Category Archives: Cozy Mystery

Review: Strawberried Alive by Jenn McKinlay

Strawberried Alive 

Jenn McKInlay 

Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series, Book 14

Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Expected publication: May 3rd 2022 by Berkley Books
The crew from the Fairy Tale Cupcakes shop risks getting burned when they set out to find a murderer who is terrorizing their town

Life is smooth as buttercream at the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery, and newlyweds Mel and Joe are stopping to smell the flours. But things start to crumble one night when an unknown gunman takes a shot at Mel. Though the bullets miss their mark, the cupcake crew goes on high alert to figure out who would want to kill a small-town baker, and why.

When more business owners are attacked, things turn fatal, and locals begin to wonder if the killer could be one of their own. Every shop owner in town starts to fear it’s only a matter of time before they too become victims of the mystery murderer. Despite the cupcake crew’s superb baking skills, it will be anything but a piece of cake to catch the killer, as they try to prevent anyone else from being berried.

4.5 Stars
Mel is having one of those weeks so the cupcake levels are high. A bridezilla with last minute changes to cupcakes all but ready to go and after the long hours Fixing the last-minute changes to the cupcakes as Mel is heading home, shots are fired in the alley behind the bakery. Now Mel is looking over her shoulder, another shop owner thinks Mel is at the center of the crime. With neighboring shops turning against her and shooter on the loose, Mel goes into hiding but keeps her eye on all that’s going on to get to the bottom of this cupcake caper.
Strawberried Alive Is a fantastic dive back into the world of the Fairytale Cupcakes crew. There is so much emotion going through this book. Everyone is worried and before they can figure anything else more events keep happening. Angie can’t stand that she can’t help her best friend, Mel doesn’t understand why the town is against her and her bakery and why someone would be shooting at her. Jenn McKinlay did a fantastic job with keeping me glued to the page. Strawberried Alive was a one sit read for me. I could not put it down. It’s always fun to visit with Mel, Angie Tate, Oz and the gang. I love how they come together no matter what is going on. Although I have come to realize it’s very hard to keep a secret that involves anything to do with the Fairytale Cupcake Bakery.

Review: A Margin for Murder by Lauren Elliott

A Margin for Murder 

Lauren Elliott 

Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series, Book 8

Kindle Edition, ‎, 304 pages
Published April 26th 2022
In the riveting new mystery from the USA Today bestselling author, a murder and a missing first edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses send rare bookstore owner Addie Greyborne on an investigation to challenge even the most distinguished of bibliophiles…

Addie leaves her Greyborne Harbor bookstore, Beyond the Page Books and Curios, in the capable hands of her assistant while she travels to the neighboring town of Pen Hollow to attend a book sale at a library that is closing due to lack of funding. But the real find is a bookmobile bus, which she’s excited to refit as a traveling bookstore to hit all the summer festivals. The bookmobile also holds a surprising treasure: several classic first editions and an early edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.

But before the bookmobile can be delivered to Addie, a fatal car crash occurs. When an autopsy reveals poison in the victim’s system and the first editions go missing, it’s up to Addie to determine what would drive someone to murder. If she’s not careful, however, she may be the next one to be dead on arrival…

4 Stars

Addie and Paige are on a simple trip to purchase books from a library sale in a neighboring town. What should be a fun and simple visit to get some new things for the bookstore turns into a complicated mess that no one saw coming. They find some books, obtain a few pieces of furniture and are now the new owners of a bookmobile. The glory is only celebrated for moments when they should be receiving the bookmobile that they just purchased, the said vehicle is involved in a murder. A murder that has Addie and Paige as the number one suspects. With not being allowed to leave town and a police chief that doesn’t seem to want to look any further for suspects, Addie can’t help to do what she does and get to the bottom of this even if no one else wants to look in any other direction.

