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Carbs & Cadavers (A Supper Club Mystery #1) by Ellery Adams

Carbs & Cadavers (Supper Club Mysteries, #1)4 Stars

Published February 16th 2018 by Beyond the Page Publishing

This book was originally published under the pen name J.B. Stanley in 2008. This is a brand-new, fully revised edition published under the author’s real name, Ellery Adams.

In this first book of the series we are introduced to James Henry, The Professor, who isn’t satisfied with his life. He is recently divorces and has moved back to his small hometown to take care of his aging father after the death of his mother. He tends to eat his worries away and looks for happiness in the foods that he eats, especially cheese puffs. He is working in the local library and does seem to enjoy that part of his life. When a high school teacher comes in and asks to put up a flier for a “Supper Club” for those who want to lose weight, he decides to join not only to lose some weight, but to meet some people. They call themselves “The Flab Five”.

The mystery in this story is who killed local, washed up, football star, Brinkley Meyers. A young woman, who has a strong dislike for Brinkley, is arrested for the crime, but the group is sure she is innocent and set out to prove it. Using their brains, their great questioning techniques and likability, the club works their way through facts, clues, and gossip. Will they be able to come up with the answer to who killed Meyers? There are some side stories going on as well that add interest and flesh out the characters and the town. I enjoyed this story with realistic characters, a friendly setting. This was a fun cozy with a surprising ending that made me smile. Being a full figured gal myself, I appreciated the way the author handled the subject of weight loss, making it a normal part of the story. I am looking forward to reading more in this series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Carbs & Cadavers (A Supper Club Mystery #1) by Ellery Adams”

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Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery #1) by Sarah Graves

Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery #1)3 Stars

Published January 30th 2018 by Kensington
I picked this book up as it was advertised as the first in a new series. What I didn’t know was that these characters were well loved in another series, so there was a lot of character development and relationship information that I was lacking, through no mistake of my own. Jake and Ellie have opened up a bake shop on the waterfront of town Eastport, called Chocolate Moose. Apparently, Jacobia (Jake) has experience helping to solve murders, so when the annoying town inspector ends up murdered in their shop, Ellie is the main suspect. Matt Muldoon has been after them since they opened with one complaint after another, even saying he would report them to his “friends at the Maine State Health Department”. Ellie didn’t kill him but she and Jake will have to find out who did or Ellie may find herself under arrest. In addition to the dead man in the kitchen, there is a hurricane headed toward Eastport and the town is planning for their huge 4th of July celebration. Jake and Ellie have a huge order for Chocolate Cherry Cheesecakes for the silent auction. Also, Jake’s dad checks himself out of the hospital after having a heart attack. There is so much going on that I am not sure how it all gets sorted out.

Jake and Ellie are both strong women and work together very well. Jake’s husband, Wade, makes a few appearances in the story, but is not a major player. Bob the sheriff is another good character and he does not want Jake and Ellie investigating on one hand, but feeds Jake information on another. The story rolls along at an okay pace with Jake and Ellie getting themselves in several sticky and dire situations. There were a lot of twists and turns and the conclusion pulling everything together was well done, but I found I did not really get invested in the story. If you are familiar with Sarah Graves’ other series and these characters, you will probably love this book. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery #1) by Sarah Graves”

Double Dip (Davis Way Crime Caper #2) by Gretchen Archer

Double Dip (Davis Way Crime Caper, #2)4.5 laughing Stars

Published January 28th 2014 by Henery Press

It’s Davis Way’s first slot-tournament season. And it may be her last. Stephanie Plum, Davis Way can sure give you a run for your money!

In this second book of the Davis Way Crime Capers, the story is never dull. Davis is still working undercover for the Casino as well as standing in for Bianca Sanders for public appearances. The story starts off with a bang when they hears shots and when reaching the Sanders’ offices, they find Bianca shot and bleeding. From there the adventure ratchets up. Davis and Bradley are still together and they move into an upscale new condo. While he is out of town, ex-ex-husband Eddie shows up and is staying at the condo while her sister redecorates and she stays at the Casino with her granny. When Bradley arrives back home unexpectantly, he sees Eddie and storms out. That is when Davis starts fainting at just about anything and constantly feels sick. While Davis, Fantasy and No-Hair (Jeremy) are trying to solve the newest problem at the casino, Davis is running a slots tournament pretending to be Bianca, she is trying to salvage her relationship with Bradley, help him as he is dealing with lawsuits and deal with problems from home.

