Murder Wears a Little Black Dress–review

This was the first book in the brand new Resale Boutique series by Debra Sennefelder. I’m not much into fashions or clothing, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like this series as much as I like her Food Blogger series, but I really loved this book and I can’t wait for the next one! There were so many fun characters, and I can definitely see why all the people I know on line who love cozy mysteries are crazy about this book.

The picture I found makes me think of what the shop might have looked like when Granny Martha was running it.

I received an ARC of this book from Kensington, the publisher, via NetGalley and voluntarily read and reviewed it. I was happy to find out on release day that long ago I had preordered it as well. (Sometimes I forget what I’ve preordered!) My opinions are my own.

My Goodreads review:

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress (Resale Boutique Mystery #1)Murder Wears a Little Black Dress by Debra Sennefelder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another book that I wished didn’t have to end. Although I’m happy that once the showdown happened and the killer was arrested, the book didn’t end there. The actual ending chapter was so heartwarming in many ways! The book was well-written and plotted with a cool twist at the end.

Kelly Quinn had lost her job as an assistant buyer for a NYC store, but her Granny had willed her the consignment shop she owned, which Kelly was going to revamp into a stylish resale boutique. Pepper, her granny’s best friend and employee was skeptical about all these changes Kelly wanted to make and wasn’t shy about giving her opinion. After a local psychic had a vision of a murder while wearing a dress that was consigned, Kelly couldn’t leave it alone and started investigating here and there. When Kelly ended up being a possible suspect in two different murders, she knew she had to step up her snooping game. The killer didn’t like that at all and had Kelly next in their radar.

I really liked the variety of quirky characters in this book. My one favorite character was Pepper, who was more like a mom to Kelly, since she used tough love to show Kelly the error of her ways. Pepper was the mom of Gabe, a local police officer that Kelly’s bestie, Liv, had a crush on. I didn’t care much for Uncle Ralph or his third wife, Summer, but hey every good cozy has to have some sort of ongoing conflict right? We get to root for Kelly that way. Her cousin Frankie was a hoot and so was Gabe–Gabe had been like a brother to Kelly when they were growing up.

I liked the side story of Kelly’s friend Ariel who had been her sister’s bestie in high school, but due to an accident that Kelly feels responsible for, Ariel ended up in a wheelchair. She was absolutely awesome and ranks with Pepper as my other favorite character. I mean, who knew that a friend in a motorized wheelchair could come in handy like she did at one point in the book. You’ll have to read and find out what happened, but I thought the showdown was pretty epic. The last chapter really summed everything up well, had a couple of small tissue moments (good ones though) and Kelly may just have a guy to date!

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Seven Deadly Zins–review

This is the second book in the Wine Country series by Nancy J. Parra otherwise known as Nancy Coco who writes the Candy-Coated series set on Mackinac Island. After the first book, the characters grew on me so much that I was anxious to start this book right away after finishing the first. I was glad I had read the first mainly for backstories and knowing the characters better. I was happy to find out that Taylor had backed off quite a bit from blatantly going against the sheriff when he’d tell her not to investigate. I have to admit, it made me nervous every time she would go somewhere, especially in the first book. This time, she only went against orders once…or twice. I guess that’s just who she is, and I’ll have to stop being nervous for her lol.

After the end of the book, there are some suggested pairings for Zinfandel in the line of cheeses and desserts along with a fudge recipe.

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:

Seven Deadly Zins (A Sonoma Wine Country Mystery #2)Seven Deadly Zins by Nancy J. Parra

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There was definitely a lot happening in this second installment from Taylor finding out she’s got wine tour competition to her neighbor who owns a winery being charged with two murders. Lots of secrets were being kept too, and it was a pretty exciting race to the finish towards the end of the book where there was an unexpected twist. The person I thought did it was completely innocent!

I’m really glad that Chelsea, Holly and now Taylor’s investigative reporter friend was back and helping them. We got to meet Sarah, Aunt Jemma’s psychic friend who did contribute a little info about the first murder. Tim Slade was the neighboring winery owner who was charged with murder, not once but twice, and Taylor felt an obligation to him as a friend to investigate and see what she could do, after all, she caught the last killer. At the end of this, everyone was happy doing what they do best.

Gotta admit, I was hoping that Taylor’s rival would end up having to be closed down or be involved with the killings somehow– the woman is just mean and snarky, lol But she’s a go-getter, and just possibly Taylor will learn something about improving her own business by knowing she’s got tough competition. Only the future books can tell for sure! I’m anxious to keep on reading this series!

