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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Death of a Deputy (A Murder in Milburn #2) by Nancy McGovern

Death of a Deputy

Kindle Edition, 212 pages
Published May 1st 2016 by McGovern Books

Goodreads synopsis: 
Nora Newberry's dream life is not going according plan.

Her best friend and business partner, Raquel, has just been murdered. The one man she had thought she loved can now be seen moseying through town with a supermodel dangling off his arm. And the diner she and Raquel had planned on opening together may never feed its first customer.

At least she still has her friend, the town Sheriff, Sean...

So, when the Sheriff's deputy is killed at the town's annual Viking festival and everyone suspects Sean of murder, Nora realizes she must step in and prove him innocent. After all, she can't handle losing him, too!


4.5 stars

This is the second book in the Murder in Milburn series by Nancy McGovern.

Between this book and the first book Nora and Harvey broke up. And Nora hung around Sean. Then he gets framed for murder and loses his job. The murdered deputy was in debt up to his eyeballs and his his wife was in love with Sean! So that gives Sean motive for the murder.

This book was just as intense as book one. I am not always a fan of how Nora acts. We have yet to see her open her diner even when she is offered money from two of her friends. It becomes a sticking point between her and Harvey. He wonders if she even wants to see this dream come to life at all.

This is definitely a book with many angles. 

If you love a good cozy mystery, check this one out. What a fun read!

Death at a Diner (A Murder in Milburn #1) by Nancy McGovern

Death at a Diner

Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published April 7th 2016 by McGovern Books (first published April 2016)

Goodreads synopsis: 
Nora Newberry has been working to make her dreams come true and finally, after 10 years, it's time! She’s moved back to her hometown of Milburn, Wyoming, and, together with her lifelong best friend, Raquel Madden, is opening the diner they've been planning since high school. Life couldn't be better...and it's time to celebrate!

Sadly, the celebration doesn't last long. Just three days before the diner is set to open its doors, Raquel is found murdered. And with no clear motive and little cooperation from the townspeople, Nora is thrown into a murder investigation that just may cause her to lose her own life.


4.5 stars

This is the first book in the Murder in Milburn series by Nancy McGovern.

After reading a previous book by McGovern, I decided to pick up this series on a whim. Sometimes you can’t take a series for granted that it is going to be full of fluff and misspellings. This series takes cozy writing seriously. It is intense. It is fun and it makes you sometimes not even like the main character. But then you come to love them again and root for their success.

This story is about Nora and Raquel who are life long friends and want to start a business together. Right before they can open their doors, Raquel is murdered and Nora is in a bad accident with her new boyfriend. Tensions just ramp up from there. Nora decides to dig into the murder investigation instead of trying to open the business they started. Without Raquel’s money, Nora is sure the business will fail and so she focuses on what she can control.

This is part of a ten or more book series that I bought on Kindle. Definitely enjoying it thus far. Good series to dig into.

If you love a good cozy mystery, check this one out. What a fun read!

Death & Decluttering (A Good, Clean Cozy Mystery - Spark & Joy #1) by Nancy McGovern

Death & Decluttering
(A Good, Clean Cozy Mystery - Spark & Joy #1)

Published June 23rd 2020 by MCGOVERN BOOKS

Goodreads synopsis: 
Joy Russo loves chaos. From her life as a busy reporter to her brawling, coffee-obsessed Italian family, there’s nothing she loves more than her messy, little life. Then the weird, slightly out-of-this-world Aurora Sparks arrives, whose life seems to revolve around creating order out of chaos.

The two of them have somehow ended up as roommates in the small Upstate New York town of Bent River, and the old adage that says “opposite attract” couldn’t be further from the truth! Sparks fly & tempers flare as each young lady tries to deal with the other’s eccentricities while not compromising their own values. Much easier said than done.

But when a man is found dead and Joy’s father is the prime suspect, the two must put aside their differences if they want to help him. They soon find that Joy’s tough, no-nonsense demeanor and Aurora’s ordered, structured nature perfectly complement each other when it comes to ferreting out clues. And thankfully so, as the danger threatens to escalate unless they can sort through the facts and solve this mystery in a hurry!

