A Call for Kelp (Seaside Mystery #4) by Bree Baker

Pages: 352

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Published: May 26, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This is a fun series to read especially when you are craving beach time. The sleuth, Everly, likes to be independent but knows how important friends and family can be to a balanced life. Her aunts provide entertainment throughout each book.

A Call for Kelp is book 4 in the Seaside Mystery series and we are starting to get more into her heritage which I find very interesting. I hope we continue to see the “magic” recipes as we did in this book. We have been given her rum cake recipe in the back and I am planning on fixing for Labor Day for my family.

The romance is very secondary and light throughout each book. It gives realness to the plot without dragging it down.

Fans of cozy mysteries need to swim, run, or power walk to your nearest book dealer (whether it be store or library) and get started on this series. I admit I read book three first and then went back and read the first two. While I was ok in following the storyline I recommend starting from the beginning.

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

NetGalley: It’s sink or swim for Everly with her most bizarre case yet!

Everly Swan is busy as a bee running her beachside iced tea shop, and the small island of Charm, North Carolina is abuzz-Mitzi Calgon, an iconic Hollywood actress, is in town! Everly’s great-aunts are making a documentary about beekeeping and Mira has agreed to help. But when the actress turns up dead, reporters and fans swarm the island, muddying the water and disrupting the peaceful lives of the townspeople.

Everly’s never been good at minding her own beeswax, so she starts following her own leads and combing through the evidence. Then there’s the mystery of Detective Hays-ever since their kiss under the mistletoe, he’s been acting distant. And he’s annoyingly determined to keep Everly away from the case. But when she receives a cryptic warning to “Bee Careful”, Everly realizes that she’s gotten herself into a really sticky situation…

The fourth book in Bree Baker’s Seaside Café Mystery series, readers of Joanne Fluke and Kate Carlisle will love A Call for Kelp!

Bethlehem by Karen Kelly

bethlehem

Pages: 294

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: July 9, 2019

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

My Review: I have had Bethlehem on my NetGalley list since early 2019. I have tried multiple times to read it but I would lose interest very quickly. I finally took the time to read and listen to the audiobook this summer. I liked it but it was not a favorite.

The first half of the book is character development and there are a lot of characters. Almost too many. I would get very lost very easily and have to go back and look at my notes on who was who and how they fitted in the family.

I love reading books that go back and forth between current and past and I pride myself on being able to keep everything straight but I could not with Bethlehem. I think I would have preferred to have a two-book series with book one in the past and book two the present.

If you like family sagas this is a great read to fulfill that like but be prepared there are a lot of characters and the book does not pick up until the second half.

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

NetGalley: With the atmospheric storytelling of Kate Morton and Lisa Wingate, Karen Kelly weaves a shattering debut about two intertwined families and the secrets that they buried during the gilded, glory days of Bethlehem, PA.

A young woman arrives at the grand ancestral home of her husband’s family, hoping to fortify her deteriorating marriage. But what she finds is not what she expected: tragedy haunts the hallways, whispering of heartache and a past she never knew existed.

Bethlehem is a multigenerational saga that weaves together the lives of two prominent families during the historic steel boom era of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Inspired by the true titans of the industry, Bethlehem is a mystery, a love story, and a tragedy. It is a story of temptation and regret; a story of secrets and the cost of keeping them; a story of forgiveness. It is the tale of two complex women: the dynamic and beautiful Susannah Parrish Collier and her daughter-in-law, the outsider Joanna Rafferty Collier. Thrown together in the name of family, they will unravel mysteries long hidden and complex that have threatened to tear apart a dynasty.

On a Coastal Breeze (Three Sister Island #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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Pages: 311

Publisher: Revell

Published: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: On a Coastal Breeze is the second book in the Three Sisters Island trilogy and is every bit as good as the first, In a Summer Tide. Where book one focused mainly on Cam, the eldest sister, this book focuses on Maddie, the middle sister. I found her insight on grieving the death of a mom and how to control anxiety perfect timing. Between the death of my mom and the coronavirus, I have felt more anxiety in my life than I ever have, and hate that feeling.

I’m still not a fan of the youngest sister, Blaine, as she continues to be selfish and very childish. I’m interested to see what book three brings in the way of her story.

A delicious recipe for homemade granola has been included at the conclusion of the book.

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

NetGalley: For Madison Grayson, life is good. Newly licensed as a marriage and family therapist, she can’t wait to start her practice. Despite the unfortunate shortage of eligible bachelors on the island–they’re all too young, too old, or too weird–Maddie feels like she’s finally found her sweet spot. Not even one panic attack in the last year. Not one.

