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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Pumpkin Spice Sacrifice (Murder in the Mix #3) by Addison Moore


Pumpkin Spice Sacrifice

Kindle Edition, 284 pages
Published October 7th 2019 by Bookouture



Goodreads synopsis:
*A laugh out loud cozy mystery by New York Times Bestseller Addison Moore*

My name is Lottie Lemon, and I see dead pets. Okay, so on occasion I see a dearly departed human, too. And, unfortunately for me, that horrible scenario is playing out right this minute. Worse yet, that good-looking ghost just so happens to look just like my friend, Everett, and it refuses to leave his side. I’m petrified of losing Everett, so much so that I too refuse to leave his side, which of course doesn’t exactly bode well with my newly minted boyfriend, Noah Fox, who is just as comely as his surname suggests. After two horrific murders just took place in our small town of Honey Hollow, I’m ready to put the last few months behind me, but when I come across another gruesome discovery, my entire world comes crashing down on me once again. 

Lottie Lemon has a brand new bakery to tend to, a budding romance with perhaps one too many suitors, and she has the supernatural ability to see dead pets—which are always harbingers for ominous things to come. Throw in the occasional ghost of the human variety, a string of murders, and her insatiable thirst for justice, and you’ll have more chaos than you know what to do with. 
Living in the small town of Honey Hollow can be murder.

***

4 Stars

This is the third book in the Murder in the Mix series by Addison Moore.

What a fun and pumpkin spicy read. There was definitely a lot of pumpkin spice everything in this book.  Plus there was more than spice than pumpkin as Lottie, Noah and Everett investigate a murder that leads to a spicy and exotic club. 

I am reading this book as a part of my own #BuzzwordReadathon featuring the word SPICE so it really fits my reading prompt. I love everything pumpkin spice.

Lottie Lemon is a baker and has opened a new bakery to sell her goods. Because of the good name she has garnered, Lottie is providing the baked goods for a local award ceremony.  At this ceremony a woman falls dead as she accepts her award. One of Lottie’s friends, Everett, is accused of the diabolical deed and Lottie makes it her focus to get him cleared of all charges. This seems like a no-brainer since Lottie’s new boyfriend, Noah Fox, is a police officer. All Lottie proves to do during the story is make Noah jealous of all the time she is spending with Everett. You begin to wonder which man is Lottie meant for? The ghost of Everett’s dead father makes an appearance here and there during the investigation since Lottie has the gift to see the dead. If there was a dead pet, like the synopsis above suggests, I didn’t notice them. And maybe I just thought they were alive and missed the whole “dead” aspect of the animal.

This cozy was quite a tame one since most of the “romance” of the story was forefront and the cozy mystery part of the story was pushed to filler to round out the novel. I wish there had been more attention to the mystery part. I think this book could have been fifty pages longer to fulfill that need.

I enjoyed digging into the life of Lottie Lemon and look forward to the many other books in this series since there are a fair few. If you love a good foodie cozy mystery with an abundance of romance, definitely check this one out!

As an afterword, I have to say that I really appreciate the cute and cool covers these novels have. What a great designer Addison Moore has tapped into!

The Christmas Countdown by Donna Ashcroft


The Christmas Countdown

Kindle Edition, 284 pages
Published October 7th 2019 by Bookouture



Goodreads synopsis:
It’s that time of year again, snowflakes are fluttering and the countdown to Christmas has begun! Holly Devine is returning to the only place that feels like home, hoping that some festive magic will help to turn her life around…

Twenty-seven-year-old Holly Devine has just had her heart well and truly broken. Hurt by the two people she loves the most, she flees to her eccentric Aunt Clara’s cosy cottage to hide away over the winter season. But kind, impulsive Aunt Clara has other ideas… She’s not about to see her favourite niece wallowing in sadness during the most wonderful time of the year. So, with the help of her close circle of friends and plenty of gin, she creates a handmade advent calendar for Holly.

Every day in December, Holly opens a new door and has a different task to complete. She soon finds herself asking out a complete stranger – gorgeous, cheeky pub landlord, Finn Jackson. But as handsome Finn gets involved in her festive challenges, Holly’s determination to avoid romance is put to the test. Still, Finn’s far too carefree and single for true love, isn’t he?

