Saturday 30 December 2023

Isabella in the Kitchen (Mistletoe Inn Mysteries Novella # 3) by Margaret Evans, Julie Hatton (illustrator)

When Laura Keene and her husband Connor are invited to spend Christmas with the sixty-five-year-old Kovacs triplets at Mistletoe Inn, mystery abounds. Laura's mostly invisible cat, Empress Isabella, tags along, so you can't guess what will happen! Join the mysteries and the wacky fun as Charlie, Harry, and Will Kovacs each search for something in their family history, but what they find may not be what they expect. In this final Volume 3, Will searches fruitlessly for his favorite quiche and other family recipes in the Mistletoe Inn kitchen. Laura helps out and locates a secret cache of information that changes the direction of all their plans, including Will’s…in Isabella in the Kitchen.  (Summary via Goodreads)


Margaret Evans has a new mystery series called Mistletoe Inn Mysteries and Isabella in the Kichen is the third novella in this series following Isabella in the Attic and Isabella in the Cellar.

I feel that in order for you to understand this series you need a brief summary of the Second Treasures Mystery series Evans has written. In that series you are introduced to Laura Rage Keene who owns a second hand thrift shop and lives above it. Her family, the Rage's, were one of the founding families of Raging Ford, Minnesota. The Second Treasures Mystery follows Laura as she falls in love with the Lieutenant of the Police force as she helps solve murders that she gets involved in. In this series you are also introduced to her friends and other business owners. There is also a gray cat that lives there, however, only Laura and Connor can see her .... until.....

In this new series, Mistletoe Inn Mysteries Laura and her new husband Connor are invited to spend Christmas and New's Year with the Kovacs triplets at the Inn. The Kovacs triples are very important to the town of Raging Ford and they know all about the town, the people and what goes on.  The Inn has been in the Kovacs family for a long time and it holds lots of history.  In the first novella in this series, Isabella in the Attic, Charlie, one of the triples is continuing his family's history.  With the help of Laura he finds the answers he is seeking and they are to his favor.  In the second novella, Isabella in the Cellar, Harry is looking for his grandfather's cravat in the boxes in the cellar.  In addition to finding the cravat, Harry and Laura find some documents that will change the dynamics of the triplets lives.

Now in Isabella in the Kitchen, Will is searching high and low for his quiche recipe.  He really wants to make it for New Year's.  Everyone rallies in the kitchen to find the Kovacs' grandmother's recipe.  Instead Laura and Connor discover some secret  holes  with paperwork, books, and money that their parents must have hidden years ago !!!  

There are also a lot of other life changing things happening within these three novellas but I feel that if I share them, they will ruin the way readers experience them when they are reading.  I can tell you that you will be shocked and surprised and happy and excited.  I cannot even begin to imagine where Evans will take us next ... and I cannot wait !!!

Evans knows how to weave a captivating story and hook readers immediately ... and who wouldn't love a "magical" cat that is getting bold with letting more people see and love her ? And  Evans really makes readers love this series with this third installment of the Mistletoe Inn Mysteries. 

You can read about Isabella, Laura and Raging Ford with all it's amazing characters in the Second Treasures Mystery series as well as A Trilogy of Holiday Mysteries Starring Empress Isabella. I high encourage you to read the first novella, Isabella in the Attic and  be on the look out for Isabella in the Kitchen.



Wednesday 27 December 2023

Deep Fried Death (Country Store Mystery Book # 12) by Maddie Day

In the latest Country Store Mystery by Agatha and Macavity Award-winning author Maddie Day, a killer strikes - with a cast iron skillet - during South Lick, Indiana's annual Outhouse Race festivities, landing Pans 'N Pancakes-owner Robbie Jordan on the suspect list...

Many residents of South Lick, Indiana, claim the Outhouse Race, in which competitors push old-timey outhouse replicas on wheels at the annual Abe Martin Festival on Memorial Day, is the best thing since indoor plumbing. Just because country store and restaurant owner Robbie Jordan has too much to do managing her new deep fryer as well as an old lover reappearing, she’s not going to miss out on the fun. Plus, it’s good for business.

But when a dead body and a cast-iron skillet tumble out of the Pans ’N Pancakes outhouse entry on the race route, it seems someone is trying to frame Robbie—in a most unconventional way. Now she’ll need to be privy to the townsfolks’ secrets as she races to flush out a killer . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)


I am so in love with the Country Store Mystery series by Maddie Day .... and I'm sure you are also but if you aren't yet, you have lots to catch up ... especially seeing as the twelfth book in the series, Deep Fried Death, has been released.  No worries though because once you start reading you will not want to put the books down and you will breeze through them in no time.

In Deep Fried Death Robbie and her two employees are competing in the outhouse race at the Abe Martin Festival during the Memorial Day weekend.  Robbie is the owner of Pans 'N Pancakes and the outhouse is decked out with advertising for the restaurant.  Unfortunately while they are walking the outhouse to the start line, they hit a bump and a body and a skillet fall out.  Needless to say they do not compete in the race and instead are all taken to the police station and questioned.  And seeing as the race was taking place in Nashville and not South Lick, Robbie doesn't have an "in" with any of the officers.

Robbie and the deceased, Evermina Martin, didn't have much of a relationship even though they both owned restaurants and could have been in competition with each other.  Whereas Robbie felt they could both survive running their businesses, Evermina wanted to put Robbie out of business.  So being on the suspect list didn't work for Robbie so she started asking questions and when she learns that her brother-in-law, Don, was also on the list, she went full steam ahead .... or as much as she could while running the restaurant and taking care of herself during the early stages of her pregnancy and dealing with morning sickness.

Lucky, or unlucky, for Robbie a lot of the people on the suspect list come into Pans 'N Pancakes to eat so she is able to try to talk to them when she can.  Some of her police friends frequent the restaurant as well but they aren't helpful at all.  And when she fiqures out who the killer is, she has to think smart and put herself and her unborn baby first ... which we all know is going to be hard for her to do !!

Readers will love this series just as much as I do.  You will immediately feel like you are right there along side Robbie as she goes about things and you will love it !!!  I cannot tell you how awesome this series is ... well I can but you need to read it all yourself ... and then you can agree with me !!

Sunday 24 December 2023

Hallo-waiian Murder Mystery (Aloha Lagoon Mystery series Book # 20) by Rosalie Spielman


From author Rosalie Spielman comes a Halloween homicide in paradise...


