Here Comes the Body review

I really enjoyed this first in a brand new series, the Catering Hall mystery series. Ellen Byron wrote it under her new pen name of Maria DeRico, and I’m loving it as much as I do her Cajun Country series.

Mia was a fun and sassy main character, not unlike Maggie Crozat from Cajun Country…except Mia’s dad never did anything as innocent as making gumbo. Even though he was ex-mob, I did really like Ravello’s character a lot. He loved his daughter fiercely, but he was trying very hard to be a legit businessman now. Ravello was secretly dating a local woman which gave his character a softer side as well.

My Goodreads review:

Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery #1)Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mia is different from any main character that I’ve come across yet in cozies, and I think that’s why I like her so much! I love her sass but good attitude toward things. She managed to survive being a suspect in her still-missing husband’s death and was happy to be living with her Nonna again in Queens.

I loved seeing Mia and Jamie together even though she tried to make everyone think she didn’t have strong feelings for him. Guadalupe and Nonna were two of my favorite characters. It was cool that Guadalupe and another employee Cody were former military which seemed to make for a smooth running catering hall, well until the murder happened. I didn’t have any idea who the killer was, and the showdown was really exciting. Being a former mobster’s daughter definitely had prepared her for taking care of herself in every emergency. The most unlikely person came to her assistance, and I wonder if this person will be back as a new friend.

The way the book ended (no cliffhangers, no worries) made me anxious to read the next one. I loved that Mia seemed to be embracing everything stereotypical about her dad’s former life if people wanted to buy into that. If it sells the banquet space….;)

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Dead to the Last Drop review

This is the eighth book in one of my favorite series, Killer Coffee written by Tonya Kappes. I just love everything I read by this author, and I haven’t even gotten around to a few of her older series. I know that I love reading about Roxy, Patrick, Aunt Maxi and all the fun folks in Honey Springs, Kentucky. I wish that it was a place I could go to and vacation there. Going across the lake to the bee farm always sounds fun! Aunt Maxi got her chance to shine on stage, or she thought she did anyway. Fun and laughs as always!

My Goodreads review:

Dead To The Last Drop: A Cozy Mystery (A Killer Coffee Mystery #8)Dead To The Last Drop: A Cozy Mystery by Tonya Kappes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I always love a visit in Honey Springs, KY with Roxy and her family/friends. It sounds like a little storybook town any time of the year, but in the winter it seems extra Hallmark-y. After a well-placed clue, I had a good idea of who the killer was, and I was right. The reason never really comes out until the end anyway. I liked the mention of having a mystery group in town, and Kayla at the Bee Farm got to be in this book a little instead of being just a mention. I like how the various friends and businesses sort of rotate around in the stories. Roxy and a friend in town were going to have exciting changes in both their lives/business, but you’ll have to read and find out!

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Al Dente’s Inferno review

This is the first book in a brand new series releasing on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by Stephanie Cole. It’s the Tuscany Cooking School Mysteries series, and I had wanted to like it a lot more than I actually did. The author has a very nice writing style that isn’t hard to read, until you get to lots of Italian phrases, some of which aren’t translated and you have to sort of figure it out from the context. That took away from some of the enjoyment for me and didn’t make for the smooth reading that I’m used to in most cozies.

I do love the idea of a Tuscany cooking school though and how Nell was going to transform the old abbey into a nice place for American students to come learn Italian cooking. I’m hoping the next book might be a little better once this book’s been out long enough for constructive reviews to come in. I really mean for my review to be helpful and constructive.

I had never heard of an Italian car called an Ape, so of course, I had to Google it and I found several fun uses for it. I chose the blue one from a Wiki, like in the story. They’re kind of cute!

I’d like to thank @Berkley Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to review an early digital copy of this book. My opinions are my own.

My Goodreads review:

Al Dente's Inferno (A Tuscan Cooking School Mystery Book 1)Al Dente’s Inferno by Stephanie Cole

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With the setting this book was in and the very unique idea of a chef going around developing different cooking schools for various areas, I was excited to read and love it, but I have to be honest and say that I was disappointed. The use of too much Italian really put me off for one thing. I’ve read books before where a language is simply sprinkled in for a nice, local feel, but this was a bit of an overkill. There seemed like a lot going on at once, and I felt confused quite a bit. I couldn’t quite warm up to any of the characters like I normally do within the first few pages of cozies that I rate much higher. Even Nell’s dad–and usually I love silly dad characters–fell short. I felt like I never quite understood just who these sisters were that came in to get the house more ready for filming…nuns or actual sisters to Rosa, who I think might have been a nun. A little more background on some characters would have been nice. I hope I’m not the only one who missed the boat on the sisters!

I enjoyed the occasional humor like the car ride in the little Ape. Pete and Nell made a nice sleuthing team, but at some points, again being honest, I stopped being interested in who offed the guy, because I hadn’t really liked him to begin with, but I did want to see how Nell caught the person. That was a plus point, at least someone nice wasn’t killed. I hadn’t guessed the killer, so that was good. I may or may not give the second book a read. Again, I love the premise and Tuscany setting.

