Sunday, September 5, 2021

Book Review: DOUBLE FUDGE FELONY (Cupcake Crime Series Book 3) by Molly Maple

A new author for me...

Synopsis (from Amazon)

When Charlotte McKay's new friend is accused of murder, she will do anything to solve the crime. When Charlotte befriends Lisa Swanson, her dreams of owning a cupcake bakery finally begin to come true. 

But when a body is discovered and all signs point to Lisa being the guilty one, Charlotte doesn't know what to believe. Murder isn't the only crime that Charlotte uncovers in her quest to clear Lisa's name. When secret sins come to light, soon the plucky citizens in the small town of Sweetwater Falls don't seem quite so innocent anymore. 

Review

Charlotte McKay's dream is to create cupcake flavors, only things haven't gone her way and she's working full time and making cupcakes in her spare time. Well, her other dream involves the Police Chief's son, Logan. Her business dream become a reality when she meets Lisa, who jots down a business plan and the older women and Charlotte's best friend, Marianne, spread the word about Charlotte's cupcakes. The hitch is that Lisa is a prime suspect in Jared's murder due to a rumor they were having an affair.

From the brown snowballs to the descriptions of the scrumptious cupcakes (I think I may have gained weight just thinking about them), this was a fun read with the killer not obvious and all the evidence against Lisa. Charlotte insists (to Logan amidst falling over and being tongue-tied) that she'll find the killer. And the more time she spends with Logan, the less clumsy and nervous she is. 

This is the third in the Cupcake Crime Series, but my first read of Molly Maple and Charlotte's cupcakes. No problem, it was easily read as a stand-alone as I'm now tempted to go back to the beginning.  If you enjoy cozy mystery, smart and entreprenurial main characters, and a side of romance, you'll enjoy this one.

Vanilla Vengeance (Book 1)
Marshmallow Murder (Book 2)
Pumpkin Spice (Book 4)
Peppermint Peril (Book 5)
Caramel Corruption (Book 6)

About Molly Maple 

Molly Maple believes in the magic of hot tea and the romance of rainy days. She is a fan of all desserts, but cupcakes have a special place in her heart. She spends her days searching for fresh air, and her evenings reading in front of a fireplace. Molly Maple is a pen name for USA Today bestselling fantasy author, Mary E. Twomey. Visit her online at www.MollyMapleMysteries.com.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Cover Reveal: THE FRIDAY NIGHT MYSTERY CLUB by Joanna Campbell Slan

A New Book from Joanna Campbell Slan

                                          

A Novel Featuring a Female Amateur Sleuth and Her Friends

                                                      

Decatur, Illinois - 1986

                                                               

Release Date September 18, 2021

                                          

The Friday Night Mystery Club

A nasty divorce leaves Cragan Collins with a mountain of bills and her grandmother to support. She takes a job as an ad salesperson for The Gazette. The market is tough, but Cragan finds a mentor in business reporter, Robert Smithson. One icy January day, Robert is found dead in a city park. His murder is dismissed as gay-on-gay crime. Cragan asks The Friday Night Mystery Club to find justice for Robert. Will Cragan's quest for the truth land her on the obituary page?

 

About Joanna Campbell Slan

“Our best friend, our next-door neighbor, and ourselves with just a touch of the outrageous.” That’s how RT Book Review describes Joanna’s protagonist, Kiki Lowenstein. The truth is that’s a pretty good description of Joanna Campbell Slan as well.

Joanna is a New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, and Amazon Bestselling author as well as a woman prone to frequent bursts of crafting frenzy, leaving her with burns from her hot glue gun and paint on her clothes. And the mess? Let’s not even go there.

Otherwise, Joanna’s a productive author with more than 80 written projects to her credit. Her non-fiction work includes how to books, a college textbook for public speakers, and books of personal essays (think Chicken Soup for the Soul).

Currently, she writes five fiction series: The Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series (Agatha Award Finalist, contemporary, St. Louis setting, crafting), the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series (contemporary, Florida setting, DIY, and recycling), the Jane Eyre Chronicles (Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 1830s England, based on Charlotte BrontĂ«’s classic), the Sherlock Holmes Fantasy Thrillers (late 1800s, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s books), and the Zen Cozy Mystery Series (launch 2021).

