Review: Holiday Ever After by Jill Shalvis

Holiday Ever After 

Jill Shalvis 

Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 26th 2021 by Avon

 

 

Three fan-favorite Jill Shalvis novellas are together for the first time in this holiday anthology!

One Snowy Night
It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to her family. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, her long-time crush, and his big, goofy, lovable dog. A long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past…and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.

Holiday Wishes
When Sean O’Riley shows up for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, the last person he expects to see is Lotti Hartford, the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago. As the weekend continues, Sean realizes he wants to leave his hook-up life behind, but can he convince Lotti to open her heart to him again?

Mistletoe in Paradise
Years after their secret fling ended, Hannah isn’t eager to see James during their families’ annual joint holiday-themed yacht adventure. But when they’re the only people who show up, James and Hannah are stuck together on the high seas for days. As the former lovers try to make the best of the Christmas snafu, they soon realize the best things in life can’t be planned, and sometimes love is sweeter the second time around.

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Jill Shalvis always create a story that makes you feel at home, feel good in your heart and very satisfied when you’re finished reading. This collection of short stories it’s just that. Three chances at love, three short stories to get you in the mood for the holidays and a lot of what I love about Jill Shalvis. 

 

One Snowy Night

 

Max and Rory have been friends since high school. Max has alway been front and center in Rory’s book. Crushing on the man for years but never able to tell him. Max blames Rory for missing out on something he wanted. They both have “issues” with each other yet Max is Rory’s ride home for the holidays. When a snowstorm traps them together longer than planned, it’s kind of put up or shut up time. This force proximity story has these two hashing out their past and realizing I just maybe there’s something more in the future.

 

Holiday Wishes- Is it a second chance for Sean and Lotti? They were each other’s first and Sean broke Lotti’s heart. Many years later do the fires still burn as they once did? As a snowstorm extends the stay at Sean‘s brother‘s bachelor party weekend at Lotti’s family’s B&B. Now it’s time to hash out the past and settle it or many just get it burning again! 

 

Mistletoe in Paradise- 

Christmas on a yacht in the Caribbean, yes please sign this girl up. Hannah and James shared a secret lover affair many years ago. The two have a long history with a little bit of tragedy and heartache added in. For the first time in years they are kind of forced together on the family boat. I really enjoyed how they were able to come together, talk out their issues and even found something more. This was my favorite of the three stories. A bit anxiety but a very good story.

 

Jill Shalvis will warm your heart for the holidays with Holiday Ever After. 

 

Review: Getaway with Murder by Diane Kelly

Getaway With Murder 

Diane Kelly

Mountain Lodge Mystery Series, Book 1

Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 26th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
Getaway With Murder is the first in a brand new cozy series from Diane Kelly set in a lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where secrets hide behind every hill.

As if hitting the half-century mark wasn’t enough, Misty Murphy celebrated her landmark birthday by amicably ending her marriage and investing her settlement in a dilapidated mountain lodge at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the old inn teetering on both a bluff and bankruptcy, she must have lost her ever-loving mind.

Luckily, handyman Rocky Crowder has a knack for rehabbing virtual ruins and for doing it on a dime, and to Misty’s delight, the lodge is fully booked on opening night, every room filled with flexible folks who’d slipped into spandex and ascended the peak for a yoga retreat with plans to namastay for a full week. Misty and her guests are feeling zen—at least until the yoga instructor is found dead.

With a killer on the loose and the lodge’s reputation hanging in the balance, Misty must put her detective-skills to the test. Only one thing is as clear as a sunny mountain morning—she must solve the crime before the lodge ends up, once again, on the brink.

4 Stars

Diane Kelly gives readers a thrilling beginning to her new Mountain Lodge Mystery Series with Getaway With Murder.  

