Thursday 28 September 2023

Bake, Batter, and Roll (Cookies & Chance Mystery Book # 13) by Catherine Bruns

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes the next deliciously delightful Cookies & Chance mystery!

Full time baker and part time sleuth Sally Muccio has witnessed many bizarre events during her lifetime. But one thing that she never expected to see was her sensible grandmother on a dating show.

Senior Moments, the popular reality TV dating show featuring the aged sixty-five and older, has come to Colwestern, New York, giving the mature community a chance to find their soulmate. In an attempt to keep peace with the cranky and cantankerous Nicoletta Gavelli, Sal's Grandma Rosa agrees to become a contestant along with Mrs. Gavelli on the TV show. But things take an even weirder turn when the show’s host, Smiley Jones, is found dead in Sal’s bakery, beaten to death with her rolling pin.

The last thing Sal wants, or needs is to get involved in another murder, but she soon discovers that Smiley Jones's life wasn’t all champagne and cookies. From an estranged wife with dollar signs blinding her vision to a dressing room full of debts, Smiley had many issues to keep him from grinning. Between the calamitous contestants, the stacks of suspects, and the danger mounting, Sal is worried this is one Hollywood production without a happy ending. Can Sal find his killer before she winds up battered as well?

Recipes Included!

What critics are saying:

"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'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)

As Grandma Rosa might say "Goosepimples" to which Sal would say "Goosebumps Grandma?"  And Grandma Rosa would reply "I like that too."...... that is the first word I can think of after reading Bake, Batter, and Roll, the thirteenth book in the Cookies & Chance Mystery series written by the fabulous Catherine Bruns.

The Cookies & Chance Mystery series has got to be my favorite series to read.  There is so much to fall in love with instantly....the main character Sally, her crazy and loving family, her best friend and business partner, Josie, the business, Sally's Samples, that they run together, the town and last but not least the murders that Sally gets in the middle of !!

And in Bake, Batter, and Roll the story hits very close to business....Sally's Samples.  Grandma Rosa's best friend and neighbor is going to be a contestant on the elderly dating show called Senior Moments and when Mrs. Gavelli scares off the other two contestants Grandma Rosa steps in to help as well as Sally's part-time employee, Dodie.  The person picked gets to go on a trip with the bachelor and the trip is to Italy....and Grandma Rosa would love to return to her borth place.

Unfortunately Mrs. Gavelli is picked by the bachelor who faints when he sees who his date to Italy is and later than evening Sally finds the host of the show, Smiley Jones, dead in the kitchen at Sally's Samples.

Even though Sally and Josie "try" to stay out of investigating murders, they have a number of reasons for looking into Smiley's death.  Sally will do anything for Grandma Rosa and until Smiley's murder is solved, her Italy trip is off and the episode they were on is on hold as well.  Also the murder occurred in Sally's bakery and business has become nonexistent and Sally has a new house to pay for and Josie's four sons will be going off to college before you know it.  And everyone would love for Mrs. Gavelli to be gone for ten days !!!

So Sally and Josie begin to look into Smiley's life and who would want him dead....and they even have the blessing of newly appointed Detective Brian Jenkins which you know he will soon regret.  

Readers cannot help but LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this series !!!  Bruns knows how to write a story that readers cannot get enough of and the way that she ends Bake, Batter, and Roll will leave you with goosebumps or goosepimples, whichever you prefer, and you will be totally looking forward to the fourteenth book to see where things will be heading for certain people in Sally's life.......and I can only imagine that it will be EXPLOSIVE !!!!!  (in a good way !!!)

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Hexes and Hooligans (Magical Mystery Book Club Book #5.5) by Elizabeth Pantley

Would you join a book club that gets sucked into their cozy mysteries? These people did, and now they are hooked on traveling into books to become the amateur sleuths!
The book selection of the month takes the club into a charming and idyllic world of gnome-like people who love the earth, celebrating, and honey. What they don’t like is the mysterious ailment that is turning students at the local college into hideous versions of themselves.

The timing is terrible, as it coincides with the upcoming Honeybee Moon Festival, the community’s biggest celebration of the year.

