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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.

Review: Deadly Ever After by Eva Gates

Deadly Ever After

Eva Gates

Lighthouse Library Mystery Series, Book 8

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: May 11th 2021 by Crooked Lane Books

 

 

Librarian Lucy’s wedding is at stake when a murder interrupts her engagement celebrations. To make it down the aisle, she’ll have to find the killer to save the date in the 8th book in the Lighthouse Library mysteries.

They’re getting married! Lucy Richardson and Connor McNeil have announced their engagement. Their friends throw a party for the couple at Coquina Beach, close to Lucy’s beloved Bodie Island Lighthouse Library.

As they’re packing up the presents and the (few) leftovers from Josie’s Cozy Bakery, who should arrive, but Richard Eric Lewiston III, Lucy’s former almost-fiancé and his overbearing mother Evangeline. Push comes to love when Evangeline makes no secret of why she’s here: to get Lucy and Ricky back together.

Lucy isn’t temped in the least, and Ricky is nothing but embarrassed at his mother’s desperate ploy. Before returning to Boston Evangeline throws a dinner party at Jake’s Seafood Bar for a reluctant Lucy and her family. Lucy hopes to get the dinner over with and see Evangeline and Ricky returning to Boson. But when a body is found at the restaurant’s kitchen door, Lucy is again forced to unwillingly put on her detective’s hat and do what she can to save her family and her engagement. Meanwhile, the classic novel reading club is reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, and open war breaks out in the Lighthouse Library when Lucy agrees to temporarily take care of a dog named Fluffy, but Charles the library cat has other ideas.

 

 

 4 Stars

Just when Lucy starts to feel a calmness coming into her life, everything starts to hit the fan.

Deadly Ever After is a fun and entertaining edition to the Lighthouse Library Mystery Series

Lucy and Connor are happily Celebrating their engagement with family and friends when out of the blue the ex and his mother show up, uninvited, to join in the festivities. When the intentions of the visit are unveiled, Lucy wants no part of this plan whatsoever. Agreeing to what should be a farewell dinner ends up having Lucy stumble upon a dead body that hits a little too close to home. And the icing on the cake is when Charles is not happy, to put it mildly, about the visitor release he brings home has his tail on edge.

I absolutely adore The Lighthouse Library Mysteries. Deadly Ever After is fun and entertaining. The atmosphere in which the book takes place is breathtaking and somewhat calming. Even with all the chaos that goes on within the story. Eva Gates does extremely well keeping her readers attention with an interesting and well plotted mystery and characters I have come to love over several books. She is able to keep us guessing and second-guessing with the turn of a page. I love that Lucy and Connor are finally getting together and I look forward to see what their future brings.

 

 

Review: Purrfectly Dead by Dixie Lyle

 

 

Purrfectly Dead

Dixie Lyle

, Book 5

Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 27th 2021 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Deirdre “Foxtrot” Lancaster is back―with her supernatural sidekicks Tango and Whiskey―to unlock the mysteries of life and death…and murder.

When zillionairess Zelda Zoransky throws a party, she means business. Foxtrot knows she’s in for a night when anything can―and will―happen. The festivities include a high-stakes showdown between two escape artists locked in a bitter rivalry. Meanwhile, Zelda is stuck in handcuffs… Can Foxtrot, her telepathic cat Tango, and her shapeshifting pooch Whiskey collectively channel their inner Houdini and make it out of the soirée alive?

PURRFECTLY DEAD

The magic turns tragic when one of the escape artists ends up dead. This is no disappearing act―it’s murder. The suspects include a scientist with a 3D printer that creates pop-culture clones, a psychedelically-impaired rock star, and a ghostly snake with a secret agenda. Now it’s up to Foxtrot, Tango, and Whiskey figure out which guest commited the crime before they reach they end of this deadly game of Clue. How will this tail end?

 

 

 

 

 4 Stars

A fun, fresh and interesting cozy mystery.

Purrfectly Dead was my first experience with Whiskey, Tango and Foxtrot and will definitely not be the last. Dixie Lyle has something very unique with this series and she has this reader very intrigued.

