Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake–review

This is the second book in the Death by Chocolate series by Sarah Graves. I really enjoyed this one, especially since it had been awhile ago that I read the first book. The goodies that Jake and Ellie are always working on at The Chocolate Moose always sound so yummy! There’s a recipe in the back for one of the items.

My Goodreads review:

Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery #2)Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It seems like it’s been a year or the better part of a year since I read the first book in the series, so I was glad to be able to get an ARC of this one from NetGalley. It was just as good a mystery and roller-coaster ride as I remember describing the first book.

This book doesn’t need a romantic interest for main character Jake, she’s already married to a great guy named Wade, and the same for her business partner at the Chocolate Moose, Ellie. Ellie is married to George, a construction worker who is gone a lot–but he and Ellie were very happy and had a daughter. It was sad that the girls were thinking of closing their shop, which had always been their dream, but if they couldn’t get more business, it seemed inevitable. Of course, just as they were getting a nice-paying wedding cake job, there was a murder to investigate–and the bride and grooms were both in jail now. Bob Arnold, the local police chief was always incredibly patient with their snooping. He never threatened to toss them in jail, but he seemed genuinely concerned for their well-being.

I loved that some of the action was true edge-of-your seat type action! The showdown with the killer was great. I had never suspected this person at all! Jake’s dad cracks me up. He’s an aging hippie who has just bought a brand new truck and has recovered from a heart attack. He isn’t happy about being babied, so he drives around town, but always stays within the law. Dad came in handy during the showdown, that’s for sure.

I really appreciate the in-depth explanation the author gives for her mysteries. In this book, it took place a week later in the form of Bob and Jake talking, then Jake’s dad had some pretty awesome news for her. I’ll be anxiously waiting for the next book in the series!

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A Gift of Bones–review

This is the nineteenth book in the Sarah Booth Delaney series by Carolyn Haines, but it was my first-ever book to read in the series. I liked it so much that it won’t be my last! I’d love to start from the beginning. I love Christmas books any time of the year, and this one was still in the new books section at my library practically begging me to borrow it. Yep, books have been known to talk to me. 😉

My Goodreads review:

A Gift of Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney, #19)A Gift of Bones by Carolyn Haines

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It definitely doesn’t have to be Christmastime to enjoy an awesome book set at Christmas. I had picked this one up at the library, because I’d seen different people online had read and liked it. Even though I had never read any of the previous books, I wasn’t a bit lost. And it didn’t take me long at all to get to know the characters and feel like they were good friends. It definitely made me want to start reading this series from the beginning, so that I can savor all the fun, humor and Coleman-history moments!

Christmas miracles can definitely happen as readers will see when for one, Zinnia, Mississippi gets its first-in-a-long-time Christmas snow, siblings get reunited and a sick little baby receives care he needs. I loved this whole mystery and even though there wasn’t a murder, I was so caught up in trying to figure things out, that I almost didn’t notice. Once a few clues were dropped, I had an idea of what was going on, but not the person who was in control of all this.

I was laughing as I was reading about the Christmas pageant that Coleman, sheriff and Sarah’s boyfriend, was describing to her as they drove home after the case was solved and the perp taken away. The flying baby Jesus doll had to be hysterical! I love this author’s style and sense of humor, and it will be my extreme pleasure to read more in this series!

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Pruning the Dead–review

This is the first book in a brand new series called Garden Squad Mysteries by Julia Henry. She writes under some other names, but one of her books I’ve read recently as J. A. Hennrikus was A Christmas Peril .

I quickly grew to love the friends who made up the Garden Squad, a fairly diverse little group, but they all shared the same love of gardening…and adventure when it came to solving the murder at hand.

My Goodreads review:

Pruning the Dead (A Garden Squad Mystery #1)Pruning the Dead by Julia Henry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a well-written and well-plotted starter for a new series and I really enjoyed my trip to Goosebush, Massachusetts. I may not be a fan of gardening as an activity, but I sure felt like the friends who made up the Garden Squad were good friends of mine by the end of the book.

There were a lot of secrets in the town not to mention the murder, but with the help of Lilly’s Garden Squad friends, they all played a big part in bringing down the killer. I especially loved the showdown where Lilly had gathered all the suspects a la Agatha Christie. I liked how the current police chief and the retired chief both worked together and how Lilly took the new chief under her wing and helped him any way she could. I hadn’t guessed the killer, so I just went along for the ride and discovered it as it unfolded.