The event is only a week away. Can the motley group determine what’s causing the students’ transformations, stop it from spreading, and get them back to normal? They better, since it’s the only way they can exit the book and get back home to Colorado.

"You can’t get enough of this series! It will blow you away!"
… Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

“One of my go-to series. The quality and enjoyment are guaranteed.”
… All and Any Books

“I adore this series, and it just keeps getting better with each book!”
… Fiction Vixen    (Summary via Goodreads)

Hexes and Hooligans by Elizabeth Pantley is a novella in the Magical Mystery Book Club series.  It can be a stand alone story that is short enough for you to read in one day, like I did, or you can take your time reading it.  It is considered a novella because it is shorter than a regular novel and is about half the size.....however it is probably more story because of the size the author gets to the point quicker and the pace may be faster as well.  Regardless of the size and number of pages Hexes and Hooligans will grab your attention immediately !!

In the Magical Mystery Book Club series there are a group of eight people ranging from a mother and young son to Zell who was one of the originals with Gee-Gee, Paige's great-grandmother. Paige and her Aunt Glo inherited the book club and along with the other members go down to the basement where there is a magical library.  They decide on a book and start reading it out loud and then they are magically placed inside the book and have to solve the case before they can return to Colorado.  Luckily the Snapdragon Inn, their home and base, travels with them and adapts to the time frame that the story takes place.  Oh and I forgot to mention that among the members of the group are Frank, a talking cat and Mollie who is a ghost that returned with them when they solved a case in the Wild West.

In Hexes and Hooligans there is one significant difference in that there are no murders for the book club to solve.  However the book that the group chooses has a unique storyline.....  They pick Beauty is in the Eye of the Hexer and start reading the story out loud.  They then find themselves in a beautiful little town that is adorable !!  They come across three young and beautiful girls who are very upset thinking that they are ugly.  The book club members soon learn that they are in a town of gnomes and the three girls have had a curse or something placed on them to make them look "different and ugly".  

The group then learns that they are in the book as visiting professors to the college where the girls are students and they are to work with the detective to find out what is happening.  As they are trying to get to know the area and the people, more students are placed under the spell and the only thing they have in common besides being students are that they are all in the pageant in the upcoming Honeybee Moon Festival. 

Readers will love not only this story but all the previous books in this series.  Pantley knows how to hook you in immediately and you are whisked away with the book club.  This is such a unique series that you will want more and more and luckily Pantley has no problem providing readers with books regularly.  So if you haven't read any of the books in this series, I cannot stress it have got to get reading this series !!!  I guarantee you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it !!!!

Sunday 24 September 2023

Pups, Pumpkins, and Murder (Samantha Davies Mysteries Book # 4) by S.A. Kazlo

Autumn has arrived in the small town of Wings Falls in upstate New York, and children's book author Samantha Davies couldn't be happier. She's excited to attend the town's annual Taste of Wings Falls craft and food festival with her boyfriend Detective Hank Johnson. The fair features several booths, like the one Sam's rug hooking group, the Loopy Ladies, have set up as a fundraiser to send underprivileged children to summer camps, as well as home-grown vegetables, like the 2,000-pound pumpkin grown by Farmer Scooter that he's proudly displayed on the back of his truck. But maybe the biggest draws for the fair is the barbeque cook-off. Samantha is friends with the owners of the three restaurants participating, but she is betting on Franny Goodway, the owner of Sweetie Pie's Café, taking home this year's coveted first place prize.

But things take a stomach-churning turn when several fair goers become ill after chowing down on Franny's pulled pork delight. Franny insists it's not her fault... but when Sam sees Franny vehemently arguing with the new loan officer at the town's bank, she knows something is wrong.

Little did Sam know how wrong.

That evening as Sam takes her dachshund, Porkchop, for a stroll, she finds the body of the loan officer...crushed under a 2,000 pound pumpkin and deader than the fall leaves covering the ground! Franny instantly becomes the number one suspect, and it's up to Sam to prove her friend innocent of the man's murder. Can she find a killer, and navigate her relationship with her detective boyfriend, and save Sweetie Pie's Café?

