Tuesday 26 April 2022

Fall in the House of Usherette (Usherette Mysteries Book 2) by Matt Ferraz

Over a hundred witnesses. They all saw who pulled the trigger … but nobody knows who the murderer is.
Colorado, 1961. T. T. Tottenham is a third-rate horror filmmaker who uses theatrical gimmicks to make each screening a unique experience. Katrina Stevens, chief usherette and owner of the Palladium Film Theater, decides to hire Tottenham when ticket sales are low. Tottenham arrives at the little town of Emberview with his partner Sidney Masters and promises to save Katrina’s business.
Then one of Tottenham’s tricks goes wrong, leaving a dead body in the aisle in the middle of a movie. A murder hadn’t been enough to close down the Palladium three years ago, but will it be this time? Once again Katrina has to solve a mystery to keep her beloved film theater open.  (Summary via Amazon)

Fall in the House of Usherette by Matt Ferraz is the second book in the Usherette Mystery series and you can read it after you've read the first book, Murder for Reel, or you can read it as a stand alone book.  If you are reading it as a stand alone, Ferraz provides information from the first book in the beginning so that you are missing nothing.

In Fall in the House of Usherette readers are hanging out at the Palladium Film Theater with owner and usherette Katrina Stevens.  The year is 1961 and Katrina is trying with all her might to keep the theater open but sales are down and she doesn't know what to do.  Luckily her boyfriend Alex is there to help.  He read an article about a man T. T. Tottenham who travels around and goes to movie theaters and shows horror movies and has some gimmicks and tricks up his sleeve to entertain the audience.  Katrina reaches out to Tottenham and hires him to come to town and help her save the theater.

Unfortunately during one of the movies a stunt involving Alex goes very wrong and Tottenham is shot dead !!  As if things couldn't get any worse for Alex and Katrina but they do.....when the deceased is fingerprinted and identified, they learn that it isn't Tottenham but his assistant Sydney Masters.  And to add more confusion to the situation the person they thought was Sydney is missing !!!

Katrina takes it upon herself to look into the murder to save her business as well as prove Alex's innocence.  Luckily Katrina knows Detective Stockwell from the previous owner's murder so working with him won't be difficult.

Readers will love Fall in the House of Usherette !!!  Once you start reading you will find it very difficult to stop reading until you get to the end.  And when things start to get dicey, you will want to continue reading so that you can find out what is going on in Emberview Colorado.....  Ferraz will take the readers on a very twisty rollercoaster ride that you will not want to get off of.

Review by Missi M.


Monday 25 April 2022

Tidal Wave (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries #17) by Beth Prentice

Samantha Reynolds' life in Aloha Lagoon has just become perfect. Her boyfriend Casey has asked her to marry him, and with Casey’s family in town for a few weeks, it's the perfect opportunity to throw a surprise wedding! The only problem is that on such short notice their wedding planner can only do so much. Especially when their resort is already overbooked with a reality TV personality and his entourage. While Sam has her doubts about pulling this off when she meets the combative last-minute caterer her planner hired, she swaps her flip flops for stilettos and makes her way down the aisle anyway.

Only before she can say "I Do," the caterer is found dead—face down in their wedding cake!

Suddenly things go from marriage to murder, and Sam is at the center of it all. With the police looking at her wedding planner as the number one suspect, Casey’s mother shouting about bad omens and doing her best to convince Casey to go home to England, Sam knows that if she’s going to tie the knot with the man of her dreams, she must find the real killer and prove them all wrong.

But can she find a murderer, convince Casey that his mother is wrong, and plan a whole new wedding before the truth catches up with them all? Or will Sam be the next victim? This may not be the happily ever after she was expecting...   (Summary via Goodreads)

The Aloha Lagoon Mystery series is one of my favorite series to get lost in.  The series is written by multiple authors with each book written by one author and the story is about a cast of characters and the thing that links all of the books is that they all take place on the Kauai coast of Hawaii and center around the Aloha Lagoon Resort.

