Mean and Shellfish by TAMAR MYERS

Mean and Shellfish (A Pennsylvania-Dutch mystery Book 22)

A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery

This is one of the funniest cozy series! And the laughs may come to an end before the festival!

Murder, wild shenanigans and visitors from afar may all take center stage at Hernia’s fourth Billy Goat Gruff Festival. It is after all the premier event of Hernia.

The festival has attracted visitors from all over the world and one of those would be Gabe’s sister, Miriam, who shows up from Australia and is staying at the inn.

While not as shocking as her only having one leg, murder is soon out doing that one. As if murder wasn’t enough for poor Magdalena, weird and off the charts odd things begin to happen as the festival kicks off. Magdalena needs to find a killer and quickly. And as she soon finds out the target may not be the festival after all.

This is such a funny, foody, quirky laugh out loud book. The characters are so memorable and I just never want the book to end.

NetGalley/Pub Date 04 May 2021   Cannongate Books/ Severn House

THIEF OF SOULS by BRIAN KLINGBORG

Thief of Souls: An Inspector Lu Fei Mystery (Inspector Lu Fei Series Book 1)
An Inspector Lu Fei Mystery #1

“On the night the young woman’s corpse is discovered, hollowed out like a birchbark canoe, Inspector Lu Fei sits alone in the Red Louts bar, determined to get gloriously drunk.”

Lu Fei has all the credentials of a top-notch Inspector and yet he is living in a small town in the north of China,where life isn’t very exciting. At least until the day a young woman is found dead, organs gone and something stuck in her mouth.

Such a high-profile murder is big news even in Beijing where the CID is taking over the case. The head of the CID has aspirations to be more than a cop and in China where there is so much political and economic instability, a murder of a girl isn’t top priority.

With little help from the CID, Fei will be digging into this bizarre case alone it looks like. There was so much going on here. Communist Party bigwigs, Corrupt politicians and business owners. China is very corrupt it seems.

But digging too far may leave the inspector in a lot of danger.

I liked the idea of this story more than the story.

NetGalley/ Pub Date: 04 May 2021 St. Martin’s/Minotaur

MURDER IN THE COOKBOOK NOOK by ELLERY ADAMS

Murder in the Cookbook Nook (Book Retreat Mystery 7)

A Book Retreat Mystery #7

Storyton Hall in Virginia is home to Jane, her boys her beloved Aunt and Uncle and this week to the cast and crew of a book -themed cook-off show.

The cooking tent is up and the six chefs have arrived along with host Mia and her entourage. Winning this competition would mean money and prestige for one chef.

What’s a baking show without a bit of drama? Contrived or not, the ratings will soar. All of the crew seem suspicious to me. And when one of the chefs is found in the beloved and probably priceless cookbook nook with part of an antique plate stuck in him, Jane and her staff turn in to investigators and get down to finding out who exactly these people are.

Someone wants to stop the show is Jane’s first thought. Until her lovely neck is on the block. Such excitement for a cooking show!

It’s always a pleasure to hang out with Jane and her crew.

This author also writes The Secret Book & Scone Society series which I love as well.

NetGalley Review/Pub Date: 27 Apr 2021  Kensington

Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

Sweetshop of Dreams

A novel in recipes!

A delicious rom-com about finding yourself and breaking out of routines, The Sweetshop of Dreams is full of tempting desserts, family secrets, and second chances.

In London, Rosie has a busy life. A job that is okay. A boyfriend who was rather bland and a momma’s boy. But who is she to complain?

When her mother asks her to check in on her Aunt Lilian who runs a sweetshop in Lipton but is having the issues that come with age and she is not one to ask for assistance. Rosie is thinking just a quick trip to sell the sweets shop and put her aunt in a facility and she’ll be back in London.

Lilian is not thrilled with someone coming to stay and poke through all of her things. It may be a sweets shop but it’s full of memories of love won and lost, decisions made and regretted.

Rosie sees this and while she works to get Lilian out of her depression and healthy again, she also brings new life to the sweet shop and soon it’s a project. She loves it. All the old-fashioned candies and the bright and eager smiles of the children and adults who are re-living their own childhoods through the smells and taste of their favorites.

