Christmas Sweets by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier

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Pages: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 29, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am a huge fan of the Hannah Swensen series and had not read The Twelve Desserts of Christmas. A cute novella that makes you love Hannah even more. Of course, it is filled with plenty of yummy recipes!

I fell in love with Jaine and Prozac (yes that really is her cat’s name). I have added this series to the TBR list that is already full but I laughed my way through Nightmare on Elf Street. Just imagine a cat running through the mall with a corn dog in her mouth all the whole wearing antlers.

The Christmas Thief was my first Leslie Meier book and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it but by the end I did. Very interested in this series now.

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: Gathered in one volume for the very first time, here are three yuletide tales of mystery, murder, and romance, featuring your favorite sleuths . . .

THE TWELVE DESSERTS OF CHRISTMAS by JOANNE FLUKE
It’s the perfect mix of naughty and nice when two lovestruck boarding school teachers watch six kids over Christmas break. But when someone wants the cozy couple’s romance to burn out faster than a scorched fruitcake, it’s Hannah Swensen to the rescue, armed with her sleuthing skills—and twelve deliciously festive recipes . . .

NIGHTMARE ON ELF STREET by LAURA LEVINE
Aside from the mortifying costume, how bad can a gig as a mall Santa’s elf be? Jaine Austen finds out when she’s teamed up with the Santa from Hell. But things go from bad to worse when he’s found murdered on the job—and Jaine is a suspect. Now all she wants for Christmas is to find the real killer . . .

THE CHRISTMAS THIEF by LESLIE MEIER
Elizabeth Stone is ready for a white Christmas in Tinker’s Cove, Maine—until a fancy Yule ball at the Florida hotel where she works dumps snow on her plans. The sponsor’s jewels have gone missing and the police are asking about her ties to a cute mystery guest. Good thing Elizabeth’s mother, Lucy Stone, flew down to surprise her. ʼTis the season for a little investigating . . .

Includes Luscious Holiday Recipes!

Apple Cider Slaying (A Cider Shop #1) by Julie Anne Lindsey

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Pages: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 29, 2019

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am so torn as if I liked this or not. I liked the characters but the plot seemed blah in regards to the murder mystery. A lot of focus was on the background of the characters and such. At times I found myself bored reading.

The budding romance between Winnie and Colton seems to be too convenient. Almost like, oh my main character needs a romantic interest. I think it would have been better if the romance was introduced in book two.

I will read book two and see if my thoughts improve. You never know, maybe I was just having a bad reading week while reading Apple Cider Slaying.

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: Apples are at the core of the family business run by Winona Mae Montgomery and her Granny Smythe. But this year’s crop is unseasonably ripe with murder . . .

ONE ROTTEN APPLE

Blossom Valley, West Virginia, is home to Smythe Orchards, Winnie and her Granny’s beloved twenty-five-acre farm and family business. But any way you slice it, it’s struggling. That’s why they’re trying to drum up business with the “First Annual Christmas at the Orchard,” a good old-fashioned holiday festival with enough delicious draw to satisfy apple-picking locals and cider-loving tourists alike—until the whole endeavor takes a sour turn when the body of Nadine Cooper, Granny’s long-time, grudge-holding nemesis, is found lodged in the apple press. Now, with Granny the number one suspect, Winnie is hard-pressed to prove her innocence before the real killer delivers another murder . . .

A Bad Hair Day Cookbook (A Bad Hair Day Cozy Mystery Series) by Nancy J. Cohen

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Pages: 377

Publisher: Orange Grove Press

Published: November 19, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: A new favorite cookbook. I will be buying a hard copy very soon. Plenty of yummy recipes to keep me busy for a bit.

The cooking tips, in the beginning, were very helpful. A few things I did not know like you can exchange parsley for cilantro. It is divided into sections like most cookbooks are but Cohen made sure to include a vegetarian section which will be helpful when I have my niece over. There is also a beverage section. If you like doing theme dinners, Cohen has also taken the time to give you themes and what recipes you should fix for that theme. How fun!

I have never read The Bad Hair Day cozy series so I enjoyed the book excerpts throughput the cookbook. I have put this series high on my TBR list for 2020.

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

NetGalley: Are you having a bad hair day? Whip out your whisk, snatch up your spoon, and prepare your palate.
Inside the pages of this cookbook are recipes that will bring you good cheer. Enjoy 160+ tasty recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s popular Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series.

Included in this cookbook are excerpts, cooking tips, and anecdotes written by hairstylist and savvy sleuth Marla Vail. From appetizers to desserts, Marla offers cooking tips and tricks along with commentary about the dishes she prepares for her family.

Whether you’re a skilled cook or an eager novice, this cookbook will unravel the mystery of cooking. Put on your apron and plan to make some killer recipes.

PS: The Chili Dip is delicious!

 

Tide and Punishment (A Seaside Cafe #3) by Bree Baker

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Pages: 384

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Published: September 24, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: This was my first visit to Charm in the Outer Banks but it won’t be my last. I am in love with the idea of an iced tea shop and all the characters. I’m happy Tide and Punishment was my first visit. It was so magical with the snow on the island.