As Holly begins to embrace each day – a complete makeover, building the biggest snowman she’s ever seen, singing in a karaoke contest – Finn is there adding fun and laughter to every moment. Holly starts to realise that she can become the person she’s always wanted to be…

But a secret from Finn’s past threatens to turn Holly’s Christmas upside down and makes her question everything she has experienced in the last few weeks. Will Finn open up to Holly in time to show her how he really feels? And will she complete the advent calendar challenges and fall in love this Christmas?

***

4 Stars

This was a really fun read. A lot of other reviewers said it was “flirty”. I am not sure that it the right description. I am going to say fun and intense, because when it wasn’t fun and exciting it was mega intense. The characters worked through a lot of issues in this. I am not sure either of them was really ready for a committed relationship when the book began.

The whole Advent Calendar thing was inventive and really got Holly out of her comfort zone. I think it is easy to get into the same mindset as Holly had in this book. You keep putting off until tomorrow to deal with things and suddenly not dealing with things becomes the norm. Holly really needed to confront her sister about stealing her boyfriend. And truly, what does it say about the boyfriend that he didn’t end one relationship before starting a new one? What a dud he turned out to be. I loved the addition of Holly’s Aunt Clara. What a hoot she was. I wish there had been more scenes with her in a more prominent role.

There is a big scene where the two of them (Finn and Holly) realize they really like each other and move into the “making love” phase. Suddenly, Finn is uncomfortable about being that “real” with Holly. His reaction seemed so odd to me. I was surprised the mountain between them didn’t grow even more. A lot of the conflicts like these seemed so easily remedied once the character focused on the issue. I wish there had been a bit more struggle to regain what they really wanted in life. I don’t always need a book wrapped up in a big bow when it ends. But a happily ever after scenario is always appreciated.

The intenseness of this book was remedied by the fun and exciting Advent Calendar Countdown and I found it to be an overall great read. If you love your romance with a bit of trial, definitely check this book out! 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, October 30, 2019

The TBR Machine & Cozy Mystery Book Club picks by November TBR

theTBRmachine.com & 

Cozy Mystery Book Club picks my

November TBR!



Read a book with food on the cover: Nogged Off by Barbara Ross


Read a book with yellow on the cover:  Lethal Pursuit by Will Thomas


Read a book with blue on the cover: Fan Mail by Daryl Woods Gerber



Read a book that is a favorite of a friend or family: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is one of my brother, Aaron's favorite books 
and a co-worker also recommended it a few years back.


Read a book by an author who is older than you: The Target by Catherine Coulter


CozyMysteryBookClub pick: Drizzled with Death by Jessie Crockett



Read the smallest book on your shelf: Dragon’s Oath by P.C. Cast



Cozy Escape Book Club Pick: A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams



Read a book with red on the cover: Clarets of Fire by Christine E. Blum



Read a book with an ugly cover: Rules in Deceit by Nichole Severn

This isn't exactly ugly but I am not a fan of this cover so it fits the prompt for me.





Read a book with a person on the cover: 
London's Late Night Scandal by Annabelle Bryant



Read a book from an author you haven't read anything from before: 
Dark Water by Robert Brenda



Read a book with orange on the cover: Homicide by Horse Show by Arlene Kay



Read a romance book: Seduced by the Stranger by Alyssa J. Montgomery



Read a book that will make you happy: Embrace Your Weird by Felicia Day



Read a sad book: Death in the Village by Betty Rowlands

Of Spice and Men (Pancake House Mystery #3) by Sarah Fox


Of Spice and Men
by Sarah Fox 

Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Alibi




Goodreads synopsis:
Lights. Camera. Murder? Wildwood Cove’s star turn is soured by a sneaky killer in this delicious cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Crêpes of Wrath.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

With a Hollywood film crew in town to shoot a remake of the horror classic The Perishing, the residents of Wildwood Cove are all abuzz. Even Marley McKinney, owner of The Flip Side Pancake House, can overlook the fact that the lead actress, Alyssa Jayde, happens to be an old flame of her boyfriend. After all, the crew loves Marley’s crêpes—so much so that Christine, the head makeup artist, invites her onset for a behind-the-scenes tour. But when Marley arrives, the special-effects trailer is on fire . . . with Christine inside.