Lilly was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and generous characters I’ve read about in a cozy mystery, but what I loved was that she was realistic too. It was cool that she and her friends are a little older, but these folks are no strangers to tech, since they all have their smartphones and texting network. I’m anxious to see what the next Garden Squad adventure will be!

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Bones Behind the Wheel–review

This was the tenth book in the Haunted Guesthouse series by E.J. Copperman. I know a lot of people who love this series, and I’ve been anxious to start it. When I was able to get an ARC of this book through NetGalley, I jumped at the chance. I do want to start reading the first book and learn all about Alison and her ghosts from the beginning, but this book worked fine as a standalone. There were no spoilers to worry about, which was good. I fell in love with her three, well technically it’s five, resident ghosts. Lester is a puppy ghost that we never got to see, since Alison is allergic to dogs, even in ghost form. Lester was adopted by her daughter, Melissa. I thought it was kind of cool that her deceased dad still lived in his house with her mom like always.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

My Goodreads review:

Bones Behind the Wheel: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery (Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries)Bones Behind the Wheel: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery by E.J. Copperman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the first book I’d ever read in this series, and now I want to start at the beginning! This one was so funny in places, and I just love the author’s style of the narration by Alison, the main character. Her sarcasm and quips were cracking me up!

When a body was found inside a Lincoln Continental on the grounds of Alison’s guesthouse, her resident PI ghost Paul was excited that they now had another case to work on. For the longest time, Alison refused to have anything to do with the case, but surprisingly her husband Josh was anxious to work on it. He and Paul worked out a texting way of communicating, since Alison, her daughter Melissa and Alison’s mom were the only ones able to see the ghosts. The other ghost, Maxie was a hoot! She could be moody and snarky, but in this book she was more interested in decorating Alison’s kitchen which was being put back together from a bullet in the kitchen beam.

This was really interesting because there wasn’t a current day murder to solve, just the cold case of the guy buried in the car that was in the hole in the yard. I loved how Melissa helped with cases even though she was 13, she was more like the maturity of a much older teen. Since I hadn’t read any of the other books, I really had no idea what Josh was like before he started helping out with this case, but apparently he was never interested, so it was pretty cool that Paul thought he would make a good operative, lol. I had definitely not guessed how the man had been killed, what a twist! I thought that the detective in charge was as accommodating as she could be. I got a kick out of Paul going into her office and observing how she worked–along with picking up tidbits about the case. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do before another book ever comes out.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Meet Your Baker–review

This is the first book in the long-running Bakeshop series by the talented Ellie Alexander who also writes as Kate Dyer-Seeley. I’ve enjoyed her other series as herself and two as Kate, so I figured it was high time I got started on this one seeing how I’ve been collecting the paperbacks for about a year or more. I was definitely not disappointed, and if this book is any indication, I know I’m going to love the rest of the series!

My Goodreads review:

Meet Your Baker (A Bakeshop Mystery, #1)Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t believe it took me this long to start this series! I love the author’s other series, Sloan Krause, and the series she writes under her pen name. Now I know why everyone loves this one!

Jules Capshaw came home to her Shakespeare themed town with a broken heart. She’d left the chef she was married to on a cruise ship where she was a pastry chef. Now she had to adjust to life on solidi ground for one thing, and soon she’d have a murder case she was busy investigating, somewhat with the go-ahead from her former high school boyfriend, now Deputy Thomas Adams. After a heart-stopping showdown with the killer, that person was safely hauled off and everything was solved.

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the regular characters! Jules was a pretty strong lady for dealing with the complicated personal life she had right now. I really liked her mom a lot and thought the two had a fairly decent relationship, which grew even better as the book went on. I can only hope that she can ditch her former guy sometime and start over with Thomas–I’m probably dreaming, lol. I loved the detective in this book! He was so different from any other that I’ve read about so far. Doug aka the Professor was super nice, but very into Shakespeare, so he’d toss out a Shakespeare quote instead of answering Jules about the investigation or giving the always-heard, “I can’t talk about that.” Shakespeare quotes made it easier to take? Maybe lol.

I didn’t guess the killer and what a cool twist that was! I loved how things worked out with Torte and its employees–they even gained a new worker. After reading a little preview of the next book that came at the end, I’m anxious to read it! The recipes at the end sounded so yummy–I’d love to try that raspberry danish one.

