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MURDER IN THE PAPERBACK PARLOR

— feeling amazing
Murder in the Paperback Parlor - Ellery Adams

Book one in the Book Retreat Mystery series, MURDER IN THE MYSTERY SUITE, was one of my favorite books of 2014. Everything I loved about that book has only gotten better in MURDER IN THE PAPERBACK PARLOR.

 

Storyton Hall is a place I would want to visit again and again. A quiet country retreat to spend time with other bibliophiles would be perfect wouldn’t it? But Storyton Hall isn’t all it appears to be. What with pesky murder to contend with. Never fear…the staff of Storyton can handle anything that arises, because they aren’t what they appear to be either.

 

You would think with fans of romance descending on the Hall so close to Valentine’s Day, things would be all love and flowers. Come on…this is an Ellery Adams book. Someone has to die! J In this case, it’s a celebrated romance author.

 

Author Ellery Adams lets the reader get a good way into the book before the discovery of the body. I was lulled into the story, taking in the surroundings, enjoying my stay just as much as the characters in the book. I was having a grand time with protagonist Jane, her family, the staff, the Cover Girls…I felt like I was on holiday. With her flawless style of writing and perfect sense of timing, Author Adams had me so absorbed in this fantastic book, I forgot I was reading a murder mystery. So when the death was announced, I was actually shocked. How fun is that? And before I had a chance to get over my shock, mystery, intrigue, and action took over the pages leaving me breathless.  

 

Nancy Drew, Miss Marple, and Jane Steward…these are the sleuths I’ll always remember when I think of mystery. You need to read this book!

 

Also included is a sneak peek of book seven in the Ellery Adams Books By The Bay series, WRITING ALL WRONGS.

DREAM A LITTLE SCREAM

— feeling amazing
Dream a Little Scream (A Dream Club Mystery) - Mary Kennedy

Reading DREAM A LITTLE SCREAM was a dream come true! It was such a long year waiting for this book. And when I finally got it in my hands, I wasted no time opening it and settling down to enjoy. It was wonderful to be back in author Mary Kennedy’s world of dreams, murder, and retro candy. She brought back that same thrilling sensation I remember having when reading NIGHTMARES CAN BE MURDER.

 

I’ve adored the whole concept of a dream club from the moment I heard about it with the first book. It’s not only interesting, but such an original idea for a cozy mystery. I love the scenes when the group gathers. The members, including protagonist Taylor and her sister Ali, are all so diverse. That makes for some very intriguing interactions. And I’m envious of the goodies the group members get to enjoy during their meeting. All made by Ali and sold in the retro candy store she owns with Taylor. Their store reminds me of one I’ve visited in a small town in Pennsylvania. The only difference is, Oldies But Goodies, the shop in the book, also sells drinks and fresh made yummys as well. Another great idea of the author’s to mix the two types of stores together.

 

I found myself absorbed in this book from the very first page.  With the action starting off early in the story, all I could do was hold on and enjoy the ride. And enjoy I did! With twists and turns and oh-my-goodness moments, all leading up to a fantastic ending. Ms. Kennedy has penned a winning installment to what I hope will be a long running series.  

 

You’re going to want to add DREAM A LITTLE SCREAM to your to-be-read list. You’ll be so very happy that you did. I know I’ll be doing a lot of daydreaming while I wait for book three!

 

And make sure to check out the back of the book for the included Dream Symbol Guide!

A CAT TO DIE FOR

A Cat to Die For (Mina's Adventures) (Volume 5) - Maria Grazia Swan

A CAT TO DIE FOR was a delightful book and sure to win over cat lovers.

 

It’s a bit different from other cozies I’ve read. It is the first one I’ve read in this series or by the author. Looking at the covers of the four books that came before, I’m not completely sure what category they fall into. All that being said, I really did enjoy this story.

 

Mina Calvi is an interesting protagonist. She’s unlike others I have read in cozies. In this installment of the series, she runs the Furry Friends Foundation which is a no kill shelter for cats and dogs. It seems that in the rest of the series, Mina is a little all over the place. I hope the series continues on this theme because it really is quite good.

 

Author Maria Grazia Swan has a wonderful writing style that results in a very fluid read that flows at a nice pace. This was a well plotted mystery that really held me interest and left my surprised at the reveal.

 

If the next book in the Mina’s Adventures series is as good as this one, I look forward to reading it!

 

Note: There is a minor amount of cursing in this book.   

 

DEATH BY TIARA

— feeling excited
Death by Tiara (A Jaine Austen Mystery) - Laura Levine

My friend has been trying to get me to read Laura Lavene’s book for months now. But something always came up in my TBR before I could get to one. Well, now I have read one, this book, and I am a fan! I have a lot of catching up to do!

 

I fell in love with author Lavene’s writing style during the prologue of death by tiara. First off, she is hysterical! I knew if the mystery in this story was half as well written as the comedy, it would be a fantastic read…and it was!

 

I spent hours immersed in mystery, a teen beauty pageant, and laughing until I cried. I’m so happy I wasn’t drinking my soda when I read protagonist, Jaine, make a plug for book 14 of this series, KILLING CUPID, or I would have done a spit take that would have done any sitcom actor proud. As for the mystery, is was well plotted and had me second guessing myself. To me, the ending of this book was truly unexpected. I just didn’t see the answer to this whodunit coming.

 

I could find no fault in this book whatsoever. All I found was gifted writing that flowed across the pages so fluidly, I never wanted the story to end.

 

DEATH BY TIARA may have been my first book in the Jaine Austen Mystery series, but it will not be my last!

CHEF MAURICE AND THE WRATH OF GRAPES

— feeling big smile
Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes (Chef Maurice Mysteries Book 2) - J.A. Lang

This second installment in the Chef Maurice Mystery series was absolutely wonderful. Like a fine wine, it seems this series will keep getting better with age.

 

Ms. Lang certainly knows how to pen a wonderful story that draws the reader in. Her talent for writing a first rate mystery shows in this well plotted tale that kept me guessing right until the end.

 

Author J.A. Lang has created quite a character with Chef Maurice. He can be a little cranky but you can’t help but like him. His character reminds me of a blend of Poirot and Columbo. And the style in which the author writes brings to mind Golden Age mysteries such as those by Agatha Christie mixed with a current feel.

 

CHEF MAURICE AND THE WRATH OF GRAPES is a delightful bouquet that will fill your senses!

 

FATAL FAIRIES

— feeling big smile
Fatal Fairies (Renaissance Faire Mystery Book 8) - Joyce Lavene, Jim Lavene, Jeni Chappelle

Authors Joyce & Jim Lavene have a wonderful way of making a story come to life. In this latest installment of the Renaissance Faire Mystery series I could hear the sounds, smells the scents of enticing food, and see every detail as described. It was just like I was standing in the center of it all.

 

Magic has been doing all sorts of things at the Ren Faire in the past installments. But this time, everyone’s lives are changed. FATAL FAIRIES was such a fun ride. Leave it to these authors to come up with such an out of the box story for a cozy. J

 

I really did enjoy this story so much. It’s the perfect addition to an already fantastic series. Filled with fun, mystery, and action, you’ll find yourself engrossed in this book that you’ll be surprised when the ending sneaks up on you like it did me. And what an ending it was!

 

I’m really looking forward to my next trip to the Renaissance Faire, but only with the Lavenes as my tour guides.

KILLING WEEDS

— feeling big smile
Killing Weeds (A Peggy Lee Garden Mystery Book 8) - Joyce Lavene, Jim Lavene, Jeni Chappelle

Wow! The first six chapters of KILLING WEEDS had more things happening than I’ve read in entire books. But it’s not surprising to me that authors Joy & Jim Lavene had my full attention in this mystery so quickly, because they have in every book I’ve read by them.

 

This was a wonderfully written story with plenty of mystery coming from every direction. There was never a dull moment. I turned each page eagerly awaiting what would come next. The Lavenes have taken the twists and turns associated with mystery and supersized them.  When the reveal came, I was completely shocked!

 

I love that each chapter started with the names of poisonous plants and information about them. It just goes to show the research the authors did for their story.

 

There was only thing I didn’t like about this book…it had to end. L I just wanted more an more!

 

Check out the back of the book for Peggy Lee’s Garden Journal, a yummy recipe, and gardening tips for keeping our bee friends happy.

BUTTER OFF DEAD

Butter Off Dead - Leslie Ann Budewitz

First, a thank you to the author for starting this book off with a character list. Even right down to the pets! It was lots of help.

 

I’ve enjoyed the Food Lovers’ Mystery series since book one, DEATH AL DENTE. So, when I saw the cover and read the blurb for this book, BUTTER OFF DEAD, I couldn’t wait to get this book in my hands. It was more than worth the wait!

 

Author Leslie Budewitz filled this story with twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat, holding my book in a death grip, easing my hold only long enough to turn the pages. This was an expertly written mystery, from the sad death scene to the surprising and exciting reveal. I had no idea who to suspect as the murderer!

 

As with the first two books, the characters in this series are still wonderfully charming and quirky. It was fun getting to learn even more about them. And I loved idea of the Food Lovers’ Film Festival. Such a fun idea to go with this series. I’d like to see come back in a future installment.

 

It’s no surprise at all Leslie Budewitz won an Agatha Award for book two, CRIME RIB. She knows how to serve up a satisfyingly delicious story that fills your senses with delight and leaves you hungry for more.

 

And check out the back of the book for The Food Lovers’ Film Festival Guide to Food and Drink, with 8 yummy recipes!

 

BUTTER OFF DEAD

Butter Off Dead - Leslie Ann Budewitz

First, a thank you to the author for starting this book off with a character list. Even right down to the pets! It was lots of help.

 

I’ve enjoyed the Food Lovers’ Mystery series since book one, DEATH AL DENTE. So, when I saw the cover and read the blurb for this book, BUTTER OFF DEAD, I couldn’t wait to get this book in my hands. It was more than worth the wait!

 

Author Leslie Budewitz filled this story with twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat, holding my book in a death grip, easing my hold only long enough to turn the pages. This was an expertly written mystery, from the sad death scene to the surprising and exciting reveal. I had no idea who to suspect as the murderer!

 

As with the first two books, the characters in this series are still wonderfully charming and quirky. It was fun getting to learn even more about them. And I loved idea of the Food Lovers’ Film Festival. Such a fun idea to go with this series. I’d like to see come back in a future installment.

 

It’s no surprise at all Leslie Budewitz won an Agatha Award for book two, CRIME RIB. She knows how to serve up a satisfyingly delicious story that fills your senses with delight and leaves you hungry for more.

 

And check out the back of the book for The Food Lovers’ Film Festival Guide to Food and Drink, with 8 yummy recipes!

 

MACARONI AND FREEZE

Macaroni and Freeze - Christine Wenger

Author Christine Wenger is a gifted author who has written another winner. The entire plot was well thought out and expertly penned. Her characters are muti-layered, but well defined. And her way of mixing an excellent mystery with humor is top notch.  

 

Diners always seem to have the best food. But I never really gave thought to owning my own or working in one. Then I read the first three pages of this book and author’s description of how her lead character Trixie Matkowski sees her diner and why she loves it so much. It made me want to run to my local diner and spend the day!

 

Spending several chapters with just the characters, their lives and businesses, and the buildup of the story, is my favorite way for a book to start. So, I was thrilled when the murder happened a little further into this book. It gave me time to like or dislike the character that was going to be killed. For me, that makes the who and the why of the mystery and investigation more intriguing. And that was very true of this story.

 

The previous installments of the Comfort Food Mystery series were such yummy delights, I wasn’t surprised when I found MACARONI AND FREEZE even more delicious than the first three courses (books). I could feed off books like this all year! It filled my mental tummy with treat after treat of mystery, fun, and the wonderful satisfying feeling that only comes with an amazing book.

 

Make sure to check out the back of the book for ten amazing comfort food recipes, as well as an excerpt from book five, IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE.

DEATH UNDER GLASS

Death Under Glass - Jennifer McAndrews

With ILL-GOTTEN PANES, book one in the Stained-Glass Mystery series, author Jennifer McAndrews introduced a charming new series and brought to readers the creative world of the art of stained-glass. Readers also got to meet Georgia Kelly, Pete “Grampy” Georgia’s grandfather, and the town of Wenwood, New York and its cast of intriguing town’s people.

 

I was so excited at the announcement of this book, DEATH UNDER GLASS and anxiously awaited my chance to read it. Well, it was certainly worth the wait. This book was even better than the first!

 

Before I knew it, I was so engrossed in the story and thrilling mystery, I was hardly able to put the book down. The action started off quickly and continued to accelerate until reaching the exciting, shocking reveal.

 

DEATH UNDER GLASS was everything I could have hoped for and more. This excellent second installment has certainly insured a third in the series. I’m already looking forward to it even more than I did this one!

DEATH OF AN ENGLISH MUFFIN

Death of an English Muffin (A Merry Muffin Mystery) - Victoria Hamilton

Books one and two in this series were completely delightful. Getting to know Merry and be with her as she adjusts to life at Wynter Castle. But muffin . . . I mean, nothing prepared me for The Legion Of Horrible Ladies in DEATH OF AN ENGLISH MUFFIN. Fantastic! Merry had no idea what she was getting herself into when she rented rooms to that group of ladies.

 

Author Victoria Hamilton has really raised the bar with this installment of her Merry Muffin series. Extremely well written, as are all of Ms. Hamilton’s books, each and every chapter was a fun adventure I didn’t want to end. The mystery was tight and intriguing, leading up to a shocking, clever reveal that was inspired. 

 

This was definitely one of those books that when finished, I hoped the next book in my to be read stack could measure up.

 

For return readers, prepare yourself for the best installment yet. If you haven’t read this series yet, be assured, you can read DEATH OF AN ENGLISH MUFFIN and not feel lost. Author Hamilton did a great job in the beginning of getting readers caught up.

 

Be sure to check out the back of the book so you don’t miss out on some delicious recipes!

DEAD MEN DON'T EAT COOKIES

Dead Men Don't Eat Cookies (A Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery Book 6) - Virginia Lowell

The Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery series was one of the first cozy mystery series I read. I’ve loved it from the first sentence of book one, COOKIE DOUGH OR DIE, and after finishing the last sentence of DEAD MEN DON’T EAT COOKIES, I love it even more!

 

Author Virginia Lowell has penned a series that continues to get better with every book. And this one is no exception.

 

I always enjoy my time spent with Olivia Greyson and her best friend and business partner Maddie at The Gingerbread House. Ms. Lowell has written these characters and the supporting cast in a way that truly makes them feel like old friends.

 

Ms. Lowell wasted no time getting the mystery going in this story with the discovery of the body happening almost right away. The investigation that follows has lots of ups and downs, and twists and turns, all leading up to a climatic reveal!

 

This book reminded me once again why adore this series and has secured its place in my favorite.

 

And don’t miss the yummy recipe at the back of the book!

FATAL RESERVATIONS

Fatal Reservations: A Key West Food Critic Mystery - Lucy Burdette

Author Lucy Burdette has cooked up a delectable new course in the delicious Key West Food Critic series that made me hungry for more! Readers are going to be thrilled with this latest installment.

 

It was so good to be back in Key West with food critic Hayley Snow. I think being a food critic would be so great. Unfortunately I’m a picky eater, so my career would be short lived, but that just makes it even more fun to live it through Hayley! Um, just hold the dead bodies please. J

 

I just love it when authors start off their chapters with quotes or tidbits of information. Ms. Burdette has done so, with the most fun food related quotes. Anticipating each new quote was a lot of fun. It was hard not to peek ahead and read them.

 

Fatal Reservations was a fantastic addition to this series. One of the best so far. This story moved along at a great pace, never leaving a dull moment. Just the opposite . . . I didn’t want to miss one word! Every chapter brought more excitement, and more questions because there were so many misleads to keep me guessing. And it all led up to a scrumptious reveal that I never saw coming.

 

Don’t stop reading once the story is over or you’ll miss a lot of yummy recipes and a sneak peek of Book 7, KILLER TAKOUT.

WOUND UP IN MURDER

Wound Up in Murder (A Yarn Retreat Mystery) - Betty Hechtman

New and returning readers alike are really going to enjoy this installment in the Yarn Retreat Mysteries. The book starts off with a nice recap that helps new readers to this series feel right at home. No guessing on how series lead, Casey Feldstein ended up where she is doing what she does. That being said, do get the first two books anyway, because who wants to miss out on a good thing? J Oh . . . and you don’t have to know how to knit to read this series!

 

Author Betty Hechtman certainly knows how to write a story that holds your attention. This was one of those books that I was thinking about when I couldn’t be reading it. It has something for everyone. It’s packed with likeable characters, which include Casey’s black cat, Julius, a beautiful setting, yummy food, and a captivating mystery.

 

WOUND UP IN MURDER is a perfect book for your summer/vacation reading list. It would also make a wonderful gift for any cozy mystery fan, or if you have someone in your life that loves to knit. No matter who you get a copy for, you just can’t go wrong.

 

Keep reading once the story is done for fun knitting patterns and sweet recipes!

CAUGHT READ-HANDED

Caught Read-Handed - Terrie Farley Moran

The first book in this series, WELL READ, THEN DEAD, was one of my top three favorite first books in a new series in 2014. I devoured it. So, to say I have been looking forward to CAUGHT READ-HANDED, well, that doesn’t even come close to how much I’ve wanted to read this book. I have to say . . . it was worth the wait!

 

Author Terrie Farley Moran has done it again in the second installment of her Read ‘Em And Eat Mystery series. She has taken her gift of amazing story telling and lifted it to a whole new level. The murder mystery in this story was so well plotted, every page bringing clues and misleads. Ms. Moran kept the story fast moving and intriguing, make this book very hard to put down for any length of time. When the reveal came toward the end of the story, it was a real surprise. I never saw it coming!

 

I really did love my trip back to Fort Myers Beach, FL, and the time I spent at the Read ‘Em And Eat café with Sassy, Bridgy, Aunt Ophey, and the cast of supporting characters. Like my last visit, it was over far too soon, and I found myself back in the real world of DE looking forward to my next visit.

 

In the pages of this book, with every word, through every character, I could feel the author’s love for her series. Knowing that this story was penned with such care, made reading it even more enjoyable. Well done Ms. Moran. Brava!

 

Make sure to check out the back of the book for the yummy recipe for Miss Marple’s Orange Ice Scones by Karen Owen, and featured in CAUGHT READ-HANDED.