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Review: Killer Chardonnay by Kate Lansing

Killer Chardonnay

Kate Lansing

A Colorado Wine Mystery, Book 1

Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: May 26th 2020 by Berkley Books

A young winery owner won’t let one sour grape ruin the bunch in the first installment of this exciting cozy mystery series.

Parker Valentine has always dreamed of opening her own winery in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. But she gets more than she bargained for when a food and wine critic unexpectedly shows up at Vino Valentine on opening day. A negative review could be fatal for her business, and not only does he seem to hate her chardonnay, he also collapses and dies shortly after drinking it.

Although Parker hoped that the attendees would put a cork in it, soon her winery is at the center of a social media firestorm. With #killerchardonnay trending online, Parker’s business is in danger of closing, and she has no choice but to investigate the murder herself.

To restore her reputation, catch a killer, and keep her struggling business open, Parker needs only one thing: some good proof.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

Parker Valentine is about to see her dream come true. Her winery Vino Valentine, is opening its door. The wine is ready to flow, allowing Parker’s talent shine through grapes and fruits she blends. Opening day is not quite what Parker envisioned when a local food and wine critic unexpectedly stumbles into Vino Valentine. Not being too found of Parker’s Chardonnay, Mr. Critic doesn’t manage to stumble his way back out of the winery when he ends up dead on the floor. Creating the hashtag #killerchardonnay. Parker is caught in the middle of a hot mess as she instantly goes from a new business owner to one trying to save her business.

Parker rocks! I love how she approached everything that was happening around her. She was smooth, just like her wines. She could’ve fallen apart at many points in time yet she held her head high and made it her mission to get to the bottom of it. The descriptions of the wines alone make me wanna run to my local vineyard and see if I can find something even remotely close. I could totally see myself hanging out at the Vino Valentine. The mystery is well written. The story flows easy and just when you think you have it figured out, nope. Kate Lansing throws that twist that changes the game. The story flows so easily and the characters entertain and intrigue before you know it you have become fully invested in Parker. Killer Chardonnay is a mystery, with a good deal of suspense and a great heaping of romance added in. We all know I love the romance, Ms. Lansing blended it perfectly making it an enjoyable part of the story.

Killer Chardonnay is an easy lighthearted enjoyable cozy mystery that is just the beginning to what I’m sure is going to be a fantastic series.

The cat, Zin!!!! That cat, any cat owner will completely understand.

 

 

Review: Pumpkin Spice Peril by Jenn McKinlay

 

Pumpkin Spice Peril

Jenn McKinlay

A Cupcake Bakery Mystery, Book 12

Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2020 by Berkley Books

In the twelfth Cupcake Bakery Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay, the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew follows the clever crumb trail of a killer who’s anything but cookie-cutter.

Life is all sugar and spice for the Fairy Tale Cupcake bakers–Melanie Cooper is engaged to the delectable Joe DeLaura, Angie Harper and her husband Tate are savoring married life, and the bakery is bustling with happy customers. Until one of their most valued cupcake connoisseurs ends up dead.

Local glass artist and cupcake lover Rene Fischer-Klein has always suffered from a wide variety of health issues. In an effort to cheer her up, her doting husband, Peter, brings her a four-pack of her favorite cupcakes every week. But when the police discover that Rene has been poisoned, there’s no sugarcoating the fact that the last things she ate were the bakery’s signature pumpkin spice cupcakes! With their lives and bakery at stake, it’s up to Mel and Angie to find out who poisoned their artist friend and why, before their future is frosted for good.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Pumpkin Spice Peril is an entertaining and light read that brings out the laughs.

Mel’s life is surrounded by sweetness on so many levels. She has a bakery that produces the best cupcakes in town, her best friend and business owner is happily married and Mel herself is riding the wave to the happiness that is wedded bliss. Life just may be on the verge of perfect for our lovely cupcake baker.

