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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: A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

A Bad Day for Sunshine

Darynda Jones

Sunshine Vicram Series, Book 1

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff–an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in–and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it’s reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.

 

 

 

 

4.5 Stars

 

Whether it be contemporary or paranormal, Darynda Jones knows how to engage her readers, entertain them and have them laughing before they even know what’s going on with the story. A Bad Day for Sunshine is a fantastic beginning to what I am sure will be another winning series for Ms. Jones.

When anything and everything can possibly go wrong on your first day of your new job…….

Sunshine Vicram is my new favorite female lead character. She’s sassy and smart with a job she didn’t even apply for. I love that her mind wanders and she still harbors a crush on the one she shouldn’t. The love for her family shines through all that she does. Her strength and confidence are something truly remarkable. Sunshine’s dedication to her job is a whole different level of loyalty. Sun’s daughter, Auri shares the narrative of this story as well and you can’t help but to fall in love with them both. I love the relationship that the mother and daughter share. You don’t realize what a big part of the book it is until you realize it is.

A Bad Day for Sunshine is a laugh out loud, jaw dropping, gasping, suspenseful yet endearing read. Ms. Jones gives her reader nothing short of pure entertainment with this newest title. If you enjoyed the Charlie Davison series, you will love Sunshine too.

 

 

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: 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: A Fatal Faberge by Ellery Adama and Parker Rigg

 

A Fatal Faberge

Ellery Adams 

Parker Riggs

Antiques & Collectibles Series, Book 8

185 pages

Beyond the Page (February 2, 2020)

 

 

A new book in the Antiques & Collectibles mystery series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs!

In the world of antiques and collectibles, it helps to have a sharp eye for quality, a good ear for gossip, and a nose for murder . . .

In the grips of a cold and drab autumn, Collector’s Weekly reporter Molly Appleby is thrilled to be attending a festive black-tie fundraiser hosted by the very private Natasha Gordon, an heiress known for her charitable events and aversion to the limelight. It’s Molly first chance to see the stunning interior of the Gordon estate, but when a rare book dealer is pushed from a high window to his death, she’s confronted with a sight that’s become all too common for her. And despite the fact that the crude and pompous victim was roundly disliked by all who knew him and that any number of people may have wanted him dead, Molly agrees to look into the murder for his surviving son.

As the police go about their steady business of interviewing the dozens of people in attendance that night, Molly decides to look closer to home and begins questioning the staff and anyone else connected to the estate and the victim. More and more stories of the dead man’s troubled life and marriage begin to emerge, including a potentially lucrative deal that’s gone bust and an old Gordon family heirloom that’s gone missing—a rare jeweled Fabergé egg once owned by the Empress Alexandra of Russia.

When clues to the murderer’s identity begin to accumulate, so too do the threats to Molly, and she knows she’s getting close to the truth. But with a secret family history and an untold amount of money on the line, Molly knows she’ll need to tread carefully before she becomes the latest victim of a killer trying to cover their tracks . . .

“A wonderfully written, captivating cozy novel with likeable main characters and an interesting plot!” —Goodreads review on A Treacherous Trader

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars

A new to me series that delivered a very enjoyable cozy mystery. A Fatal Faberge is the eighth book in the Antiques and Collectible series by Parker Riggs and Ellery Adams. A murder mystery filled will twist and deception that sucks you in from the get go.

In this little Vermont town amateur sleuth Molly has given herself a reputation of being able to solve cases. She is like a cat, and curiosity gets the best of her. Sometimes even too much for her own good. She’s smart and witty with a great personality. I love the little nudges Molly‘s husband Matt, and her mother, give her to continue to get to the bottom of the mystery. Having the ear of the local detective is not a bad thing either.

A Fatal Fabergé is an engaging and enjoyable cozy read. A twisting plot that keeps you going as the secrets unhold. For a little Vermont town and an antiques writer things sure get shaken up in A Fatal Fabergé.

