New Release: Classical Feng Shui for Health, Beauty &Longevity

feng, shui, book, review, mystereity,Classical Feng Shui for Health, Beauty & Longevity: Transform Your Space to Enhance Well-Being in Body & Home by Denise Liotta Dennis

I’ve been interested in Feng Shui for a long time but never found a good, basic guide for understanding Feng Shui and applying it to my home and life. When I saw this book available on Netgalley, I hoped that this would be my gateway to understanding more about Feng Shui and I wasn’t disappointed.

The information on this book is very well organized and in-depth, with information not only on how natural formations can impact your life, but also the objects in your home. While I was aware that the direction your front door faces can have an impact on your life, I had no idea that where my stove or toilets were placed could have an impact as well.

Using the two types of Feng Shui (Eight Mansions and Flying Stars) and how to determine y I can apply the guidance to my house and hopefully make it more harmonious. Although I live in an apartment and I’m limited in any physical changes I can make, the book has many tips and suggestions to weaken or diminish any negative energies found in my home.

Of the two Feng Shui systems, the Eight Mansions was far easier to understand.  All the information is well laid out in terms a a true beginner like me can understand, but  it’s going to take some time to get a better understanding of Flying Stars and I look forward to studying it further.

Overall, an exceptional book for learning the basics of Feng Shui and I recommend it whether you’re a beginner looking for an introduction, or a practitioner looking for a strong reference book and would make a great gift.

Thank you to Llewellyn Publications and Netgalley for an advanced copy in return for an honest review

Classical Feng Shui for Health, Beauty & Longevity is available at book retailers or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Llewellyn
Release Date: December 8, 2016
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Paperback
Language: English
Genre: Non-Fiction, New Age
ISBN-13: 9780738749006
ASIN:B01APSXKHQ
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)
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New Release! The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages

29771608The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages by David Bercovici

David Bercoivci’s The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages (More or Less) is actually closer to 150 pages, which still makes it a short, concise book considering there are 14 billion years of history packed into it.

I’ve always had an interest in the origins of the universe and life on Earth, but my knowledge is rudimentary. Before starting the book, I’d say my knowledge of the subject was pretty basic, limited to a few college courses years ago, some science documentaries on tv and an article here and there.

The author admits that “the goal of this book is not meant to be deep and comprehensive, but instead to be boldly (or badly) shallow and superficial in the best sense of these words.” Which is a good thing, because although the book is written to be understood by anyone, part of it were still over my head. I had to read this bit by bit because it was easy to overload on the information and at that point, it was hard for me to absorb the information. So I’d take a break for a bit, then go back to it.

Starting with The Big Bang and the formation of Earth, continuing through plate tectonics and finally the evolution of life on Earth, The section that interested me the most was the formation of our planet, including how and why Earth is the only temperate and habitable planet. I was fascinated by the explanations that answered many of the questions I had, such as why Venus didn’t evolve like our planet did and even raised new questions that I can explore.

I did think it was too wordy in some parts, that there was more information presented than was needed to understand a particular point.

Overall, The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages (More or Less) is an excellent book that covers the basics of Planetary physics and Geophysics and is a great overview for those starting out in learning, or who want to expand their knowledge.

Thank you to Yale University Press and Netgalley for providing an advanced copy in return for my honest review.

The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages by David Bercovici will be released November 22, 2016.  Pre order your copy today!  AmazonBarnes&Noble

Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Hardcover, Audio CD
Genre: Science, Non-Fiction
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0300215137
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New release! Butter: A Rich History

28110851Butter: A Rich History by Elaine Khosrova

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to read and review a cookbook that recommended using a high fat butter.  While that book went into a little bit of detail on what constituted high fat butter, I realized I still had a lot of questions after a discussion on my review about exactly what determines a butter to be high fat.  So when I requested this book, I hoped to learn more about how to choose a good butter for baking but got a whole lot more.

Butter: A Rich History, by Elaine Khosrova, explores not only the mechanics of making butter, but also the sociological, biological and the cultural aspects of butter and answered questions I didn’t even know I had.  Who knew cows self-medicate by eating different plants? Who imagined that the prohibition of consuming butter led many countries in Northern Europe to turn to Protestantism and separate from the Roman Catholic Church?  I never knew butter was so life changing and interesting. I loved the many stories about the history and folklore, including the story about the mjolkhare or milk hare:

“…a little woolly hare was woven out of sticks, wool, skin, clipped-off fingernails and human hair.  The milk hare was then “sent off” to a neighboring dairy to drink up all their milk, after which it raced home and vomited up all the milk into the thief’s own pails.”

Elaine Khosrova, Butter: A Rich History p. 74

The book answered many of my questions about butter, from which cows give the richest milk to the best way to store butter. The recipes included in the book sound delicious and look easy to make.  I knew a bit about some of the more unfamiliar ones (like Kouign Amann) from watching The Great British Bake Off and I can’t wait to give many of the recipes a try.

Overall, Butter is a very well researched and entertaining book that will make you better appreciate the rich, thick, creamy slab of butter you slather on your toast.  A great gift for any baker, this book would be a great addition to any cookbook collection. (Great Christmas gift idea!)

Thank you to Algonquin Books for the ARC to read in exchange for my honest review

Butter: A Rich History is available at book retailers or on  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Hardcover
ISBN: 9781616203641
ASIN: B01B3VMBO2
Genre: Culinary, Cookbook
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Runes for Beginners

28700190Runes for Beginners: Simple Divination and Interpretation by Alexandra Chauran

This is a great resource for anyone who would like to learn more about the use of Runes in divination, whether you’re just getting started or an experienced user. The detailed and easy to understand information covers everything from the history and meanings of the runes to how to cast and create your own set of runes.

