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Monday, September 30, 2019

The Perfect Brew (Perfect Brew) by Jo-Ann Carson


The Perfect Brew

ebook, 162 pages
Published September 16th 2019 by JRT Publications




Goodreads synopsis:
An unexpected inheritance turns Cassie Black’s world upside-down, and she finds herself the owner of a sentient coffee-house that comes with an inter-dimensional portal and a side of ancient curse. When Cassie is summoned to attend the funeral of her great-aunt, Ophelia, she finds the picturesque village on the edge of the ocean is not at all what it seems. Her benefactor’s death is suspicious, and to make matters worse, after Ophelia’s lawyer explains her will to Cassie, he drops dead in a plate of cookie crumbs. That makes two unexplained deaths, which is two too many for a good witch to swallow.

Up to her neck in mysteries, and weighed down with a curse, Cassie canvases the town to find the murderer. Of course, there are many unusual suspects, a tall, dark and annoying human detective keeps getting in her way, and a seductive warlock offers his assistance.

Will Cassie catch the villain before he kills again? Will she be able to free herself from the curse? Will Sid, her beloved cat familiar with a naughty mind, convince her to play dirty with the boys?


***

4.5 Stars

This is the first book in the Perfect Brew paranormal cozy mystery series by Jo-Ann Carson.

Okay, this was just a fun read. It is quirky and sometimes you roll your eyes at the over-the-top-ness of it all but you can’t deny that you get hooked by all the weird and wonderfulness of it.

Cassie Black thinks she is going to blow into town and get the inheritance from a relative she never knew and go back to Amsterdam but things don’t always work out like she planed in this story.

The lawyer falls over dead while he is explaining the details of the will, Cassie runs into the classic car of the town police officer not once but twice and a wayward warlock has forced Cassie into a blood oath she is not sure she is ready for. This book is filled with so much I wonder what they have left for book two in the series. 

I didn’t quite understand the entire dynamic behind the sentient brew house but I am sure more will be revealed in other books. This was fun and I look forward to chillin’ with my favorite coffee drink with Cassie and her friends.

If you are looking for a serious mystery, go look to another book. You need to take this for what it is, a fun cozy romp that takes your mind off your troubles and makes you chuckle while you follow along with the drama.

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

The Lies We Tell (The Undertaker's Daughter #2) by Debra Webb


The Lies We Tell

ebook, 384 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by MIRA



Goodreads synopsis:
Nothing hurts like the truth.

Doctor Rowan Dupont knows a serial killer is coming for her. Julian Addington has been waiting. Watching. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes. But what Julian doesn’t know is that Rowan is ready for him. And more than anything she wants answers. How well did the depraved killer actually know her mother? And how many lies have been spun in the years since she took her own life?

Working alongside her childhood friend Police Chief Billy Brannigan, Rowan is determined to get to the bottom of her mother’s puzzling suicide once and for all—even if it means exposing an unsettling past. It certainly seems like her family’s Victorian funeral home has borne witness to more than one dark secret, but when a recent double homicide leads to an even grislier discovery, separating the truth from the lies might be the last thing Rowan does.


***

4.5 Stars

This is the second book in the Undertaker’s Daughter series by Debra Webb.

Okay, I am going to tell you right from the beginning. Go and read book one first. This will make so much  more sense if you do. It is an on-going plotline that continued from the previous book. This can be read as a standalone but you have to get up to speed pretty fast on the backstory in order to make it all understandable.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Rowan and Billy. They have these romantic feelings for each other but they fear if they take that next logical step that it might ruin their friendship forever. 

I didn’t really get a good feel for this Julian character. He felt like more of an outside threat that never seemed to make an appearance in the flesh than a real bad guy. And the other threats were sure abundant in this book. There is a point three-forths through when Billy finds Rowan missing and you can physically feel how ill this makes Billy feel. His head is reeling and he is truly scared for the woman he knows he loves. That is craft-full writing right there.

There are a whole bunch of subtle undertaker one liners that I found so fun and they snuck up on you during the intense moments of the story that you just had to laugh. I am surely going to read  book one and find out more of what I felt I missed by skipping this integral part of the plotline.

Great stuff. Definitely on the must read list!


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

Last Pen Standing (Stationery Shop Mystery #1) by Vivian Conroy


Last Pen Standing

Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Poisoned Pen Press




Goodreads synopsis:
Will this paper trail run cold?

As the new co-owner of Tundish Montana's stationery shop WANTED, Delta Douglas knows how to organize a killer crafting event. Creativity and cardstock are all she needs to move one step closer to her ultimate dream: developing her own line of crafting products. But on the night of the workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn't the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta's best friend is suspected of the crime.

