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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