Category Archives: Review

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 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: 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.

Audio Review: Flirt With Me by Kristen Proby

Flirt With Me 

Kristen Proby

The O’Callaghan Series, Book 4,

With ME in Seattle Series, Book 17

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published August 17th 2021 by Ampersand Publishing, Inc.
Narrated by: Stella Bloom, Connor Crais

From New York Times Bestselling Author Kristen Proby comes an all new novel in her beloved With Me In Seattle Series!

There are two things Maeve O’Callaghan values more than anything else: her family and her career. Being the eldest daughter in a large, close-knit and somewhat chaotic Irish family means spending most of her nights in the family-owned pub, serving drinks and food, always accompanied by a smile. During the day, she’s a superstar real estate agent, selling homes on her beloved island just across Puget Sound from Seattle. She doesn’t have time for much else, and she’s perfectly okay with that.

Enter Hunter Meyers. He’s looking for a new place to call home, somewhere out of the city, and believes life on the island could be just the thing for him and his troubled teenage daughter. While in search of finding the perfect house, his sexy realtor catches his eye, making him feel things he hasn’t in years. But with the added baggage of a surly teen and a past that will never be forgotten, how can he make something permanent with the gorgeous Irishwoman who tempts him like no other?

Maeve isn’t just attracted to Hunter with his killer grin and muscles for days. The teenager that tries so hard to push her away also pulls at her heartstrings. Maeve understands the importance of family, and can see herself making just that with Hunter and his daughter. But when his past comes back to haunt him, will their love be strong enough, or will they be ripped apart forever?

4 Stars

What a story, what a family and what a romance. I loved Maeve and Hunter. 

Maeve is a one of a kind woman. She’s intelligent, has a career she loves and a family she loves even more. Her heart is so big and shines brighter than her personality. She has a very happy and productive life and there’s not much more she could possibly ask for, except for maybe that dream house that she’s had her eye on. That is until a handsome man walks into the family pub and makes her want something she didn’t even know she needed.

Hunter, my goodness I don’t think I have swooned over a man, real or fictional, like I did with him in a very long time. Is a retired MMA fighter and single father with a rebellious teenage daughter. He’s strong, a bit hard headed, totally alpha and willing to do anything to keep his daughter safe. In an effort to pull his daughter from the questionable crowd she is running with, Hunter decides maybe it’s time for a move and the island is calling his name. Little did he know a night of fun flirting in an Irish pub would lead to the same woman who is showing him houses. This move might not only change his daughter’s life for the better but his as well.

Flirt With Me was a fantastic read. I absolutely loved Maeve and Hunter. From their flirtatious beginnings, to the way their chemistry bloomed and how it just fell together and felt so natural. They welcome each other and to their worlds and it fits together like pieces of a puzzle. The Callahan’s are a big Irish family with a lot of love to give. I love how they opened their arms willingly for Hunter and Rachel and how you could feel the love that they had for their daughter.  Even with the trials and tribulations that Hunter and Maeve faced they learned together they are much better than they are apart.

Kristen Proby wrote a magically romantic story and narrators Stella Bloom and Connor Crais performance is spectacular. Together they truly make you feel like you’re right in the story.

Review: Seduced by the Mafia Boss by Shayla Black

 

 

Seduced by the Mafia Boss

Shayla Black 

Forbidden Confessions Series, Book 8

Kindle Edition
Published August 17th 2021
What will he risk to make his one-night stand last forever?

I’m Ridge.
I’m living a lie—except the night I met Kristi.
After hours of sweltering passion, I fell hard.
And I vowed to end my enemies to claim her.
Instead, she ran straight into danger.
So I have to kidnap her.
But she has a surprise for me, too…
Now I’m even more determined to mete out justice so I can spend the next fifty years with her.
Unfortunately, the mafia has a nasty habit of not letting go…

3.5 Stars

Intense, dangerous and riveting. Seduced  by the Mafia Boss is a quick, dark , edge of your seat read.

Ridge is living a dangerous life. Working an undercover job that has his life on the line every day. But one night with one very special person changed everything. Now to finish what he started, wrap it up and go and claim his woman. Sounds like an easy plan however when his gorgeous beauty walks right into the danger zone it changes the nature of the game. 

Kristi was swept off her feet in a way she couldn’t have  even thought possible the night of her best friend’s wedding. Only to wake up alone the next morning. Longing for that mystery man who left her in a blink of an eye.  Weeks later when her cousin comes up missing Kristi finds out just what happened to her mystery man.  Is everything as it seems or is there something much deeper and darker going on around her.

Holy hotness!  I love these forbidden confession stories. Quick intense reads that keep you very much on the edge of your seat. Seduced by the Mafia Boss crosses into one of my secret guilty pleasures zones of mafia romance. Kristi and Ridge have a fast, intense,  on the edge of danger story. They will grab you hard and fast and keep you hanging on right until the very end.

Review: Dawn Unearthed by Carrie Ann Ryan

Dawn Unearthed  Read the rest of this entry