Getaway With Murder was a fantastic read. This was a different type of cozy and it was welcome and refreshing. Missy has lived a good life, yet herself and her now ex husband have grown out of love and decided that they could go their separate ways and maintain the friendship that they have built over the years. Missy is starting over in a place she enjoys and loves.  Purchasing a mountain resort, packing up herself and Yetti, her lovable feline companion,  to embark on their new lives. Sounds easy right? Well not so much. After a night of bad storms, an encounter with a nose in the contractor, and a few local locals that genuinely care, Missy takes a deep breath and takes her leap. 

Getaway With Murder is a fantastic beginning to why I feel is going to be an amazing series. Missy is independent, strong and resourceful. She knows what she wants and will do what she can to make it happen. I enjoyed that Missy.  She’s a great character and I know I will be eagerly waiting to see what comes next.  The mystery side of this tale was definitely a twisty one. Well written and plotted, Diane Kelly had me guessing throughout the story. Entertaining and funny, with a good mystery and just a splash of romance. Getaway With Murder will transport reads to a beautiful mountain town, with great characters and an even better story.

Review: Home for a Cowboy Christmas by Donna Grant

 

Home for a Cowboy Christmas

Donna Grant 

Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 26th 2021 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

 

 

 

The most wonderful time of the year has arrived for this cowboy in New York Times bestseller Donna Grant’s newest novel, Home for a Cowboy Christmas.

Tis the season—for everyone except Emmy Garrett. She’s on the run after witnessing a crime. But when it becomes clear that trouble will continue following her, the US Marshal in charge takes her somewhere no one will think to look–Montana. Not only is Emmy in a new place for her protection, but now, she’s stuck with a handsome cowboy as her bodyguard…and she wants to do more than kiss him under the mistletoe.

Dwight Reynolds left behind his old career, but it’s still in his blood. When an old friend calls in a favor, Dwight opens his home to a woman on the run. He tries to keep his distance, but there’s something about Emmy he can’t resist. She stokes his passion and turns his cold nights into warm ones. When danger shows up looking for Emmy, Dwight risks everything to keep her safe.

 

 

 

3.5 Stars

 

Donna Grant gets readers in the mood for the holiday season with the suspenseful and heartwarming Home for a Cowboy Christmas! 

 

Emmy is a gal on the run. A successful bookkeeper who saw more than she should ever have seen, is now in hiding, waiting with bated breath to testify against a big mob boss. Emmy is trusting the law to keep her safe. When those that are to be trusted start faltering, not only is she one the run, the Marshal that is In charge of keeping her safe questions who he can trust, Emily believes her days are numbered and just hopes she makes it out alive.

 

Dwight Reynolds lives a quiet life on a ranch in the middle of nowhere in Montana. He may have left his old career behind but it never truly leaves the man. When a lifelong friend asks for a favor there’s no way Dwight can refuse. Protecting people is in his blood whether it’s someone he knows or not. Little did he know the attraction and connection he would feel to the one he’s asked to help protect. No it’s not just a matter of protecting her for her is about protecting her for him as well.  

 

An unconventional romance that works out so so well. Home for a Cowboy Christmas is a thrilling and entertaining romantic suspense. Donna Grant 

sets a fast pace in this romantic suspense. Emily and Dwight have a natural chemistry with one another and their attraction is flying off the charts. It’s a tense situation and they try to make It the best they can.  Their connection and chemistry come naturally as their attraction adds fuel to the fire every day. They are in a dangerous situation but yet they found a way to trust in one another to get through.  I love how Dwight was willing to protect no matter what. Emily‘s tenacity and strength are like none other. Together these two are a force. Donna Grant keeps our hearts beating fast while spreading a little bit of holiday cheer with Home for a Cowboy Christmas.

 

Mulled to Death by Kate Lansing

Mulled to Death 

Kate Lansing

Colorado Wine Myteries Series, Book 3 

Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: October 19th 2021 by Berkley Books

A Valentine’s Day getaway is on the rocks when a young winemaker discovers a body at an alpine resort in this delightful cozy mystery.

