Thursday 28 March 2024

'Bout to Dye in Birmingham (A Cousins Cozy Mystery series ) by Beth Hamer Miles

From author Beth Hamer Miles comes a hilarious take on the worst year of your life...It’s March 2020 in Birmingham, Alabama, but Maggie Baxter and her cousin Hugh Lee Pinkston are facing problems even bigger than the quarantine. While navigating her home health job, along with shutdowns, face masks, and toilet paper shortages, Maggie stumbles upon a dead man—snipped in the bud with his own set of monogrammed scissors!It's a salon scheme gone south, and now, Maggie and Hughley are in the midst of a murder investigation. Missing hair salon owners, disappearing patients, destructive raccoons...and why does everyone have purple hair? It’s a mystery fit for Shear-Lock Combs! Can Maggie and Hughley find a killer and survive 2020...or will this be their last bad hair day?

"Realistic dialogue, good character development and interesting setting. Looking forward to reading next one! 5 Stars!"~ So Many Books  (Summary via Goodreads)

I love when authors make the story as real as they can or throw some real life things into make believe stories and Beth Hamer Miles does just that in her new Cousins Cozy Mystery series !!

In 'Bout to Dye in Birmingham main characters Maggie and Hughley, who are cousins, are about to test their relationhip and friendship ... and Maggie is going to test her sanity a bunch of times !!  It is March in the year 2020 and it's the beginning of when the coronavirus begins to affect people in the United States.  The colleges have closed forcing Maggie and Sam's twin daughters, Anna and Jenna, to move back home.  Now they will have all three kids, Anna, Jenna and their son, Evan all under one roof along with Sam who already works from home.  The only one that will be impacted the most will be Maggie who is an at-home speech therapist so she will continue to visit clients in their homes.

But right before everything closes down Maggie is going to get one more luxury treatment and get her hair done.  She is referred to Lula's Locks by one of her client's who is Lula's mother.  Unfortunately Maggie takes the back entrance to the salon which is a long dirt road with a dead naked body in the way.  Little does Maggie know that she will be getting herself and Hughley in the middle of everything !!

Not that finding a dead body isn't bad in itself but Maggie and Sam are going to have to move everyone into Hughley's house when their house ends up having a lot of problems and issues where they are unable to continue staying there.  Luckily Hughley has a huge house and doesn't mind the company.  Plus the house next door to Hughley becomes a project for him when he becomes friends with Dean who is going to be staying there and fixing it to put it on the market.

Readers will fall in love with this book instantly !!  This was one story that I did not want to end.  I was having so much fun staying at Hughley's huge house hanging out with Maggie and crew.  It was also interesting to read a story that included the coronavirus ... as horrible as that was, it is a part of our lives and knowing that it affected everyone helps.  I think readers will really feel for this story and will be on the lookout for future books for sure !!!

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Murder Marks the Page (Tomes & Tea Mystery series Book # 1) by Karen Rose Smith

The first in a new series spun off from the Daisy Tea Garden Mysteries, Daisy’s daughter Jazzi Swanson has opened her own book and tea shop, providing a variety of literature and flavored beverages for a rural New York community. But Jazzi has not only inherited her mother’s gift for brewing tasty drinks—she also has a nose for sniffing out murder.

New York State’s Belltower Landing is a lakeside resort town where tourists spend their summer days boating, floating, and paddle-boarding on the water. It’s also the perfect place to cuddle up with a good book and enjoy a cup of tea, courtesy of Tomes & Tea. Owned and operated by Jazzi and her best friend Dawn Fernsby, the book bar is beloved by vacationers and locals alike, but browsers grabbing brews in the off season aren’t enough to help them make ends meet.

Between brainstorming social media publicity ideas for the shop and fending off flirtatious men she has no interest in or time for, Jazzi befriends a woman named Brie who has recently made contact with her biological father. As an adopted child herself, Jazzi is more than happy to give Brie emotional support, especially as her wealthy father’s wife and children see her as a threat.

