Aug 29, 2020

The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing “The Darkest Evening” by Ann Cleeves it's the 9th instalment in the Vera Stanhope Mystery Series. I love the Vera Mystery series and this instalment did not disappoint.  In fact, I thought that it was one of the best in the series.

Driving home during a swirling blizzard, Vera Stanhope's only thought is to get there quickly.

But with the snow driving down heavily, she becomes disorientated and loses her way. Ploughing on, she sees a car slewed off the road ahead of her. With the driver's door open, Vera assumes the driver has sought shelter but when she inspects the car she is shocked to find a young toddler strapped in the back seat.

Afraid they will freeze, Vera takes the child and drives on, arriving at Brockburn, a run-down stately home she immediately recognizes as the house her father Hector grew up in.

Inside Brockburn a party is in full swing, with music and laughter to herald the coming Christmas. But outside in the snow, a young woman lies dead and Vera knows immediately she has a new case. Could she be the child's mother, and if it is, what happened to her?

A classic country house mystery with a contemporary twist, Ann Cleeves returns with a brilliant new novel to savour.
The Series is character-driven and also very descriptive you feel like you are right there in Northumbria, England. In this instalment we get to catch up with Vera and her team, but we also meet her estranged snooty relatives that lived in the big house. This complicated things for Vera as she dealt with in the investigation.  Vera reflects on her upbringing in comparison to the way her cousin Juliette grew up. 

The story is full of family secrets and half truths as well as the gossip that seems to thrive in small communities.  We had lots of suspects but I did not guess until it was revealed, in fact the villain wasn’t even on my radar. 

I highly recommend this book and the Vera Stanhope Mystery series to all my British Mystery loving friends.

I requested and received an Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Aug 21, 2020

Deadly Drama by Jody Holford

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing the 4th installment in the Britton Bay Mystery series, "Deadly Drama" by Jody Holford. I found it to be as enjoyable and entertaining as the previous 3 books.

Newspaper editor and amateur sleuth Molly Owens takes center stage when it's curtains for a theater director . . .
Living in the beautiful coastal town of Britton Bay, Oregon, seems like the perfect fit for Molly. She enjoys her work as editor-in-chief of the Britton Bay Bulletin, loves her boyfriend Sam, and feels at home in the adorable cottage in the back of his mother's bed and breakfast.

This spring Britton Bay is staging its first-ever community theater production. The show—featuring local residents—is the talk of the town, but tongues are really wagging over the director. It turns out former soap opera actress Magnolia Sweet is anything but; nothing's worse than a has-been on a power trip, and steely Magnolia routinely chews out her amateur cast.

Still, it's a shock to all when she's found murdered in the theater. Now it's open call for suspects, as Molly steps in to shine a spotlight on a killer waiting in the wings. But will this be her final act?

I was happy to be transported back to Britton Bay on the Oregon coast, (which is also on my wishlist to visit once covid is over).  Jody is very good at describing the setting etc. so I can picture it in my mind as the story unfolds.  The main set of characters were just as fabulous as in the previous books Jill, Molly, Sam and Katherine and who can forget the bouncing dog Tigger.  Plus local homeless man, Corky was part of the story and I was glad to see how he was fairing.  All in all it was like visiting family and friends with an adventure thrown in. 

I found that this instalment was more like an intrigue romance novel, but I didnt mind (being that Jody writes romance this can be expected) It was nice to delve deeper into the relationship between Sam and Molly and we got a clearer picture of where it is going.  

The mystery was well written and had plenty of suspects who wanted the victim dead.  I did not suspect the killer till the end when the final pieces fell into place.  

I highly recommend this cozy mystery series to all my friends who love a cozy with romance thrown in.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Lyrical Underground via NetGalley. 
All of the above opinions are my own.

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Aug 19, 2020

15 Minutes of Flame by Christina Brecher

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing "15 Minutes of Flame" the 3rd Instalment in the Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery series by Christin Brecher.  I was super excited to receive an advanced copy as I love this series and I wasn’t disappointed as this was even better than the last!

As Stella Wright's Nantucket candle store thrives, her knack for solving mysteries burns equally bright--especially when a Halloween haunted house uncovers evidence of a centuries-old murder . . . 
When Stella's friend inherits a creaky, abandoned home in Nantucket, she knows it's the perfect setting for the town's annual Halloween fundraiser. A deserted, boarded-up building on the property--once used as a candle-making shop--adds to the creepy ambiance. But as Stella explores the shack's dilapidated walls, she discovers a terrible secret: the skeleton of a Quaker woman, wrapped in blood-soaked clothing and hidden deep within a stone hearth . . .

While police investigate, Stella wastes no time asking for help from friends with long ties to Nantucket's intricate history. The key to the murder may lie within a scorching 18th century love triangle that pit two best friends against one another over a dubious man. But before the case is solved, another life will be claimed--leaving Stella to wonder who in Nantucket is friend, and who is foe . . .
I really enjoyed this instalment in the series and visiting Nantucket again. 

