Have a Holly, Haunted Christmas review

This is book #2.5 of the Kitchen Witch series by Lynn Cahoon who also writes the Tourist Trap Mysteries, Farm-to-Fork Mysteries and Cat Latimer Mysteries, all of which are among my favorite cozy mystery series. I really enjoy the novella idea to sort of tide us over between main books, and since Christmas is my fave season, I was definitely eager to read this and not disappointed at all!

My Goodreads review:

Have a Holly, Haunted Christmas (Kitchen Witch Mysteries, #2.5)Have a Holly, Haunted Christmas by Lynn Cahoon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a sweet Christmas story and mystery! Mia’s ghost friend Dorothy needed her help, and with a deadline attached to it, being the good friend she is to everyone, Mia squeezed time in between her Christmas party/open house and tons of delivery orders. Dorothy might’ve been just a ghost, but she’d always been pretty nice to Mia-and we know our girl can’t resist a puzzle, right?

Lots of secrets came to light, but a happy ending was enjoyed by Dorothy and someone else who was very deserving of a merry Christmas. I had slightly suspected the perp, but it was great how Trent and Mia sleuthed it out together. I love these novellas in between the main stories of the Kitchen Witch series. (The author also does it with some of her other series). Even though we aren’t seeing a full-size Christmas mystery, the author packed it with festive fun, and I never felt like anything was missing. Can’t wait for the next book whether it’s regular or another novella. I’m really loving these characters!

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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Mistletoe Cake Murder review

This is the sixth book in the All-Day Breakfast Cafe by Lena Gregory who also writes the Bay Island Psychic series. Both of these are two of my very favorite series, and right now I’m caught up in both of them just waiting for more fun adventures to come along. I can’t believe it’s been six books since I first read about Gia and her bestie Savannah helping her get used to life in Florida after living in NYC.

This is the first Christmas that Gia’s acctually counting as having in Florida since she’s feeling way more at home with tons of great friends who are probably better to her than some family would be. Gia does still get creeped out by the thought of creatures in her woods near her house–can’t say I blame her for that at all because we both share an intense dislike of snakes, bugs and stuff like that as well as that eww factor! (We’re in good company though, think of Indy Jones!) Oh, I found a picture that made me think of  inside Trevor’s mansion and how he’d have decorated.

My Goodreads review:

Mistletoe Cake Murder (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery, #6)Mistletoe Cake Murder by Lena Gregory
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my favorite book in the series yet! The mystery leading up to Savannah and Leo’s wedding was a good one and if anything, it kept Savannah busy instead of worrying about details which their awesome friend Trevor had covered anyway. I’m with Gia, I hope we see wedding bells between him and Zoe sometime soon! He’s one of my favorite characters and needs a happily ever after.

I kind of had a feeling all along of whodunit, but falling for the red herrings was still fun and seeing Gia and Savannah in sleuthing action’s always worth it. The showdown was great and featured our two fave couples.

I loved how nearly the whole town was gathered in Trevor’s magical setting for Savannah and Leo’s wedding. All our favorites were there like Earl and his family, Cole and Cybil as well as Willow and her mom Skyla. Trevor had gone all out, and with the author’s gift of just the right amount of description, it was so easy to picture this amazing Christmas Eve wedding. Get a tissue ready, because the ending is sweet, funny and absolutely perfect!

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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Digging Up Trouble review

This is the first in a brand new series by a new-to-me author named Kitt Crowe who has a great sense of humor in her writing, right up my alley! At least we don’t have to wait a whole year for a book because the next is scheduled for June of 2022, and I’ve been approved by #CrookedLane Publishing to read it. I loved some of the TV and pop culture references these friends tossed around along with their crazy and fun banter.

My Goodreads review:

Digging Up Trouble (A Sweet Fiction Bookshop Mystery Book 1)Digging Up Trouble by Kitt Crowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this author’s wicked and fun sense of humor! It comes out in the form of her main character Lexi of course, and that girl cracked me up so many times! I loved it when she got together with besties Cat, Teri and two members of their bookclub for sleuthing. Stefanie was such a hoot, and her bestie Alison was a quiet but super knowledgeable lady having been an librarian before she retired. I liked that the run-ins Lexi had with Det. Berg were never to the point where he actually yelled or got overly angry. I thought the man was really pretty darn patient with Lexi and her snooping, lol.

