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.