Deirdre “Foxtrot” Lancaster is an assistant for a

super rich social life with a short attention span and extravagant tastes. Foxtrot never knows what could possibly happen when ZZ throws a party. She can never say she is lacking for excitement. Foxtrot has an unique ability to communicate with Whiskey and Tango, who are departed animals and her companions. Foxtrot is very interesting. She has the ability to get things done, smart and funny.

Purrfectly Dead is extremely interesting. I have to admit I read through the book twice before I could even try to make anything into a review. I don’t wanna say that I was confused but I need to go slower and realize what was going on. Foxtrot it’s hysterical and I love the way that she interacts with everyone. From humans to the animals to the departed animals. A different take on a who done it murder mystery but one that has you guessing with the turn of every page. I very much enjoyed the world building within the story. The Thunderbirds that control the weather is a very interesting concept and I look forward to going back and reading previous books in the series just to be a little bit more informed of what’s going on in this vast world. I will admit I was not able to figure out the who done it on this one and with the paranormal and magic aspect it made it very interesting to conclusion at the end.

From concept to completion Purrfectly Dead is an all around entertaining read.

 

 

 

Review: A Tale of Two Cookies by Eve Calder

 

A Tale of Two Cookies 

Eve Calder 

A Cookie House Mystery Series, Book 3 

Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: April 27th 2021 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Pastry chef Kate McGuire is loving life on the laid-back island of Coral Cay, Florida. As junior partner in a bakery renowned for luscious desserts–especially her cookies–life is pretty sweet. So when an old friend arrives and announces a spur-of-the-moment beach wedding, that’s just the icing on the wedding cake.

But the groom vanishes right as a television crew descends on the town to film a hot, new realty show. Is there a connection? Is her friend Desiree somehow involved? Or did groom Judson simply get cold feet? The bride and groom were paired better than warm cookies and cold milk, so Kate doesn’t buy it.

As the show’s cast runs amok on the island and the investigation into Judson’s disappearance heats up, Kate and her pal Maxi, along with town dog Oliver, will brave the rambunctious world of reality TV and a wedding weekend gone awry, in an all-out effort to find the missing groom.

4 Stars

A visit to the Cookie House is like going home.

A Tale of Two Cookies finds Kate McGuire nicely settled into her own new home of Coral Cay. The Cookie House is doing well and Oliver is as friendly as ever! The beautiful and slow pace of the resort town it’s just what a former New York pastry chef truly needed. With cookie baking classes with the locals and her mentor and friend visiting from New York for her wedding, Kates got plenty of good times I’ve had. Until the day of the wedding when the groom is a no-show and the pieces just don’t add up. Mix in a reality TV show filming within the small town really shakes things up for Kate and the Cookie House gang.

I absolutely adore this series. A Tale of Two Cookies is like a vacation with a mystery. Author Eve Calder truly transports the reader to the gorgeous island of Coral Cay. Kate and Maxi’s friendship has developed into a strong bond and I love their interactions with each other. The townsfolk are colorful and charismatic and truly help bring the series together. Kate has a way of picking up the crumbs and putting the pieces together with the help and wisdom of the Coral Cay Irregular‘s. Kate never doubted her friend Desiree even though pieces of the puzzle would have made her look like the crazy one. I love how it seems like most of the town comes together to get to the bottom of the craziness that happens in their town. A Tale of Two Cookies is a fun and twisting Mystery that had me reading from beginning to end in one sitting. You can gobble up the story just like you can Kate’s delectable cookies. This is a fine addition to the Cookie House Mystery series and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Review: Under the Cover of Murder by Lauren Elliott 

Under the Cover of Murder

Lauren Elliott 

Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series, Book 6

Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 30th 2021 by Kensington

 

Bookshop owner and maid of honor Addie Greyborne vows to catch the killer who crashed her best friend’s wedding…

It promises to be Greyborne Harbor’s wedding of the year. The impending nuptials of Serena Chandler and Zach Ludlow will take place aboard his family’s luxurious super-yacht, currently moored in the harbor and the talk of the town. But on the day of the wedding, a man’s body washes up on the beach with no ID, only a torn page from a book in his pocket. As owner of Beyond the Page Books and Curios, bibliophile Addie is called in to identify the book, but she cannot.

