Monday 28 February 2022

Devil's Chew Toy by Rob Osler

Seattle teacher and part-time blogger Hayden McCall wakes up in a stranger's bed alone, half-naked and sporting one hell of a shiner. Then the police come knocking on the door. It seems that Latino dancer Camilo Rodriguez has gone missing and they suspect foul play. What happened the night before? And where is Camilo?

Determined to find answers, Hayden seeks out two of Camilo's friends--Hollister and Burley--both lesbians and both fiercely devoted to their friend. From them, Hayden learns that Camilo is a "Dreamer" whose parents had been deported years earlier, and whose sister, Daniela, is presumed to have returned to Venezuela with them. Convinced that the cops won't take a brown boy's disappearance seriously, the girls join Hayden's hunt for Camilo.

The first clues turn up at Barkingham Palace, a pet store where Camilo had taken a part-time job. The store's owner, Della Rupert, claims ignorance, but Hayden knows something is up. And then there's Camilo's ex-boyfriend, Ryan, who's suddenly grown inexplicably wealthy. When Hayden and Hollister follow Ryan to a secure airport warehouse, they make a shocking connection between him and Della--and uncover the twisted scheme that's made both of them rich.

The trail of clues leads them to the grounds of a magnificent estate on an island in Puget Sound, where they'll finally learn the truth about Camilo's disappearance--and the fate of his family.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Devil's Chew Toy by Rob Osler is a unique and interesting take on the cozy mystery.  Readers will thoroughly enjoy this story for all the little differences that are within the covers.

In Devil's Chew Toy main character Hayden McCall is on break from his teaching job so he goes to a local club he likes, Hunters, where he can sit and watch the male dancers and enjoy the night.....yes, Hayden is gay and enjoys looking at male dancers, now let's move on..... So one night he is there and decides to tip one of the dancers that he particularly likes but when he does, the dancer, Camilo, accidentally kicks Hayden in the face.  Whether it is because he kicked Hayden or likes him, we can't be 100% sure which, but he invites Hayden back to his place.  Unfortunately this does not goes well for either of them.....they go to bed and sleep, no hanky panky on the first meet for Camilo, and when Hayden wakes up, he is alone in the bed and the cops are knocking on the door.  Camilo's truck was found in a parking lot with the driver's door open and engine running with no sign of Camilo.  Hayden unfortunately cannot tell the cops anything.  He doesn't even know when Camilo left and what made him leave.   Also Hayden is sporting a nice big black eye that the cops look at suspiciously.

Even though Hayden doesn't really know Camilo, he is concerned about him being missing.  Also Camilo has a dog, Commander, that Hayden decides to take home with him rather than take him to a shelter or leave alone at Camilo's.  

Seeing as Hayden doesn't know Camilo that well he decides to go back to Hunters and ask around and try to talk to some of his friends to see if they can shed some light on his disappearance.  Luckily Hayden gets some information from the manager and gets introduced to Hollister who is a lesbian with a big mohawk and the two of them team up to find Camilo.  Unfortunately when they start investigating they are led down a crazy road they couldn't have imagined no matter how hard they tried.  The one thing that the two of them have going for them is their drive to find Camilo.......but that won't be enough.

Readers will love Devil's Play Toy for Osler's take on the story.  Reading it from a completely different viewpoint, that of a gay character, is a refreshing change of pace.  You cannot help but fall in love with Hayden whether you are gay or not, he grows on you and you want to see him succeed and rescue Camilo.  And the relationships that develop as a result with definitely have you turning the pages as quickly as you can because you cannot get enough of it all !!!

I highly suggest that you get your copy of Devil's Chew Toy and get lost with Hayden and will thank me later !!!  Happy reading !!!

Review by Missi M.

Friday 25 February 2022

Bert and Norah: Evil Runs Through It by Bernard Harry Burgess

A teenage girl from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota is lured by a predator and abducted. The same day, one of Bert and Norah's adult daughters is traveling across that state on the way to Wyoming to visit her father along with her two young daughters. While entering a small town, daughter Summer, sees a young girl in what appears to be a psychic vision. The youngster is yelling for help. The vision is so unsettling that she convinces her father that they need to attempt to find the girl. This leads the team of now six plus Missy, the coywolf tracker, on a frustrating and challenging hunt for the girl. Combining investigative skill with psychic inputs, the two-vehicle team pursues the kidnappers on a life or death mission, leading to far more than they expected. The ending will leave the reader with a mix of emotions and a fresh and personal understanding of the evil which runs below the awareness of most and slithers just out of sight of those who choose not to see.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Bert and Norah : Evil Runs Through It by Bernard H. Burgess is the fifth book in this series and this one should definitely come with a warning.  Readers are going to experience high anxiety as they get lost in this latest case that Bert, Norah, Becky, Missi and team find themselves working on.

In Evil Runs Through It Bert's one daughter, Summer is driving with her two daughters, Suni and Dawn, to go spend time with Bert and meet his new love, Becky.  On the way there Summer and Suni witness a girl asking for help through an open window in a car.  The moment is quick and Summer wonders if they actually saw it for real or was in a figment of their imaginations.  Once they get to Bert's and get settled, Summer talks to her father about this and is shocked to find out that she can hear her mother talking to her.  Now hopefully you are a fan of this series and I am not about to give something crucial away.....Norah, Bert's wife, is deceased but her spirit is still with Bert and he can see her and communciate with her.  Now they find out that Summer also has that ability as well as her daughter Suni.

The group decide that the girl they saw is real and is most likely missing so they begin to look into her disappearance.  Once they determine the girl's identity and where she was abducted from, they begin to formulate a plan.  This plan takes them across quite a few state lines and traveling a long distance.  And while they are working on the case, they discover that Cindy, the girl they are hoping to rescue, is not alone and the situation is a lot scarier than they could ever imagine.

Burgess has a way with his writing to draw the reading into the story and make you feel like you are right there along side Bert while he's driving.  And the details that Burgess provides for the reader of the areas that they are traveling through will make you feel like you are there seeing everything as if you were there on vacation.  And the way of his writing has readers turning the pages as fast as you can to see what is going to happen next and when you get to the high point in the story, you may find your heart beating fast and you won't even notice you are holding your breathe until you exhale with relief.

I cannot stress it enough to get on board with this series and allow Burgess and his team of characters to take you away.  Once you start reading one of these books, you will realize how much you needed this welcomed distraction.

Review by Missi M.

Monday 21 February 2022

Peril at the Party (Missteps of Murder #1) by Aubrey Elle

Once grand and gorgeous, the castle-like Baycourt Hall is now on the brink of closing. If business stays steady for the party venue, newly hired event manager Anna Glenn might be able to help the owners—handsome handyman Sean and his bubbly grandma Ruby—save it from failure.

A wedding reception starts on a rocky note, but when the party wraps up, it turns downright deadly. Before the guests can depart, Anna discovers Father Asher stabbed in the foyer. Baycourt isn’t only crumbling, it’s a hotbed of peril.

Asher won’t be missed, not with his habit of stealing church funds. But with the fresh scandal of his death, the townsfolk recall previous trouble Baycourt has weathered—typical drama that comes with idiots gathering. Despite the current unsolved murder, Anna and her aunt Pru are focused on another Glenn sister, Josie, who disappeared after attending a funeral there many years ago. When Anna learns Josie wore a family heirloom Aunt Pru wishes to have back, Anna attempts to search for clues at Baycourt.

Just as she finds a clue that suggests Josie’s locket might have gone missing at the hall, another reception begins. Hopefully, nothing further puts anyone in peril, or there’s no chance of saving Baycourt Hall—and Anna won’t be able to solve the mystery buried in her family history.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Aubrey Elle will have readers on the edge of their seats in her first book in the Missteps of Murder mystery series.  Peril at the Party is a pretty fast read once you open the book and start reading.....

In Peril at the Party Anna Glenn has returned to her hometown to live with her Aunt Pru after getting divorce and starts a new job at the Baycourt Hall where they cater to weddings and parties.  Unfortunately at her very first wedding celebration someone is stabbed in the foyer and it is Father Asher who just performed the wedding announcing a new husband and wife !!  Anna has a hard time accepting that someone would want Father Asher dead let alone killed !!  But as she talks to members of his church as well as some of the people at the wedding, she soon learns that Father Asher wasn't a nice person.  She also realizes that there is a list of people that have reasons to want him out of their lives....but are they killers ?

