Brenda H. (booksinvt) - , - Reviews

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Against the Claw (Lobster Shack, Bk 2)
Against the Claw (Lobster Shack, Bk 2)
Author: Shari Randall
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 7/4/2018


Against the Claw is the second installment in the A Lobster Shack Mystery series set in the coastal town of Mystic Bay, Connecticut and featuring Allie Larkin, a ballerina who is recovering from an injury by helping her Aunt Gully serve up delicious lobster rolls in the family's Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack. Celebrity and modeling agency owner, Stellene Lupo has requested that the Lazy Mermaid caters her fourth of July party at her exclusive estate, Harmony Harbor and she only wants Aunt Gully, Allie and Lorel do serve up the tasty lobster treats.

In an effort to help lobster supplier Bertha Betancourt, Allie sets out for a day of pulling up traps. One of the traps contains not only lobsters but the body of a young woman. With no identification found on the body, Allie finds herself feeling responsible for locating the girl's family but the only clue she has to go by is the distinguished pitchfork tattoo circling the girl's wrist.

The ladies are shocked to learn that among the party's A-listers is the famed singer, Eden. Sneaking into the kitchen during clean up, Eden seems shaken that someone is stalking her and she begs Allie and Lorel to come stay the night with her on Stellene's yacht that is anchored in the harbor away from prying eyes. Delighted to have an opportunity to get to know the singer better the sisters agree. Morning dawns with a dead body in the inflatable boat tied to the yacht, and it's not long before Lorel becomes a prime suspect.

Allie sets out to solve the two mysteries and quickly begins to suspect that the recent deaths in Mystic Bay are connected and somehow also involve the Broadway by the Bay performance of Ondine that Allie has agreed to be a part.

A fast paced page turner from the first paragraph. The author does a fantastic job describing the cozy New England town and the locals who call Mystic Bay home. The lobster rolls and Aunt Gully's secret sauce will have you drooling for a trip to the shore.


All Murders Final! (Sarah Winston Garage Sale, Bk 3)
All Murders Final! (Sarah Winston Garage Sale, Bk 3)
Author: Sherry Harris
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 3/12/2016


All Murders Final! is the third installment in the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery series. The series centers around main character Sarah Winston who after her divorce has found a niche business organizing garage sales in Ellington, MA.

Winter is in full swing across Ellington bringing outdoor garage sales to a standstill, hoping to supplement her income and gain more clients for her business, Sarah has set up a Virtual Garage Sale site. Although it is a lot of work dealing with site maintenance and the complaints of site members, Sarah is enjoying the challenge. Sarah is also busy helping friend Laura Niklas set up the February Blues Sale on neighboring Fitch Air Force Base.

Sarah is looking forward to picking up her new vintage tablecloth from town maven Margaret More, until she discovers the body of the woman dead in her driveway. Sarah can't imagine who would have a reason to murder the most influential woman in town, until she starts digging into her past and discovers that Margaret had a bit of a "blackmailing" side.

As the murder investigation heats up Sarah finds that she is also dealing with a stalker. Someone is following her, taking her picture and sending threatening text messages. When her apartment is broken into she is somewhat relieved to have reputed Mobster Mike Titone and his brothers hiding out in the apartment across the hall.

This edition to the series brings back past characters including DiNapoli's owners Rosalie and Angelo and landlady, opera singer and good friend Stella Wild. Sarah is still caught in the love triangle between ex husband Chief of Police CJ and dreamy eligible batchelor Seth Anderson.

A great series full of fun characters that will be sure to brighten your day. While not necessary, I do recommend starting the series from the beginning to get the full character developments of Sarah and her friends.


All the Pretty Hearses (Bed-And-Breakfast, Bk 26)
All the Pretty Hearses (Bed-And-Breakfast, Bk 26)
Author: Mary Daheim
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 1/8/2012


I was really looking forward to this one - having loved all of the others in the series, but I was a little disappointed.

While the colorful main characters with their quirky personalities remain the same - we were introduced to a host of new "guests" at the B&B all with aliases and subplots that were difficult to follow.

All of the loose ends are tied up at the finale, but I was still left wondering what was the point of all the subterfuge and script type dialog? And more importantly, what does the title have to do with the story - is it just a play on words?