Enlisting the help of her Paper Posse and Spud, her canine sidekick, Delta dives into the investigation. But with many high-powered suspects on the line, Delta soon realizes her sleuthing may come with deadly consequences.


***

4.5 Stars

This is the first book in the Stationery Shop Mystery series by Vivian Conroy.

I was excited to find yet another series I want to follow. This story was just fun. I loved the outlaw take on the town’s image and how the stationery shop was called WANTED. I feel like I need Clue-like pack of cards  with their photos in order to keep track of the Paper Posse and all their nicknames verses their real names, where they work, what their gossip expertise is, etc. There was a terrific grapevine in this town which seemed to be the leading help when trying to uncover a murderer.

The author fooled me while introducing Ray Taylor at the very beginning. I thought for sure he was the male lead. Then later discovered that role went to Jonas Nord, wildlife photographer and former police officer. I wonder where the romantic interests will lead in future books since I wasn’t quite convinced of anyone’s true romantic intensions by the end. 

My favorite part had to be the paper posse and how they joined together to help Delta solve the crime. I wonder if the author plans to have featured paper crafting exercises or tips in future books. It might be cool to have a craft-along.

When Delta’s best friend, Hazel and her brother both get fingered for the crime, we know that this will spur our spunky crafting maven into action to discover the truth and bring her friends back home safe and sound. Lots of interesting characters in this and I look forward to reading more books in this series! Such a fun ride! Cozy mystery fans better saddle up and check this one out!


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

Lethal Nights (Brute Force #3) by Lora Leigh


Lethal Nights

Kindle Edition, 301 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by St. Martin's Paperbacks



Goodreads synopsis:
#1 bestselling author Lora Leigh turns up the heat in her latest novel of high-stakes passion and persuasion featuring the men of Brute Force.

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man—and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost—one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?


***

4.25 Stars

This is the third book in the Brute Force series by Lora Leigh.

I wasn’t sure exactly what level of sexy to expect from this book. I wasn’t certain if Leigh was a more erotic author or just a run of the mill romantic suspense maven. What I found was somewhere in between. 

Ilya was super intense in that brooding, no one really understands me type of way. And Emma Jane didn’t seem to want to let the happiness live at her residence. I didn’t quite understand either of them. I feel like their problems and situation could have been figured out much earlier if they both learned to compromise.

Ilya didn’t communicate enough and neither did EJ. They pretty much set themselves up for failure from the start as if each of them didn’t deserve the love of the other.

Like I said above this was an intense, intense book. It gave me a headache at times but I am glad that the author found a way to make it all come together in the end. I felt like it was a bit iffy all the way through the book. Not as many sexy scenes as I anticipated but it was a well rounded romantic suspense that kept me guessing until the end.


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

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Buried in the Stacks (The Haunted Library Mysteries #3) by Allison Brook


Buried in the Stacks
by Allison Brook (Pseudonym), Marilyn Levinson

Hardcover, 313 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Crooked Lane Books


Goodreads synopsis:
Librarian Carrie Singleton is building a haven, but one of her neighbors is misbehavin'. Can resident spirit Evelyn help Carrie catch the culprit who made her a ghost?

In winter, the Haunted Library is a refuge for homeless townspeople. When a group purchases a vacant house to establish a daytime haven for the homeless, Carrie offers the library as a meeting place for the Haven House committee, but quickly learns that it may be used for illegal activities.

As the new Sunshine Delegate, Carrie heads to the hospital to visit her cantankerous colleague, Dorothy, who had fallen outside the local supermarket. She tells Carrie that her husband tried to kill her—and that he murdered her Aunt Evelyn, the library's resident ghost, six years earlier.

And then Dorothy is murdered—run off the road as soon as she returns to work. Evelyn implores Carrie to find her niece's killer, but that's no easy task: Dorothy had made a hobby of blackmailing her neighbors and colleagues. Carrie, Evelyn, and Smoky Joe the cat are on the case, but are the library cards stacked against them?


***

4.5 Stars

This is the third book in the Haunted Library Mystery series by Allison Brook.

I found another cozy series to follow religiously. I am having such good luck in the series department lately. I really, really enjoyed this.

Former goth girl turned librarian stars in this exciting cozy mystery. She can’t seem to keep her nose out of the investigation. Can any amateur sleuth ever keep themselves from finding out the truth? Carrie Singleton is designated the Sunshine Delegate at the library which means she is the lady who gives out cards, flowers and gifts to those on staff who are sick or in the hospital. The first person she has to visit is not her favorite person in the world. Dorothy has been a thorn in her side before and now she has to smile and be nice when she ends up in the hospital after a nasty fall on the ice.   