It's Kiki Hepburn's first Halloween in Aloha Lagoon, and she doesn't know exactly what to expect. Between working at the busy Aloha Lagoon Dive Shop and living with the eccentric Auntie Akamai, life is always unpredictable. But one thing Kiki definitely didn't expect to find is the dead body of Auntie Akamai's life-long friend, Celine Suzuki! And when the island's Homicide Detective Ray shows up, Kiki knows the death is not an accident—it's murder.

Now Auntie Akamai's friends are all suspects in the death. Was it Oliana Harris, the Pineapple Princess, and heiress to a pineapple fortune? Margaux La Roux, a transplant from New Orleans? Or Stella Keawe, Akamai's gossipy goose of a neighbor? They're all acting suspiciously. And each is hiding something. But is what they're hiding worth killing over?

To complicate matters even more, Kiki's parents want her to bring her hot diver boyfriend Dex home for the holidays, and Kiki's not sure how she feels about the whole situation—let alone how Dex feels. Instead of enjoying her first Hawaiian Autumn under the waves, Kiki's investigation takes her to gardens of flowering poisonous plants, an over-the-top animal shelter, a prickly pineapple plantation, and a zombie theme "Hallo-wedding." With time running out and "something" stalking her every move, will Kiki live to see her Halloween treats? Or will this year end in a "trick" Kiki won't come back from?

"I cannot stress enough that you should get on board with this amazing series. You will love your time at the Aloha Lagoon!"
~ Cozy Mystery Book Reviews


About Aloha
There's trouble in paradise...
Welcome to Aloha Lagoon, one of Hawaii's hidden treasures. A little bit of tropical paradise nestled along the coast of Kauai, this resort town boasts luxurious accommodation, friendly island atmosphere...and only a slightly higher than normal murder rate. While mysterious circumstances may be the norm on our corner of the island, we're certain that our staff and Lagoon natives will make your stay in Aloha Lagoon one you will never forget!  (Summary  via Goodreads)


Anytime I can travel to the Aloha Lagoon Resort in Hawaii I am going to do it !!  And I don't even have to pack, go to the airport, and deal with jetlag.  All I have to do is open a book .....  And the recent book I opened is Hallo-waiian Murder Mystery by Rosalie Spielman.  This is the twentieth book in the series and the third written by Spielman for the series.

The Aloha Lagoon Mystery series is a series that takes place in Kauai, a resort and tourist town, which multipy authors take turns writing a book for the series.  They have some things in common, like the resort, murder and Detective Ray Kahoalani.

In Hallo-waiian Murder Mystery Kiki Hepburn is enjoying life on Kauai.  She works with her boyfriend, Dex, at his father's diving business.  They take tourist out on diving excursions.  She lives with Dex's Auntie Akamai and her pet parrot, Paulie. Unfortunately murder tends to follow her .....  and in Hallo-waiian Murder Mystery during a weekly game night with Auntie Akamai and her lifelong friends, one of the friends, Celine, drops to the floor after eating some food from their delivery order.  A short time later the group finds out that Celine died.  They think that it was a heart attack but when Detective Ray shows up, they realize they were wrong.

No one can think of why someone would target Celine when another friend, Oliana, would have been  a better victim.  But Auntie Akamai needs to know the truth so even though Kiki wants to protest, she knows that she will do whatever she can to help Auntie Akamai ..... even though the last two attempts at solving murders left their marks.

You cannot help but love this series !!  And to read books by different authors with different characters is so fun !!  You will LOVE everything about this series and will want to return to Aloha Lagoon as often as possible .... even with murder in the mix !!!! 

Saturday 23 December 2023

Isabella in the Cellar (Mistletoe Inn Mysteries Novella # 2) by Margaret Evans , Julie Hatton (illustrator)


When Laura Keene and her husband Connor are invited to spend Christmas with the sixty-five-year-old Kovacs triplets at Mistletoe Inn, mystery abounds. Laura's mostly invisible cat, Empress Isabella, tags along, so you can't guess what will happen! Join the mysteries and the wacky fun as Charlie, Harry, and Will Kovacs each search for something in their family history, but what they find may not be what they expect.In this Volume 2, Harry searches for his grandfather’s red satin cravat to wear on Christmas day. But when Laura and Connor join the hunt in the Mistletoe Inn cellar, they uncover a family secret that Harry has been hiding. What happens next changes everyone’s lives…in Isabella in the Cellar. (Summary via Goodreads)


Margaret Evans has a new mystery series called Mistletoe Inn Mysteries and Isabella in the Cellar is the second novella in this series.

I feel that in order for you to understand this series you need a brief summary of the Second Treasures Mystery series Evans has written. In that series you are introduced to Laura Rage Keene who owns a second hand thrift shop and lives above it. Her family, the Rage's, were one of the founding families of Raging Ford, Minnesota. The Second Treasures Mystery follows Laura as she falls in love with the Lieutenant of the Police force as she helps solve murders that she gets involved in. In this series you are also introduced to her friends and other business owners. There is also a gray cat that lives there, however, only Laura and Connor can see her .... until.....

In this new series, Mistletoe Inn Mysteries Laura and her new husband Connor are invited to spend Christmas and New's Year with the Kovacs triplets at the Inn. The Inn has been in the Kovacs family for a long time and it holds lots of history.  In the first novella in this series, Isabella in the Attic, Charlie, one of the triples is continuing his family's history.  With the help of Laura he finds the answers he is seeking and they are to his favor.  

Now in Isabella in the Cellar, Laura with the assistance of Isabella, helps Harry find their grandfather's cravat that he wanted to wear on Christrmas but couldn't so he really wants to wear it for New Year's.  They also uncover some documents that will change the triples lives ... as well as others.

Isabella is also continuing to wreck havoc when she can and so far two of the triples have seen and petted her ... but they don't understand where she came from and are more confused when she magically disappears.

Evans knows how to weave a captivating story and hook readers immediately ... and who wouldn't love a "magical" cat that is getting bold with letting more people see and love her ? And  Evans really makes readers love this series with this second installment of the Mistletoe Inn Mysteries. 

You can read about Isabella, Laura and Raging Ford with all it's amazing characters in the Second Treasures Mystery series as well as A Trilogy of Holiday Mysteries Starring Empress Isabella. I high encourage you to read the first novella, Isabella in the Attic and  be on the look out for Isabella in the Kitchen.


