Author Archives: coffeebookslifeblog

Review: Pies before Guys by Kirsten Weiss

Pies Before Guys
Kirsten Weiss
A Pie Town Mystery, Book 4
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Kensington

 

Val’s crime-solving club digs into a piping hot new case!

A poetry slam at a bakery? Why not! Even though Pie Town proprietor Val Harris would rather be spending time with her newfound half-brother, she knows her employee, Abril, is beyond excited to be hosting the event. Especially since it stars the apple pie of Abril’s eye, poet and professor Michael Starke. But the evening ends on a sour note when Professor Starke is found murdered mere moments after being accused of plagiarism.

Just like that, Pie Town is at the center of another criminal inquiry. At Abril’s request—and much to Detective Carmichael’s consternation—Val and Charlene decide to investigate Starke’s death. But the case is as tough as an overworked crust and the Baker Street Bakers are only coming up with scraps. If they don’t pinch the cultured killer soon, Pie Town’s reputation could crumble.

 

 

 

3.5 Stars

 

If the title doesn’t get you the story will.

 

Do poetry and pies go together? Well maybe if the poetry was a little bit better and we didn’t end up with a murder on the plate. Val and her lovely and delicious pic shop host a poetry slam that gives readers a not your typical cozy.

 

Val and Charlene are coworkers and friends and have this thing for solving crime. Charlene is an instigator and likes to have fun with people. Val has a way of going along with what Charlene suggests. These two get themselves into trouble easier than they can make a pie. And when you think they can’t get any deeper into the crust, yes they just did. They are over the top and hysterical to boot.

 

Pies Before Guys is a laughter out loud, jaw dropping, outside the norm of cozy mystery. It did take me a bit to really get into the story but the comical content sure than made up for it. Kristen Weiss twisted this mystery right and I was shocked when the who done it was revealed. Pies before Guys is an enjoyable read.

 

Review: Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut by Sarah Graves

Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut

Sarah Graves

A Death by Chocolate Mystery, Book 3

Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
When a pirate festival blows into their small town, bakeshop owners Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree and her best friend Ellie White expect they’ll be busy baking up a storm, but instead they find themselves marooned in a new murder investigation after someone kills a well-known food writer and TV personality . . .

Everything is shipshape at Jake and Ellie’s new waterfront bakery, The Chocolate Moose, especially now that the annual Pirate Festival is dropping anchor in their quaint island village of Eastport, Maine. Jake and Ellie are ready for the bounty of tourists sure to flood their shop. But their plans quickly sink when the body of celebrity foodie, Henry Hadlyme, is discovered in the Moose’s basement.

Jake and Ellie are horrified, but their shock turns to dismay when Jake is pegged for the murder. Now, to clear Jake’s name and save the shop, Jake and Ellie must swashbuckle down and figure out who among Henry’s numerous enemies scuttled him in the cellar. Was it a long-ago jilted sweetheart’s vengeful relative? His long-suffering personal assistant? Or perhaps some bitter-as-dark-chocolate unknown enemy, now aboard the mysterious ship lurking in Eastport’s harbor?

Alas, dead men tell no tales, so Jake and Ellie will have to get to the bottom of the case on their own and find the real killer before anyone else is forced to walk the plank . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 4 Stars

Sarah Graves kept me guessing until the end.

Jake and Ellie are quite the pair. Not only can they bake the goodness of good, they are quirky and fun. The pair seem to have no problem finding themselves in the deepests of troubles. When a TV foodie makes his way into their sweet little town, Jake has no issue standing up for her fellow townspeople when Henry starts talking trash about the food of their town during the pirate festival. When the body of this not so nice food he turns up in the basement of the girls shop, The Moose, the trouble these two get into so well just started up all over again.

Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut is the third book of the Death by Chocolate mysteries and my first read of the series. Sarah Graves grabs readers attention with a well written story, a twisting, keep you guessing plot and fantastic characters. I liked how the author weaved in Jake’s background for new readers without overdoing it for already established readers of the series. Ms. Graves keeps a fast pace and a good bit of adventure within the unwinding of this twisted mystery. From the quaint setting of the town, to the wonderful and charismatic characters and all the yummy goodness described within the pages it’s a good read no matter how you look at it. This is new to me Author got a new fan with Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut.

