Saturday 26 August 2023

Murder at the Elms (Gilded Newport Mysteries Book # 11) by Alyssa Maxwell

As the nineteenth century comes to a close, the illustrious Vanderbilt family dominates Newport, Rhode Island, high society. But when murder arrives, reporter Emma Cross learns that sometimes the actions of the cream of society can curdle one’s blood in the latest installment of this bestselling cozy historical mystery series . . .


1901: Back from their honeymoon in Italy, Emma and Derrick are adapting to married life as they return to their duties at their jointly owned newspaper, the Newport Messenger. The Elms, coal baron Edward Berwind’s newly completed Bellevue Avenue estate, is newsworthy for two reasons: A modern mansion for the new century, it is one of the first homes in America to be wired for electricity with no backup power system, generated by coal from Berwind’s own mines. And their servants—with a single exception—have all gone on strike to protest their working conditions. Summarily dismissing and replacing his staff with cool and callous efficiency, Berwind throws a grand party to showcase the marvels of his new “cottage.”

Emma and Derrick are invited to the fete, which culminates not only in a fabulous musicale but an unforeseen tragedy—a chambermaid is found dead in the coal tunnel. In short order, it is also discovered that a guest’s diamond necklace is missing and a laborer has disappeared.

Detective Jessie Whyte entreats Emma and Derrick to help with the investigation and determine if the murdered maid and stolen necklace are connected. As the dark deeds cast a shadow over the blazing mansion, it’s up to Emma to shine a light on the culprit . . . (Summary via Goodreads)


Usually when I write a review I talk about the entire story and I will with Murder at the Elms, the eleventh book in Alyssa Maxwell's Gilded Newport Mystery series but first I have to start with the ending....  I won't give anything away but I will say that the direction that Maxwell is taking this series is going to be AMAZING !!  I love how she ended the storyline and cannot wait until the future books to watch Emma and Derrick grow !!!
Okay..... now in Murder at the Elms the big change is that Emma and Derrick are finally married and enjoying life as newlyweds.  They are working together at the Messenger, the newspaper that Derrick owns and Emma is a reporter, but getting use to living together is a struggle as they have two places to stay at.  Derrick owns the house that Emma actually grew up in and turned it into a few apartments and a bacelor pad for himself and Emma owns Gull Manor which her great-aunt left to her.  Neither place feels completely theirs as both feel different when they are there.
But before they can work around that dilemma they are invited to a musicale at the Elms.  The Elms is a recently built home in Newport and it has electricity generated by the owners own coal from his own mines.  Ned and Minnie Berwind's are excited to show off their home with the musicale unfortunately one of their employees is found dead during the intermission.  This maid is also the only employee of the Berwind's that recently did not go on strike when the rest of the employees did.
Emma, having met Ines at the house when the employees went on strike feels for her and when it is discovered that she was murdered, Emma and Derrick set out to find out who killed her and why.  Unfortunately they also learn that another employee is missing and an expensive necklace of one of the couples staying as guests at The Elms is gone.  It will take some well thought out planning to solve all of these situations......
There is no way that readers are not fans of this series as well as Maxwell and her amazing talent of drawing you in immediately.  And as Emma and Derrick and their lives grow and expand, you will fall deeper in love with everything.  I cannot wait until the next installment of this series because I NEED to know what happens next.....and so will you !!!





Wednesday 23 August 2023

Murder at a Cape Bookstore (Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery #5) by Maddie Day


 It's mud season in Cape Cod, and when an ill wind blows in a murder with a twist in the tale, bicycle shop owner Mackenzie "Mac" Almeida and her crime-solving book group are ready to leaf through the clues . . .

Everyone loves a festival, though Mac has a few concerns about the Spring equinox event organized by the new Chamber of Commerce director, Wagner Lavoie. After all, March weather is unpredictable. Still, there's plenty to enjoy, between flower-shaped candies at Salty Taffy's, spring rolls at the Rusty Anchor, and a parade of decorated bicycles. But the festivities soon take a stormy turn . . .