When Parker Valentine decides to take a weekend getaway with her boyfriend Reid, a ski trip seems like the perfect choice. Between hitting the slopes and persuading the resort’s wine director to sell her mulled wine, Parker is eager to mix business with pleasure. But her plans are muddled when she finds the resort owner’s body on a treacherous portion of ski trail near the resort.

As a result, not only is Parker’s romantic weekend thrown into chaos, but now that the owner has died, her business deal is due for a frosty reception, and her life might be in danger as well. After a series of unfortunate mishaps befall Parker, she realizes that whoever killed the resort owner might want to tie up loose ends. Parker’s going to need all of the investigative skills at her disposal to catch a killer before they put her on ice.

4 Stars

Mulled to Death is an entertaining and adventurous edition to the Colorado Wine Mystery Series.

Parker is mixing a bit of business and pleasure with Valentine’s weekend getaway. Nestled away in the mountains of a beautiful Alpine ski resort Parker and her boyfriend Reid have plans of a romantic time in between hitting the slopes and Parker pitching her wine to the Director of the resort. On what should be a fun day of hitting the slopes Parker comes across the resort owner’s body dead on a ski trail. What should’ve been a fun and romantic weekend is thrown into chaos. Not only does Parker find a dead body but little things keep happening that have her looking a bit over her shoulder.

Mulled to Death was fantastic. Each book in the series gets better and better. Parker takes sleuthing to a whole other level. She wants to get to the bottom of it and she goes full tilt. Even if sometimes it’s not the best choice. She’s very passionate about finding out who and why. I love seeing Parker‘s romantic side come out a bit more. As a romance lover I love seeing a bit of romance with my cozy mysteries. As for the mystery part this one is twists and turns and has the reader doing some thinking. I also love how the author is able to incorporate things about wine in just about every aspect of the book that does not involve winemaking. The description of the spices for the mulled wine makes me want to try and make a batch myself.

Kate Lansing’s Mulled to Death is what you want in a cozy mystery.

Review: Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn

seaside

Once Upon a Seaside Murder 

Maggie Blackburn

Beach Reads Mystery Series, Book 2 

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: October 12th 2021 by Crooked Lane Books
As the holidays approach, bookstore owner Summer Merriwether learns a dark secret in this second volume of Maggie Blackburn’s Beach Reads mystery series.

There’s no place like home for the holidays, even if home is sleepy, beachside Brigid’s Island, NC. During this season for giving, the town wakes up to a welcome throng of shoppers–and Beach Reads is no exception. But bookseller Summer Merriwether’s Christmas cheer turns to cringing fear when she uncovers a deadly secret about her late mother–a secret someone will kill to keep.

When the local library hosts a cozy mystery panel discussion, Summer learns that one of the authors on the panel based her book on an actual murder that shook Brigid’s Island thirty-five years before. Worse, she soon learns that her dearly missed mother, Hildy, took a disturbingly deep interest in the case, going so far as to collect clippings and keep a journal of the dark doings. This doesn’t jibe with Summer’s memories of her usually cheery mother at all.

Tidings get worse when Summer learns of her long-lost biological family’s involvement in the crime…and still worse when the life of the book’s author is threatened. With the help of Hildy’s plucky book club, Summer puts her scholarly smarts to work on protecting the cozy author and solving the decades-old murder.

But this ghost from Christmas past may still be deadly in the present, and if she can’t find the killer, Summer’s future will be brief.

4.5 Stars 

As the holidays are getting into full swing in the cozy coastal town of Brigid Island. Summer Meeriwether is all geared for a holiday cozy mystery signing event. When Summer discovers one of the featured authors has written a book about a murder that happened many years ago in Summer’s own town, questions pop up faster than answers can be sought out.  The Christmas season is bringing up ghosts from the past.  Beach Reads is knee deep mystery and secrets this merry season. 