Would definitely recommend that you read some of the earlier books in the series so that you have a grasp of who the main characters are and what their background and relevance to the story is.

While this one was definitely not my favorite of the series - I won't give up just yet and will wait for the next installment.


All You Need is Fudge (Candy-Coated, Bk 4)
All You Need is Fudge (Candy-Coated, Bk 4)
Author: Nancy Coco
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 6/26/2016


All You Need is Fudge is the fourth installment in the Candy Coated mystery series. Alice (Allie) McMurphy has inherited the Historic McMurphy Hotel on Mackinac Island from her grandfather Papa Liam, and has successfully added her Fudge Shop to the hotel's lobby.

It's the week of the annual Yacht Race and the island is buzzing with tourists. Allie is out walking through the marina early one morning when her Bichon puppy Mal (short for Marshmallow) tugs her to the edge of the boat basin to point out a body floating in the water. Allie jumps in and pulls out the body of Carin Moore.

Officer Rex Manning determines that Carin had been bludgeoned before she was pushed into the water, and the prime suspect in her murder is Paige Jessop. Paige is the younger sister of Allie's boyfriend Trent, and Allie is determined to find the real killer and protect her friend.

Along with her best friend Jenn Christensen and Jenn's boyfriend, Officer Shane Carpenter, the group soon discovers that Carin was one of the least liked people in the Mackinac social set. In addition to Paige's volatile history with her, even Carin's best friend Eleanor Wadsworth had issues with the young woman.

In the midst of finding a killer and running the fudge shop, Allie and Jenn are asked by McMurphy handyman Mr. Devaney to help him plan a proposal. Mr. Devaney has decided to ask McMurphy front manager Frances to marry him in a special and romantic setting perfect for the two Seniors who have finally found love again.

Nancy Coco and the Candy Coated series will transport you to Mackinac Island. A warm and friendly cast of characters, mouth watering fudge recipes and loveable pets make this a series you won't want to pass up.

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley via Kensington Publishing. While not required to write a review I am more than happy of offer my honest opinion.


And Death Goes To?
And Death Goes To?
Author: Laura Bradford
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 12/9/2017


And Death Goes to is the third installment in the Tobi Tobias Mystery series featuring advertising executive Tobi Tobias. Tobi has been nominated for the Best Overall Campaign at the annual St. Louis advertising awards and she's hoping to win the coveted Golden Storyboard award. Her protégé and best friend Mary Fran's 16 year old son Sam Wazoli is also up for the Best Photograph in a Print ad award.

An evening filled with glitz and glamor suddenly takes a turn for the worse when Deidre Ryan steps up to accept her award and the stage platform gives way sending Deidre plummeting to her death. With plenty of suspects to choose from including the woman's husband and fellow associates in the advertising community, Tobi sets out with the help of Grandpa Stu and boyfriend Andy Zander to catch a killer.

The actual mystery often seems to take backstage to a secondary storyline featuring Grandpa Stu and Tobi's nemesis Martha Rapple. While the story does produce a few laugh out louds moments readers have come to expect from the main cast of characters and pets, the plot was somewhat overshadowed by the ongoing situation involving Grandpa Stu and his annoying use of Tobi's nickname "Sugar Lump". Despite this I will not give up on the series, but this particular addition was not my favorite.


Asking for Truffle (Southern Chocolate Shop, Bk 1)
Asking for Truffle (Southern Chocolate Shop, Bk 1)
Author: Dorothy St. James
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 4/9/2017


Asking for Truffle is the debut in the A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series featuring Charity Penn. Penn, as she prefers to be called, is living in Madison, Wisconsin with Granny Mae, her biological grandmother's one time housekeeper when she receives a note that she's won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina and free cooking lessons in a chocolate shop.

Immediately suspicious of the prize as she didn't enter a contest, Penn asks her best friend Craig "Skinny" McGee to investigate who sent her the note. Skinny leaves an excited yet cryptic message on her cell phone saying that she needs to come to Camellia Beach and that is the last Penn hears from him, as he's discovered dead in a vat of chocolate the next day.

Determined to find out what happened to her friend and discover who sent her the mysterious prize, Penn sets out across country with her Papillon, Stella. Quickly she finds herself caught up in a week long class at The Chocolate Box, owned by Mabel Maybank and her assistant Bertie Bays, and not long after Penn discovers that things around the candy shop aren't as sweet as they seem.