A former TV talk show host, college teacher, and public relations specialist, Joanna was one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul contributors. She won a Silver Anvil for her work on the original FarmAid concert to benefit farmers.

In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida. You can email her at jcslan@joannaslan.com or visit her website at https://linktr.ee/jcslan

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Blog Tour and Book Review: DEADLY CYPHER - A World War II Mystery (The Deadly Series #7) by Kate Parker

Synopsis

Could a murder at Bletchley Park cost Britain the war? 

November, 1939. The British government has assembled a small group of intellectuals at an estate north of London as part of a top-secret codebreaking effort. Everything about it is clandestine. The facility is ringed with a veil of silence until one of the young female linguists is murdered. 

Britain’s counterintelligence spymaster tasks Olivia Redmond with finding the killer and the motive. Olivia is sent in alone, without clues or suspects. 

Did the murder victim uncover a mole? Could Britain’s program to break German enigma cyphers be compromised? 

If Olivia fails, it could mean the destruction of Britain. 

Deadly Cypher, book seven of the Deadly Series, is for fans of World War II era spy thrillers and classical cozy mysteries, of intrepid lady sleuths with spunk and smarts. No explicit cursing, sex, or violence. 

Deadly Cypher will be on sale until August 30, 2021 when it will be sold at full price. 

Review

The setting is Britain, at the start of World War II. The British have called up citizens with skills to break the German codes they're intercepting in hopes of saving Britain. Men and women with different skills are gathered to serve and protect Britain before the shots are fired. Billeted together, Olivia, Rosalie and other women are in close quarters with Olivia's main goal to find out who killed Sarah and why, lest there be a traitor in their midst. Add in the charming Simon, the knitting club, Captain Redmond, and John. 

The dynamics among the characters is well played and the tension is palpable. War is about to break out and Britain may survive if this group of individuals can crack the code. For the women, this is truly their means of contributing to the war effort via intel. The suspects in Sarah's murder are limited and secret doors in the house the women occupy when not working add to the mystery. With many twists and much antagonism between Olivia and Simon, the puzzle pieces and morse code come together. If you like historical fiction, WWII, and cozy mystery, you will enjoy this one. Although book 7 in the Deadly Series, this was easily read as a stand alone.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

About the Author

With her love of travel, Kate Parker sets her novels overseas. Once home from her research trips and armed with hot tea and chocolate, she can be found clicking away on her keyboard, hiking the hills of central North Carolina, and spoiling her 90 pound muse puppy. She’d tell you what she did before she retired, but then she’d have to use certain skills to eliminate you. 

She pens stories to entertain readers who enjoy action and murder in tales about plucky heroines, quirky characters, and difficult situations in a bygone era. Her stories are sweet, as in no graphic sex, violence, or language. Her heroines remain ladylike while chasing murderers and escaping danger. Well, as ladylike as scratching, punching, and kicking can be. 

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Monday, August 23, 2021

Blog Tour and Book Review: CAJUN KISS OF DEATH (A Cajun Country Mystery) by Ellen Byron

Synopsis

The next shot from Cupid’s bow may be fatal in USA Today bestselling, Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s hearty and delightful seventh Cajun Country mystery. 

In Pelican, Louisiana, Valentine’s Day has a way of warming the heart, despite the February chill. But the air at Crozat Plantation B&B turns decidedly frigid when celebrity chef Phillippe Chanson checks in. And when the arrogant Phillippe–in town to open his newest Cajun-themed restaurant–perishes in a fiery boat crash, Maggie Crozat’s dear friend JJ lands in very cold water. 

Did JJ, proprietor of Junie’s Oyster Bar and Dance Hall, murder Phillippe because he feared the competition? Might Maggie’s mother, Ninette, have bumped off the chef for stealing one of her cherished recipes? Or was the culprit a local seafood vendor, miffed because Phillippe was somehow able to sell oysters for a remarkably reasonable price, despite an oyster shortage? 

Maggie had planned to devote her February to art lessons in New Orleans, a present from her sweetheart, Bo. But now she has to focus on helping her friend and her mother cross a murder charge off the menu. Meanwhile, Maggie receives a series of anonymous gifts that begin as charming but grow increasingly disturbing. Does Maggie have an admirer–or a stalker? And are these mysterious gifts somehow related to Phillippe’s murder? 