The adventure and laughs never quit. I love Davis, she seems to step into one problem after another. She has a nose for clues and finding solutions, although not always legally. Her sidekick, Fantasy, keeps her in line and they play off one another quite nicely. No-Hair, puts up with their escapades as long as they get the job done. Another great addition to the Davis Way series. On to the next book. I definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a humorous cozy.

Continue reading “Double Dip (Davis Way Crime Caper #2) by Gretchen Archer”

A Treacherous Trader (A Collectible Mystery #4) by Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs

A Treacherous Trader (A Collectible Mystery, #4)4.5 Stars

Published January 22nd 2015 by Beyond the Page

A Treacherous Trader is the fourth book in the Antiques & Collectibles Mystery series. This is the first book in the series that was co-written by Parker Riggs and I very much enjoyed it. This story starts off in Germany in 1937. Leo and Frieda Kurzer along with their two daughters, Sophie and Anna live in Hamburg, Germany. Leo is a Jewish jeweler and is forced to sell his jewelry store to his longtime employee, Rolf (Hitler decreed that Jews could not own businesses in Germany). Rolf gives Leo an expensive tiara to help the family escape to Holland. You can be sure that this tiara will play an important part of the present day story.

Molly Appleby, a writer for an antique and collectible magazine, is engaged to Mark Harrison. The wedding is only six months away and Mark wants them to be married in Burlington Vermont where he is hoping to do his residency. Molly has asked Kitty to go to Burlington with her to help make arrangements for her wedding. When Molly goes down for breakfast the next morning, she joins a woman, Violet Emerson who is in a wheelchair, as there are no tables available. Violet and her daughter, Lindsey, are also there planning Lindsey’s wedding and begin to share various stores they have visited. Talk soon turns to a discussion of photographers and Lindsey is upset to have learned that her father, who abandoned his family when she was young, is none other than Alec Portman of Portman Photography right here in Burlington. As Molly visits various stores to plan her wedding, she learns that Portman is a womanizer and possible jewel thief. One of the women that she learns he had an affair with is Bristol Price who owns a bridal dress shop next to Portman’s studio. Upon visiting the bridal shop, Molly soon learns that Bristol is a very miserable person, and that she still has feelings for Portman. Leaving without a dress, she runs into a woman on the sidewalk with a vintage gown. She wants to see if Bristol will buy it from her. Molly looks at the gown and buys it on the spot. It is exactly what she is looking for. When Alec Portman is found dead, Lindsey is a suspect along with Bristol Price. It turns out that he is the one responsible for Violet ending up in a wheelchair. As Molly investigates to help Lindsy and Violet, the police actually use her skills and she becomes an integral part of the investigation. She also wants to find out more about the beautiful gown and is doing research on it, possibly for a magazine article. What she finds out is amazing and adds a lot to the story.

The character of Molly is well developed and I really liked her. I have read one other book in this series and had not trouble following the story. The research she does is very realistic and the whole adventure will make a wonderful article for the magazine. Based on the end of this story, I think it is going to move from North Carolina to Vermont for future books. A great story that I recommend to cozy mystery lovers as well as those who are interested in preserving history.

Continue reading “A Treacherous Trader (A Collectible Mystery #4) by Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs”

The Secret, Book and Scone Society (Miracle Springs, North Carolina #1) by Ellery Adams

The Secret, Book and Scone Society5 Stars

Published October 31st 2017 by Kensington

The Secret, Book and Scone Society is the first in a brand new cozy mystery series from Ellery Adams. We were introduced to the beautiful setting of Miracle Springs, a charming small town as well as a group of four women who become friends while trying to solve a murder. When a newcomer to town is pushed in front of a train, the women all want to see justice served, thus The Secret Book and Scone Society is born.

