A Deadly Feast (A Key West Food Critic #9) by Lucy Burdette

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Pages: 283

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: May 7, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Thanksgiving is nearly here, and Key West food critic Hayley Snow has just one more assignment to put to bed for Key Zest magazine before she gets to celebrate with her family and her police officer fiancé, Nathan Bransford. Then, just days later, wedding bells will ring—if death doesn’t toll first.

The sweet potatoes and stuffing will have to wait when Hayley picks up a distraught phone call from her friend, Analise Smith. On the last stop of a seafood tasting tour run by Analise, one of the customers collapsed—dead. With the police on the verge of shutting down the tour—and ruining Analise’s business—Hayley can hardly refuse her friend’s entreaties to investigate.

As if wedding jitters and family strife weren’t enough for Hayley to worry about, there’s crusty pastry chef Martha Hubbard, whose key lime pie may have been the murder weapon—but did she poison her own pie or was she framed? As the hours to Turkey Day tick away, the pressure cooker is on for Hayley to serve up the culprit on a silver platter in A Deadly Feast, national bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s taste-tempting ninth Key West Food Critic mystery.

My Review: This was my first foray into the world of Lucy and her Key West adventures. I am HOOKED! So much so I have already requested the first book in the series from my local library and have checked daily on its progress to my anticipating hands.

Even though I entered at book 9, I was never lost. The author did a great job in explaining the characters but it never felt like she was overdoing for those readers who have been reading since book one.

The story kept me riveted to the end and the description of the food made me rush to the store to make her Mojito Cookies this past weekend. They have been a hit. Next, I will try her pecan bars.

This is the perfect book to read outside, with a glass of sweet tea and some form of sparkling water in front of you.

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

 

Sifting Through Clues (A Cookbook Nook Mystery #8) by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Pages: 364

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: April 23, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Even though I started reading this series in the middle, I really enjoy the series. My hope is to read the beginning this summer.

Sifting Through Clues has so much to offer from interesting cookbooks to look for, cozy mystery books to read and yummy recipes at the end. I pretty much gobbled it up.

I had no idea who killed Ivy until it was revealed. I honestly thought it was another character and still wanted it to be. Books that can keep me guessing until the end are very enjoyable.

My only problem was with one main, important character, Cinnamon, the Chief of Police. I’m used to the chief being semi-rude with the amateur sleuth but Cinnamon seemed way over the top. She almost seemed too flighty to the point of finding it hard to believe she was a police officer much less a chief. When the book ended I had come to the conclusion I didn’t like her character very much.

Sifting Through Clues will leave you hungry and ready to tackle the recipes included. I’m ready to bake up some cheesy scones.

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

The Pie Lady by Greta Isaac

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Pages: 202

Publisher: Herald Press

Published: April 23, 2019

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

What is a Pie Lady moment?

For one family, it’s breakfast on the patio. For another, it’s Mom serving up creamy chicken and noodles. These are Pie Lady moments: times of goodness and glamour in the middle of ordinary days.

In The Pie Lady, Mennonite homemaker Greta Isaac ushers readers into the kitchens of Velda, Shyla, and other Pie Ladies as they whip up confections and concoctions that please the mouth and nourish the soul. Fans of Ruth Reichl, Sherry Gore, and Ree Drummond will love Isaacs’ intimate, delectable writing. Home cooks will love the recipes that appear in each chapter.Maybe you drop grapefruit slices in a glass of water. Maybe you brown the gravy and salt it from eighteen inches up. (Forget for now the sink full of dishes.) Each cook has her own Pie Lady moments. Each has a story to tell.

Hear straight from Amish and Mennonite people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press.

My Review:

A three-star review from me means the book was so-so. I dislike having to give such a low star rating. I was underwhelmed while reading. I expected more in the way of the stories tying together. Don’t get me wrong some of the stories are really good and I learned how to look at each day and see the good but some stories just didn’t seem to fit. They felt like filler.

The recipes are the best part. I’ve already bookmarked a few to try. One is the meatloaf as I would never have thought about adding tomato juice.

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

Murder Lo Mein (A Noodle Shop Mystery #3) by Vivien Chien

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Pages: 304

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: March 26, 2019

Rating: 4 stars

Amazon
Lana Lee’s stake in her family’s Chinese restaurant is higher than ever now that she’s been made manager. So when she enters Ho-Lee into Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest, Lana makes it her business to win―at all costs. But when a local food critic receives a threatening note in a fortune cookie and is later found dead, face-down in a bowl of lo mein, all bets are off. . .
Now, along with her sweet-and-sour boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana decides to take matters into her own hands and dig into the lives of everyone involved in the contest. But when she receives an ill-fated fortune, Lana realizes that in order to save the reputation of her restaurant, she needs to save herself first. . .

