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Sweet Tea and Secrets–a web of lies

Sweet Tea and Secrets

by Joy Avon

Sweet Tea and SecretsLike the main character, Callie Aspen, the plot of Sweet Tea and Secrets seems to exist in limbo in Joy Avon’s latest cozy mystery. Callie has quit a job she loves as an international tour guide and moved back to Heart’s Harbor to help her Aunt Iphy run Book Tea, the local tea shop. She is waiting for a local rental to be restored to livable condition. She doesn’t actually contribute much help to the tea room in this book. To top it off, Deputy Falk, an additional enticement when she decided to move, seems less than enthusiastic about Callie’s return to town.

The plot follows the same erratic pacing and intensity as we see in Callie’s personal life. Callie gets pulled into the investigation of a cold murder case that revolves around a web of lies. It is hard for Callie and the reader to know which characters are reliable. My interest would ramp up, and then I would find myself wondering when the book would end. The ending was a surprise in regards to the mystery, and the author didn’t leave any loose ends. There were a number of subplots that were interesting but sometimes too distracting when acting as red herrings.  I was glad Callie’s personal relationship with Falk showed forward progress. I would read another book in the series, but I hope it will have more of a focus on the tea room like the first books in the series do.

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

Rating:  4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #2 in the Book Tea Shop Mystery Series


Publication:   June 11, 2019—Crooked Lane Books

Memorable Lines:

But nothing happened. Just those lights teasing her from the darkness. Telling her she wasn’t alone.

“So far everybody seems to have been lying about everything.”

Beaches in Paradise–suspenseful plot

Beaches in Paradise

by Kathi Daley

Beaches in ParadiseWhen you read a book in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series, you can count on  a solid cozy mystery with likable main characters, strong family ties, and a good plot. Beaches in Paradise is a no exception. Maggie’s Hideaway is a family owned resort on Paradise Lake where Maggie works part-time when she is not busy as the local P.E. teacher and soccer coach. Maggie is also raising her two half-sisters and slowly developing her relationship with Kyle. Both enjoy functioning as a team to help solve local mysteries. What Maggie doesn’t enjoy is her confrontational encounters with Paradise’s new deputy Kate who warns Maggie off of amateur sleuthing and displays subtle hints of interest in Kyle.

Maggie involves herself in a murder and disappearance when an unpopular businessman is found dead in a wrecked car and her friend Gina is nowhere to be found. I had to suspend belief a little in considering the lengths Maggie went to find Gina. The action would have been more convincing if more background on Gina and Maggie’s two year friendship had been provided. Gina teaches math and Maggie P.E. at the local high school.There are no further details to support the strong bond they are supposed to have.

Plot is one of the main strengths of Beaches in Paradise. Three-fourths of the way through the book, after many interviews and lots of twists and turns, a huge part of the mystery is solved and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. There is more suspense to come, however, and it extends quite engagingly all the way to the second surprise ending. This is a solid series and one you will enjoy.

I would like to extend my thanks to 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: #9 in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series, but is OK as a standalone.

Publication:  July 17, 2018 — Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

Once we were ready, Kyle and I climbed into the van with our troupe of geriatric sleuths. I hated to put the men in danger, but I knew they were clearheaded adults able to make up their own minds.

“More than anyone I know, you always make sure the people you care for are all right.”

Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake–delectable adventure

Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

by Sarah Graves

Death by Chocolate Cherry CheesecakeIf the phrase “chocolate cherry cheesecake” is enticing, then you will love the cozy mystery Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake. In the tiny island village of Eastport, Maine, bakers and best friends Ellie and Jake (Jacobia) fill The Chocolate Moose with delectable and aromatic chocolate goodies. Their biggest baking challenge is preparing 22 cheesecakes to be auctioned off to pay for the Coast Guard’s firework extravaganza which also includes a treat for the town’s special education students. They get to view  the display from a barge.

If this were not challenge enough, Ellie and Jake discover a murdered man in their kitchen and Ellie becomes the prime suspect. This is not a simple mystery as various others in the town have links that Jake and Ellie must ferret out involving them in some life threatening situations. Jake is also in the middle of family crises, and Ellie has secret expansion plans for their business. All of these events occur during a brief time span, with little sleep, and an impending hurricane. Accompanying Jake and Ellie in pursuit of the real murderer provides the reader with exciting rides by boat and car. I’m looking forward to the next adventure in this new series.

I would like to extend my thanks to 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: Recipe for Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake is included at the end of the book.

Publication:  January 30, 2018–Kensington

Memorable Lines:

Once upon a time, Ma Bell ran the phone system with ruthless, utterly monopolistic efficiency. Now any fool can start a phone company and provide the kind of high-class personal communication service once offered only by two tin cans and a length of string.

When the door banged shut behind me, I must’ve jumped a foot. But it was only the wind blowing through the sliding-glass panels that looked out over the water, skittering the scattered papers like dry leaves across the slate-tiled floor.

I followed, with my heart pulsing crazily in my throat, thinking that if only I’d known how exciting the baking business would be, I’d have taken up some more sensible activity. Sword swallowing maybe, or milking poisonous snakes for their venom.

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