Ruby, the owner of Baycourt Hall asks Anna to go through boxes of old photographs to put together a collage of wedding pictures with happy couples so that they can work towards getting ahead of the situation.  While looking through the pictures,  Anna finds a few pictures of her Aunt Josie.  She has never met her aunt because she left town a long time ago but her Aunt Pru has talked about her and a necklace that Josie wore that means a lot to the family but when Anna finds two pictures and one of them shows Josie without the necklace, they wonder what happened to it and Josie.

Now it seems like Anna has two mysteries to solve so that she can keep her job and help restore Baycourt Hall and get the business thriving again......but when Sean, Ruby's grandson, finds something after a fight occurs at the wedding after Father Asher's murder, they wonder if the place is cursed and they are left with a bigger mystery on their hands......

Elle knows how to keep the reader wanting more.....there is NO way you will not be a fan of this series  !!  After reading Peril at the Party Elle leaves the reader needing to continue when the second book comes out.  I am sure that Death at the Dance is going to be as explosive as Peril at the Party and I cannot wait to dig in !!!

Review by Missi M.


Tuesday 15 February 2022

Jousting and Justice (Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic #5) by Elizabeth Pantley

An invitation to a medieval festival. A ferry ride to a mysterious island. A scheming, inept witch. An office break-in, an unidentified body, and a string of suspects. Can Hayden, her brave, sassy cat, Latifa, and the people of Destiny Falls solve the mystery and enjoy the festival?

~ Jousting and Justice follows the series format of combining two stories that blend into one. A murder mystery and the island mystery.

The Island Mystery: Hayden and all her friends get an invitation to a medieval festival - but it's on "the forbidden island." It's too enticing to pass up. Of course, strange things will happen once they get there! . . . You'll also learn the truth about the witch's sister in this book!

The Murder Mystery: A dead body shows up in the most shocking place. First, they need to figure out who this dead guy is. Then, who killed him and why. There are so many twists and turns on the way to the answers! But we know that Hayden, Latifa, and their family and friends will figure it out and justice will be served.

Hayden’s many adventures in Destiny Falls will keep you guessing with each book in this intriguing series.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I am a huge fan of the Destiny Falls Mystery series by Elizabeth Pantley but nothing prepares you for what is in store for readers in the fifth book in this series, Jousting and Justice...... The entire book is going to shock readers and when you get to the end and think you are in the clear, Pantley throws a huge wrench in the mix and leaves the reader in complete disbelief and unable to move, you will be as frozen as Destiny Falls is when Hayden gets visits from the ghost Gaspar.

In Jousting and Justice there is a lot going on but readers of this series should already have the understanding that no matter what happens, you will not get lost at all.  First off the entire island of Destiny Falls is invited to a medieval festival and they believe it is on the forbidden island Gladstone.  Hayden and her brother Axel are excited to go because that is where their mother is living and recently their father went to live with her so they are hopeful to see them both.  But while they are learning more on medieval festivals, the clothing and picking out their outfits for the event, Hayden finds her office for the newspaper a mess and a dead body in the archive room.  And when they find out the identity of the deceased, they uncover a lot of secrets behind this person as well as a lot of suspects and reasons to want him dead.

Fortunately they can leave the investigating in the able hands of their dear friend, Sheriff Jaxson Redford, so they could focus on the festival and preparing for that.  Unfortunately when they arrive at the island for the festival, they find out that they are not at Gladstone but a smaller island actually called the forbidden island.  They decide to not let that fact ruin their day so the group go about the day enjoying the festival.  Unfortunately there is some excited while they are participating in the final event, a parade of all the winners from the days competitions...... I will leave it at that because I do not want to spoil it for those that will read this book.

There is so much to love about the Destiny Falls Mystery series..... an entire island that has magical components throughout the island, people with magical abilities, cats that can talk to Hayden and she understands them, a strong family bond and friendships that are just as strong, humor, murder, love..... so much !!!!   

I will leave the readers with this..... every time I read the latest book in this series, it becomes my favorite book in the series.  That is still true with Jousting and Justice however.... I did not like the way that Pantley ended this book !!  She always ends her books with readers being left speechless and wanting more....this time she leaves readers with mouths opened wide, speechless and unable to comprehend what they just read....some may do what I did and over look the two words, The End, and turn the page anyway to see if possibly there is more.  Pantley knows how to leave the readers entertained but hooked and looking forward to the next book.  I honestly do not know how I am going to be able to wait for the sixth book......maybe I can start a support group and we can all help each other get through the time.....