Blood may be thicker than water, but this case is thicker than gumbo. And solving it will determine whether Maggie gets hearts and roses–or hearse and lilies–this Valentine’s Day. 

Review 

With a Lousiana setting, it's no surprise that the mystery involves food and celebrations, even if it's not in New Orleans proper. The big question is whether some famous chef can out cook the local restaurant run by JJ (and put JJ out of business). With Philippe Chanson romancing one of his sous chefs while still in partnership with his ex-wife, adds another layer of intrigue and then Philippe is murdered. And they're all staying at the bed'n breakfast run by Maggie and her family. As the story heats up, with JJ's closed and Chanson found to be stealing recipes from many, Maggie barely has time to think about the mysterious gifts arriving and not from her husband, Bo. 

The Cajun flavor is delightful and the pace is steady. It's not quite clear how the Valentine's countdown plays into the murder until the end. Nor is it clear how the guy Maggie dated a few times is involved. I liked the characters I was supposed to like and I wasn't too unhappy or surprised when Philippe was killed. There are plenty of surprises, right to the very end.

This is the seventh in the series, but I haven't read the whole series. It was easily read as a stand alone and I enjoyed the mysteries and celebrating Maggie and Bo's first Valentine's Day as husband and wife.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

About the Author 

Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won the Agatha award for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty awards for Best Humorous Mystery. She writes the Catering Hall Mystery series, which are inspired by her real-life, under the name Maria DiRico. Ellen is an award-winning playwright, and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME, and FAIRLY ODD PARENTS. She has written over two hundred articles for national magazines but considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart. 

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Sunday, August 8, 2021

Blog Tour and Book Review: MURDER ON HONKY TONK ROW (A Ghost & Camper Kooky Mystery #2) by Rita Moreau


About the Book 

Will camping in the country music capital have Mabel kicking up some saw dust… or line-dancing to her doom? 

Despite their good deed in Savannah, Mabel Gold’s ghostly friend Irma remains stuck in Purgatory. So when the plucky sixty-something divorcĂ©e pulls her haunted vintage camper into a Nashville campground, she’s expecting Irma to accompany her on the tour of the Grand Ole Opry. But as they two-step into a honky-tonk for some live tunes, they’re shocked to encounter two lost spirits stranded there for the past twenty years after their double homicide.

Though St. Peter hints that solving the long-closed case could get Irma through the Pearly Gates, Mabel has little time to uncover the culprit before she’s due to boot-scoot off to the Badlands. But when shady financials surface and threaten to ruin the honky-tonk owner’s run for governor, trying to help the poor souls pass on could land the fearless sleuth in a whole heap o’ trouble. 

Can Mabel collar the killer before she’s singing country-western with choirs of angels? 

Murder on Honky-Tonk Row is the second book in the lighthearted Ghost & the Camper kooky mystery series. If you like wacky characters, quick-witted banter, and crooners with a twang, then you’ll love Rita Moreau’s clever caper. 

Review 

Mabel and a group of friends have taken to the road, much to the chagrin of one of  Mabel's daughters. Only Mabel isn't alone in her camper. She has her own ghost, Irma, who is visible initially to only Mabel, and wears a variety of costumes depending on the situation. Mabel is compelled to help Irma get out of purgatory and Irma is determined to help others to appease St. Peter. That usually involves a murder. In Nashville, this translates to finding the killer of two young people so they can cross over and be at peace.  Only that means solving a cold case with the only witnesses the two victims (ghosts), a waitress who was working that night, and the cop who worked the case and currently runs the campground where the travelers are camped.

This was a fun read with quirky and kooky characters, not limited to Irma, ---=, and ---. There's the expected pushback as the ladies probe what happened that night, but Mabel and crew have lots of connections and bikers show up and camp between the thugs trying to force them to leave and the camper group. Thanks to Irma's prodding and Mabel's tenacity, the plot moves along in creative ways. 

Although I can take or leave paranormal cozies, I enjoyed this one. It is not the first in the series, but can easily be read as a stand alone. If you like paranormal, senior sleuths, and kooky characters, you'll enjoy this one. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

About the Author 

Rita Moreau is the author of the Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery series and the Ghost & Camper Kooky Mystery series. 