The morning following the extravagant ceremony, a second body washes ashore and Addie has a sinking feeling that the two deaths are connected. While the guests are held on the yacht as the police investigate, at least Addie can peruse Zach’s father’s rare books library on board. A copy of Agatha Christie’s first Hercule Poirot novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, provides a clue that the killer may still be on the ship—but narrowing down the suspects without becoming the next victim may prove a truly Herculean task…

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Cover of Murder is an entertaining story within a good mystery and wonderful characters that keep reader coming back the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mysteries. 

 

When a dead Body with only a book page, washes up on the beach next to where her best friend is getting married, Addie gets called in to help.  When another soon follows she can’t help to get herself involved. Every guest on the yacht is a suspect and with everyone sequestered on board. When the possible motive is as long as the guest list Addie does the thing that she does best, put on her charm, listen really well and ask just the right questions. 

 

Addie is a great character and I enjoy every visit with her.  Under the Cover of Murder is a wonderful cozy mystery, set in a beautiful little town with a nice touch of romance. Addie’s friends are like family and she does what it takes for any of them.  Family and friendship with a bit of murder.

 

Review: Death by Chocolate Snickerdoodle by Sarah Graves

 

 

Death by Chocolate Snickerdoodle

Sarah Graves

Death By Chocolate Mystery Series, Book 4

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 23rd 2021 by Kensington Books

 

Jake Tiptree and Ellie White are fired up for Eastport, Maine’s Great Downeast Snickerdoodle Bake-Off, but when a cunning killer and a devastating fire threaten to ravage the quaint island town, Jake and Ellie must dip into another homemade homicide investigation before all they love goes up in smoke . . .

As co-owners of Eastport’s beloved waterfront bakery, The Chocolate Moose, Jake and Ellie know their customers expect them to cream the competition. But they’re really just in it for fun, hoping to get Jake’s daughter-in-law baking again. Those plans collapse when fearsome local curmudgeon Alvin Brown is murdered, and every crumb of evidence points to Tiptree family friend—and all-around sweet guy—Billy Sewell.

Billy’s sisters beg Jake and Ellie to prove his innocence. After all, lots of folks had gone sour on Alvin–the only thing the retired lawyer liked better than bilking widows was swindling orphans, and several victims of his long-ago schemes still lived in Eastport. But just as the ladies begin sifting through the suspects, a series of grassfires blaze across the island, cutting off access to the mainland. Could someone be trying to hide the truth about Alvin’s murder?

Now, Jake and Ellie will need all their courage—and an extra dash of that down-east Maine stubbornness—to sniff out the real killer before anyone else gets burned . . .

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

Jake and Ellie don’t need trouble to find them, they go looking for it in the most head shaking, laugh out loud ways you could possibly imagine.

 

Death By Chocolate Snickerdoodle has Jake and Ellie gearing up for the annual cookie competition. Jake’s daughter in law, Mika is trying to find the balance of work and kids, Jake and Ellie use the contest to help her gain some of herself and confidence back. A grouchy old man is murdered and it hits too close to home as the prime suspect is none other than Billy Sewell. Billy is an employee of Jake’s son and a close family friend.  Between baking up their delicious goodies at The Chocolate Moose, Ellie and Jake can’t help but to help and snooping is the name of their game. 

 

Author Sarah Graves makes sure the reader laughs right along with their mystery.  Death By Chocolate Snickerdoodle is excellently plotted to keep the reader thinking yet is completely entertained with the antics of Jake and Ellie along the way. There is nothing and I mean nothing these two will not get themselves into. How they just drag each other along is a riot. That’s some real friendships there. I wondered several times if they thought that they had some weird special superpowers only known to them that gave them a no fear approach to their mission. I love Jake and Ellie and their never give up attitude.  They push limits and have fun and help while doing it.  Death By Chocolate Snickerdoodle it’s fun, entertaining and a very enjoyable read.

 

 

Review: Triple Chocolate Murder by JoAnne Fluke

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder 

JoAnne Fluke 

Hannah Swensen Mysteries Series, Book 27

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: February 23rd 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

 

 

In the newest installment of the New York Times bestselling Hannah Swensen Mystery series by Joanne Fluke, spring has sprung in Lake Eden, Minnesota, but Hannah doesn’t have time to stop and smell the roses–not with hot cross buns to make, treats to bake, and a sister to exonerate!