Review by Missi M.

Friday 11 February 2022

The Tulip Terror (Lily List #3) by C.L. Bauer

Dev’s secret?
Danger magnet?
Never normal again?
Ever since Lily Schmidt fell in love with Devlin Pierce, danger and distance has plagued their relationship. With an uncertain future, the organized florist from Kansas City is trusting that when both of them are in the same place at the same time they’ll become husband and wife. She’s looking forward to marriage, she’s just not sure how it is ever going to happen.
Devlin Pierce wants a life with the woman he loves, but work just keeps getting in the way. He will have to do all the planning to make this relationship work. He wants to see Lily happy and make all her dreams come true. What is she dreaming? He’ll offer her a trip of a lifetime with romance, adventure, and dreams coming true. But as always, Lily discovers a lot more than she expected.
The Tulip Terror is the third adventure in The Lily List Mystery Series. Lily and Dev’s usual challenge is just being together, but this time the danger is around every corner, on an airplane, outside a cafĂ©, in a museum--it’s everywhere Lily is! The adventure begins and nothing is ever normal again for our little florist.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Readers are going to fall head over heels for The Tulip Terror by C.L. Bauer.  This is the third book in her Lily List Mystery series and it is so much more than the previous two combined !!

In The Tulip Terror Lily's fiance, Devlin Pierce, secretly plans their wedding with the help of her friends Abby and Gretchen, and all Lily has to do is pick out her wedding dress !!  Most brides would probably hate not planning their wedding and you would think that Lily who is a florist and provides the flowers for a lot of weddings would be mad but she took it all in stride and really appreciated everything and everyone that helped.  It probably didn't hurt that Dev and crew planned the most romatic wedding ever !!!

And then the newlyweds went on their honeymoon to Paris !!  

Unfortunately while in Paris Dev learns some secrets from years past and the person that kept those secrets needs his help in Paris.  He has a hard time trying to come to terms with everything and isn't sure that he can be there for this person until Lily talks to him and settles his mind.  But when they are at a very fancy gala at a museum, they come face to face with someone from Dev's past and he is powerless to do anything about it.  Again Lily comes to the rescue when she notices some things that everyone, Dev, the FBI, local police, museum security and guests missed and this sets a lot of things in motion......and Dev decides to let his brother who works for the FBI as well as another close friend handle it and he takes his new wife back to the hotel and their honeymoon !!!

Reader will love this book .... it is really a 2 part book.  The first part is the romance side with the wedding and everything leading up to the honeymoon.  And even the beginning of their honeymoon is magical.  Then when they get involved in the museum "problem" it turns into a thrilling mystery and Lily doing what Lily does best with her very detail oriented mind.  

I love this series and cannot wait to see where author Bauer takes the couple as they navigate their lives together as a couple but still trying to maintain their individual independences......I'm sure it is going to be explosive in a good way !!!

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 9 February 2022

Killer View (Cindy York Mysteries #4) by Catherine Bruns

It’s been four years since sometime sleuth Cindy York left the real estate world behind in favor of a more fulfilling career as a stay-at-home mom. Now that her little one is starting school, Cindy fears her life is about to become dull.

She shouldn’t have worried.

An old college chum soon surfaces and begs Cindy to sell her home, making it impossible for the former agent to say no. Pamela Hilton is going through a messy divorce and any profit will need to be split equally between the woman and her louse of a spouse. But when Cindy shows the home to prospective buyers and Kevin Hilton is found doing a dead man’s float in their pool, things quickly become more complicated.

Convinced of her friend’s innocence, Cindy sets out to find a ruthless killer. But will her return to the workforce and her life both be short term?   (Summary via Goodreads)

Killer View is the fourth book in the Cindy York Mystery series by Catherine Bruns and it should come with a warning.  Readers will get to a part in the story, and I can't tell you where, that will ruin it for you, that you will start to have a panic attack.  Well, if I am being honest with you, there are actually two times in the story that will have your heart racing and you might hold your breath !!