My Review
Murder Lo Mein was a delicious read that I did not want to put down. Constantly while I was reading I wanted nothing more than to be sitting in Ho-Lee Noodle House, eating noodles and reading this book. I definitely will pass on the fortune cookies though. Beware while reading you will want Asian noodles ALL THE TIME; breakfast, lunch, little lunch (snack) and dinner.

Lana is the girl we all want to be friends with but we realize if we are we will be dragged into a murder investigation. No dull moments with Lana around. Even when she tries she cannot stay out of trouble. Every time her mom shows up I know I am in for a good laugh.

I am so happy for an explanation of why Adam and Lana’s relationship is slow to get off the ground. I was almost hoping Peter was going to give Adam a run for his money but glad Lana shut him down. Adam is a great guy even if a little overprotective.

I received a complimentary copy from the author. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own. No compensation was provided.

Something Read, Something Dead (A Lighthouse Library Mystery #5) by Eva Gates

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Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: March 12, 2019

Rating: 4 stars

NetGalley:
Winter falls on North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Lucy Richardson and her friends joyfully help her favorite cousin, Josie O’Malley, plan her wedding. The owner and head baker of Josie’s Cozy Bakery and her fiance, chef Jake Greenblatt, want a small, simple wedding.

But to their horror, Josie’s imperious grandmother, Gloria, descends with the “Louisiana Mafia”: a gaggle of aunts and cousins who intend to take control of the wedding plans. Gloria doesn’t do small and simple, and cousin Mirabelle has her own ideas for Josie’s wedding, something grand and lavish—and paid for by Josie’s parents, of course—that will kickstart her fledgling event planning business and get her work shown on the covers of wedding magazines. To make matters worse, Mirabelle focuses her full Southern charm on the prospective groom…and Jake doesn’t seem entirely adverse to her attention.

To smooth the waters, Lucy hosts a bridal shower at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library. But it turns deadly when Mirabelle collapses—soon after eating the gluten-free treats, Josie prepared specifically for her. Now, to save her favorite cousin from prison, Lucy will have to bring a crook to book in this fifth festive Lighthouse Library mystery from national bestselling author Eva Gates.

My review:
I came into this series at book 4 and couldn’t wait to read the next installment. Lucy and Josie are like old friends who fit right back into your life with no hesitations like they never left. Who knew Josie’s extended family was so NUTS! I was getting anxiety just reading about them trying to take over the wedding. It made me even more thankful I did not have to worry about that for my own wedding. I really don’t think I could have kept my cool the way Josie did.

I enjoyed that Eva Gates made sure to have plenty of red herrings throughout the book all the while making sure my attention was riveted. I did not guess the villain until it was revealed. The added catastrophe of the lighthouse wall almost made me cry. I have become attached to the library in the lighthouse and Lucy’s little apartment in the aerie. Even though the thought of climbing 100 steps daily makes my knees ache.

I feel as if each book can be read as a stand-alone. I do have plans to go back and read the series from the beginning. I hope you take a chance and pick up Something Read, Something Dead and see for yourself.

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

Criminally Cocoa (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery #3.5) by Amanda Flower

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Pages: 86

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 26, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
As if being in New York City for Easter isn’t exciting enough, Charlotte Weaver has another reason to be thrilled. She’s helping her cousin, Bailey, on the set of her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets. Bailey will even be re-creating the delectable hand-woven chocolate Easter baskets she once crafted for the city’s world-famous JP Chocolates. But once things start rolling, Charlotte starts to notice odd things happening—things that seem intended to make Bailey look bad . . .

With Bailey feeling extra nervous about being on camera, Charlotte decides to keep her suspicion of sabotage to herself. But she knows that among Bailey’s fans at the Gourmet Television network lurks a dangerously jealous rival. Now Charlotte will have to find out who that person is—before sour grapes turn one of the sweetest times of the year fatally bitter . . .

My Review:
Amanda Flower has a way with words when it comes to cozy mysteries that warm your heart and keep you on the edge of your seat. I have yet to find a series of hers that I do not like. In fact, they keep getting better. If you have never read one of her books and are not sure where to start, Criminally Cocoa would be a great place to start. Yes, it technically comes after the third book in the An Amish Candy Shop series but you can read it out of order and be perfectly fine.

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the story from Charlotte’s side instead of Bailey’s. It gave the series a fresh view. Charlotte is a perfect spunky Amish side kick to Bailey.

A recipe for Bird’s Nest is included at the end of the novella. I find myself being tempted to try and make them this year for Easter.

Books in Series:

  1. Assaulted Caramel
  2. Lethal Licorice
  3. Premeditated Peppermint
  4. Toxic Toffee

I received a copy of this novella from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Drawn and Buttered (A Lobster Shack Mystery #3) by Shari Randall

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Pages: 301

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: February 26, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
The Lazy Mermaid’s business has slowed to a snail’s pace—until a monster lobster claws his way onto the scene…

With the high season behind them, ballerina on-the-mend Allie Larkin and Aunt Gully are finally lying low. But then an unexpected guest arrives at the lobster shack: a crustacean so huge he’s dubbed Lobzilla around Mystic Bay and on social media. Soon, with everyone showing up for a peek in their tank, Allie and Aunt Gully have more on their plate than they can handle.

