Monday, February 29, 2016

March Reads

I had a great reading month in February, so I'm hoping that continues on into March. I've picked out 7 books that I absolutely want to get to. I hope to read more than that, but anything else will be picked at random.

#1 The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister
I've already started this one, and it's going okay so far. It doesn't live up to the greatness that was the first book at this point.

#2 Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
I've already read part of this one as well. I'm hoping to finish it this month, but it's going to be a struggle. While I like the book, the scientific aspects of it slows me down. I'll keep on trucking.

#3 Burned by Ellen Hopkins
This is so different from any YA book I've read. I've never read a book in verse, so I'm not sure if I'll like it or not. It's been sitting on my shelf for months now, and its finally time to pick it up.

#4 A Fright to the Death by Dawn Eastman
I have to read it this month because the 4th book comes out in April. I am so attached to the characters in this series, and I expect this installment to be just as great. This will count towards my Craving For Cozies Challenge.

#5 Foul Play at the Fair by Shelley Freydont
This sounds like an excellent cozy, and I'm really looking forward to it. This will also count towards my Craving For Cozies Challenge.


#6 Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
This is the second YA novel I plan to read in March. It's a fantasy, so I'll have to be in the mood for it to pick it up. Fingers Crossed.

#7 A Tiger's Tale by Laura Morrigan
This is the last book I have planned out for March. I read the first one in this series in February, and I enjoyed it. I hope this one is even better. This will count towards my Craving For Cozies Challenge.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates - Review

Brownies and Broomsticks
Bailey Cates
#1 A Magical Bakery Mystery Series
Cozy Mystery
319 Pages

About the book:
 Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.

While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy's cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!

When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer...


My review:
I found this book to be a lot of fun!  I love mysteries with a bit of magic. As a witch, I found the information about witchcraft and Wicca was pretty accurate. Of course some more paranormal aspects were thrown in to spice it up a bit, but it was done tastefully. 

I loved Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben. They are so sweet and caring. Katie got on my nerves a bit, but by the end I had grown to like her. The other members of the spellbook club are so fun, and they add a lot to the book. It's always nice when the supporting characters bring something to the table instead of just being the table. 

The mystery was pretty good. I didn't suspect the killer at all, but when everything was revealed it all made sense. I was convinced someone else did it until the big reveal. I do wish the culinary aspect took on a bigger part of the book. I hope that in the future books we will really get into the baking, and the magical reasons for the ingredients.

I could have done without the love triangle however. Steve gave me the heebie jeebies. He is so pushy and forward. I don't find that attractive at all. I did love Declan, and I hope Katie continues to see him, and just decides Steve is better off a friend.

I gave this book 4 stars! It was very enjoyable, and I plan on continuing with the series. I recommend this to anyone who loves books featuring witches and magic. Also mystery lovers who enjoy a bit of the paranormal sprinkled in will appreciate this book. 

You can find Brownies and Broomsticks here:


Friday, February 26, 2016

February Reading Recap


I started out the month with The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I gave it 4 stars. It was pretty entertaining, but I've heard terrible things about the sequel so I'll not be continuing on with the series.

Next I read The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. I gave this book 5 stars. Loved it!
This was the best book I've read so far this year.

Paper and Plastic by Vivi Barnes was the third book I read in February. I gave it 2 stars. I didn't really enjoy it very much.

After that I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I gave it 3 stars. I didn't hate it or love it. I think this book is definitely over hyped.  I waned to love it so bad, but it was just mediocre in the end.

The fifth book I read this month was Be Careful What You Witch For by Dawn Eastman. I gave this book 5 stars. You can see my review of it here: http://themysterytavern.blogspot.com/2016/02/be-careful-what-you-witch-for-by-dawn.html

I read I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios next. I gave this one 5 stars. It was the best YA contemporary I've ever read. Very well done.

After that I read Ascend by Amanda Hocking. I gave it 3 stars. I was pretty let down with the end of this series.

