Christmas Dessert Murder review

This is actually a compilation of Book 20 and Book 23. I’m not sure why it was given a number like a new book, but fear not, Hannah fans. Joanne Fluke has brand new book 29ย Caramel Pecan Roll Murder coming out later in February. I was actually excited for a new Christmas mystery and gotta admit I jumped on the ARC before I completely read about it, lol. ::face palm:: Good lesson huh?

But hey, this is still Hannah, Christmas and yummy dessert and food recipes. And don’t forget Delores! She always cracks me up and provides the crazy banter needed whether she’s talking to her kids or her sweetie/hubby Doc. These were really neither my favorite books but not my least favorite ones either.

My Goodreads review:

Christmas Dessert Murder (Hannah Swenson #28)Christmas Dessert Murder by Joanne Fluke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, I’m not sure why this is numbered as a regular new book, because it’s not new. I’ts simply a compilation of two previous Christmas themed books, Christmas Caramel Murder #20 that was published in 2016 and Christmas Cake Murder #23, published in 2018. The thing both had in common was that they were both written as flashbacks. Luckily, we do get a brand new Hannah coming in February, but maybe since the tradition has always been to have a Christmas themed book, that could be why this one was put together. (I honestly didn’t notice it myself until after I’d already committed to it.)

I can’t say either of these books were my favorite mysteries in this series, but you’re still going to drool over the amazing-sounding recipes inside along with all our favorite characters. Lake Eden at Christmas always does seem very magical, but in this small town, murder doesn’t take a vacation. If you haven’t read either #23 or #20 and are collecting them all to read, this seems like it’d save a little over buying the books separately.

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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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder review

This is the third book in the Catering Hall by Maria DiRico who’s better known as Ellen Byron who wrote the Cajun Country series that just ended. I’m absolutely loving this new series and hope it runs as long as Cajun did! It’s fun, hilarious and all about close family ties, well sometimes that includes Family too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This Christmas installment was really awesome. I’ll just let my Goodreads review do the talking!

My Goodreads review:

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder (A Catering Hall Mystery Book 3)It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder by Maria DiRico
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my favorite of the series yet! It doesn’t hurt that it’s set at my fave time of year, but it’s got everything I’ve been loving about this series and then some. There were plenty of funny scenes, and the scene at the spa when Mia and Cammie went, let’s just say part of that made me laugh out loud. Ever since the first book, the voice of Nanny Fran Fine became Mia’s voice, and now I can’t read it without picturing her, lol. And Cammie makes me think of her friend Val. It seemed like they did a lot more together in this book which added to the fun and hilarity. Cammie and her ex, Det. Pete crack me up!

There was plenty of great action too, and I couldn’t help thinking Mia was lucky to have friends like the Boldano family. I got such a kick out of her enjoying having the perks of Jamie dating Madison, a fashion influencer whose help at a party the banquet hall held made a sixteen-year-old girl very happy. I just love everything about the whole storyline even if it veers off the mystery momentarily because it’s either funny or just an awesome family/friend or banquet hall party moment.

I wasn’t sure about the whodunit, so I just followed along with Mia. The showdown was exciting though! And with the magical Christmas Eve that Mia got, I’m so eager now to read the next book!

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 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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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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 ofย  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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The Corpse in the Gazebo review

This is the fifth book in the Food Blogger series by Debra Sennefelder, and it releases in just a couple days on September 28, 2021. I made a point this summer to read the previous book so I’d be caught up for this one, and I’m glad I did read it. It’s possible to read these books as a standalone, but it’s more enjoyable to get to know Hope and her friends from the beginning. The author also writes the Resale Boutique series, which I’m a little behind in, but I like it a lot too. I’m definitely looking forward to the next Food Blogger though after reading this one!

My Goodreads review:

The Corpse in the Gazebo (A Food Blogger Mystery Book 5)The Corpse in the Gazebo by Debra Sennefelder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m so glad I was caught up in the series and ready to read this one because it was another good sleuthing session for Hope, Drew and Jane. I loved how those three worked together in the previous book, and they were together again. Hope and Drew did most of the chase or driving work, but Jane definitely did her share. I just love her character and think of Jessica Fletcher since Jane was also a mystery author. The side mystery with Jane’s sister-in-law Sally ended up being kinda cute considering how curmudgeonly Sally could get especially when Jane and the crew were sleuthing.

I’ve learned that in this series (and a lot of mysteries) not everything’s what it appears to be, but even keeping that in mind, I was completely surprised by whodunit. Without saying too much, Drew was very happy with the stories he got from this whole case, and I think for once he was feeling some victory where nemesis (and unfair, not-completely-truthful writer) Norrie was concerned.

I loved the celebration with family and friends at the end. Hope definitely went through a lot of issues in this mystery, since as a murder suspect for one thing, she was losing sponsors. Then she was playing part-time mommy to Ethan’s girls, although that was something she really liked. But everything turned out great, and the ending was a good one. I can’t wait for the next book! This one releases on September 28, 2021, so don’t miss out on it!

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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Partners in Lime review

This is the sixth and second to last book in the Seaside Cafe series by Bree Baker that I’ve really enjoyed so much! Bree is another pen name for Julie Anne Lindsey who’s now writing the Cider Shop mysteries. She has lots more under her belt, so definitely check out her bio links.

Julie wrote as Julie Chase when she wrote the four-book Kitty Couture series that went from 2016-2019. Julie featured a fun crossover with a couple of the Kitty Couture characters in her most recent Cider Shop mystery. I love it when authors do that! I’m sad to see Seaside Cafe winding to an end, but I honestly believe that by the time the next book comes out, she’ll have well-told the tale of Grady and Everly. I’m gonna find it very hard to wait until March 29, 2022!

