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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

A Room with a Roux (Pancake House Mystery #7) by Sarah Fox

A Room with a Roux

(Pancake House Mystery #7)

by Sarah Fox


Kindle Edition

Published January 12th 2021 by Lyrical Press




Goodreads synopsis: 

Pancake house owner Marley McKinney takes a break from the Flip Side for a romantic getaway. But soon, instead of mixing batter, she’s mixed up with murder . . .


Marley and her new husband Brett need some quality couple time before the holiday madness, so they drive up into the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula to charming Holly Lodge. Before long they’re enjoying snowshoe excursions, hot chocolates, and cuddling in front of a roaring fire. Despite some barely concealed marital tension between the owners of the lodge, they’re finally able to unwind . . .


Until one morning when they notice a glove sticking out of a snowbank outside of the lodge. Inside the glove is a hand connected to a frozen corpse buried beneath the snow—lodge owner Kevin Manning has been murdered. Presented with a stack of suspects and eventually stranded at the lodge by a blizzard, Marley has to catch the cold-hearted killer before someone else gets iced . . 


***


4.5 stars


This is the seventh book in the Pancake House mystery by Sarah Fox.


This book starts off at a holiday location and the mystery follows them back home. I thought that was an interesting dynamic. This series just keeps getting better and better. What a delightful read.


The thing I missed was The Flipside and all its aspects including minor characters. Oh, it does show up eventually but it wasn’t in a big enough dose for me. I am a big culinary cozy fan and love all their foodie talk.


The mystery drew me in and had me at its mercy. It is so fun to follow the rabbit trail and find out what the author has in store for us. Can’t wait for the next installment.


If you like cozy mysteries, definitely check this one 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.

Murder on the Menu (The Nosey Parker Mysteries #1) by Fiona Leitch

Murder on the Menu

(The Nosey Parker Mysteries #1)

by Fiona Leitch


Kindle Edition, 286 pages

Published January 15th 2021 by One More Chapter



Goodreads synopsis: 

The first book in a NEW cosy mystery series!

Still spinning from the hustle and bustle of city life, Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker is glad to be back in the Cornish village she calls home. Having quit the Met Police in search of something less dangerous, the change of pace means she can finally start her dream catering company and raise her daughter, Daisy, somewhere safer.


But there’s nothing like having your first job back at home to be catering an ex-boyfriend’s wedding to remind you of just how small your village is. And when the bride, Cheryl, vanishes Jodie is drawn into the investigation, realizing that life in the countryside might not be as quaint as she remembers…


With a missing bride on their hands, there is murder and mayhem around every corner but surely saving the day will be a piece of cake for this not-so-amateur sleuth?


The first book in the Murder on the Menu cosy mystery series. Can be read as a standalone. A humorous cosy mystery with a British female sleuth in a small village. Includes one of Jodie's Tried and Tested Recipes! Written in British English. Mild profanity and peril.


***


4.5 stars


This is the first book in the Nosey Parker mystery series by Fiona Leitch.


I really enjoyed this book. The main character is very relatable. I loved how she used to be a police officer and how that, in some ways, made it harder for her to dive into the mystery.  Another stumbling block was that Jodie had come back to her hometown and had to get to know her friends again.


I liked how Jodie went from a police officer to a caterer/cook. Quite a nice dynamic with those two aspects. You get your detective fiction as well as a culinary cozy story. Just super fun.


Totally recommend this book and look forward to what is to come in the future.


If you like cozy mysteries, definitely check this one 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.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Hope, Faith, and a Corpse (A Faith Chapel Mystery #1) by Laura Jensen Walker

Hope, Faith, and a Corpse

(A Faith Chapel Mystery #1)

by Laura Jensen Walker


Hardcover, 298 pages

Published January 12th 2021 by Crooked Lane Books




Goodreads synopsis: 

In the tradition of M. C. Beaton, Hope Taylor, pastor of a small-town California church, tries to find out who sent a church elder to Heaven.


Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Springs to start her new life as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. The northern California town's quaint cottages, bungalows, and shops promise a fresh start for the 42-year-old widow and Bogie, her scruffy black Labrador. But where is Father Christopher? The kindly old rector who hired Pastor Hope was supposed to meet her upon her arrival, but he's nowhere to be seen. Hope's faith springs eternal, so she explores the little white church hoping to find Father Christopher. But when she enters the columbarium, she instead finds church elder Stanley King--his skull crushed by a fallen burial urn.


Hope had made Stanley's acquaintance before, and had struggled to take a charitable view of his character. Stanley was as wicked as he was wealthy, as petty as he was pious. His soul may have been holy, but his behavior was wholly rotten. The last time Hope had seen him, he had shouted drunkenly that she would preach at Faith Chapel over his dead body.


