Category Archives: Review

Review: Batten Down the Belfry by Diane Kelly

Batten Down the Belfry

Diane Kelly 

A house Flipper Mystery Series, Book 4

Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2022 by St. Martin’s Press
Batten Down the Belfry is the fourth in the delightful cozy mystery series from Diane Kelly set in Nashville, Tennessee—where the real estate market is to die for.

Here is the church, here is the steeple…

Carpenter Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck have successfully flipped houses, but this is the first time they’ve attempted to renovate a house of worship. Still, the colorful stained glass in the country church has caught Whitney’s eye, and she’d love to breathe new life into the abandoned building. What’s more, the place has perfect acoustics. Could the worship hall be reborn as an entertainment venue with its parsonage repurposed as a pre-show bistro?

Open the doors, and see all the trouble.

The owner of the horse farm next door has asserted a legal claim to the church property, rendering their title uncertain. If that’s not bad enough, while rehabbing the church, Whitney’s cat Sawdust discovers a bombshell in the bell tower—the body of the man who’d delivered their beautiful new replacement windows. What transpired in the spire? Who rang the man’s bell and why?

The steeple is keeping its secrets and, when a second body turns up, things become even less clear. Can Whitney help Detective Collin Flynn solve the crimes before someone else is sent to meet their maker.

4 Stars

 What a fun visit and adventure with Whitney.

Batten Down the Belfry has Whitney and Buck flipping something a little bit different this time. Instead of a house they are transforming a church with beautiful Stained Glass into possibly an entertainment venue.  This fun endeavor takes a turn when a delivery driver is found dead and this becomes all too personal for Whitney when a second body is discovered.

Whitney and her cousin Buck are a great team. I love what they do to the houses and I love that we get a good mystery in there as well. Whitney is smart and beyond capable. I love how she clues in the local detective along the way. We get a bit of suspenseful action with a good storyline and a mystery that I didn’t figure out until the end. Diane Kelly Rights to draw you into the story and gives you and exciting mystery in the end.

Review: Caramel Pecan Roll Murder by

Caramel Pecan Roll Murder

Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swensen Series, Book 28

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 22nd 2022 by Kensington Books
In this scrumptious new read in the blockbuster series packed with delightful recipes from a beloved New York Times bestselling author, baker Hannah Swensen is tempted by a high-profile tournament in Lake Eden that quickly turns deadly…

Embracing a sweet escape from her usual routine at The Cookie Jar, Hannah gets asked for her help in baking pastries at the local inn for a flashy fishing competition with big prizes and even bigger names. But the fun stops when she spots a runway boat on the water and, on board, the lifeless body of the event’s renowned celebrity spokesperson…

Famed TV show host Sonny Bowman wasn’t humble about his ability to reel in winning catches, and no one knew that better than his tragically overworked sidekick, Joey. Did Joey finally take bloody revenge on his pompous boss—or was Sonny killed by a jealous contestant?

With goodies to bake and a mess of fresh challenges mixed into her personal life, it’s either sink or swim as Hannah joins forces with her sister, Andrea, to catch a clever culprit before another unsuspecting victim goes belly up…

Features Over a Dozen Cookie and Dessert Recipes from The Cookie Jar!

3.5 Stars

It’s time for another visit at the beautiful lake Eden. With a big fish competition taking place, Hannah sets aside her usual cookie baking to have some fun with pastries while helping the local Inn. The event is bringing all kinds of big names and lots of excitement to the lake. All things seem to be going wonderfully until a TV host is found dead and now Hannah is not just baking pastries but fishing for clues as well.

Caramel Pecan Roll Murder is a lighthearted and fun cozy mystery with a romantic twist.  As this is a long running series you could read as a standalone however I do think you will miss some of the Background and underlying meanings of things between certain characters events and actions. However if you are an avid reader and enjoy this sort of thing you will be able to figure out easily enough what is going on. With that said, I did enjoy this read. Hannah is a little off in this book and that is understandable. I do hope that she finds herself quickly and is able to get back to herself . The mystery of Caramel Pecan Roll Murder is what we’ve come to love from this author. Lots of twist interns with many red herrings to keep you guessing. Although I figured it out easily it was still an enjoyable read.  I like that Andrea is becoming more of a present character in the stories. Visiting with Dick and Sally is always a good time. I am looking forward to seeing how this Hannah-Mike-Norman thing turns outs.

 

Review: Totally Pawstruck by Sofie Ryan

 

Totally Pawstuck

Sofie Ryan 

Second Chance Cat Mystery Series, Book 9

Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 1st 2022 by Berkley Books

Secondhand store owner Sarah Grayson and her inquisitive rescue cat, Elvis, will need to close the book on a killer in the newest installment of this charming New York Times bestselling series.

Although Sarah Grayson is often tending to the contained chaos of her delightful secondhand store in North Harbor, Maine, plus dealing with the quirky personality of her rescue cat, Elvis, she still takes an occasional night off. But her evening out comes to an abrupt end when Sarah discovers Stella Hall, a member of the library board, standing over a body in the street.

Although Stella admits that she and the victim had fought about several things including library funding, she is adamant that she is innocent and the real killer is on the loose. Sarah is eager to help, but even with the assistance of Charlotte’s Angels, the senior citizen detectives who rent out part of her shop, there is still a vast amount of circumstantial evidence linking Stella to the crime. The odds may be stacked against them, but Sarah and Elvis, along with the Angels, will work hard to check out the suspects and catch a killer.

3.5 Stars 

What a fun cozy!!

When I get to my senior years I hope I have a group of friends like the Charlotte’s Angels and am willing to do even half of what they do!  

This is my first visit with Sarah and her lively group of friends. North Harbor Maine is as beautiful as it is charming. With a super cool rescue cat named Elvis and an intricate mystery, all is set for an entertaining read. The story is well written and the characters are fun and hilarious. You can tell Sarah and her ladies are tight and would do just about anything for one another.  Like figuring out how the man everyone dislikes died and prove one of her dear friends had nothing to do with the crime. 

 

Review: Live, Local and Dead by Nikki Knight

 

Live, Local and Dead

Nikki Knight 

Vermont Radio Mystery Series, Book 1

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 8th 2022 by Crooked Lane Books
In a fit of anger, radio DJ Jaye Jordan blows a snowman’s head off with a Revolutionary War-style musket. But the corpse that tumbles out is all too human. Jaye thought life would be quieter when she left New York City and bought a tiny Vermont radio station. But now, Edwin Anger–the ranting and raving radio talk show host who Jaye recently fired–lies dead in the snow. And the Edwin Anger fans who protested his dismissal are sure she killed him.

To clear her name, Jaye must find the real killer, as if she doesn’t have her hands full running the radio station, DJing her all-request love song show, and shuttling tween daughter Ryan to and from school. It doesn’t make matters easier that the governor–Jaye’s old crush–arrived on the scene before the musket smoke cleared. Fortunately, Jaye has allies…if you count the flatulent moose that lives in the transmitter shack, and Neptune, the giant gray cat that lives at the station.

If Jaye can turn the tables on the devious killer, she and the governor may get to make some sweet, sweet music together. But if she can’t, she’ll be off the air…permanently.

3.5 Stars

What a story!! Live, Local and Dead is a different take from my normal and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Jaye Jordan is a very interesting woman. A radio DJ, a mom and recently divorced moving. She and her daughter have recently moved to a small Vermont town where she has taken over the local radio station. What should be a nice and safe home for her and her child, Jaye soon becomes the target of some nice crimes.  The surprising thing about this is our lead lady is not the one figuring out the mystery. She is going on with her day today life but yet working closely with the local authorities to figure out what’s going on behind these crimes.

I enjoyed Live, Local and Dead. Jaye has gone through a challenging event and is trying to make the best of her new life. She is a woman with strong opinions and beliefs. She doesn’t let up on those things that she values just because someone else pushes her to try to do so. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize this as a cozy mystery just because it’s a little more outspoken in certain ways than the typical cozy Mystery.  that did not deter my enjoyment from this book. I’m actually very much looking forward to see where the author takes the series.

Audio Review: Take A Chance With Me by Kristen Proby

 

Take A Chance With Me

Kristen Proby

The O’Callaghans Series, Book 5

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 276 pages
Published January 25th 2022 by Ampersand Publishing, Inc.
A friends to lovers, soulmates story from Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby, set in her beloved With Me In Seattle Series!

Cameron Cox has mastered the art of keeping secrets. His talent for computer hacking means he’s been recruited for highly classified jobs since leaving the military. He travels the world, risking his life. But his biggest secret isn’t from a government job or a foreign spy.

It’s Maggie O’Callaghan.