Death & Decluttering is the first cozy mystery adventure in Nancy McGovern’s new series, Sparks & Joy!


4.5 stars

This is the first book in the Spark & Joy series by Nancy McGovern.

I picked this up on a whim from the Kindle store. I have been on a decluttering kick lately and thought it would be a fun read. Wow, was I right. This was not only fun but pretty intense for a cozy mystery. I had myself a little stress fest here and there while reading it. That shows that the characters are fully blown people who can make me feel all the feels.

This is definitely a series I want to continue with. There wasn’t as much decluttering as I would have liked but I figure more will come when new books come out.

Joy and Aurora didn’t quite see eye to eye when Joy’s grandfather left Aurora half the house Joy was currently living in. When Aurora left New York to move into her new house, Joy was not pleased and pretty perturbed that her grandfather had done this to her. There was a lot of ramped up tension in this. But there was a lot of family love and loyalty too. Just a good mix of it all.

If you love a good cozy mystery, check this one out. What a fun read!

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Last Curtain Call (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #8) by Juliet Blackwell

The Last Curtain Call

Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: June 30th 2020 by Berkley Books

Goodreads synopsis: 
A new ghoulish mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Ghostly Light featuring Mel Turner, a ghost-whispering contractor.

Mel Turner can’t resist the chance to bring the Crockett Theatre, a decrepit San Francisco Art Deco movie palace, back to life. But there’s a catch for Turner Construction: Several artists are currently squatting in the building, and they aren’t the only ones haunting the once-grand halls of the historic theater...

When one of the squatters is found dead, the police department has a long list of suspects to investigate. Meanwhile, Mel and her fiancé, Landon, are remodeling an old house for themselves, and Mel finds being on the other side of a home renovation project more challenging than she expected.

When Mel discovers that the former owner of the Crockett Theatre died under mysterious circumstances, and that there just might be a connection to the ghost haunting her own attic, the case takes a new turn—one that could bring down the curtain for the last time.


5 stars

This is the eighth book in the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series by Juliet Blackwell.

Totally enjoyed this stunner of a book. I couldn’t put it down. The pages just flew by. I will definitely need to read more books from this series. It was just a fun ride.

Mel Turner has taken over responsibility for her father’s business and they got a contract to fix up an old movie house. When they get there, they discover a previous contractor had started the job but they were called in to finish it.  This book just has it all. A ghost usher, a flapper ghost in Mel’s own house tied to the mystery of the movie palace. Just a bunch of fun stuff here.

If you like a bit of paranormal in your cozy, definitely try this one on for size. 

Highly recommended.

If you love a good cozy mystery, check this one out. What a fun read!

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 at the Falls (Creature Comforts #3) by Arlene Kay

Murder at the Falls
by Arlene Kay 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: July 14th 2020 by Lyrical Underground

Goodreads synopsis: 
Army vet Persephone “Perri” Morgan has found a second career handcrafting leather pet accessories—and a satisfying sideline in training therapy dogs. But there’s no cure for a cold-blooded murderer. . . .

Perri and her BFF Babette Croy team up to bring their therapy dogs to an upscale senior living facility. But The Falls’ pleasant façade hides some unpleasant secrets. Valuables are missing, feuds fester, and one resident even fears for her life. Sprightly senior Magdalen Melmoth swears she’s being targeted because her grandfather was none other than Oscar Wilde, and her legacy includes an unpublished novel by the literary genius.

Convinced it’ll take more than calming canines to sniff out the truth, Perri enlists the help of her beau, hotshot reporter Wing Pruett. When a nurse is poisoned by chocolates sent to Magdalen, and a physician is brutally murdered, the case takes a deeply troubling turn. Perri, Babette, and their furry friends race to bring a killer to heel, but can they outsmart an enemy who’s simply bad to the bone?


