home to find her security guard dead among the blooming grape vines.

Was it poachers? Trespassers? An interrupted would-be burglar? Or was the attack less random and much more personal...

Emmy's sorta-maybe boyfriend Detective Christopher Grant worries the killer might have been after her. But as Emmy learns more about her late employee, she realizes Buckley had far more enemies than she. Before becoming a security guard, Buckley was a police officer...who was caught taking bribes to look the other way. A scandal that illuminates a whole host of suspects, including an angry ex-wife, a former partner with a grudge, and a convicted madame turned cookie purveyor with revenge on the mind. Not to mention the surly teenage son of Buckley's live-in girlfriend, who would do anything to get rid of his almost-stepdad. But when Emmy finds out Detective Grant also has his own connection to the dead man, she suddenly wonders what else Grant may be hiding about his past. Can Emmy ferret out the killer among the vines... before they come looking for another victim?

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

"Ms. Halliday is the undisputed queen of the genre."
Fresh Fiction

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

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

Wine & Dine Mysteries:
A Sip Before Dying – book #1
Chocolate Covered Death – book #2
Victim in the Vineyard – book #3
Marriage, Merlot & Murder – book #4
Death in Wine Country – book #5
Fashion, Ros̩ & Foul Play Рbook #6
Killer Among the Vines – book #7

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

I am a huge fan of the Wine & Dine Mystery series by Gemma Halliday and who wouldn't be .... there is so much to love about this series....from the people, to the storyline, to the relationships and friendships, to the setting, and, of course, the murders !!

Killer Among the Vines is the seventh book in the Wine & Dine Mystery series and main character Emmy Oak has a lot on her plate.  She is always struggling to keep her family vineyard up and running but it looks like her hard efforts may be losing the battle.  She needs a miracle to happen to save the vineyard and her small group of employees that she sees as family.  The last thing she needs is a murder on the property....but that is exactly what she gets when her newly hired security guard Bill Buckley goes out on the grounds to check out what triggered the alarm system.  Unfortunately by the time Emmy gets there, she finds Buckley shot to death.

And if you are a fan of this series like me, you already know that Emmy will see this as personal and go looking for the killer even though her boyfriend, Detective Christopher Grant, is beyond capable of finding the bad guys and continually tells her that fact.  However when her and her best friend Ava start looking into the murder, they find a long list of possible suspects and a lot of secrets and lies to work through.....but when Grant's name in thrown into the mix, Emmy will have some hard questions to ask ....

Readers will fall in love with everything about this series.  The characters are easy to relate to people, people you would love to hang out with, the series is set mainly in the family vineyard and who wouldn't want to hang out there ?  The friendships and the relationships are ones readers will wish they had ..... who wouldn't want David Allen as a friend ??  And one a last note.... readers get to know Emmy's mother more in this book and it looks like we are going to see more of her and her life in the next book.....if the ending of this book is an indication.

I highly recommend grabbing your copies and getting lost in the story.....grab a snack and glass of wine and let Halliday take you away......just like Calgon......

Review by Missi M.


Monday 20 September 2021

Threshold of Deceit (Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mysteries #2) by Carol Pouliot

On a sunny spring day in 1934, local lothario Frankie Russo is murdered in broad daylight. Detective Steven Blackwell discovers Frankie’s little black book, a coded list of dozens of flings, affairs, and one-night stands−and a solid motive for the widow. Soon, what appeared to be a straight-forward case gets complicated. A witness goes missing, a second body turns up, the victim’s cousin disappears, and an old flame surfaces. Faced with conflicting pieces of evidence, Steven creates a psychological portrait of the killer and realizes he’s looking for someone wearing a mask. But the killer is not the only one in disguise.

Since Steven came face to face with 21st-century journalist Olivia Watson two months ago, they’ve experimented within the safety of their house. Now, they test the boundaries of time travel, risking the exposure of their secret. Olivia travels to 1934, where she is embraced by the community, unaware of who she really is. She unwittingly falls in with Steven’s main suspect, an act that threatens her life.

Can Olivia outsmart a killer before becoming the next victim? Can Steven and Olivia solve the case of the poisoned philanderer in time to protect her true identity and their time-travel secret?

Every moment’s a masquerade in THRESHOLD OF DECEIT, the second book in The Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mystery series.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Carol Pouliot puts a unique spin on the cozy mystery by adding time travel into the story in the Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mystery series and readers will be hooked !!!

In the Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mystery series readers will hang around with two main characters 80 years apart and then bring them together !!  Olivia Watson is a journalist living in the 21st century and Detective Sergeant Steven Blackwell lives in the year 1934 and they have discovered that they can pass into each others time by holding hands and walking over the threshold of Olivia's bedroom which was Steven's mothers bedroom in his time.

In Threshold of Deceit, the second book in this series, Olivia and Steven are having a ball getting to know each other and learning about time traveling within the house.....but, of course, they want to take it further so they decide to see if they can leave the house and venture out into town.  And Olivia is the one who gets to do it first.  They start off with going to the local pub for dinner where she meets some of Steven's friends, then she stays alone in the house in his time to see if the house is the pull or Steven is.  When everything goes well, Olivia is going to spend a day walking around town in 1934.....

