Wednesday 29 June 2022

A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari

Saffron Everleigh is in a race against time to free her wrongly accused professor before he goes behind bars forever. Perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn and Anna Lee Huber, Kate Khavari’s debut historical mystery is a fast-paced, fearless adventure.

London, 1923. Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh attends a dinner party for the University College of London. While she expects to engage in conversations about the university's large expedition to the Amazon, she doesn’t expect Mrs. Henry, one of the professors’ wives to drop to the floor, poisoned by an unknown toxin.

Dr. Maxwell, Saffron’s mentor, is the main suspect, having had an explosive argument with Dr. Henry a few days prior. As evidence mounts against Dr. Maxwell and the expedition's departure draws nearer, Saffron realizes if she wants her mentor's name cleared, she’ll have to do it herself.

Joined by enigmatic Alexander Ashton, a fellow researcher, Saffron uses her knowledge of botany as she explores steamy greenhouses, dark gardens, and deadly poisons. Will she be able to uncover the truth or will her investigation land her on the murderer’s list?
   (Summary via Goodreads)

A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari is a great debut to her Saffron Everleigh Mystery series.  This book has a very unique storyline that draws the reader in immediately.

In A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons readers are introduced to Saffron Everleigh who is a research assistant in the botany department of the University College London in the year 1923.  She is the only woman in a position of this magtitude and she loves her job.  Unfortunately while attending a dinner party someone falls very ill, ending in a coma, and her boss, Dr. Maxwell, is arrested when it is determined that the woman was poisoned.

Saffron knows that Dr. Maxwell would never do such a thing and determines to find out who did it......unfortunately she has no idea where to begin looking.  While there are a number of people within the college getting ready to head on a six-month long expedition to the Amazon, she has also added some of them to her suspects list.  However she is unclear if the person poisoned, Mrs. Henry, was the actual intended target or if her husband or someone else going on the trip was the target.  Luckily for Saffron, another researcher in the department, Alexander Ashton, decides to help her with her investigating....or maybe he is spending time with her for another reason.....

As readers get into the story, they will soon learn how far Saffron will go to prove Dr. Maxwell is innocent....and you will be shocked at the length she goes.....but you will also love the determination and fire this main character has !!  Readers will love Saffron and Alexander together working on solving the case as well as getting to know each other and the feelings they are developing.  Readers will also enjoy the pace of the storyline being set back in time when there were no computers and crimes were solved completely differently that modern times.  

Readers will be hooked and when you get to the last page there will be no way for you not to want to read the next book in this series when it comes out.  I know I am looking forward to see how the expedition went and how Saffron is enjoying work and if her and Alexander can resume their relationship where they left off.....

Review by Missi M.


Saturday 25 June 2022

Something's Guava Give (Trouble in Paradise! #2) by Carrie Doyle

Nothing ruins an ocean view like a body on the beach!
Plum Lockhart went out on a limb when she ditched her corporate job in New York City and moved to the Caribbean island of Paraiso. Now the head of her own villa broker agency, Plum spends her days chasing down clients and lounging on white sand beaches.
But the sweet life turns sour when a publishing heiress is found dead at the mansion of an eccentric tycoon, Dieter Friedrich. Even worse, Plum's old colleague cashes in a favor and asks her to investigate. It looks like she'll need to fit a murder case into her already jam-packed schedule!
Friedrich is known for his shady dealings, but he's not the only bad apple on the island—Plum will have to contend with a scheming millionaire, a sleazy rockstar, and devious B-list celebrities. And joining Plum once again is Juan Kevin Munoz, the distractingly gorgeous Director of Security. Despite the sparks between them, they'll need to stay focused on the case—there's a murderer hot on their heels!   (Summary via Goodreads)

Something's Guava Give is the second book in the Trouble in Paradise Mystery series by Carrie Doyle and I want to live in this paradise !

In Something's Guava Give main character Plum Lockhart has moved to Paraiso, an island in the Caribbean to reinvent herself and boy is she doing it in style !!  After moving to Paraiso from New York City for a job in the first book in this series, It Takes Two to Mango, and getting involved in a murder investigation she takes things to the next level in Something's Guava Give.  She left her job and opened up a competing business, Plum Lockhart Luxury Retreats, a villa broker agency.  She was fortunate enough to take another employee, Lucia, with her.

In Something's Guava Give Plum is asked to go to the office of the head of security by her New York friend Gerald when his assistant which is also the boss's daughter causes trouble at the resort.  Luckily Plum and the head of security Juan Kevin has history and she has no problem going there to help out Gerald's assistant, Arielle.......unfortunately Arielle is asked to vacant the resort which she does.  However she goes to the residence of a friend of her parents and ends up dead the next morning.  Gerald rushes to Paraiso to try to find out what happened and when it is ruled murder, he convinces Plum to look into the case and find out who killed her.  

Readers will love reading this series and even though there are only two books in the series, so far, they are packed full of great material and people and you will want to jump on a plane as fast as Gerald did and find your own piece of paradise.....while hopefully staying out of trouble and staying alive.

In Something's Guava Give Doyle provides readers with a great cast of characters to add to your list of suspects and when something else happens to shake things up, readers will be sent back to the drawing board to start all over again.  Doyle also has the amazing ability to open your imagination so that what you are reading will come alive in your head.  You will be able to picture everything as if it were actually real and it will leave you breathless......

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 23 June 2022

An Uplifting Murder (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper #6) by Elaine Viets

St. Louis mystery shopper Josie Marcus discovers the world of luxury lingerie has more than one secret after her high school teacher is accused of suffocating a former classmate...

When Desiree Lingerie hires Josie, she’s delighted to find her high school teacher, Mrs. Hayes, is now a manager at the chain. Less thrilling is the mini-reunion with her mean girl nemesis, Frankie Martin. But after Frankie is killed just steps from the shop—and her beloved ex-teacher is identified as a prime suspect—Josie gets hooked into another murder investigation.

Mrs. Hayes is spilling over with motives—years ago, Frankie destroyed her career. Unfortunately, her alibi is pretty skimpy. So, with only her secret shopper smarts and a bit of amateur sleuthing experience to support her, Josie must strip away the lies in order to bust the real killer before anyone else becomes tangled up in this case.
   (Summary via Goodreads)

If you have read any of the books in the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series by Elaine Viets you know that main character Josie will do anything for her family and friends.  And in An Uplifting Murder that friendship started back when Josie was in school.

In An Uplifting Murder, the sixth book in this series, Josie and her best friend Alyce are mystery shopping at a high end lingerie store, Desiree Lingerie at the Plaza Venetia Mall.  They are there to have a certain clerk wait on them....however Josie gets way more than she bargained for when the manager of the store is her old gym teacher and another shock is that one of her school bullies is there shopping as well.  Unfortunately when Josie and Alyce stop into the ladies room in the mall after shopping they find Frankie, the bully, dead in the handicapped stall !!

No one deserves to be murdered but Josie cannot help but think that Frankie got what was coming for her.  But that feeling is short lived when Laura, her old teacher, is arrested for the murder.  Josie knows that Laura did not kill Frankie but the police feel that they have their killer and the case is closed.   So Josie decides to look into Frankie's murder but her list of suspects is quite long.  Things get worse when there are threats made to Josie's car .....

Readers cannot help but fall in love with the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series....the characters are lovable and could remind you of someone in your real life.  The job that Josie has is never the same and always fun for readers to tag along to.  Her relationships and friendships are ones for readers to strive for.  Once you start reading one of the books in this series, you will be hooked and a fan for life.  Every time you open the next book you will feel like you are visiting family or a dear friend.

I highly recommend reading the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series and letting Viets take you away.....

Review by Missi M.

