Murder By the Book (Bookstore Mystery #1) by Lauren Elliott

murder

Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 30, 2018

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Addie has moved to a little New England town to open a bookstore after her aunt’s death. The best present of all is the numerous first editions her aunt owned. Unfortunately, not everyone in town is appreciative of a Greybourne continuing the Greybourne legacy. One woman, in particular, the bakery owner next door, is trying to run Addie out of town. As Addie tries to figure out why the woman does not like her strange things start happening to Addie. A car tries to run her down, her new friend is arrested for murder, and “friends” from her past start acting strangely. Will Addie be able to prove her new friend is not a murderer before Addie is run out of town?

I cannot decide if I like the book or not. The mystery was very interesting but it felt very drawn out. I think because the author tried to give so much background into Addie and surrounding characters that eventually things started to get a bit muddled. Reflecting on what I have read now there are items I can’t remember and I know they are important.

I enjoyed learning about the world of rare first editions and the high theft of rare first editions. I guess I never really thought about books being a high ticket item for thieves. Early editions of the Bible yes but Alice in Wonderland, nope.

Will I read the second book? The jury is still out. I will reevaluate when it publishes.

Please do not take my opinions as a reason NOT to read this book. Just use my opinion as a caution. Please read the book and make up your own opinion.

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

 

The Body in the Attic (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery #1) by Judi Lynn

body

Pages: 220

Publisher: Kensington

Published: November 27, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jazzi lives in River Bluffs, Indiana flipping houses with her cousin and smokin’ hot contractor Ansel. Their current house belonged to Cal, the ex-fiance of Jazzi’s aunt. Problem is they find Jazzi’s aunt stuffed in a trunk in the attic. Jazzi is on a mission to find out who killed her aunt. During the investigation, more secrets are dug up. Will Jazzi find the killer before the off button is flipped on her life?

I originally thought to give this book 3.5 stars but the mystery warranted 4 stars. What did I not like about the book? The constant bashing Jazzi did of Ansel’s girlfriend. Every time the girlfriend was mentioned she bashed her and it began to feel like bullying. I got it, Jazzi did not like her and she did have some unsavory qualities.

Jazzi’s romance moved way too quick. I don’t care she knew him already. I just don’t think good romances move that fast. The romance overshadowed the mystery unnecessarily at times. I almost feel as if there is nothing left to discover in additional books between Jazzi and her boyfriend unless they get married very quickly.

What did I like about the book? George the Pug! George is a very cute and spoiled pupper. The visual you get when reading Ansel carrying George up and down the stairs is precious. I liked the Sunday family dinners. The dinners added a good reality touch and showed how everyone is connected in some way. The mystery was excellent even if overshadowed.

I will read the second book in the series to see how the story progresses.

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

Santa Puppy (Tourist Trap #9.75) by Lynn Cahoon

santa puppy

Pages: 90

Publisher: Kensington

Published: November 11, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This Christmas, Jill is hosting an adopt-a-pet event at her coffee/bookstore. When bathing a sweet pup whose owner has recently passed away reveals a safety deposit box key Jill is on the hunt to find out what is in the box and to find the pup a “furever” home for Christmas.

For me, this was the perfect introduction to the Tourist Trap cozy mystery series by Lynn Cahoon. I was captivated by Jill and her love for reading and animals.

You can read this novella out of order as your first introduction with no problems at all. There are plenty of mentions of things in the past but all the mentions do is make you want to drop everything and read the series from the beginning.

This is not your typical happy ending so you will find yourself a tad teary at times. Unfortunately, I think there are more stories like this in the real world.

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

Deadly News (Britton Bay Mystery #1) by Jody Holford

deadly

Pages: 184

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 30, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the best debuts I’ve read in a while. Love the series already.

Molly is used to a life of moving from place to place with her dad being in the Army. After walking in on her now ex-boyfriend sizzling the sheets with his ex, Molly has decided to expand her horizons and work and live in a small town as the new editor of the local newspaper.

Molly pushes Vernon, to be the reporter he used to be and write with passion and dig deeper for the story. When he does not show up to work for the second day in a row, Molly takes her new position seriously and goes to his home to check on him. Unfortunately, she finds more than she bargained for with Vernon on the floor in a pool of his own blood. She realizes he was not a favorite of the town but who would want him dead? As Molly investigates she finds there is someone who doesn’t like her as well and the threats against her are mounting up faster than the heat between her and Sam, the local mechanic. Will Molly survive long enough to test the flames that Sam ignites?

I am always a little hesitant and guarded when I start a new series with an author I am not familiar with. First books in a series can make it or break it for me and this series was a pleasant surprise. I feel in love with the characters and the town from the beginning. I am disappointed that I cannot automatically start reading book two.

The mystery was one of the best I’ve read lately. Plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing. When the killer was revealed I was shocked. It was well hidden.

The language and romance were clean. An easy read, meaning you can stop at any point and be able to pick right back up without having to review. A perfect book to introduce someone to the cozy mystery club.

