Read or Alive (A Bookmobile Mystery #3) by Nora Page

read

Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: July 7, 2020

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I needed a comfort read earlier this week and immediately thought of Cleo and her bookmobile. Cleo feels like the grandma we all wish we had and you throw in her love of books and you get the perfect grandma. I think Cleo has the perfect job of driving the bookmobile. She gets to be surrounded by books all day, she gets to travel with said books, and she gets to be among fellow booklovers. The only downside of her job is the dead bodies she finds but that is just a little hiccup.

I instantly fell in love when I realized the book would be about Gone With the Wind, which is a favorite of mine. Even with all the recent controversy surrounding the book I still love it. I have visited the Margaret Mitchell House and felt the awe Cleo and her friends experienced touching a book she touched and signed. Fellow bibliophiles will understand.

The book is written as you can start with book 3 and be perfectly fine. The Bookmobile Mystery series is perfect for bibliophiles around the world.

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: A match made in cozy heaven for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Kate Carlisle, and book lovers everywhere, Nora Page’s third Bookmobile mystery will (book)worm its way into your heart.

Wrongful accusations have librarian Cleo Watkins and her loved ones booked for trouble.

It’s springtime and septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins is celebrating new blooms and old books. To her delight, the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society has brought its annual fair to Catalpa Springs in honor of Cleo’s gentleman friend, respected antiquarian bookseller, and restorer, Henry Lafayette. However, trouble rolls in with the fair when a flirtatious book scout makes the rounds, charming locals out of prized books.

Among the conned is Cleo’s cousin, Dot, who handed over a signed, first edition of Gone With the Wind. With no proof the scout took the valuable book, Dot is at a loss. And when the deceitful man is found murdered the very next morning, Dot becomes a prime suspect. To Cleo’s dismay, so is Henry. The scene of the crime is behind Henry’s shop and his bookbinding tool is the murder weapon. As evidence stacks up against Henry, the police aren’t alone in questioning his innocence. Even friends and family ask Cleo how well she truly knows her gentleman friend.

Although books are at the heart of the crimes, Cleo feels dizzyingly out of her depths. Someone is setting up the people she holds dearest. With the authorities on the wrong trail, Cleo has no choice but to catalog the evidence herself. Along with her trusty bookmobile cat Rhett Butler, it will be up to Cleo to book the real killer for good.

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…

Murder in the Storybook Cottage (A Book Retreat Mystery #6) by Ellery Adams

storybook

Pages: 320

Published: April 28, 2020

Publisher: Kensington

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was scheduled to read and review this book on the release date of April 28, 2020, but unfortunately, my mama passed away three days prior and I was unable to do so. When I was able to read again Ellery Adams was able to bring a sense of comfort and love when needed. Her characters feel like friends every time you open up a book.

Even though a murder or two occurs in the book love shines through in many forms. We have the love of lovers during Valentine’s Day, the love of our fellow man no matter the age, race or gender, and the love of books. I was reminded so much of my mama. She introduced to me at a very young age the love of books and reading. She continued to nurture that love up until her passing. Valentine’s Day was a time for her to shower those she loved with cute cards and treats. Most importantly she taught me to love others by seeing what was inside and not on the outside.

The ending left me happy and eagerly anticipating the next book. I am not going to say anything more as I want you to be as surprised as I.

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

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?

Murder Makes Scents (A Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery #2) by Christin Brecher

scents

Pages: 272

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This series has quickly become one of my new favorites. I love the location of Nantucket. Especially during this unexpected, questionable time. I feel like I can truly escape.

I enjoyed that this book focused on a positive relationship with her mom. So many books focus on the negativity between adult children and their parents that I found it refreshing that Stella and her mom enjoyed a trip together. Although I am not sure the mystery and solving of the mystery were entirely believable and that was ok. Sometimes we need the unbelievable to pass the time. Stella sure found an exciting way to bring in her 30th birthday. I believe I would prefer something a little more boring to bring in my birthday.

I am excited to learn that a 3rd book is already in production. This series provides candle information at the end of each novel. Very interesting.

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: Stella Wright loves creating candles at her Nantucket store—and she also has a burning passion for justice. Now, after visiting a perfume conference, she must solve a vial crime . . .

Stella and her globe-trotting mom, Millie, have come home from a perfume industry conference in Paris, where their trip was marred by witnessing the stabbing death of a young man. It’s a relief for Stella to be back on her picturesque island, with the comforting company of her cat, Tinker. But lingering danger may have followed them back across the ocean.

After someone breaks into her candle store, the Wick & Flame, Stella starts feeling spooked. And just as things threaten to ignite, Millie suffers a blow to the head. Stella receives an anonymous note claiming that her mother smuggled a secret formula out of France—and threatening her life if it isn’t returned. Now Stella’s picked up the scent of a cold-hearted criminal and an intriguing puzzle, and things are about to get wicked . . .

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 . . .

Meet Your Baker (A Bakeshop Mystery #1) by Ellie Alexander

baker

Pages: 321

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: December 30, 2014

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A delightful start to a new-to-me series. You have recipes, drama and a murder mystery. I was completely thrown on the killer. Looking back on it, I am like “duh, I should have seen that clue.”

Juliet “Jules” Capshaw has returned home for a “few weeks” to heal after learning disturbing news about her husband. What she thinks will be a quiet few weeks soon turns into questions regarding her mom’s skittishness when discussing Torte, the family business. Before she can fully question her mom, Jules stumbles upon a dead body inside of Torte. What follows is an intriguing recipe filled with smoke and mirrors.

I am hooked on this series. There are ten published so far with an eleventh scheduled for this year. No promises but I think I might move this series up the read very soon list. I am getting ready to complete a few series and need a new one.

Bookbub: Reeling from a broken heart, pastry chef Juliet Capshaw returns home to lend a hand at her mom’s bakery — including solving the suspicious death of a customer!