When I began this book, I already had a set of runes and some basic understanding. While some of the rune names are different then what I learned (the book calls one rune Neid, I know it as Nauthiz) it was easy to understand and I liked the suggestions for how to remember the meaning of each rune. I also learned a great many new casts to try out, and I look forward to exploring them. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on creating bind runes, something I always wanted to try but never found any instruction on how to do it.

Overall, Runes for Beginners is an enjoyable and informative book, great for anyone interested in Runes or divination.

Runes for Beginners is available at book retailers or online  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher:Llewellyn Worldwide
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Paperback
ISBN: 9780738748283
ASIN: B01APSXKYO
Genre: Divination, New Age
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The United States of Absurdity

31860053The United States of Absurdity: Untold Stories from American History by Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds

The duo from The Dollop podcast have written a book full of the odd, the outrageous and all the funny stories that never made it into the history books.

This was a laugh out loud funny take on some of the lesser well-known stories that make up the fabric of our history. The presidential cheese story made me chuckle (What. A. Legend.) and the Lobotomobile story was outrageous, but the best story, and the reason I wanted to read this book, was the Kentucky Meat Shower story.

Meat.  Meat rained down all over Crouch’s property.  The meat dropped to the ground in varying sizes.  Some pieces were small.  Some were big.  It was raining meat; Hallelujah, it was raining meat!  The happiest creature was Crouch’s cat, who walked around eating the sky meat like it had won the feline lottery.

The stories are indeed hilarious and absurd, but not necessarily untold. I’ve seen a few of the stories in other places, and Reddit is full of Action Park stories (and even has its own subreddit, /r/actionpark, or check out these commercials of seemingly innocuous Action Park rides on Youtube.)

Overall, The United States of Absurdity is a short and funny look at US history,  great as a time-waster, side-splitting funny and a must-read for trivia fans and history buffs.

The United States of Absurdity is available at book retailers or onine at Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Ten Speed Press and NetGalley, who provided an advance copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Hardcover
ISBN: 9780399578755
ASIN: B01KE61LUC
Genre: History
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New Release! Dangling by a Thread

29064426Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait

Jesse lives a hermit’s life on an island just off Haven Harbor’s shore, alone except for his beloved Great Cormorants. When a millionaire visits Haven Harbor and decides to buy Jesse’s island, Jesse’s only concern is to save the island for the birds. When Jesse is found dead, there’s plenty of suspects, but who was the killer and why?

I enjoy Haven Harbor and its cozy atmosphere and the enjoyable plot kept a steady pace through the book, with a little bit of action to added to the suspense. I had a good idea who the killer was halfway through the book but it turned out I was wrong (close, but wrong.)

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A Great Cormorant. I agree with Patrick, they are surreal!

I liked the Save the Cormorant movement, and I especially liked that Angie and her friends were strong enough in their convictions and their loyalty to Jesse to risk the ire of the local townspeople to save their habitat.

I like Angie and the other characters (especially Gram) but I have to say, the one thing that put me off in this book was Angie and her issues.  Her attitude towards Patrick was a little annoying; despite the fact that she’s a caring person who doesn’t judge, she seems to think Patrick is a snob only because he’s rich which makes her feel insecure. Seriously, Angie, get over yourself.

I thought the climax of the book was a little abrupt. The plot was slowly and steadily moving along, then screeched to a halt. It was, for the most part, a satisfying conclusion and the plot was resolved, but it was incongrous with the pace of the book and a the loose ends a little too neatly tied up.

Overall, I enjoyed Dangling by a Thread and I will continue to read the series and those Maple Oatmeal cookies sound amazing. No raisins for me, please.

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Edit: I made the Maple Oatmeal cookies today and they are delish!  They were super easy to make  and I substituted chopped pecans instead of raisins.  They baked up beautifully and the end result is a light cinnamon-y chewy cookie.  I think next time I’m going to drizzle a little maple glaze over the top.  But that’s a whole other post.

Dangling by a Thread is available at book retailers or online   Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley, who provided an advance copy to read and review in return for my honest review.

Series: A Mainely Needlepoint #4
Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 Stars
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: Oct. 25, 2016
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Epub
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Language: English
ASIN: B01BAYWZHU
ISBN-13: 9781496706263
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New Release: A Memory of Muskets

28700178A Memory of Muskets by Kathleen Ernst
Original review date: May 21, 2016

A Memory of Muskets, book 7 in the Chloe Ellefson series,combines a heart-wrenching tale of Roelke’s ancestors, finely woven into a riveting present day mystery of a Civil War re-enactor   found dead at Old World Wisconsin.  With nothing to identify the dead man, the investigation stalls and another Civil War re-enactor is shot to death at Milwaukee’s German Fest. Roelke works to piece together the pieces and find a killer. Throughout the book, the tragic story of Roelke’s ancestors unfolds as Roelke and Chloe purchase the Roelke homestead, which has been in his family since the time of the Civil War.

The present day plot was really well crafted; I had no firm suspects (although I hoped Petty guilty of the murders.) and the ending did come as a surprise. The characters continue to grow and gain some dimension and have become a solid unit.

What I really loved was the Roelke family history. There was a lot I could relate to with this book; I have been working on my family’s German genealogy over the last few months, so I guess I felt a certain kinship with the story. It certainly brought much enjoyment for me reading it, as it could just as easily have been my own history. I’m woman enough to admit that I did cry at the end of the book. When I said a heart-wrenching story, I wasn’t kidding.

Overall, a another solid entry into the Chloe Ellefson series and I can’t wait to read more. This book can be read as a standalone, but would be better appreciated if the series was read in order.

Thank you to Midnight Ink and Netgalley, who provided an advance copy in return for my honest review.