When Rosie meets the dark and brooding Stephen while helping the local doctor, she begins to think maybe she won’t settle for a ho hum life in London.

Such a sweet treat to read this one. I went straight away to the Edinburgh candy!

NetGalley/ Sourcebooks Out now!

Three Dreamers A Memoir of Family by LORENZO CARCATERRA

Three Dreamers: A Memoir of Family

“By the time you reach my age,” he writes, “you have witnessed too much loss to not be aware of what lies ahead.”

From the author of Sleepers and an incredible body of work, Carcaterra takes us down a totally different road with Three Dreamers.

This is the homage to the three women in his life who taught him to be strong, kind as well as how to tell a killer story. We are talking about his Grandmother, Nonna Maria where he spent summers on an island called Ischia off the coast of Naples.

I loved this woman. She was kind, funny, and strong. She had survived the war and come out even stronger and now she is happy to have this boy she can share her life with in the summers because she knows his home life is hard.

Rafaella, his mother, spends her days in an abusive marriage, miserable and dreading the future. She is really negative and goes through some stuff and that in itself teaches her son lessons he will need in his future.

And third, his beloved Susan. Wife, editor, and his best cheerleader. For thirty years they loved each other until her death from cancer. Their faith in each other and the complete support he found was inspiring.

What did he learn from these amazing women? Find your joy. Overcome your circumstances. Give life your all.

What a beautiful tribute to these three women. What a beautiful memoir.

NetGalley/April 27th, 2021 Random House Ballentine



When a Stranger Comes To Town Edited by Michael Koryta

When a Stranger Comes to Town
Mystery Writers of America Presents WHEN A STRANGER COMES TO TOWN EDITED by MICHAEL KORYTA

All of our favorite Mystery writers coming together to write a short story around one theme. When a stranger comes to town…and go!

I really enjoyed the opening. All great literature boils down to one of two stories-a man takes a trip or a stranger comes to town. And our group of mystery writers is the best at both.

When you toss a stranger into the mix, it could go numerous ways. We don’t know them. They aren’t usually here, so what’s up?

Well these authors, who we love, took that idea and ran with it. It is so much fun to have this anthology of the best short stories by the mystery writers we love.

Grab this one for sure. It’s like have a lot of your faves in one book!

Thanks, NetGalley!

NetGalley Reviews/ April 20th,2021 by Hanover Square Press

The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer Publication Day! @djpalmerauthor @StMartinsPress Congratulations!

The Perfect Daughter

Another thriller from Palmer! And it is so good!

Some backstory: Grace and Arthur run the family pizza joint in town. They have two sons, Jack and Ryan. Grace though has always dreamed of being the mother to a daughter. So imagine her surprise when she finds a four-year-old little girl abandoned in the park.

The police have no idea who the child is and the child is not speaking to anyone. It’s obvious she has been traumatized but she’s kept quiet. With no family, Grace talks Arthur into letting them foster her which eventually leads to her being adopted and becoming a member of the family.

Jack nicknames her Penny and it sticks. She’s fine with it. But the question remains. Who is she? And when puberty sets in things get dark. Penny hangs around a known pyro, Maria, and they are both in trouble with the law soon. And when Arthur keels over dead at work with only Penny around, she is traumatized more. She is also blamed by Ryan for not calling 911.

Although things are tense and her behavior is odd, they finally get a diagnosis of DID. The last thing Grace thought she would see next was her teenager in jail, covered in blood, found holding a knife over her dead biological mother.

So who the heck is this kid and what has she done? Is she Eve? The kick-ass and take no names alter? Or Chloe? The perfectionist? Maybe Ruby? Although that British accent is off, she seems to be halfway decent.

While her daughter sits in an insane asylum waiting for her trial, Grace and Dr. Mitch will dig deep to find the truth, ending with both of their lives in danger.

But when ‘Penny’ takes the stand her testimony will blow your mind! Either this girl is a pro at lying or the cops are about to be very busy inside the courtroom!

Excellent as her last one!

