Murder at the Mansion (Victorian Village Mystery #1) by Sheila Connolly

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Pages: 328 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: June 26, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kate left her hometown of Asheford, MD after high school graduation and never really looked back until she received a call from her high school best friend asking her to help save the town. The only thing the town has going for it is the Victorian mansion owed by Henry Barton. One town council member, Cordelia “Cordy” Walker wants to rip everything out and turn it into an upscale hotel and run it herself. As Kate tours the mansion and starts putting together a plan, she finds Cordy dead on the mansion’s front steps. Who would want Cordy dead or maybe the question should be who doesn’t want Cordy dead? Can Kate solve the murder and save the town?

An excellent first book in a new series by Shelia Connolly. I am very excited to see how the series progesses. The premise of building the town into a Victorian Village is very interesting. Normally I am not a huge fan of American Victorian literature, classic or modern, but this series may just change my mind. The history that is woven in throughout the book is given to the reader in a knowledgeable way but so filled with boring facts that you get lost. I learned a lot about Clara Barton and her work outside of the Red Cross that I had no clue about. I want to read more about it but at the same time I don’t want to ruin any future plot lines of the series.

There is a little bit of a romance but it plays very lightly in the background. It in no way distracts from the murder mystery. I hope it stays that way for a couple more books in the series so we can continue to build up the characters.

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

Kappy King and the Pickle Kaper (An Amish Mystery #2) by Amy Lillard

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Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: June 26, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kappy King had been living a quiet life on the edges of her Amish faith until Edie returned home to care for her special needs brother. Since then Kappy and Edie have been in the midst of murder investigations. This time it involves a young Amish girl who was killed in an auto accident delivering pickles to the store. Can Kappy and Edie find the killer before angering everyone in the town?

This is the second book in The Amish Mystery series from Amy Lillard and it is a treat to read. Each book reads as a stand alone but you get a lot of the back story in the first book, Kappy King and the Puppy Caper. Each book is a clean read with a light romance in the background. I would have no problems letting a teenager into mysteries read these books.

Edie is ex-Amish and is hilarious in her outfits. She is a great friend for Kappy in that she makes Kappy come out of her shell and be apart of the community. Kappy is a great friend for Edie in that she makes Edie think about her life decisions. You could not have two better friends for each other.

Grab yourself some pickles (white church pickles or green) and go to town reading about the latest adventures for Kappy King.

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

The Diva Cooks Up a Storm (A Domestic Diva Mystery #11) by Krista Davis

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Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: May 29, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sophie and her best friend Nina are excited to spend their vacation on the beach but before they can leave they attend the trend of an underground dinner. The next day one of the diners is found dead. What or who had it in for him?

I absolutely adore this series. Sophie is your quintessential girl next door that everyone wants to be around. She not only can cook yummy dishes she also has a knack for solving the latest murder around town. Her ex-husband lives down the street and they share custody of Daisy, the most lovable dog ever and get this, Sophie and Mars get along. At times it makes you wonder if a certain someone was out of the picture would they get back together.

When you read a Diva book not only are you solving murders you are also learning so much about decorating, baking, cooking and general etiquette. I find that so very fun. It’s like reading Ann Landers all over again.

While each book can be read as a stand alone I suggest to get the full experience you read them in order. So far there are eleven books:
1. The Diva Runs Out of Thyme
2. The Diva Takes the Cake
3. The Diva Paints the Town
4. The Diva Cooks a Goose
5. The Diva Haunts the House
6. The Diva Digs Up the Dirt
7. The Diva Frosts a Cupcake
8. The Diva Wraps it Up
9. The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss
10. The Diva Serves High Tea
11. The Diva Cooks Up a Storm

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

The Battered Body (Supper Club Mysteries #5) by Ellery Adams

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Pages: 328 (eBook)

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: May 3, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Hint: A surprise that will take your breath away!

Life is amping up for James and his dad in the fifth book of the Supper Club Mysteries. It is Christmas time and James’ dad is getting married to Milla and James is looking to buy his first house. Milla’s sister is coming to Quincy’s Gap to bake the wedding cake. Her sister is known as the “Diva of Dough” and can be quite the handful. Unfortunately while visiting the “Diva” finds herself with a mouthful of batter and dead. Can the Supper Club figure out who the murder is and keep the wedding on for Christmas Eve?

I have to start off with THE CHEESE DOODLES make their appearance again. YAY! No matter how much James changes and grows if the cheese doodles are around I know he is still the librarian I have come to love. This series has become a true joy to read. It may be because I can relate to the yo-yo dieting and frustration of wanting to enjoy food and eat healthy all at the same time.

