SCANDAL IN BABYLON by BARBARA HAMBLY

Scandal in Babylon

The year is 1924. Emma Blackstone was barely married to her husband when he was shipped off to war and was killed. Followed by her brother and more tragedy with her parents deaths. So young for so much death.

Emma is a curious and scholarly sort. She cringes at the inaccuracies in the Roman piece they are filming.

While Emma is getting an education in America and Hollywood in particular, she has nothing to go back to in England. And things could be worse.

Such as Kitty’s first husband, Rex showing up unexpectedly in her dressing room with a bullet through the head. Kitty may be flighty and naughty but a killer she is not.

This being the twenties in Hollywood, there are gangsters, slick movie producers, shady cops and insane competition for the title of IT girl. Is that what this is about? A frame? Or has Kitty dallied with the wrong man?

I loved all of the old Hollywood gossip and petty jealousy. These women were so young and vulnerable. They worked hard hours and partied the rest of the time.

I enjoy Hollywood Historical Fiction. I liked Emma, although there was a bit too much quoting of Latin phrases. And I just didn’t feel we really knew her. I am sure she will grow and entertain us as the series goes on.

NetGalley/ September 7th, 2021 by Severn House Publishers

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Two Wicked Desserts by LYNN CAHOON

Two Wicked Desserts (Kitchen Witch Mysteries, #2)

The second in the Kitchen Witch Mysteries.

Things are coming along nicely in Magic Springs. Mia Malone, kitchen witch, is getting used to her new home and doing well with her catering and the cooking school. While Mia teaches the locals to cook, her own grandmother is teaching her all she can about her gift.

Mr. Darcy is still carrying around Dorian’s spirit, while Gran tries to find a spell to help him move on. And while Dorian may be here in spirit, his magical spell book is already in the questionable hands of his daughter, an actress, who is hoping the spell book will help her career.

Unfortunately for her, there are rules to be followed in magic and Cindy has messed up once already when she heads to town to seek help from Gran. And when the dead body of a hitman is found on her property, Cindy is suddenly a viable suspect.

In the background is the dastardly real estate/criminal who wants to buy Mia out and kind of got away with almost murder. He is the prime suspect for Mia. So she sets out to find a killer, which is already becoming a part-time job.

Ms. Cahoon is an expert at nailing characters. She is also a good recipe finder!

I can’t wait to see what Mia gets up to next!

NetGalley/ July 27th, 2021 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

A GOOD DAY FOR CHARDONNAY by DARYNDA JONES

A Good Day for Chardonnay (Sunshine Vicram, #2)

Ms. Jones is back with our bigger than life heroine, Sunshine Vicram. In this second mystery we see Sunshine is still running a small-town police force in New Mexico.

You would think that would be pretty cush, but for Sunshine, not so much. She hasn’t had a day off in forever and her diet of coffee, donuts and wine aren’t cutting it. She needs a break.

Alas, that isn’t going to be happening any time soon. Called out for a bar fight that ends badly, Sunshine is face to face with the love of her life. Levi. Levi comes from trouble. But oh is he a looker. The boy your momma told you to stay away from. But when has Sunshine listened to anyone?

With daughter, Aurora, getting together a teen detective service with her friends, Sunshine is about to have her hands full at home and at work. Also, throw in the mix her memories are beginning to return. Who was the man who rescued her?

This cast of characters are hilarious. Even her smart-mouthed daughter! “Snitches get stitches”. Not to mention all the horrible people in town. And there are some sketchy folks. All suspects.

There are more sub-plots as well, which I like. I laughed so hard with this one. Can’t wait for the next.

NetGalley/St. Martin’s Press July 27,2021

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Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

The Art of BETRAYAL by Kate Hamilton

The Art of Betrayal (Kate Hamilton Mysteries #3)

A Kate Hamilton Mystery #3

In Connie Berry’s third Kate Hamilton mystery, American antique dealer Kate Hamilton’s spring is cut short when a body turns up at the May Fair pageant.

Antique Dealer, Kate Hamilton, is still in England looking after Mr. Tweedy’s shop while he is recuperating. It isn’t much of a hardship spending May in Long Barston with her hunky DI Tom Mallory. The May Fair is in full swing with the pageant based on an old folktale about to take place.

Kate is horrified when a woman she recently met rushes the stage with blood pouring and mumbling about getting something right as she drops dead. She is more horrified when she returns to find the murder that took place in the shop and the priceless Chinese jar the woman had asked her to see is gone. Insurance isn’t going to cover this.

As Tom and his crew are busy tracking down who was where when the murder took place, Kate is sticking her refined nose in as well, which just could get her killed.

It’s always a good time with Kate and Tom. This is one of my favorite series. This truly was much like a Celtic knot and I loved unraveling all of it.

NetGalley/ June 8, 2021 Crooked Lane Books



WOLF KILL by CARY J. GRIFFITH *A Sam Rivers Mystey*

In this outdoors thriller, the investigation of a bizarre wolf attack leads to evidence of murder, conspiracy, and shocking family secrets.

Things on the Iron Range of Minnesota are hard. The cold is hard, the terrain is hard and the men are extremely hard.

Sam Rivers ran from his family farm 20 years ago and changed his name and became a wildlife biologist specializing in wolves. He’s very well respected and has found peace working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He knows predators. He was raised by one.

Now he is getting cryptic e-mails from someone taunting him. But he’s not ever returning home. Until his father dies.

Which happens suddenly. Called a hunting accident, the old man has blown his head off. But as Sam decides to return to his hometown and he wants to see the old man dead and he needs to retrieve something his mother has kept hidden for him in her own house.