Hannah’s up to her ears with Easter orders rushing in at The Cookie Jar, plus a festive meal to prepare for a dinner party at her mother’s penthouse. But everything comes crashing to a halt when Hannah receives a panicked call from her sister Andrea–Mayor Richard Bascomb has been murdered and she’s the prime suspect.

Even with his reputation for being a bully, Mayor Bascomb–or Ricky Ticky, as Hannah’s mother likes to call him–had been unusually testy in the days leading up to his death, leaving Hannah to wonder if he knew he was in danger. Meanwhile, folks with a motive for mayoral murder are popping up in Lake Eden. Was it a beleaguered colleague? A political rival? A jealous wife? Or a scorned mistress?

As orders pile up at The Cookie Jar–and children line up for Easter egg hunts–Hannah must spring into investigation mode and identify the real killer…before another murder happens!

 

 

 

 

 

 3 Stars

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder is the latest edition of the long running Hannah Swensen series. Although I have not read every book in the series I always feel like each time I come to Lake Eden it’s like a visit with old friends.

It’s Easter time and The Cookie Jar is hopping. Hannah is crunching her time trying to get through her long list of orders while planning a dinner party with her mom.  Hannah’s sister gets put in the hot seat  after a few words with the mayor about the treatment of her husband. When a family member becomes a suspect on know Hannah can’t help but to involved. Hannah even strikes to deal with Mike to share evidence and interviews.  With Hannah on case and Norman by her side, we are only guess at what could happen.

All in all, Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder is a easy and simple read.  The mystery is very easy but the enjoyment of the story is how Hannah gets herself tangled up in all the excitement of what’s going on.  As always Hannah will make you laugh and making are you extremely hungry with all the delectable goodness that is described within the pages. Anyone who is a foodie and loves recipes along with an easy story this is definitely a book that you will enjoy.

 

 

Review: A Pairing to Die For by Kate Lansing

 

A Pairing to Die For

Kate Lansing

Colorado Wine Mystery Series, Book 2 

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: January 26th 2021 by Berkley Books

 

 

A young winemaker is over a barrel when her new boyfriend is accused of murder in this delightful cozy mystery.

It’s fall in Boulder, Colorado, and the leaves aren’t the only things changing. Parker Valentine, owner of Vino Valentine, is finally settling in to her winery and her new relationship with Reid Wallace, a local chef. But their delicate pairing is endangered when Reid’s estranged family comes into town to celebrate the opening of his new restaurant.

Reid and his family are immediately at loggerheads, given their often acidic temperaments, but Parker still wants to make a good first impression. However, her efforts might be in vain when Reid’s sous chef is found dead in the alley behind the restaurant, and Reid is implicated in the murder. In order to save Reid, Parker will have to find the real killer, even if the truth is difficult to swallow.

 

 

 

 

 

Like a good wine, A Pairing to Die For surprises the pallet, leaves a lingering mystery of flavorful thoughts and leaves you nicely cozy in the end.

 

Parker Valentine is living her dream. Her wine shop Vino Valentine,is picking up in business, people are enjoying her creations and there is a man that makes her heart happy.  The opening scene of the book just goes to show you what a woman will do for a man she cares deeply for. This strong and independent woman embraces a snobby family, makes some wine, investigates a murder, cares for a lonely cat and even dangled her toes in a bit of matchmaking. Well really just a push on both sides. Not too bad for a day’s work. Parker is determined and I love how when she sets her mind to a goal, she does her best to follow through. 

A Pairing to Die For is a fantastic follow up to Killer Chardonnay.  Kate Lansing is a fantastically descriptive writer combining the delicacies of winemaking with the delectable nature of wonderful food, the comfortability of friendship, with a mystery that will keep your mind working. Along with the beautiful descriptions of Boulder and the fantastic cast of characters she has given readers, good stories and entertainment will be had. The Colorado Wine Mystery series is off and running!  I can’t wait for more time with Parker and her crew.  If you are a lover of cozy mysteries with a bit of romance and wine, you should give A Pairing to die for a try! 

 

 

 

Review: A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany

A Curious Incident

Vicki Delany

Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, Book 6

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: January 12th 2021 by Crooked Lane Books

 

 

It’s up to Gemma and Jayne to root out the killer in national bestselling author Vicki Delany’s sixth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery when the winner of a garden tour trophy is left pushing up daisies.