Tuesday 21 June 2022

Dangerous Waters (Sgt. Windflower Mysteries #12) by Mike Martin

Even as Windflower tries to move away from life as a Mountie, the lure of an investigation is too strong to resist. This time a series of missing men, one of whom turns up dead, gets his attention. Then some interesting foreign visitors show up in a snowstorm and another adventure begins to unfold.
There’s a trip to the special island of Saint Pierre just off the coast of Newfoundland and more than enough food to meet any appetite. Eddie Tizzard and the gang are back to help out where required and Sheila and Windflower’s little girls provide him with the support and love he needs to navigate some very dangerous waters.
Come back to Grand Bank and come close to the fire while we tell you another great story in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series.   (Summary via Goodreads)

I love reading the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series by Mike Martin.  You can get lost in these books and feel like you are right there in Grand Bank hanging around with Windflower, Sheila, Tizzard, Carrie or someone else....maybe Herb Stoodley at the Mug-Up Cafe.

I thought when Windflower retired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police things would be different and not as interesting but I was totally wrong.  Now he gets to pick how he wants to be involved with the RCMP as a consultant....and he stills gets plenty of quality time with his wife, Sheila, and their daughters, Stella and Amelia Louise, and still gets time to work at the B&B they own.

In the twelvth book, Dangerous Waters, Tizzard, who took over for Windflower at the RCMP detachment has his hands full when three local men are reported missing and one shows up dead in the water.  Luckily for Tizzard Windflower is convinced to help out on the case as a consultant when it is discovered that a group of Germans passing through might be mixed up in the case.  As things progress the case gets more complicated when money and drugs are added to the mix.

There is so much to love within the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series......from the characters and their relationships, to the food and the town, to the quotes Windflower and friends mention trying to outdo each other, to the crimes commited and the way the RCMP goes about solving them (you gotta love Betsy !!) to when Windflower goes out back to do his smudging to the dreams he has and now Tizzard has them also !!  You can even enjoy reading about just hanging out with Windflower when he is walking Lady, reading bedtime stories to the girls or playing with them, to the talks he has with Sheila, or going to the Mug-Up for coffee.  There doesn't have to be much going on for you to be entertained with this series.  Martin has a knack of pulling you in instantly and your attention is maintained until you get to the last word in the book.  This, by far, is one of my favorite series to read because as soon as you read one book, you feel like a part of the family and will grab the next book as soon as you can so you can reconnect with all your favorite characters.

Review by Missi M.

Sunday 12 June 2022

Buried in a Good Book (By the Book Mysteries #1) by Tamara Berry

Don't miss the first book in a brand-new gripping and hilarious bookish cozy mystery series by author Tamara Berry! Put your sleuthing hat on―Buried in a Good Book features:

A thriller writer who knows way more than anyone should about death and dismemberment

Her young daughter who's more intrigued by dead bodies than she probably should be

An isolated cabin in the woods that's probably―definitely―hiding something

The tiny mountain town that seems less than troubled by a sudden abundance of murders

Bestselling thriller writer Tess Harrow is almost at the end of her rope when she arrives with her teenage daughter at her grandfather's rustic cabin in the woods. She hopes this will be a time for them to heal and bond after Tess's recent divorce, but they've barely made it through the door when an explosion shakes the cabin. Suddenly it's raining fish guts that a human arm?

Tess was hardly convincing Gertie that a summer without Wi-Fi and running water would be an adventure. Now she's thrust into a murder investigation, neighbors are saying they've spotted Bigfoot in the woods near her cabin, and the local sheriff is the spitting image of her character Detective Gabriel Gonzales―something he's less than thrilled about. With so much more than her daughter's summer plans at stake, it's up to Tess to solve this case before anyone else gets hurt.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I will give you a bit of advice when you pick up Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry.  This is the first book in her new By the Book Mystery series and the best thing that you can do is just read the book and enjoy it.  Get lost in the story and let the words take you where they will NEVER solve the case, you will NEVER figure out who done don't even try !!

