Wednesday 21 December 2022

A Dog Gone Murder (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper #10) by Elaine Viets

Mystery shopper Josie Marcus catches a new case when the owner of a popular doggy day spa bites the dust and her mother’s friend is collared for the crime…

Josie’s been assigned to sniff around Uncle Bob’s Doggy Day Camp, one of St. Louis’s hottest pet spas. It doesn’t take her long to dig up dirt on the camp’s top dog, “Uncle” Bob Manning himself. Employee Frank Hyzy—Josie’s mom’s new boyfriend—reveals Bob should be in the doghouse for his cruel treatment of the canine customers. But before Josie can write Bob up, someone puts him down…and Frank is the cops’ prime suspect.

While Frank definitely had a bone to pick with the animal abuser, Josie doesn’t believe he murdered Bob. So she must doggedly pursue the investigation on her own and hope she can cage the real killer before they fetch another victim.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I am a huge fan of the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Mystery series by Elaine Viets and will miss reading about Josie, her family and her knack for solving murders.  Sadly A Dog Gone Murder,  the tenth book in the series, is the last book Viets wrote for the series......but she ends the series REMARKABLY !!!

The Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Mystery series follows Josie Marcus as she is a single mom living in the flat below her mother Jane.  Josie is raising her daughter Amelia and the mystery shopping job allows her to work flexible hours so that she can be there for Amelia.  As the series progresses Jane continues to get in the middle of murder investigations as well as do the best she can to raise Amelia.  Luckily Josie meets Ted who is a veterinarian when he is called to look at  Amelia's cat Harry.  Ted and Josie fall in love and a few books back they got married.  And in the ninth book, Fixing to Die, they bought a house and move in....after Josie solves a murder that took place in their new home.  

So now in A Dog Gone Murder Josie is hired to look into a few doggy day care businesses and enlisted the help of her mom's dog, Ted's dog and her best friend Alyce's dog.  Unfortunately on one of Josie's visits she goes to ask the owner of Uncle Bob's Doggy Day Camp a few questions on her mystery shopper questionnaire list but finds him unconscious on the floor of his office.  Later that evening while watching the news she learns that Uncle Bob did not make it.  And to make matters worst Frank, the man who moved into Josie's flat below her mother is taken in and arrested for the murder.  Jane is beside herself and asks Josie to please prove his innocence.  So Josie being the good daughter that she is begins to dig into Uncle Bob's past as well as his wife's, employees and a few of their clients.  Unfortunately the suspect list gets longer rather than shorter and it isn't until Josie is face to face alone with the killer than she realizes her mistake.  Luckily she has back-up in a way and the cops show up at exactly the right moment.

Readers will fall in love with Josie, her family and friends, the jobs that she gets hired to mystery shop, and the cases that she gets herself in the middle of.  And the way that Viets ends the series will have readers feeling like they read a romance story with a fairy tale ending...... Thank you Elaine for the great stories allowing me to get lost for hours on end.

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Cowboys and Chaos (Magical Mystery Book Club #3) by Elizabeth Pantley

This is no ordinary book club! When the group chooses a book, they are whisked away from reality to find themselves totally immersed in the story. The characters, the setting, and the murder all come to life. In order to exit the book, they’ll need to solve the mystery and reach The End.

This time, the club chooses a mystery that takes place in a quaint western town – in the old Wild West. That sounds like great fun, until they arrive in the dusty old town in the Arizona desert, among cowboys and saloons. They discover that the outhouse isn’t the worse thing about this trip.

The good news is that Paige, Glo, Zell, Frank, and the other members of the club discover plenty of surprises here, and they have a great time visiting a piece of history. They’ll get to live through many exciting moments as they unravel this cozy mystery story.  (Summary via Goodreads)

MINDBLOWING !!!  That is the best word to describe Cowboys and Chaos by Elizabeth Pantley.  Cowboys and Chaos is the third book in her Magical Mystery Book Club Mystery series and you cannot help but fall in love !!!

In the Magical Mystery Book Club Mystery series Paige and her Aunt Gloria (Glo) are left the Snapdragon Inn in Colorado by Paige's great-grandmother GeeGee.  After they move in they meet one of GeeGee's close friends Zell who introduces them to the enchanced library in the basement.  They soon learn that the three of them along with a few other friends along with the library cat, Frank, will be enbarking on some anmazing adventures.  The group meets and walk around the library, each finding a book wrapped with 7 others of the same book, and they vote on which book the group will read.  Once they have voted one person will begin reading the first page of the book out loud.....then the fog will come in and when it clears the group will be in the book and have to solve the murder in order to return to Colorado.  Luckily no matter where they "travel" to the inn is always there and the same on the inside.  Which is very good for the group in Cowboys and Chaos because they are traveling to the Wild West in the late 1800's to solve The Mystery of Mollie's Disappearance.  Mollie is a saloon girl who disappears without a trace but it is not clear if she is the murdered party or not because the blurb from the book also states that a man is shot...

Once the group walks out of the Inn into the desert of Bandana, Arizona, they are greeted with another that Zell was aware of but keeping secret.  The Mystery of Mollie's Disappreance happens to be the second book in the series with the first book being the one that GeeGee decided to stay into when the murder was solved.  Luckily Paige and Glo were aware that GeeGee had stayed behind in a book but they never thought that they would see her again.  And now they get to work along side her to find out what happened to Mollie.  Another shock is when the ghost of Mollie shows up .... but she doesn't remember much and definitely doesn't know who killed her.

In Cowboys and Chaos the group has their work cut out for them as they go about Bandana trying to find out what they can about Mollie as well as the man they call Blaze who apparently was stealing horses and is rumored to be the man shot but there is no body to confirm that.

Readers will fall in love with this series instantly !!  You will love the characters, the storylines and everything else.  With each new book, Pantley adds more and more surprises and she knows how to keep readers on their toes.  You will thoroughly enjoy the time that you spend inside each of these books...even if you are only sitting on your couch in your living room and not some magical town and place.