Lauren Elliot has a way of keeping you guessing and laughing throughout the entire story. That was no different with A Margin for Murder. This story is well plotted with plenty of clues dropped here and there to keep you guessing all along the way. Addie goes through A roller coaster of emotions throughout the story. Not only is she dealing with being a murder suspect and a wrecked bookmobile that she’s owned for an hour, Addie should be celebrating her birthday. Even with all of the emotions going on, Addie does what she does best and gets to the bottom of this mystery. I very much enjoyed this read and I very much look forward to seeing what happens to Addie in the future.

 

Review: ‘TIl Death by Carol J. Perry

‘Til Death 

Carol J. Perry

A Witch City Mystery Series, Book 12

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: April 26th 2022
The staff at Salem, Massachusetts’s local station, WICH-TV, is looking forward to the wedding of their program director, Lee Barrett. But when Lee heads off on her Maine honeymoon, she’ll be haunted by the ghosts of her own past . . .

Lee and Detective Sergeant Pete Mondello are finally tying the knot—and Lee is tying up loose ends before the big day. It’ll be an adjustment moving out of Aunt Ibby’s house, but the couple will stay nearby—after all, they have to share custody of O’Ryan, their clairvoyant cat. And Aunt Ibby will be renting out Lee’s old apartment . . . though she’s getting some bad vibes from her current prospective tenant.

After the celebration, complete with a cake made by the station magician, there should be time to relax—but the Maine island happens to be near the site of the crash that long ago killed Lee’s parents, a mystery she’s never been able to solve. Soon she’ll be putting wedding gifts aside and turning to her psychic gifts instead, to wrap up crimes both past and present . . .

4 Stars

This is my first experience with the Witch City Mystery Series and I so wish I would have discovered it before now.  ‘Til Death was a fantastic, edge of your seat and engaging cozy Mystery.

Lee is a local program director for Salem’s WICH-TV network. She loves her job and is very good at what she does. She has worked her way up from almost the bottom and has made a wonderful name for herself. In this installment of the series, Lee Is about to marry the local detective and her love Pete. With the plans of a honeymoon to be more like a road trip finishing up the last minute things for the station is all she wants to get done.  Parts of Lee’s past and family show up in the story. Making her honeymoon into an info gathering adventure while celebrating her marriage. Not everything goes as planned and some family secrets are unearthed.  

Oh I absolutely love this story.  From the concept of the series to the themes that are sprinkled all throughout the book and a strong woman who is bound and determined to figure out something that has happened in her past. Carol Perry Has created a fan of me with just one book and that’s the 12th book in the series.  ‘Til Death ‘is the 12th book in the series but even A newbie like me was able to catch on quickly and enjoy this very intriguing tale. Also making me want to go back and start at the beginning of the series and see how we ended up where we are at now.

Review: Three Shots to the Wind by Sherry Harris

 

Three Shots to the Wind

Sherry Harris 

Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery Series, Book 3

Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 29th 2022 by Kensington

Chloe’s Windy City ex-fiancé gets blown away in the Florida panhandle . . .

DEAD EXES TELL NO TALES

Saloon owner Chloe Jackson appears to have a secret admirer. She’s pouring drinks at the Sea Glass Saloon in Emerald Cove when an airplane flies by above the beach with a banner reading I LOVE YOU CHLOE JACKSON. She immediately rules out Rip Barnett. They are in the early stages of dating and no one has said the L word. Then a bouquet of lilacs—her favorite flower—is delivered to the bar, followed by an expensive bottle of her favorite sparkling wine. It couldn’t be . . .

Sure enough, her ex-fiancé from Chicago has flown down to Florida for an accountants’ convention. But is he trying to mix business with pleasure and win her back? Unfortunately he’s not in a hotel conference room, he’s floating facedown in the lake next to her house, clutching a photo of Chloe. Who murders an accountant on a business trip—it just doesn’t add up. When Rip becomes the prime suspect, Chloe is determined to find the secret murderer. But if she isn’t careful, it may be closing time and lights out for her .

