Wednesday 21 September 2022

Seasoned with Murder (Cookies & Chance Mysteries Book 12) by Catherine Bruns

Full time baker and sometime sleuth Sally Muccio is excited to be traveling on her first cruise along with family and friends. Sal and coworker Josie have been hired to cater desserts for the mortuary event onboard that her father is headlining and are also looking forward to some fun and relaxation in the sun.

But the ship's itinerary doesn't go as planned when the body of Southern belle and galley director Sarah Leigh Walker is discovered in the freezer. To make matters worse, Sal's nemesis, the elderly and cranky Nicoletta Gavelli, is accused of the ice-cold crime after a very public and ugly argument with the victim.

Despite Nicoletta's sharp tongue, Sal knows the woman isn't guilty and would never refuse to help her. With the real killer still cruising the decks, Sal and Josie must work fast to track them down before Nicoletta's last hope sinks faster than the Titanic.

Recipes included!   (Summary via Goodreads)

Every time I open up a book in the Cookies & Chance Mystery series by Catherine Bruns I feel like I am visiting family and in the twelfth book, Seasoned with Murder, we are going on a cruise !!!  How can anything bad happen when you are in the middle of the sea on a ship where the only people you know are the family you are with.  Well..... Catherine can find a way and main character Sally Donovan and her co-worker Josie will find themselves right in the middle of all the chaos !!!

In Seasoned with Murder Sally's father has gotten the entire family tickets for an entire week on the Seas the Moment cruise ship.  Everyone in the family is going .... Sally, her husband and their infant daughter, Cookie, Sally's parents, her grandmother, Sally's sister Gianna, her husband Johnny, their infant son Alex as well as Sally's partner Josie and her husband Rob.  And because she cannot be left out Gramma Rosa's best friend and neighbor as well as Johnny's grandmother, Mrs. Gavelli and her boyfriend Ronald are going but paying their own way.  Sally's father happened to get free tickets for the family because he is there to do a presentation for his funeral business and promote the book he wrote.  The only thing he didn't tell Sally and Josie was that he worked it out so that they would be doing all the baking for the mortician exposition and the only thing he didn't tell the entire family is that they would be on the first senior citizen cruise for the company.

Unfortunately on the first morning they go to the kitchen to start working on the desserts they find Sarah Leigh, the executive director and their "boss", frozen in the walk in freezer.  And when security on the boat search Sarah Leigh's room, they find Mrs. Gavelli's shawl with pills in the hidden pocket.  Security take Mrs. Gavelli into custody immediately and rule the murder solved and case closed.  But Sally and Josie know that even though Mrs. Gavelli and Sarah Leigh had a run in, there is no way Mrs. Gavelli would have killed her and where would she have gotten the poison in the middle of the ocean ?  Luckily for them Gianna is a lawyer and she is on the case in the legal form and Sally and Josie decide to look into the murder in the way they know best.....

As Sally and Josie start looking into Sarah Leigh's life they find that there are quite a few people that disliked her and might have wanted to see her dead ... and some of them are on the ship.  Luckily for them Sarah Leigh's cousin Sherry also works on the ship so they are able to get some information from her.  And the more they dig, the deeper they get into Sarah Leigh's life and the list of suspects gets longer and longer.  And they have a limited amount of time to find the real killer because the ship has been turned around and is heading back to Florida and when it does Mrs. Gavelli will be formally arrested and taken into custody !!

Readers cannot get enough of this series !!  You cannot help but fall in love with the people, the storyline and everything else !!!  There is so much more that I could tell you to convince you but I'm sure you have enough intel and have come to the same conclusion that I NEED the Cookies & Chance Mystery series in your life and you want to be a part of this crazy family !!  I cannot say enough good things about Bruns and her writing !!  The best thing that I can tell you is to RUN, not walk, to the nearest bookstore, your computer or wherever you get your books and get ALL of the books in this series, if you haven't already and lock yourself in a room with snacks and beverages and RUN AWAY WITH SALLY & JOSIE AND CREW !!!!  It will be the best thing you've done in a while !!