Mel’s cake goes flat when her good friend and client, Rene is in a state unlike she’s ever seen before and becomes a victim of murder. Now Who could think the delectable goodness that is cupcakes or their maker could be anyway responsible for this tragedy has lost her mind.
Mel and her gang at Fairy Tale Cupcakes bake up a few laughs while a few of them find themselves asking questions, causing questions or chasing after answers. Mel has once again found her way smack in the middle of a murder investigation and no lack of sweetness will slow her down to figure out the who and why.

Jenn McKinlay’s Pumpkin Spice Peril is like walking into your local neighborhood bakery and visiting with friends that you’ve known forever. Even if you’ve just met them. Ms. McKinlay gives readers wonderful characters blooming with personality and charm, in a fun, warm and welcome setting. Pumpkin Spice Peril is a light hearted read yet the plot is solid and will make you think. Not to mention if you don’t want a cupcake by chapter 3 you probably don’t like sweets. I have not read this entire series and the titles that I have read were in no sense of order whatsoever, Pumpkin Spice Peril is a treat for the new reader or those that have been following for a while.

 

 

Review: Sugar and Vice by Eve Calder

 

Sugar and Vice 

Eve Calder 

A Cookie House Mystery, Book 2 

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

In Eve Calder’s Sugar and Vice, things are heating up at the Cookie House when star pastry chef and amateur sleuth Kate McGuire finds herself in the midst of a shocking murder mystery.

OUT OF THE OVEN
Lately, Kate has a lot on her dessert plate. She’s launching a cookie-of-the-day challenge in the heart of Coral Cay, providing sweet treats for the reception of the town’s handsome new veterinarian—not to mention dealing with tourists in town for a pirate festival and the surprise arrival of her former fiancé, Evan, who seems determined to win her back.

AND INTO THE FIRE
And if that’s not enough, a skeleton has been found—in the backyard behind her best friend Maxi’s floral shop. Kate knows Maxi could never hurt a fly. Maybe the remains belong to Sir George Bly, a long-dead pirate whose name has become urban legend—until now? It’s time for Kate to use every trick in the recipe book to prove Maxi’s innocence, and find the truth about the skeleton, before the last of the cookies crumble…

 

 

 

 

4.5 Stars

 

Cookies, pirates and a dead body….. oh my. Sugar and Vice is the highly entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable second book of the Cookie House Mystery series.

 

The town of Coral Cay is in full preparation for the annual pirate festival. Kate and Maxi, along with our furry friend Oliver, uncover a body that has been buried in the flower shop yard. When the body found is dressed like a pirate, it is if the town’s local legend is more than just a legend. However things are not that easy and now Maxi is a suspect of a murder that she couldn’t have possibly committed. Kate breaks out new cookies and sets her nose to the ground to prove her friend’s innocence, discover the identity of the murdered person and get some answers surrounding the town’s local history.

 

I absolutely adored Sugar and Vice. Kate is an amazing lead character with tons of personality. Her ability to seek out your favorite cookie without asking is truly a talent. She is friendly and has a charming personality that allows her to befriend people easily and has an excellent way of getting things out of people that others might not normally be able to. The Cookie House is a wonderful setting that is welcome and warm. Even if Sam is a little rough around the edges. The town of Coral Cay is like a mini paradise and the residence within the town adds so much to the story.

 

Eve Calder weaves a mystery unlike anyone I have read before. The way she twists her plot and keeps the reader guessing at who done it,  is pretty exceptional. From the personalities of the characters to the amazing cookies that Kate is constantly baking to the way she sets little clues that one doesn’t think are clues until the end when all the discoveries are made.   Sugar and Vice is an excellent follow-up to the first book in the series, Then There Were Crumbs. Ms.Calder truly has something special with her Cookie House Mystery series.