I have a new book boyfriend and his name is Grady. Hubba Hubba. He sounds just about perfect. Tall and sexy with a dark, sad side you want to love away.

I’ve already bought the first book of the series, Live and Let Chai, to read.

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

NetGalley: No one dreams of a killer Christmas…

It’s Christmastime in Charm, North Carolina, and while Everly Swan would prefer to focus on decorating her iced tea shop for its first holiday season, Great-Aunt Fran has decided to run for mayor against her long-time nemesis. But when the other candidate turns up dead just before the first scheduled debate, all eyes turn to Fran as the suspect with the most obvious motive.

Everly knows her sweet, elderly Aunt Fran couldn’t have murdered anyone, but as she struggles to find the real killer, it begins to seem like this may be the last merry Christmas her family may ever have.

Christmas Cocoa Murder by Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day and Alex Erickson

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Pages: 354

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 24, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

A good Christmas cozy mystery anthology for cozy mystery lovers.

Christmas Cocoa Murder by Carlene O’Connor
This was my first introduction to this author and her Irish Village Mystery series. It was a good read but not sure if I will start the series.

Christmas Cocoa and a Corpse by Maddie Day
I love the Country Store Mystery series and this short story edition was perfect. I loved it so much that I hated to see it end.

Death by Hot Cocoa by Alex Erickson
I have only read the first one in this series but am seriously considering picking the series back up after this entertaining short story.

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: Tis the season for hot chocolate and mouthwatering treats. But sometimes too much of a good thing can be downright deadly . . .

CHRISTMAS COCOA MURDER by CARLENE O’CONNOR
Siobhán O’Sullivan’s hopes for a quiet Irish Christmas are dashed when the local Santa turns up dead in a carnival dunk tank of hot cocoa. Now instead of hunting down holiday gifts, she’s pursuing a heartless killer. Seems the dead Santa was no angel either, stealing neighborhood dogs to guide his sleigh. But was it his holiday antics—or worse—that led to his death by chocolate?

CHRISTMAS COCOA AND A CORPSE by MADDIE DAY
When local businessman Jed Greenberg is found dead with a Chocolate lab whimpering over his body, the police start sniffing around Robbie Jordan’s country restaurant for answers. Was it something in Robbie’s hot cocoa that killed Jed, or was it Cocoa the dog? As the suspects pile as high as her holiday tree, Robbie attempts to get to the bottom of the sickly-sweet murder . . .

DEATH BY HOT COCOA by Alex Erickson
A Christmas-themed escape game seems like the perfect pre-holiday treat for bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock and her best friend. But when the host is found dead in a pool of hot cocoa, it’s up to Krissy and her team to catch the killer—or escape before getting killed.

There’s nothing like a hot cup of murder to warm up the holiday season!

 

Nogged Off (A Maine Clambake 4.5) by Barbara Ross

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Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 29, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This was my first visit to Busman’s Harbor, Maine and I am hooked. I have already downloaded several books from the series to my Kindle. Fingers crossed the first one can be used during this most recent round of Book Bingo.

Nogged Off takes place the week before Christmas and starts when Julia goes to NYC to get the rest of her belongings from the apartment she has sublet to Imogen. From the minute Julia enters everything she thought was planned out goes to stink.

The ride is wild and the conclusion is anything but Christmassy.

If you have questioned entering the world of the Maine Clambake series or if this is your first time hearing of the series, Nogged Off is the perfect entry. Bonus: two cookie recipes included in the novella.

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: Previously published in the collection Egg Nog Murder.

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and Julia Snowden’s escape from New York has just hit a snag. Fresh off accidentally poisoning half her colleagues with her “Killer Eggnog,” Julia’s would-be subletter, Imogen Geinkes, is now jobless and homeless—leading Julia to invite the young woman home for the holidays in Maine. But when they unload the rental truck in Busman’s Harbor, they find something that wasn’t on anyone’s packing list: the body of Imogen’s former boyfriend.

Suddenly, the wordplay in Imogen’s name—“I’m a jinx”—isn’t so adorable. But for all the calamities that follow in Imogen’s wake, Julia’s certain she’s no killer. As Julia digs into the case, the appearance of the ex’s brother—his identical twin—doubles the confusion. Has Imogene been double-crossed by an evil twin? Was the eggnog “accident” no accident at all? If Julia doesn’t unwrap the murderer’s true identity soon, one of the twelve days of Christmas could be her last . . .

Fudge Bites (Candy-Coated Mystery #7) by Nancy Coco

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Pages: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 24, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Halloween on Mackinac Island is a season of fun tricks, but finding a corpse is no treat for fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy . . .

NIGHT OF THE REALLY DEAD

It’s late October, the off-season for tourists, but locals are up and lurching for the annual zombie walk charity event. Though everyone’s living it up, trouble is just a few pawprints away. Allie follows the bloody tracks of her calico cat, Carmella, to a body in the alley behind the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop. Unlike the island’s other walking dead, this one’s flatlined for good. It seems that someone is using the zombie fest as the perfect backdrop for murder. Now amateur sleuth Allie and dreamboat officer Rex Manning must use every trick in their treat bag to unmask a killer in disguise.

