The Diva Sweetens the Pie (A Domestic Diva #12) by Krista Davis

pie.png

Pages: 336

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 30, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Nothing heats up Old Town quite like the annual Pie Festival, and this year is no exception, especially since Sophie’s professional rival, Natasha Smith, is barred from participating. Sophie, meanwhile, has been asked to oversee the pie eating contest. But the drama really rolls out when celebrity judge, Patsy Lee Presley, host of television’s most popular cooking show, bites the crust during the competition, and Sophie’s friends are suspected of the crime.

As the folks of Old Town dish, the tough truth about Patsy’s meteoric rise to domestic stardom begins to leak. It turns out that Patsy’s sweet exterior hid a secret sour side, which alienated many of her closest allies, including a jilted ex-husband, a bitter ex-mentor, and a jaded ex-best friend. With the festival falling apart, and her friends in danger of being boxed up for murder, Sophie must cobble together the clues and stop a flakey friend from serving up any more deadly desserts.

My Review: This series gets better with each yummy addition. I’m not sure what I enjoy more, the mystery, the baking/cooking tips or recipes. I’m now in the mood to bake pies especially a strawberry pie.

I enjoy how Davis does not let romance overshadow her mysteries. There is just enough to make it interesting and real. I still think her and Mars make a great couple.

If you are looking for a delicious, sweet read this is the book for you.

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

Pray for the Girl by Joseph Souza

pray.png

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 30, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:Lucy Abbott never pictured herself coming back to Fawn Grove, Maine. Yet after serving time in Afghanistan, then years spent as a sous chef in New York, she’s realized her only hope of moving on from the past involves facing it again. But Fawn Grove, like Lucy herself, has changed.

Lucy’s sister, Wendy, is eager to help her adapt, almost stifling her with concern. At the local diner, Lucy is an exotic curiosity—much like the refugees who’ve arrived in recent years. When a fifteen-year-old Muslim girl is found murdered along the banks of the river, difficult memories of Lucy’s time overseas come flooding back and she feels an automatic connection. At first glance, the tragedy looks like an honor killing. But the more Lucy learns about her old hometown, the less certain that seems.

There is menace and hostility here, clothed in neighborly smiles and a veneer of comfort. And when another teen is found dead in a cornfield, his throat slit, Lucy—who knows something about hiding secrets—must confront a truth more brutal than she could have imagined, in the last place she expected it . . .

My Review: I had to take my time with this one because it rocked me to the core. I’ve cried, felt outraged, and helplessness while reading. Definitely not for the faint of heart but a must-read for fans of suspense.

I could not imagine the life Lucy has experienced. This book made me look at her experiences in a whole new light. I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to give the suspense and surprises away.

If you are sensitive regarding the LGBTQ community please be warned this book may be upsetting. Personally, I suggest you read it to get more understanding.

There are violence and curse words in the book but not unnecessarily.

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

Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

meghan

Pages: 374

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: April 9, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Edge of your seat medical thriller.

NetGalley:
Some would say Becky Gerard is a devoted mother and would do anything for her only child. Others, including her husband Carl, claim she’s obsessed and can’t stop the vicious circle of finding a cure at her daughter’s expense.
Fifteen-year-old Meghan has been in and out of hospitals with a plague of unexplained illnesses. But when the ailments take a sharp turn, clashing medical opinions begin to raise questions about the puzzling nature of Meghan’s illness. Doctors suspect Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare behavioral disorder where the primary caretaker seeks medical help for made-up symptoms of a child. Is this what’s going on? Or is there something even more sinister at hand?
As the Gerards grow more and more suspicious of each other and their medical team, Becky must race against time to prove her daughter has a deadly disease. But first, she must confront her darkest fears and family secrets that threaten to not only upend her once-ordered life…but to destroy it.

My review
Saving Meghan is an edge of your seat medical thriller that will keep reading into the wee hours of the night. This book has everything from medicine, family, love, and destruction.

With chapters being broken down into different points of view it added a good dramatic touch. It kept me guessing until the end. I had no inkling of what was happening.

Fans of Jodi Picoult should definitely pick up DJ Palmer’s Saving Meghan and give it a well-deserved read.

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

A Bidder End (Antiques and Collectibles #7) by Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs

bidder

Pages: 151

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: March 7, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley
When a retired Hollywood A-lister decides to auction off part of his enviable collection of antiques, reporter Molly Appleby is thrilled to be covering the event for Collector’s Weekly, and she’s certain it will secure the reputation of the dealer handling it, a friend of hers. But soon after the final gavel comes down, the actor’s secretary vanishes and the antique dealer is found dead, apparently having taken his own life. Molly’s not sold on the coroner’s verdict of suicide, though, and she can’t help but start digging for clues to what she suspects is foul play.
As she begins to delve into the private life of her friend and his connections with the actor’s staff, Molly slowly discovers that the dealer was far more unscrupulous than she ever imagined and that nearly everyone who knew him had a motive for murder. And when another body turns up and the devious killer begins leaving mysterious clues to taunt Molly and the police, Molly finds herself facing a cunning culprit who wants to see her going, going, gone . . .

My Review
I do believe Ellery Adams could write a book on accounting and I would find it an amazing read. I have yet to be disappointed in any of her books. I am definitely interested in researching other books by Parker Riggs.

I have only read the first book in the Antiques & Collectibles Mystery Series but was able to pick right up with book 7. That right there shows the true talent of an amazing author. I never once felt lost or confused.

A Bidder End was full of twists and turns that keep me interested right up until the last page. A bonus is learning about the antique and collectible world. I will be moving this series right up my TBR pile so I’ll be ready for book 8.

I received a complimentary copy from Beyond the Page Publishing 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

lo mein

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.

Mother’s Day Mayhem (A Tourist Trap # 10.5) by Lynn Cahoon

mothers

Pages: 75

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 2, 2019

Rating: 3.5 stars

NetGalley:
Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More is almost out of Mother’s Day cards. She has a few more in stock, but she’s set them aside because she needs Greg’s help choosing one for his mother. It’ll be Jill’s first time meeting her boyfriend’s mother, and she’s understandably nervous.

Turns out Jill isn’t the only one having feelings about mothers. Kyle, who works at the antique store next door, needs to find the perfect card for a mother he hasn’t seen since he was five—when she went away to jail. But her arrival in South Cove isn’t exactly celebratory, her behavior toward her son unexpectedly restrained. Piqued, Jill discovers that a mother can never be replaced . . .

My review:
I have enjoyed these novellas until the next full-length novel is released but I felt this was out of order. I would suggest reading Mother’s Day Mayhem before Killer Party.

Mother’s Day Mayhem is the perfect way to pass a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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

Death Threads (A Southern Sewing Circle #2) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey (aka Laura Bradford)

death

Pages: 288

Publisher: Berkley

Published: May 5, 2010

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads:
Yankee librarian Tori Sinclair is basking in the warmth of her new circle of friends from South Carolina’s Sweet Briar Ladies Society sewing circle. That is until local author Colby Calhoun reveals an unflattering secret about the town’s historic past-and then disappears, leaving a bloody trail behind him. And when Tori begins to see a pattern of the townsfolk’s age-old Southern pride standing in the way of justice, she knows it’s time to unravel the mystery.

My review:
This series is for fans of anything Southern and book related. You cannot get more perfect than a library set in South Carolina. If you add in the love for Little House (Laura Ingalls Wilder) that Tori has then we have the winning trifecta in my humble opinion.

I am not a person who views sewing as relaxing. I am more in the ranks of our dear sweet Leona who along with her twin sister is a hoot. You will find yourself chuckling quite frequently while reading. The idea of the handsewn library book bags for nursing home residents has really touched my heart. My mom is currently in a long term rehabilitation to get her leg strength back and seeing the nursing home part of the rehab center is so sad. I wish more public libraries had the capability to make sure nursing home residents had access to books.

A part of me wants to gobble this series up as quickly as I can read but the smart part of me is telling myself to slow down since there are only 12 books in this wonderful series and I have already read two. I am limiting myself to one book a month in this series.

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

something

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

cocoa

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.

Charity’s Burden (A Quaker Midwife Mystery #4) by Edith Maxwell

charitys

Pages: 288

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Published: April 8, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
Quaker midwife Rose Carroll seeks the true cause of a young mother’s death
The winter of 1889 is harsh in Amesbury, Massachusetts, but it doesn’t stop Quaker midwife Rose Carroll from making the rounds to her pregnant and postpartum mothers. When Charity Skells dies from an apparent early miscarriage, Rose wonders about the symptoms that don’t match the diagnosis. She learns that Charity’s husband may be up to no good with a young woman whose mother appears to offer illegal abortions. A disgraced physician in town does the same, and Charity’s cousin seems to have a nefarious agenda. With several suspects emerging, each with their own possible motives, Rose and police detective Kevin Donovan race against time to solve the case before another innocent life is taken.

My review:
Charity’s Burden is not your typical cozy mystery or Christian Quaker read. It has a definite bite. Where should I start? I’ll start with this is not be viewed as a Christian fiction or cozy mystery. Yes, it centers around the Quakers in Massachusettes in 1889 but there are no mentions of bible verses or faith-based sermons you usually find in a Christian book. There is one romance scene that while it does not go into detail you understand there are inappropriate relations between two unmarried characters, one of them being the Quaker midwife.

This book discusses in detail the pros and cons of different abortion and safe sex practices in 1889. I found it very educational for the curious researcher in me. If you are fiercely against abortion I would say this is not the book for you. As I was reading I did not feel as if this was a political platform, it just shared how such things were thought of during the time. The Comstock laws were mentioned several times during the book and I would suggest you take a moment to look those up if you are unfamiliar with them.

I am definitely interested in reading the first three books in the series and have in fact already requested the first book from my local library.

Please do not use this review for ANY POLITICAL platform as this is not the place for them!

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

PS: Edith Maxwell is also Maddie Day of the Country Store series.