Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake review

This is the fifth book in the Death by Chocolate series by Sarah Graves, and I gotta say, it’s my favorite so far! It was seriously addicting to keep reading just to see what was happening next at the creepy house where Jake and Ellie had a catering gig. One of the side stories was the girls crunching numbers to try and keep the Moose open all winter and coming up with new, enticing items to keep the locals interested. Once Mika got into making Ellie’s idea of chocolate pizza, it was like there was no stopping her. There was one scene at Cliff House that just cracked me up involving chocolate pizza and the stealing of said chocolate pizza. You’ll have to read and see which scene I was laughing at. This whole book was just awesome and the perfect cozy-spooky adventure.

My Goodreads review:

Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake (A Death by Chocolate Mystery, #5)Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake by Sarah Graves
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow was this ever an adventure! I think it’s probably been Jake and Ellie’s most exciting one so far from the creepy old house where they were doing a dessert catering gig to the narrow and spooky escapes they managed to execute. Someone in that house was leaving a pile of bodies as they went, so I didn’t blame Jake and Ellie one bit for trying to figure it out by leaving first. That is, if they didn’t die trying! Loved every minute of it and I couldn’t put it down!

There were so many great twists and turns it was a little hard at times to keep up, but it was the good kind of trying to keep up. Very nail biting in a good way too and as always, they wrapped everything up at the end explaining any hanging threads. I loved how Jake’s dad even got in on the action up at Cliff House to try and help.

At times I felt like the characters might be getting some closure, but I haven’t heard anything about the series ending, so I do hope it continues, although I have to admit it’d be hard to write another adventure that’s more hair-raising than this one was!

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

View all my reviews

Easter Bonnet Murder review

This is the twenty-eighth book (can you believe it’s been that long?) in the long-running Lucy Stone series by Leslie Meier. Lucy’s sure come a long way from Zoe not even existing yet in the first book to this one where she’s headed off to Portland for her own apartment and first career job. Good old Miss Tilley gave a little scare in this book though as you’ll find out when you read it.

#kensingtonpublishing

My Goodreads review:

Easter Bonnet Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #28)Easter Bonnet Murder by Leslie Meier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was lots more enjoyable than a few of the more recent Lucy Stone mysteries. With Miss Tilley having a big role in it, it seemed like the old sleuthing Lucy rather than some of the newer, more politically-driven mysteries. I like plain old regular mysteries the best, and Lucy definitely had one on her hands with the missing person at the retirement center and dealing with her very upset daughter. Lucy hun, you need to hang your PI shingle out once and for all! Ooo that’d be a great retirement career for Lucy down the road.

That Miss Tilley always cracks me up! I was thinking she’d realistically have to be over a hundred seeing how long ago this series started, and in those first books I’m pretty sure she was described at least in her eighties if not close to ninety. However old she might be, she’s sharp as ever and nothing gets past her. Lucy had Miss T and Miss T’s new friend Howard helping snoop out some things at the facility, but she eventually realized it might get too dangerous once she realized something more serious than double billing was going on.

The showdown was great! I loved seeing those seniors in action against a perp who’d taken out one of their own. There were a few side things going on at the retirement center that I’m sure “off camera” got taken care of since they were unfortunately the unsavory things sometimes heard about at retirement homes. Another side story that was kinda cute was Zoe hunting for the perfect apartment for her move to Portland. Everything ended nicely, and Lucy got one heckuva story out of what she’d uncovered.

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

View all my reviews

Slashing Through the Snow review

This is the long-awaited third book in what’d quickly become a favorite series of mine, The Christmas Tree Farm Mysteries by another fave author, Julie Anne Lindsey writing as Jacqueline Frost (aka Julie Chase, Bree Baker). All the fun stuff we’d come to know in the previous two books was there including Reindeer Games (that now Libby was determined to beat Ray at!), and sweet little goat Theodore was getting his pictures taken for another year’s worth of calendar pages. Then along came a killer, and we pretty much know how that always goes! I’m really going to miss this series if this is definitely the last book, but the author did such an amazing job, I feel like it’s a series I could read over and over (if I had that kind of time lol!).