 

Review: The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton

 

The Stolen Letter

Paige Shelton

Scottish Bookshop Mystery, Book 5

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by Minotaur Books

 

New York Times bestselling author Paige Shelton returns with the next installment of The Scottish Bookshop Mystery series, The Stolen Letter

Delaney Nichols is confident she’s doing what she loves—case in point, just one day after returning from her fabulous European honeymoon, she’s eager to get back to the Cracked Spine, the bookstore where she works. But as she disembarks her bus and hurries toward the shop she and another woman collide, sending a stack of books the woman is carrying to the ground.

Delaney’s hapless victim’s name is Mary, and the two women can’t help but notice that they bear an uncanny resemblance to one another. According to Mary, they both also look like the long-beheaded Mary Queen of Scots. Even stranger, Mary believes she is the reincarnation of the Scottish queen. But peculiar as Delaney’s doppelganger is, she doesn’t have time to dwell on it: on her arrival to the bookshop, she learns the Edinburgh city council wants to close the Cracked Spine, citing code violations, and she’s determined to stop them.

But when Mary’s husband dies in a car explosion—and Delaney learns he was the very member of city council who proposed that the city take a closer look at the bookshop’s construction—she starts to wonder if her meeting with Mary wasn’t an accident. Edinburgh has become as filled with intrigue and deception as any European court, and Delaney is determined to get to the bottom of this royal mystery.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

It’s not too often that you can find a book that encompasses many interests wrapped into one. Ms. Shelton gives us past and present queens, a rich dose of history, a bookstore filled with the unexpected and a mystery that will keep you on your toes. The Stolen Letter is an intricate story with a mystery within a mystery that was very much enjoyable.

Delaney Nichols it’s a very interesting character. I love the passion that she shows for her job. You can tell that it’s more than just a job for her, it’s a part of who she is. She’s smart, witty, a little bit nosy and doesn’t seem to know how to back down. She stands up for what she believes and then she cares about. I love the bookish Voices that pop into her head just when she needs to lead in the right direction. She’s still adjusting to being newly married yet her husband, Tom, is very supportive in all manners of what she does.
Delaney, along with the cast of characters that the series, and this book contain sure to give you laughs while trying to figure out the mystery of it all.

The Stolen Letter was so much more than I thought it was going to be. Ms. Shelton weaves a good plot but you can tell this is truly a character driven story. I love how she mixed history into this modern day story. I personally am a huge fan of paranormal and I loved that little touch added into the story. As I am just coming into the series at this book I found it easy to fall into place within The Cracked Spine(Love that name for a book shop by the way) and the colorful and charismatic people who work and frequent the shop. There are essentially two stories that intertwined within the pages of The Stolen Letter And a lot going on all at the same time yet every bit of it was thoroughly enjoyable. I look forward to going back and reading some of the earlier books in the series just because I enjoyed this one so much.

 

Review: Dead in the Doorway by Diane Kelly

Dead in the Doorway

Diane Kelly

A House-Flipper Mystery, Book 2

Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

Dead in the Doorway is the second in a delightful cozy series from Diane Kelly set in Nashville—where the real estate market is to die for.

A HOUSE WITH GOOD BONES. . .

Whitney Whitaker has scored the perfect piece of real estate: a ramshackle white Colonial at the top of a hill with views of downtown Nashville. What more could a self-taught home-improvement maven and occasional house-flipper ask for? Ideally, the property of Whitney’s dreams would not have come with a dead body blocking the entrance to the foyer. But Whitney, always quick to take heavy-duty matters into her own hands, also happens to be a skilled amateur sleuth. So that helps.

AND SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET.

Who is this older woman—and how did her corpse end up at the bottom of the staircase of this locked, unoccupied house? That is what Whitney, along with the support of her wood-working cousin Buck, Detective Collin Flynn, and, of course, feline partner-in-crime Sawdust, intends to find out. Her friendly-neighbor investigation takes a sharp turn, however, when Whitney discovers that the house’s former owner was a gourmet baker whose secret recipe for peach pie was to die for—perhaps literally. Now it’s up to Whitney to learn the truth about what happened before she loses this killer real-estate deal . . . and the killer comes knocking at her door.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Dead in the Doorway is a fast paced cozy read embedded with humor and wit. Diane Kelly thoroughly entertains her readers with fantastic main characters, a solid plot and a peach pie to die for.

