Nacho Average Murder (Country Store #7) by Maddie Day

nacho

Pages: 258

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 30, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I find it fun to read at least one book in a series where the main character takes a vacation. It makes them more real to me.

In book 7 of the Country Store series, we go to California with Robbie for her high school reunion. It was the perfect vacation to take with Robbie during the Covid-19 restrictions. We get to visit sunny Santa Barbara and “taste” some very yummy food and my favorite were the dishes with avocado as I am always looking for new ways to eat avocados. Of course, it would not be a cozy mystery without an unfortunate murder. This one had me guessing to the big reveal. I liked the addition of her high school best friend as her investigating sidekick but I will be happy to have the regulars back in book 8.

I listened to a few chapters of the audiobook from my library app, Hoopla, and I was not fond of the narrator. She is not bad but her voice did not match how I think Robbie sounds.

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

NetGalley: Robbie Jordan is temporarily leaving Pans ’N Pancakes, her country store in South Lick, Indiana, to visit Santa Barbara, California—where wildfire smoke tinges the air, but a more immediate danger may lie in wait . . .

While looking forward to her high school reunion back in California, Robbie’s anticipation is complicated by memories of her mother’s untimely death. At first, she has fun hanging out with her old classmates and reuniting with the local flavors—avocados, citrus, fish, and spicy Cali-Mex dishes. But then she gets wind of rumors that her mother, an environmental activist, may not have died of natural causes. With the help of friends, Robbie starts clearing the smoke surrounding the mystery—but what she finds could make it hard to get back to Indiana alive . . .

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

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?

Murder on Pleasant Avenue (Gaslight Mystery #23)

pleasant

Pages: 332

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Published: April 28, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I enjoyed this book but realized very early on that I need to read the series in order. It took me much too long, in my opinion, to understand some of the reoccurring characters. I have read one book previously and had forgotten that was my conclusion then.

Being of Italian descent I found this book very interesting especially regarding the difference in the Calabrians and Sicilians. My grandfather was from Sicily and passed away when I was 2 so I never had the chance to ask him about his heritage.

A word of warning this book deals with the kidnapping of children and the sexual assault of women. There are no detailed scenes of sexual assault. This is a cozy mystery with more of a bite to the story. While reading I do not have the light, airy feel as I usually do while reading cozies. I am already on the hunt for book 1 so I may understand this series better.

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

NetGalley: When Gino Donatelli is accused of a brutal murder, beloved sleuths Sarah and Frank Malloy have to catch a killer who is out to destroy their innocent friend’s life in the latest installment of the national bestselling Gaslight mysteries.

A victim is found, brutally murdered and the police are certain they’ve caught the killer. Their only suspect: Gino Donatelli.

Frank and Sarah know Gino is innocent but the police have a one-track mind. Once Frank struck it rich and left their ranks taking Gino with him, there has been a simmering resentment in the department. And now, someone has pulled out all the stops to make it look like Gino is the only one who could have committed the crime.

With the clock ticking and evidence mounting against their friend, Sarah and Frank will try to unravel a treacherous plot before Gino is sent up the river for good.

Read or Alive (A Bookmobile Mystery #3) by Nora Page

read

Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: July 7, 2020

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I needed a comfort read earlier this week and immediately thought of Cleo and her bookmobile. Cleo feels like the grandma we all wish we had and you throw in her love of books and you get the perfect grandma. I think Cleo has the perfect job of driving the bookmobile. She gets to be surrounded by books all day, she gets to travel with said books, and she gets to be among fellow booklovers. The only downside of her job is the dead bodies she finds but that is just a little hiccup.

I instantly fell in love when I realized the book would be about Gone With the Wind, which is a favorite of mine. Even with all the recent controversy surrounding the book I still love it. I have visited the Margaret Mitchell House and felt the awe Cleo and her friends experienced touching a book she touched and signed. Fellow bibliophiles will understand.

The book is written as you can start with book 3 and be perfectly fine. The Bookmobile Mystery series is perfect for bibliophiles around the world.

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

NetGalley: A match made in cozy heaven for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Kate Carlisle, and book lovers everywhere, Nora Page’s third Bookmobile mystery will (book)worm its way into your heart.

Wrongful accusations have librarian Cleo Watkins and her loved ones booked for trouble.

