Review: Iron Ember by Donna Grant
Skye Druids Series, Book 1
Skye isn’t just an island. It’s a home. A refuge. But not to Elodie MacLean. Not anymore. Tragedy tore her world apart and then took the one thing she felt made her whole. She vowed she’d never return, but that’s exactly where she ends up. Now, surrounded by the ghosts of her past, Elodie must navigate her version of Hell and try to make peace with herself and her family. But someone or something doesn’t want her on Skye, and she finds herself attacked—and this time not by her personal demons.
Scott Ryan has a mission: uncover who has been killing Druids and why. When his quest takes him to the beautiful Isle of Skye, he doesn’t think anything could captivate him more than the land itself—until he lays eyes on the breathtaking and confident beauty his leader sent him to find. However, it’s clear that she has trust issues, and he can’t reveal his plans—at least, not yet. But he’s always been sure of his ability to sway a person, and she’s a challenge he’s more than happy to accept, especially when he finds he will do anything to protect her.
With so much history and so many secrets, victory is anything but guaranteed for the couple and their allies. And the forces at work, those who wish to rule the Scottish isle and all those who reside there, have a plan that nobody will see coming.
The Skye Druids Series has a thrilling beginning with Iron Ember.
Elodie vowed she would never come back to Skye. Reaching the lowest point she’s ever been in her life has her returning home to regroup. Steps away from rock-bottom, and with nothing left to lose, Elodie returns to her childhood home. What should be a simple task of cleaning a home to get it to sell has Elodie facing her current predicament face on, but memories of things that happened in the house, are beginning to plague her more so than normal.
Scott has two objectives on his mind. The first to figure out who is killing the Druids. The second is to find a woman who was seen in a vision to help them complete their task. Scott truly believes in his cause, as he has lost friends near and dear to him. When Scott realizes the woman he was sent to find may not be able to do what his leader wants of her he realizes he is beyond protective of her and will do whatever he can to keep her safe.
The magic, the mystery and the secrets. Iron Ember is a thrilling beginning to what I am sure is going to be another fantastic series from Donna Grant. The Druids are the target and someone wants some dead. Skye is a place of refuge and sanctuary for those that follow the Druid path. Skye also holds a lot of secrets. One comes home and the other comes seeking a powerful druid hoping to make a difference. Little did they know what they could do and be for each other. I have to admit I was a little iffy on Scott at first, but he did come around. I do think that Elodie and Scott complemented each other beautifully. I love how the magic literally hangs in the air in Skye. The Druids are literally having their world rocked, there’s a power struggle in place. I can only imagine what the struggles for the Druids are going to be and can’t wait for the romances that will come within the series.
Hallow’s End by Kristen Proby
The Curse of the Blood Moon Series, Book 1
Returning to her beloved home of Salem after a trip away, Lucy Finch can’t shake the feeling of anxiety that suddenly plagues her. Nor can she shrug off her third eye’s urging that she has a mission she must undertake—a secret she must uncover.
As a green witch, Lucy has always felt strongest and the most at home in the forest, surrounded by nature. But when a disturbing dream wakes her and sends her fleeing into the woods, she isn’t prepared for what she finds. She expected her element. Perhaps a message from spirit. She didn’t expect to cross paths with a sexy-as-sin man, straight out of a movie scene.
Jonas Morley isn’t like the other residents of Hallows End. He knows the town’s secrets, as well as Salem’s, and it has been his honor and duty to protect them for as long as he can remember. But the gorgeous witch who graces the town’s hidden border shakes him and makes him second-guess his directive. She calls to him like no other. But can he save his home and those under his care and still make her his? Or will their union mean danger and destruction for not only them but also those who live within the town’s borders?
Curses don’t discriminate, and the curse of the blood moon is the most determined and dangerous of all.
Hallows End is the first book in the Curse of the Blood Moon Series.
