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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Book Review: Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton

Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive. 

If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst—especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her—murdered among a scattering of stale donuts . . . 

Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business . . .[summary via Amazon]

It's been a while since I've read a cozy mystery, and I thought I would dip my toe back into the genre, with this new series from Ginger Bolton. I couldn't have picked a better choice! From the first chapter, this story featuring amateur sleuth Emily Westhill grabbed me and didn't let go, until the final denouement.

Emily and her father-in-law run a donut shop, the Deputy Donut. She's still nursing heart ache, following the death of her husband, Alec, who died on the job as a police officer. She's a heartwarming and caring woman, and I think readers will warm to her instantly.  

When one of her donut shop regulars turns up dead, she naturally is determined to find out who the killer is. Her method of investigating what one of my favourites. While she does ask questions, she isn't overly nosy and doesn't go looking for trouble. With an adorable sidekick in her feline companion "Dep", she goes hunting for clues.

Survival of the Fritters was a delightful first novel in this series. I really enjoyed the Threadville mysteries (written under the name Janet Bolin), and I can't wait to see what Ginger Bolton dishes up next. If you enjoy culinary mysteries, with beautiful constructed characters, and a cute feline too, you will certainly love this series!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Book Review: Cat About Town by Cate Conte

The first novel in a frisky new mystery series set in a small New England town, where an unlikely citizen is called in to solve the purrfect crime. . . 

Maddie James has arrived in Daybreak Island, just off the coast of Massachusetts, eager to settle down and start her own business—and maybe even fall in love. When a stray orange tabby pounces into her life, she’s inspired to open a cat cafĂ©. But little does Maddie know that she’s in for something a lot more catastrophic when her new furry companion finds the dead body of the town bully. Now all eyes are on Maddie: Who is this crazy cat-whisperer lady who’s come to town? If pet-hair-maintenance and crime-fighting weren’t keeping her busy enough, Maddie now has not one but two eligible bachelors who think she’s the cat’s pajamas . . . and will do anything to win her heart. But how can she even think about happily-ever-after while a killer remains on the loose—and on her path? [summary via Amazon]

Cat Conte (also known as Liz Mugavero) previously wrote the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, and I was thrilled to hear she had written a new series.

Cat About Town is a most delightful debut in a new series. From the very first flick of the tail of an adorable stray, who later becomes known as JJ, until the finale denouement, this is a story to delight even the pickiest of feline mystery lovers. 

Maddie James is in town for her grandmother's funeral, but when she meets a new feline friend (enter the ever adorable JJ), she takes the first steps into an adventure that will see them solve a murder together. I adored Maddie with her inner "crazy cat lady" persona. Of course JJ was delightful. He had me thinking that maybe I should put a harness on my cats and take them for a walk!!! (Of course my own cats had other ideas!).

I really liked the mystery. This one stumped me, and I didn't manage to solve it before Maddie and JJ. In the process of trying to solve the mystery, I fell in love with this little beach side town, with its interesting residents, and delightful shops.

All in all Cate Conte delighted me (and I'm sure other readers) with Cat About Town and I can't wait for another visit with Maddie and JJ.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Review: The Madness of Mercury by Connie di Marco

San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti’s life is turned upside down when she becomes the target of the city’s newest cult leader, Reverend Roy of the Prophet’s Tabernacle. Driven out of her apartment in the midst of a disastrous Mercury retrograde period, she takes shelter with a client who’s caring for two elderly aunts. One aunt appears stricken with dementia and the other has fallen under the spell of the Reverend Roy. To add to the confusion, a young man claiming to be a long-lost nephew arrives. The longer he stays, the more dangerous things become. Is the young man truly a member of the family? Can astrology confirm that? Julia’s not sure, but one thing she does know is that Mercury wasn’t merely the messenger of the gods―he was a trickster and a liar as well.[summary via Amazon]

Connie di Marco has a new series out, the Zodiac mysteries, and whether you're a devoted believer in astrology, or like me, curious but not too sure if you believe, you're going to absolutely love this new series.

Starting The Madness of Mercury I knew a little about astrology. My mother is a devout believer in astrology, and won't go a day without checking her horoscope. However, it has been years since I've checked mine. Having said that, this didn't stop me from enjoying this book. If anything my very little knowledge in astrology made me enjoy the book even more. 

