Category Archives: Cozy Mystery

Review: A Poisonous Page by Kit Crowe

A Poisonous Page 

Kit Crowe

Sweet Fiction Bookshop Series, Book 2

Hardcover
Published July 12th 2022 by Crooked Lane Books
Kitt Crowe’s second Sweet Fiction Bookshop mystery whips up an array of intriguing suspects and motives into a diabolically deft read, perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Joanne Fluke.

It’s summer festival time in Confection, Oregon, and that means a barrage of tourists making cash registers ring at Sweet Fiction Bookshop. But what should be bookseller Lexi’s most lucrative time of year turns disturbing when a member of the chamber of commerce suddenly dies of a heart attack. Not entirely unexpected—considering her family history—but it’s a different story when another chamber member dies just one week later…also, presumably, of natural causes.

Something about this doesn’t read right to Lexi. And it gets more unfathomable when her friend Dash—who dated both women—stands accused of murder! With Cookie, her lovable border collie mix, at her side and countless volumes of inspiration on her shelves, Lexi opens the book on another perplexing case. Who could have murdered two prominent townspeople without leaving even a hint of evidence on the scene? And why is an irksome-but-intriguing detective always seeming to catch her and Cookie working the case?

Lexi’s Confection Rose-colored glasses come off when she learns of thorny discussions among the council members, involving a string of secretive real estate transactions. Enlisting her faithful fellow members of the Macaroon Book Club, Lexi sets out to bind the clues together and clear Dash’s name. But if she can’t devise a clever trap for the real killer, she may soon end up with a very unhappily ever after of her own.

3.5 Stars 

It’s festival season in Connection, Oregon. Beautiful summer days bring lots of tourists, making business boom. Lexi Jones  is the manager of the Sweet Fiction Bookshop. In a time when she should be overwhelmed with business at the shop she finds her attention drawn into another direction.  One member of the community suddenly dies of a heart attack and then just a week later another member of the Chamber of Commerce also dies. Both are cited as dying of natural causes but is that really the case.  When a friend is deemed the prime suspect of murder, Lexi with her trusted companion Cookie in tow she is determined to figure out the truth

A Poisonous Page is a very entertaining read. I really enjoyed the mystery behind this one. The mystery was thought-provoking and interesting. Lexi and her doggy companion Cookie, have an Amazing group of friends that’s so add to the story. Lexi has a strained relationship with Detective Burg. If this was a romance title would be calling it sexual tension. I love the interaction between the two of them. Their banter is top notch. I can’t wait to see what becomes of the two of them.

I have been fortunate enough to read both books in the series. Two books in and we are just getting better. A Poisonous Page is a fantastic story in a wonderful addition to what I hope will be a very long running series. These characters can make you laugh, entertain you and give you an impressive mystery.

 

Review: The Proof is in the Poison by Diane Kelly

The Proof is in the Poison 

Diane Kelly 

Southern Homebrew Mysteries Series, Book 2 

Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Expected publication: June 7th 2022 by Berkley Books
Moonshine shop owner Hattie Hayes is ready to lend a hand when a mystery starts brewing at a train convention in Chattanooga, TN, in this charming cozy mystery series.

Now that her moonshine shop is up and running, Hattie Hayes can focus her efforts on expanding her fledgling business to events in the area, like the Chattanooga Choo Choo Model Train Convention, which is running full steam ahead at the convention center down the block. Hattie is all aboard, seizing this perfect opportunity to promote her Southern homebrew to the folks who have come to the city for the annual event.

But when an attendee dies after drinking some of Hattie’s moonshine, she’ll need to prove her innocence. Between tight-lipped train hobbyists and competitors for a coveted convention prize, Hattie has a wide array of suspects to choose from, and she’ll need to use all the tricks up her sleeve to make sure her moonshine business can survive a murderer and stay on track.

4 Stars

The Proof is in the Poison is a fantastic and exciting addition to the Southern Homebrew Mystery Series. 

Hattie Hayes is taking advantage of the Chattanooga Choo Choo Model Train convention being at the convention center down the block. Handing out flyers, hosting a mixer and mingling with the convention goers is a great way to drum up some business for The Moonshine Shake.  Haddie and her lovable and Teacher of all things moonshine, Granddaddy on his scooter take the convention by storm. They were even able to manage to drum up some business and turn some people onto some shine.  When a convention goer ends up dead, fingers are pointed towards Hattie and her BlackBerry moonshine. To save her name and her business, Hattie decides to do a little sleuthing of her own ”while” helping out Detective Ace find out who killed this train hobbyist.

I very much enjoyed The Proof is in the Poison. Diane Kelly is an amazing writer and it definitely shows in everything she does. I truly could care less about model trains but yet she found a way to have me interested in the topic. Am I going to go and get a model train now, no I will not but it was a different twist and fun twist for a cozy. Hattie is an amazing character. She is proud of what she does. Even though she knows that she should stay out of it she pushes her way in and finds the answers that help solve the mystery.  I really enjoyed the amount of time that Hattie and Marlon spent together in the story whether it be helping to clear her name or showing up so she could appease a group of convention goers . He is definitely a good sport and I definitely love the touch of romance that’s within the story. Granddaddy may be my favorite character.  He is hilarious and hysterical. I love when he gets fired up and how he’s willing at 90 years old to still stand up for everything he believes in.   A fun note to add-  blackberries are my favorite berry and I do love BlackBerry moonshine. The recipes included within the book sound amazing and I am very much looking forward to trying some of these fabulous sounding drinks. 

