Category Archives: ARC

Review: Getaway with Murder by Diane Kelly

Getaway With Murder 

Diane Kelly

Mountain Lodge Mystery Series, Book 1

Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 26th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
Getaway With Murder is the first in a brand new cozy series from Diane Kelly set in a lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where secrets hide behind every hill.

As if hitting the half-century mark wasn’t enough, Misty Murphy celebrated her landmark birthday by amicably ending her marriage and investing her settlement in a dilapidated mountain lodge at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the old inn teetering on both a bluff and bankruptcy, she must have lost her ever-loving mind.

Luckily, handyman Rocky Crowder has a knack for rehabbing virtual ruins and for doing it on a dime, and to Misty’s delight, the lodge is fully booked on opening night, every room filled with flexible folks who’d slipped into spandex and ascended the peak for a yoga retreat with plans to namastay for a full week. Misty and her guests are feeling zen—at least until the yoga instructor is found dead.

With a killer on the loose and the lodge’s reputation hanging in the balance, Misty must put her detective-skills to the test. Only one thing is as clear as a sunny mountain morning—she must solve the crime before the lodge ends up, once again, on the brink.

4 Stars

Diane Kelly gives readers a thrilling beginning to her new Mountain Lodge Mystery Series with Getaway With Murder.  

Getaway With Murder was a fantastic read. This was a different type of cozy and it was welcome and refreshing. Missy has lived a good life, yet herself and her now ex husband have grown out of love and decided that they could go their separate ways and maintain the friendship that they have built over the years. Missy is starting over in a place she enjoys and loves.  Purchasing a mountain resort, packing up herself and Yetti, her lovable feline companion,  to embark on their new lives. Sounds easy right? Well not so much. After a night of bad storms, an encounter with a nose in the contractor, and a few local locals that genuinely care, Missy takes a deep breath and takes her leap. 

Getaway With Murder is a fantastic beginning to why I feel is going to be an amazing series. Missy is independent, strong and resourceful. She knows what she wants and will do what she can to make it happen. I enjoyed that Missy.  She’s a great character and I know I will be eagerly waiting to see what comes next.  The mystery side of this tale was definitely a twisty one. Well written and plotted, Diane Kelly had me guessing throughout the story. Entertaining and funny, with a good mystery and just a splash of romance. Getaway With Murder will transport reads to a beautiful mountain town, with great characters and an even better story.

Review: Mango, Mambo and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes

mango

Mango, Mambo and Murder

Raquel V. Reyes

A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery, Book 1

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: October 12th 2021 by Crooked Lane Books
Cuban-American cooking show star Miriam Quinones-Smith becomes a seasoned sleuth in Raquel Reyes’s Caribbean Kitchen Mystery debut, a savory treat for fans of Joanne Fluke and Jenn McKinlay.

Food anthropologist Miriam Quinones-Smith’s move from New York to Coral Shores, Miami, is traumatic enough without having to deal with her son’s toddler tantrums and her husband’s midlife crisis. Her best friend, Alma, adds some spice back into Miriam’s life when she offers her a job as an on-air cooking expert on a Spanish-language morning TV show. But when the newly minted star attends a Women’s Club luncheon, a socialite sitting at her table suddenly falls face-first into the chicken salad, never to nibble again.

When a second woman dies soon after, suspicions coalesce around a controversial Cuban herbalist, Dr. Fuentes–especially after the morning show’s host collapses while interviewing him. But then, Detective Pullman learns that the socialite’s death resulted from a drug overdose–and an anonymous tip fingers Alma as the pusher.

Pullman persuades Miriam to ply her culinary know-how and her understanding of Coral Shores’s Caribbean culture to help find the killer and clear Alma’s name. While her hubby dallies with his ex-girlfriend, Juliet, Miriam quizzes her neighbors for answers and researches all manner of herbs.

As the ingredients to the deadly scheme begin blending together, Miriam is on the verge of learning how and why the women died. But her snooping may turn out to be a recipe for her own murder

4 Stars

A fun and twisting cozy mystery. 