But Brie is also looking to start a family of her own. Unfortunately, all the potential princes she’s met through a dating app turn out to be frogs. Then, when Brie is found murdered, Jazzi finds herself playing detective. With a list of suspects ranging from jealous half-siblings to less-than-suitable suitors, Jazzi may need to consult some of her shop’s bestselling mysteries to help her uncover a killer . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

Right after I finish writing my review for Murder Marks the Page by Karen Rose Smith, I am going to go pack because I am moving to Belltower Landing immediately ... as soon as I find out where this fictional town is located.  Murder Marks the Page is the first book in the Tomes & Tea Mystery series by Smith and boy does she set the stage beautifully !!!

In Murder Marks the Page readers are introduced to Jazzi and Dawn who are longtime friends having met in college at a group for adoptive children.  They bonded over the fact that they were both adopted and became roommates and then moved back to Belltower Landing where Dawn is from and where Jazzi would spend her summers.  Now they are business owners as well as roommates.  They own Tomes & Tea where they sell tea, baked goods and books.

Jazzi and Dawn are introduced to Brie by their friend Delaney who knows about their adoptive pasts and feels that Brie, who is looking for her adoptive father, will benefit from their experiences.  Unfortunately shortly after they meet, and before they can begin to help her with her quest, Delaney finds Brie's body.  This was right after Jazzi had dinner with her and was getting to know her so her and Delaney are questioned by the police.

Jazzi knows that she should focus on the shop and not murder but she is drawn to Brie's case because that is what Jazzi's mom would do.  And even though she needs to convince Dawn not to share her part of the business and this is the time of year that the town relies on tourists, Jazzi can not say no the Brie's mother when she asks for help.

There is a lot going on in the town of Belltower Landing and readers will love every part of it.  Getting to know a new town, the businesses, the people and the relationships is always fun with a new series and Karen Rose Smith does not disappoint !!  She is spot on with this debut book and you will become a fan as soon as you open the book.  You will want to move there also ... and if you find Belltower Landing, please let me know .... we can be roommates !!

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Chilled to the Dog Bone (A Samantha Davies Mystery series Book # 5) by S.A. Kazlo

It's Saint Patrick's Day weekend in chilly upstate New York, and Samantha Davies, children's picture book author and sometime sleuth, is excited to attend the annual outdoors games put on by the local Wings Falls fire company. It will be a weekend filled with fun activities such as a skillet toss, four-wheeler race, and the ever-popular decorated wooden outhouse race across the ice. Sam is looking forward to dancing the night away with her beau, police detective Hank Johnson at the Firefighter's Ball. Sam's rug hooking group, the Loopy Ladies is sponsoring one of the outhouses and their senior member, Gladys O'Malley, will have the honor of riding on the "throne" to the finish line.

Only not all goes as planned when the neighboring fire company's chief is found in Gladys' place—frozen solid and dead as a doornail! To make matters worse, both Gladys' and Sam's fingerprints are all over the evidence at the murder scene, taking them from attendees to suspects. Now it's up to Sam to clear their names and get to the truth. The only problem is the victim had disagreements with almost everyone in town, from the Wings Falls fire chief to a sexy blonde named Sunny Foxx—with two xx's—and a slew of other suspects. Can Sam find the killer before the Luck of the Irish runs out for her? Or will she become chilled to the bone when the killer catches up to her...

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

Chilled to the Dog Bone is the fifth book in the Samantha Davies Mystery series by S.A. Kazlo and boy is this series a HOOT !!!  

Samantha and her lovable dog, Porkchop, are just trying to enjoy life.  Sam just published her first book, a children's book about Porkchop, titled Porkshop the Wonder Dog, and they are going to be doing their first appearance promoting the book at the local library.  Sam is also enjoying her relationship with Police Detective Hank Johnson as well as her time hanging out with her cousin, Candie, and their friends in the Loopy Ladies rug hooking group.  