Mac glimpses conflict between Wagner and other locals during the festival, but it's a shock when he's found dead in the Book Nook, pinned beneath a toppled bookshelf. It's an irresistible case for Mac's book group. She and the rest of the Cozy Capers will have to use all their sleuthing skills to bring the killer's story to an end . . . (Summary via Goodreads)


Murder at a Cape Bookstore by Maddie Day is the fifth book in her Cozy Capers Book Group and you will love the excitement !!

In Murder at a Cape Bookstore main character Mackenzie "Mac" Almeida and her quaint little town in Cape Cod are getting ready for the Westham Spring Festival which will include a bicycle parade and the local businesses are participating by providing some free swags from their stores.  Most of the business owners were okay with that and the select few who weren't were strong armed by the new Chamber of Commerce director, Wagner Lavoie.  Luckily Mac was happy to hand out keychains that had her bike shop logo on them.

Luckily the winter storm that was predicted held off so the festival could still go on .... unfortunately while Mac sat outside the Book Nook with her friend Noland who managed it, Wagner was murdered inside the store !!  Wagner was found underneath a bookcase ....

Mac knows that some people were upset with Wagner and the way he ran things but she couldn't think of anyone that hated him enough to kill him.  So she gets a group text going with her Cozy Capers Book Group and instead of focusing on the book they should be reading, they begin to investigate the murder.

Even though Mac and the group know that Detective Lincoln Haskins and the police department are more than capable of solving the murder, Mac couldn't help but investigate especially when one of her employees and the deceased seem to have a past history that didn't seem friendly.

Readers will fall in love with this series immediately !!  There is so much to love and I have only provided a small portion of what goes on in these books.  You will want to grab your copies and get to know Mac, her friends and family, and the town and businesses as soon as you can !!!




Wednesday 16 August 2023

Cookies, Chamomile, and Corpses (A Cookies & Chance Mysteries novella) by Catherine Bruns

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes a delicious mystery novella...

After her disastrous marriage comes to an end, Sally Muccio decides that she's unlucky in love and returns home with hopes to start a novelty cookie shop. There’s only one thing stopping her—money.

Sal's loveable and all-knowing grandmother agrees to help with the financial situation if Sal will do her one small favor—find out who killed her sister, Luisa. The police have already deemed Luisa's death an accident, but Grandma Rosa is unconvinced since a valuable family teapot has disappeared as well.

Together with her best friend, Sal sets out to discover the truth. But trouble is brewing, and the hunt to find a killer might bring everything crumbling around her.

Includes a recipe for delicious tea biscuits!

This story is only available for a limited time ! Get your copy now before it's gone!

This work was previously published in the Killer Beach Reads collection.

What critics are

"A fantastic cozy mystery!"
—InD'Tale Magazine

"I want to visit more with all of the quirky characters just to see what crazy and outrageous things they will do next!"
—Fresh Fiction

"The Cookies and Chance Mystery series is more than just a series....it's a family !! Once you read the first book, you are hooked and feel like a member of the crazy Muccio family."
—Cozy Mystery Book Reviews  (Summary via Goodreads)


It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of the Cookies & Chance Mystery series by Catherine Bruns and I will read anything written in this series....even a short story, novella, that explains why main character Sally Muccio returns to her hometown and how she begins her bakery business with her best friend Josie....with the help of her Grandma Rosa.

Cookies, Chamomile, and Corpses provides the readers with how the series actually begins.  Sally returns home, after leaving and divorcing her husband Colin, and looks at a business with an apartment upstairs.  The business used to be a Chinese restaurant until the owner died and the children don't want to continue it.  Sally's Grandma Rosa, whose sister recently died says that she will give Sally money to help her start the business but she would like her to solve her sister's murder.  Even though Luisa's death was ruled a heart attack, Rosa doesn't believe it.  

So Sally, with help from her little sister, Gianna, and Josie, look into the murder.  She also finds out that an expensive teapot antique is missing and it was the source of many arguments between Rosa and Luisa.  Everyone things that it is Luisa's step-son, Lorenzo, who killed her and stole the teapot......until it is located and the person who stole it is revealed.

