Marshmallow Malice (An Amish Candy Shop #5) by Amanda Flower

marshmallow

Pages: 336

Publisher: Kensington

Published: May 26, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: The Amish Candy Shop Mystery series is guaranteed to give you a few hours of laughs. Jethro, the pig, steals the show each and every book. If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, just close your eyes and imagine a pig being carried around like a baby who is dressed up in something polka dot. Now, tell me you didn’t feel yourself smiling. Smiling is what you will do plenty of even while solving a murder or two.

Again, Flower has provided us with a clean murder mystery with no unnecessary gory details, no foul language, and no sex scenes. It is definitely a series I would share with a teenager looking to get into the cozy mystery world.

Word of warning, be prepared to crave everything chocolate. I found myself craving a wedding cake with marshmallow topping and I have never had one with that topping. Flower does such a good job describing sweets you will be craving things you’ve never had.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: With Juliet Brody and Reverend Brook tying the knot in Ohio’s Amish Country’s most anticipated nuptials of the year, Bailey King is determined to do everything in her power to make the event a sweet success. Except midsummer heat waves and outdoor ceremonies don’t mix, and an exasperated Bailey soon finds herself struggling to fulfill bridesmaid duties and keep her stunning marshmallow-frosted wedding cake from becoming a gooey disaster. Then much to everyone’s shock, the entire ceremony crumbles when a guest drops dead, and the cause isn’t sunstroke . . .

Turns out, the uninvited victim came equipped with lots of dirt on the devout reverend’s hidden past. As Reverend Brook tops the murder suspect list on what should have been the happiest day of his life, Bailey and her sheriff’s deputy boyfriend vow to clear his name. Can the duo boil down a series of baffling clues before Juliet considers her marriage a bad mistake—or the killer whips up another deadly surprise?

Proof of Murder (A Beyond the Page Bookstore #4) by Lauren Elliott

proof

Pages: 304

Published: April 28, 2020

Publisher: Kensington

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

When I read the first book in the series I wasn’t sure if it would be one I would be excited about. Let me tell you my first impression was wrong. I get super excited when a new book is released. I have enjoyed seeing Addie come into herself as a bookstore owner and learn to love again after the death of her husband.

I have found myself learning new things as I read this series. As crazy as it sounds for a mystery buff like me I have not read any Sherlock Holmes novels or stories. I found it very interesting to learn about the first story in the series was released.

I have found I enjoy reading the books much more than listening to the audiobooks. I listened to a little of the audiobook for this book and the previous. The narrator is good but she doesn’t fit what I think of as Addie.

All the covers in this series are absolutely gorgeous. I could look at them for hours and still find something I missed. They are true works of art.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher, Kensington, through Netgalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley:

In Lauren Elliott’s fourth USA Today bestselling Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery, bookshop owner Addie Greyborne must solve a locked-room murder in a supposedly haunted mansion to recover a priceless Sherlock Holmes original…

The seaside New England town of Greyborne Harbor is home to many grand estates, including the Queen Anne Victorian Addie inherited from her great aunt. Now one of those mansions is holding an estate sale, which is just what the bookshop owner needs to replenish her supply of rare editions–even if the house is rumored to be haunted. Assisting an overwhelmed insurance appraiser with the inventory, Addie discovers an 1887 magazine containing Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, which she estimates to be worth over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

But when Addie later finds the appraiser dead in the estate’s private library, with the door bolted from the inside, and the priceless edition missing, it’s a mystery worthy of the Great Detective himself. She’s certain the death and the robbery are connected–but who, other than a ghost who can walk through walls, could have gotten in to do the deed? It’s up to Addie to find the key to the crime–before she’s the next one cornered by a killer…

The Body in the Apartment (A Jazzi Sanders #4) by Judi Lynn

apartment

Pages: 204

Publisher: Kensington

Published: March 17, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This is a series that has only improved with each book. I was not exactly thrilled with the first book as I felt it had too much romance and I am a cozy reader who doesn’t like a lot of romance in her cozy mysteries. Now that Ansel and Jazzy are married the romance is where it should be.

Not much has changed between Jazzi and Ansel except they have some discussions on having a baby. I really hope that does not happen as I think it would change the entire tone of the series. Jazzi is such a neat character in that she does a lot of what some consider “man” work in her house flipping business. I like being able to read about a strong female in a profession that used to be heavily male-dominated.

We learn more about Ansel’s family. Two of his brothers are in this book. They aren’t as bad as previously thought. Their upbringing was just terrible and unfortunately, that is all they knew. Seeing Ansel escape and live his own life has encouraged them.

The mystery kept me guessing until the end. I like that. When I start being able to figure out the killer in a series then I usually lose interest.

This is a clean read but there is some violence with the murders.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: 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?

Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery #1) by Maria DiRico

here

Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 almost 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: Mia with her mob family and Italian grandma is just the medicine I needed during this crazy time. I laughed so often my husband had to ask what I was reading. The look on his face when I said a cozy mystery. He knows enough about cozy mysteries to know murders occur. He may be worried about me laughing at murder. I will correct him one day that I wasn’t laughing at murder. One day…

This was a great start to a new series. I almost did not request from NetGalley until a read a review from another reviewer and he raved about the book. If you need laughs but still want to read your cozies then this is the book for you. Mia’s grandma is a doll. I want to dive into the book and sample her cooking.

A bonus: recipes provided in the back. Not all Italian either there are some yummy Greek ones as well. If I have the ingredients I might be trying a few.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: After her philandering husband’s boat went down, newly single Mia Carina went back to Astoria, the bustling Queens neighborhood of her youth. Living with her nonna and her oversized cat, Doorstop, she’s got a whole new life—including some amateur sleuthing . . .

Mia is starting work at Belle View, her father’s catering hall, a popular spot for weddings, office parties, and more—despite the planes that occasionally roar overhead on their way to LaGuardia and rattle the crystal chandelier. Soon she’s planning a bachelor party for a less-than-gentlemanly groom. But it goes awry when the gigantic cake is wheeled in and a deadly surprise is revealed . . .

Since some of her family’s associates are on the shady side, the NYPD wastes no time in casting suspicion on Mia’s father. Now, Mia’s going to have to use all her street smarts to keep him out of Rikers Island . . .

A Fatal Faberge (Antiques and Collectibles #8) by Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs

fatal

Pages: 185

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: February 3, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Another solid cozy mystery from Ellery Adams. Amateur sleuth, Molly, is a joy to follow as she investigates local murders wherever she is. In the eighth installment, we find her at home in Vermont during a cold winter. Her little one is growing like a weed, her family is settled and she feels apart of her community. While attending a fundraiser, a local rare bookseller has died under mysterious circumstances. Molly’s curiosity gets the best of her and she finds herself in a world of privilege. The center of the investigation is around a Faberge egg that has been hidden within a local family for years.

I admit I love to read about the Russian era centered around the Faberge eggs. I cannot even say why but I find myself drawn to the stories writers have weaved. My only wish is there had been more history given about the egg but that is a personal wish as what is given in the story is perfect.

A Fatal Faberge can be read as a standalone. There is enough backstory given without dragging down the readers who have read the entire story but gives new readers the connections needed. The mystery provides the necessary red herrings to make the reader question their guesses to the killer.

An entertaining read for cozy mystery fans of all ages.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Beyond the Page Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review is entirely my own.

NetGalley: 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’s 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 . . .

Coconut Layer Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson #25) by Joanne Fluke

coconut

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Oh my, I do need to get caught up on this series. The last book I read was #8 and I knew she got married but have no idea how things got so crazy. I am so impressed with how mature Hannah’s sister, Michelle, has become.

I enjoyed this book as I liked it was a simple murder but took a bit to figure out. We saw the murder and investigation through Hannah’s eyes as well as others. About the same time it dawned on Hannah who the killer was, it did to me as well. That made for great reading for me.

The love triangle still appears to be there but was no way distracting. You just understand that there are two men who really care and love Hannah. I’m not much on love triangles in my stories but I come to expect it in the Hannah Swenson series. My favorite pick is still Norman. Unfortunate name but a great guy. He seems genuine and that is what Hannah needs.

You can read this as a standalone but it will get you thinking about what you have missed. You will find yourself running out and buying the series.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Bakery owner Hannah Swensen is leaving Lake Eden to help a friend in sunny California. But an unexpected phone call swiftly brings her back to a cold Minnesota winter . . . and murder . . .

When Hannah learns that her sister Michelle’s boyfriend, Detective Lonnie Murphy, is the prime suspect in a murder case, she goes straight from a movie studio sound stage to the Los Angeles airport.

Back in frigid Minnesota, she discovers that proving Lonnie’s innocence will be harder than figuring out what went wrong with a recipe. Lonnie remembers only parts of the night he went out to a local bar and ended up driving a very impaired woman home. He knows he helped her to her bedroom, but he doesn’t recall anything else until he woke up on her couch the following morning. When he went to the bedroom to check on her, he was shocked to discover she was dead.

Hannah doesn’t know what to believe—only that exonerating a suspect who can’t remember is almost impossible, especially since Lonnie’s brother, Detective Rick Murphy, and Lonnie’s partner, Chief Detective Mike Kingston, have been taken off the case. Before everything comes crashing down on Lonnie like a heaping slice of coconut layer cake, it’ll be up to Hannah to rack up enough clues to toast a flaky killer . . .

Egg Drop Dead (A Noodle Shop Mystery #5) by Vivien Chien

egg

Pages: 320

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: The Noodle Shop Mystery series has quickly become one of my favorite new series. I get so excited when I get approved by NetGalley for the newest addition to the series. I cannot explain why but when I am reading I am smiling even when someone gets murdered. Strange, right?

