Thursday 29 June 2023

Murder at the Mine (A Ghost Town Mystery Book # 1) by Jamie L. Adams

From author Jamie L. Adams comes a modern Wild West murder in a cozy California ghost town...

Lily Cranston is eager to return to her hometown and get a do-over on life. She'll be among old friends, with loving family, and as the new manager of the Calico Rock Mine and Ghost Town, she's excited to take on the challenge of turning the old west town back into the premier tourist destination she remembers from her childhood. But Lily's happy homecoming takes an unexpected turn when one of the Calico Rock re-enactors turns up dead—murdered in the ghost town!

Bill Stevens was anything but beloved to the staff and volunteers at the Calico Rock Mine. Womanizer , liar , and cheat are all words Lily finds being used to describe the dead man. But when one of Lily's old friends suddenly emerges as the number one suspect, Lily finds herself digging into the dead man's past...and finding secrets buried deeper than the old mine itself! While her Chief of Police brother-in-law, and the handsome CSI who is a close family friend—and possibly becoming more than just a friend—both warn Lily off the case, she's determined to prove her friend innocent and unmask the real killer. Can she solve the mystery, save her friend, and stay alive? Or will the ghost town claim another victim...

"Complicated characters, a twisty mystery, and a heartfelt romance—what's not to love about this  series?"
~ Gemma Halliday, New York Times bestselling author   (Summary via Goodreads)

Murder at the Mine by Jamie L. Adams was like a walk down memory lane......except for the murders that is.  Murder at the Mine is the first book in her Ghost Town Mystery Book series and the theme and location brought me back to a time in my childhood.

In Murder at the Mine main character Lily Cranston moved back to her hometown of Grady, California after being away for five years.  She was offered the job of manager of the Calico Rock Mine and Ghost Town and wanted to be back home with her two sisters, Pat and Ava.  Unfortunately the Calico Rock Mine and Ghost Town is not making much of a profit and Lily is hired to turn it around.  If she cannot turn it around and begin making a profit, it could end up closing and everyone would lose their jobs.  Sadly to make things worse for Lily, one of the volunteers, William, who ran the Calico Rock Gazette was found murdered with a knife in his back.

Lily's brother-in-law Jack is the town Sheriff and an old friend of the family Cody is the Undersheriff so they have the investigation well underway.  But Lily cannot sit by and watch this little community crumble and everyone possibly lose their jobs so with the help of her sister Ava, they look into William's life and who would have wanted him dead.....unfortunately as they dig, the suspect list becomes long.  Then another volunteer is found murdered with a knife in his back and Lily is getting messages to back off.....

Murder at the Mine was such a treat to read and it brought up some great childhood memories.  Growing up there was an amusement park nearby that we would visit during the summer months and a part of the park has a section just like the Ghost Town in this book.  Throughout the day they put on shows with criminals and sheriff's catching the bad guys.  As a child they would hand out little badges to us so that we were deputized to save the town.  The only big difference is that I do not believe there were any real murders or even real crimes that took place in my childhood Ghost Town.  

The Ghost Town Mystery Book series is going to be a favorite of mine and it will be on my watch list so that I can hop back into a fun childhood time in my life.  There is so much to like in this series and this is only the beginning.....

Tuesday 27 June 2023

The Diva Delivers on a Promise (A Domestic Diva Mystery Book #16) by Krista Davis

In a delicious new Domestic Diva Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Krista Davis, entertaining guru Sophie Winston is coordinating a convention for ghost kitchens in Old Town, Alexandria–and trying to keep a killer from making a deadly delivery…

Sophie is busy handling the first ever convention of the Association of Ghost Kitchens—restaurants that do delivery only—but she’s taking a little time out for a lunch meeting organized by A Healthy Meal. The group is dedicated to providing meals for children in need, and as a bonus, it’ll give Sophie the perfect opportunity to ogle the lavish Old Town home of socialite Geraldine Stansfield. Gerrie’s dining room is impeccably furnished, the table laden with gleaming crystal and prized china. If it weren’t for the dead man lying on the floor, everything would be perfect...