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

A Simple Christmas (Simple Gifts #3) by Charlotte Hubbard

simple

Pages: 368

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s Christmas in Willow Ridge! Rosalyn is the only daughter left to take care of her father, Cornelius, and that is a job unto itself. To get away a few hours several days a week she has started working in Nora’s shop and selling her homemade wreaths. It also allows her to buy groceries and items for the house when needed since her dad has been receiving bills marked past due. While working one day, Amish bad boy, Marcus walks in and turns Rosalyn’s life upside down. She knows he is trouble but her heart thinks differently. Will Marcus be able to heal Rosalyn’s heart with his love when the unthinkable happens to her father and family?

A Simple Christmas is book 3 in the Simple Gifts series. For fans of Amish fiction, this is a must read series. It is a little edgy with some of their beliefs but it is a good edgy in my opinion. I think it shows there are Amish sects out there that are relaxing some beliefs to let them be sustainable in an ever-changing world that is becoming more and more dependent on technology. This community still believes in living in a simple world but understands it needs the English and the ability to communicate with them. Cells phones and computers can be a wonderful addition to a business but it does come with evils that can lead you far away. Your faith must be strong to not go down those dangerous paths. Just ask Cornelius.

Cornelius has always ruled with an iron fist but more so since his wife died and he moved his family to Willow Ridge. As the years go by he finds himself living a double life. A life that will eventually lead to his ruin. He thinks he can strong arm Rosalyn into staying and taking care of him but he does see that he is pushing her further and further away.

Rosalyn believes deep in her heart that she will always be a “maidel” the rest of her life and she is fine with that. What she is not fine with is taking care of her ungrateful father. She finds he is making her life more and more unbearable. If not for her job in Nora’s store, I have no idea how Rosalyn would have survived.

Each book in this series can be read as a stand-alone. You will find yourself loving the characters as much as I do. I dare you!

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

 

Forever Fudge (Candy-Coated Mystery #6) by Nancy CoCo

fudge

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Publisher: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Allie is getting ready for the official end of the tourist season with her Labor Day weekend guests. Her two employees are on their honeymoon so things are little busier for Allie. The last thing she needs is a TV crew and a egotistic actor invading her space. As Allie and Mal go for one of their daily walks around town, Mal does what she does best, finds a dead body. What is different and most frightening this time is a note to Allie is left with the body. Can Allie figure out what the notes are saying before someone close to her is killed?

The Candy-Coated series is a fun series that keeps you entertained from the beginning to the end. Allie’s grit and determination to keep her grandfather’s hotel and fudge shop going is commendable. Her love for the island and the people of the island is very heartwarming and something we don’t see very often. Nany CoCo’s writing is so believable that I expect to be able to walk right into Allie and the fudge shop if I visited Mackinac Island.

This is book six of the series and it is still going strong. I have not read all the books in the series but the writing is so good you can pick up any book and understand what is happening. As soon as the new year gets here I am going to catch up on this series.

Yummy fudge recipes are included in each book and some are only two or three ingredients and are very easy to fix. The perfect series to read around the holidays when fudge is a popular gift.

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.

The Whispered Word (Secret, Book and Scone Society #2) by Ellery Adams

whispered

Pages: 292 (Paperback)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: November 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Another five star visit to Miracle Springs, NC with Nora and the Secret, Book and Scone Society.

Summer is ending but visitors to Miracle Springs is still going strong. One such visitor has made Nora and her group of friends really think about their own pasts. Nora finds “Abilene” curled up in her stock room in a too large dress and flip flops, hospital ID bracelet and bruises with a story to tell. Abilene does not want to talk but is willing to work for exchange of food and place to lay her head.

A new shop has opened as well that seem like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for a town hit hard by the closing of the local bank (read the Secret, Book and Scone Society to learn more). Virtual Genie will appraise your family heirlooms and any other treasures you may have and offer to sell them online for a 60/40 split.

Nora and Society has decided to help those affected by the bank closing and put together Secret Kindness bags and leave them on the doorsteps. One particular person has been on Nora’s mind, Amanda Frye, a not so nice visitor to the bookstore but Nora is trying to see the good behind the pain that makes Amanda so tough to deal with. Unfortunately, Amanda never reaps the benefit of the kindness bag. The Society finds her floating in the pond in front of her house. at first it looks like suicide but Nora sees flaws in the plan.

Can Nora and the Secret Society find out the truth of Amanda’ death while helping out Abilene? Is Virtual Genie everything is appears or are they trying to steal what is left of the people in Miracle Springs?

I absolutely LOVED the first book in the series and the second did not disappoint. In fact it was even better. When I enter the world of Nora and the Society, I get lost and do not want to return. I am perfectly happy being lost in Miracle Springs. Particularly the bookstore. My copy of The Whispered Word looks like a post-it note factory exploded on the pages. I have marked every page where a book or author is mentioned. I would love to be able to read every book mentioned in both books of the series.

As I was reading this book it hit me that Hester has similarities to Ella Mae (Charmed Pie Shoppe series), another wonderful character from Ellery Adams. I truly believe in the cooking with feeling and others will feel it. Imagine being able to sit outside on a lovely park bench with fall swirling around you, a comfort scone from Hester next to you, a book recommended by Nora in your hands and maybe a pair of stress relief socks knitted by June on your feet to keep you warm. Are you interested in a visit yet?

If the answer is yes you have two chances. You can run to your favorite bookseller or library and grab The Secret, Book and Scone Society now and on November 27 you can buy The Whispered Word. While you are at it you may want to buy copies for your best friends as well. No sense in keeping your visits to yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Amish Christmas Letters by Patricia Davids, Sarah Price and Jennifer Beckstrand

letters

Pages: 304 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In this collection of three stories from three wonderful writers of the Amish romance genre we meet Marybeth Martin in Marybeth’s Circle Letter. In order not to host her Great Aunt Ingrid she must match one more couple before Christmas. Her target is Josiah Weaver, a widower who is in need of a nanny but can that person also be his next love? In Love Delivered by Sarah Price we meet Katie Mae and her father who is wheelchair bound. Due to the unfortunate circumstances their farm is suffering. The bishop has a plan but will Katie Mae accept the help? In Sealed with a Kiss by Jennifer Beckstrand we get to catch up with Anna and Felty from her Huckleberry Hill series. Anna has sent Carolyn to be a babysitter for a large family that is too busy to see to the needs of their children. Will Carolyn fall in love with their uncle or will she run away in frustration?

All three stories start out with a letter known as a circle letter. Person A writes a letter to all and mails it to person B. Person B reads letter A, writes letter B and sends letters A and B to person C. The letters continue until it gets back to the original person who takes out the old letter of theirs and repeats. What an interesting way to communicate not involving electronic communication. I still believe old fashioned letters are the best kind.

This is the perfect book for a cold winter’s night of reading in anticipation to Christmas. The stories are romantic and sometimes full of laughter. You will find yourself immersed in the beauty of the Amish and cheering each woman on in her quest for fulfillment.

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.

Sadie: An Amish Retelling of Snow White by Sarah Price

amish sadie

Pages: 400 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sadie has tried and tried to be a good stepdaughter but to her detriment her stepmother, Rachel, is as jealous as ever. Rachel sees Sadie as everything she is not young, beautiful, and able to bear children when the time is right. In order to move on with her life, Rachel has decided to marry Sadie off to an ungrateful widower with many children. Sadie decides to take her future in to her own hands and runs away while on a buggy ride with the ungrateful widower. As she run away into the forest she finds herself awaking in a small cottage belonging to the seven Glick brothers who are outcasts in their Amish faith due to their small size. Will Sadie make a life with the brothers as chief cook and bottle washer or will her true love find her?

If you are a fan of retellings of fairytales and like the Amish genre then Sarah Price is your author. Her creativity of retelling Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and now Cinderella are a pure delight. I did not want to put any of the books down.

In Sadie: An Amish Retelling of Snow White, Sarah Price has taken the beloved fairy tale and moved it into the current real world. She tackles jealousy among women (especially stepdaughters and stepmoms), out casting others due to being different (little people/dwarfism) and the dangers of food allergies. I bring up the food allergy danger because it is getting more and more common and it is not just your usual peanuts and shellfish. Even with all real world problems tackled we still get our romantic ending.

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

Carrot Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson #10) by Joanne Fluke

carrot

Pages: 343 (Paperback)

Publisher: Kensington Mystery

Published: March 2008 (original publish date)

Rating: 3.5/4 stars out of 5

First, I want to start off that if you read some previous reviews before starting the book you will probably be turned off from this series. Second, even if I do not like a book I am not going to bash the author and other reviewers for liking a book I did not. Reading is to be fun and everyone likes different styles and wants to get something different from what they read. Let’s be nice to the author’s who work hard at what they craft and the readers who enjoy the results. Now, onto my review.

I enjoy this series as my “fun” reads. Does Hannah Swenson try to solve world peace? No. Does Hannah have issues in choosing the perfect man in her life? Yes, but didn’t (doesn’t) most of us. Consider yourself lucky if you found Mr. Perfect on your first try.

In the tenth Hannah Swenson mystery, Hannah is helping her business partner Lisa with her large week long family reunion out at Lake Eden. Lisa’s long lost Uncle Gus makes an appearance at the family reunion but it is not all hugs and love. It appears Uncle Gus was quite the ladies man and moocher. Hannah is sent on a mission to find Uncle Gus for the family photo and instead finds him belly up next to her infamous carrot cake. Who wanted Uncle Gus dead and why?

Carrot Cake Murder did not have the sense of danger around every corner as some of the other books in the series did and it did not keep me on the edge of my seat. But, I still had a hard time figuring out the killer until close to the end.

I admit I have not read the two books before I read this one so I am curious about a couple of items mentioned as to what occurred previously. It might make more sense as to what I have read about what happens in a later book regarding Hannah and her choosing a particular man as her husband.

Of course there are plenty of yummy recipes scattered throughout the book. A few I want to try salmon cakes, cocoa fudge cake, Mexican hotdish and funeral hotdish..