"A doggone entertaining mystery filled with small town scandals! Funny and entertaining!"
~ Fresh Fiction   (Summary via Goodreads)

The best advice that I can give readers when picking up Pups, Pumpkins, and Murder by S.A. Kazlo is to just sit back and enjoy the story and murder because trying to solve the latest murder in this series will be impossible !!!  Unless,of course, you are Nancy Drew...then I say go for it !!

Pups, Pumpkins, and Murder is the fourth book in the Samantha Davis Mystery series and the series is full of great characters, a charming little town with quaint stores and restaurants and yes murder !!

In Pups, Pumpkins, and Murder the town of Wings Falls is celebrating the town with their annual Taste of Wings Falls Fair.  Three local restaurants will be competing for the Best Barbeque Prize, local vendors will be selling their homemade goodies and everyone will be checking out Scooter Dickerson's 2,000 pound pumpkin.....unfortunately no one knew that Scooter's pumpkin was going to roll off of the truck and kill the new local bank loan officer, Edgar Jensen. Also people become ill after eating one of the competing restaurants pulled pork sandwiches.

To say local Detective Hank Johnson was going to have his hands full with this case is stating it lightly.  The suspect list for both instances is long and unfortunately Hank's younger brother, Aaron, is on both lists as a suspect.  Hank's girlfriend, Sam, does not believe that Aaron would do anything to jeopardize his girlfriend's aunt's restaurant and put something in the pulled pork and also Sam doesn't believe he is capable of murder.

Sam along with her cousin Candie put on their investigator hats and start looking into both cases.  As they look into Edgar's death they find out that he was giving members of the community a hard time when they applied for loans as well as charging a "special fee" along with the interest if they were to receive the loan.  After talking to some people they find out that all of the contestants in the barbeque contest had applied for loans and were unhappy with Edgar's behavior, Edgar and his wife were seen arguing the day of the fair and Sam's childhood enemy, Police Officer Joe Peters and his wife had bad dealings with his also.  But were any of them capable of pushing a 2,000 pound pumpkin on the man ??

Readers will have their hands full reading this tasty tale and will love everything about it.  The Samantha Davies Mystery series will become of favorite for sure, if it hasn't already.


Thursday 21 September 2023

Dead Spread: A House of Cards Mystery by Bethany Browning

From the author of Sasquatch, Baby!, this cozy mystery is a twisty page-turner filled with tarot tips, raven shenanigans, strangers to lovers and MURDER.

When tarot card reader Carrie Dettwiler stumbles across the mayor’s dead body on a random Tuesday, town gossip reaches a fever pitch—and everyone’s convinced she and her rescue raven Waggery have performed a deadly dark ritual. Carrie deals with the cards she’s dealt, turning over every clue, only to be blown off course by her gale-force feelings for tattoo artist Stormy Portwood, who breezes into town at the same time people start dying. Determined to divine the criminal who’s terrorizing the citizens of Prosperity, Carrie must rely on her dangerous knowledge of the town’s secret history to reveal the killer.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Dead Spread by Bethany Browning is the first book in her House of Cards Mystery series and it is like no other book I have ever read...and I have read a lot of books !!

In Dead Spread readers are introduced to a very nice, quaint town called Prosperity where Carrie Dettwiler is taking after her Aunt Inez and running the tarot card reading business out of the cottage her aunt left her.  Sadly the tarot card reading business isn't making enough money to keep the debt collectors off her back but she is doing the best that she can.

Unfortunately after doing a reader for one of her regular clients, things turn dark with the mayor, Carrie's friend, turning up dead in his office and it looks like he is holding one of the cards from Carrie's deck.....and Carrie is the one to find him.  Everyone in town believes that Carrie is the one that killed him so she decides to look into his death to clear her name.  However, she ends up going down a dark tunnel, like the ones under the town of Prosperity that have been there since Prohibition.

While Carrie is looking into Mayor Preston Brix's death, she meets Stormy Portwood who is full of secrets which Carrie wants to know all of them and would like nothing more that to put the mayor's murder behind them so that they can get to know each other better.  But when Carrie's uncle is attacked, the team up to solve the murder and the attack.  

Readers will fall in love with Dead Spread and really enjoy the uniqueness of the story.  Readers will love the town of Prosperity and it's history as well as all of the characters ... and Carrie's pet is a talking Raven ... how more different can one get ?  I highly recommend grabbing your copy and heading to your comfy reading spot with a beverage and a snack.  And the way that Browning ends the story ensures that you will be keeping an eye out for the second book in this series.