There is a surprise in this book that will make your jaw drop and tears come to your eyes. It is so precious and Ellery Adams handled it with such loving care that you will fall in love with James if you haven’t already.

I also found myself wanting to hug Ellery for how she handled Milla and James’ relationship. He may be an adult but he graciously accepts her as his stepmom and openly calls his dad and her his parents. I am a stepmom and sometimes that little acceptance goes such a long way. Beautiful.

If you like to read cozy mysteries and read about food this is a series you should seriously think about picking up on your eReader.

Flowers and Foul Play (A Magic Garden Mystery #1) by Amanda Flower

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Pages: 320 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: May 8, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fiona left Nashville, TN behind and all the memories, good and bad, of her rotten ex-fiancé. Her godfather left her his cottage in Scotland and she travels there to see what life has in store. Finding a dead body in the cottage garden within an hour of arrival is not what she was expecting. Fingers point to her because she is not Scottish but as clues start being pieced together the list of suspects is long and intriguing.

I adored this book! Fiona is one of the best female sleuths out there in cozy mysteries. She pulls herself up by her bootstraps and keeps on trucking. After being jilted by her fiancé for the cake decorator she flies by herself to Scotland, rents a car, drives and finds a dead body and she still does not run home and hide. Instead she starts investigating not knowing anyone in her new home. I am not sure I would have been brave enough to travel to a foreign country by myself much less investigate a murder on my own. She is caring, loving and genuine. You will find yourself a little in awe of her.

I am so excited for this new series. I usually do not read cozy mysteries set outside of the USA as I find them sometimes filled with too much detail explaining the customs and beliefs of the country it takes place in but Amanda Flower puts just the right amount of detail in the story not to be overwhelming. I am enchanted with the beauty she describes of the countryside in Scotland.

Magic is touched upon lightly throughout the book and makes it very interesting to see how it will unfold. I love the idea of a garden that blooms and rejuvenates on its own. Can you imagine watching such beauty unfold?

I don’t think you will be able to put this down once you start. I am interested to hear your thoughts once you grab a copy and lose yourself in the beauty of Scotland.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Stiffs and Swine (Supper Club Mystery #4) by Ellery Adams

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Pages: 288 (eBook)

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Flab Five have been so successful in solving murders around Quincy’s Gap, a local Hog Fest has asked them to be guest judges. The group decides it sounds exciting enough to give themselves the weekend off from dieting and enjoy BBQ and all the festival treats. Unfortunately, murder has followed them to the festival and they decide to solve it if it is the last thing they do.

This was an exciting read from beginning to end. We are starting to get more backstory on everyone in the Flab Five and seeing the true colors of some other characters. This book has a mystery within a mystery for James. He must try and figure out what is going on with the teenagers on Friday nights in the library and help solve a murder. I like how James is evolving in each book. He is coming to realize that he is not only just a librarian. He is a boyfriend, lover, son, friend and respected pillar of the community. Everyone looks to him when help is needed to figure out problems. What a wonderful trait to have that others trust and respect you enough to look up to you.

James’ romance life is still topsy turvy. Don’t be looking for smooth sailing in this book. I have mixed feelings on how things turned out. I cannot talk much as I don’t want to give too much away.

My biggest disappointment…cheese doddles did not make an appearance for the second book in a row. If James every needed comfort with his cheese doddles he needed them at the festival. Yes, I think of his cheese doodles as a character. They are part of who James is and I do not see that as a bad thing.

More yummy recipes are included in the back of the book just in time for a summer BBQ.

I have already downloaded the fifth book in the series to keep up with the Flab Five. Come on weekend so I can delve right back in.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley from Beyond the Page. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Chili Con Corpses (Supper Club Mystery #3) by J.B. Stanley (aka Ellery Adams)

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Pages: 275 (eBook)

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Published: January 1, 2008

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

James has finally lost some weight and got the girl but not for long. Lucy has been focusing all her time and attention on passing the physical test to become a policy officer for Quincy’s Gap, VA. As they struggle to come together they join a Mexican cooking class with the rest of the Flab Five. Will this heat up the relationship or will another murder cool it down even more?

This has been my favorite book of the series so far but all are wonderfully good. I find all the characters so real and relatable to whatever stage you are going through in your life. We have all had those relationships we couldn’t wait to get into and once we did things cooled after awhile and made us question if we were doing the right thing. James takes us through his experience and doesn’t hold anything back. He reminds us that love is hard and take work on all sides involved.