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

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The Crafter Quilts a Crime review

This is the third book in the Handcrafted Mystery series by Holly Quinn that takes place in a picturesque little Hallmark-like town called Heartsford, WI. I read in someone’s interview with the author that this book had originally been intended as a Christmas season book and had to have a lot of it rewritten. I was glad to see a few little references to Christmas though, because the way the town was decorated for Fire & Ice day, it sounded magical. But for one crafter in town, it wasn’t so magical…

My Goodreads review:

A Crafter Quilts a Crime  (A Handcrafted Mystery #3)A Crafter Quilts a Crime by Holly Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an interesting mystery with a good twist that I never figured out. As much as I really like these characters, Sammy while lovable as a puppy, still kind of bothered me with how she managed to twist someone’s words into something she was afraid was hurtful or what she saw as untrue. It’s not like she was trying to do that for any terrible reason. I think she simply couldn’t help it. Her lips moved faster than her brain sometimes, lol. It just seemed to continually get her in trouble with Liam, the detective she had a crush on. Sometimes they’d be joking like they always had, and other times she’d be reading something else into what he told her.

After a wild ride of investigating, getting into hot water with the police and someone that could be a killer, Sammy eventually helped once again bring another killer to justice. And she got a super sweet ending from it too which I loved!

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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In Cold Chamomile review

Here is the third book in the Tea and Read series by Joy Avon. I really like this newer series that features Callie Aspen and her great aunt Iphy who run a tea shop where Iphy makes book-related goodies. I love Callie’s little adopted Boston Terrier, Daisy. She always seems to know when her mom needs her. This book featured Aunt Iphy a little more as the girls tried to figure out why Iphy’s old guy friend from fifty years ago was suddenly back in Hearts Harbor. Iphy was more worried about him than she wanted to let on at first. But Callie always has her ways of getting answers. I’m very anxious for the next book. This one left some questions even though the murder was cleaned up nicely.

My Goodreads review:

In Cold Chamomile (A Tea and Read Mystery #3)In Cold Chamomile by Joy Avon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a really good mystery that Aunt Iphy got a chance to take front stage in. Her old friend was in town for the Valentine’s event and was the prime suspect in a book expert’s death. I didn’t like the tension between Callie and Ace as well as between Peggy and Quinn, so I sure hope all that gets resolved in the next book. There was a lot happening in this book, and I definitely couldn’t put it down.

I hadn’t honestly guessed the killer too far ahead, but there weren’t tons of suspects. I’m always a sucker for a good red herring though. Ace seemed more on edge during this book than he had previously, but Callie and Iphy did do some snooping that he was justified in being upset at. As I said, I don’t care for tension with characters and their love interests, so I’m relying on the next book to smooth it out. Aunt Iphy did get a sweet little ending out of this. I’m interested to see what she has to say when we see her next. I can’t say too much or give it away. 😉

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher through NetGalley, and my opinions are my own. Publication date is February 11, 2020.

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The Book of Candlelight review

This is the third book in Ellery Adams’ The Secret, Book and Scone society series. I fell in love with this series and the main characters from the very first book and always end up with a major book hangover. I’m just not quite ready to stop thinking about the characters and even though these books are more than generous with their explanations and sometimes very needed story endings, I always want more of that. Obviously, I can’t wait until the fourth book comes out.

My Goodreads review:

The Book of Candlelight (Secret, Book, & Scone Society 3)The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As with the other two books in this series, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the characters when it ended. But there were an awesome wrap-up and ending chapters to fill out everything that had happened. I just loved Sheldon, the new employee at Miracle Books! He reminded me of another favorite character named Sheldon only a sixty-something version of him.

I really didn’t have any ideas as to who the killer was, so I just read and enjoyed the trail growing hotter as Nora and her friends slowly uncovered pieces of the puzzle. I enjoyed how she and the sheriff’s office worked together to get the case solved. The side story of a mysterious man in a white t-shirt was good too. I won’t say anything else about that, because it was a real surprise. I’m hoping that Sheldon continues to work at the shop. I thought he was just the perfect addition to Nora and her friends.

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

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A Field Guide to Homicide review

This is the sixth book in the Cat Latimer series by Lynn Cahoon, one of my personal favorite series. I’ve always loved the intrigue that surrounds the college town and a lot of things going on there. This book definitely lived up to all my expectations and then some.

The retreat writers were a bit different at first, but eventually they became more like the usual groups Cat had before (except none of them got killed this time lol). The murdered man was someone that Seth knew from his Army days, something that Cat had never had any luck getting him to talk about. I think these books could do fine as stand alone stories, but I recommend reading them in order, since the earlier books do build on future ones and it helps bring readers close to the characters getting to know them from the beginning, at least that’s how it is for me.

My Goodreads review:

A Field Guide to Homicide (Cat Latimer Mystery #6)A Field Guide to Homicide by Lynn Cahoon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just as I’ve found with all of this series, I absolutely loved this book! It was the best combo of crazy family, writing guests, suspense, action, happy ending and a great mystery all rolled into one. I wasn’t sure what direction the story was headed into when it involved Seth’s army buddy being murdered, and I was just a bit worried there might be an ongoing thing involving army days, which I can always handle an ongoing if it’s fairly minor. But everything was great and was explained even more after the perp was caught.

The showdown was awesome, and Shauna got her chance to shine–along with also being in the spotlight a little with her upcoming cookbook. I really like Uncle Pete’s girlfriend Shirley and was glad to see her returning for a visit. I know I always say this, but I can’t wait for the next book!

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