A Memory of Muskets  is available at book retailers or online at   Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Series:Chloe Ellefson #7
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: Oct. 8, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback/ePub
ISBN: 978-0738745152
ASIN: B01APSYQ1A
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Dead Man’s Shadow

32203985
Dead Man’s Shadow by Anne Wilkinson

In 1890, a new church is being erected in Stoke Newington, headed by a charismatic preacher named Tristan King whose congregation is at odds with the C of E teachings. Despite the disapproval of many of the townspeople, King’s church manages to attract a following, including a young woman desperate to escape her controlling half-brother.

In the present day, Alex’s daughter just bought a new house, and Alex offers to help with the renovations. When an old floorboard is pulled up to reveal an old box containing papers related to an old church, Alex can’t help but find out more about them. Not long after, old bones are found nearby at a construction site. Alex’s investigating leads her to an unbalanced woman trying to prove ownership of King’s church. Soon, Alex finds herself tied up in past events and current mysteries, trying to put all the pieces together.

While I enjoyed the book, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. I thought the historical part of the mystery dragged the book down, most of it was pretty predictable and I found myself flipping through much of those chapters. While it was interesting, it went on too long. If pared down to be less wordy, and the modern day plot beefed up a little more, this would’ve been a 5 star book.

The present day plot about Jane and ownership of the church fizzled out with an anti-climactic whimper and I was left wondering why it was a part of the story, it was almost like an afterthought.

I did enjoy the genealogical part of the mystery; it was interesting to see Alex connect the dots. Genealogy is a hobby of mine and I love those aha! moments when you finally find that missing link in a family tree.

Overall, I enjoyed the writing and the premise was interesting but I just didn’t connect with the story at all.

Dead Man’s Shadow is available for Kindle on Amazon

Thank you to Endeavor Press and Netgalley for providing an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

Series: Mrs Stonier Mystery #2
Rating: ★★★✰✰ 3 stars
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication Date: Sept. 20, 2016
Language: English
Genre: Mystery
Formats:
Kindle
ASIN: B01M0UMJUP
ISBN-13: 9781539045557
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

The Swap

31305593The Swap by Nancy Boyarsky

When Brad Graves is transferred to London temporarily, wife Nicole comes along in an attempt to save her failing marriage. After arranging a house swap with the Lowrys, Nicole and Brad settle in at their temporary home. Soon after, strange things happen and Nicole begins to feel like her life is in danger. After reporting several terrifying incidents to the police, who are sympathetic but disbelieving, and when the Lowrys don’t show up at her LA condo, Nicole begins to investigate on her own and finds herself being drawn deeper and deeper into trouble.

The Swap is the debut novel by the author and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I sat down to read it. Once I started it, it was hard to put it down! I read about half of this one evening and then couldn’t sleep all night because I was so busy thinking about what was going to happen. I loved the premise of a house swap gone wrong, and there was a mystery on almost every page. Who can Nicole trust? Who is behind the attacks and what do they want? What happened to the Lowrys? And the one question that wasn’t answered, who broke in to her condo in L.A.?

This was the kind of thriller that raises the hair on the back of your neck, and it’s all too easy to feel Nicole’s fear as she’s stalked, threatened and accosted by thugs, her anguish over her crumbling marriage, and her betrayal, anger and sadness towards Brad. On the other hand, there were a few times when I wanted to reach in the book and give Nicole a good, hard shake and tell her to wake up. Seriously, girl, your intuition is waaay off! The spectacular conclusion was the perfect way to end the book, a little romance and a lot of action. What more can you ask for?

The Swap is an excellent 5 star thriller that will keep you turning pages – and looking over your shoulder – right to the very last page.

The Swap is available for pre-order at book retailers or online at  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

I was given an advance copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.

Series: Nicole Graves Mystery #1
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Light Messages Publishing
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Paperback, Audio
ISBN-13: 978-1611531886
ASIN: B01L2XI3IY
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: A Deadly Thaw

Sarah Ward, Mystery, Deadly Thaw,New release!  Pick up your copy today!

A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward

If you read only one book this year, A Deadly Thaw should be it.  A tense thrill ride through twisted justice and family secrets, it will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you breathless.

Lena Grey was convicted 14 years ago of killing her husband, Andrew.  Not long after she is released from prison, a man is found shot to death in an abandoned morgue and is positively identified as Andrew.  If he wasn’t killed 14 years ago, who did Lena kill and why?

I loved this from the first page; I don’t think I’ve ever read a more delightfully labyrinthine plot. I think the most compelling aspect of the book was that you’re just as in the dark about Lena as are the police and Lena’s sister, Kat.  You’re not given any clues, so every revelation is just as shocking to you as it is to the characters.  I admit, I had an inkling what was behind Lena’s behavior change as a teen, but had no idea how it played into the later events. But the book was in no way confusing, it unraveled layer by layer, amping up the tension which each page.  The shocking conclusion was heart-stopping and wholly satisfying and left me wanting more.

Besides the suspenseful plot, the characters really make this a memorable book.  Sadler and his team are realistic and believable, and Kat was believable and realistic as a baffled sister trying to unravel Lena’s clues. It was very easy to relate to Kat’s bafflement to her sister’s actions, and her frustration while trying to figure out the clues Lena was sending to her.  I really thought Mark was an interesting character; he went from one of Kat’s therapy clients to the sensible and pragmatic shoulder for Kat to rely on.  While it wasn’t possible within the book to expand his character, I could easily see him and his fellow ex-soldiers carrying a book of their own.

Overall, A Deadly Thaw is a riveting and compelling book that will thrill lovers of action-packed mysteries.  This is the second book in the Inspector Francis Sadler series, but it can easily be read as a standalone.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books and Netgalley for providing an advanced copy in return for my honest review.

