Friday, February 5, 2016

Arsenic and Old Books (Cat in the Stacks #6) by Miranda James

Cats, books, libraries, civil war history; what's not to love about Arsenic and Old Books (Cat in the Stacks #6) by Miranda James? Nothing is the right answer. I adored it to pieces and tomorrow February 2nd it becomes available in mass market paperback.


From the back of the book:

In Athena, Mississippi, librarian Charlie Harris is known for his good nature—and for his Maine coon cat Diesel that he walks on a leash. Charlie returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but taking the plunge into a recent acquisition will have him in over his head…

Lucinda Beckwith Long, the mayor of Athena, has donated a set of Civil War-era diaries to the archives of Athena College. The books were recently discovered among the personal effects of an ancestor of Mrs. Long’s husband. The mayor would like Charlie to preserve and to substantiate them as a part of the Long family legacy—something that could benefit her son, Beck, as he prepares to campaign for the state senate.

Beck’s biggest rival is Jasper Singletary. His Southern roots are as deep as Beck’s, and their families have been bitter enemies since the Civil War. Jasper claims the Long clan has a history of underhanded behavior at the expense of the Singletarys. He’d like to get a look at the diaries in an attempt to expose the Long family’s past sins. Meanwhile, a history professor at the college is also determined to get her hands on the books in a last-ditch bid for tenure. But their interest suddenly turns deadly…

Now Charlie is left with a catalog of questions. The diaries seem worth killing for, and one thing is certain: Charlie will need to be careful, because the more he reads, the closer he could be coming to his final chapter… 

My thoughts:

My very first thought is that the lead is a man and that is wonderfully refreshing! It may well be the very first cozy I have read with a male lead. In addition to Charlie, who was easy to like, there were several supporting characters that were equally as much fun to get to know and I hope to see them more. There were also a handful of suspects who were fun to not trust/like. Of course, you know I have a weak spot for cats, and Diesel was absolutely one of my favorite parts of the whole story.

The mystery was a lot of fun for me because I really love Civil War history so that added a special element for me. The diary entries were just so much fun to read. In the back of the book you find a fun and charming short story that adds to the intimacy you will feel with these characters. 

Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there, you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read. You can also connect with them on Twitter where you can happen across a fun giveaway as well. 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

For Cheddar or Worse (A Cheese Shop Mystery #7) by Avery Aames

Avery Aames is one of the authors I look for when I am browsing new releases and book shops. She has a beautiful way with words that never disappoints. For Cheddar or Worse (A Cheese Shop Mystery #7) by Avery Aames is the latest part in series that I simply adore and I know you will too.


From the back of the book:

In the new Cheese Shop Mystery from the Agatha Award-winning author of As Gouda as Dead , an extra-sharp tongued cheese critic is cut down during a summer cheese festival.

It’s time for the annual Cheese Festival in Providence, Ohio, and Charlotte Bessette’s cheese shop is packed with homemade specialties. Meanwhile, her friend Erin is prepping her dairy farm and inn for cheese makers, marketers, journalists, and one surprise guest—Lara Berry, pretentious cheese whiz, pompous bestselling author, and pungent critic whose extra sharp tongue can crumble a reputation.

Even though any love for Lara by her friends curdled long ago, Charlotte is surprised when the foodie is smothered to death in her room at Erin’s inn. Accusations start flying, but the one laying blame on Erin strikes Charlotte as a crock. Now, to clear her friend’s name, Charlotte has to sift through Lara’s ex-lovers, former business partners, and unforgiving enemies to find a killer before Lara’s past casts a tainted pall on the festival’s future.

My thoughts:

I have been following this series for a while now and was all caught up and excited for this part. I already adored the main characters and as usual for any new faces that were easy to like or distrust depending on the role they had to play. The descriptions made it easy to slip into the world even though other than the taste, I know little to nothing about cheese and how it's made.

Having close ties to the investigators gives Charlotte an outside insight that many of sleuths in this type story don't have, that was a nice change. Andrew added really emotional element to the story for me that had me flipping pages late into the night, as I needed to know how things would work out for everyone, but most especially him. I was a little surprised at the reveal which is always nice and was satisfying. 

There are lots of fabulous recipes in the back as well as a preview for a book in the Cookbook Nook series, that I also love and recommend.

Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there, you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read. You can also connect with them on Twitter where you can happen across a fun giveaway as well. 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Darned if You Do (A Needlecraft Mystery #18) by Monica Ferris

You know I love crafts and cozies so, craft cozies are a favorite of mine. That means I am very familiar and always excited to see anything by Monica Ferris. Darned if You Do (A Needlecraft Mystery #18) by Monica Ferris is a real joy to read. Available now in mass market paperback.