No one knows the victim—or at least, no one claims to. But a little snooping by Sophie reveals links to many local notables. In fact, not only was he a client of Geraldine’s late husband, an attorney—every member of the Stansfield clan knew the deceased. But only one knows what he was doing in Gerrie’s house.

Gerrie’s elegant abode looks spotless, but there’s plenty of dirty linen in those family closets. Now Sophie will have to get the killer to come clean before he spoils another appetite—for good...  (Summary via Goodreads)

Family secrets !!  Family drama !!  Manipulation !!  Murder !!  The Diva Delivers on a Promise by Krista Davis has all that and more !! 

The Diva Delivers on a Promise is the sixteenth book in the Domestic Diva Mystery Book series and boy will it have you on the edge of your seat.  There is so much going on in the little neighborhood in Old Town that you will be shocked !!  But have no fear Sophie Winston is the neighborhood watch mascot and she will get things straigthened out in no time.....okay, maybe a little time but you will surely enjoy the ride.

Sophie organizes conventions as well as other entertaining and charitable events but she never thought that when she was attending a luncheon at the Stanfield estate, they would find a man stabbed to death in the dining room.  She knows that Gerrie Stanfield would never harm another person but it seems that she was the only one in the house at the time of the murder.  And when Gerrie asks for help Sophie knows that she cannot let the police arrest the elderly woman.

While Sophie and her friend and neighbor Nina begin their investigation, they cannot believe the secrets of the Stanfield family that come to light.  It seems that Gerrie's one son, Todd, isn't the upstanding citizen that is of the Stanfield quality....and the people he has starting hanging around with are very shady indeed.  

As if Sophie and Nina don't have enough to handle with helping Gerrie, it seems that someone is taking advantage of local restaurants and customers by saying they are making the food through their ghost kitchens but in reality they are ordering from the local restaurants and overcharging the customers.  With their favorite restaurant one of the ones being taken advantage of, Sophie has to step in and save The Laughing Hound's reputation. 

Readers will thoroughly enjoy The Diva Delivers on a Promise and with this the sixteenth book in the series, there is a lot to love within the entire series.  And one thing that Davis does that I totally love is she provides a list of characters in the beginning of the book so that if you need to check out a character, you can just go back and look and it won't take much time at all to get back on track if you got lost a bit.

I highly recommend this series and hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Saturday 24 June 2023

Genies and Gibberish : Magical Mystery Book Club, Novella #1 by Elizabeth Pantley

This club gets whooshed into a book. They become characters! To get out they must find the killer.

~ ~ ~

Whenever this group chooses a book, magic happens. The mystery comes to life, and they find themselves part of the story. To exit the book and get back home, they need to solve the mystery and reach The End.

This time, the club chooses a book set in a mansion atop the mountains of Arizona. They discover a strange antique oil lamp that contains a shocking surprise.

Could this enchanted lamp have something to do with their host’s fall from a door to nowhere? Or could he have been pushed out the door by one of the strange people who belong to the quirky group who live here?

This brave, crazy, motley group must work together to unravel the mystery in their latest inside-the-book journey.

This novella can be read as a standalone. It happens between books 4 and 5 in the Magical Mystery Book Club series.

This book can be found for free on Prolific Works until 6/01/2024.  (Summary via Goodreads)

The definition of a novella is a work of fiction that is shorter than a full-length novel, but longer that a short story and Genies and Gibberish by Elizabeth Pantley is considered that.  Genies and Gibberish is a standalone novella in the Magical Mystery Book Club series but suggested to be read between the fourth and fifth books.   And even though Genies and Gibberish is shorter than the other books in the series, it is packed with a great story and a lot of adventure just like the other books.....readers will not be missing anything when they read this book.

In Genies and Gibberish the book club is getting ready to venture out on their next book jump.... they are going to enter a book called The Mountaintop Book Club Murder to solve the murder in the story.  The group consists of Paige and her Aunt Glo, Frank a talking cat, Moonbeam and her teenage son Forrest, Atticus, Zell, and Mollie, a ghost they picked up after solving a previous murder in the Wild West. 

The group is quite different but they do work well together and in Genies and Gibberish they will all have to come together because this case is nothing they have come across before.  The group enters the book on a mountaintop at a mansion of a very rich man but they soon find out things are not quite right.  They become involved with another book club but when they are given a tour of the mansion, they find that it is only half there.  While they try to find out why the mansion is only have completed, the owner of the mansion, Martin, is found dead on the grounds having been pushed out of a door that leads to nowhere.

And if all that is bad enough Moonbeam finds a dirty oil lamp that she rubs to clean and not one but two genies fight each other to get out to grant Moonbeam her wishes.  Moonbeam refuses to make any wishes and things get more interesting ....if that is even possible.

I don't know how Pantley comes up with these ideas and stories but I am a true fan and love jumping into the stories along with Paiage, Aunt Glo, Frank and the rest of them.  Readers will thoroughly enjoy this series and will not want to close the book when you get to the end of the latest adventure.


Bakeries and Buffoonery (Magical Mystery Book Club Book # 4) by Elizabeth Pantley

It’s a magical book club! When this group chooses a book, magic happens. The mystery comes to life, and they find themselves part of the story. To exit the book and get back home, they need to solve the mystery and reach The End.

This time, the club chooses a book called The Great Cake Rivalry, because, well … cake! They read the back cover and it’s unanimous. So off they go into another grand adventure into a town aptly named Frosting.

Frosting is a rural town in an idyllic setting. The people live quiet lives most of the year. But in the spring, things change. The Annual Cake Competition becomes the focus of every man, woman, and child. They take this competition seriously. The cakes are spectacular. The festival is fabulous. For a week there are contests featuring all kinds of cakes. The people of the community become official tasters and vote for the winning cakes in each category.

The grand finale is a display of finely decorated cakes, made by the town’s bakeries. The winner of the best design receives a prize package that would make any baker dizzy.

Sadly, this event has been tainted. Once a year, each one different, but all somehow related to this event, a person is murdered. The main investigator is stumped, but that could be because he’s an inept buffoon.

Can the book club help the people of this community figure out who is causing this disturbing pattern of deaths, and stop another murder from happening? Can they figure out why some of the citizens dress so oddly, and why they always wear those unique backpacks? All while they fill themselves to the brim with cake, of course.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Many books should come with warnings, like scary, do not read after dark, or funny, may cause outburts of laughter.....but for this book Bakeries and Buffoonery the warning should indicate to the reader to have sugary snacks handy when you open the book up.  Once you start reading this story you are not going to want to set the book down to venture all the way into your kitchen to go through the cupboards and refrigerator looking for a worthy snack.   Quite honestly the warning should come with every book in the Magical Mystery Book Club Mystery series because the characters in this series do like to eat !!

Bakeries and Buffoonery is the fourth book in the Magical Mystery Book Club Mystery series by Elizabeth Pantley and no matter what book you read, if you've read the previous ones or started with this one, you will be an fan and want to be a member of this magical book club.

In this series main characters Paige and her Aunt Glo inherited the Snapdragon Inn from Paige's Grandmother, GeeGee.  Little did they know that the inn included a two story magical library in the basement and their cat, Frank, talks, and they organize a book club where the members meet and make lots of snacks on book club day and venture downstairs to the basement and the magical library.  When in the library they have a meeting, they separate and walk through the rows and shelves of books, where the books are binded together in groups of eight by twine.  Each member reads the back cover of the book and finds one that they would like to read and then they return to the table and everyone has their turn to read the back cover.  Once they have agreed on the book that they would like to read, the person who picked the book opens one of the books and begins reading out loud.   After a while the magical globe in the room will light up  and start spinning and the room with fill with a fog.  Once the fog settles the Inn and the members of the club will have been trasported inside the book and will be in the setting and will have to solve the case in order to return back to their normal time.

