Genre: Cozy Mystery

2 Quick Book Reviews

Posted October 6, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

2 Quick Book ReviewsDeath by Eggnog by Alex Erickson
Series: Bookstore Cafe Mystery #5
Published by Kensington Publishing on September 26th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Krissy Hancock is staying in her adopted hometown of Pine Hills, Ohio, for Christmas this year--and she even has a whole week off from her combination bookstore-cafe. But a killer is about to dampen her spirits . . . Unfortunately, Krissy's been roped into filling in for a sick elf in the local holiday musical extravaganza. With a demanding director, backstage gossip, and two men in fierce competition for the starring role, it isn't all sweetness and Christmas lights. Then a murder puts a stop to the production, and Krissy is faced with a pageant of suspects. Could her ex-boyfriend, a fellow elf, really be the culprit as the police are claiming? Or will the actor playing Santa be trading his red suit for an orange jumpsuit? When her behind-the-scenes investigation starts getting dangerous, the only thing Krissy really wants is to make it to Christmas dinner alive. But first she'll have to finish wrapping up this case . . .

After her father cancels their Christmas plans, Krissy Hancocks finds herself staying home for the holidays. Already taken time off from work, one of the towns people ropes her into helping with a Christmas play. Everything seems to be going fine until the very crude Santa is found dead in his dressing room and the person suspected of murder is no other than Krissy’s ex-boyfriend who now wants Krissy to clear his name.

I enjoyed this for the most part, I thought it was interesting and it seems like a great read for Christmas with a small town setting and a group of people who really love the holidays.

This would have been a 4 star read, but I took half a star off because of who done it in the end. I thought it came out of no where and the reason was just like, blah, really? It felt a bit disappointing.

2 Quick Book ReviewsSugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point #7
Published by Harlequin Books on September 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

An unlikely attraction brings comfort, joy and unforgettable romance this holiday season!
Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she's been living. She's made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn't one of them. Julia's looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker's latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia's care for the holidays, she'll take any help she can get—even Jamie's.
Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that's much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can't last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever…

If you are looking for some holiday reading this Christmas season, look no further. RaeAnne Thayne is an amazing author to pick up when you are looking for a cozy, heartwarming romances. Yes, they are predictable as far as romance goes, but her books are very character driven.

Julia Winston was a lovely librarian character with a big heart that took in two boys in need and gave them a temporary home, even if she knew it would eventually break her heart.

Jamie had quite a lot of heartbreak in his life when it came to women and family, but watching his affection grow for Julia was so heartwarming.

Wonderful characters, sweet romance, and heartwarming writing that just keeps me coming back for more.

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Review: Southern Fried by Tonya Kappes

Posted September 22, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

Review:  Southern Fried by Tonya KappesSouthern Fried by Tonya Kappes
Series: Kenni Lowry Mystery #2
Published by Henery Press on April 4th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 300
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In the South, it’s better when the food is fried and the secrets kept buried…
After the dead body of a beloved Cottonwood resident is found tangled up in an electric fence, Sheriff Kenni Lowry has a hunch that somethin’ ain’t right. Her investigation heats up with a fierce cook-off competition, a euchre game where the intel is sweeter than the brownies, and a decades old family recipe that may just be the proof in the pudding.
The icing on the cake: Kenni is fighting an attraction to her recently sworn-in deputy sheriff, and election season is hot on her tail. When the killer comes after who she holds most dear, even her poppa’s ghostly guidance might not be enough to keep her and her own out of the frying pan.

Owen Godfrey is dead and his murder might revolve around a certain family cookbook that everyone is just dying to get their hands on because of a secret okra recipe. When Sheriff Kenni is forced to investigate another murder of a local Cottonwood resident, she and her new deputy Finn, her Poppa and trusted pooch Duke must uncover the secrets behind the cookbook that were worth killing over.

This was such a great read. I never read a Kappes book, but it definitely won’t be my last. Kenni has a lot on her plate, she is still trying to prove that she is fit to be the town sheriff, meanwhile with the re-election coming up the retired sheriff decides to throw his name in the hat, so Kenni must solve this new murder as quickly as possible.

I loved Kenni and I loved Duke and Finn. This book has a lot of Southern charm, wit and humor along with meddling mothers and busy body neighbors, if you like books set in the south you will enjoy this gem.

I found the writing to be fun and fast paced, I found myself just flying and enjoying this book. There is a bit of romance and a ghost of Kenni’s grandfather who was an ex-sherrif who still lingers in order to help Kenni protect the town. There is a lovable pooch named Duke that just melts your heart and a wonderful cast of characters.

If you like cozy mysteries but have not read this one I recommend it. It’s engaging, has a lot going on, and never a dull moment. I just kept flipping through the pages. It was nice to get lost in the town of Cottonwood and I cannot wait to go back.