From the back of the book:

The USA Today bestselling Needlecraft Mysteries have shown that when it comes to murder, Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop, doesn’t mess around. But when a local hoarder is murdered, she’ll need all her wits to dig a new friend out of a heap of trouble…

After a tree falls on Tom Riordan’s house, landing him in the hospital, the police discover a mountain of junk piled high in his home. Locals in Excelsior, Minnesota—including Betsy and her Crewel World Monday Bunch—offer to help with the cleanup while Tom recuperates.

But when Tom is found murdered in his hospital bed, the sole heir to his property—his cousin Valentina—becomes the number one suspect. Betsy believes there’s more to the case than meets the eye, but finding clues to the killer’s identity in the clutter Tom left behind will be like looking for a needle in a haystack …

My thoughts:

I have been reading Monica Ferris for a fair amount of time, with mixed results, but you know I am drawn to anything craft related. I am happy to say she was back in good form for this story. I loved the return to characterization and seeing some real fleshing out of characters that I could fall in love with. 

The pacing in this installment was also great. It had a nice build, beautiful descriptions and several twists. While I did figure out who did it easy enough, I was still totally invested in knowing why and how, which made the mystery a lot of fun.

If you are a fan of craft cozies you should love this one. Plus, in the back you will find  lovely crochet lace pattern. 

Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there, you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read. You can also connect with them on Twitter where you can happen across a fun giveaway as well. 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Loot Crate - January 2016

It's that special geeky time of the month again where looters everywhere stalk their mailbox in anticipation. For any newcomers, or generally forgetful people, Loot Crate is quite possibly the most awesome subscription box out there. For only $13.95 a month, you can get one of these epic boxes for yourself. They also offer different boxesnow, like Anime, Gaming and Pets. They even have apparel subscriptions and Limited Edition boxes! If you haven't checked out the Loot Crate website lately, you should. You won't be disappointed!

Before I get into the loot, I want to mention that this month they announced that every box from now on will have a shirt and I am so excited! The theme this month is Invasion and I am also very excited about that too! To start out, we had some great throwback loot. Up first is an awesome ALIEN Facehugger Plush. This is definitely cuter and more cuddly than it's predecessor. There is also some awesome Mini Art Prints from the classics The Day The Earth Stood Still and The War Of The Worlds.


A prop replica Multi Pass is also included. I loved The Fifth Element as a kid (I still love it) and I am so excited this was included! Who doesn't love Leeloo? Another childhood love of mine was Space Invaders. The two-dimensional game is now three-dimensional with this awesome vinyl figure. It comes in three color varieties and I got the orange/clear one. 


The last two items are just in time for the X-Files' return! The first item is a super bright LED flashlight! We all know that searching for aliens, monsters, and ghouls takes you into some creepy places and, of course, most creepy places also happen to be dark. The last item is an exclusive shirt from Threadless. Featuring some of my favorite agents, this shirt also has aliens, UFOs, and a bright green color! What more could you ask for?

Loot Crate, as usual, was awesome this month! I know you are dying to have your own Loot Crates coming to your door so remember: All you have to do is sign up and for $13.95 you can have your very own. Sign up today though because boxes are limited and with stuff this epic, demand is high. You can also stay up to date with fun extras and specials by following Loot Crate on Facebook and Twitter.


Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Off the Books (Novel Idea #5) by Lucy Arlington

It takes a lot for a mystery to surprise me, so when I say that Off the Books (Novel Idea #5) by Lucy Arlington is full of delightful surprises, I mean it! Pick it up today. 


From the back of the book:

Literary agent and amateur sleuth Lila Wilkins is back to seal the deal in the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mystery series.

Lila is showcasing some of her biggest authors at a bridal expo. But when the joyous event turns deadly, she’ll have to figure out who penned the perfect crime...

The Novel Idea Literary Agency has planned a wedding-themed week for Inspiration Valley, celebrating not only North Carolina’s best vendors but also some of the agency’s most popular bridal books. The fact that Lila can use the event to plan her own impending nuptials is just the icing on the cake.

But wedding bells turn to warning bells when Lila finds a dead man facedown in the frosting. Soon it’s discovered that the victim was connected to several Novel Idea authors, all of whom quickly become suspects in the case. It’s up to Lila and her fellow agents to find the real killer before one of their clients winds up scribbling stories from behind bars... 

My thoughts:

It isn't often a book catches me off guard on more than one level. I definitely read a lot of mysteries, as you know. This book seriously caught me off guard on several points. The murder itself, the unfolding of turns, and the conclusion. It was so wonderfully written that I enjoyed having more questions than answers until the time was right and then, wow.