There are so many good things about Mango, Mambo and Murder.  First, I absolutely love Miriam. And seeing things through her perspective definitely allowed me to get wrapped up and lost in this book. She is definitely a strong character that is going on a crazy roller coaster ride.  Second, the cast of characters for the story. Such a mix of personality and culture. Some will make you crazy and some you can’t help but to love. Third, the cooking and recipes. Being someone who loves to cook, this story helped open my eyes to something new.  Miriam goes from the happiest of highs to the lowest of lows in a matter of chapters. Moving to a new place, reacquainting with long lost family members, a best friend he’s got herself on shaky ground and a husband that she’s not quite sure what is up to. Miriam handles all of this with the cutest little toddler in tow. 

Mango, Mambo and Murder is a fun read. Even with the twists I did figure out the who done it.  Yet I do feel like author Raquel V. Reyes does a fantastic job letting the reader get to know her characters and setting up the series. Ms. Reyes uses quite a bit of Spanish within the text of the story and does a very good job of giving clues around what is being said. However I did have to translate a few of the phrases because I was not sure yet that did not take away from the story for me. It just took me a little longer to read just so I knew what was going on. This is a fun and unique start so what I’m thinking is going to be a very fun series.

Review: Harvest Web by Yasmine Galenorn

Harvest Web

Yasmine Galenorn

Moonshadow Bay Series, Book 4

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 5th 2021
Summer has been kind to January–work has involved a lot of quiet research, she’s helped Ari revamp her wedding plans, and settled into a comfortable routine with Killian. That all comes to a screeching halt when autumn crashes in like a bull in a china shop.January finds herself plagued with an obnoxious house-ghost when she literally discovers a skeleton in her closet. She must discover who the dead man was, and why his skeleton is in her house before she can exorcise the spirit–not an easy task in itself. But then, at work, a much more serious issue arises when Conjure Ink’s new client is killed by the Whatcom County Devil–an urban legend come to life. Now, they must find the creature and destroy it before it strikes again.

Reading Order of the Series

:1. Starlight Web
3. Conjure Web
4. Harvest Web
5. Shadow Web

5 Stars 

Yasmine Galenorn has an amazing talent for creating a world you never want to leave. Moonshadow Bay is magical. 

January spoke too soon about her summer being a quiet one. Fall hits her in full force creating much havoc and mystery. Recent house renovations have awoken a few spirits in January‘s house. Upon investigation skeletal remains have been found in a forgotten room within the house. Not to mention a mysterious creature having his way on the town.  January is knee-deep in more paranormal chaos then she can shake a stick at. With The help of her coworkers at Conjure Ink and  Ari, a best friend’s work is never done, January is determined to get her house back and take out an urban legend before it does any more damage. 

Harvest Web is a fast paced, thrilling paranormal suspense.  First and foremost Ms. Galenorn’s world building is top notch and like no other. Moonshadow Bay is unique and magical. Just like the beings within. January has become a favorite character for me. She continues to develop and discover more about herself. She’s strong yet adaptive. In Harvest Moon, January finds a confidence within herself we have not seen before. She’s quick thinking and willing to learn.  She knows her weaknesses and is able to admit the things in life she doesn’t want. I can relate to January in many ways allowing me to connect with her. Harvest Web brings things from the past, mysteries of forest and a whole lot of magic.  Harvest Web was fantastic.  Written with raunch rich details you truly feel like you are in Moonshadow Bay.

Review: The Cure for What Ales You by Ellie Alexander

The Cure for What Ales You

Ellie Alexander 

Sloan Krause Mystery Series, Book 5

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 5th 2021 by Minotaur Books

 

 

Amateur sleuth and brewer Sloan Krause contends with her past–and a murder related to it–in The Cure for What Ales You, another delightful mystery from cozy writer Ellie Alexander.

After a long cold winter, spring is beginning to bloom in the alpine village of Leavenworth, Washington, where craft brewer Sloan Krause and her partner in crime Garrett Strong are putting the finishing touches on their bright and refreshing Lemon Kiss ale. They’ll be debuting their new line at the Maifest celebration, which will bring visitors from near and far to dance around the Maipole and shop at the outdoor flower markets.