Review by Missi M.

Friday 9 December 2022

Christmas Scarf Murder (Irish Village Mystery #8.5) by Carlene O'Connor, Maddie Day, and Peggy Ehrhart

Stocking stuffers like handknit scarves make the coziest of Christmas gifts—unless they’re used as accessories for murder!

When grinchy thefts steal the good cheer at a local nursing home, Siobhan O’Sullivan manages to identify one missing item before Kilbane, Ireland’s Christmas tractor parade—a hideous shamrock scarf wrapped around a very dead body. Now, with her holiday farmhouse bash approaching, Siobhan must dash to stop a deadly Secret Santa from gifting another unwanted surprise.

It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas at Pans ‘N Pancakes, as twelve days of menu specials dazzle hungry locals. But the festivities go cold the instant a diner dies while knitting a brilliant green scarf. With Aunt Adele tied into a murder investigation, it’s all on Robbie Jordan to find out who’s really been naughty or nice in South Lick, Indiana.

Suspects pile up faster than New Jersey snow when frosty-tempered Carys Walnutt is found strangled by a handmade scarf auctioned at Arborville’s tree-lighting ceremony. Between a winning bidder hiding behind the alias “S. Claws” and a victim who deserved coal in her stocking, can Pamela Paterson and the crafty Knit and Nibble ladies freeze a killer’s merry murder plot?  Summary via Goodreads)

Christmas Scarf Murder is a book with three short stories in it by three amazing authors.  Each book has knitting yarn as the main focus in the murder......

CHRISTMAS SCARF MURDER by CARLENE O’CONNOR is the first story in this book.  Newlyweds Siobhan and Macdara work for the Kilbane Garda Station (Garda meaning police) and they are called to the local nursing home when it is reported that there was a robbery.  They find out that five residents had something stolen from their being a very long red scarf.  As they are looking into the robbery, they are called to a local farm where members of the community are decorating tractors that will participate in a tractor parade on Christmas Eve.  One of the people driving a tractor had a very long red scarf on and when he went to drive, the scarf got tangled in the tire pulling him off resulting in his death.

Unfortunately the deceased, Michael Walsh, was not from the area so they have to rely on the few friends he made and his history to try to solve the case.  

Even though there is a murder and robbery, readers can still feel the Christmas spirit within the story as O'Connor provides glimpses throughout the tale.  Readers can easily read this in one lazy afternoon with a hot chocolate and the Christmas tree lite.....or if you want to stay in Ireland longer, space it out.

SCARFED DOWN by MADDIE DAY is the second story in this book and if you're a fan of the Country Store Mystery series you will read this in one sitting for sure !!!

If you are a fan of the Country Store Mystery series, or even if you are not, you will immediately love Scarfed Down.  Robbie Jordan is the main character in this series and she runs Pans 'N Pancakes, a breakfast and lunch establishment with a little store in it.  In the little section designated for selling stuff, Robbie sells the wool yarn that her Aunt Adele makes.  Unfortunately when a member of a little knitting group is found poisoned in her home with a skein of dyed yarn, Aunt Adele is taken to the police station, questioned and on the top of the suspect list.  Also all of the yarn in Pans "N Pancakes is confiscated by the police.  

One thing readers will soon learn about Robbie is that she will do whatever she can for family, especially Aunt Adele.  So it is no surprise that she jumps right into looking into Vicky Chakrabarti's murder and clearing Aunt Adele's good name.

DEATH BY CHRISTMAS SCARF by PEGGY EHRHART is the third and last story in this book and even though I am not familiar with Peggy and her Knit and Nibble Mystery series I was still thoroughly engrossed in this story.  While main character Pamela Paterson and her neighbor Bettina Frazer are getting ready for the Christmas season, they cannot help but wonder who murdered one of the residents of their quaint town of Arborville and with a scarf won at a charity auction ..... luckily Bettina, who works for the local weekly paper, the Advocate, can get away with asking people questions.   And when the police arrest Laurel Lewis the woman who stumbled over Carys's dead body, the two friends know that they have the wrong person....but proving that may be difficult.

Reading Death By Christmas Scarf is a great story to get lost is more of a Christmas story with friends getting ready for and celebrating Christmas with the murder in the background of the story.  

Whether you read each story in order or jump from one to another in a different order, these stories will be a welcome treat from your daily activities or you can end the day curled up with a hot beverage, glass of wine and a snack.  Whichever way you decide to read Christmas Scarf Murder, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 1 December 2022

Steeped in Secrets (A Crystals & CuriosiTEAS Mystery #1) by Lauren Elliott

Flat broke and divorced, intuitive gemologist Shay Myers has changed since leaving her artsy hometown of coastal Bray Harbor sixteen years ago. But when she moves back under strange circumstances, old instincts may be the only key to spilling the tea on a deadly mystery.

Even with her life in ruins in New Mexico, Shay feels uneasy about settling into the small seaside town where she grew up on California’s Monterey Peninsula and taking over an estate bequeathed to her by Bridget Early, a woman she had barely known. Her heightened senses—an empathic gift she’s had since childhood—go into overdrive upon touring Crystals & CuriosiTEAS, Bridget’s eclectic tea and psychic shop brimming with Irish lore and Celtic symbols. They reach a boiling point when Shay looks up to discover a stranger’s body sprawled across the shop’s greenhouse roof . . .

With her new business a crime scene and questions brewing over Bridget’s so-called accidental death, Shay fears she’s also inherited the attention of a killer. The terrifying realization sets her on an impractical investigation for answers aided by her sister, an elusive pure-white German Shepherd, a strikingly handsome pub owner who speaks in a gentle brogue, and a misunderstood young woman with perceptive talents of her own. As Shay struggles to figure out her true purpose in Bray Harbor and the powerful connection she has with the tea shop, she must trust her judgment above all else to identify a ruthless murderer and save herself from becoming victim number three.  (Summary via Goodreads)

WOW  !! WOW !!  WOW !!