Then I read Woof at the Door by Laura Morrigan. I gave it 3.5 stars. You can read my review of it here: http://themysterytavern.blogspot.com/2016/02/woof-at-door-by-laura-morrigan-review.html
 
The next book I finished was Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I gave this book 2 stars. I didn't like the story at all, but the presentation of the book is amazing.

The last book I read this month was Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates.I really enjoyed it. I gave this book 4 stars! You can read my review here: http://themysterytavern.blogspot.com/2016/02/brownies-and-broomsticks-by-bailey.html

It was a pretty good reading month. I read a total of ten books. Some good some bad, with a good mixture of genres.I hope to have as good a reading month for March.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Woof at the Door by Laura Morrigan - Review

Woof at the Door
Call of the Wilde #1
Laura Morrigan
Cozy Mystery

About the book:
Animal behaviorist Grace Wilde keeps her ability to psychically communicate with furry and feathered critters under wraps. But when a Doberman turns out to be the only witness to a crime, Grace will have to let the cat out of the bag in order to catch a killer.

Grace Wilde’s job is anything but normal. When she’s not helping out at the zoo by comforting agitated lemurs, she’s listening to the woes of annoyed house pets. Grace’s life gets even more complicated, though, when the cops summon her to a crime scene to help deal with the murder victim’s terrified Doberman.

The pooch turns out to be the only one who saw what happened the night of the shooting—and only Grace can get the information out of him. The problem is, how will Grace tell the distractingly gorgeous Sergeant Kai Duncan that it’s the dog who’s giving her the intel without spilling her big secret or sounding crazy? Left on her own, Grace will have to follow the pup’s lead to track down the killer. But she’ll have to be careful—or curiosity may end up killing the cat whisperer.


My Review:
I loved that Grace could telepathically communicate with animals. If I could have one super power, that would be it! I think my favorite parts of the whole book were when she was communicating with the animals. I loved reading what Jax and Moss were thinking. The opening scene with the lemur had me laughing so hard! 

The characters were pretty well developed for the most part. I liked getting a background on Kai, especially from his cat. I loved Emma, Grace's sister. She was protective and caring. Everyone could use a big sister like her.

I really had no idea who the killer was until it was revealed at the end. I kind of wish I had a few more clues along the way. I was kind of caught off guard, and it didn't completely make sense to me. Even after everything was explained.

I gave Woof at the Door 3.5 stars. If there had been more clues as to what really happened along the way it would have been a 5 star, no doubt. I just think the ending didn't work with the rest of the story. 

Find Woof at the Door here:

Sunday, February 21, 2016

March 2016 New Releases - Cozy Mysteries

March is going to be a great month for cozy mysteries! Here are the top 5 I'm most excited for. 


1. Devonshire Scream by Laura Childs
Book 17 in the Tea Shop Mystery Series 
March 1, 2016

Catering a high-class trunk show at Heart's Desire Jewelry is a shining achievement for Theodosia and the Indigo Tea Shop. After all, a slew of jewelers, museums, and private collectors will be there to showcase their wares and sip some of Theo's best blends. But just as Theo settles in to enjoy the fruits of her labor, the party is crashed by a gang of masked muggers who steal the precious gems and jewels on display. The thieves disappear almost as quickly as they arrived, leaving shattered glass, scattered gemstones, and a dead body in their wake. 

Although the last thing Theo wants is to get involved, she can't help but intercede when her dear friend Brooke, aunt of the victim and owner of Heart's Desire, begs for help in figuring out who committed the brutal burglary. Though the FBI believes this daring "smash and grab" is the work of an international gang of jewel thieves, Theo is convinced that the felon is someone much closer to home...

2. Kernel of Truth by Kristi Abbott
Book 1 in the Popcorn Shop Mystery Series
March 1, 2016

Opening a gourmet popcorn shop was never on Rebecca Anderson’s bucket list. But after a failed marriage to a celebrity chef, she’s ready for her life to open up and expand. She has returned to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio, with her popcorn-loving poodle Sprocket to start a new business—naturally called POPS. As a delicious bonus, Cordelia “Coco” Bittles, a close family friend who has always been like a grandmother to Rebecca, owns the chocolate shop next door, and the two are thinking of combining their businesses.