Review by Missi M.

Monday 19 September 2022

Dewey Decimated (The Haunted Library Mysteries #6) by Allison Brook, Marilyn Levinson

Librarian Carrie Singleton is back on the case, alongside library ghost Evelyn, in the sixth installment of Agatha Award nominee Allison Brook’s Haunted Library mysteries.

Carrie Singleton is just off a hot string of murder cases centered around the spooky local library in Clover Ridge, Connecticut. She could really use a break—but no such luck, as she; Smokey Joe, the resident cat; and Evelyn, the library’s ghost, are drawn into another tantalizing whodunit.

First, a dead body is found in the basement of the building attached to the library, and it turns out to be Carrie’s fiancĂ©’s Uncle Alec, who Dylan hasn’t seen in years. But Alec has no intention of truly checking out, and his ghost makes itself at home in the library, greatly upsetting the patrons. Carrie and Evelyn work hard to keep Alec out of sight, but what was he doing in Clover Ridge to begin with? And why was he killed?

Meanwhile, the town council, of which Carrie is also a member, is embroiled in a hot-headed debate over the fate of the Seabrook Preserve, a lovely and valuable piece of property that runs along Long Island Sound. Turn it into an upscale park? Sell it to a condo developer? Or keep it as protected land?

As the dispute rages, there’s another murder, this time involving a council member. Could the two murders be connected? And could Carrie be next on the hit list?  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Haunted Library Mystery series by Allison Brook is a fun packed, fast moving series that you will love getting lost in....and one of the main characters is a ghost !!

Dewey Decimated is the sixth book in this series and main character Carrie Singleton has a lot on her plate....which is nothing new for her or for the devoted readers of this series. Carrie works in the library in her town, Clover Ridge, and the library is just beginnng to renovate the vacant building next door to expand the library.  Seeing as Carrie is in charge of the programs and events for the library this is a huge deal for her.  Unfortunately right before the work starts a dead body is found wrapped up in a blanket in the basement....and when it is finally identified no one is more shocked than Carrie and her fiance Dylan.  The body is identified as Dylan's uncle Alec but Dylan doesn't have any idea why his uncle was in town some years ago and how his body ended up in an old abandoned building.

Also in Dewey Decimated Carrie has agreed to be on the town council replacing a member who is moving in the near future.  The council is about to vote on plans for the Seabrook Preserve, a large property along the Long Island Sound.  There are three suggestions that the council needs to look into and vote for the best options for the land and the town.  Unfortunately this is not going to be an easy vote as no one wants the same thing.

As if things cannot get worse for Carrie the ghost of Uncle Alec shows up in the library and Evelyn, the library resident ghost, is trying to help him process everything and they are looking at Carrie to solve his death so that he can continue onto his final resting place.  

In Dewey Decimated readers will love everything they read !  There is no way to stop from falling in love with the characters, the storyline, the town and everything else involved.  And Brook is going to expose some very important secrets that are going to be game changing for a few of the characters and the readers are going to be overjoyed that this step finally happens !!!!

Review by Missi M.

Monday 12 September 2022

The Curse of the Cherry Pie (Tish Tarragon #4) by Amy Patricia Meade

A sharp and tangy culinary mystery featuring Tish Tarragon. Can Tish beat the curse of the cherry pie to win first prize at the Virginia Commonwealth Bake-Off?

When literary caterer Letitia 'Tish' Tarragon's friend and star baker at Cookin' the Books cafe, Celestine Rufus, pulls out of the prestigious Virginia Commonwealth Bake-Off, an anxious Tish reluctantly takes her place. Will her signature bake, a frangipane cherry pie, be up to the grade?

As the bake-off gets underway, Tish's worries increase when she learns that two contestants from the previous two competitions also had cherry pies on their menus . . . and both women died suddenly before making their bakes.