Steeped in Secrets by Lauren Elliott will be hard to put down.  This is the firstbook in her new A Crystals & CuriosiTEAS Mystery series and it is an amazing first book !!!  The title perfectly describes the biggest aspect of this series.....SECRETS !!

In Steeped in Secrets readers are introduced to Shayleigh Myers who is moving back to her hometown of Bray Harbor after she finds out her husband has cheated on her in their marriage and their business and left her penniless.  Then she finds out that she has inherited an old tea and psychic business as well as a cottage on the beach.  But she isn't sure that she wants any of it when she is doing the first walk through and they find a dead body on the glass roof of the tea shop.

As Shay digs into why Bridget Early left her the shop and cottage, she cannot help but think there is more to things.  And add the dead body on the roof.  The police identify the dead man as a private investigator from Ireland and he was in Bray Harbor to warn Shay......but Shay has no idea what he could have wanted to warn her from.

As Shay decides what to do with the tea shop she cannot stop thinking about everything !!  And now she has her friend's niece, Tassi, who knew Bridget quite well telling her that she can do the tea readings and everything that Bridget did with research and time.  But does Shay want to go down that path ? Is she even capable of that ??

Steeped in Secrets is a story FULL of SECRETS and readers will LOVE everything about this story.  This is the beginning of a great new series that readers will want more and more of.  There is so much to love within this book and as you read and get to know the people and Bray Harbor you will want to move there and be a part of it all. 

Review by Missi M.

Monday 28 November 2022

A Doggone Death (Samantha Davies Mystery #2 ) S.A. Kazlo

Samantha Davies and her Southern Belle cousin, Candie, can't wait to join their fellow hookers (rug hookers, that is) for the first annual Wings Falls hook-in, sponsored by her good friend Lucy, who owns The Ewe and Me Woolery. Sam is looking forward to an afternoon with her fellow hookers, the Loopy Ladies, filled with gossip, food, and buying lots of wool for her rug making projects.

But what should be friendly fun turns into a deadly disaster, when Samantha stumbles upon a fellow hooker in distress—who dies in Sam's arms before help can reach her. The dead woman, Hilda Pratt, wasn't exactly beloved by all—least of all Lucy. Hilda had been copying Lucy's designs and selling them on the internet as her own. And when Sam's new boyfriend, a Detective Hank Johnson of the Wings Falls police force, determines that Hilda did not die of natural causes, Lucy and the Loopy Ladies become suspects in the woman's murder.

It's suddenly up to Sam and Candie to ferret out a killer among the tight knit world of rug hooking. With her faithful dachshund, Porkchop, in tow, Sam wades through the suspects and finds Hilda had more than one enemy among those closest to her. But can Sam figure out which one is a murderer... before it's too late?  (Summary via Goodreads)

There is nothing better than curling up with a good book....but what's better is reading books in a series back to back and that is exactly what I did with the first two books in the Samantha Davies Mystery series.  Reading books back to back keeps the reader in the frame of mind on the place and people involved in the series and you will LOVE Wings Fall and the people that reside there.

Reading Kibbles and Death sets the stage nicely for readers to get to know Samantha, her cousin Candie, the new Detective Hank Johnson, his police department, Sam's adorable dog Porkchop, the Loopy Ladies, and everyone else in town....along with the main businesses.  Now in A Doggone Death readers will get to know the Loopy Ladies and their rug hooking hobby better.

When you start reading A Doggone Death Sam, Candie and their Loopy Ladies group are attending the first annual hook-in event at the fire house.  They are excited because it is being sponsored by their close friend and the one who encourages their habits, I mean hobby, Lucy.  Lucy owns The Ewe and Me with her husband Ralph and they also hold their group meetings at the store on Mondays.

After getting settled at their table at the event Sam cannot help herself, she has to check out the vendors and their tables.  But before she can get very far she overhears Lucy and Hilda, another hooker (hooker is the name they give themselves for their hobby and they love the reaction it gets when telling people) and they are arguing.  Lucy is accusing Hilda of copying her rug patterns and selling them online which is like taking money from her business.

Sam pushes the overheard argument out of her mind and begins to enjoy the event until she enters the ladies room and finds Hilda extremely sick.  She tries to help Hilda unfortunately it does no good and Hilda dies.  Sam thinks that it must have been an allergic reaction but when she overhears her new boyfriend, Detective Hank Johnson, mumble a word in his sleep, she realizes someone wanted Hilda dead.

When Lucy's husband Ralph is taken to the police station for questioning, Sam decides that she has to look into Hilda's death to save her good friends.  But once she starts digging, the hole gets very deep when she discovers that there are quite a few people who didn't like Hilda and the reasons could be murder worthy.

Sam has a tough decision to make when someone she loves more than life is injured as a threat to keep her from digging....this just fuels her determination and with Candie's help and Hank's insistence that she stops, she starts checking people off her suspect list.......

Review by Missi M.

Kibbles and Death (Samantha Davies Mysteries #1) S.A. Kazlo

After a nasty divorce, Samantha Davies has finally gotten her life back on track. She enjoys her hobby of hooking—rug hooking, that is—and is fulfilling a lifelong dream by writing her first children’s book, featuring her dachshund, Porkchop. But the pleasant pace of her life in small-town Upstate New York is suddenly shattered when she finds the dead body of the local pet shelter owner—murdered and covered in kibble!

