Category Archives: Books

My Musing ~ Smothered, Covered & Dead by Liz Lipperman

Smothered Covered and DeadSmothered, Covered & Dead by Liz Lipperman is the 5th book featuring Jordan McAllister. Publisher: The Story Vault, May 2015

Aspiring sportswriter Jordan McAllister never imagined she’d end up as a food critic for a small time newspaper. Writing the culinary column for the Ranchero Globe is a challenge, and even though she can’t make a grilled cheese sandwich without burning it, she has no trouble finding herself in hot water.

When Rosie LaRue finds her ex in the apartment with her ice pick in his chest, Jordan knows that she and the Empire Apartments gang must act quickly to keep their friend out of jail. Despite the fact that the deceased has a long list of people who wanted him dead, things aren’t always what they seem, and Jordan ends up in the hands of a crazed killer, desperately searching for a way to stay alive.

You can always expect some excitement when Jordan and the gang find themselves in the middle of a police investigation and this one is a doozy when Rosie’s ex is murdered in her home. Knowing she is innocent, Jordan and Victor put on their sleuthing cap to find a killer. I loved how this whodunit was set up with fingers pointing to several suspects with the most obvious one surprising me in the end by their action. A good mystery with good dialogue and a lovable ensemble cast that kept me engaged throughout the telling of this story. I hope there are more adventures with Jordan and her friends forthcoming in this delightfully entertaining series.

My Musing ~ Ripped From The Pages by Kate Carlisle

Ripped From The PagesRipped From The Pages by Kate Carlisle is the 9th book in the “Bibliophile” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, June 2015

When book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright temporarily relocates to her parents’ place in Northern California, she finds that wooden barrels aren’t the only things buried in the wine caves of Sonoma.

Excited to explore the secrets of wine country, Brooklyn attends an excavation of the caves hidden deep under her parents’ commune—and the findings are explosive. A room is unearthed, and it contains a treasure trove of artwork, rare books, a chest of jewelry…and a perfectly mummified body.

A closer examination of the murdered man’s possessions reveals a valuable first edition of Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Hidden in the book is a secret map that unveils an even greater hoard of treasures brought to California by French winemakers fleeing the Nazi invasion with the commune leader’s grandfather, Anton, among them.

As reporters and art appraisers flock to Sonoma to see the precious bounty, questions begin to rise—did Anton hide these items to protect them, or did he steal them for himself? Who is the mysterious man left for dead inside the cave? But not all crime is buried in the past. When a new presence threatens the town’s peace, Brooklyn decides to do a little excavating of her own and solve the mystery of the treasure before anyone else is written off.

I loved it. Brooklyn is back in Dharma and once again as is her being her, she finds not one but two bodies and they are all related to the excavation of the winery cave. I enjoyed this foray in the latest adventures featuring Brooklyn and her family. The author does a great job of pulling me into this light drama and I love the care she took in the telling of this story. The relationship Brooklyn has with Dharma and her family is front and center and I liked that we got a chance to learn more about Jackson and his secret life. The mystery was good because I too wondered who could have done the second murder and it was written quite well with some twists and turns that enhanced the story. The final paragraph was pure joy for me and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this beloved heroine.

My Musing ~ The Longest Yard Sale by Sherry Harris

The Longest Yard SaleThe Longest Yard Sale by Sherry Harris is the second book in the “Sarah Winston Garage Sale” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, June 2015

ONE MAN’S CLUTTER
When Sarah Winston turns Ellington, Massachusetts, into New England’s largest garage sale for a day, it’s the small town’s biggest event since the start of the Revolutionary War—but without the bloodshed. That is, until a valuable painting goes missing…and the lifeless body of an Air Force officer is found in Carol Carson’s painting studio, his face perfectly framed with the murder weapon—a metal picture frame.

IS ANOTHER MAN’S CLOVER
Sarah is mad as heck that someone used her town-wide garage sale to commit a crime—and frame her good friend Carol. She is definitely on this case…but it’s not easy rummaging through increasingly strange clues that point to cheating spouses, downright dirty investment schemes—even the mob. And Sarah will have to be very careful if she wants to live to bargain another day.

This was a nicely paced drama that abounds in deception in all forms at the Air Force base. Getting the task of organizing the biggest yard sale is a bonus to Sarah that is until small incidents and murder mars the festivities. When her friend is accused, Sarah puts on her amateur sleuth cap to clear her friend’s name. The author does a very good job of pulling me into all aspects of this action-packed drama with a solid plot and a mystery that kept me as entangled in the overall story. Sarah is a determined heroine with a mind of her own and it is evident as her interactions lead her closer to the apprehension of the killer. When this book was read and done, it was a nicely woven work of art where all the puzzling pieces finally fit together like when you score a good bargain and in this case, solve the mystery. An enjoyable read and I look forward to the next adventures with Sarah and her friends.

My Musing ~ A Finely Knit Murder by Sally Goldenbaum

A Finely Knit MurderA Finely Knit Murder by Sally Goldenbaum is the 9th book in the “Seaside Knitters” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, May 2015

Readers can’t help but get entangled in this USA Today bestselling series.

In the newest mystery from the national bestselling author of Murder in Merino, the sleuthing skills of Izzy Chambers Perry and the Seaside Knitters are tested as death mars the beginning of the school year. . .