He’s loved her from afar, always standing by as the friend. He’s been her rock through the hardest days of her life. But after his dangerous past comes crashing into his life and threatens the only woman he’s ever loved, he has a choice to make.
Give up the secrets and win her heart.

Or watch Maggie walk away with his.

4 Stars

Friend to lovers and a brother’s best friend, Two amazing tropes weaved into one story that is heartwarming and sexy. John Hartley and Kirsten Leigh perform this emotional and beautiful tale by Kristen Proby in a way that makes sure it hits the heart. Take a Chance With Me gives us the one we have been waiting for. Well I have been!  Good things are worth waiting for. 

Maggie took a chance years ago and put herself out there. Wanting Cameron is nothing new for her but she knows when the job calls he goes. After a bad marriage Maggie knows exactly what she doesn’t want or need. Her want for Cameron has never changed but her self happiness it’s something that does come first in her life.

Cameron lives a life of secrets. Because of his job everything is hush-hush. Cameron knows more than he is allowed to tell, information he knows that could help someone he cares about. Cameron has begun to put the at the drop of a call, I am gone for the job aside to start living the life he wants, with whom he wants. Caneron knows that there are obstacles ahead. But for her he will take on every one of them.

Take a Chance With Me  is a wonderful romance filled with some mystery and deep roots in the family. It’s hard not to love the O’Callaghans.  Cameron and Maggie are definitely two people that belong together. It just took them a very long time to find their way. They’re so sweet together. Their story is a long one with many hurtles and a bit of mystery but in the end, they get their happily ever after

 

Review: Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library by Holly Danvers

Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library

Holly Danvers

Lakeside Library Mystery Series, Book 2

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 8th 2022 by Crooked Lane Books
An icy cold murder and a library patron collide in Holly Danvers’ second Lakeside Library Mystery.

A glowing wood stove, a cozy log cabin, and shelves full of books are all Rain Wilmot needs to ride out the Wisconsin winter, now that she’s made her family’s Lofty Pines library her year-round home. But the warm-hearted librarian’s blood runs cold when local man, Wallace Benson, is found dead during the annual Ice Fishing Jamboree.

After Benson’s body is found in his ice shanty, Rain recalls that she recently saw the victim in her library, borrowing a few cookbooks to prepare for the fishing tournament’s communal “chili dump.” She later finds these same books returned to the library’s drop box, with an enigmatic note from Benson to Rain.

As Rain seeks to understand the message, the prime suspect becomes Rain’s friend Nick, who was the last person to see Wallace alive and who returned to the Jamboree with a nasty cut on his hand. The knife found in his tackle box only makes Nick’s troubles worse. But Rain keeps fishing for other suspects. Was the killer Danny, who lost his arm to a logging accident involving Wallace? Or Danny’s bitter father, whose dreams of retirement were dashed by his son’s accident?

With the help of her friends Julia and Jace, Rain sets out to hook the real culprit and clear Nick’s name. But can her sleuthing skills protect her from a killer who’d like to take her out of circulation?

3.5 Stars

The Lakeside library is gearing up for a new tradition of being open during the winter months. Rain is already to get cozy down in her Lofty Pines cabin with a good book through the Wisconsin winter. The start of the annual Ice Fishing Jamboree brings excitement to the town as the ice shanty’s start going up, all trying for those coveted spots and chili cooking begins. What should be a festive and fun time turns into mystery and murder of the coldest proportions. Rain Is smart, able to put the clues togetherand will sometimes forget reasoning or logic to help out those she cares about. 

Rain is a helper by nature. She generally cares about people. Whether it’s the desire to help them find that perfect book they’re looking for or to solving a murder. She does get herself into the thick of things. There were a few times I wanted to grab the girl by her shoulders and ask her what you are thinking. But then we wouldn’t have a story. What when one of your good friends it’s a suspect you will go above and beyond to prove his innocence. Rain allows her best friend, Julia, to talk her into some rather peculiar situations. Even if they are for the good of figuring out the truth, they may not always be the best decisions. But you get a good laugh.

Holly Danvers gave us a second installment that was just as enjoyable as the first. Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library was an entertaining read. This is a charming town and I love the inhabitants of it. As much as I say I just like winter weather I do love a book that has a good winter element to the story. You could feel the cold seeping through the pages and just made you want to cuddle up in a blanket as you were reading. That is high praise from me. The one thing I wish is that we see a little bit more personal character development within Rain.  I enjoy her very much, but I feel she can be led astray very easily. However, that does give us some of our most laughable scenes of the book.