Many of the townsfolk witnessed the altercation, so Hope finds herself as the prime suspect in Stanley's murder. With Bogie's four-footed assistance, Hope is determined to find the real killer and clear her name...even if it will require a bit of divine intervention.


***


4.5 stars


This is the first book in the Faith Chapel mystery series by Laura Jensen Walker.


This book had a unique protagonist I had not come across before. Not only was she a sleuth in the making, she was a pastor! What a great idea for a story concept. Just totally loving it!


There is a lot going on in this sleepy little town, so you better pay attention. The first thing Pastor Hope does is find a dead body and immediately become suspect number one. What a way to start off a new job in the ministry. The minor characters are out of this world awesome. Just loving the heck out of this new series by Walker. Can’t wait for more tales and adventures.


If you like cozy mysteries, definitely check this one 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.

A Curious Incident (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #6) by Vicki Delany

A Curious Incident

(Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #6)

by Vicki Delany 


Hardcover, 304 pages

Published January 12th 2021 by Crooked Lane Books




Goodreads synopsis: 

It's up to Gemma and Jayne to root out the killer in national bestselling author Vicki Delany's sixth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery when the winner of a garden tour trophy is left pushing up daisies.


"I am not a Consulting Detective," Gemma Doyle reluctantly tells 10-year-old Lauren Tierney, when the little girl comes to the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium to beg Gemma to find her missing cat, Snowball. Gemma might not be able to follow the clues to find the cat, but her dog Violet follows her nose to locate the missing kitten in a neighbor's garden shed. Gemma and Violet proudly return Snowball to her grateful owner, and Gemma basks in praise for a job well done. But a few days later Lauren is back with ten dollars in hand, wanting to once again hire a consulting detective, and this time for a far bigger job: Her mother has been accused of murdering her garden club rival.


Sheila Tierney's garden, which everyone said was the one to beat for the West London Garden Club trophy, had been vandalized the night before the club's early summer tour. Sheila confronted her former friend and gardening partner Anna Wentworth in a towering rage, and the women nearly came to blows. Later that night, after having won the trophy for best garden, Anna is found murdered and Sheila Tierney is the police's prime suspect.


Despite herself, and despite the disapproval of her police detective boyfriend Ryan Ashburton, the game is once again afoot, and Gemma finds herself and Jayne Wilson using their powers of deduction to ponder yet another curious incident.


***


4.5 stars


This is the sixth book in the Sherlock Holmes mystery series by Vicki Delany.


Gemma Doyle is known for her sleuthing ways. When she is hired by a young girl to prove her mother’s innocence, she finds herself perplexed. It would be an easy case for Sherlock, but her, not so much.


This reminded me a little bit of Clue. Was it Sheila in the Garden with the Trophy? Only time will tell.


This was a fun mystery to follow. You really don’t get bored with such a unique protagonist. And when you add the Sherlock stuff, I am all in.


Loving this series. Definitely time for a marathon!


If you like cozy mysteries, definitely check this one 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.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Killer Comfort Food (Farm-to-Fork Mystery #5) by Lynn Cahoon

Killer Comfort Food

(Farm-to-Fork Mystery #5)

by Lynn Cahoon 


Kindle Edition

Published January 5th 2021






Goodreads synopsis: 

Angie Turner's Idaho restaurant, the County Seat, is known and loved for its fresh food. For Angie, it's also meant a fresh start. But when big agriculture comes to town—along with whispers of foul play—Angie could lose more than the farm . . .


A soybean processing plant is trying to buy up the land around the small farm Angie's beloved Nona left her. If Angie doesn't sell, she'll be surrounded by the plant and the congestion that comes with it. On the other hand, it's Nona's farmhouse. What is Angie supposed to do without it? Move into a condo in town with Precious, Mabel, and Dom—respectively, a goat, chicken, and dog. Worse, a troubling rumor is circulating about the lawyer who's heading up the development: His socialite wife seems to be missing. When Barb, owner of the local bar, asks Angie to look into the woman's disappearance, she's hesitant—until Barb reveals her surprising connection. Now it's up to Angie to find the woman, uncover a shady plot, and hang onto her home—before she becomes a criminal's final course . .


***


4.5 stars


This is the fifth book in the Farm-to-Fork mystery series by Lynn Cahoon.


This book was a good balance of character conflict worrying about day to day things and trying to find time to delve into the mystery. In the beginning I wasn’t sure if this series was for me but Cahoon has made me fall in love with any character she creates. 