The members of the book club are always excited to enter a new book and start the adventure and in Bakeries and Buffoonery, they will be going in a book called The Great Cake Rivalry tp a town called Frosting and they will be competing in the Annual Cake Competition that lasts a week.  This all sounds tasty and fun but the reason they are there is to try to prevent a murder from happening.  Every year someone who doesn't like cakes sends threatening letters and someone dies at the end of the week's events.  There is an Inspector in the book and town so the group may try to work with him to solve the case.  

Frosting is not just a normal little town that likes cakes.....Frosting is home to numerous fairies.  Unfortunately the fairies have to hide their identities but they are still very recognizable and you can easily spot them.....but are they the ones involved in the murders or are they just trying to live their lives quietly.

Luckily for the Snapdragon Inn Book Club turned cake makers they have their very own baker in the house.  Little did the group know that motorcycle rider Vee is a baker and works in a bakery when not involved in the book club.  So under the watchful eye of Vee the team makes amazing cakes according to the categorizes assigned each day and even win one of the amatuer days....but her cakes do not come close to what the three bakeries in town make !!  

Readers will fall in love with everything in the series, you have a magical inn that has a two-story library in the basement, the inn travels with the book club when they decide on what book to jump into, they have a talking cat, and recently when they were in a book set in the Wild West, they solved the case and the deceased returned with them in the form of a ghost.  And now you are about to enter a book with ghosts, a talking cat, fairies and lots of cake ...... grab a sugary snack and get ready to have an amazing sugar high ........ 

Saturday 17 June 2023

Death Knells and Wedding Bells (Lighthouse Library Mystery Book # 10) by Eva Gates

Librarian Lucy’s wedding is nearly perfect—aside from a missing guest and the strangled body she finds. Now, she must vow to find the killer in this 10th Lighthouse Library mystery.

Lucy and Connor planned for the perfect Outer Banks wedding—and that’s exactly what they got. Aside from typical rumblings of familial tensions, the late spring weather allowed for a beautiful day, the food was delicious, and everyone had a good time, until one of the guests goes missing.

Before Lucy can look forward to the rest of her life in Nags Head and the work she does at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, she gets a phone call from her boss, Bertie James. Eddie, Bertie’s friend, never made it back home after the reception. Initially, Lucy doesn’t think anything of it—sometimes wedding guests simply have a little too much fun. But this quickly turns to something darker when she discovers the body of a wedding guest strangled in a locked closet, and the police immediately start asking questions about Eddie. Lucy must figure out if the two are connected before it’s too late—both for Bertie’s friend and the rest of her wedding guests.

With the Classic Novel Reading Club reading the Selected Works of Edgar Allen Poe—Lucy wonders if the master of the macabre can assist her investigation or if the hunt for the killer’s identity will remain as nothing more than an unsolved mystery.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Dang !!  Dang !!  Dang !!!  

If you are a fan and been reading the books in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series by Eva Gates you know what I am talking about !!  If you haven't read any yet and are looking for a great series where you fall in love with the people, the town, the community and want to move there, this is the series for you !!

In the Lighthouse Library Mystery series readers are introduced to Lucy Richardson who has moved back to Nags Head where she use to spend summers at her aunt and uncles.  Lucy gets a job as librarian at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library and she lives in the little apartment at the very top of the lighthouse.  That is until recently when she and her fiance Connor, local Mayor and dentist, have bought a house on the beach.  Sadly Lucy has a knack for getting involved in murders that occur around town, usually because someone she loves is on the suspect list.