 

Whitney Whitaker is a busy woman. Property manager, Carpenter and flips houses on the side. She is a lady that knows how to get things done, has a good head on her shoulders and is genuine to the core. I enjoyed her relationship with her Uncle Buck. The back and forth banter between the two is comical and entertaining. They are a solid team and it shows. The chapters from the cats, Sawdust, point of view are priceless. That is a wonderful addition to the story, as Sawdust is in tow Whitney quite a bit. The flip house neighbors were a lively bunch that kept the story interesting. Another enjoyment of the story was seeing the house come together. Ms. Kelly balances the details of the restoration of the house without going overboard, yet has a reader interested in the outcome of not only the mystery of what this house is gonna look like at the end.

 

Dead in the Doorway takes the saying this pie is to die for to a whole new meaning. Diane Kelly has wrapped home improvement, some delectable eats, a little bit of romance and a well spun mystery into an enjoyable and entertaining cozy read. Whitney is a wonderful lead character. She’s smart and funny and adds so much personality to the story. Ms. Kelly twisted the story well as I had no clue who had done it yet should have known from the clues she is giving us. Dead in the Doorway was much more enjoyable than I expected and I give my highest props to the Author for her enjoyable tail.

 

 

Review: Dead on the Vine by Elle Brooke

Dead on the Vine 

Elle Brooke White

A Finn Family Farm Mystery, Book 1 

Hardcover
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

Perfect for fans of B. B. Haywood and Peg Cochran, Ellie B. White’s whimsical series debut is full of farm fun, complete with a helpful teacup pig.

Reluctant farmer Charlotte Finn needs the help of the livestock to sleuth a mysterious death.

Charlotte Finn never wanted to inherit the family’s produce farm–much less plow a heap of money into it. Her plan is to hammer a great big FOR SALE sign into the farm’s fallow furrows–but Charlotte’s sunny hopes of a quick sale succumb to a killing frost when she finds a dead body entwined supine in the tomato vines. The poor man, it seems, was run through…with a pitchfork?

Now, Charlotte is stuck with running the farm in the midst of a murder investigation. Charlotte’s knowledge of farming is smaller than her bank balance, so she relies on caretakers Joe and Alice Wong and their farmhands. Can she trust them? She doesn’t know them. There’s also farmer Samuel Brown, who still carries a childhood grudge. But the case gets personal when Charlotte learns that the victim might have been her own kin–and seeds of suspicion grow into a fertile field of suspects.

Charlotte turns to the farm’s teacup pig to help root out the killer. Soon, the goats, geese, and horse join in, but will Charlotte harvest a murderer–or buy the farm?

 

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars 

 

A charming and fun beginning to a new cozy mystery series.

 

Inheriting the family farm is not the ideal plan that Charlotte had in mind. She has it in her mind to sell but when a dead body is found amongst the vines that leaves her stuck on the farm for longer than she would like.  Being new in town and not knowing who to trust, Charlotte sets her mind to some old fashion sleuthing to get to the bottom of this.

As Dead on the Vine begins to unravel the laughs just begin. Charlotte and her unlikely yet extremely helpful band of friends are a hoot and then some. This is truly a laugh out loud read. I love how the townsfolk come together To help and the personality of this town really starts to stand out.

Author Elle Brooke did a fantastic job with the story. The characters are bubbling with personality, the mystery will have you guessing and guessing again. I love the personal touches to the personalities of the animals within the story. I found that to be unique and added something special to the story.

