Book Review: “Tragic Toppings” by Jessica Beck (Donut Shop Mystery #5)

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Title:  Tragic Toppings

Author:  Jessica Beck

Series:  Donut Shop Mystery #5

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Donut shop owner Suzanne Hart sees customers come and go all day long. But when one of them up-and-disappears, the police start asking questions. It seems Suzanne is the last person to have seen Emily Hargraves, who runs the local newsstand. Suzanne has nothing to report about their encounter. But when Emily doesn’t turn up, no news is bad news…

Suzanne has to admit that Emily’s last request was a little odd—a blueberry donut made to order, with chocolate icing, sprinkles, stars, and a chewy sour gummy worm coiled on top. Odder still: Suzanne’s ex-husband Max also appears to be missing. But what really takes the cake? The corpse Suzanne finds hanging from a tree in the park. Who knew donut-making could turn out to be such dangerous business…

 My thoughts:
As you know already if you have read my last blog post, I am working my way through the Donut Shop Mystery series to catch up on the series.  (Oh dear if this was the only cozy series I had to catch up on, how lucky that would be. . . but alas that is not the case, so many books, so little time.  But I digress!)
I truly enjoy this entire series.  As I have said before I find the main characters, Suzanne and her best friend Grace, really great . . . fun, charming, successful, strong-willed.  Now that I am reading the books closer together, I am finding that I am really enjoying watching Suzanne grow as the series moves along.  She is strong, successful, and ready to meet her amateur sleuthing responsibilities head on.  Go Suzanne!
I know there are more books for me to catch up on, but I am hoping the next couple of books show me how this relationship between Jake and Suzanne is moving along . . . or not moving along?  Do tell Jessica Beck, do tell!!
A great, light cozy mystery read set in a great location that will leave your mouth watering just thinking about the donuts she talks about in her shop!  Yum!
Oh and by the way . . . I am not ashamed to admit that I have actually been thinking about buying a small deep fryer so I can actually try some of those delectable donut recipes the author has in the book!
And remember,
Books Are Life,
Heather

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Book Review: Evil Eclairs by Jessica Beck (Donut Shop Mystery #4)

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Title:  Evil Eclairs

Author:  Jessica Beck

Series:  Donut Shop Mystery #4

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Donut shop owner Suzanne Hart admits her sweet treats don’t exactly qualify as health food. But does she really deserve to be labeled a “killer” by local radio jockey Lester Moorefield? The annoying host is urging citizens to boycott Suzanne’s “deadly dough” factory—until he’s found dead himself, stuffed with one of Suzanne’s éclairs…

Everyone in April Springs knows about the feud between Lester and Suzanne, which makes her the number-one suspect. She tries to use the donut defense—donuts don’t kill people, people kill people—but that cream-filled éclair at the scene of the crime has the whole town filled with suspicion. If Suzanne can’t figure out who killed the radio star, she’ll soon be filling a prison cell instead of a pastry…

 

My thoughts:

Well I have gotten back to my desire to finish up the Donut Shop mysteries and I am sure glad I decided to do so.

I truly enjoy this series.  Of course I love the location . .. and like most of my cozy series, I truly so wish that I had a shop like Donut Hearts in my community where I could hang out and have such lovely people!  Ok, yes folks . . . I like to live in my books :)

I also truly enjoy the characters in this series.  Suzanne and especially her best friend, Grace, are fun, charming, endearing, and just a pleasure to read.

Overall, a great foodie themed series!  If you are a fan of cozy mysteries and particularly foodie cozies . . . definitely give this series a try!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review and Blog Tour: “Burnout” by Teresa Trent (Pecan Bayou#5)

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burnoutTitle:  Burnout

Author:  Teresa Trent

Series:  Pecan Bayou #5

Synopsis (from Amazon.com):  It’s November in Pecan Bayou, Texas and while the town is getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday a deadly fire breaks out at the newspaper office. When Rocky, the editor is nowhere to be found, Betsy refuses to believe he has perished in the fire. The entire town is coming down with the stomach flu and Betsy must deal with her husband’s new-found celebrity as an on-air weatherman filling in for and under-the-weather Hurricane Hal . Leo loves all the attention he’s getting, especially from the sexy administrative assistant who works at the station. Is their new marriage in trouble already? Find out in the fifth book of the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series. All the characters you’ve come to know and love are back and you’ll find plenty of the Happy Hinter’s recipes and tips included at the end of the book.

My thoughts:  How could I have missed this delightful series in the cozy genre?  This book #5 “Burnout” is my first introduction to the Pecan Bayou series  . . . and I will tell you I am sure glad I found it.

This is a wonderful series in the cozy genre.  I found the characters delightful, fun, witty, and sometimes downright funny (which I love in my characters).

Overall a great book . . . I highly recommend if you are a true cozy lover that you run out and start this series if you haven’t already.