Review: Claimed by Jayne Rylon
Powertools: The Shields Series, Book 5
First published August 16, 2022
When Karolena answered an ad for a live-in housekeeper responsible for taking care of at least a dozen guys, she was obviously desperate.
Although she hadn’t realized they were spies and assassins when she accepted the position, it could work out for the best since the Shields’ headquarters might be the only place she’s safe from the evil ex hunting her.
That is, if she doesn’t give in to the two agents that live across the hall who tempt her to do things that could be dangerous to her still healing heart.
Tavish is more than willing to show Karolena a good time so long as that’s as far as it goes. He’s learned the very hard way that it’s fine to sleep with women, or men, so long as you don’t trust them.
That’s only because Tavish’s partner—both in the field and the bedroom—has always made sure his judgement isn’t compromised when they surrender to their non-traditional urges together. Legend is the one person Tavish is certain has his back since he’s proved it over and over on life or death missions yet still, he’s not able to give the man the affection he deserves along with plenty of satisfaction.
So when they find themselves entangled with their housekeeper, and her ties to the mafia, they have to decide whether she’s capable of bringing the three of them together permanently or whether they have to get rid of her before she wrecks them for good.
The next multipartner romance in NYT and USA Today bestselling author Jayne Rylon’s fan-favorite Powertools Universe. Visit your favorite characters or meet new ones in this interconnected why choose standalone in the Powertools: The Shields ménage series.
Karolena has lived a Life that no one should ever have to indoor. Running away from her home in Russia and her mafia husband, she ends up in the United States in a small town in which nothing too exciting should be happening. Just trying to earn a living, have a place to live and basically blend in, Little did Karolena she ended up in hands of some of the best people she could possibly want on her side.
Tavish and Legend are not only partners in the field, but they are also partners in the bedroom. There are not too many people Tavish trusts at his back and Legend is one of them. They have been on too many life-or-death missions together and have proven not only their trust but their unique affections as well. When a new housekeeper shows up at Shilds, The men are more than willing to show her a good time in any way she wants. However, when her story doesn’t check out, they are the ones assigned to try and figure out what is truly going on. Is she a plant in their home or is there something else behind that beautiful woman?
Claimed is a fast paced, intense and emotional. This is one of those stories that as soon as you start reading it it hits you hard and fast and doesn’t stop until you’re at the very last page. Jayne Rylon Is a master at multiple people intimacy and this is one of those stories that is done beautifully tastefully and is so hot you may have to be fanning yourself. If you are a fan of beautiful men in tuxedos or have a love for kilts, my goodness you are in for a treat. Karolena lived a hard life where her choices were taken away from her. Tavish and Legend are a beautiful duo that balance each other out in just the right way. They are giving, protective and more than willing. They had some work to do between themselves and along with Karolena together, the three of them, through the blissful moments and the moments of incredible danger. They overcame the danger, worked through some of their internal struggles and found a way to find happiness. Together, as a trio.
Review: Always the One for Me by Carrie Ann Ryan
Always the One foe Me
Carrie Ann Ryan
The Wilder Brothers Series, Book 2
320 pages, Paperback
First published August 15, 2022
The Wilder Brothers from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan continue in this emotionally charged enemies to lovers romance.
It took two days for me to know Kendall was the one for me.
And it took two years for me to realize I had to leave in order to protect her.
When I walked away, I told myself it was for the best. But now we work together, and every time we’re in the same room, we end up fighting. If we didn’t, we’d end up naked. Or worse–spilling heartbreaking secrets.
If she knew the truth, she’d either walk away for good or convince me to take a second chance. The first thing would break me, and the second would break her. I can’t let either of those things happen…
A story so raw and emotional it feels almost real.
What an amazing story for a second chance at love. Always the One for Me is the story of Evan and Kendall.
Evan, a career military man until an accident takes that away from him. Now he has come together with his brothers and he’s running an amazing resort and winery. Evan carries a lot of issues from his past. His time in the military has left a toll on him, and created other issues in his everyday life.
