The Pint of No Return–Ellie Alexander

This is the second book in the Sloan Krause series by Ellie Alexander. I finished the first one on January 1 this year. I think I enjoyed this one even more, since we got to learn a little more about Sloan’s past. I love her German family, her soon-to-be ex-husband’s parents and their son as well as her brewery employer, Garrett. I hope things keep going well between them. It’s a sweet friendship that’s building slowly. I hope we don’t have to wait almost a year for the next book. I’m even more interested now in the mystery of Sloan finding her birth parents.

Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Goodreads review:

The Pint of No Return (A Sloan Krause Mystery, #2)The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a really enjoyable followup to the first book I read this year in this series. It was very hard to put down and moved at just the perfect pace.

It was Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, WA and a film crew was visiting to make a documentary. The director took a real interest in Sloan as a female brewer. When the host of the documentary ended up murdered, Sloan began to suspect the film crew members as well as one of the town’s own people. Could she and Garrett help police Chief Meyers find the killer before the killer decided that Sloan was getting too close to the truth?

I’m enjoying the side mystery of Sloan’s search for her birth parents. I had almost forgotten about it from the first book, but it goes into a little more detail in this book by introducing Sally, Sloan’s old case worker. Sally thought something was off about the case when she was working it and apologized to Sloan for not investigating then. I do like that when all is said and done, Sloan is truly happy where she is now with her son and her Krause family. I’m still interested in finding out what comes of the investigation and why her parents gave her up when they clearly loved her.

I like the friendship that’s developing between Garrett and Sloan. It’s sweet and slow, and she’s open to it too as she imagines herself becoming closer to him. The new character of Kat was fun too, and I hope she stays around.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. My thanks to both of them.

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Slay in Character–review

This fourth book in the Cat Latimer series by Lynn Cahoon officially releases November 27, but I was lucky enough to be chosen for reading and reviewing a paperback advance reader’s copy of the book. I love this series, so it was definitely fun to read it before it comes out. There were some fun surprises in this installment that will make cozy readers very happy! I don’t want to say much, you’ll just have to read it when it comes out.

Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. My opinions are my own and receiving the book had nothing to do with whether I reviewed positively or not.

My Goodreads review:

Slay in Character (Cat Latimer Mystery, #4)Slay in Character by Lynn Cahoon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read all the previous books in this series and knew this one wouldn’t disappoint. I wanted to read it more non-stop than I was able, but maybe it helped me savor it more until the next book comes out. This one releases November 27. I volunteered to read an ARC paperback of the book. My opinions are my own, but I absolutely loved this book!

Cat’s writer resort group was an already-established group of writer friends from CT who quickly embraced the Covington college student, Jessi, who was assigned to the session. Jessi worked at the local old West reality town of Outlaw. When her roommate was killed there, speculation was whether the hit was meant for Jessi, who had family ties and whose mother was friends with local mob family member Dante. Cat promised Dante she’d keep Jessi safe, and now she was worried if she would really be able to keep that promise as a couple more attempts were made on Jessi’s life.

I had sort of guessed who did it, but I wasn’t sure why. The showdown was the good, safe kind, and the killer was taken away. I really liked this group of writers. One of the ladies was like a mother hen to Jessie, whose own mom wasn’t really part of her life very much. As a side story, Seth was working on a nice surprise–it definitely was awesome! You’ll have to read it when it comes out to see what that was! There’s also been a couple of other fun additions to the resort family, something else you’ll have to read and see. As always, I’m already anxious for the next book! I wouldn’t mind seeing Jessi as a recurring character like Dante is.

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Final Roasting Place–review

This is the second book in the newer Cook-Off Mysteries series by Devon Delaney. I read that the author had participated in cook-offs herself, so the info presented in her books is firsthand experience. It sounds like she’d won some impressive prizes too–look her up on Goodreads and you can read her bio there.

I enjoyed this book very much even though I haven’t yet read the first one. I had gotten an ARC of it awhile back, but I had also bought the Kindle copy of it as a pre-order. I’m anxious to read the first book and will be looking forward to the third book coming out next June.

My Goodreads review:

Final Roasting Place (A Cook-Off Mystery #2)Final Roasting Place by Devon Delaney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hadn’t read the first book yet in this series and I do intend to do that, but I can’t say I was ever lost in this one. The only thing I was a little bit confused on was Detective Bease’s age–I kind of wanted to picture him as Columbo given his description, but I have a feeling he’s closer in age to Sherry. I quickly got to know Sherry and her gotta-love-him dad, Erno. I got a kick out of her dad and his two lady friends who were quick to take care of him when he had a panic attack. Bease was a good detective too. I don’t really know enough about him to hope Sherry takes him up on his lunch invitation or not. The next books I’m sure will reveal that.