A terrific debut with well rounded and interesting characters that will draw you in from page one. The main murders are solved but several subplots are not by the end of the book and you'll most definitely want to pick up the next installment in the series to follow the adventures of Penn and Stella.


Assault and Beadery (A Cora Crafts Mystery)
Assault and Beadery (A Cora Crafts Mystery)
Author: Mollie Cox Bryan
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 10/5/2018


Assault and Beadery is the fourth installment in the Cora Crafts Mystery series set in the small town of Indigo Gap, North Carolina and featuring the residents of the Kildare House, Cora Chevalier, her best friend Jane and inherited resident Ruby. Kildare House is set to host their third crafting retreat geared for Mom's and all types of beading.

Cora and Jane have been roped into helping their friend Zee with the set designs for the community theaters upcoming production of Fiddler on the Roof. Cora isn't too impressed with the overbearing and egotistical director Stan Herald. She's even less thrilled working amidst the petty Stage Moms. Rumored to cast characters in the play not because of their talents but how much money their parents contribute, it's not a surprise when Stan is found stabbed to death center stage.

Unfortunately, Zee is fingered as the killer. Despite her friend's mysterious past which she has kept hidden, Cora knows that there is no way her friend who have committed such a heinous crime. Determined to clear Zee's name Cora sets out against the wishes of her boyfriend Adrian and Detective Thomas Brodsky. Cora quickly discovers that a few of the ladies attending the retreat have ties with Stan and other members of the Indigo Gap community.

A fast paced mystery from page one to the last beading knot tied. A well developed cast of characters with personal histories that many readers can relate, terrific beading descriptions and helpful tips to learning a new craft.


Assaulted Caramel (Amish Candy Shop, Bk 1)
Assaulted Caramel (Amish Candy Shop, Bk 1)
Author: Amanda Flower
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 30
Review Date: 9/3/2017
Helpful Score: 1


Assaulted Caramel is the debut of the Amish Candy Shop Mystery series featuring Bailey King, an assistant chocolatier for the world famous JP Chocolates of New York City. Bailey has her fingers crossed that her life long dream comes true and she will be named head chocolatier for the company when founder Jean Pierre retires. With just a few days until the announcement Bailey receives a call from her Grandmother Clara "Maami" to say that her Grandfather Jebediah "Daadi" is not doing well.

Extremely close to her grandparents, Bailey rushes to Harvest, Ohio to check in on him. Harvest is an Amish community intermingled with the Englisch. Bailey's father had been raised Amish but he elected to leave the faith and marry her mother, but Bailey always loved spending summers and school vacations with her grandfather at his chocolate shop "Swissmen Sweets".

Bailey arrives in Harvest just in time to see Jebediah engaged in an argument on the sidewalk in front of his shop. She's horrified when he suddenly clutches his chest and falls to the ground while the other man turns his back and walks away. Bailey soon learns that the man was Tyson Colton, the county's richest man, and he'd been pressuring Jebediah into selling his shop. Tyson has bought the other shops on Main Street with the intention of turning the town into an Amish Disneyworld, and only Jebediah is standing in his way with his refusal to sell.

Angry that Tyson has been threatening her grandparents, worried about Jebediah's health and annoyed that her NYC boyfriend isn't returning her calls, Bailey can't sleep and gets up to go down to the candy kitchen. She stumbles upon the dead body of Tyson, stabbed with Jebediah's favorite candy knife. Bailey and her grandparents quickly become prime suspects in the man's murder and Bailey sets out to find the real killer.

A terrific debut with characters that will draw you right into their lives. Full of heartwarming, touching and funny moments this book will have you both laughing aloud and sobbing. Just the right hint of romance a very cute kitty and a precocious pig, this is the perfect cozy. Looking forward to Lethal Licorice coming in February 2018.


Ax to Grind (Kenni Lowry, Bk 3)
Ax to Grind (Kenni Lowry, Bk 3)
Author: Tonya Kappes
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 9/15/2017


Ax To Grind is the third installment in the Kenni Lowry mystery series set in Cottonwood, Kemtucky featuring Sheriff Kenni Lowry. Kenni is running for re-election against her former Deputy Lonnie Lemar and much to her chagrin her Mama has taken over the position of campaign manager.