In Buried in a Good Book Tess Harrow who is an author takes her daughter to the log cabin in the woods where her granfdather lived for over half his life.  Unfortunately the cabin didn't have electricity or running water and Tess was hoping to get her daughter, Gertude away from electronics and back to nature.  It has been 6 months since Tess and her husband, Quentin, divorced and about as long as he has made contact with Gertrude.  Tess also had a book to write and a deadline coming up so she was hoping they both could benefit from getting away from city living in Seattle.

However before they can even unpack and look around they hear a big boom and when they go to investigate, they find a man throwing dynamite into the pond on the property as his way of fishing.  Unfortunately by doing so a body part is thrown out of the pond. And when the local sheriff, Victor Boyd, shows up he is the spitting image of Tess's main character in her books, Detective Gonzales.  Add to that a local elderly woman insists that her cat is missing and Sheriff Boyd is haunted by Bigfoot sightings in the forest.  

There is more to Buried in a Good Book that I could talk about but I really don't want to give anything away and want you to finish reading my review so that you can go grab your copy and start reading.  I know that I am being vague in a way and that is only because Berry has crafted an amazing story and her imagination is off that charts and I can't really say more without giving some things away and if I do that it will take away from the excitement of you reading it firsthand !!

I cannot stress it enough that you have to read this book !!!  I was left open mouthed and totally shocked and cannot wait to see what the second book in this series to see what crazy roads we end up on .....

Review by Missi M.

Wednesday 8 June 2022

Death by Beach Read (Lighthouse Library Mystery #9) by Eva Gates

Librarian Lucy’s new historic house comes with a lot of baggage and family secrets. Can she put them to rest or will a killer bring Lucy’s family to their downfall, in the 9th Lighthouse Library mystery.
It’s spring in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Lucy and Connor have moved into their new home at last, a historic cottage on the Nags Head Beach. The house needs a lot of renovations, but they worked hard over the winter to get it ready. Lucy is now happily immersed in her work at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, planning her wedding, and decorating the house. That is, until a dead body disrupts their peaceful new abode.   
The first night Lucy’s alone in the house, with the company of Charles the library cat, she hears sounds. Investigating they see footsteps in the dust of the unfinished living room, and the door to the outside is open. Lucy's reminded that the house is said to be haunted: forty years ago the teenage daughter of the owners fled in the night, and never again stepped foot inside her family home.
But the sounds have an all-too-human origin and one evening Lucy and Connor find the dead body of a man they don’t even recognize in their kitchen. They soon realize he has a long-time connection to their house. Lucy's forced to find out what happened all those years ago and why it’s threatening her happiness today.
Meanwhile, the Classic Novel Reading Club is reading The House of the Seven Gables by Nathanial Hawthorne, a book about another old house full of secrets. Can Lucy find parallels to her own situation in Hawthorne’s fiction before the killer strikes again?  (Summary via Goodreads)

Having read all of the books in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series by Eva Gates I can honestly say that I am a devoted fan with well invested attention and care for the characters and the town of Nags Head in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  I have seen the characters grow, celebrate life, mourn death, and come together as a town.  I truly love when I can open one of the books in this series and travel to Nags Head and spend time with some of the people that I wish were real and I could visit with in person.

Death by Beach Read is the ninth book in this series and there is a lot going on.  Main character Lucy Richardson who works at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library and lives at the top of the lighthouse in a little apartment has moved out of the apartment and in with her fiance, Connor McNeil in a beach house.  Unfortunately the house that they have moved into has sat vacant for many years and requires a lot of TLC which Connor and his father are doing together.  Not only has the house stood empty for so long but it seems that there are some old secrets surrounding the house and the family that use to live there.  

While Connor is away at a convention and Lucy is alone in the house with Charles the library cat, she hears noises and notices some things that lead her to believe someone was in the house.  Then shortly after Connor returns home and the two of them return home, they find an elderly man dead in their kitchen.  When the man is identified as one of the brothers that grew up in the house it opens up a huge can of worms and not the kind you can use for fishing.  Jimmy Harper, one of the children, from the family that owned the house left Nags Head many years ago and his brother Ralph and sister Jo haven't heard or seen him in years.  It is rumored that Jimmy thought there was a family treasure in the house and maybe he returned to claim it.  No one believes that there is a treasure of any kind in the house and Lucy and Connor have been all through the house and insist that nothing of value was left behind.  Unfortunately someone still believes there is a treasure and will stop at nothing to get their hands on it.

