Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pumpkin Pied: A Gray Whale Inn Short Story

Author: Karen MacInerney
Series: Gray Whale Inn
Genre:  Cozy Mystery

Description:  It's almost time for the Cranberry Island Harvest Festival and Pie Bake-Off... and the much-anticipated annual Great Pumpkin Contest. But trouble starts brewing when the front-running pumpkin is sabotaged... and flickering, ghostly lights set island tongues wagging. When the corn maze goes up in smoke, things really start heating up... and it's up to innkeeper Natalie Barnes to get to the bottom of things. Is it really a ghost? Or is it someone's twisted idea of Halloween hijinks -- which may take a deadly turn?

My Review

This is a short e-novella that is part of the author's Gray Whale Inn Series.  I have to begin by saying that I have been a fan of this series for a while, so when I saw that this novella was released I quickly snapped it up as part of my Kindle Unlimited subscription.  This novella is just about 50 pages so it is a quick read.  I found this to be a great addition to the series.  I love the setting and characters of the Gray Whale Inn series and it was like visiting an old group of friends when I sat down to read this story.  All of your favorite characters are back for the Harvest Festival, and yes, once again trouble finds Natalie.  Except this time, she has a friend from back home staying with her on the island.  It is her friend Lucy and the reader gets a glimpse of the main character from the first book Killer Jam in the Dewberry Farms series.  As I said, this was a quick and enjoyable read and if you are a fan of the series don't miss this short story installment.  It is well written and the characters are wonderful. I think you will really enjoy the story and you might even be surprised at which character does the town a good deed.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Engaged in Danger

Author:  Barbara Venkataraman
Series:  Jamie Quinn Mysteries #4

Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services

Description:  Finally, life is good for reluctant family law attorney, Jamie Quinn--her father may get his visa soon, her boyfriend is the bomb, and her law practice is growing like crazy--but when she agrees to take on a high-profile divorce case, everything falls apart. What looked like an opportunity to work with her friend Grace and make some serious bucks has turned into a deadly game, one that could destroy their friendship and tear their town apart. Why couldn't Jamie just leave well enough alone?


I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  This is the fourth installment in the Jamie Quinn Mysteries.  I have read the previous three and so when I was gifted this book I was happy to read and review.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the series and I have to say this installment did not disappointed.  Ms. Venkataraman has written a main character that I find to be very likable and can relate to both on a personal and professional level.  In addition to Jamie, the series has a cast of re-occurring characters that add to the strength of the story.  I have to same I think my favorite secondary character is Duke Brussard, the PI who Jamie occasionally hires to assist her with her cases.  What I particularly enjoyed about this installment is the way that the author wove together what appeared to be seemingly unrelated mysteries into a much larger mystery which is revealed toward the end of the novel.  There is even a nice twist on the case Duke is working on which is unrelated to the case for which Jamie has hired him.  The story had plenty of twists for me and I have to say that I was a little surprised at how the two mysteries related to each other.  The story is well written with a nice pace.  I find this series to be a quick and enjoyable read and I look forward to seeing what the author has in store for Jamie Quinn in the future.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fatal Reservations

Author:  Lucy Burdett
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Penguin Group

Description:  Hayley Snow looks forward to reviewing For Goodness Sake, a new floating restaurant that promises a fresh take on Japanese delicacies like flambéed grouper with locally sourced seaweed. But nearby land-based restaurateurs would rather see their buoyant competition sink.

Sent to a City Commission meeting to cover the controversy, Hayley witnesses another uproar. The quirky performers of the daily Sunset Celebration are struggling to hold onto their performance space. The fight for Mallory Square has renewed old rivalries between Hayley’s Tarot-card reading friend Lorenzo and a flaming-fork-juggling nemesis, Bart Frontgate—but things take a deadly turn when Bart is found murdered.