In The Madness of Mercury we meet Julia Bonatti, who is an astrologer, and the reader learns how Julia uses astrology to help her clients, and set them on the right path. The astrology aspect is interesting, but it is the spine-tingling mystery that had me on the edge of my seat!

I really enjoyed this first instalment in the Zodiac Mysteries. Julia is an interesting, intelligent sleuth and her likewise mystical friends, provide for a really enjoyable story.

The Zodiac Mysteries are a new series that no reader wants to miss. I can't wait to read the second book in the series, All Signs Point to Murder.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book Review: The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice by Waverly Curtis

Aspiring P.I. Geri Sullivan's new case has got her talking Chihuahua, Pepe, hot under the collar. Wealthy widow Lucille Carpenter left her entire fortune to her beloved dogs, and someone is trying to poison them. Anyone who would hurt a perro is lower than a cucaracha in Pepe's book. But when Geri and Pepe investigate, they discover that it's not just the coddled canines who are in danger. Now there are human targets too. 

At the lavish Carpenter manor, Pepe digs for clues among the pampered pooches, bitter relatives, suspicious staff, and larcenous lawyers. But there's only one diminutive detective smart enough to save the day--and the dogs. .[summary via Goodreads]

Have you met Pepe the Chihuahua? He's the small, but wonderful, hero in Waverly Curtis' mysteries, and he is charming, entertaining and also has his nose on the clues!!! In her latest mystery, together with his owner and aspiring P.I., Geri, he's looking to solve a murder and save some fellow canines!

I love Pepe! He's the first Chihuahua, that I read about, that made me want to adopt a Chihuahua of my own. While that dream hasn't become a reality (yet!), I get to live vicariously with Pepe's adventures in the Barking Detective mysteries. Pepe isn't just any ordinary Chihuahua... he talks! He has an opinion on EVERYTHING and isn't afraid to speak his mind to Geri, who is the only one that can hear him. Naturally with Pepe on board, solving a case is anything but boring!!

I really enjoyed the fourth instalment in this series. Geri and Pepe are looking to solve the mystery surrounding a wealthy pack of canines and someone who is trying to poison them. The mystery is right in the middle of a lavender festival, and I found it quite interesting the various uses of lavender, besides it's beautiful smell. 

Altogether it was an enjoyable adventure, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Pepe and Geri are up to next.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Review: Wound Up in Murder by Betty Hechtman

With two yarn retreats in the bag, Casey is looking forward to running her third one at Cadbury by the Sea’s Vista Del Mar hotel on the Monterey Peninsula. This time, each knitter will get a Mystery Bag of knitting materials to turn into a personal project. 

But Casey gets tangled up in another retreat at the same hotel, when the organizer and his wife have a very public spat. As Casey is delivering her baked goods later that night, she finds the woman dead in the bushes with a magician’s silk scarf nearby—just like the scarf Casey’s ex-boyfriend, Sammy, used during his magic act at the retreat. As Sammy takes center stage as the prime suspect, Casey and her friends will have to stitch together the clues before the real killer pulls a disappearing act...[summary via Goodreads]

For more than 20 years I've been a knitter and a crocheter. I love working with yarn to create something warm and cozy, but also sometimes quirky and cute! As such, I love cozy mysteries that centre around crafts, especially yarn crafts. When I first discovered Betty Hechtman's Yarn Retreat mysteries, I was excited. Here was a series that was just for me! Crochet, knitting and a mystery altogether in one fantastic package!!

Since then I've read the first, second and now the third book in the series and I'm absolutely hooked. With each book I've enjoyed visiting Cadbury by the Sea. Casey, our amateur sleuth, is always up to something exciting and it usually involves a interesting mystery, and also something tangled on her knitting needles too!

In Wound Up in Murder, she is organizing her third yarn retreat. At the same time another retreat is occurring at Vista Del Mar hotel, that centres around the year 1963. Casey becomes involved in a murder case, when someone from the 1963 retreat ends up dead, and all fingers point to her ex-boyfriend, Dr Sammy. Casey is determined to clear Sammy's name, and starts to investigate.

I couldn't get enough of the mystery in Wound Up in Murder, especially as it is intertwined with a cold case Casey is investigating on the side. It was fun trying to untangle the two mysteries!