 

ARC Review: Vlad by Patricia Rasey

 

Vlad 

Patricia Rasey

Son of Sangue Series, Book 8

ebook
Expected publication: February 24th 2020 by Patricia A. Rasey

Vlad Tepes, king of the vampires, has a problem on his hands. His brother is taking out humans at an alarming rate and drawing unwanted attention, threatening exposure for their entire race. Vlad needs to stop Mircea before that happens, even if it means taking his head. In his mission to hunt Mircea down, Vlad encounters a stunning special agent who’s out to stop a killer—namely his brother. Vlad’s inability to hypnotize her presents an entirely new dilemma, putting the beautiful law officer in harm’s way.

Special Agent Janelle Ferrari chases bad guys for a living, with a little help from her strange gift of psychic visions. That is until a sinfully sexy man, claiming to be the ancient, blood-drinking Romanian ruler steps into her office. Plunged into a secret society of vampires and a mounting war between immortal brothers, Janelle’s visions suddenly go quiet, leaving her vulnerable and placing her in the crosshairs of the killer she’s determined to take down.

Vlad and Janelle must join forces to stop the psychotic vampire before more humans perish. But when Janelle becomes next on Mircea’s hit list, will Vlad be able to protect the woman who’s captured his long-dead heart?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher

 

Murder Makes Scents

Christin Brecher

Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery, Book 4

Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Stella Wright loves creating candles at her Nantucket store–and she also has a burning passion for justice. Now, after visiting a perfume conference, she must solve a vial crime . . .

Stella and her globe-trotting mom, Millie, have come home from a perfume industry conference in Paris, where their trip was marred by witnessing the stabbing death of a young man. It’s a relief for Stella to be back on her picturesque island, with the comforting company of her cat, Tinker. But lingering danger may have followed them back across the ocean.After someone breaks into her candle store, the Wick & Flame, Stella starts feeling spooked. And just as things threaten to ignite, Millie suffers a blow to the head. Stella receives an anonymous note claiming that her mother smuggled a secret formula out of France–and threatening her life if it isn’t returned. Now Stella’s picked up the scent of a cold-hearted criminal and an intriguing puzzle, and things are about to get wicked . . .

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Murder Makes Scents, the second book of the Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery series is a wild ride from Paris to Nantucket.

 

Stella and her world traveling mother, Millie are a hoot. You can tell the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Both women share a passion for scents. Taking that passion and turning it into a livelihood that they love and unique to each of them.  Even though both women are very much like, they are both distinctly different and very much their own person. Millie is a care free, go with the flow where Stella is a bit more grounded and extremely happy in her little Nantucket town.Stella was a fabulous character even if she was a bit too trusting. I loved her quirkiness and how she let her determination outshine her fear.

 

Murder Makes Scents starts a little on the slow side, but that’s just the build up. An up and down, twist and turn, keep you guessing plot. We get engaging and humorous characters. I love the relationships established in the small town settings. Christin Beecher mixes a good dose of humor, some action and adventure along with a good plot that had me jumping back-and-forth on who the killer really was kind of mystery.  We even get a little bit of romance, which of course makes me very happy. I stumbled across Murder Makes Scents on netgalley and I’m very thankful to the publisher to allow me early access to this very entertaining read.

 

 

 

Review: Al Dente’s Inferno by Stephanie Cole

Al Dente’s Inferno 
Stephanie Cole
 
Tuscan Cooking School Mystery, Book 1 
Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Berkley Books

 

 

An American chef will have to serve up more than good eats if she wants to establish a successful farm-to-table cooking school in Tuscany, in this charming first installment in a new cozy mystery series set in Italy.

When Nell Valenti is offered a chance to move to Tuscany to help transform an aging villa into a farm-to-table cooking school, she eagerly accepts. After all, both her job and her love life in America have been feeling stale. Plus, she’ll get the chance to work under the acclaimed Italian Chef Claudio Orlandini.

But Nell gets more than she bargained for when she arrives. With only a day to go until the launch dinner for the cooking school, the villa is in shambles, and Chef O is blissfully oblivious of the work that needs to be done before a group of local dignitaries arrive, along with a filmmaker sent to showcase and advertise the new school. The situation only worsens when Nell discovers that the filmmaker is an ex-boyfriend, and he’s found murdered later that night. Even worse, Chef O has disappeared, and accusations of murder could shut the school down for good.