And then Ricky O’Shea drops in. Literally. Floating down from the pure blue sky, the one man in the world she hoped never to see again–the one who’d been her archnemesis from kindergarten through her senior dance–parachutes into town, landing on Boon Dock, canopy draping behind him like a superhero. Ricky O’Shea. Now Pastor Rick, the new minister on Three Sisters Island.

Time to panic.

With wit and a bit of whimsy, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Three Sisters Island where family, forgiveness, and a second chance at love await.

Shredding the Evidence (Cookbook Nook Mystery #8) by Daryl Wood Gerber

shredding

Pages: 228

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: April 21, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I started this series with book 6 and have had no issues feeling connected to the characters and understanding how they intertwine. Of all the characters, Cinnamon the police chief has become my favorite. She is one spunky chief and compliments Jenna really well.

Every time I read this series I have the urge to buy cookbooks (I REALLY do not need any more) and cook all day long. There are many yummy recipes included in the back of the book and I am ready to try a few of them out. The crab cake bites sound divine.

I am on the fence in regards to Jenna’s fiance. I still feel something is off with him. Maybe if I go back and read the books I missed I will get a better feeling on him.

The murder seems like it has been plucked from a real headline. I could imagine this murder really happening.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Beyond the Page, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.

NetGalley: The Agatha Award-winning author of Sifting Through Clues returns to the Cookbook Nook, where a combative food reporter gets her just deserts . . .

The denizens of Crystal Cove are salivating over the upcoming Food Bowl Week when local chefs offer some of their best and most imaginative creations in bite-size portions all over town. Bookstore proprietor Jenna Hart is hungry to sample as many of the delicacies as she can, but when she stumbles onto the dead body of a local food reporter and learns that her best friend’s husband is the primary suspect, she’ll have to summon the appetite for a side dish of sleuthing to prove his innocence.

Jenna knows the ambitious and aggressive reporter, who was strangled at a fitness center with her shredded restaurant reviews scattered around her, left behind a long list of potential suspects. As she begins piecing together the scant clues, she uncovers illicit ties between the victim and a local newspaper owner, a spurned would-be lover, and a host of disgruntled restaurant owners, not a bit torn up by the critical reporter’s demise. And with a solution so close she can almost taste it, Jenna turns up the heat on the culprit, realizing too late that she’s the next course on the murderer’s menu . . .

Berried in the Past (Cranberry Cove #5) by Peg Cochran

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Pages: 200

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: March 24, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Between audiobooks and Ebooks, I was able to binge this series and it has been a pleasant series to read. Monica is delightful and makes sleuthing look easy but dangerous. If I had one complaint about Monica it would be that she leaves a lot of the baking to her assistant Kit. Good thing he doesn’t mind.

Cranberry Cove feels like a real Michigan town that I would love to visit especially in the fall. I have found it very interesting in learning about cranberries. In all honesty, I thought they only grew in Washington state.

Each book has yummy cranberry recipes included. I am going to try the Orange Cranberry bread in this book very soon.

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

NetGalley: The dead of winter takes on a whole new meaning in the new Cranberry Cove Mystery from USA Today bestselling author Peg Cochran!

On a night of heavy snow and bitter cold, newlyweds Monica and Greg are comfortably nestled before a warm fire when they’re roused by a late-night knock at the door. Surprised to find a troubled and confused woman on the doorstep, Monica is even more shocked when the woman vacantly utters that someone is trying to kill her. Sensing distress but not danger, Monica decides to help this mysterious woman, but her clouded recollections yield little—until she dredges up memories of her sister and a nearby home, where they find the woman’s sister, dead.

Unable to deny her own curiosity or the woman’s request for help, Monica begins digging into the suspicious death, only to discover a murky family history of valuable land, a bullying brother, an unscrupulous real estate developer, and endless rumors of good deeds met with bad blood. And when the trail of the killer begins to turn cold, Monica realizes that while the family wants to bury their sister, someone is out to bury the clues—and if Monica’s not careful, to bury her as well . . .

Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries (A Camper & Criminal Cozy Mystery #1) by Tonya Kappes

camper

Pages: 286

Published: May 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I can’t believe it took a round of book bingo to get me started on this series. It’s perfect for me as it takes place in a campground, set in Kentucky, and is a cozy mystery.

I laughed so much while reading. Mae West is a breeze of fresh air. She may be a little clueless but she definitely provides entertainment.

I was shocked by the murderer. I had it wrong all along. I’m trying to figure out what clues I missed.

Book two is definitely in my near future.