My Goodreads review:

Slashing Through the Snow (Christmas Tree Farm)Slashing Through the Snow by Jacqueline Frost
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was absolutely the best Christmas mystery! No one can beat Mistletoe, Maine for their festive Christmas spirit, awesome decorations and…who could forget Reindeer Games! I was happy to see that Evan’s sister Libby was officially dating reporter Ray (yeah, he was a real nuisance in the first book lol), and Ray’s mom was getting married.

With the latest murder evidence pointing to everyone’s favorite friend Cookie, Holly was letting nothing get in the way of proving her friend innocent. I love, love what the author did in this book with some of the characters! Let’s just say if you’re a cozy mystery fan and are on Facebook, you’ll probably recognize a few names!

I’d heard a while back that this book was the last which would wrap up the series, and while I’m always hopeful for more books in a favorite series, the author did an outstanding job of making this the most memorable book yet! Don’t miss this book, but definitely do yourself a favor and read the other two first to get to know everyone better. Hint: You might experience a little happy eye leakage at the end of the book, so be ready with a tissue. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

View all my reviews

Halloween Party Murder review

I always enjoy reading the set of three short Halloween stories every year by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross from three of my favorite series. The theme was a murder taking place at three different Halloween parties in three unique ways. My favorite two were the Hayley Powell and Clambake stories. The Lucy Stone series at times really doesn’t interest me as much as the older books did due to the political nature of some of the stories or side issues. I read cozy mysteries to esape that kind of stuff, lol.

My Goodreads review:

Halloween Party MurderHalloween Party Murder by Leslie Meier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The stars are mainly for the second two stories in this collection. I usually like Lucy Stone stories, at least I did before they started having nothing but a bunch of politics and stuff like that. The Halloween portion of the story was great with the haunted house and fundraiser for Lucy’s favorite Hat and Mitten Fund. But it all lost my interest when the political stuff leaked into it and I honestly didn’t even care by then who the killer was or why.

Now I absolutely loved the Hayley Powell Halloween. Halloween with this bunch is always a hoot! And be sure to read those in-between the chapters columns of Hayley’s because they tell about some hilarious past Halloween events with (always) Mona at her funniest. Ha, she was dressed like a shark at the present day party, kinda fitting, no? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Gotta love that crazy Mona and her growing-up kids!

I loved the quick trip to Busman’s Harbor and Julia having a mystery that involved her niece and the girl’s friends. It was an interesting case, and I liked how the state detectives figured they might as well just let Julia in on it from the get-go since she always helped anyway. I never would’ve guessed the outcome in either the Hayley or the Clambake murders, and they sure made for some fun Halloween reading!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own. The book releases this coming Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

View all my reviews

Death of a Wicked Witch review

This is the thirteenth book in the Hayley Powell series by brother/sister team Lee Hollis, comprised of Rick Copp and his sister Holly Simason. I’m not caught up in the series yet, but seeing Hayley and Bruce married didn’t ruin it for me in the least. I think this one has to be the most fun I’ve had reading the columns that are included at the end of some of the chapters along with some of Hayley’s food and drink recipes that relate to the column. I liked it that Gemma and her boyfriend came around, and we got to see what she’s been up to.

As with any series, I always recommend starting from the beginning (like I obviously haven’t done, but to be fair, I did read the first book before reading any of the later ARCs.). It gives theย  background of the characters and how different relationships came about. Liddy and Mona took a little backseat in this book, although each one did get a fairly important scene. Their best part was in one of the columns though–definitely don’t miss reading those in this book.

My Goodreads review:

Death of a Wicked Witch (Hayley Powell Mystery Book 13)Death of a Wicked Witch by Lee Hollis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an awesome book for the Halloween season! Not only does Hayley love Halloween, Bruce hates it and so does Liddy which made Hayley’s columns that always appear between chapters even funnier! I really loved reading those this time, and normally they honestly don’t do much for me, but these were different. I laughed out loud at the columns where she told about different Halloween pranks, then there was a bet with Bruce was pretty funny too. I like that she kept them recent.

The mystery itself was a good one! It’s always sad when a nice person gets killed especially one with a yummy food truck. Hayley and Bruce made a great team checking out clues, and even Gemma got in on the act, since she was home from New York with her boyfriend Conner. Gemma had whole issue of her own to deal with, but the outcome was a good one as you’ll see at the end of the book. I hadn’t guessed the killer at all, and Bruce was impressed by his wife during the showdown. The running theme was Hayley trying to get Bruce to stop smoking after he’d quit for a long time before that. The way it was worked into the showdown was great!