If Lorenzo could read his own cards, he might draw The Hanged Man. He can only hope that Hayley draws Justice as she tries to clear him of murder…

My Reveiw

I won an advanced copy of Fatal Reservations in exchange for an honest review.  I have been a fan of the Key West Food  Critic Mysteries since the first book and the latest installment does not disappoint. I like that the books are set in Key West and have an island theme that is paired so well with the food theme.  Lucy Burdette has written such wonderful quirky characters who feel like they have become old friends over the course of the series.  In this installment we find Hayley along with the rest of her friends trying to prove here friend Lorenzo innocent of the murder of his nemesis.  The question is can she believe him when his story keeps changing?  I enjoyed returning to the island to visit with Hayley and her friends (especially Miss Gloria) and who knows, maybe one day I will get around to trying a recipe or two from these books.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Murder at Redwood Cove

Author:  Janet Finsilver
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  October 13, 2015

Description:  If it weren't for the fact that she's replacing a dead man, Kelly Jackson would love her new job managing the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast on the coast of Northern California. But Bob Phillips did plunge off the cliff to his death…and Kelly's starting to think it may not have been an accident. Bob's retired friends—The “Silver Sentinels”—are also on the case, especially when Kelly is attacked…and another body turns up. Kelly has her hands full with overseeing the B&B's annual Taste of Chocolate and Wine Festival, but she's also closing in on the killer…who's ready to send Kelly on her own permanent vacation…

My Review

I received an ARC of  this book from Netgalley for a fair and honest review. This is the first book in a new series by Janet Finsilver and the first book I have read by this author. I am a fan of cozy mysteries so I am always excited when I find a new voice in the genre. This was a great start to the series and I am anticipating the next installments.
Kelly Jackson, the main character, arrives at the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast as the new manager. The last one was, Bob, found dead, so they need to fill the position quickly as the B & B is playng host to a Wine and Choclolate festival. As Kelly begins her job she is assisted by a number of friends of Bob that help her get up and running. However, Kelly begins to believe that Bob's death was due to natural causes as she originally thought so she begins to snoop around and quickly finds herself in danger.

In my opinion this is a great start to a new series for this author. The setting is perfect for a cozy mystery. The plot is well written and draws the reader along for the ride. But as with most books, the story is made by the well developed characters. In this case, not only is the main character one that the reader will like and root for, but there is a cast of secondary characters that give the plot dimension and completes ths story. And there is a surprise ending that will keep readers coming back to see what Ms. Finsilver has to offer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dangerously Dark

Author:  Colette London
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  September 29, 2015

Description:  Chocolate-whisperer Hayden Mundy Moore has just arrived in Portland, Oregon, where she's about to scarf soufflés and sip cacao-based cocktails at her friend's engagement party. Fresh from nabbing her first candy-covered killer, the last thing Hayden wants to do is mix her love of chocolate with criminal mischief again. But then the groom-to-be turns up dead before beginning his renowned Chocolate-After-Dark tour. . .

Hayden's friends insist that Declan's death was a freak accident, but she knows there's no mistaking the bitter aftertaste of homicide. In the midst of habañero hot chocolate and mocha-chunk gelato, a choco-crazed killer waits to strike again. Hayden will need to use more than her extraordinarily gifted taste buds to bring this murderer to justice, but she just might have bitten off more than she can chew in the process. 

My Review

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is the second installment in Colette London's Chocolate Whisperer Mystery Series. This time, Haydon is off to Portland for the engagement party of her college friend. While there she gets to experience the chocolate side of Portland as here friend owns an ice cream food cart that is part of a group of food carts that feature chocolate in a number of forms. Hayden's visit quickly turns into another mystery to solve when her friends fiance is murdered. Hayden has plenty of suspects, including her friend, who seems to be less than grief stricken over the murder of her fiance.

I found the book to be well written with a pretty good pace. Ms. London offers a great description of the food/chocolate scene in Portland. For the second book in the series the character development seems to be on target. The only drawback that I found was that the book seemed to have more romance than mystery.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Skeleton in the Closet

Author:  Angie Fox
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Season Publishing

Description:  A haunted library is no place for a girl who can see ghosts, but when Verity Long stumbles on a dead body in the middle of the main reading room, she has to believe someone…even a dead someone…must have witnessed the crime. Her ghostly sidekick Frankie warns her to stay out of it. The very alive, very handsome deputy sheriff, Ellis Wydell, inadvertently places her directly in the middle of it. And her ex-fiancé, Ellis’s brother, is back with an agenda of his own. Undaunted, Verity presses forward, uncovering scandalous secrets, long-forgotten ghosts, and a shocking trail of clues that places her directly in the path of a killer.