4.5 stars

This is the third book in the Creature Comforts series by Arlene Kay.

I read the second book in this series and I have to say that the author is really just getting better and better. I like how she paired the leather making with the therapy dogs at the nursing home. I felt like that dynamic made so much more sense for these gals.

I thought the nursing home mystery made so much sense in this day and age. I was enthralled with Magdalen’s fascination about being related to Oscar Wilde. Such a cool concept for a story that just had so much meat to it.

Definitely enjoyed this one a lot. The main character was instantly relatable and the story just made me not want to stop turning pages. Definitely recommend this one.

If you love a good cozy mystery, check this one out. What a fun read!

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, June 25, 2020

A Design to Die For (Hamptons Home & Garden Mysteries #5) by Kathleen Bridge

A Design to Die For

Beyond the Page Publishing, 200 pages
Publication Date: July 2, 2020

Amazon synopsis: 
“Discerning cozy mystery fans who delight in well-developed characters, rich detail, and a smart plotline will find that Kathleen Bridge’s A Design to Die For is their cup of tea!” —Ellery Adams, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

Montauk’s first annual Designer Showhouse was meant to be a collaborative event, so decorator Meg Barrett can only despair at the group of cutthroat designers scheming to sabotage each other on the project, not to mention the oddball collection of ghost hunters slinking around to investigate a supposedly haunted cottage. But when one of the owners of the showhouse is found murdered on the rocky beach below, Meg suddenly finds herself clashing with local police because of evidence that points to her as a prime suspect.

Desperate to clear her name and track down the real culprit, Meg discovers that many of her fellow designers despised the victim for his unscrupulous business dealings, while others were speculating about his extramarital affairs. And as more secrets emerge about both the deceased and the many outsiders who have come together for the showhouse, Meg realizes she’ll have to decipher a murky pattern of clues to escape the killer’s deadly designs on her . . .


4.5 stars

This is the fifth book in the Hamptons Home & Garden Mysteries by Kathleen Bridge.

Decorator Meg Barrett is designing a few rooms in a local mansion for a showcase event. And a few of the other designers are taking their own designs a bit too seriously. Then one of the owners of the home is found murdered. Don’t worry. There are tons of suspects, including a number of paranormal investigators who are casing the area and particularly this specific house for hauntings.

Surprisingly, the evidence points to Meg as the main suspect. So she is pretty motivated to clear her name. The Hampton setting makes this all the more intriguing since so many of the people here have money. I am not certain of Meg’s standing where money is concerned since this is the first book I have read in this series. But I do plan to read the others ASAP. I am totally intrigued.

I was a little up in the air about the love interests here. First she totally into one man, and when he turns up saved from a wreck kissing another woman, Meg turns to option number 2: Patrick, a popular author. That quick switch didn’t make sense to me.

Overall it was a good read and I do recommend it.

If you love a good cozy mystery, definitely check this one out. What a fun read!

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, June 22, 2020

Key Lime Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen #9) by Joanne Fluke

Key Lime Pie Murder

Hardcover, 342 pages
Published July 31st 2007 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published January 1st 2007)

Goodreads synopsis: 
The yummy [ninth] smalltown cozy from Fluke (after 2006's Cherry Cheesecake Murder) finds sometime sleuth Hannah Swensen, owner of the Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minn., judging the baking contest at the Tri-County Fair.

When one of her fellow judges, home economics teacher Willa Sunquist, is murdered, Hannah determines to sniff out the killer. Was it a man from Willa's mysterious past? Or a student she flunked?

Fluke has developed a charming supporting cast — Hannah's besotted (and slightly spineless) two suitors, her overbearing but likable mother, her endearing sisters and her levelheaded business partner all feel like friends by the time the murder is solved.

The dozens of tempting recipes Fluke includes are an added treat.


4.5 stars

This is the ninth book in the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke.

Hannah has been chosen to judge a baking contest at the Tri-County Fair when she discovers the dead body of one of the other judges.

