The Enemy You Gnocchi review

This is the third book in the Italian Chef series by Catherine Bruns who also wrote the Cindy York Mysteries. Catherine also writes the Cookies & Chance series and some of the Aloha Lagoon Mysteries, both of which are published by Gemma Halliday Publishing.

The Italian Chef series is published by @Poisoned Pen, and I have to send kudos to the artist of this latest book cover. It’s my favorite cover so far, and I really hope this style continues. It just embraces the cozy mystery theme so much better! And Christmas cozy mystery book covers with cute pets on them are my weakness, lol. Looking very forward to the next book!

I found the picture of the cat in a Google search and couldn’t help thinking this is probably what Luigi would love to do with Tessa’s presents!

My Goodreads review:

The Enemy You Gnocchi (Italian Chef Mysteries Book 3)The Enemy You Gnocchi by Catherine Bruns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was Christmastime in Harvest Park with a lights festival going on along with all the festive trimmings, but Tessa had a murder to contend with when the creepiest guy in town was offed at the lights festival. Did he have mob ties…or was it one of his string of exes?

I was happy I’d recently read the second book, so I was totally ready for this one and super pleased with the ending. Sometimes I was ready to headslap Tessa for not wanting to let herself fall for Justin in a more-than-friendship way, but I figured she’d finally come around because I know she’s got an awesome author 😉 There were quite a few suspects, and the whodunit was definitely a surprise for me. It was an exciting showdown that led to a quick brawl in the snow before Tessa got the upper hand.

Tessa did have an epiphany along the way which led to an even better story ending. I’m so eager now to read the next book, but I’m thinking we’ll probably have to wait at least a year since this series hasn’t been releasing more than that. These are some good characters who’ve become friends, and they’re definitely worth the wait.

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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Deck the Donuts review

This is the sixth book in the Deputy Donut series that I’ve literally devoured (no donut pun intended, honest!) since the series beginning. It’s written by Ginger Bolton also known as Janet Bolin, author of the older Threadville series. I’ve come to think of this little family of characters as close friends by now, and I’m always eager to see what they’re up to. Christmas in Fallingbrook just seemed magical and just what you’d expect a cozy mystery Christmas to be like. And speaking of magical Christmas, isn’t that just the most awesome book cover? Little Dep is always so cute on these covers!

Oh and on September 23 on her Facebook page, the author announced that @Kensington Publishing signed her for two more Deputy Donut books, seven and eight! Yippeeeeee!!! I dug on FB till I found that info on her page again because I wanted to be completely sure I’d read it right!

My Goodreads review:

Deck the Donuts (A Deputy Donut Mystery Book 6)Deck the Donuts by Ginger Bolton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an awesome and festive Christmas mystery! I could easily picture the village square with the ice sculptures (minus the dead body, of course!) This was one tough mystery to even think about picking whodunit, so I just read and enjoyed. The person I was a little worried about being the perp wasn’t, so I was happy about that, lol. I really loved that Ivan the big dog that belonged to the DCI detective and her sons got to be a hero in the showdown. And boy, what an exciting showdown that was! I could picture it playing out as a TV mystery movie.

The whole thing could’ve been a Christmas mystery movie though with Brent having that awesome ski chalet. I got a kick out of the two older ladies in Emily’s neighborhood who remained nameless, like guardian angels in the background. Emily knew the one lady as pruning shears lady, and the other was referred to as snow angel since she helped the bus tour guide staying with Emily.

I was incredbily happy with the ending of this book! All I could think of was wow, it’s about time! I can’t wait for the next book!

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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Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off review

This is the second book in the Beacon Bakeshop series by Darci Hannah, and I absolutely loved how it embraced the spirit of the Christmas season. Poor Lindsey had never really accomplished her dream type of Christmas, but I had to hand it to her for not giving up. Maybe this year would be better…

It was a lot of fun imagining what a town like this with a lighthouse would look like decorated for Christmas. I just love the book’s cover and think the artist couldn’t have captured it better! Three days and counting, then this book goes live September 28, 2021

My Goodreads review:

Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off (Beacon Bakeshop, #2)Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off by Darci Hannah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, what an awesome Christmas mystery! If you don’t count the murder, lol. But the whole magicalness surrounding the lighthouse bakery sometimes was just the perfect Christmas spirit from the lights and decorations to the spirit of everyone working there. I can’t say too much, but I had my suspicions about something else (not the killer) and was super happy to find out I was right. Now the killer was another story, and I changed my mind as much as Lindsey and Crew changed theirs.

