Category Archives: Books

Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon

Guidebook to MurderGuidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon is the first book in the new “Tourist Trap” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, April 2014

In the gentle coastal town of South Cove, California, all Jill Gardner wants is to keep her store–Coffee, Books, and More–open and running. So why is she caught up in the business of murder?

When Jill’s elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls in a fit of pique, she already knows the city council is trying to force Emily to sell her dilapidated old house. But Emily’s gumption goes for naught when she dies unexpectedly and leaves the house to Jill–along with all of her problems. . .and her enemies. Convinced her friend was murdered, Jill is finding the list of suspects longer than the list of repairs needed on the house. But Jill is determined to uncover the culprit–especially if it gets her closer to South Cove’s finest, Detective Greg King. Problem is, the killer knows she’s on the case–and is determined to close the book on Jill permanently.

This was a good read and I love the author’s style, which was warm and friendly. The background setting also gave me a sense of calmness. The tone was comfortable and the pace had a steady flow to it, making it easy to follow the storyline and clues. The author did a great job in tantalizing me with suspects and scenarios that led me to believe I knew who was behind it all, and I was surprised at the revelation. Jill is a great character and I like her determination to find the killer, even when threatened. With a likable supporting cast, that includes her aunt Jackie and hunky Detective King and with engaging conversations, this was very enjoyable and I can’t wait to read the next book in this wonderfully appealing series.

FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

A Second Helping of Murder by Christine Wenger

A second helping of murderA Second Helping of Murder by Christine Wenger is the second book in the “Comfort Food” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, April 2014

Trixie Matkowski is warming up to running her family’s diner in the small town of Sandy Harbor in upstate New York. But the only thing more demanding than serving up piping-hot comfort food twenty-four hours a day is getting to the bottom of a double homicide.

Trixie fondly remembers summers as a child spent visiting the shores of Lake Ontario. Not much has changed—there are still vinyl booths at the Silver Bullet Diner, families eating home-cooked comfort food, and days of swimming in the lake.

But before Trixie can say “Order’s up,” someone’s summer is abruptly cut short. One of the cottage residents is found dead, and Trixie suspects the crime might be linked to an unsolved disappearance in the picturesque town’s past.

As Trixie works with Deputy Ty Brisco to solve both mysteries, their shocking discoveries will shake up the small town. And when word gets out that she’s on the case, Trixie’s in trouble—after all, the murderer won’t spare her life just because she makes a killer corned beef sandwich.

This very enjoyable whodunit was easy to follow with a delightfully charming cast of characters; engaging conversations and the comfort feeling of easy dining with family and friends. The mystery was good and hard to put down, as I had to know who was behind the murder. The author did a great job in keeping the suspense alive with plenty of suspects and it was fun narrowing down the list and waiting for the author to reveal if my choice was correct. A great read and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s cooking in the next book with Trixie and her friends.

The Cold Nowhere by Brian Freeman

The Cold NowhereThe Cold Nowhere by Brian Freeman is the 8th book in the “Jonathan Stride” suspense series. Publisher: Quercus, April 2014

Sixteen-year-old Catalina Mateo shows up unannounced one night in Detective Jonathan Stride’s home, dripping wet from a desperate plunge into the icy waters of Lake Superior. Her sodden clothes stained with blood, Cat spins a tale of a narrow escape from a shadowy pursuer.

Stride decides to trust this girl, but his judgment may be clouded by memories of Cat’s mother. Ten years earlier, Cat hid under the porch of her family home while her mother was brutally butchered by her ex-con father. Stride still blames himself for not preventing the slaughter.

But is Cat telling the truth? Stride’s police partner, Maggie Bei, doubts the homeless girl, who has been living rough on the streets of Duluth since her mother’s death—and now sleeps with a knife hidden under her pillow.

As Stride investigates Cat’s story, more violence trails in the teenager’s wake—and Maggie’s suspicions about her deepen. Now a single question haunts the void between them: Should Stride be afraid for—or of—this terribly damaged girl?

I’ve missed this series and I’m so happy that I can now enjoy it again. Stride is on the case when his past comes back and he’s determined to protect his young victim who has a stalker after her. With a connection to Serena’s case, the two are working together bringing back the dynamic duo that I loved so much. The author did a great job in keeping me in suspense with plenty of twists and turns at every corner in this fast-paced and action-filled drama. The tension, the emotions and of course a search for a killer was skillfully executed and I enjoyed every chapters as the story moved forward to a conclusion teeming with possibilities. This was a great read and I can’t wait for the next book with Stride and his friends.

Shorty Bones by Carolyn Haines

Shorty BonesShorty Bones by Carolyn Haines is the first short store in the “Sarah Booth Delaney” series. Publisher: Minotaur, April 2014

From award-winning author Carolyn Haines comes a charming story starring feisty Southern belle and private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney.

Sarah Booth just wants to help her fiancé recover from a leg wound in peace…Until, that is, an ex-porn star declares that she’s being stalked, and Sarah Booth suddenly finds herself in the midst of a wild case with no idea what to believe or whom to trust.

Sarah Booth and Tinkie take on a small case that ends with unexpected results. This delightfully entertaining and very enjoyable short story was a nice interlude to the next full-length Sarah Booth Delaney novel.

Unholy Matrimony by Peg Cochran

Unholy Matrimony by Peg CochranUnholy Matrimony is the second book in the “Lucille” mystery series. Publisher: Beyond the Page, March 2014

The hilarious Lucille Mazzarella is back and planning a wedding. But even the worst Bridezilla can’t create the wedding drama she’s about to face in this second book in the series.

Desperate to see her pregnant daughter Bernadette married before the baby comes, Lucille is engrossed in all things wedding. Nothing will distract her from planning this Mazzarella main event. Nothing, that is, except for the murder of the mother of the groom.

Just when things couldn’t possibly get any worse, Lucille is named as the prime suspect, and it’s a race against time as she and her best friend Flo struggle with shady financial dealings, a family that isn’t at all what it seems, a groom that might not be all man, and a little bundle of joy that might make an appearance before the mother can say I do.

This was a fun read that had me laughing out loud at the situations and antics that Lucille and Flo found themselves in while trying to uncover a killer. The author did a great job in keeping this light and humorous with easy to follow chapters. With a quirky cast of characters and amusing banter, this was a good read.

The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb by Cathy Ace

THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB jpegThe Corpse with the Emerald Thumb by Cathy Ace is the third book in the “Cait Morgan” mystery series. Publisher: TouchWood Editions, April 2014

Criminologist and foodie Cait Morgan was looking forward to her dream vacation in Mexico with her boyfriend Bud Anderson. She wasn’t anticipating a fresh corpse on the floor of a local florist’s shop, and she definitely wasn’t expecting Bud to become the prime suspect.

With Bud’s freedom, and maybe even his life, at stake, Cait has to fight the clock to work out which member of the small community living in the seemingly idyllic municipality of Punta de las Rocas might have killed the locally respected florist, and why. Needing to investigate under the watchful gaze of the local police, Cait has to keep her relationship with Bud a secret, and she soon discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide. Peeling back layers of deceit to reveal even more puzzles, Cait struggles with a creeping sense of unreality, desperate to save Bud . . . and, ultimately, herself.

In the third book in the beloved Cait Morgan Mysteries, The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb, travel to the idyllic Mexican countryside as Cait Morgan works against the clock to clear her wrongly accused partner of murder.

I like it. Cait is a strong and determined heroine who uses her surroundings and insights to pull all the pieces together to prove her boyfriend’s innocence and bring justice to a murdered woman, all while standing alone on a Mexico vacation. This fast-paced and adrenaline-rushed drama quickly became a page-turner and I could not put down this book until I knew how this intensifying adventure turned out. I liked how the story flowed from chapter to chapter giving us enough details in solving this puzzle. The author did a great job in providing an eclectic list of suspects with some twists and turns that caught me by surprise. The author’s narrative had me convinced that I was right there with Cait as she closed in on the killer in this wonderfully executed whodunit. This was very enjoyable and I look forward to the next adventure with Cait, which I know will be in Las Vegas.

A Killing Notion by Melissa Bourbon

A Killing NotionA Killing Notion by Melissa Bourbon is the fifth book in the “Magical Dressmaking” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, April 2014

Harlow Jane Cassidy is swamped with homecoming couture requests. If only she didn’t have to help solve a murder, she might get the gowns off the dress forms.

Harlow is doing everything she can to expand her dressmaking business, Buttons & Bows—without letting clients know about her secret charm. When she has a chance to create homecoming dresses with a local charity and handmade mums for several high school girls—including Gracie, whose father, Will, has mended Harlow’s heart—she is ready to use her magical talents for a great cause.

But when Gracie’s date for the dance is accused of murder, Harlow knows things won’t be back on course until she helps Gracie clear the football player’s name. If Harlow can’t patch up this mess before the big game, her business and her love life might be permanently benched.

OMG! This book was Great! Harlow, once again, becomes involved in a murder investigation with Gracie’s boyfriend is accused of killing his father. What happens next is a series of clues that the author has us following in this well-written and dynamic whodunit that I could not put down until the last mum was stitch and a killer exposed, and boy was I shocked at the discovery. With a comfortable and easy flowing tone, engaging dialogue and a dripping with Southern charm, this is the best book in this wonderfully fantastic series.