Despite the festive spirit in the air, Sloan is brewing over her past. She’s spent months following leads that have turned into dead ends. But when she spots a woman who strongly resembles Marianne—a long lost contact who may be her only connection to piecing together her story—she hopes that things might be taking a turn in her favor. That hope is quickly smashed when Marianne is involved in the murder of a local housekeeper. To make matters worse, Marianne issues a dire warning that Sloan and her entire family are in danger. If Sloan can’t figure out who the killer is and what happened in her past, she won’t find any hoppy endings.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

 

It’s Mailfest in the charming and cozy town of Leavenworth! Sloane and the crew of Nitro are eager to start slinging pints of their newest craft beer, Lemon Kiss for the town festivities. Ready for a busy but fun weekend Sloane gets wrapped in more than beer and brats.  The woman from past that Sloane has been looking for shows up at the festival, a local housekeeper is murdered and now she and Alex are in danger too.  Sloane does why she does best….. brews and clues!!! 

 

Wow! What a powerhouse of a story with The Cure for What Ales You.  Ellie Alexander is a Fascinating writer and it definitely shows within the story. Sloane has done a lot of growing over the last few months and learning to live life a new way. Also trying to find out who she is. A lot of those questions are answered in this almost double mystery.  Sloane never gives up or in and has become a stronger person for it.  The Cure for What Ales You is fun and festive, a well plotted mystery and long time fans will have some long time questions answered.  A very entertaining cozy. 

 

 

Review: More Than Possess You by Shayla Black

 

More Than Possess You 

Shayla Black

More Than Words Series, Book 6.75

1001 Dark Nights

Kindle Edition, 154 pages
Expected publication: September 28th 2021
I persuaded my best friend that I should be her first…

I’m Hayes Elliott. Since second grade, I’ve had one best friend, Echo Hope. When she graduates from college, of course I have to give her something amazing. Since I’ll be on a business trip to Maui, I’m bringing her along for a week of fun and sun. But once she sheds her long skirts, serious buns, and combat boots for bikinis, I can’t deny how stunning she is…and I can’t stop wanting her. Worse, she’s determined to lose her V-card—and has asked one of our man-whoring buddies to pluck it.

I’ve got to step in.

It’s underhanded, but I offer to do the job properly. Since I’m no one’s Prince Charming, I have no intention of following through. Suddenly, the kisses start and the clothes come off…and I can’t remember why I’m not supposed to make her mine in every way. Or why I shouldn’t be in love with her. But if I want Echo for more than a vacation fling, I’ll have to fight. And she’s about to find out how determined I am to upgrade my best friend to wife.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

3.5 Stars

Shayla Black takes the reader to tropical Hawaii with the next chapter in the More Than Words series with More Than Possess You.

Hayes Elliott and Echo Hope have been best friends for as long as they can remember. They do have a tight knit group of friends yet the two are closer than close. When Hayes and good friend Xavian Costa are heading to maui for a work thing Hayes finds it fitting to invite Echo along. What should be a week in Paradise becomes a realization of many things.

More Than Possess You goes beyond friendship and what you see on the outside. It is about love and longing. Learning there’s more and the passion is so sweet. Hayes is so possessive but yet extremely tender at the same time. His heart is in the right place yet he doesn’t seem to notice what is right under his nose. Echo is one smart cookie. She took a giant leap, putting everything on the line. I enjoyed watch this friendship turn into something so much more.

Review: Santa’s Subpoena by Rebecca Zanetti

 

Santa’s Subpoena 

Rebecca Zanetti 

The Anna Albertini Flies Series, Book 4

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: September 28th 2021
So Much for Peace During the Holidays

Anna Albertini has her hands full during the holiday season. Her boyfriend Aiden is back in town after being undercover across the country for the last three months, and his sudden over-protectiveness is a little too much. In addition, Nonna’s latest matchmaking scheme has been so far thwarted by the two most stubborn candidates alive, and Nonna is out of patience and bringing out the big guns. Anna is forced to both protect her sister and run interference, when she’d like to jump in and find a happily ever after for everyone instead.

To add to her already hectic life, her life-long stalker is about to make a move and doesn’t hide that frightening fact, although Anna is more than ready for him. In fact, she’s willing to draw him out to finally bring him down—regardless of the consequences. Finally, Santa has been arrested and charged for murder, needing a good lawyer. Who would arrest Santa? Anna can’t let this stand. It’s a good thing Christmas is a time of magic and miracles, because she’s going to need one.

5 Stars

You would think Christmas time would be full of joy and cheer but Anna Albertini Has a snack for crazy stuff falling on her doorstep. Or walking into her office as this case would be. Not to mention all the things of Anna’s life that are on her mind.

