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MURDER OF AN OPEN BOOK

Murder of an Open Book: A Scumble River Mystery - Denise Swanson

Do you read the acknowledgements and dedications in books? I do. I love to know who inspired the authors I read. In this book author Denise Swanson thank her street team, the Swanson Sleuths. These are fans and friends who help promote books by handout bookmarks and other items, and by talking about the author’s book. Very cool of you, Ms. Swanson to remember your street team!

 

You would think after so many books in the same series, an author would run out of ideas. Not so for author Denise Swanson. MURDER OF AN OPEN BOOK was fresh and well written, while holding to the integrity of this long running series. After reading this book, any reader will see why the Scumble River Mystery series has enjoyed such longevity.

 

Skye is married, pregnant, and starting a whole chapter of her life, but some things never change, like finding a dead body and searching for a murder. As I mentioned above, this was an extremely well written story. It held my attention with every page turned. Ms. Swanson has a way with words and a plot that always leaves the readers coming back for more. I for one will return to Scumble River.

 

I have to mention the named chapters. I love it when an author does that! Reminds me of my Nancy Drew books. And with chapters entitled…AWHFY - Are We Having Fun Yet, and L - Frownie Face, I had as much fun reading the chapters titles as I did enjoying this wonderful mystery!

 

Get a sneak peek of BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, book 5 in the Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery series!

ALL SALES FINAL

— feeling amazing
All Sales Final (Good Buy Girls) - Josie Belle

The Good Buy Girls are back and better than ever. As with all the books in this series, ALL SALES FINAL would be a bargain at ten times the price. (But Maggie and friends would still suggest you look for the best deal.)

 

I have adored this series since the first book and I’m not embarrassed to say I consider the group of characters in these stories to be friends of mine. Book one in this series, 50% OFF MURDER, is one of the first cozy mysteries that I picked out and purchased for myself. Up until Book 1, I had been reading cozies loaned to me by my sister who introduced me to the world of cozy mysteries. Okay, back to the review.

 

Who knew wedding plans and buying a house would bring up old skeletons? Okay, one old skeleton. One that is discovered in the house that protagonist Maggie and her fiancé, Sam plan to make their new home.

 

As with all her books, having a true talent for storytelling, author Josie Belle filled ALL SALES FINAL to overflowing with mystery, fun, and wonderful relationships (and with this story some unearthly happenings) that continues all the way through this book until the amazing ending.

 

This book was wonderful through and through, though I’m afraid my review isn’t doing it justice. This was a hard one for me to write. You see, the entire time I was writing it, in the back of my mind I knew this would be the last review I wrote for a Good Buy Girls mystery. Author Josie Belle aka Jenn McKinlay has announced she won’t be writing any more books in this series. I can live in hope that one day she may change her mind, however from what she has announced through her social media pages, it doesn’t seem likely. Rather she does pen a new GBG mystery or not, I’d like to thank Ms. Belle for the hours and hours of joy she has given me through these books and the delightful characters. I’ll miss them. 

THE MARSH MADNESS

— feeling amazing
The Marsh Madness (A Book Collector Mystery) - Victoria Abbott

Author Victoria Abbott always gives her readers a great ride for their money. No one pens mystery and intrigue the way this author does. I always know I’m in for a good read when I pick up the newest installment of the Book Collector Mystery series. But THE MARSH MADNESS was beyond good. It was superb!

 

Murder, impostors, and surprises abounded in this fast paced mystery. Edge of my seat reading kept me turning each page desperate to discover the villain, while at the same time not wanting the story to end. And when the reveal came, I was beyond surprised. I really didn’t see it coming!

 

While keeping with everything that makes a modern cozy so popular, THE MARSH MADNESS also delivered a nostalgic feel of a Christie novel. Victoria Abbott aka mother/daughter writing team Victoria and Mary Jane Maffini could write the back of a cereal box and leave me wanting more. I’m already looking forward to the next book!

 

Well done ladies!

 

Also, find some yummy recipes and a sneak peek of THE HAMMETT HEX, book 5 in the Book Collector Mysteries!

A NATE TO REMEMBER

A Nate to Remember: A Poppy Cove Mystery - Barbara Jean Coast

Hey guy and gals, if you’re looking for a dream mystery to curl up with, look no further. A NATE TO REMEMBER is a book to remember. It will take you back to simpler days when Tupperware and cocktail parties were all the rage, when sweet girls were courted by nice young men (well, mostly), and murders never happened…..well, almost never happened. ;-)

 

A NATE TO REMEMBER is the third book in the Poppy Cover Mystery series written by Barbara Jean Coast. I have loved this series since book one, STRANGLED BY SILK, and I discovered Margot Williams and Daphne Hunting-Smythe, the owners of the Poppy Cove dress shop and lead characters of this series.

 

In this installment these sweet ladies and upstanding business women are in a real fix. At least Margot is. The dead body of her ex-husband, that no one knew she had, is discovered and Margot becomes he prime suspect.

 

Barbara Jean Coast aka Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff have really outdone themselves this time. This story is by far the best in the series to date. It was nothing short of a brilliant mystery and a completely amazing read. I was entranced through the entire story. And when I got to the surprising reveal and found out the who and why, I literally said “Wow” out loud.

 

If you have read the first two Poppy Cover book, you are going to be thrilled with this one. If you haven’t read the series, do yourself a favor and get all three books in the series, and take a trip back to the 50’s you’ll never forget!

MURDER BY THE SPOONFUL

— feeling amazing
Murder by the Spoonful: An Antique Hunters Mystery - Vicki Vass

Author Vicki Vass hit the ground running in this wonderful first installment of the Antique Hunters Mystery series.

 

With a pleasant, flowing way with words, Ms. Vass made each scene and chapter of MURDER BY THE SPOONFUL a joy to delve in to.

 

I immediately liked Anne Hillstrom and her friend CC Muller. I enjoyed their dynamic together. And when a scene didn’t contain both of them, it didn’t always just follow Anne. There were times where the reader gets to follow CC as well. I liked being able to see what each of them were up to. Garage and estate sale fans are going to love this book. I had a lot of fun following the ladies around to different sales.

 

There are two mysteries going on in this story. Who killed Anne’s Great Aunt Sybil and why? And what happened to recent lottery winner and newly recently deceased Tom Whitmore? With twists, turns, and intrigue everywhere, MURDER BY  THE SPOONFUL was an awesome mystery and a great start to what is sure to be a hit series. Author Vicki Vass is an author to keep your eye on for sure.

 

I’m eagerly awaiting the second book in the Antique Hunters Mystery series!

THE CAT, THE SNEAK AND THE SECRET

SweeneyUnt3-11: A Cats in Trouble Mystery - Leann Sweeney

Author Leann Sweeney has penned another delightful installment in her Cats In Trouble Mystery series. In my opinion, this is the best one so far.

 

THE CAT, THE SNEAK AND THE SECRET starts off with mystery in chapter one, even before the body is discovered. And the mystery and intrigue just keep growing for there. It was a fun ride!

 

Murder, a mischievous kleptomaniac kitten, and wedding plans had me so deeply absorbed in this book, I lost all track of time. I really enjoyed spending time with lead character Jillian Hart, her soon to be husband, Tom, and the rest of the characters of this wonderful series. And of course, the feline population. J

 

I really adored this story, the seventh addition to a wonderful series, so much. It was filled with everything that makes a cozy mystery a perfect read. Author Sweeney never lets her readers down. On the contrary, she ups her game with every new book she writes and THE CAT, THE SNEAK AND THE SECRET is proof of that.

 

If you love mystery, cats, and/or just plain good writing, you don’t want to miss this wonderful book.

 

Look for the sneak peek of THE CAT, THE QUILT AND THE CORPSE, book eight in this fantastic series, at the back of the book.

BERRIED SECRETS

Berried Secrets - Peg Cochran

Author Peg Cochran has a new series! YAY!

 

Already being a fan of author Peg Cochran’s writing (I so miss her Vintage Lingerie series written as Meg London), I was beyond thrilled to hear about her new Cranberry Cove Mystery series. When I finally got a copy of BERRIED SECRETS in my hands, I was as excited as a child on Christmas Day!

 

For sure worth the wait, BERRIED SECRETS was everything I had built it up in my mind to be….no, wait…it was more! I was hooked on the book from page one and the beautiful image of Cranberry Cover author Cochran painted of the quaint town. I wanted nothing more than to climb into the book and explore more of the town, meet the people.

 

Monica Albertson is a fantastic new protagonist. She’s strong and spirited, but very real and relatable. I’m not sure who I’m going to fall in love with, but it’s a tossup between Monica’s brother Jeff and Greg Harper, the owner of the local bookstore. And the twins that own the candy shop, well, I’ll let you meet those ladies yourself. J

 

This was a wonderful story from the beginning until the last page, everything in this book flowed so well. It was a fast paced, intriguing mystery that urged me to keep reading, to turn another page, and I did. Before I knew it, and much too soon I was at the end. Oh, and major points to Peg Cochran for an amazingly original place to find a body!

 

And don’t miss the delicious cranberry recipes you’ll find at the back of the book!

 

If you are choosy about the new series you start, I would suggest adding this one to your list. I can’t say enough good things about it. Well, I can’t but this review would be as long as the book!

REVENGE OF THE CHILI QUEENS

Revenge of the Chili Queens - Kylie Logan

Let me start off by saying this. If you haven’t read a book by author Kylie Logan, you have been missing out on some wonderfully fun and well written mysteries. It’s my suggestion that you change that today. The Chili Cook-Off Mystery series is a good place to start!

 

REVENGER OF THE CHILI QUEEN was simply a pleasure to read. The combinations of author Logan’s skillful writing and her sense for plotting a great mystery, took me on a fun ride through this fabulous story.

 

I love series lead Maxie and her half-sister Sylvia. They have a great dynamic that insures any scene with them together is going to be fun to read. I also think Maxie and I would get along great. We can both be a little sarcastic.  ;-)

 

The discovery of the body comes pretty early in the book and from that point on, it was a thrill ride of mystery and surprises. There were several time where I even held my breath, with the longest being near the end of the book during the killer’s reveal. Honestly, if that part has been a few pages longer, I may have passed out from lack of oxygen!

 

Congratulations, Ms. Logan. REVENGE OF THE CHILI QUEENS was the best in the series to date!

 

Included in the back of the book is a yummy tummy rumbling chili recipe, and also an excerpt of, AND THEN THERE WERE NUNS, book four in her League Of Literary Ladies Mystery series!

CRUSHED VELVET

Crushed Velvet - Diane Vallere

If I had material like CRUSHED VELVET to read all the time, I could zip through books faster than running my nylons or snagging my cotton blends. 

 

I am such a fan of the Material Witness Mystery series. Book one, SUEDE TO REST was a great first installment, but it doesn’t compare to the wonderfully textured read that is CRUSHED VELVET.

 

I hardly put this book down from the moment I opened it until sadly, it was over, with no more to read. I simply didn’t want it to end. Between the wonderful writing, twists and turns, delightful characters like Polyester Monroe, and adorably punny shop names such as Material Girl and Flowers In The Attic, this book kept a smile on my face the entire time I was reading.

 

Author Diane Vallere has sewn together a mystery that mixed just the right weave of intrigue, action, and humor to make this cozy whodunit a serious contender for my favorite book of the 2015. It is for sure in my top 5 favorites.

 

Stitch together some time for reading and add CRUSHED VELVET to your “must read” list. If you haven’t read the first book. SUEDE TO REST, get them both and read them back to back. You’re going to love them!

 

And don’t miss the fun craft project, and excerpt from SILK STALKINGS, book three in the fantastic series!

 

A DISH BEST SERVED COLD

A Dish Best Served Cold: An Italian Kitchen Mystery - Rosie Genova

Blend together a book full of mystery with pages of humor and briskly mix them together with the Jersey shore and authentic Italian cooking. Stir it all together with a hurricane and you will have murder and intrigue in a recipe called A DISH BEST SERVED COLD.

 

In this third installment of the Italian Kitchen Mystery series, author Rosie Genova serves us a mystery that boils and burns with surprises in a tightly plotted story that is penned with skill. With that same delightful writing style of the first two books in the series, MURDER AND MARINARA, and THE WEDDING SOP MURDER, Ms. Genova has outdone herself with a story that will not only have you questioning yourself, it will leave you breathless by the time you reach the exciting conclusion.

 

A DISH BEST SERVED COLD is the perfect addition to a delicious series and is sure to whet your appetite for more.

 

Don’t miss the great Italian recipes author Genova has included in the back of the book!

A GILDED GRAVE

A Gilded Grave (NEWPORT GILDED AGE) - Shelley Freydont

A delightful debut novel. Author Shelley Freydont has made a wonderful transition from the twenty-first century cozy mystery to the nineteenth century historical mystery. It is so clear she has done her research of the Gilded Age. Her character’s words, behavior, and mannerisms are all perfect for the era.

 

Deanna Randolph is an unlikely sleuth, yet in the talented hands of author Freydont, she is not only believable, she is very much up to the task. It’s going to be interesting to watch Deanna grow as the series continues.

 

This was an incredibly well plotted mystery with more suspects than a few. With twists and turns all the way to the exciting end, I second, third, and fourth guessed myself and yes, still guessed wrong!

 

A GILDED GRAVE is sure to be a hit with historical and cozy mystery fans alike.  

A GILDED GRAVE

The Missing Corpse: Grave Robbing a Gilded Age Tycoon - Wayne Fanebust

A delightful debut novel. Author Shelley Freydont has made a wonderful transition from the twenty-first century cozy mystery to the nineteenth century historical mystery. It is so clear she has done her research of the Gilded Age. Her character’s words, behavior, and mannerisms are all perfect for the era.

