Book Review: Chocolate Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Chocolate Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

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BOOK INFO
Title: Chocolate Cream Pie Murder
Author: Joanne Fluke
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: February 26, 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 4.13

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Not even Lake Eden’s nosiest residents suspected Hannah Swensen would go from idealistic newlywed to betrayed wife in a matter of weeks. But as a deadly mystery unfolds in town, the proof is in the pudding…

When The Cookie Jar becomes the setting of a star-studded TV special about movies filmed in Minnesota, Hannah hopes to shine the spotlight on her bakery—not the unsavory scandal swirling around her personal life. But that’s practically impossible with a disturbing visit from the shifty character she once believed was her one and only love, a group of bodyguards following her every move, and a murder victim in her bedroom. Now, swapping the crime scene in her condo for her mother Delores’s penthouse, Hannah and an old flame team up to solve a case that’s messier than an upended chocolate cream pie. As suspects emerge and secrets hit close to home, Hannah must serve a hefty helping of justice to an unnamed killer prowling around Lake Eden… before someone takes a slice out of her!


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MY REVIEW
The 24th book in the Hannah Swensen series by Joanna Fluke. I haven’t read all of the books in this series. I’ve read six or seven books, and hopped around in the order. I do plan to go back and read the entire series. Anyway, this book is best read after reading the others in the series.

Hannah’s personal life is front and center as the truth about her marriage to Ross is revealed. As her scoundrel of a (fake) husband makes a reappearance, Hannah is trying to get on with her life.

These books usually start with Hannah finding a dead body within the first couple of chapters, then going on to play amateur sleuth to solve the murder mystery. In this book, the murder doesn’t happen to really late in the book. So late, I was beginning to think one would never happen. I know these books are mostly formulaic, but I like them and was disappointed in how this book was going. So, this one is more focused on Hannah’s personal life, than a murder mystery.

While I didn’t find this one as enjoyable as others in the series, it was nice to see Hannah getting back on track. Since this is a series, these books sometimes end on a cliffhanger, and this one is a doozy. Hopefully, the next one goes in a good direction.

This is a good series for fans of cozy mysteries and food. The main character own a bakery, and recipes are included throughout the book. Honestly, I skip over the recipes because I’m not much of a cook, but this one seemed to include more dinner recipes than dessert recipes.

A quick, light read for cozy mystery fans. Delightful and entertaining.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: A Cold Brew Killing by Lena Gregory

A Cold Brew Killing by Lena Gregory

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: A Cold Brew Killing
Author: Lena Gregory
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Publish Date: November 6, 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.31

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
When an ice cream vendor discovers a frozen stiff, Florida diner owner Gia Morelli has to serve up some just desserts…

Gia has become good friends with Trevor, a fun, flirtatious bachelor who owns the ice cream parlor down the street from her popular All-Day Breakfast Café. Trevor has the scoop on all sorts of local attractions and activities. But when he bursts into her diner, trembling and paler than a pint of French Vanilla, she can tell something’s very wrong. Trevor points her toward his shop then passes out cold. When Gia runs down to his shop, she discovers a chilling sight—a dead body in the open freezer. But the ice cream man’s troubles are just beginning. The police suspect him of this murder a la mode, especially when details of his questionable past surface. Gia believes in her friend and is determined to clear his name and find the real cold-blooded killer before someone else gets put on ice…


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MY REVIEW
Trevor shows up at Gia’s diner in a state of shock after discovering a dead body in his ice cream parlor’s freezer. Trevor soon becomes suspect number one in the case, and Gia sets out to prove her friend is innocent.

The third book in the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series by Lena Gregory. This is the first book in the series that I have read, but it was easily read as a standalone. Gia runs the local diner in a small Florida town. A light and fun cozy mystery series.

This book opens with the discovery of a dead body, and the mystery gets started. Gia, amateur sleuth, wants to clear her friend’s name and find the real bad guy. Things aren’t as clear as they may seem, making this a fun read. The setting is quaint. The characters are likable. The mystery is entertaining.

A typical cozy mystery with a small town setting, quirky characters, and a murder mystery for the local amateur sleuth. I enjoy these types of books, so this one was right up my alley. A good read for fans of cozies.