Amid bitter rivalries, simmering jealousy and the bakers' insatiable appetite for winning, is the curse of the cherry pie about to strike again
?  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Curse of the Cherry Pie, the fourth book in the Tish Tarragon Mystery series by Amy Patricia Meade will have you focused on nothing else while you read it.  

The Curse of the Cherry Pie starts with main character Tish Tarragon and her friends attending the funeral of Lloyd Rufus.  Lloyd was the husband of Tish's employee and friend Celestine.  Then after the funeral while they were attending the luncheon for the family at Tish's cafe, Cookin'the Books, they meet the new Sheriff who no one likes, most of Tish.

As in previous books in this series, there is a lot going on.  Tish recently moved in with her boyfriend, Schuyler, who is a lawyer but recently decided to enter politics and run for Mayor, the previous Sheriff, Clemson Reade, left Hobson Glen at Christmas without saying goodbye to Tish.  Tish has decided to enter the Virginia Commonwealth Bake-Off in Celestine's place as she is dealing with her loss and grief.  Little did anyone know how cut-throat the competition would be !!  

After Tish hands in the dishes she will be making during the competition, she finds out there is a Cherry Pie Curse !!  There were two previous contestants that were scheduled to bake cherry pies for the event and both died before they could complete the bake-off.  Once contestants hear that Tish is scheduled to make a cherry pie, they try to talk her out of it.  But she is not one to back down so she doesn't change her mind or her list of dishes.  

Unfortunately Tish suffers a baking accident and receives threatening notes from a mystery person obviously trying to get her to quit.  And the new sheriff is not one to confide in or expect help from so it's just Tish, her two best friends, Mary Jo and Julian, as well as a deputy who is assigned to be on hand at the convention center.  Schuyler is too busy with work at the law firm as well as his campaign for Mayor.  Also Schuyler is one of the people trying to convince Tish to quit the bake-off as well as change other things about stop looking into the previous murders as well as the threats on her life, work less at the cafe, and stand next to him while he is campaigning.

Readers will be instantly sucked into this book and not want to stop reading.  You are going to neglect chores, people, sleep and whatever else whiile you hang out with Tish and crew.  The Curse of the Cherry Pie is a crazy rollercoaster ride with stomach dropping moments as well as twists and turns that you will not see coming .... but it will all be good when you get to the end and see where Meade ends the story leaving the reader wanting to dive into the next book, From Ladle to Grave as soon as you can !!!

Review by Missi M.

Thursday 8 September 2022

Stilettos On The Run: A Lily List Mystery Exclusive by C.L. Bauer

"Wiley and seductive, I've never claimed to be either...I'm just me."

Ladies, your love life isn't over when you become a certain age. Just look at Gretchen Malloy. Even though she's played the field all her life, she might be ready to give her heart to just one man. At any age, taking a chance on love can be dangerous, especially when the man you are falling for is involved in a mystery and holds his own secrets.

Gretchen is a talented event planner who is bold, beautiful, and not at all bashful. There's absolutely nothing ordinary about her, plus she has everything she needs except for the one man who tells her no. The younger man who intrigues her has his own skeletons, and he's not sharing any details.

No man can keep the talented event planner under control, but there's one who is willing to try. Detective Daniel Williams has never worn his heart on his sleeve, but there's something about Gretchen. The over-the-top woman he arrested only a few months ago takes no prisoners and is ready to handcuff him to her bed! Will he let her in, reveal his secrets, or lose her to the great love of her life?  (Summary via Amazon)

C.L. Bauer says it all when main character Gretchen Malloy says "Love is always worth a little murder."  in Stilettos On The Run.....

Stilettos On The Run is the second book in the Lily List Mystery Exclusive series.  These books focus on event planner Gretchen Malloy and her exciting life.  Gretchen is best friends with Lily List who is a florist and the Lily List Mystery series focuses on Lily and her life with her husband Agent Devlin Pierce....but there are times that the characters overlap in the books.  You don't necessarily need to read the books in order or even read the other books....but I highly recommend it !!