Nora Pennington was badly injured with extensive burns, She never tells anyone what happened and prefers to be left alone. She came to Miracle Springs for healing of her spirit more than anything. She opens a bookstore and uses what she learned from a nurse in the hospital to become a “book psychologist”. When she meets three other women in this small town who also have their own secrets, they begin to trust and depend on one another. Nora, Estella, June and Hester start out as unlikely friends but they soon become a strong group and a force to reckon with. The mystery involves real estate fraud, infidelity and murder to prevent discovery. It moved quickly yet there was a lot of detail to get to know the woman in this first book in the series. I loved the characters of the women and the EMS personnel that begins to develop feelings for Nora. Maybe she will heal after all. A different type of cozy, but enjoyable nonetheless. I will definitely read the next one in this series.

Continue reading “The Secret, Book and Scone Society (Miracle Springs, North Carolina #1) by Ellery Adams”

As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (Food Lovers’ Village Mystery #5) by Leslie Budewitz

As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (A Food Lovers' Village Mystery, #5)4.5 Stars

Published June 8th 2018 by Midnight Ink

It is almost Christmas in Jewel Bay and there is so much happening. Adam and Erin are getting married on Christmas Eve, there is a town wide decorating day to bring in shoppers for this make it or break it time of year, and the cookie swap is coming up. Erin and Adam have bought her mother’s house and are renovating it along with everything else. Erin is surprised to see Merrily Thornton has returned to town and offers to help her parents decorate. She is shocked when her parents shout at her and tell her to leave. When Merrily fails to show up at Erin’s house for the cookie swap, or at work the next day Erin becomes concerned. When Merrily’s boss finds out that his bank deposit was short and that there might have been some embezzling, they immediately suspect Merrily of the crime. Later that day, she is found dead with Christmas lights around her neck. Now there are two mysteries, who killed Merrily and who is embezzling from the Hardware Store.

The characters in this series are very realistic and ones that I would love to have as friends, in fact, I would love to live in Jewel Bay. Family issues arise in this story as they do in all lives. We actually get to meet some of Adam’s family and that is kind of fun. The mystery really kept me guessing. Throughout the story, I think I suspected just about anyone who knew Merrily except Erin. There were so many twists, red herrings and clues scattered about that it was a real stumper. By the end of the story, I was surprised about some things, and relieved about others. I was worried that the wedding might not take place, but that all turned out in the end. The story has a great plotline and it was well paced. I finished this story in a few sittings, yet it was complete, well described, but not rushed. I definitely recommend this one to any cozy mystery lover. Several of the recipes have been added to my Christmas baking section of my recipe book, they look so yummy. Thanks to the publisher for generously providing me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (Food Lovers’ Village Mystery #5) by Leslie Budewitz”

Butter Off Dead (Food Lovers’ Village Mystery #3) by Leslie Budewitz

Butter Off Dead (A Food Lovers' Village Mystery, #3)4 Stars

Published July 7th 2015 by Berkley

So I accidentally read the fourth book in this series and missed this one. I had to go back and read it as there was something that happened in this story that changed a lot of things in the next book. I recommend you read this one before continuing with the series.

In our third visit to Jewel Bay, we find them hosting “The Food Lovers’ Film Festival”. The are planning on showing movies like Chocolat and Ratatouille. Sounds like a lot of fun until Christine, the originator of the idea, ends up dead. She also happens to be the girlfriend/fiancee of Erin’s brother Nick. Erin’s brother, Nick is hiding something and it is making him look mighty guilty. Erin knows he is lying, so not only is she trying to prove his innocence but also find out why, who is he protecting. We also meet some high school students, specifically Zayda, who have volunteered to help with festival. She is definitely hiding something. What does she know? How did her earing end up under the dead body?

Leslie Budewitz knows how to get you invested in a story, her characters. She writes them like they are your friends and you want them to be okay. I wanted to encourage Erin to keep looking, but be very careful. When things start to go wrong at the film festival (porno chocolate movie instead of Chocolat) as well as vandalism, you know that she is coming close to figuring it all out. Of course, she is still running the Merc, and her mother is not very happy with her running off all the time. It was nice to finally find out more about Sally, the town grump. She became much more human in this story and actually had me feeling sorry for her by the end of the story.