As tensions reach a boiling point at the villa, Nell must throw her chef’s hat into the ring, and investigate the murder herself. Because if she fails to solve the case, her career, or even her life, could be next on the chopping block

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Stars

 

Al Dente’s Inferno is the first book in Stephanie Cole’s new Tuscan Cooking School Mystery series.  Murder, mystery and a bit of romance are all lurking on the Tuscan countryside.

 

Chef Neil has found herself in a unique position of being able to help open a cooking school with her idol of a chef. Neil gets more than she bargained for while trying to start this farm to table is cooking school.  Neil is a hard worker with a deep sense of pride. She’s knowledgeable in what she does, and seems to handle stress better than most. But opening a cooking school and solving a murder are two completely different things.

 

Al Dente’s Inferno introduces readers to a beautiful setting within the Tuscan countryside. It was very easy to imagine the kitchen in which they were cooking and the olive fields outside of the house. I honestly could almost smell garlic if I tried hard enough.  Along with a colorful, charismatic and tight knit group of characters Neil uses her power of observation along with a little bit of nosiness to try to get to the bottom of the mystery.

 

Al Dente’s Inferno had the potential to be an exceptional read, however I found a few hiccups along the way. The amount of actual Italian used in the book made it very hard for me to read. Using a word or two here or there is not an issue but when you are using full phrases and several sentences at a time, anyone who does not have an understanding of the language is going to have a hard time. I do think the use of the Italian language to give the book a more authentic feel however for myself It was almost too much and began to take away from the entire feel and mood of the book.  I also felt that some of the characters were almost too much of a mystery. The characters that we got to know were very enjoyable but there is a cast we still know little about.  Neil, Pete and Chef were amazing and I felt like it was because we really got to know them. Stephanie Cole has a good foundation with the start of the series. I am hoping through the next book that we will actually get to know the characters a little more, the language barrier is not so high and the story will flow a little more evenly.

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: No Love Lost by Lexi Blake

NLL - CR banner.jpg


When the smoke clears, the men and women of McKay-Taggart will never be the same again.

No Love Lost, an all-new sexy and suspenseful, standalone in the Master and Mercenaries: The Forgotten series by New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake is releasing September 29th, and we have the stunning cover!

No-Love-Lost-highres.jpg

When Ezra Fain joined the ranks of the CIA, the last thing on his mind was romance. After meeting Kim Soloman, it was difficult to think of anything else. A tragic mistake drove them apart, leaving him shattered and unable to forgive the woman he loved. But when his greatest enemy threatens her life, Ezra leaps into action, prepared to do anything to try to save her.

Solo accepted long ago that she won’t get over Ezra. She’s worked for years to get back into his life, looking for any way to reignite the love they once shared. Unfortunately, nothing seems to penetrate the wall he has built between them. When she’s arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, she believes she’s on her own.

Racing across the globe, Ezra and Solo find themselves together again, caught in the crosshairs of the agency they sacrificed so much to serve. Days on the run soon turn to steamy nights, but Levi Green isn’t about to let them find their happily ever after. And when the smoke clears, the men and women of McKay-Taggart will never be the same again.

NLL - PO.jpg

Pre-order your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QXUO1o
AppleBooks: https://apple.co/30wKmRx
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/NoLoveLost
Nook: http://bit.ly/374qPdC
Kobo: http://bit.ly/389tseg
Google Play: http://bit.ly/38eU79Q
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3agoiiH

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2G2hS8J

Cover Designer: Croco Designs
Photographer: Studio Smexy
Model: W. Tyler Johnson

About Lexi Blake

lexi blake author photo

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. She likes to find humor in the strangest places. Lexi believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome or foursome may seem.

Connect with Lexi

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2uUiScN
BookBub: http://bit.ly/2Gdjy03
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2u5wX75
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2X1oASS
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2Gg1ktZ
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2R1nmXK
Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2R2wKKB
Youtube: http://bit.ly/2P9qhLH
Stay up to date with Lexi by joining her mailing list:
http://bit.ly/LexiBlakeNL
Website: http://www.lexiblake.net/

Cover Reveal: Vlad by Patricia Rasey

 

 

 

OMG- This cover is everything!!!  Thank you Patricia Rasey!