The recipes shared throughout the book sound so inviting and I cannot wait to have a Mexican themed dinner one night to try them. If you love Mexican food you need to read the book for the recipes alone. I found my mouth watering more than once. he recipes are for all levels off cooks from no experience to experienced.

Grab a margarita and pop open the book and enjoy!

Fit to Die (Supper Club #2) by Ellery Adams

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Pages: 279 (eBook and audiobook)

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: February 26, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Flab Five is back at it again solving a murder when a new ice cream shop in Quincy’s Gap burns down with a body inside. Suspects are tallying up faster than one can lose weight with Witness to Fitness. Are they are on the right trail or are they cranky and out of sorts from the cardboard meals they must eat with their new diet plan?

I am gobbling this series up faster than I can eat my own cheese doodles. James, the librarian, is so likely and loveable that I just want to jump in the book and give him a squeeze but I’m afraid Lucy might come after me with her steely glare of jealousy. I enjoy his awkwardness because it makes me realize everyone has a little bit of awkwardness to them.

I enjoyed getting to know more about James’ dad and seeing another side of him. I am anxious to see how he is in the next book, Chili Con Corpses. Will he still be mellow and more understanding of his son or will he revert back to the grouchy old man?

It was pleasant not to read a love triangle per se but I am wondering if one is not on the horizon between James, Lucy and Murphy. I think Murphy has a little spunk in her that could make Lucy work harder for James’ affections. This could be a good love triangle and not one that is pesky and unnecessary.

I hope I continue to get new books mentioned by James and the twins to add to my already overflowing TBR pile. I love learning of new authors and what better person to get them from than librarians.

I am on to the third book in the series, Chili Con Corpses. The name is making me hungry because of the word Chili. Yum!

 

Murder in the Locked Library (A Book Retreat Mystery #4) by Ellery Adams

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Pages: 320 (eBook and Paperback)

Publisher: Kensington]

Published: April 24, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jane has decided to add a relaxing spa to Storyton Hall so her guests can have a more pampering book vacation. Her twins are excited to watch the big machinery at work and while doing so they yell at the operator to stop. It appears there is a body buried on the premises. Most unusual is the body is buried with a book. Can the attendees of the Rare Book Conference help Jane discover who is buried in her backyard and why?

Every time I read a Book Retreat Mystery I want to visit but unfortunately it is a fictional place. Can you imagine being able to spend all your time among books and reading whenever without the guilt of having to participate in the real world?

Jane is the mom, friend, boss and sleuth all of us cozy mystery readers want to be as she always is on top of her game. She finds time to cook the twins designed pancakes and work jigsaw puzzles with them. She is understanding of her staffs needs and wants. She never blows off her friends in a time of need and she can always solve a mystery. The only thing not going her way is love of a significant other. She is seeing Edwin but he is currently off on another “job” and the cryptic messages he sends makes her question the relationship. Are the messages real or fake? I don’t know you will have to read to find out.

I am interested to see if Celia, the forensic anthropologist, will become a regular since there seemed to be a spark between her and Sinclair. At this point I think she would be a nice addition. She seems to share the love of books like everyone does at Storyton Hall.

You can read each book in the series as a stand alone but for maximum effect I would read in order:
1. Murder in the Mystery Suite
2. Murder in the Paperback Parlor
3. Murder in the Secret Garden
4. Murder in the Locked Library

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Town in a Strawberry Swirl (Candy Holliday Mystery #5) by B.B. Haywood

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Pages: 308 (Paperback)

Publisher: Berkley

Published: February 4, 2014

Rating: 4 stars

I LOVE this culinary series. It is closely getting ready to eke out the Hannah Swenson series as my favorite culinary series and that says a lot. There is something about candy that makes me happy when I read her. Maybe because I feel like I could be really good friends with her if she was real. She is down to earth and a really good person. She cares about her community, friends and family. I wish there was more people like her in the real world.

It is strawberry season (yummy!) and that means summer is beginning and time for a festival. Miles is the local strawberry supplier and has for over 30 years but there is a nasty rumor going around that he may be selling out. Does this mean that subdivisions are in the future of Cape Willington marring the beautiful farm land? Unfortunately Doc, Candy’s dad, finds Miles dead with a Blueberry Acres shovel next to him. Will Doc and Candy find themselves on the wrong side of the law?

Not only will you find yourself immersed in strawberry land as you read you will also be craving the delectable fruit. I am anxiously awaiting strawberry season here in Kentucky.

I enjoyed how this book brought the underlying mystery throughout the entire series to the forefront but still did not solve it. A mystery in a mystery is right up my alley. Again I was stumped on the whodunit until it came to light.