There were so many possible suspects and just as I thought one person did it, I changed my mind. Lots of great red herrings and boy, what a showdown! Cookie, Lexi’s adorable dog (with klepto tendancies) ended up being a hero–I always love when the pet saves the day! There was a good twist I’d definitely not guessed although I wasn’t terribly surprised by something else. I did like this so much I requested the next book as an ARC that comes out June of 2022. Now that the book club has one case under their belt, I’m eager to see what they do with another.

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

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Chapter and Curse review

This is the first book in the Cambridge Bookshop Mysteries by Elizabeth Penney, and it hits virtual and real bookshelves today. I knew when I saw that Elizabeth Penney was the author that I’d really enjoy it like I did her previous series. I loved the addition of the sweet little black cat that Molly found right after finding the murdered woman on her aunt’s property. Little Puck sort of became her comfort kitty, so I just had to find a cute black kitty to feature as the picture! I’m really looking forward to the next book.

My Goodreads review:

Chapter and Curse (Cambridge Bookshop #1)Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just knew I’d love this book when I saw it in NetGalley and noticed who the author was. I enjoyed her writing and characterization in the Apron Shop series so much. This book definitely didn’t disappoint and had characters I took to immediately. The key characters were all really awesome, but I think my favorites were Aunt Violet and Sir Jon. Sir Jon might’ve been a retired MI6, but he could still do the job when he needed to as we see toward the end. Everyone needs an aunt like Violet. I hope she and Sir Jon can get together sometime, ’cause from talk about all their college days, I think he’s always had a little thing for her. Molly didn’t waste any time in finding a handsome and genuinely nice guy as well in Kieran. And Molly’s mother Nina, well there might be some love interest going on for her eventually too.

Another favorite character was George, a local landlord and good friend of Violet’s as well as her handyman for the bookshop sometimes. He’s another friend that everyone should have one of. I honestly couldn’t quite figure out whodunit until Molly did, and it was obvious at the showdown which by the way, was a really good one! But I thoroughly enjoyed how Violet, Molly, Nina and Sir Jon sort of teamed up to solve the murder. They knew if they relied on the evidence only, poor Violet would end up in jail. Their investigations always turned up something useful for the police, and I think Sir Jon’s respected status helped as well.

I’m so hoping these books might come out more than once a year. I just enjoyed the characters so much I hated to see the book end!

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

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The Glitter End review

This is the third book in the Stationery Shop series by Vivian Conroy who’s written several other cozy mystery series that I hope to explore (especially the one with the dachshund on the cover!) I’ve enjoyed this series since the beginning and have liked each book a little more than the one before it. The character relationships are good but still growing. I love how close Delta and her Gran are and hope they can soon find a house to own together-although she does worry that Hazel might feel bad whenever that happens, since Delta lives in Hazel’s place until she and Gran can find something. I got a kick out of the side story of Delta worrying if Jonas was involved with someone else who happened to be a dog training friend.

My Goodreads review:

The Glitter EndThe Glitter End by Vivian Conroy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was good to catch up with Hazel, Delta, Gran and all their friends in the Paper Posse in this mystery where just about anyone could’ve been a suspect. I was particularly interested to see if Delta and Jonas’s relationship would progress a little and was happy with what I read. Gran was looking to have a chance at the same type of happiness, so that’ll be interesting to see if it’s continued through the next book. Even Hazel might’ve been warming up a bit to Ray who seems like a puppy only wanting to make her happy, lol.

I wouldn’t have guessed the killer at all until later in the book, but someone who helped with the showdown was more of a surprise for me (in a good way). I don’t want say a whole lot for fear of ruining something for readers. Despite the mystery seeming to go slowly in some spots (as in, no progress seemed to be made on the case), it was still very much worth reading. I was curious throughout to see if two different incidents were connected, but you’ll have to read it yourself to see what those were. This book releases in eight days on September 28, 2021.

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 Perfect Bind review

I was super excited and grateful to #Berkley Publishing for approving me to read this second in the Beloved Book series by Dorothy St. James who wrote the Southern Chocolate Shop and White House Gardener series. I’m really loving this new series maybe even more than the chocolate shop one (even though I adore chocolate!). It’s probably because the bookroom is a secret one. The cool history part of this particular book was that long ago, the place was actually called The Bookroom. But you’re gonna need to read it and find out why!