I’m still not completely caught up with the series, but it’s one that since I did start out reading the later books as ARCs, I don’t seem to mind going back and reading about how Hayley and Bruce came to be and what the kids got into when they were younger. Liddy and Mona weren’t in the main story much, but Mona got to star in one of the columns which to me was the funniest of any of the columns I’ve read. Super fun and I highly recommend this!

View all my reviews

Death of a Blueberry Tart review

This is the twelfth book in the Hayley Powell Food & Spirits series by brother/sister team, Rick Copp and Holly Simason, known as Lee Hollis. I knew the minute that Hayley’s mom Sheila arrived in Bar Harbor that hilarity would reign, especially when she reunited with her old friends who were Mona and Liddy’s mothers, Jane and Celeste. It was a fun treat to watch these ladies sleuth together!

My Goodreads review:

Death of a Blueberry Tart (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #12)Death of a Blueberry Tart by Lee Hollis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series is always funny, but with Hayley, Mona and Liddy’s mothers all together (since they were longtime friends like their girls were), it was extra hilarious. I absolutely loved the showdown which was just too good.

I’ve been reading the series from the beginning but had honestly started it by reading ARCs of the later books. Reading the older books is really funny too, and it’s a wonder that Bruce and Hayley ever got together. Now married, they were dealing with Hayley’s mom who moved in temporarily due to a romantic breakup. Sheila ended up with a sweet ending as did everyone else. I’m anxious to get back to the early books and eventually get caught up, but I’m not holding my breath to be finished before the next book comes out in July lol.

I did preorder the book but voluntarily read this ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

Hems and Homicide review

This is the first book in the Apron Shop series by Elizabeth Penney, and I already can’t wait for the next book! It was a great move to tease the next book (Thread and Dead) at the end of this one. I can always tell I’m going to love a book when I like the main characters right away. It didn’t take much time at all to wish that these characters were my friends too.

My Goodreads review:

Hems and Homicide (Apron Shop #1)Hems and Homicide by Elizabeth Penney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t believe I’ve never read anything by this author before, so I’m really glad I was able to read this book. When I looked at her bio page, I decided I’m going to have to check out some of the other cozies I saw there. This book was just awesome! The characters were a lot of fun, and I just loved Grammie, who was so young at heart that she liked hanging out with Iris and her friends. I don’t think a girl could ask for better friends than Iris has. Madison was so funny and always up for adventure. Sophie and Bella were great too, both being business owners there in town. The girls’ nights they had always sounded fun! Quincy was an awfully sweet cat–he seemed to love everyone and was there for comfort no matter who they were. Even the grumpiest person could find a little solace in good old Quince.

I loved that Iris refound her high school crush Ian, and it’ll be sweet watching their relationship grow. The mystery was really good, a skeleton found in the basement where Iris and Grammie were opening an apron shop, and another current body. There were plenty of suspects and red herrings. I’d sort of guessed the killer but for the wrong person. The showdown was exciting, and I have to hand it to Iris for keeping her head during confrontations and thinking to phone police, do a recording or anything safe that sometimes other sleuths forget about.

It was great having a story wrapup too, all the pieces of the puzzle were explained and we even got more story too. I like when that happens and a story just doesn’t end abruptly because the murder was explained. We got to finally see the shop’s opening. And…there’s even part of the first chapter of the next book which I can’t wait for now that I’ve read the excerpt.

View all my reviews

Haunted House Murder review

This is the first compilation I’ve read by these authors, but I’m very familiar with and love all their series. It was fun reading about my favorite characters celebrating Halloween. Any of these stories could be read and a person wouldn’t feel lost if they haven’t read any of the series, especially the Hayley Powell story, Death by Haunted House, which I explain in my Goodreads review below.

I’m a little weird about liking to read books in order, and if you are like that too, Barbara Ross’s website has the numbering for all of her books and short stories showing how they fit into the regular Maine Clambake series. Hallowed Out is book 7.5. It looks like this is the group’s first Halloween compilation. Now I’m looking forward to reading one of their Christmas compilations!