 

Review: Honey Roasted by Cleo Coyle

 

Honey Roasted 

Cleo Coyle 

Coffeehouse Mystery Series, Book 19

Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication: February 1, 2022 by Berkley Books
While struggling to find a romantic (and affordable) destination for her upcoming honeymoon, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi whips up a honey of a drink made from honey-processed coffee. Clare plans to serve her outstanding new Honey-Cinnamon Latte at her spring wedding to her longtime honey, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn. The culinary world is also abuzz about the amazing honey that Clare was lucky enough to source for her shop’s new latte. Produced by Madame’s old friend Queen Bea Hastings, the rare, prize-winning nectar from Bea’s rooftop hives commands a premium price, and top chefs compete for a chance to use it in their signature seasonal dishes.

One night, a swarm of escaped bees blanket the Village Blend’s chimney, and Clare discovers Bea’s unconscious body after she seemingly fell from her high-rise rooftop-hive setup. The police want to rule it as a tragic accident or possible attempted suicide. But Clare doesn’t believe either theory. Like Madame, she knows this Queen would never abandon her hive. To sort out this mystery, Clare investigates a world of cutthroat chefs, culinary startups, and competitive urban beekeepers. But can she uncover the truth without getting stung?

4 Stars

What fun and cozy return to the Village Blend.

Claire Cosi is trying to plan her honeymoon which is not going as wonderful as she would have expected. Just as she is debuting a new honey roasted coffee blend and highly anticipated honey cinnamon latte to her staff a swarm of bees decides to make the Village Blend their new home.  Come to find out these bees belong to none other than Claire’s honey supplier and close friend of Madame. Claire takes it upon herself to go and visit the Queen bee Bea Hastings to find that someone has tried to murder her. Upon finding Mrs. Hastings’ body on her balcony, Claire has no choice but to get to the bottom of the sticky situation.

The Coffeehouse Mystery series was one of the first cozy series I dived into. From book one I was hooked. How could I not be? Mysteries and coffee. Over the years I have read many books in this series, but not all.  Coming back at book nineteen was like walking back into my favorite coffee shop and not missing a beat.  Honey Roasted was a fun welcome back. 

Honey Roasted gives a lesson in honey, more fantastic coffee knowledge and an intricate mystery that keeps you very involved. Clare is as sharp as always when it comes to putting the clues together, even though her mind is focused on other things. She’s tenacious in her sleuthing abilities and I love that she allows a little bit of danger to fall in the game but yet really lets her sense of danger go out the window if needed. I love how she sought out advice and then acted to smooth the riffs in her relationship. The Village Blend clew is always a delight and can count on them for a laugh. I love how not only has Claire been their boss she has been their friend through this crazy coffee and mystery adventure. Honey Roasted was an engrossing read that I absolutely enjoyed.

 

Review: Nothing but Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

Nothing But Ink 

Carrie Ann Ryan 

Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins Series, Book 3.5

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: January 25th 2022
New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ann Ryan returns to the Montgomery Ink world with Nothing but Ink.

Clay Hollins knows he needs to stay away from Riggs Kennedy. He doesn’t have time to fall for the bearded bartender that haunts his dreams and waking fantasies. Not only is he working long hours at his dream job with Montgomery Builders, but he’s raising his three cousins and they need him more than he needs a private life.

After one night of giving in, however, neither Riggs nor Clay can walk away.

Only their lives are chaotic with baggage from Riggs’ past and Clay’s present and taking a chance on each other might be the scariest yet best decision they ever make.

Review: You Can Run by Rebecca Zanetti

 

You Can Run

Rebecca Zanetti 

Laurel Snow Series, Book 1

Paperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: January 25th 2022 by Zebra

Fans of Lauran Griffin and Lisa Jackson won’t want to miss this brand new thriller series by New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti, as FBI Special Agent Laurel Snow, a rising star profiler, strives to stay one step ahead of the criminal mind—and discovers that her own demons may be the hardest to outrun…

Laurel Snow wouldn’t call hunting a serial killer a vacation, but with a pile of dead bodies unearthed near her Genesis Valley, WA, hometown, she’ll take what she can get. Yet something about this case stirs her in unexpected ways. Like the startling connection she feels to Dr. Abigail Caine, a fiercely intelligent witness with a disturbing knack for making Laurel feel like she has something on her. Then there’s Laurel’s attraction to Huck Rivers, the fish and wildlife officer guiding her to the crime scene—and into the wilderness…

