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 fiancĂ© 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.

Friday 8 October 2021

Author Interview : Mike Martin - Author of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series

Mike Martin was born in St. John’s, NL on the east coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand.

He is the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mystery series set in beautiful Grand Bank. There are now 11 books in this light mystery series with the publication of Buried Secrets. A Tangled Web was shortlisted in 2017 for the best light mystery of the year, and Darkest Before the Dawn won the 2019 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. Mike has also published Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries, a Sgt. Windflower Book of Christmas past and present.

Mike is Past Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers and a member of the Newfoundland Writing Guild and Ottawa Independent Writers.

Here is a list of the books in the Sgt, Windflower Mystery series...

The Walker on the Cape

The Body on the T

Beneath the Surface

A Twist of Fortune

A Long Ways From Home

A Tangled Web

Darkest Before the Dawn

Fire, Fog, and Water

A Perfect Storm

Safe Harbour

Christmas in Newfoundland : Memories and Mysteries

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike, via email sadly and not in person, and got to know him a little more.  Here is what we talked about.....

1.  Have you always wanted to be a writer?  If not, what did you want to do ?

I have always been a reader and that led me to want to write. I just had no idea how to do it. Especially fiction. So, I spent many years writing stories and poems that I never shared and found work in all kinds of jobs that required writing skills. Over time I became a little braver and started submitting my articles to magazines and newspapers. That gave me confidence and led me to eventually writing my first fiction book. Of course, it was a Sgt. Windflower Mystery. The Walker on the Cape.

2.  What authors, if any, influence you ?  And why ?

I love and admire great writing. It almost doesn’t matter the subject matter, although my tastes have changed over the years. But I still love Agatha Christie and Charles Dickens and JRR Tolkien. They all created stories and worlds that were completely make believe, but absolutely believable.

3.  How did you come up with Sgt. Windflower's character ?

Sgt. Windflower came to me out of the fog one night in Grand Bank and started telling me his story. I started writing it down and the stories grew from there. People ask me why I made him a certain way. The truth is that he came exactly as he is. A Cree from Northern Alberta who’s a Mountie, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

4.  Do you have law enforcement in your family ?

No. That meant I had to do a lot of research on police procedures and how the life of a police officer actually worked. I did have a lot of help from current and former law enforcement officers who gave me advice and suggestions along the way.

5.  Sgt. Windflower is unique in his "rituals" like smudging, is that a part of your life as well ?

Sgt. Windflower’s rituals are common to his Indigenous roots and community. To smudge is a fairly common activity amongst many people in that world. I do not smudge but I learned how to do it from an Indigenous healer who helped me deal with an issue in my life.

6.  Is the weather in Canada really as bad as you portray it is in the series ?

The weather in Newfoundland is pretty much as pictured in the series. It’s on the coast so there’s always some form of moisture and an ever-present wind. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some absolutely gorgeous days from time to time, particularly in the summer months. There’s just not that many of them. 

7.  When you are working on a new book do you write everyday ?  What is your schedule like ?

When I’m writing a book I write every day. I have a word count. Usually 1200-1500 words a day. I start early in the morning and get a chunk done. Then I take a break and do some more. If I have to, I go back later to meet my quota. When I’m writing I live in that world. That makes living in the real world a bit of a challenge. But I have a supporting partner who basically leaves me alone to finish my writing.

8.  Does your family or friends read your books ?

My family has always been great supporters of my writing. I would drag all of them out to any event or book signing and get them to recommend my books to their friends. My friends are all supportive as well and if they’re not, they’re not my friends. Just kidding. One of the best things about the Sgt Windflower series has been the friends I’ve met along the way. Fellow writers, beta readers and many people who love the books have also become my friends.

9.  If you could tell your younger self anything, what would you say ?

Trust yourself and follow your dreams. Anything is possible if you are willing to work for it.

10.  What advice do you have for younger writers who are just starting out ?

Keep writing. Every day if you can to hone your craft. And read. Writers who you admire and want to emulate. We cannot be good, solid writers without reading a lot.

11.  How far do you see the Sgt Windflower series going ?

It’s already gone quite far. Buried Secrets is Book 11 in the series. That’s 10 more books than I ever imagined. They are now available in print and ebook formats and 4 are available as audiobooks with a fifth A Long Ways from Home coming this winter. And the series is being translated into Spanish and German. So I guess I see it going all over the world.

12.  Do you outline the book before starting to write ?  Do you know the entire story before starting to write or do you create it as you go ?

I am not a plotter. I do not outline and I have no idea how the story will end once I start writing. I think that’s more fun. I follow the story as it is told to me by Windflower and the other characters and I have to wait until the end to see who dun it. I think that is a much more exciting way to write and it keep me motivated right up until the end.

You can follow the Sgt. Windflower Mysteries on Facebook at

Monday 4 October 2021

Cold Snap: A Viking Cat Mystery by Codi Schneider

Tucked in the cold Colorado mountains lies the remote village of Gray Birch, a place where outsiders are frowned upon. In this village lives a cat named Bijou. But she’s no ordinary house cat; her ancestors were mousers on Viking longships, and their blood runs through her veins. Since her battle skills are hardly needed in this modern age, however, she spends her energies running the Fox Burrow Pet Inn with her human, Spencer, and her assistant, Skunk, a mentally negligible Pomeranian. Together, the happy trio has created a safe haven for their four-legged guests.