My Review

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is the second book in the Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries series by this author. Verity Long stumbles onto a dead body in the middle of the library and believing that someone had to have seen who committed the crime, she sets out to solve a mystery.

This is the first book I have read by this author and I enjoyed getting to know the characters in this story. While I did not read the first the series (which I will be doing now that I have read this one), I didn't feel like I missed out too much as the author does incorporate background information. I found this book to be a quick fun read with characters that you want to get to know. That is one of the things I look for when reading a series. The characters have to engage me and I have to want to know what happens next in their lives. The author accomplishes that job with this story. The book was well written with a light touch and a good pace. As I mentioned before, I will definitely be going back to read the first book and will be looking forward to future books in this series.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Gilded Grave

Author:  Shelley Freydont
Genre:   Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Penguin Group LLC

Description:  In 1895, the height of the Gilded Age, the social elite spend their summers in Newport, Rhode Island. Within the walls of their fabulous “cottages,” competition for superiority is ruthless … and so are the players. 

During her first Newport season, Deanna Randolph attends a ball given in honor of Lord David Manchester, a Barbadian sugar magnate, and his sister, Madeline. The Manchesters are an immediate success—along with their exotic manservant and his fortune-telling talents.

But on the nearby cliffs, a young maid lies dead—and suspicion falls on Joseph Ballard, a member of one of the town’s most prestigious families. 

Joe humiliated Deanna when he rebuffed an engagement to her, but while he may be a cad, she knows he isn’t a killer. Now the reluctant allies must navigate a world of parties, tennis matches, and séances to find the real murderer. But a misstep among the glittering upper classes could leave them exposed to something far more dangerous than malicious gossip…

My Review

I was given an ARC of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I have to say upfront that I am new to historical cozy mysteries. However, I am a huge fan of Shelley Freydont's Celebration Bay Mystery series so when I had the chance to review the first book in her new historical series I was happy to be chosen. 

Deanna Randolph is a not your typical amateur sleuth. She is a young woman from a prominent family with a streak of independence during a time period where such a trait is not considered proper. However, I believe Ms. Freydont has done her character justice and created a story with a well crafted plot and interesting characters that keeps the reader engaged throughout the story. There are plenty of twists, turns and suspects to keep the reader guessing until the end. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Gilded Grave and will be looking forward to more installments in this series.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Pane and Suffering

Author: Cheryl Hollon
Genre:  Cozy Mystery   
Publisher:  Kensington Books
Release Date:  September 29, 2015

Description:  To solve her father's murder and save the family-owned glass shop, Savannah Webb must shatter a killer's carefully constructed façade. . .

After Savannah's father dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, she drops everything to return home to St. Petersburg, Florida, to settle his affairs--including the fate of the beloved, family-owned glass shop. Savannah intends to hand over ownership to her father's trusted assistant and fellow glass expert, Hugh Trevor, but soon discovers the master craftsman also dead of an apparent heart attack. 

As if the coincidence of the two deaths wasn't suspicious enough, Savannah discovers a note her father left for her in his shop, warning her that she is in danger. With the local police unconvinced, it's up to Savannah to piece together the encoded clues left behind by her father. And when her father's apprentice is accused of the murders, Savannah is more desperate than ever to crack the case before the killer seizes a window of opportunity to cut her out of the picture. . .

My Review

I received an ARC of this cozy mystery from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This is the first in a new series of books by this author. Prior to reading this book, the author was not familiar to me. However, I am a fan of cozy mysteries so decided to give this one a try. I was not disappointed. The story was well written and I connected with the main character from the very begining of the book. The plot moved along and I thought the author did a good job with character development. This author is a nice new voice in the cozy mystery genre and I will be looking for the next book in this series.