The Protagonist Stella is well developed, likeable and I loved her friendships with the folks in town. Another favourite of mine is Tinker the cat (my first cat was named Tinker as well) who was part of this instalment too. I liked the addition of Clemmie the barista and how she played a role in the story.

I found that the story was well paced and I couldn’t put the book down as I wanted to know who the killer was. The description of the setting and crime scenes are strong and really drew me in. The ending was good and I didn’t guess the killer till Stella did.   

We didn’t see as much candle making in this story but there are instructions for making your own candle clock at the back along with Clan Chowder recipe.

Highly recommended to all my cozy friends! I really hope there will be a book 4 soon!

I requested and received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington and NetGalley.  All thoughts and opinions are my OWN

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Aug 17, 2020

Mums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing Mums and Mayhem the 3rd instalment in the “A Magic Garden Mystery“ series by Amanda Flower. It can be read as a standalone but I recommend reading in order.

A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden's left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox's father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona's blood be spilt?

World-famous fiddle player Barley McFee arrives in blustery Bellewick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for a grand homecoming concert organized by jeweler Bernice Brennan. Fiona Knox, owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop, is starting to regret volunteering to help with the concert. Bernice is an exacting taskmaster, and Fiona has enough tension dealing with her parents, who have traveled from Tennessee to visit Fi and her younger sister, Isla, and to reveal a secret about Fi's birth. But when Barley is found dead in his trailer during the concert's intermission, and his death is shockingly tied to Fiona's father, Fiona discovers there are more secrets surrounding her family than she realized.

Much to the chagrin of handsome Neil Craig, Chief Inspector of the County Aberdeen Police, Fiona delves into the case to clear her father's name. To make matters worse, Fiona learns that Duncreigan, the magical garden that she inherited from her godfather, is dying. At some point during the concert, someone broke into the garden and cut the centuries-old climbing rose--the source of the garden's magic--from the standing stone.

The stakes are higher than ever and Fiona could lose all that she's grown unless she's able to dispel this terrible curse and dig up the truth--fast.
This is my favourite series by Amanda Flower, and once again I was pulled in and taken on a wonderful journey to Scotland and the magic of Duncreigan. This series also has a nice hint of the paranormal that runs throughout each story. I don't think it is overpowering and I enjoy how the garden sends Fiona visions on what she needs to solve a mystery.

The mystery was well written and carries through the entire story. There were a couple of twists and turns that I didn't see coming which added to the mystery. I was surprised at who the murderer was and why they did it.

This book had me hooked from the beginning and I finished in a couple nights. I hope there will be more books in this series because I am looking forward to seeing how things turn out for a few of the main characters.

I requested and received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my OWN. 

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Aug 10, 2020

Kickbacks, Kayaks, and Kidnapping By Tonya Kappes

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing “Kickbacks, Kayaks, and Kidnapping” by Tonya Kappes the 12th instalment in the " Camper and Criminals Mystery" series. I really enjoy this series and look forward to visiting Normal and the Laundry Club ladies.

Welcome to Normal, Kentucky~ where nothing is normal. 

Deep in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest, Mae West has spent the last few years bringing the rundown Happy Trails Campground and the small southern and cozy town of Normal, Kentucky back to a thriving economic community.

Mae's efforts haven't gone unnoticed. Not only is Happy Trails Campground in the running to be named Campground Hospitality of the Daniel Boone National Park, but she landed the coveted Paddle Fest kayak competition that secures the winner a spot on the Olympic team.

When champion and Olympian kayaker Bryce Anderson turns over in his kayak dead...there's more than paddling going on and his death has been ruled a homicide. News of Bryce's death spreads fast and Happy Trails becomes the center of bad publicity.

Come camping with Mae West and the Laundry Club Ladies as they put their sleuthing, well nosy, caps on and put their skills to the test so they can figure out who killed the Olympian and save Happy Trails from financial ruin.
I really enjoyed this instalment in the Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery series. I adore Mae and the laundry Club ladies, and the whole concept of living in a RV Park in the woods.  I must say I think this is my favorite series by Tonya Kappes but I seem to say that about all of them.

In this instalment Mae and Happy Trails Campground are hosting the Paddle Fest Competition and the winner will go on to the Olympic Kayaking team.  Star kayaker Bryce is Found murdered at the opening ceremony and Mae must figure out who did it before all her hard work is undone.

This mystery had a lot of suspects and I didn’t figure it out till just before Mae!  I was yelling at the book saying no don’t trust him/her!

One of my favourite characters is Dottie and in this story she is hilarious with her unfiltered comments, especially about the victim and his shenangins...

If your looking for a fun, hillarous southern mystery then this is your book!

I requested and received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my OWN.