While Calvin Perkins wasn't the most beloved man in town, Samantha's shaken to think there's a killer among them. Even more so when her octogenarian neighbor's boyfriend becomes the police's number one suspect and her neighbor pleads with Sam to help him. While Sam's research skills have been honed in her pursuit of a publishing career, she's not convinced she won't be in over her head. Calvin may have been great with the animals, but he wasn’t well-liked by people, creating a list of suspects almost as long as Porkchop's favorite bone. But with the help of her Southern belle cousin, Candie Parker, Sam vows to find the truth...even if she has to go toe-to-toe with the handsome new detective in town to do it. Old grudges, new secrets, and danger around every corner means Samantha better find the killer's identity quickly...before they set their sights on another victim!  (Summary via Goodreads)

You are going to fall in love with Kibbles and Death, the first book in the Samantha Davies Mystery series by S.A. Kazlo !!  You will want main character Samantha Davies and her cousin Candie as your new best friends !!

In Kibbles and Death Samantha goes to For Pet's Sake, the local pet shelter to drop off a bag of dog food that her dog, Porkchop doesn't like.  She is donating it to the shelter but has to deal with the owner, Calvin Perkins, who is not humans that is.  When Sam and Porkchop get to the shelter and see that the door is open, they never think to be alarmed, not in Wings Falls.  Unfortunately when they go inside, they soon find out why the door is open and Calvin didn't leave it open for Sam. Whoever clobbered Calvin in the head left the door open when they hastily left the shelter.....and Calvin dead on the floor.

After dealing with Sergeant Joe "Sandy" Peters at the scene, Sam thinks it cannot get any worse.  Joe has had it out for Sam ever since she gave him the nickname Sandy in grade school and he still holds it against her.  But Sam soon learns that things can only get worse when she meets the new detective in town.  Detective Hank Johnson is trouble in a different way when Sam meets him and develops an instant crush !!

Sam needs to stay far away from both Joe and Hank but finds herself in the middle of the investigation when her neighbor, Gladys, asks her to look into Calvin's death when her boyfriend Frank is put on the police's radar.  Sam, along with Candie as her sidekick, decides to look into the murder to clear herself and Frank from the suspect list.  Unfortunately as they dig, the list of suspects grows instead and they have no idea how to clear everyone......

Readers will fall in love with this book as soon as they open it up.  You will love the characters and the little town of Wings Falls.  The only dark cloud over the town is Calvin's murder so if they can solve it, there will be sunny, cloudless days for days to come.....sadly the killer wants to stay hidden under that dark cloud and will do whatever it takes to stay there.

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Fixing to Die (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Book 9) by Elaine Viets

Mystery shopper Josie Marcus unlocks a DIY murder case when her new house’s “good bones” takes on multiple meanings…

Josie’s been busy with a personal shopping project—scouring suburban St. Louis for a starter home for her and her newlywed husband, Dr. Ted Scottsmeyer. So she’s thrilled when Ted’s veterinary partner, Dr. Christine Cormac, hooks them up with a beautiful house, which her flaky sister, Rain, inexplicably abandoned months earlier. But before they’ve even picked out the paint, Josie and Ted discover Rain’s body beneath their backyard gazebo and Christine is immediately boxed up for murder.

Now, Josie’s new home is a crime scene and Christine is headed for the big house…unless Josie steps in. Good thing she’s handy around a murder investigation, because she’ll need all her sleuthing skills to unpack the clues, flip the case, and nail the real killer.  (Summary via Goodreads)

There is a lot going on in Fixing to Die by Elaine Viets !!  This is the ninth book in her Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series and there are quite a few things going on and a lot of things changing in Josie's life...some good, some bad and some, well, Josie-like I guess is the best words to use.

In Murder is a Piece of Cake, the eighth book in the series Josie married her veterinarian boyfriend, Ted and her and her daughter Amelia moved in with Ted in the house he is renting.  They were living in the downstairs flat below Josie's mom, Jane, so that is a huge change for all of them.  Luckily Jane loves Ted and knows that he will take care of her daughter and grandaughter. 

So now in Fixing to Die Josie and Ted are looking for a new house for their new family which consists of Jane, Ted, Amelia, two cats and one dog.  Unfortunately Jane does not like any of the houses that she looks at.  Luckily Ted's partner at the veterinary clinic Chris has a house that her aunt left her and she is looking to get rid of it.  Her sister Rain was living in it until recently when she stopped paying rent and then up and left and sent her sister an email that she was leaving.   

The house needs some work so Chris offers them a deal that they can't refuse which will allow them to renovate and remodel.  One of the first things they decide to tackle is the gazebo that one of Rain's boyfriends built for her.  Unfortunately when they start to remove it they discover a dead body buried underneath it.  The body is soon identified as Rain, Chris's sister and the detective on the case immediately arrests Chris for the murder.

With Chris being arrested the honeymoon is over for Josie and Ted as now Ted has to work long hours to make up for Chris's absence.  So Josie being Josie decides to find out the real killer so she can have her honeymoon stage with her new husband back !!!  Unfortuantely she is finding it difficult to determine the real killer.....

Another storyline that readers will love is Amelia's dilemma.  Amelia attends the Barrington School for Boys and Girls and is able to attend because she receives a scholarship. The school is a very proper school but Amelia and a few of her friends are soon the center of a bullying scheme.  The bullying goes so far are putting unflattering pictures on a Facebook page and lies are told about the girls.  Instead of crying in her room, Amelia and her friend Emma investigate and find proof of who is behind the bullying and the parents rally behind the girls. Reader will love seeing Amelia taking charge.....just like her mother !!!

Fixing to Die, as with the previous eight books, will have readers loving the characters and the storyline.  As you read these books, the characters become more than just characters in a book, you begin to love them and want to spend as much time with them as you can !!

Review by Missi M.


Sunday 20 November 2022

Post Mortem at Padua (Oxford Key Mysteries #5) by Lynn Morrison

In Oxford’s newest twin city, a case of mistaken identity puts a woman’s life in jeopardy

The invitation to visit Oxford’s twin city of Padua couldn’t have come at a better time. Natalie, Kate, and Mathilde have spent weeks trying valiantly to expand Oxford’s magic, only to have every attempt end in failure. A trip to the land of pasta, high fashion, gelato, and fine wine sounds almost too good to be true.