It was a little hard to put this book down due to all the “what if someone finds out about the bookroom while investigating the murder” suspense. The town rumors, meanwhile, were um, interesting to say the least. And Mama Eddy had even more of a reason to be happy with herself later on in the book. There’re just so many reasons why you’ll want to read this book. For more complete enjoyment and getting to know the characters better, I’d recommend reading the first one first, but this one does give enough backstory without spoilers that readers should be able to figure out who the key players are.

My Goodreads review:

A Perfect Bind (Beloved Bookroom Mystery #2)A Perfect Bind by Dorothy St. James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow just when you thought the secret bookroom was all safe and sound…vandals were striking, then a murder happened outside the library. Tru and her book friends had their investigating job cut out for them in trying to figure out how the vandalism and the murder could connect in with some events of the past that the victim was looking into.

I love how the whole time I’ve pretty much despised Anne for coming in and setting up the ridiculous bookless library–I seriously hope this is just the author’s imagination, and this never, ever happens anywhere! But just when you want to be mad at her, she does something actually nice. You’ll have to read and see.

I hadn’t quite seen the whodunit coming until the very end which was really exciting. I was so proud of Tru for calling Jace in for his help. But…what happens in the bookroom stays in the bookroom ’cause I don’t want to spoil even one little tidbit. This awesome mystery comes out in ten more days, but I was so grateful to Berkley for approving me to read it, that I just couldn’t wait any longer to pick up where the last book left off. I’m super happy with the good direction Jace and Tru’s relationship is going too, thanking the author for that one!

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

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One for the Hooks review

This is the fourteenth book in the Crochet Mysteries series by Betty Hechtman who also writes the Yarn Retreat Mysteries. I’ve read probably the last four of the Crochet Mysteries as ARCs, but I did eventually go back and read the first book to find out how all the friends got together and what Molly’s history was with Barry the police detective. Adele continues to crack me up. It seems like she’s come a long way from being jealous over Molly getting a job she thought she should have. I can’t quite think of them as actual friends, but they do at least get along. Dinah’s an awesome bestie for Molly. I love their Sherlock Holmes game when they’re talking about a case.

My Goodreads review:

One for the Hooks: A Crochet MysteryOne for the Hooks: A Crochet Mystery by Betty Hechtman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the cover of this book to the very end, I enjoyed it all. This book cover just cracks me up with the crazy expression on the sweet little dog’s face! That’s one thing I jadmire about Molly, the love she has for dogs (and for her kids as you’ll see in this installment). It looks like another dog joined the family eventually in this book.

Since this series only comes out once a year, it’s kinda hard to remember just when Molly started seeing Mason instead of Barry, but it’s pretty clear that Barry never got over her. I’m sure I was Team Barry when that happened, but Mason was so darn nice to her.

This was a real puzzler having a death by drone situation and trying to figure out if the person killed was really the target, and if they were, what was the reason and which of the cul-de-sac neighbors did it? Molly was again working with Barry, so sometimes she made me crazy how she’d beat around the bush to give her info to him, but I guess that’s just part of her charm. She’s got lots of other more endearing qualities though, so that’s not a make or break, lol.

The showdown was pretty creepy, but luckily Molly got things under control right before backup arrived. I gotta admit, I was happy with the way things turned out at the end.

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 Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole review

This is the eighteenth book in the Chocoholic Mysteries series by JoAnna Carl, and I was honored to be asked by a rep from Berkley Publishing to read and hopefully review. I’d recently read the first book, so even though I haven’t read the others, I was still able to follow along, and everything made sense, so it’s possible to read it as a standalone. I didn’t mind learning that a couple marriages had happened in the span between the first book and this, in fact, I’m pretty sure I knew (and had hoped) they would from when I peeked at all the blurbs for the books, lol.

I love that reading the first book and now reading this didn’t seem much different. I know some series change voice over the years or read differently, but to me this one still has the awesome running theme of family and good friends. I’m definitely planning to start catching up with this series though!

My Goodreads review:

The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole (Chocoholic Mystery Book 18)The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole by JoAnna Carl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The whole theme in this book was centered around an elusive mama raccoon and her six babies that Lee and Nettie wanted removed from in back of the chocolate shop. It spiraled into a lot more after that including seemingly meaningless burglaries that led to attacks and eventually a murder as well as an attempted murder.