I loved the sleuthing dynamic that Lindsey, Rory, Kennedy…and get this, even Ellie Montague, ex-super model and mom to Lindsey wanted to join in. She did have a good idea that was right up her fashionista alley, and it started chipping away at the answer.

The showdown was wild, full of confession, and reinforcement arrived just in the nick of time. Honest, that wasn’t a Christmas pun! I loved how the book ended with the magic of Christmas, good friends, family and of course where Lindsey and her dad were involved, good food! One caution: Make sure you’re not hungry when you’re reading, ’cause you’ll want to eat your book or drool on your Kindle! There were so many yummies mentioned and not just dessert. The main dishes sounded awesome too.

At the end of the book, you’ll find everyone’s bake-off recipes, but there’s a link to the author’s website for more recipes. Hmm I should go there, ’cause maybe some of those main courses that Lindsey and her dad made are there!

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

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Death at Holly Lodge review

This is the third book in the Daisy Thorne series by Louise R. Innes. I’ve followed the series from the first book and have come to really enjoy these characters. From Daisy’s coworkers at the hair salon to DCI Paul McGuiness and Daisy’s bestie Floria, they’re a great crew. Krish at the salon always cracks me up! It was fun to picture Christmas in this little English village, minus any dead bodies, of course! After Daisy babysat her neighbor’s cat, I started thinking how she could really use a cat or a dog. It could be the hair salon mascot!

My Goodreads review:

Death at Holly Lodge (A Daisy Thorne Mystery Book 3)Death at Holly Lodge by Louise R. Innes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a perfect Christmas mystery and even though I’ve never been to England, I could still picture the little town businesses all decorated and getting ready for the Christmas Market. I loved that Daisy and DCI McGuiness aka Paul were getting closer and closer in their personal relationship. He got a lot less mad when she’d go ahead and do something, and she knew to just ‘fess up and tell him what she did while pointing out the good that came of it. They’re taking it slowly which is alway s a good sign.

The showdown was a good one, and I hadn’t figured out whodunit, so I just went along with whatever Daisy thought. It took several people to take down this perp, and fortunately Daisy was trained well enough now that she’d called the police before going to where she was going. There was a good surprise toward the end which wrapped up the whole case. Looks like Daisy and Paul were going to have a Merry Christmas after all! This book releases September 28, 2021.

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

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Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past review

This is the third book in what quickly became a favorite newer series for me. It’s called Salem B&B and written by Traci Wilton, a pen name for the writing team of Traci Hall and Patrice Wilton. I fell in love with the ghost of Dr. Jack from the get-go and love how he and Charlene interact and research cases together. Salem at Christmas sounded awesome!

My Goodreads review:

Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past (A Salem B&B Mystery, #3)Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past by Traci Wilton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such an awesome Christmas mystery! I just love the cover of this book and could really picture the B&B all decked out for Christmas. I felt sad for Jack knowing how much he’s always liked Charlene that he couldn’t give her a Christmas hug, but he seemed fairly happy. He always came in handy for helping to research during a case, and he made a good silent sleuthing partner for Charlene. This case was dealing with the murder of one of the locals, and it was actually someone who was a good benefactor, so it was a little sad to have them killed.

Charlene was dealing with her parents staying till after Christmas, and her mom wasn’t the most likable person, but I have to admit, she grew on me after a while especially what she helped with toward the end. I wasn’t right about the killer this time, but finding the real one was a good little adventure and showdown. I’m hoping that Charlene is getting a little closer to opening her heart to Sam after this book, at least they seemed to be in a decent place for now. I really liked Charlene’s dad a lot! That man was a saint to put up with her mom lol. And I liked the character of Avery who Charlene hired to help Minnie with housekeeping chores. I hope she sticks around. I’m always anxious for the next book in this series!