A former soldier and a trained sniper, Huck’s thirst for blood is rivaled only by his fierce pursuit of Laurel. He’s been burned by love, wounded by the government, and betrayed before, and to say he has trust issues is the ultimate understatement. Plus, he might be closer to this killer than anybody knows…

Once in the heart of darkness with Huck, Laurel must negotiate her distracting desire for him, her complex rapport with Abigail—and her mission to find a serial killer among a growing list of suspects and a danger that’s far too close to home. So close in fact, Laurel fears she will never find her way back to the woman she once was…

4.5 Stars

Rebecca Zanetti has written many female lead characters that I have come to enjoy and love but I do feel that Laurel Snow is her best yet.

From her unique looks to the intricate way that her mind works Laura Snow is the stuff. A mind that thinks on a multitude of levels. A child prodigy going to college at the young age of 11 and becoming an amazing profiler for the FBI by her late 20s. A woman who knits booties and baby caps yet can think just like a serial killer. She doesn’t allow emotion to affect her the way that most people do which allows her to think and see things logically. She’s different and I loved everything about her.

Fish and Wildlife Officer Huck Rivers is a man of mystery, rules and routines. For someone who doesn’t particularly care for most people is the first step in. His job is saving people. From climbing snow covered mountains to diving deep waters he’s the first to put himself in danger to save someone else’s life. Huck definitely broods and at times is downright nasty, yet he is a hero.

You Can Run is an amazing start to this new series. Rebecca Zanetti pulls the reader in from the very first pages and doesn’t let up. The story is dark and intense yet so intriguing that you can’t stop reading. I would definitely call this more of a thriller than a suspense. Laurel and Huck’s romance is a slow burn that I can’t wait to see develop over the series.

Mrs. Zanetti writes with such rich detail it’s like you can feel the cold coming through the pages. Genesis Valley is a beautiful small town with all the wonderful things that we love from a small town. It holds many secrets that I feel will continue to unfold as we come to know more of Laurel Snow.

Review: Murder by the Seaside by Julie Ann Lindsey

Murder by the Seaside 

Julie Ann Lindsey 

Patience Price, Counselor at Large Series, Book 1

Cozy Queen Publishing LLC January 8, 2022

 

Armed with a new counseling degree, Patience Price is eager to move back home to Chincoteague Island to help folks with their problems. But she finds the streets awash in more than East Coast charm. There’s been a murder, and Adrian Davis, the town golden boy who once stomped her heart into a zillion pieces, is the main suspect. Now he’s on the run, claiming he’s innocent. Patience finds this…poetic. Not that she holds a grudge.

Adrian’s mom is sure that with her FBI background Patience can find the truth. Yes, she was at the FBI–in human resources. Still, she looks into it, but not everyone is happy with her snooping. Either that, or the welcome wagon has some bold new policies involving drive-by shootings.

Things really heat up when a hunky former coworker, an actual FBI agent, arrives to help. But he may be too late; the quaint island harbors deadly secrets–and Patience is running out of time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Patience Prince has returned home to try and restart her life. After being downsized from the FBI’s human resource department she has decided to use her degree in counseling. Although starting a counseling business on her little island hometown has proven to be more difficult than she had thought. She is home five minutes when life starts to become crazy. An ex is accused of murder, someone keeps egging her property and she’s involved in a drive-by. And that’s in just the first couple of days. Patience Prince is now on a mission to find out who the true murderer is and who is after her!

Murder by the Seaside it’s not your average cozy Mystery and I say that in the best way possible. Patience Prince is one of those people that cares and likes to help. Which seems to be able to get her into trouble easily yet she’s willing to do anything it takes. She’s a strong woman, daring and maybe doesn’t quite understand the concept of sense of danger. But I will tell you it does make her very funny. With hippies for parents and an ex-boyfriend’s meddling mother it’s no wonder she is the way she is. Pony island is colorful and fun. The inhabitants are unique and will definitely have you laughing. Julie Ann Lindsay pens one heck of a story here. Murder by the Seaside action packed, fast paced with a pretty intricate mystery. We have a cast of wonderful characters that definitely catch your attention. I loved the romantic elements within the story. Being a romance reader first and foremost, I always love it when there’s a little bit of romance added into the mysteries. this book was definitely a ride but I would absolutely love to visit pony Island again.