In addition to the brilliant mystery, the description is lovely and makes for an immersive read. I also found the characters easy to relate to and drawn in a way that makes them come to life in my mind. There was a real sense that these people were working together and everything toed together perfectly. I look forward to reading the next installment and recommend you jump in this series now. I have some catching up to do! 

Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there, you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read. You can also connect with them on Twitter where you can happen across a fun giveaway as well. 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Cakes of Monte Cristo: A Piece of Cake Mystery by Jacklyn Brady

Of all the places I have visited, lived, or traveled to, I think New Orleans has to be the most mysterious. Probably also my favorite. It lends itself to a certain feeling and that feeling makes it a great setting The Cakes of Monte Cristo: A Piece of Cake Mystery by Jacklyn Brady, which involves a necklace with a dark past and a curse.


From the back of the book:

In the fresh new Piece of Cake Mystery from the national bestselling author of Rebel Without a Cake, a pastry chef becomes embroiled in a suspicious death as a mysterious curse casts a pall over an annual New Orleans ball.

Rita Lucero, co-owner of New Orleans’s Zydeco Cakes, is thrilled to be catering an annual ball held at the Monte Cristo Hotel. Designing the high-end desserts is her priority—until she stumbles upon a mystery long-buried at her shop. It’s an ornate ruby necklace, hidden underneath her staircase and rumored to be cursed.

After the gem’s appraiser suddenly drops dead and Rita herself is targeted by a menacing stranger, she’s no longer laughing at local superstition. Now with five cakes on order and an investigation into the necklace’s past revealing layers of unsettling clues, Rita has reason to keep looking over her shoulder while she’s frosting. Because any way you slice it, the next victim of the legendary curse could be her.

My thoughts:

For a series that is six books in this really reads fresh and crisp. It was my first dip in the series and I was so easily lost in the setting and characters that I didn't feel like I had missed a beat. The mystery was so well woven and kept unfolding in unsuspecting ways. Initially I wondered if it would be about the necklace, then a dead body turned up and it deepened even further. 

The pacing was fabulous, with new twists and suspects appearing at just the right time. It was first person which can be a hard narrative to make exciting but this was really done effectively and I was totally white knuckling it in places, not just the end! 

Even knowing it is part six I expect this will be a long lived story as there seems to be so much life in the characters and so much more to explore. I hope I am right. While you are exploring make sure you peek in the back of the book for recipes too! One of my favorite southern comforts is included. 

Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there, you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read. You can also connect with them on Twitter where you can happen across a fun giveaway as well. 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Daisies For Innocence (Enchanted Garden Mystery #1) by Bailey Cattrell

Daisies For Innocence (Enchanted Garden Mystery #1) by Bailey Cattrell is probably my favorite start to a series in a long while. I adored everything from the cover and characters to the mystery and themes. It had perfect pacing and just a hint of the magic that can be found everywhere.


From the back of the book:

From Bailey Cattrell—who writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Bakery Mysteries as Bailey Cates—comes the first Enchanted Garden Mystery featuring custom perfume maker Elliana Allbright...

The Enchanted Garden behind Elliana Allbright’s perfume shop draws people of all ages with its fragrant flowers and lush greenery. But when the magical serenity is interrupted, it’s up to Ellie to sniff out a killer.

Ellie’s life has blossomed in Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense, a custom-made-perfume store. Her skills with aromas and botanical essences—some from her very own garden—seem almost…supernatural. Her perfumes can evoke emotions,  bring about change, or simply make people happy. Customers are flocking to the store to buy her wares or just to sit in her beautiful garden, sip tea and enjoy homemade cookies. 

But she smells trouble when she learns that her part-time assistant Josie is dating her ex. And before she can tell the young woman to beware of his charms, she finds Josie dead in the Enchanted Garden. Now the prime suspect in Josie’s murder, Ellie must search for the real culprit in Josie’s past—because it’ll take a miracle to nip this problem in the bud....

My thoughts:

I do love the start of a new series and getting to know new characters. It seems to be me that so much more attention to characters is given at the start and that is my favorite part. Ellie is so much like someone I could see myself having tea with. I also found that this author was able to neatly have the mystery seem equally as detailed, which is rare and awesome. It was a well written and nicely paced mystery as well.

Speaking of detail, the setting was fabulous. I love the shop and the garden. It was as precious as you might gather from the cover. As an avid reader I don't often get taken in by covers but this one was totally precious and so fitting of this new series. I can't wait to see where these characters are taken next.

In the back of the book you will find a recipe and some aromatherapy tips and recipes. You will want to start this sweet series now so that you don't miss a part. It is something special.

Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there, you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read. You can also connect with them on Twitter where you can happen across a fun giveaway as well. 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.