My Goodreads:

Partners in Lime: A Beachfront Cozy Mystery (Seaside Cafรฉ Mysteries Book 6)Partners in Lime: A Beachfront Cozy Mystery by Bree Baker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Everly’s EMT friend Matt was accused of murder, she got a little protective of him to the point that Grady may have been a touch jealous. But no worries, Grady, that girl is crazy about you! Everly had to deal with not only a murder, but the stress that having what she saw as a competitor recently open up in the form of a fancy tea room. I think she must’ve gotten more death threats this time than usual too! I think that’d tend to stress even the calmest of people!

I loved the gift that Everly got from Aunt Fran who sometimes came off as trying to be all tough, but she loved her niece just as much as softie Clara did. Ryan was planning something epic for Amelia, but Everly was a little busy chasing a killer to give him as much help as she’d have liked. I had a feeling at one point who the killer was. The showdown was kind of a nail biter, then something really crazy happened. I’m thinking in the next book that things are gonna get extra sweet for Grady and Everly…and I can ‘t wait!

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No Grater Crime review

This is the ninth book in the Country Store series by Maddie Day who’s actually Edith Maxwell. She writes the Country Store and Cozy Capers Book Group under the Maddie Day name. I can’t believe Robbie and her friends have had nine adventures so far. It seems like I just started reading them, but it was actually in 2017 that I was really getting into cozy mysteries and had discovered this series.ย  I always loved Adele’s friend Vera, and we got to have a visit from her in this book.

This book to me was so well-done that it had that first magic that drew me into the series from the beginning. I got that same warm feeling reading it that I did when I first met Robbie and crew. I enjoyed reading acknowledgements in a book to find out if some of the characters were named for real people or if real places were used. I was happy to find out there was a little of both again in this book. It’s just fun when authors do that if they happen to be friends with the people or had a great meal somewhere.

My Goodreads review:

No Grater Crime (A Country Store Mystery Book 9)No Grater Crime by Maddie Day
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so pleased with this latest installment of the series! For some reason, the last couple or so hadn’t been the same to me as always, but this book was right on point and took me back to the reason I fell in love with this series in the very first book.

Wow what a wild mystery! I’d have been so mad at that darn woman opening up a food truck in front of my place if I was Robbie. She has much better control than I do, lol. Although with Robbie’s past track record, she does have to tread lightly or look like a killer. I had to giggle when she said she was trying harder not to do too-stupid-to-live moves. I do recall a few of those she’s had in the past, lol. But she’s definitely learned a lot over the past nine books! Now if only that darn phone of hers wouldn’t sprout legs and run back to her car! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had a feeling of who was behind everything, but to me the fun of the whole thing was proving it and finding out the why and who else might’ve been involved. There was one small sad moment, then there’s another moment you might want a tissue or two, but for a very happy occasion!

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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Cajun Kiss of Death review

This is the seventh and sadly the final book in the Cajun Country series by Ellen Byron that’s been a real favorite of mine since the very beginning. But I think the author did a really amazing job of giving all my favorite friends aka characters the sendoff most fitting. I kinda like to compare it to reading the epilogue in Harry Potter. I got some leaky eyes but found myself smiling at everything as I read. It was perfect, and I just need to say, thank you Ellen Byron for doing such an awesome job with all the books and giving the characters the best closure possible!

When a favorite TV show goes off the air, I’m always the one who thinks, “Oooo reunion movie!” or “Spin off!” Who knows, maybe Ms. Byron will do something like that! I do like her Catering Hall series, but it’d never surprise me if she has some good surprises up her sleeve along the way that might include friends from Pelican, Louisiana.

My Goodreads review:

Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country MysteryCajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Weddings, murder and beyond that, oh my! This book was really bittersweet especially when it came to the ending. I loved the three weddings we got to celebrate in the beginning with more things being celebrated at the end. Everything was just wrapped up really well.

I had no idea who the killer was and thought Maggie’s idea for the reveal was pretty clever. Bo must have too, because it worked out. I have to say I guessed one of the little secrets that came out at the end! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Since some of the other reviews have mentioned the epilogue, I guess it’s fair game to say the series is ending with this book. I was really sad to read that last chapter and see that there’s an epilogue. But I honestly loved the epilogue as much as I did the one in Harry Potter. The author did a great job of showing us our favorites from this series and what they’d be up to twenty years down the road. Again, very bittersweet, but I’m still smiling despite having leaky eyes from reading!

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

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Fatal Family Ties review

This is the third book in the Ancestry Detective series by S.C. Perkins that I was fortunate enough to start from the beginning of the series. Each book just seems to get better, and I love how the characters have developed. Lucy and her two besties always crack me up when they get together, and I think it’s great that Lucy and Ben are officially a couple. I enjoyed meeting Lucy’s parents in this book and think it’s awesome that she has such a good relationship with them as opposed to sometimes a main character having both parents but maybe not such a great rapport with one or the other.

My Goodreads review:

Fatal Family Ties (Ancestry Detective #3)Fatal Family Ties by S.C. Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series just keeps getting better! I love the camaraderie of Lucy and her besties, her great relationship with her own parents, the way she keeps in touch with Grandpa George via FaceTime, and last but definitely not least, her growing relationship with Ben Turner. I was drawn in and could hardly put the book down when the action fired up.

I had my susupicions about whodunit but not the twist. There was an interesting side story that appeared to be connected to the murder, so it was fun to watch that play out as well. The showdown was pretty epic, and Lucy’s friend Helen got to play a part in it. Camilla was very surprising at the end too! I liked the theme of various people getting second chances even regarding the historical end of it.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book that publishes tomorrow, July 20, 2021, and my opinions are my own.

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