Lucy does one of the things she does brilliantly and looks into the history behind the family and the house as well as why Jimmy returned.  Unfortunately she doesn't realize that what happened all those years ago would have such an impact of things going on now in her house.  And she doesn't realize someone close to her is the one still looking for this treasure.  Luckily she has Charles the cat looking out for her and she figures things out before someone dies or gets seriously hurt.....her !!!

Readers will NEVER see what is coming in Death by Beach Read !!  The way that Gates maneuvers the characters and the plot of the story and makes a character from another book such an important part of this story is an art like no other.  I highly recommend reading any and all books in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series and I bet you will want to move into town and hang out with everyone you read about !!

Review by Missi M.

Sunday 5 June 2022

Old Bones and Ice Cream Cones (Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic #6) by Elizabeth Pantley

A boyfriend who’s missing. Or was. . . Or is. . . A boat full of old bones. A community ice cream social. A friend in trouble, a spiteful witch, and an angry villain. The mysteries and fun abound in Destiny Falls. Hayden, Latifa, and their family and friends are up for the excitement and adventure.

Old Bones and Ice Cream Cones follows the series format of combining two stories that blend into one. A murder mystery and the island mystery.

The Island Mystery: Hayden’s boyfriend Han is missing. But she swears she saw him zoom by in his car. She’d thought it was a surprise, and that he was home early from his secret service case. She was wrong. The surprise is that his signal isn’t pinging, and no one knows where he is. There appears to be black magic behind his disappearance. Can they learn who’s responsible and bring Han safely home?

The Murder Mystery: A pile of old bones is found in an ancient fishing boat. They could be tied to the disappearance of two young women years ago, back when many of the Destiny Falls people where in high school. Many of the citizens had bad history with the students. Do the bones belong to them, and what happened? Were they murdered? And could the murderer be living among them?

Hayden and Latifa’s many adventures in Destiny Falls will keep you guessing with each book in this fun and intriguing series.

"Intriguing and totally unput-downable!” ~ Goodreads
“You cannot get enough of this series!” ~ Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
“One of the most creative series I’ve ever read.” ~ Kara, Goodreads
“So. Darn. Clever. It’ll keep you on your toes until the final pages.” ~ Pages & Paws
“Just when I think the series cannot get any better, it does. It's absolutely magical! I could not put this book down!” ~ Goodreads.   (Summary via Goodreads)

I am never disappointed when I open one of the books in the Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series by Elizabeth Pantley.....and neither will you.

The Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series follows main character Hayden Caldwell and her adorable cat Latifa after they mysteriously fall through a magical mirror.  They were living in Seattle with her grandmother and great-grandmother and she had a nice job working with her best friend.  However, all that changed one day when she was looking through her mirror and it ended up pulling her through to Destiny Falls where she had a whole other family she didn't know she had.  Yes she knew she had an older brother and her father but thought that they had abandoned her.....but after falling through the mirror she learns that her father and brother were pulled back by the family magic.  In Destiny Falls Hayden reunites with her father and brother and is introduced to her grandparents, half-sisters, half-brother and a whole new life  !!  Unfortunately one other main factor in this series is that murder is always nearby and Hayden always gets in the middle of it.

In Old Bones and Ice Cream Cones, the sixth book in the series, Hayden and her boyfriend are on a hike when they come across a boat with old bones in it.  It is learned that the bones are over 30 years old and this sets Hayden on a research mission to solve the mystery.  Unfortunately this is not the only mystery that Hayden has to worry about.  Her boyfriend Han mysteriously vanishes and when he returns, he is bigger and sexier and has no recollection as to where he was or for how long.  They soon learn that he is being pulled to the dark island, Gladstone, and Hayden has to obtain a magic potion and she has to travel to Gladstone to give to Han to drink......easy peasy.