 3. Ripe For Murder by Carlene O'Neil
Book 2 in the Cypress Cove Mystery Series 
March 1, 2016

 Penny Lively loves running her family’s winery, but to keep business growing, she needs to find a way to attract more guests. When she’s approached to invest in a new train line through wine country, Penny and her intoxicating winery manager, Connor, hightail it to a lavish resort to hear the details. Unfortunately, her neighbor’s daughter, Chantal, is also there, swirling up trouble by flirting with the married investors—and with Connor too.  

When one of the investors’ wives is murdered, Chantal, who was seen fighting with the woman, is the prime suspect. Chantal may be a sour grape, but she’s no killer. So Penny, who’s become a sleuthing connoisseur, starts sniffing out the real suspect—and discovers that her fellow potential investors have been savoring more than their share of deadly secrets...

4. And Then There Were Nuns by Kylie Logan
Book 4 in the League of Literary Ladies Series
March 1, 2016

B and B owner Bea Cartwright has taken on the responsibility of taking meals to ten visiting nuns, who are on retreat at the Water’s Edge Center for Spirit and Renewal on picturesque South Bass Island on Lake Erie. But the peace of the retreat is shattered when one of the nuns is found at the water’s edge—murdered. And when a second nun is killed, Bea and the other members of the League of Literary Ladies—Chandra, Kate, and Luella—start to wonder about eerie parallels with the Agatha Christie mystery classic, And Then There Were None.
 
Since Bea has the trust of the sisters, the local chief of police asks her and the other Literary Ladies to interview each of them. Expecting a confession may be asking for a miracle, but Bea hopes she can at least find the killer before another nun gets crossed off the guest list...

 5. Between a Book and a Hard Place by Denise Swanson
Book 5 in the Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery
March 1, 2016 

 Five-and-dime store owner Devereaux “Dev” Sinclair moved to Shadow Bend for her family. But when her long-lost mother shows up in town, she realizes too much kin can be killer...

Shadow Bend’s library closed years ago because of budgetary problems, so when a wealthy benefactor offers to reopen it, everyone, including Dev, is thrilled. But Dev’s excitement wanes when she realizes the mysterious donor is actually her runaway mother Yvette’s latest husband, Jett Benedict.

Dev suspects that Yvette and Jett’s intentions aren’t as noble as they appear, but before she can discover what they’re really up to, Jett turns up dead—and all clues point to Yvette as the prime suspect.

Even though Dev has no loyalty to Yvette, she’s in a bind. Setting the record straight could prove her mother is a killer. But doing nothing might get her mother booked for a crime she didn’t commit...

Caught Bread Handed by Ellie Alexander - Cover Reveal

Welcome to the cover reveal of Caught Bread Handed by Ellie Alexander. This is the 4th book in the Bakeshop Mystery series and releases June 28 by St. Martin's Press.

About the Book:
Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bakeshop where the oven is heating up as high as the body count…

Jules Capshaw is still chewing over her husband Carlos’s return to Ashland, Oregon. Could there be too many cooks in the kitchen? Whatever is stirring between those two will have to wait. Despite the Oregon Shakespeare Festival being dark for the winter, the bakeshop is bustling, the dough is rolling, and there’s no rest for the weary… especially when murder is thrown into the mix.

When Mindy Nolan, the owner of a new restaurant in town, turns up dead, the batter at hand thickens. Jules knows that there was bad blood between Mindy and others in town, and tracking the killer could prove to be an unwelcome treat. And to top it all off, there’s Carlos, who is pleading—with those delicious dark eyes and sexy Spanish accent—for Jules to take him back. Is home where the heart is or will she make a fresh start… and risk getting burned?
***

About the Author:

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

***

GIVEAWAY:

Signed copies of the first 3 books in the series plus a signed cover flat of CAUGHT BREAD HANDED
Triple chocolate chip cookie mix
Oregon Chai
Dagoba (Ashland) chocolate chai
Dagoba chocolates
Spiced apple cider
Open to US addresses only
Ends March 23, 2016
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.
 
