High school can be a killer, but second year teacher Emma Lovett is hoping to enjoy a murder-free school year. Unfortunately, Thomas Jefferson High is starting the year with graffiti and threatening notes, admittedly an improvement over last year’s dead body. Shortly afterwards, cheerleader Kisten Hollis is found dead after an insulin injection and murder is suspected once again. Emma and her best friend and fellow teacher, Leslie Parker, are determined to uncover the culprit, especially since they’ve also received one of the threatening notes.
POISON BY PUNCTUATION is the second book in the Chalkboard Outlines series but can easily be read as a standalone. Kelley Kaye provides enough character development for the reader to appreciate and enjoy even things such as the troubles brewing in the love lives of Emma and Leslie. I have to admit that the first book is now on my TBR as it’s enjoyable to see an author so effectively write about a school.
And oh, did Kelley Kaye ever capture the high school teaching experience! I probably laughed more than I should have over Emma’s rants about the school board, particularly their approach to bullying, as Kelley Kaye sums it up so well. Between that and Leslie’s penchant for literary quotes, it was almost a given that I would thoroughly enjoy POISON BY PUNCTUATION but Kelley Kaye also writes a darned good story! POISON BY PUNCTUATION takes some intriguing twists and I like the depth she’s giving to her characters. I can’t wait to see what Kelley Kaye has in store for us next in the series!
Laurel McMillan has been teaching her class how to make perfect pillows in her community center’s DIY class. While all of her students have made progress, she’s had a couple stand out and encourages them to participate in some local contests. Not surprisingly, Jennifer wins with her stunning beaded peacock pillow. Unfortunately, Jennifer’s husband is murdered soon afterwards, and it appears the pillow is the weapon. Can Laurel help uncover who the murderer is?
What a fun cozy mystery! Paula Darnell pulls the reader in quickly, introducing us both to the community and many of the characters. I love the idea of a homeowners’ association having crafting classes that members of the community can enjoy. The mystery itself is clever, with several red herrings thrown into the mix to keep the reader guessing.
DEATH BY DESIGN is the second book in the DIY Diva Mystery series but can easily be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the first book, but it’s on my stack to read as Paula Darnell writes an intriguing and entertaining cozy mystery. I love the crafting aspect, especially considering the students’ pillow projects vary from the very intricate work of Jennifer’s pillow to the more practical ones finished by Bud. I look forward to reading future books in the series!
Crystal Cove is celebrating Book Club Bonanza and the Cookbook Nook is geared up and ready to participate. One of the planned festivities involves one of the book clubs traveling to various homes to eat and discuss the mystery the members are reading. Jenna Hart, co-owner of the Cookbook Nook, can’t wait to participate, but unfortunately things go seriously wrong when one of the hosts is found dead in her home during the event. Worse yet, one of the prime suspects is the chief of police’s mother, Pepper Pritchett. Can Jenna help exonerate Pepper without destroying her relationship with her police chief daughter, Cinnamon?
SIFTING THROUGH THE CLUES is the eighth book in the Cookbook Nook mystery series and can be read as a standalone story. Daryl Wood Gerber helpfully provides a quick cast of characters at the beginning of the book so that new readers can quickly jump into the series and enjoy the story. I have to admit that I can’t imagine reading one book in the Cookbook Nook series and not wanting to read them all!
While I love the entire Cookbook Nook series, SIFTING THROUGH THE CLUES is probably my favorite book yet. Daryl Wood Gerber’s inclusion of the book club theme meant we had plenty of mentions of books other than just the usual intriguing cookbook references. In fact, I’ve added several of the cookbooks to my list to buy as a result! And oh, I love how Daryl Wood Gerber worked in references to her two other series and I can’t wait to hear all about Jenna and Rhett’s visit to Maison Rousseau!
SIFTING THROUGH CLUES is another fun and engaging mystery series from the talented Daryl Wood Gerber. Not only will culinary mystery fans delight in this entertaining story, but I suspect book lovers everywhere will appreciate the numerous book references that are a centerpiece of the tale. Highly recommended!
Holly White is starting to settle into Mistletoe, Maine. She’s back home working at her parents Christmas tree farm, Reindeer Games, while making her own jewelry on the side. Her closest friends, Cookie and Caroline, have opened a cupcake shop and all seems blissful… until a dead body is found and suddenly Caroline is the primary suspect. Holly is determined to help her friend, even though the local sheriff and her maybe-boyfriend, Evan Gray, insists she stop investigating. Will Holly’s investigating put her in harm’s way yet again?