Things have been quiet in Cottonwood lately with no sign of Kenni's Poppa, her ghostly grandfather and the town's former Sheriff. When Poppa suddenly appears in her truck's backseat Kenni has a sinking feeling that another murder is on the horizon. It's only a matter of hours before Kenni is called to the Stone estate, home of the town's reclusive and well known romance author Beryle Stone.

Beryle had recently passed away and her assistant Cecily Hoover is in charge of hosting an auction of the author's worldly possessions drawing many fans to Cottonwood. Rumor has it that Beryle has written a tell-tale manuscript detailing many deep dark secrets the townsfolk have worked hard to keep under wraps. The manuscript is missing, Cecily is found dead bludgeoned by an ax and Lonnie's wife Paige is unconscious having also been brutally attacked.

Lonnie vows to solve the murder before Kenni thus capturing the election, but Kenni and her clan is having none of it. With the aid of Poppa, current Deputy Finn Vincent and her trusty sidekick and darling bloodhound Duke, Kenni begins her investigation aided in part by an offhand comment made by Kiwi the green macaw owned by Innkeeper Darby Gray.

A fast paced storyline filled with laugh out loud moments and a delightful cast of characters. Just the right touch of romance, furry and feathered friends, and a feel good look into small town living. A good stand alone mystery but don't miss the chance to catch up on the other two books in the series.


Bad Housekeeping (Agnes and Effie, Bk 1)
Bad Housekeeping (Agnes and Effie, Bk 1)
Author: Maia Chance
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 2/10/2017


Bad Housekeeping is the debut of the An Agnes and Effie Mystery series featuring Agnes Blythe, recently dumped by her boyfriend, jobless and now having to move back into her family home in Naneda, New York. With the whole town talking about how she was dumped for the Pilates instructor by boyfriend, Dr. Roger Hollins, Agnes just wants to hide out, but when your dad is Gary Blythe, Town Mayor it's just not that easy.

Agnes' Great Aunt Euphemia "Effie" has drifted into town having inherited Uncle Herman's dilapidated and condemned old home, the Stagecoach Inn. Effie is determined to restore the old home and turn it back into an Inn, problem is that it's scheduled to be demolished within the week. Agnes can't stand Effie, all because the older woman made the mistake of calling her "husky" when she was a child.

In a desperate attempt to prolong her temp job at the library, Agnes encounters Kathleen Todd, Chairman of the Historical Society and not in a good way. Plowing through the libraries swinging door, Agnes knocks a box of relics to the floor and while she thinks it's just a bunch of Pyrex dishes, Kathleen is not amused. Later on Aunt Effie encounters Kathleen at the supermarket and the two exchange words, Kathleen is determined that the Stagecoach be demolished. Unfortunately for both ladies, the next morning Kathleen turns up dead on the back porch of the Inn.

With them both under suspicion for murder, the unlikely duo of Agnes and Effie team up to find the real killer and save the Stagecoach. Agnes is having to go around town riding a bicycle and wearing the too small clothes leftover in her childhood bedroom as Roger sent everything she owned to Goodwill. Effie it seems has stolen the Caddy she's driving, is claiming there are ghosts in the Inn where she's illegally camping out, and is a chain smoking fiend. Add in Cousin Chester who claims to be a handyman extraordinaire and Agnes' high school crush Otis Hatch and the adventures begin.

A fun mystery with plenty of suspects and a misfit cast of characters that will have you laughing out loud from page one to the end. A perfect cozy to cuddle up with on a snowy winter day, I can't wait for the next adventures of Agnes and Effie.


Bad Neighbors (Agnes and Effie, Bk 2)
Bad Neighbors (Agnes and Effie, Bk 2)
Author: Maia Chance
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 12/23/2017


Bad Neighbors is the second installment in the An Agnes & Effie Mystery series set in the small town of Naneda, New York featuring Agnes "Aggie" Blythe. Aggie, her Great Aunt Euphemia "Effie" and Cousin Chester are still working on getting the once condemned Stagecoach Inn renovated and it's not as easy as the home improvement shows on TV make it look.