Friday 22 December 2023

Isabella in the Attic (Mistletoe Inn Mysteries Novella # 1 ) by Margaret Evans with Julie Hatton (illustrator)

When Laura Keene and her husband Connor are invited to spend Christmas with the sixty-five-year-old Kovacs triplets at Mistletoe Inn, mystery abounds. Laura's mostly invisible cat, Empress Isabella, tags along, so you can't guess what will happen! Join the mysteries and the wacky fun as Charlie, Harry, and Will Kovacs each search for something in their family history, but what they find may not be what they expect.In Volume 1, Charlie searches for the meaning of his family's history when they fled tyranny and finds more than he ever wanted to know. How will it turn out? Only Empress Isabella knows...in Isabella in the Attic.  (Summary via Goodreads)


Margaret Evans has a new mystery series called Mistletoe Inn Mysteries and Isabella in the Attic is the first novella in this series.  

If you are a fan of Margaret Evans, hopefully, you have read her Second Treasures Mystery series.  In that series you are introduced to Laura Rage Keene who owns a second hand thrift shop and lives above it.  Her family, the Rage's, were one of the founding families of Raging Ford, Minnesota.  The Second Treasures Mystery follows Laura as she falls in love with the Lieutenant of the Police force as she helps solve murders that she gets involved in.  In this series you are also introduced to her friends and other business owners.  There is also a gray cat that lives there, however, only Laura and Connor can see her .... until.....

In this new series, Mistletoe Inn Mysteries Laura and her new husband Connor are invited to spend Christmas and New's Year with the Kovacs triplets at the Inn.  The Inn has been in the Kovacs family for a long time and it holds lots of history.

So Laura and Connor pack up and head to the town Rocking Chair where the Inn is located.  They believe they are going to go celebrate the holidays and eat food and have fun with Harry, Charlie and Will and relax .... but Empress Isabella is going to throw a few wrenches in that.

In Isabella in the Attic, while the triples wait for the arrival of their guests, Charlie decides to continue researching his family's history and how they came from Hungary to the Unites States, changing their names and everything.  He has a very personal reason why this research has become so important but he is afraid to share it until he can figure it out for himself ... and he may have help from Isabella.

Evans knows how to weave a captivating story and hook readers immediately ... and who wouldn't love a "magical" cat that only allows certain people to see and love her ?  And Isabella in the Attic is the first of three novella that you will want to dive into !!

You can read about Isabella, Laura and Raging Ford with all it's amazing characters in the Second Treasures Mystery series as well as A Trilogy of Holiday Mysteries Starring Empress Isabella.  Also be on the look out for Isabella in the Cellar and then Isabella in the Kitchen.




Sunday 17 December 2023

Game Over at Guild Hall (Pret’ Near Perfect Mystery Book #3) by Patricia Meade


“It’s game on when the longtime organizer of the annual Game Supper is murdered right in front of the diners. Readers who enjoy mysteries set in colorful rural settings will love Game Over at Guild Hall.” —Sue Ann Jaffarian, author of the Odelia Grey and Ghost of Granny Apples mysteries 

In rural Vermont, where hunting and trapping are a way of life, nothing is bigger than the annual wild game supper at Guild Hall. Stella can’t wait to sample the exotic dishes prepared by her neighbors, but when the longtime organizer of the supper falls dead, a victim of poisoning, Stella’s appetite—along with a roomful of suspects—vanishes. Then that same night someone ransacks the hall’s kitchen, presumably to destroy any evidence, and spots Stella snooping. Now she fears she may be the next target.Certain the only way to save herself is to find the culprit, Stella digs into the victim’s life hoping to discover who might have wanted him dead. It turns out he’d made countless enemies over the years, as volunteers at the event were run ragged and hunters who wanted their food included were shunned. What’s more, Stella discovers the victim had unearthed a shameful and long-buried secret at the hall itself. With the list of possible suspects growing and her life in danger, Stella zeroes in on a clue that could break the case wide open—as long as she can stay out of the killer’s crosshairs . . .

 Praise for the Books of Amy Patricia

 The first in a new series for Meade features yet another set of bright young detectives . . .” —Kirkus Reviews

Quaint characters and settings abound in this outing by New Yorker-turned-Vermonter Amy Patricia Meade.” —Mystery Scene

“Meade’s debut will strike a chord with fanciers of Dorothy Sayers’s Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.” —Publishers Weekly

“If only Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart were still alive. They would be fabulous in the movie version of Meade’s debut Marjorie McClelland mystery . . . Meade’s kickoff mystery is a winner.” —Booklist

“Meade successfully segues from her historicals (Black Moonlight) to this snappy yet traditional contemporary. She brings us pitch-perfect dialogue, original characters, and enormous potential for a fun series.” —Library Journal

“A fairly straightforward plot with a neat twist at the end, good characters, and a well-drawn location make for a good read.” —The Bookbag

About the Author of the critically acclaimed Marjorie McClelland Mysteries, Amy Patricia Meade is a native of Long Island, New York, where she cut her teeth on classic films and books featuring Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown. After stints as an Operations Manager and a freelance technical writer, Amy relocated to southwest England, where she was a featured author at Agatha Christie’s Annual Greenway Literary Festival. Now residing in Upstate New York, Amy spends her time writing mysteries with a humorous or historical bent. When not writing—which is rare these days—Amy enjoys traveling, testing out new recipes, and classic films.  (Summary via Goodreads)


Game Over at Guild Hall is the third book in Amy Patricia Meade's Pret' Near Perfect Mystery series and you will have a greater understanding for hunting and preparing the meat after reading this story ..... and you may come to enjoy it or look at it completely differently ... either way, you will have a great time reading it.

In Game Over at Guild Hall main characters Stella and Nick are excited to be attending their first game dinner.  This game dinner is a very popular event at one of the local churches in their town of Teignmouth in Vermont.  Stella and Nick recently moved there for Nick's job as a forest ranger and have met some awesome friends, one of which is the local Sheriff who Stella has assisted in a few murder cases.  

This game dinner is a huge event that has multiple seating times with over 800 people attending.  All of the dishes, except for the vegetables and desserts, are made with meats made by local residents with the meat that they have hunted.  The main organizer, Warren Bessette, takes great pride in this event and is determined to have it grow every year.  The money raised goes to the Samaritans Club and St. Timothy's, the church that they have the event is donated by Father Cartwright.

Unfortunately while Stella and Nick are attending their assigned seating for the dinner with their friends Sherriff Mills and his new fiance Alma, Warren collapses and dies almost instantly.  Even thought the medical examiner rules it a heart attack, Stella and Mills do not agree ... and are not surprised when it is soon ruled a murder.

Sheriff Mills decides to deputize Stella so that she can assist in the investigation seeing as she has helped solve previous cases.  Unfortunately the arrival of Stella's mother makes it a bit difficult as Stella doesn't want to upset or disappoint her mother now that her mother has come to visit with bad news of her own.

Readers cannot help but love this story and this series.  The characters are people you would love to have in your life, you will want to move to Vermont and live in this adorable little town ... as long as you don't have to be involved with the murder cases ... or maybe you would want to be just like Stella.  Me, personally, I would rather be like Alma and bake yummy treats ... and eat all of them !!!  Regardless I am sure you will LOVE this series ... as well as everything else Meade has written or will write !!!!

Friday 8 December 2023

The Turnbull Murders: A Historic Homes Mystery by R.J. Koreto

Movie star Nicky Tallon selects architect Wren Fontaine to renovate Turnbull House, where he'll be filming his next movie. Even to Wren, used to old homes, this one is a 200-year-old federal-style home on a private island in New York harbor, designed by the most celebrated architect of the day. But Turnbull House hides many secrets, such as the disappearance of the sea captain who built it. That's just a historical curiosity, until a studio executive no one likes is killed.

Wren just wants to keep her worksite safe, but then another murder occurs, and she starts noting eerie connections between the mysteries surrounding the Turnbull family and Nicky and his entourage. The handsome star seems to have two girlfriends, a childlike folk singer and a cynical fashion model. Meanwhile, renowned actress Veronica Selwyn renews a friendship with Wren's father, which Wren finds more disturbing than she wants to admit. She concludes it's time she and her girlfriend Hadley take the next step and find a place together, an exciting but stressful change.

As the attacks continue, Wren realizes she will have to solve the mysteries surrounding Captain Turnbull and Nicky Tallon. Turnbull House speaks of order and harmony, and Wren must dig deep to see how the house has affected its owners, old and new. Fortunately for her, the eminently practical Hadley is by her side, pepper spray at the ready—because a frighteningly clever killer is about to find that Wren is getting too close to the horrific truth.  (Summary  via Goodreads)


The book description for The Turnbull Murders explains the book perfectly but I'm going to try to give you that little push you may need to convince you to read it.

The Turnbull Murders is the second book in R.J. Koreto's Historic Homes Mystery series and boy does he set the stage beautifully !!!  You will become an instant fan as soon as you start reading.

In The Turnbull Murders main character Wren Fontaine is an architect and her firm is hired to renovate the Turnbull Estate which happens to be on it's own island just outside New York City and is a short boat ride to get to.  Nicky Tallon, a famous actor, has purchased the house so he can escape the California life and be somewhere away from it all with a few chosen friends.

Luckily Nicky and a crew are going to be on the island filming for a movie so Wren will be able to talk to him whenever she needs to regarding the renovations.  Wren and her girlfriend Hadley are also going to be working close together as Hadley has been hired to provide all the food for the movie crew as well as Wren and her crew.

Wren loves to get to know the houses that she works on and the Turnbull history is most interesting as there was someone who was murdered and it doesn't look like the murderer was even brought to justice ... but it is hard to tell as they lived there over 200 years ago.  Unfortunately when someone from the movie group ends up dead, Wren becomes more interested as does Saffron who is a young friend of Nicky's.

So Wren, Hadley and Saffron become engrossed in the history of the house as they feel the house is what was the result of the murders, then and now.  But before they can figure everything out someone else is murdered .... 

Readers will fall in love with this book and everything in it !!!  Koreto knows how to draw readers into the story and you will not want to leave until you know everything about both cases.


Friday 1 December 2023

Stalking Around the Christmas Tree (Christmas Tree Farm Mystery Book # 4) by Jacqueline Frost

Tis the season to solve a murder—and innkeeper Holly White knows she’ll have to make her list and check it twice if she wants to catch the killer in the fourth Christmas Tree Farm mystery from bestselling author Jacqueline Frost.

For inn keeper Holly White, Christmas time in Mistletoe, Maine, is the ultimate holiday gift. Business at the Reindeer Games Inn is booming, her wedding to Sheriff Evan Gray is nearly here, and the annual parade is about to begin. The town is lucky to have another gift this year with the state’s ballet company staying for several performances of The Nutcracker. But disaster strikes when Tiffany, the lead ballerina, shows up dead on a float during the parade, the Rat King’s mask nearby. Holly will have to spruce up her sleuthing skills if she wants to catch the killer before Christmas—and her wedding day.

Immediately, Holly discovers that Tiffany had more than a few secrets. She finds out that the star of the show had a super fan that no one knows anything about. And the show’s understudy slips some other intriguing information Holly’s way: not only was Tiffany secretly seeing someone romantically, but there seems to be more than one rat in this company. When Holly discovers a secret passage leading to Tiffany’s dressing room, with footprints leading out; she wonders if this is evidence of a secret lover—or a stalking killer.

With an impending snowstorm and the ballet company on the way out of town, Holly must act quickly if she wants to find the person responsible for this terrible murder. Will she be able to save Christmas—or will her investigation turn cold like the weather?  (Summary via Goodreads)


The Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series by Jacqueline Frost is something for readers to look forward to every year ... like kids wait for Santa Claus.  The latest book usually releases between September and November and it will get you in the holiday season faster than seeing holiday decorations in the stores before Thanksgiving.

Stalking Around the Christmas Tree is the fourth book in the series and this series follows the White family, their Reindeer Games Tree Farm, and their quaint town of Mistletoe in snowy Maine.  In Stalking Around the Christmas Tree Holly White is planning her wedding to Sheriff Evan Gray on Christmas Eve in one of the barns on the tree farm property.  But before they can tie the knot they have a lot to do ..... and one of those things is solve a murder !!

One of the newest staples on the tree farm is the Inn that Holly oversees and the week before Christmas a ballet company is staying in town to perform The Nutcracker with many of the performers staying at the Inn.  Unfortunately the top ballerina is found dead on the float of the Christmas parade.  Holly knows that Evan is more than capable of solving the murder but everyone also knows that she cannot help but look into the murders.  And this one needs to be solved so that her perfect wedding does not get ruined !!

Not only will readers be drawn into the story for the murders but you cannot help but love the town and everything in it !!  As you read you will feel like you are a part of the story and wish that you were sitting at the counter in the Hearth drinking a yummy hot cocoa and eating a Christmas cookie made by Holly's mom.  You will also long for the friendships and relationships within the story and the LOVE between Holly and Evan is electric !!!

I wanted to read Stalking Around the Christmas Tree as soon as I received it in October but also knew that I wanted to wait until we had our house decorated and I could have the Christmas tree lit while I read .... I highly encourage you to grab your copy and a hot cocoa and get lost in Mistletoe, Maine ......


Tuesday 28 November 2023

Death in a Nutshell: An Anthropology Whodunnit Roxanne Varzi

Alex is on the verge of dismissal from her anthropology doctoral program when her luck turns and she lands a fellowship with a dioramist at the Museum of the Rockies. Only problem is, Alex hasn’t a clue about dioramas or dinosaurs, and, as she will soon find out, she’s not the only one faking it in this frozen landscape.

From New York City to Yellowstone National Park, we follow Alex, a whip-smart dyslexic-ADHD Margaret Meade cum Ms. Marple, and her friends—a Nature photographer, a Ranger, a Polish guest worker, paleontologists, poets and Iranian-elite dot-commers—as they explore friendship, identity, climate change, globalization, and a murder against the stunning backdrop of the Rockies in winter. An engaging read for adventurous mystery lovers.  (Summary via Goodreads)


Death in a Nutshell by Roxanne Varzi is an Anthropology Whodunnit and a very unique story.  This is a first for me .... while you are reading a story about a murder, the author is also educating the reader in between chapters with her Field Notes.  In the Disclaimer in the beginning of the story she tells readers that you can skip over the Field Notes as they have nothing to do with the story but offer the reader more insight in the field of Anthropology.  I, however, read all of them as I wanted to make sure I was getting everything I could out of the story and understanding as much as I could .... I will admit some things were over my head but I was still able to enjoy the story.

In Death in a Nutshell main character Alex is about the be kicked out of her doctural program.  Luckily she is accepted into a grant in the Rockies for a project studying new residents in Bozeman where she will make a diorama of the people she interviews.  She will make a little house in details after getting to know her subjects.

Alex's first diorama is going to be on Marta who is from Poland working at the Museum of the Rockies as an all around helper.  This will be an easy starting point for Alex seeing as her and Marta are the only ones living on the property, each in their own cabin.  Unfortunately before Alex can really get to know Marta, she finds her in another building on the property with a head injury.

Alex has also become friends with Will who is a Park Ranger and she tries to get his help in finding out who would want to hurt Marta.  But when they are at an event at the Museum and a photographer, Pete, is found dead in the center of the exhibit, they have more questions that answers.  Alex doesn't know who she can trust oer what to do but she knows she wants to stay and find out what is going on.

Readers will enjoy reading Death in a Nutshell and you may even come away having learned something also.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Beneath the Surface (Sam Lawson Book # 2) by David K. Wilson

Sam Lawson returns in a gripping mystery you won’t be able to put down.

When Detective Sam Lawson arrives in a sleepy East Texas town to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young woman, he soon discovers everyone has something to hide. And the more he digs, the more questions he uncovers.

Are the scratch marks on the face of the woman’s arrogant husband really from a construction accident? Why is the rich investor suddenly so interested in the investigation? Who had been hiding in the woods behind the woman’s house? Why did one of the woman’s friends leave town the same day she went missing, and what was their real relationship?

With the help of a tough-as-nails sheriff’s sergeant, Liz Garcia, and his estranged girlfriend, medical examiner Carla Davenport, Sam must navigate the tangled relationships of this small community to find the truth before it’s too late.

Beneath the Surface is an exciting new addition to the Sam Lawson Mystery series. If you like colorful dialogue, surprising plot twists and page-turning suspense, then you’ll love this fast-paced whodunnit from David K. Wilson.  (Summary via Goodreads)


I did not want Beneath the Surface to end !!  Beneath the Surface is the second book in the Sam Lawson Mystery series by David K. Wilson and it is so good that as much as you love reading it, you will hate when you finish it and there is no more to read ... if that makes sense.

In Beneath the Surface Detective Sam Lawson is sent to Big Creek in Hawkins County to assist on a missing person's case.  Unfortunately the missing woman is the daughter of his old police chief who was forced into early retirement when he was involved in a case that Lawson uncovered and solved.  Neither Lawson or Ed Kaster are happy about this but they put personal feelings aside in order to work together to look for Jamie.

Nothing is adding up on the case and everyone is very frustrated.  Jamie's husband, Gary, being the spouse, is on the top of the suspect list but his alibi's for the day that Jamie went missing are tight.  However the list of suspects starts to grow as Lawson and his partner on the case, Deputy Garcia, start talking to friends and business associates of Gary.

Once there is a BIG chance in the case, Sheriff Monroe tells Lawson he is no longer needed on the case and that he can return home.  But when Jamie's father asks Lawson to stay on the case, there no way that he can say no.  Unfortunately he is only allowed to work on it for a very short time period and the clock is ticking.....

Readers will fall in love with Lawson and this series.  You are instantly pulled into the story as soon as you open the book and will not want to stop until you get to the end.  It feels like Wilson puts a magicla spell on you and you are powerless ..... all in a very good way !!!! 

Friday 17 November 2023

Viviana Valentine and the Ticking Clock (Girl Friday Book # 3) by Emily J. Edwards

New York City, 1950. Viviana Valentine and Tommy Fortuna have a lot of resolutions for the new year—whether it’s continuing to build up their detective agency or planning their wedding, the two are looking forward to the future. On their way to Times Square to celebrate, the two witness a brutal stabbing. When Tommy tries to chase down the culprit, Viviana tries her best to save the man. She’s unsuccessful, but Viviana hears his final words: a whispered apology to an unknown friend.

Clues are hard to come by, with the only leads being the fraught last words and a few nondescript matchbooks in the victim’s overcoat. Their investigation is halted when Detective Jack Lawson of the New York Police Department arrives, immediately ruffling Viviana’s feathers and bumping chests with Tommy, who he nearly arrested for murder just months earlier. The two know there’s more to the story, but there are other pressing matters at hand.

Clients are clamoring to get the detectives to work on their cases: a man is being blackmailed by a criminal who only writes in code, Tommy’s old friend needs his fiancĂ©e tailed, and an investment banker has mysteriously vanished. To add to their work load, Viviana knows something strange is happening at her boarding house. Will of all this—plus planning for a wedding—be too much for one Girl Friday?  (Summary via Goodreads)


Viviana Valentine and the Ticking Clock is the third book in the Girl Friday Mystery series by Emily J. Edwards and Edwards knows how to whisk readers away to New York City in the 1950's with ease...

Viviana Valentine works with her fiance, Tommy, in his private investigation office.  She started off as his secretary and worked her way up to private investigator then fiance.  Betty, Viviana's one roommate at the woman's boarding house where they live is currently taking time off from being a nurse and is working for 
Tommy and Viviana as their secretary.

In Viviana Valentine and the Ticking Clock Viviana and Tommy are on their way to Time's Square on New's Year Eve to partake in the festivities but do not make it there when they witness a stabbing in an alley.  Viviana stays to try to save the stabbed victim and Tommy takes off after the man who did the stabbing.  Unfortunately Tommy loses the guy in the crowds and Viviana cannot save the victim.  The victim has no identification and mumbles an apology to Frankie.

Even though this isn't their case, they know that they are going to look into the murder as it is a bit personal to them as they witnessed it.  But they do have bills to pay so they take on other cases.  Mr. Floristan has hired them because he received a message in code and he cannot figure it out....this will lead them down a crazy path that will require assistance from Dottie, another roommate at the boarding house.  Then Mr. Bowen who works at a bank hires them to find an employee who hasn't shown up for work for a while and the outcome of that will be nothing that they could have imagined.  And then the last case is a friend of Tommy's, Mort, who wants them to trail his fiance when she goes out to see who she is meeting as he thinks she is cheating on him ... this one will make readers laugh.

Viviana and Tommy have their hands full trampsing around New York City in the cold winter weather trying to solve the cases they are hired for as well as the stabbed victim they witnessed.  And things at Mrs. K's boarding house are unsettling as well as they are working on the third floor apartment to turn it into something that Viviana and Tommy can live in once they are married and Mrs. K's brother is trying to get her and her son Olek to move somewhere safer.  And Viviana is trying to figure out the wedding and meeting Tommy's family......

Readers will love this latest book in this series as well as the previous two books.  Readers will totally want Viviana's energy and spunk !!  And you cannot help but LOVE all of the relationships and even the cases are entertaining in their own way.

Monday 6 November 2023

In the Shadow of the Bull (An Ancient Crete Mystery Book # 1) by Eleanor Kuhns

In a world of Goddess worship, sacred snakes and sacrifice, human jealousy, resentment and betrayal still run wild . . .

Ancient Crete, 1450 BC .   When her sister Arge drops to the floor in convulsions and then dies at her wedding, fifteen-year-old Martis, a young poet and bull leaper in training, is certain she was murdered. The prime suspect is the groom, Saurus, a barbarian from the Greek mainland, but when Arge’s Shade visits Martis, swearing Saurus is not her murderer, Martis vows to uncover the truth.
As Martis begins asking questions, she discovers that while her sweet sister Arge may have had no secrets, many of the people around Martis certainly do… but if the murderer is not Saurus, then who is it? The Egyptian lady who frequents the docks, one of Martis’s other sisters, her father, or someone entirely different?
Martis is in a battle against time to save her sister’s Shade from eternal unrest and uncover the killer before they strike again . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)


In the Shadow of the Bull is the first book in the Ancient Crete Mystery series by Eleanor Kuhns and it is centered around Ancient Crete in 1450 BC .... I have not read a book from that time period before and I was thoroughly surprised at how captivating it was !!

In the Shadow of the Bulls follows Martis and her family.  Martis is preparing to be a bull leaper and entertain the High Priestess as well as everyone in her town ... unfortunately things shift after her sister Arge dies right before she is to be wed.  Arge is about to marry Saurus, a barbarian sailor, when Martis says a quick prayer to the Goddess trying to prevent the marriage from happening.  Martis believes that her prayer to the Goddess is what caused her sister to die.  Everything changes when Martis is visited by Arge's shade (ghost) insisting that she was poisoned and that Martis must find out who killed her.

Even though Martis did not like Saurus, she doesn't think that he should be executed for Arge's murder if he is innocent.  And after talking with him, she believes that he genuinely loved her sister and wouldn't harm her.  But who would want to kill her and how did they do it ?

When Martis finds out that Arge was poisoned, she has a lot to figure out.  Then when another sister, Nuia, helps Saurus escape and they flee on his boat, Martis is left with more questions than answers.

Martis continues to be visited by Arge's shade insisting that she will haunt the family if her murder is not solved and the murderer dealt with.  And when Nuia and Saurus are brought back and held in the caves until they will be executed, Martis knows her time is running out.

Readers will be on the edge of their seats reading this story.  It is so different from any other stories I have read and it was so fun getting down and dirty with Martis and her life.  Reading about how things were so different and difficult for her was quite a refreshing story.  It was very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in a new series and look forward to more books to follow to see what will happen next for Martis and her family.


Thursday 2 November 2023

Syrup to No Good (Maple Syrup Mysteries Book # 2 ) by Catherine Bruns

Only a sap would try to ruin a bride's special day… Spring has finally come to Sugar Ridge, Vermont, and with it the end of syrup-making season. But Leila Khoury, new owner of Sappy Endings Farm, won't be making like molasses any time soon. Her best friend Heather's wedding is coming up, and Leila will do anything to make sure it lives up to all her sweetest dreams. Even with Leila's own romantic past stirring up trouble, everything is going to plan until the bridal shower ends up with a body count. Heather's rich and backstabbing aunt had a whole orchard of enemies, so Leila will have her work cut out for her. Can she tap the killer before Heather's dream wedding becomes a nightmare? Includes delicious Middle Eastern recipes!  (Summary via Goodreads)



In Syrup to No Good the second book in the Maple Syrup Mysteries series by Catherine Bruns readers are in for a treat !!  Not only are you going to have a nail biting, fast paced, on the edge of your seat story but you are going to be left with some yummy recipes to try yourself.  Throughout the story readers will find themselves hungry reading about the yummy foods that main character Leila's mother makes .... so I recommend having a tasty snack while you get lost in this book.

In Syrup to No Good Leila's best friend Heather is about to get married !!!  Leila is the maid of honor and has planned the best bridal shower .... one fit for the princess that Heather is.  Unfortunately at the end of the shower they discover someone left their purse behind.  When they look inside and find out it belongs to Heather's aunt, they cannot help but groan.  Heather's Aunt Monica, aunt only by marriage to Heather's father's brother Grant, isn't a very nice person.  She also has no filter on what comes out of her mouth and no one at the party really liked her.  Now Leila has to track her down to return her purse to her.  Luckily she notices that Moncia's car is still in the parking lot so she goes over to the car to see if she is in it.  Sadly Monica is in the car dead with a knife in her back !!!

As if things couldn't get any worse Heather finally admits to Leila that Monica and Grant had loaned her parents money so that she could have the elaborate wedding that she's always dreamed about.  Heather feels like she has to find out who killed Monica so that they don't have to call the wedding off.  So Heather asks Leila to help her look into who killed her ..... little did they know that the list would be long and a lot of secrets would be uncovered.

Leila decides that the best place to start is with Monica's family, mainly her husband Grant, her son from a previous marriage Devon, Devon's long-time girlfriend Lexi, Monica's store manager Jason, and Monica's best friend Belinda.  So with Heather's help they try to talk to all of them without causing suspicions.

All Leila wants to do is run the maple syrup farm her father left her, Sappy Endings, spend time with her boyfriend Noah and his daughter Emma and see Heather get married and live happily ever after.  Unfortunately she has to find a killer, deal with her ex-boyfriend Mark who returns and decides that he wants her back after their break up five years ago, and try to convince her mother that she is happy with her life as it is currently.  Gee that shouldn't be hard.

Even though Syrup to No Good is only the second book in this new series by Catherine Bruns, readers will fall instantly in love !!  The Maple Syrup Mystery series will be a series to watch for new releases and you will want to grab them as soon as they are released !!!  I promise !!!


 

Monday 30 October 2023

Murder Uncorked (Cece Barton Mystery Book # 1) by Maddie Day

Raise a glass to Cece Barton, a widowed single mom and recent L.A. transplant to California wine country, who suddenly finds herself at the center of a murder investigation in this sparkling new mystery series from Agatha Award–winning and national bestselling author Maddie Day.

As the manager of Vino y Vida Wine Bar in Colinas, Cecelia “Cece” Barton’s first Alexander Valley harvest is a whirlwind of activity. Her twin sister, Allie Halstead, who owns a nearby Victorian bed & breakfast, is accustomed to the hustle and bustle of peak tourist season. But Cece barely has a moment to enjoy her new home in between worrying about her estranged college-age daughter, juggling her responsibilities at the bar, and navigating the sticky politics of the local wine association. Just when it seems things can’t grow any more intense, Colinas is rocked by a murder within the wine community . . . and Cece is identified as a possible suspect!

With her reputation and her livelihood on the line—and the Sonoma County deputy sheriff breathing down her neck—Cece has no choice but to open up her own murder investigation. Tensions are already high in the valley, as a massive wildfire creeps toward Colinas, threatening homes, vineyards, and the vital tourist trade. And now, with a murderer on the loose, and Cece’s sleuthing exposing the valley’s bitterest old rivalries and secret new alliances, Colinas feels ready to pop! But with Allie’s help, Cece is determined to catch the killer and clear her name before everything she’s worked so hard for goes up in flames . .  (Summary via Goodreads)


Murder Uncorked is the first book in Maddie Day's new series, the Cece Barton Mystery series.  However readers can learn how main character, CeCe Barton, was instrumental in solving a murder where her twin sister was the main suspect in the novella Murderous Mittens.  Murderous Mittens is the third novella in the holiday book Christmas Mittens Murders. The stories in that book all occur around the Christmas holiday and have mittens as a main denoninator.  Cece is visiting her twin sister and family in Colinas and with the help of a new friend solves the case.  This also leads CeCe to moving to Colinas and taking a job as a manager of a wine bar.

Now onto Murder Uncorked.....It is perfectly okay if you head right to reading this book and not the novella as Day brings you up to speed immediately.  

Main character CeCe is enjoying her new life in Colinas.  She has her adorable little cottage next to elderly Richard who she enjoys coffee or wine with, she is close to her sister and her twin boys, she has a nice job managing the Vino y Vida wine bar, she is making new friends and getting to know the area.

Unfortunately while working one night she overhears two gentlemen arguing at the bar.  She knows the one, Vincent Sardo, as they have been emailing each other regarding an event Vincent would like the wine bar to host and supply free wine for.  CeCe doesn't think the wine bar should supply the wine for free seeing as the organization is the Vineyard Valley Association.

When Allie, CeCe's twin sister, calls and tells her that Vincent Sardo was found dead in his apartment, her mind goes into overdrive .... and then the detective in charge of the case comes knocking on her door wanting to know about their relationship and wants copies of all of their correspondence, she again feels the need to solve the case .... this time to clear her name.

This case is not going to be easy to solve as it seems everyone that CeCe comes in contact with seems to have a reason to dislike Vincent and may have wanted his dead....including his wife, friends and the strange hot guy staying at the B & B that Allie owns.

I can already tell you that this is going to be a long running series for readers to get hooked on !!  Day knows how to hone into her craft and capture readers attention instantly and keep it engaged until the end of the story.  And she will always keep readers wanting more and more.....


Wednesday 25 October 2023

Cold Turkey (Tish Tarragon Book # 7) by Amy Patricia Meade

Tish Tarragon is catering for Hobson Glen's annual Turkey Trot, and soon finds herself embroiled in a deadly race to the finish line . . .

Literary caterer Tish Tarragon is looking forward to opening the new Cookin' the Books cafe the day after Thanksgiving, but before then she has the small matter of catering for the Thirty-First Annual Colonial Springs Turkey Trot, a highlight in the Hobson Glen calendar.

With her food stall ready to go, Tish, the spectators and participating 'trotters' are eagerly awaiting the starter's pistol when they are confronted with the sound of rifle shots from the woods. Deputy Mayor Behrens is dead. But was he really the intended target, or could it have been Tish's ex, Mayor Schuyler Thompson? As Tish and Reade investigate, it seems there are no shortage of residents with an axe to grind against the town council their controversial policies. Can Tish finish first in her race against the killer?  (Summary via Goodreads)


Cold Turkey is the seventh book in the Tish Tarragon Mystery series by Amy Patricia Meade and even though this is a cozy mystery and someone gets murdered, I want to shift things a bit first.

The Tish Tarragon Mystery series is a series that enhances the friendship and relationship components in the story.  Main character Tish Tarragon owns a literary cafe where everything is book related, from the decorations to the names of the food dishes.  She has two amazing women that work for her, Celestine is the amazing baker and Mary Jo (MJ) helps with everytrhing else.  Mary Jo and Tish went to college with Jules who is a television weatherman.  The three are inseparable and readers LOVE their relationship !!  Celestine lost her husband of over thirty years and has started hanging out with an old high school sweetheart, Daryl, to which her adult children are not happy about.  Tish is finally dating the Sheriff in town, Clemson Reade, after a rocky past.  Mary Jo has two children, Gregory who is away at college and Kayla who is still living at home and in high school.  Jules, in Cold Turkey, has a steady boyfriend, Maurice, who has an infant son, Cassius.  Readers will love the relationships and how they flow and overlap and everyone, for the most part, get along.

Now ..... onto the murder ....  In Cold Turkey the town of Hobson Glen is getting ready for Thanksgiving and the story starts with the annual Turkey Trot.   The Turkey Trot is being held in Colonial Springs which has a lot of paths for people to enjoy.  The Turkey Trot has been moved to the week before Thanksgiving so that the Rod and Gun Club could host their event that day.  Tish and Celestine are providing sandwiches and soup with all proceeds benefiting the local food pantry.  At the start of the race the Mayor, Tish's ex-boyfriend, and the Deputy Mayor will both run into the woods where the race is to begin. Unfortunately right after they enter the woods and are unseen by spectators, shots rings out and when Sheriff Reade gets to the scene, the Deputy Mayor, Royce Behrens, is found dead by gunshot wounds to the chest.

Unfortunately it is unclear as to if Behrens was the intended target or the Mayor.  It is no secret that the Mayor, Schuyler Thompson, wasn't like by some but it is all about politics and not many politicians are liked.  So Reade and his assistant Officer Clayton begin the investigation.  Luckily they have Tish along as a consultant for the department to help.  (As a side note it should be mentioned that Tish is working on re-opening her cafe in a new location after being evicted from her old location by the Mayor after they broke up ..... and no I do not believe that she is the murderer .... but you never know.)

As they investigate the case it is clear that Behrens wasn't a nice person, personally and professionally.  Reade, Clayton and Tish have a lot of people to talk to and try to eliminate from the suspect list ..... and try to determine what is truth and what is lies.  Luckily they are able to go home and over take-out food take with the rest of the group to bounce ideas and theories off of.

Meade knows how to spin a web and branch off from it .... especially with this murder.  There is no way for readers to determine who the guilty party is ... you will need to turn a room in your house over to this case, with every wall space used for notes which will branch off.  And when the case is solved and the guilty is taken away in handcuffs, you will be left scratching your head is disbelief !!!  I know I was .....




Tuesday 10 October 2023

Murders of a Feather (Dr. Kate Vet Mysteries Book # 3) by Eileen Brady

It's February in the Hudson Valley and Oak Falls veterinarian Dr. Kate is once again up to her galoshes in corpses Hudson Valley winters can be brutal…and deadly!

Dr. Kate is once again on the case (not to mention thin ice) after discovering a young engaged couple frozen to death in the lake. To make matters worse, her temporary receptionist appears to have overdosed from a recreational sedative used at the animal hospital.

Kate barely has time to dread Valentine's Day (and the fact that she's alone on this holiday, once again) as the police investigation shows that all three fatalities are in fact homicides.  But who would want the young couple dead, just as they were embarking on a new life together? And who pumped the temp employee full of enough animal tranquilizers to drop an ox?

Kate doesn't know where to begin until she stumbles upon a connection between the three victims and decides she needs to investigate further. But will her investigation leave her any time to get to know the handsome large animal vet she's just met on a house call? And is the injured wild crow she's taken under her wing in fact an omen of more bad things to come?  (Summary via Goodreads)


Murders of a Feather is the third book in the Dr. Kate Vet Mystery series by Eileen Brady and I sure hope that you are a fan ..... if not, I hope you will be soon !!!  There is a lot in this series for readers to fall in love with !!

In Murders of a Feather Dr. Kate and her assistant Mari are getting ready to work a whole week without their rock of an office manager, Cindy.  Cindy and her family which included Police Chief Bobby Garcia who is her brother-in-law are heading to Florida for a week.  Luckily Cindy has secured help from a friend.  Babs has worked in the animal hospital before as well as others so she was use to the way things worked.

Unfortunately while Dr. Kate and Mari were out on a house call, they noticed a man on the side of the road looking for help ..... he claimed to find a body in the woods.  So Dr. Kate and Mari, with their medical knowledge went to see if they could help the person.  Unfortunately the man was dead and when they looked around, they found another body trapped under the water on the nearby lake.

Then to make matters worst, when Dr. Kat and Mari return from being out on a house call they could not find, they find Babs dead in the surgery room ..... and it was not suicide like some thought. 

Dr. Kate being the person that she is starts asking about the couple and Babs. She learns that Alicia and Jose were engaged to be married soon.  Alicia and Jose did not deserve to die in the manner that they did and when Cindy and family returned from vacation, her brother-in-law deemed that they were murdered.  However it took a bit of convincing before Chief Garcia would agree about Babs.

Cindy is left mourning a close friend as well as seeing to Babs estate while a living relative is located.  Dr. Kate offers to help but also wants to find out who killed these three individuals.  So Dr. Kate talks to anyone willing to discuss the deceased as well as dives into their online presence .... sadly it is like not getting her anywhere.

Readers cannot help but feel pulled by this series.  You will love the characters, the town, the businesses and everything else involved.  You begin to feel like you belong there just like Dr. Kate and when you get to the end and hear the NEWS and bombshell that Brady gives readers, you will fall in love all over again !!!!