They pack their suitcases and jet off for Italy, bringing Harry and H, Nat’s cheeky wyvern, along with them. But within minutes of landing, Harry falls prey to a series of mishaps.

As the danger grows, Nat wonders if perhaps Oxford isn’t the only thing with an Italian twin. Could a case of mistaken identity explain the malevolent force which has Harry in its sights?

Nat and her friends follow the evidence, uncovering a decades’ old cold case with a modern day connection. Friends new and old offer a hand with interpreting the clues as the investigation spans generations.

With the clock ticking, can they identify who killed Harry’s lookalike before Harry joins the ranks of the dead?

If you like cozy mysteries where ghosts walk the halls, paintings come to life, wyverns play around, and magic seems within reach, the Oxford Key Mysteries are sure to delight.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Post Mortem at Padua by Lynn Morrison is the fifth book in her Oxford Key Mystery series and this will be the most magical packed one so far !!!

In Post Mortem at Padua Natalie, who is Head of Ceremonies for Oxford, and Harry, who is Executive Assistant to the Principal of St. Margaret College have been asked to travel to Italy to be on the commitee to plan a formal ceremony for the twin city agreement between Oxford and the Italy city of Padua, also known as Padova.  Upon hearing about the trip they decide to turn it into a girls trip with Mathilde and Kate.  And as luck would have it, they find a way to get Nat's cat Humphrey (who is actually a wyvern) on the plane and along for the trip.  And Kate has a friend, Lavinia who works in the university museum department who might be able to help them open a connection to the magic..... they have been trying to expand the magical field but have not been successful.  But maybe Italy is the location they require in order for that to happen.

The ladies and H arrive in Italy a few days early so that they can sightsee as well as look into obtaining the magical force.  Unfortunately while sightseeing Harry has two accidents that turn out to be deliberal acts.....involving an Eternal.....but no one can figure out who or why.  That is until they are having dinner at Lavinia's house and Nat notices an old picture and one of the woman in the picture could be Harry's twin.  They learn that it is Lavinia's great aunt and that she died in a house fire.  This send the group down a rabbit hole trying to find out who is attacking Harry and are they thinking it is Lavinia's great aunt Angelina ??

If you love magic, some a little scary but always fun, and enjoy reading about it then this is the series for you !!  I've said before but its worth repeating....if you are a fan of Harry Potter then this series is definitely for you !!  Morrison will open your eyes and mind in a way no other author may find yourself late in the night reading under your blankets with a flashlight.....

I cannot stress it enough that this is a series you have to have on your reading list !! I highly recommend inviting Nat and her crew into your will be glad you do !!!

Review by Missi M.


Friday 18 November 2022

Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking (A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery #2) by Raquel V. Reyes

It’s time for a savory soirée—but something sinister is stewing—in Raquel V. Reyes’s second delightful Caribbean Kitchen mystery, perfectly delicious for fans of Mia P. Manansala.

Fall festivities are underway in Coral Shores, Miami. Cuban-American cooking show star Miriam Quiñones-Smith wakes up to find a corpse in her front yard. The body by the fake tombstone is the woman that was kicked out of the school’s Fall Festival the day before.

Miriam’s luck does not improve. Her passive-aggressive mother-in-law puts her in charge of the Women’s Club annual gala. But this year, it’s not canapes and waltzes. Miriam and her girlfriends-squad opt for fun and flavor. They want to spice it up with Caribbean food trucks and a calypso band. While making plans at the country club, they hear a volatile argument between the new head chef and the club’s manager. Not long after, the chef swan dives to his death at the bottom of the grand staircase.

Was it an accident? Or was it Beverly, the sous chef, who is furious after being passed over for the job? Or maybe it was his ex-girlfriend, Anastasia?

Add two possible poisonings to the mix and Miriam is worried the food truck fun is going to be a major crash. As the clock ticks down and the body count goes up, Miriam’s life is put in jeopardy. Will she connect the dots or die in the deep freeze? Foodies and mystery lovers alike will savor the denouement as the truth is laid bare in this simmering stew of rage, retribution, and murder.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking is the second book in the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series by Raquel V. Reyes.....and it will make you hungry while you read it !!

In Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking Coral Springs, Miami is getting ready for Halloween !!  Main character Miriam and her husband, Robert, have decorated their front lawn for their son, Manny, as well as their neighborhood but what they don't expect is to find Lois Pimpkin knocked out in front of one of their tombstones.  This starts Miriam down a long, twisty and frightening road that has nothing to do with ghosts and goblins !!

It seems like things coudn't get any worse but then Robert's mother, Marjory, puts Miriam in charge of the annual gala for the Women's Club hoping to get the younger crowd interested.  So Miriam gets her friends and family involved so that they can make sure the event is a huge success !!  Unfortunately when another person ends up getting killed, all Miriam can focus on is solving the murder......but she never expects the case to get as close as it does when her neighbor ends up in the hospital and her with his dog.

Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking will have readers turning the pages as quickly as possible to stay on top of things.....if you have already read the first book in this series, Mango, Mambo, and Murder, you will be at an advantage as Reyes talks about the murder, case and people from that book.

I really enjoyed the storyline and the characters of this book.  However, Reyes does include Spanish throughout the book, sometimes translating but most often not.  Luckily (I hope) what doesn't get translated is not important to the story...if it was, it was lost on me.   

Review by Missi M.

Sunday 13 November 2022

From Ladle to Grave (Book 5 in the Tish Tarragon Mystery series) by Amy Patricia Meade

Could a body found in a graveyard be linked to a tragic murder twenty-five years ago? Tish Tarragon is plunged into a new case when a fundraising dinner in the local church hall leads to a dark discovery.

