Dogged by Death review

This is the first cozy mystery I can see in author Laura Scott’s works as well as being the first book I’ve read by her. I’m loving what I read in this new series called Furry Friends Mysteries, named after main character Ally Winter’s veterinary clinic. Ms. Scott’s written mysteries and romance books, and I think she’s done an amazing job of combining those talents and creating this cozy series. It’s got just the right elements a cozy needs along with a little bit of suspense but not the super scary kind. I just love Ally’s Gramps! He’s such a great character, and I can’t wait to read more about all these characters in the next book. Yep, I have the ARC already for the next book and might be tempted to dig in when I get a little bit better caught up on ARCs.

PS: The various little entries about Ally’s clients bringing their pets in were a lot of fun. I was especially happy that the little dachshund named Lola wasn’t one of the dogs who misbehaved, lol.

My Goodreads review:

Dogged by Death (A Furry Friends Mystery #1)Dogged by Death by Laura Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book! It pulled me in from the first page and kept my attention until the very end. Gramps is the most awesome character, and I got such a kick out of how he managed to investigate and get information out of people, especially the women in town, since anyone over 60 was usually swept off their feet by him. Gramps wasn’t a player though and said no one would ever replace his Amelia. The three ladies in the assisted living house with him were such a hoot! They always heard the gossip almost before the police knew about it.

I loved how the story was so smooth and easy to read with natural-sounding conversations and very likable characters. That sweet Boxer Roxy had my heart from the first time she was mentioned! And she played a big part in the showdown (I love it when a pet can do that!). I actually enjoyed hearing about some of the cases Ally took care of. There were quite a few of them, and that made the story flow nicely with mixing those along with Gramps and Ally investigating.

I’m sure Noah and Ally will become lots more than friends eventually, but it’s sweet to see them reconnecting, and he only teased her a couple of times about her old high school nickname, lol. I really was happy about how Ally’s vet practice grew just from a few things she did herself like followup calls. It’ll be interesting to see if Lydia ever gets to work as receptionist in the next book. And I can’t wait to see what Gramps gets into with the next case.

The showdown was awesome, short and effective. I enjoy it a lot more when help or reinforcements come quickly! (less nerve-wracking haha) I’d started suspecting whodunit after the clues started falling in place, so it was just a matter of time as to when Ally had the same person in mind.

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

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Death of an Italian Chef review

Can you believe this is the fourteenth book in the Hayley Powell series? I hope it goes on for a long time because I’m having such a good time reading it. I’m keeping up with new releases via ARCs from NetGalley while still having some of the previous books to read. With this fun series, I’m surprisingly okay with that though. This clever series is the brainchild of brother/sister writing team Lee Hollis aka Rick Copp and Holly Simason. Guys, please keep writing about Hayley!  Just a weird thought I had. I wonder if some of the awesome Hayley/Randy or Gemma/Dustin moments came from things they remembered doing as kids.

This book was just as hilarious as I’ve come to expect from some of my most favorite cozy mystery characters. The guy who died was in the book just long enough that I actually felt bad about someone killing him. I guess I was picturing him as a favorite old Italian comic actor. I’m sure most everyone is too young to remember Dom DeLuise, but Chef Romeo made me think of him which was why I hated to see the chef get murdered. But there were tons of secrets that a lot of people had, including the chef, so you’ll just have to dig into this book when it’s published next week and find out what was up with all those great side stories in the book as well as the main mystery. You won’t be disappointed! And if you like Italian food, you’re going to be hungry for that too.

My Goodreads review:

Death of an Italian Chef (Hayley Powell Mystery Book 14)Death of an Italian Chef by Lee Hollis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh boy, the trouble a brother and sister can get into when their loved ones are out of town, lol. Hayley and Randy were on their own, and since crazy stuff always follows our awesome Hayley, she found herself involved in a murder investigation of a chef who she’d been helping with his restaurant while he was in the hospital. The worst part was that Sergio was in Brazil, and a no-nonsense skeptical-of- anything-Hayley-told-her sergeant was in charge.

One hilarious part was Donnie and Earl following her around like lovesick puppies. Bruce was on a story in New York, but he still helped with the investigation by researching for Hayley, while she saw herself coming and going with the restaurant and a very demanding Randy recovering from surgery. That led to another funny scene when Mona babysat him. Mona was also a hoot as a waitress at the Italian restaurant, kind of a similar performance to when she subbed in a play last Christmas.