Norman gets Hannah a new phone to bring her into the 21st Century and then he helps her with the mystery of why her cat won’t eat. Hannah’s sisters are both vying for awards in different categories: Michelle in a Tri-County Pageant and Andrea in a mother daughter look alike contest.

There was a lot going on in the community aspect of this story. A caravan came into town to run this fair and it featured greatly in the mystery bringing with it a lot of new suspects. 

I love how Hannah always keeps her trusty steno pad just in case she needs to take notes on a suddenly appearing murder investigation. I know that is unrealistic but this is a book and anything is possible in worlds like this. It is sort of how cozy mysteries work. These characters find an inordinate amount of dead bodies in a small town that really isn’t too likely in real life. Thank goodness. Can you imagine stumbling over a dead body every month or so?

I like how the story wrapped up and it took Hannah (and us) by surprise and had her on a mad chase around the fairgrounds. Classic. Definitely a fun read.

I still love this series and I am sure that fact will never change. My guilty pleasure series, for sure!

Whiplash (FBI Thriller #14) by Catherine Coulter


Hardcover, 402 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by G.P. Putnam's Sons

Goodreads synopsis: 
Yale professor Dr. Edward Kender’s father is undergoing chemotherapy when the supply of a critical accompanying drug suddenly runs out. Unwilling to accept the drug company’s disingenuous excuse of production line problems, Dr. Kender hires private investigator Erin Pulask to prove there is something more sinister going on at Schiffer Engel’s manufacturing facility in Indiana.

Pulaski uncovers a bombshell – Schiffer Engel’s intentional shortage is bringing in a windfall profit in excess of two billion dollars.

When a top Schiffer Engel employee shows up viciously murdered behind the U.S. headquarters, Sherlock and Savich are called in to lend a hand. The murder of a foreign national on federal land can only mean the German drug company has a secret of epic proportions.


2.5 stars

This book was just okay for me. I thought it was a bit overly complex. I didn't really feel the connection between Savich and Sherlock like I have in other books. It felt really cold in that effect. Plus the whole story started off as if another character was the main POV and I think that threw me off as well.

Not a fan of this book. But I love Catherine Coulter's writing and I will definitely pick up other books in this series. Not every book is going to hit it out of the park for someone. It was probably just the wrong time in my life to read this. I needed more fluff and less of the intense espionage FBI stuff.

But don't take my word for it. I am reading a used hardback that has written on the inside cover "great read." Check this book out and decide for yourself.

Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen #5) by Joanne Fluke

Fudge Cupcake Murder

Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Kensington (first published March 1st 2004)

Goodreads synopsis: 
Bakery owner Hannah Swensen just can't keep her hands out of the batter when murder stirs things up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, leaving the sheriff dead, an innocent deputy accused, and a killer still on the loose...

For Hannah, life seems to be lacking a certain flavor. It's not that she doesn't enjoy teaching a weekly "Potluck Cooking Class" at the community outreach center. Or that she's not excited about her sister Andrea's bun in the oven -- watching the very pregnant Andrea try to sit on a stool at The Cookie Jar is worth it every time.

Maybe it's this year's sheriff's election that's got her down. For years, Sheriff Grant's been the iron hand in town. But now, Hannah's brother-in-law Bill is giving the old blowhard the fight of his long, dubious career -- and Grant's not taking it in stride, especially once the local polls (and The Cookie Jar gossip) show Bill pulling ahead.

But before anyone can get a taste of victory, things go sour. Just as Hannah's emptying the trash, she makes a very unappetizing discovery: Sheriff Grant's body in the dumpster behind the high school where she's teaching her cooking class. And if that weren't bad enough, the poor man still has fudge frosting on his shirt from the cupcake she gave him earlier. She'd been trying to find the secret ingredient left out of the recipe. Now she has a more important mystery to crack.