Friday 15 September 2023

Death by a Thousand Sips (Witches' Brew Mystery Book #2) by Gretchen Rue

Phoebe Winchester is back on the case in Raven Creek when a body is discovered at an estate sale in Gretchen Rue’s second book in the Witches’ Brew mystery series, perfect for fans of Laura Childs and Cleo Coyle.

Ever since she moved to Raven Creek, Washington, Phoebe Winchester knew she would have to grow accustomed to having a lot on her plate. She’s beginning to make the Victorian manor she inherited from her dear and adventurous Aunt Eudora feel more like home, successfully running the bookstore and tea shop, The Earl’s Study, and learning to harness her recently discovered magical powers. But when she discovers a dead body at an estate sale—even Phoebe wonders if this is simply too much.

Rumors of Phoebe’s involvement force her to take action; she needs to find the killer and clear her own name, once again. She enlists Rich Lofting, the handsome private detective and her childhood friend, in her investigation, all while she sorts out her unresolved feelings for him. Is there something more sinister lurking in the shadows of this small tight-knit town? And does Phoebe really want to find out?

With a dash of magic, a pinch of sleuthing skills, and a spoonful of friendly assistance, Phoebe needs to uncover the killer to keep Raven Creek safe once again. But if she doesn’t—will she find herself in even more hot water?  (Summary via Goodreads)

Death by a Thousand Sips is the second book in the Witches' Brew Mystery series by Gretchen Rue.  Unfortunately I did not read the first book, Steeped to Death, which I am sure was just as entertaining as the second book.  Even though I did not read Steeped to Death I was not lost at all reading Death by a Thousand Sips.  Rue has a way of bringing the reader up to date in a very easy manner and you breeze through the story.

In Death by a Thousand Sips main character Phoebe Winchester is still getting use to her new life in Raven Creek, Washington.  Recently divorced Phoebe moves to Raven Creek after her Aunt Eudora dies and leaves her with everything.  Phoebe is left the mansion, Lane End House, her cat Bob and the tea shop / bookstore, The Earl's Study.  Phoebe also learns that her Aunt Eudora was a witch and Phoebe is also learning that she has powers.  Unfortunately she is not able to hone in on her abilities but with the help of her friend Honey she is working on them.

Phoebe learns of an estate sale in another town nearby and they are auctioning off a huge lot of books that she could sell in the bookstore so she goes to the sale to bid on them.  Unfortunately she finds that Bob hid in the back of the car so she has to take him with her.  She thinks that he will be safe and sound in the car but somehow he escapes the car and shows up in the mansion where the sale is being held and ends up finding a dead body.  It turns out to be the woman in charge of the auction, Madeline, and Phoebe had overheard her arguing on the phone shortly before she was found dead.

Even though Phoebe didn't know Madeline she feels like she should do something for find out who killed her.  Luckily one of her childhood friends, Rich, was a police officer but is now a private investigator so she tries to get him to help her.  Rich does to a point but when Phoebe is threatened, Rich as well as the detectives in charge of the case tell her to leave it to the professionals.

Readers will love Death by a Thousand Sips !!  A cozy mystery with a hint of witchery is a great combination and Rue makes it impossible to put down.  I can only recommend that you grab a nice snack and beverage and sit back and will be there for a while once you crack open the book.

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Barrel of Money Murder (Laura Keene Cozy Mysteries Vol. 1) by Margaret Evans

Fans of Laura Keene in the Second Treasures Mysteries will delight in this new series, Laura Keene Cozy Mysteries . In the first story, Barrel of Money Murder , Laura discovers a house in her neighborhood with a reputation for paranormal activity and a patchy history surrounding the builder's death. Was it an accident, or was it murder?

While others may flee in the opposite direction, Laura delves into the original owner's life and unwraps more than she ever wanted to know about him and the so-called "curses" he put on his children and his money. Follow Laura as she, Connor Fitzpatrick, her friends, and of course, her cat Empress Isabella search for a Barrel of Money the owner hid somewhere on his property. Will the curses catch up with them?  (Summary via Goodreads)

Barrel of Money Murder by Margaret Evans is the first book in her Laura Keene Cozy Mystery series.  In this series you will find characters that are familiar as they were in another series (Second Treasures Mysteries) and, of course, Empress Isabella, the magical cat, has her own short story trilogy.