Literary caterer Tish Tarragon's 'heroines of literature' fundraising dinner at St. Jude's Episcopal Church is a resounding success. But as Tish walks through the graveyard to lock up the church hall, she takes a tumble . . . over a dead body.

Retired Sheriff Gadsden Carney has been murdered. Not only that, he's lying upon the Honeycutt family plot. Six-year-old Daisy Honeycutt was killed twenty-five years ago in a case that rocked Hobson Glen. Sheriff Carney was in charge of the investigation - and his murder looks suspiciously similar to young Daisy's.

Tish and Sheriff Reade discover that Gadsden was looking into the Honeycutt case again. Could his death be linked to Daisy's murder all those years ago? Her killer died behind bars. Or so everyone thought . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

From Ladle to Grave by Amy Patricia Meade is the fifth book in her Tish Tarragon Mystery series and I have to say I think that this is my favorite in this series....that is until the next book is out.

In From Ladle to Grave readers and fans will be so glad to have Sheriff Clemson Reade back in town and doing his job.  (If you remember main character Tish Tarragon had to solve a case on her own when Reade left because he couldn't handle her relationship with her boyfriend Schuyler)..... any way Reade is back, Tish is recently single, and there is a murder that requires attention.

While Tish is catering the Junior League "Women of Literature" themed fundraising dinner she stumbles across a dead body in the cemetery next to the hall where the fundraiser is being held.  When it is revealed to be retired Sheriff Gadsden Carney and he had been looking into a murder case from twenty-five years ago, there are a lot of questions.  First why would he be looking into a murder case when there was a conviction and the killer went to jail ??  

To Tish's surprise Sheriff Reade hires her as a consultant for the Sheriff's office so that she can get paid while she assists in the investigation.  Now fans know that Tish doesn't need to work for the Sheriff's department as her cafe, Cookin' the Books, is successful but this gives the two of them more time together so she does it.....even though neither of them is willing to admit their real feelings toward the other....yet.

Unfortunately the twenty-five year old case that Carney was re-investigating was that of a murder where six-year old Daisy was murdered in her garage at the end of a Fourth of July barbeque at her family's house.  A few months after her murder, her mother Delilah confessed, was sentenced and died in prison.  There are a few other members that are no longer around and why Carney is re-investigating a solved murder raises more questions than answers.

Readers will LOVE this story and the way that Tish and Reade work together !!  You cannot help but love all the characters and the friendships and relationships.....all but one person, Schuyler, that is !!  But every story, no matter what it is, always has to have a villian or just a nasty person who has to cause some form of drama....but that only makes readers turn the pages faster !!  And when you get to the last page of From Ladle to Grave, Meade will have your blood boiling and longer for the next book to see what is going to happen next !!!

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Christmas in Newfoundland — Memories and Mysteries Book 2 Mike Martin

From the author of the Award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mysteries including Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries Book 1, comes anotherwelcome addition to the Sgt. Windflower family of books.

Come sit by the fire of the woodstove in the kitchen and listen to stories of Christmas long ago in Grand Bank and Ramea and tales of great adventure and Christmas magic in St. John’s in the 1960s and onward. Have Christmas dinner with Sgt. Windflower and Sheila and their two little girls. Then wait and see if any special visitors show up to entertain them.

Sing along with the choir or have a drink with old friends to celebrate Tibb’s Eve. Follow along as Eddie Tizzard has a special mission in the middle of a snowstorm and Herb Stoodley becomes an unlikely Christmas hero.

Christmas in Newfoundland is always a time for good food, good friends, and good cheer. And there’s always another chair at the table.

What readers are saying about Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries:

"For someone whose family hails from Newfoundland and have lived on The Rock for generations upon generations, this novel was so beautifully nostalgic that I found myself smiling throughout the entire time I was reading it. The work is wonderful, warm, and charming as we walk with the author down memory lane to simpler times in one of the most beautiful provinces in Canada. This is just one big warm hug that will bring back fond memories to every reader, regardless of where they hail from.”

“Christmas in Newfoundland can be read quickly or slowly but I highly recommend reading it and getting lost in the Christmas spirit. Mike Martin will have you reminiscing about some of your old family traditions and may even give you ideas of new things to try in your Christmas.”  (Summary via Goodreads)

I thought reading Christmas in Newfoundland - Memories and Mysteries Book 2 by Mike Martin was going to be a tough read for me.  Earlier this year I lost my mother, she was my rock, my best friend, and Christmas holds a lot of dear memories of her so reading a book about Christmas memories.....I wasn't sure.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  I am a huge fan of Mike Martin and his Sgt. Windflower Mystery series, I feel like the characters are a part of the family as I have grown to know and love them while reading this series.

Christmas in Newfoundland - Memories and Mysteries Book 2 is the second book that Martin devotes to small stories involving his Sgt. Windflower characters and Christmas and stories of their memories.  You do not have to be a fan of this series in order to read this book.  This book consists of 13 short stories about the holiday and some of the stories are of Windflower's memories, his wife Sheila's, his best friend Herb Stoodley, his one employee and friend, Eddie Tizzard and his father Richard.  

This book can be read in one sitting, I almost did it, but you can try to read it slowly, devoting time to reflect after reading each story.  As soon as I opened the book and started reading I became so caught up in the stories that I kept reading until I had only three stories left.  I will admit some of the stories did grab at the heartstrings and I found myself emotional.....and that is completely fine....if a story, even a short story, grabs you, you go with it !!

If you are a fan of Mike Martin and his Sgt. Windflower Mystery series then you will feel right at home reading these stories.  If you aren't a fan, you just may find yourself wanting to learn more about these people and their quaint little town and neighbors.  Either way this is a great book to lose yourself in.

Review by Missi M.