The cops quickly rule Christine’s death a murder, and Alyssa a suspect. Marley’s boyfriend insists that the actress is innocent, but when Marley sticks her nose into the complicated lives of The Perishing’s cast and crew, she discovers more questions than answers. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda—and a plausible motive. And as the horror spills over from the silver screen, Marley gets a funny feeling that she may be the killer’s next victim.

***

4.5 Stars

This is the third book in the Pancake House Mystery series by Sarah Fox.

What a fun fall read! I am so excited for this series! Foodies definitely check this one out!

This main character is an everyday gal who is not so nosy to be annoying and just nosy enough to get the amateur sleuthing job done. Her business, The Flip Side Pancake House is the hangout mecca for all the locals. So, when a remake of a horror movie classic starts to film in her hometown, her shop is where they all come to dine… and handout the majority of the juiciest clues.

The original lead actress, Alyssa, is replaced by a different gal and Christine is the one who ends up in a trailer fire and killed. Considering the small number of cast on set, there are a number of suspects among them. Marley even worries that Alyssa, her boyfriend’s ex could be to blame even though she isn’t even in town during the course of the book.

I thought this was quite an interesting concept. I was glad to finally dive into a book in this series. It has been calling to me for awhile. I look forward to reading all the books in this series since it intrigues me so.

If you want to read a good cozy mystery with all the bells and whistles, definitely check this one out.

This is a book that I put into my own personal Buzzword Readathon using the word SPICE. Join me in this readathon for the remainder of October and halfway through November. Such a fun work to pick books by. After all, this is Pumpkin SPICE Season!


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.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Honor Role (A Detective Inspector Tessa Grantley Mystery Book 2) by Tim Hoy


Honor Role
(A Detective Inspector Tessa Grantley Mystery Book 2)
by Tim Hoy

Kindle Edition, 267 pages
Published October 3rd 2019 by Bookouture




Goodreads synopsis:
A captivating thriller of clashing cultures, the code of honor, the power of mercy, and the tangled lies between friends and family, Honor Role follows the quest of a fearless detective determined to do what she believes is right—no matter the cost.

It should have been an open-and-shut case: suicide by cyanide. But when Detective Inspector Tessa Grantley pries open the hidden parts of Freddy Hayworth’s life, she uncovers his complicated battle with mental illness and the parade of spurned women left in Freddy’s wake. Quickly, a full-blown homicide investigation ensues, where nothing is as it seems.

Outside of her demanding police work, DI Grantley seems to have outrun the secrets of her past. She is raising her son in a loving home, in a quiet London neighborhood, embraced by a tight-knit, supportive community. And while she might occasionally have different ideas about child-rearing than her Pakistani-born nanny, Jabirah Rahman, Tessa and Jabirah develop a bond not easily broken . . . until Jabirah disappears. Then, Tessa must use her intuition and investigative skills on two fronts. What she finds puts her on a collision course with ideas of justice and righteousness that dangerously conflict with her own.

In this thriller from the author of Still Death, the boundaries between Detective Inspector Tessa Grantley’s career and her family fatally blur, causing her to question everything she believes in.

***

4 Stars

This is the second book in the Detective Inspector Tessa Grantley Mystery series by Tim Hoy.

We have two separate cases going on in this book. One is her job searching for the killer of Freddy Hayworth. Looks likes suicide by cyanide to start with but this case takes her on quite a ride, The further she  delves into Freddy’s life, the more the suspects pile up.

On top of that, she has her own case to solve as her nanny leaves to return to Pakistan but signs keep pointing to the fact that Jabirah might actually be dead. Her culture doesn’t appease her need to be with her boyfriend and not the man chosen for her by her family. There is a huge culture clash here as Tessa begins to fear the worst.

The Freddy case was okay and it was all police procedural, but the search for clues about the nanny are what makes this book sing. We fear along with Tessa as she gets closer and closer to the truth.

