Kneaded to Death (A Bread Shop #1) by Winnie Archer

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 2017

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Paperback from Personal Library

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, Large Print Hardcover, and Mass Market Paperback

My Review: I enjoyed the start of this series but it did not grab me like my favorite cozy mysteries usually do. I am not sure if it was because it was only about bread and not a whole array of yummy foods or if it is because it centered around the death of the main character’s mom. That story line was hard for me.

The mystery was good and I was surprised at what really happened and the ones responsible. I definitely will be adding this series to me cozy rotation. It just won’t be one I binge read.

Again, there are Spanish phrases that may cause issue in understanding if you aren’t familiar with the language. The copy I read didn’t include a glossary.

From Goodreads: Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .

Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Linda, California. That is, until the thirty-one-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Dias and her sisters, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .

But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car, riddled with stab wounds. Even more devastating, the prime suspects are the Dias sisters themselves. Doubting the women could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove their innocence and seize the real killer. As she follows a deadly trail of crumbs around town, Ivy must trust her gut like never before—or someone else could be toast! 

Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner

Pages: 275

Publisher: Antheneum Books for Young Readers

Published: September 1, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Hardcover through Local Public Library

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, Hardcover, and Paperback

My Review: If I could go back in time and change things I would be a full-time special education teacher so I do the next best thing, substitute teach. Books like this help me be a better substitute teacher.

I learned so much about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) through the eyes of Lou. Noises bother me so I can only imagine how Lou feels and not having a support system that understands how to help her cope.

Just like with Sumner’s Roll With It, I will be sharing this book with all the students I can. Both books teach us how to be kind to others.

From Goodreads: A 2020 BookExpo Book Buzz Pick

From the author of the acclaimed Roll with It comes a moving novel about a girl with a sensory processing disorder who has to find her own voice after her whole world turns upside down.

Lou Montgomery has the voice of an angel, or so her mother tells her and anyone else who will listen. But Lou can only hear the fear in her own voice. She’s never liked crowds or loud noises or even high fives; in fact, she’s terrified of them, which makes her pretty sure there’s something wrong with her.

When Lou crashes their pickup on a dark and snowy road, child services separate the mother-daughter duo. Now she has to start all over again at a fancy private school far away from anything she’s ever known. With help from an outgoing new friend, her aunt and uncle, and the school counselor, she begins to see things differently. A sensory processing disorder isn’t something to be ashamed of, and music might just be the thing that saves Lou—and maybe her mom, too. 

The Heron’s Cry (Two Rivers #2) by Ann Cleeves

Pages: 400

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: September 28, 2021

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley, Large Print Book through Public Library, and Audiobook through Overdrive

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Hardcover

My Review: I had never read Ann Cleeves until The Long Call and was instantly hooked. Book two in the Matthew Venn series was just as good. You just keep turning pages because you HAVE to know what is going to happen next.

The characters are perfectly real and flawed. We all know the perfectionist who has to have their clothes ironed to the nth degree and the co-worker who is always looking higher and higher. Jenn may drink too much and feed her kids too much take-out but I don’t find that odd in her line of work.

I also took time to listen to the audiobook and oh my dreamy stars the narrator is fantastic. He has the perfect voice to fall asleep to but the story prevents that from happening.

If you like Louise Penny then you have to try Ann Cleeves. I am told her Vera series is really smashing.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.

From NetGalley: New York Times bestseller Ann Cleeves returns with The Heron’s Cry, the extraordinary follow-up to The Long Call, soon to be a major TV series, alongside her two hit TV shows Shetland and Vera.


“In Matthew Venn, Ann has created a complex, daring, subtle character.” —Louise Penny

“A complex mystery full of surprises . . . this character-driven exploration of people’s darkest flaws is a sterling example of Cleeves’ formidable talents.” Kirkus Reviews

North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder–Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter’s broken vases.

Dr. Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He’s a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.

Then another body is found–killed in a similar way. Matthew soon finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home.

DI Matthew Venn returns in The Heron’s Cry, in Ann Cleeves powerful next novel, proving once again that she is a master of her craft.

Premeditated Myrtle (A Myrtle Hardcastle #1) by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Pages: 361

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Published: October 6, 2021

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, Hardcover, and Paperback

My Review: My last NetGalley for 2020. I know, I know this should have been read and reviewed a year ago.