In the seventeenth book Tidal Wave by Beth Prentice main character Sam Reynolds, who is a surf instructor for the resort is about to marry her bartender boyfriend Casey.  They have planned a surprise wedding, their families think that they are there to celebrate their engagement but the two lovebirds have other plans.  Seeing as Casey's entire family is visiting from Austrialia, they have decided to get married while everyone is there.  Unfortunately right before they are about to begin the caterer is found dead on their wedding cake and their wedding planner who Sam is friends with, is arrested for the murder.

Even though Sam had promised Casey that she would not look into any more murders, she is kinda known for getting in the middle, she knows that she has to look into this case....mainly because Casey's mother does not think they should get married and sees this as an omen to that.

Sadly as Sam and her best friend Alani begin their investigate they realize that the list of suspects is long and when they find some evidence that they believe is proof of blackmail, the list gets more complicated.

Readers will love getting lost in the Aloha Lagoon Mystery series and reading about all the different characters, their lives and how they get in the middle of murder investigations.  Tidal Wave is the fourth book in this series written by Beth Prentice and by now you will be in love with Sam, Casey and the rest of their friends and families.  You will love how the books have some overlapping qualities and reading about such a lovely place, even with murders, you cannot help but fall in love !!!  I highly recommend this series ....you will love the resort !!!

Check out the series here : 


Review by Missi M.

Saturday 23 April 2022

Backdrop Dead: A Magnolia Showboat Mystery by Cynthia Thomason

In 1898, librarian Gwen Barlow's life is predictable, if not adventurous. That changes when her mother's eccentric brother bequeaths the family the Magnolia Palace, a shiny new showboat complete with actors, crew, and a mountain of debt. Gwen, her mother, and younger brother leave Apple Creek, Ohio, for the "sinful center of America," the Mississippi River, where Gwen assumes management of their inheritance complete with temperamental actors, a river town of quirky characters and a sheriff who insists the former owner of the showboat, Eli Willoughby, was murdered. The culprit must be found before Gwen and her troupe can leave Hickory Bend, Missouri, and turn the showboat into a profit-making venture. She first must find a captain for the ill-fated riverboat. She trusts her intuition and hires handsome Carson Stockwell who comes with a vast knowledge of the river and a reputation that makes her question her decision. Determined to find the murderer and save her showboat family, Gwen embarks on a journey of discovery that proves more suspenseful than the Magnolia's own melodrama.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Backdrop Dead is the first book in the Magnolia Showboat Mystery series by Cynthia Thomason and readers will fall in love !!

Backdrop Dead is set in 1898, a much simpler time but there is nothing simple for main character Gwen Barlow.  Gwen, along with her mother and brother, lives in Apple Creek, Ohio.  Gwen is a librarian and quite enjoys her job.  Everything changes when a lawyer from Hickory Bend, Missouri visits her mother and informs her that her recently deceased brother, Eli, has left her everything he owns....which is a magnificient showboat that he had built and planned to travel along the Mississippi River entertaining towns along the way.  So Gwen, her mother and her brother Preston pack up and head to Hickory Bend to see what awaits them on the showboat.....Eli's Magnolia Palace.

Upon arrival to Eli's Magnolia Palace they find out that not only did they inherit the boat but there are workers and actors on board waiting to see what will become of them.  Gwen also soon learns that no one has been paid in weeks and there is hardly any food left to feed everyone.  And to make matters worst, the local law, Constable O'Toole rules Eli's death murder and insists that the Magnolia Palace stay right where it is until his murder is solved.

Gwen takes it upon herself to look into Uncle Eli's death as she gets to know the people who Uncle Eli hired to run and perform on the showboat.  Unfortunately as she gets to know everyone including some of the townfolk, her list of suspects grows.  As she continues to investigate something else happens that adds to Gwen's troubles.

Readers will love everything about Backdrop Dead.  Reading a story set back in time when crimes where solved completely differently than modern times, especially without technology, is an interesting change for readers.  Readers will fall in love with Gwen, her family and everyone aboard the showboat and the storyline of running a showboat on the Mississippi River will entertain readers from the moment you begin reading.  I thoroughly enjoyed Backdrop Dead and look forward to what Thomason does in the next book.

Review by Missi M.