A Deadly Thaw is available at book retailers, on  Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Series: Inspector Sadler #2
Rating:  ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: Sept.  27, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Hardcover
Genre:
Mystery, Police Procedural
ISBN-13: 978-1250069184
ASIN: B01CNTDM50
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Semi-Sweet Hereafter

Now available! Pick up your copy today!
mystery, cozy, book, review, mystereity, semi, sweet, hereafterThe Semi-Sweet Hereafter by Colette London

“Chocolate Whisperer” Hayden Mundy Moore travels the world helping companies improve the quality of their chocolates.  In The Semi-Sweet Hereafter, Hayden is in London assisting  Phoebe, the  wife of  celebrity chef  Jeremy Wright.  Phoebe owns a failing chocolate pâtisserie and needs Hayden’s help to turn it around. When Jeremy turns up bludgeoned to death,  Hayden falls under suspicion.  To clear her name, she has to hunt down the real killer.

The premise of the book, a globe trotting chocolate expert  was really a fun change of pace from the usual cozy.  Loaded with  tips and tricks for baking with chocolate, as well as yummy recipes, this chocoholic bookworm was hooked from the first page.   Hayden is a likable main character, and I could relate to a lot of her quirks (I, too, like going to grocery stores when I’m in a new place!)  The absorbing plot had clues that were so well hidden (in plain sight, no less!)  that I didn’t realize they were clues until the end.  I’m not really sure why Hayden believed she was a suspect well  into the book.  Even if the police seriously suspected her, she would’ve had her alibi verified and cleared her within a day.  The other suspects were a lot more…well…suspicious.  A disgruntled former assistant, an angry young chef, an angry corporate sponsor  and a ruthless agent all had a lot more motive and opportunity than Hayden had.

As I haven’t read the first 2 books in the series, I really didn’t understand Hayden’s weird relationships with her accountant and her bodyguard. I think there is supposed to be some kind of sexual tension or attraction, it really didn’t come through. For me, it was incongruous and distracted me  from the excellent plot.

Overall, a very enjoyable read with an great premise and an equally good plot, despite a few distractions.  It can be read as a standalone with minimal confusion but reading the series in order would probably enhance this book, mostly for the characters’ backstories.

Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Semi-Sweet Hereafter is available at book retailers, and at  Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Series: A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery
Rating: ★★★★✰
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Language:
English
ISBN-10: 1617733490
ASIN: B01A4API20
Review: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Book Club Murders

30525902

New release! The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel

Charley Carpenter, owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, is a member of the Agatha Book Club (named after the Dame herself) with a clique of high society ladies. After two local women are found dead, Charley and BFF Frankie find clues that link the murders to their book club. Charley reluctantly takes the information to Detective Marcus Trenault. Despite their rocky past, Charley and Marcus must team up to stop a murderer.

Fantastic book! I thoroughly enjoyed The Book Club Murders, so much so that I turned around and read it again, just to see if I could pick up all the things I missed! I first heard about this book from Wanderlust’s  fantastic review  and couldn’t wait to read it.  And I wasn’t disappointed! Great characters and a fast-paced plot sucked me in right from the the first chapter. Guileless Charley and intense Marc are equally matched in the strong-willed and stubborn department. While I thought their romance was a bit overwrought, it was cute and softened the story a little.And the plot! Full of red herrings, surprise twists and fast-paced action, it kept me guessing until the very end. I loved how all the red-herrings were a plot thread in themselves.. The Agathas and their secrets and tragedies added just the right amount of drama to give the plot lots of depth and dimension. I have to ask, though: who shot the video at the crime scene? Did they ever investigate it? Perhaps it will be in the next book…

Overall, an exceptional mystery and I can’t wait for the next book in the series! I definitely recommend this book as a must read.

A big thank you to Random House – Alibi and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Book Club Murders is available at  Amazon Barnes & Noble

Series: The Oakwood Mysteries #1
Rating: ★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Alibi
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Format: Kindle, ePub
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Language: English
ISBN-13: 9780425285206
ASIN:  B01A4ATX9E
Reviewer: Mystereity Reviews

TBR Tuesday (Sepetember 27, 2016)

I finished all 5 of the books on last week’s TBR, do I get a prize?

No?

Ahh well, here’s this week’s TBR

28233217 Cat With A Clue – Laurie Cass

Early one morning while shelving books in the library, Minnie stumbles upon a dead body. Authorities identify the woman as an out-of-towner visiting Chilson for her great-aunt’s funeral. What she was doing in the library after hours is anyone’s guess . . . but Minnie and Eddie are determined to save the library’s reputation and catch a killer.

I started this one last night.  The first page says that the real life Eddie passed away a few months ago.  *sniff* RIP Eddie. *mrr*  I love this series and got sucked right in, from the first page,  as always happens with these books.

 

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Worth Killing For – Ed James

On a busy London street, a young woman is attacked in broad daylight and left bleeding to death on the pavement. Among the eyewitnesses are DI Simon Fenchurch and his wife.

Fenchurch pursues the attacker through a warren of backstreets and eventually arrests a young hoodie with a cache of stolen phones—an ‘Apple picker’ on the make. The case should be closed but something feels off…Was this really just about a smartphone? Why did the victim look nervous before she was targeted? And why don’t the prints on the murder weapon match the young man in custody?

Before Fenchurch can probe further, his superiors remove him from the case, convinced he has let the real culprit run free. But Fenchurch is determined to get to the truth and, before long, uncovers a conspiracy that reaches high above the street gangs of London.

#2 in the DI Fenchurch series, and I’m expecting it to be another action-packed and intricately plotted book from a great author.

 

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31305593The Swap – Nancy Boyarsky

When Nicole Graves arranges a summer-long swap of her Los Angeles condo for a London couple’s house, she thinks it’s the perfect arrangement. She’s always dreamed of seeing the real London; she’s also hopeful the time away with her husband Brad will be good for their troubled marriage. 