Angie was worried about losing her family home to the whims of a soybean company who wanted to buy up a lot of the houses around where she lived. When the lawyer who is heading up the development finds his wife missing, Angie is called in to investigate.


There was a lot of back and forth in this story which keeps the reader interested and on their toes looking for what might happen next. Definitely a fun read. I can’t recommend this author highly enough. She is on my must read list for sure!


If you like cozy mysteries, definitely check this one 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.

Nourish: The Definitive Plant-Based Nutrition Guide for Families--With Tips Recipes for Bringing Health, Joy, Connection to Your Dinner Table by Reshma Shah, Brenda Davis

Nourish: The Definitive Plant-Based Nutrition Guide for Families--With Tips Recipes for Bringing Health, Joy, Connection to Your Dinner Table

by Reshma Shah, Brenda Davis


Paperback, 448 pages

Published November 17th 2020 by Health Communications Inc





Goodreads synopsis: 

n evidence-based, practical resource that explores the many benefits of a plant-based diet and provides parents with the tools they need to feed their families for health and with joy.


While nearly all parents agree that a nutritious diet is important for children to thrive, most feel that their children are not eating a healthy diet. This is not surprising, given the demands of busy families and confusing, conflicting research about what diet is really best for health.


Nourish offers the solution parents have been waiting for when it comes to deciding what and how to feed their families. Authors Reshma Shah, MD, a plant-based pediatrician and affiliate clinical instructor at Stanford University School of Medicine, and Brenda Davis, RD, a world-renowned expert and pioneer in plant-based nutrition, will empower parents to become the experts of nourishing their families. 


Parents will learn:

How a diet centered around plants can optimize health, prevent chronic disease, care for our planet, and be an act of radical compassion. Nutrition specifics for all the stages of childhood—from pregnancy and breastfeeding all the way through adolescence. Tips, strategies, and mouthwatering recipes to bring all of this information to their dinner tables as they transition to plant-based eating.


***


3 stars


This book was not what I was expecting it to be. I thought it was more like a cookbook giving me lots of different options to nourish myself. Instead it is a diatribe on how to eat plant based and what that meant.


Are there good ideas in here? Yes. Lots. It’s more reference than book to help me nourish myself. There are recipes but they are few and far between. It was quite a dry read and took me awhile to wade through.


Not my favorite book but okay. Great for your reference section, though.


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 Morning Show Murders (Billy Blessing #1) by Al Roker, Dick Lochte

The Morning Show Murders

(Billy Blessing #1)

by Al Roker, Dick Lochte


Hardcover, 312 pages

Published November 24th 2009 by Delacorte Press (first published January 1st 2009)






Goodreads synopsis: 

Nobody can dish morning TV like Al Roker, who's seen every side of a business that looks good on camera--even when sharks are circling inside the gleaming glass Manhattan media headquarters. Treachery abounds in Roker's riotously thrilling debut novel--at once an ingenious murder mystery and a delicious behind-the-scenes look at network TV. As fact and fiction collide and the backbiting ignites, The Morning Show Murders will make you wonder: How much of this stuff is real?


Network TV can be murder. Just ask Billy Blessing, famous for his smile, charm, and ability to survive the shark tank that is high-stakes morning TV. But though Billy has outlived his fair share of prima-donnas, his cooking segment on Wake Up America! is a staple of the American diet, and his Manhattan bistro is a mega-success, his career has just taken a very dangerous turn: His show's perky cohost, Gin McCauley, has launched into some brass-knuckles contract negotiations. A visiting Mossad agent is about to tell all on the air. And then the network's head honcho is murdered in his luxury apartment, and an ambitious D.A. decides that Billy is to blame.


Forensics show that Gerry Gallagher was poisoned and that the fatal coq au vin came from Billy's restaurant. Gerry had an impressive list of women in his black book--and a news assignment in Afghanistan had plunged the TV exec into the heart of a violent international secret. Now unsavory characters are coming out of the woodwork, and another murder strikes the show's inner circle. Billy knows that someone's trying to frame him. He also knows that a ruthless international assassin has just arrived in New York City. And suddenly, for the most trusted guy on TV the ultimate career move is not about ratings. It's about staying alive--and stopping the next murder from becoming tomorrow's breaking news.


***


2 stars


This is the first book in the Billy Blessing series by Al Roker and Dick Lochte.


I have to admit this book was not my cup of tea. I had a hard time getting into it since I started out wondering who the main character was since it wasn’t immediately apparent. We were inundated with so many minor characters that I couldn’t tell who the important ones were. When I finally got a handle on it, Billy ended up being a real snooze. I think Al was trying to make himself the main character. But if he had used his online persona, he might have had a lot more success.