Tuesday 19 April 2022

A Book Signing To Die For (Cozy Mysteries To Die For #1) by Judy Moore

Beck O’Rourke and her grandmother own Beach Reads bookstore and coffee shop, a gathering place for locals and tourists, a block off the ocean in Manatee Beach, Florida.

They live above the bookstore with Beck’s feisty younger sister, Lizzie, a lifeguard. Beck is excited to host the country’s bestselling cozy mystery writer for a book signing event until a member of the audience turns up dead later that night.

Afterward, Beck decides to pursue her lifelong dream of being a detective to try to catch the killer. The amateur sleuth finds several suspects, but the murderer isn’t happy about her interference.

Neither is the town’s handsome new police detective who has a history with Beck.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

As soon as you start reading A Book Signing To Die For by Judy Moore you will feel like you were swept away to the little beach town in Manatee Beach, Florida.  A Book Signing To Die For is the first book in her Cozy Mysteries to Die For series and you will be in love !!!

In A Book Signing To Die For main character Beck O'Rourke and her grandmother are getting reading for an author book signing in their bookstore Beach Reads and there are a lot of people who are excited.   Unfortunately a woman, Peggy, who is there on vacation with her son, Joe, and daughter-in-law Lisa ends up dead behind the jewelry store next door.  Another shock is when the detective assigned to the case ends up being an old college classmate of Beck's and they have some awkward history.

Beck cannot help but feel guilty that someone who had attended an event at her bookstore ended up dead afterwards and feels even worse seeing as she convinced her to come to the event after meeting her in the afternoon of the event.  Beck takes it upon herself to look into Peggy's past to try to piece together why she was killed.....especially after the police seem to be going in a totally different direction.

Readers will love A Book Signing To Die For and everything in it.  Once you start reading it you will feel like you are right there along side Beck hanging out in Beach Reads and running around Manatee Beach.  A Book Signing To Die For is the perfect start to a very captivating story that you will want to jump into the book and never leave !!!

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 16 April 2022

Front Page Murder (A Homefront News Mystery #1) by Joyce St. Anthony

In this World War II-era historical mystery series debut by Joyce St. Anthony, small-town editor Irene Ingram has a nose for news and an eye for clues.

Irene Ingram has written for her father’s newspaper, the Progress Herald, ever since she could grasp a pencil. Now she’s editor in chief, which doesn’t sit well with the men in the newsroom. But proving her journalistic bona fides is the least of Irene’s worries when crime reporter Moe Bauer, on the heels of a hot tip, turns up dead at the foot of his cellar stairs.

An accident? That’s what Police Chief Walt Turner thinks, and Irene is inclined to agree until she finds the note Moe discreetly left on her desk. He was on to a big story, he wrote. The robbery she’d assigned him to cover at Markowicz Hardware turned out to be something far more devious. A Jewish store owner in a small, provincial town, Sam Markowicz received a terrifying message from a stranger. Moe suspected that Sam is being threatened not only for who he is…but for what he knows.

Tenacious Irene senses there’s more to the Markowicz story, which she is all but certain led to Moe’s murder. When she’s not filling up column inches with the usual small-town fare—locals in uniform, victory gardens, and scrap drives—she and her best friend, scrappy secretary Peggy Reardon, search for clues. If they can find the killer, it’ll be a scoop to stop the presses. But if they can’t, Irene and Peggy may face an all-too-literal deadline.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Front Page Murder is the first book in the Homefront News Mystery series by Joyce St. Anthony and it sets the stage beautifully for readers.

In Front Page Murders the story is set in the early 1940's after Pearl Harbor was attacked and America went to join the war.  Main character Irene Ingram is hit hard when American's started going to help fight the war when her fiance Bill, who was a police officer and her father who ran the local newspaper, the Progess Herald went to help fight in the war.  Her father went as a correspondent to cover the war and Bill went to do whatever he was assigned.  With her father leaving he puts Irene in charge of the newspaper making her the editor in chief.  Seeing as everyone is doing what they can to help out with the changes, Irene takes her job quite seriously......even if some of the male employees think othewise.

