education pathways

Home » 2018 » March

Monthly Archives: March 2018

Advertisements

Murder with a Cherry on Top–great start to a new series

Murder with a Cherry on Top

by Cynthia Baxter

Murder with a Cherry on TopKate’s lifelong love affair with ice cream began as a preschooler, but that devotion was not transformed into a business until fifteen years after her high school graduation. She attended college and had a successful career as a New York City public relations consultant. She returned to Wolfert’s Roost when her “Grams” was injured, decided to stay, and opened her own business, Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe. She finds her bullying childhood rival has not changed any, and there is a murder in quiet Wolfert’s Roost. Kate also has a big personal surprise when she visits Juniper Hill Organic Dairy to purchase milk and cream for her shop.

Murder with a Cherry on Top is a fun, fast-paced cozy mystery by Cynthia Baxter. While many cozies fall flat with descriptions, Baxter’s are right on target. They are precise enough to give the reader a good picture and concise enough to not be boring. Her dialogue is also good. Kate’s investigative style is reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s sleuths: she focuses on interviewing, some research, and thinking. This was a fast read and a book I didn’t want to put down.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #1 in the Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe Mystery Series

  2. Ice cream recipes included at the end of the book

Publication:  March 27, 2018—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

“But of course I can do anything you can do, and so much better!” Ashley replied. “I already know that.” She sighed. “It’s just that it’s so much fun seeing you squirm. It always has been. And I guess some things never change.”

Aside from the euphoric experience of something creamy and sweet and icy cold dissolving on my tongue, filling my mouth with a burst of flavor that seemed almost too good to be real, at least as meaningful to me was my father’s love of ice cream.

Who wouldn’t instantly fall in love with such a grand, three-story Victorian? At least it used to be grand. It was built in the late 1880’s, a time when the brand new inventions of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison were starting to seep into day-to-day life, playing croquet was all the rage, and the Wild West was still pretty darned wild. Coca-Cola, elevators, and ballpoint pens were all brand new phenomena…

Advertisements

Murder, She Knit–a tale of knitting, eating…and murder

Murder, She Knit

by Peggy Ehrhart

Murder, She KnitMurder, She Knit is a cozy mystery with elements of calmness and sweetness. Pamela Paterson is a widow living in the small town of Arborville, New Jersey. She has a daughter who is a freshman in college in Massachusetts. Pamela’s life centers around her hobby of knitting, her friends, and her job as associate editor of the magazine Fiber Craft.

This serene, settled life that has developed for Pamela is shattered when she finds a dead body in her yard. With the theme of “the police don’t always ask the right questions,” Pamela sets out to discover some answers to this murder mystery.

Author Peggy Ehrhart has devised likable characters and an interesting plot. I look forward to reading the next book in her Knit and Nibble Mystery Series.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1.  #1 in the new Knit and Nibble Mystery Series.

  2. This book ends with directions for knitting a “Bohemian Chic Scarf,” which is      a very simple project and can use yarn remnants from other projects.

Publication:   March 27, 2018—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

He might seem nosy, but nosy people were a great boon to the amateur sleuth.

He was a jovial man whose pink cheeks and less than svelte figure signaled his love of food and drink.

Dark clouds were blotting out the morning’s sunny sky, and the prospect of staying indoors seemed more a treat than a privation.

Til Death Do Us Party–TN wedding in Vegas

Til Death Do Us Party

by Vickie Fee

Til Death Do Us PartyTil Death Do Us Party is classified as a mystery, but definitely crosses over to the women’s fiction genre also. It is one-third of the way into the book before there is any hint of crime. This is good because, as part of a series, the author Vickie Fee supplies an abundance of background information and develops her characters so that it works well as a standalone. It is unfortunate for the reader who wants to focus on the mystery, however. The book also ends with several more chapters of personal events after the mystery is solved; these chapters are interesting and provide closure on various situations, but again they relegate the role of the mystery to a less than primary status.