Effie receives a call that a motor coach carrying leaf peppers from Golden Vistas Motor Coach Tours has broken down and a few of the Senior citizens need a place to stay. Thinking that this is a very bad idea, Aggie heads down to Hatch Automotive, the auto repair shop run by her boyfriend Otis Hatch, to retrieve the group. Pulling into the parking lot she's greeted by patrol cars one of which is hauling Otis away, it seems that someone has bludgeoned Mikey Brown one of the mechanics to death and the police think it was Otis.

Determined to clear her boyfriends name, Aggie sets out with the help of Aunt Effie and the group of Seniors to uncover the killer. It soon becomes apparent that although the local townsfolk are quick to make fun of Aggie and Effie, they are harboring quite a few secrets that they'd just as soon stay under wraps. More bodies turn up, money goes missing and somebody's trying to bribe the Peeper Prize judge.

Mayhem and madness follow Agnes and Effie wherever they go and their hijinks will have you laughing out loud from cover to cover. A quirky cast of characters and a shocking twist at the end undoubtedly mean many more adventures for the duo.


Bad to the Bone (A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery)
Bad to the Bone (A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery)
Author: Linda O. Johnston
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 12/22/2016


Bad to the Bone is the third installment in the Barkery and Biscuits mystery series featuring Carrie Kennersly, owner of Icing on the Cake, a bakery for humans and the adjacent Barkery and Biscuits serving up organic pet treats in Knobcone Heights. Business is booming in both shops and Carrie is enjoying her new romance with Veterinarian Reed Storme.

Jack Loroco, the VimPets representative is actively trying to get Carrie to sell some of her organic pet recipes to his company. Jack has been spending a lot of time in Knobcone Heights and has become involved with City Councilman Billi Matlock, who also runs Mountaintop Rescue, the no kill animal shelter.

Jack has invited co-worker Wanda Addler on this trip to Knobcone to meet with Carrie and the first impression she makes is not a good one. It is soon apparent that Wanda wants to take all the credit for Jack's work and is trying to push him out of the company and seems to imply that she has a romantic relationship with Jack. It is really no surprise when Wanda is found dead outside of Jack's apartment and both Jack and Billi become the prime suspects in her murder.

Anxious to help her two friends Carrie sets out to find the real killer. With the help of her brother Neal and Detectives Wayne Crunoll and Bridget Morana, Carrie soon discovers there are a few people in town who have had unpleasant dealings with Wanda and that some of the prominent Knobcone citizens are harboring secrets.


Batter Off Dead: A Southern Cake Baker Mystery
Batter Off Dead: A Southern Cake Baker Mystery
Author: Maymee Bell
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 12/30/2018


Batter off Dead is the second installment of the A Southern Cake Baker Mystery series set in Rumford, KY and featuring bakery owner, Sophia Cummings. Sophie and best friend, Charlotte Harrington are busy at For Goodness Cakes, baking for the Heart of Rumford fundraiser to benefit the library that is being held at the Grape Valley Winery.

Local resident Ray Peeler seems to be attracting the most attention as he's promised to donate a half a million dollars towards the library expansion. But, as the ceremony approaches, Ray tells head librarian Catherine Fraxman that he's not going to donate money after all. To make matters worse he springs on the Winery owners, the Dugan Family, that he's not going to renew their lease and instead sell the winery land out from under them. Icing on the cake is when he offends Sophie's friend and realtor, Madison Ridge by telling her that she doesn't have enough of a reputation to handle the listing.

Sophie hadn't collected payment in advance for her tasty treats and knowing that she needs the hefty sum in order to keep the bakery going, she sets out to find Ray and ends up tripping over his dead body in one of the grape rows. With all of the enemies the man has made it's really no surprise that someone has finally done him in, and Sophie sets out to track down a killer.

Against the advice of her boyfriend Sheriff Carter Kincaid, Sophie teams up with her mother Bitsy, and friends to form Operation Merlot. A fast paced plot featuring series regulars offers just the right blend of mystery and laughs.


Be Our Ghost (Merry Ghost Inn, Bk 3)
Be Our Ghost (Merry Ghost Inn, Bk 3)
Author: Kate Kingsbury
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 7/3/2018


Be Our Ghost is the third installment of the A Merry Ghost Inn Mystery series set in the seaside community of Sully's Landing, Oregon and featuring Innkeepers Melanie West and her grandmother, Liza Harris. Things at the B&B have been busy but thanks to their new assistant, Cindi Metzger everything is running smoothly and their resident laughing ghost, Orville has been remarkably quiet.