Unfortunately before Irene can get use to all the changes one of her reporters, Moe, doesn't show up for work and no one knows where he is.  She learns that he didn't go out to cover the story she assigned him so she has to do it herself.  She eventually goes to Moe's house to find out what is going on and finds him dead at the bottom of his cellar stairs.  Her future father-in-law just happens to be the Chief of Police and when he checks out the scene, he determines it to be an accident.  Shortly after Irene comes across something in Moe's desk that suggests that it wasn't an accident.  This leads Irene down a dark path that no one could have imagined.

And when some other things happen around town and at a local factory that is building parts for the war, Irene doesn't know what to think.  Then when she finds out the woman her mother has recently allow to board at their house is keeping a big secret, Irene is more confused than ever !!

Readers will love this story !!  It is always a nice change to read stories set back in time when things were much easier and technology wasn't as big as it is nowadays.  It is always interesting to read about how things were done back then and especially how a crime was investigated and solved.  And readers will enjoy the story that St. Anthony has written.....she will have you turning pages as fast as your eyes can read the words.

I highly recommend reading Front Page Murder and I personally cannot wait until the next book to see where the story will take Irene......

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Night of the Were-Cat (A Cat Groomer Mystery Book 6) by Eileen Watkins

Cassie McGlone’s Comfy Cats grooming service can turn a scruffy stray into a glamorous Cat-dashian. But with a drug-peddling killer at loose in her picturesque hometown of Chadwick, New Jersey, she’ll need to comb through some dangerous suspects to avert a catastrophe . . .

To an animal lover like Cassie, all cats are beautiful . . . though some may be more photogenic than others. When a customer brings in Quentin, a Maine Coon who looks more wolf than feline, it gives Cassie an idea. The owner of Chadwick’s retro movie theater wants to promote an upcoming werewolf movie marathon—how about a werewolf lookalike contest for pets?

Things are getting hairy around Chadwick in other ways too. A thief targets the clinic where Cassie’s veterinarian boyfriend Mark works, making off with anesthetics. Soon after, a young woman dies in a related drug incident. Wanting to help the police, Cassie and her good friend, Dawn, go undercover on the singles scene to investigate a suspected “party drug” ring, getting Mark’s protective hackles up. But the villain may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing—someone Cassie knows and trusts. And if her sleuthing skills aren’t up to scratch, the culprit may slink away to kill again . . .  (Summary via Amazon)

Night of the Were-Cat by Eileen Watkins will have you holding your breathe and on the edge of your seat.  Night of the Were-Cat is the sixth book in her Cat Groomer Mystery series and it will have the hair on the back of your neck standing up !!

The Cat Groomer Mystery series follows main character Cassie as she runs her cat groomer and boarding business, dates a local veterinarian, hangs with her best friend Dawn, and gets in the middle of a murder investigation.  And in Night of the Were-Cat she gets too close to the killer for anyone's comfort !!

In the Night of the Were-Cat it is almost Halloween and everyone is excited for a new venture....the local movie theater has a new owner and he wants to bring more business to the theater so he is running old Halloween movies and when a cat that looks like a werewolf is brought into Cassie's Comfy Cats, Cassie gets the idea to run a werewolf lookalike contest for all animals non-canine.  Seeing as the town is already doing a dog parade it only seemed fair.

Little did Cassie know that Mark's veterinarian clinic was going to be robbed of medicines and someone was going to overdose on those drugs and Cassie was going to get in deep in the investigation......but everyone should have guessed that seeing as that is exactly what she does and seeing as someone very close to her is affected, it should have come as no surprise.

The Cat Groomer Mystery series has so much that readers will love.  Once you start reading you become an instant fan and want to return to Cassie's Comfy Cats and Chadwick, New Jersey as often as you can.  And a little thing called murder only adds to the appeal.....you will want to make sure the case is solved and everyone involved gets justice.

Review by Missi M.

Friday 8 April 2022

The Fashion Hound Murders (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper #5) by Elaine Viets

Mystery shopper Josie Marcus is on the hunt for a killer when a pet store employee mysteriously dies after blowing the whistle on possible puppy mill connections…

Josie’s latest assignment is one for the dogs—literally! Pets 4 Luv, a national pet store chain, has hired Josie to mystery shop its St. Louis suburban locations and she discovers possible puppy mill suppliers. When an employee tipster is killed in a suspicious hit-and-run, Josie’s job suddenly gets a lot hairier.

