A Christmas Candy Killing review

This is the first book in a brand new series, Killer Chocolate Mysteries by new cozy author Christina Romeril. She’s definitely got the right idea of what a cozy mystery’s all about, and I really loved her first offering. Her descriptions really made it feel like Christmas! I was pulled in from the beginning and really enjoyed all the different characters in the town that made up the interesting village of Harriston, Montana. I can’t wait for the next book now!

#CrookedLaneBooks #ChristinaRomeril

My Goodreads review:

A Christmas Candy KillingA Christmas Candy Killing by Christina Romeril
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a fun Christmas read! I’m a summer fan who’s simply ready for Christmas once summer’s all over. I could ideally skip fall aka allergy season lol, and this helped put me in a good Christmas mood. I really liked these sisters who were different enough but still enjoyed sleuthing together, although it was usually Alex doing the legwork since Hanna was the chocolate maker and felt she needed to stay put. The people making up their circle of friends were just so awesome it made me wish I could be friends with them too, like Maggie and Drew, bless his li’l hypochondriac heart anyway lol. The store was so cool too with the poison-named chocolates and the bookstore selling just mysteries.

That sweet doggie Miss Watson reminded me so much of the adorable boy who looked just like a Staffordshire that we fed over Labor Day, and her adoption story was similar. (Happy ending: the dog we helped has his forever home with someone now). Watson was super gentle but boy, when Alex needed her in action, Watson made her proud!

I’d sorta suspected someone from when clues just started to click, but it was definitely before Alex had the idea. She and Watson were holding their own in the showdown, but the help from a couple friends was very appreciated too. Hopefully one of said friends might be thinking in terms of being more than friends with Alex.

And the end was a little bit funny and a little bit sad for Duncan who’d broken up with Hanna a while back but still liked hanging out with her. He realized he might not be the only guy interested in her now! And a refreshing change from the MC getting a triangle–I think I could handle it better for a secondary character. I’m definitely eager to read the next book which does have a GR title listing only, but I’m waiting until there’s a cover picture to add it to my WTR. I’m just weird like that lol. Don’t miss this awesome embodiment of all things expected in a cozy mystery when it releases October 11!

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

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Two Bites Too Many review

Today marked the release of quite a few cozy mysteries including this book which is the second in the Sarah Blair series by Debra H. Goldstein. I enjoyed getting to know Sarah, a complete failure in the kitchen and her twin sister Emily, an accomplished chef in the first book. This one continued about four months after the first story ended. I loved the addition of another pet and the fundraiser for the animal shelter in this story. Harlan seemed a little more open with his feelings toward Sarah, and I think she realized that maybe he likes her more than just a boss. If it comes to that, I’ll be Team Harlan.

I would really recommend reading the first book before diving into this one just to get an idea of the backstory and what all happened the last time. The author does a great job of keeping everything nice and secret as far as spoilers from the first book, and there is a good amount of explanation given for the characters that it could be read alone. But I always like to recommend starting at the first book. (Sometimes I don’t take my own advice if I grab a book #4 that looks interesting from NetGalley, but now I’m trying to curb that.) 😉

My Goodreads review:

Two Bites Too Many (Sarah Blair Mystery #2)Two Bites Too Many by Debra H. Goldstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this second book for this newer series, maybe even more than the first book. Readers got to know Sarah and Emily’s mom, Maybelle, a lot better, especially since she was the prime suspect in the murder of the bank president she’d just argued with. There was a little more about George Rogers’ life in this book too, and how he’d been taken in by a sweet little white fuzzy dog. Despite everyone’s warnings, Sarah wouldn’t back down for a minute when it came to defending her mom and sister. She was worried that Emily had gotten into a bad deal with a hotel owner who promised her the moon, but Sarah smelled a rat, and it wasn’t the rat she’d been married to either.

Even though I had my eye on someone from the get-go as the killer, it actually turned out to be someone else. The original person wasn’t without guilt though, so at least that person was taken care of in the end. Sarah found herself with a fuzzy white boarder named Fluffy eventually while her neighbor recovered from an accident. The killer showdown and the last chapter summed everything up very neatly, and now I’m excited to see how Marcus and Emily’s new place will succeed. I was proud of Maybelle for seeming more like a normal person in this book and actually being sympathetic to Sarah’s neighbor.

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

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One Taste Too Many–review

This is the very first book in a new series that came out last December, Sarah Blair series by Debra H. Goldstein. I liked the different twist on sleuth and best friend. In this book, it’s twin sisters, Sarah, who married at 18 and divorced at 28; Emily, who went to CIA to become a chef due to her cooking talents. They weren’t alike in their talents, because Sarah barely got by cooking, but she was able to joke about it and it gave Emily something to do when she’d crash at her house. I can’t wait for the second book in September!

My Goodreads review:

One Taste Too Many (Sarah Blair Mystery, #1)One Taste Too Many by Debra H. Goldstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this first book in a new series, so many cool twists and possible suspects! I definitely had the wrong person pegged as the killer and never saw it coming until the reveal. This book was so good that it had me doubting some people that I probably should trust. I loved that Sarah (like me) was a Perry Mason fan and based some of her sleuthing on what would Perry or Paul do, lol.

Sarah and her twin Emily were different as night and day when it came to personality and talents. But at least Sarah got to pinch-hit for Emily (who was main person of interest in the murder of her ex brother-in-law) by doing a pretty funny stand-up telling about recipes that the cooking-challenged in the world like to use.

If Bill hadn’t been dead from the get-go, he’d have been on my list of people I hoped would be offed. The author did a great job of painting him as real jerk. The other person mentioned who was already dead was actually a favorite character if that’s possible, Bill’s mom aka Mother Blair. Sarah talked about her so much and the great relationship they’d had, it was almost like she was right there. She’d originally adopted RahRah and when she died, she wanted her beloved cat to go to Sarah.

As far as living characters go, I liked Harlan a lot. He was such a nice boss and incredibly patient with Sarah and all the running off she seemed to do because of helping at the Food Expo. He was just a decent human being, since he was helping a cooking student as well as doing pro bono work without complaining. I’m kind of hoping there’s a future for Sarah and Harlan along the way as something more than boss and employee. Emily was a fun, free spirit and a seriously talented chef with great people skills. It was cool how each twin sister had her own separate qualities that made up their duo–I got a kick out of hearing some of their escapades as kids. I’m really anxious to read the next installment when it releases in September!

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