Seaside Knitter Birdie Favazza is thrilled that her granddaughter Gabby will be visiting for the fall and attending the Sea Harbor Community Day School. Gabby loves the school, with its newly-adopted progressive curriculum, and she loves that the Seaside Knitters are teaching knitting as part of the enrichment program. It’s a huge success, and on crisp autumn days, girls camp out on the terraces, knitting up hats for charity.

But not everyone is happy with the direction the school is taking. Outspoken board member Blythe Westerland has sparked tempers with her determination to unravel the current administration. Then, on the evening of an elegant school event, Blythe’s body is found near the school boathouse.

With a killer on the loose, Birdie is determined to keep Gabby safe. Working together, the Seaside Knitters carefully unravel the layers of Blythe’s complicated life, bringing faculty members and town residents under scrutiny. Before the cast-off rows are made on the students’ projects, the knitters will need to stitch together the evidence to see if a murderer has been walking beside them all along.

This series continues to get better and better with each book written. I love the comfortable tone and how easily this book flows from chapter to chapter from scene to scene blending it all together to create a mystery that kept grabbed me immediately. The addition of Gabby is purely a delight and I like how she brings sunshine to these stories. What I enjoy best when reading this light and airy whodunit is the camaraderie between this ensemble cast that bridges the age gap from pre-teen to octogenarian. I’m so mesmerized by the verbiage, the interactions, the feel-good atmosphere and the sense of friendship I feel as I read about the lives of the residents of Sea Harbor. This was a great read and I was not prepared for the flood of emotions reading the last chapter in this delightfully, heartwarming and charming tale. I can’t wait to see where we go next with my Izzy, Nell, Cass, Birdie and the rest of the gang in this well-written and wonderfully crafted series.

My Musing ~ A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander

A Batter of Life and DeathA Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander is the second book in the “Bakeshop” mystery series. Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, June 2015

Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for.

It’s autumn in Ashland, Oregon-’tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte’s famous peach cobbler. It’s also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family’s beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel’s reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.

Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered-death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?

It was fun spending time with Jules and her friends in this evenly-paced light drama. The author did a great job in setting up this tale and I enjoyed the intricacies of each scene that when it was all piece together, resulted in a finely tuned mystery. It was fun sifting through all the clues and narrowing down the list of suspects, especially when I thought I knew who did the deed, but then the author changed direction to keep me teasingly reading. Jules is very likable as is her mother and the employees at the family’s bakeshop. The rest of the cast of characters interact well with Jules for a fulfilling tale and I like that the dialogue brings the story to life. A good read and I look forward to see what happens next with Jules and the family bakeshop.

My Musing ~ A Watery Death by Joyce and Jim Lavene

A Watery DeathA Watery Death by Joyce and Jim Lavene is 7th book in the “Missing Pieces” mystery series. June 2015

It’s the Fourth of July weekend in Duck, North Carolina and twenty-thousand visitors are on hand to enjoy the parade, the festivities – and learn about the murder of Captain Bill Lucky.
Lucky is the captain of the new gambling ship, Andalusia II, which is modeled after the famous ghost ship that haunts the small town on the Outer Banks.

Whispers of unusual sea creatures surround Lucky’s death. It isn’t the first time that mermaids have been seen in Duck, but it’s the first time one of them has been accused of murder.

Mayor Dae O’Donnell has her hands full with setting up the parade, convincing her friend Trudy she shouldn’t call off her wedding, and getting her shop, Missing Pieces, ready for the summer crowd.

Dae doesn’t ask to be involved in Lucky’s death, but she can’t ignore it. If someone from the sea isn’t his killer, who is? And will he or she strike again to lay the blame on the town’s watery visitors?

I enjoyed the latest adventures in Duck, North Carolina where a murder takes place and the suspect is an unlikely person who makes an appeal to Dae that they are innocent. The author has created another well-written light drama that kept me engaged from beginning to an ending left with both sorrow and joy. Sometimes what you desire may not be for the best as Dae will soon learn. This was a good read with a good mystery and I look forward to the next happenings with Dae and her friends.

My Musing ~ The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss by Krista Davis

Diva Steals a Chocolate KissThe Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss by Krista Davis is the 9th book in the “Domestic Diva” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, June 2015

The New York Times bestselling author of The Diva Wraps It Up unwraps an all-new tale in which chocolate is the kiss of death. . .

Domestic Diva Sophie Winston is in charge of the sweetest event in Old Town this summer. Amore Chocolates is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with a chocolate tasting at the mansion of the company’s CEO, Joe Merano—and Sophie is running the show. With cookies, candy, and five kinds of chocolate cake, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream! But when Joe goes missing, the celebration becomes bittersweet. And when Sophie discovers the body of a competing chocolatier in the guesthouse, the event turns downright deadly.

As if that wasn’t enough, Sophie’s been receiving daily boxes of sweet treats. After ruling out her new beau and her exes, Sophie wonders if someone’s trying to send her a message—and if she’s next on a chocoholic’s hit list.

This was one book that kept me enthralled from beginning to end as I tried to figure out what was going on along with Sophie. In her latest adventure, chocolate is queen and someone is not playing fair when murder takes hold and Sophie inadvertently gets pulled in while trying to keep her distance. The author delivered a great whodunit that kept me guessing and I enjoyed watching it all unravel piece by piece by piece. Every time I thought I had it all sorted out, the author changed the direction all for the better when it all played out in the end. I especially enjoyed Sophie and the interactions with her men and glad of the outcome in that male arena. This was a great read and I’m really looking forward to the next book in this delightfully charming series.