My Review: I have to be honest I have not read the entire series… yet. I have read three of the eight and my plan is to read the rest before the next one comes out. I am so invested in Allie and The Murphy. Plus I want to know if she picks Rex. Sigh.. I hope she does. I really think he is the sugar that sweetens her world.

Fudge Bites has everything from murder and mayhem to love. I thought I had the mystery figured out but I was proven wrong. Coco is very good at keeping it hidden until the right time.

Pick this series up with any book and you will be fine. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you that you will be addicted.

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

Roll with It by Jamie Sumner

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Pages: 256

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Published: October 1, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: In the tradition of Wonder and Out of My Mind, this big-hearted middle-grade debut tells the story of an irrepressible girl with cerebral palsy whose life takes an unexpected turn when she moves to a new town.

Ellie’s a girl who tells it like it is. That surprises some people, who see a kid in a wheelchair and think she’s going to be all sunshine and cuddles. The thing is, Ellie has big dreams: She might be eating Stouffer’s for dinner, but one day she’s going to be a professional baker. If she’s not writing fan letters to her favorite celebrity chefs, she’s practicing recipes on her well-meaning, if overworked, mother.

But when Ellie and her mom move so they can help take care of her ailing grandpa, Ellie has to start all over again in a new town at a new school. Except she’s not just the new kid—she’s the new kid in the wheelchair who lives in the trailer park on the wrong side of town. It all feels like one challenge too many until Ellie starts to make her first-ever friends. Now she just has to convince her mom that this town might just be the best thing that ever happened to them!

My Review: A beautiful read. If you like Wonder than you will love Roll with It.

Ellie is an inspiration that will stick with you. I couldn’t put this book down and I was hooked from page one. Yes, at times Ellie could be a tad whiny and smart-mouthed but what pre-teen isn’t and sometimes she had a right to be whiny. It made her character seem believable.

I definitely will be buying a copy or five for some local elementary schools in my area. I want to share Ellie’s story with as many as I can.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Christmas Cow Bells (A Buttermilk Mystery #1) by Mollie Cox Bryan

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Pages: 336

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 24, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: The first novel in Mollie Cox Bryan’s brand new mystery series, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, will keep you guessing until the cows come home . . .

Christmas is a time for new beginnings, so after her big breakup, Brynn MacAlister takes the gouda with the bad. With her three Red Devon cows, she settles in bucolic Shenandoah Springs, eager for a new life as an organic micro-dairy farmer and cheese-maker. Then her dear cow Petunia’s bellows set the whole town on edge. But it isn’t until Brynn’s neighbor, Nancy, dies in a mysterious fire that her feelings about small-town life begin to curdle . . .

It seems some folks were not happy with Nancy’s plan to renovate the Old Glebe Church. But is a fear of change a motivation for murder? As a newcomer, Brynn can’t ignore the strange events happening just on the other side of her frosty pasture—and soon on her very own farm. Suddenly Christmas doesn’t feel so festive as everyone demands she muzzle sweet Petunia, and Brynn is wondering if someone wants to silence her—for good . . .

My Review:

I am enamored with the beginning of this series. I have a soft spot for cows and found myself wishing I could meet Petunia and her sisters.

This is the first book by the author I have read and am already looking to see if my local library or Hoopla carries her other series. If you like strong female characters this is the book for you. There are four strong females. One is briefly mentioned but I think she will make plenty of appearances in future books. If not it would be a great shame.

Opening the series at Christmas time was perfect for me. Where I live we are still in a terrible summer heatwave and drought even though it is almost October. I found myself shivering thinking of the bone-chilling cold Brynn experiences and I appreciated that! The author uses the perfect amount of descriptive words without overdoing.

This perfect if you love Christmas, cows, and murder. Available now from your favorite bookseller.

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

 

Death by Dumpling (Noodle House #1) by Vivien Chien

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Pages: 331

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads:

Welcome to the Ho-Lee Noodle House, where the Chinese food is to die for. . .

The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that a return to the Cleveland area to help wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband.

Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead―after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy―to say nothing of the gorgeous police detective who keeps turning up for take-out―it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order. . . before her own number is up.

My Review:

I finally read book one of this delectable series. Vivien Chien is a true delight to the culinary cozy mystery world. I have devoured every book like a starving reader.

In Death by Dumpling we meet Lana, learn how she started her hobby of amateur sleuthing, and how her relationship with Detective Trudeau began. Chien gives her characters depth from the beginning. I like that Lana is strong but still has reservations and questions where her life is at this moment in time. It makes Lana as it is human nature to be reserved after a tough breakup. The fact that she does not let it knock her down completely is a sign she has inner strength. Inner strength she needs to deal with the murders she runs into.

Each book in the series can be read as a standalone but as always you get more from the series read in order. Cozy mystery lovers who love culinary series will be a fan of this series. Hurry by the first four books in the series as a gift for the reader in your life.