In Stilettos On The Run Gretchen is getting ready for a huge event as well as falling in love with Detective Daniel Williams.  (If you didn't read the first book Stilettos Can Be Murder Detective Williams had Gretchen as the top suspect in a murder investigation....she was innocent and the two had chemistry....)   Gretchen is not familiar or comfortable with her feelings for the detective, she is the "love them, then leave them" kind of girl but with the detective, she is all in.  Unfortunately the detective is old-fashioned and taking their relationship slow whiich is confusing and frustrating to Gretchen.

Luckily for Gretchen she has the event to concentrate on but when a teen is found dead behind the building where the event is taking place, she has bigger things to deal with and this brings the detective in as well.  Unfortunately before they can figure things out, another teen is found dead and both are considered drug related deaths.  Detective Williams knew both boys and knows that they were clean and getting their lives on track.

Lily's husband Agent Devlin is called in to assist Detective Williams on the case.  They are getting things together for when Gretchen has her big event.  Unfortunately they are keeping her out of the loop for her own protection which is very frustrating to Gretchen because she knows that the detective is keeping a secret.....BOY when she finds out what he is keeping, she will trip over her stilettos !!!

If you love a murder mystery....this is the book for you !!!

If you love romance and love....this is the book for you !!!

If you love a strong independent woman who goes after what she wants....this is the book for you !!!

If you love ALL of the above......Stillettos On The Run is the book for you !!!!

You will not be sorry when you pick up this book and start reading.  Yes you will get frustrated at times and want to smack Detective Williams...and even Gretchen at times.....but you will LOVE this book !!!!

And I will WARN you.....when you read the last two pages, you will be frustrated with author C.L. Bauer because of the way she ends the book.....leaving you wanting the next book immediately !!!  But good things are worth the wait......

Review by Missi M.

Monday 5 September 2022

Murder is a Piece of Cake (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper #8) by Elaine Viets

Before mystery shopper Josie Marcus can say “I do” she must solve a matrimonial murder to keep her in-law from becoming an inmate...

As a bride-to-be, Josie’s latest assignment is a gift—mystery shopping flower and cake vendors for a popular St. Louis wedding website. She even meets another bride, Molly Deaver, at the local florist. Turns out, Josie and Molly have a lot in common, including the groom! Molly has been stalking Dr. Ted for months, but after his high-maintenance mother, Lenore, confronts the faux fiancĂ©e, everyone believes Molly is history. Instead, she’s murdered and Ted’s pistol-packing mama is cuffed for the crime.

While it’s tempting to leave her future mother-in-law behind bars, Josie knows she and Ted can’t get married until Lenore is freed. It’s up to Josie and her amateur sleuthing skills to unwrap this case, clear Lenore’s name, and unveil the real killer…or her wedding bells could soon become death knells.   (Summary via Goodreads)

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Mystery series by Elaine Viet and I probably say this every time but the eighth book in the series, Murder is a Piece of Cake is my favorite !!

When you read books in a series you become familiar with the town and fall in love with the characters....and you cannot help falling in love with Josie, her daughter Amelia, her mother Jane, her best friend Alyce and even the pesty neighbor next door, Mrs. Mueller and now Josie's fiance, soon to be husband by the end of Murder is a Piece of Cake, Dr. Ted.

In Murder is a Piece of Cake Josie and Ted are planning their wedding and doing a pretty good job of it and staying within their allowed budget .... that is until Ted's mother comes to town and wants to change everything !!  Unfortunately Ted's mother, Lenore, is going to have more pressing problems when she is arrested for murder !!