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2 Mini Book Reviews

Posted September 15, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 19 Comments

2 Mini Book ReviewsSerenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point #6
Published by HQN Books on June 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 377
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In the town of Haven Point, love can be just a wish — and one magical kiss — away…
Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he’s arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realises there’s more to sexy, wary Bo.
Bo never imagined he’d be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn’t know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he’s ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there’s room in it for him, too…

A story about a young teacher who is in the process of re-evaluating her life and in the middle of adopting a special needs girl from Columbia when she meets Bowie Callahan – a computer-tech millionaire and his special needs brother.

Reading a Thayne book is like coming home to a sweet cup of warm chocolate. The story is lovely, warm and sweet. I found myself drawn to the two people who were trying hard to find a way to deal with the new developments in their lives.

Katrina had sworn off men due to her boyfriend dumping her on their trip to Columbia and all she wants to do is adopt a little girl she met on her trip and become her mother. Bowie just found out about Milo his young brother who has a possible case of Autism and hopes that Katrina could help him while he awaited the Autism specialist. The attraction between the two had a rocky start, but I loved watching it grow between them through the story and enjoyed seeing these two develop as characters.

The ending was super sweet and heart touching.

2 Mini Book ReviewsThe Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere
Series: Mad for Mod Mystery #4
Published by Henery Press on April 18th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 264
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help to deal with her demons.

She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends, pillow talk with Hudson, and smack talk with the local bad boys. And after the victim is identified as the very doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. An unlikely ally helps navigate the murky waters before her knowledge destroys her, and this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life.

“If you love Doris Day, you’ll love Madison Night, decorator extraordinaire. She specializes in restoring mid-century homes and designs, and her latest project involves abductions, murder and vengeance.” – Books for Avid Readers

“Diane Vallere…has a wonderful touch, bringing in the design elements and influences of the ’50s and ’60s era many of us hold dear while keeping a strong focus on what it means in modern times to be a woman in business for herself, starting over.” – Fresh Fiction

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), humorous murder mysteries, book club recommendations, amateur sleuth books, southern humor, Doris Day, chick lit.

Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with her beau and handyman Hudson James. The two travel to Hudson’s sister and brother-in-law to help with the new development that his brother-in-law is in
Charge of.

Things were suppose to be easy with designing by day and romantic get away at night, but when Madison spots a body in the water – things prove a little more difficult. Now Madison finds herself tangled in deeper secrets, and a few of them are pointing back towards the new development.

Cute, cozy mystery, really awesome easy to love main-character and this entire book was just an easy read. The story was interesting, it kept me hooked. The writing was entertaining and has made the series sound extremely promising.

I have not read the other books in the series but I loved this enough to make sure I pick up any other follow-up because Madison Night and her Doris Day wardrobe obsession is my kind of girl. Her personality alone was charming and addictive.

If you are looking for a good cozy mystery, I recommend this one for you to try.

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Audio Review: Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich Lorelei King (narrator)

Posted September 12, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 20 Comments

Good morning/afternoon! Hope you guys are having a good day. Can you believe its Sept 12 already? Wow. Tomorrow is my nieces birthday and I am super excited because we get to see her for her birthday on Sunday. As we live 4-5 hours away, we only get to spend a little precious time together. Today I have Sophia Rose on the blog and she delivers us an audio book review of Janet Evanovich interesting new series. Like Sophia, I’ve been meaning to try her books for a really long time as well. I think I am just good at collecting books over reading them. Regardless, enjoy her lovely review!

Audio Review:  Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich Lorelei King (narrator)Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich, Lorelei King
Published by Random House Audio Publishing Group on June 20th 2017
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 6 hours 44 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The irrepressibly charming duo of Emerson Knight and Riley Moon returns in another gripping mystery by #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.
Buddhist monk Wayan Bagus lost his island of solitude and wants to get it back. The island was about two hundred miles northeast of Samoa. It had a mountain, beaches, a rain forest, and a volcano. And now it’s gone. Poof! Vanished without a trace.
Brilliant and boyishly charming Emerson Knight likes nothing better than solving an unsolvable, improbable mystery. And finding a missing island is better than Christmas morning in the Knight household. When clues lead to a dark and sinister secret that is being guarded by the National Park Service, Emerson will need to assemble a crack team for help. Since a crack team isn’t available, he enlists Riley Moon and his cousin Vernon. Riley Moon has a Harvard business degree and can shoot the eyes out of a grasshopper at fifty feet, but she can’t figure out how to escape the vortex of Emerson Knight’s odd life. Vernon has been Emerson’s loyal and enthusiastic partner in crime since childhood. He now lives in an RV behind Emerson’s house.
Together, this ragtag, mismatched trio will embark on a worldwide investigation that will expose a conspiracy one hundred years in the making.