Sherry had just won another cook-off at a TV station when the power went out, her dad was missing temporarily, and when the power came back on, one of the news anchors had been stabbed to death with a tool that came from Sherry’s dad’s rug making store. Sherry’s good friend Amber came in to help her watch the store since Dad had had a panic attack while being questioned by Det. Bease. Sherry knew she’d better get to the bottom of this, especially after another murder occurred. Someone seemed to be trying to frame her father.

I really enjoyed these main characters! Erno was a well-respected businessman who had some quirky quotes he’d give on different occasions. Amber was a really awesome friend to Sherry when she came to pitch in at the store.

I had actually guessed the killer, but only because of an earlier clue. It was fun to see how this person got taken down at the end. When real life slows down a bit, I will be reading the first in this series so I can see how it all got started. Looking forward to the next book that I noticed comes out next June–I think by then I can have the first one read 😉

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Just What I Kneaded–review

This was another fun installment in a new to me series that even though I haven’t read it from the beginning, I have been able to follow the characters with no issues. I started reading as of the last book, but the character of Jane quickly grew on me. She seems like someone that I would get along with well since we have similar values. I like that she attends church and even reads a devotional. With the lack of religion and fear of offending people so prevalent now, this is super refreshing! It’s just another face of who Jane Marsh is: mom, fiancee to Dale, paralegal, prankster to the friends and amazing cook. I love some of the escapades she got into with her friends in this book!

There are some yummy-sounding recipes in the back that would be something the dinner club members would make. They appear to be contributions from readers and authors. I like reading the little notes at the back and saw that the author herself had worked as a paralegal, so that makes sense why she’s very knowledgeable about law matters in her writing. Enjoy!

My Goodreads review:

Just What I Kneaded (A Dinner Club Murder Mysteries Book 5)Just What I Kneaded by Karen C. Whalen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was only my second book I’ve read in the series, but I feel like I know the characters already, and they seem like old friends.

Jane just happened to be in a bakery when a murder was going on. She’d heard the killer’s voice but didn’t feel like it fit the main two suspects. In the meantime, she was helping her insurance adjuster friend Nash who was hoping for a promotion if he solved this case, which involved two major celebrities and possible insurance fraud.

I loved how Jane and her friends Olivia and Libby went sleuthing. I’m guessing that they’ve done this since book one, but it was fun to read about. Jane’s fiance’ Dale even helped her a little and was a huge help at the showdown with the killer. I had sort of suspected the killer, but when their alibi was given, I must have been satisfied enough to think it was someone else. The book was a little slower-paced in some places, but that’s ok because sometimes it’s nice to kick back and read about the sleuth’s normal life–in this case, her dinner club friends. But the fun thing was that dinner club always ended up talking about the case, which may or may not have scared off some potential new members.

I still intend to read this series from the beginning when real life slows down a little bit, since I want to find out about Jane and her friends from the very beginning, and how her romance with Dale started. For now I was just happy to have a little window of time for finishing this book.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a ARC of this book provided by the author via BookFunnel. I would like to thank the author for allowing me to do this–also for her patience when real life got busy. I did enjoy this book very much!

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Downright Dead–review

This is the second book in the series Southern B&B Spirits by Pamela Kopfler. I enjoyed reading the first one in January of this year so much that I jumped at the chance to review an ARC of this second book from NetGalley. This one definitely didn’t disappoint, and it was very hard to put it down. It can work as a stand alone book, but I think you’ll really enjoy it a lot more if you read the first one, Better Dead. You’ll love Burl! 😉

My Goodreads review:

Downright Dead (A B&B Spirits Mystery #2)Downright Dead by Pamela Kopfler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been awhile since I read the first book, but I quickly felt at home at Holly Grove B&B with the awesome main characters of Holly, Nelda, Sam, Miss Alice and Mackie…and of course, Jake!

When Holly’s dead husband Burl entered the pearly gates, Holly Grove’s resident ghost was gone. But the TV show that had filmed a segment about Burl’s haunting that made the B&B wildly popular returned to film some more, Holly panicked. If that wasn’t enough, a ghost debunker named Tru Stalwort, who regularly followed/harrassed the show and its star, Sylvia Martin, showed up early. He was just as obnoxious and nasty as Sylvia and Holly’s friend Liz (the producer) had described him. When he was found dead at foot of the widow’s walk, evidence pointed to Holly herself. Another body turned up later which really made Holly worry about the B&B’s reputation, but at least no one could blame her for that death. I loved how she and Jake sleuthed together. Even Miss Alice and Nelda got in on the action.

I liked the side story with Thomas Sinclair too. I thought it was odd that Nelda and Miss Alice seemed to know who he was, but wouldn’t comment on why. I can’t really tell more without spoiling this. Let’s just say this book was funny and cry-worthy–and at times I felt like punching Tru (when he was still alive and debunking, that is). I never suspected the awesome twist towards the end that concerned Holly. I had also not guessed the killer.