Liv is a professional party planner, but also called upon by family and friends to use her investigative skills in times of crisis. In Til Death Do Us Party, Liv, her best friend Di and assorted family and friends accompany her widowed mother to Las Vegas for “Mama’s” wedding. When the wedding officiant collapses, things go downhill for the wedding plans and Liv has to go into high gear.

The author has a fun writing style, engaging the reader with both the Las Vegas setting and the Tennessee background of the character. There is a romantic triangle involving Di, her boyfriend Sheriff Dave Davidson, and her ex-con ex-husband Jimmy. Di’s renewed attraction to Jimmy is not believable, but the outcome is acceptable.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery, Women’s Fiction

Notes: 1.  #4 in the Liv and Di in Dixie Mystery Series, but works well as a standalone

2.  The book concludes with Party Tips and Recipes for a Backyard Luau and

Movie Night under the Stars.

Publication:   March 27, 2018—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

Landing in Las Vegas was somewhat akin to touching down in Oz. We’d barely left the tarmac before being greeted by the flashing lights and ringing music of the airport slot machines.

Mama, who has a penchant for drama and could have pursued a career on the stage, or as a professional mourner—she can boohoo with the best—wasted no time launching into her performance.

I’ve found if you act like you have a right to be somewhere, most people assume you do.

Uneasy Prey–preying on the elderly

Uneasy Prey

by Annette Dashofy

Uneasy PreyZoe Chambers is an EMT whose first call after being on medical leave for eight weeks is to the home of a ninety-two year old found lying at the bottom of the basement stairs. She says someone pushed her. Zoe involves her boyfriend Pete, who is police chief of Vance. The plot gets more involved as the police try to track down a white truck with no windows, Pete has to situate his father in an assisted living facility and Zoe has to find a new home for her horses.

Who wants to prey on elderly residents of small town Vance, Pennsylvania? They are frightened, losing their valuable possessions and potentially their lives. Uneasy Prey by Annette Dashofy is a cozy mystery that tries to answer this question, but opens the door to many more. This is a good read with several surprising twists as Zoe, Pete, and a cast of characters solve crimes and help others.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery

Notes: #6 in the Zoe Chambers Mystery Series, but works well as a standalone

Publication:   March 27, 2018—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

“No, he’s not okay. He’s got Alzheimer’s. He’s never okay.”

…the resolve and underlying anger in Marcus’ eyes made Pete think there was more going on here than a simple brawl between two testosterone-driven teens with anger-management issues.

A familiar mop of short blonde hair…a flash of crimson…sent his heart plummeting. All he could hear was the echo of stillness inside his head and his chest.

A Riesling to Die–the body in the vineyard

A Riesling to Die

by J. C. Eaton

A Riesling to DieCan a New York City based screenwriter run the family winery for a year? Norrie Ellington puts that question to the test in J. C. Eaton’s cozy mystery A Riesling to Die. Norrie’s sister, who needs to leave Two Witches Winery to accompany her husband on an insect searching sabbatical in Costa Rica, convinces Norrie to upgrade her silent partner status to overseer of the winery.

Upon her arrival, Norrie realizes that the winery will not run itself—especially after the death of a local owner of a Bed and Breakfast. The mystery has lots of interesting characters, from the owners of other small wineries at Seneca Lakes, to rich developers, to her own well-chosen staff. Since the body was discovered in one of her vineyards, Norrie feels obligated to try to discover the murderer, despite the sheriff’s warnings to stay out of the investigations. A Riesling to Die is a good basic cozy that I think you will enjoy.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books (Lyrical Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #1 in the Wine Trail Mysteries

Publication:  March 27, 2018 — Kensington Books (Lyrical Press)

Memorable Lines:

She brushed some wisps of hair from the side of her face and I noticed something interesting—small pierced holes for earrings. At least three. Why was she trying to look like Little Miss Sunshine when her real persona was more Madonna? Maybe our mousey little girl is a rat in disguise.

Francine’s kitchen table wasn’t a bad place to work. The only sounds were birds and the occasional motorboat on the lake, unlike the ongoing cacophony outside my apartment. Endless honking of horns, the rumbling of traffic, and oh yes, expletives that came out of nowhere, usually accompanied by doors slamming.