Once Upon a Seaside Murder is a fantastic reads. Piled to the brim with everything that cozy mystery lovers love. You’ve got a great atmosphere and cozy little town. The characters are filled with personality and charisma. The setting is a bookstore, how can a reader not love that. The mystery is quite twisty and many secrets are revealed throughout the pages. Maggie Blackburn really gave it all in this book and it really shows. Summer has grown so much between the first and second book. Once Upon a Seaside Murder Summer discovers her own mystery in conjunction with what’s going on with the cozy mystery event.  So many secrets are found and the answers are jaw dropping. Summer is on A mental and at times physical roller coaster ride. I love how she goes from being uncertain about certain things, having all this craziness happen to realize the things that she really needs are the things that are right in front of her.  Summers’ personal struggles tie into the craziness surrounding the cozy mystery event. Along the way there are some shocking moments, truths you didn’t see coming, a group of friends that have become family and many laugh out loud moments.

Once Upon a Seaside Murder is a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read.

Review: Inked KIngdom by Carrie Ann Ryan

Inked Kingdom 

Carrie Ann Ryan

Underworld Kings 

ebook
Expected publication: October 14th 2021
I fell for Sarina the moment I saw her.
When the Kingdom tore her from me, I promised revenge.
My claim was forfeit the moment she ran, but now I will follow.
I will find her.
I will earn her.
And I will burn the world if they dare touch her.
Again.
4 Stars

Wow!  A quick read with a major rush! 

Sabrina walked away from a life she could no longer stand to live. She lost her family to the life and walked away from the one she loved because of the life. Four years later, the life shows up on her door bringing fear and hope wrapped up in the one person that she thought she’d never see. 

Stone is done. The Kingdom has shattered everything in his life. The brother he stayed for is gone and the one he loves ran away years ago. His determination to keep her safe is the foremost thing on Stone’s mind. Whether it be from a far or near Stone will do everything to protect and have her by his side. 

It’s no secret that I very much enjoy Mafia romance. I love what Carrie Ann Ryan gives us with Inked Kingdom!  Talk about second chances. Stone and Sabrina‘s chemistry combusts as soon as they are in a room together. They each have been through so much and yet are very different people than they were before. Even while looking over their shoulders they began to find who they truly are. I love how they started over and fell deeper than before. A quick read that gets you good.

 

 

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: Dark Alpha’s Need by Donna Grant

 

Dark Alpha’s Need 

Donna Grant 

Reapers Series, Book 12 

Kindle Edition
Published October 11th 2021

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant comes another gripping story in her Reaper series featuring a brotherhood of elite assassins who wage war on the Fae at Death’s behest—and the women who dare to love them.

There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you…

The latest threat uncovered, it is my honor and duty to oust those responsible for the slaughter of so many and make the Fae Others pay for their crimes. However, nothing could have prepared me for the stunning and curious female that crosses my path. She’s an enigma: equal parts strength and vulnerability. She quiets the rage I’ve carried within me for so long and makes me question Death’s directives for the first time ever. Her tragic, emotional story touches something deep within me, and her bravery is awe-inspiring—which makes it doubly hard to let her return to the enemy and the dangers that await. I never expected her, but I need her. She is everything to me, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure she’s safe and by my side. Forever.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

My first love in reading is paranormal. Donna Grant does it so right. 

 

Dark Alpha’s Need is a fast paced, high intensity, quick read. Seeing Torin and Breda go from attraction to something much more in the middle of chaos. Breda is so much stronger than she gives herself credit for. What she’s endured from her own family and the others is something that no one should have to experience and yet she willingly holds her head high to make sure that no one else has to go through that pain. Torin knows the bitter taste of the betrayal and wishes that upon no one. Being a reaper allows him to be a protector in a way. But being a reaper had nothing to do with wanting to protect Breda.  I loved their connection. They are truly something special together.  We readers find out some indulging information concerning the others and find a personal mission has been granted. 