Unfortunately another murder is going to take time for her to try to solve when the outhouse races at the local Firemen's Convention are postponed when a neighboring fire department's chief is found dead in the Loopy Ladies outhouse .... and Sam and her neighbor (also Hank's aunt) Gladys are on the suspect list !!!  And when Hank is taken off the case, Sam knows it's just a matter of time before her childhood enemy Joe "Sandy" Peters will try to put the cuffs on her whether she is innocent or guilty.

Sam and Candie begin their investigation even though they have been warned off by Hank.  They know that they have to do whatever they can to prove that Sam and Gladys are innocent, however, this will not be an easy case to solved as the suspect list is longer than they imagined.  It seems like nobody liked Ivan Kline and the more they dig, the deeper they get ....

Readers cannot help but fall in love with this series !!  There is so much to love, even the murders are interesting !!  You will love Wings Falls, the businesses, the people, and the relationships and friendships.  There are plenty of times that I have read a book and wanted to jump into the story and live in the town and the Samantha Davies Mystery series is one on the top of that list !!  I know you will love it as much as I did.  The only sad part is when you close the book when you get to the end .... but hopefully a new one will be coming out soon and we will be happy again !!!

Saturday 9 March 2024

Cirque du Slay (Hayden & Friends Book # 2) by Rob Osler

In the rollicking mystery, perfect for fans of Steven Rowley and Elle Cosimano, the circus becomes the stage for a high-profile murder investigation.

With quirky LGBTQ+ amateur sleuths, Cirque du Slay will delight readers looking for a madcap mystery with high-flying excitement!

Pint-sized Seattle middle school teacher and gay dating blogger Hayden McCall and his best friend Hollister are invited to a fundraiser for Bakers Without Borders. The celebrity performer, Kennedy Osaka, is the artistic director of Mysterium, an upscale circus arts show combining magic, acrobatics, and a Michelin-star dinner. But Kennedy is a no-show—until she’s found dead in her hotel suite.

When frenemy Sarah Lee is discovered in the room with the body, Hayden and Hollister are on the case to find the real culprit before Sarah Lee is charged with the crime.

The suspects for the murder are as unique as Mysterium a Russian trapeze artist, a cowgirl comedian sharp-shooter, an over-cologned operations director, a feisty, green-haired costume manager, and Adrenalin!, a sexy troop of Romanian male acrobats...If Hayden and Hollister are to clear Sarah Lee of suspicion, they’ll have to outsmart a killer for whom trickery is art.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Readers will love the Hayden & Friends Mystery series by Rob Osler.  This is a very unique series and with the second book just released, you have plenty of time to catch up if you aren't already a huge fan !!

Cirque du Slay has main character Hayden and his best friend Hollister again working to solve a murder and uncover the truth ... except this time Hayden has to struggle with the fact that Sarah Lee is not one of his favorite people.  

In Cirque du Slay a circus like show, Mysterium is in town and Sarah Lee grew up with one of the performers so she asks her to come perform at a fundraiser being held at a friends bakery.  When Kennedy does not show up or return her calls, Sarah Lee storms out saying that Kennedy is a dead woman.  Kennedy goes to the hotel where a number of the performers are staying and is found by the police standing over Kennedy's body holding the murder weapon.  Unfortunately Kennedy does not remember entering the room or the events until the police arrived.  Because Kennedy works for Hayden and Hollister's other close friend, Burley, the group know they must look into the murder and clear Sarah Lee's name.  

Hayden and Hollister begin investigating at the big tent and surrounding trailers of where Mysterium is set for a month-long performance.  In order to get in and have access to everyone, they have to go undercover.  This is all well and good until they get in hot water and need to rethink everything !!  

Readers will love this series.  It is a fresh look at cozy mysteries in a lot of ways !!  First the main character is a male, a gay male.  His best friend is a black woman who wears black, has a mohawk hairstyle and is as sweet as can be.  Hayden often seeks the help of his aunt's neighbor who is an elderly man.  Throughout the story Hayden shares posts from his Mates on Dates blog.  And there are a lot of other unique things regarding this series but I will leave some of the mystery for you to uncover as you dig into this amazing series !!!