It was one of those warm summer nights that made people forget about the last time they had to shovel three feet of snow or scrape the ice off their windshields.

Double Dog Dare–humorous cozy mystery

Double Dog Dare

by Gretchen Archer

Double Dog DareI was surprised to see that Double Dog Dare, a cozy mystery, is also classified by the publisher as humor…until I read it. It is hilarious; all the way through from one complication to another. The storyline starts out simply enough as Davis Way, who is part of the security team at a Biloxi, Mississippi, casino anticipates the arrival of her sister Meredith and Meredith’s friend Vree, a nonstop, stream of consciousness talker with her dog who will be competing in a canine competition at the casino.

From the moment Davis opens the door to the early arriving Vree instead of Meredith, absolutely nothing goes as planned. Author Gretchen Archer creates fun characters and really amusing dialogue. The plot is intricate and when you are not laughing, you will be saying “What???” over the latest development. There are a variety of crimes including kidnappings, impersonations, and thefts. Meredith has a moral dilemma and in trying to help her, Davis also explores ethical and legal boundaries.

While all of these complications are occurring, Davis has to role play the wife of the casino’s owner, care for her twin 20-month old daughters, manage several dogs, and not tell her husband what is going on at home while he is attending a conference in Nashville.

If you want a nonstop mystery that will keep you smiling, laughing, and shaking your head, you’ll want to grab Double Dog Dare. It is now available in Kindle format.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery, Humor

Notes: #7 in the Davis Way Crime Capers series, but works well as a standalone

Publication:  March 20, 2018 —Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

Vree could talk the stars out of the sky. I believed she talked so she wouldn’t have to listen; there was always something Vree didn’t want to hear.

We’d wasted the half hour before that racking our brains for a doctor, a medical examiner, an EMT, a mortician, or even a Girl Scout with her Corpse Badge who owed us a favor…

“It was our constellation prize to them since our dog drew blood.”

I always thought she was just mean, as opposed to otherworldly. As it turns out, she’s neither. She wants what everyone else wants. Someone to love who loves her back. That’s it.

Six Feet Under–deadly Southern cooking

Six Feet Under

by Tonya Kappes

Six Feet UnderSix Feet Under is a cozy mystery by Tonya Kappes. I had read the first one in the series and then didn’t follow up with books two and three. Forgetting that there is a paranormal aspect to this series, I requested an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. I do not normally enjoy or choose to read anything with paranormal elements.

I have mixed feelings about the book. The paranormal comes in the form of the main character’s ghost sidekick, Poppa. Kenni is the elected sheriff in a small Kentucky town and her grandfather Poppa was previously a sheriff in Cottonwood as well.  Kenni grew up discussing crimes with Poppa. In these books, his ghost provides her with clues and a sounding board for her theories. Poppa supplies humor and complexity as Kenni has to guard her conversations with him so people won’t think she is crazy.

Six Feet Under is well-crafted, interesting, and humorous. I admit I enjoyed the tale including all the “Southernisms” of the characters. The romantic interest with her deputy sheriff is good, and the side threads help keep the story going. I was surprised by the the ending. In conclusion, if lighthearted paranormal doesn’t bother you, then you will enjoy this fun cozy mystery.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #4 in the Kenni Lowry Mystery Series

Publication:   March 13, 2018—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

It wasn’t until I’d accepted the fact that Poppa was my guardian angel deputy from the great beyond that I realized he’d been scaring away any would-be criminals during those first two years of my term. Since then, whenever Poppa showed up, I knew there was some sort of crime about to happen. Though I loved seeing him, it made me feel sick to know the reason he was here.

…being on the front of the Chronicle was better than butter on a biscuit for Mama.

For years they’d bragged on Mama’s cooking, but I just figured they were nice compliments with underlying meanings, like our famous saying, bless your heart. It sounded good, but when you shaved back the layers, it was a dagger in the heart and you didn’t even know it.

%d bloggers like this: