Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Hammett Hex (A Book Collector Mystery #5) by Victoria Abbott

Who is ready for the next Book Collector Mystery? I know I was and it made me so happy to see The Hammett Hex (A Book Collector Mystery #5) by Victoria Abbott on my October release reading stack. Victoria Abbott never disappoints.

From the back of the book:

The national bestselling author of The Marsh Madness takes rare book collector Jordan Bingham on a trip to San Francisco—home to Dashiell Hammett’s hard-boiled heroes—where nothing is as it seems.

On a getaway to the City by the Bay, book collector Jordan Bingham becomes entangled in a mystery with more twists than Lombard Street...

Jordan has been able to swing a romantic trip to San Francisco with Officer Tyler “Smiley” Dekker on one condition—she must return with a rare copy of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest for her irascible employer, Vera Van Alst. For his own part, Smiley is full of surprises. He’s a Dashiell devotee himself—excited to be in the city of Hammett’s hard-boiled heroes like Sam Spade and the Continental Op—and also announces he plans to visit his previously unmentioned estranged grandmother, who lives in an old Victorian on Telegraph Hill.

But the trip goes downhill fast when Jordan is pushed from a cable car and barely escapes death. And when a dark sedan tries to run the couple down, it’s clear someone’s after them—but who? Just like in Hammett’s world, nothing is quite what is seems.

My thoughts:

As with the last part this is a very suspenseful cozy. I believe the last time the words I used were, edge of your seat. I still agree with that choice this time. While it is edge of your seat, that edge is softened, and the overall effect made cozy by the wit that is infused in the writing. I loved the setting and tone in this part. I was thrilled right up to the end, when it hit me how fast I read this and now I have to wait for the next part.

I loved the pacing and really loved that this wasn't just a here is a dead body, now who did it. It added to the sense of danger and the page turning speed that there was someone actively after them. This is the fifth part in a series, one we've talked about before, and one I love, but you don't have to have read any prior parts to enjoy this one. 

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.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Putting on the Witch (Retired Witches Mystery #3) by Joyce Lavene, Jim Lavene

Putting on the Witch (Retired Witches Mystery #3) by Joyce Lavene, Jim Lavene made me so happy to see in my reading stack. I know many of you follow cozies closely, and know just how special this couple is and how wonderful the stories they shared with us are. The tragic loss makes this treasure something I will cherish even more.

From the back of the book:

In the latest mystery from the bestselling authors of Looking for Mr. Good Witch, the retired witches of Wilmington, North Carolina, are ready to kick up their heels...

With their coven’s spell book still missing, Molly and Elsie—along with their ghostly friend Olivia, her daughter Dorothy, and her boyfriend Brian—are all on edge, especially now that Dorothy’s infamously wicked father is back in the picture. So when they receive an invitation to an exclusive Witches Ball, the ladies jump at the chance to dress up and have some fun.

The castle locale is spectacular and the party is hopping, but the festivities come to a swift end when a member of the Grand Council of Witches is murdered. With the whole place on lock down, the coven is determined to find the cunning killer, even with an angry council and a real Spanish Inquisitor breathing down their necks.

My thoughts:

I love para-cozies, maybe because I have such a close bond with witches and magic. This series is one of my favorites. All of the characters are so lively, even the dead ones. It was great to see more of Brian and Dorothy, them as a couple is growing on me. I love the way he stands apart from his family and the council. Learning more about Dorthy's father was awesome, and so surprising. The setting, a witch's party at a magical castle was so ... magical. The magic Molly has in her amulet is also really intriguing.

I didn't solve the murder this time, but wow there was so much more than a murder mystery going on. I was enthralled in histories, secrets, and continuing discovery of the coven member's powers and secrets. The library would have been a dream come true for me. Let's face it, the whole magical party would have been. That there are always so many different types of creatures packed into the rich stories continues to amaze me. It never feels busy, just very very rich. You will want this and every single thing written by this beautiful couple.

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, September 26, 2016

Masking for Trouble (Costume Shop Mystery #2) by Diane Vallere

Halloween is my favorite time of year. I would dress up all year if I could, and that is probably why I relate so well to Margo in Masking for Trouble (Costume Shop Mystery #2) by Diane Vallere. I have read every single book available from Diane Vallere and she never fails to entertain.

From the back of the book:

Halloween brings more tricks than treats for costume shop owner Margo Tamblyn in the second in a new cozy series from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness Mysteries.