But things don’t turn out the way Nicole expects: The Londoners fail to arrive in L.A. and appear to be missing. Then people begin following Nicole and making threats, demanding information she doesn’t have. Soon, Nicole realizes she’s in serious trouble––but she can’t get Brad or the police to believe her. 

When the confrontations turn deadly, Nicole must either solve the case or become the next victim.

I was offered an advance copy by the author and was intrigued by the premise.  Looking at the great reviews, I’m expecting a real page turner!

 

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Dead Man’s Shadow – Anne Wilkinson32203985

Will and Bella have just bought an old house, and Bella’s mother, Alex, has agreed to help do it up.

When the floorboards are torn up, she finds letters written by a man named Edward Barton, requesting deeds relating to a property called Gothic Hall.

She starts to investigate the site of the old house, and learns that bones were found nearby during some construction work.

There’s a mystery to be solved and if there’s one thing Alex likes, it’s a good mystery…

Tales of arranged marriages, conspiring families and dangerous liaisons are soon unraveled, revealing the complicated relationship between Edward Barton and Harriet, a young heiress who longs to be free from her controlling brother.

This has all the makings of a great book – history, mystery, murder and based on true events, I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

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29778567The Corpse with the Garnet Face – Cathy Ace

The seventh book in the Cait Morgan series finds the eccentric Welsh criminologist–sleuth accompanying her husband Bud to Amsterdam to try to unravel a puzzling situation.

To Bud’s surprise, he discovers he has a long-lost uncle, Jonas, who’s met an untimely death. Bud’s mother assures him Jonas was a bad child, but, from beyond the grave, Uncle Jonas begs his nephew to visit the city he adopted as his home to delve into the life he built for himself there, founded on his passion for art.

With an old iron key as their only clue, Cait and Bud travel to Amsterdam to solve the cryptic message left by Jonas—and to honor the final wishes of a long-lost relative.

This has been on my TBR list for months and I’m finally going to get this started.  I’ve never read this series before, but I was drawn in by the old iron key.  I’m a sucker for old iron keys, ever since I read The Secret Garden when I was a kid.

 

So what’s on your TBR this week?  Leave a comment, I’d love to hear!

Review: The Healing Art of Essential Oils

30268360The Healing Art of Essential Oils: A Guide to 50 Oils for Remedy, Ritual, and Everyday Use by Kac Young

An excellent reference as an introduction to essential oils and aromatherapy, a must have for healthy living.

A few months ago, I got a neck massage and the therapist used juniper and eucalyptus oil and I was curious to find out why those particular oils? So when I saw this book for offer on NetGalley, I was interested in expanding my knowledge and this book accomplished that and so much more.

Kac Young obviously knows her oils and she explains them well, breaking down each essential oil’s properties and usage. The explanation of the various ways to use essential oils (diffuser, inhaler, on the skin, etc) Very well researched and easy to understand, the book guides you through how to purchase quality oils, how to blend them and the best uses for each oil. There are so many useful tips in here, from how to blend the fragrances, to how to use essential oils to cure common ailments and even recipes for everyday products. Since it’s cold/flu season, I plan on utilizing the recipes to clean and sanitize the air in my home, plus household cleaners and hand sanitizers that are all natural. I really want to try the anti-aging serum (have you seen how much they cost at the store? Much cheaper to make it myself, and with all natural ingredients!) I have never had so many bookmarks in one book before, I can’t wait until the book is released to buy a hardcover to keep as a handy reference.  I really enjoyed the history of the use of essential oils,  it just proves that for common ailments, the best medicine are the tried and true remedies that have been around for hundreds, if not  thousands, of years.

Overall, a great book to get budding aromatherapists started, and would make an excellent gift for anyone interested in all-natural products for healing and in the home.

The Healing Art of Essential Oils is available at book retailers or online at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Llewellyn Publications and NetGalley who provided an advance copy in return for my honest review.

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Publication Date: January 8, 2017
Language: English
Genre: Non-fiction, Health
Formats:
Paperback, Kindle, ePub
ASIN: B01FOR0YHM
ISBN: 9780738750477
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Pumpkins in Paradise

31130648Pumpkins in Paradise by Kathi Daley

I’ve heard great things about Kathi Daley’s books from other reviewers, and now I see what all the fuss is about. Pumpkins in Paradise is an enjoyable and entertaining cozy mystery, guaranteed to get you into the Halloween spirit.

After finding her elderly recluse friend, Zachary, dead in his home, Tj senses something isn’t quite right with his death. After the police close the case as natural causes, Tj is compelled to investigate. To find a killer, Tj must solve the puzzle of Zachary’s past and uncover his tragic secret.

While the plot was pretty easy to figure out, I really enjoyed the “treasure hunt” puzzles, I love a mystery within a mystery, and I enjoyed trying to solve the clues along with Tj. Zachary sounded like he was a fun and interesting guy to know, I’m a little sorry that his introduction in the story was his death. He was a touching character, and the funeral scene made me sniffle, all that heartbreak, loss and regret was very moving. Tj is a good-natured and likable character, and her loyalty to her friends and family is admirable. While the other characters weren’t very developed, this is the first in the series and I look foward to getting to know them better in later books.

Overall, Pumpkins in Paradise was a delightful read, perfect for Halloween book club reads or just to curl up with on a chilly fall day.

Pumpkins in Paradise is available at book retailers, on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Henery Press and NetGalley who provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

 

Series: Tj Jensen Mystery
Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Henery Press
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Formats: Paperback,  Kindle, ePub
Language: English
ASIN: B01GQPYU8U
ISBN-10: 1635110890
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To

It's Your Party Die If You Want To Review MystereityIt’s Your Party, Die If You Want To by Vickie Fee

It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To is the second book in the Liv and Di in Dixie series, but can be read as a standalone.