4 Stars

I love this beach saloon!!
Chloe Jackson is a part-time waitress, learning to be a bartender and part owner of the most popular little beach saloon in Emerald Cove, Florida. As we begin our tale, Chloe is having one of those days. It’s one of those days where it just gets more strange as the day goes along. On what should be a relaxing run Chloe stumbles upon the local deputy investigating the murder. For me to add on to the strange events of her day it’s Chloe‘s ex fiancé who is found dead.
This is a fantastic story. Sherry Harris gave us a Mystery that kept us on the edge of our seat. The moral of the story is don’t judge a book by its cover and Chloe found out that her ex was not the man whom she thought he was. This mystery has fingers pointing at the man Chloe is currently dating but she knows he had no hand in it. As a mystery unfolds I became more and more engrossed in the story. It’s a great story with lots of humor and a fantastic Mystery woven in.

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: 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: 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.

Review: A Deadly Chapter by Essie Lang

A Deadly Chapter 

Essie Lang  

Castle Bookshop Mystery Series, Book 3 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: March 9th 2021

Thousand Islands bookseller Shelby Cox is caught between a lethal rock and a hardheaded newcomer in Essie Lang’s third Castle Bookshop mystery, a must-read for fans of Lorna Barrett and Vicki Delany.

Wake up on a houseboat, moored in scenic Alexandria Bay, New York. Ride the gentle waves to work at quaint Bayside Books, where you spend your days supplying literature and conversation to the charming locals and seasonal tourists. Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? Except bookseller Shelby Cox has already sleuthed two murders from Bayside Books’s home base on Blye Island, one of New York State’s famed Thousand Islands. And this time, mayhem knocks right on Shelby’s waterside door when she finds a body lodged between the side of her houseboat and the dock, his skull shattered.

The victim is no local, but Shelby can’t shake the feeling she’s seen him before. Twice, in fact–that’s how many times he’s dropped into Bayside Books asking about an enigmatic woman who lived on Blye Island many years before. The last time? The day before he was found. But the poor man obviously was killed elsewhere, so who brought him down to the bay, and why?

When the victim’s daughter hits town demanding answers, Shelby takes the case, despite Police Chief Tekla Stone’s usual reservations. But she uncovers more suspects than there are pages in War and Peace, and Shelby can expect no peace–except the peace of the grave–unless she can turn the page on this grisly mystery. (

 

 

 

 

 3.5 Stars

Living on a houseboat is a calm and serene way of life. Starting your day on the beautiful Alexandria Bay can’t help but to give the beginning of your day the best start it can have. Shelby is living the life. Until a dead body is found floating next to where you live. That definitely changes the outcome of the day.

One can never say that Shelby is not passionate about the small town in which she lives, as she is constantly reminded not to get involved in police business. This one hits too close to home and Shelby can’t help but to get down to the bottom of what’s going on.

A Deadly Chapter is book three of the Castle Bookshop Mysteries. I have come to enjoy Shelby’s way of finding out things that not just anyone could seem to find out. Shelby’s got some personal things happening as this mystery is underfoot. More than just a dead body is going on and Shelby does what she does best and somehow juggles at all and ends up finding the answers in the end. This is such a charming setting with wonderfully written characters. So much personality shines through each and everyone of them. Miss Lang definitely has a way of transporting you to a cozy little town within the pages of the series. I love how every day issues are added in with the mystery to make it seem a bit more real. I very much enjoy the series and A Deadly Chapter definitely stands up to the rest of the series.

 

 

Review: Mums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower

Mums and Mayham

Amanda Flower

A Magic Garden Mystery, Book 3

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden’s left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox’s father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona’s blood be spilt?

World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan. Fiona Knox, owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi’s birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert’s intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona’s father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized.

Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father’s name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose–the source of the garden’s magic–from the standing stone.