Readers will LOVE this novella and will enjoy seeing how the series all began....even though Sally's future husband, Mike, isn't it this one.  At least he is mentioned.  And Bruns makes you fall in love with everyone in this little story as well as all the other books in the series.   Cookies, Chamomile, and Corpses is a very quick read.....once you start reading, you will not want to stop !!!!




Tuesday 15 August 2023

Secrets and Scallywags (Magical Mystery Book Club Book # 5) by Elizabeth Pantley

When this club selects a book, magic happens. They become the main characters in the story when the mystery comes to life.

This month’s book selection takes them to a charming island community that’s abuzz over a mysterious boat that washed ashore. Rumor has it that it’s the same pirate boat that sunk a year ago in the bay. The one that supposedly sank with treasure aboard.

When the club meets the ghosts of the men from the boat, they learn the astonishing secrets of the treasure. These ghosts can’t move on until it is found.

Can the motley group find the treasure and free the ghosts? They better, since it’s the only way they can exit the book and get back home.

"You can’t enough of this series! It will blow you away!"
~ Cozy Mystery Book Reviews   (Summary via Goodreads)


Elizabeth Pantley has one of the BEST creative minds that I know.  Her books will take readers on such an amazing journey and adventure that you will forget you are sitting on your couch in your living room or wherever you sit and read.  Hopefully you are a fan and have read the previous books in her Magical Mystery Book Club series and are ready to read the fifth one, Secrets and Scallywags.  If not, I highly encourage you to grab your copies, a snack and a beverage and get lost for a while with Paige, Glo, Zell and the rest of the book club members.

In Secrets and Scallywags the book club members are about to interview for the spot left by Vee who decided to stay in the last book the group traveled to......maybe I should backtrack a bit.  Paige and her Aunt Glo inherited the Snapdragon Inn from Paige's great-grandmother.  The Inn has a magical, enchanted library in the basement where the members of the bookclub picks a book and when they begin to read the book out loud, they will be whisked away into the book and they will have to solve whatever mystery the story is about in order to return home.  When they are "inside" the book, the Inn travels with them and provides what they need and adapts to the timeframe that the story takes place in. 

Okay so now in Secrets and Scallywags the group meet Valeria who has just found out that she has a twin sister, Valentina, and her research has brought her to the Snapdragon Inn.  The group cannot believe how much she looks like Vee and invite her in to talk.....next thing you know she is more than willing to join the magical book club and they head down to the basement to pick their next book.

The group decides on Freedom for the Ghosts on the Boat and are whisked away to Crescent Moon Bay where a pirate boat has reappeared after it was sunk a year ago.  When the group goes to the boat to begin their investigation, they are introduced to the Captain of the boat, his parrot and three crew members.....all of which are ghosts.  That is not really a huge surprise as one of the book members, Molly, is a ghost they adopted when they solved her murder in a book from the Wild West.  Anyway.....Captain Scallywag tells them the story that they are good pirates but were attacked and robbed and the bracelet with the magical powers was stolen so they have been unable to wonder away from their boat.

Everyone in the book club decide to head into town and get some food and talk up the locals to see what they can find out.  They soon find the magical bracelet but two of the stones are missing.  Then they find one of the stones in a box with other stolen items and return it to the Captain. Unfortunately the magic of the stone results in the death of the person who was in possession of the stone........

Readers are going to fall in love with this book as well as the previous books.  How can you not ??  There is a book club with loveable characters, a ghost and a talking cat.....they go into a magical library and get whisked away inside books and meet lots of other people, solve murders and what not, enjoy the adventure and return home with great stories to relive. If I didn't hate traveling I would totally join the book club but I thoroughly enjoy reading about the fun they have.....and so will you !!!!

  

Thursday 10 August 2023

A Clue in the Crumbs (Key West Food Critic Mystery Book # 13) by Lucy Burdette

Food critic Hayley Snow and her pal Miss Gloria are overjoyed to welcome Violet and Bettina Booth, aka the Scottish Scone Sisters, to Key West. The sisters will host The UK Bakes!--Key West Edition. But the same day they arrive, the bed and breakfast the sisters are staying in gets torched.