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A Midwinter’s Tail–review

This is the fourth book in Bethany Blake’s Lucky Paws Petsitting series. It’s one series I’ve been able to keep up with, and I have to say, it’s definitely one of my favorites! From the scholarly basset hound Socrates to hyper one-eared Artie the chihuahua, we met a couple of new friends in this book, one of which was Tiny Tim, an adorable but mischievous pug who is a Houdini-pup. He always wears a “Bah, Hum-pug” Christmas sweater, but like the other dogs, he proved to be quite important in this story. I hope he stays around, he’s just so cute! (The picture I found for free use is the only cute one I could find of a pug in a sweater.)

My Goodreads review:

A Midwinter's TailA Midwinter’s Tail by Bethany Blake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I guess I just can’t let go of Christmas stories just yet, and I’m really glad I didn’t let this one wait to read at the end of this year! It was a perfect Christmas cozy mystery!

Sylvan Creek was getting ready for Christmas and the annual Bark the Halls ball. When a former resident and now CEO of a chain of pet supply and service stores arrived in town and was killed, Moxie became the prime suspect. It was no secret that she hated the woman who was killed, but so did a lot of others in town. Daphne hoped that her detective friend Jonathan would at least realize how many others wanted that woman out of the way. When a second body was found the night of the ball, Moxie’s friend Mike seemed to be a good candidate for that murder, but Daph and Jonathan had a feeling he was being framed. I hadn’t suspected the killer, at first, but the more the clues were leaked, it was hard to ignore them. The showdown was excellent! Socrates the basset hound and his new girlfriend got to help save the day.

I loved that there were so many happy endings going on in this book, it was like a Christmas bonus. As always, my visit to Sylvan Creek was much too short. It’s always so cute when Artie the one-eared chihuahua that Jonathan has adopted gets dressed up and prances around. And just when I thought that Daphne’s mom was being a little harsh on her because of the second murder, she turned around and did something so nice for Daph at the end. I really enjoyed newcomer dog Tiny Tim, a sweet but mischievous pug who was always seen wearing a “Bah, Hum-pug” sweater. His owner has a funny explanation for that! I hope that Tim and his owner stay around Sylvan Creek.

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In Peppermint Peril–review

My first review of 2019, and it was a super enjoyable book! I can always enjoy a good Christmas mystery. I loved how throughout the book Callie was stressing that the mystery needed solved by Christmas so that families could be together. That and the way it ended was just really heartwarming to me! I don’t know if this author’s name is a pen name or what, but she writes like someone well-established and I am very anxious to read the next book in this series!

I just loved the little brown and white Boston terrier, Daisy! She was being cared for by Callie who worked as a tour guide. Daisy always seemed to know when someone needed a dog to comfort them. And even Daisy got a happily ever after ending! The picture is the best one licensed for free use that I thought Daisy might look like.

Disclaimer: I was provided a hardcover copy of this book from the publisher via a group I belong to, but I voluntarily read and reviewed it. Being given the book had no bearing on what type of review I would give.

My Goodreads review:

In Peppermint Peril (A Tea and Read Mystery, #1)In Peppermint Peril by Joy Avon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a good mystery that turned out to be a heartwarming Christmas story! I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters, and I can’t wait to read the next book! In the very back, the author said it would take place in July. This book was really well-written and plotted. I have no idea if the author is someone’s pen name who is already established, but if not, it sure seems that way, like they aren’t just a beginning writer.

Callie Aspen, who worked as a travel tour guide, was home over Christmas helping her aunt Iphy with her shop called Book Tea. Iphy made cakes with book clues in them for people. At the big tea party she’d made a large winter cake for, the body of the gardener was found in the conservatory. The whole thing had purposely been given an Agatha Christie feel, since the lady of the house, 90-something Dorothea Finster had announced her will was going to be changed. Everyone invited was hoping for a cut of it, but instead, they ended up with a murder.

I liked how Callie and Deputy Falk got along. They were just a little rocky at first, but she wasn’t like some sleuths who seem to take offense at everything the police officer says or does. They worked well together and he seemed pretty charmed and won over by her as well. There was no shortage of suspects, until they started producing alibis. I loved the web of deceit that made it seem like everyone had secrets. I had randomly named the person as the killer, but the author seemed to steer away from anyone that I had suspected. I loved the stake-out type take down at the end!