Liv is a (very talented) party planner with a lot on her plate; a riverboat gambling engagement party and a Clue themed Halloween costume party fundraiser (note: Clue is my favorite movie of all time so this was a big hit with me! I loved the descriptions of the costumes, it was almost like I was right there! )

But before the parties get underway, Liv has to help out at the annual retreat of the Professional Women’s Alliance of Dixe (PWAD), and her duties include chauffeuring celebrity paranormal TV star Lucinda Grable. When a member of PWAD is found murdered and a friend is arrested, its up to Liv and best friend Di to clear her name and catch a killer.

With a rich plot that kept me turning pages, I found it hard to put down. The pacing was just right; fast enough to keep the story moving but with enough detail to give it dimension. Add in a sprinkling of humor, quirky characters and a section at the the end of the book with tips on how you can create your own murder mystery party, this was a solid read and very recommended for cozy mystery fans looking for a great book to put them in the Halloween mood.

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To is available at book retailers, or at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Series:  Liv & Di In Dixie #2
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Formats: Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Language: English
ASIN: B01A4ANVWE
ISBN-10: 1496700643
Review: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: In the Company of Dolphins

30365079In the Company of Dolphins: A Memoir by Irwin Shaw

Print Length: 107 pages
Publisher: Open Road Media (August 16, 2016)
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B01GP8MOIQ
Reviewer: Mystereity Reviews

When I read the description of In The Company Of Dolphins, I thought it was going to be a kind of travel guide. I was completely mistaken, and I was not disappointed. In The Company Of Dolphins is so much more than a travel guide; it is a fascinating look back, not only to the exotic ports of call but also on the life and times of a brilliant author.

The book, originally published in the mid 1960s, is a memoir of author Irwin Shaw’s cruise around the Mediterranean on a chartered boat. As a boy growing up in Brooklyn in the early part of the 20th century, he would look out at the boats moored in the harbor and dream of cruising the world. Decades later, his dream came true; he chartered a boat and sailed along the coast of Italy from St. Tropez (“…there is a whiff of Sodom and Gomorrah to it, and a little of a superb detention home for delinquent girls”) to Monte Carlo, (“It is all very much like a camp for condemned millionaires.”) around  Italy’s boot over to Yugoslavia and then up to Venice. Along the way, the reader is treated to the author’s beautiful observations of each port of call, as well as life at sea.

“Sleeping at sea, with the cradling motion of the ship and the hypnotic rush of water past the portholes”

Shaw, In The Company of Dolphins

Shaw’s style of writing is engaging; you almost feel as though you’re sitting in a little cafe with him, listening to his stories of sailing around Italy and Yugoslavia. I was taken in from the beginning, and I enjoyed experiencing the beautiful locations not only through his eyes, but also through the romantic rose-colored glasses that comes only by looking back fondly on by-gone times.

A short biography is included at the end of the book, and what an interesting life he led. Besides his many successful novels (including the WWII epic The Young Lions,) he was also a WWII veteran, having served in North Africa and Europe, and was a photographer who documented many important moments in the war, beginning with D-Day.

In The Company of Dolphins is a captivating and light-hearted memoir, and a perfect read during an afternoon at the pool.

In The Company of Dolphins is available for Kindle on Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest opinion.

 

Review: Death by Pumpkin Spice

31187826
Death by Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson

Death by Pumpkin Spice, the third in the Bookstore Cafe series, has Krissy scoring a date with the handsome Will to a Halloween party.  During the party, a woman dressed as Marilyn Monroe is found dead.  With 2 other women dressed in the same costume, which woman was the real target and why?

I loved the plot; a torrential rainstorm, a Halloween costume party, family secrets, multiple suspects and one very large horror house made for a very Agatha Christie-type mystery with lots of red herrings, plot twists and suspects. Good pacing leading up to an action packed ending made for an enjoyable read.

The main character,  Krissy was likable, both smart and tenacious.  The other characters didn’t have much dimension, but that may have been done in the earlier books in the series (which I have yet to read.)  The ex-boyfriend story line and the looming love triangle also didn’t do it for me. It was mostly a distraction, which is a shame because the plot was strong enough to make an excellent book without the relationship drama.

Overall, a really great plot made this a very enjoyable book and one I recommend for anyone who loves cozy mysteries.  I haven’t read the other books in the series, and although it had a few references to previous books, I found that it didn’t hamper my enjoyment at all.

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for an advanced copy to read and review.

Death by Pumpkin Spice will be released on September 27, 2016.  Pre-order your copy on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble

 

 

Series: A Bookstore Café Mystery #3
Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Format: Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1617737550
ASIN: B01A4APJ1A
Reviewer: Mystereity Reviews

 

Review: The Bluebonnet Betrayal

27774344The Bluebonnet Betrayal by Marty Wingate

In The Bluebonnet Betrayal, Pru is asked by an old colleague to set up a Texas themed display at the famed Chelsea Flower Show.  The display is beset by one problem after another, and just when it seems it can’t get any worse, Twyla, the president of the Austin gardening society is found dead under a pile of rocks. It’s up to Pru to get the garden ready for the show and to find Twyla’s killer.

I just discovered this charming series not long ago.  With characters you can easily relate to, vivid locations and well-drawn plots, it’s a great series to sink into and enjoy.  Each book can be read as a stand-alone although I would say that there’s a greater effect from reading the series in order.

The Bluebonnet Betrayal was a very enjoyable read, with a plot that will keep you guessing; there were so many red herrings that I gave up trying to figure it out and just settled back to enjoy the story.   You can’t help but root for Pru and the rest of the gardeners to keep at it and get the display ready for the garden show.