It’s springtime and septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins is celebrating new blooms and old books. To her delight, the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society has brought its annual fair to Catalpa Springs in honor of Cleo’s gentleman friend, respected antiquarian bookseller, and restorer, Henry Lafayette. However, trouble rolls in with the fair when a flirtatious book scout makes the rounds, charming locals out of prized books.

Among the conned is Cleo’s cousin, Dot, who handed over a signed, first edition of Gone With the Wind. With no proof the scout took the valuable book, Dot is at a loss. And when the deceitful man is found murdered the very next morning, Dot becomes a prime suspect. To Cleo’s dismay, so is Henry. The scene of the crime is behind Henry’s shop and his bookbinding tool is the murder weapon. As evidence stacks up against Henry, the police aren’t alone in questioning his innocence. Even friends and family ask Cleo how well she truly knows her gentleman friend.

Although books are at the heart of the crimes, Cleo feels dizzyingly out of her depths. Someone is setting up the people she holds dearest. With the authorities on the wrong trail, Cleo has no choice but to catalog the evidence herself. Along with her trusty bookmobile cat Rhett Butler, it will be up to Cleo to book the real killer for good.

Marshmallow Malice (An Amish Candy Shop #5) by Amanda Flower

marshmallow

Pages: 336

Publisher: Kensington

Published: May 26, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: The Amish Candy Shop Mystery series is guaranteed to give you a few hours of laughs. Jethro, the pig, steals the show each and every book. If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, just close your eyes and imagine a pig being carried around like a baby who is dressed up in something polka dot. Now, tell me you didn’t feel yourself smiling. Smiling is what you will do plenty of even while solving a murder or two.

Again, Flower has provided us with a clean murder mystery with no unnecessary gory details, no foul language, and no sex scenes. It is definitely a series I would share with a teenager looking to get into the cozy mystery world.

Word of warning, be prepared to crave everything chocolate. I found myself craving a wedding cake with marshmallow topping and I have never had one with that topping. Flower does such a good job describing sweets you will be craving things you’ve never had.

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: With Juliet Brody and Reverend Brook tying the knot in Ohio’s Amish Country’s most anticipated nuptials of the year, Bailey King is determined to do everything in her power to make the event a sweet success. Except midsummer heat waves and outdoor ceremonies don’t mix, and an exasperated Bailey soon finds herself struggling to fulfill bridesmaid duties and keep her stunning marshmallow-frosted wedding cake from becoming a gooey disaster. Then much to everyone’s shock, the entire ceremony crumbles when a guest drops dead, and the cause isn’t sunstroke . . .

Turns out, the uninvited victim came equipped with lots of dirt on the devout reverend’s hidden past. As Reverend Brook tops the murder suspect list on what should have been the happiest day of his life, Bailey and her sheriff’s deputy boyfriend vow to clear his name. Can the duo boil down a series of baffling clues before Juliet considers her marriage a bad mistake—or the killer whips up another deadly surprise?

Coconut Layer Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson #25) by Joanne Fluke

coconut

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Oh my, I do need to get caught up on this series. The last book I read was #8 and I knew she got married but have no idea how things got so crazy. I am so impressed with how mature Hannah’s sister, Michelle, has become.

I enjoyed this book as I liked it was a simple murder but took a bit to figure out. We saw the murder and investigation through Hannah’s eyes as well as others. About the same time it dawned on Hannah who the killer was, it did to me as well. That made for great reading for me.

The love triangle still appears to be there but was no way distracting. You just understand that there are two men who really care and love Hannah. I’m not much on love triangles in my stories but I come to expect it in the Hannah Swenson series. My favorite pick is still Norman. Unfortunate name but a great guy. He seems genuine and that is what Hannah needs.

You can read this as a standalone but it will get you thinking about what you have missed. You will find yourself running out and buying the series.

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: Bakery owner Hannah Swensen is leaving Lake Eden to help a friend in sunny California. But an unexpected phone call swiftly brings her back to a cold Minnesota winter . . . and murder . . .

When Hannah learns that her sister Michelle’s boyfriend, Detective Lonnie Murphy, is the prime suspect in a murder case, she goes straight from a movie studio sound stage to the Los Angeles airport.

Back in frigid Minnesota, she discovers that proving Lonnie’s innocence will be harder than figuring out what went wrong with a recipe. Lonnie remembers only parts of the night he went out to a local bar and ended up driving a very impaired woman home. He knows he helped her to her bedroom, but he doesn’t recall anything else until he woke up on her couch the following morning. When he went to the bedroom to check on her, he was shocked to discover she was dead.