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A Case of Syrah, Syrah–review

I’ve been wanting to read this now for awhile, because I love another series that Nancy J. Parra writes as Nancy Coco, The Candy-Coated series set on Mackinac Island. This is the first in the Wine Country series set in sunny Sonoma, California. I already know that I’m going to love the next book. These characters are something else! Taylor is one who won’t take no for answer, and her friend Holly is every bit as adventurous. That’s a little bit of a change from what we see a lot. Lots of times, the sidekick is the adventurous one who gets the sleuth into trouble. Taylor did her own share of getting herself into sticky situations. (I was surprised the sheriff didn’t throw her in jail for her own protection lol) I liked the addition of Chelsea, who is a friend of Holly from college and who wouldn’t love Aunt Jemma, the owner of the winery where Taylor lives and is using as home base for her winery tours.

My Goodreads review:

A Case of Syrah, Syrah (A Wine Country Mystery #1)A Case of Syrah, Syrah by Nancy J. Parra

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’d been wanting to read this before I read my ARC of the next book in the series, so I found it on Overdrive to borrow from my library. I just love Nancy’s Candy-Coated series she writes as Nancy Coco, and this series didn’t disappoint either!

Taylor O’Brian ran wine country tours business, but when she came across the dead body of a yoga instructor on her very first tour, that business came to a screeching halt until someone could prove Taylor’s innocence. Her corkscrew was the murder weapon and someone who apparently lied had said they saw her shove the woman off the cliff. Taylor and her bestie, Holly teamed up with a college friend of Holly’s, Chelsea, an investigative free-lance reporter and started snooping around on their own, despite numerous warnings from the sheriff and Taylor’s lawyer. There was a side mystery about identity theft that Taylor was sure had to be connected to what ended up being two murders total. Hopefully she and her friends could solve this before she ended up in jail for something she didn’t do…or became the next murder victim.

Holly is another bestie that you just gotta love! She’s got a ton of enthusiasm and loyalty–but at least she had the sense to stay out of “just one more stake-out.” The showdown was great! Taylor may not have been good at paying attention to people who told her to stop snooping, but she was good at remembering to record things! I loved Aunt Jemma too, what a sweetheart! And the adorable cocker spaniel Millie who came into Taylor’s life was a cute little addition.

I’ll be reading the next book starting a little later today!

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The Body in the Attic–review

This is the first book in a brand new series called Jazzi Zanders just released in November. The author is Judi Lynn, and when went to leave the Amazon review, I noticed she’s normally a romance author, it made a lot more sense to me now why there were so many everyday life details given for Jazzi, Jerod and Ansel. Not super long details, just more of a fleshed-out version of what the characters actually do besides trying to solve a mystery. It was fun seeing them gut and fix up a house. I liked these characters and will be preordering the second book due out in April.

Wow this is the 4th book I’ve read recently that features a cute little pug dog. George was so cool, he was like a little human!

My Goodreads review:

The Body in the Attic (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery #1)The Body in the Attic by Judi Lynn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a different cozy, but different in a good way meaning it wasn’t the usual formula most people expect in a cozy. Instead of Jazzi bugging the detective for clues, he was very willing to share with her what he found out and almost treated her like a colleague instead of a civilian. And the two murders were technically cold cases…but there was at least one, possibly two killers that were still very much alive.

I loved the house-flipper job that Jazzi had. Working with her cousin was probably a lot of fun. Jerod was like the brother she’d never had. And their contractor Ansel was so handsome that Jazzi couldn’t take her eyes off him. He was in a bad relationship which finally got resolved the way it should. I liked that aside from the threatening phone calls, Jazzi was never really in any danger and she was smart enough to have a security system in place and always lock her doors.

This makes the 4th book I’ve read recently that has a cute and personable little pug in it. This one was named George and he was almost human. He went with Ansel everywhere he went. Everything seemed to work out so well in this book, and for once there wasn’t a bunch of arguing or romantic tension. I’m definitely going to read the next book in the series.

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Peril at the Pawn Shop–review

This was a fun start to a new series called A Walk in the Bark by Mel Faye. She’s a new-to-me author and I really enjoyed the characters and mystery in her first (I think) cozy mystery. Ralph the pug was an adorably well-behaved little guy who helped Annie with her dog training. He was helping her get another dog, Geraldine the Greyhound, used to being around other dogs. He even found a piece of evidence at a crime scene. Ralph is a fairly constant client, since he belongs to Annie’s mom’s boyfriend. I’m anxious to read the next book in this series. By then I’m sure Annie’s store will be ready to open.

My Goodreads review:

Peril at the Pawn Shop: A Cozy Mystery for Pet Lovers (A Walk in the Bark Book 1)Peril at the Pawn Shop: A Cozy Mystery for Pet Lovers by Mel Faye

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This has to be a new record for me. I bought this book today not sure when I’d read it, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to read it because of the adorable pug on the cover. It was such a fun start for a new series, and a new-to-me author.