Readers will instantly get drawn into this series and never want to leave !!  Reading this series you will be whisked away to this magical town of Destiny Falls and as you read, the town and everything in it will open your imagination wide open !!  You will feel like you are right there along side Hayden and you will not want to leave....even if it is scary at times.  I cannot stress enough how magical these books are and how quickly you will become a fan.  Having just finished reading Old Bones and Ice Cream Cones I am already missing Destiny Falls and cannot wait until the next book so that I can visit again !!

Review by Missi M.

Friday 3 June 2022

Bear Witness (Alaska Untamed Mystery #1) by Lark O. Jensen

Alaska tour boat guide Stacie Calder faces the deep freeze in this scenic cozy series debut perfect for fans of Paige Shelton.

No nine-to-five cubicle career will suit Stacie Calder—the naturalist much prefers working in the great outdoors. Specifically, the spacious and spectacular Alaskan wilderness, whose rugged charms she shares with sightseers on the top deck of the tour boat where she works. But one May afternoon, Stacie’s passengers see more than glittering glaciers, frolicking harbor seals, climbing bears and soaring seabirds…they also witness a man lying dead in the frigid Alaskan waters. And it seems likely that someone gave him a fatal push.

Stacie didn’t know the unfortunate victim, but he sure wanted to know a lot about her. He spent most of his final afternoon bombarding her with questions quite awkward to answer. And when he wasn’t in her hair, he was arguing incessantly with the boat’s beleaguered crew. Which makes for a suspect list about as long as the passenger manifest. Furthermore, as police helicopters relentlessly circle her boat in search of any clues, Stacie is shaken to find herself on that suspect list.

Before the tour boat reaches shore Stacie—accompanied by her beautiful blue-eyed husky, Sasha—must deduce just who sent the testy tourist tumbling into the turgid waters and have the authorities take custody. Because if she can’t, then the killer might aim a fatal ice-cold stare at Stacie.  (Summary via Goodreads)

What fun !!!  Bear Witness, the first book in the Alaska Untamed Mystery series by Lark O. Jensen is a lot of fun to read.....just make sure you're dressed appropriately because you are going to be spending a lot of time on a boat in Alaska !!

In Bear Witness readers are introduced to main character Stacie Calder and her husky dog, Sasha, as they are both working on an Alaskan tour boat pointing out the wildlife they see along the journey.   Stacie really enjoys her job as head tour guide working on the Clem Tours especially because Sasha is allowed to accompany her when she goes to work.  Stacie feels that her and her co-workers are a tight "family" and she would do anything to protect them.....little does she know that after a regular tour out to see the wildlife and glaciers in Tracy Arm everyone will see how far she will go to prove that.

While on one of the tours Stacie meets Sheldon Truit who continually asks question after question regarding the tour and everything about it.  She soon learns that he is well known with the Captain of the ship, Palmer, and not in a good way.  Things go downhill rapidly when at the end of the tour that day, Truit is no where to be found.  The local police are called and their special unit, Initial Response Section, of the Alaska State Troopers, come on board to look into his disappearance.  And Stacie is drawn to Trooper Liam Amaruq immediately.  The two end up working closely on the case when the next day while out on another tour, Truit's body is found washed up on shore.

Liam begins taking the tours on a daily basis so that he can observe the crew as well as ask questions.  He enlists Stacie's help as well to get another viewpoint and maybe her co-workers will tell her something important that they wouldn't tell the police.

As Stacie and Liam look into the case, they are spending a lot of time together and it is no surprise that they develop feelings for each other.  As well as reading about the murder case, readers will enjoy reading about their budding relationship.

Jensen has developed a great beginning to the Alaska Untamed Mystery series and I cannot wait to see where the series goes from here.  I highly recommend grabbing your copy and getting onboard so that you don't miss anything !!!

Review by Missi M.