If you like detective fiction and police procedurals, this is definitely is definitely for you! Cool new series to add to my TBR 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.

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Spell of Murder (A Lost Maidens Loch Mystery #1) by Kennedy Kerr


A Spell of Murder

Kindle Edition, 267 pages
Published October 3rd 2019 by Bookouture





Goodreads synopsis:
In the sleepy town of Lost Maidens Loch, people sometimes disappear…

Down a quiet lane in town sits a little shop full of oddities you’d probably miss if you weren’t looking for it. This is Love’s Curiosities Inc., and its owner, Temerity Love, is sought by experts all over the world for her rare and magical gift: the ability to find lost things and learn their stories.

When Lost Maidens’ pretty local school teacher is found murdered by a poisoned cup of tea, a strange antique hand mirror is discovered nearby. Temerity – with the help of witchy sister Tilda, their cats Scylla and Charybdis and the lovingly eccentric local townspeople – is determined to divine the story behind the mirror and its part in Miss Molly Bayliss’ untimely death.

If only grumpy out-of-towner Angus Harley of Lost Maidens Police wasn’t on the scene. Temerity can’t solve the crime without him, but he’s distracting, and in more ways than one. Can this unconventional duo solve the most mysterious murder ever to blight Lost Maidens Loch before the killer strikes again?

A magical and unputdownable whodunnit, perfect for fans of Adele Abbott, Amanda M. Lee and Leighann Dobbs.

***

4 Stars

This is the first book in the Lost Maidens Loch mystery series by Kennedy Kerr.

Temerity Love has the gift to touch things and discover their truths. When a teacher is poisoned, she does her thing and searches the cup for the perfect memory hiding within it. She then uses this to help the police solve the murder.

I enjoyed the dynamic between Angus, the police chief and Temerity Love the psychic. You can tell there is going to be some big spark they will have to contend with one day and I plan to be there to see the fireworks. This story was just a fun ride. I enjoyed all the magical elements and terms used within its pages. 

Once you start reading, you will definitely want to hold out till the end. Great book one and I look forward to many other offerings by this author. A new author for my TBR pile, yay!


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.

Dirty Rich Secrets: Part One (Dirty Rich #11) by Lisa Renee Jones


Dirty Rich Secrets: Part One

Kindle Edition, 100 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Julie Patra Publishing





Goodreads synopsis:
He was passion and the reason I breathed. I loved him, trusted him when life taught me to trust no one. He was nothing I thought he was. He wasn’t even the man he said he was. He was dangerous. Everyone told me to hide, to run, but now he’s back. He came for me and I’m not running at all. Because he’s still the man that gave me a reason to breathe and if that’s dangerous, that’s a risk I will have to take.

Ashley's story - you met her in Dirty Rich Cinderella Story, and now she's ready to tell her story. You do not need to read any book prior to this one.

***

3 Stars

This is the 11th book in the Dirty Rich series by Lisa Renee Jones.

Sometimes you just have to take a book for what it is. A romantic escape from reality.

There is nothing too enlightening about this book. Spy guy lied about his name. Noah or Aaron. He’s a spy. He lies. He has secrets. Tons of them apparently.

When I started reading this, I felt like I had entered a movie theater halfway through the picture. I think there is a lot of backstory I missed that happened before the book started and I needed that intel in order to appreciate this more. It is really hard to download so much detail in a 100 page novella. So I understand why it was left out. Not everyone is like me and will dive into a series at book eleven.

I was indeed intrigued by the plot and characters but I felt the flow was a little off in the writing and the character development could have been better. Even with those strikes against it, the book was still good and readable. Not everyone looks for perfect prose and flow in a book.

If you just want a guilty pleasure read that is short and promises more, definitely pick this up. 


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.

Sins of the Fathers (J.P. Beaumont #24) by J.A. Jance


Sins of the Fathers
by J.A. Jance 

ebook, 384 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by William Morrow




Goodreads synopsis:
Seattle investigator J. P. Beaumont is drawn into an intriguing, and shockingly personal, case in this superb tale of suspense from New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance.