Even though everything was wrapped up well with a heart-warming ending, I’m definitely ready for another book in the series. It looks like Jake and Holly are back at a fairly good place. His being an ICE agent isn’t easy on their relationship, if they even have one, and I’m hoping they can work things out in future books.

I highly recommend this book if you’re cool with paranormal cozies. It can easily stand alone, but if you want to enjoy it to its fullest, I would suggest reading the first book, so you can get to know Burl better. He was so funny in the first book, and it’s really worth reading it to have all that back story.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance e-copy of this book provided by NetGalley and the publisher.

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Christmas Cake Murder–review

This is the twenty-third book in the Hannah Swenson series by Joanne Fluke. This is one of the first series that got me started reading cozy mysteries, and I also love the movies on the Hallmark Mystery channel that were based on the characters.

This one starts in the past when Hannah was first opening the Cookie Jar. It was fun to read about Andrea and Bill when they were nearly first married and expecting their first child, and before Andrea became a real estate agent. The mystery was quite a bit different from usual, but not in a bad way.

My Goodreads review:

Christmas Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen #23)Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this little trip back in time to when Hannah Swenson made the decision to open her bakery. It was interesting to see what her life was like before she had the Cookie Jar, or her cat Moishe.

To bring Delores out of her depression over her husband’s death, her friends asked her to put together a Christmas Ball for one of the community’s most beloved members, Essie Granger. In going through Essie’s things, Hannah found some notebooks that told an interesting but unfinished tale of a young woman on the run from a hit man. She had been pregnant and the story ended abruptly as the baby started to come. At the ball, when an attempt on Essie’s life was made, Hannah knew they had to put the pieces of this puzzle together and find out who wanted to kill the sweetest woman in town…and why. Did it have anything to do with those notebooks?

The story was quite a bit different from the usual Hannah Swenson I’m used to reading. It did move a little slowly at first when there wasn’t much action going on, but at least the story was interesting enough and filled to the brim with the most delicious-sounding food and desserts! I keep saying I’m going to try one of these recipes some day! I liked the side story that Essie wrote too. It ended up with a very sweet ending, just like this book had! Even though Christmasy thing told about in the book was the Christmas Ball, the book was still very heart-warming and perfect for the magical holiday season.

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Tandem Demise-review

This is the long-awaited third book in the Cycle Path series by Duffy Brown, which takes place on Mackinac Island. This series along with another cozy set there were what inspired me and my family to visit Mackinac this fall. I love how Duffy uses real names of the places.

When I read this last week, I could just picture being back on the island. Having visited, it’s so much easier to picture places that are mentioned in the book now. Once I’m done with craft shows for the season and feel more caught up with the ARCs I need to read, I hope to get out the first two in this series since it has been over a year since I read them.

I did receive an e-copy of the book from the author (but when it released I also bought the Kindle version). My review was voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Here’s my Goodreads review:
Tandem Demise (A Cycle Path Mystery, #3)Tandem Demise by Duffy Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, this was soooo good! It was well worth the wait! I’m not sure whether it was because I had recently been to Mackinac Island or just the fact that all of us fans were so starved for another book in this series that I tended to enjoy this book a lot more than I usually enjoy a book. I like to think it’s a little of both, and mainly that the author just does an amazing job of capturing funny, serious. a little romantic and sometimes downright slapstick moments in her characters, particularly Evie. Evie is definitely someone that I would want to be friends with! Except I probably ride a bike about as well as she does, which is not saying much! We would always have to take Fiona or Donna’s carriage on sleuthing missions.

In this new installment, it started right off the bat with Fiona and Evie finding a body on the dock. There was another murder later in the book. I’m sure by the time the person is killed, you’ll have guessed who was getting killed. 😉 I had a pretty good idea of who the killer was, but a couple of times I was nearly fooled into believing otherwise.

Some of my favorite characters got some featured time with Evie, like Irish Donna that has the shop Blarney Scones. She got to go sleuth with Evie. Evie’s mom’s boyfriend Angelo, a retired mob boss that I absolutely love, got to go on one of her lock-picking missions with her. Fiona was in rare form because she had fallen head over heels in love with Nate’s police friend, Finn, who came to the island to help investigate the first murder.

It’s not necessary to read these books in order, but I would highly recommend doing that before reading this one. That way, you’ll get the feel for the island and characters, learn about Nate and Evie’s history, see how Evie’s mom ended up there, just fun things like that. The author does a great job of catching readers up, but honestly, read the other books first, you’ll love them!

There were lots of secrets, red herrings and just plain fun times on Mackinac Island in this book. I didn’t want the book to end! After the exciting showdown as well as the sweetest ending though, I can’t wait for more! Hmm, maybe a book about the coming winter? 😉

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