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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!!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Review: Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Jane Steward is organizing a week of activities for fans of love stories at her book-themed resort. But her Regency readers barely have time to brush up on their Jane Austen before tragedy strikes Storyton Hall. Rosamund York, one of the most celebrated authors in attendance, is killed. 

Rosamund had as many enemies as she did admirers, including envious fellow novelists, a jealous former lover, and dozens of angry fans. It’s up to Jane, with the help of her book club, the Cover Girls, to catalogue the list of suspects and find a heartless killer quickly—before the murderer writes someone else off…[summary via Goodreads]

As a reader, I love books about books! The one cozy mystery that epitomizes this more than any other is Ellery Adams' Book Retreat Mysteries. This series centres around a retreat, where books line the walls, and unknown to the guests Jane Steward is part of a secret organization that protects rare books. It's books, books, and more books! Being a reader that can't ever get enough books, it is easy to see why this is one of my favourite series!

In the second book in this series, Jane and the crew at Storyton Hall are getting ready for a week of regency romance. They are expecting all things romance, and what they aren't expecting is murder. And, murder of one of the most celebrated romance authors at that!! Jane must put her detecting skills to work to uncover the murderer, before they strike again.

I'm not a big regency reader, even though I do love Pride and Prejudice. Having said that, I loved every word of Murder in the Paperback Parlor. The mystery was intriguing, and alongside the mystery the reader learns more about Jane and the books she is served to protect. There are so many layers to this series, and it is the little side plots that are just as interesting, as the main course - i.e. the mystery itself.

I can't get enough of this series! Murder in the Paperback Parlor  was even better than the first book in the series, and I can't wait to dig in to the next book to see what is in store for Jane and the crew at Storyton Hall.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Book Review: Murder Gone A-Rye by Nancy J Parra

When Toni’s beloved—and eccentric—grandma Ruth is arrested for the murder of her archenemy, Lois Striker, it’s time for a senior moment of truth. Telltale tracks from a scooter like the one Grandma Ruth rides lead the police to suspect the outspoken oldster, but Toni knows her grandmother wouldn’t burn a cookie, let alone extinguish a life.

In fact, the case has Grandma more revved up than her infamous scooter. A former investigative journalist, she decides to solve the murder herself—with help from Toni—by digging up long-buried town secrets. But as Grandma scoots in where others fear to tread, Toni needs to make sure she not only stays out of jail but out of harm’s way…[summary via Amazon]

Having been diagnosed with Celiacs disease many years ago, I leaped on the first book in the Baker's Treat Mysteries, Gluten for Punishment, when it first came out. A mystery series that featured a gluten free bakery is my idea of heaven! Especially as it also included gluten free recipes!!

I was in need of another trip to Oiltop, Kansas, and dove into the second book in the series, Murder Gone A-Rye. It was every bit as delightful and enjoyable as the first book.

In Murder Gone A-Rye, Toni is trying to keep her Grandma Ruth out of jail, when she becomes a suspect in the murder of her archenemy, Lois Striker. Toni's grandmother is not the sweet, old lady variety. No she's the feisty, hellion on a scooter type and Toni has her hands full stopping Ruth, along with her Aunt Phyllis, investigating the crime and getting arrested again!

I love Grandma Ruth and all of Toni's family. They are a big, loud, fun family and there is never a dull moment!! For me, Toni's family absolutely makes this series. Grandma Ruth is a laugh a minute, and the kind of awesome grandmother you wish you had. She is eager to discover long-buried secrets and she's not afraid to get into trouble, or arrested either!! With Ruth at the helm of the mystery, it was never dull - not even for a second.

In my opinion, Murder Gone A-Rye was even better than the first book. The characters are fantastic, the mystery itself was intriguing, as it involved a long-ago murder, and I couldn't put it down. I can't wait to pick up the third book in the series, Flourless to Stop Him.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Book Review: Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delany

In Rudolph, New York, it’s Christmastime all year long. But this December, while the snow-lined streets seem merry and bright, a murder is about to ruin everyone’s holiday cheer…

As the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry Wilkinson knows how to decorate homes for the holidays. That’s why she thinks her float in the semi-annual Santa Claus parade is a shoe-in for best in show. But when the tractor pulling Merry’s float is sabotaged, she has to face facts: there’s a Scrooge in Christmas Town.

Merry isn’t ready to point fingers, especially with a journalist in town writing a puff piece about Rudolph’s Christmas spirit. But when she stumbles upon the reporter’s body on a late night dog walk—and police suspect he was poisoned by a gingerbread cookie crafted by her best friend, Vicky—Merry will have to put down the jingle bells and figure out who’s really been grinching about town, before Vicky ends up on Santa’s naughty list…[summary via Amazon]

Welcome to Christmas in Rudolph, New York! It's exactly what you would imagine a Christmas in the North Pole to be. The streets are alive with Christmas spirit, with Santa strolling down the street, gingerbread baking at the bakery and friendly people everywhere. Well that is what Christmas in Rudolph is supposed to be like, but this year there is a little murder on the menu as well!

I love Christmastime. I live in Canada, and the snow is falling, the stores are festively decorated, and it's the perfect time to cozy up with a warm cup of tea and a good book (a cozy mystery, of course!). With my love of the holiday season, it's no great surprise that I love to read Christmas-themed books during the holidays. With Vicki Delany's release of her Year-Round Christmas Mysteries, it's the perfect time of the year to catch up on this great new series.

Vicki Delany sets the perfect scene of the idyllic small town, where their business is centred around Christmas. The streets are packed with tourists, and it seems like it's going to be another perfect holiday season. That is until a murderer strikes, and panic amongst the residents starts to set in. For the residents of Rudolph, Christmas is everything, and Merry and her friends must try to solve this mystery, before they have no customers at all.

From the start to the end, I cherished Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen. It is the perfect Christmastime cozy mystery, with just the right balance between mystery and holiday spirit. I liked the sleuth, Merry, a lot. Her family is big on Christmas spirit, with her dad, Noel, playing Santa every year. Of course with a name like Merry, she loves it too!! Together with her friend, Vicky, they set about to solve the mystery - even travelling to one town over to see if they are involved in the murder somehow.

There is so much to love in the town of Rudolph, including Merry's Saint Bernard pup, Matterhorn, and I'm already eager to take another trip there to see what kind of mischief Merry, her family and friends will be up to next.

If you are looking for a great mystery, filled with holiday spirit, this season, pick up Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen. You won't be disappointed!