** Even though a murder does not occur in the Christmas in Newfoundland book by Mike Martin, I am sharing my thoughts on this blog because I have read and shared my thoughts on all his books in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series and some of the stories in this book are about Sgt. Windflower, his town and people.  So if you are a fan or not of Windflower you will enjoy this book and who doesn't like Christmas ??  **

Tuesday 25 October 2022

A Doomful of Sugar (Book 1 in the Maple Syrup Mystery series) by Catherine Bruns

First in a new cozy mystery series!

There's nothing sweet about murder…

Leila Khoury has always believed that everyone loved her father as much as they loved his artisanal maple syrup. But when he's killed, and she returns to Sugar Ridge, Vermont to take over his business, she starts to realize how much of his life she's left untapped.

With her brother under suspicion, her mother just barely holding it together, and police not producing any leads, Leila will have to investigate herself if she wants answers about her father's sticky end. But the more she learns, the more she worries that there won't be a sappy ending to the story.

A cozy mystery perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke, this edition includes 5 delicious maple recipes for mystery readers with a sweet tooth!  (Summary via Goodreads)

A Doomful of Sugar is the first book in a new series by Catherine Bruns and readers will fall in love instantly !!  

The Maple Syrup Mystery series is set in Sugar Ridge Vermont on a maple syrup farm called Sappy Endings.  It is a family owned business and when the owner is found murdered, the farm is left to his daughter Leila to run for at least a year before she decides its future.

In A Doomful of Sugar Leila returns to Vermont from her teaching job in Florida to be there for her mother and younger brother, Simon, and to attend her father's funeral.  Unfortunately her trip is extended indefinitely when she learns that her father left her Sappy Endings and insists that she runs it for one year before deciding whether to keep it or sell it.  She also decides that while she is back, she will find out who killed her father and why.

While trying to learn the ropes of the farm, she is looking into her father's death and she is very suspicious of everyone....including her two employees.  Jessica has been with the farm for years and runs the cafe and oversees the gift shop and Noah, who Leila is just meeting, has been Victor's right hand man for a while.  While she is suspicious of everyone, they do not make it easy as they both seem to have secrets.  Unfortunately Leila soon learns that a lot of people that she thought she knew are not who she thinks they are ....

But when another death occurs and Simon is arrested for their father's murder, the clock is ticking for Leila to do something.....but what ??  It is hard to know who to trust and who to be leary of.

Readers will want more of this series and Bruns has set the stage beautifully for future books.  I cannot wait to see where she takes the stories and what will happen next.......

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Mrs. Claus and the Evil Elves (Mrs. Claus #3) by Liz Ireland

April Claus is getting an early gift for her second Christmas in Santaland. Her dear friend, Claire, is visiting from Oregon, and April hopes to show off her adoptive country at its cozy, glittering best. But when the annual ice sculpture contest is derailed by a kamikaze drone-deer, it’s just the first in a series of un-festive events…

Drone-deer, created by inventor elf Blinky Brightlow, are none too popular with the genuine, flesh-and-hoof kind, who are currently on strike. With no reindeer games to keep them in shape, Nick worries they may get too chunky to pull his sleigh come Christmas. Now Blinky is missing, his girlfriend, Juniper, is under suspicion, and between rogue reindeer and conniving elves, all of Santaland seems to have gone sugarplum-crazy. Add a dash of murder to the mix, and suddenly April is battling not just to clear Juniper’s name, but to save herself from being put on ice—permanently…
 (Summary via Goodreads)

I did not want it to end....I loved hanging out with April Claus in Santaland in the third book in the Mrs. Claus Mystery series by Liz Ireland....and you won't want to either !!!

In Mrs. Claus and the Evil Elves April's best friend from her hometown of Cloudberry Bay, Oregon, Claire is visiting April and her husband Nick for the Christmas holiday and Claire cannot believe her eyes and ears !!  She is visiting SANTA CLAUS and MRS. CLAUS and Mrs. Claus is her best friend !!!  Hard to wrap your mind around that.  

Unfortunately while April wants everything to go smoothly for Claire's visit, it is everything but smooth.  The reindeer are on strike and ....wait, let me say that again.....The reindeer are on strike and with Christmas right around the corner, this could be a huge problem come Christmas Eve.  Also another of April's good friends, Juniper Greenleaf, who is an elf claims her new boyfriend, Blinky, is missing when he doesn't show up to a concert they are playing.  Blinky insisted that he would be there and when he doesn't show, they go to his place of business, Brightlow Brothers Enterprises.  Brightlow Brothers Enterprises is a electronics business that he runs with his brother Dabbs.  But Dabbs insists that Blinky is fine and is off sight in one of his creative moods.

Because Juniper insists that something is wrong April decides to try to find out what is going on.....unfortunately before they can locate Blinky, Virgil, an elf working for the brothers is found murdered in his house and the murder weapon belongs to Juniper.  So while Juniper is arrested and held in the constabulary and Constable Crinkles is focused on Juniper as the killer, April calls her friend private investigator Jake Frost to assist her in looking for the real murderer !!

Even though there is a missing elf, a murdered elf, and an elf arrested, you will still love Santaland and everything else there.  No place is perfect but if you have to have murder and unpleasant things, this is where you want to be.....a dessert buffet party, snowmen that talk, elves everywhere in full on elf-wear, streets like Wonderland Lane and Wishful Lane to businesses like We Three Bean coffeehouse and Tinkertown Arena and lastly elves named Butterbean, Velvet and all the reindeer.

Readers will fall in love with this story and the previous two books in this magical series.  You will get lost in the story and may even find yourself believing in Santa Claus ....or at least wishing for him.  I cannot stress it enough to grab your copy and head to Castle Kringle and Santaland......

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 13 October 2022

Murder, Sweet Murder (Will Rees Mysteries #11) by Eleanor Kuhns

Will Rees accompanies his wife to Boston to help clear her estranged father's name in this gripping mystery set in the early nineteenth century.