Halloween conjures up big business for Margo Tamblyn’s costume shop, Disguise DeLimit, but this year, the holiday comes knocking with serious trouble. Venture capitalist Paul Haverford plans to rezone historic downtown into a glitzy commercial area which would push out local business. Margo is set on saving her family’s store, especially after a nasty run-in with the chain-store tycoon, but after Haverford’s body is discovered during a spooky party at the derelict Alexandria Hotel, Margo finds herself dressed as the police’s prime suspect.

Anxious to clear her name, Margo begins hunting down anyone who might have wanted Haverford dead. Between all of his malicious maneuverings, the murdered mogul had buckets of people anxious to see him gone. Now, Margo will have to use every trick in the book to find a cloaked killer—before someone else winds up wearing a death shroud.

My thoughts:

Margo, her dad, Ebony, Tak, and the gang are all back for the second part in this unique series. There are even some fun new faces to get to know. The setting is the same fun costume shop, in the same sweet cozy town as last time, but now it is Halloween time, my favorite time of year. I totally sank into the story, glad to be back with Margo again. I simply love Tak, and can't wait to see where that goes.

The mystery was fun, and I was totally shocked at the reveal. I mean really. I think I figured it out two seconds before Margo, and I was like... wow. No, really? It was paced well and fun to think about. There were several suspects and I liked that Margo didn't easily figure things out.

In the back you will find recipes, costumes, and an excerpt from Silk Stalkings, which I also highly recommend. This book releases on October fourth so you still have time to grab part one if you want and get all caught up.

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, September 21, 2016

Tangled Up in Brew (Brewing Trouble #2) by Joyce Tremel

There is a special feeling to a cozy, all cozy readers know that. It starts on page one and tells you that this is going to be a place of friends and good times, even though there will be loss and scandals. That was the feeling I had on page one of Tangled Up in Brew (Brewing Trouble #2) by Joyce Tremel.

From the back of the book:

Brew pub owner Maxine “Max” O’Hara and her chef/boyfriend Jake Lambert are excited to be participating in the Three Rivers Brews and Burgers Festival. Max hopes to win the coveted Golden Stein for best craft beer—but even if she doesn’t, the festival will be great publicity for her Allegheny Brew House.

Or will it? When notoriously nasty food and beverage critic Reginald Mobley is drafted as a last-minute replacement judge, Max dreads a punishing review. Her fears are confirmed when Mobley literally spits out her beer, but things get even worse when the cranky critic drops dead right after trying one of Jake’s burgers. Now an ambitious new police detective is determined to pin Mobley’s murder on Max and Jake, who must pore over the clues to protect their freedom and reputations—and to find the self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner.

My thoughts:

I knew from reading part one that this series was filled with the type of characters I love. Easy to relate to and hard to leave. The setting is cute, and adds a bit to the cozy food theme by being a brewery as well. It was good see the returning characters and I enjoyed the new faces, even though a few were the type you think might be next on the murder list. I like that both Max and Jake's parents get stronger parts and I still think they have a sweet relationship that isn't spoiled by any cliche triangles.

They mystery wasn't one I was able to figure out. I did figure the why quicker than that was revealed, but the who was a bit harder to draw a line to. The contest and festival was a lovely setting within the setting, I do love a celebration. It had a nice pace and left me feeling good, as well as looking forward to the next part, which was hinted at in the back... behind the delicious recipes.

You still have time to grab part one and be caught up when this releases on October 4th! 

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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery #3) by Leslie Budewitz

It made me so happy to see Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery #3) by Leslie Budewitz on the October releases! This series has made me feel so at home in a place I've never been and has a heroine that I adore. That, and you seriously can't go wrong with anything from Leslie Budewitz.

From the back of the book:

In Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer in the latest from the national bestselling author of Guilty as Cinnamon.

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun.

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. After Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

My thoughts:

It is always so much fun to be back with Pepper and her friends, family, and even her ex. Oh, and let's not leave out Arf. Pepper is my kind of heroine, really, intelligent, and not perfect in all of her guesses. I loved getting to see all of my old favorites and was thrilled to meet the new additions to the shop crew. The pacing is as beautiful as the setting, and the reveal came before I was able to figure it out.