Unfortunately in Steven's time there is a murder.  Frankie Russo is found dead down a gully behind the high school while the whole town was focusing on the parade in town.  Frankie Russo was married but he had a history of cheating and flirting so Steven and his department have their hands full trying to find the killer.  And to make it harder Frankie was working one week in Knightsbridge and the next week in Syracuse which means they may have to look beyond their town for more suspects......

While Olivia and Steven are getting to know each other as well as the times they both live in, Steven cannot help but tell Olivia about the cases he gets involved in but with Olivia spending more time in his time period getting to know people, she may be getting too involved and not even know the danger she is heading towards.

Readers will thoroughly enjoy this series and not want the book to end.  You will enjoy traveling back to 1934 and seeing how Olivia adapts so quickly to the ways and behaviors and when Steven walks over the threshold and sees the future, you cannot help but laugh because you can totally picture his excitement about seeing the television and cars.  And the way that Pouliot is hinting about the two and their relationship, you cannot help but want to see them get together and take it to the next level.......  So go grab your copy and get ready for a story that will pin you to your seat !!!

Review by Missi M.

Friday 17 September 2021

Striking Range (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #7) by Margaret Mizushima

A deadly secret is buried in the Colorado high country--and murder is only the beginning in the seventh gripping installment of Margaret Mizushima's Timber Creek K-9 mysteries.

He was suspect number one--the man who tried to kill Deputy Mattie Cobb and may have killed her father thirty years earlier. But when Mattie and cold case detective Jim Hauck reach the Colorado state prison where they will finally get to interview him, he's found dead in his cell. There's only one clue: a map leading to Timber Creek and rugged Redstone Ridge.

Though she usually works with veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie's K-9 partner Robo has just sired a litter of pups, who require special, time-consuming care at Cole's clinic. Left to explore the map's clue without him, Mattie and Robo journey into the burned forest surrounding Redstone Ridge. But before they can finish their search they're called to help investigate the death of a young woman found in a campground filled with elk hunters. Identification of the deceased points to her having recently given birth, but the infant is nowhere to be found.

As a deadly storm descends upon the mountains, covering everything with a layer of ice and snow, Mattie and her team search for the missing newborn. The storm batters the area, taking its toll on the team and forcing the sheriff to call in reinforcements. When new evidence surfaces, they decide that finding the woman's killer will lead them to her baby, making them even more desperate to solve the case.

Then Cole goes missing, stranded alone in the high country with a person that Mattie now suspects is the mastermind behind several murders, including her father's. She and Robo take to the trail to find Cole--but the killer has a cold-blooded plan that threatens them all.   (Summary via Goodreads)

Normally when you read a cozy mystery and there are animals involved, they are cute, cuddly, and if they help solve the case, it is mostly by accident or luck.  However, in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series by Margaret Mizushima, the animal character is one of the main characters and even though Robo is cute and cuddly, he is trained to bring down the bad guys.  Robo is a German shepherd and well trained in the field and works specifically with his partner, Deputy Mattie Cobb in the K-9 department in Timber Creek County in Colorado.  

In Striking Range, the seventh book in this series, the story starts with Mattie visiting another jail where she is meeting another detective, Detective Hauck, who specializes in cold cases and they are going to interview John Cobb who killed Mattie's brother and tried to kill her.  They are hoping to get some answers from him regarding Mattie's fathers death which happened thirty years ago.  Unfortunately before they can interview the inmate, he is found dead in his cell and the case of death looks to be a drug overdose.  This provides more questions than answers and sends Mattie, Robo, Detective Hauck, and her department in Timber Creek up the mountain where she was held hostage but escaped......

While the group is imvestigating the site where Mattie was held looking for answers, they also have a dead body found in a campground in town.  It is identified as a pregnant woman that was just at Mattie's boyfriend's animal clinic but she is no longer pregnant at the campsite.  Mattie, Robo and another detective Stella are racing the clock trying to solve her murder and find the baby......little do they know the web they are about to walk into.  

Mizushima has such a talent in drawing the reader into the story immediately and keeping you focused on everything going on until you reach the end of the book and can breathe again.  I highly recommend this series and know that you will instantly fall in love with everything and everyone involved.

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 7 September 2021

Murder at Wakehurst (Gilded Newport Mysteries #9) by Alyssa Maxwell

In the autumnal chill of Newport, Rhode Island, at the close of the nineteenth century, journalist Emma Cross discovers an instance of cold-blooded murder on the grounds of a mansion... 

Following the death of her uncle, Cornelius Vanderbilt, in September 1899, a somber Emma is in no mood for one of Newport's extravagant parties. But to keep Vanderbilt's reckless son Neily out of trouble, she agrees to accompany him to an Elizabethan fete on the lavish grounds of Wakehurst, the Ochre Point cottage modeled after an English palace, owned by Anglophile James Van Alen.