I just love Aunt Nettie’s character! She’s one lady you really want on your side and can be sweet as a granny or well, vicious as a raccoon. Let’s just say if you’re having a showdown with a killer, it’d be a really good idea to invite Aunt Nettie along! The showdown was pretty epic, and I never really guessed the killer. I did have a basic idea of what the burglaries were all about though.

Another character I liked in the very first book, and I’m glad he’s not changed is Hogan Jones. (Admittedly, I’d only read the first book of the series so far when I was asked to read this, but with a little working knowledge of the characters from book 1, I had no trouble keeping up.) I love that Hogan’s not like the typical cozy mystery cop who’s always warning the sleuths off the case. His main interest is always catching the bad guy which means he listens to Lee (or now Nettie seeing how he’s married to her lol), and what could come off as a hair-brained scheme to other officers is at least given some thought by Hogan. He’s one of my favorite fictional lawmen.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book provided by Berkley Publishing via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own. Look for it at your favorite book seller on August 3!

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Much Ado About Nauticaling review

This is the first book in the new Whit and Whiskers series by Gabby Allan who also writes as Misty Simon, if you’re familiar with the Tallie Graver cozy mysteries. I haven’t personally read them yet, but I do own some. While I’m waiting on the next Whit and Whiskers, I hope to get to the Tallie Graver series.

I really like the dynamics of the characters in this book, especially when Whit decided to sleuth, and her pals Felix and Maribel helped. I’m a sucker for a new series, especially one with a cute animal like Whiskers on the cover!

My Goodreads review:

Much Ado about NauticalingMuch Ado about Nauticaling by Gabby Allan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first of this new series featuring Whit who runs glass bottom boat tours, her brother Nick who does the same and their very cool grandparents Pops and Goldy. I just love Pops and Goldy! She’s just a hoot how she’s always out in the sun doing her tanning, but she’s totally sweet and helpful to Whit when she needs her. Pops is the voice of reason and steadiness when Whit needs that. And Whiskers is a great comfort cat who got a chance to dig her claws into someone bad!

I just had a little tickly suspicion all along that wouldn’t go away, and I was actually right for once about whodunit. I read one thing farther along that cinched it for me, and that was my guess. The showdown was a good one too.

Maybe Whit’ll figure out that Felix isn’t so bad after all. I actually felt sorry for him, because unlike most stories where the girl is wronged/left at the altar/cheated on, this poor guy to me was the one who got the short end of the deal with Whit leaving and no explanation. Hopefully there’ll be plenty more of this series books for them to get reacquainted! I loved the sleuthing dynamics of Whit, Felix and Whit’s bestie and roommate, Maribel who came in really handy since she worked at the police station

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 Rocky Road to Ruin review

This is the first book in a brand new series, Ice Cream Shop Mysteries by Meri Allen who I thought was a newcomer, but I was super happy to find out on Facebook that she’s none other than Shari Randall, another one of my favorite authors who wrote the Lobster Shack series which I absolutely loved. I’ve found I can always rely on her for some awesome and interesting characters no matter which persona she writes under. I felt so at home reading Rocky Road, and now I can’t wait for the next book!

My Goodreads review:

The Rocky Road to Ruin (Ice Cream Shop Mysteries #1)The Rocky Road to Ruin by Meri Allen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading about Riley’s backstory but moreso liked that she was a good friend who needed a change in her own life, so she came through when her bestie Caroline needed someone the most. I was never quite sure throughout the book whodunit and wavered among a few of the characters. Maybe this dog wasn’t all that likable, but I sure loved that little MacGillicuddy was a dachshund! Hilarious to give a German dog a Scottish name too. I really liked little Rocky the black kitty who sort of adopted Riley as his favorite human. He was awfully intuitive in other things too.

It was a good twist for once to have the bestie attracted to the detective. I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen that yet. Sometimes the bestie is already attached/married or going with the main detective, but this was a fun switch. There wasn’t quite the typical showdown. It was more of a discovery of a series of events and some crucial evidence. Everything was well-explained at the end and what a sweet surprise Caroline found hidden in an unlikely place. You’ll have to read the book and find out. Now I’m really looking forward to the next book and wondering if some new friends in this book will show up there too.

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

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