In Killer View main character Cindy York is asked to get back into real estate after leaving it to focus on her family.  But now that her youngest is going to preschool for part of the day, she is left with a big void.  When her best friend and boss, Jacques Forte owner of Forte Realty, calls her about a house listing, she is dragged back into real estate.  Pamela Hilton is looking to put her big house on the market and is looking for Cindy to be her agent.  Cindy and Pam were college roommates and Cindy was in Pam's wedding to Kevin and can't believe that they are divorcing and Pam is being forced to sell her home.

Things take a turn when Cindy is there to do the first showing and finds Kevin dead in the pool .... and it gets worse when it is discovered that Pam was upstairs the whole time passed out from drinking too much.  Pam asks Cindy to look into Kevin's murder when the police arrest her.  Cindy knows that the old Pam would never kill anyone, especially her husband but it's been a long time since they shared a dorm room and Pam has changed a lot.  Pam, like Cindy, has a family to think about.  Pam and Kevin have two sons so Pam has to protect them.

Cindy wants to help her old friend out but has to make sure that she takes care of her own family first and when her oldest, Darcy, comes home from college and doesn't want to go back, Cindy is torn with what to do first.  Luckily she can multi-task and she has an awesome and understanding husband to help.  Cindy also has Jacques who will do anything for her, her family and friends.

Bruns will pull the reader into the story immediately and you will be unable to stop reading until you get to the end of the story and make sure everyone is okay and the killer is behind bars.....or close to it.  Readers will love the relationships within the story ... even the one between Cindy and her mother-in-law.  And the trouble that follows Cindy will have you on the edge of your seat and like I said you will come close to a panic a ttack a few times.....but thats the price we pay for reading a great book, right ??  And Bruns does that exceptionally !!!

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 1 February 2022

A Three Book Problem (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #7) by Vicki Delany

Gemma Doyle is back on the case in bestselling author Vicki Delany's seventh Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery when a poisoned dart ends in demise.

It's a crisp, early October weekend, and business is slowing down as fall descends at the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and adjacent Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room. Wealthy philanthropist and prominent Sherlockian David Masterson has rented Suffolk Gardens House, where he plans to entertain his friends in a traditional English country house weekend.

As the chosen caterers, Jayne Watson and Gemma Doyle get to work preparing lavish meals and setting up Sherlockian books and props for entertainment. Meanwhile, police detective Ryan Ashburton has taken time away from his duties to assist in the kitchen. It quickly becomes apparent that David's guests don't like each other--or their host. Plus, some of them aren't even acquainted with the adventures of the Great Detective.

Before Gemma can ponder their relationships a poisoned dart sails through the window of the library, presenting Gemma Doyle with a three-book problem.  (Summary via Goodreads)

A Three Book Problem by Vicki Delany is the seventh book in her Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series and I sure hope that you are a fan as much as I am.

The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series follows main character Gemma Doyle as she works at the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium that she co-owns with her great-uncle Arthur.  They also co-own the adjacent shop, Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room with Gemma's best friend Jayne.  And if you don't know, you can probably guess that they both are Sherlock Holmes and all Holmes things related.

In A Three Book Problem Gemma and Jayne are catering a weekend long Sherlock Holmes related event in a big estate called Suffolk Gardens House.  David Masterson is the event coordinator and he has invited a group of friends to spend the weekend and do all things English and Sherlock Holmes related.  Gemma has brought along her boyfriend, police detective Ryan, to help in the kitchen.  Lucky for them that Ryan is there because when Gemma and Jayne are meeting with David to discuss a planned dinner menu, he is murdered.  And even though they are both there when he falls, they have no idea what caused his death.  

They also learn that the group that they thought were friends are far from that.  David's niece and nephew are there acting as butler and maid and they are not too happy about the degrading roles.  As Ryan interviews and investigates David's murder, Gemma does what she does best and observes and looks into things in her own way.  

Delany keeps readers on the edge of their seat when reading the books in this series and A Three Book Problem is no different.  The cast of characters that she has provided will also keep you turning the pages as quickly as you will want to get to the bottom of things and find out who killed David and why.  Everyone involved seems to have some reason for disliking him as well as each other it seems.  As you get deep into the story and realize that the group was anything but friends, you may start wondering why there was only one murder.....but know that with Gemma and Ryan, they will solve the case and arrest the right person for the crime.  

Review by Missi M.