The contest begins the next morning featuring three local bakers. One is the inn owner’s wife, Rayna, who is not only the most talented chef of the group, but now a person of interest in the fire. The next night, a dogwalker discovers a body near the bed and breakfast. The victim appears to be Rayna’s husband and the murder weapon points directly to the Scottish Scone sisters.

But the show must go on. In between filming sessions, the three elderly ladies and Hayley must search for clues to the brutal murder in order to find out who wants to force them out of the kitchen. But as they draw closer to the answer, the threats from a murderer grow closer too. Are they now in danger of getting baked off?  (Summary via Goodreads)


Whenever you begin reading a book that has food as an important factor in the storyline, it is always a good idea to have snacks handy....especially when you pick up a book in the Key West Food Critic Mystery series.  With this series you are guaranteed to read about tasty foods and even though your snacks are probably no way near what you will read about, at least you won't go crazy with hunger.

A Clue in the Crumbs is the thirteenth book in this series by Lucy Burdette and maybe the characters in the book do not know that it is unlucky number thirteen but I bet if tarot card reading Lorenzo was real, he would surely warn the others.  Lorenzo is a close friend of main character Hayley Snow and she probably could have used his insight throughout A Clue in the Crumbs.

In A Clue in the Crumbs Violet and Bettina Booth, the Scottish Scone Sisters from Scotland are in Key West to film a baking contest for the show they are hoping to launch in the United States.  Hayley and her husband police detective Nathan, along with their neighbor and close friend Miss Gloria met the sisters when they were on their honeymoon...yes they took Missi Gloria on their honeymoon.  So they were very excited to have them in Key West.

Unfortunately the bed and breakfast that the sisters were suppose to stay at had a fire the day they arrived and was closed for business.  Luckily Miss Gloria offered her spare room on her houseboat so the sisters were taken care of.  But then so many things spiralled down from there.  Their agent ends up missing, one of the contestants husband storms in when they are filming and has a big arguement with his wife and he ends up murdered and the murder weapon ends up being a knife the sisters brought with them, the contestants do not get along and makes for a hostile environment and one of the sisters gets mugged !!!  

Nothing is going as planned with the baking contest show and the sisters visit to Key West and Hayley and Miss Gloria are at their wits end on what to do.....luckily as with all the previous books in this series, they work together, and even include Nathan in some of it, and all will end well for everyone....well mostly everyone.

Readers cannot help but LOVE everything about this series. The characters are so lovable and the fact that Hayley and Nathan live in a houseboat next to Miss Gloria in a houseboat is awesome and Key West is always fun and energetic and the trouble that Hayley and Miss Gloria get into is always exciting ..... and a bit scary !!!  You will love the time you spend in Key West on Houseboat Row and will already be looking forward to your return visit.......



Tuesday 8 August 2023

Murder A La Mode (Coffee & Cream Cafe Mystery Book # 1) by Lena Gregory

From author Lena Gregory comes a delicious new series that will warm your heart and leave you guessing until the very end...

When twenty-five-year-old Danika Delaney, black sheep of the Delaney clan, returns home to Long Island to take over Jimmie's, her eccentric uncle’s old fashioned malt shop on eastern Long Island, she’s not exactly thrilled. But things start to look up when her uncle tells her she can do whatever she’d like with the shop, and it seems she might realize her dream of a small trendy cafĂ©. That is, until she discovers the body of her ex-boyfriend’s estranged wife in a melted puddle of rocky road in the malt shop basement. With her two sidekicks, her sister and a good childhood friend, in tow, Dani searches for–or stumbles upon—one clue after another. But as she narrows down the suspect list, she realizes if she’s not careful she may end up in a puddle of her own...


What critics are saying about Lena

"Ms. Gregory does an amazing job...her writing style makes every mystery enjoyable."
~Moonlight Rendezvous

"This cozy was fast-paced and I didn’t want to put it down once I started."
~Brooke Blogs

"Author Lena Gregory sure didn’t disappoint. She cooked up tale so tasty I devoured it!"
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews  (Summary via Goodreads)


Murder A La Mode by Lena Gregory is the first book in her new Coffee & Cream Cafe Mystery series and I can tell you right now that this series is going to be a huge success !!!