Review: Death by Beach Read by Eva Gates

Death By Beach Read 

Eva Gates 

Lighthouse Library Mystery Series, Book 9

Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: June 7th 2022 by Crooked Lane Books
Librarian Lucy’s new historic house comes with a lot of baggage and family secrets. Can she put them to rest or will a killer bring Lucy’s family to their downfall, in the 9th Lighthouse Library mystery.

It’s spring in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Lucy and Connor have moved into their new home at last, a historic cottage on the Nags Head Beach. The house needs a lot of renovations, but they worked hard over the winter to get it ready. Lucy is now happily immersed in her work at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, planning her wedding, and decorating the house. That is, until a dead body disrupts their peaceful new abode.

The first night Lucy’s alone in the house, with the company of Charles the library cat, she hears sounds. Investigating they see footsteps in the dust of the unfinished living room, and the door to the outside is open. Lucy’s reminded that the house is said to be haunted: forty years ago the teenage daughter of the owners fled in the night, and never again stepped foot inside her family home.

But the sounds have an all-too-human origin and one evening Lucy and Connor find the dead body of a man they don’t even recognize in their kitchen. They soon realize he has a long-time connection to their house. Lucy’s forced to find out what happened all those years ago and why it’s threatening her happiness today.

Meanwhile, the Classic Novel Reading Club is reading The House of the Seven Gables by Nathanial Hawthorne, a book about another old house full of secrets. Can Lucy find parallels to her own situation in Hawthorne’s fiction before the killer strikes again?

4.5 Stars
Spring is blooming in the Outer Banks, Lucy and Connor have finally moved into their historic cottage right on the beach. As the work on the house is finished Lucy and Connor are ready to make it their home. Now Lucy is focusing on her work at the lighthouse library, planning her wedding and decorating their new home. Well, until a dead body is found at their new home. On her first night staying home alone Lucy here sounds and sees foot prints and a place there should be none. They have a house with history and with that person comes baggage.To settle her own mind and get to the bottom of what’s going on, Lucy is forced to find out what the baggage of the past is that is now threatening her future.
I absolutely adore the Lighthouse Library Mystery Series and Death by Beach Read is really something. The mystery is well plotted and the pacing of the book is perfect. I feel Lucy made a lot of personal growth between the last book and this book. She doesn’t take everything that everyone says at face value and is standing up for herself and away I have not seen her down before. I really like that about her. I also love that her and Connor are starting their lives together. They haven’t made it to the altar yet but I know it’s got to be coming soon. Fingers crossed. Eva Gates Draws you in with her wonderful characters, the lovable cat Charles and a mystery that keeps you guessing. This series truly does get better with each book.

Review: A Fatal Booking by Victoria Gilbert

A Fatal Booking 

Victoria Gilbert 

Booklover’s B&B Mysteries, Book 3

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: June 7th 2022 by Crooked Lane Books
Booklover Charlotte is delighted to welcome an eclectic group of guests to Chapters Bed and Breakfast for a book club retreat focused on fairy tales and classic children’s literature. But when one of the guests is poisoned at a Mad Hatter tea party, Charlotte realizes she’s fallen down a rather unpleasant rabbit hole

The victim – an opinionated busybody whose jewelry store sold original designs, along with some possibly “hot” merchandise – had plenty of enemies, spurring Charlotte and Ellen to offer their well-honed investigative skills to assist the local police. But as they delve deeper into the each of the guest’s stories, they realize all of them had a motive, and the means, to close the book on the unfortunate victim.

Enlisting the aid of a few local residents, as well as their new ally, agent Gavin Howard, Charlotte and Ellen vow to reveal the truth, even if the path to any sort of happy ending is strewn with deadly danger.

3.5 Stars
A Fatal Booking is a fun and very well farted cozy Mystery.
Book lover and former teacher Charlotte has inherited her late aunts B&B. Chapters, a literary themed B&B located in beautiful Beaufort North Carolina. After a last-minute cancellation Charlotte is delighted to host a book club of a former colleague with a theme of fairytales and classic children’s literature. What should be more than a delightful time turns into something much more mysterious. Come to find out the members of the book club don’t care for each other too well. During their costume mad hatter tea party one of the guests was found dead. Charlotte calls on the help of neighbor Ellen Montgomery, who has a few little secrets of her own, to get to the bottom of this mystery. With plenty of suspects there’s so many ways this mystery could go.
I very much enjoyed this charming cozy mystery. Charlotte is an amazing sleuth and I love the fact that she shares every bit of information that she gets with the police. Charlotte is a very likable character. I also love Ellen. She is a firecracker and I love that she has The past that she does. She’s a very interesting character and definitely adds to the story. I love Charlotte and Garrett. I can’t wait to see how they unfold. Author Victoria Gilbert as given us well-developed characters, a complex yet intriguing mystery and a bit of romance on top. Just the way I like my cozy mysteries.

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.