Hannah doesn’t know what to believe—only that exonerating a suspect who can’t remember is almost impossible, especially since Lonnie’s brother, Detective Rick Murphy, and Lonnie’s partner, Chief Detective Mike Kingston, have been taken off the case. Before everything comes crashing down on Lonnie like a heaping slice of coconut layer cake, it’ll be up to Hannah to rack up enough clues to toast a flaky killer . . .

Meet Your Baker (A Bakeshop Mystery #1) by Ellie Alexander

baker

Pages: 321

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: December 30, 2014

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A delightful start to a new-to-me series. You have recipes, drama and a murder mystery. I was completely thrown on the killer. Looking back on it, I am like “duh, I should have seen that clue.”

Juliet “Jules” Capshaw has returned home for a “few weeks” to heal after learning disturbing news about her husband. What she thinks will be a quiet few weeks soon turns into questions regarding her mom’s skittishness when discussing Torte, the family business. Before she can fully question her mom, Jules stumbles upon a dead body inside of Torte. What follows is an intriguing recipe filled with smoke and mirrors.

I am hooked on this series. There are ten published so far with an eleventh scheduled for this year. No promises but I think I might move this series up the read very soon list. I am getting ready to complete a few series and need a new one.

Bookbub: Reeling from a broken heart, pastry chef Juliet Capshaw returns home to lend a hand at her mom’s bakery — including solving the suspicious death of a customer!

Matchmaking Can Be Murder by Amanda Flowers

match

Pages: 336

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: December 31, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A fun spinoff from Amanda Flowers Amish Candy Shop mysteries set in Harvest, Ohio. I do believe Aenti (Auntie) Millie is going to a favorite Amish character like the Felty’s from Jennifer Beckstrand’s Huckleberry Hill series. You can’t help but love the nosy elders.

Several characters from the Amish Candy Shop make appearances (Jethro the Pig) and add to the small-town atmosphere. I’m very excited to see how each series progresses and feeds off each other. If anyone can make it happen, Amanda Flower can.

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: Matchmaking can be murder . . .

When widowed Millie Fisher moves back to her childhood home of Harvest, Ohio, she notices one thing right away—the young Amish are bungling their courtships and marrying the wrong people! A quiltmaker by trade, Millie has nevertheless stitched together a few lives in her time, with truly romantic results. Her first mission? Her own niece, widowed gardener Edith Hochstetler, recently engaged to rude, greedy Zeke Miller. Anyone can see he’s not right for such a gentle young woman—except Edith herself.

Pleased when she convinces the bride-to-be to leave her betrothed before the wedding, Millie is later panicked to find Zeke in Edith’s greenhouse—as dead as a tulip in the middle of winter. To keep her niece out of prison—and to protect her own reputation—Millie will have to piece together a patchwork of clues to find a killer before she becomes the next name on his list . . .

We Wish You a Murderous Christmas (A Year-Around Christmas Mystery #2) by Vicki Delany

murderous

Pages: 299

Publisher: Berkley

Published: November 1, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I had forgot how much I enjoyed the town of Rudolph and am happy I took a second visit.

Merry is a delight as an amateur sleuth. She doesn’t mind seeming like a fool if it means finding the killer. Her love for her family and friends is a great asset to the stories. One of the characteristics I like best is she doesn’t let her love triangle go on too long.

This is the perfect book to get you in the holiday spirit even though there is the small issue of a murder. I was kept guessing until the killer was revealed.

Bookbub: A grinch is spoiling the holiday cheer and causing fear in the second Year-Round Christmas mystery from the author of Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen…

It’s Christmastime three hundred sixty-five days a year in Rudolph, New York, and as Christmas Day approaches, shop owner Merry Wilkinson is enjoying a rare evening off at the Yuletide Inn when she runs into owners Grace and Jack Olsen. With Jack’s health failing, Merry is relieved to hear that his son Gord will be taking over the day-to-day running of the Inn.

But then Gord reveals that his new plans have no room for Christmas at the Inn, and Merry and the other shopkeepers start to fret about the effect a bland franchise hotel could have on their livelihoods.

When Gord is found stabbed to death, there’s an entire town of potential suspects—and it’s up to Merry to find whoever brought homicide home for the holidays…