Goodreads: Welcome to Normal, Kentucky~ where nothing is normal.

Mae West, a far cry from the Hollywood actress, has been thrown for a loop. Her plush lifestyle in the big city of New York comes to a screeching halt after the FBI raids her mansion and arrests her husband, Paul West, for a Ponzi scheme that rips people out of millions of dollars.

Mae finds herself homeless, friendless, and penniless. All hope isn’t lost…the only thing Mae got to keep that the government didn’t seize is a tourist campground, Happy Trails, in Normal, Kentucky, and an RV to live in. One problem, Mae’s idea of camping has room service.

By the look of the brochure, Happy Trails has plush Kentucky Bluegrass, a crystal clear lake, a beach chair with her name on it, and thoughts of how much money it could bring her after she sells it. Mae figures she’ll take a couple weeks vacation with her toes dipped in the lake. Things aren’t always as they appear. The Kentucky Bluegrass is nothing but dirt and the crystal clue lake is murky with green slime on top.

Mae quickly finds out that Happy Trails and the citizens of Normal were also victims of Paul’s schemes, making her lower than the lake scum in the residents’ eyes. Mae doesn’t think things could get much worse, but as luck would have it, Paul West has escaped from prison and is found dead, murdered, floating in the Happy Trails mucky green lake.

Mae is the number one suspect on Detective Hank Sharp’s shortlist. After all, Mae has the perfect motive as a kept wife who has been scorned to ashes, embarrassed to death and seeking revenge.

Time is running out for Mae to prove that she’s innocent and nothing like her husband. If only she could get someone to believe her and talk Detective Sharp into looking at other residents who’ve lost all their savings to Paul’s Ponzi scheme before the curtain is closed on this Hollywood namesake.

South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber

buttonwood

Pages: 330

Publisher: Forge Books

Published: July 21, 2020

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

My Review: Have you ever read a book that left you feeling peaceful and happy but at the same time angry for the injustice a character received? South of the Buttonwood Tree has left me with those feelings.

There is so much I want to say but I don’t want to ruin a moment of this book by giving too much away. Webber had my attention captivated from the beginning. I made myself slow down in reading so i wouldn’t miss a thing by reading too fast.

The moral of the story is perfect right now. Don’t judge others as you probably don’t know the whole story. Plus a little love and compassion can go a long way in helping someone.

The book is full of magical realism which if you follow my book blog I’m not normally a fan of but when it is done right I love it. This is the second magical realism book this month for me and both have been very good.

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

NetGalley: USA Today bestselling author Heather Webber’s South of the Buttonwood Tree is a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm.

Blue Bishop has a knack for finding lost things. While growing up in charming small-town Buttonwood, Alabama, she’s happened across lost wallets, jewelry, pets, her wandering neighbor, and sometimes, trouble. No one is more surprised than Blue, however, when she comes across an abandoned newborn baby in the woods, just south of a very special buttonwood tree.

Sarah Grace Landreneau Fulton is at a crossroads. She has always tried so hard to do the right thing, but her own mother would disown her if she ever learned half of Sarah Grace’s secrets.

The unexpected discovery of the newborn baby girl will alter Blue’s and Sarah Grace’s lives forever. Both women must fight for what they truly want in life and for who they love. In doing so, they uncover long-held secrets that reveal exactly who they really are—and what they’re willing to sacrifice in the name of family.

Murder in Waiting (Tourist Trap #11) by Lynn Cahoon

waiting

Pages: 175

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 30, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Murder in Waiting was a good addition to the Tourist Trap Mystery series.

Even though the book is centered around an upcoming trip to celebrate Amy’s upcoming wedding we do not see a lot of her in this story. Even Jill’s aunt is not as prevalent in the story. I’m used to them taking up as much story time as Jill so I kind of missed them.

I either missed a lot of clues or the red herrings were expertly placed as the killer was not who I thought. I like a mystery that keeps me guessing.

I listened to some of the Audiobook and the narrator is one of my favorites and does all the characters justice. She keeps you interested from the beginning.

I’m glad I picked up this series on a whim a couple of years ago as it has been a good one. Filled with plenty of full-length stories and novellas.

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: In the latest Tourist Trap mystery from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lynn Cahoon, bookshop café owner Jill Gardner contends with a best friend-turned-bridezilla while trying to solve a local historian’s untimely date with death . . .