The number one suspect is none other than Bill. In fact, he's the only suspect. But Hannah's not swallowing it. Plenty of people had reason to hate Sheriff Grant, starting with all the deputies whose cases he stole during election years just so he could take the glory. Soon, Hannah's dishing up scandalous secrets, steaming hot betrayals, and enough nastiness to keep the gossip mill at The Cookie Jar going through several pots of decaf. And the closer Hannah gets to the truth, the closer she gets to smoking out a murderer with a very nasty recipe for silencing people. Will Hannah be able to stand the heat when someone wants her out of the kitchen... for good?


4.5 stars

This is the fifth book in the Hannah Swensen mystery series by Joanne Fluke.

Hannah does it again and finds the sheriff’s body in a dumpster. This isn’t good for Bill since he is running against the sheriff for his office seat. Mike puts Bill on leave and Hannah is outraged! Doesn’t he believe in his friend’s innocence?

There was a bit of distance put between Mike and Hannah in this book. Not only was she angry about putting Bill on the spot for the murder but for being blinded by the Shawna character too. I think the guys in this series get a lot of blame for either being a player or just not exciting enough but Hannah does bear some responsibility too. She needs to decide what she wants for one thing. Does she want to focus on Norman or Mike? Try them out. Do the relationship thing. Then if it doesn’t work out, try again. With the case about Shawna, I wish Hannah had really had a talk with Mike and expressed all her fears, feelings and reservations about how things were looking between the two of them. Mike is a smart guy and I think he would understand. Mike gets painted a lot as the jock or the airhead guy which isn’t always the case, in my opinion.

I have always been Team Norman. And I think Hannah would make a happy life with him if she allowed herself the luxury. She still has a lot of personal inner issues to work through and until she sees herself through the lens of how others see her and how she has all these wonderful assets and abilities, she may never find true happiness.

The mystery whodunit was great as always. I enjoy watching Hannah and her sisters ferret out the killer. Fluke knows how to pull out all the stops to keep us interested and engaged.

The ending seemed a bit rushed to me. We didn't get the normal wrap up where Hannah gets to revel in the fact she solved the case and tell everyone else about it. I still love this series and I am sure that fact will never change. My guilty pleasure series, for sure!

If you love a good cozy mystery, definitely check this one out. What a fun read!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen #4) by Joanne Fluke

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 1st 2004 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2003)

Goodreads synopsis: 
Hannah Swensen thought she'd finally discovered the recipe for a perfect life. But her sometime beau Norman Rhodes tosses a surprise ingredient into the mix when he phones to tell her he's just bought a house from local drugstore clerk Rhonda Scharf - which he plans to tear down in order to build the dream home he and Hannah designed.

It seems the plan has been cooking for quite some time, and Hannah is shocked - especially since her ring finger is still very much bare. The good news is that the soon-to-be-torn-down house is full of antiques - and Norman has given Hannah and her mother first dibs.

They uncover some gorgeous old furniture, a patchwork quilt ... and Rhonda Scharf's dead body. A little more sleuthing turns up the half-eaten remains of a very special dinner for two - and one of The Cookie Jar's famous lemon meringue pies.

Now it's up to Hannah to turn up the heat - and get busy tracking down the clues. Starting in her very own kitchen.


4.5 stars

This is the fourth book in the Hannah Swensen mystery series by Joanne Fluke.

Norman plans to build the dream house he and Hannah designed and he buys the property from a local lady. Before the ink is dry on the contract, that lady is found dead in the basement and suddenly some money from a old bank robbery in the 70’s has shown up circulating in town.

The dynamics are interesting in this book. The author makes me wonder if Hannah is ready for marriage and with who would she make that pairing. Then she gets into her mothering instinct when her sister Michelle shows up and then there is an issue between two guys Freddie and Jed which Hannah wants to heal.

Lots of stuff going on in this story that doesn’t all have anything to do with the mystery. And that is good. It keeps us interested in the overall storyline and not just the whodunit of it all.

I still love this series and I am sure that fact will never change. My guilty pleasure series, for sure!

If you love a good cozy mystery, definitely check this one out. What a fun read!