I love this series so much because we’re always presented with a fun rollercoaster of an investigation with so many madcap situations Hayley and crew find themselves in. From wild side stories about the mob and someone’s affair to the actual heart and reason of the murder, I know I’m always guaranteed a good exciting showdown. And there was a pretty awesome twist to this one which led to a great ending and new adventure coming for Hayley and her friends and family. Don’t miss this when it comes out next Tuesday!

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

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Draw and Order review

This is the second book in the newer Paint & Shine series by cozy author Cheryl Hollon who also wrote the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries. I love the very different idea of a main character artist presenting tours that involve both painting and hiking. I’m neither an artist nor a hiker, but I can pretend through what Miranda’s clients are doing, minus the murder, of course! 😉 Just the descriptions of the Daniel Boone National Forest made me have to see what they looked like, so I researched the Gladie Visitor Center and the Indian Staircase. The staircase looks like a challenging hike, so there’s no danger I’d ever be brave enough, but I sure wouldn’t mind visiting the national forest itself for a short trail.

Be sure and read the author’s extensive and interesting acknowledgements after the story. That’s where she tells about the magic of fiction being able to combine some favorite places of hers. But I really loved finding out that lots of the places were real.

My Goodreads review:

Draw and Order (A Paint & Shine Mystery Book 2)Draw and Order by Cheryl Hollon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the latest book in this newer series. I always thought it was a really unique idea for a main character to be both a hiker and an artist combining both those activities into tours of the Daniel Boone National Forest. I’m not sure I’d be much in favor of the hiking/climbing part or even the painting, but the big Southern meal afterward always sounds so yummy!

Miranda’s a great character and such a good daughter and friend too. I could tell having her mom around this time both annoyed yet helped her. I have a feeling in the long run that her mom’s helpfulness with cooking and just taking care of people in general will win out. I hope she moves there for good. I loved Austin and Doris’s characters before too and was glad to see Miranda and Austin getting even closer. Doris Ann was a good friend and a great source of information when Miranda had to sleuth out a case involving her clients, just like the current case where she was trying to find out who killed her cousin.

At one point in the book, I just didn’t know who of the Risky Business Adventurers could be trusted, but I was leaning toward one in particular for the killer and ended up being right. The showdown/rescue was pretty cool, and everything at the end was explained once everyone was checked out and fine. I saved the preview to savor once I was done with this one, so I’m going to enjoy that a little later. There are recipes before you get to the preview for book 3. The book publishes June 29, 2021.

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

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Beauty Expos Are Murder review

This is the sixth book in the hilarious Poppy McAllister series by Libby Klein, and I’ve laughed through every one of these awesome mysteries. The situations Poppy finds herself in are just too funny but very relatable sometimes. And Aunt Ginny…her escapades alone could fill a book, lol. I especially liked her little side story that had to do with some gummy bears she’d been getting at the health and beauty expo. She really loved those and surprisingly drove better while eating them! You’ll see when you read it.

My Goodreads review:

Beauty Expos Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery #6)Beauty Expos Are Murder by Libby Klein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you’re reading in order, you’ll recall where book five left off the minute you start reading this book. Poppy had made her decision on guys but as per her usual luck, things went a little sideways, or maybe a lot that way. I don’t want to give away any good surprises, but do yourself a favor and read these books in order if you want the most enjoyment from them.

Poppy found herself baking her usual treats and running Gia’s booth for the coffee shop at the health and beauty expo at the convention center. But her life wouldn’t be complete without a murder or two and a couple of nemeses poking their heads into her business, right? One of the said nemeses needed Poppy’s investigation help. Officer Amber actually asked her to help save her badge, and Joanne Junk made an appearance like she usually does partly to help Amber and partly as hired help.

There were a lot of things going on in the book, but what seemed to be separate murders were actually connected. Fig got his own funny little side story as did Aunt Ginny who was getting somewhat addicted to gummy bears laced with something illegal that miraculously made her drive better lol. Victory surprisingly still had her job there, and even Smitty made an appearance at his Three Stooges best nyuking it up with little Henry. Sawyer had been acting a little mysterious throughout the book, but eventually she revealed a good reason. She did always come through when her bestie needed her though.

As hanging (to me, anyway) as the last book ended, this one actually had a very nice and satisfying end to it. After the murders were figured out, there was one more issue, and it was awesome how it played out. That’s all I’m gonna say and hope I haven’t said too much! This book publishes next Tuesday, June 29, 2021. I already can’t wait for the next one!