Meanwhile, another local establishment finds itself in hot water. In exclusive Rabb’s Point, a strange burglary breaches the elegant home of Royal Parrish. Allie takes it upon herself to help with the investigation but, before she can get to the bottom of the case, another alarm sounds: the Lazy Mermaid’s Lobzilla has gone missing and is on the loose! And bodies are beginning to pile up. . .

My Review:
A delightful read that is full of quirkiness and laughter that you will not want to put down. Aunt Gully is the aunt we all wished we had in our lives. She is supportive, loving and ready to jump into the fray with you.

Drawn and Buttered is the third book in the Lobster Shack Mystery series but you can jump into the series at any time. Beware, once you take the plunge you will never want to leave. The series is your typical cozy mystery series with clean language, no gory detailed violence, and no offense sex scenes.

The vivid descriptions of Aunt Gully’s lobster rolls and chowder will have your mouth watering and your mind convincing you that you need to drive to the Connecticut coast immediately. Pretty soon I think my phone is going to automatically book me a plane ticket.

One of my favorite characters is Bronwyn and I keep hoping she makes more of an appearance that an occasional one. She is a great balance to Allie and Verity.

I hope you take a chance and visit my friends in Mystic Bay, Connecticut. I really think you would enjoy.

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

Previously reviewed on my website:

  1. Curses, Boiled Again (Book 1) January 2018
  2. Against the Claw (Book 2) July 2018

Ellie’s Redemption (An Amish Charm Bakery #2) by Molly Jebber

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Pages: 288

Publisher: Kensington/Zebra

Published: January 29, 2019

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

After experiencing the English world for a bit, Ellie has returned to her Amish community and enjoys working with her stepmom in the bakery. Joel and his family have just moved to Charm for a new chance. He is not aware of Ellie’s past and finds himself falling for her. When her past comes to light will Joel be able to forgive her and continue to love her?

As I felt with the first book in the series, I find it hard to review a book that I just liked and not loved. It is not the author’s fault if the book did not speak to me. I have read many reviews where others loved it. My main issue remains the same as I felt the story was rushed. It seemed to jump from one thing to another and ideas were not given a full follow through as I am used to in other Amish novels.

This is Ellie’s story and I’m still not impressed with her behavior. At times she still acted like a brat and I found myself shaking my head in disgust at her.

Will I continue with the series if there are more? I honestly don’t know. I’m leaning towards this series not being my cup of tea.

Please do not use my review as a judge if you want to read the book. Read the book yourself and make your own opinion. What doesn’t speak to me may speak volumes to you.

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

Seasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston

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Pages: 386

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: January 8, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A sweet collection of 4 stories spun-off from Amy Clipston’s The Christmas Cat. I heavily suggest you read that novella first because it sets the background and tone for these four wonderful love stories.

Spring Is in the Air is about Katie Ann. She feels as if she losing her best friend and bother as they both find love with each other. Will Katie Ann find love as she learns to accept the changes life has to offer?

Home by Summer finds Clara learning what it means to love someone enough to let them find their own way back.

The Fruits of Fall is a heart-aching story about Tena. She finds herself afraid of Englishers after a terrible experience in her life. When a homeless man wanders up and asks for him she learns to face her fear head-on with the love and patience from Wayne.

Winter Blessings is the story of Ephraim and Mandy. When life starts throwing curve balls will their love be strong enough to withstand them?

I am a fan of Amy Clipston and Amish stories and Seasons of An Amish Garden did not disappoint. You will find yourself cheering on the couples as they learn about love and the work it takes for it to grow.

Perfect for any time of year read but get it now to ease yourself into 2019 with some love and happiness.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan Fiction through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

When Calls the Heart at Christmas (Heartfelt Devotions from Hope Valley) by Brian Bird, Michelle Cox

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Pages: 179

Publisher: Broadstreet Publishing Group LLC

Published: September 4, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A Christmas devotional centered around the Hallmark TV series, When Calls the Heart. Stories from old and new are incorporated with family traditions, recipes and prayers to make you think of the real reason of the season, the birth of Jesus.

I am not a true Heartie (yet) as I have not taken the time to sit down and watch the series from beginning to end. I have watched a few of the shows and understand the phenomenon around the show. I love how faith is one of the main focus’ on the show. The same goes for this devotional. It is inspiring. I already have plans to start this devotional again on December 25 and read a devotion a day and focus my heart on the stories and prayers. I also cannot wait to make some of the yummy recipes that have been included.

For fans of the show new and old, this is a book to buy and treasure.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Broadstreet Publishing Group LLC through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.