January, 1801. When Lydia's estranged father is accused of murder, Will Rees escorts her to Boston to uncover the truth. Marcus Farrell is believed to have murdered one of his workers, a boy from Jamaica where he owns a plantation. Marcus swears he's innocent. However, a scandal has been aroused by his refusal to answer questions and accusations he bribed officials.

As Will and Lydia investigate, Marcus's brother, Julian, is shot and killed. This time, all fingers point towards James Morris, Lydia's brother. Is someone targeting the family? Were the family quarreling over the family businesses and someone lashed out? What's Marcus hiding and why won't he accept help?

With the Farrell family falling apart and their reputation in tatters, Will and Lydia must solve the murders soon. But will they succeed before the murderer strikes again?  (Summary via Goodreads)

Readers of the Will Rees Mystery series by Eleanor Kuhns are going to go crazy, in a good way, when they start reading the eleventh book, Murder, Sweet Murder......Rees and his wife Lydia along with two of their children are heading to Boston to visit Lydia's family.

In Murder, Sweet Murder Lydia, who left home many years ago when her father had tried to marry her off to a gentlemen that she did not love, is returning after receiving a letter from her younger sister asking for help.  It seems that their father Marcus was accused of murder and Cordelia, Cordy, knows that Will and Lydia have helped solve crimes in their hometown in Maine so they are the obvious choice to clear Marcus's name.  Unfortunately when they arrive at Lydia's old home, they are not as welcomed as they had hoped.  First no one other than Cordy wants an investigation, it seems the case has somehow been swept under the rug, and second the family is not so warm to accepting Will into the family.  When Lydia left she didn't keep in touch with anyone other than Cordy so they are not aware of Will as her husband and of her children.

Will and Lydia are not deterred and begin their investigation into the young man's death.  It is known that he is from Jamaica, a plantation that Marcus owns, but not much more is known. He was killed in the middle of the night outside a tavern that was closed, no witnesses that they are aware of and not much to go Will decides to start at the place of death and go from there......

Every time that they think they have a clue or a fact to the murder, something happens that changes their minds.  Once they start investigating they learn of more people that could possibly have committed the murder and when they find out that the person killed isn't who everyone thinks, they are lead down another disturbing road.  And when someone else is murdered in exactly the same way as the first person, Will and Lydia are more determined to find the killer !!

Readers will be drawn into the story immediately !!  Readers will love that Will and Lydia are traveling to Boston allowing us to get to know Lydia's family and the secrets that have kept her away for all those years.  There will be members of the family you will fall in love with instantly and there will be some you will hate as soon as you meet them....but you will enjoy the time that you spend in Boston and will be just as glad as Will is when they leave.

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 11 October 2022

A Christmas Candy Killing (Killer Chocolate #1) by Christina Romeril

Their chocolates are to die for—but things aren’t so sweet when a real killer comes to town, in this debut mystery perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and Laura Childs.

Identical twin sisters Alex and Hannah are the owners of Murder and Mayhem, a mystery bookshop that sells their famous poison-themed Killer Chocolates. But now, there’s a real killer in their midst. Shortly before Christmas, their septuagenarian neighbor, Jane, confides to Alex that a murderer from a true-crime show has taken up residence in the village. Unfortunately, she’s also shared her suspicions with town gossip Netta. The next morning, Alex shows up at Jane’s house to watch the show, but instead discovers Jane's body, with a box of Killer Chocolates nearby.

The sheriff quickly zeroes in on two suspects: Alex, a beneficiary in Jane’s will, and Zack, a handyman who was seen leaving the crime scene. But Alex maintains her innocence and sets out to draft a list of other potential suspects—townsfolk who’d recently been seen arguing with Jane.

When Alex gets hold of Jane’s journal, she begins to understand the truth. But a bearer of ill tidings is arriving early this year—and Alex just might not make it to Christmas.  (Summary via Goodreads)

After reading A  Christmas Candy Killing, the first book in the Killer Chocolate Mystery series, by Christina Romeril readers may look at chocolate in a totally different way.

In A Christmas Candy Killing identical twin sisters Alex and Hannah are getting ready for the holiday rush in their store Murder and Mayhem.  Murder and Mayhem is a bookstore and chocolate shop focusing on mysteries and the chocolates are made to be poison related although there is no poison in them.  However after hosting book club at the store Jane confronts Alex asking her to come over the next morning because she thinks there is a murderer living amongst them.   Alex doesn't completely believe Jane as she is known to watch true crime stories on TV and has said this before after viewing an episode.  But seeing as Jane is a close friend of hers, Alex agrees to meet the following morning.

Unfortunately when Alex gets to Janes house, she does not answer the door.  Alex enters the house only to find Jane dead next to the bed and witnesses someone in a dark hoodie leaving the back yard.  It isn't long before everyone in this little town of Harriston, Montana knows about Jane's murder, Alex's involvement in finding the body and Jane's insistance that she recognized someone in the town as being on the true crime show.

Shortly after Jane's murder her handyman Zach is arrested for the crime....but it doesn't feel right to Alex.  She, along with her sister Hannah and a few neighbors begin their own investigation.  And when it is mentioned that Alex is the second on the list of the police's suspects when most of Jane's belongings and house are willed to Alex, the group kicks it into top speed.

But when a second person is found, again by Alex, from an apparent fall down a flight of stairs, Alex has to re-evaluate everything they thought they knew and no one can be placed on the innocent side.

Romeril knows how to put the words on the page to keep readers going.  Romeril has a knack of putting the right amount of mystery into the story as well as the hint of romances to keep readers entertained.  And her last paragraph is worded so that readers are left wondering where the story will go in the next book in the Killer Chocolate series ensuring that they will definitely be grabbing their copy as soon as it is released.

Review by Missi M.