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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A Glimmer of a Clue review

This is the second in a fun new magical series by Daryl Wood Gerber, and it’s quickly becoming a favorite series of mine. I loved the idea of real garden fairies from the first book, but now there’re a couple more new fairies…and believers, or at least those wanting to believe. Tink would be so proud! I’m sure Fiona’ll be really happy to have more humans to talk to.

My Goodreads review: A Glimmer of a Clue (A Fairy Garden Mystery Book 2)A Glimmer of a Clue by Daryl Wood Gerber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’d forgotten just how much I loved those little fairies Fiona and Merryweather especially when they can help with a murder case. Fiona and her fairy pipeline had another little side project going on too that resulted in a happy reunion for a couple of people. The murder of a woman no one liked was a tough case with Summers constantly on Courtney to back off, but Wanda was the accused, and she wasn’t about to let her go down for something she didn’t do. It was cute how Courtney’s dad Kip and Wanda were together now.

I kept going back and forth on whodunit, but I was definitely on the right track! What a great showdown with everyone pitching in to help. I just love this story world. Something magical happened for Meaghan earlier in the book, and it looks like something promising might be hopefully happening for Brady and Courtney. His statement at the end was so darn sweet!

This book releases on June 29, 2021. I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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A Pumpkin Spice Killing review

This is book 5.5 in the Farm-to-Fork series by Lynn Cahoon. I’d recently read book 5, so I was in the mood to hang around River Vista a little longer. Luckily, I had the ARC of this book which publishes fairly soon on July 6, but I just couldn’t wait to read it. I loved how sweet giant pup Dom sort of took veteran Randy under his wing, er paw and was so protective of him.

Now I have to be patient and wait until the next regular book comes out, and that’s always some tough waiting lol.

My Goodreads review:

A Pumpkin Spice Killing (Farm-to-Fork Mystery #5.5)A Pumpkin Spice Killing by Lynn Cahoon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a good novella featuring some of my favorite book friends from the County Seat restaurant run by Angie Turner, and from River Vista to include Ian and his uncle. I love these little quarterly stories that feature Angie and the team doing a team building activity usually for some type of charity. This time, Hope’s turn for choosing had them booked with a home that housed two retired veterans, and the house needed repairs so more could join them. But right off the bat, things didn’t seem right with the residents. I just loved Randy’s character and how well his story turned out. I enjoyed seeing veterans in the story, since I have a special place in my heart for them especially having and having had many in our family.

I was glad it didn’t turn out quite how I was suspecting. New employee Bleak got to help with the showdown. The novellas can easily be standalones, but it does help to read in order to know more about the characters and their lives/relationships. This publishes July 6, but since I just read the fifth book, I couldn’t wait. I needed more time with the characters, since I had the ARC anyway.

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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The Time for Murder Is Meow review

If you follow the author T.C. LoTempio aka Toni, you’ll already know that this book is technically the same book that came out two years ago in August. But the difference is a new publisher which will allow her to continue the series now. And I love this cover soooo much more than the old one! The artist did an amazing job of catching the personality of the little pet supply store Shell inherited. The series name has also been changed to Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries. And I enjoyed the story even more the second time around (yes, I’d actually forgotten whodunit, but remembered at about the same spot where I started suspecting the first time!)

My Goodreads review:

The Time for Murder Is Meow (Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries Book 1)The Time for Murder Is Meow by T. C. LoTempio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fun town and group of characters! I was expecting not to like Gary much, and while it did take a while to warm up to him, I think he and Shell really have some good sleuthing vibes going on–naturally, since they acted together on a show. But I was happy she didn’t hide her feelings about Josh, and I’m pretty sure the feelings were mutual from the beginning.

There was a fairly early clue that set me on the trail of who the killer was, but it was a lot of fun to read as Shel and her three new friends from town along with her former co-star Gary all sleuthed together. If Gary hangs around town now that the case is solved, I can see a lot of fun possibilities for Shell sleuthing with him…and I think it would be cute if he got together with Olivia. But only the next book can tell us all that, and I’m definitely anxious to read it!

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Reserved for Murder review

This is the second book in the Booklovers B&B series by Victoria Gilbert that she introduced last year. I loved the whole idea of a book-themed B&B that even has a book club that guests can participate in. Even though there was only one book before, I felt like the characters were old friends when I started reading this one. And there’s a new character that I hope will become good friends with Charlotte! She and Ellen already make for the best sleuthing buddies. For the most enjoyment of the series, I highly recommend reading the first book so you’ll have all the background info on Charlotte and how she came to own Chapters, the book-themed B&B.