The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she’s grown unless she’s able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth–fast.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

A sweet touch of romance, some family drama,a bit of magic and a twisted mystery wrapped all in one. Mums and Mayhem is an entertaining read. 

 

Fiona Knox has more than a little going on. She’s part of the merchant Society preparing for a major concert in their little town, dealing with a dead body in her garden, someone trying to sabotage her garden and family secrets that she can’t seem to find the answer she needs. A flower shop owner who has a knack for solving mysteries and the holder of a legacy that she doesn’t quite understand. Fiona is smart, funny and just beginning to see what this new life of hers in Scotland is all about.  Yet dead bodies have a tendency to fall within her path.

 

As the mystery unfolds this one hits a little too close to home as the family secrets unfold and answers Fiona has been waiting for our revealed.  The characters drive the story with their charm,  personality and charisma making it very difficult for the reader to guess who done it on this one.  Author Amanda Flower adds just enough of a magical touch to keep the story very interesting without making it a full-blown paranormal. The magical garden series is quite magical and this latest installment of Mums and Mayhem it’s a wonderful addition to this cute and sweet series.

 

 

Review: The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette

The Key Lime Crime

Lucy Burdette

A Key West Food Critic Mystery, Book 10

Hardcover
Expected publication: July 7th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

National bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s tenth Key West Food Critic mystery is piping hot with pie-enthusiasts and murder suspects.

When a fierce rivalry between key lime pie bakers leads to a pastry chef’s murder, food critic Hayley Snow is fit to be pied.

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the year-round population of Key West, Florida, faces a tsunami of tourists and snowbirds. It doesn’t help that outrageously wealthy key lime pie aficionado David Sloan has persuaded the city to host his pie-baking contest. Every pie purveyor on the island is out to win the coveted Key Lime Key to the City and Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is on the scene to report it.

Meanwhile, Hayley’s home life is turning more tart than sweet. Hayley’s new hubby, police detective Nathan Bransford, announces that her intimidating mother-in-law is bearing down on the island for a surprise visit. Hayley offers to escort Nathan’s crusty mom on the iconic Conch Train Tour of the island’s holiday lights, but it becomes a recipe for disaster when they find a corpse among the glittering palm trees and fantastic flamingos. The victim–Au Citron Vert’s controversial new pastry chef–was a frontrunner in Sloan’s contest.

It’s bad enough that Hayley’s too-curious mother-in-law is cooking up trouble. Now, the murderer is out to take a slice out of Hayley. Can she handle the heat of a killer’s kitchen?

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

Holidays, key lime pie and murder, The Key Lime Crime is a deliciously entertaining cozy mystery. 

 

As if life isn’t crazy enough for food critic and newlywed Hayley Snow with it being Christmas in the beautiful Key West, there is a Key Lime Pie contest that every baker in town is trying to win and she is a judge. All the while trying to finish out her articles for the remainder of the year. Toss in a surprise visit from her new mother-in-law that turns her into a tour guide that has them stumbling upon a dead body.  I believe the day just got worse.

 

Key Lime Crime is a funny and entertaining cozy mystery. If you are not craving several slices of key lime pie by the time you’re reading then somethings just not right. Hayley is a wonderful character that readers can relate with. She smart, charming, in love and a good person. She’s still becoming comfortable in her new married life, as many readers can relate to. Hayley navigates the reader through an interesting and twisting plot that keeps you guessing. You see significant character growth within one book. As being a primary romance reader that is something I see frequently within romance but not quite so much in cozies. I definitely enjoyed that factor of the book. This is a long going series that fortunately I stumbled upon and was able to pick up at book 10 and didn’t feel like I was left out from anything of previous books. Author Lucy Burdette twisted a fantastic mystery well giving you fantastic descriptions of every possible Way of having Keylime pie.  I very much enjoyed Key Lime Crime. I look forward to going back to previous books in the series and truly getting to know these characters.