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Aug 5, 2020

Chili Cauldron Curse by Lynn Cahoon

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing Chili Cauldron Curse an introduction to the Kitchen Witch Mystery series by Lynn Cahoon.  Once again I think Lynn Cahoon has a hit series in the making!  I absolutely love her Tourist Trap and Cat Latimer Mystery series, this will surely be a new favourite by this author.

 When Mia Malone’s grandmother asks her to take a week away from her restaurant job and come to Magic Springs, Idaho, she’s happy to oblige. Like Mia, Grans has witchcraft running through her veins, and life with her is never boring. Plus, the cause is a good one—helping Grans get the local food bank up and running again. But there’s an unappetizing surprise in store. While Mia is knee-deep in boxes of donated produce, she encounters the body of Dorian Alexander.

Dorian was a warlock, leader of the local coven. He was also her Grans’ new beau. There’s no potion that’ll make this trouble disappear. But if Mia wants to keep her Grans—now a prime suspect—from serving a spell in prison, she’ll have to unearth the real killer fast. . . .

Welcome to Magic Springs, Idaho.   Having been to Idaho I could picture the area where the story is taking place and I found myself engrossed in the story and really enjoying the characters. It was entertaining, full of twists and turns that kept me guessing till the very end.

What a great way of  introducing us to the main characters Mia, Grans, and Mr. Darcy the cat familiar.  I can’t wait for ONE POISON PIE to be released.

I highly recommend this new series to all my cozy loving friends.

I requested and received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington Books and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my OWN.

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Aug 3, 2020

Bloodmages and Blackmail By Lily Webb

Hello my cozy friends,
Today I am reviewing “Bloodmages and Blackmail” the 10th instalment in the Magic and a Mystery series by Lily Webb. If you like meddling mages, blistering blackmail, and magical murder mysteries, then you’ll love this spellbinding series.
Someone is out for blood...

For Head Witch Zoe Clarke, everything has led to this moment. Since defeating a deadly organization of warlocks, Zoe has been enjoying some much-needed time off with her fiancé, Beau, and their newborn babies.

But after one of Zoe's colleagues is found drained dry, Zoe’s blood boils. And when threats of more attacks surface, Zoe realizes her enemies haven't finished with her yet.

From a new band of red-robed mages spreading propaganda to the growing rifts among her colleagues, Zoe’s convinced more blood will be spilled before it’s over — especially when another of her colleagues gets siphoned.

Will Zoe catch the killer red handed? Or will her efforts be like squeezing blood from a stone?

I loved this instalment, Zoe had the twins Blaize and Ellie and the struggle of whether or not she should return to work as Head Witch is all to real. Every instalment is better than the last! Like I have said many times before Lily is very talented in her descriptive writing and because of this your pulled into the story right away.  I read in about 4 hours, as it was that good .

There were plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing on who the culprits are.  Overall this was a great paranormal cozy and I hope there will be plenty more to come.

I highly recommend this series to all my friends.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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I always love reading comments and getting to know my fellow cozy lovers.


Aug 2, 2020

Dread and Butter By Chelsea Thomas

Hello my cozy friends,

Today I am reviewing “
Dread and Butter“ book 9 in the ”Apple Orchard Cozy Mystery” series by Chelsea Thomas. I love spending time in Pine Grove, NY.
The body was found face down in a loaf of bread. 

Chelsea has always been scared of too many carbs. But this is worse than she ever imagined. Bread is too delicious to be used as a weapon. Especially Miss May's fluffy sour dough.

Good detectives follow every clue.

This time, those clues include a mysterious note, a fallen toupee and a literal trail of bread crumbs. But will Miss May, Chelsea and Teeny be able to find the killer while the crime is still fresh? Or will the clues get so stale they’re too tough to chew?

Pine Grove jail serves pretty good food.

Still, no one should spend a night there unless they’re guilty. So it’s up to the girls to catch the killer before an innocent person gets pinned for the crime.
I enjoyed this book even more than the previous ones, the characters are well-developed and we continue to learn a little bit more about each of them. My favourites are still Teeny, auntie May and Chelsea.  We still seem to have a love triangle with Germany and Wayne wanting Chelsea’s affection.

The mystery has so many twists and red hearings that you are kept guessing until the very end. I continue to enjoy this cozy mystery series. I find them to be entertaining and the plot moves at a steady pace that keeps you engaged.  
Also Steve the dog has been digging hole's for Chelsea and KP to look at, what is the reason for this...

I can’t wait for the next instalment The Smoking Bun” to come out!

I highly recommend this book/series. It can easily stand alone but I recommend you read the series from the beginning.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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An Intrigue of Witches A Secret Society Mystery by Esme Addison

Hello my cozy friends,  Today I am reviewing “An Intrigue of Witches” by Esme Addison the first instalment in A Secret Society Mystery .  Wh...