For years, I’ve been meaning to try a Janet Evanovich book. I thought it would be her acclaimed Stephanie Plum series, but then this one which was only two books in, caught my eye and, yes, I confess, it was because I adore Lorelei King as a narrator.

I was a little concerned that I was picking up the second book in a series, but shrugged it off. Dangerous Minds ended up doing just fine out of order and would work as a standalone.

The book opens with a startling arrival to wealthy Emerson Knight’s estate. His former mentor, a soft-voiced Buddhist monk states that his island home disappeared. Of course, it was funny, but also set the ball in motion for eccentric Emerson, redoubtable Riley, along with Emerson’s hilarious horn-dog cousin Vernon, and the monk, Wayan, to head out on their latest adventure.

Throughout the book, I found myself bursting out with laughs, mostly at Vernon’s juvenile humor, but nearly as often at Emerson. Evanovich knows how to write brilliant, quirky and engaging characters.

The setting for this latest case is America’s Nat’l Parks that contain volcanic action. I loved this, particularly, since I just spent a bit this past summer camping at a Nat’l Park and exploring its volcanic region and I’ve been to Yellowstone, twice, where lots of the story took place.

This is a lighter suspense story with the bad guys evident from the beginning, but the mystery of what they are hiding in the national parks being the unknown element. There are a few ‘ew’ moments when things get gritty, but for the most part, the intrepid gang of heroes manage to keep life and limb intact while cheesing it up.

There is a very slow-build romance element between Emerson and Riley, but the situation they are in causes this to stop and start its way along. They are a fun pair of opposites.

Lorelei King told a saucy adventure well and I loved that though there are many more male voices than female, she nailed it. Great match for the tone and pace of the book.

So, my first outing with a Janet Evanovich book was a rousing good success and I will definitely want more Knight & Moon adventures. I think the cozy mystery and light romantic suspense lovers would be a good fit for this book/series.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Audio Review: Death Around the Bend by TE Kinsey, Narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden

Posted July 5, 2017 by Lily B in Audio, Reviews / 24 Comments

Morning guys! Hope you grabbed your coffee because I got Sophia Rose on the blog today with another excellent review. Enjoy as she expresses her thoughts and feelings about Death Around the Bend, a cozy mystery. I personally thought it sounded so fun that I want to start this series myself <3

Audio Review: Death Around the Bend by TE Kinsey, Narrated by Elizabeth KnoweldenDeath Around the Bend by T E Kinsey
Series: Lady Hardcastle Mysteries #3
Published by Brilliance Audio on June 8th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 8 hours 36 min
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, are invited to Lord Riddlethorpe’s country estate for a week of motor racing and parties, they both agree it sounds like a perfectly charming holiday. But when one of the drivers dies in a crash during the very first race, they discover that what seemed like an uncharacteristic error in judgement may have a more sinister explanation . . .
Closer investigation reveals that the driver’s car was sabotaged – and the driver murdered. The local constabulary are quick to dismiss the case, but Flo and Lady Hardcastle are determined to find out just who has committed this dastardly act, and why.
As the pair begin to make enquiries of Lord Riddlethorpe’s servants and guests, it seems that, below stairs and above, there is more to this case than meets the eye. And, even in the quiet of the countryside, death is always just around the bend.

Sparkling wit, upstairs/downstairs, motor racing, country house party, and a fantastic, unique female detecting pair to make Death Around the Bend a great listen.

This is my first encounter with the series though Death Around the Bend is book three. It can easily be read/listened to standalone or out of order. I had such a good time with it that I definitely plan to go back for the first pair.

Lady Hardcastle and her ladies’ maid, Flo are a sparkling pair and I loved following along as they found their way to the solution in the country house party murder mystery. Even though this is the third book, there is a great backstory for this pair who have been together through thick and thin. Both have surprising talents that make them good detectives.

The book follows the usual style of introducing everybody, a murder, and then the slow working through to the solution. It was not a dramatic piece, but it did have the exciting climax point with a good denouement. There is also an adorable mini-mystery plot involving a ticklish problem for one of their neighbors that bookends the other mystery. Oh, and a bit of romance in the air for another side story for a few minor characters.

It was set in Edwardian Era England. I thought the story caught the tone of those times and balanced well, staying present enough to be noticed, but also not overtaking the other elements of the plot.

The cast of characters surrounding Lady Hardcastle and Flo were a great lot. There were the below stairs serving staff and the upstairs house party of the Earl and his guests.

Now the mystery itself was clever. I worked out the who and how and somewhat why out once I had enough clues, but there were a few parts that I had to wait to get until the solution was revealed.

