Mums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower

Gardening and floral design are passions of mine so when I stumbled across Mums and Mayhem and realized that it was book that included both and was set in Scotland, I knew I had found myself a really good cozy read. I was absolutely right!

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A famous fiddler has been kilt. A magic garden’s left to wilt. Does Fiona Knox’s father hold the guilt? Will florist Fiona’s blood be spilt?

Fiona Knox, owner of the Climbing Rose Flower Shop is an American who moved to Scotland to care for her inheritance, a secret garden that is passed down to each generation of caretakers. Unsure why she has been chosen, Fiona has made Scotland her home to find answers, care for the garden and solve a mystery or two. In this edition, a world famous fiddle player has returned to his hometown for a homecoming concert only to be brutally murdered. Fiona’s parents also arrive from America and, surprisingly, Fiona discovers that her parents, her deceased godfather and the dead fiddler were once great friends. The more Fiona digs into the murder, the more questions she has about her own past and identity. What she discovers will leave her and the reader shocked.

I absolutely adore this cozy mystery. The villagers are all so cranky and wonderful and Scottish and marvelous and Fiona is a great protagonist.The garden itself is magical but to the point where you will gag on cloying fantasy and paranormal. It’s mystical properties are “just right.” There’s a hint of romance, a well written plot and good character development set in a dear little town. What more could you ask for in a cozy mystery?

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Mums and Mayhem is the third in A Magic Garden Mystery series but I read it as a stand alone without any problems. It did, however, make me want to read the first two books: Flowers and Foul Play and Death and Daisies which I readily found at my local library. I heartily recommend all three of these delightful books to you today.

@Netgalley @CrookedLaneBooks

 

 

Death at High Tide: An Island Sisters Mystery, Book 1 – Welcome to #MurderousMondays

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After so many noir reads, I needed a lighthearted mystery to keep me company. Death at High Tide was exactly right for good night’s read. Plus, I love reading the first book in a new series, don’t you?

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Cats, Corpses and Creepy old inns set the stage for this delightful cozy from Hannah Dennison. When Evie’s older husband dies of a heart attack, Evie is devastated. Her sister flies in from America to help Evie sort out the paperwork only to find that Robert, the husband, was hiding one secret after another, including the deed to an old inn on a often deserted island. Evie and her sister decide to check out the inn only discover hidden agendas, hidden secrets and a vicar who talks to animals!

Seriously, as strange as the description may sound, Death at High Tide checked all of the boxes for a wonderful cozy mystery. Evie and her sister make the perfect amateur sleuths despite the fact that I wanted to slap Margot, the sister, every other page. The characters are all properly suspicious and the deaths continue to mount until the very end of the tale. It was all rather wonderful! Because it was the first in a new series, I had hoped to have a better connection with the sisters than I did, but perhaps that was more me than the writing. Despite that tiny worry, Death at High Tide is a perfect cozy mystery that will keep you engaged from beginning to end!

Thank you to #Edelweiss, #MinotaurBooks and the author, Hannah Dennison, for my copy of this fun tale.

 

The Obituary Society (Book One) @JessicaRandall FREE TODAY

When Lila Moore inherits her grandfather’s house, she finds herself in a small Midwestern town where margarine is never an acceptable substitution for butter, a coveted family recipe can serve as currency, and the friend who will take your darkest secrets to the grave will still never give you the secret to her prize-winning begonias.

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I downloaded The Obituary Society for free at Amazon the other day and immediately sat down and read the entire book in one afternoon. It’s short, fabulous and the characters are very genuine. It has a bit of romance, a lot of mystery and is woven together with family, friends and fun! You can find The Obituary Society at Amazon

 

Chickenlandia: A Shady Hoosier Detective Agency Mystery by @DaisyPettles

Pawpaw County, Indiana is all a twitter with the annual chickenfest happening. That is, until Ma and Peepaw Horton’s prized rooster and hen go missing. RJ and Veenie are hired, however, to search for the missing Chicken BBQ queen instead. Things turn even darker when the local chicken dance king is run over by a car with out of state plates. Can things get any stranger or darker for the people of Pawpaw County!?

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First, allow me to say thank you for all of your thoughts and well wishes while my husband had by-pass surgery. He is home now and doing very well. They did some “extra work” while they were in there and soon he will be better than new. It’s great to be home and a little more settled, though. I thought I would read a million books during this time – I read none. <sigh> But, thank you all!

To say that I love (LOVE) this series is an understatement. I don’t know if it is because I’m from Indiana and know just how crazy the folks here can be or if it is the characters that Daisy Pettle’s creates or maybe a little of both! What I do know is that this cozy mystery series is a laugh out loud good time and fun reading.

Through the previous two books, we have come to love the chickens – and Rooster Dewey – at the Horton’s farm. The chicken houses are built to resemble famous buildings from all over the world, including the white house, so naturally we and the people of PawPaw County are very worried when something fowl happens there. Then, of course, there is the mysterious disappearances of the BBQ queen and more…..  What makes Chickenlandia and this series so wonderful are the senior sleuths who work at the Detective Agency. I’m not sure I ever have read about or related to fictional characters as much as I do RJ and Veenie. They are colorful, hilarious and always get their man with plenty of laughs, sarcasm and shenanigans along the way.  If you like cozy mysteries and if you love humor, then this is a book for you. You can read Chickenlandia as a stand alone, but the books are quick reads and I suggest you read them all.

Thank you to @Netgalley, #DaisyPettles and #BooksGoSocial for my copy of this delightful book.

Healthy Happy Wishes to you ALL and to all a good night…..

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The holidays are magical times regardless of how you celebrate or what you believe. In light of that, I have a tiny little review of a magical little holiday book that I read, A Slice of Christmas Magic by A.G. Mayes. cover165403-medium

This is the second book in the series; the first is A Slice of Magic. This time the holidays are here and the same nemesis as before is back to wreak holiday mayhem. While Aunt Erma is once again in charge of her magical pie shop, nothing is quite normal in Hocus Hills. In addition to all other mischief, Susie’s “one that got away” has shown up in town creating a love triangle that is sweet and spicy.

A Slice of Christmas Magic is a short, fun holiday read that will put a smile on your face through the season.

I’m reading tonight by the fire, waiting for Santa to make his appearance and I’m wishing you all a very happy, healthy holiday!

 

Autumn Alibi – Jennifer David Hesse

Now that the snow has melted and it feels like Autumn once again, I wanted to read some books set during this season. Luckily, the next book in the Wiccan Wheel Series was exactly what I was looking for!

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I began reading The Wiccan Wheel mysteries earlier this year partly because I was in a cozy mystery mood and partly because I’ve always been fascinated by various beliefs and religions that people choose to follow. What I discovered was a delightful series centered around, of course, the Wiccan Wheel which divides up the calendar into eight seasons and their corresponding celebrations such as Mabon and Yule Tide.

Keli Milanni is a successful attorney who is a Wiccan witch. Several of her cases, as well as the search for her mysterious aunt, often lead Keli to murderous endeavors. With the aide of her abilites, she solves the cases and brings closure to those who are left behind. She has interesting friends and co-workers who help her along the way, each bringing their own quirky personalities to the story.

The series, including Autumn Alibi, is a collection of well written, intelligent cozy mysteries. There are hints of romance but they are not the focus of the stories -the mysteries remain at the center throughout. This a fun series, especially if you enjoy cozy mysteries with a bit of a paranormal flair.

St. Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre #Valentine’sDay #ElisabethCrabtree

Do you know how hard it is to find a good book that is specifically for St. Valentine’s Day!? As many book as are written for Christmas, one would think that this would be a breeze. If they are out there, please let me know because I have searched high and low and the pickings are slim, to say the least. Luckily for me, I found this little gem hiding in the FREE Kindle books on Amazon.

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Kat has moved back to her hometown of Hatter’s Cove and is now working for her local paper. She’s finding it to be a let-down after years of crime reporting. Now, she has been relegated to covering the society pages, specially being the ace food critic, a job that has led to multiple bouts of food poisoning as well a death threats. Apparently her restaurants reviews are similar to my book reviews. 🙂  When she receives an invitation to the grand opening of the newest Cookie Shop, she is reluctant to go but knows she has to attend. After all, the owner is her mother’s best friend. Later that evening, Kat receives an anonymous call beckoning her back to the cookie shop. The caller tells her that they have a big tip regarding an old murder. When Kat arrives, she discovers a dead body holding a bag full of cookies from the shop. The owner, her mother’s friend, is promptly arrested despite everyone’s protests. Kat knows she has to do whatever it takes to find the real killer – to save her mother’s friend and possibly her own life.

If you’ve read cosy mysteries, and I’m sure most of you have, then you know that sometimes they are just too adorable for words and the characters are sooo sweet but the substance of the mystery is, well, lacking. If there is too much crime and violence then the book is no longer a “cosy” so it’s a tightrope to walk for authors. Thankfully for us, as readers, Crabtree knows exactly how to tread that tightrope perfectly. There is plenty of humor, the characters are quirky and funny but they still have plenty of depth and, most importantly, the crime itself is plausible, within reason of course. If you like a lite read, a mystery without gore, then you will find The St. Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre absolutely perfect and it’s a great seasonal read too – who could ask for more?

Baby Daddy Mystery: Shady Hoosier Detective Agency @DaisyPettles

I’ve been reading some very grim thrillers, gritty urban fiction and heartbreaking women’s fiction lately and I seriously needed a change of pace. How fortuitous that Daisy Pettle would publish the next book in Shady Hoosier Detective Agency series.

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For those of you who may be unaware, “Hoosiers” is the official name for those of us who are lucky enough to live in the midwestern state of Indiana. You can ask a dozen people where the nickname originated and you will receive a dozen different answers but it is now our official title. That said, this series with its quirky characters, often real-life Hoosier settings and true to life, ethnocentric humor, had me laughing-out-loud from start to finish. I adored the first book, The Ghost Busting Mystery, but The Baby Daddy Mystery was just too terrific, even better than the first!

Ruby Jane and Veenie are back and have been hired by one of the wealthiest women in town to verify the paternity of her late husband’s mistress’s children. However, the dead bodies soon begin to pile up as RJ and Veenie get closer to learning the truth. It doesn’t help that it is spring in PawPaw County and everyone – literally – is having a spring fling with somebody else’s spouse. What can I say? The Hoosier hills come alive in the spring time. 😉

These books are meant to be read with tongue in cheek. The joy of reading them is in their massive amount of humor and it comes in buckets. This one did, in fact, have a bit more actual sleuthing than the first and that made it a tad more enjoyable for me but I would read anything that featured RJ and Veenie. It is so incredibly rare for women their age to be featured as anything other than doddering old fuddy-duddies and I absolutely adore the fact that Veenie, well, is actually a lot like me! Now if only I could find that elusive pie hut I would be in heaven!

If you haven’t read anything in this series yet – well, what are you waiting for!?

Thank you so much to #Netgalley, @DaisyPettles and #HotPantsPressLLC for my copy of this delightful book!

Murder at the Mill

Murder at the Mill is a fantastic beginning to a new series featuring Iris Grey, an artist who happens to solve a murder mystery.

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I picked up Murder at the Mill to fulfill the amateur sleuth category for the PopSugar Reading Challenge and thought I was going to get a cute cozy tale. While this is not a “thriller” by any means, it is definitely a good, old fashioned, well told mystery in the style of Agatha Christie. There are lots of twists and turns and red herrings that will keep you guessing until the very end. The characters are very well developed – some very likable and others are simply deplorable – but all very interesting and three dimensional.

I’m excited to have find a new author to love and cannot wait for the next in this series!

A Dolphin Named Star #Capstone

I read a wonderful review by Lana at Cole Campfire Blog about two young girls who live at a wildlife sanctuary. The book sounded so marvelous that I had to get a copy for myself! Thank you Lana!

A Dolphin Named Star is a delightful story that I’m assuming is written for tweens, perhaps a little younger. (8-11 years old) It reminded me of a cross between Nancy Drew and the old television show, Flipper. Yes, yes, I know I’m showing my age but I read all of the Nancy Drew books and watched re-runs of Flipper so often that I, literally, could recite entire episodes by memory. Is it any wonder that I loved A Dolphin Named Star!?

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Elsa and her best friend Olivia spend all of their time at the Seaside Sanctuary for wildlife where Elsa’s parents work. The girls have bonded with the new dolphins who have been rescued and are acclimatizing to their new outdoor “pool.” However, worry sets in for the girls as the dolphins immediately begin to get sick, have sores and, eventually, one of the trio dies. No one can figure out exactly what is wrong with the dolphins since water samples come back clean. The girls do some sleuthing to find the answers, hopefully in time to save the remaining dolphins.

This is, of course, a book that is written for the minds and attention level of kids, however, it is intelligently written and covers a lot of bases regarding the sanctity of wildlife, ocean pollution, corporate wrong-doing. Because my own kids grew up with books like this, from Nancy Drew to Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, I think the book is perfectly written for their interests and knowledge base. In addition, as if the book weren’t terrific enough, there are discussion questions in the back of the book to encourage further dialogue and research. There also is a glossary of terms that might be unfamiliar to kids but which will further enhance their language skills and, hopefully, peak their interest so that they will search out other books on this topic.

A Dolphin Named Star is beautifully illustrated, marvelously written and a thoroughly enjoyable book. It is one in a set of four books about the girls and Seaside Sanctuary and would be an excellent gift for young readers.

Thanks again to Lana for putting this book on my radar, to #Netgalley and @CapstonePub for my advance copy – published by  #StoneArchBooks.