I do not plan on reading anything else from this author.

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind: Spatial Strategy to Success and Happiness by Alex Neumann

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind: Spatial Strategy to Success and Happiness

by Alex Neumann


Kindle Edition, 2, 185 pages

Published September 25th 2020 by Pearson Press





Goodreads synopsis: 

“Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind is one of those rare books with the power to radically change the reader’s lives for the better.”


Alex Neumann makes wonderful guiding principles for anyone attempting to create a productive and satisfying life. He reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of happiness and create needless suffering.


These incredibly profound, yet simple and practical teachings will inspire you to a grand new level of life clarity, confidence, purpose, and passion. An inspiring and practical roadmap with many great lessons to self-upliftment and to fulfill your dreams.


***


4 stars


I thought this was a very interesting read. It challenges you in many ways. This is one of those books you will need to keep on your shelf and refer back to often.


It has a lot of great insights and ideas that really made me question how I was thinking about things in my life. Definitely a great self help reference for the mind.


If you like self help and books that challenge your mind, definitely check this one 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.


Absence of Alice (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery #9) by Sherry Harris

Absence of Alice

(Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery #9)

by Sherry Harris


Mass Market Paperback, 279 pages

Published January 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation




Goodreads synopsis: 

For bargain hunter extraordinaire Sarah Winston, starting life over in Ellington, Massachusetts, has been a true trash-to-treasure success story, except when there's a run on dead bodies...


Sarah's latest client, Alice Krandle, is sure she has a fortune in antiques on her hands. She's already gotten a generous offer for the whole lot before her garage sale has even begun, but she thinks she can earn more with Sarah's expert help. The problem is that while Sarah's sorting through items from decades past, her landlady, Stella, faces a clear and present danger.


Stella's kidnapper has contacted Sarah with a set of instructions, and Don't call the police is at the top of the list. But they didn't say anything about Sarah's friend Harriet--who happens to be a former F.B.I. hostage negotiator...


***


4.5 stars


This is the ninth book in the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery series by Sherry Harris.


This book keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. When Sarah gets a mysterious message to not contact the police and follow his instructions in order to find her friend, she goes on a dizzying goose chase that is meant to alienate her from all she holds dear. I was totally hooked from word one.


Loved how the entire story played out and how the red herrings took me down so many possibilities. I was biting my nails the entire time.


Great book. Lovely series Loved so much about it. Definitely a must read series.


If you like cozy mysteries, definitely check this one 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.

The Agent (The Consultants #3) by Nancy Herkness

The Agent

(The Consultants #3)

by Nancy Herkness


Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 285 pages

Published January 5th 2021 by Montlake




Goodreads synopsis: 

Letting down her guard leaves a woman vulnerable to love—and to a menacing stalker—in a pulse-pounding novel by Nancy Herkness, award-winning author of The Hacker.


After fleeing her abusive ex, New Jersey salon owner Natalie Hart is reclaiming her life and self-esteem. Her fragile recovery doesn’t need a player like former FBI agent Tully Gibson, no matter how tempting a fling sounds. Then Natalie starts receiving anonymous notes, each more frightening and threatening than the last. To help track her stalker, Natalie knows whom to call. Their explosive chemistry together is an emotional hazard she’s willing to risk.


A high-powered security expert at KRG Consulting, Tully has intimacy issues of his own. The stirring hum of attraction he feels with his new client comes with boundaries. Tully’s job: just keep Natalie safe. But keeping his distance is getting harder. Whoever is playing games with Natalie wants to take things one deadly step further. The deeper Tully and Natalie are drawn into danger, the closer they become.


It’s time for Natalie and Tully to face their fears—of falling in love and of falling prey to a vengeful killer.


***


4.5 stars


This is the third book in The Consultants series by Nancy Herkness.


After I read my first Herkness book, I was hooked.


This book features the last guy in KRG Consulting, Tully. He comes in to assist Natalie with a stalker who is leaving her physical notes as well as email threats.


I don’t want to say this is a cookie cutter story but it follows the same format as most of her books. I like the format. It works for me and hits all the feels. I can see the set up of using one of Natalie’s friends as maybe the next book’s leading man. I love it when authors do this. It gets us ready for the next book.


Not a lot to say here. It’s a good book. I love this author and it makes me look forward to the next book by Herkness.