But when Eddy Line, a handsome baker from California, comes to the inn―along with his piglet and pit bull puppy―everything changes. Spencer falls for Eddy, Bijou is unhappy with the sudden changes to her clan, and the townspeople are anything but welcoming; in fact, threats are made against Eddy when he buys the town’s historic firehouse in order to open a bakery.

Then a shocking murder/dognapping occurs on the night of the bakery’s grand opening, and Bijou finds herself thrust into a tangled mystery. To solve it, she will have to summon her inner Viking―and fight tooth and claw for her new clan.
   (Summary via Goodreads)


If you want to get lost in a very unique book, Cold Snap by Codi Schneider is just want you are looking for.  Cold Snap is a story told from the viewpoint and experience of a CAT.

In Cold Snap readers are introduced to Bijou, a Viking cat, that takes her heritage very seriously.  She lives with her human owner Spencer and a dog named Skunk.  Spencer has turned her family Inn into the Fox Burrow Pet Inn.  Usually the Inn houses pets whose owners will be gone for a fair amount of time so Spencer, Bijou, and Skunk work together taking care of them and making them feel at home.  However, Spencer has taken on a new client in the human form.  Eddy Line is moving to town having recently purchased the old firehouse.  He is working at turning it into a bakery downstairs and his living quarters upstairs and while he is going that, he is staying at the Inn with his two animals, Fennec a recently rescued pit bull that is a deaf mute and Hamlet, a piglet. 

Unfortunately someone doesn't want Eddy to open up the bakery as he receives a threatening note and other things happen before he can finish the renovations.  And when he does have his grand opening, the evening doesn't end well when someone is murdered and Fennec is dognapped.  

Bijou digs into her Viking background and with the help of Skunk and Hamlet, they set out to rescue Fennec.....but will they get there in time ??

Readers will enjoy reading Cold Snap and seeing the story through the eyes of the cat.  And when Bijou and Spencer communicate, you will wonder if Spencer can actually understand what Bijou is saying.  And if you are a cat owner you know that it is very likely that they are talking to each other.  You will also enjoy the other conversations that the animals throughout the story have.  

Cold Snap is a definite read and I look forward to more books in this series to see what trouble awaits this crazy group of humans and animals.

Review by Missi M.

Friday 1 October 2021

Dessert is the Bomb (Cookies & Chance Mystery #11) by Catherine Bruns

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes a hauntingly hilarious Halloween Cookies & Chance mystery!

Baker turned sometimes-sleuth Sally Muccio has always loved Halloween, but this year she has more on her mind than ghosts and goblins. In addition to catering a party at her wacky father’s funeral home, a competing bakery has just moved in across the street from Sally’s Samples. The new owner, Celeste Delgado, seems intent on burying Sal’s novelty cookie shop into the ground with her sensational smash cake bombs. Suddenly, the homemade fortune cookies that Sal and her best friend Josie create with loving care are predicting an ominous future for their business.

Before Sal can discover what’s behind Celeste’s grudge, the woman is killed by an explosion. To take the cake, Josie was heard threatening Celeste shortly before her death. A night in the slammer, another deadly explosion, and dangerous family secrets all add to Sal’s growing list of concerns. Like an oven timer, precious minutes of her life are ticking away. Can she find Celeste’s killer before everything blows up in her face?

*Recipes Included!*
   (Summary via Goodreads)

I am a HUGE fan of the Cookies & Chance Mystery series by Catherine Bruns and I know I say this every time but when I start reading one of the books in this series I feel like I am hanging around with family...albiet it's a crazy and scary family at times...but family just the same and I love all of them....even Sal's father !!

The Cookies & Chance Mystery series centers on Sally Muccio Donovan, her best friend and partner in the bakery, Sally's Samples, Josie and their families.  Sally and Josie are both busy with the bakery and their families but when there is a murder, you can bet they will be involved in that as well.....

In Dessert is the Bomb, the eleventh book in this series, they are as close as they can be to a murder when a bakery opens up across the street from Sally's Samples and the owner ends up dead a few days after opening up It's the Bomb and Sal and Josie are arrested for the murder when the owner gets into Sal's fathers hearst and it explodes.  Usually Sal and Josie have an in at the police department with their friend Detective Brian Jenkins but he is out of town and they have to deal with Detective Dorsey and he instantly arrests the two for the murder !!

They soon learn that the deceased, Celeste Delgado, has a past with someone in Sal's family that provides a lot of questions and once they start asking questions, they find out that even though Celeste wasn't in town very long, there is a long list of suspects to look into.  

Readers will love, love, love, love, love this series !!! Sal and her family are a HOOT and you cannot help but love them and their crazy ways !!  The way that they all stand up for each other and protect each other will inspire you to look into your family.  However no matter how hard you look, I doubt you will have as much craziness as Sal has in hers and there is nothing wrong with that.  I only wish that I had a Grandma Rosa in my family....she is the glue that holds that family together and she does it so well !!!

I highly recommend giving this series some serious attention !!  I know that once you start reading you will be a fan for sure !!!

Review by Missi M.

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