This was a well written, well plotted, well paced story. It kept me captivated from the first page until the very last. It was filled with many twists and clues, that left me guessing whodunit until the final reveal. Erin ran her butt off in this story while running the Merc, running the festival, and keeping community and family members in check, all while trying to figure out who killed her friend. She was always off doing something making the story pretty fast paced. The historical mystery of her father’s death is also dealt with in this story and the family finally gets some closure. A great story that I recommend to all cozy mystery lovers.

Continue reading “Butter Off Dead (Food Lovers’ Village Mystery #3) by Leslie Budewitz”

Treble at the Jam Fest (Food Lovers’ Village Mystery #4) by Leslie Budewitz

Treble at the Jam Fest (A Food Lovers' Village Mystery, #4)4 Stars

Published June 8th 2017 by Midnight Ink

Somehow, I missed book #3 so will go back and read it next. There were things mentioned in this book that were obviously sorted out in the last one that left me wondering and feeling like there was a piece missing from the puzzle. Having said that, I still enjoyed this book a lot,

We arrive in Jewel Bay, Montana for the Jazz Festival. As an opener to the festival, some of the musicians put on a short preview concert in the event area behind Erin Murphy’s store, The Merc. When a couple of arguments occur between Gerry Martin, one of the premiere performers, and some others, Erin becomes curious. When he is found dead the next morning on the rocks by the river, Erin finds herself smack dab in the middle of another murder investigation, especially as her boyfriend and his friend are the ones who find the body and see someone push him off the cliff. She is trying to save the festival, run the Merc, deal with her relationship and investigate all at the same time. Can she catch a killer before the last note is played? Will she and Adam weather some changes in their relationship?

All of our favorite characters return and many new ones arrive on the scene. Jewel Bay is a small town and the Merc is right in the center of all the actions. Erin’s mom is cooking up a storm in the Merc’s kitchen and she also takes a big step. Tracy helps Erin with the store and has her area full of chocolate and demand is growing. Erin has hired Lou Mary to help at the store and Tracy seems to be getting her nose out of joint. Adam and Erin’s relationship is going strong and we meet his friend Tanner has come to town with some news. Also new in this story are the musicians and a new deputy sheriff. The cast is diverse yet I missed Kim, Erin’s friend and previous deputy. There is a good representative of a small town, especially one that is a tourist destination.

This mystery is well crafted with many clues. I enjoyed the twist and turns as the list of suspects grew and how Erin manages her business while investigating. The descriptions of the town and the area around it sprinkled throughout the story enable the reader to picture the area, perhaps longing to actually visit and see it yourself. This is a enjoyable mystery that moves right along as connections are made leading up to the surprising reveal. I definitely recommend this book and this series to any cozy mystery lover. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Treble at the Jam Fest (Food Lovers’ Village Mystery #4) by Leslie Budewitz”

Death of a Cookbook Author (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #10)

Death of a Cookbook Author (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery, #10)4 Stars

Published April 24th 2018 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

Having read several Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mysteries, I have to say I was looking forward to the latest addition to the series. Hayley is invited to participate in a Fourth of July cook-off at the summer home of Penelope Janice, cookbook author and television personality. Hayley is excited and looks forward to a great time filled with wonderful food and chefs that she has only seen on television. During her stay at the mansion she overhears conversations involving murder, gets food poisoning, meets an old boyfriend, evacuates the mansion due to a fire and puts herself in danger, all while investigating the death of Penelope’s husband. Was he murdered? Did Penelope do it?

This was a fun whodunit that had me looking at more than one suspect. At one point I was even thinking that her assistant was her secret daughter. The characters were not very likeable, but that did not stop me from wanting to find out who was the culprit and would there be another murder? I was disappointed that Liddy and Mona, Hayley’s BFFs, were not in this book until the very end and really just a short appearance not as characters integral to the story. The humor that I have grown to enjoy was lacking in this book. Sergio, with his funny misuses of English words, was the comic relief in this story. The mystery was well plotted and had quite a few twists, but I did figure some of it out about 2/3 of the way through. The ending however, was a bit of a surprise. I am looking forward to the next book, hoping that the humor brought by Mona and Liddy returns. Those who enjoy cozy mysteries will also enjoy this book. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “Death of a Cookbook Author (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #10)”

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