At Coffee, Books, & More, Jill’s the boss. But as Amy’s maid-of-honor, she can barely keep up with marching orders–and now she’s in charge of organizing an epic bachelorette! Adding to Jill’s party-planning panic, the South Cove Heritage Society just unceremoniously dumped her historic landmark bid. While vying proposals rush in from a loaded land developer and a pushy travel guide company, Jill finds an unexpected ally in Heritage Society expert, Frank Gleason. But their happy union is cut short when Frank is mowed down in a suspicious hit-and-run. With Amy’s big day on the horizon, Jill vows to catch the killer before she has to catch a bouquet.

The Diva Spices It Up (Domestic Diva #13) by Krista Davis

spices

Pages: 270

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 28, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Another delicious mystery with our favorite domestic diva. Book 13 is filled with lots of murder, intrigue, and food.

I’m always worried about a series after ten books as I’m afraid things will get repetitive and stagnant but I have yet to feel that way about this series. I enjoy how Davis grows all her characters whether they are the main character or secondary characters. I keep hoping Sophie and Mars work out their differences and find the path back to love. This book gave me hope that maybe we are testing that path. Only the author knows.

This book includes many yummy fall recipes that I am already bookmarking to try as soon as it cools. The idea of drinking pumpkin spice latte or eating pumpkin soup when the heat index is above 105 degrees makes me melt. The pumpkin bundt cake sound absolutely divine. Oh boy, do I have my tummy growling in anticipation.

The Diva Spices It Up is available now at your favorite retailer and hopefully (open) library.

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: She’s a young Martha Stewart…in Old Town Virginia!
New York Times bestselling author Krista Davis delights with the 13th in her enormously popular and completely charming Domestic Diva Mystery series. When a celebrity ghostwriter dies on the job, it’s up to Sophie Winston, Old Town, Virginia’s favorite entertaining expert, and sporadic sleuth, to whip up an impromptu investigation…

Sophie never considered ghostwriting as a side gig, until former actress and aspiring lifestyle guru, Tilly Stratford, trophy wife of Wesley Winthrope, needs someone to write her celebrity cookbook. Sophie agrees, hoping she’ll earn enough bread on this assignment to finish her bathroom renovations. But as it turns out, Sophie isn’t the first foodie to get a taste for recipe ghostwriting, and if the marginalia is any indication, this project could be a killer…

Wesley claims professional ghostwriter, Abby Bergeron, suddenly abandoned Tilly’s cookbook with no warning. But Sophie quickly discovers that Abby may be more ghost than writer now…and her disappearance was no accident. So Sophie cracks open a fresh investigation but sifting the seasoned murderer from this sampling of salty suspects won’t be easy. Will Sophie savor another case closed or will the culprit simply melt away?

Piece by Piece by Laura Bradford

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Pages: 276

Publisher: Kensington

Published: July 28, 2020

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: Warning: Do not read without boxes of tissues by your side.

The author personally reached out to warn me this book might be hard for me to read so soon to my mama’s death. She was right BUT it has been the most healing book I have read.

Through Dani’s grief, I was reminded of how my mama is still with me every day. She is in my memories and my heart. Just like Dani’s mom, my mom was always there for me. Oh, the times I called her at 3am because I couldn’t sleep because of worry. She’d listen patiently, talk me through it, and tell me to get sleep and it would be better when I woke up. You know what? She was always right. My mom was my rock. She was right up to almost the very end.

Both Dani and Lydia’s stories will touch your soul. When you turn the last page you will feel as Laura Bradford says in the book that Dani and Lydia are your friends and are the “…rainbow after a storm.”

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

NetGalley: A grieving mother learns to heal in Amish country, in this heartfelt, beautifully told novel from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.

Danielle Parker is a gold-medal mom—the kind who volunteers in her children’s classrooms, shuttles them between activities, throws legendary birthday parties, and has a remedy on hand for any emergency. Whatever her husband, Jeff, and their children need, Dani is there, always.

Except for one day.

On that day—the day that Dani reluctantly takes some “me time” while her mom and Jeff drive the children to the park—the unthinkable happens. The car crash leaves no survivors. Somehow, Dani gets through the funerals and visits, accepting neighbors’ sympathy and dropped-off meals. All the while, guilt and grief make her wish the accident had claimed her life too. Then a call comes from Lydia Schlabach, an Amish woman Dani befriended in childhood. In addition to condolences, Lydia offers Dani something more: a place to escape to.

In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Dani’s days take on a new rhythm, marked by the clip-clop of buggies and the bustle of chores. Lydia gives Dani space to mourn, to think, and to realize how long it’s been since she felt like a person in her own right. And with the help of friendships old and new, Dani learns about the ways life continues to surprise us—even after the deepest loss—with joy, love, and second chances. . . .