Myrtle, the main character, is a 12 year old interested in criminal science in England. She is precocious and interesting. I know a few readers who would fall in love with her. In this book Myrtle tries to prove her neighbor was murdered.

I tried reading the NetGalley copy several times but the footnotes and such threw me off terribly. I decided to listen to the audiobook and it was a tad better but not much.

Please give this a try if you love mysteries. I know it is loved as there are two Published and 3rd to be published in October. It just was not for me.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own

From NetGalley: Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.

With sparkling wit and a tight, twisty plot, Premeditated Myrtle, the first in a series from an award-winning author, introduces a brilliant young investigator ready to take on hard cases and maddening Victorian rules for Young Ladies of Quality in order to earn her place among the most daring and acclaimed amateur detectives of her time or any other.

Thread and Dead (The Apron Shop Series #2) by Elizabeth Penney

Pages: 288

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: August 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Mass Market Paperback

My Review: Even though I figured out the killer pretty early on I still enjoyed this quick read. Learning about the different uses for seaweed was very interesting. I enjoy it in my sushi but I’m not sure I would just go in to the store and pick up a protein bar made with it.

I really enjoyed the second mystery with Eleanor. Could you imagine finding a trunk in the attic filled with such treasure and being able to learn about your ancestry? I hope Eleanor makes a camo in the next book so we know how she is doing.

This is perfect for fans of non-culinary cozy mysteries.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

From NetGalley: Tragedy strikes in Thread and Dead, the second book in Elizabeth Penney’s cozy mystery series—and now everyone in Blueberry Cove, Maine, is on pins and needles. . .

Iris Buckley is busier than ever this July, with the town’s annual Lobster Festival fast approaching. In just a matter of days her apron shop Ruffles & Bows, will be jam-packed with tourists eager to lay eyes on its world-class collection of aprons and linens—and Iris’s inventory is running low. Then, just when all hope seems lost, Iris gets a call from Eleanor Brady, a wealthy, reclusive spinster who just happens to have trunks full of vintage fabrics. Would Iris like to come down to Eleanor’s cottage estate Shorehaven and have a look?

Before long Iris is on the scene—and on the case. Turns out that Eleanor has rented Shorehaven to the handsome, charismatic environmentalist Dr. Lukas de Wilde and his flock of students. What begins as an apron-scouting endeavor soon morphs into a full-blown murder investigation when Dr. de Wilde’s beautiful young teaching assistant turns up dead. Now it’s up to Iris—along with her partner-in-love-and-crime Ian Stewart—to unravel the mystery before the Blueberry Cove killer strikes again.

Mums and Mayhem (A Magic Garden Mystery 3) by Amanda Flower

Pages: 336

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: August 11, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Hardcover

My Review: I should be ashamed I had this on my NetGalley for so long but I was sad to learn this was the last of the series so I held off on reading it.

It was an enjoyable read. I was happy we got to learn more about Fiona’s parents and their past. The situation was handle in a realistic manner. I still was not a fan of her little sister but I do need to remember the age difference. Her little sister is a grown-up brat.

This series is perfect for fans of Scotland. The descriptions of the town are beautiful.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

From NetGalley: A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden’s left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox’s father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona’s blood be spilt?

World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan. Fiona Knox, owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi’s birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert’s intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona’s father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized.

Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father’s name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose–the source of the garden’s magic–from the standing stone.

The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she’s grown unless she’s able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth–fast.

Here Comes the Fudge (Candy-Coated Mysteries #9) by Nancy Coco

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 28, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital and MassMarket Paperback

My Review: I am in sugar heaven with this series. I love the location. Mackinac Island is on my bucket list of places to visit. I follow a page on Facebook regarding Mackinac and every picture I see I envision Allie and Mal walking around.

In this addition to the series we follow Allie as she tries to save the wedding of Jenn and Shane. If I ever get into a scrape I sure want Allie to investigate.