Loved so much about it. If you like cozy mysteries, definitely check this one 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.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de León

A Spy in the Struggle

by Aya de León 


Paperback, 352 pages

Published December 29th 2020 by Kensington Books




Goodreads synopsis: 

Winner of the International Latino Book Award, Aya de Leon, returns with a thrilling and timely story of feminism, climate, and corporate justice—as one successful lawyer must decide whether to put everything on the line to right the deep inequities faced in one under-served Bay Area, California community.


Since childhood, Yolanda Vance has forged her desire to escape poverty into a laser-like focus that took her through prep school and Harvard Law. So when her prestigious New York law firm is raided by the FBI, Yolanda turns in her corrupt bosses to save her career—and goes to work for the Bureau. Soon she's sent undercover at Red, Black, and Green—an African-American “extremist” activist group back in her California college town. They claim a biotech corporation fueled by Pentagon funding is exploiting the neighborhood. But Yolanda is determined to put this assignment in her win column, head back to corporate law, and regain her comfortable life...


Until an unexpected romance opens her heart—and a suspicious death opens her eyes. Menacing dark money forces will do anything to bury Yolanda and the movement. Fueled by memories of who she once was—and what once really mattered most—how can she tell those who’ve come to trust her that she’s been spying? As the stakes escalate, and one misstep could cost her life, Yolanda will have to choose between betraying the cause of her people or invoking the wrath of the country’s most powerful law enforcement agency.


***


4.5 stars


This is a contemporary thriller by Aya de Leon.


I am wondering if this book will be the first one in a series. It has series potential, that is for sure! Yolanda has been struggling to find her place in the world. She got her law degree but her firm gets raided by the FBI and her career goes into the toilet. She ends up finding a job at the FBI using her law degree but the pay isn’t as good as it could have been. Then she gets transferred to another location in order to place her inside what they deem an African American extremist group. Of course, it isn’t that at all. She finds a great guy while jogging whom she doesn’t realize until later is part of this group.


This is a beautiful story of looking for identity and finding connection in the most unlikely of places. I loved how the teens were so respectful and the adults were looking for ways to make things better for them.


I enjoyed seeing this through Yolanda’s eyes. She was in a difficult position. It was almost as if her life had prepared her for this exact situation. I think a lot of people are like Yolanda. Life is hard but they find their way in the end.


If you like a good contemporary thriller, definitely check this one 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.

Wedding Bear Blues (Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery #4) by Meg Macy


Wedding Bear Blues

(Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery #4)

by Meg Macy 


Paperback, 304 pages

Published December 29th 2020 by Kensington




Goodreads synopsis: 

In the fourth shamelessly adorable Teddy Bear Mystery, teddy bear shop manager and amateur sleuth Sasha Silverman vows to find out who killed the best man in a Valentine's Day wedding when a heartless, ice-pick wielding killer ruins the big day...


Always a bridesmaid, never a killer...


At the Silver Bear Shop and Factory, Sasha will be selling plenty of bride and groom teddy bears come springtime. But this Valentine's Day weekend, she'd take any of those silent, stuffed couples over the real thing. Sasha and her sister Maddie are bridesmaids at Cissy Davison's upcoming wedding in Silver Hollow. Cissy is fuming over the worst choice of best man--the jerk who broke her sister Debbie's heart--and the groom-to-be won't budge in his decision. At the rehearsal dinner you could cut the tension with a wedding cake knife.


That is, until best man Dylan is found dead, impaled with an ice pick. Although jilted Debbie is the most likely suspect--the blood on her dress doesn't help her case--the bride begs Sasha to prove her sister's innocence. If anyone's going to walk down the aisle, Sasha will first need to find the cold-hearted killer who iced Dylan...


***


4.5 stars


This is the fourth book in the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear mystery by Meg Macy.


I wasn’t exactly sure how this teddy bear dynamic would play out alongside a mystery, but it seemed to work perfectly fine. My first thought was, ‘how do you a business like that afloat?’ Then I remembered… Build a Bear was a majorly successful brand. That gave me no reason not to dive into this book.


This starts out at a friend’s wedding which gets interrupted by a murder. The best man is found dead with an ice pick impaled in him. The choice of best man was pretty questionable but the bride was indeed one of those girls you always hear about. When her Valentine wedding goes kaput, she wants to change all her colors from red to green. This side plot kept pace with the storyline and the bride had to be reigned in quite a few times. I enjoyed the mystery and found the whole teddy bear aspect charming. I even kept pace with the red herrings but still had no clue who the bad guy was until the end.


The characters were nice but I did have a bit of trouble telling one from another until I got further into the story. Then the figuring out was a lot easier.


Overall it was a great read. Definitely a cozy series to dig into!


If you like cozy mysteries, definitely check this one 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.