A workaholic by nature, upon retirement, Rita Moreau began work on her bucket list, writing a book. Traveling the national parks with her husband George in a vintage Bluebird motor home, (on George’s list), Rita completed her first novel Bribing Saint Anthony. Back home she completed Nuns! Psychics! & Gypsies! OH! NO, Feisty Nuns and The Russian & Aunt Sophia and The House on Xenia. Last year when we entered the Twilight Zone Rita wrote the first two new novels in the Ghost & the Camper series. 

Rita and her husband live in a postcard called Florida where he has fun telling everyone he is the author’s husband. When not writing she joins PatZi Gil on the Joy on Paper radio program with Book Buzz Mysteries, or you can find her teaching SilverSneakers fitness classes and doing her best to keep busy. She loves connecting with readers. Visit her at www.RitaMoreau.com or find her on Facebook at facebook.com/RitaMoreauAuthor. She would love to hear from you.

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Monday, August 2, 2021

Book Review: THE CHOCOLATE RACCOON RIGMAROLE - A Chocoholic Mystery Book 18 by JoAnna Carl

Synopsis

In this eighteenth mystery in the national bestselling Chocoholic series, a gang of crooks with a wicked sweet tooth wreaks havoc on the resort town of Warner Pier, and it's up to Lee Woodyard to rout the hungry rascals. 

A frantic late-night phone call from her right-hand woman Dolly Jolly brings Lee Woodyard to the scene of a break-in at the Warner Pier jewelry store next door to TenHuis Chocolade. To her shock, the suspect being held at gunpoint by police is Dolly's boyfriend, Mike Westerly, who was recently hired as a night watchman specifically to prevent break-ins. Dolly hopes Lee can help straighten out the crazy misunderstanding. 

Even crazier? The thieves took nothing of value from the jewelry store, only swiping some snacks. It's another in a series of break-ins by burglars the media has dubbed the Cookie Monsters. They've been hitting shops selling everything from sunglasses to shoes but stealing only sweets: lollipops, cookies, even chewing gum! 

It all seems pretty funny--until the discovery of a dead body. With her friends and community in danger, Lee must stop one very sour killer before someone else comes to a bitter end. 

Review

Lee can't help but be involved given her history of solving mysteries, and now with Dolly implicated. At first neither Dolly nor Mike want to explain why his truck was parked down the street from the burglary, when he claims he wasn't there. This was a pattern the sweet-toothed burglar must have figured out. As the situation becomes more tense, additional measures and varying Mike's schedule are put in place. Lee puts it all together from her vantage point at the TenHuis Chocolade.

This is a fun read and then there's the chocolate. The characters are easy to relate to, with a touch of suspense and romance. For sure, if you've enjoyed the rest of the series, you will enjoy this one. I think I've only read one other in the series, some time ago, and it was easy to pick up on the histories of the characters and relationships. This can easily be read as a stand alone mystery, and is the newest addition to the series.  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Blog Tour and Spotlight: MURDER AT SEA CAPTAIN'S INN (A Book Magic Mystery) by Melissa Bourbon


Murder at Sea Captain’s Inn (A Book Magic Mystery) 
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series 
Publisher: Lake House Press (July 20, 2021) 
Approx 300 pages 
Digital ASIN: B08GL19B84 
About the Book

Generation after generation of Lane women die in childbirth, while the sea claims the men. Pippin Lane Hawthorne’s grand opening of Sea Captain’s Inn is tainted when a scholar studying the Lost Colony of Roanoke is brutally murdered. Like the black crow that hangs around the old house, could the untimely death be a harbinger of dark things to come? 

When her twin brother, Grey, begins bucking the curse by risking his life in the waters of the Outer Banks, Pippin lives in terror that he’ll be the next Lane male to be swallowed by the sea. Now she must use her gift of bibliomancy to save her brother, solve the murder, and end a two thousand year old pact. 

About the Author 

Melissa Bourbon is the national bestselling author of more than twenty-five mystery books, including the Book Magic mysteries, the Lola Cruz Mysteries, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series, and the Bread Shop Mysteries, written as Winnie Archer. She is a former middle school English teacher who gave up the classroom in order to live in her imagination full time. Melissa lives in North Carolina with her educator husband, Carlos. She is beyond fortunate to be living the life of her dreams. 

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