Friday 31 March 2023

With Option to Kill (Cindy York Mysteries #5) by Catherine Bruns

You can choose your friends, but you sure can’t choose your relatives.

It’s been a busy year for real estate agent Cindy York. She’s excited to be making a killing at selling houses and is in the middle of planning a surprise 50th birthday party for her husband, Greg. If this wasn’t enough to deal with, Greg’s younger sister Annette, who's been estranged from the family for 20 years, makes an unexpected visit to celebrate the event. Annette asks Cindy for help finding a house to rent. She claims to want to know her loved ones again, but Cindy suspects the woman is hiding something.

When Annette’s troubled past catches up with her in a hurry and leaves an innocent bystander dead, Cindy must step in and find a killer. But if Cindy can't close this deal quickly, someone she loves will pay the ultimate price.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Catherine Bruns makes it so easy to talk about her books, whether it is the Cookies & Chance Mystery series, her Italian Chef Mystery series, one of her contributions to the Aloha Lagoon Mystery series or her Cindy York Mystery series, you are never without words !!  

With Options to Kill, the fifth book in her Cindy York Mystery series, readers will again be on the edge of their seats !!  

In With Options to Kill main character Cindy York is working on a surprise 50th birthday party for her husband Greg and she is enjoying the planning as her oldest daughter Darcy is helping her.  Soon all the talk in the household will be about Darcy's wedding the following year so this time spent with her is a huge deal for Cindy.  Unfortunately Greg's sister Annette shows up out of the blue and weasels her way into Greg's heart again.  Annette left town twenty years ago with Darcy's best friend's husband never to be heard from again....until now.  Cindy doesn't trust Annette or anything she says but she agrees to help her find an apartment.  And she does from a nice elderly gentlemen looking to rent his downstairs apartment.  Unfortunately on the first night that Annette is there, someone shoots through the window killing him.  So Greg insists that Annette stay with them until she finds another place to live.

It doesn't take Cindy long to find out that everything that Annette has been telling them is a lie and with the help of her best friend and boss, Jacques, they look into Annette's past and try to find out the truth.  But when someone close to Cindy is attacked and Annette does nothing to help, Cindy is determined to solve the case....and bring the truth out !!

It is no lie that I love Catherine Bruns and her Cookies & Chance series is my ultimate favorite but any book that she writes is going to be a great story !!  And With Options to Kill is no different !!!  And the way that Bruns spins the web of her stories will drive readers into a crazed state of a good way obviously !!!   You will feel like you are a part of the story and the characters will become real to you and you will LOVE every moment that you are inside the book.  

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Star Tangled Murder (Bad Hair Day Mystery #18) by Nancy J. Cohen

Hairstylist Marla Vail and her husband get tangled up in murder when their Fourth of July visit to a living history village ends with a bang—and a body.

Salon owner Marla Vail and her detective husband Dalton are having a blast visiting a Florida living history village over Fourth of July weekend. But when a Seminole battle reenactment turns up a real dead body, it sets off fireworks among the villagers. One of the cast members has gone off script to murder the town marshal with a tomahawk.

As Dalton gets involved in the investigation, Marla determines to help him solve the case. Her flare for uncovering secrets reveals that everyone in the village is a suspect. Instead of celebrating the holiday with red, white, and barbecues, she discovers secrets, lies, and false avenues. Did the marshal’s murder have anything to do with a lost Confederate payroll, or did his plans to renovate the park light a fuse that he couldn’t snuff out?

In a place where history comes alive, the dead bodies are piling up. Marla would rather be chilling and grilling, but somebody’s mind is on killing. If she’s not careful, her sleuthing might blow up in her face like a faulty firecracker and she’ll become the next victim. Recipes Included!

“Another delightful installment ... Star Tangled Murder finds Marla facing more changes in her life as she investigates a murder that connects to history while she balances motherhood, the salon, and sleuthing.” Readers' Favorite.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Star Tangled Murder is the EIGHTEENTH book in the Bad Hair Day Mystery series by Nancy J. Cohen.......EIGHTEENTH !!!  I haven't had the pleasure of reading all of the books in this series, I have kind of bounced from reading the second book in the series to going straight to the fifteenth and reading from there.  I know that there was a lot that was missed by not reading all of the books in this series but I can tell you that you can catch up pretty quickly.  If you have read all of these amazing books, that is awesome and I am a bit envious.

In Star Tangled Murder there is a lot going on !!  Marla who owns a hair salon and day spa is looking to cut back her hours so that she has more time to devote to her family.  Marla's husband Dalton is a homicide detective and just a few months shy of retiring.  And Dalton's daughter, Brianna, is getting ready to leave the nest and go to college in Boston.

Unfortunately while Marla and Dalton are on an outing to Pioneer Village to see an enactment of a battle that started the Second Seminole War, someone is murdered and it becomes Dalton's case.  And there is a great group of volunteers on the suspect list but will anyone come out of character to be of any help to Dalton ?  Marla decides to help Dalton in this case so that she can be sure his retirement goes smoothly....but who is kidding who ?  Marla always gets in the middle of the investigations with or without Dalton's approval.  And Dalton is going to need it with this case...especially when someone else from Pioneer Village ends up murdered.

Readers cannot help but love this series and I would say with EIGHTEEN books in the series, there are a lot of fans !!  And now with Dalton retiring and changing to a less stressful job and Marla cutting back hours at the salon, things have to be much quieter for them.....but knowing Cohen I can only imagine what will happen next....and I am sure readers are going to love it !!!

Sunday 26 March 2023

Ice Blonde (Angela Richman, Death Investigator #3) by Elaine Viets

The last thing Chouteau County death investigator Angela Richman wants to do during the holidays is her job. So it’s with some trepidation that she agrees to help the desperate Mr. and Mrs. LaRouche when they show up on her doorstep.

Their daughter Juliet is missing. She was last seen leaving a high school party just before midnight, and they’d like Angela’s help getting their trusted local detectives involved. The officer assigned to the case—Chouteau newcomer Det. Jace Budewitz—is far too blunt and impolite for their liking. And with the weather murderously cold, they can’t bear the thought that their little princess is in the harsh winter wilderness.

Discreetly investigating Juliet’s disappearance, Angela finds herself struggling to break through the silence from the rich teenagers who knew Juliet and their infuriatingly detached parents. She also discovers that their vicious bias against the local working class has cast a shadow over the case.

The more she digs, the less Angela can comprehend the lengths the one percent will go to protect their own. Angela must work quickly as she searches for answers with the acute awareness that Juliet LaRouche edges closer to becoming just a memory…  (Summary via Goodreads)

Ice Blonde is the third book in the Angela Richman, Death Investigator Mystery series by Elaine Viets.  Even though because of its size it is considered a novella, this story is full of entertainment.  Ice Blonde is 154 pages long and the story that Viets tells will have you thinking it is a full length book.

In Ice Blonde main character Angela Richman is approached by one of the wealthy families in her neighborhood called the Forest.  The LaRouche's sixteen year old daughter did not return home after attending a party held by a prominent family.  Juliet was not dressed for the weather and her parents were worried.  This situation is not in Angela's wheelhouse as she is contacted when there is a dead body and currently that was not the case with Juliet.

A very large search party was quickly organized and while everyone was out looking for Juliet in the freezing cold temperatures, Angela was talking to Juliet's friends to see if she could find Juliet alive.  Juliet's one friend, Daisy, believes that Juliet is just at one of her hiding places and doesn't take Angela seriously....that is until they have visited all of Juliet's hiding places and come up empty.

Unfortunately Juliet is found dead in a shallow creek and it will take at least two days for her body to thaw so that Angela's friend, Katie, can perform the autopsy.  Once the autopsy is completed the cause of death will be a shock to everyone !!

As I stated earlier even though Ice Blonde is considered a novella, the story is jammed packed with an exciting story.  Readers will be on the edge of their seats while they read this latest book.   

Tuesday 21 March 2023

A Midsummer Night's Scheme (Bookbinding Mystery #2) by Harper Kincaid

All the world's a stage, but it may be curtains for bookbinder Quinn Caine’s brother if she can't bring the lights down on an actor's killer, in this mystery perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Kate Carlisle.

Just when everything is returning to the calm that Quinn Caine and her sidekicks, Ruff Barker Ginsburg and Sister Daria, are used to in their beloved town of Vienna, a Broadway star crash-lands into their peace and quiet. Former ‘player’, Chad Frivole, is Vienna’s prodigal son—the once notorious lothario has returned a Broadway star, ready to make a different kind of mark on his hometown.

Not everyone is celebrating the Tony-award-winner’s return. Chad’s a triple threat—with a cast of characters lining up to seek their revenge on him. So, when he turns up dead in his car, trapped with a sack full of snakes, Quinn can’t say she’s surprised—but promises handsome detective Aiden Harrington that she’s staying out of this local mystery.

That is, until someone starts threatening her brother’s life. It’s true, Sebastian ‘Bash’ Caine used to be a womanizer, just like Chad. And the killer doesn’t seem to care that he’s not that man anymore. Bash Caine is in the killer’s sights, and unless Quinn and her crew can find the killer in time, whoever it is will drag her brother into his final act on this mortal coil.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I fell in LOVE with To Kill a Mocking Girl, the first book in the Bookbinding Mystery series by Harper Kincaid !!  Not only was it a great cozy mystery but it had a love story that was off the charts electric !!!  That was until now with the second book in this series out !!!  The second book A Midsummer Night's Scheme again has a great mystery with a very unique and scary cause of death but the love angle in this book blows it out of the water !!

In To Kill a Mocking Girl main character Quinn Caine and Detective Aiden Harrington are doing the dance while solving a murder....and yeah it's not uncommon for a main character to fall for the detective while dealing with the murder that the main character is in the middle of.....however, Kincaid makes the reader FEEL the relationship !!   And in A Midsummer Night's Scheme the love story is a little more complex because it involves Quinn's cousin who is in the middle of becoming a nun !!  But when a certain gentlemen whose sister is the main suspect in the murder of Chad, a local who became a Broadway actor but has come home to start a theater company in his hometown shows interested in Sister Daria, things get complicated.

Sister Daris, previously known as Elizabeth, had her heart broken years ago and was completely lost until she decided to become a nun.  Now she is a few years into her work at becoming a nun and Lucas has her feeling things that she never thought she would feel again.  And Sister Daria is trying to stay as far away from him as she can but no matter what she does, there he is.  And when Quinn's brother is threatened Quinn, Sister Daria and Lucas work together to find out who the killer is.

One other unique aspect of this story is that Chad is murdered when someone put a bunch of posionous snakes in his car and jimmied the doors so they would not open.  And Quinn's brother Bash and his fiance Rachel return home to find deadly spiders and a threatening note..... you have to give it to Kincaid for coming up with crazy and strange murder techniques.  I can only imagine what will unravel in the next book in this series....because there is no way that you will not be looking forward to it because Kincaid leaves readers hanging with Sister Daria and Lucas and if they will take it to the next level or Lucas will be sent packing.  

The Bookbinding Mystery series is a great series to get lost in.  There is so much that readers will love !!  And Kincaid knows how to keep the story fresh and interesting on so many levels !!!


Friday 17 March 2023

The Haunted Lost Rose (Charlotte's Voices of Mystery Book 1) by C.L. Bauer

Some secrets should stay hidden. If they come to light, darkness could weaken even the strongest of families.

Real estate agent Charlotte O'Donohue never looks forward to Mondays. Usually, a couple cups of coffee will fix her mood, but today an unexpected voice directs her to a dead body. She's going to need a bigger cup, and it better be caffeinated!

When the dead body happens to be your client, the scandal could jeopardize her brother's business, but Charlotte is more worried about a mysterious stranger who decides she's the number one suspect. He seems familiar and dangerous. He knows she has a secret, and Charlotte will do anything to keep the truth from him. How could he possibly understand that she can hear the dead?

Ghostly whispers from a spirit who haunts the large Kansas City mansion warns of more danger to come for Charlotte, her family, and for the stranger. But as Charlotte discovers a key to one mystery, another one that could reveal more than a murderer but a long-forbidden love.

The haunted and the living seem to be conspiring against the spunky real estate agent, throwing her into a love of her own that shakes her to the core.

When long hidden secrets expose lost loves, two intertwined families are placed in jeopardy in Charlotte's Voices of Mystery.

The first in a series blending romance, suspense, a little haunting, strangers to friends, and enemies to...we'll have to see.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I could not put The Haunted Lost Rose by C.L. Bauer down !!  I easily could have read it in one day but wanted to make it last a little so I read it in two days.  The Haunted Lost Rose has so much....romance, family, suspense, murder, ghosts, and mystery.

In The Haunted Lost Rose the story mainly follows two characters, Charlotte and Max.  Max was a friend of the family and best friends with Charlotte's brother Tom when they were kids.  Charlotte had a kid crush on Max when they were kids and when he comes back to town years later, the crush develops deeper.

Charlotte works for Tom selling real estate and they get the old Taylor Club property to sell.  They have a customer interested, the Martin's, but when Charlotte finds Mr. Martin dead in the house while doing one final walk through and she is at the top of the suspect list , things aren't looking good for her.  And to make matters worse, Max shows up in town as a grown up and his job is a federal attorney and he sets sights on Charlotte .... in a bad way.  It doesn't look like her father who is a retired Judge or either of her law enforcement brothers can help.

Unfortunately Charlotte is drawn to the Taylor Club by a ghost.  She can hear and talk to some ghosts like her mother and brother as well as someone named Rose.  She can only hear Rose when she is inside the Taylor Club and  what she gets are kind of like clues which draw her in deeper.  Then she meets Gio who is connected to Rose and they try to help each other.

These are just a few of the things going on in this story.  I could keep going and tell you some of the other situations and stories but if I did that it is just taking you away from digging into the book sooner.  I can guarentee that you will thoroughly enjoy this book and when you get to the end, you will be glad that Bauer has provided you with a hint of where the second book will be heading.  Bauer has ended The Haunted Lost Rose in a way to ensure that readers will be looking forward to the next book.  


Wednesday 15 March 2023

Well-Offed in Vermont (Pret’ Near Perfect Mystery #1) by Amy Patricia Meade

Turning over a new leaf in bucolic Vermont, Stella and Nick Buckley soon discover that country life comes with its own special kind of pleasures—and perils . . .

Leaving New York City behind for the rustic farmhouse they bought in rural Vermont, Stella and Nick Buckley discover that small-town life isn’t nearly as quiet and peaceful as they might have hoped. No sooner do the two arrive at their new home than they find a dead body in a well on their property, and they’re quickly exiled to a primitive campsite when the sheriff seals off the crime scene.

As if no electricity, no running water, and leaf-peeping tourists weren’t bad enough, the duo must also contend with an endless variety of quirky and eccentric locals. Quickly realizing that the only way they’ll get back into their farmhouse is to solve the murder themselves, the two dig deep into the life of the victim, who’d racked up more than a few enemies. And while they may never be able to shed their city-folk reputation, Stella and Nick just might nab a cunning killer before he can strike again . . . (Summary via Goodreads)

In Well-Offed in Vermont by Amy Patricia Meade Stella and Nick Buckley are moving from New York City to Vermont.  Nick has finally landed his dream job working for the Forestry Service in the field and not behind a desk.  Unfortunately before they can unpack the moving van and settle into their new farmhouse, they find that the water is red which results in them discovering a dead body in their well.  This means that their new home is now a crime scene and they are homeless.  Luckily one of the locals, Alma, shows up to offer a welcome basket and offers them her brother's hunting camp.  

They learn that the deceased man in their well is Allen Weston, the owner of Weston Wells and Pumps and he was shot by a hunting rifle.  If was first thought to be an accident but Sheriff Charlie Mills determines it as murder seeing as he was shot three times. 

Even though Stella and Nick are new to the area and do not know anyone, they decide that if that want to move into their new home, they must solve Weston's murder.  Unfortunately everyone they meet seems to have a reason to want Weston dead.  And when someone else is murdered in the exact same manner, they begin to wonder if they should turn the moving van around and head back to New York City where it is safer.

 Well-Offed in Vermont is the first book in the Pret'Near Perfect Mystery series and readers will enjoy getting to know Windsor County in Vermont and its residents and the businesses.  Meade sets readers up in this book allowing you to get acquainted with everything and makes you eager to see what will happen next once Stella and Nick have settled in and can start to enjoy their new lives....even though you can be certain that there will be more bumps in their future.....and I'm not just talking about their dirt driveway......

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Standing Dead (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #8) by Margaret Mizushima

Deputy Mattie Cobb and her sister, Julia, travel to Mexico to visit their mother, but when they arrive, they discover that she and her husband have vanished without a trace. Back in Timber Creek, Mattie finds a chilling note on her front door telling her to look for “him” among the standing dead up in the high country.

The sheriff’s department springs into action and sends a team to the mountains, where Mattie’s K-9 partner, Robo, makes a grisly discovery—a body tied to a dead pine tree. Mattie is shocked when she realizes she knows the dead man. And then another note arrives, warning that Mattie’s mother is in desperate straits. In a last-ditch gambit, Mattie must go deep undercover into a killer’s lair to save her mother—or die trying.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Sometimes there is a book you are reading and you are enjoying it so much you want to read it slowly so you can savor every word.  Then there are books that are so exciting that you want to read it fast so that you can see how it ends.  Standing Dead by Margaret Mizushima is both of those situations.  By now you are invested in this series as this is the eighth book in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series so you are very familiar with the characters and their lives.  But if you haven't read the previous books and are just stumbling onto this book, don't worry.  You will catch on pretty quickly and be a loyal fan.

In Standing Dead Mattie and her K-9 partner Robo are involved in a case and it is PERSONAL !!  Mattie has had a tramatic childhood where her father was shot dead in front of Mattie, her mother and her older brother when she was two years old.  Then her mother, brother and herself were held captive for years.  Luckily they eventually were able to get away from their captives and Mattie and her brother were placed in foster care in order to keep them safe.  Mattie's brother died but she found out she has a sister, Julia and they found out where their mother was living, in Mexico.  Unfortunately when they went to see their mother she had packed up with her husband and left without telling anyone where they were heading.

Both Mattie and Julia return home, Julia to California and Mattie to Colorado but as soon as Mattie gets home she receives a note indicating there is a dead body in one of the local campgrounds and the note is signed "A friend of your father's".  The dead body ends up being her mother's husband.  This starts the team on a dark, narrow, and winding trail and Mattie is determined to do whatever it takes to save her family !!!

Standing Dead will have readers on the edge of their seats and you may even fall off at times !!  You will be thoroughly invested in this story and as much as you want to get to the ending to see what happens, you will also want to slow your reading so that you can be sure not to miss anything !!!  Mizushima knows how to tell a story and this is one that I can see being a Lifetime movie on television.

Tuesday 7 March 2023

A Wedding Gone to the Dogs (Samantha Davies Mysteries #3) by S.A. Kazlo

Life for children's book author Samantha Davies seems to finally be going smoothly. She has a new boyfriend, the love of her faithful dachshund and star of her books, Porkchop, and wedding bells are even ringing for Sam's Southern Belle cousin, Candie Parker. After eleven engagements Candie has finally found Mr. Right in Mark Hogan, who is currently running for reelection as the Mayor of Wings Falls in small-town Upstate New York.

But when Candie hires Ex-FiancĂ© #1, Tommy, to repair her century-old purple Victorian home, disaster strikes. Instead of the perfect place for Candie and Mark to start their life as husband and wife, Candie finds Tommy dead—murdered with his own nail gun! Things only get worse when a few old racy pictures of Candie from when she and the victim were engaged surface, providing the police with the perfect motive for Candie to kill her ex.

With the police on the wrong trail, Sam isn't about to sit on the sidelines in this murder investigation—much to the dismay of Sam's boyfriend, Detective Hank Johnson. But it's up to Sam to make sure her cousin doesn't spend her honeymoon in the Wings Falls' poky. Will Sam find out who the murderer is so Porkchop can walk down the aisle as Candie's ringbearer? Or will the killer be saying "I do" to another victim... this time closer to home?  (Summary via Goodreads)


Candie is Samantha's cousin and best friend in the Samantha Davies Mystery series by S.A. Kazlo and she has been engaged more times than you can count on your fingers and toes but she never made it down the aisle.  This time is different though and she is finally a few weeks away from her wedding to the mayor of Wings Falls where Candie and Sam live.  Nothing is going to stop them from getting married and living happily ever after in Candie's beautiful Victorian home.....except maybe a murder on Candie's balcony and Candie is the top suspect !!!