My Goodreads review:

Reserved for Murder (Booklovers B&B Mysteries #2)Reserved for Murder by Victoria Gilbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I quickly fell in love with this series last year when the first one came out. What could be more fun than a good cozy mystery mixed with a little bit of spy intrigue? Ellen is the coolest neighbor having been a spy at one time in her life, but once a spy…well you know how it goes. I love her character, and we got to meet a new person that I hope will keep their word and come back soon.

There wasn’t a book club book that the murder coincided with, but it did get into the drama of the fan fiction world a little bit. With no shortage of suspects, Charlotte and Ellen had their work cut out for them being eyes and ears for the police as they all tried to sort this out. The showdown was great with everyone (of the good guy crew) having a part in it. I hadn’t suspected whodunit until Charlotte did.

I thought the ending wrapped everything up perfectly with all the local friends gathering and discussing the case. Then the very ending was really good and makes me wish the next book was coming sooner! (Not a cliffhanger, no worries, just some wishful thinking on my part!)

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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Deadly Delights review

This is the second in the Bookish Baker series by Laura Jensen Walker and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Lots of mystery, cute dogs, quirky/likable characters and yummy desserts to be had when you visit Lake Potawatomi. I love Teddie and her little trio of besties investigating. One scene with Teddie and Char was pretty hilarious, but someone didn’t end up thinking so! Not gonna spoil it, have yourself a fun read and good cozy time in Lake Potawatomi!

My Goodreads review:

Deadly Delights (A Bookish Baker Mystery #2)Deadly Delights by Laura Jensen Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed visitng Lake Potawatomi again. The timeline of the story was the same summer as the first book. Teddie’s a great main character and so open about having had breast cancer along with all the decisions she made with it. I love that she’s got a sassy or funny comeback for pretty much everything and won’t take lip from anyone. Her dog is a total sweetheart too. I really like her two besties, Char and Sharon. Char is such a hoot, and it doesn’t hurt matters that she dates the chief of police. Sharon tends to take on the mom role of the trio, since she’s the only one with kids. Another character Astrid, the older artist friend of Teddie’s cracks me up too!

There were some good side stories going on, one which involved Teddie’s mom. I think it might have helped bring them a bit closer. After the murder at the baking contest, Teddie and her friends set out to investigate, mainly to clear Teddie and Sophie’s names and give blabbermouth Wilma something else to talk about. There was a twist I sure never saw coming, very clever though. The showdown was quick but awesome. A couple more sweet things happened once everything was cleared up. What a great ending!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own. This book publishes tomorrow, June 8, 2021.

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Ruby Red Herring review

This is the first in a brand new series, Avery Ayers Antiques by Tracy Gardner who also wrote a three-book cozy mystery set for Hallmark, The Shepherd Sisters. I talked about the people characters in the review, but I sure loved that sweet senior Afghan Hound, Halston! He was such a good boy and an amazing watchdog too! I found a picture that made me think Halston would like chilling in the yard like that.

I absolutely loved this book from the very start, and now I’m going to be impatiently waiting for the next one!

My Goodreads review:

Ruby Red HerringRuby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my gosh this book grabbed my attention right off the bat and didn’t let go until the end! It was cozy mystery meets a cozy version of National Treasure or a modern but cozy Indy Jones or possibly Night at the Museum. Not that anyone was running through caves or museums (although the setting was an antiquities museum), but the mystery kept building around a couple of different points. And one of those points led to an amazingly happy ending.

I loved the genuine friendship Avery had with her business partners and how they treated her like a daughter after having lost her dad, their good friend. Tilly and Avery’s relationship was great! It was silly, fun and sometimes serious if needed. Avery was an amazing older sister, and Tilly was surprising with some of the insight she had at times. And who wouldn’t love Aunt Midge! She wasn’t a cuddly type aunt, but she loved the girls so much she’d given up living in Manhattan to stay with them when their parents died. Art should get an award for detective of the century or something for not giving up on his cases. I hope eventually that can include boyfriend of the century! 😉

The dynamics between Avery and Art were great and I loved how even if she didn’t listen to him, he didn’t make her feel bad but did show his displeasure with whatever it was she did. But he also respected her and didn’t just tell her that her ideas were silly when she came to him with a crazy one. The ending was amazing and well-wrapped up as you’ll see when you read it–the whole book was just hard to put down and nearly impossible to find a suitable stopping point for things like sleeping or eating, lol. I’m super excited for the next book in this series! Keep ’em coming, Ms. Gardner!

The book releases on June 8. 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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