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

Vlad Tepes, king of the vampires, has a problem on his hands. His brother is taking out humans at an alarming rate and drawing unwanted attention, threatening exposure for their entire race. Vlad needs to stop Mircea before that happens, even if it means taking his head. In his mission to hunt Mircea down, Vlad encounters a stunning special agent who’s out to stop a killer—namely his brother. Vlad’s inability to hypnotize her presents an entirely new dilemma, putting the beautiful law officer in harm’s way.

Special Agent Janelle Ferrari chases bad guys for a living, with a little help from her strange gift of psychic visions. That is until a sinfully sexy man, claiming to be the ancient, blood-drinking Romanian ruler steps into her office. Plunged into a secret society of vampires and a mounting war between immortal brothers, Janelle’s visions suddenly go quiet, leaving her vulnerable and placing her in the crosshairs of the killer she’s determined to take down.

Vlad and Janelle must join forces to stop the psychotic vampire before more humans perish. But when Janelle becomes next on Mircea’s hit list, will Vlad be able to protect the woman who’s captured his long-dead heart?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaser:

Janelle used her palms to push away from his rock-hard chest. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? You can’t just treat me like a belonging. And smacking my ass? I should shoot you for that.”

He smiled, mischief twinkling in his gaze. “You liked it.”

“I…” She glanced away from those impossibly dark eyes so he wouldn’t see the truth. Christ, it had been a turn-on, but she’d die before admitting as much. “I didn’t.”

His arched brow mocked her. “Liar.”

~*~

 

 

 

Review: A Fatal Faberge by Ellery Adama and Parker Rigg

 

A Fatal Faberge

Ellery Adams 

Parker Riggs

Antiques & Collectibles Series, Book 8

185 pages

Beyond the Page (February 2, 2020)

 

 

A new book in the Antiques & Collectibles mystery series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs!

In the world of antiques and collectibles, it helps to have a sharp eye for quality, a good ear for gossip, and a nose for murder . . .

In the grips of a cold and drab autumn, Collector’s Weekly reporter Molly Appleby is thrilled to be attending a festive black-tie fundraiser hosted by the very private Natasha Gordon, an heiress known for her charitable events and aversion to the limelight. It’s Molly first chance to see the stunning interior of the Gordon estate, but when a rare book dealer is pushed from a high window to his death, she’s confronted with a sight that’s become all too common for her. And despite the fact that the crude and pompous victim was roundly disliked by all who knew him and that any number of people may have wanted him dead, Molly agrees to look into the murder for his surviving son.

As the police go about their steady business of interviewing the dozens of people in attendance that night, Molly decides to look closer to home and begins questioning the staff and anyone else connected to the estate and the victim. More and more stories of the dead man’s troubled life and marriage begin to emerge, including a potentially lucrative deal that’s gone bust and an old Gordon family heirloom that’s gone missing—a rare jeweled Fabergé egg once owned by the Empress Alexandra of Russia.

When clues to the murderer’s identity begin to accumulate, so too do the threats to Molly, and she knows she’s getting close to the truth. But with a secret family history and an untold amount of money on the line, Molly knows she’ll need to tread carefully before she becomes the latest victim of a killer trying to cover their tracks . . .

“A wonderfully written, captivating cozy novel with likeable main characters and an interesting plot!” —Goodreads review on A Treacherous Trader

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars

A new to me series that delivered a very enjoyable cozy mystery. A Fatal Faberge is the eighth book in the Antiques and Collectible series by Parker Riggs and Ellery Adams. A murder mystery filled will twist and deception that sucks you in from the get go.

In this little Vermont town amateur sleuth Molly has given herself a reputation of being able to solve cases. She is like a cat, and curiosity gets the best of her. Sometimes even too much for her own good. She’s smart and witty with a great personality. I love the little nudges Molly‘s husband Matt, and her mother, give her to continue to get to the bottom of the mystery. Having the ear of the local detective is not a bad thing either.

A Fatal Fabergé is an engaging and enjoyable cozy read. A twisting plot that keeps you going as the secrets unhold. For a little Vermont town and an antiques writer things sure get shaken up in A Fatal Fabergé.

 

Review: Dirty and Dangerous by Shayla Black

Dirty and Dangerous

Shayla Black 

Kindle Edition, 202 pages
Published February 6th 2020

 

 

Trading pleasure for information is no way to catch a criminal…or is it?