There had been a bit of a kerfuffle at the library regarding homeless people needing someplace to stay during the cold weather and it bloomed the idea of a place called Haven House for them to stay at during the day. But not all was what it seemed behind this idea.

Then Dorothy winds up dead and Carrie goes into full investigation mode to the dismay of her boyfriend, Dylan and John, the resident cop. There is a lot going on in this series and just when you think you might know where the plot is going you change your mind when another clue pops up.

This is a really fun cozy romp! And I am reading the previous two books as soon as possible.

Definitely check out this cozy if you love mysteries. You won’t be disappointed.


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

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Tide and Punishment (Seaside Cafe Mystery #3) by Bree Baker


Tide and Punishment

Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Poisoned Pen Press



Goodreads synopsis:
No one dreams of a killer Christmas...
It's Christmastime in Charm, North Carolina, and while Everly Swan would prefer to focus on decorating her iced tea shop for its first holiday season, Great-Aunt Fran has decided to run for mayor against her long-time nemesis. But when the other candidate turns up dead just before the first scheduled debate, all eyes turn to Fran as the suspect with the most obvious motive.
Everly knows her sweet, elderly Aunt Fran couldn't have murdered anyone, but as she struggles to find the real killer, it begins to seem like this may be the last merry Christmas her family may ever have.


***

5 Stars

This is the third book in the Seaside Cafe Mystery series! by Bree Baker.

I am in love with this series!

I am very excited about this book if you can’t tell by the first sentence of this review. As I was reading it I felt like the cast and author was giving me a big warm hug and that thought just made me smile. There aren’t a lot of series that I really connect with and this is one of them! Yay for me! Something new to follow.

I can’t believe we are already getting books about Christmas and winter weather! I am still waiting for fall to truly arrive on my doorstep!

I am enjoying the two different love interests for Everly Swan. One is the do-gooder Cop who we don’t know for sure is really interested in Everly and then there is the ex-boyfriend, the cowboy and rebel who seems to know he made a mistake and wants his girl back.

The cast is wonderful, even those I don’t particularly like. You need that dynamic in a story to keep it fresh and interesting. When Everly’s Great Aunt Fran gets accused of the murder of her mayoral rival, you know from the get go that she is being set up. Why do the innocent people always pick up the murder weapon and put their fingerprints on the villainous device? Your heart sinks every time. At least it does for me.

As you make your way though the book you just get this heartwarming feeling that makes your heart sing. And by the end you feel like you want to cry since these people are so nice. I am in awe of this series and plan to read every previous book right away! So excited to discover a new favorite series to follow!

Definitely check out this fun cozy mystery series. Highly recommended.


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

A Very Mummy Holiday (Tourist Trap Mysteries #10) by Lynn Cahoon


A Very Mummy Holiday

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 29th 2019 by Lyrical Underground




Goodreads synopsis:
Jill Gardner has left her book-and-coffee shop behind to spend Thanksgiving week in coastal Oregon with her cop boyfriend, her golden retriever Emma, and a crowd of friends and family. But before the feast can start, foul play interrupts their vacation . . .

The rented house was supposed to be a relaxing getaway. But Jill and her companions feel a sense of danger instead. First, they learn that their hosts’ son had a fiancĂ©e, but her disappearance remains unexplained—and then they meet some menacing members of a local trail-riding club. When one of Jill and Greg’s friends finds human remains amid the dunes—with a diamond ring around one mummified finger—things start heating up fast, and they’ll be thankful just to survive through the long weekend . . .

***

4 Stars

This is a novella in the Tourist Trap mystery series by Lynn Cahoon. She numbers her books in order no matter if it is novella or novel. This is book ten in the series.

I was really hoping this was going to be a full novel. No such luck. I am not certain when the next full length story will surface. I am still waiting patiently. Thank goodness for these novellas! They make the wait not so trying.

This book features Jill Gardner and her cop boyfriend, Greg along with some newer characters from the previous few books. They are not ones you may easily remember so maybe go back and check out the last few books to brush up on the backstory if you need to. They are on vacation with this couple. Jill is trying to make friends but would rather stay in her hidey-hole and read. Greg forces her to get out and socialize. During one of their outings, they stumble across a dead body in the sand after a rather nasty storm had shifted the ground revealing the body of a woman.