 

Review: The Body in the Apartment by Judi Lynn

The Body in the Apartment
Judi Lynn
A Jazzi Zanders Mystery Series, Book 4
Paperback, 256 pages
Expected publication: March 17th 2020 by Lyrical Press
The charming homes of River Bluffs, Indiana, make perfect projects for house-flipper Jazzi Zanders. Less charming is her hothead brother-in-law, who’s a bit of a fixer-upper himself.
But could he also be a murderer? Jazzi married her gorgeous contractor Ansel—not his family. But somehow she keeps living with them. So she’s delighted to help Ansel’s brother Radley move out of their home and into his own place, in the same building as his work supervisor, Donovan. But when Donovan is shot and his apartment ransacked following an argument with Ansel and Radley’s older brother Bain, their sibling becomes a suspect—especially after his missing gun turns up as the murder weapon.Told not to leave town by Detective Gaff, big brother moves in with . . . Jazzi and Ansel. Now Jazzi needs to prove Bain’s no killer, not only to keep him out of jail—but to get him out of their house. What was the killer looking for in Donovan’s apartment? And what will happen to the next person who gets in the way?

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

A lighthearted and fun cozy mystery with extremely likable characters. The Body in the Apartment is my first forte into Judi Lynn’s writing and is very far from my last.

 

Jazzi is an awesome character, who can do just about anything. Not only can she hang drywall with the best of them, this woman can cook just about anything. She has a strong body and a strong mind yet cares above and beyond what friendship is and her sense of compassion is something that can’t be topped. Jazzi is one of those people that if she makes you a friend, you have become family. Even if that family drives her crazy, her loyalty is unwavering.

 

The Body in the Apartment finds House flipper Jazzi, her husband Ansel, and her cousin Jared In the middle of restoring a beautiful Victorian house while helping Ansel’s brother get a new start on his life when they stumble upon a murder that happens moments before. Getting mixed up in a murder is not something new to this trio but for me the way they go about it is exceptionally entertaining. Nothing like family drama to keep things interesting. What I found unique about this book was how the local cop enlisted Jazzi help and compassion with those that may be delicate to interview. This trio of characters along with their family and friends are extremely close and very nosy. Everyone seemed to know what was going on with everyone yet always seemed to help or support in any way they could.

 

The Body in the Apartment is a drama filled yet well written mystery with a good plot that keeps you thinking. I loved that Jazzi is always feeding everyone. You can definitely tell food is her thing and she loves sharing that with everyone. This book takes us from a gutted out it out house, to neighborhoods people have to be careful visiting to getting tangled with ex cons and making wedding cake. Ms. Lynn Has readers all over the place with this book and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Review: Revenge is Sweet by Kaye George

Revenge Is Sweet

Kaye George

Vintage Sweets Mysteries, Book 1

Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Expected publication: March 10th 2020 by Lyrical Press

In the picturesque tourist town of Fredericksburg, Texas, Tally Holt has opened a new candy store with a vintage twist . . .but there’s no sugar-coating a nasty case of murder . . .

Tally Holt has poured her heart, soul, and bank account into Tally’s Olde Tyme Sweets, specializing in her grandmother’s delicious recipes. Tally’s homemade Mallomars, Twinkies, fudges, and taffy are a hit with visiting tourists—and with Yolanda Bella, the flamboyant owner of Bella’s Baskets next door. But both shops encounter a sour surprise when local handyman Gene Faust is found dead in Tally’s kitchen, stabbed with Yolanda’s scissors.

The mayor’s adopted son, Gene was a handsome Casanova with a bad habit of borrowing money from the women he wooed. It’s a sticky situation for Yolanda, who was one of his marks. There are plenty of other likely culprits among Fredericksburg’s female population, and even among Gene’s family. But unless Tally can figure out who finally had their fill of Gene’s sweet-talking ways, Yolanda—and both their fledgling businesses—may be destined for a bitter end . . .

 

 

 

 

 

3 Stars

 

From the sweets of the old time candy store to Nigel, the main coon cat, to the way the mystery unfolded, Revenge is Sweet is a promising start to this new series.