I won a free Kindle copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Book Review: Murder at the Mill by M.B. Shaw

Murder at the Mill by M.B. Shaw

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Murder at the Mill
Author: M.B. Shaw
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publish Date: December 4, 2018
Genre: Mystery
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.86

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
A picture hides a thousand lies… And only Iris Grey can uncover the truth.

Iris Grey rents a quaint cottage in a picture-perfect Hampshire village, looking to escape from her crumbling marriage. She is drawn to the neighboring Wetherby family, and is commissioned to paint a portrait of Dominic Wetherby, a celebrated crime writer.

At the Wetherby’s Christmas Eve party, the mulled wine is in full flow – but so are tensions and rivalries among the guests. On Christmas Day, the youngest member of the Wetherby family, Lorcan, finds a body in the water. A tragic accident? Or a deadly crime?

With the snow falling, Iris enters a world of village gossip, romantic intrigue, buried secrets, and murder.


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MY REVIEW
Iris Grey rents a cottage in Hampshire village. Her marriage is struggling, and she wants to go somewhere to regroup and work on her painting. The cottage is owned by the Wetherby family, and Iris is soon captivated with the family. On Christmas Day, the youngest Wetherby discovers a body in the water. A mysterious death, that leads to Iris playing amateur sleuth.

This book is classic crime mystery. The story has a great start with describing the setting and characters. Then a crime occurs. A murder. There is no shortage of suspects, and village newcomer Iris gets involved with discovering the killer’s identity.

This is the first book in a new mystery series by M.B. Shaw. I look forward to seeing what mysteries are in Iris’s future.

Lovely setting in an idyllic village. Interesting characters. Solid mystery with twists to keep the reader guessing. A great start to a new series.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly

Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Dead as a Door Knocker
Author: Diane Kelly
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Publish Date: January 29, 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.11

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
The first in a brand-new cozy series from Diane Kelly set in Nashville—where the real estate market is to die for.

WILL THIS KILLER DEAL LEAD TO A DEAD END?
Meet Whitney Whitaker. A hopeless romantic when it comes to real estate, she knows what it takes to find—and flip—the home of one’s dreams. A fixer-upper is like catnip to Whitney: she can’t resist the challenge of turning an eyesore into a priceless work of art. So when one of her clients decides to liquidate a crumbling property, Whitney seizes the opportunity to purchase it for a song. But soon a curious incident of the cat in the night-time leads to a change in tune. . .

Sawdust is the name of Whitney’s cat—of course. Whitney’s passion for gut-renovation may be a mystery to him but one thing Sawdust knows for sure is this: Dead bodies don’t belong in flower beds. So why is there one in this new, albeit old, house? Now it’s up to Whitney, along with the help of hot-and-cold Nashville Police Detective Collin Flynn, to find the truth about what happened before the mortgage property forecloses and Whitney loses her investment. . .and maybe her own life.


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MY REVIEW
Whitney Whitaker is a property manager with dreams of making it big in real estate. When she gets the chance to buy a property to flip it, she thinks it might be too good to be true. And it is. Especially when a dead body is found buried in the flower bed.

The first book in a new cozy mystery series. Whitney is a likable character. She is single, living in her parent’s guest house, and working all the time. She’s a hard-worker with good relationships with her family and friends. In addition to her family and friends, Whitney has a cat, Sawdust. The reader gets insights to their relationship, since a few chapters are from Sawdust’s point of view.

A cute and entertaining cozy mystery. With this being the first book in a series, a lot of the story is spent getting to know the characters. The murder mystery doesn’t get started right away, but when it does, it’s clear Whitney needs to investigate on her own to find the killer.

A fantastic start to the House-Flipper mystery series. I look forward to reading more about Whitney in future books.