The ending was incredibly Christmasy with family being reunited–which was basically all Dorothea had wanted. Callie had to make an important decision for herself and the little dog she’d temporarily adopted. I enjoyed the side story of Falk’s sister Peggy and her two small sons. Falk naturally was very protective of her, but Callie helped him realize that maybe Peggy just wanted a little credit for trying to be a good single mom–she was widowed when her Coast Guard husband went on a rescue mission. I’m really anxious for the next book to come out!

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher, but I voluntarily chose to read and review it. My opinions are my own.

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All I Want for Christmas Is Fudge–review

This is more of a short story/novella and is numbered as #3.5 on Goodreads so that’s the numbering I like to stay with. I love these little in between stories that series have but I tend to be a stickler on getting them put in the right place and in between the correct books. It was different reading it from Jenn’s point of view instead of Allie’s this time.

My Goodreads review:

All I Want for Christmas Is Fudge (Candy-Coated, #3.5)All I Want for Christmas Is Fudge by Nancy CoCo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you want a quick, happy ending mystery, then this is definitely for you! I thought it was pretty cool to begin with that this book is written from Jenn’s point of view.

Time jumping from late summer to just before Christmas: Jenn is Allie’s best friend who has missed Mackinac Island so much from when she went back to Chicago at the end of summer, that she is there for a week for Christmas and the Santa Fun Run 10k.

I was so used to recently reading the previous books told from Allie’s viewpoint that I had to remember who “I” was, but it was a lot of fun hearing about the other characters from Jenn’s viewpoint–I also really liked her description of her bestie, Allie.

And just like Allie, Jenn must have a tendency to find bodies because she finds one of the Santa Run participants in a snow bank one of the first mornings she was there doing her morning run. Since no one else was around, of course she’s the person of interest even though the police realize she couldn’t have done it due to later evidence.

The dead man had a girlfriend, a dog and a couple of other friends plus a stalker so there were plenty of suspects. Even though this was a shorter book, it wasn’t lacking for clues and suspense since I didn’t guess who the killer was till it was revealed. I love when Allie gathers everyone around like in the old books and some TV shows, to reveal the killer.

One person Jenn was especially anxious to see was her summer boyfriend, Shane the CSI guy on the island but he seemed a little distant so that was a little side story which turned out really well at the end.

I would love to see a future book in the series set at Christmas but have it be a regular length book. I want to hear about the Christmas festivities on the island and spend time at the McMurphy with my character friends there!

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Death by Eggnog by Alex Erickson

Ok, so I kind of got off my book-a-day thing but my website needed some attention and it still does. But I still finished this in not quite 2 days. It was another fun Christmas read. Here’s what I wrote about it on Goodreads:

Death by Eggnog (Bookstore Café Mystery #5)Death by Eggnog by Alex Erickson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Krissy Hancock has somehow gotten herself volunteered to be an elf in the local Christmas play so there goes her two week vacation from the book store/coffee shop that she co-owns with her best friend Vicki. In true Krissy fashion, a body is discovered, one of the actors in the play and her ex, Robert, is jailed for the murder. Krissy still thinks Robert is a jerk but she knows he’s not a killer so she feels compelled to investigate despite having to come to practices that are doing a real number on her body as far as aches and pains go.

This is the first book in the series that I’ve read but the author does a good job of briefly telling who is who. I never felt confused just dropping in on book 5 but I do want to start at the beginning and read the rest of them. The characters are all very likable, and even the old lady next door who has always been spying on Krissy, comes around a little after her daughter comes to town and they have a meal together. The old lady just needed a friend and a purpose. That part seemed a little unrelated to the mystery but had I read the previous four books, I’m sure it would have seemed a little more relevant.

I never guessed the killer because the author did such a good job of spreading out red herrings along the way. Just as I’d suspect one person, they would be cleared. I like his writing style too, humorous at times and to the point as far as he’s not overdoing descriptions or anything. I felt like I could picture all the places that were talked about. This author gets more into the head of the main character and it worked out great. I loved the final scenes, very exciting and again, a little bit funny at times. The ending was awesome so once I’m caught up with this series, I’ll be anxious to read the 6th book!

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