 

Review: In Cold Chamomile By Joy Avon

 

In Cold Chamomile 

Joy Avon

A Tea and Read Mystery, Book 3 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: February 11th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

Just in time for the holidays, In Cold Chamomile is sure to be a cupid’s arrow aimed straight for your bookshelf.

Tea party organizer Callie Aspen learns that Cupid’s arrows can be deadly when a Valentine’s Day soiree ends in murder.

Callie Aspen can’t think of a more appropriate place to spend Valentine’s Day than her adopted hometown of Heart’s Harbor, Maine. When she’s not helping out at Book Tea, her great-aunt Iphy’s vintage tearoom, Callie’s adorning Haywood Hall with hearts and roses for the big Valentine’s event, where townspeople will fall in love with sweet treats, heartwarming music, and delightful books. But tension is brewing: The librarian argues with the expert who is on hand to appraise precious volumes. And Iphy is shocked to recognize the baritone who’s slated to sing at the event as an old acquaintance–one she’d hoped she’d never meet again. And then, when a dead body is discovered, the stirring spoon of suspicion points at the many people who had reasons to want the victim dead.

When Iphy’s old acquaintance draws the attention of Deputy Ace Falk, Callie finds herself in a spot. Ace, as usual, doesn’t want Callie involved, but how can she ignore Iphy’s anguish over the fate of a man she cares for more than she will admit? Bringing the killer to justice may endanger Callie’s budding relationship with Ace–and, quite possibly, her own life.

Callie and the Book Tea crew may think they have this case in the bag, but un-kettling truths are yet to be decanted.

 

 

 

 

3.5 Stars

 

Valentine’s Day brings more than hearts and roses when Callie finds herself steeping in a murder happens during a booktastic charity even.

Callie Aspen is unique in a few ways. She’s got a knack for getting things out of people yet you can tell there are times she feels guilty for digging in deeper than she should. Even drives her cop of a boyfriend batty with her sleuth thing. I personally just think he’s jealous because Callie is good at what she does. I liked how Callie would cut the conversation and excuse herself when she knew she was crossing the line yet hightailed it out of there before she did. In Cold Chamomile brings many changes in her life, along with a murder Callie can’t helped to be wrapped up in.

In Cold Chamomile is a Multi layered cozy mystery with a romance or two added in. Well develop characters with a vast array of personalities, charm and quarks that make them more relatable and fun. Joy Avon twisted and turned the plot, keeping readers guessing. While I had an idea of who, the why caught me by surprise. Callie and Iphy are a force, whether it be good or bad, these women will make you laugh. In Cold Chamomile is my first read of the A Tea and Read Mystery series and I felt like I was walking into a friend’s house for tea and entertainment. The characters definitely drive the story while the layered plot keeps pages flying.

 

 

Review: Forever Strong by Piper J. Drake

 

Forever Strong

Piper J. Drake

True Heroes Series, Book 6

Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: January 28th 2020 by Forever

 

On the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, not all is paradise in this high-stakes, action-packed romantic suspense.

He’ll risk his life for her . . . but will he risk his heart?
Jiang Ying Yue assumed her kidnapping was random, that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. After all, who would want to harm her? But then her rescuer—a charismatic former soldier who takes her breath away—uncovers a traitor in her father’s organization. Now, Ying Yue realizes that she’s become a pawn in a dangerous game, and her kidnapper won’t be satisfied until she disappears for good.

Zu Anyanwu’s work with Search and Protect and his canine partner Buck have always been his first priority . . . until he’s tasked with keeping Ying Yue safe. To him, the brave and resilient investment expert is more than just another client. But with danger closing in, Zu can’t let his emotions get in the way of the most important job he’s ever had—protecting the woman he loves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.5 Stars

 

Ying Yue is a woman I would want as my friend. Kind, honest, willing and able. She will go above and beyond for those she cares for and will not just take an answer at face value. Ying Yue is not afraid to ask questions. Wisdom and strength are come in layers for this beautiful woman. For a woman who has been through one of the most terrifying things you could possibly imagine, she knows when to keep her witts and knows when it’s safe to break down.