In Barrel of Money Murders main character Laura Keene Fitzpatrick and her husband Sergeant Connor Fitzpatrick are trying to adjust to being newlyweds and enjoy each other.  Unfortunately life always seems to get in the way and Laura ends up going down rabbit holes and doesn't resurface until the dilemma is resolved.  And when Florence Treadlow, local bookstore owner and friend, comes into Laura's store, Second Treasures, and sees some very distinct glassware on a shelf, Laura is forced to look into a cold case of the Franglethorpe family where all members of the family died and all deaths were ruled accidental.

The Franglethorpe family consisted of Cecil Franglethorpe, three wives who gave him a total of fifteen children.  In Cecil's will he has a clause that insisted that if any family member took anything out of his huge estate, they would find themselves cursed.  Florence Treadlow strongly believes that to be true and there is a house in town that is haunted and everyone knows it.  Laura and Connor just so happen to be moving into that same neighborhood a few blocks away from said haunted house. 

Laura is provided a summary of the Franglethorpe family from Charlie Kovacs, owner of the Raging Ford Bulletin and one third of the Kovacs triplets that run Raging Ford who have a sworn promise to watch over Laura and keep her safe.  

Laura enlists the help of her two childhood best friends, her college best friend, her husband and a few members of the police department who are friends as well....and this is all overseen by Connor's father the police chief.  The group are allowed into the old Franglethorpe estate and while looking around, they find journals written by every member of the family as well as the hired help.  So the journals are distributed among the ladies and they begin their deep dive into the family.

Unfortunately the group do not know that they are being watched very closely.  Well the only one to notice this is Empress Isabella who makes sure certain things are discovered and watches Laura very closely.

Readers are going to LOVE and HATE this first book in the Laura Keene Cozy Mystery series because you will fall in love with the town, the people, the relationships, the case they are caught up in and all that ..... but you will HATE the way that Evans ends the story .... for now..... ensuring that as soon as Volume 2 is available you will be right on it.  Evans knows how to end a book knowing that the reader cannot help but want more...... and that is why I love her books and always want more !!!

Monday 11 September 2023

Tragedy in Tahoe (Rylie Sunderland Mysteries Book 1) by Rachele Baker

“Mystery, murder, beautiful scenery, twists and turns - some surprises too. Great read.”

Thirty-two-year-old veterinarian Rylie Sunderland is in trouble. After the veterinary hospital where she worked burns to the ground, Rylie takes a summer job as a part-time caretaker at an old Tahoe estate turned B & B called Whitaker Cottages while she tries to figure out what to do next with her life.

Then, just a few days after she arrives in Lake Tahoe, handsome Tahoe City bakery owner Colin Matthews is found dead in a secret tunnel that runs under the cottages. Detective Mark Felton informs Rylie that they found a note in Colin’s pocket with her name and cell phone number on it.

Rylie’s shocked. She’d only just met Colin. Why and how did he get her cell phone number? Is she now considered a suspect?

With her loving golden retriever Bella by her side and the help of friends both old and new, Rylie works to find the evidence needed to clear her name. As her search continues, she discovers clues to the mystery in unlikely locations around the lake and the list of suspects grows. Will she be able to find the answers she needs before she has to trade in her scrubs for prison garb?

A delightful cozy mystery perfect for fans of Kate Carlisle, Libby Klein, and Vicki Delany.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Tragedy in Tahoe is the first book in the Rylie Sunderland Mystery series by Rachele Baker and Baker sets the stage beautifully and introduces the characters and the area so well that you will feel like you know your way around Lake Tahoe.

In Tragedy in Tahoe main character Rylie Sunderland is going to be spending the summer in Lake Tahoe working part-time as a caretaker for Whitaker Cottages.  Rylie's mother and the owner, Elizabeth, are old friends and after the veterinary business that she worked at burned down, Rylie decided to take the summer off and help out at the cottages while she figured out what she wanted to do next regarding work.