The mystery was complex as with the last last part. I really thought it was skillfully intertwined into the world that has already been established rather than thrown on top - that is fabulous. It felt purposeful, yes still cozy. Each time I think Leslie Budewitz has outdone herself and I'm always amazed to see she continues to grow as a writer. Her ability to craft a deep mystery takes this beyond genre writing. 

In the back of the book you will find delicious recipes, including a cheese spread and ginger snaps! Both are on my list to make. You can pick up this series right here as it is a complete mystery, or use the time between now and its release on October 4th to catch up with the other parts, which I also fully 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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Behind Chocolate Bars (A Chocolate Covered Mystery #3) by Kathy Aarons

Chocolate is one of those topics that always makes me smile. Always. I love cozies on the whole, I love foodies cozies, chocolate is a can't go wrong and so is anything fall themed. With all that in mind Behind Chocolate Bars (A Chocolate Covered Mystery #3) by Kathy Aarons, was a perfect read for me.

From the back of the book:

DOUBLE, DOUBLE-BOIL, AND TROUBLE…

Best friends and business partners Michelle and Erica have a monstrous to-do list as they prepare for the annual West Riverdale Halloween Fair. Their shop, Chocolates and Chapters, will have a booth at the event, where Michelle will serve spooky delights while Erica displays an assortment of spine-chilling books. Thank goodness the teenagers from Erica’s comic-book club are chipping in to help. But one of their volunteers winds up in trouble after a woman’s body is found in an abandoned house—with the teen’s superhero key ring close by.

The teen swears he didn’t do it, but he’s obviously hiding something—leaving Michelle and Erica with a witch’s cauldron of questions. Soon they discover that the dead woman was tricking a whole bunch of people out of more than just treats. Now these two friends must go door-to-door if they hope to unmask a killer…

My thoughts:

This wasn't my first visit to this series, but as with most cozy series if it is yours that is just fine. They mystery is self contained. I really love that there are two strong female leads that are best friends. It makes my heart happy to see women that are genuinely supportive of each other. I also really liked getting to know Leo, who also suffers from PTSD that made him and I instantly bond.

I thought the mystery was fun and could be solved. I solved it. I was impressed I had a gut feeling about the guilty person almost as soon as they entered a scene. Yay me! It had a great pacing and since it happened to be a dark stormy afternoon I just stayed in and read it all in one day. The setting was a fun business that would be all win for a shopper with my loves!

Pre-order or grab your copy on October 4th for some fabulous fall reading.

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, September 14, 2016

By Familiar Means (Witch's Cat Mystery #2) by Delia James

You may recall in February I told you about an awesome new series by Delia James. I know if you read the first part you will be excited to know that on September 27th part two will be available! By Familiar Means (Witch's Cat Mystery #2) by Delia James is humming with all the para-cozy fun I enjoyed in the first part.

From the back of the book:

In the latest from the author of A Familiar Tail, a witch and her familiar find trouble brewing at a coffee house.

After discovering her mystical heritage—and being adopted by furry feline familiar Alistair—artist Annabelle Britton has decided to make picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her new home. Now, she can take the time to figure out her new abilities and welcome her grandmother, who is visiting Portsmouth, and her old coven, for the first time in thirty years.

But being a witch doesn’t magically put money in the bank. When she’s hired to paint the murals for a new coffee house, it seems like a wish come true. But then a series of spooky sounds and strange happenings convince the owners that their new shop is haunted. They want Anna and her coven to evict the restless spirit before the grand opening.

Annabelle is certain the haunted happenings at the shop are just hocus pocus. But when her search reveals hidden smugglers’ tunnels beneath the shop—and a dead body—Annabelle, Alastair, and the coven suddenly find themselves in a cat and mouse game with a killer.

My thoughts:

The characters in this series are so charming, literally. All of the guardians have my heart. I also really enjoyed getting to see more of Grandma BB, Frank, and Sean. The relationships are developing into rich, real interactions that add to the world and make it easy to sink into. It feels so genuine, even thought they are larger than life. They each have something that makes them unique and valuable to the story. The setting also grew more visible this time.

The magic played a bigger role in this as Anna starts to get more comfortable with what she is, it is fun to see what her skills will allow for. Alastair remains a fabulous cat in all ways. The mystery was great, steeped in family secrets and even went a ways in developing underlying stories that showed more about Grandma BB. I had it half figured and love the little twists along the way. I love all things witchy and am totally in love this series. I hope you will preorder and if you need, take the time to read part one while you wait.

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.