Kendall is an amazing chef and worked very hard to get there. She’s a bit of a workaholic but that comes with working in a kitchen. She now has a position of head chef but it comes with a price. Working side-by-side with her ex-husband who broke her heart has her feeling all sorts of things. Some she wants, some she doesn’t and others that just come and there’s nothing that she can do about it.
Kendall and Evan met, fell in love and got married all within a matter of days. It was like fate put them together to give them something magical. Then in just a short time things fell apart. Evan who experienced one of the worst moments of his life and intern made decisions that affected not only him but his wife. Choosing to walk away left both of them brokenhearted. Fast forward years later and once again fate has stepped in and put the two of them close together. Always the One for Me is an emotional ride of a story. There are so many feelings, memories and What Ifs. What if they try again and it doesn’t work, but if they don’t try and they’re missing out on the best thing they could’ve had. Second chance romances are a finicky thing and Carrie Ann Ryan does this one perfectly in every way. Kendall and Evan never stopped loving each other but yet couldn’t seem to get along with one another. They had a mountain to climb but yet in the end they knew they were the ones for each other.
Review: A Dish to Die For by Lucy Burdette
A Dish to Die For
Key West Food Critic Mystery Series, Book 12
288 pages, Hardcover
First published August 9, 2022
National bestselling author Lucy Burdette returns to Key West for another delectable dish of secrets, intrigue, and murder.
Peace and quiet are hard to find in bustling Key West, but Hayley Snow, food critic for Key Zest magazine, is taking the afternoon off for a tranquil lunch with a friend outside of town. When she comes home, she discovers her husband Nathan’s dog, Ziggy, has disappeared. She follows his barking, to find him furiously digging at a shallow grave with a man’s body in it. Davis Jager, a local birdwatcher, identifies him as GG Garcia, a rabble-rousing Key West local and developer. Garcia was famous for over-development on the fragile Keys, womanizing, and refusing to follow city rules—so it’s no wonder he had a few enemies.
When Davis is attacked in the parking lot of a local restaurant after talking to Hayley and her dear friend, the octogenarian Miss Gloria, Hayley is slowly but surely drawn into the case. Hayley’s mother, Janet, has been hired to cater GG’s memorial service reception at the local women’s club, using recipes from their vintage Key West cookbook—and Hayley and Miss Gloria sign on to work with her, hoping to cook up some clues by observing the mourners.
But the real clues come when Hayley begins to study the old cookbook, as whispers of old secrets come to life, dragging the past into the present—with murderous results.
A Dish to Die For takes readers to beautiful Key West where food critic and amateur sleuth Haley Snow is looking for a bit of peace and quiet in this bustling tropical town. After a well needed peaceful day ends Haley comes home to find her puppy missing only to find him digging at a shallow grave with a body in it. Afters a series of events that slowly draw Haley‘s attention to the case. With the help of her fun octogenarian friend Miss Gloria and Haley’s mom in listing their help, they are hoping to cook up some clues to solve this case.
I absolutely love the series. A Dish to Die For is A bit on the dark side for cozy mystery but that does not make it less entertaining. When the most notorious man in town is the one found dead there are bound to be a few dark secrets that come to light. The mystery did not get it for me but I do enjoy this cast of characters tremendously. Haley and her cop husband are living their best life on a houseboat with their adored pets. Living in a tropical community. Although stumbling upon dead bodies it’s not something I would want to be a part of my paradise but that’s what makes a good read. Author Lucy Burdette knows how to catch your attention, give you a setting that you absolutely enjoy and characters that you fall in love with very easily.
Like most food related cozy mysteries we get some wonderful recipes along with our story. There are some delectable bites mentioned within the tail and some recipes that are very tempting to try.
