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

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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.

Murder in the Reading Room (A Book Retreat #5) by Ellery Adams

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Pages: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 30, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Jane’s boyfriend is missing, and she thinks she may find him at North Carolina’s historic Biltmore Estate. Officially, she’s there to learn about luxury hotel management, but she’s also prowling around the breathtaking buildings and grounds looking for secret passageways and clues. One of the staff gardeners promises to be helpful . . . that is, until his body turns up in the reading room of his cottage, a book on his lap.

When she finally locates the kidnapped Edwin, his captor insists that she lead him back to Storyton Hall, convinced that it houses Ernest Hemingway’s lost suitcase, stolen from a Paris train station in 1922. But before they can turn up the treasure, the bell may toll for another victim . . .

My Review:

As I closed the book I was crying. Why? I fell so hard into the story every time I opened the book that I didn’t want it to end. The emotions Jane experienced were so real. She had to make many hard decisions but I loved that she followed what she thought was the right thing to do even if it wasn’t going to be popular. I feel we really got to know the real Jane and what a powerful force she is.

A series I would suggest the start from the beginning so you can connect with the characters and not ruin any surprises along the way.

I am looking forward to seeing how Adams progresses the series. There is a world of possibility and Adams is the best author for the job.

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

Past Due For Murder (A Blue Ridge Library Mystery #3) by Victoria Gilbert

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Pages: 304

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: February 12, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first—but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire.

The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, but he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished—or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy.

When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events—and a dead body lying nearby—an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth in Past Due for Murder, Victoria Gilbert’s third charming Blue Ridge Library mystery.

My Review: I have enjoyed all three visits to Taylorsford and each visit gets better and better. Past Due for Murder is by far my favorite visit. The mystery within the mystery is what elevated this book. It added extra punch to an already meaty story. The ending is a beautiful surprise that will sweep you away. I had tears in my eyes while reading.

Each book can be read as a stand-alone but I suggest you read in order as you will get the needed background. This series has more bite than the traditional cozy series. No sex but it is heavily alluded to throughout the book. I would still give it to my grandmother to read and not worry she would be shocked or offended.

For fans of books with libraries, books, mystery, and love this is the series for you.

I received a copy of this book for review from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above 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.

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.

Carbs and Cadavers (Supper Club Mysteries #1) By Ellery Adams

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Pages: 298 (eBook)

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: February 20, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

James Henry moved back to Quincy’s Gap to become the librarian when his mom passed away and left his dad with no one to take care of him. He befriends the local high school are teacher and she convinces him to join her diet club she has started with a group of friends. He is excited as maybe this will be a way to make some friends in his hometown. At their first meeting they name the club the Supper Club and get hooked into solving the murder of the local playboy at he town’s best pastry shop. Can James and his friends solve the murder and lose weight or will the murder derail their weight loss plans before they start?

How can you resist a main character that loves cheese doodles? I was craving them by the end of the book and wanted them as much as James did. I felt for James at every turn of the page. I understood how he felt and want he wanted out of life. Ellery Adams writes her characters with such feeling that you feel like you personally know them. You want to hop inside the pages of the book and be James’ and his Supper Club friends friend. You want them to know you understand their feelings but at the same time you want to let them now they are perfect they way they are and real friends see past the chubbiness.

I am excited to read a book about a librarian as the main character as I’m always looking for new things to add to be extensive TBR pile. I get excited thinking “oh, my favorite character has read this”. I cannot wait to read the second book “Fit to Die” and revisit my new friends.

No matter what your type of cozy mystery you like, Ellery Adams has a series you will enjoy.

Thank you to NetGalley and Beyond the Page for a copy to read and review based on my own honest words and opinion.