The time to face demons has come. The only problem is can he trust anyone in this town. So when a bizarre wolf attack happens in his fathers’ barn, things become very interesting.

I really enjoyed this book. Writing from a wildlife expert’s view. Looking at nature in an entirely different way. How it can nourish us and how it can kill us.

I’m very glad I read this one and can’t wait for the next one.

Adventure Publishers Re-release on June 15, 2021

PICTURE PERFECT FRAME by LYNN CAHOON

Picture Perfect Frame (Tourist Trap Mystery #12)

A Tourist Trap Mystery #12

Always a treat to pop over to South Cove and visit with Jill at Coffee, Books, and More. Jill and other businesses on Main Street celebrate any and every event. This time it’s a new business in town hosting a paint-and sip-event. Jill has never claimed to be an artist. But spending time with her guy and her friends sipping and chatting in between slapping paint on her canvas, makes her happy. Our detective isn’t the only one wondering about the couple drinking and fighting in front of God and everyone.

They are drunk and one of the other participants offers to take them back to their B and B. Problem solved.

Until the next morning when the woman is found dead in the painting studio. She isn’t from here and neither is her husband, so why kill her? And why the art studio? And at the same time Esmerelda is acting odd. Even for her.

What is up with her neighbor? Also, Jill is working on her BFF’s wedding and working at her busy store. Thinking Esmerelda must know something, Jill goes to work to figure out who killed the victim and why so she can get Esmerelda back to work at the police station and finish the wedding details.

Some of these business friends are beginning to look sketchy. And they are!

Always a fun time in South Cove. Ms. Cahoon knows what she is doing.

NetGalley/ March 16th, 2021 by Lyrical Press

Gourd to Death by Kirsten Weiss

Gourd to Death (Pie Town Mystery #5)

Pie Town Mystery Number Five

This Halloween, pie shop proprietor Val Harris must patch together clues to solve a murder by pumpkin . . .

You read that correctly. Murder by pumpkin.

Pie Town is back and Val and her quirky band of bakers are gearing up for the annual pumpkin festival. Val is a judge for the pie-making contest and it looks like her boyfriend is entering the contest. Could get sticky.

As Val and Charlene stroll through the booths and the pumpkin patch they find a dead body under a huge pumpkin with a forklift standing by it. The woman was a contestant in the pie contest and the pumpkin belongs to the father of Val’s assistant.

Mazes, curses, pumpkin shenanigans, and a feud with the next town all combine with the colorful and hilarious staff of Pie Town to give us another great installment in the series.

Always well done!

NetGalley Review/August 25th, 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

 

NOTHING BUNDT TROUBLE by ELLIE ALEXANDER *A BAKESHOP MYSTERY*

Nothing Bundt Trouble (A Bakeshop Mystery Book 11)

BAKESHOP MYSTERY #12

It is Springtime in Ashland, Oregon, and we are back at Torte with Jules and gang.

Juliet and staff are preparing for the Shakespeare Festival, Jules is moving back home and things are hectic in a good way.

But when Jules finds an old journal written by her father, she is suddenly thrust into an old murder from the ’80s and wondering what in the world her father was working on something called The Pastry Case?

With the help of the Professor, she learns more than she ever knew about her parents and her town. While the entire crew jumps in to try and solve the old case, they had better keep an eye out for the people who don’t want to dredge up old business.

Between the food and the hilarious antics of the characters, the author has skillfully put together a series that I am pretty sure will keep going.

This is one series I can not pass up because the characters are so great. I want to hang out with them.

NetGalley/ June 30th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

 

 

THE RED RED SNOW by CARO RAMSAY

The Red, Red Snow (Anderson & Costello #11)

Anderson and Costello #11

Called to investigate the bloodstained aftermath of an eventful Christmas party, detectives Anderson & Costello discover that the holiday season can be anything but merry.

The good detectives are back! Everything is crowded during the Christmas Ice Show. And when a seemingly random husband and father is stabbed in a crowded food court, there are no witnesses, no clues, and no idea who would do such a thing.

When a week later they are called out to a holiday cottage in a fairly remote glen in the highlands, they find two bodies. One inside and one outside. Whoever the killer was, there is no evidence of them. Not even a snowprint.

Anderson is glad enough to jump in as he has more problems than a man should have at home. And his partner has her own issues.

Full of superstition and family squabbles, the characters are really well done and the old tale of greed, superstitious nonsense, and stone-cold murder was very well done!

NetGalley/ June 2nd, 2020 by Severn House Publishers

Murder at Enderley Hall by Helena Dixon

Murder at Enderley Hall (A Miss Underhay Mystery #2)

A Miss Underhay Mystery #2

It’s the summer of 1933 and Kitty Underhay is still reeling from all of the things that happened at The Dolphin. Where her long-absent and a very criminal father has come and gone in a cloud of suspicion.

But the one good thing to come out of it all is finding out she has family! Hoping it may bring her more information on her mother, who went missing in 1916, Kitty happily accepts her cousin’s request to come to Enderley Hall and stay a bit. Get to know the aunt and uncle and maybe have a bit of fun.

Kitty and her maid, Alice, feel something is off the minute they enter the home. Everyone is twitchy and no one seems to know anything about her mother or the visit she paid them just before she disappeared.Β  Nanny Thoms remembers though and she gives Kitty just a snippet here and there before she is found at the bottom of the kitchen stairs.

Important papers are missing, people are being murdered and thank goodness Matt arrives to help investigate what is going on.

This is the second in the series and I enjoyed it just as much! Matt and Kitty are such strong characters and I can’t wait for more of their adventures!

NetGalley/ March 19th, 2020 by Bookoture