Held in Wakehurst's English-style gardens, the festivities will include a swordplay demonstration, an archery competition, scenes from Shakespeare's plays, and even a joust. As Emma wanders the grounds distracted by grief, she overhears a fierce argument between a man and a woman behind a tall hedge. As the joust begins, she's drawn by the barking of Van Alen's dogs and finds a man on the ground, an arrow through his chest.

The victim is one of the 400's most influential members, Judge Clayton Schuyler. Could one of the countless criminals he'd imprisoned over the years have returned to seek revenge--or could one of his own family members have targeted him? With the help of her beau Derrick Andrews and Detective Jesse Whyte, Emma begins to learn the judge was not the straight arrow he appeared to be. As their investigation leads them in ever-widening circles, Emma will have to score a bull's eye to stop the killer from taking another life...
   (Summary via Goodreads)

You would think that reading a book based in the 1800's things would be so much simpler.....except when it comes to murder and trying to solve the case.  However main character Emma Cross in the Gilded Newport Mystery series doesn't make things easy and even though she is a reporter, she cannot help but get herself in the middle of trying to solving a murder ..... especially when she's the one to come across the dead body.

In Murder at Wakehurst, the ninth book in this amazing series by Alyssa Maxwell, Emma and her family have just laid her Uncle Cornelius to rest and are in the mourning period.  But her cousin Neily who has been on the outs with his father and family for years wants to go to a party and when his wife, Grace, asks Emma to go, she finds it hard to decline.  Grace is worried about Neily's behavior and knows that if Emma is there, they can keep an eye on him.  Unfortunately Emma didn't know that she would stumble across a dead body which is the body of Judge Clayton Schuyler a member of the Four Hundred.

But the worse fright for Emma is when Detective Gifford Myers shows up to investigate the murder instead of Emma's friend, Detective Jesse Whyte and she is told that Detective Myers has been assigned homicide because Emma and Jesse "working" together to solve crimes were not good for the department.  Luckily Jesse did not get fired but has been demoted and is assigned a robbery case that may be tied to the murder as well.

No matter what people say Emma cannot help but ask questions, that is what makes her a great reporter and why her boss and "boyfriend" Derrick Andrews allows her the freedom to follow stories wherever they take her....even if it could be dangerous.

Emma doesn't know how close she is to the actual murderer when she is questioning people of interest until it is almost too late.  Emma's list of suspects seems to grow daily and she is unable to confidently remove anyone from the list and instead finds the list growing.

Readers will thoroughly enjoy Murder as Wakehurst as well as the previous books in this series and they will instantly love Emma and  everyone around her.  And her relationships, personal and business, with Derek will tug at your heartstrings.   And Maxwell's ability to sweep the reader back in time and make you feel like you are there experiencing everything and seeing everything through Emma's eyes is out of this world !!  

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 2 September 2021

Double Chocolate Cookie Murder (A Cook-Off Mystery #5) by Devon Delaney

Sherry Oliveri is used to competing in cook-offs, but this time she's serving as a judge. The upside is that she gets to taste all the contestants' cookies. The downside is that one of the bakers will wind up dead...

It's the long Thanksgiving weekend, and between cooking for her family and working her dad's store for Black Friday, Sherry has a full plate. Next, she has to judge the big cookie contest--and among the many entrants is her old high school home ec teacher, Mr. Currier.

For old time's sake, Sherry invites him over for dinner, although sadly, the reunion will be short-lived. The next day, the prizes at the bake-off go missing--and later turn up at the marina, along with her ex-teacher's body. Now Sherry has to find out who would do such a thing...

Includes Recipes from Sherry's Kitchen!  (Summary via Amazon)

The Cook-Off Mystery series by Devon Delaney is a very tasty treat of a series.  Readers will be glued to their seats wrestling with continuing reading the story or getting up to get a tasty treat to eat....I highly recommend getting something to eat before you sit down to indulge yourself in the story.....

In Double Chocolate Cookie Mystery, the fifth book in this series, main character Sherry Oliveri has her hands full as always.  It is the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and she is one of three judges in the Story for Glory Cookie Bake-off.  Usually Sherry is on the other side of the judging table where she is in her element but she was asked to judge this contest and seeing as baking isn't her cup of tea, she is taking her first time as judge very seriously.  And when she runs into Crosby Currier Banks, an old teacher from high school who is entered in the contest, she invites him for Thanksgiving leftovers the night before the contest and tells him that she cannot be persuaded with his story.  Unfortunately shortly after losing the contest Crosby is found dead at the marina.

After Sherry meets Crosby's ex-wife Rachel, she is persuaded to look into his death.  Little did she know that Crosby's death will lead her to the 20 year old fire at the marina where his father was the dockmaster.  Sherry learns more than she ever thought she would about the devastating fire and Crosby's family but none of it provides answers, instead she is left with more questions.

Readers will enjoy the way that Delaney twists the story from the past into the present and how it affected so many people.  Readers will also love Sherry, her family, friends and her busy, chaotic life.  But like I said in the beginning.....have a tasty snack on hand because once you start reading you will be powerless to stop.

Review by Missi M.