Haunted House Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #25.7)Haunted House Murder by Leslie Meier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There were three really fun mysteries in this compilation. I love all these authors’ series to begin with, so I wanted to finally read one of their holiday collections, and since Halloween is my second favorite holiday, (Christmas being my first fave), I couldn’t resist requesting it from NetGalley.

The first one, Haunted House Murder, is a Lucy Stone mystery and is actually a shorter missing person type of mystery, but the other two did have the expected murders, and I didn’t guess the killers in either of one of them. I couldn’t believe that Lucy’s grandson Patrick is already eight years old.

In the Hayley Powell mystery, Death by Haunted House, readers don’t have to be worried at all if they haven’t read any other Hayley Powells, because this one takes place before the series even started. It was fun getting an insight into what Danny was like as a husband (kind of goofy and didn’t think things through a lot.) The first two books definitely had a similar theme: don’t judge your new neighbors by what they appear to be.

In the last mystery, Hallowed Out, by Barbara Ross of the Maine Clambake series, there was a really interesting murder that took place during a ghost tour reenactment. I loved that Le Roi the cat unraveled something that was bothering Julia a little bit. After reading this, I realized that it’s been far too long since I read a Maine Clambake mystery, and that I need to read one soon.

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

View all my reviews

Sweet Tea and Secrets review

This is the second book in the Book & Tea series by Joy Avon. I read the first one back in January and really enjoyed getting to know Callie and her great-aunt Iphy who runs a book themed tea shop. This installment makes a perfect July 4th book, because Hearts Harbor is getting ready for their big celebration. I liked this book even better than the first one. I wonder what holiday will be in the next story?

My Goodreads review:

Sweet Tea and Secrets (A Tea and Read Mystery #2)Sweet Tea and Secrets by Joy Avon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this book was even better than the first, and I know I really liked that one. This one is nice and seasonal, perfect for reading this time of year, since the town of Heart’s Harbor is planning a big July 4th event. In the meantime, a cold case disappearance/possible murder was reopened when a visitor to town started asking questions about it. Then the newspaper editor who had been the reporter on the case at the time was found dead in his office. Callie and her friend Det. Falk found themselves right in the middle of another baffling case with a really good twist…or two.

I loved the little side story with Mr. Bates painting pictures of little Daisy and a rescue named Biscuit. I had guessed part of the mystery but not the killer. There were some good red herrings and plot twists along the way which made for a super enjoyable read. Callie and Falk seem to be getting to a good place with a possible relationship, and Falk’s widowed sister Peggy may have found someone too. I can safely say that this is one of my favorite new series, and I’m anxious for the next book.

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

View all my reviews

Death of a Wedding Cake Baker–review

This is the eleventh book in the long-running series Hayley Powell Food & Spirits by Lee Hollis, the pseudonym for brother/sister writing team Rick Copp and Holly Simason. I know I’ve really enjoyed a book when I finish reading it, think about it some more and keep saying “Wow, that was really good!”

When I went to leave the review at Amazon, I happened to noticed that while still coverless, the twelfth book is called Death of a Blueberry Tart, and it’s up for preorder on Amazon. It releases on March 31, 2020. I’m super anxious for that book too and very happy that it comes out a month sooner than I figured next year’s book would, since Wedding Cake Baker released April 30.

My Goodreads review:

Death of a Wedding Cake Baker (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #11)Death of a Wedding Cake Baker by Lee Hollis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even though I haven’t read all of the series yet, I feel like I know Hayley and her friends pretty well and it was fun trip back to Bar Harbor. Her longtime diva friend Liddy was getting married to her on-again, off-again fiance, Sonny Lipton. Liddy was livid when her mom wanted to use her “stupid awful ogre” cousin Lisa as the cake baker. Hey, I did have to giggle a couple of times when she called her that, especially when she added “may she rest in peace” after Lisa was found dead in her bakery.

This was a really awesome mystery with some very clever twists. I had not seen that killer possibility coming–maybe I thought about it but couldn’t think of a reason, so I was back to just reading and enjoying how the story played out. I thought Hayley was a little foolish to confront the killer like she did, but she did use her head when it counted. The side mystery all tied in as well, so I really can’t mention anything about anything for fear of spoiling it. All I can say is, Lee Hollis, please, please, please get that next book published soon!

View all my reviews