 

Zu Anyanwu is a man of few words and a lot of purpose. Owner and founder of Search and Protect, Zu takes pride in his job and his ability to focus. Along with his canine partner, Buck, they put their lives on the line for the safety of others. Zu is a bit of a mystery man, purposefully to keep his head in the game at all times.

 

Piper J. Drake starts Forever Strong with a blaze of action that continues until the very last pages. Ying Yue and Zu make on fine pair. From the moment of meeting, in the most terrifying of times, a connection sparked and became something deeper in a blink of an eye. Trust was gained and gave out of fear and need, that need became a beautiful bond formed with life shattering chaos coming from all sides. Zu and Ying Yue’s  passion is tender, deep and intimate giving a softness to the harsh reality around them. Ms. Drake flawlessly combined a fast paced, high action, dangerous tale with amazing characters and a tender romance leaving this reader completely satisfied.

 

Review: Hero’s Haven by Rebecca Zanetti

Hero’s Haven
Rebecca Zanetti
Dark Protectors Series, Book 11
Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: January 21st 2020 by Lyrical Press

After years of struggling, Haven Daly has finally accepted that she’s nuttier than a fruitcake. Why else would she see visions of a beautiful but tormented male every night . . . and actually believe she can talk to him, even feel his touch?  But thanks to those dream journeys, she can paint images nobody else on earth can duplicate. In each brush stroke, she captures the blatant masculinity and raw desire in his eyes that promise he’s coming for her…and soon.

She’s the light that keeps him going. . .

Quade Kayrs has already suffered a lifetime of pain and torture. Completely isolated, he kept his sanity  thanks to one beautiful female, a vision with kind emerald eyes. In the end, her soft voice led him out of hell. Now, naked and alone, he’s in a strange world that bears little resemblance to the one he left behind. All he knows is Haven.  All he wants is Haven.  His final mission? To protect her from the evil hunting them both—whether she likes it or not . . .

 

 

4 Stars

 

Quade Kayrs has spent more than a few lifetimes living and dying in pure hell. The only thing that seems to keep him going are those few moments, those glimpses of a beautiful woman invading his realm.  Haven Daly thinks she’s crazy but unique is a more appropriate way to describe her. A fiercely independent woman, an amazing artist and a girl on the run.

 

Driven by visions and a pull Haven and Quade start the wheels of motion on something that makes epic look small.  Through an action packed, fast paced, dangerous story Haven and Quade build a sexual tension that practically just off the pages. The banter between these two is top notch.  Their chemistry is intense as is everything else going on in the book. The depths they easily went to for one another made every bit of craziness so worth.

 

Hero’s Haven is a true on the edge of your seat read. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading until I was done.  Strong characters and fabulous world building are just the start of why I enjoyed. The action scenes are spot on and engaging. And let’s just say those hot moments are definitely on fire. Ms. Zanetti kept Haven and Quade’s story moving yet nothing felt rushed or unnatural for the story. A true heart pounding, blood pumping read.

 

 

Review: Murder Ink by Lorraine Bartlett

 

Murder Ink 

Lorraine Bartlett with Gayle Leeson

Victoria Square Mystery Series, Book 6 

Published December 31, 2019

Berkley Books, 304 pages

 

 

The charm of Victoria Square may prove to be only skin deep when murder follows the arrival of a tattoo parlor in town in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.

A tattoo parlor on Victoria Square? Some of the merchants get hot under the collar at the proposal, but could they be driven to kill to stop it? That’s what the sheriff’s office and Katie Bonner want to know when the building’s owner is electrocuted with his own saw.

Meanwhile, tensions rise when a hot chef takes over the square’s tea shop. Will Katie have three men vying for her affections, or will her rival take the tea cake?

 

 

 

3.5 Stars

When a tattoo shop plans to open on Victoria Square it shakes up more than the merchants view of what business should be on the square. When the owner of said tattoo shop dies one of their own is the prime suspect.

 

Katie is the owner of Artisans Alley and Tealicious as well as president of the Victoria Square Merchants Association. She is a strong woman, not intimidated and an amazing entrepreneur.  Katie finds herself in the middle of murder, trying to help a friend, playing detective and trying not to second guess everything she sees. There were moments when I thought Katie was overreacting and other when I thought, girl you got this together.

 

Murder Ink is my first read in the Victoria Square and an enjoyable one. It did take me to be to catch up with who was who and how they all worked together but I got it. I enjoyed the mystery that kept me guessing. I’m a romance reader first and foremost so Katie and Andy’s romance and squabbles were a bonus to this read. The writing style of Lorraine Bartlett is fun and keeps the pages turning. I was able to feel like I was right at home with these characters even though this was my first read of the series.

Review: Alpha’s Promise by Rebecca Zanetti

Alpha’s Promise

Rebecca Zanetti

Dark Protectors Series, Book 10

Lyrical Press, Published June 25, 2019

To hell and back . . .

Though he has vampire, demon, and Viking blood rushing through his veins, Ivar Kjeidsen’s soul-crushing trip to hell broke him in ways he can barely fathom.  One vow keeps the deadly immortal standing: To rescue the vampire brother who had sacrificed freedom for him.  To do that, Ivar needs the help of a brilliant physicist with wary brown eyes, fierce brilliance, and skin that’s way too soft.

Dr. Promise Williams understands the underpinnings of the universe but has never figured out the human beings inhabiting it.   Her function is to think—and not feel—until she’s touched by a vampire who’s nowhere near human. The primal hunger in his eyes awakens feelings in her that defy calculation. As she shows him the way to step between worlds, he brands her with a pleasure that could last more than a lifetime . . .

 

 

 

 

 4 Stars

Ivan Kjeidsen make the average person shake in their shoes. He is a vampire-demon hybrid after all. Having seen hell with his own eyes leaves Ivan not quite right. He may be damaged in ways but not broken. Ivan made a promise, that is his driving force. The man is primal and determined. Not to mention sexy and hard headed, like many of the alpha that we love. Ivan sets himself on a mission to save a friend and in turn gets blindsided by something he didn’t see coming.

Promise Williams trusts numbers and science. Facts, that can be explained and seen. It’s a matter of logic. She was raised not to feel only to think. Mathematics is her world. A very lonely kind of world.  Promise is beyond smart. Dr. Williams is an extremely talented physicist who just may hold the knowledge to be able to travel to worlds not her own. Promise is a bit quirky and takes some time to get used to, however in the end I truly enjoyed her character.  Don’t let the smarts fool you Dr. Williams has some sass and spunk.

Ms. Zanetti rocked it hard with Alpha’s Promise. Excellent world building, great story, intricate plot and deep characters. Promise and Ivan get pushed into each other’s worlds and get more than their asking for. A talent physicist teaming up with a vampire-demon hybrid who on a mission to keep a promise and protect something precious.  I very much enjoyed the banter between these two and the way the played to each other strength. They captivated this reader! Now I would like to note that I have not read every book in this series, but I was able to follow along with the overall plot of the series fairly well. I will also say I could tell I was I miss out on something but that didn’t take away from the story of Alpha’s Promise. It just makes me want to go back to the beginning of the series and learn more of this world and the interesting characters within it.

People will think I’m crazy when I say I have not read many books by Ms. Zanetti.  Yes, I know. I’m smashing myself on this one. Paranormal is what brought me into the world that is Romance reading. Ms. Zanetti checks off everything I love in a paranormal while delivering a story that keep you going until the end. Alpha’s Promise is a fantastic read that I highly recommended.

Netgalley provided an ARC for an honest review.