 

Dark Alpha’s Need is a captivating read

 

 

Review: Harvest Web by Yasmine Galenorn

Harvest Web

Yasmine Galenorn

Moonshadow Bay Series, Book 4

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 5th 2021
Summer has been kind to January–work has involved a lot of quiet research, she’s helped Ari revamp her wedding plans, and settled into a comfortable routine with Killian. That all comes to a screeching halt when autumn crashes in like a bull in a china shop.January finds herself plagued with an obnoxious house-ghost when she literally discovers a skeleton in her closet. She must discover who the dead man was, and why his skeleton is in her house before she can exorcise the spirit–not an easy task in itself. But then, at work, a much more serious issue arises when Conjure Ink’s new client is killed by the Whatcom County Devil–an urban legend come to life. Now, they must find the creature and destroy it before it strikes again.

Reading Order of the Series

:1. Starlight Web
3. Conjure Web
4. Harvest Web
5. Shadow Web

5 Stars 

Yasmine Galenorn has an amazing talent for creating a world you never want to leave. Moonshadow Bay is magical. 

January spoke too soon about her summer being a quiet one. Fall hits her in full force creating much havoc and mystery. Recent house renovations have awoken a few spirits in January‘s house. Upon investigation skeletal remains have been found in a forgotten room within the house. Not to mention a mysterious creature having his way on the town.  January is knee-deep in more paranormal chaos then she can shake a stick at. With The help of her coworkers at Conjure Ink and  Ari, a best friend’s work is never done, January is determined to get her house back and take out an urban legend before it does any more damage. 

Harvest Web is a fast paced, thrilling paranormal suspense.  First and foremost Ms. Galenorn’s world building is top notch and like no other. Moonshadow Bay is unique and magical. Just like the beings within. January has become a favorite character for me. She continues to develop and discover more about herself. She’s strong yet adaptive. In Harvest Moon, January finds a confidence within herself we have not seen before. She’s quick thinking and willing to learn.  She knows her weaknesses and is able to admit the things in life she doesn’t want. I can relate to January in many ways allowing me to connect with her. Harvest Web brings things from the past, mysteries of forest and a whole lot of magic.  Harvest Web was fantastic.  Written with raunch rich details you truly feel like you are in Moonshadow Bay.

Review: Twisted Tea Christmas by Laura Childs

 

Twisted Tea Christmas

Laura Childs 

A Tea Shop Mystery Series, Book 23 

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 5th 2021 by Berkley Books

 

 

 

An attack on the host of a fancy tea party sends Theodosia Browning looking for answers in the latest entry in the New York Times bestselling series.

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston. Drucilla Heyward, the hostess, is one of the wealthiest women in town.

As the champagne flows and the tea steeps, Drucilla is so pleased with the reception by her partygoers that she reveals her secret plan to Theodosia. The Grande Dame has brought the cream of Charleston society together to reveal that she is planning to give her wealth away to various charitable organizations. However, before she can make the announcement, Theodosia finds her crumpled unconscious in the hallway. It looks like the excitement has gotten to the elderly woman–except that there is a syringe sticking out of her neck.

 

 

4 Stars 

 

Theodosia is in full swing for the hustle and bustle of the season in Twisted Tea Christmas. With  catered events and themed tea’s, it has All the makings for a grand time. That is until the hostess, Miss Drucilla Hayward is murdered at her own event. Theodosia is thoroughly shaken by the event and rightfully so. She can’t seem to get this poor woman off her mind. Not only was she murdered but well you’ll have to read the book. Theodosia does what she does best and starts asking questions and hunting out clues to get to the bottom of this holiday mystery murder.

 

Twisted Tea Christmas is a great read to start getting yourself ready for the holiday season. Laura Childs crafts a mystery as good as perfectly steeped tea. She will also leave you hungry and searching for new tea. Theodosia is a hoot. Even in the face of danger she finds a way to make you smile. Even though her darling man is out of town, she can’t  help but to get involved. With Tea shop events stacking up, Theodosia is pulled in every direction. Add in the twist and turns of this well plotted mystery, I don’t know how the poor woman didn’t crack. Pure determination and will are two of Theodosia’s Best qualities. Through the holiday cheer and this crazy mystery Theodosia brings the spirit of Christmas within a book.