A Wedding Gone to the Dogs is the third book in this series and the focus is on Candie and Mark's wedding day.  Unfortunately Candie hired an ex-boyfriend Tommy Ray who does construction to do some work around her house so that everything was ready when Mark moved in after the honeymoon.  Unfortunately while Sam and Candie were at church and Sweetie Pie's Cafe for their routine after church breakfast, someone murdered Tommy Ray on the balcony of Candie's home.  And the nosy neighbor next door insists that she say Tommy Ray and Candie with her hard to miss Southern accent fighting on the balcony.

Candie has a few things on her side....her cousin and best friend Sam who is always willing to prove someone's innocence and solve a murder, Sam's boyfriend is Detective Hank Johnson and he knows that Candie is innocent, and Candie's boyfriend is the mayor so that has to count for something.  Unfortunately one big thing that Candie has against her is that Sergeant Joe "Sandy" Johnson has it out for Sam and anyone she knows and loves.  This all stems from when they were in kindergarten and Sam caught Joe peeing in the sandbox and tattled on him. He has never gotten over it and Sam doesn't help the issue because anytime that she can call him Sandy, she does.

Luckily for Candie that Sam is on the case and the two of them discover some discrepancies in the neighbors account of what and who she saw.  They are also able to find some other people that wanted Tommy Ray out of the picture and some of them are new arrivals to Wings Falls.

Readers cannot help but fall in love with this series.  There is so much to love...from the characters, their jobs, the businesses, the friendships and other relationships, the quaint little town of Wings Falls....even the murders will attract you.  Oh and we cannot forget to mention Porkchop, Sam's dog and Dixie, Candie's cat as they steal the show occasionally and you will fall head over heels in love with them.  So run, dont walk, don't jog and grab your copy immediately and get to reading !!

Thursday 2 March 2023

Crafting for Murder: A Gasper's Cove Cozy Mystery by Barbara Emodi

Beware! A crafty killer lurks in Gasper's Cove

Seamstress, crafter, and empty-nester Valerie Rankin has plans to open a crafter's co-op that will put Gasper's Cove, Nova Scotia on the map. One month before opening day, she still has to pin down a venue, patch up the family business, iron out corruption in the town council, and unravel why anyone who tries to help her ends up dead. With the help of her Golden Retriever, an ex-con who loves cats, and a community of first, second, and third cousins, she just might pull it off.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Crafting for Murder is the first book in the Gasper's Cove Cozy Mystery series by Barbara Emodi and readers will want to move to Gasper's Cove immediately....and if you have a knack for making something crafty, you will be totally in your element.

In Crafting for Murder Valerie Rankin has moved back to Casper's Cove and is staying in her aunt's house while her aunt is in Florida deciding if she wants to live there.  Valerie hasn't just moved back home to be somewhere famiiar and be around family and friends, she has a big plan !!  She wants to renovate the second floor of the family's General Store and open a crafting co-op.  And she has made the first step after planning it, she goes and does a radio interview and lays out her plan and ideas.  Unfortunately before the interview is aired Gerry the radio's "Voice of the Waves" announcer and interviewer is found dead at the bottom of the stairs at the station.  And if that isn't bad enough for Valerie a building inspector comes into the store and inspects the second floor and fails it for further renovations until they put new stronger beams in.

So seeing as Valerie has time on her hands she decides to look into Gerry's murder as well as try to get the store deemed an historical site so that the co-op could happen.  Unfortunately she has to go up against a committee of councilors who were untrustworthy crooks and liars.  But with the help of Gerry's assistant from the radio station, Noah and her new engineer friend, Stuart, she may get everything she hopes for and then some......until another murder rocks their quiet and safe town.

Valerie doesn't know what she is getting into when she moves back to her hometown....a town that doesn't lock their cars or front doors, where everyone knows everyone and everyone gets along....but she soons learns with Gerry's death and someone stealing a big, heavy sewing machine from her car when it was in her own driveway, that it is not the same town that she left years ago.  But she is one determined person and she will open the co-op....

Readers will fall in love with Gasper's Cove, the people and the businesses and will want to contribute to the co-op once it opens.  And you will be right there along side Valerie as she looks into the murder and bringing justice to the town she loves !!!  And this series will be one on your watch list so that you can get back to Gasper's Cove as soon as the next book is out !!!!