Review: In Too Steep by Kate Kingsbury
In Too Steep
Misty Bay Tearoom Series, Book 2
It seemed like a simple case: the murder of Lewis Trenton, a beachcomber who lived alone in a cabin in the Oregon hills. But the newspaper article piques the interest of Vivian Wainwright, owner of the British-style Misty Bay Tearoom. The photo accompanying the article shows Lewis’s cluttered living room, and on the shelf is a replica of Big Ben. Vivian is sure she sold the clock a week before in her shop. Who could have given the replica to Lewis?
Unable to keep from doing a bit of sleuthing, Vivian hunts down the replica in a local thrift shop, noticing that the base is missing, rendering it worthless, but just as Vivian is about to throw it in the trash, a sparkle catches her eye. It’s a diamond, hidden away in a crevice in the clock. Vivian takes the diamond to Detective Tony Messina, who identifies it as part of a jewelry heist in Portland a month earlier. Portland police think Lewis was the fence who sold the jewels, and that he was killed after double-crossing the thieves—but Messina doesn’t believe the story.
What was the true motive behind Lewis’s murder? How did he come upon the diamond? And what secrets can the clock tell—before the killer strikes again?
I love a tearoom cozy!
Vivian Wainwright was shocked to find out hermit who love to come to beach had been murdered. when a newspaper article gathers Vivians interest. Showing a replica of a Big Ben, Vivian is sure she sold the clock a week before and her cozy little tea shop. Unable to keep the article and picture from her mind Vivian starts to do a bit of sleuthing and tracks down the object at a thrift store. Obtaining the object noticing it broken she thinks it’s almost worthless until a second look has her calling the police right away. This mystery has more and more layers as it goes on.
What an amazing introduction to this author and her series. Kate Kingsbury knows how to write a cozy mystery. She has engaging characters, a wonderful setting and describes her delectable treats so well that you could possibly be gaining weight while you read the book. I’m just joking on that but seriously they do sound good. We even get a little bit of romance sprinkled in here. Vivian has two employees that also are her friends that are a hoot. Vivian definitely grabbed your attention and has no fear for danger. Well maybe she does but that’s still not gonna keep her from sleuthing. I love the town of Misty Bay Oregon. Usually if I don’t read the first book in the series I don’t go back because I feel like I’ve got enough to go on. I enjoyed In Too Steep so much that I will be going back and reading the first book and probably do a reread of this one just to feel like I’ve had my fill of tea and know everything that’s going on. Or that we know that’s going on at this point.
Review: A Dark and Stormy Tea by Laura Child
A Dark and Stormy Tea
A Tea Shop Mystery Series, Book 24
It was a dark and stormy night, but that was the least of Theodosia Browning’s troubles. As she approaches St. Philips Graveyard, Theodosia sees two figures locked in a strange embrace. Wiping rain from her eyes, Theodosia realizes she has just witnessed a brutal murder and sees a dark-hooded figure slip away into the fog.
In the throes of alerting police, Theodosia recognizes the victim–it is the daughter of her friend, Lois, who owns the Antiquarian Bookshop next door to her own Indigo Tea Shop.
Even though this appears to be the work of a serial killer who is stalking the back alleys of Charleston, Lois begs Theodosia for help. Against the advice of her boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, and the sage words of Drayton, her tea sommelier, amateur-sleuth Theodosia launches her own shadow investigation. And quickly discovers that suspects abound with the dead girl’s boyfriend, nefarious real estate developer, private-security man, bumbling reporter, and her own neighbor who is writing a true-crime book and searching for a big ending.
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!
A Dark and Stormy Tea will have you hooked from the get go.
A Dark and Stormy Tea is the 24th book in the A Tea Shop Mystery Series and will have you on your seat from the very first chapter. The weather is dreadful in Charleston, setting the tone for a very well plotted and written mystery. There was such a creepy sense to the story. Playing on the wonderful ghost stories of Charleston I definitely set the tone for the novel. This story could have easily been a Halloween release and it would’ve fit right in with the season.