After reading this latest book in the series, I know have to add the first 4 to my “To Read” list for sure.

The book is available on Amazon Kindle at the following link:  http://www.amazon.com/Burnout-Pecan-Bayou-Series-Teresa-ebook/dp/B00ISDZK8S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397066129&sr=8-1&keywords=burnout+teresa+trent

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review: “Peril in Paperback” by Kate Carlisle (Bibliophile Mystery #6)

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Title:  Peril in Paperback

Author:  Kate Carlisle

Series:  Bibliophile Mystery #6

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Rare books and antiquities expert Brooklyn Wainwright is thrilled to be invited to the fiftieth birthday party of her neighbor Suzie’s aunt Grace. A retired founder of a major video game corporation, Grace is a larger-than-life character who’s turned her Lake Tahoe mansion into a fun house, full of everything from pinball machines and giant props to secret passageways and trap doors. Brooklyn is most excited to catalog Grace’s extensive collection of rare paperback pulp fiction.

Part of the fun involves a séance, but after the lights flicker, one guest is dead, poisoned by a cocktail intended for Grace. It seems someone is determined to turn Grace’s playful palatial estate into a house of horrors. Brooklyn suspects the key to the killer’s identity may lie in the roman á clef Grace has written about her life. With Grace in great peril, “must-read” takes on a whole new meaning, as Brooklyn tries to stop a murderer who’s through playing around…

My thoughts:  Another great cozy series that I love.  What book lover doesn’t love a series about book expert and repairer . . . ummm, yes!

I truly enjoyed the fun, humorous spirit in this entire story.  The book is set completely in the Lake Tahoe mansion of Suzie’s very, very, VERY eccentric Aunt Grace.  All of Aunt Grace’s friends and families gather at her mansion for a weeklong birthday party to celebrate her big 5-0!  Yes, the book is a mix of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were Note meets cozy mystery novel!!!

I just truly enjoyed imagining in my mind what the inside of this mansion must look like and more importantly how fun it would be to be in this house for a week . . . book rooms, libraries, game rooms, music rooms, trapdoors, it is like a huge playhouse!  Loved imagining it!

I do admit that the end was quite disappointing to me.  It was as if the last 10 pages or so were simply a mish mash of admissions, betrayals, you name it, but it all didn’t make sense and just felt like it came out of nowhere for me.

Also, after I thought about it, I admit that there were quite a few things that were just downright silly in this book . . .a bit more so than your average fun, silliness in cozy mysteries.  Why did the author portray a person about to have their 50th birthday as someone who should be old, gray, and cuddled up with cats?  She is 50 not 150!!   Also why after the murder did the cops show up to investigate, interview everyone, tell them not to leave the house, and then never show up again for the rest of the week?  I know there was a winter storm, but other people showed up out of the blue!

Oh well, let’s be real . . . cozy mysteries are supposed to be fun, light reading, not to be overthought and picked apart for their logic!

Overall, a great series and I look forward to reading the upcoming books!  Can’t wait.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review: “Eggs in a Casket” by Laura Childs (Cackleberry Club # 5)

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Title:  Eggs in a Casket

Author:  Laura Childs

Series:  Cackleberry Club #5

Synopsis (from bn.com):  The ladies of the Cackleberry Club are always ready to serve—whether they’re cooking up breakfast or sniffing out a bad egg.

While Petra handles the breakfast rush at the Cackleberry Club, the café’s other two owners, Suzanne and Toni, head to Memorial Cemetery to help prepare for its 150th anniversary celebration. But as they search the winding paths for the historical society tent, they discover something else out of place: the body of ex-prison warden Lester Drummond lying facedown in someone else’s freshly dug grave.

In the small town of Kindred, everyone knows everyone, and Lester was no exception. Suzanne knew him as the creepy guy who made unwanted advances on her friend Missy Langston. But now it appears the man was hiding a few secrets…and at least one of them was worth killing for.

As the case cracks open, there are plenty of suspects to consider—from recent parolees to Missy herself, who Suzanne and Toni saw speeding away just before they found the body. Now, with a cemetery celebration in the offing, and the local authorities in over their heads, it’s up to the Cackleberry Club to unscramble the clues and clear their friend’s name.

My thoughts:  The Cackleberry Club has got to be in my top 5 of my favorite cozy locations in all of the cozy series!  Come on . . . a café specializing in eggs, a book nook, and a knitting corner all in one location . . . it doesn’t get much better than that.  Now if I could just make some of these cozy locations truly come to life and go there . . . oh well, a cozy reader can dream.

I truly enjoy this cozy series.  The main characters and owners of the Cackleberry Club, Petra, Suzanne, and Toni, are just great.  They are each different in their personalities and when put together make for a great mix of characters.

I must say that as the series continues, Toni’s “husband” Junior, has to go . . . it is time, he treats her like dirt and has no relevance to the stories.