‘TWAS THE KNIFE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is the second book in the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series. While it can easily be read as a standalone, I can’t imagine wanting to miss one moment of this fun new cozy mystery series! Jacqueline Frost provides sufficient background information on the characters and the Christmas festivities of the Reindeer Games so new readers can easily jump right in. However, please note that a few spoilers from the first book, TWELVE SLAYS OF CHRISTMAS, are mentioned.
I absolutely love everything about Mistletoe, Maine. What a gorgeous, fun town Jacqueline Frost has created! I just discovered this series recently and it’s exactly the sort of read to get you in the Christmas spirit as Mistletoe is full of joy and quite Christmasy. However, it is the Reindeer Games that really put the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series over the top! Who doesn’t want to participate in one of the seasonal games, whether it’s the gingerbread house decoration or the sleigh rides. And oh, the scrumptious desserts! I think my blood sugar rose and I gained 15 pounds just reading about the yummy sounding food and drinks available all around Mistletoe.
‘TWAS THE KNIFE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is a heck of a lot of fun! Whether you are in the mood for a Christmas read or not, don’t let Jacqueline Frost’s engaging cozy series, Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series, pass you by. Highly recommended!
Violet Daugherty’s death seems an accident, a case of drowsy driving. Meanwhile, a comment made during the funeral planning for Frank Fiore has Funeral Director and reporter Desiree Turner questioning if something more sinister is going on in Verbena. Unfortunately, the rumor mill runs rampant in the small town and soon Desiree is faced with losing business, as everyone is worried they too will be accused of murder. Will Desiree risk the family business and defy her family’s orders or will she ignore her reporter’s instincts and sit this one out?
IF THE COFFIN FITS is the second book in Lillian Bell’s A Funeral Parlor Mystery series. New readers to the series can easily jump right in and enjoy the series. Lillian Bell provides enough of the history on the characters that it’s easy to follow the mystery.
I was a little concerned about how I would enjoy a story featuring a funeral parlor and the funeral director but Lillian Bell pulled me right into her story line. Heck, Desiree has her own reservations about working for the family business and it is that edge that helps make IF THE COFFIN FITS so enjoyable. I like that Desiree is also a reporter as it also makes her amateur sleuthing far more believable.
IF THE COFFIN FITS is an entertaining cozy mystery coupled with some fascinating side stories. The conclusion of the book leaves me with so many questions that I can’t wait to see answered in the next book! If you love cozy mysteries with unconventional jobs (like a funeral director), then IF THE COFFIN FITS may just be your cup of tea as well.
Julia Bonatti makes her living as a professional astrologer but sometimes the unreliable income makes her budget a bit tight. Her former boss and current astrological client, attorney David Meyers, has begged her to fill in for a week at his firm while his secretary is on vacation. Julia agrees, only to become embroiled in a murder mystery her very first day. However, the first murder won’t be the last and Julia will need to utilize every skill to solve this murder mystery.
TAIL OF THE DRAGON is the third book in the Zodiac Mystery series and wow, this series only keeps getting better and better! Connie di Marco’s unique approach to the cozy mystery genre continues to intrigue me as I love how astrology plays a crucial role in the series. I also appreciate that Connie di Marco explains the more complex aspects of her astrological reasoning so that people like me who aren’t familiar with astrology are able to both comprehend and enjoy it.
Julia is a great heroine! I love her loyalty to her friends, even when murder is thrown into the mix. Her bravery coupled with her quick intelligence make her the perfect amateur sleuth. I look forward to visiting with her in future books to see what troubles find her next!
Connie de Marco integrates Julia’s love for astrology with her amateur sleuthing skills to craft one heck of a good mystery. TAIL OF THE DRAGON is another stunningly good tale in a series that only gets better with each installment. If you like unique cozy mysteries with lots of twists and turns, then TAIL OF THE DRAGON is just your cup of tea. Easily recommended!
A wedding is supposed to be a time of joy and Julia Bonatti hoped the wedding would be all that and more for her best friend from college, Geneva Leary, despite the Moon-Mars-Pluto connection. Little did any of the wedding participants expect the evening would end in murder. When Geneva begs Julia to help her uncover the truth about the murder, Julia can’t refuse- but will the murderer come after her in the process?