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Be Careful What You Witch For by Dawn Eastman - Review

Be Careful What You Witch For
A Family Fortune Mystery #2
Dawn Eastman
Cozy Mystery
304 Pages

About the book:
Leaving a traumatic police career behind, Clyde Fortune has returned to her seemingly quiet hometown of Crystal Haven, Michigan. In spite of the psychic powers of its residents, there’s no telling what trouble is brewing in this burg…

The highlight of this year's fall festival in Crystal Haven is a bonfire with a witch’s cauldron resting over it. Clyde’s best friend, Diana, leads a ritual to divine the future, but it seems no one foresees that one of their own will drop dead—or that Diana will be a prime suspect.

Clyde already has her hands full with her eccentric family, runaway nephew, and burgeoning secret romance with a hunky homicide detective. But after another coven member is attacked, Clyde suspects there’s a witch hunt afoot and focuses her psychic and sleuthing skills to clear her friend’s name and catch a killer.


My review:
 The second installment of this series started off with everything I loved about the first. The crazy characters, a great setting, and a good mystery. The Fall Festival ritual was the perfect backdrop to a mysterious murder. I only wished the Halloween elements filled the rest of the book as well. 

In this book we get to see a lot more of Diana and Alex. I love both of them. I think all of the characters were done well. Even Aunt Vi didn't drive me insane by the end of the book. One of m favorite characters from the first book was Seth, and he is a big part of this book too. Clyde and Seth work well together as a team. Whether they are walking dogs or solving murders, they are a fun pair. 

I didn't guess the murderer like I did in Pall in the Family. I had someone else pegged the whole book. However, the murderer does make sense, and a lot of the clues led to her. I guess I was just slow on this one! 

I found Be Careful What You Witch For to be so much fun. I had a hard time putting it down. I'd recommend this to all mystery lovers. Especially those who enjoy mysteries with a paranormalish twist. I give this book 5 stars!

You can find Be Careful What You Witch For here

Friday, February 19, 2016

Pall in the Family by Dawn Eastman - Review

Pall in the Family
A Family Fortune Mystery #1
Dawn Eastman
Cozy Mystery
304 Pages

From Goodreads:
The aptly named Crystal Haven is the destination for tourists seeking psychics, séances, and the promise of contacting the spirit world. In this small western Michigan town, everyone knows the Fortune family. Rose is gifted with tarot card readings. Her sister, Vi, is a self-proclaimed pet psychic. And Rose’s daughter Clyde is…

A cop. A cop on leave from Ann Arbor, more specifically, who’s come home to kooky Crystal Haven to reevaluate her life. Mom and Aunt Vi can’t wait for Clyde to finally embrace her own psychic gifts and join the family business. Clyde would prefer the low-stress lifestyle of a dog walker and the low-key company of her nephew, Seth.

But when a local psychic is killed, leaving behind a traumatized Shih Tzu, it seems to be in the cards for Clyde to get involved. With her old flame Mac leading the investigation, that may prove awkward. Whether she uses her skills as a cop or her long-denied psychic abilities, it’s up to Clyde to divine a killer’s identity before someone else suffers more misfortune.


My Review:
This book was my introduction into cozy mysteries. Now I'm hooked! Dawn Eastman crafts hilarious characters who draw you into their wacky town. My favorite characters are Clyde, Seth, Tuffy, and Baxter. The animals in this story really contribute to the plot. I find that animals usually take a back seat to humans, but not in this book! The romance isn't front and center, so the characters really focus on solving the crime. I didn't have a very hard time figuring out who the murderer was, but I kept on reading because I loved the characters and setting so much. Well everyone except Vi. She drove me a little nuts. I'm so glad I picked up this book, and I recommend you do too. It's perfect someone who loves a small town setting, limited romance, hilarious characters, and of course a mystery. Plus the cover is so cute! I give Pall in the Family 4 out of 5 stars. 

You can find Pall in the Family here