The Yarn Retreat mysteries are fun, interesting mysteries, and would appeal to knitters and crocheters of all ages. Even if you're not a knitter or crocheter, I recommend giving them a try. After just one book, I'm sure you will be wanting to learn to knit and crochet, and join in the fun!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Book Review: We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany

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...[summary via Goodreads]

Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen, the first book in the Year Round Christmas Mysteries, was one of my favourite books of 2016. It was full of Christmas cheer and the mystery was superb. I was looking forward to reading the second offering in this series, and I was thrilled to discover, the second mystery, We Wish You a Murderous Christmas,  was even better than the first.

Since I took my first step, between the pages, into Rudolph, I've been smitten with this town and it's year round Christmas cheer. I love seeing how they embrace the holiday year-round, and what the town folk are up to. In this second mystery, it seems that the Yuletide Inn might be sold to a big hotel chain, and that's not very merry at all! When the owner's son is killed, Merry and her family and friends, have their hands full trying to find the killer.

I like Merry. She is thoughtful and deliberate about her detecting. While she does run headlong into situations, you know she has a reason to do so. It doesn't hurt that she has an adorable pooch on her side. I'm a sucker for four-legged friends in mysteries, and Merry's Saint Bernard pup, Matterhorn, certainly will steal readers hearts! He's right along side her ready to nose out a sleuth!!

The mystery itself was a tangled web, and I enjoyed watching it unravel. Vicki Delany had me on the edge of my seat, until the very last page!

I simply can't get enough of Rudolph and it's residents. I read We Wish You a Murderous Christmas over the 2016 Christmas holidays, and it was the perfect seasonal read. Having said that, I think readers will delight in reading this series anytime of the year.  I can't wait for the next book in the series!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book Review: Kernel of Truth by Kristi Abbott

Opening a gourmet popcorn shop was never on Rebecca Anderson’s bucket list. But after a failed marriage to a celebrity chef, she’s ready for her life to open up and expand. She has returned to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio, with her popcorn-loving poodle Sprocket to start a new business—naturally called POPS. As a delicious bonus, Cordelia “Coco” Bittles, a close family friend who has always been like a grandmother to Rebecca, owns the chocolate shop next door, and the two are thinking of combining their businesses.

But when Coco’s niece, Jessica, discovers her on the floor of her chocolate shop, those dreams go up in smoke. The local sheriff thinks Coco was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but Rebecca isn’t so sure. As suspects start popping up all over, Rebecca is determined to turn up the heat and bring the killer to justice in a jiffy![summary via Goodreads]

Long before I discovered cozy mysteries, I was a science fiction reader. I loved discovering new worlds between the pages. Everyday was a new adventure as I travelled to new worlds. Now my genre of choice is cozy mysteries, and alike to my love of science fiction, I get to travel. However, with cozy mysteries I get to travel to beautiful, quaint little towns and solve mysteries, at the same time. Whenever I dive into a new series, I don't know what awaits me, but I know I'm usually going to enjoy meeting new faces, new shops and new adventures. 

When I picked up Kernel of Truth I had no idea, how much I would love a new adventure to a new town. In this case it was to Grand Lake, Ohio. In Grand Lake, you will find beautiful little shops, and one shop in particular - POPS, a popcorn shop! Inside there is the delightful smell of popcorn (one of my favorite cooking smells ever!) and a adorable Poodle named Sprocket. 

My first stroll through Grand Lake was the start of a great adventure, and I loved every page of it. Not long into Kernel of Truth I desperately wanted to ignore the outside world and read the rest of the book in one sitting. Like a fantastic bowl of buttery popcorn, I wanted to devour every last morsel, and that's exactly what I did.

I like Rebecca. She has a lot of spunk, and she's not afraid to stand up for herself, even if means her fellow townfolk don't think much of her. She's determined to find her friend Coco's murderer, and together with her sleuthing (and somewhat thieving!) dog, Sprocket, she sets to play detective.

Kernel of Truth  is everything a reader is looking for in a mystery. It was fun to discover the town, the folks with their quirky personalities and solve the mystery. I'm looking forward to taking another trip back to Grand Lake soon. In the meantime, there are some great popcorn recipes (that are gluten free too!) for me to try!!