The Zodiac Mystery series offers readers an unusual approach to solving mysteries. The heroine, Julia, is an astrologer and uses astrological charts to help guide her as she tries to solve the mysteries. Connie di Marco does a great job at providing readers unfamiliar with astrology enough details so that we can understand Julia’s reasoning based on the various conjunctions and signs she sees in the astrological charts.
Conni di Marco does a great job at creating a whole plethora of characters without overwhelming the reader. Julia is a fun heroine, despite her penchant for wandering into sticky situations. I love her quick thinking and her willingness to help her friends, even at her own peril. One of the things that makes ALL SIGNS POINT TO MURDER so much more fun than the first book is that the potential villains are much better fleshed out.
ALL SIGNS POINT TO MURDER is the second book in the Zodiac Mystery series but readers can jump right in and enjoy the characters. In fact, Connie di Marco is really hitting her stride with ALL SIGNS POINT TO MURDER as I enjoyed it even more than the first book, THE MADNESS OF MERCURY. ALL SIGNS POINT TO MURDER is hard to put down as there was nary a dull moment and plenty of red herrings to keep readers guessing who was behind the murder. Easily recommended!
Cam Flaherty is embarrassed to see her mother, Deb, protesting outside of Westbury’s newest hydroponics greenhouse. After all, Cam has contracted with Nicole Kingsbury, the owner of the greenhouse, to start some of the seedlings Nicole will use. Unfortunately, Cam’s irritation soon turns to dismay when she finds Nicole dead. Even worse, the death isn’t accidental and now Deb is hiding secrets. Cam knows her mother isn’t guilty of murder… but can she prove it?
MULCH ADO ABOUT MURDER is the fifth book in A Local Foods Mystery series but can easily be read as a standalone. Edith Maxwell does a great job at providing readers with enough background information to jump right in and thoroughly enjoy the story. However, each and every book in A Local Foods Mystery series is enjoyable so I suspect readers will find themselves wanting to read the rest of the series after getting a taste.
MULCH ADO ABOUT MURDER provides us with some insight into Cam’s childhood as we get to know Cam’s parents, Deb and William. It took me a while to warm up to Cam’s parents, as Deb especially is quite secretive and almost cold at times. It’s easy to see why Cam’s Great-Uncle Albert and the farm are so important to Cam. Edith Maxwell does a wonderful job at bringing the storyline full circle, however, as Deb and William grew on me. In fact, I hope we see more of them in future books.
Edith Maxwell is quickly becoming one of my favorite cozy mystery authors. I love the insight she gives into the ups and downs of an organic farmer’s life almost as much as I enjoy the mysteries themselves. However, it’s the wonderful characters and relationships that make A Local Foods Mystery series such a hit. MULCH ADO ABOUT MURDER is yet another great entry into the series and I look forward to what the next installment has in store for us!
Professional Organizer, mom, and regular school volunteer Ellie Avery has her hands full managing all of the end of the year activities for her two children. The annual Mother’s Day breakfast is always a nice treat, however, even if she has to deal with her only work competition, Gabrielle Matheson. In an unexpected twist, Gabrielle swears she’s seen a dead body- and yet there isn’t one to find. Later, the body reappears and now everyone is mistrustful as no one knows why the murder occurred. The ending of a school year is always chaotic, but never as much as when a murder is involved. Can Ellie uncover the murderer while juggling both her job and the activities of her children?
How could I resist a book that features the end of the school year and murder? Sara Rosett perfectly captures the mayhem that ensues at the end of the school year. Ellie is a great heroine, balancing her inquisitive nature with a respect for the privacy of others. Ellie is a very likable character and I can’t wait to read the earlier mysteries in the series as I want to spend more time with Ellie!
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about a professional organizer as the heroine but I quickly grew to enjoy the change from my usual culinary cozy mysteries. I love the Organizing Tips for PTA women featured at the end of many of the chapters as they give a glimpse into the incredible tasks that face parents who want to be successfully involved in their children’s schools. I particularly love that the tips recognize that saying no is a perfectly acceptable answer as well.
MOTHER’S DAY, MUFFINS, AND MURDER is the tenth book in the Ellie Avery Mystery series but it’s easy to jump right in and enjoy the story. I hadn’t read Sara Rosett before but I have now downloaded the first book to my Kindle and can’t wait to see what other troubles Ellie has had. Highly recommended!
*A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review*