Theodosia witnesses a murder without even realizing it and discovers A body while trying to take a shortcut to get out of the rain. Believing she knows the witness makes this one even harder. Theodosia does her best to try to keep out of things but yet when the mother of the deceased asked her to poke around with her reporter person friend to get some information that they may not know leads her to do what she does best. Well second best that is. She gets to the bottom of this mystery.
A Dark and Stormy Tea has everything you need for a well-rounded cozy mystery. The characters are charming and intriguing whether you are just meeting them or you have known them for quite a while. The atmosphere is amazing. You feel like you’re walking down the streets of Charleston as you’re reading the book. Theodosia makes me shake my head many times but she does what she does and she entertains me while she’s doing it. Although I may not make all the choices that she does, even when she warns not to do things she does get to the bottom of the mystery. You have to give her that. Oh my goodness, for the love of tea and scones, A Dark and Stormy Tea Will give you an afternoon or two, depending on how fast you read, of wonderful entertainment filled with delectable treats that you just want to eat right out of the pages.
Review: Bayou Sweetheart by Lexi Blake
Butterfly Bayou Series, Book 5
After leaving the military, Major Blanchard moved to Papillon, Louisiana, to be with his aging father, where he’s taken a deputy position with the sheriff’s department. Now that he’s settling into life on the bayou, he’s trying out the dating scene. Every single woman in town seems to be pining after the handsome newcomer. But so far, nothing’s worked out, and he’s had some spectacularly bad dates. Major’s getting ready to give up on love when a new lady roars into town to film a movie and turns his world upside down.
Actress Brynn Pearson is trying to make a successful transition from child star to leading lady. Now that she’s landed her first lead in a major film, nothing can stop her. She’s committed to focusing solely on her work, so romance is the last thing she needs—too bad she can’t get her mind off the dreamy deputy she keeps running into. He’s gorgeous, and something about him makes her feel safe. As Brynn’s feelings for Major deepen, she starts to wonder if maybe there’s more to life than her career.
When a family crisis throws Major’s life into a tailspin, he turns to Brynn for support, and hopes their budding relationship will shine brighter than Hollywood lights.
I love visiting Butterfly Bayou!
Bayou Sweetheart is the latest edition to Lexi Blake’s small town Romance series Butterfly Bayou. This is one of those types of stories that I love we’re both our main characters find love when they least expect it.
Brynn Pearson is an actress dedicated to her craft. Brynn has come to Pappyon to film her latest movie. Doing research and getting a jumpstart on what her role entails yet she questions whether acting as what she really wants to continue doing. Her family depends on her and she doesn’t want to let anyone down. Yet acting does it make her as happy as it once did. Being in Papillion and the to do of Hollywood, Brynn is finding out who she really is and what she actually wants in life. Running into the small town sheriff has sparked many feelings and emotions within Brynn. The girl is not looking for love but love has a funny way of finding you when you least expect it.
Major Blanchard Is ex ex-military and has relocated to Papillon, Louisiana to be with and help care for his aging father. He finds himself a position within the sheriffs department and has nicely settled into small-town life on the Bayou. On the other hand he’s been trying the dating scene and has not worked out too well. It seems like everyone wants to try but no sparks are flying. Just as he’s about to give up, a bombshell of a beauty makes her way into town and takes him by storm.
Bayou Sweetheart is a fantastic small town romance. I love this quirky little town and all the crazy yet amazing things that happened within it. Major and Brynn have chemistry and then some. I love that they look beyond the surface of each other and see who they truly are. The way that Major talks to Brian makes my heart feel pitter patter. There is a good deal of humor and a great deal of emotion lining the pages story. Both of them have their issues that they’re dealing with very different but yet choices that will affect their lives and those around them. They always say when you’re not looking for love is when you find it and that was the story for Major and Brynn.