I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Lie Like a Rug by Donna Huston Murray

Lie Like a Rug by Donna Huston Murray

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Lie Like a Rug
Author: Donna Huston Murray
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: January 18, 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 3.07

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
While escorting Bryn Derwyn Academy’s most infamous student downtown to be scared straight by a Federal judge, Ginger Barnes is shocked to find her childhood babysitter, textile professor Charlie Finnemeyer, on trial for fraudulently aging an Oriental rug. Even more alarming, Gin learns that two witnesses against her beloved “Uncle Wunk” suffered suspiciously convenient heart attacks.
Eager to assist the professor’s attorney, the veteran amateur sleuth pries secret information from a university president and uncovers past transgressions of a TV craft show host—all while acquiring an overnight education in early American textiles from experts at Winterthur and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Others guilty of questionable behavior: two antique dealers, and Charlie’s overprotective wife.
Still, damning evidence can’t be swept under a rug. Before Gin can persuade anyone else that Charlie is innocent, she must first convince herself.


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MY REVIEW
The seventh book in the Ginger Barnes mystery series by Donna Huston Murray. Ginger Barnes is a wife and mother, who occasionally acts as amateur sleuth to solve mysteries. Her husband is headmaster at a private school, and she often helps out at the school. This novel opens with Gin escorting a troublemaker student to the courthouse, and ends up spotting a familiar face in a courtroom.

Gin discovers an old family friend is on trial for antiquities fraud. She doesn’t believe him to be guilty of the charges, so Gin uses her amateur sleuthing skills to help. Unfortunately, the evidence seems to be against her friend, and the dead key witnesses are not helping his case.

This book is in a series, but it can be read as a standalone. I have read book 1 of the series, The Main Line is Murder, but not the other books. This book was originally published years ago (2001), but has been updated by the author.

An entertaining cozy mystery with some humor. Likable characters in an enjoyable, light mystery.

I received a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: A Wrench in the Works by Kate Carlisle

A Wrench in the Works by Kate Carlisle

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: A Wrench in the Works
Author: Kate Carlisle
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: November 6, 2018

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon
Shannon Hammer’s younger sister Chloe left Lighthouse Cove after high school to make it big in Hollywood. And she did it! For several years now, Chloe has been the co-host of a popular home repair show on the Do-It-Yourself Network. Now, after ten years, Chloe returns to Lighthouse Cove with her crew and co-host to film several shows featuring her sister Shannon, along with some special mini-segments on Victorian style and design.

But Shannon realizes quickly that things are not exactly blissful in TV land. Her sister’s handsome co-host is being stalked by someone who turns out to be his estranged wife, Erica–who also happens to be the executive producer of the show. Erica’s got a knack for stirring up sticky situations and when she’s found dead, Chloe and the entire crew are under suspicion.

Shannon soon discovers the real reason why Chloe was so eager to move away from Lighthouse Cove all those years ago. Can Shannon figure out if that ten-year-old secret is connected to Erica’s death? And can she track down the real killer before her beloved sister becomes the next victim?


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MY REVIEW
Shannon Hammer’s sister Chloe is back in town, and they’re getting to work together. The sisters both work in home improvement. Shannon’s specialty is Victorian houses and Chloe works on a home makeover show. Chloe’s show is scheduled to renovate a house in her hometown of Lighthouse Cove, and Shannon is excited to help her sister work on a local Victorian house. Shannon is proud of her sister for doing so well with her show, but soon realizes not all is great in the entertainment business. For one thing, the executive producer is a bit of a nightmare to work with. When the executive producer of the show is found dead, the crew, including Chloe, are all under suspicion. While in town, Chloe also reveals part of the reason she left town right after high school, and why she rarely visits.

A wonderful light read. The characters are entertaining, though sometimes a little immature. Shannon and Chloe are both likable. It is refreshing to read a story where the sisters get along and there is not a lot of family drama. The mystery is well plotted. Good for fans of cozies. I have some of Kate Carlisle’s books on my TBR, and I plan to read some of the earlier books in this series.

This is the sixth book in the Fixer-Upper mystery series by Kate Carlisle. I haven’t read the previous books in the series, but this one was easily read as a standalone. I don’t think Chloe was in the previous books, so she was introduced in this one.

A fun cozy mystery that combines home improvement and a television show. Delightful and charming.