Annie Hudson loved working with dogs. She trained, walked, pet sat them and had been saving to open her own small shop specializing in something having to do with dogs. She also liked playing amateur sleuth, and after a couple of murders took place in her small Connecticut town, she found herself almost spending as much time sleuthing as she did working for her dog clients. The side story was that a big development company was wanting to buy out a lot of the small shops in town to bring in national chain stores. From the sound of it, Annie had already had run-ins with the CEO of the company. She was sure he was behind at least the first murder.

This was a quick and fun read. I liked Annie immediately and her friend Charlotte, the CSI was a fun character too. Annie met and started dating Hank, so I’m sure something will progress in that direction seeing how they’ve had a couple of dates already. I absolutely loved little Ralph and how he would charm everyone in town with his good behavior and even helped Annie in training other dogs on how to be more social. I didn’t guess the killer and I know I’ll be wanting to read the next book when it comes out.

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Decaffeinated Scandal–review

This iDecaffeinated Scandal: A Cozy Mystery (A Killer Coffee Mystery Series)Decaffeinated Scandal: A Cozy Mystery by Tonya Kappes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is just the funny and lighthearted story I needed after reading a more serious (but awesome) cozy. I mean who doesn’t love reading about an adorable farting Pug named Norman?

The Halloween festival was in full swing in Honey Springs, but Roxy had heard some disturbing news that the owners of the Bee Farm were going to sell part of their land to a resort developer. That would either slow down or close Camey Montgomery’s Cocoon Inn. When Roxy asked the owners, she said they needed to add more bee colonies which was expensive. Right away, Roxy got the town together in collecting donations for them so they wouldn’t have to sell any of their land. In the meantime, the head of the developing firm was found dead in the Inn. As usual, Roxy couldn’t rest until she was checking into things to keep her friend Camey from being charged with murder.

I think this is my favorite book of the series yet since something very special happens. The showdown with the killer was super quick, but absolutely awesome! And little Norman got his forever home as well.

There are some yummy-sounding Bean Hive recipes at the end of the book, including Jean Hill’s Apple Pie Jam which sound deelish! There’s even a recipe for the pumpkin dog treats that seemed to help little Norman get over his gaseous tendencies, along with his special diet dog food.

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s the fifth book in the Killer Coffee series, another favorite series by another one of my favorite authors (I have about 100 each of those!) 😉  If you haven’t read this series, you really need to, and I would really advise not starting with this book. It’s my favorite so far, but you might want to read from the beginning to get to know the characters all better. Roxy always brings in a dog to the shop in the hopes that she can help her friend who runs the shelter to adopt out the dogs and cats she gets. This book had a super cute pug named Norman who had a problem with flatulence, but he found his forever home anyway by the end of the book.

My Goodreads review:

The Whispered Word–review

Ellery Adams has done it again with her second book in the Secret, Book and Scone Society. She really has a way of making the reader care so much about the people in the story that the murders (yes, multiple!) are still important, but as a reader, you just want to find out more about the characters and are interested in their lives, their growth from the brokenness that brought them all together.

The Society started with four women who were damaged and each had a secret that they ended up telling to their new group of friends. Now they are fast friends and even Nora, who usually didn’t like being around anyone, loves to be in the company of her friends–and even the man she’s interested in. They continue to need each other’s kindness and support, but they give back to the community as well. All I can keep saying is, this book is amazing and you just have to experience this series for yourself!

My Goodreads review:

The Whispered Word (Secret, Book, & Scone Society, #2)The Whispered Word by Ellery Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m so glad the two books in this series didn’t end right after the killer was caught and brought to justice. With these characters, there is always just so much more to be learned and time to be spent with them. I love how this book ended after the showdown. There was absolutely no disappointment here! I hadn’t seen this killer coming at all!

At the end of the Secret, Book and Scone Society, a girl had shown up at Miracle Books after Nora had put up a Help Wanted sign. This book started right up telling about her and how she was a huge help to Nora, but moreso to Hester, since she was an accomplished baker. The girl called herself Abilene, and she continued to be a mystery. The four friends realized she was running from something or someone. When three murders struck within just a few weeks, Nora couldn’t help but wonder if their new friend had some connection to them. There was also a new business in town, one that took valuables on consignment. Nora couldn’t help but be suspicious of that as well, since their town had just undergone an economic crisis and people were anxious to sell items they had just to keep food on their tables.

It was great visiting with these four friends again. The interim sheriff was a breath of fresh air compared to the old one and it was sweet that Nora and Jed were becoming a lot closer. I enjoyed the little side stories of Nora doing her bibliotherapy for people. For any book clubs wanting to have a discussion on this book, there are some questions in the back that the author has provided. I have a book hangover now…not sure when I’ll want to start another one, this one was that amazing.

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