The reason why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is because I really didn’t appreciate Pru’s self-entitled attitude that the DCI investigating the murder should give her all his information.  It’s one of the more frustrating cozy cliches that I see used over and over again; that the amateur sleuth should know every fact in the case. I understand the reasons why authors do it, but it just rubs me the wrong way.  And didn’t Christopher tell Pru in one of the earlier books about how a case was lost because a detective told his wife some information?

Overall, this was a fantastic book in a very enjoyable series, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries.

 

This book is available for Kindle on Amazon

 

Review: Dead & Buried

30841710Dead & Buried by Helen H. Durrant

Dead & Buried is the fifth book Calladine and Bayless series, and I was really impressed by how quickly I was able to sink into the story, despite having not read the first four books in the series. Great characters and a fantastic plot combined to create a gripping story, fast paced and impossible to put down.

The plot moved swiftly and played out so smoothly that I read most of it in one afternoon. I enjoyed watching how the investigation moved seamlessly, connecting all the deaths to a single event 40 years in the past.

What I really enjoyed about the book is that the murder was the focus of the book. While there are obviously back stories to the characters, it’s detailed efficiently enough to make things clear, without distracting the reader from the plot. I really appreciated that, it rounds out the characters with enough detail to give them dimension without being too much filler.

Overall, an outstanding police procedural and very much recommended to Brit Crime fans.

Thank you to Joffe Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review.

Dead & Buried is available in book stores or on Amazon

 

Review: A Story to Kill

28511625A Story to Kill by Lynn Cahoon

Small town secrets lead to murder in A Story to Kill, the first in the Cat Latimer series combines a superb plot with a dash of humor and a sprinkling of romance.

I’m a big fan of the Lynn Cahoon’s wonderful Tourist Trap Mysteries series, so I was excited to read this one. Set in a small college town in Colorado, author Cat Latimer returning from California after inheriting a big Victorian house from her ex-husband. Cat and BFF Shauna decide to turn the home into a B&B for writers. During the inaugural retreat, a famous author is killed in his room.

The intricate, multifaceted plot kept me guessing; there were no shortage of suspects in the murder of Tom Cook. The subplot surrounding the death of Cat’s ex-husband was a real cliffhanger, it added a big dose of intrigue to an already rich plot. Steady pacing kept the story on track, adding a lot of detail without dumping a lot of information into your lap all at once.

As always in Lynn Cahoon stories, the characters are always colorful and enjoyable. I loved the little old ladies who wrote romances, they were a hoot. The small college town setting was almost a character in itself; I could almost smell the leaves. (Autumn is my favorite season!)

Overall, an absorbing read perfect to sink into for an afternoon. I definitely recommend this book (and the author) to anyone who enjoys a good cozy mystery.

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books, who provided an advance  copy of the  book in return for my honest review.

A Story To Kill is available at book retailers, or online at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Review: Leading the Blind

30293136Leading the Blind: A Century of Guide Book Travel by Alan Sillitoe

“If the traveler will have a third golden maxim for his guidance it may be, “When fatigue begins, enjoyment ceases.”
– Alan Sillitoe, Leading the Blind

I requested this book from Netgalley because I was intrigued about tourism in the nineteenth and early 20th century. And I wasn’t disappointed, this well researched book details several of the popular travel guides of that period and highlights how little the vagaries of travel have changed, and yet how much it changed the world.

After the industrial revolution created an affluent middle and upper class with spending money, tourism to Europe steadily increased in the nineteenth century. Despite filthy lodgings, poor roads, and culture clashes, the popularity of traveling abroad grew, fed largely by the many travel guides published during the 1800s. I thought it was very interesting to see how the influx of tourists and travelers improved many aspects of life in Europe. Early in the 1800s there were few inns, particularly outside of the major cities. Those rest stops that were in business were usually squalid rooming houses with poor sanitation. By the end of the 1800s, the hospitality industry improved by leaps and bounds, no doubt spurred by the bad write-ups in travel guides and the lucrative competition for tourist money.

I enjoyed all the travel tips related from the original guides that instructed Victorian travelers how to avoid sea sickness, navigate customs, understanding passports and visas, exchanging money, the best places to stay and how to avoid being cheated by innkeepers. In Austria, for example, you could not bring playing cards or tobacco into the country, and in Switzerland, money wasn’t standardized across the country early in the nineteenth century.

Among the many fascinating aspects outlined in the guidebooks, it was amusing to see some aspects of travel are just the same now as it was then. Vandalism, such as taking pieces of monuments as souvenirs and tourists marking their names on landmarks was as much a problem in 1892 as it is today. It was outrageous how many artifacts and manuscripts were plundered by travelers to Egypt and Greece, I’m always dismayed and annoyed by how little regard the Victorians had for a site’s history, using it instead for their own gain.

Leading The Blind is a fascinating look into the history of travel and its social impact all over the world. Great for lovers of history, geography or sociology, it will enlighten readers today as much as the original guidebooks did for the Victorians.

Thank you to the publisher, Open Road Integrated Media and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Leading the Blind is available at book retailers or on Amazon

 

Review: The Truth Is Beyond Belief

29984453The Truth Is Beyond Belief: Some thoughts to make you think about the power of your thoughts. by Jerry Durr

When I requested this book from Netgalley, the description was vague enough to make me curious to see what the book was about. The Truth is Beyond Belief is a short book of Christian inspirational messages meant to enlighten and relax the reader and would be ideal as an audiobook for use in meditation.

While the subject matter was not that interesting to me, the book was well written and relaxing to read. I think this book will appeal to people who enjoy a spiritual books or are looking for a mini-retreat to recharge themselves in busy times.

Thank you to Netgalley and Publish Green for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Truth is Beyond Belief is available in bookstores or from Amazon

 

Review: Missing by Ed James

30318747Missing: A Gripping Crime Thriller by Ed James

Thrilling, compelling and gritty, Missing delves into the difficult subject of of child sexual abuse and its impact; not only for the victim, but also the family and the police officers assigned to investigate the case.