As much as I love this series, I will admit that I was a bit disappointed by the ending of this one.  To me at least, the killer came completely out of nowhere.  I don’t want to give anything away for those who haven’t read it, but the killer played such a minor role in the story that I had to look back to even see who this character was.  Not good!

Overall, a great, fun cozy series set in a great location.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review and Blog Tour: “A Roux of Revenge” by Connie Archer (Soup Lover’s Mystery #3)

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Title:  A Roux of Revenge

Author:  Connie Archer

Series:  Soup Lover’s Mystery #3

Synopsis (from bn.com):  Snowflake, Vermont, is known for its skiing in winter—and its soup all year round, thanks to Lucky Jamieson’s By the Spoonful. Autumn brings golden leaves, pumpkin rice soup, the annual Harvest Festival…and murder.

Lucky’s soup shop is busier than usual this October, with groups of itinerant travelers in town to work the Harvest Festival. One newcomer seems to take a particular interest in Lucky’s young waitress, Janie, spying on her from across the street. Is the stranger stalking Janie?

After an unidentified man is found murdered in a van by the side of the road, simmering suspicions about the travelers are brought to a boil. But when Janie is put in harm’s way, Lucky must join forces with the travelers to turn up the heat on a killer…

My thoughts:  The soup shop in this particular series, By the Spoonful, is by far one of my most favorite locations in all of the cozy mystery series.  How much cozier can one get than a nice, warm, cozy soup restaurant in a town called Snowflake, Vermont!  I love it and can picture it every time I read this series.

I really enjoy Connie Archer’s Soup Lover’s Mystery series.  As I am sure that I have mentioned in my reviews of the first two books in the series, Spoonful of Murder and Broth of Betrayal, I truly enjoy the main character Lucky Jamieson.  I love that she is a strong, empowered, female character that has definitely been through some difficult times but has come out on her feet.  She is finding her way in business and in love!  A truly great female lead character.

As I continue to read further and further into this series, I also am enjoying really getting to know some of the other characters in town.  They truly become your family which is why I love series books so much.

This book started out a bit slow for me but I will see really picked up the pace as we got further and further into the story and investigation of the murder.

My only issue with this series, and it really isn’t a problem with the series itself, but rather I guess where I live . . . is that the publication dates of the books in this series always come out off season.  What I mean is that his particular book is set in fall around Halloween and is published in Spring (after a long, hard winter at least where I live).  I know this is a crazy, stupid issue, but I want to be reading about nice, warm cozy soup on a nice, crisp, fall day in the fall not during spring.

That aside, I do love this series and eagerly await book #4!

Go out and start this series, you won’t regret it.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

 

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Book Review and Blog Tour: “Load the Boat” by Rosalee Richland (Darla King #2)

 

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LTB_cover_image_CS    Title:  Load the Boat

Author:  Rosalee Richland

Series: Darla King (Square Dance) #2

Synopsis:  Darla’s life just isn’t turning out the way she planned. Darla King left her position as a Florida investigator hoping to avoid any further involvement with law enforcement—but her curiosity keeps getting in her way. Darla is beginning to realize that what she envisioned as the simple life of a square dance caller is not so simple after all. When she agrees to serve as a
square dance caller on a cruise, she plans on a little work and a lot of fun, sun, and romance. Instead, she and her friends encounter black market porn, a dead crew member, and a mysterious man with a satchel. In addition, another passenger, Mandy, seems to be in the thick of it and getting a lot of Doug’s attention. Darla lands in danger, escaping only with on-the-spot ingenuity. Load the Boat is the second book in the Darla King mystery series.

 

My thoughts:  I was lucky enough to get to read and participate in the book tour for the first book in this cozy series, Right and Left Grand!  So . . . I was ready to jump back in and get right back to familiar characters . . . one of the reasons I love cozy series so very much.

I really enjoy this cozy series, despite the fact that I have limited to no knowledge of anything about square dancing.  As an aside, if you know nothing about square dancing, you will definitely learn a lot about it and have a new appreciation after you read this series.

I really enjoy the characters in this series.  Darla and her friends are fun, engaging, quirky, and all around a delight to spend some reading time with.  I truly enjoyed how we got a bit more depth about Darla and her background and her relationships in this second book.

I must admit (perhaps I get a little too close to the characters in my books) that I was a bit worried or annoyed or both with Darla’s character in this book.  She was extremely stressed, edgy, spent most of the time that she was not working in her room while on a beautiful cruise, and was away from her friends a lot.  I’m not quite sure what is going on with Darla . . . but she needs to get back to herself and I wanted to tell her to snap out of it.  :)

This series does get a bit heavy on the square dancing at times . . . it gets very specific and sometimes repetitive, which in my opinion sometimes takes away from the good mystery story underneath.

Overall, a nice, fun cozy series, with fun characters, a lesson in square dancing, and a good read.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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