I really only had one niggle and it was a teeny tiny one. ‘What ho!’ was often used by Lady Hardcastle so that I cringed each time Lady Hardcastle spotted Flo. I suspect it’s her signature greeting.

The narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, was new to me. She had a great plummy English accent for the upper class characters and her voices for all the levels in the servant’s hall was superbly done. She had a huge cast to read and they were all distinct and I could easily distinguish them. She added an extra layer of goodness to an already good book. I’m pretty sure that the series would lose a little shine if I didn’t experience the rest of it with her narration.

So, all in all, this was an abso-fab story and I will definitely be getting the rest of the series. Historical mystery/cozy mystery fans should definitely give this book/series a go.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Bel of the Brawl by Maggie McConnon

Posted March 2, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 21 Comments

Review:  Bel of the Brawl by Maggie McConnonBel of the Brawl by Maggie McConnon
Series: Belfast McGrath Mystery #2
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on March 7th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Bel McGrath loves her work as a wedding chef. But with her latest event set to take place at Shamrock Manor, she just can't seem to catch a break. The Casey wedding has left her with ten thousand greenbacks in the hole, a missing staff member, and a dead groom. Now, in between Guinness beers and pub brawls, Bel must find a way to crack the case--even though what she should be cracking are eggs into the batter of the wedding cake. A good Irish girl's work is never done. . .
What begins as local town fodder for an episode of "Wedding Gone Wild" is turning into "Gangsters with Guns." With the Casey family spiraling out of control, and billable McGrath hours being lost by the minute, Bel is definitely in too deep. With all these shenanigans, she barely has time to obsess over her new boyfriend and her own unsolved mystery from years ago! Time is running out on getting the next couple down the aisle before the so-called luck of the Irish takes a deadly turn... Bel of the Brawl will keep Maggie McConnon's fans, new and old, guessing.

When I first saw the blurb for Bel of the Brawl, I knew I had to read it. It’s a cozy mystery, set in a small town. It focuses on Bel and her family who owns the Shamrock Manor (seriously, I love the name) the family is also very Irish. I didn’t read book one, but I kind of get the feel for it in the second book. There has been a murder and Shamrock Manor is suffering a little because it’s a wedding place, so the brides and grooms have a bit of reservation when it comes to booking their wedding. It also doesn’t help that when they do book, Bel’s father gives them massive discounts.

After managing to book the wedding, despite some obvious concerns, things seem to go smoothly until the end of the wedding when Bel discovers the groom – dead in the women’s bathroom. Now the tip money from the wedding is missing, along with one their server’s, and Irish gangster’s are breaking into Bel’s apartment. Can she sort through all the lies flung at her and uncover the real killer?

This was a quick read. I really appreciated the quick short chapters, with my schedule it just seemed to work out well for me. What I liked most about this book is the sibling relationship between Bel and her brother Cargan. The two are very close in this book and are working on the mystery behind the murder and the disappearing banquet server together.

This book was filled with interesting characters, from Bel’s mother and father to her brothers. I really adored the family and the closeness and how they seem to look out for each other. I absolutely adore the way her mother complains about Bel’s cooking, because Bel likes to branch out and try thing that are outside of her parents or Irish comfort zone.

I followed Belfast (loved her name) as she sorted through the lies and was bold enough to approach some people that she never should have.

Also, there is a secondary ongoing mystery in this series with Bel’s long lost best friend Amy. A girl who disappeared years ago and seemed to have shaken the little town. In this book it seems remains have been uncovered and Kevin (Bel’s friend, ex boyfriend) believes that this might be Amy. New evidence has come to light about that night also that shake Bel’s world.

What didn’t I like?

I found myself a bit peeved at Bel and Kevin. In this book Kevin is also getting married to what seems to be a wonderful woman, but because of the connection they share over this mystery with their disappearing friend – Kevin and Bel find themselves in a lip lock not once but twice now. I guess, that bothers me a bit. Bel has some unresolved feelings for Kevin and Kevin seems to as well – but they are also indirectly hurting Kevin’s soon to be wife, who seems to be Bel’s friend and a wonderful person.

The pacing was interesting, but there seem to be a few things I was left unsure of. I wanted to know what happened to the Irish Gangster and the man that was helping him, Donnie.

The reveal was weird and also felt a bit anticlimactic. If you are looking for a cozy mystery that is really just a bit subdued – this will be for you. Also, I wasn’t sure I was 100% on the same page about the reason behind the murder.

But it was cozy, and it did feel like a page turner for me. I didn’t find this boring at all.

Overall, I loved the Irish family dynamics. I loved the secondary mystery lurking in the background and I enjoyed the authors laid back writing. This series comes with well fleshed out characters, some sibling love and an interesting mystery. I did enjoy following the clues and meeting the town locals. I am looking forward to seeing where this takes us next.

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