Now in the tenth book in the series, Death Knells and Wedding Bells readers begin at Lucy and Connor's wedding !!!  Luckily nothing goes wrong during the wedding and the celebration at the Ocean Side Hotel and they are happily married surrounded by friends and loved ones.  Unfortunately the newlyweds have to return to the hotel the morning after the wedding to have brunch with the family and when Lucy excuses herself to go to the ladies room, she comes across a maid trying to get into a broom closet.  Lucy tries to help her but the door is locked and the key won't work.  This dilemma brings others to the scene and when the manager kicks the door in, there is a body in the closet.  When the body is identified as Lucy's Aunt Joyce's plus-one, Lucy's mind goes from honeymoon status to murder investigator.

Lucy has a pretty good relationship with the police force and a lot of them were at the wedding.  Unfortunately there is a new detective in town recently added to the force and he doesn't seem to like Lucy, her meddling ways or the way Detective Watson seems to listen to her regarding police matters.

Even though Lucy has other things that she should be doing as a newlywed, she can't help but look in to the murder, especially when her boss's boyfriend is at the top of the suspect list.  Lucy is always there for her family and friends and will do whatever she can for when her boss, Bertie, announces that Eddie, her boyfriend, is missing right after the reception and the police have him on their radar, she jumps into help.

Readers cannot help but become instant fans of this series, no matter what book you pick up, you become lost in the story and unable to leave Nags Head.....not that you will want to.  Gates draws readers in immediately and there is so much to love in this series.  I highly encourage getting your hands on the books in this series and allowing your brain this wonderful distraction. 

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Retribution (A Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery Book 5) by Robert McCaw

As people around him come under attack, Chief Detective Koa Kane wonders if he might be the real target

In the back alley of a bar on Hawaii Island, a young man is found stabbed to death. When Hilo Chief Detective Koa Kane begins investigating the crime, the murder weapon is recovered only a few feet away from the body. Crime scene technicians find fingerprints on the knife — they are a perfect match for Koa's younger brother, Ikaika.

As the brothers scramble to prove Ikaika's innocence, another crime sends shockwaves through the Hilo police force. A sniper tries to take out Makanui, Koa's closest colleague. As Koa tries to figure out whether these crimes are linked, the sinister force continues their killing spree, threatening Koa and his loved ones at every turn.

Could Koa be the real target? If so, who is behind this trail of retribution? With his own secret criminal past, Koa confronts an all-out offensive against those closest to him and his police force to which he has devoted his life. As the bodies pile up, Koa finds himself the ultimate target of a ruthless adversary and must risk it all to survive.

Perfect for fans of Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke

While all the novels in the Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery Series stand on their own and can be read in any order, the publication sequence

Death of a Messenger
Off the Grid
Fire and Vengeance
Treachery Times Two
Retribution    (Summary via Goodreads)

Retribution by Robert McCaw is the fifth book in his Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery series and the first that I have had the pleasure of reading.  It is stated that the books in this series can be read in order or can be read alone.....and that is definitely the case.  As soon as I started reading Retribution I was completely into the story, not lost at all, and was along for the rollercoaster of a ride.

In Retribution main character Chief Detective Kane has his hands full !!  It begins with Kane's brother Ikaika being arrested for murder and continues in a spiral from there.  Another detective and close friend is shot when she opens her front door to leave for work, luckily she was protected.  And when more attempts on people that Kane cares about occur, he sets out to uncover who is behind the acts. 

Unfortunately Kane is limited in what he can do, especially with his brother's case.  And the detective assigned to Ikaika's case already has him guilty and serving life behind bars without even investigating.  But Kane is determined and eventually will gain control of the case as well as the other cases involving friends and family but it seems the people behind the murder attempts are always one step ahead of Kane.

Readers will love whatever book of this series they pick up. As you ride around Hawaii with Detective Kane you will thoroughly enjoy the trip.....and you don't have to pack or anything.  Just grab a snack and beverage, sit back on your couch or in your gazebo and let McCaw be your tour guide.  You will be happy for the pleasant distraction.