I received a free eARC of this book from Penguin’s First to Read in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Glitter Bomb by Laura Childs

Glitter Bomb by Laura Childs

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BOOK INFO
Title: Glitter Bomb
Author: Laura Childs
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: October 2, 2018

BOOK BLURB
It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans and scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand is excited to be attending the Pluvius Parade along with her best friend Ava. Carmela’s ex-husband Shamus rides by the duo on his float at the head of the parade, when suddenly the revelry turns to disaster. Shamus’ float crashes and explodes, and although Shamus escapes unhurt, a member of his krewe is killed.

Carmela and Ava plunge into an investigation of the krewe-member’s death, but as they dig deeper it starts to look less like an accident and more like a murder….and Shamus seems less like a victim, and more like a suspect.


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MY REVIEW
A deadly explosion occurs during a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. Carmela, a scrapbook shop owner, and Ava, her best friend, are at the parade and witness the disaster. Carmela and Ava use their sleuthing skills to investigate and find out if the explosion was an accident or murder.

The 15th book in A Scrapbooking Mystery series by Laura Childs. I have not read the previous books in this series, but this one was easily read as a standalone. I thoroughly enjoyed this cozy mystery, and plan on reading some of the earlier books in this series.

Glitter Bomb starts with a bang, and keeps a fast and fun pace throughout the book. Carmela and Ava are a lively duo that go on quite the adventure to solve this mystery. Since it is set during Mardi Gras, the city is bustling and Carmela and Ava stay busy enjoying the festivities.

After the story, a few extras are included:
– Scrapbook, stamping, and craft tips from Laura Childs
– Favorite New Orleans recipes
– Excerpt from Eggs on Ice

A fun mystery in a dazzling setting. A great read for fans of cozy mysteries. Humorous, delightful, and sparkling.

I received a free eARC of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Berries and Birthdays by Leena Clover

Berries and Birthdays by Leena Clover

Berries and Birthdays
by Leena Clover

Jenny moved to the small town of Pelican Cove after her divorce. She has settled in the community, making friends and working at a local cafe. In her short time in Pelican Cove, she has helped solve two murders – Strawberries and Strangers and Cupcakes and Celebrities. With Berries and Birthdays, a local man is killed on his 100th birthday, and Jenny is once again ready to help solve the mystery.

The third book in the Pelican Cove cozy mystery series. This book can be read as a standalone, though I do suggest reading the previous books to be more familiar with the characters.

I enjoyed the mystery in this one more than the previous book. This mystery hits all the high points for an enjoyable cozy read – amateur sleuth, charming setting, a little romance, and interesting characters.

I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Cupcakes and Celebrities by Leena Clover

Cupcakes and Celebrities by Leena Clover

Cupcakes and Celebrities
by Leena Clover

A celebrity wedding is disrupted with a shocking death. Jenny is asked to look into the death and find out who is behind it.

The second book in the Pelican Cove cozy mystery series. Jenny is an amateur sleuth with a solid mystery on her hands, and a little romance in her life. The same quirky, fun characters from the first book, Strawberries and Strangers, were back. It does help to have read the first book and be familiar with the characters, but this could easily be read as a standalone. A light and easy cozy mystery.

I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Murder Most Fermented by Christine E. Blum

Murder Most Fermented by Christine E. Blum

Murder Most Fermented
by Christine E. Blum

Halsey and her friends in the Rose Avenue Wine Club are back! While digging to plant a small vineyard in the community garden, Halsey and her dog, Bardot, discover a body. Soon, Halsey is investigating the death. Of course, she has the help of the other wine club ladies.

This is the second book in the Rose Avenue Wine Club mystery series. I read the first book, so I was already familiar with Halsey’s story and the women in the wine club. This book could be read as a stand-alone, but the first book is referenced a few times.

The normal formula for a cozy mystery – female protagonist restarts her life in a new place and acts as amateur sleuth. Bonus points for the wine club and lovable, but hyperactive dog. Kooky neighbors and shenanigans galore… Halsey even gets herself arrested. A light, fun, and entertaining cozy mystery.

For wine drinkers – In the back of the book, a list of wines the women drink is included. There is also a food and wine pairing list.

I received a digital copy of this book from Kensington and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.