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Gin & Daggers–review

An oldie but a goodie, this is the very first book written in the Murder, She Wrote series by Jessica Fletcher’s real life writer Donald Bain. An interesting bit of trivia I read, was that it was first published in 1989, but there were references to Jessica driving, which didn’t flow with the storyline the TV show established, so in 2000 it was reprinted. I did still find one small reference on the very first page where she was talking about going on a trip to Bangor, “I’d offered to drive, but the station insisted upon flying me in.” I guess they didn’t catch that one. Later, toward the end of the book, she did state to someone that she didn’t drive, not in England or the US. Maybe by “offering to drive” she simply meant she offered to catch a ride to the station. Not that important, but just fun finding it.

Picture disclaimer: I Googled using “labeled for reuse” and the one I used came up, however credit belongs to Dave Bleasdale. Wapping Wall was the area where Jimmy Biggers’ PI office building was located.

My Goodreads review:

Gin & Daggers (Murder, She Wrote, #1)Gin & Daggers by Jessica Fletcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recently read the very latest in this series (mainly because it was a brand new book in my library and I just couldn’t resist lol), but I wanted to start at the very beginning to see how writing styles, times, etc. have changed.

Jessica’s first adventure took her to London, England where a mystery conference was taking place. Her old friend, a world-famous author named Marjorie Ainsworth was killed in her home while Jessica was staying with her, and of course the very inept local inspector immediately pegged Jessica as the suspect, since her necklace was found in the woman’s room. When Scotland Yard stepped in, Jessica was relieved, and chief inspector Sutherland took her on a few small dates as they discussed the case. Jess used a local PI whose reputation was not the shiniest, but Jessica was one to walk to her own drummer and form her own opinion, so she decided to work with the man.

I had guessed one of the twists toward the end, but I hadn’t guessed the killer. This was in true Murder, She Wrote and Agatha Christie fashion, since the suspects were all gathered at the end while Jessica gave her thoughts and accusations. I loved that the once-despised PI got to have a little moment of fame, since without his help, the case may have not been solved as quickly.

I always loved the TV show and wonder why I didn’t get into these books sooner.

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Dead as a Door Knocker–review

Dead as a Door Knocker (House-Flipper Mystery #1)Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the cool things about this book is that just as you don’t want it to end, there’s a little sneak preview of the next book at the end! It goes right into the same time of year too. I’m so anxious to find out when that next book is coming out!

Whitney Whitaker was a carpenter and a property manager who was about to become a real estate agent and a house flipper with her cousin Buck as her partner, after her real estate agency’s biggest client offered her a house for a steal of a deal. The house quickly became a huge source of trouble, starting with Sawdust her cat finding a dead body in the flower bed. Since Whitney’s hammer was the weapon, she became the main person of interest, so she knew she had another job cut out for her: prove her own innocence or go down for something she didn’t do. Her good friend Colette and her cousin Buck for always up for adventures!

The suspenseful scene that took place before there was a showdown was pretty cool, and Sawdust got to have a major part in that–way to go, sweet kitty! When Whitney insisted on going with Det. Flynn to the showdown with the killer, she somewhat came in handy. I had another person pegged for this murder, although I’d made a random comment early in the book for no reason whatsoever of “oh, I wonder if s0-and-so did it.” There were good red herrings and secrets along the way. Now that I’ve read the little preview for the next book that comes at the end of this one, I’m probably going to be checking Amazon regularly to see when it comes to presale! Hopefully getting the author’s newsletter will take care of that though.

I just fell in love with these characters! Mr. and Mrs. Hartley were the nicest people, who wouldn’t want to have bosses just like that. Buck was a hoot and I’m wondering if he and Whit’s friend Colette might get together eventually. I loved the camaraderie of the three of them. Whit actually had a great relationship with her parents–I’m always a fan of that! They weren’t in it a lot, but they were super nice people. I’m not really a fan of the neighbor of the house they were flipping though. Patty seems like nothing but a complainer. And of course there’s Det. Flynn who is a cat person like Whitney–I really hope they get together eventually! Last but not least whatsoever, Sawdust the cat was such a sweetheart! I thought it was fun how every so often there was a one or two-page chapter coming from his view-point, third person as written, but still giving the cat’s thoughts–especially about a one-eyed mechanical demon that came to life when Whitney was gone!

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