Now tasted with getting Santa off on murder charges, the incredibly hard task of finding Aiden the proper Christmas gift and waiting for that expected thing that she doesn’t want to happen but yet knows is going to happen. Anna‘s life is crazy and messed up but this woman’s got a great heart and would put herself out there just to help someone else.

Santa’s Subpoena is intense, funny and jaw dropping. Rebecca Zanetti has created one of the best characters I have read in a long time. Anna adds a bit of humor to everything and stands up with the best of them. Anna hit a very pivotal point in her life within this book and comes out with her head held high and standing strong. The story is intense but yet the woman that is Anna is even more so. I absolutely love this book. And I would highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a suspenseful read with some passion and a lot of humor.

Review: When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

When Sparks Fly 

Helena Hunting 

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Running the Spark House, a hotel/event space that has been in her family for years, has been Avery Spark’s lifelong dream. After years of working hard and making personal sacrifices, Avery and her two younger sisters have turned the Spark House into the premier destination in Colorado Springs. Avery is living her best life—she works with her sisters and loves every minute of it, she has a great group of friends, and she lives in a fantastic condo with her best friend Declan. She might not have any love in her life, but she’s happy.

But everything comes to a screeching halt when Avery is in a car accident, leaving her immobile for weeks. After nearly losing Avery, Declan insists that he will be the one to take care of her while she recovers. However, as Declan becomes Avery’s caretaker, lines begin to blur.

Avery and Declan have been best friends since college and always had an attraction to one another, but when she ended up dating his best friend, Sam, they successfully stamped down any feelings they may have ever had for one another. Now, as Declan and Avery spend more time together, they each begin to wonder what would’ve happened if she’d dated him instead of Sam. What starts as a friend helping out another friend turns into foreplay and, before they realize it, they recognize how deeply they care for one another. But when things get serious their past threatens to destroy everything they have built.

3.5 Stars

Friends to lovers are some of my favorite stories. There is no denying the strength of the friendship between Avery and Declan. You can definitely tell that they are each other’s ride or die. Their friendship has stood the test of time and a few ups and downs along the way. To the average outsider they would be considered not then friends.

When Sparks Fly finds two friends that don’t realize what is right under their noses. It takes a major event for the reality to come to light. Avery is in a major accident and requires a good deal of care. Declan steps up to the plate no question asked. As they discover new things within their friendship, some of their inner flaws show up and take root. Avery and Declan take the leap now they just have to stay a float.

I honestly enjoyed this friends to lovers tale, I do feel there were several parts that seemed to drag on. With that being said, I really liked how Avery and Declan worked through their issues to be able to find their happiness.

Review: The Moonshine Shack Murder by Diane Kelly

 

The Moonshine Shack Murder 

Diane Kelly

Southern Homebrew Mystery Series, Book 1 

Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 6th 2021 by Berkley Books
In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright–until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.

The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new ‘shine shop will be a smashing success. What’s more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store’s doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.

The homicide detective can’t seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie’s longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn’t talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.

Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.

4 Stars

A fantastic new cozy series.

Mystery and humor combined in one. You can’t ask for a better combination and a cozy mystery. The Moonshie Shack Murder is a great start to what I think is going to be an intriguing and humorous cozy mystery series.

Hattie Hayes is carrying on a long family tradition. She’s just doing it the legal way. Hence, The Moonshine Shack! Hattie is thrilled to be sharing her grandpa tradition shine along with her flavorful line of shine. During her grand opening party Hattie believes she has a local pub convinced to sell her shine but later backs out and just a bit later is found dead. On Hattie’s doorstep not less. And with a jar of her shine smashed on the ground next to him. To clear her name and save her reputation before it could even really start Hattie Puts her nose to the grindstone to distill the true culprit.

What a great start to a new series. Diane Kelly definitely has something special with this one. I love the family legacy being revived in a new way. The characters are amazing. Grandpa was a hoot. He was thoroughly entertaining every moment he was on the page. Whether he was strapping himself to his rocking chair or getting rowdy with the young folk he’s a true gem in the story. Hattie is still coming into her own and beginning to let her dreams flourish but she still has a lot to learn. Her determination and tenacity just makes you love her.

A little mystery, a little shine and a dash of romance, that a winner in my book.

Review: Falling for the Girl Next Door by Melissa Schroeder

 

Falling for the Girl Next Door 

Melissa Schroeder

The Fighting Sullivans Series, Book 2

Kindle Edition
Published September 9th 2021

 

 

 

From the USA Today Bestselling author of The Santinis comes a story of another group of military brothers who are about to meet the women who will own their hearts.