Posh pets are a million dollar business for puppy mills; even so, Josie is staggered to think that her sniffing around led to an innocent woman’s murder and may have put her own life at risk. But she’s not ready to tuck her tail and run just yet. Using every bit of her secret shopper savvy, Josie must follow the designer dog trail to expose the illegal breeders, shutter the puppy mills, and finally collar the vicious killer on the loose.  (Summary via Amazon)

Maybe because I am a huge animal lover, mainly cats, that I really enjoyed The Fashion Hound Murders by Elaine Viets.  This is the fifth book in her Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series and it is my favorite of the series...so far.

The Fashion Hound Murders, like the previous ones, is following main character Josie Marcus as she raises her young daughter, tolerates her mother who lives upstairs and tries to ignore the nosy neighbor next door.  Josie is a single mom, even though she tries her hardest to find a husband and father for her daughter Amelia, whose job is a very flexible one of mystery shopping for businesses.  Unfortunately Josie also seems to have a knack for getting involved in murders, not commiting them but getting in the way of the investigations and usually helping the police solve the case.

And in The Fashion Hound Murders Josie gets too close......  Josie's latest assignment in to mystery shop a chain of pet stores and inquire about the puppies they have for sale.  She is to ask questions specifically to see if they are certified pedigreed puppies or puppies from puppy mills.  While at one of the pet stores an employee tells her to meet her at the end of the evening and she will tell her what she wants to know.  Even though this is beyond what Josie is being paid for, she goes to meet the employee.  Unfortunately while meeting with the employee, she gets spooked and goes to leave and ends up getting hit by a truck trying to get to her car,.  Josie takes this death very hard seeing as she witnessed it first hand.  

The Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series is a great series to get lost in.  Readers will love Josie's job because every assignment, even though she is shopping, is always different and usually ends up with Josie getting in to some kind of trouble.  Readers will love Josie's family and friends and feel for Josie as she tries to navigate dating and try to find a good guy.....  This series has so much to love and enjoy !!  I hghly encourage you to get your copy and start reading.....

Review by Missi M.

Monday 4 April 2022

FOREVER SILENCED by Richard S. Cohen

FOREVER SILENCED is a humorous and entertaining Cozy Mystery. In follow-up to his nonfiction work, THE LOVE DRUG: MARCHING TO THE BEAT OF ECSTASY, Richard S. Cohen has, once again, put pen to paperthis time in the form of a novel written in a playful and clever way.

Willem Gerhardt is a renowned psychologist with the most prestigious recognitions.  He is also the adopted son of the widely known, Elizabeth Gerhardt
sole heiress of a billionaire. Up until now, Dr. Gerhardt has lived a "rich life" in every way, or so it seems.

When a young patient claims she was sexually assaulted, a local farmer is formally charged. But days after his acquittal, he is found dead.

Dr. Gerhardt's life has come full circle upon returning to the very same place he was born
East Texas State Penitentiary. Charged with murder, he is forced to face the depths of a complex past.

Is blood truly thicker than water? What significance do memories really hold? Is a flower just "a flower"?  Are psychics real? Can anyone be trusted?

In a heartwarming story that touches upon every emotion, FOREVER SILENCED takes readers on an enjoyable and ever so memorable journey.  (Summary via Amazon)

Forever Silenced by Richard S. Cohen is labeled as a cozy mystery but after reading it I have to say it is more of a psychological thriller......  

In Forever Silenced Willem is a some what troubled eight year old boy bouncing from foster home to foster home looking for his forever home which he finds with Elizabeth Gerhardt.  And ever though Elizabeth knows very little about Willem and his past, she welcomes him into her home and life.  Throughout his young life, Willem exhibits some unusual behaviors that doctors cannot explain.  The only person to give Willem and his mother any answers is Miss Sophia......