This will definitely be high on my favorite books of the year list, the finely woven plot unwound bit by bit, with lots of plot twists and red herrings that kept me guessing as the book raced towards the shocking finale.

The main character, Craig Hunter is a likeable guy. I mean, who wouldn’t love a copper that would jump out a window into a tree to rescue a cat? I really enjoyed that scene, it made for a great start to the book. I also liked how well the characters from the Scott Cullen series were integrated into the story, adding more dimension to the characters I already knew (and loved.)

Overall, Missing is a dark, riveting, and memorable book with a strong plot that will draw you into the middle of the action. I definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys police procedurals or just a good, old-fashioned hard-boiled mystery.

Missing by Ed James is available on Amazon

Review: Death at a Fixer-Upper

e8e2ff3793cb624e01c6cc7906fa5451Death at a Fixer Upper by Sarah T. Hobart

Laugh-out-loud funny, with a riveting plot, gorgeous locale and charming characters, Death at a Fixer Upper will appeal to cozy mystery fans looking for a fun, light read.

Death at a Fixer Upper is the first in the Home Sweet Home mystery series.  Sam Turner is a fledgling real estate agent with three offers on a decrepit mansion. One by one, the prospective buyers turn up dead. Can she solve the mystery before she turns up dead?

Fantastic book! It grabbed hold of me from the very first page.  I made the mistake of starting this late one night, then spending all of the next day counting the minutes until I could get back to it.

I loved the  main character, Sam Turner, who I thought was a Kinsey Millhone lives-by-her-wits kind of woman. A single mom juggling a teen-aged son, closing on the house she just bought, a potential romance with the chief of police and her career, Sam is like most women; lots to do and no time to do it.  Who can’t relate to that?  I loved the home ec. story, it made me giggle, thinking of the teacher’s face.

The plot spanned the book quite well, with many twists and turns and an ending that I didn’t expect.  Lots of action filled out the story, from the kinetic sculpture race to the murders and the investigations.  At the beginning of the book, it was mentioned that the locals thought the house was haunted and various paranormal events occurred, but it disappeared from the story pretty early on in the book.  I would’ve like to have seen that explored some more.

The other concern I had is that the first murder had a lot of detail, but the second murder really didn’t.  I was left confused wondering which person killed Ray.  Didn’t detract from the story, but I felt it was detail that shouldn’t have been omitted.

Lastly, there were a few moments in the book where it seemed like it was recapping an earlier book in the series.  I was surprised when I found out this was book 1.  Again, it didn’t detract from the story or confuse me, but I thought those elements could’ve been integrated into the story in a way that didn’t lead the reader to believe there were other books in the series.

Death at a Fixer-Upper is available on Kindle  Order your copy on Amazon.

Review: Grilled For Murder

G3512dabfb5906e159b446db78635f426rilled For Murder by Maddie Day

Grilled For Murder is book 2 in the Country Store Mystery series and can be read as a stand-alone, the few mentions of the 1st book are explained and don’t detract from the current story.

I really enjoyed the book; the main plot kept me guessing right to the end  I thought the victim could’ve been introduced a little more before she was killed; all you know about her is that people didn’t like her.  A little more depth in the character would’ve made her death have more of an impact.  I liked the secondary plot, the mystery about the death of Jim’s brother.  I hope that will continue into the next book.

It still bothers me that Robbie’s store isn’t called Pots ‘N Pancakes, though.

Overall, an enjoyable book to a series that’s shaping up to be a favorite.

Grilled For Murder is available at book retailers  or order your copy on Amazon

Review: Strange History

26196336Strange History by  Bathroom Readers’ Institute

Strange History is a collection of historical trivia that will leave you laughing.  I’ve already had several occasion to reference the fact about the day it rained geese in Canada

I love books like this where every page is a something new waiting to be discovered. I found it hard to put the book down and even when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. Inside, you can find historical facts encompassing everything from the longest unassisted solo cow flight in recorded history to historical facts about famous figures, to the treasures one can find digging up old privies (I fully expect Outhouse Detectives to be a series on the History Channel sometime in the near future.)

Strange History is a fascinating, entertaining and side-splitting read that will stay with you for a long time.  At the very least, you’ll never look at an Olympic torch relay the same way again.

This book would make a great gift for any trivia or history buff.

Strange History  is available at book retailers or online at  Amazon

Review: Tea Cups and Carnage

27236953Tea Cups and Carnage by Lynn Cahoon

Gorgeous seaside locale, great characters and plots that will keep you turning pages. Tea Cups and Carnage is the seventh book in the excellent Tourist Trap Mystery series and is a must read for any cozy mystery fan.

There’s a new shop owner in town, Texas beauty queen Kathi is set to open Tea Hee, a shop specializing in custom teas and tea sets. South Cove is just entering the tourist season with a beach festival weekend when a man is found dead in a motel just outside of town.  Kathi and her sister Ivy are under suspicion and Jill works to clear them and find the real murderer.

First of all, I really liked Kathi.  I think she’d be a great sidekick and BFF for Jill, unlike Darla, who just pumps her for information to report in her small newspaper, and Amy, who is kind of annoying.  So I have high hopes that there is more of Kathi as the series goes along.

This series never disappoints, and this book was no different.  There were several plots woven into the story, so the pace never let up.  From the missing money to the mysterious sister to the murder, there was always something going on.  I enjoyed that some of the minor characters were fleshed out a little more; it was nice that more dimension was added to the characters that frequently pop up in the series.

Also, whatever happened with the old mission?  In the last few books, it has merited little or no mention.

Overall, another great addition to a great series. This book can be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading the whole series because it’s hard not to fall in love with South Cove.

Tea Cups and Carnage will be out June 7th.  You can pre-order the book at Amazon