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.

 

 

 

The Valentine Candy Murder @LeslieMeier

I know, I know, you’re gearing up for Christmas and here I am writing about Valentine’s Day. It’s just one of those days where everything up is down. 😉 Actually, I was looking for an interesting cosy for Valentine’s Day and happened upon The Valentine Candy Murder which will be published in December.

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The Valentine Candy Murder is a compilation of two previously published works by Leslie Meier. She did something similar for Halloween and now we have this, two books in one. The first is Valentine Candy Murder in which a librarian is murdered shortly before a library board meeting. Newly appointed board member, Lucy, searches for answers when she believes the local detective has arrested the wrong person for the murder. The second, Chocolate Covered Murder, revolves around a rather intense rivalry between two chocolate shops in the small town of Tinker’s Cove. Lucy, a freelance reporter for the Pennysaver newspaper, begins her own investigation once again.

If you already are a fan of Meier’s work and/or have followed along the amateur sleuthing of Lucy’s, then having these two holiday themed books under one cover will be delight for you. The characters are vivid and fascinating and the plots themselves lend well to a cosy type read.

I came into these books fresh having never read about Tinker’s Cove or Lucy before now. The first, originally published long ago, felt a bit dated to me. If I had known that the action was taking place in, say, the 80s then I would have better understood perhaps. As it was, there are multiple references to the computer and searching for things online that came across as very antiquated – appropriate for the 80s but not for today. Because there were so many of these references, I found them a bit distracting. The second book skips ahead considerably on Lucy’s timeline so I found myself, once again, rather confused. The toddler in the first book is now a teen and the son is grown and married. I just don’t think that putting these two books together was wise given their vast time difference – at least not for new readers.

If you already are a fan then I’m quite sure you will enjoy these two books together. For the rest of us, I would suggest starting at the beginning of the series and read each individually. The writing is good and cozy and the characters are interesting.

Thank you to #Netgalley and #Kensington Press for my advanced copy.