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Monday, March 23, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Swan Dive by Kendel Lynn (Elliott Lisbon Mystery #3)

by Kendel Lynn (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 250 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by Henery Press

Goodreads synopsis: It’s Opening Night at the Ballantyne Foundation’s production of The Nutcracker, but it’s curtains for the Sugar Plum Fairy. When her body is found backstage, fatally poisoned by a cupcake she baked herself, rumors turn to suicide. But Elli Lisbon, director of the Ballantyne and coordinator of the ballet, smells something rotten amidst the sugar and spice.
   As Elli applies her PI-in-training skills on the troupe of suspects, she discovers an eccentric herbalist, a temperamental chef, a stalking choreographer, and a bevy of backstage secrets. Between her off-the-record investigation, duty as director, and highly-charged love life, she finds herself caught in a dance to stay one pirouette ahead of a half-baked killer.


Elli knows a lot about the ballet. Her adopted mother and father run a foundation that sponsor the arts and they, the Ballantyne's have provided funding for The Nutcracker every year for as long as she can remember. This year is different when the lead dancer is found dead in her dressing room. Elii decides to use her expanding PI skills to help the police solve the murder. Elli is training to be a PI (Private Investigator) and expects ex-flame and now detective, Nick Ransom, with the police to play fair. But Nick doesn't always understand the meaning of the word share. His idea is that she shares and he doesn't have to.

When Nick came back to town, Elli became perplexed waffling between a relationship with School master, Maddie and Ransom.

Since this is book three in a series, there has already been a lot of things that have happened in previous books between these characters. But you don't feel like you are left out about any history between them because the author puts in those little gems of explanation very well. 

Elli knows the dead ballerina. She has danced this particular show in previous seasons and she is... err... was the best. And her personal life is way more complex than anyone knew. 

This mystery was very entertaining and fun to follow. I will definitely be checking out the other books in this series. And you should too. Cozy lovers will adore this one!

4 Stars!

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from Net Galley in return for an honest review. I thank Net Galley, the author and the publisher for allowing me to read this title.

Friday, March 20, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Twisted Threads (Mainely Needlepoint #1) by Lea Wait

Twisted Threads (Mainely Needlepoint #1)
by Lea Wait (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Kensington

Goodreads synopsis: Returning to the quaint coastal town of Harbor Haven, Maine—a place she once called home—Angie Curtis finds her memories aren’t all quite pleasant ones…
    After leaving a decade ago, Angie has been called back to Harbor Haven by her grandmother, Charlotte, who raised her following her mother’s disappearance when she was a child. Her mother has been found, and now the question of her whereabouts has sadly become the mystery of her murder.
    The bright spot in Angie’s homecoming is reuniting with Charlotte, who has started her own needlepointing business with a group called Mainely Needlepointers. But when a shady business associate of the stitchers dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Charlotte and Angie become suspects. As Angie starts to weave together clues, she discovers that this new murder may have ties to her own mother’s cold case…

I am loving this Mainely Needlework series. It was so fun to read. I am a cross-stitcher and I felt like I had come home while reading this book. I actually wished such a place really existed. If you do needlework of any kind, you should definitely pick up this novel.

It starts out with a cold case featuring the death of the main character's mother. Her body had been recently discovered in a freezer in the local baker's storage unit. Angie, the main character, is called back to Haven Harbor, Maine where she was working in the office of a private investigator. Her grandmother had started a needlework business called Mainely Needlework and she had gotten a lot of the locals to make some extra money stitching stuff. But a shady character who suggested he could be their agent slid into town and at first it was all good. Then the relationship went sour and suddenly the stitchers weren't getting paid for all their hard work. Gram asks Angie who has some knowledge of private investigation to look into finding this shady agent and getting their money back. Plus, to make things worse, the agent had conned all of the customer files from Gram so she didn't even know to whom they were selling all their wares and it was 'her' needlework business.

A lot more than that happens but I don't want to ruin it for the rest of you. It really kept me on the edge of my seat. I listened to it on my Kindle as I cross stitched. What a great experience. I can't wait for the next book which comes out in August! I will definitely be picking that one up.

5 Stars.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from Net Galley in return for an honest review. I thank Net Galley, the author and the publisher for allowing me to read this title.

Monday, March 16, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Criminal Confections by Colette London

Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Kensington

Goodreads synopsis: Hayden Mundy Moore is an expert on everything chocolate, helping clients develop new products and revamp recipes until they're irresistible. But sometimes, a dash of murder finds its way into the mix. . .

I enjoyed the setting and general theme of this book. It was interesting to follow a lady who was an expert at chocolate. I had recently been buying chocolate, the dark kind, with 70% of cocoa right before I started reading this book. It made me relish the chocolate a bit more than I would have before reading it.

This mystery was intricate but I did figure out whodunit before the end. Yay me. But it wasn't obviously planted for you to discover the culprit. You had to work at it and pay attention. I did want Hayden to meet up with her evasive phone pal/attorney before the end of the book, but I am hoping they meet or she gets to see who he is in book two of the series. 

I am not sure how many of the characters will transition into the book series as a whole but this author has created a wonderful world filled with interesting and eclectic characters. I think this series will be very successful. I just loved the book. Please pick this one up if you are a cozy mystery lover.... and even if you're not, you'll love this one!!

4 Stars

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from Net Galley in return for an honest review. I thank Net Galley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Hit and Nun (A Lucille Mystery #3) by Peg Cochran

by Peg Cochran (Goodreads Author)
Kindle Edition
Published January 5th 2015 by Beyond the Page

Goodreads synopsis: The hilarious Lucille Mazzarella is back, and this time she’s investigating a murder linked to her favorite pizzeria. When the fifty-something housewife goes undercover at a restaurant to solve the case, she quickly learns that if the killer doesn’t get her, the calories will. 

When I started reading this book I didn't expect that the main character would be close to my own age. Usually the main characters are younger. Lucille was quite a hoot. She was a saint-praying, pizza/Italian eating New York/New Jersey type. It reminded me a bit of the Stephanie Plum mysteries because of its setting but I think this book did the setting better through dialogue. The author chose to let the characters speak the slang of the area they came from. So, there was a lot of "Yo!" type words in the book but I thought that was quite nice. It rounded out the characters and made the story seem more real.

I was unsure why it was called Hit and Nun and I discovered why about three fourths through the book. I am not sure this was the best title for the book since the nun came in so late. But I understand why they chose the title and it sort of does give away a bit of the plot if you are curious about the title as you are reading.

I did suspect who I thought dun it, but the reason behind why he dun it was a great surprise. I like how the author really used the backstory of the characters to color their present moments.

I just loved this story. Lucille and her friend Flo were a hoot and a half. Definitely pick this one up if you love Stephanie Plum mysteries or just love a great cozy.

4 Stars.

I will definitely be checking out books one and two of this series. 

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from Net Galley in return for an honest review. I thank the author, publisher and Net Galley for allowing me to read this book.

Monday, March 9, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: And The Earth Moved by Zanna Mackenzie

And The Earth Moved (Amber Reed CCIA Mysteries #1)
by Zanna Mackenzie (Goodreads Author)
Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published December 11th 2014

Goodreads synopsis: Charlie Huxton works for the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency. He is called in when the brother of a famous tv heartthrob is killed. Amber is a friend of Ennis, the heartthrob, and he asks her to keep an eye on Charlie as he investigates the death of Joel, Ennis's brother.
   Charlie and Amber delve into Joel’s death and soon have their hands full with questioning potential suspects and the victim’s irate ex-girlfriend. Then they discover they’re battling something far more dangerous than they could ever have expected…and it’s not just their growing attraction for each other. 
   Maybe Amber’s life is about to get too exciting… 

I did not know what to expect going into this book. I had never heard of the author before and I wasn't sure if this would be the type of book I like to read. As I got into the book, I realized this is exactly the type of title I like to dive into. This is the beginning of a series. Zanna already has a second book in the works which I think is cool beans! I will definitely be on the lookout for it. Amber Reed is a part time bar maid and a part time creator of horoscopes for a column in a local newspaper. Her life gets quite interesting as she follows Charlie that first day. Her driving skills leave something to be desired and is caught by him almost before she said "go."

There are quite a number of twists and turns in this story that will keep the reader interested in solving the whodunit for themselves. I totally did not know who was involved. The killer, whom I will not name, was not spoken of a lot in the story so it was hard to suspect this person. If you want to solve the mystery by following the clues, you might not be able to. But just follow along with Amber and enjoy her experiences in the art of spying and detective work.

4 Stars

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from the author, Zanna Mackenzie. I thank her and her publishing company for allowing me to read this book.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Slayed on the Slopes (Pacific Northwest #2)

Slayed on the Slopes (Pacific Northwest #2)
by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley (Goodreads Author)
Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by Kensington

Goodreads snopsis: After talking her way into a job writing for Portland's Northwest Extreme magazine, Meg Reed may now really be in over her head. Actually, about 8,000 feet over her head. . .
   She's at Mount Hood's remote Silcox Hut, covering the the seriously hardcore Ridge Rangers-- Oregon's elite high-altitude rescue team--during their four-day winter training. Sure, Meg beefed up her outdoor skills over the summer . . . but she's still hoping to cover the event with some hot chocolate by the cheery fireplace. Then, during a sudden blizzard, she swears she hears gunshots. No one stranded in the hut believes her . . . until self-absorbed Ridge Ranger Ben Rogers is found outside in a pool of frozen blood. Meg's now got to find this killer quickly . . . before cabin fever does them all in.

This is my first foray into the world of Meg Reed. She is a spunky gal who is totally crushing on her boss (although she would never admit that), she loves the art of journalism and writing. Her beloved father she calls "Pops" got her into this art. He died while chasing a story about meth.

I found this story really relevant to my life right now. While I was reading it we got 8 inches of snow dumped on us right at the moment in the story when the character got snowed in the cabin on the mountain.

I loved the character of Gam, Meg's grandmother. She was endearing and I totally dug how she was into reiki and new age healing techniques always asking Meg to center herself and find her place of calm inside. I wonder if the author has such a person in her life since she speaks of this world Gam lives in with such fervor.

The author really surprised me because I did not figure out whodunit by the time the killer was revealed. There is much more to this world of Meg Reed, I think since the story ended with  a bit of a cliffhanger. So I hope to see more Meg Reed mysteries in the future.

Just a wonderful romp through an icy wonderland. Highly recommended.

RATING: 4 Stars!

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from Net Galley in return for an honest review. I thank Net Galley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.