Former Seattle homicide cop, J. P. Beaumont, is learning to enjoy the new realities of retirement doing morning crossword puzzles by a roaring fireplace; playing frisbee with his new dog; having quiet lunches with his still working wife.But then his past comes calling.

When a long ago acquaintance, Alan Dale, shows up on Beau’s doorstep with a newborn infant in hand and asking for help locating his missing daughter, Beau finds himself faced with an investigation that will turn his own life upside down by dragging his none-too-stellar past onto a roller-coaster ride that may well derail his serene present.It turns out that, even in retirement. murder is still the name of J. P. Beaumont’s game.

***

4.75 Stars

This is the 24th book in the J.P. Beaumont series by J.A. Jance. And I have to say that I was so impressed by this book. It is the twenty-fourth book in a series and it is still written as if the character is fresh and new.  That says something about the talent of the author.

I have not read a book by this author before and if I had, it would have been a long time ago. 

I felt such a kinship with J.P. Beaumont… like he was a long lost relative that I just clicked with. I just clicked with this retired homicide cop turned private investigator. He is asked by an old acquaintance to help locate his missing daughter. As the case moves forward, J.P. learns this case is more personal than he realized with truths are brought forth hidden for decades.

Loved this story so much. Just just feel for the guy when he has to come clean with his children and one of them gives him, the cold shoulder. J.P. just seems to take it all in stride. This book offered so much personality behind both J.P. and his wife, Mel, and the secondary characters shine as well. I have already picked up book one in this series so I can start at the beginning and enjoy it from case number one.

If you have never tried a J.A. Jance mystery, definitely pick one up. This is so readable. You relate to the characters and the read is like slicing butter. Smooth and easy.

What a gem of an author. Going to put this way up high on my TBR for next year. I may even try to read a book a month out of this series just to keep the J.P. love in my mind all year long.


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.

Ice Cold Heart (Monkeewrench #10) by P.J. Tracy


Ice Cold Heart

Kindle Edition, 144 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Zebra




Goodreads synopsis:
Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth join Grace MacBride and Monkeewrench to uncover a dark and ugly conspiracy that reaches deep into the safety of homes in this latest electrifying thriller from New York Times bestselling author P. J. Tracy.

It's a bitter winter in Minnesota--too cold to kill. There hasn't been a murder for a month, but the lull quickly comes to an end for Detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth, when they're called to the gruesome homicide of Kelly Ramage. Found in a friend's vacant house, this was no random attack, and clues reveal that she was living a very dangerous secret life.

Magozzi and Gino trace her steps back to an art gallery where she was last seen alive. The gallery seems like a dead end, but the art is disturbing and exploitative. It may very well be inspiring a sadistic killer, because in this instance, art doesn't imitate life, it imitates death.

Tipped off about a year-old murder that is a mirror-image of Kelly's crime scene, Gino and Magozzi enlist the aid of Grace MacBride and her eccentric, tech genius partners in Monkeewrench Software to help them decipher the digital trail that might connect the cases.

As coincidences emerge, Magozzi, Gino, and the team have to work around the clock at breakneck pace to unravel a series of clues that form the framework of a larger, more sweeping, and insidious conspiracy than any of them could have imagined. Is Kelly the last person to die or just the most recent? And is there any way to stop it?
***

4.5 Stars

This is the tenth book in the Monkeewrench series by P.J. Tracy.

I thought this was quite an interesting story and am glad I picked this up to dive into.

In this police procedural mystery we find a trophy wife, who is leading a double life, murdered in her best friend’s house. I have not read the other books in this series so I am not sure if the villain is new every time or moves from book to book. 

I wasn’t familiar with the detectives either and they didn’t stand out to me in any way. It was the plot that shined in this novel. I would have liked to have more personal details about the detectives in order to make me want to follow them from book to book. 

The Monkeewrench concept wasn’t defined here and I think it was assumed that by book ten we would know what that entity was. No one expects you to dive into the series on book ten. This tale was quite a twisty-turney one, but in the end it makes total sense.

Even though the detectives weren’t memorable, the story definitely was. The plot was a masterful piece of work and I will definitely be picking up more by P.J. Tracy!


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.