I admit I have read this series out of any kind of order and not once have I had any issues. So, if you haven’t read the series jump right on in.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy never expected her maid of honor duties to include clearing the groom of murder…
It’s late spring on picturesque Mackinac Island, Michigan.  Allie is prepping her Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop for the start of the tourist season and her best friend Jenn’s wedding. But when Jenn’s fiancé Shane, a crime scene investigator on the island, misses a dinner date, the two friends go looking for him. Led by Allie’s bichonpoo Mal into an alley, they come upon Shane standing over a body with a bloody knife in his hand. Shane won’t say what’s happened, just tells them to call 911. As the CSI is taken into custody by his colleagues, including Allie’s beau Rex Manning, the fudge maker vows to prove her friend’s fiancé is not a killer—before the ceremony turns into a jailhouse wedding…

Yoga Pany Nation (Class Mom #3) by Laurie Gelman

Pages: 256

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Published: July 13, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: E-Book through Libby/Overdrive from Public Library

Available Formats: Digital, Audiobook, Hardcover, and Paperback

My Review: As soon as I learn Laurie Gelman has a new book out I stalk the library site daily until I can put it on hold. It took a bit but it was finally my turn. I have LOVED all three books in the series.

Class mom Jen is probably not someone I would like in real life but I love reading about her. Her snarkiness is top-notch. I sure couldn’t pull it off. Plus, her 💘 of yoga pants is a winner. I’m in that phase of life if I can wear mine, I do. To heck with what others think. Of course, I am in no way as fit as Jen. Lol.

This book has some serious tones to it (custody battle and aging parents) but it is handled with real-world experience. Bravo!

I cannot wait to see what Laurie Gelman comes up with next.

From Goodreads: Jen Dixon is class mom—again—for her son’s fifth grade year, and a class bully, spin-teacher training, and her irresistible granddaughter keep her on her toes and perpetually in yoga pants.

Jen has a lot on her plate this year in Yoga Pant Nation—from childcare duties for her daughter’s two-year-old to her determined mission to become a spin instructor. When her husband’s ex-wife shows up to her first ever class as a full-fledged teacher—and compliments her performance!—she can’t help but wonder what the catch is.

Throw in a mandate from the PTA president to raise $10,000 for the fifth graders’ new tablets and her granddaughter’s other grandmother (whom no one has ever met) visiting for Christmas, and Jen is going to need more than her regular spin class to get her through the year. But as ever, humor is her best stress relief. Her acerbic emails to the class parents and friendly spars with her daughter over how organic is organic-enough for baby food will have you laughing out loud and texting Jen’s best lines to your friends.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Pages: 337

Publisher: Harper

Published: September 24, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Large Print Hardcover from Local Public Library

Available Formats: Digital, Audiobook, Hardcover, and Paperback

My Review: For me, this was a much better audiobook than the physical book. The story is interesting but Tom Hanks kicked it up to another level. I could listen to him all the time. His narration is what made this a 4 star read for me. The physical book did make me want to rush back to it.

It was a very interesting story how a house seemed to prevent the siblings from moving on with their lives. How many of us let something hold us back in our lives?

This was my first Ann Patchett novel and I am sure it won’t be my last.

From Goodreads: At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

Mango, Mambo, and Murder (A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery #1) by Raquel V. Reyes

Pages: 336

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: October 12, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Hardcover

My Review: If you know me, you know I am a foodie. Give me a book with a culinary theme and recipes and I am in heaven. Currently I am ready to book a flight to Miami and try the food mentioned in this book. I am drooling reading the recipes.

This was an excellent start to a new series and I am ready for book two pronto. The characters are colorful and fun. The scenery described is beautiful. The food I’ve already mentioned.

There are a lot of Spanish phrases and sentences throughout the book. Most I understand from my limited high school and college Spanish but a few I had to look up. Since I read a NetGalley I am not sure if the final printed book will have a glossary. I would love to listen to the audiobook if one is recorded.

This is set to release in October and I suggest you pre-order now. It is that good.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

From NetGalley: Cuban-American cooking show star Miriam Quiñones-Smith becomes a seasoned sleuth in Raquel V. Reyes’s Caribbean Kitchen Mystery debut, a savory treat for fans of Joanne Fluke and Jenn McKinlay.

Food anthropologist Miriam Quiñones-Smith’s move from New York to Coral Shores, Miami, puts her academic career on hold to stay at home with her young son. Adding to her funk is an opinionated mother-in-law and a husband rekindling a friendship with his ex. Gracias to her best friend, Alma, she gets a short-term job as a Caribbean 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. Detective Pullman is not happy to find Miriam at every turn. After he catches her breaking into the doctor’s apothecary, he enlists her help as eyes and ears to the places he can’t access, namely the Spanish-speaking community and the tawny Coral Shores social scene.

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.