Pushy Portland real estate developer Jason Northwood, has plans to build a huge, noisy arcade and bar in the heart of the charming downtown which will mean the loss of several popular businesses as well as destroy the cozy feel of the town. Tensions are running high among the townsfolk with the locals taking sides both for and against the development.

A late night meeting of the Planning Commission in Northwood's hotel suite, leads to an early morning discovery of the developer stabbed to death. The only real suspects in the man's death are the members of the commission which include Doug Griffith, owner of the hardware store and pub, and Liza's "special" friend.

Determined to clear their friend's name and track down the killer, Melanie and Liza, along with Melanie's furry sidekick, Max set out on a dangerous investigation. Despite the warnings of Melanie's romantic interest Officer Ben Carter not to get involved, the ladies soon discover that more than one of the prominent members of the town council have something in their past that they are desperate to keep hidden.

As in the past, Orville reappears with his haunting laughter and subtle clues that point the ladies in the right direction to solve the crime. The continuing secondary plot of the series, involves Melanie's search to find out what happened to her Mother who disappeared when she was just four years old. Her search via the internet continues across the pond in England and a startling discovery is made.

A fast paced plot that draws you in from the first page, the return of many well loved characters will not disappoint readers of the series.


Bear Witness to Murder (Teddy Bear Mystery, Bk 2)
Bear Witness to Murder (Teddy Bear Mystery, Bk 2)
Author: Meg Macy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 6/24/2018


Bear Witness to Murder is the second installment in the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery series set in Silver Hollow, Michigan and featuring Sasha Silverman, manager of the Silver Bear Shop & Factory, the teddy bear shop owned and operated by her family. Fall is setting in and there are many activities planned in the small town of Silver Hollow included the annual Cranbeary Tea Party and the Oktobear Fest.

While helping out at the tea party alongside her sister Maddie, Sasha is none too happy to see that her high school nemesis, Holly Parker is in attendance. Holly has moved back into town and purchased the shop across the street from the Silver Bear and opened up a toy shop and bookstore. Sasha is convinced that Holly is still carrying her mean girl card and is trying to ruin not only her family bear shop but also the bookstore operated by Sasha's cousin. To make matters worse, Holly is accompanied to the tea party by her assistant Gina Lawson and Sasha's ex, Flynn Hanson who create quite a stir when they served the Mayor with lawsuit papers.

When Sasha and her dog, Rosie stumble upon a body in the alley she is quick to identify the victim as Holly based upon the signature pink jacket. But, further investigation reveals that the body belongs to Gina. Was the killer as confused as Sasha? Despite warnings from her family and boyfriend, Jay Kirby Sasha throws herself full tilt into finding a killer.

A fast paced plot coupled with delightful descriptions of the bear sculptures on display during Oktobear Fest, a warm and cozy small town atmosphere combined with a tight knit but quirky family dynamic makes it "beary" hard to put this book down. A twist at the end will leave readers wanting more from the Silvermans.


Bearly Departed (Teddy Bear, Bk 1)
Bearly Departed (Teddy Bear, Bk 1)
Author: Meg Macy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 4/15/2017


Bearly Departed is the first in the A Teddy Bear Mystery series featuring Alexandra "Sasha" Silverman and her sister Madeline "Maddie", who run the family teddy bear factory and shop in Silver Hollow, Michigan. The Silver Bear Shop was started by the girl's father in their ancestral home and prides itself on their unique handmade teddy bears.

Sasha has taken over as manager of the shop now that her father, Alex has retired, Maddie is in charge of the bookkeeping and their father's brother Ross is in charge of the factory. With only a handful of employees the company is a local attraction, the only problem is sales rep Will Taylor.

Will returns from a trip to a toy fair and announces that Sasha's father has agreed to move production overseas and to lay off most of the staff. The girls and Uncle Ross are irate not wanting to believe Alex would abandon his company, and the staff are upset about losing their jobs and insurance. The staff meeting turns into a free for all with not only Uncle Ross but seamstress Lois threatening to kill Will. Of course it's really no surprise when later that night Sasha and Maddie stumble over Will's body, literally stuffed to the gills.

It's not long before Uncle Ross becomes the prime suspect and in an effort to clear her uncle and save the bear shop, Sasha sets out to find the killer. Despite warnings by Homicide Detective Mason to stay out of his investigation, she quickly learns that not all is idyllic in the tiny town, with adultery and drug use running rampant.

A fun, fast paced storyline with well developed, likeable characters and a fluffy dog named Rosie and a cat named Onyx. You'll "bearly" be able to wait for the second in the series, Bear Witness to Murder, to follow the adventures of Sasha, her family and the residents of Silver Hollow.


A Beeline to Murder (Henny Penny Farmette, Bk 1)
A Beeline to Murder (Henny Penny Farmette, Bk 1)
Author: Meera Lester
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 8/31/2015
Helpful Score: 1


A Beeline to Murder is the first in the Henny Penny Farmette mystery series featuring retired police officer Abigail "Abby" MacKenzie. After suffering a crippling hand injury that left her unable to fire a gun, Abby abandons her career as a peacekeeper and is now overseeing her little farmette; raising chickens, tending to her beehives, growing vegetables and fostering her numerous fruit trees.

When delivering her prized honey to Las Flores Patisserie early one morning, Abby stumbles upon the body of Chef Jean Louise Bonheur. The crime scene has been staged to look as though the Chef committed suicide but Abby's experience as a detective leads her to believe that the Chef was actually murdered.

Fellow Police Officer and best friend Katrina "Kat" Petrovsky introduces Abby to the Chef's brother Philippe who wants to find the answers to his brother's death in order to find peace for his ailing parents. It appears that the feisty Chef had a lot of enemies in the small town of Las Flores, including the rowdy gang of bikers who didn't agree with the Chef's sexuality and the landlord of the Patisserie who wasn't going to renew his lease.

The plotline had good potential, but the mystery seemed at times to take a backseat to the romantic tension between Abby and Philippe. The book was a little slow going at times with lengthy, wordy descriptions of Abby's feelings.

I would have enjoyed a little more time spent on the Farmette. Overall, the characters are a likeable bunch and I look forward to the next in the series to see how life on the Farmette evolves, including Abby's friendship with neighbor Lucas Crawford and the antics of newly adopted dog, Sugar.


A Beeline to Murder (Henny Penny Farmette, Bk 1)
A Beeline to Murder (Henny Penny Farmette, Bk 1)
Author: Meera Lester
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 11/4/2015


A Beeline to Murder is the first in the Henny Penny Farmette mystery series featuring retired police officer Abigail "Abby" MacKenzie. After suffering a crippling hand injury that left her unable to fire a gun, Abby abandons her career as a peacekeeper and is now overseeing her little farmette; raising chickens, tending to her beehives, growing vegetables and fostering her numerous fruit trees.

When delivering her prized honey to Las Flores Patisserie early one morning, Abby stumbles upon the body of Chef Jean Louise Bonheur. The crime scene has been staged to look as though the Chef committed suicide but Abby's experience as a detective leads her to believe that the Chef was actually murdered.

Fellow Police Officer and best friend Katrina "Kat" Petrovsky introduces Abby to the Chef's brother Philippe who wants to find the answers to his brother's death in order to find peace for his ailing parents. It appears that the feisty Chef had a lot of enemies in the small town of Las Flores, including the rowdy gang of bikers who didn't agree with the Chef's sexuality and the landlord of the Patisserie who wasn't going to renew his lease.

The plotline had good potential, but the mystery seemed at times to take a backseat to the romantic tension between Abby and Philippe. The book was a little slow going at times with lengthy, wordy descriptions of Abby's feelings.

I would have enjoyed a little more time spent on the Farmette. Overall, the characters are a likeable bunch and I look forward to the next in the series to see how life on the Farmette evolves, including Abby's friendship with neighbor Lucas Crawford and the antics of newly adopted dog, Sugar.


Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery)
Review Date: 7/5/2019


Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass is the debut of the Exotic Pet-Sitter series set in Greenwich, CT and featuring video game reviewer and exotic pet sitter, Belinda Blake. Having left Manhattan for a cozy carriage house on the grounds of the Carrington mansion in Greenwich, Belinda finds herself pet sitting Rasputin, a massive ball python whose owner is insistent that he be given regular baths and taken for walks. It's during one of their walks with Belinda dealing with the slithery snake wrapping himself around her neck that she stumbles into Stone Carrington the fifth, the heir to the family fortune. It's quickly apparent that Stone isn't going to be able to extricate Belinda from the snake's grasp and in fact they both are in danger of being bitten - fortunately the groundskeeper, Jacques steps up and uses his childhood experience handling snakes to rescue the pair.

Deciding that she needs to relax after her near fatal walk, Belinda sets out to weed her flower beds only to discover a stylish Louboutin in the boxwood hedge, unfortunately it's still attached to a woman's body. Margo Fenton was a family friend and rumored to be Stone's girlfriend, and now after a night of billiards she'd somehow ended up strangled in the bushes.

Even though she didn't know Margo, Belinda finds herself drawn into the hunt for her killer. Detective Hugh Watson has named several suspects include Stone, the alcoholic Stone the fourth, the various Carrington employees and Stone's eccentric artist friend, Dietrich Myers who had a somewhat creepy obsession with the young woman.

A fast paced plot that takes the reader from Greenwich to Manhattan and to Belinda's family home in upstate New York. If you are like me, a very vocal snake hater, Belinda's interactions with Rasputin might make you a little squeamish, but the snake's role in capturing the killer left me cheering for him (just a little). I'll be looking forward to the next installment in the series with fingers crossed that Belinda's next charge won't be slimy or slithery and that the author doesn't pursue the dreaded love triangle that she seems to be staging.


Better Homes and Corpses (Hamptons Home & Garden, Bk 1)
Better Homes and Corpses (Hamptons Home & Garden, Bk 1)
Author: Kathleen Bridge
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 9/30/2015


Better Homes and Corpses is the first in the Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery series. The series centers around Meg Barrett, home decorator in Montauk, a small seaside community in the Hamptons of Long Island, New York.

Having left the publishing world of Manhattan and her job with American Home and Garden magazine, when she finds her fiancée cheating on her with his ex wife, Meg has started her own interior design business, Cottages by the Sea. Meg reconnects with college roommate Jillian Spenser whose mother Caroline, an avid collector of antiquities and arts has the reputation as the Queen Mother of the Hamptons. Excited for the opportunity to visit "Seacliff" the Spenser's sprawling estate, Meg arrives to find Caroline dead in Jillian's arms.

Elle Warner is Meg's best friend from the magazine world, who also has quit the publishing industry to open an antiques shop, in nearby Sag Harbor. When Elle is hired to inventory the Spenser estate for the First Fidelity Insurance Company she invites Meg along to assist.

It turns out there is a lot more hidden behind the walls of Seacliff than just priceless artifacts. It appears that Jillian is suffering from PTSD brought about by a boating accident suffered as a teenager and now the recent attack on her and her mother has left her with amnesia, plus someone is still making attempts on her life. A helpless, fragile shell of her former self Meg feels the need to protect her friend and discover who killed Caroline.

Plenty of suspects reside behind the hedges of Seacliff including Jillian's brother Cole who has been estranged from the family for over 17 years. DR. Greene, Jillian's personal physician, Butler and Housekeeper Mr. & Mrs. Arnold, eccentric Salvatore the painter turned sculptor and his son Van, Caroline's art assistant Adam Prescott and his mother Frances. Everyone seems to have had a motive to murder Caroline, but why is the killer still after Jillian?

This was a great first with lots of twists and turns that left me guessing until the very end. I was completely wrong in thinking I knew whodunit. Meg suffers from hearing loss and the authors delicate handling of Meg's disability along with the inclusion into the story of Tripod, the three legged dog adds just the right touch of heartwarming realism.

As is the common thread in most cozies, romantic tensions run high between Meg and one of her suspects. Ultimately he is cleared of any wrongdoing and it will be interesting to see if their relationship evolves in future books. Meg has a very loving relationship with her ex-detective Father and I'm curious to see if he and his new wife will appear to help Meg in her future investigations. Most of all I'm eager to see how Meg tackles her next big project of renovating and restoring her new home.

A great debut!


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