Deanna Randolph is an unlikely sleuth, yet in the talented hands of author Freydont, she is not only believable, she is very much up to the task. It’s going to be interesting to watch Deanna grow as the series continues.

This was an incredibly well plotted mystery with more suspects than a few. With twists and turns all the way to the exciting end, I second, third, and fourth guessed myself and yes, still guessed wrong!

A GILDED GRAVE is sure to be a hit with historical and cozy mystery fans alike.

 

FUDGING THE BOOKS

— feeling amazing
Fudging the Books - Daryl Wood Gerber

The Cookbook Nook Mystery series is one I keep at the top of my favorites list. When I finish reading a book in this series, I get right online to find out how long I’ll have to wait for the next. For the record, the wait time between books in a cozy mystery series is normally around a year. But with this series, it feels like more like two years. So, I can say with all honesty, the worst part of this book was finishing it and beginning my wait!

 

With perfect settings like Crystal Cove, and the Cookbook Nook and its café, it was wonderful to become lost between the covers of this delightful mystery.

 

Author Daryl Wood Gerber really throw everything into this story. In this installment, one of my favorite cast of characters is dealing with pirates, thieves, and chocolate! Oh…and murder of course! Fast paced, full of twisty turns and tons of surprises, FUDGING THE BOOKS, is my new favorite in this series. I know, I say that a lot, but when it’s true…hey, it’s true!

 

Fans of this series and of author Daryl Wood Gerber/Avery Aames are going to go mad over the sweet bounty that is FUDGING THE BOOKS. If you haven’t read the other books in this series, you can start with this one and not feel lost. But please, do go back and read the others too!

 

And check out the back of the book for yummy chocolate recipes, and the sneak peek of FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, book seven in the Cheese Shop Mystery series by Avery Aames.  

NO COMFORT FOR THE LOST

No Comfort for the Lost: A Mystery of Old San Francisco - Nancy Herriman

Another new historical mystery on the market, NO COMFORT FOR THE LOST is a beautifully written story. Set in San Francisco in 1867, author Nancy Herriman has captured the feel of the era wonderfully.

 

Celia Davies is a strong young woman. A wonderful new mystery heroine. I enjoyed her scenes with Celia and her cousin Barbara. I’m also a fan of Detective Nicolas Greaves and look forward to reading more about him in future installments.

 

This was a well written mystery, where the research done for the story is clear. Ms. Herriman must have had a real passion for her topic because it really comes through on the pages of NO COMFORT FOR THE LOST.

 

I doubt historical mysteries will ever be my go to choice when picking a new book, but if they keep coming out with books as good as this one, I may be changing my tune.

 

Make sure to check out the back of the book for an excerpt of book two, NO PITY FOR THE DEAD.

MALICE AT THE PALACE

Malice at the Palace - Rhys Bowen

While MALICE AT THE PALACE is the eighth book in this series, it is my second. All I can say is wow.

 

Author Rhys Bowen once again has written a delightful story from the view point of lead character Lady Georgiana Rannoch, thirty-fifth in line for the British throne. In this installment, Georgiana is enlisted to be companion to Princess Maria, soon to be wife of the King’s youngest son, George. Part of Georgiana’s duties are to dispel rumors of George’s questionable life style. Nut then, of course, she finds herself with a dead body to contend with as well.

 

I mention all of the above because Author Bowen has flawlessly interwoven her wonderful murder mystery with the true history of Prince George, the Duke of Kent. I honestly don’t know what I found more surprising…the unexpected reveal of this story or the things I learned about Prince George. Brava Rhys Bowen for masterfully teaching us a history lesson within your story. If my teachers had taught history the way you did in this book, I would have been a much better student.

 

On a side note, I would love to see the author write a companions book to the series of just Lady Georgiana’s dairy entries. I think it would a fascinating read.

QUEEN OF HEARTS

Queen of Hearts - Rhys Bowen

I’ve been reading several “new to me” books after hearing only wonder thing about the authors and series. Rhys Bowen has been on my list, so I’ve finally read on of her books. I’ve been missing out!

 

Lady Georgiana Rannoch, protagonist of the Royal Spyness series, is such a wonderfully fresh character! She reminded me so much of a combination of Rose from the Titanic move, and a Christie heroine. She was simply delightful!

 

Author Bowen has penned an excellent mystery. The journey from England to America on the luxury liner added an amazing feel to the story. The mystery was tight and flawless. I kept changing my mind about the killer and was still wrong when I read the reveal.

 

Author Bowen’s writing is everything I was told it would be and more. I’m happy I have the nest book in the series on hand so I can dive right into it. Speaking of the next book, check the sneak peek of MALICE AT THE PALACE, book nine in the series.