I would love to be Lana for even one day especially on a Sunday when she eats dim dum with her family. I have never had dim sum but she makes it sound oh so yummy. Get your belly full of yummy deliciousness and go home curl up with your love and read the afternoon away. Sigh…sounds like a perfect Sunday.

I was shocked at who the villain was and why in Egg Drop Dead. Red herrings abound and keep you on your toes throughout the book. Every book has been excellent at this.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: In the fifth in Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop delectable mystery series, Egg Drop Dead, the Ho-Lee Noodle House takes its business to the next level—only to end up in hot water.

It was supposed to be a fancy, intimate dinner party by the pool. Instead, Lana Lee’s first-ever catering event turns into full-course madness when a domestic worker is found dead. Is the party’s host Donna Feng, the sweet-and-sour owner of the Asia Village shopping plaza where Ho-Lee is situated, somehow to blame? That’s what Lana—whose plate is already plenty full with running the restaurant, pleasing her often-disapproving mother, and fretting over her occasionally-serious boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau—must find out.

Before the police arrived at the crime scene, Donna had entrusted an odd piece of evidence to Lana: a thumb drive shaped like a terra-cotta soldier. Now it’s up to Lana to lead her own investigation, digitally and in real life, into a world of secrets involving Donna’s earlier life in China, whether the victim had a dark agenda, and if the killer is still out there…and plans to strike again.

In Cold Chamomile (A Tea and Read Mystery #3) by Joy Avon

cold

Pages: 215

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: February 11, 2020

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

My Review: The third book in the A Tea and Read mystery series did not deliver the expected punch. It fell very flat.

There was much potential with the relationships between Iphy and Strong, Ace and Callie, and Quinn and Peggy but none of the stories between those couples were given a chance. What we did get was nuts and pieces and felt very rushed.

Overall it was a nice read.

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

NetGalley: 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.

Read and Buried (A Lighthouse Library #6) by Eva Gates

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Pages: 309

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: October 15, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am impressed by how strong this series is in book six. I get so excited when a new book is released in The Lighthouse Library series because that means I get to “live” in a lighthouse for a bit. Could you imagine being able to nip down to the library to get a book? Any book you want is practically in your living room. Sigh…

I have never read or watched Journey to the Center of the Earth but Read and Buried has whet my appetite to possibly give it a try. I love it when a book makes me want to try another book I probably never would have thought about. I’m not a huge sci-fi fan but I’m willing to try Journey to the Center of the Earth.

If your looking for intrigue, murder, and history give Read and Buried a spin. You won’t be disappointed.

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

NetGalley: Librarian Lucy Richardson unearths a mysterious map dating back to the Civil War. But if she can’t crack its code, she may end up read and buried.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club is reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne while workers dig into the earth to repair the Lighthouse Library’s foundations. The digging halts when Lucy pulls a battered tin box containing a Civil War-era diary from the pit. Tucked inside is a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks accompanied by a page written in an indecipherable code.

The library is overrun by people clamoring to see the artifact. Later that night, Lucy and Connor McNeil find the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library. Clearly, Jeremy was not the only one who broke into the library–the map and the coded page are missing.

Lucy’s nemesis, Louise Jane McKaughnan, confesses to entering the library after closing to sneak a peek but denies seeing Jeremy–or his killer. When Lucy discovers that fellow-librarian Charlene had a past with Jeremy, she’s forced to do what she vowed not to do–get involved in the case. Meanwhile, the entire library staff and community become obsessed with trying to decode the page. But when the library has a second break-in, it becomes clear that someone is determined to solve that code.

The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn

aggie

Pages: 336

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Published: February 4, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A delightful read for Agatha Christie fans of all ages. Murder, mayhem, and intrigue lurk around corner of the debut novel in a new series.

Being a huge fan of cozy mysteries I jumped at the chance to read this new novel. I am so glad I did. Although it is a fictionalized version of a young Ms. Christie I was able to imagine this was how she started her career as the Queen of Mystery.

In this novel, Aggie is twelve years old and homeschooled and has plenty of time to use her imagination (a gift so many today do not get to explore). She fancies herself a mystery writer but when she finds a dead body she uses that imagination to try and solve the case. She gets herself into plenty of scraps but her friend Hector is always in the shadows to get her out of them.

This is the perfect novel to introduce the Mystery Queen to your young readers and open their world to a future of cozy mysteries.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: A smart and charming middle-grade mystery series starring young detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector, inspired by the imagined life of Agatha Christie as a child and her most popular creation, Hercule Poirot. For fans of Lemony Snicket and The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.

Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal — including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends — to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit.

Filled with mystery, adventure, an unforgettable heroine and several helpings of tea and sweets, The Body Under the Piano is the clever debut of a new series for middle-grade readers and Christie and Poirot fans everywhere, from a Governor General’s Award–nominated author of historical fiction for children.