With fifty grand at stake and a star-witness missing, bounty hunter R. A. Thorn and Detective Cameron Martinez reluctantly team up to and put their bodies on the line to make gorgeous informant Brenna Sheridan a deal: everything she knows in exchange for everything she desires.

Their heated interrogation explodes into an unexpected experience none can forget or forego. Commitment-shy Thorn is sure their “deal” is nothing but pure, sizzling lust. Cam knows it’s more. But Brenna is keeping dangerous secrets, one a mafia boss is intent on learning—before silencing her forever. While on the run, her past spills out. And when shocking desires are revealed, there’s no turning back…

Can the guys come together to protect and serve the woman they want to claim for good before the threat ends her?

Short Novel

*(Formerly titled Dangerous Boys and Their Toy. Contents of this book are unchanged.)

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

This book is intense on so many levels. From page one the action is in your face and bam, it keeps coming at you. A complex situation that gives a fast-moving plot and multi-layered characters with intense personalities.

 

Thorn is raw, aggressive and very alpha. Being a bounty hunter is very fitting for him. Thorn is the love them and leaves them, type of guy.  Cameron is as observant as he is a charmer. He had a way with people that makes them melt into his hands. He has finesse and patients and knows the meaning of being sensitive and how to use sensitivity. Cam’s way with words is a gift. Brenna is a woman trying to get answers to questions she’s been asking for a lifetime. One man connects these three people and is the first link in a fast chain of events that changes each of them down to the soul.

 

Dirty and Dangerous is a quick-moving, action-filled, intensely intimate and hot as sin itself.  Shayla Black once again draws readers in with raw emotions, a great story and some wicked romance that just may leave readers panting.  Thorn, Cam, and Brenna together found a way to help, save, free and understand and love. I loved the open-mindedness and the natural progression in which the relationship developed. It may have been quick but it gave me goosebumps and chills while reading. Dirty and Dangerous is a male, male, female ménage that is beyond hot.

 

Review: Southern Double Cross by Caroline Fardig

 

Southern Double Cross

Caroline Fardig

A Southern B&B Mystery, Book 3

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: February 11th 2020 by Alibi

 

A fundraising party goes south in a delightful cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of Southern Discomfort and the Java Jive novels

Quinn Bellandini is ready to get back to running her grandfather’s B&B in Savannah, Georgia, with her sister, Delilah—but first, she has to coordinate a fundraising event at the house of local philanthropists, with the help of her boyfriend, Tucker Heyward. Everything is running smoothly until Quinn’s friend, Pepper Fox, frantically calls her with the horrifying news that the lady of the house was found dead, and Pepper’s brother, who was working as a caterer, has been charged with her murder.

Pepper knows her brother didn’t commit the crime and asks Quinn, now a veteran detective with two solved murders under her belt, to prove his innocence. Quinn can’t bear to see her friend upset and enlists Delilah and Tucker to help investigate.

The invite list quickly turns into the suspect list as tensions mount and old feuds are brought to light. Could Quinn have hired the only catering company in Georgia that throws in a murder on the side?

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars 

Quinn and Delilah are a hoot!

When you are known around town as the solver of murders and your best friends brother is framed for murder he didn’t commit, Quinn can’t help but get her arm twisted into this mess that is as hot as the southern heat.

Quinn is a sweet southern girl with a knack for solving murders faster than the local police. She’s kind to the core with a quirkiness and spunk. She is a guitar player after all. I enjoyed the entertaining banter between Quinn and her sister Delilah. They are so different and that is part of what makes them so comical. Delilah will speak her mind and has a great knack for putting two and two together. Pepper is a hot mess with everything going on but even with her pushiness she’s a grateful and loyal friend. From rubbing noses with the elite to shady meet ups in dive bars and crazy stakeouts Quinn and Delilah walk with their head held high into craziness that their world seems destined to stumble upon.

Southern Double Cross is a fun and twisty cozy in the Southern B&B Series. This is my first read by Caroline Fardig. I enjoyed her fun and entertaining style of writing. A plot that hand me guessing and then double guessing myself. With so many suspects and a lot of personalities going around Quinn uses her good and not so good wits along with her southern charm to peel through the many layers of this mystery.