After Rylie gets settled and learns her new job responsibilities she attends a gathering, Locals' Night, put on by Gillian and Liam, the other caretakers for the cottages.  She gets to meet other business people and friends who live around Lake Tahoe.  One of the people she meets is handsome Colin Matthews who owns the Butter Lane Bakery and delivers fresh baked goods to Whitaker Cottages for their continental breakfasts.

Unfortunately before Rylie can get to know Colin better, he is found murdered in the underground tunnels on the property.....and to make matters worse, he had a piece of paper in his pocket with Rylie's name and phone number on it.  Rylie had only spoken to Colin briefly and did not give him her phone number.  And because her number was in his pocket the local detective Mark Felton has her on the suspect list.

Rylie, along with Gillian and Liam, begin to look in the murder as well....not only to clear Rylie's name but the business has taken a big hit with people cancelling reservations.  While doing her own investigating Ryliue does clear up how Colin got her number when she runs into her old college friend, Laurent, and he admits to giving it to him.

Rylie along with her loving Golden Retriever, Bella, and friends do what they can to solve Colin's murder....unfortunately when the killer is revealed, no one would have suspected them ....ever !!!  

Readers will fall in love with Tragedy in Tahoe immediately !!  You will love the area, the businesses, the people and the storyline and the way that Baker ends the story guarantees that readers will be waiting patiently (hopefully) for the second book, Vengeance in the Vines, to be released to see where the story takes Rylie and Bella........

Thursday 7 September 2023

Life Without Parole (Angela Richman, Death Investigator Book # 6) by Elaine Viets

Fans of J.A. Jance and Lisa Gardner will love this exploration of the little-known job of death investigator in small-town Missouri where Angela Richman finds herself investigating the lives and secrets of the one percenters in Chouteau Forest. Chouteau Forest’s wealthy are being targeted by the Ghost Burglars, who’ve carried out twelve burglaries over two weeks. So far, there’s been no bloodshed . . . until Tom Lockridge is brutally slain inside his marble mansion during the latest raid. Angela Richman, death investigator for Chouteau County, is called to assess the scene and the body by Detective Jace Budewitz. As they investigate, Jace becomes obsessed with proving the Ghost Burglars weren’t involved in the murder. Can the burglars be ruled out so easily? Is there more to Cynthia Lockridge, Tom’s wife, seeking solace in the arms of the ambitious local lawyer Wesley Desloge? What about Tom’s long-suffering daughter, or his loose-lipped housekeeper or office manager? Everyone is keeping secrets, but whose erupted into violence that fateful night?  (Summary via Goodreads)

I am going to write this as if you are a devoted fan of the Angela Richman, Death Investigator Mystery series by Elaine Viets because with Life Without Parole being the sixth book in the series, you have got to be by now.  (If you aren't a fan or haven't read any of the books in this series, I cannot stress it enough that you have to start reading it !)

In Life Without Parole Death Investigator Angela Richman is called to the mansion of a wealthy couple in Chouteau Forest where Tom Lockridge was shot three times in the back of the head while sleeping.  It is thought that the "Ghost Burglars" are responsible for the murder as they have robbed twelve other members of the Forest.  Now they have escalated to murder.  But things do not sit well for Angela and Detective Jace Budewitz....they do not think that the Ghost Burglars are responsible and think that the young wife and the shady lawyer are involved in the murder.

Even though Angela is officially done with the investigation once her paperwork is filed, pictures are taken and the body is on the way to the Medical Examiner's office, she is always drawn to the cases and want sto see justice served....even if there is a chance that she could get fired.

In the rich community of the Forest death and murder seem to always be happening, whether it is murder or accidents, so Angela has her hands full.  Sometimes she gets to work with Detective Jace which she enjoys because he takes his work as seriously as Angela.  However, sometimes she gets called to a case where Detective Ray Greiman is in charge and he looks down at everyone and anyone lower that the Forest residents are guilty....even before they start investigating.

Readers cannot help but love this series !!  Author Elaine Viets will draw you in as soon as you open the book and keep your attention until you finish the last word.  And reading about a Death Investigator is an interesting topic and the storylines and characters will keep you engaged.