NetGalley/ April 20, 2021, St. Martins Press

THREE MARTINI AFTERNOONS AT THE RITZ by GAIL CROWTHER (The Rebellion of Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton)

The story of two of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. The two meet at a workshop in Boston led by Robert Lowell, they for a friendship that spun way out of control fueled by jealousy, respect, and a rivalry that never ended.

There is so much I did not know about these two fierce women. So creative and yet so tortured by mental issues, attempts at suicides, stays in asylums. In a time when women were supposed to be home tending their men, they were not being pushed aside. I’m sure they had much difficulty with their male counterparts and while their work could be shocking and angry and full of self-doubt, they felt they had as much right as men to forge their own paths.

Back in the day women like this were usually described as hysterical and placed in an asylum.

There afternoons drinking martinis were where they discussed all of that. They were so different and yet their lives almost mirrored each other. They both died young with people still thinking their works were unfit to read.

But all this time later, we have all read their work. Some of it is hard, but it’s honest.

I appreciated all of the research that went into this book. It was a deep dive and the author did a great job.

Well Done!

NetGalley/ April 20th, 2021 Gallery Books




HER THREE LIVES by CATE HOLAHAN

Her Three Lives

“All human beings have three lives. Public, Private, and Secret” Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A very appropriate quote to start off the book. This standalone thriller is the latest from Holahan and it’s a twisty one.

Greg is a recently divorced architect who met Jade, twenty years his junior and fell head over heals for her six months ago. His ex-wife, Leah, got the house and the grown kids so Jade and Greg are living in a rental while their forever home is built and with Jade pregnant they will all be glad when things calm down.

Jade’s public life is pretty good. She’s a media influencer and designer. She is in love with Greg, having a baby and living the good life. Only divorce after 25 years and two kids is not going to be a love fest. The kids hate her and the ex is a nut.

Jade’s private life is complicated. When one evening she and Greg are going out. She is still in the bathroom when she hears the doorbell and then hears screaming. Running out of the bathroom she’s met by an intruder. While Greg survives, the baby does not. Someone deliberately made sure the baby did not live.

As they try to piece together what happened and why, I kept thinking someone was trying to gaslight them. But who? And why? Greg goes into full security mode and installs cameras in every room, alarms, and trackers. He’s also very paranoid.

Jade’s secret life is not as bad as she believes it to be, but when you leave it off of your dating profile, it becomes something that could hurt you.

With the ‘help’ of Violet, Greg’s daughter, he begins to doubt Jade. Is she trying to kill him for money? Was she even pregnant and why is she visiting a prison?

Oh what a tangled web this was. These kids were just vile and their mother a loon.

So what did I think? It was a good idea for a book, but to me there was no sense of urgency and Greg was a pretty limp character.

NetGalley/ April 20th, 2021 Grand Central Publishing

BLOOD AND TREASURE DANIEL BOONE AND THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA’S FIRST FRONTIER by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America's First Frontier

The middle of the 1700’s were full of uncertainty for the thirteen colonies that Great Britain has founded so far. There are so many different battles going on it’s no wonder everyone was a little anxious.

Everyone wants to find a new frontier. And they are all willing to die for it. The Natives, the French, the Spanish and of course our mother country. The conflicts were gruesome and cruel. Everyone was lying. Someone’s word meant nothing. The Natives were rightly upset and everyone wanted a piece of the country.

And here is where we meet Daniel Boone. Well, actually my husband is a direct descendant of his sister, Elizabeth, so we thought we knew pretty much everything. We did not.

The name Daniel Boone brings me immediately to the song. First off, he wasn’t a big man. He wasn’t at all like the movie and cartoon versions. He was a man with a passion for finding out what lay beyond the Appalachians. He wasn’t a fighting man, but he did his part for the revolution. It’s always dangerous to turn people from the past into larger than life characters and that has been done with Boone.

It was a fast read and based on a lot of research. How did Boone become such a legend? He was seldom home, working as a trapper with a friend or his brother. They would be gone for long periods of time. He saw his fair share of suffering in his own household and they always seemed to be on the edge of financial ruin and yet Daniel did what he had to do to care for his family.

Here you can read his story as told from many different people. The history of America is in this book and I am better for having read it.

NetGalley/ April 20th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press