Kaye George will definitely make your mouth water with all the wonderful confections that Tally Holt creates. She will also get your mind churning with mystery that is contained within Revenge is Sweet. Tally and Yolanda are a trip together. You can tell they are still finding their way, but they both have potential. With that said, there are many Aspects of the story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love this little town. The descriptions of the confections are truly mouthwatering. There’s a lot of personality lying just under the surface that I felt needs to pop out a little bit more. Like the characters I mentioned above I feel this series has a lot of potential. We just had it for you shortcomings along the way. Revenge is Sweet is a good start to what could be a pretty awesome and yummy series.

 

Review: Lavender Blue Murder by Laura Childs

Lavender Blue Murder

Laura Childs

A Tea Shop Mystery, Book 21

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Berkley

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.

But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor’s lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.

His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.

As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald’s daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she’s made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Theodosia was an interesting character that is thoroughly enjoyable. She has personality for days and is easily able to capture the reader’s attention. She has heart and spunk. She has a keen eye and has learned how to ask the right questions. Theodosia is not your average southern lady. And I truly love that about her. She has charm and elegance yet isn’t afraid to jump in and get dirty when she has to.

Lavender Blue Murder was a fun and entertaining mystery. From the opening pages of the shooting party, to two crazy tragedies happening within hours, to the formalities followed when serving tea, to the lavish tea parties themselves and A tea shop owner solving a murder mystery. Laura Childs has something amazing going on with this series. From the British traditions of hunting and shooting and the tea services, to the lavish descriptions of Charleston, one could easily feel like they are visiting a very different place and not reading the pages of a book.

As with any long running series a reader can expect to see bonds between characters. I loved Theodosia, Drayton and Haley. You can tell by their interactions that they go way beyond employee and boss. The friendship they Cher is a highlight of the book. They are fun characters thus making fun times. I Love that I came in at book number 21 in the series and didn’t feel like I missed anything didn’t get a recap of 20 other books in the process.

Lavender Blue Murder is my first adventure into Laura Child’s Tea Shop mysteries and will not be my last. With more than a helping of Southern charm, a well plotted mystery and a cast of characters that keep everything interesting.

Review: Pies before Guys by Kirsten Weiss

Pies Before Guys
Kirsten Weiss
A Pie Town Mystery, Book 4
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Kensington

 

Val’s crime-solving club digs into a piping hot new case!

A poetry slam at a bakery? Why not! Even though Pie Town proprietor Val Harris would rather be spending time with her newfound half-brother, she knows her employee, Abril, is beyond excited to be hosting the event. Especially since it stars the apple pie of Abril’s eye, poet and professor Michael Starke. But the evening ends on a sour note when Professor Starke is found murdered mere moments after being accused of plagiarism.

Just like that, Pie Town is at the center of another criminal inquiry. At Abril’s request—and much to Detective Carmichael’s consternation—Val and Charlene decide to investigate Starke’s death. But the case is as tough as an overworked crust and the Baker Street Bakers are only coming up with scraps. If they don’t pinch the cultured killer soon, Pie Town’s reputation could crumble.

 

 

 

3.5 Stars

 

If the title doesn’t get you the story will.

 

Do poetry and pies go together? Well maybe if the poetry was a little bit better and we didn’t end up with a murder on the plate. Val and her lovely and delicious pic shop host a poetry slam that gives readers a not your typical cozy.

 

Val and Charlene are coworkers and friends and have this thing for solving crime. Charlene is an instigator and likes to have fun with people. Val has a way of going along with what Charlene suggests. These two get themselves into trouble easier than they can make a pie. And when you think they can’t get any deeper into the crust, yes they just did. They are over the top and hysterical to boot.

 

Pies Before Guys is a laughter out loud, jaw dropping, outside the norm of cozy mystery. It did take me a bit to really get into the story but the comical content sure than made up for it. Kristen Weiss twisted this mystery right and I was shocked when the who done it was revealed. Pies before Guys is an enjoyable read.