Alyx Sullivan finds that opposites attract in the most delightful ways.

My siblings give me crap about being the one with the bad temper. I’m not denying it. I say I make it work for me. Especially with my neighbors. They’ve all stopped making eye contact with me in the elevator, and I like it that way.

Except for Lizbeth.

She’s my next door neighbor, teacher of little people, and all around happy person. She probably wakes up smiling and happy. The first moment we met, I wanted her, but I am not a man made for happily ever afters.

So I’ve been as rude as possible to her, but she just doesn’t care. And with each interaction, it’s harder to resist the need I have for her. She’s wholesome and pretty and I just want to do all kinds of wicked things to her and with her…just EVERYTHING.

And in one moment, I  give into my desires and let’s just say…MIND BLOWN…along with other things.

Only, Lizbeth has a secret she’s been keeping, one that could have deadly consequences.

 

 

 

4 Stars

 Lizbeth is a sweet and charismatic woman. She has an abundance of patience and a sharp mind. That’s the nature of the game when you’re a kindergarten teacher. Lizbeth’s mother had a tradition of turning neighbors into friends and family. When her stubborn but extremely sexy neighbor resists all her tries at friendship she breaks out the big guns. Yet, Lizbeth may be getting more than she is asking for but just what she needs.

Alyx is kind of on the quiet side, is grumpy most of the time and is fine with that. He’s that neighbor that wants to be left alone but when Lizbeth’s Genuine and innocent nature is all over the hallways of their building he can’t help but take notice. The more Alyx tries to resist the more he can’t stop thinking about her. The moment he allows himself to get to know her he knows that he must protect her and that she is the one.

I loved this short read. Perfect for an afternoon escape. Alyx is the kind of grumpy that you can’t help but to swoon over. Lizbeth is sweet and infectious in the best way. Falling for the Girl Next Door Is classic Melissa Schroeder writing. You have characters that are interesting, humor to go along with your story, a little bit of action and quite a bit of heat. Perfect on site read.

 

 

 

 

Review: What the Cat Dragged In by Miranda James

What the Cat Dragged In

Miranda James 

Cat in the Stacks Series, Book 14

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 31st 2021 by Berkley Books

Librarian Charlie Harris and his faithful feline companion, Diesel, have inherited Charlie’s grandfather’s house, along with a deadly legacy: a decades-old crime scene, in this all-new mystery in the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks series.

Charlie has always believed that his grandfather had sold his house to his longtime tenant, Martin Hale. So when Martin dies, Charlie is surprised to discover the house was not left to Martin but instead belongs to Charlie. As he and Diesel check out the house he remembers fondly from his childhood, he is pleasantly surprised that it is in better condition than expected. That is, until they find a literal skeleton in a closet.

While the sheriff’s department investigates the mysterious remains, Charlie digs deeper into the past for clues to the identity of the bones and why they are there. But the cold case heats up quickly when Martin’s grandson is found dead on the farm.

As Charlie delves into his own family history, he encounters many people who might have been motivated to take a life. But Charlie and Diesel know that things are not always what they seem, and that secrets seemingly lost to time have a way of finding their way back to haunt the present.

4 Stars 

Look What the Cat Dragged In is a thoroughly enjoyable cozy ministry. This was my first adventure with The Cat in the Stacks series and will definitely not be my last. 

Charlie Harris has just gotten some very surprising news. A house and land believed to be long gone from the family has just surprisingly come back to them.  With the ownership of the land reverting back to Charlie it also opens a big mystery along his family lines. The past and the present collide to unravel The mysteries along the family line.  

I really enjoyed getting to know Charlie Harris and his two furry and lovable companions, Diesel and Ramses.  I really enjoyed how Charlie tried to stay out of the mystery but yet kept himself within it.  I love the complex genealogical history that flows through the story allowing the reader to have that much more interest in what was going on. The mysteries piled up but the research and a few hidden family secrets help pave the way to finding the answer.  I love the family connections and the strong friendships that have obviously been well developed through this series. I love that jumping in at book 14 I was able to navigate my way easily through the story and know what was going on. Author Miranda James has a unique talent for writing I thoroughly enjoyable cozy mystery.