Ted is a veterinarian and runs a clinic with a partner and he is getting ready to film his first Dr. Ted's Pet Vet Tips for local Channel Seven and Josie and Lenore are both there to support him.  Unfortunately they are hit with a huge surprise when Molly walks in wearing a wedding dress insisting that Ted is her fiance and she is there to pick him up for their wedding !!  Turns out Molly has a dog that is Ted's client and she fixated on Ted to the point she was stalking him and believes that he is her fiance and they are to be wed.  Before things can really be resolved Josie and Ted find Molly shot to death in her car outside his clinic....and the gun used is the same one belonging to Lenore and Channel Seven filmed her talking about it.

Josie knows that if she wants to marry Ted on their planned and mostly paid for day she has to find Molly's real killer and prove Lenore's innocence...without getting herself killed in the process.

Readers will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series and when you get to this eighth book, I'm sure it will be your favorite also !!  How can you not fall in love with everything Viets writes !!!  I will also admit that I got emotional at the end of Murder is a Piece of Cake when Josie and Ted have their magical wedding day !!  I cannot wait to see where Viets takes us next with Fixing to Die......

Review by Missi M.

Saturday 3 September 2022

Winter Witness (Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery #1) by Tina deBellegarde

When a beloved nun is murdered in a sleepy Catskill Mountain town, a grieving young widow finds herself at the center of the turmoil. Bianca St. Denis is searching for a job and seeking acceptance in her new home of Batavia-on-Hudson. Agatha Miller, the nun’s closest friend and the ailing local historian everyone loves to hate, shares her painful personal history and long-buried village secrets with Bianca. Armed with this knowledge, Bianca unravels the mysteries surrounding the death while dealing with the suspicions of her eccentric neighbors.

However, Bianca’s meddling complicates the sheriff’s investigation as well as his marriage. Can Sheriff Mike Riley escape his painful past in a town where murder and infighting over a new casino vie for his attention?

Danger stalks Bianca as she gets closer to the truth. Can the sheriff solve the mystery before the killer strikes again? Can the town heal its wounds once the truth has been uncovered?  (Summary via Goodreads)

A little town with a lot of secrets....that is what Winter Witness is in one sentence.  Winter Witness is the first book in the Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery series by Tine deBellegarde and readers will be drawn in immediately.

in Winter Witness readers are introduced to the residents in the little town of Batavia-on-Hudson and the first thing you will experience is a murder.... the FIRST sentence actually.  Sheriff Mike Riley left New York City to work in this small town thinking it would be a slower, quieter pace for him.  Unfortunately he is looking at a murder and the murdered victim is beloved Sister Elaine Fisher.  

Also new to this little town is Bianca St. Denis.  Her and her husband Richard moved to town three years ago but they are still not considered locals.  Unfortunately Bianca is dealing with Richard's death which happened not that long ago and now it seems she would mourn Sister Elaine.  Even though Bianca is still new to the town and dealing with life without Richard, she is making herself do things and one of the things that she likes to do is visit with Agatha Miller.  Agatha is an elderly woman with terminal cancer who recently fell and broke her hip and is confined to her bed to recover.  Bianca and Agatha have developed a kind of friendship and knowing Bianca is trying to become a writer Agatha decides to tell her her story and let her write it.  But before they can get into the heart of her story, Agatha dies.  It is ruled that she dies from hypothermia when she is found dead with the window open.  Bianca knows that there is no way Agatha would have been able to open the window and if the window was open and she got cold, she would have called someone to come close it.

While Sheriff Mike works on interviewing everyone in town to find answers to Sister Elaine's death, Bianca cannot let Agatha's death go knowing what she knows......

For Batavia being a small town, it seems the residents are clueless to how many secrets there are.  And when Bianca begins to unravel some of the secrets, she doesn't realize that she is putting herself in danger !!  

Readers will be drawn to this story and when you get to a certain spot in the story, you will not want to stop reading until you know the truth !!  deBellegarde spins a crafty web and you will be powerless to escape getting stuck in the middle.....

Review by Missi M.