“I am not a Consulting Detective,” Gemma Doyle reluctantly tells 10-year-old Lauren Tierney, when the little girl comes to the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium to beg Gemma to find her missing cat, Snowball. Gemma might not be able to follow the clues to find the cat, but her dog Violet follows her nose to locate the missing kitten in a neighbor’s garden shed. Gemma and Violet proudly return Snowball to her grateful owner, and Gemma basks in praise for a job well done. But a few days later Lauren is back with ten dollars in hand, wanting to once again hire a consulting detective, and this time for a far bigger job: Her mother has been accused of murdering her garden club rival.
Sheila Tierney’s garden, which everyone said was the one to beat for the West London Garden Club trophy, had been vandalized the night before the club’s early summer tour. Sheila confronted her former friend and gardening partner Anna Wentworth in a towering rage, and the women nearly came to blows. Later that night, after having won the trophy for best garden, Anna is found murdered and Sheila Tierney is the police’s prime suspect.
Despite herself, and despite the disapproval of her police detective boyfriend Ryan Ashburton, the game is once again afoot, and Gemma finds herself and Jayne Wilson using their powers of deduction to ponder yet another curious incident.

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars 

 

From missing kittens to trashed gardens. having the garden club up in roits to rivalry and murder, Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, finds herself knee deep in yet another curious mystery that she tries really hard not to be involved in. She really does try to stay out of it. 

 

I really enjoyed Gemma. She is a fun take on Sherlock Holmes. I loved her use of logic, her straightforward manor and her ability to put it all together. Gathering all the informal and extracting the facts then coming to the correct conclusion. Gemma’s got a gift for sure even if she is blunt and abrupt at times. Lauren is a fun addition to the cast of characters. She adds a lot of humor and fun to the story.  Her curiosity is something to smile at while dealing with a very serious situation. She is all over the place, but that is a pre-teen for you.  

 

A Curious Incident is a curious mystery indeed. A fun Sherlock Holmes themed cozy mystery with an enjoyable cast of characters. Well plotted and well developed, being my first read of the series I didn’t feel as if I was missing a thing. Vicki Delany gets the reader engaged with fun characters and well timed Holmes antidotes. I love how the book and tea shops go hand in hand together. The mystery and plot are solid, however this is a fully character driven book.  There’s a lot going on but it all curiously fits together making an entertaining story.

 

 

Review: Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush

Grounds for Murders 

Tara Lush

A Coffee Lover’s Mystery, Book 1 

Hardcover
Expected publication: December 8th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

Barista Lana Lewis’s sleuthing may land her in a latte trouble as Tara Lush launches her new Coffee Shop mysteries.

When Lana Lewis’ best — and most difficult — employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café’s chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil’s Beach, Lana’s normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he’s found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana’s café, she becomes the prime suspect.
Even the island’s handsome police chief isn’t quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn’t the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach.
With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana’s prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer. After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship — or will she come to a bitter end?

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

A fantastic start to a new cozy series. 

 

Grounds for Murder is the debut book in the new Coffee Lover’s Mystery Series. Lana Lewis as a former journalist who has returned home and is now managing the family coffee shop. Now days before a huge barista competition her best and most frustrating employee quits and leaves her high and dry, only to turn up dead the next day. Said barista has made a name for himself in their small little town and fingers are pointing in all directions when his body is found. Lana’s investigative nature kicks in and starts looking for information and clues, not only to clear her name but to find who did. 

 

A fun, laugh out loud, entertaining cozy mystery. Lana Lewis is a strong enjoyable character who has a few complications to her life but is genuinely a good person. She’s got a quirky and likable personality. Lana knows how to get to the bottom and get her answers. Lana’s home town of Devils Beach is a hoot. From the names of the businesses like the coffee shop, Purgatory, to the characters that dwell within the town. Lana’s hippy of a dad is a riot. The new barista is going to be the best kind of bad influence on Lana!!  Lol. And of course to for fill my romance needs there’s a hottie cop who catches the readers attention nicely. Grounds for Murder is a well written mystery with many twists to keep you guessing. I very much enjoyed my trip to Devils Beach and can’t wait to go back.