Review: Murder Spills the Tea by Vicky Delany
Murder Spills the Tea
Tea by the Sea Mystery Series, Book 3
Suspicion immediately falls on Cheryl, but the temperamental star has racked up plenty of culinary clashes in the past, both on- and off-screen. And nearly anyone associated with Tommy or the show could be the killer: be it one of Lily’s fierce competitors, a member of the beleaguered film crew, or even one of Tommy’s fellow judges–struggling cookbook maven, Claudia D’Angelo or beauty contest winner, Scarlet McIntosh. Now, while she’s baking up a storm for the show, Lily must also whip up an impromptu investigation . . . before the murderer rolls someone else away.
I love the Tea by the Sea Mysteries.
Murder Spills the Tea has us back to our favorite tea shop in Cape Cod. Lilly is nervously gearing up for a cooking competition. Her grandma Rose and friend Bernie have convinced her that this is a fantastic idea. Lily is already at the point that she regrets her decision. With a potential exposure for the tea shop being very high but yet a TV crew making havoc in the busiest time of the year has Lily finding it a most unpleasant experience. The experience has become agitating, and aggravating and Lilly is about done with the whole experience. Things just seem to get a bit worse when a body is found in the kitchen and one of the staff of the tearoom is accused of murder. Lily along with the help of Grandma Rose and Bernie make it their mission to discover who the real killer is.
I have been very fortunate and have gotten to read each of the Tea by the Sea mysteries as arcs for review for the blog. I genuinely love this series. Usually, it takes me more than three books to say that, but Lily and Grandma Rose have made a little place in my heart for themselves. Murder Spills the Tea Is a fantastic addition to this cozy mystery series. The atmosphere is amazing, the characters are well developed and grow with each book and are extremely entertaining. The mysteries are written well, and the stories are well played. Vicky Delany Knows how to weave a good mystery story to catch your attention and give her characters much personality and charisma that you can’t help but to enjoy your time with them.
Review: The Paper Caper by Kate Carlisle
The Paper Caper
Bibliophile Mystery Series, Book 16
Joseph Cabot is a very popular wealthy San Franciscan who owns the main newspaper in town, as well as radio stations and TV. Years ago, Brooklyn’s husband Derek and his security team rescued Joseph from an assassination attempt and now the man and his wife are friendly with Derek and Brooklyn. The friendship is helped along by the fact that Joseph is a big book lover and contributes lavishly to the Covington Library. His favorite author is Mark Twain (another newspaperman) and he’s underwritten the first annual Mark Twain Festival at the Covington.
As part of the festival activities, Brooklyn will spend a few hours every day at the Library, giving demonstrations of her work at re-binding an old copy of The Prince and the Pauper. There will be events all week, all around town, celebrating the time Twain spent in the city. But the biggest event is being run by Joseph’s newspaper: a citywide contest based on The Prince and The Pauper—they want to find someone who looks like Joseph! The two men will trade places for a week as part of a huge publicity campaign to raise money for the Covington Library. But the fun turns frantic when a murder occurs right before Brooklyn’s eyes! Now Brooklyn and Derek will have to chase clues all over their beloved city to solve the murder before another death becomes front-page news.
What a fun read.
It’s time for the first annual mark twain festival and Brooklyn Wainwright could not be more excited. Joseph Cabot, The local newspaper man is sponsoring the event with many contests and lots of prizes. What should be an amazing event with lots of literary fun, has gone a bit to the dark side with a murderer too. Brooklyn and Derek seem to be right in the middle of things. With lots of questions and just as many suspects, Brooklyn does all she can to get to the bottom of this caper.
The Paper Caper was my first read of the Bibliophile Mystery Series. Brooklyn is amazing. Not only is she smart and intuitive, the passion that she has involving books. Makes her a gal after my own heart. I loved reading about the restoration process and how passionate she is. I really enjoyed the Mark Twain Festival and the switching of positions for two different people to see a different side of life. With this being a well-established series there is a core group of characters that mesh well together and truly make the story come alive. Kate Carlisle has something very special with this series. It intrigues the reader with a good mystery, has characters that are relatable and fun. There is a great bit of humor mixed in with this mystery which I truly loved. The Paper Caper is a great rate for any cozy mystery lover.