I wish this book had been a bit longer. I really felt like this needed a bit more development. I was just starting to get into the story and then it was over. I never really had a handle on who some of the main characters were from the area where they were vacationing. Sometimes I really need that backstory in my mind to understand all the motivations and who might have wanted the person dead.

This is still one of my favorite cozy mystery series! I will always pick up a new title no matter if it is novella or novel. I just can’t get enough! I hope Jill is back in her normal setting at Coffee, Books and More in the next installment. I am missing my South Cove regulars!


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

Murder in the Balcony (Movie Palace Mystery #2) by Margaret Dumas


Murder in the Balcony

Kindle Edition
Published September 24th 2019 by Henery Press



Goodreads synopsis:
Classic Movies, Ghostly Mischief, and Murder! Nora Paige is settling into her new life as manager of the Palace movie theater. She only has a few things to worry about. Like keeping the theater safely out of the clutches of an evil real estate developer, dealing with her staff of movie-obsessed misfits and their daily meltdowns, and hiding the fact that her new best friend Trixie is the ghost of an usherette who died in 1937.

It would also be helpful if she could figure out whether she wants to take her charming-but-cheating husband back.

But when someone close to the Palace is murdered, the only thing Nora really needs to worry about is finding the killer before they strike again.

***

5 Stars

This is the second book in the Movie Palace Mystery series by Margaret Dumas.

I was excited to see that book two was already released in this intoxicating series! I am indeed hooked by Trixie, Nora/Sally Lee and all the workers at the Palace Theater.

All our favorite people are back for this installment: Hector in all his Spanish broodiness is always there to save the day, curmudgeonly Marty the projectionist is always good for a laugh and his boyfriend, Detective Jackson gets to the details of the murder not to mention the senior of the bunch, Albert and his memoir and history with the theater.

The Palace Theater still struggles financially and there is someone out to buy up all the property in their area for some yet unknown scheme. When a plethora of real estate professionals show up in the theater for a meeting, one of them ends up dead, thrown off the same balcony as Trixie! And that wasn’t the only dead person in this story. Days earlier a man known to the cast ends up dead and his three girlfriends show up each not really knowing much, if anything, about the other.

It is the cast of this delicious mystery that really seals the deal for me. I just adore all of them. I don’t think the author will be able to write fast enough to make me get enough of them all! I am just in love. Squee! More please.

If you love cozy mysteries, definitely check out this series. Highly, highly recommended!


I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank Edelweiss, Henery Press and the author for allowing me to read this title.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Strangers She Knows (Cape Charade #3) by Christina Dodd


Strangers She Knows


Kindle Edition
Published September 10th 2019 by Crooked Lane Books



Goodreads synopsis:
I have three deadly problems:
1. I've seriously offended a maniacal killer.
2. I just had a bullet removed from my brain.
3. My new daughter is growing up too fast--and she's in the line of fire.

Living on an obscure, technology-free island off California means safety from the murderer who hunts Kellen Adams and her new family.... Or does it? Family time becomes terror-time, and at last, alone, Kellen faces a killer playing a cruel game. Only one can survive, and Kellen knows who must win...and who must die.

***

4 Stars

This is the third book in the Cape Charade series by Christina Dodd.

When I picked this up I didn’t realize it was part of a series so I was unfamiliar with the cast or any of the backstory. You definitely need to read book one first for this to make any kind of sense. This is not a standalone book.

There are a couple of character groupings I had to get my mind around before I figured out what was going on. One group was the family, the next was the killer and her storyline and the third was like a diary featuring a women who previously owned the house in which the family lived.

I was pretty confused until about a third of the way in. I was having my kindle read it to me via the text to speech device and these groupings I previously mentioned got all muddled in my brain before I had finally recognized everyone in the cast. This is not really a book to be listened to on audio, especially not in 2x speed like I normally listen.

The plot is pretty interesting. And I think this might come across better if it were a movie or tv show. There are a lot of dynamic moments that didn’t have the impact they could have because the visual sense is being left out as we read. If you are good at seeing the scene in your minds eye, this will be so much more suspenseful. I feel like my reading at 2x speed lessened the impact as well. This is book that needs to scare you and I just wasn’t giving it the opportunity to do that based on how I read.

Basic premise is that a lady and her family go to an island. A killer has followed them. Their daughter is a little too eager and a little too bored and ends up coming across the killer. There is a great twist at the end which I totally didn’t see coming and was happy to have explained the significance of the diary entries.

I have picked up the previous two books in this series just to catch up on the backstory. I suggest you do the same. This book will have so much more impact if you do.

Highly recommended for suspense and thriller fans.


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