In Murder A La Mode main character Danika Delaney is moving back home from New York City after her boyfriend dumps her. Luckily Danika has a huge family in her hometown of Watchogue which is a very small town in eastern Long Island.  As soon as Danika moves back into her old bedroom in her famiy house, she is going to be taking over her Uncle Jimmie's ice cream shop so he can retire.  It's something that happens in the family....her younger sister Meghan is managing their Aunt Flo's shop.  The difference is that Meghan loves it and Danika had bigger dreams for herself.  

And before Danika can adjust to moving back home she runs into her ex-boyfriend Luca who broke her heart on prom night by kissing their classmate Heather who he eventually married !!  So Danika runs into Luca in the shop and when she leaves, he grabs her wrist to stop her only to have his soon to be ex-wife, Heather walk in and get hysterical !!  And if that isn't the worst.....when Danika and Meghan are checking out the shop and getting ideas on how to make it more Danika's style, they find Heather dead in the basement !!

Even though Danika has been away for seven years it doesn't stop the rumor mill from generating a lot of rumors involving Luca, Heather and herself. So Danika teams up with her old best friend from high school, Gwen, and they begin their own investigation into Heather's dead......even though the hot detective on the case warns her off of it.

Danika and Gwen have no idea that by looking into Heather's death they will be uncovering secrets involving a classmate that went missing right before graduation.  Danika cannot stop investigating if she ever wants to walk in that basement again and turn Jimmie's into her own successful creation.

Readers are going to fall in LOVE with Murder A La Mode and will watch for the next book to be released in the Coffee & Cream Mystery Cafe series and grab it as soon as possible.  You are going to want to keep an eye on what Danika will do with the shop and if her and Luca can move forward in their relationship or is she going to make a move on the hot detective......

 


Wednesday 2 August 2023

Death Grip (Angela Richman, Death Investigator Book # 5) by Elaine Viets

Every town has its secrets. Some are too deadly to stay hidden.

Chouteau County's super-rich know how to cover up a scandal, but when it comes to murder, they'd better watch their backs . . . Death investigator Angela Richman is determined to see a killer brought to justice in this sharply written and darkly entertaining mystery set in Missouri, perfect for fans of Lisa Gardner and J.A. Jance.

Angela Richman, Chouteau County death investigator, finds herself deep in the Missouri woods on a perfect spring day. But there is nothing idyllic about her grim walk - a body has been discovered in a muddy creek, and Detective Jace Budewitz wants Angela on the scene.

Terri Gibbons, the popular Forest High track star who went missing eight months ago, has been found strangled. Could a message found in Terri's shoe hold the key to catching her killer? Chouteau Forest is a town of privilege and secrets, where everyone has something to hide . . . Can Angela overcome the many obstacles in her way to see justice served when the Forest's wealthy residents will go to any lengths to prevent the truth being revealed?  (Summary via Goodreads)


Death Grip by Elaine Viets is the fifth book in her Angela Richman, Death Investigator Mystery series and this is one series you will be hooked on immediately !!

Angela Richman is exactly what her title says she is....she is called in when there is a death in the prominent Chouteau County Forest area, whether it is an accidental death or a murder.  And in Death Grip she is called into the deep woods when the body of a missing high school track star is found buried along a creek bed.  Upon futher investigating two other woman's bodies are discovered.  These deaths will drive Angela and Detective Jace Budewitz down a dark road that leads them to a wealthy resident of the Forest that is untouchable.  But when Briggs Bellerive's live in housekeeper is reported missing by her mother and she had written a diary of the way that she was treated by Bellerive, they just have to find her alive and build a case against him.

Unfortunately Angela and Jace are ordered by their bosses to stay away from Bellerive and the case or they could get fired.  Luckily they have Assistant Medical Examiner and Angela's best friend, Katie, on their side so the three meet in Katie's office and secretly work the case and try to obtain evidence and build a case against Bellerive.

The Angela Richman, Death Investigator Mystery series is a slightly dark series but once you start reading one of the books in the series, you are completely drawn in and will want to keep the book open until you get to the end to make sure Angela gets justice for the people she is fighting for.