In Forever Silenced readers are first introduced to Willem briefly when he is sitting in a prison cell awaiting trial for a crime he did not commit.  Then readers get to know Willem as a child when he gets adopted by Ms. Gerhardt.   Throughout the story Cohen takes the readers back in time to when Willem was a child growing up with Ms. Gerhardt as well as what Willem is going through as he stands trial.

Forever Silenced is not a typical cozy but will keep readers on their toes.  Luckily you will be so engrossed in Willem's story that you will not even notice.  And when you do get to the end of the story I guarantee that you will close the book, sit back and ask yourself what you just read.  Cohen takes the readers down a hair raising, white knuckled twisty road and you will love it !!!!

Review by Missi M.

Friday 1 April 2022

The Secrets We Share by Edwin Hill

A mesmerizing, twisty suspense novel perfect for fans of Mary Kubica and Riley Sager from an acclaimed author! Explore the deep bonds—and deadly secrets—between two very different sisters haunted by the crimes of their father murdered nearly twenty years earlier…

At first glance, Natalie Cavanaugh and Glenn Abbott hardly look like sisters. Even off-duty, Natalie dresses like a Boston cop, preferring practical clothes and unfussy, pinned-up hair. Her younger sister, Glenn, seems tailor-made for the spotlight, from her signature red mane to her camera-ready smile. Glenn has spent years cultivating her brand through her baking blog, and with the publication of her new book, that hard work seems about to pay off. But her fans have no idea about the nightmare in Glenn and Natalie’s past.

Twenty years ago, their father’s body was discovered in the woods behind their house. A trauma like that doesn’t fit with Glenn’s public image. Yet, maybe someone reading her blog does know something. There have been anonymous online messages, vague yet ominous, hinting that she’s being watched. And with unsettling coincidences hitting ever closer to home, both Glenn and Natalie soon have more pressing matters to worry about, especially when a dead body is found in an abandoned building . . .

Natalie is starting to wonder how much Glenn really knows about the people closest to her. But are there also secrets Natalie has yet to uncover about those she herself trusts? For two decades, she’s believed their father was murdered by their neighbor, with whom he was having an affair. But if those events are connected to what’s happening now, maybe there’s much more that Natalie doesn’t know. About their father. About their neighbors. About her friends. Maybe even about herself.

But there are no secrets between sisters . . . are there?

“This suspenseful story will have readers careening from one erroneous conclusion to the next.” —Library Journal STARRED REVIEW  
 (Summary via Goodreads)

Reading The Secrets We Share by Edwin Hill is like riding a rollercoaster in the dark.....there are so many twists and turns and when you think you are on a straight part, you are thrown into a loop.  

In The Secrets We Share readers are hanging around mostly with sisters Natalie and Glenn. In the beginning we are with the sisters when their father is found murdered behind their house and then Hill shoots us forward to when they are both adults.  Natalie is a detective and her sister Glenn is married with a daughter, Mavis.  Glenn is about to launch her career with a cookbook when her daughter gets dared to go into an abandoned factory on the way to school. Unfortunately she accepts the dare and instead of walking out with a piece of tile to prove she went inside, she finds a dead body !!

Mavis finding a dead body sends the sisters down a dark twisty rabbit hole that brings up memories from the past.  They also soon learn that they don't know who to trust and people close to them may not be who they have thought they were.....

After finishing The Secrets We Share I had to step away and allow my brain to comprehend everything I read and the outcome of the story.  I actually had to sleep on things to allow myself to fully grasp everything that happened and even then I'm not sure I have fully processed everything.  I could tell you to take your time reading this story and to really pay attention to everything, every little detail, because you may not realize how important something is until the very end but I know that once you start reading you are going to get totally into the story and read as fast as you can to see what will happen next.  And no one will blame you or think any less of you.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Edwin Hill a few times and I have also read his previous books and even with those books, I was completely blown away !!  Sometimes I cannot believe that the person I met and the author of these books is the same person !!  It just goes to show you how talented some people are.  I love Edwin and his books and I cannot wait to see where his brain is going to take him and us, his fans, next.  I just know it's going to be another crazy ride !!!  So hurry up and get your ticket (book) and get on board !!!

Review by Missi M.